Shannon Muir's Infinite House of Books

Features with fellow authors. as well as news on Shannon Muir's work outside of mystery and genre fiction, and portal for her web serials. Includes features #infiniterecipe on the 1st and #infiniteadventure on the 15th each month, plus Discover Words YouTube vlogs and Periscope live broadcasts.

COVER REVEAL – Redux

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by YAReads Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Hi, everyone! Welcome back!

Today, I am extremely excited to share the cover reveal for Redux by A.L. Davroe! Take a look below:

 

NexisNexis (Tricksters, #1) by A.L. Davroe

Release Date: Dec. 1, 2015

Genre: YA Sci-Fi / YA Science Fiction

Published by: Entangled Teen

Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21480858-nexis

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Nexis-L-Davroe/dp/1633750175?tag=entangpublis-20&link_code=ur2&creative=9325&camp=211189

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nexis-al-davroe/1120919370?cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-je6NUbpObpQ-_-10:1

Entangled Page: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/nexis/

In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.

Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.

But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.


reduxRedux (Tricksters #2) by A.L. Davroe

Published by Entangled Teen

Release Date: March 21st, 2017

Genre: YA Sci-Fi / YA Science Fiction

Buylinks:

 

The domed city of Evanescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.

To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.

But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.

But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.

 

Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new—and better—life to all who’ve suffered.

 

Or die trying.


AL

A.L. (Amanda) writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance), Nexis (Tricksters, #1) (YA Sci-Fi), and M.I.A. (YA suspense-horror). My YA Sci-Fi novel, Redux (Tricksters, #2), is coming out with Entangled Publishing on March 21, 2017!

By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal. Amanda also suffers from Resting Bitchface Syndrome (RBS), so even though she might look like she’ll tie you in a knot if you come near her, she’s more afraid of you than you are of her.

BLOG TOUR – All the Wounds in Shadow

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Bewitching Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

 

allthewoundsinshadowcover

All the Wounds in Shadow

The Healing Edge

Book Two

Anise Eden

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Romantic Suspense

 

Publisher: Diversion Publishing

 

Date of Publication: August 23, 2016

 

ISBN:  978-1682302873

ASIN: B01G5Y6GO8

 

Number of pages: 240

Word Count: 81,645

 

Book Description:

 

For fans of Karen Robards and Shiloh Walker, Anise Eden brings us the mesmerizing sequel to her paranormal romantic suspense novel All the Broken Places.

 

Cate’s enemies aren’t just surrounding her―they’re inside her head.

 

Therapist Cate Duncan has just accepted a job with the MacGregor Group, a unique collective of alternative healers. She’s excited by the prospect of honing her empathic healing techniques among others like herself―aura readers, telepaths, crystal healers, and more. The fact that Cate just started dating Ben, her magnetic new boss, is an added bonus.

 

Before Cate can settle into her new routine, the poisoning of a prominent neuroscientist draws the entire MacGregor Group into both a federal investigation and an even more insidious threat. Protected by Ben’s former Marine Corps unit, Cate and her colleagues must use their alternative healing methods to solve the crime as their patient clings to life. The responsibility of discovering crucial information falls to Cate and her parapsychological powers.

 

But for Cate, unraveling the mystery means reopening wounds that had just begun to heal―and in the environment of the Marine Corps unit, differences between Cate and Ben become clearer, straining their budding romance. When a new crisis looms, Cate must trust in her colleagues’ gifts and the strength of Ben’s love, finding the courage to confront her deepest and most terrifying demons―or her own life will be at risk.

 

Amazon US Paperback     Kindle     Amazon UK Paperback

 

BN Paperback     Nook     Kobo     iTunes

 

Google Play     IndieBound     Ganxy

 

 

About the Author:

 

Author Anise Eden writes The Healing Edge paranormal romantic suspense series for Diversion Books. She spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren’t there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments.

 

Visit her online at http://aniseeden.com

 

http://twitter.com/aniseeden

 

http://facebook.com/authoraniseeden

 

http://goodreads.com/aniseeden

 

Excerpt

In my dream, only the crabs’ lives were in jeopardy. Mom and I chose a spot on the pier that was shaded by a nearby oak, hoping for some relief from the humid heat. The buzzing and clicking of crickets and cicadas swelled as the summer afternoon ripened.

“Hold it perfectly still, Catie,” Mom whispered. “We want them to think it’s just a strange-looking plant.”

“I’m trying.” But after an hour, my arm ached from holding the crab net steady. “Maybe the bait isn’t rotten enough to attract them.”

Mom jiggled the string with the chicken neck tied to the end, making it dance just beneath the water’s surface. “Should I pull it out so you can check it?”

“Ew, gross!” I grimaced. “No thanks. I believe you.”

Suddenly, her whole body tensed. “Look, there’s one!”

The water was green and nearly opaque with algae. Staring down, I could just make out the ghostly limbs of a blue crab swimming up toward the bait.

“Wait until he’s really absorbed in what he’s doing and then scoop him up,” she murmured. “Not too quickly, though. You don’t want to scare him.”

“Right.” Once the crab started attacking the chicken neck, I slid the net beneath him and slowly lifted it to the surface.

“You got him!” Mom jumped to her feet. “Pull him out, and let’s have a look!”

“He feels really heavy!” We exchanged smiles of victory as I raised the dripping net up to eye level.

“Oh, no,” Mom said. “It’s beautiful, a great catch. But we have to throw it back.”

“Don’t say that!” I moaned. “Why?”

“It’s a female. It’s poisonous.”

I examined the crab. She was right: it had a full, rounded apron. With a sigh, I tossed the crab back into the water. “Females aren’t poisonous, Mom, just illegal to catch. You know that.”

“Whatever you say.” Mom walked over to the edge of the pier and turned around to face me. “I have to go now. Don’t follow me.” Before I could even grasp what she was doing, she had folded her arms across her chest, closed her eyes, and tilted her stiffened body backwards into the water.

“Mom!” I leapt forward, reaching the edge of the pier just as she hit the surface with a sharp splash. Remembering my lifeguard training, I got down on my belly, lay on the wooden planks, and thrust my arm into the water. But she was already out of reach.

I grabbed the crab net and plunged the handle down towards her, but she kept her arms folded, eyes closed. “Mom, grab the handle!” I cried out, but she kept sinking. Within seconds she was nothing more than a whitish blur.

“Don’t worry! I’m coming!” Screw lifeguard training, I thought as I kicked off my shoes and prepared to go in after her. But just as I was about to dive, something dragged me backwards by the waist.

I looked down to find a man’s arm wrapped around me—a man’s arm in a blue suit jacket. A familiar voice said, “Oh no you don’t.”

“Ben, let go of me!” I struggled to free myself from his hold. Then I realized that I was yelling out loud, awake and in bed, thrashing about and wrestling with the python of sheets tangled around me. My cell phone beeped and vibrated along the surface of the bedside table as the alarm went off. Meanwhile, my heart pounded in my throat. In my mind’s eye, all I could see was my mother sinking further and further into the river.

Goddammit, I thought, vigorously rubbing the tears from my eyes. Would my dreams ever stop transforming into nightmares—reminders that I had failed to see that my mother was in crisis, that I had failed to save her?

I strained to hear Ben bounding up the stairs to see what the yelling was about, but there was only silence. Had I only cried out in my dream? “Ben?” I called, loudly enough for him to hear me if he was awake. Still no response.

So he was still asleep. That was odd. Ben told me he’d never lost the early-riser habit he had developed in the Marine Corps. I turned off my cell phone alarm, put on my robe and slippers, and padded down the stairs. But he wasn’t on the sofa, where I’d left him the night before. In fact, he was nowhere.

I scanned the first floor of my tiny row house and found a note he’d left on the coffee table. “Had to go in early. See you at work. Bring a bag packed for a few days.”

Well, that’s cryptic, I thought as a bud of irritation formed. I flopped down on the couch and breathed slowly, trying to bring my heart rate back down to normal after the dream I’d had. “Bring a bag packed for a few days.” But packed for what? Given how focused he was on my training, I somehow doubted that Ben was planning a romantic getaway.

I tried Ben’s cell. No answer. I tried Pete’s cell. Again, no answer. Whatever was happening at the office, it must have been keeping them both occupied.

At least I had another way to find out what was going on with Ben. I sat cross-legged on the couch. With my hands resting on my knees, I closed my eyes and took a few slow, deep breaths. Then I pictured the filament of light that connected my heart to Ben’s, and focused my mind.

In an instant, the psychic portal between us opened. As my consciousness reached out and touched his, I fell back against the couch, struck by the intensity of his emotions. He was worried about something or someone, and there was a definite sense of urgency. Still, there was no actual fear. That told me that while some kind of crisis was going on, at least Ben was safe.

Then his feelings for me crashed through the portal, flooding me. Whatever else he was dealing with, I was on his mind. Once again I was overwhelmed by the strength of his feelings. Although I knew the portal only flowed one way, I tried to send my own feelings back in his direction. I pulled my consciousness back into my body and opened my eyes.

My gaze immediately settled upon my right hand, and the exquisite ring Ben had given me the day before. The gold band was carved to look like two birds in flight, holding a luminous round piece of Scottish agate with their beaks and the tips of their wings. He’d wanted to give me something concrete to remind me of how he felt about me when he wasn’t there, to reassure me when I had worries or doubts. A soft warmth bloomed in my chest as I twirled the ring slowly around my finger, admiring its craftsmanship. We’d agreed that I would decide when to tell people that the ring was from him—and that we were dating. In the meantime, we were keeping both things a secret. I wasn’t quite ready to go public with our new relationship, and Ben didn’t want me to feel any pressure.

As I went upstairs and laid my suitcase open on the bed, I thought about my disturbing dream. My mother’s fall into the water was obviously a reference to her suicide three months before. But the poisonous female crab? And Ben stopping me from saving someone’s life? I knew he didn’t like it when I put myself in danger, but he’d never just let someone drown.

Then again, maybe there’s nothing to decipher, I told myself. Sometimes a dream is just a dream. I tried to content myself with that thought as I showered, dressed, and packed in a hurry. I was anxious to get to the office and find out where we were going—and what crisis had made Ben leave that morning without so much as giving me a kiss good-bye.

 

Playlist:

 

“One And Only” – Adele
“Dindi” – Joseh Garcia
“I’ll Be Seeing You” – Billie Holiday
“Fight Song” – Rachel Platten
“My Baby Just Cares for Me” – Nina Simone
“I’m Kissing You” – Des’ree
“Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
“It Had to Be You” – Frank Sinatra

Link to playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/1246305249/playlist/2ZVEmIvSlxuSNZo39pRIdm

Spotify embed code for playlist

 

Tour giveaway

 

10 ebooks in either Kindle or Nook copies will be gifted through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

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BLOG TOUR – Sacred Legacy

 

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Bewitching Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

SACREDLEGACYCOVEER

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Sacred Legacy

The Branded Trilogy

Book 3

Kat Flannery

 

Genre: Historical western paranormal romance

 

Publisher: Imajin Books

 

Date of Publication: July 31, 2016

 

Number of pages: 175

Word Count: 72,000

 

Cover Artist: Ryan Thomas Doan

 

Book Description:

 

Tsura is a Chuvani, and with that comes great power…

 

Desperate to escape the memories that haunt her, Tsura Harris returns to Jamestown, the very place her mother forbade her to go. A gifted Chuvani, Tsura has sworn off all magick, thus making her vulnerable to the Renoldi clan, who wish to kill her and take the pendant that is the key to her power.

 

Red Wolf is hell-bent on living his life on the sea, until he runs into Tsura on the docks. His pride wounded from her rejection years before, he hoped to never see her again. But when the evil Corsair, Romulus Black, demands to know where she is, Red Wolf must protect her, as is his duty.

 

But is duty and honor his only reason, or does Red Wolf still carry a flame of love in his heart? And will Tsura finally discover her destiny?

 

Amazon     Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.ca

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

What initially got you interested in writing?

I’ve always loved to write. It has been a part of me since I was a little girl. I grew up listening to music. It was always played in the house, at my grandparents, aunts and uncles. I remember at an early age listening to the words and understanding the sorrow, sadness, or happiness within them. These were small stories played out in song. I knew then that I wanted to tell stories that touched people’s lives.

How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?

I always knew that was what I wanted to do. I worked very hard, took rejection after rejection, and still sent out manuscripts. The criticism an author takes is a part of the job, and I grew better because of it. I wouldn’t change a thing.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

I want readers to feel while reading my books. I want them to be placed within my characters lives and to experience the story with them. I’d love for them to feel contentment, and happiness when finishing one of my novels.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

My readers. I cannot express enough how much a kind review means, or when I get emailed about how much they loved my book. Those are the very reason I write. It always places a smile upon my face. I adore my readers.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

When I have nothing and by this I mean when I am stuck halfway through the story and have to stop to figure it all out. This is so frustrating especially when I’m so invested in my characters and just want to tell their story.

What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?

Learn the craft. Research, talk to other authors know what you are doing and how to conduct yourself. Learn about the publishing industry and how publishers work. Have a thick skin. Authors take scrutiny all of the time. There are bad reviews, not everyone is going to like your book. Rejections they’re a part of the job as well.

What ways can readers connect with you?

Visit Kat at: www.katflannerybooks.com

Find her on Facebook: Kat Flannery, author

Follow her on Twitter: @KatFlannery1

 

 EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

CHAPTER ONE SACRED LEGACY

 

Jamestown, Virginia, July 1740

 

Tsura Harris lifted the hem of her green skirt and stepped up onto the wooden plank. She clutched her reticule in her right hand and reached for the rope with her left. The planked bridge swayed as the boat rocked against the seas. She stared at the water below. White-capped waves crashed along the ship’s hull, rocking the boat. She inhaled, forced her chin up, and took another step. She walked the short distance to the boardwalk, releasing the breath she’d held when her boot touched land. She planted both feet upon the wooden dock and set her shoulders, but the reminder of why she was here intensified the weight upon her chest. Despair was her shadow, and it was with her today.

“Sister!”

Her brother’s deep, masculine shout came from above.

She shaded her eyes from the hot afternoon sun and peered up at him. His stature always shocked her. Micah Walker was six foot with broad shoulders and strong arms, a spitting image of their father, Kade. His white shirt gaped open to show the tanned skin beneath, a sign of too many days out on the water. Long blond hair waved in the breeze. Her handsome brother had his pick of the ladies, but still hadn’t settled down. It was a shame. She knew he wanted children and a wife of his own, but his heart belonged to the sea and time would lend him those favors only when he was ready.

“You must wait,” he called and raced past his men carrying crates of goods onto the wharf.

She placed her bag onto the wooden walk and clasped her gloved hands together.

He reached her, his cheeks glowing and dark eyes lit with mischief. Before she could discourage him, he picked her up and swung her around. Her boots kicked the bag, knocking it over, as his strong arms held her tight.

Micah had always been affectionate. He never shied away from holding her hand, kissing her cheek, or teasing her like a brother would. He’d come to her side when she needed him the most. When her life had fallen apart, and she couldn’t see past her own misery to pick herself up. He had carried her, and she loved him for it.

“You cannot go off without wishing me well.” He smiled down at her.

“If you would simply release me, I’d be able to make it so,” she retorted. He was the only one, aside from her mother and father, who she allowed to touch her.

“Very well, nit.” He set her in front of him. The nickname he used for her was one of endearment and came from her pestering him as a child.

“Thank you.” She smoothed her skirt before bringing her eyes to meet his.

“You do not need to do this.”

She glanced away unable to stare at him any longer.

“Come sail with me.”

She shook her head. The urge to leave caused her legs to shake. She couldn’t be around him any longer. His cheerful disposition haunted her and made her think of things she’d rather forget.

“I know you don’t want to speak of this, but—”

“No, Micah.”

“Tsura, you need to forgive—”

“Forgiveness is not within my heart.”

“It surely is.”

She shook her head, careful not to release the many pins holding her thick corkscrew curls in a loose chignon.

“It is in all of us.”

She glared at her brother.

“Do not speak to me of forgiveness, brother. My heart is cold to it.”

His dark eyes watered, and she knew her words had hurt him, but she didn’t care. It was better this way—it was easier.

“Will you not reconsider?”

“No.”

“Please stay. I will protect you.”

Protection was not what she needed. She could care less if she died. It’d be a relief from the constant pain she felt each day.

“I should’ve taken you to mother and father.”

“Do not speak to them of my presence here.”

“They will understand.”

“Not one word.”

Micah sighed. “As you wish.”

“I must go.” Anger pressed on her spine, and she straightened.

His shoulders dropped.

“Be safe. Trust no one.”

She nodded.

“I port back in Jamestown one month to this day. You will be here.”

It was not a question, and she didn’t know if a month would be enough. Would the time between then and now ever fade from her soul? Would she be ready to return? She didn’t know if she could go back and so she didn’t answer.

“Hiram knows of you coming?”

“He does.”

“Very well.” He straightened and smiled. “Know that I love you.”

She fought the tears. If Micah saw one ounce of sadness within her, he’d throw her back aboard the Jade and take her with him.

“As I you.” She refused to say the words.

He picked up her bag and handed it to her.

“Thank you. Now go. You have work to do and whores to see.” She smirked.

“Ah, that I do.” He pulled her into a final embrace. “You will find your way. I am sure of it.” He held her away from him, and his eyes searched hers. “Remember who you are.”

She pressed on his chest and stepped out of his embrace. She couldn’t help the furrow of her brow or the set of her chin. The reminders of the life she led were never to be forgotten, and because of that she’d be forever lost.

Micah sensed the change in her and left it alone. He bowed, and with a final kiss to her forehead he walked away.

She turned, unable to watch him go, raised to believe it was a sign of weakness, of regret to watch one leave your life. This was meant to be. The world around her had tilted, and even though she wanted nothing more than to go back in time to the lavish house on the hill where she’d felt content, where laughter was but an expression upon her lips, she could not. What had been was no more, and she’d do right to remember it. One year had passed, but the ache inside her soul still remained.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KatFlanneryandMaddy
Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing. A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career.

Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been an Amazon Top 100 Paid bestseller. LAKOTA HONOR and BLOOD CURSE (Branded Trilogy) are Kat’s two award-winning novels and HAZARDOUS UNIONS is Kat’s first novella. Kat is currently hard at work on her next book.

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COVER REVEAL – Immortal Billionaire

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Bewitching Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

ibcover

Immortal Billionaire

Jane Godman

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance

 

Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne

 

Date of Publication: November 1, 2016

 

ASIN: B01EEZKX3K

 

Number of pages: 304

Word Count: 80 000

 

Cover Artist: Harlequin

 

Book Description:

 

Dark secrets and unquenchable desire collide in this captivating paranormal thriller…

 

Connie Lacey lives a nomadic existence. Alone. Safe. She can’t risk being found by the stalker who haunts her waking nightmares. Until an invitation from billionaire Sylvester de León—to spend thirty days with him on his private island, Corazón—proves impossibly tempting. But one look at the gorgeous host’s deep blue eyes, and Connie knows there is nothing safe about this paradise and the aristocratic man who calls it home.

 

The island is cursed…as is Sylvester himself. Yet something in him calls to Connie, ignites a desire that’s filled with raw, timeless need. But Corazón has many secrets, each more dangerous than the last. And in a place where everlasting love, the past and fate intersect, even death is only a beginning…

 

Available for Pre-Order

 

Harlequin     Amazon     BN    Kobo     Google Play

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

It is easy enough to list in advance, and with absolute certainty, those things for which we are prepared to die. Family, country, religion, the one we love, a valued way of life. Until we are faced with a situation that puts our convictions to the test, we can never know for sure which of these will hold true. There were many lessons to be learned during those strange weeks on the island of Corazón, but, for Connie Lacey, this would prove be the most important.

 

Four years of running and hiding. Four years of looking over her shoulder. Of viewing every man she met with suspicion. Of waking every morning, wondering if today was the day he would finally catch up with her.

The relief of being offered somewhere to hide was so huge it drove every other thought out of her head. She had a brief mental image of herself as a disaster survivor and the man opposite as the rescue worker who had just draped an emergency blanket around her shoulders. She resisted the temptation to cling to him, garbling out incoherent thanks until he was forced to gently pry her hands away. They were the wild thoughts spinning through Connie Lacey’s mind as she listened to the clipped tones of the attorney.

With hindsight, she probably should have paid more attention to the strangeness of the offer he was making and the diffident manner with which he made it. Gratitude will do that to you, she decided later. At the time her attention was taken up with grabbing this opportunity. Nod, smile, and sign on the dotted line. Don’t ask questions that might make him withdraw this incredible invitation. All she could focus on was the fact that—for thirty days, at least—she would not have to sleep with a knife under her pillow.

“You have one week.” She realized Mr. Reynolds had finished outlining the details of the proposal. “My client will expect you to be in Florida in exactly seven days’ time.”

Connie swallowed hard. She might have known there would be a catch. The logistics of getting to Florida posed a massive problem. Mentally, she reviewed the contents of her wallet. She knew exactly how much cash was in there. It wouldn’t get her across town let alone across the country. Before she could speak, Mr. Reynolds reached into the desk drawer and produced a hefty roll of banknotes. His expression softened slightly as he passed them across the desk.

“Expenses. For the journey and such sundry other items as may be necessary.” He cleared his throat with a hint of something that might have been embarrassment. “My client is a very exacting man. His guests will, for example, be required to dress for dinner during their stay on Corazón.”

Darn! And there I was thinking I had successfully managed to hide the fact that the sole is hanging off one of my sneakers and this sweater has forgotten what color it used to be.

Connie stuffed the wad of cash into her shoulder bag with a muttered word of thanks. If an encounter with Sylvester’s attorney could reduce her to the status of a gibbering wreck, how on earth was she going to cope with the man himself?

As she got to her feet, Mr. Reynolds rose and came around the desk. He held out his hand. Surprised, Connie took it. Instead of the handshake she had expected, he clasped her hand between both of his. It was an oddly tactile gesture for such an aloof man.

“However this venture may turn out…” He paused and Connie sensed he was fighting an internal battle. As if the personal and professional were at war within him. The result felt like his version of a truce. “I wish you well, Miss Lacey.”

It was only later, when she got back to her grim, one-room apartment and counted—then, in disbelief, re-counted—the money, that she began to truly appreciate the gulf between her world and that of Corazón. What constituted “sundry other items” to Mr. Reynolds was almost a year’s salary to Connie.

Laughing, she tossed the notes into the air and briefly contemplated just disappearing with them. To hell with “second cousin several convoluted times removed” Sylvester and his mysteriously worded proposition. This money could buy her the freedom from fear she had been dreaming of. Temporarily, it was true, but even that was so much more than she had wished for. No more moving from town to town and job to job? No more looking over her shoulder? Yeah, I’ll take that and deal with the future when it gets here.

A pang of guilt tugged at her. Backing out wasn’t an option. She had just accepted Mr. Reynolds’s wretched invitation and a promise was, after all, a promise. Besides—despite its reputation—she was intrigued enough by Corazón to want to see it and, even if she admitted it only to herself, she wanted to meet the legendary Sylvester.

The ease with which Arthur Reynolds, senior partner in the firm of Reynolds, Prudah and Taylor, had tracked her down was unsettling. Even if she hadn’t been contemplating answering Sylvester’s eccentric summons, it would have been time to move on. Goodbye—she experienced a minor moment of panic as she tried to remember where she was. It had to happen one day—Farmington, Missouri. The last month has been okay, but it was never a long-term thing. We both knew it. No hard feelings.

She had a week to prepare for the journey. With a shrug, she tucked the money away at the back of her closet and curled up on the bed with a book. Connie could have her belongings packed in an hour. She’d done it often enough.

 

janegodman

About the Author:

 

Jane Godman writes in a variety of genre. Many of her stories are heavily tinged with the supernatural and elements of horror, with haunted characters tormented by dark secrets.

 

Jane writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne. Her Otherworld Series is set in a mystical land inhabited by many races, including faeries, vampires, lycanthropes, phantoms and gods. Unfortunately, the constant battles between these warring dynasties threaten to spill over into the mortal realm.

 

Jane’s series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Sons of Stillwater, will be coming soon.

 

Jane also writes steamy historical romance for Samhain Publishing and her Georgian Rebel Series features compelling heroes who fight hard for the cause they believe in and harder for the women they love.

 

In 2017, Jane has a new paranormal romance series coming from SMP Swerve.

Watch out for her hot Arctic werewolves!

 

Jane lives in Cheshire, England, is married to a lovely man and is mum to two grown up children.

 

Website: http://www.janegodmanauthor.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaneGodman

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jane-Godman-Author/133131640171522

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6923685.Jane_Godman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL – America’s Next Reality Star

 

Inside the Book:

Title: America’s Next Reality Star
Author: Laura Heffernan
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Format: Ecopy 
 

SEEKING THE SMART ONE

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

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Meet the Author

Laura Heffernan

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 

Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes.
Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary.

Visit her at http://www.lauraheffernan.com

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COVER REVEAL – Sweet Southern Hearts

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Pump Up Your Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Sweet Southern Hearts Book Banner

Inside the Book:

Sweet Southern Hearts
Title: Sweet Southern Hearts
Author: Susan Schild
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Format: Ecopy 
 

Susan Schild welcomes you back to the offbeat Southern town of Willow Hill, North Carolina, for a humorous, heartwarming story of new beginnings, do-overs, and self-discovery…

When it comes to marriage, third time’s the charm for Linny Taylor. She’s thrilled to be on her honeymoon with Jack Avery, Willow Hill’s handsome veterinarian. But just like the hair-raising white water rafting trip Jack persuades her to take, newlywed life has plenty of dips and bumps.

Jack’s twelve-year-old son is resisting all Linny’s efforts to be the perfect stepmother, while her own mother, Dottie, begs her to tag along on the first week of a free-wheeling RV adventure. Who knew women “of a certain age” could drum up so much trouble? No sooner is Linny sighing with relief at being back home than she’s helping her frazzled sister with a new baby…and dealing with an unexpected legacy from her late ex. Life is fuller—and richer—than she ever imagined, but if there’s one thing Linny’s learned by now, it’s that there’s always room for another sweet surprise…

“Charming, funny, feisty. I totally loved this novel.” –Cathy Lamb, author of The Language of Sisters on Linny’s Sweet Dream List

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Meet the Author

Susan has an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree (MSW) from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has used her professional background as a psychotherapist and corporate trainer to add authenticity to her characters.

Susan is a wife, a stepmother, and a dog lover. She and her family live near Raleigh, North Carolina where she is busy finishing up the third novel in the Willow Hill Series.

 

BLOG TOUR – Paris Runway

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Pump Up Your Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

 

We’re happy to be hosting Paulita Kincer on her PARIS RUNAWAY Virtual Book Tour today!

 

Title:
Paris Runaway
Author: Paulita Kincer
Publisher: Oblique Press
Pages: 256
Genre: Women’s Fiction
When
divorced mom Sadie Ford realizes her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has run away
to Paris all she can imagine are terrorist bombings and sex slaves. After
learning her daughter chased a French exchange student home, Sadie hops on the
next plane in pursuit. She joins forces with the boy’s father, Auguste, and the
two attempt to find the missing teens. The chase takes Sadie and Auguste to the
seedier side of Marseille, where their own connection is ignited. Since the
divorce, Sadie has devoted herself to raising kids and putting her dreams on
hold, but when her daughter needs her most, Sadie finds that concrete barrier
to life beginning to crack. In her journey, she learns the difference between
watching the hours pass and living.

For More
Information

Interview with the Author:

What initially got you interested in writing?

I can’t keep myself from writing. Since I was a little girl, I have spent hours writing down my imaginings, creating characters and scenarios that I would love to happen. I’m just in love with words too and if I manage to describe a scene perfectly, I’m thrilled. When I was in 5th grade, the teacher went around the room asking us each to say what we wanted to be when we grew up. I hung my head, almost in shame, and said, “A writer.” I don’t know why it embarrassed me that I wanted to be a writer. Maybe I knew at a young age that the odds of making a living as a writer are slim. Luckily, I have some day jobs that allow me time to write.

How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?

I had written three novels, and each time I diligently sent them off to agents. Authors search for agents who then sell their novels to publishers, so agents are the gatekeepers.

I received a lot of requests from agents for my novels, but none of them had offered to represent me. Finally, I received a rejection from a New York agent for my novel Trail Mix, which is about two women whose children are growing up and moving on. The women are trying to figure out what their lives should be once their primary role of mother is gone. So they decide to hike the Appalachian Trail to discover who they are. The New York agent and her assistant replied that they enjoyed my writing, but they thought it was sad that the women didn’t know what to do with their lives after their children moved on.

That statement made me blow my top. I was surrounded by women going through that exact scenario. I realized that the New York agents might not be able to relate to the audience I sought to reach. That’s when I published my first novel. Paris Runaway is my fourth novel.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

I want readers to escape for a little while, to disappear with the characters, wherever they are traveling, which is usually France in my novels. But there are deeper meanings. In Paris Runaway, the message is a clear warning to mothers who put their lives on hold while raising children. This is it – the only life we get, so we’d better get the most of it, while still taking care of our children.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

Finishing a story is very rewarding. Looking at all those words, all those chapters, and knowing that I created a story that readers can dive into. I love the idea that my words can work like a transporter from Star Trek and take the reader from their home or their job to a whole new world.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

The most challenging part of writing is the part where I sit down and write, rather than simply talking about the story or brainstorming with writing friends.

What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?

If you have a book in you, the only way to prove it is to write it. Everyone has reasons not to write – life is busy with kids and jobs and relationships – but if you want to be an author, you have to write.

What ways can readers connect with you?

The best way to connect with me is to read my novels. I think that gives readers some real insight into my psyche. I also write a blog and post several times each week – about France, about raising kids, about books I enjoy. The blog is at paulita-ponderings.blogspot.com. I have an author page on Facebook at PaulitaKincerWriter. And, of course, I’m on Twitter too @paulitakincer.

 

Book Excerpt:

I knocked
on one apartment door that had a wreath hanging on it. It could still be his
door, I justified. Maybe Monsieur Rollande liked to decorate. Avoiding the
wreath, I rapped my knuckles against the worn wood. Maybe Monsieur Rollande
remarried and his new wife chose the wreath of dark-green leaves topped by lily
of the valley with its tiny white, bell-shaped flowers. When I got no response,
I walked to the door opposite. No wreath and no sounds from within. I knocked
three sharp thumps and waited, but heard no squeaking of the floor as someone
moved toward the door. I sighed. No one home again.
There
are worse places to wait,
I thought as I heard a louder crack of thunder from outside. The sky had
been threatening rain all morning, and apparently the clouds now delivered on
their threat. I imagined myself standing outside the gate without buttons to
push as the rain soaked me through the t-shirt, jeans and thin cardigan.
I assessed
the landing where I could be waiting for most of the day. A thick wool rug
covered the floor and a small table fit flush against the wall with a flat
back. The other half curled out in a semi-circle. On the table sat a round
fishbowl with aqua-colored rocks in the bottom. A goldfish swished back and
forth in the dim light. How strange, I thought, as I became entranced
watching the fish make his circles, pausing to open and close his mouth in my
direction a few seconds before swimming around again.
I sank to
the floor with my back against the wall, like the little table. I would be able
to hear or see either door if it should open. I might as well rest my tired
feet. I debated undoing those ankle straps. But I decided to simply rub at the
sore spots while leaving the sandals buckled. Who knew when I’d have to make a
dash to catch someone?
I sat
where I could gaze at the fish, and his endless rounds made me feel calm. I
could feel my breath becoming slower and deeper. I knew I’d find Scarlett
today; I just needed to be patient. Slow and steady, I told myself as I became
more mesmerized with the striking orange fish.
Suddenly
the fish ducked inside one of his faux coral hiding spots. I hadn’t moved or
startled him. I glanced around, moving only my eyes, and I saw the reason for
the fish’s abrupt disappearance.  A
handsome black-and-white cat crawled stealthily up the stairs. His front paws
perched on the top step, and his nose and eyes just peeked between the paws.
The rest of his body must be poised on the stairs below, ready to pounce on the
table and snatch up the fish.
The cat
moved only his eyes too, but they found me, and he froze. I was going to ruin
his attempt at breakfast. I smiled. I missed my own cat Puck. His warmth on my
lap, the way his purring could put me into a trance of well-being. This cat on
the stairs seemed to have accepted the fact that an actual person sat in the
stairwell. His eyes locked with mine, and I saw his body relax. He would not
need to pounce after all. He turned to look at the fish bowl, but the wise
goldfish remained hidden.
“It’s
okay,” I said. I held out my hand, palm up, toward the cat. “Here, kitty. Come
see me.” I didn’t have anything to offer him, but if he smelled my hand, he
might let me pet him, rub my hand over his soft fur, gain some sort of relief
from contact with another living creature.
“Come on,
boy,” I said, making an assumption about his gender. It didn’t matter because
the cat probably didn’t understand English anyway. My voice was soft and
soothing as I tried to coax him. Suddenly, a desire overwhelmed me to hold a
cat on my lap, stroke his soft back, and feel his purr kick in and vibrate
against me. Even a cat that didn’t understand English must sense distress and
want to comfort a human. To feel some sort of release from the past two days
would be such a respite.
“It’s
okay; you’re safe,” I said. “Come on.” I had moved from sitting on the floor to
perching on my knees as I held my hand closer to the cat. Suddenly, the cat
streaked past me. I expected it to stop abruptly at the closed door of the
apartment, but it continued to zoom through the legs of a man and down the
hallway beyond. The door stood open now when it had definitely been closed the
whole time I waited.
I looked
up from the floor, drinking in the man whose brown leather Lacoste shoes stood
before me. The little alligator near the heel marked them as Lacoste, and I
couldn’t decide if I would adore or detest the pomposity of the shoes.
Brown
jeans encased the man’s long legs, and he wore a white broadcloth shirt
unbuttoned at the top. A loose cotton scarf with blue and gold draped loosely
around his neck.
“Are you
trying to seduce my cat?” The timbre of his deep voice, still thick with sleep,
mixed with the French accent on the English words sent a quiver through me. His
words sounded like a promise and a warning.
“Seduce?”
My voice rose at the end of the word and came out like an irritating crow’s
caw, in comparison to his smooth accent.
I jumped
to my feet, feeling the blush rise from the v of my t-shirt up my neck to my
face. “Bonjour,” I mumbled, not quite meeting his eyes. I couldn’t believe he’d
seen me talking to the cat – so naked and vulnerable. This man observed me
being, well, me.
I
remembered why I sat on his doorstep as I turned toward him. “I’m looking for
Monsieur Rollande.”
“That is
me,” he said, in his slight French accent. A little thrill and relief suddenly
washed over me.
“Oh,
Monsieur Rollande, I’m so pleased to meet you. I’m looking for your son, Luc. I
think my daughter Scarlett is with him, at least, I hope she is. She ran away
from home. In Florida … in the United States. She said she was going to stay
with her dad, but then he called, and he hadn’t seen her, and she had these
strange charges on her credit card, and we found out she had flown to Paris to
follow Luc, and I hadn’t even ever met Luc, so I had no idea. I just got on a
plane and came right here, but I couldn’t find anyone at your wife’s apartment,
I mean, your ex-wife, I guess, and I’ve been so afraid.”
Monsieur
Rollande reached a hand forward and put it on my arm to stop my ramble. His
firm hand against my bicep steadied me, like the vibrating cat purr I had
imagined. I took a deep breath. I couldn’t collapse. 
“Come
inside,” he said. And if the situation were reversed, I didn’t know if I would
have invited this crazy lady in, the one talking to cats and watching goldfish
and then chattering a mile a minute about sons and flights and runaway
daughters.
But he led
me into his apartment. We stood just inside the entrance in a hallway that had
doors to the left and right.
“It will
be okay,” he said. And his words buoyed me, making me think that maybe it all would
be
fine, as if I had shifted part of my worry about Scarlett somewhere
else. And then, before I could blink them away, tears started to drip from my
eyes faster than I could keep up with them.
“I’m so
sorry,” I said mopping at my face. “I don’t know why I’m crying. I’ve just been
so worried, and I haven’t had anyone to help me find her.” I took a deep, shuddering
breath and resolved to both stop talking and stop crying.
“Come.
Here is the toilet. Go refresh yourself, then we will talk.”
And his
description was literal. The long narrow room held a toilet and a sink along
with a mirror on the wall. No windows. No decorative pictures. No ornamental
doilies on the toilet tank. I blew my nose into some toilet paper and dabbed at
the tracks of tears along my face.
I inhaled
deeply to get control. “I am getting closer to finding Scarlett,” I told myself
in the mirror. 
 

 

About the Author
Paulita Kincer has an M.A. in journalism from American University. She has
traveled to France 11 times, and still finds more to lure her back.
She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her
three children, two cats and one husband.
Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Paris
Runaway
.
For More Information

 

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

#INFINITEADVENTURE – Travel Guide for San Diego Old Town

My husband and I have gone to Comic-Con International: San Diego for 20 years now. For the last couple years, we’ve stayed in Old Town, but hadn’t previously had the chance to explore it. To get a sense of what was there, we decided to try out a travel guide to see what it might tell us. Moon San Diego sounded promising as it claimed to be written by a local, so we thought it might provide added insights than a better known guide.

From what it told us, the shops all seemed to close at 6 p.m. and there was absolutely no indication of any restaurants. Since we didn’t check into the hotel until 5 p.m., we raced across the street to see what we could see before everything closed… or so we thought!

It pleased us to find out not only was Old Town San Diego open longer than we thought (until 9 p.m.), there were several restaurants open until 11pm. None of these insights were provided by our travel guidebook!

So the two of us had a wonderful time just discovering Old Town San Diego on our own.

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We then went inside the Plaza de Oro, which is where most of the shops were, along with a performance stage. At the center is the restaurant  Casa de Reyes, where we enjoyed combination meals to sample a wide variety their offerings. I had a beef tamale, cheese enchilada, and my favorite Mexican food… the chile relleno!  Not to mention the great guacamole they brought to our table when we ordered it extra. As our meal got underway, musicians got on stage and performed as well.

A great evening to prep for Comic-Con, and we’re so glad we took the time. It just would have been nice to have the travel guide be more helpful. It’s probably great if you planned to spend all day there or earlier in the day.

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INFINITE ADVENTURE  is intended to try out books or related items that somehow tie in to the world of travel and personal adventure. Features will generally consist of the site administrator documenting how she attempts to use an item as part of her own travel or other adventures.

ENCHANTEDGUARDIANBOOK

BLOG TOUR – Enchanted Guardian

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Bewitching Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Enchanted Guardian

Camelot Reborn Series

Book Two

Sharon Ashwood

ENCHANTEDGUARDIANBOOK

Genre: Paranormal Romance

 

Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne

 

Date of Publication: August 1 2016

 

ISBN: 978-0373009763

ASIN: B01CNMT0DK

 

Number of pages: 300

Word Count: 85000

 

Book Description:

 

Enchanted Guardian- A love of legendary proportion

 

In another time, in a place once known as Camelot, they had been lovers. Torn apart by betrayal and lies, Lancelot Du Lac and Nimueh, the Lady of the Lake, had each suffered greatly.

 

But the magic of the fae had reawakened a man once trapped in stone, and Lancelot was determined to find his long lost love. Only, Nim was desperate to hide her fae soul, as she was marked for death by their mutual enemy.

 

Though centuries apart had not diminished their passion, they would once again face a dangerous test to prove each was the other’s destiny.

 

Book Trailer https://youtu.be/btP6qzxOmpk

 

Amazon      BN     Harlequin      Kobo    iBooks     The Book Depository 

Excerpt:

Lancelot caught her arm, pulling her up short. Nim scowled down at the long, strong fingers. Fine scars ran along his tanned knuckles, evidence of a life around blades. Heaviness filled her, a primitive reaction to the strong, aggressive male taking control of her in the most basic way. Once it might have grown into anger or lust, but now it confused her.

“Take your hand off me,” she said, letting her voice fill with frost.

“No.” He pulled her closer, turning her to face him. “You will answer my questions.”

Nim jerked her arm free. They were so close, she could feel his warm breath against her skin. “About what?”

His nostrils flared as if scenting her. Still, Nim studied his tense jaw and the blood flushing his high cheekbones. The heat of his emotions made her feel utterly hollow. His hand closed around her wrist again, almost crushing her bones.

“There are too many people here,” he growled.

“There are enough people here for safety. Perhaps I don’t want to answer you.”

His eyes held hers a moment, dark fire against the ice of her spirit. That seemed to decide him, for he pulled her close and took a better grip on her arm. “Come with me.”

“Where?”

He didn’t reply, but steered her toward the door, moving so fast she skittered on her heels. She took the opportunity to pull against him, but this time he held her fast. “Don’t.”

The threat was real. Her fighting skills were nothing compared to a knight’s. Lancelot could crush or even kill her with a single blow. Still, that didn’t make her helpless, and she would not let him forget that fact. Rising up on her toes, she put her mouth a mere whisper from his ear. “You forget what I can do. My magic is nothing less than what it was when I was the first among the fae noblewomen. I can defend myself against your brute strength.”

Just not against what he’d done to her heart. She closed her eyes a moment, feeling his breath against her cheek and remembering the past for a long moment before she denied herself that luxury. “Let me go,” she repeated.

In response, he pulled her to the side of the building, refusing to stop until he was deep into the shadows. The ground was little more than cracked concrete there, tufts of grass straggling between the stones. He pushed her against the siding, her back pressed to the rough wood. “Not until I’ve had my say.”

He had both of her arms now, prisoning Nim with the hard, muscled wall of his chest. Anyone walking by might glimpse two lovers in a private tête-à-tête, but Nim drew back as far as she could, something close to anger rising to strike. No one handled her this way, especially not him.

“Then talk,” she said through gritted teeth.

“Aren’t you even surprised to see me?” he demanded.

“Why should I be?” She needed to squash any personal connection between them. Even if she was whole and their people were not at war, he had betrayed her.

He put a hand against her cheek, his fingers rough. She jerked her chin away, burning where his touch had grazed her.

But he was relentless. “I’m told you were caught by Merlin’s spell along with the rest. I know what the fae have become.”

Soulless. As good as dead inside. Lancelot didn’t say the words, but she heard them all the same. “It’s true,” she replied. “It’s all true.”

His expression was stricken as if hearing it from her lips was poison. Good, she thought. Better to be honest. Better that he believe her to be the monster she was.

“Maybe that’s true for some. I don’t believe that about you. You still have too much fire.”

With that, he claimed her mouth in an angry kiss. Nim caught her breath, stifling a cry of true surprise. The Lancelot she’d known had been gentle and eager to please. Nothing like this. And yet the clean taste of him was everything she remembered.

His mouth slanted, breaking past the barrier of her lips to plunder her mouth. The hunger in him was bruising, going far beyond the physical to pull at something deep in her belly. Desire, perhaps, or heartbreak. She wasn’t sure any longer, but she couldn’t stop herself from nipping at his lip, yearning to feel what she had lost. A sigh caught in her throat before she swallowed it down. Surely she was operating on reflex, the memory of kisses. Not desire she might feel now. The warmth and weight of him spoke to something older than true emotion. Even a reptile could feel comfort in the sun. Even she…

Still, that little encouragement was all the permission he needed to slide his hand up her hip to her waist and she could feel the pressure of his fingers. Lancelot was as strong as any fae male, strong enough certainly to overpower her. That had thrilled her once, a guilty admission she’d never dared to make. She’d been so wise, so scholarly, so magical, but an earthy male had found the liquid center of heat buried under all that logic and light. They had always sparked like that, flint against steel.

But then his hand found her breast and every muscle in her stiffened. This was too much. Memory was one thing, but she wasn’t the same now and she refused to have a physical encounter that was nothing more than a ghost of what it should be.

Nim pushed him away. “I don’t want this.”

Something in her look finally made him stop, but his eyes glittered with arousal. “Are you certain about that?”

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

 

  • What initially got you interested in writing?

I remember writing stories pretty much as soon as I could hold a crayon. My parents were huge readers and I grew up surrounded by bookshelves. Since children believe they can do everything, I started writing and never stopped.

  • How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?

I joined a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. It’s really a terrific organization for educating writers on the practical steps of getting your book into the wild, whether that’s via traditional or independent publishing.

  • What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

First and foremost, entertainment!  I want to create worlds that readers return to over and over again. My characters do tackle issues of belonging and forgiveness, but my stories are hopeful. There’s not always an easy answer tied up in a bow, but there will be a positive ending that will leave readers satisfied and happy for the characters.

  • What do you find most rewarding about writing?

The act of writing. There is nothing better than losing myself in the realms of imagination. Wait – there is one thing better. Finding readers to share the experience! I adore hearing from people who have enjoyed my books, because that’s why I sit for hours typing and drinking cold coffee.  Storytelling is no fun without an audience.

  • What do you find most challenging about writing?

The business side of being an author can be hard. We pretty much have to build our own audiences, so a lot of time gets spent doing marketing and promotion instead of what we do best—telling fabulous tales.

  • What advice would you give to people who want to enter the field?

Take your time and write the best books you can. Write, write, read, read, and write some more. That’s how you develop skill. The first couple of manuscripts are practice pieces, however much you might

adore them. Make your mistakes, enjoy the process, and learn who you are as an artist. That’s when you can really dig deep and produce something brilliant—and that’s how you start a career.

What ways can readers connect with you?

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sharonashwood/

 

Newsletter:   http://www.sharonashwood.com/newsletter/

 

Blog: http://www.sharonashwood.com/daily-strange/

 

Website:  http://www.sharonashwood.com

 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SharonAshwood

 

Facebook Fanpage:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsharonashwood

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ASHWOODAUTHOR

Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

 

Sharon is the winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

$25 amazon gift certificate + books 1&2 of the Camelot Reborn series

(winner’s choice of paperback or ebook)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLOG TOUR – The Embodied Trilogy

DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Bewitching Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.

embodiedcollection

The Embodied Trilogy
Special Edition Ebook Collection
JB Dutton

Genre: Urban fantasy / science fiction

Date of Publication: July 11, 2016

ISBN: 9780991791842
ASIN: B01H7U1QOE

Number of pages: 560
Word Count: 183,094

Cover Artist: Alexandra Nereuta

Follow Kari’s exciting adventure in in one special edition of all three ebooks, including bonus author insights, deleted scenes and a treasure hunt quiz..

The Embodied trilogy is an unusual web of adventure, romance, fantasy, and science fiction.

Prep school student Kari Marriner is swept up in a mystery that fast becomes a thrilling adventure when she discovers that mysterious aliens called the Embodied and their pseudo-religion, the Temple of Truth, been influencing her family’s life for decades. She soon finds herself battling dragons, unicorns, and nefarious angels on the streets of New York and in the catacombs of Paris, while having her emotions torn by a handsome alien and a jealous boyfriend. In a final showdown, she must travel to the creatures’ home in the dark universe and make a heart-wrenching choice: rescue her mother or save the Earth.

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Excerpt:

The first sensation was my stomach lurching and spinning. Then I seemed to be plunging dizzily while simultaneously zooming higher on some kind of impossible rollercoaster ride. And suddenly I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was separated from any kind of physical reality, like – oh… oh wow – like I was totally disembodied. I could sense things but not see them with my eyes. I had… a sort of mathematical awareness, as though I was plugged directly into the mainframe of a supercomputer the size of the universe, my mind swimming in pure information. Geometric shapes twinkled in and out of existence. Lines and points moved around in constant motion. It felt like a dream made of numbers… patterns and data combining and separating. Spirals within spirals and symmetries within symmetries.
“Mom?” I called out. Or at least imagined myself calling out. Ripples in this web of information undulated in front of me when I said her name. “Mom? It’s me. It’s Kari.” More complex ripples floated away.
Nothing.
At that moment it occurred to me I had no way of getting back home.
“Noon?” I said hopefully. Oh man – he’d told me how to use the sphere to reach the Dark Universe but now I was here and totally disembodied, I had no way of controlling my body to remove the sphere from my forehead.
But before I could worry about this too much, the waves of information started to coalesce into more recognizable shapes. Pyramids and spheres, but not solid ones. They seemed to be made of… of symbols and binary code. That was it – they were like living equations! And then weirdly, in one of the pyramid shapes, I could recognize Noon. I felt as though I could see his mesmerizing face. Even though it was data or whatever, it was somehow him. The whole experience was kinda hypnotic. Was it even really happening? In one respect, I guess none of it was real, because I was literally seeing outside my universe.
“Kari – you made it,” I heard him say.
“Is that really you? Cilic didn’t kill you?”
“Well, he killed Embodied me, but the Mihim brought my diamond pyramid back here.”
This was super-bizarro. Now it was like the surrounding patterns had gone out of focus and I could clearly see the pyramid that was Noon’s true form.
“Wait, let me do something,” he said. “I’m going to recreate a reality you’re familiar with to make this easier for you.”
And the entire crazy churning data kaleidoscope sort of crystalized. I found myself standing in a towering hall with walls, floor, and ceiling made of what looked like sheets of sheer diamond. But in the depths of the diamond the same patterns I’d seen before were refracted in a million colors. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever encountered.

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

What initially got you interested in writing?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. While at high school in England, I initially, decided I wanted to be a journalist, but that plan faded when I started doing media studies. However in parallel I’d always been writing fiction, starting with some extremely derivative unfinished novels and short stories. I ended up getting a degree in Film and Television so when I moved to Canada I started working on screenplays and drama but my love for fiction never disappeared and I’m so grateful that I can write for a living every day!

 

How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?

To my mind, unless you’re writing a secret diary, you’re hoping that other people read your work. So it’s only logical for an author to seek publication and reach a wider audience than friends and family. Plus,  for anybody who needs income to survive (i.e. not independently wealthy or with a working spouse who earns enough for the whole family), making money from book sales is the only way to guarantee being able to pursue fiction as a career.

 

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

The key message of the Embodied trilogy is that we shouldn’t seek unattainable physical perfection. I have a young daughter and I’m concerned about the pressures she’ll face to conform to society’s norms of beauty. I really wanted to write Young Adult books that dealt with these questions within a fast-paced, unique sci-fi fantasy story. As the trilogy unfolds, this theme is expanded beyond the human body to the wider world. Is perfection in general something that we should aim for? Shouldn’t imperfection be appreciated just as much? The title character in book 2, Starley’s Rust, is a mysterious British artist who makes paintings that seem to be in decay. His works are therefore beautiful but also imperfect, as is his own physical and psychological persona. I’d love it if readers (male or female) think about these issues a little more after reading my books.

 

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

Reaching people I don’t know all over the world. I can talk to my kids anytime, but I get a huge kick out of thinking that someone in a faraway place (or even down the road!) is reading my stories. So I’m also inspired by readers who reach out to me on social media or by email with questions or comments. To me, I’m part of a giant conversation, and I love that!

 

What do you find most challenging about writing?

Finding enough hours in the day! As I mentioned, I have two young kids who I love spending time with, plus a partner who I love spending time with, friends who I love spending time with, and a computer that I love writing on! Also soccer – I spend time watching and playing that, too.

 

What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?

Read lots of books (but don’t let it become a chore) and write, write, write. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. In fact, I’d say that I you want to become a professional writer, you definitely need an editor. If you don’t have the budget to hire a pro, set up a team of beta readers to give feedback. Actually, I would have a lot more advice to share, but to stop this answer turning into an essay, I’ll finish by saying… don’t ever give up.

 

What ways can readers connect with you?

Author website: http://www.jbdutton.com

Blog: http://JohnBDutton.wordpress.com

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6949179.J_B_Dutton

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009297EM2

Professional Facebook page: http://facebook.com/JohnBDuttonAuthor

Twitter handle: @JohnBDutton

Tumblr: http://JohnBDutton.tumblr.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnbdutton

Find out more about the individual books that make up the series…

embodied1

Silent Symmetry
The Embodied Trilogy
Book One
JB Dutton

Genre: Urban fantasy / science fiction

Date of Publication: January, 2013

ISBN: 9780991791804
ASIN: B00B0534UC

Number of pages: 194
Word Count: 54,359

Cover Artist: Alexandra Nereuta

Book Description:

Kari Marriner’s earliest memory is her father’s death in a car crash back in small-town Wisconsin. Now, 12 years later, her mother has been hired by a pseudo-religious organization in Manhattan called the Temple of Truth (a.k.a. the ToT). At Chelsea Prep, Kari develops a crush on classmate Cruz. But when she realizes that Noon, another attractive guy at school, is involved with the ToT, her curiosity gets the better of her.

Kari stumbles upon a secret tunnel leading from her apartment to another in the building, where an ancient book holds images she can scarcely believe, and a cavernous room contains… something inexplicable. As Kari pieces together the incredible evidence, she discovers that the ToT is run by other-worldly beings called The Embodied who influence human behavior and have established a global long-term human breeding program. But why? And what is her role in all this?

Just as she starts wondering whether the love she feels for Cruz is genuine or if her emotions are being controlled by The Embodied, her mother is kidnapped and Kari has to figure out who is human, who is Embodied, and who she can count on to help rescue her mother.

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Excerpt:

When I got in, the apartment was empty. I dumped my stuff and had a shower. I only realized as I was drying my hair that the apartment was really empty. Flash wasn’t there. The hairdryer was his nemesis, and the feud had being going on since he was traumatized by it as a kitten. But he couldn’t resist confronting it. Whenever I blow-dried my hair he would freak, hissing and arching his back, fur standing on end. But not this time.
I turned off the hairdryer and called his name. Nothing. I made little squeaking noises with my lips, walking from room to room. Okay, this was bizarre. Where the eff could he be? There was only one sure-fire way of making him come running. I went into the kitchen and opened the cupboard where the cat food was stored. I shook the bag loudly. Silence.
Wait, there wasn’t silence.
There was a muffled voice coming from… coming from? I bent down to follow the sound. It was coming from the cupboard.
The cupboard was a medium-sized space, maybe three feet high and 18 inches wide, and as I stuck my head inside to listen I felt like I was somehow entering another world. It was a gut feeling. You know, the kind you can’t explain but know you should trust. Some people call it instinct, but Mom explained to me once that the gut and the ancient lizard brain are linked. This is the “fight or flight” response that you feel when you’re threatened. It’s helped us survive over millions of years of evolution. And it’s rarely wrong.
So what was different in there? What was my subconscious reacting to? The smell. Yes, that was it – something smelled different in there, and it wasn’t cat food. Now the muffled voice was louder, more distinctive. And I could tell that there were actually two voices, a man’s and a woman’s.
I put my head in further and another part of my gut sent me a second message. The dimensions were wrong. The cupboard stretched back much further than it should have, back beyond the kitchen wall.
I withdrew and stood up. I opened the cupboard above it and moved the cereal boxes to one side. This one was only a couple of feet deep. Looking back into the cat food cupboard, it was obvious that it went back at least a foot more.
I stood with my hands on my hips for a moment, trying to process. And where on earth was Flash? I called his name again and listened. Suddenly the voices stopped. I bent down and put my head back in the cupboard. There was a stale smell, and… was that a draft? I reached inside and felt around. The cupboard was so deep it was hard to see the back clearly. I shuffled inside, resting on my forearms and prodding the back wall with my fingers. It moved slightly. I pushed harder, and with a groan it swung open at the bottom. It was hinged somehow at the top, like a large flap. I opened the flap wider and felt a distinct whoosh of cooler, damper air hit my face. I peered through the opening but it was pitch black inside. Then the voices started again, this time much clearer. I still couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it was definitely a man and a younger woman talking.
Pushing the flap open even wider I realized that I could fit through the opening. The other side of the flap felt like a tunnel or duct the same width and height as the cupboard. The trouble was, it was too dark in there to explore it. I needed a flashlight.
Mom is nothing if not resourceful. There were always spare batteries in the house when I was a kid. A first aid kit that nurse-Mom whipped out at the first sign of fever. And a well-stocked emergency box in an easy-to-reach location.
Five minutes later I was back in the cupboard, flashlight in hand.
I wriggled inside on my hands and knees, then pushed the flap open again. I crawled through it, testing the strength of the surface beneath me as I went. The tunnel creaked a bit – I guess it was made of wood – but it seemed pretty firm. I advanced, the tunnel’s blackness stretching out in front of me. The flap swung shut and the dank air enveloped me.
I stopped and listened, probing the tunnel with the flashlight. It seemed to go on forever. “Flash?” I whispered loudly. But all I could hear were the echoey voices. I carried on crawling forward. They seemed to be getting louder. The young woman’s higher-pitched voice was easier to make out than the man’s gravelly rumble.
I thought I heard her say, “…control of it…here, I can get…here…make it…” Just snatches of sentences. The man said something in reply. When I was crawling, the noise my jeans made on the wood made it impossible to distinguish individual words in what the woman was saying. I shone the flashlight ahead of me. Was that a turn in the tunnel? As I got nearer, I could tell that there was a junction to the left in the tunnel up ahead.
I reached the bend and looked around it, the flashlight beam sweeping the tunnel walls. There was another long stretch that ended in…? A bend or a drop? “Flash?” I whispered again and listened. Now both voices were more distinct. They were definitely coming from further along the tunnel.
“…can’t stop them,” said the man.
“That’s just it,” answered the woman. Then silence.
I crawled onward, accompanied only by the swoosh and scrape of my jeans and shoes. Half a minute later I reached the end of this stretch of tunnel. Now there was a turn to the right, and a section that went upward. I raised my head to look up this chute. For a second my brain made a connection. That was it – garbage chutes! These big old buildings were usually equipped with them. Maybe that was what this was. But why did the tunnels go sideways? No, it made no sense.
I knelt at the junction, searching for an explanation. Then, before I knew what was happening, I screamed. Something had dropped from the chute and landed in front of me. Something alive. I scrambled backward, heart in mouth, the flashlight making crazy-ass shadows on the tunnel walls.
In seconds I was back at the first turn, but as I tried to crawl around it, one of the belt loops on my jeans snagged on a nail. I tried to pull it off, frantic. I glanced back down the tunnel and saw a movement. It was coming toward me. It was… Flash.
My limbs sagged, I stopped struggling, and the loop unhooked from the nail. The cat meowed and trotted up to me. Laughing in relief, I petted him. “You… you… I love you!” I said, happy to have found him. And happy that he wasn’t a giant rat. Or something worse that the depths of my imagination had conjured up in my state of panic. He purred and snuggled against my nose.
“Kari.”
I froze.
It was the young woman’s voice. Distant, but distinct. I strained my ears to hear more but I was already far from the source of the sound, and Flash’s purring obscured the rest of the words. But I know I heard it. I know I heard my name.
“Kari.”

embodied2

Starley’s Rust
The Embodied Trilogy
Book Two
JB Dutton

Genre: Urban fantasy / science fiction

Date of Publication: January 2015,
second edition April 2016

ISBN: 9781311725493
ASIN: B00ONKYNOC

Number of pages: 206
Word Count: 60,934

Cover Artist: Alexandra Nereuta

Book Description:

Six months ago, Kari Marriner’s life was torn apart. Now turned 17, she’s looking for answers in her rural Wisconsin hometown. But just as the Embodied seemed to have vanished, there’s a new, more terrifying visitor from the Dark Universe.

Back in Manhattan, a charismatic English artist named Starley convinces Kari he can find her missing mother if she flies to Paris with him. He also shares an incredible secret from the dawn of mankind. But Starley is not who he seems. Before she knows it, Kari finds herself standing in front of the Mona Lisa with him, yelling out, “He’s got a bomb!”

And that’s when things go totally insane. The Rebel Embodied’s henchman, Cilic, returns to Earth on a deadly mission. The body of Kari’s treacherous friend Aranara is washed up on the banks of the Hudson. But is she really dead? In the Paris catacombs, Kari and Starley are hunted by a nightmarish mythical creature that’s all too real.

A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari has to face them all in this fast-paced fantasy thriller.

 

 

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Excerpt:

The sun was setting behind the buildings. A big barn with half the roof missing. A grain silo. A couple of smaller shed-type buildings, one with no door, the other with the door hanging off its hinges. And a farmhouse. Windows shattered. Front door gawping at me. I gulped and sent an ILY back to Cruz. He liked those.
Then I had the strangest feeling. Like a disruption in the atmosphere, but also in my mind. The air changed somehow, and I heard a rumbling of distant thunder. I could have sworn that the fading daylight got brighter for a few seconds. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It made me stop moving. Then reality seemed to snap back to normal. I kept going toward the farmhouse.
I saw something move.
The setting sun had backlit the barn so it was hard to be sure what it was. A horse, I think. A big, black stallion moving around in the barn.
My mind filled in the blanks. Probably a horse that had escaped from a neighboring farm and made a new home for itself here. Okay, cool. No mystery. Maddie must have seen it and her mind made it fit the legend.
I lay Maddie’s bike down in the grass, careful not to make a sound. I tiptoed toward the barn, not wanting to startle it. I turned on the flashlight app on my phone. Clouds were gathering, the light was fading. More distant thunder. I just needed to find it, take a photo and show Maddie. Her grandfather would know what to do, how to capture it safely and find its owner.
I entered the barn, still creeping quietly. Ew. It certainly smelled like a barn. There was hay strewn around on the ground. My phone flashlight was practically useless. It illuminated a patch, like, five feet in front of me. In the dim light, I could make out a row of stalls on each side and a hayloft up ahead with a ladder propped against it.
Now I thought about it, the smell was kinda weird. I grew up around here and although I’d never spent any time on a farm, I sensed that there was some kind of extra, non-farm smell here. Hard to identify. But yucky and familiar all the same.
Was that an animal noise in one of the stalls on the left? Or just the wind blowing through the holes in the walls? I crept toward the stall very, very carefully. My hand holding the phone was shaking. Come on, Kari. Get a grip. The sides of the stalls weren’t high enough to conceal a horse. Unless it was lying down in the hay, of course.
I reached the stall where I thought I’d heard the noise. I waited a second, held my breath, then stepped in front of the stall’s open gate. It was empty. And that’s when the hairs stood up on the back of my neck again. But this time there was another, all-too-familiar feeling along with it.
It was the feeling I had when Noon was in my head. Yet not exactly the same. This was unpleasant, even disturbing, and somehow stronger.
I spun around. In the barn doorway stood the black stallion. Protruding from its forehead was a long, tapered horn. It really was a unicorn. It raised its head and my mind felt like a heavy blanket had been draped over it. It eyed me purposefully. My irrational fear as a little girl came flooding back, multiplied by a million. I almost peed my pants. Was this a bad dream? Maybe I would wake up surrounded by My Little Pony’s in my 8-year-old’s bedroom?
If only…
The unicorn took a step forward. The feeling in my head got even stronger and now I could swear that I heard the name Noon repeating over and over. Not his voice, just his name. Was the unicorn Embodied? I didn’t get a chance to wonder about this because now the feeling in my head was becoming worse… painful. I was convinced that my mind was being probed by this astonishing creature. In the space of a few seconds, the pain increased and so did the repetition of the name Noon until it was so excruciating that I felt like screaming. I put my hands to my temples and opened my mouth. As I was about to close my eyes, I saw the unicorn start to charge toward me.
Despite the pain, I managed to fling myself to one side and into the empty stall just before it reached me. It galloped past and I heard it stop. My head was still throbbing. I staggered to my feet, one fist still pressed to my temple. Maybe I could make a break for it.
The unicorn appeared in front of me, blocking the stall entrance. I was totally trapped. I looked around in desperation. A broken wooden handle was poking out from a pile of hay in one corner. I grabbed it and pulled out a pitchfork. The unicorn advanced into the stall, its head lowered so that its horn was aimed directly at my head. The pain coursed through my brain like a river of electricity.
I swung the pitchfork at the unicorn’s head. I missed, but it backed up, startled. I swung again. It made a snuffling sound and stepped back further.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I screamed.
The unicorn cocked its head to one side like it was listening to me. The pain in my brain diminished.
I swung again and shouted the same thing.
The unicorn drew itself up to its full height and then something even more incredible happened. It raised its tail. But this was no stallion’s tail. It was like a huge peacock tail, shimmering with shades of black, gray, and silver. The tail fanned out, probably ten feet wide, and despite the pain in my head, I lowered the pitchfork, just standing there in awe. What was this being? It seemed to possess incredible power and at the same time be unimaginably beautiful. In fact, it was all the more terrifying because it was so beautiful.

embodied3

Diamond Splinters
The Embodied Trilogy
Book Three
JB Dutton

Genre: Urban fantasy / science fiction

Date of Publication: May, 2016

ISBN: 9780991791835
ASIN: B01DFUUIA8

Number of pages: 212
Word Count: 62,257

Cover Artist: Alexandra Nereuta

Book Description:

Prep school senior Kari Marriner has a heart-wrenching choice to make: rescue her mother or prevent aliens destroying the Earth.

Having faced down mythical beasts and trans-dimensional villains, Kari has finally unraveled the mystery of the cult-like Temple of Truth and found the diamond sphere that can free her mother from the evil clutches of the Thoth high priests. But to find out how to use the sphere, Kari must team up with the one person she can never trust: Aranara, the treacherous sister of her missing soulmate Noon.

When a submarine trip to the bottom of the Hudson River ends in death and disaster, Kari is scarred, both emotionally and physically. She wants to run and hide but digs deep and finds new sources of inner strength. As the storm of the century hits New York, a child’s life hangs in the balance and Kari gambles everything in a final confrontation with the genocidal Thoth.

 

 

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Excerpt:
Aranara pushed at the hatch. Nothing happened. Whether it was the water pressure or some safety mechanism I don’t know, but she stopped trying and went back to the control panel. The sub reversed. I looked through the transparent bottom and saw Noon’s pyramid coming back into view. As soon as it was directly beneath us, she climbed onto her chair and aimed the gun at the globe-shaped acrylic window. With a surge of terror, I realized what she was about to do.
“Nooooo!” I screamed as she fired. I was kneeling on the floor of the cabin beside Mangold’s body. I automatically shielded my face. The bullet ricocheted. The dome had cracked instead of shattering. She shot twice more, not even flinching from the flying bullets. The crack spread. Water started to spray in. I reached up to try to stop her, but she held me off with one hand while she fired again with the other.
The window bulged inward. Then it burst. Water poured in and I screamed again, clawing at her uselessly as she pulled away enough acrylic to make an opening big enough to swim through. The water gushed like a torrent. She got hold of the sides of the hole she’d made and somehow managed to pulled herself out. The sub listed to one side and my reality shifted. Everything felt like a dream. I was in a reversed fishbowl. The air was inside and the water was outside, with Aranara swimming in it, downward toward Noon’s pyramid on the riverbed. The water was already up to my knees. There was nothing I could do. This was where I was going to die.
Wait – maybe one thing! I had shut Noon out. Maybe he could do something. I closed my eyes and calmed myself as best I could. “Tell Aranara to help me. I’m going to drown.”
I heard nothing. The water was up to my waist now. Spray. Smell. Sickening fear. I looked down but now it was impossible to see where Aranara was underneath the sub because of the river water rushing into the cabin. Did she already have the pyramid? Was she blocking Noon’s communication with me somehow? The water reached my chest. The dreamlike state disappeared. New panic set in. There was only one chance. Once no more water was flowing into the opening that Aranara had made, I could try swimming out through it. But we were seventy feet below the surface. Could I hold my breath long enough? I saw something move at my feet and looked down. I let out a huge scream as Mangold’s head floated up next to mine. Oh god, oh god. The water was up to my neck. I stood on the chair. My head was touching the top of the dome. The water was now level with the opening. I had to fill my lungs with as much oxygen as I possibly could from the few inches that were trapped at the top of the cabin. I breathed deeply. One, two, three deep breaths. The water lapped at my chin. Four. I held my breath.
I pushed off the chair toward the opening. It was barely wide enough. But before I could reach it, the submarine pitched downward. The hatch hit me in the back. The opening was further away than before, below me now. I swam toward it. The acrylic was at least an inch thick. I caught hold of the edge of the opening with one hand and pulled myself forward. As my head went through, the submarine lurched to one side. A searing pain in my cheek. I held on tight. Now I could use both hands to pull myself through. Then I was out. My lungs were already starting to hurt. Daylight was so far away up above. Suddenly an arm circled my waist. It was Aranara. She didn’t even look at me, just kicked with both legs, pulling me away from the listing sub. I felt myself getting dizzy as we rose faster than a normal person would be able to. The pressure was enormous. The air was forced out of my lungs. I passed out.

About the Author:

After graduating from film school in London, England, JB Dutton emigrated to Montreal in 1987, where he still lives with his two young children and their even younger goldfish. He spent over a decade as a music TV director before moving into the advertising industry as an award-winning copywriter for clients such as Cirque du Soleil. JB Dutton has written novels, short stories, blogs, screenplays and a stage play. He also writes adult fiction under the name John B. Dutton.

Website: www.jbdutton.com

Blog: http://JohnBDutton.wordpress.com

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6949179.J_B_Dutton

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009297EM2

Professional Facebook page: http://facebook.com/JohnBDuttonAuthor

Twitter handle: @JohnBDutton

Tumblr: http://JohnBDutton.tumblr.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnbdutton/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://johnbdutton.wordpress.com/newsletter-signup/

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