Blog Tour: Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae

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Synopsis

A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine. For fifteen years he waited, patiently biding his time while building his body into a n unstoppable weapon of destruction so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.

On the bloodstained streets of a northwestern city the enforcer known as “The Drill” stalks his prey. Judge, jury and executioner, he seeks out those who target the weak and the vulnerable, condemning them to the kind of justice that only he can provide.

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Excerpt

The fire was gaining ground, and he knew that time was very short. He tried to stay calm, to ignore both the heat and the ache of his burned wrists, but the horror of his predicament momentarily overwhelmed him. Panic raged and he thrashed against the ropes, losing his balance and falling face first to the ground.

And still the ropes held.

The fire was close enough for Decker to feel the heat on his face no matter which way he tilted his head. His struggle had winded him, and he panted cautiously, each ragged breath searing his lungs regardless of how cautiously he inhaled. He could sense death hovering, just out of sight, but he was not done yet.

He inched his way across the floor, coughing and choking from the smoke that billowed around him in suffocating clouds. Breathing was torture, but he managed to keep going, his watery eye fixed on the dirty pane of glass. I can do this. I can make it!     

However, it soon became apparent that he could not. He did not have enough freedom of movement to propel himself along the floor with the necessary speed. He was going to die, alone and most likely screaming, but even though he acknowledged that fact, he continued to fight for his life.

His fingers dug into the floor as he tried to scoot along on his back. When that failed to accomplish much, he rolled onto his side, still trying to crawl. The window was barely visible, but he was not sure if it was the smoke or his own failing eyesight that obscured it.

His pants began to smolder, and he felt panic rise again. He was not sure how easily the denim would ignite, but if it did, he would be unable to put out the flames.

Rhani

Author Bio

Rhani D’Chae has always been an avid reader and began writing in her early teens. Her first ‘novel’ was a Star Trek adventure that she freely admits was a disaster but she learned from it and never stopped writing.
Shadow of the Drill is her first published novel, and is the first in a series that revolves around an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

 

Book Promotion: Cajun Household Wisdom by Kenneth Atchity

Today’s book promotion comes from Kenneth Atchity and his book called Cajun Household Wisdom. If you like Non-fiction, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

Book: Cajun Household Wisdom
Author: Kenneth Atchity
Genre:
Non-fiction

Publisher: Storymerchant
Format: ebook
Release Date:
12/19/2013

Summary:
Laissez les bon temps roulez! Let the good times roll!

Cajun culture is funny and fun-loving. It’s rooted in the earth. It’s rooted in the kitchen. It’s needlessly, hopelessly, complicated, and yet is utterly simple and suspicious of all things modern, especially food and drink.

CAJUN HOUSEHOLD WISDOM takes you back to the days when family gatherings stretched far into summer nights with endless food and fun, when uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers, and countless cousins teased and taunted and chased fireflies, while grandpere spouted yet another story about “that ol’ white mule,” and strains of fiddle music lured lovers off into the dark.

You’ll be reminded that the best therapy for whatever ails you, other than eating and laughing, is dancing. In little towns throughout the state of Louisiana, in lounges like the Rainbeaux in New Ibera, the Green Frog in Lake Charles, and the Purple Peacock in EUnice, you’ll find people of all ages–from three to 103–dancing the two-step or the Cajun waltz at the fais-do-do nearly every night of the week–and they’re still there at 9 a.m. the next morning. Cajun wisdom holds tru for young and old alike:

“If at foist you doan succeed, go an’ dance!”

Buy from Amazon

The Author:

Kenneth Atchity’s Website: Here
Kenneth Atchity’s Twitter: Here

 I want to thank Kenneth Atchity for allowing me to promote his book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Cajun Household Wisdom!

Review for The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn

 

the seduction of miss amelia bell

My Rating: 4/5
Author: Paula Quinn
Title: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell
Genre: Historical Romance

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Background:
Amazon Description:
A HIGHLAND ROGUE

Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss . . .

AN ADVENTUROUS LADY

Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?

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Opinions:
My Short Summary:
Born English but raised Scottish, Edmund MacGregor would stop at nothing to keep his precious Scotland from joining with England. To buy some time, Edmund and his highlander family devise a plan to stop the signing of the Treaty of Union by kidnapping Amelia Bell – the Chancellor’s fiancé and Duke’s daughter. All does not go according to plan. For one, there is another woman that is kidnapped with Amelia. Two, Amelia Bell seems to attract bad luck. And three, falling in love is not the best idea when trying to stay on track with the plan. Add in a rival clan and you have an interesting novel.

Narration:
Multiple third person

Character Development:
The characters are well-developed in this novel. With the multiple viewpoints, the reader can understand better what the characters are really thinking and how they tick. Both protagonists are torn between love and loyalty. They step outside their comfort zones as they continue their journey together. Other characters – such as Sarah and Darach – have similar confrontations with their ideas of love. There is even love and loyalty amongst the dogs.

Plot Development/Flow:
The story flows well. There is enough romance and action to keep things balanced. The only complaint that I would have is a few spots where there are some redundancies. For instance, Amelia is troubled about doing what is right for her family (especially her father) and what she wants. The reader knows she is conflicted but the same argument goes through her head in different spots in the book. This could have been cut back a little and still be conveyed to the reader.

Standalone or Part of a Series:
Standalone in The MacGregors: Highland Heirs

Book Promotion: The Ruse by Felicia Rogers

Today’s book promotion comes from Felicia Rogers and her book called The Ruse. If you like Historical Romance novels, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

the ruse

Book: The Ruse
Author: Felicia Rogers
Genre:
historical, regency, romance

Publisher: Felicia Rogers
Format: ebook
Release Date:
11/21/2013

Summary:
Luke Andrews, Baron of Stockport, is in trouble. He needs a wealthy bride to secure future funds for his financially shaky estate, but the belle of the London season is a spoiled terror with an arrogant father. They’d try the nerves of a saint and Luke can’t quite bring himself to make an offer he knows he’d regret.

Meanwhile, Luke’s half-brother Chadwick never could resist a good game of Faro, or anything else, for that matter. With the baron away, Chadwick will play — gambling the estate’s remaining funds into oblivion. He needs to devise his own scheme to replace the money he’s lost, before his brother returns.

In Stockport village, Brigitta Blackburn doesn’t have two sticks to rub together — literally. With the estate in financial distress and rents high, food and wood are scarce. When she sneaks onto the baron’s land to steal some firewood, she’s caught, hauled before the play-acting “baron,” Chadwick, and offered a solution to her plight… and his.

But Chadwick’s ruse embroils them all. How can Brigitta accept what she thinks to be true, when she really yearns to follow her heart?

a traditional Regency novel

The Author:

Felicia Rogers’s Website: Here
Felicia Rogers’s Facebook: Here
Felicia Rogers’s Goodreads: Here
Q & A:

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
coffee

 I want to thank Felicia Rogers for allowing me to promote her book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read The Ruse!

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Interview Ellie Stanton by Aurora Zahni

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About the Book:

Ellie Stanton by Aurora Zahni

Genres: YA Contemporary

Published January 14th, 2014

Publisher: Beau Coup Publishing

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ellie-Stanton-Heller-Park-Series-ebook/dp/B00HVKQIAI

Book 1 in the Heller Park Series focuses on Ellie Stanton. An imperfect, unremarkable girl makes a hero’s journey. Ellie Stanton needed to have a good day. The universe had something else in store. Getting caught shoplifting. Check. Dumping her lame boyfriend. Check. Expulsion from school. Check. Getting kicked out of her house and then stealing her mother’s car while she’s in a New Jersey turnpike rest stop Cinnabon? Check. The only sensible option is to run as fast as she can and never look back. Now Ellie is running going cross country to raise a little hell and maybe along the way learn everything she needs to know about life.

About the Author:

Aurora Zahni is a former rebel who’s trying to bring a little bit of Judy Blume and Sylvia Plath to the Twilight Generation. Over the years she7092273 has given half-assed / full throttle contributions to numerous zines and blogs, written a web movie and done significantly well in countless competitive eating events.

When she was in the 8th grade she was on the local evening news. A dead body was being lifted out of the water at a marina by the Meadowlands and you could clearly see her standing in the background watching, looking a bit excited for the camera. Looking back it may have been the highlight of her entire childhood.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092273.Aurora_Zahni

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

Website: http://aurorazahni.beaucoupllc.com/

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Interview

a.) What was the best thing about writing this book?

My favorite parts were the revisions and editing. I watched my little story about a girl having a bad day grow into an expansive universe. The book is now loaded with easter eggs and introduces a large cast that I’ll be writing about for years.

b.) Where did you get your idea for this story?

It all started with “the girl.” I began writing without any notes other than “Juno meets Bender” and a backstory for Ellie. I just wanted to write a funny book about a regular girl figuring out life, or at least what life meant to her at the moment.

c.) What would you tell aspiring writers out there?

Do it! Anyone who wants to tell a story can do it. It’s not easy and results are not guaranteed, but the story will still be yours.

d.) What is your favorite book?

That’s never a fair question, but I will answer. Today, it’s The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Tomorrow I’m sure that will change but for right now I implore everyone to go out and read The Bell Jar it’s a masterpiece.

e.) Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

Coffee at work, Tea at home, (I’m a fanatic have tons of paraphenilia and “fancy” teas) and hot chocolate when I’m dieting and dying for a sweet fix.

f.) Is there anything else that you would like to add? We should all be drinking more water. That’s the only sound advice I ever have.

Book Promotion: Get Out of My Dreams by A J Lewis

Today’s book promotion comes from A J Lewis and his book called Get Out of My Dreams. If you like Paranormal books, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

get out of my dreams

Book: Get Out of My Dreams
Author: A J Lewis
Genre:
Paranormal

Publisher: Publishnation
Format: ebook
Release Date:
12/15/2013

Summary:
Joe, “the magic man” is a wanted man, the FBI gave him that nick-name because he has the power to get into people’s minds and read their thoughts. Joe can also get into people’s dreams telepathically while he is in his bed miles away from the person’s who’s dreams he enters.
Joe discovered he had this gift after a near-death accident that put him in a coma, and when he finally came around he found out he could read minds. At first Joe thought he was going crazy when he heard voices in his head until he realised what had happened to him, and then he didn’t want people to know about his new gift so he kept it a secret.
Joe’s pastime is to get into young couple’s dreams and have them to play out his sexual fantasy, and he have’s them to tell him their inner more secrets, and when they wake up they don’t recall their dreams.
Joe would love to put his gift into doing good in helping the FBI to fight crime. Special Agent Rosemary Burrows is a profiler for the FBI and want’s Joe to join her team, but Homeland Security sees Joe’s powers as a threat to the USA and wants Joe eliminated.
Joe struggles to keep his identity a secret while he helps Agent Burrows to catch rapists and in busting a drug lord, and at the same time hide from his assassins.

The Author:

A J Lewis’s Website: Here

Q & A:

Where did you get your idea for this story?
I thought, what if it was possible for someone to have the power to read minds, and once he had entered their minds he could telepathically think about that person and get back into his mind from a distance. And if that person is sleeping he could control their dreams through subconscious hypnosis and be part of their dream. It was a weird idea something like a character out of a Stephen King novel. The more I thought about it the more Joe the magic man came to life so to speak, and what Joe could do with those powers, someone with a gift like that could create havoc around the world in so many different ways. But I decided Joe would be a good law-abiding citizen that want’s to help the FBI, and still carry on with his nightly adventures into people’s dreams, it is an addiction he can’t give up, and he takes the reader on a few bizarre dreams.
It is three-quarter-way through the story before the reader finds out Joe’s true identity and how he had his gift through a freak accident. Joe finds out he can communicate telepathically with Alice, one of his dream clients. So Joe uses Alice as a go between for him and Agent Burrows, and they go on to form a special task team with the FBI.

What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
I am one of those aspiring writers that would like advise, so I thought I would tell you a little about me.
I am Allan Lewis a seventy-four-year-old retired coalminer from South Wales UK; I have a lovely wife and two children and two grandchildren, who support’s me with my venture into becoming a writer. As a young man I always had these stories in my head and wanted to write a detective novel or an adventure story but never had time, until I retired.
Now you can’t stop me writing, I have written five other books that are still in the first draft stage. “Get out of my dreams” is the first book for me to have published and I am halfway through writing a follow up story, and who knows I might even end up writing a whole series with Joe, Alice and Agent Burrows using Joe’s gift to solve crimes, and find terrorist groups and making the USA a safer place. If you read my book please let me know what you think.

What is your favorite book?
The pillars of the earth by Ken Follett.

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
I drink about 10 mugs of tea a day.

 

I want to thank A J Lewis for allowing me to promote his book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Get Out of My Dreams!

Blog Tour and Giveaway: By the Fates, Fought by Patricia D Eddy

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Title: By the Fates, Fought

Author: Patricia D. Eddy

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Audience: 18+

Formats: eBook

Publisher: Patricia D. Eddy

Cover By: Ravven

Editor: Clare C. Marshall

Pages: 400 pages estimated.

ASIN: B00IZO66MY

ISBN: 1496104005

Date published: 18 March, 2014


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Spring in Gralvein brings Ealasaid peace. Six months to the day Raven found her shackled and tortured in the devil’s lair, their public handfasting is the happiest day of her life. But a storm is coming. Devils join King Eideard’s Guarda and watch Ealasaid constantly. Faolan’s spies report Lobhdain is plotting. What is this mystical artifact he searches for?

When the devils attack and one of their allies disappears, Raven and Ealasaid fear they will never be safe. Can they manage a daring rescue? Or will Ealasaid lose everything she holds dear?

By the Fates, Fought is the second novel in the By the Fates trilogy. It contains several disturbing scenes, including brief descriptions of rape and torture and is meant for mature audiences. It ends on a cliffhanger. By the Fates, Fulfilled will be released in Fall of 2014.

http://picasion.com/gl/2FXQ/

Excerpt-

The chill surrounded us. Even now, after six months, it shocked me. But Raven’s arms were tight and warm around me. When we emerged, the sun was kissing the horizon. I blinked against the brilliant orange light. We were standing on a small strip of sand next to the sea. Rose petals covered the beach and lanterns were arranged in a large circle, inside of which stood those we considered our family. Ami and Seònaid. Moire and Ian. Marcas and Una. Even Faolan was there. I turned towards Raven with questions in my eyes.

Color flooded his dusky, chiseled cheeks and the gentle breezes ruffled his black hair. He had let it grow these past months and it nearly brushed his shoulders now. “I wanted to do something for you, allera. Something special to mark this day. Our customs say that Ostara, the spring equinox, marks the day that light wins over the darkness. You are my light, Ealasaid.”

“And you are mine,” I managed. The lump in my throat threatened to choke me. “There was no light for me before you. But you have already given me everything. I have no need of anything else.”

Raven smiled. “Perhaps I do. Ami and Seònaid’s handfasting was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Second only to the moment of our mating when I felt our souls intertwine. I thought we could have our own handfasting. In front of our family. All of them.”

I looked around. Our Love surrounded us, pure and perfect. Ian’s arm was around Moire’s waist. Ami’s hand rested on Seònaid’s bottom and their heads were touching. Una was curled against Marcas. Faolan was the only one standing apart. He looked wistful, but not entirely unhappy.

“This is what you were doing today?” I accused.

“Finding roses this time of year was difficult. Ian and I had to travel to his home in the south. His gardens there are truly impressive. It is a long trip.” Raven grinned.

“I suppose I will have to forgive you then.”

Raven offered me his hand and led me inside the circle. We stood at the center. The couples formed three points of the compass with Faolan taking up the fourth. Moire and Ian spoke first, their voices combining in unison. “We ask the Fates to bless this union with the gifts from the four corners of the world. We represent the gifts of the north a firm foundation on which to build, a hope for a fertile mind and body, and a stable home where you may always return to each other’s arms.”

Marcas and Una spoke next. “We represent the gifts of the south the comfort of a loving home, the heat of the heart’s passion, and light in the darkest of times.”

Seònaid and Ami stepped forward. “We represent the gifts of the west a commitment as deep and a passion as all encompassing as the sea.”

Faolan’s raspy voice completed the ritual. “I give you the gifts of the east the union of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each sun.”

The air around us stirred. I swept my gaze over the deep purple sky to where it touched the expansive sea. The water lapped softly at the sand. I inhaled deeply. The salty air filled my lungs. I had never felt so free so very loved and safe.

Ami stepped forward with a braided piece of silk. “Ealasaid, take Raven’s left hand in yours.” She laid her hand on ours, cool against our warmth. Her eyes met mine. “May I bind your hands?”

I nodded. As she tied a loose knot at our wrists, a sudden memory threatened me, but one look into Raven’s eyes and it vanished.

“Your hands are now joined, in front of your family, as witnessed by the Fates. Hold each other, caress each other, support each other, love each other. Your lives, your hearts, and your souls are joined in this life and the next. By the Fates and by the laws of this land may this be done.” Ami unwound the silk and handed it to Seònaid. “There is only one thing left to do.”

I looked over at her. What else could there be?

Raven dipped his hand into his pocket and brought forth two silver rings, one large and one small. “A symbol. Like our sigils. I had them made for us.”

He took the smaller ring and slid it onto my finger. It was warm. The engravings appeared to come alive for a brief second, glinting in the light of the surrounding lanterns. Raven extended his hand, offering me his ring. I had a sudden flash of memory: Raven offering me a grape the first morning I’d been free. Tears pricked at my eyes. With trembling fingers, I held his ring. My magic pulsed, heating the silver. What is happening? As the ring slid over Raven’s finger, I awakened my sight. Emerald wisps of air were flowing from my hand to his. His aura took on the slightest green tinge. It was almost like a halo around his body. The ring had a stronger aura, one all its own. Was there magic in the metal? I looked down at my hand. My ring had no such aura. When I looked back at his ring, the aura was gone.

“Ealasaid.” He brought me back with the gentle word. “The Fates smiled upon me the day they led me to you. They have blessed me every day since. I have seen you discover your magic, your voice, your strength, and even your very name. Each day with you is a gift-one I treasure.”

I cupped his cheek. “It is I who am blessed. I had nothing. You gave me the strength to discover who I was. It is because of you that I have a family. There is nothing more precious to me than this.”

For several long moments, all was silent. We were locked in a gentle embrace. Raven’s eyes shone with unshed tears. He dipped his head. His lips were soft, warm, and tasted of home. He was my home.

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A prize pack

containing: $5 Amazon gift card, a By the Fates Bookmark, and a signed

paperback copy of By the Fates, Fought

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Author PicPatricia D. Eddy has been a writer all of her life. She used to sit at her parents’ kitchen counter at an Apple IIe typing out short stories. She even wrote a few on their old typewriter. But it wasn’t until NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2011 that she ever came close to finishing a story she started.

Once that dam broke, the flood waters never receded. Patricia sits down to write every evening after dinner and quite often sees midnight come and go before she heads to bed. She doesn’t sleep much. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

In her spare (HA!) time she runs, bikes, swims, yogas, pilates-es, reads, and is terribly addicted to Doctor Who and Sherlock. Apparently she has a thing for quirky British men.

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Tour Schedule – One Week Blog Tour By The Fates, Fought by Patricia D Eddy from March 18 to March 24.

March 18

March 19

March 20

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 24

 

Book Promotion: Rainbows for Hana: Mourning Our Cat Brought Us a Miracle by Kenneth Atchity

Today’s book promotion comes from Kenneth Atchity and his book called Rainbows for Hana: Mourning Our Cat Brought Us a Miracle. If you like Children’s Books, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

Book: Rainbows for Hana: Mourning Our Cat Brought Us a Miracle
Author: Kenneth Atchity
Genre:
Children’s Book

Publisher: Storymerchant
Format: ebook
Release Date:
12/12/2013

Summary:
When our beloved tabby flew out the window to her death, our devastation was transformed by a mysterious series of events that seemed to us like miracles.

As we landed in Los Angeles after a trip to Rome, two events occurred nearly simultaneously: my granddaughter Meggie spotted a unique and most glorious rainbow, and my wife Kayoko received a call on her cell phone from a man who found Hana on the ground, unmoving. From that moment of agony Hana reached out from across the rainbow to displace the grief in our hearts with joy. It’s a story that anyone who’s ever loved a pet will not forget.

The Author:

Kenneth Atchity’s Website: Here
Kenneth Atchity’s Twitter: Here

I want to thank Kenneth Atchity for allowing me to promote his book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Rainbows for Hana: Mourning Our Cat Brought Us a Miracle!

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Wolf Hunger by Ella J Phoenix

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Wolf Hunger (Book 3 of the Dragon Heat series) 

Publication Details 

TitleWolf Hunger (Book 3 of the Dragon Heat series)
Author – Ella J Phoenix

Publication date – March 12, 2014
Publisher – Self Publishing
Word count – 126,900

Backcover blurb 

When the last box of deadly bullets is stolen, the hunt is on and the Vampire King’s band of fighters is set for the challenge of recovering it. But Yara, the shifter-witch, has other problems to face.  She must help her leader to overcome the strange illness that has befallen her before it’s too late. For that, she must go back to the only place she swore never to return – her home land.

Rafe is a typical lone wolf who spends his nights earning his bucks in the fighting ring. When he was offered a pardon for his debts in exchange for the Vampire King’s head, he didn’t even blink, thinking it would be a hard mission but not impossible. He just wasn’t expecting the saucy shifter-witch to cross his path and ruin his plans. Now, he can’t get her out of his mind and the clock is ticking for him to make good on his word.

This is the third novel of the Dragon Heat series – a paranormal lover’s delight with vampires, shifters, dragons, witches, bathed in magic.

***Warning: this novel contains hot, steamy, descriptive sexual scenes. Enjoy.***

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Excerpt  

Chapter 1

The crowd was clearly not in the mood to cooperate tonight, or the current fighters weren’t doing their jobs properly. Either way, shit was going to hit the fan very soon. The usual cheering had been replaced by curses and boos just 3 minutes after the bell rang.

Hidden in the shadows, Yara cracked her neck, left, then right, then carried on wrapping her hands with the protective cotton straps. After ensuring both her wrists, knuckles and thumbs were safely strapped, she pushed off the stool and stretched her calves. In the corner of her eye she saw Dyam, her vampire friend and brother-in-arms of sorts, leaning against the bar. His silky-smooth long hair and olive skin contrasted heavily against those of the other patrons, who were basically a bunch of supernatural, stinking low-lifes. His chocolate gaze briefly met hers. He gave her a quick nod, then returned his focus to the octagonal cage-like ring in the middle of the club. Yara roamed her eyes over the crowd and spotted her other co-pilot in the mission, the vamp Joel, standing a few feet from Dyam. Just like his counterpart, the royal bodyguard exuded a calm that was as reassuring as it was deceiving. Yara had no doubts that he was ready to pounce at anyone or anything to protect her.

Joel lifted a blond brow at Yara, as if asking if she would still go ahead with the plan. She narrowed her eyes at him. By the gates of Hiad, of course she would! Ever since they destroyed Dr. Burvis’ laboratory in the U.K., where the psycho was attempting to mass market a bullet-size H-bomb, they had been trying to track down the last box of the little atomic fellas – the box she had let be stolen. Damn the Soartas! She was still kicking herself for that. Yara had come face to face with the mugger and what had she done? Did she kick his ass and snatch the box away? No, she stood there, like a deer headlights, hypnotized by gods knew what! Now after almost three months chasing ghosts and dead ends, they had finally got wind that the thief was going to sell the bullets tonight, and the deal was going down here, at this fighting joint. And since she had been the only one with access to the place – let’s just say she enjoyed the occasional bet – it was only natural for her to set their plan and get that freakin’ box back. They had carefully planned it all out – while the patrons were focused on the fights, Joel and Dyam would go in disguised as patrons and search the general area of the club. Sam and Hikuro, Yara’s best friend and the vampire king’s second in command, were outside, ready to jump in if needed. Yara would be working on the inside, since she had easy access to backstage. It was all mapped out and calculated by the second. In no time, Yara would be able to spot the buyer and the seller, then she’d call Joel and Dyam, they’d break the deal up, get the box back and tah-dah! Mission accomplished.

However… it was easier said than done. The Dungeon, the fighting joint in question, was famous for holding the most brutal and ruthless fights to ever take place outside the umbrella of the law. They were usually quick, some even lasting less than a minute, but the best ones – the ones that really drove the crowd wild – lasted ten times as long. A massive scoreboard located just above one of the ends of the cage-like ring displayed the sad tally of the current battle. The ten-foot iron net shook with another blow from the contestants but the crowd wasn’t impressed.

“Hey, gorgeous.”

Yara turned around to see her “guy” staring back at her. CJ was the Dungeon’s master of ceremony. Despite his many shortcomings, he had been her contact for a lot of her “hobbies,” like her underground fights and her poker nights with morally-questionable individuals. He had even introduced her into her favorite past-time of late. A naughty smile lifted the corner of her lips. Yep, it was worth keeping him around, and his half-demon/half-human nature had come in handy more than once. The SOB had an incredible knack for sensing bad news, and tonight his gaze carried a weight that didn’t match his relaxed greeting.

“Hey, CJ,” she replied as gravely. “What’s up?”

“The buyer is here,” he replied, scanning the area for eavesdroppers.

He lifted his chin toward the back of the room. Yara followed his hint, and spotted a tall blond man with grey eyes leaning against one of the pillars on the far corner.

The buyer was Phillip – the draco who was working with Dr. Burvis in London, the rat bastard who double crossed them one too many times.

Yara clutched her jaw tight. “What about the seller, any sign?”

CJ shook his head. “No, but I’ll keep you posted.” He started walking away, but stopped, turned back around and pinned her with his eerie snake-like eyes. “Look, be careful out there, alright?”

“If I had a penny for every warning I got, I’d be rich by now,” she answered.

“I’m serious,” CJ replied.

Yara frowned, then narrowed her eyes at him. “Is there anything else you’d like to share, CJ?”

He quickly scanned the area as if afraid they were being over heard or something. “Weird vibes in this place tonight. Weirder than usual. Just saying.” He shrugged then walked off.

Hmm, a knack for sensing bad news.

A loud thump followed by a painful grunt called Yara’s attention back to the mission. The crowd cheered rowdily. And another one bites the dust, she thought. After a few seconds, a massive bouncer left the cage carrying one of the fighters over his shoulders. But apparently the audience wasn’t very supportive of the winner, because all he got was a shitload of boos and curses. The iron grid around the ring was the only thing that protected the winner from the empty bottles that went flying by. She bet that the supposed winner was thanking the Soartas for the protective grid. People thought the cage-like ring was to keep the fighters in and protect the audience, but nah, they were so wrong, it was there keep the angry mob out.

Yara was very well acquainted with what went down in this sort of hellhole. Only one fighter was divulged before the showdown. His opponent was a surprise – supposedly “taken out of the hat.” This way the audience were kept intrigued by who would fight whom, and throw more money on last-minute bets.

“And now, for the second fight of the evening we have two very different opponents,” CJ declared from his safely guarded post near the sound booth. “On one side, we have the bulldozer of the east mountains, the beast who enjoys ripping his opponents guts out – Bulldozer Jones!” he chanted, pointing to the opposite direction.

From her vantage point, Yara couldn’t see much – the place was packed to the rafters – but she bet that someone who had been nicknamed after a tractor wouldn’t be scrawny.

Suddenly, a bushy head opened the sea of drunks and made its way into the ring.

“And to fight against the beast of the east,” CJ bellowed over the keyed up cheers from the crowd, “a queen of the underground circuit, a flower that would tear you apart and leave you smiling. From the depths of the Amazon jungle, I give you …”

Oh-oh.

“Yara, the Brazilian witch!”

Fuck.

The crowd went crazy, searching for a rose with thorns.

Yara took a deep breath, straightened herself up and pushed her way through the sea of smelly males. She didn’t bother using the little side door to the ring; she climbed the tall iron fence instead and landed expertly on the inside.

The drunken mob went completely silent. A coin would have been heard dropping on the sticky floor.

Yara roamed her eyes over them, clearly showing she wasn’t seeking anyone’s approval, and met a bunch of confused looks. Some guys stared at her face, others were locked on her red sports bra and spandex shorts, but none had any idea of what to make of her.

Then someone shouted, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”

And the cursing started again, followed by very creative indecent proposals.

Yara ignored them all. Having been in that ring a couple of times before, she knew the crowd’s disapproval would come sooner or later. Not worth wasting her time; instead, she focused on reading her adversary.

Being more than a head taller than her, Bulldozer Jones did his nickname justice. His neck was the size of her thighs; his chest was so puffed up that his bulging arms were resting on a 45-degree angle away from his body. His bushy red hair was thick and short, looking more like a fur. Long sideburns framed his disproportioned face, and matched his fat nose.

She sighed. Ai, Apa Dobrý, this was going to hurt. With virtually no rules and no referees, there were only two ways to end a fight in the cage – as the winner or a corpse. You could do whatever you wanted to earn your cash in the ring, except shape-shift or use magical powers. That’s why it was very rare to see a female name on the scoreboard.

Yara flicked a glance at the panel on the far wall. CJ’s assistant was holding her name in his hand, as if waiting to see if it was worth the effort to put it up or not.

So encouraging.

“Last bets, fellas!” the bookie, and owner of the joint, shouted from somewhere near the bar.

A swarm of males surrounded him, waving dollar bills up high and shouting “On Jones! On Jones!”

Yara rolled her eyes but deep inside, she’d have bet her money on the bulldozer as well. She took the opportunity to scrutinize the room. Phillip had disappeared. The guy who stole the bullets from under her nose in London would have arrived. The cage was a few feet higher than the standing audience, so she should be able to spot him easily, but would she recognize him? Their encounter had been so quick and he had been protected by the shadows, so despite her acute eyesight from her panther inmã, all she could get was a glimpse of his amazing biceps and ripped abs.

Dyam moved from his spot near the exit to the crowded front row. His eyes were filled with concern. She gave him a reassuring nod, but deep inside her panther paced anxiously. She could do this; she had won many fights like this before. The main question was at what cost? She liked her limbs how and where they were, and would like them to stay that way.

The bell rang. Bulldozer Jones jumped forward, like an ugly bear in heat.

“I’m gonna make you beg, love,” he drawled. “And after I take you down, I’m gonna show real fun.”

“Charming,” Yara replied.

She lifted her fists high up, to shield her face, and kept her feet light, skipping in place. It would be a lot harder for Heavy Jones here to hit a fast, moving target. Her only chance was to use her speed and agility against his sheer strength.

He came at her with the arrogance of a bulldog, drooling and all. Yara’s stomach churned at the sight of his ugly yellow teeth. Without ceremony, he threw a cross punch at her. She quickly shifted her balance and hunkered backwards, missing the guy’s wrist by a few inches. She then slid underneath his still outstretched arm and punched his exposed ribs, several times. Bulldozer hunkered down, obviously feeling the pain.

For the second time in the night, the crowd went silent. Sharp intakes on breath and curses of disbelief replaced the earlier slurs.

“Yara, look out!”

Dyam’s shout brought her back to the present. She turned around, forearms high for protection but it was no use. Jones’ fist connected to her right ear with such a force that she saw stars. She stumbled sideways and before she could recover, a tight bear-hug locked her in place, whooshing the air out of her lungs.

Not good, not good at all. She tried to break free, but Bulldozer’s thick arms were like an anaconda around her.

“That’s it, bitch, struggle for me, I love a fighter,” her charming opponent drawled just inches from her nose. Then he clacked his teeth together, as if giving her a snapshot of what he’d really like to do to her. His putrid breath reached her, making breathing even harder.

The crowd went absolutely insane.

Dark spots filled Yara’s eyesight, her oxygen intake was running dangerously slow; a few more seconds and the Bulldozer would succeed in blacking her out, or worse, cracking all her ribs.

Right. Time to end this circus.

Yara lifted her knees up and planted her both feet firmly on his thighs. Using them as leverage, she pulled back as far away from the stinking rat as she could, and then rammed her forehead into the fucker’s nose. A crack and a grunt later, she was free to breathe.

“You fuckin’ bitch! You’re gonna pay for this,” he bellowed holding his bleeding nose. But in no time, he was charging at her again, arms outstretched, like a bull in Pamplona.

Yara swirled around, hooked her left arm on his and in a fluid movement, she dragged him down and over her, lifting his heavy body by her feet. Bulldozer did a cartwheel in the air and crashed down with a loud thump on the arena.

The crowd cheered and more profanities were suggested, together with marriage proposals. Hmm, that’s an improvement. But Yara didn’t have time to laugh at the crowd’s change of heart. Before Jones could recover, she climbed on the thick fence, then jumped, elbow first, on top of S.O.B.’s stomach.

“Oooh,” the audience shrieked.

Feeling the love in the room, Yara stood up and swirled around slowly, making sure they all saw the message stamped on the back of her shorts – “Dream On.”

Suckers.

Her respite didn’t last long, though. Jones shook his head awake, pushed off the floor and roared at her. Yara stood her ground, showing him no fear, but then, the unthinkable happened. He started heaving and growing and getting heavier at each breath. Smoke came out of his abnormally enlarged nostrils and two horns emerged from his forehead, at the same time a set of immense wings popped out of his shoulder blades. His eyes turned bright yellow and his skin got covered in thick red fur.

Oh. Fuck.

The Bulldozer was a Lamassu deamon, aka a freaking winged bull.

Her evening was getting more promising by the second.

“Hey! No shifting!” she heard someone yell, but the crowd had gone even more berserk with the promise of a good blood-spilling showdown.

The Lamassu lunged forward. His spike-like teeth glistened with moisture. The ringmaster was giving no indication that he intended to stop the fight, so it was up to her to get her ass out of that cage, and fast. At the same time that Jones lunged at her, she shifted to the right, dodging his attack by a millimeter. Leveraging off the guy’s own weight, she leaped off the ground and landed on his back. He tried to get her off him, but, as she predicted, his arms were much too thick to reach back. She rode him to the left, then to the right, making him lose his balance. In no time, they crashed to the ground. Advantage #1: neutralized. While on the ground, the Lamassu couldn’t use his height and length against her. Next step, neutralize Advantage #2: his freaking wings. With her left hand, she quickly pinned one of his arms to her chest, while her right hand locked his elbow out-stretched. She then placed her left foot on his hip, pivoted her body exactly forty-five degrees to the right, then swung her left leg up, wrapped it around the bastard’s neck, and squeezed. The beast tried to fight her off, but the beauty of an arm-bar move is that no matter how big you are, the more you struggle, the more you choke.

Thank you, Brazilian jiu-jitsu!

After a few moments of more struggles, his limbs lost the strength, went floppy then completely still. He wasn’t dead, Yara knew it for a fact, but the beast was going to enjoy a little nap before waking up with a headache from Hiad.

She took a deep breath and stood up. The crowd replied with applause, whistles and other less-polite noises. Joel was clapping his hands together, his loud laughter adding to the audience’s cheers. Even Dyam’s grim face showed a hint of amusement. She winked at him. He shook his head in disapproval but she noticed his lips curving up in a small smile.

Now all they had to do was find the thief, get the box of bullets and get the hell out of there. As per protocol, she would be taken to the back room to receive her share of the winnings. And as per their plan, she’d use the opportunity to access the secure area and find the bastard thief with the box.

Yara’s eyes perused the room, looking for CJ, but didn’t find him. Instead she met the most amazing grey gaze. Fearless. Powerful. Viral.

Wow.

The pair of eyes belonged to a dark haired, tall man with sharp features and broad shoulders. Even his long sleeved T-shirt wasn’t enough to hide the well-defined muscles underneath.

Again, wow. Her panther purred inside.

She frowned. I know him, her mind uttered, but from where? A tightness curled in her heart, something she’d only felt once before – when the Soartas placed her at a crossroads that changed her life forever. Yara blinked, trying to deal with the flood of feelings that threatened to overwhelm her. Focus! Focus on the mission!

The sound of the cage’s small iron chains opening up reached Yara’s ears. The bookie got inside and gestured for the crowd to shut up. They complied, barely. “This fight is a ‘no contest’!’”

“What?” Yara shouted in utter disbelief.

“It’s not valid.”

“Why?”

“Because shifting and magical tricks are not allowed in my ring.”

“I didn’t use any magic,” she growled between clenched teeth.

“But he shifted,” the bookie retorted, pointing at the Lamassu deamon still napping on the floor. “And that’s not allowed.”

Loud cheers mixed with angry curses swamped the house.

“You worthless prick!” Yara shouted. If that weasel thought she’d let him take that win away from her without a fight, he was terribly wrong. She had gone through Hiad to get them inside that club tonight. She was not giving up now.

She opened her stance and prepared to give the bookie a piece of her mind, when the fence was suddenly shaken so hard that made both of them stop halt.

“Let her fight me,” the guy with amazing grey eyes said.

He looked at Yara as if daring her to accept. She glared back at him, and couldn’t stop the low growling from escaping her mouth.

“Let her fight me,” he repeated, louder this time. “And if she wins again, she takes the winnings … from both fights.”

There, he’d done it. The crowd stood up and roared, showing their support with whistles, clapping and more obscene proposals. She glared at the mob, unable to mask her annoyance. Seriously? Every time?

Yara turned back around and faced the owner of the ridiculous idea. “I won the fight with honor, no cheating. I deserve my share.”

“And your share you will get,” the bookie said with a sleazy smile. “All you need to do is defeat our champion.”

Champion? Ai, Apa Dobrý, her night couldn’t get any better.

As if on cue, the crowd cheered again, like the filthy monkeys they were.

Yara quickly searched for Dyam. He wasn’t happy. He ran his tongue over his teeth and shook his head, a clear sign of “don’t you dare accept this.” Joel was right there, too. Murder stamped on his face.

Did she have any choice in the matter? If she backed down from the challenge, they’d never be able to come back to the club – hell, they’d probably be kicked out like rabid dogs and miss out on the chance of retrieving the black box with the last sample of the atomic bullets. No, she couldn’t let Phillip get his hands on that box. If that happened, their entire efforts in London would have been for nothing, and Hiad would break loose. Literally.

Yara exhaled a tired breath. She had no other choice but to agree with fighting this new guy. “Whatever. Just don’t spring any wings or horns when you lose, alright, champ boy?” she sneered.

Grey Eyes bowed ceremoniously, then leaped over the grid and landed smoothly in the middle of the ring. The bookie took his cue and quickly made himself scarce.

At close range, Yara was able to scrutinize her new adversary better. He wasn’t handsome in a Hollywood sort of way. His beauty was rough, savage, but very handsome nonetheless.

He grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head.

Ai, Apa Dobrý. Yara’s jaw dropped involuntarily. His broad shoulders and pecs were covered in intricate tattoos. His square jaw carried a delicious stubble, that matched perfectly with his deceivingly disheveled brown hair. There was a raw vibe to him that permeated in the air like the amazing scent of dark spices he gave off. And reverberated all the way to her core.

We’ve definitely met before … but where?

That was so not the analysis she needed to be doing right now. She shoved the wanton wonderings back into her subconscious, and focused on the planning her fight moves.

He stood imperially on the opposite side of the ring, watching her, but not giving her a hint of opening the tally.

She cocked an eyebrow at him.  “So are we doing this or what?” she asked.

A lazy, crooked smile played on his lips. “Let’s dance.”

Book Promotion: Last Pirate at Fort Matanzas by Charles Frankhauser

Today’s book promotion comes from Charles Frankhauser and his book called Last Pirate at Fort Matanzas. If you like fiction novellas, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

Book: Last Pirate at Fort Matanzas
Author: Charles Frankhauser
Genre:
fiction, sea story, humor

Publisher: CreateSpace
Format: Paperback, ebook
Release Date:
12/13/2013

Summary:
A novella for all readers in the form of a parody (based on humor of pirates voting for a new Captain because nobody else can cook after surviving a battle with a galleon of King Phillip II’s Treasure Fleet during the mid 16 century near St. Augustine, Florida). One kiss and the theft of a sliver spoon from Bonita’s dollhouse in Madrid launches Alberto the garlic gardener into a vocation as Captain Alberto Dicer of the pirate ship El Dreadful.

The Author
Q & A:

The best thing about writing this book?
I visited the locales and wanted to entertain all readers with a good story

Where did you get your idea for this story?
From visiting historical sites and many years spent at sea

What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
Write and submit to readers willing to offer suggestions

What is your favorite book?
The Great Gatsby

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
All

I want to thank Charles Frankhauser for allowing me to promote his book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Last Pirate at Fort Matanzas!