Once upon a time there was a witch and a warlock who fell in love. They lived together in a modest and remote castle, working the land, making essential oils, and giving back to the earth. They were a good witch and warlock who loved their life and wanted nothing more than to share their love and good fortune with others. But most of all, they dreamed of having a tiny magical being of their own. This was not to be. For all their trying, the witch could not become pregnant. They grew herbs to make special teas, mixed up potions for fertility, and even cast spells under the light of the full moon. Nothing worked. The witch’s belly remained empty. The days turned into months, into years, then into decades. A century passed, but no baby came. The witch fell into a deep sadness. She no longer got out of bed and tended to her garden. She no longer sang while strolling through the meadows of wildflowers. She no longer ate until she was full. She cried. She slept. She stared into the nothingness of the night.
Heartbroken to see his love so forlorn, the warlock decided to venture out of the safety of their secluded castle and find a Baba Yaga to heal his wife and give them a child through either light or dark magical means. The day he left, he kissed her and promised to always love her in this world, and the next. He vowed to search eternally for help for his barren wife. He vowed to find a way to give her a child. The witch pleaded with him not to leave. She told him she’d felt something terrible coming his way. He saw it, too, but knew her happiness was more important. She cried and held onto the warlock, but he pushed her away. Before he mounted his stead, he placed a soft kiss on her lips. The warlock embraced the witch’s face in his hands and looked deep into her aqua eyes. He said, “you are my heart. Without you by my side, this muscle in my chest would cease to beat. I will travel to the end of the earth and time to make you happy.” He kissed her again. “If I do not return, always follow your heart.” He removed a long chain that held and small key from his neck and placed it in her hands. “This key opens the lock to the future. It’s been passed down in my family since the beginning of time, bestowed upon those with a purpose to learn. Use it and our love will be for all eternity.”
The witch did not see the warlock alive again.
Monday, October 31, 2022
Release Day Blitz Crazy Witch by C.S. Edwards #ReleaseDayBlitz #PNR #ParanormalRomance
Friday, October 28, 2022
Free Book Friday October 28 - Sweet Bloody Secret: A Short Vampire Romance by Jessie Winterspring
Free Book Friday October 28
Thursday, October 27, 2022
The Gryphon and His Thief by Karen Michelle Nutt - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/aXxcvKEDwO4
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“Get a grip,” she warned herself. The gryphon didn’t blink his eyes. Yep, and it didn’t fly from the back room and station itself at the door, either. She gulped and leveled the beam of the flashlight on the statue once more. Only what stood there now was a man, a large man with dark hair, a beard neat and trim…and eyes that glowed like the gryphon’s eyes had.
“You cannot take the item from the museum,” the man’s deep voice boomed with authority meant to intimidate, and his words were flavored with a Greek accent. “You must return it immediately,” he finished the threat. Sure there had been no threat voiced, but she all but heard the ‘or else’ just as clearly as if the words had been spoken.
“Who are you?” she countered, even though she had no right to inquire. Obviously, this man must be the night guardsman. Her gaze slid over his attire and frowned. He wore garments she’d only seen painted on Greek vases and paintings—an intricately designed tunic, a dark colored cloak, and gold sandals adorned his feet. Her one eyebrow lifted. Perhaps he was a thief who liked theatrics. She had an uncle who liked to dress like a caped superhero when he went on his jobs.
She straightened her back and met the guy’s gaze head on. “I think you need to leave, or I’ll call the cops.” She pulled out her cell phone and lit up the screen to prove her point. The guy didn’t have to know she was bluffing. She didn’t want the cops here anymore than he probably did.
He didn’t quite react the way she thought he would. Oh no, he had the audacity to laugh, a deep guttural laugh. “You amuse me human woman,” he told her.
“Human woman?” Okay, this nut-job was off his meds. “Fine, you stay here, and this human woman will say good evening. It’s been a long day. I need to head back to my spaceship before E.T. calls home and tells Mom and Dad I’m late.”
The man’s brows furrowed, deep creases marring his forehead. Maybe she loaded on the crapola a little thick. It was best to end this conversation and get out of Africa—as her father would say—and make like a cheetah on the hunt. She took a few cautious steps toward the front door.
“You will halt,” he demanded with his palm up as if his stance alone could stop her.
Well, yep it did, for a full three seconds. She knew some self-defense moves, but this guy was built like he lifted weights in his sleep just so his bulk didn’t decrease in the middle of the night. It didn’t appear like the front door was an option, but… her gaze latched onto the window next to it. “Oh, hell.” She charged and prayed this old building hadn’t been refurbished with safety glass.
Otherwise, this stunt was really going to hurt.
About the Author:
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband. Though her three children are grown and starting their own adventures, she still has a houseful of demanding pets.
When she's not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she
creates book covers at Gillian's Book Covers, "Judge Your Book By Its
Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, time travel or contemporary romances, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
Visit the author at her website: http://www.kmnbooks.com
Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”
Amazon Author Page:
Unusual Light by J. Elizaga - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular
Chapter 1: An Unusual Call
AT half past midnight, a public safety dispatcher received a familiar but unsettling call. Amid the static and crackle, a voice uttered, “Send help.”
The strange calls started nine months ago, and they always occurred on or near the full moon. The voice supplied only their first name and location. The caller’s name changed every month, but the location stayed the same—Shoreline Hospital morgue. The police officer who responded to the first dispatch spoke with Matt Faulson, the morgue’s overnight security guard. He denied dialing for assistance. The officer walked around the perimeter of the building and witnessed nothing out of the ordinary.
But after three monthly calls involving the same person on duty, the department assigned Officer David Jackson to patrol around the time of the full moon, when they estimated a call would occur. They suspected the twenty-seven-year-old Matt to be the prankster.
Police interviews failed to pin him. Instead, the detectives saw video footage of stationary objects moving randomly in various rooms in the morgue late at night.
The young man admitted to seeing strange activity during his shifts. Adding to the mystery, the city’s emergency dispatch system saved the calls, but the hospital had no record of any of their phones being used.
David arrived at the parking lot with another patrol car at 12:25 a.m. He saw a lone figure sitting on a bench near the morgue’s main entrance.
“Matt.” He approached the security guard with friendly caution. As the guard greeted him, the officer couldn’t help but notice the dark shadows under the young man’s eyes and the ruffled hair. “Man, you look terrible.”
Matt sighed. “There’s not a lot of sleep with the graveyard shift, as you know. I don’t like walking the floors between midnight and one a.m., but I took too long answering an email, and I forgot the time. I rushed through the hallways, and let me tell you, I had more than one sighting,” Matt said. “I guess you received a call?”
David nodded. “You have to get me in there one of these nights. I want to see for myself.”
“I’ll call next time. But I didn’t make the call tonight,” Matt replied. He stood up and prepared to go back in the morgue, but froze. “Oh.”
“What is it?” David asked. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the second officer took a defensive stance.
“A gray entity floated out of the wall to my left,” Matt said softly as he kept his head very still.
David looked as soon as Matt spoke. “I don’t see anything.” He glanced at the other officer.
“I don’t see anything either.”
“Really?” Matt asked as his shoulders dropped. He gingerly turned his head and looked. “Am I the only one who sees ghosts?”
“I’m beginning to believe that,” David replied.
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Alpha Receptor by Karenna Colcroft - Haunted Halloween Spooktacular
When he was confident none of his pack remained among the trees, he went to the house and found Art already in human form near the back door. Art possessed the distinct ability to shift instantaneously with no pain or effects; for him, it was as fluid as breathing. Meaning Chal needed to shift rapidly and give no sign of the effects.
Once back in human form, he straightened, towering over Art, who flinched. The reaction pleased Chal. The man deserved to be afraid.
“You attacked a pack member,” he said.
“Can…” Sweat beaded Art’s forehead as he frantically searched around for an escape. “Can we discuss this privately, Alpha?”
“We cannot.” He spoke more loudly than he intended, not caring that he’d drawn the attention of the other wolves. “Lara is lower ranked than you. She wasn’t interfering with you. You had neither cause nor right to attack her. Go home, Art. You are confined to your apartment until I speak with you.”
Art bowed his head. “I have no way to get home, Alpha. I rode here with others.”
A small, wiry man hurried over to him. One of the trackers, second in command to Connor.
“Are you able to leave at this time?” Chal asked, continuing to pin Art beneath his gaze. “Art is going home.”
“Yes, Alpha. I’ll tell Hillary to find another ride.” Dave grasped Art’s elbow. “Let’s go.”Art followed the other man without protest. But when he peered back over his shoulder at Chal, his eyes were filled with the same darkness weighing on Chal.It would be crucial to resolve the situation more permanently. For the moment, Art was dealt with. It was time for Chal to check on his mate.
He found her a short distance from the house, lying on her side in wolf form, panting heavily.
Tobias, in human form, sat cross-legged beside her. “Follow my voice, Lara,” he said in a low, almost hypnotic cadence. “It’s time to shift back. I’m here. Your Alpha is here. We’re both with you. Come back.”
Painstakingly, so much so Chal trembled with sympathetic agony, Tobias guided Lara back into human form. When she finished the shift, she lay gasping on the ground.
“I can’t do anything more for her,” Tobias said.
“I can. Thank you, old friend.”
Chal crouched and gathered Lara into his arms. She stirred and murmured something unintelligible. Ignoring the others around them, Chal carried her into the house and up to the second floor, to the bedroom where he and Tobias had spoken earlier.
Tenderly, he lay her on the bed. He wished he could kiss her, stay with her, but he still had a duty to his pack. He maneuvered the sheet from under her and covered her.
“Sleep,” he said. “We’ll speak in the morning.” Quickly, he left the room.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Character Confession from Alaric from Tome of the Vampire by Jason Goss #GothicHorror
It had been one thousand, four hundred eighty-one years since the calamity known as All Sins Fall, or Sinfall for short. And on this day, the vampire and his holy cleric accomplice are awaiting judgment by the Grand Inquisitor. Today is the day of reckoning.
The mighty steel doors of the keep slammed open in unison with the thunder strike outside, as a violent storm raged on. The dusk brought with it a storm so loud it was almost deafening. Two prisoners wrapped in starsilver chains were violently dragged into the keep towards the inner sanctum. The first, a young girl in her early twenties with long, dirty blonde hair, tied back and dripping wet. Loose, wet bangs covered her filthy face, hiding her green eyes. She was head to toe in regalia of the Knights of the Silver Star. Chain mail armor, wrapped in a silver star crested tunic. Her hands were bound behind her, and a chain clamped to her neck. The girl was aggressively dragged forward towards the Inquisitor.
Behind her followed the second prisoner. He was also bound in chains behind his back, with more chains tied to his neck, leading him forward. This prisoner stood out to the guards stationed along the inner sanctum hall. His pale face, white as marble, contrasted underneath his long jet black hair. His bright sapphire blue eyes were empty and limitless at the same time. It was like looking into a void that filled a person with both sadness and fear. The way he moved forward, led by the chain around his neck, still seemed unnatural and unnerving. Every step he took seemed effortless. He was dressed in a dark cloak with the hood down. Each step he took made the guards uneasy. This man was a vampire.
Vampires were not uncommon to the Knights of the Silver Star. The Order were responsible for waging war against such abominations. Dragons, demons, vampires, and other evil creatures were regularly hunted down and cleansed by the knights. What was shocking to the guard was to see one in the grand halls of the Silver Sanctum. Each guard gave the other an uneasy look, as they knew this was different. Something big was happening before them. Not to mention a member of the Order dragged along with him to answer before the Inquisitor.
A small set of stairs led to a sizeable and imposing limestone throne at the end of the hall. The chair's sculpted armrest was in the shape of an angel kneeling with its wings folded downwards to let you rest your hands on the angel's back between the shoulders. There were blindfolds covering the angel’s eyes. Down on all fours, they were clasping a sword stabbed in the ground beside them. The backrest of the mighty chair had two large wings spanning outward. They give the person sitting there an appearance of having majestic wings. The wings appeared inlaid with starsilver and gold. Upon the chair sat the Grand Inquisitor.
He sat on the throne, awaiting his prisoners’ arrival, looming over them as they approached. He was clad in thick starsilver armor. It looked almost decorative, if not for the battle-scarred dents in parts of it. The blemishes didn't detract from the practically holy glow it gave off. His shoulder pauldrons were shaped to look like griffons’ heads pointing outward, with its wings folding down in front and behind him on either shoulder. The Inquisitor’s chest plate was fashioned to look like that of a fierce lion's head. He had a blue and silver-lined cape flowing behind him. He was unarmed. His weapons were not far away, leaning against this throne. A massive silver Warhammer that looked heavier than the Inquisitor himself sat closest to him. Beside the hammer lay a large, two-handed great sword. Its decorations were hidden as a blue and silver cloak was draped over it.
As the prisoners got closer to the throne, the rain intensified outside. Thunder still crackled in the distance, as lightning flashes filled the room with bursts of light. The light glittered off all the silver decorations, armor, and weapons. The guards looked suspiciously at the vampire to see if the light bothered or hurt him. When he didn't react to the reflections of silver light, the guards collectively tightened the grip on their weapons, ready to strike should the moment call for it. The guards leading the prisoners pulled the chain forward and forced them on their knees.
"Alas, we have the infamous vampire, Alaric Caradoc." The Inquisitor smiled. "I expected an atrocity such as you to have put up a fight or resisted. The fact you have made no attempts to fight, kill or break free suggests you are up to something. Know that your words mean little to me, and you will most likely meet your end this night. And if you thought you could compel me with your neat little mesmerize trick... think again. I'm protected by the light of God and immune to such trickery. If you planned to attack from the inside... your plan has failed. Those silver chains will hold you while you die a quick and final death."
Alaric said nothing. He met the Inquisitor's gaze, the entire time without flinching. He appeared cold as stone. His marble-like skin didn't break a sweat or move.
"You can't kill him! We need his help!" interrupted the young female prisoner, as she tried to rise back to her feet. The guard behind her instinctively struck the back of her legs with his spear, knocking her back down.
"Silence, Yasmina! You are a traitor and a sinner. Conspiring with this creature condemns you to hell. I will end your suffering soon so that God himself can judge your sins. The only reason you still breathe is so I can find out the truth of what happened in the fires of Ghalat. Your mentor, Salazar, was a great hero and deserved to be honored. I will know what happened, and I will put you both to death."
"Not a compelling reason for us to give you answers," replied Alaric. "I expected the Grand Inquisitor to be a better negotiator. For fuck's sake, lie to us or something. Please, tell us if we help you, we may suffer less, or live or something. You sure this is your actual job?"
"Ric, let me handle this, please," said Yasmina in a nervous but stern tone.
"So you and this monster are on a nickname basis, eh? Does he call you Yas or perhaps Mina or something cute? You're nothing but a meal to him. I bet he calls you his little snack." replied the Inquisitor, laughing to himself. He expected more reaction to his sarcastic joke but got nothing.
"To answer your question... Ric, I don't need to lie. Lying is a sin, and men of God do not need to lower themselves to your level. You may not answer my questions honestly... but I will enjoy torturing you either way. And since Yasmina here seems to be fond of you, the more truthful she is, the swifter your death."
"I'm not fond of him," Mina interjected. "He is a monster. But he has information that could help us, and he has agreed to do so if we help him. When he has helped us, I will end his suffering myself."
The Inquisitor took a step towards her and firmly backhanded her to the ground.
"Idiot child," he explained, "we do not help or work with the cursed. Your mentor would be ashamed. Alaric is simply using you and attempting to poison your mind. The only way he can help us is to die in the light's fire. His soul is past redemption. And all that remains is to rid the foul curse from the land, so his sickness doesn't spread and corrupt any more lives."
Alaric tried to remain quiet, as Mina suggested. But he couldn't help himself.
"Do you even hear yourself speak? You sound like a brainwashed twit diddler. If your goal is to end corruption, and someone has a way to help you end it better or faster… doesn't it make sense to at least hear them out?" he asked.
"My goal is to kill you before you taint any more minds. Yasmina was Salazar's brightest pupil. You have corrupted her, and now I have to kill her. Now all I want is to learn his fate, then kill you before you pull off your plan to kill us. You don't fool me, cold one. I know you would kill us the second you get the chance."
The vampire finally showed a glimmer of emotion on his face, and he smiled at the Inquisitor's comments. He shook his head ever so slightly to clear the hair from his face so that the Inquisitor could see his face.
"Yes, and no. I could kill you if I wanted to, right here and now. But would I? It doesn't serve me to kill you all. But the vile plans you think I'm up to require your help. And in exchange... I will help you purge more evil than you could ever do on your own. I could teach you more about our weaknesses and lead you to them. I can help you," Alaric insisted.
The Inquisitor just laughed. He watched as Yasmina crawled up back to her knees, eagerly waiting to see his response. He looked back towards Alaric, still smiling in a smug, confident way.
"You should take your advice, cold one. Now, who is the shit negotiator? You have not provided me a compelling reason to hear you out. You are in silver chains and about to die. I hold the cards, and from where I stand, you are in no position to kill us all, as you claim. Frankly... your kind can't be trusted. Once I have my answers from Yasmina...I will put you to death. If she lies, it will be a drawn- out, painful death. If she doesn't lie, your death will be swift and painless... as will hers,"
Alaric's smile slowly faded to reveal his annoyance as the Inquisitor stubbornly refused him. He pulled his bound hands forward, breaking free of the silver manacles that bound his hands to his back, and quickly grabbed and broke the silver ring around his neck.
"Listen, you know fuck all about vampires. If I wanted you dead I'd have killed you and everyone in this tacky room already. Her included." he said as he pointed towards Mina, still shackled beside him.
The guards immediately drew all their weapons and pointed them at Alaric. The Inquisitor stepped back, reaching for his Warhammer behind him. His eyes locked on the vampire in disbelief at what he had just seen. He tried to hide his panic, but he couldn't. Silver was a weakness from all his experience and training with prior vampires. It should have stopped him from being able to use his unholy strength. Or any of his vampire powers. He knew each vampire's powers could differ significantly, but they had all been weak against Starsilver until now.
Alaric raised his arms high to show he wasn't about to attack. "Relax, I do not intend to fight you. Now lower your weapons before I change my mind," Alaric said.
All the guards looked to the Grand Inquisitor for direction. He nodded and raised a hand to indicate they could lower their weapons. He still grabbed his hammer and brought it in front of him, but left the hammer's head firmly on the ground before him.
Alaric thought it was comical that a man so devoted and sure of his God's protection would need to cling to his weapon, as if it were a comforting blanket a babe might need to fall asleep at night. But he decided not to mock the man, as he could see he might be making progress after all.
"Alright, vampire, you have my attention. We still have things to learn of your kind. You could have surprised attacked us at will, or at very least escaped with your life, yet didn't. I wouldn't be doing my job as Inquisitor if I didn't at least try to learn why."
"I know you have no reason to trust me, nor can I give you a compelling reason to. But so long as your knights don't attack me, I will spare them. I will also not attempt to flee till you have heard our proposition. After that, you may do as you wish,"
"And if I still wish to remove your head?" asked the Inquisitor.
"You are welcome to try," said the vampire, as his smile playfully returned, "but first, I suggest you at least listen to Mina's story of how we got here. And then I can explain how I may be able to help you. Besides, you wanted to learn of dear old Salazar's fate, didn't you?"
The Inquisitor looked annoyed, but the vampire was correct. He had questions he needed answers to—both for himself and the church.
"Fine. But we will take you to separate interrogation rooms, and I will uncover your scheme, vampire. And once I've learned all I need, we will sacrifice you to God."