Friday, August 8, 2014

Kelsey Jordan

Interview and Contest by Kelsey Jordan

An Interview between Kelsey Jordan and Ronan a character from:

 The Lycan Hunter

Ronan is stretched out in the theater. The sconces along the wall are softly lit and he's scrolling through the tablet's offering of movies while the cable plays softly in the background.

He pats the seat next to him as a greeting.

Ronin: Want to watch anything in particular?

Me: Not really. I'll be all about the movie and not this interview.

Ronin: Good point, so what do you want to know?

Me: You appear to not take too much seriously. Why is that?

Ronin: I am more serious than I appear. I don't show it because there are enough narcissistic assholes in the world leaking seriousness all over everything. If I make people comfortable, they are more likely to listen. If I have to make my point more forcefully...well, then I do so, but it's usually violent.

Me: Would you lay down your life for Kyran?

Ronin: That's not a serious question. I am his Tepinok. That's my ultimate duty. If I was unwilling to do so, I would dishonor both my position as Tepinok and the Rocky motto.

Me: Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I do have a question about the Rockys.

Ronin: I won't answer any specific questions about the Rockys. You'll have to ask Mikko Wayne for that info.

I nod, but I don't see an interview with the leader of the Rockys happening in the future. If the way he treats his son is any indication, that interview would end with me shaking in a corner somewhere.

Me: Do you ever take over for Kyran?

Ronin: To give him a break? Yeah, but only for a day or so. His job is stressful and there is too much damn paperwork. If I never see another spreadsheet, I'd live happily ever after.

Me: For someone as powerful as you are, why haven’t you started your own pack?

Ronin: I don't want to. Paperwork, remember? Besides, my brother isn't a complete dick so I like where I'm at.

Me: Can you tell me some more about Marcela?

Ronin: She's my everything. I don't even remember my life before her. Scratch that. My choice in movies was better before her. She likes chick flicks.

Me: What is your movie of choice at the moment?

Ronin: Unfortunately, my mate has me watching good movies, so nothing is any better than the others. If I want bad movie, I have to go dig for movies that have better originals like latest Old Boy. The Korean version is a thousand times better.

Me: Would you ever consider sending any children you have become a Rocky?

Ronin: That's not up to me. Any kid I have has to have the mental fortitude to become a Rocky and Mikko Wayne needs to welcome them. What that entails, well, you need to ask Mikko Wayne yourself.

I nod again, knowing it would be a cold day in hell that I ask for an interview with the elusive Mikko Wayne.

Me: Today, what is the worst thing you have experienced? What is the best?

Ronin: Meeting Marcie is hands down the best thing I have ever experienced. The worst? Having to be strong for Alexis after that shitstorm of a meet up with the Hunters. That woman was broken in all the right places, but she refused to let me in. She held it together, so I had to keep it together. I was far from together.

Me: If you could be any God, who would you be?

Ronin: I'll pass. I don't want to do Ky's job. What makes you think I want to rule a domain? Nah. I'll settle for a little peace and any time I have with Marcie. That's all I need.


An ominous feeling settled in her stomach, the sensation surging and plummeting so fast in her gut she had to reach out to grip the desk for stability. The only thing missing was classic horror-themed music as the sinister feeling surged again when Kyran paused as if he was listening for something. Still she couldn’t’t force her feet to move, too drawn in by all the awful possibilities from what the screen showed her.

Theo – like all Hunters – had been trained to be aware of their surroundings yet maintain the appearance that he was unconscious. Alexis found herself hoping that Theo would do something to give himself away. All Kyran would need is a subtle uptick of Theo’s calm heart, a hitched breath, or a subtle muscle movement to show him that Theo wasn’t asleep but pretending. Nothing happened, and Kyran stepped forward. Her gut twisted in agony, but her feet still refused to obey her command to find help.

Kyran was obviously in doctor mode. He would naturally wonder what happened to his patient, wonder if somehow the sedatives that Theo had been given had been too much. He suffered from a kindness that Hunters were trained out of from childhood. His inclination for decency would cost him, but at least he was cognizant that something was unusual. Maybe that would keep him safe enough that she could warn him or send help.

Her gut tightened again, and a quick glimpse showed how close Kyran was to his destruction. She knew she wouldn’t’t find that room in time, so she left the room hoping to find Ronan. Hopefully, it wouldn’t’t be too late.

She began beating on the first door she came to. It swung open to reveal Ronan’s sleep tossed hair, unfocused glare, and gloriously naked body.

“What the hell, Ky – ” His hands flew to his groin when his gaze fell on her.

“Come on. Kyran’s in trouble.”

The Lycan Hunter 
The Gardinian World Series
Book 1
Kelsey Jordan

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Date of Publication: June 1, 2014

ISBN: 9781620154311

Number of pages: 308

Cover Artist: Greg Simanson

Book Description:

When Alexis James arrives at her first assignment in months, she anticipates the danger and violence rife in her calling as a Lycan Hunter. What she doesn’t expect is a handsome, blue-eyed wolf saving her life and kidnapping her. Surrounded by the enemy, Alexis must not only survive her prisoners but the bonds of a different sort that begin to form against her will.

Mikko Kyran was chosen by the gods to lead his pack, and he has made it his mission to end the eight thousand years of war plaguing his people. The Alpha never suspected that the key to the prophecy ending the Forever War would be held by a smart-mouthed, sexy Hunter determined to kill him.

Can two people from different worlds set aside everything they know about one another long enough to survive retribution from the Hunters, the pack, and the gods? Or will their differences start a war that neither can win?

Written with intensity and depth, The Lycan Hunter is the first in a thrilling new series.

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About the Author:

Kelsey Jordan is the author of The Lycan Hunter, the first book in her Gardinian World series. Though she has a preference for all things paranormal and romantic, Kelsey admits she just writes what her muse demands of her. It’s less painful that way. When she isn’t enjoying the momentary benefits of playing god to the many characters that live in her head, she can usually be found curled up with a book, killing something in a video game, or spending time with her family. At some point in the day she is probably drinking more than her recommended dose of coffee, but don’t tell her that. She doesn’t care about recommended servings.

As a Texas native and self-described Air Force brat, Kelsey now lives in Georgia with her husband and their tutu-wearing minion. Book 2 and 3 of the series will be published by Booktrope Editions late Summer/Fall 2014.

To learn more, visit her at:




Monday, August 4, 2014

Tera Shanley

Excerpt and Contest by TeraShanley


Grey’s arms and legs were on fire, burning from his very veins, blistering every nerve ending on the way out. Why was the pain tearing through his chest? He tried to hail the woman but nothing came out except a quiet groan. Was he dying? He arched his neck toward her sister. Her body was so mangled it was all but unrecognizable as human. The girl’s eyes were open, fixed, staring back at him. She was dead. Would he die, too? What was that thing? That monster?

Maybe this was all a dream. Maybe he still slept, back in his campsite a quarter of a mile away. He’d been sleeping there only a few minutes ago. Maybe he was just having a vivid night terror and he’d wake at any moment to the relief that this wasn’t real. The girl slid over to him, but he was already panting in pain. Fire in his blood burned him up.

Her mouth moved, but he couldn’t hear anything over the roaring in his ears. Like helicopter blades, the sound drowned out everything. Her lips were full, and when his vision blurred, he tried to focus on her face. She was beautiful. Tiny. Delicate like a hummingbird. Even through spilling tears, the moss green color of her eyes was clear and compelling.

Her voice overcame the screeching in his ears. “What’s your name?”

“Greyson,” he rasped. “Greyson Crawford.” Someone should know who he was. Notify Dad what had happened there in the woods of Enchanted Rock. “What’s yours?” It was getting so hard to breathe. He had to know. He’d leave the world on her name.

“Morgan. My name’s Morgan.”

Silver Wolf Clan 
Silver Wolf Clan Series
Book 1

Tera Shanley

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing Corp.
Date of Publication: August 4, 2014


Number of pages: 129

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

Book Description:

What happens when monsters turn out to be real? One summer night while camping in the woods, Morgan Carter finds out in a big way. A tall mysterious stranger, Greyson Crawford, risks his life to try and save her sister from the vicious wolf attacking their camp. When he’s bitten and disappears into the night, Morgan can only assume the worst.

Greyson shows up a year later, and he’s a different animal altogether. His eye color shifts constantly and the rumble in his throat sounds more animal than human. She hasn’t any idea where he’s been all this time, but a good guess as to what he’s become.

Grey is determined not to let the darkness of his new existence affect Morgan and the little girl in her care. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Morgan but knows he should stay away and let her live a normal life. That’s easier said than done, though. A new danger pulls him from the shadows to keep her safe, and he’s no wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Can she accept what lurks just below his surface? More importantly, can she survive him?

Book Trailer:

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About the Author:

Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love. A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors.

For more information about Tera and her work, visit






Thursday, July 31, 2014

Judith Ingram

Interview, Excerpt, and Contest by Judith Ingram

Guest Post

Interview with Dora 

INTERVIEWER: Hello, readers. This is Mae I. Askyou, today speaking with Dora, who is featured in Borrowed Promises, Book 2 of the Moonseed trilogy. Dora, it's great to have you here today. (Dora sits silent, her arms folded across her chest.) Well, as the Native American nurse to Katherine, you have an important support role in the story, but we don't know much about you. Let's start with where and when you were born.

DORA: Not good to tell.


DORA: Best to keep that knowledge secret. Like my true name. No enemies can know the name my mother gives me. Too dangerous.

INTERVIEWER: I see. Your bio says you lived at Mission San Rafael when you were a child. Did your mother live there with you?

DORA: Yes. Then we go to dona Elena's kitchen to work.

INTERVIEWER: Elena. That's Isabel's mother. Katherine's grandmother.

DORA: Isabel's father owns big rancho. Many like us are hired to work for cheap.

INTERVIEWER: What was your mother like?

DORA: Full of stories, that one. Like me, she is a weaver and tells stories in her weaving. Sometimes she sings to me stories.

INTERVIEWER: What stories?

DORA: About our people. Before.

INTERVIEWER: Can you share a story with our readers?

DORA: My mother tells how our people are beautiful. Tall. Strong. Graceful. Every year there is called Big Time ceremony. All the people gather with fire and dancing and singing. One person hides in the bushes then rushes out, dressed like a bird. This is our ancestor. Everyone claps and dances to welcome. Other dancers, Kuksu, leap out from the bushes and run through the crowd. Then they run away from us, into the south. They take away our sickness and bad fortune.

INTERVIEWER: Did your mother grow up in the mission?

DORA: No. She grows up in the old way. She tells me about her mother and married aunts. They wear marriage belts given by their husbands on their wedding day. They wear beautiful jewelry—bracelets and ear plugs decorated with colorful beads. Also money strings. These are long with pieces of gold and shells and woodpecker scalps and also feathers. Very beautiful and important. When my mother is a girl who is ready for marriage, her mother paints four red stripes on her skirt to show. Then my father marries her, and he washes off the paint.

INTERVIEWER: That's fascinating. Do you have any brothers or sisters? (Dora shrugs and sits silent.) What happened to your mother? (Dora remains silent.) Okay, let's move on. According to the novel, at some point you took charge of Katherine's mother, Isabel. How old were you, Dora?

DORA: Already tall, maybe twelve, thirteen. I see sweet baby girl, her eyes like windows to the sky. I know I am sent to guard and help her.

INTERVIEWER: Sent? You mean, by God? (Dora nods.) That's interesting. Tell us more about your faith. The book describes how you blend Christian beliefs with Native American tradition. How do you reconcile the two?

DORA: God is God. (She shrugs.) No one knows all about Him. Not priests, not shaman. Not Dora. (She grins.)

INTERVIEWER: The book portrays you as a wise woman with uncanny insight. For example, you knew before anyone else that Victoria had changed places with Katherine. How did you know?

DORA: Easy. The light.


DORA: God touches everyone different. He shines His light in each one different. The new one, she shines different.

INTERVIEWER: How, "different"?

DORA: Not so angry, not so fierce. Gentle, giving spirit. That Katherine, she is always the prowling lioness, fearless, always putting her hand in the hornet's nest to get the honey.

INTERVIEWER: Tell us, did she really murder her husband? (Dora sits silent.) All right, how about this: Katherine got a reputation as a witch. Did you teach her the black arts?

DORA: No black arts. Only common sense.

INTERVIEWER: What about the potions and spells you taught her?

DORA: Spells! They work on your own mind more than another's. Take suggestion, mix up with words, it comes out what you desire, what you expect. Not magic, only common sense.

INTERVIEWER: Then how do you explain the "moonseed," time travelers like Victoria and Katherine?

DORA: This is God, not magic. Not Dora. (She grins.)

INTERVIEWER: Before we go, I'm wondering if you can use your wise woman insight to tell us how things will turn out for Victoria and Katherine in Book 3, Into the Mist?

DORA: Finished.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, but how is the story finished? Will Victoria and Katherine return to their own times? (Dora grunts and folds her arms across her ample bosom.) Oh, I see. We're finished. But before we say goodbye, can you give our readers just one little hint… No, well, I can appreciate your discretion. Anyway, I've enjoyed our conversation, Dora. Thank you for your time.

DORA: Time. It's tricky. Yesterday might still be tomorrow.


I bit my lip, wanting to avoid any subject that could ruin the easy camaraderie of our afternoons together. Michael had been friendly and funny, teasing me gently, treating me with the easy affection of an older brother. Once or twice I'd caught him watching me with a fierce intentness that made my heart skip. But then he'd grin or offer a quip that made us both laugh, and the uncomfortable moment would pass.

I enjoyed the lightness of our friendship, grateful for the reprieve. In the rose garden at Summerwood and later on the trip to San Francisco, I had felt the slow but persistent budding of a new feeling that both thrilled and frightened me. The lightest touch of Michael's hand pricked up hairs along my skin like electricity; his boyish grin twisted a slow, sweet pain deep into my body. His clean, male scent in close proximity could stun me with unexpected waves of need, often forcing me to look away so he wouldn't see the flame in my eyes.

I couldn't allow Michael to guess where my heart was taking me—because of Raymond.

Although many things were unclear to me, one fact seemed certain—Katherine must marry Raymond Delacroix and have at least one child with him. If I gave in to my new feelings for Michael, and if I were cruel enough to let him see them, then I risked both hurting him and ruining Katherine's chances with Raymond when she came back to her own time.

And Katherine would come back. I was convinced of it, all my desperate wishes to the contrary. She would marry Raymond, give birth to Elise, and secure a future that would eventually lead to her daughter painting a picture of Katherine and me at the bridge over Two Trees Creek. By the same token, I would return to life as a lingerie model and a cold marriage with Ryan Ashton. Ryan.

"What?" Michael's voice made me jump and turn my head.


"You said 'Ryan' again."

"I did?"

Michael had removed his glasses, and he blinked at me from only a foot away. God, he has beautiful eyes, I thought. Soft gray-green depths that held me breathless, fighting a slow, aching pull to be in his arms.

"He's…nobody," I said.

Michael was studying me, his eyes so solemn and searching that I couldn't look away. He didn't speak, but in that moment my heart yearned toward him, and he saw it. His expression changed. His gaze moved slowly from my eyes to my mouth.

I turned my face away and shut my eyes over a sudden sting of tears.

"Kat?" he said softly.

His voice held a new, cautious note of intimacy. A moment later his thumb brushed my wet cheek, and the tenderness of his touch wrenched a low cry from me. I pushed his hand away and struggled to sit upright.

"Don't touch me!" Pain made my voice sharp. "You can't touch me, Michael!"

But his hand was already under my elbow, helping me to sit. He pushed a handkerchief into my hand.

"Here. Take it." He sounded bewildered and hurt. "Seems you'd rather do the job yourself."

He watched me wipe my eyes and blow my nose with his handkerchief. I couldn't look at him, and after a moment he reached for his glasses and slipped them on.

In a tight voice he asked, "Do you still want to visit Union Square?"

I pressed the soggy handkerchief to my lips and nodded.

Michael pushed himself to his feet and thrust out a hand to help me up. We folded the blanket between us, careful not to touch each other's fingers, and he picked up the hamper. As we crossed the grass in uneasy silence, a fresh roll of tears made me reach into my handbag for a clean handkerchief. A flash of copper tumbled into the grass.

I stopped quickly, but Michael was quicker. He scooped up the coin, examined it briefly, and gave it back to me.

"You still carrying that thing around?"

I looked up at him, my handkerchief arrested halfway to my face. "My coin? What do you know about my coin?"

He squinted at me and frowned. "You're kidding, right? I was with you when you paid a nickel for that worthless thing at the county fair. You said it was good luck, and you carried it around in your pocket for years." He stopped at my look. "What is it?"

"Michael, are you certain this is the same coin?"

I handed it back to him. His gaze lingered on my face, puzzled, before he examined the coin. He weighed it briefly on his palm, flipped it over, and gave it back to me.

"Of course I'm certain." He pointed his finger at the familiar nick in the rim. "There's where the wagon wheel ran over it, and you were so furious because you thought the magic was ruined." He screwed up his eyes against the sun and studied me. "What's the matter with you, Kat? You're looking at me like I've got two heads."

I shook my head in dazed wonder, suspended once again in that universe where Katherine's world and mine overlapped and where it made perfect sense that her lucky coin should have somehow come to me—twice.

Borrowed Promises
Moonseed Trilogy
Book 2
Judith Ingram

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9890632-4-1

Number of pages: 249 pages

Cover Artist: Elaina Lee/For the Muse Designs

Book Description:

On the night of the new spring moon, a near-fatal accident propelled Victoria Reeves-Ashton over a century back in time to awaken in the body of Katherine Kamarov.

Now, after three months of pretending to be Katherine and laboring to repair relationships damaged by Katherine's brash and selfish personality, quiet and gentle Victoria finds that her heart is putting down roots in Katherine's world, in her family relationships, and especially in a deepening friendship with Katherine's winsome cousin Michael.

Hidden letters reveal the story of other moonseed-time travelers like herself-and Victoria realizes that she and Katherine will likely be returned to their own times the following spring. Tension mounts when a rich and handsome suitor applies to marry her, and Victoria must choose whether to accept him for Katherine's sake or to follow her own heart.

Ryan Ashton, the husband Victoria left behind, is baffled by the woman his wife has suddenly become. Unwilling to believe her story about an exchange in time, Ryan struggles to understand the stark transformation of his timid, remote wife into a sexually aggressive and captivating siren. Against his better judgment, he falls hard for this new woman who is a perplexing mixture of cruelty, sensuality, and tenderness, a woman who he suspects has the power to either break his heart or heal the aching loneliness he has lived with all his life.

About the Author:

Judith Ingram weaves together her love of romance and her training as a counselor to create stories and characters for her novels. She also writes Christian nonfiction books and enjoys speaking to groups on a variety of inspirational topics. She lives with her husband in the San Francisco East Bay and makes frequent trips to California's beautiful Sonoma County, where most of her fiction characters reside. She confesses a love for chocolate, cheesecake, romantic suspense novels, and all things feline.

Website, blog & free weekly devotional:




Monday, July 28, 2014

Alexa Grace

Excerpt and Giveaway by Alexa Grace


At one in the morning, the dark sky was illuminated by a full moon as they drove on a country road, trees hanging overhead like skeletal arms, nearly touching their vehicle. Driving slowly, they made periodic stops, for only the perfect place would do.

Approaching a bridge over a deep ravine with a wide creek, the van stopped. Both got out and circled to the back of the white utility van, where they pulled out a young woman's body, already stiffening with rigor mortis. They carried her to the edge of the road, where they set down her corpse, gave it a push, and sent it rolling down the ravine until it landed on the rocky creek bed below. Hands on hips, they waited and watched the body at rest, as if they expected it to magically come to life and run away.

"I wonder how long it will take the cops to find this one." The driver chuckled as he followed his passenger to the back of the van.

"Good question. The one last winter wasn't found until the spring thaw." He flipped through a stack of magnetic business signs he'd collected in the back of the vehicle. Choosing one, he slapped it on the side of the van and climbed inside.

"So how many magnetic signs do we have now?"

"Fifteen or so. We've got signs for plumbing, locksmithing, house painting, and general repair businesses. Think we need more?"

"No." He shook his head. "You did a good job stealing those. Even if we have an eye witness tonight, they'll describe a business truck, complete with a name and phone number the cops will use to try to track down their suspects. Too bad it will be a dead end. Any time we can toy with the cops is a good time."

"Agreed," he said, as a slow, evil smile spread across his handsome face.

Devan Roth glanced at his twin brother, Evan, sitting in the passenger seat, and thought about how much Evan craved his praise. He'd used that need to his advantage their entire lives. It wasn't that Devan didn't love his twin. He did, but he loved manipulating him more. Although Evan had a higher intelligence level than Devan ever dreamed of reaching, Evan's adoration for his twin was his weak spot. And if there was anything that Devan could identify from a mile away, it was someone else's weakness. That's what made Devan the leader.

From early childhood, he could get Evan to do absolutely anything he wanted. Devan invented the "Double Dare" game when the twins were twelve; he double-dared Evan to jump off the second-story roof. Evan leaped, and broke both his legs. But he never told their parents that Devan had dared him to do it. His loyalty to his twin outweighed the pain he suffered that summer.

The Double Dare game continued. Early on, they stole and killed their neighbors' pets, and then moved on to peeping in windows in the neighborhood and videotaping the event so they could relive the thrill later. Now they were abducting and killing prostitutes, then disposing of their bodies in remote areas surrounding Indianapolis.

Profile of Terror
Profile Series
Book Two
Alexa Grace

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Golden Publishing, L.L.C.

Date of Publication: May 2014

ISBN-10: 0985593962
ISBN-13: 978-0-9855939-6-4

Number of pages: 263

Cover Artist: Christy Carlyle of Gilded Heart Design

Book Description:

A missing coed named Abby Reece.

Two clever thrill killers are committing the most brutal, public, and horrifying abductions and murders in the county’s history. The killers, known as the Gamers, have done this before, and are now upping their evil game to a new level. The question is — can they be stopped before they kill again?

Things get complicated.

When an ex-girlfriend goes missing, Private Investigator Gabe Chase is obsessed with finding her. But once her naked and posed body is discovered, the investigator becomes the investigated. His passion for the victim’s beautiful sister is a complication he doesn't need, as he helps solve the county’s most baffling, terrifying murder cases ever.

Add a sociopathic serial killer who calls himself the Master.

A serial killer so deadly, the FBI’s behavioral analysts want to know when and why he began killing, as well as the identification and location of additional victims. He will speak only to former federal agent, Carly Stone, a woman he blames for his capture. When the profiler finds herself at the mercy of this ruthless killer, his becomes the most terrifying profile of all.

Profile of Terror

Three chilling villains, two passionate love stories, and pulse-racing suspense with startling plot twists keep readers on the edge of their seats from page one of this heart-pounding and unforgettable romantic suspense.

Book Trailer:

Available at Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU BN

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Alexa Grace began her writing journey in March 2011 when the Sr. Director of Training & Development position she'd held for thirteen years was eliminated. A door closed but another one opened. She finally had the time to pursue her childhood dream of writing books. Her focus is now on writing riveting romantic suspense novels.

Alexa Grace is consistently listed in top twenty of Amazon's Top 100 Most Popular Authors in the categories Romantic Suspense and Police Procedural. In 2013, she was named one of the top 100 Indie authors by Kindle Review. A chapter is devoted to her in the book Interviews with Indie Authors by C. Ridgway and T. Ridgway.

Her books Deadly Offerings, Deadly Deception, and Deadly Relations are listed in e-retailer's Top 100 Bestselling Romantic Suspense and Police Procedural Books. Deadly Offerings has not left the top ten bestselling free mystery romance and police procedural books since 2011.

Deadly Holiday, published in November 2012, is her holiday-themed romantic suspense novella, featuring all her Deadly Trilogy characters.

Alexa Grace's book Deadly Relations is included in the bestselling book set The Perfect Ten along with Dianna Love, Norah Wilson, Nancy Naigle, Andrienne Giordano, Misty Evans, Sandy Blair, Mary Buckham, Tonya Kappes and Micah Caipa.

Profile of Evil, the first book of the Profile Series was published in May 2013. Profile of Terror was released in May 2014 and Profile of Fear will be released in 2015.

Earning two degrees from Indiana State University, Alexa currently lives in Florida. She's a member of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Her writing support team includes five Miniature Schnauzers, three of which are rescues. As a writer, she is fueled by Starbucks lattes, chocolate and emails from readers.

You can visit her website at -

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Morgan St. Knight

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway by Morgan St. Knight

Guest Post

Good witch or bad witch?

Ah yes, the million-dollar question from “The Wizard of Oz”: are you a good witch or a bad witch? You’d think this would be a moot question nowadays with so many formerly taboo subjects gaining wider acceptance. But it’s still a big issue. We know we’re supposed to be good, but oh my, isn’t it delicious to be bad once in awhile?

Admit it: don’t you sometimes envy the bad person just a little? Do you get a bit of a thrill when they give someone a smackdown just for the hell of it? Don’t you wish you could be as uninhibited as the villain, giving free reign to satisfying your desires? A strong, multi-dimensional villain has a certain allure. If that wasn’t true, everyone would be Batman and no one would be the Joker or Catwoman at Comic-Con.

It’s the law of the forbidden (I didn’t write this law, I’m just citing it). We all feel it. Sex in the broom closet during your office’s holiday party or in an airplane bathroom is far more stimulating than the routine romp every Wednesday after you’re done watching “Conan”. In terms of witches, putting a hex on someone who is making your life miserable is a lot more satisfying than turning the other cheek. I speak from personal experience on that one.

Many paranormal/fantasy books put immense strictures on witches: never use your power for selfish purposes, never use it to cause harm, don’t interfere with someone’s life unless they give you permission. Those who break those rules are the “bad” witches. Those who keep them, even when it means they or someone close to them will suffer, are the “good” witches.

Just to be clear, I understand that these same rules are part of many Pagan religions including Wicca. It is not my intent to mock those religions. At the same time, I see no reason why any witch, real or fictional, should not use their knowledge and abilities to have the life they desire.

One reason I chose Medea as the protagonist for my book “Curse of Prometheus: a tale of Medea” is that she is neither wholly good nor wholly evil. Myths involving her tell how she restored youth to Jason’s father, healed Heracles of a blood-madness, and healed the Athenian king Aegeus of infertility. Yet she also is calculating and cold-hearted when needed. She betrayed her father to help Jason, had a hand in her brother’s death, and killed the usurping king Pelias, as well as Jason’s mistress.

I would love to see more books with witch characters who are willing to work with both hands, as they say in voodoo. Witches who can heal those in need, but who have no compunction about using their knowledge to epically punish those who harm them or others. Great leaders have the power to offer clemency, but also the power to impose justice. It’s high time that witches take their rightful place as strong leaders in paranormal literature rather than limited caricatures.

This isn’t only for witches. It’s for everyone. The next time you deny yourself a pleasure, whether it is that gigantic dessert, sex, or turning the tables on someone who has hurt you, ask yourself why you’re holding back. Does the sacrifice and restraint really make your life better? Does it? Or are you just trying to live up to behaviors that were forced on you as a child, behaviors which you had no hand in devising? As the saying goes, good girls rarely make the history books.

It’s your story. You don’t have to wait until the last chapter to come out a winner and start enjoying yourself. Edit out the things and people that detract from your life, give more space to those that enhance your life, and don’t try to rearrange your life into an unsatisfying plot that someone else wrote. And yes, when someone hurts you, go ahead and be the witch-bitch needed to set things right. Happily ever after can start today, if you’re willing to be bad when needed.


I spoke the charm that unsealed the sanctuary door. It swung open, and simultaneously candles in sconces around the walls flared to life.

But they weren’t the only things that were glowing.

Next to the altar that held a statue of Hecate, a censer and vessels for libations, there was a small side-table. The single object on it was radiating an eerie light. It was a Sybil’s mirror, my direct link to Hades. It was a convenient way to send in my reports.

It was convenient most of the time, anyway. Just not at that particular moment. It should not have been glowing before I spoke the incantation to activate it.

The smart thing to do would have been to run right out of that room, lock the door from the outside and chant an invocation to call up some of the entities I was on friendly terms with. But smart is never high on my list when I’m tired and hungry.

So I went closer to the mirror. Mistake number one. The surface rippled like water, and I knew that images would soon break through.

At first, all I could see was something ill-defined, like an object bobbing just below the surface of a cloudy pool of water. The image became more defined. I dimly saw a bejeweled hand caressing what appeared to be a crumpled mound of crimson velvet. The image sharpened even more: it was not velvet.

It was flesh. A gaping, bloody hole in a human torso. The hand was stroking it slightly, dabbling ringed fingers into the gash as someone might lazily trail their hand in a cool pond on a warm spring day. I could tell it was a man’s body, but the image wasn’t wide enough for me to see his face, or the woman who was stroking the wound.

Everything had a cloudy sheen to it and her jewelry had an off color, making the gems unidentifiable. They were an odd, bluish-green.

A soft voice filled the room, as if it was coming from every corner.

“Drink, drink…” it cajoled. A woman’s voice, light and soothing with the hint of myriad promises.

The image receded a bit, enough for me to see more of the torso as well as the body’s arms. I could see it was a man, but no more.

The vista slowly sank back into dimness. Another was surfacing. A mouth, surrounded by a lush beard. It was like black sable, sleek and oiled, arranged artfully into intricate curls and ringlets. A classic Greek style. The mouth and beard were all I could see, no other features to give me a clue about who it was.

The mouth was full and sensual, or at least it normally would be. I could tell that much even though it was twisted and pulled into a grimace. Pain? Ecstasy? A little of both, it seemed. It was not the expression which disturbed me the most.

The lush lips were streaked with blood. I could see, as the mouth opened in a silent groan, traces of blood on the teeth.

The image sharpened further, coming closer as if it was trying to come out of the mirror into my reality. My eyes widened as I realized it was no trick of light. The mouth was emerging from the mirror. Only a slight protrusion at first, then more, more…

The rim of the Sybil’s mirror was changing, becoming the same color as the blood on the lips pushing through the mirror’s surface.

As I backed away my ears started buzzing and I felt the floor wavering beneath me. I heard a sound that quickly grew louder, a throaty whisper that turned from a hoarse cry of need into distinct words.

“Join us. Join us. Join us… Medea…”

Hearing my name sent a shock through me, enough to make me want to bolt. But I couldn’t.

The hideous mouth opened wider and scarlet clouds spilled from it like steam from a seething cauldron. They swept across the floor, flowing over my feet and up my calves. My legs were rooted to the spot even though my mind wanted nothing more than to run in terror—out of the room, out of the house, out of the city if I could run that much.

The room reeked of copper and ordure. Noxious fumes poured up my torso and over my chest and face, choking me.

Without warning or intent I fell backwards. It took me a moment to realize that I hadn’t stumbled. I had been pulled.

I could see the arms reaching from under my own, curving up over my chest towards my shoulders. They ended in hands that were as white as alabaster. White, except for the black nails that curved like talons from the fingers. Talons that were coming dangerously close to my throat.

I barely noticed that the vile clouds were being sucked back into the mirror, as if some gigantic monster on the other side had drawn in a large breath. The light started to fade from the mirror.

I was spun around. As the mirror’s glow dimmed I saw a face pale as moonlight, a mouth crimson as a ripe pomegranate, and eyes the color of amethysts just inches from my face.

The most pronounced feature was the hair. It seemed to be made of cobwebs and mist, floating in a silvery-grey cloud. Some of it was moving. Alive. As I looked at it, things looked back at me. Vipers.

The intruder’s mouth opened, revealing long curving fangs.

“Medea…” The voice came from a distance, echoing as if I was in a deep cavern. The last thing I saw was the mouth opening wider, the fangs coming closer. Then the darkness took me.

Welcome to my world.

Curse of Prometheus: 
A Tale of Medea
Morgan St. Knight

Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy

ISBN-13: 978-0991396092

Number of pages: 276

The ancient world's most notorious sorceress has just become the modern world's only hope for survival.

Book Description:

How do you fight a god of light who has been seduced by darkness? That’s the challenge Medea Keres must meet. Posing as a wealthy young heiress in modern day Atlanta, no one knows she is the original Medea, the sorceress from ancient Greek legends.

As priestess of the witch goddess Hecate, Medea is charged with hunting demons that would otherwise overrun the world. Now she must face a far greater adversary. One of the twelve shining Olympian gods has turned rogue, violating the edict against human sacrifice. As the body count quickly rises, Medea knows her enemy is getting stronger.

With the help of the underworld nymph Orphne and the hero-god Heracles, she must find a way to unmask the evil so that the other Olympians will take action.

But as she probes deeper into a blood-soaked labyrinth of suspense and intrigue, Medea finds a net of deceit and treachery that will require all of her cunning to escape.

Available at Amazon

About the Author

Morgan St. Knight live in Atlanta, and is a lifelong student of mythology, the occult, and comparative religion. With more than 25 years of experience as a journalist, Morgan enjoys the occasional foray into fantasyland to escape the grim realities of life. He is currently working on the sequel to "Curse of Prometheus" and is developing a second paranormal series which also takes place in the South.



Author Facebook:

Twitter: @morganstknight

Kindle Giveaway!

To win, you just have to follow Morgan on Twitter @MorganStKnight and send a tweet that says "Entering giveaway for CoP". Only one tweet is necessary, but you must send that one tweet to know you're interested in entering the giveaway.

Additionally, Morgan will be giving away 2 copies of "Curse of Prometheus" each week of the tour. Everyone who enters for the Kindle giveaway on a given week is automatically entered for that week's book giveaway.

And yes, if you win a copy of the book, you are still in the running for the Kindle giveaway.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

C. L. Wilson

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Contest by C. L. Wilson

Guest Post

The Delicious Magic of Fantasy Romance 

I love, and have pretty much always loved, two camps within genre fiction: fantasy and romance. I love the imagination, epic scope, and endless possibilities of fantasy fiction. I love the rich depth of emotion, the humor, passion, and tenderness of romance. But my favorite thing of all? The books that combine BOTH of my two loves.

So what makes fantasy romance so magically delicious?

First and foremost, the fantasy has to be fabulous. After all, in a fantasy romance, the fantasy aspects of the story are what differentiate it from any other type of romance. So, to create a truly delicious, engrossing, fantasy romance, you have to create a truly delicious, engrossing fantasy.

And the one element that makes a fantasy novel different from any other is the fantasy world, especially the fantastical or magical elements of that world.

Now, that fantastical world could be a completely different planet in a completely different solar system, galaxy, or even universe. (This is what Robin Owens does in her Celta—aka HeartMate—series, and what I’ve done in all my published novels to-date as well as in my futuristic short story, The Noah.) Or, the fantasy world could be our own planet Earth, even our own time, but with fantasy creatures or fantasy elements, such as werewolves, vampires, witches, angels, magic, etc. (Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, Christine Feehan’s Dark series, my angel novella, Upon a Midnight.) In either case, it’s the fantastical elements of that world—the societies and creatures that inhabit it, the types of magic that exist in it—that are the backbone of the fantasy romance. For a fantasy story to truly work, the fantastical elements have to be completely integrated and essential to the plot. If you can take out the fantastical elements and still have basically the same story, you might have a great story, but you don’t have a great fantasy. If Dracula isn’t a vampire, does the story still work? Um, no. He becomes just some rich, creepy, old guy jonesing for his young employee’s wife.

It doesn’t matter how crazy or out-there the fantasy elements are (and I’ve read some pretty crazy ones over the years), so long as they make sense in the context of the story and so long as they operate by rules that don’t change whenever they become inconvenient to the story. It doesn’t even matter if the fantasy elements are completely original. In fact, familiar fantasy elements are often the hook that draws readers in (dragons, vampires, werewolves, etc.), and it’s simply the unique way those fantasy elements operate in an author’s book that gives them the fresh, addictive Zing! readers are looking for.

Talking about how to build a compelling fantasy world is a subject all on its own. For those interested, I have a detailed Worldbuilding 101 series on my blog that goes through the many things to consider when creating a fully-realized fantasy world.

High stakes drama is also a key element of an engrossing fantasy romance. Because of the fantasy aspect of the story, the ability to make the story stakes truly epic becomes one of the many adrenaline bullets in the author’s arsenal. Fantasy authors can ratchet up tension to incredible levels when characters are fighting not just to stop a serial killer, or save a life, but to save an entire world or universe. Baddies can be über bad—even godlike (Sauron, anyone?)—or the protagonist himself could be the one with the power to utterly destroy the world. In Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling novel, Heart of Obsidian, the hero, Kaleb Krychek, could literally shred the world from the inside out with his telekinetic power, and there’s only one thing—one person—in the entire universe, keeping that from happening. The heroine, Sahara Kyriakus, the only person in the whole world Kaleb cares about.

That brings us to the other essential element in a fabulous fantasy romance: the love story.

A complete, fulfilling, sigh-worthy love story is just as important to a fantasy romance as the fantasy element. And, like the fantasy element, it must be essential to the plot. Both the fantasy plot and the romance plot work together in the story, each pushing the characters to grow and change through the course of the book in such a way that neither the fantasy quest nor the romance quest could be completed without one another.

As with all truly satisfying romance novels, the fantasy romance couple need to fit together and complete each other on an emotional level. On the fantasy level, the couple also need to fit together and complete each other in some way. It’s fine for one character to be more powerful than the other (for instance, one character’s magical/fantasy abilities could be off the charts powerful), but then the other character should possess some magical, fantastic, or other trait that puts the two of them on a more level playfield. For instance, if the heroine could consume entire star systems with her power, then the hero might have the ability to nullify that aspect of her power in some way. Or, the couple’s powers might simply compliment each other in a way that benefits them both. In Thea Harrison’s Elder Races novel, Dragon Bound, the hero, Dragos, is literally one of the oldest and most powerful creatures in the world, a dragon created at the birth of the solar system. He is deadly dangerous and extremely Powerful. The heroine, Pia, is a half-human shapechanger without any immense or dangerous abilities (it’s her strength of character more than her magical abilities that make her Dragos’s perfect match), yet the magic she does possess saves both of them on more than one occasion throughout the series. Together, she and Dragos face the challenges of the fantasy quests and triumph over them. On a romantic level, Dragos’s love for Pia humanizes him and makes this old-as-the-Earth creature grow in new, emotional ways, and for Pia, Dragos’s magical and physical strength and his unswerving love and devotion provide the emotional and physical safe-haven she needs and has yearned for all her life.

So there you have it, the essential elements to writing deliciously magical fantasy romance: Strong protagonists (hotties are a plus), dangerous villains, powerful magic, cool worldbuilding, lots of high-stakes drama, along with a swoonworthy romance=one heckuva good read.

Smoking hot sex is nice, too. Just saying. And with magic involved, smoking hot sex has all sorts of interesting, imaginative new possibilities!

What are some of your favorite fantasy romance reads?


Prologue ~ Scarlet on Snow

King’s Keep

Vera Sola, Summerlea

“Do you have to go?” Seventeen year old Khamsin Coruscate clung to her beloved brother’s hand as if by her grip alone she could anchor him fast and keep him from leaving.

“You know I do. Our treaties with the Winter King are very important.”

“But you’ll be home soon?” Whenever he was gone, the ancient walls of the royal palace of Summerlea that had been her home and her prison since birth seemed somehow more confining, more restrictive.

“Not this time, little sister.” Falcon shook his head. A strand of black hair that had pulled free of the queue at the back of his neck brushed against the soft, dark skin of his cheek. “It will take weeks to negotiate the treaties.”

Khamsin scowled, and the wind began to gust, sending Kham’s habitually untamed hair whipping into her mouth and eyes. “Why does he have to send you? Why can’t his ambassador negotiate the treaty? He’s sending you away because of me, isn’t he? Because he doesn’t want you spending so much time with me.” Her hands clenched into fists. The wind sent her skirts flying and a dark cloud rolled across the sun.

Their father, King Verdan IV of Summerlea, didn’t love her. She knew that. He kept her isolated in a remote part of the palace, hidden away from his court and his kingdom, on the pretext that her weathergifts were too volatile and dangerous and she couldn’t control them. That was all true. Kham’s gifts were dangerous, and she couldn’t control them any better than she could control her own temper. Until now, however, he’d never stooped to sending his other children away to keep them from visiting her.

“Here now. Be calm.” Falcon smoothed her wayward curls back, tucking them behind her ears. Compassion and pity shone softly in his eyes. “I wish I didn’t have to leave you. But Father believes I’ll have the best chance of getting what we want from Wintercraig, and I agree with him.” Summerlea, once a rich, thriving kingdom renowned for its fertile fields and abundant orchards, had been in a slow decline for years. Although the nobles and king maintained a prosperous façade for political and economic purposes, beneath the gilded domes and bright splendor of Summerlea’s palaces and grand estates, the rough tatters of neglect were beginning to show. “Besides, you won’t be alone while I’m gone. You have Tildy and the Seasons.”

“It isn’t the same. They aren’t you.” He was the handsome Prince of Summerlea, charming, witty, heroic. He’d lived a life of adventure, most of which he shared with her, entertaining her with the tales of his exploits…the places he’d seen, the people he’d met. His hunts, his adventures, his triumphs. No matter how much her nursemaid, Tildavera Greenleaf, doted on Khamsin, or how often the three other princesses, Autumn, Spring, and Summer, snuck away from their palace duties to spend time with their ostracized youngest sister, Falcon was the one whose visits she couldn’t live without.

“Now there’s a pretty compliment. Careful, my lady. You’ll turn my head.” He smiled, and warmth poured into her. It was no wonder the ladies of their father’s court swooned at the slightest attention from him. Falcon had a magical way about him. He could he literally charm the birds from the trees with his name-gift—controlling any feathered creature on a whim--and the weathergift inherent in his royal Summerlander blood was stronger than it had been in any crown prince in generations. It was as if the Sun itself had taken up residence in his soul, and its warmth spilled from him each time he smiled.

Kham took a deep breath. The sharp edge of her temper abated, and in the skies, the gathering storm began to calm. Perhaps King Verdan truly had chosen to send his only son as envoy to Wintercraig for political reasons. Long, long ago, as a small child crying herself to sleep, she’d decided Falcon was the reincarnation of Roland Triumphant, the Hero of Summerlea, the brave King who had defeated an overwhelming invasion force with his wit, his weathergifts, and a legendary sword reputed to be a gift from the Sun God himself. If anyone could charm the cold, savage folk of the north into concessions most favorable to Summerlea, Falcon could.

“Will you at least write to me?” she asked.

“I’ll send you a bird every week.” He tapped her nose and gave her a charming, roguish grin. “Cheer up. Just think of all the swordfights you’ll win when you’re fighting invisible opponents instead of me.”

Kham rolled her eyes. He’d been teaching her sword-fighting for years, but she had yet to best him in a match.

“You know,” she said as they walked towards the doorway leading back into the palace, “it might actually be a good thing that you’ll be spending months in Wintercraig.”


“Yes. You can use that time to find out what happened to Roland’s sword.”

Falcon tripped on an uneven flagstone and grabbed the trunk of a nearby tree to steady himself. “I’m sure I’ll be much too busy to chase fairy tales, Storm.”

She frowned in surprise. “But you’ve always believed the stories were true.” Blazing, the legendary sword of Roland Soldeus, had disappeared shortly after the heroic king’s death. Legend claimed it was the Winter King, the father of Roland’s betrothed, who had spirited the sword away so Roland’s brother Donal couldn’t claim it. Every royal Summerlea Heir for the last two millennia had dreamed of finding the legendary blade and bringing it back home where it belonged. Falcon had spent years chasing lead after lead, determined that he would be the one to find Blazing and restore Summerlea to its former glory.

“What about those letters?” she added. “The really old ones you found tucked in that monastery? You said they proved the stories were true.”

“That was six years ago. I was seventeen. I wanted the stories to be true.” He gave her a quick hug and a brotherly kiss on the forehead. “I’ve got to run. I’m meeting with Father and his advisors to go over our list of demands and concessions one last time before I leave. I’ll see you in a few months.”

“I’ll miss you every day.” She trailed after him, feeling bereft and forlorn when Falcon turned the corner and disappeared from view. But this time, she also felt confused. She’d never known Falcon to give up on something he felt passionately about. And he’d been passionate about finding Roland’s sword. He’d been certain he was on the right trail. He’d shared his discoveries with her because he knew she was just as hungry as he to find the legendary sword.

So why would he deny it now?

* * *

Gildenheim, Wintercraig

“She's not good for you."

Wynter Atrialan, King of Wintercraig, cast a sideways glance at his younger brother. "Don't say that, Garrick. I know you've never liked Elka, but in six months time, she will be my bride and your queen."

Garrick shook his long, snow-silver hair. Eyes as bright and blue as the glacier caves in Wintercraig's ice-bound Skoerr Mountains shone with solemn intensity that made the boy look far older than his sixteen years.

"You love too deeply, Wyn. From the moment you decided to take her to wife, you’ve blinded yourself to her true nature."

Wynter sighed. "I should not have shared my worries with you when I first met her." Wyn was an intensely private man, but he'd never kept secrets from Garrick. Not one. Wyn had raised his brother since their parents' death ten years ago. And in those years, he'd never tried to sweeten the ugly world of politics, never tried to gloss over his fears or concerns—even when it came to the more personal but still political matter of selecting a queen. If something happened to him, Garrick would be king, and Wyn didn’t want his brother thrown into such a position without preparation.

Unfortunately, the years of openness and plain, unfettered talk had paid unanticipated returns. Because of his unflinching honesty with Garrick, no one in Wintercraig--no one in all the world, for that matter--knew him better than his young brother. Not even Wyn's lifelong friend and second-in-command, Valik. Such deep familiarity could be as troublesome as it was comforting.

"She is cold," Garrick insisted. "She does not love you as she should. She wants to be queen more than she wants to be your wife."

"Elka is a woman of the Craig. She is as reserved with her feelings as I."

"Is she? So that is why she laughs and smiles so warmly when the Summerlander is near?"

Wynter frowned a warning at his brother. "Careful, Garrick. Elka Villani will be my wife and queen. Insult to her is insult to me.”

“I offered no insult. I merely asked a question. And based on my observations, it’s a perfectly legitimate one.”

“You are misreading what you see. Elka knows it’s vital the Summer Prince feels welcome here if we are to come to an amicable agreement." The lush, fertile fields of Summerlea provided much needed sustenance to the folk of Wintercraig during the harsh, cold months of a northern winter. Their grains, fruits and vegetables, which Wintercraig bought with furs, whale oil and forest products, could mean the difference between life and death for his people during years when their own harvests were poor. That had, unfortunately, been quite often of late, since the summers had grown shorter and food from Summerlea had been growing steadily more dear after Wynter had taken the throne. Falcon Coruscate, son of the weathermage king who ruled Summerlea, had come three months ago at Wynter’s invitation to negotiate terms of a new treaty that would ensure longer summers in the north and more affordable trade in foodstuffs for the winters.

“She makes him feel welcome to more than the court,” Garrick corrected. “She flirts.”

Wyn arched a brow. “And if she does, where’s the harm in it? A pretty face and a sweet smile can persuade a man better than cold figures and dry treaties—especially self-indulgent peacocks like the Summer Prince.” He smiled when Garrick rolled his eyes. “You don’t remember our mother, but she could charm a Frost Giant into the fire. Father used to call her his secret weapon. Elka merely uses her gifts to aid the realm, as any good queen would.”

Garrick gave a snort. "How fortunate that she takes to the task so well. All right, all right.” He held up his hands in surrender when his brother’s glance sharpened. He paused a moment, using hammer and chisel to chip unwanted ice from the frozen sculpture he was working on, then added, “But even if you trust her, you’d best keep an eye on the Summerlander. He’s up to something.”

“Foreign dignitaries are always up to something. That’s called politics.”

“He’s been asking too many questions about the Book of Riddles."

Wyn’s hand stilled momentarily in its work on his own sculpture. “Has he?” He tried to pull of nonchalance, but shouldn’t have bothered. Garrick knew him too well.

“That’s what he’s really here for. To get the book and find Roland’s sword.”

Roland’s sword was a fabled Summerlea weapon of inconceivable power. It had disappeared three thousand years ago, not long after the Summer King who first wielded it sacrificed his life to save his kingdom from invasion. Many myths and legends swirled around its disappearance. One of those legends suggested that the Winter King of that time, fearing the sword’s power would be misused by Roland’s successors, had smuggled the sword out of Summerlea and hidden it in a place it would never be found. The Winter King had also left behind a book of obscure clues and riddles that supposedly led to the sword’s secret hiding place, in case his own descendants one day had need of the legendary weapon’s vast power.

“Well, good luck to him with that,” Wynter said. “The sword is a myth. It’s long gone by now, if it ever existed at all. And he won’t find whatever treasure the Book actually does protect, either, because he will never find the Book. It’s kept in a place no man can go.”

“But Elka can.”

He scowled. “Garrick, stop. She is my betrothed. She will be my queen. She would never betray me.”

Garrick heaved a sigh. “Fine. She is your true and worthy love. I’ll never suggest otherwise again.”

“Good.” Wyn pressed his lips together and focused on the small block of ice sitting on the pedestal before him. Patient as time itself, he carved away the excess ice until he revealed the hidden beauty inside. Fragile, shimmering, a bouquet of lilies emerged, petals curved with incredible delicacy, each flower distinct and perfect, rising up from slender stems of ice. “What do you think?” he asked when it was done.

"That's beautiful, Wyn. One of your best yet."

Wyn smiled. When it came to ice sculptures, Garrick hoarded his compliments like a miser. Only perfection earned his highest praise.

"Do you think she will like it, then? Frost lilies are her favorite."

Garrick stepped abruptly away from his own sculpture--a complex scene depicting a family of deer welcoming their newest, spindly-legged member into the herd--and brushed the dusting of ice crystals from his furs. "Any woman who truly loves you would love it, Wyn. It's obvious how much care you put into it."

"Then she will love it. You'll see."

“I’m sure she will,” Garrick said, but his eyes held no conviction.

“Coruscate!” Wynter’s roar shook the great crystal chandelier that hung in the entry hall of his palace, Gildenheim. He stormed up the winding stairs to the wing where royal guests were housed and burst into the suite that had been occupied for the last two months by the Prince of Summerlea. The rooms were empty, and judging by the state of the open drawers and the clothes flung haphazardly about, the inhabitants had vacated the place in a hurry.

“He’s gone, Wyn.” Valik, Wynter’s oldest friend and second in command stepped into the room. “Laci checked the temple. The book’s gone, too.”

Wynter swore under his breath. Barely two weeks ago, Garrick had warned him to keep an eye on the Summerlea Prince, and Wyn had dismissed his concerns with such blind, confidence! “When did they leave?”

“About an hour after we left for Hileje. Elka and his guard went with him. Bron didn’t think anything of it. The Summerlander kept blathering about not letting some fire ten miles away ruin a good day’s hunt.”

“We’d better start tracking them, then.”

“There’s more, Wyn.” Valik hesitated, then said, “I think Garrick went after them. He and his friends rode out not long after the Summerlander. Bron heard them talking about something the Summerlander took that Garrick meant to get back.”

Wyn’s jaw turned to granite. With Valik close on his heels, he ran back down to the courtyard.

Still saddled and ready to ride, Wynter’s stallion was waiting in the hands of a stableboy, and beside him, a dozen of Wynter’s elite White Guard held Prince Falcon’s valet at swordpoint. The valet looked nothing like the sleek, meticulously turned-out peacock Wynter’s courtiers had mocked amongst themselves. He’d traded his velvet brocade livery for rough-spun woolens, a furred vest, and a heavy cloak. His knuckles were scraped, and his face sported a bruised jaw and an eye that was swollen shut and rapidly purpling.

“We found him in the village trying to bribe a merchant to smuggle him out in a trade cart, Your Grace.”

“Where is he?” Wyn grabbed the valet by his vest, yanking him up so fast the man’s feet left the ground. Wynter was tall, even for a man of the Craig, and holding the Summerlander at eye level left almost two feet between the man’s dangling toes and the icy stone of the courtyard. “Where is that Coruscate bastard you serve?”

“I don’t know!” Clearly terrified, the man started babbling. “I swear to you, Your Majesty! I didn’t even know he was leaving until one of the maids delivered his note. And that only advised me to leave Wintercraig as quickly and quietly as possible.”

“In other words, the coward abandoned you while saving his own skin.” Wyn threw the man aside. “Lock him up. If we don’t find his master, he can face the mercy of the mountains in his prince’s stead. The rest of you, mount up. Time to hunt.”

Minutes later, Wynter, Valik, and two dozen White Guard were galloping down the winding mountain road that led from Gildenheim to the valley below. Wynter howled a call to the wolves as they went, sending a summons to the packs that were spirit-kin to his family’s clan. Wolves were faster in the dense woods, and they tracked by scent rather than sight. The Summerlanders’ smell was alien to this part of the world, so the wolves should have no trouble picking up their trail.

He wasn’t sure if the prince would try heading south, towards Summerlea, or west to the Llaskroner fjord. The fjord was closer, and the port there was a busy one, full of strangers from distant lands. For thieves looking to get out of country quickly, that was the better destination. When the wolf call came from the west, Wyn knew he’d guessed right. He whispered to the winds, calling to the old Winterman in the north to blow his icy horn, then summoning the Vestras, the freezing maritime winds of the western seas to send their bone-chilling fog.

As he and his men rode west, following the call of the wolves, the temperatures began to drop. If the Summer Prince fought back with his own weathergifts, that would pinpoint his location. If he didn’t, the rapidly worsening weather would slow his escape. Either way, Wynter would track him down, and make him pay for what he’d done to the people of Hileje.

The prince had hours on him. That was the purpose of the fire in Hileje—a distraction to get Wynter and his men out of the palace so Falcon Coruscate could steal what he came for and make his escape. But the distraction had been much more than a mere fire. The Summerlanders had raped and murdered dozens of villagers, then locked the rest in the meeting hall and burned them alive.

Eighty-six lives wiped out in one senseless act of violence. Eighty-six innocent Winterfolk who had depended on their king to protect them. And he had failed.

The tone of the wolves’ howls suddenly changed, the howls becoming longer, mournful, announcing a loss to the pack. Wynter sent out his thoughts, connect to the pack mind and seeing through the wolves’ eyes as he searched for the source of that cry. He caught a glimpse of scarlet splashed across the snow, bodies that were clothed not furred.

“No!” He knew instantly why the wolves howled and for whom. “No! Garrick!” He spurred Hodri faster, galloping at a reckless pace. The wind whistled past his ears. Snow flew from Hodri’s hooves.

It didn’t take long to reach the clearing where the wolves had gathered. The smell of death filled the air—a dark odor Wynter had smelled before. It was a scent few men ever forgot.

He reined Hodri in hard, leaping from saddle to ground before the horse fully stopped. The first two bodies were boys Wyn recognized. Garrick’s friends. Sixteen years old, the same age as Garrick. Arrow-pierced through their hearts. They’d been dead within minutes of being struck.

A moaning cough brought Wyn scrambling to his feet. He half-ran, half-stumbled across the snow towards the source of the sound, but when he got there, he felt as if his heart had stopped beating. He fell to his knees.

The coughing boy was Garrick’s best friend, Junnar. He’d been gut-shot, and the dark, matter-filled blood oozing from the wound told Wynter the boy was a dead man even though his body still clung weakly to the last threads of his life.

Junnar lay atop the prone, lifeless figure of Wynter’s brother. An arrow--its shaft painted with the Prince of Summerlea’s personal colors --protruded from Garrick’s throat.

“Garrick?” After moving Junnar to one side and packing his wound with snow to numb the pain, Wyn reached for his brother with trembling hands. His fingers brushed the boy’s face, and he flinched at the coldness of his brother’s flesh. Garrick had been dead for hours. Probably since before Wyn had left Gildenheim in pursuit. How could Wyn have lost the only family he had left in the world and not known it the instant it happened?

Horses approached from Wynter’s back. Then Valik was there, laying a sympathetic hand on Wynter’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, my friend. I’m so sorry.”

Wyn nodded numbly. The ache was consuming him. The pain so deep, so indescribable, it was beyond feeling. His whole body felt frozen, like the ice statues he and Garrick carved together.

“Help Junnar.” How he spoke, he didn’t know. His voice came out a choked, gravelly rasp. “Make him as comfortable as you can.”

“Of course.”

He waited for Valik to lift Junnar and settle him off a short distance before gathering Garrick’s body into his arms. He held his brother for a long time, held him until Junnar breathed his last and the White Guard packed the bodies up for transport back to Gildenheim. Their hunt for Prince Falcon of Summerlea had ended the moment Wynter found his brother’s corpse. But there was no doubt in any of their minds that this was far from over.

Wynter carried Garrick in front of him on Hodri’s back, cradling his body as he had so many times over the years after their parents had died and it had fallen to him to raise his brother. He carried him all the way to Gildenheim, releasing him only to the weeping servants who would prepare Garrick and the others for the funeral pyre.

Wynter stood vigil by his brother’s side throughout the night. He murmured words of sympathy to the parents of the other lost boys, but shed no tears of his own though his eyes burned. At dusk the following night, he stood, tall and dry-eyed beside the pyres as the flames were lit and remained standing, motionless and without speaking, throughout the night and into the next morning. He stood until the pyre was naught but flickering coals. And when it was done and there was nothing left of his brother but ash, Wynter mounted Hodri and took the long, winding road to the Temple of Wyrn, which was carved into the side of the next mountain.

Galacia Frey, the imposing and statuesque High Priestess of Wyrn, was waiting for him inside the temple. She had come the night before to bless his brother and the others and to light their pyres, before returning to the temple to await his visit.

“You know why I have come.”

Her eyes were steady. “I know. But Wyn, my friend, you know I must ask you to reconsider. You know the price.”

“I know and accept it.”

“There’s no guarantee the goddess will find you worthy,” she warned. “Many men have tried and died.”

“You think that frightens me? If I die, I will be with my brother. If I survive, I will have the power to avenge him.”

She closed her eyes briefly and inclined her head. “Then take the path to the left of the altar, Wynter Atrialan, King of the Craig. Leave your armor, clothes and weapons in the trunk by the door. You must enter the test as you entered the world. And may the goddess have mercy on your soul.”

The Winter King 
C.L. Wilson

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Avon Romance
ISBN 13: 9780062018977

Book Description:

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when Falcon, the prince of Summerlea, stole Wynter’s bride and murdered his young brother, Wynter vows vengeance. Calling upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart, he gathers his armies and marches against Summerlea, crushing their armies and spreading icy winter in his wake.

After three long, bitter years of battle, Summerlea is defeated and Wynter comes to the heart of the kingdom to issue his terms for their surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth of love and melt the Ice Heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will turn her out in the ice and snow of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters. All the while, Wynter will enjoy the vengeance of knowing the Summer King will suffer each day without his beloved daughter(s), as Wynter suffers each day without his own beloved brother.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond.

Blamed as a child for the death of her beloved mother, Khamsin Coruscate, the forgotten princess of Summerlea, has spent her life hidden from the world like an embarrassing secret. Dressed in cast-off gowns and left to her own devices, with only the determination of her loyal nursemaid to ensure she receives the education befitting an Heir to the Summer Throne, Khamsin haunts the abandoned towers and gardens of Summerlea’s royal palace, close to her beloved late mother’s treasures, and waits for the day her father will recognize her as a Princess of the Rose. But though she dreams of the valor and sacrifices of ancient Summerlea heroes and pines for paternal love that will never come, Khamsin is no sweet, gentle, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature with a volatile, rebellious temper that is often as reckless and destructive as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

Together will their stormy personalities be able to meld or will their powers destroy not only their love but the whole world?

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Available for purchase at Avon Romance Amazon BN Kobo

About the Author:

C. L. WILSON grew up camping and waterskiing across America, from Cherry Creek reservoir in Denver, CO, to Lake Gaston on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, to Georgia’s Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. When she wasn’t waterskiing and camping on family vacations, you could usually find her with a book in one hand and a sketch pad in the other—either reading, writing stories, or drawing. Sometime around the ninth grade, she decided she was better at drawing her pictures with words than paints and charcoals, and she set aside her sketchpad to focus entirely on writing.

Wilson is active in Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA), her local chapter of Romance Writers of America. When not engaged in writerly pursuits, she enjoys golfing, swimming, reading, playing video games with her children, and spending time with her friends and family. She is also an avid collector (her husband says pack rat!), and she’s the proud owner of an extensive collection of Dept. 56 Dickens and North Pole villages, unicorns, Lladro figurines, and mint condition comic books.

Wilson currently resides with her husband, their three wonderful children, and their little black cat, Oreo, in a secluded ranch community less than thirty miles away from the crystalline waters and sugar-sand beaches of Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key on Florida’s gulf coast.