Monday, October 31, 2016

Free Short Story! All Hallows Eve Adventure

This is a fun fantasy short story. I created the picture below to help share my inspiration. Enjoy!!

All Hallows Eve Adventure

The sky shimmered as the veil between the planes was inundated with the magic of All Hallows Eve. My feathers swirled the cloud vapors, gathering droplets before they could fall to swell the waterfall that sent lifegiving magic through the realms.

I was going to pass through this time. I’d been forbidden before, but now nothing could stop me. I had transformed into an Earth creature and could blend in. Tonight I was going to have an adventure. Skimming past the clouds, I turned toward the waterfall. Its invigorating spray misted the air, and I briefly lost the ability to see where I was flying. Magic thrummed through me, and I trusted the ancient beat sending my wings up and down.

A well of power caught me and sent me higher, until I broke through the clouds to skim the kaleidoscope of colors making up the veil. I coasted through, my wings angled to sweep as much power as possible.

Then I dove. The air ruffled through my feathers, penetrating the down, chilling me. For a brief second I hit the weightlessness of void that made up the veil, but the magic pushed ahead of me by my momentum kept me going until I passed through.

I made it! I hooted my triumph. The air was different here. Heavier, the scent of man and machinery thick, even above the clouds. What would their cities look like? I had to see.

A pink glow lit up the clouds, but its color had nothing on the veil I could still see above me. This light was made up by the glow of many different lights, but they didn’t blend the way the magical curtains did. Lines of bright dots covered the ground. Some moved and some didn’t. Some were steady and others blinked.

Then the sounds hit me, paining my sensitive ears. I swerved away, repelled by the noise. Their cities were nothing like ours. Their busy chaos contrasted with our industrious quiet, and I didn’t like it.  I moved away from the lights, flying above a river, following the path the moon made as it rose above the mountains in the distance. Not even that was pure.

What had these humans done to their world?

Maybe the mountains would hold some trace of untouched beauty. I veered to the right, crossing a flat black strip with vehicles on it. Something large with a single light barreled down on me, a rhythmic racket and screech covered the sounds of the other vehicles. I stroked downwards, forcing my bird form to go higher, to get away from the human machine.

I finally found some peace gliding above fragrant trees. A few waterfalls—none even close to the majesty and magic of the great falls—dotted the rocky outcrops that jutted out here and there. I flew for hours, extending my senses, until I saw another one of those black ribbons. This one was smaller, empty, and I couldn’t resist the lure of following its tight turns and switches to test my agility in this form.

Everything felt so different here. At home magic permeated the very air. Here, the air was devoid of all but the slightest traces of magic. There was just enough to pull from to sustain my form. In some ways, it was a relief. At home I was sensitive to the paths and absorbed magic so quickly I had to spend it or risk becoming overwhelmed, which was why I could transform so young, but that wasn’t an issue here.

It was like a pressure against my skin that I’d grown used to until it suddenly disappeared.  I closed my eyes and let my wings extend to their fullest, luxuriating in the sensation.

A break in the air current startled me. I jerked upward, but it was too late as something smooth and hard struck me. My tiny body rolled up and over it, momentum sending me back into the air. I shrieked in pain, nothing in my life preparing me for the agony as my fragile bones in one wing shattered.

My good wing fluttered as I tried to stay in the air, but I couldn’t stop my fall to the ground. I hit hard, spinning head over tail feathers. I landed on my back, my tiny heart beating in my chest so fast I thought it might explode. Healing. I had to heal.

The ground under me was rocky, hard. I couldn’t feel the pulse of magic from deep inside the planet except for the barest of filaments reaching through the cracks. The bones in my wing withdrew into the skin, which healed over, but there were too many cracks and breaks in the tiny bones to heal. There was no way to fold my wing. I couldn’t even get up, much less fly. I strained to find more magic in this bereft world.

Pain faded and then swelled again to consume my focus as I strained to gather enough to heal myself. I’d never lived through anything this agonizing; at home I healed instantly. A loud, rumbling noise got louder, covering my cries as the rocks beneath me shifted. One of their vehicles was coming, and I was on their traveling surface.

I flapped my good wing, trying to get up. My feathers beat against the air, but the broken wing dragged on the ground. It was no use.

Was this how it would end? As a bird in the human realm on my first journey through the veil? I’d been so sure this form would keep me safe. Silent wings, keen eyesight, agile body, sharp claws and beak for defense… but there was no protection against the humans’ metal machines. My own inattention, something my mother despaired ever curing me of, would be my undoing.

A high-pitched squeal covered the machine rumble, and an acrid stench of chemicals obliterated the traces of my blood in the air. The machine had stopped. A rhythmic ding accompanied a light that broke through the darkness.

“Oh, my god. You poor thing.” A human stepped out of his vehicle. He was young, close to my age, with light eyes that shone in the night. “Shh. I won’t hurt you,” he crooned. He took careful steps toward me, pulling off his outer covering, then crouched down. “Let me help you. Don’t hurt me, okay?”

I stilled. Out of everything I expected this night, getting this close to a human wasn’t it.

“Don’t bite me.”

Like I would, no matter how much pain I was in. I hooted softly.

“That’s right. We’re going to be friends,” the young man said. “I won’t hurt you, so please don’t hurt me. I’m going to help you.” He dropped the cloth over me, and I couldn’t see what he was doing after that. My instinct was to struggle, but if I did, he might leave me there. I stayed quiet and still, even when my broken wing shifted as he gingerly scooped me up. The pain was nauseating, and I was glad I’d snuck out before the All Hallows Eve feast. Vomiting in bird form wasn’t an experience I wished to gain.

The dinging grew louder, so I knew we were moving to his vehicle. “Okay. I’m going to put you on the seat with the coat covering you to help you relax. Then we’re going to my office.” He shut the vehicle door beside me, and it took a few seconds for him to return. He kept up a steady patter of reassuring murmurs.  

His vehicle rolled on the ground, and the hum blended with his voice was vaguely soothing. The night was nearing its peak, and the veil was at its thinnest before it would begin to thicken and separate the realms again.

I needed to be on the other side before that happened.

The hum slowed, and then we stopped. “Okay, little bird. Just a few more minutes.” The human moved away and then a draft of air shifted the cloth covering me. “Okay. Just remember, I’m helping you. No biting or clawing me.”

Lingering pain made it hard to focus as he picked me up, no matter how gentle his grip was as he cradled my body to his chest. His rocking gait slowed, stopped, something beeped, and then a light filtered through the cloth over me. “Here we are,” he crooned.

A smooth surface cradled my body, but it was something I’d never encountered before. Not made of the earth, I couldn’t feel a speck of magic in it. I suppressed my frustration, lying still as the cloth slowly lifted. If I didn’t get enough magic to heal soon….

Large brown eyes stared down at me. I looked back at the human, watching his every movement. He began to touch me, but his fingers were so careful it didn’t hurt until he neared my outstretched wing. “Okay, Mr. Tito. That’s what I think I’ll call you. Mr. Tito. You seem to be okay, other than this wing. Don’t worry, Dr. Brennen can fix it.” He seemed to be referring to himself.

He could? Relief swamped me. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to heal in time to fly back through the veil before it closed.

“First we’ll get an x-ray. You’ve been so docile up till now, so let’s keep that going. I really don’t want to sedate you until I’m sure you don’t have any internal injuries.” He scooped me up and supported my wing. “You’re so tame. Are you someone’s pet? You’re not banded. Maybe you’re just a good bird. Or maybe you really like me.”

For a human, he was pretty nice. My mother had warned me, over and over, that they weren’t to be trusted. They’re callous disregard of nature had obliterated their connection to the natural magic of their land, losing their ability to even feel it as it flowed through them. It appeared he had skills with the animals of his world, so he was perhaps a healer. I had to trust a healer here would have sworn to do nothing to harm others as they did on my world.

I stayed still as Brennen put me down again, keeping my hoot soft and my pained flinches to a minimum as he spread out my broken wing. He stepped away, leaving me alone on the surface, his shirt still under me. What was he doing? A light came on over me and the machine clicked. The abrupt shock of poison invading my cells sent me into a frenzy. What did he do to me?

“Oh shit! Tito, calm down. You’re going to flop off the table.”

That was the point, so he couldn’t poison me again! I kicked my talons against the fabric under me until I tipped over the edge and began to fall.

“No!” Brennen lunged, and I fell into his soft hands instead of the hard floor. He landed with a strangled groan as his body slapped against the white tiles. This was the first time he’d touched me with his bare skin on more than the tips of my feathers. His fingers made their way past the down on my chest until both thumbs were touching my body. “Please be okay.”

He sat up, cradling me closer as he crooned.

It was extremely risky, but I had no choice. My wing was still broken, and he’d just poisoned me. Probably not on purpose based on how close he came to being hurt to catch me, but there was no more time to waste. I reached out to him, like I did to the magic in the earth, and opened a conduit between his body and mine.

Oh! This human might not be able to manipulate the magic of his world, but he was full of it. He had a close connection to nature, and he truly cared about the natural beings of this realm.

I latched on to that care and connection, pulling on it, drawing the magic from his body and into mine. The bones grating together in my wing straightened and smoothed. The hollow tubes that were chipped and cracked spread thinner but stronger to form new connections where they’d broken before. The torn muscles inside swelled with healing blood that swirled with the magic.

Brennen was a good man. I could feel him on a fundamental level, and it humbled me. I’d been so secure in my bias. I’d wanted to see the human realm, curious about their callous disregard of their home and full of pride that my realm was so superior. But while we each had a close tie to the earth magic of our realm, close bonds between us were few and far between. Not like how Brennen was tied through many, many strands, each one a tiny link that made up a powerful whole.

He did nothing but try to connect with his patients. I could feel his need to protect me, to heal me. And he did.

A high-pitched hoot escaped me when the magic flared, flowing two ways as a loop formed between us. My form shimmered, and the magic overlaid my normal body in an astral projection above the owl I’d turned into. Brennen’s eyes widened, and he gasped.

While he was rigid in shock, I squirmed out of his grip. I skittered back, my talons clicking on the hard surface of the floor.

“Who… what are you?” His voice was barely above a whisper. He crouched, frozen as he waited out an answer.

“Grateful for your help.” My astral body projected my voice so that he could hear me, but the magic was beginning to wane now that we were no longer touching. My spirit form was only semi-corporeal and growing wispier by the second. I had to get out of there. “You are a good human, Brennen.”

I reached down, and he reared back, but not before I touched the tip of one finger to his forehead. It was instinctual, the magic guiding me once again as the connection between us flared and then winked out. Before I lost the use of my astral form, I moved to the window and willed it open with both hands.

“We will meet again,” I said.

My astral form faded completely, and I once again saw through the large eyes of my bird form. I was healed, but the night was fading. I flapped my wings and hopped toward the counter. I had to gather myself for two more short hops before I was high enough to reach the window, but I made it.


I paused on the sill.

“Who are you?”

My astral form had faded, but the connection between us hadn’t. I willed him to hear my voice as I spoke my true name. “Eligyan Feath.”

There was no more time to waste. I spread my newly-healed wing and took off. I glided a few feet and then began to truly fly. I used the power I’d gained from Brennen to help propel me higher. The magic of All Hallows Eve had almost passed, and the veil between the realms began to coalesce into the shimmering colors again. Once they were fully opaque, there would be no passing through. I fought to make it in time, determined my first adventure wouldn’t be my last.

Tingles spread over me as I entered the shining yellow, orange, pink, and purple outer limits. I’d risen high above the veil gathering its magic before rising above it, and now as the moment of truth. I needed enough height and magic to drill through the thickened seam, but there was no way to tell if it was enough until after I was falling.

It was a danger that had to be faced without delay. I tucked my head and turned downward, letting gravity take me. Just as the upper rim of Earth’s moon fell below the horizon, I entered the veil and punched through.  There was a tug against the connection between me and Brennen, but I didn’t let it distract me. I had to stay focused and make it through the edges and back to the waterfall. He would be there next year when the veil thinned.

We would meet again, just like I promised.
I hope you enjoyed this Halloween short story!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

50% Rebate at ARe! All my eBooks on Sale!

Do you like a deal? I loooove a deal! ARe is running a 50% rebate to celebrate the tall, dark and gorgeous... Have you met Jax? Seral? Moshi? Stelian? Well here's your chance! You can get 50% back on all of my books at ARe today and tomorrow.
(All Proceeds Donated)


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter Twenty-four

So this week is a freebie on the prompts, but there's still an update I think you guys are REALLY going to like. No cliffie, I promise. I couldn't do that to you all with the drama to come. By the way, On Fire is finally available for download if you pre-ordered a copy! If you're waiting on some more reviews, check out Goodreads for at least a few with more to come today and in the coming days. If you want to see all the places and things I love about my home in Washington state, make sure you pick up your copy!

Chapter Twenty-four

“He’s really dead?” Kraig sat stiffly against the headboard. He had a death grip on the blanket over his lap.

My phone pinged and a picture popped up on the screen.

“Yes,” I was able to say with certainty. Henry’s eyes were open, and he’d died with a snarl on his face. Someone had made him very angry. The doctor was a human who knew about our kind. Henry had been working with him. Now he’d been on the run from his streak in the presence of two humans, and he was dead.

Someone was cleaning up loose ends. What were humans doing transforming human werekin into bonded werekin?

Humans turning human werekin into bonded werekin. “Holy shit,” I said under my breath. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it.”

Kraig frowned. “What? See what?”

“A human doctor took you. You’re werekin, but you’re human for all intents and purposes. He made you into a bonded werekin. He changed your spirit so that it could bond with an animal soul—”

“Two animal souls.”

I stood up and started to pace, stalking back and forth the realization blooming in my mind even as I spoke. “Maybe that’s what it took. Maybe one just wasn’t strong enough. I don’t know. But I do know that a human doctor hurt you. Humans were with Henry, and he’s dead. It must be because he knew too much, and they were afraid we would find out. This is a human plot.”

“But… why?”

“That I don’t know.” I ran my hands over my head, wishing I could tug on my hair. I missed my thick mane. “Ripping the souls out of bonded werekin would kill them; we can’t survive without our animal souls. Do they want to eradicate us? We can die from damage just like any other person. Remove our mate, and we’re weakened considerably. Maybe that’s why they blended the souls in you? Why not put one soul from each mate into a different body?”

“Wait.” Kraig jolted out of bed. “My mother!”

“Oh, fuck!” I grabbed my pants off the floor and tossed his toward Kraig. I wanted nothing more than to run to her house, but Kraig wasn’t capable of going that far. He wasn’t strong enough to handle the cool night air either. I pulled out a light, long-sleeved shirt out of my drawer and handed it to Kraig. I wanted him swathed in my scent if he was leaving the house. It would keep him calmer as well.

“Shoes, keys.” We hurried into both. “Shit, my phone.” I ran back upstairs and grabbed it, texting Park to get back to his mom’s house immediately, 911. I needed to call Park and give him the bad news. I was sick of giving bad news. I prayed that we were not going to his parents’ house to find his mother dead.

She’d been alone for hours only. When had Henry died? I wish Cameron had mentioned that, even a guess. I climbed into the car. My tires spun on the ravel as I turned around in a sharp circle. I reached over and put my hand over Kraig’s tightly clenched fingers. “She might be okay.”

“After my father emotionally abandoned her? How much of her will be left if the only reason she lives is because her bond with him was broken before he died? Because he’s a bastard who helped torture his own son?” Kraig’s voice broke.

I squeezed him. “No matter what, I’m with you. You’ll never be alone again.” I knew, just like I’d always known, that I would not live if I lost Kraig again. The world wasn’t a place I wanted to be if he wasn’t with me. His spirit and mine were interwoven irrevocably. Where he went, wherever that was, I would go too.

Park’s ran out down the driveway right as we pulled up. He was alone, panting as he stopped by the porch. Kraig threw his door open. “Mom!” he shouted.

He jumped the stairs in a leap I didn’t expect him to make. He slammed against the door, but it was locked. “Deke, help me! Mom!”

“What is going on?”

“Your dad is dead,” I shouted as I ran toward the door. I turned and hit it with my shoulder, popping it out of the frame as the hinges broke under the assault. “Lydia!” The lights were all off downstairs.

Park was a streak as he ran by me and up the stairs. Kraig was on his heels, and I followed him closely. If they found her, or this sudden burst of energy he had abruptly left him, I didn’t want him to fall. Our feet pounding on the stairs reminded me of all the times Lydia had yelled at us to slow down growing up… and my heart stuttered. I’d lost my parents, Henry… she was the closest thing I had left.

If we lost her, it would be like we were cast adrift. We were too young to face a future without her wisdom.

“Mom!” Kraig screamed.

The light came on in her bedroom just after Park rushed inside. My knees wobbled when Lydia sat up and turned. She blinked in the light from the lamp coming from her bedside table. “What is going on? Why are you screaming at me?” Her eyes were red-rimmed, and her voice hoarse. She was wearing a long-sleeved robe over a nightgown and had several blankets piled up on the bed. “Why are you out at night without coats on? Don’t you know how cold it is tonight?” She shivered.

Park collapsed on his knees next to her, resting his head against the bed. His shoulders shook hard, but he remained silent. Kraig, tears streaming down his face, climbed on the bed. He reached for her hand, letting out a jagged breath when they touched. “You’re okay,” he whispered.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” She rubbed her chest. “What’s going on?” she asked again.


Whew! Like I said, emotional. Need more to read? Like free? Go catch up on the other stories being posted by some of my fellow Briefers.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

On Fire 30% Off as My Release Tour Begins!

Just in case you missed that it was coming! *winks*

Jax and Scottie are almost free from pre-release limbo! In honor of that, I'm visiting a ton of blogs, author sites, and review sites to share inspiration for the story, things I love about Washington State, etc... Each one will also share a picture I took here in Washington.

So you don't miss a stop and your chance to win one of several prizes I'm offering during the tour, you can follow my social media if you direct links to each post featured daily. These links will take you to each tour host site, if not directly to the post itself.

Want to get your copy so you can read it as soon as it comes out? Follow these links!
30% off at Dreamspinner Press Nov. 20th - 23rd in honor of GRL! That's just $4.19!!!
Dreamspinner Press:

Blog Tour Schedule

Oct. 21st: Full Moon Dreaming
Oct. 22nd: Nephy's World
Oct. 23rd: Mann Ramblings
Oct. 24th: Tammy Two Cents
Oct. 26th: Divine Magazine
Oct. 26th: ARe Cafe
Oct. 27th: The Novel Approach
Oct. 28th: Love Bytes
Oct. 29th: Alpha Book Club
Oct. 31st: Caraway Carter
Nov. 5th: Jim's Blog
Nov. 6th: Carol Pedroso
Nov. 10th: Cia's Stories Winner Reveal!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter Twenty-three

Another week, another update! This one is inspired by the picture of a tiger staring into the camera, which dovetails nicely. I hope you enjoy this week's flash chapter.

Chapter Twenty-three

“I used to wonder if I might have been better off, after my Alpha sold me to the streak, if the doctor had taken me.” Ritch shuddered. “I guess I was lucky he didn’t. Unless, of course, Frank gets his hands on me again.”

“Not going to happen,” Park assured him. He shoved the books back on the shelf.

“He’s right. I won’t allow anyone to take you from my lands, if you don’t want to go,” I said. The armoire was empty of anything but knickknacks. “I’m going to try the office. Make sure you put the books back even. I’m serious about your mom killing me.”

Park had every right to be upset about everything that had happened, but he seemed to be far more focused on Ritch than what we might find hidden. I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or not. Henry had often used the office with the door closed, his cue for us to leave him alone. I shut the door behind me and then sat down at the desk. Henry wasn’t stupid. He wouldn’t leave a printed email taped to the underside of a desk drawer or behind a photo. He’d taken his laptop and his phone.

The quiet in here was odd, the sounds of Ritch and Park searching muffled with the door shut. Growing up there’d always been the sounds of chaos. Friends over. Lydia cooking in the kitchen with the music going, the TV going in the background.

I sat back in the chair, studying the room. How did he get in touch with the doctor? The older streak members were gradually adjusting to the electronics era, but that Skype and Hangouts weren’t their strong suit. Emails were only so secure.

So phone calls. He couldn’t be using his regular cell phone; I saw him leave that lying around all the time. Burner phone? There’s no way he would’ve left that here. I leaned forward and rested my head in my hands.

The door opened. “You okay?” Park asked.

I rubbed my forehead. “I don’t know. Your dad was a smart man. He wouldn’t keep anything incriminating here when he left.”

“Maybe. Or maybe not. He had places where he put stuff. Did you know the base of that chair screws off? I saw him with it in pieces one time when I came in without knocking.”

It couldn’t be that easy. I got up and Park helped me flip the chair over and unscrew the wheeled base. We flipped the chair over and shook it, but nothing came out. “Damn it.”

“We’ll keep looking.”

I shook my head. “I don’t think we’ll find anything. I hoped we would, but your dad wasn’t stupid. He didn’t flee, he left, taking the time to make your mom think he was going because I sent him.”

“Exactly. There has to be something here.” Park ran a hand through his ruff. “I keep trying to think of where he spent a lot of time growing up. In here for sure. I really don’t want to go through my parents’ room.”

I leaned against him, gaining a level of comfort from the contact that I hoped that he got as well. “Kraig’s going to be okay, Park. We’ll figure all this out. The important thing is he’s with us, and safe. I shouldn’t have killed that doctor, but my rage was too strong. Now we’re hunting blind.”

“Mom will get information from Dad, and Cameron will find him. She may be his mate, but Kraig is her son.” Park grabbed the top of the desk and climbed to his feet. “Come on, let’s keep looking.”

“Did you find anything?” Kraig asked.

“No.” I slumped next to him on the couch. He leaned into me, rubbing his cheek against my shoulder. “How are—” I cut myself off. His light eyes stared into me, the warning clear. “I love you,” I said.

He rolled his eyes. “Well, it’s a good thing I’m the smart one between us. I had Mom pull up that number Dad called her from. He didn’t call tonight, but we ran a search. We got a city in Montana.”

“Did you let Cameron know?”

“We thought it would be best coming from you.” Kraig yawned.

“Let’s get ready for bed. It’s been a long-assed day.” I pulled out my phone and sent Cameron a quick text, telling him which direction. How he got there was up to him. I wasn’t going to micromanage. I helped Kraig up and we headed for the bathroom.

Naked time in the shower sounded just about perfect. I wanted to touch every inch of his body, to feel his heart beating and his breath on my skin. It wasn’t sexual, just a need for him that I couldn’t deny. Kraig didn’t protest as I washed him, dried us both off, and he let me pull him into my arms and twine my legs through his.

Sleep was slow to come, but I had what I needed. I pressed my cheek against the soft stubble on the back of Kraig’s head, inhaling his scent. His chest rumbled against my hand. There was so much against us, but we had this.

“I love you too, you know,” Kraig whispered. “I always have. I think, somehow, we were always supposed to be together.”

“We are now. That’s the important part.”

My phone ringing woke me. “We found him,” Cameron said. “But he’s dead.”

Kraig stiffened. I rubbed his chest. “How?”

“Not sure. We tracked that phone down to an area, then started looking for crap hotels he might be able to hide in. Once we found his car, I was able to scent him to his room. There were at least two other people here, humans, by their stench.”

“Bring him back here. Make sure you search everywhere in the hotel, just in case something was hidden there.”

“Yes, Alpha.”

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Friday, October 14, 2016

3.5 Stars for Meraki Lyhne's Untouchable Beauty

This is an ARC provided to me in exchange for a fair review. Please read all the review and associated warnings the author provides before you decide if it's for you--or don't blast the author or me if the content is not to your taste!

My Review

Untouchable Beauty has a lot of potential as a series. I started this book with the knowledge that the author tagged it dubious consent, but I think it does cross that line into non-consensual for those who are sensitive to that content. Read the warnings, people! Don't blame a story for content the author clearly warns readers about.

Oddly enough, with my personal parenting philosophy, I felt a connection to the lead Cubi character, Seldon, once we get past the very graphic and traumatic first perhaps third of the book. Until that point, I really didn't like him. And the whole concept of the Cubi's culture and need for 'food' because they're Incubi/Succubi felt not quite fleshed out. I mean, a culture primarily dictated by ancient beings who grew up in cultures where children were given adult responsibilities in their young teens, decides that no food can be touched until aged 22? The logic for that escaped me.

Quibbles with that, and the unexplored plot line of another slave who was brought in with Daniel, the human Untouchable (who can't be food until he's 22), and the cliffhanger at the end leaving the story knocked this read down to 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 starts read for me. There was so much brought in to the 'why' of the enslavement of humans from the Cubi's point of view, I keep thinking that further stories must have some sort of serious revelation and change to their culture. Unfortunately, we don't see that as the main aspect of Untouchable Beauty was Daniel's vanity leading to him being taken, his "neglected" upbringing making him vain and spoiled, and his observations of the Cubi culture, especially from the point of views from the various slaves he encounters.

When I hit the end of the book, I actually was surprised to see the 100% symbol. It just didn't feel complete; the abrupt end of the scene in book 1 left me with a lack of emotional conclusion that would make this was a complete story on its own. I'm interested in seeing what happens from the cliffhanger, and whether or not the author will let us see the Cubi culture now that Daniel won't be quite as sheltered, so I will probably read the next book. I also really hope the author expands the ignored plotline with the other slave because that was completely disregarded even though it was highlighted.

(I do love this cover)

Business school is not for Daniel. Not after making the cover of Teen Model. The only problem is that his parents don’t agree, and Daniel skips school to set his plans for fortune and fame in motion. Meeting the award-winning photographer Heimli will change his life, but not in the ways the nineteen-year-old young man expects.

At the age of four hundred thirty-six, Seldon has fed on more beautiful men than he can remember. Living in seclusion from the human world, humans are brought to the Incubi and Succubi as slaves to feed on. Amongst these slaves are the rare Untouchables. When Seldon is entrusted with the safekeeping of one, he has his work cut out for him—especially since this Untouchable gets on his nerves. And under his skin.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter Twenty-two

Another week, another installment. Don't forget you can also get my new contemporary novella, On Fire, 30% off at Dreamspinner through today! If you liked my last contemporary story set in the Pacific NW, you should check it out. No kids, but a firefighter and a photographer experience some serious combustion! In the meantime, the flash fiction will keep on flowing, with this week's update!

Chapter Twenty-two

I left two guards at the house and headed over to Lydia’s house. On my way I called Park and told him to meet me there with Ritch. They could help me search for anything that might reveal what Henry had done. I hated to make Park face this so head on, but as my beta, I needed him. Plus, he’d know all the hiding spots in the house.

I sat sideways on the porch steps and waited. The sun had gone down, and the moon was rising, but it wasn’t quite night yet. I leaned my head back against the handrail. Life hadn’t been great before, but it had been simple. Get up, work, take care of the streak. I’d had just long enough to get used to the boring routine before finding Kraig completely shattered the peace within the streak.

The rumors were flying, and there was nothing I could say to reassure my people when we knew so little. I had streak members away from my claimed area searching for a traitor. My mate was under guard. The only thing I could do was search a house. It chafed the soul inside me who wanted to go on the hunt. I’d tear Henry apart for what he did, but it wouldn’t be over fast—not after the way he’d let them torture his own son.

I flared my nostrils and caught Park’s scent along with the vaguely bitter tang from Ritch. He was afraid. It took effort, but I reined in the urge to snarl. “About time,” I said testily.

“We had farther to come than you did.” Park led Ritch across the front lawn. “What do you think we’re going to find here?” he asked.

“Hell if I know. We might not find anything at all, but I need to do something. I spent nearly as much time here as I did at home growing up. If anyone can find something, it’ll be us. So, show me all your secret spots.”

Ritch hovered beside Park.

“And you can tell me what you found out from him,” I said. I unlocked the front door and flipped on the light.

“He can speak for himself,” Park said. He squeezed Ritch’s shoulder and then shut the front door. He lowered his voice but I could still hear him clearly. “He doesn’t bite.”

I resisted the urge to flash my fangs. “Let’s start in the living room. You move something, you put it back. I told your mom we’d be careful, and she’s already plotting revenge.”

“What did you do?” Park began taking books off the shelves and shaking them.

I started in on the armoire. “Submitted her.”

“You did what?” The book in Park’s hands made a dull thud when it hit the floor.

“She was here when Kraig was drugged. I had to know he was safe.”

“My mother would never hurt him.” Park growled. “You might as well have submitted me.”

“You were here,” I pointed out.

“But what about all the time I’ve spent gone since Kraig disappeared? I can’t believe you did that. My mom?”

Ritch faded back toward the entry. The sharp scent of Park’s anger burned my nose. I straightened and stared directly into his eyes.

“Do you remember, when we were kids, and the son of that visiting alpha spit on Kraig? You nearly smashed his face in, even though you were a beta. You risked punishment, not just from my dad, but from his.”

“I seem to recall you were the one who broke his jaw.”

“Yeah, and convinced him that it was a good excuse to keep his mouth shut when I said you tried to stop me and that’s how you got the shiner when I reacted without thinking.”

Park’s shoulders dropped. “You had to do a formal apology, and your dad tanned your hide.”

“Actually, he told me he knew what happened. That’s when he told me that you should be my beta. That’s why he started training us both. And he didn’t actually hit me, but he did make me take those diplomacy lessons. I think I might have preferred the beating.”

Distance between me and my beta was the last thing we needed right now. He had to know I trusted him. “You risked everything for your brother. You refused to let anyone treat him badly because of what he was. You wouldn’t be involved in trying to change him.”

The fight went right out of Park. “Okay. Mom forgave you, right? I mean, you left her alone with Kraig and we’re here.”

“As long as we don’t make a mess, I will probably survive to see the sun rise. How about we get moving so I can maybe get to bed with my mate before that happens?”

“Ughs. Don’t talk about that. He’s my brother.” Park picked up the book.

Ritch moved back into the room tentatively. “You guys remind me of me and Danny. He was like a brother.”

“You didn’t have any siblings?”

He shook his head. “Not after I was born without a soul. My mother… Well, I was an only child.”

I went back to searching among the knickknacks on the shelves. “Tell me about Danny. About the doctor. What did he do that had the alpha of your herd so uneasy?”

“At first no one thought about it. Everyone was glad to have a doctor, so no one minded the blood and tissue samples. Bonded werekin heal fast. But he kept badgering my alpha to let him take a look at me, even when I wasn’t hurt. The streak funds didn’t extend to paying for my medical care, and my parents did only the bare minimum so I could pass among humans. The doctor offered to pay the alpha for me, but by then he’d already made the deal with the streak. I guess he started following me around, probably making plans to take me before that could happen.”
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

On Fire is Now Available on ARe!

Like ARe's Buy 10 get 1 free policy? (I do) Prefer to buy your eBooks there? Well now you can get On Fire as a pre-order!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter Twenty-one

So this week I used 2 prompts: Have someone have a birthday and "Damned if I do and damned if I don't." were the two I picked.  Enjoy!!

Chapter Twenty-one

Kraig waited in my sitting room off the bedroom. He was on the couch, huddled under a blanket. It struck me how short a time we’d had together since I found him. His ruff was still a golden stubble, his cheekbones still stood out as his muzzle punched forward more than his human face had. Part of that might be that he was still underweight, but I had the feeling he wouldn’t look human even after he recovered.

“Mom.” Kraig’s voice broke as he stared at her. He glanced toward me.

I nodded. “It’s okay.”

Kraig shoved the blanket off and jumped up. He rushed to his mom, barely slowing before he slammed into her. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his head in her neck. “Mom,” he sobbed thickly.

“Shh.” She held him tight, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I know. It’s okay to hurt.”

As much as my heart ached to hold my mate, I knew Kraig needed his mom. Lydia wouldn’t welcome my touch, so I hovered near the doorway. They whispered to each other, and I tried not to pick up what they were saying, but I couldn’t help it.

“I’m sorry,” Lydia said.

“Why, Mom? Why would Dad do this?”

She stoked his back. “I don’t know. I wish I did. If I’d known... I would’ve stopped him.”

“Do you think it’s because I was a human werekin? Was he ashamed of me?” Kraig pulled back and stared into her eyes. “Did you wish I was never born?”

“Never,” she said fiercely. “You were a precious gift, and I never wished for you to be anything else. You’re my son, and I love you.” She cupped his face. “Never let anyone feel like you’re less than you are, you understand me?” Lydia waited until he nodded, and then she patted his cheek.

Kraig led her to the couch and they sat down. She looked over at me. “What now?”

“Do we have permission to search your house?”

“Whatever you need. Do you think there’s something there?”

“I don’t know. Henry never once gave me cause to doubt his loyalty. I can’t understand why he’d do this to Kraig, much less how. I have enforcers looking for him, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to pick up his trail.” I ran a hand over my head, which was aching. I’d faced mutters and resistance when I took over as Alpha, but that was nothing compared to all of this. “We’ll be careful, and I swear we won’t leave the house a mess.”

“He called me last night and asked about Kraig,” Lydia said. “I didn’t recognize the number.”

Kraig stiffened. “What did he want to know?”

“How you were feeling, if I’d seen you or Deke.”

“Is that so?” Was he trying to find out if we’d discovered his betrayal, or was he keeping tabs on Kraig and my whereabouts for another reason? “I’ll need your phone. While I’m gone, I’ll have guards on both doors. Please don’t go outside for any reason.”

You trust me here with Kraig?” Lydia looked shocked.

That hurt, but I tried to keep it out of my voice. “I know what I did was painful; I hate that it was necessary, but you are a member of my streak. If Henry could do this to Kraig, could hurt his own son, you are in danger too. I want you safe, and there’s no safer place than the Alpha house with guards standing at every entry.”

Lydia stood, patting Kraig’s shoulder when he went to follow. He sank back down on the couch. I watched warily as Lydia came closer to me, standing completely still, barely breathing when she reached out. I was unable to stop my flinch when her hand touched my cheek and then dropped down to my shoulder.

“Oh, Deacon.” She shook her head. “I know you didn’t want to hurt me. I could feel your rage and your pain, and it fed mine. That’s why it hurt so bad. How can you handle that much emotion inside you and not break down?”

“I don’t have a choice.”

She searched my eyes, but I’d learned the lesson early at my father’s knee—an Alpha had to be stronger than anyone else because it was his job to take all the stresses and pain without breaking. I had to protect them, not just because it was my duty, but because it was part of my very nature to lead by example.

“I hope one day you don’t have to carry that much inside you,” she said.

Kraig stared at me, and I stared back over her shoulder. “When we stop the monsters who helped that doctor hurt Kraig. But not before that.” I had a feeling I was going to need that fire inside fueled by the rage and pain to stay strong enough to see this through.

Lydia smiled sadly. “I guess the little boy I knew really has grown up.” She brightened. “That reminds me! Kraig and I can spend the time planning your birthday party.”

I frowned. “Do you really think that’s appropriate right now?”

“Yes. We need something to break the tension. Don’t let the bad things take away all the good.”

“Do you want to help your mom?” I asked Kraig.

“Sure. I have a few birthdays to make up for.”

Maybe we could do a party to welcome Kraig back, introduce him as my mate, and celebrate my birthday. Still....

“How about a backyard barbecue?” I suggested.

“If the weather holds.”

Lydia went to rummage around for some paper and pens. I squatted next to Kraig. “You going to be okay? I won’t be gone long.”

Kraig snorted. “You know, you keep asking me that every time you leave. How about I’ll tell you if I’m not okay.”

“All right.” I held up both hands. “Jeez. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” I chuckled.  
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

QSF Flash Fiction Anthology: Flight

What are those? Just a few peeks of the illustrations included in Flight! What is Flight? Well... read on!

One of my favorite groups on Facebook is the Queer Scifi Group. Do you like to read scifi? Write it? Either way, it's a great group with limited promotion but unlimited discussion potential. Nearly every day there are posted conversations all about speculative fiction themes. The group also hosts special events, like their annual Flash Fiction Contest.

I've participated each year, and it's been amazing fun! There is nothing like the challenge of taking a theme and seeing where your mind--and the minds of a bunch of other authors--can go. Trying to tell an entire story in just 300 words is far more challenging than some might think; each and every word has to be chosen carefully.

This year's theme was Flight, and there were a ton of great features. I didn't place in the contest, but my story was chosen for inclusion in the eBook. Proceeds benefit the group to keep it growing, purchasing marketing materials to help promote speculative fiction within the gay fiction genre, and generally spread the awesomeness that is the Queer Sci-fi Group.

So what did I think of when I considered Flight? Wings? Did that with my Falcon Carthera. An airplane disaster? Way too real life. Mythology? Hmm... but no.

Flight had another meaning for me because as a kid I used to dream of flying all the time, and it always represented a freedom I desperately wanted. That memory resonated with me, and the idea for Changed came about. Cas experienced a trauma and pushed away his lover, Heath. He takes a job flying the remote reaches of space, giving him freedom from the whispers and stares, but his inner turmoil can't be escaped.

You'll have to read the book if you want to find out more though. And, along with my flash fiction story, you'll get 110 others that range from fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, and horror. AND, as an added bonus, there are amazing illustrations created for the contest winners as well as the judge's choice winners.

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Author: Various

Cover & Illustrations Artist: Mila May

Length: 33.6 K

Format: ebook, print

Release Date: General release 9/21/16

Pairing: LGBTIQA

Price: $4.99 eBook, $12.99 print b/w*, $24.99 print color*

*Book contains 5 illustrations inside.

Buy Sites:


Excerpt from Changed:

Heath reached out. “You agreed to always come back to me.”

Cas stumbled away. “I’m sorry.” He couldn’t let Heath touch his ruined body, to learn the truth. “I’m leaving today.”

(Yep, that's all you get! What do you want? It's only a 300 word short story!!)