Category Archives: Extracts

Nature of the Beast Tour Banner

Title: Nature of the Beast

Author:  Aimee Brissay

Series: Tangled Bonds, Book One

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, MMF, Shifters

Length: Long Novella

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

After sorceress Alexandra tries to kill her insane father, her fae uncle expels her from the Otherworld in an attempt to keep her safe. Living among humans, she keeps her connection with the supernatural by working for vampires and werewolves.

When she stumbles upon a hurt werewolf pup her efforts to heal him inadvertently break the bonds tying the young lycan to the pack, making her his new alpha.

This is the least of Alexandra’s worries though, for back in the Otherworld her father has not forgotten her. He dispatches an assassin to kill her. But just who is this mysterious foe, and what will their arrival mean not only to Alexandra but to the delicate balance of the world?

Nature of the Beast is the first book in the Tangled Bonds series.

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Excerpt

The phone rang just as I was stuffing the last of the bags into the car. I answered, swearing under my breath. “What?”

“They are coming.”

I froze, the raspy whisper giving me goose bumps. The person on the other end of the line was female, but that was about all I could identify. The voice was muffled, as if a hand or a handkerchief was placed over the microphone.

“Who’s this? How did you get this number?”

“You must save him. Please.”

“Save who?”

“My boy. Please.”

Nic. “Who are you? Where did you get this number?”

The phone went dead in my hand. My feet unfroze, carrying me to the driver’s door. A few seconds later, I was buckled in, the car in gear. The tires screeched as I charged to the main road.

My mind spun, the warning still ringing in my ears. They. Who’s they? Michelson and his goons? Nic’s parents? Someone else entirely? Whom should I save? Nicolae? Stefan’s father?

Crap. Crap. Crap! Neither perspective seemed good, but at least if someone was coming for a visit, Stefan had a whole pack at his beck and call. Chris and Sean didn’t. Oh, shit!

I pulled out my cell to call home when it started ringing again. Sean.

“I was just calling you. Something is—”

“Get home! Fast!”

Without hesitation, I floored the gas pedal. The car lunged beneath me, the engine purring aggressively. I could hear growling in the background over the still-open line, and shouting, none of which made me feel any more confident.

“What’s the situation?”

Buy Links

Don’t miss the March Sale! All Wayward Ink Titles titles are 35% off on the WIP website and 30% off on AllRomance, and 30% off on Amazon.

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/nature-of-the-beast-by-aimee-brissay/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CJ4RVYW/

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Book trailer

Giveaway

Prize: $4.99 WIP Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the author

aimee-brissayBorn in Romania, land of the Iele and Vlad the Impaler, AIMEE BRISSAY has spent all her life surrounded by books. She has ridden side by side with d’Artagnan and The Three Musketeers to retrieve the Queen’s diamonds, set sail on the Erasmus in search of the Japans, fell in love with Rhett Butler and roamed the Wild West along Old Shatterhand. She has walked on the footsteps of the Olympian Gods and searched for Zalmoxis’ sanctuary in the Carpathians. In her mind, she’s never been the damsel in distress but rather the knight in shiny armor fighting for a cause.

With a background like this, turning to writing was no surprise.

Aimee discovered erotica early on in life and has never looked back. Now she can write anywhere, even in a crowded room or a busy subway station, but she loves solitude.

When she’s not at her evil day job, she can be found writing or playing with her cat. She welcomes messages from readers and promises to answer all of them as soon as possible.

Aimee Brissay can be found at:

Website: http://aimeebrissay.blogspot.ro/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006586754683

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aimeebrissay

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The Guy With The Suitcase

The Guy With The Suitcase Banner

Title: The Guy With The Suitcase

Series: Once Upon a Guy, Book One

Author: Chris Ethan

Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Length: Novel

Synopsis

Pierce is homeless.

Young and strong-willed Pierce has been living in the streets of New York City for six months, since his parents kicked him out of their perfect, Christian, suburban house. Pierce is gay. And he is suffering the consequences for being true to himself.

Rafe is homeless.

He is also sick. Impressionable, but far from innocent, Rafe ran away from home almost a year ago. His sickness is slowly killing him. But Rafe is not a hopeless case. He has learned to get by. Nights of paid passion turn to sheltering warmth from the imminent New York winter.

And then there’s a suitcase. Pierce’s suitcase, which holds secrets from everyone including its owner.

When their worlds collide, their lives intertwine and when the world seems bent on bringing the two souls to their knees, fate has other plans for them.

Caution: Contains adult language, New York City streets, tough life choices, sexual tension, stubborn brutes and swoon-worthy romance.

The Guy With The Suitcase Cover

Buy Links

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018RE9K7E/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018RE9K7E/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B018RE9K7E/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B018RE9K7E/

Giveaway

Prize Bundle: The Guy With The Suitcase Mug, Chris Ethan pen, and $5 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author

Chris Ethan is a book whore. He enjoys selling his feelings for money and other pleasures and is blatantly unashamed to do so for as long as he breathes. Chris Ethan is also a persona for Rhys Christopher Ethan, author of fantasy and sci-fi. He uses Chris Ethan to share stories of adult queer romance with those who need it. Before you delve into his books however, be warned. He likes putting his characters through shitstorms and hates anything conventional. But then there’s that darned happy-ever-after. Also, he likes swearing. Deal with it!

Social links:

Website: http://www.rcethan.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rhys_Ethan

Facebook: http://facebook.com/rcethan1

 

 

Excerpt

“Sure,” Rafe said and unhooked his rucksack from his back and loosened the string. Before he had any time to pull out his stash, Pierce pulled some bills out of his pocket and gave them to the receptionist. He paused before letting them go. “No, Pierce. You don’t have to do that. Really,” Rafe begged him, stopping the receptionist from putting the money away.

“It’s okay, Rafe,” Pierce said and walked out of the hostel. Rafe took the money off the receptionist’s hand and followed Pierce, excusing himself.

“Wait, up. Pierce!” he was standing outside when Rafe came out the door waiting for Rafe. “You don’t have to give your money to me. I can…” he started to say pressing the bills, and his hand, on Pierce’s chest, but Piece cut him off.

“Rafe, stop. I want to do this. I…I want you to be safe. Especially after such a stupid night,” Pierce said, staring at the traffic and pushing Rafe’s hand off his chest. The man was playing so tough — and he was, kicking everyone’s butt to prove as much — but ask him to talk about his feelings and he blushes like a little girl.

“Well,” Rafe said stepping in front of Pierce and his point of focus to force him once again to look him in the eyes and finish what he wanted to say. “Thank you. You…there’s a sweetheart under that brute after all,” he told him and placed a kiss on his cheek. “Don’t be a stranger, stranger”.

Rafe disappeared back inside the hostel and got his keys from the receptionist.

“He your boyfriend?” he asked, giving him a purple keyring with a number written on it.

Rafe smiled. “I wish.” He grabbed the keys and went to bed.


Remember

Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic

Relaunch Tour

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In anticipation of the release of the Exigency, the second book in the Protectors of the Elemental Magic Series, Marnie Cate’s beloved first novel, Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic, will be available on Kindle for $0.99 / £0.99 February 5th – 11th 2016

 

Author: Marnie Cate

Title: Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

 

Synopsis

Hiding the truth from you is no longer protecting you. Sit and I will tell you what you need to know.

 

With those words, the secrets of my great grandmother, Genevieve Silver, were unburied and my role as a protector of the elemental magic was revealed.

 

My name is Marina Addisyn Stone but Mara is what my friends and family call me.  I had always felt that there was something missing and that nothing was permanent. Why would I feel that way?  I was being raised with my little sister by my grandmother that loved and doted on me. Then, there was Cole Sands. Who could forget the blue-eyed boy that had stolen my heart? What more could a girl need?  I always thought I was just being dramatic and that bad things do happen to people but that is part of life.  People die.  People go away. Little did I know that with one secret, my life would change forever and my new world would be surrounded by the world of elemental magic?

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Excerpt

As I felt my determination build, the mirror in front of me began to change and the reflection filled with rippling water. The image made me think of the choppy water of Sparrow Lake. At first, the small waves were calm but the speed and intensity of each movement of the water grew. I found myself being splashed as the waves grew harder and began to slap against the mirror. Standing up, I moved away just in time to watch the mirror before me shatter and the violent water burst out towards me.

The room began to fill with rushing water. Feeling around the room, I searched for an exit. Behind the shattered mirror, I only found solid rock. Looking to the ceiling, I could see the same hard stone. Feeling the emotions build inside me, I began search the floor and walls around me for any exit.

“Damn! Damn! Damn it!” I cried.

The water did not slow. Instead it continued to fill the room as I frantically searched for my escape. The water soon reached my knees and, what seemed like seconds later, I was wading through waist high water. As the water continued to rise, I was soon struggling to keep my head above water. It was not enough that the water was filling the room so rapidly but soon the water felt alive. The cold waves kept tossing me back and forth as the water rose and I began to feel like I was in a game of Ping-Pong where I was the ball. Soon, I found myself pulled under the icy water and surrounded by thousands of bubbles. Frantically kicking my feet to keep my head above water, I broke the surface.

Remembering the swimming lessons my grandfather insisted on, I thought about the times I spent with my grandfather learning to swim. I began to feel less scared as I recalled his calm voice and gentle words telling me that I would be safe. As I floated in the rising water, it seemed to respond to my emotions. The thrashing became calmer as I focused on my grandfather’s words. My brief moment of peace did not last. Before I knew it, I had almost reached the ceiling that had no exit and I began to panic. At this rate, I would be trapped and drowned in minutes. As if it was feeding off my fear, the water began to toss me around again.

As the water began to rise up my neck and almost over the top of my head, I tried to calm myself. You are the granddaughter of Mae Veracor and the great granddaughter of Genevieve Silver. You are the descendent of strong women. You have nothing to fear. With these words, the water once again calmed and I was able to tilt my head back above the water. How am I going to get out of this?

 

Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic is on sale $0.99 / £0.99 Kindle from February 5th – 11th 2016

 

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Amazon Book link: My Book

 

 

Marnie Cate Biography

Marnie Cate was born and raised in Montana before adventuring to the warmer states of Arizona and California. Her love of Dame Judi Dench and dreams of caticorns and rainbows inspired her to chase her dreams. One great sentence came to mind and the world of elemental magic and the humans they lived amongst filled her mind. With Remember, the story has begun.

 

Other Works by Marnie Cate

Exigency: Protectors of the Elemental Magic – Coming Soon

The story of Mara Stone continues.  Her world was shaken but she is a fighter.  Facing new adversaries, Mara is learning what it truly means to protect the magic.

 

Awethology Light – Contribution Story  

Beginnings: Protectors of the Elemental Magic (Novellette)

The story of Genevieve Silver and the origins of the protectors of the magic. With the balance of the elemental world shaken, four elementals take on the task of protecting the magic.

 

Links:

www.marniecate.com

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00UJNT7J8

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Marnie_Cate

Twitter: @Marnie_Cate


DEEP

Deep-Banner

Synopsis

Fleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.

Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.

But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.

With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?

Deep AL Bates

Buy Links

Don’t miss the limited time 30% discount across Amazon sites!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/deep-by-al-bates/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

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Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deep-1969763-177.html

Book Trailer

Excerpt

Joel Riley was a difficult captain to work under, and for his first season in the Deep, Sean was pretty sure he despised the man. But another season in he’d grown accustomed to the captain’s volatile temper and inability to compromise. Joel had been a miner all his life, born on Titan to a family of miners. He had the sea in his veins and Ariel was his heart. There was a confidence to Joel that drew the crew to him and an arrogance that kept him slightly out of reach. Rugged, strong, and built for hard labor, he was the exact opposite of Sean—and yet of all the crew, Sean felt closest to Joel. Sean understood the captain’s approach, his passions, and he trusted the older man with his life.

“Captain, is everything all right?” Sean said from the entrance.

Joel jumped, knocking his knees on the control board. “Jesus, boy! What you doing creeping around in the middle of the night?”

“I wasn’t creeping,” Sean said.

“Skulking around, spying on people, and you reckon that’s not creeping,” Joel grumbled.

Deep Cover

Sean thought better of continuing into an argument. If Joel’s mood was testy they were going to go around in circles annoying each other.

“I was about to turn in,” Sean said, deciding it was best to be passive.

“You looking for permission?” Joel’s tone was still curt, but it wasn’t really directed at Sean. Something else was bothering him.

“No, I just thought I’d come in and say good night.”

Joel sighed, apparently appeased by the lack of confrontation. He gave Sean a weak, tired smile. “Better get some rest, Doc. Couple of hours and Harvey will need you to stitch something, no doubt.”

Wasn’t that the truth. Harvey, their engineer, was pretty good when it came to mineral mining and keeping the ship moving, but he could injure himself getting into his dive suit.

“What about you, Sir?”

“I’m not planning on cutting anything,” Joel said, his smile strengthening.

“I meant are you turning in?”

Joel hesitated. Usually the captain was impossible to read, but every so often Sean got hints of the man behind the muscle. There was a softness to him, hidden behind the square jaw and piercing eyes. Sean had always been drawn to his vulnerable side. It crept in from time to time, reminding Sean that the captain, despite liking to pretend he was a demigod, was just a man. A good man.

“Not yet.” A shadow seemed to be hanging over him.

“Would you mind some company?” Sean offered, sensing the captain had something he needed to get off his chest.

“Suit yourself.” It was as close to an invitation as Joel ever gave anyone.

About the author

A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.

A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates


Br0th3rly Extract

Br0th3rly blog tour

Title: Br0th3rly

Author: Alina Popescu

Series: Famous on the Internet, Book One

Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, M/M Romance

Length: Novella

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Start your journey through the new techie/geeky gay romance series by Alina Popescu—Famous on the Internet—with the first book, Br0th3rly.

Synopsis

Fighting his relentless love for Trevor, the guy he was raised to consider his brother, has been Tristan’s mission in life.

To distance himself from Trevor, even after discovering they weren’t really related, he left for college at sixteen. Moving into the city, building a new life, and running an anonymous blog about

what he considers sick, twisted feelings might make Tristan famous on the Internet, but it isn’t enough to get over his obsession. Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.

Br0th3rly 3D Cover

When commitment-phobe Trevor announces he’s got a serious boyfriend during one of Tristan’s rare visits home, the adoring kid brother will be forced to run once again. This time, however, Trevor doesn’t stand back and watch him leave.

Instead, he follows him, making it nigh on impossible for Tristan to keep his love a secret for much longer.

Excerpt

A knock on my door told me I’d unsuccessfully tried to sleep till dinner time.

“Yeah,” I groaned, praying he would not come in.

Of course it was Trev; that was the rule in our house. Dad would get drinks ready, Mom would cook the meal, and Trev would fetch me. I’d been hiding before dinner since I was fourteen. Back then I used to blame it on homework; now I was using my exhaustion.

It was an excuse, but I wasn’t lying. I really was shattered. About a week before having to spend time with my family, sleep would start to elude me. Restless nights, or dark dreams that began erotic and ended with disgust painted on my parents’ faces. Worse, that same look of disgust was painted on my brother’s face, twisting it cruelly.

Trev pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame. “Dinner, baby bro.”

I groaned and pressed the heels of my hands into my eye sockets. I hated the sound of his voice when he called me that. Such warmth, such pure brotherly love. He was never this sweet and warm with anyone else, not even with Mom. Just me. Man, did that make me feel like the freaking asshole of the century.

“C’mon, lazy boy, Mom’s been cooking all day to make your favorites. Let’s not keep her waiting.”

He stood there, in the doorway, waiting for me to come. I knew what would happen next and I braced myself. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Think of grandpa and grandma having sex. It was useless. The moment I passed by, he ruffled my hair and pulled me into a half hug. There we go, boner time! I could not have my brother touch me and not get a stiffy. And he always was so carelessly tactile with me.

I grumbled some excuse or another and hid in the bathroom.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Don’t miss the ARe 25% off sale till January 23rd, WIP’s Unzipping 2016 Sale – 35% off all list titles till January 24th, or the huge Australia Day Sale–January 25 to January 27—50% off all titles on WIP’s website and 35% off on Are!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/br0th3rly-by-alina-popescu/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019VK3VFA/

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B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/br0th3rly-alina-popescu/1123179425

Br0th3rly Cover

Giveaway

1x$10 WIP Gift Card

2×1 Backlist Title from WIP – anthologies and individual releases included

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

Social Links

Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alina_popescu

Instagram: http://instagram.com/alinapopescuwriter

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/alina-popescu

Google+:  https://www.google.com/+AlinaPopescu

Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/alinapopescu


Blackspoon

Take a look at an extract from this new thriller…

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Daniel Eagleton

1.

Somewhere over Germany, his mind turned against him. The pure, undiluted terror had kicked in hours ago, but he’d been expecting that, even as it came on like a bout of gastric flu, giving him the shakes and making him rush to the toilet to void his bowels. As he left the cubicle he passed one of the Danes, also looking decidedly pasty. Hung-over, probably. Not uncommon after the stopover in Cyprus. Now this Dane would have to deal with the stench Charlie had left behind. Would he complain to his mates about it? Perhaps Charlie’s shit reeked of fear. He sat back down and while the other Movers laughed and joked and planned two weeks’ leave with their girlfriends and families, Charlie did his best to appear calm. If anyone did notice his sweating, the way he was gripping the armrest, he wouldn’t be able to blame it on the booze.

He hadn’t touched a drop, not even on the beach yesterday.

He had to get a hold of himself.

Think of something.

Bit of airsickness, mate, that’s all.

An airsick RAF man?

They’d still be laughing when they landed in England.

No, no. Fine, really. Bit nervous, that’s all. Got five kilos of uncut heroin taped to my chest.

Probably best not to mention that.

The five kilos of smack concealed beneath his uniform.

Better to think about the money instead. The five grand already in his account, the other five waiting for him once he made it through customs. And he’d get through customs. They’d been over it a hundred times, him and Baker the Military Policeman. They’d even Skyped Geddis, the other copper, the one who’d be waiting for Charlie when he touched down and who’d personally make sure he wasn’t picked out of the assembly and searched.

Every detail covered.

Geddis had said as much himself.

‘For this to go well,’ he’d shrugged, his face filling the computer screen, voice

blaring through the headphones, ‘it’s in everyone’s interests, right? You get caught, that’s bad for all of us. But that’s not gonna happen. I mean, think about it. You’re gonna get your own, personal, police escort, son.’

But it was Baker who really sold it, during one of their many bonding sessions at the gym. Unable to drink during their tour, all anyone did when they weren’t working was hit the gym. Baker was older than Charlie, and Charlie respected his casual approach to life in a war zone. Charlie also liked that Baker happily reinforced the reputation enjoyed by RAF Movers, who didn’t just plan and execute the transportation of personnel and equipment by air, but were also known for their partying, their love of the ladies, and even, on occasion, their willingness to smuggle a little contraband.

‘We control every aspect of that flight,’ Baker had said. ‘We walk you on, walk you off. Meanwhile, they’re looking at your luggage, not you.’

He was right, of course. Charlie had been in and out of Brize countless times over the last seven years and he’d never once been searched. After a stint in Gibraltar, his mate Westy had to be gently reprimanded for failing to declare his knife and several rounds of live ammunition. And what about Andy ‘Two-pints’ Thompson? Everyone knew Two-pints had an M16 stashed in his room back on base.

Got it off a Marine, he said.

Never said how he got it past security, though.

The point being, Charlie had no weaponry about his person, and that, primarily, was what they’d be looking for. That’s what he’d been telling himself. Only now that voice inside his head, the one that had been so sure this was going to work, had changed tempo. It was, in fact, no longer a voice. It was a huge, expansive noise, like the crashing of a jet airliner. This jet airliner. They were about to plummet to the ground, their bodies immolated and strewn across the first piece of dust-free pasture any of them had seen in months.

‘Cup of coffee?’ said the flight attendant, looming over Charlie with a fresh pot.

‘Something I ate,’ Charlie said, ungluing his lips.

The flight attendant, a thin, fresh-faced man, adopted a playful, concerned expression. ‘You alright? You’ve gone a bit pale, there.’

Charlie coughed, sat up straight, the tape beneath his uniform squeaking.

‘I’m fine. Some water would be great, though.’

‘No problem,’ the flight attendant said. He winked at Charlie. ‘And don’t worry. You made it. You’ll be home in an hour.’

As they touched down the other servicemen and women cheered and applauded, a sound

like static being blasted through a wall of broken speakers. Charlie was now sweating profusely, miming laughter, his head back, teeth bared. How wrong can you get? To think you can do something, only to discover you’re not up for the challenge.

Don’t just sit there, said the voice in his head, calling to him from somewhere far away, somewhere amid the whirlwind.

Get on your feet and make it happen.

He stood, pulled his pack from the overhead compartment. A series of simple, inculpable gestures. They taxied across the airfield, then waited for the cabin doors to open, his colleagues talking excitedly, busy with their own thoughts and feelings about what lay ahead. Charlie ignored the urge to vomit, told himself again how Geddis would be waiting. Geddis who was tall and ginger and therefore impossible to miss, and who had as much to lose as Charlie should anything go wrong.

He disembarked to congratulations from the captain and crew and descended onto the tarmac. It was dark, but he could still see the cloud cover that everyone had missed so much while under the glaring, Afghan sky. They were back at Brize, their home town. But it wasn’t home any more. Charlie realised that now. He was an interloper, an enemy, and still a long way from any Safe Zone.

Double doors parted and he walked into the terminal, bright under the lights and unkept as always. They formed an orderly queue, passports at the ready. Outside came the familiar roar of a C-17 taking off, and at the desk, friendly but efficient, were the customs officials. Charlie became aware of his mates, a few metres behind him. He should acknowledge them. They knew him as a talker, a joker. Why the silence, they’d wonder. And why was he was having trouble standing like a normal person?

How did he normally stand?

What if he fell down?

He reached the desk, the official looking over his documents and waving him through. On the other side of a large partition security personnel awaited, ready to stop-search some of the men as they made their way to Baggage Claim. Charlie fell in behind four or five identical uniforms, feeling momentarily camouflaged but knowing this was an illusion. He snuck a glance over the shoulder of the guy in front. Up ahead, an MP had pulled someone aside and was asking him to unpack his rucksack and sports bag. The MP was not Geddis. Where was Geddis? Charlie could see Baggage Claim through another set of automatic doors, so close he might be able to make it unnoticed. He’d simply put his head down and saunter over there.

A second later Charlie saw him: tall, ginger, walking the length of the queue.

He stopped at Charlie’s shoulder.

‘If I can ask you to come with me, sir. Won’t take a moment.’

Charlie looked at the floor.

Some mistake, surely.

Then Geddis ushered the man directly in front of Charlie to one side, saying, ‘Just a formality. The rest of you on your way, now.’

For a moment, as the flow of traffic started up again, Charlie just stood there, his feet rooted to the floor, until finally, on pins and needles, he shuffled through the doors into the adjacent hall.

He’d made it, and as he waited for his luggage to arrive he began to mingle, parading up and down the conveyor belt, clapping his co-workers on the shoulder, reminding them there was some serious drinking to be done. He felt light-headed, unsubstantial, but in a good way. Finally, their bags began to trundle past and as they did so another MP appeared, this one with a small, excited dog at his feet.

Charlie’s airways constricted, white pixels swarming at the edge of his vision.

The MP led the dog along the conveyor, the tiny canine sniffing each bag or pack as it passed, moving swiftly towards Charlie, who thought seriously about sprinting for the exit. Instead he put several men between himself and the mutt, which was looking for bombs or weapons but which probably wouldn’t discriminate should he catch the whiff of an illegal substance.

Charlie walked to the other end of the conveyor.

The stink of it.

Narcotics and dread, spreading like sonar.

His luggage curled into view and he lurched forward, overextending, making a spectacle of himself as he reached for the handles. Then he turned, an awkward, stumbling pirouette, away from the dog which yapped, leapt, and was yanked back on course by its handler.

Don’t run, Charlie told himself, his bags hanging off him as he hustled into Arrivals.

There was nobody waiting for him, but still the wives, kids and girlfriends searched his face to see if it was that of their loved one. A moment later, he was outside, into the freezing night air, where he disappeared among the hangars and buildings, taking the short cut back to his quarters.

His room seemed frozen in time, a different time, yet he’d only been away three months. It felt more like years. Back then, he’d packed up his stuff, ready to move into Claire’s flat so

he could spend more time with her before he shipped out. They were going to marry, get an RAF house, an Andrex puppy, until, one night, Charlie had sat in the local pub with his mates, having the same, work-related discussion they always had. But for once he hadn’t found it reassuring. It was tired, old as the stone fireplace he found himself staring into. He went to the bar, where the landlord poured his usual without saying a word. That’s when he knew for sure that nothing was going to change.

Ever.

Not unless he did something about it.

So he broke up with Claire.

It took a while, but in the end she was surprisingly stoical about it, as though she either didn’t believe him or understood completely where he was coming from. He couldn’t be sure. You had to hand it to her, though: she knew how to keep him guessing. He wanted to call her now; not to get back together, just to hear a friendly voice. He also wanted to rip the packets of heroin from his chest, to be free of them, even by a few feet.

So why the paralysis?

Geddis was due at any moment, and tomorrow Charlie would receive the rest of his money. Things couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

He surveyed his room. Four years he’d been in here. When he’d first moved in it had been a step up. No more sharing with another lad, an en-suite bathroom (complete with black mould and an intermittently hot shower). Was that why he’d asked Claire to marry him? To get a house? He wondered what she’d say if she found out he’d carried drugs. (And not just any kind: the really bad kind.) No doubt she wouldn’t approve. Not an easy thing to admit to, anyway: doing something morally questionable for money. Of course, he knew guys who killed for money, and who talked openly about how much they enjoyed it.

Yet carrying smack would be seen as worse.

He’d be a disgrace.

But what did they know?

What did anyone know?

He took home seventeen thousand a year. It wasn’t enough, not any more. He knew he should have retrained, worked his way up the ranks, but somehow he’d lacked the necessary ambition. Easier to work, drink beer in the local with his mates.

Only now, suddenly, seven years had passed.

He sat down on the bed. Geddis would be here any minute. Perhaps Charlie should just ask him straight out: the drugs, how much were they worth?

More than ten grand?

Because, alone for the first time in months, it seemed so obvious.

He was being ripped off.

Without thinking, he began to throw random items of clothing into a bag. In the drawer next to the bed, his mobile and charger. He crossed the room and stepped into the hallway beyond. No one around, only the throb of dance music as the lads prepared for an almighty piss-up in their local. He moved quickly down the corridor, passing the communal bathroom, the sound of showers running. Outside, the cold was less of a shock this time, as though he’d acclimatised already. He heard voices, a couple of airmen approaching. He turned, walking the length of the building towards the car park where his second-hand Golf was waiting. Overhead, the steady drone of air traffic. He reached the Golf, had to remind himself he wasn’t going AWOL in any official sense. He had two weeks’ leave, starting tonight. He keyed the ignition, steered his way out of the car park, following the road to the front gates. Another security checkpoint, the MP there already leaning from his booth. Charlie flashed his ID and was through, pulling out onto the Carterton Road.

Don’t floor it.

That was the trick now.

Nice and steady.

He was on the A40 when his mobile rang.

‘Charlie?’ said Geddis. ‘I’m here. You gonna let me in, or what?’

‘Yeah. About that. What I mean is, I need to talk to you about that.’

‘What are you, driving? Tell me you haven’t gone walkabout.’

‘Well, actually,’ Charlie said, having to clear his throat, ‘what I’m thinking is, we meet up tomorrow. And we’ll talk then. Because the way I see it, there’s a few things we need to, you know, discuss. Anyway, it’s late. I’ll call you in the morning, alright?’

‘Charlie, I want you to listen to me very carefully. I want you to think about what you’re doing. About the implications of your actions, alright? Because you don’t wanna do this, understand? Believe me. You do not wanna do this.’

‘Alright,’ Charlie said. ‘I’ll talk to you first thing, then, alright? All the best.’

He disconnected the call.

Outside his window the landscape was dark and foreign.

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Br0th3rly

Br0th3rly Banner

The gay romance novella Br0th3rly is the first in a new techie/geeky series by Alina Popescu – Famous on the Internet. The series features bloggers, YouTubers, and other Internet celebrities.

Synopsis

Fighting his relentless love for Trevor, the guy he was raised to consider his brother, has been Tristan’s mission in life.

To distance himself from Trevor, even after discovering they weren’t really related, he left for college at sixteen. Moving into the city, building a new life, and running an anonymous blog about what he considers sick, twisted feelings might make Tristan famous on the Internet, but it isn’t enough to get over his obsession. Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.

Br0th3rly Cover

When commitment-phobe Trevor announces he’s got a serious boyfriend during one of Tristan’s rare visits home, the adoring kid brother will be forced to run once again. This time, however, Trevor doesn’t stand back and watch him leave.

Instead, he follows him, making it nigh on impossible for Tristan to keep his love a secret for much longer.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Don’t miss WIP’s Unzipping 2016 Sale – 35% off all list titles till January 24th!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/br0th3rly-by-alina-popescu/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B019VK3VFA/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-br0th3rly-1959019-149.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/br0th3rly-alina-popescu/1123179425

Excerpt

As I slouched in my seat, barely visible over the steering wheel, I saw a strange bike pass by, make an illegal U-turn, and pull in behind me. Oh fuck, no! This couldn’t be. I slid further down into my seat, but my head turned without my saying so, my eyes glued to the image in the mirror. Strong thighs carried an impressive, jean-clad package closer to me. I could tell my brother’s package from thousands. I’d been lusting after that particular cock since I was ten. I knew every vein, every ridge, every shade that had ever adorned it. I groaned and pinched the bridge of my nose. Sweet gods of brotherly love, keep me in one piece. I wasn’t supposed to see him till tonight. He was working or something; I didn’t know what. I never paid attention to Mom’s chatter.

“Hey, Trist. What do you think? Are they going to revive her this time?” His warm yet teasing voice washed over me, sending shivers up and down my body. Eight fucking months since I’d seen him last and this was how much I’d evolved. Less than a minute and I was already losing my shit.

“Trevor, what the fuck are you doing here? I thought Dad was going to pick me up.” I cringed at the harshness of my tone and felt more than heard his gasp. I was so attuned to how my brother reacted, I could have guessed every little gesture he’d make to respond to absolutely everything.

Br0th3rly 3D Cover

“Wow, Trist, aren’t you happy to see me,” he said in a barely audible whisper.

I pushed myself to look at him and gave him an apologetic smile. Taking in those dark eyes, the high, angular cheekbones, the olive, flawless skin, and the full, dark red lips with their natural pout, I sighed and wondered how exactly I was going to be here for the next three nights and not go completely off my rocker.

“Sorry, Trev. I’m tired, this car’s shit, and Dad said—”

“Don’t sweat it.”

He cut me off harshly, waving a hand. I’d hurt his feelings, I knew. Ever since I’d fled to college, I’d been giving my brother the cold shoulder. It was hard at first as we’d always been close, but the more time passed, the better I became at it.

“Come on, get in. It’s hot as hell out there.”

To my relief, he nodded and walked around to the passenger seat. He got in with that annoying grace of his which was unfathomable coming from someone who’d never been involved in any activity that would explain such a trait. Quite the contrary, he’d always played on the bad boy side, loud and threatening, getting himself into trouble more often than not.

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

Social Links

Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alina_popescu

Instagram: http://instagram.com/alinapopescuwriter

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/alina-popescu

Google+:  https://www.google.com/+AlinaPopescu

Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/alinapopescu


The Eye of Mares

 The Eye of Mares Blog Tour

 ROTE - Eye of Mares Revised Cover Art

To celebrate the release of the second instalment in the Rise of the Elohim chronicles, the Eye of Mares is going to blog hopping like a headlining rockstar, multiple showings for over the course of two weeks, with a new page shared with each appearance, continuing from where the last one went off and today I get to host the latest page:

 

 

 

The Eye of Mares – Part 11

…“Tell me, Damien—” Zach said, as he materialised beside his own bed, tying his pillow cases together. “—you forgot how fast I am, haven’t you?”

“Grrrr,” Damien snarled. Besides being furious, he felt a little embarrassed. He had forgotten.

Damien cursed himself for his own stupidity, as he bit his own tongue. In the forty-six months he had known Zach, he was aware of his spectacular talents. Such as his natural talent of being able to raise both speed and strength at an astonishing rate when fighting stronger opponents. And yet despite being no match for him, Damien was forever trying to best him, only to be met with failure time and time again.

He had hated Zach from the day he met him, all because he was meant to live the same life as Zach, to grow up as a Watcher, as opposed to being a prisoner on Osiris. He deemed Zach unworthy of the life he led and desired it for himself instead. And he would do whatever it took to bring Zach down a peg or two.

“Give me my sword back, Damien.” Zach repeated evenly.

“Never!” Damien denied in retaliation.

Then I’ll just have to reclaim it for myself then.

Zach’s telepathically spoken words threw Damien off-guard, allowing him to strike out twice. His first move saw him use the sheet to slap Damien across the chops before he whipped it again at his legs, knocking him over.

The sword came free from Damien’s grip, only to have the sheet fly out again and reclaim both it and the sheath for its owner. Zach tossed the sheet back onto his bed and sheathed his weapon, only to then advance on his defeated foe.

“I can sense your every move and read your every thought. Did you really think I didn’t know you were coming?” Zach asked off-handedly. “I knew what you were up to from the moment you woke up this morning.”…

 

Be sure to check out the continuing blogs to watch the story continue, or pick up a copy direct from Amazon: The Eye of Mares – Out now!

You could even let the adventure continue and check out its prequel, where the story began and the series was created: The Spirit of Iris – Out now!

 

Cover Art Book 3 - The Story Continues.JPGAuthor: Rocky Rochford

Illustrator: Ashleigh Longman

Title: The Eye of Mares

Series: Book 2 of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles

Genre: Illustrated YA fantasy adventure

Book Content Rating: Suitable for ages 12 and up

Tag-line: “Darkness has many forms and Mares is its playground.”

 

Blurb:

Nearly four years have passed since Zach drew blade against the Shanzi Shimay and now the time has come for him to draw his sword once more. The Realm of Mares has fallen victim to invasion as three terrifying beasts of darkness, seek to destroy the world around them, as they await the inevitable arrival of their King.

With dark times ahead, the numbers of the Watchers on Iris has grown, as Zach is joined by seven fellow students, all too eager to prove their worth. It’s not long before the students are put to the test facing off against the Nein Navy and uncover a dark secret.

The stage is set and the Battle for Mares is under-way. 

Author Shot - Rocky Rochford 2015Rocky Rochford Biography

Rocky Rochford is your standard guy, if your standard guy scuba dives, partakes in underwater photographer and is a wake-boarding, adventure seeking, sword collecting, marine conservation supporter. After living life on the road and the places between, he finally settled down but not without benefiting from all the lessons life had to teach him.

Self-professed “Student of Everything, and Master of Nothing,” Rochford does not choose what he writes, but writes what chooses him, be it fantasy, crime, poetry, philosophy or even adventure. Life is a journey we all get to experience, just like a good book.

Every read into another of his typed works is another trip into the imagination of his mixed up, crazed and deranged mind and this year along those works include the likes of full novels and novellas such as:

London Calling – a Deep Water Novel (Spy Thriller)London Calling

Don’t Even Blink – Part of the Don’t Turn Around Trilogy (Horror)

Wait and Bleed – The Don’t Turn Around Collection (Horror collection of the entire Don’t Trilogy)

And now The Eye of Mares – Book 2 of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles (Illustrated YA fantasy adventure)

 Other works released by him, are a number of short stories pertaining to horror, paranormal and romance, as well as other works released as part of an anthology:

The Devil You Know (Paranormal short)

Salt in the Wound – Part of the Entwined Saga (Paranormal short)

The Food of Love (featuring Him & Her) – An Anthology by Solstice Publishing (Romance filled Anthology)

Him & Her (Romance Standalone release)

Don’t Say A Word (Horror)

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Volume II (featuring The Devil Before) – An Anthology by the Solstice Shadows (Paranormal themed Anthology)

Awethology Dark (featuring Ghosts) – An Anthology by the #Awethors (Adult stories pertaining to a darker theme)

The December Awethology Dark Volume (featuring Seven Years Bad Luck) – An Anthology by the #Awethors (Adult stories pertaining to a darker theme, set around December)

****Welcome to the World of Rochford****

­­

Social Media Links:

Rocky Rochford’s website: rockyrochford.wordpress.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RockyRochford

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7310280.Rocky_Rochford

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Rocky-Rochford/e/B00O3AA3KU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1449272442&sr=8-1

 

Rochford writes a little something for everyone, so if Mares isn’t your cup of tea, you can guarantee one of his many other works certainly is!

Wait and Bleed


Indigo Road

Indigo Road Tour Banner

Title: Indigo Road

Author: R.J. Jones

Genre: New Adult, Gay Romance, Contemporary

Length: Novel

Cover artist: Meredith Russell

Synopsis

Two best friends take a year off to find themselves… and end up finding each other.

Joshua Simpson has just finished four years at Purdue University, but that’s not why he’s buzzing with excitement. Once they’ve said goodbye to their families, Josh and his best friend Alex are taking off to discover America in an old but reliable VW van, planning on not seeing snow for an entire year.

Josh has always considered himself straight—except for that one time in college—so when he and Alex are living in such close proximity on the road, he’s unsure what these new feelings mean. Is it because they’re spending 24/7 together, or is it something deeper? And does it really matter since Josh has only ever seen Alex with women?

While in Oregon, Josh meets Johnno, a sexy but confusing Aussie surfer. While having an impromptu surfing lesson, Johnno helps Josh realize who he is and what he wants—but Alex’s reaction leaves Josh confused.

From a Montana ranch to the bright lights and dangerous streets of Los Angeles to a dark and lonely deserted highway in Alabama, join Josh and Alex as they drive around the US, discovering not only who they are, but who they can be together.

Indigo Road Cover

Excerpt

I was dozing in the back of Maude, my legs dangling over the rear bumper, my stomach full of croissant and coffee when Alex’s voice woke me. “Get up, I want to show you what Dad and I did over the last couple of days.”

I moaned, wanting to sleep a bit longer.

“C’mon, move your ass,” Alex ordered, slapping my thigh. After Alex had spoken to his folks, his enthusiastic mood had returned and I was glad his parents were okay with him leaving early. A little disappointed that they missed their goodbye maybe, but they reassured him they understood and wished him safe travels.

Placing my feet on the grassy ground, I stood and yawned, stretching my arms up high over my head. Alex’s eyes followed the lift of my T-shirt that exposed a line of my skin, and his lips parted, letting out a small breath.

Was he checking me out? No, I shook my head at the absurdity of the thought.

Alex rolled his shoulders and set about undoing some latches at the base of the mattress.

“Here, check this out. It’s super cool.” With a flick of his wrist, a long wooden box rolled out from underneath the bed. It ran the length of the mattress and was just as wide, with hinged compartments and finger holes for lifting the lids placed strategically and covering the entire platform. Once it reached its full length, extending out the back of the van, two metal legs folded down, hitting the dirt and keeping the drawer from toppling out.

Then, to my surprise, Alex reached under the storage box and pulled out two flat folding chairs. After unfolding them, he placed one on either side like a dining table.

I picked my jaw up. “That’s fucking awesome.”

“I know. Not only do we have a bedroom, but we have a dining room too.”

Buy Now

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01867I9M4/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01867I9M4/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01867I9M4/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/594892

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-indigoroad-1926713-149.html

Giveaway

Prizes: 1 ecopy of Indigo Road; 1 ecopy of any RJ Jones’ backlist titles, winner’s choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

R.J. Jones started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write.

It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower…

R.J.’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of her day. Not so. That shower scene ended up being 3000 words long and three hours of work.  And still, they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by her bed.

Whilst she was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.

You see the problem? If she ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.

R.J. is a wife and a mother to two boys. She is surrounded by males. Even her dog is a boy.

R.J. Jones can be found at:

Website: http://rjjonesauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robyn.j.jones.1711

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjjonesauthor

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/rjjones-author

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rjjonesauthor/


The Dragon of the Month Club

Check out this great kids book from Iain Reading, The Dragon of the Month Club…

The Dragon Of The Month Club, by Iain Reading, was published in February 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Genres: Middle Grade / Fantasy / Adventure

Synopsis:

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club – The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons – not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler’s messy bedroom. Travelling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature’s most memorable stories – from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes’s London – the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.

Contest:

There is an ongoing contest for readers to win a one-of-a-kind hardcover version of The Dragon of the Month Club with their artwork as the cover.

“Draw a picture! Write a story! Take a photograph! Bake some cookies! Mold a dragon out of clay! Knit one out of yarn! Make one out of LEGO! Whatever you want! Just let your imagination run wild because anything goes – the more creative the better! Send your dragon in and then on the 13th day of every month one entry will be chosen at random and featured on the official Dragon Of The Month Club website. Each month’s lucky winner will also receive a free one-of-a-kind personalized hard-cover edition of The Dragon Of The Month Club book featuring their winning artwork (or other creative content) on the cover or inside the book itself,” says Iain.

To learn more, go to http://www.dragonofthemonthclub.com/

About the Author:

 

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain writes middle grade and young adult books. His published works include the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

EXTRACT: Chapter 2 – The Book

Following their most unlikely of beginnings, the friendship of Ayana and Tyler grew quickly, and before they knew it, they were the best of friends, meeting up with each other almost every day. Sometimes they met up with Ayana’s mother after school at the downtown Dairy Queen for ice cream. Other times they climbed the edges of the coulee behind Ayana’s school and went to Tyler’s house where they did their homework together in his room. But most of the time, they just agreed to meet up at the place where they’d both accidentally bumped into each other on that very first day—amongst the dusty old bookshelves of the old library at the row between the history of the anatomy of earthworms and the illustrated guide to the indigenous mosses of Iceland.

It was on just such a day that Ayana and Tyler first discovered THE BOOK—a name that would be forever capitalised in their minds whenever either of them dared to utter the phrase aloud.

It was a magical book. That much was clear almost from the outset, so perhaps the manner in which these two unlikely friends happened to come across it was magical as well.

It all started on a typical Friday afternoon. Ayana and Tyler had agreed to meet at the library right after school. Tyler had a dentist appointment and would either be a few minutes late or a few minutes early, depending on how long that took. Not surprisingly Tyler was a few minutes late. This could have been expected since Tyler took dentist appointments very seriously. For weeks ahead of time he would be sure to brush his teeth five times every single day—once when waking up, once after breakfast, once after lunch, once after dinner, and once again before bed—which was two more times a day than he usually did. (He normally deemed the wake-up and after dinner steps unnecessary.) All of this was in addition to flossing, rinsing, and otherwise generally trying to keep his teeth in the best possible shape for the check-up.

To Tyler, going to the dentist was like studying for a test in school. Failure was not an option. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that once he was actually in the dental chair, he expected the dentist to be every bit as thorough as he was, a process that required a bit more time than it normally would with less fastidious patients.

So Tyler was late.

And so, when he finally arrived, he hurried down the stairs and quickly navigated through the maze of shelves at the back of the library and found Ayana sitting there, crouched on the floor, sobbing her eyes out.

Tyler sighed heavily. He could already guess what must have happened: Heather van der Sloot… again.

He took off his backpack and set it on the floor. Folding his legs under him, he lowered himself down until he was sitting next to Ayana, not too close, of course, but as close as he dared to.

“What happened this time?” Tyler asked.

Ayana sobbed and buried her face even deeper in her hands. After a moment her left arm shot out, pointing an accusing finger toward a stack of soiled and dishevelled papers lying in a heap on an empty space on the shelf opposite them.

“That,” Ayana cried, her voice thin and cracking.

Tyler stared at the papers, and it took him a moment to realise what they were.

“Your poems,” he gasped.

Tyler had to take a breath and swallow. Ayana’s poems were a work of art, neatly written in careful flowing script, one to a page. Ayana carried them with her sometimes in a stiff green cardboard folder with trees on it that had little strings that you used to tie it shut.

Ayana nodded, still sobbing.

“She threw them all over the playground,” she said, her voice raspy. “She grabbed my tree folder away from me and threw them everywhere. I… I ….”

Ayana stuttered and couldn’t speak for a second.

“I don’t know if I got them all back,” she finally said, finishing her thought. “I think I lost some.”

Tyler nodded and crawled over on one knee to pick up the chaotic stack of papers. He sorted through them, one by one, trying to put them back into some kind of order. They were smeared and scratched and crumpled. One even had a dirty footprint stamped squarely on it.

Normally Ayana wouldn’t even let Tyler glance at one of her poems, so he was surprised that she wasn’t bothered by his looking through all of them now. She clearly wasn’t thinking straight, so he tried to make as neat a stack out of them as possible and set it down on the carpet in the middle of the row of shelves.

“There are a lot there,” he said, sitting close to her again. “Maybe you did get them all.”

Ayana shrugged her shoulders hopelessly.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, staring blankly at the pile of papers. “I don’t care.”

Tyler felt a sudden squeeze around his heart. He had no idea what he was supposed to do to make Ayana feel better.

But as his mind was racing, trying to think of something, the universe intervened.

“I hate her, Tyler,” Ayana said. “I HATE her!”

On this second last syllable, Ayana kicked at the opposite shelves with the heel of her shoe, making the wooden frame shudder and some of the books rattle around. One particular book—a small, thin one high up on the very top shelf—tipped forward as if in slow motion until it was hanging precariously at an impossible angle, almost as if it was levitating, before tumbling end over end to the floor.

Tyler tried to catch it but he was too slow, and instead it crashed into the stack of papers, scattering them slightly, before it fell flat on its back, right side up right in front of them.

how to conjure

your very own dragon

in six easy steps

…read the front cover of THE BOOK in bright yellow letters against a wavy blue background.

Tyler frowned and Ayana stopped crying for a moment. They both stared at THE BOOK with wide-open eyes, neither of them quite able to believe what they were seeing.

“How to conjure a dragon?” Ayana asked, kneeling forward to grab THE BOOK.

Tyler crawled next to her as she opened the front cover.

THE BOOK was very thin—more like a pamphlet, really— with no table of contents, no copyright page, no dedication page. There wasn’t even an indication of who the author might be. It just went straight into the first chapter, which was entitled:

the water dragon

“A water dragon?” Tyler read over Ayana’s warm shoulder.

Underneath the chapter title was a brief list of the various characteristics of the water dragon.

category: lesser dragon

difficulty: medium

classification: common

Below that was a basic introduction and explanation of the dragon followed by some advice to those who might want to conjure one:

this spell is a relatively simple one, but be forewarned that the water dragon is a damp and clumsy creature, prone to making messes and causing trouble. It is recommended to have plenty of towels at hand when undertaking this conjuring.

Underneath this brief introduction was a list of materials needed to actually conjure the dragon.

required material(s): water, towels (optional)

And last but not least came the instructions, six simple steps to conjuring your very own dragon. Tyler could hardly believe what he was reading. The steps were so simple. Just a series of strangely specific hand gestures performed by two people simultaneously. The instructions even had little helpful sketches to help you understand what to do.

It reminded Tyler of IKEA assembly instructions when his parents bought new furniture and let him put it together for them. But that was furniture made of wood and fabric and those little IKEA screws that needed a special tool to screw them in. This was supposed to be a dragon, whatever that meant. How could such simplistic instructions possibly result in assembling anything, much less an actual dragon?

“We have to try this!” Ayana said excitedly.