Sunday, 31 January 2016

Beyond the Storm by Adam Jones

I enjoyed this dark and suspenseful post-apocalyptic/horror.
The multiple storylines were easy to follow, and merged at different points through the books. The main characters were, for the most part, dimensional and interesting.
The plot was believable and well thought out.
The graphic descriptions mean the book is not for the faint-hearted.

I received an ecopy of Beyond the Storm from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.











Synopsis:

Man tries to remember his past while Jude tries to forget hers.

Years after the nuclear holocaust decimated Britain, Man wakes up, naked and alone but for the murdered corpses whch surround him. Struggling with amnesia, Man travels the wastes trying to piece together his past.

Across the crumbling remains of the city, Jude flees a depraved fiend, running for her life. Beyond the Storm is a journey of horror and suspense which paints a broken future world and the events that made it that way.



The Author:

Adam Jones lives in Wiltshire, UK, and is an independent author. Shunning the typical approach to publishing, Adam has built a cult following through self-publishing his work and has quickly become a unique voice in the UK indie publishing movement. He is a published academic and the author of the Little Whippendon series of novellas and Beyond The Storm, his Debut Novel. When he isn't writing he enjoys cycling very slowly and discordant guitar playing.






The Weight of Light: Book 1 of the Grigori Celestials by A. J. James

The Weight of Light is an interesting and thought-provoking read. It is, in equal measures, sensual and spiritual.
A.J. James has a way of writing that is both lyrical and informative.
The vivid descriptions and the depth of emotion of the characters brought the story to life and kept me involved from start to finish.









Synopsis:

The carnal appetites of the disgraced Watcher Angels have devastated the fledgling human race – carving a bloody, brutal stain of perversion and depravity into pre-antediluvian history.

Arma’ros is one of these first Celestials to defy draconian Divine Law, becoming obsessed by his unique human charge and the possibilities offered by a different, wondrous and sensual new existence.

Zoe, an antiquities scholar obsessed with the last Key of Enoch, is afflicted with a bizarre talent that no other being on Earth possesses - the ability to detect and track down the Nephilim, the dangerous and unstable hybrid offspring of humans and Watchers.

Arma’ros desperately needs to rally the Watchers and Nephilim for the imminent prophesied battle of the End of Days, but Zoe’s gift and her own self-doubt makes her a target for Bar’zek, second to the diabolical Master, who has orchestrated and manipulated events since the Beginning.

Can Zoe and Arma’ros overcome their crippling past to rally the remaining Grigori and Nephilim, and, even more importantly, can they prevent the last Enochian Key – which will obliterate the gateway between the Heavenly and Earthly Realms – from falling into the grasp of the Master? Will they unlock a new age of unlimited Divine potential for humans - or unleash the total Apocalyptic annihilation of our Earth?



The Author:

A.J. James is a resident of Ontario, Canada, currently devotedly working on the continuation of the Watcher Angels' narratives.

Her hobbies include photography, poetry, illustration, yoga, archery, dressage, energy work, recording music, target shooting, and practicing balance with her extra-large rescue dogs. She is working toward becoming more adept at axe and knife-throwing, long-sword wielding and riding dragons... er, motorcycles.


Spotlight on Cursed. Lovers. by Simona Dobrescu




Synopsis:


In the blink of an eye, my life was turned upside down.
Once more.
Right from the start, I knew he had to be the most attractive guy I’ve ever met.
The most arrogant. The most popular. Wild. Free.
The only one I ever wanted - or craved.
Also the only person who’s torturing me with cruel pain, though.

Hellhounds.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Sorrow, delusion, savage persecution.
Infinite agony.

He was the only one I ever wanted. And he’d gladly watch me burn in purgatory.

Light and darkness.

Innocence and abyss.

Good and evil.

Sense and sensibility.

He’s my biggest nightmare.

Nevertheless, we never really stood a chance.

Because one world is trying to keep us apart, while the other one goes to great lengths to unite the two of us. Both will put us to the test. A third party will have to decide. But arrangements, contracts and rules aside - love is the greatest power on earth.
It’s our battle, our destiny.
Neither him, nor me, are willing to lose.

Yes, we were cursed.

Starcrossed, cursed, lovers.

Why?

Because Morgan Vegard is my soulmate.





The Author:


Simona Dobrescu is a city girl with a graduate in german literature and an imagination that ran wild for as long as she remembers. Originally from Romania, she grew up in Germany. She loved writing for newspapers, but enjoys the freedom of creating whole new worlds even more - as well as sharing them with her readers.

Her debut series, Cursed, about an evil bad boy who meets his heavenly match, are amazon bestsellers and now also available in english, amongst others on amazon US and amazon UK.









Excerpt:


The crush of people in the hallway had left, the conversations had faded away, and my fellow students had disappeared. The school was deserted, and it reminded me of a stage, where the melancholic song could develop, re-echo, and be perceived.
After a fleeting moment of confusion, a deadly silence engulfed my excited condition, and I felt deep, inward peace. I gave in to that urge and closed my eyes with relish. At the same time, I leaned against the metal locker. It was my only connection to reality, and I decided to cherish the moment, until the song would fade away. It was an elementary need I couldn't resist.
Thanks to an intuition, I suddenly opened the door again. Instinctively, I turned my head in the direction of the entrance door and froze.
I spotted a hand on the framed glass panel, as if it was about to push the door open and enter. The other hand was holding a notepad. The boy with the frock stood there and looked at me in amazement. His eyes were as blue as I vaguely remembered having seen them two nights ago. His build was exactly as broad and tall as I recalled. One thing was different from my savior, though; his clothes weren't the same. He was wearing a football jacket. It displayed the initials of the local high school and exposed a navy blue polo sleeve. His jeans perfectly accentuated his proportions.
"Amores dolores, voluptas dolores“, resounded in an almost ear-piercing volume. The song turned into an aria, which tenderly snuggled up to me, but it couldn't bring me to avert my gaze from him, while he obviously crucified himself, trying to hold my gaze as well.
One second after another passed by, and an indefinable horror mixed with his gaze, which I barely noticed. Thereupon a growing feeling of nausea spread in my stomach region. Initially, it was just a pressure in my abdomen. Immediately afterward, it seemed to radiate through my entire body.




Reviews:


There are books you like, books you love - and books you obsess about.
Cursed. Lovers. is the best of the best, like so good, it haunts you in your dreams and makes you wanna skip school just to read. This novel is golden!! No surprise it's a huge hit in Germany, Austria, Switzerland.
Meet Morgan and Mimi, two star-crossed lovers that are meant to be. If only they would allow fate to do its job...
Morgan is wealthy, rude, wild, hot hot hot and the baddest there is: ❤️‍❤️‍❤️‍
"How about a cold shower?"
"You can make fun of me, if you like," she flashed her eyes at Abby and put her apron on the countertop. "Every day, however, I thank God for that moving Abercrombie & Fitch billboard."
These two first meet during a living nightmare. Mimi, a girl who lost her family, finds herself in hell and is saved by a dark knight - Morgan. Is it real? Is it a dream? That's for the reader to decide and for Morgan to know.
As soon as they meet on her first day of school, however, he makes sure she knows he wants her gone. For real. For good.
But as defeated as Mimi is, she stands her ground. Keeps her distance. Talks back. Fights his threats. And Morgan?
He realises that maybe the powers that doomed him and cursed her, deciding they have to be together to create something bigger, be something important, maybe, just maybe, were right from the start.
Read it and LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!
~Emma_ (Goodreads)


Wow.
I know there are a ton of awfully good fantasy novels and yes, I came across the best of them (Starcrossed, Shiver, Twilight and Co.) and loved them to death. But this one holds its ground and deserves every single star of the five it gets.
It is brillant *takes a deep breath*
Ladies, do you want the asshole you love to hate? May I introduce: Morgan Vegard.
He got it all: Looks that do kill, the brains, the money, the hotness, the popularity, the madness that comes with freedom and no boundaries.
Because to his high school, town, all the chicks and the whole wide world he's perfect.
Where to stop when the sky is the limit? The answer is simple. He's more than meets the eyes. There's something dark about him, a symbolic force field around him, a mystery that none deciphers. But Mimi.
Because they met before. In hell. Literally. And although he saved her, he still wants her gone.
But Mimi is here to stay.
I absolutely adored her. She is my role model.
She is fierce and talks back, she is smart and kind.
She is his perfect match.
I don't wanna spoil so I'll leave it at that.
But let me tell y'all: I just finished the most wonderful story.
PS It's got a cliffy, so beware.
~Anni (Goodreads)

The story is breathtaking, and I almost couldn't put the book down. It is highly recommendable for teenagers and adults. I was deeply impressed by the author's writing style and her inventiveness. Furthermore, it isn't just a simple love story. It got under my skin. Thrilling, charged with emotion, and incredibly exciting!
~Theresa (Amazon)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Tribes of Decay by Michael W. Garza


Title: Tribes of Decay
Author: Michael W. Garza
Genre: Horror / Zombie Apocalypse

Our world decayed and a new world arose from the ashes of the old.

The remains of the human race cling to life decades after a decimating global plague. The infected hunt the living as the dead roam abandoned streets craving the taste of flesh. Mia and Rowan hoped to carve out a life for themselves in an apocalyptic wasteland, but fate had other plans. They’re forced to leave behind the relative safety of their home after a chance encounter challenges everything they’ve ever known.

Evolution always finds a way...






Excerpt #1

A terrible silence fell over the open space. Mia scanned the lot from one line of the dead at the end of the street to the opposing line. The first of the infected stepped out into the light, but they didn’t rush after her nor did they let out their dreadful cries. Several pale-skinned figures walked calmly to the edge of the lot. The sight of their self-control was unlike anything Mia had ever seen, and it was more horrible than she could have imagined. The group looked at her, their hate-filled eyes unnaturally wide. Most of their limbs jerked and twitched sporadically, fighting to contain themselves.
The shadows between the buildings shifted as more and more figures pushed in behind the first. Mia gasped, trying desperately to keep her wits about her. She could feel the panic working its way into her heart as her hands shook beyond her control. A central figure stepped away from the group of infected and started across the lot. The dead along the road never moved, not even when the first few yelps of devilish desire called out from the shadows.
It was a woman, her open shirt revealing her breasts. Patches of violet dotted her neck and face in between the dark lines beneath her skin. The woman reached the center of the parking lot and came to a stop. Her wild eyes ran the length of Mia from her feet to her head, her arms shuddering erratically every few seconds. The stare off lasted too long for Mia’s nerves. Her response rang out before her mind could process what she was saying.
 “Just eat me already.”
The words echoed across the open space, startling the onlookers. The spur was enough to get them to move. The shadows erupted in a brutal howl and the masses of undead started forward from opposite ends of the street as the crowd of infected burst into action. Mia felt her heart seize up in her chest, but her eyes remained glued on the mob. The infected woman never moved, not even when the snarling crowd barreled passed her. Mia’s mind froze, unable to process what was about to happen. The last thing she expected was someone to call out her name.


Excerpt #2

“Run.”
Rowan didn’t know why he yelled the command, but it was too late to do anything about it. The survivors that still had the strength to move were up and running. All at once the grassland erupted with a hellacious chorus of dead-speak. The moans of the dead quickly followed as the tall grass came alive with frantic movement.
Zombies burst into the open space, lashing wildly at the panic-stricken survivors. Rowan only had a moment to search through the faces under the moonlight before he was confronted. A pair of undead women stepped in from the grass, one with its chest split open from the neck to the navel, the other with the bone showing through one side of its face and a half-eaten eyeball bouncing in its exposed socket.
They were on him before he could do anything about it. Rowan got his hands up before one of them latched its teeth on to the tip of his nose. The other zombie had its arms around him, forcing Rowan to slide his hand inside its exposed cavity, through the opening in its chest. Rowan leaned away to keep from getting bit, but he couldn’t hold back the full weight of both women.
Searing pain rose up his arm as fingernails ripped into his skin. Rowan pushed his hand deeper into the chest cavity of the zombie forcing itself on him. He launched his fist up through rotten organs and grabbed a hold of its esophagus from the inside. One hard pull snapped its head back and another yank brought the entire lining down and out into the open. She stumbled backwards and the freedom allowed Rowan the opportunity to push the other zombie aside, slashing it across the throat as it went.
One of the survivors slammed into the gutted zombie and knocked it to the ground. Another survivor slowed down long enough to kick the other zombie in the chest. The impact revealed the depth of Rowan’s attack. Its head fell back at an impossible angle, dangling on its shoulder, hanging on by the spine.



Author Bio


Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it's always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes that everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.





Excerpt #3

“Who’s there?”
There was a deep breath followed by a series of movements somewhere behind the dwelling. Rowan studied the stretched hide that covered the top of the structure until a small slit produce a familiar face. Mia’s eyes were burning red and the darkness couldn’t hide her pain. She took a hesitant glance at something out in front of the dwelling before pulling the cover back far enough to slide in and drop down.
“Your father’s going to kill you,” Rowan whispered.
“You should talk.”
She grabbed him and pulled him close. The two kissed more passionately than either of their years could account for. She finally let him go and Rowan sat back, out of breath.
“I was worried about you,” Mia admitted.
“I need to get you worried more often.”
“That’s not funny,” she said. “The entire council is discussing what to do with you.”
“The chains kind of gave that away,” Rowan said, pulling on his binds. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Mia’s eyes went to the floor. She couldn’t bear to look up at him as she spoke.
“What happened to Darian?”
Rowan’s throat dried up all at once. He tried to say something, but nothing came out. His heart thumped in his chest as a vision of his cousin being pulled in through the abandon building’s doorway flashed through his mind.
“We went to the edge of the outlands,” he continued on before she could tell him how foolish they were, “there were so many of them.” He struggled with the words. “It was like an army of the infected moving toward the city.” He pressed his hand against her chin and raised her head. “We got trapped.”
A single tear streamed down her cheek when her eyes met his.
“I have to tell them,” Rowan said. He tried to stand up and was left hunched over when the chains didn’t come up with him. “We have to do something.”




Friday, 29 January 2016

Spiral (The Salzburg Saga Book One) by D.U. Okonkwo




Title: Spiral (The Salzburg Saga Book One)
Author: D.U. Okonkwo
Genre: Literary / Adventure


Left to raise her three younger siblings at the tender age of seventeen, Nina Bishop is accustomed to solving problems. Now that she and two friends run their own law firm, she gets paid for solving other people’s problems. And as a businesswoman, she can always smell a great opportunity. So when her biggest client, Parker Drayton, organizes a networking ski trip to Salzburg, Austria, she is the first to board the plane. There's only one drawback: Parker is bringing along his two notoriously difficult, grown-up sons, Justin and Hugh.

Even before take-off the tension between Parker and his sons is palpable. But when Hugh causes their small jet to crash, plunging them all into unforgiving back country, the networking trip goes from tension-filled journey to living nightmare.




Get the book for FREE on:



Excerpt #1

Nina slipped her passport into her tan leather cross-body bag and zipped up her roller bag. The sharp slide of the bag’s zip punctuated the tense silence of the living room. After a moment’s hesitation, she flicked a glance at the man sprawled on the long cream sofa three feet from her.

In ripped blue jeans and a too-tight white polo shirt, his gray-socked feet hanging over the arm of the sofa, Alex Riley raised his light brown eyes from his latest issue of Classic Cars, his eyes clashing with her blue ones.

They eyed each other for several seconds. Alex eventually broke the stare, his eyes dropping resentfully to her luggage. “All ready then?”

Though her lips thinned at his tone, Nina nodded and buttoned her sky blue ski jacket over her red wool jumper. “Yes, but, Alex–” She broke off. No, she would not succumb to another argument about this trip.

“It doesn't bother you at all, does it?”

She tightened her dark brown ponytail. “I can't let it bother me, Alex. Like I’ve said, this is a business networking trip. How could I ask to bring my boyfriend along?”

“You could have asked Neil." Bitterness laced his words.

Her teeth ground together. “This isn’t Neil’s trip; it’s Parker Drayton’s. You know he’s our biggest client. Besides, you don't even like him or his two sons that he’s bringing along.” In all honesty, she wasn't crazy about Justin and Hugh Drayton either, but Parker himself was fine. At ages twenty-nine and twenty-seven respectively, Justin and Hugh Drayton held senior positions within their father’s chain of hotels. As a solicitor and partner with the law practice she had set up with her two friends Angela Akura and Neil Vaska, Nina was proud that their firm gave legal expertise to well-known clients in the leisure industry such as Drayton Hotels. They had a good working relationship with Parker Drayton himself, but his sons Justin ad Hugh? Not so much. For some reason both Justin and Hugh communicated poorly with their father. Whether there was a power struggle going on or a private family conflict she didn’t know, but Justin ad Hugh often failed to return her messages, failed to get contracts and affidavits signed by Parker on time, and Hugh, whose struggle with alcohol was well known, was the worst. It often made for uncomfortable conversations with their father.

“Why must I like them?” Alex asked as he flipped a magazine page with a flick of his wrist. “While you network, I could be on the slopes. You said Parker’s rented a ten-bedroom chalet. Good enough for me. I don’t have to talk to him or his idiot sons.”




Author Bio


D. U. (Davina Uchenna) Okonkwo is the author of the novel, RISE, and the Salzburg Saga. She was born and raised in London, United Kingdom. An avid reader from a young age, she cites her favourite childhood books as Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, Hacker by Marjorie Blackman, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and The Twits by Roald Dahl.

Davina began to write her own stories at age ten and would give them to her schoolteachers to read. Not limiting herself to any one genre, she wrote stories about children’s fiction, romances, and mysteries. She fondly remembers enjoying her mock GCSE English exam at age 15 because she was required to write a story:  “I wrote about a teenage girl who finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her,” she recalls. “I remember my teacher giving me an A grade and writing at the end of the paper, 'What a creep!'

She didn’t think about writing again for several years and instead pursued higher education and graduated with honours in European Business with Spanish from the University of Salford. The course had included an ERASMUS placement in La Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.

It was when, upon graduating and working full time, that the idea of writing once again occurred to her. While in a bookstore she suddenly had the thought, ‘I wonder what it would be like to write a book one day.” She says that as soon as she had the thought, a powerful jolt seemed to go through her, actually pushing her back a step. Dismissing the strange sensation she left the bookstore but it was later that very same day that the idea for RISE surfaced.

She wrote and revised RISE around her full time day job. While she did so, digital changes began shaking up the publishing industry. It was seeing how these digital changes were empowering authors that made Davina decide to publish RISE independently. In the summer of 2014 she launched her own publishing company, A Few Words Press Limited. RISE was the first book published under AFWP in January 2015.

 In her spare time she enjoys salsa dancing, spa breaks, swimming and watching tennis.




Excerpt  #2

Desperate, Nina grasped Justin’s arm and shook it hard. “He’s your brother,” she screamed. “Do something.”


“I don’t know what to do,” he snapped in resentment, and jerked his arm free. His face was so devoid of color that his dark eyes stood out against his pale face. “What the hell can I do?”

They stood outside the cockpit door now. Only Rita remained seated with the baby, a horrified expression on her face.

“Hugh,” Parker shouted at the unyielding door. “Open this door now. What in the hell are you doing? You’ll get us all killed.”

Justin wet his lips. “What’s gotten into him?” His eyes held disbelief. “What's he thinking?”

“He’s not thinking.” Neil clenched his fists at his side. “We’ll kick the door down. Stand back,” he warned, but before he’d even finished saying the last word, a heavy thud ensued from inside the cockpit.

“Ben must have forgotten to lock the cockpit door again,” Emily babbled from behind them. The stewardess stood several feet back, her long fingers wringing together and her throat working convulsively. “He does that sometimes.” She tugged at her earlobe in a nervous gesture. “But it’s rare for us to lock the door on a private jet with such a small group of people such as yours. I think he–”

The jet suddenly dipped at a sharp angle, the force of it sending Nina sailing to the right. Her hip struck a nearby seat with a force that had her hissing in pain, and a moment later, the full weight of Angela’s body hit her back, rendering her momentarily breathless. Emily had been sent to her knees, and Justin lost his balance as he stumbled against Parker and ended up sliding down beside Neil who had landed hard on his backside, swearing.

Further back in the cabin, Angela and Rita’s seatbelts had kept them and little Luke in place. “We have to stay calm and not let fear take over,” Angela kept saying, though her voice fractured with anxiety.

Nina tried to catch her breath. The ice bucket near their seats had tipped, and as she met Angela’s blank eyes, Nina's heart constricted. Angela's biggest fear was being realized, and she had promised her that they'd be fine. She’d promised. Unable to speak, Nina struggled back to her friend, gripping Angela’s clammy hand in comfort when she reached her.

Suddenly the captain’s voice sounded over the intercom, rushed and strained. “This is your captain speaking. Please prepare….I’m sorry….please brace for impact.”

Nina froze. “Oh my God,” she breathed.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Magic-Borne by C. L. Schneider

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne Cover Reveal

He’s paid for his addiction. He’s been scarred by his spells. He’s borne magic’s weight, its pleasure, and its guilt. But will he surrender to it when the realm needs him most?

Magic-Borne, the final installment of my epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is almost here! The Crown of Stones follows the trials of Ian Troy; a man struggling with an inborn addiction to magic in a world where magic is reviled, not revered.

The cover of Magic-Borne was designed by artist Alan Dingman.


Synopsis:

In one fell swoop, the resistance was shattered. Lives were taken. Hope was lost. Peace slipped like grains of sand through his fingers. So did the Crown of Stones. Now, forced into hiding, Ian Troy grapples for a way to save the realm—and free its people—from the sadistic clutches of Jem Reth; Mirra’kelan’s new self-appointed emperor. Plagued with the knowledge of a tragic future, he strives to influence events and save those he cares for. But his magic has betrayed him, and Fate has other plans.

Scarred by the crown, hindered by the transformation spell contained within, each cast brings Ian one step closer to becoming more beast than man. Each move brings the death and destruction foretold in his vision inexplicably nearer. With Langor on the brink of war, and King Malaq’s plan for peace hanging in the balance, Ian returns to the ancient past; seeking an end to the eldring spell and a means to thwart Jem’s growing domination. What he finds there sets off a chain of revelations that leads Ian places he never thought to go.

Entrusted with the future of his race, Ian becomes the linchpin for lasting change. But how much weight can one man carry? And how much is he willing to sacrifice in the name of peace?



Haven’t read book 1 yet? There’s still time to dive into the adventure before book 3 is released!


To celebrate the cover reveal, Magic-Price and Magic-Scars are both on Kindle Countdown from 1/28 to 2/4. Download Magic-Price (book 1) for only .99 & Magic-Scars (book 2) for $1.99!


Book 1
Magic-Price Kindle
Magic-Price PB

Book 2
Magic-Scars Kindle
Magic-Scars PB

Visit my Website for excerpts, teasers, reviews, and more!

Bio:

C. L. Schneider is a self-published author of adult epic and urban fantasy. The first two books in her Crown of Stones trilogy, Magic-Price and Magic-Scars, are available on Amazon. The third installment will be released in February 2016. She is currently working on Nite Fire, an urban fantasy featuring a shape-shifting dragon hybrid named Dahlia Nite. C. L. Schneider lives in the scenic Hudson Valley of upstate New York with her husband and two sons. She spends her days torturing characters, overdosing on coffee, and daydreaming about the zombie apocalypse.


Catch up with C. L. Schneider on social media:

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain


About the Book

Title: The Phoenix Project
Author: D.M. Cain
Genre: Psychological Thriller

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice...


A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting new novel, The Phoenix Project.

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

Buy on Amazon

Excerpt

Even before he approached Westminster, he could hear the protest chants, the cheering, the megaphones. His stomach prickled with excitement and adrenaline bubbled inside him. As he turned the corner, the crowd came into view. Many people were gathered, but not as many as he’d expected and he felt a little disappointed. He strolled between the stalls and came to a stop before a woman shouting into a loudspeaker.

“The Phoenix Project is an affront to humanity! Civilisation is supposed to progress, not regress, and this is a clear step backwards. We cannot push our problems under the rug and kill the people we disagree with.”


The crowd clapped and cheered. Some waved their signs: “Vote NO to the Phoenix Project”; “End the gladiatorial slaughter”; “Respect life—vote NO to Phoenix.” Raven walked on and passed a table, plastered with leaflets and posters showing the bodies of young people lying dead on the floor of boxing rings. He looked away, feeling a lump in his throat. No matter how many times he saw the images, they still had a heavy impact on him, his heart churning with revulsion and sympathy.

He’d lied to his colleagues today and told them he had a doctor’s appointment. Not only would they have denied him the time off, but they wouldn’t have stopped harassing him about it either. They would have scorned and mocked him, told him stories of horrific crimes and the good work the Phoenix Project did in bringing justice to criminals. It made him sick. Sometimes it felt like he was the only one who saw the system for what it was—an uncivilised bloodbath.

He continued to walk around the large grassy area, thrilled with everything he saw. At the far side of the field, a man was barking his opinions to a small crowd.

“What kind of a nation is this, that we can allow such barbaric displays of our government’s machismo? That’s all this is. The government is afraid that it will look weak in the face of the superpowers. For the past decade, police, politicians, the public, everybody has cowered in the face of violent crime and terrorism. We should have solved this by trying to understand the criminal, the terrorist. And what did our government do? They became worse than them. Sure, they were frightened, we all were. We had come to a point where the threat of terrorism haunted us every day. People were too afraid to use public transport for fear of attack. Something had to be done. Prisons were too soft, too comfortable. Why should the criminals be treated better than the victims? It was no real deterrent. And I’m sure we all acknowledge that a change of system was desperately needed. But this? It’s disgusting. When did we stop seeing human life as sacred? Every person has a right to life, even criminals. Ours has become a throw-away culture, and that is the way our government is dealing with our issues. Cast away the problems. Kill the troublemakers. As if once you commit a crime, you forgo your right to life. It isn’t that simple. People deserve a second chance to make amends for their wrongdoings.”


The crowd cheered and Raven clapped with enthusiasm, before moving to another speaker.

“Religion is not at fault here. As Christians, we stayed true to our faith, to the word of God. We were helping others. After all, in the face of doom we needed people to listen, to acknowledge that when facing the decline of morality we needed to beg for salvation. To lay ourselves at the feet of the Lord and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ But the world wouldn’t listen. They thought they knew better. Of course we’re not advocating terrorist action, but in some situations a bold statement is needed to make people hear us. This is NOT religion’s fault, this is man’s failing. Man’s inability to follow the Lord. Man’s arrogance. We deserved this. And all we can do now is to pray, to beg the Lord for salvation. Hope is not lost yet. We are all God’s children. Let us pray for those in Salverford.”

Raven frowned. They all hated the Phoenix Project, but religion? That was taking things a bit far. One or two people prayed with her, but most people kept a wide berth. Religion was too taboo. When the terrorism had started with the tube station bombings and the execution of journalists, the government had blamed the religious groups themselves and passed the first law against freedom of expression. No religion should be allowed to preach their values outside of their designated places of worship. It was the first step in curbing their influence.

People reacted with uproar and riots raged across the country for weeks, but with the steady stream of propaganda in newspapers and across every TV station, the public began to feed off the exaggeration and the fear-mongering. Within a year or two, they started to fear and hate religion itself. When a gunman walked down the street, firing indiscriminately and shouting about their god, some people followed the tabloid press and blamed the entire religion, not that individual.

It wasn’t long before attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues became commonplace, and preachers and clergymen were forced out of communities. Shortly after that, places of worship started to be attacked and torn down.


Some religions had become despondent, accepted their fate and faded out. Some die-hard fundamentalists tried to hold on to their faith, but they became outcasts very quickly, scorned by their fellow man. They took to street corners, shouting and waving their signs, until they were physically removed by police for causing a disturbance.

Most people who had lived by a religion before the breakdown continued to believe. Their faith could not be shaken by something so horrid. If anything, their beliefs became stronger in the face of such adversity, but now it was something they had to keep quiet, hidden behind closed doors in the secret of their own homes. And without places for the devout to gather, it became difficult to recruit new followers, to nurture the young in the ways of the faith. With the avalanche of negative propaganda in the media, the younger generations naturally steered away from faith.

Gradually, the influence of religion began to die away, and with it, the number of believers.

The Catholic church had refused to wither away into nothingness and had changed from peaceful to indignant. Even now, three years after the decimation of the Vatican, religion was still a frightening concept. People avoided mention of the Catholics now and they slipped from the public eyes, seemingly forgotten. There were occasional murmurs of an uprising here, a terrorist plot there, but they were mostly dismissed as hearsay.


Raven edged away from the praying people and headed over to a table with a pile of leaflets. He picked one up and began to read.

“The Phoenix Project is currently in its eleventh month of a one year trial period at Salverford Penitentiary, following the successful implementation of the project at West Belsen prison. Intended to rid the world of terrorists and violent offenders, the Phoenix Project pits prisoners against each other, which has freed up a significant amount of space in prisons nationwide. The government is hailing the project as an enormous success, a breakthrough in justice and crime prevention. But what is the truth behind the Phoenix Project? So far, at Salverford there have been twenty-seven deaths. Nineteen men and eight women have died at the hands of fellow inmates in a crude boxing ring set up in an amphitheatre deep within the prison. How long will this continue? This September the government will hold a vote for the public to decide on the continuation of the Phoenix Project. If you feel the inhumanity as we do, join us outside Parliament for the Anti-Phoenix Project rally on September eighteenth and use your vote wisely on the nineteenth. Vote ‘no’ to the Phoenix Project.”


Raven wandered on and came to a small stage, set out at the front of the grassy area directly opposite the Houses of Parliament. Here a young woman was shouting passionately through a megaphone.

“What type of animals are we? I mean, come on, justice is one thing. Retribution? That’s fine, but the Phoenix Project isn’t either of these things—it’s evil. We all hate crime, we’re all afraid of terrorists, but this brutality is not the answer. I would like nothing more than to see criminals hang, to see the revival of good old capital punishment. An eye for an eye—that’s fair. But what we’re doing here is encouraging more violence. Did you know that they are now introducing television cameras into Salverford to film the fights? They are seriously considering broadcasting it to the public. This isn’t the time of gladiators and public execution. How long will it be before the public is following this butchery and cheering along to the deaths of their fellow man? It’s disgusting. We cannot allow this. So I am urging everybody to vote ‘no’ to Phoenix before it’s too late.”

The crowd burst into applause. Raven, invigorated by her zealous display, clapped and cheered along with them. He watched her as she walked to the front of the stage and shook hands with people in the audience, all the time flashing them a charming smile.

He was still clapping when he heard angry voices from across the gathering. He saw them approaching: a gang of around twenty men, marching towards the protesters. It only took one look at their livid faces to know who they were.


‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’  ~ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.

                             

My Review
An original, entertaining, thought-provoking and, at times, an uncomfortable read.
The story line was well thought out, refreshingly unique and well worth reading.
I followed Ravens journey in the present as he dealt with life in prison and the brutality of the Phoenix Project, and learnt, through a series of flashbacks, how he ended up there.
His remorse, self-loathing and guilt, but also his survival instinct are graphically brought to life by D.M. Cain.
The world Raven inhabits is also brought to life by the authors detailed and descriptive writing.
I was gifted an eCopy of the book by the author.


Author Bio

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project - a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, 'The Shield of Soren', and a novella to accompany it.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mr. Edmund Goat and the Elusive Clover by Elisha Neubauer



Win a Hardcover Copy in the Giveaway!



About the Book:

Title: Mr. Edmund Goat and the Elusive Clover
Author: Elisha Neubauer
Illustrator: Alyssa Savery
Genre: Children’s Picture Books

Synopsis:

Mr. Edmund Goat lives on Dartmouth Farm along with his best friend, Eli. The two goats have always been inseparable, but after Edmund discovers the location of a patch of clover, he will do anything to get to it. There’s only one thing standing between Edmund and the clover – the fence.

Will Edmund find a way to the clover, or will he realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence?




Author Bio:

The founder of European Geeks and a self-proclaimed nerd – Elisha is obsessed with faeries, witches, science fiction, the paranormal, and all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Doctor Who. Spending over a decade managing high volume businesses for others, Elisha decided to take a step back and focus on her own passions; leading her to open European Geeks Publishing. Elisha is an editor, reviewer, and freelance writer when not hard at work for European Geeks.


Originally from the UK, Elisha now lives on a small family farm in Florida with her German husband and their three children, as well as an assortment of animals – peacocks, ducks, chickens, goats, pigs, and horses. Her children’s book, Mr. Edmund Goat and the Elusive Clover, illustrated by Alyssa Savery, launched July 19th, 2015, The Kid's Guide to Werewolves will hit shelves in mid-2016, and her Dark Fantasy novel, RED, is scheduled for 2017.


Illustrator Bio:

Although born in New Hampshire, Alyssa grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and currently resides in Florida. Always drawn to the art world, she studied animation at The Art Institute after graduating high school. As a lover of all things geeky, Alyssa specializes in sci-fi and fantasy illustrations but has recently taken up character development. Recently, Alyssa began painting themed room murals and recently illustrated her first full-length children’s book, written by Elisha Neubauer. Alyssa handles cover art and illustrations for European Geeks Publishing.





Purchase Links:

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow


Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!




About Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows:

Title: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Series: Elementals #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eBook and paperback
ISBN: 2940152448849

Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.


Add to your TBR List on Goodreads



Rafflecopter for Release Week Blitz Giveaway:

Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows Virtual Tour event. One (1) lucky winner will receive a Kindle Fire 7”! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:


About Michelle Madow:


Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

To get instant updates about Michelle's new books, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Amazon!

Connect with Michelle:



Author Top Five List:

Writing snack of choice?

I don’t eat while I work, but here are my five favorite foods:

1) Pizza
2) Tacos (ground beef, soft shell)
3) Cheeseburgers
4) Chicken Tikki Masala (extra spicy!)
5) Chicken wings

As you can tell, I have very sophisticated taste ;)
I also don’t like sweet food—I eat sweets very rarely!



Monday, 25 January 2016

Charley's Christmas Wolf by C.D. Gorri

This quick and easy read grabbed my attention on page one and kept it to the end.
C.D. Gorri packed a lot into this short introduction to her new book series.
Her main characters were well-developed and complex, and I can't wait to read the next book to find out what happens next.

I received an ARC of Charley's Christmas Wolf from C.D. Gorri in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.









Synopsis:

Rafe Maccon is the Alpha of the Macconwood Pack, for now. His rule is being questioned by a rogue Wolf who wants him ousted for breaking an ancient law that states the Alpha must be mated!

He must find a mate in order to keep his position. Seeing their Alpha in trouble, Rafe’s Wolf Guard take it upon themselves to find one for him.
Charley Palmieri works a dead end job and lives alone with her cat until one night when her world is changed forever.

Instant attraction sparks between them. Can Rafe convince Charley to be his before the meeting of Pack elders on Christmas Eve? Will she be his one true mate, for life?


The Author:

C.D. Gorri attended Catholic school from grades K-12 and is the youngest of six daughters..

 She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Montclair State University

She lives in her home state of New Jersey with her husband, her children, and her dog.

Montana Wild by Roni Hall



Out Now is MONTANA WILD by Roni Hall…Born and Bred in NYC, Fate Leads Jamie to the Wilds of Montana Where the Reluctant City Girl Comes Alive. Empowered, She Risks It All To Save A Life, Befriend A Wild Stallion and Fall In Love…Only To Have It All Taken Away By Past Demons…Check Out MONTANA WILD by Roni Hall!


About MONTANA WILD

Spiraling downward after losing two loved ones within one week, Jamie’s world was closing in…until she grabs an unexpected lifeline and escapes. Knowing only New York City, Montana is another world and she is unprepared by how the land, the people and even the animals touch her.
After risking her life to save a child, Jamie shares an undeniable bond and the beginning ripples of deep emotions with her co-rescuer, Kevin. However, her past follows her to Montana and threatens all that she loves there.
Jamie has no choice but to hurt Kevin in order to save his life and returns to New York with her ex, Derrick. Broken, Kevin refuses to believe she doesn’t love him and searches for Jamie, only to find her in Derrick’s lair. Once again Jamie tries to protect Kevin but this time gets caught in the cross fire…

On Sale in Digital: January 20, 2016


Add MONTANA WILD to your TBR pile on Goodreads!


CELEBRATE THE RELEASE WITH A GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize: $25 Gift Card to Amazon



Excerpt

The force of the water battered Kevin around like a toy but the ropes kept him on course. The anchormen on shore tightened and gave more slack in the lines as needed to direct Kevin to his precious targets. Stumbling repeatedly, the slippery rocky bottom hampered his progress and he went under again and again. The dunkings slowed him and Kevin cursed out loud, trying to regain his balance. Time was his enemy since he was already numb from the icy water. He had to get them out. An eternity passed before he finally made it to the pair.

Tommy was out of the water, lying motionless on his belly on the rock as Jamie held on to the life jacket.

“Jamie, are you okay?” he had to shout. She looked pale but nodded.

“Take Tommy!” she yelled back to him.


“I’ll take both of you together!”
Jamie shook her head.

“No, the water’s too strong. Take Tommy first.”

Kevin knew she was right, but she didn’t look good. He feared she couldn’t hold on but he also knew he did not have time to hesitate if he wanted to save both of them.

“Tommy!” Kevin shouted to be heard above the water. “Tommy, it’s Uncle Kevin. I want you to move slowly but I want you to come into my arms, like you’re giving me a big hug. I’m going to take you back to your dad. He’s worried about you.”

At the mention of his dad, Tommy’s head perked up. He began to move and reached for Kevin who grabbed him in a bear hug. Turning to look at Jamie, he yelled, “I’ll be back for you. Don’t you let go! Do you hear me? Don’t let go!” he repeated.

“Okay.” She nodded but she did not convince him.

“Promise?”

“Promise,” she answered with a weak smile.

He did not want to leave but he had no choice, he turned to go. She was right. He couldn’t have held on to both of them in this rough water. Tommy hugged Kevin as he tried to soothe him with words of encouragement.

“It’s okay, buddy, I’ve got you. You’re gonna be okay. Your dad’s waiting for you. You’re gonna be okay.” As Kevin began to walk back, he could feel the sheer power of his friends pulling on the ropes, leading him back to safety. He could not have made it back on his own. His strength was drained from the glacial waters.

As he neared safe water, Rick handed off his rope to another man and ran into the water toward his son. He embraced Kevin and Tommy, then lifted Tommy out of Kevin’s arms and hugged his son like he would never let go. But Rick did let go and handed his son to Mike on shore. “Go warm him up,” he ordered. “We need to get Jamie!”



Author Bio:

The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee.  Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-seven years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!

Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons.  Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.

You can also visit her online at the following places:
Website |  Twitter  |  Facebook |  Goodreads |  Amazon

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Fraktioneers Series by Lu J Whitley


BloodLoss


This short prequel to BloodMarked, is another quick and easy, fast-paced page-turner.
The authors' descriptive writing, once again, pulled me into the story and kept me captivated.

I enjoyed finding out more about Jaromir and Stein, how they met and the reason behind their close relationship.

I hope I don't have too long to wait, for another book from Lu J Whitley.







Synopsis:

Join your favorite Book Boyfriends, Jaromir Ragnarsson & the ever-wonderful Stein, nearly 400 years before the events of BloodMarked (The Fraktioneers #1) in this all new prequel novella!

Cursed to live in the shadows, Jaromir Ragnarsson wanders the world, searching for a sign. What he finds wasn't exactly what he had in mind.

Nearly four hundred-fifty years after a fateful meeting with a Wyrd woman changes his life, Jaromir is no longer alone. His adoptive son is the light of his long life, and he believes he will do anything to keep him safe.

When that belief is tested, will he have the strength to do what is necessary?

Even if, no matter what he chooses, he loses?



BloodMarked


I enjoyed this book immensely. It's easy to read and clips along at a good pace.

The story is told from different viewpoints, alternating between the heroine and the hero. The plot flows well with plenty of twists, turns and action. The descriptions pull you into the book and you feel involved in the story.

The characters are well developed, Greta is a gutsy heroine with attitude, Jaromir (aka Yummy)is a hot vampire who has problems controlling his inner beast and Stein is a charming, muscle-bound, tattooed troll.

I had a hard time putting down, and was surprised by the sudden ending, which was possibly a bit too sudden, but left me begging for more.

Synopsis:

Her nightmares are real, and they're out for blood.

Greta Brandt's life is run of the mill, except for the nightmares - violent dreams of creatures that wear the skin of the people around her... and him, the man with the golden hair and incandescent red eyes.

After 800 cursed years, Jaromir Ragnarsson has finally found the violet-eyed woman with the star-shaped birthmark of the BloodMarked: Greta Brandt. But he's not the only one who's been searching for her.

When terror strikes close to home, Greta must finally accept her role in a world she thought only existed in her fevered dreams, putting her wavering trust in the one man who knows the full truth about her fate.




The Author:

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a girl was born who was just a little strange around the edges. One thing led to another, and now you're reading her stories.

Lu is a full-time writer and self-professed oddball who lives a quiet life in the mid-Midwest with her geeky, roboticist husband and four-legged children.

Slade by Eva Gordon

Book 1 in Team Greywolf Series



*Book Title: Slade
*Series Name: Team Greywolf and Book 1
*Book Author: Eva Gordon
*Release Date: January 22, 2016
*Publisher: Eva Gordon
*Link to publisher's page: http://www.ravenauthor.com
*Genre: Paranormal romance
*Content/Theme(s): werewolves, shifters, steamy sex scenes, M/F, special werewolf, special ops/suspense
*Page number: 274 pages

Author Note: The Team Greywolf books are complete stand-alone with an ending, but the series is a spin-off of The Wolf’s Pet, Trilogy universe.



Buy Trilogy Box Set On Amazon


On Audible


Team Greywolf Series Logo:


Blurb:

Runt, Cricket, is an honorary beta of Team Greywolf, an elite special ops branch of the Lycan Intelligence Agency. As a member, she poses as a human and collects forensic evidence. Because of her low rank, she is assigned in the rehabilitation of Prince Slade suffering from morphogenesis after his entire pack is murdered, and then his indoctrination as a member of their team. Babysit a psycho, domineering alpha? Not on her watch. To complicate matters, she lusts for Slade. Foolish. A runt can never take an alpha as a mate.
Slade has two choices. Honor his murdered kin and serve Team Greywolf, or once healed, obey King Conan and return to his territory with an alpha mate. Complicating his decision is his relentless desire for the hot sexy little she-wolf, Cricket.
Early into his recovery, Slade and Cricket are sent to investigate missing werewolves. An unstable werewolf seems hardly a match for a former Nazi werewolf bent on bringing on Ragnarok, the destruction of mankind.
Can they stop this evil regime, while conforming to pack law that forbids any chance of them fulfilling their desire for each other? 

Excerpt

Before Warner shot him with the tranquilizer, Slade grabbed the doctor and threw him into the chamber. Warner hit the wall with a loud thud. He whimpered and cowered in the corner, no doubt fearing his patient would rip his throat out if he moved.

I won’t say I told you so. Cricket’s hackles rose, her fangs extended and she growled, but waited for Rylee’s orders.

Rylee stepped closer to him. “Stand down, Prince Slade.” Her claws extended.

With manic strength, Slade grabbed Rylee by the shoulders and shoved her into the chamber with Warner, then slammed the door shut.

Cricket dove for the dart gun and shot him in the arm. In a flash, he lunged at her, and she landed on her back with a thud, the wind knocked out of her lungs. Oof. Stunned as if knocked down by a charging rhino, she dropped the weapon. Out of her reach. Mad Prince Slade held her down. Each of his massive hands shackled her wrists.

Fuck. Cricket twisted and kicked, but the hulky man trapped her as if a granite statue had fallen on her. She growled. Not smart. She should whimper like a cub, but not at the cost of her pride.

Rylee banged against the glass. “Harm her and you’re dead.”

Slade held Cricket down and studied her. “How did you survive the change when many alphas do not?”

Prince Slade’s green eyes penetrated her. His strong alpha mind compelled her to obey and answer.

Cricket fought against his alpha mind control. How dare he intimidate her? Still, physically and politically the alpha maintained all-encompassing superiority. She gulped. “To be honest, I was too stubborn to die.”

“Even now, as I hold you down, you do not surrender to death?”

“No.” She closed her eyes, awaiting his lethal bite.

Slade released her, and moved away. He sat on the chair and pressed his hand over his forehead. “Let them out. I’ll try to cooperate, while my wolf is calm.”

Cricket leapt up and opened the door.

Rylee and Dr. Warner cautiously stepped out.

Cricket looked back at the prince. He covered his large hands over his face as if despondent. His sadness touched her heart. “Sir, do you mind stepping back into the chamber?”

Slade nodded and stood, towering over her. He turned and walked back in.

Cricket couldn’t believe it. No werewolf had ever obeyed her like that. Was it the sedative?

Rylee locked the door and shot her a smile. “Good job.”

What did I do? “Thank you, ma’am.”

Rylee winked at her.

She tilted her head to the side. Unbelievable. Rylee knew all along if she let him out of his cell, he wouldn’t harm her. Cricket wished she had as much faith.

Dr. Warner released a long breath. “Prince Slade, do you accept Cricket as your pack subordinate until you are well enough to rejoin pack society?”

I should remind him, it’s assistant not subordinate. Cricket opened her mouth to protest, but Rylee narrowed her eyes at her.

“Yes.” Slade stared at Cricket as if she had any say. “However, I prefer my guest quarters.”

Rylee spoke, “Just know, if we comply with your wish, we have to sedate you. Your wolf may not be as cooperative.”

Cricket lifted her brows. “I guess the dart wasn’t strong enough to knock him out?”

Dr. Warner shook his head. “Not even close.”

“Very well. As long as only Cricket sedates me,” said Slade.

Warner handed her a thick syringe. “This will do the job.”

Cricket snorted. “At least what I gave him calmed him enough.” Or drugged enough to listen to a runt.

“Not quite,” said Warner.

“Huh?”

“Nothing calms a wolf suffering from morphopsychosis or a better term, morphogenesis, more than being around the lowest ranked wolf.”

Well, how convenient. The entire scene had been a test. Lucky for me they were right.

Rylee smiled. “Don’t take it personally. Think of it as just another mission.”

Ouch. It was hard not to. They had used her. Counting on her inferior runt status being an advantage. Wasting her talent, babysitting. Rude. The team needed her. “Ma’am, I…”

Rylee growled at her.

Cricket held her tongue. “Very well.”

She entered the chamber and approached the beast of a man, doing her best to act the submissive wolf, but her tight lips telegraphed how she felt. Hate being here, your royal high ass-ness.

Slade narrowed his eyes at the attractive runt as she stepped closer, holding the powerful sedative in her small delicate hands. He sniffed her. Her alluring scent reminded him of the sweet bloom of a rare wild rose growing on a bare mountain despite the harsh weather. As a cub, he remembered a runt born to a beta couple. The poor thing didn’t survive the winter. Not that he wasn’t loved, cared for and protected, but apparently he had weak lungs and died of a virus. Slade’s mother had told him it was better the runt had not lasted. The change would have killed him anyway. He cocked his head. Yet, somehow, this fragile female runt named after an insect survived into adulthood and the change. Most intriguing.

Blasted Dr. Warner. He was right. Being around a weaker wolf brought out his protective nature and worse, made him feel calm, as if he needed to reassure her she’d be safe with him. Not that his sorrow had vanished, but her presence took the edge from his fierce wolf. Almost kept him human. Fucking frustrating. “Go on. Do it.”

Cricket didn’t cower, like a submissive wolf should, but frowned. “I need your exposed arm.”

Stubborn and fearless. No wonder she survived the change. He dropped his robe and flexed his bicep.

Cricket stared at her feet. He smelled her arousal. She was petite, delicate, almost human, not the type of female he dated. Besides, no one ever had sex with a runt, even for fun. Still, something about her enchanted him. No doubt, part of his mental breakdown.

She cleared her voice. “If you don’t mind sitting.”

The feel of her hand on his taut skin comforted him. So soothing. He gazed at his personal submissive.

The sudden sting of the needle hurt like hell. “Blast!” He growled.

“Sorry.”

Slade noted the suppression of a smile on her perky kissable lips. Her manners, defiant. Rude. He meant to stand and force her to bow, but blackness ensued.