Friday, February 28, 2014

Spotlight and Review - Earth's Blood (Earth Reclaimed, Book 2) by Ann Gimpel

Earths Blood Banner 450 x 169
Earth’s Blood

Earth Reclaimed, Book 2

by Ann Gimpel 

Publisher: Musa

ISBN:  978-1-61937-681-6 

Release Date: 2/7/14 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance

99,000 words


Clinging to their courage in a crumbling world, Aislinn and Fionn vow to save Earth, no matter what it takes.


Book Description: 

In a post-apocalyptic world where most people have been slaughtered, the Celtic gods and a few humans with magic are all that stands between survival and Earth falling into alien hands. The combination of dark sorcery leveraged by the enemy is daunting. Destruction is all but certain if the small enclaves of humans who are left can’t get past their distrust of the Celts. 

Captured by the enemy, Aislinn Lenear wonders if she’ll ever see her bond wolf or Fionn, a Celtic god, again. She’s had nothing but her wits to rely on for years. They haven’t failed her yet, but escape from her current predicament seems remote. 

An enticing blend of urban fantasy and romance, this second volume of the Earth Reclaimed Series provides fertile ground for Aislinn and Fionn’s relationship to deepen. Headstrong and independent, the pair runs up against each other’s demands time and time again. Fireworks spark. In the end, they learn to savor every moment in a bittersweet world where each day may well be their last.


Chapter One

Fionn tumbled through a gateway and leapt to his feet. Something was decidedly wrong. The wolf and raven were right behind him, but he’d lost all sense of Aislinn’s presence in the traveling portal. It made him half-crazy with fear, but there was nothing he could do until the spell spit him out. Mouth dry, heartbeat thudding in his ears, he waited to see who would follow him out of the ragged hole he’d left in the ether.

For the love of the goddess, please let me be mistaken about this.

Rune emerged. A howl split the still air. “Where is she?” the black and gray timber wolf demanded. He reared up and plunked his paws on Fionn’s chest. “What happened to my bond mate? I cannot feel her anywhere.” He howled again. It was a mournful sound, full of grief. Fionn wrapped his arms around the wolf, but Rune dropped to the ground, apparently not interested in comfort.

“Yes, where did Aislinn go?” Bella demanded, bouncing forward with her awkward avian gait. Ever cantankerous, the raven was bonded to him, so Fionn was used to her moods. She spread her large wings, took to the air, and cawed her displeasure. He stared after her and struggled to manage a mounting sense of panic while balling his hands into fists. Both bond animals knew the truth: Aislinn had disappeared somewhere between Ely, Nevada and wherever they were now. He barked a word to close off his magic. The place they’d rolled out of shimmered and disappeared.

He loosed a string of Gaelic curses. “What the fuck went wrong?” he muttered. Fionn drew magic to augment his night vision and gazed wildly about for clues. They were in the midst of rubble that could well be Salt Lake City. So at least that part of his casting had been true. No, an inner voice corrected him, I doona know that. This could be anywhere. He shoved straggling strands of blond hair out of his eyes and sent his magic spinning outward to gather data. His heart beat a worried tattoo against his ribcage.

The air to his right took on a pearlescent hue. Bran and Arawn leapt through a portal in a flash of battle leathers, the snug-fitting garments indistinguishable from Fionn’s attire. Arawn barked a command; their gateway winked shut. His midnight gaze scanned the small group. “Why is Gwydion not here?” he demanded. “He left afore any of us.”

Rune threw his head back. Another desolate howl split the night.

Bran’s coppery eyes narrowed. “Aye, and where is the lass?”

“And that Hunter scum, Travis,” Fionn growled. He spread his hands in front of him. “I havena felt Aislinn since a few moments after we entered the portal. Join your magic to mine so we might figure out what has happened.”

Bran nodded curtly. “Aye, Travis must have lied to us, but to what purpose?”

“To save his own sorry hide, what else?” Fionn snapped. “Or mayhap because he wanted Aislinn for himself.”

The air took on an iridescent waviness. Gwydion stumbled out of the odd-looking place. Tangled in a welter of blue robes, he clutched an intricately carved staff; blond hair swirled around him. “Be gone, I say—Wait, what happened to—?” He took in the tableau as he lurched unsteadily to his feet. Fionn almost heard wheels turning as Gwydion tallied who was missing. The warrior magician pounded the end of his wooden staff into broken asphalt. Lightning crackled from the end of the staff, betraying his annoyance.

Something snapped in Fionn. Bright, brittle anger lanced through him He launched himself at Gwydion and drove the other Celtic god to the ground. “Bastard,” he screamed. “Ye were in charge of Travis. What? Ye couldna control a simple human? Look what your slipshod seeds have sown—” He raised a fist and drove it into the side of Gwydion’s face. It was more satisfying than using magic. Closer and more personal.

Rune jumped into the fray and sank his teeth into Gwydion’s leg. Bella cawed her disapproval. She tangled her talons in the mage’s long hair and pulled as she pecked at him. Gwydion bellowed in pain. The air thickened and developed an electric quality as he reached for his magic.

Fionn had just cocked his arm back to hit Gwydion again—before his fellow Celtic god shielded himself—when strong arms closed about him and dragged him back. Magic surrounded him, forming a barrier.

“That willna help,” Arawn, god of the dead, revenge, and terror, said, voice stern with command.

“Aye, it willna get your lass back,” Bran agreed. God of prophecy, the arts, and war, he often had a gentler approach than the other Celtic deities.

Gwydion rolled to a sit, looking dazed. He placed his hands on the wolf and raven, muttering in Gaelic. After a time, both animals retreated. He touched the bloodied places on his thigh; the flesh mended quickly. The master enchanter and god of illusion did not make any move to get to his feet. He settled his blue gaze on Fionn, bowed his head slightly, and said, “I am most sorry. Ye are right to be angry with me. The lad came at me flanked by Lemurians. I never even knew how many. When I sent my magic spiraling out to find Travis, he was gone beyond my reach.”

“Why didn’t ye tell me?” Fionn growled.

“How?” Gwydion countered, sounding weary. “Communication isna possible in the portals.”

Fionn groaned inwardly. He knew that. Where were his brains? Taking a wee holiday, a sarcastic inner voice suggested. Fionn jerked against the magic holding him. “You can let me go now,” he told Arawn and Bran. “I’ve returned to my senses.”

He stepped forward and extended a hand to Gwydion, who grasped it. “I am sorry I lost my temper.”

Something sparked from the mage’s blue eyes—compassion laced with pity. Gwydion stood, and then brushed off his robes; dust flew in all directions. He bent to retrieve his richly carved staff. It glowed blue-white when he touched it and he arched a brow at Fionn. “See, the staff knows battle lies ahead. The important thing is what we do now. A good start would be not tearing one another to bits.”

Though Fionn agreed, he secretly wondered if Gwydion might have tried harder were it not for the bad blood between them over Tara, Aislinn’s dead mother. As a MacLochlainn, Aislinn was bound to him, just like her mother had been. But Tara had loved Gwydion. To avoid marrying Fionn, she’d given herself to a stranger and run away to America, effectively severing an age-old bonding. Tara MacLochlainn had been an Irish queen. Under laws of blood and dynasty, she should have belonged to him, Fionn MacCumhaill, Celtic god of wisdom, knowledge, and divination…

Guess she had other ideas about that. What a fankle. Mayhap one we are still paying for. Fionn forced his mind to stay in the present. No point in dragging old bones out and chewing them half to death. Rune’s large black and gray head rammed his side. The wolf bared his fangs and growled.

“I understand.” Fionn settled his blue gaze on Rune. “We have to find her. And we will.”

“Let us go over what we know.” Bran stepped closer. Blond braids were tucked into tight-fitting battle leathers. He had a dreamy look about him, but Fionn wasn’t fooled. The god of prophecy’s mind was sharp as a whip.

“Good idea,” Arawn echoed. Dark hair cascaded down his leather-clad shoulders. Looking as grim as the dead he commanded, his face etched into harsh lines. Eyes so dark iris and pupil were indistinguishable, flashed fire.

“Let us ask the goddess’ blessing,” Fionn intoned. A weight like a cold stone settled into his guts. They couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. Aislinn’s life depended on them getting this right the first time. And my life right along with it. Fionn thought about the next thousand years without the only woman he’d ever truly loved; his soul shriveled. He cursed his immortality. Life without Aislinn wouldn’t be worth very damned much.

Gwydion began a Celtic chant. The other three joined in at proscribed intervals punctuated by Bella’s shrieks and Rune’s barks, whines, and howls. Night yielded to a sickly orange sunrise as they sang.

“I believe we are ready,” Gwydion murmured.

“Aye, I feel a goddess presence.” Arawn spoke reverently. “’Twill provide a balance point against all our male energies.”

“Let us return to cataloging what we know.” Fionn gestured impatiently. Though he understood the wisdom of securing divine assistance, he wanted to get moving before something lethal happened to Aislinn. A vision of her being tortured—long limbs splayed over a rack—rose to taunt him. He muffled a cry, but his mind wouldn’t clear. Blood ran down Aislinn’s face and blended with the red of her hair. Her golden eyes were glazed with pain. He bit down hard on his lower lip, feeling powerless. Adrenaline surged; it left a sour taste in the back of his throat.

“We are, indeed, ready.” Bran nodded.

Fionn latched onto the sound of Bran’s voice and let it pull him out of the black pit his mind had become.

Bran inhaled sharply. “The Hunter, Travis, sought us out. I dinna try verra hard to test his words, but there was enough truth in his tale to satisfy me.”

“And I, as well,” Gwydion agreed. “So mayhap his small group of humans truly was set upon by Lemurians—”

Fionn snapped his fingers. “I have it. That putrid poor-excuse-for-a-human cut a deal to save himself. Mayhap part of it was designed to wrest Aislinn away from me since he was in love with her, too. She told me—” The words curdled in his throat. He couldn’t bear the thought of Aislinn fucking anyone else. She’d been with Travis once. If she was telling me the truth… Mayhap she was with him many times and softened the telling to spare me.

Arawn cocked his head to one side. “Even though ye stopped midstream, what ye did say made sense. Travis agreed to serve as bait in exchange for his life—and mayhap the life of his bond animal as well. If he had his eye on the lass afore all this, well, the pot would have been all the sweeter.”

Fionn waved him to silence. “Ye say ye felt Lemurians?” He looked at Gwydion who nodded. “Well, then, she must be in Taltos. Where else would they take her?”

Relieved to have a destination and something to do, Fionn pulled magic, intent on leaving immediately.

“Hold.” Gwydion put up a hand.

“What?” Annoyed, muscles strung tighter than a bow, Fionn locked gazes with him. Blue eyes sparred with a nearly identical set.

“Ye canna go off half-cocked. There are not enough of us.” Gwydion hesitated. “As the god of wisdom, knowledge and divination, Fionn MacCumhaill, I would think ye would know that without me having to tell you.”

Frustration fueled rage. Fionn opened his mouth to tell Gwydion what he really thought of him. “Why you sanctimonious—”

“Never mind that,” Bran spoke up. “We need a strategy.”

“And mayhap more of us,” Arawn added.

“Aye, and what about Dewi?” Ignoring Fionn’s bitten off words and the challenge beneath them, Gwydion furled his brows.

Fionn blew out an impatient breath; his anger receded. The others were right. Dewi, the blood-red Celtic dragon god, was linked to the MacLochlainn women. She’d also spent centuries in the tunnels beneath Taltos, spying on the Lemurians. Yes, they definitely needed the dragon.

“All right,” he ground out through gritted teeth. “I get it. I agree we need Dewi, and probably more of us as well.”

“We must return to Marta’s house. As soon as we can.”

The wolf’s voice startled Fionn. He turned to look at Rune. The wolf padded closer. “I have been to Taltos both ways,” the wolf reminded him, growling low. “It is much easier and more direct if we enter through the portal in Marta’s basement. That way we maintain the element of surprise. The Mount Shasta gateway is akin to going to their front door and ringing a bell.”

Fionn kicked himself. Even the wolf is thinking more clearly than I am.

Rune had been bonded to Marta and knew her secrets. She’d been onto the Lemurians, delving deep into the extent of their lies. Before they’d killed her, she’d managed to figure out that the war against the dark gods was a sham. The Lemurians were actually in league with the dark. They were the ones who’d masterminded cracking the veils between the worlds to allow the dark ones access to Earth. An ancient race, the Lemurians understood they were dying. They needed an infusion of magic so they’d cut a deal. Access to Earth in exchange for—

Fionn filled his lungs with air, blew out a breath, and did it again. He had to get hold of himself or he’d be less than useless hunting for Aislinn. That will not happen. Focus, goddamn it. Pull it together. Fionn pushed the ache in his heart aside and buried it deep. He couldn’t afford emotion. Not now. Or mental forays into Lemurian treachery. When he’d met Aislinn, she’d been a foot soldier in the Lemurian army, branded so she couldn’t use her magic against them.

Voices flowed over him. When words fell into coherent patterns again, he heard Gwydion ticking off a plan on his fingers. Apparently one the others had formed without any input from him. How dare they? Anger flared hot and bright. Fionn welcomed it like a drowning man might grab a spar. He needed the energy to find the woman he loved.

“…agreed, Bran will hunt for Dewi. Arawn will return to the Old Country to muster as many of us as he can find. Fionn and I and the bond animals will return to Marta’s house. We will sneak into the tunnel a time or two to see what we can discover, but we will not move to rescue the lass until you arrive with reinforcements.”

Gwydion nailed Fionn with his blue gaze. “Aye and ye have returned to us. Did ye hear—?”

“Aye.” Fionn cut off Gwydion’s next words. “Let’s get moving.”

The master enchanter inclined his head. “As ye will.”

Fionn looked at him and wondered if it were mere coincidence Gwydion would end up babysitting him. He decided to test those waters. “I really would be fine with just the bond animals, feel free to join either Arawn or—”

“Pah!” Gwydion interrupted. “Not on your life. I know you, Fionn MacCumhaill. If ye returned alone, ye would turn Taltos upside down to find your lady love. Then the rest of us would have two to search for.”

Arawn moved forward and laid a hand on Fionn’s arm. “Remember,” he said, “the Lemurians came from Mu. They may still have a way to retreat there. If they do so, we will not be able to follow. Or they might strike a deal with the five remaining dark gods and go to one of their worlds if they feel threatened. We can travel to the border worlds, but it isna pleasant. Nay, if they have truly taken Aislinn to Taltos—and we do not know this as a fact—it is imperative they remain there. So, doona do anything foolish.”

“I understand.” Fionn clamped his jaws shut. Thoroughly chastised, he felt like a child again. He hadn’t considered either of the alternatives Arawn had just outlined. Apparently they’d come up in the part of the conversation he’d missed while wrestling with himself.

“I know ye do.” Arawn favored him with a rare smile. “Bran and I are leaving.” The words had scarcely left his mouth when the air around both mages took on a numinous quality.

Fionn locked gazes with Gwydion. “Are ye ready?”

“I am.” Rune took up his traveling position next to Fionn’s side.

“As am I.” Bella settled on his shoulder in a flutter of wings.

Fionn stared at the bond animals. They’d returned to audible speech; that must mean they’d gotten their anger under control. If they can do it, so can I.

Gwydion nodded slowly. “I do not believe there is aught else to be done right now, so the answer to your question would be aye.”

The air thickened as Gwydion drew magic to open a portal. Blessedly numb inside, Fionn added his own to the mix, buried a hand in Rune’s neck ruff, and stepped through.

* * * *

After they returned to Marta’s house in the ruins of Ely, Nevada, Fionn spent the next hour rattling through it looking for clues that might help them. He started in the bedroom, but Aislinn’s scent, a mix of honey and musk, clung to everything and nearly undid him. When he caught himself pulling her pillow to his nose, he threw it against the wall and stormed out of the room they’d shared.

The rest of the house hadn’t yielded anything. Fionn didn’t bother going up to the attic.  Marta’s parents were there, trapped in a state of suspended animation by a strong spell. Best leave them to their rest since they held the gates between the worlds open.

Because there wasn’t anything else to do, he settled at the kitchen table with a bottle of mead and nearly emptied it. The anesthetic effect he hoped for hadn’t happened, though. At least not yet.

“Would ye like to talk about it?” Gwydion’s melodic voice interrupted Fionn’s bleak thoughts. He swiveled his head to look at the mage standing in the doorway, flanked by Rune and Bella. Dirt clung to his robes; Fionn wondered where he’d been. Gwydion had told him where he was going, but Fionn hadn’t paid much attention.

Hmph. Even the animals deserted me.

I’d have deserted me, too, a different inner voice inserted dryly. The way I banged around in here wanting to kill something—anything—if only it would bring Aislinn back to me. Fionn understood at a level beyond reckoning, if he ever laid eyes on Travis again, the Hunter would be dead before he saw what hit him.

He tipped the bottle in Gwydion’s direction. “Not sure what there is to say,” Fionn mumbled.

“Och and there is much to be said between us.” Gwydion clomped to the table, hooked a chair out with one of his perpetually bare feet, and sat heavily. “For example, we havena ever truly talked about Tara—”

“With good reason,” Fionn snapped.

Gwydion shook his head. “Ye doona trust me. I sense your hesitation. We must clear the air.”

Fionn opened his mouth, but Gwydion shook his head. “Hear me out. That empty place inside you? The one ye’re trying your damnedest to ignore—or drown with spirits? ’Tis akin to how I felt when Tara fled Ireland to escape having to choose you or me. She wanted me, but the ancient bond demanded she wed you.”

“I know all that. I still doona see—”

“For the love of the goddess, would ye stop interrupting?” Gwydion’s blue eyes flashed dangerously. Fionn subsided against the back of his seat. “’Twas no skin off your ass when the lass left Ireland, yet I mourned her loss every day. It’s been years, but I miss her still. ’Twas a gift to see her once again in the tunnels under Slototh’s lair—even if she was already dead.”

Something in Gwydion’s words penetrated the desolation surrounding Fionn. He’d known Gwydion cared for Tara, but he’d never appreciated the extent of his loss. Truth hit home and shame washed over him. When Gwydion waved it in front of his nose—no, make that shoved his nose right in it—Fionn recognized kindred pain. He drew his brows together. “Why were ye not angrier at me? We had words, but it seemed we made things up soon enough.”

“Nay, I simply buried my resentment. What would have been the point in holding a grudge? I tracked Tara to America. By then she’d wed another and made it painfully clear she wanted nothing to do with you or me—or the dragon—ever again.”

“At least part of that was my fault. I could have—”

A bitter laugh bubbled past the close-cropped red-blond beard on Gwydion’s face. “Aye, ye see it now. Ye dinna see it then. All ye could see then was that she was the MacLochlainn. Your MacLochlainn.”

Fionn looked at his hands. What Gwydion said was true. He hadn’t loved Tara and he’d known she didn’t even like him, yet he’d insisted on pressing forward with marriage. Of course, there was the niggling problem he already had a wife, so he’d been finagling a divorce. That had been when Tara, finally eighteen, took matters into her own hands and left Ireland.

“I really am sorry. I should have been more considerate—of both of you.”

“Och, aye.” A thread of magic forced his gaze to meet the master enchanter’s. “I forgive you.”

A corner of Fionn’s mouth turned downward. “The question is whether I can forgive myself.”

Gwydion held out a hand for the mead. Fionn passed it to him. Eyeing what was left of the bottle’s contents, Gwydion said, “There never was a drink that offered enough oblivion to purge Tara from my thoughts.”

“Wasna working for me, either.” Fionn snorted. “I should know this. Ye told me, but I wasna paying attention. Where did you and the animals go?”

“We did the same outside as ye were supposed to be doing within. That would be hunting for clues Travis may have dropped while he was here.”

Fionn waited. Instead of talking, Gwydion tipped the bottle and drank until it was empty. “Did ye find aught?” he asked after it appeared the other mage wasn’t going to say anything else.

Gwydion’s forehead creased. He shoved blond hair over his shoulders, pulled a leather thong out of his robes, and bound it out of the way. “It was odd,” he murmured. “At first we all,” he gestured toward Rune and Bella, “thought we sensed Old Ones—ah, I meant to say Lemurians. When I looked more closely, though, whatever had been there was gone.” He shrugged.

Something tugged at Fionn’s internal alarm system. Attuned to danger, it rarely failed him. “Do ye suppose they were after Marta’s parents?”

For a moment Gwydion looked confused. His features smoothed. “Och, ye mean the Lemurian-human hybrids ensorcelled in yon chamber.” He waved a hand over one shoulder. “Mayhap. There is little else here to draw the Old Ones.”

Fionn thought about the genetic manipulation that must have gone into hybridizing the couple in the attic and shuddered. Did the Old Ones want Marta’s parents’ blood so they could do the same thing to Aislinn?

“At least Aislinn is likely still on this side of the veil,” Gwydion muttered.

Fionn looked sharply at Gwydion, realizing the other mage must have read his thoughts. He dragged a hand down his face. “Aye, we all hope that.”

Something sharp closed over his calf. Rune had bitten him. “It is time. We should go into Taltos. I must see for myself whether my bond mate still lives.”

“Can ye feel her?” Fionn asked.

The wolf’s amber eyes gleamed in the dim kitchen. “No, but if she is in Taltos, I will know it once we open the gateway and I cross over.”

“They might have her shielded in some way—” Fionn cautioned.

“Enough words.” Rune nipped Fionn again. As if to support her fellow bond animal, Bella landed on Fionn’s shoulder and dug her talons deep.

A wry smile split Gwydion’s face. “It would appear the animals have spoken.”

“We did tell the others we’d do a reconnaissance.” Fionn stood.

Gwydion followed suit. Both men went to the corner of the kitchen with the hidden trap door. Fionn kicked the rug aside and tugged the door upward. When he looked back he saw Gwydion’s staff glowing with a blue-white light.

Fionn worked his way down the ladder, helping the wolf. It was awkward. When Aislinn had gone into Taltos without him, she’d used magic to transport the wolf to the gateway. The thought of her seared his soul. His throat felt thick. A pulse pounded behind one eye, promising a mother of a headache if he didn’t focus magic to soothe the inflamed blood vessels.

At the bottom of the ladder, he strode to the section of wall holding the gateway and began the incantation from Marta’s journals. Gwydion’s energy vibrated next to him. Stones scraped against one another as the gateway swung open. Fionn bent to give Rune instructions, but the wolf bounded through the opening and disappeared into the dark.

“Damn it.” Fionn swore softly. “Ye stay with me,” he said to Bella.

“I am not going past this doorway,” the bird informed him. She fluttered from his shoulder to a chair and perched on it. “Fewer of us, less chance of discovery. Safer for Aislinn.”

Fionn couldn’t help but agree with her. His bird had warmed to Aislinn much to his relief, since she’d taken a perverse delight in making all the other women in his life—including Tara—miserable.

“Mind speech,” Gwydion said sharply. “And precious little of that.”

“I suppose we follow the wolf. He gave us little choice.”

“After you.”

Fionn stepped through into a dark tunnel. Careful to mute his magic in case the Lemurians had posted guards nearby, he turned left and trailed after Rune. Guts tight, barely breathing, he moved beneath Taltos, the city built by Lemurians deep inside Mount Shasta. Desperation thrummed through him.

I have to find her. Failure is not an option.

My Mini Review:
This story was just a great as the first in this awesome series!  It starts off exactly where Earth's Requiem (find it here) ended and I found myself again drawn into this tale.  The romance between Aislinn and Fionn continues to heat up as they navigate the challenges of their growing relationship.  This is a fantastic mix of Urban Fantasy, romance and action.  More secrets get unveiled and the fight for earth continues across countries, planets and realms.  I highly recommend this book but with a warning that the first book should be read to fully enjoy this one! *This is a mini review because I did not want to post any spoilers at all!  Just read this series for yourself and I am positive you will love it as much as I do!*

About the Author:
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent.  Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing.  A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. She’s published 19 books to date, with several more contracted for 2014. 

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)



Spotlight - Wanton Heat by Nicola Marsh

Title: Wanton Heat Author: Nicola Marsh
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Pages: 150
Language: English
Format: Ebook

At his majesty’s service…or so he thinks. 

With her job and her self-respect on the line, advertising executive and reformed bad-girl Zoe Keaton heads to Italy to score a vital business deal. Unfortunately, the guy she needs to convince is the wickedly hot—and totally closed-off—Prince Dominic Ricci, who has no intention of listening to her pitch. So with the queen’s help, Zoe does the only thing that will get the job done. She kidnaps him. 

But the joke’s on her when the queen’s matchmaking strands Zoe and the prince on the royal family’s secluded island. Zoe vows not to mix business with pleasure—and prove that she’s more than a spoiled rich girl who bought her way to success—but when the prince turns up the heat, the chemistry between them ignites. Is it just sizzling sex, or could an Italian prince with a tragic past fall for a take-no-prisoners American? 

Amazon  (only 99 cents)


USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh writes flirty fiction with flair for adults and riveting, eerie stories for young adults. 

Based in Melbourne, she has published 45 books and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. She writes contemporary romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Entangled Publishing and is self-published. Her first indie release, Crazy Love, was a 2012 ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Award) finalist. BANISH, a thriller with Harlequin Teen Australia, is her young adult debut (August 2013), closely followed by the release of a paranormal YA series starting with Scion of the Sun (Month9Books, November 2013) 

She’s also a Waldenbooks and Bookscan bestseller, a 2013 National Readers’ Choice Award and RBY (Romantic Book of the Year) winner, a multi-finalist for awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, RBY, HOLT Medallion, Booksellers’ Best Award, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and has won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards. 

A physiotherapist for thirteen years, she now adores writing full time, chasing after her two little heroes, barracking loudly for her North Melbourne Kangaroos footy team and her favourite, curling up with a good book! 

She also loves interacting with readers. She blogstweets incessantly, chatters on Facebook and answers emails.

Cover Reveal - Catch (Broken #1.5) by Michelle Congdon

Broken # 1.5
By- Michelle Congdon

Genre- New Adult Contemporary
***Recommended for ages 18+ due to mature situations, sexual content and language***

Even the best fall down sometimes…
Ryan Fox thought he had it all: money, women, fast cars, and a stellar baseball career. He also thought he could hide the memories of his dark past behind the witty charm and the devilish smile. Truth is, he had almost everyone, including himself, fooled. But the past cannot be ignored forever and eventually it finds a way of catching up.
When it all came crashing down, one girl was there to mend the broken pieces. Evangeline Montgomery. Not only did the troubled heiress turn Ryan’s world upside down but she helped him to see what’s most important: It’s not the past that defines you.
In Slide, we heard from Evangeline. It’s now Ryan’s turn to share his story about the girl who stole his heart and changed his life forever.

Release Blitz and Giveaway - Spark (Spark Series #1) by Jennifer Ryder

Spark Release Banner
Title: Spark (Spark Series #1)
Author: Jennifer Ryder
Release Date: February 28, 2014
Not many people know that I, Eevie Lawson, have a problem. An addiction to romance novels. I eat them for breakfast. I hide it the best I can, but I need them to breathe. It’s how I cope.

I’ve had a swag of book boyfriends, but now that I’m free from the responsibility of caring for my three younger brothers, it’s time to find one in the flesh.

In real life, no girl meets their hero on page one, or even at the end of chapter one. I should know.

My journey is real. It’s not perfect, and it sure as hell isn’t easy—but the fight for something worthwhile never is.

Buy the Book:
About the Author:
New Adult and erotic romance writer. My debut novel 'Spark', part of a four part romantic suspense series will be released on 28 February 2014!
A sexy imagination, a life-long love of books and a sucker for romance, Jennifer Ryder couldn't stifle her creativity any longer. Writing steamy adult romance has become her new focus. Living on a rural property in New South Wales, Australia, she enjoys the best of city and country. Her loving husband is ever willing to provide inspiration, and her two young cherubs, and sheep that don't see fences as barriers, keep life more than interesting. Jennifer placed third in the International Stringybark Erotic Short Fiction Award 2013.
Connect with Jennifer:

Spotlight and Giveaway - How to Be a Man by Tamara Linse

How to Be a Man
by Tamara Linse
Genre: Literary Short Story Collection
Publisher: Willow Words
ISBN: 0991386701
ISBN-13: 978-0-9913867-0-3 

ISBN: 099138671X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9913867-1-0

Number of pages: 238
Word Count: 59,650
Buy Links:

Book Description: 
“Never acknowledge the fact that you’re a girl, and take pride when your guy friends say, ‘You’re one of the guys.’ Tell yourself, ‘I am one of the guys,’ even though, in the back of your mind, a little voice says, ‘But you’ve got girl parts.’” – Birdie, in “How to Be a Man”
A girl whose self-worth revolves around masculinity, a bartender who loses her sense of safety, a woman who compares men to plants, and a boy who shoots his cranked-out father. 
These are a few of the hard-scrabble characters in Tamara Linse’s debut short story collection, How to Be a Man. Set in contemporary Wyoming—the myth of the West taking its toll—these stories reveal the lives of tough-minded girls and boys, self-reliant women and men, struggling to break out of their lonely lives and the emotional havoc of their families to make a connection, to build a life despite the odds. How to Be a Man falls within the tradition of Maile Meloy, Tom McGuane, and Annie Proulx.
The author Tamara Linse—writer, cogitator, recovering ranch girl—broke her collarbone when she was three, her leg when she was four, a horse when she was twelve, and her heart ever since. Raised on a ranch in northern Wyoming, she earned her master’s in English from the University of Wyoming, where she taught writing. Her work appears in the Georgetown Review, South Dakota Review, and Talking River, among others, and she was a finalist for an Arts & Letters and Glimmer Train contests, as well as the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for a book of short stories. She works as an editor for a foundation and a freelancer. Find her online at and 

from short story “How to Be a Man”
Never acknowledge the fact that you’re a girl, and take pride when your guy friends say, “You’re one of the guys.” Tell yourself, “I am one of the guys,” even though, in the back of your mind, a little voice says, “But you’ve got girl parts.”
You are born on a ranch in central Colorado or southern Wyoming or northern Montana and grow up surrounded by cowboys. Or maybe not a ranch, maybe a farm, and you have five older brothers. Your first memory is of sitting on the back of Big Cheese, an old sorrel gelding with a sway back and—you find out later when you regularly ride bareback—a backbone like a ridge line. Later, you won’t know if this first memory is real or comes from one of the only photos of you as a baby. You study that photo a lot. It must be spring or late fall because you’re wearing a quilted yellow jacket with a blue-lined hood and your brother’s hands reach from the side of the frame and support you in the saddle. You look half asleep with your head tilted to the side against your shoulder, a little sack of potatoes.
Your dad is a kind man, a hard worker, who gives you respect when no one else will. When you’re four, if he asks, “Birdie, do you think the price of hogs is going up?” ponder this a while. Take into account how Rosie has just farrowed seven piglets and how you’re bottle-raising the runt and how you’ve heard your brothers complaining about pig shit on the boots they wear to town. Think about how much Jewel—that’s what you’ve decided to name the pig—means to you and say, “Yes, Daddy, pigs are worth a lot.” He’ll nod his head, but he won’t smile like other people when they think what you say was cute or precocious.
Your mother is a mouse of a woman who takes long walks in the gray sagebrushed hills beyond the fields or lays in the cool back bedroom reading the Bible. When your brothers ask “Where’s Mom?” you won’t know. You don’t think it odd when at five you learn how to boil water in the big speckled enamelware pot and to shake in three boxes of macaroni, to watch as it turn from off-yellow plasticity to soft white noodles, to hold both handles with a towel and carefully pour it into the colander in the sink while avoiding the steam, to measure the butter and the milk—one of your brothers shows you how much—and then to mix in the powdered cheese. You learn to dig a dollop of bacon grease from the Kerr jar in the fridge into the hot cast iron skillet, wait for it to melt, and then lay in half-frozen steaks, the wonderful smell of the fat and the popping of ice crystals filling the kitchen. When your brothers come in from doing their chores, they talk and laugh instead of opening the cupboards and slamming them shut. And your dad doesn’t clench his jaw while washing his hands with Dawn dishwashing liquid at the kitchen sink and then toss big hunks of Wonder Bread into bowls filled with milk.
When you wear hand-me-downs from your brothers, be proud. Covet the red plaid shirt of your next older brother, and when you get it—a hot late summer afternoon when he tosses three shirts on your bed—wear it until the holes in the elbows decapitated the cuffs. If you go to town with your dad for parts, be proud of your shitty boots and muddy jeans and torn-up shirts. It shows that you know an honest day’s work. Work is more important than fancy things, and you are not one of those ninnies who wear girlie dresses and couldn’t change a tire if their lives depended on it.
Be prepared: when you go to school, you won’t know quite where you fit. All the other kids will seem to know something that you don’t, something they whisper to each other behind their hands. They won’t ever whisper it to you. But they won’t make fun of you either because—you’ll get this right away and take pride in it—you are tough and also you have five older brothers and the Gunderson family sticks together. Be proud of the fact that, in seventh grade social studies, you sit elbows-on-the-table next to a boy about your size, and he says with a note of admiration, “Look at them guns. You got arms bigger than me.” It’s winter, and you’ve been throwing hay bales every morning to feed the livestock.
Your friends will be boys. You understand boys. When you say something, they take it at face value. If they don’t understand, hit them, and they’ll understand that. For a couple of months—until your dad finds out about it—your second oldest brother will give you a dime every time you get into a fist fight. The look on your brother’s face as he hands you those dimes will make your insides puff to bursting. Use the dimes to buy lemons at the corner grocery during lunch time. Slice them up with your buck knife and hand them out to see which of the boys can bite into it without making a face.


About the Author:
Tamara Linse grew up on a ranch in northern Wyoming with her farmer/rancher rock-hound ex-GI father, her artistic musician mother from small-town middle America, and her four sisters and two brothers. She jokes that she was raised in the 1880s because they did things old-style—she learned how to bake bread, break horses, irrigate, change tires, and be alone, skills she’s been thankful for ever since. The ranch was a partnership between her father and her uncle, and in the 80s and 90s the two families had a Hatfields and McCoys-style feud. 
She worked her way through the University of Wyoming as a bartender, waitress, and editor. At UW, she was officially in almost every college on campus until she settled on English and after 15 years earned her bachelor’s and master’s in English. While there, she taught writing, including a course called Literature and the Land, where students read Wordsworth and Donner Party diaries during the week and hiked in the mountains on weekends. She also worked as a technical editor for an environmental consulting firm. 
She still lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband Steve and their twin son and daughter. She writes fiction around her job as an editor for a foundation. She is also a photographer, and when she can she posts a photo a day for a Project 365. Please stop by Tamara’s website,, and her blog, Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl, at You can find an extended bio there with lots of juicy details. Also friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, and if you see her in person, please say hi.
Tour wide giveaway
 $100 Amazon of BN Gift Card

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway - The S.E.R.A. File (Volume 2) by C.T. Green

The S.E.R.A. Files
Volume 2
by C.T. Green
Genre: PNR
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Number of pages: Approx. 105
Word Count: approx. 30, 400 
Cover Artist: Cass Green
Buy Link:

Book Description: 
Will satisfaction be guaranteed?
For Serena Roberts, getting to know her new SERA partner is an uphill task. Simon’s distant and ‘by the book’ demeanor is at odds with his playboy past. Serena believes she’ll never find out the real story behind the torture Simon endured at the hands of a demon nor discover a way past the Fae warrior’s ice-cold reserve. 
Simon doesn’t mind his reputation for being hard to please, but when he meets Serena he finds there is something he cares about more than keeping his distance from others. As they hunt for a kidnapper can he trust Serena enough to leave them both satisfied?

Angels and demons don’t mix. Prepare for an apocalypse.
Adar works as a special operative for SERA. He’s a demon who loves the thrill of close calls and blood-pounding action. But no way in hell is he ready to do protection detail for an angel. After all, everyone knows those guys are short tempered and deadly.
Penelope, a messenger angel, is minding her own business when she witnesses a crime. Now she’s under the care of a big, strong SERA agent and she’s determined to go for his heart. When the bad guys catch up with them and Adar is forced to unleash his inner demon, will the angel he’s fallen in love with still want him?

A fire prince always knows how to light a girl’s fire.
Saskia “Sass” Boots has been watching Flame, and he’s every bit as absorbing as his namesake. But as an agent with SERA, she’s determined to keep her mind on the job and off the fire prince’s smokin’ hot body. A pyromaniac’s on the loose and Flame is SERA’s top suspect.
When Sass announces she’s moving in with him, Flame knows it’s going to be hard to resist the girl of his dreams while chasing a murderer. There’s no way Flame is going to let some creep kill innocent people, but when things become heated, the scorching chemistry between him and Sass might prove a fatal distraction. 

SERA Agent. Werewolf. Guard Dog. No one said anything about ‘walkies’.
After Sophy Bancroft is blinded by a spell, Torren is determined to protect the human from a killer still at large. But for a werewolf, playing at being a guard dog is tough work. He hates deceiving the woman he’s fallen in love with, but until Sophy’s sight returns there’s no other way to ensure her safety.
Sophy’s delighted to regain her vision. When she discovers her beloved canine companion is a seriously gorgeous werewolf will she be able to trust him not to shed on the furniture, and more importantly, save her from the creature determined to end her life? 

Not even Hell itself is going to keep these lovers apart.
Mia Haviland and Avenian of the Fae mourned the loss of Oblivion, the demon prince who bound the three of them together. Now their lover is back and determined to re-take his place in Mia and Aven’s life.
Oblivion endured two years in Hell, imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic killer who escaped SERA’s justice. Now he wants his beloved Fairy and Fae back by his side and his captor’s head on a platter. Can he destroy his nemesis and convince Aven and Mia that neither Hell nor high water will ever keep him from them again?

About the Author:
Before becoming a writer C.T. Green worked in advertising for ten years. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts with majors in communication and literature. 
C.T. Green now lives in regional Australia with her husband, children and extensive collection of animals - amongst which are the world's bossiest goldfish.  
In between writing, i.e. arguing with her characters and occasionally posting to her blog, she reads, drinks vanilla coffee, kid wrangles, enters writing contests and avoids the goldfish.

Tour giveaway:
$15 gift voucher from Amazon
1 ebook copy of The S.E.R.A. Files Vol. I
1 ebook copy of The S.E.R.A. Files Vol. II
a Rafflecopter giveaway