Thursday, August 28, 2014

Top 10 Places to do a Book Reading!


Top 10 Places to do a Book Reading!

1. A coffee shop

2. Libraries close to your home...or go on a road trip!

3. Schools (local community colleges, universities, private & public schools)

4. A retirement community

5. Google + Hangouts

6. Church

7. Local bookstores

8. Facebook videos

9. YouTube

10. Rehabilitation centers (sick children's ward, etc)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Interview with Author, Andrea Raine

Let's learn a bit about one of our favorite authors, Andrea Raine!


Where are you from?
I was born in Smithers, British Columbia and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia.

Why do you write?
I feel compelled to write whether it is a journal entry, a poem, a book review, an article, an essay, a character sketch, a short story, or the next chapter in a novel. I have always felt the need to express myself and the world around me in the written form.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I always knew I had a novel in me, I just didn’t know where the story idea would come from. I found the inspiration for my first novel while I was on a two-month solo backpacking trip in Western Europe in the summer of 1998. I saw a young guy sleeping in a tunnel near Hyde Park, and he didn’t seem to be homeless but rather a backpacker on a shoestring budget. His image stayed with me throughout the rest of my trip, and I began writing about him when I returned home. His character proved to be a springboard for other characters in my novel, and so my novel Turnstiles took on its own life.

What genre do you typically write?
My novels are more character-driven than plot-driven, and so I would call my genre literary fiction. I also write poetry.

Do you feel like you have a specific writing style?
I tend to describe the internal workings of my characters, rather than focus on their outward appearances, and I like to give them a vivid landscape and explore the complexity of human relationships.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Honestly, it took me fifteen years to bring my first novel, Turnstiles, to fruition. I took it seriously, and never dropped the thread, but I kept it somewhat under wraps and I was never entirely sure if it would see the light of day. I was also writing Turnstiles while many other things were happening in my life:  university, day jobs, relationships, marriage, kids, etc. I am currently working on a prequel novella, which I began writing five years ago shortly before my first son was born. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and plan to have my manuscript ready for publication by the end of this year.

What do you do to conquer writer’s block?
If I find I am staring helplessly at a blank page, I try to reflect on the character(s) or scene I want to flesh out; I step back from the pressure of writing the actual novel, and spend some time working on a character sketch or making point-form notes on how to approach the scene or unfolding of the next chapter(s).

What can you tell us about your favorite character from your book?
My favourite character is Martin, and I think it is because he starts out as a hopeful, naïve character that is only damaging himself through his insecurities and protective walls he builds. He projects a false image of pretentiousness, when he is really yearning for acceptance; and he is reluctant to wave his white flag. He knows there is something missing, something broken in him that he needs to repair, and he is given the opportunity to embark on a journey to mend it.

What actor or actress would you like to see play your character in the movie adaptation
I think James MacAvoy could portray Martin, and perhaps Dakota Fanning could play Yvonne.

Who is your favorite author and what is it about them that inspires you?
Fyodor Dosteovsky. I read Crime and Punishment, and was struck by how he was able to write about the mental workings of the main character, as well as write about a dark subject matter and still leave the reader feeling conflicted in their sympathy and degree of understanding towards the character and his simple human curiosity, albeit depraved. 


What book are you reading now?

The Hobbit; I don’t usually read fantasy novels, but The Hobbit has been on my reading list for ages.


What are your current projects?

As I mentioned, I am working on a prequel novella to Turnstiles titled A Crowded Heart. I am also trying to find a home for a short collection of ghazals titled A Year of Mornings, and a second full-length poetry book titled Spectrums & Apertures.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. I have spent so much time with these characters, I feel that I know them inside and out – their motivations and insecurities – and that I have been able to carve out the right path for each of them.


Can you share a little of your work with us?

My prequel novella A Crowded Heart focuses on a character that is deceased from the beginning of Turnstiles. His name is Willis Hancocks Sr., and he is a significant character because the decisions he made in his lifetime affect the paths of the main characters in Turnstiles. He is painted in a bad light, and I felt he should be given the opportunity to tell his side of the story:  he was forced into undesirable situations and, ultimately, had hard choices to make.


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The most challenging aspect of my writing life is actually devoting time to delve into my writing. I have a full-time job and two boys under the age of five. However, once I get a solid idea for a novel that I am excited about, and get rolling with it, I enter that other world and make mental notes and spend ample time thinking about the characters. The writing may not happen every day, but the characters are always present in my mind and the material for filling the pages surfaces in spurts.


Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t drop the thread. If you have an idea for a story that you believe in, and characters that are speaking to you, stay with them and write down whatever they have to say.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


At the moment, it may take me a little longer to publish a book (until I am able to write full-time), but my characters are three-dimensional people who are often working through their own winding, self-realizing journeys. My writing is partly cathartic, but the themes are also universal as they touch on the human condition and the complexities of interpersonal relationships. I hope readers will take a chance on a new author, and embark on these journeys with me. I have many books to write – fiction and poetry – and I look forward to sharing my books and beginning new and lasting relationships with my readers.





Free Download! Dark Prophet by, K.N. Lee **Limited Time**

Dark Prophet is FREE for a limited time!


Vampires, and angels, and demons...oh my! Download the international bestseller by award-winning author, K.N. Lee for free today. And don't keep this fantastic event a secret. Share it with your friends! 

Book Two of the Best-Selling Novel, The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld 

Not all vampires are created equal... 
Koa is a half-blood vampire with not only the ability to fly, but survive in the sun's light. She will do anything to protect her mother, and break her curse. The demon, Bund, wants more than her mother's life. He wants something from Koa, a power that she doesn't even know she has, and will rip through as many humans as he can to get her to surrender. 

Agent Koa Ryeo-won, and her boss, Halston, formed a crew of supernatural agents to stop Bund. But is a prophet, a temptress, a War-Breeder, a half-blood with an enchanted sword, and a few angels enough to stop what Bund has planned? 

In the midst of a war between the humans of the mortal world, and the creatures of the Netherworld, Koa discovers the truth of her past. She finds herself torn between two men, and in the center of everything. Faced with all of her returned memories, Koa also finds herself more powerful than ever. Being a half-blood is hard enough, but what exactly is Koa's other half? 

The truth can save...or destroy everything. 

Will the Netherworld Division stand behind Koa once they learn her secret? 

**Bonus Material** 
Chapter 1 of K.N. Lee's young adult fantasy, Academia of the Beast! 

5 out of 5 stars
Amazon verified editorial review

The Best Sequel Novel I've Ever Read--Period
"When I finished reading K.N. Lee's "The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld," I remember the anticipation which began to build from that moment for the story I knew was coming.



Well, "Dark Prophet: Book Two of the Chronicles of Koa" certainly did not disappoint. Koa and Halston are back, better than ever. It sets a precedent for me to finish reading fictional works the very same day I start them, but that's EXACTLY what happened this afternoon. An original, detailed plot--unique characters a reader finds themselves investing in readily--true hang-on-for-dear-life action--this book has it ALL. Lee writes in such a way she engages her audience from the opening sentence. I'm thrilled to say I've seen it happen twice now.

At this point, allow me to make something crystal clear: I'm not the type of reader who simply decides to review written material with the coveted 5-Star Rating just because others have before me. That's just not "how I roll". But, as I mentioned above, I'd already seen Lee's talent with her first Koa publication; Dark Prophet validates my anticipation. Five stars? By all rights, there SHOULD be a 5-Star PLUS designation specifically for K.N. Lee.

There's already a legion of fans out there who share my opinion.

Join us, and get this book, folks.

It's that simple."

Michael Holman, the author of Resolve and Retribution

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A New Review of Dark Prophet, by Author Thomas Ray Manning



A New Review of Dark Prophet, 

by Author Thomas Ray Manning


Dark Prophet: The Chronicles of Koa is the second Koa novel written by author K.N. Lee and it’s a great follow-up to Netherworld! We spend the beginning learning about Koa’s past, and in the present the action picks up seconds after the last novel ended. Koa and Jax are fleeing from the Netherworld while Halston fights off some nasty creatures who are bent on destroying him and hunting Koa down. This all leads to a story that is a thrilling ride full of action and adventure.

Jax is a welcome addition to the Koa Chronicles, especially considering the connection and fondness Koa’s developed with Halston. All the characters and their dialogue are written well, most of all Koa who continues to be an awesome protagonist as she unknowingly evolves into a powerful player in both the human world and Netherworld.

But my highest commendation for the story is the imagination of author K.N. Lee. What really sets this series apart are the worlds and pieces she’s created. The Lyrinian Blade and the Infinity Gun are just a couple examples, and then there are the unique creatures which infest the Netherworld. All of the creation and originality helps to pull you in and leave you wanting more.

If you enjoy the supernatural element this is definitely a series to pick up! If you read and enjoyed Netherworld, then this purchase is a no-brainer!


EXCERPT:

Raven closed her eyes and sighed.
Eunju.
She missed hearing her real name. To be free from her curse to live as a cat. To have her beloved daughter back. Those were the things she now fought for.
The carnage before her was sickening, but she had to remember why she was there and what they were up against. Still, days of tracking Bund’s crimes were beginning to wear on Raven. She only hoped that soon Koa and Halston would return from the Netherworld with the one vamp that could reverse her curse.
“This is awful,” Alice said to Raven as she knelt over the little girl’s body. “For someone so young to suffer this way.”
Alice covered the girl’s mangled face up and stood. She had to be careful not to step in the puddle of blood. She shook her head. “It’s fairly fresh. I’d say this was probably his first kill of the morning.” Alice let out a long breath. “What a damn shame. He’s certainly not trying to be discreet about any of this.”
Raven followed behind her, saddened by what she had seen. “How are we going to stop Bund?”
Alice flicked a hand and the two detectives who had been investigating the murders woke up from their trance. She sidestepped them and disappeared into the crowd on the sidewalk before they even realized what had happened.
“First, we should tell everyone to keep their children inside, lock their doors, and pray that Bund doesn’t become bold enough to start snatching little girls out of their bedrooms.”
Raven squeezed her eyes closed. She hated to imagine what happened to the girls that Bund chose. Just thinking that Koa had been harmed by him brought back terrible feelings of sorrow and worry.
Alice glanced back at her. She smoothed her short pink hair with the palm of her hand. “But we can’t exactly tell the humans about the existence of vampires and psychotic demons, can we?”
Raven sighed. “I suppose not.”
Alice made a face. “You know, I sometimes think ignorance isn’t quite as blissful as it seems. Maybe the humans wouldn’t be so foolish if they knew that supernatural creatures were targeting them.” She gave Raven a look. “What do you think?”
“Don’t some of them know though? The kids that go out and become pets know.”
“True. But that’s only a slim portion of the human population. I wonder what would happen if we just hopped on the television and made an announcement.”
“The Netherworld Division wouldn’t be a secret organization anymore.”
Alice grinned. “Exactly. Halston and I could fight crime in the open, instead of trying to hide it. But oh well. It would never work. The humans are lucky to not have such worries on their mind. I guess that’s why we do what we do.”
Raven quickened her pace as Alice turned a corner towards a cemetery. “I suppose.”
“Indeed, little kitty. I am searching for the powerful, the fearless… the perfect crew.” Alice reached in her pocket and pulled out a small device that resembled a compass. Raven wished she was taller, to see its face. She heard a tiny clicking sound and saw a gold light shoot from it and stretch far into the maze-like mausoleum buildings.
“Alice,” Raven called, pausing to stare at the light. “What is that?”
Alice lifted a brow. “What? Oh, it’s something Halston made for me.”
Raven sat on her back legs. She licked her paws. She hated being dirty, and the cold dirt was getting stuck in between her claws.
“I can’t wait to see what gadgets he’s created for you.” Alice smiled, walking in the direction of the light.
Raven lifted a brow and hurried behind. “What?”
Alice chuckled. “You didn’t think that Halston would let you into the division and not give you some sort of weapon, did you?”
Raven was speechless. She’d never thought of such a thing. She’d never needed gadgets before, but when she was in her true form, she had enough power to not need the use of weapons.
Raven’s fur stood on end. She looked up at the sky. Clouds slowly began to block the sun and the air grew colder. Night would soon be upon them. She felt herself growing a little weary. There was so much evil that awoke when night fell. 



Order your signed copy of the international bestsellers on www.knlee.com


Author Rank
#26 Science Fiction
#56 in Fantasy
#88 in Horror
#99 in Contemporary
Bestseller's Lists
#1 in UK for Epic Fantasy (2015)
#1 in US for Epic Fantasy (2015)
#1 in Canada and Australia for Epic-Fantasy (2016)
#1 in Canada for Epic Fantasy (2016)
#1 in Canada for Science-Fiction and Fantasy/Epic (2016)
#2 in the USA for Epic-fantasy (2016)
#2 in the USA for Sword and Sorcery (2016)
#153 in overall fantasy on Amazon (2016)
#14 in UK for Epic Science Fiction (2016)
#15 in UK for Epic Fantasy (2016)
#18 in UK for Sword and Sorcery (2016)
#29 in France for Epic Fantasy (2016)
#82 in Germany for Epic Fantasy (2016)
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cover Reveal! **Smolder on a Slow Burn Blog Tour** **Giveaway**

Write Like a Wizard is proud to present Lynda Cox's newest publication, Smolder on a Slow Burn! 




Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn't have a trusty companion to rescue her...until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading. 


Branded a "traitor" for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster's arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.'s battle strategy. 



Follow the Tour!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Taming the Country Star by Margo Bond Collins **Book Blast**



Taming the Country Star by Margo Bond Collins


Blurb:

He'll do anything to win her heart. She'll do anything to keep him away.

Country star Cole Grayson is in town, and Kylie Andrews is less than thrilled. As if months of changing the radio station and tearing down his posters weren’t bad enough, now she has to deal with a town of fans swarming toward the man who deceived her the year before. But when Kylie’s eyes meet Cole’s again, she can’t deny the electric chemistry that drew her to him the first time around.

Cole Grayson is on a mission. Ever since Kylie left him, he hasn’t been able to forget her sweet country smile. After writing a song just for her, he sets off for her hometown to prove he’s not the player she thinks he is. But as much as Cole can’t forget her, Kylie wonders if she can forgive him…

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Excerpt:

            Kylie Andrews’s Texas-themed gift shop, Cowbelles, sat on the very outer edge of Fort Worth’s Stockyards District, not far from Jimmy’s Honky Tonk. And much to her dismay, no matter how often she cleared it, the wall adjacent to her store remained covered with announcements for local events.

Like, for example, concerts.

She stared at the latest layer of advertisements.

From the topmost poster, Cole Grayson stared out at her, leaning against the edge of an old barn door, guitar at his feet. One booted foot was kicked up against the wooden wall behind him. His dark-blond hair curled around behind one ear and fell down across his eye on the other side. A cowboy hat rested on the ground next to the guitar.

Her hand drifted up toward the image, hovering several inches from the picture of his face. She glanced around. None of the other shopkeepers were outside. No one was watching.

“Bastard,” she whispered to herself, and ripped the poster off the wall.

At least, she tried to. It was thicker than she had expected, attached more firmly, and it resisted her pull.

Chewing on her lip, she took another look around, dropped her bag to the ground, and reached up to grasp the edge with both fists, jerking at it in opposite directions. A tiny tear opened up along the side, and she yanked harder. Finally, the poster ripped—right across Cole Grayson’s lying eyes.

She tugged at the image some more, glancing around surreptitiously every few moments and dropping ragged pieces of paper on the ground at her feet, until there was nothing left on the wall but a few fluttering strips.

Gathering the mutilated shreds together, she opened her bag and shoved them inside until they overflowed, bright ribbons of color in the morning light.

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Book Trailer

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Buy Links




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About the Author


Margo Bond Collins is the author of contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them. She currently writes for Entangled’s Red-Hot Bliss line.

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Connect with Margo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy


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5-star reviews:

What a super story! Just as their romance was getting started, events tore them apart. She wants a quiet hometown life, he's a country singing star. Incredibly written with characters that come to life. Very well done! I highly recommend this one. ~Bette Lutz, Amazon reader





If I had one complaint about Taming the Country Star: A Hometown Heroes Novella by Margo Bond Collins, it would be that it is just too short. After I read Legally Undead by Ms. Collins, I pretty much knew that I would love anything she writes. And she proved me right with this little book. I just loved it. Even though it is short, I was drawn in and completely fell in love with the two main characters.

You could say that Kylie Andrews has trust issues. Her Daddy was a rodeo star and lived the high life. Which included being photographed in the tabloids numerous times with various other women. Eventually he abandoned Kylie and her Mom and Kylie knew that if she ever married, it would be someone safe and stable, the complete opposite of her father. That didn’t work out so well either, though. She was supposed to marry her childhood sweetheart but was left at the altar. She decided to take her honeymoon by herself and it is there she met the handsome Cole, no last name, and had a sexy, romantic, time with him. It wasn’t until she was at the airport on the way home that she spied her own photo, kissing Cole, in a tabloid magazine. She then realized the true identity of the man she just spent the last few days with. It was Cole Grayson, the huge country music star!

A year has passed since Cole Grayson met Kylie on that beach in Mexico. And a day hasn’t gone by that he didn’t think of her. He is doing a concert in Fort Worth, where Kylie lives and has a little shop, and he is determined to find her. But will she give him a second chance now that she knows who he really is?


~ Carol [Goodreads addict], a top 100 Goodreads 

BOGO! Buy Dark Prophet and Get Netherworld for FREE Vampire Barbie? No...more like Vampire James Bond



BOGO! Buy Dark Prophet and Get Netherworld for FREE 

Vampire Barbie? No...more like Vampire James Bond 

with an 

enchanted sword, and angel for a boss, and a human 

pet... 




What would you do if a demon threatened your mother's life? If you're like Koa, you'd sharpen your enchanted sword and go after him... 

Our world is threatened by the creatures of an alternate land called the Netherworld. Koa and the Netherworld division are there to keep the vampire population in check. Koa is a powerful half-blood vampire. Her best friend is her boss, she has a cursed mother, an enchanted sword, and an attractive human pet. 

Koa also has a problem. A Netherworld serial killer, with a taste for little girls, threatens everything Koa has worked hard to protect. Not even Koa's boss, Halston can stop him. But he knows one prisoner that can. Too bad that prison is in the Netherworld. 

Is Koa ready to journey to the Netherworld to release the one creature that can break her mother's curse and protect all that she holds dear? 

**Bonus Material** 
Someone has stolen classified documents from the Netherworld division's vaults. Read the secret interviews that were leaked to the press, and discover the hidden clues of Dark Prophet and Lyrinian Blade (The Chronicles of Koa #2 & #3) 

Editorial Reviews: 
“The Chronicles of Koa is a wonderful story full of likeable characters, a clear world, and a fun mission.” Kirstin L. Pulioff, author of The Escape of Princess Madeline 
~~~ 
“It has a fantastic story, twists and turns throughout, and some mysteries you won't see coming. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books as she writes them. The Chronicles of Koa #2 will certainly be a day one purchase for me!” 
Thomas Ray Manning, author of Energize (From the Logs of Daniel Quinn) 
~~~ 
“The ending had me on edge. I have to say I have not read a vampire novel like this one before.” 
Glenna Maynard, author of Beautiful Strangers 
~~~ 
“The author has created an engrossing world with vampires, angels and other mythical creatures. And not just any mythical creatures, her creations were... awesome!” 
Morgan Jane, author of the Sanguis City series 





Excerpt for Holes in Space - A Poetry Collection:



Poème

You are my poem, 
versed in love, 
rhymed with passion, 
worded with desire. 

You are my fragrance, 
bathed in flowers, 
mixed with the scent 
of the stars in bloom. 

You are my dream, 
embroidered in silk, 
sewn with illusion, 
dressed with kisses. 

You are my one, my heart, my love, 
my eternal, my life, my light. 
You are my forever, 
my everlasting poem, you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

PROTECTIVE INSTINCT **Blog Tour**


Gliterary Girl Book Tours presents the blog tour for the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Book #4 in the Time After Time Saga, by Authors Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee.
Protective Instinct
 
ProtectiveInstinctCoverArt72dpi__94617.1402191584.1280.1280Sabrina Bridges clings to her birthright as a Heartmark woman, convinced she will overcome the time-traveling enemy that plagues the women of her family. She is certain she will obtain true love with the man she gives her heart to. But how will her trusting heart survive when she learns that very man has deceived her since the moment they met?
Nicolas Mitchell's loyalty to family and country are tested by the woman who may lead him to one who threatens all he holds dear. Nick must steel his heart against her, and deny his protective instinct for the woman who speaks of an ancient family legend and her belief that together he and she will forge a love that will last forever. Will Nick be able to complete his last mission as a spy for the Crown or will he betray his country for the sake of love?
   
BUY NOW AT:
Amazon | Barnes and Nobles | Desert Breeze Publishing

Nick’s violet gaze collided with his brother-in-law's gray one. "Why are you here, Will? Why has my home been turned into a headquarters for Iron Man’s minions? And who were the two men brought in the burlap body bags? Are they dead or alive?" Will shifted in his seat, his lips pressed into a firm line. "Alive." He winced. “For now.” He met Nick’s angry gaze and jerked his chin up. “But you're not going to like what I am about to tell you any more than I do." Nick's heart hammered once against his chest and he fisted his hand atop the table.  "Spill it." "I'll handle the details, son." A deep voice said from the kitchen threshold.  Both men stood as His Grace, Lord Cornelius Hunter, fifth Duke of Sussex, aka The Iron Man, spy master to the crown, walked into the room and pulled out a sturdy wooden chair. Nick fought back the initial wave of awe and slight intimidation which always assaulted him in the spy master's presence, reminding himself that he was a grown man now, not an impressionable lad of eleven winters as he had been when he first met Will's father and his sister's father-in-law. The maid appeared as if from thin air and poured a cup of tea for the duke, then, with a swift curtsy, bustled away.  Eyes as gray as his son's studied Nick before Cornelius spoke. "As you are aware, in the past few months two operatives have been murdered.’ Nick nodded, a stiff jerk of his head.  “Two agents are currently missing and until a fortnight ago we had no idea that the missing agents and murdered agents were related in anyway." The hairs on Nick's neck stood on end. "How are they related?" The Iron Man took a sip of tea then placed the mug atop the table before responding. "All the agents who have met with foul play are a part of Charles' elite team." Emotion shifted through Cornelius eyes. "My team. Operatives whose true identities not even Charles himself knows."
Nick's eyes narrowed. "There's a turncoat amongst us?" The duke shifted in his seat and Nick read vulnerability within the simple action. The knot in Nick’s stomach tightened. "A traitor, yes, but not from within our ranks. Nay anymore, anyway." Nick frowned. "Who then?" he demanded. "Are they the prisoners you're keeping here?" Will shot Nick a warning glance and Nick snapped his jaw shut.  Cornelius’ gaze rested on the far fireplace as wood popped and a spray of embers drifted to the stone hearth, glowing a moment before fizzling out.  "One of those prisoners will be able to lead us to the man we want." Nick shook his head. "One of them?" Will nodded. "One was seen with our man a fortnight ago, but we're not sure which one. Both are similar in appearance, and both were found near his last known location." Nick leaned forward, his hands fisted atop the table. "So you're saying that one of the prisoners is an accomplice of the person responsible for our missing agents and the murdering of our men, and one is an innocent bystander, found in the wrong place, at the wrong time?" Will nodded. His eyes when they met his held an unhappy resignation within their gray depths.  Nick turned accusing eyes to the duke. "And what happens to the innocent man when this whole thing is over?" Cornelius' already perfect posture straightened. "Don't be naïve, Nick. You know with our positions in society, living a double life as we all are, no one can learn of our location or identities. Once the real accomplice leads us to our man, both will have to be silenced." Nick gaped at him. He'd accepted that this business of being a spy had a nasty side. It was a dangerous life, full of misdirection and outright deceit.  And yes, bad guys died as a result of bringing about justice. But taking an innocent life, simply because that person resembles someone else? That was taking things too far! And they were doing it in his home? Nay. This would not do. Will, his lips pressed into a tight line, spoke. "Before you explode, little brother-in-law, you need to hear the rest." Dread now sat like a stone in Nick’s stomach. "What?" Will and his father shared a glance then Cornelius cleared his throat. "First, our prisoners are women, not men."

Sabrina Bridges came to by slow degrees. The vicious pounding within her skull made thinking almost impossible. It was pitch dark, and it took a moment to realize that a blindfold had been securely tied over her eyes. Still, no light filtered around the edges. She was in pitch black. She shivered against the rough ropes that bound her and the cold terror racing through her bloodstream.  Her body hurt, every single inch of it. A low moan escaped her lips. She tugged at her hands bound behind her, but stopped when the rope ripped at the tender flesh of her wrists.  Wind moaned and hissed throughout the room, a high pitched scream, like the sound of an animal in pain. The draught, and the scent of dirt told her she was being kept in some sort of outbuilding, perhaps a shed or the like, and the temperature was beyond frigid. Her fingers were numb with cold and she couldn't feel her face or feet. Her cloak was gone, leaving her shivering in her serviceable wool dress and a pair of short kid boots. Not nearly enough covering for the bitter storm raging outside. She listened for other sounds besides the wind, anything to indicate if she was alone or if perhaps her captor was here, watching, waiting… for what? Terror of the unknown filled her. She was tied to a hard backed chair, and each of her ankles tied to a leg of the chair. Her knees throbbed from the awkward position. Her back against the chair ached from the hard surface and the ill treatment that must have preceded her arrival to this place. Her bottom lip throbbed, and she tasted blood. Clearly she had been beaten. What she did not know was why? She fought through the fog clouding her brain, struggling to remember how she'd come to be in this dire situation. A sense of urgency knotted her stomach, a feeling that there was something important she needed to do.
But what? The more she tried to remember, the harder her head pounded. She ached more with every beat of her heart, with every pulse of blood through her sore body. Something jumped onto her lap. Her throat slammed shut with terror, imagining a rat or some other such outbuilding animal attacking her. She attempted to push up and away, but the chair didn't budge. She was too weak. What could she do to escape it? The sound of purring broke through her panicked thoughts, and she realized a cat was now shifting itself on her lap, apparently thinking to make itself comfortable.  The sound and steady vibration of the feline's deep purr helped to calm her, and its weight, although not a large cat by any means, warmed her lap, a fact which she was significantly grateful.  "I don’t know where we are, little one, but I'm glad you’re here." Her hoarse whisper was rewarded by a small, soft meow. It was too much. The abuse she'd suffered, the cold, the exhaustion. Straining to remember what had happened to her, and what it was she needed to do, was eased by her newfound friend purring on her lap. Sabrina closed her eyes beneath the blindfold, and sleep blessedly overtook her.  

Nick tossed and turned the entire night until, at the break of dawn, he dressed then made his way to the outbuilding where one of the prisoners was being kept. Nick stood in front of the unconscious girl tied to the chair. Despite being senseless, her teeth chattered. A calico cat was curled up on her lap, paws and tail tucked in, likely giving her legs the only bit of warmth to be had in this dark, freezing tool shed.  The cat opened its round golden eyes and seemed to study him. If ever a cat looked ready to speak... Nick shook his finger at her. "I already have a horse who, I swear, can read my mind. Don’t you start." The cat blinked once, glanced up to the woman, whose head bobbled sideways at what looked like a painful angle, then turned the too-knowing eyes back to Nick.  Wind hissed through the poorly built walls, causing the flame in his lamp to flicker in a wild dance. Nick studied the woman, and fought back the pity tugging at his heart at her sorry state. In the dim light her hair, the color of sunset, was mussed and dirty, and looked to be braided down her back. Her delicate face was stark white against the thick black blindfold tied around her eyes, and even in the poor light he saw bruises atop her high cheek bones. Her full lips, also pale with cold, were chapped, with the lower lip split, a small trickle of dried blood marring her small chin. Slamming a lid on the compassion her pitiful state stirred within him, he walked around her. Her hands were bound behind her, and her wrists, where she had struggled against the coarse rope, bled freely at some point, making a crimson puddle atop the frozen, hard packed earth the chair sat upon. Bloody day! The scent of blood would draw hungry vermin and worse in no time. Unless the scent of the cat deterred them... Nick pulled his handkerchief from his pocket as he glanced around the shed for water. Finding a bucket, he moved to it and frowned at the frozen crust. He used the butt of his dagger to break through the ice, then dipped his handkerchief into the freezing water.
His lips pressed together, cursing himself a hundred kinds of fool, he knelt behind the woman and gently washed away the blood. Nick glared at the thick tightly knotted rope binding her tiny wrists. Cursing under his breath, he undid the knot, cleaned her wounds as best he could, then retied the rope higher up on her forearms, just tight enough to hold her, yet nay harm her any more than she’d already been harmed. He scooped up the bloody dirt from where her injuries had dripped and slung it well away from the prisoner, then stood and moved to face the woman once again. The similarities between this day, finding this woman, and the day when he'd found his sister were almost too much to bear.  Both prisoners. Both abused by those stronger than them. His sister had held a secret back then. Was it possible the similarities continued and this woman likewise held secrets?  Secrets that could cost those closest to him their lives? Her teeth continued to chatter and Nick cursed the whole wretched situation.  Whether she was Clayton's woman, or not, she was doomed.  But if she was that vile creature’s woman, and she perished in this freezing shed, they would never find Clayton or have any chance of guessing where he might strike next. Nick shrugged out of his heavy cloak and carefully draped it over her shoulders, securing it at the neck with a pin. There was no way to put it on her properly, with the ropes, but it was large enough about her tiny frame that it would make a tent of sorts to shield her from the worst of the cold. Apparently unimpressed with Nick's chivalry, the cat gave him another one of its looks, then stood and turned its back to him, curled close to the prisoner, then tucked its head into its paws and went back to sleep.

Mildreth McCann shivered. Her bruised skin pricked with goose bumps as she tried to move her arms and legs to no avail. She was secured, bound hand and foot to what felt like a straight-backed chair. A band had been painfully tied over her eyes, leaving her in a world pitch black and terrifying in its unrelenting darkness. The dank scent of mildew filled her nostrils and dampness seeped right into her bones. A cellar, then. She listened, desperate to hear if she was alone or if someone watched her. She recalled with perfect clarity the shouted questions and the blows that followed her silence. What these men wanted with Lord Clayton was beyond her, but her own reason for finding the no good scoundrel burned bright and hot in her heart.  He’d used her. The whole time she thought she’d been using him to acclimate to this time and place, he’d been using her as a diversion to cover his tracks. Tracks that would put his noble neck in a noose should he be caught. If she had anything to do with the matter, caught he would be. He’d taken her sword.  Sent her on a fool’s errand to lead his pursuers away from him and when she’d at last made her way to their prearranged meeting place, he and her precious weapon had been gone. Mildreth swallowed back helpless tears. Her sword. The very sword that decades ago had started the series of events which sent her traveling through time, always in search of her Heartmark nieces.  Her task was the same, time after time: find the Heartmark woman, identify the man who captures her heart, and then set out to destroy the love between them. Mildreth’s sole purpose for existing.  Punishment for raising her sword against her own brother in a jealous rage. She regretted that moment more each time she whirled through the centuries to meet with yet another Heartmark niece. Bitterness welled tight in her breast. Each time she landed in a new era she was once again nineteen years old, her appearance the same as it had been that fateful day in her brother’s chamber, when she’d struck out at Colin with her jealous sword.  Her skin glowed with youth, her copper hair gleamed like a beacon in the sunlight and her garments were once again splattered with her brother’s blood. And each and every time her sword traveled with her, regardless if she’d been holding it when plucked from one era to another. It’s gleaming metal blade, stained crimson with Colin’s life’s blood, always accompanied her. Mildreth’s aging process began anew. Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, until her niece in that age uttered the words Mildreth despaired ever uttering herself, the words which bound her niece to the man of her heart forever, thereby putting an end to that era and tossing Mildreth into another.  To begin again. A vicious circle with no end that Mildreth could see. She started and suppressed a gasp as something soft brushed up against her ankle then scurried nosily away.  A rat most likely. Mildreth forced herself to breathe normally. She despised how helpless and vulnerable she was, yet, perversely, she was also mildly curious what would happen to her if her captors decided to slay her. She’d never been murdered before.  Thus far in this era she had not even come close to a woman who could be the Heartmark woman. She was not allowed to physically harm her nieces or their men, but Mildreth did not know if she was likewise protected from someone harming or slaying herself. Peace settled around her like a warm blanket and she relaxed against the hard back of the chair. Perhaps, if her life were ended before she found the Heartmark woman and set out to destroy the love between her and man she loved -- it would finally be over. Her lip pulled into a half smile and she winced as the broken skin tugged open to send a trickle of blood down her chin. Perhaps then her endless journeys through time would come to a blessed end. No more quests for vengeance. No more harming her brother and Aleena’s daughters.  Mildreth could be at peace in her complete nonexistence.  She could rest. Her head lulled back and she breathed deep. “Let them do their worst,” she whispered. “I’ll not tell them anything at all about Lord Clayton. I know the faces of the wiliest men in London, those he hired to be his eyes and ears. If I survive, it will be I myself who finds him.” Her jaw clenched. “And he will feel the vengeance of the sword he stole from me. I vow it.”  


Sabrina heaved in gulps of frigid air even as her lungs burned from her exertion. She stumbled to a wide, rotted out stump of a pine tree and slumped against it as she struggled to catch her breath. She’d made it! The stretch of pristine lawns had seemed endless, yet she’d made it. She gazed back at her clear foot prints leading from the shed to the forest. If only it would snow and cover those tracks, she could make her escape without fear of her captors simply following after her. “But to where?” A pitiful meow sounded in the cold air. Sabrina jumped, chuckled as she reached down and picked up the cute little calico cat, tucking her beneath her borrowed cloak she hugged her tight. “Thank you, little one,” she whispered. “You saved me.” Purring was her only response. Sabrina smiled, then peeked down at the furry bundle in her arms. “You’re my animal helper, aren’t you?” Gold eyes blinked at her. “I’ve read the diary countless times,” she confided, “and I’ve been waiting my entire life to meet you.” Her heart thumped against her chest. “And if you’re here with me, now, then it’s only a matter of time before he’ll come into my life.” She smiled and touched a cold finger to the small, heart shaped birth mark at the outside corner just below her right eye. Her Heartmark. The birthmark that she shared with countless ancestors. Ancestors who had to fight a time traveling enemy to hold onto their true loves. Sabrina’s heart raced in excitement and anticipation. She knew she would be one of the lucky ones. She and her true love, whoever he was, would survive whatever this as yet unseen enemy could bring their way. If only her father and brothers were here. They all knew about the destiny of the Heartmark women of their family line. They were the ones who’d shared the legend with her. They would have helped her win her heart’s desire. She blinked away tears and firmed her shoulders. “It’s okay,” she told the cat. “I’ll win on my own, I know it.” She turned her eyes to the manor.  “I just have to somehow get into the room I was using at Mitchell Manor and retrieve the diary and brooch. My story can’t play out completely without them.” The cat bumped her head against Sabrina's shoulder and purred. Sabrina cuddled the cat closer. “I don’t know how I’ll get inside without getting captured again, but I have to.” Sabrina had occupied the small, cheerful room in the north wing of the Manor since her father had been ordered to keep an eye on the place fourteen years ago, when she was eleven. About a month ago servants had begun to arrive, signaling the impending return of the young lord. Her papa had told her then to collect her things and take them back to their cottage. Her duties as a housekeeper were no longer needed with the young lord's real staff coming in, but she’d put it off, loath to give up her small bit of comfort and luxury the simple room had offered. She sighed. She should have listened to papa. If she had, her diary would not be under the roof of the home her captors now occupied.  

ABOUT Lynette Endicott
Lynette EndicottLynette Endicott grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog, a bird and three cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog.
At a youth camp when she was 14 the editor and teacher of a writing class challenged her to submit something to his youth magazine. She did and it was the first of 10 articles and stories accepted by the publication over the next few years.
Nothing like front end success to keep her writing! Lynette enjoys reading contemporary romance and speculative fiction and writes both. Her debut book, Starting Over Book One: More Than A Job, and two more books in that series, The Return of Joy and Finding Her Voice are available now. The first three of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee are available now, including Animal Instinct, Survival Instinct and Pioneer Instinct. The fourth in the series of six, Protective Instinct, will release in August 2014.
Because she didn't have pets until after her 50th birthday the animals she enjoys find their way into all her books. Usually you will also find a character with a disability as part of the day-to-day fabric of the story. In More Than A Job, Paige works in services to people with disabilities until she loses her job and starts over. In The Return of Joy, Atlas, the yellow lab, becomes a Therapy Dog. In the Time After Time series animal helpers assist the hero and heroine in all six of the books in the series.
Lynette loves hearing from her fans! Please connect with her on:

ABOUT Tami Dee
Becoming an author was a dream I never really thought would come true for me. I have dyslexia, yet, despite the struggle, I adore weaving stories for others to enjoy.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Desert Breeze connections, RWA San Francisco Area Romance Writers, RWA Scriptscence, and RWA Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
You can connect with Tami on:

To celebrate the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Lynette and Tami will be giving away a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card to one grand prize winner, a $10.00 Gift Card to either Starbucks or Teavana to the second runner up and an ecopy of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT to the third runner up. Enter the giveaway every day for more chances to win. All entries must be received by August 18th before midnight.
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