Wild Roses & Romance Newsletter Sign-up.

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Don’t be alone for the holidays. Join the Wild Roses for many romantic companions, each month two different authors will entertain and entice with fun posts, industry news, and romance, romance, romance!

DID I MENTION GIVEAWAYS?! Almost always.  Before the end of the year, if you sign up for our newsletter, enter the Rafflecopter for a chance at one of three–3!!–gifts:  $50 gift card, $30 gift card, or third $20 gift card,

I could never get the HTML code (computer wizard I’m not) so here is the link to sign-up:

www.kimberlykeyes.net

Along with another, I am Miss October.  Look forward to seeing you then, but in the interim sign up and enjoy!

 

Linda Burson presents The Marcy Series from Class Act Books

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41oqjhl7vrlThe Marcy Series, which at this point includes: Rage, Confusion, Agony & Ecstasy, The Agreement, and The Past Returns, is a continuing story. It is a story about three people and how their lives intertwine. There are other characters involved with the three, but the focus remains on them throughout the entire series. It is an easy read, but it can be intense, as well as light-hearted. It is a love story, with a thriller/suspense aspect to it.

The story begins with my protagonist, Marcy Jensen, an independent, stubborn young woman, who runs her own bakery and coffee business. Some may find her full of rage and behaving irrationally. If you’ve ever experienced this type of anger, you may relate to Marcy and her problems; if not, you may not understand her. If this is the case, try to picture a moment in your life when you were the angriest that you can remember, and multiply it times a hundred. Then you’ll have an idea of what this young woman is experiencing.

As the series continues, the reader learns more and more about Marcy’s life and why she behaves the way she does. Eventually, her love interests are introduced: Brad Preston, a hard-working financial genius who works in the banking industry, and Liam Brooks, a retired ex-military hero who understands Marcy’s anger better than anyone. Liam helps her deal with it by having her help him get revenge. Throw in their friends and family and this becomes a story of three people whose lives are confusing, intense, and passionate, but loving, warm, and lively as well.

Writing this story, I truly fell in love with my characters. At first, two of them seem quite flawed, while one seems perfect. It isn’t until we delve into their lives, that we realize they have more to their personalities. I try to make each novel as satisfying as possible while continuing the story to the next book.

This story is fiction, but there’s more realism to it than most may know. Hopefully, whether it touches the readers in a familiar way, or is completely out of their realm, I hope it takes them to another time and place and into others’ lives. I hope it brings an escape for as long as they are reading, and gives what it gave me…a satisfying ending and closure after spending many hours with my favorite people: Marcy, Liam, Brad, and their friends and family–even when they annoyed me, made me laugh, cry, or roll my eyes.

There are currently six novels in the series.

Blurb for The Past Returns:

Marcy and Brad’s marriage is back on track even with the major changes at play.thepastreturns-002

A new wedding is planned for New Year’s Eve. This wedding is a complete surprise to everyone, and an unexpected pregnancy may interfere.

The men in Marcy’s life become even closer, and a true bond is formed.

A Short, but Telling, Excerpt:

The tears are pouring down my cheeks. I can’t believe this. This man was in  love with me from the moment he saw me, and he knew nothing about me.

I understand it because I seemed to feel a sense about him from the beginning. I let him in my home late at night, a perfect stranger, but I felt it was all right. It’s like my soul was speaking to me as well. Maybe I’m as crazy as he is.

What I don’t understand is if we were meant to be together, why did I meet Brad? Why am I in love with two men? I’m so confused. No wonder he doesn’t mind coming here and staying. This place is his sanctuary. It’s our place…a place where no one can take me away from him.

lindajburson-002Find out more about Linda at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lbursonbooks/?fref=ts

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/lindajeanburson

Website is lindaburson.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2258525.Linda_Burson

 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Burson/e/B016SOB3S4

Twitter: @lindaburson23

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Buy Links:

Rage: https://www.amazon.com/Rage-Linda-Burson/dp/193870374X/

Confusion: https://www.amazon.com/Confusion-Marcy-2-Linda-Burson/dp/1938703782/

Agony and Ecstasy: https://www.amazon.com/Agony-Ecstasy-Marcy-Linda-Burson/dp/193870388X/

The Agreement: https://www.amazon.com/Agreement-Marcy-Book-4-ebook/dp/B01IG982NS/

The Past Returns: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYMGCH5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479186993&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Past+Returns+by+Linda+Burson

Also available at the publisher’s website: www.classactbooks.com

Baby, It’s Cold in Space!

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I’d think this was true, and this stellar group of best-selling authors sets out to prove it!

Baby, It’s Cold in Space

baby-its-cold-in-space-coverTravel off-planet for the holidays. Set thrusters to max with these steamy science fiction romance stories by eight exciting authors. Each SFR novella in this anthology delivers the perfect holiday gift—love—to warm readers during the coldest season of the year.

Only $.99 –A limited time offer from New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors of fast-paced science fiction romance!

Included in Baby, it’s Cold in Space

 

 

I’LL BE ON NEW LONDON FOR CHRISTMAS by MARGO BOND COLLINS

When Gabi Esser joined the Galactic Coalition Fleet Marines, she dreamed of seeing the universe. Instead, she’s sent to New London–the most backward planet in the Coalition–to protect one of its silly nobles during the holiday season. Now the duke she’s guarding wants her to pretend to be his date at several Christmas parties, and she’s more intrigued by him than she wants to admit. They can carry this off without falling in love … but only in their dreams.

THECLIMATE OF LOVE: THE UTUQUQ CHRONICLES; BOOK 1 by BLAIRE EDENS

Sent on a research mission to Utuquq, a planet that’s avoided the pitfalls of climate change, Lauren Hascamp has a year to learn everything she can to help scientists save Earth. Pukak, the Keeper of History for The Siku, the tribe inhabiting Utuquq, is drawn to Lauren and her stories of a world with no winter. Interest turns to passion, but when the priest who expressly forbade it discovers their affair, the couple is forced into the Unknown, a land of brutal cold and limited resources. Trapped in a dwelling made of ice, Pukak and Lauren must overcome the brutal cold, the lack of resources and the murderous intent of the Siku Priests if they have any chance at surviving.

SATURDAY NIGHT IN DEVILS HOLLER: A Contemporary Science Fiction Romance by DONNA S. FRELICK

Agents of the Interstellar Council of Abolition and Rescue tracked a slave-trading criminal across the galaxy to his latest location–Earth, where the pickings are easy and profits are guaranteed. Mingo County Deputy Sheriff Jace McCoy has a stack of cold cases on his desk–dozens of lost souls who have gone missing from his rural West Virginia jurisdiction. There’s a kidnapper stalking the wintry mountain hollers, a killer with someone close to Jace’s heart next on his list.To save her, Jace will need Rescue’s help, and a whole new way of thinking about the stars.

STILL LIFE by JAYNE FURYh

His future is her next target. Astrobiologist Ewan Stewarts won the chance of a lifetime: terraforming paradise from a cold lifeless planet. Sexy ninja freedom fighter Captain Jodeen Benson’s mission is on a collision course with his dream. If she succeeds, she’ll save millions of lives but destroy one: his.

THE SOLAR EXPRESS: An Alien Stepbrother Christmas Romance by ERIN HAYES

Kear’yl is a proud Vzekian space ranger who has fought great battles, defeated many warriors and traveled the universe, but there’s one man she’s always avoided: her human stepbrother Houston. But she can’t deny that Houston’s good looks and strong body set her three hearts on fire. When her stepmother plans a family Christmas on Wixilia VIII, and Kear’yl is tasked with picking up Houston from Earth to join their family, her spaceship breaks down in deep space, trapping them together. Kear’yl finds that her growing attraction to Houston may be the best Christmas present ever.

ANGELO 13 by ROSALIE REDD

Forbidden to express emotions, clone Angelo Thirteen longs to experience one feeling above all others–love. When a tenacious, young, female Altonian retrieves him from his drifting space pod, he may just get his chance.

STARGAZERS by DIANA RIVIS

She’s traveled the multiverse on dangerous missions before, but this time her heart is on the line. Special Agent Kendra Voray of the Inter-Galactic Alliance is forced to work with Valon, historian and second born son of one of the ruling families of the planet, to determine how a Calivan artifact ended up on Earth hundreds of years before inter-dimensional space travel. Kendra doesn’t have room in her life for relationships, but Valon makes her feel things she never expected.

LIGHT UP THE DARK: A StarDaemon Novella by SELENE GRACE SILVER

Twenty-something girls just want to have fun. How can Nadiah explore her sensual side when her overprotective father is a powerful telepath who reads and controls the mind of any potential mate? An impulsive joy ride to Jagron’s sex palaces is her first opportunity to take a lover, but instead, she wakes up to find herself trapped in a space cell with a huge, mute alien. By the time they escape their kidnappers, she’ll have more than a solo trip dirtside to explain to Daddy.

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About the Authors

MARGO BOND COLLINS is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and science fiction romance. Her website is http://margobondcollins.net.

BLAIRE EDENS writes paranormal, science fiction and contemporary romance. Her website is http://blaireedens.com.

DONNA S. FRELICK writes the Interstellar Rescue science fiction romance series. Her website is donnasfrelick.com, and readers can follow her blog posts on http://spacefreighters.blogspot.com.

JAYNE FURY has worn the hats of personal chef, coffee roaster, copy editor, corporate drone, and Vegas cocktail waitress. She writes science fiction pulpy romance full of high-action, booty-kicking women and the men who fall head over heels for them. Her website is http://jaynefury.com.

ERIN HAYES is the New York Times bestselling author of the Harker Trilogy. Her website is http://erinhayesbooks.com.

ROSALIE REDD pens paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy romance in her office cave located in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing. Her website is http://rosalieredd.com.

DIANA RIVIS writes science fiction romance and her novella, Star Gazer, was a finalist in the RWA FF&P 2016 On the Far Side competition in the category Hard Sci-Fi/SciFi/Futuristic fiction.

SELENE GRACE SILVER writes paranormal, science fiction and contemporary romances that prove opposites attract and love often strikes like a flash of lightning. Her website is “http://selenegracesilver.com.

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZUP0FE

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LZUP0FE

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01LZUP0FE

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01LZUP0FE

 

The Pirate’s Lady by Tricia Schneider

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About the Book

perf5.000x8.000.inddCaptain Marco Dante was captured and sentenced to hang two years ago, but he escaped before his punishment was carried out. Now he’s come back to the woman whose memory kept him alive those long months in prison. Arianne had been his grand passion, but he failed to see how much she meant to him until it was too late. Can he recapture her heart? Or has he lost her forever?

Arianne never imagined she’d see her notorious pirate lover again. Though her heart sings with joy at his return, she knows he hasn’t come back for her but for the treasure he left behind. She agrees to help him find it, but can her heart withstand one more adventure with him?

 

Excerpt

“I have a life here now.”

“There’s nothing for you here. Your place is by my side. In your heart, you know ’tis true.”

She looked away, turning her gaze to the ocean’s waves pounding the beach with hypnotic rhythm. A few moments ago, she sat here, mulling over her life’s misfortunes and attempting to reach a decision about her future.

Her fate.

Arianne shook her head. “I no longer travel your path. You sail without me, my friend.”

She pushed her bare toes into the grainy sand and stood, brushing the remaining sand that clung to her petticoats. In the silence of the crashing waves, she turned and walked away.

Inside, her heart bled. Yet, she deserved no better. Her life led to this heartache. That she walked away from this man now, after all this time only confirmed it.

“Arianne, you’re coming with me.”

His serious tone warned her of his intentions. She spun to face him, unsheathing her sword in time to block his attack. The sound of metal striking metal pierced the moonlit darkness. Her ears rang with the sound.

They stood, neither moving. She stared into his eyes. “You would take me by force?”

“Never by force,” his voice lowered to a growl. “You will come willingly.” And he smiled, that knowing one she hated.

She let out a howl of outrage and swung her sword. He easily blocked. They stepped a deadly dance of striking blades, until again they were trapped by heated gazes.

Her breathing was heavy, labored, filled with excitement. She looked at his lips, wanting to taste them but knowing she dared not. Her will was never strong around him. With one touch she might lose herself and want him again for forever. But that dream would never be achievable with Marco.

With him, she’d always be alone.

“Come with me, Arianne.”

“No.”

She pushed away and again they danced. Her feet moved lightly as she sprang, her petticoats swirling with each movement though she hoped they would not entangle her legs. Her arm swung with lithe movements as she fought. She equaled him with skill and grace. Each time their swords clashed, the noise pierced her soul. That she fought him was a testament to her determination to escape his tyranny over her heart. She could not succumb to him again.

As they battled, a sheen of sweat appeared upon his brow. The exposed skin of his chest glistened in the moonlight. His arms flexed as he swung his sword. His grace, his power, his energy seduced her.

Her heart pounded. Her skin ached to touch his. The heat in her lower regions grew to a fiery inferno. She trembled.

Again, they locked blades.

They stood a moment, staring. His gaze burned into her soul. She licked the salty sweat from her upper lip, and his eyes followed the movement with utter fascination.

He pushed their swords away. With his free hand, he grabbed her shoulder, pulling her tight against his chest. Arianne tilted her head to look into his eyes. The blue depths called to her, like the ocean’s waves licking at her feet. The yearning to go to him was too great. She hadn’t the will to fight.

Goodreads / Amazon / The Wild Rose Press /

Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

About the Author:

Tricia Schneider is an author of historical, paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years as Assistant tricia-schneider-author-picManager and bookseller at Waldenbooks. After the store closed, she turned to writing fiction full-time. She has written both short stories and full-length novels published by The Wild Rose Press, including her newest book, The Pirate’s Lady, and her historical paranormal romance series, The Merriweather Witches. Tricia is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in the Pennsylvania coal region with her musician husband, their 4 young children and 3 rescued cats.

 

Website / Blog

Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest

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Snowbound with Mr. Wrong by Barbara White Daille!

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Worst. Day. Ever. After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley’s annual children’s party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.

The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can’t stop thinking about her. And soon, he’s fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day.

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Excerpt:

Someone’s going to pay for this.

Nick Tavlock stared at the woman in the elf costume and swore under his breath. When his so-called friend and associate Michael DeFranco had roped him into playing Santa at his lodge for a second year, he’d agreed to do the man the favor. Michael brought a lot of business his way. But this was pushing friendship and client satisfaction too far.

He’d had Michael’s word there would be a new elf this year.

He swallowed his irritation. Or tried to. “Lyss—”

“Hello, Santa!” she interrupted with a meaningful glance at the kids around them.

“Saved by an elf,” he murmured. “Almost put my boot in my mouth with that one, didn’t I?” He was still trying to pick his jaw up off the floor after the enthusiasm of her greeting. Too bad she hadn’t meant that beautiful smile for him. Too bad she had dumped him months ago, or he’d have had more chances to see that smile of hers. “Thanks for the warm welcome. A big surprise, considering the chill of your last good-bye.”

“Those Arctic blasts at the North Pole will do that to an elf.” She smiled again, but her eyes didn’t meet his. “So…Santa, are you ready to hear some wish lists?”

“Sure am,” he said in his best jolly-old-Saint-Nick voice.

He followed her to the velvet-covered chair set in a cleared space beyond the fireplace. Though the flames danced behind a safety screen several yards away, he’d already started to sweat. And it didn’t have a thing to do with the fire or the extra padding inside this Santa suit. His quick inspection of Lyssa had his temperature soaring, something he should have anticipated. She had always managed to get him overheated—in the best way possible—every time he was around her.

“Santa?” Her brows rose to fur-trimmed cap level.

“Huh?” Great. After all the years he’d spent attending his parents’ cocktail parties, that was the best he could do? But any sophisticated comment he’d ever learned had flown right out of his head.

He couldn’t let Lyssa throw him. Clamping his jaw closed, he resettled his own cap firmly and raised his brows back at her. She gestured with both hands, indicating the mob of children now surrounding him. How had he missed that?

Lyssa provided more distraction than he needed.

No, Lyssa didn’t provide anything for him anymore.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he muttered.

She frowned at him over the kids’ heads. Her cheeks had turned pink, and not from the fire, he’d bet. The glow certainly didn’t come from overheating herself, either—not in that skimpy elf suit. That outfit led him naturally to other visions of her he’d had the pleasure of seeing over the past year. But this wasn’t the time or place to relive those memories.

Chapter One and book links:

Find the complete Chapter One of Snowbound with Mr. Wrong and bookseller links here:  http://bit.ly/swmw-pg

About the Author:

barbara-white-daille-002Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed “The End” to her first novel many years later…in the eighth grade. Now she’s writing contemporary romance on a daily basis, with a brand-new series from Entangled Bliss (Snowflake Valley), an ongoing series from Harlequin Western Romance (The Hitching Post Hotel), and many more books on the schedule.

Find Barbara online:

Website  http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com
Blog  http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/blog

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-White-Daille/e/B002J6B0QQ

Harlequin  http://www.harlequin.com/author.html?authorid=1244

Goodreads  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/529361.Barbara_White_Daille

Don’t forget to look for Barbara on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille

and Twitter  https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille

 And for insider news and info, sign up for her newsletter:

http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter

 

More Pictures of Black Magic

Zippy d doodah! Since his birth certificate has formally been changed, i.e. going from Midnight Prowler to Black Magic, I thought I would give Magic a little face time on my blog.  Without further adieu, here’s another photo of him in all his glory.  I wonder if that makes me a Black Magic Woman! (Pix by Gerald Nelson).  Now, I never put bumper stickers on my car, but I ordered a red Zoom-Zoom for Magic’s front spoiler.

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The Acolyte – Full Story

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For my post on the ABA Halloween Hop, I published The Acolyte, a short short story.  As promised (though a little late) here is the entire story (the first installment ended with the word horrible.

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The tower clock struck midnight.  Ravenwood tensed, glanced over her shoulder at the Sanctuary.  No lights shone in the mullioned windows.  The Masters mustn’t catch her out alone at night.  Punishment would be rapid and severe.  She might even be banished.  Her reputation at the school had suffered for her sister’s sin.

She lit the torch, black smoke billowing from the flame. A darkling shiver crawled down her rigid spine. The voices that had roused her from sleep whispered a warning as she crept into the abandoned barn.  A lonely owl hooted from the rafters, ruffling its feathers and blinking. Red light winked in the bird’s golden eyes.  She swallowed hard, straining her ears for any sound.  The eerie stillness chilled her soul.

Ravenwood had come to say her last goodbye to her sister.  Tonight, Mariana slept the peace of the dead in this old outbuilding. Tomorrow, she would be lowered into unhallowed ground.  Then only god knew what the fate of a demon’s consort would be.  Her breathing rasped loud, puffing white clouds in the October air. She inched deeper into the gloom, shoved the hood of her robe back.  Shadows capered in her peripheral vision. A web caught in her hair, clung to her face.  Another hard shudder coursed through her, and gooseflesh prickled her limbs.  Nausea swirled in her stomach. Frantically, she swiped the crusty fly stuck in the web and the disgusting stickiness from her skin.

Blackness coiled along the rotted wood pile. A mouse squeaked, scurried out and scampered away. The shade loomed larger, distorted in the flickering light. She flinched back a step. With a shaking hand, she clutched the crucifix around her neck. The shadow crossed the pitchfork, fell on the coffin.

Darkness coalesced into the figure of a winged man.  Two yellow orbs glowed in his leathery gray face.  The wings were shiny, rubbery black with spines and points.  A sweet smell rose from him, but she knew the fragrance was a glamour masking the reek of the Pit.

“Daakiel,” she whispered.

“Well met, Ravenwood.” A laugh rumbled from his broad chest. “Such pretty blonde hair and lovely ivory skin, but beneath your rose and gold beauty is a soul as dark as I am.”

As always, her sister’s lover was naked, his grotesque, swollen equipment proudly on display.  She shuddered head to toe, glancing around quickly, studying her options.

There were none.

The creature with hellfire eyes stroked a hand with long, vicious claws over the pine coffin.  From inside, came a soft scratching then the lid rattled, an urgent pounding echoing in the ruined barn.

Ravenwood’s heart caught in her throat.  A sudden silence crawled along her nerves.  The owl hooted and took flight, a wingtip brushing her cheek.  She flinched, clamped a hand to her mouth, but a little cry escaped.   The demon flexed his wings, stirring a tornado of moldy straw.

A malicious grin split the monstrous face.  “Come my pretty,” and with the rasp of claws, he ripped the lid off the coffin.

Her dead sister sat bolt upright, empty fish eyes locking to Ravenwood’s terrified gaze.   A horrible smile spread Mariana’s blue lips. Crimson pinpointed the black irises. Any innocence that might have remained in the once Acolyte had perished. Like a spider, elbows and knees arched at odd angles, she crawled from the casket.  Grave clothes clung to her pale, withered body but her breasts were exposed and bloody.  She was horrible.

Ravenwood wouldn’t give the monster the satisfaction of screaming.  She bit her tongue hard enough to draw blood.  The demon turned and stalked toward her, fangs dripping thick, green saliva. Horrified, she backed away, collided with a stack of old cans, sending them clattering to the ground.

“Dear sister.”  Mariana’s corpse spread her arms in invitation.  Sharp fangs dented the lower lip of her smile.  “Raven, forsake your god.  Join me.”

Ravenwood ducked, grabbed the pitchfork and brandished the rusted prongs at the demon.  Another unholy laugh rumbled from its throat.

“You cannot escape, Ravenwood.  Your sister has paid her dues.  She is mine.  Tonight, Acolyte, you join me in Hell.”

Playing for time, she flung the pitchfork at the demon and dropped the torch.  Smoke billowed from dry straw. Flames sprang up, reaching for the cracked roof.  Laughter boomed in the fire.  Engulfed in the holocaust, her sister’s horrified face branded the nightmare in memory.  The demon’s leering smile didn’t falter.

She whirled and fled, her legs pumping, her feet going nowhere.  The school seemed hundreds of miles away and her feet leaden.  If she reached the Sanctuary—

A claw sliced her shoulder.  Pain scalded her arm.  Blood oozed warmth down her back.  She whirled, staring straight into the demon’s burning eyes.  Lethal pointed teeth lined the creature’s gaping maw.

A scream ripped the black velvet night, searing her throat.  She stumbled a retreat, praying aloud.

“No answer?” Daarkiel cupped a hand to his pointed ear. “Pray to someone who will hear you.”

The ground beneath her feet rolled and tossed.  She fell to her knees.  Fear lodged in her dry throat, strangling her prayers.

“You have taken my lover from me. Burned her alive, you did.”  The creature beckoned with a bloody claw.  “You will replace her.”

An image of her sister’s living cadaver blinded her. She shook her head.  “Never.”

The earth opened, swallowing her.  Down she plunged into a loamy grave, the velocity of her fall sweeping her robe over her head.  Her feet scraped something hard.  Bones.  She didn’t have time to scream.  The hole closed over her head, burying her alive.

Insects slithered over her feet. Something crept down her back.  She swallowed the horror and the bile burning her throat. The black dirt caressed her naked arms and legs and matted her hair. Trapped in the earth and in her robe, unable to claw for the surface, she held her breath until her lungs threatened to implode.  Terror gripped her heart in an icy hand.

I’m going to suffocate.

A desperate gasp for breath sucked the fatal soil into her mouth and nose.  Ravenwood whispered her final prayer.  For forgiveness.

 

You’ve Arrived! The Snarkology Halloween Hop!

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HalloweenHop800I write paranormal, including romance, and other romance genres. Here is my attempt at soft horror.

HAUNTED SUMMER

Look at her lying there on the old iron bed. They’ve just bathed her and changed the linens, so the room smells fresh and clean as a summer breeze. If only they’d open the window, she could smell the river and the sweet honeysuckle vine growing on its banks. They’ve brought videos to for her to watch other people’s lives when she has none.

I’m the only one who can breathe life into her numb body.

Maribelle would be running down by the river, swimming naked in its cool waters, if I weren’t such a treacherous playmate, leading her a merry dance across the moss slick river rocks. She slipped and hit her head. I cried as they carried her away—to this room, her world now.

Half face. Portrait of long-haired handsome manYet, she loves me still. See her eyes searching the room and when her gaze lands on my face, she smiles. She calls me. Pardon me, I shall go to her now. I’ll kiss her, and her pretty mouth will open sweetly for my tongue. I’ll suckle her breasts, caress her, and maybe even give her a good hard shafting. She loves to watch me do it to her. She can’t feel anything else, and she grows tired of the endless videos.

Being with my Mari is the only pleasure in my life. Is it because of my guilt you ask.

Perhaps. Then again, perhaps not.

They’ve gone and left her in peace. A frown has creased her smooth brow. She is remembering. See how a smile has lit her eyes. She relives the days when our passion burned bright and her supple young body would engulf me and leave me weak as a child. Yes, Belle is recalling that summer, less than a year ago, down by the river.

We met in the steamy heat of July. Eight months, she’s lain helpless in that bed. Time once meant nothing to me. Now, I count the days as surely as any mortal man. Last summer was the closest to heaven I’ll ever get . . .

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Even now, though she could move only her eyes, Maribelle recalled and treasured the night Devlin first appeared. His beautiful body wearing an aura of moonlight, standing tall and slender, he was male perfection. His hair was true black and longish. His eyes—what could she say of those magnificent eyes—stunning and blue, yes, an enchanting blue she’d never seen before…or since. That blue did not exist in this world.

Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t, call Devlin, but that wondrous night in the grass by the riverbank she learned she could never live without him. With the water whispering over rock, he’d made good the sensual promise he’d made the first time he visited her, loving her slow and deep again and again as the moon rose.

It had been midsummer, the night alive with dancing fireflies and humming crickets. Her window was open to a honeysuckle breeze. Rich, buttery moonlight slatted throughazcoverreduced (2) the dusty blinds drawing white lines on the bare floor. River scent stalked her as she paced like a caged animal, driven by the need to escape her small town existence. If only she could run away to the city, but she was stuck here with the gurgling, never-ending song of the river. Tonight, she turned eighteen—for all the good it’d do her.

A haunting need sang low in her body, swept up her in throbbing waves. Neither the moonlight nor the sweet summer smells offered any respite. Maribelle was wired and edgy. She coasted to a halt by the window, resting her cheek against the pane to stare at the moon.

“I’m trapped.” Her voice echoed in the silence of the room she shared with her sisters. “I couldn’t stand that old man touching me. I don’t regret telling him I’d rather marry a monkey.”

What would her folks think when they found out her answer to Mr. Jones’ proposal was to laugh? God knows, they had a surplus of daughters and could stand getting rid of one.

The old iron bed creaked as she flopped onto her back, staring at the ceiling. In the living room, the new flat screen TV droned.  She resented the expensive purchase. Momma and Dad couldn’t afford it. They’d said it was for their girls. The useless, senseless words on the game show her family were watching coaxed sleep.

****

Ripe with passion, flushed with eighteen-year-old innocence, Maribelle closed her eyes and sighed. The room, well, I returned her sigh. She wasn’t beautiful but something about her appealed to me more than beauty. If only she’d call me, I’d ease her pain.

****

A tear slid down her cheek. “I want out of this godforsaken corner of Mississippi. I want a man–a handsome man to love me–not some old codger everyone says is a witch.”

The clock chimed, warning Maribelle that soon Annabelle and Florence would troop into the room and her precious alone time would end in senseless chatter. Exhaling another heavy sigh, she flipped onto her side. The room sighed its sympathy.

The wind rose, fluttering the white drifty curtains, smelling of a storm. Lightning split the sky, momentarily joining Heaven and Earth. A horrible crescendo of thunder rattled the windows. Was Old Man Jones conjuring up a storm? She laughed at a memory of her rejected suitor’s face. Witch indeed! He was just a lecherous old codger.

The stormy breeze found her lying on the bed and stroked her hair back from her neck, cooling her face. She closed her eyes. Airy fingers explored the contours of her face, her ears. As invisible lips brushed her mouth, she gasped, her eyes snapping open. Insubstantial kisses trailed like butterfly wings over her bare shoulder, to rest briefly on the top of her left breast. Pleasant chills rippled over her. Beneath her pink flannel gown, her nipples peaked. Deep within, a hot pulsing awoke. Her body was alive as never before and resonating to the phantom caresses.

Slowly, one-by-one, the tiny buttons on her gown opened. The faded fabric parted, exposing her breasts to the searching lips. She shivered as thrills chased over her. Anticipation coalesced into a pulsating between her legs.

Maribelle craved these wondrous sensations more than the next breath. Many times, she awoke in the night drenched in sweat, longing for a lover. Moist and warm, a mouth hclosed on her nipples. Teeth scraped, bit at the sensitive nub. The delicious pain shot desire through her. She twisted on her bed, moaning. The pleasure was becoming unbearable. Her hips swiveled up to meet . . . nothing.  She needed weight pressing her into the feather mattress. She wanted to be filled, impaled. She was so ready. She needed to meet passion head-on.

The invisible mouth trailed to her other breast. Fingers closed, rotating, pinching on the abandoned nipple. Her body melted into the sensual caresses. Hands explored lower, now gripping her hip bones. And then she felt the lips on her stomach, hands cupping her bottom, drawing her hips up to meet the pleasure. Gentle fingers parted her. Other fingers, not gentle, pinched her nipples to unbearable hardness. The excruciating need grew more intense, lifting her, without will, borne solely by instinct. Her body trembled in a prelude to satisfaction.

Maribelle groaned and forced her eyes open. This dream was too real. Too incredibly, wonderfully real.

The arousing attentions of hands and mouth ceased. Her breath caught in her throat. Her scream froze. This was no dream. Silhouetted against the window stood a tall figure fashioned from moonlight and river breezes.

“Mari.”  The voice was full-bodied, rich as homemade wine.

She went cold inside, shivering as she reached down to cover herself, but the flannel material draped across her knees. Her shiver of passion became a tremor of fear.  She managed to force her words past the lump in her throat. “Who are you?”

“I am Devlin.” Light cascaded down a river of luxurious dark hair and reflected on a high cheek bone.

Maribelle struggled in vain to capture a glimpse of her visitor’s face. “Who are you? What are you doing in my room?”

“You called me.  You wanted me.”  A low, thrilling laugh sent a shock of arousal through her. “Very, very much.”

“Did Old Man Jones send you? Are you a demon?”

A whispered laugh answered. “I am Devlin. No more. No less.”

Drenched in humiliation, she couldn’t speak, couldn’t think.

“My love.”  The words and the spirit materialized above her.

Their gazes locked, and for the first time she saw his enchanting eyes. She drew a long breath to speak, but slim fingers curled around her chin. Her protests melted in expectancy. Unspoken words filled the silence. She knew what was going to happen. Wicked, commanding lust danced in eyes so blue they shamed the sky. There was ample time to avoid the kiss as his face drifted toward hers, but she was mesmerized, each particle of her being poised, waiting.

The storm broke. Through the open window, rain splattered the floor and soaked the filmy curtains.

He kissed her lightly on the mouth, then straightened. “Your sisters come. I’ll return. You have but to call. However, you must tell no one about me. I am your secret. Meet me tomorrow night by the river, sweet Maribelle, and I shall teach you about love. You are mine now. I am yours.”

*~*

For an adventure into the paranormal realms, my anthology of ghosties, ghoulies, long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night, released October 15th by Class Act Books.  The book is available on Class Act’s website as well as Amazon.

Four by Moonlight

An anthology of love in the moonlight…in the paranormal realms.4bymoonlightcoverwhitetxt

Gypsy Ribbons – A moonlight ride on the moors and meeting a notorious highwayman will forever change Lady Virginia Darby’s life.

Star Angel – Lucy was stuck in a rut and in an Idaho potato patch. She’d seen him in the corner of her eye—a fleeting glimpse of beauty—now he stood before her in the flesh.

The Night Before Doomsday – All his brothers had succumbed to lust, but Azazel resisted temptation until the wrong woman came along.

The Gate Keeper’s Cottage – Newlywed Meggie Richelieu’s mysterious, phantom lover may be more than anyone, except the plantation housekeeper, suspects.

~~~~~~~~

Other Reads by Linda Nightingale:

Gambler’s Choice

Love For Sale

Sinner’s Opera

Sinner’s Obsession

Cardinal Desires

Gemini Rising – Controversial Dark Fantasy with deep psychological undertones

Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody

Four by Moonlight

~~~~~~~~~~

My giveaway?  An eBook of Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody, an anthology,  with a swag pack including autographed bookmark.  Comment to be entered to win.  Thanks for stopping by and have a Spooktacular Halloween.  To find me and my books, please visit my website: http://www.LindaNightingale.com

The Hop includes many authors, blogs, and GIVEAWAYS.   For more fun and more chances to WIN, follow at the Halloween Hop.  There is a $100 Grand Prize via a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I’m hopping all over! Stay tuned and scroll down for the ABA Halloween Hop with a $50 Amazon gift card as grand prize and many others from great authors.  Plus my Halloween short story, The Acolyte–first installment; final installment Halloween!

 

ABA (Authors Bare All) Halloween Hop!!

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You’ve waited and wondered what to expect from authors who bare all at Halloween. The Hop has landed at my blog, and I have a short story for you.  Because of its length, I’ll post one segment today. The final installment will be Halloween.  Please check back for the ending. You don’t want to leave the characters in suspense.

The Acolyte

The tower clock struck midnight.  Ravenwood tensed, glanced over her shoulder at the Sanctuary.  No lights shone in the mullioned windows.  The Masters mustn’t catch her out alone at night.  Punishment would be rapid and severe.  She might even be banished.  Her reputation at the school had suffered for her sister’s sin.

She lit the torch, black smoke billowing from the flame. A darkling shiver crawled down her rigid spine. The voices that had roused her from sleep whispered a warning as she crept into the abandoned barn.  A lonely owl hooted from the rafters, ruffling its feathers and blinking. Red light winked in the bird’s golden eyes.  She swallowed hard, straining her ears for any sound.  The eerie stillness chilled her soul.night sky and full moon

Ravenwood had come to say her last goodbye to her sister.  Tonight, Mariana slept the peace of the dead in this old outbuilding. Tomorrow, she would be lowered into unhallowed ground.  Then only god knew what the fate of a demon’s consort would be.  Her breathing rasped loud, puffing white clouds in the October air. She inched deeper into the gloom, shoved the hood of her robe back.  Shadows capered in her peripheral vision. A web caught in her hair, clung to her face.  Another hard shudder coursed through her, and gooseflesh prickled her limbs.  Nausea swirled in her stomach. Frantically, she swiped the crusty fly stuck in the web and the disgusting stickiness from her skin.

Blackness coiled along the rotted wood pile. A mouse squeaked, scurried out and scampered away. The shade loomed larger, distorted in the flickering light. She flinched back a step. With a shaking hand, she clutched the crucifix around her neck. The shadow crossed the pitchfork, fell on the coffin.

Darkness coalesced into the figure of a winged man.  Two yellow orbs glowed in his leathery gray face.  The wings were shiny, rubbery black with spines and points.  A sweet smell rose from him, but she knew the fragrance was a glamour masking the reek of the Pit.

“Daakiel,” she whispered.

“Well met, Ravenwood.” A laugh rumbled from his broad chest. “Such pretty blonde hair and lovely ivory skin, but beneath your rose and gold beauty is a soul as dark as I am.”

As always, her sister’s lover was naked, his grotesque, swollen equipment proudly on display.  She shuddered head to toe, glancing around quickly, studying her options.

There were none.

The creature with hellfire eyes stroked a hand with long, vicious claws over the pine coffin.  From inside, came a soft scratching then the lid rattled, an urgent pounding echoing in the ruined barn.

Ravenwood’s heart caught in her throat.  A sudden silence crawled along her nerves.  The owl hooted and took flight, a wingtip brushing her cheek.  She flinched, clamped a hand to her mouth, but a little cry escaped.   The demon flexed his wings, stirring a tornado of moldy straw.

A malicious grin split the monstrous face.  “Come my pretty,” and with the rasp of claws, he ripped the lid off the coffin.

Her dead sister sat bolt upright, empty fish eyes locking to Ravenwood’s terrified gaze.   A horrible smile spread Mariana’s blue lips. Crimson pinpointed the black irises. Any innocence that might have remained in the once Acolyte had perished. Like a spider, elbows and knees arched at odd angles, she crawled from the casket.  Grave clothes clung to her pale, withered body but her breasts were exposed and bloody.  She was horrible. (TO BE CONCLUDED 10/31/16)

Happy Halloween! My prize is the winner’s choice of any of my backlist in eBook format. You can find a list of my books on my Amazon Page.  NOTE: The print version of Four by Moonlight is only available on the publisher’s website Class Act Books.

For more chances to win and for the a Rafflecopter giveaway
for the Grand prize, follow the ABA Hop.

For more chances to win follow the Hop:

30  Casi McLean ~ A Haunting Halloween  casimclean.com/Fun4Fans

29  Anna Durand ~ Spunk & Hunks  http://www.spunkandhunks.com

28  Claire Gem  www.clairegem.com

27  Tena Stetler ~ Colorado Hauntings  www.tenastetler.com/my-blog/

26  Sorchia DuBois  sorchiadubois.com

25  Tricia Schneider  www.shadowsofromance.blogspot.com

24  J. Rose Allister http://tiny.cc/jrosehalloween

23  Nell Castle  nellcastle.com

22  Jana Richards  janarichards.blogspot.com/2016/07/hop-on-aba-halloween-blog-hop.html

21  Linda Nightingale ~ Wordsmith  lindanightingale.wordpress.com

20  Tartan Temptation  www.kaydenclaremont.com/

19  Holland Rae   HollandRae.com

18  K.K. Weil  www.facebook.com/KKWeilAuthor

17  Peggy Jaeger  peggyjaeger.wordpress.com/?p=3014&preview=true

16  Maureen Bonatch   www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/

15  Jeannie Hall   JeannieHallSuspense.com

14  Beth Caudill  BethCaudill.net/blog

13  Mary Morgan  www.marymorganromancewriter.com

12  Karen Michelle Nutt  www.kmnbooks.com

11  Hywela Lyn ~ Romance That’s ‘Out Of This World’  www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com

10  Whitney Cannavina  www.facebook.com/WhitneylCannavina/

9  Devon McKay  www.facebook.com/devonmckay2014

8  Starr Gardinier  www.QueenWriter.com

7  Erin Bevan  www.erinbevan.com

6  Nancy S Reece  www.blonde-not-dumb.blogspot.com

5  Kathryn Knight ~The Haunted Jail Haunting Halloween  kathrynknightbooks.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-haunted-jail-haunting-halloween.html

4  Judy Davis ~ A Writer’s Revelations  http://judyanndavis.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_95.html

3  Katie O’Sullivan  katieosullivan.blogspot.com

2  Darlene Fredette  findingthewritewords.blogspot.ca/

1  To be Announced:  http://casimclean.com/aba-halloween-hop/

Don’t forget to check back for the end of The Acolyte!

Sorry I’m late!  But here is the ending to The Acolyte!  Halloween slipped up on me!

Ravenwood wouldn’t give the monster the satisfaction of screaming.  She bit her tongue hard enough to draw blood.  The demon turned and stalked toward her, fangs dripping thick, green saliva. Horrified, she backed away, collided with a stack of old cans, sending them clattering to the ground.

“Dear sister.”  Mariana’s corpse spread her arms in invitation.  Sharp fangs dented the lower lip of her smile.  “Raven, forsake your god.  Join me.”

Ravenwood ducked, grabbed the pitchfork and brandished the rusted prongs at the demon.  Another unholy laugh rumbled from its throat.

“You cannot escape, Ravenwood.  Your sister has paid her dues.  She is mine.  Tonight, Acolyte, you join me in Hell.”

Playing for time, she flung the pitchfork at the demon and dropped the torch.  Smoke billowed from dry straw. Flames sprang up, reaching for the cracked roof.  Laughter boomed in the fire.  Engulfed in the holocaust, her sister’s horrified face branded the nightmare in memory.  The demon’s leering smile didn’t falter.

She whirled and fled, her legs pumping, her feet going nowhere.  The school seemed hundreds of miles away and her feet leaden.  If she reached the Sanctuary—

A claw sliced her shoulder.  Pain scalded her arm.  Blood oozed warmth down her back.  She whirled, staring straight into the demon’s burning eyes.  Lethal pointed teeth lined the creature’s gaping maw.

A scream ripped the black velvet night, searing her throat.  She stumbled a retreat, praying aloud.

“No answer?” Daarkiel cupped a hand to his pointed ear. “Pray to someone who will hear you.”

The ground beneath her feet rolled and tossed.  She fell to her knees.  Fear lodged in her dry throat, strangling her prayers.

“You have taken my lover from me. Burned her alive, you did.”  The creature beckoned with a bloody claw.  “You will replace her.”

An image of her sister’s living cadaver blinded her. She shook her head.  “Never.”

The earth opened, swallowing her.  Down she plunged into a loamy grave, the velocity of her fall sweeping her robe over her head.  Her feet scraped something hard.  Bones.  She didn’t have time to scream.  The hole closed over her head, burying her alive.

Insects slithered over her feet. Something crept down her back.  She swallowed the horror and the bile burning her throat. The black dirt caressed her naked arms and legs and matted her hair. Trapped in the earth and in her robe, unable to claw for the surface, she held her breath until her lungs threatened to implode.  Terror gripped her heart in an icy hand.

I’m going to suffocate.

A desperate gasp for breath sucked the fatal soil into her mouth and nose.  Ravenwood whispered her final prayer.  For forgiveness.

Saturday, October 22, Book Signing!

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This Saturday Author Marilyn Zapata and I will be visiting and signing books at Half Price Books, 2556 Smith Ranch Road, Pearland, TX 77584, from 1-3 PM.  I’ll have my new release from Class Act Books as well as Vampyre Rhapsody.

Debut of our Halloween costumes! Would love to try them out of you!  Candy, books, and fun.  Join us and play the game of boonightingalek signing.

 

Me at play

 

 

 

4bymoonlightcoverwhitetxtYa’ll Come!!