Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tumble through time… …to Ireland in 1817, when tensions are high between Protestants and Chatolics and faey people guide the fate of villagers. A ST. PATRICK'S DAY TALE



Title: A St. Patrick's Day Tale
Author: Christine Young, C.L. Kraemer, Genene Valleau
ISBN: 978-1-936403-17-2

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

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

BLURB

Tumble through time…

…to Ireland in 1817, when tensions are high between Protestants and Chatolics and faey people guide the fate of villagers. A lovely Catholic lass stumbles upon the weakly ritual fisticuffing between Irish lads. She falls into the lap of a handsome young Protestant. Family ties, grudges, and two conniving faeries threaten their budding love. But the faeries outsmart themselves when they hijack a time machine that has mysteriously appeared in their forest and are whisked to…

…Eugene, Oregon in the 20th century, amid a property feud between the local faeries and night elves. The conniving faeries from Olde Ireland try to stir up more mischief. However, a warrior gnome convinces the magic folk to control their own destiny, and forces the intruding faeries to take refuge in the time machine again, spinning their way toward…

…A modern day castle in western Oregon. An eccentric inventor is determined to reclaim his wayward time machine and save his beloved wife from her latest misadventure. If only they can travel safely past the black hole…


EXCERPT

Star Crossed
Christine Young

Ireland 1816

The ring of knuckles hitting flesh thundered through the brilliant spring morning. Casey O'Connell lifted her skirts and raced up the little knoll behind the old white church. She knew her big bro was fighting. They always fought after church on Sunday. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out why.
"No! Stop it, I say. Patrick O'Connell, you--" Breathing hard Casey barreled through the ring of brawling men.
"Of course, Casey, anything you say," her brother and his friends laughed as he stepped aside.
"Get him, Casey! Land a punch for your big brother and St. Patrick," one of the young men called out.
"The O'Connell's are getting their women folk to fight their battles now?"
"I'll have your head for that, Shaunasey," another joined in.
"Watch your mouth and where you're a starin' or you'll have a black eye so swollen you won't be able to see."
"Woo--eee!" The brawl escalated then seemed to settle around Casey and her off-balance charge through her brother's foes.
Surrounding her she heard raucous cheers, cat calls, and whistles as well as her name. Her arms flailing, she ignored them all and tried desperately to keep her balance.
"Hmph!" She hit hard--a solid rock of muscle--heard the slightest grunt from the object in front of her. Air rushed from her lungs and stars seemed to circle inside her head.
"Oh…" she wailed as the object she hit cradled her with his arms on their way to the dampness of the ground below. Dizziness overwhelmed her. She let her head rest on a muscled chest. She heard a slow even heartbeat then a low rumble of laugher.


Meadows of Gold
C.L. Kraemer

A gentle breeze sighed, undulating the meadow grass lazily and whispering past the forlorn figure slumped on the tree trunk, hands clasped tightly in his lap. Thomas, a forest leprechaun, released a long melancholy breath between his cracked, dry lips. A single plump tear meandered down his stubbled cheek.
The sun sent bright shafts of light through the pine boughs and around the wooden pedestal upon which the morose figure resided. Ignoring the dancing beams, the leprechaun pulled a shuddered breath into his lungs and stared at a spot in front of the stump where a crumpled daisy chain necklace lay withering in the warmth of the afternoon. Another plump tear snaked down his unshaven face.
In the distance, a lone figure scuffed up the lane, which crossed in front of the tree stump. Thomas paid no heed to the approaching form, pulling a thin silver flask from inside his rumpled vest. He blindly opened the lid, placed the opened top to his lips and pulled a deep draught from the container. Refitting the cap to the top, he slipped the silver spirit holder back into his vest. His next shuddered breath was interrupted with a hiccup.
The figure on the road drew closer. Thomas raised his head and squinted his eyes. Was  she coming back? He hiccupped and straightened up. Maybe she had been teasing him when she ran away and now she realized how much he cared for her. His eyes brightened and a smile began to touch his lips.
The figure came around the bend and toward him. The last he'd seen her, she was wearing a diaphanous, thin dress. Had she changed? The form nearing him was clad in leather breeches, a braided leather tunic, and knee-high, soft leather boots. A sword blade strapped to the figure's back flashed in the sunlight. Was Cary so angry she meant to cut him in little pieces? His heart began to pound in his chest and inside his mouth his tongue stuck to the roof.
The figure stopped two lengths from him and raised a hand to shade its eyes from the brightness of the day.
Thomas realized he was shaking. This was it…his life was over. He hung his head.
"Thomas?"
The voice was familiar but it didn't sound like Cary. If it wasn't her…


St. Batzy and the Time Machine
Genene Valleau

Horace Ainsworth patted the side of the giant red fire hydrant towering two stories above him then addressed the terrier mix dog staring at him curiously. "It's finished. Now don't you dig in my Maddie's roses any more or potty on the pansies."
Batzy stared at Horace's retreating back for a moment before he hiked his leg on the nearest flowering plant.
Then he turned his attention to the odd-looking structure the Big Human had erected. Not like any fire hydrant he'd ever sniffed. A canine would have to be the size of King Kong to give this thing a proper marking.
Though it did smell like the water that sprayed out of the hose when the human across the street yelled at him. Batzy grinned and lifted his leg, imagining he was returning the spray of the yelling human.
As he circled this mysterious structure, the smell of fresh paint and overturned earth drifted into his nostrils. It was bigger than the merry-go-round at the park where his human, Chloe, sometimes took him.
Wonder what's inside?
Batzy scratched at the side of the structure then trotted another few steps and scratched again. About halfway around he found an opening. Not tall enough for the Big Human, but just about perfect for his little girl, Chloe. Batzy darted inside and lifted his face to sample the aromas.
No scents of danger but much to explore. Like this box of dirt. Odd. Big humans usually didn't appreciate the joys of digging. Hadn't he just been told not to dig in the rose bushes? A sniff and a poke with his paw uncovered a bone. Fresh out of the package. Batzy looked around. What game was the Big Human playing?
"Batzy!" his little girl was calling him.
Batzy stepped out of the digging pit. Hmm. I smell peanut butter.
He put a front paw on a cabinet for balance and nosed a button. A bone-shaped treat fell into a bowl below. Also fresh out of a package. The Big Human was definitely up to something. Batzy gobbled it down quickly before looking around again.
"Batzy!"
Drat! He had to go. On his way out, Batzy stepped back into the digging box and snatched up the bone. Outside once again, he pushed the bone through the gap under the fence, and squeezed through after it.
He popped up on the other side with only a few more streaks of mud on the white of his belly and wagged his tail at Chloe. He'd go back to explore the Big Human's structure later.





SAS sergeant, Craig Mitchell, is coerced into joining the most covert of groups operating on behalf of the UK government. SHADOWS BY A. W. LAMBERT



A. W. Lambert
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1


BLURB:

SAS sergeant, Craig Mitchell, is coerced into joining the most covert of groups operating on behalf of the UK government. Their mandate: to eliminate by whatever means those who pose the most violent threats to the country before they have the opportunity to strike at the British government and its people. The group’s members, the most experienced and highly trained combatants operate as lone strike forces, each a rogue shadow in a dark threatening world, each blatantly authorized to straddle the legal line. Mitchell’s first mission is to rescue an abducted government minister and deal with the perpetrators. But he is unaware that should any attempt be made to rescue the minister a bomb would be detonated in a highly populated area of the UK.

EXCERPT:

There were three of them. They had been watching him for the last twenty minutes and the signs were not good. He could tell from the body language; the lowered mutterings between them, the constant hooded glances in his direction. He raised the glass of lemon and lime to his lips and took a slow drink, his eyes flicking toward the bar, quickly assessing the situation before dropping back to the newspaper spread in front of him.

The headline followed a familiar theme; Afghanistan, two killed; a roadside bomb. He read the article from start to finish, but there was little need so familiar was he with the situation he could have written it himself. Maybe not, he thought, not quite. His was a different scenario. Death visited the SAS it was true, but frequently in the world of covert operations where men stalked forbidden areas; it was a death covered with a shroud of silence, such headlines suppressed.

His stomach turned a notch as the scene of only a few weeks before invaded his mind. It shouldn't have happened, of course; the advance bombing, the Intelligence report - area clear. But then they were trained, weren't they? Expect the unexpected and deal with it. And they had. That would be of little comfort to Robbo's family, though. Their only compensation would be they wouldn't have heard the sudden withering, incoming. Neither would they have to live forever with the vision of the human form being sliced in two.

It was the largest of the three that made the first move. Leaving the other two at the bar he approached the table, standing for some moments looking down, the derisory expression saying all.

"Army, right?"

He looked up, but said nothing. He knew whatever he said would be of little use.

"I said you're army, right?"

More silence, but with the belligerence emanating from the man standing over him he felt the change begin. Green already beginning its move toward amber.

"Cat got your tongue, has it?" the man sneered. "Or are you just frightened to admit what you are?" He looked back over his shoulder, toward the two grinning at the bar. "Don't need to speak, though, does he, lads? We know what he is, don't we?"

He looked back down, shoulders back, confidence growing.

"Well if you know what I am there's no need for me to speak is there?" The words were soft, tightly clipped. Amber overpowering green now.

"Well, well, it does speak. Bit quiet though. Maybe that's because it ain't got its gun, ain't got all its mates to help it out. Or maybe it's because it ain't just facing a bunch of unarmed civilians it can shoot and nobody gives a toss."

He was hanging in there, his breathing slow and deep, but amber was now firmly in control, tinges of red hovering in the wings. "I came in here to have a quiet drink and read the newspaper," he said softly, his voice only just under control. "Whatever I am is no concern of yours. I would really be obliged if you would go away and leave me in peace."

"Peace?" the man snorted. "Your lot don't know the meaning of the word. You go charging into other countries, especially those you know can't defend themselves, and carve them up. Arabs trying to live a peaceful life, never done any of you lot any harm, and you go in with your guns and knock seven bells out of 'em. Big brave boys, ain't you?"

His breathing was becoming less controlled now and he felt the tremors begin. He wished this would stop. It wasn't how things should be. The ignorant moron standing over him had no idea, couldn't imagine. He closed the newspaper, folding it neatly, taking his time, fighting for composure. Finally, standing, he eyeballed the man in front of him.

"You just don't know," he said.

"Don't know," the man spat. "I'll tell you what I do know. I know when you lot went into Iraq it was illegal. I know you invaded a country you all knew couldn't defend itself and was an easy target. And I know you killed thousands of innocent civilians. I know that."

He stood, his face only inches away from the spitting tirade confronting him, his whole body now bowstring taut, his insides in turmoil. Slowly the fear began to creep into him. Not a fear of the man opposite, but a fear of himself, a fear of knowing what could happen. He said nothing. There was nothing to say, nothing he could say. He needed to get away, to leave this place, but the man stood before him, blocking his escape and now red was moving in and fast.




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An action-packed tale of the early days of Marijuana smuggling. Ride along as four country boys take the risks and pay the fines... A SMUGGLER'S STORY BY JOHN SIKES




A Smuggler's Story
John R. Sikes
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1


BLURB:

An action-packed tale of the early days of Marijuana smuggling. Ride along as four country boys take the risks and pay the fines for living through the times of getting high and tuning in. If you like bull riding, fast cars, and crazy cowboys, you'll love this fun-filled sometimes bitter, sometimes sad, story of what it was like to be in the middle of the drug running business. From the war in Vietnam to the War on Drugs, it covers the feelings of many of those that lived and died during those times. Find out by who and how the notorious bloodthirsty drug cartels were formed; the shocking truth of how they came by the weapons needed to take control of the land of drugs and routes they needed to bring them to the United States.     


Excerpt

Rafael had just finished watering his Marijuana plants when he heard the helicopter coming. For a minute he thought it was going to fly right on by, till it made a quick circle and came to a dusty landing at the edge of the plot. Goats feeding in and around the clothing hung on a line in the yard behind his small house were sent scattering in the wind. Two armed Mexicans and one gringo stepped from the stripped down Huey helicopter.

"Buenos Dias. Do you speak English?" the gringo asked Rafael as the dust settled from the spinning rotors.

"Si señor," Rafael answered as he studied the gringo's face hidden behind the mirrored sunglasses.

"Good, I hate to have these interpreters doing my talking. I am officer Baker. We were doing some aerial surveillance and noticed your field of Marijuana. You do know it is illegal to grow it here in Mexico, don't you?"

"Oh no, señor, no one ever told me I could not grow this."

"Well, it is," Officer Baker replied. "I am here as an advisor to the Mexican Police Department on how to deal with this drug problem. Now, we have a couple of ways of doing this. One, we can take this copter and spray your field here with this chemical called paraquat; it will kill everything it touches and leaves your ground worthless, or we can work something out where everybody gets a piece of the action."

Officer Baker loved his job. He had thought the military was the life for him. When he was accused of stealing supplies from the army base where he was stationed, his attitude changed. Given the chance of an early out or court marshal, he decided a different career was in order. Luckily for him, the base commander was willing to sweep everything out the door instead of having to go through a court case that wasn't going to make anyone look good. When a job opened up with the U.S. government to help transfer a bunch of extra Huey helicopters back from active duty in Vietnam to the Mexican Police Force, he jumped on it. Still a little shocked they hired him, he was quick to take advantage of the situation. Officer Baker had found a kindred soul running the Mexican War on Drugs Program. They both knew the war was lost before it even started. It was a mutual agreement to turn this golden opportunity into a cash cow. They had come up with a plan to use the equipment given to them by the U.S. government to their own advantage. Why settle for the meager income their respective positions paid when they had the chance to become rich?

Officer Baker said, "Now, here is what I am willing to do for you. I can overlook this patch of contraband and we can come to some agreement on a price to do so, or I can tell the pilot to spay your field and turn you over to the local law enforcement."

Rafael knew he was caught between a rock and a hard spot. Losing his crop was bad enough, but he knew a ride with the local policia would most likely be a one-way trip.

"Now, I don't want you to think this is the end of the world." Officer Baker continued. "What I have in mind is more like forming a union for you growers. You can call it a 'cartel' if you like. We will have someone show up to help you harvest. They will brick up the pot into kilos. A twenty-five dollar fee will be paid on each kilo you produce, and of course you will be expected to spilt the money you get from your buyer. For this, we allow you to keep growing and also provide protection from any further harassment by any law enforcement or from anybody else."

"I don't see I have much of a choice, señor." Rafael said, looking into Officer Baker's mirrored glasses.

"Well, I guess you don't. I'll expect to meet your buyer soon. I will want him to start handling some of our other products for us too. If he doesn't handle Cocaine and Smack now, I'm sure he will when he finds out the money that can be made. We can even arrange a no worry crossing at the border for an additional fee. Here is a number you can reach us through. I'll be expecting a call. Have a nice day." Officer Baker signaled the other officers and Rafael was soon left standing in the dust from the departing helicopter.



The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn... SHADOW'S END BY COURTNEY RENE FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED



Shadow's End
Courtney Rene

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1



The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn, not just by King Gideon, but also by the rebels that were once Sunny’s allies. Due to unexpected trips to the ice realm and the fire realm, new allies are found to help build the Army of the Sun. There are new worlds explored. New friends and new enemies made. Ready or not, Sunny must prepare for what is coming as well as decide where she belongs within it all. But…what about prom? What about Leif? What about home? How can she, just a seventeen year old girl, rule a whole world? She’s not even sure if she can get through finals.


EXCERPT

Leif turned his attention briefly to Lucas, who had stayed silent up to that point. “I see you have moved on. Rather quick don’t you think?” he said.

I refused to answer his taunt. Instead, I said to Lucas, “You about ready?”

A red flush of color appeared across Leif’s normally pale cheeks. I didn’t care. I was not going to be baited or made to feel bad for being out with Lucas. Was it a date? It hadn’t been specifically declared that, but it was something more than just an outing too. Maybe I was moving on, but that was my business. Not Leif’s.

“Yep. I’m ready,” Lucas said, then shoved the last bite of burger into his mouth and stood to clear the table.

I did the same, and gathered up my trash and belongings.

Leif suddenly and inexplicably became enraged. Either he was more upset about Lucas than I had realized or he really was going a bit on the loopy side. He grabbed my arm painfully and said, “We aren’t through here.”

“Stop it! You’re hurting me,” I said through gritted teeth. I didn’t want to cause a scene in the middle of the mall. People were already staring.

That was all the action Lucas needed to get involved. He slammed one big hand down on Leif’s shoulder and said as calm as could be, “I think you should release her.”

Leif did let go, which should have made me wary as he wasn’t the give up easy type, but I was too busy rubbing circulation back into my arm to think about it.

Leif spun around to face Lucas. “You can mind your own business. This is between her and me.”

“You made it my business when you laid a hand on her,” Lucas said, not backing down an inch.

Side by side the two were colored very alike, but that was where the similarities ended. Leif had ice blue eyes and Lucas had warm blue, inviting eyes. Leif was tall, thin, but wiry strong. Lucas was tall and bulky with evident muscles and strength.

“You don’t know what you are dealing with here,” Leif said and took a step closer to Lucas. It was like he was daring him to engage.

Lucas though, appeared calm and easy, no hint of aggression. “Yes. Actually I do.”

I began to realize that Leif didn’t recognize Lucas. He really didn’t know who he was. Leif didn’t have any special gifts other than begin a shadow walker tracker. Why then was he being so aggressive?

A wave of confusion crossed over Leif’s features for a moment. He stepped back and regarded Lucas. “You a walker?”

“Among other things. What’s it to you?”

Leif again grabbed my arm, not quite as hard that time, but hard enough to make me wince, and pulled me forward to stand almost next to him. “Then you know what she is,” he said.

I was getting a bit annoyed at being talked about like I wasn’t standing there. I was also getting angry at being manhandled by Leif. Incidentally, the anger is what caused me to pull in a bit of the energy from around us. I only grabbed a small ball of it, but it was enough to concern me. Whether in small or large amounts, energy was just as hard to control.

“Yes, I do,” Lucas said.

Leif leaned toward Lucas until he was just a few inches away from his face, glared hard with half squinted eyes, and said, “They you also know she’s mine. I found her. You don’t get to have her.”

That was it. I didn’t care about the pain it was going to cause me. I purposefully and intentionally, pushed out a zap of energy at Leif, where he held my arm. Not enough to really hurt him, but it was enough to have him jerk his hand off me in surprise and a bit of pain. Rage clouded his eyes for a moment as he directed his gaze on me.

I rounded on him with the full force of my own rage and completely ignored his. “You!” I said and poked a finger into his chest. “Don’t get to own me! No one gets to own me.”

He took a step back. I stepped forward and poked him again. “I get to decide who I want to be with and who gets to be with me.” Again he took a step back, and me a step forward, and I poked him hard in the chest, hard enough to make my finger twinge in pain at the abuse, but I ignored it. “I get to decide. Do you hear me, Leif?”

“Sunny,” Lucas said from behind me. “You have an audience.”

Without taking my eyes from Leif, I swung an arm behind me with my hand up at him, hoping that I conveyed with that one action, to shut up.

I did lower my voice at least. “You had your chance with me, but you chose to lie, to cheat, to keep me in the dark and at your mercy. You don’t get to decide anything about me anymore.”

I turned away from him and stepped back to my table, where I again began to gather up the debris from lunch. “Go home, Leif. There’s nothing here for you anymore.”

“Yes, there is,” he said softly from directly behind me. I hadn’t heard him come up next to me. Then even softer he said, “This isn’t over between us, Sunny. I’m not giving up.”

I glanced over my shoulder at him. The man before me was the Leif I knew. The Leif I had fallen in love with. The ice was missing from his face and his eyes and my heart felt the pain of losing him all over again. Why did it still hurt to see him, to be next to him? “Leif,” I whispered. “Go home. Please.”

Without regard to the people around us, he phased into the shadows and was gone.

“Sunny?”

“Yeah, Lucas,” I said as I stared at the place that Leif had vanished. I was suddenly so tired.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll live.”

“Um…do you know that you have a slight glow of white around you?”

No. I didn’t know that. I closed my eyes and sighed. “Great.”