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

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

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

Release Day Blitz: Summer Fire #Giveaway

summer fire release day blitz

Release Day Blitz

20cover2D Book Title: Summer Fire
Author: Various
Genre: Contemporary Romance Anthology
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

20 ALL NEW Contemporary Romance stories by New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors.

Love when it’s hot? So do romance writers. Especially when we’re writing about gritty alphas, angsty bad boys, sizzling attraction, and unrequited passion.
So loosen your buttons, turn the fan to oscillate and join us for this steamy, groundbreaking bundle of summer tales that are hot hot hot.

Meet the Author


Gennita Low

Sizzle

Spies, Lola and Jake, fall hard for each other. Is their love strong enough for one assignment that would risk everything?

Author Link Amazon


R.J. Lewis

Sinful

Two different people from two different worlds find their lives colliding in the most sinful way.

Author Amazon Link


Wilder

Summer Storm

VP Guardrail’s life has always been his MC club. It’s up to him to fix a wrong, but he wasn’t expecting Allie to take him by storm.

Author Amazon Link


Victoria Danann

A Season in Gemini

The first time sexy biker, Brant Fornight, saw Garland St. Germaine, he knew she was going to turn him inside out. And she did.

Author Amazon Link


Kym Grosso

Solstice Burn

Love and temptation flare in a tropical paradise. When Chase rescues Penny, she learns to embrace her inner fantasies.

Author Amazon Link


Cat Miller

Sun Burnt

Kesslyn inherits a ranch, but the city girl is unsure she’s up for the challenge. Can her sexy foreman rope her into staying forever?

Author Amazon Link


Mimi Barbour

Big Girls Don’t Cry

He’s everything she’s ever wanted in a man. And she’s nothing like the girl she wants to be. Something’s gotta change…

Author Amazon Link


Clarissa Wild

Killer

Secrets could kill you. He murdered her husband. She’s the prime suspect seeking justice. Only one of them can win.

Author Amazon Link


Teresa Gabelman

Rodeo Romance

Jake McCabe had one rule. Never date a client. Trisha Summers had a new rule. Never date a man again. Rules were meant to be broken.

Author Amazon Link


Helen Scott Taylor

Irish Kisses

Ten years ago he said he loved her, then he left and broke her heart. Now he’s back, and he wants her again, but can she trust him?

Author Amazon Link


Victoria James

Sweet Surrender

Cade showing up on her doorstep is not what Julia wants-but this bad-boy is back and ready to convince her that this time is forever…

Author Amazon Link


Mona Risk

Husband for a Week

A Sicilian vendetta, a fake husband, and a matchmaking grandmother complicate Jonathan and Isabella’s lives. Can love conquer all?

Author Amazon Link


Patrice Wilton

A Man for Hire

Jordon’s ex-boyfriend is bringing home a bride. To save face she hires a hot guy for the weekend. Sparks fly–can this be love?

Author Amazon Link


Linda Barlow

My Mile-High Mistake

Six years ago, she yearned for her sexy, forbidden high school teacher. Now she can’t resist his temptation at 35,000 feet.

Author Amazon Link


Joan Reeves

Heat Lightning

Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. His touch makes her throb. Her body knows him, but she remembers nothing about him.

Author Amazon Link


Danielle Jamie

Tan Lines and Salty Kisses

Becca and Parker have a second chance at summer romance. The spark is hotter than a Georgia July. Can it withstand news of his secret?

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Terri Marie

Someone Exactly Like You

Cameron Barron’s plan was solid. A few lies, a disguise, and an apology to Chastity Newberry… What could possibly go wrong?

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Lorhainne Eckhart

His Promise

A love they thought would last forever. A promise forgotten. Until one summer night.

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Brandy L Rivers

Summer Rhythm

Doug never could resist Chloe. She always runs. Will this time be different or is their summer rhythm destined to repeat.

Author Amazon Link


Nicole Blanchard

Anchor

I thought it was a weekend from hell, until he showed me a little piece of heaven.

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

Blog Tour: Love Overcomes By Angela Schroeder #Giveaway

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This is my stop during the book blitz for Love Overcomes by Angela Schroeder. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 19 till 25 May, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

Love OvercomesLove Overcomes

by Angela Schroeder

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age category: Adult

Publisher: Anaiah Press

Release Date: October 21, 2014

Blurb:

Going to Hollywood was supposed to be something that would change Clara Mackenzie’s life forever.

Her younger sister, single mother Arabella, never imagined that going to California with her sister would have such a huge impact on her life. Now, she needs to try to overcome her past and try to trust again or be doomed to be single forever.

Arabella Mackenzie and her son Liam have never wanted or needed anyone other than their family. When Arabella meets Jeremy Fowlis she begins to have feelings for a man for the first time since before her son was born. Shy, Clara begins to fall for an actor of her own when she meets dashing Jake.

Jeremy is not use to women who do not want to date him because he is an in-demand actor let alone a woman who does not even recognize him. He finds he wants to know more about her but is not sure if he can handle the fact that she is a single mother and has a past that seems to be shrouded in mystery.

Can Arabella and Jeremy both overcome their doubts, fears and past in order to find love?

You can find Love Overcomes on Goodreads

You can buy Love Overcomes here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Smashwords
Angela SchroederAbout the Author:

Angela was born and raised in Iowa, in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children her wonderful blessings.

You can find and contact Angela here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

Google +

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Love Overcomes. These are the prizes you can win:

– a $10 B&N or iTunes giftcard (US only)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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

Bog Tour: The Artisans by Julie Reece #Giveaway

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I just finished reading The Artisans and it is awesome!! Check out my review below. There is also a Giveaway at the end of the post.

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Julie Reece, be sure to check out all the details below. 


 

 

About The Book:
 
Title: THE
ARTISANS
Author: Julie
Reece
Pub. Date:
May 12, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 300

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.



To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.



Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.



But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.



Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.



Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.



But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?



Praise for THE ARTISANS

“The Artisans has all the elements I love – spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored.”  ~ Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy.“Read The Artisans in the middle of the night with a flashlight if you dare. The perfect blend of romance and horror with a strong female lead kept me reading through the night.”~ L.S. Murphy author of PIXELATED Bloomsbury Spark and REAPERJ. Taylor Publishing

“Wowza!!!! That book was so freakin’ good! Intense, insane, freaky at parts and sooooo good! I haven’t had emotions like this about a book in a long time!”~ Mindy Blogger @ Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

“The first thing I thought when I finished this book was ‘dang, I would love to see this as a movie’. The Artisans has such an awesome and haunting concept to it plus I just adore all of the characters.”~Jena Blogger @ Shortie Says

“The Artisans was a unique modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with mystery, romance and wonderful characters. From the first page I was completely lost in the wonderful setting that Reece created.”~Bridget Blogger @ Dark Faerie Tales


 

my review

My first thoughts when I started reading The Artisans was Intriguing right from the start. Raven Weathersby has a gift for fashion designing and she really wants to be one. She lives with her step-dad, who can’t seem to take care of himself, let alone her, she misses her mom who died after an illness. After her Step-Dad gets into trouble with Gideon Maddox her life changes.

She ends up making a deal with Gideon Maddox, she will live in his Gothic mansion and design a clothing line for him.

She moves in to the Gothic mansion, reminds me of a Gothic, Mystical tale. The place is scary and so is he, Gideon but she needs to do this for her step Dad.

This is such an intense type of fairy tale and I loved it. The story can be scary and intense but romance in a different sort of way. I love the Gothic Steam-punk style that Raven has, love how dedicated she is to her Step-Dad and her friends. The passion shows through in the writing of this story.

There is so much to this story and this story is so well written and doesn’t leave anything out. This is the type of story you want to read it all at one sitting, it took me 2 days to read this book. I also loved that it is a clean story, a few maybe one or two swear words and no sex. Just an awesome fairy tale in a Gothic steam punk way.  I definitely can see this being a movie.

I am giving this 5 stars.

I received this book for an honest review from the publisher.

 

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About Julie:

 
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth
grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter
brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but
not all.


I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school.
I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth
grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right
to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in
a tower, and I won.


Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the
princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win
the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later,
I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and
monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with
my friends.


Then I thought I’d write one down…


Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary,
urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. 


I love strong heroines,
sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot
guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give
up. I say, if you write, write on!
 
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
 
 

Giveaway Information:  Winner will be drawn June 19, 2015

 

·        Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Artisans by Julie Reece (INT)

 

 

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

Pre-Order Blitz: A Vixen in Venice by Kate Deveaux #Giveaway

A Vixen in Venice pre-order blitz

pre-order blitz

A Vixen In Venice Cover_800

Book Title: A Vixen In Venice
Author: Kate Deveaux
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

He’s an art thief on the run…with her heart

About a Vixen in Venice:

Look closer, into Hotel Totally Five Star Venice, where art curator Monique Le Bres has just walked through the doors of the newly opened swanky luxury hotel to assist with their art collection. Alessandro Bonnard, the world-renowned art connoisseur and collector has been sent incognito to supervise Monique and oversee her acquisitions for the hotel.

Concealing his true identity, Alessandro is intrigued by the art-loving vixen with an appetite for kinky sex. He pursues Monique, charming her at every turn — taking her to places she’s never been — both in and out of bedroom.

Monique falls hard for the man who has utterly captured her body and soul. Only to find out he isn’t who she thought he was after all…he’s an art thief on the run…with her heart.

excerpt

A VIXEN IN VENICE

by Kate Deveaux

Glancing down at the small map she clutched in one hand, Monique looked back up at the tiny storefronts crammed along the waterway, trying her best not to be overrun by the barrage of tourists filling the tight corridors that ran between buildings and the canal’s murky edge. Searching for landmarks and any discernable signage, she bumped her way between tourists who were busy ogling the unusual architecture that at that moment proved more of an impediment than an attractant.

Tugging at her suitcases, Monique forged on.

The last thing she wanted to do was be late for her new job.

Lurching sideways to avoid a family carrying ice cream cones and pointing enthusiastically at the sights, Monique teetered on her heels to avoid bearing the brunt of their gelatos as they passed. Oblivious to the obstacle they presented to Monique, they carried on, leaving her in their wake.

The wheels on her cumbersome luggage stuck on a rogue stone at the same time her heel gave way. Tumbling down towards the uneven cobbles Monique gasped out loud.

A hand reached out from the crowd and grabbed for her just as her bottom grazed the ground, protecting her from the brunt of her fall by swooping her back up on her feet in one motion.

Mademoiselle, soyez prudent,” a deep voice urged her to be careful in French.

Monique squinted into the late day sun at nothing short of a vision. A majestic man, early forties, with chin length sandy blonde hair, a goatee and deep set blue eyes that were rimmed by thin metal glasses stood before her. Her hand clasped in his. The man’s tailored camelhair overcoat told her he was distinguished as did the flash of his fancy watch, probably Swiss and very expensive from the sparkle of the crystal that caught her eye as she steadied herself.

Stai bene Signorina?” he asked if she was okay in a beautiful swoosh of Italian. The words slipping between his lips like honey pooling onto the cool stones.

First he spoke French, then Italian. It was official. Monique must be in heaven. She’d heard the stereotypes and the holiday stories of her friends vacationing in Europe, but nothing had prepared her for the man who still had her hand in his.

“Fine, yes, thank you, merci…I mean grazie,” she offered, flustered and realizing she was quite able to stand on her own. Reluctantly she let go of his hand to reach down and remove her broken-heeled shoe. “Just tripped on a stone. Una scarpa verso il bass… dieci per andare.” She hoped her Italian wasn’t too rusty.

He just looked at her. Oh damn, it must be more rusty than she’d thought.

One shoe down, ten to go,” she repeated in English with a nervous laugh, motioning to her luggage. Hoping to make a joke of how many shoes were crammed in her overstuffed bags to cover her embarrassment of very nearly being splayed out on the canal sidewalk if not for the efforts of her handsome saviour.

“Are you sure? I can fetch someone for you if you need assistance Signorina,” the man asked and then glanced anxiously over his shoulder. Monique suspected from his unease that he must have a wife who no doubt would appear any moment and be less than happy to find her hubby fraternizing with Monique. It wasn’t the first time that had happened.

“No, I’m fine, really. Mille grazie.” She thanked him as she looked into his eyes, their depth making her off balance as well as her having only one shoe on and the way he called her Signorina. The word slipping from his mouth like silk.

Just tell me where I am, that would be very helpful,” she shifted her weight to the shoeless foot and immediately dropped down a few inches, making her even shorter against his tall stature.

Calle Ostreghe,” he said the name of the street as she dipped her head down to remove her other shoe.

“See much better,” she said, now even footed in her stocking feet, now firmly planted on the cool stones.

But her words were met by empty space.

The man was gone as quickly as he’d appeared, the swish of his long coat disappearing through the crowds, barely visible around the corner as Monique looked on as if it had been an apparition. A tall handsome apparition. And one that was seemingly desperate to get away from her before his wife showed up. Lucky woman having a man like that.

Teaser

avixeninvenice_postcard

Book Trailer


Meet the Author

Kate 4873 2 head edited copyKate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.

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

Blog Tour: Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti #Giveaway

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Joshua-Cover

ABOUT JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD:

Title: Joshua and the Lightning Road

Publication date: May 19, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Donna Galanti

Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

Purchase Links:

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Enjoy some Exerpts

Joshua and the Lightning Road Random Excerpt

 

1.

“One hundred. Ready or not here I come!” I said with more courage than I felt, pushing the attic door open.

Inky black swallowed me up. I darted my flashlight about, but its small, round light didn’t reveal much. The mustiness of old things hidden away filled my nose. Bo Chez, hurry home. The hair prickled on my forearms as the stairs screeched with each step and the landing loomed in front of me. Could a ghost with an axe be waiting to chop off my head? I took a deep breath, waiting for a blade to fall, but the only thing lying in wait was a dusty bookshelf.

“Finn-man, I know you’re up here.” I flicked the flashlight around the room, its cold metal warming in my sweaty palm. Thunder crashed over my head and my ears popped.

One more step forward.

“Got ya!” Finn jumped up, his shadow against the window. I tripped and landed hard on my butt. My flashlight twirled across the floor.

Then a blue arc of light struck the window. Glass exploded. Finn’s mouth froze in a wide ‘O’. I yelled and reached out to pull him down, but another zap of light blinded me. Finn screamed. Rain splattered my face, stinging with each drop. White dots floated in the air. Something gray billowed past me carrying a familiar, rotten stench that made me gag. A knobby hand grabbed me. I bit it and shoved it away, gagging again, and the hand dropped me back on the floor with the taste of salty dirt on my tongue. An angry howl blasted the air.

Zap. Zap.

Daggers of light shot everywhere as sharp glass cut into me.

“Finn!”

He floated in the shadows. Light erupted all around him, his eyes round with fear. The sky boomed overhead, and a deep laugh bellowed out as if the thunder itself were taunting me.

“Next time it’s you, boy,” a raspy voice said.

 

2.

Sweat ran down my back  as  the  warm  August air washed  over  me  and  the  scent  of  earthworms filled my nose. Thunder rumbled far in the distance. I pushed aside the broken glass and knelt where Finn had stood. Water bled into my jeans from the rain pooled on the floor. It seemed like forever ago that I wished Finn would hurry up and get here.

Lightning flashed. I welcomed and feared it. My chest tightened, but there was no time for panic. The crystal warmed my fingers through the deep pocket of my jeans. Bo Chez had to be right—the crystal had powers. What would they be?

Thunder crackled.

“Yeah, just come and get me!” I yelled into the storm, and a bolt of light took the tree across the creek. The top exploded in a fiery ball, then sizzled black. Thunder broke loud over my head like a giant clapping his hands together, and blue light exploded through the broken window. Two rough hands yanked me up.

Light blazed everywhere and heavy, scratchy material bound me tight as I was pulled upward into a swirling wind tunnel.

Anger felt better than fear, so I kicked my kidnapper. “Where’s Finn?”

“You’ll find out soon, Reeker.”

Daring a peek, I saw a wide gray hat slung low over one green eye that blazed at me. Where the other eye should have been was a crater. One side of his face oozed red, melted mush! The man from my nightmares!

 

3.

 

A dark swarm swelled in the sky. Dozens of wings fluttered and a cool wind swept toward me in waves. I rubbed the crystal in my pocket crazily, wishing hard to make the birds disappear. It didn’t work.

“The korax,” Charlie said in a cracked voice. “Hold on tight. I saw a kid fall just before you got here.” He smiled to reassure me, although he nervously bounced a curled thumb to his mouth. “But he squirmed a lot. Screamed too. Broke his leg. They took him off to the bunkhouse doctor.”

Charlie certainly had guts for wanting to come with me.

As the swarm drew closer, they appeared as monstrous black ravens with a giant wingspan that filled the sky’s empty spaces. Their massive beaks opened and closed with gurgling croaks, but it was their eyes that terrified me. They burned a bright green, shooting us with a mean glare as they torpedoed down. Chanting words echoed across the dark land: light bringers, light bringers. Imagined words? The whirring of wing beats throbbed in my head as they grew closer, matching the beat of my own thudding heart.

The cackling screech of these mutant birds slammed through my ears as their beaks opened on giant hinges, and tongues like fat worms squirmed about in cavernous mouths. Screaming kids pushed up against me on all sides as a rancid wind roared over us. The words light bringers stabbed me over and over, and I cupped my hands to my ears. The other boys stampeded around me, shoving, yelling, but the guards pushed us back, vapes hissing.

We had nowhere to go, not with monsters and men on all sides.

 

  1. “Follow me,” Leandro said. “I’ll go first and get you each across, one at a time.”

He leapt from the bank to the first boulder. It was wide enough at the top for two. Spray jetted up, wetting his cloak. He steadied himself on the rock, then reached out his hand. Watching the tusks circle his boulder, I went first and backed up a few steps, took a running start, and jumped, landing hard. Leandro steadied me. The water banged against the boulder, as if it too wanted to pull us in.

It got its chance. I lost my balance following Leandro to the next boulder, and one foot slipped into the cold water. The tusks headed for me and something rammed against my shoe. A snout quivered above the water. Sam and Charlie yelled at me to get up on the rock.

Leandro hoisted me up just before a tusk lanced my leg. “Come now, Joshua, we can make the last leap together.” Could my shaking legs make it? But he took my hand in his rough one and we sailed through the air to land on the muddy bank.

Safe.

Leandro leapt back across the creek to help the others. First Sam came across, then Charlie. He flew through the air, his face scrunched up in terror and his skinny arms and legs spewing in all directions.

Then he missed.

He hit the last boulder off center and dropped up to his hips into the seething foam.

 

  1. She trotted toward me on her horse, a menace whose full power I did not want to discover. A whiff of sweet roses flew up my nose as she inhaled my scent. Leandro stepped back, dragging me with him. Her eyes widened and she uncurled a crooked finger in my face—and I saw my vaporized body hanging over me—when a loud boom rang through the hall.

The air crackled. A ring of light whipped above us.

Blast!

It struck the platform, splitting it in two. The king tottered on his chair and fell on his side. I lunged for him but tripped and cracked my ankle on the platform with a cry as the Child Collector’s horse danced in circles. I scrambled up on the stage, barely missing a hoof to the head, and fell on King Apollo, grabbing the bottle around his neck. He struggled to get up and pushed me away, but I kneed him in the chest and tugged harder. The chain snapped. He cried out, grabbing at me, but I stumbled back with the bottle—and into the Child Collector on his horse. He snatched me up by my collar, and I kicked him hard in the leg. With an angry shout, he dropped me hard on the floor. I landed on my sore ankle and yelled in pain.

Boys ran off the platform in all directions. Hekate’s horse reared up and bolted off, but she held on fiercely, shrieking. Blue fire and screams pierced the air as flames licked hungrily at the wooden stage.

But the Child Collector rushed past us on his horse with Finn in his grasp. Then he was gone with Finn. Again.

6.

 

The trees crowded around us, the deafening quiet of the woods pounding in my ears. Sweat broke out on my lip and I wiped it away. The one beast licked its lips in return, then curled its mouth in an awful grin, exposing vampire dagger teeth.

The beasts inched toward us. “We don’t want to hurt you.” Bluffing still seemed the best idea.

“And you won’t, my tasty morsels.” The leader panted hungrily.

The lightning orb. I had to trust in Bo Chez’s story and believe all its stormy, electric power could help us. But Sam had said the Greek gods lost their powers. Let it do something! And if it breaks, I’m sorry, Bo Chez!

Charlie clung to my arm so tight it cramped. Fire flashed out of the leader’s mouth, and a long flame roared toward us, cutting through the mist like a fire sword. All three of us stumbled back.

The beast pack leapt toward us like hairy dragons. The moss beneath our feet snapped with fire and heat roasted my face and arms. Fire raced up the wizard trees, and their wood shrieked in splitting agony.

“Run!” Sam dragged Charlie and me back.

Red eyes glared at me.

“Hi-yahh!” I flung the orb hard.

Blue light exploded into the space before us and knocked us all off our feet. I slammed sideways into a tree and slid down to the ground. The beasts were sprawled motionless before us on the blackened, smoldering moss. Trees smoked as flames flickered up them. Charlie and Sam lay a few feet away.

 

ABOUT DONNA GALANTI:

Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogs…, a cooperative of published middle grade authors. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com and www.ElementTrilogy.com. Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information:  Winner will be drawn June 19, 2015

·        Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti (INT)

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