Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Blitz: Hunters by Aoife Marie Sheridan - Excerpt



Hunters
Demon Series #1

Aoife Marie Sheridan

New Adult Paranormal
October 1, 2014

eBook 99c from October 20-27!!


Abigail is nineteen. Her job, she hunts demons.

Her life so far has been tough. Having witnessed her family’s death and her mother’s suicide, she’s been taken in by a priest, who believes her when she says that she sees ghosts. Father Peter trains her as a demon hunter with three other members, one being Daniel, who isn’t what he seems.

But when a possession goes wrong, and ghosts start to attack Abigail, the tight rope she has on her emotions soon starts to loosen. Abigail draws the unwanted attention of the Reote, and she finds out a lot more than she was willing to learn.

Knowledge is power, but for Abigail, it’s her undoing, and the only thing keeping her together is Daniel.

Excerpt

Hunters – Taken from Chapter Three – The School (Abigail) 

I stayed silent in Blake’s car, in no mood to talk to him since he wouldn’t let me drive. We were heading back to the base before we did our neck assignment. Going back made me think of Zee and the one word he had said earlier rang out in my mind. The fact that he said that he had never regretted saving me meant more to me than he would ever know. If I let myself get any closer, he would be the undoing of me and I was already starting to fray around the edges. I didn’t want to feel so happy about the way he looked at me; I could never act upon it or tell him how I felt. My head was getting sore. Why was everything so difficult? But I was doing him a favor and, honestly, myself too. I was saving him the enviable heartache and I was afraid of opening up to him. I didn’t want anything up here to fight for. I didn’t want to lose any more people that I love. I had lost enough.
 Blake turned on some music. It was more like background music, just light and easy, so I didn’t complain.
“Are you okay?” Blake’s words pulled me out of my torture. I didn’t turn to him, but continued to stare out the window.
“Yes, fine.”
“I know you don’t know me, but you can trust me if you need to talk,” Blake said, almost, sounding sincere.
 I snorted. “You’re right. I don’t know you. And I don’t trust people that I don’t know, or people who lie to me, so no, I don’t want to talk.” I hadn’t forgotten his intrusion in my home.
“But I redeemed myself by sticking up for you with Father Peter.”
Now, I looked at Blake, a small smile growing on his face.
“Why were you at my apartment?” I stared at him, hoping he would get flustered.
“Honestly, I had heard a lot about you, so I was curious.” He didn’t even flinch or look away from the road, but I could hear an undertone of resentment. But Why?
“Curious enough to break into someone’s home and stand over them while they slept? Blake, you need to get yourself a hobby!”
 He looked at me going red. What was it about this guy? I swear, I knew him from somewhere. It wasn’t his face, but just how I felt around him. The hairs on the back of my neck always felt as if they were rising.
“What part of the world did you come from?” I asked. Considering his olive skin and brown eyes, I assumed somewhere warm.
“Originally, from Spain, but I have been based in America for the last two years.” He didn’t have a Spanish accent.
“Why were you transferred?” I asked, since he wasn’t exactly handing out the information.
“I wanted a change of scenery,” he said and smiled at me.
 I turned back in my seat, facing the road just in time to see a small child step out in front of us. I let out a scream for Blake to stop, but he didn’t, he just looked at me puzzled. We were going to hit the child, so I pulled the steering wheel out of Blake’s hands, driving us into a ditch. I braced myself as we hit the ditch at full impact, my body lifted from the seat, only to be slammed back down by the seat belt. My arms and legs were flailing like a rag doll and the impact of the seatbelt on my chest knocked the air right out of my lungs. The car flipped, landing on its roof. Glass shattered on top of us. The engine still roared as metal scratched across the earth. The car shifted for a moment and then stopped.
I could feel warm liquid run down on my face. No air could reach my lungs. I fought, but nothing came. Blackness overtook me.
“Abigail,” a soft voice called my name, pulling me awake. I opened my eyes, getting an eye full of my black hair. From the pressure on my head and what I was seeing, we were hanging upside down.
“Blake, are you alright?” I asked, turning in his direction, a sharp pain bit into my forehead, making me wince.
A loud thud filled the car. “Yes, just hold on,” Blake said, now out of his seat. “On the count of three, I’ll open your seatbelt, okay?”
“Okay.” I swallowed and braced myself for the fall. I fell, letting out a scream as my ribs protested with the impact of hitting the floor. My hands went to my side as I found it hard to breathe. Blake crawled out his window, the glass shattering.
“Wait a second!” he said, but I just wanted to get out. He removed his jacket stiffly, looking like he was in pain and laid it across the ground beside the window, covering as much glass as possible.
“Okay, come on, be careful.” He sat back on his hunkers, looking in at me.
 I crawled out, letting go of my side. The pain was almost unbearable, but I needed to get out of the car. I could feel the bite of the glass under the jacket as I made my way out of the window. We both sat there for a moment, stunned. My side ached, but it was a bit easier to breathe and my head pounded. I reached my hand up and it came away slick with blood. The little boy entered my mind. I got up too quickly and stumbled, falling onto the road.
“Abigail, what are you doing?” Blake followed me, moving slowly, his leg seemed to be bothering him. I couldn’t see a cut along his denim jeans, but I didn’t inspect any further, I needed to find the boy.
“The boy … the little boy we hit!” My heart pounded, “Where is he? Oh god, don’t say we killed him.” I stood again in the middle of the road, doing a full three sixty, but no one was in sight.
“Check the ditches, Blake. He might be hurt!”
Blake grabbed my arms and shook me, igniting the pain in my side. I winced, but he continued to speak, “What are you talking about? There was no boy, Abigail. You just pulled the steering wheel right out of my hand!”
My breathing became ragged. “I saw him …  the boy and you saw him too. He was on the road. We swerved, but I’m not sure if we hit him.” My words sounded hysterical, even to my own ears, but through my whole speech, Blake just continued to shake his head.
“No one was on the road.” He looked concerned now.
“I know what I saw!” I pulled my arms free and started to look up one side of the road for anything. He was real. He was a person. He had feet. I paused in my thoughts. Did I see his feet? I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure if it was just his body. My body was shaking from shock or fear, I didn’t know, but I kept looking. 
“We crashed. No, we’re fine. Honestly, just some minor cuts. She’s in shock. I’m not sure what happened. Can you just send someone down here, now? Maybe Daniel. He can calm her down.”
I didn’t know who Blake was talking to, but I didn’t care, I needed to find the little boy.  I searched the other side of the road.
“Abigail, get off the road now. What if a car comes!” Blake said, looking at me as if I was a mad woman.
“No, I need to find him first!”
 Blake stormed over, grabbing my arm; and tried to drag me to the other side of the road, causing the pain in my side to burn. This time, I let out a strangled cry, one that he ignored.
 “No one is there. It’s all in your head.” He practically roared it.
Tears filled my eyes.
“I know what I saw. Please, let me look for him. He could be dying!”
Blake shook his head in denial. “Fine, I’ll look this side and you take the other, but if we don’t find him, I don’t want to hear you mention this again!” he said.
 I nodded my head in agreement, not meaning a word of it.
There was no sign of the little boy or anything that would suggest he ever existed, no shoe, no foot prints, no blood. A car pulled up, Father Peter and Zee moved towards us.
Zee didn’t say anything, but pulled me into his arms. He could feel my distress. Father Peter went to Blake, who had sat down again.
“What happened?” he asked.
“A dog ran out on the road, I tried to avoid it, but I couldn’t.” Blake told the lie so easily… but why?
Zee’s body stiffened before he turned to Blake. Taking huge steps, I raced after him.
 “You almost killed her because of a dog?” His anger was so intense, radiating off him.
I could see Blake cringe back.
“Zee, stop!” I said, resting my hand on his arm and then I flinched at the movement. My side was getting worse. He looked down at my hand and then back to my face with worry, concern, and fear. “I’m fine,” I said.
“Let’s get both of you to the hospital for a check-up,” Father Peter said.
“No!” both Blake and I responded in unison. I hated hospitals and Father Peter knew it.
“Yes!” he answered both of us back, while pointing to the car.
 Zee helped me into the back seat and slide in beside me. I looked up as Blake got into the front, our eyes meeting briefly. Why did you lie? I thought to myself. It made no sense!
“Your ribs are broken,” Zee whispered to me.
“It’s okay. I’ll get sorted at the hospital,” I said, but Zee was already moving his hands to my side, I looked in the rear view mirror to see if either Father Peter or Blake were watching.
 It was too risky and I shook my head at Zee to let him know, but he didn’t seem to care. He closed his eyes, his hands pushing deeper into my ribs. I let off a hiss, biting my lip until the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth and then the pain was gone. My ribs were healed.
“Thank you,” I mouthed to him, but he wasn’t done.
He took off his jacket.
“Should I turn down the heating?” Blake asked with a little too much suspicion in his voice.
“Yeah, that would be great,” Zee said, not fazed at all by Blake.
What was wrong with him? I had never seen him so careless before! Father Peter was focused on the road; his only mission was to get us to the hospital safely. I glanced in the mirror again, but Blake was facing stiffly forward. Zee placed his hand on my forehead and I could feel the cut knitting itself back together. He examined it. Once he was satisfied that the cut was closed, he started cleaning off my blood. I couldn’t understand why he was taking such good care of me and doing it so openly.
I pushed his hands away, feeling claustrophobic and confused by all his fussing. He still hovered over me, searching my face, neck, and hands for any more marks. I grabbed his hand, making him look at me. My stomach fluttered when his intense blue eyes meet mine.
“I’m okay,” I whispered, needing to calm him down, but his eyes searched mine. I held my breath, finding it too much with him this close, so I dropped his hands and looked away.


About the Author

Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon's books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn't) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.

To contact Aoife you can email her at aoifesheridan101@gmail.com 

Author links:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blog Tour: The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna - Excerpt & Giveaway




The Summer of Shambles
Ondine #1

Ebony McKenna

YA Paranormal Romance
June 21, 2013

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes * Goodreads

Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.

15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family’s magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.

On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking – in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch’s curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.

During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can’t help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm.

With so many demands on Ondine’s attentions – and affections – normal has never seemed so far away.

The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.

Excerpt

The smell of fried breakfast foods wafted from the kitchen windows, making her tummy rumble.
“Aw, breakfast. I could murder some big fatty sausage,” Shambles said, his tongue licking the fur around his mouth in anticipation.
“You’re stalling,” Ondine said. “Tell me what happened, and then we’ll have food.”
“Ooooh, listen to ye! All grown up and sophisticated, like,” Shambles teased, then Ondine stared daggers at him and his voice dropped to a sombre tone. “I didn’t know she was a real witch, otherwise I wouldnae called her one. But she was getting snippy with me, so I ducked off and had some more pl├╝tz. It’s like peaches and rocket fuel that stuff, and I’ve nawt touched it since. Then she got really pished with me when I stepped on her feet and fell over. I ripped the lacy bit at the bottom of her skirt and then she got really mad. She called me pond scum. I called her a witch. She looked like her head might explode. She said, ‘You’re damn right I’m a witch. And you’re nothing better than a low-down weasel,’ and then she said I could stay like that.”
“Wow. And she turned you into a ferret, right there in front of everyone?”
“Naw, she turned me into a donkey! Of course she turned me into a ferret! She was fair affronted.”
Ondine gaped at him.
“Ferrets are smaller than weasels, but we’re the same family, so maybe I am a low-down weasel after all. But between us, I prefer ferret.”
Ondine giggled. “I think she did the right thing. Debutante balls take a lot of organizing, and a lot of rehearsals. I think you should apologize to this poor girl as soon as possible. Then you might be yourself again.” The thought of Shambles becoming himself made her wonder what he might look like if he were a real man again? His accent alone made her grin.
Opening the back door, the pungent odour of fried meats and old beer greeted them.
“Aww, that’s the good stuff.” Shambles took a noisy sniff.
“Ondine! What are you doing home?” her mother called out from the hallway.
“Hi, Ma, you look great. Have you lost weight? I love your hair.” Her mother looked as plump as ever, but her new burgundy-brown hairdo skimmed her face and made her look thinner. Flattery ought to put her in a good mood. Just to be on the safe side, Ondine adopted what she hoped was a pleading look on her face. “I . . . I got homesick so I came back.”
Ma stopped mid-stride, mouth open, when she saw the ferret on her daughter’s shoulder. “Heavens above! What is that?” She pointed to the ferret with one hand, while the other patted the ample bosom above her heart, as if the beating organ might leap from her chest.
It called for quick thinking on Ondine’s part, because her mother could be either furious or happy about the situation.
“He’s really tame. Please, Ma, let me keep him?”
But Shambles was having none of it. “That’s the one!” he cried out, finally finding his voice. He scurried down the back of Ondine’s vest. “That’s the witch!”

About the Author

Ebony McKenna lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and son.
She has worked as a journalist, market researcher, website editor, and company director.
As a teenager, she lived in a family-run restaurant. This provided the inspiration for Ondine's family, as Ebony has also waitressed, prepared food and yep, she washed dishes. So many dishes.
Now she writes novels for a living, so her hands are dry. Except for when her characters are making her laugh too much and she has to wipe tears away so she can see the keyboard.

She's always loved trivia nights and the Eurovision Song Contest, and wishes she'd put money on Conchita Wurst winning this year. 




Author links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3204242.Ebony_McKenna

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Review: Mine to Tarnish by Janeal Falor

Mine to Tarnish
A Mine Prequel Novella

Janeal Falor

YA Fantasy Romance
December 2, 2013

Amazon * Goodreads

Katherine’s place is the same as any woman’s—on the shelf next to the dresses and bolts of cloth. When she’s sold to a warlock, life grows even bleaker. Her new owner is as old and rancid as he is cruel, driving her to do the unthinkable: run.

Nothing prepared her for being on her own. And she’s definitely unprepared for the warlocks hunting her down. But she must stay one step ahead because if caught, the best she can hope for is death.




Lauren's Review: We received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

This is the first “novella” that I’ve read of any series and I’m so happy I did! Janeal really packed so much into this story that it didn’t feel like it was just a “filler” book. I’m glad that readers are able to learn about Katherine’s journey and discover that she’s more than just the tarnished seamstress in Serena and Cynthia’s stories. Even though its only a short story, you’re fully able to grasp Katherine’s growth and journey to her becoming a tarnished. Janeal adds so much depth and character to Katherine, that you are quickly able to fall in love with her and cheer her on. I’m excited to see how she continues to be involved in this series, especially now that we know what her story is and how she has become the Katherine we love in the books! 

4 Stars

Book Blitz: Follow Me Home by Monica Goulet - Excerpt & Giveaway



Follow Me Home

Release Date: 09/16/14

Summary from Goodreads:

16-year-old Kelsey thinks her new house far away from Tulsa is the perfect place to escape her past—until she meets Jay, the boy who used to live there.

After a series of mysterious break-ins at the house, Kelsey discovers the culprit is Jay, but before she can confront him, Jay inadvertently sets in motion a series of events that leave Kelsey and her family devastated and wind Jay up in juvie.

Desperate to fix things, Kelsey confronts him only to discover Jay’s not the delinquent she expects, but a boy with a past more messed up than hers. Against her better judgment, the two of them form an unlikely friendship she keeps secret from everyone.

Then Jay asks for a favor she didn’t see coming – one that leaves Kelsey torn between her growing loyalty to Jay and throwing away the new future she worked so hard to build.



Excerpt

I sit on one of the hard metal chairs in the middle of the room, but change my mind and stand up again. Don’t they have those barriers in these places where you have to talk to the person through a phone on the other side of a window? Shouting echoes from somewhere down the hall. Where did the guard go?

A shadow fills the doorway, and I jump.

“You’re not my sister,” Jay says.

The light grey uniform catches me off guard. He looks like a criminal. One I willingly let into my house. I try to swallow, but my mouth is dry. I glance around him and spot the guard standing just outside the door.

“No,” I say. “I’m not your sister.”

Jay stops a few feet away from me and puts his hands in his pockets. He seems different up close. Scared, even. I clench my fists at my side and try not to let him soften me.

“I’m Kelsey.” I unclench one fist and stick my hand out. I think it’s shaking, but I try not to look at it. He doesn’t move from his spot. “My house,” I say. “Did you do it?” I stare at the freckles around his nose so I don’t have to look at his eyes.

He’s silent. I wait for him to turn around and walk back out. But then he looks up.

“It was my house too,” he says.

I try to hold his gaze without letting the sadness get to me. “I know. You used to live there, right?”

He nods, and I stare at the pink and green braided friendship bracelet on his left wrist. The kind I used to make with Julie when we were eleven. I still had dozens of them in a drawer when we moved. One of the many items from Tulsa that ended up in the trash.

“So did you do it?” I sit again and tuck my hands under my thighs.



About the Author
Monica Goulet writes and lives in Oshawa, Ontario with her husband. She graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Professional Writing.

In her other life, she’s an instructional designer and a mother-to-be who likes ice cream, running, and losing herself in a good story.
Author Links:
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Blitz: Last House Burning by Katy Scott - Excerpt & Giveaway

Last House Burning Banner


Last House BurningLast House Burning

Katy Scott

YA/NA urban fantasy with a touch of satire
October 14th, 2014
Herringshaw Press



In an old house in a deserted, burned-down village, a young woman called Verla lives alone. Year after year she stays there while the world changes around her, no one else ever stepping foot in the village, the people in the nearby towns leaving her well alone. Verla is used to it. It’s the way things have to be.
Until Ben, a bored teenager visiting the area with his family, barges into her life and demands to know her story. He’s strangely drawn to the house and its reclusive occupant, and when he finds out her terrible secret he’s only more determined to help.
But Ben is dealing with forces he never even imagined existed. As he spirals deeper and deeper into the bureaucratic world of Heaven and Hell that Verla is part of, he realizes that it’s going to take more than just an appointment at the local office of the underworld if he and Verla plan to face down her devilish foe and give her a final chance at freedom.


About the Author:

Katy Scott
I write books in a couple of different genres: urban fantasy and chick lit/romance. When I’m not writing books I write for lifestyle magazines and corporate websites, and I blog about gaming over at warpkey.org.

I like movies, video games, cheese, shoes and my husband. I’m technically an adult but most of the time I feel like I’m just pretending to be one.





The Excerpt:

That night, Ben lay fully-clothed on his bed, thinking. No one else seemed fascinated with Verla and her big house, and he felt a little foolish about his persistence with finding out what her story was. But he had a sense of curiosity, not just about the house but Verla herself, and he had a strange but distinct feeling that whatever was going on in her life, he could help her.

But she hadn’t been particularly forthcoming about her circumstances, and everyone else was showing a frustrating lack of interest. What did people do when they were in this situation?
In the movies they trotted down to their local library, found a large dingy room with pools of sunlight dropping through the windows, and searched through huge, dusty tomes until they found the answer. But Ben didn’t know what he was looking for in the first place. Maybe finding out more about the town’s history would be a good start.

“Mom?” he called, jumping up from his bed. “Do you know if there’s a library around here? Would it be open now? I need to look something up!”

“It’s ten o’clock at night,” his mother’s voice floated back to him. “Can’t you just Google it?”

Right, of course. Ben rolled his eyes at himself.

His phone still wouldn’t connect to the internet, so he settled himself in front of his father’s laptop in the lounge and brought up a search page. Feeling more than a bit like a stalker, he typed in ‘Verla’ and ‘Carmenton’.

No results.

Like it was going to be that easy, he told himself – did he expect that she’d have a personal website with her full story detailed?

He searched for ‘Carmenton fire’ and scrolled through the results. Swimming carnivals from 1950 onwards. The official website for the bottle cap museum. After he'd clicked on a few dead ends, the website for the Carmenton Historical Society flashed up in front of him.

There was a page dedicated to the fire, with a few black and white photos of burned houses and a list of everyone who had died. Ben scanned through the names and felt a small pang when he saw the name ‘Diamant’ appearing a number of times. He'd had no idea his mother’s ancestors had been so involved in this little town and its big tragedy.

The photo gallery contained sepia images of large, imposing houses: the mansions before the fires ruined their grandeur. Even though the pictures were faded and marked, he could see how beautiful the town must have been. There were groups of people posing stiffly in front of the houses, with the formal faces that usually appeared in the photographs of that time.

He scrolled through a whole page of these photos, and sighed to himself. It hadn’t told him anything he didn’t know already. He’d just have to go back and pester Verla again. At least she’d said they could be friends. He closed the lid of the laptop and with nothing better to do, went to bed to read his book for a while before going to sleep.

Hours later, Ben woke with a start, and lay in bed listening to the silence of the night. Something was sitting at the back of his mind, something was trying to tell him something…

He leapt out of bed, into the lounge room and back to the laptop. He hunted through the browser history to find the historical society’s website, and clicked on the photo gallery. After scrolling past several images, he finally came to the one he was looking for. A picture of a man and a woman with three little boys and a teenage girl. Ben stared at the picture, then zoomed in impatiently. The girl’s face stared at him, unsmiling and formal. She was dressed in a high-collared dress with a long flared skirt, which reminded him of some pictures he’d seen of Amish people. He looked from her clothes to her face, the dark eyes, the black hair and the now-familiar sombre expression.

“Oh no,” Ben whispered. “Verla.”


The Giveaway:
3 ecopies of Last House Burning by Katy Scott

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Blast: Quickbane by Chelsea Starling -



Title-  QUICKBANE, Part One          
Series- The Vale Chronicles              
By- Chelsea Starling

Genre- YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Blurb-
Jesobel Vine wants nothing more than to be a typical Pyxie teenager.She wants to ride her beloved horse, Firefly, shoot her bow, and fall in love with her dreamy best friend, Glyn. But Jesobel is marked not only as the future Royal Starkeeper of Pyxis, but as the Heart of Azimuth—the one to lead her people back to their lost realm—a burden too dangerous for daydreams. As Jesobel struggles to accept her destiny, reluctantly studying mystic magic, she becomes doubtful she will ever be worthy to rule. And when her fiery temper enrages the daemon-possessed Starkeeper of Equuleus with a hex-gone-wrong—igniting an orphic war—Jesobel must find a way to alter the global disaster foretold by a celestial legend

  
   

Book Blast: Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves by Jeff Gunhus - Giveaway

Jack Templar 4Jack Templar
and the Lord of the Werewolves

Jeff Gunhus

Fresh from confronting the Lord of the Vampires in the limestone catacombs beneath Paris, Jack Templar faces his toughest challenge yet as he searches for the next Jerusalem Stone, this one being held by the Lord of the Werewolves. But the narrow escape from the vampire lair came at a great cost and Eva battles to survive the new vampire blood in her veins. The only chance to help Eva is to continue their quest and find the Jerusalem Stones. Reuniting the Stones will not only stop Ren Lucre’s coming war against mankind, but also transform Eva back into her human self. From the ruins of ancient Delhi to the depths of the Black Forest in Germany, Jack and his friends face monsters, bewildering riddles and treachery from the most unlikely of places. Through it all, they are plagued by the Oracle’s prediction that at least one of their group with not make it through the adventure alive. Worse yet, they know that Kaeden, the Lord of the Werewolves, will do his best to make sure none of them do. But they are monster hunters of the Black Guard… and they will do their duty, come what may.

Excerpt

The stench hung heavy in the air. There was no other smell in the world quite like it. First came the stink of grease fires from the wall torches, the heavy black smoke that roiled through the air like a foul fog. Then a moldering, musty base layer came to the senses. It reeked of decay and seeping moisture that grew black mold on every surface. The mold clung on the rough-cut rocks lining the dungeon tunnels. It covered the thick iron bars holding the prisoners in place. It even grew on the tattered rags covering the miserable creatures in the cells and likely on their skin as well. That final smell overlay the symphony of stink.

The Creach prisoners.

Werewolves, harpies, blind mad-worms, blinderwursts, fangpiercers, even some demons held with the special pure iron chains required to keep them in place. Many of these creatures were pungent under the best circumstances, but locked in the deepest dungeon underground, sometimes for decades, they took on an odor so ripe, so awful, that visitors to the dungeon often had to hold their breath to enter. Even then, the smell would make their eyes sting and well with tears. Immediately after leaving the dungeon, visitors were allowed a bath or a shower in the castle. As they washed the stench from their bodies, they would feel an overwhelming sense of thanks that they were not a prisoner wallowing in the horrifying conditions they’d just witnessed.

No one, human or Creach, wanted to be a prisoner in the dungeons of Ren Lucre. Far away, at the end of one of the long, twisting corridors, came the creak of a massive door opening. The prisoners stirred at the sound. Their reactions mirrored how long they had been in their cells.

The newer arrivals looked up with expectation, still hopeful their punishment was going to be short and that someone was coming to tell them their nightmare was over.

Those who had been there longer knew that hope was useless in this dark place. They simply cowered farther into whatever dark corner they could find in their cell, desperate not to be noticed by the Master.

Then there were those who had been there the longest. They simply looked up with mild interest, knowing that nothing they did made any difference. Their spirits were broken. Worse, they knew this to be the dark truth, and they simply didn’t care.

One single prisoner reacted in none of these ways. He simply stood, and the rags that had once been his clothes hung on his bony frame. Unbroken by years of starvation and torture, he still squared his shoulders in the direction of the sound and raised his chin, his eyes glistening in the torchlight with defiance. What he saw would have brought a normal man to his knees, but this man was no more normal than the monster approaching.

Ren Lucre, the five hundred year old vampire, filled the hallway as he strode through it, his cloak billowing behind him as he rushed past the stinking cells. His pale, narrow face looked pinched and concerned. His blood-red lip pursed in a straight line, and his eyes glowered like embers in a fire that might at any time combust into new flame.

He came to the thick set of bars that held the proud man, stopped, and stared him down.

“Well, if it isn’t the Lord of the Creach,” the man said. Even though his voice was course and weak, he still managed an edge of bitter sarcasm. “You look like you’re having a bad day.” The man spat on the floor. “Good.”

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jeffAuthor Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Amazon bestselling supernatural thriller, Night Chill, and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book of the series, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. Killer Within is his second novel for adults. As a father of five, he and his wife Nicole spend most of their time chasing kids and taking advantage of living in the great state of Maryland. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel. If you see him there, sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. You just might end up in his next novel.


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