Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Tor Maddox by Liz Coley

Series: Tor Maddox
Author: Liz Coley
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller

INTRODUCING Tor Maddox, a heroine for our times

“I know that one day, I’m going to have to live in the real world. I’d like it to be a decent one.” - Tor

Tor Maddox: Disarmed #.5
A short story introducing Tor Maddox, a heroine for our times.
Prequel to the Tor Maddox series.

When Tor sees past the gun in her face to the face behind the gun, two lives could be saved.

Tor Maddox: Unleashed #1
When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?

Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.

Tor Maddox: Embedded #2
Life has been way too quiet for Tor Maddox since her fifteen minutes of CNN fame. Then agent-in-training Rick Turner reappears with what sounds like a simple assignment—to embed herself as his eyes and ears in her own high school. When she agrees to keep tabs on high school state swim champ Hamilton Parker for the Feds, she is plunged into the deep end of a sinister plot. Knowing that freedom, justice, and lives are at stake again, Tor jumps in feet first, but has she gotten in over her head this time?

When observe and report becomes kiss and tell, Tor’s first mission may blow up in her face.

Tor Maddox: Mistaken #3
Grab a flotation device and welcome aboard for more shenanigans, villainy, and romance.

Eight leotards and a ball gown—that’s what Tor Maddox packed for her summer ballet intensive in New York. Pity she never arrived. Kidnapped once by the good guys and once by the bad ones, Tor finds herself involved in a high seas adventure featuring princesses and pirates, a wedding ring, and the guy she thought she’d never be allowed to see again, junior man-in-black Rick Turner.

Unleashed #1
     It was spooky climbing down the slope under the dark trees. I bent low under the overhanging branches and walked east along the lowest part. Twigs tugged at my hair. Wisps of spider web caught my cheeks. Under cover of the slope, I dared to turn on the flashlight to scan the rocks underfoot. If I broke an ankle out here, I was nailed. Cocoa panted along beside me. I say panted, but there was a definite wheezy quality to it that made my own chest ache. We’d hardly gone any distance. He shouldn’t be tired yet.
     When we were safely out of sight of houses and humanity, I found a less gravelly spot to collapse into at the base of a tree. Cocoa curled up against me, a nice warm body. Still, I put on a double layer of sweatshirts and opened up the mylar blanket to spread over both of us. I flipped the flashlight around in my hand, covering the clear plastic with my palm. The red glow was all the nightlight I thought safe.
     Even with three layers of clothes and an insulating blanket, I shivered and shivered in the night. I was terrified that heat-seeking rattlesnakes would slither under the blanket with us. Terrified that spiders would drop out of the bushes. Terrified that Cocoa would take off after a wild rabbit. I was afraid of men in black suits. Afraid of men in white coats. And especially afraid of falling asleep. My eyes ached. Exhaustion battled with adrenaline.
     At 5:15 a.m. all the batteries ran out, both mine and the flashlight’s. I slept, pursued in restless dreams by the vengeful spirits of barking dogs.
     At 6:51 a warm, pink light penetrated the underbrush. A rising swell of birdsong served as alarm clock. At my stirring, Cocoa yawned and stretched. He lifted a leg against the tree I was leaning on and streamed against it.
     “Hey, watch it,” I scolded. “I mean, good boy. Come, Cocoa. Lie down.”
     Down? His puzzled eyes asked me. He knew it was time to stretch, time to play, time to go for his quick morning walk with Rody.
     “Sorry, fuzzy face. We can’t. Have some breakfast.” I poured dog food into one bowl and water into the other, but Cocoa turned his head away, uninterested. “I guess you need a walk first. I’m sorry.” He whimpered softly.
     “I hear you, bud. Me too.” I rolled my shoulders, stretched my legs out in front of me. Every square inch of my body hurt. The granola bars tempted me not.
     What was going on at home this morning? By now, Rody would have discovered Cocoa was gone.      Would he say anything?
     Mom was probably wondering why she hadn’t heard the shower go on and off in my bathroom. Maybe she was knocking on my door right now, calling me to wake up. Maybe she was cracking open the door and walking over to the tousled lump of covers to run her hands softly through my hair and kiss me on the cheek. Maybe she was turning in horror from the empty bed, running through the house, calling to my Dad, crying, “She’s gone…she’s gone.”
     My throat ached. I did that to her. A tear slipped out of the corner of my eye.
     I pulled out my phone and sent her a text message: Mom I’m safe I’m fine don’t worry don’t search.
     I hoped she could live with that. I doubted it.
     I huddled with my dark thoughts as the sky brightened. In the distance, on the playground, toddlers laughed with their own mothers, enjoying their morning playtime before naps. A knife twisted in my heart. Life went on for the innocent as well as for the ignorant. But knowing what I knew, I could never be that carefree again.

Embedded #2
     Down the street, a door slammed. An engine revved.
     Rick’s head whirled, tracking the noise, and I took advantage of the distraction to change the subject. “We’re going to Ensenada tomorrow,” I reported. “His dad has a business meeting, so we’re going along for the scenery. Okay? Enough progress?”
     His frown surprised me. “Mexico? That’s not exactly safe territory right now.”
    “You know—”
    “Yes, I know you’re a black belt. But still—”
    “That’s not what I was going to say,” I interrupted. Only a red belt, actually, but I wasn’t going to say that either. “It’ll be fine. His dad’s bodyguard is meeting us there. Besides. I’m just doing what you told me to. Get close to the son; keep an eye on the dad.”
     He breathed loudly. “So you are. You’re right. You appear to be exceeding my expectations.”
    “Rick.” I didn’t quite know what to say after that. I refused to feel guilty. Nothing to feel guilty for…yet.
     He pulled a ball point pen out of his pocket. “Okay. Take this along with you. Please?”
    “Wow. A pen. How…thoughtful?” I twirled it in my fingers.
    “It’s a camera,” he explained.
    “Really? Coolio.” I couldn’t stop the grin. My first spy camera! “But I do have my phone, you know.”
    “This one is a little special. GPS tracking, voice recorder, infrared, and sixty megapixel image. No matter where you shoot from, we’ll be able to blow up the smallest corner of the shot.”
     Awesome. “So what am I supposed to be shooting?”
    “Use your judgment. The restaurant, the beach, anyone Parker senior talks to. That kind of thing. There are a couple safety features as well—flashlight, screamer, taser, death ray.”
     I nearly dropped the pen. “Nice. How do I activate the death ray?”
     A dimple appeared in his left cheek.
     Spit. “You were kidding, right?”
     His lips twisted in a smile. He flicked a moth from its perch on his sleeve. “Only half. This is last year’s model. No death ray.”
     I punched him in the arm. “Sure. Whatever. Instructions?”
     He passed me a small piece of paper from his other pocket. “When you’ve memorized this, please destroy it.”
     I stuffed it in my pocket. “I’m terrible at manuals and on-line tutorials. Can you just show me?”
    “Of course,” he said. “Though I find it hard to believe you’re terrible at anything.”
     I held the pen up to my eye. All I saw was pen. “All I see is a pen. Now what?”
     Rick spun me to face the street lamp, stepped up behind me, and reached around my shoulders to steady the pen. “That’s upside down,” he said. “Not that it really matters.”
     I spun the pen point down. “I knew that.”
     His hands closed over mine. “Site through the O in the brand name. See if you can center it on the light.”
     Pulling the pen close enough to squint through it brought Rick’s thumbs right up against my cheek. I did my best to ignore the way I felt pressed, enfolded, snuggled even, between his warm chest behind me and his forearms resting on mine.
    “See it now?” he asked. “I don’t think you’re aiming high enough.” He rested his chin on my left shoulder and tilted the pen. His eyelashes tickled my left cheek.
     I forgot to breathe until he did it for me, the warm air blowing down my neck, more of a shuddery sigh than a normal exhalation. I melted and froze solid all in one moment. I knew if I turned my head about one inch to the left, I could create a whole lot of trouble for both of us. For just a millisecond, I calculated whether it was worth it.

How did you get the idea for the Tor Maddox series?
The story idea for the first book, Unleashed, came to me as many do when I was listening to NPR. They were covering the bird flu epidemic—the first time around! My husband and I were driving past Best Friends Veterinary Clinic at the time. The reporter mentioned the millions of birds that had to be destroyed to stop the spread, and I said, “What would happen if it were dogs?” Brian said, “You should write that.” This became my very first NaNoWriMo project in 2006.

What has changed about the book since that first draft?
Here’s what changed in real life: In 2006, the canine flu had been around for only two years. The bird flu epidemic was raging. In 2015, the canine flu is having a major resurgence in the American Midwest. So is the bird flu. Once upon a time I was worried that the events of my story would happen before I could get published. Now I think I got my book out there in the nick of time.

Here’s what changed about the characters: Originally Tor was 14 and Rick was 24 and there was NO WAY there could ever be a romantic thing—just a school girl crush. By up-aging Tor and down-aging Rick to within 4 years, it became a difficult but believable entanglement.

Here’s what changed about the title: Original title was Best Friends, as a salute to dogs being man’s best friends and all of Tor’s best friend relationships. This was revised on submission to Sixty Million Best Friends, the number of dogs in the United States at the time. Under the Radar was considered briefly. And then I settled on the one-word title scheme for the series where every title contains a double meaning.

What’s with the funny character names?
I love unusual names, especially the ones that make you ask, “What were the parents thinking?!” I wanted to recognize the trend of mad creativity with baby name choices and spellings. Tor’s mom, representing the older generation is Suzie. Tor’s best friend is the hip, new version, Sioux-san.

Why are the first two books set in San Diego?
I grew up in San Diego, so the culture and geography and local political issues were all on my radar. I felt like I could work well with that location.

What kind of research do you do for your books?
In UNLEASHED, Tor copies a lot of the research I did, looking in detail at flu genetics and pandemic numbers. I also researched sunset and sunrise times, moon phases, actual flight itineraries, and the street view (and inside photos) of CNN headquarters. There’s a website where you can actually print out the genetic code letter by letter for different strains of influenza and compare them. To plan for Tor and Rody’s escape, I hiked the specific route they took with a camera.

For EMBEDDED, I researched white supremacy and anti-immigrant websites, which are rather chilling. Almost all of the news quotes at the tops of the chapters are quoted from real online sources. I also had one of those “browser history” moments that authors feel very self-conscious about when they are researching things like improvised explosives. Just saying.

For MISTAKEN, I did extensive research on a particular cruise line which shall remain nameless so Big Mouse doesn’t get mad at me. There are hours of videos on the cruise ship work experience, expectations of employees, and orientation procedures. I also looked at cruise itineraries, ship layouts, and the actual CDC handbook on the Vessel Sanitation Program (and several years of inspection data). Most chilling was a book I read/skimmed called “Cruising for Trouble.” Finally Google Earth and Google Maps were extremely helpful in figuring out very specific plot points.

What about all the cool technology in your books. Is it real?
I wrote my first draft of UNLEASHED before the iPhone was released. So all the smart phone functions that Tor performs—searching the web, doing mail, submitting assignments, GPS—that all came out about 6 months after I wrote it, which tells you the dangers of trying to write near future.

The high-res photo pen she uses in EMBEDDED can now be bought on SkyMall, although not with some of the other fancy features hers might or might not have. Pocket printers are now available on Amazon. But as far as I know, we aren’t microchipping people yet; we are following their phones, student IDs, etc. via GPS and RFID. It will happen; it’s only a matter of time. Does the government have something that captures live feed from private webcams. Well, what do you think?

As far as MISTAKEN, yes, we really do drink ocean water that has been distilled and reflavored when we cruise. The LRAD sonic cannon to repel pirates exists. You can buy them online, and the website makes for very interesting reading.

Will there be more books in the series?
That’s going to depend on how successful these books are. I would love to write more stories, because these characters have become like family to me. Quirky family, but family. The best way to ensure the continuation to tell lots of people about the series, ask your library to carry it, and encourage everyone to purchase and read legitimate e-copies or paperbacks, not pirated files. There’s no sonic cannon to repel book pirates.

Author Bio:
In 2013, Liz Coley’s psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).

Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series: UNLEASHED, EMBEDDED, and MISTAKEN. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction, You’re not Alone, and Winter's Regret.

Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at the links below.


Disarmed #.5

Unleashed #1

Embedded #2

Mistaken #3

Brought to you by:

If it’s a Pain in the Ass, You’re Doing it Wrong by JC Clarke

Title: If It's a Pain in the Ass You're Doing it Wrong
Author: JC Clarke
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Release Date: June 26, 2015
Cover Design: JC Clarke
His Princess was a little bit eclectic, a lot of eccentric, and a big time potty mouth. She was outgoing and loud, but held her friends and family close to her heart. She ranted about everything wrong in the world and her wild passion made him fall hard and fast. His life gave him the middle finger when she opened his eyes to the beauty around him - or right in front of him.

Her ‘Prick-a-Doodle-Do’ was uptight businessman through and through. He never saw the fun in anything and she knew right from the start that she could have fun with this man and get him to open his eyes. He made her see that she didn’t have to always be alone, even when surrounded by people. His knack of bringing out the best in her was what made her fall for him, even if she didn’t want to admit it to herself.

Both of them were raised in ‘high society’, but where one was guided by the rules, one had fun going against them. He was her new boss and she didn’t give two hoots about it, so when she was given an opportunity to express her views about a certain subject, she readily agreed.

It was now her personal mission to make the life of her boss a little harder, while experiencing a little fun along the way.

“Bossman, what are my shoes?” I asked and leaned back in my chair to put my feet up on his brand new desk.


“Wrong, for starters, no one calls them that these days. They’re either pumps or heels. Normally, if they’re designer, you just give people that name. What color is my shirt?”

“Red?” he asked, puzzled at where I was taking this.

“No, it’s burgundy. My hair is also in a low twist to the side, but you’d say that it was a ball of mess on the side of my head. My point is, no female author should write her male lead so . . . girlie. He shouldn’t know what cut her dress is or what the exact shade of her nail polish is, because, putting it simply, men don’t know these things. They don’t want to know. The second real men start showing an interest, their girl will never stop asking for their opinions. All men want to do for an easy life is say ‘Yes, dear’ and scratch their balls while watching a game,” I ranted. All the while his eyes got wider.

“You need to calm down, Princess,” he finally said, but I shook my head.

“But why? As readers, we are basically paying these authors to produce shit work. I don’t want to read that every male character has a monster cock and can give award-winning oral sex. No virgin can deep throat on her first go and the wording, oh my God. Do I really have to read every character announce that they’re coming like a freight train in every sex scene. If the sex is good enough, it should be clear to the reader in the description, not through ‘Incoming orgasm approaching platform three, please stand clear of the gap!’”

Author Bio:
J.C. Clarke lives in the heart of the New Forest in England with her husband and four children. Never a dull moment, her full house provides no shortage of inspiration which fuels her writing. She loves reading and writing a variety of genres in addition to dabbling with graphic art to create book covers, swag and more.


Brought to you by:

My First Travel Books by Anna Othitis

Series: My First Travel Book
Author: Anna Othitis
Genre: Children
Are you ready to take to the skies? Then welcome to Angelic Airlines! Come join the adventures of Captain Frankie and the Angelic Airlines flying angel as they travel across the world to some of the most popular, entertaining, and educational places in the world. Captain Frankie is waiting for you to book your ticket, safely stow your bags, and open your eyes to the beautiful places created for all of us to visit in My First Travel Book.

Author Bio:
Anna Othitis lived and was raised in the beautiful land and country of Zimbabwe, Africa (home will always be home. She left all of her life long memories, endless charity work and good people behind vowing that she will continue supporting the needy children in her land Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond. After traveling long and short distances from the East coast to the West coast twice she and her family eventually found their sense of belonging and final settling destination in New Jersey, USA.

Her husband George, sons Johnny, Elia and Frankie encouraged her to write her first children's book titled "My First Travel Book", inspired by Frankie (Captain Frankie), who is graduating from his Masters degree in Aeronautical Science and beginning his career as a professional pilot. Anna's favorite saying is "Be Bold Be Brave".

She was inspired to write her children's books with a vision to link up the children Africa and of the world on Angelic Airlines to so many beautiful places of interest and popularity on our wonderful planet Earth with all its beautiful some natural and some man made creations and resources. One of the beautiful natural wonders featured in her books is in her birth land of Zimbabwe "The Mighty Victoria Falls" All of her books educate our children and widen their scope of interest in the amazing surroundings, creations and nature to appreciate and look after our environment for many generations still to come.


My First Travel Book

The Seven Natural Wonders of the Earth

The Seven Wonders of the World

Brought to you by: 

The Gentleman's Keeper by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Confronting the darkness of his past, he finds the light of his future.

After years gadding about Europe, Everett Gerard can no longer avoid his responsibilities. Word has come that a child bearing the unmistakable Gerard stamp has shown up at the family estate—and he realizes it’s time to face his demons.

As his carriage nears the gates of home, he fights the urge to flee the memory of the horrible crime he witnessed as a child. Yet the Abbey delivers surprises and delights he never expected.

Miles Kenway was content with his quiet life as the Abbey’s bailiff, until the wild child, clearly a bastard son of some Gerard, upends his peace with constant pranks and mischief. And when the master of the house arrives, an unsettling attraction heats Miles’s blood.

As they clash over the fate of the ancestral land, they battle a powerful desire to grapple in ways that could disrupt the delicate balance between master and servant. But when the boy’s real sire appears, they must unite as only true fathers can to protect the boy whose mischievous charm has captured their hearts.

Warning: Gothic murder, hot man loving, and emotional family drama.

Once again the dynamic duo of Devon & Dee take us on another journey into the past.  This one has past murder, a strange but interesting child, intriguing characters, and a working relationship that has the potential to blossom into something we all desire, if only they can bypass their own stubborn ways.  The story of Everett and Miles starts out as the typical master/servant relationship but becomes so much more and then you throw in young Ipsial and the dynamic of story changes and grows that had this reader hooked.  Another great entry into both my historical fiction library and my Devon & Dee shelf.


London 1888
“Sir? You must read this one.” Farley, his valet/secretary, dropped something light on Gerard’s chest.

Gerard roused from an uncomfortable doze. He blinked and looked down at himself, or rather up. Dressed in rumpled eveningwear, he appeared to have his boots on, and yes, his feet were propped on a chair. He lay on his back on the hearthrug next to the drawing room fireplace. He clutched a wilted glove in one hand. In the other he held an almost empty brandy glass. A white object lay on his chest—the piece of paper and an envelope Farley had dumped on him.

“What time is it?” His voice came out as a croak. His head hurt, but he’d felt worse in the last year of dissipation.

“Ten a.m., sir.” With a long sigh, the portly Farley sank onto the chair near the fireplace. Gerard turned his head enough to see that the valet had also polished his own boots to a perfect shine.

“That early, eh? Wonder what time I got back.”

“Sir arrived home four hours ago and refused to go to bed.” Farley’s words dripped with disdain.

“That I recall.” Gerard touched his aching head, and the paper on his chest rustled. “What the devil did you drop on me just now?”

“A letter from the abbey’s gamekeeper, sir.”

“Pickens?” Hadn’t he died years, more than a decade, earlier? Gerard had a vague memory of a man with a squint and a tray of cheeping baby birds.

“No, sir. Mr. Kenway is now our gamekeeper.”

Gerard remembered the interview, as he’d been quite knackered from an evening’s festivities. Mr. Miles Kenway from Yorkshire by way of Canada, or perhaps the other way around. He had a peculiar accent, mostly the long, soft vowels of Yorkshire. And he had shoulders that barely fit through the doorway of the solicitor’s office.

“He’s a bailiff, or steward. Not gamekeeper. No one has hunted at the abbey for years. I recall Kenway. He’s that hulking man I hired a while back. The one with the voice sounded like the toll of a church’s funeral bell.”

“Very poetic, sir. Kenway claims he has sent us two letters already.”

“You opened my mail?”

“Yes, sir. Surely he is mistaken, sir? Two previous letters?” When Farley spoke in first person plural and added many sirs to his speech, he was more annoyed than usual. He rose to his feet. A servant must not sit in his master’s presence, and on occasion Farley remembered he was Gerard’s servant.

“I doubt he’s lying.” Gerard had tossed several letters into the fire, telling himself he needed the space on his desk.

Throwing away unwanted correspondence—when had he turned into such a coward? He patted his chest until he found the paper.

Farley loomed over him, waiting.

“Yes, I was wrong to toss the letters away. Stop the sniffing noises, Farley. See? I pick up the paper like so, unfold and read it… The man has the most appalling hand, and…eh? What?” He squinted and read again. “What in God’s name does Kenway mean ‘my son’? I have no son.”

“Are you certain of that, sir?”

“Yes.” Gerard didn’t elaborate.

Farley made a soft, disbelieving grunt. He was convinced Gerard’s recent habit of dissipation included bedding women. Gerard had once overheard the valet telling a footman that he should be ashamed to believe the rumors; a manly man like Mr. Gerard would never have spent the night in the Conte Azzari’s bed.

Farley was technically correct. Gerard and the count had only been in the bed for four hours, hardly the whole night. There’d been an invigorating hour on the floor as well.

A month before breaking a lifetime’s fast with Azzari, Gerard had received the news of his father’s death. At that news, all virtue, self-discipline and temperance had flown out the window like a flock of doves—and no birds had flown back to the roost since.

Gerard pulled his feet off the chair and sat up, groaning softly. He held up the letter to read one more time. “Oh, well, of course it can’t be. This so-called son of mine is about nine years old, so I would have been in school when he was conceived.”

“Yes, sir.” Farley leaned over and plucked the letter from his hand. He held something in his other hand, a tintype.

Gerard took it from him. A thin, unhappy face peered at the world. The heavy Gerard eyes and the distinctive full lower lip. Christ. He looked down at a copy of his own features and attitude in a much younger face.

“Well. Whoever his father might be, he’s certainly one of us,” Gerard said.

He pulled the letter away from Farley, who was reading it again. He’d probably memorized the good bits, of which there were plenty.

Kenway had written: The boy arrived here by foot, half starved. His mother gave him your name and direction, a train ticket and information about your family, but little else, not even proper shoes. The servants are convinced he is your child.

The man’s indignation showed in every scrawled line. Apparently Miles Kenway didn’t care if he offended his employer. He didn’t hint or approach the subject crabwise or skirt around it.

You must come to the abbey. No one else has the authority to cope with the situation. I had thought a simple letter of instruction from you might be enough, but I am afraid we require you here as soon as possible.

He had some cheek, Garret thought without anger. Perhaps he would interview other possible bailiffs, because this one apparently didn’t want to keep the job.


“I’m warning you, put it down. Now. And carefully. Don’t aim it at me or the windows.” Miles was fairly sure he’d unloaded the shotgun, but who knew? Maybe the young devil knew how to load guns.

“Why should I?”

Miles examined the scarecrow-thin figure who seemed too scrawny to lift the weapon. “If you do, I’ll teach you to shoot properly. If you don’t, you’ll end up learning about birdshot too well, my boy.”

No. Not his boy, thank God. Though unfortunately the young devil was more his than anyone else’s. If any abbey servant should want to find young Ipsial Gerard, they’d ask Miles. If they did ask, usually they wanted to be able to stay away from the troublesome lad.

Standing in the middle of the room, the boy narrowed his heavy-lidded eyes at Miles. “You’ll teach me to shoot?” There was pure disbelief in the voice.

“Yes, I promise.” They’d had similar conversations before. Miles would make a promise and then listen to Ipsial’s scoffing disbelief. No matter that so far Miles had kept the promises. The boy never believed the next one.

Ipsial had grown better in the weeks he’d been at the abbey, Miles supposed. He no longer cursed as much. He’d stopped trying to steal wallets—mostly. He actually engaged in conversation rather than trying to escape Miles’s house with food tucked under his hideous jacket. And the boy stole only a meal’s worth now, instead of as much as he could carry.

When Miles had arranged the picture-taking with a traveling photographer, the boy had protested for only half an hour and hadn’t attempted to invade the man’s wagon or annoy his horse. That counted as progress.

Ipsial sniffed. He touched the gun’s stock, peered into the barrels, the young idiot. He looked around the main room of Miles’s cottage with feigned interest.

Miles counted to ten slowly. He could wait out animals, and this boy was certainly a beast. After what had to be two full minutes of pretending to think about it, Ipsial lowered Miles’s gun and put it on the rough wooden plank floor.

He watched Miles, smirking. The big pale blue eyes dared him to protest at how slow he’d been to obey, but Miles stayed silent and allowed him the victory. Miles usually did when it came to the details. Let the fiend win in small matters.

Ipsial. Miles tried to think of him using the silly name no one else would. The name wasn’t from the Old Testament as the staff had first guessed. Joey, who acted as groundsman, footman and groom all rolled into one, had quipped, “Unless Satan wrote a version of the Bible?”

Certainly everyone else on the estate called him the young devil.

Everyone agreed Ipsial had made a nest somewhere on the estate. Miles suspected it was the hut that had once belonged to the abbey’s gardener, but he didn’t go inside to make sure. Wild animals tended to abandon their homes if humans poked around too much.

Miles went to the shotgun and cracked it open. Loaded and ready to fire.

“Christ.” He rarely cursed.

“What?” Ipsial slunk to the door. “I put it down,” he whined.

“So you did. Tomorrow morning, an hour’s lesson.” Miles held back a sigh. The boy fled the cottage without a backward look.

Author Bios:
Bonnie Dee
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.

Summer Devon
Summer Devon is the pen name writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, her books are always romance. 

You can visit her facebook page, where there's a sign up form for a newsletter (she'll only send out newsletters when there's a new Summer Devon or Kate Rothwell release and she will never ever sell your name to anyone).

Bonnie Dee

Summer Devon