Thursday, April 24, 2014

Juniper Grove Book Solutions - Get Lost in a Mystery Tour & Giveaway



Welcome to my stop on the Get Lost in a Mystery Tour featuring books by authors Stephanie Joyce Cole, Julie Eberhart Painter, Gary R. Eddings and Joyce Proell, presented by Juniper Grove Book Solutions.  Please leave a comment or question for the authors to let them know you stopped by.  You can enter their tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of their tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. My review of Compass North will post later this week. 


Writing:  A Solitary Journey by Stephanie Joyce Cole 

I think many (maybe most) writers are more flexible than I am.  They can write with music blaring in the background, in crowded coffee shops, or swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the subway as they make their way home.  For me, writing time has to be quiet and contemplative.  No music, no conversations, no company except for the cat, and he’s usually asleep.

But although the only sound near me is Bruno’s occasional contented grunt when he rearranges himself for the continuation of his nap, it’s not lonely here.  The characters from my book are right with me, whispering in my ear, sharing their challenges, failures and successes.  As I wrote Compass North, Meredith grieved over the loss of her marriage, and showed me how brave she was to take a huge gamble on a new life.  When her feelings for Nick turned from irritation to admiration and continued to grow, I felt her joy as she understood that despite all that had happened to her, happiness was still possible.  Cassandra’s painful history weighed on both of us, as she built a shell around herself, trying to hide what she had suffered from the rest of the world.  And I once again experienced the wonder of Alaska through my characters, as they trudged through the snow, stared up at the Northern Lights, and felt the icy air bite at their faces. 

Sometimes leaving my story at the end of the day is like resurfacing from underwater.  I’m often a bit glassy-eyed and disoriented.  And at times I lie awake at night, worrying about what’s going to happen next to my characters.  I keep a notebook next to my bed, so that I can jot down my thoughts. 

I think all writers, regardless of their writing habits, experience the overwhelming experience of living within their stories.  So yes, writing can be a solitary journey on one level, but on another level, writers are never alone.  We are constantly in the company of our characters, as they struggle, fail, fall in love, suffer, grow and triumph.   

Title:   Compass North
Author:  Stephanie Joyce Cole
Published:  December 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  81,000
Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller
Content Warning:  Minor Violence
Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis: 

Meredith slips into a new identity and a new life in a small town in Alaska, she discovers it’s not that easy to leave behind the baggage from her past.
Set in the spectacular natural landscape of Southcentral Alaska,
COMPASS NORTH tracks an unexpected journey of personal reinvention.

Reeling from the sudden breakup of her disastrous marriage, Meredith barely escapes a freak accident in Alaska and is presumed dead. She stumbles into a new identity and a new life in a quirky small town. As new friendships grow, Meredith has to learn to trust in herself again.

When a romance with a local fisherman unexpectedly blossoms, Meredith’s secret jeopardizes her hopes for future happiness. And someone is searching for her, someone who will threaten Meredith’s dream of a reinvented life.



About the Author:

Stephanie Joyce Cole lived for many decades in Alaska before she recently relocated to Seattle, WA, where she lives with her husband and a predatory but lovable Manx cat. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Her goal is to write books that are both thought-provoking and entertaining, and that will carry readers into an adventure in small-town Alaska.


Read an Excerpt

Meredith sat squeezed against the wall behind the wobbly table with the plastic checkerboard cover. She pushed the last bits of her hamburger bun around her plate. With the long drive finally over, they had stopped to eat at a trailer-turned-diner on the fringe of town.

“So, can we drop you someplace before we take off?” Evan waved to the waitress, motioning for the check.

She took a deep breath and ran her fingers along the pattern in the tablecloth. “Well, I’m not sure...um, I haven’t really decided where...” She looked up and saw Evan frowning at her.

“You don’t have a plan? No place at all to stay tonight?”

Meredith shook her head.

Jan bit at her lower lip and stared at her. “Gee, Meredith, we just assumed you had it all worked out. I wish we could offer you a place, but we’re couch surfing right now until we can get back into our old apartment.”

She saw Jan and Evan exchange anxious glances, and she felt a pang of shame. This wasn’t what they bargained for when they offered a stranger a ride. They didn’t expect to be responsible for me.  Meredith looked down at her hands. She took a deep breath. “I...guess I thought there might be a cheap hostel. I guess I just didn’t think...”

She didn’t have any plan. None at all. She’d hardly focused her thoughts except when the memory of the accident raged back into her head, and when that happened, the terror and pain were almost too much to bear. So she’d tried to smooth out her mind, just letting the hours pass, letting the fatigue and the strangeness of all this wash over her.

No plan. But something had changed now. This was all crazy, but she felt she was watching someone else, someone brand new sitting here in this rundown but cozy restaurant, and that new person was the one with no place to go. It was like play-acting, like being inside of someone else’s skin. Here was a new someone, who didn’t know where she was going to sleep tonight, but this new person wasn’t stumbling around, lost, dragging a huge, black bag of mistakes and bad decisions. She lifted her chin and stared out the window.

“Wait a minute.” Jan looked at Evan. “What about Auntie Rita? I saw her outside just a few minutes ago.” She turned back to Meredith. “She’s not really anyone’s aunt—at least as far as we know—but my mom always made me call her that. I know she’s got a bit of room. She was trying to rent out a spare room a while back, but she didn’t get any takers, I guess.” Jan shrugged.

Evan smirked. “Big surprise. No one wanted to live with Rita. How can that be?”

She glared and him and breathed an exasperated sigh. “Her place is out of town, but you should be able to get back tomorrow without too much of a problem. Rita drives in all the time.”

“Rita, really?” Evan gave a low whistle. “You’re really ready to go there, Jan? You know how she can be.”

Jan pointed her finger at Meredith. “Look, it’s past noon already, and she doesn’t have a clue about where she’s going to sleep tonight. Rita likes me. Well, at least I think she does. I’m going to find her.”

Evan rolled his eyes up at the ceiling. “Rita...jeez...”

Meredith sipped her coffee and stared out the window. She tried to keep her thoughts steady. Now what? She did need a place to stay. She needed to be in a place where her new self might exist, just for a little while. She didn’t want this new Meredith to disappear, not yet.

Puffs of dust bloomed as a brisk, stinging wind whipped at the loose dirt in the parking lot. It was only late September, but the few people outside wore gloves and hats pulled down snug over their ears. Just beyond the rough lot, a greenish-black wall of spruce trees huddled close, their thick boughs knocking and bouncing in the wind. And behind them the tops of jagged and fierce peaks seemingly leaned forward, looming over the spruce. The wild world pushed back here, refusing to let the manmade world have the upper hand.

I am in a new place where I don’t exist. The old Meredith doesn’t exist here.

 Title:  Mortal Coil
Author:  Julie Eberhart Painter
Published:  May 2009
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  79,000
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Recommended Age:  14+

Synopsis: When two residents in Ellen Lange’s nursing home die, Special Investigator Bill Watts is called to the scene. With the murders linked to others, known as the Ponytail Crimes, it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again.

Bill is a Southerner; Ellen was raised in the Midwest. Despite her efforts to remain aloof, Ellen finds herself falling in love with more than the South…



About the Author:

Julie Eberhart Painter raised in Bucks Count, Pennsylvania, boyhood home of James A Michener, is the author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and the 2011 Book of the Year, Kill Fee, and sequel, Medium Rare from www.champagnebooks.com. Daughters of the Sea, e-book and print. Julie’s first paranormal romance, and Morning After Midnight are available from MuseItUp Publishing.



Read an Excerpt

There was nothing like physical activity to allay anxiety, so Friday afternoon, Ellen took off work early to tackle cleaning the kitchen and laundry room floors. She had only an hour left before Patti would come in and undo her efforts. She didn’t want her daughter skating around on the wet floor. Ellen had changed into old jeans and a loose-at-the-neck blue T-shirt. Her feet were bare.

Public radio was running a fundraiser, so she turned the living room stereo to the country western station—music to clean by. Ellen had opened the garage doors to take advantage of the warm, dry breeze blowing from the west. She danced around the kitchen, pushing the mop in time with the music. About half of the kitchen corners were now free of dirt, a testimony to what Millie would call Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She’d moved the kitchen table into one corner and stacked the chairs on top. A rap on the screen door alerted her to a visitor.

She unhooked the screen and motioned Bill inside. “Watch the wet spots.”

“What are you doing?” he asked, raising his voice to be heard over the loud music.

“Cleaning the floor,” she said, raking the back of an arm over her wet forehead and wiping her hands on her jeans.

“Isn’t there an easier way?” Bill asked. “How about the old Irma Bombeck trick?”

“Any solution in a storm. What is it?”

“I’ll show you. Do you have any old towels?”

“Lots.”

“You need to put old terrycloth towels on your feet and dance around the floor.”

“Well, I’ve got the music. Let’s see if I can get some towels.” She placed the mop back in the wheeled bucket she’d borrowed from maintenance and headed for the garage. All the old towels Patti used to wash the car had been washed and dried and left on top of Tom’s abandoned toolbox.

Grabbing a handful, she came back into the kitchen. “Demonstrate,” she said, handing the bunch to Bill.

He wrung out the mop and set it aside. Soaking and pulling the towels through the wringer, he handed them to her one by one. “Okay. Put a towel under each foot and dance like you were dancing, slide, two, three, four, slide...”

Ellen smiled. “Terrific.”

Just then the announcer went to a commercial. They stood there looking at each other waiting for more music. Ellen dropped two more wet towels and stepped on them. Bill shucked his shoes and socks and dropped his towels. The next tune was a bouncy number that set Ellen’s head bobbing.

“More like this,” he said, sliding and dipping in dance mode. “Ever do the Texas two-step?” Bill called over the twanging guitars.

“No. But I’ve seen the contests on TV.”

Title:  Hollow Point
Author:  Gary R. Eddings
Published:  January 2014
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  60,000
Genre:  Suspense, Thriller
Recommended Age:  13+


Synopsis: There is no such thing as an ordinary traffic stop, something Tribal Officer Pat Colson is reminded of when pulling over a dusty old Buick. Before he knows it, shots are flying and he is huddled behind his police cruiser for cover.

In the ensuring investigation, a sizable amount of methamphetamine is discovered in the suspects’ vehicle. Uncut and very potent, the question is where does it come from— the Reservation or elsewhere?

With everyone on the Reservation becoming a suspect, and little information to go on, Colson must act fast to stop the dangerous drug from killing more innocent victims and stop a murderer in his tracks.



About the Author:

I retired as a fire department EMS Division Chief for Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue in 2005. I have been writing seriously since mid-2009, and this is my second novel with Champagne Book Group. I am also a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. I am the father of four and the grandfather of three; a two year old grandson and newly-minted twin girls.




Read an Excerpt

It is told that a Great Serpent caused extreme distress and threatened the Salish people. Chief Kitsap called down the Double-Headed Eagle from the mountains to fight it. The two creatures engaged in a horrible battle and the Great Serpent eventually pulled the Eagle down, presumably to his death, plowing a huge trench that filled with water and became Agate Pass, separating the Kitsap Peninsula from Bainbridge Island.

The people mourned. Then the ground shook and the Double-Headed Eagle rose from the water in victory, having killed the Great Serpent. To this day the symbol of the Suquamish is the Double-Headed Eagle, their protector.

That type of power is needed once again for the Tribe.


Title: A Burning Truth
Series:  A Cady Delafield Mystery # 2
Author:  Joyce Proell
Published:  February 2014
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  85,000
Genre:  Historical Romantic Suspense
Content Warning:  Sexual tension, light violence
Recommended Age:  17+


Synopsis: In 1881, the air in Chicago is rife with worker discontent, yet business titan Doyle Flanagan is hopeful for the future. He looks forward to a lifetime of peaceful bliss with Cady Delafield and leaving the wretched past behind. 

But his life is once again thrown into disarray when his office is vandalized and the night watchman viciously murdered. Clues lead to a powerful organized labor movement. Targeted in the press as anti-labor and with a big rally staged next door to his offices, Doyle must uncover the culprits before his wedding plans and his livelihood go up in smoke.

Plagued by memories of four brutal deaths, school director Cady Delafield is determined to drive the recent tragedies from her mind and enjoy being courted. Although his commanding personality threatens to overshadow her, Doyle Flanagan is the most dynamic man she’s ever met. When another tragedy unfolds placing him at the center, she takes action—action that could shatter her future dreams.



About the Author:

Joyce grew up in Minnesota and attended college and grad school in Chicago. After working in mental health as a clinical social worker, she retired to write full-time. Her first book, Eliza, was published in 2012. A Burning Truth is the second in the Cady Delafield series. When she isn’t writing historical suspense or romance, she loves to travel, winter in Florida, swim, read and walks almost every day. She loves chocolate almost as much as crossword puzzles. She and her husband make their home in rural Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie.




Read an Excerpt


Doyle sat in the carriage, his brain frozen and his limbs unable to move. He watched Cady run up the steps and disappear into Ophelia’s impenetrable stone manor. When the front door boomed shut with the noise of a cannon blast, he jumped. He lurched forward and exploded out of the vehicle. She wasn’t getting rid of him so easily. In fact, she wasn’t getting rid of him at all. He had a voice in the matter. He intended to be heard.


Just as soon as he thought it, his steps faltered and he ground to a stop.  “Damn!”



Now was not the time to try to reason with her, not when she was in a cold fury. He pumped a fist against a thigh and stared at the mansion’s rock fa├žade, aware her current state of mind was as solid and unshakable. Even if he managed to get beyond the front door, she wouldn’t listen. Not now.



His head fell back. A piercing ache tore through him, as if his heart and soul had been shredded and tossed aside. Gunmetal storm clouds reeled over the sky, bleak and threatening. The bite in the air made his cheeks sting. Inside he was hollowed and gutted. His fingers curled and uncurled. Muscles coiled, he pivoted with a fierce twist, snapped an order to Phelps then threw himself back into the carriage. His next move must be deployed with utmost care. The carriage jolted forward and thrust him back against the seat cushion. She needed time to cool. Then he’d be back, and she’d listen to what he had to say.

Goddess Fish Promotions Blurb Blitz Tour & Giveaway for Night Magic by Kathleen Ann Gallagher


Welcome to my stop on author Kathleen Ann Gallagher’s Blurb Blitz Book Tour for Night Magic, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions.  Please leave a comment or question for Ms. Gallagher to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of her tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 
Night Magic
By Kathleen ann Gallagher
Moonlight and Jasmine, Book 1

Publisher:  Secret Cravings Publishing
Release Date: April 9, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal
Length: 64 Pages
ISBN:  978-1-631051-31-8
ASIN:  B00JOQ0SYY

Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Secret Cravings | ARe


About the book: 

The beautiful but lonely owner of a bath and body shop, Krista Winter is in need of legal counsel. Her past is about to catch up with her.  She was forced to flee from her life as a teacher in New Jersey after being shunned for being a witch.

Life is not the same for Jon Bartolo. He’s a dedicated lawyer, living in the town of Conway, New Hampshire. His days are spent helping his clients with their struggles and his nights are spent in agony, lost in a world between life and death.

His mother, who died three years ago, lurks in his house, suffering from a curse for eternity, without a resting place.

A smoldering fire between Jon and Krista ignites almost immediately, however, he’s sure his secret would frighten a woman away. An afternoon escape brings them closer, but doubts linger between the love-struck couple.

How will Jon’s  mother find eternal rest so he can move on with his life? Is he bound to a life of hell on earth?

Will Krista fit into his world when he learns about her past?  Could she be hiding a bigger secret? Is it possible for them to open their hearts to love? Could  a touch of Night Magic be just what this couple needs?

Add to Goodreads

                      Read an Adult Excerpt

Steadying herself, she stood back and stared into his eyes. As Jon moved in again and plunged his tongue deep into her mouth, he lightly brushed his hand across the back of her hair, and she surrendered to his touch. It was as if a long lost lover had reappeared and claimed her heart’s desire. There was no telling what might happen next. Her whole body relaxed as he nuzzled her ear, teasing her with playful nips at her neck. All rules had been broken, but it didn’t matter. His hard shaft rubbed up against her stomach, and she swayed back and forth, unable to break away from temptation. His breathing sped up and his strong arms were tight around her back. She quietly moaned, lost in another world. Every movement brought her one step closer. Am I that lonely? I’m about to have sex with a man I just met. As his hand trailed across her back, her body rocked with his.

Each touch was electrifying, as if he wanted to devour her, and she found herself in a trance-like state. Is this what I’ve been missing? Running her hand across his firm bicep, she felt woozy. The warmth of his body was raising her level of arousal. Here in the middle of his office, she experienced a passion like no other. Everything seemed right. Lust took control of her senses and she let herself go with it. With each kiss he cradled her in his arms, his embrace warm and protective like a warrior of love. How did this happen? Had she found the man she was destined for or was it all a dream?

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kathleen lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two dogs. She’s a registered nurse who works in an emergency room. Writing has been her passion since she was a young girl. Contemporary and paranormal romance are her favorites.  She has three adult children and three lovable grandsons. Her favorite romantic getaway is Cape May, New Jersey. You might find Kathleen on the beach down The Jersey Shore, wearing a straw hat, sipping on an iced tea, dreaming up her next romance novel.

Links







Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Super Book Blast & Giveaway for Kiss the Enemy by Dianna Love


Welcome to my stop on author Dianna Love’s Super Book Blast for Kiss the Enemy, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions.  Please leave a comment or question for Dianna to let her know you stopped by.  Dianna will be awarding EITHER the ebook box set of the first 3 Slye Temp OR a signed copy of ONE of the first 4 Slye Temp books. (Print Books are Continental US Only - Amazon/iTunes/Nook ebook equivalent for international) to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour, so please be sure to leave your email address.  You can enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of Dianna’s tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning one of the prizes.
Kiss the Enemy
By Dianna Love
Slye Temp, Book #4

Publisher:  Silver Hawk Press, LLC
Release Date: January 13, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length:  314 Pages
ISBN:  978-1-940651-90-3
ASIN:  B00FZ0YGI2

Buy Links:  KindleNookiTunesKobo

About the book:

Her only hope is in the hands of her enemy.

Slye Temp operative Margaux Duke is chasing an international terrorist who murdered the last of her family. But her plans go up in smoke when her agency is in the crosshairs of the dangerous killer, forcing her to turn rogue to protect the only family she has left - her team. This is no time to get involved, especially with an enemy who steps between her and the terrorist she has to stop.

Logan Baklanov has been known by many names in the underbelly of international terrorism and will do whatever it takes to shield those he loves from the treacherous world he lives in. When his brother’s life is in jeopardy, Logan takes on a role that places him at the top of the most-wanted lists of government security agencies in every country. He accepts the no-win situation, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice until a long legged beauty draws the attention of his deadly target and screws Logan’s carefully planned mission.

Margaux and Logan must join forces in a dangerous game to save a major city from a powerful psychopath, but their ruse escalates out of control when the heat smoldering between them threatens to explode.

Excerpt


Margaux’s fingers touched his battered face in the darkness. She might be just as hardheaded as he was, but her words were softer this time. “I’m not leaving alone no matter what you say. Whatever we have to face, we do it together.” 

Where had she come from?

Women in the covert business were normally cutthroat and came with a natural survival defense mechanism. They weren’t selfless when it came to a choice of walking away alive or not.

He gave in. “Okay, help me up.” 

She moved her hand down his naked, beaten-half-to-death body and reached around him, lifting. The pain that shot through his chest, back and head almost sent him to the ground again. Bile rushed up his throat, but he’d be damned if he was going to hurl on her while she was trying to save his ass. She’d been beaten too, and had to be hurting.

She got busy putting a shirt on him, then she worked the pants on one leg at a time. He was doing nothing and panting hard from exertion. How she was managing was beyond him.

When she’d gone as far as she could with the pants, she straddled him, squatting over his thighs. He kept forcing his thoughts away from the pain. Like why couldn’t they be in a plush hotel room with her straddling him for round one hundred of amazing sex?

And he bet it would be. A woman like this would be unforgettable.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


New York Times bestseller Dianna Love once dangled over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. She now writes high-octane romantic suspense, thrillers and urban fantasy. Her new Slye Temp romantic suspense series launched its first four books in 2013 to rave reviews and more will follow in 2014. Her books are available in print and ebook.  On the rare days she’s not in her writing cave, Dianna enjoys touring the country on her BMW motorcycle. She lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her motorcycle-instructor husband and a tank full of unruly saltwater critters. Read excerpts of her books at www.authordiannalove.com or join her Dianna Love Street Team on Facebook and get in on the fun!

Links

Website---- https://www.authordiannalove.com

Street team ---- https://www.facebook.com/groups/456015887852513/

Like her on Facebook at--- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianna-Love-Fan-Page/144494875593699


Follow her on Twitter at -- https://twitter.com/diannalove



Bewitching Book Tour & Giveaway for Firebolt by Adrienne Woods



Welcome to my stop on author Adrienne Woods’ Virtual Book Tour for Firebolt, presented by Bewitching Book Tours.  Please leave a comment or question for Ms. Woods to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of her tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

Firebolt
Adrienne Woods
The Dragonian Series, Book One

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: GMTA  Publishing – Mythos Press
ISBN: 978-1491244654
ASIN: B00GS5SUM6
Number of pages: 289
Word Count: 95, 000

Buy Link:  Amazon



About the book:

For the love of blueberries, Elena Watkins was destined for greatness, even though she didn’t know it. Before entering Paegeia Elena was not special, she wasn’t even average until the night her father was killed by a creature she thought only existed in fairy tales – a dragon. With her father’s death leaving her orphaned, Elena is whisked away to her true birthplace, Paegeia.

Arriving at Dragonia Academy, the premier school for young Dragonians; a school she was never meant to attend because her father was a dragon. Unbeknownst to Elena danger is lurking behind the enchanted vines concealing the once thriving capital of Paegeia – Etan.

Goran, the darkest sorcerer in the realm, has lain dormant for over a century behind the crumbling city. There, in the shadowy ruins he plots his revenge to destroy the only weapon that can kill him – the King of Lion Sword.

When the sword is stolen without a trace Elena doesn’t think twice about seeking it; knowing deep down that it is her destiny to save her new home.


Add to Goodreads

Read an Excerpt

“Dad, dragons...” I took a deep breath. Dragons didn't exist, but then the image of the huge thing that had flown past me a couple of seconds ago sprang into my head. “You mean that thing was a dragon?”

He nodded, and looked over his shoulder.

A figure with huge paws and talons flew in front of the truck. Tires screeched at the same time I shrieked. The truck spun around on the turf a couple of times and came to a standstill on the dark stretch of road. My heart jumped at a great speed inside my chest. My throat and lips became dry.

Pushing my face against the cool glass of the passenger window, I searched the horizon for any sign of life. Apart from the pickup’s headlights, there wasn’t a single light peeking through the blanketed darkness, and the rain crushing down made me see figures I didn’t know were real or imagined. Dragons don’t exist.

“You okay?” my father yelled.

“I'm fine.” I tore my eyes away from the window.

“Elena, I need to get out─”

“No, no, please don't leave me here!” I could feel the fear beginning to rise up again and my vision became blurry. Why am I afraid? Dragons aren’t real.

He cupped my face and made me look at him, his hands trembling. “Listen to me, Elena. Listen!”

I tried to swallow my tears, but it was no use. They were caught in the back of my throat, silencing me as he said his goodbye.

He hugged me tight and kissed me on my forehead. I could feel the love he had for me behind that kiss.

“You drive like hell, you hear me? Don't slow down for anybody. There's a motel on Interstate 40. Just stay on this road, you can't miss it. Someone named Matt will meet you there.”

“For the love of blueberries Dad, it's pouring dogs and horses outside. I can't leave you here with whatever...” We can rationally sort this out.

Dad cringed and looked down for a minute. When he looked at me again, that set to his jaw was back. I knew my words hadn’t made an impact on him whatsoever. He had already made up his mind for the both of us.
My strength returned as I slowly came to terms with what I had to do.
A man appeared in the middle of the road. The rain made it hard for me to see him, but the headlights of the truck outlined his figure. I squinted to see him clearer. He was tall with long black hair; wet strands clung to his face. He wore a pair of pants, no T-shirt, and it looked like no shoes either. He stared at the pickup for a couple of minutes, and it made my heart pound faster. He began to walk slowly toward us.

“Daaaaad?” I slapped his shoulder, trying to expel the fear from my body.

“Elena.” He grabbed my wrist. “I'll be fine. You need to go. Now. And, Bear, I'm so sorry. Whatever happens, don't stop for anything.”

“Dad?” My lower lip quivered like mad. He kissed me one more time on my forehead and wiped away my tears gently with his thumbs.

“I'll meet you there.” He climbed out of the truck and slammed the door in my face. My gaze switched back at the macho loon making his way toward Dad, who stood right next to the pickup. I quickly moved into the driver’s seat, took a deep breath, and buckled up.

With my hands trembling on the steering wheel, I took another deep breath.

You can do this, the voice in my head rambled a couple of times. The key sat lazily in the ignition, and I jerked it to the right. The pickup sputtered and died. The guy disappeared into the darkness, and a new set of fear pumped through my veins.

“No, no, no, no! Please don't die on me now,” I mumbled as I tried to restart the engine. The man appeared again by the faint glow of the headlights. He was getting closer.

“Start you stupid piece of crap!” I yelled over the roar of the blood pumping in my ears.

The engine came to life and I screamed as the man's figure leaped toward the pickup. Dad jumped from the asphalt and tackled him in mid-air. “Go, Elena!” he shouted over the pounding rain.

I floored the gas pedal and the pickup's tires screeched as I drove past Dad, who'd wrestled the guy onto the road. Tears blurred my sight.
I can't just leave him back there.  I struggled to come to terms with what the hell was going on.

My father and the other man quickly disappeared into the horizon of my rearview mirror. I wiped away my tears with the back of my hand and lowered the mirror so that I could see Dad, but they had vanished into the night.

Don't stop for anything, Dad's voice replayed inside my head.
My hands trembled on the shift as I found the third gear. A strong force hit the pickup on the passenger’s side. The impact of the blow jolted through my body as the truck rolled a couple of times, and came to a halt on its roof, leaving me suspended in the air. My head and body throbbed with pain, and warm blood ran down my skull. I began to slip into darkness. 

Lightning struck, and the road was instantly engulfed in flames, leaving me wide-awake. Something to the left grabbed my attention as the fire slowly began to creep toward the overturned truck. The aching inside my head blurred my vision and I couldn't see the figure properly, but when it lifted up the truck, righting it on the asphalt once again, a shrill sound left my lips.

The belly of a huge blue beast on four legs the size of tree stumps stood in front of the pickup. The sight left me breathless and my entire body froze. Dragons don’t exist.

A part of his head popped in front of me. Huge horns on the top of his nose lingered inches from the windshield, leaving a foggy condensation on the glass as he breathed. One of his frilly ears lay flat against his head, like a cat’s when sensing danger.

He climbed on top of the hood with one of his front legs, and my body trembled as the truck started to crumble. A part of his wing came into sight. It appeared to be shredded, with a sharp talon located at the end. Oval-shaped blue scales fanned over its entire body glistened in the flames on the side of the road. Maybe it only looked that way through the tears blinding my sight. Beady eyes, sunken deeply into its skull locked with mine. The picture in front of me just became my number-one worst nightmare. I shrieked as the dragon’s weight shifted, forcing the pickup to crumble even more.

    
Another dragon sank his jaws into the one in front of me. Two huge copper horns laid flat on top of its copper head. The blue dragon growled, and snapped with gaping jaws at the copper one attacking him. With powerful force the dragon was dragged off the pickup’s hood and thankfully away from me. The truck shook slightly and groaned as if a huge weight had been dispelled; my heart pounded as if I'd just run a hundred meters.

A bolt of fire came from the sky and lit up the entire scene in front of me.
More dragons landed with a thud in the middle of the road. One seemed to be green with a long neck and a fin-like mane running from the top of its head to its tail. A cloud of dark fog emerged slightly from its nostrils. 

The other dragon was red and oddly beautiful, but something evil derived from its aura. They attacked the copper dragon with startling savagery.

Get the hell away from here, my voice shrilled in my head. Quickly, I tried to unbuckle my seatbelt, but the clip wouldn't release. For the next couple of minutes the earth shook with bolts of fire, and lightning flew through the air, while I tried to free myself.

My father wouldn’t just leave me here! As each second ticked off my watch, I became more worried about Dad.

The dragons came close to the truck a couple of times, but the copper dragon kept driving them back, as if he was trying to protect me. I shook my head, trying to expel that thought. Dragons don't exist. Wake up. The tips of my fingers felt raw as I hammered endlessly on the buckle of the safety belt. My face was soaked with tears and blood, but I knew that I had to get out of the truck, and quickly too. With trembling hands, I pounded on the buckle with my fist until it unlocked. Throwing the vicious restraint from around me, I saw the copper dragon bite fiercely into the blue dragon’s neck. I watched as blood squirted everywhere and pooled in thick puddles on the road. It staggered and dropped down to the ground. Electricity still sparked off its body, but it soon died away. The green and red dragons jumped on top of the copper dragon. It knocked the red dragon hard onto the ground and crushed the green dragon with its huge front legs. The sound of flesh ripping made me feel sick, and I had to lean over as tremors wracked my stomach. The picture of the copper dragon shredding off the green dragon’s left wing sent a stab of new fear deep into my core.

Dad, where the hell are you? I pleaded into the darkness.

The red dragon got back up and flew away just as the copper dragon ripped the green dragon's neck apart. Then the copper dragon turned its gaze to me. For the love of blueberries! I forced myself to look away from the humungous beast, and I started to kick at the windshield with my newly freed legs. A new sense of urgency punctuated every kick.

C'mon! I kicked three, four times, but it only left long cracks in the glass. Watching the copper dragon trudge toward the pickup through the jagged cracks made the scene before me look even more terrifying. The copper dragon stopped right in front of the pickup. Our eyes locked, and I could see the vertical pupil inside a pair of dark, rich brown irises. My heart thumped wildly inside my chest as it hooked one of its talons gently into the shield and ripped it off.

It paused, stared at me for what seemed like an eternity, took a few steps back, and nodded in my direction.

It wants me to get out? You’re imagining things, Elena. Dragon’s aren’t real.

I didn't act. I couldn’t. The dragon started to shrink. Its wings and legs dwindled into a smaller size until they disappeared. Its big head and horns shrunk into nothing. I watched as the dragon's huge figure melted away. The heap transform into the figure of a human crouching low to the ground. The figure lifted up its face, and huge cuts with blood seeping from them ran down his face. It felt as if somebody had squeezed all the air out of my lungs. I’d finally found my father─ without a shred of clothing.



About the Author:
I was born and raised in South Africa, where I still live with my husband, and two beautiful little girls. I always knew that I was going to be a writer but it only started to happen about four years ago, now I can’t stop writing.

In my free time, If I get any because Moms don’t really have free time, I love to spend time with friends, if it’s a girls night out, or just a movie, I’m a very chilled person.

My writing career is starting with Firebolt, book one with the Dragonian Series, there will be four books in total and two to three books that is about the stories taking place inside The Dragonian Series.

I do write in different Genres, I have a woman’s fiction called the Pregnancy Diaries, but it would be published under another name. And then I have a paranormal series, called the Watercress series. There are about ten novels in that one.

So, plenty of novels to come out, so little time.

I hope you are going to embrace the Dragonian Series as much as I loved writing them.



Twitter: @erichb3

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