Spotlight: Love Me Some Cowboy

Love_Me_Some_Cowboy_Anthology_Western_Romance

Love Me Some Cowboy
Lisa Mondello, Jean Brashear, Day LeClaire, Ginger Chambers, Barbara McMahon

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 978-1-939925-03-9

Book Description:

Who can resist a tough, rugged cowboy?  Not these feisty, determined women!

Five full-length novels at a steal of a price!

In Nothing But Trouble by USAToday Bestselling Author Lisa Mondello, city girl Melanie Summers must spend an  entire month alone in the Wyoming wilderness with sexy rodeo cowboy, Stoney Buxton, without getting into trouble.  Possible?   Not a chance in the world!

USAToday Bestselling Author Jean Brashear adds Lone Star flavor with Texas Secrets.  Boone Gallagher returns to the only home he’s ever known only to find it’s been willed to a sexy stranger who’s intent on leaving.  He must keep her there for thirty days or it will be lost to them both.

Love romantic reunion stories?  Then much-loved Harlequin author Barbara McMahon has the perfect book for you!  Crazy About a Cowboy brings you Sam and Lisa Haller, who divorced for all the wrong reasons.  Now Sam wants his ex-wife back for all the right ones.

Once Upon a Cowboy by Day Leclaire, author of the wildly popular Dante’s Legacy series, introduces Cami, a lovable, greenhorn spitfire determined to become a cowboy, despite the objections of her sexy rancher boss.

And last, but far from least, beloved Dell and Harlequin author Ginger Chambers offers a heartwarming treat with Love, Texas, in which Cassie Edwards returns to the hometown she’d forsaken to negotiate the sale of land belonging to the Taylor family. Hard-working rancher Will Taylor, once her girlhood crush, is all man now and fighting hard to save his heritage. When attraction flares, will true love triumph?

Excerpt for Nothing But Trouble : Book 1 of Love Me Some Cowboy-
His jaw tightened. Yes, there was something definitely wrong here. And money had nothing to do with it. It had everything to do with this beauty standing in front of him, who was clueless about what she was getting her pretty little hide into. “No,” he replied tersely.

“Mr. Buxton, I need your help.”

“Tourist season is in full swing. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding someone else.”

He turned his back to her and began walking along the fence toward the barn, almost forgetting… Abruptly, he glanced up and saw the charred remains of the barn. The place where all his troubles had started just one year ago. It hadn’t taken but a second for him to hear her boots digging into the dusty gravel behind him, jarring him from his thoughts.

“Then I’ll do it myself,” she said to his back.

His whole body stiffened. He angled back to read her face, to see if she was just being a spoiled rotten rich kid, trying to get her way, or if she was actually serious. Seeing her head held high and her arms crossed in front of her, he realized she was dead serious.

And dead she’d be if she stepped one boot into those mountains alone.

“You’ll do no such thing.”

Frustration flaring, he lifted his dusty hat and forced his fingers through the thick crop of black hair before returning the hat to his head.

“You just don’t get it, do you? You’re not asking me to take you on a theme park ride where you’ll get to see the wonders of the world at a nice safe distance. This is God’s country. The creatures that live up there don’t know civilization, and you are no better than them. You could–probably will–get killed if you go out there alone.” His lips twitched, taking a good long appraising look at the woman in front of him. “You might even chip a nail on that pretty hand of yours.”

 

Links to the first chapter for each of the other books in the anthology
http://jeanbrashear.com/texas-tales/texas-secrets/texas-secrets-excerpt/
http://www.barbaramcmahon.com/excerpt-crazy-about-a-cowboy.php
http://www.dayleclaire.com/excerpt-once-upon-a-cowboy
http://gingerchambers.wordpress.com/love-texas/

Lisa is giving away a free ebook.
Her Heart for the Asking is FREE -tell everyone that they can get a free ebook.
 Grab it from Amazon or Smashwords

 

 What Readers Are Saying About These Authors:

 “Emotional depth and situations that tore at my heart. This is exactly what I want from a romance.” (about Ginger Chambers, Love, Texas)

“I can never get enough of Day Leclaire’s novels. It’s all about the characters, and these are especially lovable, funny, and heartwarming … not to mention sexy. I really identified with Cami’s act-first, think-later personality. Adorable!” (about Day Leclaire, Once Upon a Cowboy)

“A great story about second chances at love. A hunky cowboy and a feisty cowgirl and a cute little boy to round off this romance.” (about Barbara McMahon, Crazy About a Cowboy)

“I really enjoyed this, er, literary foreplay. I knew that when these two finally made love, they wouldn’t just be going through the motions—there were going to be some fireworks….Jean Brashear is a terrific discovery for me.” (about Jean Brashear, Texas Secrets)

” Loved this book so much I didn’t put it down till I was finished. Highly recommended for a very good read. “ (about Lisa Mondello, Nothing But Trouble)

http://www.facebook.com/onfirefiction

@onfirefiction

bewitching book tours

Hex and the Single Witch: Excerpt & GiveAway

Hex and the Single Witch Free kindle BannerThe book will be free June 1-3  at http://www.amazon.com/Single-Witch-Vehicle-Vampires-ebook/dp/B009GN9C06

Hex and the single witch

Hex and the Single Witch
Vehicle City Vampires Book One
By Roxanne Rhoads
Publisher: Bewitching Books
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance / Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 83,000

Anwyn Rose is descended from a long line of powerful witches yet she can barely cast spells young witchlings have mastered. She has one functioning witch gift, the power of knowing, which she puts to good use as a Detective on Flint’s Preternatural Investigation Team.

It’s a new era in Vehicle City, supernaturals are running the town.

The P.I.T has their hands full with paranormal crimes. Top priority is a serial killer, who appears to be a vampire, draining young women in the city.

Anwyn is on the case with her sexy partner Detective Mike Malone. Complicating things is her relationship Galen, a vampire who looks more guilty than innocent, although Anwyn trusts her instincts even if her power is on the fritz.

Mysterious spells, compromising situations, and a possible demon on the loose make it hard to focus on the case, but Anwyn has to make things right before the human police execute the wrong vampire.

Hex and the Single Witch contains magick, a little bit of mystery, a lot of supernatural mayhem, and a sexy love triangle that will leave you wanting more.

 Amazon Kindle     Print

Book Bonus material http://roxannesrealm.blogspot.com/p/hex-and-single-witch.html

Excerpt featuring Mike Malone:

“You should have told me why you hate vampires so much. It was during the Hysteria wasn’t it?” The damn Hysteria ruined and destroyed so many lives all thanks to a bunch of power hungry vampires and Others who thought it was a good idea to let humans know they existed. Like the witch hunts, the burning times from before hadn’t proven that was a bad idea. But, no, they thought a new, modern generation of humans could handle it.

The Hysteria proved humans hadn’t evolved much. Of course, neither had the Others.

“Yeah,” he said into his hands.

“You know I lost my dad to vampires at the end. At the last battle. The rogues had the humans all riled up. No one knew what was going on, the riot started and there was this group of mercenaries, humans killing anything that moved. My dad’s team tried to get them out of there, but as soon as they realized vampires and Others were on the police squad the mercenaries decided to wipe everyone out. My dad was shot and while he was down rogue vampires finished him off.”

“Then how can you still be close to them?” Mike sneered.

“Humans played their part in his death too, Mike. Can I shut myself off from the world and hate everyone? It’s unrealistic. I understand your hate, but they are not all bad.”

“They all drink blood. They are monsters designed to kill humans.” His snarl looked ferocious.

I had not realized his hate ran so deep.

“And humans are designed to kill animals and each other. Doesn’t mean we all do.” Stubborn man.

“Anwyn, I’m sorry I can’t look at them the way you do.” He glanced at me then stared at the floor.

I touched his face gently and made him look at me. “Mike you can’t carry pain and anger around with you forever. Believe me, I know. I dragged it around with me for a long time. I lost both my dad and my mom that night. Even though my mom still lives and breathes, she’s not the same. But I can’t change it, and I can’t hate everyone for it. I just have to accept it. I took this job to try and prevent other kids from growing up with this pain and anger. Isn’t that why you took this job too? You know we have to fight the bad guys and take help from all the good guys we can, right?”

“Yeah,” he muttered.

I caressed his strong jaw. Goddess, he was a beautiful man. And more complex and tender than I had thought. I took off his top hat and laid it on the desk so I could run my fingers through his wild wavy hair. The move startled Mike and he looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face for a moment before heat flared in his eyes.

As soon as I saw the flames in his eyes my body responded. A burning need rose inside me, an ache suddenly needed to be filled.

Mike’s expression changed into one that promised deliciously wicked things. Hot damn.

roxanne

About the Author:

Story strumpet, tome loving tart, eccentric night owl…these words describe book publicist and erotic romance author Roxanne Rhoads.

When not fulfilling one the many roles being a wife and mother of three require, Roxanne’s world revolves around words…reading them, writing them, editing them, and talking about them. In addition to writing her own stories she loves to read, promote and review what others write.

Roxanne is the owner of Bewitching Book Tours and operates Fang-tastic Books, a book blog dedicated to paranormal and urban fantasy books.

When not reading, writing, or promoting Roxanne loves to hang out with her family, craft, garden and search for unique vintage finds.

Visit her online

Author blog www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com

Book Blog www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

Bewitching Book Tours www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com

Facebook

www.facebook.com/RoxanneRhoads

http://www.facebook.com/BewitchingBooktours

http://www.facebook.com/RoxanneRhoadsAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/FangtasticBooks

Twitter @RoxanneRhoads

Roxanne can also be found on Linked InGoodreads and Google+

Tour Wide Giveaway
 Signed copy of Paranormal Pleasures, Hex and the Single Witch keychain, Bewitching Book Tours Witches Broom Ink pen
Open to US Shipping

Excert & GiveAway: Playing Patience

Rafflecopter link at bottom of post!

PPRDBB

Book Title:  Playing Patience

Author:  Tabatha Vargo

Release Date:  April 26th 2013

Genre:  New Adult/Romance/Contemporary

Presented by:  As You Wish…

BLURB

 Sometimes all you need is Patience.

Life’s been hard for Zeke. Being a punching bag for his alcoholic father has turned him into stone. Not even the dodgy trailer park he lives in can scare him. Fighting is his release and sex, drugs, and his guitar bring him peace, but deep down Zeke isn’t quite as hard as he makes himself out to be. When he meets Patience, she finds all his broken pieces and puts him back together, but she’s a ray of light in his shadowed life and the last thing he wants to do is bring her into his dark world. Playing careless is easy, playing the bad guy can be fun, but playing Patience is impossible, especially when she can see right through him.

Zeke isn’t the only one who’s broken, and for the first time, in a long time, Patience feels alive. Her black and white world gets a shot of color when she meets Zeke. He’s unlike anyone she’s ever met with his tattoos, piercings, and blunt honesty. She wants nothing more than to let go and ride the wild side with him, but some wounds never heal and the broken pieces of Patience aren’t so easy to find.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young adult readers.***

Purchase Links
Amazon        B&N

PLAYING PATIENCE BOOK TRAILER

 

PlayingPatience1    Excerpt:

“Oooh,” his eyes got big like he was just realizing something. “I get it, you’re into chicks.”

Did I have the word lesbian written across my forehead or something today?

“No,” I said adamantly.

“No, that’s cool.” His smile was too big. “I don’t discriminate, trust me. I like chicks, too. You know what? We should like them together, like at the same time,” he leaned in and ran his thumb across his bottom lip before he softly tugged on his lip ring.

My eyes shot to his mouth and he smirked at the attention. I rolled my eyes.

“I don’t like chicks, and if I did I certainly wouldn’t share with you,” I flipped my card over and picked up the book.

“Okay, so you’re not a lesbian. Then what are you?”

Aggravated by his question, I sighed loudly and answered honestly.

“You want to know what I am? I’m shattered, that’s what I am. There are tiny pieces of Patience scattered all over.”

“I’d like a piece of Patience,” he reached across the table and ran a finger across my hand.

This time I did tense up, but for entirely different reasons. My heartbeat sped up like I was on the verge of a panic attack, but instead a rush of euphoria filled me.

“I don’t know if I can give you a piece,” I heard myself flirt back.

That earned me another sexy grin. Damn him for being so freaking hot.

“Why not?

“Because I don’t know where they are.” I frowned at those words.

What started out as innocent flirting, had just that quickly become a sad truth. I was a shattered girl and I had no idea where my pieces were or how to put myself back together if I did find them.

“I bet I could find your pieces,” he leaned in and bathed my cheek with heated breath.

I didn’t miss his hidden meaning, but I chose to ignore it. “Good luck. I’ve been trying to find them for years.”

I shrugged off my shiver and started to deal the cards again.

“Challenge accepted,” he said, as he leaned back in his chair and took a swig from his beer.

Tabatha Vargo  AUTHOR BIO

Tabatha’s been writing since she could pick up a pencil. Her first publication was a little poem in her elementary school paper, from that point on she was hooked. When she was a teenager, she traded in her girly magazines for personalized writing notebooks.

At nineteen, she met her own personal prince charming and writing took a back burner for a while. She’s now married to that prince and the mother of a beautiful seven-year-old princess/rock star. Once her daughter was born, writing came back into her life, and she finished her very first novel, Wicked Fate, in May of 2009.

She’s now pursuing her English degree and she hopes to one day teach while continuing to write.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Playing Patience by Tabatha Vargo

Playing Patience

by Tabatha Vargo

Giveaway ends June 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details

at Goodreads.

Enter to win

STALKER LINKS
www.facebook.com/tabathadvargo
www.twitter.com/tabathavargo
www.tabathavargo.blogspot.com
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6527314.Tabatha_Vargo
http://www.amazon.com/Tabatha-Vargo/e/B00CD5U6WW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1366122177&sr=1-1

BOOK LINKS
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17292996-playing-patience
Amazon (Coming Soon)

As You Wish Tours Button

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt: Chapter One of Blood Trade

Thanks to Faith Hunter for this excerpt!

Blood Trade

Chapter One

Been There, Shot the Place Up

I threw my leg over Bitsa and slammed my weight down on the kick start. The engine fired up with the rumble only a Harley can boast. It should have made me feel better, that lovely roar, but it didn’t. I was too ticked off. Or something. I wasn’t big on introspection or self-analysis; I just knew I wasn’t happy and hadn’t been in weeks. It had started back at Christmas and New Year’s, which I’d spent alone. Well, as alone as a girl can be living with two men.

Previously, my new roommates—the Younger brothers—and I had spent days training, learning how to work together, wisecracking, and picking on one another. More recently, they had proven themselves good about giving me space and letting me hide in my room. My black mood had started when the Kid, the younger Younger, demanded a Christmas tree and gift giving. I have no idea why. But I’d been impossible to live with for weeks and I knew it.

Stretching back, I locked the gate blocking the narrow drive of my freebie house in New Orleans and took off into the dawn. It was chilly and damp, gray and miserable. Winter, Deep South style, suited my mood. I’d never been the emotional type—no weepy Wilma, not whiny, teary-eyed, depressed . . .

My inner self stilled, the wind buffeting me as I leaned over Bitsa and gunned the engine, heading out of the French Quarter. Smelling the now-familiar scents of Cajun food and water-water-everywhere. Thinking about that word—depressed.

Crap. I’d never been depressed before, but I was now. Classic case of it. Lack of interest in much of anything, sleeping too much or unable to sleep at all. Not eating enough or binging on protein. Staying in my room with the door closed, lying on the bed, staring at the overhead fan. Not shifting into my Beast-form to hunt in months had to be contributing to it. Not dealing with Beast’s little problem.

I’m a skinwalker, a shape-changer, sharing my physical form—and physical forms—with the soul of a mountain lion I’d accidently pulled into myself when I was five years old and fighting for my life. And Beast’s current little problem was a good reason not to shift, though it left her feeling ticked off, and a ticked-off big-cat isn’t a pretty thing.

The only thing I had been doing was riding my bike through bayou country all alone, sightseeing, trying to see how far away from New Orleans I could get before that Beastly problem made distance difficult. Or impossible. And I’d been working out, lifting weights. A lot of weights. I had put on twenty pounds of pure muscle. When I finally shifted into Beast again, she was going to have to accommodate the extra poundage. Somehow.

“I’m depressed,” I murmured into the wind, trying the words on for size. Yeah. Depressed. I felt a shadow lift off me just admitting it to myself.

I knew why I was depressed. I’d screwed up so bad, so often, in the past year that I’d lost friends, lovers, and, well, that was enough. Wasn’t it? Now that I knew what was wrong, I could do something about it. If I could figure out what to do. This moodiness was uncharted territory.

Letting that thought simmer on the back burner of my mind, I wended my way through the city, heading uptown, which meant upriver, as everything in New Orleans was about the Mississippi River—uptown was upstream; downtown was downstream (something new I’d learned about the city that was my temporary home). I needed to cross the river, and though I could have taken the newer Crescent City Connection, part of I-90, I took the older, narrow, dangerous, two-lane hell of the Huey P. Long Bridge. I liked the old bridge, maybe because it was so dangerous; it had character, like an old noir film, a bridge leading out of the Land of Shangri-La.

On the other side of the Mississippi, I headed through Westwego and then vaguely west, like the town’s name suggested. Unsurprisingly, I found myself headed to Aggie One Feather’s place, adjacent to the John Lafitte Preserve, a wilderness area where the Cherokee elder who was my personal shaman—and probably my personal counselor too, now that I knew my emotional state—lived. But I could tell that she was still out of town. No car in the drive, shades pulled, no smell on the still air of coffee or bacon cooking, and the sweathouse out back had no smoke seeping from the chimney.

I slowed to a stop and set my boot soles on the shell-based asphalt, thinking about going into the sweathouse by myself, but I’d had some difficult experiences going it alone in there and wasn’t ready to try that again, even with the depression to motivate me. Even though I had some really heavy stuff to deal with. And so did my Beast.

I thought about the mountain lion soul who lived inside me, but she was still asleep, curled into a tight ball, her nose under her long, thick tail. She had been sleeping a lot lately, angry because I wasn’t letting her out to hunt—because I was afraid she’d do something stupid, like track down the vampire Master of the City, roll over and show him her belly, and then lick his feet. My fear was caused by a silver chain that no one but Beast and I could see. It was in the place in my mind that Aggie One Feather called my soul home, and the chain was some kind of binding that curled from Beast’s leg across the floor to a shadow in the corner of my mind, a shadow that was Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans and the entire Southeast USA, with the exception of Florida. Leo was the biggest, baddest fanghead I’d ever met. He was also my boss, for now, because I couldn’t actually get away, or not for long, and Leo knew nothing about the magical binding that kept me in New Orleans, because it had been accidental. I was not about to let the MOC discover how deeply I was tied to him. The vamp was like the left hand of the devil and would use and abuse the binding to get his way in everything. Ev-ery-thing. Like me in his bed and as his dinner, and I’d stake him before I let that happen—and suffer the consequences. Heck, I’d stake myself before I let that happen. Yeah. I had lots to be depressed about. Beast’s little problem was at the top of my list.

My cell jangled out a reggae dance number and buzzed in my pocket, and I jerked my attention out of my own mind and back into reality. I unzipped my leather jacket to pull out the phone. It was snugged right next to my shoulder-holstered Walther PK380, loaded with standard rounds. The .380 had less stopping power than a nine millimeter, but it was perfect when collateral damage—hitting humans—was possible. That one single-action semiautomatic and the short-bladed knife strapped to my thigh were my only weapons, which was really stupid. I was a target to some of the blood-servants and blood-slaves in the area, and while vamps needed nighttime to roam free, their minions could attack me anywhere, anytime. Or maybe being depressed made you unknowingly lax about self-preservation. Yeah. That.

I flipped open the cell to see Reach’s new icon—Darth Vader with a fanged happy face in place of his mask. I slid the cell up under the helmet to my ear. “You’re up early,” I said. “I’m not paying for this call.”

“No. A vamp is. I have a gig for you, for a vamp with deep pockets. Remember the name Hieronymus? A Master of the City who was attacked by de Allyon?”

I grunted, “Vaguely.” Lucas Vazquez de Allyon had been the Master of the City of Atlanta and greater Georgia until he developed delusions of grandeur and decided to take over Leo Pellissier’s territory. It had been a pretty good plan until I sawed off his head. “What’s Big H want and where is he?” I asked as I maneuvered the bike off the road near a ditch and cut the engine.

“He managed to hang on to the MOC status of Natchez, Mississippi.” Reach would know. He was the best researcher in the United States, and if Reach didn’t know something, it couldn’t be found out.

“Natchez? Been there; shot the place up. Why should I go back?” The comment and question were rhetorical and maybe just a bit to yank Reach’s chain. Anywhere outside of New Orleans suddenly suited me just fine, and Natchez was just inside of the outer limits of my Leo-binding. Perfect. The black cloud that crouched inside me grew a little lighter at the thought of leaving.

“Two reasons. One: because he needs your help. De Allyon left Naturaleza running around loose, and they’re kidnapping and draining the populace. Local law enforcement can’t get a handle on it, over a hundred people are missing in Adams County and across the state line in Vidalia, and yet very few bodies have turned up drained, which, if you ever listened to the news, you would know. Two: Hieronymus pays better than most. Even better than Leo.” My ears perked up at that one. Or they would have if they hadn’t been smashed under the phone and helmet. “He also pays me a finder’s fee if you take the job.”

“Of course he does. I’m guessing that since you’re now working to hire me away from Leo, the Master of the City can’t listen in on this call?”

“I always did love a smart woman.”

“You love info and money and would sell your mother into sexual slavery if the opportunity presented itself to make few thousand bucks.”

“True, though Mom does make the best pies I’ve ever tasted, so it would have to be high six figures to give that up.”

A smiled ghosted on my lips. It felt odd there and I had a feeling that I hadn’t smiled recently. Another sign of depression. “Details.”

Reach filled me in. “According to the Natchez Police Department, the vamps are faster than anything they’ve ever seen, and they’re disappearing street people, anyone caught out alone after dusk, and two entire street gangs. The loss of gangs has its benefits,” he admitted, “but, frankly, cops versus Naturaleza are no contest. Cops lose. They have skills but no experience. Hieronymus knows he has to take care of it himself. Pronto. Which is where we come in for mucho dinero.”

I focused in the most important part of his intel. “A hundred people?”

“Over the past four months.”

I shut off the bike, put the cell on speaker, and took notes on the little spiral notepad I now carried with me. The pad wasn’t high-tech, but it did allow me some privacy that electronic devices didn’t. The Master of the City kept tabs on me through all the fancy gear he paid for.

“Talk to me.”

“It started out with a decrease in street people. Shelters and churches who feed the homeless saw a sudden drop. Then the gangbangers started disappearing.”

“How many Naturaleza are we talking about for them to have killed more than a hundred humans?”

“At least twenty.” That was a lot of fangheads to take on, but since I wasn’t working alone now, and since we were smart enough to split them up and not take them all on at once, it was doable.

I said, “Negotiation: tell Big H that I’ll take the job if he pays for housing. I liked that place we stayed last time. Toss that in and he’s got a deal.”

“You left that place rather the worse for wear. You won’t stay anywhere else?”

Rather the worse for wear didn’t half cover it. We had been attacked by blood-servants and had shot the old, pre–Civil War mansion to heck and gone, but I liked the place and I knew for certain that the house, garage, and grounds had been repaired because I’d seen the work order at vamp HQ. I’d also learned that saying yes to a job offer without negotiation meant that my employers would never value me highly enough. “Nope,” I said.

I heard keys clacking in the background and pulled off my helmet. Cold air bit my sweat-damp scalp. “There’s the Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown,” he said. “Natchez Inn and Suites looks nice.”

I let my half smile grow as he worked, trying to talk me out of the house I wanted. This was negotiation for real, which meant that Reach had already checked on the house we’d damaged and knew it was out of the picture. “Nah. That house,” I said.

“There’s a Days Inn and several other three star B and Bs. And there’s the Natchez Grand. I can book you a room that overlooks the Mississippi.”

“Nope.” I said, letting my amusement sound in my voice. I had missed this kind of verbal sparring. I’d been hiding in my room too much.

Reach sighed. “I’ll get back to you. But if you can get the house, you’ll take the job?”

“Housing and all costs above and beyond my fee, including the price of hiring a team, to be paid by Big H.”

“You already have a team living with you,” he growled.

“And I gotta pay the boys. Yes or no?”

“I’ll have an answer for you by ten a.m. Oh, and by the way, the Naturaleza and some of Hieronymus’ people have the vamp plague.” The connection ended, and I stared at the cell. I hated it when convos ended up with the other guy having the last word. I helmeted up for the trip back across the river. That had been fun. Which was a clear indication that my life had been terribly boring for a long time.

I hadn’t accomplished a dang thing on my ride, but I was feeling a whole lot better when I pulled into the side gate and parked my bike. I patted Bitsa fondly and left the helmet perched on the seat. Inside my house, Eli and the Kid were just sitting down to breakfast. My plate was in my usual place, and Eli slid six eggs and a rasher of bacon onto it as I entered. I dropped the leather jacket—which was a little tight across the shoulders now—and poured hot tea, smelling a good gunpowder green. This was the best part of having hired the boys. My meals were always cooked the way I liked them—high in protein, and no one griped about my needing grains, fruit, and veggies. I sat down and dug in. Eli, former Army Ranger and now my weapons specialist, was a great short-order cook.

Two eggs later, I realized that no one else was eating, and looked up. “What?”

“You’re smiling,” Eli said.

“So?”

“You’ve been a bitch for a month,” the Kid said.

Eli slapped him up the back of the head, not hard and not as a sign of disagreement, but for the B word. Not allowed in my house. I stuffed a crisp piece of bacon in on top of my chuckle. It was maple bacon with lots of black pepper, just the way I liked it. “We may have a gig,” I said through the food. “In Natchez, bringing in some Naturaleza vamps left over from de Allyon’s brief visit.” There were two kinds of vamps: Fame Vexatum vamps, or Mithrans, the kind who made the news, looking sleek and refined and beautiful, and the Naturaleza, the kind who treated humans like food to be hunted and killed. Lucas Vazquez de Allyon, also known as Death’s Rival, was the latter kind. Naturaleza were faster and meaner and harder to kill, hence more money per head.

Eli’s expression didn’t change—the former military man’s expression didn’t change much at any time—but his scent smelled relieved. And the Kid blew out a satisfied breath. Their relief let me know how bad I’d been. I set down my fork, poured more tea, added sugar, and sipped. Eli leaned back in his chair, his T-shirt molded to the body of a soldier who believed in keeping fit—very, very fit—and exposed part of the newish scar that trailed down from jaw to chest. The scar was a lumpy mass over Eli’s collarbone and his almond-mocha skin still pulled on it in odd ways when he moved.

Eli looked relaxed, but he watched me with an intensity that Beast wouldn’t have liked, had she been awake. The Kid—my electronics specialist—with his shaggy, ungroomed hair and his body in the middle of a gangly growth spurt, looked back and forth between us with an eagerness I didn’t understand.

“I’m sorry,” I said into the silence. “I have been grouchy. I let . . . stuff”—I shrugged at the vague word, because they didn’t know about the binding and I wasn’t going to tell them—“get me down. I just realized that today. And while I still have to deal with that stuff, I’m better. A change of scenery will do me good.”

Getting away from Leo Pellissier’s binding would do me even better. Maybe when I got back from Natchez, my Beast and I could find a way to free Beast from the clutches of the MOC. Or maybe I’d just behead the fanghead and be done with it.

I chuckled softly at the thought and waved away the curiosity on the faces of the two guys. “Never mind. We should hear something this morning, but go ahead and pick up anything you need for your arsenal,” I said to Eli, my tone wry. Eli believed that one never had enough guns. To the Kid, I added, “Generate a list of electronic gear we might need. Start with throwaway phones and some com units that can’t be listened in on. Unlike most of the Deep South, Natchez has some underground areas, and since we’ll likely be tracking down vamp lairs and taking them down by daylight, we’ll need equipment that will either penetrate belowground or allow us a work-around.”

The two guys shared a look while I chewed on another piece of bacon. It was one of those guy looks that seems to suggest the little lady needs protecting or maybe is on the stupid side. “What?” I said, irritated.

“Natchez might be a problem,” Eli said. “It’s out of state.”

I stopped chewing. “Well, crap.” I hadn’t thought about that. The Kid was a convicted felon, on probation, and though we had gotten permission once to take him across state lines, the resulting shoot-outs had not gone unnoticed. Things would likely be harder now. Before the Younger brothers came to work for me, Alex had hacked into the Pentagon, looking for his brother’s war records, hunting for clues about the origin of the scar and the reason for Eli’s early military retirement. And had gotten caught. Now Big Brother wanted to keep an eye on him. “Even if it’s for legitimate work?” I asked.

“I know a judge,” Eli said, grudgingly. “I’ll see if I can get some help with the parole board in allowing him over the state line into Mississippi.”

“Yeah. Okay.” I sopped up the grease on my plate with a piece of bread and realized the guys were still looking at me. “What else?”

“Nothing,” the Kid said, applying himself to his eggs.

“It’s just good to have you back,” Eli said blandly.

And then I got it. I swallowed, drank some tea, poured some more, and said carefully, “You guys were planning on leaving.” I felt Beast wake up and listen in, ear tabs twitching.

The Kid blushed and concentrated on his plate. “We talked about it,” Eli said easily. “We need a job. We figured we could pick up something farther north, but still in state. I have a few contacts.”

I stuffed in another bite of egg and pushed in a triangle-shaped piece of toast after it, but watched them as I chewed. When I finished my plate of food I set my fork to the side and blotted my lips on the paper napkin. I was still wearing the shoulder holster, the Walther, and the vamp-killer. Unstrapping the blade, I lay it on the table, removed the Walther’s rig, set it beside the knife, and leaned back in my chair, mimicking Eli’s posture.

I took a slow breath and let a hint of Beast into my gaze. I said, “Were you thinking about leaving because I’ve been difficult and moody or were you thinking about taking my business away?” I’d made it an either-or half question, half accusation, but there were more things to consider. “Or maybe you have a thing against skinwalkers.”

The Kid’s eyes went wide because I hadn’t spoken aloud about my most recent revelation when I shifted in front of nearly every person I knew in New Orleans, giving away my secret in a very public way. I had, in fact, refused to speak about that incident at all, and Eli and the Kid were still curious about it. Insanely curious.

“Or maybe,” I went on, before either could respond, “Rick LaFleur offered you a gig that he would ordinarily have offered to me, but he’s ticked off with me—okay, for good reasons—and is looking for ways to shut me out of his life. So he offered it to you instead.”

Eli’s eyes shifted away just a hair and back. The Kid’s mouth dropped open and stayed there. Bingo. Dang it. “Rick,” I said. There was a complete lack of emotion in my voice, but I might as well have cursed from the way the Kid flinched. Rick worked for PsyLED now, Homeland Security’s Psychometry Law Enforcement Division, investigating supernatural crimes. He was my ex and I wasn’t happy about the way we’d ended things—with me accusing him of attempted murder. Of me. Relationships aren’t my strong suit.

I kept the pain off my face by some small miracle and pushed away from the table, standing, towering over them. I felt more than saw Eli tense and ready himself for movement, violent, physical movement. Alex watched us both, eyes darting back and forth. Neither brother moved overtly. Neither said anything. But Eli’s pheromones changed, smelling and tasting bitter and full of adrenaline, a taste like pine tar and burned bread.

My index finger started tapping on the edge of my plate with a steady tink. Eli’s lips came together in a slight purse and his stink lessened. He crossed his arms over his chest, as if he were holding in something. I wondered if he knew how much he was giving away. And I wondered how much I was giving away. I curled my fingers under, and the silence that settled between us was charged and prickly. I realized that I didn’t want them to leave—I actually liked having them here, in my house, in my life, which was a huge, unexpected shock—but no way was I going to say any of that. Not if they were going to leave.

I sighed and gathered my gear. “You want to work for him, fine.” I left the kitchen for my bedroom, my boots clomping on the hardwood floors.

“Yellowrock,” Eli called. I stopped in the foyer, waited without answering, knowing he knew I could hear. “You get the gig, we’ll find a way to take it. You don’t get the gig, we’ll find something else the three of us can do together.”

I was glad my back was turned, because a smile busted out all over my face, showing me how much I had come to depend on the guys being in my life. They were like . . . Crap. They were like family or something. Which was freaking stupid.

“And we don’t give a rat’s ass that you’re a skinwalker,” the Kid added. I heard the slap on the back of his head, and my smile went even wider. He’d braved a head slap to reassure me in that gutsy, bigmouthed way teenaged boys have. “As long as you don’t shift and get hungry enough to think about us as dinner. ’Cause, like, that would, like, totally suck.”

I laughed silently and said over my shoulder, “I promise not to have you or your brother for dinner or a snack. That good enough?”

“Yeah. Cool.” I started for my room, and he added, “But I want to see you shift into the mountain lion.” And I heard another head slap, as though the Kid had just crossed an additional line by asking, perhaps one his brother had ordered him not to cross.

The Kid seeing me shift would mean my being mostly naked in front of him. Not gonna happen. I said, “No,” and closed my door. I had packing to do. My phone reggae’d again and I pulled it from my jacket pocket. “That was fast,” I said to Reach as I pulled my vamp-fighting gear out of the closet.

“Your new boss agrees, but there’s two more things you should know before you take the job. Hieronymus and Leo haven’t kissed and made up. Leo Pellissier will not be happy if you go to work for a scion he’s unhappy with.”

“Icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. Ticking off the MOC has become one of my favorite personal pastimes.”

“Just make sure he doesn’t get so pissed that he kills you for it.”

“Awww. I’d think that was sweet concern for me if I didn’t know you better. You’d miss out on the finder’s fee if I were dead.”

“Like I said. Smart women are hot.”

“What’s the second thing I need to know?”

“You have an appointment with a reporter-turned–book writer in Natchez at four this afternoon. She’s writing a book about vamps.”

I chuckled sourly and picked up my combat boots and a pair of green snakeskin Lucchese boots. I tossed them onto the bed. “No, I don’t.”

“Stop being contrary. You know this chick. You were good friends. BFFs. Her name is Camilla Hopkins. You were raised with her in that high-class joint the state stuck you in.”

I hesitated, thinking through all the names of all the girls I’d roomed with in my years in the Christian children’s home. There were a lot of them. Most of the girls were there only a short time before going home to distant family or entering the foster-care system. Or jail. Juvie was where the troublemakers went. I’d almost ended up there myself a time or two. But I didn’t remember a Camilla.

As if reading my mind, Reach said, “Camilla is her professional on-air name at Torch News. In the home, she went by Misha.”

The name clicked and my lips turned down in distaste. “She was never my pal. More like a neutral observer.” Misha had never directly attacked me at school, but she never did anything to stop what the other girls did, either. Until I learned to fight, my life had been fairly awful, and no one had helped to make it better—not Misha, not anyone.

“A little verbal and physical abuse is good for the soul,” Reach said.

“I’m not talking to the press. No matter who it is.”

“She said to tell you she was bringing Bobby.”

I went still. Bobby. I hadn’t thought about him years. Bobby Bates had been a special kid a couple years younger than me, with an IQ of 74—too smart to qualify for federal help. Like me, he’d fallen between the cracks and only the charity of Christians had given him a place to live. Bobby had been picked on at school, and I had protected him when I lived there. I had gone back a few times in the years until he turned eighteen, making sure he was left alone by the kids who might otherwise have made his life miserable. Then he’d gone to live with an aunt or his grandma or something and I never saw him again.

“Why does she have Bobby with her?”

“She didn’t say. If you want to know, regular rates apply.”

I shook my head and checked the time. “No, thanks. How did she know I’d be in Natchez?”

“She didn’t. She called me for an intro to the Louisiana and Mississippi vamps for her research, and your name came up.”

That made sense. Anyone doing research into vamps would contact Reach. And that same anyone would hear about me sooner or later.

“She could have e-mailed me for an intro to them,” I said.

“She tried. No reply. Which is a sloppy way of doing business,” he said.

His statement stung, but he had a point. I couldn’t remember the last time I checked my business e-mail. Weeks probably.

“Camilla Hopkins is already in Natchez,” he said, “staying at the Grand. I told her you’d be taking a gig there and she wants to renew old acquaintances.”

I had no doubt Misha had paid him to arrange a meeting. Besides having compiled the largest vamp database, Reach was also a master planner and manipulator, merging multiple job opportunities and always managing to make money. “Where do I meet her?”

“I’ll text you all the details. Oh, and check your frigging e-mail.” The connection ended. In disgust, I tossed the phone on the mattress and started packing in earnest. If I was going vamp hunting, I’d need all my toys.

Hope you enjoyed.
Blood Trade is out on Ap 2, 2013.

Faith

 Pre-Order Blood Trade on Amazon

Follow Faith Hunter for more excerpts:

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Sneak peek of InHap*pilly Ever After…Sequel to Incidental Happenstance

Thank You to Kim DeSalvo for a bit to tide us over until the release of InHap*Pilly Ever After the sequal to Incidental Happenstance! I for one am anxiously awaiting it’s release.

Incidental HappenstanceIncidental: Occurring or likely to occur as an unpredictable or minor accompaniment* Happenstance: A chance circumstance * Neither was looking for it. Neither was expecting it. But sometimes, life has other plans… One year after the loss of her fiancé, Tia Hastings needed to find a way to start over. She had to figure out how to be single again, but she had no idea how to do it. Last Stop was a tiny pub with no significance—she chose it to be anonymous, to watch the interactions between the sexes so she could figure out how to start her life over… Dylan Miller was a megastar. It was impossible for him to move amongst the general population without being recognized, but he longed to simply blend into a crowd. He donned a disguise and wandered into Last Stop, a dark little hole-in-the-wall where he was sure he wouldn’t be recognized… When their worlds collide, Tia and Dylan discover something neither of them thought possible—love. But when a fallen star sees Dylan as her ticket back to the top and will stop at nothing to make him hers, Tia wonders if she’s out of her; and out of time to rescue the love she thought she’d never find again… Is it fate? Coincidence? Or both?

4.5/5 ✬  Read My Review Here

Sneak peek of InHap*pilly Ever After…

Chapter 1
“Oh my God, are you real?” Tia asked breathlessly as the limo pulled out of the school parking lot. “Am I dreaming?”
“No baby, not a dream,” Dylan answered, shaking his head and taking her into his arms. “Although I’ve dreamed about having you right here again at least a thousand times.” He pulled her into his lap so that she was facing him and straddling his legs. She raised her hands to touch his face; his beautiful, glorious face, and he took them into his own hands, kissing her palms in turn before returning them to his cheeks.
“You never broke up with me?”
“Not even for a second.”
“The email was fake?”
“Completely.”
“The pictures in the tabloids were forgeries?”
“Every single one of them.” Dylan smiled at her then; the smile she loved that crinkled the corners of his eyes; the one he gave only to her that reached all the way to his eyes and melted her heart.
Every cell in her body was singing even as her head reeled with all the information she was trying to digest. Just being able to touch him again, when she thought she’d never even be able to get close enough to clearly see his face, was like a miracle to her. She’d pretty much given up hope that she’d ever be in his arms again, or hear his voice, touched with his English accent, speaking her name. Emotion bubbled up inside her and she giggled with a sense of what she could only call great relief; while tears of joy spilled down her cheeks.
“I can’t even believe this!” she grinned, showering his face with dozens of tiny kisses and running her fingers through his long blonde hair. “You’re really here! Oh God, Dylan, you can’t imagine how much I missed you, how much I love you…”
“Oh, I know,” Dylan said, wiping away her tears with the rough pad of his thumb, “because I feel exactly the same way.” He pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her as tightly as he could and burying his face in her hair. “Ah, I love you so much, Tia,” he whispered. “Thinking I lost you was the worst kind of hell. I’m so sorry…”
Tia pulled back and looked hard into his eyes. “Don’t you apologize—you were going through the same thing I was. You didn’t do anything wrong, Dylan.”
He sighed deeply, his features contorting. He squinted and cocked his head, and she could read the pain in his eyes. “Yes I did, Tia.” She opened her mouth to protest, but he placed his index finger over her lips. “Just let me say this, because I need to for my own peace of mind.” He took her face in his hands and held her gaze. “I doubted you, love, and I never should have done that for even a second. I knew there was something off about that fucking email—I just knew in my gut that it wasn’t you—could never have been you—but I fell for it anyway. Then I doubted Jessa’s loyalty, and sent her packing without even giving her a chance to defend herself. Two of the most important people in my life—two people that I trusted without fail, and she managed to break it all apart. I let that bitch get into my head, Tia, and I can’t stop kicking myself for that.”
“Oh, sweetie,” she said softly, stroking his face with the back of her hand, “I fell for it too. I believed it, even though Lexi said it reeked of Penelope and couldn’t have been you that wrote it…”
“Yeah, and then you had the added complication of seeing those bloody pictures in the tabloids,” he growled. “I don’t know if I can forgive myself for not protecting you from that. I should’ve been more diligent, I should’ve…”
“How could you know?” Tia interrupted. “Who would even consider that another person could do something so…heartless?”
“But I knew what she was after from the start,” he chastised himself. “I tried to tell myself she was working hard to be nice—trying to change—but I should have seen through her bullshit from the beginning. Why did I even trust her for a minute?” He dropped his eyes and shook his head sadly.
“Because you’re a good person, Dylan,” Tia said firmly, putting her finger under his chin and forcing him to meet her gaze. “You want to believe the best about people; look for the good in them. She knew that, and she used it to her advantage.” She put her hands firmly on his shoulders and added, “But she didn’t win, baby. We won. We’re together, and none of the rest of it matters now.”
Dylan ran his fingers roughly through his wavy locks and forced a smile. “You are so right,” he said with a sideways smirk. “And I absolutely refuse to let her into our reunion; which is long overdue. God knows we’ll be rehashing the damn story…over and over next week, for sure. But today should be about us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined holding you over the past four months; and I promise that I’ll never let that kind of distance come between us ever again. It’s you and me against the world now, Tia. Officially and forever.”
“I really like the sound of that,” she whispered. “Officially and forever. And you’re right—I don’t even care about the rest of it right now—I just want to celebrate being together again. I don’t even want to think about anything else.”
She happily swept the thoughts from her mind—the lonely months of missing him desperately, the weeks of believing that he’d abandoned her for a spoiled Hollywood diva who’d made it her personal mission to destroy their relationship so she could take Dylan for herself, the lies and half-truths she’d been forced to tell—and traced his features with her fingers. God, she’d missed his face—his strong nose, his high cheekbones, his skin the color of sun-kissed sand. He hadn’t cut his hair since she’d seen him last, and it cascaded over his shoulders, casually unkempt, in soft waves. His impossibly blue sapphire eyes looked at her with such reverence that it made her stomach roll over in a delicious wave. “I’m so glad you’re back, Dyl,” she breathed, taking in his lidded glance; sparks of fire tossed carelessly into inexplicable blue. “And how can I possibly think of anything else when you’re looking at me like that?”
He shifted, laying Tia against the long seat and pressing his body to hers, crushing her mouth with his soft full lips. Tia lost herself in the connection; in the intimacy of the moment; and all other thoughts flew from her mind. She inhaled sharply as he slid his hand over her breast, cupping it firmly and giving it a not-so-gentle squeeze. Tia squirmed closer, pressing her hips to his to feel the undeniable reality that swelled and hardened against her thigh.
“I can’t even tell you how badly I want you right now,” he growled into her ear, sending a long shiver down her spine. “It’s been way too long…”
“Oh, and I can’t wait for you to show me,” she whispered back, sliding her hand over to press it to his jeans, stroking him through the soft fabric and pulling another snarl from deep in his throat. There was no ‘slow and easy’ in his eyes or his touch, and at the moment, Tia didn’t want it any other way.
Finally, the limo pulled into her driveway and they all but tumbled out of the car. Tia fumbled for her keys as Dylan swept his bags from the driver’s hands. She grabbed his arm and pulled him to the door, finally managed to flip the lock, and then they were inside.
For the briefest moment they just stared at each other, the intensity of their combined gazes speaking what it would take hours for words to say. There were a tremendous number of tangled emotions in them both; relief, disbelief, apologies, forgiveness, joy. A rogue tear spilled down Tia’s cheek, and Dylan caught it with his fingertip, then pulled her to him.
“My baby,” he growled, his lips vibrating against her ear. He nipped at her earlobe and slid his tongue along the contour of her neck down to her shoulder, the slight stubble on his cheeks sending shivers along her nerve endings.
Tia’s entire body reacted immediately, and she felt the familiar volcano bubble up in her blood. Four long months of craving him raged inside her and Dylan caught her just as her knees went weak and pressed her against the door. She buried her face in his neck, planting frantic kisses and breathing in the scent of him—so familiar that it sparked a thousand memories.
Dylan hooked his thumbs in the shoulders of the jacket she’d worn that day and pushed it down, bunching it at her wrists and holding her fast. With his other hand, he tore open her blouse, buttons skittering across the wood floor, and bent to bury his face in the swell of her cleavage. He kissed and nibbled his way around the curve of each breast, then skimmed his lips over the fabric of her bra, nipping at her hardened bud through the lace.
“Ah!” she cried on a sharp intake of breath. “Oh Dyl, I’ve dreamed this so many times…”
Dylan’s response was a look that contained so much fire Tia thought she might actually burn. There was no tenderness there; just raw and primal hunger as he unhooked the front clasp with one quick motion and greedily sucked one hardened nipple into his mouth, rolling the other between his thumb and forefinger. The sensation was pure ecstasy, and Tia arched her back as every nerve ending in her body pulsed with electricity, each streak of current connected to the spot directly between her legs that swelled and throbbed in anticipation. She felt a floodgate open, and pressed her hips into him insistently.
“No dream could feel this good,” Dylan snarled, moving his free hand to unbutton and slide her pants down in one swift motion to pool at her feet. She whined in the back of her throat as she stepped out of them and kicked them aside, trying to wriggle her arms loose. More than anything she wanted to touch him; to rip off his clothes and rake her fingernails down his naked back; run her hands roughly over his chest and release the bulge that pressed assertively against her hip through the soft denim of his faded jeans. She groaned in protest as he tightened the grip at her wrists, but then moaned with pleasure when he pinned her to the wall with his body, put his hand behind her neck, and kissed her with undeniable urgency.
Dylan took a small step back and ran his gaze slowly up and down her body, chewing seductively on his upper lip. Goosebumps popped up on her flesh despite the inferno that burned inside her, partly from the draft in the room, but mostly from the hunger in his eyes. She’d lost the power of speech and perhaps even the ability to form cohesive thought, so lost was she in the intensity of his stare. Her breath came in ragged gasps until Dylan finally settled his eyes on hers and took in her own longing.
“Am I hurting you?” he asked, his voice rough.
“No,” she whispered, “I just want to touch you so badly.”
“Soon,” he croaked. “Very soon.”

…Chapter 1 continues Saturday on ‘Saturday Sequel Snippets…

See following links…

 Kim DeSalvo’s website

Like Kim’s FaceBook page

Follow Kim on Twitter

Chapters 1 – 4: THE GARDEN / The Unauthorized Biography of Adam and Eve

THE GARDEN / The Unauthorized Biography of Adam and Eve by Paul T. Harry

The Garden

CHAPTER 1

Mikatta peered angrily at Zatan. “You said I would rule this world!”

“You will . . .” replied Zatan, in cool response. “. . . but these things take time.”

“But Tro^axk promised!” Mikatta snapped. “He said, if I joined, I would rule immediately.”

“Then take the world,” replied Zatan, dismissing Mikatta’s childish tirade. “Organize—consolidate your power. Destroy your opposition. Let Jhira know that you rule uncontested.”

Mikatta’s form crackled and flashed in a crescendo of red and yellow sparks.

Yes, he thought, reflecting on Zatan’s words.

He rose to his feet, assuming his full height of eleven metrons, and took a deep breath—the invitation of Zatan fed his demented spirit like a narcotic. His blackened eyes grew large while small reddish flames danced and crackled atop his crown. He nodded eagerly.

“I will,” he stated with relish, “I will . . .”

CHAPTER 2

“What is the present status of the planet?” asked the Under Lord, Gabrill.

“We have just finished reviewing Tilon’s report,” Lanna responded. “And I am ready to facilitate your request.” Lanna’s golden aura fluctuated as he sent the information Gabrill required.

“Splendid,” noted the Under Lord, upon receiving the input. “I am pleased. Mikatta is in check and a haven has been established on the planet. Perhaps now we may move ahead.”

This time another light entity spoke—it was Sool. “Then we may proceed with the second foundation?”

Gabrill’s answer resonated toward the group. “I see no reason to wait any longer. The inhabitants of this planet have reached the limit of their physical capabilities. They are stagnant and are showing paltry social and cultural development. It seems we have little choice. Have you prospects from within the civilized realms?”

“Yes,” responded Lanna. “We have scanned over two thousands worlds and there is one in particular. A planet called Mirra, in the Delii System. The people there are highly intelligent and well motivated.”

“Are they loyal?” asked Gabrill.

“Yes—and their genetics are compatible to the people of Terran.”

“Fine,” noted Gabrill. “I will leave the details to you. Go to Mirra. Seek out a Delii couple and prepare them. When ready, inform Tilon of your progress. Tell him new planetary leaders are forthcoming.”

CHAPTER 3

REGISTRAR OF INHABITANTS

DELII DIRECTORY: OPEN RECRUITMENT BRIEF

THE CENTER FOR GOVERNMENTAL DIRECTION HAS BEEN DISPATCHED TO COORDINATE THE SELECTION OF PLANETARY PROGRESSERS FOR THE BIO-LIFE WORLD ENTITLED: TERRAN.

BIO-STATS: PHYSICAL M/U AND COMPLETE PLANETARY HISTORY AVAILABLE ON RECORD.COM.

FREQUENCY: 100.421—FILE 2000.11. AP

IMMEDIATE BRIEF:

TERRAN: PHYSICAL LIFE WORLD

REGISTRY: #554 MIKON GALAXY, 3RD PLANET, SINGULAR SUN.

STATUS: CLASS -MINTA (-10) RESTRICTED.

ISOLATION QUARANTINE ESTABLISHED DURING TRO^AXK REBELLION.

QUARANTINE: STILL IN EFFECT

GOVERNMENT DIRECTION IS SEEKING APPLICANTS FOR TRANSFER TO THE PLANET.

APPOINTMENT: PLANETARY PROGRESSERS

PURPOSE: GUIDE PRESENT POPULACE. RAISE CULTURAL STANDARDS

AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

MATURATION: WHEN PLANET STATUS HAS ACHIEVED A +5 PROTA RATING.

CHAPTER 4

It’s got to be here somewhere, mused Adam as he studied the computer screen in front of him. Where was the breakdown occurring? Was it within the supplemental DNA coding? He raised his head and looked across the lab to see if his assistant, Jera, was having better luck. No . . . he was still busy at his own terminal.

Adam looked back at his console, his light blue eyes darting back and forth across the monitor screen. It should be here, he thought. Everything was working until now. He reread the DNA sequence that ran in block-like configurations across the entire screen. At the end of the array, he scrolled down to the next section, searching again through the chemical formulas that made up section 1044. It had to be here. Somewhere in this genetic mess was the minor disruption that had stopped their experiment cold. It was exasperating.

One by one, Adam reread each phrase, studying each link with no luck. He touched the screen and waited for the next supplement variation to appear, the light from the monitor reflecting upon his lightly hued violet skin.

“Why was the photosynthesis breaking down?” he pondered aloud. What was he missing?

With a frustrated shake of the head he looked over toward Nata, his lab assistant.

“Nata, I’m ready to look at the next section series. Would you correlate the molecular formula for Chromosome 17, sections 1045, 1046, and 1047, including the supplemental variations?”

“Certainly, Sir,” Nata replied, her voice cool and succinct. “Accessing the data now.”

Adam watched hypnotically as Nata’s twelve fingers fluttered over her keyboard like a musical instrument. She was fast—a virtuoso when it came to processing his needs and interfacing with the main computer. This was not unexpected. She was, after all, a Q-l hybrid Trifeme—the very latest in Gios bio-tech engineering—and specifically geared for their type of research. And not bad looking either—considering. Her pale green face was long and slender and off set with small, delicate features, while her lips were a soft yellow, and her hair dark and black. It reached passed her shoulders.

“Sir . . . ?” Nata queried softly. Her voice interrupted his musing. “The

information you requested is on your screen.”

“Thank you,” he replied, shifting in his chair—it was back to work.

Once again Adam’s screen was filled with an endless chain of molecular formulas—DNA sequencing that stretched from top to bottom, illuminating a broken, one-celled protozoa that couldn’t process its own oxygen. He bent forward and began to review the new series when suddenly from across the lab he heard an excited yelp.

“I think I found the problem!” the voice cried.

Adam’s head shot up. From the other side of the lab, Jera was rising from the second series terminal and heading toward them. Almost running, he passed the main terminal sections linking the entire lab’s facilities. As he got closer, Adam could discern the grin etched upon Jera’s face.

“Thank Jhira,” he thought. “If he’s found the answer, maybe we’ll get out of here early tonight—fifteen hours is enough.”

Rounding the colax memory boosters, Jera bounded to a stop behind Adam and Nata. His lightly colored mauve face was flush with excitement and his long, black hair flew from his rapid approach. Adam smiled. Jera was always animated.

“What sections are you reviewing?” asked the younger scientist, breathlessly.

“Chrome’ 17, Section 1045,” answered Adam.

“Well you’re practically on top of it then. Move over to section 1046 and look at supplement “B-2110. That’s where we’re experiencing the disruption.”

Adam pushed several keys on the computer and highlighted the area that Jera had indicated.

“See, right there . . .” noted Jera, pointing to the screen. “. . . see where the breakdown of photosynthesis begins. I don’t think we’ve given the cell enough chlorophyll to keep it actively functioning in Krella’s environment.”

Adam traced the formula on the screen, analyzing Jera’s observation. “You may be right,” he finally responded. “The structure does tend to weaken within this phrasing. “Any suggestions on how to correct it?”

Jera rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “It seems to me that we haven’t compensated enough for energy output. I’d like to try increasing chlorophyll production by a factor of .00045. It should boost the energy levels sufficiently for cell reproduction without affecting heat dissipation.”

Adam studied the formula again analyzing the DNA supplement while considering Jera’s suggestion. “All right,” he said finally, sitting back in his chair. “Let’s give it a try. Nata, throw everything up on H.O.L.D.”

“Yes, Sir . . . coding now . . . Sir, its ready,” she replied a second later.

“Nata, please—call me Adam. You’ve been working here three months already. I think we dispense with the formalities.”

Nata’s face flushed. “Yes Sir, I mean—Adam. Sir . . . H.O.L.D. is on line.”

Adam turned and winked at Jera, who responded with a small chuckle. Poor Nata, she was an unbelievably good secretary and computer analyst, but her nature was

almost seemingly inbred for unerring professionalism. Oh well, things could be worse.

Back to the business at hand, Adam rose from his console and walked with Jera to the Holographic Opticom Laser Display, or H.O.L.D. as it was referred to. The holographic screen loomed before them, its large, rectangular shape illuminating nearly thirty metrons of the lab’s west wall. Stopping in front of it, the two scientists gazed upon the project that they had been working on together for the last year and a half. There was a lot of sweat and hard work here.

H.O.L.D. was impressive. It was a computer interface, divided into three sections, each section measuring five metrons in height and ten metrons in width. Its primary function allowed DNA scientists, like Adam and Jera, to create and build new trial life forms, as sanctioned by the Genetic Research Academy. It was on this interface that DNA formulas could be projected and tested to see if they worked, before physical implantation. Contamination in a real world environment had to be avoided at all costs—no one wanted an errant microbe on the loose.

Adam studied the first section of H.O.L.D., the one closest to him and Jera. This was the primary code board for their DNA formula—it looked like a black chalk board filled with equations that were moving in sequence across the screen. It was here that the scientists could play with their formula, essentially ‘chalking in’ their experimentation by hand with a laser pen. Once the data was entered, the Opticom would assimilate the input and the results would be projected over onto the next two screens. Already, this first section was crammed with data—a theoretical hypothesis for a new life form that the two scientists had been working on for months on end.

“Nata, enlarge and freeze Chromosome 17, section 1046, supplement “B-2110, on all screens,” instructed Adam.

“Immediately, Sir,” replied the secretary, her fingers flying.

Adam waited as Nata instructed the computer to correlate the three points of reference on H.O.L.D.. The first screen took less than a minute, the second and third a little longer. The two scientists watched as the colored DNA ladder on the second screen slowed, its three-dimensional graphics becoming deliberate.

The third screen was the last to fall to Nata’s instruction. And without a doubt it was the most impressive of the three screens. Displayed on its surface was the computer’s pictorial combination of the first two optic-screens. In this case, the image was a delicate singled-celled life form floating in a water-based life field. Eventually, it too slowed and stopped.

Adam nodded to Jera, “Go ahead and note the areas of change,” he instructed, “I’ll correlate from the main terminal.”

Jera crossed to the first screen and removed a zithron laser pen from his pocket. Making several quick parenthetical notations on the primary board, he noted for the computer where his changes were to be inserted, then waited as the formula separated, providing him with the blank space in which to write. As he made his notations, Adam correlated the information from his terminal, feeding the new data into the computer’s

memory. After several minutes of writing, Jera finally stopped and checked his work.

“I think that’s it unless you have any suggestions.”

Adam looked up, “No, we’ll give it a try just as you’ve noted. Give me a second to initiate the parameter fields.”

Jera turned back to the screen and waited while Adam reactivated the computer’s main memory. Slowly, the first screen began to shift, coming back to life as the DNA equations on the primary board realigned themselves. Immediately after, the second screen followed suit and the DNA ladder reassembled itself, rebuilding on the new molecular patterns that Jera had written for its latticed framework. Finally, the third screen wavered and the single-celled protozoa pictured on its surface glided back into motion.

Both men watched the tiny entity pulsate and twirl, spinning in a circular fashion as the computer quickly rearranged its molecular makeup. Adam glanced down at the readout on the console. The changes Jera initiated seemed to be working. There was even an additional hint of chlorophyll in the cell’s translucent membrane wall.

“What’s the readout say?” asked Jera from the optic screen. “Any improvement?”

“Yes,” answered Adam, double checking the readout. “It says the photosynthesis has been raised to level +.00022. That should put the life form into an improved energy vector, considering Krella’s limited sunlight. Well, well, well, look at this. Not only is the photosynthesis up, but the oxygen output level has also been boosted—a factor of +.00013. Very nice. I think you’ve solved our problem. Perhaps with a little more work this little creature might survive on Krella after all.”

“Yes, but will it reproduce?”

Adam glanced up at his coworker and chuckled. “I’m sure we’ll find a way. And when we do we’ll submit a rough draft to the Genetic Examiners. If they find in our favor we might even get preliminary approval for a planetary implantation.”

“Wow,” replied Jera—he moved toward Adam. “What do you think our chances are? How does this life form compare to others you’ve worked on?”

“That’s a difficult question to answer,” said Adam, suppressing a yawn. “After all, up till this point most of my experience has been on a theoretical level or as an under-sci working on simple, basic bacteria and viruses with other scientific teams. This is my first project beginning with conception and design, all the way to implantation. It’s been exhilarating to say the least, but we still have a lot to accomplish. And we’ve been lucky—our experiments have gone well. For this, I must give you a measure of the credit. Your assistance has been invaluable.”

“Thank you,” Jera replied.

“You’re welcome—and you too, Nata. Your skills here have benefitted us greatly.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“I just hope that we succeed in rising to the expectations of the genetics council,” continued Adam. He rubbed his eyes. “Krikla! It’s been a long day. I’m tired. What do you say that we wrap it up for the day and get a bite to eat?”

The other two were voicing their agreement when a tone unexpectedly sounded from across the lab. “I wonder who that’s for?” asked Jera.

“Allow me,” said Nata, rising. She crossed the lab and stopped in front of a small opt-screen near the lab’s entrance. Pushing several buttons, she activated the communication device which lit up to display the face of a silver-metallic opt-tech.

Nata addressed the device. “This is GRL-4171-15 responding to a communication signal.”

“Acknowledged,” responded the opt-tech. “Please hold for incoming communication.” It then responded with a message: “Mirra Directory to GRL-4171-15, a request is placed for Adam Korton #14-311 of the Genetic Research Academy. Private communications sphere is forthcoming. Do you wish delivery? A privacy code will be required in order to forward this communication.”

“Adam, it’s for you,” Nata called back to the scientists. “It’s a commsphere.”

“Have them sent it,” responded Adam, “use the lab’s sub-code to authenticate.”

Nata shook her head and encoded the lab’s numbers. Within several seconds another tone sounded signaling the arrival of the sphere. She turned off the screen and opened the small opaque door that sat under the unit. Inside was a small, iridescent pink orb about the size of a marble. Nata picked it up, feeling its warmth upon her fingers. She walked back to Adam and Jera and handed it to Adam.

“I wonder what this is about.” he reflected, setting the glass orb onto the memory port of his computer. The commsphere rolled to the center of the port’s saucer-like dish and came to a rest.

Pressing a button at port’s base, Adam waited as its clear shielding rotated out and around, encasing the orb. A small light went on and the device began to hum. Immediately, the orb rose into the air slightly where it bobbed and danced, balancing itself on the currents of magnetic waves that bathed its surface. It then began to whirl faster and faster, twirling like a miniature planet floating in space. A tone sounded.

Adam glanced at the monitor. It was requesting a personal access code. He began to type. Seconds later a message was streaming across his computer screen.

“Is everything all right?” inquired Jera, noting Adam’s raised eyebrow and inquisitive expression.

“Yeah,” replied Adam, glanced up, “Take a listen . . .” He put the message on audio.

The computer began to speak.

“. . . Adam Korton, citizen #14-311 of the Genetic Life Academy of the Planet Mirra is hereby requested to appear before the Metra Examiners at the Center for Governmental Direction, tomorrow morning at ten. This meeting will finalize the commencement proceedings regarding the disposition of the Terran Council.”

Jera whistled softly. “I don’t believe it—they’ve chosen you?”

“This is incredible,” interjected Nata.

Adam shook his head, looking at both of them. “Now don’t get your hopes up.

This may not be what we think it is.”

“Ah come on, Adam!” exclaimed Jera. “Who are you kidding? We know the decision was due sometime soon.”

“True . . . but that doesn’t mean that Eve and I were actually chosen.”

“Speaking of Eve,” queried Jera. “Do you think they’ve contacted her?”

Adam shrugged. “She told me this morning that she was going to be wrapped up most of the day lecturing to a group of medical students on the Oconia system. It seems there’s been an outbreak of disease on several of the planets in the system, so they’re preparing a group of med-techs to inoculate the inhabitants.”

“Well, why don’t you give her a call?” suggested Nata. “Maybe she’s returned.”

Suddenly, as if on cue, the door at the end of the lab abruptly swung open revealing a tall, violet colored woman with shoulder length, light brown hair. She stood there for a second looking about the lab, finally catching sight of Adam’s waving arm.

“We’re over here,” he called out.

Eve moved across the lab, her white smock rustling crisply against her long, slim legs.

“Adam,” she called out breathlessly. “I just received a communiqué from the Metra.” She held up a small spherical orb for him to see. “Hi, Jera . . . Nata . . .”

“Yes, I got one too.” he responded.

“Do you think they selected us?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered, rising to his full height of seven metrons. “It’s possible.”

“Oh I do hope so,” she replied, hugging him tightly. “We’ve waited so long.”

Adam smiled and looked into his wife’s turquoise colored eyes. He could feel the excitement of the Metra’s news coursing through her body. He squeezed her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, the thought of being selected by the Metra running through his mind. Perhaps … he thought … perhaps. It was the feel of Jera’s hand on his shoulder that brought him back to the moment.

“I can’t think of a more qualified couple than you two,” Jera commented. “Jhira’s blessings are with you. And I am definitely honored to have shared in your friendship and your research.”

“We’re being premature,” coughed Adam, slightly embarrassed. “Besides, even if we have been chosen there’s still a great deal of work ahead of us, and plenty of time before we’re ready to leave Mirra. At any rate, we don’t know for sure that we’ve been chosen.”

“Well even so, this calls for a toast,” said Nata. “Let me get the vin from the freonic and some glasses.”

Author Bio:

Author Paul T. Harry

Paul T. Harry attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas as an English major with a theater arts minor before beginning his career as a writer and music producer. He also worked as an editor with Second Avenue Songwriter’s magazine and has spent the last 30 years writing novels, screenplays and short stories. Paul resides in Gold Canyon, Arizona.

         Paul T. Harry’s Website


TheGarden-page1_zpsc2d4db57-1_zps1f34915e

2/12  Excerpt Darker Passions
2/15  Excerpt   Jody’s Book Reviews
2/15  Interview  Darker Passions
2/15  Excerpt   The Avid Reader
2/15  Review   Busy Mom Book Review2/18  Interview  Tattooed Book Review
2/18  Interview  Inside BJ’s Head
2/19  Interview  Books to Light Your Fire
2/19  Review  Lissette E. Manning
2/19  Review  Harlie’s Books
2/21  Interview  T B R
2/22  Review  All Things Writing 
2/25  Review  Second Book to the Right

Excerpt: THE GARDEN / The Unauthorized Biography of Adam and Eve

THE GARDEN / The Unauthorized Biography of Adam and Eve by Paul T. Harry

The Garden Blurb:
Nearly every religion and society in the world today begins with their story with Adam and Eve. And yet, this most basic story is couched in mysticism, myth, and vague detail. Did such a couple really exist? Were they the first man and woman on our planet–or is there more to the story?

For two hundred thousand years the Neanderthal race ruled Earth, then mysteriously, 40,000 years ago they disappeared forever leaving behind a new race of people, the Cro-Magnon. Why? What happened back then that changed our history?

The Garden of Eden, a perfect home built and designed for two people, until the serpent arrived. Who was the serpent? And what was he doing there in the first place? Is there a chance that the serpent is actually a reference to some hidden sexual transgression?

Imagine traveling billions of light years across space to settle an unknown world populated by primitive barbarians. Imagine being alone, just you and your spouse, the two of you in charge of an entire world with only your faith and your mission to guide you—and, of course, the devil waiting for that first fatal mistake.

Could you have done things better?

The Garden

A Love Story
A Saga of Good vs Evil
The Beginning of Humanity’s Historic Journey

Excerpt

Adam and Eve rose and walked toward the edge of the meadow and a pile of granite rocks that jutted abruptly out of the ground where the grass ended. Though covered with a dusting of snow, the boulders afforded them a sturdy foothold and it was relatively easy to climb to the mountain’s vertex. As they climbed, the two could tell that the mountain was quite high, perhaps eight or nine thousand metrons. As they neared the apex, the two caught glimpses of the ocean that lay twenty hexons or more in the distance—the water was a pristine, a sparkling blue, but that was nothing compared to what came next. At the very pinnacle of the peak, Adam and Eve had their breath stolen away. For there, lying below to their bird’s eye view was one of the most beautiful and picturesque sights that they had ever seen on the Terran planet—a huge peninsula of magnificence and majesty jutting into the blue ocean waters.

Adam and Eve gazed upon the long, slender land mass that protruded into the sea for a good fifty to sixty hexons. The actual length was difficult to judge because the land mass became obscured in the distance. Its width was also hard to ascertain for its shape was erratic, but the range appeared to be between twenty hexons at its narrowest point and forty hexons at its widest. The peninsula also contained a small mountain range with snow-capped peaks and there was a large river angling the length of the cape. The river appeared swift in its movement, dividing the finger of land in half before finally emptying out into the sea somewhere at the peninsula’s end.

Transfixed by the beauty of the rugged terrain, Adam and Eve gazed upon the picturesque scene that now held a mystery all its own. For at the base of the mountain upon which they stood, the couple could see where the peninsula merged with the mainland. And there, curiously enough, were two straight lines running parallel to each other—lines that ran the entire width of the peninsula, forming a barrier or dual wall. Did this wall protect the peninsula in some way? That was Adam’s immediate thought—for on the mainland side he could see animals grazing and wilderness. But on the peninsula side there were checkerboard patches of cultivated land, and a network of thin, web-like trails, and dwellings. Was that a village partially hidden by the trees?

Suddenly Eve noticed something. “Is that a pyramid?” she queried, pointing to a dark colored mass, it form nestled against the base of the mountains.

“I think so,” said Adam.

“How?” remarked Eve. “What is this place?”

“This is Eden,” replied Lanna, proudly, his form rising up and behind them. “This will be your home on Terran. It is being prepared for you and your future off spring. It is a garden retreat on which Plon and Janno have been working on for almost seventy-five years. They are building it in anticipation of your arrival.”

Chapters 1-4 will be posted tomorrow.

Author Bio:

Author Paul T. Harry

Paul T. Harry attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas as an English major with a theater arts minor before beginning his career as a writer and music producer. He also worked as an editor with Second Avenue Songwriter’s magazine and has spent the last 30 years writing novels, screenplays and short stories. Paul resides in Gold Canyon, Arizona.

         Paul T. Harry’s Website


TheGarden-page1_zpsc2d4db57-1_zps1f34915e

2/12  Excerpt Darker Passions
2/15  Excerpt   Jody’s Book Reviews
2/15  Interview  Darker Passions
2/15  Excerpt   The Avid Reader
2/15  Review   Busy Mom Book Review2/18  Interview  Tattooed Book Review
2/18  Interview  Inside BJ’s Head
2/19  Interview  Books to Light Your Fire
2/19  Review  Lissette E. Manning
2/19  Review  Harlie’s Books
2/21  Interview  T B R
2/22  Review  All Things Writing 
2/25  Review  Second Book to the Right