EXCERPT: Blood Slave by Kathleen Collins

The zombie Pomeranian yipped at Nathaniel in between growling and tugging at the leg of his jeans. Juliana pulled her foot back to kick the creature away from her friend and made ready to bring her sword down on it as soon as it was clear.

“Don’t,” Nathaniel protested as he held up a still-clawed hand. “You might hurt it.”

Her brows arched up into her hairline. “That would be the general idea.” The thing growled again and she looked down at it where it was doing its utmost to gnaw a hole through Nathaniel’s jeans. And she wasn’t entirely sure it would stop when it got to skin. I realize you have a particu-lar kinship with all things canine, but it’s gnawing on your leg.”

“Just my jeans.” Now back in fully human form, he bent and disengaged the dog from the denim.

“Easy there, boy. Good dog.” When the Pomeranian continued to express its displeasure with the situation in general and Nathaniel in particular, he lifted the beast above his head, looked at it nose to nose and growled back. Evidently recognizing an alpha even in its altered state, the dog curled in on itself and whimpered before darting its tongue out to lick Nathaniel’s nose. Juliana grimaced. Zombie breath couldn’t be pretty.

“See, he doesn’t mean any harm,” her friend said as he tucked the abomination under one arm. Their scruffy brown hair made them look surprisingly similar.

She blinked at him in disbelief before taking another look at the creature in question. When she bent closer, it growled and she straightened with a huff. “She.”

“What?”

“She. Name tag says Fifi. Last time I checked that was a girl’s name.”

Nathaniel snorted in derision. “Fifi. What a prissy name.”

“Hate to break it to you, partner, but that is a prissy dog. And it smells like mold.”


Blood Slave

Realm Walker Series

Book 3

Kathleen Collins

 

Can she find a killer in a town where the basest desires are allowed to run free?

There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.

Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Collins lives and works in Missouri. By day, she labors in the local prosecutor’s office. At night she writes while surrounded by her husband, two boys and two loveable mutts. She is constantly thinking of her next project and loves to connect with her readers. You can fine her most often on Facebook or on her website.

www.Kathleencollins.net

@kathy_collins

www.facebook.com/kathleencollinsauthor

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191208.Kathleen_Collins

COVER REVEAL: Henchgirl by Rita Strading

henchgirlcoverrelease

About the Book

Henchgirl Cover Choice 1

Title: Henchgirl

Author: Rita Stradling

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

I had never thought my life was ideal, but it had been manageable.

By day I pretended to be a human, going to a ‘human’s only’ high-school, making human friends and trying to get the attention of Keanu Hale, my school’s quarterback. At night, I worked as a henchman, making sure no one got in the way of my grandfather’s hotel-empire which spanned across the Mabiian island chain. I was my grandfather’s most cherished weapon, I stole and manipulated emotions, I would even drain someone of their ability to feel joy if my grandfather ordered me to.

I won’t apologize for what I did, it kept my sisters fed and my grandfather from finding out that my mother squandered our monthly allowance on shopping and throwing extravagant parties. It kept my family alive. But more importantly, my job kept me from being trained to be a wife and married off to some rich and powerful dracon, a human-dragon hybrid, as all girls with one-eighth dragon blood are.

As I said, my life was just manageable, until Wyvern Manderson vacationed to my island. Wyvern Manderson, the rich, powerful, and famous for something or other, half-dragon jerk, just kept showing up, sabotaging my missions and ordering me around. On top of that, for some reason he was always angry at me.

Pretty soon I was suspended from further missions, facing eminent financial ruin and still had to see the jerk everywhere I went. When my friend Amanda from my human-high-school vanished, Amanda turned out to be Wyvern’s human half-sister he was keeping secret and protecting.

Taking on the mission to find Amanda might have been what I needed to save my family from losing everything, but to do it I would have to spend all day everyday with the jerk. To top that all off, Amanda was not the only girl who disappeared, and when girls started being discovered dead I realized that my sanity wasn’t the biggest thing I would be risking in this investigation; I might very well be the next to die.

Author Bio

45129_1477978523223_7617030_nRita Stradling lives with her husband and son in Northern California. Her six year old son wants to be a train when he grows up. She has a BA in Art History and a particular interest in modern and medieval art.

Rita has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

Links

Goodreads

Website

Amazon

GUEST BLOG: Amanda Meuwissen | EBOOK GIVEAWAY!

Accepting the ‘Other’ in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

Urban fantasy and paranormal fiction, particularly paranormal romance, seem to be the hot tickets these days, and I’m no exception writing my trilogy: The Incubus Saga. We all know these genres are popular; they’re everywhere. And I’ve noticed that gay romance within these genres is just as common as the genres themselves, if not more so than in others.

The urban fantasy and paranormal genres are basically set in our modern world but with a touch of otherworldliness that is exciting while still somewhat believable. The characters live in mostly normal, modern towns, go to high school or have jobs, and drop the occasional familiar pop culture reference—their story could be real! Even if they’re also dealing with fairies, demons, and vampires.

So it makes it even easier to project our own insecurities or ideas of being oppressed and different onto something fantastical, without losing the reality of it. Take the X-Men! The way society treats them for being mutants can be a parallel for all sorts of things, like being gay, being a minority, being a part of the ‘wrong’ culture or class.

We all know the idea of the Other in fiction and in life. Someone who is different and therefore ostracized because they aren’t the norm. Like someone who identifies as GLBT. This is a serious issue, that society often sees such people as an Other at all, and it’s an important topic to discuss and to write about.

In Incubus, Changeling, and the now third installment of my series, Sidhe, I’m able to shed light on how people with non-heterosexual orientations are often seen as an Other, but I also mirror that with paranormal examples.

Sasha Kelly as an incubus is an Other who expresses throughout the story how sometimes he just wishes he was human, that he was normal, because of how others see him and how he often negatively sees himself. Jim Grier, the protagonist’s brother, also experiences this as a changeling. Nathan Grier is the Control, as it were, the Normal to counter their Other, and yet he experiences the exact same doubts in himself and challenges, showing readers that there is no Other. We’re all people, who feel and share a lot of the same things in our lives regardless of our differences.

When Nathan encounters more traditional bigotry in book 2, being attacked for having a romantic relationship with another man, there is no more parallel, it’s just a straight up mirror into our actual world. I love getting the opportunity to present the idea of the Other in so many varied ways, something that is really only possible by being set in genres that are a little fantastical, but also familiar.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think the X-Men and all the books and movies and TV shows out there in these genres are very purposeful windows into what the GLBT community (and many other communities) face, and because of that I’ve found urban fantasy and paranormal romance more welcoming even from authors and readers who would normally stick with only straight romance.

The whole point is to see the good in what’s different, in the Others we tell our tales about, and it just wouldn’t be the same if we forgot that from one story to the next. So I say, bring on more, and continue to be welcoming to all sub-genres, for all people.


Sidhe

The Incubus Saga

Book 3

Amanda Meuwissen

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Gay Paranormal Romance

Publisher: BigWorldNetwork.com, LLC

Date of Publication: July 2, 2015

ISBN:

ASIN: B00Y1WDVK4

Word Count: 180,000

Cover Artist: Mario Hernandez

Book Description:

Nathan Grier returns from the Veil a changed man. The consequences of his time with Malak, the dark sidhe king, and the deal made to free him may be more than he can bear. The weakening of the Veil and new enemies foretell of a greater battle still ahead.

With Nathan’s brother Jim now an Awakened changeling, and Nathan’s role in Malak’s plans finally revealed, Nathan’s love for fae hunter and incubus, Sasha Kelly, may not be enough to save him after all.

Available at Amazon


EXCERPT

“Nathan, it’s us,” Sasha tried to say calmly, inching closer with hands held up in seeming surrender.  Jim did the same.

Nathan knew he had to be a pitiable sight with that weakly held knife, but he’d use it, damn it, he would.  Somehow he’d use it.

His back hit the corner of the room.

“Playing that game?” Nathan scoffed. “I know better.  You haven’t been them in…in so long, I…I don’t even remember.  I don’t remember…”

“Nathan,” Jim pleaded, moving closer with one hand outstretched.  He looked so strange to Nathan, almost believable with those dark blue eyes so caring, so concerned.  “I can’t imagine what it must have been like, but it’s over.  You’re not in the Veil anymore.  We got you out.  You’re safe.  With us.”

“Please believe us, Nathan,” Sasha said. “Just look at us.”  He gestured to himself; to Jim.  Sasha too looked so normal, so honest and how Nathan remembered him.  “It’s really us.  You’re safe, Nathan.  Please recognize us…”

He recognized them.  But it had to be a trick.  Another damn trick like all the others.

“I gave you what you wanted,” Nathan said again.  He was so cold.  Nothing looked right.  Nothing felt right.  He couldn’t understand why this was happening when he had finally given in.

“Nathan, it’s us,” Sasha said more firmly, like maybe Nathan just couldn’t hear them.

“Malak took you and we’re so sorry,” Jim said. “We wish we could have gotten you out sooner, but you have to know us.  Please tell me you still know us…”

“Malak…?” Nathan glared at the false images before him, knife still held firm, warning them not to get closer.  “It had nothing to do with that, you know that, you know.  I didn’t…I didn’t go to the Veil.”

Jim and Sasha stopped their progression toward him, their eyes wide and disbelieving.  They shared a pained look, not knowing what to say until finally Jim spoke, slow and gentle.

“Nathan, don’t you remember?  Malak said killing the spriggan instead of banishing it broke the deal. That’s why we couldn’t win, why we couldn’t save you.  You went to the Veil, Nathan.  You’ve been in the Veil.  But you’re out now.  I don’t know what Malak did to you there, but we got you out.”

It almost made sense, as if a second reality were trying to push into Nathan’s mind: memories of what Jim was saying, memories he knew weren’t fabrications, and yet…how could he remember things happening two different ways?

The Veil?  Had that been the Veil?  To him it had felt like life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda Meuwissen is the author of The Incubus Saga and The Collector. Amanda also serves as COO and Managing Editor for BigWorldNetwork.com. She oversees editing and series selection, and is featured as a narrator for several BWN series. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).

http://bigworldnetwork.com/site/series/incubus

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6831429.Amanda_Meuwissen

https://twitter.com/MissSuperCube

http://crimsondomingo.tumblr.com

http://pinterest.com/crimsondomingo

https://www.facebook.com/TheIncubusSaga

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMeuwissen


GIVEAWAY

1 copy of all three eBooks in the series to one lucky winner at end of tour. To enter, go to the rafflecopter.

REVIEW: One Two Three Kiss Box set by E.J. Kimelman

I received this book for free in order to get a fair and honest review. My receiving this book does not affect my opinion.

TITLE: One Two Three Kiss Box Set

AUTHOR: E.J. Kimelman

GENRE: Urban Fantasy

RATING: 3 Stars

SUMMARY: The International Council for the Exploration of the Universe exists to consider and conduct investigations into the dimensions of the Universe; to examine how far humans are being depleted by zombies; to investigate natural methods, such as by breeding, etc., of keeping up the stock; and in cases of certain future failure of supply to suggest the necessary remedial measures. For the most part it deals with the humans common to all dimensions, but a special sub-committee considers the vampires, and a second the shifters; disembodied spirits are not investigated.

BUY LINKS: Amazon  iTunes  BN

 

REVIEW:

The One Two Three Kiss box set is a whirlwind adventure. There’s a lot going on. And by a lot, I mean a lot. We have zombies, vampires, shifters, warlocks, and more. Kimelman somehow finds a balance in all of this to create an exciting story that leaves you on the edge of your seat. This is definitely a new twist on the urban fantasy genre, taking try-and-true monsters and giving it a new spin.

Darling and Megan’s relationship was my favorite part. It was nice to see two strong females as a focus in the story, and I loved that they could stand on their own, but also enhanced one another. I’d love to see more stories like this, focusing on female relationships.

While Kimelman’s writing isn’t the strongest I’ve read, the story still can stand on its own. She crafts suspenseful scenes and her dialogue flows naturally. I would have liked a little more showing and not telling in certain parts, but it wasn’t a large enough issue to detract from the story. She definitely proves she has the chops to become a great writer.

SPOTLIGHT: One Two Three Kiss by E. J. Kimelman | TOUR GIVEAWAY

One, Two, Three Kiss Box-Set

An Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy

Transmissions From the International Council

 for the Exploration of the Universe

E.J. Kimelman

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Date of Publication: 4/17/15

ASIN: B00W4DJIQ8

Number of pages: 218

The International Council for the Exploration of the Universe exists to consider and conduct investigations into the dimensions of the Universe; to examine how far humans are being depleted by zombies; to investigate natural methods, such as by breeding, etc., of keeping up the stock; and in cases of certain future failure of supply to suggest the necessary remedial measures. For the most part it deals with the humans common to all dimensions, but a special sub-committee considers the vampires, and a second the shifters; disembodied spirits are not investigated.

In the first transmission….

A new, dangerous street drug is spreading through Crescent City. A hallucinogen that causes violent attacks, incredible strength, and leaves its victims in a permanently altered state.

Darling Price’s band, Higgs and the Bosons, is on the verge of their big break. If only she could get her act together and play the way she did before her best friend and musical inspiration, Megan Quick, fell fatally ill, then disappeared.

With only weeks to live Megan wasn’t even strong enough to visit the bathroom by herself, yet, somehow she climbed out of her window and left.

Even though it’s been months, Darling can’t stop looking for Megan. Still hoping to find her alive is insane. Her obsession is pissing off her band mates and Darling is worried it might trigger her hallucinations. She hasn’t been sick since Megan and she ran away from their foster home to Crescent City at the age of 13.

They took a blood oath, pressing bleeding palms together, promising that no matter what they’d stay with each other. So how could Megan leave her? It’s a mystery Darling can’t solve and refuses to let go of.

Since Megan’s disappearance Darling has started to feel a gnawing hunger. No food or drink or drug can quench it. It’s a hunger she’s felt before, but has convinced herself wasn’t real. Because what Darling feels, and the vivid memories from her early childhood, are all impossible.

As the drug spreads through the city and the world begins to unravel, Darling’s lack of musical inspiration becomes the least of her problems as she comes to recognize that all of her assumptions about the universe may be wrong.

 

In the second transmission….

Darling Price thought her best friend, Megan Quick, was dead. Months earlier the doctors said Megan had only weeks to live. Than she disappeared. So when Megan saves Darling from a crowd of flesh crazed zombies, exhibiting strength and speed beyond the bounds of biology, Darling is at once exhilarated to see her friend alive again but also frightened by her.

Darling comes to understand that Megan’s new found life comes at a price, one she hopes Darling is willing to pay so that they can be together again.

With zombies over running the streets, immortal beings controlling her emotions, and lost memories flooding back to her, Darling must make a decision that will decide the course of her life forever. At the same time Darling begins to understand that she is not just some regular girl. She may have powers of her own that go beyond the bounds of known biology.

In the third transmission….

Darling Price can feed off the power of others. Through this transfer of energy she can heal from any wound, including a zombie bite. With the help of Dimitri, an 800 year old vampire, Darling searches for answers about her parents and her powers.

As she gets closer to the truth the world continues to crumble around her. Dr. Issa Tor, a powerful warlock, believes that Darling can help save the world but when she goes to his society looking for answers she just finds more questions. Time is running out for Darling and the world she has learned to think of as home.

Available at Amazon  iTunes  BN


EXCERPT

International Dimension Investigations

Please state Where and When this correspondence was found and then put it in the nearest inter-dimensional pathway. You will be informed in reply where and when it was set adrift. Our object is to find out the Direction of the Deep Currents of the Universe.

Locality where found?

Depth

Date when found?

Name of Sender

Address

I hope this works. I’ve never tried attaching anything to our research messages before. Only 4% are found and responded to. Perhaps you have no idea what this is, what the Deep Currents of the Universe are. More than likely, if you can understand this, then it is much like your ocean. In my world we first started putting messages into bottles in order to track the currents of our waters.

When another dimension responded it shocked us. It’s possible in your world the dimensional portals are still unknown to your scientists. After decades of study they are still mostly unknown to ours, hence this message. We still use the same methods we did over a century ago. Though now it is the currents of the Universe that we throw our bites of data into.

But I have not broken all protocol, and risked my career, in order to talk about my world or the methodology of The International Council for the Exploration of the Universe. I did it to talk about Darling Price.

I have interviewed many inter-dimensional creatures but none of them like Darling.  Enclosed you will find the recordings from the first day’s sessions. I hope the file is not too heavy to float.  I feel a great nervousness that I will be too late, or that you will not understand the impact of these interviews. I fear that my world is lost, but perhaps yours can be saved.

I will send out more when I can. Please respond. Tell me that you’ve received my message.

****

Darling Price’s hair is dark; it falls over her shoulders in shimmering waves. It’s glossy like a record, catching the light in white lines. Her eyes are a very intense green. Alarming, powerful.

She avoids eye contact. “Bad things happen when I look a person in the eyes. Everyone except Megan.”

“Tell me about Megan,” I said.

“She is the thing that saved me. I was going to kill myself, and kill people with me, and just drag the whole world down. I felt like reality was twisting around me and… she stopped the world and I got to live.”

“Since her leaving?”

“Leaving,” she hiccuped a laugh, “is that what you’re calling it?” Darling stood up and turned to the wall. Her black leather pants were the same shiny black as her hair. On her hips hung a white belt; it tilted to one side, where her gun hung. Silver pistol, not as shiny as her hair. It looked used, scuffed, strapped to her leg for too long.

She raised her hands above her head and rested them against the cinder-block wall. Her fingernails were short, painted the same matte metallic as her gun. She turned back to me, running a hand through her hair, pushing the long locks away from her high cheekbones and arched brows. “She was taken. I want you to write that down. Megan did not leave me.”

“Okay,” I said, dutifully picking up my pen. “Please continue.”

She looked at her empty chair, the long hair falling to cover her fine features. It exposed her shoulder, bare except for the strap of her tank top. Surprisingly erotic under the fluorescent light.

Darling sat down and leaned onto the table between us. “Do you have a cigarette?” she asked.

“You can’t smoke in here,” I said.

She smiled slowly, her eyes warming; a sensation began to tingle along my jaw. “Give me a tobacco stick, and I’ll tell you my story.”

I waved to the guard.

Darling sat back, pushing the chair away from the table, and extended her legs out straight. “And a beer,” she said. “I’d love a beer.”

I nodded.

Moments later, a fresh cigarette hanging from her lip, the smoke curling around her and seeming to want to brush up against her hair before dissipating into the air, she began to tell me her story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series including UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, INSATIABLE, STRINGS OF GLASS, THE DEVIL’S BREATH and INVITING FIRE. This series feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Emily splits her time between the Hudson Valley and traveling the world with her husband and dog, Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone), researching exciting locations for the Sydney Rye Series. You can follow along on their adventures through Instagram, Facebook, and on Emily’s blog.

http://emilykimelman.com/

https://twitter.com/ejkimelman

https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKimelman


GIVEAWAY

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the rafflecopter.

  • 1 $20 Giftcard to Barnes and Noble or Amazon (winner’s choice)
  • 3 ebook copies of the Box Set
  • 1 mug
  • 1 tote bag

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Astrid V. Tallasken

E: Sara, it’s really nice having you here. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me.  Tell us, what’s it like being a medium? Do you ever feel a bit overwhelmed from all the spirits?

S: Thanks for having me! I’m glad to have a break! Being a medium is … really hard to explain to someone who’s never been there. Most people are afraid of ghosts, but for me they’re just a part of every day life. I don’t see them everywhere, all the time, but when I do they almost always want me to pass on a message. Deciding whether or not it’s the right time or place to tell someone is probably the hardest part. And yes, there have been MANY times I’ve been overwhelmed by them. In fact, that is a big reason I ended up hospitalized.

E : You’ve been through a lot recently. What was it like staying at a mental hospital? How did you cope with not being able to see anyone?

S: The mental hospital was like being in prison. I know that isn’t the typical experience, and I don’t want anyone to think it is, because there are times when you need that extra intervention just like you would if you broke your leg or got really bad pneumonia. For me it was different since there were extenuating circumstances. It was horrible to not see my baby boy. I missed him so much, and worried about him every day. And being so isolated, even with people around me, was a very empty feeling.

 

E: You recently went through a really traumatic event. Your son went missing, correct? What was that like for you?

S: It was literally the worst thing I could ever possibly have gone through, worse than anything I could have imagined. Losing a limb might be the closest thing to it. My job in life is to keep my child safe, and I felt like I failed him completely and was in an almost unending panic mode. I had to remind myself that the best way to help him was to calm down and methodically work through all the information and come up with a concrete plan to get him home safe.

E: When you first met Daniel, you were in the mental hospital, right? Not the most ideal play for meeting a guy. What went through your head when you saw Daniel? Was the attraction instant?

S: Haha, it definitely isn’t the most romantic of places for a meet-cute, is it? When he showed up, after so long being isolated in the hospital, I was completely taken off guard. So my first thought was “who the hell is this random dude?” I wouldn’t say there was instant attraction. Attraction wasn’t really the word for it. It was more like two souls just recognizing each other, this need to be with him wherever it might take me.

E: You’ve overcome a lot, but there still seems to be a lot of problems out there for you. How do you handle so much stress? What’s it like being stuck between both Heaven and Hell?

S: Sometimes I don’t exactly handle the stress at all. It overwhelms me and I completely lose it, whether it’s having a complete raging temper tantrum, or crying for days, I sometimes just have to let it wash over me like waves. The rest of the time though, I like to come up with plans. Strategizing makes me feel in control. As far as Heaven and Hell, if all the angels and demons (minus a very select few) were to spontaneously combust so I never had to deal with them again, I would be a very happy girl. These are beings who have been stuck in a very restrictive role, with thoughts and ideals that are set in stone, so making a dent in their thick skulls and surviving to tell the tale can be a bit of an adventure to put it mildly.

E: Do you have any tips for your fans out there on dealing with pestering angels and demons? What advice would you have for someone going into the apocalypse?

S: Hide in a hole and don’t come out till it’s over? That’s what I wish I could do! We’re talking about ancient beings with great big chips on their shoulders and somewhat unstoppable powers. Standing up to them is a dangerous task, especially if you can’t measure up to the challenges they put before you.

E: Lastly, do you have any big plans for the future? Anything exciting we can look forward to?

S: The apocalypse is really heating up, so my big future is keeping Heaven and Hell from burning everything to the ground. After that? I’d love to just go back to a simple life, family and friends and nothing important to deal with for a very long time. Is that boring? Good, I’d love some boring for a while!


At Death’s Door

Title: At Death’s Door

Author: Astrid V. Tallaksen

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

The world is a pretty straightforward place. Even for medium Sara Stone things seem pretty simple, aside from the whole talking to spirits bit. But when the spirits get too hard to handle and Sara ends up admitted to a mental hospital, the world starts to seem a lot less straightforward. First her family disappears, including her four year old son. Then she gets the sneaking suspicion that not only are the staff at the mental hospital somehow connected, but they also have no intention of ever letting her leave the hospital.

Everything changes when Sara has her first visitor in three months. Daniel is handsome, friendly, and a complete stranger. When he promises to spring her from the hospital and swears that everything she’s experienced is completely real, Sara has no choice but to believe him. But once she reaches a run-down Victorian house in the tiny Alabama town her rescuer calls home, the last thing she expects to discover is that every memory she has is a lie.

Daniel reveals a world filled with angels, demons, and an impending war humans know nothing about. Sara wants to ignore her role in the whole mess – all that matters is solving the mystery of where her son has gone. But the forces of Heaven, Hell, and the Heart have other plans for her. Can she find her child before the world comes crashing down?

Between Heaven & Hell

Title: Between Heaven & Hell

Author: Astrid V. Tallaksen

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

Being a fallen angel used to be easy. A quiet life with the people she loves is all Sara ever asked for. Unfortunately, the apocalypse didn’t get the message. After nearly losing everything, she’s managed to put her life back together and start living what she hoped was happily ever after with her small family. Now she wants nothing more than to hide away and pretend the end of the world is a distant rumor. Her life has already been torn apart once. Doesn’t she deserve a break?

The apocalypse finds its way back to her doorstep when a letter arrives. Is it a friendly warning, a dire threat, or a simple reminder that she can’t run away from what’s to come? Sara refuses to take heed and pays dearly for her avoidance. With her family in danger and the preservation of free will hanging in the balance, she finds herself with no other choice. Sara must follow the path forged for her, a path that may take away everything she holds dear and leave her in pieces at the end. She’s caught between Heaven and Hell, and the last person she’d ever have considered trusting might just be her greatest ally.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Astrid V. Tallaksen grew up with a heart for stories of creatures and places outside of this world. Her love of reading quickly became a love of writing. She spent several years creating content and helping writers to improve their craft on the online world of Althanas, a creative writing workshop in the guise of a roleplaying forum. A self-avowed nerd, Astrid loves science fiction, comic books, and eighties fantasy movies in the vein of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth. Her geekiness extends to annual volunteer work at the massive sci-fi convention known as Dragon*con every year in Atlanta, Georgia. In the odd times that she’s not immersed in geekdom or writing, Astrid loves to sing karaoke, crochet, and spend time with her family and pets.

Links

http://www.astridvtallaksen.com

https://authorastridvtallaksen.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorastridvtallaksen

https://twitter.com/astrid_writes

https://www.pinterest.com/authorastridv


BUY THE BOOK

Links to purchase At Death’s Door:

 

Links to purchase Between Heaven & Hell:

Vampires, Witches, and Werewolves! (Oh my!)

I’ve been away on vacation for the last few days, doing a mini writing retreat. While I was scaling (and by scaling I mean driving a VW up a very steep and very scary hill), I started to think about my latest project, the final segment in the Meteora Trilogy. Now mind you, I wasn’t the one driving. So I wasn’t floating off in La La Land while trying to ascend Mt. Terrifying Gravel Path.

Recently a slew of stories have come out that fall anywhere under the fantasy/urban fantasy/horror spectrum. Out of them, a good chunk (probably over half) has been stereotypical monster mashes. You know the ones: there’s the steroid infused alpha werewolf/shifter, a vampire that acts like an emo kid from the early millennium, and all kinds of hocus pocus witches. It’s almost as if writers are given a list of creatures and told to check one off.

Every now and then a gem pops up, a story that abandons the ever ubiquitous three-monster list and goes with something a tad more original. But even then, we seem to continue within the same area, never straying too far from shifter-vampire-witch archetype. Sure, zombies have gotten some much needed attention, along with fairies, and even trolls. But these have all been bashed over the head so many times that their brains are splattered across the wall.

Where am I going with this? Well, I think it’s time for us to come up with something different. There are so many amazing monsters out there. It’s all a Google search away. Instead of falling back on the ever traditional vampire or fairy, why not try looking into Slavic lore or take a tour down south and research Mexican myths? The world is ripe with so many fantastical creatures, it’s a shame we seem to always rely on the same fables.

Even if you’re a fan of vampires and you really, really want to write a story about blood sucking fiends (you and the rest of the world), give it a fresh spin! Look at different myths for vampires. Did you know that the Greeks don’t have vampires, but they do have lamias, which are very similar? If you want to write that zombie novel (guilty as charged), why not do something outside of the traditional virus-induced apocalypse? Zombies originate from Haitian lore, look into it and go from there.

My point is that we can do so much more than what we have been. It doesn’t always have to be vampires, witches, and werewolves (oh my!). It can be a wendigo, griffon, or yeti. I want a story about Big Foot (and not monster porn either). I want a story about kappas and chupacabras and original monsters, ones that don’t have any lineage beyond your own imagination.

Let me know what you think, what you want to see. Who else is tired of the same ol’ song that keeps getting sung in urban fantasy and horror? Who else wants to see something more than the glittering undead and witches with vendettas? I know I do!

SPOTLIGHT: Genetic Rebellion Series by Ann Gimpel

The line between hunter and hunted thins, blurs, and finally shatters.

Sometime between the interminable wars in the Middle East and 9/11, the United States moved forward breeding a race of super humans. Clandestine labs formed, armed with eager scientists who’d always yearned to manipulate human DNA. At first the clones looked promising, growing to fighting size in as little as a dozen years, but V1 had design flaws.

Seven years ago, a rogue group turned on their creators, blew up the lab, and hit all the other breeding farms, freeing whomever they could find. In the intervening time, they’ve retreated to hidden compounds and created a society run by men. Women are kept on a tight leash because the men fear if they discover their innate power, they’d launch their own rebellion.

Being a genetically altered human without a name grew old, so Glory named herself. Surrounded by a maze of unpleasant alternatives, she makes a bold choice and ends up a fugitive in the midst of a Minnesota winter. Once she’s on the run, she discovers how unprepared she is for life outside her protected compound.

CIA agent, Roy Kincaid, devoted his career to hunting super humans who staged a rebellion seven years before. He’s not making much headway, so he goes deep undercover. One blustery night, a striking woman staggers into the café where he’s catching a late meal. Part waif, part runway model, the half-frozen woman arrows straight into his heart.

Glory’s flat out of alternatives, but death in the storm might be preferable to telling the tall stranger looming over her anything. Sensing Roy is dangerous, she pushes into his head seeking clues and discovers he hunts those like her. Maybe she can fool him, just for tonight. Get a hot meal and dry motel room out of the deal. If she’s lucky, he’ll never find out she’s on the run from the same group he’s targeted for death.

The thing she didn’t count on was falling in love.


EXCERPT

“Dessert, hon?” The waitress sidled back over to him, and Roy realized he was her only customer.

“Sure. What do you have?”

She rattled off a series of pies and cakes. He chose apple pie with a scoop of ice cream, and she left with his dinner plate. Roy slumped against the chair. He had to keep going. No choice. Not really. A good night’s sleep, coupled with the first adequate meal he’d had in a couple days might make a big difference in his attitude. At least he hoped they would.

He’d just begun on the pie, which had a surprisingly flaky crust, when a rush of cold air yanked his attention toward the door. A tall woman walked in. Long, dark hair caked with snow swirled around her, and she held her body tightly as if she were really cold. Roy glanced at her feet and was shocked to see a pair of tennis shoes with holes in them. Good God, had she been outside with such inadequate footwear? Didn’t she understand she could freeze to death? Even his stout boots didn’t do much to divert the cold.

Keeping her gaze downcast, she made her way to the counter and sat.

“Coffee, hon?” The waitress asked.

“How much is it?” the woman inquired.

“Two bucks.”

“Oh.” The woman’s shoulders drooped, and she swiveled the stool around, getting ready to go back out into the storm.

“No, you don’t.” The waitress’s voice sharpened. “I’ll stand you a coffee. You look about done in.”

The woman’s even features melted into what looked like relief before she turned back to face the counter. “Thank you. That’s really kind and I appreciate it. My wallet was stolen, and—”

“Never you mind.” The waitress patted the woman’s shoulder. “Bet you’re hungry too.” She poured hot coffee into a mug and handed it to the woman, who drew the steaming liquid to her lips.

“Maybe a little,” the woman ventured. She clasped the cup with fingers white from cold.

By now, Roy knew he was staring, but he couldn’t make himself turn away. There was something waiflike and alluring about the tall woman with long, black hair. Snow dripped off her, creating puddles around her stool. All she wore against the winter weather was a thick, gray sweater and worn jeans. No scarf. No gloves. No hat. He was close to certain her wallet hadn’t been stolen. She looked more like an abuse victim on the run to him. Maybe he could help her get to her intended destination, if it wasn’t too far out of his way.

He pushed his chair back and made his way to the counter. “Say—” he began, but she started and drew away as if she expected him to hit her.

I was right. Abuse victim for sure.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” He kept his voice low, soothing. “Order whatever you want, and I’ll pay for it.”

She kept her gaze on her hands clutching the coffee cup. “I can’t let you do that, sir. I’m all right. Truly I am.”

Without waiting for an invitation, he took the stool next to hers and called to the waitress. “Bring her the same meal I just had.”

“You got it, hon,” rang from the direction of the kitchen.

“You are not all right,” Roy said. “You’re thin as a rail, and you were shivering when you came in here. In fact, you still are. I’ll bet your shoes are wet clear through.” When she didn’t respond, he ploughed on. “Let me help you.”

She shook her head. “Don’t want your kind of help. It always comes with strings.”

“Mine doesn’t.”

He pushed a little with his enhanced mental ability to get her to look at him. If she did, maybe she’d see truth in his eyes. A shudder ran down her thin frame, but she dragged her gaze upward reluctantly. Roy felt bad for forcing her, but he didn’t have time to soothe her wounded places, which he suspected ran deep.

Eyes a shade of green he’d never seen inspected him. Long, thick lashes framed those eyes, and they were set in a face with high cheekbones, a high forehead, and black eyebrows winging a track over porcelain skin.

“Who are you?” The words tore from him. He hadn’t meant to say them. She was nervous as a feral cat as it was.

She shook her head sadly. “No one. I’m no one. You’ll forget all about me when you leave here.”

Something shifted in his mind, but he fought it. Before he could determine if something real had just happened or if he were imagining things, the waitress showed up with the woman’s dinner.

“Here you go, hon. Hope medium’s okay for that steak?”

“Fine, thank you.” Before the words were out, the woman picked up the fork and knife and shoveled food into her mouth.

Roy congratulated himself on a good call. Even though she’d been reluctant to admit it, she really was starving. He had no idea what she’d do tomorrow or the next day, but it wasn’t his problem. While she ate, he observed her from the corner of his eyes. In addition to being hungry and underdressed, she looked young. Maybe twenty. He’d be surprised if she were much more than that.

He shook a mental finger at himself. The country was full of abused women running from the men who used them as punching bags before they raped them. It was one part of law enforcement work he’d never understood: why the women kept going back for more.

“There are safe houses for girls like you,” he said, and could’ve kicked himself. What the hell was wrong with his mouth tonight? He couldn’t seem to keep words on the other side of it.

She stopped chewing long enough to glance at him. “What’s a safe house?”


We have to trust to fight side by side, but love’s so unexpected—and so irresistible —it trumps everything.

Honor takes a huge chance and flees her compound one wintry night. A genetically altered woman, she has no memories from before her kin staged a rebellion seven years before. Because of her enhanced physiology, she finds a home working for the CIA alongside four other women just like her. There are still plenty of rules, but they’re different, and she’s figuring out how to blend in.

Milton Reins burns through women and marriages. After the third one implodes, he swears off hunting for a replacement. Running the CIA is a more than fulltime job. There’s no time for anything else in his life, which is fine until Honor comes along. Training in the gym throws their bodies together and makes him remember the feel of a woman in his arms. Milton aches for her, but she’s a freak—the CIA term for test tube humans designed by scientists.

Honor wants Milton with every bone in her body, but it’s a terrible idea, especially after she delves into his head and sees his ambivalence toward her kind. Need drives them together, but their differences create roadblocks every step of the way. Fueled by anger and fear, she shuts him out. So what if the sex was great, she’s done.

Or is she?

EXCERPT

“How about this?” Honor finished her drink and twirled the glass between her hands. “The other women and I are on top of things. We’ll make sure nothing…unexpected happens.”

“What if I pull rank and order Charity to stay here?” he demanded, not liking her answer.

Honor shook her head. “That’d be a bad idea.” After a pause, she added hastily, “Sir. With all due respect.”

Milton chortled. “You’re learning. Why is it a bad idea?”

Honor closed her teeth over her lower lip. “Like all of us, she’s finding her way. Figuring out where she fits in here. Even though we lived in the western United States, we may as well have been in Bangladesh for all the differences between living here and where we were after the rebellion.”

“You still haven’t told me why it’s a bad idea.”

“She needs to trust you. If you ride herd on her, treat her like the Nameless Ones treated us, she never will, and this…problem of hers will just get worse.”

Desperation flared, a glowing nimbus she nipped quickly, but he’d been paying close attention, plus he’d been inside her mind. Milton pushed forward with a combination of intuition and his augmented ability. “You’re worried it will get worse anyway.”

Her gaze skittered away. “Yes. No. Possibly. These things are hard to predict. Please.” She leaned forward this time and placed a hand over his where it lay atop his leg. “Let us handle it our way. I give you my word we’ll ask for help before it gets out of control.”

Her touch was warm, electric. Before he could stop himself, he set his other hand over hers, and turned the bottom hand upward, capturing her flesh between his. His mouth was suddenly dry, and his groin tightened with a rush of sexual energy so intense it stole his breath.

Words became a struggle, but he forced them out anyway. “Doesn’t sound very smart to me. Is there any chance she’ll switch allegiance?”

Honor’s eyes widened. “Oh hell, no. You mean fight for the Nameless Ones?” When Milton nodded, she was even more emphatic. “No. That’d never happen. She hates them just as much as we do.”

It was the main thing that had worried him: that he’d been playing host to a double agent—again. Some of the tension drained out of him, and he rubbed his fingers over Honor’s where they lay clasped between his.

“I really should go, sir.” She tried to pull her hand back, but he didn’t let go.

“Do you always do what you should?”

Honor looked away. “Not a fair question, sir.”

“Stop calling me that!”

“But you are my commanding officer.” Honor kept her voice soft, but the meaning in her words slapped Milton squarely across his forehead.

He released her hand. “Sorry.” He spoke stiffly. “I forgot myself. You’re free to go.”

The sadness he’d sensed earlier was back in spades. It flowed from her in slow, tired waves. He pushed, surprised when she let him inside her mind. Not far, but enough for him to view the loneliness she’d lived with all her life. Her only safety zone had been the dozen women in her dorm at the compound, and seven of them were dead. No wonder she needed to do everything possible to protect Charity.

Milton got to his feet and offered her a hand. She took it and stood too. “Thanks for helping me understand you a little,” he said.

“You’re welcome. Sometimes that way is easier than talking. Thank you for not insisting Charity stay here.”

“She’s important to you,” he said. “I didn’t fully appreciate how much you depend on each other until you allowed me into your thoughts.”

Milton didn’t know if he moved toward her, she toward him, or both of them simultaneously, but Honor ended up in his arms. He tightened his hold, enjoying the feel of her sleekly muscled body against his. She matched his six-foot height and fit perfectly in his arms. His cock hardened against her belly, and her eyes widened in surprise.

“Of course you’d be a virgin,” he murmured, stroking his hands down her back.

“We were off-limits to the Nameless Ones, but we talked about sex among ourselves.”

Arousal flashed deep inside him. Even though he knew he shouldn’t, he asked, “What did you talk about?” He cupped his hands around her high, firm buttocks and snugged her against his erection.


What does it take to move past a lifetime of hating?

Charity’s luck never ran strong because her original configuration was unstable. Her handlers designed experiments to fix the problem, but only made it worse. Sick to death of living under their thumb, she jumps at a chance to escape her compound. She’s no sooner settled in as a CIA special operative—a role where she can put her augmented mind and body to use—when her wobbly genetics escalate.

Tony’s a freak—a genetically altered human waging war against the government. He snaps up an offer of amnesty, walking away from his role as a genetic researcher to work for the CIA. When Charity collapses in a severe seizure, he labors to save her life, but nothing’s working. In a last ditch effort, he joins his mind to hers and discovers he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anything. Only problem is she hates every single male freak for how they treated women in the compounds.

Charity recovers from her medical crisis, but all she can think about is Tony. Furious, determined to never let anyone like him near her, she blocks him from her mind, but he seeps back in anyway. Loving someone like Tony is a huge risk, a gamble that could throw her already precarious genes into a tailspin.

Knowing all that, why the hell is she considering it?

 

EXCERPT

Tony dialed his night vision up another notch and paced Frank as they ran hard around Langley’s perimeter. After being cooped up for hours in a plane, both men needed to burn off some steam. As Tony ran, scenes from his computer-like brain flashed before him.

After his petri dish birth on one of the breeding farms set up by the U.S. government, he’d been groomed from adolescence to work as a genetic researcher. None of them attended school; their knowledge was downloaded directly from huge mainframes operated by government scientists. He lived a comfortable life at his breeding farm near Portland, Oregon, but it blew up in his face seven years ago. He was twenty-two then and knee-deep in research to perfect those like him. Each successive strain was a bit better than the last, but problems still cropped up.

He’d been close to a major breakthrough—at least he thought he was, but it could’ve been a dead end like so much of his research—when a cadre of renegade freaks, genetically engineered humans just like him, staged a rebellion. They hadn’t cared for the decision to scrap the earlier prototypes, so they blew up every breeding farm they could find. After that, they created hidden compounds, like the one in Keyser, West Virginia where Tony ended up.

He hadn’t bought into the violence, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot of choice once it began. Normal humans shot them on sight after the rebellion, so he went along with the program and moved his genetic research to his assigned compound. He didn’t have nearly the access to materials he’d had prior to the rebellion, but at least he was still alive.

“You’re pretty quiet, buddy,” Frank observed.

“Sorry. I was thinking.”

The other man snorted. “Always dangerous. About what? Did you come up with something we missed on those hard drives Milton swiped from our headquarters?”

“Nah. Wish it were that straightforward.”

Frank slugged him in the arm. “Watch that esoteric stuff. Our programming’s not designed for it.”

“Maybe not, but do you ever wonder what will become of us?”

“The probability of that line of thought producing something of value is—”

“Not what I asked,” Tony snapped. “We’ve thrown in our lot with normal humans, V0 as it were. We can’t undo it.”

“So? You and I discussed this before we showed ourselves and requested amnesty. We could’ve remained hidden. They would have found Charity without our help, and then they’d have left. We didn’t take that route. Are you having second thoughts?”

“Not really. We didn’t fit in with the other Nameless Ones—except it was a ridiculous moniker, since we had names, we just didn’t tell them to the women.” Tony slowed when they came to a perimeter fence and turned to face the other man. Because of the physical strength built into his genetics, he wasn’t even slightly winded.

Frank stopped and tossed his hood back. Shaggy black hair fell to his shoulders, and he examined Tony through his amber, animal-like eyes with vertical slit pupils. All the men looked very much the same due to shared genetics. Tall, rangy, muscled. Both of them wore regulation issue CIA field gear they hadn’t changed out of yet.

“What aren’t you saying?” Frank asked.

“Not sure. Except I’m feeling like a man without a country. We didn’t fit in there, but we don’t fit in here, either. They don’t trust us. I saw it in Milton’s eyes that night you and I saved Charity’s life.”

Frank grimaced. “Shit, bro. We’re machines. We’re not supposed to have feelings. Who cares if they trust us, so long as they continue to offer us a place to work and live? When did you fall off the wagon?”

Should I?

Tony weighed the advisability of confiding in Frank, but if not him, then whom?


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

www.anngimpel.com

http://anngimpel.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/anngimpel

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REVIEW: Phoenix by Elle King

I received this book for free by the author for an honest and impartial review. My receiving the book in no way affects my review.

 Phoenix Cover

TITLE: Phoenix

AUTHOR: Elle King

GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

TAG LINE: “They must die so he can live.”

 

RATING: 2 Stars

SUMMARY: New York City homicide detectives Rachel Wayland and Artemis Gregory are first on the murder scene of a beautiful young gay man, the third victim of a serial killer dubbed the Moon Killer by the department. Their investigation leads them to Talis Kehk, charismatic lead singer of the rock group Phoenix Rising.

As the next full moon approaches, Rachel and her partner uncover clues that lead straight to Talis, even as Talis, exhibiting behavior Rachel finds strange indeed, considering the circumstances, uses every means possible to keep her close. Innocent or not, Talis has a secret, and discovering what it is will change Rachel’s world forever.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon | All Romance | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Scribd

REVIEW:

Elle King had an interesting premise for this book. She took a classic mythological creature and attempted to give it a fresh spin. Ms. King is an unpolished diamond—she holds raw talent, but she still needs to be cleaned and shaped. Throughout the story there were brief moments of insightful and crisp prose that showed Ms. King’s potential. I suspect that with time she will develop into a very talented author. Right now, though? Her story, while having some bright spots, lacked depth, intrigue, and characters; all of these are required in order to create a gauging mystery, which is what Ms. King is marketing her story as.

As the blurb states, the main character, Rachel Wayland, is a police detective. At the very beginning of the story we’re introduced to a murder (sans gore). That’s about as far as we get with the whole cop drama. After part one (side note: for a story barely over a 130 pages, it didn’t need four parts), the mystery is set onto the back burner and the attention is turned to the uncomfortable budding romance between Rachel and Talis.

I think Ms. King did her research on how police procedures go, which was evident in the way she explained every minute detail of the investigation process. There were moments when the story read like an instruction manual on how to inspect a crime scene. Kudos to her for actually doing her homework, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to explain everything to the reader. It shows a lack in faith that your reader is intelligent, and also slows down the story.

Now the entire plot of the story is Rachel investigating the murder of “young people” (which is how every vic is describd), who are all gorgeous. They die by mysterious causes during sex (talk about a killer orgasm). The only lead is front man Talis Kehk, the charismatic singer for Phoenix Rising. Rachel and Talis are the main pairing, and without giving away too much, I can say that I did not ship. In fact, I didn’t find Talis charming at all. I found him creepy, boring, and a little flat. While he isn’t necessarily a Christian Grey or Edward Cullens, he is definitely a contender for stalker boyfriend of the year.

This is where the story rubbed me the wrong way. It glorified what in reality is an abusive and unhealthy relationship. Talis kidnaps Rachel, transports her halfway across the world, and refuses to let her leave, forcing her to spend time with him so she can “fall in love” with him. He watches her while she sleeps, and ignores her requests to put on clothes, even when she tells him it makes her uncomfortable. He doesn’t cross the line of forcing himself on Rachel, but he definitely crossed several other lines. I didn’t feel any chemistry between them. The entire time I was hoping that the story wouldn’t end with them getting together, and that Rachel would kill him or arrest him instead.

Since this is a romance and is thus held to the same HEA rule that all romances are required to have, I can say (spoiler-free) that Rachel neither kills nor arrests him.

It should be noted that the sex scenes in the story were light and not erotica heat level.

I know it seems like I’m bashing the story, but for all its flaws, there were some redeeming factors. Ms. King provided us with interesting side characters (Artemis Gregory is someone I’d love to read more on). Grammatically, the story was crisp and clean. While there were some structural issues (such as a bit too much showing and not telling), Ms. King does have a flare with words. I think if she had lengthened the story, cut the romance (including killing the romance between Rachel and Talis, and making Talis the antagonist) and made it solely a mystery, Phoenix would have been a great story.

Phoenix by Elle King

Who doesn’t like a kick-ass heroine lead? Combine it with a charismatic and wild rock star and a deadly murder, and you got a killer combination! Lets celebrate the release of PHOENIX by Elle King.

Phoenix Cover

ASIN: B00X1IJULS

Publisher: Voodoo Lilly Press

Tags: mystery, thriller, paranormal, romance, mythology

Book Description:

New York City homicide detectives Rachel Wayland and Artemis Gregory are first on the murder scene of a beautiful young gay man, the third victim of a serial killer dubbed the Moon Killer by the department. Their investigation leads them to Talis Kehk, charismatic lead singer of the rock group Phoenix Rising.

As the next full moon approaches, Rachel and her partner uncover clues that lead straight to Talis, even as Talis, exhibiting behavior Rachel finds strange indeed, considering the circumstances, uses every means possible to keep her close. Innocent or not, Talis has a secret, and discovering what it is will change Rachel’s world forever.

Buy Links:

Amazon | All Romance | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Scribd

About the Author:

Elle King lives in south Florida with her five-pound dog and a stack of manuscripts she hopes one day to finish.

Author Links:

Elle’s Blog

Elle on Facebook

Elle on Goodread


Here’s a little sneak peak at the story. What are your thoughts? I’ll be posting a review in a few days to let you know mine~!

Excerpt:

 

“It bugs me that there’s no obvious motive,” Rachel said. “Why kill these young people? Thrill seeker? Lunatic? Someone who’s taking revenge because of some slight, real or imagined? Except they all appear to have died peacefully. No trauma, so it couldn’t be revenge, could it?” She stared hard at her picture of the tattoo, as if it might whisper something to her. “What do you know about Phoenix Rising?”

“Played all over Europe before coming here—did you see that asshole cut me off? I oughta give him a ticket.” Artemis laid on the horn. “He wouldn’t have done that if we’d been in a squad car.”

“Phoenix Rising,” she reminded him, hiding a smile. He was all about road rage. She shouldn’t let him drive, but she enjoyed the frequent adrenalin rushes it provided her.

“Yeah. They’re huge right now, very popular. Lead singer is hot as hell.”

“Do you really have tickets to their concert, or were you bullshitting Creed?”

“I really have tickets.” He shot her a suspicious look. “Why?”

“When is it?”

“Saturday night.”

It was Thursday. “I suppose you’re going with Steve.”

“I suppose I am,” he said, eyes narrowing. “Don’t you dare.”

“What?”

“Don’t give me that innocent look. You want me to dump him and take you.”

“I think I should experience them firsthand, considering they’re on the periphery of our cases.”

“That is such shit.” He raced through an intersection on yellow. “A couple of bodies have bird tats and right away, you’re making a connection? I would guess that general design is in demand right now, given how popular the band is, and exclusive flash or not, plenty of shops are offering something similar. And let me remind you, the second victim didn’t have one. I am not dumping Steve in favor of you.”

Rachel grinned. “Where is this band staying? Let’s check them out.”

“How the hell are you going to justify that?”

“Call it a hunch, and I’m a detective doing legwork for a series of murders. They won’t say no.” She called the number Creed had provided, introduced herself, spoke briefly, and hung up. “That was too easy; the guy was über cooperative. They’re at the Waldorf Towers.”

“Do you know how much that place costs? A goddamn fortune, that’s what it costs.”

“I guess they have one then.” She tapped an index finger against her knee. “It’s on our way. Let’s drop by and welcome them to the neighborhood.”

“It’s not on our way, and you are not getting Steve’s ticket.” But he obediently turned right at the next light, headed for the Waldorf-Astoria.