Monday, July 28, 2014

My Viking Vampire Cover Reveal

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My Viking Vampire
Sanctuary, Texas
by
Krystal Shannan

Bailey Ross’ world is crumbling around her. Her abusive ex, a human, is closing in on her again, and to make matters worse, a new enemy, a djinn, is stalking her. This supernatural being takes great pleasure in human pain, something Bailey has in excess thanks to her ex. If she’s caught by either, she’s as good as dead.

Backed into a corner and desperate to escape, she does something she swore wouldn’t ever be possible again –trusting a man. And he’s a vampire. 

Protection via the sexy vampire Erick Thorson may prove to be a little more than she bargained for. Sparks fly between them and she finds herself agreeing to more than just protection. Though he has promised not to let anyone harm her, the small west Texas town is more than it seems and he may not be able to make good on his vow no matter how hard he tries.

Will Sanctuary be the home Bailey longs for or will she have to die to find out? 



COMING AUGUST 25th!




My Viking Vampire Cover Reveal Facebook Party: Join us for fun, games, and lots of prizes!



Meet the Author:


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Krystal Shannan goes to sleep every night dreaming of mythical realms with werewolves, vampires, fae, and dragons. Occasional a fabulous, completely human story slips into the mix, but powers and abilities usually crop up without fail, twisting reality into whatever her mind can conceive. 

As a child, her parents encouraged her interests in Ancient Greek and Roman mythology and all things historical and magickal. As an adult the interests only grew. She is a child of Neverland and refuses to ever stop believing in fairies. 

She is guilty of indulging and being a Buffy the Vampire Slayer groupie as well as an Angel fan. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of Joss Whedon, you are missing out! She also makes sure to watch as many action and adventure movies as possible. The more exciting the better. Yippee-Ki-Yay..... If you don't know the end of that phrase, then you probably don't like the same movies. 
She writes stories full of action, snark, magick, and heart-felt emotion. If you are looking for leisurely paced sweet romance, her books are probably not for you. But, for those looking for a magical ride, filled with adventure, passion, and just a hint of humor. Welcome home. 

Krystal Shannan

Putting Magick in Romance one Soul Mate at a Time.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Groom For Christmas **Blog Tour

When a young woman hires her hometown's former bad boy to be her pretend fiance for the holidays, she finds she can't wrap up her feelings as easily as a Christmas gift. New York jewelry designer Graceann Palmer has two days to find a fiance to bring home to Pennsylvania for the holidays so her matchmaking mama will quit fixing her up with jerks. The Falcon, a motorcycle-riding, leather-clad former high school crush, helped her out once before.
Maybe he'll do it again. Jake Falco, man of many mysteries, is back in town on a mission-one the people of Spirit Lake most likely won't appreciate. When Graceann presents him with her crazy scheme, it gives him something he's always wanted-a chance to get to know Graceann. It also gives him the perfect opportunity to add fuel to his project of revenge. But as Jake and Graceann grow closer, their engagement-of-convenience begins to feel like the real deal-until Jake's secrets are revealed.
Can a relationship that began with lies and secrets bloom like a rare Christmas rose into happily-ever-after?



A Groom for Christmas

Cara Marsi



Purchase Links

Amazon | B&N |  Kobo

Excerpt #1

“I have two days to find a fiancé.” Ignoring the anxiety that tightened her stomach, Graceann Palmer dipped her fork into her apple pie à la mode and slipped the tasty treat into her mouth.
Her friend Kate sat next to her at the counter in the quaint fifties-era Spirit Lake Diner, located just outside the small Pennsylvania town of the same name. Kate grinned. “You could advertise online: Fiancé wanted for Christmas. Good pay. Temporary position.
“Like I’d get a real upstanding guy that way,” Graceann said.
Kate shot her a sympathetic smile. “Face it. You’ll have to tell your family you lied.”
Bing Crosby’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas flowed from the jukebox, mocking Graceann. Her lie had caught up with her. She would come home for Christmas, minus a made-up fiancé.
Graceann finished her pie and pushed the plate away. “Tell my family the truth and have my mom try to fix me up with someone like the dentist she invited to spend the holidays with us last year? Boring, conceited, and he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. Yuck.”
The door opened, bringing in a fresh round of cold, snowy late December air. Shivering, Graceann drew her sweater closer around her.
“I wouldn’t mind finding that under my Christmas tree,” Kate said.
Graceann followed her friend’s gaze to the tall man who’d just entered the diner. Dressed all in black—black motorcycle boots, black jeans, black leather jacket—and walking with the lithe grace of a panther, he took a seat at the other end of the counter. She studied him while he studied the menu. He had classic “bad boy” written all over his features—sharp cheekbones, dark stubble on a square jaw, and midnight black hair tied into a ponytail. Long, tapered fingers held the menu.
Suddenly, he looked up. Clear blue eyes connected with hers. Recognition spiked through her and sent her pulse jumping like a kid on Christmas morning.
“The Falcon,” she whispered.
“What?” Kate gasped. “You’re right. It is The Falcon.”
His full lips tilted in a slow, sexy grin, showing even white teeth. He nodded at them before turning his attention to the waitress. After he gave his order, he didn’t look in their direction again.
Kate gripped Graceann’s arm, her fingers digging into Graceann’s flesh beneath the heavy sweater. “Wow. The Falcon. I heard he left town the day after his graduation from Spirit Lake High fourteen years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.”
“Wonder what he’s doing back here,” Graceann said. In school, she’d had a crush on The Falcon even though he was two years ahead of her. She’d never told anyone, not even Kate.
“He’s a little scruffy,” Kate said.
“Scruffy, my tush. He’s hot.”
Kate grabbed her arm again as Graceann lifted her coffee mug. Coffee sloshed over the sides onto the counter. Setting the mug down, Graceann gave her friend an exasperated look. “What?”
“I have it,” Kate said. “Your fiancé.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The Falcon. I’ll bet he’ll pretend to be your fiancé. After Zach bowed out, you said you’d be willing to pay someone. The Falcon always needed cash. Do it. Ask him.”
“You’re crazy. I haven’t seen him in fourteen years. He could be a serial killer for all we know.”
Kate shook her head. “He’s not. We would have heard.” She leaned closer. “You’ll be at your grandmother’s with the whole family. You’ll be safe. Your grandmother is old-fashioned. She’ll put you in separate rooms. It’s not like he’s a total stranger. Bring him to meet the family, pretend you’re wildly in love. Your mom will quit trying to fix you up. After the holidays you won’t ever have to see him again. Once you’re back in New York, you can tell your family you broke the engagement. That’s what you planned to do with Zach.”
Graceann put a hand up. “This is the craziest idea you’ve ever had, and you’ve had plenty. I can’t ask this guy to go along with my scheme. I’ll have to resign myself to fending off another loser my mom pushes at me. She means well, but she won’t accept that I’m not interested in marriage. After what Michael did, my whole family feels sorry for me. I don’t want or need their pity.”
“Michael was a jerk. He didn’t deserve you. Listen to me, Graceann. Ask. The. Falcon. What could it hurt to at least ask?”
“His name is Jake, and I’ll think about it.”
“Don’t wait too long. He’ll be out of here and you’ll have missed your chance.”
Graceann sipped her coffee and stole glances at Jake Falco. Maybe Kate was right. Jake had always been nice to her and had even come to her aid once when the mean girls were harassing her. He might help her out now. At her grandmother’s, they’d be surrounded by family. She wouldn’t be alone with him. Her gut feelings were usually on target, so she’d learned to listen. She’d ignored her instincts with Michael and look how that had turned out. Something was telling her to go ahead and take a chance on Jake.
“I’ll do it.” She stood before she lost her nerve.

Teaser 

Next to him, Graceann let out a sigh. “Here we are. Curtain time.”
He unfastened his seatbelt and leaned toward her. “Might as well start now.” Framing her face between his hands, he touched his lips to hers. At first she stiffened, but he continued to press his lips against hers, drinking in her sweetness. Her lips softened and she let out a low moan. Surprised and pleased at her reaction, he deepened the kiss, slipping his tongue into her willing mouth. She slid her hands up his chest and pressed closer.
Suppressing a groan, he fought the desire to skim his hands over her ribcage to her chest. For a petite woman, she had magnificent breasts. 
The sound of voices cut through his sensual haze. He reluctantly drew away. Graceann watched him with wonder in her incredible eyes. Her breathing was labored. He resisted a smile. This gig might be lots more interesting than he’d hoped.
“That was for practice, right?” She rubbed a finger over her lips and lowered her voice. “You really know how to play a part.”
“You didn’t like it?”
Her face pinked. “It doesn’t matter what I like. This is a business deal.”
“So you keep reminding me.” He looked toward the steps where a group of people huddled watching them. “Your family?”
She looked over and groaned. “Do you think they saw us?”
“I’m sure they did. You stay there and I’ll come around and open your door.”
“I’m capable of opening my own door.”
He touched the tip of her nose. “But we want to make a good impression, especially on your grandmother.”
“Then maybe we’d better sit here for a little while,” she said with a pointed glance at his lap.
He grinned. “See what you do to me?”




MY REVIEW

My favourite holiday is Christmas and I love reading books and watching movies that have the theme of Christmas in it. So you can just imagine how I felt when I discovered A Groom for Christmas. When I read the blurb I was further intrigued and I just had to sign up for the chance to read and review this title. I found it to be an easy read which I completed within a couple of hours. It was entertaining and witty and it was worth the sleep lost as a result of wanting to find out what was going to happen next.

A Groom for Christmas tells the story of Grecian Palmer a jewelry designer and Jake Falco, who was considered the bad boy of Spirit Lake during in teenage years. Graceann had grown tired of her mother’s meddling into her personal life so she decided to hire a fake fiancé for the holidays. She found the perfect candidate in Jake Falco. Jake had no qualms about accepting Graceann’s proposal as he had an ulterior motive. What is his motive? You will need to read the book to find out. What these two did not count was their business arrangement would grow into something more personal.

The characters were likeable and it was easy to relate to them. My favourite however is Jake. I loved the fact that he was able to make something of his life in spite of having a crappy childhood. I also liked that he was able to let go of his vendetta and be able to experience what real love really is.

If you love Christmas and the romance associated with the holiday, then you will love A Groom for Christmas.


About Cara Marsi

Cara Marsi, an award-winning author and self-proclaimed TV junkie, is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. Freed of her fabric-covered cage, she can now indulge her love of all things romance. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about independent heroines and the strong heroes who love them. And she loves to put her characters in dangerous situations or situations merely dangerous to their hearts and watch them fight for the happy endings they deserve.

An eclectic author, Cara is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She’s also published numerous short romance stories in national women’s magazines and online. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast in a house ruled by their fat black diva of a cat named Killer. 

Contact Cara

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MR. X Clarissa Wild ♥ RELEASE BLITZ

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Title: Mr. X
Author: Clarissa Wild
Publication Date: July 21, 2014
Genre: Dark Romance

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Cover_MrX
 
Synopsis
He’s come to kill me.

I’m a user and abuser of my own body. In my darkest hour I sold my soul to the devil and now I must pay the price. With his gun to my head I have no choice but to listen and obey, but I refuse to go down easily. Nothing is stronger than the will to survive. My instincts kicked into full gear the second he stepped into my motel room.

Except when I look at him I see my own heart staring back at me. A history tainted by blood.

I don’t know his name, but I know he wants me. To save myself I’ll sacrifice my sanity. My body. My soul. Something tells me the x-shaped scar that marks his eye is the only escape I have. He is Mr. X: the man who comes to claim my life. Can I save myself before he demands my heart?

WARNING: This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, breath deprivation, strong language, drugs and alcohol, and graphic violence.
   
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About Clarissa Wild
Clarissa Wild

Clarissa Wild is the USA Today Bestselling author of FIERCE, a college romance series. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, the Doing It Series and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

Check out Clarissa's sexy books: http://smarturl.it/clarissawildbooks
 
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BOOK TOUR- SEE YOU IN HELL by DEMELZA CARLTON


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ABOUT THE BOOK
A devilishly hot CEO. The angelic new office temp. A match made in Heaven or Hell?
Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy
gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a
miracle for Mel's mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans Lucifer and his minions
have in store and stop them, using any means necessary.
Adding trouble and temptation to Mel's job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his
smouldering eyes on the new office angel and he's determined to claim her, body and soul.
Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?

EXCERPT
A tiny taste of what's in store:
"Do you know how long you've made me wait?" Luce lifted his chin. "Close the door."
Mel turned and kicked the door shut with the sole of one shoe. The click of it closing coincided with
her eyes meeting Luce's once more.
"Now strip and get your arse on the desk," Luce instructed.
Mel stared at him. He couldn't be serious, could he?
"Every other girl in this building knows how to do as she's told. Do you know how many girls I've
had on this desk? You should consider yourself lucky. The last one I had in here was so quick
getting undressed that I managed to give her a full fifteen minutes of my time. At this rate, you'll be
lucky to have five."
Mel became transfixed by the timber desktop. "Did you wipe it clean afterwards?"
"What?" Luce's face reddened.
Mel Goes to Hell series
• Welcome to Hell - A Short Story (#1) - FREE
See You in Hell (#2)
Mel Goes to Hell (#3) - to be released in July 2014


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy.
She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.

Author Links


Purchase Links

Cover Package - Resist Me by A.O Peart

Synopsis
Lisbeth, the lone eyewitness of a shocking murder, believes the FBI witness protection program may be the only way for her to survive. But when a powerful explosion reduces the safe house to ashes, killing all of the FBI agents on duty, will she turn to a perfect stranger for help?

Ethan, an ex-Marine-turned-firefighter, has never really cared for any woman. He lives his life to the fullest, enjoying the bad boy stigma and cultivating a particular taste for dominant sex. Girls come and go, allowed to stay only long enough to satisfy Ethan’s wild appetite.

One morning at dawn, Ethan’s fire brigade is called to a fatal house explosion that levels the structure. When he pries open a trap door to the hidden panic room under the house, he find a gorgeous, though disheveled brunette. Lisbeth instantly turns Ethan’s world upside down, and he’s overcome by the burning desire to protect her, no matter the consequences.

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Excerpt
Jack stood beside me. He was a big guy, even taller and bulkier than myself. At six-foot-two I towered over most of my buddies and coworkers. In our heavy fireproof coats, pants, and bunker boots we looked like giants next to the short and plump chief.

Chief glanced back and to the sides, as if making sure nobody can overhear us. “Jack, take the battalion lead. The captain stays here. I have a special mission for him.”

“Yes, sir.” Jack nodded and rushed into the building, no questions asked. 

“What? You want me to leave my guys and stay here? What’s going on?” I was puzzled. Such thing has never happened before. I was the captain, and my team was my responsibility. But this was also a direct order, and I knew better than to question my superior. 

The chief lifted his hand, palm facing me in a conciliatory gesture. “Jack can lead the team well enough. You are required to take on another task.” He motioned to the area where the excavation team was moving the equipment off the side. “You’re going to that panic room. With your Marine’s training, you’re my best man for the job.”

“Jack has received the same training as I have, Chief.”

He sighed and ran his hand through his thinning gray hair. “I know, Ethan. But Jack’s temper is better utilized there,” he nodded toward the building, “while you know how to restrain yourself. Besides, this… well, hell, I will tell you what the feds said. But that’s not to be discussed with anyone, Ethan. In that panic room is a sole witness to some big case the FBI is involved in. She’s young and terrified, and who knows in what state of mind she is after this mess here. They’re afraid she will pull out, and they’ll lose the only witness they need to pin down some troublemaker. What we need now is someone who can ease her out of there and make sure she feels safe.”

I gave him a skeptical look. Okay, so it was widely known that I had my way with women, although I would never kiss and tell. But some of the women apparently have done just that, because I’ve been quickly labeled as a “bad boy who won’t settle down”. No matter what, this was my private life, which I never mixed with my professional one. So why the hell would my superior hint at my special talents? I’ve proven to him and everyone else at work that when it comes to my job, I won’t be second-guessed. 

“Ethan.” His bushy brows pulled together as he pinned me with his steely stare. “Look, the FBI needs her. She’s the only one who can testify in that case, and apparently there is some big fish involved that can’t be easily touched otherwise. I know you can talk to her and make her feel protected—”

“So that’s what this is about? Giving some poor girl a false sense of security?” I kept my voice low.

He sighed. “I’m sorry, son. That came out wrong.” The chief shook his head and exhaled forcefully. “Apparently, she’s been already hinting at pulling out, and so this,” he gestured around, “might be the last straw. What I’m asking is that you just try.”

I narrowed my eyes, looking at the spot where group 3 from Rescue 12 and a few black suits congregated in a circle. More feds tried to keep the media away. Several local TV stations were at the scene, cameras rolling. I spotted Anne, standing in front of the KOTS News Station camera, talking to a large microphone with the station logo on. When she gestured to the scene behind her, the fabric of her white button-down blouse stretched tautly over her round breasts. A fleeting recollection of those gorgeous tits under my fingers surfaced from some dark depths of my mind. My cock stirred, and a pang of desire ran through me. I pushed the not-completely-unwelcome memories out of my mind.

“That’s the order, Chief? I will do it, but I strongly believe I’m needed much more with my men inside that building.” I shoved my thumb over my shoulder, pointing to where my guys did what was absolutely necessary—killing the possible fire inside and preventing it from spreading onto the next building. 

He sighed. “It’s a request. Please, Ethan. She’s my daughter’s age, just twenty-three; a college girl in the FBI witness protection program. The kid doesn’t have any family… she sure as hell could use some help from a firefighter.”

That did me in. Chief Holton’s daughter was born with Down syndrome. Her mother died, giving birth to her. The girl has recently developed a rare type of leukemia and was going through chemo treatments. She was the chief’s only child, and was slowly fading away. How could I possibly refuse his plea? 

“Okay.” I nodded curtly and started to peel off my gloves and the heavy fire protection coat. The sun was up, and I was getting uncomfortably warm. “Is there a two-way communication established with that woman? A phone or a radio?”

“There was a separate landline, but it’s out of service now. Must’ve been damaged in the explosion. She’s not answering her radio either.”

“So no communication at all?” 

“Nothing.” He shook his head. 

We passed all the media, refusing the journalists’ pleads for comments about the incident. I bent at the waist, slipping under the barricade tape, Chief Holton following close behind. I heard him grunt in discomfort when he had to bend his bad knee to lower himself under the tape. 

Two feds approached us. This time the chief made introductions. “Ethan, this is Agent Drasco,” he motioned to one of the left, “and this is Agent Cornell.” 

They both nodded.

“This is Captain Ethan McCoy from Rescue 8. I briefed Captain McCoy about the situation,” Chief Holton told them. We need to move in. The lady in there might need medical attention.”

“How is the air supply in that panic room?” I asked.

“The room is equipped with air scrubbers. They draw in fresh air from outside and can filter it indefinitely,” Agent Drasco explained. 

Long enough to wait out a chemical attack for example. Or, at least the worse of it. Must be the well-constructed safe room. I thought. “So smoke from the fire should be no problem then,” I said. 

Agent Cornell cleared his throat and said in low baritone, “We are not completely positive on the air scrubbers functionality after the explosion. The system might’ve been damaged.”

“Is there an escape shaft?” I inquired. 

“It was checked already, and the access is blocked by a heavy debris.” Agent Cornell shook his head. 

“So let’s have our guys clear it.” What were the feds waiting for? Shouldn’t that be done already? 

Drasco and Cornell exchange a fleeting glance, just a flicker of the eye, but it was enough for me to catch it. 

Cornell drew in a breath. “The explosives were deposited at the escape shaft exit. Good part of the passage has collapsed.”

“So now this trap door here is the only way out, right?” I knew the answer, but without the complete blueprints of the underground structure I wanted to make sure we aren’t missing anything. 

“Correct,” Drasco confirmed.

The excavation unit was done with clearing the area and salvage operation. They knew how to work fast and efficiently. Uncovered, was a small, steel trap door in the warehouse concrete floor. I kneeled by it and carefully ran my hands over the metal. There were four handles flush with the surface of the door. I wrapped my fingers around one handle opposite the massive hinges, fitting my hand into the round recess under it. I yanked on it. Nothing. I suspected the door could only be unlocked from the inside. 

“I doubt we can simply pry it open. This isn’t going to be easy.” I examined the edges closer. “Can we get some tools to try?” I asked the guys from the drilling crew.

“This door is designed to be unlocked only from the inside,” Agent Cornell confirmed my theory. He crouched next to me and rapped his knuckles on the metal surface. “And it is soundproof, so she wouldn’t hear if we tried to communicate with her.” 

As expected, there was no response from the room. This was a real-deal safe room, not the stuff you see in the movies, where the person inside might be verbally coerced to do something that the attacker wants. Sound insulation in real life was done to eliminate such nonsense and also to prevent anyone on the outside from hearing what was going on the inside, like a phone conversation with the police. But with such powerful explosion, there was no doubt the woman inside knew something went very wrong. So why wasn’t she trying to get out?

Agent Drasco stood a few feet away with three other dark suits, quietly talking on his cell phone. 

“Ethan. Here!” Chief Holton handed me a crowbar. 

A guy from the drilling crew walked to the opposite side of the steel door. He held another crowbar. I stood up and hooked my crowbar under the edge of the door. The other man did the same. 

“If it doesn’t budge easily, we might need to try one of the excavation machinery to lift that door up,” Chief Holton announced. “By the looks of it, it’s too thick to spring free with the crowbars. 

“Yeah. We can’t even make a dent here,” I murmured, repositioning the crowbar. “Let’s get tow equipment in here.”

At that moment I heard a muffled sound like a distant scraping, coming from the trap door. Everyone else around us must’ve heard that too, because the quiet conversations ceased, and we all gaped in that direction. The door slowly lifted an inch and then a few more. I was kneeling right by it, so I grasped the handle with one hand and hauled up the door up, opening it completely. A pair of wide-open, bright-green eyes stared at me from under a shock of dark, tangled curls. Lush, pink lips slightly parted, but not a sound came out. 

“Miss Glasson!” Cornell stooped down, his hands on his knees. “I’m Agent Cornell, FBI. This is Captain McCoy and Chief Holton, both from the Portland Fire Department.

The green eyes darted from Cornell’s face to mine to Holton’s and back to mine. They locked with my eyes, holding me hostage, spellbinding me with almost a child-like intensity. God, she was gorgeous; breathtaking even, with her pale complexion highlighted with a little splash of pink over her high cheekbones. Those green eyes were huge, framed in thick, long lashes. She was scared too; I could sense it, although she fought not to show it. She bit on her lower lip to keep it from trembling. 

I extended my hand to her. “We’re here to help, Miss. Are you hurt? The paramedics need to see you now.” 

She took my hand. “My name is Gloria,” the girl whispered. Her skin was warm against mine, her hand fitting perfectly inside my hand. 

“I’m Ethan,” I whispered back. Why was I whispering? 

“What happened here? It was horrible to be down and not knowing.” She looked around, her eyes wide. 

“There was an explosion. I’m sure the agents will explain everything to you.”

“Where is Agent Vera? Agent Kolaski?”

I slowly shook my head from side to side. “The whole structure was leveled. Nobody survived. I’m sorry.”

She stared at me, open-mouthed and then said, “I slept in the safe room, as always. Agent Vera told me to secure the door last night and only open it when instructed by her or Agent Kolaski. How… what caused the explosion?”

“We don’t know yet. Here, let me help you out. Careful now.” I gently grasped her elbow with my other hand. She had small bones and not much meat over them. 

Before climbing out, she hastily put her hood on. It fell down past her forehead, shading her face from view. 

Chief Holton and one of the feds were on Gloria’s other side, trying to assist with guiding her out of the chamber, but she placed her palm flat on the ground and pushed herself up, swinging one knee out onto the ground covered with chunks of concrete and other debris. She still held onto my hand though, squeezing it hard, until it hurt. 

I winced. For such a slim woman she packed some muscle, at least in her grip. 

The feds swarmed around us like black crows. Agent Cornell was asking her questions and declaring her absolute safety. Gloria shied away from them. A deep frown settled between her dark brows, while her delicate mouth curved down as if in resolve to block off his assurances. 

“Are you a paramedic?” she asked me hopefully. “I feel nauseous.” There was pleading in her eyes. She was shaking. 

I wrapped my turnout coat over her shoulders, and she accepted it with a look of gratitude on her face. “Yes, ma’am, I’m trained as paramedic.”

Drasco came up to Gloria and said quietly, “Miss Glasson. As soon as you’re checked by the EMTs, I have an order to take you to an undisclosed location. 

“No!” she backed up, bumping into me. 

The contact made my body aware of her even more than before. The top of her hood brushed the spot under my chin, and a shiver ran through me, straight to my cock, which stirred and strained against the fabric of my bulky pants. 

“No. I want to be left alone. Do not follow me,” she said without moving away from me. She looked straight at Drasco. “I was promised the absolute protection. Is this what you call safety?” Gloria angrily motioned around. 

“Miss Glasson,” Cornell hissed. “Not here. Not with the witnesses around, please.”

“Fine,” she murmured.

“Let me take you to the rescue rig.” I touched her back. 

She nodded and walked with me. Chief Holton and the feds went with us. Two of our EMTs were by her side already, but she seemed to want to stay close to me. That didn’t really surprise me. I was used to women gravitating toward me, as if I reeked of pheromones. But there was something different about Gloria.
MeetTheAuthor


 

I was born and raised in Poland. When I was just seven-years-old I decided to learn English, because I wanted to translate my favorite Polish fairytales.

I write in multiple genres, including paranormal, fantasy, urban fiction, sci-fi, contemporary, and short stories. I am a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Western Washington Chapter, author critique group, Writers In the Rain, and several authors’ and readers’ networking groups on Linkedin, Facebook, and Goodreads. 

I love reading good books almost as much as writing them. I describe myself as “European born, American by choice”. I can never decide which season I prefer—summer or fall. I speak with Polish accent and love listening to the Southern drawl. I am passionate about watercolor painting, fashion—especially stilettos, rock climbing, environment, and organic food and gardening. I live in the Seattle area with my family and a chronically curious cat, Cinnamon.  




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BLACK ROOK tour (Kelly Meade) - Spotlight



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Black Rook, Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1
By Kelly Meade

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Available July 15th from Intermix
ISBN 9780698165441




Blurb

She never saw this coming… 
Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost. 
Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her. 

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community. 

Cornerstone Run is a paranormal romance trilogy, set in a world of hidden loup garou, their mystical Magi enemies, and the occasional vampire. The small, reclusive town of Cornerstone, Pennsylvania, houses an almost entirely loup garou population—one of only thirteen towns around the country that serve as a sanctuary for their nonhuman inhabitants, where the loup garou are free to be themselves. When a neighboring sanctuary town is attacked by a vicious, unknown enemy, the three sons of Cornerstone’s Alpha must stand together to protect their people—and the women who steal their hearts.

Cornerstone Run Trilogy:

Black Rook: July 15, 2014 - http://amzn.com/B00I8R61LY

Gray Bishop: October 21, 2014 - http://amzn.com/B00I8RB1WS

White Knight: January 1, 2015 - http://amzn.com/B00I8RB100


Excerpt – Chapter 1

Brynn Atwood observed the entrance to McQueen’s Auction House, as she had done for the past few minutes while she gathered the courage she needed to leave the safety of her rental car. A steady stream of vehicles entered the parking lot and ejected browsers and buyers, all eager to view today’s auction and visit with acquaintances seen only during these once-a-week sales. Not Brynn. She was certainly the only person who’d showed up today intending to prevent a murder.

Walking alone into a town populated with and run by loup garou wasn’t the smartest thing she had ever done in her twenty-four years, but it certainly counted as the bravest. If she managed to achieve her goal, even her father would have to admit to her courage and to the validity of her visions. He didn’t trust in her seer ability, nor did he believe that her vision of him being murdered by a loup garou would come true.

“Surely you know I would never put myself into a situation that would result in such a calamitous outcome,” her father, Archimedes Atwood, had said the previous day. And as with every chilly encounter between them in the last few months, he’d spoken with the impatience of a strict teacher correcting a belligerent child. “Perhaps some of your visions have come true on occasion, but do not use me to distract attention from your own disgrace. I have no more time for this nonsense.”

Her visions were always nonsense.

Archimedes was a Prime Magus in the Congress of Magi, one of four, as well as a powerful practitioner of elemental magic. He’d never hidden his disappointment over Brynn’s uncontrollable precognitive powers—powers he had yet to acknowledge were real—or her inability to one day claim his spot on the Congress. She was too weak, a failure as a Magus. She couldn’t even manage to keep her job as a Congress tutor for more than two years. All she had left were her infrequent visions, in whatever time or manner they chose to come.

And worse yet, he had all but accused her of fabricating this vision and the need to save him in order to make up for the shame she’d brought to their name when she was fired. She didn’t want the vision to be true. She wanted her father alive for many years to come.

She would figure out how to save him on her own. She would prove her value.

Brynn climbed out of her car and surveyed the quickly filling parking lot. In any new situation, her best first step was to observe her surroundings, study others, and discover the way to best fit in. She had never before attended a public auction of any sort; she knew only that antiques and other goods were bid upon and purchased, sometimes at outrageous prices. Some patrons walked into the building carrying their own boxes, clearly expecting to purchase items. Others entered carrying only cups of coffee or soda, or small children.

The variety of patrons surprised her: young and old, scruffy and well-kempt, couples and singles and large groups, and families. Some drove up with pickups and vans; some parked expensive cars in the narrow, crowded lot. Everyone seemed at ease.

I must stick out like a smoking vampire in daylight.

Standing there like a fool would only garner her unwanted attention. Subtlety was the route to accomplishing her task. Brynn forced her feet to carry her forward, past other vehicles, toward the main entrance. Everyone seemed to be entering the large, barnlike building through those glass double doors. A few people came back to the parking lot from the side of the building, which indicated a back entrance/exit, as well. She’d tried to find blueprints of the layout before her arrival, but getting any sort of in-depth information on Cornerstone, Pennsylvania, was next to impossible.

The town had a small population of six hundred forty-one residents, and Brynn could guess that about ten percent were human. Cornerstone was founded by a run of loup garou nearly two centuries ago, and was one of a dozen similar safe havens around the country. Much like the Congress of Magi and a few surviving nests of vampires, loup garou runs required secrecy and anonymity to survive in the modern world. The weekly auctions at McQueen’s brought outside income to the town without the interference of tourism or industry, and it kept them from appearing too insular to the outside world.

Her father stubbornly refused to have any faith in her abilities, but Brynn’s visions of the future came true without fail, and the most recent had led her here to McQueen’s Auction House. Led her to the loup garou she’d seen standing over her father’s broken body. The man her careful research told her was named Rook McQueen.

The boy, she corrected.

As a general rule, her people did not trust technology. The Magi trusted tradition and magic above all else. Growing up an only child with few friends, Brynn spent hundreds of hours on her computer—a gift awarded by her father on her twelfth birthday, as a means to keep her mind occupied beyond the limited resources of their home’s physical library. Only weeks before, she had spoken to him of her first vision. In the middle of reading a book, she had seen a clear image of a baby bird falling from a nest. It disturbed her so much that she’d fled into the backyard in time to see it happen. She scooped the tiny robin up and climbed the tree where she spotted the nest, returning the lost baby to its siblings.

She was so proud when she told her father about it that night—not only the bird, but the premonition. Her very first display of a Magus power. “Manifestations of a child’s overactive imagination,” he had scoffed. “Do not bother me with these small things, daughter.”

The computer became her gateway to the outside world, a link to knowledge far beyond the borders of her home in Chestnut Hill. And like the young sleuths in the slim novels she’d loved so much, Brynn taught herself how to research and investigate—skills that had served her well these last few days as she raced to identify her father’s killer.

One of three sons of Thomas McQueen, the auction house’s owner, Rook was two years younger than herself, a recent college graduate, and the former lead singer of a popular local rock band—not exactly the portrait of a killer, loup garou or otherwise. And yet the brief glimpse of him in her vision, skin marked with tattoos, human teeth bared, and hands covered in her father’s blood, showed him capable of violence, as all loup garou inevitably were.

She would not allow her father to become Rook McQueen’s victim. Archimedes Atwood was too important, not only to herself but to the Congress of Magi. The Magi were small in number, and they relied on their leaders to protect them from their enemies, including the volatile, deadly loup garou. And as an elemental Magi, he was among the most powerful. Few others shared his ability to manipulate fire. Their people needed him, so Brynn needed to protect him. She had to find a way to prevent her father’s murder before it occurred.

The biggest blank in her research was Rook’s relationship to the run’s Alpha. Brynn had no access to the Congress’s files on the loup garou, and she couldn’t directly ask her father for the name of Cornerstone’s Alpha—her father had no idea she’d identified his would-be assassin, or that she was in central Pennsylvania doing reconnaissance on said assassin, instead of at the family home wallowing in her professional disgrace.


A random loup killing her father carried a very different meaning than a loup from within the higher ranks of the run’s Alpha family—the latter could easily be considered an act of war against the Congress of Magi. A foolishly begun war, as the Magi and loup had maintained an uneasy peace for the last sixty years.

Concentrate, foolish girl, before you get yourself killed. This isn’t one of your novels, this is real.

Brynn smoothed her palms down the front of her green t-shirt and tugged at the hem. She stopped, recognizing the nervous gesture, a habit from the two years she’d worked as a Congress tutor, which required skirts and blouses and high heels. The t-shirt, denim shorts, and Keds combination she’d chosen for today’s mission had been partly for comfort in the August heat and partly to blend in. The final piece of her costume was the Magus pendant hidden behind the t-shirt, which would act as a sensory mirror and hide her natural scent—any loup sniffing her for signs of “other” would smell a common human female, instead of a Magus. The auction attracted dozens of human buyers, but the people who ran it and worked there were still loup. The pendant was her only real protection against their sense of smell.

The stolen pendant, you fool. Plucking it from her father’s office had nearly given her fits, and her father would be apoplectic when he discovered it was missing—yet another reason to finish her task and return home posthaste. Maybe, just maybe, she could prevent this vision from coming true. She had to try.

Nerves twisted her stomach into a tight ball that nearly squeezed the air from her lungs. The thump of music and drone of voices greeted her as Brynn pushed open the door and stepped inside McQueen’s Auction House.

Avesta, protect me, your loyal daughter.

Plea to the Magi’s patron sent, Brynn forced her anxiety into the background and paid closer attention to her surroundings. The entrance was spacious, with a short hallway and a brightly painted “Restrooms” sign on her immediate right. On the left was a bulletin board covered in layers of posters and flyers advertising yard sales and on-site auctions. Past it was a roped-off stairwell going up to parts unknown. A handsome young man in cowboy boots and a matching leather hat leaned near the stairwell, sipping from a Styrofoam cup, as though he lived solely to hold up that particular wall.

His intent gaze landed on her, and she didn’t have to search for the copper flecks in his brown eyes to know he was loup garou. Brynn’s insides froze, but she forced out a calm, flirty smile. She knew she was attractive enough to gather a few second glances, and he was what she might hesitantly call beautiful—if a man could be considered so—with a slim nose and perfectly symmetrical features. However beautiful, this man was also her enemy. His body was fit, impeccably toned, and even at ease he thrummed with the power of his caged beast. He also wasn’t Rook McQueen, so although he was quite pleasant to look at, he did not hold her interest.

He tilted his head in a friendly gesture, then winked. Brynn blushed and ducked her head, a reaction she did not have to fake. Male attention of any sort nowadays left her insides squirrely, a sense of bitter panic residing where her confidence had once dwelled. She also needed to remain inconspicuous while here, and flirting with a local cowboy was not the way to stay alive.

Brynn followed an elderly couple out into the main room. She slipped over to her left, out of the flow of traffic, and absorbed the scene of orderly chaos. An elevated pair of cash registers stood near the entrance, with lines on each side. The customers in line traded personal information for a large index card with a number written in black marker. Cards in hand, the customers went to one of many places in the cavernous room.

Dozens of tables of merchandise were set up along the perimeter of the room, three rows deep, and at the center of it all was a dais, two stools, and a microphone. Directly behind the dais was a long row of antique furniture and four glass cases. Rows of mismatched chairs covered the rest of the floor space, facing the dais. At least half the chairs were marked by either sitting bodies or empty boxes waiting for their owners. In the far back of the room, close to Brynn’s position, was a food counter advertising sandwiches and chips and cold sodas, and it produced the bitter scent of over-brewed coffee. Opposite Brynn was another set of propped-open double doors, and a steady stream of people moved in and out of a second room that seemed crowded with boxes.

Someone jostled past on a waft of coffee-scented air, alerting Brynn to the competing odors in the room. The food counter fought with the tang of human body odor, as well as the musty stink of old paper and leather. A damp smell, like rain, hung over everything else, reminding her that even though she was surrounded by human beings, nonhumans also mingled. Every loup in the room posed a threat to her safety.

Brynn walked along the back wall, out of the heavier flow of people, alert for her prey. She spotted three other men who set off her loup alarms. Each wore a black t-shirt and jeans, just like the man outside in the cowboy boots.

McQueen employees. They must be.

One of them lingered near the dais, chatting with an older woman in a purple caftan, giving her his full attention while still managing to observe the room. He had a strong facial resemblance to the loup in the entrance, and a stronger resemblance to the photo she’d found of Rook. Each could easily be one of Rook’s two brothers. Brynn swallowed hard, mouth dry. If two of the three McQueen brothers worked here, maybe Rook did, as well. He could appear at any moment.

Your brother may one day murder my father.

The thought saddened her. Rook wasn’t just a potential murderer. He was also a brother and a son, and his family would miss him if he were gone. They would also fight to protect him the moment they considered her a threat.

You can’t think about that now, foolish girl.

Brynn inhaled a steadying breath. She palmed her right hand in her left, the fingers of her left hand smoothing over the gold band of the ring she wore on her right index finger. The top of the ring appeared to be a piece of costume jewelry, a blue gem the size of a nickel. A blue gem filled with a paralytic poison, developed decades ago to specifically target the loup garou’s nervous system. One tap of the ring would send a dose of poison down the ring’s band to her hand, and one firm handshake with any loup would put enough on his skin to kill him within an hour. No one would suspect such an innocuous item to be a deadly weapon, which was exactly the reason she’d stolen it from her father’s study.

As a small child, she had once overheard him boasting to another Magus of using the ring to drug an unsuspecting loup garou, and they were none the wiser. She had thought this made her father particularly clever, and the moment had stayed with her. Brynn Atwood might walk alone into a loup sanctuary town, but she wouldn’t walk in unarmed.

She had a single dose of the antidote hidden in her car in case she accidentally poisoned someone—no sense in leaving that to chance. She might be willing to kill to protect her father and she would defend herself if attacked, but she would not hurt an innocent loup.

If loup could be considered innocent. Her father would scoff at the notion.

She had considered her plan a dozen different ways before engaging. She didn’t rush blindly ahead. She rarely undertook any sort of action without having first clearly considered the potential outcomes. The only action guaranteeing her vision never came true was her removing Rook from the equation. Murdering him first. That was, however, a last resort action that almost guaranteed her own death at loup garou hands, as well as bringing the full power of her father’s anger down on their run.

She preferred the plan where she observed, gathered information, possibly discovered who the run Alpha was so she could introduce herself, and then took steps to prevent her vision that left all involved happy and healthy—her father especially.

Awareness prickled up her spine just as a male voice said, “You look a bit lost, miss.”

Brynn turned, not terribly surprised to find the cowboy from the entrance watching her. The cup was gone, but he still wore the silly leather hat, which cast a shadow over his eyes. It didn’t hide his beauty, though.

Enemy.

“I was supposed to meet someone here, but I don’t see them yet,” she said, the rehearsed lie falling easily from her lips.

“That explains it, then.” His tone was light, his voice lyrical and calming, but it still held a hint of danger. And challenge.
“Explains what?
Why you looked like you were casing the place.”
She laughed without forcing it, finding actual humor in the comment. “Do you often have problems with armed robbers staging stickups here?”
“No, but we’ve caught a few thieves over the years, trying to break in and steal items before they go up for sale.”
“Are you saying I look like a thief?”
“You just looked a little lost, that’s all. This your first time here?
“It’s that obvious?”

He lifted his left shoulder in a shrug. “My father owns the place, and I’ve worked for him since I was a kid. I know all of the regulars, and most of the semi-regulars. New faces are easy to spot, especially faces as pretty as yours.”

Two things solidified for Brynn then: this man was definitely one of the McQueen brothers, and he was definitely flirting with her. Inbred disgust at the loup’s attention seized her, and she barely managed to stall a physical reaction.

He jumped, then his hand went to his jeans pocket. Brynn’s rising alarm calmed when he whipped out a vibrating cell phone and checked a message. “Damn,” he said as he tucked the phone away again. “Work calls."

“Don’t let me keep you.”
“I hope your friend shows soon. In the meantime, take a look around. We’ve got a lot of great stuff today.”

“Thank you.”
“My pleasure.”

He eased past her and walked straight up the center aisle of chairs to the dais, directly to the other man she suspected of being a McQueen. She watched them from the corner of her eye, but the other man gestured at the furniture behind the dais. They didn’t seem to be talking about her. She’d just had a conversation with her target’s brother and no one suspected a thing.

Don’t get cocky. Things could still go badly in a moment’s time.
She pushed away the voice of reason. A little more confident now, Brynn gave herself permission to look around. It was her first auction, after all. She wandered to the other side of the room, as much to make a show of belonging as to check out some of the items for sale. She’d always assumed auctions were full of dirty antiques and shiny glass baubles, but the table nearest her was covered with books. Boxes and boxes of books—hardcovers, paperbacks, textbooks, in all genres and on all subjects. The reams of knowledge in those boxes made her chest ache for the satisfaction she used to get from teaching.
Until last month, when she was fired from her tutor position and found herself with zero standing among her people, and with no hope for her future.
Maybe after this you’ll find a new calling as a Congress investigator.
Smiling at the ridiculous notion, she picked up a thick copy of the annotated works of Homer and smoothed back the torn corner of its dust jacket. Nostalgia for school and learning settled heavily in her chest, so heavily it tried to force up tears. She’d briefly considered returning to school and earning a new degree, since history and education hadn’t served her very well. Briefly. If the Alpha reacted badly to her presence in his town, or Rook took issue with her allegations, she’d never get the chance to reconsider her education more thoroughly.
She’d never get the chance to do a lot of things. Her father once said that loup justice was swift and merciless.
She put the book down and pinched the bridge of her nose, damming the tears and steeling her nerves. She would not cry, not here in public. Not when she needed to accomplish a job that required her full attention.
A flash of movement caught her attention, and Brynn turned her head toward the entrance. Her gaze drifted up. Above the entrance, probably accessible from that roped-off staircase, was a large window and a room behind. Two men stood at the window, talking and gesturing, in what looked like an office. Probably the manager’s office, which gave him a bird’s-eye view of his business.
The shorter of the two men captured and held her attention. Hints of a tattoo peeked out from beneath the sleeve of his black t-shirt. Metal glinted in his right earlobe, and another tattoo—or possibly the same—crept down his ear to his neck and disappeared into the collar of his shirt.
Even in profile, Brynn knew him. Fear and rage collided in a storm of cold and heat, and she clenched her hands into tight fists.
Rook McQueen. Her father's future killer.
Blood rushed hot in her veins, and her heart thumped harder. He wasn’t just a face in a vision any longer. He was real.
“Ma’am?” The strange male voice alarmed Brynn into spinning around too fast. Her elbow clipped the voice owner in the chest and he grunted. Brynn’s stomach bottomed out. The man from the front of the room, her second McQueen brother suspect, frowned darkly, and she saw her own death there.
“I’m so sorry,” Brynn said. “Are you all right?”
“Fine. I’m sorry to bother you, but do you drive a white Dodge Neon?”
She blinked at the odd question about her rental car. “Yes, I do.”
“Someone reported that they backed into your car. You may want to come with me and exchange insurance information.”
“Oh for Av—God’s sake.” Brynn mentally slapped herself for the near slip. Using “Avesta’s sake” in the presence of a loup garou was as obvious as wearing a t-shirt that said “Yes, I’m a Magus Spy. Kill Me.”
“Small lot, so it happens once in a while,” the man said. Up close, she better saw the resemblance to the cowboy-wannabe in his narrow nose and hooded eyes. However, the slight roundness in his cheekbones and higher forehead showed a more pronounced similarity to Rook. And he was definitely older than the other two. “The auction doesn’t start for another forty minutes, if you’re worried about missing something.”
“No, it’s fine,” Brynn said, even though it wasn’t. The coincidence unnerved her, but she had no choice except to see how this played out.
He stepped to the side. “After you.”
She walked to the end of the row of chairs and made her way back toward the auction house entrance, keenly aware of her shadow’s presence, and that she’d just turned her back on one of her people’s greatest enemies.





Author Bio

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Raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Freddy Krueger and “Fear Street” novels, Kelly Meade developed a love for all things paranormal at a very young age. The stealthy adolescent theft of a tattered paperback from her grandmother’s collection of Harlequins sparked an interest in romance that has continued to this day.

Black Rook is the first novel in her Cornerstone Run series, a paranormal romance trilogy from Berkley Intermix that also includes Gray Bishop and White Knight. It follows three loup garou brothers who will do anything to protect their town, their family, and the secret of their existence—and maybe fall in love in the process.

Writing as Kelly Meding, Three Days to Dead is the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series. The series follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Book five, Requiem for the Dead, is available digitally through all platforms.


Trance begins the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four MetaWars books can also be purchased as a digital bundle. 


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