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Monday, August 28, 2017

It's release day for Witch's Mystic Woods, a new Coon Hollow Coven Tale by Marsha A. Moore

Today's the day! 
Here's a new adventure in Coon Hollow. 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
The Lockwood witches are the only tree mystics known to the Midwest, and soon Larena will be the last. Their heritage is crumbling—but not if Larena can save it.
With loving care, Larena helps her mother Irene face the final journey of severe dementia. Corporate vultures, envisioning a mall project, are circling to take the Lockwood land and antique store by eminent domain upon Irene’s death. Their success will lay claim to the souls of Larena’s deceased father and grandfather, both tied for all eternity to the family’s land.
Using rare, inherited magical skills, Larena communicates with trees and crafts their wood into enchanted furniture, which bring blessings to future owners. An unscrupulous witch, working with the corporation for a share of the profits, sabotages Larena’s mysticism to curtail her livelihood. One charming vulture, Reid Peterson, preys upon her heart. Armed with only grit and attitude, Larena fights to stand her ground.
Local seers and fae alike foresee a shift with the concurrence of Winter Solstice and the coming new moon. Otherworld energies will then become available to an unnamed person in desperate need. Larena must be that person—or her heart, home, and heritage will be wrenched away.

Series description:

The Coon Hollow Coven Tales series is about a coven of witches in a fictitious southern Indiana community, south of Bloomington, the neck of the woods where Marsha A. Moore spent her favorite childhood years surrounded by the love of a big family. The books are rich with a warm Hoosier down-home feel. There are interesting interactions between coven members and locals from the nearby small town of Bentbone. If magic wasn’t enough of a difference between the two groups, the coven folk adhere to the 1930s lifestyle that existed when the coven formed. 

A note to readers: ALL THE COON HOLLOW COVEN TALES NOVELS CAN BE READ AS STAND ALONE BOOKS. The series is about one community, and its residents may pass in and out of various books, but each book has its own unique and special story to be told.


Chapter One: Lockwoods’ Antiques and Collectibles

Larena thumbed through the stack of Monday’s mail and selected one curious letter. Hmm, addressed to Irene Lockwood, return address from Hasselwell Law Office. A lawyer?
Still squinting at the envelope, she stomped a light coating of snow from her boots and creaked open the back door of the farmhouse. In the kitchen, she tossed the rest of the mail onto the old butcher block table, which pretended to be under stress with a customary groan. She gave it a loving pat and examined the letter.
Larena used a nickname instead of her given name. Addressed to Irene, the mail could belong to either her or her mother. Normally, she’d listen for a clue from the paper to decide. She strained to hear even a choked whisper from the tortured pine pulp, but too much chemical processing had left the envelope mute.
Larena slit the flap with her finger, and a whoosh swept her honey-colored braid behind her shoulder. Obviously drafted on better grade paper, the letter inside spoke to her. She had no further doubt. Although the correspondence was addressed to her mother, the writer intended the content for her and her older brother Emery.
She set the letter down a moment and poured herself some coffee. With the cup’s delicate handle in one hand, Larena used her other hand to hold up the letter, then gasped.
Some of the coffee splattered. Oh, damn. Larena set down the cup and swept a cloth off the counter to wipe the small splashes on the floor. Did she read that letter right? When finished, she picked up the paper again and read more carefully, eyes bulging.
“The Kilfoyle Corporation wishes to purchase the entire five acres of the Lockwoods’ land for the sum of $500,000…”
Why in the world would Clement Kilfoyle’s estate want to purchase all of our property?
She sat down on a stool next to the butcher-block table to digest the news. Larena never expected to receive a letter from the Michael Hasselwell law firm in response to the sympathy card she sent two weeks ago after Clem’s passing.
The Kilfoyle farm sat adjacent to the Lockwood home and antique shop in a narrow valley of Coon Hollow. Clement survived his wife by more than a decade, and the couple had been childless. He kept to himself, and so did the Lockwood witches. The line between their properties marked the boundary of Coon Hollow Coven.
She huffed her breath out and considered what that much money could do. During the six years after Dad passed and her brother’s move to New Hampshire right after, she and Mom struggled with the antique store. And now, it barely chugged along since Mom’s memory loss had progressed to advanced dementia.
Larena ran the shop, attended auctions, refinished antiques, balanced the books, and kept the house, all by herself. She barely made ends meet while eking out the token fee for Betty, a neighboring witch from down the road, who watched Mom during work hours. At twenty-six, how did I become so burdened with responsibility—the store, Mom, and her illness? But fate had heaped all of it upon her, and she loved her Mom. With shaking hands, she clutched the page as if it were a guaranteed winning lottery ticket.
Her mother coughed from the dining room, which served as her make-shift bedroom since stairs had become insurmountable nine months ago.
Before attending to Mom, Larena skimmed the rest of the letter. She halted on the words “eminent domain,” and backed up to read, “If this offer is not accepted, upon death of the last-named person on the present deed, Irene May Lockwood, wife surviving Louie Lockwood, the Kilfoyle Corporation shall invoke eminent domain and take the Lockwood property to exercise functions of public character.” Larena’s eyes jumped across the words, unable to comprehend. She looked away to steady herself before returning to the letter. “At that time, payment of the above-mentioned compensation will be made to her heirs.” She scrunched her brows which elicited a stab of pain across her forehead. What? Does this mean I have no choice? Where will I go?
The rustling in the other room grew louder, so Larena went to help. “Are you ready to go out to the parlor and wait for Betty?”
Her mother looked up blankly from where her dwindled body had been settled into her wheelchair. Mom’s feeble hand held up a jingling set of old keys. She held onto them all the time, giving her a sense of comfort and security like a child with her teddy bear. “Ready. Ready for Betty. Are you Betty? Ready,” her mother stammered in a sing-song tone.
Larena maneuvered the chair to the bay window in the other room. She locked the wheels to keep it stable in case Mom tried to stand, then returned her attention to the intrusive legal notice.
Her mother’s gaze moved from the birds at the feeder outside to the letter. She strained toward it, her hand trembling as much as Larena’s. “What’s that? What you got?”
“Just a bill.” Unable to reread without distraction, Larena tucked the page into her purse, then placed it on top of the china cabinet out of her mom’s reach. The cupboard let out a crackling moan, as if it understood the content. She eyed the cherry piece, desperate to ask what additional meaning it might have grasped but afraid to worry her mother. Both that and studying the letter would have to wait.
Mom absently slurred Larena’s words like a mantra, “Just a bill. Yes. Just a bill. Just a bill.”
Larena checked her watch and kissed her mother’s soft, pale cheek. “It’s almost eight-thirty. Betty will be here soon. You can work on that new puzzle together. Won’t that be fun? Betty’s great with puzzles.”
Mom’s eyes sparked with a sudden glimmer of recognition, and Larena wondered if she had triggered a memory that opened her mom’s mind. Oh, how she wished for a key to unlock her mother’s entombed thoughts. She missed the mom she could depend on. She missed when they laughed together. Their roles were now reversed. Larena needed to be the mother, instead of the daughter. Larena’s brother helped very little with the medical bills. She felt like they were on a deserted island, abandoned and alone.
She shoved aside her own needs and met her mother’s gaze to encourage and appreciate whatever lucidity hid behind those aging pale blue eyes.
Mom mumbled, “Bein’ great don’t matter. Bein’ willin’ does.” She pressed her gray head against the windowpane. Her warm breath collecting on the cold glass seemed to startle her. She let out a grunt and experimented with the process, blowing new clouded spots.
Betty’s long, brown sedan pulled into the driveway that served both house and shop. Her car’s white-walled tires crunched on the ice-dusted gravel. She turned under the tree with the feeder. The engine purred, then cut without sputtering like Larena’s old delivery truck.
The Coven Council’s regulations to keep a 1930’s lifestyle in Coon Hollow felt like wearing shackles. Larena owned a nice Econoline van, which she used for distant trips to estate sales. But within the coven, she had to drive a lousy 1935 Box-Truck, which always needed repairs. The Coven feared their witchcraft might change if they went modern, but all it did for Larena was cost her money.
The Council ruling didn’t matter so much with her clothing since she liked to sew and knit, adding magic she’d inherited from her mother. Larena’s creations suited her own taste, which pushed the limits of acceptance but still wasn’t modern—her own unique style. As the only family of witches in the coven capable of calling up the magic in wood, a tree mystic or forest sage, she’d always been comfortable standing out from the crowd. Dad had taught her to be proud of her heritage, as well as how to turn a buck with the rare ability he’d passed to Larena. At least the odd Council requirement did bring a steady stream of customers to their shop. It was often filled with witches who needed approved antique home furnishings charmed with ways to bring luck, good fortune, health, new babies, marriage, and whatever else a person desired.
Larena patted her mother’s arm, then gathered her purse and moved into the mudroom, where she tossed on a heavy hand-knit sweater from the bench. She met Betty at the back door and held it open. “Mom’s eager to do that jigsaw puzzle with you.”
“Mornin’. Glad to hear she’s chipper today,” the chunky woman huffed, out of breath from the short walk and steep steps. In her mid-sixties without family nearby and kept close to home by high blood pressure, Betty appreciated the company while looking after Irene. And Larena appreciated Betty’s patience. It took a lot of both to deal with Mom sometimes.
“If the shop’s quiet at dinner hour, I’ll come back and eat with you all. Don’t count on it, though. We’re getting nearer Christmas, and there’ll likely be customers, even on a Monday night. At least I hope so, anyway.”
Betty swiped a chin-length strand of iron gray from her face. “Gimme a call, an’ I’ll have a plate ready for you if you have to stay at the store.” She pulled off her horn-rimmed glasses and frowned at the lenses fogged with condensing warm inside air, then squinted at Larena. “Oh, did you hear that Sibeal Soot and Tyne Tynker won the two Council seats in Saturday’s election?”
“No, I hadn’t. I heard talk about Sibeal and wondered.”
Betty’s thin silver brows arched. “I did, too. Not sure what to make of it. Sibeal’s always been an odd bird and not one to like being on the sidelines, ’specially since her best friend Adara Tabard vanished.”
“Things sure have changed fast since Logan took the job of high priest away from Adara—all for the better. Was the Council vote close?”
“It was; Sibeal won by only two percent. Tyne was an easy win.”
Larena nodded and called toward the parlor, “Bye, Mom.” After waiting for the weak but cherished goodbye, Larena headed along the cracked sidewalk toward the shop. On the driveway, she paused to look back at the bay window and waved, already missing what was left of Mom. Larena hoped no more would be lost to the dreaded illness during this extra-long work day.
Although Mom liked Betty, weekends were hard, extended weekends harder. Stress from changing their routine made her worse. Larena shivered but not from the cold. This first weekend of December had begun a new store schedule. She kept late night hours Friday and Monday, in addition to longer hours on Saturdays and Sundays, to catch more of the Christmas trade. This time of year, tourists by the thousands visited the numerous artists’ galleries in nearby Bentbone. With that village only a half-mile away, Lockwoods’ Antiques & Collectibles took in its fair share. On these evenings, she closed at nine, too late to have dinner with Mom or see her to bed. Larena sighed. She’d give anything to be able to close up early and be with her, but that wouldn’t pay the bills. Now with the new Christmas hours, the house would be dark and quiet when she returned home.
During early stages of the illness, Larena seldom slept since Mom roamed the house at all hours encountering newly forgotten and potentially dangerous objects. Now she slept long, in a fitful daze, unless fully roused by nightmares, leaving Larena alone and lonely, almost missing the miserable chaos of Mom’s early dementia. Lately, most nights Larena welcomed setting an alarm to check on Mom, helping her to the bathroom, or even cleaning up any accidents. If not for those times and the limited bits of communication with the wooden furniture that’d known Larena since she was a child, she might go crazy.
A car turned into the drive. A potential customer. But Larena couldn’t tear herself away from looking back at Mom in the farmhouse bay window. She seldom registered Larena by name, although an unspoken warmth still seemed connect them. Larena lived for glimpses of that bond.
Betty appeared in the window and wrapped an arm around Mom’s shoulder. They both waved, Mom following Betty’s lead. Warmth surged through the void in Larena’s heart. Betty’s kindness meant a lot.
Larena turned and scurried the hundred feet to the shop’s door. Keys in hand, she nodded to the driver, now parked in the store lot. The fancy black Studebaker, with its chrome polished to a high shine, belonged to Sibeal Soot, one of the two coven seers and newly elected Coven Council member. She had money, and Larena hoped this visit would score a big sale.
She’d voted for Sibeal in the Council election. After Larena cast her ballot, she heard a group of women in a heated discussion outside the Council meeting building. Some claimed Sibeal had threatened a new healer, Grammy Flora’s granddaughter, by killing her cat. Another woman scoffed and said that the girl didn’t know her magic and probably poisoned the cat by accident. Larena needed to get back to her shop that day and couldn’t stay long, but the conversation stuck with her. Now facing Sibeal on her doorstep, Larena felt at a disadvantage. Shame on me for not informing myself about the candidates.
Sibeal Soot stepped out, her thin lips crinkled into a twisted smile. She wore a long black knit skirt that pouched at her belly, even past a good attempt at camouflage with a tailored black wool jacket. Sibeal’s trademark white rounded Peter Pan collar highlighted her strange, off-kilter head. It was much narrower from ear to ear than front to back, and her pointed nose thrust forward from close-set beady eyes. Only her hair, uncontrollable salt and pepper curls that slipped from her bun, offered any softness. Why Sibeal dressed to draw attention to her face, Larena didn’t know. Maybe the woman prided herself on her uniqueness, something Larena admired.
“Hi, Ms. Soot. What can I do for you today?” Larena asked, her voice bright.
“Hi, Larena. I’m here on official Coven Council business. You do know that I’m now on the Council?” the seer rasped with a high-pitched nasal voice. Her dark eyes flashed across Larena, but she continued without waiting for her to answer. “We have a new public attraction in the works, a new shoppin’ area that’ll boost revenue for the coven.”
“How’s that different than the coven’s Saturday market?” Larena stood straighter. This new opportunity might give her another way to earn money.
“For one thing, it needs to be closer to Bentbone to bring in more of the tourist trade.” Sibeal blew on her hands and rubbed them together.
Larena unlocked the heavy planked door, pulled it open a foot, and looked back to invite the seer in from the cold.
But before Larena could offer, Sibeal blurted, “And I’m thinkin’ your property’s best suited—what with its location so close to town. And it’s a large building, old with plenty of charm, that can be divided into small booth stores.”
“What?” Larena’s jaw dropped and she let the door shut. The bells that hung on the inside jangled like the thoughts in her mind. “You intend to lease stores inside my shop?”
Sibeal’s mouth curled at the corners. “The Kilfoyle Corporation’s law firm said they’d contacted you and asked me to help smooth over the transition.”
“What transition?” Larena’s voice wavered. “I don’t want any part of this. It’s my family’s land, our store. You can’t take it.”
The seer pursed her lips and shook her head. “Of course, you’ll be able to keep your business.”
Larena planted her back against the door, as if to protect the building. “I’m not selling.”
“Accordin’ to the lawyers, you don’t have a say. Your mama’s in charge.”
“I haven’t heard anything about this from High Priest Logan.”
Sibeal wrinkled her long nose. “If you’re wantin’ to keep your business here on the property, I can arrange to have a favorable lease drawn up. But that’s only if you don’t fight the eminent domain, which I wouldn’t do.” Several strands of hair crackled with static electricity as they worked loose from her bun. Her eyes narrowed and bored into Larena. “Them lawyers mean business. And so do I. They have an eye for what’s right for the coven. I’m glad to have their guidance. There’s big things I can help this coven achieve.”
Larena stared at Sibeal, dumbfounded. Though she didn’t want to believe, it seemed clear the old witch was using her new position on the Council for her own advantage. Larena had respected this woman. As an Earth witch, Larena didn’t possess half the skills of Sibeal, a learned woman from a wealthy family. Larena envied them; she didn’t have their advantages. Although she did have her dad and uncles, now all gone, who taught her the magic of listening and communicating with trees and their wood. All she had was her family. That was slipping away. She needed this five acres of their magic and memories and didn’t care about what was right for the coven. Very few had stepped up to help Larena cope.
What Mom had said a few minutes ago shot through Larena’s mind. A shortened, twisted version of one of the mottos her mother always followed. Life’s not about whether you’ve stood near the great, but whether you’ve sat with the broken.
Larena flattened her palms to the door, the dense oak solid at her back and silently asked it, “Will you stand with me?”
“Till the end,” the door answered with a creak that shuddered along the front wall of the barn-like building.
“I won’t sell,” Larena declared, head high.
“Best you change your mind soon…or you’ll lose this property and plenty more,” Sibeal hurled the words one at a time at Larena’s face. The seer paused, her pulled-down nose almost touching her creased lips. She huffed and stomped to her car.
Larena clutched her keys to her chest and watched the sleek sedan glide away. She wouldn’t stand with people who called themselves great, and like hell she wasn’t going to be broken. She owed her parents, who’d worked hard building this business, more than that. Selling it now might destroy what little remained of her mother.

Coon Hollow Coven Tales series includes:
Author Bio:

Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing, as well as other pursuits of watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. Her practice helps weave the mystical into her writing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors where she’s always on the lookout for portals to other worlds. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!

Social Media Links:
Amazon author page:
Goodreads author page

Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. 

JOIN MARSHA'S MAILING LIST and receive a free copy of her paranormal romance story RULER OF THE NIGHT.

Read Marsha's COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tea Leaf Tale: Delbert Daisy’s Sunglasses

     Apparently not everyone likes long summer days. For Delbert, time dragged between Solstice and the Lammas Harvest Sabbat and finally Labor Day—the dog days. Days when his petals drooped and his sap bubbled. The sun, such a good friend months ago, had turned fickle, now hellbent on scorching everyone it had earlier coaxed to grow.
     When the girl from the house came outside to play in the garden with her dolls, Del spied some relief. A doll-size pair of shades to block those cruel rays. When she turned to another toy, he bent low, stem almost to the breaking point, but was just able to snatch those sunglasses off the doll’s face. Carefully manipulating the frame using his petals, he positioned the glasses on himself as the doll had worn them. He lifted to the top of the clump, face beaming toward the noonday sun and exclaimed, “Hey, you ball of fire up there, bring it on!”
     As the rest of the daisies whispered technical stuff he didn’t understand about “no UV light protection,” Del stretched higher, his golden center broad and glowing like the sun itself. 

Tea Leaf Tales is a series of original ten-sentence short stories by Marsha A. Moore, relating to photos/scenes that resonate with her.
Read more episodes of Tea Leaf Tales archived at Marsha's Mercantile of Tea Leaf Tales.

Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. 

JOIN MARSHA'S MAILING LIST and receive a free copy of her paranormal romance story RULER OF THE NIGHT.

Read Marsha's COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Better Than the Beach 2017 Summer Reads Giveaway

Be sure to check out more great giveaways from 42 other authors!

Happening until Labor Day with a Grand Prize of $130 Paypal Cash!

Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

More about my prize: Witch's Moonstone Locket

Twenty-three-year-old Jancie Sadler was out of the room when her mother died, and her heart still longs for their lost goodbye. Aching to ease her sorrow, Aunt Starla gives Jancie a diary that changes her entire life. In entries from the 1930s, her great grandmother revealed how she coped with her own painful loss by seeking out a witch from nearby Coon Hollow Coven. The witch wore the griever’s moonstone locket, which allowed whoever could unlock its enchantment to talk with the dead.

Determined to find that locket, Jancie goes to the coven’s annual carnival held in her small southern Indiana town of Bentbone. This opposes her father’s strict rule: stay away from witches. But she’s an adult now and can make her own decisions. She meets Rowe McCoy, the kind and handsome witch who wears the moonstone. He agrees to let her try to open the locket, but they’re opposed by High Priestess Adara and her jealous desire to possess him. Desperate for closure with her mother, Jancie persists and cannot turn away from a perilous path filled with magic, romance, and danger.  

More about my prize: Green Goddess blank notebook by Karen Monkman

Environmentally friendly A5 recycled notebook/jotter featuring  'The Green Goddess' artwork.

Print taken from Karen's original watercolor artwork "The Green Goddess." She sits guard at the doorway between the seasons, taking the green from the leaves to keep safe through the Winter months--a painting about reflection, taking stock & counting one's blessings.

Ideal as a gift or journal for thoughts,dreams, ideas or lists.

The notebook has 36 blank pages. A5 size (14.5 x 21 cm)

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Link to Rafflecopter page
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. 

JOIN MARSHA'S MAILING LIST and receive a free copy of her paranormal romance story RULER OF THE NIGHT.

Read Marsha's COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Release Feature: Dead and Delicious, a PNR by Tara West

Dead and Delicious
Tara West

Genre: PNR

Release Date: July 17, 2017

Book Description:

Two zombies and one skeleton on a road trip to Vegas to kill a witch, stop an apocalypse, and rescue their friends from the belly of a shadow dragon.

Nothing weird about that.

Five things I learned while being a fallen angel zombie:

1. Duct tape works better than embalming.

2. Alopecia is not my favorite hairstyle.

3. Fried demons smell like bacon.

4. This brain breath is affecting my love life.

5.  Nothing ruins a honeymoon like an apocalypse.

Amazon US      Amazon UK      iBooks      Kobo      Nook


“Omigod, Ash?”
            I turned at the sound of a familiar nasally whine. Dear Lord in heaven, it couldn’t be. But it was. Travis Jones, aka my jerk ex-boyfriend, who’d left me for our chain-smoking cougar law professor.
            I flashed a forced smile. “Oh, hey, Travis. Long time no see.”
            “It talks.” His skanky sugar mama, displaying the latest desperately-clinging-to-youth fashion, camel-toe skinny jeans, a frilly little girl top, and suede stiletto boots, gaped at me as if I was the one with a crotch gap the size of the Grand Canyon. 
            “Of course I talk.” I jutted a stiff fist on my hip. “I’m undead, not brain dead.” I took a step forward, scowling at the basket Travis clutched in his bony fingers. “The world is ending, and you take alcohol, condoms, and cigarettes?”
            Travis grabbed a champagne bottle out of his basket, aiming it at me like he was wielding a baseball bat. “Don’t come any closer.”
            “Thanks.” I lunged forward, snatching the bottle out of his hands. No surprise, he didn’t put up a fight. I’d forgotten how puny his arms were. I was so used to Aedan’s meaty biceps that Travis’s toothpicks, sticking out of his T-shirt, made him look like an elementary schoolboy compared to my husband. I waved the bottle in Travis’s face, laughing under my breath as his eyes followed the movement like Pavlov’s dog. “It’s our wedding day, and we haven’t celebrated yet.”
            Travis stepped back, quaking like he was mid-seizure. “Y-you’re married?”
            “Yes.” I nodded at Aedan, who placed a hand on my shoulder. “This is my husband, Aedan O’Connor. He’s a grim reaper.” I smiled up at my handsome groom. “Aedan, this is Travis, my ex-boyfriend.”
            Aedan didn’t utter a word. He didn’t have to. The look he shot Travis said it all.
            “Um, hi,” Travis squeaked. 
            Aedan nodded at the skank, who needed to touch up her gray roots and remove the fake mole that looked like a tick was eating her face. “Travis, you and your mother need to find shelter. It’s going to get ugly.”
            Mrs. Cougar Club actually had the nerve to gasp. “I’m not his mother!” She stomped a heel on the polished concrete, the sound ricocheting to the rafters. 
            My attention was drawn to the nasty creature with what appeared to be a dislocated jaw. That didn’t seem to deter his mission as he hobbled toward Travis, blood and drool hanging down his chin. The poor guy’s arm had fallen out of the socket, and he didn’t have any duct tape. I almost felt sorry for him.
            “There’s a zombie behind you,” I said casually, as if I was warning Travis the zipper shielding his three-inch pecker was down. 
            Travis spun around, screamed like a little girl, and jumped behind his girlfriend.
            “Oh, Travis. What did I ever see in you?” I heaved an overly-dramatic sigh and set the champagne bottle on a display. I wasn’t in the mood for alcohol, anyway, unless it was spiked with blood and brains.
            “Step aside,” Aedan grumbled, pushing Travis before slicing off the zombie’s head.
            I laughed when the head rolled in front of Travis and his girlfriend. Mrs. Cougar didn’t think it was too funny, though. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she slumped to the floor. Travis didn’t even try to catch her.  
            I tossed Travis a scowl before thumbing at Aedan. “That is how real men kill zombies. Grow a set.”
            I was a little too stiff to turn on my heel and sashay away, so I did the next best thing. I let out a rancid burp, blowing rotten squirrel and bloody beef breath at Travis, smiling when his pale face turned a diaper-doo green. Then I turned, looped an arm through Aedan’s, and walked away. Damn, that had felt good.        
            Aedan stopped me as we came to the broken glass doors. “Hang on. You have another maggot.”
            He wiped my eye. No wonder it had been itching me. I figured it was seasonal allergies, but no, just another worm. “Thanks, honey.” I beamed up at my big, strong hero. “I feel bad making you pick off all my maggots.”
            “For better or for worse,” he said with a wink, looking sexier than should be legal as he leaned against his scythe, scanning the outside. “Remember?”
            “Of course I remember.” I stood on stiff toes and kissed his cheek. “And you’ve already proven that ten times over.”
            He reached for my hand. “I’ll keep proving it for the rest of eternity.”
            Awww. Nobody made my zombie heart flutter like my husband.

About the Author:

Tara West writes books about dragons, witches, and handsome heroes while eating chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. She's willing to share her dragons, witches and heroes. Keep your hands off her chocolate.

Tara West's young adult and new adult romances have been Kindle bestsellers. A former high school English teacher, Tara is now a full-time writer and graphic artist. She enjoys spending time with her family, interacting with her fans, and fishing the Texas coast.


Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. 

JOIN MARSHA'S MAILING LIST and receive a free copy of her paranormal romance story RULER OF THE NIGHT.

Read Marsha's COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Release Feature: Illumination, Penton Legacy Book 5, a PNR/UF by Susannah Sandlin

Penton Legacy
Book 5
Susannah Sandlin

Genre: PNR/UF

Date of Publication: July 11, 2017

Number of pages: Approx. 330
Word Count: 90,000

Cover Artist: Kim Killion

Tagline: Nik wants to escape his family curse. Shay wants to change the world. Together, they are the only hope to save the vampires of Penton.

Book Description:

He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family legacy, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that haunt his mind whenever he touches anyone—except vampires. With them, he has finally found a home. But as Penton, Alabama, moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself a linchpin in the deepening conflict, not to mention facing a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s encountered before.

She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another—until both died following an outbreak of fever. Driven to her own career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents—until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a vampire society engaged in human trafficking and on the verge of all-out war.

Two cities, two strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role in Penton, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for the town—and themselves—to survive in this much-anticipated conclusion to the multiple award-winning Penton Legacy series.


“Right then. We have an obscenely large vehicle on the other side of that brick wall,” Cage said. “Archer or Nik should be able to help you over. Once I’m sure you’re in the car and locked up tight, I’ll collect Robin and Glory from the cemetery entrance and we’ll all be on our way back to Penton.”
Shay bit her lip. She had absolutely no reason to go to Penton, wherever the hell it was. Her home and life and work were here in New Orleans. She knew she’d have to be careful, but now that the breeding house was broken up and Jonathan was dead, the vampires and their minions had no reason to come after her. Whatever feelings Shay had nursed for Nik Dimitrou in high school, they were long dead. Gorgeous only took a person so far. Besides, he was a vampire.
She’d wait until they got her out of this cemetery, though, to decline her visit to Vampire Central. Maybe the handsome cat boy would drop her off somewhere. But where? She had no money or identification with her. She didn’t even have the keys to her own apartment or lab.
Maybe a police station. They could come up with a plausible story for her disappearance. Maybe even name Simon as her kidnapper, and the warehouse location. Let the authorities make of it what they would.
Shay was distracted by the sight of Archer leaping to the top of the brick wall behind the Le Boeuf crypt, followed closely by Nik. Her old classmate might be injured and hungry, but that wall had given him no challenge. Shay wasn’t sure she could climb over it without a sturdy ladder on a good day. Today had not been a good day except that she hadn’t died.
Nik reached down and motioned to Shay. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”
Shay looked at the wall, at Nik, and back at the wall. “I don’t think you can lift me. You’re hurt.”
“Trust me.” Nik grinned, giving Shay a glimpse of an older, even more handsome version of the boy she’d known so many years ago. She’d thought she loved that boy; this man, though….was a vampire. Don’t forget that, idiot.

She nodded, dried her hands on her jeans as much as she could, and reached up toward Nik. He leaned over, wrapped strong fingers around both of her wrists, and lifted her to the top of the wall with what seemed like little effort, setting her down beside him.
“Swing your legs over, and I’ll lower you down the other side. Or I can leap down with you in my arms.” His grin widened, and her heart beat double-time when their gazes locked. Vampire. He’s a freaking vampire. He’s a freaking vampire involved in a war with other freaking vampires. You cannot trust him. Lust, yes. Trust, no.
“Whatever you do, would you please move your arses?” Cage stood beneath them. “I’m getting soaked and—”
A loud pop sounded from the Washington Avenue end of the cemetery, followed by a splintering noise and another pop pop. Shay had lived in New Orleans long enough to recognize the sound of gunfire.

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series for Montlake Romance, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou, also for Montlake. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing on the side through

Twitter: @SusannahSandlin, @Suzanne_Johnson

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