Tuesday, 29 October 2013

BookBlast with $50 giveaway – arbitrate by Megan Thomason


It's one year later. And everything has changed.

Remember The Second Chance Institute (SCI). Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. They’ve stepped up their game on Earth and on Thera—infiltrating political parties, preying on the downtrodden, and planning offensive manoeuvres. The SCI’s abuse of their charter leads to Arbiter oversight and bitter consequences.

Remember Kira Donovan. Broken, burdened, and evading those who wish her harm, Kira enlists the Arbiters’ help when forced to return to the clutches of the SCI and her angry, estranged love.

Remember Blake Sundry. Exiled, determined, and packing an agenda, Blake seeks assistance on Earth and Thera to use his newfound knowledge to bring down the SCI.

Remember Ethan Darcton. Overworked, emotional, and holding a grudge, Ethan hunts down his stolen property, but finds himself in awkward territory, stuck between the Arbiters and the SCI.

Full of action, competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, arbitrate is Megan Thomason’s third installment in the award-winningdaynight series after daynight and clean slate complex (a daynight story).

Praise for arbitrate: "There are a lot of books I finish and feel happy, this one I finished and my head is swirling, in a totally awesome way! Not only does it have a great story with characters that you like (and some you just hate as they are the enemy) but the book also gets you thinking, thinking about the implication of effects of different actions and courses in life. This story has action, fighting, plots and plans, romance, love triangles, family, betrayal - has it all." --Emily Barton, Emmy Mom One Day at a Time blog, 5 stars

 "You have hit this one out of the park." --ARC Reviewer

"For the record, I LOVED Kira's choice!! And the whole thing just blew me away! Very, very well done!! Now when can I get my hands on generate?! Can't wait " --ARC Reviewer

 "Read my ARC of Arbitrate and consider my mind blown! I started it the minute it was sent and couldn't put it down." --ARC Reviewer


Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Earth's benevolent non-profit by day, Thera's totalitarian regime by night. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life(TM). Reality: the SCI subjects Second Chancers to strict controls and politically motivated science experiments like Cleaving--forced lifetime union between two people who have sex. Punishment for disobeying SCI edicts? Immediate Exile or death.  

Meet Kira Donovan. Fiercely loyal, overly optimistic, and ensnared by the promise of a full-ride college scholarship, Kira signs the SCI Recruit contract to escape memories of a tragedy that left her boyfriend and friends dead.  

Meet Blake Sundry. Bitter about being raised in Exile and his mother's death, Blake's been trained to infiltrate and destroy the SCI. Current barrier to success? His Recruit partner--Miss Goody Two Shoes Kira Donovan.  

Meet Ethan Darcton. Born with a defective heart and resulting inferiority complex, Ethan's forced to do his SCI elite family's bidding. Cleave-worthy Kira Donovan catches his eye, but the presiding powers give defect-free Blake Sundry first dibs.  

Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, daynight is an award-winning, bestselling novel and first in thedaynight series.

arbitrate freebie

Download a FREE copy of daynight

October 29th, 30th & 31st

Praise for daynight:

2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist-Young Adult Fiction, ForeWord Reviews

"Sure to win over YA readers looking for a dangerous, dystopian adventure story" —Kirkus Reviews

"Gripping young adult dystopian novel; compelling conflicts; high stakes; powerful narrative; surprises keep coming; strong writing; page-turner; engaging characters; Readers will be hungry for the sequels.”—BlueInk Review (starred review)

"Thomason's description of Thera's totalitarianism will make fans of Brave New World shiver... SCI, her fantasy corporation, has disturbing parallels to actual companies and regimes that claim to do good while harming people... The author deftly appeals to both romance-loving teens as well as those intrigued by young adults fighting the establishment.”—ForeWord Clarion Review, 4 stars      

arbitrate Excerpt

“I’m angry at all of them. Every SCI leader. In fact Joshua gave me a list of those who are Earth-side. It makes for a great to-do list.” They all deserve to pay.
I’m done talking. It’s time for some action.
One thousand one.
One thousand two.
One thousand three.
That’s all it takes to even out my breathing and steady my hand. I shift the crosshairs on my target ever so slightly—from his heart to his hand—and pull the trigger.
My father would be proud that all his training paid off. Oh, who am I kidding? He’d find something to criticize about my work here. Sad that even though he’s gone I can hear him saying, “If you’d hit a little to the left you’d have taken out a higher concentration of nerves.”

Author Megan Thomason

Bestselling, award-winning author Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn't typing away on her laptop, she's reading books on her phone--over 600 in the last year--or attending to the needs of her family. Megan's fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac.


BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

 Ends 11/18/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Sunday, 27 October 2013

The latest book in the Others of Edenton series is LIVE! 

Shadows of the Past is the 4th book in this amazing series. 

Shadows of the Past (Others of Edenton #2)
Haunted by memories of her past, Amethyst Lakes left her home to come to Edenton. She was ready to start a new life on her own after being stalked relentlessly. 

Hayden Hunter is too busy being Sheriff to take interest in a woman. That is until his officer drags Amethyst into his life. For the first time he wants to protect and claim. 

There’s instant attraction between the two, but Amethyst isn’t ready for anyone since she found out her ex killed himself after she sent him away for good. 

Preston has always protected Amethyst, and when he finds out something of legend and nightmares is coming for her, he’ll do everything he can to keep her safe. 

Amethyst is either the catalyst to bring nightmares fully into this realm, or the one to end them. Can she find the power to stop the darkness, or will she wind up its prey? 

Pretty little nymph, suspicious but sexy earth fae, cocky mage, and a nightmare of old.

Buy Links
Amazon - this link should take you to the right Amazon for where you live
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/364648
Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-of-the-past-brandy-l-rivers/1117050215?ean=2940148813453
In Paperback at Amazon
In Paperback at Createspace

Come get lost in Edenton! All books are available now!

New Beginnings (Others of Edenton #.5)
Jess knew her life would never move forward if she remained a part of Gregory’s pack. Some Alpha’s just don’t know how to take care of their wolves. She had managed Gregory’s bar for years but she knew he would never sell it to her. 

After one giant mistake, he went from bad to worse. As a psychic, she knew it was a downward spiral. 

Taking her future in her own hands, she contacts the Alpha in Edenton. He is happy to sell the empty bar no one has the time, nor desire to renovate, much less run. 

Their attraction is unexpected and the last thing either want, but they find the only thing they need in each other. 

There is just one problem. Slater’s second in command is plotting against him. Liam will use anything to take over as Alpha. 

Plenty of werewolves, an old vampire flame, plus a paranoid second, and don’t forget the psychic with a whole lot of attitude.

Buy Links Amazon http://myBook.to/New_Beginnings
B&N Nook http://bit.ly/12VATgO
Kobo http://bit.ly/14ackfu
Diesel Ebooks http://bit.ly/13nF0Cm
Sony Ebooks http://bit.ly/13k0N1A
Smashwords http://bit.ly/12VAP0k

Available in paperback at Amazon http://amzn.to/12C1Zty

In Too Deep (Others of Edenton #1)
Brody is a talented motorcycle mechanic and werewolf stuck in his painful past. On yet another depressing night, he is viciously attacked by vampires.

Fallon is a brilliant tattoo artist with inherent magic. Tired of men and their games, she climbs onto her Harley and leaves her old life behind.

Running for his life, Brody crashes into Fallon and sparks fly. She ends up stranded in the Northwest with her ride out of commission.

Stranded with no ride and nowhere to go, Fallon allows her best friend to convince her to stay in Brody’s apartment. He’s determined to claim her heart and keep her safe from the shadows in her past. Fallon prides herself on her independence and would rather keep him safe, even from herself.

With the impending danger from the group of vampires and dark mages, they will have to work together. The closer they get, the harder it is for her to fight her attraction.

Be prepared for monsters, magic and lots of ink.

Buy Links
Amazon Kindle http://myBook.to/In_Too_Deep
B&N Nook http://bit.ly/ZxpzeM
Kobo http://bit.ly/10MgXw7
Diesel Ebooks http://bit.ly/17C0kLy
Sony Ebooks http://bit.ly/14cWL7n
Smashwords http://bit.ly/11FtdmW

Available in paperback at Amazon http://amzn.to/18BdF6y

Shadows Fall (Others of Edenton #1.5)
Amethyst Lakes is a nymph with a problem. She left her ex-boyfriend when he started to smother her. Nothing she says seems to keep him away.
Carl needs Amethyst more than he needs to breathe, but she just doesn’t get it. He’ll stop at nothing to make her stay.
An old friend and teenage crush will keep her safe until Amethyst can decide how to deal with Carl once and for all.

A pretty little nymph, crazy stalker ex, a cocky mage, and a whole lot of trouble

It's a novelette and just 99 cents.

You can find it at Amazon


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Friday, 25 October 2013

New Release ~ Diaries off the Damned

The dead have risen and a desperate struggle for power has begun. The military are evacuating all survivors in passenger planes. With their destination unknown, one group of survivors led by a journalist named Paul Larkin, decide to share their experiences with the hope that when combined, their stories will reveal the answers that the government had not been willing to give themselves.

Nine survivors banded together, yet none of them realized, as they stood to tell their tales that they stood on the brink of discovering a conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen.

Grab your copy from Amazon today for just $2.99

 Personal Opinion ~ I've been lucky enough to read some of the character's stories previously; I loved them and just couldn't get enough.  It was completely unique and comical, not at all what I expected from a zombie apocalypse.  

Alex Laybourne:

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that he became a horror writer.

Married with four children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

‘Diaries of the Damned’ is his third full length publication along with numbers short works.


Chapter 1 – Boarding

Paul Larkin sat in his seat and fastened his seatbelt. His body was caked with sweat and dried blood. His ears rang from the gunshots, and his ankle was swollen again; remnants of an injury he acquired jumping from the first floor window of his suburban home. At least, it used to be suburbia, before everything went to shit. 

He sat back and let out a long, deep breath. Shock threatened to take hold of him, so he closed his eyes and waited. The plane filled up and the cries of those refused admittance echoed down the walkway, swiftly followed by the sound of their execution. 

Paul spared but the most fleeting of moments thinking about it. He found it strange how killing and death had become such a large part of his life. 

“Excuse me,” A fragile sounding voice stirred Paul from the calm place he had just started to settle into. “I believe this is my seat.” An elderly woman, late seventies at best stood before him, her face was smeared with blood, while one eye had been covered by a filthy rag that had been hastily secured to her face with what looked like duct tape.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Halloween Event with Anchor Group Publishing

Halloween Event with Anchor Group Publishing

If you are not familiar with this publishing company

you must do so, a.s.a.p. Here is their link to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anchorgrouppublishing

and the lovely website http://anchorgrouppublishing.com/

 A wonderful group of authors

belong to this  firm and its imperative for all book lovers to meet them.

So many delightful books are published monthly from Anchor Group.

You will meet a few now.

Anchor Group has decided to do an annual Halloween event and giveaway for all the fans.

Not only are the authors hosting giveaways but they have also included snippets from their books.

They were asked to include the spookiest parts of their books so that the Halloween theme will spread from blog to blog.

Without further ado, here they are.


Author Emily Fogle

Chasing Flames

Spooky Teaser:

A sudden flood of panic froze me where I stood. I could only stand there, gaping in shock at the horrifying beast. Its shadow blotted out the waning light and blocked the view of the outside world. I stared at it with my mouth hanging open. The tip of my tongue held onto my scream, too terrified to let it go.

A hideous face of matted fur and gnarled teeth glared at me. Its eyes glowed blood red, and a monstrous paw with jagged dagger-claws reached out toward me. The tip of one nail snagged on my shirt and I could feel the horrendous power beneath its grip. I tried to run, but my fumbling feet got tangled together. Hard, I fell on the wood floor. I kicked my legs, trying to get away from the beast, but it closed the distance before I could back up an inch. It crouched down in front of me, kneeling on all fours, and I could see its ripping teeth.

It was so close.

            With one twisted claw, the monster ripped at his face with tearing nails. The fur-riddled flesh tore away from the wolf’s face, but the slashing fingers did not shred the skin. Instead, it melted away into a solid hunk of deformed fur. What was left in the wake of the gruesome carnage was ...

Find Emily on FB https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEmilyFogle and attend her Release Event for Chasing Flames:


Author Karen Swart

Kasayda Hellhound Awakened

Spooky Teaser

I could hear a girl’s giggle as he stepped out silently. I followed the silent approach he was doing, and closed the door slowly. Turning around, I could see the couple in the corner of the alley; the girl was between the wall and the guy.

Chax moved along the wall, keeping his eyes on them, one slow step at a time. I looked at him and decided that this is as far as I go. I don’t want to be in the middle of whatever he has in mind. The girl suddenly screamed, and I looked away from Chax to them. The ally was dark, so I couldn’t make out what’s going on. She was hitting him on the back but he wasn’t backing off. The next thing I knew, Chax punched the guy in his side, a growl like a beast escaping into the alley.

Holy crap, it’s not a guy, it’s a freaking demon!

I took a few steps back. So not ready for this yet.

The demon turned around and faced Chax, who already had his swords drawn; he stood there ready and waiting. The guy’s face changed then, into what can only be described as a cross between a cat and a dragon. He had two large fangs sticking out of his mouth and from his chin downwards, I could see what looked like dark liquid running down, crap it was blood!

I stopped dead, not wanting to attract attention to me. The demon stormed forward attacking Chax, who only stepped aside, made two swipes with his sword and then walked over to the girl. I looked at the demon to see why the hell Chax is just leaving it and not killing it, only to see its head missing, and the body slumping to the ground.

Something hit my boot so I looked down straight into a pair of eyes, I jumped away from it. “Oh that’s so gross,” I complained and slammed into the opposite wall, keeping my eyes on the head.

Find Karen on FB: https://www.facebook.com/authorkarenswart

Author Lucian Barnes

City of The Dead

Spooky Excerpt

Find Lucian on FB


Confusion swirled through his consciousness. The last thing he remembered was being lashed to a tree as the main course for an army of bugs. Had they detoured around him and gone after an alternate food source? He didn't think so, but why else would he still be here?

          Just thinking about it made him itch, like the massive column of insects was crawling over his skin at this very moment. Realizing he could move now, George reached with one hand for his other arm to dig his fingernails into his flesh and peel it from his bones if he had to in order to quell the maddening sensation.

          "No!" he screamed into the still dusk air as he watched his fingertips pass right through his arm. "This can't be!" Spinning around he came face to face with what was left of his body. Most of his flesh was gone, but there were still tiny fragments of tissue clinging to the skeletal frame which was bound tightly to the enormous oak. Tilting his head toward the sky George bellowed out in rage, vowing to pay the Black Knight back for what he had done to him. It was now just a matter of how and when he would exact his revenge upon his former master.

Author Elizabeth Kirke

More Than Magic Series

Spooky Excerpt

It was dark, truly dark. I had thought that it was dark in the desert, but I had been able to look up and see stars. The canopy of leaves above us was so thick that I couldn't see a single star. I wasn't sure if I had ever been somewhere with literally no light anywhere in sight. The fact that I was moving made things even eerier.

"How well can you see in the dark?" I had to ask. TS hadn't stumbled once, even though I could feel him hopping and stepping over obstacles.

"Me?" TS asked. "Well enough."

We probably walked for another five minutes when TS stopped.

"You smell that?"

"Yeah," Thomas said. "Been hearing it, too."

"What?" I asked.

"We're being watched," Thomas whispered.

"Why do you come here?" an unfamiliar voice asked. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Suddenly a horrible snarling hiss came from way, way too close to me. TS tensed and growled.

Find Elizabeth on FB http://www.facebook.com/morethanmagic


Author Christy Sloat

The Visitors Series
Spooky Excerpt

Ephraim kissed me in an attempt to distract me, and for a moment it worked. I got lost in his arms as he held me gently. The kiss deepened a bit more, and then I opened my eyes. That’s when things went all wrong. I saw a misty cloud coming toward us. At first I thought it had to be low lying fog, until I started to see the eyes forming in the mist. I pulled myself away from Ephraim and he turned around to see what I was seeing. There was no way he would be able to see it, because he didn’t see the dead. But they say those who are close to death can see death. It’s completely true because he saw them. At first he was frozen as they walked closer to us. Then he got up and backed away, scared. He wasn’t used to seeing them like I was. Scratch that! I was never going to get used to this, but I had to try if this was my life now. I went toward the mist as the dead started to surround me, locking me inside a circle of their bodies. Their eyes were glassy and their faces veiny and gruesome. They didn’t look like their former selves, unless they were zombies in their life. A woman put her hand on my arm. I froze as her clammy palm rested on my skin. It felt cold at first, and then wet.

“Who are you?” I asked with a shaky voice. She tried to talk, but her mouth was sewn shut. Her lips were moving so fast; she was desperately trying to tell me something. Only murmuring came out.

“Brylee, get away from them,” Ephraim called.

I didn’t try to get away, like an idiot stayed there. A man, whose lips were not sealed, came forward. “You surround yourself with the dead?” he asked as he pointed to Ephraim.

“He isn’t dead. He is alive. Why are you here?” I snapped.

“He isn’t dead yet, but he will be soon.” I shivered at his words. The woman pointed to a spot in the grass and led me to it. I was being shoved toward a place I had no clue of what it was. Once I was on top of it, I saw them … graves. The headstones bore the names of the dead that now surrounded me.

Find Christy on FB www.facebook.com/christysloat

Author Amy Richie

Sapphire City

Spooky Excerpt

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I whispered to myself. Just a mysterious light in the ocean. Probably happens all the time.
I reached the dock and hesitated again. I would just have a quick look and then leave. No big deal. I took a deep breath and walked all the way to the edge of the dock.
With my heart hammering fast enough to make me dizzy, I looked down into the calm water. I didn’t really expect to see anything, but there it was … a small circle of beautiful orange light. My breath caught.

Find Amy on FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Richie-Author-Page/167413166631322
Author H.J Daly


Spooky Excerpt

As they fought with the tangled branches and thick undergrowth it took them a while to reach their friend. They could already see the blood pouring down his cheek, his pupils blacker than the night. He stood motionless, caught in some sick game between two creatures who were circling him in the small clearing. The creatures had no need for weapons, their claw like hands were tipped with razor sharp talons, each tip delivering a small dose of poison. One ran up to Bendrin, its thick serpent tongue lashed out, licked the blood from his face and sighed in ecstasy.

The boys had seen enough and managed to angle a bow in the small space to hit one of the creatures in the neck. It shrieked out and fell to the floor, seeing its opportunity, the other dived on top of its fellow creature and started to devour the flesh before it had even stopped struggling. Quickly, they reached Bendrin and between them, began to drag him back through the trees. It was a wasted effort, the cries from the dying creature had brought others and they all wanted to play.

                              Find H.J on her blog: http://redribbonwrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Author Katherine Polillo

The Watchers Trilogy

Spooky Excerpt

I shot down a side street, thinking it was probably no one, just my mind playing tricks on me, but why not try to lose them anyway. As soon as I turned the corner, I felt better. I let a sigh escape my lips as I tried to determine how to get where I needed to go from my new location. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps echoed through the dark alley and a distinct panting noise rose along the quiet night. I lost all control and broke into a desperate run for the opposite end of the alley, where I would again be shot off onto a street with hopefully someone in screaming range, or at least a streetlight. I really didn’t want to face my attacker in the dark. I could face the minions of Hell, just not in the dark. I hit the end of the alley at a dead run and promptly dove into a large hydrangea bush meant to mark the property line of someone’s front yard. I clamped a hand over my mouth and attempted to slow my racing heartbeat. Crouching down, I attempted to make myself as small as possible while I waited to see who my assailant was.

I didn’t have to wait long. From the alley emerged a large chocolate lab, its owner not far behind. The dog’s leash grasped firmly in his hand as he jogged out of the alley and made a left onto the main street. The adrenaline slowly began to dissipate, leaving me feeling euphoric and foolish all at once. I sat back on my backside, relief and chagrin mixing as a giggle escaped my lips. I had surely brought paranoia to a new level. Standing, I started attempting to free myself from my hiding spot, realizing the poor bush was never going to be the same. I caught a reflection out of the corner of my eye and I froze in place. It was as if the sun had glinted off something metallic, only there was no sun … it was midnight. I stood, still half in the bush, waiting for the reflection to happen again. I glanced around the seemingly empty street, waiting, but it didn’t reoccur. Jerking my purse free of the branches that entwined it, I hurried off for home. I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was being watched .

Find Katherine on FB: https://www.facebook.com/WatchersTrilogy.

Author Stacey Rourke

The Gryphon Series

Spooky Excerpt

Somewhere between sleep and awake he came to me. The mattress shifted under his weight as he settled in beside me. Warm breath teased against my ear. “I could ne’er leave you, lovey.” His wandering hands gripped my waist and rolled me to face him. This warbled land governed by sleep couldn’t conjure his whole essence—too much time had passed for that. Instead it teased me with glimpses of what I’d been missing; silky hair caressing my cheek. Hot kisses traveling down my neck. Emerald eyes filled with an insatiable hunger. The sensual awakening that jolted through me when his mouth found mine. “I’m always with you,” Caleb whispered against my lips. I twined my arms around his neck and pulled him closer—a move that garnered a low groan of appreciation. His hands roamed up my arms and encircled my wrists. In a sudden, shockingly violent, move he forced them down against the mattress and pinned me there. I gaped in confusion as green eyes blinked to sapphire blue. His seductive stare twisted into visible disgust and hatred. Like ink dumped from a bottle, the black drained from Caleb’s hair. The dripping color leaked away to reveal long strawberry blond hair ponytailed at the nape of his neck. Alec. But not the latest version of him currently possessed by a three hundred year old demon. This was the Alec I first met whilst rolling a tire. The carefree boy I had started to fall for before fate intervened. Yet the look that darkened his gaze was more murderous then welcoming. I thrashed and bucked beneath him but couldn’t seem to summon one iota of strength. His grip on my wrists tightened to the point of pain. “Is he worth it?” He hissed in my face, “Is he worth the blood on your hands?” Crimson red blood bubbled up Alec’s throat. It seeped between his teeth and dribbled down his chin. “Will he still want you when he knows what you’ve done and what it cost?” Squeezing my eyes shut, I cringed further into the mattress as blood rained down. The warm stickiness, with its pungent rusty smell, dripped on my face and soaked my shirt. I risked a glance up to see Alec’s lips curl in an evil grin. “Now, how ‘bout a kiss?” He bowed his head and crammed his blood soaked lips to mine. My muffled scream quickly turned into a gurgled gasp for air as I fought not to drown in this crimson hell. -Excerpt from Ascension, Gryphon Series Book 4 releasing in November

Find Stacey on FB https://www.facebook.com/staceyrourkeauthor

Author Alicia Michaels

Lost Kingdom of Fallada Series

Spooky Excerpt

“Such anger,” she said with a ‘tsk’. “I can see that you have much passion, Elf. I shall enjoy your company greatly before I kill you. Perhaps watching your beloved die will take the wind out of your sails.”

Kai simply glared at her, his eyes cold, blue slits of rage. His chest heaved with the force of his anger. Eranna shrugged and turned back to Zara, approaching the stone slab again, her lips parted in a gruesome grin. When she reached the altar, she plucked a lock of Zara’s hair from the ground and inspected it with interest.

“Such beauty,” she murmured. “Such freshness and youth, wasted on a mere human. I know of your father’s treachery, girl. He stole from Fallada what was rightfully mine, and I intend to have it back.”

“Please,” Zara pleaded, hoping to appeal to the woman’s sense of right and wrong—if she possessed any at all. “Why are you doing this? What did I ever do to you?”

Eranna laughed. The sound was bitter and raw. “Do to me? Why, nothing, child. You are my enemy simply by circumstance of your birth. You are an abomination, an anomaly; you have no right to exist. What right do you have to such power? You do not even know how to control it! You are weak, a simpering little girl with no idea the kind of might she possesses within her bones! And why should you possess it when I am so much more worthy? Why should you experience the joys of a lover’s embrace and his child in your belly while I …” she trailed off, her expression crestfallen as she turned her back on Zara. For a moment, Zara thought she detected the glisten of tears in the queen’s eyes. “It is no matter,” she continued, her voice gruff and choked. “I will amass so much power unto myself, that no one will stand in the way of what I want. I shall have it all; beauty, youth, power, eternal life.” She turned back to Zara, her knife glistening in the candlelight. “And I shall begin by taking from you what I so rightfully deserve.”

Zara could only stare, hypnotized by the madness in Eranna’s eyes as she advanced on her knife raised. Through the roaring in her ears, she faintly heard Kai’s roars of anger, his voice growing hoarse, soon smothered by the rattling of his chains as he fought against them to no avail. The glint of the knife caught her eye as Eranna lifted it high over her head.

Her smile was sad as she turned for one last look at the love of her life. He’d ceased struggling and stared back at her with tears in his eyes, silent sobs shaking him from the inside.

“Zara,” he whispered as he realized then that the fight was over.

“I love you,” she whispered, closing her eyes as a swift current of air warned her of the knife’s descent.

From Beyond the Iron Gate: Zara’s Journey

A FREE read, and prequel novella to the Lost Kingdom of Fallada Series

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