Fire and Bone Blitz and Giveaway

Fire and Bone
by Rachel A. Marks
Genre: YA
Release Date: February 20th 2018



In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future.

Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party—one that turns out to be a trap.

Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she is of age, she’s asked to pledge her service to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means possible. She has to admit that she’s tempted—especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glam, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could boost her rank in the Otherworld.

As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out whom to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing is for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.



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Advanced Praise:


“…brilliantly plotted and executed. Every sentence felt carefully yet beautifully crafted. Overall, this was an A+ book…memorable and captivating characters, original ideas, an interesting and action-filled storyline, and beautiful, lyrical writing.” – Night Owl Reviews, Reviewer Top Pick

“…A complex supernatural world…The Irish-pantheon premise injects originality…” Kirkus Reviews

“Marks mashes together Irish mythology and Southern California in the brilliant start to her new series. Fire and Bone hooked me from page one, and the last page left me desperate for more.” Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger and Breath of Earth

“Fantasy readers who enjoy Celtic mythology will revel in the detailed backstories, while romance fans will find plenty of Harlequinesque physical description…It’s certainly fun, and the ending nicely teases the sequel.” Booklist

“Clever, addictive, and paced to steal your breath. You’ll come for the Celtic demigoddess and you’ll stay for the complex, unpredictable world. The romance is sizzling, the powers are intriguing. I look forward to the next book!” —Emily R. King, author of The Hundredth Queen



About the Author

I’m an author and professional artist, cancer survivor, mother of four, and wife to the most amazing man in the world. In my free time I’m a beach bum and entertainment cheese junkie. If you don’t like Superman I may wonder about you and suggest you seek professional help.

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Curiouser and Curiouser Blitz

Curiouser and Curiouser: Steampunk Alice in Wonderland
By Melanie Karsak 
(Steampunk Fairy Tales) 
Publication date: July 17th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Retelling, Steampunk

Book Synopsis

To save the Hatter, Alice must work with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London’s criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.

Hatter’s reckless behavior leads Alice back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar’s mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is no problem for this Bandersnatch.

But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.

Sometimes love is mad.




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I approached the guards cautiously, stopping just short of the entryway.

They looked from me to one another, unsure what to do.

I stared at William who toked on a hookah pipe, blowing a ring of smoke in the air.

The guards shifted uncomfortably.

William, who’d been lounging on a chaise, sat up and looked out at me through the sheer fabric.

He smirked then leaned forward. “Who are you?”

His question silenced those around him. Everyone knew who I was.

“When I woke up this morning, I was Alice.”

He rose then moved closer. “But who are you now?”

“That depends. Who are you? Which Alice is here depends on your answer.”

He came to the curtain. “Well then, that makes it hard to say.”

“I’m sure it does, given how good you are at betraying your true nature.” I was trying to keep a lid on my feelings but was failing miserably. As he drew closer, I smelled the sweet aromas of jasmine and sandalwood that always clung to him.

“You’re one to talk. So, what does Alice from this morning want?”

I frowned at him.

“Don’t get too frustrated,” he replied then pulled the curtain open, beckoning me inside, “or the other Alice might peek out. Come.”

I entered the semi-private enclosure. Inside, I spotted William’s chief bodyguard, the Knave. A tart lay naked, asleep in an opium stupor, on a chaise nearby.

I nodded to the Knave.

“Alice,” he said with a soft smile. I caught the lilt of his Irish accent in his voice. His real name, of course, was Jack. He’d been friends with William and me since we were young. As was the habit in the industry, Jack went by a pseudonym. If someone ratted you out, it was better that they had no idea what your real name might be. It’s a lot harder to track a man named Knave than it was Jack O’Toole or Caterpillar than it was to find William Charleston.

“Have a seat, Alice from this morning,” William said.

I sat on the chaise, gently pushing aside the legs of the intoxicated strumpet.

“What brings you here?” he asked, rubbing a thoughtful finger across his chin. He’d grown a short, neatly-kept beard since I saw him last. It looked very handsome.

“Rabbit stole a pocket watch from my employer. I want it back.”

“What does that have to do with me?” William asked.

“Cake?” one of William’s girls offered, holding out a tray on which sat a colorful selection of petit fours.

I looked down at the small treats. I could smell the aroma of the frosting, nearly taste the sweet confections in a glance. I could see the game was truly afoot. They were my favorite. I raised an eyebrow at William who smiled.

The stubborn part of me wanted to tell William, and the girl, to sod off. But the part of me who hadn’t tasted strawberry frosted, vanilla-sweetened, and raspberry-and crème-filled cake in months could say no such thing. I lifted a small cake and popped it into my mouth, feeling annoyed and enraptured all in the same moment. I closed my eyes, savoring the taste. They’d come from my favorite baker. William had remembered. Once more, angry and elated feelings swept over me.

“Drink?” the girl then offered.

I opened my eyes to see the girl was holding a bottle of absinthe.

“Alice isn’t the type. Do you want some tea?” he asked.

I shook my head.

“Run off,” he told the serving girl, waving her away.

The girl turned to go, but before she could leave, I reached out and grabbed just one more petit four: pistachio and chocolate. I popped it into my mouth.

“I’m glad you like them,” William said, grinning at me.

The warmth of his gaze made me angry. He didn’t have any right being this nice to me. “The pocket watch?” I asked after swallowing the last bite.

Alice from the morning is very business-oriented. Right, then. What of it?”

“I hate it when you play coy. And you’re not very good at it. Rabbit entered this tent not a moment before me. I want that watch. Must I remind you that we have an understanding? You don’t tangle in my affairs, remember? It was agreed upon.”

“You certainly are Alice from this morning,” he said with a frown. “Not that the outfit didn’t give it away. Crisp white apron you have there, Alice. But the blue maid’s dress brings out your eyes.”

“We all wear costumes, don’t we, Caterpillar and his Knave?” I said, casting a glance at Jack. “Is he Jack or is he the Knave? Are you Caterpillar or are you William? Hard to tell what’s truth and what’s fiction, isn’t it?”

William smirked then turned to Jack. “Find Rabbit.”

“He shouldn’t be far. You waved him off just a moment ago,” I said.

Chuckling under his breath, Jack left.

“Why did you bring me here?” I asked.

“Bring you here?” William replied.

Now I was getting irritated. “Yes. Why did you bring me here?”

“Chance brings you here.”

“There is no such thing. Rabbit would never steal from me or mine unless you told him to.”


“William,” I replied, a warning in my voice.

“Let’s just say that a pocket watch brought you here,” he said.

About the Author


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, The Burnt Earth Series, The Celtic Blood Series and Steampunk Fairy Tales. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.


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Derailed Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
(A Circuit Fae Prequel Novella)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: January 23rd 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Syl Skye. Rouen Rivoche. Star-crossed lovers who should be mortal enemies. This is the story of how they met.

A nightly excursion to DC. A goth-rock show. One innocent train ride. That’s all it takes for high school sophomore Syl Skye’s perfectly normal world to come crashing down.

Because unbeknownst to her, she’s a sleeper-princess of the fair Fae—a vessel of Fae power that has yet to Awaken—and there are dark Fae who want her dead, dead, dead.

Rouen Rivoche is one of those dark Fae. Bound to the Agravaine the dark Fae Huntsman who is dedicated to wiping out all sleeper-princesses, Rouen has no choice but to hunt Syl down and spill her blood.

But a chance meeting in a nightclub, a brush of their hands, a lingering look… Despite herself, Rouen is attracted to Syl. And when she lets Syl get away…that’s when their troubles really begin.

After all, every couple has their issues, right?

Find out how Syl and Rouen met in this new prequel novella to MORIBUND, Book 1 of the Circuit Fae…


.5. Derailed (Moribund prequel novella) – January 23, 2018
1. Moribund – September 12, 2017
2. Ouroboros – March 27, 1018

Perfect for readers of romance, urban fantasy, fairy stories and LGBT.

“Moribund is a little bit Throne of Glass, a little bit Buffy, and a whole lot sexy.” – Skye Allen, author of The Songbird Thief


In this scene, Syl and her squad are at a club where Euphoria’s playing. Syl’s never seen Euphoria, and she’s excited, but Fiann’s acting weird, treating Syl poorly and trying to bully her into double-dating the Dickinson twins, Brody and Bryce. Syl ducks into the bathroom to catch her breath.

* * * *

I take a deep breath and pat the nail where it rests secretly against my skin. Okay, Syl. It’s go-time. I shove the door open. Head held high, I step out into the flashing lights of the club, and bam! run right into someone.

“Steady on.” Strong hands keep me from falling on my butt, and during our awkward two-step, I catch a glimpse of raven-dark hair and sapphire-blue eyes ringed in gold. Her deep chuckle is like rolling thunder.

“I-I’m sorry.” I look up, brushing my red curls out of my face.

Whoa. My poor heart. She’s gorgeous. Her eyes are all intense and glowy as she searches my face. The ache in my chest gets worse—but also, somehow better.

What is happening? I reach out and touch her hand. Where I want to feel skin, I feel the leather of a glove.

Still, a jolt passes between us.

She lingers, her pretty face a bit dazed. She looks from our touching hands back up. “You…”

She feels it too. Whatever it is.

And dear heaven and all the angels, she’s… Wow. She’s something else. High cheekbones, full lips curved into a smile that’s part mischief, part mayhem. Her bronze skin holds an inner glow even in the dim light of the club, and those eyes… When she looks at me, the club, the flashing lights, all the people—everything falls away and there is only the two of us.

“Who are you?” she whispers, and I hear it because she’s leaned in close, so close I can feel her warm breath on my cheek.

“I…” Introduce yourself already! But I’m all tongue-tied, frozen like the world’s biggest dork. My fingers find the strip of skin between her glove and her sleeve. Ohhhh…so warm and silky, and… What the heck are you doing, Syl?

She chuckles again, more rumbly, rolling thunder. “Are you all right?”

Yes. No. Urgggg… I step back, my cheeks on fire. She smells like all the good things in autumn—crisp leaves and harvest moons and sultry bourbon vanilla. Whoa. I’m getting a little swoony. “I-I’m fine. Really. Are you?”

“Yes, but I’d like to…” She swallows hard, seeming almost shy beneath her super-cool exterior. She licks her bottom lip, and I nearly pass out right there. “Will you meet me after the show?”

Did mine ears deceive me? Girl works fast! Plus, I can tell she’s at least a year older than me. “I…” Say something, silly!

“I’m sorry.” She pulls her hand from mine and steps away.

The loss of her touch leaves me cold. Moments from losing her to the crowd, I pluck up my courage. “What’s your name?”

That smile curves her lips like a kept secret. “I’m Euphoria.”

Euphoria. Whaaaaaaaaatttt? Seriously, Syl, only you could carry on an entire freakin conversation with your goth idol and not even recognize her.

But no…there’s something else, some other reason I didn’t recognize her right off the bat. I just can’t put my finger on it. Plus, I’m still swoony.

“I have to go.” She leans in, whispers in my ear, “After?”

I feel like only my heart can answer that question, but before I can even blink, she’s gone. Like gone-gone. One moment she’s in front of me; the next she’s vanished. Poof!

Euphoria. And she wants to see me “after.”

Crazy. This is crazy.

I shade my eyes from the blue-and-red houselights and look to the stage. After about ten minutes, the house music fades away, and the stage goes dark.

A lone silhouette appears there, backlit. It’s her.

Heat races through my body, my hand tingling from her touch. My stomach does a lazy barrel-roll, and those butterflies everyone’s always told me about? Yeah, apparently mine are Olympic gymnasts, because my whole stomach feels like it’s going for the Gold.

Oooookay. Chill out. I touch the iron nail beneath my dress. Gotta thank Glamma for the lucky pendant.

I step out of the bathroom and beeline toward the stage. I feel feverish, mad as hatter and a March hare all rolled into one.

I only know this: I have to see her again.

I’ve always hated crowds, but without another thought, I push my way to the stage.        Toward Euphoria, and toward the “after” that will bring me back to her.



Purchase Links:

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Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance–where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds.

She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she’s clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.

She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.

GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality.

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The Revolution Blitz

The Revolution
By Alicia Michaels
(The Bionics Novels, #3)
Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: January 18th 2018
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction



Blythe Sol has a New Year’s Resolution, but it’s not your typical self-improvement plan. She wants to end the conflict between the government and the Resistance once and for all—by sneaking into Washington D.C. and putting a bullet in President Drummond’s skull. If she can cut the head off the snake, the genocide of the Bionics might finally end. But if she fails, she will surely bring retaliation crushing down upon the entire Resistance.Blythe and fellow soldier Dax Janner are already coping with the loss of people they loved. When their dormant feelings for each other begin to rekindle, they struggle with feeling anything positive after so much suffering. The return of Gage will only confuse matters more. As the terrorist sect known as The Rejects begins to work hand in hand with thegovernment to push the Resistance toward all-out war, the battle will be brought to their doorstep. Will the movement stand tall and conquer—or collapse under the strain and be destroyed for good?The Revolution is the thrilling third novel in the award-winning Bionics series by Alicia Michaels.


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“It’s been two hours,” I say, raising my voice to be heard over the rain. “It’s cold out today. Come inside before you make yourself sick.”

The rain begins to slow a bit, signaling an end to the storm. Turning his head toward me again, he stares at me with his dark, glittering eyes. His face seems stuck in a permanent scowl, causing his forehead to crease and his mouth to pinch at the corners.


I raise my eyebrows. “Why what?”

He sighs. “Why come inside or care about getting sick? Why anything? What’s the fucking point, B?”

Apathy. I know the feeling well.

“What happened to fighting?” I say, reminding him of his words the day Yasmine died in his arms. “I thought you said it was time for us to start winning for once.”

He shakes his head and snorts. The last of the rain has fallen, leaving the sky overcast. The scent of the air after a real storm is missing, and it leaves a pit of longing in my gut. I’ve forgotten that smell, just as I’ve forgotten how to function like a normal person. All I know is death and loss.

“What are we even doing here?” he replies. “I’m tired. I don’t have anything left to fight for. Yasmine was what I had decided to fight for—the chance to have something of my own when this was all over.”

“You can still have that.”

Setting the urn aside, he unfolds his long legs to stand, towering over me with his hands braced on his narrow hips. “Don’t you get it? There is no end … not for us! We are going to fight until we die, and that’s all there will ever be. And what the hell are we trying to gain anyway? A chance to live in fear, cowering underground?”

Standing to face him, I clench my hands into fists at my sides. “A chance to have a life out there when this war is over!”

I raise my hand and point toward the hovercraft hangar, which opens into a tunnel leading to the outside. “That world is just as much ours as it is theirs,” I tell him. “Don’t you want it back? Don’t you want to crawl out of this hole, step into the light, and stop running? We have to fight!”

Bending to pick up Yasmine’s urn, he tucks it under one arm. “I don’t have to do a goddamn thing but be black and die. I got the first part covered, and the second is coming any day now if President Drummond follows through on his warning.”

He starts to walk away from me, but I follow, trotting to keep up with his long strides. “What about me?”

Pausing, he swivels to face me. “What?”

I draw up short before I slam into him, the momentum of my fast pace almost causing us to collide. Swallowing past the lump of grief in my throat, I wrap my arms around myself. “I don’t have anybody else,” I whisper. “My family is dead; Gage is gone. Yasmine became like a sister to me, and I know her death hurt you more than anyone here, but I lost her, too. But before Gage or Yasmine … before the Resistance … we had each other.”

Snorting, Dax rolls his eyes. “So, this is about you?”

Grinding my teeth, I fight the urge to punch him in the face. Could I have been this much of a bitch after Gage died?

“Of course not! This is about us. I will never stop fighting for you, because the man who saved my life deserves a chance to redeem his. And if I’m going to fight for you, then you have to do the same. I can’t do this alone.”

His jaw flexes as he looks away, staring off across the quad. “You aren’t alone. You have the Professor, Olivia, Laura, and Alec. You have hundreds of people who would follow you into hell, and thousands more out there rooting for you even though they can’t actually fight with you.”

I curse under my breath as a tear slips free of my human eye. “What about Agata, huh? You gonna give up on her, too?”

Dax’s eyes glimmer with tears when he looks at me and shakes his head. “I couldn’t save Yasmine. What makes you think I can protect that girl?”

“It doesn’t matter if you can or not,” I insist. “It doesn’t matter if you try and fail, or if you fall short. All that matters is that you fight. It’s okay to be sad right now. Hell, I’m sad, too. But when we’re done being sad, we have to keep moving forward. She would have wanted us to keep going, and you know it.”

Nodding, he sniffs while a few tears track down his chiseled face. “I had stopped hoping, B. She made me hope again, and now she’s gone. It hurts so much.”

Reaching out, I take his face in my hands and pull him toward me, resting his head on my shoulder. He hunches from his massive height and leans into me, wrapping one arm around my waist and holding on as if his life depends on it. His hold is painful, but I endure it, hugging him and holding on just as tight. Loving Dax has always hurt; I am used to this.

“I know,” I whisper, closing my eyes. “But the pain is a good thing. If we can feel the pain, it means we’re still alive. We’re healing.”

About the Author


Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With several Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card, thefirst book of the Sharing Spaces series, was her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to a soldier, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.


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Dating the It Guy Blitz and Giveaway

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

YA contemporary



Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.




“So this is how the night ends—just the three musketeers,” Kylie said.

“Ooh, I could go for one of those right now. Let’s get the driver to stop at a drugstore,” Margaux said.

“I want it noted, for the record, my date didn’t puke,” Kylie said.

I laughed. “Not exactly something to brag about to your grandkids fifty years from now, but you do have us beat. Crap, I just got gravy on my dress.”

Kylie told me to be grateful it was just gravy after the night we had. We went into a convenience store to get snacks. I had a funny feeling I shouldn’t go in, seeing as my dress was stained, my face was greasy, and my hair was messed up from leaning my head back on the seat, but I ignored my intuition because I was afraid Kylie wouldn’t get the potato chips I wanted. Ignoring my intuition proved to be the wrong thing to do because who did I run into? Brendon, Lauren, Sam, and his date. I couldn’t turn around because they saw me walk in. Plus, Margaux had her hand firmly pushing me into the store. “Say ‘hi’ and act like you’re having fun,” she said in my ear.

“Hi guys,” I said, smiling so hard I probably cracked my makeup, and I put my purse in front of the stain on my dress. “Getting some snacks?” No, stupid, they were paying for chips and candy bars because they wanted to feed the birds. I’m so dumb.

“Yeah, we’re going to sneak it into the hotel,” Lauren said. “See ya.”

As soon as they cleared the doorway, the three of us said, “Hotel?” at the same time.

“Maybe they rented a room, and they’re just having a little party or something,” Kylie said.

“Or maybe after they leave their little party, Lauren and Brendon are going to stay in the room,” Margaux said. Kylie told her to shut up, but Margaux was probably right. Brendon wasn’t my boyfriend anymore, so it wasn’t like he was cheating, but it still felt like he had ripped my heart out, shoved it back down my throat, and then made me throw it back up.

We started to leave when Brendon came back inside. “Hey, I forgot to get some ice,” he said.  Margaux moved in front of me to block the view of my dress. Brendon picked up the bag of ice and said, “You guys can meet us at the hotel if you want. A bunch of us rented a room just to hang out. We’re at the Ainsley Inn on Woodward—it’s right across from the Marcus restaurant, and we’re in room one-thirty-one.”

“He came back just to let you know he and Lauren weren’t hooking up,” Margaux said. “And I think we should go to the Ainsley to make sure they don’t.”

“I look too gross to go anywhere.”

Margaux went over to the guy behind the counter. “I know the sign says customers can’t use the bathroom, but take pity on her,” she said, pointing to me. “Her ex just invited her to a party with his girlfriend and look at her dress. Please let her try to make herself look decent.”

The guy leaned over the counter and said, “Nasty. Okay, but just for a minute.”

The three of us tried to scrub the stain, but the gravy was not coming out. “This isn’t over. Come on, let’s trade,” Kylie said. “We’re about the same size, and I already have a boyfriend, so I’m not out to impress anyone there.” I hugged her, and we switched dresses.

The driver took us to the hotel, and I had to do deep breathing exercises before we knocked on the door. I don’t know what I was worried about, seeing as Brendon knew we might show up, but maybe I was afraid Lauren would answer the door wearing just a sheet. Instead, Sam answered the door. There weren’t a lot of people there yet, but Lauren was clinging to Brendon like a static-y sock. The three of us didn’t know what to do, so we sat on one of the couches, huddled together.

“Why are we here again?” I asked.

“Because you’re not over your ex, dummy,” Margaux said, rolling her eyes. “But I’m not going to sit here all night when there’s chocolate in the limo, so go talk to him or something.”

Like I could walk over to where Lauren was sitting in the same oversized chair with him, almost on his lap. How obvious could you get? I had this feeling he still wanted to be with me, but what if it wasn’t intuition but just some pathetic desperate thing?  “



Purchase Links:

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Praise for Dating the It Guy:

“Dating the It Guy is an entertaining story that is as absorbing as it is hilarious.” Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

“A satisfying YA romance that is really about growing up and learning how to deal with life.” Writing Pearls book review blog

“There is so much to love about this book. Krysten Lindsay Hager knows how teens think and speak, and she understands why Emme would feel overwhelmed by everything about Brendon – his looks, his popularity, his feelings for her, his exes, his family.” Vox libris: the voice of books book review blog



Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Grand Blanc View, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.


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The Fourth Element Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
The Fourth Element Trilogy: Boxed Set 
by Kat Ross
Publication date: September 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Gladiator meets Romeo and Juliet in this “spellbinding fantasy” trilogy (Kirkus Reviews) set in ancient Persia!

They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…

So begins an epic story of adventure, romance and betrayal that leads to undiscovered magical realms and a final confrontation with a demon queen bent on destroying them all.




99¢ for a limited time only!
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The  Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. For more information about Kat’s books, come visit her at
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Winter’s Siren Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
Winter’s Siren 
by Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: November 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.

(a dark reimagining of Swan Lake)


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Frosty air nips at my nose. I stand almost knee deep in fresh fallen snow, letting the diffused sunlight hit my face. There is no sound. Peace settles over me. In this moment, I truly feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.

Something cold and wet explodes on the back of my neck. For a moment, I fear the worst. A boil. Pus. My father’s description of my mother’s face plays out in my mind.

But then I hear Andrew laughing behind me. I touch the rough skin on my neck and bring a shaky and damp glove to my face. Snow. It’s just snow.

It’s the middle of the day, and my face is uncovered. To make everything worse, it’s bright outside. Freezing and overcast, but bright.

My hands fly to my face automatically.

“Are you going to let me get away with that?” Andrew laughs again.

I twist around and peek at him through my fingers.

He stands before me, his arms spread wide. A thick coat covers his arms, and in his gloved hands, he holds another snowball. “You have two seconds to stop me!”

I flip my hood over my head and drop down to gather snow in my hands.

Another snowball bursts against my head. The wetness plasters my hair to my face. I hurl my deformed ball in his direction. It misses him completely.

Another wad of snow lands on my neck while I gather a larger, rounder ball of snow. “Cheating!” I throw my handful at him. It lands weakly by his knees.

“Here, let me help you.” He climbs towards me and gathers a nice, solid ball in his fist. He hands this to me, and then stands back and spreads his arms wide again. “Try again.”

I throw it square at his nose.



Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she’s not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at
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The Canary Club Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
The Canary Club 
by Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: October 16th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

“Bad Luck” Benny is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her own dark secrets may come back to burn them both.

Two worlds collide in this compelling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.

Perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams’ A CERTAIN AGE or Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS, THE CANARY CLUB by Sherry D. Ficklin will entice Historical Romance fans of all ages. This Gatsby-era tale filled with dazzling speakeasies, vicious shoot-outs, gritty gangsters, and iridescent ingenues has also been compared to the television series Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING and BOARDWALK EMPIRE.




“Is the laudanum not helping?” Doctor Mackie asks, shining a penlight in my eyes, momentarily blinding me.

I take a deep breath. Truthfully, I passed the last three bottles off to June for recreational use. Despite his assurances it will help with my insomnia, I can’t bring myself to use it. After seeing Mother abuse it so often, and with such devastating results, just the thought of it turns my stomach.

“I don’t like it,” I complain. “It makes my mind foggy.”

Putting the light down, he tsks. “That’s the point, dear.”

Far greyer than a man should be in his mid-thirties, Doc Mac has a surprisingly grandfatherly countenance. One stern look from him carries the guilt of a hundred nuns, and he gives me one now.

“I know you are under a great deal of strain, dear.” He hesitates, choosing his words very carefully. My father is his employer, so he can only complain so much about my working such long hours, my frequent headaches from the smoke and lights, and my borderline high blood pressure. We both know the culprit behind my troubles, but we also know that nothing either of us says or does will change my circumstances. “But you must try to rest. You will put yourself in an early grave otherwise.”

“Better me than someone else, I suppose,” I quip, attempting to lighten the mood, but failing.

“The laudanum will help you relax. Help you rest. You need that, at least.”

Sprawling back against the white wing-backed chair, I wave him off. “Whatever you say, Doc.”

He opens his mouth to speak, but he’s cut off by Butler, who clears his throat behind him.

“What is it?” I ask, wearily draping one arm over the headrest.

“JD just telephoned, Miss. He and your father are on their way here. Doctor, they ask that you remain here until they arrive. There has been a shooting.”

I spring forward, the bodice of my floral dress tightening around my middle, adding to tension already growing there.

“Is everyone alright?” I demand, pushing to my feet and slipping back into my t-strap shoes.

“One assumes not,” Butler responds, holding out his gloved hands. “But I gather that he and your father, at least, are unharmed.”

My breath escapes in a low hiss. Is this my fault? Retaliation for the beating I’d personally ordered on the man who’d assaulted my friend? Or was this something else entirely? Father has no shortage of enemies on his own. Even so, I mentally curse myself for adding one more name to that list—even if he’d well and truly deserved it.

Doc nods to me. “I should go wash up and get ready to receive any wounded.”

I nod, but say nothing. This is his real job, after all. Not looking after me—though Lord knows he tries to do that as well—but pulling out bullets and stitching up knife wounds. The sort of thing that can’t be done in a hospital without having to answer too many questions. I motion to Butler, who stands in the doorway still.

“Fetch some clean linens and towels. Set them up in the kitchen. It will be easier to clean up blood from the tile than the carpet.”

He bows stiffly and exits, leaving me standing in the study and wringing my hands. I should probably go, or at least hide in my room. That’s what Daddy would want. He’s very keen on pretending the violence of his world can’t reach its icy hands into my life—though deep down, I’m sure he knows better. Perhaps this will be a good thing, a way to remind him that, despite his best efforts, he can’t shelter me. He can’t keep me safe, not really. Perhaps he’ll be more open to the idea of sending me off to college, then.

I roll the thought around in my head, balancing it with the silent prayer that whoever is hurt will be all right, while wondering if using this person’s misfortune to my own advantage makes me a truly awful person.

I don’t have time to debate it too much because the front doors open with a thunderous boom, and I rush toward the sound. One young man, his face pink with exertion and speckled with sweat, carries the limp body of another as JD ushers them toward the kitchen. Father enters last, followed by Vincent, who twists his cap in his hands. Daddy rushes toward me, planting a rough kiss on my forehead.

“You should go to your room, darling. You don’t need to see this,” he mutters, nearly pushing me down the hall. Then he points toward Doc, who is ushering the boys into the kitchen. “Take care of that boy. He saved my life.”

I dig my feet into the long carpet. “No, that’s alright, Daddy. I want to see if I can help.”

Without giving him a chance to respond, I hurry to the kitchen, throwing open the door just in time to see Doc lean over the young man now laid across our antique mahogany table.

The one who’d been carrying him backs up against the sink, watching Doc work with intent eyes.

“What can I do?” I ask, taking a spot across the table.

Doc doesn’t even look up; he simply hands me a towel. “Apply pressure here while I remove the bullet.”

Taking the towel, I press it to the young man’s side, drawing a deep groan from the mostly unconscious patient.

Doc uses his light to check the boy’s eyes. Though his face is spotted with blood, his skin paler than my fine bone china, there’s something attractive about him in the cut of his jaw and the small, barely noticeable dimple in his chin. As soon as the thought comes, I shake it away, forcing myself to remain clinical as Doc cuts off his shirt and tie with a pair of medical shears.

No time for that now.

“Young man, can you hear me?” Doc asks as he sets to work. “What’s your name?”

The other boy answers, “It’s Benny. Benjamin.”

“Alright Benny, this is going to hurt, but I need you to lie very still.”

Doc motions to the other boy, then to me. “You two are going to need to hold him.”

I almost ask why since he clearly isn’t responsive, but the other boy takes one shoulder, just above where Doc begins to cut. As soon as the metal pierces his skin, the boy bucks, his eyes flying open. I struggle to hold his other side, pinning him to the table with all the weight I have.

Finally, there’s a wet popping sound, and Doc wrenches the bullet free. Blood flows in earnest now, down Benny’s arm and soaking his chest. The boy whimpers through gritted teeth. Doc wets a rag with some laudanum, pressing it over his nose and mouth for a few seconds. When he finally draws it back, the boy’s head lulls to the side, his green eyes wide.

Leaning over, I lower my face close to his. “Are you alright?”

He opens and closes his mouth a few times, as if it isn’t quite functioning.

Finally, he half grins and manages to slur, “I can’t feel my tongue.”

I let out a sharp laugh, and he smiles up at me. “Hey, you’re really pretty.”

“You aren’t too shabby yourself,” I offer with a grin. “I mean, except for being full of holes and all.”

He frowns. “Why am I full of holes?”

His face is so full of concerned innocence that it’s hard not to smile. “Because you got shot, silly.”

“I got shot?” His head jerks up in alarm. “Is everyone else alright?”

“Calm down,” I say, soothing him as best I can with a hand on his shoulder. Then, realizing I’d almost forgotten to keep pressure on the towel at his side, I return to it. “Everyone else is fine.”

He nods once, his expression relaxing again. “I feel pretty good, considering. Really good, actually.”

“That’d be the laudanum Doc gave you. Takes the edge off,” I offer, my eyes flicking up to Doc. He’s slowly stitching up the hole in the boy’s shoulder. The bleeding has mostly stopped; it’s just sort of weeping now. “But you’re gonna be fine, Benjamin. Just rest now.”

His eyes flicker up to mine. “That’s a shame.”

“What is?” I ask.

“That I’m gonna be fine. I kinda like being here with you.”

I sigh. “Oh, you like bleeding out on my kitchen table?”

He nods once, his face serious. “Whatever it takes.” He hesitates, then continues, “But just in case I don’t make it, do me a solid and look in on Aggie for me.”

I raise one eyebrow. “Aggie… that your girl?”

But his eyes roll back and his face goes slack, his head rolling to the side once more.



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Glitter and Gold (A Canary Club Prequel) is currently FREE!


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Author Bio:

Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Sherry also writes contemporary romance under the pen name SJ Noble. You can find her at her official website,, or stalk her on her Facebook page



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Beyond the Mist Book Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
Beyond the Mist
by Casi McLean
(Lake Lanier Mysteries, #2)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Time-Travel

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?





A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.

I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––

A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.



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Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. WATCH THE TRAILER

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

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The Dark Mermaid Book Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
The Dark Mermaid
by Christina L. Barr
Publication date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

“True love is not a myth. It’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or complete chaos.”

On the day Luna proves that she is powerful enough to be her father’s heir, she is banished for saving the life of an enchanting human boy. Her father, the king, gives her two options: kill Ian and regain her honor by the time she comes of age, or be destroyed.

Luna finds shelter in forbidden waters and comes under the protection of her father’s greatest enemy, the Sea Witch. As her ward, Luna becomes a fearsome warrior, but struggles with the fear of turning her powerful magic dark.

With only days remaining before her seventeenth birthday, Luna finds Ian sailing the seas in search of answers. Luna is determined to escape her father’s wrath, and the Sea Witch’s plot of revenge, but dark forces won’t allow her to live a human life without making an impossible sacrifice.




Chapter One

I was born with a serious defect. On the surface world, they call it “kindness”. My father first noticed it when I was a child. When we turn thirteen, we swim out of our territory with nothing but a small blade. I watched my king’s eyes dig into mine as violently as the knife that bleed my arm numb. He always told me that he had a lot of faith in me. It’s funny how faith only felt like heavy expectations on my tiny shoulders. And when I could feel the vibrations in the water from an oncoming threat, he made sure to leave me in the darkness, surrounded in a cloud of my blood.

I heard tales from my sisters of their glorious fights against the monsters of the deep. They only had to face one and return home with the corpse. They spoke of their fear boiling and bursting out of their hearts like a geyser rushing out uncontrollably, but they had a thirst for battle that was born as soon they saw their vicious opponents in the water. The victory shifted their terror into a satisfying thrill, but I was not as fierce as my sisters, and I was surrounded by three fish, three times my size.

I swam up fast and avoided two of them, but the third nearly took my bloodied arm off with its sharp and jagged teeth. I did manage to stab its eye as it swam past me, which was the only easy meat to get to. The rest of its body was covered in scales as hard as stone.

Taking on all three was impossible, and my little body was pumped full of fear. The adrenaline helped me swim faster, but they were made to chase and kill. They couldn’t hide their nature, and I couldn’t run from mine.

When I had about a thousand feet on them, I turned around and braced myself. I had little hope in my blade, but I gripped it firmly and told myself that I could defeat those monsters, if I truly believed in myself. My father would not accept me if I needed to be rescued. The rumors were that he’d rather have me dead than be a disgrace. I could not fail!

I closed my eyes and swung my blade forward. I put all my strength into that swipe, and I felt my energy leave my body and expand forward like a giant fin. I opened my eyes just in time to see their bodies disintegrate into ash, and glitter from the fading light that I somehow produced.

I was too stunned to move for a great while. I never had such an incredible power on my own, so I looked to the blue and red crystals embedded into the golden blade. It was an ancient weapon forged by my ancestors, but I had no idea that it could do so much damage. My sisters had never mentioned it, and I’m certain they would have boasted about their exploits.

Even though I had rightly fought for my survival and won, I was rattled. I was certain that I could do it again—in extreme circumstances—but I wasn’t changed like my sisters. They were

reborn as warriors, and I still felt like a child. Worst of all, I didn’t have any remains. I would have to find another creature to kill, but I needed to tend to my wounds.

I returned home, struggling not to break down from fear of what my father would do to me. When I entered the walls of our crystal palace, my people were my enemy. They once revered me as a princess, and now they sneered their noses from my repulsive presence. I could feel their eyes whispering tales of my cowardice, and they were not as subtle as they believed. And when I entered my father’s throne room, so I could properly explain, I was met with his trident pinning my arm against the wall.

I couldn’t afford to lose any more blood, and he had severely cut me again. I tried pulling the trident away, but I couldn’t even get it to budge. I took my eyes off my bloodied arm, and by the time I looked up, his coal eyes were peering into mine. “Father—”

“Silence!” His hand clasped tightly around my neck. “Do you think I’ll grant mercy to a failure? You are my blood, and you’ve disgraced me!” It was insane to me at the time, but beyond the intensity of his rage, I remember sensing that my failure wounded him.

I whimpered as he freed me from the trident’s grasp. I was overwhelmed with an unbearable guilt that his disappointment burdened me with. The only reason why it didn’t crush me, was because I saw my demise reflecting in the golden trident he raised to strike me down with. “Do you have any last words?”

“I did kill!”

“Then where is the body?” He glared with a hatred I thought he only reserved for his enemies. I didn’t understand how his disappointment in me could transfer into such violence. When I was smaller, he would often tell me that I was his favorite. What good did his favor do?

I held up the blade that he had given me, and out of my desperation, I was able to make it glow a radiant blue with speckles of golden dust. “I used this blade to kill them, Father. Their bodies were completely blown apart. I swear!”

His eyes moved to the blade. Then, he looked at me in awe. “You do hold the power.” He smiled and cradled my face. “You are my true successor.”

My sisters were gathered around. They were mildly jealous before, but I had a feeling they would rip the flesh from my bones, if it weren’t for my father’s praises and the fear of what he would do if they attacked.

My father was never affectionate toward me, but he’d always gaze upon me with a curious eye. When I trained with my sisters, I thought he was testing me and assessing my potential as a warrior. It was no secret that he wanted a son, but Fate gave him six daughters instead. He made us twice as fierce to make up the difference. I couldn’t have known that he was expecting me to have such great power. “I want to see what you can do.”

“Sire.” One of his warriors came into the throne room and bowed. “There are humans sailing in our waters. What are your orders?”

He looked down at me and smirked. “My daughters and I will handle this ourselves.”

My sisters all cheered. They apparently had enchanting voices, but I had never heard them, nor had I ever opened my mouth up to speak. I suspected that I shared a similar gift, but I didn’t want to use my voice to lead unsuspecting sailors to their deaths.

“Keep the blade,” my father instructed. “I want to see you in action.”

I looked at the dagger in my hands. I heard such terrible things about the humans. Everything they touched, they laid waste to. Father said we had to kill humans to keep their dark nature from destroying us, but I didn’t see how we could be any better than them. I didn’t know if my life served any purpose beyond hunting and defending my home.

“Come, my children.”

He must have been in a good mood, because he let my eldest sister bind my wounds before we followed him into battle. Each stroke of my tail made my heart pound faster. I had never been to the surface before. My sisters told me that humans didn’t have tails. They had legs to stand upon, and they loved to watch them run for their lives as they tried to save their ships from sinking. It was one of their favorite games.

The water illuminated the higher we rose. I saw something large and round far up into the sky, but it glowed and brightened up the world. And when I breached the surface, the light gently rested on my skin as I whipped my hair back.

There were hundreds—thousands—of lights far up into the sky, and the biggest one was radiating a foggy white. I took in air, and it filled my lungs with an odd sensation. I wanted to finally hear my own voice, but for some reason, I was afraid to speak.

“Scout the area,” my father encouraged. My sisters waded just a few feet below the surface and waited for my report.

I gulped and slowly swam to a boat not too far away. I had seen ships before, but they were sunken treasures abandoned by the humans and eroded over time. I don’t know why the mystery of the humans intrigued me so much. I heard they were an evil menace that threated our way of life. I had also heard they were cowardly weaklings that we could easily destroy. I didn’t know how to imagine weaklings with such power. Some of the stories must have been false or highly exaggerated.

But when I finally snuck close enough to see the faces of the terrible creatures, I saw they were just like us.

There was a boy running along the deck with some sort of white animal. His smile was infectious. He was making noises with his mouth that I didn’t quite understand. Spoken words were very different than thought. There were also other sounds coming from some sort of box that an older human male controlled. He sat beside a beautiful woman with golden hair.

The sounds coming from the box were magical, like the melody that the whales would sing to each other, except there were so many different noises to make it complete. It was fast, and his human feet moved along with it. It was incredibly strange, but so intriguing. The boy looked like he could have been from my world, if he weren’t having the time of his life on those legs. I moved my tail along with the sounds, but it wasn’t the same as his clumsy and wonderful feet.

When the boy smiled, the right side of his mouth curved just a little higher than the left, and it made his eyes shrink, just a smidgen. They were as vibrant as the blue lights flickering in the sky. His short but bountiful hair bounced with the rhythm of his body, and even though it was as dark as the deepest of the ocean’s depths, the white glow of the night reflected onto his locks so brilliantly that I wouldn’t have questioned if he held some sort of power over night sky. His skin wasn’t too different than mine, but he had a glow to his skin that made him look as if life itself had kissed him. I know that this sounds silly, but I found myself wishing that I could keep him as a treasure to gaze upon.

He had a pretty face, but his arms were frail and easily breakable, but threats could come from even the tiniest of creatures, so I closed my eyes and listened to his thoughts. I tried to connect his mind to the words he was speaking, and it wasn’t long before I could begin to understand his conversation.

“It’s good to know that those expensive hip-hop lessons haven’t paid off,” the older man teased.

He stumbled from the insult and his bushy brows furrowed against his sparkling eyes. “Aw, I’m not that bad,” the boy said.

“I think he’s wonderful,” the woman encouraged. “But stop dancing around on the boat. You’re gonna make the whole thing tip over.”

“How old do you think I am? Five? I can’t tip over this huge thing.”

“Maybe,” the man said. “We’re in the Bermuda Triangle. All sorts of weird things happen here.”

The boy rolled his eyes. “Those things aren’t true.”
“We’re here to explore the mysteries of the Atlantic.”
“Really? Because I thought we were sailing to Puerto Rico so Mom can buy shoes.” “And other things,” she laughed. “You’ll love Puerto Rico. It’s gorgeous. You might even

meet a little summer girlfriend.”
“What makes you think I don’t already have a girlfriend?” he teased with a dashing smile. “You better not!” She got up from the comfort of her husband to tackle her son. He fought

her off viciously, but he was laughing as if he enjoyed it. It was odd. I had never seen a family interact in such a way. A family was supposed to be a pack you could hunt with. They were supposed to look out for you while you slept, and you did the same for them when they needed to rest. What the humans were doing was completely different than anything I had ever experienced. They were enjoying each other’s company. They were…Happy? I think that’s the word I’m looking for.

“What are you doing?” My father’s voice rang in my head. He wouldn’t understand what I was seeing. I hardly did, but I yearned for it so badly. Why couldn’t he hold me in his arms like the human father did to his son? The boy didn’t fear his father as I did. He would probably never intentionally hurt him, yet I still ached from the wounds my father inflicted upon me. Any lessons the boy learned, was probably for his personal benefit, and not because of some war that I didn’t understand.

“I’m observing.”
“You’ve done enough observing,” he said. “It’s time we attack.”
“No!” Out of desperation, my words entered through my mind and out of my mouth. My

voice was still weak, but I had finally heard it, and I thought it was beautiful. “Did you hear that?” the boy asked.

“Ian, don’t!”

He didn’t listen and ran over to the edge of the boat. I quickly dunked back under the water to escape his eyes, but I felt like such a fool. It was forbidden for humans to know of our existence. Anyone that saw us had to die.

I thought I had gone down far enough, but I felt a light shine on me. “Who’s there?”

I heard him speak to me, and I was at a loss of ideas. If only I could have convinced him that I were a human! It was either that, or I had to make him and his parents leave immediately. I slowly breached the surface, so he could see my face.

There was a slight pause as he laid eyes on me for the first time. My sisters told me that they were able to enchant humans with their beauty, before they dragged them into the ocean’s dark waters to drown. Perhaps I was doing that to Ian. I should have grabbed him by the back of the neck to finish him off. That was our way.

“You’re beautiful…” he mumbled very quietly, but in complete awe. I suppose I was right about him being enchanted.

But—for some mysterious reason—I found that I felt the same. My world was incredibly vast. It didn’t matter how far I ventured out in the water; there was always so much more to explore. Suddenly, my world was rapidly shrinking, until it was small enough to fit into a speck of light inside his eyes. “Ian…” My voice wasn’t strong enough. I tried reaching out to him through my mind, but he wasn’t ready to listen. “You have to—”

“How did you get out here? Are you hurt?”
I shook my head, hoping that was a sufficient answer.
“Mom! Dad!” he called.
“No.” My protest was only a whisper. “They can’t see—”
“Where did you come from?” his mother asked in a panic.
“Give me your hand.” His father got on his stomach to reach me better. He didn’t know

  1. He should have assumed I was dangerous. In my world, we didn’t tolerate any threats. He was probably three times my age, so how could he have lived for so long being that naïve?

I wanted to know why they were being such fools, but I could feel the vibrations in the water from my family fast approaching. “I’m sorry…” I dove back in the water and waited for the worst to be over.

They called out to me, and I knew that if I didn’t come back up, they would dive back in to get me. They must have at least feared sharks. It boggled my mind as to why they would risk their lives for mine.

I heard Ian’s parents scream, and then, there was a splash in the water. I backed away and prepared to strike them—if I needed to—but it was young Ian that bravely came to my rescue. And when he saw that I did not need to be saved, he yelled something in the water and lost his air.

Was he afraid of what I was? Did I disgust him? I wasn’t sure. All I sensed from him was his confusion from the herd of mermaids coming to rip him into pieces. His father dove in the water next. I knew my sisters would attack him. We always tackled the biggest prey first.

I’m not sure why I did what I did, even to this day, but I grabbed Ian by his waist and swam as fast as I could. He reached out to his father, but I couldn’t stop if I were going to save Ian.

He screamed, and I knew he would not have enough breath to survive the journey to safety. I had no choice and pressed my lips against his. His eyes bucked, but he soon relaxed enough to close them, and he allowed me to breathe life into his weak and pitiful body.

Through that moment, his mind was open to me. I could feel his desperation to be reunited with his father and mother. What he felt for them was deeper than anything I had experienced my entire life. His father wanted to protect him because he loved his son, and he loved his son because he was his. There was nothing more to it than that. It was their bond of blood and a covenant they forged together from the first time his father held his newborn son in his arms. I didn’t understand how something so simple could be so definite and infinite. My father only wanted to protect his legacy. If it weren’t for my strange power, I would be dead, and he would have been glad to be rid of his weakling daughter.

I wanted to leave. I wanted to go with Ian and be with his family. If all the humans loved like he did, then that’s what I wanted to experience. If only I were born into their world…if only I had a pair of legs to stand upon—to dance! What a glorious life I would have.

Ian tried to swim back to his father, but my sisters had already gotten a hold of him, and they were using their daggers to slash him apart. I grabbed Ian to keep him from leaving, and we were compelled to watch as his father’s flesh was ripped in pieces.

My eldest sister jumped into the air and clear over the boat, returning with Ian’s frightened mother in her arms. Ian’s struggle to get away from me intensified, but I held him tighter. I was much stronger than him, and there was no escaping their fate.

My father enjoyed watching his daughters kill. It made him proud to know he had raised such ruthless warriors. But he couldn’t rest while his daughters did all the work. He was also a warrior, and he needed to destroy to feel powerful. “Stand aside.”

My sisters quickly separated and waited with glee. My father was king because he could control the most powerful of weapons that my ancestors left for us: a trident. He didn’t use its powers too often. He much preferred to kill with his bare hands. But when he outstretched his hand toward his victim, and summoned the might of the trident, it was a glorious sight to behold.

Ian’s mother began to swim toward her son, and he reached out his hands for her. But they were too far apart to ever touch again, even after she exploded in golden and red streams of light. His father was a bloodied corpse. His mother was eradicated from existence. Only Ian was

left, and I had a serious choice to make. I could feel his broken mind. His tears were lost in the immensity of the ocean. He was screaming, so he was surely about to suffocate. It would have been a service to put him out of his misery. He couldn’t take care of himself. His mother and father were his entire world. It was only right to let him die like all the other humans my family had destroyed.

I still don’t understand why I swam away. I even rose to the surface for a jump, so Ian could catch a breath.

“What are you doing?” my father yelled. “Kill him.”

His furious command echoed in my head. When and if I returned home, he was probably going to kill me. My sisters chased me for a good while, but they eventually let up when I started approaching the shore.

I found a rock large enough to place Ian on. Someone was sure to find him. I only hoped that he could salvage what was left of his life and find people that loved him as much as his mother and father did.

“Ian?” The dawn was beginning to break. I didn’t want him to become crispy in the sun, but I couldn’t stay with him. “Ian?” I shook him, but he would not open his eyes.

I pressed my ear against his chest. His heart was still beating. “I think you’ll be alright, Ian.”

I brushed some hair off his face. Ian certainly was a handsome creature. I was desperate for him to open his eyes, and I think it was more than wanting a mental memory of his sea glass gems. I saw that my fingers were trembling as I stroked his cheek, and I realized that if he never

opened them again, I would be lost without a world. His heart was pulling tightly onto mine, and I was being ripped into pieces. “Please, be alright.”

I pressed my forehead against his and looked inside Ian’s mind again. He was at peace in his mother’s arms as she hummed a pretty melody. She rocked back and forth while he drifted between consciousness. The sun lit the world in its gold and warm embrace, and the beams of light poured into his eyes every time he was close to finally resting them. I think he was in his home, surrounded by trinkets he had grown attached to, but none of it was as fulfilling as his mother’s touch.

I didn’t understand how he could retreat to a peaceful place after witnessing such horrific death, but I grew envious of him. If I were torn apart in my trial by those monsters, where would I go in my final moments? There wasn’t a hug or a tender kiss from my kin to draw from, and even though I was accustomed to not having affection or admiration, I was suddenly aware of how awful that was.

I was desperate to have what he had lost, and I was aching from the fact that I had taken away the people he loved. It was selfish of me, but I retreated into Ian’s memory to feel the comfort that we both desperately needed. I could hear his mother’s soothing voice just as clear as I heard my father commanding me to slaughter Ian. As I watched her holding her baby boy, I could feel her intentions of protecting him. I could feel the love that he felt, and in a few seconds, her lovely song was on my lips.

He began to open his eyes, and I stayed long enough for a swift peek. I knew that I’d never be able to keep him for myself, but I’d never forget his mystifying eyes.


I couldn’t. I jumped back in the water and swam home to beg for forgiveness. I couldn’t stay with the humans as long as I wasn’t one of them. It was foolish to think differently, even for one second.

I was hoping that my father possessed even one ounce of love and compassion that Ian’s parents had for him. If he did, I had the smallest bit of hope that I would survive. I swam to where I believed my home was, but I didn’t see the crystal walls or my wicked sisters waiting to judge me.

“You won’t find Atlantis,” my father said from behind. “It’s hidden from outsiders.” I was too frightened to face him, but I needed to. “Father—”

As soon as I tried to turn my head, it snapped back from the force of his blow to my face. “You let one of them go.”

“I’m sorry! He was only a boy.”

“He’s a human,” he seethed. “He’s a filthy, disgusting human. Human explorers killed your mother. Did you know that?” He never spoke of my mother. How was I supposed to know?

“No.” I held my cheek and struggled not to sob from the pain. My father was large in stature and very muscular. He didn’t need to hit me that hard to get his message across. I could taste blood in my mouth.

“He’ll tell others of our existence. More humans will come. They’ll kill us, and we’ll kill them. They won’t be satisfied until blood fills our waters, and I won’t be satisfied until their cities are ruins at the bottom of the ocean. There will be no peace.” My father was masking his excitement, but I could see the intention in his mind. He wanted the end of humanity, and it didn’t matter how many of us had to die in the process.

I had to stop it. “No one will believe him, Father.”
“Where is the dagger?”
I clenched my fingers on instinct, and my eyes bucked. I knew I had it when the attack

started. I didn’t remember dropping it in the water, but I hadn’t held it for a while. “I must have dropped it on the rock where I left him. I’m sorry. I’ll bring it back here and—”

“You’re not welcome back unless that boy is dead.” He yanked my hair and pulled me close to his face, so I could see his dark eyes. “I want that dagger to slit his throat and his heart in your hand. Do you understand?”

My family was harsh, but they were all I had. He couldn’t expect me to live on my own in the ocean. There was no crueler place in nature. Practically everything ate each other to survive. Safe territory was hard to come by, and it was only safe until something came along to kill you for it. Sharks and giant octopuses were the least of my worries. There were other creatures like me who were much more dangerous and even stronger. “Father, please—”

“You are no daughter of mine.” He threw me away in repugnance. “I am incapable of breeding weakness. You will never be one of us until you destroy that boy.”

I was literally shaking, even though I consciously tried to steady myself. It was disgraceful to be fearful of anything, but being alone in an endless world of predators was a death sentence. I

wasn’t sure if I had anything to live for, but I knew that I wanted to live long enough to find a reason. “There has to be another way, Father. Please!”

“You would forsake your honor and your people over the life of a human boy?” Rage flashed in his eyes, and his trident pulsed with power like the jolt from an eel. The spark frayed my tail, and I whimpered. Every bit of pride he held for me deteriorated like a meal inside of a beast’s belly. “Has he infected you with his weakness?”

“No, but…” The image of Ian’s eyes opening as I sang to him completely overtook my mind. I tried to suppress it, because I didn’t want my father to experience the intensity of my memory, but it poured out of me. Ian was groggy and terrified. His world had been crushed. The love that I felt in his heart should have been replaced with a need for righteous vengeance. He inhaled from the shock of seeing my face, but the hate never flooded in. Instead, an exhale of relief and awe followed, as if being with me needed no explanation. We were together, as we were meant to be.

I know that I left as soon as I could clearly see his eyes, but I remembered seeing my reflection inside of them. I think I saw a different mermaid than I had ever seen before. Perhaps we were always the same, and I was only beginning to wake up to the truth that she knew her entire life.

I was living in a nightmare, and I wanted to be free.

I had offended my father too greatly to be allowed to live. He thought too little of me to be disappointed. Eradicating me was a matter of propriety. He gripped his trident, and its power rippled toward me. I raised my hands instinctively. The little hairs on my arms began to singe, but before I could burst into dust, I felt my skin beginning to harden. I had closed my eyes, but it felt so odd that I looked to see my skin darkening. I had heard that my father turned an enemy to stone once. I was certain he was doing the same to me, but he actually seemed startled once he noticed that I was changing.

I might have been mistaken. The light from the trident skewed my vision, and your mind plays tricks when you’re certainly about to die. I might not have been sure about what I saw, but my father did clearly see something that made him withdraw his attack.

“Your sisters are weak. You’re strong enough to be my heir. I have no respect for you, but I do value you’re potential.” Even admitting that terrible compliment was difficult for him. “You have until your seventeenth birthday.”

“To do what?”
“To regain your honor and kill that boy.”
My hands returned to their normal color and softness, but I was aching internally. “What

if I can’t find the same boy? Can it be another?”
“No. It must be him.” His commandment rung through me like the crunch of a skull being

crushed between his fingers. “It’s either him, or I kill you both.”
And once again, he left me. I had no friends, no family, no resources, and no weapons. I

could hear the sounds of whales singing in the distance, but I could feel other vibrations in the water. There was danger surrounding me for miles, and I wouldn’t have the protection of my family or my father’s subordinates.

I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I returned to where I had left Ian, but he was already gone. I probably could have deceived my father, if I found the blade, but it was missing as well. I swam around the shore, but he was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t blame Ian if he never returned to the water, but if I couldn’t find him, I would never be able to return home, the humans would bring war to us, and we would bring hell to them.

“I’ll find you,” I said to Ian, wherever he was. “I don’t care what I have to do, but I swear that I will.”

And that’s how my story began. I showed mercy to a human boy that should have died with his parents. His life meant nothing compared to the safety of our worlds. I had no choice but to search the ends of the earth until I found him. But finding him wouldn’t prove to be the most difficult matter. The man I swore to kill, also became the man that I loved.

Regardless, he still had to die.


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As the daughter of sci-fi enthusiasts and a pastor, Christina L. Barr has been taught to believe that anything is possible. She’s been a serious composer as far back as twelve-years-old, and has had the opportunity to sing her songs around the world.

In 2007, she graduated from Holly High School number nine in her class and attended College for Creative Studies. She started a pop culture website called The Gorgeous Geeks with her two older sisters, and was even featured on Times Magazine.

Her addiction to writing emerged when she was eighteen and started her first novel. To date, she has nine novels published, fourteen completed, and her goal is to finish thirty books by her thirtieth birthday.

She is currently a Creative Director and spends her days making graphics and videos.

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