Read the First Chapter of The Truth Behind the Mask by W.L. Brooks

Title: THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MASK
Author: W.L. Brooks
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 302
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

Is Alexandra McKay the reason her sister Fletcher left town? Yes. Does that mean Alex wants to put her life on hold to bring the little beast back? No! But when she discovers her sister’s been abducted, Alex will do whatever it takes to rescue her.

Giving up his PI gig was tough, but Jake Keller would rather do that any day than partner up with Alexandra McKay. Unfortunately, if he wants to find his friend Fletcher, he has to work with Her Royal Pain-in-the-Behind-ness. Hot or not, the woman makes his jaw twitch.

Forced together by circumstance, and ensnared in a web of clues, the pair submit to their undeniable passion. But if they’re unwilling to face the truth, they will risk not only Fletcher’s life but their own chance at happiness.

CHAPTER ONE

Jake Keller was not a happy man. Ten minutes ago, he’d been fucking ecstatic to be home. This case had taken only about a week, but he was tired of the long trips. The crazy life he led was catching up with him.

This last job had been the final hoorah for Sleuths, the private investigation agency he owned with his twin brother. Jake had planned on keeping the PI gig a little longer with a new partner, but taking in the state of his condo, that would have to wait.

Glass crunched under his foot, and Jake froze. He lifted up his boot and swore; the ceramic shards stuck in the treads belonged to his favorite mug, the one his grandmother had given him. Damn it! Of course that wasn’t the only thing destroyed. Nope, his entire place had been smashed up, sliced up, and…Were those bullet holes?

“Damn it all to hell!” he mumbled, turning his kitchen table right side up. What the fuck happened here? It hadn’t been a robbery. For one, there was no forced entry, and two, any intruder would have had to bypass his state-of-the-art security system. He sighed; there was no way in hell he was getting his deposit back.

Jake checked each room for signs of life. Even more important than his personal keepsakes was the person he’d been keeping here. She meant a lot to him too, though it would embarrass both of them to say so.

There wasn’t a doubt in his mind this chaos had to do with her. Fletcher McKay attracted lunatics worse than shit attracted flies. Yep, the kid was trouble with a capital T. Not that he’d say that to her; she would kick his ass. Again.

Jake pulled out his cell and dialed the kid. His gut tightened; the call went straight to voicemail. “Damn it, kid, what happened? Call me when you get this.” He put the phone back in his pocket and froze when his front door opened. He slipped his hand to his gun and waited.

“My Lord, who lives like this?” came the wispy voice of his uninvited guest.

Jake grunted, lowered his aim, and holstered his weapon. “What are ya doing here, princess?” he asked his brother’s sister-in-law. Nearly two years ago, his twin had taken a job in Blue Creek, North Carolina, where he ended up meeting and marrying Casey McKay. Not only were the McKays a force to be reckoned with, Ryan had managed to marry into a family of hot ladies to boot.

“I’m looking for my sister,” Alexandra McKay said, motioning to the mess. “She’s obviously been here.”

“What makes you say that?” He bristled under the scrutiny of her raised brow. Out of the four McKay sisters, this was the only one who made his damn jaw—not to mention other parts of his anatomy—twitch. Well, he didn’t really get along with his brother’s wife either, but one thing had nothing to do with the other.

“Hmm. Let’s see, your apartment is in complete disarray. Now, I could be giving you more credit than you deserve by thinking this is not how you usually live, or it could be that my little sister has been here, and—as per usual—she brought catastrophe along for the ride.”

He grunted, then started righting what was left of his furniture. She huffed, and he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. Every inch of Alexandra’s female frame was elegant. She always wore something fancy, and she looked it too. Fancy. Classy. Her dark red hair was in a precise bun on the top of her head, and her big blue eyes were looking at him like he was trash. Shit.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Oh, and her truck is parked outside.”

“Yeah, so?” Jake wouldn’t look at her. She was the most judgmental woman he’d ever encountered. And there went his jaw…twitching.

“I need to find her.”

“Maybe she doesn’t want to be found.” What he needed to find was a broom; it was going to take him forever to clean this crap.

“What? Do you think Fletcher threw a tantrum, destroyed your things, and left without her truck? Though, I wouldn’t put it past her—”

“Course you wouldn’t,” he accused, then looked up when she didn’t defend herself. He stomped across the room to where she was holding a piece of paper, which surely belonged to him. “I’ll take that.” He snatched the note from her hand, ignored her tempting feminine scent, and read it.

Sorry for the mess, Jake. I cleaned up what I could. I’m going home to see Alexandra, so don’t bother looking for me.

Sorry again,

Jamie

Jake cursed and dropped the letter. Alexandra picked it up and read it. He shook himself. For a moment, he would have sworn actual  concern hovered in her eyes, but he had to have imagined it; the woman was an ice princess.

She bit her lower lip. “Could someone have her?”

“That’s my take on it,” Jake said. “She said she was going to see you, and she hates you; that’s clue number one. Clue number two is she signed Jamie and that isn’t her name, so we can guess whoever has her doesn’t know her.”

Alex rolled her eyes. “Jamie’s her birth name. Our father changed it years ago. She uses J. as her middle initial.”

She made a move to leave, and Jake grabbed her arm. “Whoa! Where are you going?” He dropped the hand she was staring at and stepped back a space. He’d think about the name change thing later.

“I’m going to my hotel; then I’m going to make a few phone calls to see if anyone’s heard from her.”

“I have some questions for you first. If you don’t mind, princess,” he added to annoy her. “First, how did you know she was here? Second, who are you going to call? And third, who the fuck do you think took her?”

“Ryan told me she was here.” She smirked. “What? Did you think he wouldn’t cave?”

“That no good son of a—”

“I’m going to call my family,” Alex continued, “and see if they’ve heard anything. And finally, I have no earthly idea who the ‘fuck’ took her, as you so eloquently put it.”

“Okay, but you can’t call home,” he said, following her outside. She’d gotten a new SUV. It was a beaut. He’d just bought a new ride himself. His brother had the same luxury vehicle and Jake had been drooling.

Alex leaned against the driver’s side door. “Why?”

“Because they’ll worry; then the whole crew will be up here putting their noses in and muddying up the damn waters!” They both knew it was true. There was no way in hell Emmit McKay would sit around and do nothing while his daughter was who knows where.

“They’ll want to know.” She looked at her nails, then murmured, “They deserve to know.”

“If you say so.” Jake did an about-face and began to walk away. He made it three steps when she called out to him. He smiled to himself, then turned. “Yeah?”

“Why did you give in so easily?”

“I mean, what the hell.” He shrugged one shoulder “Tell everyone. It’s your fault she’s missing, and we all know it.”

“What do you mean…my fault?”

“If it weren’t for you, Fletcher would still be home, and this more than likely wouldn’t have happened.”

“Fine,” she said between clenched teeth. “What do you suggest we do?”

“We look for clues,” he said and headed back inside. He didn’t have to turn around to know she was following him.

Alexandra’s blood boiled. Why in the world did she have to be here with her brother-in-law’s insipid twin?

Jacob Keller was a throwback to the caveman. His long brown hair was in one of those ridiculous manbuns, his jeans had holes in the knees, his black T-shirt had seen better days, and his leather boots were caked with mud. At least, she hoped it was mud.

“Okay. Which room was hers or”—she looked him up and down—“was she staying in yours?”

“Whatever you wish to believe, princess,” he said with a bow and walked away.

Alexandra controlled her urge to growl and started searching through what was left of Jacob’s things. She should be home right now. She had a bed and breakfast to run, for goodness’ sake. Granny Vaughn’s, named after her late grandmother, was doing quite well, thank you very much. Almost two weeks ago, despite it not being the most lucrative time of year, she’d had an entire tour group in residence. But now she’d had to close her business to pursue her little sister. Sure, she could have let someone else run things for her, but Alexandra didn’t like other people taking control of her responsibilities.

She wouldn’t even be here if she’d had a choice, but she hadn’t been given one. Charlie, her best friend and slightly older sister, had given her an ultimatum. If Alex didn’t bring Fletcher home, Charlie would elope with her fiancé, Craig, and there would be no wedding. Charlie deserved a wedding, a big beautiful event—the works—and Alex would make sure it happened. But more than that, it was up to her to bring Fletcher back because—and she was loath to admit it—Jacob was right; it was her fault Fletcher had left in the first place.

Though Alex hadn’t acted alone, her suspicion of Fletcher’s best friend, Sheriff Jasper Hart, had thrown Fletcher over the edge and out of town. In hindsight, Alexandra could see her error in judgement, but did this punishment fit her crime?

Her family put the brunt of the blame on her, which she could handle; it had been her idea in the first place. But even people outside the family had been punishing her. Tiny Wellington, who was the head cook at the diner and someone Alex had known most of her life, had burnt her food. Tiny had never burnt a meal in his life, until now, so she knew he did it on purpose. And Trixy Mae, who had been doing Alex’s hair for as long as she could remember, had cut an extra four inches off the ends last week. Four freaking inches! Unbelievable.

Alex picked her way over Jacob’s things. Despite the mess, the apartment was clean; she’d give him that. It hadn’t surprised her to find out Fletcher had gone to Jake. The two were so much alike it was almost funny. Alex couldn’t see them sleeping together, but she hadn’t seen a lot of things lately.

“Jacob?” She waited until he came into the kitchen. God, why couldn’t he be more like his brother? Ryan was a prince among men, a—

“What?” Jacob growled. “I thought you were helping me. You’re not worried you’ll get mussed up, are you?”

“It’s occurred to me…” She waited until he was actually paying attention. “The only things destroyed are your things. And Fletcher stopped to write a note. Would she be able to leave a note if she were being kidnapped?”

His gaze traveled around the room. “You have a point, princess. What are you thinking?”

“It seems to me, Fletcher knew the intruder and went along willingly or pretended to.” Alex pinched the bridge of her nose. “Did she leave anything behind?”

“Yeah. Her clothes, tablet, her phone”—he jiggled the cellphone in his hand—“oh, and that locket thingy she always wears.”

The color drained from her face.

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About the Author

W.L. Brooks was born with an active imagination.  When characters come into her mind, she has to give them a life- a chance to tell their stories. With a coffee cup in her hand and a cat by her side, she spends her days letting the ideas flow onto paper.  A voracious reader, she draws her inspiration from mystery, romance, suspense and a dash of the paranormal.

A native of Virginia Beach, she is currently living in Western North Carolina. Pick up her latest novel, Unearthing the Past – available now!

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK

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Interview with Regency Romance Author Arabella Sheraton

Arabella Sheraton grew up reading her mom’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels, the queen of modern-day Regency romance, and of course, Jane Austen’s iconic Regency novels. Although Arabella’s literary background was in publishing and editing, she had never written a fiction book. Her first novel started out in response to her mom’s complaint that she had nothing new to read. That first Regency novel was The Dangerous Duke! Since then, Arabella has penned six more authentic Regency novels and a romance self-help guide to finding the right partner, with useful quotes by none other than Jane Austen. Arabella has branched out with a mash-up of genre in her latest work in progress. A murder-mystery, time travel, Regency romance coming soon! You can connect with her at her website or at Twitter and Facebook.

Her latest books are Lord Blackwood’s Valentine Ball and The Lady’s Revenge, the first two in The Lord Blackwood Series.

What made you decide to become a published author?

My invalid mother was complaining that all the books she was getting from (no names mentioned) a well-known publisher were all the same plots. She said, “I’m sure you can write me a Regency romance.” So, I did. And then I found a publisher by accident through a newsletter. The rest is romance history.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I have an office dedicated to writing with a lovely patio that overlooks a pool. I live in the countryside so, apart from the birds tweeting and the roosters crowing, it is quiet and perfect for thinking up grand plots.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

A writer should NOT skimp on a professional editor.

Why do you love to write Regency romance?

I know a lot about the era and the history from my own personal reading. So when my mother asked me to write a romance in that period, I jumped in boots and all. I had so much fun that I simply continued writing more books. I am currently on my ninth Regency romance.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best-selling book.  What’s the first ingredient?

A unique plot, followed by well-developed characters, followed by realistic dialogue.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

I wrote the second book in the series, The Lady’s Revenge, as a NaNoWriMo experiment, to see if I could do it. Amazingly, I did.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

I think real life experiences find their way into every book. The author will unconsciously put in characters, events, thoughts, and dialogue that they have either experienced or observed happening around them.

What’s next for you?

I am busy with a time travel murder mystery Regency romance called To Murder a Marquis. I am intrigued by the idea of time travel, and I love murder mysteries, although I never thought I was clever enough to tackle one. Somehow one day all the threads of a plot came together in my mind, and I am halfway through it. Watch this space!

Thank you for visiting and reading!

Feel inspired? Have you read these books? Let us know your thoughts!

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COMPULSION BOOK BLAST BY JENNIFER CHASE

When Serial Killers Terrorize a California Beach Community, One Woman Stands in Their Way…

By Jennifer Chase

Title: COMPULSION: EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES BOOK ONE
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 235
Genre: Crime Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

Emily Stone doesn’t have a badge. But that hasn’t stopped her from tracking down some of the West’s most dangerous child-killers. Armed with a digital camera, laptop computer and her trusty Beretta, Stone uses her innate gift for detective work to identify the perps — and then anonymously e-mail the evidence to the cops.

Now, the hunt for two brazen serial killers on the loose right in her own coastal California town threatens to expose Stone’s identity — unraveling her carefully constructed cover and jeopardizing her life’s work. But when she gets too close to the action, this razor-sharp hunter becomes the hunted. Cooperating with the handsome local police detective could be the only hope for stopping the rampage directed at unsuspecting young women — and saving herself. Can they piece together the clues in time? Compulsion mixes CSI-style investigation with a ripped-from-the-headlines plot and a dose of romance for a keeps-you-guessing, fast-paced and savvy thriller, right up until the shocking finale.

PRAISE

“Jennifer Chase’s Compulsion is an all-time great fiction suspense thriller. Jennifer takes her knowledge of forensic science and criminology to new levels of understanding and entertainment. This is one edge-of-your-seat who-dun-it that will keep you enthralled from the first page to the last.” —Sandra E. Graham, BookPleasures, author of Amos Jakey and Nicolina

“…The new novel Compulsion by Jennifer Chase is a captivating thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page is read. The careful character development results in real, three-dimensional men and women, even if some of them are almost unimaginably horrifying. The plot, with its slowly revealed layers, is one that engages the readers immediately and takes them on quite an adventure…” – Amazon Reader

“…It is really a fantastic book… It is a fresh and fun read. I really had trouble putting it down…” – Amazon Reader

“This truly is a top-notch mystery – thriller of a read. One that has thought out characters, defined so well that you feel as if you are part of their lives, and a storyline that is mysterious, and chilling, yet delivers a personal touch that brings realism to the mix. CSI fans will love this book, as will any mystery/thriller fan, for it is definitely one that delivers.” – Amazon Reader

“Pot boiler will keep the pages turning… If you enjoy crime fiction with a local [California] flavor, you might wish to try this debut novel. Hang on; this one also has a wild ending with some major eye-popping developments that will take you by surprise.” – Amazon Reader


Arizona, Wednesday 0900 hours

The man strolls down the gravel driveway to his makeshift torture trap disguised as a late model Chevy Suburban. It is in fact a hideous, retrofitted, rolling snare designed specifically for the secure confinement of the innocent. He has already stalked and captured several children between the ages four and ten; they had been simply taken from their safe homes and familiar yards. They are never to be seen alive again. Their only mistake was their innocence and inexperience of the inexplicable evil that relentlessly wanders the neighborhoods across the nation, sporting a simple psychological mask of normalcy.  

Dressed in khaki shorts, cheap superstore sneakers and a loose fitting blue and yellow Hawaiian shirt, the clean shaven, dark-haired man in his late-thirties looks almost like any other man who might have had a decent day job and perhaps even a family of his own. He doesn’t have a single care in the world. He feels a sense of peace and even a deep relaxation; he’s both tired and re-energized. 

This particular man has a desire: a dark secret of an unfulfilled need to prey upon the innocent, snatch them from their secure lives, torture them, murder them, and then leave their tiny remains isolated away from civilization. This driving compulsion will never be satisfied, and the hideous crimes will never be fully solved. The police will never find the little victims’ remains, and families will never receive closure for their unimaginable loss.

Only one promise will prevail, the crimes will continue, remain unsolved and with time eventually be forgotten by the general public. The continuous fantasy re-enactment will never stop as long as the killer is left alive. Death poses the only logical solution to stop this tormenting cycle of death.

The man opens the creaky back doors of the Suburban and takes out two white five gallon buckets setting them down on the trash littered street. The back of the vehicle is cluttered with miscellaneous tools and paint supplies that a painting contractor would most likely use. Upon closer inspection, deeper inside the cargo area, there are handcuffs and shackles fixed to stationary hooks reminiscent of medieval torture chambers. The windows are coated with a thin opaque vinyl that ensures complete privacy.  


Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

Website: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jchasenovelist

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

Dead Game (Book Two)

Dark Mind (Book Three)

Dead Burn (Book Four)

Dark Pursuit (Book Five)

Dead Cold (Book Six)

More Books by Jennifer Chase…

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*Book Blast* Reel to Reel: Movie Mistakes From Hollywood’s Favorite Films

Title: REEL TO REEL: MOVIE MISTAKES FROM HOLLYWOOD’S FAVORITE FILMS
Author: Isla Grey
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 287
Genre: Nonfiction / Entertainment

Lights, Camera, Action! From the very beginning, the world of cinema has captivated us. We have found ourselves laughing at our favorite comedies, crying when love finally comes to fruition, being beamed to other worlds or battling in the midst of action sequences. While movies might be the perfect entertainment, most have slight imperfections, mistakes, which go unseen, until they’re released and caught by the movie audience. These mistakes don’t detract from the film, and finding them are just as fun as watching the movie.

BOOK BLURB:

For the past several years, Isla Grey has written a “Movie Mistakes” column for Bellaonline. “Reel to Reel” is a collection of some of those columns, spotlighting the fun goofs found in some of our favorite movies. Can you spot them? Grab the popcorn, sit back, and happy movie watching!

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Book Excerpt:

The Wizard of Oz

The story of Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto’s trip to the Land of Oz is one of the most beloved movie tales of all time. After their home is hit by a tornado in Kansas, the pair find their house has landed in an unusual land as well as sitting on top of what used to be the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West. The grateful Munchkins and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, urge Dorothy to travel to the Emerald City, home of the powerful Oz, the one person who could help her get back home to Kansas. During her travels, Dorothy befriends the unusual trio of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion who come along with her on the journey.  Dorothy must also watch out for the evil Wicked Witch of the West who’s not only out for revenge for her sister’s death, but more importantly, wants her sister’s ruby slippers, which are now Dorothy’s.  Here are a few movie mistakes to look for while watching “The Wizard of Oz”.

☐ Dorothy and Toto arrive in Oz and meet the Munchkins. During one part of their song and dance routine, they give Dorothy a lollipop and flowers.  The Wicked Witch arrives, and Dorothy can be seen holding both items in some views and just the flowers in others. During some portions of the scene, she’s holding neither.

☐ If you watch Dorothy closely when she starts walking down the yellow brick road, you’ll notice her hair becomes longer by the time she meets the Scarecrow.

☐ Dorothy and the Scarecrow meet the Tin Man when the Wicked Witch of the West arrives. The Wicked Witch of the West throws fire at the scarecrow and disappears. Scarecrow falls to Dorothy’s left while the Tin Man is on her right side.  They stand up a couple moments later and the Tin Man is now on her left while the Scarecrow is on her right.

☐ The Tin Man sits down on a tree trunk. Dorothy’s basket has his oil can, but it can be seen falling out and onto the yellow brick road. In the next view, however, the oil can is back in the basket.

☐ The foursome reach Emerald City and the Cowardly Lion starts a song and dance number. During the scene, the Tin Man makes a crown out of a ceramic flower pot and places it on the Lion’s head. In the next close-up view, the crown has changed position. Also, during this scene, when the guard tells them to go away, the crown falls from the Cowardly Lion’s head and bounces on the ground instead of breaking. Something else to look for– during the Cowardly Lion’s solo, after the crown has been placed on his head, you can see the white vertical wire behind him that swishes his tail back and forth.

☐ Dorothy, Scarecrow, The Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Toto are walking through the Haunted Forest. The Cowardly Lion is carrying a net and mallet. He’s still carrying them when he tries to run away but in the next view of him, they’re gone.

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Clara Blandick, Charley Grapewin and Terry the dog. It runs 101 minutes and is rated G.

About the Author

Isla Grey is from Central Virginia and at an early age developed a love of movies.  She shared many Sunday afternoons watching old favorites with her grandmother that included everything from “Gone with the Wind” and “Rio Bravo” to “Titanic” and “The Mummy”.  

Working as Bellaonline’s Movie Mistakes editor since 2012 has given Isla the opportunity to indulge in two of her passions—movies and writing.

When Isla isn’t writing or watching movies, most of her time is spent with her ever active daughter and her band of cats.  She also enjoys good music, reading biographies and ghost stories and taking quiet strolls.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website:  www.islagrey.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/IslaGrey1

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

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THE FRAGILE ONES by Jennifer Chase – Excerpt

We’re thrilled to welcome Jennifer Chase, author of The Fragile Ones!

The Fragile Ones

An absolutely gripping mystery and suspense novel…

“Please Mommy, can Tessa and I go play on the swing by the creek?” the little girl begs, pushing a blonde curl from her eyes. “We’ll stay together, and we promise to be safe.” Hours later, their mother waits anxiously for her darling girls to arrive home with a list of reasons why they are late. But the front door never opens…

When the bodies of eleven and twelve-year-old sisters, Tessa and Megan, are found at the bottom of a ravine—dressed in matching pastel summer outfits, their small bodies broken from the fall—Detective Katie Scott is called to one of the most shocking and heartbreaking crime scenes of her career.

Carefully picking through the fragile remains, Katie makes the first of many disturbing discoveries: the girls were not biological sisters. The youngest, Megan, is a DNA match to a kidnapping case years before. The tiny number burnt into her skin the mark of a terrifying killer intent on keeping count of his collection.

Her PTSD from the army triggered, Katie is left reeling as she maps other missing children in the local area. Has this twisted soul found a way to stay nearby his victims? Could he be watching now as Katie hits one dead end after another?

A wild storm building, matching a fiber found during the autopsy to a nearby boatyard is the break Katie needs. But when another girl goes missing, just as lightning strikes and the power goes out, Katie only has her instincts, her team and her service dog to rely on. As time runs out for Katie to finds the stolen child alive, who will become the next number on this monster’s deadly list?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh, you better buckle-up for the ride of your life! BEWARE – this gripping crime thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Walmart | BookBub

Wow!!!… a page-turningnail-biting crime thriller!!… absolutely fantastic… had me completely hooked… filled with nail-biting suspense… keeps you on edge.’ — Bookworm86, 5 stars

Enjoy an excerpt from The Fragile Ones

PROLOGUE

“Please can we go?” whined Tessa as she followed her mother through the living room and into the kitchen. “Please,” she said again, pushing her blonde curls away from her eyes. “I really want to go to the swing by the creek.”

“Not by yourself,” countered Mrs. Mayfield, ignoring her daughter’s angry stare. “We’ve talked about this before.”

“Yes, and you said I couldn’t go alone, and I’m not. Megan will be with me.” Tessa’s older sister was barely a year older and her best friend. Her mother began emptying the dishwasher, putting plates and glasses away in the cabinet. It was unclear if she was thinking about what Tessa had said or not, so she tried again. “I’m almost eleven and Megan is almost twelve. We’re practically teenagers,” she said. “Besides, Janey and her brother will probably be there.”

Mrs. Mayfield laughed. “You know, you would be a good lawyer the way you make your case.”

“I don’t want to be a lawyer. I’m going to be a vet,” Tessa said, grinning.

“Well, I know you are going to be whatever you want to be.” Mrs. Mayfield laughed to herself as she slipped the last piece of silverware into the drawer and turned to face her daughter. At the sound of her name, Megan had joined Tessa in the doorway and they both stood quietly waiting for an answer. Glancing at the wall clock with a sigh, she said, “You both have to be back by four thirty, not a second later. Understand?”

“Thank you! Thank you!” Tessa said, grabbing her sister’s hand in glee. Both girls were in denim shorts and pastel T-shirts with their favorite matching blue sneakers.

“Be home on time,” their mom called after them.

“We will,” chimed the girls.

Mrs. Mayfield heard the front door shut, followed by the sound of running footsteps.

She smiled and went back to her chores as the afternoon ticked by.

At 4:45 p.m. Mrs. Mayfield was waiting impatiently to hear the girls enter the house with a list of a dozen reasons why they were late—but the front door never opened. An hour after that, unable to wait any longer, she looked outside, thinking that the girls might be in the yard.

Debris from a croquet set littered the lawn; the wooden mallets abandoned and colored balls scattered as if the girls had been playing only moments ago. The trampoline in the corner had one of the girls’ bright blue sweatshirts hanging on the edge. It swayed slightly in the breeze.

There was no sign of them.

She ran through the house to the backyard, but it, too, was deserted. No whispers. No giggles. No shrieks of laughter. The wind was picking up and whistling through the branches and leaves of the surrounding trees—almost whispering a warning.

Mrs. Mayfield pulled off her apron and reached for her coat, deciding to walk to the creek and bring the girls back herself. At this point, she was more angry than concerned, knowing how they could be forgetful when they were having fun, and often lost track of time.

But surely they would be on their way home by now? she thought to herself asher pace quickened from a fast walk to a jog. Against her better judgment, and knowing that she couldn’t shelter them forever, she had crumbled and let them go down to the creek where one of the neighboring boys had constructed a swing that they loved to play on.

And now fear ripped through her body. “Tessa!” she yelled. “Megan!” Terrible scenarios shuffled through her thoughts as she tried desperately to keep her emotions on an even keel.

“Tessa! Megan!”

She yelled their names over and over until her voice went hoarse. Her chest felt strangely heavy and her vision blurred as she ran, but her strength and mother’s instinct pushed her forward, down the trail leading to the creek. The trail was well-worn by local kids looking for adventure and fun. Stumbling as she ran, she frantically turned left and then right. There wasn’t a soul around… She was alone. She kept moving.

Looking up at the tall pine trees, everything spun in a dizzying blur of forest and darkening sky. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and open again, then stopped for a moment to listen.

The swing was only visible at the bottom of the path just above the creek and she could hear the water rushing below. Peering over the edge, there was no sign of them—or anyone. She kept turning, expecting to see her girls everywhere she looked. They weren’t there. All around her were discarded candy wrappers and remnants of fast food containers. Proof that children played here often.

There was no sound apart from the whisper of the trees. No children laughing nearby.

“Megan! Tessa!” she yelled again, but there was only silence. She ran all the way up the trail to the street, still calling their names in a full-blown panic.

Mrs. Mayfield turned her attention up the road, her mother’s instinct in high gear. Something blue lying beneath a bush caught her eye and she ran towards it.

She leaned down and her hand trembled over the light blue canvas before she forced herself to grab the abandoned blue sneaker.

“No,” she said, barely breathing.

Written on the side tread of the shoe with a thick black pen was one word: Tessa.

Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Chase. Shared with permission.

The Author

Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Find out more about Jennifer and her books at https://authorjenniferchase.com/. Follow her at Twitter and Facebook.

Title: The Fragile Ones

Series: Detective Katie Scott Book #5

Type: Novel

Author: Jennifer Chase

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: March 8, 2021

Genre: Crime Thriller

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Book Excerpt: Awakening by Kevin D. Miller

Title: AWAKENING
Author: Kevin Miller
Publisher: Bifrost Books
Pages: 336
Genre: High Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Action and Adventure / Norse Fantasy / Viking Fantasy / Norse Gods and Goddesses

BOOK BLURB:

A megalomaniac god is pursuing a millennia-old vendetta, and Leif must learn to wrangle a newly awakened power to either become a hero or a villain. He will leave his old life and run from creatures he believed were reserved for myth and legend. He travels across the realms while struggling to tame the blinding rage that comes with his new demi-god like power. Will Leif survive the intra-realm quest and prevent Ragnarok or will he fail to control his awakening?

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Book Excerpt:

Prologue

Alexander never thought that he would live long enough to enjoy quiet nights like this. He noted it was a particularly cold night as he stepped onto his back porch. His breath sent out a little fog, and he marveled at how peaceful winter could be in the Icelandic forest. The freshly fallen snow sparkled as the Northern lights flashed through the night sky. Alexander never grew tired of watching their fiery dance. He only wished his wife, Helga, was still around to enjoy the peace and quiet. Sighing contentedly, Alexander reached down, grabbed a bundle of firewood, and turned to head back inside. Suddenly he froze. He felt it, a tingling he hadn’t felt in a long time, danger. Scanning the surrounding forest, Alexander couldn’t see anything out of place, but the feeling that something was out there, something that didn’t belong, still pulled at him like the tide. Alexander stared into the darkness for a few more moments, but the forest remained silent, unwilling to give up its secrets. Alexander shrugged and went back into his house. For the first time in years, he locked the door behind him.

As Alexander sat by the fire, the warmth failed to chase away the feeling that someone or something was out there roaming his forest. A familiar howl rang out from deep within the forest, pulling Alexander out of his thoughts. A second later similar howls answered. Alexander could identify each individual wolf by their howl; he had known this pack for years. Settling back in his chair, he envisioned the wolves in full force. The howls continued to ring across the forest. In all his years living in the forest, Alexander had never heard so many wolves at once. They sounded agitated. They must sense it too, he thought.

Alexander groaned as his knees popped and his old bones protested the sudden movement of getting to his feet. It was as if his body knew what he was planning to do and was voicing its discontent. It had been decades since he had been in a fight, but it seemed he was being called out one last time. Hell, Alexander thought, I may see Helga sooner than I thought. Pulling on his thick wool parka, Alexander grabbed the double-bladed ax he used to chop wood. The weight felt comfortable in his hands. The ax had been his weapon of choice from the time he was strong enough to swing one. His mother had pushed him to branch out and learn to use other weapons, but it wasn’t meant to be. The ax was the weapon of his ancestors, and he honored them by using it. The cold hit Alexander like a hammer, clearing his senses and waking him up to the world around him. The Berserker had laid dormant inside of him for decades now, but Alexander could feel the old battle lust stirring within. The forest had gone too quiet, the howls of the wolf pack had died down. Goosebumps speckled Alexander’s body as the tension in the air thickened. Alexander knew why. A predator not of this realm stalked his forest.

Alexander silently crept through the forest. The snow crunched lightly beneath his weight; his senses screamed at him to turn back, but he ignored them and pressed on. It had been decades since he had felt the thrill of a fight, and he relished the feeling.

A bird pierced the silent forest with a loud squawk. He peered through the tangle of trees and branches; he could barely make out a blotch of darkness that seemed to be darker than the surrounding forest. As he moved closer, the air blew warm breaths on his face with each step. Alexander was within ten feet of the odd black blotch when he noticed that the snow had completely melted away. Steam rose from the freshly uncovered earth in a circle around the object. Thick drops of water splashed down from the tree branches above, puffing into steam upon hitting the forest floor.

Alexander continued to move slowly around the dark object but didn’t see anyone or anything. Creeping ever closer, his feeling of unease intensified. As Alexander stepped around the inky darkness, the heat had him sweating through his clothes. He stopped dead in his tracks. His blood ran cold. From the back, the round black object drank in all the available light, but now that Alexander was in front of it, he could see it opened up to a world of fire and lava. Alexander knew what he was looking at; he just couldn’t figure out why it was here. The dark blob was a bridge to another realm. However, it differed from any bridge he had used in his youth. This thing was more like a rip in the fabric of reality. Whoever did this was immensely powerful. Peering into the gateway, memories from a lifetime ago came flooding back to him. Muspelheim, the realm of fire and lava. The home to an unimaginable evil. It was a place he had hoped to never see again.

As if in answer to his thoughts, something rose out of the molten river that lay beyond the bridge. Alexander’s stomach backflipped as he recognized the creature that was steadily stalking towards the bridge. It’s the beginning of the end, Alexander thought. Ragnarok is here.

As the being stepped through the bridge and into Alexander’s world, the frigid forest air hissed and steamed in protest to the fiery monster’s trespass into Midgard. Alexander stared up at the molten giant and thought he looked even taller than he had appeared decades ago. Alexander backed up, making sure he was out of range of the monster’s hulking sword. He knew a fight was inevitable. Alexander closed his eyes and freed the dormant Berserker, embracing the longforgotten thrill of the fight. Icy fire burned along his veins as his muscles grew and strengthened. Alexander knew, even in his enhanced state, that he was no match for the force of nature that stood before him. He only hoped to fend the giant off long enough to create an opening and run for help. Hopefully, with luck, he could lose the creature in the forest.

Alexander opened his eyes, filling his old frame and flooding his veins with the familiar icy burn of the Berserker. Any thoughts of running vanished as a thin red haze of rage colored the edge of his vision. Fear and doubt evaporated and was replaced with excited determination at the chance to cross blades one last time with a worthy foe. Who gives a damn that I’m well into my sixties? Alexander thought. “I am the last of an ancient and powerful Berserker clan, bestowed with the power of Thor, chosen to defend Midgard from invaders such as you. How dare you step into my realm, Surtr,” Alexander growled. “You aren’t welcome here. I will say this one time; return to Muspelheim or face my wrath.”

Surtr’s molten eyes studied Alexander. A voice Alexander had hoped to never hear again thundered in the clearing. The fire giant’s voice washed over Alexander like an oncoming forest fire.

“You arrogant and foolish Midgardian. Do you have any idea who you are speaking too? Face your wrath? Don’t think I don’t remember you. You are one of the few beings who was lucky enough to escape me the first time we fought. You will not be so lucky this time. By Hel’s will, I have been given a second chance to finish the fight you started many years ago.”

“You think I’m afraid of you, giant?” Alexander boasted, “I have faced hundreds of enemies and killed them all. Last time we faced, we were in your realm, but now,” Alexander gestured around. “You are far from Muspelheim. I have the advantage here.”

Surtr laughed and pointed his massive sword at Alexander. “You truly don’t know what I am, do you? I cannot be killed by the likes of you.”

Surtr blurred, moving with a speed no normal human could track. But luckily for Alexander, he wasn’t a normal human. This also wasn’t his first fight. Alexander had been waiting for Surtr to make the first move and was ready for him. Surtr’s burning blade slashed through the air mere centimeters from Alexander’s face as he dodged out of range. A blast of scalding air washed over Alexander as Surtr’s blade sliced through the air. Alexander rushed forward, relishing the speed his Berserker state granted him. Alexander hoped to throw Surtr off by attacking him head on. Slashing upward, Alexander attempted to split open Surtr’s unarmored stomach. Before the ax hit, Surtr lashed out, kicking Alexander square in the chest, causing him to fly backward. He slammed into a tree trunk with a bone crunching crack. Alexander felt the ancient pine sway back and forth from the impact. Snow rained down from the branches above, pelting him in wet kisses. Alexander struggled to catch his breath. Damn, that hurt. I can’t afford to take too many hits like that, Alexander thought. Struggling to his feet, Alexander felt every cell in his body struggle with the pain. He suspected a few of his ribs cracked, but nothing felt permanently damaged or out of place.

Luckily, years of training had taught Alexander to never let go of his weapon in a fight. Even in his old age, he still had the wherewithal to keep hold of it. Alexander used his ax as a crutch and looked up at Surtr. His enemy hadn’t even bothered to follow up his attack; he just stood there studying Alexander.

“You’ve grown old, Berserker. You weren’t a match for me decades ago. You certainly aren’t one now.”

Alexander eyed the giant, “Ha, I’m just warming up, Surtr. Before long I’ll have you running back through that bridge, crying to whoever sent you here,” Alexander boasted. However, deep down he knew he was finished. That kick had hurt him more than he cared to admit. His back was ablaze with pain and his legs felt like wet noodles. I must have damaged my spine when I hit the tree, Alexander thought. “This fight will be over before I get a chance to heal,” Alexander grumbled.

Alexander eyed the fiery giant and quietly thanked the gods he had the foresight to leave a letter to his Berserker heir. He had wished he could have had more time with his daughter and grandson. He’d wanted to introduce them to the idea of realms, gods, and supernatural creatures slowly, but as with all great plans, it fell apart. Alexander could only hope they would find the journals.

There is no way this attack is random, Alexander thought. A being such as Surtr doesn’t leave his realm unless provoked, and for a bridge to open right in his backyard, linking Muspelheim to Midgard – it was too much of a coincidence. The gods were moving against each other; he could feel it.

Wincing in pain, Alexander steeled himself.

Whispering reverently, Alexander breathed into the icy wind, “Odin, Allfather, my time on this mortal plain has come to an end. I, one of Thor’s anointed, choose to die with an ax in hand, and can only hope to be welcomed into the halls of Valhalla.” A raven cawed an answer to Alexander’s prayer somewhere in the trees. Even though Surtr was far stronger than him, Alexander couldn’t just roll over and die. That wasn’t the Berserker way. Taking a deep breath, Alexander took a two-handed grip on his ax, feeling the smooth grip of the handle form perfectly to his weathered and calloused hands. He charged, bellowing a war cry. Surtr moved in as well, sensing the fight was coming to an end. Surtr brought down his massive sword in an attempt to split Alexander in two, but Alexander saw it coming and blocked the attack with his ax. Sparks flew in all directions as the two blades met. Alexander’s ax blade chipped and bent along the edge where it met Surtr’s sword, but that didn’t faze Alexander.

Quick as lightning, Alexander swung for Surtr’s outstretched forearm. Alexander thought he had scored a hit, but it merely bounced off Surtr’s thick hide. Alexander, unwilling to relent, swung a horizontal slash meant to take the giant in the knee, but Surtr’s burning blade materialized and Alexander’s ax slammed edge first into the flat of Surtr’s broadsword with a loud clang. The resulting tremor ran up Alexander’s hand and arm, causing them to momentarily go numb. Dodging to the left, Alexander averted a savage punch aimed for his head.

Alexander ducked and dodged Surtr’s onslaught. He never gave up, always looking for an opening to attack. Spinning the ax between attacks, Alexander continued to duck and dodge, waiting for the giant to make a mistake. Alexander knew he couldn’t keep this up for much longer, but he couldn’t waste his attack either.

Alexander backed away. Overconfident, Surtr grew bolder with each attack and was swinging wildly. Just as he had hoped, Alexander’s opportunity came as he ducked under a slash meant to take his head off at the neck. Ducking under the smoldering blade, he stepped in as Surtr’s blade slammed into an ancient pine tree. The force of Surtr’s blow nearly cut the massive tree in half, but luckily for Alexander, the blade stopped three-fourths of the way through.

It only took him a second, but that was all the time Alexander needed. Alexander knew this was his only chance, and he swung with all his might. His blade hit Surtr in the stomach. Sparks fluttered to life as Alexander’s ax impacted Surtr’s hardened skin. A look of shock crept across Surtr’s face; Alexander’s blade carved out a shallow cut. Surtr blurred, attacking faster than Alexander thought possible. Not knowing where the attack was coming from, Alexander flung himself backward, but it wasn’t fast enough. Surtr’s blade buried itself deep into Alexander’s right shoulder.

Alexander crumbled, falling to his knees as Surtr pulled the blade free in a spray of blood. Alexander’s vision blurred. Through the pain, Alexander focused on a thin trickle of molten orange blood seeping out of the cut chiseled into Surtr. Surtr followed Alexander’s gaze and looked down. He dabbed lightly at the bleeding wound.

In his grave voice, Surtr intoned, “You are the first to injure me in decades. Be proud as you go to your death.” He heaved the sword above his head, “Give my regards to the Aesir. Their rule over the realms has ended. Ragnarok begins.” Reverently, he brought his sword down for the killing blow.

Alexander, broken and bleeding, moved on reflex, brought up his ax in an overhead block, but it wasn’t enough. Knowing that his time had finally come, Alexander hoped he had made his ancestors proud and that his family would be ready for what was to come. The Berserker mantle that he had held for so long would finally pass on.

A flutter of wings and a caw from the onlooking raven were the only sounds in the silent forest as Alexander slumped back, dead. Surtr took a long moment to stare down at his fallen foe before turning and disappearing through the bridge.

About the Author

Kevin D. Miller is an attorney in Southern California who spends his two hour commute listening to Science Fiction and Fantasy books on Audible or dreaming up plots for future book ideas. When he isn’t working, Kevin can be found spending time with his girlfriend Amy, and their two dogs Pepper and Riley or hiking and kayaking in Big Bear.

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In the Spotlight: Operation: Jade Helmet by Ashley Fontainne

Title: OPERATION: JADE HELMET
Author: Ashley Fontainne
Publisher: RMSW PRESS
Pages: #314
Genre: Christian Fiction/Suspense/Futuristic

BOOK BLURB:

Eager fans around the world played Operation Red Helmet for years, making it the highest-grossing virtual reality game ever sold, and the designers, The Talladav Group, are the richest company on earth.

After an oppressive, unrelenting worldwide heatwave hits, daily life grinds to a halt around the globe. People retreat to their homes, afraid to go out as violence and chaos erupt in the streets. The game temporarily shuts down as the world grapples with the fallout of civil unrest and critical infrastructure breakdowns, forever altering society.

When governments take over control and infrastructures are replaced and back online, the top players of the previous version receive a mysterious box marked, Operation Jade Helmet. The new version is the first-ever total immersion VR experience and inside each box is a free headset and personal code to play a week before release to the general public. The lucky winners don their newest obsession and impatiently wait for the game to begin. Unfortunately, they are about to discover Operation Jade Helmet is unlike any other game, and when the game begins, everything changes.

Praise

“Ashley Fontainne takes the genre of Christian Paranormal Thriller to the next level in Operation Jade Helmet. Signs of the end-times are upon us in a not-so-distant future as the world is experiencing a cataclysmic heatwave and society as a whole is addicted to social media and gaming like never before. Bringing in some of her well-known characters from her Legion Novella Series,  Fontainne weaves together multiple and terrifying plot-lines as this story comes to a nail-biting head in a vivid spiritual and physical battle that will hit close to home for many readers. 

Fans of Fontainne’s Legion Novella Series will recall the boy, Tyler Tidwell, and his battle demons. Well, those demons are at it again, and Tidwell, while he doesn’t take center stage in this story, does play a crucial role as a retired and faithful pastor who stands against the darkness that even resides in his church, while threatening his family. Less I give the impression that’s all there is, there are many other memorable characters whose storylines weave and arc together in this complex and intricate story. 

From page one, Fontainne immediately thrusts the reader into the action of this story, adding dark intrigue with a mysterious figure that even the supposed “bad guys” seem to fear. Truly, I remained on the edge of my seat to the very end of this story, even enjoying the didactic aspects of this story. Much like Frank Perretti’s This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness and Prophet, Fontainne’s Operation Jade Helmet is a cautionary tale that feels far too real to be read as mere allegory. Indeed, it is written as a prophetic glimpse of a future five years hence – one that is far too vividly captured to be passed up as mere speculation. “

– Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars

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Book Excerpt:

Eager fans around the world played Operation Red Helmet for years, making it the highest-grossing virtual reality game ever sold, and the designers, The Talladav Group, are the richest company on earth.

After an oppressive, unrelenting worldwide heatwave hits, daily life grinds to a halt around the globe. People retreat to their homes, afraid to go out as violence and chaos erupt in the streets. The game temporarily shuts down as the world grapples with the fallout of civil unrest and critical infrastructure breakdowns, forever altering society.

When governments take over control and infrastructures are replaced and back online, the top players of the previous version receive a mysterious box marked, Operation Jade Helmet. The new version is the first-ever total immersion VR experience and inside each box is a free headset and personal code to play a week before release to the general public. The lucky winners don their newest obsession and impatiently wait for the game to begin. Unfortunately, they are about to discover Operation Jade Helmet is unlike any other game, and when the game begins, everything changes.

About the Author

Award-winning and International bestselling author, Ashley Fontainne, is an avid reader, becoming a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters lurking within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go to when seeking personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated against them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance, focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. Once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answers that question—far and wide.

The short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five touches upon the dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

The paranormal thriller entitled The Lie won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense. A movie based on this book, entitled Foreseen, is currently a feature film available on video-on-demand from Amazon.

Ashley delved into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, which released in January of 2015. The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell released in September of 2014. Ashley teamed up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) and penned a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, released in 2015 and was voted one of the Top 50 Self-Published Books You Should Be Reading in 2015 at www.readfree.ly.

Whispered Pain released in October of 2015, and Night Court released December 13, 2015.

Tainted Cure, Tainted Reality, Tainted Future, and Tainted World are the four books in the post-apocalyptic/zombie genre, The Rememdium Series, all released to rave reviews for a fresh take on the zombie genre.

Ruined Wings is about a young woman’s descent into drug addiction and is currently a short film. The movie is free to watch and share with others in hopes of starting a positive dialogue regarding addiction. https://ruinedwings.com/

Fatal Agreements won the 2019 Independent Audio Awards for best female narrator, Andrea Emmes.

The Legion Series ~ Many ~ Madness ~ Mayhem released in 2019-2020 and delves with the struggles people face with demonic entities.

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https://ashleyfontainne.net

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: http://www.ashleyfontainne.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.fontainne

Movie site: http://www.foreseenmovie.com

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New Middle Grade Fiction: The Mystery at Turkelton Manor by Kraig Dafoe

AN EXTRAORDINARY MIDDLE GRADE MYSTERY NOVEL FOR KIDS 10+…. 

The Mystery at Turkelton Manor

Twelve-year-old Nathaniel Jones wants to be a detective. Though his imagination tends to run wild, Nate knows something strange is going on and he is determined to figure it out. Hearing noises at night, the young detective sees a strange figure lurking about. The Turkeltons are rich and Nate’s grandfather is their groundskeeper. As a result, Nate gets to spend the summer on the manor grounds. With priceless art and expensive jewelry in the mix, and someone creeping around at night, Nate becomes determined to catch a thief. There’s just one problem; nothing seems to be missing.

Chapter One
A Shipment Arrives
Mid-day Friday     
Picasso, Dali and Monet were just a few of the artists whose works graced the walls of Turkelton Manor. The museum-like display was worth a small fortune, but no ropes or security guards kept visitors from getting too close.
     Around mid-day on Friday, Nate was riding his bicycle along the long paved driveway of the manor when he noticed a small white delivery van enter through the open gates of the estate.
          Usually closed and controlled by remote, the twelve-foot double gate was currently broken, along with many other things at the estate, which its new owners were in the process of fixing.
     The day could never be boring if Nate’s imagination had anything to do with it, but it seemed he rarely had to depend on his imagination to keep him busy for long, and this sunny summer day was no exception.
     The vehicle had no windows except for the ones up front and, at first, Nate thought it might be Fed Ex, but a sharp glint of sunlight bouncing off the hood of the van kept him from seeing it had no Fed Ex markings, until it got closer and the glare went away.
     Nate was always paying attention to the little things, and his observation skills often amused his family, but it never surprised them as Nate’s father was a police detective and his grandfather on his father’s side of the family was a famous private investigator. Family members commented that it ran in his blood.
          The delivery van stopped just before it reached the  detective and the driver got out and buttoned his suit jacket. The idea that he wore a dark suit struck Nate a little odd, as he was driving a delivery van. The man was small, around five feet, eight inches tall, and very lean. He looked to be in his late forties or early fifties as his hair was beginning to gray above the ears and recede at the top, but it was possible that premature graying made him look older than he was.
     “Hello,” the stranger said politely as Nate stopped his bicycle and stood with it balanced between his legs. “I have a delivery of art for the Turkeltons. Do you know if they are at home?”
     There was something in the man’s tone that made Nate think he sounded like a bit of a snob, but he wasn’t able to put his finger on it. The man spoke as though he had an accent, though only with certain words.
     “I’m not sure,” Nate replied. “I know some people are working at the house though. Just follow the drive straight down,” Nate said, as he looked the direction of the house and pointed.
     The man smiled at him. “Of course,” he said, looking down the drive. The man gave him a little bow and then he unbuttoned his suit jacket before hopping back into the van. As he slowly pulled away, he waved and smiled again.
     The boy turned his bike and followed the vehicle down to the huge house looming in the distance. Pink Dogwood trees lined both sides of the driveway which ran pretty much straight down to the manor. The trees offered, aside from their visual beauty, an aroma that varied from day to day. This day they smelled as pretty as they looked, while other days the odor was downright unpleasant. Nate was familiar with these trees, but didn’t dwell too much on why their smell changed.
     Through the trees, Nate could see much of the grounds. To his right, as he rode toward the manor, was a thick batch of woods. The many oaks and maples intertwined with various other trees struggling for sunlight through the thick canopy. Where the woods ended, a lush green paddock for the horses began. On the opposite side of the driveway was a large pond, or a small lake depending on who was referring to it.
     The boy’s curiosity started getting the best of him and he wanted to see some of the art that was in the van. When the vehicle approached the circular round about in front of the house, the driver was careful not to hit the various other work trucks parked there or drive on the grass in the center. The house was under renovation and the construction crew was still hard at work.
     Nate rode around the circle a couple of times after the man found a place to park. An empty water fountain sat in the center of the grass circle and Nate couldn’t help but think it was big enough to swim in, if it were full. He watched as the man made his way up the curvy brick walk that had low flowering shrubs on either side of it, and then climbed the steep wide stairs leading to the large front door of the manor.
     Nate continued to ride around the circle and watch as the man waited for someone to answer the door. Typically, Nate would be helping his grandfather work on the grounds, but today Grandpa William was running errands and Nate opted to stay behind to help his grandmother with household chores. Nate’s grandfather, on his mother’s side, was the groundskeeper for the estate, which afforded him the opportunity to live on the property, which in turn meant Nate was able to spend the summer enjoying the surroundings.
     After a few moments, the main door of the manor opened, and the man entered, but Nate couldn’t see who answered the door. Aside from the family, there was a part-time staff of helpers plus the construction workers. He hadn’t yet met the Turkeltons as summer had just begun and the family was usually busy, but he knew there were four of them. The two children, one boy and one girl were about his age, but Nate was in no hurry to meet them as he didn’t feel comfortable around people his age and much preferred talking to adults. Nate was shy and this tended to trip him up in conversations. Kids at school often teased him, which is why he usually spent the summers with his grandparents, away from his hometown, alternating between them every other year.
     Nate was from a little town called Crape Myrtle Cove, just forty-five minutes north of Sleepy Shores, where Turkelton Manor is located. This was much closer than his other grandparents who lived just outside of Los Angeles, which was all the way across the country.
     Nate stopped his bike near the delivery van and put the kickstand down. The boy walked up to the van and looked inside through the driver side window to see how much art was in there.
     Though he couldn’t see the entire back of the van, he could see a couple of large pieces still in wooden crates and a dozen or so smaller framed pieces set in racks. There were also four small sculptures and a couple of busts, none more than a couple feet tall.         
     After a few minutes, the man exited the manor with a couple of the construction workers following him. One of the men was at least six foot, two inches tall and very muscular while the other man was smaller, but still in good shape.
     Nate quickly moved away from the van without the men seeing him and repositioned himself nearby, behind one of the other work trucks. He was close enough to hear the construction workers as they spoke and as long as he stayed crouched down, they wouldn’t be able to see him, though if anyone looked out the second floor windows of the manor, they would have no trouble spying the curious boy.
     “I don’t know why we have to unload this stuff,” the smaller one said.
    “Just do it Bobby,” the other replied without looking at his co-worker. “Get it done and we can get out of here for the weekend. The boss said we could cut out a little early today.”
     The three men approached the back of the van. The driver of the van opened the back doors and latched them to the side of the vehicle.
     “Gentlemen,” he said. “Please be very careful. Some of these pieces are priceless.”
     “Really,” Bobby said sarcastically. “I’m sure you put a price on ‘em when you sold ‘em.”
     The man held his tongue and smiled, while nodding toward the construction worker, acknowledging his correctness. The other worker seemed to take everything in stride where the smaller man seemed mad at the world. Nate watched the men as they unloaded the truck. They would have to make several trips up the stairs, which didn’t seem to make Bobby very happy. With each trip, the worker seemed to become more displeased with the task. At one point, he nearly dropped one of the busts and Nate could see the deliveryman flinch when it almost hit the ground.
     “Please be careful my good man,” he said as the man struggled to regain his hold.
     Nate wasn’t sure, but the bust looked like Mozart. The worker hosted the piece to his shoulder.
     “Don’t worry pal, I got it,” he replied sarcastically.
     The deliveryman disappeared inside as the workers came back for the last of the art in the van. They still had no idea Nate was watching them.
     “I wonder how much this stuff is really worth,” Bobby said.
     “Don’t know, don’t care,” the other man replied.
     “I bet these guys wouldn’t even know if something was missing,” Bobby commented. “They’re so rich; this is probably like us buying groceries or something.”
    “Whatever man, let’s just get it done,” the other man said. “I just want to go home.”
   As the two men made the last trip up the stairs, Nate got back on his bike and headed up the driveway toward the gate. After a few minutes, the man in the delivery van left. He saw Nate near the end of the drive and waved to him as he pulled out.
     A few minutes after the deliveryman left, the construction workers filed out, four trucks in all.  Nate saw the one named Bobby in the passenger’s seat of one of the trucks. The man had a scowl on his face as though he was still upset that he had to unload the art.
     Shortly after the workers left, Nate’s grandfather returned from running his errands and Nate spent the afternoon helping him with some odd jobs.
     “You trim the hedges by the manor and along the walkways while I prepare some of the flower beds for planting,” Grandpa William instructed.
     “No problem, Grandpa,” Nate replied.
     Hours passed with the two hardly seeing each other. Around five o’clock Nate and Grandpa William went in for dinner. The boy loved his grandmothers cooking and the three would often have lively discussions about their day. William and Beatty Livingston, both in their mid-fifties, just recently moved into their new home on the same grounds as the Manor, which was a benefit associated with being the groundskeeper.
     “So, what did you do while I was running around today?” Nate’s grandfather asked him. “I could have used your help in town gathering supplies.”
     “After I helped around the house a bit, I rode my bike for a while,” Nate replied. “The Turkeltons got a delivery of art today.”
     “Really?” Grandpa William replied. “Anything interesting?”
     “Yeah,” Nate said. “One of the construction guys wasn’t too happy about having to unload it,” Nate responded with a smile.
     “And how would you know that?” Grandpa William asked.
     “I overheard him talking,” Nate said.
     “Overheard or spied on?” Grandpa William asked with a scowl.
     Nate didn’t respond as he stuffed some mashed potatoes into his mouth and averted his eyes.
     “What have I told you about eavesdropping?” Grandpa William asked.
     “I know,” Nate replied after swallowing. “I shouldn’t go snooping around.”
     “That’s right,” Grandpa William replied. “I know grandpa Jones encourages the matter seeing he was your age when he got started in the private investigation business, but I don’t think it’s appropriate behavior for someone so young.”
     “I’m almost a teenager, Grandpa,” Nate replied.
     “You still have ten whole months to go,” Grandma Beatty replied. “Don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up Nathaniel. There are a lot of experiences for you to have and you have plenty of time to figure out what you want to be when you get older.”
     Nate already knew what he wanted to be. Though he was twelve at the time of starting his investigation firm, Nate’s Grandpa Jones, with the help and support of his friends and family, quickly made a name for himself and for almost fifty years, his firm, “The Three Investigators,” named for him and his two partners, has been going strong.
     Though Nate didn’t really have much in common with William, and he preferred the summers in California, he still loved William and Beatty very much and they loved him.
     After eating, Nate retired to the basement for a while and crawled into his secret fort to read. Nate built the fort out of the excess furniture and some old blankets and tarps, which were plentiful as the groundskeeper’s house was much smaller than where the Livingstons lived before. Still, the ranch style home was more than they needed and Nate had the basement to himself, unless his grandmother was doing laundry. Piled nearly to the ceiling in some areas, boxes and furniture cluttered what would normally be a family room.       Nate arranged the items so that he would have to crawl under a table piled high with boxes to get inside. A blanket hung to the floor on the inside of the table so it would take great effort to peek inside. This was the only way into his sanctuary and he knew neither his grandfather nor grandmother would crawl underneath to get into the area. Inside the fort were his books, a laptop, a writing desk, some old newspapers and magazines, a television, a chair, a couch and a lamp. The only thing missing from this space was his bed, so when he had free time, this was where he would spend it in the evenings, unless he was playing board games or cards with his grandparents, which they did often to appease him.
     The boy liked to keep up with the world through books, however, on this occasion, he decided on something a little more adventurous and read an Enola Holmes mystery. He had read all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and, after hearing about several of his grandfather’s old cases, Nate thought reading about a mystery from the female perspective would broaden his senses. 
     Just before dark, Grandpa William yelled down the stairs to his grandson.
     “Nate, can you go out and close the front gate and lock it?” Grandpa William asked.
     “Sure, grandpa,” Nate replied.
     “Make sure you don’t actually lock it though,” Grandpa William shouted.
      “I know, Grandpa,” Nate replied.
     Nate walked out to the gates, as they weren’t far from the groundskeeper’s home. They could be seen from the front windows if it weren’t for the trees that stood in the way. He closed the metal gates and ran a chain around them at the middle. He didn’t lock the gates in case of an emergency, but Nate looped a paddle lock through the chains to give the appearance of a locked gate. When the gate was fixed, they wouldn’t need the chain or lock.
     The sun was just setting over the horizon and the street lamps came on in the cul-de-sac outside the gates. Nate looked around at the other homes in the neighborhood, most of which sat much closer to the road than did the manor. This was definitely a much nicer neighborhood than he was used to.
     No matter where he stayed for the summer, Nate always called his mother every evening. Usually he was too busy to miss home, but he was never too busy to miss his mom and dad.
     Nate returned to the basement of the home, using the outside door on the side of the property that gave him direct access to the basement. It wouldn’t take the boy long to drift off to sleep, when the time came. He read a little more of his book and instead of drifting off in his chair, he opted for the comfort of his bed, not knowing that he wouldn’t be asleep for long. 

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3quD4tz

Kraig Dafoe was born in New York.  Kraig went back to college at the age of 42 earning his BA in English writing, and graduating cum laude from Washburn University in 2017. Deciding to continue his education, Kraig received his Master of Liberal Studies degree in 2019. Kraig is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Visit his website at http://www.kwdafoe.com.

OTHER BOOKS BY KRAIG DAFOE

The Rise of the Reaper: Duty Calls

Search for the Lost Realm

Skorch the Bounty Hunter

A Collection of Twisted Tales

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BANEWIND by M.B. Chapman

I’ve kissed a boy.

I’ve been to another world.

I’ve seen death.

By M.B. Chapman

Title: BANEWIND
Author: M.B. Chapman
Publisher: Light Messages / Torchflame Books
Pages: 268
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Fiction

Almost two weeks ago I was just a normal girl getting ready to start my senior year of high school, deciding where I wanted my life to go. And now?

I’ve kissed a boy. I’ve been to another world. I’ve seen death.

And I don’t know what my life’s become.

Banewind tells the spellbinding story of 18-year-old Genevieve DeWinter, a typical high school girl who finds herself entangled in the throes of adventure, romance, and survival after discovering the existence of a group of magical beings known as Formulists and their co-existing world, Banewind.

With the arrival of several mages in her hometown of Parma, Ohio, Genevieve soon learns that these extraordinary secrets are rooted deep within her family’s history when it is revealed her deceased mother was a heroic warrior in a long lineage of female protectors called the Holy Guardian. Now, a vengeful group of Formulists known as the Voidweavers have returned and set their sights on Genevieve, believing she might be the next Holy Guardian and the key to awakening their fallen leader, the Void King, who had been destroyed by Genevieve’s mother when she sacrificed herself a decade earlier to save Banewind and all of humanity from an unthinkable evil.

With the help of new allies, Genevieve must fight to stay alive as she unravels the mystery and danger that have shattered the stability of the life she once knew before the Voidweavers succeed in shadowing the world in chaos and darkness once again.

Now that he’s in better light, I can get a good view of him. I’m right on the age part—he’s probably eighteen or nineteen—and he’s very attractive. He has black hair that swoops over the side of his forehead, and blue eyes that are sparkling like sapphires. His face is beautiful, with high-set cheekbones and a slender nose. His skin is pale and ashen, but it suits him well. And his body appears fit beneath the turquoise track jacket and matching track pants he wears. “Want me to help you look for him?” He takes another step toward me. “It’s okay. Thanks.” I back up. “You don’t have to do that.” “I don’t mind.” He stares at me with a wolfish grin, and I feel as though his blue eyes are piercing through my body. “It really isn’t smart for you to be out here alone.” “What about you?” I snap back. “I mean, really. A girl can’t spend her time alone in the woods, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a boy?” His eyes widen in surprise. “I-I guess you make a good point.” He bites his lips. They have a blue tint to them. “What’s your name?” “Genevieve.” Can he tell I’m caught off-guard? “I’m Scythe. Nice to meet you.” We both stand there in awkward silence. “Okay. Well, I’m going to go find my dog. Take care.” “Wait.” He jerks his hand towards me. “Why don’t you stay here, and I’ll go find the dog and bring him back to you.” He looks proud of himself for suggesting this. “If not, you might get lost.” “These woods aren’t that big. I’ll be fine.” I’m beginning to get agitated with this punk. “I appreciate you offering to help. But seriously, I’m just going to—” The tree behind Scythe explodes into thousands of splinters, crackling while the red blaze ascends to the top. As I fall to the ground, I see him bound to the left and roll behind a hollowed trunk, taking cover from the hissing flames. The clearing illuminates with a fiery orange light as the trunk bursts into dancing embers. I cover my eyes, blinded by the fire’s brightness as it continues to engulf the shrubbery around me. My face is drenched in sweat, and my breathing is swift and shallow. Up and down, up and down, up and down. My chest rises and falls so fast I’m afraid I’ll pass out if I don’t get myself under control. Another explosion. I cover my ears and scream. I drag myself over to a stump and hide behind it, scanning the clearing to see what has become of the boy. About twenty feet from me, his body lies sprawled out, with flames flickering just inches from his clothes. A nearby tree explodes and falls to the ground, revealing a figure in a hooded red cloak standing in its place.


“This story has a great mix of fantasy and young adult romance. Love the strong female protagonist at the center of the story! It is like Harry Potter, but with a unique, imaginative world all its own. There is a rich backstory of the fantasy land woven throughout the book that makes me excited for future books by this author!”— Amazon Reviewer
“I think this could be the next big thing. I would love to see this made into a movie or tv show. The story is intriguing, the characters easy to imagine, and the writing is great. Super easy read and kept me invested the entire time! Ready for book 2!”— Amazon Reviewer
I don’t think this is a series but it sure could be! The mixture it has sets this into a good read! Especially if you are snowed in. Well written and thought out plot and characters! Very interesting read that you will find yourself completely drawn in and lost from the reality of life!– Amazon Reviewer

Amazon → https://amzn.to/36O4Ust  

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3kLolHjKobo books: https://bit.ly/36QgZx5

M.B. Chapman is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive your gift card
  • This giveaway ends midnight March 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on April 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/classic/19dbbbb/main.html

Matt Chapman grew up outside of Cleveland and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri where he is completing his residency in Psychiatric medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a graduate of Creighton University School of Medicine where he obtained his MD and a graduate of Saint Louis University where he majored in Biology.

Matt has had a passion for writing and reading since childhood and continues to find time for these interests among his other pursuits, including medical education and leadership studies. He is currently working on his next novel in The Banewind Series.

Website: https://www.lightmessages.com/mb-chapman

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mbchapman90

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/banewind_series

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mbchapman90/

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The Sword and Sorcery Series by Dylan Doose

Love Epic Fantasy?
THE SWORD AND SORCERY SERIESBy Dylan Doose

Title: FIRE AND SWORD (Book 1)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 366
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

“An epic tale…”—Library Journal
A broken nation in need of a savior.

Ravaged by plague, decimated by dark magic, infiltrated by a foreign evil seeking to dominate from within, Brynth is on the eve of its dissolution. When all the good men are dead and gone, who is to answer the call and defy what is wicked for what is right?

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes.

Heretic monk turned Sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three.

“Gritty, fast-paced and compelling!” 

Honorable mention in Library Journal’s Indie Ebook Awards and a Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable 100!

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011H0JWCI

Title: CATACOMBS OF TIME (Book 2)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 120
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

“Dylan Doose is a master.”—Amazon reviewer
It’s going to be a long and bloody night.

The clock is ticking and Dr. De’Brouillard has a date. Dinner is at the Graves and a contract to cure one of the cursed is sitting on the plate. But when an old and dear friend reaches out from murky shadow for a helping hand, will the Doctor take it, risking all if he ends up being late?

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Dr. Gaige De’Brouillard believes science, not magic, conquers all. Even death is just an equation to be solved.

Malory “Butcher” Dahmer knows that life is but a dream, no wickedness, no sorcery too strange or obscene.

An Academic and a Gangster make for an interesting team.

Don’t miss the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling ‘visceral,’ ‘fantastic,’ and ‘intriguing’—get your copy of Catacombs of Time today!

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017WUOWPY

Title: THE PYRES (Book 3)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 317
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

Monsters. Magic. Epic Battles.

The mountains and valleys of Romaria echo with the calamitous sounds of civil war. A New Order challenges old gods and on the festival night of the Pyres, the tides of destruction are fully unleashed. 

When the great white city of Brasov turns black with ash, when the sky goes red and the moon hangs like a dark void above, who will stand against the darkness? 

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes.

Heretic monk turned Sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three.

Don’t miss the next thrilling instalment in the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling ‘gritty, fast-paced and compelling’—get your copy of The Pyres today!

“Grim, gritty, and good!” —Amazon Reviewer

 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J6C0VE2

Title: ICE AND STONE (Book 4)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 136
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

“Dark and excellent!”—Amazon Reviewer


Raise the sails! Blow the horns! It’s raiding season!

After a storm, Therick—raider from the frozen north—lands on the wrong foreign shores. With axe in hand and violence in mind, he and his warriors seek out villages to pillage and plunder. 

But when a timeless evil rises, Therick is forced into a battle not his own, a battle of gods and monsters…a battle he cannot win.

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Therick, son of ice, born with a serpent’s eye and a reptilian will to stay alive. 

Eona, daughter of stone, huntress of the great jungle. 

Will they unite, or fight as the world around them crumbles? 

 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XJQP93D

Title: AS THEY BURN (Book 5)
Author: Dylyan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 334
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

“Addicted!”—Amazon Reviewer


Darkness Returns to Brynth.

The shadow of a great invasion comes from the North, threatening to bring with it an oppressive new way of life, the way of the axe. A city recently saved now lies twisted and forever altered by a secret society within. 

Caught between these two wicked forces, the innocent citizens of Brynth need a savior…or three. 

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes.

Heretic monk turned Sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three. 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077CCP1RS

Title: BLACK SUN MOON (Book 6)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 296
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

In the beginning there was madness and there was death.

A string of occult murders leads veteran holy-man-with-a-big-sword, Cullum Shrike, to Wardbrook, a treacherous place of pagan practices, corrupt leaders, and sinister sorcery. 

Cullum must purge his beliefs as he is forced to face the evil within, for when all light dies, only darkness can kill a shadow.

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Cullum Shrike, warrior priest of the holy Order of Seekers. Haunted by the ghosts of his failures, he clings to his faith even as treachery and insidious betrayal are revealed.

Nyva, the witch, is bound to the black house on the hill. She is stronger than she could imagine, she just needs someone to unlock her latent power.

An unlikely pair, but a pair they do make and when the dancing starts, they might just bring the house down.

Don’t miss this thrilling—and terrifying—stand-alone full-length novel in the dark and gritty Sword and Sorcery series! 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JCX9SSL

Title: EMBERS ON THE WIND (Book 7)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 384
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

The Contract: Get to the Tower, Kill the Beast.

Simple enough? The problem is Theron, Aldous, and Kendrick are no longer in a world they know and between them and the tower are a few hundred miles of woods and waters infested with beasts and monsters. 

With a mutant and a dead man as their only guides, the three will have to rely on their trust for each other more than ever to get through. 

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes

Heretic monk turned sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three. 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08D8KCFRG


Dylan Doose is the author of the ongoing dark fantasy series, Sword & Sorcery. He also pens the new weird western series, Red Harvest. His debut novel received honorable mention in Library Journal’s Indie Ebook Awards and was a Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable 100.

Website: https://www.dylandooseauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dylan_Doose

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


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