Thursday, 31 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** Deviations By Anma Natsu

Anma Natsu
Publication date: February 14th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
“We’re just deviants, that’s all. You, me, Taka. We’re deliciously, wonderfully deviant.”
Seventeen-year-old Miho has spent years struggling to deal with the aftermath of a tragic accident. Between the nightmares, PTSD, depression, and her parents’ abandonment, the burden of being the sole survivor has her near her breaking point. The darkness whispers to her, promises of release from the pain, from being a burden, if she is willing to give up.
While the girls love classmate Shinji’s blond hair and blue eyes, to his father it’s all the proof he needs that his wife was unfaithful. Unwanted and unloved, Shinji is used to his mother’s hatred, his brother’s indifference, and his father’s violence. Male or female, he doesn’t care; his regular string of sexual partners helps him temporarily forget that he will soon have to leave the only person he loves, if he can survive that long.
As the first-born son, Shinji’s best friend Taka has known from birth that his future was not his own. He’ll go to the right schools, get the right grades, take over the family business, and produce a perfect heir with a perfect wife, just as his father dictates. Taka’s wants and desires are irrelevant; he can’t change his fate nor escape it, any more than he can protect the only person who keeps him sane.
Drawn to one another like moths to a flame, the three find themselves torn between what society deems acceptable and a happiness they never dreamed existed.
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It’s funny how I never noticed till now. Miho, I mean. I’d talked to her a few times in the library, though only to exchange the usual greetings and perform book transactions. But we hadn’t really talked, not until Taka approached her. Then watching her, I realized she was like me. Her eyes had that same deadness to them. Did her preference for long clothes make it easier to cover bruises, like I had to? Was she always alone because it was easier—easier to hide the shame and the pain if you had no one around?
Now that I’d acknowledged it, I was hyperaware of it, looking for more clues. When she checked me out at the library, I thought I spotted a white scar on her wrist. I wanted to ask her, ask her about all of it, but that would have been crass. You never talk about that sort of thing in public, and not with strangers. We were still strangers, after all, even if we had the darkness in common.
After leaving the library, I’d taken the books to our hideout before heading back into town. I never took the books I got home out of fear something might happen to them. It was one thing when they were my own books, but letting my dad destroy other people’s property, much less community property, would be pretty crappy. So I kept them safe where only Taka and I could find them.
I was heading home when I spotted her walking across the river from me. I don’t think she saw me before that pack of girls surrounded her. It was clear they’d been lying in wait. I leaned on the rail and watched them with an odd sense of pride in Miho for not crying. She was used to it, like I was. People like us, we learn how to endure. Crying, appearing weak, it only gets them going worse, feeding on whatever it is inside them that makes them have to hurt others.
Miho only broke when they stole the scarf we’d picked out for her. That bothered me a little. Though I knew it was better not to interfere, I moved towards the bridge to cross to the other side.
I was halfway across when the scarf hit the river and Miho was left there to watch it float away. Only she didn’t. She dived into the water without hesitation. I ran, scared she would drown. All those heavy clothes could easily pull her under, but when I reached the bank I realized she was swimming. Her arms breached the water at her side before slicing back into the water above her head like a professional. The only difference was her legs stuck straight out behind her instead of kicking. Smart girl.
Then she was back at the bank and lying on top of me, both of us panting even though she’d done all the work. Her body was thin, but soft and warm. Her chest was small, a B cup at best, but more likely an A. Still, they felt nice. She felt nice.

Author Bio:
Anma Natsu is a Texas-based writer of stories that explore love in its various forms, including how it can be both good and bad parts of our lives, sometimes at the same time. Her not quite conventional stories span a range of genres but rarely follow the standard fare.
When she isn't writing, writing, voraciously reading manga and light novels, playing too many video games, and hosting her own podcast, Anma works as a web developer and steals all the free time she can to snuggle with her sweetie and her pets.
You can find her online at She's also active on Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.
Find out about Anma's upcoming works and get exclusive content by signing up for her mailing list at

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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** Sinners in the Dark By Inger Iversen (Running in the Dark #2

Sinners in the Dark
Inger Iversen
(Running in the Dark #2)
Publication date: March 25th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
War is coming between vampires and humans, and the Vampire Nation will stop at nothing to eliminate their enemies. Former assassin, Echo sees the Nation for what it is – a corrupt organization with its sights set on destroying the Sect, a group formed to eradicate all things vampire. Now Echo is a Ghost, a traitor of the Vampire Nation, determined to build a new life with the Sect. But choices he’s made in the past might cost him the one person who could truly redeem his soul.
Sequel to:
Chapter 1
Present Day
Give as Good as You Get
Via crept slowly along the back wall of the seedy motel, keeping her body out of the light. Quietly, she tucked her lucky silver cross in her shirt and reached to her side to pull her queb, a weapon made from wood, from her belt. With her other hand, she palmed her gun and released it from her side. She studied the two hoodlums with intense disdain as they eyed the mom and pop diner. Via knew the owners, and ate there often back when she was a dollar away from being homeless.
Gang vampires were a tricky bunch. They often traveled in groups, and more times than not, had two or more lookouts. Via glanced around the back alley in search of anything amiss, but was greeted with nothing. Turning back to the group assembling before her, she noted their clothing; the red and gold shirts of the vamp-bangers told Via two things. First, they were not generals in the gang, but mere henchmen. And second, they were stupid as fuck, as this was their rival’s territory. She’d had many encounters with both gangs, on account of them liking to kidnap and rape women; enjoying
their screams as she gutted them like a fish with her queb.
The sound of glass shattering pulled her out of her thoughts. Now would be the time Via should pull her cell from her pocket and dial up her dhampir partner, Echo. Her stomach roiled at the thought, and though Austin believed it a good idea to partner a human with a trusted dhampir, Via wasn’t feeling the love. Using the excuse of having her hands full, she didn’t make the call and inched closer to the opening leading out to the main street. She darted across the street and damn near ninja dove into the window. Once she cleared the glass and debris, she smoothly rolled under the nearest table for cover.
Via was no fool, with vamps’ excellent hearing and sniffers, they’d easily discover her in the café, but she was banking on one thing to help her out. She took a quick peek at the bottom of her queb for reassurance. The stake-like rod was thick as a baton, the tip sharp as a razor’s edge, and it gave a faint glow from the rune placed on it by an enchantress. This particular rune obliterated Via’s human scent. A handy tool when hiding from vamps.
Like with any mission, sanctioned or unsanctioned, Via had a plan: attack, kill, and repeat, until all vamps were dead. Ordinarily, Echo had point and took out the lookouts. His superior vision and hearing had often given him and Via an advantage, but since he wasn’t with her, it’d be like old times.
Vamp number one, who she’d decided to call Lefty, since he was missing his right eye, slid to a halt in front of the broken window. Ambient light from the streetlights filtered into the small café, creating shadows across Lefty’s perplexed face. Via inched her gun up—loaded with silver nitrate bullets—and readied her queb just as the pale faced vamp turned. The first shot rang out like an explosion in the night. Seared flesh, blood, and pieces of Lefty’s remaining eye showered around Via.
Standing to take care of the second vamp sliding around the corner, she lost her balance in the blood and fell to the floor. In a second, she made the choice to drop the queb, and aim the weapon. To her surprise, instead of one vampire, there were now three. These were more than some run-of-the-mill gangbangers, breaking and entering. The one she’d aptly named Blue, for his intense electric blue eyes, held a few boxes in his hand, and not one of them had made their way to the cash register, or the wall safe.
Blue’s eyes widened at the sight of her. “Hey, baby.” His voice held a sickening slimy quality. He handed the boxes to Tyson, who she’d named Mike Tyson since they both had those stupid matching face tattoos. “Did you come to play?” Licking his lips, his eyes did a perusal of her body, taking time to linger on her breasts.

Slowly, Via stood and placed her empty hand on her hip while keeping her gun aimed. “Stop, in the name of the law.” None of the vamps spoke. The silence filled the room and Via tensed. Okay, so these guys didn’t like her joke.
The three vamps, Blue, Tyson and Shit Eater—no explanation for nickname needed—stared at her longer, before there was a blur of movement, and one of the three stooges knocked the gun from her hands. Next came a gut-crushing blow to her stomach. Bile rose in her throat as she hit the ground.
If Via lived to tell this story, she would say that in seconds she was up again ready and raring to take on the vamps—which would be a lie. Those who had called her hardheaded would be happy to know that too was a lie because as her skull hit the floor with a deafening crack. Via’s body refused to listen to her command to get the fuck up. Even with skill such as Via’s, taking on three vamps in the middle of the night, with no damned back up, was something akin to suicide.


Author Bio:
Inger Iversen was born in 1982 to Anne and Kaii Iversen. She lives in Virginia Beach with her overweight lap cat, Max and her tree hugging boyfriend Joshua. She spends 90 percent of her time in Barnes and Noble and the other ten pretending not to want to be in Barnes and Noble.

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Monday, 28 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** Say Something… By T.A. Roth (Speak #1)

Say Something…
T.A. Roth
(Speak #1)
Publication date: March 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Twenty–two-year-old Ari Munoz prefers to keep men at an arm’s length. So when her best friend Vonne guilts her into going to a frat party, she couldn’t think of a worse way to spend her night. That’s until she sparks the interest of love’em and leave’em Ben Rodriguez. She knows she shouldn’t trust him, but the electricity she feels when they lock eyes is something she’s never felt before.
Twenty-two-year-old Ben Rodriguez has it all, and his senior year marks the beginning of even bigger things to come. He’s a football star, fraternity president, and his endless pick of beauties makes him the envy of all of his frat brothers. So why is a pair of long legs and hazel eyes making him want to throw out his rules?
Ari has her secrets.
Ben has his rules.
What happens when both your pasts threaten your future?
Say Something…

*This novel contains adult themes and language. 18+ please. This is book one in a series and contains a cliffhanger.
Every word is a whisper across my lips. I want him to kiss me so bad. I even start to chant it like a mantra. Repeating the words over and over in my head. kiss me . . . kiss me . . . kiss me. . . All it would take is a small tilt of my head. The closer he gets to the end of the song the more desperate I become. F*ck it! I tilt my head up unable to resist any longer and bring his juicy bottom lip into my mouth. I gently suck and he releases a moan that I feel vibrate throughout every inch of my body. His right hand slides up the back of my neck and he fists a handful of my hair. He gently pulls away and holds my stare, his golden brown eyes to my hazel green. His breath is coming out in quick pants. He looks like he’s fighting himself to make a decision. I’m blinking quickly, saying a silent prayer that he doesn’t make the wrong one.

Author Bio:
T.A. Roth is a wife and mother of two funny and crazy kids. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she couldn't imagine living anywhere else. When she's not beautifying clients as a stylist/make-up artist at her day job you can find her reading, fangirling her favorite authors, or singing along to the radio. After getting the opportunity to read the debut novel of a then client now friend something clicked. Her "what the hell" attitude kicked in and a year later, here we are.
Say Something... A new adult romance is her debut novel.

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Friday, 25 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** Maneater By Cambria Hebert (A Love in the ‘80s Novella)

Cambria Hebert
(A Love in the ‘80s Novella)
Publication date: March 25th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Watch out, girls. Here she comes.
There’s always that girl. She’s popular, beautiful, and has everything together. The one with the perfectly teased hair, arms full of colorful (but coordinated) bangles, and expertly painted bright-pink lips.
A teacher’s pet. Daddy’s girl.
Everyone loves her.
Because everyone is afraid to challenge her.
Kelly Ross is that girl. She uses her powers of popularity for good… her own good. She doesn’t care who she hurts.
She always gets what she wants.
Including your man.
When she walks down the hallway in her hot-pink heels and ruffled denim miniskirt, all the boys’ heads turn. And all the girls start whispering.
There hasn’t been a single guy Kelly hasn’t been able to chew up and spit out.
Until now.
Kelly has finally met her match. He’s been there all along, and he’s the exact opposite of everything you’d expect.
Do people change?
Or do they always stay the same?
That’s more of a philosophy question. I’m more of a science guy.
I like tangible theories that can be measured, questions with answers that have irrefutable proof. I’m not much for matters of the mind with no exact equation, therefore without exact answer.
I’ve heard it said that the more people change, the more they stay the same.
That statement is confusing. Whatever “great” mind came up with the saying probably was a philosophy major and had no knowledge of scientific reasoning.
It’s a false notion.
A mathematical and scientific fact. In an equation, a + b = c. If even just one variable is changed, the entire equation changes, the answer does not remain the same.
If math and science don’t give enough irrefutable proof, the world I live in does. In the universe of high school and growing older, everyone changes. It’s a natural evolution of life.
I see her every day. Even without my glasses, my eyes would still make out her shape.
She’s one of those girls the eyes must look at, just like the lungs must breathe oxygen. Her presence is loud in the hallways of Edward Little High.
Yet her reputation is quiet… at least the real one anyway.
Whispers. I hear them. When you are invisible, or thought to only think about equations and charts, people think you don’t listen. But I hear.
I listen.
It’s how one learns.
The Choice thinks they know everything, but the people who know the most in this school are the ones who are known the least.
I’m practically a shadow, practically a ghost.
“Beat it, losers!” Tad yells from across the hall. My friends and I look up, surprised he’s talking to us.
Okay, maybe I’m not as invisible as I thought.
I glance at Kelly as we scurry off.
Or maybe, I’m only visible when my presence is useful.
I knew Kelly once, a long time ago. Practically in another life. We aren’t friends. She probably doesn’t even remember my name. I remember hers.
I remember the way she used to twist her Oreos in two and hand me the side with the most cream. The way she would grab my hand and pull me off to play before who we were got in the way.
I remember when she was nice.
As I walk to class, my two friends by my sides, I tune out their conversation and wonder. I saw the way Kelly was looking at Tad, her best friend’s boyfriend. It was a sign. Kelly was gearing up to take down another one. It was a pattern. Patterns always repeat themselves.
This time, I wondered if she would go too far.
Kelly was the reason I was spending my time on an internal philosophical debate. Do people change? The theory was no.
I was seeing evidence to the contrary.
The girl I knew all those years ago would never act the way she does now.
But she does.
The whispers follow her around the hall.
People do change.

Author Bio:
Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.
Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).
Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.
Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.
You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website:

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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** Snatched By Candy J. Starr (Snatched #1)

Candy J. Starr
(Snatched #1)
Publication date: March 22nd 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
I need to stop this wedding. My mother snuck behind my back to marry a gold-digger but he’ll not get his dirty hands on our company. Only, I arrived too late and now have to cool my heels. I never let emotions interfere with my life but I’m so pent up that, when I noticed that hooker working the room, I figure a play session will relieve my stress.
Her innocence is just an act – and we both know what the game is here. Don’t we?
A stranger, a hotel room, no word and no names. Who better to have a wild fling with? I’d been numb to the world for so long with nothing but a mountain of crushing debts. Then my father offered me a wad of cash to attend his glitzy wedding. I don’t do casual flings but, just this once, I want to be wanton and crazy. It’s not like I’ll ever see him again.
**Only 99c for a limited time!**
He backed me up against the pillar with my hands held by my sides. His face was so close to mine that I could feel his hot breath on my neck. He had that rich people smell too. He must’ve been able to hear my heart pound, it was so loud. My whole body pounded. I’d become a pounding, blushing idiot.
“You shouldn’t,” I said, but instead of sounding insistent, my words came out in a husky whisper. Like a plea.
“Oh, I should.”
The deep rumble of his voice vibrated in my ear, sending delicious sensations through my body, down to my feet. He didn’t sound like he was going to take no for an answer.
My common sense told me to stop him but it’d been so long since I’d been with a man.
His lips hovered near mine and all common sense fled my mind. The only thought I had was how much I wanted him to kiss me. Every fibre of my being screamed for him to kiss me. It thudded through my body and reverberated with my pulse. The edges of my self blurred and I melted into the space around me.
That plump bottom lip of his called to me. It told me it held the keys to dreamland. That everything I’d ever fantasised about could be fulfilled.
He fixed me in the glare of his steely eyes until I quivered from the anticipation. My attention moved from his lip to those eyes. I couldn’t move. Even if I wanted to, he had me trapped. Nothing else
mattered. The wedding, the dancing, all these people milling around. They no longer existed. There was only his eyes, so cold and vicious, as though he could see into my soul and didn’t like what he found there, but he wanted it just the same.

Author Bio:
Candy J. Starr used to be a band manager until she realised that the band she managed was so lacking in charisma that they actually sucked the charisma out of any room they played. “Screw you,” she said, leaving them to wallow in obscurity – totally forgetting that they owed her big bucks for video equipment hire.
Candy has filmed and interviewed some big names in the rock business, and a lot of small ones. She’s seen the dirty little secrets that go on in the back rooms of band venues. She’s seen the ugly side of rock and the very pretty one.
But, of course, everything she writes is fiction.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** Call Forth the Waves by L.J. Hatton

Call Forth the Waves
L.J. Hatton
(The Celestine Series #2)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: March 22nd 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Earth, not so very long from now: the silent, inscrutable alien visitors who bathed the planet in transforming rains have moved on, leaving behind a world much changed.
Penn Roma, age sixteen, is blessed—or cursed—with supernatural talents she has always concealed. Her sisters, likewise afflicted, are prisoners of the Commission, the government agency tasked with controlling these strange children. Penn’s determination to save them only gains urgency when she learns of the horrifying plans the twisted Warden Dodge has for the peculiar charges.
But Penn herself must remain hidden, navigating a series of fantastical havens with her embattled allies, similarly enhanced teens also in the Commission’s crosshairs. Worse, her vast, half-understood powers have become unpredictable, failing at critical moments and activating outside of her control.
Can Penn trust a rogue warden, supposedly opposed to Dodge’s schemes, to help free her family…or has the Commission set its most nefarious trap yet?
I dreamed I was on The Show’s train. I don’t know if I actually heard a sound while I slept or if it was pure, fearful imagination and regret, but I felt the uneven glide of wheels along the track and heard the steady rhythm of the rail mechanism as it laid new planks down and picked the old ones up. My father, Magnus Roma, had designed our circus’s train so that it could roll anywhere, even through my mind in the middle of the night.
In the dream, I was a ghost haunting a reflection of the life I’d lived for sixteen years. There were no alien jellyfish slowly altering Earth’s children. My sisters were free, rather than captured by the Wardens’ Commission. Jermay was practicing magic tricks with his father, Zavel, who had been returned to life, and Birdie was still walking the high wire with her adoptive family, the Jeseks. The only thing out of place was the fact that Winnie was no longer mute—I was.
I was mute and invisible, and when I tried to warn the people I loved that they needed to run, they couldn’t hear me. I watched, screaming silently, as Wardens Nye and Arcineaux laid waste to them all and left the train a smoking heap of slag. There were no survivors— human, metal, or Klok, who was a little bit of both. He died at my feet, glassy eyes frozen open so that I couldn’t get away from them. It was exactly how I’d watched the mechanical re-creation of my mother fall, but my father had built Klok with my eyes, which made it worse. A piece of me died with him.
The train rose up in a monstrous, deformed amalgam of my father’s other creations: a cluster of horns from our unicorns and Scorpius’s tail whipping over the back of the Constrictus’s snakelike body. It had Bijou’s jeweled dragon wings and Xerxes’ gryphon claws and head. A peculiar spark in its eyes glowed red hot with the fury of Magnus Roma’s ghost. My robotic mother rode on its back, several times larger than she had been in life.
My father had created her to protect me, and now she was trying to kill me.
I ran, and the train pursued over water and air and land. There was no escape, so I did the only thing I could: I turned around, stood my ground, and called destruction down to save myself. I unleashed the full power of the Celestine without restraint, until the train and my mother were battered to dust and stopped trying to come back.
“I’m sorry,” I sobbed, but the words stuck in my throat, held there by a paste of tears and ash while the remains sifted through my fingers. “I’m sorry!”
I screamed so loud and hard the words could have cut themselves free from my throat, but they never made it to my mouth. My hands began to glow, and I felt the impossible heat of a fire that had never before burned me.
Hotter and brighter. Hotter and brighter, until my skin flaked off in twinkling bits.
I was a star swirling to life in the ruins of a universe beyond my control. Uncontainable energy that had been held in check for too long.
Skin and bone and muscle and tissue were unable to tether the reality of the Celestine awakened.
I became heaven’s fire. And in the final moment of my mortal existence, I screamed again. Unheard again. One last, horrible second of incineration before I woke up, still screaming, but far from silent.
Doors slammed up and down the halls inside the Hollow, the sup- posed haven my father had promised would protect us all, and I knew what came next. The monsters. That’s what I’d called the sounds as a child, before I knew the monsters were me. Bad dreams always caused my abilities—my touch—to flare. Groaning metal and creaking and shrieking from power lines. The chiming of chimes and the straining of gears. Every square inch of the Hollow was rushing to my defense, ripping itself apart to do so. The room’s rug caught fire. Pipes burst from the walls, flooding what had once been my nursery and dousing the flames. Next came a sour wind blowing havoc through the room. I never should have slept there, but I was obsessed with the nursery and everything in it, just for the hope that I could force a real memory of it to surface.
In my old life, when the train wasn’t a nightmare, this was where my father would have appeared in my door. But I’d lost him, too. Now silencing the chaos was up to me. I had to get control over myself before the call I hadn’t intended to send out reached the stars and brought them down, the same way I had called to them the night I was born— when I murdered my twin brother.
I threw my hands over my ears to stop the sounds, but all that did was dredge up walls of rock from under the Hollow’s foundation. They blocked me in on all sides, creating a cell that would isolate me from everyone else.
Alone and in the dark, I was able to get a handle on myself. I couldn’t hear the monsters anymore. I laid my palms flat to the cool slate, inhaled the earthy scent of soil with all its microscopic life, and my panic calmed. It would have been easy to leave the walls up, or even to command them to crush me so I couldn’t be a danger to anyone ever again. The wardens wouldn’t chase my friends without me. But that was the kind of stray thought a half-sleeping mind considers. I’d never really do it; I still had three sisters left to save.
My stone prison began to crack, letting fresh air and light through. Anise. She was terrakinetic, someone who could move earth by will alone, and she had a lot more practice at it than I did. She and my other sisters had been on display as part of our circus, but I’d had to hide myself, claiming the identity of my dead brother. I’d been a hunter wearing the pelt of her kill for a disguise so I could walk among the flock of so-called normal humans undetected.
“Are you coming out, or should I get the bear?” Anise asked through the crack in my defenses.
Each of my sisters had a particular skill for creating creatures from the element they wielded, the same way my father made golems out of metal and gears. Anise’s took the form of a Kodiak bear. Like a grizzly, only bigger and more aggressive.
“I’m fine,” I said. “Just give me a minute.” The stone cracked wider—that was a “no.” Not only was Anise in the room, but Jermay was there, looking
worried. His unnaturally blue eyes had dulled with sleep. He bent his pinkie at me, using our secret sign language to ask if I was really all right. I didn’t return the gesture, because he was the one person I refused to lie to. Winnie and Birch peeked in from the doorway, staying close but out of range in case I went off again. It’s always a good idea to stay out of the blast radius when you’re dealing with things that can explode in your face.
“I said I was fine,” I snapped, climbing out of the cell. If Birdie was there, she was hiding, making her the only one with any sense.
Once I’d threaded my arms through the gap, Jermay took my hands and pulled. My sister had made me an exit, but not a wide one. I had to work for it.
“This is not fine.” Anise’s short hair had frizzed into a rat’s nest that stood up around her ears; paired with the tattered shirt she’d been sleep- ing in, she didn’t look very threatening, even if she sounded it.
The room was a wreck of broken furniture and sloshing water. Anise dismantled my hiding spot, bidding the stones return to the ground, but she couldn’t do anything about the rest. Baby clothes that had once sat neatly stacked on shelves were now a muddy mess. The water was quickly soaking a wooden crate of books in the corner so that the pages turned translucent and stuck together. One book floated past, with a yellow duckling peeking out from the warped body of a brown dog.
“I’ll fix it,” I told her.
“Fixing things isn’t enough. You’ve got to stop breaking them in the first place. You’re getting stronger, Chey-chey. You’ve got to get control of yourself.”
This was humiliating. She was scolding me like a child, and the others were all watching.
“What if Jermay had been in here with you?”
Ever since our escape from Warden Nye and his Center in the sky, sleeping had been a problem. We all had our nightmares and our shared fear that the dream would overtake reality to prove we were all still prisoners. At some point in the night, there was an inevitable migration. I’d wake up to find Jermay had snuck in and was now sleeping beside me, or I’d wake up alone and creep down the hall to the room that was his. Winnie and Birch did the same thing, and on the occasions that we passed each other in the halls, no one said anything. No one looked anyone else in the eye. Our fears came with an unacknowledged shame, especially on the night everyone but Klok had ended up on the floor of Anise’s room, just close enough to touch so no one could get lost.
“What if Birdie had curled up to sleep in your chair instead of mine tonight?” Anise asked. “You could have hurt her, or worse!”
Didn’t she understand? It wasn’t me—it was the Hollow. Every inch was a reminder of why our house had never been my home. There wasn’t a single room I could use as a refuge from the guilt I carried for what I’d cost her and everyone else. She’d tried to convince me that my brother’s death wasn’t my fault, but that had been a fleeting comfort. I knew the truth. I’d lived it for sixteen years, and now it was choking the life out of me in retribution.
Absolute truth was so terrifying an idea that I still hadn’t found the nerve to access the memory chip my father left me for my birthday. I knew it had to be important, but I wasn’t ready for my world to twist again. I kept the chip with me always, tucked into a pants pocket when I was awake or a shirt pocket when I slept, but I absolutely could not open it. I hadn’t even told anyone else it existed for fear that whatever secrets it held would be worse than those shared by the walls around me.
“I have to get out of here,” I said. It felt like an admission of weakness, me begging for my big sister to protect me from the unseen things that gathered in the dark to scare me. “How long until Klok has the golems ready to go?”
My father’s metal son was the only one with enough foresight to leave me alone. He’d been in Magnus’s basement workshop for days, putting the final touches on repairs to Xerxes and Bijou so we could use them as transportation to reach whatever secret place Winnie knew. Not safe, she said, but free of the Commission, and that was free enough to let me breathe. Klok had been working nonstop, but I still wished he was faster. I had been ready to leave the day we arrived.
“Any time now,” Anise said. She seemed to notice the edge in her own voice, because she softened it to ask: “Honestly this time—are you okay?”
“Am I ever?”
The rocks were gone and the fire doused, but we were still ankle- deep in rising water. I placed my left hand against an exposed pipe and held the right out toward my floor. The leak stopped and reversed, flowing back into the pipe with everything that had drenched my room.
Once the rug was dry, I covered the break in the pipe with my palm and willed the metal to melt into a new seam.
“See?” I said to Anise. “It’s under control.”
“For now.” She scowled at me. “I’m making breakfast, if you want any. Do not leave this house.” Then she let me be. Winnie and Birch left my door, so only Jermay and I remained. I could almost hear Birdie’s ghostly steps running away unseen.
Or it could have been my mind playing another trick on me.
“So what was it this time?” Jermay asked me. “The Center falling out of the sky? Accidentally summoning an army of Medusae golems that dragged you into space?”
Nightmares were so common that we knew each other’s by name.
I shook my head and said, “The train,” so quietly I almost didn’t hear it myself.
“Mine was a man-eating clock tracking me through a poisonous jungle.” He grinned, so I couldn’t tell if he was telling the truth or not. One of his more frustrating traits.
“I left her,” I said. “Who?” “Iva. She was shot, and she died, and all I did was step over her body and save myself.” “You mean the robot?” “Don’t say it like that. You wouldn’t talk about Klok like that.” “Klok’s different,” Jermay said. “Why?” “He just is.” Jermay gave me the lopsided grin that used to be my greatest weakness, but he was trying old tricks on a new girl. I wasn’t that Penn any- more, and I wasn’t really Penelope, either. I was something new, hard and sharp because my edges hadn’t worn down yet. No matter what I said or did, I cut him.
“You didn’t know her,” I told him bluntly.
I wondered if I could have saved her. I had rewired Warden Nye’s mechanical hands without a manual or tools, using a few stern words and stubborn looks. That had been years’ worth of damage. Maybe even decades. Iva’s wound was fresh. Her systems were mostly intact. Surely I could have routed the rest around the burnouts. I could have done something—anything. But I left her there, and I didn’t think about try- ing to fix her until we were out of reach.
I forgot her, and now I knew what it was like to watch my mother die.
“Iva fulfilled her purpose,” Jermay said. “She helped save us. If it’s possible for a machine to feel satisfaction, then she died happy.”
“But she still died.” I started picking up the mess, one infant-sized toy at a time. Jermay sat down on the end of the bed I’d begged Klok to move in here for me. He surveyed the room.
“What d’ya say I snap my fingers and clean this place up my way?” His way meaning magic. Illusion. Deception. I’d blink my eyes, and he’d have everything hidden in the closet and under the bed before I opened them again. “That’s okay. I’ve got it.” I needed to ground myself in reality. Using my hands felt normal, and I’d nearly forgotten what that word meant. Sleight of hand wouldn’t help me remember.
“I’m sorry I can’t make it better,” he said. “So am I.” He flinched as if I meant that I blamed him for not being able to fix things, but I was only returning his apology. I was sorry, too. I wanted to make things better for him, but didn’t know how.
We were both orphans, most likely. I couldn’t say for certain that my father was dead, but he wasn’t there, and every new day withered my hope of finding him a little more. And yet, I still had that scrap of hope—Jermay didn’t. His father’s grave was right outside the door to the Hollow, and he was the one trying to make me feel better, when I should have been showing him the same compassion.
What was wrong with me?
“Anise is right. You are getting stronger,” he said when I sat down beside him on the bed.
“Not strong enough, and I can’t stay cooped up like this. I need air.”
The Show’s train had never stayed in one place longer than a week; we were always on the go. What I hadn’t realized was that we couldn’t afford to stop. The only time I’d ever been still longer than that was inside the Center. It took me a while to figure out the timeline, but between fleeing with Jermay and the others, being unconscious after we lost the train, and the days I spent imprisoned with Birch in the clouds, I lost six weeks. It felt like six lifetimes—one each for me, my sisters, and my missing father. Being inside the Hollow felt like six times more than that. There weren’t even any windows.
“I need to see the sky,” I said.
Something else Anise should have understood. She’d been weakened by having her access to the ground cut off inside the Center. I needed to see the sun and moon and stars, not have them reduced to the tingling agony of a ghost limb I could feel but not see or touch.
Time had lost all meaning in the Hollow. We slept because we were always exhausted and unable to relax enough to rest. No one knew if it was day or night outside. We didn’t even know how long we’d been there.
“You can’t go out,” Jermay told me. “Anise said—” “I don’t care!” A small tremor shook the room. “Sorry,” I said. “But that’s going to keep happening unless I get out of here.” “They’re looking for you.” “Nye was looking for me. The rest of them are licking their wounds.
We’re under a tree. What are the chances that someone from the Commission will wander through these woods at the exact moment I step outside?”
“About the same chance as you being possible,” Jermay said, more serious. “If you have a flare out in the open, someone could see it.”
“Fine—compromise. I won’t go out, but I’m opening the door before I suffocate. If I don’t, I’m liable to literally blow the roof off of this place, and that would be a lot easier to see from a distance than one girl in a random stretch of trees.”
“I don’t know, Penn . . .” “I’m going.” I was already getting up to leave. An alarm sounded. My room was suddenly awash in lights and noise. “Wha—” Jermay started to ask, but I shrugged. Unless Anise had wired me with motion sensors in my sleep, the alert had nothing to do with us.
We hurried into the hall. Anise ran past us toward the main room and the entrance we’d used to access the Hollow when we first arrived.
“Did either of you touch the outer door?” she asked. “Why?” “Did you touch the door?” she shouted. I’d never seen Anise lose her temper or composure. She was the one who kept the rest of us grounded. Whatever this was, it wasn’t good. “We didn’t touch anything,” Jermay said as Birch and Winnie joined us from the back. Klok stomped up the stairs from my father’s workroom. The trapdoor slammed open against the hall rug. “Check the sensors,” Anise ordered him. “Code Blackout. Turn everything off in case they’re skimming for energy signatures.” With entire cities going dark at night out of fear that the Medusae or another otherworldly race might see us, the Commission had devel- oped ways to scan for illegal tech in areas where it was forbidden. All of my father’s work was cutting edge, specifically because it was made for the Commission to buy freedom for our family. Their equipment could pick it up, easy.
Klok nodded and disappeared back into the floor. Two seconds later, the room dimmed to a candlelit glow.
“What is it?” I asked. “What’s wrong?” “The alert on the outer door. Someone’s coming in.” I reached for Jermay’s arm at the same time he reached for mine.
We twined them together with our pinkies interlocked for luck. Maybe some of the old Penn was still in there, after all.
A tiny invisible mass latched onto my other side so hard that I almost toppled over.
“Birdie!” Anise shouted. “I need to see you, baby.” “I think I’ve got her,” I said. Birdie slipped her hand into mine, slowly bleeding into view without a sound. Her eyes were wide and staring, her whole body shaking. She was barefoot and in a pair of red-checkered pajamas she’d rummaged from one of my sisters’ closets.
“Into the basement with Klok,” Anise ordered her. Birdie sprinted for the trapdoor, disappearing again as she went. Someone pounded on the outer door. The tunnel lights went out completely, robbing us of our view, and I backed up with Jermay, farther into the main room. There was only the one exit. We ran into Winnie and Birch so that the four of us formed a line. Standing together had given us an advantage before. Hopefully, there was still safety in numbers.
“What if it’s someone from The Show?” Jermay asked. “It could be . . . couldn’t it?”
The look Anise gave him over her shoulder wasn’t promising.
“Whoever it is, I’ll tell them to leave and forget how they got here,” Winnie offered. She was The Show’s siren in more than appearance, and if she told someone to do something, they did it.
“I doubt they’re alone,” Anise said. “They’re not going to give you the chance to speak to each one of them. All of you get into the workroom.”
“But—” She wouldn’t let me argue. “Do it, Penn!” she commanded. “If I don’t know the person on the other side of that door, I’m collapsing the tunnel, and then I’m bringing the rest of this place down behind me. You’ll have to make them a new way out.”
“I’m not leaving you!”
That was how I lost my sisters the first time. They guarded our escape from the train, and in return, they were taken by the Commission.
Anise growled, but she didn’t waste time arguing with me.
“Winnie, Birch, grab whatever’s worth taking downstairs and tell Klok to be ready to run. We can’t wait for perfection anymore.”
“Got it,” Winnie said.
She and Birch descended the workroom stairs as the seal on the main door broke with a creak. A new light appeared at the mouth of the tunnel. Something moving. As it came closer, it behaved strangely like a living thing, but it was definitely on fire. It ran the last several yards on padded feet.
“Samson!” I cried, relieved. There was no mistaking my sister Evie’s flame-dog once he was close enough to have a shape. I’d seen her summon him nightly for The Show for as long as I could remember. “Evie’s made it! She escaped!”
“Penn, wait!” Jermay pulled on my arm, though I could see Evie in the tunnel now. “Look at him.”
I turned my attention back to Samson. The usually playful pup stood with his legs braced, twisting his neck against an unseen leash, being forced to go where he didn’t want to be led.
“Evie?” Anise called. She kept her hands down, but I could feel her power rooting itself into the ground beneath our feet. She was preparing for an attack. Provoked, she could have a rampaging Kodiak between us and the door in a heartbeat. “If that’s you, say something.”
“This is wrong,” Jermay said, shaking his head. “We should—”
He lost his voice as Evie stepped into the main room with a hound’s collar around her throat and manacles on her wrists and ankles. She’d lost the glow that had always made her seem to shine.
“Run!” she said. Then the ball of flame in her hand leapt from her fingers.

Author Bio:
L.J. Hatton is a Texan, born and raised. She sometimes refers to the towns she’s lived in by the movies filmed in them, and if she wasn’t working as a professional pretender, she’d likely be holed up in a lab somewhere doing genetics research. She is also the author of Sing Down the Stars, the first volume in her Celestine series.

Skyscape is giving away 3 eBook copies of Sing Down the Stars – Book 1 in the Celestine series!
ENTER HERE for your chance to win!
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Monday, 21 March 2016

***Book Blitz*** In the Hope of Memories By Olivia Rivers

In the Hope of Memories
Olivia Rivers
Publication date: March 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Hope is dying.
Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.
Hope is dead.
Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:
Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.
Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.
Hope is within reach.
“Wait!” I slam my hand against the door to stop it from clicking shut, wincing as the splintered wood digs into me. “I’m looking for Hope. Hope Jackson. She said she’d be here.”
The dude shakes his head. “She’s dead.”
My heart stutters a fast and hard beat, like it does right when I get tackled on the field. “No. No, she’s not. She’s the exact opposite of dead. Today is her eighteenth birthday. Her birthday party is about to start right now.”
Official Reason Number Infinity it Sucks to Be Going Blind: When you can’t see right, you can’t stop a fist from colliding with your face. The dude’s knuckles crash into my jaw, and I yelp, more out of shock than pain. I’m about to pound my own fist into the freak when he starts talking again, this time in a tone that’s actually kind of pissed.
“She’s dead, you jerk! You really think it’s funny to joke about that?”
“I’m not joking!” I rub at my jaw with the back of my clenched hand. Part of me is itching to mess up this guy’s face, but a larger part is starting to panic. “You’re the one with the wrong info,” I say, silently praying I’m right. “Hope isn’t dead.”
The dude stares down at his hand and slowly curls and uncurls his fingers, like he can’t quite believe he just threw a punch. Then he whispers, “You’re not messing with me?”
“No! What kind of sick joke would that be? Like I said, I’m just trying to find her birthday party. I got an invite from her, I swear. It said to come here.”
Apparently, this conversation isn’t weird enough for him, so he has to add in some awkward silence. Fan-freaking-tastic. Just when I’m starting to think he’s slipped into a coma, he says, “Sorry I punched your face.”
I take a deep breath. “Just tell me where her birthday party is, okay?”
“I told you, there is no party. Hope is dead.”
“Christ, are you seriously going to make me explain this again? She’s not dead. It’s her birthday today. As in the day when you celebrate a person being alive.”
“It would have been her birthday,” the dude says, slipping back into his strange monotone. “But now she’s dead.”
The seriousness in his voice makes my gut twist, and for a moment, I wonder if maybe he hurt Hope. My hand edges toward my pocket, but just as I’m considering grabbing my cell phone and dialing 9-1-1, I see a tear trickle down his cheek. It looks strange on his expressionless face, but another tear quickly follows, and then a third. He sniffs and turns away, wiping his right eye on the battered sleeve of his hoodie.
“What happened?” I ask, my voice a cracked whisper. All sorts of scenarios rush through my head—Hope’s plane crashing on vacation, a car accident, getting caught in a wrong-place-wrong-time shooting…
“You don’t know?” the dude asks.
“No. Was it in the news?”
The smallest beginning of a frown tugs at his lips. “Of course not. Why would the news report about a stroke victim?”
“Stroke?” I repeat. “She had a stroke? What…why? What triggered it? She’s a health freak.”
He blinks slowly and then says again, “You don’t know?”

Author Bio:
Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “Frost Fire” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

***Cover Reveal*** Damnation’s Door By Amy Braun (Cursed, #3)

Damnation’s Door
Amy Braun
(Cursed, #3)
Publication date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Demons are free. Angels are fallen. Hope is dying…
Constance Ramirez and her adopted sister, Andromeda, have stopped Lucifer’s plan– They have closed the Heaven Gate and kept the demons out. But their choice came with brutal consequences, and now every angel on earth is trapped in their mortal body.
All that remains is closing the Hell Gate and establishing a balance once and for all. That means returning to the city of Constance’s nightmares, which has become a haven for murderers and monsters. But even more dangerous than their hunt is that Andromeda’s powers and instincts are turning darker, and this time Constance doesn’t know how to protect her.
Constance is ready to fight for her life, but her enemies have plans she can’t begin to imagine, and they’re prepared to make her suffer…
Trust is lost and hearts are broken in the epic conclusion in Amy Braun’s Cursed trilogy…
**Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design**
Chapter 1
It was supposed to be simple.
I actually thought we would be able to step outside our shelter, get the supplies, and be back before anyone realized we’d been there.
This is what happens when my sister’s optimism rubs off on me.
But it wasn’t Dro’s fault that we walked into a damn trap. Hell just hated us.
That was fine. I hated Hell right back.
The cheap metal door was still clanging against the plaster wall of the store I’d just busted into. Max had looked into it when I asked, and told me there would be demons, but he couldn’t tell what kind because his precog was still blurred. I was expecting a couple Reds or ghouls, maybe a Shredder.
I was not expecting Possessors.
The possessed humans weren’t surprised to see us. Even in their human forms, the Possessors should have been able to sense my sister, because she was the most powerful half-demon known to exist. Since she was still on Hell’s Most Wanted List, we had a serious problem on our hands.
The Possessors looked like regular humans, except their irises were solid black. I held back my shiver, knowing just how much pain their souls must be in. Being possessed was one of the worst things a human could experience. I had barely survived it.
These Possessors had taken over a group of tall, bulky men in black clothes. Their hair ranged from shoulder-length to bald, and their arms were covered in tattoos. Each had the tattoo of a rose thorn that appeared to be weaving in and out of their skin, blood dripping from the points. I had the same one inked behind my ear.
This just keeps getting better and better.
Finally, we snapped out of our shock. I went for the hatchet on my hip and grabbed a knife from my inside jacket. Beside me, Warrick took out a handgun. Next to him, Sephiel drew two short swords. Max wisely stepped back, knowing he couldn’t fight half as well as the rest of us. Dro’s shoulders were tense and ready, but I moved in front of her not just to protect her, but to keep her from doing anything that would get all of us killed.
I started reconsidering this when all of the Possessors drew enormous handguns.
But they didn’t shoot. Why weren’t they shooting?
Because someone else was in the room with us. Someone bigger than the Possessors, who stalked out from the shadows into the dim light. My hand tightened on the grip of my weapons, and I expected Warrick to pull the trigger.
Drake Talbot smiled when he saw our anger. He was a huge bear of a man, about six foot three and probably two hundred and fifty pounds of muscle. He had on his black duster and dark pants, his hands on his hips to display the guns and the thick, blunt hilts of his knives easily visible next to his clothes. The top of his head and his chin were covered in dark stubble. Two abysmal black eyes stared at me, filled with sadism and malice.
“Well, look who showed their faces after all,” Drake sneered, standing confidently behind his bodyguards. “We didn’t think you’d make it to Party Town.”
Party Town. I supposed Drake would see it that way. I didn’t think a city full of murderers, rapists, and generally wicked people was a place to party, but Drake was the definition of a masochist. He would see a city of death as home, sweet home.
Warrick didn’t have a kill shot, and that was the only reason I could imagine for Drake to still be standing. All it would take was one missed shot to set off a chain reaction of bullets and blood.
I wanted to see Drake bleeding under my boot just as much as he did, but I wasn’t throwing my knife, either. Something wasn’t right.
“What are you doing here, Drake?” I growled.
He laughed. It was an awful, rasping noise. His black eyes met mine, the same way they had when he stabbed me twice and left me to die. I blocked out the memory, keeping away the phantom pain of a knife sliding into my stomach and ribs.
“Had to pick something up for the boss,” he said mockingly. “You can imagine how fussy he is.”
My blood went cold, and I barely heard Dro’s sharp intake of breath. I could picture Sephiel’s face tightening with anger. Drake looked at all of us, relishing the hatred, pain, and fear we radiated. I controlled it as best as I could, knowing answers were more important than revenge right now.
“What the fuck did you do?” I asked again.
His grin widened, and this time he only looked at me. “It isn’t what I did. It’s what I’m going to do.” He dipped his chin, fixing me with his black gaze. “He’s got plans for you, chica. Serious plans. So much detail has gone into them that even your ex isn’t allowed to intervene. Matt’s pretty pissed about that too.”
Not as pissed as he would be if he heard you calling him ‘Matt.’
“See, I found something really, really special.” Drake continued. “It’s the last thing we need. But don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll get introduced to it very, very soon.”
My stomach turned. I expected him to say something about wanting Dro. My sister was the real supernatural force in our group. I was human, born and raised. I’d never been anything but. I didn’t want to be.
Whatever was being planned for me by Drake, my former lover, and the creature I feared above anything else could only involve pain. A substantial amount of it.
I’d been on the receiving end of their tortures before. I had no intention of going through them again.
Though if they wanted me for something, they wouldn’t risk shooting me. They would take me alive.
No, they’re not. They’re going to try. And they’re going to fail.
I took a risk myself, and threw my silver knife at Drake.
I didn’t miss–I hardly ever miss–but I didn’t hit my mark.
The thin silver blade slammed into the neck of the Possessor standing beside Drake. The huge bounty hunter had stepped to the side so the blade wouldn’t get anywhere near him. He stepped so far I was a little embarrassed at how off my aim had been. Deep down, I knew better. Drake was fast for someone his size, but it looked like he’d gotten quite a bit from his deal with the Devil.
The man lurched, blood gushing from the wound in his neck. He opened his mouth as though to scream, but a spiral of thick black smoke shot out of his mouth. The Possessor’s true form screeched and twisted away in the back room. Then room exploded into action.
At first I thought the Possessors were going to shoot us. At their cores, they were still gangsters. Yet as soon as I surged forward, I saw them hesitate.
They were here to stall us, not kill us. At least not me, and probably not Dro.
Everyone else though… they were fair game.
Two shots cracked in rapid succession. None of the bullets hit me, though two of the possessed Blood Thorns dropped from the bullets that crashed into their skulls, scaring the Possessors out of their vessel’s dying mouths. Warrick had exceptional aim, and shooting demons with blessed silver bullets was good way to keep them from returning to rip us apart.
I went for Drake, who was backing away to escape through the storeroom exit. Fucking coward.
Two Possessors blocked my path. They tucked their guns away and threw out their fists. I skidded to a stop and stepped back, one of their clenched hands brushing along my temple.
Admittedly, I didn’t think this whole plan through. Seeing the man who murdered my mentor, kidnapped my sister, tortured and tried to kill me sparked my already short temper. So it wasn’t long before they got their shots in.
The man on my left jabbed his fist into my ribs. I winced, giving the man on the right the chance to loop his arm around my throat. I was pinned to his back, my neck straining painfully as he wrenched it up. I used one hand to claw at the meaty arm on my throat, leaving my front completely exposed to the second man. He grinned, thinking he was going to get some revenge on me for the sake of his employers.
Stupid bastard forgot I was still armed.
He pulled back his fist to hit me, and even as his fist was flying for my face, I was moving. I kicked him in the knee with one foot, making him stumble. His fist brushed over my shoulder and into the chest of the man choking me. I kicked his stomach with my other foot, making him double over. Then I sliced the blade of my hatchet into his exposed neck.
Blood squirted out of his severed carotid artery, painting the dirty floor before he collapsed onto it.
The man behind me growled and slammed his fist into my kidneys. I winced at the crushing pain. He was so much stronger now that he was possessed. His grip tightened on my neck, causing black spots to dance in front of my eyes. The Possessor’s free hand shot out to catch my wrist and keep the hatchet away from him. He squeezed until I thought he was going to break my hand.
Then he stiffened and released his hold. A warm liquid peppered my neck, filling the air with the coppery smell of blood. I pitched forward, touching my throat and coughing to get back the oxygen I’d missed. Assured that my neck wasn’t broken, I turned around to see what had saved me.
My little sister stood over the Possessor, the knife in her hand dripping fresh blood onto the floor. The man crab walked away, blood oozing from his fingers as he tried to put pressure on the wound in his throat. He looked terrified of my sister.
At first glance, Dro wasn’t the kind of girl anyone would be afraid of. She was sixteen, and utterly beautiful with the face of a saint. Her skin was flawless and paper pale. Long white hair rested in a braid along her back, ending at the base of her spine. But over the last few weeks, there was a darkness lurking behind her ice blue eyes. A danger that needed to be avoided at all costs.
A malevolence that reminded me of her father.
“What did Drake steal?” she demanded in a cold voice that didn’t belong to her.
“We– we never knew,” the Possessor pleaded. Usually these were the kinds of demons that toyed with their prey. The demon that possessed me had felt Dro’s power, which meant this one must have been sensing it too. I started to understand why he was so afraid.
“We were just told to wait here. They knew you’d be looking for him, and we were supposed to keep you from killing him.”
I glanced at the back door. It was open, and Max was beside it, keeping Warrick from going through. He was likely trying to explain that the revenge-crazed demon slayer wasn’t going to be able to find his nemesis tonight. Warrick was standing profile to me, though I could only imagine the anger burning in his neon green eyes.
“You’re lying.”
Dro’s hollow tone made me look at her again. My eyes flicked down when I saw the light coming from her left hand. Blazing white flames were curling around her wrist, clawing their way up her arm. The Possessor’s eyes widened as he stared at the hellfire she was controlling. He’d probably seen what it could do, and I didn’t blame him for being scared.
“I’m not!” the Possessor cried, snapping me out of my thoughts. His voice was becoming hoarse from the blood loss. “I’m not, I swear!”
I’d been in this situation before. You accused someone of lying, they said they weren’t, and then you started beating the truth out of them. Eventually, you got the answer you wanted. I could tell when someone was putting on a façade, and when they were being honest.
This demon didn’t know shit.
“Dro,” I croaked. I muted my cough. She still didn’t hear me. The fires continued to rise up her arms.
“Dro, that’s enough,” I warned her.
She didn’t listen to me, clenching her fist and increasing the light from the flames until I could no longer see the outline of her hand.
Andromeda,” I half shouted.
My adopted sister turned her head slightly at the sound of my voice. Her eyes locked on mine, and I was amazed at all the anger she was holding back. It softened when she saw me, but not nearly as much as I wanted it to.
“He doesn’t know anything,” I told her. “We’re done here.”
Dro twisted her head back to the dying Possessor, white hair swishing against her back. The hellfire dulled and evaporated from her fist. She looked at the bloody knife in her hand, then went still.
This was the first time Dro had ever killed a human on purpose with her bare hands.
I walked to my sister. I gently placed my hand on her shoulder. She jumped under my touch, glancing back at me. I saw the terrified, ashamed little girl who would never forgive herself for this. I wasn’t happy with that, but it was better than seeing the look of a cold-blooded murderer.
These days, I took what I could get with Dro.
“Go outside with the guys. Make sure Drake’s not waiting to trap us, and that Warrick doesn’t chase after him.”
Dro’s light eyes held my dark ones. “I don’t need to go outside. I can do that from in here.”
I clutched her shoulder just a little harder. “No. You don’t need your powers for this.”
One look at her narrowed eyes and harsh frown told me that we were going to fight about this later. Probably the moment I saw her again outside.
Regardless, Dro put her knife on her belt, glanced at the dying Possessor one last time, and stormed to the front door. Her guardian and ex-angel Sephiel gave me a small nod. He would protect her from anything while I wasn’t there. As he followed my aggravated sister, I watched Max hesitantly show Warrick the front door. He was smart not to touch him. Warrick looked ready to punch the lights out of the first person that crossed him.
Once they were gone, I picked up my silver throwing knife and sheathed it in my jacket. The other Possessors had vacated their human vessels, leaving behind their dead bodies. Usually Possessors put up more of fight than this. I couldn’t help but remember that they were fodder for something much more sinister. I stood by the dying Possessor, who was now flat on his back and choking on his own blood. Possessors hated to leave their vessels, but I wasn’t going to exorcise him. I didn’t have the time, and even if I did, he was a dead man. The wound in his throat was too grievous. The Possessor was the only thing keeping him “alive.”
I knelt beside his head, dangling the hatchet in front of my knee. When my eyes locked onto his, they weren’t filled with the pain I’d expected them to be. If anything, he seemed proud. Whatever his goal had been, he appeared to have accomplished it.
“Tell me something useful, and I’ll end it,” I told him.
The Possessor made a noise between a rasp and a gurgle. It took me a moment to realize he was laughing.
“Not… long… now,” he choked out. “She’ll be… his… soon…”
He grinned, blood staining his teeth. I decided against the mercy killing. I slowly pushed myself up, ignoring the aches and pains in my body. I walked around the shop, looking through the cabinets and drawers to salvage anything I could. I found some packets of dried and canned food, as well as some bottles of lukewarm water. I never once looked back at the dying Possessor, knowing it couldn’t take me over since I had an anti-possession sigil tattooed over my heart.
Yet I couldn’t shake the foreboding words the Possessor had given me. As I walked out of the store and back into the dark, bloody streets, I recalled what Drake said.
See, I found something really, really special. It’s the last thing we need. But don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll get introduced to it very, very soon.
There was only one reason Drake, Mateo, and Lucifer himself would target me.
They wanted to capture my sister.
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Author Bio:
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn't writing, she's reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

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