Tuesday, 19 September 2017

#CoverRevealBlitz & #Giveaway ; Haven by Mary Lindsey



Today Mary Lindsey and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive excerpt for HAVEN, which releases November 7, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an ARC!

On to the reveal! 





Title: HAVEN
AuthorMary Lindsey
Pub. Date: November 7, 2017
PublisherEntangled Publishing
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 400

Sometimes beauty is the beast…

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.


Early Praise:

"Dangerous, dark and a definite page turner. Mary Lindsey rocks this book.”
- New York Times bestselling author C.C. Hunter

“A smoking hot hero and spine-chilling mystery = total win.”
- #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout

"This electrifying tale will take you on an unexpected journey into a secret world of witchcraft and shape shifters. Romance, adventure, and magic! Lindsey leaves you breathless and wanting more."
- Adriana Mather, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch

"This is not your mama's paranormal! Sexy, dark and intense. Unputdownable!"
- Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Firelight

"Lindsey writes a hero with fire and gasoline. Then she lights a match with break-neck pacing, and scorches a path to readers' hearts. Don't blink for a moment."
- Victoria Scott, bestselling author of Fire & Flood

"Gripping and gritty, HAVEN had me glued to the pages from beginning to end! Rain is the best kind of hero -- tough, sexy, sweet, loyal. He charges through this action-packed tale that had me tearing up more than once, and I was perfectly happy to follow!"
- Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of Forget Tomorrow.

"An utterly gritty and satisfying resurrection of the monster genre.Rain is an intense narrator and you won't know whether to scream or swoon. Haven is an instant classic!"
- Courtney Moulton, author of Angelfire

"Darkly compelling and deliciously chilling, Haven hooks you from the first line and never lets up. Gritty, spine-tingling, and full of nail-biting tension.”
- Amalie Howard, bestselling author of Bloodspell

"Dark, different, sexy, and edge-of-your-seat intense."
- Shawna Stringer, bookseller


Exclusive Excerpt!

When Rain turned back to Freddie, he bit down a gasp of surprise. She’d stripped off her shirt and tipped her face to the moon, eyes closed, like one would do to the sun at the beach. And here he’d thought the landscape was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

The air was still. Eerily still, and her smooth skin appeared to glow from inside in the moonlight—her black lace bra sheer enough to make him a little dizzy.

Without opening her eyes, she said, “Take off your shirt.”

No way in hell was he going to argue with that. He yanked off his shirt, clutching it in his fist, waiting for his next instruction.

He forgot how to breathe when she opened her pale eyes and moved toward him. Her gaze wasn’t focused on his face, though. It was on his chest. Stopping in front of him, she traced her fingers over the ink.

“Raindrops?” she asked, finger outlining one of the shapes.

“Tears,” he replied, again light-headed as she ran her fingertips over his pec.

“For your mom?”

“No. For all of us.”

She stepped back and, for a long time, stared at the tattoo comprised of dozens of drops in a random pattern over his chest, spilling down his ribs.

She traced a scar on his side with the tip of her finger. One of many marring his body from fights. “Your life has been sad.”

And so had hers recently. Maybe that was why he felt so connected to her. Their shared grief, their shared stand against a harsh, unfeeling, screwed-up world. Their shared solitude.

She turned back to the moon and raised her arms. “Do you feel it?”

Well, that was a wide-open question. He was feeling lots of things.

“The moon,” she said. “It’s like aloe when you’re sunburned. Try it.”

He imitated her posture, head back, arms out, but felt nothing other than the throbbing hardness he always felt around her.

“So, what do you think about that legend your aunt told you?” she asked.

He opened his eyes to find her studying him. “That the rock can turn men into beasts?” His mind raced, wondering what would prompt that question and what answer she was looking for. Men were beasts. Horrible monsters at times. He’d seen it firsthand. “I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

There it was again. That strange warm pull in his chest while she studied him. Like she totally got him—something no one else had ever bothered to do. He’d never been understood or accepted. People saw his size and found out his background and immediately wrote him off as dangerous or not worth the trouble. Not Freddie.

She obviously found his answer acceptable, because she wound her fingers in his hair and hauled him against her for another kiss. Raw, open-mouthed, and hungry. He’d never met anyone like this, who made him burn so hot he thought he might die from need. Recovering from surprise, he placed his hands on either side of her bare rib cage, feeling her body expand and contract with each quick breath. Bones and hard muscle working beneath smooth, soft skin. Skin he wanted to touch all over.

“I like you, Rain Ryland,” she said, dragging her nails down his back.

“Like” didn’t even come close. He was on fire for her. Had thought of her night and day since he first saw those eerily pale eyes and badass attitude. She was smart, strong, and terribly, terribly dangerous, which turned him on like crazy. “I like you, too.”

“How much?”

Something was going on here. Something other than foreplay. “More than I’ve ever liked anyone.” Which was true and unexpected. This was more than physical, which was a terrifying thought for him. Maybe this time he could stay. Maybe this time he’d actually found a home and wouldn’t have to leave everything behind.

He kissed her again, not wanting to think about legends, or leaving, or anything else for that matter. He wanted to just live in this moment as long as it lasted. Running his hands lower, his thumb brushed the unmistakable shape of a condom in her back pocket. He froze, and she smiled against his lips.

“You scared, Sprinkles?”

“Yes.”

“Of me?” It was like she wanted him to fear her.

“No.” He pulled back, amazed at how her eyes reflected the moon like clear glass. “Of this.” He gestured to the space he’d put between them. “Of whatever this is.” The intensity of it. The urgency. And worse, much worse—the potential loss of it. He’d never feared losing something before because he’d never had anything worth keeping. This girl, though. She was different. And he wanted her.



About Mary
Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 "pet" Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the "pet" roaches found a home... somewhere else.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest |  Goodreads





Giveaway Details:
5 winners will receive an ARC of HAVEN, US Only.


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#Spotlight ; If You Never Try, You Will Never Know by Sahil Mehta



IF YOU NEVER TRY, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW
by
Sahil Mehta



Blurb


Robin, who gets inspired by his mother to become a musician, is forced by his father to pursue the education needed to join their family business. This compels him to leave home at the age of eighteen to follow his dreams. In few months of independent living, his over-ambitious dreams turn into an obsession, which gets even more intense when he falls into a drug addiction, and mysteriously unleashes a new side to his life.

During this journey, he meets Aisha. They talk, play and fall in love. Her exquisite beauty defines the melody of his musical journey as they both fall deep in love with each other. But Robin's obsession with his dream and a struggling career become an obstacle in their relationship. Is their love strong enough to overcome complexities?

During these tumultuous times, Robin's flat mate Jordan begins to motivate him to follow his heart. Jordan becomes his philosopher and guru but not for very long-what makes Robin lose trust in him? Discover how he finds a spiritual path after being disheartened during his struggle to achieve success.

Amidst the ups and downs in his career, love and life, find out what destiny holds for Robin. Will he find success in music industry or will he end up joining his father's business? Experience a thrilling story that will inspire you to believe in your love and dreams.

Grab your copy @

About the author


Sahil Mehta was born and raised in India, and is currently living in the beautiful city of Seattle. Inspired by the power of words, emotions and various life experiences, he naturally gravitated towards writing. If You Never Try, You Will Never Know is his first book, and its story-line is influenced by his childhood dreams. Currently, he is working on a story, based on the characters and places he came across during his stay in the USA. Apart from writing, Sahil enjoys fitness-related activities and listening to music.

                    

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Monday, 18 September 2017

#Spotlight ; Soul Warrior (Age of Kali #1) by Falguni Kothari

★.•**•.★ Soul Warrior Book Blast ★.•**•.★ 
15th to 17th September, 2017


The Age of Kali is a series of mythic fantasy novels by international bestselling novelist Falguni Kothari. The first book of the series, Soul Warrior, introduces readers to a fictional law-governed Cosmos made up of heavenly, demonic and human realms and its protagonist, Lord Karna, the legendary guardian of the Human Realm, who is coerced into training six godlings into demon hunters against a rising demon army. The series arc interlocks into a war of domination between the Light and Dark forces of the Cosmos and the race to control the one soul capable of total cosmic annihilation, demi-god Karna's and Draupadi's secret child.


Get Your Copy from AMAZON




Praise for Soul Warrior:

"A beautiful exploration of fantasy and mythology, Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali) is the latest release from Falguni Kothari and by any stretch of the imagination she’s delivered an awesome story. Rich, enchanting, evocative, she effortlessly blends an ancient Indian epic and South Asian mythology with grace and quiet elegance to create the canvas upon which her miraculous world finds form.... Beautifully written and enviably imaginative, Soul Warrior proves an exemplary example of Fantasy Fiction. Definitely deserving of your attention it is recommended without reservation!"
   —Book Viral 

"I loved the writing which... hit that nice spot between being evocative and descriptive and still keeping the story moving....It has a huge cast of fascinating characters, a deep and rich world and definitely something I’m interested in following."
   —Fangs for Fantasy 

"I loved the way Ms. Falguni has shown an eye for the details scattered throughout the novel.... Will I recommend this book? Oh yes, and be assured you will grab the next one too just to know more about the Soul Warrior."
  —Global Asian Times 

"The plot is intriguing, much in the tradition of a modern thriller.... Precisely sketched and nuanced with quirky detail, the characters enrich the story they inhabit.... The vibrant characters in the multi-hued setting are the stuff superhero animation films are made of. Soul Warrior engrosses and enthralls. A thumping good read, I would say."
  —Of Prose and Poetry blog 


Read an Excerpt:


SHUNYA: NOTHING AND EVERYTHING


Kuru Kshetra Battlefield.
        Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.


Death is hot.

That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat.

Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun.

What have I done?

I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties.

“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. 

“Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.”

There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything.

A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange.

Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone.

“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us.

I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain?

Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”

“Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.”
Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. 

A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat.

“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”

Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.”

There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds.

I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture.

Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”

“Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human?

It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent?

“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”

I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. 
I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting.

“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”

“You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”

I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down.

Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”

Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire.

Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth?

I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.

“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.

The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am.

Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am.

I am the Soul Warrior.


About the Author:


Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)

I’m embarrassed to admit how many social media accounts I own :

Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest




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Saturday, 9 September 2017

#BookReview ; The Golden House by Salman Rushdie



When powerful real-estate tycoon Nero Golden immigrates to the States under mysterious circumstances, he and his three adult children assume new identities, taking 'Roman' names, and move into a grand mansion in downtown Manhattan. Arriving shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama, he and his sons, each extraordinary in his own right, quickly establish themselves at the apex of New York society.
The story of the powerful Golden family is told from the point of view of their Manhattanite neighbour and confidant, René, an aspiring filmmaker who finds in the Goldens the perfect subject. René chronicles the undoing of the house of Golden: the high life of money, of art and fashion, a sibling quarrel, an unexpected metamorphosis, the arrival of a beautiful woman, betrayal and murder, and far away, in their abandoned homeland, some decent intelligence work.
Invoking literature, pop culture, and the cinema, Rushdie spins the story of the American zeitgeist over the last eight years, hitting every beat: the rise of the birther movement, the Tea Party, Gamergate and identity politics; the backlash against political correctness; the ascendency of the superhero movie, and, of course, the insurgence of a ruthlessly ambitious, narcissistic, media-savvy villain wearing make-up and with coloured hair.
In a new world order of alternative truths, Salman Rushdie has written the ultimate novel about identity, truth, terror and lies. A brilliant, heartbreaking realist novel that is not only uncannily prescient but shows one of the world’s greatest storytellers working at the height of his powers.

The Golden House is the thirteenth newly published novel of Salman Rushdie published by Penguin Random House. Salman Rushdie is the multi-award winning author of 12 previous novels including Midnight’s Children which won the Booker Prize (1981) and the Best of the Booker’s Prize (2008). He has also published a memoir, a collection of short stories and 3 works of non-fiction. His books have been translated into over 40 languages. He is a former president of American PEN.

The Golden House is a story about the mysterious Nero Golden & his 3 sons who’ve come to live in New York, America from Bombay, India with deep secrets & cloaked identities. They occupied a lavish mansion which they renamed to the “Golden House”.  The narrator is Rene who’s gonna be a filmmaker & plans to make a movie on the Golden family. Their arrival is in sync with the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama & their story is in harmony with his tenure as well as the rising “Joker” of the next election. But can someone really leave the past behind? Will the Golden family just have a happy ever after? Read the book to know.

First a confession, this is my first Salman Rushdie that I have actually read. I’ve always wanted to read Midnight’s Children but never got to buy one, because of this I had no clue what to expect from it & honestly I like that. But I do remember a famous Indian author saying that no one understands a Rushdie book but pretend to do so & just as expected he is definitely wrong. The Golden House is a collection of real life events mixed with references to myths, tragedies, ancient history, etc. The author has beautifully incorporated all these aspects into a really fascinating story which will just blow you away. The narrator is a breath of fresh air & the fact that story has a clever political statement about America makes it even more interesting. Surely a must read. PS special thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy.



Saturday, 2 September 2017

#BookReview ; Shiva by Subhadra Sen Gupta



In this book, read three stories from Shiva’s adventure-filled life. Find out the tale behind the origin of the river Ganga, and what role Shiva had to play in it; how the shivalingam avatar of Shiva came about; and how Shiva destroyed three demons with one arrow. Beautifully retold by Subhadra Sen Gupta and accompanied by Tapas Guha’s magnificent illustrations, this book will be loved by every child.

Shiva is a collection of 3 short stories by Subhadra Sen Gupta, illustrated by Tapas Guha & published in Red Turtle by Rupa Publications. Subhadra Sen Gupta has written over 30 books for children. She loves to travel, flirt with cats & chat with autorickshaw drivers. Tapas Guha has been working for more than 20 years as an illustrator. He loves to draw comics & illustrate children’s books.

Shiva is one of three almighty gods along with Brahma & Vishnu, according to the Hindu mythology Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver while Shiva is the destroyer. This book consists of 3 short tales revolving around Shiva. Read about the origin of Ganga on the Earth & how Shiva graciously saved the Earth from getting flooded. With other such interesting stories for your child to read, this book can surely be a precious gift with beautiful illustrations. Get it here,
Even though I’m an atheist, I do believe that reading about mythologies helps to build character from a young age itself. So, when I got a chance to review this kid’s book I got very excited because I love the illustrations in such books & I’m so glad this book didn’t let me down. The stories are short & crisp which will keep the children interested, also the language is quite easy. Surely a book you must get for children in your family.




Thursday, 31 August 2017

#Spotlight ; The Royal Roommate by P.G. Van


THE ROYAL ROOMMATE
by
P.G.Van



Blurb
My purpose in life is to protect you… 

Sid is Army strong and sinfully sexy. He is tasked to investigate a woman suspected of having connections with a rebel group. The style of investigation was not his choice, and he is asked to move in as the roommate of the person of interest, Amy. 
Amy was thrilled to start her internship in San Francisco and wasn’t expecting a man with rock-solid abs as her roommate. The moment she laid eyes on him, she knew he was bad news. 

The attraction was undeniable and they both wondered how long they could hold on to their resolve. Sid didn’t want to sleep with a suspect even if she was wildly beautiful and sexy. Amy wasn’t interested in a fling. 

Just when Sid is about close his investigation and declare Amy’s innocence, he finds out something about her that changes everything. She becomes the most important person in his life.

Grab your copy @



About the author

P.G. Van


P.G. Van lives in San Francisco and she published her first novel, Destiny Decides… in October 2015 and cannot stop writing. She loves to spend time with family and is a strong believer of retail therapy (mostly shops for boots and purses!!). She enjoys giving her readers an escape to the world of love and romance.

You can stalk her @

                   

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

#Spotlight ; Rise of the Nephilim by Marcus James

 



Rise of the Nephilim
A Blackmoore Prequel
Marcus James

Genre: Erotic PNR/Gothic Horror

Publisher: Candiano Books

Date of Publication: 07/24/2017

ISBN:1545039895
ASIN: B073q4gb9w

Number of pages: 201

Word Count: 61,272

Cover Artist: Ransom Graphics

Tagline: Sex, witchcraft, and rock and roll on the Sunset Strip

Book Description:

LOS ANGELES, summer of 1987.

Kathryn Blackmoore, the 26 year old heir to Blackmoore World Corp. and the future matriarch of the Blackmoore dynasty of witches has fled the haunted old monied neighborhood of South Hill in Bellingham, Washington looking to trade in a century of rumors, superstition, and her own heartache  for the sun, sex, and music of the Sunset Strip.

Taking up residence in the famed and decaying Chateau Marmont hotel, Kathryn quickly finds herself in an erotic and thrilling journey into the world of Niiq, Arish, and Kuri; members of the band Nephilim, who seem to have the women of the Strip enthralled by their dark and sensuous sound. When bodies begin to turn up all over town and a mysterious and haunting figure fixates on Kathryn, she quickly learns that you can never escape your destiny.

RISE OF THE NEPHILIM is the first of a two part erotic paranormal romance/thriller revealing the beginnings of one of the most captivating characters in The Blackmoore Legacy series. It is a standalone prequel of eroticism, romance, and suspense.



Excerpt:

The library was quiet with the exception of the short and humming-to-herself library assistant stacking the books left out or returned through-out the day. The girl was a junior; she was sure of it. She had never talked to her; they had never orbited the same solar system in the day-to-day endless galaxy of Mariner High School, but that didn’t matter.
She could still reach inside the girl’s mind whenever she wanted to, and explore everything she kept hidden from the rest of the world. She could travel the fleshy terrain of the girl’s brain and see her hopes and dreams, her fears, her loves, and her longings.
She was able to pick out that her name was Tammy. She was a studious girl with dirty blonde curls that hung to her breasts, her skin milk-white and soft, her face delicate and scattered with a dusting of freckles across the bridge of her small nose. Her brown eyes were golden and looked over the spine of each book, scanning their titles and looking up to each aisle to see where they belonged.
Kathryn Blackmoore stood from the table where she had been discussing after graduation party plans with her best friend Lila Sifuentes and with her boyfriend Sheffield Burges, excited to finally walk and receive their diplomas and be done with this place forever.
She was tall – five feet and nine inches. Her lean body was dressed in a pink-and-white pin-striped collared shirt, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, the collar popped and buttoned only to her full breasts.
A three-tiered pearl necklace glistened in the bright white fluorescents overhead, and her thick shoulder-length feathered mane was a rich auburn that seemed to glow around her like a halo.
She gathered her books and began to make her way to the doors to begin the walk through campus back to her home. Her long legs were encased in a khaki, knee-length Ralph Lauren skirt with a slit up the left thigh and a tasseled and thin brown leather belt was fastened loosely around her waist and rested on her hipbones. Kathryn looked at her watch; it was 9:00 p.m. They had been put in charge of the after-party by the entire student body – at least by the Golden Gods, as the popular kids were called – and it was their job to deliver.
Somehow by some cruel joke perpetrated by the universe, Kathryn had somehow become one of them. That was a first for her family, and it was no surprise to her that this ascension in the school’s hierarchy was achieved by her relationship with Sheffield. He was one of the kindest and most popular guys at their elitist school, and was a rock star on the Soccer field. It was the school’s claim to greatness and claim to fame. Other schools had football, but Mariner was known throughout the country for their school’s soccer team. In the eighteen years of its existence – as long she had been alive – Mariner was a crowning achievement and had only ever lost three games. Families from the country over, who dreamed of soccer field futures for their children chose Mariner – a public high school – over the best sports-driven private schools.
Mariner was a dynasty of Bellingham Washington, and the rite of passage for the exclusive children of South Hill, with their centuries-old Victorian, Tudor, Colonial, and Craftsman mansions that stood on large plots of land between treacherous and almost guard-like evergreens on every street, and sidewalks lined with monstrous oaks and maples. Homes filled with inhabitants of both the living and the dead.
Then there werethe Edgemoore kids. Nouveau riche. Most of them were native Californians whose parents moved here in a great rush for cheap land when California’s real estate began to climb higher and higher, and for the chance to get their kid on the Mariner soccer team.
Here, on the cliffs on the other side of Bellingham Bay, and staring back at the old genteel mansions, were the castle-like and gaudy estates of Edgemoore.
These kids had no respect for the history that still stood in the city, and the almost haunted charm of Fairhaven, that filled the space along the water between these two wealthy neighborhoods. Fairhaven was the last town to merge with the county of Whatcom in 1903, finally forming the greater city of Bellingham. For the city, and everyone in it, there was a difference between the South Hill neighborhood and the rest of Bellingham itself, as if it were still its own town.
Connecting the south to the north of Bellingham was the campus of Fairhaven University, which in the 1890s had been the Washington State Normal School. Fairhaven University was carved through the trees and made up of tall, red-orange brick buildings and concrete bridges overpaved pathways in between the green. The city was not unlike Bram Stoker’s description of Transylvania: a place wild and filled with spirits, and fiercer things that lived in the mouth of the Carpathian Mountains that surrounded it.
The city was surrounded by cliffs and an endless army of evergreens.
Interstate 5 snaked through all of this above the city, so that every exit dipped down into it. Kathryn had grown up here, had been born here, into South Hill’s superstition and paranoia and never-ending fears.
South Hill was filled with the descendants of the founding families, and the majority had worshiped at The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
The white wood church with its gorgeous and detailed mammoth windows of stained glass was crowned with a single black-slated roof and spire.
The first time Kathryn had ever used her witchcraft against another was the priest who had tried to take advantage of her when she was twelve. It had felt invigorating to watch his body convulse and the blood begin to slip out of his mouth, eyes, and nose – even his ears.
When he had hit the floor, his brain fried, she had screamed and run out of the office as soon as one of the nuns and another priest – Father
Malady – opened the door, covering her tear-stained face.
It didn’t help anything when she told them what he had been attempting to do when the aneurism hit. She could hear the headmaster’s thoughts, as well as the two nuns and Father Malady, who had sat with his arms folded, his angular and almost rat-like face with his beady green eyes looking at her with a smug grin. They knew she had somehow caused it. She was a Blackmoore, after all; she was a witch and she had used her charms to seduce the priest. To bewitch him and befuddle him and make him lose all of his sense and self-control. She had made him weak on purpose so that she could kill him – to sacrifice him to Satan and make another hit in their diabolical war with the Church.
She had said nothing. She wanted to leave and go to Fairhaven Middle School. She was in her last year of junior high and she didn’t
want to be in this place any longer, with ruler hits and other obscene punishments. They were more than happy to get her out. Her father,
Trevor Mayland, had been the one to insist she go to Catholic School.
He feared the Blackmoore name as much as anyone else, regardless of the fact that he had married her mother, Annaline Blackmoore in 1961.
He had loved her so much that he had wanted to save Annaline from what he saw as the Blackmoore curse. He thought that she would be far from the devil’s reach if he could marry her and make an honest woman out of her. A God-fearing woman who would go to mass every
Sunday and keep far from her family’s other practice, aside from Blackmoore World Corp. – a multi-billion-dollar-a-year international company which handled almost all the shipments of goods, most legal and some more questionable, of the entire world – was running the Church of Light, the Spiritualist church that her great-grandmother Aria had started in 1898, where she would commune with the dead, read palm, tarot cards, and tea leaves.
It was a place where for a hefty sum, Aria could be hired to work her witchcraft for others, no matter the intention. The Church of Light was then run by Aria’s daughter Fiona, and now her daughter Mabel, her mother’s older sister. Annaline had been too adventurous for that anyways, and so Trevor’s plan meant nothing one way or the other, as Annaline was too much of a wild child, concerned with music festivals and poets and drinking while smoking pot and cigarettes.
This fact did not stop Trevor Mayland from worrying about “his girls,” as he called his wife and daughter, and sending Kathryn to boarding school, only a few blocks from her actual home, to only visit on the weekends, was extremely easy for him.
Yes, she had had enough at that point, and the death of the priest put a smile on her face – a smile she had to fight back when they almost hesitantly told her that she was finished and would be going back home.
They were witches; this was true, and Father Malady had known this. A man of forty-seven, straight from Ireland – in Kilcommon,County Mayo – where the Blackmoores had originated from, and where they still lived inside the great limestone citadel known as Blackmoore Hall on the shores of Broadhaven Bay.
Everyone in that part of Ireland knew of the Blackmoores. They believed them to be a family who grew into their wealth because of a pact with the devil, and those who knew them gained fortune or befell ruin simply for knowing them.
During the witch hunts her ancestors had fled the Black Moor and built a rustic cottage with a thatched roof along the cruel and wild sea, in hiding from both the evils of Christian men and the even greater and ancient evil that had tormented the clan of the Black Moor for centuries before finally escaping. He was a dark and bloodthirsty God who had tried to make slaves of the clan and had forced them to sacrifice the weak and the innocent to his altar.
They had finally escaped him, turning their back on him and refusing to write his name down or speak it from their lips. This went on for two hundred years, until all those who had known him had died, and he had grown weak from being forgotten. They left the moor in the year 1145 and journeyed northwest, as far from the wood and that deity as possible. They were secluded and far from wealthy, and then suddenly in 1845, they began to buy up nearly thirteen thousand acres of land and built a great, almost castle-like home. They were all certain that the family was finally reaping their rewards for the trade of their souls.
This had never been the case. The reason for the wealth was far more mundane; Katy Blackmoore of New Orleans – where the family
had moved to in the 1780s – denounced the family and the many evils that served the Dark God of the Wood who wished to wipe out the Blackmoores, and left for Spain. She returned almost a year later married to Spanish royalty, and bequeathed a fortune enough for a kingdom to her father Tristan, her brother Nicholas, and her grandparents Sarafeene and Malachey, in exchange for being left alone by them so that she could live a normal life.
She had lost her mother to her family and their Legacy – the name of their great curse – and she was certain that if she separated herself from her family and lived a good Christian life, never summoning her witchcraft, then she would not lose her husband, and her children would never suffer the loss of a parent, or the feeling of knowing who you were and what you were would end up killing the one you loved.
The Blackmoores had agreed and with that money, they made the family flourish. First in New Orleans and Ireland, and then later, the family moved west and north, and all points in between. Spreading out all across the United States, England, France, Italy, and Ireland, in vesting in industry and especially shipping; and acquiring and building fleets upon fleets of ships, until there was no one to rival them.
By the time the family had arrived in Fairhaven to begin building their empire in the “Gateway of Alaska,” as it had been known, the residents of the city were openly hostile – being fueled by the legends and superstitions of immigrant priests and servants who whispered about the dangerous and devilish Blackmoores of Kilcommon and their mission to take over the Christian world and hand it to the devil and his fallen angels, wrapped with a big bloodstained bow.
It was shit, but superstition is slow to die, and even in 1979, the people of South Hill still feared the Blackmoore name and what it meant if you talked to them. Kathryn had suffered that for so long, and for the longest time, Lila Sifuentes – the only Latina in the school –had been her only friend.
Her father had always loved Kathryn, but up until his death a week after the incident – due to the sudden brain tumor that claimed the lives of those who have unprotected sex with a Blackmoore – he had always been slightly wary of her, as if he could see the curse deep under her veins.
Unprotected sex with a Blackmoore always seemed to kill seven to twelve years later, and always of a severe seizure and hemorrhage caused by the tumor. Blood pooled from the nose, mouth, and other parts of the face, and the body would convulse. They would be biting their tongues so hard that often they bit the tip off completely. Every witch in her family always hoped and often believed that they would be the Blackmoore to survive the curse, that their lover would be strong enough to beat it back.
They always died, and her father had been no different.
Kathryn had been dangerously beautiful all her life, with a statuesque body and icy eyes – the palest of blues – and soft olive skin with an always-perfectly-feathered auburn mane lik ealion, and the latest fashions straight out of Vogueclothing her. She had a husky whiskey voice, much like the actress Kim Novak. She had loved Bell, Book, and Candle, so the comparison was flattering; besides, she thought Kim Novak was a magnificent and stunning creature.


About the Author:

Marcus James is the author of five novels and has contributed to several anthologies with Alyson Books and has been a contributing writer for Seattle Gay News. He lives in Seattle with his husband and Staffordshire terrier. He is 32 years old.





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