Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Running to Stand Still by Lauren Rosolino


About the Book

Cover copy
Title: Running to Stand Still
Author: Lauran Rosolino
Genre: NA Romance
Collin was who he was: simple and easy.
Me? I was jagged and complex. I wanted everything.
And despite how he made me feel—safe—it was clear to me that we’d never work out in the end.
That divide between us would always be there.
Because I’d never ask him to give up on the things he wanted.
And, while I sometimes wished I could be that person, I wasn’t.
Just seven more months. Then Jamie Benson can leave this goodbye town behind her and start her new life in Chicago. She can leave this place of broken glass and cracked sidewalks and rusted fences. This place that holds nothing good. She can leave the ghosts and spinning rooms and shattered promises in her rearview mirror and never look back.
But all the stories she’s been telling herself are threatened when, one night, while tending bar at her father’s hole-in-the-wall dive, she meets Collin—a boy who is good and honest and sincere in a world where everything is harsh and cold and detached. A boy who makes her feel safe. A boy worth staying for.
Will Jamie be able to untangle the truths from the lies? Or will the sins of the past swallow her whole?

Author Bio

Jesse Speelman Photography

Author of The Charm Necklace and Running to Stand Still. Writer of stories about finding beauty in brokenness.
She is a storyteller. Adventuer. Partner. Coffee drinker. Magic believer. Rebel with a gypsy soul. Lover of the woods and books, the woods and walks.
Born and bred in Detroit, Lauren grew up reading Harry Potter, watching Gilmore Girls, listening (and dancing) to a lot of music, and wondering why people do what they do. She graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in Psychology. Lauren lives with her husband, dog, cat, and bunny in Charleston, South Carolina.
To find out more and read her blog, Wonderstruck, visit


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Author Interview & Giveaway: Fish Wielder by J.R.R. R. (Jim) Hardison

About the Author

Fish Wielder is J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison's first novel novel (He wrote a graphic novel, The Helm, for Dark Horse Comics). Jim has worked as a writer, screen writer, animator and film director. He started his professional career by producing a low-budget direct-to-video feature film, The Creature From Lake Michigan. Making a bad movie can be a crash course in the essential elements of good character and story, and The Creature From Lake Michigan was a tremendously bad movie. Shifting his focus entirely to animation, Jim joined Will Vinton Studios where he directed animated commercials for M&M’s and on the stop-motion TV series Gary and Mike. While working at Vinton, he also co-wrote the television special Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy with actor Paul Reiser.

Jim has appeared on NBC's The Apprentice as an expert advisor on brand characters, developed characters and wrote the pilot episode for the PBS children's television series SeeMore's Playhouse and authored the previously mentioned graphic novel, The Helm, named one of 2010's top ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA, a branch of the American Library Association. These days, Jim is the creative director and co-owner of Character LLC, a company that does story-analysis for brands and entertainment properties. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife, two amazing kids, one smart dog and one stupid dog.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

Both really. I usually start with an idea that just comes to me and I try to write as much of it as I can in a single streak (until I’m interrupted or pass out from lack of sleep). After that, I’ll noodle the idea around for a long time, thinking about how to turn it into a proper story. Once I figure out where it’s going in a general way, then I’ll start thinking about what meaning it might convey and what structure would be suited to best put that meaning across. After that, I’ll work out a skeleton narrative outline for the whole story. Then I dive in and start writing. I go at it linearly, from beginning to end. I won’t skip ahead, although I’ll frequently loop back to adjust and polish stuff I’ve already written as new things suggest themselves.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Characters will try to get away with murder, if you let them and the secondary characters are the worst. They are always trying to steal scenes and make whole chapters about themselves, or sometimes even hijack the whole story. You really have to keep an eye on characters.

What is your favourite food?

Thin crust cheese pizza, light on the sauce. My wife says my idea of a perfect pizza is that you take a cracker, show it a tomato, sprinkle it lightly with cheese and then burn it.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I am a night owl. When I am writing in the morning, it is usually because I have been writing all night long.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I’m not a great lover of travel. I travel a lot for my work, often to exotic, lovely places that other folks might kill to go to, and I always complain about it. For me, the best thing is a comfortable seat, an apple (cold from the refrigerator) and a book.

Do distant places feature in your books?

As distant as you can get. My Fish Wielder trilogy is set on the mystical world of Grome.

Do you listen to music while writing?

Often, yes. Sometimes I’ll find a song that fits a particular scene or helps me stay in a specific mood and I’ll listen to it over and over as I write a section of the narrative. Other times, I’ll stick on some thematically correct playlist to run in the background while I work. And then, other times, I need it dead silent. Go figure.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

My book is called Fish Wielder and it is an epically silly epic fantasy novel. It’s about a muscle-bound barbarian warrior and his talking fish who stumble their way into a quest to recover the lost Pudding of Power and destroy it before the forces of evil can use it to take over the magical world of Grome. There’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s the general idea. It’s the first in an epically silly epic trilogy. You see, when you are writing epically silly epic fantasy, it’s a legal requirement that you write a trilogy. That’s just how it is. And I’m particularly bound by those kinds of regulations because I have three Rs in my name. I might have been about to get away with just a single book if I had only one R—like E.R. Eddison and The Worm Ouroboros. On the other hand, if I’d had two Rs, like J.R.R. Tolkien or George R.R. Martin, I might have had two write seven books.  So, I think I dodged a bullet there.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

A. It always takes a lot longer than I think it will—both in the writing and in the publishing stage. When I’m writing, and it’s going well, I often think, “Ah! Splendid! This will be done in no time!” and then it takes another six drafts and a year or something. And then, when a publisher says they’re interested, I often think, “Excellent! This will be on the shelf shortly!” and then, of course, it takes another year. Two other things: less adverbs and less adverbs.

Is there anything you would do differently?

No. It kind of goes how it goes. It’s a bit like riding a crazed buffalo, if you’ve ever tried that. You can kind of point it in a direction, but you’re going to go where the buffalo wants.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

A. I started off (at about 10-years-old) reading the classics of epic fantasy. There was The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings and The Barsoom Chronicles (and even The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath). But when I turned thirteen, I stumbled across A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony and I remember thinking, “Wait a second! This stuff can be funny? And still be good?!” And then I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Between those two, it kind of changed my trajectory with fantasy. After that, I added books by L. Sprauge DeCamp, Fritz Leiber, Robert Asprin, Terry Pratchett and the Harvard Lampoon to the reading list. Of course, I continued with the classics like Conan, and I read the White Gold Wielder stuff by Stephen R. Donaldson (only one R in his name) and the Dragon Riders of Pern, and everything by Ursula K. Le Guin, and the Chronicles of Prydain and... you know, this is going to get unwieldy pretty fast. I read basically all the fantasy I could get my hands on and I augmented it with movies like Big Trouble in Little China and The BeastMaster. Maybe I’m just super impressionable, but they all left their mark and I hope bits of all of them can be felt in Fish Wielder.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Write. Just write a bunch. And write to amuse or entertain yourself first and worry about audience second. I know some folks who are very analytical about their approach and try to figure out who their reader is before they start and what kind of voice they need to write in to reach those folks. There’s something to be said for that, but it’s not how I like to do it. I always hope to write the kind of story I’d like to read, and that keeps it fun. Keeping it fun is important because writing can sometimes be a difficult and even painful process similar to extracting your own teeth. So, write a bunch and make sure it’s something you want to read so that you’ll keep at it.

What are three words that describe you?

Lazy control freak.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

Oh, that’s not fair. There are just too many good ones to choose from and too many I love too much. I will say that the book I have read most often is The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft. I read that book about once a year.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

"This is one wild romp! I suspect some smarter reader than I could do a doctoral dissertation just fathoming the fantasy genre's famous legends that are parodied here. I'm not sure I've seen such preposterously determined critic-baiting parody since Xanth or Asprin's Myth-begotten series. I recommend it to anyone."

—Piers Anthony, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Xanth series

List of previous books if any

A. The Helm (which is actually a graphic novel released by Dark Horse comics). It was named one of the Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA in 2010.

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

I started my professional career by co-writing and producing a low-budget direct-to-video feature, "The Creature From Lake Michigan". Making a bad film can be a crash course in the essential elements of good character and story, and "The Creature From Lake Michigan" was a tremendously bad film. I like to think that I learned my lesson well, and after a brief stint recuperating as a freelance writer and film editor, I founded my own production company.

During its seven-year run, I wrote, directed and edited live-action and animation productions, including educational films, television commercials and television pilots. Shifting my focus entirely to animation, I joined Will Vinton Studios in 1997. There I directed animated commercial and entertainment projects, including episodic television (the UPN series Gary & Mike).

While working at Vinton, I also co-wrote the television special "Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy" with actor Paul Reiser. I co-founded Character LLC in 2000--a company that advises brands and entertainment properties on their stories. While working at Character I have given story advice to many of the world's largest brands including Discovery Networks, Target, Verizon, Amazon and Microsoft. I even appeared on NBC's "The Apprentice" as an expert adviser on brand characters.

In addition, I've done character development work and wrote for the PBS children's television series "SeeMore's Playhouse". After 21 years, I finally completed "The Creature from Lake Michigan" to glowingly positive reviews from lovers of questionable cinema. These days, I live in Portland, Oregon with my lovely wife, two amazing kids, one smart dog and one stupid dog.


About the Book:
Fish Wielder
by Jim Hardison

In ancient times, the Dark Lord Mauron cooked the most powerful magic chocolate dessert ever made, the Pudding of Power.

One thousand and two years later, the evil leader of the Bad Religion, the Heartless One, is trying to recover the lost pudding in order to enslave the peoples of Grome. Only the depressed barbarian warrior Thoral Might Fist and his best friend, Brad the talking Koi fish, have a chance to save the world of Grome from destruction, but that's going to take a ridiculous amount of magic and mayhem.

Thus begins the epically silly epic fantasy of epic proportions, Fish Wielder—book one of the Fish Wielder Trilogy.

Praise for Fish Wielder:

"Fast, fun, fantastic! Fish Wielder is hilarious and unpredictable, like a drunk bear playing whack-a-mole." ―Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be Crazy

"A great time. Fast and funny, it races along in a self-aware tone that should appeal to anyone who loves fantasy but has ever found themselves thinking, huh, that was a little melodramatic." ―Clay Johnson, author of OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD (Ravenswood Publishing, 2016)

Book Videos:

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5 ebook copies of Fish Wielder

1 paperback (US only) copy of Fish Wielder

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Cover Reveal: Immortal Billionaire by Jane Godman

Immortal Billionaire
Jane Godman
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Date of Publication: November 1, 2016
Number of pages: 304
Word Count: 80 000
Cover Artist: Harlequin

Book Description:

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

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

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

Available for Pre-Order

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

Four years of running and hiding. Four years of looking over her shoulder. Of viewing every man she met with suspicion. Of waking every morning, wondering if today was the day he would finally catch up with her.
The relief of being offered somewhere to hide was so huge it drove every other thought out of her head. She had a brief mental image of herself as a disaster survivor and the man opposite as the rescue worker who had just draped an emergency blanket around her shoulders. She resisted the temptation to cling to him, garbling out incoherent thanks until he was forced to gently pry her hands away. They were the wild thoughts spinning through Connie Lacey’s mind as she listened to the clipped tones of the attorney.
With hindsight, she probably should have paid more attention to the strangeness of the offer he was making and the diffident manner with which he made it. Gratitude will do that to you, she decided later. At the time her attention was taken up with grabbing this opportunity. Nod, smile, and sign on the dotted line. Don’t ask questions that might make him withdraw this incredible invitation. All she could focus on was the fact that—for thirty days, at least—she would not have to sleep with a knife under her pillow.
“You have one week.” She realized Mr. Reynolds had finished outlining the details of the proposal. “My client will expect you to be in Florida in exactly seven days’ time.”
Connie swallowed hard. She might have known there would be a catch. The logistics of getting to Florida posed a massive problem. Mentally, she reviewed the contents of her wallet. She knew exactly how much cash was in there. It wouldn’t get her across town let alone across the country. Before she could speak, Mr. Reynolds reached into the desk drawer and produced a hefty roll of banknotes. His expression softened slightly as he passed them across the desk.
“Expenses. For the journey and such sundry other items as may be necessary.” He cleared his throat with a hint of something that might have been embarrassment. “My client is a very exacting man. His guests will, for example, be required to dress for dinner during their stay on Corazón.”
Darn! And there I was thinking I had successfully managed to hide the fact that the sole is hanging off one of my sneakers and this sweater has forgotten what color it used to be.
Connie stuffed the wad of cash into her shoulder bag with a muttered word of thanks. If an encounter with Sylvester’s attorney could reduce her to the status of a gibbering wreck, how on earth was she going to cope with the man himself?
As she got to her feet, Mr. Reynolds rose and came around the desk. He held out his hand. Surprised, Connie took it. Instead of the handshake she had expected, he clasped her hand between both of his. It was an oddly tactile gesture for such an aloof man.
“However this venture may turn out…” He paused and Connie sensed he was fighting an internal battle. As if the personal and professional were at war within him. The result felt like his version of a truce. “I wish you well, Miss Lacey.”
It was only later, when she got back to her grim, one-room apartment and counted—then, in disbelief, re-counted—the money, that she began to truly appreciate the gulf between her world and that of Corazón. What constituted “sundry other items” to Mr. Reynolds was almost a year’s salary to Connie.
Laughing, she tossed the notes into the air and briefly contemplated just disappearing with them. To hell with “second cousin several convoluted times removed” Sylvester and his mysteriously worded proposition. This money could buy her the freedom from fear she had been dreaming of. Temporarily, it was true, but even that was so much more than she had wished for. No more moving from town to town and job to job? No more looking over her shoulder? Yeah, I’ll take that and deal with the future when it gets here.
A pang of guilt tugged at her. Backing out wasn’t an option. She had just accepted Mr. Reynolds’s wretched invitation and a promise was, after all, a promise. Besides—despite its reputation—she was intrigued enough by Corazón to want to see it and, even if she admitted it only to herself, she wanted to meet the legendary Sylvester.
The ease with which Arthur Reynolds, senior partner in the firm of Reynolds, Prudah and Taylor, had tracked her down was unsettling. Even if she hadn’t been contemplating answering Sylvester’s eccentric summons, it would have been time to move on. Goodbye—she experienced a minor moment of panic as she tried to remember where she was. It had to happen one day—Farmington, Missouri. The last month has been okay, but it was never a long-term thing. We both knew it. No hard feelings.
She had a week to prepare for the journey. With a shrug, she tucked the money away at the back of her closet and curled up on the bed with a book. Connie could have her belongings packed in an hour. She’d done it often enough.


About the Author:

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

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

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

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

In 2017, Jane has a new paranormal romance series coming from SMP Swerve.
Watch out for her hot Arctic werewolves!

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





Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Rise of a Viking by Sky Purington

Rise of a Viking
The MacLomain Series 
Viking Ancestors’ Kin
Book 1
Sky Purington
Genre:  Time-travel Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication:  August 9, 2016
Number of pages:  270
Word Count:  80,000
Cover Artist:  Tamra Westberry

Book Description:

Cybil is thrilled when she and her family inherit a million dollar ocean-side house in Winter Harbor, Maine. It’s a chance to finally bring her sisters back together and right old wrongs. But problems arise. Her gift of prophecy grows stronger. A Viking from the past haunts her. And that old ash tree in the front yard? It has taken on the otherworldly qualities of Yggdrasill, a tree that connects the nine worlds in Norse mythology. Soon caught in its power, she’s whisked back in time to tenth-century Scandinavia.

Of dragon blood and set to inherit the throne, Heidrek Sigdir tries to keep Cybil away, but the gods have other plans. A fate designed to make him pay for past grievances. Yet when he finally lays eyes on her, he wants nothing else. They share a connection unlike any other. Poignant desire. Incomparable need. Tempting change. Even so, he must let her go. She should be with his brother. Still, nothing is what it seems. A new enemy is determined to destroy all and Cybil is special to him and his people in ways nobody anticipated.

Many revelations come to light when Heidrek and Cybil are forced to journey across the rugged lands of Norway to reach the home of the seers at the peak of Mt. Galdhøpiggen. Hearts will be tested and lives forever changed. Will a new Viking King rise up and keep his people safe? Or will his endless draw to a modern day woman be his ultimate ruin?

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Their eyes held for a long moment before a heavy drop of icy rain hit her cheek. He wiped it away gently then took her hand. “Let us find shelter.”

They didn’t go far before he pushed aside a heavy swath of roots and led her into an alcove about the size of a large walk-in closet. Plush green moss crawled along the walls and floor. Stones created a semi-circle at the rear with a small bushel of roots and sticks at its center. When Heidrek’s eyes glowed pale blue, sparks hissed then ignited a small fire.

“Won’t it get smoky in here,” she started before she realized a fist-sized hole was above it, effectively sucking the smoke away. Cybil peered up. “That goes all the way to the top? This mountain is easily hundreds of feet tall.”

“Yes, it goes to the top and is one of many. All of the mountains in the Place of Seers house sanctuaries like this,” he explained as he removed his fur and laid it on the ground. “They come here not only to worship but to mate.”

“Mate?” She perked her brows and couldn’t stop a small grin. “Where they worship?”

“They are Viking.” A rare twinkle lit his eyes. “Our mating and religion go hand in hand. Both are afforded equal devotion.” The corner of his mouth inched up. “And of course, a fair amount of worship is applied whether communing with the gods or mating.”

“So no churches or sex behind closed doors.” She chuckled as she removed her fur and laid it beside his. “Interesting.”

“Many of my people prefer mating in the open.” He returned to the entrance. “Sex is something to be enjoyed wherever and whenever the urge comes upon us.” There was a mischievous glint in his eyes when they slid over her. “Have you mated in front of others, Cybil?”

“Not that I know of.” She met his blossoming grin and held her forefinger within centimeters of her thumb. “Though I always had a little thing for leaving the light on at night and the curtains open during sex. Does that count?”

The flash of desire in his eyes as he envisioned such a thing spoke volumes. “My lodging at the fortress has plenty of torchlight and firelight as well as windows.” He shot her a predatory look. “And I will make more windows if you wish. Many more.”

“It might get pretty cold,” she murmured.

“No.” His eyes were full of promise. “If anything, it will likely get too hot.”

It occurred to her that this was the first time she and Heidrek had come close to flirting, and she liked it. There was more to him than what he showed the world. A playful side she would enjoy exploring for years to come. She tore her eyes from his at the thought, surprised by how easily she had fallen into seeing a future for them.


About the Author:

Sky Purington is the best-selling author of over twenty novels and several novellas. A New Englander born and bred, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth and legend. When combined with a love for nature, romance and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books.

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Interested in keeping up with Sky's latest news and releases? Visit Sky's website, to download her free App on iTunes and Android or sign up for her quarterly newsletter. Love social networking? Find Sky on Facebook and Twitter.








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Book Spotlight: Coprophelia by Colin Smith

by Colin Smith
Link to buye-book:


'Coprophelia' is a sideways autobiographical fantasy written, and lived out by The Cardinal - aka Colin Smith – the front man of the legendary, 1980s punk-band The Blood.

Amongst many other, bizarre vignettes the narrator - receives a, Dickensian visitation from the spirit of Michael Cocaine - compels a homophobic Nazi-teen, Oswald Muesli, to play a street cameo in a version of, Al Jolson's Mammy – seeks to execute a trio of BBC, celebrity child molesters on the Top of the Pops stage, and thereafter becomes a serial killing, vigilante Coyote.


Location the BBC’s TV Studios London.

I was now lethally primed, like the powder that was about to communicate fire to a charge, everything was ready to go, and like always before a kill my leviathan appetite, and titanic lusting, overcame any of my feelings, or ethical pangs, or indeed any hazy suggestions of uncertainty. All ambivalences that might have, stealthily crept up on my conscience from the left field were obliterated, destroyed and vanquished. Let the show begin!!!

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Boomers: The Judas Contact by Heather Long

The Judas Contact
Book One
Heather Long
Genre: sci-fi, adventure, romance
Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Date of Publication:  August 1, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-945193-01-9
Word Count: 62000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill

Book Description:

Hope may prove their most dangerous threat.

Doctor Ilsa Blaine

Codename: Doc

Abilities: Designs programmable bioware, enhanced understanding of brain chemistry

Mission: Research, analyze and troubleshoot the team’s active microchips

On the cutting edge of neuroscience, Ilsa is developing microchips that can be inserted into the brain and deliver information. The applications are endless, but her current goal is just to get dogs to return to their owners should they ‘become lost.’ When her college roommate turns up asking for lunch, she’s hardly prepared for the chaos that ensues or the revelation her chip changed the world, and the lives of five heroes from the future. And now they need her help…

Garrett Fox

Codename: The Viper

Abilities: toxins, poisons and assassination, he can kill with a touch

Mission: Protect Ilsa Blaine

One of five desperate men sent back in time to save the future, Garrett volunteers to be the doctor’s guinea pig as she studies their neuro-chips. It’s not his first time being a lab rat. In close quarters, the unthinkable happens—an attraction that could kill Ilsa. Drawn together by science, and on the fast track to destiny, Ilsa and Garrett must save his team from their chips before they can end them, and maybe Ilsa can prove to Garrett he isn’t toxic to everything he touches…least of all her.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. An alliance with the modern day Halo has given their leader a taste of hope. For these five lonely soldiers, the single emotion may prove their most dangerous threat.

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It took most of a day to get the equipment. Fortunately, in the decades since they’d arrived, the team had created stockpiles of weapons, technology, and safe houses. They came from a time when vanishing off the streets into an underground network was the only way to stay alive. They never forgot the habit, no matter how soft the gentle insanity of the so-called modern world became. Garrett, especially, stayed abreast of medical research and breakthroughs. Some nightmares a person never forgot. Security collars and electronic tagging were just a step below the “invisible fences” for pets.

“You don’t have to do this, Garrett. Drake and Rex both volunteered to take your place.” Simon came down to the main level of the warehouse to help him but, instead of loading the van, he studied Garrett’s profile.

“It’s not a problem. I’m the most logical choice. I’ve already developed a rapport with the doctor.” He selected a crate of dried foods. Cooking wasn’t something he enjoyed, but he could add water and heat with the best of them. He liked the noodle cups. They actually reminded him of his childhood.

An oddly pleasant sensation, rather than a painful memory, filled him with every serving.

“Walk me through it again.” Simon let the argument go for the time being, but Garrett wasn’t fooled by his mild tone or patient expression. The telepath may invade their minds upon request, but he kept his own thoughts buttoned up tight.

“We have the estate on the other end of Long Island. It’s extensive and heavily fortified—she can work there. It’s late in the season for the normal tourists, which will provide us with a quiet cover. Once we’re embedded, we’re going to stay in lockdown. I can use an electronic jammer to block cell signals. Depending on how long it takes the doc to finish her work, we’ll check in every day.” The plan was hardly complicated.

“Closest neighbors?”

“Over a thousand yards. The location is a prime piece of real estate with its own beach. Motion sensors will alert me to any arrivals. No one from the team will approach without notifying me ahead of time. You do realize that this is hardly my first picnic. “

“How are you feeling about Ilsa?”

Garrett swung around to meet Simon’s paler than pale gaze without a trace of humor. “She’s a means to an end. That’s it. She may prove helpful to the cause. Beyond that, I feel very little.”

Which wasn’t entirely the truth but, unless Simon dug down past Garrett’s innate defenses, it was the only truth he planned on sharing. The woman was beautiful, curvy, and real. She possessed a wildly keen intelligence, but he hadn’t missed the way her eyes lit up or the excitement that teased her nipples beneath the too thin shirt as she hammered them with questions about the chip.

Protect her. The chip’s command aside, he understood his task. Keeping her alive to do her work helped the mission. The entire plan fell within an acceptable parameter.

“That’s not what I meant and you know it. Any unusual urges where she is concerned?”

“You mean lust?” Garrett snorted. “No, my brain is still in my head. I haven’t turned into a hulk of monosyllabic testosterone driven by the urge to strip her naked at the first opportunity.” Although he imagined she would be as lovely without her clothes as she was with them. Her height and generous curves gave her a soft, lush look.

“It’s a valid question. You’ve already established a bond with her, volunteered to let her study you and inserted yourself into an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous position. If you flip, it could have severe consequences.” Michael might be their tactical strategist and leader, but Simon counseled their souls. He kept them whole and on track with his unflinching logic and patience.

“You mean if I go all caveman à la Michael? No. Not likely. It didn’t bother me that you were all in the room or talking to her. I doubt that will change during the course of her work. Besides, if necessary, I can put the doc out without harming her physically or mentally. Until we know what she knows, we need to keep her healthy.” Finished with that aspect of the conversation, he inspected the supplies he’d stored. “Will Rory be able to get the FMRI thing? I know we have the rest of the pieces she asked for.” They’d converted the wine cellar of the Hamptons estate into a medical facility. They only used it periodically if an injury were too severe for their high functioning metabolisms to handle.

Which meant not often.

Simon’s brows knitted together. “Garrett…this might be more difficult for you than you realized. It could wake up a lot of dormant memories.”

“I appreciate the concern but enough with the touchy feely crap. This is a job, no different than every other job we’ve done since we got here. The chips are active. We need answers. She can provide us with answers. End of story.” His temper edged toward frost. “Clear?”

“Clear.” Simon exhaled and held his hands up. “But you call us if you need us.”

“Yes, father. I will call you if I have a booboo that needs a Band-Aid. Or maybe I’ll call Michael if I get the sudden urge to go skipping through the daisies with the doc.” He was done playing the game. The faster they got the scientist to work, the faster this would be over. It was a job.

No different than the hundred other jobs they’d performed, great and small, in the last four decades. He checked the gear one last time and shut the van up.

Absolutely no difference.

It was a job.


About the Author:

National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories, her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.


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Book Spotlight: Reliquary’s Choice by Melissa Macfie

Reliquary’s Choice
The Celtic Prophecy
Book Two
Melissa Macfie
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Can’t Put It Down Books
Date of Publication: August 3, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9972024-4-1
Number of pages: 215
Word Count: 65,000
Cover Artist: Genevieve Lavo Cosdon,

Book Description:

Brenawyn knows loss. Her mother, her father,  her husband…that bastard. She can’t let Alex die, too.

With the Coven closing in, Alex flees with Brenawyn to Tir-Na-Nog, even though he knows he is setting her on a path of no return. Brenawyn must say goodbye to her family forever and traverse time. She is the only one who can fulfill an ancient prophecy.

But what is Alex hiding? Has he condemned Brenawyn to serve the gods forever? Or will the depth of his sacrifice bring salvation to them both?

In Book Two of The Celtic Prophecy, Alex prepares Brenawyn to travel to ancient Scotland to claim her rightful place.




Brenawyn thought about what her grandmother had just said and nodded. Her memories of the Lughnasadh ceremony were hazy; she had been possessed by the spirit of Aine, the goddess of fertility. Even though her memories weren’t clear, her face grew red at the thought of the steamy interlude with Alex that had followed the ceremony, and she quickly changed the subject.

“What of visions and omens?”

“You should know better, Brenawyn, than to ask that. Is it so different than Catholicism that people have visions? It is written in the Bible on several occasions.”

“That’s true.”

“And as far as omens go, people have always tried to interpret meaning from their environment. Is it so farfetched to try to determine when it’s going to rain, or if the storm will be a severe one? I mean, the method may seem odd, watching for changes in animal behavior, but animals are more sensitive to things like that.”

“Now that you mention it, I think there were studies done on horses being able to predict earthquakes.”

“See, not so weird.”

“But some methods are extreme. Do not tell me you hold with evisceration as a means of prediction?” Her pointed question brought up vivid scenes of horror. Though she hadn’t seen Barbara’s body herself, the kindly bakery owner across the street from her grandmother’s place, the scene had been described to her in minute detail by the police the night of her murder. That, combined with the blood stained cobblestones left after the crime scene had been fully processed, left her with night terrors. If imagination was a poor substitute for actual sight, she’d rather stick to imagination for it filled in the gaps of what was a drawn-out, grisly death.

Barbara had been killed by the Vate to help the Order locate Brenawyn. Brenawyn, despite all she had seen in the past few weeks, was still finding it difficult to accept that her twenty-eight years of living in a normal, fact-based, scientific world were at an end; that she now lived in a world where gods and goddesses and magic were real, and that she was some kind of reincarnation of a long-lost high priestess.

“Brenawyn, honey, look at me. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t go there. You’ll just be beating yourself up trying to make sense of her death. To these people, her life meant nothing. There is no reason. They will stop at nothing to get to you. As for your question, no, of course I don’t hold with it. But these people do very much believe in it and you have to accept that so you can ward yourself against it.”

Brenawyn stifled back tears and nodded her head.

“It is an ancient custom. Back then, you have to understand, it was a different time, savage, harrowing, people unsure of where the next threat would originate. I can understand why they did anything they could to gain some information on what the future might hold for them. They were trying to carve out an existence, some stability and surety in a time when nothing was constant. Blood offerings do offer some clarity; they just don’t have to be as vicious as what was done to Barbara.”

She opened her hands and showed them to Brenawyn, a scabbed over slice to the meaty part of her palm showed red. “Why do you think my hands are so scarred?”

Tears welled in Brenawyn’s eyes as she took her grandmother’s hand and covered it with her own, “When did you do this?”

“The night that Barbara was murdered. Alex asked me to scry for a location of the Oracle.”

“And what did it do?”

“Visions are like dreams. They don’t adhere to the linear. They are illogical and are often full of symbols. The blood is like wearing goggles when you swim underwater in the ocean. It makes things clearer; there is still the murk to wade through, but it makes it much less disorienting.”

“Is it just human blood that makes things clearer?”

“In ancient times animal blood was used more frequently, but it depended on the situation and what vision the seer was seeking. I’ve used animal blood.

“Ugh. Nana! But why?”

“Listen Brenawyn, I didn’t go out to slaughter an animal for the sole purpose of using its blood in a ritual. You seem to forget I was a farmer’s wife. If we wanted to eat, we had to kill the chicken or lamb. That’s the truth of it. We have moved so far away from the way things were. You go to the grocery store to buy chicken cutlets, but do you ever think of how those cutlets got there? Someone had to kill the chicken, cut it up, package it, and send it to the store. Don’t look at me with that disgust on your face,” Leo said indignantly.

“I’m sorry, Nana.”

“It’s okay. Mine is not the first religion to do this. There are Old Testament stories that refer to acts of sacrifice, but little thought is given to how things must have been. Animals were scarce and expensive. If a sacrifice was to be made, the people sacrificed according to their beliefs, but likely retained the meat to feed themselves and only sacrificed the inedible. Greek and Roman accounts made mention of this too.”

“Will I be expected to … ?”

“I think you know the answer to that already, but we’re a long way from that. I think we got off track here.”

Brenawyn nodded, took a breath, and said, “So, willingness is the first requirement. What is the second? How many others are there?”

“The second is precision. You took the time to study the ritual; you said the proper words giving thanks to all the gods. How did you prepare?”

“I heard you practice it so many times, saw you perform it for years.”

“Nothing else?”

“No, not that I can remember … wait.”


“Wait, wait. Let me think.” Brenawyn got up from the table and paced away, muttering to herself.

“Your grandfather did that.”

Brenawyn looked up, “Huh?”

“He mumbled to himself when he was thinking about something important. You reminded me of him just now.”

She smiled. “Nana, do you remember the night you told me that you were a Druid? A few days before the ceremony? I stormed out of the house to clear my head.”

“I remember.”

“Well, I ran into Alex and we ended up taking a walk to the ceremonial grounds. He was telling me stories about the ritual and what the officiant would do the night before.”

“Ah, did it have something to do with asking permission?”

“Yes, that was it.”

Leo nodded her head, “The picture is becoming clearer. Did you by chance ask permission?”

“Ugh, yes, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was so swept up in the story, that I didn’t even think that in so doing it might be seen as disrespectful.”

“Well, now it makes more sense that your latent abilities were activated by the thanksgiving ceremony. Brenawyn, would you do me a favor? Really think about this before you make a decision. Your life has become more complicated and dangerous, but I think it’s manageable yet. If you choose this you will own the danger. Choosing this lifestyle, you will be trained to use your magic and will be able to defend yourself. But make no mistake, if you accept this destiny, they will come for you, and there will be no going back.”

“So, no pressure then. Thanks.”

“Brenawyn. Just think about it. Please. Spend some time with Alexander. He knows all of the history; he can teach you the basics before you have to decide anything.”


About the Author:

For most of her life, Melissa Macfie has pursued artistic endeavors such as drawing, painting, and sculpting. She holds a M.Ed. in English Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, and has spent the last sixteen years as a public school English teacher. She also spent a short time serving as the co-host of Alpha Centauri & Beyond, an Internet talk radio show about science and science fiction. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Donald. Their children, Elizabeth and Donald, are grown and pursuing their own dreams.