Monday, October 24, 2016

Love and faith collide in this exhilarating Gothic novel when Ethan, a boy destined for the priesthood, finds that he cannot resist the alluring heart of Victoria, The Vampire’s Daughter.

Title: The Vampire's Daughter
Author: Leigh Anderson
ISBN: 978-1-62420-232-2
Genre: Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4


Love and faith collide in this exhilarating Gothic novel when Ethan, a boy destined for the priesthood, finds that he cannot resist the alluring heart of Victoria, The Vampire’s Daughter.


When Ethan discovers that the love of his life, Victoria, is actually the child of a monstrous beast and must marry another man to save her family, he retreats to a monastery to live out the rest of his days alone. But the Church has other ideas. Ethan’s mentor asks him to lead famous vampire hunter Dom Calmet back to his home village to rid the town of the vampires that plague it. Ethan must then take a journey, emotionally and literally, back to the town of his youth and decide between love and faith when he once again meets The Vampire’s Daughter. Containing many tropes of a classic Gothic novel (an obscure heroine, an indecisive hero, an exotic location, references to classical literature, dark castles, a foreboding sense of danger) combined with the sensuality of a modern romance, The Vampire’s Daughter will leave you gasping for more.


Victoria and Gregory rode toward the village at a steady pace. She was looking forward to seeing Ethan, and Gregory was glad to be out of the barn. As she got close to the village, she could sense something was wrong. She could hear the faint sound of a woman crying. Sorrow seemed to hang in the air. As she got closer, she could see a few people moving about quickly and quietly. Some were boarding up their windows; others were reinforcing their animal enclosures. Riding through the town, the usually cold people looked at her with disgust. In one house, she saw a little child pointing at her until the mother came up to close the drapes. A group of older women gathering firewood stopped and mumbled as she got closer. She dismounted at the blacksmith's and greeted the man with a smile, but he did not repay her in kind.
"Thank you for watching Gregory for me for a few hours, sir," she said as she tied him in his usual stall.
"No need to thank me," he replied as he untied the horse and gave her back the reigns.
"Why?" she prodded, confused.
"You should not be here," was all he said as he headed inside.
She led her horse back out into the street and looked around. There was hardly anyone about. A few prying eyes watched her from the houses.
"I have just as much right to be here as any of you," she thought to herself as she held her head up high. She felt herself getting mad, but she wasn't sure why. Why were the people staring and pointing at her? Why would the blacksmith say she didn't belong there? What had she done to any of them? She decided to go to her future home and see if Ethan was there.
She tied her horse to the hitching post at the end of the walk. She approached the house and ran her fingers through what looked like claw marks on the oak front door. She did not remember seeing them there before.
"Hello?" she called inside as she opened the door. A small fire was going in the fireplace, telling her Ethan had been there and most likely would return. She felt herself calm down and her anger at the people melt away. The room was warm and safe. She closed the door and looked around the cottage. It already looked so homey, fully furnished with curtains on the windows and rugs on the floors.
She ascended the wooden steps to the second floor and opened the first door to a room on the left. It was small with equally small furniture—most likely a child's room. She imagined that one day, her and Ethan's children would be playing on that floor looking up at her with wide-eyed wonderment. Then their eyes reflected fear, and she thought of how the townspeople reacted to her today and how, even now, she was an outcast. She sighed, frowned, and shut the door on the frightened children she imagined were there.
She opened a door on her right and found the master bedroom. She entered the room, took off her cape, and hung it on a hook by the door. She walked over and placed her small hand on the large pine spindles of the bed. She walked to the far side of the bed, running her fingers over the covers. A multi-colored crotched blanket overlaid a beautiful pink and ecru quilt. She folded the blanket back so it only covered the foot of the bed and the quilt could be more fully seen. The quilt was so soft to the touch. She bent down and put her cheek to the fabric. She sighed in delight. She looked at the door and listened to see if anyone was there. When she only heard silence, she took off her shoes, climbed up onto the bed and laid long ways across it. It was a large bed. She stretched her hands way above her head and still could barely touch the other end. She laughed at herself and how she found such delight in such a simple thing.
"What are you doing?" a voice asked.
"Ahh!" she screamed as she sat up straight and turned toward the voice. "Ethan! You startled me!"
"I startled you?" he asked. "What are you doing in my house?"
"Your house?" she asked. "I thought this was our house."
Ethan began to laugh as he put the wooden club he was carrying by the door. "You should see yourself," he said. "Why were you so afraid? I did not mean to scare you."
"I do not know," she replied, settling herself down. "Everyone was just acting so strange when I got here. I guess I am just on edge..." she trailed off, noticing the club. "What is that for?"
"Do not worry about that," he said, taking off his coat and sitting on the other side of the bed. "Everyone is a little nervous. Some wolves came into town on Sunday night and killed a man."
"Oh, my goodness," Victoria said, putting her hand to her mouth. "That is awful. Who was it?"
"Mr. Stanek," he said. "We just had the funeral this morning,"
"I am sorry I missed it," she lamented.
"It's all right; you had no way of knowing about it."
"Still, I feel awful." She laid back and placed her head on one of the pillows.
Ethan looked at the sorrow on her face. He knew Father James was wrong about her. She cared and felt deeply for every person.
"Wait!" she said, sitting straight up again. "You said 'wolves' as in many of them? Is that what clawed the front door?" she asked.
"Yes," he said. "There were five by my count, but some people saw more."
"A whole pack attacked the town?" she asked. "That is like something out of an old legend, back when werewolves ruled the woods at night."
"I know," Ethan said. "The whole town is worried about the next full moon. Everyone is boarding up their windows and reinforcing their doors. I'm sure they are overreacting, though. Werewolves. How silly. They were just normal wolves. This cold weather probably has them desperate for food."
"You actually saw them?" she asked. "My God, are you all right? You were not injured, were you?" She crawled over to him and put her hand on his face.

"No, no, I'm fine," he said, chuckling over the fuss she was making. He liked how much she cared for him. "I'm fine," he whispered, looking at her beautiful face. His face turned stone serious and he exhaled slowly.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A lonely widower and his teenage step-daughter both find love in a small town. LOVE IN A SMALL TOWN BY JOYCE ZELLER

Title: Love in a Small Town
ISBN: 978-1-62420-200-1
Author: Joyce Zeller

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4


A lonely widower and his teenage step-daughter both find love in a small town.


When Chicagoan, David Martin, moves to Eureka Springs with his step-daughter, he is escaping urban America and all its violence, as well as memories of his deceased wife. A marriage of convenience ended in tragedy and left him to raise a fifteen-year-old daughter whom he has only known for two years. Both father and daughter are testing foreign waters: new home, school and work. Neither expected it, but where there is a will, there is love in a small town.


David Martin settled into the cushioned chaise on his front porch, waiting. His blonde good looks and lithe body, usually relaxed with the confidence of a successful man enjoying his domain, was taut with tension, ready for battle. Eyes narrowed, he searched for the quarry he knew was out there. Rampantly overgrown shrubbery provided a wealth of hiding places among the Victorian gingerbread cottages lining the narrow neighborhood street. Overhead, an unbroken canopy of massive shade trees kept the street dark.
Someone is stalking Sarah.
A shadow moved behind an oleander across the street. There he was, at it again, a strange boy lurking in the bushes, waiting for David's teenage stepdaughter to come walking home from school.
David thought he'd left behind the sick predators, the violence, and the dangers associated with big city living when he decided on the move to Eureka Springs, a Southern town only a day's drive from Chicago. Here they'd have all the peace and security of a small town. He should've known better. He should've listened to Sarah, but he had been in a panic at his sudden role of a widowed, single-parent dad to a daughter he hardly knew, and the responsibility it entailed.
Fortunately, making a living was no problem. As an investment specialist, a Certified Financial Analyst, he managed a small, but select client list of portfolios, which provided a very satisfactory income. He could do business anywhere the Internet was available. He'd chosen this area of the Arkansas Ozarks after learning of it from some of his clients who retired here. The added benefit of two major airports close-by for easy access to any major financial center made moving here a no brainer.
Sarah objected bitterly to leaving all her friends, but he ignored all her protests. Never mind. He knew best; had it all figured out. Well, he was wrong. Moving her away from a sheltered, privileged lifestyle in a private school to a rural environment where she had nothing in common with the people around her was a mistake. God, what a complacent ass he'd become. All he'd gained for his trouble was Sarah's misery.
The boy following her home was about fifteen, Sarah's age, wearing dirty, wrinkled camos that should've been in the laundry days ago. His lank, dark hair hung over his face and down to his chin. Definitely a loser in David's mind.
The wild barking of the dog down the street heralded Sarah's arrival. David tensed, prepared to move at the first sign of trouble. There she was, trudging up the hill. He hated her look of defeat; the way she put one foot in front of the other, muttering to herself, kicking at the weeds growing through the broken sidewalk. Her misery, but all his fault.
Hell, Anne, what have I done to your beautiful daughter? Two years was not enough time to get to know her. She's become someone you wouldn't recognize, wearing those god-awful clothes, and the way she paints her face white, with dark circles around her eyes, dark lipstick, and black nail polish. What's that all about? She’d cut her long blonde hair too short, and colored it green, for God's sake.
She had him completely baffled. His own up-bringing as an only child raised in wealth, more by tutors than continually absent parents, was piss-poor preparation for single-parenthood, and thirty-five was too late to start, especially with a daughter who was virtually a stranger to him.
Sarah sensed the boy's presence, David was sure of it, because she'd stop at intervals, and look around, wary and ready to run. Big city fears, honed to a sharp edge by necessity, and carried as baggage to a new place, were hard to forget. Even in a town as small and old-world as Eureka Springs.
Damn, it's hot.
Greedily, he drank from his glass and watched Sarah approach. Though autumn nights in the south tended to be cool, the daytime heat and humidity held on relentlessly.
The boy moved, keeping pace with her, but remained hidden.
If he touches her, I'll kill him. She's had too much pain in her life to deserve this.
Sarah stopped across the street to talk to the neighbor's dog, an ugly mix of Australian Shepherd and beagle, but beautiful to his soft-hearted daughter. The ruckus of his barking didn't deter her from pulling a treat from the pocket of her sweater and giving it to the dog through the fancy wrought-iron fence, one like all those fronting the old-style houses on the street.
She turned, saw him, waved, and headed over.
Where the hell did she get that ratty old sweater? It sagged from her shoulders and hung to her knees.
"Hi, David."

FBI agent Sable Quinn has survived several attempts on her life by members of the Reardon family. THE UNKNOWN SON BY K. J. DAHLNE FREE ON KU

The Unknown Son
Book Three of the Sable Quinn Trilogy
ISBN: 978-0-936403-09-7
K. J. Dahlen
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

FBI agent Sable Quinn has survived several attempts on her life by members of the Reardon family, serial killers with a link to her own past. Now another family member has surfaced, an UNKNOWN SON determined to murder Sable where others have failed.

But Noah must let Sable live long enough to reclaim a fortune in stolen money, gold, and jewels. Unknowingly, Sable possesses the key to this fortune: an ivory handled knife taken as evidence in the murders of her family members.


With both her life and a fortune on the line, Sable fights her toughest battle yet. Will she survive the final showdown against the last serial killer of the Reardon family?
Sable glanced over at the empty desk in the office and wondered when Max would be back. The bullet he received from Shawn last week had done a number on him, but he survived. She had hoped the nightmare of her past was truly over now but even as she gazed at the open letter on her desk, she knew she might have one more battle to fight.

The letter was from Maggie Yost and it had come out of the blue. She hadn’t thought about Maggie since she’d left Chicago a few months ago. She’d disappeared from the hospital against medical advice after Micah died. Sable tried calling her in Cleveland but Maggie had never returned. Sable learned from Kyle Benson, Maggie’s landlord, she had called him and asked him to pack her things and put them in storage. She would deal with them later. That had happened a couple months ago. Since then he had not seen her or heard from her.

Sable was surprised by Maggie’s letter, but her surprise soon turned to dismay when she read what she had to say. The dismay turned to dread when she realized her nightmare wasn’t quite over yet.

This is the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write. I’ve never admitted this to anyone else, not even myself, but I made a very bad mistake twenty two years ago and now that mistake is going to kill me. I told you I fell in love with Richard at the same time your mother was with Micah, but that wasn’t the truth. Summer had been with Micah earlier, almost two or three years earlier. When Micah and Richard came back and Micah found out about you, that’s when I met Richard.

I fell in love with what I thought was his bad boy image. I didn’t realize what I thought was an image was the real deal until it was too late. He was a real bad person. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. I knew if I left him Richard would track me down and kill me. He told me often enough when he noticed I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I thought he was becoming lost to his own reality then he was dead. When Micah killed Richard, I knew I had to run before he could find and murder me. I saw the fight they had that day and I was witness to the murder. I knew the only way he wouldn’t kill me is if he couldn’t locate me. I had to run away and that’s exactly what I did. I moved around a lot so Micah wouldn’t find me.

It wasn’t until weeks later I found out I was carrying Richard’s child. At first I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the baby or not, but in the end I couldn’t harm my baby. My baby was the only innocent one out of the bunch of us. It was hard to be alone and pregnant, but I knew I couldn’t go home. My family would never have understood my relationship with Richard, and I wanted to keep my baby. When my son Noah was born, I tried to forget his father. I had hopes he would become my son and not a reflection of Richard.

We struggled but we had each other. Noah was such a happy child and he became the love of my life. After awhile, I guess I had forgotten about Micah. I thought I dodged the worse but all that changed when my son was ten. He became secretive and sneaky and he began looking at me with mistrust. I tried to get him to talk to me but he wouldn’t tell me what I’d done wrong. It never dawned on me I could lose him; especially not to the one person I had learned to fear more than Richard. Noah spent a lot of time away from home but he wouldn’t tell me where he was or who he was with. Then when he was fourteen he ran away. It was several weeks before I realized he was running straight to Micah.

Micah sent me a postcard about three weeks after Noah disappeared. He told me not to worry about my son; Noah was with him and he would raise him to be a man, just like his father was. He told me he would be back to settle the score with me at a later date. Every day for the last nine years I’ve had to live with the fear that one day Micah would just show up at my front door. I moved from town to town hoping to avoid the confrontation I knew was coming.

When you found me, I was almost relieved. I’m only sorry I didn’t tell you the truth, the whole truth but I had to keep certain things from you. I still had to protect my son. I prayed Noah wasn’t with Micah and for a moment I thought he wasn’t. When Micah took me to the well, he told me Noah had become the man he had hoped. He said Noah took to the life better than Richard had and if by some chance Micah died in the final battle between the two of you, it would be Noah that would finish his work; Noah, Sam, or Shawn.

I’ve been running for awhile now but it hasn’t done any good. No matter where I go I can still feel him right behind me. I don’t know if he’s really there or not but someone has been watching me. Maybe it’s only my conscience making me feel this way, but the other day I saw someone standing on the corner staring at me. I came to La Crosse to get lost in the crowds but I think Noah has found me again. I know after all I’ve done to you, you have no reason to help me but I’m begging you to please help me. I don’t want to die by my son’s hand.

Even as I write this letter I can feel him getting closer. I received a call late last night. When I picked up the phone, I heard a voice I barely remembered. He told me he was in town and wanted to stop by and say hello. When I told him I didn’t believe him, he told me I shouldn’t. He said he was here to tie up loose ends. He said he had a job to finish and Micah was counting on him to finish it.

“Nick,” she called out.

Nick lifted his head from the report he was reading. When Sable held up the letter she received in the morning mail, he pushed back his chair. Walking over to her desk, he took the letter and began reading it. A moment later he lifted his eyes from the paper and looked at her. “Are you kidding?”

Sable shook her head. “Apparently this nightmare isn’t quite over yet.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mystery, history, and war. Lost Prince transports the reader from pre-Hispanic 16th century Peru to the modern Peru of today. LOST PRINCE BY GREGORY GOURLAY

Title: Lost Prince
ISBN: 978-1-62420-204-9
Author: Gregory Gourlay

Genre: adventure/suspense
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble


Lost Prince
Gregory Gourlay

By Greg Didaleusky 
5 Stars out of 5

A perilous adventure for Garrick Connolly in his pursuit for the hidden treasure of an Incas civilization. The author integrated the story of Yahuar Huaccac, priest of Incas. and his determination to hide the treasures of his people during the Spaniard invasion of Peru. It was fast moving novel. I enjoyed every chapter as the author brought you to a unexpected ending. Reviewed by Greg Didaleusky.


Mystery, history, and war. Lost Prince transports the reader from pre-Hispanic 16th century Peru to the modern Peru of today.


Garrick Connolly, young American war veteran, struggling with his experiences from Afghanistan, learns of the "legend of the cave," the final resting place of the Lost Prince, during a visit to Peru. For centuries, sealed up inside a cliff face in one of the deepest canyons on earth, the mummified remains of Yahuar Huaccac, priest of the Incas, young man of noble birth, has stood lonely vigil over the gleaming antiquities from an Incan temple.

Through the towering Andes Mountains, Garrick follows the clues left behind by Yahuar Huaccac and unlocks the ancient mystery.

Author's note: "There is an actual 'legend of the cave' in an Andean valley I am very familiar with. A cave in a soaring cliff face is sealed up with a black stone. I don't know what is inside."


The four men in U.S. Army combat uniforms stumbled out of the ravine, and trundled through the orderly rows of pomegranate trees at a tired run. Two of them supported a wounded man between them. They halted at the edge of the orchard to quickly scan the stretch of open ground just ahead. Beyond was the extraction place, behind a tumbled down mud brick wall. Camel dung fouled the ground amidst a scattering of aromatic rosemary bushes.
"Go! Go!" panted one of them, a short, black man with sweat rolling down his face in little rivers. "I'll hang on here. Just get on that radio."
He slipped a few yards to one side and sank down onto his belly behind a fruit tree.
Garrick Connolly nodded gratefully in the black man's direction, relief evident on his square, sub-nosed features that someone had taken charge and was making decisions now that the officer was dead. He moved onward without speaking, carrying the wounded man with his remaining comrade.
The wounded man's right leg dangled horribly. A piece of bone, jagged and gleaming white in the hot sunlight, had erupted through the skin of his thigh. A gobbet of flesh appeared set to fall off.
He was unconscious, but when they fell sprawling on a patch of slippery camel dung, a horrible, bubbling scream issued from his throat.
The other man, Robert Maguire, a tall, weedy youth from South Carolina known simply as "Molly," scrabbled backwards in quick revulsion. His eyes looked as agitated and unpredictable as storm scud. His big, under-slung jaw quivered like a baby's set to cry."Sheeeit!" he spewed, despising his wounded friend for his suffering, and for adding to their danger.
Garrick Connolly eyed him disgustedly. "Go ahead," he growled. "Get that radio working. I'll carry him."
"Yeah, man. Shore." Molly licked his lips appreciatively at the offer. He darted a glance at the pomegranate orchard to the rear, then left, his skinny body gliding across the dry Afghan ground as quick and as noiseless as a snake.
Grunting softly, Garrick got the injured man up onto his back. In his early twenties, slim-hipped and wide-shouldered, Garrick carried the load easily. With slow, careful movements to ease the wounded man's injuries, he worked his way along the path Molly had taken.
Molly's voice on the radio drifted in, giving their situation, the words tumbling out. "We got mortared," Molly babbled, "got our shit scattered, only four of us left–one hurt bad. Hajis coming up fast. Require extraction soonest! Repeat, soonest!" He gave their position. "Do you read that? Ovah."
"That's a Roger, good buddy. Ten minutes."
Molly threw himself to the ground, flinging sweat from his face. A soft noise sounded and Garrick appeared. He lowered the wounded man gently to the ground.
"Choppah's comin'," Molly blurted.
"I heard. Thank Christ!"
Molly kept staring at him. "What'cha think?" he shrilled.
Garrick's soft hazel eyes, his one truly beautiful feature, narrowed into anxious slits at these signs of panic, and they tightened further when he looked to the wounded man painting crimson patterns on a patch of sparse grass with blood from his smashed leg. It was their responsibility to get him out, and if Molly didn't keep his head....
"You all right?"
"Shore," Molly shot back. But the telltale tremor in his lantern jaw was back, so Garrick knew he was lying.
Nothing in boot camp, or in advanced individual training, could possibly prepare a soldier for the shock of his first firefight. The realization that enemy soldiers were actually intent on killing you. Killing you! He winced, hearing again the evil sound mortar rounds make leaving the firing tubes–phafft, phafft–and the shattering karrumpp as the shells sent shrapnel and stones and dirt winging in all directions.
A spine of rock slanted down, providing a narrow place for them to shelter behind, the broken mud-brick wall offered some small protection also. Garrick squatted in the meager shelter and waited. He placed a smoke grenade close at hand, and removed the safety clip from a fragmentation grenade. Then, he fell to checking his rifle with nervous fingers for something to do. Long minutes went by.  A soft breeze arrived, fanning his cheek and teasing his nostrils with the combined scent of camel dung and rosemary.
"When's Simpson coming?" he wondered aloud, referring to the black soldier at the pomegranate orchard. "He should pull back. We're gonna be outta here soon."
As if in answer to his question, a lone rifle shot cracked, sounding like one of the World War Two vintage .303s the Taliban sometimes used for longer range work. Garrick's stomach jumped ever so gently. An eternity dragged by, then a recognizable three round burst from a M4 carbine erupted. That would be Simpson.