Book Review: Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft

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There are so many things I loved about this book. I loved Audrey, of course. She’s very believable, gaining my sympathy immediately. I loved the depictions of magic, they’re exactly how I might picture magic to be in the real world. I loved the visuals, the snarky narrative and dialogue, and the poignant parts. I couldn’t put it down, and that’s definitely the measure of a good book in my humble opinion.

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008G7L6TS/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

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Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy

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Buy Links:
(PDF or Print) http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/windandshadow.html
(Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Shadow-Talbot-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DYCH64Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374184496&sr=8-1&keywords=wind+and+shadow+tori+ridgewood
(B&N) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-and-shadow-tori-l-ridgewood/1116138235?ean=9781612356396
(Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/340100
(Kobo) http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/wind-and-shadow-talbot-series-1/JPwUsVxsCkqvqn_pDL1MYw?MixID=JPwUsVxsCkqvqn_pDL1MYw&PageNumber=1

Congratulations, Mysti Parker, on the release of Hearts in Exile!

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Blurb:

In Tallenmere, fate has a way of catching up with you . . .

Somewhere, hidden in the waters of the Southern Sea, lies an island unlike any other. Within the amber glow of its pyrogem-laden cliffs, legend says the very heart of the dragon god Drae keeps the island, and its occupants, alive.



Loralee Munroviel, daughter of Leogard’s High Priestess Arianne, had no idea what she would face when she arrived by boat ten years ago and was left alone in exile. All she knew about Draekoria’s inhabitants was written in one tattered notebook. Now, her life revolves around keeping Drae’s descendants happy. Never in her life did she imagine being a Dragon Keeper.



Captain Igrorio Everlyn, known as Sir Robert to his unit of Holy Paladins, has faced his share of hell, battling the evils of Emperor Sarvonn’s tyranny and the dark god Tyr’s abominations. But none of that compares to the ten years of hell he’s been without Loralee, presumed dead. 



One freak storm changes everything. Now the two of them must fight to reestablish the delicate balance of the island before the dragons take things into their own hands. Through it all, they discover the secrets that kept them, and their hearts, exiled for a decade.

Excerpt #1 From Chapter Three:

After a shipwreck, Sir Robert wakes up in a strange cottage, only to find Loralee, the love of his life, whom he thought had been dead for a decade…

“I don’t understand. What is this place?”

“It’s an island. Very few know of its existence.”

I shook my head, trying to clear the fog of this confusing dream come to life. “But, why would you be here, and why would you be sorry? Unless…”

The words wouldn’t come. My racing mind pitched in to help. Unless she didn’t want to marry me after all.

Wrenching pain I’d kept tucked inside broke free, and I clambered to my feet. Loralee followed suit, backing herself into the small dining table.

I tried, but could not hide the bitter anger in my words. “How could you do this to me? Do you have any idea what I’ve been through?”

Her eyes widened. She clutched the table with one hand and her robe with the other. “What you’ve been through? I didn’t want this. I was forced here.”

“What do you mean, forced here? Where are your shackles?” My voice roared through the little cottage as I gestured around me with one arm. “Where are the bars? This looks like no prison I’ve ever seen.”

Her voice cracked the air, rivaling with my own. “I was betrayed, forced into exile. Don’t you understand? I never wanted to leave you. I never wanted anything so much as I wanted you.”

Pacing away, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I had to calm myself, to let the weight of this discovery, the improbability of her explanation to sink into my water-logged brain.

I couldn’t bring myself to look at her just yet, so I stared at my bare feet instead. “Why didn’t you tell me, write to me?”

“I tried. I begged the supply ship crew to bring my letters to you. They always took them, but never brought one in return. I suspect they destroyed them, but I had no way of knowing.” She sucked in a shaky breath as though trying to hold back her tears. “I never stopped loving you.”

Turning back to face her, I felt like a mindless beast. Here I was, raging against the love of my life when she’d all but been brought back from the dead.

“Loralee.” I eased toward her. She cringed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Without a word, I leaned in and pressed my forehead to hers, allowing myself to breathe in her scent for the first time in a decade. We stood suspended like that for a while, lost in time, and emerging from a purgatory neither of us had imagined ten years ago. I would have been content to stand like that forever, but Loralee burst into tears and wilted to the floor.

I followed her down and opened the quilt to wrap us both inside. I held her tight while she cried.

While I cried.

I finally got enough breath to speak again. “What did you mean by forced here? They told me you were . . .” I couldn’t say it, not with her warm and so very alive against me.

“I know.”

The weight of it all came crashing down on me. “This is my fault, isn’t it? You’re here because of me.”

She made no attempt to wipe her cheeks, but shook her head and stared at the rafters as though entreating the gods. “No, it’s not your fault. Not at all. There is so much to explain, I don’t know where to start.”

I couldn’t comprehend any of it, so I focused on the here and now. “You found me on the shore?”

She nodded.

“The crew, Francis . . . did you find anyone else out there?”

“No, I had Xax-, I mean, no, I searched but didn’t find anyone else.”

The familiar weight of grief squeezed my chest, and a few more tears escaped before I could stop them.

She pulled me close and whispered, “I’m so sorry. I know how much you loved him. We all did.”

“We all grieved for you. You’ve been here . . . all this time?”

“Yes.”

“By the gods, Loralee, I’ve missed you so much.” I put my wet cheek against hers and pressed my lips to her soft skin. “Part of me died the day I thought you… please…just tell me how you ended up here.”

Loralee took a few deep breaths and finally pulled away from me. She caressed my cheek and smiled weakly. “I’ll make us a pot of tea. And then, I think we should start at the beginning, back to the Great Plague and when we first met. Do you remember that?”

Smiling past the sadness, I covered her hand with mine and closed my eyes. “How could I ever forget?”

Excerpt #2 from Chapter Seven:

Loralee, as daughter of the High Priestess, is tasked with helping young Igrorio (Sir Robert) heal from his near-death experience during the Plague. She’s got a tough job ahead of her…

A girl’s voice startled me from sleep. “Do you like dragons?”

“What?”

My eyelids felt like they’d been weighed down with rocks. I brought my arm up to rub them, but even it felt strange and unused, like I had been poured into a new body. Finally, I cracked one eye open, then the other, and realized I had no idea where I was.

A blurry face framed with an over-abundance of red hair leaned over me. “I said, do you like dragons?”

“I don’t know,” I whispered. My voice sounded as dull and scratchy as a rusty old knife. “I’ve never thought much about them.”

“Hmm, well, since you’ll be here for a while, I thought you may want some books to peruse. Or do you like to paint or draw? I can get supplies-”

“Who are you?”

“Oh, how incredibly rude of me. I must apologize. I am Loralee. Loralee Munroviel.”

“The Priestess’s daughter?”

“That’s right. And you are?”

“Igrorio Everlyn.”

I blinked and got a better look at her exaggerated features. Her teeth were too big, the points of her ears nearly reached the top of her head, freckles dotted her round cheeks, and her eyes were like two giant green marbles. Even her smile whisked across her face like someone had painted it on in a hurry.

I scanned the room. It was fairly small with no windows, but squares of opaque glass in the ceiling let in filtered light. Green ivy clung to the bare wooden beams between the plastered walls, growing upward, where it wrapped around the rafters on the ceiling. It didn’t reach the glass, so someone must have kept it cleared away.

“Where am I?” I asked.

“You’re in the Temple, in a recovery room. Once you’ve built up your strength with some Blessed Water, nourishing food, and plenty of rest, you can-”

She bit her lip and stared down at the book on her lap.

“Go home?” I finished for her. A tight lump formed in my throat.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I didn’t mean to-”

I flipped over to my other side and focused on the glossy, tri-pointed leaves beside my bed. Everything came back. Mama on the barge, Papa’s suicide, our home burning to ashes around me, and the girl who brought me back from the brink of death. I should have been grateful, that much I knew. But what did I have left? Everything beyond the here and now was too uncertain, too overwhelming. I should have died in that inferno.

“Leave me alone,” I whispered.

She said nothing, but her chair scraped against the stone floor. A moment later, the door clicked behind her, and I let my tears fall.

Excerpt #3 from Chapter Thirty-Six:

Loralee and Sir Robert, reunited again at last, take a tour of the island . . . on the back of a dragon!

Wrapping both arms around Loralee’s body, I dared a look down. White-crested waves rolled across the sea below. Gulls soared over the water, and sunlight glinted off the shiny, black feathers on their backs. Loralee held to the spike in front of her and pointed out a pod of dolphins. They leapt, one after the other, in graceful arcs, chasing a school of fish swimming just beneath the surface.

Here in the sky, flying like I had only dreamed until then, a strange serenity embraced me—all my fears subsided under weightless freedom. We were putting our lives in another’s hands, but for once, I didn’t fight it . . . I just let it be.

“Amazing,” I whispered.

“What?”

“I said it’s amazing!”

She craned her head around and gave me a quick kiss. “You haven’t seen anything yet!”

Xaxony tilted right. I squeezed Loralee and the spike behind me again until our flying mount leveled out. But, then she flew straight toward the cliff. Suddenly, the dragon lifted upward, and Loralee’s weight shifted onto my chest. My back pressed against the spike, and I clenched my eyes shut again.

Soon as she leveled out once more, I opened my eyes and looked down. We’d cleared the cliff. A sea of green filled the space below us in the form of a great jungle. In the distance all around us, I could see the rust-red walls of the rock cliffs. The inner habitat of the island was contained within.

Xaxony veered left. After a while, the jungle below opened up to a meadow dominated by tall, dry grasses and twisted penuke trees. Wild snippets swung and hopped from branch to branch, chattering in high-pitched squeaks. A few long dragon necks of scarlet, gray, and indigo rose above the branches and followed our trajectory over the canopy.

Xaxony circled right, a quarter mile or so from the southern cliff, and flew to where the meadow ended at the edge of a lake. Below the water’s surface, a dragon’s dark outline made languid, serpentine waves as it swam.

Excerpt #4 from Chapter Thirty-Two:

Sir Robert returns from a campaign to be confronted with his utmost fear:

I made it across the pavilion where she’d brought me from the brink of death, not once, but twice, and where she’d taken control of the keys to my heart. Into the foyer, and up the stairs, where I had ventured to find her room so long ago.

Every step up brought on a memory—our childhood quest, candy-coated smiles, her bright green eyes that could change from happy to furious in a split second, the smell of her hair, and the silk of her skin. It took all the will I had to top the summit of the last stair and head down the hall to Gryffon Munroviel’s private chambers.

A guard wordlessly opened the door as I approached. Gryffon sat slumped in a chair by a hearth. He remained motionless, even when I finally got enough courage to drag my feet forward and stand by the chair opposite him.

“She’s gone,” he whispered. “My little girl’s gone.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but salty tears slipped past my lips. Steadying myself on the back of the chair with one hand, I pressed my other fist to my mouth. If I gave into the grief, it made it real.

It made her gone.

Gryffon continued to stare into the fire. He wore a wrinkled, stained tunic and trousers, and his bare feet splayed out before him on the rug. “I wasn’t here. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”
He bent over and sobbed. Grief broke free and knocked me to my knees. Only the rug buffered my fall. My palms stung as I landed on all fours.

“They burned her body,” I cried. “They burned her goddamn body!”

I crumpled to the rug, with my fists holding my head off the floor. A keening wail tore through my gut, piercing the air and slicing through every dream I had. All I had left was this hot flood of tears, this crushing weight in my chest. I’d faced things most people see only in their nightmares, but they were no match for this monster called grief.

And its greatest punishment was that it didn’t let me die right then and there.

Excerpt #5 from Chapter Thirty:

Loralee gathers the courage to take a huge risk and follow her heart:

Taking several deep breaths, I went to his room and rapped lightly on the door.

No one answered.

I turned the knob. The door clicked softly open.

Letting out my breath in a quiet whoosh, I stepped inside and shut the door behind me. I stood with my back against the cool, varnished oak until my eyes adjusted to the dark. A thin sliver of moonlight cut through the partition in the drapes over the headboard of a large bed. Under its silver shine, a mound lay under the covers. Rhythmic, deep breaths came from it.

From him.

I smiled.

Carefully, I locked the door and eased toward him. I crept closer and bent to get a better look. He was lying on his back, with one arm flung over his eyes. His mouth hung open slightly.

That muscular shoulder, arm, and chest beckoned me to touch, but a sudden nervousness made me tremble. The purity symbol buzzed gently on my forehead, reminding me how much of a coward I really was.

So, I stood there, chewing on my fingernail, and wished for a dose of courage. Igrorio stirred. His arm fell away from his face and dangled off the bed. Finger still in my mouth, I froze.

Eyes fluttering open, Igrorio’s groggy voice washed away some of my fears. “Loralee? Is that you?”

I nodded, but realized he couldn’t see me.

“Yes,” I whispered.

“What are you—”

Before my nervous jitters rooted me to the floor, I rushed to his side, leaned in, and kissed him. Muffled words of surprise tickled my lips. He raised himself on his elbows and sighed deeply as he brought his arms around me.

I pulled back long enough to say, “I love you. Marry me.”

He froze. “But—”

“No buts. I’ve made my move. It’s your turn now.”

“Your symbols, though—that middle one is aglow already.” He smiled apologetically. “If I don’t marry you properly, then how could you stand the discomfort?”

“Someone very wise told me to follow my heart. My heart says that as long as we have a ceremony before the goddess herself, then we are married in Her sight.”

Truth be known, I had no idea if it would work. I doubted it, considering who I was and who he was. But, I prayed with all my heart that Innessa would understand and give us Her blessing anyway.

He pulled me close and smiled against my cheek. “It’s not exactly the ceremony you deserve, but we can adopt the Hezrali people’s simple wedding tradition. The setting consists of nothing more than a moonlit night.”

He leaned back, reached above his head, and yanked one curtain panel to the side, then the other. Bright moonlight illuminated the excitement on his face. “They take each other’s hands.”

I grabbed both of his in mine, kissing his rugged knuckles. He smiled even brighter than our nocturnal wedding light. “Then, they say, ‘By the light of the moon, and a cool kiss of dew, I take you as mine, to start life anew.’”

Goddess, please let it work. I love him so much.

Staring into his eyes, I repeated the words, and he did too, his deep voice mingling with mine.

Eyes sparkling, he stroked my cheek, and then gently touched my forehead. He smiled the warmest, most loving smile I’d ever seen. “Would you look at that? It’s dimming.”

I reached up to touch my purity symbol as well. The sting lessened with every passing second. Happy tears rolled down my cheeks.

“We’re married,” he whispered, kissing the tears from my face. “At least in Innessa’s sight.” He chuckled. “Maybe Omri helped a little too.”

I laughed, and it felt like the weight of the world slipped away into oblivion.

He sighed. “I do wish I could take you on a proper honeymoon.”

“You will. But first . . . ” I slid off the bed and dropped my cloak.

He rolled onto his side, propping himself up on one arm.

I lifted my robe over my head. The room’s chilly air kissed my bare skin, along with a blast of self-consciousness. I shivered and stared at the floor, draping my arms across my breasts and hips. What if he didn’t like what he saw? I’d never thought of myself as pretty. I was neither muscular nor plump, and certainly not as well-gifted in assets as the Angels of Mercy.

“Loralee,” he whispered, “look at me.”

Reluctantly, I lifted my gaze to his.

“Can’t you see how beautiful you are?”

His voice held all the warmth of a blazing hearth. And there it was, shining in his eyes—the beauty of his love for me. So much more than lust. It ran soul-deep. The kind of unconditional love I’d always dreamed of, but never thought I’d have.

Excerpt #6 from Chapter One:

Loralee, having just arrived on the island of Draekoria, meets a couple of its inhabitants…

The dark form lowered itself directly in front of the doorway. One dull green reptilian eye stared into the cottage from the side of a dragon’s head.

Oh, goddess.

Puddle squealed and darted under the bed.

Smoke drifted upward in swirling tendrils from the creature’s nostrils. Dull gray scales covered its head, and what I could see of its neck. Besides some short, blunt horns and spikes lining its wide jaw, the dragon’s head was smooth and lizard-like. The creature’s shoulders were even with the cottage’s roof. At least it couldn’t fit through the door.

Then, it spoke.

The rumbling voice reverberated in my chest. “You, mortal. Make yourself known. Step forward so I can see you.”

I gnawed on an already worn-down fingernail and wondered why the creature would make such a request. I stood no more than ten feet from it. Either it had a vision problem or it intended to eat me. At the taste of blood on my tongue, I forced myself to stop chewing on my raw fingertip and tucked both hands behind my back.

Trembling like a frightened snippet, I whispered, “I’m here.”

“Speak up, mortal, or face my wrath!”

“I’m Loralee, your new Keeper.” I took one wobbly step forward, waving my hands helplessly in what I hoped would be interpreted as a surrendering gesture.

The dragon’s horns and jaw spikes extended in one sudden burst. The journal never mentioned that aspect of dragon anatomy. My legs couldn’t hold me upright anymore. I fell to my knees, shaking so hard my teeth chattered.

“Who sent you?” the dragon thundered. “Who are your kin?”

The wisdom symbol on my forehead tingled—a timely reminder to watch my tongue. It would not be wise to explain how I had been forcibly sent here, not until I knew how to handle myself around these creatures.

Hugging myself tightly, I forced part of the truth past my clacking teeth, hoping it would suffice. “I am the eldest daughter of Priestess Arianne. I’m a high elf, as she and King Leopold are.”

“Daughter of the Priestess? Do you think me but a dragonling, ignorant of the deceitful ways of elven-kind?” He craned his head this way and that, as though trying to focus through his cloudy eye.
“N-not at all, kind dragon.” Goddess, that sounded pathetic. “I am here to care for you, not to do you harm.” I bowed my head to show my reverence, knowing any minute I could be reduced to ashes. The journal didn’t mention how to introduce myself to my charges, either. Another bit of information that would have proven useful before I became a snack.

“Who is with you?”

“No one but a harmless snippet.” Glancing toward the bed, only Puddle’s yellow eyes were visible, wide and startled, as I’d ever seen them.

Another voice spoke from behind the gray dragon. Still as rumbling, but not as deep and more airy, like a bellows over a blacksmith’s fire. Female, perhaps? “Back away, Kershar! Let me get a look.” An olive-green dragon’s head nudged Kershar’s to one side and turned sideways to inspect me with a pale yellow eye. “You’ve frightened her to near death. Have I not told you to remain cave-bound while you go through the shedding?”

Shedding? I dared a look at Kershar, finally realizing why his eye, and to a lesser extent, his scales, were so dull. My sister Prysilla had raised a virtual zoo of pets over the years. Every reptile and amphibian replaced their skin on a regular basis. Like those, Kershar must have been molting. The edges of the shedding eye scale had already separated from the new tissue beneath.

The olive-green dragon spoke again. “Come closer, child. My mate will not harm you. He is all smoke and no fire, and he is as mortal as you are.”

Kershar butted the other dragon’s head. “What did you say to her?”

“Never mind, Kershar.” She butted him back. “Child, you are safe with us. A dragon’s promise is as firm as this rock upon which we stand.”

Having no choice, but feeling a little more comfortable in this creature’s presence, I pushed myself to my feet and swallowed in a futile attempt to wet my dry-as-cotton mouth. I stepped forward until I was so close the dragon’s warm breath ruffled my acolyte robe.

“They’ve sent another Keeper, I see. I am Xaxony, matriarch of the clan. You’ve met Kershar, my mate.” Xaxony flicked a red, forked tongue and smiled.

Dragons can smile? Who knew? “I’m Loralee. Loralee Munroviel.”

“The Priestess’s daughter?” Xaxony puffed a cloud of smoke from her nostrils.

Kershar rumbled again. “The mortal is deceiving us. She cannot be a Keeper.”

“She smells like a Keeper to me. Where is your mark, child?”

Mark? What mark . . . oh!

I turned my back to Xaxony and parted the hair at the nape of my neck, hoping at least some of the dark birthmark was visible on my scalp.

After a pause that lasted too long for comfort, Xaxony said, “She is genuine. We should leave her in peace until she is settled. Come to the caves when you are ready, child, and I will show you the island.”

Excerpt #7 from Chapter Five

The Great Plague has swept through Leogard, taking thousands, including young Sir Robert’s (Igrorio’s) mother. His father is succumbing to madness and it reaches its peak on one horrific night . . .

“Did I tell you that you’re adopted?”

I almost dropped the bread I’d just taken from the oven. I set it on the table and stared at him. Worry made me shiver. His despondency was bad enough, but I didn’t think I could handle madness.
What the hell do I say? I decided to ignore his question and turn his attention to our supper again, though I sounded less than sincere. “I’ve made soup. I’ll get you a bowl.”

“You’re of Vaelorian blood, Igrorio.”

My eyebrows arched. Fine, I’ll play along. Maybe it would break him out of his shell, no matter how ridiculous his claims. “So, I’m royalty, am I?”

“No. Only the result of a lowly cousin who couldn’t keep his hands off the ladies.”

“The fact that I am a male version of my mother would call your claim into question.”

“I didn’t say we adopted you. Your mother was striking, irresistible, and I didn’t have the heart to leave her.”

Fatigued from the day’s work, I heaved a long sigh. My mother, to my eyes, had been completely devoted to him. To a nauseating extent, even. She would never have betrayed him with someone else.
Obviously, going along with him wasn’t working, and I still had to convince him to eat. “I’ll get you some soup.”

His chair scraped the floor as I fetched a bowl and ladled a belly-filling amount into it. The aroma of chicken and dried herbs made my mouth water. Now for the curweed. I kept a tin of it under a loose hearth stone. Its reputation as a poison made it illegal, and it took me a while to find a dealer, but just a pinch lulled Papa to sleep for a full night. I’d started using it when he started waking up with nightmares, screaming his head off and scaring me half to death.

“What about your scar, Igrorio?” He stood, went to the cupboard, and started opening drawers.

“What about it?” Instinctively, I glanced at the pink amorphous patch of skin at my elbow’s bend.

He paused over an open drawer. I set the bowl of soup on the floor and stood. A thin-lipped grin spread across his face. But, it wasn’t my father. This man was menacing and enjoyed inflicting pain on others. I couldn’t look him in the eye anymore, so I focused on my arm again.

“You were born with an ugly birthmark,” he said, gesturing to me. “Right there on your arm. Every time I saw it, I thought about your mother’s legs wrapped around another man.”

“Stop it!” I wanted to hit him so badly, I clenched my fists until they hurt.

He just laughed. “You know what I did? I burned it off. With a red-hot poker. Your mother begged and pleaded, but I told her I had to get rid of it if I was to ever accept you as my son. Either that or leave—her choice. Oh, how you screamed.”

Damn him. I dropped to a squat and took a pinch of curweed from the tin. Crushing the dried leaves between my fingers, I sprinkled them on the soup and got more. The sharp, pungent odor burned my nostrils, but I didn’t care. I’d overdose him, make him sleep a whole day, maybe a week. Maybe he wouldn’t wake up at all, but what use was he in this state?

Soon as that thought took hold, I grabbed the ladle and scooped off the top layer of soup in his bowl, making sure to get most of the curweed. I couldn’t just give up on him. Mama wouldn’t. He’d be fine once the grief ran its course. Then we could carve out some sort of normal life.

He shuffled behind me as I started to stand up again.

“Come to think of it,” he whispered, “I should have smothered you the moment you were born.”
Something flashed in front of my face. His arm made a quick swipe under my chin. I dropped the soup. The bowl shattered, and a wasted meal splattered across the floor along with something red. My throat stung. I lifted my hands to my neck.

My fingers found separated flesh—my flesh—filleted like a fish.

Author Mysti Parker

Author Mysti Parker

Bio:

Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K. 

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Contact the Author:

Blog: http://www.mystiparker.blogspot.com 


Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mysti-Parker/103786449704221 

Twitter @MystiParker

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4625596.Mysti_Parker

The Tallenmere series is available at http://www.melange-books.com, Amazon, B&N, and many other online bookstores.


A Ranger’s Tale, Tallenmere #1 A Ranger's Tale
Serenya’s Song, Tallenmere #2 317540_525397197517594_1618288290_n

Hearts in Exile, Tallenmere #3 308309_536956346361679_1316096258_n

A Ranger’s Tale — NEW COVER Reveal!

I’m so excited for my friend Mysti Parker — if you’re a fan of fantasy, romance, and elves, you’re going to love this! I read A Ranger’s Tale last summer, devouring it in a whole afternoon. I could not put it down. And now, with a new cover debut at the end of the month, I’m getting pumped to read it all over again. The mystery is driving me crazy, folks!

What will be on the new cover for A Ranger's Tale?The glimpses are tantalizing!

What will be on the new cover for A Ranger’s Tale?The glimpses are tantalizing!

Here’s author, blogger, and mother extraordinaire, Mysti Parker to tell you more:

The world of Tallenmere was born in January, 2011 with this first exciting story about Caliphany, an elven noblewoman who longs to leave her gilded cage, and Galadin, the half-elf former pirate who trains her to do just that. To better reflect its place in the burgeoning series and Caliphany’s choice between two good men, cover artist Caroline Andrus and I tore down the original cover to make room for a whole new look! 

Join us for this exciting reveal party on Facebook, Friday, March 29 from 5-10 PM EST. Bring a friend, too. There do be prizes, mateys! 

*$25 Amazon.com gift card

*Signed Print copy of A Ranger’s Tale

*And MORE!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/103766896485420/

Blurb:
In the world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done…

High elf Caliphany Aranea leads an enviable life as King Leopold’s niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard’s most famous wizard. Yet, being forced to follow in her father’s footsteps and being betrothed to a man she doesn’t even like makes her want a taste of life outside the city walls. 

As a young boy, half-elf Galadin Trudeaux witnessed his parents’ death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger. 

When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany’s hefty sack of gold finally persuades him. Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose.

From that moment on, she and Galadin embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Only if they can survive the trials ahead, will they find a love that stands the test of time.

****

You will be able to find the brand new version of A Ranger’s Tale with its shiny new cover at all major online bookstores, including:
Amazon.com
B&N
Smashwords
Lulu
All Romance eBooks
Coffeetime Romance

About the Author
Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale, was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. Book Three, Hearts in Exile, is expected to be born in the summer of 2013. Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog recently voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Author Mysti Parker

Author Mysti Parker

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She is currently a book reviewer for the online speculative fiction magazine SQ Mag and has served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

The Tallenmere Series:
A Ranger’s Tale
Serenya’s Song
Hearts in Exile (coming summer 2013)

http://www.melange-books.com
http://www.mystiparker.blogspot.com
Twitter: @MystiParker
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mysti-Parker/103786449704221
mystiparker@yahoo.com

I hope you’re as intrigued as I am! Mark your calendar to attend this event and discover the new cover for A Ranger’s Tale on March 29!

LogoColorNoText

April Excitement! A-Z Challenge and Guest Author Mark Knight

LogoColorNoTextExciting things are happening this April! On April 9, I’m going to do another guest post on Unwritten (http://mystiparker.blogspot.ca) AND on the 13th, I’m going to host an author here, on Romance and Other Dangers!

April 9 — I’m participating in the A-Z Challenge, posting about the letter “H”. Will I ruminate about Hobbies? Or talk about being Happy, Healthy, and Home? Should my post focus on the H-Bomb? Or how about Hearts… Haberdasheries… Habits (I have some baaaad ones, shhh)… the Habs (probably not, I don’t really like hockey — why, another “H”!)… Hackers? Hackneys? Haddock? Hadrian’s Wall the Hadron Collider Hags HagarShipleyHairHailHaidaHalfwitsHalosHamilton (Ontario or Bermuda?)… Wait and see! What topic do you want to see me tackle?

Visit for a Giveaway!

Visit for a Giveaway!

April 13 — I’m welcoming Mark Knight, author of Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key (release date 4/7/13), as part of a Blog Tour! If you like dark paranormal reads, you’ll definitely want to check this out:

Until the age of seventeen, Daniel Dark had no idea of his true origins. Something was ulcerating deep inside him, waiting to claw its way free. Pastor Nathan Dark and his wife, Annie, had adopted him and brought him up as their own. But Daniel always felt that there was a secret they feared tell him…
Everything changes the day a mysterious package arrives at his home. It contains blood – human blood. Daniel’s vampire half awakens and takes its first step out of the shadows. The once lazy, goalless youth transforms into sharp-sensed killer. Now, there is no turning back.
Many horrors await Daniel, for he not only can detect but also attract the living dead…
Daniel Dark will unlock the sinister netherworld where helpless humans are kept and bred for bloodletting, and where he will have to face the unutterable evil.

Blood Family

Find out more on April 13!

I’m Tori! Hi!

Welcome to my blog! Thanks for coming, I do appreciate it. Grab a comfy chair, help yourself to a nice up of tea or a diet pop. I probably have something else in the fridge…

Tori L. Ridgewood is my pen name. I am one of many, many writers beginning to make my way in the literary community. I always wanted to be a published author, from a very young age. Currently, in my late-thirties, I’m happy to say that my dream is starting to happen! As a full-time teacher, a mother of two, and a spouse, it’s not always possible for me to write when I want to, but I keep trying.

Here’s my bio:

After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.

At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.

My list of published works is as follows:

midnightthirsts_360

Novella: “Mist and Midnight”

 

Stalked by a cruel and relentless vampire, Charlotte is on the run. Fleeing the city, the powers of magick her only protection, she couldn’t afford to fall for the hot modern prospector Pike Mahonen. Can she avoid temptation in a small town, to keep them both safe?

Available from: Melange BooksAmazon.com, Amazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble

 

Don’t stay in the Dark Lake Museum after sunset! But Kate Elliot has a deadline to meet. Working overtime, she realizes she’s not alone in the creepy old mansion…

 

Available from: Melange Books, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble

 

 

In the clandestine world of paranormal investigators and vampire hunters, the undead are the prey, and it’s the job of volunteers like Trisha to find and exterminate them. But a living specimen is what’s most needed—and most difficult to obtain—in the unending battle between humans and the supernatural. Respected by her peers, and looking forward to a bright future as a vampire hunter, Trisha must use all of her skills to survive on the day her prey finally finds her…in a way no one could have predicted.

Available from: Melange Books, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble

 

 

A Quick Bite of Flesh is an outstanding collection of 54 bite-sized tales of zombie goodness. Stories of terror, sadness, adventure, revenge and betrayal. Whether you like your zombie stories terrifying, humorous, or bizarre, you will find plenty to love in this collection.

Available from: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

A reimagining of the Salem Witch Trials, from the perspective of a judge visited by a vengeful goddess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tabitha has had the perfect pregnancy. She wants a perfect birth: all natural, with midwives, in the hospital (just in case). Her supportive husband Alex is by her side. So why does everything else have to go wrong?

Available from: Melange Books, Lulu, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Kobo

 

 

 

ALL PROCEEDS GENERATED BY THIS PROJECT WILL BE DONATED QUARTERLY TO AREA FOOD BANKS. (The hunger does not end after the holidays…many of these organizations struggle during the “off” seasons.)

Most of us have written letters to Santa. However, what would Jason Voorhees, a vampire, a zombie, or Medusa ask for? The call went out, and as usual, the horror community stepped forward with some fun, entertaining, tongue-in-cheek letters to the fat man up north. Share some of these with your little goblins and keep the spirit of giving alive year round.

Available from: May December Publications, Amazon.com

WindShadowFinal2

Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn’t count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot…or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.

Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger…but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?

Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen (“Mist and Midnight”, Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town…

Available from: Melange Books, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Kobo

MistMidnight

Stalked by a cruel and relentless vampire, Charlotte is on the run. Fleeing the city, the powers of magick her only protection, she couldn’t afford to fall for the hot modern prospector Pike Mahonen. Can she avoid temptation in a small town, to keep them both safe?

Available from: Melange Books, Amazon.comAmazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble

 

BloodFire

What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering… The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?

Available from: Melange Books, Amazon.comAmazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble

unnamedLovers reunite, and are torn apart. Bloodthirsty fiends battle for control of an army of the undead. With the community of Talbot frozen under layers of ice and snow, the domination of the vampire coven seems certain, but in the eye of the storm, the witches and the vampire hunters search desperately for the means to bring an end to the violence that threatens to take over more than one small, sleepy town. Will Rayvin and Charlotte be able to work together, combining their skills in magick, to prevent the loss of more innocent lives?

Available from: Melange BooksAmazon.comAmazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble

 

Coming this April: Wind and Shadow, Book One of the Talbot Trilogy from Melange Books

Rayvin Woods, professional photographer and natural witch, is returning to her hometown to start her life over, even though it’s the last place she wants to be. In the small community of Talbot, people think she tried to kill someone when she was only a teenager. It’s the place where she was orphaned, and where her high school crush betrayed her. It’s also the place where, unknown to all, a vampire has been trapped underground in an abandoned mine for a year — and is about to be released to wreak havoc on the community. Will her magick be enough to stop this ruthless predator? With practically the whole town against her, who can she turn to for help against a non-sparkly, non-angsty, all-malevolent fiend?

Grant Michaels became an officer of the law to protect Talbot, the town he grew up in and has always loved. As a teenager, when his best friend survived an attempt on his life, and ended up in a wheelchair, Grant stood by him even though it meant hurting the one girl he’d always had a crush on, because she was the murderer. Even though the court had released her, everyone knew she was different, that she was wild and couldn’t be trusted. When Rayvin Woods comes back to Talbot, and unexplained deaths begin to occur, Grant knows where to begin his investigation. He believes in logic — not in the supernatural.

I can’t wait to see the cover! Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One:

Lost in her thoughts, the appearance of red and blue pulsating lights in her rearview mirrors escaped her attention for a full five minutes. A brief pulsing siren woke her up. Shock and disbelief exploded in her chest and throat, as much from interrupted anticipation of the journey’s end as from embarrassment. Her heart accelerated with adrenaline, and she had to fight the urge to accelerate. “Breathe, Rayvin,” she told herself, aiming the vehicle for a section of straight road shoulder. Braking carefully, she laughed ruefully — she had never gotten a ticket before. Magick had nothing to do with it; she was simply good and careful. She made it a general rule to avoid problems with civil authorities but here she was, not twenty minutes away from her destination, already being cited or warned or fined or whatever. This was not an auspicious start.
She should have remembered to check her almanac. It was probably a waning moon.
Waiting with her hands on the wheel and looking straight ahead as her driving instructor had advised, so many years before, her eyes couldn’t help but stray to the tall, well-proportioned male figure in dark navy blue striding along the pavement to her car door. The bulky standard-issue padded jacket enhanced his broad shoulders; corded muscle and tendon were thrown into brief relief above the collar as he got closer, and the gun belt slung almost casually around his narrow waist suggested a healthy contrast in size between shoulders and abdomen. Clearly, this was neither a sergeant close to retirement nor a fresh recruit. Then he was there, tapping gently on the glass with the butt of a long-handled flashlight. At his gesture, she lowered the window, squinting against the orange glare of the sunset. Unable to make out a face from the officer’s position, silhouetted against the dying sun, she looked directly at his mirrored glasses. The convex angle distorted her nose and the wrinkle of skin above it, produced by her squinting; she hoped that she didn’t look as hag-like as Smokey suggested, and tried to relax her vision as she asked the inevitable question.
“What’s the problem, officer?
The silence stretched a trifle longer than it should have, and just on the edge of discomfort, the policeman responded. “License and registration, please.”
She shivered slightly, trying to pretend it was only from the chilly air that was quickly invading her car. The presence of the police officer, so close to Talbot, was forcing up flashbacks that were taking her breath away. The strobing lights, primary colours casting shadows against her bedroom walls. The degradation and disgrace of interrogation, first in front of her foster mother in the spacious living room of the house she had come to love after her mother had died. The further humiliation as she was marched out, in handcuffs, and had seen her foster sister’s tearful expression reflected in the hallway mirror. Rummaging through her purse first for her wallet, and then leaning across to the glove compartment, Rayvin fought down rising panic, recalling the glaring, accusatory stares of the neighbours, gathered in little bathrobe-dressed groupings, muttering acidly amongst themselves as a firm hand pushed her head gently under the edge of the car door. The officer shifted his posture, and something metallic clinked against her car door, echoing the cold sound of a key locking her into a sterile, tiny isolation room. Restrained by the seatbelt, Rayvin had to strain slightly to reach the papers she needed; the movement pulled her sweater up her body, a hands-breadth from the waist of her low-rise jeans, and as she wrestled the insurance papers from between maps and Canadian Tire money, she felt a perceptible change in the atmosphere — almost as if the cop had suddenly sucked air through his teeth, and she had heard the slight sound register only in the most primal part of her brain.
She froze.
Her heart thudded. Magick flooded her body, an instinctual survival tactic. She closed her eyes, pretending to fumble with the document, struggling now for control. Great Mother, if she lashed out now, she’d be back where she’d started in every sense of the term. The radio came to life for a heart-stopping few seconds, crackling with static, as a field of energy built around her and rang in her ears. She trembled with the force of it, and then the momentum ceased as she regained control of her breathing. The yoga classes and meditative visualizations had been worth every penny of her tips, if they helped her to avoid repeating history.
Rayvin swallowed uncomfortably as the officer scanned her papers, pulled a pencil and pad out of a pocket and wrote something down. He shifted his stance, and with an effort, she stopped biting her lip. He was probably trained to see that as an indication of guilty behaviour or something, she thought to herself. Attempting to keep her forehead smooth as she strained to see past the shadows on his face was impossible. Maybe if she appeared to be furrowing her brow in concern he might be more lenient. “What’s the problem, officer?” she finally asked, half-embarrassed at the way the cliche sounded — it felt phony, but the silence had stretched to the breaking point. Mentally running through the last moments of her driving, she recalled the speed limit — she’d been within five kilometers per hour over or under, she was sure — and the last time she’d checked, all her lights were functioning, no dents or broken glass. Her stickers were up to date. Maybe he just had to fill a quota before the end of the month, or something.
An SUV approached from the east, heading in the opposite direction; automatically, she turned her head as it passed. The light from the SUV’s headlamps, just starting to wash the road in the early twilight, passed across the cop’s face, clearly illuminating every feature. Rayvin’s heart skipped a beat. It couldn’t be. Please, please, let it not be true. Let this be a trick of the light. She couldn’t breathe.
Suddenly, everything clicked into place; time seemed to slow down as he tucked the notepad away and folded her papers. The backwash of air from the passing vehicle caused his scent to surround her. She felt heat rising from deep between her thighs, tendrils of warmth sparkling upward through her core, swelling into her breasts and tightening her nipples. No other man had ever made her feel this way, and deep in her heart, she knew no-one else ever would. She had felt this urge to be with him when she was too young to know better, when these feelings had both thrilled and frightened her. She had managed to ignore the strange magnetic pull she had felt then, by ignoring him as much as possible. But it had taken so much strength to stay away from him, to protect him from herself; in this state, she wasn’t sure if she could find it again. Turning to face away, desperate to compose her expression before he saw her, she gripped the steering wheel with both hands, pressing her palms into the raised leather chevrons and curving her fingers until her nails just bit into the sensitive skin folding out beneath the curve at the midsection. Time had passed; they had both matured; she was an adult and could control her impulses. How had she not recognized his voice? It had deepened since the last time she’d seen him, suspicion and hatred rippling from his aura; he’d refused to look at her directly, then, but she’d felt the burn of his gaze against her back. Once more, she could sense him staring at her; how she had blocked his energy before, she wasn’t sure — maybe her exhaustion from the eight-hour drive had something to do with it. But as now she had recognized Grant, and a light was growing inside her that she was powerless to control. Vitality, a powerful earth energy, melded with something not quite tame and entirely masculine, penetrated her awareness, forcing her to concentrate on her own mental and emotional shielding. He was clearly waiting for her to turn and look at him, but in her own vulnerable state, she couldn’t risk looking at him and losing herself. Not again.
“So, where are you headed, miss?” the officer asked gruffly. “If you’re not from the region, you need to be aware of the night dangers this far north.”
“Isn’t that a bit obvious, Grant Michaels?” Ravyin kept her voice low, unclenching her teeth just enough to speak. “Drop the ‘miss,’ you know who I am.”
“Just being professional, Ray. Don’t take it personally,” Michaels replied, leaning down to rest his right elbow on the edge of the window. “But seriously, what are you doing here?”
It was probably driving him crazy, the way she kept her face in profile to avoid looking at him. She remembered how easily he could read truth and lies into a person’s expression; she was denying him the chance to judge. In her peripheral vision, Rayvin saw his jaw clench. He was biting back an urge to order her out of the vehicle, she just knew it. Heat moved through her skin when he finally snapped. “Fine, keep your secrets — that’s nothing new. Ten, eleven years — it’s plain to see you haven’t changed. I’ll find out sooner or later anyway; this isn’t the place you want to be if you want to be left alone. But it’s not like you don’t know that.” His anger stung, but she refused to rise to the bait.
“If I’ve done something wrong, officer, I’m happy to take my ticket,” Rayvin responded. She enunciating each word carefully, her voice filled with ice. “Otherwise, I’d like to have my license and registration back, please, so I can be on my way.”
Silently, without changing his stance, Michaels extended the arm he was leaning against the door, offering the papers just outside of her range of vision so she was forced to turn to see them. She moved to take them, and he pulled them away, just out of her reach. Rolling her eyes, she turned again and lunged, this time catching them firmly.
He didn’t let go.
Exhaling sharply in frustration, she tugged once, and then finally turned her eyes up to his face. Her skin tingled as she took in how very close he was — only inches away, so close she could feel the damp heat of his breath on her skin. The dark brown of his eyes searching her own was nearly irresistible — pulling her in, inviting her even with their fury, or because of it, to explore the passion she could sense just beneath the surface. It was too much. Imperceptibly, he was closing the distance between them, anger turning into something else just as dangerous. Electricity crackled again on the radio, though no power was reaching it from the stilled engine.
“Let go, Michaels.” Rayvin’s voice came out in a whisper, nearly a plea.
His eyes moved to her mouth as she spoke; she saw them widen as she licked her upper lip in nervousness.
For the space of a heartbeat, they were frozen together, a breath from sweet, scorching contact.

I Won! I Won! I Won! (Happy Dance)

I completed Blood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy!

“You’ve got the LOOK” — I’m IT!

I’ve been tagged in a blogging game by the magnificent Su Halfwerk!
http://suhalfwerk.blogspot.ca/2012/11/ive-been-tagged-ive-got-look.html?showComment=1353550209651

The concept of this game is to take one’s latest work in progress or current manuscript and search for the word “look”, then post some of the surrounding text/paragraphs and tag 5 authors.
(and yes, that fabulous 80s song is on a looping track inside my head right now)

I’m going to post an excerpt from my current WIP, Blood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy.

In Blood and Fire, a good witch named Rayvin Woods has found herself trapped in a dangerous situation as a concubine/hostage of the malicious, perverted, ruthless vampire Malcolm de Sade. Having encountered him already in Book 1: Wind and Shadow, and been unable to break his hold over the vampires who were once good townsfolk, Rayvin is trying desperately to find a way to destroy him. She has more than one problem to deal with, though: she may also be mother to a witch-vampire hybrid. She believes herself to be on her own to deal with the growing coven of undead creatures, unable to escape the isolated Northeastern Ontario town — little knowing that help is on the way, in the form of the good witch Charlotte Fanning Mahonen and her husband Pike (“Mist and Midnight”, Midnight Thirsts, 2011), two experienced vampire hunters (wood-nymph Marcy Richmond and gargoyle Siobhan O’Connell), and her lover, Grant Michaels, whose unexpected survival at the end of Book One: Wind and Shadow resulted in an important transformation. Rayvin’s conflicts are many, but she’s tough, and refuses to give in even when survival seems impossible.

Here’s the excerpt, featuring LOOK:

“Go on and take your shower, Rocky,” Marcy muttered her pet name for her girlfriend, after one more delicious squeeze. “I’m just the sensitive wood nymph. Bend, don’t break, and all that.”
“I really am sorry, Em.” The blue in Siobhan’s eyes deepened, reminding Marcy of the sky at sunset. “Forgive me?”
“Yes.” Marcy cupped the blonde’s velvety chin between her own slender brown hands. “And I love you. Go on, take your shower first. I need to check in with S.H.I.P. and Dad, anyway.”
Her routine was predictable, which was really somewhat dangerous in their field, but Marcy knew it helped Siobhan to cope with the nightmarish memories that came with the job. Five minutes to pick and complain, then a shower, then lounging pyjamas and an instant cappuccino while they went over their next move and filed the latest report. She would then touch up her French manicure, buff her feet, wax wherever a stray hair had dared to appear, and then disappear under the down quilt stuffed into a plastic bag. Unless there was an emergency, she wouldn’t emerge again until it was time for her workout in the morning.
Whenever it was safe, or time allowed, it was Marcy’s pleasure to slip into her 300-count cotton nest for a few sessions of passionate, energetic, and/or tender love-making.
Her body warmed at the thought that tonight, the probability of sex was looking better and better by the moment. From the look Siobhan gave her as she closed the door, her lover agreed.
But first, she had to take care of their professional obligations.
Marcy was full aware that there were some individuals in the Society of Investigators and Hunters of the Paranormal who were doubtful of the practicality of their partnership. Never before, in the history of their peoples or in the records of the Society, had wood and stone formed a working pair like theirs. Maybe the prejudice was understandable, on that basis, but it still burned.
If they could only track down and destroy Malcolm de Sade, the vampire on the top of S.H.I.P.’s most-wanted list, the nay-sayers would have to eat their words.
The Society’s best hunters had been on the creature’s trail for two centuries, but he had always evaded them somehow. He was smart, quick, ruthless, and a loner. Two years ago, he’d vanished from Toronto just when two teams had been ready to move. By the reports Marcy had read, they had delayed by thirty minutes, making sure everything was ready. It had been thirty minutes too long, at the least.
Tired of being given token assignments and pats on the head, Marcy and Siobhan had borrowed a copy of the de Sade file and gone off on their own, following the crumbs that other, more senior Society members had dismissed as unlikely or unimportant.
“Your people are starting to slack, Bill,” Marcy murmured, looking at his signature on a report two decades old. “Isn’t that our motto, not leaving any stone unturned in the search for truth and elimination of threats?”
It seemed that ever since the Society had acquired their living vampire specimen two years earlier, all efforts had turned inward. Scientists and hunters were burning the candle at both ends, using their specimen to test new detection technology and micro-biological weapons, at the expense of real hunting. Marcy didn’t understand it. What was the use of making a new weapon if the enemy was breeding, unchecked?
The response to her query on the organization’s recent withdrawal from field work had been brusque, to say the least. “If you think you can do better than those with experience, by all means. But you won’t find a vampire who’s gone to ground, especially one without a coven like de Sade.”
Marcy ground her teeth at the memory.
“But waiting for him to surface — for any of them — is like asking innocent people to be bait!” Her temper had risen enough that she’d given into shouting. “We have to keep looking! It’s not fair–”
“Life isn’t fair.” The squat, overweight bureaucrat behind his polished oak desk had steepled his fingers, pressed them to his nose, and looked over them at her as if she were a bug in a petrie dish. “The board of governors has decided that the best use of our efforts at the moment is to find a rapid and convenient solution for all vampires. Tracking and killing one or a few at a time is no longer good enough, not now that we have a specimen to use for tests. There will be some losses, yes–”
“Collateral damage, you mean,” Marcy spat.
“–but in the end, it will be worth the sacrifice.” The fat, balding ass had leaned forward at that point and flicked the thick de Sade folder in her direction. “As I said, you’re welcome to go with your gargoyle partner and try. The trail is cold, and under the current climate, I can’t offer you more than token support…”
Marcy had taken the file and left without speaking. It had not been worth her job to unleash the torrent of insults building inside her. At least, not then.
It could wait until she had de Sade’s ashes in a sample bag.

***

Watch out for Wind and Shadow, Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, coming April 2013!

And now for my five tagged authors!

Tara Fox Hall: http://www.tarafoxhall.com/tarafoxhall.com/Tara_Fox_Hall.html

David Margetson: http://orangepearwritings.blogspot.ca

Robert Fuller: http://www.robertfullerauthor.com

Mysti Parker: http://mystiparker.blogspot.ca

Maya DeLeina: http://www.mayadeleina.net

Supportive readers always help!

One of my dear friends, Kate, posted this recently on Facebook in response to my question on how she liked the draft pieces I had sent her, as I work away on my NaNoWriMo novel (Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy: Blood and Fire)… I so depend on her to keep me going!

Here’s what Kate said, about my writing:

I crave more dammit.
Also, I know you sent me just bits and pieces but the way it’s set up, jumping from group to group, would be kinda a neat thing to do in terms of style and structure, but only for getting them all to talbot. It adds …umm …what’s the word I’m searching for… Intensity ? I found myself wanting to read faster and wanting more .. Sucked in… I’m struggling to find the words at 1am but you know what I mean? I think you should switch to that structure but just to get all the groups to Talbot and even as the hunters meet up with Charlotte and then there is two groups together forming one group. Then you get pike finding ray. There is another group formed. Then the good vamps(Matt and Andrea) and then the bad vamps ( Susie and Jason and their plans). Then you get De Sade and then the werewolves. So it’ll tricky to get it all working and flowing right but if anyone can do it properly, it’s you. Just my opinion though. I feel like It adds the “edge of your seat” effect. When I was reading it, I was getting pumped the wolves were heading out, pumped pike is searching for rayvin, pumped the hunters are on their way. So much toget pumped for the way the today bits are set up haha. Ok. Done ranting haha. I’m starting to ramble.

Love you, Katey-bear!