Tamara Philip, Author

Where Love blossoms…


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BPIC presents the release of David Wind’s Born to Magic

Born To Magic
by David Wind
Series: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume 1
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: February 15, 2015

Welcome to Nevaeh: a world where technology no longer exists, but magic does.

Long ago, a mythical nation known as ‘America’ died in the violence and radiation of the terrorist wars. Now their descendants dwell in a world of ritual and magic where ten dominions struggle for supremacy while a dark power rises to threaten them all.

In Nevaeh, where men are blessed with great strength and women have both strength and psychic abilities, one woman has been chosen to be Nevaeh’s savior, Areenna—the only daughter of the King of Freemorn.

Barely eighteen, Areenna’s psychic abilities—her magic— are already stronger than that of most women. But when Areenna is called to The Island, a place where all women of psychic power must go, but from where only some return, she soon learns the fate of her world is in her hands.

Accompanied by Mikaal, the son of the High King of Nevaeh, the two undertake a perilous journey to a place of great power, in an effort to save Nevaeh from the oncoming darkness, and these dark and evil forces will do everything in their power to stop Areenna from reaching her destination.

Areenna’s journey is filled with unimaginable dangers as they cross through three of Nevaeh’s ten dominions, and through the haunted wastelands and badlands filled with the mutated survivors of the nuclear holocaust to fight their way to what will either claim both their lives or give them the powers to save their world.

“There is no choice.” Cupping the sides of his head, the High King of Nevaeh held himself as if trying to ease a headache of astonishing proportions.

“There is always a choice.” The High Queens’s voice was as soothing as was the hand stroking his back. While smaller than most men of Nevaeh, the king was broad across the chest and shoulders, narrow at the hips with powerful legs and arms. Yet none would have pictured him a king for his size combined with the delivery of his words served to make him appear slow-witted. He, however, was far from slow-witted. He considered every word he spoke carefully before allowing it to pass his lips.

His special combination of strength and intelligence had allowed him to defeat the sorceresses controlled and led by the Masters of the Circle of Afzal—the leaders of the shadowy empire across the sea. These witches had held Nevaeh in virtual slavery, using the fighting between the ten dominions to keep their Dark Masters’ strength high—for they fed not upon earthly food, but by keeping the rulers of Nevaeh at each other’s throats, living and growing in the power created by the dark energies born from the fighting.

By defeating the Afzaleem, he became the first person to unite the dominions of Nevaeh under a single rule while at the same time denying the Circle their Nevaen puppets.

The king lifted his head to look into the gray eyes of his mate. “There is no choice,” he repeated. “We must keep the trust and willingness of all rulers to allow themselves and their families to be led rather than forced.”

“There are still those who resist what we do to help them,” she said.

“No, it is because those few have no faith in me,” he whispered. While his words were simple, they were true.

“Perhaps…Yet I know there will be one who comes to your aid, when the time is right,” she whispered. “I have foreseen it in my dreams, My Lord. You have changed much since you became high king and you ask the people to do the same. And remember, what follows this change is what you seek to guide, not the change itself. The rest will take more time than you and I have, which is why you must wait for the right person.”

“How long is the wait? We both know the situation grows dire. The lords of the ten will start feuding again as the remnants of the Circle try to rise. The Afzaleem are all but dead. But we know the Circle will find new vassals to fill with darkness…if they have not done so already. Soon there will begin fighting. The people will be easily swayed should the dark power find a way to regain a foothold…and such can only happen when dominion fights dominion. They almost won, and they will try again—they will never stop. How long must the wait be?” he repeated, not seeking an answer but putting forth the question to the very air itself. “Days? Weeks? Years?”

In from the window floated the voice of their sixteen year old son, Mikaal, as he trained for combat in the courtyard below. “This person will come. It will not be…overly long, my husband, my…Lord. It will happen—perhaps not in the way you think it should, but it will come about the way it must.”

I live and write in a small village about thirty miles upstate of NYC, and share my home with my wife, Bonnie and our dog Alfie, an apricot poodle.

When I began writing in 1980, I had no idea where I was headed. Since then, I’ve published thirty-five novels, thirty-three of them with traditional publishers, but I decided I wanted more freedom than the traditional publishers would allow and began a new phase in my life as an Independent Author.

Sci-Fi & fantasy has always been my most favorite genre.   My first novel in the genre, Queen Of Knights was a medieval / historical fantasy and reached #2 on the Amazon.com bestseller lists for historical fantasy and medieval fantasy, and my sci-fi of parallel worlds, The Others, received wide acclaim.

M first Independent novel, Angels In Mourning, was my ‘homage’ to the old time private detective books of the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  I used to love to sneak them from my parents’ night-tables and read them as a young boy.  Angels is a modern day take on the old style hardboiled detective.  Angels In Mourning won the Amazon.com Book of the Month Reader’s Choice Award shortly after it was published.

My most current thriller, The Cured, was written with Terese Ramin. The idea for this Medical Thriller came shortly after the death of a close friend.  I couldn’t help but wonder about the medication….

My previous suspense thrillers are The Hyte Maneuver, (a Literary guild alternate selection); As Peace Lay Dying, Conspiracy of Mirrors, And Down Will Come Baby, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep ,and Shadows.


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BPIC Promotions presents the release of Melinda Dozier’s Time Out, Valentine

by Melinda Dozier
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 21, 2015

Lexi’s life is one big dump. Or so she thinks. To keep her mind off her latest breakup, she stays busy with work. It’s no big deal, since writing for Time Out Portland Magazine is a blast…except for the one small snag – Grant Reeds.

Grant, a shy but sexy computer geek, is new to Time Out, working as the Networking Director for the online magazine. Even though Lexi thinks he doesn’t notice her, he sure as hell does. The owners have a plan for their upcoming Valentine’s Special, pairing up the two to explore romantic date ideas around the city.

Soon, Lexi and Grant learn that the old adage, “Opposites Attract,” can ring true.

Grant sipped his beer and surveyed the room around them—anywhere but at the siren next to him, with her fancy drink, an umbrella hanging off the side. Overhead lights strobed the room, gleaming in all directions. The DJ announced a new song and a new crowd rushed to the dance floor, leaving them more alone in the back of the room. Thank God.

It was stifling hot. He tugged his collar from his neck and rolled the sleeves of his white button-up. His glasses slid down his nose, forcing him to take them off and put them in his shirt pocket.

Luckily in that part of the room, the music wasn’t so loud that they had to scream to converse. He only raised his voice a fraction to ask her the question he’d been wondering since they set foot in the place. “So, you think this is romantic enough for a Valentine’s date?”

She batted her long lashes in his direction and smirked. “There’s low lights.”

“Yeah and loud music, people all around.” To help prove his point, someone bumped him in the back, pushing him closer to Lexi. His hand circled her waist and rested on her hip.

She sipped the drink, moving the umbrella with her other hand, then licked her lips. “It’s the place to be. All trendy couples find their way here.” She cocked her head. “What would make it more romantic? Kissing?”

A slow smile formed and he faced her. Not a bad idea. “Actually, yeah.” He placed his bottle on the table behind them, cracked his knuckles and stretched his neck.

She laughed nervously, putting her weight on another sexy as hell foot. “What? You’re gonna kiss me? For real?”

“We need romance.” He grabbed her cup and put it next to his bottle. His gaze dropped to her mouth.

“You kissing me won’t—”

He placed his thumb on her lips. “Shhh. Stop talking so we can be romantic.”

Melinda is a multi-published contemporary romance author with books from Crimson Romance, Swoon Romance and The Wild Rose Press and she’s represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She lives in Guatemala, Central America with her husband/college sweetheart who brings “mucho amor” to her life. Melinda enjoys being the queen of her household and dreams of being pampered fully by her three boys once they are grown. Melinda’s guilty pleasures include reality t.v., traveling, blogging and playing Zynga games.

Join Melinda’s Street Team


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BPIC Promos presents the Release Blitz of Donna June Cooper’s Making Magic (Book 3 of the Kindling Series)

 

Making Magic
by Donna June Cooper
Series: Books of the Kindling, #3Publisher: Samhain PublishingCover Designer: Kanaxa
Genre: Contemporary Romance with a touch of Magic
Release Date: January 20, 2015

 

 

Books of the Kindling, Book 3

Sticks and stones may threaten bones, but her words can conquer both body and soul.

During his law enforcement career, Sheriff Jake Moser has been called to Woodruff Mountain a few times to deal with some rather weird situations. Now, recovering from a bullet wound that should have killed him and fending off his mother’s ravings about the evil that lurks on the mountain, he’s making alternate career plans.

Just as those plans begin to take shape, someone starts kidnapping newborn babies, then returning them unharmed. To make things even more interesting, an irritating adversary from his past has returned to bedevil him in a whole new, delightful way.

After her erratic psychic gift forced her to abandon her home and a promising musical career, Thea Woodruff has spent years trying, unsuccessfully, to atone for the death of Becca Moser, Jake’s sister. Once she has mourned those she’s lost and apologized to those she’s failed, she intends to flee her mountain once again.

Jake would rather she stay to compose a new tune—with him. But their complicated harmony reveals a guilty secret that threatens not only their future, but their lives…

Warning: A temperamental flute-player returns to torment an old flame, but he has other ideas, and the music they make together is combustible—and magical.

 

 

Thea caught movement at the edge of her vision and braced herself for another automobile groupie, but it was only a dirty mop head lying on the ground next to the wall. In her exhausted state,shemust’ve imagined it. She opened the door and put her bags on the console. Before she put the coffee in the drink holder, she took a long sip of the scalding brew. It wasn’t too bad, but it made her eyes water. She blinked when she saw the mop head move again. Probably a rat or raccoon under there.Then the mop head lifted its ears and gazed at her with big dark eyes.She gasped and spilled yet more coffee on her blouse.A dog.A horribly-matted, filthy gray dog thatmight’ve once been white pushed up on skinny legs and backed against the wall, watching her with suspicion. Then she saw the battered aluminum pan and cracked bowl full of water beside it. Someone was feeding the poor thing, but not really taking ownership.A stray. Like her.

She almost took a step towards the pitiful creature, but what would she do with a dog?

Thea hadn’t thought much beyond getting home for the wedding, except that she couldn’t stay. Grace had a husband now, a baby on the way and probably planned to fill the house up with children. Daniel was moving into the old Taggart place with his new bride. And she needed to follow her plan to go off and teach music somewhere. There was no room for the prodigal daughter on the mountain, much less a grimy, smelly dog. She looked down at herself and smiled. They were a matched set, weren’t they?

The dirty mop blinked at her as she sipped her coffee.

“What’s your name, pooch?” she asked.

The head cocked sideways and one eye disappeared behind its unkempt hair. The other eye glared at her as the dog tried to sink back into the wall.

She thought of the interstate and the busy highway only yards away and shuddered. The poor thing had probably been left behind by some traveling family or a trucker. At least someone here was feeding it. She wondered how long it had been here, waiting for its owner to return. Her heart clenched. Swallowing hard, she shut the car door, walking back into the truck stop.

The woman who had waited on her before looked up and smiled. “Back for a refill, hon?”

“No, ma’am.” Her voice felt rusty, as if she hadn’t used it in a long time. “I was wondering about the dog out in the parking lot.”

The woman frowned. “Poor thing. Someone dumped her here a couple of months back.”

Months would feel like years to a little one like that. Years waiting for someone to take you home. Years waiting to go home. Thea felt tears threatening at the symmetry.

“No one came for it? No one here wants to take it home?”

“Hey, we tried. She won’t come and no one can catch her. Sly little thing. We figure she’s holding out for her real owner.”

“How do you know it’s female?”

The woman, whose nametag said “Jenny”, leaned over conspiratorially. “The way she pees, but we might be wrong. The boys do that sometimes too.”

Thea mulled it over. Surely Grace had room for another dog. Or maybe Daniel would take her. Someone would.

She reached for her wallet and pulled out one of her cards. “Do you have a pen?” Carefully scratching out her business number, she wrote her cell number on the card in its place and handed it over.  “If her owner comes back, you call me.”

Jenny looked at the card and gave her an assessing look.  She could imagine how she appeared to the woman—pencil thin skirt, stained silk blouse and expensive heels.

“Oh, hon. You ain’t gonna catch her.”

Thea smiled. I just gave a powerful multinational the one finger salute. I can save an abandoned dog. “Watch me. I’ll have an order of bacon to go, please.”

Jenny shook her head, but went back to the kitchen and brought back a napkin wrapped around several pieces of bacon. “On the house. If you can catch Bailey, I’ll give you a hamburger for her lunch. And one for yours as well.”

“Bailey? After Baileyton?”

The woman nodded.  “Works for a girl or a boy, I say.”

The name fit. Taking the bacon, she walked back out front with Jenny close on her heels only to find Bailey gone.

“She’s probably out raiding the garbage. She hides out back there under the skips sometimes. But you’ll never be able to get to her.”

Thea handed Jenny her coffee. “If I do, I want another hot cup to go instead of that second burger. I’m a vegetarian.”

The woman laughed and followed her, carrying the coffee. “This I gotta see.”

Sure enough, they spotted the walking mop sniffing around one of the garbage skips at the back of the building, far enough back to make it impossible to reach her.

Thea got as close to the skip as she could get without going under it, then squatted down, or rather tried to. She finally gave up, hiked up her skirt and knelt on the dirty pavement.

“Here, Bailey girl!” She leaned in under the skip and held out a piece of bacon. “Come on, baby girl,” she cooed.

The dog crouched in the shadows, her ears back and her tail tucked under, growling.

It was a good thing Thea’s nose was stopped up. What little she could smell was bad enough.

“What’s goin’ on back here?” came a man’s voice. Thea jumped, whacking her head on the side of the skip.

“This lady’s trying to get Bailey,” Jenny said.

“Like that’s gonna happen. You’re the one with that red Beemer from Pennsylvania, ain’t ya?”

Thea looked over her shoulder at a man in a white apron who had leaned down to grin at her. He said every single syllable of Penn-syl-va-ni-a, as if it were an unpronounceable contagious disease. And his eyes spent far too much time lingering on her rear end, which was sticking up in the air at the moment.

She felt her temper start to rise. She hated it when people, especially men, tried to tell her what she could and couldn’t do.

“Damn it, Bailey,” she hissed. But those big eyes looked terrified and the dog had cringed even closer to the pavement.

Crap. “Bailey, come here,” she said quietly, but the voice rang off the metal of the skip.

Bailey immediately crawled forward, right onto her lap. Thea slid sideways and heard her skirt rip at the kick pleat as she turned to sit beside the garbage skip with the filthy dog in her arms.

“Well I’ll be,” Jenny exclaimed, clapping her hands.

The man seemed to be reassessing his opinion of Thea. “Shit. You some kinda dog whisperer or somethin’?”

Thea smiled. “Or something.” She looked at Jenny. “Now, how about that hamburger for my friend here?” She broke off little pieces of bacon and fed them to Bailey.

“Oh you bet, honey. And I’ll get you some wipes for your hands and—” Jenny looked Thea over and sniffed, “—for your hands.” She ran back into the restaurant.

“Hell, I’d say both you and the dog need to use the showers, but we don’t let no dogs in there,” the man said. “You need me to help you up, honey?”

Thea smirked at him and put Bailey down at her feet. “Stay.” Bailey waited, motionless, as Thea stood then reached down to scoop her back up.

“That’s weird,” the man said. “Spooky, even.”

Thea was tempted to make him do something embarrassing, to get back at him for the shower comment, but her head was already aching. Besides, she did need a shower. She bit her lip and marched past him around the side of the building with Bailey in her arms.

Lovely. Now she had an audience. They seemed to be the regulars, truckers mostly and some staff, standing outside the doors watching as she carried the dog to her car. One of the waitresses started clapping. Then the rest joined in, until even the grumpy cook cheered the little dog’s rescue.

Smiling at them, Thea lifted Bailey’s paw to wave goodbye to them and opened the car door to slide in, dog and all.  She shut it firmly and quickly pushed the button to start the car, struggled to fasten her seat belt under the dog and wondered if she should fasten it over the dog instead. She knew next to nothing about dogs.

Jenny came running out with a sack and a cup, grinning.  When Thea rolled down the window, she leaned in. “Here you go. Fresh coffee, a nice hamburger for Bailey and some hashbrowns for you. There’s utensils and hand wipes. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think what both of you’ll need is a long hot soak. And you need some meat on your bones if you’re going to keep up with this ‘un.” She cautiously stroked Bailey’s ears and Thea noticed a glint in her eyes. Jenny was probably the person who’d been feeding the poor thing. “She’d never let me touch her.”

Thea tensed when Bailey turned and licked her cheek. She could not get attached to a dog she had just met. “Do you want to keep her?” she asked.

“Oh, my. No! My Larry would have my hide. I already have four at home. One more and I end up in the pound. No, I think our Bailey’s real owner finally showed up.” She sniffed. “You come back and visit us, baby doll,” she said to Bailey. “I want to see you all cleaned up and pretty.”

“Cleaned up, we can do. Not so sure about pretty,” Thea said, unable to picture Bailey as anything but a mop.

“Here.” Jenny pulled the white towel off her shoulder and handed it to Thea. “Make her a place over there next to you. You don’t wanna drive with her in your lap like that.”

Thea braced her flute case against the passenger door and pushed the junk on the passenger seat around to make a nest.  She curled the towel in the seat and sat Bailey on it.

Bailey immediately walked back across and lay on Thea’s lap again.

Jenny gave Bailey’s head one more stroke. “Definitely found her real owner.”

Thea’s smiled. “Thanks, Jenny. You were a good foster mom.”

Jenny nodded and backed away, wiping at her eyes, then waved as Thea drove out of the parking lot.

 

I LOVED this book. My favorite of the series SO Far! the author has done it again: created extremely likeable characters and placed them in a page turning plot. Jake Moser, otherwise known as the sheriff from the previous books, is the male lead with Thea Woodruff as the heroine with a compelling voice. In this book, i felt that the plot was more organic because Jake and Thea were basically attempting to live their lives and reunite and boom intrigue smacks them in the face.  The author introduces a new overarching plot device (no spoilers) in a vague enough way that it will feel fresh when she expands upon it in her next book. Definitely would read again and definitely will recommend to anyone who enjoys books with well developed characters in page turning storylines with more than a hint of magic.

 

Book 3: Making Magic

 

Book 1: More Than Magic

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AU

 

Book 2: Mostly Magic

 

 

When she’s not being dragged down the sidewalk by her Jack Russell (if you know Jacks, you understand), Donna June Cooper is belly dancing (shiny!), reading (three books at once), writing (of course!) or complaining about the heat (no matter the temperature). A child of the Appalachians who was transplanted to Texas by her Italian husband, Donna returns to her mountain roots as often as possible, and takes her readers with her in her Books of the Kindling.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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BPIC Promos presents the release of Shanna Hatfield’s Crumpets and Cowpies

Crumpets and Cowpies
by Shanna Hatfield
Series: Baker City Brides, #1
Genre: Historical/Western Romance
Release Date: January 15, 2015

Rancher Thane Jordan reluctantly travels to England to settle his brother’s estate only to find he’s inherited much more than he could possibly have imagined.

Lady Jemma Bryan has no desire to spend a single minute in Thane Jordan’s insufferable presence much less live under the same roof with the handsome, arrogant American. Forced to choose between poverty or marriage to the man, she finds herself traveling across an ocean and America to reach his ranch in Oregon.

“I agree, Weston. The longer we wrangle with this won’t make it any easier.” Thane looked to Jemma and she gave an almost imperceptible nod for him to continue. “I’ve taken into consideration Henry’s wishes, the needs of the children, and what would be most beneficial to all parties involved.”

When Thane paused, Jemma leaned forward, waiting. “And…?”

“I think Weston’s idea holds merit. In the vein of doing what is best for the children, I’m requesting the honor of your hand in marriage, Miss Bryan.”

“You are what?” Jemma rocked back so hard in her chair, it nearly tipped over. A most unladylike grab for the edge of the table is all that kept her upright. “How could I possibly marry you? I don’t love you. I can’t even claim to like you, Mr. Jordan. You are quite possibly the most maddening man I’ve ever met.”

“Don’t flatter yourself, honey. I sure didn’t take one gander at you and fall madly in love. You’re the most opinionated, obstinate, razor-tongued woman I’ve had the misfortune of encountering.” Thane held up a hand to silence her when she opened her mouth in rebuttal. “However, you love my brother’s children with a fierce devotion and I don’t want to take them away from you. What I propose is a marriage of convenience, in name only. Your sterling reputation will remain untarnished. As my wife, I’d provide for you, protect you, and share whatever I have with you. Everything except my bed.”

Jemma drew a deep breath, prepared to lambast him, but Thane’s stoney glare held a warning.

“Before you insult me further or push my patience beyond endurance, I encourage you to think over your next words very carefully. If you need time to consider my offer, I plan to spend the day at Henry’s office, going over his accounts. You can give me your answer this evening.”

Without waiting for her response, Thane rose from the table and strode from the room.

A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.




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BPIC Promos presents my review of Donna June Cooper’s Mostly Magic (Book 2 of the Kindling series)

by Donna June Cooper
Series: Books of the Kindling, #2

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Cover Designer: Kanaxa

Genre: Contemporary Romance with a touch of Magic
Release Date: June 3, 2014

Books of the Kindling, Book 2

One terrifying premonition brings them together. Another will threaten their future.

Do dreams come true? Dr. Daniel Woodruff hopes they don’t, because his dreams predict a devastating future for him, for those he loves—and for the planet.

His latest premonition, which blows a huge crater in his eroding sanity, holds a singular horror—the loss of a wife and unborn child. Yet another reason he can let no one into his chaotic life, least of all a perky, persistent investigative reporter he finds simultaneously frustrating and fascinating.

Mel Noblett leaves no stone unturned in her one-woman crusade to save the environment. When a whistleblower in Italy proves too frightened to talk, Mel turns to a fall-back lead, an extremely eccentric, beekeeping professor who might just make the trip worthwhile.

Despite their instant attraction, Mel is relieved when Daniel keeps her at arm’s length. After all, she has a secret of her own—one that makes her preternaturally good at her job. And, when Daniel’s terrifying visions prove cannily accurate and begin to revolve around Mel—it is a gift that could put her life in danger.

Warning: Reluctant seer of a bleak future meets petite force of nature who lights up the heart of his darkness. Where there’s smoke, there could be an unpredictable blaze of passion, but the rewards are oh, so sweet…

Mel’s fingers flew as she folded the green origami paper and counted the children in the crowd. She needed two more frogs, in case they were all brave enough to approach Missy Twist for a souvenir.“And at last, the handsome prince deigned to kiss the rather homely-looking frog,” Cornelius Twist pronounced, not quite putting his lips on the very real, and very bored, amphibian in the bottom of the man-size cabinet. He then shut the doors with a dramatic flourish and turned the cabinet all the way around.

“What do you think happened to the frog?” her dad asked the audience.

A number of voices clamored for his attention, most of them children shouting that the frog turned into a beautiful princess of course, but one little girl insisted, rather loudly and as the other voices died down, that it turned into a prince.

Cornelius waggled his eyebrows at the crowd. “Not in this state, my lovely lady!” he quipped, and the adults in the crowd laughed. “No, this frog turned into a beautiful princess.” He swung open the door of the cabinet, and Heather emerged, looking rather like a bedraggled Snow White in her tattered red and gold outfit trimmed with bells and beads.

Perched on her head, which was already adorned with feathers and ribbons, was a rather lopsided and well-worn tiara with a few glass jewels missing.

Heather extended her hand regally, and he bowed to her as he helped her to the stage.

Mel laughed and clapped from her perch next to the stage, widening her eyes in excitement at the children in the crowd and then pointing to herself and nodding proudly, miming placing the tiara on her head as if she could be a princess too. It was all part of the show.

Heather’s outfit had been modeled after Mel’s, only where Mel’s was blue and silver to match her coloring, Heather’s dramatic black hair and pale skin had demanded the red and gold.

Heather hadn’t taken up the stage name that Mel had used—Missy Twist, daughter of Cornelius Twist. Mel’s dad had told Mel with a smirk that the name Heather used instead, Feather Head, suited her perfectly. But she was petite, flexible, coordinated and wonderful with the kids.

A little girl wandered up the aisle to where Mel sat on the steps leading to the stage, and Mel took one of the green origami frogs and hopped it toward her. It landed in the grass at the tot’s feet, and she scooped it up and carried it to her father, who was already en route to retrieve the brave explorer.

As the little girl waved goodbye, Mel hunched her shoulders and wiggled her fingers under her chin in her trademark “Missy” wave and was startled by a sudden emotional surge from somewhere in the audience.

Love.

Oh, it was much more than that. Amusement. Relief. Excitement. Pleasure. The zing of arousal, and the first tentative stirrings of love. Someone out there was falling in love right this minute, and once she recovered from the initial rush, Mel let the emotions seep into her. What a wonderful feeling: that first swell of realization, when you look into someone’s eyes and suddenly know.

She looked up and saw a familiar pair of chocolate-brown eyes.

Daniel stood at the rear of the audience, leaning against a support post with his arms folded, watching the show—smiling with that beautiful, warm grin of his.

When he realized she’d spotted him, he held up a gloved hand.

Something tingled through her and curled up in her middle, bubbling happily. He’d followed her. All the way down here.

A warm flush heated her cheeks. Surely that surge of emotion couldn’t have come from him. The audience was packed after all. But he had followed her.

She scooped up her basket of origami frogs and flounced up the stairs, dashing over to Heather, who was still showing off for the kids, and grabbing the tiara off her head. Heather shrieked in dismay as Mel jammed it on her own head, stuck out her tongue, twirled and dashed backstage with Heather trailing feathers in pursuit.

“What’s up?” Heather asked without missing a beat. They had done that routine before, but it had been a while.

“Are you doing ‘Assistant’s Revenge’ for the closing?”

Heather nodded, looking over to where the cabinet for that illusion stood.

“I’m going to join you guys for this one, the way we did it a couple of years ago, remember?” Mel placed a black velvet cape on a hook next to the stage entrance.

Heather nodded.

“I have a friend in the audience I want to surprise. Can you hand out the frogs and tell Dad…tell him my prince just showed up?”

Heather blinked, then smiled. “Sure, hon. You don’t know how much I appreciate you rushing down here in case I couldn’t make it. I am so sorry for the trouble.”

Mel waved her off. “Actually, I think you did me a favor.” He followed me!

Her dad didn’t seem surprised when she pushed the appliance onto the stage for the final illusion, the ratty tiara still on her head and a mischievous expression on her face. The audience loved it as he went through the long, exaggerated routine of persuading her to stop showing off and climb into the device, then chaining her in and putting her head and arms into a wooden stock.

The story involved how he was locking her, his innocent but rather rebellious daughter, away to keep her safe. She gave him a hard time about the whole thing, pointing out that other fathers didn’t lock up their daughters, especially princesses, to which he responded that other fathers turned their daughters into frogs every night, especially the ones who went about stealing tiaras.

Usually the assistant and magician changed places as the magician pulled a curtain all the way around the device, but this time, as her dad pulled the curtain, she slipped out past Heather, who took over pulling the curtain as her dad took her place in the device. It was all accomplished so smoothly that the curtain kept moving the entire time they changed positions. The audience was surprised when Heather appeared pulling the curtain, and her father appeared chained and padlocked in the device.

Mel threw on the hooded black velvet cape and sprinted out, then walked sedately among the passersby in the lane to the rear of the audience, so no one would notice her.

“Who did this to me?” her dad yelled, rattling the chains and making the padlocks jump in the stocks.

“Not I, oh wonderful Master Cornelius,” Heather said sweetly, waving the skeleton key in front of her where Master Cornelius couldn’t see it but the audience could. They laughed and snickered in reaction. “I would never lock you up and throw away the key. Even though you have folded me into a tiny box, and stabbed me with swords, and cut me in half, and—” as the list grew longer, Heather began to lose the sweet tone in her voice and sound like an angry harridan, “—stretched me, and twisted me. But maybe I should have.”

Mel stepped behind Daniel and pulled off her cape, tossing it over his shoulder as the laughter died down.

“Hold this for me, please, sir?” she said as he spun around.

“How do you do that?” he asked, laughing.

“Mostly magic,” she whispered, wiggling her fingers under her chin and stepping out from behind him.

I devoured Mostly Magic within 2 days!! I couldn’t stop reading it! then I was sad when it was over too fast for my liking:(. Daniel and Mel’s relationship, like Nick and Grace’s in the first book, was believable, sweet, and fairly well developed. But the best part of the book is the PLOT! The plot and the way it developed and was resolved was extremely well done by the author. Considering the premise- scientist who dreams the future sees an apocalyptic future awaiting mankind- the plot does NOT meander, it remains steady, true, and strong. I’m trying not to give any spoilers but there is a big reveal that’s NOT a flaky tying up loose ends that weakens the writing that comes before it! The reveal connects the wider mankind dooming vision with the smaller (emotional and individual) visions that were scattered throughout.
I also enjoyed how the familial relationship between Grace and Daniel stayed true as well the friendly brotherly bantering between Nick and Daniel. While I personally would have preferred Jamie, the neighbor and all-around Woodruff assistant introduced in the first book, to remain gender-neutral, the author didn’t change the character with no explanation instead she explained the change as a.product of growing up and having different goals.
I also enjoyed how characters introduced in the first book grew and were expanded in this book and new characters introduced were not caricatures or slap-dash. World-building was also well done as more books in the series could definitely be written without succumbing to triteness at cliches.
In conclusion,5 stars. Would definitely re-read and recommend!
Book 1: More Than Magic

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AU

Pre-Order Book 3: Making Magic

When she’s not being dragged down the sidewalk by her Jack Russell (if you know Jacks, you understand), Donna June Cooper is belly dancing (shiny!), reading (three books at once), writing (of course!) or complaining about the heat (no matter the temperature). A child of the Appalachians who was transplanted to Texas by her Italian husband, Donna returns to her mountain roots as often as possible, and takes her readers with her in her Books of the Kindling.


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BPIC promos presents Release day for Jodi Linton’s Pretty Shameless

 

by Jodi Linton
Series: Deputy Laney Briggs, #2
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 12, 2015

 

 

He’s gunning for her heart, but aiming for her body.

Wherever deputy Laney Briggs goes, trouble always follows behind—except when Laney is the trouble. Right now, Laney is on the hunt for her not-so-bright cousin, who is wanted for gunsmuggling. But there’s a sexy, hot-assed Texas Ranger on the same case, and Laney would bet her britches (and everything else she’s wearing) that Gunner Wilson knows something she doesn’t. It just requires a bit of sexy espionage…

Gunner knows all too well just how damned distracting Laney and her little red cowboy boots can be. The pure, unadulterated want between them has never been stronger and Gunner can’t resist making her crazy. But even as she gives into every carnal craving for Gunner, Laney is determined to get her answers, one mind-meltingly hot night at a time. The only question is whether she’ll be ready for the truth…

 

 

I had one hand toying with the hem of his snug black T-shirt, my hips grinding into his Wranglers. The way that zipper fly was bulging against my thigh almost made me forget I was on the attack. “You can tell me. I’ve always been good at keeping secrets.”

Gunner looked pained. “Again, it’s privileged information, Laney.” He leaned in closer, grazing his five o’clock shadow along my chin. “Damn you smell good,” he said, sucking in some air. “Buy the lavender soap at the Piggly Mart again?”

I hooked my thumbs in his belt loops and tugged, pulling him into me. “Why are you all of a sudden acting so serious?”

He always did have a hard-on for the slutty-bimbo type.A low, throaty groan tore from his chest when he dipped his mouth toward mine. My lips parted, welcoming him home. I felt his tongue skim my teeth, and then he swallowed my moan with a hungry kiss. Aw hell, he tasted like homemade vanilla ice cream, a little too sweet, but so sinfully delicious. Maybe I hadn’t completely thought this through, because the way he was kissing me torched any comeback as a raging wildfire of pure undignified lust burst throughout my entire body. On a long, hard caress, he forced the tender embrace deeper and pulled my tongue into a tantalizing dance with his. Savoring the moment, he wrapped both arms tighter around my waist, and wasted no time to teach me each one of his smooth moves.

And damn, did I want to be schooled.

Gunner broke the body-aching kiss, and before I could say “more” his mouth touched my earlobe, and then he whispered, “Word has it that Wyatt might be in deep with Manny Sanchez.”

“Manny Sanchez?” I asked, surprised.

“That’s right.” He continued working his mouth along my neck, which might as well have been between my legs. I’d gone from bitch to horny in about five seconds flat.

I feathered my lips across his stubbled chin, inhaling the richness of his aftershave as I said softly, “Who’d have thought.”

 

 

 

 

Haven’t met Laney yet? Then pick up the rest of the series…

 

Book 1: Pretty Reckless

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AU

 

Book 1.5: Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AU

 

 

Growing up in a small Texas town didn’t have many perks, but it allowed for some colorful writing material. After settling down with her family in central Texas, Jodi found her passion: writing kick-ass, southern contemporary romance stories. Today she can be found cozied up to the computer escaping into a quirky world of tall tales, sexy, tight jean wearing cowboys, and a protagonist with a sharp-tongue quick enough to hang any man out to dry.

 

 

BECOME A PINK PISTOL READER!
Want to be a member? The Pink Pistol Readers is the official Street Team of author Jodi Linton, with inside scoops on the Deputy Laney Briggs Series, excerpts, first cover reveals, and cowboys!
Click Here and just answer a few questions to get started!

 

 

 


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BPIC Promos presents New Cover Re-reveals for Rebecca York’s Book Series

The Decorah Security Series

and The Off-World Series

by Rebecca York
 
 
 
 
 
The Off-World Series
 
 
 
 
The Off-World Series
Assignment Danger
Available 1/26!
Off World Collection

A New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-selling and award-winning author, Rebecca has written over 145 books and novellas. In 2011 she became the dozenth author to receive the Romance Writers of America Centennial Award for having written 100 romantic novels. Her Killing Moon was a launch title for Berkley’s Sensation imprint in June 2003. Five more books in the series have followed.

Rebecca has authored or co-authored over 65 romantic thrillers, many for Harlequin Intrigue’s very popular 43 Light Street series, set in Baltimore, and many with paranormal elements.

Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. And her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series.

So which was your favorite cover? 
Fill out the entries in the rafflecopter to vote for your favorite and be entered to win a $25 Gift Card!


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BPIC Promos presents Donna June Cooper’s More than Magic Book Blitz + Review

by Donna June Cooper

Series: Books of the Kindling, #1

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Cover Designer: Kanaxa

Genre: Contemporary Romance with a touch of Magic
Release Date: February 4, 2014

A malignant secret could turn her mountain sanctuary into their tomb.

DEA agent Nick McKenzie is sure magic exists—a dangerous drug called Smoky Mountain Magic that’s wreaking havoc on the streets of Atlanta. He’s also sure that locating and eliminating the source could mean his death.

When he arrives undercover on Woodruff Mountain, the beautiful owner’s anxious attempts to scare him off tell him something’s afoot, and it’s not her secret patch of a rare, ancient species of ginseng.
As her dream of seeking medicinal plants in the Amazon fades into the distance, Grace Woodruff struggles to come to terms with an inherited magical gift she didn’t want, and searches desperately for the meaning behind her late grandfather’s final, cryptic message.

The last thing she needs underfoot is a handsome, enigmatic writer recovering from a recent illness. Until an accidental touch unleashes a stunning mystical force and Grace senses the wrath of a malicious blight at the heart of the mountain. Now she must choose between her need to hide her gift from the world…and her desire to save Nick’s life.

Warning: This book contains a fiery redhead whose magic cannot be contained and a handsome DEA agent whose final case might give him a second chance at life.

“So—Granny Lily?” he asked again.Grace took a deep breath. “Granny Lily was a healer—an Appalachian Granny Woman. A witch.”

“Witch?” he paused a moment, digesting the word. “You’re kidding, right?”

Grace shook her head and started walking away from the cemetery and back into the meadow. “Granny Witches weren’t witches in the sense we think of today. They were the midwives and healers of the community. For folks isolated up in these mountains with no medical care, they were the doctors.”

Nick followed behind, taking a quick sip of his champagne. “Witch doctor?”

She grinned at him. “Well, yes. In the sense that a witch doctor is the healer in their community. The shaman. The expert in herbal medicine.”

“Witch doctor,” he repeated.

“It’s a tradition that’s passed down in families. In this case from mother to daughter to granddaughter. One woman per generation,” Grace went on. “Some claim it goes back to ancient times.”

Nick stopped. “So, are you—”

She faced him. “What?”

“A witch?”

Nick watched Grace smile and hold out her glass. “Hang on to this for me.”

Nick stared at it for a moment, wondering why she didn’t just answer “no”. Then he took it carefully, holding the bottle under his arm.

Shaking out the blanket, Grace laid it on the grass and knelt down, holding her hands up for her glass and the bottle, which he handed over.

“Sit,” she said smiling up at him. “Pretend it’s a picnic.”

As if on cue, Pooka ran to see what they were up to. When he realized no food was involved, he resumed scouting the edges of the meadow.

Nick paused, wondering if he should make a dash for his SUV and get off this mountain while he still could. But something made him sit.

“So,” he took a deep breath, as if he was about to set foot on some strange new world he didn’t understand. “Witch?”

She twisted sideways, managing to sit gracefully on the blanket without spilling a drop of champagne. He was beginning to wonder if she had faked being tipsy.

“Remember, I said not in the ‘double, double toil and trouble’ kind of way.”

“So, no cauldrons or eye-of-newt things going on?”

“Well, actually, the old cauldron you see in the front yard of a lot of Southern homes used to mean there was a Granny Witch in the house, but—”

“Don’t you have one of those in your garden? Full of flowers?”

She smiled. “You noticed! Yes. Like that. But no evil spells or hexes.”

“So you are a witch?”

“Well, no. I was talking about Granny Lily. I’m—” She stopped, suddenly thoughtful.

“So, you’re not a witch?”

“You know, I’m not sure.”

Nick frowned and drained the rest of his champagne, holding out his glass. She poured it full and sat the bottle on the ground beside the blanket.

“I would think you would notice something like that,” he said. Of course she’s a witch McKenzie, she’s had you under her spell since she met you.

“Look, I probably shouldn’t have used that word. People don’t know about the Granny Witch tradition at all, and they automatically think black cats and broomsticks and pointy hats. It was mostly about herbal medicine and midwifery.”

“Can you deliver a baby?” he asked.

“Well, certainly.”

“And you practice herbal medicine.”

“Yes.”

“Sounds like you’re qualified. Maybe over qualified.”

“It’s not that simple. Some of them did divination and water dowsing. It’s a tradition requiring training and practice. The Granny Witch passes down all her lore to her designated successor and teaches her everything she knows.”

Grace looked off toward the cemetery and he followed her gaze. The headstones were just distant shapes in the moonlight.

“So your mother— No, that’s your father’s side of the family.”

“Exactly. And anyway, the tradition stopped with Granny Lily. She quit practicing and didn’t pass it on to any other female relative.”

“But you said she’s been wandering into your dreams. Does she wander anywhere else?” He looked around them at the silvered meadow and the dark trees, but nothing seemed menacing—just the opposite.

“No. Only in my rather intense dreams. And I’m honestly not sure what she’s trying to tell me.”

He tried to figure out where she was going with all this. Maybe it was the wine. “Well, it sounds like it might be a good thing for your bottom line. You could get additional business these days just by saying you were the descendant of a shaman or medicine woman. I wouldn’t use the word ‘witch’ though, even if they don’t burn them anymore.”

“Why did you say that?” she asked in a sharp tone. In the moonlight, her eyes shimmered green and her pale face was almost translucent, surrounded by flyaway tendrils of dark red. She might be a witch, but she was the most captivating witch he had ever seen.

“What? What did I say?”

“About burning?”

“Well, they used to— Didn’t they? I mean—”

“That was in a completely different culture. Here the Granny Witch was essential in the community. The people of these mountains were nothing like that. Granny Lily was burned accidentally.”

“She was— What?”

Grace picked up the bottle and poured her glass full, then downed it without ceremony and was about to pour another.

“Whoa. Slow down there.” He took the bottle and her glass gently and set them both in the grass. “Now, what’s this about burning? Your granny was burned?”

Grace let out a long breath. “Great-great-great. And yes. Accidentally. In a fire.”

“She wasn’t killed though. The headstone said—”

“No. Badly burned. Disfigured. She lived a long life.”

“A very long life, if I read the stone right.” He connected some dots and took a guess. “This was the fire that started that feud you were talking about, with your neighbors.”

“Yes. But it was an accident. A bunch of Taggarts and other people were gathered outside the cabin and things got out of hand. One of the Taggarts threw a rock at my Grandpa Zach. It broke a window, and knocked over an oil lamp onto Granny Lily’s dress.”

“An oil lamp.”

“It was terrible. It didn’t destroy the cabin, but she was horribly burned. Everyone thought she wouldn’t make it, but she recovered. Only, after that, she was rarely seen by anyone outside of the family. And when she was, she was covered head to toe, even wearing gloves on the hottest summer days. We have a family portrait with her in it, but only half of her face is showing.”

“That is tragic. What started the rock throwing?”

“A misunderstanding.”

“About?”

“A patient.”

“Someone died?”

“No. Someone lived.”

More than Magic, The first book in the Kindling series was HIGHLY enjoyable.
A small cast of characters made it easy to get familiar with the world and invested in their fates. I really liked Nick and Grace and their interactions were believable and well written.The real gem is Jamie- as a spare character she was well Developed and the little bit of social commentary was completely relevant and necessary- its sometimes easier to be a smart boy than a smart girl.

The novel was also wonderfully descriptive re: nature scenes without getting too bogged with excessive or unnecessary details. Also I loved that the author didn’t put too much slang/dialect for the mountain folk.
Without giving any spoilers, I can tell you that the real antagonist was a major surprise.
In conclusion, I would give the novel 5 stars, would recommend, and would read again.

Book 2: Mostly Magic
Pre-Order Book 3: Making Magic

Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Google Play Books

All Romance ~ Samhain

When she’s not being dragged down the sidewalk by her Jack Russell (if you know Jacks, you understand), Donna June Cooper is belly dancing (shiny!), reading (three books at once), writing (of course!) or complaining about the heat (no matter the temperature). A child of the Appalachians who was transplanted to Texas by her Italian husband, Donna returns to her mountain roots as often as possible, and takes her readers with her in her Books of the Kindling.


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Lola’s blog tours presents my reviews of Marion G. Harmon’s Wearing the Cape and Bite Me books

This is my stop during the blog tour for Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 15 till 31 December, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours: http://lolasblogtours.net/blog-tour-wearing-the-cape-by- marion-g-harmon/

Wearing the Cape banner

So far this series contains 4 novels and one novella: Wearing the Cape, Bite Me, Villians Inc., Young Sentinels and Small Town Heroes.

 Wearing the Cape (Wearing the Cape #1)

by Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy

Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:

Who wants to be a superhero?

Hope did, but she grew out of it. Which made her superhuman breakthrough in the Ashland Bombing, just before starting her freshman year at the University of Chicago, more than a little ironic. And now she has some decisions to make. Given the code-name “Astra” and invited to join the Sentinels, Chicago’s premier super-team, will she take up the cape and mask and become a career superhero? Or will she get a handle on her new powers (super-strength has some serious drawbacks) and then get on with her life-plan?

In a world where superheroes join unions and have agents, and the strongest and most photogenic ones become literal supercelebrities, the temptation to become a cape is strong. But the price can be high—especially if you’re “outed” and lose the shield of your secret identity. Becoming a sidekick puts the decision off for awhile, but Hope’s life is further complicated when The Teatime Anarchist, the supervillain responsible for the Ashland Bombing, takes an interest in her. Apparently as Astra, Hope is supposed to save the world. Or at least a significant part of it.

My Review

First off let me just say, I love Superhero stuff. DC, Marvel, all of it. (Although I’m a DC girl myself) I watch anything that even remotely says Super Powered anything but I’ve never read a book about superheroes. Magic? sure. supernatural/fantasy stuff? hell yeah but this was my first foray into reading a book about one of my favorite things to talk about at 3 am with my sisters. Needless to say I was super excited when I saw this book was up for review as part of Lola’s blog tours. I jumped at the chance to read Marion G. Harmon’s first two books of the Wearing the Cape series and he did not disappoint!

Real life meets Superheroes set in Chicago! so you know the skepticism will be high! and I loved that aspect!

Hope/Astra is the heroine of the story and I’m happy to say that although this is a YA novel, there was very little whining and overall bratty behavior by the main protagonist. THANK GOODNESS! I’m so over that trope! Hope has all the usual super powers, strength, flying etc but tons of the other Supers are very exciting to read about. like the Mormon one! LOL

I loved this book because it was kind of like the Impossibles inspired world which intrigued me greatly. The fact that some superheroes used their gifts for profit was a nod to the realistic elements which I approved of.

Wearing the Cape is a fun and entertaining read with a fantastic balance between pragmatic world building and awe inspiring fantasy!

You can find Wearing the Cape on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12345083-wearing-the-cap

You can buy Wearing the Cape here:

– Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wearing-Cape-Marion-G-Harmon-ebook/dp/B004XRCC1G/

– Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wearing-the-cape-marion-g-harmon/1104241802?ean=9781463539658&

Read the first 13 chapters for free here:

– Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wearing-Cape-Beginning-Marion-Harmon-ebook/dp/B00A2XANLQ/

– Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/wearing-the-cape-the-beginning

 Bite Me (Wearing the Cape #1.5)

By Marion G. Harmon

Genre: Superheroes/ Urban Fantasy

Age category: Older Young Adult/ New Adult

Blurb:

It was supposed to be a working vacation…

For Jacky Bouchard (aka, Artemis: vampire, former night-stalking dark avenger, and reluctant superhero), a trip to the Big Easy was a chance to solidify her new Bouchard identity, meet the grandmother she didn’t know she had, and do a favor for the New Orleans Police Department by helping them keep an eye on their local vampires.

Watching a bunch of fashion-obsessed goths with fangs should have been easy, but now she’s dressing in black and sleeping in a coffin even though living the whole Fiend of The Night stereotype makes her want to vomit. And for someone working undercover, she is getting attacked a lot. When Jacky learns that a master vampire capable of siring progeny with his blood (an urban myth—vampires don’t reproduce that way) may be haunting New Orleans, she decides to go hunting. But the streets of the French Quarter are dangerous when you don’t know who is hunting you, and Jacky finds herself in trouble up to her neck and needing all the help she can get…

 My Review

I was definitely eager to read, Marion G Harmon’s Bite Me since I love a snarky female protagonist. and I was desperate for a strong female character who happened to be a vampire in YA novels. Well Jackey Bouchard is right on the button. I loved that she had both Creole and Cajun heritage so her ties to New Orleans heralded back for generations upon generations. I truly appreciated the diversity when usually most YA novels ignore that aspect of things especially in a place as fluid and interweaving as New Orleans. Artemis/Jacky’s got a little Kate Daniels from the Magic Bites series about her and I really dig that. I love a tough cookie and she overcame such a horrific situation like a champ even though she still suffers the after effects. I appreciated the fact that although she was now a vampire, that didn’t automatically mean she forgot about her humanity and all the advantages and disadvantages that comes with that.

Another great book in the Wearing Cape Series. Everyone should read them!!

You can find Bite Me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16053522-bite-me

You can buy Bite Me here:

– Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Bite-Me-Easy-Nights-Wearing-ebook/dp/B009ITELVI/

– Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bite-me-marion-g-harmon/1113576863?ean=9781480097162

Wearing the Cape banner

Check out these Excerpts from all FOUR books in this fabulous Series

Wearing the Cape

Wearing the Cape cover

 

Cape (plural capes): literally, a sleeveless garment hanging from the neck over the back and shoulders; figuratively, a superhuman who has chosen to act as a superhero. Synonyms: hero, mask, super, superhero. Connotations: ‘cape’ is used as both a familiar and derogatory term for superheroes, who often casually refer to themselves as capes but generally consider it a demeaning term when applied to them by the press.


Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans

I was driving east on the Eisenhower Expressway when the Teatime Anarchist dropped the Ashland Avenue overpass on top of me, using enough C4 to bring the whole southbound span down at once.

 

My day had started normally enough. I gulped coffee and grabbed scorched toast, exchanging kisses with Mom on the way out the door. The September chill nipped around the edges of my coat and at my legs, making me glad I’d worn tights under my skirt. Driving one-handed, I scanned my schedule with the other: I’d be playing Mom’s Girl Friday at the gallery, getting ready for Thursday night’s foundation event. Julie had texted; she planned for us to take the University of Chicago by storm our first year, and wanted us ready by Orientation Week. We’d ruled Oak Park High till graduation, and she didn’t see any reason our college years should be different.

 

I passed a gray Suburban and the red headed munchkin in the back seat waved at me while her mom talked business on her hands-free cell. I stuck out my tongue, making her laugh, and my epad launched into Julie’s new call theme: the U of C fight-song. Wave the flag of old Chicago—

 

Bang.

 

Overhead explosions shattered my thoughts and I looked up to see blooms of blasted concrete and falling bridge. I screamed and ducked, lost control. The car slid. A flash of yellow and I hit something hard. I screamed again at the second, world-ending shock as falling roadway flattened my car. The tires blew. The buckled roof hit my head and flying glass stung my face as my vision exploded in fireworks. Choking off the scream, I found myself lying stretched across the front seat, the gearshift digging into my stomach, in smothering darkness. I tasted blood on my tongue.

 

Alive. I was alive.

 

The car roof pushed down, inches above my head as I lay there in the dark, my seat belt cutting off my air. Lightheaded, clawing blindly, I unbuckled but still couldn’t breathe without choking. Cement dust. Pulling my coat open I yanked my sweater up, taking shallow, sobbing breaths through the wool and fighting to think around the rising fear.

 

Twisting around, I cautiously felt my legs, wiggled toes. Nothing broken? Emergency kit under seat (thanks Dad!). Pen light—I almost wept with relief.  Broken epad, damn it. Still, breathing okay, not bleeding out. Help. Help would come.

 

But would it come in time?

 

What about the munchkin and her mom? Were they under the road now? Could they wait, if they were alive? I choked on panic as thick as the dust. I had to get out. I had to know. They had to be alive.

 

Gasping, pulse pounding, I pushed against the roof above me and felt something deep inside me change. Cold fire ran through my bones. I shrieked and my next breath filled me with the whole world. Tearing through the crushed roof of my car, I heaved aside the chunk of roadway above my head as easily as clearing cheap drywall, stood, blinking at the disaster around me, and saw what had saved me; I’d slid into a huge earth moving machine traveling in the next lane and it shielded me.  Around us, cars had fallen with the span and lay broken among shattered chunks of road and twisted steel frame. Dust-clogged air carried the smell of spilled oil and gas, the first bite of burning rubber.  A white sedan screeched to a sliding stop at the north end of the broken bridge. The world went far, far away as I looked at my shaking hands, unable to believe what I’d just done.

 

Oh God. Oh God.

 

I pushed the screaming panic down. Okay. Deal now, freak later.

 

I started digging.

 

 

Bite Me: Big Easy Nights

bite me

Anne Rice sucks. Lord Byron, Bram Stoker, all the rest too. Before they got hold of the horrible legends and turned an unclean spirit possessing a decomposing body into a freaking romantic hero, nobody anywhere thought vampires were nifty.

An unhealthy obsession with bloodsuckers wasn’t a problem before the Event. Sure, there were a few delusional psychotics who believed they were nosferatu, and a subset of goth culture that wore fangs with their Victorian lace, but what’s the harm? Except for the psychos, I mean. Today it’s a whole different story.
Jacky Bouchard, The Artemis Files.

This bites.

It had become a mantra, and I repeated it as I watched the fang-action across the room. I’d been haunting Sable’s for weeks, and the scene Sable and “Evangeline” were putting on was depressingly familiar. She stood beside his chair (throne, really), all blonde curls and lace over crinoline, while he sipped at her wrist and she shivered deliciously. The rest of his court watched him with greedy eyes. I sipped my Coke and ignored the sad hopefuls watching me.

God. One more night.

The windows open to New Orleans’ warm and damp spring night didn’t help, and the sweaty crowd around me made me glad I didn’t have to breathe. A deal’s a deal, I reminded myself again. Sable had “requested” my presence in his house three nights a week; in return, he left me alone when I hunted in the French Quarter. Speaking of hunting, it had been long enough between bites that the bodies around me were looking less like people and more like Happy Meals. Time to work.

Looking around for a likely suspect, I caught the eye of a kid with a face full of freckles under bad makeup and a mop of unevenly dyed raven hair. Without lowering my glass, I pointed at the door with my pinky finger and started moving that way myself. He blanched and his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down, but he pushed his way out of the crowd and met me in the doorway. Envious stares followed him.

“I don’t do public fang,” I whispered in his ear, and jerked my head for him to follow me. Down the hall from the crowded parlor was a study where nobody would interrupt us. I took his hand and he flinched a little at my cool grip, but then he squeezed. I almost sighed.

A single red-tasseled table lamp lit the study; Sable liked it dim and probably didn’t have a sixty-watt bulb in the house. I sat down on the velvet-upholstered loveseat, straightened my skirts, and patted the cushion beside me.

“I.D.?” I kept my voice low. He looked blank and now I did sigh. “You don’t expect me to risk entrapment, do you?”

“Oh, yeah.” He nodded eagerly and pulled out his wallet to hand me his driver’s license. I held it up. It looked real enough and declared he was Steve Jansen, eighteen, but I took a picture of it with the camera hidden in my bloodstone cameo broach anyway, then sat demurely while he put it away.

“First time?”

“Na—  Yeah.” He blushed, and suddenly I didn’t have the patience for it. I reached across his lap and took his right hand, pulled it gently towards me, and locked eyes with him.

“It’s easy.” I put influence into my words and felt him relax under the suggestion. Drawing his hand around my waist made him lean across me. A polite, or at least cautious, boy, he braced against the loveseat so he wasn’t lying across my frill-covered chest. The move put his head at an angle, neck in front of me, and despite my influence his Adam’s apple bounced again. I added more influence to a gentle “shhh,” and watched his pupils dilate till his irises practically disappeared. The pulse in his neck slowed along with his breathing, and when he was ready I leaned forward, opening my mouth.

Just a touch of my teeth and his blood flowed, electric copper on my tongue. I wrapped my arms around his waist as he went boneless, made a seal with my lips, and started counting. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four…  At thirty I stopped the flow with a lick. He didn’t twitch, and I laughed lightly—mood improved as always by the spike of heat in my veins.

“Breathe,” I said, and he took a deep convulsive lungful. Pushing him upright, I patted his shoulder. “Hold still.” Pulling a handkerchief from my skirt pocket, I wiped away the two little spots of blood left behind before applying it to my own lips. Standing up, I pulled him up with me and over to the door. I waited, holding his hands; there was no way I was letting him out into the crowd in his current state—people could play cruel jokes on someone who’d just been vamped.

When his pupils started to contract I kissed him on the cheek. Putting all the influence I could into it, I whispered “Goodnight Steve, now go home and don’t come back,” and pushed him out the door. He went straight down the hall without looking back, walking fast and without answering any of the calls sent his way. Two shakes and he was past Sable’s looming doorman and out the front door. Obviously the suggestion had taken, at least for now.

I shut the parlor door firmly and put my back to it before reaching into my skirt and pulling out my earbug. Wiggling it into my ear, I pushed off and headed for the second, outside door—the other reason I’d chosen the study.

“I am so out of here.”

“Roger that, Night Hunter,” Paul said.  “I’m parked three blocks south.”

 

Villains Inc.

Villains Inc cover

Before the Event, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical, and biological, remained beyond the reach of terrorist organizations. Terrorist attacks by individuals, although explosive-enhanced, could only be perpetrated against soft targets.

The Event has changed everything; now super-terrorists can strike anytime, anywhere, and even assault or stand off conventional military forces.  Worse, Verne-type superhumans are often capable of making more exotic weapons of terror.  Some, particularly of the save-the-world ecoterrorist flavor, are highly motivated to do just that.  A perfect example is the Godzilla Plague.

Sir Arthur Moore, War in the Heroic Age

“Nuts!” I swore when the godzilla came over the harbor wall.

Beside me the Bees watched it pull itself up, their eyes wide as saucers. Lake water poured off of its sides.

Then Megan snickered. “Nuts? Is that seriously the best you’ve got?”

That—and the screaming crowd—broke the spell for Julie and Annabeth. It was a beautiful spring day and I’d had no duties, so all three Bees had dragged me to Navy Pier for Chicago’s first warm weekend. Things were getting better, but after the last four awful months they were still in “Don’t let Hope mope” mode.

So of course it was our turn.

The creature splashed into the harbor, rocking ships as it half-swam, half-waded towards the pier. The Bees clustered in around me as the rest of the weekend crowd turned into a fleeing mob. News-footage of the other attacks hadn’t really prepared me for how big it was; fumbling in my bag for my earbug, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

“Hope?” Shelly queried when I got the earbug in.

“I’m on the pier!” I responded, reaching out to grab Annabeth when a rude man and his date shoved her out of their way.

“You’re there? Cameras just caught it—how fast is it coming?” My Best Friend Forever and Dispatch wingman, Shelly sounded calmer than I was.

“Not fast, but—” Behind me the park music died. Looking back, I saw the Ferris wheel jerk to a halt, cars swinging. My earbug snarled and popped, but—thank God—didn’t die too. “The critter’s electromagnetic pulse field is working, just like the ones that hit Tokyo and New York!”

“Is there somewhere you can change?” Lei Zi broke in, cool as ice. I looked around.

“We’re outside the Grand Ballroom, and I don’t have my Astra costume under my shorts—I’m not Clark Kent!”

“Rush is bringing your gear to you. Find somewhere private.”

I relayed her message and Julie pointed to an abandoned kiosk. “There!” she yelled, and I pushed for it through the mob as the Bees hung onto me. We reached it and I started stripping; I didn’t like Rush, but I had faith in him. The Bees formed a human curtain, blocking the sight of anyone coming around the kiosk, and Rush arrived in a blur of red motion. He thrust a black bundle into my hands.

“Gottagocheckthebuildings, makesurenobody’s leftbehind!” he said, pausing long enough to wink at Julie before disappearing. Kicking my shoes away, I finished pulling off my summer shorts and top, thankful again for my decision not to update to the spandex and pleather bodysuit Andrew had designed for me. Even done completely in black, my classic high necked, long armed, micro skirted costume still made me look like a figure skater in a cape, but it was easy to get into.

Except for the half-mask and attached wig; when I turned around Julie gave the mask a straightening tug before grabbing my discarded stuff. A roar of ear splitting decibels filled the air and the pier shook. “Time to run screaming,” she said. Annabeth gave me a quick hug. “Wax its ass,” Megan snarked, and they ran for it, racing down the pier after the retreating crowd.

I watched them run before launching myself into the air.

“Shelly?” I said. “Keep an eye on them?”

“I’ve already tagged their cellphones—if they stop moving I’ll know. The team is on its way.”

That was the best she could do; I put my worry away and turned to the crisis at hand.

“We’re on an inland lake!” I yelled to be heard over the monster’s roar as I got some altitude. “Tokyo and New York I understand—how did a godzilla get here?”

“The Teatime Anarchist’s future-files say godzillas were dropped as eggs all over both hemispheres from 2003 to 2015, in deep water.  Once hatched, they stayed out of sight till reaching their full 300 foot length and laying a few eggs of their own. Then they zeroed in on the nearest source of temperature or pollution spikes in the area.  It’s probably attracted to the runoff from the Chicago River and the heat pollution from the nuclear plant.”

“You think?” No cars moved in the streets as I looked down—engines killed by the EM pulse.

“Every other cape in town is on their way.  The police are responding with their EMP-hardened unit, but it’s going to take time to get it together and out to the pier.”

“They should have invested in some airlift!” I looped around and came in low, mindful of its primary reported weapon: a jet of high-temperature hydrogen plasma.

“Leaping lizards,” Shelly whispered.

The monster heaved itself onto Lakeview Terrace at the end of the pier. It looked like someone had asked the wizards of Hollywood to make a “thunder lizard,” and they’d delivered by slapping a T-Rex and an alligator together and inflating it to impossible size.  Scales colored shades of green, it looked really striking. If you got past its teeth.  Its big, big teeth.

 

Young Sentinels

Young Sentinels cover

“Mal! Dude! Look at this!” Tony nudged me hard for the third time, eyes glued to his epad.

“Malcolm Scott!” Mr. Winfield called, going down his list.

Ignoring Tony, I raised my hand. “Here.” Winfield didn’t even raise his eyes to look; he’d stopped looking at anybody years ago, which made it easy to ditch his class — just get a “friend” to answer to your name, he didn’t even have to disguise his voice. Sophomore year, I’d been as many as three kids a day in his class, until I got onto the wrestling team and was able to shrug off those kinds of friends.

“Tina Halls! Rachel Kerry!”

Even out here, standing in the middle of the soccer field in our designated “homeroom station” for what had to be the third Emergency Evacuation Drill since school started, Winfield acted like he talked to disembodied voices. At least the Emergency Class Monitors — Doug Lee and Tiffany Bright this fall, poor guys — were checking the same lists. Tiffany held one of the class’s two emergency phones, the ones they were supposed to call us on to tell us where to go or if the drill was over, in a death-grip. I wanted to tell her to lighten up.

“Bradley Card!”

I pushed my fists deeper into my pockets. A varsity jacket was good for two things: putting you out of range of the bullies and keeping you warm, and fall was coming early this year. The field hadn’t had time to warm up yet, and I wondered how long they’d keep us out here chilling until they decided the drill was over.

“Tiffany Bright!”

Dude, she’s standing right beside you.

“Mal, will you freaking look at this?” Tony shoved the epad in my face, almost dancing. “Not. A. Drill!” I pulled my hands out and managed to grab the pad before he dropped it. It would have been okay in the grass, but he was enough of a spazz he’d probably have stepped on it.

He had it set to Powernet; not a shock — he wasn’t a supergeek, but only because they were the worst kind of geeks and he wasn’t interested in getting beat on or hazed every other school day. The pad showed a streaming video identified as news helicopter footage.

The Sentinels and every Guardian team in Chicagoland were fighting a bunch of trees.

Holy crap.

The information bar scrolled team stats and facts, going on about how Riptide had obviously leveled up — he’d never shown the ability to use his water jets to cut before.

“Dude, it’s at the municipal airport! No wonder they’ve got us out here!” Tony took the pad back, keeping it tilted so I could see, and we watched mutant trees waste a bunch of connected buildings the infobar said was the Chicago Executive Airport terminal, the place rich guys kept their jets. The capes kept working the edges, like they were trying to trim a hedge growing faster than you could cut. They blasted trees, smashed them, sliced them, and the bar kept referring back to Riptide’s new attack style. Trees are eating the airport and that’s their priority?

“That is one bad-ass Crip,” Tony said admiringly. He had more than just my attention now, and we became the center of a crowd as half the class tried to look or asked what we were watching; nothing like this ever happened out in the burbs. I smelled lavender, turned, and had to grab Tiffany before she hit the grass.

“Sorry!” she said as if my bumping her was her fault. She got herself straight and flashed me a smile when I let go of her arm. “What’s going on?”

I shrugged, not sure what to do with my hands. “It’s not a drill.”

“Oh, no!” She dropped her clipboard and spun around, looking up like she expected the capes to airdrop right into the soccer field. I bent and scooped the board up from the wet grass, reattached the emergency phone she’d clipped to it, but kept hold of it all as some of the guys laughed. She flushed. Skinny and awkward, Tiff was probably the girl who would bloom into a supermodel after graduating, but guys are dicks and right now it sucked to be her.

“I’ve got to take that to the flagpole,” she explained, ignoring the guys. “Now that everyone’s been counted.”

“So let’s go.” I started off and she skipped to catch up.

“You don’t — Thanks. For back there.”

I shrugged, still walking. “Not a problem.”

“So, do you think they’re going to evacuate us?”

Coming around the side of the school, we watched school buses pulling into the half-circle drive that separated the front parking and the flagpole lawn from the main doors.

“I think that’s a strong maybe.” We crossed between two buses already in line, engines idling while they waited to move up and load, and joined the crowd of students and adults at the flagpole.

Vice Principal Blevins stood at the center of the group, looking at his own clipboard and talking into his phone. He nodded and said something as a packed bus pulled away. The sound of the engines made it impossible for us to hear him, but after all the drills he was probably totally into finally doing it. Tiffany pulled herself up straighter and reached for the clipboard.

“Thanks Mal, I — Wait! The phone!”

Shit. It had come unclipped somewhere. I looked around behind us, spotted it back in the drive. One of the buses we’d passed between had moved up but the other just sat there, and of course the phone lay on the pavement in front of it.

“I’ll get it!” I darted back across the drive.

“No, wait!” Tiffany cried, but I crouched and grabbed it. I turned back to her, heard the engine throttle down, and the lurching bus smacked me to the ground.

Shit. The pain of my head hitting the drive blinded me, but I felt the scrape of the pavement as the bus fender caught my jacket. Blinking my eyes clear as the rolling bus twisted my body into line with it, I saw the right wheel coming at my legs, knew it was going to roll right over me. Panicking, I kicked, the wheel caught my shoe, twisted my foot. My scream went higher than Tiffany’s at the wrenching pain, sharper than any wrestling hold and hot pressure erupted beneath my skin, flared out as I pushed.

The concussive explosion hammered my ears and I barely heard the shriek of wrenched metal, couldn’t see through the blinding flash. I blinked, blinked again, desperately scrubbed my eyes and tried to hear through the ringing. What —

The bus, what was left of it, lay twisted on its side twenty feet away from me — the entire front window buckled and craze-cracked and pushed deep into the cabin with the rest of the front of the bus. Blood painted the webbed glass, dripping onto the drive. Tiffany wouldn’t stop screaming.

The crowd around Blevins added its noise, mute in my ringing ears, and my stomach rolled with a way too familiar nauseating panic. I tried to stand but couldn’t make my legs work. Blevins yelled something, pointing, and two of the campus-cops headed for me, pulling the guns we always teased them about — like they’d shoot kids. I scrambled uselessly backward as heat and pressure flashed through me. I exploded again, and kept exploding.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaah!”

I rocketed into the air, acceleration squishing me like a thrill ride. Hersey High dropped away under my feet and my ears popped hard as the buildings shrank and the clouds got more personal.

“Aaaaaah stop!”

It did. The burning thrust bursting from my bones vanished — and with it the roaring flaring column pushing me up. Now my stomach decided we were falling. Nope, the buried science-geek in me said. We’re just decelerating, coasting to apogee. We’ll be falling in a few seconds.

Awesome — I’d burned through all my adrenaline and my brain had decided that sixty seconds of non-stop terror were enough, so I was going to die calm and sarcastic. I should have been nicer to Tiff —

“Are you done?”

I flailed about my center of gravity. A tiny blonde, a serious sticky mess, lightly swinging a bell-shaped chunk of metal that probably weighed more than I did, hung in the air beside me.

“Because I can give you a lift,” Astra said.

 

Small Town Heroes

Small Town Heroes cover

We were doing everything we could, and Mother Nature was still kicking our butts. The high winds, blowing hard enough to weaponize the sleeting rain, kept rescue copters out of the sky unless aerokinetics like Tsuris and his dad Jetstream flew with them to carve out zones of still air. The Ohio River was doing its best to drown Cairo, Mound City, and Paducah, and trying to help the Mississippi laugh at the spillways and floodways to submerge Wickliffe and points south.  Even Riptide couldn’t stop that much water; the best he could do was protect rescue boats and find desperate swimmers.

Three weeks of heavy rains dumped into the Mississippi and Ohio watersheds, and we were dealing with more destruction than any supervillain had ever caused with the sole exception of Temblor.

“Astra, is your load stable?” Lei Zi asked through Dispatch. She knew it couldn’t be the wind slowing me down.

“Yes — affirmative,” I responded absently. The US Army engineers had done a good job on the hitches, and I’d turned the 10-ton concrete barrier so it sliced into the wind as I flew. I’d slowed because— There it was again. The pitch black night and nearly horizontal rain cut even my super-duper vision down to less than thirty feet, but a twinkling flash of red light teased the edge of my sight. No-one was supposed to be down there.

I slowed again and dropped lower, so tired I couldn’t be sure of what I was seeing. The stacked-up storm fronts that had been soaking seven states had put the whole region on alert as aquifers filled and rivers rose. Three states had begun evacuating low ground last week and the flooded ground beneath me, north of Cairo, was supposed to be clear.

There. A sudden wind shift opened a hole in the rain curtain and brought me another red flash.  It moved, flying below me and pulling away now that it had my attention. Lower, I could see the drowned fields where the Mississippi had thrown out a new ribbon across the lower ground, creating a temporary floodway. Someone would get to that, but right now we — the Young Sentinels — were trying to save Cairo.

“Astra, Grendel is ready for the next levee section.”

We’d been working on it since early this morning, me flying in the sections as Grendel prepared the foundation — mostly by hammering iron rods down into the collapsed earth levee to anchor the sections as they arrived. But the light below me was bobbing and weaving, trying to keep my attention like Lassie telling me Timmy had fallen down the well, and I couldn’t just ignore it.

“I’m minutes out. Investigating signals north of town.”

“… Understood. Be quick.” She didn’t sound happy, but possible civilians in the evacuation zone took precedence over a town that had been completely evacuated two days ago.

Dropping till the wall section beneath me skimmed over the flooded fields, I followed the dancing red light. Could I see wings on it? It certainly moved like a bird working hard to fight through the wind. One minute, two, and I spotted the house. A solid building with no trimmings, it looked ready to shrug off tornadoes. Someone had circled it with a sandbag berm, but the sandbags were just a ring in the water now and the low-slung house sat half submerged.

And the roof was crowded, lit up to my infrared sight.

“You’re kidding, right?” Shell popped in to float beside me, rain sleeting through her virtual projection onto my mind’s eye. “They skipped evacuation to stay here with kids?”

Five adults, seven children, and, yes a dog and a cat in a carrier, huddled together under a tarp between storm lanterns.

I slowed, made sure of my load. “Who are they?”

Shell’s abstraction lasted less than a second.

“Based on head count, property and tax records, and the AR-15s and military gear, I’m betting they’re the Carletons and their neighbors down the road, the Stewarts. County sheriff’s report says they were told to evacuate, but wouldn’t believe the government if it told them Sunday was coming.”

I sighed. “Paladins?”

“Nope, just part of a local citizen’s militia.”

That was something, anyway. Maybe I wouldn’t get shot at. I brought us down, dropping the concrete barrier beside the edge of the roof, which caused a few screams. It must have looked like the piece of emergency levee had just flown out of the night to sit down by their house.

I landed on top of it, which put me at roof level. I was probably a more reassuring sight. Half the reason for the colorful costume was so that bystanders would recognize and trust you in any situation (the other half was marketing), and Andrew was experimenting with textured and reflective fabrics. I’d left my armor at home to try out the patterned blue and white one-piece unitard outfit  he’d come up with, and even in the storm my star crest glowed like a traffic reflector in the light of the lamps.  Of course none of them could see Shell, standing beside me completely unbothered by the storm. She saw no need to cater to reality, so the gusts didn’t stir her hair and the drowning rain didn’t so much as spot her green tank top—which read If you can read this t-shirt you are freaking amazing.

“Hi,” I said.

Shell rolled her eyes. “Great heroic entrance. Way to make a memory.”

 Wearing the Cape banner

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BPIC Promotions presents Rebecca York’s The Off World Cookbook +Review

The Off World Cookbook
by Rebecca York
Genre: Cookbook
Release Date: December 8, 2015

Do you ever want to know more about the background and environment of the characters in a story? Here’s a chance to find out more about Rebecca York’s Off World novellas and short stories. Like what do the heroes and heroines in these science-fiction romances really eat? And where did they get the recipes? Or are they foraging for their supper in the forests, fields and streams of strange planets?

It’s fun to envision these future meals in strange environments and more fun to duplicate the dishes here on Earth–even the Farlian Celebration Cake pictured on the cover.

Some of the recipes, like the Backcountry Quick Bread from Assignment Danger, feature native foods, which you’ve never encountered. But you can make easy substitutions with ingredients found at your local grocery store.

Others like the Roasted Summer Vegetables or Cheesecake that the colonists on Jalar enjoy or the Fresh Cherry Compote made from the trees on Caleb Raider’s farmstead in Nightfall are made with ingredients originally brought from Earth and carefully cultivated in their new environments.

Some, like the Grilled Steak with Peppers and Onions from Conquest, are a blend of native and Earth traditions.

Each of these dishes is rich with the atmosphere of another time and place. Try them in your own kitchen. They’ll give you an–ahem–taste of what we have in store in the future when we venture into the unknown worlds of the galaxy and beyond.

GRILLED STEAK WITH PEPPERS AND ONIONS
Conquest

Grazing animals which resemble the buffalo of old earth inhabit the lowland plains on Jalar. The Jalarians hunt them for furs and food. Like all of the native warriors, Rohan could eat their meat at every meal. For variety, Elena taught him to add a flavorful marinade and some vegetables. Here on earth, you can marinate the steak in a plastic bag.

Makes 4 servings

11/2 pounds sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1/2 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp salt

2 sweet peppers (green and red, yellow, or orange) seeded and sliced

  1. Place steak in a zip-lock plastic bag. In a small bowl, combine onion, oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, mustard, garlic, and salt; stir to mix well. Pour into the bag with steak, distributing evenly over meat. Seal, lay on a large plate, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Adjust rack 5 inches from broiler.  Preheat broiler.  Transfer meat to broiler pan. Broil meat for 11 to 18 minutes, turning once, until desired degree of doneness is reached.
  3. Meanwhile, transfer onions and marinade to a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons additional oil. Add peppers, and cook over medium high to high heat, stirring frequently, 7 or 8 minutes, until onions and peppers begin to char.
  4. To serve, slice meat on the diagonal, and arrange on a serving platter. Surround with pepper-onion mixture.

I loved this book from the star! The cover drew me in because I love cake more than is socially acceptable. However it was the idea of an “off world” cook book that truly had me intrigued. I couldn’t for the life of me think what it could be filled with but i wasn’t disappointed.

I have to say that I hadn’t read the books that the recipes were inspired by but it definitely didn’t stop me from enjoying the the amazing suggestions Rebecca York’s book made. I enjoy experimenting new recipes on my family so this was an additional treat for me. Everyone loved the Jalaran Shish Kebab when I made in for a midweek dinner. and when I brought along the Dorre wings to my annual prethanksgiving bookclub potluck, all the girls raved over it!

My personal favorite though is the Farlarian Celebration cake!! if you want to know more about these zany titled recipes then I highly recommend this cookbook!

Buy the Books and read more about the worlds these recipes are from:

A New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-selling and award-winning author, Rebecca has written over 145 books and novellas. In 2011 she became the dozenth author to receive the Romance Writers of America Centennial Award for having written 100 romantic novels. Her Killing Moon was a launch title for Berkley’s Sensation imprint in June 2003. Five more books in the series have followed.

Rebecca has authored or co-authored over 65 romantic thrillers, many for Harlequin Intrigue’s very popular 43 Light Street series, set in Baltimore, and many with paranormal elements.

Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. And her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series.