July 30, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Hope #40

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used: “You know something? You frighten me.”


Hope #40

Shane brought his lips close to my ear and growled, “Stay here and do as I say.”
I swallowed, to force down the bile that rose up in my throat. What had happened to the Shane I knew? I whispered, “You know something? You frighten me.”
Shane withdrew before he audibly inhaled. “I'm sorry I frighten you, Gil. Just... just please listen to me. You don't know the dangers that could await us.”
“There are more dangers than getting eaten by a large, black dragon?”
“The creatures that could be interested in us are all dangerous.”
“You mean they're interested in you. I'm just here by accident,” I said, clasping his hand tightly.
“They know you're important to me. I reek of fear, so they'll go after you, knowing they'd hurt me. Please, trust me.”
That trust thing is a bit difficult after all that's happened,” I replied.
Shane!” the dark silhouette hollered. We both jumped, then Shane sighed and waved. “Silvion, we're here!”
Silvion? How did he find us?
The large man clomped toward us, muttering something under his breath all the time. When he reached us, he glanced us over and then engulfed us in his brawny arms. Breathing became a real effort, but I didn't mind too much. Here was someone who offered a moment of respite and safety.
I let go of Shane's hand and wrapped my arms around Silvion's neck. Without hesitation, he slipped an arm underneath my ass and hoisted me up. Closing my eyes, I rested my head on Silvion's broad shoulder, hoping this was all a nightmare.
“Hold on, kid,” Silvion rumbled.
I didn't even lash out at him for calling me kid. Right this instance, the word kid sounded great, as if someone else would take care of me and make sure everything would be all right in the world again.
Silvion secured my head with his free hand while I dug my fingers deeper into his brown robe, remembering times when I was little and my father carried me around after I'd hurt myself. At least I wasn't a sobbing mess as I'd been as a kid. When I swallowed, there was a lump lodged into my throat. I coughed to clear it, and tears welled up in my eyes.
Gil, it's gonna be okay, we're out of the tunnels. We made it. We only have to go back to the portal now. Do you hear me? This will all be over soon.” Shane tugged at my ankle. I pulled my leg away. I couldn't stand his touch. I couldn't stand this whole... thing anymore.
Silvion set me back on my feet. We were back in the forest, but dusk had settled in, casting deep shadows around us. Leaves rustled in a gust of breeze, and I clutched Silvion's arm to anchor me.
“Gil? Sweetheart, come on, you've been so brave. I promise—”
“Stop promising me stuff!” I shouted. Shaking, I lifted my gaze to look at him. He held his arms stretched out toward me and wore a shocked expression. I took a step backward, closer to Silvion, who seemed rather uncomfortable.
The silence that followed my outburst was unnerving. Eventually, Shane lowered his arms and turned his back to me. That gesture sliced through me like a stab with a knife. A small whimper escaped my mouth. Shane's head shot up and his gaze seemed to penetrate me. I couldn't take the first step, I just couldn't. I didn't even know what I wanted anymore. Here he was, my Shane, risen from the dead or something like that, and all I did was push him away.
Silvion held on to my hand, then stepped toward Shane and snatched one of his wrists as well. “You two better have a long talk when you're back. Now, let's get you to the portal.” He added, “In silence.”
Neither of us said a word as we struggled to keep up with Silvion's pace.



TBC


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July 25, 2014

Enchantress of Books Blog Tours: Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga, Bk 1) by Lex Chase




Chasing Sunrise
(The Darkmore Saga, Bk 1)
by Lex Chase

Blurb:
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic's men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack's loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic's compliant prisoner.



Available for purchase at 


   

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5253


Excerpt


Jack shuddered against the cold bite of his shackles. The iron cuffs held him upright, and his arms were stretched tight over his head. Gravity pulled him sloping forward painfully against his bonds. His umber hair swayed in sweat-slicked strands and clung to his face. The humidity hung like milky fog visible against the gray stones. He could smell the herbal traces of algae glazing the walls. No moans, no cries for release, not even a rattled chain sounded throughout the dungeon. He deduced he was the only prisoner—or the only one currently living.

It had happened so fast. He was at the shoreline of the lake when two figures shot from the water. Shrouded in black, the demonic men yanked him into the lake. Jack had expected his end. But he didn’t expect a dungeon, and not just any, but Darkmore’s dungeon. He knew it as well as any ghost story. He had teased Sevon mercilessly for crossing his fingers and turning in a circle three times as he walked by the entrance.

Jack’s heart softened. Sevon, sweet Sevon. It had been exciting for Jack when he was a cub to have a special friend outside of Priagust. One who was not a shifter at all, but something different. He was Jack’s treasure, and he would guard their memory.

But the men had taken him and tossed him in this dank cell. It had to be a mistake. Darkmore was Priagust’s sworn protector. King Louis would never wrongfully imprison a shifter. Jack spit a speck of grit. Was Louis alive? Did he survive the storm? What of Anna Maria? Surely she’d know.

But Jack wasn’t sure. He had been just a child when he saw Louis die, and all childhood memories were fallible. He could only hope it was a misunderstanding. He squinted with the painful pull in his shoulders, and the realization sank in. This was far more than a mere misunderstanding.

Jack’s pupils flexed into pinpricks when the sound of distant footsteps announced someone’s approach. He jerked his chin toward the sound to get the first look at his host.

An ethereal, earthbound spirit drifted into the dungeon. Pale as Winter Mother’s snow and with a brilliant bloom of golden curls to rival Father Sun’s rays, the woman captivated him. Dressed in layers of the midnight sky and coal, her skirts swirled in a trail of goldfish fins behind her. The unusual ladybird settled at the cell door, tossing a lock of spun gold over her shoulder. She waited.

“What do they call you?” she coldly demanded.

A peculiar tenor tone in her voice made Jack choke on his breath. A man. The strange, colorful bird was a man.

By the way he glared at Jack as if he were of no consequence, Jack decided that whatever the case, he had to be on guard. Jack sniffed and mentally discerned a more masculine scent under the perfumed oils. But there were two masculine scents, this beautiful man’s and someone else’s. He licked the salt on his lip and smirked. He had nothing left to lose.

Jack lifted his head, and he panted against the searing pain in his back. He focused on the curious little meadowlark shrouded in flimsy frippery. He had never seen such an unusual hue of hair before, but he knew one thing for certain.

“You’re not the king,” Jack said.

Something came over the strange man as he quirked his thin brow in irritation. “Yes, I am the king,” he growled in warning. “Your name, creature.”

Jack evaded the question and changed the subject. “The king of Darkmore would never show a shifter such hostility,” he spat. “Go, little meadowlark. Fetch him, now. You are of no concern.”

The supposed king recoiled on his booted heel as if he had been burned.

“Excuse me, you maggot?” he growled and his temper flared.

Jack squinted at him. He looked so much like Anna Maria, as Jack remembered her. Perhaps her son? Perhaps Sevon? Jack swallowed. He had to keep it to himself. He had to find out what he was dealing with first, if he survived that long. He thought of his brother, Kaltag, back in Priagust, probably wondering where he was and if Jack was still staring over the lake, waiting for the day Sevon would appear.

Jack’s heart thumped.

“Louis is gone. I am the king now, and you will answer to me. My sources tell me you’re a spy from the shifter land of Priagust,” he said. The accusation did not bode well for Jack.

Jack took his stand against his captor. He strained against his shackles and grinned through the searing pain in his shoulder blades. “Your sources are clearly mistaken. I was only fishing when your men emerged from the lake and tried to drown me. Which—” He glanced around, and his shackles rattled. “This is some level of hell, correct?” Jack watched him, still puzzling his way through recollections. It wasn’t possible he was Sevon. Why would Sevon become this? He hissed a laugh and kept up a brave face. Jack turned his gaze up. He smirked when the king leaned away from the hammered iron bars of Jack’s cell in disgusted horror. “You are a very fussy bird. You’re no more than a chick, peeping for nourishment.”

“You will answer my questions, shifter…. Or you will be forced to answer them.”

“What kind of king do you think you are?” Jack asked. “Do you understand the scope of what you are doing by holding me like a criminal?”

“Pardon me for not rolling out the red carpet and most lovely courtesans,” he said sarcastically.

“A little bird that pecks. I like that.” Jack chuckled.

Crossing his willowy arms in irritation, the king nodded to the stocky dungeon guard.

The guard loped forward on his gnarled legs and slipped the heavy key in the iron padlock. With a protesting shrill, the bolt popped from its moorings with a loud echoing clank. The cell door swung open with an antiquated creak, and colorful bird of a man slipped into the cell.

Jack’s heart thumped, and his face heated. It was Sevon. His Sevon. He had never been so sure. In the twenty-two years between then and now, the boy Jack had so longed for no longer existed. Confusion swirled through him, but Jack had to keep it within. More parts of the puzzle would fall into place if he just gave it time.

His heart wouldn’t stop racing; all the while he maintained his arrogant grin.

“I’d curtsey, but as you can see, I’m a little tied up,” Jack apologized.

This new Sevon cocked his hip in irritation and snorted. “For a vicious animal, you don’t look like much.”

The term hit Jack hard, but he wouldn’t cower.

“Funny.” Jack chuckled. “For a king, you present yourself quite a bit like a whore.”

Before he could blink, Sevon was upon him. He yanked Jack by the scruff of his hair, tilting his neck painfully backward on its stalk to meet him eye to eye. Jack’s eyes rolled wildly to focus on the glacier blue of Sevon’s. His scent stabbed into Jack’s nose, jabbing cruelly into his brain. The delicate floral became an unrelenting assault on his mind and body. The damning confirmation sank into Jack’s stomach. It was a matter of survival not to show fascination or fear.

“Listen to me, you worthless shit-eating maggot!” Sevon snarled in his face. “You don’t get to call me a whore! Do you understand? I will leave you here to rot in this dank cell until even the rats find you too foul and putrescent. You will be thankful we don’t outright kill you. You will be appreciative of your accommodations.”

Sevon relaxed his grip and his harsh tone eased. “You will be eager to answer our questions. You will make yourself very helpful. Or I will have you skinned alive and your flesh made into jerky.” Sevon snorted a breath through his nose, and Jack’s hair fluttered. The beautiful blond man smiled like a content feline. “Now, do we have an understanding?”

Channeling the bravest parts of himself, and locking away the heartbreak, Jack laughed with a crooked, toothy grin. If this was the game, then he would play it until he was the last one standing. Finally, he had sorted the second male scent, and his thoughts sparked with devious delight. “Did I ruffle your feathers, meadowlark? Does the man whose scent you’re slathered in get to ruffle more than your feathers?”

Sevon shoved him away with a wail of disgust. Jack’s head bounced against his chest, and his manacles creaked at the added pressure. Sevon’s offended squeal was the only warning as a hard, echoing slap cracked across Jack’s cheek so forcefully that his vision blew out into whiteness for a moment.

With several flustered breaths, Sevon sharply pivoted and then stormed out of the cell. He nodded to the stocky guard. “Have him questioned about the nature of his people and land. I don’t care how you do it, or to what ends. Use any means necessary to milk him dry.”

The guard bobbed his head and bowed.

Turning back, Sevon regarded Jack one final time.

Jack noted the confusion mingled with a semblance of fascination. He forced a smile through his blood-tinged teeth. “See you soon, Your Majesty,” he purred.

Jack clung to a scrap of hope, and listened to the whispers of Sevon’s skirts as he left Jack in the darkness.

The rats chittered.




About the Author
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. 

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn't last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. 

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them and welcomes feedback.


You can find Lex at
               



 Giveaway

Signed Paperback of Chasing Sunrise

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July 24, 2014

Goddess Fish Promotions: Favorite Obsession by Nancy Corrigan



Favorite Obsession
by Nancy Corrigan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Book 3, Royal Pride

Centuries after what should have been a blessing from a goddess, Mira has gone from the chosen daughter to a woman shamed. She’s found a tentative peace among her family and the females they’ve chosen to mate. And despite the potentially fatal consequences, Mira has found the one thing she never thought she’d have—love. Josh is the only male she’s ever wanted, desired and burned for, and he’s the only man she can never hope to keep.

One glance into Mira’s exotic feline eyes and Josh is lost. She’s everything he never knew he wanted and loving her becomes a passion he can’t deny. The obstacles keeping them apart seem insurmountable, but Josh knows he’s the man Mira needs. With every passionate encounter, every stolen touch, his certainty that he and Mira belong together grows. He’ll defy every shifter decree and fight to his dying breath to convince those around them of the truth—Mira belongs to him, mind, body and soul.

A Romantica® Paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Forbidden love…Undeniable passion.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:

He’s hidin’ somethin’. He has to be.” Zeb, the human who’d hurt Josh, grunted. “I don’t know what. You think he’s really gunna tell me?”

She crawled across the uneven deck. The high window which probably sat above the sink only had a valence over it. She wanted to get a good look at the male so her cats could judge him. A foot from her destination the board under her paw gave way.

The human’s curses carried over his heavy footsteps as he ran toward the back door. She pulled her leg out of the hole, ignoring the mud between her toes, and fled for the safety of the tree line. The sound of a rifle being cocked echoed through the night. In her jaguar’s body, she leapt for the nearest tree and quickly climbed into the limbs.

Where’d it go?” Heavy clunks of the human’s boots resonated over the deck. “Fuckin’ wolves broke my porch.”

Something wooden crashed then the thumps faded. A door slammed.

Mira waited a few more minutes to ensure the human stayed indoors. The lights inside went out and she slunk away before the predator became prey.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Nancy Corrigan believes in unending love and epic tales with a paranormal flare. She enjoys transcending the boundaries of reality to take her readers on an erotic, emotional and romantic journey.

She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. When she’s not weaving sizzling fantasies, she works as a chemist in a pharmaceutical lab.




Social Media links








Purchase Links






~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nancy will be awarding a $30 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Ellora’s Cave GC to a randomly drawn host.

 
Follow the tour and comment to increase your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  

July 23, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Hope #39

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used: .“Here we go again.”

Hope #39

Shane nodded. He tugged me backward, deeper into the derelict castle, whereas I pulled in the other direction, far away from the darkness. A roar filled the air and I clapped my hands over my ears, then everything around me moved at once.
Large stones clattered to the ground, missing me only by sheer luck. Smaller, sharp-edged stones hit me on my arms, neck, back, wherever. Coughing, I strained against Shane's arm around my biceps. I needed to get out of here. We needed to get out of here.
A whole wall to our right side blasted away, and the giant head of the black dragon appeared. It threw its head back to scream in triumph. I whimpered and froze. A moment later, Shane yanked and I fell against his chest. He clamped his arm around my upper body and dragged me with him. My feet barely touched the ground, and Shane's hold around me made breathing difficult.
A ball of flames erupted to our left side, charring the wall, and I yelled in shock. The dragon clomped behind us, and more of the structure of the derelict castle fell victim to its claws and roars.
Shane shoved me into a small alcove, then spread his legs and arms, blocking the entrance. Was he crazy?
“Shane!” I shouted. The dragon lowered its head, almost to the ground, and peered at Shane from his reptilian eyes. The urge to vomit rose inside me and I blindly groped for Shane's shirt. In a whisper, I asked, “Shane, please, what are you doing?”
Shane didn't answer, but words that sounded like a chant flew over his lips. A pale red light glowed at Shane's front, increasing in intensity the longer Shane spoke. The dragon reared back and roared before its head darted back, aimed right at Shane. I scrunched my eyes shut and screamed.
Someone else screamed as well. When I opened my eyes again, the dragon was stamping back and forth, rubbing its snout on the scale-littered ground, wailing.
Shane expelled several long breaths, then let go of the entrance to our little hiding place, which seemed to be covered with some sort of reddish film. I asked, “What the hell is that?”
Shane whirled around, grabbed my arms, and shook me. It was just one shake, but it was enough to rattle me thoroughly. My heart was still thundering from the dragon's attack, and having Shane's furious gaze directed at me didn't help me to calm down. I expected him to yell, but his voice was disturbingly low, when he said, “When I tell you to run or go somewhere, you do as I say, is that understood?”
Absolutely. So why did I snipe at him? “And if I don't, what are you going to do?”
Shane's body tensed, and for a moment he resembled a wild animal. One that was ticked off and would start biting any second. One of his hands wrapped around my neck, and he tugged me close for a brief but very firm kiss. “Let's not find out, okay?”
I nodded. Some things didn't need to be explored firsthand. I asked, “What now?”
Now, we’ll go back the way we came and try for a different route, but this time you'll do exactly as I say.” Shane's eyes gleamed, and even if I'd still had a spark of resistance running through me, his look erased any thought of opposition.
Shane interlinked our hands, then used his free hand to rub over the reddish cover, and it disappeared. The dragon was banging its head against a crumbled wall somewhere in the south, still screeching occasionally. I followed Shane and we dove back into the dark aisles.
“Here we go again,” I muttered.
Shane squeezed my hand and I fell quiet. Soon my eyes watered from the intense stench, but I didn't voice my objection. After what seemed a long time, a sliver of light illuminated the end of the tunnel.
“There!” I said, pointing at the opening.
“I see it,” Shane replied.
We hurried along, but Shane skidded to a stop when a dark shadow blotted the exit. I bit down on my lip to prevent myself from crying. Would this ever end?


July 20, 2014

Coming Soon: Unicorn Rescue

First, let me apologize for my lack of updates lately. Work has been very busy and now that I'm on summer break I'm still busy. ;-)

My friend from the US visited and stayed with us for a week. We had so much fun and we all miss her terribly but at least we have the great pictures and memories. ^_^

Writing news:
Unicorn Rescue will be published on August 15th by eXtasy books. Here's the cover and blurb, in case you're interested.

http://www.extasybooks.com/chris-t-kat/unicorn-rescue/
Blurb:

  A search for missing unicorns reveals a Fate that Samuel has only dreamed of before.  
   
    When they first meet, Jordan takes Samuel’s breath away—but not in a good way. Jordan knocks Samuel, a gatekeeper from a world called Eden, flat on his ass. In Jordan’s defense, Samuel did freak him out, appearing out of thin air the way he did. Luckily, the appearance of the unicorns preempts a possible fight.
    Relieved to have found Eden’s unicorns, Samuel is astonished that Jordan knows about them, despite the fact that their horns have been concealed by magic. Attempting to remove the halters that bind them, Samuel is rendered unconscious.
    The question now is how to get the unicorns back to Eden, as well as solve the mystery of who has stolen them to begin with. But just maybe Samuel and Jordan need to deal with this attraction between them that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Are their feelings tied in with the mystery of the unicorns?

July 14, 2014

MA Church: Nighttime Promises

Please help me welcome my friend MA Church back to the blog. She's here to talk about her new release Nighttime Promises.

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Are we alone in the universe?
One of the most widely asked questions you’ll hear today is “are we alone in the universe?” News flash, folks—you’re in the minority if you believe no intelligent life exists in the universe.
Scary, huh?
In the US alone, at least half of all Americans believe we’re not alone in the universe. Many of us staunchly believe there’s some form of life on other planets. Even more say intelligent extraterrestrials have already come to Earth.
And they believe they’ve been doing so for a long time. 
Okay, so why do these people feel this way? Well, there are multiple reasons why the extraterrestrial question continues to gain popularity. Here are just a few:
1. The Size of the Universe
Counting the stars in the universe is like trying to count the number of sand grains on a beach… it’s just not possible. Although estimates vary among different experts, the general consensus is that there are at least between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in our universe. Now, think about that for a moment. That’s a lot of uncharted territory.

2. Whistle Blowers
The past few years have seen a surge of whistle-blowers that’ve come out and said some remarkable things. The reality is hundreds of whistle-blowers who have come forward have verified credentials and backgrounds.

3. The Evidence of UFOs
Within the past few years, dozens of governments admitted to allocating resources and having programs to study the UFO phenomenon. 

4. Mass Mainstream Media Attention
Media outlets of all kind are covering the topic, almost every movie that comes out these days has something to do with space or some kind of extraterrestrial intelligence. We’ve been bombarded with the topic for a while now, so it’s not hard to see how it’s on the minds of many.

These are just a few things to think about. So, what do you think? Are we alone in the universe? Bryan and Shawn would tell you—quite loudly, actually—that no, we are not, lol.

Nighttime Promises is the end of the Nighttime series. The release date is July 11th.

Nighttime series:





Blurb:

Be careful what you wish for...
The first time Daroshi spotted Bryan, the Maz’Rarian warrior knew he wanted the small town sheriff as his mate. Things have been going downhill since. Daroshi doesn’t have experience dealing with humans, especially a very unhappy human male who’s just had his well-planned life jerked out from under him. Little does Daroshi know the changes Bryan will insist be made to help him adjust. But he also never dreamed someone would actually try to kill his mate.
The shocks just keep coming for Sheriff Bryan Coltrane. Finding out aliens exist was bad enough. Finding himself mated to one was definitely not on his to-do list. Wait, what? Did someone say tentacles? And if that’s not enough, a killer tried to poison him. Added to his misery, now he’s on his way to another planet—a planet that he hates on sight. How’s he supposed to survive in such a cold, ugly industrialized world? Can you take the country out of the boy without killing his spirit? 
As Bryan struggles to adapt, a killer plots to end his new life... before it even begins.



~~~~~~~~~~


Excerpt:


The stress of the past few weeks sure caught up with him—saying he was gaunt was putting it nicely. His sapphire blue eyes were sunken in his head and the laugh lines around his eyes slashed deeper into his face. The dark circles didn’t help matters, either. God, he looked like he had two black eyes. The skin was that nasty bruise color and puffy.
And were there more than a few strands of gray in his dark hair now? At age thirty-four this was ridiculous. That’s what stress would do, though, and this was about as stressful a situation as he’d ever been in. Bryan sighed. The poisoning deal scared him; he could have died. Should have died, actually. Someone was after his ass and they didn’t know whom. On top of that, they were hurtling through space toward a planet he’d soon be calling home. With an alien.
Yeah, stressful. “Shit,” he muttered. “Things have got to get—”
Bryan!”
Bryan flinched at the roar from the other room. Damn, do these aliens know how to do anything other than yell?
“Where are you? Bryan? Bryan! By the stars, answer me!”
A loud crash echoed into the bathroom.
“Oh, for God’s sake.” Bryan shook his head. What the hell was Daroshi doing out there? Tearing Medical apart looking for him? Did Daroshi think he’d… what? Run away? Where was there to run? Besides, he had someone trying to kill him. He damn sure wasn’t going to go wandering the halls alone.
Bryan!”
“I’m in here, Daroshi.”
Daroshi slammed into the bathroom area, chest heaving and tentacles writhing on his back. Jesus, he looked fierce. “What are you doing?”
“Playing checkers.” Bryan rolled his eyes. “What do you think I’m doing in here? It’s a bathroom. Come on, big guy, you figure it out. Jeez.”
Daroshi leaned against the doorframe, the rise and fall of his chest slowing. “I’m not even going to ask what this ‘checkers’ means. Bryan, the medibed stopped monitoring your stats. The low beeping noise ceased. I woke up thinking there was something wrong, and instead I find you’re… You weren’t there.”
“Aw, man, I didn’t think. I had to use the bathroom and… What are you doing?” Bryan grabbed hold of Daroshi’s shoulders as his feet left the ground.
Daroshi hoisted Bryan into his arms, growling loudly even as a tentacle snaked across one massive shoulder to pet Bryan. “I’m taking you back to the medibed. You know, it’s that thing that monitors your body’s systems. You were poisoned and shouldn’t be up. Do you understand how serious this is?”
Huh, sarcasm. “Since I was the one poisoned I’d have to say that yeah, I get it.” Bryan rested his head against Daroshi’s neck. Good thing he already went to the bathroom. “Wow, is that your best bedside manner? Because I have to tell you, it leaves a lot to be desired.”
“Waking up and finding you missing left a lot to be desired.” Daroshi gently lowered Bryan back down onto the medibed. “Do not do that again.”
The snappy retort was right there, burning to get out, but Bryan swallowed it as Shawn’s words about how this race was warrior-like and not exactly known for their compassion echoed in his head. Well, except for when they found their mate. Then they’d give their very lives to protect the one they claimed.
Shawn told him they refused to admit to an emotion called fear. Training bred it out of them at an early age. If any Maz’Rarian showed such an emotion, it would result in getting them killed, usually by another of their species. They were a brutal race.
And he scared Daroshi, really scared him. “I’m sorry, Daroshi. Next time I’ll let you know. It’s just… You were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.”
“Wake me. We don’t need the same amount of rest as humans.”
Which proved his point. Daroshi was so tired he fell asleep at Bryan’s bedside. Bryan also knew better than to point that out.
“Will do.”

July 13, 2014

Lex Chase: Chasing Sunrise

ChasingSunrise_BlogTour_S

Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase and thank you Chris for having me here today for kick off to the Chasing Sunrise Blog Tour!
Chasing Sunrise is a story I've been meaning to tell for years. It's a paranormal urban fantasy with my take on vampires and shifters, but at its core it's a story about domestic violence. The main character, Sevon, is desperate to escape a lifelong abusive relationship and find love on his own terms and learn he is worthy of being loved. As a domestic violence survivor, I hope it resonates with readers.
But let's talk about Sevon for a minute. That's indeed him on the cover there. And nono. That isn't a woman on the cover. That's a guy. Promise! Sevon is a full-time transvestite who wears elaborate gowns, corsets, jewelry and has long spiraling blond curls. He's that guy that you have to stand two feet in front of him, squint, and puzzle out if you're just looking at a flat-chested woman. That is until he speaks were he has a quite obvious young man's voice. When writing about Sevon, I keep a Pinterest board of the gowns he'd wear. But of course, the board is filled with blonde women modeling the clothes. I had resigned myself for years I'd never find a model that resembled the Sevon that lived in my head.

Enter Danila Kovalev

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Seriously. That's a guy.

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I am not making this up. That's a guy.

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And he models as a woman.

And we can just all go home now.

While people always bring up the equally lovely Andre Pejic, Danila is the epitome of Sevon. I had always resigned that Sevon never existed as an honest to goodness human being, so I would draw him myself, or commission friends. The reasoning behind Sevon's crossdressing ways actually mimics Eddie Izzard's history of discovering women's clothing. Eddie actually knew at seven years old he had a preference for dressing like a girl. Sevon knew when he was ten and chose crossdressing as his armor and shield against the horrific abuse he endured. If he dressed "prim and proper" no one could hurt him, and he found the confidence within to hold his emotions in check when his world was collapsing.
With Reese Dante as my cover artist she had recreated Sevon perfectly. And the poor model she had Photoshopped to hell and back. I had shown the stock model to a friend, and he asked "He was the basis?" and I explained, "No dude, that's really the model!" My friend was impressed at Reese's artistry. He's been confused for an actress on Battlestar Galactica and even my doctor told me he looks just like her daughter. And he does. We laughed about it. I had told Reese when she sent me the cover concepts, I had burst into tears. Sevon, my Sevon, the guy that only lived in my head was now a real living, breathing, human being.

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Genre: Vampires, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: The Darkmore Saga: Book One
Length: Novel
Published: July 25, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62798-776-9
Pre-order: Paperback or eBook 

Blurb: Chasing Sunrise The Darkmore Saga: Book One

On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic's men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack's loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic's compliant prisoner.

100% of the presale royalties of this book will go to Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's Domestic Violence Service.


Chasing Sunrise Excerpt

 
The chill of the metal bucket had long since numbed Sevon’s hands. He took another breath. He had to do this. He had no choice but to go through with it. He bit his lip and mentally repeated Jack was the enemy, Jack was just like any other man. Jack was a man who preyed upon men like him. Jack intended to kill him.
Jack was the enemy.
Jack was the enemy.
Jack was the enemy.
Sevon upended the bucket of ice water over Jack’s sleeping head.
Jack coughed and sputtered, consciousness returned to him in a hard-hitting rush. His shackles rattled and creaked. Sevon waited patiently as Jack fought the unrelenting wave of temperature shock. Jack turned his soggy head upward and looked at him. Sevon fought to keep his expression cold as Jack chuckled in a shuddering laugh. He croaked hoarsely, “Well, if it isn’t the little meadowlark….”
Sevon considered his set of tools on the small wooden table. They were well maintained in comparison to Dominic’s set. Dominic had them made just for Sevon’s boyish hands and gave them the royal touch with studs of diamonds, sapphires, and inlaid with filigree.
It’s just a game, Sevon reminded himself. The object of the game was for him to appear more intimidating than Jack. The intimidation part commonly worked. Sevon had never had to draw blood in exchange for the truth before. Dominic made it look easy. Easy but horrific. This time, it was different. This time, the creature had tried to kill him, and when he searched his mind, Sevon found only a foggy void where the incident would be—and a sense of desire.
The idea sickened him.
Sevon had to make himself the bigger monster. He had to be ready for what came next. He couldn’t make his heart stop racing. Sevon’s fingers glided over his instruments, trying to decide what to try first. The pliers? Maybe not. The razors and salt? Too soon for that. The flask of mercury? Oh, come now, he’s no good to the kingdom dead! Possibly the skewers are the best choice. Yes.
Sevon delicately rolled a metal skewer between his fingertips. “We’re going to have a little chat. The more you cooperate, the more you get into my good graces,” he purred.
Jack laughed against the rawness in his throat. “Your lover’s poor excuse for sadists already had a round on me. I think I made one of them cry…. I’d have to apologize about the nose of the other.”
Sevon regarded his prisoner coolly and gathered three skewers. “Broke his nose, did you?” he asked, as if they were discussing the weather. If he could keep his thoughts disassociated from what was unfolding, Sevon would get through this momentary unpleasantness.
Jack spat out a lock of greasy hair and grinned. He looked up at Sevon, the blackened blood of an aisa caked around his mouth. “More like bit it off,” he said, adding his observation, “You creatures taste like fermented clay. Thanks for the water. I needed a drink.”
Sevon maintained his aloof air, but his stomach lurched at the state of Jack’s appearance. Old bruises had faded and were overlaid with new ones that, despite the size of the marks, didn’t appear terribly severe. Old blood, sweat, and grime painted trailing fingers down his wiry body. They had done away with his clothing as well as his dignity in the dungeon. While bound in chains, he had no place to relive himself save where he stood. They had treated him like a beast. A mongrel that only deserved beatings.
Sevon knew that sensation all too well. He knew this cell intimately. Dominic was taunting him by putting Jack in the very cell where Sevon was sent to be taught obedience. Sevon blinked away his concern, despite the bile rising in his throat. He forced himself not to pay attention to the smell of filth.
Sevon considered where to apply the skewers first. The toenails seemed like a good idea. After all, Dominic had done it to him months ago as part of his training regimen. Dominic had wanted to teach him a better appreciation of the prisoner’s pain. As Sevon observed Jack’s roughly callused foot and thick toenails, his own toes flexed in his boot at the hazy memory of agony. Sevon wasn’t sure about shifter physiology; maybe it would get a reaction, maybe it wouldn’t. Losing a toenail was bound to ruin anyone’s year.
What happened in Priagust, Jack?” Sevon asked the foot.
Jack feebly tried to jerk his foot out of Sevon’s reach. “By Diana, do we really have to be like this?” Jack whined as Sevon tapped the skewer into position.  

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About the Author: Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine residing in the ’burbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and she’d be a popsicle.

She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find her on those social media things at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com
Find her blog at http://lexchase.com or drop her an e-mail at lex.a.chase@gmail.com.

Chasing Sunrise Tour stops: 7/13 - Chris T. Kat 7/17 - Michael Rupured 7/19 - Lily Velden 7/20 - Jaime Samms 7/22 - Aidee Ladnier 7/24 - Grace Duncan 7/26 - Shira Anthony 7/25 - Chasing Sunrise Release Day! 7/29 - Dreamspinner Twitter Takeover with Charlie Cochet 7/30 - Live Your Life, Buy The Book 8/2 - Chat at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page 8/8 - Charlie Cochet 8/13 - Gay List Book Reviews 8/16 - Tali Spencer