Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Spotlight on Priestess of Storms & Stone by Annie Anderson + #Giveaway


Priestess of Storms & Stone
Annie Anderson
(Rogue Ethereal #5)
Publication date: March 31st 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
If there is one lesson I’ve been taught in my life, it’s that fairies are the absolute worst.

Finding a fledgling succubus in Faerie is like locating a needle inside a realm-sized haystack. With a guide I can’t trust and a goal more ephemeral than smoke, my odds of success are tenuous at best. Not to mention, as the last Elemental in existence, I have a giant target painted on my back.
Because one half of Faerie wants me dead, and the other half wants to use me as a sacrifice to open the gates to Earth. But I swore I would find my quarry, and I will. Even if I have to rip the entire realm apart to do it.
There is a storm coming to Faerie, and that storm is me.
EXCERPT:
It was never a good sign to be drinking bourbon at ten in the morning, but after the week I’d had, I figured I was due. Self-medicating with alcohol wouldn’t take the sting out of my grief, in fact, it was likely to make it worse. But I’d needed a teensy little breather from my housemates after the last truth bomb had been dropped, and wrapping my head around my new knowledge required booze.
I could feel Della’s eyes on me, her acute vampire gaze boring a hole in the side of my face. She wanted an answer to her question, and she likely wasn’t going to leave me alone until I gave her one.
When are we leaving?
That question echoed against the walls of my brain with enough force to give me a headache. Melody was alive. She was alive, and my sister was dead.
But that didn’t make a lick of sense. Melody died right in front of me. I watched Aurelia send her soul on in a way only a phoenix could do. I watched her body burn in the flames of a funeral pyre. I needed answers before I could answer Della’s question.
Because I wouldn’t be leaving to hunt her down unless I was sure this wasn’t some kind of trick. I’d been tricked too many times in the last week, and I wasn’t falling for another one.
“Melody is dead, Della,” I whispered before taking another sip of bourbon, refusing to face my bodyguard. If I looked at her, I’d see either pity or censure, and I couldn’t deal with either.
“Then why is her son gone?” Della pointed out a big hole in the “Melody’s dead” argument.
Shit, fuck, and damn. I made a promise to Melody to keep her son safe. If it wasn’t Melody who had her son—and I highly doubted it was—then I’d have to go get him.
In Faerie.
Aces.
But hadn’t I earned a break? Hadn’t I earned the right to let someone else take up the slack?
You made a promise. You swore. You can’t turn away just because you’re hurt.
Those words cut through my thoughts sharp enough to bring tears to my eyes. I did. I made a promise to make sure her son was safe. And I’d keep it. Maybe it would make my soul burn just a little less. Maybe if I did this one thing, losing Maria wouldn’t hurt so bad.
Yeah, I doubted it.
I sniffed back the sting of tears, tossed back the rest of the bourbon, and managed to set the glass down without smashing it. I’d been on a smashing kick for the last little bit, and my living room had borne the brunt of it. At the time, I’d wanted to destroy everything Maria had ever touched. If I could just break it, burn it, wreck it, then it would have been like she wasn’t stamped all over every molecule of my house.
Wasn’t that stupid?
Like I wouldn’t see her every time I closed my eyes.
“Okay, I’ll give you that,” I muttered, finally answering Della’s question. “But I can’t just bust down the door to Faerie and find her. If it is her. We need way more to go on than a note and a can-do attitude.”
I peered down at myself. I had on black shorts and a black tank top. It was good enough for summer in Denver. All I needed was some flip-flops. Had I brushed my teeth today? Shrug. Was I wearing a bra? My tank had a shelf bra in it. It would just have to do. Plus, Barrett wouldn’t give two shits about what I was wearing. I located my flip-flops in their spot by the door, shuffled my feet into them, and raised my hand to snap my fingers.
But Della pounced on my hand before I could complete the task.
“What?” My whole body was on red alert, my eyes searching my demolished living room and relatively untouched kitchen.
“You can’t go out like that,” Della whispered furiously, her face a picture of panic.
Frowning, I looked back down at myself. Yep, all my parts were covered.
“It’s summer. Shorts and a tank aren’t going to turn any heads no matter how much ink is on display.”
A dawning realization lit up Della’s face before she winced. “You haven’t checked a mirror since you got back, have you?”


Author Bio:
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.

GIVEAWAY!
Win 1 of 3x $25 Amazon gift cards
Open INT until the 14th April


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Monday, 30 March 2020

Spotlight on Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard + #Giveaway


Keep Forever
Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction
“Unlike some war stories that focus on intense, harsh and graphic depictions of post-combat trauma, this tale unfolds gently, like an Edna Ferber novel, spread across many decades, detailing the impact this soldier’s illness has on an entire family, including children and grandchildren. KEEP FOREVER is a wonderful, emotionally satisfying read that I highly recommend. ”
GARY SEIGEL, author of “Haskell Himself”
Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice.
Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school.  At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight.  The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother.  Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home.
A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul.  Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades.
After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul.  In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD,  Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.
Inspired
By
A True Story
EXCERPT:
“Anything you can give me for this headache?” Paul clenched his teeth, hoping to reduce the lightning bolts behind his eyes. He tried to remember how delicious it felt to be pain-free.
“We’ll get you something.” Dr. Shapiro turned to his nurse. “I’m ordering a mild sedative for Paul so we can remove the shrapnel. When we’re done, find him a spot in the ward and—”
Paul interrupted. “I have a friend who was wounded. I think he was on the chopper with me. Do you know if Sam Sutton is here?” He looked at the doctor for reassurance.
Dr. Shapiro knew who Paul was talking about. He laid a hand on Paul’s arm. “He just got out of surgery. I’ll see if I can get him a bed next to you once the anesthesia has worn off.”
“Will he be okay?”
“Yes, we treated his hand.” That’s all Doctor Shapiro would share with Paul. He stood up and moved to the next patient in line. Paul struggled to prop himself against the wall, comforted only by a small pillow for his head and a thin blanket to minimize the shaking he couldn’t repress. He surveyed the scene that unfolded before him and waited for Sam to join him. The room was filled with muffled groans from dozens of young men, many in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, mutilated limbs, and grotesque facial wounds that replaced the once handsome, strong, vigorous appearance of youth. Some
screamed in agony as young nurses did their best to scrub lacerations and change dressings, while others lay silent with nothing more than a vacant, faraway look.
Paul watched a trim and confident nurse, her chestnut hair securely pulled away from her face in a tight bun that showed off her high cheek bones and almond-shaped eyes—rich, like the color of chocolate. She wrapped the final piece of clean gauze around the head of a distressed young soldier and whispered something in his ear. Whatever she had said appeared to relieve his agitation as a slight smile crossed his face and he surrendered his broken body to sleep.
The nurse walked over to Paul, pulled up a chair, and introduced herself. “Hello. My name’s Diane. Feeling okay? Any pain? It’s almost time for another dose of medication.” Amidst all the suffering, she smiled and waited for Paul’s response.
“Hey, hi, I mean hello, Diane. My name’s Paul. Waiting for my friend, Sam Sutton. Doc said they would bring him out soon. Ya know if his hand’s okay?” He hoped Diane might have more information about Sam’s condition, but she politely excused herself as she rushed to meet two medics entering with Sam, still groggy from surgery. They inched closer to Paul and the empty cot next to his. Diane’s gentle hand guided the corpsmen as they lifted Sam from the stretcher to make his transition to his bed as comfortable as possible.
Paul gasped aloud. He couldn’t help it. There was no way to silence the sound that rose from his throat when he saw his friend beside him, his right hand thick with bandages, wrapped as if to protect something that was no longer there. Paul slowly brought his hands to his face and felt the layers of soft bandages, only his eyes, nose, and mouth exposed. His head pulsated and his face felt tight and swollen. With crystal clarity, his mind flashed back to the instant when his life, when Sam’s life, were forever changed. His body tensed with the memory—the sounds, the heat, the explosions, the cries for help, and the smell of death all around them. He choked back tears and resolved to remain stoic and grateful that his wounds would soon be invisible. Unlike Sam, he had escaped a lifetime of disfigurement and the constant reminder of his brush with death.
Diane hovered over Sam as he stirred. She had played this part too many times the last nine months, soothing traumatized young men, convincing them that everything
would be just fine, even though it was not always the truth. She knew he would need a voice of reassurance when he realized where he was and the severity of his injuries. Sam’s eyelids fluttered. He tried to focus on his surroundings and take in the foul odor and musty smell of the tent, lined from one end to the other with broken bodies. The stench of disinfectant, humidity, and soiled linens stuck to the canvas walls of the makeshift hospital like glue, and he swallowed hard to prevent the nausea from taking hold of his body. Sam rolled his head to one side and looked at Paul, who appeared composed, determined, and calm.
“You made it, buddy. We made it,” whispered Paul.


Author Bio:
ALEXA KINGAARD was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.
Her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, was inspired by her late ex-husband who batted the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return. The burden he brought home is shared by combat veterans of all conflicts, and her fictional account highlights the collateral damage encountered by family members and loved ones living with PTSD in their midst.
Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, departs from her personal experiences and focuses on the collective memories of her generation. She loves writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.

GIVEAWAY!
Win a $50 Amazon gift card
Open INT until the 2nd April

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Sunday, 29 March 2020

Spotlight on Selah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count + #Giveaway

Selah's Stolen Dream (Dream Horse Adventures #4) by Susan Count

This is my stop during the book blitz for Selah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 18 till 31 March. See the tour schedule here

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: 1 March, 2020

One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat.

Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.

But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?

You can find Selah's Stolen Dream on Goodreads

You can buy Selah's Stolen Dream at
 Amazon.com / Amazon UK

Earlier books in the series:
- Mary's Song (Dream Horse Adventures #1):
Amazon.com / Amazon UK (Only 99 cents)
- Selah's Sweet Dream (Dream Horse Adventures #2):
Amazon.com / Amazon UK
- Selah's Painted Dream (Dream Horse Adventures #3):
Amazon.com / Amazon UK

Mary's Song is completely independent of the three Selah books. It is the story of Selah's grandmother.



Excerpt

Except for the dreary February weather, life was perfect. Absolutely, fantastically, completely—perfect. Today, my dreams could come true. 
Today, Selah would show Sweet Dream in the biggest horse show in Texas. 
And today might be the day she signed the movie contract for her and Dream to make a movie about their life. “You’re going to be a star,” she said to her reflection as she finger-combed her blonde hair and fixed a basic ponytail. “And Dream will be a famous horse star.” She imagined people wanting her autograph. She’d have to guard the horse so no one snipped a wisp of her pink mane. 
It all started when her instructor, Jordan, made that training DVD of her riding lessons on Sweet Dream. When they posted it on social media, people quickly labeled it Cuteness Overload, and soon, it went viral. Then, after the wife of a movie producer watched Selah and Dream at an exposition, everything got supercharged. “Me—famous. Doesn’t feel real. Pinch me.” 
On a day like today, she needed the perfect socks. It was a long- standing family conviction that mismatched socks were lucky. She hummed a happy tune as she tugged on one sock embellished with white unicorns and the other stamped with black horse heads. Balancing on the edge of the window seat, she admired her socks. “Sweet.” She tapped her toes, flipped them outward and together again. 
Out her second-story window, two horses slept in the dormant Texas Bermuda grass with their legs tucked near their bellies, and Sweet Dream’s nose rested on the ground. The morning vapor shrouded the trees in wet mist while the sun gently lifted the night’s shade. When a sure sign of spring, a robin, dropped to the ground near Dream, she jerked awake. The glossy black mare threw her head high and lunged to her feet. A snort accompanied her panic. 
Dream’s pasture mate, Buddy, rolled to his side and stretched out flat. The brown and white Paint was Grandpa’s old show horse. Less than a year ago, Selah tracked down the gelding and brought him home. She’d hoped Grandpa would ride with her, but he’d gotten remarried instead. It worked out. Selah’s family moved to the farm, and Grandpa and Grandma Katie lived on the farm next door. 
Selah smiled at the rumble her two little brothers made scrambling down the stairs to breakfast. Living at the farm ballooned her heart with joy. She blew a kiss through the window to her equine pasture treasures. 
The aroma of bacon drew her downstairs. The kitchen had gotten a fresh coat of paint, and, thank goodness, Mom had replaced Grandpa’s ancient, three-tiered puffed curtains. Eight- year-old Davy and five-year-old Michael crowded together on one chair. Their heads tilted back, they dangled a piece of bacon and chomped like alligators. When Dad frowned at them, they turned into little gentlemen. Mom slid eggs from a frying pan with her back to the comedy. 
Dad gathered his coat and his keys. “We’ll drive in on Saturday and Sunday to see you show. Have fun, but stay close to Jordan. And please, take it easy on your grandpa.” When the phone rang, he gestured to Selah. “Pick that up, would you?” 
“Bye, Daddy. Love you.” She waved at him. “Who would call so early?” 
When she heard the movie producer’s voice, her grin widened, and she wiggled her toes in her lucky socks. She held her hand over the mouthpiece and whispered to Mom. “Miss Cindy.” She air-tapped at the phone like a woodpecker going after a beetle. Her mouth stretched wide in a silent scream. 
Mom lifted Selah’s chin to close her gaping mouth. “Boys, go find something to watch on TV,” Mom whispered. 
“For real?” Davy didn’t wait for her to change her mind. Michael grabbed a piece of bacon for each hand before he raced after his brother. Selah punched the button to put Miss Cindy on speaker so Mom could hear. “Contract! Today!” Selah’s fists pumped the air. Without breath, she could hardly push out her words. “It’s so exciting. We’ll be movie stars.”
“Are your parents available?”
“Yes, ma’am. Mom’s here. She can hear you.”
“Very good. When the contract arrives, your parents need to take it to a lawyer.” 
Selah fanned her hand, imagining a movie star about to faint. “So exciting.” 
“How did you get along with the script exploratory team?” 
“We had tons of fun. They were crazy nice. They followed me and Sweet Dream around everywhere. Asked a million questions.” She managed to breathe so she could continue. “Interviewed Grandpa too. He doesn’t want to be in a movie but thought I was a natural. They thought Grandpa was a hoot and told me they got some great ideas.” 
“You completely charmed them. They said your grandpa was quite the character, but they were enormously leery of the horse.” Cindy’s contagious laugh had a charm of its own. 
“Sweet Dream and I understand each other. The team wants the movie to open with a scene about how I found Dream tangled in wire with the buzzards after her. I don’t see how that can work because Dream freaks at even the shadow of any bird—even a robin.” Selah rattled on while wishing her voice didn’t sound squeaky. She was a mature thirteen, but she sounded like a five- year-old shopping at the Breyer Model Horse Fest. 
“They wouldn’t do anything to scare or injure her. They have their ways of getting the scenes they need. A stunt horse, trained to do specific things, will handle many of the scenes, anyway.” 
She nodded along. “That makes sense.” 
“They are working hard on final edits and expect to be ready to roll soon. I’m setting up the screen tests for an actress to play you. Especially excited about two young actresses who are excellent riders. Once this last of winter blows through, I’ll bring them to meet Dream before we finalize the selection.” 
“To play me?” Selah’s spirit crumbled like burnt bacon bits. Her head itched right over her ear. “I thought—I would be me.” Once she started scratching, other spots needed the same treatment. “Not just anybody can ride Dream.” She sounded whiny now—worse than squeaky. “We’re buying your story, but I’ll hire a professional actress for your character. Besides, didn’t you tell me when you made the horse training DVD, your nerves were so bad the camera crew had to keep stopping?” 
She sagged against the wall. “Well, yeah, but Mr. Cooper scared me before I got to know him. I don’t throw up during filming anymore.” I know I can do it. 



About the Author:
How many twists and turns can one person take before they figure out what they were born to do? Susan Count’s degree is in Applied Science–nothing in that prepared her to write novels for children. But one day, she began to write with no preconceived ideas. No one could have been more astounded than she was when it turned into a middle grade equine series. As a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Texas Association of Authors, she takes the craft of writing seriously and considers revision to be her super-power.

She writes at an antique secretary desk that occupies a glass room with a forest view. Fittingly, it once belonged to the same wise grandmother who introduced Susan to the love of reading via Walter Farley’s horse books. That desk has secret compartments which hold memories, mysteries and story ideas.

Susan is a lifelong equestrian and is owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse. She is convinced that the only thing more delightful than riding the forest trails might be writing horse adventure stories. She invites you to saddle up and ride along.

You can find and contact Susan here:
Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon - Pinterest - Instagram


Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Selah’s Stolen Dream.
One winner will win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Open Internationally until the 7th April.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, 28 March 2020

Spotlight on Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler

Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler

This is my stop during the book blitz for Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 25 till 31 March. See the tour schedule here

Genre: Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: 25 March, 2019

Twelve-year-old Chloe Rose lives a quiet, happy life in her hometown Wilmoton, but she’s haunted by the same nightmare night after night—one with guns and swords and lost fathers. When another brewing battle has her town preparing for war, Chloe’s fears are made into a reality. Promises are left unfulfilled, her family is torn apart, and she must leave her comfy life in Wilmoton behind when she and her mother move into the King’s palace. Living in a castle seems like a dream come true, like the new beginning they need, but Chloe’s not convinced. After a series of altercations, Chloe Rose is kicked out, more desperate for hope than ever. To restore what she’s lost, Chloe travels to an enchanted maze where wishes come true and fairies rule. But with evil forces working against her and her new friends, can Chloe complete the trials of the maze or will her heart’s desires be left unfulfilled?

Chloe Rose and The Enchanted Maze is a powerful story of bravery, friendship, grief, and love.

You can find Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze on Goodreads

You can buy Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze here:
Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Smashwords / The Book Depository / Waterstones

Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze is a perfect story for children in military families, mixed race families, or for readers looking for more #ownvoices stories. Discussion questions and teaching materials are available.


Excerpt

1.
CHLOE ELOISE ROSE


The wind sang through the meadow under the open bright skies of Wilmoton, the land advanced confidently with warmth. Each new day, the promise of spring drew near as wildflowers rose from the earth. The Langerfield battle had ended two years ago, and peace had once again returned to Wilmoton. So, Chloe Rose spent some time alone in her special place. 
This was where she felt lighter and happier; its warmth spread to her heart. Here, Chloe’s favorite spot was on a little hill in the middle of a meadow that overlooked Wilmoton. It was one of the most beautiful views that her hometown had to offer. 
Surrounded by gentle whispers of nature, it was also Chloe’s special place to draw flowers and pick them for her mother. The sun glared down at her from the sky, and the breeze brushed her sun-kissed skin while she let her curly brown locks down. She smiled with every twirl on her dress on the soft-bedded grass. For a moment, everything was peaceful and her heart had a steady, calm beat. Here, she was not afraid of what haunted her thoughts, that which caused her to squeeze her eyes shut to make go away. Nor did she worry about the nightmares that came every night after those thoughts. Everything is brighter and calm here, Chloe thought now.
As time crept up on her, Chloe finished her drawing and brushed the pencil shavings and eraser crumbs from her dress. She walked down the slope of the Meadow and back home to her mother, Catherine. She picked some rosebuds for her mother—Mom likes to watch the petals expand slowly as they bloom. She also grabbed the sketch of her view of the meadow, which she made for her father, Michael. 
Chloe’s affection and admiration for her parents were unfathomable. She liked to believe her father had superpowers. Her father was the captain of the Wilmoton’s army. The ongoing dispute between Wilmoton and Cottondale was as old as time. A dispute over land and who owns what and who was the first one on the more fertile land. 
Cottondale’s features ranged from cracked sidewalks and deteriorated houses that either had weathered paints along their walls or were in ruins from previous conflicts. Remnants of broken swords and shields littered its fields. The people of Cottondale showed no inclination to repair these damages. Instead, they carried on with their lives in the only way they could, with the hope of reusing the broken swords and broken shields, whenever the situation would inevitably call for it again. 
Wilmoton was a quaint town with unsurpassed colorful cottages and a huge bell tower named “Armstrong” at the heart of its harmonious infrastructure. The women learned to sew and weave every day in workshops. The people of Wilmoton were hardworking, and it showed. It was the type of place where almost everyone knew each other and people greeted each other with a smile. Wilmoton was ruled by King Francis II, a kind king who protected his people. 
Apart from the never-ceasing war between Wilmoton and Cottondale, Chloe loved living in her hometown. As she skipped along the sidewalk, her pink gown flared up and down in the wind with every bounce. She soon spotted Mr. Andrews with the evening newspaper— a worried look on his face.  
   The Andrews family lived a couple of cottages away from the Roses, and their two daughters Chloe Rose and Thyra Andrews were best friends. Like Chloe’s father, Albert Andrews was in the army, too. 
During one of the many conflicts between the two towns, someone abandoned a baby in a wicker basket on the boundaries of Wilmoton. Disturbed by this little bundle of joy’s being abandoned, Mr. Andrews hurried back to his home with the baby, showing her to his wife, Ava, who had no child of her own. Ava Andrews was overjoyed, so they adopted the baby and named her Thyra.
Upon seeing his worry, Chloe waved her hand to say, “Hello, Mr. Andrews!” Her broad smile revealed her glittering brown eyes, which could cheer up any sad face on a normal day. This time, it did not. 
“Hello, Chloe,” Mr. Andrews replied in haste, his whole face lit up with worry and confusion. Chloe did not know how to interpret the look on his face, so she continued home. 
                                                                        ☼
Catherine Rose was the envy of almost all the women in Wilmoton. Not because of her luscious, black hair or delicate porcelain skin. Not even because of her high cheekbones or dainty nose that perched so delicately above her rosebud lips. No, she was the envy of the town because of her advantageous marriage to the captain of the army.
“Go and wash up for dinner, dear,” Catherine told Chloe as she entered their cottage. 
Wanting to rid the image of Mr. Andrews’ uneasiness from her mind’s eye, Chloe’s thoughts turned to her wonderful day in her happy place. She held out her hand with a bunch of rosebuds, “I picked these for you, mother.” 
Catherine smiled, but disquiet sat in her eyes when she replied, “Thank you, my sweet girl. It’s impossible to have a dull day around you. You lighten up any room! I hope you’re hungry for some delicious shepherd’s pie.” 
Chloe glowed with delight. She loved shepherd’s pie. “Shouldn’t we wait for daddy?” She peered at her mom with a curious look as she tilted her head to the side. 
“No, honey. Daddy will be home later. Come, let’s eat for now,” her mother suggested. Although there was evidence of warmth in her voice, her eyebrows were creased with worry. 
Chloe was unaccustomed to see such anxiety on her mother’s face. The distress she saw there mirrored that of Mr. Andrews earlier. I wonder if mother and Mr. Andrews have the same thoughts. Something’s up, I can feel it …but what? …  Maybe mother would tell me if I asked.  Picking up on the trepidation in the air but not knowing how to address it, Chloe cupped her elbows with her hands and asked her mother, “Is something the matter?” 
Catherine let out a deep sigh as her heart skipped a beat. She was tempted to explain what had been published in the evening newspaper, but she did not want to worry her little eight-year-old. “No, we’ll be all right.” She couldn’t quite believe her own words as she sat across from her daughter's cute, puzzled face.  
Despite Catherine’s platitudes, Chloe wished she could read her mother’s mind. I bet it’s the Queen. Everyone knows she’s been sick for a while now. She doesn’t make appearances anymore. Chloe’s mind then revisited that thought that haunted her nights, another idea nagging at her brain. She quickly shook it from her mind, Surely it can’t be; it must be some bad news about Queen Anne.
Her mother sat at the dinner table with her apron on. She checked the clock: He was late. Her food tasted like dust, so she placed her spoon on a napkin next to her dinner plate and turned her gaze to the evening sky, staring at the gray skies outside the kitchen window as the street lamps came on. 
“May I be excused, mother?” Chloe asked, bringing Catherine’s mind back to the present. 
“Yes, darling. You may.” Catherine’s eyelids drooped with worry. She didn’t notice that Chloe never touched her shepherd’s pie either. 
Chloe’s steps were now rather heavy as she dragged herself to her bedroom and prepared for bed—she no longer skipped with happiness as she did earlier. Like her mother, Chloe was unsure of what this night would bring.
                                                                        ☼
Catherine looked down at the table and saw Chloe’s
untouched dinner. Once again, she sighed deeply and checked the clock on the wall. Her heart weighed down with worry. Catherine sat up and waited for her husband. Meanwhile, Chloe remained in her bed and dwelled on that other thought. What if dad’s in trouble? What if those nightmares are real? Mom definitely knows something, but she won’t tell me because she thinks I won’t understand. So, Chloe thought up ways to take her mind off the wave of thoughts that clashed her mind. She picked up her favorite book on botany, but it only piqued her interest further since it was her favorite subject. She got out of bed and walked out of her room to check on her mother. She plodded into the kitchen and stood in the doorway. “Is dad home yet?” Chloe asked. 
“No. What are you still doing up?” 
Chloe told the truth, “I couldn’t go to sleep.” 
“Me either. Come here.” Her mother cuddled her. 
“Why can’t you sleep, mom?” Again, Chloe wanted to know the heaviness that had fallen upon the night. 
So, Catherine decided to be as honest as she could. “Well, I am waiting for your dad to get home. Once he does, we will know more for sure.” 
Chloe let out a yawn and adjusted her position in her mother’s embrace. They snuggled up with the beautiful quilt that Catherine had just finished the day before and eventually drifted off to sleep.

As thunder clapped angrily in the distance in the wee hours of the morning, someone barged into the Roses’ cottage in a hurry, causing both Catherine and Chloe to jump from their sleep. 
“Daddy!” Chloe leaped out of her mother’s embrace and ran straight into her father’s arms. 
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to dinner last night. I promise, after this, I will take the whole day off just for you. What do you say?” Michael asked as he searched his daughter’s eyes for an answer. 
“I haven’t told her yet,” Catherine confessed.
“Told me what?” Chloe asked. 
Her father spoke up again, a small smile on his face, “We have to protect Wilmoton once again. I have to protect you from the villains next door. I worked all night to map out our strategy. I didn’t want to leave without bringing a goodbye kiss with me.” 
Michael was a hero to everyone in Wilmoton. When he led and won one of the greatest battles between Wilmoton and Cottondale, he became even more popular. He looked every inch the courageous warrior, with strong, broad shoulders, glossy hair, and bronzed skin. His facial features appeared as though every detail had been chiseled to perfection. He had the strength of three men put together coupled with a heart as soft as wool. 
Upon his declaration, Michael kissed Chloe on her forehead and placed a pink rose in the palm of her hand, turning then to Catherine to warmly embraced her with a kiss to her forehead, too. “I will be back before you know it, Chloe!” 
“I know, Daddy. You always come home.”
Michael embraced them again and dashed out. He hated saying goodbye to his girls.


About the Author:
Veronica Elle Butler is a Middle-Grade Author. Growing up, her childhood dream job is to become a doctor like most children but her life path leads her to a different role; wife, mom, twin daughters in a nutshell . She conceives the idea of an Enchanted Maze one night after reading bedtime stories to her twin daughters. She wants to create a world she could share with her daughters and other children as well, so, she begins to map out her story on a notebook every night when it’s quiet without distractions. Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze pulls the reader into a world of mystery that overlaps our mortal world all consisting of grief, pains of rejection, a curious twist of fate, heart of courage, and forming lasting friendships, she delivers an unforgettable adventure to her readers. She’s an avid scrabble player, enjoys documentaries and, learns along side of her husband the roles of a Military Man when she’s not writing. She enjoys spending time with her daughters and being a Mom. Her twins absolutely love Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze and she hopes every child would fall in love with it as much as they have. To find out more you can follow her on Twitter @MazeEnchanted. Her debut novel Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze will be available in Spring 2020.

You can find and contact Veronica Elle Butler here:
Website - Twitter - Goodreads - Instagram

Friday, 27 March 2020

Spotlight on By Blood and Magic by Jamie A. Waters + #Giveaway


By Blood and Magic
Jamie A. Waters
(The Dragon Portal #2)
Publication date: March 26th 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
A priceless treasure is hidden within the ocean’s depths…
Sabine barely managed to escape from Akros with her life.
But the ocean isn’t safe for someone whose power stems from the forests.
When their ship is attacked on the high seas and one of Sabine’s companions is taken hostage, only an agreement forged by blood and magic may save her friend’s life.
The pearl of the sea is also the key to the gods’ revenge…
With the dragon portal failing and the gods’ magic threatening to destroy their world, Sabine must choose between following her heart or upholding a sacred oath.
The cost of ending a centuries-old feud may be higher than anyone expected.
All magic demands a sacrifice–even if it’s hers.
EXCERPT:
Sabine scanned the sea, but she couldn’t see any sign of the missing crew. If the Merfolk were already taking prisoners, they were running out of time. A few more hits like the last one, and the ship would capsize.
“If you have any suggestions, Sabine, now is the time. Otherwise, I agree with Bane. I’ll destroy every last one of these Merfolk for harming those under my protection.”
Without waiting for a response, Malek leaned over the railing toward the lower deck and called out more orders to ready the catapults. Sabine swallowed and tried to bury the sick fear threatening to overwhelm her. Esmelle wouldn’t even have been on this ship if it weren’t for her. The thought of losing one of her closest friends was unfathomable.
Sabine’s hands tightened on the railing as she stared at the angry sea. “They’ll keep Esme and the rest of the hostages alive until they manage to capsize the ship. Those who aren’t enslaved are usually fed to their underwater pets. If they take all of us down below, we’ll lose any negotiating power we might have while still under the sky.”
“I’ve heard the stories,” Bane admitted, caging her with his arms. She leaned back against his heated skin, thankful for the warmth he offered against the chill from the elements. Bane might have difficulties tapping into softer emotions, but he’d made it no secret he admired and respected the spunky witch who was now an unwilling hostage.
“They aren’t just stories,” she said as a daring plan began to form in her mind.
Bane squeezed her midsection and murmured, “You are my priority, Sabine. If we must lose Esme, she will be mourned, but we cannot allow you to fall. We need to get you and this ship out of here.”
Sabine turned and glared up at him. “We won’t be mourning anyone. I will get them back—all of them. And you’re going to help me do it.”


Author Bio:
Jamie A. Waters is an award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy romance. Her first novel was a winner of the Readers' Favorite Award in Science Fiction/Fantasy Romance and the CIPA EVVY Award in Science Fiction.
Jamie currently resides in Florida with two neurotic dogs who enjoy stealing socks. When she's not pursuing her passion of writing, she's usually trying to learn new and interesting random things (like how to pick locks or use the self-cleaning feature of the oven without setting off the fire alarm). In her downtime, she enjoys reading on her Kindle, playing computer games, painting, or acting as a referee between the dragons and fairies currently at war inside her closet.

GIVEAWAY!
Win a $25 Amazon gift card + an ebook copy of By Blood And Magic
Open INT until the 2nd April

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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Spotlight on Reaper Unexpected by Debbie Cassidy + #Giveaway


Reaper Unexpected
Debbie Cassidy
(Deadside Reapers #1))
Publication date: March 26th 2020
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Your dead are our business.
Got a loved one who’s passed? Want to ask your dead aunt where she hid that elusive will? Head over to Necro city and look no further than Soul Savers Inc.
One day the world was normal, and the next, it was filled with ghosts. And then the reapers came. Blood-sucking hot dudes with wings and wicked scythes.  They took control, and now we have a system.
Now we have Necro city, the hub of all things untethered.
As a soul relocation agent, it’s my job to rehouse the dead until the reapers come to collect, but with so few of those dudes about, the wait isn’t pretty. Thank goodness for decent coffee, frosted donuts, and a pending promotion.
Things are looking good until they’re not.
One bar fight and a dead reaper later, I’m left holding the scythe.
Not just any scythe, but a scythe belonging to one of Lilith’s four favored sons—the most powerful reapers in the world.
For some reason, it’s chosen me.
Now, three very large, very pissed off reapers are on my case.
It looks like that promotion is going to have to wait.
A kickass Urban fantasy with a why choose romance. Vampires, ghosts, angels, and demons. Perfect for readers who enjoy forbidden romance, enemies to lovers, or friends to lovers.


Author Bio:
Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head - in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.

GIVEAWAY!
Win a $15 Amazon gift card
Open INT until April 2nd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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