Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Semper Fi by Keira Andrews

The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.

But when Jim’s wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn’t know a thing about apple farming—or children—but he’s determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend’s support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?

***Note: Contains scenes of violence and post-traumatic stress. 95,000 words***

What can I say about this story? It's freaking amazing!  I loved the blend of wartime and postwar dramatics.  Some might find the alternate wartime and 1948 POVs to be a bit of a flow issue, but I did not.  You can't help but love both Cal and Jim.  Cal's wit is a perfect companion to Jim's straight-laced by-the-book way of life that you just know when the moment comes, they will be adorable and explosive at the same time.  I was pleasantly surprised how the author took Sophie, Jim's daughter.  When we first meet her, she's not exactly too keen on welcoming "Uncle Cal".  In my reading experiences, there are usually 3 kinds of ways to write kids. The first is super sweet and immediately accepting of all things new.  The second, complete brats that never come around until the last page. Then the third, bratty turned lovable after some kind of crisis or disaster.  All three types have a place in stories but I found Semper Fi fell into the third category, although "crisis" is a little strong for the scenario that starts to warm Sophie to Cal, and done expertly.  I really thought I wasn't going to be too fond of Sophie but I came to love her.  This is the first time I've read this author but I can safely say it won't be the last.


Cal’s throat felt drier than the dirt road as he steered his Cadillac past the painted sign reading Clover Grove Orchard in neat script above a faded red apple. Gravel pelted the undercarriage of the car, which had only ever driven down paved city boulevards. The laneway took a few gentle turns before ending at a two-story farmhouse. He pulled up next to a rusted red pickup and killed the engine.

The white wooden house had a red door and a few small windows, and the shingled roof rose to a peak above the second floor. To Cal, it was exactly what he imagined a farmhouse should be. Simple and unadorned. Workmanlike yet homey. Off to the left was a small barn, its dark green paint peeling. A cow and two horses wandered a fenced-in area of brownish grass beside it, and a large storage shed stood behind the barn.

Beyond that the ground sloped down to the orchard, where row upon row of apple trees grew into the distance. Cal got out of the car and stretched, breathing the spring air deeply. He caught movement at the top of the rise, and Jim walked over the crest of the gentle hill, his light hair gleaming in the sun. Breath caught, Cal forced his lungs to expand.

He should never have come.

Tall and lean, Jim had the body of a man who worked the land from sunup to sundown. The sleeves of his plaid shirt and light jacket were rolled to the elbows, and his dungarees fit his slim hips snugly. He walked with an even, measured stride—not too fast, not too slow. Steady as always.

It was all Cal could do not to run to him. The longing burned his chest, and his heart thumped. In the past three years, Cal had almost convinced himself his feelings had faded. Almost.

A big shaggy brown dog bounded out of the orchard, barking loudly. Jim whistled and brought it to heel as he reached Cal. Smiling softly, Jim extended his hand. Cal tried to ignore the flare of excitement that skittered up his spine as their palms connected, keeping his smile relaxed.

They hugged briefly, slapping each other on the back. They were both just over six feet, with Jim a little taller, and Cal couldn’t help but think of how perfectly they fit together. Jim’s scent sparked a hundred memories that flitted through his mind like a newsreel.

Concentrating on an easy tone, Cal stepped back and let the dog smell his hand. “I see you’ve got quite a guard dog here.” After a cursory sniff, the animal licked Cal’s fingers and rubbed against his leg.

“Oh yeah. Finnigan’s a real killer. His bark is a heck of a lot worse than his bite, but he does keep the deer away from the trees.”

“Deer give you trouble? Hey, you don’t have any bears out here, do you?” Cal put on an exaggeratedly serious expression.

“Tons of bears. They love city slickers.”

“They are known for their refined palate.” Cal crouched down and scratched behind Finnigan’s floppy ears. “This guy keeps the deer from eating your crop?”

“Yep, he patrols the orchard. I built him a little house out there, and he does a real fine job. Comes and sees us every so often throughout the day, but always does his rounds. Best employee I’ve ever had.”

“You’re my competition, huh, Finnigan?” The dog eagerly flopped on his back and Cal rubbed his tummy. “Which breed is he?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. He showed up one day a few years ago, limping and awfully thin. We couldn’t turn him away.”

“And now you’ve got another stray at your doorstep.” Cal stood, grinning.

Jim grinned back. “I guess I do. Did you find the place all right?”

“Yep. It looks great, Jim.” Cal waved his arm around to indicate the orchard. “This is all yours?”

“All sixty acres.” He shrugged. “It’s not much, but it’s home. I’m sure it’s awfully…basic compared to what you’re used to in the city.”

“Hey, in case you’ve forgotten our jaunt through the Pacific already, I’ve roughed it with the best of them.”

Jim chuckled. “True enough. Look, it’s not the jungle, but are you sure you’re up for this? Not that I don’t appreciate your help, but I’m sure I could find someone local. I don’t want to put you out.”

Cal clapped a hand on Jim’s shoulder. “After being cooped up in New York and London, I’m ready for a little fresh air and hard work. Point me to the nearest shovel. Or whatever I need to take care of apple trees.”

Jim’s eyes twinkled. “Let me show you around first.”

They fell into a comfortable stride as if no time had passed at all. Jim led the way into the barn past a small coop where several chickens clucked. The dim, hay-strewn interior of the building revealed farming equipment, several stalls for animals, and a well-worn ladder leading to a small loft.

It smelled of animals and musky earth with the hint of manure, but wasn’t unpleasant. In fact, Cal’s blood stirred as Jim leaned close to him to point out the chicken coop. It had only been minutes, and simply being near Jim set him off. How was he going to spend hours a day with him and not humiliate himself?

“I know it needs a good cleaning. It’s just been at the bottom of the list.”

Cal realized he was frowning, and quickly smiled. “No, no, it’s great. So the cow and horses live in here?”

As Jim explained the daily schedule for milking the cow, Mabel, and caring for the horses and chickens, Cal nodded and tried to pay attention. But his belly flip-flopped, and he felt like a schoolgirl going to her first dance. He truly had been a fool to think time and distance could change anything.

He followed along into the house through the kitchen door. Pale yellow curtains fluttered in the breeze over the sink, and a round wooden table fit neatly in the corner by the pantry. A gas stove stood in the other corner with a pot of something that smelled like oniony beef stew simmering on top.

Cal inhaled loudly. “Are you telling me you could’ve been whipping up gourmet delights all those years we were starving in the jungle?”

Jim feigned offense. “Hey, no one unwrapped a D-ration bar quite like I did. But I can’t take credit for this.” He motioned toward the pot. “Courtesy of Mrs. O’Brien. She helps out with Adam during the day and cooks dinner. She’ll be meeting Sophie off the school bus now before she heads home. There’s frozen applesauce too. You’ll be sick of apples soon enough, but I thought you’d like it tonight. Tastes almost like ice cream.”

“Sounds great.” Dessert was swell, but at the mention of Sophie and Adam, Cal’s stomach knotted. He hadn’t spent more than five consecutive minutes with children since he’d been one himself. He hoped they wouldn’t be too…complicated.

By the stove stood a starkly white refrigerator. Cal smiled. “Look at this. First electricity and now a refrigerator. Next you’ll tell me you’re getting a phone.”

Jim’s forehead furrowed. “Who would I talk to out here?”

“The rest of the world? People who might want to buy your apples?”

“I already have people to buy my apples. Wilson’s grocery stores buy all the apples I can grow. I don’t need the rest of the world. Besides, I had a shower head put in last year. Things are plenty modern around here.”

“Very true. Although you could have talked to me on the phone.”

“I wrote you letters, Cal. It’s not my fault you’re a terrible correspondent.”

“Moi? I take offense at that insult to my fine, upstanding character.”

Chuckling, Jim led him through a dining area and sitting room off the main hall. The walls were covered with faded floral wallpaper—small bouquets of pink, white and yellow on a blue background. A fine layer of dust covered the figurines displayed in a hutch by the dark sofa. Cal suspected the furnishings were Jim’s mother’s choices when the house was built after World War I.

Upstairs were three bedrooms. The first at the front of the house contained two small beds, with an open toy chest beneath the window. Several dolls spilled out, and Jim tidied them up as if embarrassed by the clutter.

Next was the neat and spare guest room. A double bed filled the center of the room, and a wooden chair sat in the corner. The oak dresser rested against pale blue wallpaper.

“Hope this’ll be okay for you.”

Cal smiled. “Of course. It’s perfect. Everything I need. Nice big window and everything.”

Next was the bathroom, and then the main bedroom at the back of the house. Jim’s headboard was simple dark wood, and Cal breathed deeply as he took in the bed. Jim would be sleeping here every night. So close but so incredibly far away.

A cheval glass stood in the corner by the window, and two dressers of matching dark wood filled the rest of the room. The closest was Jim’s, with a simple comb resting on top, alongside—

Cal’s heart skipped a beat. Beside the comb was the gold watch. He swallowed hard. “You know you’re supposed to wear that. It tells time and everything. That’s why I gave it to you.”

Jim’s lips twitched. “Yes, I heard a rumor. But I don’t want to get it scratched up out in the orchard. It’s for special occasions.”

“Guess you use the position of the sun to tell time, huh? Like Davy Crockett?”

Jim smiled. “Yeah, something like that.”

Beside the watch sat Jim’s battered dog tags, coiled neatly. Cal brushed them with his fingertips. In London he’d come close one night to throwing his tags into the Thames, but in the end he’d locked them away in a safe deposit box with his papers.

Cal’s eyes were inexorably drawn to the other dresser. Atop it sat several items on a yellowing lace doily. A velvet jewellery box that had probably never held anything like the diamonds and gold that adorned Cal’s mother. A gilded brush and comb set, neatly arranged side by side. A small bottle of perfume that Cal guessed smelled of some sort of sweet bloom. A pot of face cream.

The remnants of a life.

Cal turned to Jim, who wore the stoic expression Cal had etched in his memory since boot camp—only his eyes betraying a weary sadness. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it back for the funeral.”

“You were working in London. I understand.” Jim tried to smile, but didn’t quite make it. He reached for the other item resting on the dresser, a silver-framed wedding photo.

Ann wore a simple white dress without a veil, and only a sprig of delicate flowers tucked into her dark hair to match her small bouquet. She smiled widely on Jim’s arm, her eyes crinkling. Jim stood ramrod straight, posing seriously.

Jim straightened the frame’s position a fraction of an inch before stepping back. “I’m sorry you never got the chance to come out and meet her.”

“Yeah. So am I.”

Cal’s gut burned with shame. Standing in the woman’s bedroom six months after her death, deep down he still prickled with jealousy and resentment. She’d had what Cal never would. Never could. Part of him still hated her for that, as unfair as it was.

As much as he’d shared with Jim in those three and a half years of the war, it could never be this. The truth was, Cal had hoped he wouldn’t have to meet Jim’s wife, and had used every excuse in the book to avoid it. He’d often wondered what they’d make of each other. Now she was gone, and he’d never know.

He should tell Jim he’d made a mistake. Make his excuses and speed away from Clover Grove. Never, ever looking back. It would be best for both of them in the end. Cal would only mess everything up if he stayed, and Jim would understand if Cal left now. Jim always understood.

Squaring his shoulders, Cal took a deep breath. No. He wouldn’t run. He’d stayed away this long for his own sake. Now he had to put Jim first. Even if they couldn’t be together in the way Cal wanted, it would be enough. He hadn’t been here when Jim needed him, and Cal wouldn’t let him down this time.

“It’s a beautiful home you’ve got here, Jim.”

Jim exhaled. “Thanks.” The door slammed downstairs, and footsteps echoed. Jim’s solemn expression melted away, and his face lit up in a way Cal hadn’t seen in a very long time.

“Come meet the kids.”

“I’m beginning to think they’re out of boats.”

Jim kept his gaze forward and whispered, “What?”

As they marched on in close order drill in the gray afternoon, backs ramrod straight, legs striding in unison to the DI’s cadence, Cal didn’t turn his head either. “The only reason they could possibly have for marching us around this much is that we’re walking to Japan.”

Lips twitching, Jim fought a smile. “Right through the ocean, huh?”

“Yep. This rain is just a warm-up for the real thing.”

“Plaatooon, halt!” Tyrell bellowed.

The men staggered to a stop, rifles clattering together. Jim blinked the rain out of his eyes and waited to find out why Tyrell had stopped them. It could be safely assumed that the recruits had done something wrong. As always.

From the corner of his eye, he could see Tyrell slowly stride down the column of men, eyes sharp like a predator stalking its prey. Jim prayed he would pass Cal by just this once and pick on one of the other recruits. Not that Jim wished them any harm, but he hadn’t gotten to know them. Everyone knew that once their six weeks of training was through, their platoon would be scattered throughout the Corps. No sense in getting attached.

But it was different with Cal. As much as Jim wanted the time to go quickly so he could officially be a Marine—and not stuck in this purgatory—he dreaded the day he would no longer have Cal at his side to raise a sardonic eyebrow or give him a hand, strong and sure, when he struggled at the top of the climbing wall during PT.

“Forrrward march!”

As they set out again, it happened so quickly that Jim wasn’t sure if Tyrell tripped him or if Cal had unluckily stumbled. Jim could only catch the edge of Cal’s rain poncho for a moment before Cal sprawled forward in the mud, crashing into the man in front of him, who staggered but remained upright.

“Plaatooon, halt!”

Shouldering his rifle, Jim sank to his knees beside Cal, who sputtered, wiping mud from his face as he glared up at Tyrell looming over them.

Tyrell narrowed his gaze on Jim. “Recruit! On your feet!”

The words were out before Jim could stop them. “He could be hurt, sir.”

Jim had grasped Cal’s shoulder, but Cal shook him off. “I’m fine.” He hissed under his breath as he moved to his feet, “Get up!”

Clambering up as well, Jim stood at attention once more, eyes on the helmet of the man in front of him. They all waited with bated breath for Tyrell’s next move. The freezing rain pelted down, and all else was silent. Jim tensed from head to toe, wondering if Cal was hurt. Cal seemed to be standing fine beside him.

Finally Tyrell spoke. Instead of his usual red-faced roar, he addressed Cal with an eerie calm. “This is what happens when you don’t stay in step, recruit.”

“Yes, sir.” Cal’s voice was flat.

“You’re filthy, recruit.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Get out of that disgusting uniform.”

Cal hesitated. “Sir?”

With a swift intake of air, Tyrell unleashed at full volume. “Did I stutter? You’re a disgrace to this platoon! You’re not fit to wear that uniform, so get it off! On the double! Down to your skivvies!”

From the corner of his eye, Jim watched as Cal stripped, awkwardly shifting his rifle from arm to arm since he couldn’t dare put it down in the mud. He hopped on one foot as he struggled to yank his trousers off over his boots. Jim clenched his fists, pressing his arms to his sides.

Once Cal stood at attention again, Tyrell inspected him. He barked, “Pick up those revolting pieces of clothing. You think I’m gonna carry them back to the barracks for you?”

Cal did as he was told, balling up his uniform and tucking it under this arm. “No, sir!”
“Forrrward march!”

They were off again. Jim caught glimpses of Cal’s chest, the dark hair scattered across it matted down by the relentless, icy rain. As they marched on interminably, Cal began to noticeably shiver. Jim wanted to give him his own poncho and tell Tyrell to go to the devil, but knew it would only make things worse.

When they finally returned to the hub of the base, Marines laughed and hollered at Cal, whistling and breaking into a ribald song. Jim could see the stony set of Cal’s jaw as he ignored them. They were finally dismissed for an hour to write letters, but Cal headed straight to the head.

Although he was eager to write home, Jim followed. The empty shower room was large and open. Still in his muddy boots, Cal dropped his gear and clomped over to one of the showers and turned on the water. His soaked white briefs clung to his buttocks.

For some reason, group showers always made Jim strangely bashful and uncomfortable, even back in high school phys ed. He’d seen Cal and all the other recruits naked by this point, and didn’t want to be labeled a prude. Yet there was something about the sight of Cal in his boots and see-through skivvies that made Jim flush and turn away.

He realized Cal needed dry clothes, and hurried back to the barracks to retrieve Cal’s spare uniform and towel. When he returned, Cal still stood beneath the spray of water, his legs parted and arms braced against the wall.

Jim spoke, his voice croaking. “Cal?” He cleared his throat. “You’d better get dressed. Tyrell’s likely to call off the personal time any minute and get us marching again.”

With a nod, Cal turned off the water. A crooked smile lifted his lips when he saw Jim holding his spare clothes. “Thanks.”

As Cal bent to unlace his boots, Jim made himself busy at the sink, scrubbing his hands even though they didn’t need it. In the chipped mirror, he glanced at Cal toweling dry and dressing. When Cal swore under his breath, Jim turned around. “Okay?”

“Damn buttons.” Cal had on his undershirt, but struggled with his uniform.

Jim stepped closer and realized Cal’s hands were shaking. He reached out and covered Cal’s fingers with his own, wincing when he felt how cold they were, even after the warm shower. “Here. Let me.”

Although clearly about to argue, Cal acquiesced and lowered his arms to his sides. Jim inched closer, but found his own hands clumsy as he tried to button Cal’s shirt in the opposite way he was used to. “Wait, this’ll be easier.”

He moved behind Cal and reached around him, pressing against his back as he pushed each button through its hole. Cal seemed to be holding his breath, and didn’t move a muscle. When the last button was through, Jim stepped back and slapped Cal lightly on the back. “There you go. Ready for action.”

Cal mumbled a reply, face flushed. Jim was glad the shower and dry clothes had done the trick and that Cal was warming up again.

Author Bio:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” 

EMAIL: keira.andrews@gmail.com


Passed the Moments, Through the Tears, Out of Concrete by Me’Shon La’Kair

Title: Passed the Moments, Through the Tears, Out of Concrete
Author: Me’Shon La’Kair
Genre: Poetry
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Upland Avenue Publishing
Cover Design: Upland Avenue Publishing
Me’Shon La’Kair’s experiences have been captivated through words that flow effortlessly on these pages, which have been brought to life so vividly. Professing the struggles of a fatherless childhood to the illnesses of Epilepsy and Type 2 Diabetes that proclaim thousands of lives every day. While being a Christian trying to hold strong to her faith in a world of curiosities. Still recognizing God’s beauty through its purest form and sharing her testimony with the world.
Her work embodies a truth that many can relate to and learn from. It possess her views on love, life, politics, religion, and the harsh realities of this world past and present. Sharing life’s obstacles and breakthroughs is what makes this book a profound read. Her poetry uplifts, edifies, and encourages the masses. Ranging from the importance of education to a mother’s love Passed the Moments, Through the Tears, Out of Concrete is a must read.

My Outlet
Exclusively written for the ones who understand
That what I’m saying comes and doesn’t demand
Anything more or less
But is written to make one visualize my creativeness
It’s not just words on a page, but an abundance of thoughts
That were trapped and caged
Now freed beyond the finite walls which we possess
Written and shown so the world can have a look at its uniqueness
Gifted and blessed to have been given God’s best
Which is my outlet to express
Its job is to uplift and relate to others with the same situation on their plate
Freedom of speech or expression has no room for others to debate
Because it survives in a world where others can appreciate    

Author Bio:
Me'Shon La'Kair is an up and coming author who is a native of Baton Rouge, LA she has been writing since the age of 14. She has received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Southeastern Louisiana University. She has recently published her first book called Passed the Moments, Through the Tears, Out of Concrete.
She is a member of Omega Phi Alpha which is a National Community Service Organization. She writes poetry, fiction, and short stories but her favorite form of writing is poetry. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and she also likes traveling, sports, and reading.


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Sales Blitz: Shadows of Fate by Angela Dennis

Title: Shadows of Fate
Author: Angela Dennis
Series: Shadow Born #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: April 8 2014
Redemption lies beyond the veil between truth and lies.

After witnessing her husband’s brutal murder, Brenna Baudouin lost control of her Shadow Bearer powers and wreaked havoc on her home world. Her penance: one hundred years policing hordes of supernatural misfits that spilled onto the Earthly plane after a cataclysmic war.

She’s on a routine exorcism run when she learns she’s been assigned a new partner. But there’s something about this Shadow Bearer that sparks her suspicions. Particularly when people closest to her start turning up as piles of ash.

Gray Warlow holds tight to the glamour that allows him to get close to the woman on whom he plans to wreak vengeance for betraying his people. Yet as he skillfully manipulates his way past her distrust, he begins to see her not as the heartless monster he was led to believe, but a strong, vulnerable woman.

As they work to put together the pieces of a killer’s macabre puzzle, an attraction deeper than blood and bone flares between them. And they must reveal their deepest secrets to avoid becoming the final targets.

Warning: A thrill ride of supernatural proportions. Contains violent battle scenes, nail-biting suspense, crazy hot sexual tension, and enough twists and turns to make your head spin.

Her gaze stretched to the bar. Beneath the glittering liquor bottles and burnt oak, a bottle of Jack in one hand and Grey Goose in the other, stood her target. Dirty blond hair brushed past his eyebrows, the rest tied back in a rubber band. He seemed innocent enough. As he flipped a glass bottle behind his back, muscles rippling on his shirtless body, magic seeped from his skin. It flowed around the women stretched across the bar, their assets on display as well as their lust.

Thankfully, he didn't get much bang for his buck. This one was weak. Newly possessed, the demon hadn't had time to gain a strong enough lock on the victim’s body. This shouldn't take long. The piles of paperwork she had left on her desk might even get done tonight.

She pushed through the crowd, stripping her leather duster off her shoulders as she went. The black corset underneath, paired with tight leather pants, flattered her figure. She turned heads, especially the demon’s. She released the hair tie at the back of her neck. With a quick shake, her burnt copper curls slid down to her waist. She stopped at one of the tiny tables and threw her coat across the barstool.

Eyes closed, she pretended the music was something more aesthetically pleasing as she stepped onto the dance floor, keeping her mark at the forefront of her mind. She felt his eyes on her body as she swayed to the music. Hips gyrating to the heavy beat, she pulled on her glamour to blend in with the other dancers as she let her magic wrap his body. Losing herself in the music, she let him watch her move, feeling his desire amp. His energy vibrated as he made his way through the crowd, his power wild.

His hands draped her hips and he pulled her to him, his magic sliding over her body. Darkness tinged her aura, but she shrugged it off. Dealing with demon magic never got easier, but his wasn't powerful. Grinning, she wrapped her hand around his neck, pulling him close until her lips brushed his ear. His burning skin jumped against her touch.

They stilled for a moment as the DJ switched tracks. “Think you could get me a drink?” she breathed, brushing a hand down his bare back. “I’m thirsty.” She grinned as he nodded, eager, the demon jumping beneath his skin.

“Anything for you, darlin’.” He wrapped a possessive arm around her waist, moving her toward the bar. “What’s your poison?”

“Whiskey. Straight.”

A grin played on his lips. “My kinda woman.”

Pushing past the other bartender, he grabbed a bottle of Jack and poured her shot. She caught it as it slid across the splintered wooden bar. Tossing it back, she reveled in the slow burn of the liquor. It was an old favorite. Just cause she was working didn't mean she couldn't treat herself.

She tossed back a second shot, thankful she didn't have the ability to get drunk. Giving the demon her best longing look, she leaned forward. “Thanks. I needed that,” she murmured. “What’s your name?”


Leaning forward, she traced a finger down her cleavage. “Do you think you could give me a ride home, Zed?” she asked. She bit one finger in a nervous gesture, knowing he was buying it. “My friend went home with some guy and left me here. I can wait.”

His eyes flashed, and she knew she had him.

“Sure.” He glanced at the other bartender. “Give me a second. I got off an hour ago.”

Sure you did, she thought.

A few seconds later he was back, pulling on a t-shirt as he walked. The gesture was surprisingly human. With the demon hiding inside, the brimstone dancing in his blood would keep his body uncomfortably hot, eventually burning him alive from the inside out. It may be the middle of winter, but he would never feel the cold.

He held up his keys as she rose to meet him. “My truck’s out back.”

She moved closer, letting him drape an arm over her shoulder. “Let me grab my coat.” The duster was where she had left it. She draped it over her arms as she turned on her psychic link with Xavier. The mage accepted, and Brenna turned to the demon, knowing Xavier was watching through her eyes. At this point, the mark’s lust was so inflamed he wouldn't notice the slight change of color in her irises.

Wrapping her free arm around Zed’s waist, she led him through the mass of patrons to the exit. As they stepped into the wintry air, she noticed the bikers again. They stood beside their Harleys, watching her warily as she passed. She worried the tension might give her away, but Zed was oblivious.

She led him over the cobblestone to where Xavier waited. As they closed in on the shadows, she could feel Zed’s eagerness spike.

The darkness moved over them, hiding them from prying eyes. Xavier’s power sang in the night, a compass pointing her to the van. Leaving Zed to follow behind, she moved to the gray van and pressed her back against its side. Zed moved toward her, all pretense of humanity stripped away. The graceless stride betrayed his hunger as green scales peeled away his skin and his eyes turned to blood red slits.

Brenna waited until he was on her, scales chaffing the sensitive skin of her face, then she dropped her glamour. The demon jerked back as her magic wrapped around his body, but it was too late. In one swift movement, she pulled the blade strapped to her back free and ripped the already tattered t-shirt away from his chest. Shifting her body weight, she slammed him against the vehicle even as his body mass grew, the demon pushing its way to the surface. One hand held Zed steady, the other slipped beneath his jeans to feel the skin of his hip.

“A little to the left,” the demon growled, body shaking, titillated despite itself.

He shifted his weight and slammed her against the brick wall behind her. His body pressed hard against hers, he ran a scaly tongue across her cheek. “You don’t have to get hostile, darlin’. I don’t mind if you like it rough.”

She let her power surge and kneed him in the crotch. Sparks flew as her spell sent him flying against the van. Keeping him in place with a holding spell, her fingers found the rune carved on his hip. She ripped away the denim as she tried to control the squirming demon.

“A little help?” she called out. She had pulled back the spell. Her full body weight was pressed against the demon, but he was starting to get free. Her magic had to be focused on breaking the possession; she couldn't waste it restraining Casanova.

She released the demon as Xavier stepped from the shadows and slammed it against the van again. Subdued, the creature glared at them, its red eyes filled with hatred. Another hard slam dazed the creature, but only for a moment.

A flick of her hand and the back of the van opened. Xavier shoved Zed inside. As soon as he was strapped into the harness, Brenna ripped off his jeans. His hips now bare, she was able to see the rune carving, fresh as she had hoped.

Her ceremonial blade pulsed in her hand as she charged it with her energy.
Zed spit at her. The saliva sizzled across the corset, burning a hole in the leather.

Damn. That had been one of her favorites.

“Stuff something in its mouth. I need to concentrate.”

“Deal with it. Even in the harness this thing is a bitch to restrain.” White lines creased Xavier’s eyes, and Brenna worried his injuries were more severe than he let on.

Zed’s fingers began to work the trappings of the harness, but Xavier pulled him back, one arm around his scaly neck. In an explosion of power, Zed pulled free, knocking Xavier into the side of the van. Saliva dripping from his fangs, Zed growled at Brenna, and snapped the other wrist free. Jumping across the van, he pinned Brenna beneath him. Spittle fell from his lips, scorching its way across her skin. She pressed her palm against his face and pushed with all her strength, ignoring her burning flesh. Then, suddenly, he was gone.

Getting to her feet, she saw Xavier had strapped the beast back into the restraints.

“You got it?” Once she started, she wouldn't be able to help him anymore. All of her energy would go into the exorcism.

“Yeah. Hurry.”

A sharp giggle jarred Brenna’s attention. Looking up, she caught Hilda peering through the glass from the front seat. “If he passes out, I can help.”

“This isn't a game.”
Zed slammed against his restraints. “I like ghosts. They burn like whiskey going down.”

“Shut up,” Xavier growled.

Tuning them out, Brenna let the words of the exorcism spell spill from her lips. Her hand pressed against the rune on the demon’s hip. The carving glowed and the green light grew until it filled the van.

Zed fought against the restraints. Obscenities, the kind only a demon would know or understand, ricocheted throughout the vehicle.

Xavier stuck a thick leather strap in the demon’s mouth, cutting off his tirade.
Brenna gathered her magic. It pooled through her and into the athame as she sliced the silver blade into the center of the rune. Blood seeped from the wound, spilling over the green light. It exploded with power, slamming Brenna against the van. Xavier fared better, still wrapped around the demon. He was surrounded by a musty green steam that reeked of brimstone.

Continuing the chant, Brenna pulled a pouch of blessed sand from the crevice between her breasts. Throwing a pinch onto the rune, she banished the demon back behind the Veil. Golden steam rose from the wound. It twined around Brenna thick and dense, but she continued to chant even as its foulness tried to seep inside her mouth.

Darkness teased the edges of her vision for a few moments, then the warmth of Xavier’s power wrapped around her body like a shield, pushing out the demonic essence. Time stood still as the final words filled the air. Then, in a flash, the beast was gone.

Author Bio:
Angela Dennis lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband, son and a sheltie with a hero complex. When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.

You can visit Angela at her blog. She loves to hear from her readers, so don’t forget to find her on Twitter to chat.

EMAIL: angeladennisauthor@yahoo.com

Shadows of Fate #1
AMAZON AU  /  B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

Fading Light #2
AMAZON AU  /  B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

Piercing the Darkness #2.5(Pre-Order)
AMAZON AU  /  B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe
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Release Day Blitz: All About Us by Ashley Erin

Title: All About Us
Author: Ashley Erin
Series: All or Nothing #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Emma is broken inside. After tragedy strikes she returns to her childhood home in hopes to heal her heart. Reconnecting with old family friends, Emma is unprepared for the way her long lost friend, Dane, makes her feel. Emma fights the attraction, but Dane is a man impossible to resist. What she doesn’t expect is for Dane to pursue her with a determination that makes her resolve waver. His ability to calm the storm that rages inside her and the way he makes her pulse race is a dangerous combination. She is risking everything. Can Emma set aside her fears and give Dane a chance? Her walls will break, her heart will be tested and she will never be the same.
**All About Us is the first in a series of standalone novels. It does not have a cliffhanger, and can be read on it’s own.**

Author Bio:
Ashley has a degree in Psychology and has worked in the Human Services field for five years. It has been a long time dream of hers to write a novel and thus began All About Us.
She lives in Spruce Grove with her boyfriend, two dogs and four cats. She also has a horse she loves with all her heart. When she is not reading and writing, you can find her on social media.

Website is under construction

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Dante's Redemption by Jaime Whitley

Title: Dante's Redemption
Author: Jaime Whitley
Series: Salvation #1
Genre: Erotica
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Dante Santoro knew he was destined for great things. Growing up with two dead beat parents, Dante was forced to become an adult before his time. Deciding to change the world, Dante distanced himself from the only life he knew, the life of drugs and crime.
After going through school and training, Dante became a detective in the local police force. Keeping focused on getting drugs off the streets, he limited friends and outside connections.

Finding himself the perfect candidate to go undercover, he never anticipated the one person he thought was safe could jeopardize it all.

Will Dante be able to succeed at making the streets a safer place or will his destiny alter the course of the life he lives forever?

     It’s so easy to think you’re invincible when you’re a kid. No one tells you any different, so you’re led to believe that you’re untouchable. When you play with your GI Joes, Snake Eyes always takes down the bad guys; and good always prevails over evil. Your parents just smile and watch you play and protect your innocence. Then you grow up and you learn that good doesn’t always win. In the end we all die, there is no escaping the fact that we won’t live forever. When your time is up, it’s up. There’s no cheating death.
     I always knew growing up I was destined to make something great of myself. I was going to have purpose in this ugly world and bring some beauty into it. I just didn’t know how I was going to do it. It’s hard to find yourself when your mother’s a drug addict and your dad walked out on you at the age of four. Not really the best role models for a kid.
     Most people would use that as their excuse to slack off and not have to follow the rules. Feel entitled to do whatever the fuck they wanted because life handed them a shitty hand. Not me, I took it as my chance to prove to everyone out there that there are no excuses; you create your own future.
     I studied hard through school and my grades excelled. I joined every sports team I could to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t have to go home to my mom. I eventually had to get a part-time job at an auto shop to help pay for my food. My mother never seemed to care if I had food on the table. The only thing she cared about was how she was going to get her next fix I had no choice but to provide for myself or I would go hungry.
     Still, I never resented her. Her addiction made me stronger and taught me that hard work pays off.      Fast forward and here I am, thirty years old and a DEA Agent with a nice record of busts under my belt. Ironic isn’t it? I grew up with a drug addict and now I take down drug dealers. Dante Santoro, the biggest walking contradiction to the drug world. Nice to meet you.

Author Bio:
Jaime Nicole Whitley is a wife and a stay at home mom to her two children. She grew up in New Jersey where she continued her education and became a medical assistant. She now lives in North Carolina where her husband is stationed with the Army. Jaime also co-writes novels under the name Lena Nicole.


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Release Day Blitz: Graceful Scars by Savannah Stewart

Title: Graceful Scars
Author: Savannah Stewart
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Graceful, the word itself was instilled into Tegan Carter’s head at an early age, but anymore she feels far from graceful. When her world is turned upside down she finds herself spiraling into the darkness without any light in sight, until Talon Fisher walks into her life.

Trying to find herself again, Tegan is faced with a dilemma she doesn’t want to encounter. But will her scars keep her from allowing herself a second chance at a normal life, or will she continue to free fall into the darkness?


Author Bio:
From the Most Beautiful Small Town of America & the Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown, Kentucky, Savannah Stewart writes Contemporary Romance, New Adult, and Romantic Suspense novels. She is very much a Leo, with one fur baby named, Jack. She's a Book-a-holic who loves music, tattoos, photography, singing, writing, & laughing. One of her favorite quotes is "Love is the beauty of the soul."


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