Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wednesday Briefs - Catherine's Revenge Ch 15

We're here again on another wild and windy Wednesday. Catherine's been up to her tricks again and I'm sharing them with you.  The prompt I've used this time is

"Watch me" which fitted in nicely with my plans for today

“Ash,” Emma was so choked at seeing her brother awake, she couldn’t speak.

“Where am I?” Ash whispered, his voice faint and thin. He blinked heavily and Emma was terrified he’d slip away again.

“You’re in hospital, darling. You’re very sick. Do you remember what happened?”

“She…she’s in…side me. She…cold. Cold, Emma. Dark.”

“I know sweetheart. I know you’re cold. So am I. But you’re not alone anymore. I’m here. Can you feel me? Can you feel my warmth inside you? The warmth of my love in our secret place?”


“Try to feel it, Ash. Try to find me.”


“Do you remember it, our secret place? Do you remember how to get there?”

“No,” Ash’s voice was fading and Emma turned to Tristan in utter panic.

“Can you help him? Can you help him like you helped me?”

“I can try, but he is very much more closed down.”

“All I can ask it that you try.”

Looking grim, Tristan moved around the bed to the other side and took Ash’s other hand. Ash turned his head to gaze up at him.


“A friend, Ash. He’s a friend and he’s going to help you find your way home.”


“Home to me.”

“Ash,” Tristan said, drawing his attention. “I will draw back the curtain of darkness, just for a moment. You will not have much time. You must find the door in your heart where your sister is sealed away from the evil that assails you. You must open the door. Do not fear for her as she is already sharing your pain. Find her and let her in. Only then can you find the strength to fight Catherine.”

At the mention of Catherine’s name Ash shuddered deeply, but he nodded silently. Tristan echoed the nod, and gazed deeply into Ash’s eyes. Emma remembered the light that had flowed through her when Tristan did that to her and might have imagined that Ash’s hand warmed slightly in her grasp.

Ash whimpered and squirmed, but did not break eye contact. The darkness within Emma, which had been sluggish and thick, swirled angrily and her heart thudded, slow and heavy in her chest.

Ash’s whimpers turned to moans, and his body arched off the bed, but still he did not break eye contact.

Tristan began to sweat, an expression of distress on his face, but he held on tight and continued to pour his energy into Ash.

The pain in Emma’s chest increased, as she fought to keep the door open against the dark energy that fought to close it. Despite the pain and fear, she held on. She held on with all her might.

Suddenly, Ash screamed and arched so far off the bed his spine creaked. Moments later, he collapsed and lay still. However, in the moments between something had radically changed. For one thing, Emma was suffused with a familiar warmth. For another Ash’s had had grown warm in hers.

When she looked down into his face, there was a faint flush in his cheeks and, although his eyes were closed, she knew he was no longer lost.

“Ash,” she said quietly and he opened his eyes and smiled at her.”

“I found you,” he said, his voice stronger.

Letting go of his hand Emma threw her arms around her brother, and he held her too. They clung to each other as they always had.

“Do not be complacent,” Tristan warned. “She will feel that you are fighting her, and she will come.”

“You know me so well, my dear,” a voice said, and Emma straightened sharply to face the misty shape in the corner of the room. Beside her, Ash struggled to sit upright.

“I applaud you,” Catherine said, growing more solid by the moment. “You have fought me better than any other. I have never had the pleasure of twins before and it is more of a challenge than I thought. But do not think you have won. I have never taken a woman and wish indeed that I had for your energy is sweet. It enlivens me as no other. Thank you, Emma.”

“Then it ends here. If you take me, I won’t have children and there will be no more Loughbridge men for you to torment and murder.”

Catherine looked shaken for a moment, then she smiled. “Then so be it. As my last meal I shall make this the best.”

A sharp pain shot through Emma, making her cry out, and beside her, Ash cried out, too, the anguish so deep it cut through Emma even more sharply than Catherine’s attack. But he rallied, and he was the one who sent the surge of energy through their link that cleared her mind and gave her the strength to fight. Their hands clutched each other, symbolic of the link that joined them within. Gradually, the fought back the pain, pushing the darkness away from their hearts, clearing the link, opening the doors.”

“No,” Catherine screamed. “You will not escape me.”

“Watch me,” Emma hissed

Now please go visit the rest of the flashers who have some delectable tidbits for you this week

Wednesday Briefs

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Jen Barton - Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell - and Beyond

Some time ago, I followed a writer on Twitter and took a chance on buying her book, Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell. I started to read, and from that very moment on, I was hooked.

This post, however, is not about that book. This post is about the next book, Fiona Thorn and the Secret of the Ringing Trees. Still in production, the book will be blowing us all away very soon and I am incredibly honoured to be afforded the opportunity to share the Prologue with you.



The Reaver eyed the boy through a small hole in the door. He could see Peppin sitting on the long, wooden table at the front of the room, swinging his legs. The dirty laces on one of his tiny shoes had come undone and clicked against the floor as he moved. His friends had gotten tired of waiting, he supposed, and must’ve gone to the woods for a game of Hoodman’s Blind, leaving Peppin alone in the classroom.
All the better.

The Reaver stood up and arched, stretching the muscles of his back. This one would be the last. He’d been patient through this age and the long one before, too many years to count. But now it was nearly done. One more extraction and the Lamb’s Cradle would be full.

A spasm of pain shot along his neck, making the muscles of his face twitch. Stooping to see through the hole always caused discomfort. It grieved him, this endless assignment. His eyes narrowed, the boy momentarily forgotten, and he whispered under his breath, as if the power to banish his mortal aches was part of his dark gift. He slowly massaged his neck, anxious to be rid of this human form, and opened the door.

“Master Mangals!” Peppin cried as his schoolmaster stepped from the office chamber.

The child waved his hand and smiled. Behind him hung a large piece of parchment, brightly colored and curled at each end. It was decorated with falling leaves in orange and golds and announced in the crooked, waxy script of a child: Lady’s Moon Festival—Cypher Contest Open

The boy hopped from the table and skipped forward.

“Bailey and Topher left already. They tried to get me to go too, but I told them no way.” He looked over his shoulder and nodded at the banner. “I’ve been practicing after chores. Watch how high I can count.”

“Let’s see,” the Reaver said cheerfully.

He crossed the small classroom, his hand gliding over the tops of the little chairs as he weaved through their jumbled mess. The day’s lessons had only just ended and he’d not had time to straighten the room. But it pleased him; warmth from the children still clung to the chairs, and with each touch he casually absorbed the residue of their vitality, feeding as he walked.

The boy counted slowly and had barely gotten to five as the Reaver reached the far side of the room. He braced himself against the large, main door of the school and slid it closed, making the heavy wood groan on its metal track. A quick slip of his hand and the iron lock was securely fastened.

“, eight, nine I think...don’t tell me...”

“Take your time,” the Reaver said, leaning on the old door. He inhaled deeply, testing the boy’s fear level, and got a nose full of stench instead.

The building hadn’t been used as a barn for over fifty years, but the underlying smell of animal was still there, at least to his heightened senses. He found it especially strong with the door closed and the furnace roaring. 
And roaring it was. He’d stoked it well in preparation.

The heat always seemed to draw the old smells from the wood beams. He scrunched his nose in disgust. It was quite revolting, he thought, the way these people lived. Despite the abundance of riches in the mines, they’d built a school on the skeleton of an animal shelter. He’d expected a higher value to be placed on their young. But in the end it had made his job easier.

He glanced toward his office, behind the door where the WhisperWorry slept. It was dying, like the two others earlier this moon. Mindless, low level demons. Their inefficiency was irritating. He’d have to bring another forth, and soon, before the villagers began to think clearly.

He wandered toward the boy, remembering when he’d first come to this part of the world. He’d been so naive. It had taken almost an age just to discover the secret of the elixir. But he’d done it. And a good thing, too. His master was no one to disappoint. He laughed, thinking of the body he’d worn when he’d arrived. The old cleric! An aged body, to be sure, with its own limitations, but it had been a bountiful time. The elderly were always so trusted.

Peppin continued to count aloud, unaware that death stood just two small chairs away. This pleased the Reaver all the more. Fear was delicious, but innocence was exquisite. He patiently listened to the child struggle with his numbers and thought of how long he’d been posted in Dragons Mere, in this northern village full of miners and merchants, of the many faces he’d worn, of all those he’d given to The Lord of Bone and Shadow.

He grabbed a chair and sat down by the boy. He was too big for it, but this body was more agile than others he’d had, and despite the minor aches and pains it suited his needs. He tucked his knees under his chin, tipped his head in a way he’d learned put children at ease, and continued to listen, watching as the boy used his chubby little fingers as a guide. 

When Peppin halted at ten and six, the Reaver placed an encouraging hand on his shoulder. The simple touch was enough to awaken his hunger. So much innocence, and not a whiff of fear to spoil it.

Of course it would come, he thought, carefully slowing his breath. Once things got messy it was all but inevitable. But for now he would enjoy it, for the boy was so unclouded it was hard to ignore. It was exactly why he’d chosen Peppin—for his purity.

He smiled, knowing the taste of the boy’s soul would be sweet.

“If you get past twenty, with no mistakes,” he said, his steady voice betraying none of his eagerness, “I’ll declare you the winner and call an end to cyphers.”

Peppin’s eyes widened and he stopped, still as any stone. He looked at the schoolmaster, their eyes on a level. “By the Angels, no foolin’? After twenty, no more cyphers? For the whole year?”

There is nothing of the Angels here, thought the Reaver, not for miles. Or nearly nothing, for I am very good at my job. There are many Reavers in the service of The Lord of Bone and Shadow, many who can burn empty bodies and send ashes to his call, many who can strengthen and build his growing army of CinderWraiths. But only I, he thought with pride, can extract innocence from a freed soul. Only I can build the elixir needed to block the Cesura. And only I can stop the incessant racket of the Ringing Trees and release the Shroud of Sorrows.

Which is why, he thought with a sigh, I’ve been forced to linger here, garrisoned in the wretched northern reaches of Amryn, wallowing in the wilderness. But the Lamb’s Cradle is nearly full, he thought comfortingly, its smooth insides luminous with swirling innocence, and by day’s end its bloody bunting will overflow.

He rubbed his aching neck and smiled, his boyish appearance the perfect guise of kindness. Of all the ones he’d worn, this plain, unassuming face of a young man in his third decade was perhaps his favorite. It was charming without being prideful, handsome in an unremarkable way, and it seemed to elicit trust, especially from children. It had been very effective.

He gently squeezed Peppin’s shoulder. “No more cyphers, my boy. For the rest of your whole life. You have my word on it.”

“You could do that?”

“There are many things I can do,” the Reaver said with a quick wink.

He clapped his hands together, and leaned back in the chair, balancing on its two back legs. He was often amazed at what simple tricks children attended to. It sometimes made him wish for more challenging prey.

“For instance, did you know that before I was a schoolmaster I studied natural philosophy? And because of this, sometimes I help Mistress Rose with simple matters.”

“No, sir,” Peppin said, his counting already forgotten.

“Our world is full of surprises.” The Reaver rocked forward, setting the chair on all fours. He leaned toward the boy. “And in truth, it is for a matter of medicine, and not your counting, that I bade you stay this afternoon.”

A look of concern flashed over Peppin’s face. Pink splotches colored his tiny cheeks and the Reaver could almost taste the boy’s growing alarm. His scent was now tinged with something pungent and sharp; a light trace of the stifling fear to come.

Alas, the Reaver thought with disappointment, we’ve come to it so soon.

“There is no need to worry, my boy,” he said, patting Peppin on the back as he got to his feet. “All your troubles will soon be over.”

Trust me, he thought, for I have walked this path before and I am very good at my job.

Wow, talk about dark and intriguing. I can't wait to read this book, and I'm sure you'll be the same. Check out Jen's blog for updates.

So who is this person who has hooked me so thoroughly on her work?


Jen Barton was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1971 and spent much of her life on the East Coast. In 2008, at age 36, she and her family moved to California. With two cars, she and her husband moved two dogs, two guinea pigs, a cornsnake and their 10-year old daughter across the country. She counts the five day road trip, including a near escape by both dogs on Day 3, as one of her best experiences to date.

In 2009, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Millersville University, Barton realized her childhood dream to become a writer. One van full of bored kids, one long day of travel, and Fiona Thorn was born. She's been writing ever since.

When not taxiing her teenage daughter hither and yon, Barton loves reading (especially fantasy by George R. R. Martin, Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss, cooking (anything with pasta is a hit), and writing (magical worlds with obstinate teen girls is always a favorite).

In 2012 Barton's first book, the fantasy adventure Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Southern California Book Festival. Later that year Barton was named 1st Runner Up in America's Next Author for her compelling short story of an old woman trapped in her own body, "Movin' On Up."

In 2013 she released the warm-hearted, whimsical picture book, If Chocolate Were Purple. And when not thinking of silly things to amuse children she enjoys fostering Great Danes. It is her sincere belief that were her heart ever to unfortunately split open like a peach, a soft spot (the size of 6,000 stacked Great Danes) for children and animals would be found.

Jen can be found at 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

LRC Chat with Alicia Nordwell

My good friend Alicia AKA Cia is guesting on Love Romance Cafe tomorrow. It would be great if you could join her to chat about all things writing and love.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Wednesday Briefs

I'm not flashing this week but that doesn't mean you can't check out the other amazing authors who have given up their time and talent to flash just for you

Check out this weeks list with a 100 word taster of what you can expect from each post. I have my favourites and I'm sure so do you

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Longclaws by Steve Peek

This is definitely one to watch folks. Put together by the inimitable Finishing Fairies this book blast will knock your socks off and give you the opportunity of obtaining this great book Steve Peek is definitely one to watch.

So, over to you fairies, work your magic

Welcome to the Longclaws book blast.  This one of a kind horror novel by Steve Peek is an amazing journey into a different kind of horror story, with a new version of the mythology the reader might not expect. With an average of 4.7 stars out of 5, this is an amazing book that will take you places you don't expect.  Interested?  Read more!

Longclaws COVER Spearhead 02-12-14Their world is crowded with active volcanoes, sulfur and acid rains, permanent thick clouds turn day into deep twilight. It is a violent place: moment-to-moment survival is victory, every creature is constantly predator and prey, sleep is certain death. This is home to the longclaws, beings of super-human speed, strength and senses. Their predatory skills allow them only a tenuous niche in their hellish environment. Though smart and fierce, their rank in the food chain is far below the top. One clan leader draws from ancient legends of paradise and devises a plan to escape and take his clan to the otherworld - a world filled with slow, defenseless prey. The clan activates an Indian mound deep in southern forests and enters our world -hungry for prey. Torrential rains and washed out bridges force a runaway teen, an old dowser and a Cherokee healer to face the horrors of the clan's merciless onslaught. Mankind's legends are filled with vampires, werewolves, dragons and other nightmarish. Perhaps our legend of hell is based on the world of the Longclaws.


Steve PeekSteve has only recently seriously taken to writing. Though he wrote and managed to have a couple of books published during his life, something clicked a few years ago and now, for better or worse, he sits at his table researching and writing about things that interest him. His wife, Annie takes care of him. She keeps him eating too well and laughing often in their old farmhouse halfway up the Blue Ridge Mountains. Steve’s forty year career in the game industry allowed him to travel extensively and explore histories and myths of peoples and places. His books on Amazon include: Longclaws, Alien Agenda, Coyote Dreaming, Otherworld and The Game Inventors Handbook. In addition to writing, he works in a vegetable garden trying not to be herbicidal, walks in the woods with a rescued dog and gathers imaginary eggs from a few cut-out, wooden hens. e loves all things ancient and appreciates the magic of life and the interconnection of all things.  He would like to hear from you via jstephenpeek on facebook or send me a message via his contact form.

After Father came home from work, they piled into their family car: a six-year-old 1949 Oldsmobile Futuramic station wagon.  Painted hunter green, their car possessed real wood trim around the side windows. He and his brother sat on blankets in the back, where the third seat had been laid flat to create space for them and the two suitcases. Tom’s sisters—Amanda and Allison—occupied the backseat, with a picnic basket between them. The basket contained sandwiches and cookies, as well as two of their mother’s green-apple pies that she had made for the new widow in Alabama.  Tires in those days were real rubber and produced hypnotic, whining sounds as the car cruised along the highway, causing occasional dogs to give chase. Their father started the car and enumerated the road-trip rules for the Mason family, which applied only to the Mason kids: no horseplay, no loud talking, no teasing brothers or sisters.  They could play games, talk, or tell stories, but in low voices.  If they stopped, everyone would go to the bathroom, real bathroom available or not.  Their estimated time of arrival was 10:00 p.m.  The host family and their guests might all be asleep or ready for bed, so as soon as introductions concluded, the kids were to go to sleep wherever their host placed them. The Futuramic hummed through the moonless darkness.  Boredom settled in, and sleep overtook all the kids except Tom.  Tom clipped his Boy Scout flashlight to the neck of his T-shirt and reread the Superman annual comic book for the thirtieth time. Tom felt the car slow and then turn onto a dirt road packed hard by a summer of little rain.  The tires vibrated on short stretches of washboard ruts in the dirt road.  Tom sensed the edge of motion sickness, so he put away his comic and sat up to stare out the back window through an accumulating layer of reddish dust. His brother, Russ, slept at his side.  At fourteen—the oldest of the Mason kids—their parents expected Russ to become the surrogate father when adults were absent.  Tom never admitted it, but he idolized his brother.  Russ was as close to a hero as Tom could imagine.  Tom knew he could depend on Russ, no matter what. Amanda, two years Tom’s senior, was the more feminine of the two sisters.  Allison—one year older than her sister and the prettier of the two—preferred mud fights and tree climbing to dolls and frilly dresses.  She tried to mother Tom when he hurt himself or fell ill, but Tom would have none of it. Tom stared out the back window.  The taillights cast a scary, red glow behind the car as the tires kicked up dust, which twisted into horizontal dirt-devils streaming from the rear of the car.  Beyond the red glow of the taillights, the complete darkness frightened Tom a little. Tom's father and mother exchanged words.  His mom twisted her body and faced the backseats.  “Wake up kids.  We are going to be there in a few minutes.  Wake up and make yourselves presentable.” The sisters stirred, emerging from whatever dreams had been born of the bouncy car and the background rhythm of the eight-cylinder engine. Mother looked past the girls at him and said, “Tom, wake up your brother.  We are almost there.” Knowing they would be at their mysterious destination soon, Tom’s phobia of meeting new people—especially new kids—welled up, feeling like the anxiety of walking to school to face a waiting bully. Without taking his eyes off the illuminated portion of the road, their father said aloud, as if making an announcement over the school intercom, “I want you on your best behavior.  The folks here are good people.  They are our relatives.  If an adult asks you to do something, do it.” He cleared his throat and continued, “So mind your Ps and Qs.  Oh, and one more thing: last time I visited, they did not have a bathroom in the house; they have an outhouse.” He paused as if preparing to issue a warning or instruction, thought better, and simply said, “You’ll get used to it.  But until you do, no complaining.” Tom saw some lights up ahead: an island in the dark. When they turned right onto the track serving as the driveway to the old country house standing fifty yards from the road, Tom looked at the layout.  The front yard was not really a yard at all.  Once part of a forest, it had been cleared long ago, and now only a few huge pine trees were left, rising over beds of needles.  Tall grass grew here and there, but gave way to dirt paths where people had walked between the pines. Light came from every window.  An electrical wire stretched fifty feet from the top of the front porch to the biggest pine tree Tom had ever seen.  Six bare bulbs—affixed to the wire—dangled about seven feet above the ground. In one of the circles of light beneath the wire, folding chairs formed a perimeter.  The chairs were occupied by men of all ages.  In the center of the group, where a fire might be in fall, sat a large washtub filled with melted ice and bottles of Coca-Cola, RC, and Nehi soda pop.  The men stopped talking to study the Masons’ car. “Hello, stranger,” one of them called, walking toward their car.  Their father nearly leapt out of the car and grabbed the man’s extended hand, which quickly pulled them together for a hug. Russ and Tom climbed out the tailgate and stood alongside the car, watching as a group of twelve or fifteen men and kids approached from the string of light bulbs. The house looked as if it had never seen a coat of paint.  The gray planks warped and strained against the rusty nails, which bled dark-red streaks from years of rain.  The steep, tin roof was nearly invisible in the night sky.  Where the main metal roof ended, another began.  A shallow slope formed a roof for the porch, which ran across the front and left sides of the house. Underneath the porch roof, bare bulbs with dangling pull-strings cast a yellow glow on all the women sitting in rockers.  Conversation halted while they examined the new arrivals. “This is my cousin, Royce.”  Their father indicated the man he’d hugged. “Hello, Royce,” their mother replied with a smile, adding, “Children, say hello to your cousin Royce.” The man was tall and thin, but somehow seemed stronger than he looked. “Hello, ma’am,” he said, offering his hand to their mother.

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Friday, 14 February 2014

Julie Hayes - When Will I See You Again. Blog post 3

This is the third in my series of three blogs on the new book by my good friend Julie Hayes. It's been great fun hosting a great book.

Over to you Julie

“Goodness, what big eyes you have!” Little Red Riding Hood exclaimed.

View Red Riding Hood and Wolf.jpg in slide show

“The better to see you with, my dear,” said her grandmother.

Except we know it’s not really her grandmother, don’t we? It’s the Big Bad Wolf in disguise.

Little Red Riding Hood was my first introduction to the wolf as more than an animal. This wolf walks and talks, he has very human emotions and he’s sneaky and crafty. Is he really a wolf, or is he more... perhaps the forerunner of the loup-garou? More commonly known as the werewolf, or wolf man?

Outside of fairy tales, I think my first encounter with wolf men came with the Lon Chaney, Jr. film. His werewolf was a scary dude, and very hairy. Not to mention he was a total beast. And I mean that literally. As a werewolf, no remnant of Larry Talbot’s humanity was evident once he changed. He acted on pure animal instinct, and people were scared spitless at the sight of him.
View Annex - Chaney Jr., Lon (Wolf Man, The)_02.jpg in slide show
There have been a number of films in this genre, with pretty much the same horrifying scenario of the man forced to turn into a hideous beast at the tug of the full moon, usually the result of a curse of some sort. Or the bite of another werewolf. There was nothing romantic about these creatures.

And then along came An American Werewolf in London, which took werewolves in a new direction, and revitalized the genre and breathed new life in it (with more than a touch of humor), leading to such films as Van Helsing and Underworld, among others.

Meanwhile, in the world of fiction, the werewolf underwent a more startling transformation. Romance writers created tortured souls that were also incredibly sexy, and gave a whole new meaning to the word. The first sexy werewolf I can remember was actually on TV. Quentin Collins, in the old soap opera Dark Shadows, was sexy David Selby. He’s the first werewolf I remember thinking was hot. Okay, there was Oliver Reed too, in Curse of the Werewolf, but he was also scary lol.

View smiling quentin 7.10.11.png in slide show
Werewolves are now a staple of paranormal romance writers, rivaling the vampire in popularity. At any given time, usually one of these creatures dominates the field as far as who’s the top of the polls. But werewolves have actually devolved into two camps – the werewolf and the shapeshifter – and these are not the same thing, not at all.

What’s the difference, you ask? The werewolf is a slave to the pull of the Full Moon. Come rain or shine, hell or high water, no matter where he is or what he’s doing, when it’s time, he’s going to change, and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. But the shapeshifter controls his change, and he’s generally in command of his faculties when he does, so he has the advantage of the hapless werewolf.

What brought about this sudden surge in shapeshifters? I think it was laziness, personally, because some writers didn’t want to deal with having their heroes wait until the Full Moon – they wanted guys that could change at a moment’s notice. And they didn’t want to be confined to once a month. Technically speaking, shapeshifters are not werewolves by their very nature. Doesn’t make them wrong, just different. 

Not only that, but suddenly there are shapeshifting men for every species of animal you can imagine, and maybe a few you never expected to see in a book (or outside of one lol) I remember reading something about treeshifters! Not your every day variety of shapeshifter, you have to admit.

Werewolf or shapeshifter – both are fun to read about and to write about. I think they’re here to stay. I know I enjoy writing about them.


Raoul Marchand is the crown prince of Charisma, the infamous night club in Crescent Bay, renowned for its supernatural clientele. He has the pick of any and all men, but he cares for none. He uses them and throws them away again, and has done so for some twenty years, in the aftermath of a tragedy that robbed him of what he loved most in the world.

Alexx Jameson is an idealistic young would-be reporter with the Crescent Bay Chronicle. Presented with an opportunity to write a story on the Marchands, he eagerly grasps the chance to be a real reporter. His friend, Chronicle receptionist Miller Fenwick, suggests they go to Charisma to do a little research. Alexx isn’t sure that’s such a great idea. After all, he’s still under age, being only twenty. No problem, Miller can fix that! Added bonus, there’s a full moon tonight.

When Alexx first encounters Raoul, it isn’t exactly in the way he dreamed of, and he’s sure he made a terrible first impression. But Fate throws them together under unforeseen circumstances, and the attraction between them can’t be denied. Can Raoul let go of the past long enough to find his future with Alexx, or is he doomed to repeat past mistakes?


Alexx drew in his breath in dismay. This wasn’t going well. Even so, he could not stop staring at Raoul. His eyes met the other man’s. Raoul’s were very golden; he wasn’t aware such colors even existed in the spectrum of the human eye. But then again, he didn’t have any friends that were werewolves either. He wondered if this was a sign that perhaps this man was about to change, right here and now?

The thought was both exhilarating and frightening.

Alexx’s vision telescoped until he wasn’t aware of anything but this gorgeous man in front of him. Blood pounded in his ears and his mouth felt suddenly dry. Having lost all sense of the others in the room, he was surprised when he felt his chair yanked out from under him. Before he could fall, a hand grabbed the scruff of his neck, propelling him to his feet. He glanced at his companion; Miller was being subjected to the same surly treatment.

“You waste my time for this?” Raoul’s upper lip curled back in a snarl. Alexx found himself wildly attracted to him. “I have somewhere I need to be. Paolo, please show these gentlemen out.” Sarcastic much? He turned and reached for the door, but it opened before he touched it.

A shaggy blond with hazel eyes and a cheerful countenance stuck his head inside. “Hey Paolo—” He interrupted himself at the sight of the occupants of the room.

Alexx heard Miller’s sigh of relief, even as he too recognized the newcomer. He’d seen him around the Chronicle often enough, although he’d never really spoken to him. Foster Levine, son of the Chronicle’s owner—heir apparent and future newspaper magnate.

Alexx’s relief quickly changed to anxiety. What if Foster knew how old he really was? He couldn’t be sure one way or the other, but for the sake of argument, he had to assume he did. Would he out him to Raoul Marchand and his burly minion? Had they simply jumped from the frying pan to be scorched by the fire?

Author Bio:

Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. 
She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. 

She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all.  

Her published works can be found at Amber Quill Press, Dreamspinner Press, MuseitUp Publishing, Torquere Press, and eXtasy Books. She is also an editor at MuseitUp.  

My links:
Twitter @Shelley_runyon