Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Beautiful Chaos by Alex Tully


  
Beautiful Chaos

Author: Alex Tully
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: June 13. 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

While most seventeen year-olds work part-time delivering pizzas or whipping up frappuccinos, Brady O’Connell’s job is a little less conventional. Helping his dad with the family ‘business’ is a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly, especially when thousands of dollars are being exchanged. There are rules to be followed, timetables to be kept. But when his best friend Jay gets backstage concert tickets, and business interferes with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet their favorite band, Brady decides to break the rules, just one time.

And one time is all it takes to send his life spinning out of control. When an envelope full of cash ends up in the wrong hands—specifically in the hands of a pretty red-head named Vivienne—things get messy in a hurry. Where Vivienne goes, a whole lot of chaos seems to follow.

But sometimes…chaos is a beautiful thing.

From the author of Hope for Garbage comes another fast-moving, emotionally-charged tale, full of plot twists that will keep you guessing, and true-to-life characters you will root for. Most of all, this is a story of first love—crazy, chaotic first love—love that hits us hard, and never lets go.




Buy Link: Amazon
She felt her whole body relax in relief and she smiled at him. “Thank you.”

In that moment, as they stood across from each other, their eyes met. And this time she didn’t look away. She couldn’t look away. He suddenly stepped closer until they were only inches apart. He was so close she could see a small scar on his left cheek and she could smell his faint scent of soap and mint. He gave her a crooked grin and put his hand on her shoulder. Her legs suddenly felt hollow, her stomach flip-flopped, and her heart pounded in her chest.

Surrounded by garbage and gunk, knee-high in people’s unwanted crap, it was the most romantic moment, in the most unromantic of places. His eyes never leaving hers, his hand moved slowly over her shoulder, around to her back, turning her into a ball of shivers. Oh my God, was he going to kiss her?

He stepped back suddenly, holding up a long fuzzy cobweb. “You had this on your back.” He smiled.

Her cheeks were on fire with embarrassment. “Oh, thanks.” Holy humiliation.
Alex Tully lives outside Cleveland with her husband, two teenagers, and a golden retriever named Trooper.

When she's not writing or doing mom stuff, she loves to read (actually Audible) and Netflix (or Amazon Prime) binge. She is also a huge Cleveland Browns fan - laugh if you must :)

Her debut novel, "Hope for Garbage", a contemporary coming-of-age story, was released in 2014 and her latest novel "Beautiful Chaos" was released in June 2016.

She is hard at work on her third novel.

Release Day Blitz: The Debt by Karina Halle

      the debt 0 days (1)    

The Debt AMAZON
Her life changed in an instant. 

And he's the only one who could have prevented it.  

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men. 

Jessica Charles shouldn't have even been in London when the unthinkable happened. 

She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always. 

But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica's world changed forever. 

Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes. 

That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again. 

Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you've got pretty much the perfect Scotsman. 

Except Keir is anything but perfect. He's got a past he's running away from and a guilty conscience he can't seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her. 

And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart. 

He may have been a stranger to her. 

But she’s never been a stranger to him.    

“You’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”   

“It’s getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.   


“You need something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.   

“The scotch will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really, I should go.”   

“Why?” he asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”   

I have to think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you don’t need to make any excuses.”   

I take the glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.   

“I just…” I begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”   

“Good at what?”   

“At…this. Being with a man.”   

When he doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”   

I clear my throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”   

“Yes, how you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”   

“I never said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.   

His eyes never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”   

I have the sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me? There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I feel.”   

I stare at him in shock. I do? “How?”   

He looks off with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”   

“But then you said just as friends.”   

“And I meant it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind we are.”   

I put my drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.   

“You’re on fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you. Hot and bothered.”   

“Back with the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.   

“No, no innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want from me? What do you think I can give you?”   

 Jesus. This is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of myself.   

If I lie, he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.   

“I want…” I take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”   

“Company?” He sounds surprised.   

I nod. “That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”   

There. That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like flour to stock.   

He sits down next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”   

I burst out laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up a notch.   

“Sorry,” I tell him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”   

He sucks in his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”   

And there I have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.  

The Debt 2 

 thedectteaser2          
 
Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. 

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. 

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.  

 




Cover Reveal: The Marked One by Chevoque



 The Marked One (Marked #1)
Author: Chevoque
Genres: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Publication Date: September 13, 2016

Description:

All Aaliyah had ever wanted was to be invisible…

To not be stared at. To not have to display her lifelong pain everywhere she goes. But society is too blind to see that beauty lies beneath the skin.

Aaliyah only reveals her special mark—a facial birthmark—to the closest people in her life. But when Aaliyah’s friend paints her in a portrait titled The Marked One?, her birthmark is exposed to the world. Now no amount of makeup can keep Aaliyah’s secret.

Tristan Gerardo appears to be a successful CEO, but he is hiding many secrets…

What many don’t realize is that his successful public persona is a mask for his own pain—both of losing a sibling, and his failed marriage.

Tristan buys a portrait called The Marked One?, and is shocked when the subject of the portrait arrives for an interview at his company. He pursues Aaliyah, and while she is cautious at first, she feels an ease around Tristan that she’s never experienced before.

Little by little, Tristan’s secrets are exposed…

While Tristan struggles to keep Aaliyah from finding out how his sister died, she discovers he is still married. He assures her she has his full loyalty and the divorce is just a matter of time, and she desperately wants to believe him. But his estranged wife re-enters his life, and Tristan must figure out how to convince Aaliyah that she means the world to him.

How can Tristan make Aaliyah realize that he loves her for herself, and not because of her notoriety as The Marked One?



Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]
**Designed by Deranged Doctor Design**
Chevoque was born as Rochelle de Beer on 15 May 1992 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, and as an only child, the world seemed like a lonely place, until she set her mind free and got lost in the worlds she created for herself. Her writing began at a young age and with numerous stories still waiting to be released from her mind, only time now seems to hold her back. She also has a degree in BSc. Environmental and Biological Sciences, because she's a tree hugging animal lover, who hopes to never use her degree to cause cruelty.





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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cover Reveal: Unleashed by Penelope Marshall



 Unleashed (Mr. Black #1)
Author: Penelope Marshall
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Description:

Elijah Black, a hardcore Navy SEAL, eats, sleeps, and lives for his missions—and little else…

The self-proclaimed playboy has no time for relationships, unless it’s between the sheets. So he’s more than happy to leave for his newest mission, a quick extraction of a terrorist believed to be responsible for a series of bombings in Europe. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and the terrorists take Elijah prisoner.

Nasima was only supposed to care for his body, not his heart…

As the nurse charged with keeping the prisoner alive, Nasima is alone with Elijah every day. Sparks fly between them, but Elijah makes it clear he cares little for Nasima’s traditions and only wants her for her body. Still, she grows to care for the broken soldier, and it isn’t long before she begins to dream of abandoning her strict upbringing for Elijah’s tempting embrace.

A passionate encounter leads to more than just feelings…

After Elijah’s failed escape and another beating, Nasima is found comforting him and suffers the consequences. Just as Elijah realizes he will do whatever is necessary to save her, but before they can get to safety, Nasima reveals a secret that may be Elijah’s undoing.

Will Nasima’s secret keep her from breaking through Elijah’s tough exterior in time for another escape, or will he decide to make the journey alone?



Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]
**Designed by Deranged Doctor Design**

Penelope Marshall was born in the Philippines, and raised in Southern California.
She picked up writing in early 2016 and instantly fell in love with the craft. Her writing runs the romance gamut from sweet romantic comedies, to tough alpha male military suspense thrillers, with a little young adult, and paranormal thrown into the mix.
A good plot twist is what drives Penelope’s writing, striving for that jaw dropping moment at the end of each book.





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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Disengaged Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Disengaged BT Banner
Today we have the blog tour for Jamie Magee’s Disengaged. Check out this new dark contemporary romance and grab your copy today.

Dis5About Disengaged:  

Dark Romance Novel, sensitive topics with religious undertones (hope in the face of hell).

Finding herself stranded in a new city, eighteen-year-old Ember Bloom thought she’d reached her all time low. She was wrong. A mindless walk to a dead-end job landed her in the path of her gambling fathers’ enemies. Her only defense was a stranger, Slayton Winslow, a known enforcer and fighter—rumored to be Odin’s prince, underground royalty. 

On sight, Slayton stole her breath and rushed her heart. His enigmatic attraction to her and how stoically he shielded her only churned Ember’s attraction to the bad boy who had given her safe haven in a real life hell. The draw to him gave her a reason to fight, to awaken. She knew every second could be their last in the city seeded with treacherous deceit and life threatening power plays. 




Before I was settled on the back of his bike, the first I’d ever been on in my life, he took off. I swear I would’ve flown off the back if he had not reached back and pulled my arm around him, gripped my wrist to his chest.

At times like this, when you’re in mortal danger, you should not be hyper-aware of every God given sense you have. Well, at least if you are aware of them, they should be about getting your ass out of trouble, not walking into it.

I should not have felt a frenzied rush explode through me as I leaned forward and conformed my body to his—we fit too perfectly, like the kind of perfectly that gave me all kinds of ideas I didn’t need right then. I shouldn’t have noticed how ridged his chest was, much less breathe in a scent that I was sure was all Slayton—a deep, rich musk wrapped in sin. But I did.

At maddening speeds, we raced well into the dawn. His fierceness had me glancing over my shoulder wondering exactly who or what we were outrunning.



 
Get Your Copy Today: 
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2acpzsv 
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/disengaged-jamie-magee/1124065529?ean=2940153316093 
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1130837998 
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/disengaged-8 
51jMQB3ruXL._UX250_ Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest of the world, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she'd never been, introduce her to people she's never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her, led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.    

Connect with Jamie: 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1444585289195428/ 
https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jamie.Magee/ 
Twitter: @TheJamieMagee 
Insta: authorjamiemagee 
Site: authorjamiemagee.com  







 
Blog Tour Schedule:
August 23rd

August 24th

August 25th

August 26th

August 27th

August 28th

August 29th

August 30th
  




Friday, August 26, 2016

The Graces Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE GRACES! I have a fun guest post by the author to share with you today - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, check out the schedule at the end of the post. Enjoy!
 

THE GRACES
Author: Laure Eve
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook 

Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Description:
 
When a glamorous family of teenage witches brings a mysterious new girl into their fold, they unwittingly nurture a powerful black magic that could destroy them all. This paranormal YA fantasy features intrigue, spells, and a devastating twist. In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.
Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About THE GRACES


1. The landscape of THE GRACES is inspired by the place I grew up in - Cornwall in the southwest of England. If the book makes it sound like The Wicker Man, that’s because it kind of is.

2. There’s a tiny ‘easter egg’ connection between THE GRACES and the first two books I wrote. I think only die-hard fans will spot it…

3. One of the Graces is called Thalia - a deliberate nod to the original Charites of Greek mythology (Graces in Roman mythology).

4. I choose character names quite carefully. Sometimes they give you clues. Sometimes they’re references to a book or movie or person I admire. Sometimes they will only ever mean something to me…

5. The scene near the beginning of the book in the school copse is a little nod to The Crucible.

6. Summer’s preoccupation with band t-shirts is a shameless reference to myself. Thalia’s description of a t-shirt with skulls on it is a particular one I own.

7. There is not a single reference to what River actually looks like.

8. There is not a single reference to River’s real name.

9. If I could have written whole chapters about the food the Graces eat, I would have. I like food a lot.

10. Remember the Four Bells story. It will become important.
A French-British hybrid who grew up in Cornwall, a place saturated with myth and fantasy. Being a child of two cultures taught her everything she needed to know about trying to fit in at the same time as trying to stand out.

She speaks English and French, and can hold a vague conversation, usually about food, in Greek.

A random selection of favourite things: Terry Pratchett quotes, characters with questionable morals, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Häagen-Dazs cookie dough ice cream, anything Trent Reznor is remotely involved in even if it only extends to 'he once touched this artist's arm', bad 90s dance music and anything a bit weird (see: Davids Lynch and Cronenberg).

(3) winners will receive a finished copy of THE GRACES and Temporary Tattoos - US Only!






Tour Schedule:
Week One:
8/22/2016- Quite the Novel Idea- Interview 
8/23/2016- Novel Novice- Review 
8/24/2016- Stories & Sweeties- Excerpt 
8/25/2016- Fiction Fare- Review 
8/26/2016- A Dream Within A Dream- Guest post


Week Two: 
9/5/2016- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Review 
9/6/2016- a GREAT read- Character Interview 
9/7/2016- All Things Urban Fantasy- Review 
9/8/2016- The Cover Contessa- Interview 
9/9/2016- Ex Libris- Review










Friday Reveal + Giveaway: In the Beginning Anthology

Today Month9Books is revealing the cover and some excerpts for their Charity Anthology IN THE BEGINNING! Which releases October 25, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

On to the reveal!


IN THE BEGINNING: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales
Editors: Laureen P. Cantwell and Georgia McBride
Author: Stephen Clements, Nicole Crucial, Mike Hays, Sharon Hughson, Marti Johnson, Elle O'Neill, Lora Palmer & Christina Raus
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook

Find it: Amazon | B&N |Goodreads

Description:

In the Beginning (Oct. 25, 2016) –Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.

IN THE BEGINNING, edited by Laureen Cantwell and Georgia McBride

Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements
A troubled orphan named Habakkuk dutifully follows his master, the prophet Daniel, into temples of blood-thirsty demon-gods, battles with unspeakable horrors, and bears witnesses to mind-breaking evil until his master's zealous defiance of the king's law seals their fate.

Babylon by Nicole Crucial
Far above the earth, in Second Eden, where moments and eternities all blur together, young Babylon befriends Sefer, the Book of Life. As Babylon awaits the moment she'll fulfill her destiny, she and Sefer try to understand the world in which they live.

Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays
A homeless young boy, Baz, bears the weight of humanity on his shoulders and upon his body. When dark forces test a new-found friendship, Baz’s willingness to bear the ugliness of their world will be shaken. 

The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson
Based on the story of the demon-possessed boy healed by Jesus, this tale provides a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world where a teenage boy seeks to journey to a better land and yearns to discover the kind of man he's meant to be, only to be hijacked by an evil spirit intent upon chipping away at the hope, faith, and resilience of its host.

The Deluge by Marti Johnson
A non-believer shares the story of Noah’s ark-building and the deadly downpour that follows. Fear, faithlessness, and the fallibility of mankind collide in a community where second chances aren’t unlimited and a better-late-than-never attitude just might be your doom.

Condemned by Elle O'Neill
Just sixteen-years-old, Barabbas finds himself pulled out of Routlege Academy and into a reality show competition—against Jesus himself—where the reward for the winner is life.

First Wife by Lora Palmer
In a first-person retelling of the saga of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, themes of family, deception, guilt, and heartache emerge amidst the first days of Leah’s marriage to Jacob—a marriage mired in trickery a mere week before Jacob was to marry Leah's sister Rachel.

Emmaculate by Christina Raus
Based on the story of Mary's Immaculate Conception, we enter the troubled mind of Emma, who finds herself torn between her religious upbringing and the purity ring that binds her to her boyfriend and the pregnancy that results from her relationship with another boy.
From THE DEMON WAS ME, by Sharon Hughson:

The ghastly black fog overtook me. Icicles pierced my back. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I plunged face-first against the ground. Something sharp gouged my cheek. Shivery tingles pervaded my insides. A vile presence pressed against my mind.
            
“Get out!” I rolled to my back, arms outstretched. I wanted to fight, throw the intruder off me. But how can you resist something as ethereal as air?
            
Laughter rang in my ears. Sinister. It shuddered against my soul. Terror and hopelessness collided in my chest. A foreign power clutched at my mind.
            
I screamed. I rolled to my side and squeezed my eyes shut. If only I could disappear.
            
Another dark wave of laughter echoed through my skull. Convulsions gripped me.
Against my will, my limbs flailed in every direction. A spike pressed into my mind. I cradled my throbbing head. My body, a tumbleweed in the wind, spun on the ground.


From BABYLON, by Nicole Crucial:

Only those will enter Heaven whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

These were the first words I heard, in the beginning of time.

But Sefer, the protest comes, Revelation wasn’t written until the first century.

My answer is that time is a funny little plaything to God, or so I imagine. That first sentence was the wind that breathed life into my chest, the binding of my pages, the ink in my soul. It knitted together my stardust-atoms from across centuries and millennia and planes of existence.

And when the first dregs of consciousness swirled at the pit-bottom of my spine, I yawned and opened my eyes to paradise.


From CONDEMNED, by Elle O’Neill:

To his surprise, as he heard the metal door grind to a stop, there was a popping sound, like the flash-lamp did when they experimented in Classic Photography at Routlege. Except no camera appeared—not that he could see anyway—but rather a digital time clock, bold red numbers, already beginning their descent, in striking relief against the black paint covering the walls.

29:48:12.

29:48:11.

Of course they would include the fractions of a second, he thought. He was now fighting a tiger against a racing clock. For all that they were merely numbers, he saw their dwindling trickle as if he were watching grains of sand pour through the hourglass of his fingers, helpless.

29:47:03.

The tiger looked at him. It didn't glance his way. It directed its massive head at him, its eyes trained on Barabbas ... and they didn't turn away.

Another man, in another arena, stood calmly while the tiger advanced. His breathing was even, he did not watch the clock, and he looked with love upon the prowling beast. When it snarled, he slowly exhaled; when its whiskers glanced his weaponless fingers, he blinked gently as the hot breath of the tiger dampened his skin.


From LAST WILL & TESTAMENT, by Mike Hays:

I’ve found money, I’ve found food, and I’ve found myself in plenty of trouble on plenty of occasions, but I’ve never found another human being just lying around. That’s what happened when I found a person-shaped ball of olive drab and camouflage clothing—which would have been more at home in the reject pile down at the army surplus store—under our decrepit, worn sign for the, “Extraordinary 

League of Witch Assass_ _ _.”

It’s true. I found a boy about my age sleeping at the end of the Extraordinary League of Witch Assassins driveway.


From UNWANTED, by Lora Palmer:

“Let me see you,” he whispers. “Let me truly see you.”

I swallow down the fear this moment brings, the anxiety that once he does see me, he will no longer accept me. No, I must stop thinking this way. My husband is not like Jacob, dazzled by the superficial beauty of my sister. My husband, my love, will see me.

Taking courage from this, I let out a shaky laugh as he helps me stand. I long to see him, too.

“All right,” I say.

He lifts my veil, his deft fingers moving slow, relishing the anticipation of this moment. At last, he lifts the linen over my face and lets it slip to the floor behind me. We stare at each other, stock still, in stunned silence.

It was Jacob.

From EMMACULATE, by Christina Raus:

The Ten Commandments are pretty straightforward. Killing? Bad. Lying? Nope. Adultery? Don’t even think about it. But is real life really that straightforward? If you tell your boyfriend that you’re going golfing, when really you’re going out to cheat on him, is the lying or the adultery worse? What if you stab the guy you’re having an affair with? Isn’t being a murderer worse than being a cheater? I think the stabbing is worse than the lying and the cheating combined. So, it was kind of unfair for God to group killing, lying, and cheating all together under one umbrella. They all seemed really different.

I was an adulterer. I couldn’t deny that. I was also a liar. A very, very good liar. But I wasn’t a murderer.


From THE DELUGE, by Marti Johnson:

The stench of mildew and mold is heavy in our nostrils, and my lungs feel as though they are on fire. My breathing is audible in the lulls between the thunderclaps. My mother huddles, shivering, propped between two rocks. She is coughing painfully, and I can hear her teeth chattering.

It is hard to breathe because the air itself is full of water.

A deeper shadow has fallen across the side of the mountain on which we are sheltering. I pull aside the brambles, and gasp in amazement when I realize what it is. “Look!” I call to the others, and point at the sight. The ark has risen with the water, and now bobs up and down. It sits high in the water. We hear nothing from it but the creaking of the wood timbers and the sound of the branches and rocks on the hillside scraping against its hull.


From DANIEL AND THE DRAGON, by Stephen Clements:

Your god is a liar!” roared the wizened man in thin black robes, as he pounded his breast with his fist.

Habakkuk stood by the gates of the temple as his master picked a fight with a sanctuary full of the slavish followers of Bel, a bloodthirsty demon god. A fire raged in the fanged maw of a giant, stone head sunken into the back of the temple, there to receive the offerings rendered unto Bel. He had seen this before in other temple raids with his master, though not on such a massive scale, and not at the heart of the demon cult in Babylon itself. The fire raged as the greatest offering that the Babylonians—who adored Bel above all other gods—could sacrifice to their deity was their own newborn children, rolled their screaming, helpless bodies down a stone, handshaped altar into the fire. They offered the fruit of their wombs to their dark god, who devoured the innocent souls sacrificed to him in eldritch rituals.
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