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The Story behind Helen Callaghan’s Deliciously Chilling Story, Sex & the Single Hive Mind

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It’s a total pleasure to welcome my dear friend and fabulous writer, Helen Callaghan to A Hopeful Romantic to share a bit of the story behind one of my favourite short stories of all time, Sex and the Single Hive Mind. Even better still, the story is now available in the vibrant new Science Fiction anthology, Mind Seed and as a podcast with CrimeCity. Enjoy! –K D

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Sex and the Single Hive Mind is set in the near future. It’s a very dark story about Susannah Watson, a woman who is kidnapped and then made into an immobile living host for carnivorous algae that devours her. The result is then to be sold on as an illegal drug. All of which is terrible news for Susannah, of course, but has unforeseen side effects.

Believe it or not, it’s a comedy.

I wanted to write something about body theft – not Burke and Hare cadaver thieves, but something more like Invasion of the Body Snatchers – things that come from outside, and steal your body for their own wicked purposes.

Helen Callaghan Sex Hive mindproduct_thumbnailPersonally, I find that kind of thing terrifying. When Donald Sutherland starts that unearthly shrieking at the end of the movie, I freaked out as a kid.

It’s the exact same wellspring of horror that The Exorcist draws from – something that doesn’t mean you well now has control of you, while you look on, horrified. Whether you are locked in there still, or your own personal will simply evaporates, the terror lies in the loss of your agency, your control over your own flesh, the very thing that is dearest to you, and is indivisible from your sense of self.

In all of these cases, the reader’s sympathy lies absolutely with the possessee, if you like – the possessing entity barely has a motive, never mind a personality (spewing out pea soup and rude words hardly counts as character).

So I thought it might be kind of cool to explore the idea of body-snatching from the body snatcher’s point of view – in this case the point of view of a divorced middle-aged cat lady who suddenly finds herself with access to the bodies of the spoiled young things that have effectively murdered her.

And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t turn out that doing this was tons of fun, but nevertheless, there is, I think, a core of sadness – Susannah has access to their flesh and its pleasures, but can’t enjoy it because ultimately her victims all reflect only herself, and her attempt to use her newfound powers to reach out to her object of desire does not go as planned.

Her absurdity and loneliness, is, in a way, also similar to the loneliness of the writer and her characters. Characters, however fascinating, are still just creations, manifestations of a single will.

Anyway, the story appears in the anthology Mind Seed (http://www.lulu.com/gb/en/shop/edited-by-david-gullen-gary-couzens/mind-seed/paperback/product-21702685.html) edited by David Gullen and Gary Couzens. The book has been put together to remember Denni Schnapp, biologist, traveller, science fiction writer, and alongside me (www.helencallaghan.co.uk) a member of the T Party Writers group (http://tpartywriters.wordpress.com) based in London, which also included KD.

 

Excerpt from Sex and the Single Hive Mind:

It’s not Conor this time, but Imogen. Raoul and Conor and Imogen, named for the pretensions of their parents, carriers of their bougeousie. Colonised by them.

But for now, I’m dreaming Imogen. I know this because she’s in a tiny neat kitchen, looking at our mutual reflection in the darkened window. She still looks supercilious even with no-one on hand to disapprove of. I suspect that it might just be a cast of her features, something she can’t control but which her character does little to mitigate.

She’s washing dishes. She’s doing this very slowly, as she’s obviously drugged out of her tiny mind. I can taste the sharpness of cut grass in her mouth.

She’s eaten half a piece of steamed fish and boiled vegetables, without salt or pepper. I know this and am not sure how. My/her hands stir through warm soapy water.

Time to try it, then.

Her head raises, she looks into the window.

“My name is Susannah Watson.”

The words emerge without ceremony. I don’t know what I was expecting, to be honest. I thought perhaps there might be some sort of intense psychic battle, where I warred for dominance against her innate personality, but she doesn’t appear to have one. Her body is an empty house and I control it utterly, without let or hindrance.  The drug has reduced to her to a series of mannerisms, which fill her head like ugly furniture left behind by the previous tenants.

“My name is Susannah Watson,” I say again. My voice is a stranger’s, filled with unfamiliar music. “I am fifty-two years old. I am a detective in the Metropolitan Police, Smithfield division. I have two cats and one ex-husband. I have been… I am…”

My voice fades away.

Imogen stares back blankly at me from her reflection.  From my reflection.

It’s too much, too much, and I fly, back to my concrete room. I linger there, my consciousness circling above my green body, buzzing. I see what is happening. I have colonised the flies. They ate me, and I fill them. Spider-Girl ate the flies, and I filled her.

I understand, I think.

I gather myself. I tell myself, “I want to be Imogen now.”

Nothing happens.

“Take me to Imogen.”

I summon up the memory of being her, of hot soapy water over my hands, of the taste of cut grass.

I’m standing in the kitchen again, as if I had never left. She has not moved in the meantime, as far as I can tell, and a little trail of saliva drips down from the corner of her semi-open mouth.

I wipe it away with one of her wet, soapy hands, fascinated by her soft, unmarked skin against my face. She must be thirty years younger than me, at the very least.

“I am Susannah,” I say, and my voice rolls with confidence. I laugh then, and the girl in the window’s reflection laughs with me. In a bare instant, her superior squint vanishes and I shine out of her, like the sun breaking through fast passing clouds.

Enjoy a podcast of the complete Sex and the Single Hive Mind here:

http://www.starshipsofa.com/forums/topic/crime-city-central-no-109-helen-callaghan/

 

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The anthology, Mind Seed,  celebrates Denni’s interests and all of the proceeds go to Next Generation Nepal (http://www.nextgenerationnepal.org), who are an anti-child trafficking organization. We had the launch at LonCon 3 in the ExCel centre in London, and we’re all very proud of the book and hope it will do well.

 

Buy Mind Seed Here: 

Amazon UK

Lulu.com

 

Helen CallaghanAbout Helen Callaghan: 

Helen Callaghan writes genre fic­tion inspired by her love of intel­li­gent books and brain­less movies. Her first novel, Mephistophela, is set in a near-future Lon­don and inspired by ele­ments of Marlowe’s Doc­tor Faus­tus. She is cur­rently work­ing on Bethan Avery, a psychological thriller about a teacher who receives letters from a (presumed) murder victim.

She lives in Cambridge with a hamster called Zenobia, a beloved car, some muti­nous house­plants and too many books. Her per­sonal web­page and erratically updated blog describing the writing of Sleepwalker and Mephistophela is here. She is rep­re­sented by Judith Mur­ray atGreene and Heaton.

 

Flappers, Jazz & Valentino’s Editor, Jillian Boyd, Talks Jazz

It’s a total pleasure to have the very talented Jillian Boyd on my blog today. Jillian is the editor of the fabulous new anthology, Flappers, Jazz, and Valentino. Welcome Jillian!

 

Restless rhythms – All about that music called jazz

Jilly BoydJ.J. Johnson was once quoted as saying “Jazz is restless. It won’t stay put and it never will.”

Jazz music has been around in some form for quite some time, originating in the late 19th – early 20th century as interpretation of American and European classical music entwined with African and slave folk songs and the cultural influences of West African culture. It’s a genre borne of musical tradition, and one that’s ever evolving (still, to this day and probably way beyond).

And Jazz’s restless rhythms were a perfect accompaniment for the restless 20s. It was a time of change in so many ways; a time of choosing not to sit still and enjoy life as it comes after the horrors of the First World War. When the Prohibition kicked in, banning all sales of alcohol, Jazz music found its home in illicit speakeasies – the venues of the Jazz Age.

“If music be the food of love, jazz is surely the food of lewdness, of love that dare not speak its name, of the sort of “love” practised at petting parties and in speakeasies. What the young flapper may take for the cat’s pyjamas, father and mother rightly see as vulgar, cheap jazz whose wilful cacophony leads young people to degeneracy and depravity.”

The opening paragraph of The Sin in Syncopation, one of the stories in this very anthology, perfectly describes the opinion that many of the older generation of the time carried about Jazz music – viewed as an immoral threat to the old culture values and a promotion of the new and decadent values of the Roaring Twenties. One University professor dubbed it a sensual teasing of the strings of physical passion.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see why that’s a bad thing. Jazz is in a way like sex: it’s restless, it’s rhythmic and it makes you feel alive. So it was indeed the perfect soundtrack for an age with as much light as it had shade. Jazz is like the Twenties and the Twenties is like Jazz. Jazz music is still alive today, and the Twenties are (in a way) alive too. In pictures in books, in films, in memories, in today’s vintage culture; you name it and there will be a bit of the Roaring Twenties for you to take and cherish.

Best enjoyed with a side of Bessie Smith, playing on the gramophone, of course.

 

Flappers Jazz and Valentino Blurb:

Is it not enough to lead my son into wild ways without teaching my daughter the tango?                     – Dona Luisa, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Step back in time to a decade full of glamour, glitz and decadent sin with this collection of erotica set in the Roaring Twenties. With twelve stories, in all shades from romantic and sensual to burning hot, this collection is the perfect appetizer for a night out at the speakeasy. A journalist gets a sexy introduction to the sinful syncopation of jazz music. A three-way tango performance becomes the steamiest ticket in town. The owners of a speakeasy set up a very special audition for their new trumpet boy. All this jazz and more in Flappers, Jazz and Valentino, edited by Jillian Boyd.

 

Excerpt:

From The Sin in Syncopation                                                                                                                                by Blacksilk

Cal jerked my hands away and for a second I thought that something was wrong. “Your dress,” he said, lifting my hands above my head before doing the same with my dress, tossing it to one side. I started to lift up my necklace, but he shook his head. “Leave the pearls. I like them.”

I watched as his eyes flicked down and ran up my body as they had at The Chapel before. Now, though, the look in Cal’s eyes was unconcealed, unrestrained. I looked down at myself, a little self-conscious. My crêpe de chine step-in had a lazy lustre in the dim light of the room and I hoped to heaven that I didn’t disappoint.

I felt fingers under my chin and a flurry of kisses as Cal tilted my head up to meet his. “Stand up,” he said and, as gracefully as I could manage, I climbed down from his lap. He stood too, slipped off his shoes and socks, and began to undo his belt. I loved this part. I was tempted to stand and just watch, but I’ve never been good at being passive. I pulled down the straps of my camisole as he started on his pants.

As well as my necklace, I’d kept on my rayon stockings. Men liked that. We stepped out of our remaining clothes at the same time and gazed at each other.

His toned chest, that I already loved so much, gave onto an athletic stomach and a not inconsiderable erection which jutted from angular hips. He raised his arms, etched with the delicately raised veins so often found on the male of the species, and wrapped me close to him, pressing my flesh against his.

I sighed as he lifted me in those strong arms and deposited me gently onto the mattress, falling onto me with his body and then with his mouth. His lips kissed a trail across my collar bones and then down into the subtle mounds of my small, thankfully fashionable bubs.

I could feel his prick pressed against my thigh as he bent over me and, truth be told, I longed to feel it in my hands, to take it in my mouth, even to take it inside me. I moaned as he found my nipple with his lips and alternated between kisses, licks and tiny teases with his teeth. I wrapped my legs around his body and ran one hand through his hair, the other over his back, arching into his ministrations and yet longing for more. More of him. More of everything.

Reaching down with one hand, I grasped his cock and began to massage it. I knew what to do, of course. If this was my first rent party, I’d certainly been to petting parties before. His moans into my breasts soon proved that. As I joined in, letting the thrill I was feeling at his touch out into the stuffy air, I wondered if the couple next door were having this much fun. I couldn’t hear them anymore, but the sound of music still sounded strongly through door, more so now as if more instruments had joined in.

He was bucking into my hand as I pumped him, his mouth fixed around my left nipple, sucking me slowly but surely. One hand propped him up and the other was at my right nipple, tweaking and flicking and twisting me into a frenzy. The pit in my stomach had turned into a pull in my pussy, an ache that I’d felt before but had been so much easier to ignore then.

Cal’s breath had quickened, become ragged, but now he pulled his erection back from my hand and his mouth from my tingling nipples. “Stop,” he said. “I’ve got a bit of an edge, but the way you’re going, Mae, I’m going to be completely useless to you in a minute. You’re going to make me come and I want to be inside you first.”

The words sent a pulse through my pussy. I wanted him, too. I knew it as sure as I knew my own name. And as sure as I knew I couldn’t let him have me. At least, not tonight. “I’m sorry, Cal. I can’t. I want to, but I can’t. Not tonight. You know what it’s like. This? This is nothing, but if I slept with every man who’d wanted to sleep with me after one night, I’d be dubbed a quiff before I knew it.”

I expected him to be disappointed, even angry. Instead he smiled and said jokingly, “Oh! Like that is it? You’re a popular girl!”

He planted a kiss on my lips. “I understand. You don’t let people take advantage of you, Mae, and you’re smart too. I guess I know we can’t, really. I want to. Oh, boy, do I want to, but I get it.”

“Well,” I said. “I took you to The Chapel tonight. We can go to another jazz club in the week, if you’d like that. There’ll be another party like this we can go to afterward or there’s my apartment, maybe even yours…” I wrapped myself around him again, pushing my lithe frame up into his body. I liked his body and I liked what I knew of his mind. My so-called unattainable man hadn’t been so unattainable after all, but he sure gave me a run for my money. And I liked a challenge.

I ran my fingers down Cal’s chest and along his cock, watching his face contort in pleasure. “We can meet in the day, too. We can date. And maybe after enough jazz clubs we’ll see about promising to go to a real chapel. But I bet sometime between now and then we’ll get to know each other just well enough for me to see if you give as good as you look like you do.”

He grinned and pulled away, slipping down my body in a smooth movement until his head was level with the fuzz of my vulva. “Oh,” he said, “I can give pretty good right now if you like.”

His warm breath hit me, teasing me, filling me with anticipation. “God, yes, Cal.”

His mouth bent to my pussy, nuzzling aside the hair there, and he touched his tongue to that tiny bud of flesh between my folds. He licked, and as he did so he picked up the rhythm of the jazz still filling the air through the door. Perhaps it should have felt odd, but with the music in my ears and my head in the clouds, it felt… Well, it felt like the bee’s knees.

Maybe Cal’s ridiculous article had been right after all. Maybe jazz did lead to sensuousness, maybe there was more than a little sin in syncopation. But if there was, well, I liked it.

 

Buy Flappers, Jazz and Valentino Here:

Amazon (USA)

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (Canada)

All Romance 

 

About Jillian Boyd:

Jillian Boyd is an erotica author and blogger, who has been putting dirty words on paper and on her blog for the past three years. She likes taking everyday, seemingly mundane situations and making them sexy and sensual – and when she’s not doing that, she lets her imagination fly off into history and distant planets. Where she also tries to find everyday situations and make them sexy and sensual.

She’s been published in several House of Erotica anthologies, contributed to Tiffany Reisz’s office supply erotica charity anthology Felt Tips and has a story in the Golden Crown Literary Award-winning Best Lesbian Romance 2014, published by Cleis Press. She is currently working on her first novella, a sci-fi erotic thriller called In Another Life.

 

Find Jillian Boyd here:

Blog: http://ladylaidbare.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillyBoyd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jboydwrites

 

 

 

Lisabet Sarai Shares The Ingredients of Bliss

I’m very happy to welcome back one of my very favourite guest bloggers and one awesome story-teller, the lovely Lisabet Sarai! I honoured to launch the blog tour for her exciting new novel, The Ingredients of Bliss. There’s fun, there’s a sizzling excerpt, there’s a totally amazing giveaway and of course, links so you can get your own must-have copy of The Ingredients of Blisse!  

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Details for how you can enter the fabulous giveaway are right after the x-rated excerpt

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Lisabet Sarai Bliss tour cover image 2The Ingredients of Bliss: From Short Story to Novel

The characters in The Ingredients of Bliss made their first appearance in my short story Her Secret Ingredient. At the time, I had no thoughts of following that story with a novel-length sequel. Totally Bound had contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to their new What’s Her Secret imprint. The concept sounded intriguing – a series where each heroine keeps something hidden from the other characters, until she’s forced to reveal it.

As I pondered the possibilities, the story started to take shape in my mind. Mei Lee “Emily” Wong is a French-trained chef from Hong Kong who is invited to America to appear on a cooking show with the famous Gallic foodie, Etienne Duvalier. A culinary traditionalist, Etienne scorns Emily’s more creative approach to cooking. To win him to her side, she spikes a test dish with an ancient Chinese aphrodisiac. However, the nerdy producer Harry Sanborne samples the adulterated profiteroles before she has a chance to offer them to Etienne, and reacts with delightful passion. Though she’s drawn to Harry, the ambitious Chinese gal resolves to try again, with disastrous results. When Etienne consumes the aphrodisiac, she finds him on his knees, begging to be sexually dominated – on national television! Harry saves the day and sweeps Emily the rest of the way off her feet. In the final chapter of the book (exclusive to the VIP edition available directly from Totally Bound), Harry reveals his interest in BDSM and Emily discovers, much to her surprise, that she has a strong submissive streak – at least when Harry is topping her.

I was pretty happy with Her Secret Ingredient. It’s light and funny and sexy. However, I thought I was done with Emily, Harry and Etienne. Then the publisher asked if I could write a follow-up novel.

I was floored at first. I mean, I didn’t know these characters all that well. How deeply can you explore someone in 15K? Still, I like to make people happy, especially my publishers, so I put on my thinking cap. My first breakthrough was the notion of setting the novel in France. In 2013 I spent two weeks touring that fabulous country, so I thought maybe Emily, Harry and Etienne might follow in my footsteps.

With two males and one female, a ménage seemed inevitable. However, Harry is a Dom and Etienne has masochistic tendencies. How was I going to work that? And whom does Emily really want? The suave, seductive Frenchman, or the virile, sexually-creative American? Or both? And (aside from love scenes and the travel log), what was I going to do with the requisite 60,000 words?

The answers came to me gradually. I came to know my characters more intimately. I realized that Emily was as confused and uncertain about the situation with her two lovers as I was. So I let her work it out, giving the plot a radical twist that brought her true feelings into stronger relief.

And now? I think could write another novel about Emily, Harry and Etienne. Will I? That all depends on the reception I get to The Ingredients of Bliss!

 

Blurb for The Ingredients of Bliss:

One sexy French chef. One kinky American TV producer. One ambitious Chinese gal who thinks she wants them both. The ingredients of bliss? Or a recipe for disaster?

Accomplished cook Mei Lee “Emily” Wong knows exactly what she wants—her own show on the Tastes of France food channel. But life is full of complications. First, her deceptively nerdy producer, Harry Sanborne, initiates Emily into the delights of submission. Then her boss, legendary chef Etienne Duvalier, begs her to dominate him. Emily just can’t resist—especially when Harry orders her to explore her inner mistress. Suave and sexy Etienne will do whatever she asks—in the bedroom if not in the kitchen. And Harry, her lovingly diabolical Dom, adores pushing Emily’s limits.

When the network sends the trio to France to shoot a series of cooking shows on location, Emily knows her career is on the upswing. Her plans fall apart in Marseille as a Hong Kong drug syndicate kidnaps both Etienne and Harry. The Iron Hammer Triad mistakes Etienne for notorious gangster Jean Le Requin, who has stolen their drug shipment, worth millions. Emily realizes she must find the real Le Requin, retrieve the purloined dope, and bargain it for Harry’s and Etienne’s lives. The secret she’s been keeping from Harry might prove useful. Still, what chance does one woman whose knife skills are limited to chopping vegetables, have against the ruthless cruelty of two criminal organizations?


Lisabet Sarai Bliss tourX-Rated Excerpt: The Ingredients of Bliss by Lisabet Sarai

“What’s eating you, Em?”

Harry looked up from one of his favorite positions—crouched between my spread legs—and searched my face. The usual mischief gleamed in his cinnamon-brown eyes—a bit unfocused without his glasses—but his lush mouth showed no trace of a grin.

“Shouldn’t that be who, rather than what?” My laugh sounded forced, even to my own ears. It turned to a squeal as he swept his tongue along the length of my cleft, ending with a neat flick to my clit.

“I’m serious. Something’s bothering you.”

Sometimes his intuition scared me. “It’s nothing, really.” How did this guy know me so well, after a mere three months?

“Tell me!”

“Ow!” He’d pinched the sensitive flesh of my inner thigh.

“Do I have to beat a confession out of you—again?”

His casual reference was enough to send my mind spinning back to that wild night when he’d first revealed his kinky streak. Tied to the iron railing at the look-out atop Twin Peaks, my panties around my ankles and my dress bunched up around my waist, I’d received my first searing lesson in submission.

Unruly hair fell into his eyes, making him look younger, and rougher, too—a bit like Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire. I wanted to brush those black locks off his brow, to touch him, to soothe and reassure him—to feel his lovely muscles shift under the tanned skin of his broad shoulders. Bound hand and foot to the bed frame, all I could do was writhe and yelp as he burrowed his face in my pussy, while raking my thighs with his fingernails.

Pain and pleasure. Pleasure and pain. Wasn’t there a time when I could tell the difference?

Whatever he was doing, I liked it. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t.

 

Blog Tour Prizes

First prize: $30 gift certificate to Sur La Table (http://www.surlatable.com)

Second prize: $20 gift certificate to Whole Foods Market (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com)
Third prize: Three-pack of ebooks from my back list, including a copy of Her Secret Ingredient, the prequel to The Ingredients of Bliss.

I’ll also be giving a PDF copy of my own original cookbook, Recipes from an International Kitchen, to everyone who leaves a comment. AND I have a bonus $10 Totally Bound gift certificate for the tour host who gets the most reader comments.

To enter, simply leave a comment that includes your email address. You can enter once for each spot in the tour. For the full tour schedule, go to:

http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2014/08/ingredients-of-bliss-blog-tour-starts.html

 


Lisabet Sarai Bliss tour 1The Ingredients of Bliss
By Lisabet Sarai

Contemporary BDSM ménage

Totally Bound, 2014

Get your copy today!

The special VIP edition of The Ingredients of Bliss is now available from Totally Bound. This version contains a sizzling bonus chapter not available from other retailers. Totally Bound has the most advanced book selling site of any independent publisher on the web, with new One-Click ordering and direct delivery to all e-reader platforms. 

 

About Lisabet:

I started both writing and cooking at an early age, and I’ve continued to indulge both passions as I’ve matured. Usually I’m an improvisational cook; I’m not all that fond of following recipes, and when I do, I almost always introduce my own variations. My philosophy tends to be the more spice, the better.

You could say the same about my writing. Since the release of my debut novel Raw Silk in 1999, I’ve published lots of erotica and erotic romance in almost every sub-genre– more than fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. My gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.

I have more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by my chosen genre. Widely traveled but still with a long bucket list of places to go, I currently live in Southeast Asia with my indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where I pursue an alternative career that is completely unrelated to my creative writing.

 

Find Lisabet here:

Website: http://www.lisabetsarai.com

Blog: http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com

Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lisabetsarai

 

 

 

An Angel’s Soul (Sins of Wolves: The Safe Mountain Series) by Destiny Blaine and Marc Alice

motorcycle handle bar against blue cloudy skyBlurb:

The Sins of Wolves bikers prepare for the fight of their lives when special teams storm their coveted home at Safe Mountain. Unable to predict the outcome of a deadly war, Chuck and Robby lead several pack members to the front lines of a battle they cannot win.

Gifted shifters of an ancient breed, Robby and Rebecca are determined to fight for their mountain habitat and the Sins of Wolves. Together they join with Chuck and his mate in hopes of pulling out all the stops and overpowering their adversaries. Still, their efforts fall short of a true victory when one of their own is killed during the first strike. Safe Mountain soon becomes ground zero as the pack faces what is destined to unfold as the beginning of a catastrophic end.

 

Buy Links

Bookstrand

All Romance Ebooks

Amazon

*****

The Age of Innocence continued to gain momentum. According to newswires, armies were closing in and a dangerous rebellion was well underway.

Death was imminent. It would deliver a damning punch. There would be no peace, no shallow death, and murder would come in its most brutal forms—torture, concentration camps, and agonizing persecution for the families harboring their young or protecting mere strangers.

A civil war would only promise a violent end to a senseless beginning. Who would stand as victors and determine the fate of The Age of Innocence? A predicted outcome was impossible but those who left the battlefields at all would indeed be considered among the strongest and perhaps deadliest of winners just by leaving the hostile grounds with their very lives.

 

Excerpt from An Angel’s Soul

What happened next unfolded like a series of events in slow motion. The red circles danced up and down, zipping from side to side, and crossing at strategic points as if to follow a specific pattern.

Laurel stared at the wall ahead now bright with fiery color. “Oh God.”

“No! Laurel!” Romy screeched. “Get down now! Chuck! Do something!”

It was too late.

Robby yelled, but his voice resonated like a reverberating deep baritone. “No!” His haunting scream echoed around them, but none of them could save her.

Chuck turned, but he couldn’t scramble to his feet in time to rescue his dear friend. Rebecca pivoted to the left and extended her arms, clearly prepared to phase and save Laurel’s life.

The shots rang out. One, then ten, then fifteen and then twenty. Pupupupow! Pupupupow!

No one could save the club’s sheep. Death’s henchman had placed its kiss of death on Laurel’s unsuspecting check.

Snipers took their marked deadly shots. And they made them count.

Laurel’s arms flew out to her sides. Her weapons dropped to the floor with a thud. Her body jerked violently as gunmen fired repetitive shots.

“No!” Chuck screamed, his face twisting into an agonized expression as Laurel fell face forward in his lap.

As if he could do something to save her, Chuck dragged her away from the window’s view, covering her head with his arms. He must’ve thought the belated protection would matter.

Laurel’s blood-soaked clothes were probably filled with over a hundred bullet holes. Captain Larry Kellogg had successfully delivered a driven point.

They never had ten minutes, not for one second. They weren’t given a real chance to surrender. This day marked the day of reckoning.

It was time for the Senator and his men to make the true heroes look like vengeful outlaws. The time for persecution was upon them. Their enemies were there with murderous intentions and the weapons to ensure they carried out their orders.

As the pendulum of war kept a tally more than time, the first point was carried down. Sins of Wolves, zero. Senator Brighton, one.

The fight till the death was on.

*****

Author Bios

Destiny Blaine is an international bestselling author writing under several award-winning pseudonyms. A full-time author for over ten years, Destiny loves writing in all genres. Her previous books have been #1 bestsellers at Bookstrand and her titles have captured #1 and #2 bestselling spots in eight different categories at Amazon. She enjoys hearing from her readers and invites them to connect on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DestinyBlaine or visit her on the web at http://www.destinyblaine.com. If you enjoyed this series, join Destiny and the whole Safe Mountain crew at: http://sinsofwolves.blogspot.com.

Marc Alice set out on a writing journey ages ago and discovered creative freedom at Dark Hollows Press. Working on collaboration projects, Lucifer’s Lunatic and Sins of Wolves: The Safe Mountain series, Marc believes love exists at the root of goodness and evil. He enjoys writing stories where there are clear antagonists and protagonists, and finds it’s always enjoyable when the two work out their differences and reach satisfying, and sometimes intimate, conclusions.

 

The Big One – M/F Erotic Romance by Louisa Bacio

The Big OneBlurb:

The last thing marketing assistant Kayla Morgan expects to do on a Friday morning is give a tour of her emergency shelter to a flighty rock star. When her boss orders her to play nice, she acquiesces.

Sebastian Cox, lead singer of The U.K. Underground, finds the American bird with the bunker in her backyard more than wacky, but the band’s looking for a location to shoot their latest video.

When an earthquake strikes, the unlikely couple gets trapped and finds a few ways to keep themselves busy. Once reality sets in, will their differences leave them on shaky ground?

Available via Amazon, Amazon UK, Decadent Publishing, ARe, Barnes & Noble and other eRetailers.

 

Excerpt:

“You want out of here? Fine, go for it.” Kayla pointed toward the doorway. “Be my guest and try to break the lock. If you succeed, I make no promises to your safety out there. We don’t know what’s happening. Maybe this was a minor shaker, or maybe the real thing, but what’s it going to hurt to sit tight and figure it out?”

“You plan on helping me pass the time in a more enjoyable manner?” He wagged his eyebrows at her, and despite herself, and her promise to have a strong will, a flutter started low in her belly. She couldn’t be attracted to him. He was such a neophyte. People like him never understood her.

“You watch yourself there.” She turned around and stalked to the other side of the room. Okay, given they were in such a small space, there wasn’t any getting away from him at the moment. He—and people like him—made her so mad.

“What about being optimistic?” he asked. “Thinking about the best in people. Self-fulfilling prophecies and life affirmations?”

“You can be positive all you want, and it’s not going to fill up your tank of gas. Having money, in smaller bills, hidden in case the banks crash and your ATM card doesn’t work—that’s being prepared. Just because I believe in reserving some supplies doesn’t mean I willed all this to happen. It did, and I’m ready for it.”

“‘Reserving?’ Is that what they’re calling it nowadays? I thought it was more akin to hoarding.”

Hoarding? He really didn’t get it. His comment hung in the air, and she did her best to ignore it. No matter what she said, the scorn from nonbelievers hurt. She grew up with her father being harassed by family members. It was only a matter of time before it was her turn. And her sister? Well, forget about telling her anything about being prepared. Maybe as destruction hit and a certain segment of the population was taken out, they’d be all gone. All that would be left would be those who’d taken the necessary precautions.

A wave of dizziness at the implications hit her, and she sat back down.

Right. As if life worked like that.

 

About Louisa Bacio

A Southern California native, Louisa Bacio can’t imagine living far away from the ocean. The multi-published author of erotic romance enjoys writing within all realms – from short stories to full-length novels.

Bacio shares her household with a supportive husband, two daughters growing “too fast,” and a multitude pet craziness: Two dogs, five fish tanks, an aviary, hamsters, rabbits and hermit crabs. In her other life, she teaches college classes in English, journalism and popular culture.

Visit her online at: http://www.louisabacio.com, http://www.facebook.com/louisabacio

and http://www.twitter.com/louisabacio

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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