Tag Archives: supernatural

Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point

Take a look at this extract from middle-grade supernatural novel Matthias from Jodi Auborn.
Sleeter and Quint! They were still after me, and now I was trapped! I couldn’t run into the woods without them seeing me. I waded into the thorny rose bushes beside the road, looking for a place to hide. But there was nothing but the tangled bushes, which snagged my clothes and tore at my arms. It was like trying to walk through a net. I pulled myself away from one big thorn that ripped a hole in my shirt.
“DAAAAD!” I cried, one last time. “MATTHIAAAAS!”
I finally ignored my bleeding arms and the thorn bushes, and ducked down into the muddy ditch.
“We got you now, kid!” Quint and Sleeter whooped. They were still laughing at me as the car raced back up the road, louder and closer every second.
Then someone’s laughter turned to a shriek. He sounded terrified. “What…what the…MEL, LOOK!”
I couldn’t help it. I peeked up over the edge of the road.
“Matthias…” I whispered.
Matthias was standing on the other side of the road, and for the first time…I could seethrough him! He didn’t look at me. He just stepped in front of the speeding car and pounded his hands down on the hood, glaring in at Quint. Quint stared back and screamed as the car passed through Matthias, who disappeared in a swirl of white mist.
Quint slammed on the brakes and the car stopped right by my hiding place. He closed his eyes and rested his forehead on the steering wheel, making strange little moaning sounds. His whole body started shaking.
“Quint!” Sleeter bellowed. “What’re you doing, trying to kill us? Learn to drive, you moron!”
“Didn’t you see him?” Quint wailed. “The guy in the blue coat? I drove right through him!” Quint hid his face in his hands and began to cry. “That was no man! That was a…a ghost! A hideous ghost!”
“You idiot!” Sleeter snapped, smacking Quint in the back of the head. “You’re useless. Now, stay here. I’m getting out to find that kid.”
“Dylan, stay down!” Matthias said as he appeared beside me and sprawled out in the mud, looking like his normal self again. He put his hand on my head and pushed me down on my stomach. My chin scraped against some gravel in the ditch.
“You’re hurting me!”
“Sleeter will hurt you a lot worse if he catches you!” Matthias whispered. He did ease up on my head, though, and nodded at a round pipe that ran under the road. “Don’t ask questions. Crawl into that culvert and be quiet! It’s your only chance.”
I did as he told me. The bottom of the pipe was covered with oily water and weird orange mud. I could hear Matthias pushing weeds and brush in front of the opening that I had just crawled through. I knew that he was standing guard at my end of the culvert, so I felt a little safer.
It took forever for them to leave. I couldn’t move. I heard Sleeter crashing through the brush, calling me. Quint continued crying in the car. Then Sleeter yelled at him some more, and told him to move over so he could drive.
I heard the car pull away, but didn’t dare to make a sound.
“Dylan?” Matthias called. “You okay?”
“Are they gone?” I whispered.
“You’re safe, for now. But we need to get you home.”
I tried to wiggle back out of the pipe, but couldn’t move. “Matthias? I think I’m…I’mstuck!”
“Don’t worry, m’boy, I’ll have you out of there in no time.”
He grabbed my ankles and yanked me out of the culvert as if I were a dead fish. My back scraped up against the rough cement. “Ow!” I howled. “Take it easy!”
I got to my feet, rubbing my back and blinking in the bright sun. Matthias shook his head. “You’re going to have some explaining to do, sonny. You’re a mess. Wait until your mother sees you.” He reached out and brushed some twigs and leaves off my shoulders. “Now, follow me. I know a shortcut through the woods. We can’t stay on this road, in case they come back looking for you.”
I looked down at my torn, muddy clothes, bloodstained hands, and scratched-up arms, and the dried brown splotches on my shirt from my bloody nose. My soaked sneakers squished with every step I took. Then I stared at Matthias as I followed him across the road and into the woods. His clothes were spotless. He didn’t even have any mud on his shiny black shoes.
He looked over his shoulder at me. “You’re going to have to tell your parents that you were kidnapped. You know that, don’t you?”
“No, way! They would never let me walk to town by myself again. Mom’s already really mad at me.”
“Why is she mad? You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“She thinks I lied to her about taking her dish towel, and playing the piano that night. Then she found all of her paintings thrown on the workbench in her studio, and thought that I did it! And then she said that I was the one playing with her eggbeater and it left pancake batter on the couch, and she made me clean it up.” I glared at him. “You always get me in trouble. Why do you have to play with all of our stuff?”
He shrugged. “I’m a ghost, Dylan. We’re naturally curious about the lives and possessions of those who follow us.”
“Well, you better put Dad’s book back. He’s been looking for it.”
We didn’t say much more as we trudged through the woods. I watched as a chipmunk scampered over the leaves and squatted on its hind legs to nibble at something it held in its paws. It was cute. “Matthias, look,” I said, pointing it out.
He hardly glanced at it. “It’s just a chipmunk. Now, stop dawdling. Sleeter could be looking for you.”

Here are some links for the book:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Matthias-Salvation-Jodi-L-Auborn/dp/1499321236/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428164991&sr=8-1&keywords=matthias+the+ghost+of+salvation+point
Amazon UK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Matthias-The-Ghost-Salvation-Point/dp/1499321236
My website: http://jodilauborn.webs.com/
And the book’s Shelfari page: http://www.shelfari.com/books/38703908/Matthias-The-Ghost-of-Salvation-Point

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Strength To Let Go

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Title: Strength to Let Go

Series: Tales of the Werewolf Tribes, Book One

Author: Alina Popescu

Genre: gay romance, paranormal, werewolves, paranormal romance, supernatural

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

After being abandoned by his mates, Shiki Kirishima, beta of the Dragons of the Fang werewolf tribe, returns to his home in Tokyo.

Crippled by grief, Shiki decides to end it all by going into the territory of the Siberian Killers tribe and challenging them to a battle to the death.

His death.

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Ganzorig, beta of the Siberian Killers, however, sees the potentially disastrous consequences of having Shiki die in battle.

Instead, he saves him.

Having suffered loss himself, Ganz takes it upon himself to help Shiki deal with his pain.

Blake, Shiki’s best friend since childhood, is as determined to show him there is life after a wolf’s ultimate loss.

Could there also be something ‘more’ for them after friendship?

Book Trailer

Pre-order Links

Don’t miss the Tickle Me Pink sale on the Wayward Ink Publishing site – 25% off all list prices till July 21st.

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/strength-to-let-go-by-alina-popescu/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010ITT1VG/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010ITT1VG/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B010ITT1VG/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B010ITT1VG/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-strengthtoletgo-1840807-145.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strength-to-let-go-alina-popescu/1122233801?ean=9781925222555

Excerpt

Growling low, the sound vibrating into my chest, I stood up as the wolves I had been searching for flared in my mind’s eye. There were a few dozen that could reach me soon if they started running toward me. They would do just that, they just needed the proper motivation. I reached into the depths of my being, tapping into all the fae power Kieran and Kayden’s blood had regaled me with, and used it to spread my scent farther across the lands I had single-handedly invaded. I used the wind to bring the trail to them. I could feel their fur bristling as their nostrils flared with the foreign scent. Snarls and growls followed, then piercing howls, calling to each other and beckoning their pack mates, spurring them on to give chase and come find me.

I chuckled, knowing I’d finally accomplished my first task, getting the Siberian Killers to come to me. The rest would be much simpler. The enemy werewolves would only have to follow their ancient rules and kill every wolf that stepped foot on their territory. Rule breakers had to pay, and I had broken their one rule for foreigners. No better way to get yourself killed than getting ferocious killers all riled up.

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I took another step forward, adjusting my grip on my swords and rolling my shoulders. I then tilted my head left and right, hearing my bones crack and set in place. I could feel the cold ground and fading grass under my feet, the wind blowing my hair out of my eyes, and hear the sounds of birds and small game running away from the path of the oncoming wolves. They’d reach me within minutes and my muscles tensed, adrenalin spiking and making my blood roar with excitement at the fast approaching fight. I let my head fall back and howled, a long, deep sound that made the forest around me go quiet for about a minute.

I knew my attackers had stopped in their tracks, raising their muzzles and sniffing the air. Disbelief was a strong ally in a grossly unmatched fight. I imagined they’d have a hard time understanding why a lone wolf who had just been caught on their territory would howl in challenge like that. I assumed the distance had also puzzled them. As they’d caught my scent, they had thought I’d be closer. Surprise, surprise!

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.

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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


Strength to Let Go

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Title: Strength to Let Go

Series: Tales of the Werewolf Tribes, Book One

Author: Alina Popescu

Genre: gay romance, paranormal, werewolves, paranormal romance, supernatural

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Release Date: July 7th, 2015

Synopsis

After being abandoned by his mates, Shiki Kirishima, beta of the Dragons of the Fang werewolf tribe, returns to his home in Tokyo.

Crippled by grief, Shiki decides to end it all by going into the territory of the Siberian Killers tribe and challenging them to a battle to the death.

His death.

StrengthtoLetGo-smallpreview

Ganzorig, beta of the Siberian Killers, however, sees the potentially disastrous consequences of having Shiki die in battle.

Instead, he saves him.

Having suffered loss himself, Ganz takes it upon himself to help Shiki deal with his pain.

Blake, Shiki’s best friend since childhood, is as determined to show him there is life after a wolf’s ultimate loss.

Could there also be something ‘more’ for them after friendship?

Book Trailer

Pre-order Links

Don’t miss the Tickle Me Pink sale on the Wayward Ink Publishing site – 25% off all list prices.

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/strength-to-let-go-by-alina-popescu/

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon AU:

Amazon DE:

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-strengthtoletgo-1840807-145.html

Excerpt

When I got to my apartment, I wasn’t feeling any better. I was restless and hurting and angry as fuck and their mixed scents in my place weren’t doing me any favors. I fumbled with the backpack I had dropped on the floor of my living room, trying to find my phone. I was greeted by a dozen or more messages from Vicks, one of my twin’s mates. Since she had mated my brother she had this weird connection to me too and could feel whenever I was experiencing strong emotions for an extended period. I assumed everything that had happened since yesterday would qualify for that. I sent a quick “I’ll be fine” type of reply to stop her from harassing me and went through my contacts.

Even if I hadn’t called that particular number in a couple of months, it was still at the top of my favorites list. He was my best friend since childhood, so it made sense I’d call him more than anyone else. It just hit me then that I’d been so lost in my own life, I barely had time to catch up with him or my family unless something critical was going on. I pressed the call button and plastered the phone to my ear, pacing around the room as it rang a few times.

“Come on, Blake, fucking pick up!” I hung up and tried again. I really needed to talk to my best friend right now. It rang twice and went straight to voicemail. Hearing Blake’s voice brought tears to my eyes and something snapped inside of me.

“Blake, I wish you’d have picked up the phone.” I laughed softly, shaking my head. “It’s funny, I think this is the first time I call you and you don’t pick up. Either way… thanks for being my friend, chibi. I… I don’t….” I lowered the hand that was holding my phone and let my head fall back, taking a few deep breaths. “Blakey, tell everyone I love them and… yeah, those who know me, really know me, will understand. Sayonara, chibi-tan.”

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I hung up and let the rage take over. I turned around at impossible speed and threw the phone with a loud roar. It hit the wall and shattered into a million pieces. I was crying. I knew because I could feel the heaves and tears, but the crushing pain was battling with the anger taking over my mind. I had lost my soul and my reason to live when I’d lost Kieran and Kayden. What was left of me was nothing more than the warrior inside. A true samurai would not waste away, waiting for death to claim him at the end of a miserable life. He’d die in battle, an honorable death his final legacy.

My twin, Shishou, my co-beta, Ren, my sister, even Blake… they’d get it, they’d explain it properly to my children. They probably won’t understand, just like I hadn’t when my parents had left us. I prayed that unlike their father, they would never get to a point in life where they’d understand this decision of mine. It meant they’d go through a world of pain and that was the last thing I wanted for Ryuu and Kimmie.

I took off everything but my jeans. No point in having anything else on. Werewolf rules were sometimes mind-boggling. You could shift into your wolf and back, and you always kept one item of clothing. The picks were random and you might be left in nothing but your underwear. Or keep a tight top and nothing else to cover your lower body. It was wise to choose your own clothes for the occasion. I then promptly flashed to the weapons room in the Alpha mansion, right in front of the wall display of my father’s katana. I kneeled before it, my legs spread, and then bowed deeply. Getting up, I closed the small distance between me and my objective and removed the katana. I glanced at the wakizashi he always used to wear with his katana. Double sword, traditional samurai sign. I decided I’d use them both, just as he had in his final battle. I unsheathed the two blades and adjusted my grip. With a final bow, I flashed out.

When I took form at my destination, a small shiver coursed through my body. It was pretty cold out here. Well, northern mountains in Mongolia weren’t known for their excessive heat in the middle of autumn.

I had chosen Siberian Killer territory, the fastest way to pick a fight with other werewolves. The one rule they had was any shifter that stepped foot on their territory would be killed. Here I was, standing tall, all focused, muscles bulging under the strain and excitement of an impending battle, taunting whoever was nearby.

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.

StrengthtoLetGo-banner3

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


Fang and Claw

New release time. Take a look at Fang and Claw by fellow awethor Markie Madden.

Over a hundred years in the future, it’s a world where supernatural beings live and work among humans. Of course, the governments of the world have forced them to take the Undead Oath in order to gain citizenship; they must not prey on humans for food. They’re given tasks in jobs suited for their species, but just as among other minorities, they must struggle to prove themselves.

Lieutenant Lacey Anderson of the Dallas Police Department heads up a new elite squad dedicated to solving crimes involving Immortal species like herself. Lacey, a Vampire left for dead hundreds of years ago when her family was slaughtered by Werewolves, still has nightmares about the grievous ordeal.

Detective Colton Scarber is her unwilling partner and second-in-command of the unit. He’s a Werewolf, a descendant of those who killed Lacey’s family. She doesn’t know this, but she still doesn’t trust him from the start. When the fragile beginning of the team is threatened by the truth, can they learn to trust one another as partners must, or will the Undead Unit be doomed to failure?

A mysterious suspect and strange, unknown physical evidence leads them to solve a case spanning decades, and leaves Lacey with no other choice but to rely on her enemy when her very life is in danger!

Pre-order Now


Edge of Hope Blog Tour

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Title: The Edge of Hope

Series: Bad Blood, Book 1

Genre: paranormal, supernatural, urban fantasy, romance, vampires

Length: novel

Synopsis

Everyone she loved betrayed her. She felt lost and broken. Getting away from the pain and embracing a new path, Alexa decided to leave her old life behind and chase a long forgotten dream in Malta. There she met a gorgeous man, bearing the scent of fresh love. He led her to a new city to explore, Amsterdam. Is the tall, dark, and delicious man a dream come true or just a risky gamble?

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Alexa chose hope and new beginnings over fear and warning signs only to be brutally dragged into a world she never really thought existed. Vampires, their feuds, and her future held tightly in their hands.

Trapped in a mysterious world, Alexa gives love chance after chance. Following her quest of self-discovery in a blood bound world, will she survive the journey?

 

Excerpt

“Hello, I am Hesrah. Nice to meet you.”

Polite and stiff, no facial expression, no smile, no unnecessary movement, only her dark brown eyes showed some life, some slow fire that kept her going.

“Hello, I am Louis and this is Alexa. We will be your hosts during your stay on earth.” Louis smiled and extended his hand, which she shook after a few awkward moments.

“I look forward to it. May I be shown to my room now?” she said with no inflexion in her tone.

It took me a second to react as I was analyzing her outfit…jeans and a plain t-shirt, sport shoes and denim jacket. It seemed completely wrong for her attitude and behavior.

“Sure, I’ll take you to your room,” I eventually said. “It’s right next to mine.”

“Lovely.”

She did not sound like she meant it. She sounded more like cyborgs from a sci-fi movie. She wasn’t as captivating as Anukh or Louis, or even Anthony. She was just formal and…uptight. Oh, brother, I said to myself. This will definitely be tons of fun.

When she entered the room, I finally noticed her backpack. She took some more clothes out of it, all plain and simple. She asked where she could put them and I pointed to the closet.

“What is it?” she asked. “Why are you frowning like that?”

I hadn’t realized I was. I had been warned before that my face and eyes give away what I was struggling to keep from saying but, apparently, I never learned.

“Umm, dunno, you are just not what I expected,” I confessed.

“And what did you expect?” She cocked her head and waited.

“I guess someone similar to Anukh, but more impressive and graceful?”

“Are you asking me?”

“No, just turning it into a question till I figure out how offensive my statement is.” I shrugged.

“You are very blunt, aren’t you?”

It did not sound like a compliment.

“Yeah, maybe. Anyway, I can atone for that by kindly inviting you to use any of my makeup and raid my closet whenever you feel like wearing something less…”

“Less what?” she demanded, raising an eyebrow.

“Less plain.”

“I am on a mission and I have comfortable clothes for it,” she answered, quickly. She was just staring at me and I thought I should put an end to kicking the hornet’s nest.

“I should go now. Catch you later.”

I finally allowed myself to enjoy a refreshing sigh the moment I got on the other side of the door. I also added yet another note to self. Whenever I find myself talking to a deadly creature who can kill me in under five seconds, maybe, just maybe, watching my tongue would be smart.

 

Find out more: http://alina-popescu.com/badblood

Book trailer

Buy links

Ebook

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JEBJXDQ

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JEBJXDQ

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00JEBJXDQ

***Free with Kindle Unlimited

***Celebrate a year of The Edge of Hope with the Amazon Countdown Deal – March 29 – April 5. Discounted price starts at 99c.

Paperback

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Edge-Hope-Blood-Volume/dp/1497436303/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Edge-Hope-Blood-Volume/dp/1497436303/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-edge-of-hope-alina-popescu/1119064391

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4729236

Coming Soon: The Breaking of Bonds, Bad Blood #2

The Breaking of Bonds, book 2 of the Bad Blood Trilogy will be released on May 28th, 2015

A human sacrifice has forced vampires, trueborn and baseborn alike, into an escalating conflict with one side pushing for revenge, the other for freedom. The hunt for Anthony and Louis is the trueborns’ main objective, driven by Hesrah’s desire to get even with the two baseborns and avenge her best friend, Alexa. The baseborns are rattled and divided between rallying around the rebels and obeying the rules imposed by Ankhsis.

What emerges from the portal from Earth to Ankhsis in the middle of the turmoil rocking both worlds is more dead than alive. Not human and not baseborn. Certainly not trueborn. This new being will either damn them all or be their race’s most powerful weapon. Will they trust it not to destroy them, or will Ankhsis decide putting it down is the only solution?

In the end, who is guilty? Who will pay? Will anyone survive its wrath?

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Giveaway

Prizes: 1 signed copy of The Edge of Hope and 3 Ebooks

Prizes: 1 signed copy of The Edge of Hope and 3 Ebooks

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 even won awards in local competitions. She has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm, which explains her deep love for vampires and is also to blame for this trilogy.

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


Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a story set before The Running Game. I wrote the story after I published The Running Game as a sort of companion piece, but it is also a great introduction to the feel of the series. This story is available for free from most online retailers including Amazon so if you like what you read please give the full story a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget you can leave comments and feedback at the bottom of the page.

 

The world was white. So white the dark night couldn’t penetrate the layers of snow suffocating the surrounding forest. Each breath Isobel managed to push out crystallised in the air around her small mouth, sparkling under the moonlight. She pushed forward, the snow swallowing her legs to the knees in hungry gulps. Her hands and feet were numb but her thighs burned furiously with each agonising step.

It was late and she was so very tired. The last night was spent in the back of their Landrover, fighting for space on the backseat with her little sister while their Dad kept watch. It had been a cold, broken night, but Isobel would give anything to be back there now. Anything not to be walking through Red Forest in the middle of December.

She sniffed and looked behind her. Rachel was only six, three years younger than Isobel but at that moment it felt like there was a lifetime between them. Rachel didn’t understand why they were in the middle of the wilderness. She had no idea why they had to leave their mother. She had slept through their uncle running into the cottage, screaming that the army was coming. She had no idea of the danger they were in. Isobel stared at her sister as she struggled in the snow and envied every tiny, oblivious step she took.

Rachel fell and started to cry. She was sobbing for their mum, looking around the expanse of nothing for her. But Isobel knew they would never see their mother again. She took a strong heavy breath, close to tears herself. She wanted to move to help her sister but her legs refused to go back, not after the effort they had put into going forwards.

Instead she called out. “Dad!”

He was ahead of them, scoping out the safety of the forest. When he saw Rachel he hurried back, covering the ground in five easy strides. Despite the cold and fatigue Isobel broke a smile. Her father was the greatest man, he could still do anything in her eyes. Despite the snow sticking to his beard, the creases in his weather worn face, he was still her hero. He lifted Rachel effortlessly into his large arms, brushing the snow from her hair. And that’s when the gunfire started.

“Run! Isobel run!” He screamed.

He grabbed her coat as he ran past, but she stayed, looking through the trees at the erupting lights, as though the night sky had sunk to the earth.

“Isobel!” Her father shouted and she came to her senses.

They were coming! She started to run. Her feet leapt into her father’s footsteps, following his shadow as he weaved through the trees. The foliage became denser, the snow thinner. She found her feet striking firming soil, frozen dirt and icy puddles. She leapt over a ditch and her father caught her. His hand pulled her close and they huddled together into a dug out burrow off the path.

“We need to work together,” he whispered, so softly Isobel thought she was imagining them. “We’re not here,” he told them both. “Say it with me girls. We’re not here.”

Isobel closed her eyes, sinking into the warmth of her father’s wax coat. She reached for her sister’s hand and concentrated. “We’re not here,” she repeated. “We’re not here.” Over and over she focussed on the words, hearing the echo in the baritone voice of her father and the small squeak of her sister.

Time started to twist, the cold subsided and she felt herself floating against the body of her father. The explosions around her, the shouting, the danger, all started to melt away. But the power running over her wasn’t hers, it didn’t even belong to her father. The dominant voice inside her head became her sister’s, small and yet entirely commanding. She focused on it, echoing it as best she could and then she felt herself merge into nothing.

How long had they stayed like that? Isobel had no idea, but when her father broke free of their spell the militia had gone, leaving a stunned silence in their wake. The surrounding trees were torn apart with gunshot. Pieces of bark and bullet shells scattered the ground around them. It had been ferocious whatever had come their way.

“Daddy,” Rachel asked sleepily. “What’s going on?”

Isobel waited. She’d asked the question herself the night before, but she was sure her father wasn’t about to repeat his answer. How could he tell a six year old the truth? That they were caught in the middle of a civil war, insurgents and militia intent on claiming land that never belonged to them? How could he explain to her that these men didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire? That this wasn’t a fight for freedom, or liberty or any sense of lost righteousness? That this was about control and power? How could he tell his youngest daughter that she had never been in more danger, because if they found out what she was, what all three of them were, both sides would lock them away and do all kinds of experiments on them?

“We’re playing a game,” he said, stroking his younger daughter’s hair, while at the same time squeezing Isobel’s hand. “It’s called the Running Game. We have to run and hide, concentrate on not getting caught. Wherever we go, whatever we do we keep moving, counting the exits, planning our escape routes so nobody can ever find us.”

“It sounds like a stupid game,” Rachel said.

Their dad laughed softly. “It does, but you get a prize if you play it well.”

“What prize?”

“You get to live Rachel. You get to grow up, to keep running. You have to keep running baby. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.”

“When will they stop Dad?” Isobel asked.

Her father held Rachel close, as though he were protecting her from the next confession.

“They’ll never stop,” he said. “Right now we need to rest. The secret to winning the game is knowing when to run and when to wait. You’re tired. You’ve done so well today. Try to sleep now, we’ll try to get out of the forest in a few hours.”

Rachel was asleep in moments and Isobel had a suspicion her father had put her to sleep using his powers. She snored quietly, looking almost peaceful.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said to Isobel. “We’re going to make our way south, to S’aven. There’s a man there. A priest called Father Darcy. He’s an old friend. We can trust him. He’ll help hide us until all this is over.”

Isobel nodded, understanding these were instructions, not reassurances. She rolled the name in her head; Father Darcy. She had to remember it.

“Your sister, her powers…” he shook his head and sighed. “If they find her it will be bad for all Reachers.” He turned to her, his eyes warming. “If they find either of you, it will be bad honey. You’re so young, this isn’t the life I wanted for you. You need to be strong now sweetheart, you need to look after your sister. I wouldn’t trust her to anyone else.” He pushed the hair from her face. “My beautiful girl, look at you, you’re so grown up already. You make me and your mum so proud.”

She felt a lump swell in her throat.

“Whatever happens you look after your sister. Can you do that Isobel?”

Her father was a good man and she would have done anything to make him happy. She stared into his dark blue eyes and the look he gave her betrayed everything that was about to come – his death, their journey, her future.

“Can you do that Isobel?”

Would he have asked if he had honestly known what it would mean – what she would do to keep her sister safe?

“Isobel?”

 

This book is available to download for FREE. Get it from Amazon Smashwords or Kobo 

And you can add your book and others in the Reacher series to your Goodreads


The Unlucky Man

Being a beta reader means I get to read a lot of great books before anybody else and then when it comes to promotion I can pick my favourite part of the book to showcase. This is a great scene from The Unlucky Man by H T G Hedges and you can download this book for free on Saturday.

 

A figure was seated at a huge, dark wood desk that curved majestically into the centre of the room, a glass decanter atop it filled with amber spirit.

“Mr. Happen,” Baldman said with deference and a strange almost half bow to the figure behind the desk before retreating to stand in the shadows behind him. I was pleased to see him remove his ridiculous sunglasses as he did so.

So this was the Make It Happen Man. He was not at all what I had expected.

He was a tall, gaunt figure, old but in no way diminished by age. Thick white curls rolled back from his brow, flowing above a face of weathered and thickly lined leather skin. His was not a kindly old face, however, but rather the unyielding countenance of a feared and respected teacher. Old ink showed on his skeletal fingers and across the backs of his hands, faded sigils and angled characters in a spreading blue green that may once have been black.

But it was his eyes that surprised me the most: one dark as oil, the other rheumy and white and surely blind, peeking like a marble from beneath a scarred and puckered lid. He smiled very slightly at Corg, a glint of sharp gold teeth catching the light cast by the oil lamp on the mammoth desk.

His voice, when he spoke, was deep and resonant, at odds with his advancing years. “Alexander,” he said, “It has been some time.” He raised a hand in a vague gesture taking in the room around us.

“Please excuse the mess, but we find ourselves living in interesting times.” He grinned a big, predatory golden grin, picking up a heavy based tumbler and swirling the liquid within. “And to what do we owe this unexpected pleasure?” He inflected the final word with enough venom to make it plain that we were far from welcome in his rotten castle. Behind him I caught Baldman’s smirk.

Corg spread his hands in an imploring gesture.

“We’re in trouble Mr. Happen,” he said earnestly, “We could use a place to lay our hats for a while, whilst the storm dies down.” His words sounded small, muffled and swallowed by the thickly scented hostile air.

From out of the shadows Baldman re-emerged, hand on the gun concealed under his dark jacket, but the stricken old man at the desk waved him back. His eyes still bore into mine, both of them, thought I had the disquieting notion that the cold marble orb was the one he was really seeing me with. Cherry red droplets dripped unnoticed from his fingertips.

“It’s you,” he rasped and the look in his eye said he recognized my face though I knew we’d never met before. “You,” he croaked, “The Unlucky Man.” His words tumbled out atonally, like those spoken in a dream and I heard them both from his pale lips and echoed in my head, drumming at my temples with every syllable.

“I knew you would come. I’ve seen it.” His skin looked suddenly thin and pale as paper. “Chaos follows you; death is in your footfalls, Unlucky Man.” He spat the words at me and, as I heard them, something shifted once more in my head and I felt the dark particle coil and flex itself, almost like an animal that recognizes its name being spoken. Happen, too, it occurred to me was touched by the same darkness.

“You should not have come here.” Mr. Happen still spoke like someone asleep but his gaze didn’t flicker from my face. “You bring chaos everywhere your crow shadow touches. It will be drawn to you.” There was pain etched in his features, a thin line of blood ran from his felt nostril. If this was a parlor trick, I thought, then it was a damn good one.

“We’ve done terrible things,” Mr Happen whispered, “And you are our reckoning. I knew you would come, I wanted to be ready.” He shut his eyes, his face creasing with an emotion I couldn’t even begin to read.

“It will be drawn to you,” he repeated in a whisper.

An enormous booming crash rocked the building. It felt like some massive object had collided with the outer walls. Everything shook, plaster drifted in torrents from the ceiling, the light flickered as the floor bucked and swayed.

“What the hell was that?” Baldman grunted as the door opened and Loess stepped into the room, white and anxious.

“Time to go,” she said urgently, a worried look on her face. The sudden cacophony seemed to have roused the Make it Happen Man from his trance as, with an effort, he pulled himself up onto his feet.

“We cannot help you,” he repeated in a whisper. “We will show you the way out and then you will go. Take your troubles with you.” Without another word or a backwards glance he limped from the room, wiping the blood from his face with the back of his hand. We followed, subsumed by his entourage, into a long austere green corridor much like the ones we had entered through, at the end of which was another door leading, I guessed, to a staircase back to ground level.

We were about halfway along the floor when the far door opened, a cluster of figures emerging from the gloom beyond. They looked at first glance for the most part like our escorts – grim, dishevelled, grimy – but there was a uniformity to their unkempt appearance that was lacking in Mr. Happen’s ragtag ensemble.

For a long, tense moment they looked at us and we looked straight back, suspended in a moment of perfect stillness. But it couldn’t last.

The first bullet took Baldman through the lens of his wraparounds. I heard the glass pop as his head cannoned backwards then his legs splayed and he went over like an unruly mannequin. Somehow, as he fell, I got a hand under his jacket, popped the clip on the holster, and brought out his pistol, firing off round after round into the shadowy gaggle of figures at the end of the hallway as more shots followed.

To my left, Loess had her weapon out and was firing too, whilst everyone else seemed frozen in icy shock. The noise was incredible in the confined space, every shot a boom of thunder, every burst as bright as lightning. Penned in the narrow confines of the doorway they never stood a chance.

The echoing silence after the last shot had fired was deafening as the door at the end of the hall quietly slid closed, cutting off the bilious tableaux beyond. Two of our group were fast cooling on the wormy carpet: Baldman and another whose name I’d never learned and never would.

Loess was the first to speak. “Come on,” she said. “We need to find another way down.” We reversed our footsteps, heading back the way we had come and taking a right into a room that must have cornered the building. A great, dirty window looked out over the desolate wasteland below.

“Who the fuck were those guys?” Corg demanded.

“No coincidences,” Happen growled. “Chaos draws chaos like a black-hole swallowing light.”

“Which way now?” Voices were raised in a clamor of differing opinions but I was no longer listening. Through the glass I could see that it had finally stopped raining, but the sky was so dark and thick with churning cloud that it could have been night once more. It was not so dark, however, that I could not see the figures moving about below. These weren’t Mr. Happen’s men, of that I was certain.

A glint of light caught from something shining for a brief moment out of the murk, a long, cylindrical object being hefted to a shoulder, its bearer kneeling awkwardly in the sticking sludge. I rubbed at the grime on the window, spreading it like green algae under my palm, squinting down, trying to make out what was going on. Suddenly it swam into focus and was only too clear.

“Shit!” I shouted, pushing away from the window. “Get out of here! Down!” But it was too late. I caught the plume of smoke through the glass, heard, or imagined I heard, the keening whistling whine of the rocket, and then everything exploded in a crunching ripple of shattered glass and crumbling masonry. Someone was screaming, maybe several someone’s, as the world went red.

And then I was falling as the ground rushed up to meet me – gray and massive – with crushing speed as, in a moment of pain and exclamation, everything melted mercifully to black.

 

Buy the book now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unlucky-Man-H-T-Hedges-ebook/dp/B00N2V7DXQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410871209&sr=8-1&keywords=h+t+g+hedges

 

And like H T G Hedges’ Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HTGHedges


The Running Game

I’ve been promoting authors for the past three weeks and – well you might have already seen – I also write books. This week one of my own stories is reduced to $0.99/£0.99 so I thought today I would shove the other authors out of the way and bring you an extract of my book The Running Game and don’t forget your comments are encouraged and welcome.

 

 

Five past eleven. Rachel’s shift should have finished three hours ago. She slammed her time-card into the machine. Nothing. She gave it a kick, then another until it released, punching her card and signing her out for the night. The hospital locker room was unusually quiet. There was a nurse signing out for the night, two doctors signing in. Nobody spoke to each other – it wasn’t that kind of place. Grabbing her threadbare coat from her locker, she drew it over her scrubs – the only barrier between her and the unforgiving October night. She walked through the ER waiting room, eyes fixed on the exit. You had to ignore the desperation. Three hours over a twelve hour shift, you had no choice but to pretend like you didn’t care. Push past the mothers offering up their sick children like you could just lay your hands on them and everything would be better. Push past the factory workers bleeding out on the floor. Push that door open and get out. Get home. You had to. In six hours the whole thing would start again.

The first blast of cold air slapped the life into her aching body. The second blast nearly pushed her back inside. She tightened the coat around herself, for the good it would do. November was coming, and coming fast. She quickened her pace, trying to outrun the winter.

She hurried past the skeletal remains of another fallen bank, a relic of the days when there had been an economy. Now the abandoned building housed those left to the streets; the too old, the too young, the weak, the stupid. Cops would be coming soon, moving them on, pushing them from one shadow to another until dawn or death, whichever came first. But for now they sat, huddled around burning canisters, silently soaking in the heat as though they could carry that one flame through winter. They didn’t notice Rachel. Even the really bad men lurking in the doorways, waiting for helpless things to scurry past, overlooked the young doctor as she made her way home. Nobody ever saw her. At least they never used to.

Three – two – one. Right on cue. She felt someone watching her. It was always the same place, opposite the third window of the old bank. He was hidden, not in the bank but close. So close she could almost feel his breath on the back of her neck. She’d watched muggings before, these were desperate times and people took what they could when they could. There were rapes too, five this week, at least five that had needed medical care. It was a dangerous city and getting worse. But this was different. He – and for some reason she knew it was a he – did nothing. For a week he had been there, never betraying his position or his intentions, but she could feel him and the longer he waited the more he tormented her. He knew where she lived, where she worked, the route she took to the exchange store. And he escorted her home each night without ever showing himself. It made no sense. And that made it so much worse.

She wasn’t intimidated easily, doctors in St Mary’s couldn’t be. It didn’t matter that she was only five feet tall and looked like a strong wind would knock her down, she had to take care of herself. But the stalking had spooked her. The sleepless nights followed, wondering who he was, what he wanted, if he knew.

There was nowhere for her to go in the city, no place she could hide, no escape. If she wanted to eat she had to work and he would be waiting for her outside the hospital – watching, doing nothing. She was tired of it, tired of everything, but there was something she could do. She could make it stop, one way or another. Whatever he had planned, whatever he wanted to do to her, he would have to look her in the eye as he did it, because she was done running.

She stopped walking and turned.

The street was empty. But she could still feel him there. The buildings pressed their darkness into the street and the spattering of hissing lamplights did little to expose the nocturnal danger below. There was noise, there was always noise; voices, vehicles, the persistent buzzing of the electricity struggling to reach the edges of the city. So much going on, so little to see – a perfect place to hide.

“Okay you pervert,” she whispered to herself. “Where’re you hiding?”

The road stretched back into a tightrope. Gingerly, her feet edged back towards the ruined bank. She scanned the buildings around her, the upper windows, the ground level doorways, waiting for him to pounce. One step – two step. Look. Nothing. She retraced her steps to the next building. Then the next. He felt so close – why couldn’t she see him?

“You want me, well here I am, you freak. Come and get me!”

There was a shout from the bank. Someone running. A man. Her stomach clenched. She braced herself. He pushed by her, hurrying away. It wasn’t him.

She turned confused and warm breath touched the back of her neck.

“Get down!” The world went white.

 

You can download this book for $1.66/£0.99 for this week only

http://www.amazon.com/Running-Game-Reachers-Book-ebook/dp/B00G7VJ0GG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410981330&sr=8-1&keywords=the+running+game+l+e+fitzpatrick


An Introduction to the Supernatural

This week I got the opportunity to interview the author of An Introduction to the Supernatural, Janet Gant. Janet writes this book not as a psychic herself, but instead about the experiences of those using clairvoyants. Here’s what she has to say:

What areas of the supernatural does An Introduction to the Supernatural cover?
There is a description of Psychics, Tarot card reading, Astrology, Numerology, Palmistry, Tasseographers, Face reading, Dowsing, Spiritualism, Mediums, Clairvoyants, A Séance, and Ghosts.
 
There are a lot of books about the supernatural out there, what is it about your book that makes it different to other books in this genre?
I think I’m the first writer to include the Outcomes of each reading.
 
As an author what is your view point of the supernatural and fortune telling – are you a believer?
After my six readings, I’m definitely a believer. In my last reading with a Clairvoyant, she contacted my daughter who had passed away with a brain tumour at fifty-three. The experience was wonderful. Read all about it.
 
You’ve had experiences with mediums etc. Can you tell us about one of your experiences.
My very first experience was a reading by a Tarot card reader, and she blew me away. Without me opening my mouth she told me I had two men in love with me.

My answer was, “Yes that’s my problem.”

She went onto to describe them and tell me their names and then told me which one to choose. She then described my three children and even told me my daughter was pregnant. She also said I would write a book, which was the last thing I ever wanted to do. Thirteen years later I wrote my first book and have ended up writing three.

 
What can people learn from An Introduction to the Supernatural?
 
The many ways the Supernatural is involved.
What research did you have to do and how long did it take to compile this book?
I did a lot of research to learn all about the methods used by the Supernatural. But it took a long time to find forty volunteers to share their readings with me. I had to approach people, when I was out at all sorts of functions I attended, and ask them if they had ever had their fortunes told. Only two people refused me on the grounds it was private. It took me three years to write this book.

I did try advertising but got no replies.

 

Obviously there are people who don’t believe in the supernatural, is there anything in your book that will appeal to them?

Yes you are right. My husband was my first convert. He said, “How could you disbelieve when you read these experiences.”
 
Are you going to expand on your writings about the supernatural – what’s next for you as an author?
No, I do not plan to write any further books. I think at eighty I’ve done enough.
If you want to find out more about Janet Gant and her book An Introduction to the Supernatural take a look at her page: http://supernaturalexplanations.weebly.com/