Book Features

Sneak Peek of Kill The Beast by Michele Israel Harper

EXCERPT

Hours later, she had yet to find the west wing.

Signs of the beast were everywhere—shredded tapestries, footprints, tufts of hair—but she had not sighted him once.

She’d found the dungeon, the kitchen, an enormous library—she’d almost gotten distracted but managed to control herself—and a plethora of guest rooms, gaming rooms, music rooms, smaller libraries, sewing rooms, and more, all singing of former beauty. But no master suite. No hall lined with family portraits that granted access to the west wing.

And the light followed her. She’d lost it more times than she could count, but somehow it always found her. Always lit her path. Always made her feel the hunted, not the hunter.

She came down the right staircase a third time, baffled. She couldn’t understand it. It was almost as if she were deflected, again and again. Away from her goal. Away from the right path. But she didn’t know when, and she didn’t know how.

The château may have had over two thousand rooms, but she’d memorized its layout, inside and out. She knew where she was going.

She moved back to the front entrance and massaged her tense shoulders. Think. Think! Surely there wasn’t much time left. Rubbing a spot clean on the glass, she checked the sky. Dawn peeked over the horizon.

She had less than an hour before the sun rose and the beast would be lost to her. She’d have to start again. Next year. She didn’t want to wait that long. And she didn’t want the word “failure” following her around. She had a reputation to maintain. Her family to protect. She—

Her senses froze. Nothing had changed, not a sound, not even a shift of wind, but suddenly its presence filled the room. She turned slowly, crossbow raised. A grin threatened to erupt on her face. At last.

A hulking beast, his frame filling the width of the enormous staircase, stalked her. His eyes glowed red, intense, and his muscles strained with each step. Drool slid off his fangs, dripping a trail on the carpet. Each drip sizzled and evaporated in a hiss of smoke. Lovely. His bite was venomous. She had to be even more careful.

As she waited for her moment, she tried to classify the form before her, but she hadn’t seen anything quite like it. Though somewhat wolfish in the face, wild boar tusks protruded from his jowls, and he stood upright like a man. Its arms were long and hanging, somewhat like an ape’s, and each finger was tipped with thick, pointed claws. Coarse hair covered every inch of him, stripes undulating black and gray with a hint of tan. Some fairy creatures wore clothing, but not this one.

Her breathing slowed to almost nothing. She aimed—searched for her mark. Released her breath. And faltered. The tuft of white fur, right over his heart, visible one night a year, vulnerable only this night, was missing. She hesitated, her indecision nearly costing her.

The beast sprang. Her arrow flew. The creature swatted it away midair and…disappeared.

Ro blinked. Non. It couldn’t be.

She looked above her, behind her—he was gone. Her heart pounded, and her eyes roved over every inch for clues. She couldn’t have failed. Not so easily.

Ro eased toward the stairs, checking each direction. She knelt and inspected the faded burgundy carpet.

His scent was heavy—the thick, coarse hair freshly fallen. The holes in the carpet from his acidic drool, still smoking. She followed his trail down to where he’d sprung. Oui, he’d been there. She hadn’t imagined it.

She hesitated a split second before backing up and running toward the place—over her head—he’d vanished. She jumped, crossbow clutched tight.

Sunlight blinded her.

She slammed into the wall and tumbled to the ground. Shaking her head, Ro staggered to her feet. Her jaw dropped as she looked around her.

The gloomy castle had vanished. Or rather, the black, crumbling marble was replaced by a gleaming castle so magnificent, the streaming sunlight reflecting off every clean and polished and gilded surface hurt her eyes. Her breath caught as she stared in all directions.

Servants bustled around her, each intent on his or her task.

Yet, the tumult around her was hazy—fuzzy. It was as if she were in a painting. A live painting. How could that be? No one noticed her. She cautiously eased forward, sniffing for the beast’s heavy odor.

Not a trace of it.

A bright-blue coat at the top of the staircase caught her eye as its owner disappeared through the doorway’s arch—to the left.

Tall, broad-shouldered, an air of command, and the costume of a nobleman rather than a servant—Ro stared after him in disbelief. She hadn’t seen finery like that in years. Seventeen years, to be exact. She shook herself out of it and darted up the stairs. She wanted answers. He would have them.

A blinding beauty, long staff in hand, materialized before her as she reached the first landing. Ro stopped. The woman wasn’t distorted in the least. She looked straight at Ro and scowled.

“You.” The woman’s accusing finger pointed right at Ro’s chest. “You don’t belong here. Be gone!”

Flicking her away as one would a troublesome fly, the woman hurled Ro away from her with one wave of her perfectly sculpted hand.

Ro slammed into the wall far below her, and the bright sunlight evaporated. She gasped for air. Sliding down the wall, she feebly tried to keep her crossbow raised. She fought against losing consciousness as the decrepit and sagging castle once more filtered into view. She was alone.

Gray and foggy sunlight struggled to break through the filmy windows. Pre-dawn sunlight. If she didn’t get out now, she’d be trapped. For a year. The château would vanish at any moment, as soon as the muggy sunlight kissed it. She had to get out. She had to—her thoughts drifted away. Dust motes danced through the air in graceful movement, luring her, enchanting her. Distracting her.

Her view tilted and darkened. She shook her head and struggled to stay awake, one thought on her mind. Gautier had a few things to explain.

She stilled.

Gautier…would not be pleased. He had hired her with blatant admiration for what she could do, yet no handsome face could hide the animal within. Ro knew within seconds of meeting him: he was a monster.

And now that monster had power over her family. They would starve. They would be imprisoned. And Cosette would be at his mercy. Just as he’d promised.

I have failed was her last thought before darkness claimed her.

To Be Continued in Kill the Beast, available now…

About The Book

Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the
kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive—just like the rest of the
kingdom plunged into despair never before known. But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill. Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him. But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear
most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

Purchase Link (L2L2 Publishing Website):
www.love2readlove2writepublishing.com/books/kill-the-beast/

Learn more about Michele Israel Harper by visiting www.micheleisraelharper.com

If your in the Indianapolis, Indiana area stop by and join Michele Israel Harper at Irvington Vinyl & Books for her Book Signing and Release Party. Let her know your coming by clicking the blink below

(Irvington Vinyl & Books, Indianapolis, IN, Saturday, September 29th, 2018):
www.facebook.com/events/322160825018423/

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Book Features, Giveaways

Sneak Peek of Cruel by Jacob Stone #giveaway

Prologue
Downtown Los Angeles alley, 2:18 a.m.

The rat grew frantic in its efforts to escape the trap, its front claws a blur as they scratched against the wire mesh. This one was older than the juveniles already collected, and showed the scars of a lifetime spent skulking through Los Angeles alleyways and sewers. Half of one ear had been torn off, its grayish-black fur matted, and a dozen wounds scabbed over. While the rat was larger than the others, it was still emaciated enough to be able to squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. Rats like this one were crucial for what was coming.
The newspaper stories from 2001 didn’t mention rats, and neither did the ones from 1984. That had to be because the reporters hadn’t been told about them, or really about any of the specifics. In 1984, the newspaper and TV reporters described the murders only as depraved and sickening.

A police officer must’ve given them that description, and someone with a touch of poetry in his soul named the killer the Nightmare Man. That name stuck—both in 1984 and in 2001—but it didn’t fully do the killer justice. While horrific, monstrous things were done to the victims, they were things that could only have come from the nightmares of a lunatic.

Just as some species of cicadas awaken only every seventeen years, the same was true of the Nightmare Man. October second would mark the seventeen-year anniversary of the start of the last killing spree, and new victims had already been chosen. They were both the least and most fortunate people alive. They would be dying the worst deaths imaginable, but they would have a kind of immortality, their fates forever entwined with the Nightmare Man. Because of that, they would never be forgotten.

The cage was picked up, and the rat inside backed up and got on its hind legs, its small black eyes shining with malevolence as it bared its teeth. It was an ugly thing and would do nicely for what was needed.

A homeless woman lay curled in a fetal position as she slept beside a dumpster. She stirred as the cage holding the rat was carried past her. Her red-rimmed eyes cracked open, her round, craggy face turning toward the soft padding of footsteps. In a raspy croak that sounded as if her throat had been scraped raw with sandpaper, she asked for money. Even from several feet away, the sour smell of cheap gin on her breath assaulted the senses. A decision now had to be made: whether to kill the old woman or ignore her. A moment of reflection revealed a third option—simply hand the homeless woman a twenty-dollar bill, and that was what was done. The woman mumbled something unintelligible as she accepted the money. She turned away as she hid the bill within her layers of clothing, and then she presumably fell back to sleep.

That was how it needed to be. It wasn’t time yet for the Nightmare Man to awaken from his slumber. October second was still a full ten days away. That was when the killings would start again. Besides, snuffing out the life of this old woman wasn’t necessary. Her alcohol-addled mind wouldn’t later connect this late-night intrusion of her makeshift home with the Nightmare Man’s return. But the Nightmare Man was coming. And Los Angeles would soon be weeping tears of blood.


“Rarely is an author so skilled at portraying such unremitting evil and the poignant, human side of his characters in a single tale.”
—Jeffery Deaver

“Jacob Stone is equal parts Thomas Harris, Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo, and Stephen King. CRUEL will leave you shaking . . . with fear, excitement, and the uncontrollable compulsion to keep on reading.”
—Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author of True Fiction

“17.” L.A. detective Morris Brick knows the number all too well. It was the gruesome signature the Nightmare Man left next to his victims’ bodies. Brick’s father was the first to investigate the killings. Five women were butchered before the perpetrator vanished. Seventeen years later he resurfaced—to kill again in the same depraved ways. Now another seventeen years have passed. Brick knows in his gut that it’s time for the Nightmare Man to reawaken. But even Brick can’t imagine the madman’s true agenda. Or just how terrifying the sleepless nights are going to get in the City of Angels . . .

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Learn more about Jacob Stone and his work at https://www.davezeltserman.com

Reviews

Book Review: Twisted Gift by Jessi Elliott

Title: Twisted Gift

Author: Jessi Elliott

Publication Date: September 21, 2018

Genre: Romance

Rating: 5 Stars=Non-Stop Page Turner

Purchase at Amazon.com

Aurora and Tristan are back in book two of the Twisted series, Twisted Gift. Aurora finally learned how she is connected with the fae and has to step up to lead the light fae. Tristan agrees they should bring light and dark fae together especially since there is something killing off fae and making it look as if they are killing each other. It has been working until Aurora is taken and this is where the twist begins.

I enjoyed book one in the series but Twisted Gift was more entertaining, the storyline more dramatic, which had me bringing out the tissues. This book had unsuspected twists as well as reveals, but you have to read the book to see what I’m talking about.

The author does a wonderful job building the romance between Aurora and Tristan. It was more developed and it was nice to see it grow. I also like that Skylar shared a different side of herself, mainly her take-charge attitude and the little glimmer of caring about Aurora. There was also a hint of a love triangle but I’m glad the author didn’t go that route. This story is great the way it is and I’m satisfied with the ending.

* This book was provided by the author for review purposes only.

Book Features, Giveaways

Spotlight Wednesday with The Palm Reader by Christopher Bowron

The Palm Reader
Jackson Walker #2
by Christopher Bowron
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
“… fantastic characters and a truly spellbinding plot—the best book in its genre
I have ever read.”
Susan Keefe, TheColumbiaReview.com
A gripping thriller, which excels in unusual twists and turns,
explorations of family heritage and truths, and one man’s ongoing
journey as he explores new connections and threats to his
life.
Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
Jackson Walker once again faces his demons in this
haunting sequel to Devil in the Grass. Now
working as an investigative lawyer for Peter Robertson, Jack teams
with Janie Callaghan to solve the disappearance of a sleazy client
specializing in taboo pornography. Meanwhile the evil head of the
Church of Satan weaves an intricate web to lure Walker as the
sacrificial lamb in an Everglades Black Mass ritual.
Christopher Bowron has always loved a great story, and possesses a unique
gift of the magic to tell one. He can be described as a “thriller writer,
with a mysterious undertone,” who can take his readers on
believable journeys to the sharp edge of reality and the
paranormal. The use of seat belts is optional while reading his
work, but you may need to buckle up and hold on tight from time to
time.
Christopher’s roots are Canadian, and his two children make the fifth generation of
his family to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario. His other
home in Southwest Florida, in an area of everglades and ocean,
provided him with ammunition for his imagination. This inspired his
love of writing, and became the backdrop in the creation of his first
published, best-selling novel. “Devil In The Grass” and
soon to be released sequel “The Palm Reader.”
He is fortunate to be able to live his own personal great story, which includes
graduating from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts in History,
creating a wonderful family and life, running a successful real
estate brokerage, having the opportunities to enjoy fine wine, sports
and getting away to do some salt water fishing in Florida whenever
possible.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!