New Releases

November 2019 Books I’m Excited About

Hey Everyone!

A new month a new set of releases.  There are 3 books that are coming out this month that I am excited about.

Winterwood
Winterwood
by Shea Ernshaw
Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Add to Goodreads

Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

Expected publication: November 5, 2019

The Guinevere Deception
The Guinevere Deception
by Kiersten White
(Camelot Rising #1)
Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy
Add to Goodreads

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

*THE FIRST BOOK IN THE CAMELOT RISING TRILOGY*

Expected publication: November 5, 2019

The Starless Sea
The Starless Sea
by Erin Morgenstern
Adult, Fantasy
Add to Goodreads

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Expected publication: November 5, 2019

Are there any books that you are looking forward to this month?

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets by Sherrill Joseph @MysteryAuthor7 @RRBookTours1 #Mystery #MG #MiddleGrade

Blitz Banner

Have you heard about Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, by Sherrill Joseph yet? Check it out and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

NutmegStreet-EgyptianSecretes_cover2(1)


Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets
by Sherrill Joseph
(A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)
Expected Publication Date: February 1st, 2020
Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Uncle Rocky did his best to join the kids on the floor but resorted to an old, overstuffed club chair instead. No sooner had the man gotten settled when Rani’s face changed.

“What’s that?” she said.

Flashing lights were beaming into the attic through the little window and dancing wildly around the room. The group quickly clustered around the opening.

Lanny grabbed the binoculars hanging nearby and trained them on the source. It took some time before the light show stopped interfering with his vision. “It’s Mask Face! On the Quince Street Footbridge!” he shouted, lowering the binoculars.

Lexi yanked them from her brother, taking his neck along with the strap, and aimed them out the window. “You’re right. Eww! It’s creepy,” she replied as goosebumps ran down her arms.

The figure had turned the flashlight onto its mask, creating the illusion of a disembodied head floating across the bridge.

Coming Soon!

Egyptian Secrets, in paperback and eBook, will be available for purchase on Amazon, February 1, 2020!

For your chance to win a digital copy of the book, book swag — a bookmark, a sticker, and a postcard, And a $25 Amazon gift card, click the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Prizes mentioned above are available to the U.S. only. A digital copy of Egyptian Secrets will be given away for international entries!

The giveaway will run from November 4th to November 7th. Good luck!

Author Bio

photo01
Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth-grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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New Releases

Cover Reveal: Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets by Sherrill Joseph @MysteryAuthor7 @RRBookTours1 #Mystery #MG #MiddleGrade

A fantastic cover for an exciting upcoming debut novel by the author, Sherrill Joseph! Read more about Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets below!

NutmegStreet-EgyptianSecretes_cover2(1).jpg


Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets
by Sherrill Joseph
(A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)
Expected Publication Date: February 1, 2020
Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

“Here we go again. An aftershock! I’ve been afraid this would happen,” said Dr. Kurtz. She rapidly surveyed the room full of terrariums. “And one of my assistants just called to say he’s found a somewhat hidden but large crack from this morning’s tremor on one of our venomous snake enclosure’s glass panes. It’s a major emergency. Come out with me quickly boys—now! I have to attend to this immediately,” she shouted behind her, as she grabbed her tool bag, yanked open the heavy door, and fled outside and down the breezeway to the enclosure.

Unfortunately, Moki and Lanny weren’t as fast as Dr. Kurtz. The door banged shut in their surprised faces and locked. They were trapped in a windowless room.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the power failed simultaneously, and the room went pitch black. Both boys froze, helplessly surrounded by three walls of venomous snakes they could still hear but no longer see.

Egyptian Secrets, in paperback and eBook, will be available for
purchase on Amazon, February 1, 2020!

Author Bio

photo01
Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth-grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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New Releases

Blog Tour: Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories @StephenBentley8 and @Shalini_G26

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BOOK COVER
Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories

Mystery, Short Stories

Who knew death could be so eclectic? Relish this mesmerizing murder mystery mash-up of short stories.

The stories include the 2019 SIA Award-Winning Murder Mystery Short Story ‘The Rose Slayer.’

Murder and mystery have been the staple of literature and films for years. This anthology of short stories will thrill and entertain you. Some will also make you laugh out loud. Others will stop and make you think.

Think of this murder mystery short story anthology as a book version of appetizers or starters, hors d’oeuvre, meze, or antipasti. It can be read as fillers between books or, as is the case in some countries, as a bookish meze – in its own right.

These stories come from an international cast of authors; some with bestselling books, others are emerging or new talents. Their roots, cultures, and life experiences are as diverse as their writing styles.

But one thing binds them together: they know how to tell a story.

There’s murder mystery styles and locations to suit all tastes: detective fiction, serial killers, scifi, histfic, LA, England, The Great Lakes, Las Vegas, the Nevada desert and more in an exquisite exposition of the art of short story telling.

The ten authors who have contributed to the anthology are:

Stephen Bentley
Greg Alldredge
Kelly Artieri
Robbie Cheadle
Michael Spinelli
L. Lee Kane
Kay Castaneda
Aly Locatelli
Justin Bauer
& ‘G’ Posthumously

Each author introduces his or her stories and the theme that lies behind them.By the time you finish the book, you will agree the result is a mesmerizing murder mystery mash-up.

Add to Goodreads | Bookbub

Amazon KindleAmazon PaperbackeBook everywhere else

The audiobook of the anthology will be available sometime very soon to hear a sample on Soundcloud Click Here.

Excerpt

From Justice is Never Served by Robbie Cheadle

The baby in the crib started to moan and thrash about as the temperature in the room dropped dramatically. The narrow lips of the dark shape at the newly opened door twisted into something that passed as a smile, an action which transformed her ugly face into a picture of pure evil and malevolence.

From The Neighbours by Aly Locatelli

She found herself filled with bitterness and remorse as the door opened and two detectives filed in. One was tall and thin, the other short and stocky. Such a cliché it almost made her laugh. She bit her tongue, reached for her coffee, and said nothing. The two detectives introduced themselves as Detectives Spinner and Boyd, but the names were soon forgotten.

Review

I have a love/hate relationship with short stories. I find it very hard to find ones that I like because I think that it takes a particular person to be able to pull them off since you only have a few pages to do so versus the time you have in a full novel. So don’t get me wrong I am not putting them down I just find myself expecting more in most cases and I become frustrated not at the author but at me feeling like I just missed so much (I know its an expectation thing so I can only blame me).  So with all that said I can confidently say that I liked these stories. I enjoyed how the stories had themes that tied them together per author. None of them made me feel that I was missing parts of the story, which is usually my biggest issue.

So, all in all, I was happily surprised that I enjoyed reading this short story collection.

 

Author Bio

Author/authors bio (since there are many few lines about them)

Stephen Bentley
Stephen Bentley is a former UK Detective Sergeant, barrister, and author of a bestselling undercover cop memoir. He also writes crime fiction.

Twitter | Instagram

Greg Alldredge
Greg Alldredge grew up in the United States reading all the excellent Science Fiction and Fantasy of the past decades. He hopes to add his voice, in a small way, to the giants of the genres. He wants to write stories he himself would want to read and hopes to be successful as a storyteller first.

Twitter | Instagram

Kelly Artieri
Kelly Artieri is a professional illustrator and award-winning author of a personal memoir ‘A Spot in My Heart.’ Living in the Buffalo, New York area, Kelly is a passionate storyteller about real life. Now she is using her creative voice at story telling murder mystery style.

Twitter | Instagram

Robbie Cheadle
Robbie, short for Roberta, Cheadle is a South African author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children. She has also authored the Silly Willy series and a fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II.

Twitter | Instagram

Michael Spinelli
Michael Spinelli is married with two children, a transplant from New York to Florida.

Mike enjoys family time, reading, watching movies and of course, writing things that increase your heart rate.

Twitter 

Kay Castaneda
Kay Castaneda is retired from a career as a college writing instructor and special education tutor. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in English at Indiana University.

Her publications include poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction in literary journals plus articles about education for scholarly reference books.

Twitter 

Aly Locatelli
Aly Locatelli is a 25-year-old book blogger and reviewer from the UK. She has been doing that for over five years and now started freelancing as a beta-reader, editor and proof-reader. Aly also aspires to be a writer. This is the first time any of her work has been published.

Twitter | Instagram

Justin Bauer
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Justin Bauer studied English Literature at the Ohio State University, graduating in 2016. He is the author of three books.

Twitter | Instagram

Linda AUTHOR PIC

Lee Kane
Lee Kane, M.A., known as Linda, is the author of several adult fiction books, and children’s books. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and seven horses in the Central Valley of California.

Twitter | Instagram

Posthumously by ‘G’
‘G’ or Gerry died in 2017. He used the name ‘G’ when writing short stories. This is how he described himself not long before his untimely death: G is a 69 yo Hippie, world traveler, straight talker/writer, with no regrets. He’s been writing since he found a sharp crayon and empty wall space.

Blog Tour

OCTOBER 27
Alakhnanda  www.thebookxpert.wordpress.com
Jessica E Larsen www.jessicaelarsen.com
Jody  www.imallaboutbooks.com
Mani  www.manisbookcornerblog.wordpress.com
Didi  www.didoviatt.wordpress.com

OCTOBER 28
Jessica  www.jessicabelmont.wordpress.com
Amy  www.zanybibliophile.wordpress.com
Kaili www.entertaininglynerdy.com
Marnie www.onceuponatimebookblog.com
Donna www.donnasreadingchair.home.blog

OCTOBER 29
Angry Old Man www.angryoldmanbookreviews.com
Lili www.lilisblissfulpages.wordpress.com
Nina www.thecozypages.wordpress.com
Nicole www.thebookwormdrinketh.com
Misty www.mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

OCTOBER 30
Mary www.sophrilreads.com
Dora www.swiftcoffee.blog
Noriko www.bookfiendsite.wordpress.com
Val Odylicious www.bookblog200.wordpress.com
Jacquie www.jacqbiggar.com

OCTOBER 31
Amanda www.writewhereiread.wordpress.com
Rekha www.thebookdecoder.com
Jolie www.readwithme.wordpress.com
Maya www.mayabhat.com

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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

This week I’ve chosen: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea
The Starless Sea
by Erin Morgenstern
Adult, Fantasy

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Expected publication: November 5, 2019

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New Releases

Cover Reveal: Ten Tales of a Dark Tomorrow by Kevin A. Kuhn

kuhn_TenTales_cover004g.jpg

How cool is this cover?! It’s perfect for a collection of spine-tingling stories inspired by none other than The Twighlight Zone!

Ten Tales of a Dark Tomorrow by Kevin A. Kuhn
Expected Publication Date: October 21, 2019
Genre: Speculative Fiction/ Sci-Fi

Ten speculative fiction stories inspired by the original Twilight Zone series, including cautionary tales, horror, science fiction, and more.

In the spirit of that iconic, timeless show, these mysterious and gripping narratives explore parallel worlds, faraway planets, dystopian societies, and unsettling reality.

  • A toddler shifts through parallel worlds, changing into different versions of herself. What would a mother do for her daughter?
  • A chef finds an alternate food source on a remote world. When the new chef arrives, will he be forced to reveal a horrific secret?
  • A twelve-year-old Earth girl is randomly chosen to rule the galaxy. Why are galactic administrators so desperate to stop her?
  • Humanity is on trial, annihilation at stake. Can an underdog alien lawyer save us?
  • Time seems to stand still as a young boy bikes with his troubled friend. Is the friend causing this phenomenon—and what if he doesn’t stop it?

Explore space and time—and confront humanity’s deepest fears—with Ten Tales of a Dark Tomorrow.

Add to Goodreads

*Sneak Peek*

She says nothing, content to burrow into my chest. I look at the top of her head: thick blond hair, a line of pink scalp at her part. She’s wicked smart for her age, and I’m still trying to get used to that. The doctors have used words like gifted, genius, and prodigy. She plays piano pieces that most couldn’t master at any age. She can multiply three-digit numbers in her head instantly. She reads voraciously and beat me in chess the first time we played. People say she is a gift. I smile, but only I know what she is. She’s my child, but she isn’t—she’s a version, a duplicate.

Pre-order Now!
Kobo
 | Nook | Amazon

 

B&W Kuhn

 

Kevin A. Kuhn is a proud member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. His first novel, Do You Realize?, won five independent literary awards and spent time as a number one Amazon best seller in four countries. He is also a retired technology executive who currently teaches at a major business school. Kevin lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his wife, Melinda, and their five kids—three human children and two schnoodles.

Kevin A. Kuhn | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

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New Releases

Book Blitz: The Alchemist and an Amaretto by Annette Marie

The Alchemist and an Amaretto
by Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound #5)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: October 11, 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

As a guild bartender, I can handle pretty much anything—mages, sorcerers, witches, the occasional demon. But show me anything family-related and I’d rather run for the hills. It doesn’t even have to be my family.

So I have no idea why I thought spending the holidays with Aaron’s mom and pop was a good idea.

Meeting his famous parents is already terrifying enough, but I’ve got a bigger problem. Students of his family’s renowned mage academy are being attacked on the grounds—and somehow no one has seen a single assailant? Unexplained tracks litter the nearby woods, rumors of forbidden alchemy are circulating the campus…and Ezra has been acting strangely since we arrived.

Something deadly is brewing in the shadow of Sinclair Academy, and the longer we take to uncover it, the more dangerous it becomes. But no matter the risk, we’ll protect the students.

And Aaron’s parents too, I suppose. If we have to.

Goodreads / Amazon

Excerpt

Ezra stopped, hands on his hips as he surveyed the lazy slope that swept up to the towering manor. “All right. Time for our final sprint.”

I snorted. “Yeah, uh-huh.”

“I’m serious. We always finish our workouts with something competitive.”

Like competitive pushups. I shivered at the reminder.

“This is the starting line. That tree is the finish. First one there wins.”

“What’s the prize?” I folded my arms, eyeing the distance. Not that far but not twenty yards either. “You, Aaron, and Kai always bet something.”

He rubbed the hint of shadow along his jaw. “Winner’s choice, I guess.”

Ooh, I liked the sound of that. Grinning, I got into a starting position. “You’re on.”

He took the same position. Clearing his throat, he deepened his voice to mimic a sports announcer. “On your mark. Get set. G—”

“What’s that?” I gasped, pointing behind him.

He snapped around to look—and I launched into a mad sprint, arms pumping. Ezra swore and took off after me, but I had a head start. I would reach the finish first and totally win this.

Right as I drew level with the target tree, hands caught my waist. Ezra swept me off the ground, still running—an impossible feat if not for his inhuman strength. He stopped just past the tree, laughing too hard to hold me up. My back slid down his chest and my feet landed in the grass.

“I can’t believe I fell for that,” he said breathlessly. “You’re such a cheater.”

Whirling to face him, I smirked. “I was manufacturing a combat advantage, not cheating. Kai’s been teaching me.”

“A race isn’t combat.”

“Maybe I was running for my life.”

“From me?” He arched a playful eyebrow. “Does that mean you don’t like being chased?” “Depends who’s doing the chasing,” I shot back teasingly.

“Oh? So is it the chase you prefer, or the catch?”

I tossed my hair with pretend haughtiness. “You think you could catch me?”

“Pretty sure I already did.”

My heart did a crazy tumble through my chest and a grin stretched my mouth. I couldn’t hold it back any more than I could stop the blush heating my cheeks.

“Well,” I began dramatically, spreading my arms as I stepped backward, “do I look—”

My heel caught on a tree root hidden in the grass. Squealing, I pitched over, arms wind-milling. My back hit the ground, the air punched from my chest, and I blinked dazedly at the overcast sky.

Damn it.

Ezra’s face appeared above mine. He crouched at my side, his expression drawn into grave concern. “Tori, are you still with me?”

I choked on a laugh and whispered, “Ezra? Is that you?”

“I’m here.” He took my hand and patted it gently. “Just hang in there.”

I fluttered my fingers. “Everything is growing dark.”

“Go toward the light, Tori.”

My eyebrows quirked. “Shouldn’t I go away from the light?”

“It doesn’t have the same ring,” he decided. “You’ll have to go toward the light.”

“Toward the light it is.” I waited a moment. “Now what?”

He took my hands and folded them on my chest in the classic body-in-casket pose—and I lost it. Cackling with laughter, I sat up and checked the grass stain on my elbow.

“Next time, I’ll make you laugh first,” I promised. He grinned as he stood. “You can try.”

Author Bio

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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