M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of Serpentine by Cindy Pon with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Serpentine pre-order through Mysterious Galaxy in June!

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of Serpentine by Cindy Pon with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing chapter one of

Serpentine by Cindy Pon

presented byMonth9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

SerpentineEbook

SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

Vivid worldbuilding, incendiary romance, heart-pounding action, and characters that will win you over–I highly recommend Serpentine.Cinda Williams Chima, best-selling author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles fantasy novels

Serpentine is unique and surprising, with a beautifully-drawn fantasy world that sucked me right in! I love Skybright’s transformative power, and how she learns to take charge of it.” ~Kristin Cashore, NYT Bestseller of the Graceling Realm Series

Serpentine’s world oozes with lush details and rich lore, and the characters crackle with life. This is one story that you’ll want to lose yourself in.” ~ Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites

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Title: Serpentine
Publication date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Cindy Pon

Pre-order Links:

Amazon | B&N

excerpt

Chapter 1

The mountain was still shrouded in mist.
Skybright felt its cold tendrils against her nape as she climbed the giant cypress tree. She could almost believe she was in the heavens and the immortals themselves lived beyond the high monastery walls. A strange quiet had settled over Tian Kuan mountain, as if the mist had turned into something solid, blanketing their surroundings in silence. Skybright loved mornings like these. She scooted further up the thick gnarled branch, clinging with her legs, not daring to look down. Rough bark scraped her palms, and she held her breath as she grabbed a branch above her with both hands and eased herself onto her feet, crouching low, like a cat about to spring. She glimpsed the far edge of a square; dense fog hovered just above the green stone tiles of curved rooflines.
Zhen Ni gasped from below.
Skybright glanced down at her mistress. Zhen Ni’s pale face was turned upward, her eyes wide. Skybright quickly looked away and gulped. She had never been this high up before–if she fell she’d surely break her neck.
“Take care,” her mistress said.
Take care! Zhen Ni was the one who had concocted this mad plan to begin with, convincing Skybright the monastery wall truly wasn’t that high, and that she could climb the cypress tree with ease. Curiosity was her mistress’s weakness, and she simply had to know what went on within the monastery, behind its grand facade. Of course, Skybright would have to do the climbing. She couldn’t glare at her mistress, as it meant risking a glance downward again. Instead, Skybright rose slowly, willing her legs to keep steady, until she finally stood, her cloth shoes digging into the wood. She hugged the higher branch to her chest and murmured a prayer to the Goddess of Mercy.
Standing, she had a full view of the immense square hidden behind the walls, flanked by two red rectangular temples. A pair of fierce stone lions guarded each temple, and tall cypress trees dotted the edges of the square. Hundreds of monks, dressed in slate blue sleeveless tunics and trousers, sat cross-legged on the gray stone floor. While Zhen Ni and Skybright had been ascending the mountain, the monks’ strong voices had reverberated across the tall peak, counting as they practiced their forms. Now, they were so still and silent that Skybright blinked, wondering if they were statues as well—or an illusion. Each monk’s head was closely shaved, and they sat with their elbows resting against their knees, exact replicas of one another.
Not even the wind stirred.
“What can you see?” Zhen Ni asked, her impatient voice too loud to be a whisper.
Skybright ignored her. She scanned the endless rows of monks, each offering a three-quarter profile, when her eyes rested on one that did not appear like the rest. His hair wasn’t shorn, but shoulder length, and tied back. His tunic and trousers were tan. He sat in the very back, near the edge. As if he sensed her watching, he tilted his chin until their eyes met across the great distance.
She froze, feeling caught. And in those few quick moments, his gaze swept across her, seeming to take in every detail, before he turned his head back toward the magnificent temples, his expression never changing. Heart thudding, Skybright maneuvered until she was straddling the branch again, then scrambled as fast as she could down the giant cypress.
Her legs trembled when she finally reached the ground.
“Well, what did you see?” Zhen Ni tugged at her sleeve, her face shining with curiosity.
“Monks. So many of them.” She began walking back toward town, not waiting for her mistress as proper decorum dictated.
Surprised, Zhen Ni picked up her skirt so she wouldn’t trip on the embroidered hem and followed. “Could you see their faces?”
She shook her head, even as she recalled the slender eyes of the boy who had seen her. “They were meditating.”
The two girls hurried now through the trees. The fog had begun to lift, allowing glimmers of sunlight, and the earth was soft and damp beneath their feet. Skybright and Zhen Ni clasped hands and ran—they would be in trouble if their absence were noticed.

 

Skybright brought a late morning meal of rice porridge to Zhen Ni’s spacious reception hall and dined with her mistress. The two girls were now draped across Zhen Ni’s expansive bed, playing a game of Go. Her mistress was the better player, yet Skybright still had to keep an eye on the game, to be sure she never won by chance or from carelessness on Zhen Ni’s part. The last time she had won, Zhen Ni had pounded the bed so hard with her fists, the black and white stones scattered and bounced to the floor. Skybright never did find all of the pieces.
Morning light filled the bedchamber through lattice windows cast wide open. The walls were papered in the palest green, and Zhen Ni had decorated them with several magnificent lotus paintings—her favorite flower. Despite the open windows, the bedchamber was warm, and Skybright felt her chin dip, her lids growing heavy. Zhen Ni gave a languid yawn and stretched like a cat onto her side, leaning her head against her arm. A sharp tap on the reception hall’s door startled both girls. Skybright jumped from the tall platform bed as Zhen Ni swung her legs down the side, patting the gold ornaments woven in her hair.
“Your mother’s bringing a guest to visit, mistress,” Rose, another handmaid, said from outside.
“Now?” Zhen Ni asked as Skybright smoothed her mistress’s peach tunic and skirt.
“She’s on her way, mistress,” replied Rose’s muffled voice.
Zhen Ni sighed and gave Skybright an exasperated look before saying, “Thank you, Rose.”
Lady Yuan entered the quarters soon after, trailed by a woman in her forties, but dressed much more plainly, with her hair pulled into a tight bun. If Lady Yuan was an iridescent king fisher, then this woman clad in brown and gray was a dull hen. Yet there was a keen sharpness to the woman’s eyes as she took in the opulent reception hall, decorated in pale gold and pink, before her gaze glided to Zhen Ni’s face.
“I’ve brought a special surprise for you today, Daughter. Madame Lo is the best-regarded seer of our time. We’re fortunate to have her visiting so far from the Capital.” Lady Yuan smiled at both girls, her excitement obvious. She had grown plumper in these past few years; it had softened her features and rounded her chin.
Madame Lo inclined her head. “You honor me, Lady Yuan. It’s been too long since I’ve visited the mountains. I consider it a retreat.”
Zhen Ni bowed to the woman. “The honor is mine.” A flush colored her cheeks as she turned to her mother. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wasn’t certain if Madame Lo could make it until she actually arrived at our door,” Lady Yuan said.
Zhen Ni swept an arm toward the curved-back chairs. “Please sit.”
“You’ve not yet started your monthly letting,” the seer stated, and everyone froze as if she had picked up a vase and smashed it to the floor.
“Mother?” Zhen Ni’s voice was barely a whisper.
Lady Yuan sat down, arranging her silk skirt with nervous fingers.
“Dear girl, the fact that you’ve not reached womanhood shines as bright on your face as the moon in full bloom. I’m a seer, after all.” Instead of following her hostess’ lead and sitting, Madame Lo stood before them and scrutinized Zhen Ni. Despite her plain dress, two stunning jade bracelets encircled the fortuneteller’s fine-boned wrist. One in a clear crisp green, and the other a deep lavender, both wrought with delicate gold details. They flashed and gleamed under the bright lantern lights, mesmerizing Skybright. Madame Lo lifted a hand to her chin, and her dark, piercing eyes slid to Skybright’s own face for a breath before she said, “But don’t fret, Mistress Yuan, your monthly letting will start soon enough.”
A chill slithered down Skybright’s spine when her eyes had met the seer’s, and she retreated a step to leave when Zhen Ni grabbed her hand and pulled her to the plush chair beside her own. “So, Madame Lo, how do you tell your fortunes?” Her mistress wore a faint smile, but Skybright heard the hesitancy in her voice.
The seer gathered her brown skirt and finally seated herself. “I use your birth date and time, and study your facial features as well.”
Zhen Ni ducked her head, staring at her folded hands. “I see,” she murmured.
“Tell us what you’ve divined,” Lady Yuan said, turning to the other woman across the enameled table. “Will she have a good husband? And many children?”
Zhen Ni caught her lower lip between her teeth, something she did when she was anxious. The familiar clatter of china against lacquered trays, a pleasant sound, carried from the covered corridor outside, along with the barely perceptible whisper of slippered feet. Rose entered, followed by another handmaid, Oriole, who set small dishes of lychees and sweets on the tables beside them. The delicate aroma of jasmine tea filled the reception hall. Pouring the brew into celadon cups, Rose then offered one to each of the women with both hands. Her dark eyes flickered to Lady Yuan, and the lady gave the barest nod before Rose gave a steaming cup to Skybright as well.
The two handmaids then slipped out, after bowing their heads.
They took time to sip their tea, quiet for a long moment, before Zhen Ni, with a raised chin, finally met Madame Lo’s knowing eyes and asked, “Will I fall in love?”
“Love!” Lady Yuan cut in. “Love comes later, Daughter.”
“When did you fall in love with Father?” Zhen Ni plucked at the delicate beading on her sleeve edge.
“Not until ten years after we were wed,” Lady Yuan said. “Love takes time.” She nodded at Zhen Ni, as if in encouragement. But Zhen Ni wouldn’t look at her mother.
“I’ve composed and read her star chart according to her birth date and time. And what they tell me confirms what I see in your features, Mistress Yuan.”
They all leaned forward while the seer pressed the tips of her long fingers together, her wide mouth drawn tense. Skybright wondered if the pause was for theatrics. But when Madame Lo spoke, it was with such care and authority that the thought disappeared from her mind.
“You’re a willful girl.”
Zhen Ni crossed her arms and reclined into the cushion. Skybright struggled to keep her face straight.
“This will pose challenges for you. Cause grief for you and your family. The shape and set of your chin only emphasize what your star chart indicates. You will love. Truly and deeply. The slight tilt of your eyes, the sheen to them, say as much. You’re a romantic, and sensual—see the shape of your upper lip, and the curve of your lower. You will suffer heartache.”
Zhen Ni’s dark brows had drawn together, and she gripped her hands so tightly that the nails bit into her skin.
Madame Lo rose from her seat. She was a slight woman and moved with an assurance that lent her grace. Her brown tunic and skirt were loose and edged with gray, worn only for function. Skybright tried to imagine the woman in turquoise or lavender—any bright color—but was unable. The seer didn’t need any extravagance but the glittering bracelets at her wrist, and the sharp light of her dark eyes. Madame Lo kneeled beside Zhen Ni’s chair and extended a hand to her face. Her mistress shrank from the older woman, as if her fingertips were barbed.
“Her ears are beautifully shaped. See how thick the lobes are? This coupled with the wideness of her nose all point to her fortune in having been born into such an illustrious family. You’ll find a very wealthy husband for her to marry, Lady Yuan.” Madame Lo stood and returned to her chair, before taking another sip of tea. “She’ll have at least two children. More, I cannot say.”
“Will she marry an eldest son?” Lady Yuan asked. “Will she bear a boy herself?”
“I fear I have nothing more specific, Lady Yuan.”
Zhen Ni had not relaxed beside her, but was still sitting rigid as a bamboo stalk, and leaning toward Skybright as if for shelter. “How can I marry well yet suffer heartache?” asked Zhen Ni.
“One does not exclude the other,” said the seer.
“We all suffer from the pangs of love at least once in our lives, Daughter. It’s nothing to worry over. The important thing is that you’ll marry well and have children!” Lady Yuan smiled, her face glowing with pleasure.
“I think I’ve heard enough, Madame Lo,” Zhen Ni said briskly, and her mother cleared her throat before taking a sip of tea. Zhen Ni blushed. “You honor me with a personal reading.”
“It was a pleasure,” Madame Lo replied. “I hope it has helped to ease your mother’s mind.”
“My gratitude, Madame Lo,” said Lady Yuan.
Skybright eyed the ginger candy on a plate beside her. It was Zhen Ni’s favorite, but she hadn’t touched any of the sweets since they had been brought. Skybright would have liked some lychees, but decorum didn’t allow her to eat until everyone else had taken something for herself first. Instead, she stood and refilled the teacups. The fragrant scent of jasmine rose with the steam.
“What about a reading for Skybright?” Zhen Ni asked after a long pause.
Skybright almost exclaimed aloud, but bit her tongue.
“Skybright? Of course.” Lady Yuan said. “But what’s there to tell?”
Madame Lo turned her attention to Skybright fully for the first time, and Skybright sank deeper into her seat, feeling exposed. “I would need her birth date and time. A star chart takes at least three days to prepare.”
“We don’t know when Skybright was born, exactly,” Zhen Ni said.
Madame Lo studied her face as if she were a painting. Skybright willed herself to keep her head raised. “You’re Zhen Ni’s handmaid?”
“Yes. And my companion since we were babes.”
“Let the girl speak for herself,” the seer said.
All three looked to Skybright, and she swallowed, feeling the heat rise to her cheeks. She wasn’t used to being noticed, much less being the center of attention. “I’m an orphan.”
“I see,” Madame Lo replied. “And you were taken in by the Yuans?”
“She was left on our doorstep in a basket–”
“She wasn’t more than a few days’ old–”
Lady Yuan and Zhen Ni spoke over each other but both stopped abruptly when Madame Lo slapped her palm against the carved armrest. Lady Yuan jolted in her chair and Zhen Ni attempted to appear contrite.
“It’s as they say, Madame Lo,” Skybright said. “I know nothing more beyond that.”
The seer beckoned with a curl of her fingers. “Come here, girl.”
Skybright rose and stood before Madame Lo, feeling the damp of her palms. She had spent very little time wondering about her past, her parents, where she came from. It seemed pointless and impractical. Her life was full with daily responsibilities and rituals, with being a handmaid and companion to Zhen Ni. Now, this stranger might tell her more about her future or her past—probably useless or false knowledge, as far as Skybright was concerned. If she had a family, if her parents were still alive and wanted her, wouldn’t they have come back for her by now?
“Kneel,” Madame Lo said.
Skybright lowered herself onto the cold stone floor. The seer took her chin in one hand, turning her face this way and that, as a merchant would study cattle before purchasing. Skybright held her arms still at her sides, her hands fisted.
“There’s an unusual symmetry to your face.” Madame Lo tilted Skybright’s head to examine her ears. “Your features reveal little to me.” Skybright wanted to jerk away, but steadied herself. “She’s no classic beauty,” Madame Lo went on, speaking to Zhen Ni and Lady Yuan directly. “See how the mouth is too full, the eyes set slightly far apart. The nose is narrow, the bridge too tall—there is no wealth there. No fortune. Yet the face as a whole—”
“I’ve always thought Skybright quite pretty,” Zhen Ni said.
“Yes. Not a classic beauty, but the features come together to create something quite alluring. Almost unearthly.”
“But this tells us so little, Madame Lo,” Lady Yuan said, choosing a candied persimmon from the tray.
“Will she meet a good man?” Zhen Ni asked.
“Daughter!” Lady Yuan reprimanded.
Because they all knew Skybright would be a handmaid to Zhen Ni for life, and never marry.
“She could take a lover,” Zhen Ni retorted.
Skybright bowed her head, and Madame Lo patted her hot cheek, as if in sympathy. Then the seer’s grip tightened, her long nails digging into Skybright’s face, and Skybright gasped in surprise and pain. Grimacing, Madame Lo dropped her hand, then pressed her knuckles against her eyes. “I’m sorry, Skybright,” she murmured. “This has never happened to me before.”
The seer’s complexion had turned ashen, and Skybright could see she was unsettled. Alarmed, she sensed that Madame Lo was rarely fazed, much less showing it as she did now. She jumped to her feet, lifting the ceramic pot so she could pour the seer more tea.
“What’s the matter?” Lady Yuan exclaimed.
“When I touched Skybright, her image changed. It was as if her true self was veiled, and I was unable to see her clearly. I’ve never encountered the like before in any of my readings, and I’ve done hundreds.” Madame Lo reached for her teacup and took a long sip. Her hand trembled. The seer drew a breath before saying, “But she’s strong. That much comes across.”
Zhen Ni nibbled on a ginger candy and watched Skybright with interest. “Have you ever thought of yourself as alluring, Sky? As strong?”
“Never, mistress,” Skybright replied. Madame Lo’s revelations meant little to her—they were only frivolous nonsense.
“I can see it,” Zhen Ni said, her dark eyes gleaming as she nodded to the seer. “I never noticed before, but now I can see it.”

 

Zhen Ni fiddled with the jars and bottles on her vanity as Skybright brushed her black hair then plaited it, weaving luminous pearls into the single braid. Her mistress had been quiet since Madame Lo’s visit earlier in the day, her usually animated face appearing pensive for much of the afternoon. In an attempt to coax her into a better mood, Skybright had suggested a new hairstyle and outfit in time for Zhen Ni’s evening meal with her mother in the main hall. Her mistress had agreed with a distracted wave of her hand.
“Mama said a family friend’s daughter will be staying with us through the summer,” Zhen Ni said and began chewing on her nail. “She’s our age.”
Skybright swatted at her mistress’s hand.
The smile Zhen Ni gave her lacked its usual mischievousness. “I hate waiting. I wish it would never happen.” Their eyes met in the bronzed mirror, and Skybright took the opportunity to adjust the jade lotus pendant encircling her mistress’s neck.
Skybright knew she wasn’t talking about the girl who would be visiting.
“I know Mama’s eager to show me that book as soon as my monthly letting begins.”
Zhen Ni’s older sister, Min, had sneaked The Book of Making to share with them when they were just fourteen years. All three had gawked at the dozens of illustrations depicted, teaching a bride how to best pleasure her future husband in the bedchamber and become with child quickly. Now, two years later, Min was wed and living with her husband’s family, already expecting her first babe.
“To think Mama’s so desperate to marry me off, she hired that seer!” Zhen Ni said. “You’re so fortunate not to have to … suffer through any of it.”
Skybright began making Zhen Ni’s expansive platform bed, straightening the silk sheets and plumping the brocaded cushions. Her mistress had lain in it for much of the afternoon, without ever falling asleep. “I’ll go with you when you marry, and have to leave the Yuan manor too.”
“You would come with me, Sky?” Zhen Ni grabbed her hand and smiled coyly, knowing Skybright had no choice.
Skybright rolled her eyes. “Of course.”
“It would be a great comfort to me to have you by my side.” Zhen Ni sighed, her shoulders drooping.
Skybright laughed and, because she looked so pitiful, gripped her mistress’s hand. Zhen Ni’s most beautiful feature was her eyes, almond shaped and a deep honeyed brown. They often appeared to have sheen to them, as if she were on the verge of uproarious laughter or dramatic tears. She was half a head taller than Skybright, and more slender of build.
And as Zhen Ni considered her, her mouth twisted into a scheming smile, one that Skybright knew all too well. Wary, she dropped her mistress’s hand.
“You know you’re supposed to help me. Teach me to be a better wife to my future husband.”
“Teach you?”
Zhen Ni nodded. “A good handmaid … practices with her mistress.”
Skybright blushed, finally realizing what she was implying. The illustrations from The Book of Making had always featured a man and a woman. It had never crossed her mind that … Skybright swallowed, before saying, “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“You wouldn’t have. But Min told me some households require it of their daughters before they marry, to make them better wives. It’s called mirroring.” Zhen Ni grinned wider, the same wicked grin as when she had plucked the eyeballs from the steamed fish when they were eight years and convinced Skybright to eat one, telling her it was a delicacy and would make her smarter. She would never forget the wet, gristly texture of it, the hard marble in the middle. How it had burst in her mouth. Zhen Ni had cackled when she spat it out, almost retching.
“Don’t worry, Sky.” Zhen Ni drew closer, then leaned forward and pressed her mouth against Skybright’s.
Skybright startled but didn’t pull back. Her mistress’s eyes were closed, and the delicate scent of peach cream enveloped her senses—the cream she had rubbed into Zhen Ni’s face and throat earlier. Her lips were soft, supple, making Skybright suddenly aware of how rough her own were.
Zhen Ni put her hand on one shoulder and squeezed, before she spun away and collapsed onto the bed, giggling. “Oh!” She rolled, quite unladylike, twisting the sheets. “Oh,” she snorted, “We just had our first kiss!”
After a few moments, she sat up and rubbed the tears from her eyes. “How was it?”
Skybright hadn’t moved, not knowing how to respond, afraid of what her mistress might suggest next. “Your lips … were soft.”
Zhen Ni covered her mouth with both hands and began laughing uncontrollably again. “Dear darling Skybright.” She shook her head. “There is no guile to you. It’s why I adore you.”
“How did it feel to you?” Skybright was too curious not to ask.
Zhen Ni scrubbed at her mouth with the back of her hand with exaggerated disgust. “It was like kissing my own sister!”
Skybright pitched a fat cushion at her, and Zhen Ni squealed, barely dodging it in time. She then fell into bed and laughed with her.

 

Skybright couldn’t fall asleep that night.
It was near the end of the sixth moon, and the summer air was heavy and hot. She kicked the thin sheet aside and wound her thick hair away from her damp neck, trying to find a cool spot on the narrow bed. Her mind kept returning to the kiss she had exchanged with Zhen Ni. The kiss itself had been chaste, like she had shared with Zhen Ni before on the cheek. But there was an undercurrent there, an expectation, a bated breath. It seemed to have stoked something deep inside of her, as if touching her mouth to someone else’s had kindled a hidden desire, dormant until now.
She let out a long sigh, feeling the back of her arms stick to the bamboo mat. The face of the young monk who had glimpsed her clinging to a branch bloomed beneath her eyelids, how his expression never changed as he assessed her, as if they stood in front of each other at arm’s length. Who was he? And why wasn’t his hair cut like all the others?
Her dreams, when she finally fell asleep, were scattered and warm.
Then insistent.

 

Skybright woke in a fevered haze, feeling as if she were drunk. It was still night, so dark that she couldn’t see. Heat radiated from her groin downward, pulsing through her legs, tingling her feet, then ricocheting back again. Her thighs and calves ached of it, of melding and severing.
She gasped, trying to rise. She clutched at her legs, and her hands sprang back as she cried out. No sound came and she whimpered, rubbing her ears. Had she gone deaf as well? Skybright touched her legs again, but they were no longer there, replaced by something sleek and supple that wasn’t her skin, wasn’t her flesh.
This must be a dream.
A nightmare.
She tried to swing her lower half off the bedside, but instead thrashed and thumped to the stone floor below. Its rough coldness scraped her torso and elbows. Unable to stand, she dragged herself across the ground toward the lantern resting on her small cherry wood dresser. Something knocked over and hit her back. She hissed. Pulling herself up, she grabbed the lantern and a match. Her hands shook as she lit the wick.
The light’s warmth was familiar, comforting. Skybright twisted, held the lantern over her lower half, and nearly dropped it. A thick serpent coil snaked behind her, where her legs should have been, the ruby red scales glittering even in the wan light. She glided her hand along its smooth length, and felt it as her own flesh. The serpent length began at her waist, but the scales covered her abdomen, rising to just beneath her breasts. She was naked. Where had her sleep clothes gone?
The lantern jangled in her grasp, and she set it on the ground, running her hands over her face, now in a panic. Her features felt the same. She pushed herself, slid back to the dresser, and grabbed the pearl hand mirror that had been a birthday gift from Zhen Ni. Her familiar face reflected back at her, although her eyes were dark and wild, and her long hair seemed alive, floating about her shoulders.
A silent sob shook her, tremored from her chest through to the tip of her grotesque tail. Then she glimpsed something that caused her heartbeat to stutter. Slowly, she opened her mouth, and a long forked tongue escaped from it, waggling, as if taunting her.
The hand mirror crashed to the ground, and Skybright clawed at her neck with both hands, unable to speak, to scream. Her serpent coil jerked, swept the lantern on its side, and the flame was doused, casting her into darkness.

 

Quiet knocking stirred her awake.
The door panel slid aside and Zhen Ni poked her head through, then tiptoed inside, closing the panel behind her.
“You’re late. Of all the days!”
Sunshine flooded the small chamber when Zhen Ni opened the lattice window and Skybright struggled to rise, hysteria smothering her chest.
“What happened in here?” Her mistress stared at the toppled stool and broken lantern with oil seeping out beneath, then looked at her and gaped. “Why are you naked?”
Skybright glanced down and saw her legs, stuck her tongue to the roof of her mouth. “I’m—” She choked with relief when she could speak, “I was hot. Last night.” It must have been a nightmare. She had a fever and was hallucinating.
Zhen Ni drew to her bedside and waved her hands at her torso. “When did you get those?” she exclaimed.
Skybright peered down again, momentarily terrified, to realize that Zhen Ni had been pointing at her breasts. She crossed her arms, flushing.
“You’ve become a woman,” her mistress said in a quiet voice, her expression serious and thoughtful.
She wrapped the thin sheet around herself, laughing from a mixture of embarrassment and disorientation. “We’re the same age!”
“I certainly don’t look like that.”
Skybright was familiar with her mistress’s physique, being the one to help her bathe, and Zhen Ni was willowy, lacking the curves that Skybright had. Curves hidden beneath loose tunics that, until now, Skybright had never given a second thought.
Zhen Ni stooped down so that they were eye level. “It’s happened, Sky,” she whispered. “My monthly letting came.”
Skybright clapped her hand over her mouth. “Mistress—” But something in Zhen Ni’s measured gaze stopped her short.
“I’ve bled onto the sheet. You must strip and wash them. Hide the evidence.” Zhen Ni paused. Skybright had known her a lifetime and had never seen this look of fierce determination in her mistress’s eyes. “Mama can never know.”

About-the-Author

Cindy Pon

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at www.cindypon.com.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Book blitz: My Lea by E. Mellyberry #Giveaway

my lea book blitz

Book Blitz

My Lea coverBook Title: My Lea
Author: E. Mellyberry
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

When Lea Amelia landed her feet in San Francisco for her overseas study, her idea of freedom was simple, like eating junk food ten times a day, sitting in front of the TV in her PJs, or going out late with her friends without the need to check in with her mother constantly.

Then she met Andrew Jaya, her brothers’ best friend. A twenty-two-year-old guy whose physical appearance looked like he was crafted straight from God’s heavenly hands, but possessed a past as bleak as if it was drawn by Evil himself. A conflicted guy who wore sadness like nobody’s business beneath his mask, a perfect-looking mask she slowly peeled away.

He was also the guy who hurt her.

Suddenly, everything about her was no longer simple.

Andrew Jaya had convinced himself that not feeling was good for him. He’d been doing it splendidly for almost his entire life. But that was before his best friend’s sister stepped into his life and ruined it. After weeks of knowing Lea, all of those warm and wonderful feelings he’d long ago denied to himself started to reappear. Problem was, the brighter the light, the bigger the shadows that came with it.

His traumatic past refused to let him go.

When the unthinkable happened, the easiest thing to do was to run. But life often proves that the easiest way is usually the hardest.

excerpt

ONE LOOK AT her and his groin revolted. Just then Andrew realized that he’d never seen Lea in anything other than jeans and loose sweaters, hoodies, or blouses. Tonight was the first time he saw a glimpse of her long, toned, smooth-like-silk legs.

He’d never wanted to scream so badly like he did now. Ne-ver!

All of her legs were on display. All! Did the designer run out of material? Was that the reason why it looked more like a shirt than a dress? Where was the bottom half of the f***** dress? And of course it had to be sleeveless. With her lean arms on display as well. She was a f***** model on display. Everything on her was on fucking display. Too much skin—flawless skin…

She was so not going out like that. Not with Kris. Over his dead body. If Jo couldn’t act like a good brother and order his sister to change, he would step in with pleasure.

He stole a quick peek at her. The inside of his chest tingled, and it sent a lightning jolt to every part of his body.

He was so screwed.

Her caramel-brown eyes sparkled within the frame of her heart-shaped face. Her European strong posture perfectly supported her smooth Asian skin. She looked like an angel. A gorgeous, hot-like-hell angel of—

Goddamn it! Her face.

What happened to her face? To her eyes? Was it the lipstick that made her lips oh-so-deliciously-shiny?

He couldn’t tear his eyes off of her unless someone poked and blinded them. She wore her sleek hair down, and her side bang swung sexily around the left corner of her face every time she moved. Andrew couldn’t decide which action he preferred—get a pair of scissors and cut off her bang from the root, or smooth that very same sexy fringe with his gentle hand.

Yep. Probably, most definitely scissors.

Andrew’s heart hammered hard within the cage of his ribs, he was certain his body jerked along with its beat. He wouldn’t be surprised if he got a heart attack by just looking at her. In a way, he was grateful that she didn’t show up like this every day, or he would soon end up in a hospital for an unputdownable hard-on. And this was flat-out embarrassing for someone who was used to be surrounded by gorgeous girls, including the ones from showbiz.

Let’s see if I can convince her to change.

“You look…”

Gorgeous.

“—fat in that dress.”

He pointed to her midsection, which was perfectly flat by the way. Then, he gestured wildly in the general direction of her behind, which was perfectly rounded in his honest opinion, and said, “It makes your ass look huge. Like the bottom of a frying pan.”

The murderous look she gave him could wipe out the entire US continent. This was the first time he lost an eye-contact battle with someone. He wanted to worship her with his eyes, but at the same time felt shy for looking at her so blatantly. His strange expression was best associated with the expression of a twelve-year-old boy who read Playboy magazine for the first time. Guilty pleasure.

Jo laughed harder for some reason Andrew didn’t understand. Theo stood next to him and looked at Lea with amusement while the girl in question shot icy daggers in his direction. “You look great, babe. What shoes?”

And since when did Theo talk to her like that? Babe? Gee, yuck! And she was smiling! He was so f****** tempted to call her babe and see how well it would go.

Lea opened her mouth to answer Theo’s question, but then decided against it. She held up a finger, telling him to wait.

Was there any chance that she would put on her flip-flops?

Please let it be her flip-flops…

She walked to the corner of the room near the hallway and picked up a box. Andrew almost slapped a hand to his forehead reading the brand name that was printed there. She walked past him and Theo, and sat herself on the futon next to the excited looking Diana. Andrew was very curious about the choice of her shoes—

Oh.*****. Me.

No!

Strappy heels? On those legs?

Andrew’s mouth dropped to the floor and continued to drop till it reached the building’s ground floor. He hadn’t even gotten the chance to put his bulging eyes back into their sockets when they heard knocks on the door. As if she deliberately wanted to taunt him, she rose from her seat and walked to the door. With those heels on those legs on that body.

Walking in those heels should be illegal. Someone could get hurt. He was already hurt.

playlist

Lea, Toto — My Lea’s theme song.

Tong Hua (also known as Fairy Tale), Guang Liang — This song is the heart and soul of the entire series. It’s a beautiful but rather sad song. I often listened to it on repeat, still do, just to get me in the mood. What does a broken fairy tale feel like? The lyrics not only speak to me about despair, bitterness, and disappointment, but also love and happiness.

Live While We’re Young, One Direction

Whataya Want From Me, Adam Lambert

Fly Me to the Moon, Jason Mraz

Just A Dream, Nelly

Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore, Reo Speedwagon

Welcome to My Life, Simple Plan

You Don’t See Me, Josie and the Pussycats

Autumn in My Heart — This is the original soundtrack of a Korean’s drama I watched years ago. I have no idea who the singer is. I have no idea what the lyrics mean. I just know that it’s a sad, melancholy song that pierces through my heart.

Moments, One Direction

Belle of the Boulevard, Dashboard Confessional

Never Alone, Lady Antebellum & Jim Brickman

The Climb, Hollie Cavanagh

You’re All I Need, White Lion

When You Say You Love Me, Josh Groban

Love Me, Yiruma

All of Me, John Legend

Fix You, Coldplay

Kiss Me, Ed Sheeran

Angel, Robbie Williams

Arms, Christina Perri

Fade Into Me, David Cook

Meet the Author

Melly CaricaturesMelly is a full-time mom, wife, and fangirl. She used to work in a school and is very passionate about education.

Melly has been writing children’s books since 2011 under the name mellyberry. She loves reading all kinds of books in her spare time, mostly MG, YA, NA, contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy. She avoids horror and sci-fi as much as she can.

Melly was born in Indonesia and grew up in a multi-language environment. When she talks to people, she could accidentally string words from different languages into one sentence. When she does that, simply reminds her to speak properly.

Her ideal vacation always involves a beach; usually it’s the Nusa Dua beach, Bali. She spent a few years in USA to complete her Master degree. It was during that time that she’d fallen madly in love with San Francisco and the Bay Area. According to her, San Francisco is no doubt the most romantic city in the world.

She loves hearing from her readers and book-lovers everywhere.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Blog Tour: Suspicious & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley By Heather Graham & Tara Taylor Quinn #Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We’re launching the Prism Tour for
Suspicious & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
By Heather Graham & Tara Taylor Quinn

This Harlequin Bestseller Author Collection is the re-release of Suspicious by Heather Graham and The Sheriff of Shelter Valley by Tara Taylor Quinn, two best-selling romantic suspense books.

Tour Schedule:
May 28th: Beck Valley Books – The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
May 29th: Diana’s Book Reviews – Audiobook of Suspicious
May 31st: Brooke Blogs – Suspicious
June 1st – Grand Finale

Suspicious & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
(Bestselling Author Collection)
Adult Romantic Suspense
Paperback, ebook, & audiobook 544 pages
May 26th 2015 by Harlequin

Suspicious
by Heather Graham

Cold-blooded predators lurk in the Everglades—and not all of them are gators

When Jesse Crane returned to his roots to serve on the Miccosukee police force, he’d hoped to leave behind the violence of the city and the memories of his murdered wife. But bodies start to pile up in Jesse’s corner of the sultry Florida swampland…

As he probes these crimes, Jesse is drawn to the beautiful Lorena Fortier, a new hire at the local gator farm and research facility. Lorena is a little too interested in Jesse’s investigation, but before he can uncover her true motives, they’re both pulled into a dangerous web of greed, ambition and animal cunning. To survive, they’ll have to decide whether they can trust each other…before the hunters become the hunted.

The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
by Tara Taylor Quinn

Six months ago, Beth woke up with no memory of her past, a bruised face and a little boy who called her “Mama.” Until her memory returns, the most dangerous thing she can do is to fall for the sheriff—the one man who can uncover the truth and destroy the person she’s become.

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Announcing from Harlequin Books

Hot off the press from Harlequin Books:  Toronto, New York (May 21, 2015)—Harlequin and HarperCollins Publishers today announced the launch of Harlequin Audio, a new imprint that will produce audio versions of Harlequin titles. The imprint will release its first titles on June 30, 2015.

Harlequin Audio, in conjunction with HarperAudio, will work directly with digital audio distributors to provide full distribution to the retail and library markets. Furthermore, Harlequin Audio will distribute physical CD versions of all titles…

In its first year, Harlequin Audio plans to release 200 titles, including audios from bestselling authors Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber, Shannon Stacey, Marie Force, Pam Jenoff and Maisey Yates. All titles will be available in the retail and library space.

AND…ttq is among them!!! SOOOO excited!  Along with Heather Graham’s Suspicious, The Sheriff of Shelter Valley, read by the great Cris Dukehart, is out July 7th!!!!! Yep, right up there in the first wave of releases!! Whew, there, I finally got to spill my beans. I’ve been sitting on this news for over a month!

Shortly after I first got the news I was told that I would be auditioning three readers for The Sheriff of Shelter Valley.  I’ve had several other titles in audio format, but one really stood out for me.  My true life love story, It Happened on Maple Street, published by HCI books.  That book is told by me, in first person, and relates a very very difficult time of my life.  Ms. Dukehart had been given the book to read and took on the project before I even knew it was being done.  I’d never heard of her before she contacted me.  She wanted me to hear her interpretation of me.  It seemed to be incredibly important to her to get ‘me’ right.  I listened for less than a minute and had tears rolling down my face.  She’s that good.

So, of course, when I was told that I’d be auditioning readers for Sheriff I asked that Cris be among them.  Unfortunately the three readers had already been pre-selected and my request crossed in email with the list of readers I had to choose from.  Imagine my feeling of rightness when I opened that email and saw Cris’ name first on the list.  Without my request having been received.  And the audition sample sent for my review was my very own It Happened On Maple Street.

They say all things happen for a reason.  And I believe them.

Heather GrahamHeather Graham

New York Times and USA Today best selling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over two hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty-five languages. She has written over 200 novels and has 60 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from booksellers and writers’ organizations for excellence in her work, and she is also proud to be a recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers. (And award for charitable endeavors.) Heather has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television.

Heather loves travel and anything that has to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. She also loves ballroom dancing. Each year she hosts the Vampire Ball and Dinner theater at the RT convention raising money for the Pediatric Aids Society and in 2006 she hosted the first Writers for New Orleans Workshop to benefit the stricken Gulf Region. She is also the founder of “The Slush Pile Players,” presenting something that’s “almost like entertainment” for various conferences and benefits. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.

Tara Taylor Quinn

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award, a five time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists. Tara is the past-president of Romance Writers of America and served eight years on that board of directors. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker. In her spare time Tara likes to travel, climb Arizona mountains, and inline skate.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Click on the banner to take you to Tara’s landing page for all her tour events.

Tour Giveaway

$10 VISA Gift Card (INT)

Print copy of Suspicious/The Sheriff of Shelter Valley (US only)

2 ebooks of Suspicious/The Sheriff of Shelter Valley (INT)

Spend the Summer with TTQ T-shirt (US only)

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Blog Tour: Undertakers by Ty Drago #Giveaway

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ABOUT LAST SIEGE OF HAVEN (THE UNDERTAKERS #4):

Title: Last Siege of Haven (Undertakers #4)

Publication date: May 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Ty Drago

While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance…with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka ‘The Zombie Prince’) is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead — unlike the rest of his kind, Dillin isn’t evil. In fact, he wants to help. And Will needs that help, because the Queen of the Dead has learned the location of Haven, the Undertakers’ secret HQ, and is planning a massive and deadly assault.

With the last day of the Corpse War finally upon them, Will and his friends find themselves in a desperate race to close the Rift between worlds and forever kill the Corpses. But can they do before Haven is overrun?

For that matter, can they do it at all?

Excerpts:

“Follow me,” I said. “All of you!”

We headed down the alley toward the rear parking lot.

That’s when a figure stepped in front of us, blocking our exit.

A Corpse. But not just any Corpse.

The principal.

Robert Dillin.

“Mr. Kessler,” he said. He was a Type One. Very fresh and very strong, his stolen body probably dead less than a week. I didn’t see too many Type Ones. The Corpses found them hard to come by. The fact that Dillin wore one suggested that he ranked high among the Malum.

Leader caste.

I held up my Taser and readied myself for his attack.

It didn’t come.

“No need for that, young man,” the deader remarked. Then he said something that I would never in a million years have imagined coming out of a Corpse’s mouth.

“I’m here to help you.”

 

#2

 

I was done running.

So, as the Pigeon from Hell came for me, I made a move that will probably seem a little—well—stupid.

I grabbed it.

You need to understand that I had two things going for me. First, the Malite hadn’t had time to really come up to full velocity. If it had, I wouldn’t have stood a chance. But, as it was, I clocked its speed as about as fast as a tossed baseball.

Second, I was seriously pissed.

I can be really quick when I’m seriously pissed.

So, as it made a literal beeline for my face, I sidestepped and snatched it out of the air, wrapping one hand around its hard, quad-winged body.

It was strong. Stronger than I would have thought, given its size. Making a sound like a boiling teapot, it struggled wildly in my grasp, at one point nearly pulling me off my feet.

“Help Dave!” I exclaimed to the others. “Now!”

Then the Pigeon from Hell did pull me off my feet.

Its wings, only one of which I’d managed to trap inside my fist, beat furiously at the air, managing to yank me off balance. I slammed against one of the nearby dining tables, knocking over two chairs, before sprawling painfully across the tablecloth and place settings.

Still, I held onto that disgusting creature like grim death—because grim death was exactly what waited for me if I let go.

It twisted and writhed, trying to reach me with those insane drill teeth. But the young Malum had picked a form that was big on offense but bad on defense. It couldn’t reach me.

Feeling the Malite’s struggles increase, I gave up trying to stand and instead rolled purposefully across the table and crashed to the floor, making sure to land on top of the creature. I tried to get my other hand on it, but its drill-like teeth dug savagely into the skin of my palm. I yelled and pulled back.

Then, looking around frantically for something that would answer the nagging question of “Okay, now what do I do?” I spotted Julie.

Helene’s little sister huddled nearby, gaping in mute terror at all the blood and chaos, Aunt Sally still balanced in her small hands.

“Julie!” I called.

At the sound of her name, a little bit of awareness seemed to return to her eyes.

“Julie!” I repeated. “Come here! Quick!”

And the girl came—slowly, fearfully—but she came.

I was on my knees now, holding down the creature in my fist with every ounce of my fading strength. “Listen to me,” I told the girl. “I want you to point Aunt Sally at the monster.”

“I … can’t …” She sounded frightened almost beyond reason. And how could I blame her? This morning she’d woken up in her own bed, in her own home, with her own mom there to make her breakfast. Now, just half-a-day later, the world she thought she’d always known had become a realm of walking dead people and flying monsters. Up until now, she’d held things together beautifully. But even this girl’s courage had its limits.

“You can,” I told her, gritting my teeth as the Malite managed to slice off a piece of skin between my thumb and forefinger. “Just point the tip down. It’s easy.”

She nodded. But she didn’t move.

“Julie. I know you’re scared. But I need you to do this!”

She nodded again. Then, at last, the business end of the crossbow focused down at the creature in my grasp.

“I … can’t hit it,” the girl wailed. “Your hand—”

“Julie,” I said, slowly and deliberately, “I want you to shoot through my hand.”

 

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ABOUT TY DRAGO:

Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where the Undertakers novels take place. In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses,The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Giveaway Information:  Winner will be drawn June 26, 2015

·        Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Last Siege of Haven (The Undertakers #4) by Ty Drago (INT)

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Pre-Order Blitz; Hearts in Danger by Multiple Authors #Giveaway

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pre-order blitz

AHASetMED2Book Title: Hearts In Danger
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Join the Thunderclap | Early Purpose Bonuses

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Book Blurb

FOURTEEN stories of thrilling romance to benefit the American Heart Association for only $0.99! These full length, Romantic Suspense stories come from NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS!

This box set was created to raise awareness for heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. It features New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors and will only be available for a limited time.

Teasers

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Meet the Author

**Limited Time Offer!***

Sharon Hamilton

Accidental SEAL

Newbie Realtor Christy Nelson holds her first Open House but is given the wrong address, and finds a hot naked SEAL in the master bedroom.


Roxanne St. Claire

Pick Your Poison

Meet Benjamin Youngblood – he’s sexy, smart, spectacular and … about to lose his job for the best security firm in the world. He’s got one chance to prove himself and nothing will stop him. Not even a flower farmer.


Paige Tyler

Protective Custody

Someone is stalking reporter Paisley McCoy, and police detective Gray Beckham is the only man who can protect her. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter.


Lynn Raye Harris

Hot Pursuit

When someone starts shooting at Evie Baker, there’s only one man dangerous enough to help her–the man who broke her heart ten years ago. Hostile Operations Team soldier Matt Girard uses all his considerable black ops skill to protect Evie.


Elle James

SEAL’s Honor

Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot.


Carolyn Crane

Against The Dark

Angel is an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist. Cole is an undercover agent with big plans for his gorgeous thief–he’ll make her pose as his girlfriend to help with a dangerous mission.


Cheyenne McCray

Hidden Prey

Tori is in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by the son of the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Special Agent Landon Walker rescues Tori and sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough.


Nina Bruhns

Dangerous Curves

A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy–and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!


Misty Evans

Deadly Pursuit

When Londano escapes a maximum security prison and begins picking off Celina’s friends and coworkers, everyone she knows becomes a target. Including DEA agent Cooper Harris, the man who once broke her heart and is now assigned to be her bodyguard.


Susan Stoker

Protecting Caroline

Caroline helps foil a terrorist plot when she finds herself on a plane that’s hijacked (with the help of three members of a SEAL team), but after she gets home she finds herself still in the sights of the terrorists. She can only hope Wolf and his team will be able to save her in time.


Parker Kincade

One Night Stand

Amanda Martin decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises just hot, indulgent sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who gives her pleasure unlike she’s ever known. A stranger with a deadly secret.


Mandy Harbin

Brody

Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs.


Megan Mitcham

Enemy Mine

Born in the blood of Sierra Leone’s Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord’s inner circle.


Barb Han

Caught in the Crosshair

On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, private security firm owner Jaden Dean will need to work side-by-side with Lauren James to survive and find her brother. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz – Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway and Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake with Giveaway #T4T

 

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway and
Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Call Me Grim

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake—and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper . . . and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place. And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark . . . but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

Call Me Grim is humor, brilliance and a success altogether.” – Paula, Her Book Thoughts

 

“Okay, just the story line over all was GENIUS. I have NEVER EVER read a book like this before. It was just so original and plain awesome. MEGA props to the author. I’m still grinning from what I’ve read.”Rachelann, Goodreads Reviewer

 

“Call Me Grim is one of those books that you do not want to put down. At the same time there is something about it that makes you just want to savor it – you want to know what is going to happen next but at the same time you do not want it to end.” – Mike, Goodreads Reviewer

about-the-author

Elizabeth Holloway

Elizabeth Holloway is a maternity nurse living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children and their pets, Bam-bam the dog and Tinkerbell the cat. In addition to nursing and writing, she’s also an avid reader, an artist, a karaoke singer, a music lover, and a kick-ass Pictionary player. Her debut YA novel, CALL ME GRIM, will be released from Month9Books in Fall 2014.

 

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Into the Fire

Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

“You witness a major loss to the main character that does not involve a death, and also fully understand just what is about to face the main character. It was such a hook for me and I just had to find out what would happen next.”Maria, The Paisley Reade


“I love finding series about unique paranormals, and Ashelyn Drake did a really good job with this one.”Michelle, Book Briefs

 

“Kelly Hashway aka Ashelyn Drake has created an impeccable story surrounded around mythology, romance, family and deceit.” Nay Denise, Nays Pink Bookshelf

about-the-author

Kelly Hashway

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

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Chapter-by-Chapter-blog-tour-buttonI love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl