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Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Donet Trilogy by Regan Walker Book Tour & Giveaway

To Tame the Wind
The Donet Trilogy Book 1
by Regan Walker
Genre: Historical Romance

A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!” – SHIRLEE BUSBEE, NY Times Bestselling author


All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the thing his enemy held most dear...her.


The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

Echo in the Wind
The Donet Trilogy Book 2

"Regan Walker sweeps you away to a time and place you'll NEVER want to leave!" ~ Danelle Harmon, NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

England and France 1784

Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.

As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.

Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious comte de Saintonge.

Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?

A Fierce Wind
The Donet Trilogy Book 3

"Simply Magnificent!" – Stew Ross, author of Where Did They Put the Guillotine?

France 1794. 
Zoé Ariane Donet was in love with love until she met the young commander of the royalist army fighting the revolutionaries tearing apart France. When the dashing young general is killed, she joins the royalist cause, rescuing émigrés fleeing Robespierre’s Reign of Terror.

One man watches over her: Frederick West, the brother of an English earl, who has known Zoé since she was a precocious ten-year-old child. At sixteen, she promised great beauty, the flower of French womanhood about to bloom. Now, four years later, as the Terror seizes France by the throat, Zoé has become a beautiful temptress Freddie vows to protect with his life.

But English spies don’t live long in Revolutionary France.

Regan Walker is an award-winning, #1 Amazon bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. She writes historically authentic novels with real historical figures along with her fictional characters. Among the awards she has won are the International Book Award for Romance Fiction, the San Diego Book Award for Best Historical Romance, the RONE Award for her medievals and the Gold Medal Illumination Award.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Mamma's Moon by Jerome Mark Antil Book Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway

Mamma’s Moon
Book Two
Jerome Mark Antil

Genre: Crime/Suspense/LitFic

Publisher: Little York Books

Date of Publication: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7326321-0-3

Number of pages: 258
Word Count: 76203

Cover Artist: Dennis Graham

Book Description:

This suspenseful sequel to One More Last Dance follows Peck Finch’s search for his mother after leaving home at the age of nine, and the struggles of his friend Gabe, who is simultaneously facing a second-degree murder charge.

Set within the rich and storied culture of Louisiana, this tale of self-discovery explores important questions about the meaning of love, friendship, family and more.

Mamma’s Moon has received early praise for its layered storytelling with BlueInk Reviews calling Antil’s newest work “a lovely story about the strong bonds of friendship that often supplant family ties.”


“Did you murder the kid, Gabe?” Lily Cup asked. The aging army captain, veteran of Korea and Vietnam, low¬ered his newspaper just enough to see over the entertainment page.
“Close the door, honey, AC’s on,” Gabe said.
In a tight, black skirt with a tailored matching waistcoat and white Nike walking shoes, she leaned and propped a black leather briefcase against the wall by the door. She stood like an exasperated tomboy, adjusting and refastening the diamond brooch on her lapel.
“I heard you’ve been walking with a cane, dancing man.  What’s that all about? You’ve never carried a cane. You jazz dance for hours a couple of nights a week and Sasha tells me you started carrying one everywhere you go when you don’t need one. It’s smelling pretty premeditated to me, Gabe. What’s up with the cane thing?”
“Does Sasha know about this morning?”
“I haven’t told her anything. She’d have a canary.”
Gabe lifted the paper again to read.
“I need to know if it was murder,” Lily Cup said.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Gabe said.
He closed the paper, folded it in half, and in half again. Dropping it on the arm of the chair, he stood and left the room.
“Define murder,” he said from the kitchen.
She tossed a handbag and white driving gloves onto the other chair, lifted Chanel sunglasses to the top of her head.
“Gee, I’ll have to think on this one. Hmmm…Oh, I know. How about the police have a cane with blood on it and there’s a dead man.”
“It’s a walking stick. My cane is over by the door.”

“Well now it’s a goddamned murder weapon. They checked for prints, and yours are the only prints on it, and their guess is the lab will say the blood has his DNA.”

About the Author:

JEROME MARK ANTIL writes in several genres. He has been called a “greatest generation’s Mark Twain,” a “write what you know Ernest Hemingway,” and “a sensitive Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.” It’s been said his work reads like a Norman Rockwell painting. Among his writing accomplishments, several titles in his The Pompey Hollow Book Club historical fiction series about growing up in the shadows of WWII have been honored. An ‘Authors and Writers’ Book of the Year Award and ‘Writer of the Year’ at Syracuse University for The Pompey Hollow Book Club novel; Hemingway, Three Angels, and Me, won SILVER in the UK as second-best novel.  

Foreword’s Book of the Year Finalist for The Book of Charlie – historical fiction and The Long Stem is in the Lobby – nonfiction humor. Library Journal selected Hemingway, Three Angels and Me for best reads during Black History Month.

Before picking up the pen, Antil spent his professional career writing and marketing for the business world. In this role, he lectured at universities - Cornell, St. Edward’s, and Southern Methodist. His inspirations have been John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Ernest Hemingway.

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2Nhtyrh

Goodreads Page: 

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Storm & Fury by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin Book Tour & Giveaway

Storm & Fury
A Storm and Fury Adventures Collection
by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin
Genre: Paranormal Historical Adventure, Steampunk

New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress. The Department of Supernatural Investigation was set up to take care of those things that live below, that go bump in the night… those odd cases that go beyond ‘standard’ investigation. Nicknamed ‘Storm and Fury’, Mitch Storm and Jacob Drangosavich are two of the more creative agents, working in New Pittsburgh and obeying the rules – when they have to.

A collection of short stories and novellas set in the world of the Iron & Blood novels and the related Storm and Fury Adventures.

Includes: Airship Down, Ruin Creek, Resurrection Day, The Hunt, Grave Voices, and Rogue. Plus two bonus stories: Ghost Wolf and a Steampunk fairy tale: The Patented Troll

Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wrote at age five was about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites.

Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Joe Mack Cauldron/Secret Council series.

The Martins have three children, a Maltese, and a Golden Retriever.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Aries 181 by Tiana Warner Book Tour & Giveaway

Aries 181
by Tiana Warner
Genre: SciFi, LGBT

A crime spree to steal aerospace technology. An intern with the brains to stop it.

When Jess uncovers evidence that her boss is stealing technology to build his company, her coveted internship at Aries turns from dream job to catastrophe. Worse, her boss cons another young woman into becoming his accomplice, and the duo’s chemically enhanced skills and weapons help them become the most infamous supercriminals to sweep the tech world. Before they pilfer every aerospace lab in North America, Jess must use her ingenuity to stop them—risking her career, her relationships, and maybe even her life.

Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer's Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Mabon The Clandestine Chronicles Book One by Kellie M Davies Virtual Book Tour

The Clandestine Chronicles
Book One
Kellie M Davies

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Aurora House Publishing

Date of Publication: September 2018

ISBN: 978-0-6481851-7-8

Number of pages: 227

Cover Artist: Simon Critchell

Tagline: Let the Magick in.

Book Description:

Magick or Love.

If both ran deep in your blood, which would you choose?

On her sixteenth birthday, introvert Lucy DeBane can’t shake the memory of her father’s death, or the possibility that by day’s end a life altering ancestral truth will blow apart the world she knows. Lucy is sure of one thing, her feelings for Gil ... tall, dark and hot ... her first real love.

So when she hears the chiming of ancient bells and her family’s secret is revealed, Lucy must make a decision ... become a DeBane witch, or walk away from family for love.

Is there a way she can have both?

‘Davies weaves together a complex tale of magic and romance in this sweeping adventure.’ ~ Fiona Horne

Teaser Excerpt:

All three witches took their places. Dana stood in the north quarter in front of the alter stretching her hands out for the twins to take in theirs. She pressed on their hands and they all smiled at each other. Abi winked in my direction and my pulse quickened.

The ritual, my initiation ritual, was about to begin.

About the Author:

Kellie M Davies was born and lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two children. After University and a long period away from writing, she began to dabble with words again. Stories flowed and from the mess of manuscripts that uttered her computer files, Lucy’s story rose.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Sherlock Jr. Detective Agency by Marc Morgenstern Book Tour & Giveaway

The Sherlock Jr. Detective Agency
by Marc Morgenstern
Genre: YA, Teen Mystery

Chas, Zoe, Xander, Nickie and Patricia and Sally make up the Sherlock Jr. Detective Agency. Even though they are only 12 years old, each one of them possess their own unique specialty. Patricia is a computer whiz, Zoe and Xander, the twins, are inventors, Nickie is a mathematician, Sally is their administrator and Chas is the leader. In this adventure, they are hired by Skids, the local skate boarding champ, to find his missing dog Casper which was stolen out right of his back yard in broad daylight. Suspecting foul play their detective skills and the Sherlock Jr. Network in the neighborhood. They must put their best foot forward to solve the crime before time runs out and the kidnapped Casper is sold on an auction web site to the highest bidder.

**only .99 cents**

Marc Morgenstern has been a part of the film industry for at least 25 years, but became a serious writer/director in 2004 when he shot his first feature film, The Vampire Conspiracy, that went on to receive worldwide distribution. In addition, it has been translated into four languages and sold in Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, Target, and more. It launched Fangoria's, the nations largest resource for horror fiction's online streaming service Fangoria TV, and during its release was searched in the top 700 searched movies on imdb.com. After it was turned into a graphic novel, it won a silver medal at the 2010 Independent Publishing Awards.

Since then, Marc has achieved international recognition with his Cannes Lions Shortlisting commercial "Poker Face", that either placed or won in 10 different award shows. 

One of Marc's greatest industry accomplishments was as the creator of the variety show HouseCapades with Mike Bullard, and achieved the #1 show of its kind in its time slot and ran for over 250 episodes, one of the longest running television shows in Canadian history. 

After that, he ended up becoming the Broadcasting Creative Director at Avid Life Media, where he created and produced over 80 international commercials for over 30 markets and directed the documentary Affairs Across America. With Avid Life Media, Marc has written and developed a variety show, a reality show, two feature films and a sitcom. 

Marc is no stranger to directing children. He also created the three award-winning nationally renown live-action shorts titled: Operation: LabBrats. In 2013 Marc moved to California where he immediately went into production, writing and directing the feature film 'Vitals' with Christopher Showerman, Charlene Amoia, Tim Russ, Claudia Wells and Sachin Mehta.

He currently lives in Burbank, CA with his loving wife Tanya.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Immerse by Tobie Easton Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway

Mer Chronicles
Book 3
Tobie Easton

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Month9Books

Date of Publication: March 19th

ISBN: 978-1-948671-23-1
ASIN: 1948671239

Number of pages: 396

Cover Artist: Beetiful Book Covers

Book Description:

Immerse is the spellbinding and breathless final installment of the Mer Chronicles series where descendants of the Little Mermaid must face deadly magic, shifting alliances, and the dangers of forbidden love.

Lia can’t wait for her parents’ coronation. Now living in the sparkling palace beneath the waves, she sneaks off to Malibu whenever possible to see Clay. Tucked away in an abandoned seaside mansion, Lia and Clay devise a plan to ensure they can stay together forever.

But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lia is restricted to the palace for the safety of all Merkind, she and Clay are ripped apart once more.

She fears not only for Clay, but for her best friend Caspian, who seems to be swimming down a dangerous path. He has invited the conniving Melusine to the coronation ball, convinced she’s capable of change. And no matter how hard Lia fights it, showing up on Caspian’s arm is just the start of Melusine’s insidious return to her life.

With threats Below growing more ominous by the day and a powerful ancient ritual looming, soon the two girls can’t escape each other. As their fates grow increasingly intertwined, Melusine might be the only one who can help Lia find the answers she desperately needs to save everyone she loves and to achieve her happily ever after. But can Lia trust her?

I wish Clay were here to see this. The thought flits through my mind again and again. When my family and I swim through the sparkling entrance of the palace, I wish I could grab his hand. As we’re greeted by hundreds of nobles swishing their tails in applause, I imagine the excited words he’d whisper in my ear. And as we start down the center aisle toward the thrones at the other end of the cavernous chamber, I yearn to show him how beautifully this room has been restored since he and I were last here.

Approaching the thrones, we process over an exquisite mosaic made up of abalone, mother of pearl, and troca shell pieces. It takes everything in me to keep my face neutral, to keep my head lifted and my sunbeam crown upright. This is the spot where, not so long ago, Clay risked his life to save mine. I glance around me at the splendor and the celebration. Clay’s sacrifice made today possible, and he’s not even here to see it.

About the Author:

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens (so she’s lucky enough to spend her days gabbing about books). She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies.

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The Descendants- Rise of the Reaper Army Book One by Nikki Lee Taylor Virtual Book Tour

The Descendants - Rise of the Reaper Army
The Descendants  
Book One
Nikki Lee Taylor

Genre: Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Magnolia Media Group

Date of Publication: 1, January 2019

ISBN: 1793207593

Number of pages: 280
Word Count: 82,019

Cover Artist: Nikki Lee Taylor

Tagline: Can they save our world from becoming Hell on Earth?

Book Description:

When the apex predators of the forest begin acting strange, former Army Captain Gabriel Stone knows something is wrong. Change is all around. He can sense it in the earth and feel it in on the wind. Something is coming…

After being attacked by a vampire, Gabriel thinks his 'life' is over. Alone, confused and with no choice other than to hide out, alone in an old forest cabin, Gabriel has sworn to find and kill the creature that changed him. But when the hunt leads him to an old farmhouse and he encounters the fiery, beautiful and headstrong Aurora, Gabriel's world is turned upside down as he quickly realises not everything is as it seems.

Aurora is a Descendant, the daughter of a vampire father and Amazon warrior mother. She is strong, beautiful and has a special connection to the earth and its creatures. After spending a lifetime hunting the monsters that killed her parents, Aurora has all but given up - until she meets Gabriel, who is tortured, angry and out for revenge. But despite his flaws, Aurora knows he is the key to everything she has been searching for - if they don't kill each other first.

With a story that highlights the beauty and importance of preserving of our natural world, The Descendants - Rise of the Reaper Army tells the age-old story of good versus evil, while highlighting the frightening impacts our modern society is having on the planet, as Gabriel and Aurora fight to save our world from becoming Hell on Earth.

Excerpt One

Gabriel stormed toward the forest determined to get as far away from Aurora and the Council as possible, but his head was spinning. It was too much information, too much deceit and too much betrayal. His body ached and his brain hurt. Unable to continue, he found an old log and threw himself down with his head in his hands. How could she have done this? How could she have been the thread that caused his entire life to unravel?
Since the night Aurora came to his cabin, mad as hell and wanting to kill him, Gabriel had given himself to her. He had followed her and believed in her. How could she have betrayed him this way? Everything had changed. Everything was different. He wished he had never met her. He wished it could take it all back. He wished he could just go home, but it was a long trip and storming off into the forest half-cocked was a recipe for disaster. He had learned that lesson a long time ago. No, he needed to calm his mind. He needed to find a way to look at things differently. He needed a way to breathe.
He let out a long sigh and asked himself again, had she really known or was she just a victim of the Council’s plan like he was? After all, she wasn’t the one who approached him. He was the one who had gone to the farmhouse and killed her brother. But he never would have been there if he hadn’t been attacked in the first place.
Gabriel cracked his knuckles and tried to think. According to Lucius this was their destiny, but what if she hadn’t been so obsessed with those things? He wondered, could their destiny have been different? He dared to imagine how it might have played out. What if he had never been changed and instead, they met out walking in the forest? What if he could have been himself with her? What if…?
He threw his hands up into the air and shouted out at the top of his voice. He hated her. Worse than that he loved her. He was completely screwed.
Eventually he found the strength to get to his feet, but every step pressed into the earth like a question mark. How would she make it all the way home without him? But how could he wait for her knowing this was her fault? Damn it. He was in his own personal hell. He wandered at a snail’s pace and it wasn’t long before he heard her calling his name.
“Gabriel… Please, just wait. There are things I need to tell you,” she was calling out. “I know about the Reapers.”
He stopped momentarily but then shook his head and kept walking. Deep down he knew she would catch up and he hated himself for wanting her to.
“Gabriel, stop!”
She was getting closer.
“Stay away from me Aurora, I mean it,” he shouted over his shoulder. “Do not follow me!”
“Would you stop? Just for a minute? I had no idea about any of this. Gabriel…”
Thoughts coursed through his mind. Had it not been for her he would still be a part of his family’s lives. He would still be an Army Captain. Hell, he would still be alive. Had it not been for her, he would never have fallen in love.
“Gabriel there are things I need to tell you,” she shouted. “You have to listen.”
“No Aurora, I don’t. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t owe you a damn thing.”
But even as the words left his lips, he knew they were lies. He had killed her brother and the guilt in turn was killing him.
When she finally caught up she stepped in front, leaving him no choice but to stop.
“Just listen,” she begged. “I promise you, I didn’t know. Gabriel we can’t let these things destroy our world. You can’t just walk away!”
“I. Don’t. Care.” He told her. “I don’t want to be a part of this world anyway Aurora, not like this. I’ve had enough.”
But she grabbed his shoulders and fiercely pulled him in. “Don’t you talk like that, do you hear me? Not ever Gabriel, you’re too important!”
The worst part was that he wanted to help her. It was the right thing to do but anger was crippling him. It twisted inside, wrapping around his ribs and squeezing accusations up into his throat. He wanted his life back. He also wanted her.
“Gabriel, when we were in the forest and I shared the Earth’s connection with you I thought you understood?”
“That was one moment Aurora!” He shouted. “I have lost an entire life and it was a life that I loved. It was a life that I made, that I worked for. Damn it, don’t you see? I had a family. I followed in my father’s footsteps and my grandfather’s before him. Did I love fighting? No, but I was proud to serve my country. I had respect and I had honour. Now I have nothing.”
“And that’s exactly why you are the chosen one,” she said, daring to step closer. “Nothing you could have done as an Army Captain would ever come close to what we need to do now. Gabriel, everyone will die. Not a town, not a city, not a country… Everyone, including your family.”
“Don’t you talk about my family.”
“They’ll die Gabriel, just like my mother and father. Just like thousands of mothers and fathers. Every animal and plant will be decimated. Rivers and oceans will dry up. Forests will disappear. If the Reapers are allowed to rise and stay here, nothing will be left but a barren wasteland. I’ve seen it. You want to know what happened here in the forest on the way to the Council? That’s what I was shown. I saw the end. Is that really the legacy you want to leave behind?”
He stared out into the forest. There were no words left to say. All he knew of the Reapers were some paintings on a wall and a vision shown to him by a vampire, probably the same one that ended his life. How could he trust that? How could he just believe? His heart ached and sorrow descended like nightfall. He shivered and wrapped his arms around himself, suddenly so cold that he wondered if he was coming down with something. But strigoi couldn’t get sick, could they?
“What’s happening to me?” He managed through chattering teeth. “Are you doing this?”
“No Gabriel, I’m not.”
“Then what?”
“You were thinking about them, weren’t you? The Reapers?”
He nodded and looked away, hating that she could read him so well.
“Their time is drawing closer. It’s the darkness that you feel Gabriel, the darkness that lives inside them. Try to imagine a world without sunshine, without love, without hope. If they rise nothing will survive.”
“But how can that be? I don’t understand any of this.”
“A demon is made of dark matter. They have no light inside them, no soul.” She stepped away and opened her arms. “For everything that exists there needs to be balance. That is the essence of the universe. Think about it. Black and white, light and dark, hot and cold, male and female, even Heaven and Hell. God created humans and Satan created demons. That is the balance, but their darkness is beginning to seep into our world. That is what you’re feeling.”
Gabriel rubbed at his forehead and tried to find his bearings. A cold wind blew in off the mountains and moisture hung heavy in the air. Despite his dizziness he could smell the scent of rain coming in, fresh and clean.
“What did Lucius say to you?” He asked. “Did he tell you how to kill them?”
“No, but he told me that you are the only one capable of destroying the army.”
“The army?” Despite how ill he was feeling, Gabriel threw back his head and laughed out loud. “Well that will do me Aurora. You have got to be joking! No one can defeat an army alone, demonic or any other kind. It just can’t be done.”
“Not alone Gabriel, with me.”
“Oh well then…Why didn’t you say so? That changes everything.”
“I can fight Gabriel,” Aurora snapped. “I can - ”
“You couldn’t even win a fight against me,” he bellowed. “Stop fooling yourself Aurora. I don’t know who your mother was, but you are no match for an army of demons. Like I said, you couldn’t even take me down.”
“That’s only because you’re not like any other strigoi Gabriel. You carry the strongest bloodline of the entire strigoi race. You are the closest thing on Earth to a demon. And besides, I wasn’t really trying to kill you, obviously.”
Gabriel took two steps back. “What did you just say to me? I’m a demon? Did Lucius tell you that?”
Instantly regretting her outburst, Aurora let her head drop. She hadn’t meant to hurt him, it had just come out somehow. “I’m sorry Gabriel. I didn’t mean to - ”
But he cut her off. “Is that what he told you? That I’m a demon?”
When she didn’t reply, he stormed over and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Answer me damn it! Am I a demon? Is that what he said?”
“Tell me!”
“In a way, but - ”
“Stop talking,” he warned. “Do not say another word.”
“Gabriel it’s not like that. You just carry the strongest bloodline.”
Thunder crashed overhead and sheets of rain swept in across the forest.
“I’m sorry,” she shouted over the storm. “I didn’t mean it to come out like that. Gabriel…”
But he wasn’t listening. Instead he turned and ran deep into the forest, determined to get as far away from her and everyone else as he could. As he ran, he told himself that Aurora would be fine, that the forest would keep her safe. That she didn’t need him. Undeterred by the storm, he pushed forward not caring as wet tree branches slapped against his face and wind whipped through his hair. If what Aurora said was true, then he had no reason to be careful. If he was a demon, then he didn’t want to exist anyway.
Knowing he could never outrun the one thing he wanted to get away from most, frustration itched and bit at his skin. He loved her but he hated himself. She wanted everything and he had nothing. How could he save anything when he couldn’t even stand to be inside his own skin?
A sound in the distance caught his attention and he imagined it was Aurora crying out for him. His heart leapt. He ached to turn back, but quickly shook it off. He couldn’t go back, she was better off without him.
Up ahead a finger of lightening lit up the forest and thunder rolled across the sky. Beneath his feet the ground shook and just for a moment he hesitated. The lightning cast an eerie glow across the wet cliff face and he peered through the darkness. Was he imagining it, or was somebody there? He drew in closer and saw camping gear littered across the rock face. A backpack and a sleeping bag, a broken tent, its framework poking out through the canvas like pieces of broken bone.
“Help us please…”
The voices cut through the dark and Gabriel immediately ran to the edge and looked over.
Crouched on a rock ledge below were a man and woman, both soaked and both terrified.
“Are you hurt?” Gabriel called out against the roaring wind.
The woman looked like a drowned cat. Her blonde hair was plastered across her face and tears had made her eyes as red as Aurora’s. The man was trying to hold it together but one look at his face told Gabriel just how scared he really was.
“We’re not hurt,” he shouted back. “But we’re stranded.”
Gabriel knew there would be no explanation for what he was about to do, so he closed his eyes and said a prayer that he could disappear before they asked any questions. “Just hold tight. I’ll help you.”
“Please hurry! I don’t know how much longer we can last down here.”
Gabriel nodded and quickly began searching for something he could use to pull them up. All around him the wind howled, an ominous sound that chilled him to the bone.
After covering every inch around the edge of the cliff, Gabriel threw up his arms in frustration. There was nothing he could use that would bear the weight of an adult man and out of options, he threw his head back and cursed at the sky. He was damned. No matter what he tried nothing worked. Everything was falling apart. And then she appeared, wet and weather beaten and yet somehow still beautiful.
“Aurora there’s people down there that need our help,” he shouted, no longer caring about their fight. “We need something to pull them up.”
If they worked as a team maybe they could save the lives of the stranded campers, he thought. His life might be over but perhaps theirs didn’t have to be.
“What do you need me to do?”
“That thing with the vines. I need something to pull them up.”
She quickly scanned the forest for trees with vines strong enough to haul the people up from the ledge. Finding one, she walked over and closed her eyes. She whispered to the tree and it responded, quickly offering up metres of vine.
“Okay that’s enough, now go and find shelter. There’s no need for us both to be out here Aurora.”
But stubborn as usual, she shook her head. “No, I’m staying. You might need me again.”
Gabriel knew there was no point arguing and right now the people on the ledge needed him more than she did. Turning away from her, he ducked his head over the ledge and peered down at them. “When I pass this vine down, I want you to take hold of it. But only one of you at a time, okay?”
“Take my wife first,” the man shouted. “I need to make sure my wife is safe.”
The request made Gabriel’s heart ache. What must it be like to love someone so much that you would immediately put their life ahead of your own? It was an emotion he would probably never feel and yet he ached to love another with such devotion. He thought he had fallen in love with Aurora, but at the first sign of trouble he had abandoned her. He wondered if that meant he wasn’t capable of loving another, if perhaps the world really would be better off without him.
When the vine was lowered far enough, the man kissed his wife on the forehead and wrapped her hands around it tightly. “Don’t you let go Laura. Promise me you won’t let go no matter what.”
The woman nodded and took hold of the vine. She was light and for Gabriel towing her to safety was easy, but when she reached the top, he noticed the palms of her hands were bleeding. Before he could move away, she threw her arms around his neck and pulled him close. “You saved my life. How can I ever thank you?”
The smell was sweet and agonising and Gabriel’s head began to swim. “I need you to stay over there,” he ordered the woman. “As far back as you can get so I have room to pull up your husband. In fact, see that tree over there? I need you to go and stand by it and do not come over here again. Not under any circumstances. Do you understand me?”
Gabriel knew that if the woman stood by the tree-line she would be down wind and the scent of her blood would be carried away by the storm. When she moved away, he sighed with relief. Aurora had taught him well.
“Okay it’s your turn,” he shouted down to the man. “I need you to take hold of the vine and do not let go. That ledge will not bare the weight of your body falling onto it from a height. Do you understand me?”
The man nodded as Gabriel passed the vine down to him. When he felt his weight on the end, Gabriel began to pull. He was a lot heavier than his wife but within minutes Gabriel managed to lever him up and over the edge. When it was safe to let go the man immediately ran into the arms of his waiting wife.
“Gabriel you saved their lives,” Aurora breathed. “You see. We’re a good team.”
He nodded and let go of the vine. “Aurora, this doesn’t change anything. I don’t want you in my life. Nothing is going to change that.”
Rain was running down her face and yet he could still tell which of the drops were tears.
“Gabriel, I didn’t know. I swear I had no idea.”
“Don’t you get it Aurora?” He shouted. “It doesn’t matter if you knew. I was changed because of your fixation with these Reapers or whatever the hell they are. I’m not - ”
But before he could finish a finger of lightening lit up the sky and struck a tree just metres away.
“We have to get out of here,” the couple shouted over the wind. “We’re going to try and find higher ground. Come with us, please.”
“They’re right,” Aurora told him. “We can’t stay here.”
He had been about to reluctantly agree, when a second lightning strike cut through the dark. It struck the earth between their feet sending sparks flying high enough to sting their legs. Before they had time to react, the ground moaned like a waking giant. 
“Gabriel you have to move! Hurry!”
As Aurora said the words, the ground cracked open and Gabriel’s feet slipped in the loose rubble.
“You have to jump away from the cliff face,” she screamed. “Gabriel leap toward me, you can still make it!”
He crouched and sprang up, leaping as far as he could toward the other side. He made it across the growing divide but landed hard, his fingers clawing in the loose rock on the other side. His eyes met Aurora’s and for a moment they simply stared at each other. Her lips whispered his name and then he fell.
Gabriel’s body bashed against the side of the cliff, over and over until he landed with a heavy thud on the rock ledge below. Unable to take the weight of his fall, it quickly gave way and he fell further and further until the sound of Aurora’s screams were swallowed up by the wind. His body smashed against rock and earth. Protruding branches cut his face and then his body hit the ground and everything went black.
Up on the cliff Aurora screamed. Behind her the couple shouted out, but their words were muffled by the storm. She stared down into the darkness calling Gabriel’s name over and over until eventually the man edged closer and took her arm.
“You need to come away from the edge sweetheart. You don’t want to look down there. The fall was too great.”
But Aurora was not ready to give up. “No, he’s strong. He’ll be okay.”
“This storm is too dangerous. You can’t get to him. You’ll be killed trying.”
But she spun around and stared wildly into the man’s eyes. “You don’t understand. We have to try.”
“I’ll go for help,” he shrugged. “That’s all I can do.”
Aurora glared at him, her hair blowing out around her face. “He just saved your life. Are you really going to turn your back on him?”
“No, I’m going to make the most of what he gave me. A long life spent with the woman I love. He’s gone. Now please, come with us.”
Aurora stared into the darkness. Gabriel was down there, and he was hurt. “I can’t. He needs me.”
“Well good luck then, I hope you make it out. My wife and I will go for help.” The man turned and ran up the hill to where his wife was waiting. “We’ll send help,” he shouted back. “You have my word.”
Left alone in the raging storm, Aurora fell to her knees and shouted up at the sky. “Gabriel will fulfil his legacy. He will sacrifice himself to give the people a second chance. It has already begun.”

About the Author:

Nikki Lee Taylor is the author of The Descendants, a five-book paranormal romance series. She wrote her first book in crayon at the age of four and later became a news journalist. Rise of the Reaper Army is her debut novel.
She lives in NSW, Australia and you can visit her online at