Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Bridge to Magic by Alex Thornbury - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza

The Frost of Winter Solstice – by Alex Thornbury

Our village was the last to stand against the invasion of the godly folk from the southern kingdoms. With their strange magic of the cross and prayer, they had pushed back the Spirit’s Veil to our border and cleansed the lands of beings that visited humanity through ages past. And it fell to our warriors to hold back the godly folk from destroying the last of that which was sacred. The Veil was the only way our long-dead ancestors could return and bring their stories to our fireside. And it was through these stories that we kept the history of our lands alive.

The Winter Solstice of my twelfth year started like any other. Come sunset, the Veil would once again part, and would not close again until sunrise. It was to be a long night and the favourite with our family. We spent the day readying the cottage for visitors; sweeping, stocking the fire and keeping it bright and hot, as the visitors were prone to chills. Though they did not eat the food we offered, we still prepared a feast as much as we could in our poverty. Mother decorated everything to hide the meagre affair.  

After sunset, my sister and I, scrubbed clean and dressed in our finest dresses, joined our parents by the fireplace. They stood side by side in front of Grandma’s favourite chair, holding hands and smiling.

‘Come children, look who is here,’ Mother exclaimed, forgetting in her excitement that we had not the adult eyes to see the beings from beyond the Veil.

‘It’s grandma,’ Father clarified.

So we went to stand beside our parents, looking down at the empty chair, feeling both chilled and yet secretly foolish. Only a handful of nights each year did the invisible visitors arrive. As I grew older, it was hard not to imagine this must be some game the adults played with their children, each solstice, Spring’s Rise and Eve of Souls.

‘Aye, they have grown since you saw them last summer,’ Mother said to the empty chair.

And we were made to sit on the floor by the fire, as mother and father took their seats at the feat-laden table. Grandma then told us stories, which our parents repeated, for we had not the adult ears to hear the voices of the beings from beyond the Veil.

As the night deepened, the fire flickered suddenly and turned icy blue and cold.

Our parents fell abruptly silent and stared at each other with a flash of fright. Then, with strained faces, they turned to me, and I knew what it meant. Only, I had never truly believed that this night would come for me. Surely this was just a game the adults played. We were meant to smile and eat the cakes and listen to the wise tales.

‘Frost has come,’ Father said gravely, looking at me.

I shook my head in denial. No, I never believed in Frost. That was his name, the changer who opened the eyes of children when they reached the cusp of adulthood. Except, not everyone survived the change. Else, some returned with Frost’s bite upon their toes and fingers. Like Ordur, the baker’s son, who now had only eight fingers left.

Both mother and father rose, for Frost was outside, waiting for me. They led me to the door, dressed as I was for the warm fireplace and not the snow-covered landscape beyond warm walls.

The cold hit me instantly, cutting and laced with threat.

‘Walk to the white tree where Frost is waiting,’ said Mother with a treble to her voice, and closed the door behind me. 

Barefooted, I began the walk to the edge of the forest. It was dark, save for the moonlit snow, and the chill in the air was fierce. As I drew closer to the white tree, the air grew colder and colder, until my blood threatened to turn to ice. No one was around.

At the tree, I stopped. A part of me still denied that any of this was real. Surely, I just needed to turn around and return home, for I could no longer feel my legs or arms, and every breath I drew was shards of glass.

Sharp pain exploded in my eyes, and I cried out, closing them tight. Something warm trickled down my cheeks.

Another jarring pain hit my ears, and I fell to my knees.

I forced myself to open my eyes and saw drops of dark blood in the sparkling snow, and … large, furry paws. I followed the furry legs up and I saw him, beneath the tree, looming high above me. The creature was made of ice, with horns and fur and sharp, black teeth. In his thick hands, he clasped two needle-like icicles. Blood dripped from the tips.

He looked at me and I at him. Then he turned around and walked away into the forest.

I returned home, weeping tears and blood.

Mother wrapped me in a blanket and comforted me with kind words. But it was Grandma’s voice I recognised from long ago that soothed me. ‘Bring the wee lass to the fire and give her the hot apple wine with extra sugar. She’ll be right in no time.’

In the chair sat Grandma, her form faint and glowing.

‘Come over here, lass, and sit next to your sister where I can see you better. Now, where was I? Oh aye, I remember. I was a wee bit younger than you when Frost came for me. It was the winter after the great fire that swept through the forest when the old fool Baerran the Wise offended the Firelord …’

And the rest of the night I listened to my grandma’s old stories, whilst my parents repeated them for my younger sister. And I hoped our warriors would keep the godly folk away from our lands.  

The Bridge to Magic
The Sundered Web 
Book One
Alex Thornbury

Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Lore Publishing
Date of Publication:  21st February 2023
ISBN:  978-0-6454970-0-7
Number of pages:  369
Word Count: 105,000
Cover Artist: Alejandro Colucci

Tagline:  When only the wrong paths remain, do you walk or get left behind?  

Book Description:

An award-winning debut for lovers of traditional fantasy and the readers who crave the dark, disturbing and original.

Men thought they had won the war against magic, when a demi-god had sundered their realm and banished magic and its keepers to the deadlands. But then another terror was born. Nothing can survive the approaching Blight. Terren, the last refuge of mankind, now stands alone in its path. Only the bridge across the great chasm offers any hope of escape... for some.

Elika has long feared the bridge to the Deadlands. It had taken her parents, and the lives of more poor fools than she could count. What's there for them anyway on the other side but more suffering and death? Though the gods had abandoned them, the king and his priests will stop the Blight. They just need to destroy every echo of magic, the source of the Blight. Then she discovers that the biggest echo of magic is hiding inside her, and through her it seeks to enact the will of its own.

Accused of being a mage, she is hunted and hated. Many doubt her loyalties. Her gang turns against her. The one man she thought she could trust and love, abandons her. Everything she knew about her past shatters, as long-buried secrets about her true birth emerge. Worse still, she may not even be human. She must race to find a way to purge herself from magic's hold. But as time runs out for the city and her magic only grows in power, can she sacrifice herself to save the last of humanity and all that she loves?

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There was a time before the bridge was forged, but those stories had been mostly forgotten. The dark history of that bygone age was now buried in the archives of the priests. Only the echoes of it remained on the tongues of minstrels and drunks. Elika had heard them all and each tale seemed more terrible and unimaginable than the other.

Those were dismal times of endless wars—men against magic, magic against men. The time when even the storms and rains were at the mercy of magic and its fickle moods. It might snow in the summer, or the hot winds might carry sand upon them, burying entire cities. Honest travelers feared to ride through the forest, lest the trees attacked them. A farmer might wake up to find his river flowing the wrong way or dried up altogether. Those days were gone and might have been forgotten, but for this stark reminder before Elika’s eyes.

And who had not stood before the dark bridge in their last moments, facing that choice they all must one day make?

Like that hoary, old codger in the ale-stained uniform of the city’s Blue Guard who had stood before the bridge for nigh on an hour; unsteady on his legs, his sour breath steaming in the crisp, winter night, drinking deeply of the cheap gin, which was as likely to kill him by morning as what he now faced. He took a long swig out of his bottle as he braced himself for the unknown fate ahead.

Elika sat huddled in the doorway of an abandoned house, watching him, needing to know whether he would reach the other side or die crossing. Her ears filled with the howling winds rising from the great chasm, and she did not need to imagine what he was thinking, staring as he did at the monstrous bridge and the lifeless bank beyond, for she was thinking the same—surely it is better than what remains at our back. Better than what approaches.

She clutched the cloak tighter around herself against the biting gust of wind trying to rip it from her. She had scavenged the woolen cloak some days ago from a dead beggar, and it still smelled of his mustiness. She pulled up her knees to her chest and clamped her icy hands under her arms.

The stone wall was cold at her back. Her breath steamed. She waited and watched the old guard take another wobbly step toward the bridge, seeking courage in his gin-dulled mind. He took another gulp, stared at the empty bottle in surprise, then threw it aside with a foul curse. The bottle hit the frozen ground and rolled off the edge of their world into the chasm, to fall for eternity in that endless darkness.

About the Author: 

Alex Thornbury is an award-winning author. She grew up in Cheshire UK, and developed deep love of history and fantasy thanks to the many castles she visited as a child. Though she grew up to be an Alchemist by trade, she never stopped fantasising about other worlds, dragons and epic battles.

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Monday, December 18, 2023

Bah Humbug Mate by Delta James - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza

A Mate to Remember

A Mystic River Shifters Flash Fiction

By USA Today Bestselling Author DELTA JAMES

Christmas Day

Seattle, Washington

There were times being the leader of the Shadow Sisters, righting wrongs, protecting innocents and just generally being a badass for good wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Today was one of those times. The man she knew to be her fated mate slept in the large Victorian brass bed, completely sated, supremely confident, and about to be utterly destroyed.

That she was the architect of that destruction was something she had accepted a long time ago. It wasn’t that she had set out to destroy him; it was just that she couldn’t indulge her deepest romantic fantasies until her work was done—and she was a long way from being done. Colby would survive, but he was not going to be happy to find her gone.

In a world where humans reigned supreme, it was tough enough being a female Canadian lynx shifter. The rejuvenation of the Shadow League, a group of assassins controlled by the Ruling Council and used for their own nefarious purposes, meant that their counterpart, the Shadow Sisters, had been restored as well. Aubry Hawthorne, or Brie as she was known to those closest to her, had been chosen to lead the group of female shifters who were often referred to as ‘rogue.’

Right now, Brie’s most vexing problem was her belief—which grew stronger each day—that the League had a far darker purpose than anyone imagined and answered to a master no one even knew existed for sure. That wasn’t true. There were those who knew; they just couldn’t prove it yet.

One of those people was Colby Reynolds, the alpha of the Windsong clowder, her fated mate, and the man that she would never see again.


Christmas Eve

Seattle, Washington

Brie stood at the edge of the Olympic National Park where the tree line met the sea. Her home, if one could call it that, was a primitive cave deep within the Olympic Mountains themselves. Right now, she doubted anyone could make out that she was there watching. The spotted pattern of her coat ensured she was well-camouflaged in this environment. She still wasn’t convinced this was a good idea, but she was certain it needed to be done. Meeting in person with the enigmatic alpha of the Windsong Clowder might be necessary in order to have his continued support, but she had long ago decided a meeting would be problematic to say the least.

Brie turned away from the stunning view and began to make her way through the forest to the place she’d hidden her clothes so she could shift into her human form, board the ferry to Seattle, and meet this evening with Colby. Somehow, he had managed to secure an entire boutique hotel for their clandestine meeting. The hotel would be closed, and they would be alone. Anyone trying to secretly observe them or overhear their conversation would have a degree of difficulty that would prove insurmountable.

Reaching her hidden stash of clothes, Brie bade her lynx to retreat as the whirling mist of color, lightning, and thunder swirled all around her until the only thing left was Brie, standing naked in the cold Pacific Northwest winter, pulling on her clothing and boots in order to take the ferry to Seattle.

Sunset and the following darkness came early in the Pacific Northwest. By the time she reached the small, elegant hotel in the heart of the city, it would be full-on dark. How Colby had arranged for them to meet there was beyond her knowing, but she didn’t doubt his ability to do anything he wanted to do past him. The tentacles of his power seemed to have an endless and infinite reach.

Brie knew that many people, if not most, preferred daylight to darkness. She was not among them. She had always found the night to be the most comforting of shrouds. There were things she could accomplish between dusk and dawn that would have been far more difficult if not downright impossible.

As she reached her destination, a liveried doorman rushed down the steps to open the door to the limo that had been waiting for her at the dock. The man had style; she had to give him that.

“Ms. Hawthorne, the alpha is waiting for you in the dining room. Dinner has been laid out and no one will disturb you. We have a small, but more than adequate security team to ensure your safety and privacy.”

Brie shook her head. “You do know this is a bit much, right? We could easily have met somewhere close to the dock or even at the Space Needle.”

“The alpha wanted to ensure you had the privacy and safety he felt a lady of your importance to the cause deserved.”

Brie snorted a very unladylike laugh. “No. Your boss is trying to impress me with his wealth and power. I could care less about either. What I do care about are his intentions and that he understands the Shadow Sisters will not become one more asset in his criminal and espionage circles.”

“I can assure you the alpha…”

“Save it. I’m going to go in, meet with the man and leave. Any deviation or hindrance to my plan will be met with deadly force. Got it? You might want to let the rest of your team know that.”

Brie pushed past him and entered the lobby of the beautiful and sophisticated hotel. The overwhelming bout of dizziness and nausea felt like a blow to the gut and made her falter. She might actually have been driven to her knees had it not been for the strong, steadying hand of the man into whose eyes she looked up and found herself mesmerized.

“I wondered if that might not be the case,” Colby Reynolds purred. “I’ve felt your presence off and on since you left the ferry. You should know you’ll never be able to completely shut down the link.”

“You don’t know that for a fact,” she said, withdrawing her hand from his.

“I do, but I sense a strong streak of willfulness in you. Not to worry. I like a good challenge.”

Choosing to ignore what they both knew to be true; Brie chose to get their discussion steered back to the reason for this meeting. “I rarely worry about things that don’t matter to me. What does matter to me is your increasing presence in the work of the Shadow Sisters.”

Colby smiled and gestured to a darkened dining room lit only by candles, stepping back so she could precede him. Brie had to hand it to him; he was smooth, polished, had impeccable manners, and was sexy as hell. She’d never been as instantly and wildly attracted to a man as she was to Colby Reynolds.

But she guessed that’s what happened with fated mates.

They spent the next several hours discussing the Shadow League and their mutual belief that neither the Council nor the League itself was the ultimate power behind what was happening within the shifter community at large. Well, at least that was what Brie was discussing. What Colby was discussing was on a whole other level, and Brie did her best to avoid it.

When she felt she’d gotten out of him all that she could, Brie stood, looking down for the brief moment before he too got to his feet. “This has been enlightening. It’s good to know we have your support—financial and otherwise—if we need it. But for now, the Shadow Sisters will continue as we are.”

Colby shook his head. “That makes no sense, Brie. Your network has grown large and unwieldy. You need a centralized headquarters where you can set up an intelligence gathering and analyzing group. You need far better weapons, computers, and networking than you currently have. All of that exists at Windsong and your operatives, as well as those women needing sanctuary until you can find them a permanent place, could have a safe home from where they could come and go as they please.”

“Here’s the thing, Reynolds, the one question you never answered regardless of how many times or ways I asked it. What’s in it for you?”

“We have the same goals. We want the same things. We both hide in different ways, but I am not the enemy of the Shadow Sisters. It’s time we banded together to bring down the Shadow League and whoever is truly behind them.” He reached up to tuck a stray lock of her copper-colored hair behind her ear. “I am not your enemy, either. In fact, we both know we are so much more to each other.”

“I know no such thing.”

Colby chuckled. All evening, he’d made it clear that he knew why she’d stumbled. He purred to her, found ways to touch her, and she’d been unwilling to put him off. The arousal that had started swirling in her nether region from the moment she had entered the hotel had been steadily increasing. It now surged through her blood like a wildfire out of control—heat, passion, and need churning together into an intoxicating cocktail.

“But you do. It may not be what you think you want, but we both know need is riding you hard. The scent of your arousal calls to me as does everything about you. Would it be so wrong for you to find peace and some kind of solace in this world while you fight the good fight? Would not we both be stronger if we had the other to lean on?”

Brie thought about going for her knife. She told herself she didn’t as it would mean fighting her way out of the hotel, but she knew that wasn’t the real reason she didn’t jerk her hand away or offer him any resistance as he led her toward the vintage, two-person elevator and drew her inside, inserting a special key card that would take them to the top floor. She’d seen similar security features in other exclusive hotels.

“Colby,” she said as the doors opened into a gorgeous room that seemed to take up the entire top floor. A top floor that had a commanding view of the Seattle skyline and the water below.

She gasped as she walked toward the windows. “It’s beautiful. It almost feels like we’re hanging in the air with the stars.”

“I agree. I bought this hotel, refurbished it and created this sanctuary for myself for when I need to be in Seattle. Mystic River is a quiet place of refuge, but my work often requires me to be here. If I cannot persuade you to return to Windsong at my side, perhaps we could find a way to use this hotel to suit our needs.”

She turned, leaning back against the window, and smiled at him. She hadn’t realized he’d followed so closely behind her, but she found his stealth oddly comforting. “Look, Colby, I’m going to be honest with you. I accepted a long time ago that I was destined to live my life alone.”

“We both know that destiny has brought you to your fated mate.”

Brie nodded. “That might be true, but I chose a different path early on. There will be no happily ever after for me. I will not rest until I see my sisters free.”

“What makes you think I would try and keep you from your goal, as it is the same one I seek?”

Brie snorted.

“How can you doubt me? Until recently my second-in-command was a female snow leopard-shifter. Time and again, I have lent my support to the Shadow Sisters, asking nothing in return. I don’t doubt your strength, courage, or tenacity, but I sense the part of you that you keep hidden from the world, maybe even from yourself. You need a mate who can offer you his loving support and passion.”

“And what do you need, Colby?”

“In a word, you. I need to be needed—not by my clowder or the world at large, but by one woman who wants me for myself and not for the wealth and power I bring to the table. I long for someone with whom I can share all my secrets.”

She got the feeling that there was so much more to what he was saying than just the words themselves. She knew it couldn’t work, but would it be so wrong just to indulge herself in his passionate embrace? To know for once and all time what it felt to be loved by her fated mate?

Bah Humbug Mate
Mystic River Shifters 
Book  Seven
Delta James

Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication:  11/22/23:
Cover Artist: Wicked Smart Designs

Book Description: 

Will a charade under the mistletoe lead to a real love story?

Dash Samuels, a grumpy reindeer shifter, is faced with an ultimatum: marry by Christmas Day or lose his cherished family inheritance. The holidays are his least favorite time of the year and now he needs to find a mate? Panicked, he devises a plan to hire a woman to play his fake fiancée, until the inheritance is secured. But what he never anticipated was the whirlwind of emotions that would follow.

Noel Brooks, a spirited dreamer struggling to make ends meet, agrees to Dash's unconventional proposition out of necessity. The holidays are her favorite time of the year. As they embark on a charade filled with misunderstandings, holiday traditions, and undeniable chemistry, their carefully constructed façade begins to crumble, revealing the cracks in their hearts.

Dash needs to get from a grumpy humbug to a believer if he is going to catch his fated mate before it is too late.

Bah Humbug Mate is an enchanting story that reminds us that sometimes, the greatest gifts come wrapped in unexpected packages – and that true love is the ultimate holiday miracle.

Bah Humbug Mate Excerpt
A Mystic River Shifters Holiday Novella

“What do you mean I need to be mated by the winter holiday? Are you kidding me?” Dash said as he paced back and forth in the attorney’s office.

“Look, Dash, I didn’t write the damn will. Well, I guess technically I did, but your grandmother was very particular. She was very angry you left the herd. So, if you want to inherit what I agree is rightfully yours, you need to be married by the holiday deadline.”

“Which is?”

“December 24.”

“You aren’t serious.”

“I’m afraid I am. Your grandmother took these kinds of things seriously.”

“For heaven’s sake, Blitz, where the hell am I supposed to find a comely, female reindeer-shifter in the next…” he glanced at the calendar on the wall “twenty-three days?”

“Honestly, I don’t know, and there are provisions that will have you tied to this girl for at least ten years.”

Dash plopped down in the chair. “A decade? I have to spend a decade with some girl I don’t even know?”

“You know lots of girls,” said Blitzen.

“And none of them I’d want to marry.”

“Dude, for that kind of fortune, I’d marry Godzilla.”

“Do you have her number?”

About the Author:

Delta James is a USA Today bestselling paranormal and contemporary romantic suspense author, whose goal is to captivate readers with stories about complex, curvy heroines and the dominant alpha males who adore them. For Delta, romance is more than just a love story; it’s a journey with challenges and thrills along the way. 

After creating a second chapter for herself that was dramatically different than the first, Delta now resides in Florida where she relaxes on warm summer evenings with her loveable pack of basset hounds as they watch the birds, squirrels and lizards. When not crafting fast-paced tales, she enjoys horseback riding, walks on the beach, and white-water rafting. 

Her readers mean the world to her, and Delta tries to interact personally to as many messages as she can. If you’d like to chat or discuss books, you can find Delta on Instagram, Facebook, and in her private reader group 

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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Release Day Blitz & Author Interview Slither by Nikki Rae #ReleaseDay #BookBirthday #AuthorInterview

- What is your “day” job if you are not a full-time author?

My day job is editing other authors’ books! I love the revision process, and I love helping other writers who don’t have a ton of money to spend on editing. :)

- If you wrote a book about your life what would the title be?

Probably something like, “Imposter Syndrome Personified” with a tagline of, “how I kind of sort of survive and make art at the same time while also kind of thinking I don’t deserve any of the good things that happen to me. “

But that’s probably why I’ve never written non-fiction ;)

- What is the hardest thing about being an author?

It can get lonely and overwhelming sometimes. I’m a person who enjoys solitude, and I’m pretty much a hermit, so it takes a conscious effort for me to make sure I’m not isolating too much when I’m “in the writing zone”. As an indie author, the amount of work that goes into release always seems insurmountable when I start the process, but I somehow always make it through with a book I’m proud of by the end, so it all works out. 

- What is the best thing about being an author?

People relating to my words. It’s one of the most indescribable feelings, and it never gets old. When my characters create emotions in people, when readers reach out and tell me what they love about a certain book or series. Extra points if someone says they cried. ;)

- Have you ever been star-struck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it?  

I think I’m easily intimidated by other creative people. I love so many artists and authors, but I’m almost scared to meet them! However, I do think if I ever saw Neil Gaiman in person I would immediately faint.

- What book changed your life?

I think for an author, any book you read changes your life just a tiny bit. Even the ones I didn’t enjoy taught me something along the way, whether I was aware of it or not. However, I do think some authors like Anne Rice and Edgar Allan Poe influenced my descriptions of scenes and how to approach dark subject matter. Kafka’s Metamorphosis also had a large impact on me in high school, so I’m sure he has some part in my love of surrealism and symbolism. 

- What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I made it my mission to collect the entire Goosebumps series when I was younger, and I think I got pretty close before I moved on to books like Dracula and Interview with The Vampire (around middle school). I also read a lot of Poe as a goth teen, but I also read every paranormal YA I could get my hands on. I’ve always liked reading across genres and changing what book I picked up based on my mood or the time of year.

- What books are currently in your to-be-read pile?

-The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris (it’s like The Body Keeps The Score but better IMO)

- The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich by Phillip K. Dick (A re-read because it’s one of my favorites of his)

-The Unseelie Prince by Kathryn Ann Kingsley (a long-time reader recommended it to me!)

- Which do you prefer ebooks, print, or audiobooks?

It just depends on my mood! If I want to be completely absorbed, I go for a paperback, light a candle, and have a whole experience with that book smell. Sometimes, it’s more convenient to read an ebook, and if I want to listen to something while I’m drawing or doing chores, I’ll choose an audiobook. :)

- If you could live inside the world of a book or series which world would it be and why?

Probably Howl’s Moving Castle, but only if I get to live in the house and maybe have a throuple situation with Howl & Sophie. ;)

The Shadow and Ink Series 
Book Two
Nikki Rae

Genre: Dark Paranormal Monster Romance
Publisher: Nikki Rae
Date of Publication: December 14, 2023
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 98,921
Cover Artist: Nikki Rae

Tagline: Some cycles repeat for a reason, but is this one worth fulfilling?

Book Description: 

Plunged into darkness after an eerie ritual, Corbin finds herself torn between the reality of her life with her mother and the nights she spends with Six. Even though she wakes alone every morning, the nights they spend together are worth it. Suspicion and unease surround her, drawing Jordan closer and closer while Six disappears deeper into the shadows.

Obsessed, Corbin sketches only him. As his monstrous image becomes clearer, etched in ink and gold, the pair and Jordan are enticed into a sensual world meant to feed him.

Six is reluctantly forthcoming with information about his origins and the mystical connection between the three of them. He has no control and little concern for the human world he affects with his mere presence—even when no one can stop the consequences.


“You’re here.” I wasn’t sure whether it was for my comfort or his, but I was relieved nonetheless.

Yesss. I heard it directly in my ear. I smelled fire on him. Leaves, earth, and flames. Alwaysss.

A breeze wafted through my hair, tickling my shoulder. His presence calmed me, and I felt like for the first time all day, I wasn’t holding my breath. I wasn’t waiting to hear or see him. I wasn’t constantly anticipating when and in what way Six would appear because he didn’t need to. He was with me as much as any other vital organ.

In the span of one summer, I had gone from hearing his disembodied voice and believing I had lost my mind to accepting that all of it was true. Now when I thought of us together, it made no sense how we had ever been apart. Why I would try to push him away, defy some ancient law of nature?

“Can you come closer?” I whispered, staring straight ahead, out the window. “I won’t look.”

I sat on the edge of my bed and it wasn’t long before I felt the mattress sink in on either side of me.

A soft breeze moved the curtain. A car drove down the street.

I kept my promise and didn’t direct my gaze anywhere but the sky outside my window. I could feel him parting my hair, strands swaying on their own until I felt his mouth against the back of my neck again. From the corner of my eye, I watched the shadows grow into lengths of multiple arms that pulled me toward him, completely supporting my weight.

I am right here, my love.

Bands of scales wrapped around my middle, draped themselves over each thigh. Little by little, my head inched upward so all I could see was the pink canopy above my bed. I felt the trace of claw marks just beneath my chin, the strong hand around my throat.

Are you pleased with your gifts, little one?

I nodded against him, surprised even now at how solid he felt behind me. “Thank you, Six.”

I have so much more to give you, he cooed.

Before I could stop anything, I fell backwards, into a stain shaped like him. Legs splayed open, my arms were also restrained above my head, but he surrounded me at the same time. The darkness was weighted, warm. I wasn’t afraid to let it creep across my field of vision and obscure everything in sight.

So many ways I could please you, my flower. My lace of light.

Warmth traveled up my back, throughout my chest and down into my belly. His tone left no question as to what he might mean, so I decided to feed into it.

“Show me, then.”

It came out more of a challenge than I’d intended, but I liked how it sounded.

An echo of whispers met me and I realized it was laughter. Always demanding your proof.

About the Author:

Nikki Rae is the head editor of Metamorphosis Editing Services and a writer who lives in New Jersey. She is an independent author and has appeared numerously on Amazon Best Seller lists. She is the author of The Sunshine Series and concentrates on making her imaginary characters as real as possible. She writes mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she'll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Cover Reveal Abandon Station by V. G. Harrison #ScienceFiction

Abandon Station
The Dyson Bridge Series, 
Book One
V. G. Harrison

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Mocha Memoirs Press
Date of Publication: 1/31/2024
Number of pages: 84
Word Count: 22,000
Cover Artist: Maya Preisler
Tagline: Some planets just aren't worth saving.

Book Description:

An explosion rocks the Bridgeway Space Station. Mechanical Engineer Meridia Vail and her crew wake to find themselves on an alternate Earth where the technology is decades behind theirs, and so are the politics. 

When she realizes their space station survived the interdimensional transport to an alternate space and time, she and her crew have only one mission. Get back to the Bridgeway so they can return to their real home.

Time is running out. If the metabolic changes that come with their teleported space station don’t kill them, the politics and secret agendas will. 

Returning home makes sense, but that’s assuming there’s a home to return to. When Meridia learns the Bridgeway’s decaying orbit threatens to annihilate the planet, the Earthers will be more than happy to take their chances by destroying the greatest technological marvel of all time.

With members of Meridia’s international crew scattered across the planet and being detained, she must escape her “caretakers”, if she and her people ever have a chance at saving the one thing that might be able to save everyone.


The door opened.

I sat up and reached for the light.

“Don’t,” a familiar voice said. “They don’t know I’m here and I want to keep it that way.”

“Who doesn’t know you’re here?” I asked as panic swept across me. “Who are you and what do you want?”

“It’s me, Meridia. It’s Julio.” The older man appeared in the light reflecting from the TV. He looked every gray-hair of his age, but there was something about his eyes that weren’t right. His entire visage seemed worn and weathered beyond his fifty-nine years. He continued toward my bed with sweat dripping from his short, gray curls. “We have to get out of here. They want to use us.”

“Use us for what?” I asked.

“Don’t you hear them talking? They want to suck the information out of our brains. They’re going to attach us to machines that will take the wormhole knowledge out of us, then use that information to build bigger weapons. They won’t rest until they’ve brought the rest of the world to their knees.”

Oh boy. I jumped out of bed and hurried toward him to grab his arms. “Calm down, Julio. These people don’t want to hurt us. They want our knowledge, so it would hurt them to hurt us.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head. His gaze pleading. “You’re wrong. I’ve seen the machines. They do it round after round after round. You had your first tests today, didn’t you?”

“Julio it was just—”

He tore away from me. “Don’t you get it? The wormhole is ours. We created it. It belongs to us. Not them.”

This wasn’t the same Julio Ferrera I knew. A fusion physicist who was already on his way to greatness even before he joined the astronaut program, he was our Chief of Scientific Research and an accomplished Air Force Major. This guy in front of me was a lunatic who needed more care than they could ever hope to give him here. Seeing my friend and colleague like this wrenched my heart. I wanted to hug the fear out of him but knew it wouldn’t make any difference. He needed more help than I could give him.

“Relax, okay?” I started toward the small desk where there was a phone. “I’m going to call someone to help you. Maybe they can give you something to help you sleep.”

Julio tackled me to the floor. “You have to listen to me, damn it! Listen! They’ve hidden away more Americans than just us, so they can experiment on them more. Some of them are still up there on the Bridgeway just waiting at the beck and call. Leave them frozen until they’re needed.”

I squirmed away from him enough to grab the leg of a small side table. I smashed it across his upper back and head. Dazed, his grip loosened. I wiggled my legs out from underneath him, but he charged again, grabbing the back of my nightshirt. Threads tore as he dragged me down again. This time, he clawed his way on top of me and got his hands around my throat. He squeezed hard like he wanted to snap my neck in half, yelling for me to listen to him. I punched and clawed at his arms, fighting and kicking. Anything to free myself as a burning sensation heated up my lungs.

“You’re one of them!” He shouted, his eyes crazed. “They got to you. You can’t tell them anything—I won’t let you!”

My bedroom door slammed open. Several people ran into my bedroom and wrestled him off me. I rolled onto my side and grabbed my neck, struggling to suck air into my writhing lungs.

The orderlies threw Julio on my bed where a man wearing a pair of black slacks sedated him. Dr. Tommen knelt on the floor next to me, but I waved him away. I didn’t want anyone touching me. For all I knew, they did this to him.

About the Author:

Amazon best-selling author, V.G. Harrison, enjoys creating smart heroines who are more comfortable dealing with things like Fine-structure constant and quantum entanglement than the fallout from their conflict. She loves to write stories that leave her audience so engaged they can't sleep at night, thinking about the possibilities.  

V.G. holds a Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering and a Masters in Information Technology. When she's not writing, she's an IT manager for a healthcare information systems company. 

Her ever-growing list of hobbies include astronomy, attending comic cons, keeping an eye on the cryptocurrency and stock markets, hydroponics gardening, hiking, and connecting with her daughter, A.J., on a cool level. Building Lego sets at night with milk and cookies on the side come in handy for that. 

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