Something Real, bk 1
Trust Me Book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Their brief heated meeting one fateful night had singed itself into their minds. Not knowing of the other’s identity, but unable to forget, had sealed their fate. The fire smoldered quietly in each of them as they tried to move on with their lives.
Eric Stiles was in the middle of chaos, searching for a killer.
Hunted by an obsessed psychopath, Rebecca Gailen was trying to be strong.
The world stopped for a moment as they looked up and saw the other standing just feet away.
His heart lurched, her armor shattered and the world started again as Eric’s brother, Charlie, appeared to take her hand.
Family loyalty isn’t a choice. When Rebecca’s stalker rages out of control, Eric’s decision haunts him and he struggles to stay away. Can he remain loyal to his brother, even if it means abandoning Rebecca when she may need him the most?
Trust Me Book 2
She had become his prey. His plaything. The one he desired the most, but someone wanted her more.
Her resilience fading, Rebecca fights to remain strong against the man trying to destroy her mind and her life. Without the solace of Eric’s arms, Rebecca’s will to recover from the relentless blows wanes as she begins to break.
Eric, forced to face his own choices, races to end the nightmare before the woman he loves is completely torn apart.
Just when they think the worst is over, the game and the stakes change.
Trust Me Book 3
Eric Stiles has everything to lose and no matter how hard he fights he can feel his life slipping away.
Rebecca Gailen thinks that the love of her life is dead and only the vigor of revenge keeps her fighting to survive.
When a secret reveals more than anyone expected, it changes Eric and Rebecca’s lives forever. The devastating truth puts the couple at odds. Can they overcome their clashing conclusions and learn to trust each other again? Or will they let it rip them apart?
A mother of three, Amy has spent the past sixteen years working in Operations for Ricoh America’s Corporation. She is an avid movie fan and enjoys books, television, theater, her dog Pip and all things romance.
THE ANTHEM TRILOGY BOOK 3: ANTHEM OF SURVIVAL
The Anthem Trilogy:
Anthem of the Sea – book 1
Anthem of the Dark – book 2
Anthem of Survival – book 3
Anthem of Survival
Will they ever escape the past?
Revenge casts a long shadow.
Following two prior attempts on their lives, Daniel and Elijah are together and stronger than ever. Their relationship has weathered the toughest elements and survived. Physically and emotionally scarred, the bond between them can’t be broken. One year on from the devastating events in Anthem of the Dark they have reassessed their priorities and want to spend time out of the spotlight.
Elijah has quit his stand-up career to focus on his new passion: training to be a chef. But for Daniel, there are too many questions he desperately needs answers to. Like who orchestrated the violence in Blackpool a year ago? Whose hatred of him runs so deep they’re ruthlessly prepared to hurt innocent by-standers? He teams up with journalist Keeley Rank to uncover the facts.
Though the truth is well hidden, it is closer than anyone thinks. Someone wants revenge. Someone intent on destroying Daniel anyway she can. When Daniel and Elijah attend a fundraising gala for a victim support charity they are unaware they are about to face their most perilous situation yet. Vengeance is a deadly game and not everyone will survive.
Available in ebook and Paperback
Daniel Blake, sitting on a shaded terrace in a pair of sun-bleached shorts, strummed a melody on his guitar. The afternoon sun blazed in a cloudless sky and, despite the protective canopy above him, the heat was intense. Beads of sweat ran down his neck, tracking over bronzed skin to the dark mass of chest hair. It glistened on his top lip as he gently chewed the bottom. With his eyes closed, he progressed through the strings. A moment later, he smiled, finally satisfied, and put down the guitar. He reached for the weathered notebook that had been his constant companion all summer and wrote in an eager, untidy hand.
Daniel had been working on the song for two days, both music and lyrics, and, at last, it was done. He had nothing left to add.
He lifted his gaze to the sky and inhaled full into his lungs. Across the terrace, the blue water of the Ionian Sea reflected the white light of the sun, its expanse an ever-changing collage of sapphire and diamond colors. Down the coast, the outline of Corfu Island was a hazy mirage in the heat. This perfect view had been his for six amazing weeks. The idyll would soon be over, but not yet.
Daniel lay back on the lounger and lengthened his arms above his head, stretching the stiffness in his neck. He’d been so absorbed in the song, ensuring every chord and every word were right, he’d ignored his own comfort and now his body ached. A few weeks earlier, he’d made the mistake of writing beside the pool, in the direct glare of the sun, and paid the price. Two painful days in bed with sunburn. Since then, he’d stuck to the shade while working on his music. He lost himself so much in the process it was easy to burn.
Daniel studied his body as he lay there. He’d never looked so good or been this tan before. There’d been no time to sunbathe in the past, he’d always thought it a waste of time. He had had too much to do, too much to achieve, to spend his days lying around a pool. But he’d realized this summer that a tan didn’t just suit him, it helped him feel better.
It wasn’t just the sun. Daily sessions in the pool and long walks on the beach kept him in shape. Coming off Lady Lynda, he’d had every intention of letting his fitness routine go a little, if only for the summer, but it hadn’t worked out that way. He was in better condition now than when he arrived, in mind as well as body.
His legs were strong, muscular and tan. He hardly recognized his own body. He inched down the top of his shorts to admire the contrast in color between the creamy skin below his waist and the coppery tones above. The villa was private and he could have bathed naked if he’d wanted to, except he wasn’t that kind of guy. Besides, tan lines were sexy. He’d always thought so. Who needed to risk a burnt butt and balls?
The one thing that marred the bronze color of his torso was the scars between his hip bones and ribcage, sustained the night Oliver Gill had stabbed him, and from the lifesaving surgery he’d gone through afterward. Before coming to Corfu, the pale scars had been almost unnoticeable on his white skin. His dark body hair just about concealed them. But as his tan deepened, the scars stayed white, becoming more pronounced, forcing him to look at them, to acknowledge them.
Daniel traced his fingers along the lines and indentations. Had he made peace with the disfigurement? No. But as the summer came to an end, he’d learned to accept them.
Daniel sighed and basked in the heat. Life was not so bad, considering what the last two years had thrown at him. Better than that, things were good. Not perfect, too many questions remained unanswered for that, but his optimism grew every day.
The glass doors of the terrace opened behind him and Elijah Mann stepped out, offering him a cold bottle of water.
“It’s hotter than hell out here,” Elijah remarked, shielding his eyes against the sun to gaze across the sea.
Daniel swung his legs over the side of the sunbed and sat up. He drank the chilled, sparkling water and looked with admiration at Elijah’s chunky thighs. While the sun had turned Daniel’s white-boy skin an appealing shade of bronze, Elijah, with his Greek heritage, had gone nut-brown. The beige shorts and blue open-neck shirt he wore today complemented his tan. God, he’s gorgeous. Daniel never had to remind himself what a lucky guy he was.
Elijah dropped onto the other sunbed, knees spread wide, and looked straight at him with soulful brown eyes. His thick blue-black hair fell in an untidy wave across his brow and a three-day beard darkened his jaw. With his natural Greek coloring, Daniel wondered if Elijah had ever looked more handsome. Even more important, he looked happier and healthier than he had in a long time. Less than a year ago he’d been in hospital, fighting for his life. Daniel wouldn’t ever forget how close he’d come to losing him. Those long, terrible hours beside his bed, praying he would recover. Hoping for the best, afraid of the worst.
“How’s it going?” Elijah asked, nodding at his guitar.
“I’m finished,” he answered, smiling.
Elijah’s eyebrows raised. “Really?”
“Don’t keep me in suspense. Let me hear it.”
“What’s for lunch?” Daniel asked, feigning indifference.
Elijah leapt forward, grabbing Daniel’s bare waist, tickling the sensitive flesh around his middle. Daniel yelped and fell backward, giggling. Elijah followed through, lying on top of him, fingers still working his waist. Daniel laughed, squirming against his hard body.
“No lunch today,” Elijah said, his face on top of Daniel’s. “Not until you play me your song.”
Thom Collins Bio
Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, Gods of Vengeance and Silent Voices with Pride Publishing. The Anthem Trilogy is out now from Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.
He is currently working on a new novel.
Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.
Twitter: @thomwolf and @realthomcollins
Pinterest: Thom Collins
Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services
Captain Jesse Forbes was understandably mistaken in his original assessment of Colonel Mitchell Stone. But his method of gathering that intel has blown up in his face. Given Addison Longwood’s history, he knows she’ll never offer him a second chance, and working together against a common foe is going to be torture in more ways than one.
Addison hopes for the best but expects the worst as she and her fellow defenders gain reinforcements and take it to the enemy, unaware another betrayal awaits them. Survivors change sides and lines are blurred—good guys and bad guys wear camo.
Stepping right into her space, he grasped her by the upper arms and yanked her close. The familiar feel of his body against her own, his scent, thrust her into memories—the good ones that had temporarily replaced the ones from her childhood—and nearly overwhelmed her common sense.
“Addy, I need to you to listen to me. Please.” For an instant, she longed to melt into him, to let him kiss her the way he did, to escape from the reality that was to come. To allow what usually followed such a kiss. Her innate sense of survival overrode the impulse. Trust was such a fragile thing… Fool me once. She carried enough shame.
Twisting free, the strength of his fingers likely leaving marks, she put distance between them. “Don’t. Not ever.” The words, spoken so adamantly, quietly and so coldly, fell between them and rose up like an invisible wall only the two of them could see.
Jesse stilled, staring at her, his whiskey-golden eyes morphing into solid amber. “You’ll never forgive me.”
“There’s nothing to forgive.” She repeated what she’d said to Marcia and would repeat forever, if necessary. “Means to an end. I get it. I’d be stupid to let it get to me. But that doesn’t mean I’ll let you use me again. We can’t afford to allow anything get in the way of what’s coming next. We can’t afford to be … distracted. You have everything you need.”
“This is about what happened to you growing up.” The wistful, arbitrary feeling about her own needs burned away with white-hot rage. Damn him.
She managed a shrug but then hit back, forgetting her resolve to remain distanced. “Such a clever spy, Forbes. You know all my secrets. Good on you. Hope your real boss appreciates your diligence. Anything for the cause. It’ll look good in your report. Make sure you spell my name right.”
“That’s not—” He growled something under his breath and stalked over to a folding table, kicking a chair out of the way.
“I’m leaving. And don’t pull anything like this again.” She made her weak knees stiffen so her legs could carry her past him.
“It became so much more, Addison.” He turned and spread his hands. “I can’t go back. I wish I could. If I’d known what it could become, I’d have waited. Until you knew who I really was.”
She shut her eyes tightly against a new shard of pain in her chest before gaining the exit, not able to form a coherent response. A terrible sense of loss hollowed her senseless, but she schooled her features.
Allyson Young aka Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada. She and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business. She has always enjoyed the written word, and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one. That was followed by a mix of spicy (Ally) and sweet (Peribeth) romances in various genres as well as a post-apocalyptic adventure without a lick of romance by Peribeth. A bestselling Amazon author, a hybrid, and a coauthor, as of April 2018 she has published seven series and several standalones, with others in the works.
Addison Longwood survived the plague that struck down almost everyone around her. She survived the hazardous trek into the countryside to find shelter within a group of like-minded individuals led by a man she can actually respect. Settled and contributing, she allows herself a sense of hope.
From the remaining military, Captain Jesse Forbes is charged with locating survivors in order to rebuild the country. His initial impression of Addison’s band isn’t positive and he sets his sights on the young woman in order to infiltrate, and assess her leader—the end justifying the means, or so he assures himself.
But there are far greater dangers lurking, threatening the very existence of the survivors. Alliances are forged—and tested. Betrayal cuts deep, lives are lost and others changed forever.
Who are the good guys anyhow?
Wrapped in an old piece of toweling—another item to add to the shopping list—she was squeezing the moisture out of her mane when Jesse Forbes came through the door. One of her guys lingered just outside, guarding the man, but every molecule of her being told her to run, far and fast before she put some steel in her spine and managed a nod.
“Morning. I see you’re up ahead of most everyone else too,” he said.
Making small talk in the showers, with him fully clothed and her … not, sucked. To his credit, aside from one sweeping glance down her body, he looked at her face.
“Seems like it.” She edged around him, catching his amused stare and grabbed up her clothes. “Excuse me.”
“I wondered how long your hair was.”
She blinked, and despite herself, her hand rose to finger the wet tangles. Not particularly vain, she’d left her hair to grow, finding it easier to tie up and out of the way instead of fighting with the unruly curls. Especially now she could keep it clean and avoid the critters that tended to infiltrate dirty hair, particularly among close quarters. It had been carefully secured and out of the way on the mountain that day so he couldn’t have known.
Deciding not to answer, she ducked into the tacked-on separate room, no more than a tent, thank goodness for the temperate climate. She rubbed furiously at the dampness still on her skin and then yanked on her jeans under the cover of her towel. She pulled on her shirt, only then using the toweling to wring more moisture from her hair.
“Sorry. Again. I seem to put my foot in my mouth around you. And I’m not yet privy to the rules around here.” His smooth baritone sounded too damn close and she wheeled around, cursing the fact she’d turned her back on him. And he was between her and her rifle.
She hadn’t been mistaken about his size and breadth, although refused to feel intimated—or anything else. Besides, his guard was close by. Her brain processed his educated comment. Sometimes he sounded like an average Joe, then next, a college professor. Privy? Her obsession with books allowed for the interpretation, but still…
Forcing herself to project calm, or whatever felt close to that, she said, “Are you asking about segregation? Of the sexes?” And why had she used the word sex in his vicinity?
“That, among other things.”
“Mitchell, I mean, the Colonel, will apprise you.” She thought she saw a glimmer of intrigue in those strangely colored eyes but it passed too quickly to be certain.
“He said he’d assign someone. As a guide. Aside from my armed escort.”
“Then you’ll be set. Excuse me.”
“Is there a time that’s better for me—and the guys—to shower?” His hands went to the collar of his T-shirt and he tugged it over his head.
Addy had seen enough torsos—and other man parts—in her life. How could she not, given her history and where she now slept? So Jesse’s cut chest and chiseled abs shouldn’t have had any effect on her. And they didn’t, her excellent self-control surging to the fore. They. Did. Not.
“No set times,” she said, infusing her voice with casualness. “This shower is communal for the fighters. The camp defenders, I’d guess you’d call us. There’s another, larger one for the rest of the camp. The guys make allowances for us four women—me, Marcia, Denise, and Laura—first thing. I woke up earlier today.”
Was that a knowing look? She fought a blush. He was getting under her skin and she had no doubt he knew it. Probably knew women inside and out, had lots of experience with them. Well, she had lots of experience with men, too, and none of it positive.
“I slept fine,” she lied. “I woke early, is all. So if you hurry, you won’t be disturbed by the other women when they arrive. Unless it won’t bother you.” For sure it wouldn’t bother Denise and probably not the other two.
“I’ll just be quick then.” His long fingers reached for the button on his khakis. It didn’t escape her notice he didn’t remark on being disturbed by the women.
Refusing to look as though she was fleeing, Addy folded her towel before turning on her heel and stalking out, dipping to snatch up her rifle. The glimpse of his naked, sculpted butt and strong legs was emblazoned on her retinas, but she blinked the vision away. Add arrogance to his confidence. Not necessarily a nice mix.
Allyson Young aka Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada. She and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business.
She has always enjoyed the written word, and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one. That was followed by a mix of spicy (Ally) and sweet (Peribeth) romances in various genres as well as a post-apocalyptic adventure without a lick of romance by Peribeth.
A bestselling Amazon author, a hybrid, and a coauthor, as of April 2018 she has published seven series and several standalones, with others in the works.
Please Welcome Charlotte Leaf and enjoy the entire first chapter from New Release, Afraid to Reveal, the first book in the brand new romantic suspense series Afraid To.
Thanks so much H K for inviting me to your blog to share my book, Afraid To Reveal, with your readers and fans
Revealing the truth will change everything…
On the verge of graduating from college as a top scholar and a recipient of a prestigious fellowship, Jill Beckwith’s life is derailed the night before graduation when she wakes up in a jail cell. With no memories of what happened or how she got there, Jill’s stunned when she learns she is to be arrested for a DUI. In an instant, all of her years of diligent study and hard work as well as her hopes for future are dashed.
Months later, just as Jill is on the path to regaining her footing, her newfound stability is threatened when she realizes that the recent murder of a college classmate may have links to her own troubles. While the connections between the two incidents seem tenuous, Jill is desperate to find any explanation for how her life inexplicably unraveled. She’s aided in her discovery for the truth by Andrew Fabreci, a man to whom she’s attracted and has a complicated past of his own. Just as their relationship begins to deepen, another murder occurs and Jill and Andrew realize their future is threatened by a killer who intends for Jill to be the next target.
Afraid To Reveal is a 60,000+ word romantic suspense novel
Jill Beckwith didn’t know which was worse, the insistent painful pounding between her temples or the horrible, rancid taste lingering in her mouth.
Ugh, I must be coming down with the flu, she thought. Except that with the flu, she usually felt achy all over her body. For now, the pain was localized in her head, an unsteady an unwelcome drumbeat to consciousness.
As gross as she felt, Jill decided to give in to the urge to roll over and try to catch a few more minutes of sleep. However, two things stopped her. First, a violent roiling in her stomach let her know she needed to find the nearest toilet, not the other side of the bed. Second, she was not in her bed. In fact, she wasn’t in her room or even in her apartment.
The sudden awareness caused Jill to jerk upright, a move she instantly regretted because the sudden motion made her headache and nausea even worse. She placed her hands palm down on either side of her and tried to gather her bearings, Jill noticed the metal bars for the first time.
What the hell? That’s when she noticed, too, that her bed was actually a cot attached to a seeming block wall. And that the room she was in was actually a windowless self-contained cramped space, six feet by eight feet if she had to guess.
This is a cell, Jill thought, I’m in jail.
Her first instinct was to deny the possibility. There was no way she could be in jail. Graduation ceremonies were due to kick off tomorrow and she was scheduled to give an address as one of her class’s top scholars. And in a few short weeks, she would be in she would be at the London School of Economics studying as part of the prestigious Cronin Fellowship she’d won. There was no way she was in jail right now. There had to be some mistake, some terrible mix-up. Jill even pitched yourself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming but the flash of pain told her this situation was all too real.
Okay, so how did I get here? Jill desperately tried to recall something, anything that would explain how she wine wound up behind bars. Her last memories were of going to the Blue Dolphin to celebrate college graduation. The popular off campus bar wasn’t her usual scene but her ex-boyfriend, Owen, insisted that taking part in the Blue Dolphin shindig was a rite of passage no graduating senior could ignore.
Despite her initial hesitation, Jill gave in, something she remembered regretting shortly after arriving at the bar. Owen thought her accepting his invitation meant she wanted to get back together. After she repeated her belief they should just be friends, Owen stormed off, disappearing into the horde of people crowded in the bar.
Had she gone after him? Jill didn’t know because that’s where her memories ended. But a spat with Owen wouldn’t have landed her in jail. She tried to force her brain into providing an explanation but she kept drawing a blank.
“So Snow White finally decided to rejoin the land of the living?”
The nasally, sarcasm inflicted voice interrupted Jill’s thoughts. “Huh? Snow White?”
A female officer in a white and navy uniform shot Jill a look of barely concealed disdain. “Is it Snow White the one who was dead to the world until the prince came along and work with woke her up? Or is that Sleeping Beauty? Well, no matter, you’re awake now so we can process and book you.”
“Process and book me for what? Why am I here?”
The officer rolled her eyes and said with exaggerated patience, “We found you in your car passed out on the side of a service road a few miles from here with the keys still in the ignition. You were brought here to sleep it off but that doesn’t mean you won’t be charged.”
“Charged?” Jill’s heart began to pop in a rapid rhythm that almost matched the pounding in her head. “Charged with what? I don’t understand what’s going on.”
“Driving under the influence, young lady. You’re lucky you didn’t hurt yourself or worse, someone else. Your student ID was among your belongings. I’m guessing you were celebrating graduation and let things get out of hand.”
The officer shook her head and her eyes briefly softened was something that looked like pity. “I have to say you’re not off to the best start in the real world, but it could’ve been much worse. As soon as we get you booked and processed, you can call someone to come bail you out.”
The officer unlocked the door and slid the bars back but Jill remained seated on the cot, dumbfounded by what she’d just been told. DUI? Passed out on the side of the road? Bail?
“Um, wait… There must be some mistake. I would never drink and drive. There’s too much at stake for me to take such a risk.”
The officer rolled her eyes again and gestured with her fingers for Jill to stand up. “Save it for your lawyer and the judge, honey. Now, come on and let’s get you booked, I don’t have all day.”
Jill stood and went with the officer, still confused by accusations but knowing she needed to follow orders for the time being. This has to be a mistake, she told herself. I’ll get booked and then get bailed out and set everything right. Too much is riding on my future for me to have an arrest record. This is all a mistake that will be fixed shortly.
By Mary Martinez
Glenna refused to believe she’d been abandoned at the altar and asks her brother, Tyler, to contact an agent friend on the West Coast to search for Lance.
Patrick McGinnis can’t believe he’s walking into a prissy shop in the high end of the Napa Valley searching for a missing groom. The bride, Glenna Beckett, is everything he feared, drop dead gorgeous, and a spoiled brat. Not that he’d ever tell her brother that. He hates wild goose chases, and this mission is exactly that. Patrick’s certain the playboy fiancé is off wooing some other delectable creature.
Unfortunately, once Patrick started to dig, he finds there’s more to the tale and it will take all his skills as an agent to keep Glenna safe. Especially when the case takes a turn and threatens the safety of his son, Finn.
Mary and her husband love to travel, especially to the Caribbean for relaxing, and Italy for the wine. And most recently she discovered she was Irish and Scottish, of course they had to visit Ireland and Scotland. Mary fell in love with both, but the green hills of Ireland felt like home. With the experience from the exotic places she has visited, she is able to fill her books with colorful descriptions of cities, painting a colorful backdrop for her characters. One of her favorite US destinations is New York/Brooklyn, where her beloved Beckett’s live. When she visits, she can wander their neighborhoods, favorite parks, and visit their favorite pub, Putnum’s.
They are avid concert ‘Ho’s’! Yes, they pretty much want to do them all. They love outdoor amphitheaters the best and attend as many during the warmer months as possible.
Mary writes mostly romantic suspense, romance, women’s fiction, and she has just begun to dabble in young adult mystery. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). During her writing career she has been a conference coordinator, workshop presenter, and chapter president for the Utah Chapter of RWA. In 2007 she was presented with the Utah RWA service award in acknowledgment and appreciation for outstanding service. Mary has also participated in numerous library panels on writing and co-presented a workshop on writing a series at the League of Utah Writers conference.
Mary and her husband are also enthusiastic college football fans. They have season tickets to the UTES, University of Utah Football and they tailgate every game. They love tailgating so much, that they were married at a tailgating in 1999.
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An infant’s abduction reveals long held secrets that will affect an entire family.
Tempting Their Best Friend has never been so sweet…or delicious.
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The title, Midnight’s Edge, comes from the time of night where the veil between the living and the dead disappears and, for a brief moment in time, the dead can return to the mortal world and live again.
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3. Finding Heart by Tiffani Lynn (eBook)
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5. I’ve Also Got Your Front, Hailey by June Kramin (Print)
The Prison of the Angels intro:
If there’s a special Hell for the world’s worst girlfriend, I am condemned to it.
I killed Azazel’s daughter. Yes, it was in self-defense. Yes, Roshana was bleeding her father slowly to death to enhance her own five-thousand-year lifespan. I don’t think that makes much difference. The fact is, I put a foot-long iron blade through her skull. That makes me a murderer. And she was Azazel’s daughter. No matter what the circumstances, no father is going to be able to forgive that. Not even a fallen angel.
I thought I was a good girl. I thought that no matter what happened around me, no matter the company I kept, and no matter what others did for my sake, that I could stay innocent. I thought that, as long as I acted out of love, I’d be blameless.
I was wrong, wasn’t I?
I betrayed Azazel twice over. Not despite love, but for it. Even before I killed Roshana, I betrayed him. With Egan.
For love. For lust. For a need I don’t even understand.
I had everything with Azazel. The most beautiful and powerful man imaginable, if man is the right word for something far beyond human. His unquenchable passion and wicked appetite. The fierce protectiveness that went hand-in-hand with his dominance. And sometimes—just sometimes—a privileged glimpse of his secret vulnerability. Oh, I just did not pay enough attention to how easily I could hurt him. He’s a hurricane made flesh, but in the still center of that terrible destructive power he has his fears and his loneliness just like the rest of us. He responds with instant visceral panic if I grab his wrists. He’s afraid of confinement, and control, and underground places. He’s desperately afraid that I will stop loving him. Well, he was.
He trusted me, and I broke that trust.
I wanted him to desire only me—I told him I needed him to stay away from other women—and at the same time I went and fell in love with someone else. A mere man. An emotionally-messed-up mortal whose one aim, moreover, is to lock Azazel back in his eternal prison. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with me?
I am a jealous, hypocritical whore.
I am a murderer.
I always thought I was a good girl, but it’s just not true. And it isn’t even Azazel who brings out the worst in me, as you might expect of a demon. There’s a darkness in my soul that surfaces in Egan’s presence, though the poor guy has done nothing to deserve it.
And now I have nothing. Not Azazel. Not Egan. Egan does love me, but he’s a goddamn celibate Catholic priest and his first loyalty is to God. Roshana smashed his legs to pulp and I surrendered him back into the hands of his creepy, secret Vatican conspiracy, Vidimus, because there was no one else who could save him.
I haven’t seen Egan in weeks.
If this is Hell, it’s exactly what I deserve.
Milja Petak’s world has fallen apart.
Her lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has cast her aside in rage and disgust. The other contender for her heart, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, was surrendered back into the hands of the shadowy Vatican organization, Vidimus, after sustaining life-threatening injuries.
She has killed and she has betrayed. She is alone, homeless, and at the end of her tether – torn apart by guilt and the love she has lost.
But neither Heaven nor its terrifying representatives on Earth have finished with Milja.
Both her lovers need her in order to further their very different plans, and both passionately need her, though they may try to deny it.
Milja is once again forced into a series of choices as she uncovers the secrets Heaven has been guarding for centuries. But this time it is not just her heart at stake, or even the fate of a fallen angel.
This time, the choices she makes will change everything.
This time it’s the End of the World.
The Prison of the Angels is the third in the acclaimed Book of the Watchers trilogy, following on from Cover Him with Darkness, and In Bonds of the Earth.
Excerpt from The Prison of the Angels:
The cold water flashed like white fire over every inch of my skin. It burnt my eyeballs and my lips and the inside of my throat, and beyond the white fire was a darkness so immense that it swallowed me whole.
I fell forever.
Something grabbed my wrist. Something so hot that it boiled away the darkness, so that there was suddenly light flashing in my eyes. I felt myself grabbed up bodily and lifted. I felt heat against my lips, blowing fire into my frozen lungs. I saw the wooden posts of a flight of steps, and then I pitched forward onto hands and knees in the shallow snow, choking up pond-water. In front of my blurred vision an inchoate swirl of darkness poured up the steps onto the lit porch and then disappeared. Unseen, something slammed against the door, a knock that made the house shake.
I was on the ground beneath the back porch of John’s house, I realized, shuddering.
Mama. Oh Mama. The thought seemed to come from nowhere.
Three times the knock sounded, and on the third the door burst open—outward, onto the porch—to reveal Egan in the lit room within; shaven, shirtless, and frozen mid-lunge for what I could only assume was a weapon of some sort.
I tried to cry out.
Grabbing his pistol he ran out barefoot onto the porch and looked around for enemies that were not there. Then he clattered down and pulled me up into his arms. I pressed my face to his neck and he carried me up the steps and over the threshold—not like a bride, but like a child he could hold tight against his torso, his wrists locked under my thighs. His skin blazed against mine. He hefted me into the kitchen and propped my ass on the table in front of the range.
“What the hell?” he demanded in a low fierce voice, sweeping locks of sodden hair back from my face. My hat seemed to have disappeared. “What happened, Milja? What were you doing out there?”
“Ice. I fell in the lake.” My jaw chattered. It was obvious I was telling the truth—I was soaked from head to toe, and after clasping me so close he wasn’t much drier himself.
“Feckssake, woman!” he growled. “What the hell were you thinking of?” He shucked off my coat, which lifted a sodden ton from my shoulders, then stooped to pull my boots off; ice-water spilt all over the floor.
I tried to strip off my gloves but my fingers weren’t capable of gripping anything.
“Come here, come here,” he said softly from where he knelt at my feet, grabbing my wrists and peeling away the useless gloves. He pressed my hands on either side of his warm neck, holding them there. They must have felt like ice-blocks to him, but he didn’t wince.
He looked like a knight kneeling before his queen, I thought. I could feel his pulse.
“I’ll go get towels, Milja. Are you going to be okay a sec?”
I nodded, though he probably couldn’t see it through the shuddering. He rose and hurried off, leaving me with the radiant warmth of the stove. I thought I should probably get the rest of my clothes off, but even after I struggled with my fly zipper my jeans seemed determined to cling to my bum-cheeks.
I heard the back door bang shut and I flinched.
Had he been gathering himself to come get Egan? Was he the one who had saved me from the black waters? Where was he now?
Egan came back in carrying armfuls of towels. “Alright?”
“I’m okay,” I told him, smiling through my shudders. He was still shirtless, and I could see the faint Ethiopian scars on his arm and chest.
He wrapped my hands one at a time in a towel, chaffed them dry, and then set them deliberately against the hard, hot wall of his torso.
Then he slipped all the buttons on my thick flannel shirt—the one I’d chosen this morning precisely because it wasn’t provocative or distracting—and he only slowed when he realized I was wearing just a bra-top underneath. My nipples stood in shamefully hard points under the stretch cotton. I tried to wriggle out of the long tartan sleeves of my shirt on my own, to spare his blushes, but everything clung like a freezing cold second skin and he had to help.
The shallow slash on my forearm wasn’t bleeding anymore, but each brush of his fingers felt like hot coals.
My wet garment made a slap as it struck the floor.
He draped a towel around my shoulders and another over my head. He started rubbing the water from my face and hair and scalp, his movements precise and gentle. For long moments I was buried in a soft darkness. I reached out, blind, to put my hands back on his bare ribs. I could feel his heart pounding beneath them, like a beast pacing a cage.
I have no idea when it all changed for him. When his grueling self-denial simply fell apart, like a garment worn and washed until the fabric was weakened beyond all use. All I knew was that he dropped the towel off my damp head, cupped my face in both his hands and—absolutely without warning—kissed me.
Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.
Buyer beware! If you like dark romance and a hard-won Happily Ever After, try “Cover Him with Darkness,” “Heart of Flame,” or “The King’s Viper.” If you prefer challenging erotica, go for “Red Grow the Roses” or “Named and Shamed” instead. All her other books lie somewhere on the spectrum between.
Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology ‘Geek Love’.
Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and – for five years of muddy feet and shouting – as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.
Her work has been described as:
“Hardcore and literate” (Madeline Moore) and “Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love.” (Portia Da Costa
Janine Ashbless website: http://www.janineashbless.com/
Janine Ashbless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless
Sinful Press website: https://www.sinfulpress.co.uk
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/janine-ashbless-4/
When his path crosses with that of an old rival, they discover that things are worse in Everett than either of them could ever have imagined. As his world collapses around him, Niccolo will be left with one terrible question: what is my faith worth?
Arthur, on the other hand, is hoping to find some redemption for his actions against The Ninth Circle and atone for his mistakes. Atonement, however, can be difficult to come by…
Especially when the stakes are so high.
He is ready to face the consequences for his actions, but not until he has dealt with the threat he’s helped to create. Things are getting desperate, though, and they are worried that more people will be hurt before they can bring things to an end.