Messed Up & Magic by Holly Stone Release Blitz

July 16th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


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Friday nights are about fish and chips, not finding sexy boys on your doorstep, particularly when the boy in question seems so lost.

Jack’s been Amy’s customer for years so they’re not exactly strangers, but he’s stunned when he finds himself homeless and she offers him a place to stay.

Amy’s desperate for change. Fed up with fulfilling her father’s expectations, she’s struggling to see a way out without letting him down. Suddenly faced with more issues than she can cope with, Amy turns to Jack for comfort. But as they get closer, and Jack’s troubles get deeper, he’s reluctant to make promises he can’t keep.

One lonely boy, trying to do the right thing.
One girl used to pushing her dreams aside.
Two hearts struggling with life and love.

Things are about to get all kinds of MESSED UP and MAGIC.

MUaM Teaser3

Character Interview

Name – Jack Harlow

Age – 18 going on 30!

Appearance – 6 foot, very dark brown hair and eyes. People always tell me my eyebrows look sad because they slant downwards at the edges. My hair’s a bit of a mess at the moment but I guess you could call it a floppy Mohawk.

Favourite Song – There’s no way that I can pick just one. I love music, all different kinds. There are a couple of tunes that I can say are near the top of the list though. R U Mine? by the Arctic Monkeys. It’s got a mad guitar riff that I want to learn to play. Oh, and Tyrant by Catfish and the Bottlemen.

What item of clothing best represents you? My favourite black t-shirt. It’s kind of a faded grey now from over-washing but it’s really comfortable, and it goes with everything. It’s practical and understated. It’s not flashy and it doesn’t go in or out of fashion.

What’s your biggest fear? Turning out like my parents. And being alone in the world. People need good people to be happy.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand? My phone, my guitar plectrum, headphones so I can blast my music without pissing anyone off. Oh, and ear plugs because I’m a light sleeper.

What was your favourite food when you were a kid? Jaffa Cakes. They’ve got a thin cake base with a layer of orange jelly stuff covered in chocolate. I used to nibble off the chocolate and peel the orange jelly away from the cake to eat it separately. My granny bought them for me and whenever I eat them, they remind me of her.

Best sexual experience? Any time with Amy, but if I had to pick, it would in the hotel room after I met my brother. I knew I was falling for Amy then, but it was bitter sweet because I knew I wasn’t in a position to offer her anything more than sex and friendship.

If you could visit any country in the world where would it be? Cambodia. There’s this mad ruined city called Angkor that has temples that are hundreds of years old. I haven’t travelled abroad yet, so I’d go to a place that was really different to the UK. And I like Asian food!

You have one day left to live. What would you do? Go to the beach and hang out with my friends and with Amy. Hopefully my last day would be sunny (although in England that’s doubtful!) and we could have a BBQ and a few drinks, listen to music and talk about old times. I’d want to watch the sun set on the horizon and say goodbye to the people that have been most important to me in my life. And maybe, if it’s possible, I wouldn’t mind doing a bungee jump. I’d want to know what it feels like to step of a platform and surrender to the free fall.

Fish and chips or steak and chips? Fish and chips, obviously! (Can I have both?)


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About Holly Stone

Hi! I’m Holly Stone. I live, work and write in London. Writing isn’t my day job but I love creating characters enough to do it in my spare time. When I’m not working, writing or parenting I’m reading, day dreaming about my next book and trying to stretch time like elastic!

I love people and chocolate and stories that grab you by the heart and squeeze. Before I became a mummy I traveled to cool places and studied ancient things and danced in heels and drank gin with orange juice. When my kids are grown I am planning to do all those things again, just wearing longer skirts!

Sign up for my mailing list at for updates on new releases.


Cover Reveal: The Heart (Siren #3) by Rachel Higginson

February 26th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink



The Heart will be released on March 26th!

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Ivy Pierce has been to Hades and back trying to escape Nix and his evil plans to use her. After a failed attempt to save her loved ones, she was forced to leave her friends, her sister and the boy she had fallen in love with, Ryder Sutton.

And yet Olympus isn’t finished with her yet.

As Nix plots to overthrow the legendary mountain, Ivy is pulled back into the twisted, manipulative world of the Greek pantheon. Thrust into the middle of an ancient feud, Ivy will learn quickly that Nix is not the only threat to her freedom and not the only god interested in using her unique skillset to resurrect the Age of Olympus.

In a deadly game between two powerful factions of Greek gods, Ivy will have to battle both fate and the Fates in order to secure her future once and for all. She will discover new powers, fight for her friends’ lives and convince the only boy she has ever loved that he can trust her again.

In the end, she’ll learn the hardest lesson of all. This isn’t a fable or a Greek myth, her life is a love story.



Haven’t read this Amazon Best Selling Series Yet?

Lila Felix, Author of Burden and The Love & Skate Series — This is a magnificent ride on the mythological side–but with an exciting contemporary flare. Rachel nailed it with The Siren Series.

Mandy from I Read Indie book blog — It is a book that keeps your interest and eager to find its secrets. Secrets that are well worth the wait. I am absolutely anticipating book 2.

A life not her own—A future already decided.

Every facet of Ivy Pierce’s life is meticulously planned out and plotted. Cynical and jaded by sixteen, Ivy’s only hope is to escape the legacy she was born into.

She has a plan, a carefully thought out, feasible plan. She just has to play by the rules until everything falls into place. Unfortunately as predictable as her life can be, she never sees Ryder Sutton coming. He tumbles into her life unimpressed and untouched by her and the life she lives. He’s an enigma to her. A gorgeous, frustrating, sincere mystery and a complete phenomenon in the ugly world she lives in.

What blooms between them is a fiercely intense attraction that cannot be ignored. Even though they would both be better off without each other—Even if both their lives depend on staying apart.

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About Rachel Higginson

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Rachel Higginson is the creator of The Star-Crossed Series, Love & Decay Novella Series, The Starbright Series, The Siren Series, Bet on Us and the soon to be released, The Five Stages of Falling in Love! She is also the co-creator of the podcast “Zach & Rachel Take Over the World.”

She was born and raised in Nebraska, and spent her college years traveling the world. She fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, but came back home to marry her high school sweetheart. Now she spends her days raising four amazing kids. In the few spare moments she has to herself, she is either reading for hours on end or writing her own stories.


Release Day: City In Embers by Stacey Marie Brown

February 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink



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Zoey Daniels has been tossed from foster home to foster home, where she grows up fast and tough. When she is placed in her “last-chance” home, she finds a reason to stay and turn her life around: her foster sister, Lexie, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Zoey will do anything to keep her safe.

After high school, Zoey is hired by a special government agency, the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG), where she meets the other reason to remain: Daniel, her co-worker. The man she loves.

But there is something unique about Zoey. She can see fae. Because of this, the DMG hires her to work as a Collector: catching, researching, testing, and using the fae to save human lives. The work never registers on her sympathy radar. She was raised to think of fae as beasts that feed on humans and want to destroy them.

When devastation hits Seattle, Zoey’s whole world is turned upside down. The electric storm connects her to a ruthless fae, a Wanderer named Ryker, whose dealings expose them to even more trouble and danger. They embark on a journey, running and hiding from both the government and fae, both of which threaten their lives and those they love.


About Stacey Marie Brown



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Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.


Deviation (Imitation #2) by Heather Hildenbrand

January 15th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink



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Until a month ago, eighteen-year-old Ven had never set foot outside the windowless warehouse where she was created. An Imitation of Raven Rogen, Ven spent her days confined in the lab, studying videos of her Authentic, all so she could step into Raven’s life at a moment’s notice.

Now, Ven lives in Raven’s penthouse apartment, kisses Raven’s boyfriend, and obeys every order from Raven’s dad, Titus Rogen—the very man who created her. But Ven has a secret plan. She doesn’t want Raven’s life. She wants her own.

In the action-packed sequel of Imitation, Ven wages a dangerous war against Titus. First she’ll free herself, then she’ll free every last Imitation. . . .

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Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

Fans of Cinder, The Selection and Sara Shepard’s Lying Game series will love Imitation, a thrilling, action-packed novel sure to keep readers guessing until the very last page.


About Heather Hildenbrand

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Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.) Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. You can find out more about Heather and her books at

Cover Reveal: City In Embers by Stacey Marie Brown

December 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink



Releases on February 4, 2015

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Zoey Daniels has been tossed from foster home to foster home, where she grows up fast and tough. When she is placed in her “last-chance” home, she finds a reason to stay and turn her life around: her foster sister, Lexie, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Zoey will do anything to keep her safe. After high school, Zoey is hired by a special government agency, the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG), where she meets the other reason to remain: Daniel, her co-worker. The man she loves.

But there is something unique about Zoey. She can see fae. Because of this, the DMG hires her to work as a Collector: catching, researching, testing, and using the fae to save human lives. The work never registers on her sympathy radar. She was raised to think of fae as beasts that feed on humans and want to destroy them.

When devastation hits Seattle, Zoey’s whole world is turned upside down. The electric storm connects her to a ruthless fae, a Wanderer named Ryker, whose dealings expose them to even more trouble and danger. They embark on a journey, running and hiding from both the government and fae, both of which threaten their lives and those they love.



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About Stacey Marie Brown


Website   Facebook   Twitter 

Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.


Release Day Blitz: Forsaken by Kristen Day

September 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…

Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her

Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.

Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.

But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.

She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.

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About Kristen Day

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I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses – swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

When I’m not writing I’m making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.

Cover Reveal: Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell

September 17th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


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Ada Jessup lives for the moment, knowing the promise of tomorrow can be all too easily broken.

Joshua is an Immortal, a heavenly warrior who will still be fighting long after the rest of the Alpha Pack have turned to dust.

When a gunshot wound forces Joshua to tell Ada the truth of what he is, there is more at risk than the safety of the Alphas he’s sworn to protect. For Joshua, the real danger is the way he feels drawn to the human girl. After all, what can the future hold for a girl whose days are numbered and a boy whose life has no end?

Haven’t started the Shifters & Seers Series? Check out the first book Fragile Brilliance

Maggie McCray has worked her whole life for the opportunity to attend Sanders College. It’s her one chance at becoming a world-renowned artist, and she’s determined nothing will get in her way. But when a murder brings Maggie and her powers to the attention of the Alpha Pack and the tragically handsome Charlie Hagan, her carefully planned future hangs in jeopardy.

Charlie Hagan isn’t happy when the Alpha Female assigns him as Maggie McCray’s personal bodyguard. Just being near the Thaumaturgic threatens to unleash the primal instincts he’s been suppressing for so long. Charlie knows if the coyote is uncaged, then the person he’ll most need to protect Maggie from is himself.

Check out the series that leads into the Shifters & Seers Series: The Timber Wolves Trilogy!

Release Day: Tall, Dark and Supernatural (Bundle)

July 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Seven novels from some of the hottest names in Paranormal Romance on sale for only 99c! New York Times, USA Today and Amazon Bestselling authors take you on a walk on the wicked side with seven deliciously dangerous heroes sure to set your soul on fire. Regular price is $9.99, so 1-click today!

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Wake Me When the Sun Goes Down (Forged Bloodlines, Book 1) by Lisa Olsen 

When Anja Evans wakes up in the morgue, it takes almost eating her best friend before she figures out she’s a vampire. Anja tries to blend school with her new identity, while searching to find the Viking whose blood gave her the strength of a vampire hundreds of years old. But breeding among vampires is strictly controlled, and her unlicensed status makes her an enemy of The Order. 

A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries, Book 1) by Elizabeth Hunter 

No secret stays hidden forever. Giovanni Vecchio is a 500-year old rare book dealer searching for a lost treasure. Beatrice DeNovo is the young human holding secrets she didn’t realize could be the key. Their partnership is unexpected. Their attraction? Impossible. 

Blood Ties by Gina Whitney 

Grace is half witch, and half mortal. James is a powerful warlock. The two share a fierce supernatural attraction that neither can resist. Will their undying love protect her or put her in greater danger? 

Dominion (The Dominion Series, Book 1) by S. E. Lund 

When searching for the vampire who killed her mother, Eve Hayden meets 800-year old identical twin vampire brothers – beautiful, temperamental opposites, who both want her for themselves. Will she be forced to choose between love and revenge? 

Demon at my Door by Michelle A. Valentine 

A woman must fight to win her soul back from the demon that she promised it to when she was only a child to save her mother’s life. 

Broken Promises (The Brianna Lane Series, Book 1) by Belinda Boring 

All Bri wanted was spend her Friday night with the man she loved. Little did she know leaving her home would result in her relationship with Quinn being tested beyond its limits. With the city around her crumbling under a violent charm by invading Fae, Bri must trust her heart as Quinn succumbs to the destructive magic, stripping him of his goodness and leaving a much darker man in its place. 
What would you do if the man you loved became one of your greatest enemies? Would your love be enough to save him? 

Luca’s Magic Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans Series) by Kym Grosso 

In the Big Easy, vampire, Luca Macquarie, and witch, Samantha Irving, embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical relic. With cryptic clues and clandestine allies, they must destroy the dangerous amulet before others acquire it. Will Luca give into his erotic desire for the witch who magically captures heart?

Tiger’s Promise (The Tiger Curse Series #0.5) by Colleen Houck

June 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink



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Title: Tiger’s Promise

Author: Colleen Houck

Genre: YA Paranormal

Before the curse, there was a promise. A prequel to the bestselling Tiger’s Curse series, this much anticipated novella recalls the beginning of Ren and Kishan’s story. Before Kelsey there was a girl, raised by a villain, whose love for a hero changed the course of history.

Trapped under the thumb of her abusive and powerful father Lokesh, Yesubai struggles to keep her own magical abilities secret while evading his dark powers. When Lokesh promises Yesubai to the prince of a neighboring kingdom, she becomes the central pawn in his plot to destroy the ruling family and take power for himself. Yesubai is trapped by her father’s threats and desperate to protect the man she comes to love, but she knows that any decision she makes will have dire consequences. As dark forces gather around her, Yesubai must decide if she’s willing to reveal that somewhere deep within her she has the power to change everything.

My Review

For those of you that know me pretty well, you all know I have slight obsession with Colleen Houck.  The Tiger’s Curse series is possibly one of my all time favorite series.  Seriously..if you have not read Tiger’s Curse you need to start, like yesterday.  Check out my review of Tiger’s Curse to see what I mean here.

In Tiger’s Promise we follow the story of Yesubai, the daughter of the evil Lokesh.  Yesubai struggles to keep her magical abilities from her father all the while suffering from his physical and mental abuse.  When she is old enough she is promised to a prince of the neighboring kingdom as a way for Lokesh to destroy the ruling family.  She then must decide if she is willing to expose her secret that could help protect those that she loves or stand by while Lokes’s darkness destroys everything.

When I heard Colleen was working on a prequel novella for the series, I was extremely excited.  Not only did I get a chance to dive back into the amazing world that Colleen created, I got to learn more about Yesubai’s character which honestly changed my whole perspective on her that I had formed originally.  I have to admit, when I first read Tiger’s Curse I somewhat hated Yesubai.  In Tiger’s Curse I was only given a little information on her and that information really did not paint her in the best light.  After reading Tiger’s Promise my whole perspective of Yesubai has changed and I now actually love her as a character.

Tiger’s Promise is filled with action with a mix of romance in an amazing world that Colleen has created.  This prequel has just made me even more excited for Tiger’s Dream (the final book in the Tiger’s Curse series).  I give it 5/5 stars!

Check out a deleted scene that recounts Yesubai’s Birth



The trembling girl drew her shawl tightly across her shoulders as if by doing so she’d be able to protect herself, but the bunched fabric made a flimsy sort of armor and in her heart she knew she’d never feel safe again even if she had been girded from head to toe in the strongest of steel. The seventeen year old stood in the warlord’s bedchamber and pondered what had led her to this fate.

Her father’s servant had unceremoniously left her at the doorstep of the king’s military leader, a man even the most powerful of her father’s friends had dared to whisper about only behind their hands. She’d known that her father, a merchant by trade, had recently made some influential new friends. How else had he become so suddenly successful? But she had no idea his connections went so high.

They’d always been well enough off, but Yuvakshi was the eldest of seven children and with so many mouths to feed, she had come to expect that her parents would make a match for her at a very young age. She’d held out hope though that the man she’d be given to would at least be closer to her own age if not one of the young men of the town who had shown interest in the past.

There’d been quite a number to choose from and Yuvakshi’s favorite pastime as she worked with her mother or took inventory in the store was to dream of what her life might be like if she was matched to one of them. She had her favorites of course, most of those having a handsome form or a handsome wallet, or, if she was lucky, both. And her father was a clever man who kept his beautiful daughter in plain sight of all who graced his business, so she had plenty of opportunities to consider who might be a part of her future.

All who laid eyes on Yuvakshi agreed that she was a rare beauty who any young man would be proud to take as a wife. Even if she hadn’t been comely, the sons from poorer families would have visited often, hoping to catch her eye and win not only her hand but a stake in the merchant’s business. Any one of those hopeful boys, even the fat one with the ruddy complexion whose breath stunk of onions would have been a better option than this.

Yuvakshi had expected that when she left her home as an adult that she’d at least have an honorable union with a man who would take her as his wife. Not in her most fearful imaginings did she expect her father to use her in such a shameful manner. To give her away to one who intended to steal away the future she’d dreamed of. Nothing could be worse.

When her father announced his intentions, there was nothing Yuvakshi’s mother could do to stop him. No amount of tears would change his mind. “A bargain is a bargain,” he’d said, throwing his hand up in the air to halt the discussion before he abruptly left after issuing the cryptic instructions to prepare his daughter for her departure.

As the young girl was led outside with only her two finest dresses in a small bag, her mother wrung her hands and murmured quietly to her husband of dark things Yuvakshi didn’t want to hear, but even she could see the fear in her father’s eyes as her mother begged him to consider an alternative or to at least negotiate the possibility of an official marriage first.

Without even a goodbye, her father took hold of his tearful wife, clutching her to his bosom as he nodded abruptly to the servant who led the girl out of the market. Her steps were slow as she followed the man who wound his way through the busy shops and up to the main road. She was surprised as the business side of town gave way to homes that were more affluent and then they passed the residences of various diplomats and politicians. Still the man kept going.

Yuvakshi began to wonder at her circumstances. Perhaps her mother had been wrong. Perhaps her father had chosen well for her after all. Perhaps someone of substance had caught sight of her pretty face and selected her out of thousands to be the consort of a city leader. The girl bit her lip. Even if the man was older, it might not be so bad.

If he was an amenable sort, he might even consider marriage if she handled the relationship delicately. At the very least, she thought she wouldn’t be hungry. It wasn’t until she was led up to the nearly impenetrable gates of the king’s military stronghold that she began to truly understand what was happening.

“Am I to be the consort of a soldier?” she asked the man walking beside her.

He scoffed. “Not a soldier. Your father wouldn’t give you over to such as that.”

She blinked and mulled it over before saying, “The king?”

The man laughed outright at that. “Do you think yourself beautiful enough to make him forget the wife he loved?”

Yuvakshi wasn’t sure how to answer that question. To say what she truly thought would be considered boastful and yet if there was one thing she was confident about, it was her appearance. She didn’t need to answer it turned out because at that moment the heavy gates swung open and the man escorting her gave them a quick salute before spinning around and heading back the way they’d come.

Suddenly surrounded by the king’s guard, Yuvakshi had never felt so alone. She asked one of them to name the man she was meant for and not only did they not answer her, they didn’t even glance in her direction. They were as stony and as unfeeling as statues. Uncontrolled fear spilled out in the form of trickling tears. Heavy doors were unlocked with rattling clanks that sounded to her like the weighted sound of a jail cell and even her stride felt slow and lumbering as if her ankles were manacled and chained to a heavy ball.

A stern faced woman met her at the top of a winding stairway. Being that close to the palace, and with the size of the home being larger than anything she’d ever seen, Yuvakshi thought the interior must have been opulent and grand but, instead, the passageways were confusing and dark. There was a distinct lack of windows and the ones she did see were made impassable with thick iron bars.

The ceilings were low and there were so many twists and turns that she felt like she was stuck in a garden maze where the plants were growing around her trying to overtake the path and smother those daring to traverse their borders. The woman sent to lead her had all the warmth of a witch who had been wrongly crossed.

She guided Yuvakshi to a room that was, if not opulent, then at least better than the corridors she’d traveled through. It quickly became obvious that this was not the space she’d be living in as her bag was promptly removed and a thin white gown was placed on the bed. The woman left with a warning that her master would return within the hour and if she was smart, she’d try to please him.

One last time Yuvakshi asked, “Who is he? Your master?”

The flash of pity the girl saw in the woman’s eyes must have been a trick of the light since it wasn’t there long enough to offer any comfort. At least she answered the question though. “His name is Lokesh,” she said before leaving the room and locking the door behind her.

Lokesh?” Yuvakshi whispered. Surely the woman was mistaken. The marketplace buzzed with rumors about the military leader who served the king. The atrocities he’d been said to have committed ranged from betrayal to the slaughtering of innocents. The kind ones said he’d gained power by making a pact with a demon but most of them said that he was the demon. How could this be? How could her father have given her over to such a man?

At least now the fear in her father’s eyes made sense. If anyone had bargained with a demon it was her own kin. And she would be the one to suffer for it. Instinctively knowing that it would be wiser of her to play up her strengths with the aim being to gain any kindness the man possessed in his demon’s heart, Yuvakshi carefully dressed in the gown given to her and finger combed through her dark tresses, pulling out the carefully woven braids until her hair hung in long waves down her back.

She smoothed imaginary wrinkles from the gown and stepped into the sunlight, turning her body so that the sun’s rays reflected on her face and lit her eyes. The wait was long due to her nervousness but it was shorter than she would have wished. With a heavy clank, the door swung open and the object of her fear stood immobile staring at her.

Yuvakshi said not a word but straightened to her full height, angling her shoulders and widening her eyes before lowering her lashes demurely. “My lord,” she said quietly and bowed her head briefly.

Boldly, Lokesh strode forward, grabbed her chin roughly and lifted her face so he could look at her. His eyes narrowed and his nostrils widened. “What is your name?” he demanded, his breath hot on her flaming cheeks.

“Yuvakshi,” she said. “Daughter of—”

He squeezed her jaw, cutting off her words. “I don’t care whose daughter you are.” His hot gaze trailed down her form and back up to her face. “You’re beautiful enough, I suppose.”


“Do not speak.” Wisely, Yuvakshi held her tongue.

Lokesh turned away then and began removing his cloak. Then he sat and angrily gestured for her to help him with his boots. She did, but when she struggled to get them off, he thrust her aside. She fell against a table and knocked it over, bruising her hip in the fall. His hand had barely touched her and yet the push was so forceful, she could barely regain her footing.

At that moment, Yuvakshi knew two things for certain. First, the man she’d been given to was more formidable, more powerful than the rumors accounted for and second, he was a man with a violent temper who held no softness in his heart. Pleasing him would be the only way she’d survive, so she made survival her life’s purpose.

She suffered no illusions about her place in his life. When she wasn’t needed, she became as small and invisible as possible, but the moment he had use for her, she came to him and offered him all he wanted. It wasn’t long before her former life seemed like a dream. Were there once people who loved her? Who wanted to make her happy? It seemed impossible.

Her whole world was now this man and the pain that hung around him in a black cloud. There was no predicting when the lightning would strike or how taxing and sore the punishment would be. If there was a pattern she would have discovered it. She was good at that. Good at sensing when someone was ready to buy or if they were just wandering the market looking to steal an apple or trying to finagle a better deal.

With this man there was no figuring him out. He was volatile. Angry at the world. And yet there was an incompleteness about him. He was…fragmented somehow. There was something he wanted and wanted desperately, but as carefully as she paid attention, he never gave away any clues.

When she discovered she was pregnant, she was hesitant to give him the news. On the one hand, he might feel as if her purpose no longer served him and he’d kill her. On the other hand, he might simply discard her instead. It was possible that her mother might take her in but it was unlikely. She was shamed and with child.

There were places such women could go, but the life of a tainted woman and her child would not be a happy one. Still, survival on the outside might be easier than life with Lokesh. She was worrying over her options, not finding an outcome that would be pleasant for her and her baby, when her master returned home. After helping him with his boots and handing him a cold drink from the water pitcher, she decided to simply tell him.

As she took the empty cup and turned, placing it on the table, she said, “I am with child.”

She kept her back to him, the fear over his response turning her into a coward. When he didn’t say anything, she hesitantly faced him. There was an expression of…not joy or happiness but…satisfaction on his face.

“Are you certain?” he finally asked.

“I am,” Yuvakshi replied. “I believe it is the third month.”

“With child.” He mused as he studied her briefly and then left the bed chamber.

Lokesh didn’t return all evening. The next day he found Yuvakshi and told her to prepare herself for marriage. He had arranged a wedding for them to take place the following week. Yuvakshi didn’t know what to think but his reaction to her news was much better than she could have hoped for. She comforted herself by thinking that if she had to be wed to a demon at least her child would be born honorably.

That theme seemed to be reflected in Lokesh as well. He frequently made mention of his son being born legitimately. It seemed important to him for some reason and Yuvakshi hoped that if he bore no love for her then at least he might soften a bit toward his child. And he did soften…somewhat.

After the wedding, a small ceremony where her parents wished her well but studiously avoided looking into her eyes, Yuvakshi was given a more comfortable room, more maidservants, and, what was even better, Lokesh spent most of his time with her talking about the baby and her comfort, consulting with midwives, and gaining even more prestige and control in the kingdom than he had already. He said he wanted to build a legacy to pass down to his son.

Though Lokesh constantly spoke of a son, Yuvakshi ignored the niggling doubts she had over what would happen should a daughter be born. She hoped that he would coddle and spoil a daughter though that did seem unrealistically optimistic when she considered his character. Surely the gods noticed her quiet suffering and would favor her with a boy.

Sadly, it was not to be.

When her travails began, Yuvakshi relished in the hurt. It was nothing compared to the beatings her husband had given her before she’d announced her pregnancy. She knew that in giving him this precious gift that she’d be securing a place for herself and her child. Perhaps she could make this work after all. She’d try even harder to please him, to mold herself into what he wanted her to be.

The midwife said she’d never seen such an easy labor. As a servant wiped her brow and gave her a drink of water, Yuvakshi thought the gods had indeed blessed her. She heard the cry and saw the midwife wrap the bundle in a blanket. All Yuvakshi could feel was relief and satisfaction in giving her husband what he so desperately wanted.

Servants bustled about after the delivery and the new mother drifted off to sleep with a smile, a bittersweet and broken reflection of the beautiful and happy girl she’d once been. How sad it was that the little thing that made that smile possible, the tiny baby girl that rested in a cradle next to her, would be the last fleeting sense of happiness in Yuvakshi’s short life.

The lovely girl, only eighteen years old, with long, dark hair and shining eyes of violet, the wife of a monster, woke from a pleasant dream to find her husband hovering over her, his face purple with rage. As he wrapped his hands around her, crushing her throat and stealing the breath from her body, she remained alert only long enough to discern from the threatening words he spat in her face that she’d had a baby girl.

In the brief, transitory moment found between life and death, Yuvakshi grasped onto one thought. It wasn’t about what was stolen from her, or of her disappointing parents, not of her murderous, abusive husband, and not of the pain in her lungs. In those priceless and all too short seconds, Yuvakshi thought of the only thing in her life that gave her true happiness—the love she felt for her tiny, precious daughter.

And she was content.


About Colleen Houck


New York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years before switching careers to become an author. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

Find out more about Colleen Houck here:




Release Day: Tempted ( A Birthright Novel) by Brandi Leigh Hall

May 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

#2 in The BirthRight Series
Out Now!

What if the very thing to save you—is the one thing beyond your reach?

Torn between the two men who have fallen for her–and the evil who wants to possess her–twenty-year-old Chloe Bishop can no longer remember the fatal vision which threatens her future happiness. But when the magical link is severed between Chloe and her Wiccan family, they must find a way to save her before temptation leads her into darkness—-and into the welcoming arms of Mr. Wrong.

A Sweet Upper YA / NA Paranormal Romance, perfect for fans of CHARMED!

No sex, passionate kissing, moderate swearing

Purchase Tempted for just 99 cents during release week!


Haven’t read book #1- Tethered? Snag it today!

No matter how you try to fight it—Destiny has a mind of its own!

Returning home to her Wiccan roots wasn’t quite what nineteen-year-old Chloe Bishop had in mind for summer break. But when fate makes other plans, Chloe is forced to face her unwanted magical abilities—the destiny she never knew existed—and the handsome stranger who is somehow tethered to both.


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2 Signed Paperback copies of Tethered and swag ( US Only )
2 Ebook copies of Tethered ( International )

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About the Author:
Brandi lives in central Pennsylvania with her fur-ball cats (Onyx and Klepto), where she spends most of her time attached to her laptops, reading books, appeasing her sweet tooth, and watching TV for motivation.

Growing up in a haunted house inspired Brandi’s fascination with the paranormal, so it only made sense that she’d write Urban Fantasy books for both teens and adults.

Brandi hasn’t been lucky enough to meet her soul mate (yet), so she writes paranormal tales of those who have. Her stories combine magical elements with real-life issues, strong female characters, semi-old fashioned men and family values, woven together and told from an emotional, first-person perspective. She enjoys writing sweet stories that teach girls it’s okay to speak your mind and be independent, career-driven, and not worry about fitting in to society’s mold.

In addition to the BirthRight Novels, she also has four additional adventures she’ll be writing over the next few years, so stay-tuned.