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Friday, July 29, 2016

A Tragic Consequence by JC Morrows Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Today is the cover reveal for A Tragic Consequence by JC Morrows. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

A Tragic ConsequenceA Tragic Consequence (Order of the MoonStone #4)
by JC Morrows
Genre: Dystopian
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 25 October 2016

Blurb:
FORCED TO FLEE . . . WOUNDED . . . AND ON THE RUN . . .

Not exactly a safe place for a former assassin and a prince with a price on his head.

In the dark streets of Auralius, Kayden and her prince struggle to find a way to set the country right again. But the Order of the MoonStone has a long reach and a strong grip.

Will the two of them be able to find a way to bring down Kayden's former employers?

Or will Kayden's unusual charm help them to find an ally where there was none?


You can find A Tragic Consequence on Goodreads

Order of the MoonStone series samplerCheck out the free series sampler!
The Order of the MoonStone sampler
by J.C. Morrows


Blurb:
A Country… A King… A Choice…

When she falls in love with her target, Kayden realizes she cannot fulfill her mission. Now she will have to reveal her deepest, darkest secrets to the Prince… or it could mean both their lives.

This FREE digital sampler includes excerpts from the first four books in JC Morrows' romantic, edge-of-your-seat suspense-filled, bestselling young adult series”as well as a teaser to the highly anticipated fifth book, A Broken Kingdom!


You can get this sampler for free at the following places:
- Amazon
- B&N
- Kobo
- Scribd
- Inketera


About the Author:
JC Morrows - Bestselling author of YA Christian speculative fiction, drinker of coffee and avid reader - is a storyteller in the truest sense of the word. JC has been telling stories in one form or another her entire life and once her mother convinced her to write them down, she couldn't stop.

You can find and contact JC Morrows here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Newsletter
- Instagram
- Pinterest
- Tumblr

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of A Tragic Consequence. These are the prizes you can win:
- paperback copy of one book in the Order of the Moonstone series by JC Morrows, winners choice (US only)
- e-copy of one book in the Order of the Moonstone series by JC Morrows, winners choice (International)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl in the Air by Tyler Pike Blog Tour





About the Book


Title: Girl in the Air
Author: Tyler Pike
Publisher: Tyler Pike Books
Pages: 352
Genre:  Magical Realism Action Thriller / YA Paranormal Thriller

6'3" 200LBS, AIRBORNE AND ANGRY. ARE THEY SMART ENOUGH TO LEAVE HER ALONE?

A teenaged loner who sees more than she should, Alice Brickstone’s mission in life is to find out who or what killed her twin brother a decade earlier. All her parents will divulge is that he died on a family trip to an ashram in India, a place impossibly far from her remote ski town in Colorado. When she begins to see faces from her childhood nightmares, Alice buries her fear and pounces on the opportunity to hunt for information…and revenge. She works alone and observes no caution. Her simple mission is complicated when a strange Himalayan hermit shows up in the woods near her house telling her that she has paranormal abilities. Skeptical but determined to use any advantage to end the threat against her, she is shocked to suddenly become the hunted. There is only one way out—Alice must master her newfound skills and fly before tragedy takes over again.

GIRL IN THE AIR is the first book in a series of page-turning, fast-paced magical realism thrillers set in the Rocky Mountains. Be transported into Alice’s low-tech world of ancient yogic supernatural abilities, modern teenaged angst and post-modern world problems. Readers interested in Asian mythology will love discovering subtle allusions to the Mahabharata, and yoga practitioners will twist and writhe in their seats. If you like your heroes big like Jack Reacher, weird like Carrie, or scarred like Harry Potter, you’ll love Tyler Pike’s character, Alice Brickstone.

Buy GIRL IN THE AIR today and join Alice on her harrowing ride.

“It’s good, and wackily funny, and mostly ridiculously believable…An unstoppable magic realism action thriller.” – Tom Flood, Award-winning Author

For More Information


Book Excerpt:
Chapter 1


It was five in the morning and completely dark outside. In late spring the sun wouldn’t rise over the ski mountain for another two hours. For a few little creatures out there, the day had already begun. There was a rustle in the leaves below her window, probably a deer mouse making her way to a nest somewhere. She heard a tiny peep that could have been a downy woodpecker chick.
     She rolled over, lingering in the space between her nightmares and her morning zombie routine, and remembered it was Saturday. Her swim team only trained once today but it was usually a strong session. She would eventually have to stumble out of bed, gather her bag, eat something and cycle to the pool.
     Laying there a moment longer, she listened for any sounds in her parents’ huge, empty house, but heard none. Her mom would also be hearing the morning noises from her meditation cushion in her yoga room.
What drove Mom to wake up so early, she wondered. Did she hear things when she meditated? Dad, for his part, would be dead to the world. It would take an act of God to wake him from the stupor of his hangover.
     After finally motivating herself to roll out of bed, Alice stumbled downstairs with her swimming bag, grabbed four ice cream sandwiches and an energy bar for breakfast on the ride. She took down her bike off its hooks in the garage, clipped on her helmet and cycled down the driveway.
     Her bike tires hit the gravel road. There would be no other cars up here this early and no other man-made sound of any kind. Above the crunching of her fat tires, Alice heard a tentative whistle from a hawk. It could have come from the edge of the Knifespur Wilderness where the old growth forest began. Then she heard vast expanses of pine trees rustled by a tiny breeze as it meandered, pushed by the warming dawn.
     Some different sound reached her ear, like the wind had twisted itself into words.
     “Fat girl,” she heard. “Regular routines. Easy target.”
     She knew it had been her imagination but still the road corridor through the trees looked suddenly ominous, dark and claustrophobic. She pedaled a bit harder.
     After a few hundred yards, she let her attention drift again and she heard a very distant whisper say, “I’m going to get you today, fat girl.”
     She forced herself to focus on her breathing in order to shut her mind up. It was a survival technique she had learned through years of battles against her fears and memories. She had a bad habit of imagining worst-case scenarios. It’s like that mad impulse to jump when you’re standing on a ledge. She always imagined her brother dying by thousands of spiders, slow-moving steamrollers, or being dropped out of a plane, and she often thought that the same kinds of things would be waiting for her around the next corner.
     She took both hands off her handlebars, finished her last ice cream and the energy bar, then sped up to ensure she got to the pool on time. The road passed only a few other houses before emerging onto the two-lane Colorado Highway 320. From there she had a straight shot downhill to town.
     She was feeling more awake by the time she arrived at the pool where her swim team trained every morning and every afternoon. It was an Olympic-length, fifty-meter pool in a new aquatic center on the university campus. She should feel grateful her dad’s company had helped to pay for her swim team’s pool time. Her coach had some idea this scrappy little squad may someday rival the quality of the elite Denver swim teams. Fat chance, Alice thought. Kids up here were too focused on drugs, mountain biking and skiing, leaving few girls who even bothered learning how to swim. Only Alice and one other girl on her team were starting to post some times that rivaled some of the better swimmers based in Denver.
     She locked up her bike and walked purposefully toward the entrance. The automatic doors slid open and the welcome smell of chlorine billowed out, triggering her anticipation of the pain of her morning workout. Alice put up with the monotony of long hours in the pool because swimming enabled her to temporarily escape from herself, or at least from her endless droning anxieties. She felt like the exhaustion released her from those, as well as some from invisible burden. Sometimes, in certain rare moments, the feeling of the water was more than therapy and recalled the ecstasy of a flying dream.
     Hesitant voices of other teenage girls in her junior squad were already echoing in the huge expanse of the domed building. The pool was like a solid slab of blue glass lit from within by circular lights. She heard a splash and saw the first person dive in to break the perfect stillness of the water. The water lights cast circular shapes that danced and changed on the roof.
     Alice made her way to the change room, put on her swimsuit and grabbed her cap and goggles.
     On the way to the toilet, she caught a glance of herself in the mirror and paused. She was, undeniably, getting stronger. People started gawking at her when she sprouted to six feet tall as a fifteen-year-old and she drew even more stares when she pushed up another three inches this year and ate her way to two hundred pounds. She saw some of the fat had transformed into long, bulging strands of functional muscle. She was taller, broader and stronger than most men. Still flat-chested but, for a swimmer, that was not bad news.
     She tried out a pose like she had seen bodybuilders do and was pleased to see a very large muscular “V” shape form in the back of her arms, but one of her arms had a painful zit on it. She tried to flex the muscles of her huge thighs but there wasn’t much definition and some fat pushed out from under the seam of her Speedos.
     She went into one of the stalls, sat down to pee and recalled something her coach had said to her on the previous day. He had told her that if she posted a few good times in the swim meet in Denver next weekend, she could qualify for the western zone championships in California. There were four zones in the US and each one held championships attracting the best age-group and senior swimmers in its quadrant of the country. Since turning fifteen, a year ago, Alice became a senior swimmer and often had to compete against girls up to nineteen years old. She hadn’t bothered racing any long course meets and hadn’t yet posted a qualifying time for this year's western zone championships.
When he told her about next weekend’s meet, one of the last opportunities for her to qualify, a couple of her teammates whispered to one another and giggled.
     As she sat on the toilet, she stared at the closed door, taking shallow breaths and feeling stressed. She replayed that scene over and over: Coach talking, girls laughing at her. Why were they laughing?
     The quiet in the change rooms shook her out of her trance and she realized she must be late. She jumped up and accidentally dropped her goggles in the yellow water in the toilet bowl.
     Coach ignored her as she rushed out to the pool.
     She swished her goggles around in the water at the edge to wash the toilet water off before putting them on and dove into her lane to start the warmup. The cold water gave her a jolt and she launched into a slow freestyle, her arms arcing lazily, one at a time, hands soft. Already a couple of laps behind the other girls, she pushed into a few faster laps and was surprised to feel her body sitting much higher in the water than usual. She felt strong. She also felt angry. The presence of such a huge wellspring of anger made her suspect it would be a good morning in the water.
     After she finished her warmup laps she bobbed in the water and looked carefully at the whiteboard. In anticipation of next weekend’s meet in Denver, Coach had designed the program today around some time trial sets at race pace. She loved that. She relished pushing her body way past the comfort zone. Her body was like a sledgehammer she could use to brutalize the water and deposit this anger she was feeling.
     She noticed Madison had also been swimming very well today and had been on her heels the whole time.
     When it was finally time to start the race-pace sets, Alice was feeling pumped.      Coach had organized the starting platforms and touch pad timers to be in place today to simulate a race environment. He kept large databases with all their split times at practices and races.
     Alice didn’t really care about that stuff. She just liked effort, strength and the raw feeling of speed in the water, the rest of the world blocked out.
     When Coach called the 200 meter freestyle—her favorite event—Alice climbed her block and Madison took the next lane over. A few other girls were also training for the 200 and they filled the next two lanes.
     Alice thought for a moment as Coach set up the timing system. Four laps in the pool. Coach wants me to swim each lap faster than the last. That means I am only allowed to put in a hundred percent effort in the last lap, or maybe the last two laps. What a bunch of crap. I’m just going to go all out the whole time. I don’t care what he thinks.
     “Take your mark,” Coach said into a megaphone.
     Alice placed one foot back, reached down and took hold of the front edge of the block. She leaned back slightly and tensed her body for a fast start.
    When she heard the electronic start tone, a fresh wave of anger passed over her, forcing her to pause for a millisecond, enough time to see Madison already launching herself off the platform ahead of her.
     Bang. She launched into the air with a ferocious explosion of her core muscles and legs. Alice hit the water and one of her goggle eyes filled with water. It would be just an annoyance but she would not be able to see Madison very well underwater in the next lane. She held her arms above her head, hands together in a streamline position, biceps against her ears, and gave five very powerful dolphin kicks underwater.
     She surfaced and began her stroke. Her body lifted to the top of the water again and she felt even more powerful than she had earlier. She felt like she was swimming downhill. She felt anger and strength in equal parts.
     She made her first turn and decided to see if she really could swim the second lap faster than the first. She refused to grant her coach the satisfaction that he was right she was going to ‘bonk’ after going out too hard and she would have to swim the last lap with nothing left in the tank. Her body responded and she practically flew through the water toward her second turn.
     She turned and hammered the wall again with her powerful legs. In the stillness of her underwater glide, something changed and she felt herself entering into another realm. It was as though she had broken some kind of mental barrier and found quiet. Time slowed; she was separate from her body and there was a kind of spotlight on her. She had split into swimmer and the swimmer’s witness.
     Okay, Alice, she said calmly to the swimmer, let’s lift a little more. Two laps to go, each lap faster than the last. Keep your stroke long and your legs pumping.
     The swimmer responded, moving even faster through the water. The swimmer’s whole body was burning with the fire of lactic acid and her heart was pounding, but these details didn’t matter to the witness. The witness told the swimmer to go faster and accelerate into the last lap.
     She turned tightly and began swimming longer and harder. Suddenly the split between swimmer and witness was destroyed and the silence obliterated. Anger returned. She was hurting and her technique fell apart. Vaguely aware of all that, Alice refused to slow down and increased her stroke rate, throwing her arms over madly. Tasting lactic acid, she hammered her way to the wall and hit the timing pad hard enough to break a few fingernails.
     She stood and gasped for air. She lifted her goggles and couldn’t see anything but black dots. She gasped again furiously and felt sick. She retched but managed to avoid throwing up.
     She was completely alone on the wall. It seemed a long time before she could breathe without making gasping noises like a dying person. She turned and saw Madison swimming hard into the wall, but she was so far behind. Wondering what was going on, she had a strange feeling she had swum too few laps.
     She looked up at the pool deck expecting Coach to be laughing. She couldn’t even count out four laps of the swimming pool. He wasn’t laughing and didn’t appear to be preparing to come over and yell at her. He was just standing there staring at the scoreboard.
     Phew, she thought. He didn’t notice.
     Madison finally touched the wall, came up for air and looked straight to the scoreboard.
     “Oh...my...God!” was all she could say, in between gasps.
     A bunch of the other girls were starting to crowd around the scoreboard. Probably laughing at her, Alice expected. If she had any energy she would have slunk off into the deep water and disappeared, humiliated.
     A couple of the other girls came over to Alice’s lane. “Alice, you just broke two minutes. You just swam a 1:58!”
     Eyes wide as eggs, Madison turned back to Alice. “Oh my God, Alice, what the hell was that?”
     Alice didn’t really know what to say. Her previous personal best in training was a 2:06: fast enough for a top three finish at the western zone championships. A 1:58? That was only three seconds off the state record. It was only five seconds off the world record.
     Coach ignored her and stopped above Madison.
     “Mad Dog, that was 2:12, a personal best. Nice swim. That would have earned you a second place in the zones last year. Lap one, thirty-five seconds, then thirty-four seconds, thirty and thirty-five on your last lap. That third lap was a screamer. Your kick came in well but your stroke rate was a bit too high. That’s why you bonked on the last lap. I’m confident that you could take three seconds off that time by lowering your stroke rate on lap three — long and strong. You’re right on pace for qualifying for the zone champs.”
     Alice listened to Coach talking in this way to the other two girls but she knew nobody was paying much attention. They were all looking at her.
     “You okay?” Madison asked over the lane rope. “I got a good start, way ahead of you, and then you caught me and were already about three body lengths ahead by the second wall. I’ve never seen you swim like that.”
     “I don’t know...” That was all Alice could manage. Her body was starting to feel like it was made of cotton. She felt sick to her stomach again.
     Coach moved all four girls into another lane to warm down and started another time trial with four more girls.
     As she continued to warm down and loosen up, Alice tried to remember how she felt during the swim: the anger, the strange moment when she felt like she was two different people, the anger again. She was familiar with anger. It was like her best friend, but the other thing was new. The quietude she felt when she split into witness and swimmer did more than help her swim faster; it created a clean split between herself and her pain. All of her pain, not just her physical pain. She tried to recreate the split again but it didn’t seem possible anymore. She didn’t know how to get there. There was only the rhythmic sound of the splashing and the rush of water against her swimming cap.
     Although she couldn’t split herself again, she noticed she felt different. Exactly how, she couldn’t place, but definitely different. She decided maybe she just needed to puke or something.
     Her next race pace set was the four hundred meter free, but she swam slower than she usually did in that discipline. She was hardly winded at the end and coach gave her a look of complete exasperation when he read her split times out. She had a few more trials but loafed through all of them.
     Alice warmed down, got out and showered. She wanted to be alone now. Her stomach was feeling better and she had her mind on breakfast and coffee. As usual, she definitely wanted to avoid conversation with any of the other girls, but as soon as she emerged from the locker room, she knew that was going to be difficult. They were all standing there waiting for her.
     Madison was there and her little fan, Bess, and several others were there with her.
     Alice, congrats on that swim.” Madison was wearing her usual post-swimming gear: jeans and a sloppy t-shirt. She looked sincere and Alice could sense nothing to indicate she wasn’t.
     “Yeah.” Bess pushed her hip to the side. “Your dad works at a pharmaceutical company, doesn’t he? You must be getting some fantastic ‘supplements.’ Where can I get some?”
            She walked by the girls in silence, looking at the ground. The swim had left Alice feeling blank and empty, as though she left part of herself in the pool. It was like the girls and the pool were part of a dream and she was not even the dreamer. It was like she and the girls were all together in someone else’s dream.

About the Author


Tyler Pike is an up-and-coming voice in the thriller genre, earning many accolades for his newly launched thriller series. Before turning to novels, he was a sinologist, lived in China for many years, and eventually earned a PhD in Chinese poetry and lectured at the University of Sydney in Chinese. He and his wife also spent many years studying Hindu philosophy, traveling in India and running a yoga studio in Sydney, before it all came down on their heads.
        
When he is not writing, you’ll either find him down at the beach with his young family or out on the open road. He is an avid ocean swimmer and long distance runner.

Tyler Pike lives with his family in Australia and the US.

Tyler is different from most popular writers in that he endeavors to respond personally to every email and loves sharing his journey with his readers.

For updates on work in progress and free book offers, join Tyler’s “reading group” on his website:
For More Information


http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Thursday, July 28, 2016

All Shook Up by Chelsey Krause First Look Celebration and Giveaway






Friends become lovers over a whirlwind summer of rockabilly rhythms, twirling skirts, and a mystery that takes them hilariously far out of their element in this humorous and heartwarming romantic comedy!



About All Shook Up:



Title: All Shook Up

Author: Chelsey Krause

Publisher: Tryst Books

Release Date: August 17, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 9781988387048



Natalie’s world is shaken to its core when she discovers an old photo of a woman who looks like her. Could this woman be related to her birth mother, who put Natalie up for adoption as a baby? When she tracks down the person who dumped the photo album at her thrift shop, she’s shaken again. Especially when the gorgeous fire-fighting guitarist offers to help her find the owner. They quickly become friends – which is all they’ll be, as far as Natalie’s concerned. Her rebellious youth turned her off cheating men, and the new Natalie is looking for true love and a family of her own – something Casey isn’t willing to provide. But how long can Natalie ignore her undeniable attraction to the man with the Irish accent and the broken-down ’57 Chevy?



In Chelsey Krause’s second novel, friends become lovers over a whirlwind summer of rockabilly rhythms, twirling skirts, and a mystery that takes them hilariously far out of their element.



Add to your TBR list: Goodreads



Pre-Order Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play





Excerpt:



I stare up at the house for a moment, my hands shaking on the steering wheel, wondering what I’ve got myself into. I do some breathing exercises to calm down, pick up the box, and get out of the car. I can barely stand, my legs are so wobbly.



Maybe I’m working myself up over nothing. So what if the woman in the picture looks like me? It could be a coincidence.



Or maybe, just maybe…



I walk slowly up the driveway and knock on the door, my heart racing. After a couple of minutes, I knock again. Maybe they aren’t home? Maybe they didn’t hear me? I try the doorbell.



After a minute, I hear heavy, muffled footsteps.



Oh god. I should have worn a better outfit. I quickly smooth my hair with my free hand and stand a bit taller. Am I going to meet my birth mother? Or, at the very least, an aunt or something? Or my grandmother? Although, if someone cared enough to take these pictures and put them in an album, why would they throw them away? Is that the sort of person I want to meet?



The door swings open. The person standing in front of me is most definitely not a granny.



Can I help you?” he asks as he rubs his eyes.



Oh, I, umm…”



My brain has stalled.



He shouldn’t be the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. But for some reason, he is. He looks like he’s in his late twenties, maybe early thirties. He isn’t wearing anything that spectacular, just a plain T-shirt and fleece pants. And his dark eyebrows are a bit thick for my liking.



But those lips…thin on top, full on the bottom, framed by a cleft chin and dark stubble. And those brown eyes fringed with black lashes…



He blinks. “Okay, then. Well, if that’s all…” He starts to close the door.



Does this belong to you?” I yelp. I shove the box into his chest. He takes a half step back and sneezes as the dust flies up around him.



He frowns. “Is this the crap I took to the thrift store?” With a confused look on his face, he hands the box back to me and crosses his arms. He leans on the door frame, making his biceps strain against his T-shirt. His entire left arm is covered in swirling blue and green tattoos. “How did you find where I live?” he asks cautiously. He has a hint of an accent. Scottish, maybe?



I roll my eyes. “Don’t flatter yourself, I’m not stalking you.”



He smirks. “Good. I’ve already got too many stalkers.”





About Chelsey Krause:



Chelsey Krause has a thing for thrift stores and used bookshops. A nurse, wife, Starbucks addict, and mom to two children, she can often be found repurposing other people’s junk or considering whether the library would let her move in. The rest of the time, she’s reviewing for Chicklit Club or writing. All Shook Up is her second novel.






 All Shook Up First Look Celebration Giveaway: Tryst Books is offering one (1) lucky grand prize winner a paperback set containing the following titles: All Shook Up, Sweet Bliss, Drawn Through You, Ms. Conception, & Lessons in Pure Life and ten (10) runner-ups will win an eBook copy of their choice from the Tryst Books publishing catalogue! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lakota Honor Branded Trilogy Book 1 by Kat Flannery Book Tour and Giveaway




Lakota Honor

Branded Trilogy

Book 1

Kat Flannery



Genre: Historical western paranormal romance



Publisher: Imajin Books



Date of Publication: May 30, 2013



ISBN: 9781927792001

ASIN: B00D0S530G



Number of pages: 183

Word Count: 71,000



Cover Artist: Ryan Thomas Doan



Book Description:



Fate has brought them together, but will a promise tear them apart?



In the small town of Willow Creek, Colorado, Nora Rushton spends most of her days locked up in her home with a father who resents her and fighting off unwanted marriage proposals from the wealthy Elwood Calhoun. Marked as a witch, Nora must hide her healing powers from those who wish to destroy all the witkowin—crazy women. What she doesn't know is that a bounty hunter is hot on her trail.



Lakota native Otakatay has an obligation to fulfill. He has been hired to kill the witkowin. In a time when race and difference are a threat and innocence holds no ground, courage, love and honor will bring Nora and Otakatay together as they fight for their freedom.



Will the desire to fulfill his promise drive Otakatay to kill Nora? Or will the kindness he sees in her blue eyes push him to be the man he once was?







PROLOGUE Lakota Honor



Colorado Mountains, 1880



The blade slicing his throat made no sound, but the dead body hitting the ground did. With no time to stop, he hurried through the dark tunnel until he reached the ladder leading out of the shaft.

He’d been two hundred feet below ground for ten days, with no food and little water. Weak and woozy, he stared up the ladder. He’d have to climb it and it wasn’t going to be easy. He wiped the bloody blade on his torn pants and placed it between his teeth. Scraped knuckles and unwashed hands gripped the wooden rung.

The earth swayed. He closed his eyes and forced the spinning in his head to cease. One thin bronzed leg lifted and came down wobbly. He waited until his leg stopped shaking before he climbed another rung. Each step caused pain, but was paired with determination. He made it to the top faster than he’d thought he would. The sky was black and the air was cool, but fresh. Thank goodness it was fresh.

He took two long breaths before he emerged from the hole. The smell from below ground still lingered in his nostrils; unwashed bodies, feces and mangy rats. His stomach pitched. He tugged at the rope around his hands. There had been no time to chew the thick bands around his wrists when he’d planned his escape. It was better to run than crawl, and he chewed through the strips that bound his feet instead. There would be time to free his wrists later.

He pressed his body against the mountain and inched toward the shack. He frowned. A guard stood at the entrance to where they were. The blade from the knife pinched his lip, cutting the thin skin and he tasted blood. He needed to get in there. He needed to say goodbye. He needed to make a promise.

The tower bell rang mercilessly. There was no time left. He pushed away from the rocky wall, dropped the knife from his mouth into his bound hands, aimed and threw it. The dagger dug into the man’s chest. He ran over, pulled the blade from the guard and quickly slid it across his throat. The guard bled out in seconds.

He tapped the barred window on the north side of the dilapidated shack. The time seemed to stretch. He glanced at the large house not fifty yards from where he stood. He would come back, and he would kill the bastard inside.

He tapped again, harder this time, and heard the weak steps of those like him shuffling from inside. The window slid open, and a small hand slipped out.

Toksha ake—I shall see you again,” he whispered in Lakota.

The hand squeezed his once, twice and on the third time held tight before it let go and disappeared inside the room.

A tear slipped from his dark eyes, and his hand, still on the window sill, balled into a fist. He swallowed past the sob and felt the burn in his throat. His chest ached for what he was leaving behind. He would survive, and he would return.

Men shouted to his right, and he crouched down low. He took one last look around and fled into the cover of the forest.







Blood Curse

The Branded Trilogy

Book 2

Kat Flannery



Genre: Historical paranormal suspense romance



Publisher: Imajin Books



Date of Publication: October 1, 2014



ISBN: 9781772230031

ASIN: B00MV4UDHI



Number of pages: 216

Word Count: 75,000



Formats available: eBook and Trade paperback



Cover Artist: Ryan Thomas Doan



Book Description:



Upon mine death for the blood ye have shed, Every daughter born to ye shall die before it draws breath, to which ye will know pain and worse, I cast unto ye mine blood curse.” ~ Vadoma



Four years after the Blood Curse, Pril of the Peddlers vows to protect her child against the evil men who hunt her. With her clan unaware of the branded girl among them, Pril has to keep the identity of her daughter a secret. When her child is kidnapped, she is forced to ask Merchant runner, Kade Walker, for his help.



Kade Walker needs to find the gypsy child. Blackmailed and pushed beyond his own moral code, he is determined to do whatever it takes. When he comes across the Peddler clan, he is sure the girl is there, however all hope is lost when the gypsies capture him. Time is running out—until Pril makes him an offer he cannot refuse.



Amidst greed, lust, revenge and love, Pril will need to trust Kade. But as the evil nears and doubt creeps in, will she discover that the enemy has been standing next to her all along?











Blood Curse Excerpt:

Upon mine death for the blood ye have shed,

every daughter born to ye shall die before it draws breath, to which ye will know pain and worse, I cast unto ye mine blood curse.” ~ Vadoma



CHAPTER ONE



Appalachian Mountains, Virginia 1723



Pril Peddler lifted the green shawl from her trunk and wrapped it around her bare arms. The change in seasons brought a damp chill to the morning air, and the heavy woolen wrap kept her warm. She peeked at the small face huddled under the blankets at the back of the wagon. The charm above the child swayed on the string Pril had hung it from. A dull ache hummed in her chest when she thought of the horrific loss her clan had been dealt.

The evil was near, and she’d need to work another spell to keep them safe. Late for counsel with her brother, Galius, she kissed the soft cheek of her daughter before heading to the door.

Hand up, she shaded her eyes from the bright sun as she stepped from the back of the vardo. She pulled the heavy burlap curtain down to close the opening and walked toward Galius.

Your steps are light this morning, Sister. One would think you did not want to be heard,” Galius said as he stirred the coffee beans inside the metal pot.

Tension twisted her gut. He was right; she did not want this counsel. She did not know what to say. She let the flicker of merriment in her brother’s eyes wash over her relaxing the muscles in her shoulders.

My step is the same.” She poked him with her finger trying to ease her own nerves and his as well.

His lips lifted as if to smile, and she held her breath. It’d been weeks since he smiled. Pril’s heart ached, and her lips trembled.

He held up the bubbling pot. “Would you like a cup?”

She inhaled the aroma of strong coffee beans and nodded taking a seat on a wooden stump by the fire.

He handed her a cup and sat down across from her.

The wood crackled, and sparks jumped from the heat onto the ground in front of her. She tipped her chin concentrating on what to say next. Ever since the murder of her niece, she’d not been able to hold a conversation with either of her brothers without offering apologies. This morning was no different. She could not look Galius in the eyes and see the anguish and sorrow within them.

The Monroes had come again.

They’d never be safe.

She blinked away the tears hovering against her thick lashes. Tsura was asleep in her wagon, while another was lost to them forever. The door of her brother’s wagon creaked open and Milosh’s wife, Magda, stepped out. Black circles settled around her sunken eyes, and Pril felt the stab in her chest once more. Long brown hair fell untied down the woman’s back. The black clothes she’d put on weeks ago hung on her body unchanged and wrinkled from sleep. Milosh came from behind their wagon, a jar of honey in his hand. Pril stood when Galius’ large hand grabbed her wrist.

They are not wanting to see you today, Sister.”

She heard the regret in his voice, swallowed past the guilt in her own throat and nodded. Milosh hadn’t spoken a single word to her since the death of his child. He blamed her, and it was clear so did Magda.

I…I’m so sorry, Galius.”

He didn’t reply right away, and without seeing it, she knew he had wiped the tears from his eyes. “Alexandra’s death is not your fault.”

The words were spoken because they needed to be. Gypsies stayed together no matter what. They were family. There was no truth to his words, and Pril knew it.

Are you going after them?” she asked.

I hold no power, no spells flow from my lips. I am strong, yes, but they are stronger.” He stared at her, his eyes pleading. “We need the pendant.”

Guilt thickened her tongue; the gritty residue clung to her lips and tasted bitter.

The talisman had been in their family for generations, blessed by each new Chuvani. Vadoma had promised her the pendant before she died, but Pril never saw it, and there had been no time to search for the jewel when they fled.

Without the pendant we cannot break the curse. We cannot protect our people.”

She knew this. They all knew this, but no one had a clue as to where the talisman was. She’d tried to call an image forward, to make a finding spell, but nothing worked.

We have lost one of our own. Our clan is frightened. They have lost faith. We cannot fight the Monroes. We have neither the numbers nor the skill.” He took a long drink of his coffee. “And neither do you.”

She glanced at him.

I know you, Sister. You’re planning to take Tsura.”

Pril sighed. She did not know what else to do. The Monroes were coming for her child. Alexandra had died because of that. Milosh and Magda hated her.

Running is not going to change anything.”

It will save lives. It will…help Milosh and Magda to heal.”

No, it will not. Running will get you and Tsura killed and that is all.”

How can you look at me when you know what I’ve brought to our family, when you know that this is all because of me?”

Galius blew out a long breath that moved his thick beard from his lips. She watched through tear filled eyes as his bottom lip quivered.

Vadoma put this burden on you. For that, we do not judge.”

Their sister had died a vile death. She’d betrayed their clan and had hung while being burned. Pril ached for her sister’s guidance and counsel. She yearned to know that what she was doing was right.

We had a plan, and up until Alexandra’s death it worked. We will rethink and come up with something better—stronger.”

The plan was simple. Dress the girls as boys, and the Monroes wouldn’t find them. But someone had figured out Alexandra was a girl. Someone had told the Monroes. They came for her, stealing the precious child in the middle of the night. The morning two weeks before, as the clan frantically searched for her, a harrowing scream Pril would never forget echoed across the land. Milosh found his daughter’s body by the river, her neck broken.

She raised a shaky hand to her mouth so she wouldn’t let out the sob she held against her lips.

I have enough for one more protection spell.” She lied; her forehead ached because of it.

He glanced at her, his eyes showing no emotion. “You will concoct another.”

I cannot.”

He frowned.

The spell has the oil Vadoma blessed. Without it, Tsura is at the mercy of the Monroes and so are we.”

Galius pumped his large hands into tight fists. “Surly you can think of another?”

I cannot. Vadoma placed the blood curse. It is only with the blessed oil that I am able to create the spell to keep danger away. The oil is almost gone.”

He worked his jaw. “That gypsy whore—

She held up her hand to stop him from blaspheming their sister. It wasn’t right. It brought evil to curse your own, and Pril would have none of it.

Our sister had her reasons. Leave it be.”

Reasons? She betrayed us. Left us with a curse we cannot break and wealthy plantation owners hunting our very hides—killing our children!”

She hung her head unable to look at him. What could she say? He was right. Her very niece had died but thirteen days ago.






Author:



Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing. A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career.



Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been an Amazon Top 100 Paid bestseller. LAKOTA HONOR and BLOOD CURSE (Branded Trilogy) are Kat’s two award-winning novels and HAZARDOUS UNIONS is Kat’s first novella. Kat is currently hard at work on her next book.























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