Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Book Spotlight Tour Stop/Giveaway: Cargo of Bones

 


Check out the newest book by Z. Lindsey, Cargo of Bones, today and make sure to enter the tour wide giveaway as the author is giving away a  $25 Amazon/BN gift card + a digital copy of the book via Rafflecopter. Make sure to follow the tour and post on the other stops as it may give you more entries in the giveaway. The tour is sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions and you can find all the tour stops HERE.


Talking with Z. Lindsey

Tell us about your latest book, who are the main character’s and what can we

expect when we pick it up?

This is the second book in a darkly-humorous fantasy series about Essimore Darkenchyl, a young woman who’s trying to find her place in the oppressive bureaucracy where she works. But this is the first book where she feels like her place isn’t in the, you know, evil bureaucracy. So it’s a pretty typical new adult story about navigating your job, your family, and your magical powers. Also Essie’s a devil. 

 

This book starts when one of her people is murdered and she brings the bones home. Along the way she learns of a terrible plot to kill the god of death … which sounds like a good thing but isn’t, I swear. 

 

Although my books are dark humor, they’re all hopeful in the end, and Essie might not get through this completely unscathed mentally, but she’ll be okay enough to appear in the third book. 



Do you come up with the hook first, or do you create characters first and then dig

through until you find a hook?

This work was all about the character. My wife √Črica created her for a D&D game that never happened. Since √Črica got pregnant, we couldn’t play D&D, so I told her stories about the character, and they coalesced into these novels. 

 

I like starting with the character first because it helps keep the story focused around the character. In fantasy, where infodumping and tangential side-quests can be a drag on narratives, keeping focused on the character is essential. 



Which of your own characters would you like to have lunch with?

Well, my main character is based on my wife, so I think she’d be pissed if I said anyone but her! And Essie is the most compelling of my characters for a lot of people who’ve read my work. She’s got a bit of the Doctor Who vibe, in that she’s so energetic she’s probably got ADHD, and if she sees injustice, she will leap in and ask questions later. She gets herself into and out of problems with her words, and she’s described condescendingly as a “word wizard” by one of her enemies, so I have no doubt she’d be fun to talk to--but maybe hard to follow from time to time. 



Tell us about what you are reading at the moment or anticipate reading in the future? Any favorite authors you enjoy reading in your spare time?

I’m reading T.A. Barron’s first Merlin book. It’s so lovely. I read Barron when I was a young kid and enjoyed him but didn’t latch onto him. Recently I found his Instagram, and he’s aged into this super cute old man who talks about nature with a big smile and hangs out with Jane Goodall and Harrison Ford. I highly recommend his account. 

I figured I’d give the book another read now that I’m older, and I see his love of nature in his prose. It makes it more than another Arthur retelling, but something that’s really special in a poetic way. Probably as a little kid, I didn’t think there was enough goblin-stabbing. But I’m really enjoying reading it this time. 



Which of your own books would you like to live in?

Oh, man. Nope. None. I’ve been considering writing a cozy fantasy for a long time, but it would have to be in a totally new world, because the world I typically write in is definitely not cozy. I mean, there’s a species of poisonous marmot. It’s not a safe place to be. 



What do you do when you have free time?

I’m a parent, so Not Applicable. 



How do you approach character development in your stories? Do you have any

specific techniques or methods that you find particularly effective?

I try to let it flow naturally. I’m a long time Dungeons and Dragons DM (always the DM, never the player [cries in orc]) so I try to approach writing that way. I propose a situation for the characters, and I don’t always know the best outcome when I start to write it. The characters sort of choose for themselves. 

 

I said this online to someone once--you know the internet--and they were like “THE CHARACTERS DON’T CHOOSE, THEY’RE FICTIONAL.” Yes, I realize that I’m the one doing the choosing, kind internet stranger. What I mean is, I know where characters are at the beginning of a scene, and I have a general skeleton of where they need to go, but whenever I create a challenge for the character, I figure out the response the character would have on the spot. I’m not always sure what that response will be until I sit down and start writing it--and when the response is drastically different than I expect, it might take the story in unexpected directions. 

 

One of my favorite situations with this is Merritt, who is a young half-elf who has been assigned ship’s security guard despite being terrified of his own shadow. But he is a good fighter. He’s scrappy. He’s been trained a little, too. When the characters are captured by the villain in the first book, Merritt attacks him out of nowhere. I didn’t expect it, I had to deal with the consequences, and yet, obviously, I chose to have him do that. I got to that moment in the story and it just seemed like the best option for him.

 

The funny thing is, this simple action put Merritt in a bigger role in the second book, which led to him having an even bigger role in the third book, where he might even be the deuteragonist, all because he chose to be bold without my cajoling. 



What do you believe sets your writing apart from others in your genre, and why

should readers choose to read your books?

Well, first, I want to possibly offend my readers and compare y’all to alcoholics. And what I mean by that is, the majority of alcohol in the world is consumed by a minority of people--the big drinkers. And the majority of fiction books are bought by the big readers. In other words, if you haven’t read a book in ten years, you’re probably not going to start with my silly fantasy book. 

I suspect if you’re the kind of person who loves to read fantasy novels, you’ve also had a personal contest with yourself to see how many you could read in a year. Or something similar. If you’re reading this blog, I bet you read more books than the average person. So if you’re going to read ten fantasy books this year anyway, why not make mine one? 

 

You can read my books and someone else’s. Read ‘em all! My books aren’t special. They’re entertaining, in my opinion. They go places. They get weird. I loved writing them, and most people who have read them love reading them. To once again awkwardly compare books to alcohol, my trilogy is like a mojito. It’s sharp, a little tropical, and not exactly the classiest beverage but certainly not bathtub gin. Just put it on that ol’ Amazon wishlist; I know you’ve already got one for books. 



Can you discuss any upcoming projects or books that you’re currently working

on? What can readers expect from your future works?

The immediate future is more Essie. Her story is a trilogy, so the first step is resolving that. The third book will come out in December. By the third book, Essie isn’t defined by anyone but herself--she’s taken control of her own life, and no longer works for the evil bureaucrats. I think it’s a nice message for a generation that’s been exploited by the corporate world, forced to frame their whole identity on their job, that sort of thing. There’s a lot of catharsis in the third book, although things are also pretty tough for her since she’s on the run for most of it. 

 

After that, I have other stories in the same world. One I’m excited about is a YA progression fantasy set a few hundred years after Essie’s time, in a psychedelic version of Cancun. It’s got some inspiration from The Incal, and it includes a hero who is kind of dopey but lovable (in my opinion) on a quest to save her sister. It was fun to write a sort of Mad Max-style linear plot. Start at point A, go to point B, beat up everyone in between. Once she realizes her sister’s gone, the story takes off and doesn’t really let up. It’s good fun, with a lot of stuff getting wrecked, and bad guys getting their just desserts. It’ll be out in mid-2025.



CARGO OF BONES

Z. Lindsey

GENRE:  Fantasy


Devil bureaucrat Essie Darkenchyl and her friends barely survived the jungle, but now they're going straight to Hell--AKA her hometown!

Excerpt One:

 

 

“What’s happening now?” Two Rabbit shouted.

 

“Looks like some kind of sheep,” Merritt said.

 

Essie’s eyes shot open.

 

“Sheep?” Two Rabbit asked.

 

She still couldn’t move. She was staring at the sky again. Purple storm clouds.

 

“Essie?” the doctor asked. “Are you awake? You hear me? You’re bleeding to death! For Aro’s sake, let down that shield or aura or whatever you’re projecting.”

 

He was just out of sight. They were all out of sight. Essie desperately tried to sit, but it only made the storm clouds choke in on her faster. 

 

“Whoa!” Connie said. “Those are some mean sheep.”

 

“Sand sheep?” Boon asked.

 

Their voices made her head throb. She tried to follow, but couldn’t. It sounded like nonsense.

 

“By Aro—the sheep stepped on that guy’s crotch!” Merritt shouted. “Please don’t say we’re being rescued by sheep.”

 

“That’s if they don’t attack us, too,” Boon said.

 

“Holy Mother,” Two Rabbit said. “I’ve never seen a sheep spit like that.”

 

“Ohhhh.” Essie smiled as much as she could. “Llamas.”

 

Then she passed out.


River Against the Sea, Book 1,  is available at:

Amazon link to the first book: https://www.amazon.com/River-Against-Sea-Z-Lindsey-ebook/dp/B0CH3TW3YD/ref=sr_1_1

B&N link to the first book (for paperback): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-river-against-the-sea-z-lindsey/1144077772 

GIVEAWAY

Z. Lindsey will award a randomly drawn winner a $25 Amazon/BN gift card + a digital copy of the book via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Zac Lindsey is an anthropologist and a linguist who focuses on the Maya people of Quintana Roo. Since childhood, he's had a not-so-secret love of weird, silly, and well-structured fantasy. When other people's parents were reading them picture books, his mom was reading him Terry Brooks. He typically writes hopeful and character-driven fantasy. 

Today, he lives in Quintana Roo, Mexico with his wife, daughter, and various stray cats. 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/z.lindsey_fiction/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61550498257222


Tuesday, July 23, 2024

New Release Book Review: The Trial of Mrs. Rhinelander by Denny S. Bryce

 


THE TRIAL OF MRS. RHINELANDER by Denny S. Bryce

Kensington Books

Release Date; July 23rd, 2024

E-book: 978-1-4967-3788-5

Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

ARC e-Copy.

Received by Publisher via Netgalley

4 Stars

Available on Amazon

**This is an Objective Review and not an Endorsement**

 

It’s the Roaring Twenties and for Alice Jones, it was a time of jazz music, finding where she belongs and how to be part of a life she dreams about in New Rochelle, NY, outside New York City. When she meets Leonard ‘Kip’ Rhinelander, she finds a love she thinks is like her parents and a life she finally belongs in. But Kip is from the upper crust of society, son to a prominent white real estate family and for Alice Jones, a daughter of English Immigrants, her mysterious ancestry is one the upper echelon's of society whisper about even though she is white though she has heard the rumors of her family’s ancestry that she dismisses as idle gossip. Until Leonard and Alice elope and then all hell breaks one month later. 

Devastated and determined, Alice, at first, tries to hold her head high and keep her love for Kip alive even as his family brings her nothing but trouble. Vilified in the news, Alice and her family are dragged through the mud as the court of public opinion delves into their lives and publishes every rumor and gossip about Alice. When Alice meets Marvel Cunningham, a reporter who sees Alice as a tabloid sensation but as Alice and Marvel’s friendship deepens, Marvel sees the person that’s the real Alice, not the tabloid caricature that is vilified every day in the press. For the trial of Rhinelander vs. Rhinelander is more about a woman holding onto her love for a man but it will force both women to see who they real are and who they can be.


The TRAIL OF MRS. RHINELANDER is one filled with twists, turns and more at a time in history when society judges you on everything from who you marry to your ancestry. Denny S. Bryce’s newest book (coming July 2024) delivers a look into a time where jazz clubs’ rule, prohibition is in effect and upper society is the leader in society in places like New York City and beyond. For myself, delving into this time in United States history was fascinating and a little disturbing. The way Alice and her family were besieged by the press was awful as well as hints at how the press ruled during that time frame. There was no internet or 24-hour news cycle back then but as articles the author used for research showed in the book, it was a cutthroat time in journalism and being a woman in that field that was dominated by men is a risky venture for any woman dreaming of reporting the news in newspapers and magazines. The story flowed smoothly, and the characters were intriguing, especially as the author delves between Alice’s life in the 1920’s and then in the 1940’s. I found the actual facts behind the story of THE TRIAL OF MRS. RHINELANDER to be a fascinating one and I appreciated how rich the author did in capturing the main character, Alice Jones, and her family. 


THE TRIAL OF MRS. RHINELANDER is a story that will capture the interest to all who enjoy historical fiction and is based on a true story. This was the first book of this author I have read, and I am eager to see what else she has published to dive into. It’s an interesting premise that delves into a story that enthralled me and captured my imagination. If you enjoy a different sort of historical fiction, then try THE TRIAL OF MRS. RHINELANDER and settle in to get lost within the pages of a story that will leave you breathless.


Monday, July 22, 2024

Release Blitz: Pretty Average by Arini Vlotman

 


Out Now! Pretty Average: Finding Love in an Existential Crisis by Arini Vlotman (@AriniVlot @PublishConquest) 

Blurb:

Society should agree that growing up was a scam. One giant experiment that failed..

Esha More is celebrating her 35th birthday and her quick fix of hair dye and champagne only leaves her with a hangover and more problems. When she asks for excitement, getting thrown in the deep end of a corporate scandal is not what she meant.

Kane Mittal has been called in as a consultant to manage yet another crisis. Kane has enough women making demands, but after Esha tumbles into his life he can't stop thinking about her.

On a mission to save Esha's career and Kane's family business, together they navigate an inept flock of managers while faced with a mounting deadline, their powerful attraction, and a pandora's box of secrets.

Join Esha and Kane in their adventurous meet-cute, a workplace romance filled with laughter, and a hefty dose of intrigue.

 

Available from: 

Ingram: https://shop.ingramspark.com/b/084?m85tyNocZB4qMFqcFJvarH8nEUFJByquPCQkx6iwmLJ

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Average-Arini-Vlotman/dp/1962739023/

            TakeAlot: https://www.takealot.com/pretty-average/PLID95437049

Smashwords: https://books2read.com/u/boMEva

Excerpt:

The root of all evil was age. There was no way around it. Everyone said you should know what you’re doing, but there’s a little voice in your head, always there, always whispering, ‘Are you sure?’.

Society should agree growing up was a scam. One giant experiment that failed.

That sounded right.

Esha picked up her cell phone and recited the words into her Deathbed app, nodding to herself in satisfaction. The invention was her special project in the making. An app designed to prepare for one’s death; it was genius. One day her family and friends would read those words at her funeral and lament at her wisdom.

That’ll show them.

Of course, she’d be dead and wouldn’t be around to witness that profound moment. But she could remind them it was predicted before her death. She typed out a quick note on her phone, Add deathbed reminders from predeath musings.

The sound of a child’s high-pitched shout outside her car window brought her back to the present. With her phone tucked into her handbag, she took one last look at her fluffy curls in the rear-view mirror. Satisfied, she slid out of her beat-up Toyota and tapped the steering wheel for good luck. She’d read that finding a grounding symbol kept you, well... grounded. So, she tried to find as many symbols as she could.

Out from the stifling heat of the car, her arms and shoulders tingled from the warmth of the summer sun, the scent of freshly cut grass tickling her nose. She needed to add antihistamines to her next pharmacy run, the pollen was heavy enough to taste. The familiar sound of the golfing wannabe's hitting their balls in the driving range, laughter from a family getting out of their massive SUVs, and the hollers of fans cheering to a rugby match in the bar made her smile. Filled with a reviving energy that added a bounce to her step, a buzz of excitement ran through her, shaking her from her birthday funk.

While meeting her friends at the local drinking dive for celebratory birthday drinks was a steadfast tradition, she had felt less than enthusiastic this year. Death was one year closer, what was there to celebrate? The only reason she looked forward to the day was the thought of spending it with her two best friends. Getting together for a few hours was becoming harder and far between, so she cherished every moment with them.

“Oi! Ash! Stop staring at the paving and get over here.”

Esha saw her friend Amy who hollered over the cars and sounds drifting from the restaurant, making a beeline in that direction.

Amy had a set of lungs to be reckoned with, being a mum of three kids, and Esha always marvelled at her friend’s contradictory nature. A full head shorter than Esha, Amy was petite in a Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory kind of way. Like her favourite character, Amy was also a firecracker. While Esha was all thighs, hips, and bum; Amy was all boobs, chin, and smiles.

Picking up her pace, Esha dove at her friend for a hug.

“Girl, you did it!” Amy tilted Esha’s head left and right while running her fingers through her hair. “Was it worth it?”

“Hell yeah! It was torture. Six hours in that chair was a pain, but I finally got a change, like a real, noticeable change.”

Esha grinned, swinging her head like a shampoo ad model, and giving herself a surge of confidence. The week leading up to her 35th birthday was a whirlwind of activity. All the updating of wills and policies tired her out. A few days of soul-searching combined with lack of sleep gave her the perfect solution: change. A change was as good as a holiday, right? After adding turquoise streaks to her long, normal brown hair and buying a new shade of pink lip gloss that clashed with her brown skin tone, she felt not a single day younger. So, more change next time. Or a different change.

“Short of cutting the whole lot off, this is about as noticeable as it gets.”

Always adventurous with her hair, Amy sported a pixie cut with detailed etching behind her ears.

Esha caught sight of her reflection in Amy’s sunglasses, admiring the sight of the myriad of blue shades that shone back at her. The shiny strands were highlighted by the early afternoon sunlight, creating a pleasing cascade along her shoulders. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Too bad her hair was all going to fall out one day. Bad genes.

About the Author:

A romance fanatic, book worm, book hoarder, and writer, Arini Vlotman is a people’s person and a wordy nerd. She finds comfort in almost any space, but there is nothing quite like being with her husband, son, and fur babies. Where writers are her superheroes and readers are her tribe, Johannesburg, South Africa is where Arini calls home.

One of Arini's favourite hobbies is Fangirling (is that a thing?), musicians, books, movies, and obscure characters. When Arini finds something she loves, she delves into it like Harry Potter dives into the Whomping Willow.

Catch Arini on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok so you can share your journeys together.​ Arini's debut novel, Pretty Average, hits shelves March 2024.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arinialwaysbeyou

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriniVlot

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@arini_author

Threads: https://www.threads.net/@arinivlotman

 

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

 



Sunday, July 21, 2024

Book Spotlight with Kelli A. Wilkins: Trust With Hearts

 


Summer Romance Rewind… Trust with Hearts

By Kelli A. Wilkins

www.KelliWilkins.com

 

Happy Summer everyone!

To celebrate the season, I’m sharing a look at my hot summer romance, Trust with Hearts.

Trust with Hearts is an example of how a story idea can come to an author anytime, anywhere. One night I was waiting for a concert to start and a premise for a romance popped into my head: A woman falls in love with her cousin’s best friend, but doesn’t realize he’s a famous country singer.

I knew I had to write it down, but the only paper I had was the envelope the concert tickets came in. (Yes, this was years ago!) I scribbled a brief outline and a character list before the concert started. And that’s how Trust with Hearts was born—but not right away.

I was in the middle of revising another romance at the time, so I took a few hours and wrote a detailed outline, snippets of dialogue, and character information about Trust with Hearts, then set it aside. About a year later, I pulled out my notes and started writing. The idea was still fresh in my head, and the book practically wrote itself. (I always advise writers to take down ideas as they appear—otherwise they might fade into oblivion.)

Trust with Hearts was an interesting book to write. The heroine, Sherrie, has left a bad relationship, and on the spur of the moment, goes to West Virginia and moves in with her cousin Dave. Unknown to her, Dave already has a houseguest—his friend Curtis. Curtis is a country boy and Sherrie is all city.

I enjoyed playing off their differences and had fun inventing vexing situations for them to get on each other’s nerves. And boy, do they! Right on page 1, Curtis and Sherrie start an on/off love/hate relationship—and soon realize there’s more to their teasing and feuding. Before long, they discover they have a lot in common, and begin a steamy summer romance.

Some of my favorite scenes are when Curtis climbs a tree to rescue a kitten, when Curtis and Sherrie realize they like each other, and the big bombshell scene when Sherrie learns Curtis’s secret. I also liked writing the scenes where Dave plays matchmaker and counselor to each of them. In his own way, he brought this unlikely couple together. 

But you can’t have a good romance without drama, and the book is filled with it. Sherrie confronts her abusive ex-boyfriend, reexamines her life, and finds her purpose. Curtis is healing his wounded heart, dealing with a major family crisis, and going out of his way to keep a huge secret from Sherrie. Throughout the book Cutis and Sherrie face their pasts, work on their personal issues, and learn to love and trust again.

Trust with Hearts is not just a romance, it’s also a summer romance, so when I was writing the book I made sure to include specific details to bring out the “summer romance” theme: hot, sticky, sweaty days and nights, cool iced tea, gardening, and even heat stroke. The details pull the reader into the story and into Curtis and Sherrie’s world. And since Curtis is an expert in country music, I worked those details into the plot and even had Curtis give Sherrie a very erotic guitar lesson!

Trust with Hearts is a summer romance with interesting characters, an unusual storyline, and plenty of sizzling love scenes. It will make you laugh, cry, and root for love. I hope you’ll add it to your summer reading list.

Here’s the book summary and links:

 

 TRUST WITH HEARTS

After a bitter breakup, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house in rural West Virginia. Early one morning, she runs into Dave’s other houseguest, a singer named Curtis Taylor. The last thing Sherrie wants is to share living quarters with a country music crooner – even if he is sexy, in a cowboy sort of way.

Thrown together by circumstances, Sherrie and Curtis get off to a rocky start, but soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Unable to fight their growing attraction, they give in to their desires and start a sizzling summer romance.

Everything is perfect between them until Sherrie discovers Curtis is keeping secrets from her – and his biggest secret of all will change everything. Can their newfound love survive, or will destiny keep them apart forever?

Order Trust with Hearts here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074422FHY

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/mgrK7R

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/trust-with-hearts

I created a Facebook page for my contemporary romances. Visit it here:

https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

I hope you enjoyed this blog. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media.

Happy Summer!

Kelli A. Wilkins

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, and 6 mystery/horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror and mystery stories.

Kelli released her fourth gay romance, A Thousand Summer Secrets, in April 2024. This tender contemporary romance takes place over a summer weekend, where two friends reconnect while seeking love and acceptance.

She published The Route 9 Killer, a mystery/thriller set in Central NJ, in early 2023.

Follow Kelli on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and social media links.

 

 

 


Saturday, July 20, 2024

Book Spotlight/Giveaway: Wormwood by D.H. Nevins

Wormwood
D.H. Nevins
(Wormwood, #1)
Publication date: October 10th 2011
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Angels. Demons. Love. Deceit.
“Nevins should be at the top of the New York Times Best-sellers List with this series.” – Amazon Reviewer

Tiamat and his brothers, a legion of one hundred half-angels, have orders to end all of humanity. Yet in a moment of weakness, Tiamat risks his life to rescue a hiker named Kali from the very destruction he initiated.
Kali, thrust from the surety of her world into the boundless hell of Tiamat’s, must try to find a way to survive on the Earth’s vast, devastated landscape. Plagued by a legion of Nephilim bent on sending her on, she is forced to trust Tiamat – the one being who could prove to be her greatest enemy.

“OMG … Fabulous. Unputdownable. 5 stars” – Fundinmental Reviews

“A new kind of tormented romance that is absolutely captivating.” – Carlyle Lasbuchane, USA Today bestselling author

Goodreads / Amazon

Only 99c for a limited time!

EXCERPT:

I hastily threw the saddle on Hero and was up and riding before anyone in the group had a chance to ask me what was wrong. With my pulse thundering in my ears, I pushed the horse, leapt over crevasses and rode hard in a wide circle around the camp, scouring both sides of the stream and looking fiercely for anything that might indicate where my three friends had gone. But after a thorough, fruitless scout of the countryside, I began to slow my pace, the gravity of what may have transpired sinking in like a corrosive poison.

“Tiamat!” I screamed, my voice laced with venom. “What have you done with them? Where are they?” I turned the horse and scanned the gray skies but could see nothing. “Show yourself, you son-of-a-bitch!”

And he did.

Tiamat appeared as a speck on the western horizon. White wings spread out behind him, he grew larger by the second as he neared our location. And all around him, pacing his approach and stretching wide across the sky, rolled towering black clouds, thick and heavy with impending rain.

With my heart hammering in my chest, I kicked Hero into motion and raced back to the camp, watching Death approach on silent wings. He was incredibly fast—we reached the camp at almost the same moment—Tiamat, a vulture circling overhead while I thundered in on my horse.

There was a loud clang as the stew pot fell and splattered into the dirt. The group’s hunger was replaced by awe as they took in this supposed heavenly sign. They stood frozen, gawking at Tiamat in wonder and ignorance. Obviously unaware of the danger they faced, they looked expectantly at him, believing, perhaps, that mercy would come from above.

It did not. Like a warning, rain began to fall in a steady drizzle. It gathered and beaded on our upturned faces, and dripped from Tiamat’s wings and body as he circled overhead.

I watched him closely, my limbs shaking from anger and adrenalin. Keeping my eyes glued to his still passive movements, I slid from Hero’s saddle and scooped up the crossbow—Tiamat’s crossbow, actually. But while I loaded a bolt and cocked it, Tiamat matched my ante and calmly pulled out a knife. I was confused by this move at first. He could kill us in any number of ways; quickly and effortlessly. Why use a blade?

I moved to the center of the throng, trying to protect the others by maintaining a simple proximity to them. “Keep close to me,” I told them. “He’s come here to kill us.” A few of the group moved in toward me, but most looked at me like I was insane. Nellie and the tattered-looking business woman, whose name I had learned was Jennifer, actually stepped a few paces away, as if to show this celestial being they did not share my sentiment.

“Damn it,” I muttered under my breath. What was I to do? Did they think he was going to bless them with his knife? “If you want to slaughter them, you’ll have to kill me too!” I shouted at him. My hands shaking, I aimed the crossbow up into the drizzle.

Tiamat didn’t respond and made no move toward us, but instead brought the edge of the knife to his bared wrist. He held it there for a moment, appearing to exert pressure with the blade, and I lowered the crossbow in shock. “Tiamat, don’t…” I gasped.

With a swift, violent movement, he slashed his left wrist deeply and the blood pumped out like a river, running down his arm as he held his gashed limb above his head. Wasting no time, Tiamat flew straight up into the drizzling sky, gaining height at an incredible speed. Then he ceased flying and immediately began tumbling downward, plummeting as he deliberately smeared the blood from his wrist across the feathers of his right wing. At the last moment, he pulled out of the free fall and swooped above our heads, scattering bloody water droplets onto our upturned faces.

“Oh … oh shit!” I cried, realizing what he was doing. There was something with his blood … what was it about his blood? I raised the crossbow again, watching as he tightly bound his wounded left wrist while he circled us, flinging blood from his wings with every beat. I had to shoot him … I had to…

My hands were slippery on the crossbow and my eyes blurred with tears. With quick, angry swipes, I dragged my arm across my eyes to clear them, and tried to aim again. I had him in my sights; he was about to slice into his right wrist—all I had to do was pull the trigger. I could feel the tears running freely now as a sob escaped my throat. The crossbow shook, but I fought to hold it steady, and focused my aim on his chest, the only way I could be sure…


Author Bio:

D.H. Nevins was born in Toronto and currently lives in a quiet area of Ontario, surrounded by forests and lakes. By day, she is a personable, friendly school teacher. By night, she silently chuckles as she writes about destroying the world. When she isn't writing, she enjoys world travel, hiking, camping, flying around on her motorcycle or dabbling in live theatre.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Spotlight Tour Stop/Giveaway: Cargo of Bones

  Check out the newest book by Z. Lindsey, Cargo of Bones, today and make sure to enter the tour wide giveaway as the author is giving away ...