Holding on to Mr. Right

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Here’s a fun summer read!

Family feuds and love don’t mix.  (You know me, I love a good family feud!) 

Twenty-one-year-old Ryan knows it’s only a matter of time before he is destined to take over the family wine business. The recent college graduate finds his best-laid plans thrown for a loop when he falls for the girl next door—who should be off-limits for more reasons than he cares to think about.

Beautiful and intelligent, Francesca is a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. That is, until a long-running family feud threatens to keep her and the man she finds herself falling for apart.

Francesca and Ryan find themselves in a web of duty, family, and love in this heartwarming coming-of-age contemporary romance by bestselling author, Debbie White.

Purchase  Holding on to Mr. Right

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Debbie White

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The words dance around in my head until I can put them down on paper.

Debbie currently lives in northern California where the jagged coast meets rolling hills dotted with vineyards. When she’s not writing the next best-selling romance novel, she’s spending time with her family, traveling, wine tasting and anything to do with the outdoors.

From the author:

Things you may or may not know about me!

  • I can eat a whole bag of cinnamon bears without blinking an eye.
  • I have a soft spot for babies (the human kind and the furry ones, too!)
  • I happily donate a percentage of all book sales to animal rescue!

Follow Debbie online:

Website

Blog

Facebook

 

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An Unhuman Journey

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There’s a war brewing between good and evil, and the chess pieces are being set…
Aaron has gone missing, and Mordecai has taken over Kirsten’s training. She’s learning by leaps and bounds under the god-of-old’s not-so-gentle tutelage, but with Nathan in charge of Drake Security during The Dragon King’s unplanned absence, everything is upside down.

The evil Celrau vampires were banned from creating new offspring, but they’ve bargained for permission to do so in the Underworld, where the Concilio has no authority. As part of their army-building, the Celrau vampires kidnap Kirsten and take her to the Underworld with the intention of making her one of them. Alone in another realm, Kirsten must form unexpected alliances to survive a most Unhuman Journey.

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Join bestselling author Candace Blevins on a thrilling adventure into the critically acclaimed sequel to Only Human.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Candace Blevins lives with her husband of 18 years and their two daughters. When not working or driving kids all over the place she can be found reading, writing, meditating, or swimming.

Candace writes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary BDSM Romance, and a kick-ass Motorcycle Club series.

Her urban fantasy series, Only Human, gives us a world where weredragons, werewolves, werelions, three different species of vampires, as well as a variety of other mythological beings exist.

Candace’s two paranormal romance series, The Chattanooga Supernaturals and The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, are both sister series to the Only Human series, and give some secondary characters their happily ever after.

Her Safeword Series gives us characters who happen to have some extreme kinks. Relationships can be difficult enough without throwing power exchange into the mix, and her books show characters who care enough about each other to fight to make the relationship work. Each book in the Safeword series highlights a couple with a different take on the lifestyle.

You can visit Candace on the web at candaceblevins.com and feel free to friend her on Facebook at facebook.com/candacesblevins and Goodreads at goodreads.com/CandaceBlevins. You can also join facebook.com/groups/CandacesKinksters to get sneak peeks into what she’s writing now, images that inspire her, and the occasional juicy blurb.

Stay up to date on Candace’s newest releases, and get exclusive excerpts by joining her mailing list!

Only Human series (Urban Fantasy)

  • Only Human
  • An Unhuman Journey (June 2016)
  • Unhuman Acts (late 2016)

Chattanooga Supernaturals (Paranormal Romance)

Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club (link)

 

 

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Interviewed — A Few Times

“Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Whitmore. She is an aspiring screenwriter as well as the author of Forget Me Not; a powerful coming of age story starting in 1933 and spanning deca…”

Source: Author Interview- Allison Whitmore

Just sharing this interview, all. I really enjoyed participating. Thank you, Keystoke Blog!

My blog tour is currently going with Xpresso Books as well if you’re interested in checking that out. Allison Whitmore’s Kick-off The Summer Blog Tour with Xpresso Books.

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Some highlights from the TOUR include:

Another fun interview:

We Do Right

My Top Ten TV Shows …  lol…Do we have any in common? 😉 Let me know below. I love TV!

Book Addict’s Bookshelves

And a blogger’s review: (Thank you, Brittany!)

Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf

Thank you for taking the time to read and review…all of you (Goodreads, Amazon, Bloggers! You’re the best.)

Forget Me Not on Amazon

The Dark Woods Series by C.M. Albert

The Dark Woods Series 
Book 1/Part 1: Redd’s Descent

The dark fairy tales your mother never told you about.

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Celtic folklore warns its people not to enter the Dark Woods at night if you want to live to see the light of day. For Redd Kearney, he has no choice after the death of his grandmother at the hands of the vicious, mythical half-breed creatures. But what he finds is way worse than any childhood legend ever could have warned him about.

Finding himself chained up in the creature’s den, he has two choices: surrender to her evil to stay alive, or die resisting. But the stakes are high when he has a new travel companion whose virtue he needs to keep intact, and when his wife Aine’s life is threatened if he doesn’t comply and give the Alpha what her pack needs to survive.

Can Redd surrender to his dark side without losing himself in the process? Or will Mac’s dark, insatiable desires cause his full descent before he has time to escape?

Redd’s Descent is a dark retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, where roles are reversed and the big bad wolf literally means to eat her victim alive.

CMALBERT_photo Author C.M. Albert enjoys living dangerously on the razor’s edge as both author and editor. In addition to being an Amazon bestselling author, she’s had the privilege of copy-editing under her Grammar Babe business for several international bestselling and award-winning authors. Her own writing infuses a healthy blend of humor and romance, and she’s a sucker for a good villain and everlasting love. In her spare time, she and her husband wrangle their two young kids and enjoy spending time outdoors. When not writing, editing, or kid wrangling, C.M. Albert is also a Reiki practitioner, chocolate chip cookie aficionado, kindness ambassador, and seeker of naps.

You can find C.M. Albert online at:

Facebook/Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/cmalbertwrites

Facebook/Grammar Babe: https://www.facebook.com/thegrammarbabe

Twitter: https://twitter.com/colleenmalbert

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13341714-colleen

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/GrammarBabe

Amazon: http://amzn.to/23e2Nn0

Faith in Love: http://Smarturl.it/RemKW_Faith

 
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Redd’s Descent: The Dark Woods Series

COVER REVEAL

Redd’s Descent by C.M. Albert
The Dark Woods Series #1

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The dark fairy tales your mother never told you about. 

Celtic folklore warns its people not to enter the Dark Woods at night if you want to live to see the light of day. For Redd Kearney, he has no choice after the death of his grandmother at the hands of the vicious, mythical half-breed creatures. But what he finds is way worse than any childhood legend ever could have warned him about.

Finding himself chained up in the creature’s den, he has two choices: surrender to her evil to stay alive, or die resisting. But the stakes are high when he has a new travel companion whose virtue he needs to keep intact, and when his wife Aine’s life is threatened if he doesn’t comply and give the Alpha what her pack needs to survive.

Can Redd surrender to his dark side without losing himself in the process? Or will Mac’s dark, insatiable desires cause his full descent before he has time to escape?

Redd’s Descent is a dark retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, where roles are reversed and the big bad wolf literally means to eat her victim alive.

 

Enter the Redd’s Descent Giveaway: 

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The Howling Heart — Tour Stop

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Synopsis:

Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of thecorporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.

 

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April Bostic is a New Jersey-based, Adult Romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled “A Rose to the Fallen”.

Her first short story, “Right Here, Right Now”, released in January 2012, is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories: a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled “Eros, My Love”, and a sexy romantic comedy entitled “Love Addiction”.

After five years, she released her second novel, “The Howling Heart” in August 2013, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. To end her busiest year in publishing, April also released her fourth short story in December 2013, a historical paranormal romance entitled “A Dark Scandal”.

author-interview

Where are you from?  I was born in Perth Amboy, NJ but grew up in Woodbridge, NJ until 6th grade when my parents divorced. Then my mother, sister, and I moved to Brick, NJ where I spent most of my teenage years. As an adult, I live in Perth Amboy again and I think it’s funny how my life has gone full-circle. I just hope I don’t die in the same town I was born.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I would write more about the history of Varulv, and include an epilogue which would explain what happened to Quinn after Riley and Paige left. I know many readers wanted to know more about her.


Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
The Howling Heart is an adult paranormal romance about a young woman from New York City named Paige who falls in love with a young werewolf from England named Riley. They first met as children in a forest in the Colorado Rockies, and are reunited years later as adults after a tragedy in Paige’s life. They both face many obstacles that prevent them from being together and it’s not only because they’re different species. Paige wants to focus on her career, but she wants to be with Riley, too. Pack law prohibits him from abandoning it, so they have to figure out how to make their relationship work. My novel gives you a healthy dose of paranormal and romance. There’s an equal amount of both. There are twists and turns in the story, so I hope the predictability factor is low which should make for a more enjoyable reading experience. My werewolves are unique from other authors. Their existence is the result of the love between a wolf and a human during 13 century Scandinavia, and the supernatural intervention of Norse gods. The wolves are called Varulv, which is the Swedish and Danish word for ‘werewolf’. They can’t keep their human form for an extended time or if they fall asleep. The moon doesn’t affect their shifting, but a special light was placed inside of them by the gods which allows them to shift between human and wolf. They are wolves first, and humans second.


How do you overcome writer’s block?
I think you have to be really motivated and have an awesome story idea. The story has to be so great, that you can’t contain it in your mind anymore and you feel like you’ll explode if you don’t write it. That, and having the passion to write. If you don’t have passion, I think readers will be able to tell through your writing.

What was the most fun part of writing your book? I wrote The Howling Heart like I was watching a movie. I love romance movies with supernatural, fantasy, or sci-fi elements, so I think that’s why this book was fun to write. I envisioned my dream cast portraying the characters. For the some of the dialogue, I would think, “How would so-and-so look if they said this?” I’m a very visual person, so I think that’s the reason I wrote the book in the style that I did.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? I acknowledge that I have a problem with telling and not showing in my writing. I’ve been struggling with that weakness for years, but I hope to overcome it one day. I know the only way I will is to write more, but that means getting over my 3-year writer’s block.


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
When writing about werewolves that are mostly wolf in nature, I felt it was necessary to do some research on Canis lupus. I read about wolves and watched several nature documentaries. I learned about a female wolf’s gestational period for a very specific reason and it’s explained in the book. I read about pack hierarchy, especially because I decided there should be alphas, betas, and an omega in the Black River pack. Reading about wolves’ physical features and advantages that help them survive in the wild was important. I needed to know how a wolf behaved when it was aggressive, submissive, and playful, because it helped me when writing certain scenes. Although my wolves are essentially “super” wolves that have extraordinary abilities, I had to think about what makes them similar to normal wolves. I even looked for images displaying the variety of fur coloring across different sub-species including the extinct species. Could I write about a wolf with striped fur? Are there wolves with tawny or brown fur? Are they all gray, black, and white? Many of the things I learned about wolves were used as a foundation for my mythical werewolves. And while Varulv don’t truly exist, some aspects about them are rooted in truth.


Do you have any advice for other writers? 
If you write a story, and you’re passionate about it, don’t give up on it. See it through to the end, because you’ll feel so good about yourself when you do. It’s a major accomplishment to finish a story, whether it’s a short story, novella, or novel. Don’t get discouraged by negative readers or reviews. Remember for every person who doesn’t like your work, there will be someone who does. Writing, like all forms of art, is subjective, and not everyone is going to like your work. Be brave and put yourself out there. It takes a lot of courage to be a writer or author. Don’t be afraid, because you’ll realize it’s not so scary once you do it.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope they think The Howling Heart is a unique werewolf love story. If they weren’t big fans of the paranormal romance genre before, and my book just sparked their interest, I hope they finish it with the desire to read more books similar to mine. Each author tries to write their own twist to werewolf mythology, and I think it’s fun to read about different variations. It’s a myth after all, so the possibilities are endless!

Do you have an agent or publisher? How did you go about finding one? When I think about my publishing journey, it brings me back to a place I wish no aspiring author has to go through. I started by querying 52 literary agencies, but no one accepted my manuscript. Then, I queried 31 publishers that accepted unsolicited manuscripts from authors. After receiving so many rejections and unsatisfactory offers, I almost gave up and decided to just keep the story on my hard drive forever. I swore never to self-publish again, because I had such a terrible experience with my first book. But I kept querying publishers, and finally accepted a contract with Eternal Press because they published in paperback and e-book. I’m old school, and still love paperbacks more than e-books.

Find the author on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2768953.April_Bostic

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Purchase links for The Howling Heart:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

And don’t forget to enter:

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April Blog Hop — Write Like a Wizard

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Welcome to the Write Like a Wizard April Blog Hop!

Visit each blog for a chance to win an ecopy of the books the characters are from, AND a $10 Amazon GC!

Character Q&A: Isabella Foxworthy (The Lost Heir by Allison Whitmore, Erin Virginia and Grace Arden)

Where are you from? Culver Hills, which is a neighborhood in Los Angeles right next to Culver City. Most people have heard of that more.
How old are you? 15
What do your parents do? They’re dead. But they used to run The Foxworthy Hotel. Now it’s just me and my grandmother.
Tell us about your closest friends. — My best friend’s named Lana Starr. She’s the only person I really trust a hundred percent in this world. I can’t even trust my grandmother, really, and she’s just always been there for me. I recently met these Seth and Micah, and they are okay. I think I like them, but I’m not sure yet.
Any secrets you want to share with us? I really don’t like to share my secrets, but if you won’t tell too many people… Okay. I feel like I’m going crazy almost all of the time lately. It’s because of I have this thing where I can feel other people’s emotions, and it’s getting stronger. I really don’t know what to do about it. Anyway, that’s about it for now.
Describe one moment that you feared for your life. — The night my parents died was really scary. There was a lot of fire, and to this day, I hate fire, and then I just felt like I wanted to save them, but I couldn’t. All I could do was protect myself. I don’t know. I think it’s my fault. I think it’s all my fault.
Is there a love interest we should know about? Okay, well, I have a crush on this guy Max that works at my favorite restaurant Cake N Honey and also…I think Seth Logan is kind of cute, but please, please, never tell him that. He has enough of an ego as it is. I also like him because he seems to really care about people. I think that’s a good way to be, but he is really full of it too, so I don’t know.
Anything else you want people out there to know? The Foxworthy Hotel is an awesome place to visit and if you come ask Rolf for a tour. He’s really good at the history stuff. Thanks for listening to me and my babble. I tend to do that sometimes, and also I tend to get a bit bratty, some people don’t like it, but hey, I’m a kid trying to deal with a lot. Hope you’ll cut me some slack. And I think, maybe you’ll enjoy my story!

Thanks for stopping by! 

What was your favorite part of the Q&A? Comment below, enter the giveaway, and visit the next stop posted on www.writelikeawizard.com.

Enter Isabella’s Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Isabella Foxworthy was just another girl…until she learned she was an empath, able to read the energy of others. A secret world known as the Violet City lies beneath her family’s hotel in Los Angeles. Through this discovery, Isabella is catapulted into a whirlwind of magic, adventure, and danger. The Violet City holds the key to protecting her stability; her family hotel, her friends, and her very sanity. With morphlings, empaths, and fair folk also comes a powerful entity that twists her mind into knots, threatening everything she loves. Now, Isabella and her new friends—a guitar-playing jock, his gifted but neurotic brother, and a set of over-indulged twins—have until her 16th birthday to save her world with the help of someone who’s been lost for a very long time…the lost Foxworthy heir. But will they find him in time? And will he be a friend or foe?

Allison Whitmore was born in Los Angeles and studied literature and writing at Long Island University. She spent several years teaching English and history after earning her master’s degree at Mount St. Mary’s University. Outside of writing and reading, Allison loves classic Hollywood films, and spending time with her family and friends. In 2011, she started working on The Lost Heir (Book I in The Diadem Chronicles) with two of her good friends, Erin Virginia and Grace Arden. She is grateful to have them along for the ride as she developed the characters and etched out the massive story world of the novel and the exciting series-to-come.

The Co-Authors:
Erin Virginia spent the first years of her life in Tokyo, Japan before finishing her formative years in a suburb of Chicago. She attributes her wild imagination and her love of reading to her family. She loved working with her two best friends as the three of them created mayhem and magic with The Lost Heir in her new home, Los Angeles.
Grace Arden was born in Philadelphia. She has always lived in the imaginative world and grew up fascinated by dark stories, fantasy and romance. Grace plans to empower the world through her looking glass mirror perspective on life. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
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Social Media

https://twitter.com/grace_avarden

INSTAGRAM:
@allisonwhitmoreauthor

The Lost Heir — An Excerpt

“Oh my God!” Isabella cried as a blast of air thrust them  forward down a tube in a wild zigzag. Seth’s shouts filtered into her ears as they whipped left and right. Then, without warning, the tube spat them out onto black asphalt. “Ouch!” Isabella rubbed her behind as she looked around them. “This looks like an alley or something.” There were black-brick walls on either side of them, and above their heads, warm light spilled from what looked like a blue sky.

“That can’t be the sky. We didn’t go that far up,” noted Seth.

“But it looks like it, and that definitely feels like the sun,” she replied.

They looked around, spotting lots of trash bins and decaying fliers taped to the walls. They heard what sounded like a train whistle followed by a loud rumble. Then, voices peeled into the alley, and above their heads, a little gray bird tweeted the calls of the train whistle and then repeated the rumbling noise. “It’s a mockingbird,” said Isabella.

“So that’s where he went.”

The bird flew a figure eight in the air and then, without warning, dive-bombed Seth’s head, missing it by a hair. “I told you it was going to attack!”

Before she could respond, the bird swooped by Isabella and into a doggy-door-size opening in the brick wall in front of them.

“Look! It went in there.” Isabella got up and moved toward the opening.

“Oh, no,” Seth said, scrambling up behind her. “I’m not going back into another dark hole.”

“But that bird saved us,” said Isabella.

“It just attacked me,” Seth reminded her.

“It led us out here, didn’t it?”

“It was just getting itself outside. We happened to head in the same direction. It’s not like it waited around for us.”

Before the rest of their argument could play out, commotion emanated from the bird’s hole. “I don’t think a mockingbird could make that much noise,” said Seth. “Something else is in there.” They both stood fixed in front of the small opening, like two deer about to be run over by a semi.

“I was actually a gray catbird,” began a teenage-sounding female voice. “But sometimes I do a black catbird or just a plain ole lil’ black cat. Depends on my mood. Technically, I’m not allowed to go feline, so I keep that under wraps.” She was still talking, but no one had appeared. “Oh, no!” the voice cried. “I think I miscalculated something. I’m stuck. Frickety frack! Help, please! I can’t change unless I’m upright.”

Unsure of what to do, Isabella looked at Seth.

“I’m not going near that thing. Let’s go,” he said.

“Just move the boxes to one side, and I can get out. Please!” the voice implored.

Isabella, ignoring Seth’s protests, knelt down in front of the hole and pulled free several pieces of cardboard. She immediately jumped back to her friend’s side, afraid that she’d made the wrong decision. If she thought about it, she knew her instincts rarely led her astray. Of course, she felt a little different down there: frightened and confused but also calm and less chaotic. She really could not explain the contradiction.

Thanks so much!” the voice said as she crawled from the hole and stood before them. She was a girl. A short girl who looked to be no more than thirteen. Her hair was the color of rust and stuck to her head in loopy curls, and her eyes were a haunting sort of gray. She wore a ratty velvet coat, a too-big dress, and thick boots. “So, as I was saying, I do like to do the kitty thing when no one’s looking. It’s fun to curl up into a ball and roll, but it’s not safe to do that outside, really, and my mother would kill me.”

“Why’s that?” Isabella asked, curious, forgetting for a moment that the conversation was absurd.

“Well, I’m supposed to morph into a raven like the rest of my line, but nobody likes ravens. They have really bad reps, ya know?”

“I guess,” Isabella replied.

“So I do the catbird. I just don’t like the way they sound,” the girl babbled, exposing a row of teeth about half the size of a normal person’s. “I do admire the mockingbird’s ability to mimic, so I’ve mastered a way to morph the two. It’s a rare skill, but I can do it because I’m… well, me!”

“You mean to tell us you are that bird we just saw?” Seth asked.

“One and the same.” She thrust her hand out for one of them to shake. “Name’s Mimi.”

Seth eyed her. “How do you expect us to believe that you were that bird?”

“Why would I lie about something like that? It’s no big deal,” she replied with a good-natured smile.

“Yeah, Seth, it’s no big deal,” Isabella joked, taking a step backward. Mimi’s hand was still extended, unshaken. This girl couldn’t be that bird, really. Could she?

“Okay. If you’re some kind of sci-fi shape-shifter,” Seth continued, though the girl looked like she had no idea what he was talking about, “how do we know you weren’t the one chasing us with those tornadoes from hell?”

“Oh! I saw that, but I don’t really like chaos, so I hid until it was over.”

“Gee, thanks,” said Seth.

“But I did try to help her when she was drowning. I sent a boat, but you didn’t take it.” She turned from Seth to Isabella and folded her arms with a pout.

“If you’re not a shape-shifter, what are you?”

Her pout turned into a bright smile. “A morphling.”

“Sounds like another word for shape-shifter,” Seth muttered.

“I don’t know what you mean, but everyone knows what morphlings are.”

“Is that a type of empath?” asked Isabella.

“No, we’re nether-creatures. Somewhere between fair folk and you empaths.”

“Nether-creatures?”

“Most of us are extinct. Except maybe the noxies in Druid Lake. Oh, and the ones who live in his forest, but they never come out. Unless you count the Bahrguest,” she said quickly. “I hate that thing.”

“Wait. First of all, whose forest? And what is a noxie and a—”

“Bahrguest? That’s just a big, black dog that comes out when people die an untrue death. He howls at the moon, and all the other dogs come out—unless they’re locked up, of course—and walk down the Avenue,” she said, nodding her head toward the opening in the alley.

“I don’t think I like the sound of that,” said Seth.

“Whose forest?” Isabella pressed, half-wondering if she’d say Jack Heel.

“What?” Mimi asked absently, as if she seemed to notice Seth for the first time. A faraway look touched her gray eyes.

“You said something about someone having a forest,” Isabella said through gritted teeth.

Hmm? Oh, yes, Joseph Gaut,” she said dreamily, smiling at Seth for a moment longer before turning to Isabella. “I mean, no one’s ever seen him, so I don’t think he’s real. Other than the fair folk, he’s supposedly the only one who can talk to Yemaya.”

Isabella frowned. “Is that your word for God or something?”

The girl giggled. “No, silly. Yemaya is the oracle goddess of all of us elementals.”

“So she is your god?”

“No. It’s complicated…”

Isabella grasped her necklace and a light shone around it. Mimi looked at her with big, bright eyes. “Theophilus sent me to give you a message! If only I knew where it was or what he told me to tell you. Argh!” She fidgeted through her pockets but nothing was retrieved.

“You know Theophilus? What did he say?” Isabella’s anxiety was almost too much for even her pendant to keep in check. Seth watched her, his expression colored with anticipation and perplexity.

“I can’t seem to remember the words he sent for you. I’m sorry.” Mimi looked off into the distance as if her mind was clouded. “Oh, P.S., I would be extremely careful with the one who calls himself The One True Light… He is no fun.”

“Who?”

“The one feared by all. The one who wants him, who wants the Fire. The one who wants…” She inaudibly mumbled another word.

“What did you say?” asked Seth.

Mimi looked around with wide eyes as she mouthed, ”You’re cute.”

Seth rolled his eyes. “Is that why you dive-bombed my head?” He then turned to Isabella with raised eyebrows. “We need to find the others. And I’m so done with this wetsuit!”

“Okay, then we need to focus on finding the lost heir,” said Isabella. Mimi gasped; Isabella had no idea why. She looked toward the opening in the alley. “Is this really a street? You called it the ‘Avenue,’ didn’t you?” She looked back to Mimi when the girl didn’t immediately answer. But no one was there. “Where’d she go? Why do people keep disappearing into thin air?”

Seth looked around and shrugged. “She was weird, anyway. Let’s go.”

“How can you be so calm? Aren’t you still freaked out?”

“After being attacked by those things in there and seeing that bird turn into a girl, I’ve decided to give up on being shocked at this point.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. Let’s hope we don’t get sucked into anymore tubes.”

Seth started toward the noise coming from the opening in the alley.

Isabella gasped. “Get back here!”

“What’s wrong?”

He followed her line of sight as she pointed at a sign that swung high above them. It was shaped like a pair of goggles with an arrow pointing to its destination. “Dodge’s Diverting Delectables,” she read.

“Theophilus,” they said in unison. Thank God.

“He’s obviously not gonna be there,” surmised Isabella, “but maybe we can get some answers.”

They approached the corner of the alley. Before Isabella could inch a toe beyond it, Seth held her back with his arm. “Wait until I say it’s all clear.”

“What are you doing?”

“Just be still until I say to move.”

She tried very hard not to grind her teeth. He was still playing Mr. Tough Guy. “Seth?”

“What?” he sounded annoyed but looked back anyway.

“Let’s go find some dry clothes.”

He sighed. “And some food. I’m starving.”

The sound of horse hooves clopping on pavement filled her ears. That can’t be right. The telltale stench of horse wafted into the alley.

A man wearing a tight, charcoal suit and a black bowler hat lumbered past, pulling a large black steed behind him. Just like Charlie Chaplin in that cutout she’d seen in the Freakland Lagoon back there.

“That’s so random,” said Seth, peering around the corner. “It’s a street, a huge street, with people, lots of ‘em. Like it’s downtown L.A. or Midtown Manhattan or something. Well, maybe not that crowded. And all decorated. It’s like a town square but way cooler.”

“You’re joking.”

“No. Look.”

He held her shoulders, hovering behind her as she peered onto the street. She couldn’t believe her eyes. It was a street, an avenue, like the girl had called it, but not like any avenue she’d seen before. Decorated with wreaths plus blue, green, silver, and gold bows, and eight-pointed stars, it looked like a vintage Hollywood village imprinted for the holidays, yet not so commercial. Hunter-green banners with the letters and S embossed in gold hung from the light posts.

“E.S…. Empath Society,” Isabella whispered to herself. “Awesome.” Even more impressive was the design of the thoroughfare. Sidewalks were patterned in a large checkerboard of gray and black stones. Running down the center of it all were two terrestrial rails, as if for a tram system of some kind, with no room for automobiles. Footbridges crossed up and over the streets at the corner of each block. And shops with uniquely designed signs almost seemed to wink at every passerby, as the soft light from above filtered down over them in a peaceful haze.

“Let’s just slip out and try to act like we’re not flipped out, okay?” Isabella insisted.

“Well, I think it’s pretty awesome, but just the same, stay close,” he said.

They eased around the corner. Isabella started to walk, but she heard Seth clear his throat. “Izzy, I think the sign was pointing this way…” Seth trailed off, eyes wide, as two car-size vehicles zipped down the rail lines. “Whoa!”

“Guess it’s not a tram,” she said. A third zoomed by in the opposite direction. They were all different colors and shapes, like mini-bullet trains.

“Sick!” Seth exclaimed once more, pushing past a woman wearing a bird hat who eyed him as if he were some oddity. The look she gave Isabella was not much different.

“Excuse me, ma’am, but do you happen to know where Dodge’s Diverting Delectables is located? Or do you have a cell phone we could use?” Isabella had an inkling that phones were not commonplace here, but the thought of calling someone from home—maybe Elyse or Rolf; okay, not Rolf—might have been a good idea.

The woman laughed out loud. “Do you think this is the 1980s? We haven’t used phones in the Underground for thirty years. Haven’t you heard of the empath network? Cell phones…! Why they open the portal for Wintertide, I’ll never know,” she said tiredly, eyeing Isabella up and down. Self-consciously, Isabella looked down and gripped her necklace. “And why are you both soaking wet?”

“We went diving today,” Isabella said, feeling a shiver run through her body.

“During Wintertide? Mighty cold for that.” The woman stepped closer to Isabella and studied her eyes, ears, and nose. “Where’s your seal?”

“My what?”

“Your seal. The Light Council has every citizen on watch for invaders. If you’re from sky-side, you still have to have been given a seal. I am not one to discriminate but have to protect my own, you understand? I’m just glad you’ll be gone when the portal closes if you are that kind.”

Isabella did not understand at all. Seth’s attention seemed stuck to the traffic beside them, as a blue then a black then yellow car-like vehicle sped by on the rail.

“Your seal, youngster, or I shall report you to the Hall Patrol or worse, the Shadows.”

“Did you see that man?” Seth interrupted, eyes shining like a child on his first trip to the circus. “His face was glowing—purple!”

“Violet,” the bird-hat woman amended. “Haven’t heard of the violet ones? The diadems?”

“The what?” Isabella asked.

“Show me your necklace, girl, and you, boy, show me your ring.”

Realization dawned on Isabella, and she pulled out the necklace Theophilus had given her from beneath her wetsuit. Bird-hat woman snatched the pendant. When she turned it over, her eyes grew as big as flapjacks. “I—I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. Forgive me,” she muttered.

“But what did you mean when you said the portal closes?” Isabella asked before the woman could retreat.

“The portal closes as the clock strikes midnight on the first of the year,” she said, her eyes turned down, and then dashed down the road.

“That was weird. And it’s freezing!”

“I know, and I’m hungry,” Seth complained. “Did you notice that bird on her head? Do you think it was one of that Mimi girl’s relatives?”

Ew. Don’t be scary.”

“You never know. Could have been won in battle. Like the Celts, when they walked around with enemy skulls on a stick so they could tell stories about how they’d killed each guy on their kabob.”

“That’s gross, Seth.”

“It’s true! And pretty cool if you ask me.”

“Boys,” she sighed. “Well, I’m sure there’s some place we can get some food around here.”

“I think I see a place up the road.” She followed him, thinking that eating might be nice.

As they walked, she noticed that cool air flowed all around them. It was cold enough to mimic a winter chill, yet warm enough to not cause frostbite. “We definitely need some dry clothes now. It’s freezing.” She resisted the urge to clutch Seth’s hand for warmth. ”My hair’s like a sponge, so I’m really cold,” she said, teeth chattering.

“Do you think they have some kind of air pumps down here?” Seth asked. “They have to, right?” They continued on, passing shop after shop; people stared at them as they walked by. “How come we never knew about this place? You, especially. It’s right under your hotel.” An old man with a white beard and a capuchin monkey on his shoulder passed them. “He was wearing a fez like that weird tour guide,” he noticed.

Isabella looked back and grinned, arms tucked across her chest. “Oh yeah… You remember that guy’s name? The one the tour guide mentioned, I mean?”

“Fleck or Neck or something.”

He really thought he was funny, didn’t he? “Peck,” Isabella corrected, not bothering to play into his joke. “Do you also remember that other name in that room we found? Millford Peck?”

Seth nearly tripped over an enormous dog; it had the build of a springer spaniel but was the size of a Great Dane. “You mean the room with our parents’ names on those gold pen things?”

“Betty’s name was on one, too. You know, my favorite chef at the hotel?”

“Oh, the chowder-taco lady, right?”

“Exactly,” she said, impressed that he remembered. “The only name I didn’t know was Millford Peck… until you mentioned that tour guide a second ago. Didn’t he mention someone with that name?”

“That can’t be the same guy! That guy was a loony tune.”

“So what?” she said, exasperated, although she knew she should not expect Seth to have a penchant for names like she did. “But that was his boss’s name. Remember?”

“Maybe,” he said without commitment.

“Never mind,” she grumbled as they came upon a small shop with a carved sign shaped like a coffee cup and what looked like real steam billowing from its center.

“You think they sell pecan pie?”

“We should eat real food, Seth. Not pie.”

“Pie is real food.”

———————————————————————————–

Find The Lost Heir on Amazon:

http://amzn.com/B01946ERJK

Dragon’s Revenge Cover Reveal

In search of his place in the world, Kyn visits his new friend, Ben’hyamene. Together, they meet an ailing dragon rider from the marshes of a land called the Carr. The rider recounts a people beset by anger, depression, and despair. After befriending and healing the rider, the group travels to the rider’s home. There they discover a breed of wild dragons, called drakes, which have been at war with humans for four hundred years.
One sleepless night, Ben’hyamene uses his new abilities to communicate with the lead drake. This sets Kyn and Ben’hyamene on a path that could bring peace to a conflict that’s nearly destroyed a whole people. Can revenge be set aside and enemies be called friends?

Find out in the exciting third book of the Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Revenge by Kandi J Wyatt.

Dragon's Revenge Cover

Kandi is a wife, mom of five, teacher, artist and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy, writing Christmas programs, drawing using graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. She also enjoys photography. Thank you to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey in photography as well. She is both his model and apprentice. (She still think he does a better job than her.) On occasion she’s his assistant when working with clients and when he needs a “light stand with feet”.

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