Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category
More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it’s happening again.
Racing from attack by the ruthless Brotherhood in London to the powerful witch council in New York, twenty-four-year-old novice witch Stella has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from.
Sent to an extraordinary safe house by the sea to learn her craft, Stella finds there is more than one dark secret in her new family: Étoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human?
There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence?
Amazon UK Top 10 contemporary fantasy bestseller
Amazon US Top 45 fantasy bestseller
Amazon US Top 50 contemporary fantasy bestseller
Illicit Magic is a tantalizing read that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering if Stella Mayweather will be able to outsmart the Brotherhood with the help of her new friends. Ms Chafer provides the reader with a combination of mystery, romance, angst, and danger in this action-packed story full of lies and deceit. Will Stella figure out who to trust before it’s too late?
My heart went out to Stella as she enlightens the reader about her situation in the beginning of the story. It’s obvious that being uprooted from one foster home to the next has taken a toll on her life and created the individual that she currently is when we first meet Stella. I just wanted to be her friend so that she realized that she wasn’t alone in this world. But don’t fret, Stella’s life quickly changes in my opinion for the better as she embraces her true destiny and comes to terms with the danger that’s been lurking in the background, watching and waiting to burn her at the stake. Stella’s first encounter with the Brotherhood had my heart pounding as I wondered whether or not she would find safety before they caught her. Illicit Magic is told from Stella’s point of view, which actually worked for me because the reader was not only able to gain a better understanding of how Stella felt about her life and the things that were going on around her, but also the reader was able to see the things Stella was missing that were obvious to the person looking in from the outside, and isn’t that how life is sometimes? We often miss the obvious when we’re too close to the situation, which was exactly the predicament Stella found herself in on more than one occasion.
Soon Stella’s past and present collide as we discover that there is a traitor in her new safe haven. Moreover, as the mystery unfolds and secrets are revealed, the reader becomes more aware of how special Stella is and why everyone is out to kill her. Although it didn’t take much to figure out who was responsible for all of the attacks on Stella as the story progressed, Ms. Chafer did provide the reader with a few unexpected twists and turns as more secrets were revealed and the plot thickened. Initially, some readers may view Stella as a whiny individual by the way she describes her life, but I disagree. I think she’s a strong young woman who has been dealt a “sh**ty” hand in life, but perseveres and develops into a strong woman who learns how to control her magic and ultimately becomes a force to be reckoned with in order to save her life and the life of her new friends. This young lady has gumption and I like that in my heroines.
Evan is the hero that every girl dreams of in a fairy tale or in Stella’s case, a nightmare of mass proportions. He’s strong, sexy, smart, and definitely not of this world. Yet, the best thing about Evan was his patience with Stella as she struggled to find her way and become comfortable in her own skin. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times that Evan was a hardass and I wanted to slap him, but then again, the people who really care about you should be honest and above board when life is slapping you in the face and you’re in constant fear of being burned at the stake. I enjoyed watching Evan and Stella’s relationship grow at a reasonable pace and hope to learn more about Evan in the next book in this scintillating series.
The secondary characters were well developed and helped the story progress. Each of them had their on quirks, secrets, and hidden agendas. I found the dynamics between them and Stella rather interesting given that Marc was the epitome of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. Can we say moody much???? In addition, it was obvious that Etoile and Seren, her sister, possessed a vast amount of power. However, there were times that I didn’t like how quickly Etoile was willing to use her powers on Stella. Kitty was sweet and I liked how she befriended Stella, which was something she had craved since her parent’s death. Although there were a few editing errors, it wasn’t enough to pull me out of the story. In addition, the picturesque scenery that Ms. Chafer provided in regards to the different locations Stella moved around to as she continued to fight off the threat of the Brotherhood, acted as another secondary character that not only increased the depth of the story, but made this fantasy romance a little more realistic for this reader.
Illicit Magic is an enticing read with engaging characters and action-packed adventure that will have you biting your nails as you delve deeper into the mystery, madness and mayhem of Stella Mayweather’s life. Things aren’t always as they seem as secrets are revealed, the plot thickens, allies become enemies, friendships are tested, and love begins to blossom. Therefore, if you haven’t picked up a copy of Illicit Magic by Camilla Chafer then you’re definitely missing out. I can’t wait to see what happens in Unruly Magic, the second book in the series.
Rated 4.5 Seashells by AJ!
Sharp, murmured voices passed me on the wind. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but there was the sound of confusion and dissent; then a barked order calmed them. I caught the sole word “silence” from a low voice as it hissed past me. The footsteps shuffled and stamped again but no one uttered a word. It was like they were all listening for me. I felt like a fox, terrified and cornered, knowing that the beagles were just behind me, waiting to catch my scent.
Above me I could just see the first quarter of the moon breaking in the sky, casting a dim glow over the city. My jacket was a dark padded cord, good for blending in with both the hedge and low light. My breath was catching like little puffs of cloud in the air so I pulled up my cheap, striped scarf and covered my mouth to keep the plumes from straying to where they could be seen.
Without moving the rest of my body, I strained my head towards my pursuers, the scarf tightening about my neck until I tugged it loose again. I tried to count how many footsteps I could hear as they shuffled, fanned out and regrouped.
With only my pounding heartbeat for company I waited for what seemed like eternity. I tried to count Mississippi’s to gauge the time but my mind stumbled over the count and I threw the thought away. I waited for seconds, minutes, hours for them to rush past me, or at least turn and stamp a different way, hoping miserably that they really hadn’t seen me dart into this street.
Finally I couldn’t hear a thing but the blood rushing in my ears. Had I made it up? Was I really paranoid enough to think someone would bother following me? Probably. Possibly. It wasn’t the first time I’d been extra cautious, but it was the first time since the news has been full of murder. I shivered and tried to shake away the icy fear.
Edging my way across the privet, the leather of my long boots brushing against each other as I sidestepped, my toes scuffed against the scrub of garden. Fronds of hedge needled my back through my winter coat as I brushed by and fresh drops of dew slid uncomfortably past my scarf and inside my collar.
With my mouth set in a firm, grim line, clamped so tightly shut I was close to grinding my teeth, I poked my head forward, mere millimetres from the hedge but enough to see a gloved hand shoot towards me and grab my coat, the fingers clawing at my shoulder to snatch a handful of material and drag me into the open. A gasp escaped me. How had they gotten so close without me realising? Another hand, yellowed at the fingertips and reeking of tobacco, reached for my neck.
A gruff male voice snarled, “Gotcha!”
I shrieked and my whole body went rigid as I closed my eyes tightly. The air went thick and heavy around me, the cold momentarily disappeared and the blood in my veins surged as electricity crackled through my body. For the merest second all the low light and dull sounds of the city disappeared as the power rushing through me overwhelmed and took possession of me.
With the hand at my neck and the fear pumping alongside the electricity, I thought I would die in this moment, but when I opened my eyes again I was on the other side of the street, looking at my attacker grasping at the air where a second ago my neck had been. I saw his fist punch savagely through the air where my jaw should have been. If I had still been there, he would have smashed it for sure.
I felt dizzy and willed myself not to faint. The last of the shriek ebbed in my throat as I realised that I had barely focused on the task but had ended up exactly where I thought I should be when I’d glimpsed that section of empty street. Perhaps my strange gift (I never could decide what I should call it) only worked properly when I was terrified. Moving through space wasn’t something I had even been able to control before. And right now, I wasn’t afraid to admit that I was absolutely, gut-wrenchingly, terrified.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Camilla and I’m the author of the Stella Mayweather Series, an urban fantasy/mystery. The series starts with Illicit Magic and a lonely young woman, Stella, who has been caught up in a terrifying witch hunt and is whisked thousands of miles away to what she thinks is safety to learn her craft. The series is a blend of magic, mystery and romance with a splash of humour – and while the girls really do go all out to save themselves, there’s always a hunky guy or two on hand to help them out. The series continues with Unruly Magic and Devious Magic, both out now.
I live in London, England, but I try to travel as often as I can – I’ve been all over the US and Europe. In my day job I’m a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters – if you listen carefully you can probably still hear me screaming) but writing fiction has always been my first love.
Schedule Illicit Magic
Hearts break. Loved ones are lost. Life keeps moving.
Olivia Martin’s afterlife was more dangerous and confusing than her life ever was. She thought she was ready to come back, to forget about Holden and to let go of the rage consuming her. Fulfilling her destiny as a guardian was all that mattered—the past could stay hidden in the crevices of her mind. However, when guardians are murdered and the evidence points towards jinn, she has to do something. To save anyone’s future, Olivia will have to confront the one person from her past she is terrified to see.
Holden waited for Olivia with the hope he would see her one more time. But when she didn’t return, he found salvation in darkness. The black and twisted road made it easier to forget what he lost than to live with the memory of what he had. An unexpected promotion shoves him into a world of intoxicating power and influence. Holden will have to choose between his new life and the woman he thought was gone forever.
From the ashes of Secrets, Choices are born that will change everything.
One word comes to mind when I think of Liz Schulte’s newest release, Choices…FREAKIN’-FAN-TASTIC!. Ms. Schulte is a new author to me and I have recently discovered that I’ve been missing out on an awesome series. Choices is a riveting story packed with action, adventure, suspense, lust, and secrets that will change Olivia Martin’s life forever. I was biting my nails, sitting on the edge of my seat wonder what was going to happen next.
Although this is the second book in the series and I haven’t read the first one, it wasn’t hard figuring out what was going on. However, I must admit that now I need to pick up the first book in the series, Secrets because I want to be up to full speed when the third book is released. I instantly liked Olivia and being a person who would rather be behind the camera instead of in front of it, found it very easy to relate to her. Her life has been turned upside down, which has made her an active participate instead of a bystander on the sidelines and she’s kicking butt, taking names, and embracing the new journey life has thrust her into.
Holden is simply sexy as sin and I must admit, this bad boy had me swooning. His charisma and intensity makes it hard for a woman to deny. I can see why Olivia is in this predicament. While Quintis is the good guy, trying to help Olivia, he just isn’t doing it for me. Maybe it’s my inner psyche that just loves a bad boy. Who knows? All I know is that if I were forced to choose, demons, hell and Holden would be my choice hands down. Yet, I must admit that Ms. Schulte has created a fascinating love triangle.
The secondary characters were well-developed and made the story more enticing. I loved Femi who is a woman that takes no prisoners. I’ll have to checkout the short story on her as well. In addition, Choices is well-written and the plot is well-developed. The more the story progresses, the more the reader is allowed to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the situation. Yet, at the same time leaves so many questions unanswered.
Choices by Liz Schulte is a captivating story that incorporates a myriad of emotions that not only ranges from love to lust to betrayal, but also will have your heart pounding, your body in heat, and at times, your anger level will reach an all new high as you navigate with Olivia through this cobweb of secrets and lies. If you haven’t checked out The Guardian Trilogy what are you waiting on? I guarantee that you will find it as scintillating as I did and will be kicking yourself for missing out on this awesome series from the beginning. Bravo Ms. Schulte! You’ve hit a home run with Choices and I’ll definitely be recommending The Guardian Trilogy to my friends. I can’t wait to read Consequences to see what happens next.
Rated 5 Seashells and a Recommended Read by AJ!
About the Author
Many authors claim to have known their calling from a young age. Liz Schulte, however, didn’t always want to be an author. In fact, she had no clue. Liz wanted to be a veterinarian, then she wanted to be a lawyer, then she wanted to be a criminal profiler. In a valiant effort to keep from becoming Walter Mitty, Liz put pen to paper and began writing her first novel. It was at that moment she realized this is what she was meant to do. As a scribe she could be all of those things and so much more.
When Liz isn’t writing or on social networks she is inflicting movie quotes and trivia on people, reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. Liz is a Midwest girl through and through, though she would be perfectly happy never having to shovel her driveway again. She has a love for all things spooky, supernatural, and snarky. Her favorite authors range from Edgar Allen Poe to Joseph Heller to Jane Austen to Jim Butcher and everything in between.
Liz would love to hear from you and what you thought of Dark Corners.
Please stop by and visit at any of the below mentioned networks:
Femi’s Guide to the Abyss
Hello! Femi here. I have the pleasure of being your tour guide today.
Liz asked me to take you on a tour of the Abyss, probably because I’m the coolest species she knows and my life as a bounty hunter means I know the dirt on everyone. So hold on and follow me.
Oh, keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. Lots of things here bite.
The Abyss is a world that is overlapping with your world. It houses everything your legends and mythology talk about, plus some more. I, for example, am a Sekhmet. No, I’m not the lionness headed goddess, just a descendent.
The abyss has vampires (often more trouble than they are worth), werewolves (avoid them at all costs), elves (a little stuffy, but generally nice), hobgoblins (tricky devils), ghosts (don’t make eye contact or they will haunt you for ages), and way too many to name them all.
Liz told me (she’s bossy) to talk about guardian and jinn because her books are about Olivia and Holden.
Jinn have only one thing on their mind ever, power. They were once human and made a deal with a demon (for whatever reason) to become more powerful. In return they have to inspire humans towards their weaknesses. Mostly they deal in the seven deadly sins: Lust, gluttony, sloth, envy, vanity, wrath, and greed. They trap people in their webs until they lose all hope and their souls are easy pickings. Not the sort of people you want to hang out with.
Guardians are souls who died before their time or, in rare instances, souls who were destined to be guardians. They’re responsible for helping and inspiring people. They’re what most people call guardian angels, but they’re not angels, just former humans who have the grace guide others. They always mean well, but can often be a drag. Mostly pacifists who never question their lives or orders.
Now Olivia and Holden (the people Liz mostly writes about) are an odd pair, but I have a feeling something about them just works. I don’t know Holden well (I doubt anyone does), but I have gotten to know Olivia really well and she lights up when she talks about him. Let me just say, she isn’t like the other guardians. I’d say more, but Liz is reading over my shoulder and threatened to bump me off if I mention any spoilers. (Yikes, writers are sort of nuts.)
Well, it was fun hanging out with you, but I have bounties to catch and ass to kick.
Growing up in a small Northern Arizona town, Faith Cloudfoot’s life was spent playing in the forests surrounding her house under the protective eyes of her father, and learning about the legends of her Native American heritage.
Yearning for more out of her life, she moves to Phoenix, Arizona at the age of twenty-three where she is kidnapped and almost killed.
Rayner has a special ability, one that weighs on him like a curse. He can see spirits trapped in between life and their final resting place. Because he can’t do much to help them, he studiously ignores them. He concentrates, instead, on working with his fellow warriors to right the wrongs caused by the evil criminals from his home planet.
When Rayner sees Faith in her spirit form while investigating a lead in Phoenix, his attraction to her is immediate, yet he follows his own personal code and ignores her cry for attention. When he realizes that she may be a stepping stone to getting him home to his own universe, he engages Faith and begins to use her as a means to an end: going home.
As the attraction grows stronger, Rayner finds himself breaking all sorts of self-set rules, as well as the code of ethics set by him and his fellow warriors. When Faith nears death, Rayner realizes that he must do everything in his power to save her, because if he doesn’t, he may just lose himself.
By the time Rayner bolted through the door, Faith had gotten her ducks back in a row. She had fallen asleep briefly, only to be woken up by a nightmare. The man who had kidnapped her hovered above her bed, telling her she was never going to wake up. She had eventually woken up, proving him wrong, and proceeded to have a serious meltdown that constituted her trying to find the light switch, hitting a bunch of buttons on the phone and somehow reaching Rayner.
“I’m sorry,” she said when he flew through the door. “I’m sorry. I-I had a nightmare…”
He stared at her, breathing hard, his dark eyes scanning the room.
Faith crossed her arms over her chest and looked at the floor, as if by doing so she could keep from throwing herself at Rayner and begging him to like her. She looked him over. He stood before her, the most perfect man she had ever seen. His huge chest and his feet were bare, his jeans barely hanging on to his hips. His blond hair fell around his face, and he pushed it back with his hand. The hoops in his ears glittered, along with the hoops in each of his nipples. And, good God, there was something so terribly sexy about them.
The flush of embarrassment crept up her face, and she wished she had waited even a minute before calling him.
“You’re okay,” he said gruffly.
She nodded, tears stinging her eyes again.
The tears burst forward, as did her anger, angst, and fear. “You know, I thought that while I was trapped in that hell, that maybe, just maybe, we shared something. The way you acted like you cared was a very real performance, Rayner. Oscar worthy.”
His silence only made her angrier.
“You told me to hold on. For you, Rayner! You told me to hold on for you, and I did. And then once I was back among the living, you put as much distance between us as you could!” She began pacing, the tears of anger flowing freely now. She stopped and met his eyes. “Was it all a big trick? Just to make sure I lived? And if it was, then why did you do it? To make yourself feel better for not letting someone die?”
When he didn’t answer, she yelled, “Okay, if that wasn’t it, then what was it, Rayner? Am I that awful to you? Do I disgust you that much?”
She knew she was very close to hysteria, and she needed him to leave.
“Get out!” she screamed. She listened to the shrill in her voice and realized that, no, she wasn’t close to hysteria, but it had arrived at full throttle. “Get the fuck out!” she screamed. “I hate you, Rayner! I hate you for making me feel this way!”
The tears were streaming down her face, and she felt like hitting something. She saw through the waterfalls from her eyes that Rayner stood at the door staring at her like she was some strange, new animal he had just encountered at the zoo. He didn’t say anything for a moment, but then quietly asked, “How do I make you feel, Faith?”
Somehow, this angered her even more. How dare he ask that? Why did he care? He’d made it pretty clear that he didn’t. He’d thrown her in this pretty room all by herself and done his best to keep his distance from her, sometimes acting as if she didn’t exist.
“How dare you!” she said, marching over to him. “How dare you ask that?”
She brought her fist back and launched it forward, but Rayner caught her fist before it made contact.
They stood at an impasse. Faith ready to let loose all of her aggression, anger, and sorrow, but Rayner not letting her.
Their eyes locked, and neither moved or spoke for a moment.
“You listen to me, Faith,” he said in a quiet controlled voice laced with anger. “You think I don’t find you attractive?”
She didn’t say anything.
“You’re wrong,” he bit out. He stepped closer so that their bodies were almost touching. He picked up a lock of hair and ran it through his fingers, his eyes never leaving hers. He dropped it, then ran his hand over her cheek. As he loomed over her, touching her tenderly, he looked angry—wickedly angry. His dark eyes glared at her as though they had fire burning in the center of them. “You, Faith Cloudfoot, are the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on.” He took her fist and slowly opened it so her palm was flat. He then took her hand and placed it on the front of his jeans.
“You feel that, Faith?”
Oh, yes, she felt it. It was long and thick, and her body exploded in a primal need and desire. Her mouth went dry and she was certain she wasn’t breathing.
“That has been my constant companion since the second I laid eyes on you.”
He took her hand away and curled it into a fist again, holding it in his hand in the exact way he had caught it.
“I’m achingly aware of how beautiful you are, Faith. I fucking ache,” he practically hissed. He took his thumb and ran it over her bottom lip.
“It’s taken everything I have in me to not make love to you, not to fuck you,” he said in almost a whisper. He leaned his head down so that their mouths were close, and she swore she was going to get the kiss she so desperately wanted.
Just before their lips met, he moved to the side and kissed her cheek. “But I can’t,” he whispered fiercely. He took her earlobe between his lips and bit it softly. Chills shimmied up her spine, and she felt her knees ready to buckle. She tried to pull her hand from his, but he only held on tighter. “It’s too dangerous for both of us,” he whispered slowly into her ear. “You could end up killed, and that, my beautiful Faith, is something I’m not willing to let happen.”
He looked down at her, and she finally found her voice. “How?” she whispered, “How could I end up dead?”
About the Author
Carly Fall lives in Arizona with her incredibly supportive husband, their son and their dog.
She enjoys the weather in Arizona, and when she isn’t writing, you can find her spending time with her family, or lazily floating in the pool.
Carly has spent twenty years writing business materials, and Shackled to the Night was her first foray into fiction.
For more information on upcoming books as well as freebies and giveaways, visit her website at www.CarlyFall.com
The author of the Twilight series of # 1 bestsellers delivers her brilliant first novel for adults: a gripping story of love and betrayal in a future with the fate of humanity at stake.
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.
When I first read the summary of The Host, I thought Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but this story is so much more. Ms. Meyer’s has created a compelling story with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing with the flip of every page. I devoured The Host in two days, as this was the best 600 pages that I’ve read in a long time when it comes to sci-fi.
Melanie/Wanderer is a feisty, strong-willed human who not only fights to maintain her body, but eventually gains an ally in the Wanderer. While initially, I didn’t like the Wanderer, as the story progressed she became more human to me and slowly but surely, won my heart. The complexity of the situation and the characterization was well-developed as the reader is provided an in depth story from the Wanderer’s perspective.
Jared was simply delicious and my heart went out to him as he fought to save the love of his life, while dealing with the unexpected feelings that prevaled for the Wanderer as the story progressed. I must admit that I had a hard time viewing the “Souls” as the enemy. For me, it was more like they were just a race who was trying to survive. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with their decision to take over human bodies.
There were many times that just when you thought you had a firm grasp on what was happening, Ms. Meyer’s incorporates an unexpected twist that not only keeps you off balance, but also increases the angst and intensity of the story. Before all was said and done, I couldn’t help but root for Melanie and the Wanderer to discover a way to find their Happily Ever After.
The dynamics between the Wanderer/Melanie and the secondary characters at time is just heart wrenching, especially the scenes that involved the Wanderer/Melanie and her brother Jamie. Each of the secondary characters increased the depth of the story without overshadowing the main characters. Although the story begins with a love triangle, Ms. Meyer’s increases the complexity of the plot by adding more to the mix and that’s all I’m saying. You really need to read The Host in order to grasp the dynamics between the characters, both main and secondary, as well as better understand the obstacles that the Wanderer/Melanie are facing on a daily basis.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer’s is a well-written, enthralling story with engaging, fascinating characters that will help you experience a myriad of emotions that entail everything from anger to sadness, joy to hope, and eventually, love. The emotions are palpable, the sacrifices are detrimental, and the danger is eminent. I’m actually hoping that they turn The Host into a movie. I’d love to see if the vivid descriptions provided by Ms. Meyer’s in this tantalizing story would match the pictures I developed in my head as I read the story. With that said… This is one sci-fi story that you don’t want to miss. So, pick up a copy of The Host if you haven’t done so already. You won’t be sorry!
Rated 5 Seashells and a Recommended Read by Sydney!
From the moment Taden rescues Nathaniel from the Sutherlin soldiers’ torture, he finds himself caught in the gaze of the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen; amazing eyes that hold him thrilled and confused. The Sutherlins are planning to invade the beautiful Tahon Valley, but as Taden secrets Nathaniel from their reach, he finds himself drawn to the young man. Not only does he feel the urge to protect him, but he feels an ache he hasn’t felt in many long years.
Nathaniel claims to be a traveler from a distant continent, saying he comes in peace. True or not, the youth has powers beyond anything Taden has seen—control over men and animals and the very weather. Taden falls hard for the strange traveler, protecting him not only from the Sutherlins but from his own mistrustful people, who don’t understand Nathaniel’s powers and accuse him of being a witch…
Taden’s scalp prickled, a shiver running through him. He twirled, hand on his belt knife, and found Nathaniel standing inches from him. They were almost touching, and Taden watched, fascinated, as Nathaniel’s green eyes darkened under his stare. The heat from Nathaniel’s body wrapped around him, caressing him in that intimate moment.
“Miranda’s finally asleep,” Nathaniel told him shakily.
“That’s good. She appeared exhausted.” Taden didn’t ask who she was. At that moment, he didn’t care. He touched Nathaniel’s gold-flecked curls, as silken as he’d imagined them to be. Enthralled by the dimple at the corner of Nathaniel’s luscious mouth, he impulsively cupped his cheek, stroking the alluring hollow with a gentle finger. His pulses hammered at the contrast of pale skin and his own sun-darkened hand, picturing the exotic tangle of their bodies.
He slid an arm around Nathaniel’s waist as desire seared him. “Come with me,” he said huskily, aching to love Nathaniel as gently and tenderly as he could and drive the anxiety from his lovely eyes. Nathaniel lifted his shoulders but didn’t resist as Taden urged him into the trees.
Nathaniel remained silent as Taden spread the blankets on a fragrant carpet of pine needles. Taden gave him a close look. With a pang he realized that the young man stood passively, waiting for whatever Taden chose to do with him. As much as he hungered for him, Taden didn’t want Nathaniel like that, unresponsive. He reached for Nathaniel’s hand and pulled him down beside him on the blankets.
“I would never hurt you,” he said as he leaned into Nathaniel’s body and slid his tongue over his full lips. He played with the laces of Nathaniel’s tunic, loosening them further. Fire licked through him as Nathaniel’s chest rose on a quick breath. Taden slipped two fingers inside the soft fabric to stroke the lean muscles of Nathaniel’s chest.
He nudged Nathaniel’s lips wider and groaned as the young man’s tongue darted into his own mouth, jolting him with lust. He caught the tongue with his lips, sucking, wanting to swallow Nathaniel whole.
Taden lingered over his kisses, slowly undoing the rest of the ties on Nathaniel’s tunic. He shifted on the blankets and thrilled at Nathaniel’s sigh as he bared his chest. Taden slid his tongue along Nathaniel’s chin with a fond murmur, savoring the saltiness of skin and the prickle of unshaven hair. He kissed the slim column of his throat and paused to suck gently on a vein pulsing in the heated skin.
He glanced lower and suddenly leaned on an elbow, his eyes ravaging the intoxicating sight of small nipples sitting like jewels on white skin. A single mole, innocent, utterly provocative, lay within kissing distance and drew his lips. Taden teased it with his tongue, smiling slyly when Nathaniel made a startled sound and gripped his shoulders.
Taden circled each hardening bud with his tongue, tenderly kissing the fading bruises. He slid a hand across Nathaniel’s abdomen and felt his muscles tighten. He slid a finger along the edge of Nathaniel’s pants, then moved his hand upward to brush his thumb over a sensitive nipple. Heat slammed through him as Nathaniel arched his back with a guttural cry. Unable to resist the temptation, Taden dropped his lips to the free bud, flicking it with his tongue, nibbling and nursing on it until Nathaniel was panting, a pleading note in the sound.
The tone changed suddenly to panic, and Taden jerked his head up in surprise, clashing with eyes wide with fear and arousal. He watched a trickle of sweat follow the curve of Nathaniel’s cheek. Surely the Nathaniel wasn’t afraid of him?
“I won’t hurt you,” Taden assured him again. Unexpectedly, Nathaniel gave him a tentative smile and touched Taden’s hair. The shy, heated glance undid him, and he had to fight the urge to strip Nathaniel then and there and thrust his arousal deep into the enticing body.
Taden dropped his head on Nathaniel’s chest. “Give me a moment,” he whispered hoarsely, concentrating on control. He wanted their joining to be perfect. It was hard when Nathaniel continued to thread his hands through his hair. With a growl, Taden straddled him, pinning the wandering hands over his head. “Careful, or I can’t promise to be gentle.”
Nathaniel’s eyes were hooded, and Taden watched, enchanted, as the tip of his pink tongue slid across pale lips. “Do anything you like,” Nathaniel invited.
A World of Magic
Thank you so much for having me as your guest on The Readers Roundtable today. When it comes to fantasy, there are so many amazing worlds out there, from Tolkien’s ‘Middle Earth’ to Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea’ and the fantastic world in C.J. Cherryh’s ‘Fortress’ series. So what type of world did I create for my own fantasy?
I’ve always had a romantic view on the medieval period in our history. Not the Dark Ages! Too horrible. *shudders* But I have rose colored glasses from Errol Flynn’s ‘Robin Hood’. Have you read Mary Stewart’s ‘Merlin’ series? I fell in love with the young Merlin and the world of King Arthur and his brave knights. I chose this time period for my own heroes.
Nathaniel opens with Taden rescuing the young magic user from the hands of his country’s enemies. Taden hasn’t seen war in his lifetime, but the Sutherlins have begun to push against the border between the two countries, expanding into the fertileland ofNetherlin. Enemy soldiers have been spotted in the forest surrounding Taden’s stronghold, and as the titled land owner and head of his family, he takes a company of soldiers to investigate and stumbles upon Nathaniel and his captors. As you can see, this is a common enough story in the Middle Ages!
But this is where the magic comes in. Not from elves or wizards, unicorns or faeries. It’s in the ‘gift’ Nathaniel’s people are blessed and often cursed with. These ‘wielders of magic’ have been banished from Taden’s homeland long ago, either killed or driven across the sea, threatened with death if they return. So when Taden meets Nathaniel, a man possessing the gift to manipulate men and beasts and nature itself, he’s torn between his duty to imprison the witch and the desire to keep the beautiful man for himself, protecting him against all others.
In Taden’s world, magic comes in the form of a sensual, powerful young man possessing psychic abilities the like of which Taden’s people have never encountered before. Bewitched and bewildered, Taden struggles to find the path he should follow, to side with his people or protect Nathaniel. He chooses love over all.
Thank you all for visiting!
About the Author
Dianne lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.
She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write her tales. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Three magical dimensions…Two mystical bloodlines…One undeniable destiny.
Born a magical empath, Logan MacKenzie has spent his life protecting his family from discovery. Evil has found them anyway. What begins as Logan’s search for answers on Earth becomes a race for survival in the magical dimension of Loci.
The battle to save those he cares about will reveal his true lineage—the bloodline of the Makir, one half of a pair of sentinels chosen to guard the mystical portals between dimensions. The price of his acceptance: a love he never imagined possible and a heartbreaking choice.
Her family attacked, her home destroyed, and now stranded on Loci, Briallen of Tir Thar, descendant of a magical race, has only to summon the power within her to return to her own dimension—or so she had hoped. Unfortunately, her powers aren’t cooperating, and the sorcerer bent on her family’s destruction will stop at nothing to possess her.
Raised without knowledge of the portals, the Makir guardians, or her own destiny, Bri takes a leap of faith in an alliance with Logan. Embracing an uncertain power and accepting his goals as hers offers her the only way home. If they fail, the consequences of allowing the portals to fall to evil are unthinkable—the destruction of every magical dimension throughout space.
It took several minutes for Logan’s pupils to adjust from sunlight to the interior of the cottage. Even so, it took several more minutes for Logan to interpret what he saw when he looked at the little girl. When he did, fear drove spikes through his muscles as he lunged across the room.
A smoky glow, black and oily, clung to the girl’s face, seeping into her nostrils and the small crack between her lips. The black fabric quivered like a sick caress along her skin.
Without thinking, Logan tried to pull her to him. No clear plan of attack threaded through his thoughts, only the heart-pounding need to stop the evil infection from permeating the tiny body.
Instead, her body refused. A ton weight resisted his efforts to surround her with protection. The confused voices behind him rose as the child’s eyes snapped open. Red flames stared at him, a fierce, possessive force, hungry and angry at his interference.
Logan’s ring burned and glowed as he forced his hand to touch her face. His fingertips barely grazed her cheek when the child opened her mouth and roared. The hoarse projection of sound, a violent expulsion of energy, sent Logan flying backward across the room. His spine and head contacted with rock in a sharp, heavy crack that swept the air from his lungs. Body stunned but conscious, he turned his head as Bri dropped to her knees beside the twisting girl.
His mouth didn’t work to warn her.
Frozen, he could only watch while she strained to close the distance—two magnets repelling connection. The spikes of gold swirled in a fury around her, a merry-go-round of energy out of control, stronger than the blackness surrounding the girl. Tips of green and blue absorbed the fringes of the gold as a swath of bright red pulsed stronger and deeper within the core. She enclosed the girl in her arms and bent her face to the child’s neck. The variegated colors squeezed and pulsed. Each contraction of the womb around the girl forced the smoke to release and expel.
The evil struggled. The girl’s small limbs twitched with the battle. Bri held tighter. The colors around her brightened, clenched, and grew stronger.
About the Author
A former technology specialist, KH LeMoyne now writes romance fulltime with series in urban fantasy, high fantasy, and scifi/futuristic. She lives in Maryland with her wonderful husband and corgi. Much to her dismay, she rarely encounters supernatural beings other than on paper. Visit her website: http://www.khlemoyne.com/ or blog: http://fantasypoweredbylove.com/
Website – www.khlemoyne.com
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Guest Post by KH LeMoyne
Thank you to Sydney at The Readers Roundtable Infinity & Beyond for inviting me to post.
Return of the Legacy is a fantasy romance and the first in the Portals of Destiny series. The series follows two families in their fight to protect the portals linking magical worlds against an evil mage who will not stop until he absorbs every magical power he can find and enslaves any who stand in his way.
This first book features Briallen, of Tir Thar, and Logan Mackenzie, of Earth. Pulled to the dimension of Loci, both possess magical powers and are matched in their determination to save their families from the assassins who pursue them. They must come to terms with not only heart wrenching choices, but also their role in destiny’s plan.
The following sets the stage for the Portal of Destiny series:
In the millennium before the dark ages of man, the lands of the earth were connected, rich with the ethereal forces of the universe. Mystics and magic coexisted with man, until human greed, coveting power and fearing the unknown, begat persecution and hate.
Threatened to extinction, the children of magic fled, the most powerful of them ripping great holes in the universe to hide their brethren throughout space—the one true bloodline, forever charged with their partners in protection of the great portals between worlds.
To mankind, the exodus passed without event, without notice, without remembrance, the existence of magic…mere fables.
But the tides have turned, and the darkest of magic conspires to come home.
The bloodline of the Makir will be waiting.
Through the portals, magical beings left Earth and created new worlds to inhabit. And while all should now be good, nature doesn’t tolerate a void.
Magic, created from the essence of all things, hasn’t been eradicated on Earth—an example being the persistence of Logan Mackenzie’s bloodline and the mix of powers his family possesses. The worlds beyond the portals have seen pure magic diluted. Each world and kingdom approaches this fate in different ways.
In the world of Tir Thar, the powerful mage of Brennagmore seeks to isolate those with power to ensure his dominion. He will not stop at his own borders. He will not stop at his own world. His intent is to force open the forbidden access to the portals and rip power from each world he encounters.
Unforeseen forces have drawn Logan and Briallen to the world of Loci and Scotland’s Isle of Mull. The setting is similar to Earth, yet geography and history reflect series changes with magic openly embraced. For Logan and Briallen, their only way home is to fulfill a quest, right a wrong committed against innocence, and to embrace their destiny in the coming battle for dominion over the portals. Unique in their powers, compassion, and conviction, they are well suited both to the task and as partners.
(1) The author will be giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour as well as to the host with the most comments (excluding the author’s and the host’s).
(2) Additionally, she’ll choose two randomly drawn winners of the Dragon Rider’s Gift eBook (A Portal Tale), due for release May 1, 2012.
1. Must be or become a Linky Follower of The Readers Roundtable (Main Site) and Infinity & Beyond Site
2. Must leave your name and email address in case you win
3. Must leave a comment to be entered
4. Hope you have some fun!
Good Luck Everyone!
Every future has dirty roots.
Marooned in the galactic backwaters of the HardCell company, colonist Runt struggles to eke out an existence on a newly-terraformed tropical planetoid. Since his clone-wife died on entry, he’s been doing the work of two on his failing protein farm. Overworked and undersized, Runt’s dwindling hope of earning corporate citizenship has turned to fear of violent “retirement.”
When an overdue crate of provisions crashes on his beach, Runt searches frantically for a replacement wife among the tools and food. Instead he gets Ox, a mute hulk who seems more like a corporate assassin than a simple offworld farmer.
Shackwacky and near-starving, Runt has no choice but to work with his silent partner despite his mounting paranoia and the unsettling appeal of Ox’s genetically altered pheromones. Ox plays the part of the gentle giant well, but Runt’s still not convinced he hasn’t arrived with murder in mind.
Between brutal desire and the seeds of a relationship, Runt’s fears and Ox’s inhuman past collide on a fertile world where hope and love just might have room to grow.
This title is #1 of the HardCell series
I became an instant Damon Suede fan with his first m/m novel, Hot Head. He has followed that spectacular debut with something completely different, a Sci-fi novella Grown Men with elements of Robinson Crusoe, GLBT romance, and Survivor all rolled into one. I happen to be a fan of Sci-fi so that is what initially attracted me to this book, but there is so much more to it than an outer space adventure or a futuristic escapade.
Mr. Suede has done an outstanding job of world-building, yet there are components of the story that are familiar and make it a comfortable, if very exciting, read. Runt is stranded on a deserted island on some other planet. He is supposed to be terraforming the land but the poverty of the natural features and lack of help have left him starving and exhausted. Supplies are dropped by the company that owns the planet. The company is named HardCell, a clever play on words and a not-so-subtle social comment. I noticed and appreciated in his previous book, Hot Head that Mr. Suede enjoys words and uses them creatively. He is at his wordsmithing best when he’s able to create a whole new lexicon thanks to this being Sci-fi.
One day a new shipment has landed and the appropriately nicknamed Runt is hopeful it contains a new lab-created wife as his first one died when they first landed, leaving him without the help needed to do the work as well as without a companion or sexual partner. The shipment contains a cargo of extravagantly expensive food, supplies and resources, but the surprise is instead of a new wife it contains a huge, mute, muscular man called Ox. The running mystery of the story is why is has been dropped here. Is he here to terminate (in every sense of the word) Runt for being unsuccessful in his job or is he running from something. The surface of the truth is scratched before the end of this book but more will have to be revealed in future HardCell books to know Ox’s backstory. This is just the first book in a series.
I wouldn’t call this an m/m romance, although by the end of the book there is some creative and scorching hot sex between two men who are fond of each other but very mismatched in size. Grown Men is definitely more of an adventure story that includes m/m sex.
I enjoyed Grown Men very much and recommend it to readers who enjoy Sci-fi, m/m, a stranded on a desert island trope, and a serialized adventure series.
Rated 5 Seashells by Hazel!