Sunday, October 22, 2017

Release Tour: Evil Awakened by JM LeDuc

Title: Evil Awakened
Author: JM LeDuc
Series: Kiche Chronicles #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: October 21, 2017
Summary:
From one generation to the next, legends of good and evil have been passed down around Indian campfires. With each passing generation, less is believed. To the young, they’re just stories, but to the elders, they are warnings.

In the woods, which border between the reservation and the Everglades, four teenage Cree braves recite an ancient ritual. Not understanding the words they say or the implications of their actions, they call forth a demon which had been cast into the netherworld with no chance of escape . . . unless man called it back. Free, it has one plan; build an army of beasts, and ultimately, become immortal by feeding on the spirit of the one destined to become the Kiche—the Sky Spirit Goddess.

It has been foretold that the gates of the netherworld will be opened and it will take the wiles and courage of a sixteen-year-old girl, whose skin is as white as winter’s snow, to send the demons back and save an entire nation.

Pamoon, left abandoned at birth on a Cree reservation, has been marked with a flame on both her neck and left palm. All her life, they have been a nuisance, but now they mark her destiny. With the fate of her friends’ lives on the line, will she have the courage to pick up the gauntlet and walk the path the fates chose for her before her birth? In EVIL AWAKENED, Pamoon and her wolf cub, Scout, begin a journey that may end in her demise or might possibly take her to worlds only humans can imagine. A journey to both heaven and hell. A path only the one destined to become the Kiche—the Sky Spirit Goddess—can travel. She’ll need help if she is to survive; help only the spirits can provide. Let’s pray it arrives in time.

Whatever evil man creates, only man can defeat.


Chapter One
The woods have always been sacred to Native Americans, but sacred doesn’t always equate with good. Like the sweet smell of Pine sap mixed with the pungent odor of decaying humus, spirits run the gamut of good and bad.

Spirits always hear the cries of those who call them; tonight . . . they’ll answer.

March 2, 12:10 a.m.

The smell of the Slash pines and Live oaks permeated the thick blanket of humidity. The temperature remained tolerable, but with air so thick, it was as if the clouds had descended from the sky and fallen upon the earth. The stillness of night and cover of foliage made the environment more oppressive. To a tourist or stranger, the weather might have seemed unbearable, but to those who grew up in and around the Florida Everglades, it was just another early spring evening.

Bobby and his friends huddled around a small, dimly lit fire nestled in the woods between the city limits of Swamp Ridge and the Indian reservation. Sweat poured from their skin, and alcohol swam through their bloodstream. Their teenage, liquor-infused imaginations burned hotter than the heat emanating from the glowing embers. Beer cans and an empty bottle of cheap gin littered the makeshift campground.

“I’m not sure about this,” Bobby, the most rational of the four, said. “You know what Powaw says about this stuff.”

Scott laughed at Bobby’s apprehension. “Don’t be such an âpakosîs,” he slurred. “We’re just screwing around. Besides, Powaw’s nuts. All the elders are crazy.”

Glassy-eyed, Bobby glared at his friend and pointed a stick in his direction. “Don’t call me a mouse. It just doesn’t feel right messing with this kind of thing.”

Mike, the alpha of the group, took his last swig of beer and crushed the can, belching at the same time. “You two losers are always arguing. Let’s do this.” Bobby watched him look over at Ralph, lying on the ground, passed out with pine needles stuck to his face. “Wake up the lightweight,” Mike said. “He has the spell.”

“They’re not spells,” Bobby mumbled under his breath. “We’re not witches.”

“Witches are girls, warlocks are guys,” Scott corrected.

Grunting, Bobby threw his hands up. “Witches, warlocks, it doesn’t matter.”

Mike took a step toward Bobby, his hands balled into fists. “What’d you say?”

“Relax, Mikey,” Scott said, stepping between them. “Every time you get drunk, you want to pick a fight with one of us.”

“I’m not drunk. I just don’t like when Einstein over here says shit under his breath.”

Bobby eyeballed his friend, squinting, trying to erase the double vision. “I said we’re not warlocks, we’re Cree braves. We don’t cast spells; we conduct ceremonies to awaken spirits.”

Scott shoved him, jokingly. “You’ve been spending way too much time with the elders. We’re just out here screwing around. You know as well as I do, this stuff is just legend. These things don’t actually work.”

“Then why bother? Let’s just clean up and go home.”

Mike brushed the dirt off his jeans, tied his long, black hair back in a knot on top of his head, and smirked. “We do it because it’s cool. There is nothing for us to do back on the reservation; at least this gives us a reason to come out here and drink. If you’re scared, little âpakosîs, then go home.”

Tossing the stick into the fire, Bobby’s face crimsoned. “I’m here, aren’t I,” he said. Balancing himself precariously, he shoved Ralph with the toe of his boot. “Wake up.”

Mike splashed beer on his friend’s face to speed up the process.

Drunkenly, Ralph slapped at the alcohol, smudging the dirt on his face, then stumbled to his feet.

After giving Ralph a few minutes to focus his thoughts, Bobby and the others formed a circle around the fire. Taking in the view, he thought of how all his friends looked different, yet they were, at their very core, the same. He was the smallest of the four, but the smartest. Ralph was the quiet one, yet he could be dared into trying anything. Scott was the biggest, the group’s protector. He’d stand up to anyone who dared insult his friends. And then there was Mike. Mike was the athlete, the one who seemed to go through puberty when he was ten, and always acted as if he had too much testosterone rushing through his veins.

All different, yet the same. They all had an olive skin tone with a complexion most girls would kill for. They all had straight, silky, black hair which they wore long and straight. And they were all proud of their Native American heritage.

All different, yet the same. 

Bobby’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Ralph clearing his throat. Turning his attention to his friend, he watched Ralph pull the ritual he had torn out of his grandfather’s old book from his pocket, unfold the paper, and start reading.

“Kihci Macimanito, Pimihawin Mistikwan, koskonowewin. Tatawaw ota. Kîyânaw natohtamawin kiya ôma wîcihiwewin. Kiya katikaweyin peyakotipiyimisiwin ohtâyihk ana asahpicekewin kiya.” 

The trio repeated the Cree words none of them understood and could barely pronounce.

Bobby eyed Ralph, who had stopped reading and gruffed his frustration. “If you want the spirits to hear us, we need to say this like we mean it.”

The four exchanged glances; Ralph nodded and started reading from the beginning. This time, the others repeated the words as if they believed whatever it was they were saying.

The still, stale air was broken by a breeze that whistled through the woods causing the rustling of leaves and branches, creating the sound of shaking maracas. The sudden change in the environment seemed to energize Ralph, who began to recite the words with increased attitude and volume. The others followed suit, and with every word emoted, the winds surged and swirled.

The gusts swept the dirt, pine needles, and dying embers into the night, making them feel like bee stings striking Bobby’s face. An unexplained fear began to bubble inside him as he slapped the dirt from his eyes. Trembling, he tore the paper from Ralph’s hand to stop him from repeating the ritual. Crumpling it in his fist, he threw the paper towards the fire. An acrid blast of wind blew it away from the flames and swept it toward the trees.

The hair on the back of Bobby’s neck tingled. “I don’t like the way this feels,” he whispered, dread dripping from his words. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

The others must have felt the same way, for they hastily grabbed their packs and started running.

As Bobby raced through the low-branched pines, he thought he heard Mike. The squeal was so short-lived, he couldn’t be sure; his fear forced him to run faster. With each burst of wind, he heard another one of his friends cry out. The combination of running, alcohol, and adrenaline made him want to throw up; he choked it down and kept moving. Turning back toward the noise, Bobby saw nothing through the curtain of night. The air, thicker and heavier than before, forced him to breathe through his mouth. Turning forward, he glimpsed a low hanging branch in his peripheral vision—too little, too late. The bow smacked his forehead, knocking him to the dirt. Instinctively, his hand went to his cheek; he felt the sharp sting of the gash and the wet warmth of fresh blood. His feet scrambling, his hands clawing, it took all his resolve to put one foot in front of the other. His legs finding a rhythm, he sprinted onward.

Seeing the lights of the reservation through the thickness of leaves, Bobby emitted a short sigh of relief before one last gust of wind struck his face. His eyes screamed in horror and his vocal cords danced in pain, but sound never moved past his lips.

J.M. LeDucAuthor Bio:
Mark Adduci, writing as J. M. LeDuc, is a native Bostonian, who transplanted to South Florida in 1985. He shares his love and life with his wife, Sherri and his daughter, Chelsea.

Blessed to have had a mother who loved the written word, her passion was passed on to him. It is in her maiden name he writes.

J.M. LeDuc's first novel, "Cursed Blessing," won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008 as an unpublished manuscript in the thriller category and was published in 2010. The rest of the Trilogy of the Chosen: "Cursed Presence" and "Cursed Days" followed in 2012, as well as a novella, "Phantom Squad"--a prequel to the trilogy. "Cornerstone," the continuation of the Phantom Squad Series was published in 2013 to critical acclaim.

"SIN" is the first book in the new Sinclair O'Malley Series.

J.M. is a proud member of the prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW) as well as the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and loves to interact with his fans. He can be reached at jm_leduc@yahoo.com and on Facebook on his author page.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
NEWSLETTER  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS
EMAIL: jm_leduc@yahoo.com




Brought to you by: 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Breaking Free by AM Arthur


Saved #1 
Summary:
He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 

Seen #2
Summary:
Hell is a six-by-six jail cell and no hope for the future. 

Kell Iverson has never raised his hand against another person in his entire life—and yet somehow he’s been arrested and charged with the murder of his alpha mate Krause. Sure, Krause brutalized him on a daily basis, and Kell hated his mate, but he never wanted the man dead. Not fighting the charge and accepting his fate is the easiest path—except Kell doesn’t think he’ll survive a week in prison, and he doesn’t want to disappoint his younger brother Braun by giving up. He also doesn’t expect to recognize the lawyer who shows up to defend him.

Ronin Cross was barely eighteen when he felt the mating bond with then-fourteen-year-old Kell, but his family moved away before Ronin could decide what to do. For the last ten years, he hasn’t forgotten teenage Kell, hasn’t mated, and now he’s in Sansbury Province to defend adult Kell from a capital murder charge. The mating bond is still there, but now isn’t the time to pursue anything with his fragile, battered, emotionally-damaged client.

For Kell, the term “kind alpha” is a contradiction, because he’s never known one. He went from abusive father to abusive mate, and for twenty-four years, he’s simply done what he’s told. But Ronin asks Kell what he wants. What he likes. Ronin sees him, and it’s both confusing and delightful. But Kell is facing prison time at best, execution at worst, and as his trial date looms, he can’t indulge in a fantasy that will never come true…or can he?

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 


Saved #1
Chapter One
Braun didn’t remember a thing about the car accident that sent him to the provincial hospital’s emergency care. He only remembered getting in the car so his father could drive him to his health screening, and then waking up in a bed with a headache and sore ribs, and a beta constable watching his door.

The constable didn’t surprise him. Braun was an unmated omega showing signs of his first heat, hence today’s health screening. His guard, Constable Heely, gently explained that their car had been hit on the driver’s side, head-on, and that his father was in surgery to repair severe lacerations to his neck and torso.

Braun wanted to tell the doctors to simply let the man die, but what would become of Braun then? His omegin was long-dead, and his older brother’s mate was a nightmare, just as their father had been. Omegas, especially young, unmated ones, could not legally live on their own, and he’d heard terrible rumors about the halfway houses for orphaned omegas, or for those whose mate had died.

As much as Braun hated the man, he needed his father to live long enough for Braun to find a mate who’d take him, despite having nothing to offer except his body. Their family came from poor stock, barely living on their fixed government income, and it was to his alpha father’s eternal shame that he’d been given two omega sons and no alpha heirs.

Besides, as an alpha, the doctors would help his father, no matter what. Alpha health received top priority, always, while omegas were seen to last, even after betas. Probably why the constable wasn’t making an effort to tell anyone Braun was awake and asking questions.

“How long has he been in surgery?” Braun asked the constable.

“They took him up about thirty minutes ago,” he replied. “He lost a lot of blood on the scene and in transit, from what I’ve heard. I’m sure someone will be down when there’s news.”

“Thank you.”  Braun didn’t ask any other questions, because the older man seemed bored by the whole thing. Betas were generally indifferent to omega issues, so being told to stand guard over one on the verge of his first heat had to be pretty high on the list of Boring Things I’d Rather Not Be Doing.

Braun tested out his extremities and torso, finding nothing else terribly wrong with himself, other than a few bandaged cuts. His father’s side of the car had taken the brunt of the collision, and Braun had never before been so grateful for the man’s asshole-ish demand that Braun ride in the backseat like a child, rather than in the front like the grown man he was. Twenty—twenty-one in a few weeks—was ridiculously old to still be subjected to that, but Braun had no choice if he ever wanted to leave his neighborhood. Unmated omegas weren’t allowed to drive, and mated omegas could only learn with the permission of their alpha mate.

Kell.

“Has my brother been told about the accident?” Braun asked.

The constable shrugged. “I don’t know. I wasn’t given that information.”

“Can you find out? His name is Kell Iverson. His mate is Krause Iverson.”

The name snared Constable Heely’s full attention. “Iverson?”

“Yes. His family is part of the Iverson Financial Group.”

“Your brother mated well.”

He’s mated to an evil son of a bitch alpha who treats my brother like shit.

“Can you find out if he knows, please?” Braun asked, pushing back a rise of fury that always hit him when he thought about his older brother’s situation with Krause—a situation Braun had no power to change. And worse, his brother was pregnant with their first child and due to give birth soon. Braun’s joy at finally being an uncle was always tempered by remembering who the child’s sire was.

“I’ll call my supervisor and find out.”

“Thank you.”

The man stepped into the corridor to make his call. Braun used the bed control to raise his upper body some more. It strained his ribs, but he felt less exposed, less weak. He had no idea who his father might have listed as an emergency contact, but he knew the man wouldn’t have listed either of his sons. His disdain for omegas dripped off him like oil. More than once, Braun and his brother had been subjected to cruel ranting tirades about “useless omegas” who weren’t “good for anything except shitting out more useless omegas, just like your useless omegin!”

A nurse in red scrubs walked into his room, then stopped short, dark eyebrows going up in surprise. “Oh, you’re awake,” he said.

“For a few minutes now,” Braun replied. He smelled like a beta, so Braun didn’t bother averting his eyes. “My head hurts a lot.”

“That’s because you got a solid wallop against the car window. I’ll let your doctor know, so he can adjust your pain dosage.” The man made a note on Braun’s chart, then fiddled with one of the machines. “There you go. More pain medicine for your head.”

Braun blinked. “Don’t you have to ask the doctor first?”

“Unfortunately, honey, your assigned doctor is one of those old-fashioned assholes who doesn’t think omega health is a priority. He’ll probably look at the chart and think he did order the increase.” The kind nurse held out his hand. “I’m Serge.”

Braun tentatively shook the offered hand. “Braun. Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Treating me like a human being.”

Serge groaned. “Ugh, I hate that you have to thank someone for being kind to you. Alphahole parent?”

Braun glanced at the door to make sure were still alone—an omega openly bashing an alpha was considered an arrestable offense—before nodding. “And my brother’s been mated to someone worse.”

“Ouch, honey, I’m so sorry. Is your brother coming to see you?”

“I don’t know, that’s what my guard went to find out for me. I doubt my brother’s husband would bring him here to see me, or allow him to take a taxi, but he still should know. Especially since our father is critical.”

Constable Heely walked into the doorway and hovered there. “I left a message for your brother with one of the family’s servants.”

“I appreciate it, thank you,” Braun said.

“And I, unfortunately,” Serge said, “have other patients to check on, but I’ll try to stop by later to see how you’re doing, okay? You aren’t being admitted for your injuries, but the authorities will probably keep you here until your father’s condition improves.”

“I understand.” As much as Braun didn’t want to be stuck in the hospital for days or weeks, it was better than being stuck in a jail cell, which he’d heard rumors had been done a few times when an unmated omega or widowed omegin was in heat. For the omega’s safety.

After Serge left, Braun settled in to wait for news of his father’s condition.

#

News came after two hours of staring around his small room, with only the bored constable for silent company. Neither of them attempted to initiate conversation. They likely had nothing in common, anyway. The man was a constable and of authority, and Braun was a lowly omega with no higher education. His father had withdrawn Kell and Braun from school when they each turned sixteen, as was his right under the law. Omegas could enter their first heat at any time after that age, and the younger they heated, the more fertile they likely were.

Braun and Kell had both disgraced their father by not heating until they were both nearly twenty-one, usually an undesirable age for an alpha in his own prime who wanted a large, healthy family. It had shocked Braun when a family as powerful as the Iversons had allowed Krause to mate with Kell, especially at Kell’s age. Their father had been overjoyed to relieve himself of the burden of one of his two omega offspring.

A doctor in white scrubs entered Braun’s room with Serge in tow, and the tall, broad-shouldered man reeked of alpha. His flat expression told Braun nothing, and Braun respectfully kept his gaze on the man’s chin.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said, “but your father died in surgery. The damage was too extensive.”

Braun’s heart ripped in two directions at once. He wanted to celebrate the death of a cruel, heartless man, but he was also terrified now that his only protection from the world was gone. Ripped away in a freak accident, leaving Braun an unmated orphan omega. Braun didn’t know what his face looked like, but Serge rushed to his side and held one of his hands. Braun squeezed tight, grateful for the support from the stranger.

“What happens to me now?” Braun asked.

“I’ve been advised of your situation,” the doctor said. “And I believe the authorities will agree that you’ll be best off in a halfway house for now, until you’re claimed.”

Claimed. Braun hated that word, as if he was a lost possession waiting for its owner to find him. Mated at least implied a partnership, even if there never was an equal balance to the pairing. Alphas would always be bigger, stronger protectors of the smaller, weaker omegas. It was simple biology.

“I have a brother who is mated,” Braun said. “Could I go live with him?”

“If you were a widow, then normally yes, other family could take responsibility for you,” Constable Heely replied. “But you’ve never been mated, and your chart says you’re showing signs of your first heat. You’ll be safer in a halfway house, unless you’d prefer a jail cell.”

“No, not jail. Wait, when did you read my chart?”

“While you were unconscious.” The constable still sounded bored. “I can transfer him as soon as he’s released,” he said to the doctor. “All I’ll need is his medical history, so the staff knows how to tend to him.”

Tend to me. I’m not a damned house plant, I’m a human being.

A human being utterly alone in a world that denied him any autonomy to make decisions about himself or his body. He had to go where they sent him, or risk being jailed for real.

The doctor and constable conversed by the door.

Serge squeezed his hand tighter. “I’m so sorry about this,” he whispered. “I wish I could help, but I don’t have any legal authority to intervene.”

“I know,” Braun replied, “but it helps knowing someone actually gives a damn what happens to me.”

“Your brother doesn’t give a damn?”

“He does. We love each other very much, but he has an extremely controlling husband, so there’s nothing my brother can do to help.”

“Well, these halfway houses are just temporary for omegas. I’m sure someone as gorgeous as you will find a mate in no time.”

“Thank you.” Braun had never felt very attractive, and the compliment from Serge—cute, blond, blue eyes, excellent build—boosted his confidence a fraction. “It’s scary not knowing what’s next.”

“I know, honey, but you’ve got a strong core. The car they pulled you out of was completely totaled. Whatever’s coming your way? You’ll survive, I know it.” Serge pointed at Braun’s chest. His heart. “In here, I know it.”

“I’ll get started on the discharge paperwork,” the doctor said, loud enough for Braun to hear. “And then he’s all yours.”

Braun bristled at the dismissive tone. He’d heard it all his life, mostly from his father, but that vile creature was dead. Gone from this earth and Braun’s life. In that moment, Braun vowed to find a good, decent alpha for his mate, someone who’d protect him from cruel men and provide for their children.

He owed Kell and their omegin nothing less.

#

The halfway house was a dreary structure in a mostly abandoned neighborhood, a victim of the housing crisis of three years ago. Empty, abandoned homes lined the street, some of them vandalized, many with front doors wide open. Untended yards likely teeming with ticks and snakes and spiders. The yard of Braun’s new home was mowed, but still a bit wild in its upkeep.

Constable Heely delivered him there as promised, and a wide, stumpy man greeted him at the door. Beta to his core, but he’d been around an alpha recently, because the scent clung to his skin.

“Ah, our new arrival,” the stranger said with a grin. “Name’s Fynn. I’m house director here, and I’ll be helping you get settled.” To the constable, he asked, “You got papers?”

Heely handed over a big envelop with Braun’s medical history, as well as the bottle of prescription painkillers for his ribs.

“Good, good,” Fynn said. “Your work is much appreciated, constable, but I can take it from here.”

Braun swore he heard Heely muttered, “Thank goddess,” but he couldn’t swear to it.

Fynn ushered Braun inside. The interior of the home was well-maintained. They stood inside of a big living room with two sofas and a television. Four young men were lounging around, watching a program. They didn’t wave or greet him in any way, and that sent prickles of alarm down Braun’s spine. They all seemed….disinterested. Bored.

“The downstairs is all yours,” Fynn said, leading him through the living room to a kitchen in the rear. He pointed to a locked refrigerator. “Mealtimes are strictly observed and there’s no snacking in between. And that room”—he tapped on a padlocked door that was probably the entrance to a basement—“is off-limits unless you’re in heat. That’s our quiet room. The backyard is fenced in and has barbed wiring at the top, so you can go out there at your leisure, except during heat.”

All that made sense. Braun followed him down a hallway to a staircase, and up they went. Fynn stopped at a room with a set of bunked beds, one of them less than perfectly made. “This is your room. Top bunk is free. Your roommate’s name is Gill. He’s probably in the yard right now, he does love to lay about in the sun.”

“How many of us are here?” Braun asked.

“Six, not including you, so I guess seven. Once a week, we have an open house for unmated alphas to come visit, see if anyone is a good fit or feels the mating bond. Next one is in three days. You’re good-looking enough and in great shape, so you might not be here very long. How old are you again?”

“Twenty, almost twenty-one.”

Fynn grimaced. “Well, maybe, I don’t know. Like I said, you’re good-looking.”

Braun resisted rolling his eyes. He was well-aware of his age and that it lowered his chances of finding a good match, but he was determined to do this for Kell. Maybe it would be difficult to find a good alpha at twenty, going on twenty-one, but he was damned glad he hadn’t been made an omegin at eighteen. The idea of giving birth at any age terrified him.

“I gotta go get dinner started,” Fynn said. “We eat at six sharp.” The man turned and left.

Alone for the first time in hours, Braun stared at the bunked beds a moment, and then heaved his duffel bag onto it. Constable Heely had driven Braun home—his former home—so he could collect clothing, toiletries and personal items. As per the law, omegas couldn’t inherit property, so his father’s home and possessions would be sold, and whatever money it made would be put into a trust for Braun’s future mate to manage.

Please, goddess, give me a mate who will let me manage my own money.

Braun didn’t know anyone in this house, and he didn’t know his roommate, this Gill person, so Braun didn’t unpack, despite the small room having two dressers and a closet. He stayed in his room, bored and scared, until dinner. The dining room had a long, wide table, and he sat next to a young omega who exuded fear and sadness. Everyone at the table, except Fynn, was subdued, and Braun couldn’t help feeling sorry for them. They were all young, like him, and likely orphaned. Alone in a world that saw no value in them except as reproductive vessels for future alphas.

Betas could marry in a civil union version of an alpha/omega mating, but they were unable to reproduce. Beta couples who wanted children could apply to adopt unwanted beta infants produced by alpha/omega couples. Those children were usually given up for adoption by extremely fertile couples who couldn’t support the extra offspring.

Only an alpha/omega coupling could create children, and alphas were the top prize. The biggest earners, the CEO’s, the inventors and the powerful. It was considered an honor to be omegin to an alpha offspring, and doubly so to birth two. Only one omegin in history had ever given birth to four alpha children, and he had small marble bust in his honor at the Museum of Natural History.

No one really spoke during the meal, and Braun wasn’t sure if that was because of house rules—of which he hadn’t really been notified—or because no one had anything to say about anything. So he ate the boring plate of meat and potatoes Fynn had cooked and drank the juice put by his plate. Apple wasn’t his favorite, but it was wet and he was thirsty. Apparently the only other between-meals thing available was tap water.

After everyone had finished eating, Fynn stood at the head of the table. “We have a new face in the house tonight, everyone,” he said. “Please say hello to Braun Etting. His father died in a tragic automobile accident this morning, leaving him alone in the world.”

A murmur of hellos rose up from the table. Braun waved, cheeks blazing at being put on the spot.

“Gill, Braun has been assigned to your room.”

The guy across from Braun with white-blond hair and a thin face glared at Braun but said nothing. Must be Gill.

“Now,” Fynn continued, “who can tell Braun what the number one house rule is?”

“Don’t go out the front door without an escort,” a guy with dark skin and black hair piped up.

“Exactly. I’m the only permanent resident who lives here and sleeps here every night, but we have daytime volunteers who are here from seven in the morning until five at night, to assist with your needs. The backyard is open territory, but you are not allowed to go out the front door, not for medical appointments or any other reason, without a volunteer escort.”

“Understood,” Braun said softly.

“A list of chores is put out every morning, and everyone is expected to contribute their fair share. As long as you all contribute, no one will be punished.”

Braun had been on the painful end of enough belt beatings to avoid doing anything that led to punishment. He’d do whatever he needed to do in order to get through this new part of his life and be ready for his alpha when he finally showed up.

Seen #2


Author Bio:
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child, and scribbling them down nearly as long. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself with her cuisine experiments. A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone's throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She's been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn't been coined yet back then) and "The Young Riders" with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  FB FRIEND
BLOG  /  KOBO  /  GOOGLE PLAY  /  CARINA
B&N  /  AUDIBLE  /  TUMBLR  /  iTUNES
EMAIL: AM_Arthur@yahoo.com



Saved #1

Seen #2

Book Blitz: Canary Club by Sherry D Ficklin

Title: Canary Club
Author: Sherry D Ficklin
Series: Canary Club #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Summary:
“Bad Luck” Benny is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

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

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

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


Lepke.

I roll the name around in my head like a curse.

Glancing back over my shoulder toward my room, toward June, I know what I have to do.

For the most part, it suits me just fine to let people think I’m just some silly girl, some empty-headed dame. Because what it means is that they never see me coming, never suspect me of being capable of doing terrible things.

But I am my father’s daughter.

I was born to violence like a fish is born to water. It’s part of me, part of who I am. All my life I’ve watched the people around me suffer—the women most of all. It’s a fact of this life that more often than not, shots are fired, grievances aired, and warnings sent through the women around the powerful men. They are soft targets. Disposable, but cared for enough to make a point.

In this business, women are nothing more than weaknesses to be guarded and fodder to be thrown when needed. Pawns in a game we aren’t even allowed to play. It’s one of the reasons I was so glad when Mother had sent me off to private school upstate. For a few months, I’d felt normal. Safe.

Being called back to the life after losing her was like suddenly having an axe hanging over my head again. For one dark, dark moment I’d considered running away—and I might have too. But soon enough I realized that this is where I belong, even if I might wish otherwise. I have to do what I can to protect my family, what family I have left. I know my part and I can play it as well as any Hollywood starlet. I know I should be appalled, bereaved that things like this come so easily to me now. But I let that grief, and the dreams of being anything other than what I am, go a long time ago. And so I stay.  Cursed to walk the fine line between hero and villain, between vengeance and redemption.

But Lepke isn’t going to get away with this. Not this time.

I drag my hand through the water, mixing in the salts, cementing my plan in my head.

As soon as I deposit June in the tub I steal away to the den to make a call.

“Hello?” Vincent Coll’s groggy answer reverberates through the receiver.

My heart stutters at the sound of his voice. “It’s Masie. I need a favor.”

“What’s up, doll?”

I hesitate, biting my bottom lip. It’s then that I notice the smear of blood on my dress.

“I have blood on me, Vinny,” I say, more to myself than him, but his tone heightens.

“Are you alright?” He’s awake now, alert and sharp.

“It’s not my blood,” I clarify. “It’s the blood of someone I care about, though.”

He calms again, “What do you need?”

“Lepke Brewer,” I spit the name, unable to quite put into words how I want him to suffer. How much I want him to hurt.

On the other end of the line there’s a deep sigh, followed by the sound of a lighter flicking and Vinny taking a long drag. Despite being someone I once cared about greatly, Vinny is a dangerously unstable man on a good day. I know he’ll do what I’m about to ask without breathing a word of it to anyone—not out of loyalty to me or sympathy for June and what had happened to her, but for the sheer opportunity to level some brutality on a rival. Most people call him Mad Dog, thanks to his reputation for being about as well tempered as a rabid animal. But to me, he’s just Vinny, the young boy who’d come to stay with us after being expelled from the Catholic Reform School his mother had abandoned him to. We’d spent our formative years together, thick as thieves and practically family, until he took up the roll as Daddy’s enforcer and hit man. He’d changed after that.

Hell, we’d both changed. And neither of us for the better.

I roll the memory of him around in my head, biting the inside of my cheek as I decide what to say next. We haven’t been close in a very long time, and that’s the way it has to be. It might have been something more once, or maybe I just wanted there to be something there that never was. He’d kissed me exactly once, and it had been enough to sear itself into my memory, only to be buried beneath piles of disappointment and choices neither of us can take back. He has to be hard to do what he does, with no weaknesses for our enemies to exploit. And if I’m being honest, it’s the darkness in him that terrifies me. Not because I don’t understand it, but because I do. I know exactly how easy it would be to allow myself to be consumed by the violence of this life—and how good I would be at it.

But that’s not the person I want to be.

Even so, here I am, about to ask him to do the dirty work for me, just so I can keep my hands just a little bit clean.

“You want him taken care of?” he asks finally.

I suck in a breath before answering. Yes, I want him dead. I want him wiped from the face of the earth so he can’t ever hurt anyone ever again. I imagine myself saying yes. I imagine myself throwing a fistful of dirt onto Lepke’s coffin as it’s lowered into the ground. And then I imagine trying to look myself in the mirror every day after that.

“I want him to hurt,” I say after a moment. “I want him to be broken to the core of him. But leave him breathing.”

 Leave it to Vinny to echo my own fears back to me. “You sure about this, Mas?” he asks, taking another drag and exhaling it slowly. “It’s not going to keep you up at night?”

It’s a barb from an accusation I’d leveled at him the last time we spoke, when I’d asked how he slept at night, after all he’d done. His answer had been crude and aimed to hurt me. Mine would be much kinder.

“I suppose I will have to find a way to live with myself,” I answer, keeping my tone indifferent.

He hangs up without even saying goodbye.

I hold the receiver in my hand for a few heartbeats before returning it to its cradle. JD is being groomed to take over the family business and –despite daddy’s constant berating that he’s too soft-hearted or slow-witted or whatever insult he feels like hurling in the moment for the job—I’ve never stepped in and asked for a place in the business. I’m just the girl, after all, to be coddled and protected and mollified. I’d been surprised that he let me worm my way into the club as it’s headline singer rather than being shipped off to wherever. Now, I can’t help but wonder, if Daddy had seen me tonight, if he might rethink the line of ascension.
And I can’t help but wonder what life would be like for me if he did. 



Author Bio:
Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Sherry also writes contemporary romance under the pen name SJ Noble. You can find her at her official website, or stalk her on her Facebook page.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
KOBO  /  AUDIBLE  /  B&N
iTUNES  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS



The Canary Club #1
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N

Glitter and Gold(Prequel)
💸🎇💸Currently Free💸🎇💸



Brought to you by:

Release Tour: Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty

Title: Betting on Cinderella
Author: Petie McCarty
Series: Cinderella Romances #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Summary:
Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather's casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire's shoes as the "Prince of Vegas." His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes in undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.

Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.

A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.


Garrett mentally kicked himself. He had gone and scared her.

Too much. Too soon. 

But he couldn’t make himself move. He could lie here forever with Andi in his arms.

She wriggled from his grasp to sit up. “Um . . .”

“What?”

She looked too uncertain.

Not good. 

He was okay with, “Not now, but maybe later.

“I can’t,” she whispered.

Good thing he was sitting down. The jangle of fear that hit him could have knocked his knees out from under him.

“Can’t or won’t?” he forced out. No maybes on this one.

“Both.”

What the hell? Can’t and won’t?

All his uncertainties flooded back. Flora had said Andi and Peters were just friends. Was that friends with benefits? And what about that damn Drakos pawing her last week? No, he wouldn’t let those doubts crowd them here on the couch.

“Too soon?” he tried.

“Partly.” She looked away, and his heart sank amongst the growing heap of doubts.

“There’s someone else,” he said flatly, working to keep his expression blank and the hurt at bay.

She met his gaze square on then, no doubt trying to muscle her courage. “There’s something I should tell you.”

Damn.

“I’m—” She exhaled hard. “—no good at it.”

What? Is that all?

He fought back a grin of pure joy. “I’ll give you lessons.” He pulled her back for another kiss.

She shoved at his chest. “No. I don’t think I should.”

She flinched at his expression, and he worked to smooth his scowl.

“Go ahead. Spit it out.” Even he didn’t like his tone. “You’re sleeping with someone else, right?”

He should have done his homework before he went off half-cocked with all the flowers and balloons, trying to woo her.

“No, and I should slap you for that, suggesting I’m loose enough to go out with you while sleeping with someone else.”

“Then what the hell is it?” he shouted, forgetting all about Flora at the back of the house.

“I’ve never done it before!” she shouted back.

“What? Slapped someone?”

“No, you jerk. Slept with someone.” This, she didn’t shout.

He froze, right down to his heartbeat, and stared at her bright-pink cheeks. Could it be? Was she? A virgin?

“Holy smokes,” he wheezed.

She stared at her untouched glass of wine. “I’m not saying you and I will never,” she said softly.

Relief, warm and desperate, allowed his muscles to finally move. He gently traced the line of her cheek with his finger, a lump forming in his throat at the touch of something so rare and priceless.
“Glad to hear that.” He brushed his lips across hers, light as a whisper. Once. “My little sweetheart.” Twice. “My precious—” Three times. Always a charm.

“You’re not mad?”

Those big blue eyes stared up at him with an innocence that made his too-experienced heart ache with emotion.

“Mad?”

Should he tell her he wanted to go outside and howl his joy at the moon? To yell to the world what a lucky son of a gun he was? His Andi would be his Andi—proprietary, like his stock portfolio. All his. No one else. A primal sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.

“No, sweetheart, not mad. Glad,” he managed, then tugged her close and let his kiss show her exactly how he felt.

“When you’re ready,” he said against her lips. “Only when you’re ready.”

He had finally said and done the right thing, for she grabbed his shirt and laid an eye-crossing kiss on him.

Cinderella Busted #1
Summary:
Cinderella's fairy tale moves to Jupiter Island, Florida where Lily Foster, owner of an eclectic landscape nursery, is mistaken for a wealthy socialite by billionaire resort developer Rhett Buchanan. Overdue for a little romance in her life, Lily is anxious for one fabulous date with her handsome prince, so she cultivates her inadvertent masquerade.

Rhett Buchanan has become jaded with the Palm Beach social scene, dominated by scheming women desperate for more money -- his money. Rhett falls hard when he meets Lily Foster. She is a breath of fresh air after the smog of gold diggers constantly surrounding him.

For Rhett and Lily, it's love at first sight until her deception comes to light and pitches their relationship into a disastrous tailspin. Well-meaning friends are determined to intercede and resort to inept high jinks to reunite the estranged couple while a wicked ex-girlfriend plays dirty to keep the couple apart.

Author Bio:
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World -- "The Most Magical Place on Earth" -- where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her mystery-romance-with-elements-of-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.

Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.

Visit Petie's web site online or her Facebook page.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
B&N  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS



Betting on Cinderella #2
**Free on Kindle Unlimited**

Cinderella Busted #1





Brought to you by: