GET BRANDED (SINNERS #1) - PLUS GIVEAWAY

GET BRANDED with Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki: I’ve read this wonderful book by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki (review to be featured soon) and enjoyed it immensely. It is creative, with very interesting and terrifying world-building.

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Welcome to the GET BRANDED promo for

Branded (Sinners #1)
by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

Branded-Cover

Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

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Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
Publisher: Month9Books

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Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams. The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough. My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back. Death and I glare at each other through my tears. I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here. I’m ready to go. On the count of three. I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now. A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand waiting with the rope hanging around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls. Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head. Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home. It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me. My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name. On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder. Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder. “Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners. Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying. Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now. My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest. Gotta keep going. “Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me. I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost. My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners. I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped. Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them. “You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave.” I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them, even as I shiver with fear. “There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says. I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care. The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes. My dignity is all I have left. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. Did they need so many guards to capture me? I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that. The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass, and the air grows warmer, more humid the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade. To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does. “All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told. “You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face. Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him. They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole. Few have seen the Commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation. I lose myself in thoughts of my father. “Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love. “Get out,” the guard says while pulling me to my feet. The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness. The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line, and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white with fear. Some are hardened criminals; others, like me, are innocent. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip. I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying. “I didn’t mean to hit the guard. I swear it!” he pleads. I turn my head when I see a guard whip out his baton. The thumping sounds of his beating unnerve me. “Spread your legs,” one of the guards says icily. They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body. What do they think I can possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me. “MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up. One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five of us sit in the holding room. A woman clings to a man sitting next to her. She grips his arm and I can see the whitening of her knuckles. Her eyes meet mine and then she quickly turns away. He’s bent over his hands, defeated. “I’m not the criminal they say I am,” he whispers. His voice breaks. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. I hear screaming from somewhere inside. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens. “Lexi Hamilton.” A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. The first thing I see is a large photo of a regal-looking man on the wall. His frame is wide and he has cobalt blue eyes and a shock of black hair. He’s handsome, middle-aged, and wears the uniform of the Commander. My jaw drops open. It can’t be… Then the door slams closed. I feel their strong arms pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. They exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks. “Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.” A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck. Click. Click. Click. The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust — Blue Gluttony — Orange Greed — Yellow Sloth — Black Wrath — Red Envy — Green Pride — Purple

“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.” Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks. “GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar. He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me, and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out. Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. And that large, gilded photo stares at me like it’s watching. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual. I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor. “Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire up from my neck to my jaw, making me wince. He shrugs and points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my clothes and pulling the shirt over my head, I try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name. “Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says. I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his fist. “Give it to me.” His eyes turn to slits. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg. “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me. “It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand and said, “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.

You can overcome anything… short of death.

“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?” A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist. “Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance. “What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?” “Nothing,” I respond, confused. “What color are they?” “Turquoise.” I glower at him. “Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.” Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand. “Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside. “You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead in the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk. “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice. “Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute. “Let’s move,” Cole says. I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

 

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

[caption id=”attachment_14078” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”]Courtesy of authors' website Courtesy of authors’ website[/caption]

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumbler

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

meaganspooner:

Years ago, when I first started blogging about writing and my hopes of one day getting published, I ran my first book giveaway to celebrate my birthday. Now, July 5th is the day I set aside to thank you guys for reading my books, for listening to me ramble on Twitter and Tumblr, and for just generally being awesome, book-loving, YA-reading rockstars. You guys are the best birthday present a girl could ask for.

To celebrate I’m giving away ALL of my books, including an early ARC of This Shattered World, plus swag, across five different winners, open internationally*. I’ll be drawing one of the four basic prize winners each Saturday leading up to the final grand prize drawing from the entire pool of entrants on July 31. The first drawing is TONIGHT, so jump on it sooner rather than later!

FOUR BASIC PRIZES: Your choice of any one of the above books signed and personalized, plus signed swag. (ARC of This Shattered World, poster, and custom These Broken Stars necklace are only available for the grand prize.)

ONE GRAND PRIZE: EVERYTHING pictured above! All signed/personalized however you want them. 

HOW TO ENTER:

  • Newsletter (+5): Enter by subscribing to the newsletter I share with amiekaufman. Each entry here is worth five points in the drawings. (If you already subscribe, you’ve already automatically got these points in the drawing!)
  • Twitter (+1): Retweet this tweet. (Can do this once a day for more points!)
  • Tumblr (+1): Reblog this post. (Can do this once a day for more points!) 

See below for contest fine print and basic contest policy/rules.

JULY/AUGUST ISSUE OF BTSEMAG.COM - CHECK IT OUT!

Follow BTSE @ Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Triberr, & Google+

COVET BOOK BLAST AND GIVEAWAY


Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.


Today I’m happy to be featuring Covet’s July releases:



So I Married A Werewolf by Kristen Miller

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Carter Griffin, enforcing officer for the Seattle Wolf Pack, has been offered the promotion of his dreams…if he can find a wife to prove he’s over his playboy ways. But Carter’s already been there, done that. Faith Hamilton needs money to put her younger brother through college. Okay, and she totally wants Carter, her sexy next-door neighbor, to look at her as more than a friend. It’s too bad size 12 and plain isn’t his type. At all. When the two friends strike a deal to help one another out, will it spark a love neither anticipated?





Forbidden Kiss by Shannon Leigh

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Rom Montgomery seeks the unobtainable: forgiveness. He wanders across continents and through time searching for salvation and the means to right an ancient wrong. To gain the respect and position she’s desired in the academic world, Jule Casale hopes to discover the unknown artist behind a masterpiece of Renaissance art. When Jule comes knocking on Rom’s door, it’s the closest he’s ever come to finally finding redemption. The closer he draws to correcting his past mistakes, the more his secrets threaten to destroy the woman who might hold the key to his future.


COVET BOOK BLAST AND GIVEAWAY


Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.


Today I’m happy to be featuring Covet’s July releases:



So I Married A Werewolf by Kristen Miller

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Carter Griffin, enforcing officer for the Seattle Wolf Pack, has been offered the promotion of his dreams…if he can find a wife to prove he’s over his playboy ways. But Carter’s already been there, done that. Faith Hamilton needs money to put her younger brother through college. Okay, and she totally wants Carter, her sexy next-door neighbor, to look at her as more than a friend. It’s too bad size 12 and plain isn’t his type. At all. When the two friends strike a deal to help one another out, will it spark a love neither anticipated?





Forbidden Kiss by Shannon Leigh

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Rom Montgomery seeks the unobtainable: forgiveness. He wanders across continents and through time searching for salvation and the means to right an ancient wrong. To gain the respect and position she’s desired in the academic world, Jule Casale hopes to discover the unknown artist behind a masterpiece of Renaissance art. When Jule comes knocking on Rom’s door, it’s the closest he’s ever come to finally finding redemption. The closer he draws to correcting his past mistakes, the more his secrets threaten to destroy the woman who might hold the key to his future.


Greene’s Calling Book Release and Character Interview and GIVEAWAY


Greene’s Calling (Seventeen #3) (From Goodreads)
A.D. Starrling (Goodreads Author)

An immortal healer.
An ancient legacy reborn.
A chain of cataclysmic events that threatens to change the fate of the world.


When a plane crashes in the Amazonian swamp where Conrad Greene is attempting to live out the rest of eternity, the jaded immortal who was once one of the Bastian First Council’s greatest assets stumbles across a conspiracy involving the recently elected president of the United States.

Caught in the middle of the intrigue is US Secret Service agent Laura Hartwell, the one immortal on Earth most likely to put a bullet through Greene’s skull.

Greene is coerced into returning to the life he had left behind by the leader of the Bastians and reluctantly agrees to assist the Americans in their investigation. As disturbing incidents start to unfold around the globe, Greene and a team of elite human and immortal agents must track down an elusive organization hell-bent on shifting the power balance of the world.

Can Greene stop the deadly countdown that threatens to alter the course of human history and regain the trust of the woman he loves?

The riveting and fast-paced third installment in the award-winning, supernatural thriller series Seventeen is finally here.

Hi, All, today I’m fortunate to have AD Starrling, author of Greene’s Calling interviewing one of the main characters in the book. Let’s see how the interview went, shall we?

CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Location: Unmarked SUV, Baltimore-Washington Airport, DC

Date: October 2011

Interviewer: AD Starrling

Character: Laura Hartwell, one of the lead characters in Greene’s Calling, the third novel in the award-winning supernatural thriller series Seventeen

AD: Hi Laura. How are you doi—?

Laura: Is this going to take long? We’re in a rush. *glances at a Learjet on the tarmac some fifty feet from the vehicle*

AD: Er, no. I have a few questions from the fans of the series.

Laura: Okay. Make it snappy.

AD: When and where were you born?

Laura: 1643. Copenhagen, Denmark.

AD: That would make you…

Laura: 368 years old. Do the math.

AD: Where do you call home?

Laura: I have an apartment in Washington.

AD: How long have you been there?

Laura: *frowns* That’s classified information.

AD: Ah. Er, have you lived anywhere else for a considerable period of time?

Laura: Europe.

AD: Do you live alone?

Laura: Yes.

AD: Do you have any birthmarks or other identifying marks?

Laura: *shrugs* I have a few moles in places I wouldn’t care to mention.

AD: What do you value the most in your friends?

Laura: True grit.

AD: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Laura: Treachery.

AD: Your greatest regret?

Laura: *stiffens* Placing my trust in someone who used to be close to me.

AD: What is your most treasured possession?

Laura: A painting of my dead brother.
AD: What would you say is your greatest achievement?
Laura: Working as an intelligence operative in both the human and immortal worlds.
AD: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Laura: *hesitates* To be able to turn back the clock to a time when the two most important men in my life were still with me.
AD: What is your greatest fear?

Laura: Never finding happiness again.

AD: Do you have a secret?

Laura: *frowns* That’s none of your business.

AD: *smiles hesitantly* Does it have something to do with Conrad Greene?

Laura: Like I said, it’s none of your business. *faint flush taints her cheeks*

AD: How would you like to die?

Laura: I’m not planning on dying just yet.

AD: What is your life’s motto?

Laura: Complete the mission at all costs. *stirs in her seat and stares at the man strolling down the steps of the Learjet* Are we done here?

AD: Hmm, well, I have a few more ques—

Laura: Sorry but I’ve got to go.

AD: *looks at the man standing by the airplane steps* Hey, isn’t that Con—

Laura: Goodbye. *opens the door and exits the vehicle*

AD: … Drat…

Interview ends

Um, thank you AD and Laura. Well, since that ended rather abruptly, below is an excerpt from the book for you to enjoy:

CHAPTER ONE

July 1706. London. Kingdom of England.

Conrad Greene ran across the wet, sloping lead roof of the Banqueting House, his breath misting in the cool night air. Moonlight flashed on metal to his right. He caught a glimpse of a blade falling toward his neck and ducked. The sword skimmed past his head with a faint hum. Feet skidding on the slick surface, he spun around, dropped to one knee, and lifted the short, silver-gilded staff in his hands.
A grunt sounded above him as the burly swordsman brought his weapon down once more. The edge of the blade struck the staff hard, raising sparks in the gloom. The man’s lips pulled back in a vicious grin, exposing two uneven rows of stained teeth. The muscles and veins in his neck and arms bulged with superhuman strength as he drove the sword into the staff.
Conrad’s elbows slowly folded toward his chest. Air left his lips in a low hiss as the tip of the man’s blade inched closer to his left eye. He pushed back with the staff with all his might, dark spots dancing across his vision.
A figure dashed past them on the left. Conrad caught a glimpse of soft, brown curls. His heart stuttered inside his chest. He swore, fell back, and rolled out of the way of the falling blade.
He landed close to the balustrade that ran around the top of the building and climbed swiftly to his feet. Ignoring the swordsman charging toward him, he peered through the rainfall at the dark shapes engaged in a fast-paced and deadly battle on the moonlit rooftop. His eyes sought and found the woman who had run by him.
She was almost at the north end of the terrace, where a young man with brown hair and eyes stood confronted by three armed attackers; blood from the wounds on his left shoulder and flank had already soaked through his long-sleeved, ruffle shirt and stained his leather jerkin.
‘William!’ the woman yelled, her voice edged with fear and desperation. She passed the weather vane on the sloping roof and unsheathed the rapier at her waist.
Relief darted across the younger man’s face at the sound of his name. He glanced at the woman over his attackers’ shoulders and raised his own blade to block another strike.
Conrad clenched his teeth. He turned to face his opponent and twisted one of the metal rings on his short staff. The weapon extended and a spear blade sprang out at either end. A loud battle cry preceded the attack of the burly swordsman a heartbeat later.
Conrad blocked his blade, kicked him in the groin, and hooked the staff behind his neck. He yanked the man’s head down at the same time that he drove his knee up into his face. A guttural groan left his adversary’s lips, and he slid to the ground, unconscious.
A flurry of activity to the right captured Conrad’s attention. Another group of men had rushed onto the rooftop terrace of the Banqueting House. He scanned the other fighters around him, anxiety twisting his stomach; he and his companions were now heavily outnumbered.
His eyes suddenly widened. The newcomers had drawn their swords and were heading resolutely for the running woman and the wounded man still fighting at the north end of the building. Knuckles whitening on his staff weapon, Conrad moved to intercept the men.
The woman reached the figures at the edge of the terrace. She stepped in front of the injured young man and swung her thin blade around in a flurry of strikes and blocks at his three attackers. Rage darkened her face and a roar left her lips. The men fell back under her fierce attack.
The wounded man sagged behind her and gripped his bleeding limb. Even from a distance, Conrad read the fear and confusion on his features. The man turned and flinched when he met Conrad’s eyes.
The expression on his face left no doubt in his mind. William Hartwell was the one who had betrayed them. Bile flooded the back of Conrad’s throat. Hartwell looked away. His lips moved, forming words that were lost in the stormy night as he shouted something at the men trying to kill him.
For an infinitesimal moment, the woman faltered, a flicker of incomprehension flashing across her face. She cast a quick look over her shoulder at the one she was trying to protect. Their closest assailant moved and brought down his sword. The blade arced across her left arm, carving a deep cut from her elbow to her wrist.
A cry escaped her lips. She took a step back and warded off another blow inches from her neck. Hartwell moved forward then, anger blazing across his face. He raised his sword and joined in the fray once more.
Conrad got to within twenty feet of them before he crossed paths with the four men he was trying to head off. He raised the double-bladed spear staff and spun it through the air. The gilded wood deflected the silver swirl of swords that danced toward his body while the jagged tips blurred, slicing and stabbing through flesh. One man fell, his fingers rising to the spurting crimson stream pouring from the wound on his neck. Another followed him to the ground seconds later.
A single scream suddenly shattered the night.
The sound was a knife that cut straight through Conrad’s soul. He blocked a blow to his head and looked to his left.
William Hartwell had backed up against the balustrade. Conrad froze and felt time slow down.
The young man tipped over the edge and fell from the terrace, dragging his three attackers with him. The woman leapt forward through the curtain of glittering rain, crystal drops crashing on her skin, her movements heavy and sluggish in that stolen moment of stillness. She leaned over the balcony, fingers clutching desperately at the figures plummeting toward the ground. Her hands closed on empty space.
The bodies struck the street three stories below with a dull thud.
Time unfroze in a cacophony of sounds and sensations. Thunder rumbled across the heavens, underscoring the battle cries around Conrad. Cold wetness drenched his hair and face, bringing the sharp scent of the storm to his nostrils and a tangy taste to his lips. Lightning tore a brilliant, jagged path across his vision and made him blink.
Heat suddenly erupted across his chest when a blade slashed his skin. Blood bloomed on his shirt. Conrad scowled and focused on his two remaining adversaries. By the time he had disposed of them, the woman had disappeared from the rooftop.
He looked at the other fighters around him and felt a rush of relief at the sight that met his eyes; despite the odds, his men were winning.
‘Go!’ yelled someone to his right. The red-haired figure who had spoken danced nimbly out of the way of a blade and stabbed his opponent savagely in the chest. Pale eyes glanced at him for a second. ‘We’ve got this, Greene!’
Conrad bobbed his head jerkily and twisted the ring that retracted the staff’s spear blades. He raced for the door that led inside the building.
By the time he reached the ground floor, the wound on his chest had stopped bleeding. He knew without looking that the skin beneath his torn shirt was once more unblemished.
He found the woman on her knees by the pile of bodies that lay in an awkward tangle of broken limbs at the north base of the Banqueting House. She was leaning over William Hartwell, sobs shuddering through her as she stroked his pale face with shaking fingers; blood from the wound in her arm mingled with his where it seeped from the irregular depression on his temple. Hartwell’s chest rose and fell shallowly with his breaths. He was unconscious.
The woman looked around at Conrad’s footsteps, her hazel eyes wild with anguish.
‘Do something, please!’ she begged.
Conrad sank to the ground next to her, his voice frozen in his throat. He placed his left hand on the young man’s head and closed his eyes.
A burst of energy flared inside his chest and pulsed down toward his elbow. It darted through the birthmark dancing along his forearm and flashed to the ends of his fingers. He inhaled deeply and guided the flow of his power inside the broken body of William Hartwell.
Bone popped beneath his hand. The young man’s flesh slowly began to knit together.
Sweat broke across Conrad’s brow. The battle had drained him of much of his strength; he could feel Hartwell’s torn tissues resisting his ability to heal them. He ground his teeth together and willed his exhausted body to cooperate.
‘What’s happening?’ said the woman. Panic raised the pitch of her voice. She grabbed Conrad’s shoulders and shook him, her fingers biting into his skin. ‘Why isn’t he waking up?’
Conrad sagged as he felt his own life force start to ebb; he was nearing the limits of his ability. He blinked and swayed. Dark blotches clouded his vision. The woman’s frantic words became a roar in his ears.
A moan suddenly broke through the rush of blood inside his head. He looked down and saw Hartwell’s eyes open. Within the dark pupils of the man he had come to know and love as a brother, Conrad Greene read the words he could no longer utter.
William Hartwell wanted to die. He also yearned for something else.
Conrad gasped and slowly pulled his power back inside his own body, his fingers trembling on the cooling skin of the dying man. Hartwell shivered beneath his touch.
‘Why are you stopping?’ yelled the woman. ‘Save him!’
Conrad knew there were only seconds left; he could feel Death’s shadow approaching through the thunderstorm raging across the city. He leaned down and brought his lips to Hartwell’s ear.
‘I forgive you,’ he whispered, his vision blurring with tears. He pulled back slightly and saw Hartwell blink once. The young man’s last breath left his mouth and caressed Conrad’s cheek.
William Hartwell stared unseeingly at the rain falling from the night sky, his face serene and his body relaxing in death.
‘No,’ mumbled the woman. ‘No, this isn’t happening!’ Her voice rose to a scream. ‘Why did you let him die? Why? Goddamn you—!’ Grief overwhelmed her and she wept brokenly.
Conrad’s heart shattered inside his chest as he looked at the woman he loved and saw hate dawn in the depths of her hazel eyes.


AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Pediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.

Her debut novel Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1) has won and been nominated for several awards, as has her second novel King’s Crusade.

She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the next installment in the series. She still practices medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.

To find out more, please visit her at the following social media sites:

To find out more, please visit her at:
Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
www.adstarrling.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/AD-Starrling/382768535066991
http://twitter.com/adstarrling
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6469599.A_D_Starrling
Email: ads@adstarrling.com

I hope you enjoyed this tiny taste of Greene’s Calling. Be sure to enter the giveaway. Thanks for visiting Let’s Talk About Books!

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BELINDA BORING’S DARKNESS UNLEASHED RELEASES TODAY

 

Are you new to The Mystic Wolves Series?! Book #1 is Free!

Purchase the Series so far:

 NOW AVAILABLE
July 27th, 2014
The Mystic Wolves #6 
- Darkness Unleashed

Nothing is as it seems. Alliances will be forged and broken. Friendships will be tested. The bitter sting of betrayal cuts the deepest … prepare your hearts for the DARKNESS UNLEASHED.
As the startling truth behind Darcy’s strange behavior is revealed, the race begins as time runs out for Mason to save his beloved mate. Fighting against an unknown enemy, he must rely on instinct and powerful magic to uncover the devious plot to destroy the woman he loves. Just when Mason thinks he understands and has everything under control, the true mastermind behind recent attacks steps forward to claim authority over the Supernatural community. As the Master releases his cruelty and malice on those who dare to defy him, it will take everything the Mystic Wolves Alpha has to protect those he’s pledged to serve.






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The Mystic Wolves #7 
- Last Wolf Standing
Release Day November 2nd 2014

Don’t miss out on the stunning seventh installment in the Mystic Wolves series.
War has come to the Mystic Wolves Pack—one the will bring old enemies together in the desperate fight to destroy the Master. Things have never been so dire for Mason and Darcy as their love for each other and their friends fuel their determination to win at any cost.
Lives are on the line, heartache inevitable. Who will be THE LAST WOLF STANDING?

Pre-Order Last Wolf Standing!
     


About the author
belinda
A homesick Aussie living amongst the cactus and mountains of Arizona, Belinda Boring is a self proclaimed addict of romance and all things swoon worthy. When she’s not devouring her latest read, you can find her celebrating her passion for books on her blog The Bookish Snob.
With all that excitement, it wasn’t long before she began writing, pouring her imagination and creativity into the stories she dreams. Whether urban fantasy, paranormal romance or romance in general, Belinda strives to share great plots with heart and characters that you can’t help but connect with. Of course, she wouldn’t be Belinda without adding heroes she hopes will curl your toes.
Surrounded by a supportive cast of family, friends and the man she gives her heart and soul to, Belinda is living the good life.



Greene’s Calling (Seventeen #3)
By A.D. Starrling
Release Date: June 16, 2014
Paperback, 394 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Action / Mystery
FROM THE AWARD WINNING AND NOMINATED SERIES SEVENTEEN.
An immortal healer.

An ancient legacy reborn.

A chain of cataclysmic events that threatens to change the fate of the world. 


When a plane crashes in the Amazonian swamp where Conrad Greene is attempting to live out the rest of eternity, the jaded immortal who was once one of the Bastian First Council’s greatest assets stumbles across a conspiracy involving the recently elected president of the United States.



Caught in the middle of the intrigue is US Secret Service agent Laura Hartwell, the one immortal on Earth most likely to put a bullet through Greene’s skull.



Greene is coerced into returning to the life he had left behind by the leader of the Bastians and reluctantly agrees to assist the Americans in their investigation. As disturbing incidents start to unfold around the globe, Greene and a team of elite human and immortal agents must track down an elusive organization hell-bent on shifting the power balance of the world.



Can Greene stop the deadly countdown that threatens to alter the course of human history and regain the trust of the woman he loves?



The riveting and fast-paced third installment in the award-winning, supernatural thriller series Seventeen is finally here.









July 21 - Southern Mess Moms – Review & Interview

July 22 - Brooke Blogs – Character Profile
July 22 - A Book Addict’s Delight – Top Ten

July 23 - Jess Resides Here - Interview
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July 25 - Indie Authors You Want to Read – Character Interview
July 28 - Let’s Talk About Books - Review

July 29 - Laura’s Online Interests – Character Profile
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July 30 - Like a Bump on a Blog - Special Post
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July 31- Karin Baker – Hosted by Cabin Goddess - Review
July 31 - Rayna Noire – Playlist

August 1 – FanGirlish.com – 2 for 1 Friday Review 
August 1 - Tracy Riva Books & Reviews - Review




CHAPTER ONE

Conrad Greene ran across the wet, sloping lead roof of the Banqueting House, his breath misting in the cool night air. Moonlight flashed on metal to his right. He caught a glimpse of a blade falling toward his neck and ducked. The sword skimmed past his head with a faint hum. Feet skidding on the slick surface, he spun around, dropped to one knee, and lifted the short, silver-gilded staff in his hands.


A grunt sounded above him as the burly swordsman brought his weapon down once more. The edge of the blade struck the staff hard, raising sparks in the gloom. The man’s lips pulled back in a vicious grin, exposing two uneven rows of stained teeth. The muscles and veins in his neck and arms bulged with superhuman strength as he drove the sword into the staff.

Conrad’s elbows slowly folded toward his chest. Air left his lips in a low hiss as the tip of the man’s blade inched closer to his left eye. He pushed back with the staff with all his might, dark spots dancing across his vision.


A figure dashed past them on the left. Conrad caught a glimpse of soft, brown curls. His heart stuttered inside his chest. He swore, fell back, and rolled out of the way of the falling blade.

He landed close to the balustrade that ran around the top of the building and climbed swiftly to his feet. Ignoring the swordsman charging toward him, he peered through the rainfall at the dark shapes engaged in a fast-paced and deadly battle on the moonlit rooftop. His eyes sought and found the woman who had run by him.


She was almost at the north end of the terrace, where a young man with brown hair and eyes stood confronted by three armed attackers; blood from the wounds on his left shoulder and flank had already soaked through his long-sleeved, ruffle shirt and stained his leather jerkin.

‘William!’ the woman yelled, her voice edged with fear and desperation. She passed the weather vane on the sloping roof and unsheathed the rapier at her waist.


Relief darted across the younger man’s face at the sound of his name. He glanced at the woman over his attackers’ shoulders and raised his own blade to block another strike.

Conrad clenched his teeth. He turned to face his opponent and twisted one of the metal rings on his short staff. The weapon extended and a spear blade sprang out at either end. A loud battle cry preceded the attack of the burly swordsman a heartbeat later.


Conrad blocked his blade, kicked him in the groin, and hooked the staff behind his neck. He yanked the man’s head down at the same time that he drove his knee up into his face. A guttural groan left his adversary’s lips, and he slid to the ground, unconscious.

A flurry of activity to the right captured Conrad’s attention. Another group of men had rushed onto the rooftop terrace of the Banqueting House. He scanned the other fighters around him, anxiety twisting his stomach; he and his companions were now heavily outnumbered.


His eyes suddenly widened. The newcomers had drawn their swords and were heading resolutely for the running woman and the wounded man still fighting at the north end of the building. Knuckles whitening on his staff weapon, Conrad moved to intercept the men.

The woman reached the figures at the edge of the terrace. She stepped in front of the injured young man and swung her thin blade around in a flurry of strikes and blocks at his three attackers. Rage darkened her face and a roar left her lips. The men fell back under her fierce attack.


The wounded man sagged behind her and gripped his bleeding limb. Even from a distance, Conrad read the fear and confusion on his features. The man turned and flinched when he met Conrad’s eyes.

The expression on his face left no doubt in his mind. William Hartwell was the one who had betrayed them. Bile flooded the back of Conrad’s throat. Hartwell looked away. His lips moved, forming words that were lost in the stormy night as he shouted something at the men trying to kill him.


For an infinitesimal moment, the woman faltered, a flicker of incomprehension flashing across her face. She cast a quick look over her shoulder at the one she was trying to protect. Their closest assailant moved and brought down his sword. The blade arced across her left arm, carving a deep cut from her elbow to her wrist.

A cry escaped her lips. She took a step back and warded off another blow inches from her neck. Hartwell moved forward then, anger blazing across his face. He raised his sword and joined in the fray once more.


Conrad got to within twenty feet of them before he crossed paths with the four men he was trying to head off. He raised the double-bladed spear staff and spun it through the air. The gilded wood deflected the silver swirl of swords that danced toward his body while the jagged tips blurred, slicing and stabbing through flesh. One man fell, his fingers rising to the spurting crimson stream pouring from the wound on his neck. Another followed him to the ground seconds later.

A single scream suddenly shattered the night.


The sound was a knife that cut straight through Conrad’s soul. He blocked a blow to his head and looked to his left.

William Hartwell had backed up against the balustrade. Conrad froze and felt time slow down.


The young man tipped over the edge and fell from the terrace, dragging his three attackers with him. The woman leapt forward through the curtain of glittering rain, crystal drops crashing on her skin, her movements heavy and sluggish in that stolen moment of stillness. She leaned over the balcony, fingers clutching desperately at the figures plummeting toward the ground. Her hands closed on empty space.

The bodies struck the street three stories below with a dull thud.


Time unfroze in a cacophony of sounds and sensations. Thunder rumbled across the heavens, underscoring the battle cries around Conrad. Cold wetness drenched his hair and face, bringing the sharp scent of the storm to his nostrils and a tangy taste to his lips. Lightning tore a brilliant, jagged path across his vision and made him blink.

Heat suddenly erupted across his chest when a blade slashed his skin. Blood bloomed on his shirt. Conrad scowled and focused on his two remaining adversaries. By the time he had disposed of them, the woman had disappeared from the rooftop.


He looked at the other fighters around him and felt a rush of relief at the sight that met his eyes; despite the odds, his men were winning.

‘Go!’ yelled someone to his right. The red-haired figure who had spoken danced nimbly out of the way of a blade and stabbed his opponent savagely in the chest. Pale eyes glanced at him for a second. ‘We’ve got this, Greene!’


Conrad bobbed his head jerkily and twisted the ring that retracted the staff’s spear blades. He raced for the door that led inside the building.

By the time he reached the ground floor, the wound on his chest had stopped bleeding. He knew without looking that the skin beneath his torn shirt was once more unblemished.


He found the woman on her knees by the pile of bodies that lay in an awkward tangle of broken limbs at the north base of the Banqueting House. She was leaning over William Hartwell, sobs shuddering through her as she stroked his pale face with shaking fingers; blood from the wound in her arm mingled with his where it seeped from the irregular depression on his temple. Hartwell’s chest rose and fell shallowly with his breaths. He was unconscious.

The woman looked around at Conrad’s footsteps, her hazel eyes wild with anguish.


‘Do something, please!’ she begged.

Conrad sank to the ground next to her, his voice frozen in his throat. He placed his left hand on the young man’s head and closed his eyes.


A burst of energy flared inside his chest and pulsed down toward his elbow. It darted through the birthmark dancing along his forearm and flashed to the ends of his fingers. He inhaled deeply and guided the flow of his power inside the broken body of William Hartwell.

Bone popped beneath his hand. The young man’s flesh slowly began to knit together.


Sweat broke across Conrad’s brow. The battle had drained him of much of his strength; he could feel Hartwell’s torn tissues resisting his ability to heal them. He ground his teeth together and willed his exhausted body to cooperate.

‘What’s happening?’ said the woman. Panic raised the pitch of her voice. She grabbed Conrad’s shoulders and shook him, her fingers biting into his skin. ‘Why isn’t he waking up?’


Conrad sagged as he felt his own life force start to ebb; he was nearing the limits of his ability. He blinked and swayed. Dark blotches clouded his vision. The woman’s frantic words became a roar in his ears.

A moan suddenly broke through the rush of blood inside his head. He looked down and saw Hartwell’s eyes open. Within the dark pupils of the man he had come to know and love as a brother, Conrad Greene read the words he could no longer utter.


William Hartwell wanted to die. He also yearned for something else.

Conrad gasped and slowly pulled his power back inside his own body, his fingers trembling on the cooling skin of the dying man. Hartwell shivered beneath his touch.


‘Why are you stopping?’ yelled the woman. ‘Save him!’

Conrad knew there were only seconds left; he could feel Death’s shadow approaching through the thunderstorm raging across the city. He leaned down and brought his lips to Hartwell’s ear.

‘I forgive you,’ he whispered, his vision blurring with tears. He pulled back slightly and saw Hartwell blink once. The young man’s last breath left his mouth and caressed Conrad’s cheek.

William Hartwell stared unseeingly at the rain falling from the night sky, his face serene and his body relaxing in death.


‘No,’ mumbled the woman. ‘No, this isn’t happening!’ Her voice rose to a scream. ‘Why did you let him die? Why? Goddamn you—!’ Grief overwhelmed her and she wept brokenly.


Conrad’s heart shattered inside his chest as he looked at the woman he loved and saw hate dawn in the depths of her hazel eyes.



AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Pediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.
 Her debut novel Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1) has won and been nominated for several awards, as has her second novel King’s Crusade. She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the next installment in the series. She still practices medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.






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Christmas In July Giveaway Hop. Ends July 31st

Christmas In July Giveaway Hop. Ends July 31st

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Welcome to the Christmas in July Giveaway Hop July 22 – 31st

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Prize Pack is 3 Children’s books

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NEW RELEASE! NEW RELEASE!

Hearken ( Daughters Of the Sea #4 ) 
Now Available!
7/22/14

Haven’t read the first 3 in the series?! Get caught up while they are on sale!

★SALE!! Only $.99 cents each!★ 
Daughters of the Sea Series! 


When the evil you fear is born from within, who will save us…from ourselves?

Sometimes our souls hear what our minds and hearts refuse to accept. It will whisper its continuous cadence until we’re strong enough to glimpse the truth. But when the soul’s whispers morph into screams, we’re forced to gaze into the mirrors of time and see ourselves for who we really are.

 Grappling with her newfound leadership position, Stasia begins to experience a recurring nightmare of murder, as well as curious reveries about a violet-eyed girl who can control the moon. When tragedy grips the Tydes and several important relics are stolen from the Sons of Daimon, Stasia’s Council leaves for the forgotten island of Atlantis. Unfortunately Atlantis harbors its own secrets, and they are all calling to Stasia. As her nightmares become worse and she begins to lose control of her mind, those around her must find a way to reach her…and fast.

 Olivia Campbell is used to getting what she wants, when she wants it. But destiny never asked Olivia what she wanted. Being Chosen to be a Paladin at birth had not been something she wanted, and she definitely hadn’t wanted her charge to be Anastasia. Unfortunately their irritatingly persistent Atlantean guide, Sebastian, seems to know all about her and the secrets she’s been hiding. As she fights to protect Stasia from an unknown force, Olivia’s own courage and loyalty will be tested in ways she never imagined. Will she be able to tell Stasia the truth before it’s too late for them both.    

Purchase your copy of Hearken today!

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BN-KristenDay


About Kristen Day
 
  I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses - swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).  When I’m not writing I’m making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.