Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Terminal by Michaelbrent Collins Review!

44642930Title: Terminal
Author: Michaelbrent Collins
Pages: 323
Published: April 24th 2019 by Written Insomnia Press
Source: For Review

Purchase: AMAZON


All passengers, please prepare for departure…
An employee, a cop, and five prisoners; a prisoner, a stowaway, and a madman.
These are the people waiting at the Lawton bus terminal. Mostly late-night travelers who want nothing more than to get to their destinations, and employees who want nothing more than to get through the graveyard shift.
But when a strange, otherworldly fog rolls in, the night changes to nightmare. Because something hides in the fog. Something powerful. Something strange. Something... inhuman.
Soon, those in the terminal have been cut off from the rest of the world. No phones, no computers. Just ten strangers in the terminal... and The Other.
The Other is the force in the mist. The Other is the thing that has captured them. And The Other wants to play a game. 
The rules are simple:
1) The people in the terminal must choose a single person from among them. That person will live. The rest will die.2) Anyone who attempts to leave the terminal before the final vote will die.3) The final vote... must be unanimous.
A nightmare. And getting worse, because the best way to make a vote unanimous... is to kill the other voters.
Welcome to the end of the line. Welcome to the Terminal.

My Thoughts:

What would you do if you were at a bus terminal waiting for your bus when a sudden and mysterious fog surrounds the place and shadowy silhouettes with glowing green eyes can be seen throughout it? That's what happens to the people inside the Terminal. They are all waiting to go to their destinations when the fog comes, then the electronics and lights go haywire and a message appears on their phones...... 
The Other: only 1 will leave
all in favour
What follows was an intense, creepy and twisty read. 

I read and loved this authors previous book, Predators, so was excited to dive into this one as it sounded awesome! Well it was and then some. 

The plot of this was creepy and kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. It's starts off slowly because we are being introduced to a variety of characters and need to get to know them a bit, but then the fog comes and things get interesting and incredibly intense inside the Terminal. As the plot progresses the author adds element after element to spice up the story, and when you think you have things figured out, he throws in something else to throw you off the pace. Then bam, you get to the end and it's not at all what you thought it was and you just stare for a second and think whoa. 

All the characters were well written and developed, and there are quite a few of them! But they were needed in order to create the tension and anticipation. There is the ticket lady and her daughter, a cop, a gangster, a married couple, a woman looking for fame, a boy on the spectrum and I think that's it. I did make a note of all their names so I could keep track of who was who. We have Mary, Taylor, Paul, Shelly, Adam, Jesus, Clarice, Ken, Bella and Jeremy. We get to see a bit of their backgrounds and it was easy to connect to them all. Again, the author makes you think you know a person but then throws a spanner into the mix and you think, whoa!! 

And Whoa pretty much sums up the book. While reading that word kept popping into my head at certain times and I had to put the book down in order to absorb what was happening. It was a roller coaster of a read and I highly recommend you check it out. Be prepared to want to read the whole thing at once though, because the suspense will have you on the edge of your seat. 



Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Tudor Rose by W.H. Doyle Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Tudor Rose
W.H. Doyle
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: April 9th 2019
Genres: Historical, Young Adult


In 16th-century England, two teenage best friends find themselves on an exciting journey from the country to the Queen’s court in the hope of being named ladies-in-waiting. But Sybille and Rose soon discover they aren’t the only girls who have their sights set on attending Her Majesty. The girls must compete against worldly and cunning opponents, among them mean-girl Avis and her entourage of back-stabbing co-horts, tipping the balance in their already-tenuous friendship.
Soon, the grand hall is more like the hallway of a prestigious finishing school, with girls fighting for the attention of a dashing, young earl, amid parties fueled by drinking and indiscriminate relations. As the tension between Sybille and Avis heats up, the focus on Rose wanes, allowing her to turn her attention to more important matters – like getting close enough to the Queen to learn her secrets.
But being close to the Queen is not without its challenges. And when rumors of Rose’s influence make their way around the castle, no one, not even the Queen, will be safe.


SNEAK PEEK:

They were gorgeous, even as they sneered and giggled and pointed at Rose and Sybille. Unblemished faces, perfectly coiffed hair, and the most fashionable clothes. The men had trimmed goatees, starched linen ruffs, and wide shoulders that tapered sexily to narrow hips. The women’s painted eyes and lips were framed by long hair banded by strips of jewels. Their gowns—so different than the old-fashioned ones of Gordonsrod—had low, square-cut necklines and a framework that pushed out the dress around the buttocks, emphasizing their figures.
It was everything that Sybille had always wanted. But not like this. Humiliation drove into her like a punch as the stuff of her dreams reconfigured into her worst nightmare.



Author Bio:
Author Bill Doyle was born in Michigan, and wrote his first mystery at the age of eight. He has gone on to write critically acclaimed and bestselling children's books, including stories of real-life war heroes in "Behind Enemy Lines: True Stories of Amazing Courage"; the pick-your-own-adventure "Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Everest"; the historical fiction mystery series Crime Through Time; the Henry & Keats series including "Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie"; the Scream Team series about Bad News Bears-type monsters playing sports; and soon-to-be released series "The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place."
Additionally, Bill has served as editor at Sesame Workshop, TIME for Kids and SI Kids. He's written for LeapFrog, Weekly Reader, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, National Geographic Kids, and the American Museum of Natural History. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the film school at New York University where he was taught by the likes of Arthur Miller and David Mamet.
Bill lives with two dachshund-headed canines in New York City, and you can visit him online at www.BillDoyleBooks.com.

GIVEAWAY!
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  • $10 Starbucks gift card

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Monday, 25 March 2019

A Tale of Two Houses by Susan Harris Book Blitz and Giveaway!


A Tale of Two Houses
Susan Harris
(Defy the Stars, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 25th 2019
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult


Centuries ago, the royal house of witches in Vernanthia split into two factions: House Cambridge and House Montgomery. These two houses warred with each other for an age, causing widespread bloodshed and death. Those without magic—the Nulls—suffered the most. One day, a favored daughter of the Nulls was slain. With her dying breath, she cursed the covens to know no peace until love was possible between the houses.
That curse had long since been forgotten—until now.
Julian Montgomery is the reluctant Prince of House Montgomery and Rowan Cambridge is in no rush to become the Queen of House Cambridge. Both heirs long for freedom from their birthright obligations. When fate throws these two star-crossed lovers together, it sends them on a collision course with destiny that neither could have predicted.
Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet is reimagined in this compelling drama about two young people drawn by fate into an unwinnable situation. If you think you know how this story ends—think again!



EXCERPT:

“Go talk to her already.”
I jumped at the sound of Toby’s voice, who was grinning at me so much, I could see the white of his teeth.
“Go talk to her already,” he repeated, inclining his head toward the person I’d been staring at. “You’ve been standing there staring at her for quite a while. It’s starting to get weird.”
“I haven’t been staring,” I said with not much conviction as I took a large gulp of my ale.
“Yes, you have. Now is the perfect opportunity to go and ask her to dance. Considering she’s been eyeballing you when she thinks no one is looking, I do not think she will refuse you. Besides, I’m pretty certain the gorgeous creature beside her is the future queen of the Cambridge coven. You go romance her attack dog. Leave the princess to me.”
There was a hint of menace in his tone, a wolfish smile on his face. I put a hand on Toby’s arm. “We will not insult Ashbridge’s invitation by waging war here. It is horrid enough that we are stealing under his nose. Promise me, Toby. No bloodshed here.”
“Unless provoked, my Prince, there will be no bloodshed.”
I lift my arm from Toby’s as the seriousness fled his features. “Now, go get the girl.”
He pushed me forward and I almost stumbled in the dim light, causing me to glare at him for a moment before I rolled my shoulders and prayed that I don’t make an absolute fool of myself. My heart thundered like a drum as I made my way toward the girl, noticing that her eyes were the same color as her dress. My palms were sweating, and I licked my lips to try and rid myself of the dryness.
I stood a mere breath away from her when she turned in my direction, and I could not find the words to speak. Her companion, the girl Toby thought to be the Cambridge heir, giggled, even as Auggie chuckled, a dash of mischief in his eyes. But I blocked them out, my steely focus on the girl with the green eyes and a smile made of sunshine.
“I was wondering, M’lady, if you would dance with me?” I held out my hand, trying to ignore the tremble.



Author Bio:
Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland.
An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy and Dystopian genre. She writes books for young adults and adults alike.
When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, creepy snow globes, DC shoes, stationary, anything Disney, Marvel movies, psychology and far too many TV shows. If she wasn't a writer, she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes)

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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

For the Reign by Debbie Cassidy Book Blitz and Giveaway!


For the Reign
Debbie Cassidy
(For the Blood #3)
Publication date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Reverse Harem, Urban Fantasy


It’s hardly a fair race when you’re racing against time.
The Fangs and I have the answers we were looking for, but for me those answers come with a death sentence. But I’ll be damned if I got out easy. I’ll be damned if I go out before I can see our mission through.
Just as I’m coming to terms with my fate, hope drops into my lap like a succulent fruit. But hope can be deceptive, and I’m not one for putting all my eggs into on basket. The mission must remain my focus, but with obstacles stacking up, getting to the finish line may just take some divine intervention, but the cost…The cost might be more than I’m willing to pay.
The Vampire Diaries meets The Walking Dead in this Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy with a slow burn Whychoose Romance


 


Author Bio:
Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head - in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.


GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $25 Amazon gift card

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Immerse by Tobie Easton Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Immerse
Tobie Easton
(Mer Chronicles, #3)
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Immerse is the spellbinding and breathless final installment of the Mer Chronicles series where descendants of the Little Mermaid must face deadly magic, shifting alliances, and the dangers of forbidden love.
Lia can’t wait for her parents’ coronation. Now living in the sparkling palace beneath the waves, she sneaks off to Malibu whenever possible to see Clay. Tucked away in an abandoned seaside mansion, Lia and Clay devise a plan to ensure they can stay together forever.
But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lia is restricted to the palace for the safety of all Merkind, she and Clay are ripped apart once more.
She fears not only for Clay, but for her best friend Caspian, who seems to be swimming down a dangerous path. He has invited the conniving Melusine to the coronation ball, convinced she’s capable of change. And no matter how hard Lia fights it, showing up on Caspian’s arm is just the start of Melusine’s insidious return to her life.
With threats Below growing more ominous by the day and a powerful ancient ritual looming, soon the two girls can’t escape each other. As their fates grow increasingly intertwined, Melusine might be the only one who can help Lia find the answers she desperately needs to save everyone she loves and to achieve her happily ever after. But can Lia trust her?


Previous books in the series:



EXCERPT:

The library doors are my favorite in the castle. Unlike all the other doors, made of sculpted sea glass in colors ranging from pastels to deep jewel tones, the doors to the varellska (Mermese for library) are made of the coated wood of a sunken Victorian ship. Mounted to the frame between the double doors is a handcrafted mermaid from the ship’s prow, her wooden hair blowing around her in carved curls, her face proud. She puts a smile on my own face as I open one of the doors and swim into the room that may hold the answer I need among its secrets.
Shelves stretch up the walls high above my head, each lined with shells of every conceivable size and pattern, from short volumes of poetry in tiny sundial shells to hours-long research tomes in giant diadema shells. Between the shells stand various treasures for decoration: an antique spyglass, a bronze-rimmed compass, an old brass lantern. I inhale the scent of shell polish and whalebone styluses.
I’ve come on the librarian’s day off and have the whole place to myself. I swim up to the highest shelves, where there rests a large, gilded starfish, the symbol of balanced justice. What’s happened to Clay at the hands and fins of Merkind has been anything but just. I’m hoping that means justice is on our side throughout our quest to make him a Merman. I rub the starfish for luck. “Help me find a way,” I murmur into the varellska’s quiet stillness.



Author Bio:
Award-winning author Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she's grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. Her debut novel, Emerge, is a Gold Medal Winner (Young Adult - Sci-Fi/Fantasy) of the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards and is Book 1 in the acclaimed Mer Chronicles series. The trilogy follows the descendants of the Little Mermaid and offers fans a peek into a world where Mermaids aren't just real, but live secretly among us on land.
She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Tobie loves chocolate chip cookies and Oxford commas. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie splits her time between Los Angeles and Boston. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com.

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $10 Starbucks gift card

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Thursday, 14 March 2019

Bad Luck Charlie by Scott Baron Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Bad Luck Charlie
Scott Baron
(The Dragon Mage, #1)
Publication date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction


Charlie Gault had all the luck. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the good kind.
It was looking like Lady Luck had quite a grudge against him. In fact, at this point merely crashing the multi-billion-dollar ship he had helped design would have felt like winning the lottery compared to his current dilemma. If only he were so lucky.
Things had started off all right––that is, until a freak wormhole unexpectedly swallowed his ship, leaving him stranded on an unknown planet far, far from home. With the crew’s lives at stake, Charlie had no choice but to stop his whining, put on his big boy pants, and step up to save them all, and much to his surprise, it actually looked like he might succeed. Of course, that was when things really went sideways in ways that made merely crashing on an uncharted planet seem like a walk in the park.
Suddenly faced with alien space pirates, talking dragons, and something that seemed very much like magic, Charlie found himself adrift, feeling like a space age Robinson Crusoe––only his man Friday was a blue-skinned alien, and this wasn’t just a desert island. It was a whole new galaxy.


EXCERPT:

“Starboard heat shield seven is gone!” Charlie called out as calmly as he could over the din of their ship more or less tearing apart. He was going to carry out his duties like a professional if it was the last thing he’d do, and the way things were going, it was starting to look like it might be.
“Copy that.” Captain Reynard bellowed over the noise. “Gaspari, redirect the primary debris shield to cover as much of starboard seven as possible. Pull power from wherever you have to!”
Rika Gaspari, his second-in-command began frantically throwing switches, inverting the power flows, her hands a blur of activity as she carried out her orders. The ship’s rattling lessened, but did not cease.
“Still low on power, Captain. The atmosphere has some powerful radiologic properties that are wreaking havoc with our phase shielding. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough.”
“Then pull power from life support.”
“Sir? Won’t we need that?” Charlie asked as he struggled to keep the engines from redlining into critical and blowing them all to hell.
“Not if we don’t survive atmospheric entry. First things first. Right now, getting down in one piece is the most important one,” the captain replied.
Rika did as she was ordered. A moment later the crew felt the ever-present breeze of recirculating air that moved about them cease. It was something they were so familiar with that they didn’t even notice its presence until it was abruptly gone.
“Done, Captain,” Gaspari announced, her close-cropped hair sticking to her damp forehead. “Twenty seconds until we clear the exosphere.”
“Copy that. Jamal, are you suited up?” the captain asked over internal comms.
“Affirmative, Captain,” he replied. “Prepped and standing by with backup fire suppression.”
The chief of security and emergency services had geared up the moment things began to sway out of parameters, which was just before they were unceremoniously sucked through a massive wormhole and spat out Lord knew where. His foresight was a good thing. It was looking like things were about to get a whole lot worse.
The ship bucked and tossed, its hull glowing bright orange as the edges of the strange world’s atmosphere pummeled it with brutal intensity. It was a rough ride in command. Captain Reynard knew the rest of his crew were being subjected to a vicious beating in their compartments. He just hoped they had strapped in. They launched with twenty-four living crew aboard, and he planned to keep it that way.
The command module’s power flickered and dimmed.
“Losing primary power,” Gaspari said.
“I see it,” Charlie replied, already in motion, rushing from his seat to the door to the adjacent engineering compartment just off the bridge.
His team in main engineering down below would keep the reactors powered up. It was his job to keep that power flowing to the controls during flight.
Smoke greeted him as he manually opened the door with the backup access crank tucked into the wall panel.
“We got a fire?” Reynard asked, sniffing the air.
“Negative, Captain. Just some blown circuits and overloaded wires,” Charlie replied as he stuck his head in and surveyed the damage.
The room was small, just row upon row of circuit racks and relays. A harness chair sat in front of a work bench, never before used. Of course, for the maiden flight of the ship, why would it have been.
“The damage looks relatively minimal,” Charlie informed them. “Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll have it sorted.”
“We don’t have a couple of minutes.”
“I’m on it. Let me know when the main control power surges normalize and level out.”
Without another word, he slid through the narrow gap he’d opened in the door and set to work. The blown circuits were the easiest to repair, and luckily the most vital as well. The smoldering wires nearby––while important––were not crucial to staying aloft.
“Powering off navs and switching your panels to emergency reserve. Nobody touch anything until I say so. We’re already maxing the load,” he yelled out through the door.
Melted circuits went flying, his nimble fingers quickly replacing them with the backups stored in neatly-arranged cases mounted to the wall nearby. A mere thirty seconds after he began, he called out to the others once more.
“Okay, we’re good. It’s powered back up. Test the system.”
Captain Reynard feathered the controls. The ship responded as well as could be expected given the circumstances.
“Controls are functional. Gaspari, how are secondary navs and telemetry?”
“We’re limping, but it should be enough,” she replied.
“Okay, we’re good. Get out of there, Charlie.”
“Just a sec, Captain. I need to swap a few wires and reroute some of this charge so we don’t fry everything if there’s another power surge. It’ll just take me a minute.”
“Can it wait?”
“It can, but it shouldn’t.”
“All right, then. But be quick. We may have to make a much more abrupt landing than would be ideal.”
“Believe me, the last place I want to be is stuck in here,” he replied, setting to work.
He had just replaced the first of the failing wires when the ship bucked and slammed him into the wall, the emergency protocols sealing the re-powered door shut with him inside. He frantically clawed for the crank handle, but the turbulence was too much. Miraculously, he was thrown backwards––right into the harness chair. The back of the chair, that is.
Gotta get strapped in, he realized with a desperate grunt as his body switched from weightless to crushing Gs as the ship lurched and dove.
Charlie slammed into the ceiling with a rude crunch, held weightless a moment, hovering just out of reach of anything from which to push off, then was thrown to the floor, pinned by the G-force.
The pressure relented for a moment, allowing him to breathe. Charlie ignored the pain racking his body and dragged himself into the harness chair and strapped in snugly, and not a moment too soon, as the ship flipped upside down, then dove in a tight spiral.
Stuck in the memory foam chair, Charlie cried out, then fell silent as the pressure of the mounting G-force drove the blood from his head, rendering him unconscious.
He wouldn’t remember the crash. But he would never forget the aftermath, nor the folly that had led up to it.



Author Bio:
A native Californian, Scott Baron was born in Hollywood, which he claims may be the reason for his off-kilter sense of humor. Before taking up residence in Venice Beach, he spent a few years studying abroad before settling into the film and television industry, where he has worked off and on for some time. Scott not only writes, but is also involved in indie film and theater both in the U.S. and abroad.

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • A signed copy of Bad Luck Charlie + a meditating spaceman pendant

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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The Betrayer by Rebecca E. Neely Book Blitz and Giveaway!


The Betrayer
Rebecca E. Neely
(Crossing Realms Series #3)
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: March 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Book 3 in the Crossing Realms series ~ Sacrifice or salvation? A chosen psychic few may be both. As Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.
With the Second Rebellion raging in the city, Curtis Geary, the Keepers’ tech guru, receives a Compulsion for Jordan, a Betrayer ousted by her brood and left for dead. His orders? Obtain information from her that can save his clan–before it’s too late. Plunged into a war zone, cut off from his clan, Curtis quickly discovers this woman is no ordinary Betrayer. Not only does his Vitality energy inexplicably save her life, she may be the missing link in the Keepers’ quest to restore Similitude–the Betrayers’ manufactured weapon deadly to Keepers.
Despised by her own brood, Jordan’s mysterious ability and a wicked set of street smarts have kept her alive–along with the havoc she’s been forced to wreak on humans as a means of creating dark energy. Against his better judgement, Curtis is helplessly drawn to this enigma of a woman, who defies the logic of his trusty computers.
Despite a lifetime of mistrust and her soldier’s survival instincts, Jordan can’t help falling for this at times awkward but genuine man who offers her what she’s always yearned for–love and an opportunity for a better life. But in a race against time and a brood master hell-bent on destruction, love and loyalty will come under fire–within the brood and the clan.
Can Jordan find the courage to embrace her future and find love? Or will she betray the clan and herself as the Keepers wage what may be their final battle to save the human race?

Are you a book reviewer?
Request review copies of this series here!




Author Bio:
Rebecca is a writer, storyteller, author and blogger. A sucker for a happy ending, Rebecca strives to write the kind of stories she loves to read—gritty, suspenseful and featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.
Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer.
Rebecca is a member of Three Rivers Romance Writers (TRRW), a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and is proud to serve as a judge for several writing contests each year. Connect with her at www.rebeccaneely.com

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Right Girl Wrong Timing by Natalie Decker Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Right Girl, Wrong Timing
Natalie Decker
(Offsides, #3)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: March 12th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult


Adaline Frost’s life officially sucks. Now that her BFF has found her true love, Addy is constantly stuck being the third wheel. On top of that, she hasn’t started her junior project yet, so her advisor pairs her up with what could only be described as the “Reject Breakfast Club.” Instead of the weirdo and the troublemaker, Addy is forced to work with two stoners, a popular girl, and her crush, Austin Reed, the jock who broke her heart.
Austin Reed is sick of being labeled “dumb jock.” If he doesn’t get an A on this project, he can kiss his future goodbye. Austin thought he’d gotten lucky being partners with the very nerdy Adaline Frost, but boy was he wrong. Addy jumps down his throat about his being late and calls him names like “manwhore” on the daily. She has no idea Austin works before and after school in order to help his mom with the bills. Yeah, he’s made mistakes and has had lots of girlfriends, but he doesn’t need Adaline Frost to remind him of it every time he sees her.
Can Austin and Addy ever be a thing?
Right Girl Wrong Timing is book 3 in the Offsides series by Natalie Decker.


EXCERPT:

I’m about to go forward and talk to her, but I divert from that plan as soon as I see Greg stepping up next to her. He’s blocking her from my view with his douchiness.
She said they weren’t dating at the dance. That was weeks ago, so why the hell is he still hanging around her? Why are his fingers clasping wisps of her hair? He shouldn’t be touching her.
This feeling is not sitting right with me at all. Fact is, I’ve never been jealous. Have I been a little envious of the people who go here recently? Maybe. I mean, a few months ago I used to be just like them. New clothes, shoes, going to parties, not having a care in the world. Then my mom lost her awesome job at the hospital due to cuts, Dad left, and shit just went downhill. Now, I have to make sure my mom and I don’t get kicked out of the dump we live in or have anything shut off because of the lack of funds. I’ve never been jealous of a guy dating a girl I was interested in, though. Until Adaline, and I swear this is going to be a problem. It’s already cost me my childhood home. I can’t afford to lose any more.
My fingernails dig into my palm as my hands ball into fists at my sides while I watch Adaline tip back her head and laugh. I need to get a grip. I’m losing it. This shouldn’t bother me. In fact, I shouldn’t even give a shit that they’re hanging out. Adaline and I can’t be anything.



Author Bio:
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $10 Starbucks gift card

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Monday, 11 March 2019

The Witch’s Tower by Tamara Grantham Book Blitz and Giveaway!


The Witch’s Tower
Tamara Grantham
(Twisted Ever After #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 11th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Gothel is a witch. Punished for the actions of her mother, her choice is simple: either she stands guard over Princess Rapunzel—or she dies. But just because a choice is easy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Protecting Rapunzel means watching as the princess lays trapped in a tower, bedridden by hair that is so long and heavy it’s slowly driving her insane. Gothel’s life has become one of imprisonment and solitude as well—until a prince and his handsome squire appear at the tower.
Only one object can cut Rapunzel’s hair and end the curse: a pair of magical shears. But the shears are guarded by the most terrifying witches in the land, who also happen to be Gothel’s aunts. As Gothel and the prince’s squire, Raj Talmund, work to form a plan, she finds herself more and more drawn to the mysterious young man from the Outerlands. Unfortunately, his destiny is far more dangerous than she wants to admit: to save a princess, he must kill the witch who’s been forced to guard her.
THE WITCH’S TOWER is the first in an inspired new series of fairy-tale retellings from award-winning fantasy author Tamara Grantham.


99¢ on release week only!

EXCERPT:

Moonlight illuminated the tower as Raj and I crossed into the meadow. The handcart’s wheels squeaked as I pulled it to a stop at the base of the tower. Raj had been true to his word and purchased all the supplies we needed for winter. I couldn’t complain—I was grateful he’d done it. I only hoped he didn’t expect a miracle in return.
Now I had the chore of transporting everything into the tower. Luckily, I’d brought my largest knapsack. As I loaded vessels of lentils, bags of flour, and a few jars of syrup into my bag, Raj stood over me.
“You’re bringing all that up there?” he asked.
“It’s better than leaving it down here.”
“You really live up there all the time?”
“Yes, I only ever come out to gather edibles, or when we’re desperate for supplies.”
“But how do you get water?”
“We have a well inside the tower. Can you help me?” I tossed him an empty burlap sack. If he was so insistent on being here, he might as well help me.
“It seems like a lonely existence.”
I eyed him. Lonely? What did he know of loneliness? I didn’t feel like admitting to this stranger how desperately lonely the past five years had been, how I lay awake at night wishing I had someone to talk to, feeling as if the silence would drive me to insanity. No, he didn’t need to know any of that.
“It’s not that bad. Rapunzel isn’t one for talking, but we have a cat. His name is Jester. He keeps me company most of the time.”
“A cat?”
“Yes. He’s mostly feral. But he’s friendly enough, and he comes and goes as he pleases. He’s even learned to climb the vines to get in and out of the tower. He’s quite clever.” I adjusted the pack’s straps on my shoulders. “Now, let’s get up there before Rapunzel…” I stopped myself. “Let’s get up there.”
With the pack strapped to my back, I turned to the tower. Wind rushed past, battering my hair against my cheeks, as I prepared to speak the spell.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” My words carried on the wind, echoing through the forest.
I waited, nervousness making my hands grow clammy as I held to the pack’s straps, but why did I feel so uneasy? Was it because Raj was with me?
I turned to him. He stood with haunting dark eyes as he watched a coil of ropy, matted hair drop from the tower’s only window high above us. I stepped to the length of hair and grabbed it, holding my breath against the scent of unwashed scalp. I never got used to that smell.
“Should I follow you?” Raj asked.
“Yes. But let me enter first.” Gripping the hair tightly, I started the climb. I made my way toward the window at the top of the tower. Halfway up, my muscles burned, and I focused on breathing to make it the rest of the way. This part was always the hardest, and the sack of supplies weighing me down wasn’t helping. Why did Varlocke have to put his daughter into such an impossibly tall tower?
When I reached the window, I grabbed the ledge. The worn stones felt smooth under my palms as I climbed over, then landed inside. As I straightened, I pulled off the pack and left it on the floor, then focused on the room. Moonlight illuminated the bare stones walls, the well sitting at the room’s center, the wooden chairs, roughly-hewn tables, huge bookcases cluttered with dusty spell journals and vials, and the bed where Rapunzel lay.
I stepped over the matted coils of hair. Pieces of rat and bird bones lay trapped in the knotted strands, seeming to glow white against the dark hair. The sound of gnawing stopped me.
She wasn’t.
“Rapunzel,” I said quietly. “What are you doing?”
The gnawing continued. I approached her on quiet feet, afraid of what I might find. Behind me, Raj scrambled inside the room.
Please don’t let it be the prince.
When I reached her side, her pale, skeleton-white skin glowed in the moonlight. She held a rat.
I exhaled, grateful it was only a rodent and not something—someone—else. A crust of bread and a handful of wild beets sat on the bedside table, but they were untouched.
Raj’s footsteps echoed, and I turned to face him. His tall, lean frame looked so out of place. Only the high sorcerer ever visited, and to have an Outlander squire inside my home unnerved me.
“Is she eating something?” he asked. “What is that?”
“Sorry. It’s the cat’s fault. He catches them and leaves them on her lap. He thinks he’s giving her a prize or something. Rapunzel does that with them sometimes—with the rats—eats them, I mean.” I stumbled over my words, feeling immeasurably mortified that Raj had to see it. But it could’ve been worse.
I approached her. She looked up, as if only seeing me now, and she hissed. With her red-rimmed eyes, it looked as if she hadn’t been sleeping, and her collarbones seemed to be protruding more than I remembered. Her white gown hung off her meatless frame, but at least it was the clean one I’d left for her. She’d managed to change clothes—at least there was that.
“Where is the prince?” Raj asked.
“I don’t know.” I scanned the room. With the large piles of hair covering the floor, he could’ve been hidden, but we should’ve seen some clue he was here—his feet or a hand poking out. Something. “You’re certain he came up here?”
“Yes, positive.”
I studied the tower more thoroughly but didn’t see anything that resembled the prince. Odd. Where was he?
“Rapunzel,” I said, turning to her, “we’re looking for a prince. Have you seen him?”
She shook her head, clutching the rat, her fingers digging into the carcass.
“Please,” Raj said. “I need to find him. His father is the king. He’ll be very sad if he loses his only son. Can’t you tell us where he is?”
Rapunzel focused on the man, but she remained silent. Outside, the sky lightened. Pink streaked through the gray as dawn approached. As the sun rose, sunlight streamed into the room, giving light to the dark places. Something thudded inside the well, and Raj followed me as I maneuvered around the coiled hair toward the raised ring of stones surrounding the deep drop that went straight through the bottom of the tower.
“Is there something in the well?” Raj asked.
“Someone probably.”
I pried open the lid. Sitting atop the wide-mouthed bucket was the prince, who stared up at us with a vacant expression. Hair coiled around him as blue bands of magic wrapped his wrists and ankles. I grabbed his tunic with both hands and attempted to lug him out. He was heavier than he looked.
“How’d he get in there?” Raj asked.
“Rapunzel. She tried to throw him down, I assume.”
“She can do that?”
“With her hair, yes. She’s clever when she’s motivated.”
“He was looking at me!” Rapunzel yelled. Well, at least she was finally speaking.



Author Bio:
Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews.
Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. She has been a featured speaker at multiple writing conferences, and she has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.
Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks--which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds--and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGrantham.com.

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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Spells, Salt, & Steel by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin Book Tour and Giveaway!

Spells, Salt, & Steel
Season One
by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin
Genre: Comedic Horror

When all else fails, the ass end of a carp makes a damn fine weapon.”
Your new favorite monster hunter has arrived! Bubba the Monster Hunter has some competition in this horror comedy collection from best-selling author duo Gail Z. & Larry N. Martin!By day, Mark Wojcik can be found elbow-deep in engine grease, making cars and trucks safe for the highway. By night, he can be found traipsing through the wilds of Pennsylvania, making the world safe for humans. He’s more than just a mechanic, he’s a New Templar Knight. He travels the backroads and byways fighting weresquonks, ningen, selkies, ghosts, and…gnomes? Is that gnome…naked? (sigh).

Season One collects the first four novellas in the Spells, Salt, & Steel series –
Spells, Salt, & Steel
Open Season
Deep Trouble
Close Encounters






Regular soap didn’t get the carp stink off of me, so I opted for the canned tomato juice I keep around in case of skunk. That made me feel like a Bloody Mary, but being a brunch drink was better than smelling like day-old catch.
I knew when I ambled in to Hamilton Hardware the next day that I’d be in for a ribbing.
“Whoa, Chick!” Blair Hamilton called, her affectionate mangling of my last name. I’d long ago quit correcting her—since it only made things worse—but for the record, it’s pronounced “voy-chick.” I’ll answer to anything close. Most people who can’t figure it out just go with “Mark.”
“Whoa, yourself,” I replied. “What’s the word on the street?”
Blair blew raspberries. “This is Conneaut Lake. Nothing ever happens here.” Blair is five-ten to my six-two and with her military background, I’d put my money on her in a fair fight. She inherited the family hardware store, the third-generation Hamilton to supply the good folks of Conneaut Lake with all their hunting, fishing, shooting, and hardware needs.
She gave a knowing grin. “Except that I hear there was a commotion over at the Spillway in Linesville last night. Poachers or something.”
“That so? Can’t trust anyone these days,” I replied. The store was fairly empty. I’d intentionally waited until the “dawn patrol” of DIY-ers and contractors filled their urgent orders and I knew Blair would have time for some less conventional requests.
“I got a job coming up,” I said when the few remaining customers were out of earshot.
“Gonna need another big bag of rock salt, a case of shotgun shells, and about fifty feet of hemp rope.” I paused. “Oh, and can you let Chiara know I need her help on something?”
“How about you tell me yourself?” Chiara Moretti Hamilton slipped behind the counter and threw an arm around Blair’s waist.
“I need some intel,” I replied.
Chiara gave her wife a squeeze and then beckoned for me to follow her. “Step into my parlor,” she said.
I followed her through a doorway Blair had cut into one wall of the hardware store that led to the adjacent building, which had been many things over the last century. Now, it housed Crystal Dreams, Chiara’s New Age bookstore, cafĂ©, and gift shop. In the renovated office upstairs, Chiara also ran a website development company. On the sly, she did Dark Web research for me and other hunters, and there was an invitation-only back room behind the hardware store that carried a variety of silver, iron, spelled tools and weapons, holy water by the keg, and other hardto- find herbs and items necessary for hunting or warding off ghoulies and ghosties and longleggedy beasties. She and Blair weren’t even thirty yet, and they made me feel like a slacker, even though I had less than ten years on them and owned my own car repair shop.
“Coffee first,” she said, holding up a hand to stop me before I got on a roll. “And sugar.” She poured me a cup of joe, black, and started a latte for herself. Then Chiara reached into the display case and pulled out a couple of sfogliatelli pastries fresh from her family’s bakery.
“Good, right?” She nudged as I bit into the lobster tail-shaped flaky bit of heaven and gave a pornographic groan of sheer bliss.
“You’re not going to make Blair jealous, you know,” she joked. “I don’t bat for that team.”
“Shhh,” I joked. “Don’t ruin the moment. This is between me and the pastry,” I said, and
rolled my eyes back in my head with another groan.
“You better not try that if you ever stop by the bakery,” Chiara warned. “Grandma won’t put
up with any ‘lascivious goings on.’”
“Spoilsport,” I retorted. Chiara treats me like one of her older brothers, and considering that
she’s got five of them, she can dish it out and take it with the best of them. I chugged the coffee,
still groggy from the late night, and Chiara obligingly refilled it before taking a seat at the bar
next to me.
“So what is it this time?” she asked. At the moment, the cafe was unusually quiet. That
wouldn’t last. Tonight, the Tuesday night Bunko group would be gathering in the social room in
the back, and no one aside from a privileged few would realize it was really the local coven.
There aren’t a lot of people in the supernatural community around these parts and mostly, we
look after our own.
“I need everything you can find on the old Keystone Ordinance Works plant,” I said, sipping
the coffee to make it last and savoring the caffeine buzz.
“You mean the KOW?” She pronounced it “cow” and laughed when I looked puzzled. “The
old TNT plant in Geneva?”
I nodded. “Yeah. You’ve heard the story about the Nazi sniper that got shot off the water
tower?”
“Hasn’t everyone?”
“Yeah, well apparently it’s true, and something’s got his ghost riled up.”
“You know that place is dangerous, right?” Chiara cautioned. She tucked a strand of dark hair
behind one multiply-pierced ear. Chiara’s thin enough to qualify as “waif-ish,” but she’d hit me
if I ever called her that. With long dark hair, big brown eyes, and a light olive complexion,
Chiara’s a looker, but she’s been heart-and-soul for Blair since high school. “Part of it’s owned
by a big corporation that doesn’t like urban explorers, some of it’s still military—and lord
knows, they’re not friendly—and the other piece is owned by a local guy who’s put out the word
that trespassers will be arrested, or maybe shot.”
“Nice,” I muttered. “Actually, I’ve got the invitation from a guy in the corporation, and
they’re paying me. I did a job for his uncle—got rid of a ghost that was hanging around his
hunting cabin, scaring off the game—and got me access.”
“Not going to help you if your Nazi spook Heil-Hitlers over onto private property and you
get your butt filled with buckshot.”
I shrugged. “Won’t be the first time, probably not the last either.” I drained my coffee cup
and met her gaze. “Can you see what you can dig up? I’ve got all the easy stuff Google can give
me.”
“You want what’s in the old records—old government records—don’t you?”
“Something powered this ghost up after seventy years, and he’s been poltergeisting around
the place, vandalizing corporate property.”
“You sure it isn’t kids?” Chiara asked. “Every high school kid around here knows the story,
and a ‘no trespassing’ sign is an open invitation for anyone who wants to impress a date enough
to get lucky.”
My eyes narrowed. “Do I sense a story here?”
Chiara grinned, though her cheeks colored a bit. “Maybe. Blair hopped the fence and brought
me back a souvenir when we were first dating.”
“And did she get lucky?”
Chiara’s blush deepened, as if I hadn’t already guessed the answer. “Shut up,” she protested
in jest, and smacked me on the arm. “When do you need the intel?”
“As soon as you can get it,” I replied. “Apparently the company is planning to refurbish some
of the old buildings on its land for labs and product testing. The planning team that went out to
look at the buildings thought they were being shot at. They called the cops, reported gun shots,
and holed up like they were under siege.”
“And when the cops came?”
I shook my head. “Nothing. No spent shells, no footprints or tire tracks, no bullet holes. Now
the architect and the designer refuse to set foot on the property until it gets ‘exorcised,’” I added,
making air quotes.
“Are you trying to put Father Minnelli out of a job?” Chiara teased.
I put my hand over my heart. “As God is my witness, and much to my grandmother’s sorrow,
I’ve got no interest in being a priest,” I swore. “I just didn’t have time to waste explaining that
‘exorcising’ ghosts won’t do a damn bit of good. Demons, yes. Ghosts, no.”
“Is it actually dangerous?” Chiara finished her coffee.
“Don’t know, don’t want to find out the hard way,” I replied, draining the rest of my cup.
“That’s why I need anything you can find for me. If I’ve got to chase the damn thing, I want to
know everything about that property, and that ghost.”
Chiara looked up as the door chimed and a customer walked in. “I can work on it tonight,
after we close. Should have something to you first thing tomorrow.”
I grinned. “Blair’s got fine taste in women. You’re the best!”
Chiara punched me in the shoulder, just enough to twinge. “Gotta go. I have to set up for the
Bunko meeting tonight,” she added with a wink.
Shit. That meant she’d be closing late. I was in a hurry for her data, but not enough to piss off
a coven of witches. I sighed, carried my empty cup up to the counter, and ambled back to pick up
the rest of my purchases from Blair before I headed home.
I pulled into my driveway with a truckload of supplies and a hot pizza. “Home” is a cabin
down a gravel lane in between Adamsville and Atlantic, two towns with a combined population
of less than two hundred. Suits me fine, although now and again I still have to go out and handle
restless ghosts from the big tornado twenty years ago that damn near took out both towns and a
couple other ‘burgs, too. I reckon we’ve got more residents under the ground than above it, and
since I keep the local cemeteries blessed and ghost-free, it makes for a nice, quiet place to put my
feet up between hunts.
Chiara pulled some strings—legal and not so much—to get me better internet out here than
anyone would ever believe. I popped open an Iron City beer and fired up my laptop to go over
everything again. Demon, my big softie of a Doberman, planted himself next to me and dropped
his head into my lap for attention. I scratched his ears as I read over my notes.
If I’d have put as much effort into my homework back when I was in school as I do getting
ready for a hunt, I’d have the grades to be a brain surgeon. Sadly, I couldn’t see my way past
anything that didn’t have to do with cars or girls back then. Girls broke my heart; cars didn’t,
which is one reason I’m still a mechanic after all this time, but my love life’s deader than most of
the things I hunt.
It’s not that I’d mind having a good woman in my life. It’s just that finding one who would
put up with my anime and comics collection, my poker nights, and the odd hours I keep at the
shop would be rough enough, without the monster hunting stuff on top. My wife Lara left me
after the wendigo incident. Blair and Chiara are lucky—they didn’t have to convince each other
that the supernatural shit is real. Blair saw stuff that can’t be explained when she was military,
and Chiara’s brothers offed a werewolf when she was in high school. Most of the time, I’m too
busy to think about finding myself a girlfriend.
Or maybe I’m just chickenshit.
I finished the beer and pizza and powered up my secured search engine. There are many
times when my browsing might raise a few questions, so I figure it’s better not to take chances.
Urban explorers have done a pretty fine job of taking pictures despite Keystone’s “off limits”
status. The photos revealed dilapidated two- and three-story brick buildings with their windows
long broken out, rusted machinery, junker trucks from the 1940s, storage silos, and the famous
water tower—still standing after all these years. According to the blog posts, someone had
thought it was a good idea to raise cattle on what had to be a Superfund site. I wondered if the
cows still ran loose at KOW, and if the sniper cared.
I’d heard the story about the Nazi spy at the TNT plant when I was growing up, but now that
I needed details, they were hard to find or were classified, and any eyewitnesses were either over
ninety or dead. Still, I pieced together what I could. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
My phone rang at the same time a chime on my computer indicated that I had new email.
“Did you get what I sent?” Chiara asked as I juggled the phone and logged in to the Dark Web,
trying not to get pizza sauce all over my keyboard.
“Give me a minute,” I growled, wiping away a stray bit of sauce as I pulled up her file on the
anonymous file-sharing network and looked at the results. “All right, walk me through it.”
“The spy’s name was Helmut Zinzer, but he infiltrated the plant back in 1944 as Hank
Stump. His job was to sabotage the production of ordnance in any way he could, and also to find
out about the secret projects German high command suspected were taking place at the plant,”
Chiara recapped as I scanned the old documents she sent. Even though they came from
government servers and over seventy years had passed, parts were blacked out for security
reasons.
“Secret projects?” I took a swig of IC and peered more closely at the old files.
“Pittsburgh manufacturing was hot stuff back then, some of the best engineering in the
world,” Chiara said with pride. “There was a big glass company that tried to build an invisible
plane.”
I let out a low whistle. “You mean, like Wonder Woman’s?”
Chiara sighed. “You win, Blair,” she called out, and I heard snickering. “Yes, comic nerd,
like Wonder Woman’s. Only they wanted to build it for real, out of super special secret glass.
Zinzer was supposed to halt production, assassinate the engineers on the project, and grab the
plans.”
“Only it didn’t work out,” I added, still torn between being annoyed and secretly pleased that
Chiara and Blair had bet on whether my comic-fu would pick up on the connection.
“Closer than you’d think,” Chiara said as I flipped through the rest of the file. “The two lead
engineers died suddenly, one with a heart attack and the other from a car accident, both
suspicious. An early prototype was destroyed in a lab fire. But the project continued, and rumor
has it that a second, improved prototype was not only built, but aced its initial tests. Zinzer stole
some schematics and passed them off to an associate, then went back to finish the job. He
planned to detonate some of the ordnance, destroy the lab and prototype, and get the hell out of
Dodge.”
“But someone picked him off the water tower before he could do that, and now he’s haunting
the place,” I said. A long pull finished my beer, and I scowled at the computer. “Bad enough we
never got the flying cars they promised, but we coulda had invisible planes, too?”
“Life’s a bitch,” Chiara commiserated.
“So why now?” I asked, leaning back and debating popping open another beer. “Has ol’
Helmut been haunting the place all this time, but there wasn’t anyone around to see?”
“You mean, if a ghost haunts in a forest and no one’s there, does he make a sound?”
“This is the sound of one finger clapping,” I muttered, tossing her the salute. She responded
with a chin flick.
“Could be,” Chiara replied. “I mean, who would know or care? But get this—the corporation
that hired you is the legal successor of the company that wanted to make the invisible plane out
of special glass all those years ago. Only now, we’ve got all kinds of polymers…”
“And so it might actually be possible,” I said. “Holy shit...so Helmut’s back on the job,
different war, same shit.”
“That’s what it sounds like to me,” Chiara replied.
“Okay, thanks. You totally rock. This helps.”
“Hey Mark—be careful,” Chiara cautioned. “Helmut was a dangerous guy, and he offed a
couple of people before he lost his luck. He might be pissed about that, so watch your back.”
“Will do.” Just what I needed: a pissed off Nazi ghost assassin. Well, I already spent the
advance so it’s too late to back out now. Guess I’d just have to gank the Jerry and save the
invisible airplane.
Funny, I’d always pictured myself more Space Ghost than Wonder Woman.
“And I scored big,” Chiara continued.
“TMI,” I protested. “I don’t want to know—”
“Not like that, perv,” she joked. “I was talking about the whole TNT plant thing with Blair,
and she reminded me that her aunt’s neighbor used to tell stories about working there during the
war. Want to go see what he remembers?”
Which is how I ended up standing on a stranger’s doorstep to see a man about a ghost. I’d
like to say my innate charm opened the door, but I’m betting it was Chiara’s box of homemade
Italian pastries that did the trick.
Despite being over ninety, Eugene was sharp as a tack, and he told us plenty of stories,
including a first-hand account of the night his Army patrol shot the sniper off a water tower.
“Thank you so much,” Chiara said, after Eugene’s story came to an end. “We’ve taken up
enough of your time.”
“Would you like to see the stuff I kept from when I worked there?” Eugene’s rheumy eyes
sparkled, and I bet he was having more fun flirting with Chiara and eating the pastries than he’d
had in a long time.
“We’d love to!” I replied before Chiara had a chance to protest.
Eugene got to his feet and reached for his cane. “Be back in a moment,” he promised, setting
off down the hall.
“Blair is gonna kill me,” Chiara murmured. “I’m late opening the shop.”
“Wait ‘til she finds out you’ve been flirting up a storm,” I joked, elbowing her.
She rolled her eyes. “Blair knows better.”
Eugene shuffled back with a box in one hand and put it on the coffee table before settling
back into his worn recliner. “I kept a little of this and a little of that over the years,” he said.
“This is the box from my time in the Army.” He opened it, revealing a collection of badges and
medals, hunting licenses, snapshots, and…buttons. Dozens of buttons of all kinds.
I must have looked confused because Eugene laughed. “My mother was quite the seamstress
when I was a boy, and I used to amuse myself playing with her button jar. Never quite got over
my fascination, so I’ve always picked up the odd button when I saw it and added it to my
collection.”
Then he held up a pebbled black button. “You know where I got this?” Eugene asked. When
Chiara and I shook our heads, he chuckled. “Our Jerry spy ripped his jacket when he took a
header off the water tower. We found the button in the grass. German-issue. I pocketed it, since I
figured it didn’t matter to anyone else, and I’d been part of the team that got in the lucky shot.”
I felt a chill go down my spine. “Mr. Sprake—”
“Eugene,” he corrected.
“You probably aren’t going to believe me, but that spy you shot came back as a ghost.”
To my surprise, Eugene nodded. “That’s old news, son.”
“You know?”
“Yep,” Eugene replied, and helped himself to another pastry. “We’d see wisps up on the
catwalk around the water tower after he was shot and hear a voice muttering in German. Never
came to anything, and then we all cleared out, and the place stood empty for a long time. Figured
it served him right, being stuck as the last sentry after trying to kill us.”
“He’s back, and a lot stronger—strong enough to cause trouble,” I said. “I was wondering, I
know it’s a lot to ask, but may I have that button? I need to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone
else.”
Eugene fixed me with his gaze, and I felt like a teenager caught breaking curfew. “You’re
that monster hunter guy, aren’t you? I’ve heard about you.”
I tried not to cringe. For obvious reasons, I didn’t advertise my side job, figuring that people
who needed my services would find me on their own. Still, word gets around, and I hated to
think what he might have heard.
Eugene chuckled. “None of that now,” he chided. “Blair’s older brother was at the VFW and
had a bit much to drink one night, started telling stories, and got to the one about that werewolf
he and his brothers took care of. Said there was more stuff like that out there, and that you were
one of the guys who got rid of it.” He shrugged. “At the time, I blamed it on the whiskey, but I
saw him later, and he swore it was true.”
“It’s true,” I confirmed.
Eugene nodded. “I’ve seen a strange thing or two in my time as well,” he said, and dropped
the button into my hand.
“I won’t be able to return this,” I warned.
He shrugged. “You gonna use it to get rid of that Nazi bastard once and for all? Keep it, with
my blessing.” His eyes blazed with the fire of the young soldier he once had been. “And when
you send the son of a bitch to hell, you be sure to tell him that’s for my brother Mickey and his
friends, the guys who never came back from Normandy.”
My fingers closed around the button. “It would be an honor.”



.Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wrote at age five was about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites.
Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Joe Mack Cauldron/Secret Council series.The Martins have three children, a Maltese, and a Golden Retriever



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