The Door and Other Uncanny Tales by Dmetri Kakmi Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Door and Other Uncanny Tales

Author: Dmetri Kakmi

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 28, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 46800

Genre: Horror, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal, horror, family-drama, crime gay, lesbian, demisexual, asexual, art/visual, ghost, body horror, prostitution, murder, abortionist, ancient evil

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Synopsis

Living paintings, spectral children, cannibal serial killers, lost souls, haunted houses, and ancient evil proliferate The Door and Other Uncanny Tales. Everywhere reality and fantasy collapse to create a new unstable world, even the body is not what it seems. Combined with Dmetri Kakmi’s gothic imagination and mordant humor, the result is fiction that is as memorable as it is unsettling.

This collection contains three new and three previously published stories, including the acclaimed Haunting Matilda, The Long Lonely Road and The Boy by the Gate.

Excerpt

The Door and Other Uncanny Tales, Dmetri Kakmi © 2020, All Rights Reserved

The Door: Chapter One
“There now,” Orestes said, standing back to admire the painting.

It hung before him from a sturdy hook on the landing of the staircase leading from the darker downstairs part of the house to the lighter upstairs, with rows of small windows and the French doors that opened on a balcony, overlooking narrow Transom Street. This had been after all, in other times, an industrial area, filled with factories, abattoirs, noise, and the stench of hard labor in the shadow of the nearby Convent of the Good Shepherd, by the river. Now the suburb was gentrified and provided accommodation for the likes of himself, Orestes Gallanos, and his partner Simon Cole, artists both, living the inner-city dream in lofty warehouse spaces.

“There now,” Orestes repeated, casting an eye over the artwork he had labored upon for almost five months, in the garage turned studio with its stuffy air and bad light. He folded his arms across a narrow chest, tilted his head to the side, and stepped back to admire the results of his efforts. Not too far back because the hardwood landing was small and he risked falling down the steps to the polished concrete floor below.

It was a splendid work, even if he thought so himself. Very effective. It achieved exactly the outcome he aimed to produce in its creation all along.

It was a door painted with oil on linen. A life-size door, seven feet in height and three feet wide, with an old-fashioned handle that gave off a pleasing brass gleam. The square frosted glass panel above complemented two vertical panels below, and he had found that working with oil allowed him to capture perfectly the desired grain and texture of wood.

He descended the stairs and studied the painting from the entrance hall. From there, should a guest visit, the painting looked like a real door, complete with architrave and wooden step to complete the illusion. Only Orestes knew that, if he should by a miracle manage to open it, there would be nothing on the other side except plasterboard. A guest ascending the stairs and brushing by the painting would assume it was a real door, leading to, presumably, a newly built room on the other side.

At that moment, the front door opened behind Orestes and Simon came in, bringing with him a cold gust of July wind. His hair was cut short and newly dyed blond to accentuate the navy in his deep-set eyes.

“Hello,” Simon said, removing the black plastic raincoat and hanging it with a sprinkle of rainwater on the coat rack. “Why are you in the dark?”

It was four-thirty in the afternoon and almost pitch-black in the hallway. Orestes pointed wordlessly at the painting; a smile played on his lips.

“Oh,” Simon uttered, coming to stand beside him. “It’s terrific. It really is.” He gave Orestes a peck on the proffered cheek. “Congratulations. Are you pleased?”

“I think so…” Orestes cupped his chin and stared at his work for a while.

Simon stepped forward, rested both forearms on the staircase handrail, and gazed at the painting with a contented sigh. Orestes bathed in the way Simon was always so genuinely enthusiastic and encouraging about his work. It gave him confidence, made him feel he was worthwhile after all.

The electric light from upstairs streamed down and fell on the painting with intensity, making it resemble a well-lit stage, set for a play.

“Any moment now the door will open,” Orestes whispered behind Simon, “and the actors will step forward to pronounce the made-up lines meant for made-up lives.”

Simon’s smile was warm when he said, “That’s what I was thinking.” Then he caught the expression on Orestes’s face. “Something’s bothering you.”

“I wondered if I should have the door slightly open.”

Simon was also a painter, of a more esoteric order, and, although slightly younger than Orestes, had strong opinions on this sort of thing.

“No,” he cried, shaking his head and glancing at the painting as if he might have to fight for its right to remain as it was. “That’d be overemphasizing it. Glass is a kind of opening for one’s perceptions even though one’s body remains shut out.”

Orestes considered. “You’re right,” he said finally. “Glass lets your eye enter the other side, but only partially, since it’s not clear glass.”

“Oh, baby,” Simon cried, coming up to Orestes and catching his wiry form in his arms. “This can be the centerpiece for a series of trompe l’oeil for your next exhibition. Imagine a whole room!” Simon twirled happily around the floor with Orestes in his arms, smiling and pressing him to his body. The room spun with them, the glass bricks of the bathroom at one end and the darkness of the garage-studio at the other. “This calls for a celebration.”

“There’s a bottle of Taittinger in the fridge,” Orestes offered.

They went upstairs. Orestes popped the champagne bottle and poured the amber liquid in tall crystal flutes inherited from Simon’s mother, Orestes’s side being poorer and lacking in luxuries and good taste. After watching Laura with Gene Tierney for the umpteenth time, they made quiet, habitual love on the couch and much later still, after watching Farewell, My Lovely for the sixth time, they crossed to the bedroom and slept soundly in their double bed, behind an elaborate wooden Japanese screen.

In the long winter’s night, the building settled with a sigh around them. It resolved its sound angles and determined lines into a world filled with peculiar, shifting disturbances, some fleeting and others lasting, deep in the mortar and concrete of the century-old foundations. The last train raced by unnoticed on the raised tracks a block away, the procession of near-empty windows piercing the night like accusations. In the early hours of the morning, when traffic slowed on nearby Hoddle Street, only the icy wind was left to prowl the empty streets. It slid past the grille pulled over the sturdy front entrance, passed through the barely discernible crack under the door, and set out feelers toward the stairs, from there to reach the painted door with the frosted glass panel and the glistening doorknob. The painting showed faint in the cold silver of a night-light left on halfway down the stairs. If there was anyone at the top of the stairs at that hour, one would have been forgiven for thinking the door looked forlorn on the landing, where people pass but rarely stop. An invitation.

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Meet the Author

Dmetri Kakmi was born in Turkey to Greek parents. His fictionalized memoir Mother Land was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia; and is published in England and Turkey. Dmetri also edited the acclaimed children’s anthology When We Were Young. His essays and short stories appear in anthologies. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Dragon Soldier

Series: Supernatural Consultant, Book Five

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 21, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30900

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA, YA, dragon shifters, mage, magical detective agency, magic-users, dragon family, young love, kidnapping, escape, reunited

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Synopsis

The aftermath of the last battle has left Nickel weak in bed and grounded for the next decade. Despite being in trouble, Nickel wants to return to the battle against the enemy as soon as he can, but thoughts of Platinum, the dragon helping to nurse him back to health, keep distracting him.

Platinum can’t believe how much his life has changed. He went from being a lonely fugitive on the run to part of a family in only hours. The last few days have been his happiest, especially now that he’s met Nickel. He knows it’s only temporary, though. The enemy that kept him captive for most of his life isn’t finished with him yet, but even Platinum and Nickel’s combined powers might not be enough to save them all.

Excerpt

Dragon Soldier, Mell Eight © 2020, All Rights Reserved

Nickel fought to open his eyes. The lids felt like they were weighted down or as if someone had sewn them shut. He struggled with them for a few long minutes, then, exhausted, gave up and drifted off to sleep.

The second time Nickel woke, most of the weight had vanished. His eyes slid open easily enough, and then he had to blink away tears as the bright light from his bedside table lamp almost blinded him.

“Sorry!” Someone whose voice Nickel didn’t recognize gasped. There was a thump as something hit the floor, and the light snapped off a second later. Footsteps ran away from him, heading toward the door. More light flooded into the room as the door was flung open, but Nickel’s eyes had finally adjusted. “He’s awake!” the stranger yelled into the hallway.

A series of familiar thumps, bumps, squeals, and exclamations sounded as Nickel’s family literally dropped whatever they were doing and ran toward Nickel’s bedroom. The door was flung open wider, and a small stampede rushed to Nickel’s bedside.

Alloy reached Nickel first. He climbed onto the chair pulled up next to Nickel’s bed where the stranger had been sitting moments before. He leaned over Nickel’s head to see him better.

“Yup, he’s awake,” Alloy chirped happily. Alloy’s hair was rumpled from playing, and the bright red-and-blue strands that matched the colors of each of his wide eyes hung over his forehead. A pair of hands wrapped around Alloy’s middle and gently lifted him off the chair. Alloy was happy to settle into Mercury’s arms so Mercury could bend closer to Nickel.

“How are you feeling?” Mercury asked. His voice was soft, almost as if he was afraid of startling Nickel, which was silly after all the yelling from just a moment ago. Mercury’s bronze-colored hair was long on his neck, and his bronze-colored eyes looked concerned. Mercury was still wearing the button-up shirt he wore to work, so it must be late afternoon.

Nickel blinked slowly, trying to figure out what he had done to deserve the fanfare. Had he been sleepwalking? No, he didn’t feel strong enough to sit up, let alone get out of bed and walk around. He must have been sick, yet that answer didn’t jive either.

The rest of his family had lined up behind Mercury. Lumie was standing next to Copper, their bright red hair and eyes an exact match for the shade in Alloy’s hair. They were fire dragons, but Lumie was only ten years old while Copper was eighteen, the same age as Nickel. Next to them were ’Ron and Chrome, the two earth dragons. Chrome looked like he had been digging outside again; half of his face and his clothing were covered in dirt the same color as his and ’Ron’s hair. They were both thirteen years old, but ’Ron was considerably cleaner than Chrome. Dane had his hands on ’Ron’s shoulders, no doubt to keep her from jumping onto the bed to give Nickel a hug. That would be painful, but Nickel still couldn’t remember why his body ached so much.

Dane was the tallest person in the room. His blond hair seemed to glow, and his ears were pointed at the moment, which meant the glamor he used to hide his otherworldly appearance was down. He was unbelievably beautiful, but then he was the child of a god.

Zinc was next in line. Her long white hair, distinctive of air dragons, was loose from the braid she usually kept it in. It hung in a wave down her back. Her gray eyes were earnest as they looked at Nickel, except her face seemed thinner than Nickel remembered. She also seemed to be taller, almost Dane’s height.

Nickel blinked in surprise, and then saw the hand clasped in Zinc’s and gaped. Zinc, with her hair still in its distinctive white braid, was standing next to herself. Only, now Nickel was realizing that the first version of Zinc was actually male. They were egg twins, identical dragons except for their gender, hatched out of the same egg. He was Platinum, the dragon who Nickel and the rest of his family had been searching for ten years.

Like a spark had been lit, a fire erupted in Nickel’s head. He winced at the sudden pain, only it didn’t exactly hurt. Memories flooded back, each a little video that connected with the others to give him the whole story. There were a lot of them, the sheer volume overwhelming him and causing the pain-mimicking feeling.

Searching the woods for the person mucking with the weather. Finding out that Platinum had escaped from the enemy scientists. Watching Lumie and Platinum get kitnapped. Flying off to defeat the scientists once and for all. Losing the battle. And then nothing. He didn’t know how he had gotten home, only that he was safe now.

“How long am I grounded for?” Nickel asked. His voice was thick and scratchy and his throat dry. How long had it been since he had last spoken? Surely it couldn’t be more than a few hours. A day at most.

Mercury let out a growly snort. “For the foreseeable future. And don’t even think the word ‘candy.’”

Nickel sighed, but at the moment he honestly just wanted a glass of water. Begging for candy could wait until he could sit up properly again.

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Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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Dragon Detective by Mell Eight Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Dragon Detective

Series: Supernatural Consultant, Book Four

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 24, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 29700

Genre: Paranormal YA, LGBTQIA+, YA, dragon shifters, mage, magical detective agency, magic-users, dragon family, kitnapping, HFN

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Synopsis

Nickel might be a water elemental dragon, but even he has limits—and the sudden rain storms, hail, and snow in midsummer are way over the line. Luckily, he works for Dane’s Supernatural Consulting firm and can use those resources to figure out who keeps mucking with the weather and get them to stop.

Soon Nickel realizes he isn’t the only one searching for the weather worker: the enemy he has been hunting for ten years has finally reappeared, and it’s a race to see who will reach the weather worker first. Nickel isn’t certain he’ll win, or even survive, the attempt, but he’ll do whatever it takes to save the dragons.

Excerpt

Dragon Detective, Mell Eight © 2020, All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Nickel walked into the office and shut his umbrella with a snap that spattered water droplets all over his pant legs. He grimaced and tossed the umbrella onto the stand by the door with a sigh of disgust.

“It’s not that bad, dear,” Becky said cheerfully from her oversized secretary’s desk in the middle of the room. He scowled at her in return, which she ignored with the ease of knowing him for over ten years. Becky looked warm and dry while wearing a nice summer-weight cardigan. The rain hadn’t started until an hour ago, so she had already been safely ensconced on her throne. Nickel, on the other hand, had been out and about getting lunch. He had been lucky to be near a shop selling umbrellas when it had suddenly started pouring, but that hadn’t saved his shoes.

Admittedly, Nickel liked rain. He was usually the first one to run outside to play when the skies darkened and thunder rumbled overhead, just not when he was wearing a nice suit. He might be able to save his shoes, but only if the scamp napping on his desk chair moved.

“Lumie, scram,” Nickel snapped.

Lumie popped one red eye open, saw that Nickel was the one speaking to him, and went right back to sleep. His long red hair flopped over his face as he took ignoring Nickel to another level. Nickel growled and ran a hand through his much shorter blue hair in exasperation. There was no talking to Lumie when he was in one of his moods. Instead of fighting for his chair, Nickel dropped to the floor.

His shoes popped off with wet squelching sounds, and his socks left a puddle on the floor. Nickel’s magic fizzled between his fingers for a moment before he directed it to pull on the water, calling it out of his shoes and socks. It was a gradual process. Water moved slowly. It was sticky, according to the science teacher Dane had hired to teach all the kits, and was therefore happier to remain attached to something than not. It was why water always hesitated on the edge of a counter before the push from behind and gravity below finally sent it falling. Of course, once the first drop fell, all the water built up behind it fell too because it was all stuck together. It took some doing before the water obeyed his magic, but once one drop and then another began to coalesce in Nickel’s hand, it wasn’t long before he had a small river flowing from his shoes and socks into his cupped palms.

The water was cool and welcoming, just the way Nickel liked it. He continued to call out the water slowly. Easy, routine magic, it was also good practice for when he worked larger spells. Except the water was starting to heat in his hands. First it was only just warm, which happened sometimes when he was being a touch careless, but when bubbles started to form between his hands, Nickel turned to glare at Lumie.

“Knock it off!” Nickel snapped. Lumie continued to breathe evenly, as if he really were asleep. Experience told Nickel that Lumie was a dammed good actor, though. The heat continued to rise until the water stopped protecting Nickel’s hands and they began to get uncomfortably hot. His shoes also began to smell. ’Ron had stuck a hairdryer into a pair of sneakers once to try to dry them. The bathroom had reeked of sweaty feet for days when she was done, and the office was quickly taking on the smell of that awful aroma.

Nickel tossed the water before it could start burning his hands. It arced beautifully in the air, steaming as it continued to boil, and landed directly on Lumie’s head.

Lumie shrieked and jumped out of Nickel’s chair. His red hair was plastered to his face and dripping onto his shirt. He looked like a soaked puppy, especially as he scowled. Nickel couldn’t help grinning at the sight.

“What was that for?” Lumie shook his head back and forth, deliberately spraying Nickel with more water. The water steamed off Lumie quickly, leaving his hair dry and slightly fluffy.

“You know why!” Nickel snapped back, his good mood forgotten with the reminder that Lumie had just tried to boil Nickel’s hands off and destroy the office with a pervasive stench.

“Sleeping in your chair is no reason for you to throw water all over me!” Lumie yelled. His eyes flashed with magic, so Nickel prepared himself to block anything Lumie was about to throw at him. “And ugh, what’s that smell anyway?” Lumie asked. He turned his head away from Nickel, the water incident already forgotten as he sniffed the air.

“I was just trying to help!” Alloy whined. He poked his head out from underneath the desk. His mixed red-and-blue hair was disheveled, and his eyes—one bright red and the other blue—were wide as he tried to hold back tears. Nickel jumped in surprise and then growled at himself. How had he missed the fact that Alloy was curled underneath the desk? He shouldn’t have. Apparently, the distraction of Lumie taking his chair combined with his wet shoes had been enough for Nickel to miss Alloy. That wasn’t acceptable; Nickel snarled to himself. He had to be better than that. Alloy wasn’t an enemy, but next time Nickel might not be so lucky.

Still, yelling at Alloy wouldn’t have any effect. Either Alloy would pretend to be Lumie and conveniently forget the scolding a few minutes later, or he would run to Copper and Copper would smooth over any hard lessons Nickel had tried to impart.

“You remember the time ’Ron tried to dry her shoes in the bathroom?” Nickel asked Alloy as calmly as he could. Alloy’s nose wrinkled in disgust so Nickel took that as a yes. “She used the hot air from the hairdryer, and the heat made her shoes stink. That’s why heating up the water in my shoes started to smell bad.”

“Oh,” Alloy said slowly as he began to understand the mistake he had made. “I should have helped your water magic, then?” he asked curiously. For any other dragon, what Alloy had said would have been an impossibility. Elemental dragons like them used one element of magic. That was it. Nickel used water, and Lumie used fire. Alloy was the result of a cruel experiment gone wrong and had somehow been born with power over both water and fire.

“That would have been better,” Nickel agreed. “But you should always ask first before you interrupt someone’s spell. You could have burned me if I hadn’t gotten Lumie wet instead.” Alloy giggled and Nickel couldn’t help cracking a smile at the memory of Lumie jumping up in surprise.

“Shut up,” Lumie grumped. At some point, he had left Nickel’s desk and had wandered over to Becky’s instead. He was busy plundering her candy jar, but he still shot them a disgruntled glare that only faded when he finally found a Cinnamon Bomb. He bounced off into Dane’s empty office with his prize in hand, Nickel and Alloy promptly forgotten.

Nickel could only shake his head. Lumie had to grow up eventually, Nickel hoped. Alloy was certainly more mature.

“Oh, don’t worry, dears,” Becky said in her best old-lady voice. She looked like one at the moment, although in another minute she might look like someone Nickel’s age or even someone in their thirties. Her outward appearance wasn’t confined by age. “I have enough candy for everyone.”

She reached into her plundered candy jar and pulled out a package of red Laffy Taffy. It was cinnamon flavored, but Alloy liked the high sugar content too. For Nickel, she waved a stick of blue rock candy. She had apparently been shopping overnight, because Nickel was certain there hadn’t been any of his favorite candy left yesterday. He had checked.

Was it demeaning to allow himself to be bribed by candy? Nickel couldn’t help wondering even as he padded barefoot across the office to take the proffered candy. Alloy looked at his candy and then down at Nickel’s shoes. He whined to himself and plopped down on the ground. Nickel felt the swirl of water magic in the air a moment later. He took Alloy’s candy too and brought it over. Nickel called on his own water magic and sat next to Alloy to help.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians by Laurel Beckley Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians

Author: Laurel Beckley

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 17, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 24100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, libraries, fantasy, lesbian, romance, shifters, magical abilities, paranormal

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Synopsis

As an assistant editor at the prestigious Hanhat Publishers, Evie Southiel is entrusted with fine-tuning the manuscripts of the company’s most important authors. Her skills as a book witch allow her to manipulate the stories she reviews and bring them to life.

When her girlfriend steals the secret manuscript of Hanhat’s best-selling author and leaks it to the press, Evie is exiled to become a journey carrier with the Pack-Horse Librarians in the eastern mountains.

Timid city mouse Evie doesn’t know the first thing about surviving in the wilderness, riding a horse, or dealing with the rugged mountain folk and coal miners surrounding the town of Hevis. She does know books, though, and she’s determined to do the best job she can. But that goal is jeopardized when her horse gets spooked on her first solo run, sending her tumbling out of the saddle and into a mysterious woman’s life.

Excerpt

Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians, Laurel Beckley © 2020, All Rights Reserved

A hard knot had formed in Evie’s throat since she was summoned into Mr. Lodge’s corner office, and now the butterflies in her stomach transformed into a hive of angry bees threatening to upset her meager breakfast.

Mr. Lodge gave another long humph, the fifth in as many minutes.

Evie shuffled in her seat, trying to keep her fingers knotted together in her lap, struggling to prevent her feet from tapping with anxiety.

After an eternity, Mr. Lodge looked up from the newspaper, placing it carefully onto his desk. He closed his eyes. When he opened them, his usually cheerful expression was gone, replaced with a stern man Evie didn’t recognize.

“Miss Southeil,” he began, then stopped. Another sigh. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his long nose. Evie unconsciously mimicked the gesture, pushing her own wire-rimmed glasses further onto her face. She caught a glimpse of her ink-stained fingers from the corner of her eye and hastily dropped her hands into her lap, letting her dull-gray skirt envelop them.

Mr. Lodge opened his eyes. “Miss Southeil,” he repeated. “Of all the journeys present, I might have expected this egregious misstep from anyone else. But not from you.”

Evie bit her lip, trying to prevent the knot in her stomach from bringing up actual food onto Mr. Lodge’s manuscript-filled desk—manuscripts she had nurtured into books to be published and read and devoured by the hungry readers of historical fiction. Even among the handful of journey-rank editors at Hanhat Publishing, Evie was special. She knew she had the gift of turning rough sentences into delightful bouquets for the eyes, and yet here she was. Quivering in her boss’s office. Oh, how she had messed up.

Mr. Lodge removed one manuscript from the pile and placed it directly underneath the damning newspaper. Evie stared at it, trying to will away the blasted thing’s existence.

He tapped the stack of papers with an inky finger. “How did you let this come to pass? Our competitors are breathing down our backs, eager for any hint of weakness, and you give them the scoop of the year!”

“I-I’m sorry, Mr. Lodge,” Evie whispered, ducking her chin to prevent tears from escaping. It wasn’t her fault. Well, it was, but it wasn’t. “I won’t—”

“You’re damn right you won’t!” Mr. Lodge slammed his hand onto the table.

Evie squeaked, jumping in her seat.

He reeled in his anger, grimacing at the appendage as though alarmed that such an outburst had come from his body. He heaved another sigh. “Forgive me, but you know as well as I that Mr. Cabot’s novel was to be the highlight of our publishing year. Having the plot…splattered across the gossip rags is an embarrassment to the company and the Guild.”

Evie wanted to curl up inside herself until she became nothing more than a ball of gray cloth, hidden from the world.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, blinking furiously.

Mr. Lodge’s face softened as did his voice. “Evie, I’m not going to fire you.”

She lifted her head, hopeful.

“You’re the best assistant editor I’ve had in years, but I think this promotion came too fast, too soon.” He shook his head sadly. “But it’s no use having you here waiting for this whole scandal to blow over. It’ll harm the company’s reputation, and to have your face associated with this whole thing…” He paused, staring at her until she lifted her head. She tried to meet his gaze and failed. Eye contact had always been a struggle for her. “I’m sending you away,” he declared.

With her head bowed, Evie nodded. “I’ll clear my desk and head to the printers’ office.” The printers’ office was located five blocks away in the factory district. Dark, dingy, labor-intensive, and where Hanhat Publishing usually sent their screw-ups for menial labor.

“No, Evie.” She looked up, startled. “It’s going to be farther than that. I’ve reassigned you to the Librarian’s Guild.”

Evie’s heart lifted. At least she’d be near books. Near words and stories and life. Not confined to operating the massive printing machines, spending every minute in danger of getting an industrial injury. She blinked, realizing that she was still being sent away. Being transferred from one guild to another was hardly unique, but certainly not a common practice.

He went on. “Think of this as an opportunity, a chance to use your journey time to, well, journey.”

Journey? Evie wondered. Members of the Librarian’s Guild were stationed in every city, town, university, and village in Isten with a large enough population to support them, but they certainly did not travel.

“You’ll be part of the pack-horse librarians stationed in District Forty-five,” Mr. Lodge said. Obviously interpreting Evie’s miscomprehension as shock, he added, “This will be a two-year assignment. After that, you may return to Hanhat Publishing. I’ll always need copyeditors.”

“Th-thank you, Mr. Lodge,” Evie stuttered, lips moving automatically, mind still trying to figure out what had happened. Pack-horse librarians? Two years? And a copyeditor? She pressed her fingers to her lips, struggling to choke down bile and disappointment.

Her supervisor slid a folder across the table. It was depressingly thin. Mr. Lodge smiled, a mixture of kind and condescending that hurt worse than any of his words. “Someone will come by your flat to collect any remaining manuscripts. You’re dismissed.”

Evie rose from her chair to stand on legs she wasn’t certain would work and took the folder with shaking hands. She pressed the packet of papers to her stomach and bolted, bumping into her fellow journey, Anda, on her sprint to the bathroom. Once inside, she emptied the contents of her breakfast, along with the entirety of her previous life, into the toilet.

Someone knocked softly on the bathroom door, interrupting Evie’s hundredth heave.

“Evie?” The voice was hesitant.

“One minute.” Evie wiped her mouth and ran cold water over her wrists and face, trying to fight the nausea. She avoided the mirror above the sink. Her eyes were surely red and puffy, her dark skin sallow and splotchy. She didn’t need a mirror for that information.

She opened the door, nearly jumping as her girlfriend Anda burst inside and locked the door behind her. “Evie, I just heard, and I’m so sorry!” She tried to wrap her arms around Evie in a hug.

Evie pushed her away, staring into the face of the girl she had loved so fiercely until that moment in Mr. Lodge’s office. “How could you?” she demanded.

Anda’s eyes widened innocently. “Whatever do you mean?” she asked, placing a hand on her chest.

Rage bubbled in Evie’s chest, replacing the nausea and sickness. “I let you review that manuscript in confidence, Anda,” she hissed, “to help you polish your editing skills.”

If possible, Anda’s eyes opened wider. “Evie,” she cooed, “I gave that manuscript back to you a week ago. You must have misplaced it. You know how forgetful you are.”

Evie shook her head. Tears continued streaking down her cheeks, and she wiped them off vigorously with her sleeve, her fist clenched tightly.

The story had broken the night before, and since Evie had first found out about it as she entered the building for work that morning, she’d had the sinking suspicion that Anda was behind her situation. Evie was allowed to take manuscripts home and help smooth them over, but only with the explicit understanding that no one else could review an author’s latest creation.

“I returned that manuscript to Mr. Lodge a week ago. Besides me, no one but you had hands on it.”

Anda lips twisted in a facsimile of a smile. There was something predatory in her gaze, which Evie had seen her deliver to their fellow apprentices and journeys but never to her.

“Evie, dear, you know it wasn’t me. Just accept responsibility and take your punishment at the pressman’s office.” She bit her lip and looked down, fluttering her eyelashes. The predatory gleam disappeared, replaced by the image of a remorseful girl. “I think that, with all this in mind, we shouldn’t be together anymore.” Her eyelashes fluttered again. “I mean, an assistant editor with a disgraced pressman? That would taint my career.”

Evie gasped, tears beginning to spill out again. Anda’s betrayal was worse than anything she had ever anticipated, but to end their four-year relationship so… callously… was something else.

“I can’t believe you,” she whispered. “I knew you were ambitious, but—”

The remorse vanished, and Anda was replaced by a hardened creature Evie had never seen before.

“But what? I’ve been here eight years, Evie. Do you know how hard I’ve worked only to be passed up by a girl who just got promoted to journey? This position is my due. Not yours.” She sniffed. “And clearly you don’t have the maturity to handle such a job.”

Evie placed a hand over her mouth, trying to stuff her sobs back down her throat as Anda threw open the door and stormed out.

Tears overwhelmed Evie’s senses as she slid down the wall and hit the tiled floor. This was so, so much worse than she had ever imagined. She’d lost her job, been betrayed by her girlfriend, and was being sent away in disgrace.

How would she tell her parents?

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Laurel Beckley has been writing ever since she started her first novel the summer before eighth grade—a hand-written epic fantasy catastrophe that has lurked in her mind and an increasingly ratty college-ruled notebook ever since.

She is a writer, Marine Corps veteran, and librarian.

Website | Twitter

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The Harp and the Sea by Lou Sylvre & Anne Barwell Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Lou Sylvre & Anne Barwell popping in today with their new release The Harp and the Sea, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC Giveaway! ❤️ ~Mel~

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The Harp and the Sea

by

Lou Sylvre & Anne Barwell

In 1605, Robbie Elliot—a Reiver and musician from the Scottish borders—nearly went to the gallows. The Witch of the Hermitage saved him with a ruse, but weeks later, she cursed him to an ethereal existence in the sea. He has seven chances to come alive, come ashore, and find true love. For over a century, Robbie’s been lost to that magic; six times love has failed. When he washes ashore on the Isle of Skye in 1745, he’s arrived at his last chance at love, his last chance at life.

Highland warrior Ian MacDonald came to Skye for loyalty and rebellion. He’s lost once at love, and stands as an outsider in his own clan. When Ian’s uncle and laird sends him to lonely Skye to hide and protect treasure meant for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s coffers, he resigns himself to a solitary life—his only companion the eternal sea. Lonely doldrums transform into romance and mystery when the tide brings beautiful Robbie Elliot and his broken harp ashore.

A curse dogs them, enemies hunt them, and war looms over their lives. Robbie and Ian will fight with love, will, and the sword. But without the help of magic and ancient gods, will it be enough to win them a future together?

Warning: graphic violence, battles

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Dragon Dilemma by Mell Eight Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Mell Eight popping in today with her new release Dragon Dilemma, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Dragon Dilemma

(Supernatural Consultant 03)
by

Mell Eight

Dane hasn’t spoken with his mother in years and he’s never met his father. But somehow his mother finds out about Mercury and the kits anyway, and it’s difficult to throw one’s mother out when she happens to be a powerful, dangerous witch.

She isn’t the only uninvited guest, and the others are even less likely to take no for an answer—and much more likely to leave everyone dead if they don’t get what they want.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Power Inversion by Sara Codair Blog Tour, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Sara Codair visiting today with the tour for her new release Power Inversion, we have a fantastic interview, a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Power Inversion

(The Evanstar Chronicles 02)
by

Sara Codair

Do you have to be a monster to fight one?

Erin Evanstar is a demon hunter, a protector of humanity from nightmarish predators that feed on people’s fears and flesh. They are settling into their dual life of being a teen and hunting demons.

When a tentacled horror abducts Erin’s partner, José, Erin and their family go on the hunt to get him back. But Erin gets an ultimatum: help the Fallen Angels bring on the apocalypse or watch José die. Erin will do anything to save José, but fighting monsters comes with a grim price–becoming one themselves.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N ❣️**.•.•.

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Silk Dragon Salsa by Rhys Ford Blog Tour, Guest Post, Finding His Place Part 6, Review & Giveaway!

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Hiya guys! We have Rhys Ford visiting today with the tour for her new release Silk Dragon Salsa, we have a brilliant guest post from Rhys, we also have Part 6 of Finding His Place, A Kai Gracen short story , we have an amazing $20 GC giveaway and my review, so check out the post and enter the giveaway ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Silk Dragon Salsa

(Kai Gracen 04)
by

Rhys Ford

SoCalGov Stalker Kai Gracen always knew Death walked in his shadow. Enough people told him that, including his human mentor, Dempsey. Problem was, the old man never told him what to do when Death eventually caught up.

Where Tanic, his elfin father and the Wild Hunt Master of the Unsidhe Court, brought Kai pain and suffering, Dempsey gave him focus and a will to live… at least until everything unraveled. Now caught in a web of old lies and half-truths, Kai is torn between the human and elfin worlds, unsure of who he is anymore. Left with a hollowness he can’t fill, Kai aches to find solace in the one elfin he trusts—a Sidhe Lord named Ryder—but he has unfinished business with Dempsey’s estranged brother, a man who long ago swore off anything to do with the feral elfin child Dempsey dragged up from the gutter.

Reeling from past betrayals, Kai searches for Dempsey’s brother, hoping to do right by the man who saved him while trying to keep ahead of the death haunting his every step. Kai never thought he’d find love or happiness as a Stalker, but when Death comes knocking at his door, Kai discovers a fierce need to live life to the fullest—even if that means turning his back on the people he calls family.

.•.•.**❣️ Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Marked by Lightning by Jessamyn Kingley Release Blast & Excerpt!

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Hi guys! We have Jessamyn Kingley popping in today with her new release Marked by Lightning, we have a brilliant excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Marked by Lightning

(D’Vaire 18)
by

Jessamyn Kingley

For two wizards from opposite worlds, only fate knows if a future awaits them.

When a group of intrepid sorcerers leaves their government, Prism Wizard Vadimas Porfyra is selected to lead them. After centuries of denying his chosen school of magic, Vadimas is embracing the full power of his hue. Busy ruling the Spectra Wizardry, he believes the only thing missing from life is a tidier house. Treasured by the large D’Vaire family, Vadimas is content and not seeking anything beyond knowledge.

Far from the Council of Sorcery and Shifters is Arch Wizard Severin Dewitt, the Fate-chosen leader of the wizards. Little is known about the man whose wrist is marked by lightning. Severin is rarely seen, and unbeknownst to most, inside a house he cannot leave, his every move is being watched. Yearning for freedom, Severin must take matters into his own hands to forge his own destiny.

The Consilium Veneficus considers Vadimas an upstart and a traitor, so when he and Severin find out Fate has chosen them as a couple, there is little consensus on what the future holds. Severin’s knowledge of Fate is minimal, making it difficult for him to accept that a matebond rises above everything, while Vadimas trusts her fully, pushing their relationship to the brink.

Will distance, separate goals, and the ocean separating their populations of wizards stand between Vadimas and Severin forever, or can the two compromise to build a future together?

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Goldie by Danni Maxwell Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Goldie

Author: Danni Maxwell

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 12400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, mythical creatures, Magic/Magic users, Fairy tales, fantasy, romance

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Synopsis

Cast out of her village after being accused of killing her father, Marigold Lovelock has nothing but the clothes on her back and the willpower to make it into the woods.

With the company of an Ursidae, a mythical creature known as Squeak, she seeks out The One, the Storyteller who speaks the truth.

Throw in a nasty beast called the Gromas, a pack of wolves, and a girl with lips as red as blood, Marigold knows she must learn how to embrace the person she was always been destined to be.

Excerpt

Goldie, Danni Maxwell © 2020, All Rights Reserved

A person falls in love with three people in their lifetime. At least that’s what the Storytellers will show you in their legends.

Each love will come at a time in a person’s life when they need it most. Even if they don’t realise they needed it in the first place.

There’s the first love, the one who teaches what the magical thing called love is. It’s young love. It’s innocent, and it’s pure. It ends far before it can truly begin, but it will always remain the first love of one’s life.

The second love is a hard love to endure. It changes a person, teaches them that a heart can break, that a person can wound you more than a knife, that not every love is a fairy tale. It makes a person stronger; it shapes them, helps them grow, teaches them that a heart can mend in time.

Then there is the third love, a love that has no warning, that sneaks up on a person and takes them by surprise. It’s the love that they didn’t know they needed, the one they were not looking for. It’s the love that will truly last the test of time. This is the love that can withstand all the battles a person has to endure. It’s unwavering. This is the love that feels like a fairy tale.

*

Marigold Lovelock had heard these legends more times than she could count, but she never once believed in them.

Her father was a Storyteller. His job was to be the one a person seeks for the knowledge, the truth, the wisdom. His job was his life. It took precedence over everything else, including Marigold. Her father’s favourite thing about his title, his powers, was the fact that people blindly adored him. They believed her father could do no wrong, that he was the one with all the answers. He could gather as many of the townspeople as he wanted, tell them of the stories, the legends, the prophecies that had been passed down to him by Storytellers past. And the townspeople would gather; they would flock, run, rally to the town’s centre to hear a new story each day; their eyes and hearts full of belief, of wonder and whimsy.

They truly loved her father, for he could tell them all the things their hearts desired to hear, could warn them of the dangers of the beasts and demons that lay beyond the town’s edge. Her father was the light, and Marigold his shadow. The people treated her like she was nothing, like all she did was bring the darkness wherever she went. They skittered away if she got too close, made shifty, judging glances with narrowed eyes and lips pressed in tight lines. The children were ushered away and taught to keep their distance.

Though Goldie never knew why they did this, she wondered if it was out of fear, and if that were true, perhaps she was afraid of them too. She’d shy away from everyone as they would hiss and pull away from her. Because why would you even try to fit in when you’re a puzzle with one too many pieces that will never be completed?

Her life had never been easy. She lost her mother to childbirth, she lost her father to the Storytellers, and she lost herself to the darkness of being alone. The darkness enveloped the townspeople too but not as heavy as it weighed on her. They all had lost their light; her father had died this past spring, and though the doctor had said he passed from age and peacefully in his sleep, Marigold wondered if he had died of a broken heart. He was always so lost without her mother, and he blamed Marigold for that loss; it’s why she never felt close to him, to anyone.

Everyone believed Marigold was cursed, that she possessed something inside her so dark and wicked that it had killed her mother, and that anyone who got close to her, anyone who loved her, would fall dead to the curse too. Her father was just another reason for them to fear her. The townspeople were lost without their Storyteller. The next was still learning the stories and prophecies, and so they had no one to turn to for guidance, for what should be done about Marigold, about who they thought she was, what she was to become, and who she might hurt in the process. The elders of the town were brought up on the stories, but they could only remember so much. Only the mind of a Storyteller could remember all. Their older minds were forgetting, slowly with time, but they never failed to forget the prophecy of the Kalakuta. That is what they believed Marigold was.

The Kalakuta were ancient beings, the ones the elders and Storytellers alike would call “the potion people of death.” Their prophecy tells of the Kalakuta being a sentient being that lived long before the time of people. Beings that, once they found a host, would kill any human or being in its path, for the darkness inside told them to do so. They were the makers of death. Her father, the Storyteller, had spoken of a Kalakuta preying on their town, feasting on the sick, the weak, the lost, believing that over time they would eventually take everyone, and there would be no one left to stop it. The minute Marigold’s father had passed, it was like any suspicion they had of Marigold being a Kalakuta had all but been confirmed.

This is why she now stood at the edge of the wood, at the final edge of sand between the unknown and the town, her only belongings scattered just beyond the trees, and the entire town standing at her back, waiting to be rid of her at last. Their mourning period was over for the Storyteller. The townspeople were no longer grieving; they were rioting. The moment their mourning cloud had lifted, they went on a manhunt for her. They found Marigold hidden away, wishing to be forgotten in her small hut of a home. They were all afraid of her, just as she was afraid of them. No one was willing to get too close to her. She cowered in her corner, begging someone, anyone, to leave her alone.

Someone looped rope around her body, cinching it at her waist and all but dragging her out of her home toward the dark wood. She was scrambling to grab anything she possibly could, begging them to stop, promising them that she would willingly go if they just let her grab her things. They stopped for a moment, enough time for her to grab a satchel with two dresses to change, her pouch of every coin she had saved that her father had hesitated to give her as gifts on special days, and the only drawing she had of her mother, one that her father had tried to throw away in anger and mourning on the anniversary of her death, Marigold’s birthday. It was the one thing Marigold had treasured all her life. It was the last thing she had.

“Now. Get going,” the man holding the end of the rope had grunted, tugging on the rope so hard her chest ached with the effort to breathe.

The people gathered in her hut parted at the door. They led Marigold out of the town to the wood with a rope around her waist, something hard pressing into her back, pushing her forward while tears streamed down her face. She gripped at her satchel, her heart breaking with every step she put in behind her. Please, she had begged them. Please don’t send me away.

All that resulted in was her being shoved even harder, falling to the ground, her crying out in pain as something hard, no doubt the broom handle of a local keeper, cracked down on her back. Her things were grabbed by the children, her satchel tossed, her dresses strewn, her photo crumpled into the tiniest ball. Her pouch of money pressed against her hip, hidden in the pocket she’d sewn into her dress herself. It was the only thing they couldn’t take from her.

“Be gone, Kalakuta!” They were all shouting obscene comments at her now, where she stood straight as a pin, her bare toes touching the edges of the dark wood.

“Please, I am not a—”

“You are a killer, Marigold Lovelock. You killed your parents; you kill the elders, the children even! You have a darkness in you that will never settle. We ought to kill you, but that would be too kind of us. We shall let the beasts of the woods decide your fate. Never return to Veritas, or we will change our minds. Kalakuta.” The man spit at her. The crowds were throwing things at her, rocks and sticks and anything they could use to hurt her.

“Please—” Marigold pleaded one last time, her cheeks dripped with tears, her whole body trembling. She had never been so scared in all her life.

“She does not learn. We have no pity,” an elder breathed in hushed tones.

“Let us show her what we do to Kalakuta.”

This was the last thing Marigold heard before she felt a sharp, blunt pain at the back of her skull, and the world went black.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Danni Maxwell has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she is a debut author who is currently studying to become a librarian, a job she defines as the best of both the reading and writing world. She has won multiple prestigious writing awards in the past few years. Her favourite genres to write are contemporary, LGBT+, and more recently she’s been dabbling in YA, sci-fi and poetry. When she’s not writing, you can find her creating book- and writing-related videos on Youtube’s Booktube community, at Danni Darling.

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Facets of the Nether by William C. Tracy Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have William C. Tracy stopping by today with the tour for his new release Facets of the Nether, we have a brilliant guest post, a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Facets of the Nether

(The Dissolution Cycle 02)
by

William C. Tracy

Sam has saved the Assembly of Species, but at a terrible cost. Locked in his apartment, his memories gone and his best friend abducted, he is once again crippled with anxiety. Meanwhile, Enos struggles to free her brother from imprisonment, alone for the first time in her life. Her true species has been revealed, and there are hints the deadliest of her kind survived an ancient war.

But the Nether contains more secrets. A musical chime disrupts daily life, signaling changes to its very fabric. To solve this mystery, Sam must face his anxiety and confront truths about his memories and unique abilities. Only then can he save his friends from the machinations of the Life Coalition, by understanding the reality behind the Facets of the Nether.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Dragon Deception by Mell Eight Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Mell Eight popping in today with her new release Dragon Deception, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Dragon Deception

(Supernatural Consultant 02)
by

Mell Eight

A life full of children and mysteries to solve doesn’t leave much time for relaxation or each other, something Lumie wants to help fix for Dane and Mercury by way of arranging a picnic. But good intentions and life rarely cooperate, and Dane knows it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

Hell turns out to be someone using Quicksilver’s name to destroy buildings, but there’s no way to tell whether the enemy is an impostor or a trap. Hopefully it won’t mean missing the picnic.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Power Inversion by Sara Codair Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Sara Codair visiting today with her new release Power Inversion, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Power Inversion

(The Evanstar Chronicles 02)
by

Sara Codair

Do you have to be a monster to fight one?

Erin Evanstar is a demon hunter, a protector of humanity from nightmarish predators that feed on people’s fears and flesh. They are settling into their dual life of being a teen and hunting demons.

When a tentacled horror abducts Erin’s partner, José, Erin and their family go on the hunt to get him back. But Erin gets an ultimatum: help the Fallen Angels bring on the apocalypse or watch José die. Erin will do anything to save José, but fighting monsters comes with a grim price–becoming one themselves.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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The Loyal Whispers by Kathryn Sommerlot Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Kathryn Sommerlot stopping by today with her new release The Loyal Whispers, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Loyal Whispers

The Life Siphon 03
by

Kathryn Sommerlot

Ravee: a pious Rad-em merchant’s daughter sailing with her family’s goods

Mairi: the Runonian king’s advisor seeing the outside world for the first time

Alesh: an alchemist’s apprentice in Joesar with a past rapidly catching up to her

Three women find themselves caught in the threads of change as the world threatens to fall apart around them. From across the Oldal Sea, the southern kingdom of Dusset has declared war, and if anyone is going to survive it, the alliance between Runon, Chayd, Rad-em, and Joesar must be solidified.

But there are forces at work that could undermine all the progress King Yudai and Tatsu have made. Peace treaty negotiations between the four realms could crumble at any time beneath the building tension.

As the women’s paths converge, they must navigate the true meaning of loyalty to themselves, their countries, and their families, while at the center of it all, a shattered king, hellbent on revenge, threatens the world balance.

Warning: incidents of violence and gore, misogyny

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Dragon Consultant by Mell Eight Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Dragon Consultant

Series: Supernatural Consultant, Book One

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 20, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 33300

Genre: Paranormal YA, LGBTQIA+, YA, dragon shifter, mage, men with children, magical detective agency

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Synopsis

Dane, a supernatural consultant, is hired by the FAA to look into a series of reported dragon attacks on their planes. What Dane finds in the wooded area where the attacks took place is not quite the problem he expected: a group of dragon kits and their sick father hiding from the authorities.

When he learns the real reason the family was in the woods, his case grows more dangerous, and though Dane is experienced at both crime solving and watching his own back, taking care of baby dragons and their ill father makes everything else look easy.

Excerpt

Dragon Consultant
Mell Eight © 2020
All Rights Reserved

The phone started ringing out in the main office just as Dane was finishing up with his last client of the day. He had to suppress an eager smile—Dane could only think of one reason for the phone to ring so late—and refocused his attention on his current client. Dane had been expecting the client on the phone to call a week ago; he could wait ten more minutes.

“Mrs. Hempstead, I assure you the pixies are not the ones harming your prized roses. In fact, I’m fairly certain that the pixies are the only reason your roses are still alive, given the extensive damage in your garden.” Dane tried to speak slowly and calmly so the elderly Mrs. Hempstead would understand and hopefully not get angry. It was probably a lost cause, though. She screamed pretentious and arrogant from the large pearl necklace around her wrinkled neck to the expensive mink coat she was wearing on a warm spring evening. She was used to hearing yes to everything she asked, so Dane telling her she was wrong would probably not go over well.

“If it isn’t those disgusting pixies, then what is destroying my roses?” she snapped, her back regally straight and her eyes flashing with anger. Dane was shivering with fear in his chair…not. “You are supposed to be the premier consultant on everything supernatural. I expect results!”

Dane kept his face pleasant through sheer force of will. He had known this reaction was coming, but that didn’t make it any more fun.

“The teeth marks on the bushes were quite distinctive,” Dane continued gamely. “I would suggest that you keep your dog away from that part of your garden if you want your rosebushes to bloom at all this year.”

She gasped, one silk-gloved hand flying to her chest as if Dane had uttered the most offensive thing she had ever heard. “Diamond would never do something like that!” The Chihuahua in question chose that moment to fart loudly in its carry-purse on the floor next to her chair, an action Mrs. Hempstead completely ignored.

“I have found the pixie family from your garden a new home where their abilities will be properly appreciated. You shouldn’t be bothered by their presence any longer.”

She sniffed in disdain. “Well, at least you’ve done as I asked. I’m sure my rosebushes will recover now that they’re gone. Contact my solicitor for payment.” She got to her feet smoothly, turned, and walked out of his office without a single word of thanks. Her roses would be dead by the end of the week; he’d bet that damned ankle-biter currently destroying her designer purse would ensure that.

Mrs. Hempstead didn’t dawdle on her way out of the office. Barely thirty seconds later, Dane heard the outer door shut with a click. The phone on his desk lit up, and his secretary’s voice sounded through the speaker.

“You have a call on line two. It seems important; he insisted on holding until you were done with your meeting.”

“Thanks, Becky,” Dane replied into the speakerphone. The lights on the phone all vanished as Becky hung up, except for the button blinking for line two. Each line belonged to a different type of client thanks to a nifty spell that made his life so much easier. Mrs. Hempstead would have gone to line three, as an ordinary human. Supernatural creatures lit up line one. Line two was for anything remotely associated with the government.

Dane picked up the phone, hit the button, and held the handset to his ear. He already knew who would be calling and why, but a touch of professionalism never hurt.

“This is Dane, your local supernatural consultant,” Dane said, his voice stiff with formality. “How may I help you today?”

“Why aren’t you already traveling to the mountain in question?” the voice on the other end snapped.

“Why, hello, Jacobson. So nice to hear from you!” If he was going to give Dane flack, Dane would give it right back. Jacobson was the ignorant fool in charge of the local division of the SupFeds, or the Federal Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, the branch of the federal government that oversaw all supernatural issues that had to do with the police or military. Jacobson was a human without the slightest magical ability. He relied on those who had power, like Dane, with far too little foresight. He simply didn’t understand just what he was dealing with whenever he called Dane.

If he did, he would be a whole heck of a lot politer.

“You know exactly why I’m calling. The FAA is talking about calling up the Air Force for a strike.”

“All for a dragon harassing a couple of airplanes?” Dane asked, skeptical that things would be so bad for such a little problem.

“How about multiple dragons? We’ve had sightings of at least one red and one blue dragon in the area.” Now that was an interesting fact that hadn’t made the news. “They’ve attacked three planes and forced an additional dozen to turn back. We’re diverting flights right now, but it’s not sustainable. We need those dragons contained as soon as possible. If you don’t step in, we’re going to have to take drastic action. I’ve sent all the information we’ve been able to gather to your email.”

The phone clicked and Jacobson was gone. He had hung up on Dane. What a bastard. One of these days someone was going to eat him, and Dane would get a nasty phone call from his successor asking Dane to figure out how, who, and why. Dane occasionally wondered how he would explain that Jacobson was an ignorant dick while still maintaining his professionalism. It really wasn’t a phone call he was looking forward to.

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Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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Dravyn’s Garden by Jessamyn Kingley

Jessamyn Kingley - Dravyn's Garden Cover 47hdnTitle: Dravyn’s Garden

Series: D’Vaire 15

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy

Length: Novel (459pgs)

Publisher: Jessamyn Kingley (January 16, 2020)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Drindyr Duke Dravyn D’Vairedraconis is a quiet man who finds happiness amongst his plants. His affinity for living things astonishes those around him since he doesn’t have a drop of druidic blood in his veins. Awed by his talent, his family grows convinced that someday when Fate pairs him, it will be a druid that is at his side. Someone to care for and who shares his love of gardening would be a dream come true for Dravyn.

Killian the Dwyer is a man broken and his secrets are plenty. Once the leader of the Circle of Druids, he handed off his duties and escaped, his whereabouts unknown. Rumors abound that he makes his home high in a tree in a faraway land. He is missed, and many who care for him reach out to no avail. Full of pain and taking comfort in his solitude, Killian only leaves the sanctity of his leafy abode to answer an invitation he finds himself unable to ignore.

Killian makes his first public appearance in centuries, and when he locks eyes with Dravyn, they discover they are mates. Astonished, neither man says a word and Killian retreats. Two and a half years of silence on Killian’s part have passed, and Dravyn is tired of waiting. He wants the other half of his soul but is convinced Killian won’t do for the job. Fearful of what the future holds but afraid of defying Fate, Killian cannot help being intrigued by the talented dragon. As they settle in Dravyn’s expansive garden, if the pair can find common ground, they might just discover the seeds to grow a love without limits.

ISBN: B083RJRVN8

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Killian has dealt with a lot in his lifetime and as a result has resided alone in his tree for a long time. When he meets his mate Dravyn he is stunned but decides not to say anything. For two years Dravyn writes the man with no response. Then Dravyn’s friends go and find Killian and convince his to come to D’Vaire. From there things get interesting.

I loved this story. Dravyn certainly made Killian work for his forgiveness which I was glad for. Killian for his part starts to realize what he almost lost and does what he can to get Dravyn to forgive him. But this story is more than that. It’s about alliances and foes and surprises that I never saw coming.

I have enjoyed this series from the beginning and the enjoyment just keeps on coming book after book. I have to admit to not liking Aloisa when she was first introduced. Her attitude towards others was atrocious at times. Now after this story I understood a little better.

It’s a fascinating addition to the series that was wonderful to read.

Highly recommended.

Patron of Mercy by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes - Patron of Mercy Cover rjbae4837hTitle: Patron of Mercy

Series: Lords of the Underworld 03

Author: Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

Genre: Fantasy

Length: Novel (306pgs)

Publisher: Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes (July 18, 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Lach has spent the last few thousand years counting only on himself. What he needed, he took. What he wanted, he won with charm. All except a god he turned his back on an age ago, when he had a different name and didn’t know what he was giving up.

Thanatos, god of merciful death, is one of the gentlest gods in the pantheon—easing the transition between life and death for billions of mortals. But he has faced eternity alone. After breaking his heart on the sharp words of a fisherman’s son, he hasn’t been able to connect with anyone.

Now, Lach is crashing back into Thanatos’s life, dragging him into an adventure that could save the world . . . or kill them both.

PATRON OF MERCY IS THE THIRD BOOK IN A SERIES, BUT CAN BE READ AS A STAND ALONE NOVEL..

ISBN: B07V5ZK8JQ

Product Link:  Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: After some time spent apart due to Lach. Thanatos and Lach team up to find Cronus’ Scythe to save the world. I loved everything about this story from the way these two react to one another after seeing each other again to the character descriptions of each one. The quest was well written with plenty of antics and suspense.

I was tickled at Lach’s jealousy. I was very glad the romance/sex did not overshadow the actual plot as is the case in a lot of books I’ve read. This was a very pleasing plot with a lot of good adventure and mayhem.

I adored the characters shenanigans as well as the tender moments. This book kept me on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. Fantastic read.

Highly recommended.

The Seeds of Dissolution by William C. Tracy

William C. Tracy - The Seeds of Dissolution Cover fdhj55hTitle: The Seeds of Dissolution

Series: Dissolution Cycle 01 (Tales of the Dissolutionverse)

Author: William C. Tracy

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Steampunk, Fantasy

Length: Super Novel (415pgs)

Publisher: Space Wizard Science Fantasy (December 19, 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: A young man with anxiety stands between the ten homeworlds and a shivering death.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether where he discovers the nexus of an intergalactic society. In this place, changing the musical Symphony underlying the universe alters reality. Sam is surrounded by aliens strange and familiar, some non-binary or gender fluid. Soon he meets sister and brother twins, also new to the Nether, who support him during his anxiety attacks. Sam finds he is attracted to both of them and does not want to choose.

While coping with the anxiety prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony in order to discover what happened to his home. But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. Not only that, but the Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect. Meanwhile, rumors grow of an ancient shape-changing species of assassins returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.

If you like epic fantasy, space opera, music-based magic, and diverse cultures, genders, and alien species, you’ll love this first book in William C. Tracy’s Dissolution Cycle. Download The Seeds of Dissolution and start an epic science fantasy space opera sequence today!

Read the rest of the Tales from the Dissolutionverse! The first six books can be read in any order:
Book 1: The Five Hive Plateau (Adventure, Alien contact)
Book 2: Tuning the Symphony (Coming of Age, Adventure)
Book 3: Merchants and Maji (Intrigue, Steampunk adventure)
Book 4: The Seeds of Dissolution: Dissolution Cycle Book 1 (Epic Space Opera, LGBT)
Book 5: The Society of Two Houses (Sherlock Holmes-esque murder mystery)
Book 6: Journey to the Top of the Nether (Jules Verne-style adventure, kid-friendly)
Book 7: (forthcoming 2019) Dissolution Cycle Book 2 (Epic Space Opera, LGBT)

Genres: Space Opera / Fantasy / Science Fiction / Steampunk / LGBT Bisexual Non Binary

Market: New Adult and Adult

ISBN: 9780997299441

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Sam is a young man staying with his aunt when all of a sudden cold becomes a real threat that they have no hope of escaping. Trying to build a fire Sam is pulled through a portal into another world. Once there he discusses with the magi who pulled him through how to get back. Alas there is no way.

Sam is thrust into a world with aliens, magic and a group hellbent on destroying the world. Sam for his part wants to help and so begins his training in between him and his new friends being kidnapped and rescued. There is a lot going on in this story. Many twists and turns, secondary characters as well as representation of the lgbtqi.

It was a fascinating read. But I do admit to being confused at times as the story progressed. Still it was an interesting mix of situations and characters that had me reading till the end.

Great read.

You’ll Know in Your Heart by Lisa Oliver

Lisa Oliver - You'll Know In Your Heart Cover 3487hfbTitle: You’ll Know In Your Heart

Series: The Gods Made Me Do It 07

Author: Lisa Oliver

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, MPreg

Length: Novella (179 Pages)

Publisher: Lisa Oliver (December 28, 2019)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Baby, youngest son of Poseidon had started to avoid going anywhere near his family. Between love-struck mates, and tiny children, more and more he was starting to feel as if he just didn’t fit. Anywhere. Abandoned by one father at birth, and pretty much ignored by the other, Baby roamed the world, looking for some kind of acceptance, but all he could find was hook ups. And there were plenty of those. Being the son of Himeros, the god of desire as well, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. But none of the people he saw for brief moments touched his heart, and most of them never wanted him to stay longer than an hour or two at most.

Owen was known by many names, but the one title he’d spent a long time avoiding was that of “Baby’s mate”. Having known who his mate was from Baby’s birth, Owen had stayed hidden away from life, content to watch his mate through his Oracle stone, until more than a thousand years had past. When the destructive behavior he believed Baby was falling into got worse, Owen knew it was time to step in. Baby needed a fixer, and the Fates had given Owen the job.

But Baby didn’t want to be fixed. In fact, he resented the very idea, which meant Owen needed to make a few attitude adjustments. As the two men bumbled along, struggling to find common ground with each other long enough to make a mating work, they weren’t getting any support from Poseidon, Claude or Himeros. When Baby gets another shock, he seriously starts to think hiding in an isolated cave somewhere was a good idea. The question is – will he take Owen with him?

ISBN: B08389W5HM

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Lisa

Review: Baby is Poseidon and Himeros son but you would not be able to tell it. Himeros is one hell of a selfish man, dumping him on Poseidon as a new born. He only came around lately because his son is as beautiful as always and the people wanted him. Where as Poseidon was a man whore until he met his fated mate. Even then he still is not warm and cuddly to his older sons. He was a child not raised in warmth or loving arms, abandoned and ignored. He just wanted someone to love him. Instead it caused fights and tempers to rail. Then a god older than even he could conceive showed up and told him they were fated mates. That Owen knew they were fated mates for over a thousand years. Imagine what that does to Baby.

Owen is a god and powerful one. He has always been alone except for one other. He knew from the moment Baby had been born that he was his. However time gets away from even a god, now he has a lot of making up for.

A lot of people said that this was going to be quite different then the others in this series, but truthfully I did not see it. Baby was as sweet as always and lets face it his fathers needed their heads knocked into the wall. They couldn’t even give him a true name, just the baby of the family, so it stuck. I did like Owen but even he needed to be knocked upside the head a few times. I liked how they stood up for each other and to each other.

I had a lot of fun reading this and look forward to the next story. I can guarantee that this will be read many times over. In fact I think I will read it again now. Baby times three is a good ending.

Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey (2nd Edition)

Lissa Kasey - Hidden Gem Cover 743nfi9Title: Hidden Gem

Author: Lissa Kasey

Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Length: Novel (248pgs)

ISBN: B07S6RZSSC

Publisher: Lissa Kasey (14th June 2019)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: The sparkling jewel of the Hidden Gem, City M’s most renowned brothel, Misaki “Aki” Ito is living the good life. He’s not subjected to torture for his psi abilities, he has a roof over his head, food to eat, and all the sparkly shoes he could dream about. He also has one particular regular he can’t get enough of, Shane McNaughton, even if Shane occasionally asks for Aki’s help on a case.

Shane is a cop specializing in missing persons. He’s good at finding people, not just because of his years as a seasoned detective, but because he survived the Third World War and resulting plague with a few supernatural abilities himself. Mutated by the virus that wiped out two thirds of the world’s population, Shane no longer considers himself human. Which is why he limits his visits to a very breakable psi companion when not working a case, no matter how much he might want Aki.

When a high ranking official’s daughter goes missing and feared dead, Shane has no choice but to ask Aki to use his abilities to help him track down the kidnapper. The case opens a door to a past Aki thought he had escaped. Will Shane’s love be enough to save them all when something dark is awakened inside of Aki?

Note: Re-edited, but content still the same. Short fiction added to the end.

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Aki is a psi; he has mutated DNA that means he is able to read your past with a touch, but living in a world that fears those that are different left him starving and beaten until he was taken off the streets to become a contracted companion. The Hidden Gem welcomed him with open arms and he has repaid them by becoming their top companion, earning enough money to keep him in sparkly shoes and pretty clothes. Shane survived the Third World War greatly changed; now working as a cop finding missing people and assisting in the odd homicide but keeping people at arm’s length to hide the monster inside him. Shane has visited Aki many times over the last two years for both work and personal needs and he wishes he could have more from the companion. As Shane tracks down a serial killer it becomes clear to him that Ari is somehow connected, but can Shane save him from what is to come?

Oh my, this story certainly surprised me with the intriguing plot and stunning characters. The world has changed from what we know; World War Three changed not only the landscape but for some it changed their very genetics, A-Ms (Animal-Mutation) and not long after came the psi’s. A country split and containment camps and shunning for the psi and A-Ms hiding their natures, this is the world we find ourselves in and it is fascinating. Shane is investigating a puzzling serial killer, asking Aki to help seems to be his best bet for any clue but not even Aki could have seen the outcome that they are heading for.

Shane and Aki are wonderful characters, Shane may be big, growly and not very friendly and when you learn his past you can understand his stand-offish attitude, but he has a soft spot for Aki, then there’s Aki who seems to be a young innocent who has an obsession with sparkly shoes, but has an horrific past and it’s amazing after everything he has been through that he has a soft heart for Shane. They have much to work out before they even start dating, Aki must learn to shield himself and Shane must learn to be what Aki needs and Shane also needs to get to the bottom of his serial killer case which seems to get bigger and more complex with every victim.

I have to admit that I couldn’t put this story down, it’s growth was amazing with plots and twists that just seemed to get bigger and bigger, there was also a couple of moments where my jaw dropped in surprise because the twist just came from nowhere. We are treated to a host of wonderful characters besides Aki and Shane; some of those include Candy, Paris and Jack. We are led a merry chase as we try to figure out who the serial killer is, and just where Aki fits in to Shane’s feeling that he might be connected…. And I will tell you now I think I was shell-shocked by the revelation because that had never even crossed my mind!

The two bonus stories are absolutely brilliant, giving us a special glimpse of Aki and Shane in the first one and of Aki and Candy in the second.

I have to recommend this to those who love science-fiction that blends with the paranormal, who love unconventional love stories, who love surprising thrillers and mysteries, fantastic characters who all have their own stories and a rollercoaster ride that you don’t want to get off.