Sunday, 17 December 2017

Count them . . . Three winter sales!

You read that right.
Tirgearr Publishing is involved in THREE sales this winter!

1) First up, we have dozens of books on sale for just 99c/99p/99euc on Kindle. Loads of genres to choose from -- romance, mystery, suspense, women's fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, erotic romance . . .

Amazon sells in 14 countries so be sure to look for the discount on the Amazon site you use.

Visit our site and click on the authors as seen here to pick up some great reads.

Our sale runs 20 December through 8 January 2018!

2) Next up, Tirgearr has teamed up with Smashwords for a site-wide 50% off sale.
Most of out titles starting at 99c.

Our sale runs 25 December through 1 January 2018!

3) And finally, our official House of Tirgearryen T-Shirts are on sale for just $15. And that includes postage from Ireland.

All sizes in stock from medium (38") to 4XL (60")

And if you'd like more than one, email us for an even deeper discount!

Visit our site for more information.

* Disclaimer: Sorry, hottie not included ;-)

Don't forget, while you're on our website, join our official House of Tirgearryen newsletter. Stay up-to-date with all of our news, new releases, sales, competitions, and more.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Available Now: One Night in Zanzibar by Evan Purcell

City Nights, #33
Even Purcell


(99c through 3 December)
On the run and fearing for her life, Lucy finds herself on Zanzibar, a small bit of paradise off the coast of Tanzania. She isn't worried about romance, only protection. But when she meets a mysterious local, she gives in to the siren's call of the island.

For one unforgettable night, Lucy experiences all the passion and excitement that she's been hiding from. This stranger, though, is more than he seems, and soon Lucy's troubled past will catch up with her.

• • •

“Beautiful lady!”

“Hey! Hey, miss!”

“We have what you want!”

“Everything fresh!”

Lucy quickened her pace. She’d been wandering through Stone Town’s labyrinth of twisting alleys for the last few hours, and the constant shouts and catcalls were finally taking their toll on her.

This was supposed to be her safe place, her retreat from… everything.

And it was. This was her retreat. She’d been on the island for the last nine days, and while she’d never regretted her decision to come here, she’d discovered that sometimes, things in Zanzibar got a little intense.

She turned another corner—nearly identical to all the others, crumbling white walls on either side and bright-colored fabrics hanging from clotheslines—and forced herself to calm down.

She took a breath. Stop panicking.

There were tourists everywhere, and all the vendors really cared about was unloading some overpriced scarves on rich Americans. No one had followed her from Cape Town. No one from her old life was here.

It was okay.

She was safe.

“Hello, beautiful lady. Spices?”

She ignored the voice.

Stone Town was the core of Zanzibar City, a hub of constant activity and a destination for sightseers from all over the world. Because it was built during the times of sultans and trade routes, the city was a mishmash of Arabic, African, and European cultures. Windows and doorways had the gently pointed shapes of Arabian architecture, the walls were built from the powdery sandstone of the local beaches, and the markets themselves were splashed with the vivid colors of the mainland.

And the smells… God, the smells… Citrus, mango, curry, pepper, sea salt. The air was sweet and spicy, and every alley had a slightly different aroma.

As a small-town Afrikaner leaving South Africa for the very first time, the sensory overload made her head spin.

“Hey!” a single voice reached her ears. Somehow, amidst the hundreds of voices around her, this one stood out. Deep. Velvety. Somehow familiar? She wasn’t sure.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Even in the hot, equatorial sun, goose bumps pebbled her skin. She paused, breathed slowly.

Zanzibar is safe. That is why you chose it.

Actually, she’d randomly chosen Zanzibar on the map, mostly because it was a place she’d never considered visiting before, somewhere Derick wouldn’t think to visit. A safe place.

She didn’t have much of a plan. She’d left in such a hurry that she couldn’t even go to the bank and take out more cash. There were ATMs on the island, but if she withdrew money here, then it wouldn’t take long for Derick to check her bank statement and track her down.

She couldn’t risk that.

Basically, Lucy planned to stay here a while, keep her head down, and wait for things to die down back home. Best case scenario: Derick would get arrested for doing something stupid. Or violent. It was only a matter of time.

“Hey,” that deep voice came again. It wasn’t loud, but it was confident.

Lucy spun around. She knew she shouldn’t respond to overzealous vendors, but she couldn’t help herself. Her body felt compelled to react to that voice.

It took her a moment to lock eyes on the man who was calling for her. There were so many people in the market, waving their hands and shouting out words in Swahili. But when she saw him—when her eyes finally met his—she knew he was different.


He stood behind a shelf covered with bags of spices, his lower body hidden by the merchandise. He was tall and muscled, with wide shoulders—their shape accentuated by the tight black T-shirt he wore.

His eyes—large and dark—were framed by thick lashes. His hair was jet black and wavy, not in tight curls like most of the locals. He smiled—an actual, genuine smile—and said, “Karibu.”

Welcome. That was pretty much the only Swahili word Lucy knew.

“Asante,” she replied. Thank you. Well, maybe there were two Swahili words that she knew.

“You are new to our little island.” He stepped out from behind the stall. He towered over her, even taller than she expected. And just like that, all the other people in the market disappeared. It was as if they were never there at all. All the shouting and haggling and arguing about anything and everything… it all faded away.

Right now, Lucy was alone with this stranger. He looked at her, his dark eyes revealing specks of gold, and waited for her to respond.

“Uh… yeah,” she said. In times like these, Lucy wasn’t exactly a stellar conversationalist. She often let her emotions carry her away, and right now her emotions were yelling at her—screaming at her—to do anything other than stare open-mouthed at this handsome stranger.

“Are you interested?” He was talking about the spices.

She looked around, left, then right, then left again, like she was crossing the street. There were dozens of spice sellers on either side of her. They were mainly men, young and eager. For the most part, their inventories were identical. The same bags of spices, arranged in the same order along their counters. And she said no to all of them.

But this man…

What made him so different?

“Sure,” she said. “What do you have?”

What was she doing? Hadn’t she learned her lesson back home? Don’t let your guard down, especially around handsome men. She reached up and touched the faded scar on the side of her neck, running a fingertip along the line of raised skin. She had gotten that scar because she hadn’t been careful, because she’d trusted the wrong man. She swore to herself that she’d never let that happen again. And now… here she was.

With a stranger.


A handsome, mysterious stranger who made her heart shimmy in her chest.

“For you, miss,” he said, “I have everything.”

• • •

Evan Purcell is a high school English teacher working in beautiful Bhutan, the happiest country in the world. He lives in a valley with a name that all his American friends are constantly mispronouncing (Bumthang), and spends his free time hiking, camping, and watching trashy horror movies with his friends.

Before Bhutan, Evan was a principal in Zanzibar, a teacher/trainer in China, and a camp counselor in Russia. He loves exploring new countries and working with the local schools. There are tons of misconceptions about Americans in other countries, which is why it’s so important to go out and meet people.

A published author since fourth grade (thanks to an Arizona poetry contest), Evan has spent the last few years focusing on romance novels. He’s also written movie reviews, comedy articles, and award-nominated screenplays.

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Available Now: The Swan's Road by Garth Pettersen

Garth Pettersen


(99c through 19 November)
In the eleventh century, Cnute, the Viking king of Engla-lond and Scandinavia, sails with his son, Harald, and his shield brothers to Rome. Thrown off course by a storm, they follow the route up the Rhine.

When Harald hangs back to assist Selia, a beautiful Frisian woman, his path turns perilous. Newfound enemies, retainers of Robert the Devil, Duke of Normandy, pursue them. Harald, Selia, and their companions fail to rendezvous with King Cnute, and are forced to travel cross-country on horseback. If Duke Robert's plan to assassinate Cnute succeeds, an invasion of Engla-lond will follow.

Can Harald and Selia reach Rome in time to warn the King?

• • •

The prow of our longship broke the waves, the salt spray stinging my eyes. My legs bent, and my feet shifted naturally at the rise and fall of the sea. Always, it was the same, when the unfurling sail caught the wind and the ship surged forward. Like when you put heels to horse and she runs. The same. My spirits rising. The sun glistening off the surface of the sea.

This was more to my liking than learning the ways of the realm, for surely my royal Danish blood was many parts seawater.

I turned and watched my father, King Cnute, standing with his back to the mast. At forty years, Cnute was past his prime now, though he still maintained the strength of his sword arm, and the force of his will could not be broken. With his red cloak wrapped around him and the bronze circlet on his brow, my father looked out toward the other longships as if his gaze alone was enough to gather them in, to keep the wolf pack together. Four drakkars or longships, sixty men, and a string of horses, an adequate force for a raid, but a mere fighting band in a battle.

At that moment, he saw me watching him.

“Harald, my son,” he called. A broad smile lit up his face. I could tell the wind and waves had ripped the weight of kingship from him. “It’s a fine day to be a Dane.” He laughed in that way of his, tossing his head back, so his long mane of gray-blond hair blew in the wind.

I left the prow and walked the pitching deck to join him.

“We’ll make the Norman shore by nightfall." His voice rose above the sound of the wind. “The weather will hold so the ships can return with the morning tide.”

“I wish we were sailing all the way to Rome,” I said. “I am more at home on a deck than a horse.”

“As am I. But I have need to see the kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire. There is much to learn—for both of us.”

I tried to discern if my father alluded to some of my past lapses of judgment: fits of childish anger directed at him, a fondness for ale beyond my ability to control my behavior, and a tendency to be overwhelmed with love for a pretty face. This time, as at others, I could not read what lay behind his words.

My father continued. “This system the Normans and Franks use—fee or fief they call it—I would see how it functions, whether it enslaves those who work the land, or secures them.”

“Your subjects prosper, Father. Is there need for change?”

He looked at me shrewdly, wiping seaspray from his face. “Perhaps not. Let us say we shall borrow that which we deem to be good and make note of the rest. A king should always know about his friends, for one day they may be his enemies.”

“May God will all your days be lived in peace,” said a voice behind me.

“Your Eminence,” said the king.

I had not seen Archbishop Lyfing approach. He was a short, thin man, and his bishop’s robes only made him look smaller.

“The Duke of Normandy’s representative will be watching for us,” the prelate said. “He will not want to miss collecting the passage toll.”

“I bear a letter from the Holy Father,” the king replied, “that will serve as a pass through the toll collectors in any Catholic lands.”

Lyfing was caught off guard, but replied, “I wasn’t aware of this arrangement.”

“You are my Archbishop of Canterbury and my confessor, but you are not privy to all matters of state, Father Lyfing.”

For a moment, the archbishop’s arrogance faded from his countenance, though he recovered quickly, making a slight bow to the king. Whenever Cnute addressed Lyfing as “Father,” he was reminding the man of his humble priestly beginnings, a role he could be reduced to if he displeased his King.

Not able to keep the smile from my face, I asked to be excused. My father nodded and continued his conversation with the churchman. I made my way toward the stern where my two best friends, Torsten and Gwyn, fished with hand lines ahead of the steersman.

I said, “It looks to me the crew will be eating salt pork for supper tonight, not sea bass.”

“The passage is not yet over, young princeling,” Torsten replied. “Chide me at the day’s end.”

Gwyn grinned. “If we land something spiny and full of worms, we’ll save it for your highness’ supper.”

We shared the laugh. Torsten, Gwyn, and I had grown up together. Our fathers had fought as shield brothers in the taking of our English kingdom. To be included in this journey was an honor for their families.

The company of our friend, Gwyn, could not be equaled. He loved to jest or tell a tale around a campfire or over horns of ale. Like most Welshmen, Gwyn was dark and short in stature, a wild barbarian in a fight.

Torsten had a different nature. With a Danish father and an English mother, he stood tall and blond like a Northman. The impression he gave to strangers was of a quiet shyness. But those who sought to take advantage of that lack of brashness suffered for their mistake, for although Torsten was gifted with patience and forbearance, the embers of injustice could be quickly fanned when the need arose. In our world, the need did most often arise.

Of the three of us, I would have to admit to being the most hotheaded and impulsive. I had once chosen like-minded companions, but our antics many times reached the ears of the king. It is one thing to be reprimanded by one’s father; it is quite another when one’s father is the king of the realm. Cnute made it a clear choice: either pursue a royal path or be on my way to the devil. My former companions found themselves shipped off to rustic and unknown relatives in different parts of my father’s vast kingdoms. I found better friends.

“Look, Harald,” said Gwyn, checking his fishline, “what’s all this Holy Roman whatnot we’re off to?”

“Aye,” said Torsten, “the king’s not one to give his rowers lessons in statecraft.”

“That’s because you’re better at rowing than listening.”

Torsten reached over to cuff his friend on the head, but Gwyn ducked the blow.

“Both of you listen, and I’ll explain it to you,” I said. “You know Cnute rules the northern lands of Engla-lond, Danmark, Nordvegr, and parts of Sverige? Well, the kingdoms directly south, in central Europe, are tied together as the Holy Roman Empire. This is not the Empire of the old Roman legions, but a Christian alliance of kingdoms under a monarch who is appointed by the Pope in Rome. A new emperor is to be crowned in Rome, and this voyage from Engla-lond, across the Narrow Sea, is the first leg of our journey. Once we get to Normandy, we go overland. I don’t know the whole route, but we keep heading south, all the way to Rome.”

“And that’s why the archbishop’s crawled out from ’neath his rock, isn’t it?” said Gwyn. “So he can sample the Pope’s wine.”

“I’m sure there are many reasons for Lyfing to be with us. One is to make our King appear to be more than a northern barbarian. Another is to strengthen our ties with the Holy See. Does this all make sense?”

“Clear enough,” Torsten replied, peering down at the sea.

“Perfectly clear, Harald,” said Gwyn. “Except the part about the Holy See. I thought we were going overland, didn’t I?”

Just then Gwyn’s line jerked taut, and he struggled to keep hold of it. “Now if you’ve finished preaching to the ignorant, could you help me pull in your supper?”

• • •

Garth Pettersen's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story River's Rising was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella, River Born, was one of two runners-up in the Wundor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. The Swan's Road is his debut novel. He is a Canadian writer who lives with his wife on a farm in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, British Columbia. When he's not writing, he's riding horses and working with young, disabled riders.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Available Now: The Mist na Mara Series by Paula Martin

~ Each book specially priced at just 99c/99p through Wednesday the 15th ~

Mist na Mara, #1

English actress, Jenna Sutton, and American artist, Guy Sinclair, are thrown together when they find they’ve jointly inherited a house on the west coast of Ireland. Neither knows their connection to their unknown benefactress, but set about unravelling the intriguing tale of a 19th century love affair. Despite their personal reasons for not wanting romantic involvements, Jenna and Guy feel their growing attraction.

When local property agent, Eve Callaghan, appears to have her own agenda, friction builds over Jenna and Guy’s decision about the house and its contents.

Will their Irish inheritance bring them together - or drive them apart?

• • •

Mist na Mara, #2
Actress Charley Hunter is forced back to Ireland to complete her filming of a TV drama series. She still hasn’t come to terms with losing her husband there two years ago, so the last thing she expects is her instant attraction for the local veterinarian.

After Luke Sullivan’s divorce, he vowed to concentrate on his two young children and his busy veterinary practice. Falling for Charley certainly wasn’t in his plans.

While trying to find their way together, Luke is suddenly faced with a series of unexplained crises at his clinic, as well as his ex-wife filing for custody. And has Charley put his children in danger? Has she betrayed him? Can they reconcile their differences and find love?

• • •

Mist na Mara, #3
While working at Mist Na Mara Arts Centre, Kara Stewart embarks on a search for her mother’s birth parents; she’d been adopted in the 1960s by an American couple. Kara soon realises the task is not as simple as she’d anticipated when she’s meet with a wall of secrecy surrounding Irish baby adoptions.

Ryan Brady is hiding the secret of his real identity, but when he offers to help Kara trace her Irish family, his attraction to her is undeniable.

As the mystery unravels, secrets drive a wedge, not only between Kara and her mother, but also between Kara and Ryan.

Can Kara and Ryan find a way to heal the rifts created by all these secrets and find love?

• • •

Mist na Mara, #4
After a devastating car accident which halts her career as a professional dancer, Ellie Vaughan relocates to beautiful Connemara in the west of Ireland, where she finds a new life teaching at the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre.

When she’s teamed up with Irish actor, Dan Nicholas, to work on a musical at the local school, they’re instantly attracted to each other. Their mutual attraction grows, until Ellie discovers Dan has deceived her. He, in turn, is angered by what he believes is her lack of honesty.

Deceptions mount as Ellie’s former dance partner and Dan’s ex-girlfriend add to the complications, and a thirteen-year-old schoolboy is hiding his own secret.

Can Ellie and Dan find a way to overcome all the obstacles that threaten their future together?

The Mist na Mara series is specially priced at 99c/99p through Wednesday, the 15th.
Grab the whole series today for just $3.96!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Available Now: The Crucifixion by Daithi Kavanagh

The Tadhg Sullivan Series, #3
Daithi Kavanagh


(99c through 12 November)
Detective Tadhg Sullivan’s break away from serious crime comes to an abrupt end when he is pushed into investigating the murder of a retired Christian Brother. A newly elected left wing government fear that the media will hold them personally responsible for what is believed to be a hate crime against the Catholic Church.

Ella Kavanagh, the new Minister for Justice, hopes that placing Sullivan in charge of the investigation will help to distance the government from any mud-slinging by the media. However, no one is prepared for the litany of abuse and corruption stretching back decades, which is about explode in all of their faces.

Can Sullivan save this fledgling government, or will the sins of the past remain buried, and so doing destroy the future of everyone concerned?

• • •

It was a beautiful late spring morning. The sun was starting to burn through the haze. He could hear birds chirping, high up in the trees. They were welcoming the summer, which would turn the leaves green to camouflage their nests. He loved the early morning; it blew away the cobwebs and made him feel fresh and clean. At night, his past would engulf him, filling him with fear and guilt. He hated the dark and always slept with the light on.

He took his early morning stroll down to the old barn-style church. The tiny church was only a stone’s throw from the main Parochial House. His leather shoes crunched the gravel path, just as they had done for twenty years, since his retirement. At the time, no one would have imagined him still there. It’s hard to kill a bad thing.

He was just about to enter the church, when he heard a movement behind him. He hadn’t time to turn and see what it was, because suddenly a hand had clasped him around the mouth. It pulled him backwards; a stinging pain in the side of his neck and then everything went black.

When he came around, it felt as if his body were being torn apart. Taking his head away from his chest he could see that his hands had been nailed to the church door. Unable to scream, due to being gagged, his head dropped back onto his chest and his hands and arms felt like they were on fire. The searing pain pushed him back into unconsciousness as he was grabbed by the hair and his head slammed against the church door. His gag was pulled off and a face from the past appeared before him.

“Remember me, sir?” was all that came out of the grinning demonic mouth as his tormenter began to speak.

“What do you want?” the old man answered back, but they were the last words he spoke before he felt a piercing pain in his side and the smiling face welcomed him to hell.

• • •

Daithi Kavanagh lives in Trinity, County Wexford with his wife and two teenage children.

He has worked for several years as a musician.

In the last couple of years, after taking up adult education, he began writing.

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Available Now: So Much It Hurts By Dellani Oakes

Dellani Oakes


($2.99 through 5 November)
Alone in the big city, Pia Donovan is feeling rather lost when she finally arrives at the majestic, old hotel in the downtown area. Flynn Chancellor and his roommate, Yancy Fredrick, take an interest in Pia, introducing her to their city. Pia seems to have found her niche, and has made friends with the welcoming residents in the old hotel.

Life seems perfect, until one weekend when everything changes forever.

• • •

Sweet, sultry music poured from the open second-story windows as Pia walked across the pitted, uneven ground. Scattered with puddles and trash, it wasn’t a very inviting aspect. The old, grand hotel building loomed above her, intimidating in the dusky light after sunset. Sighing, she forged ahead, dragging her rolling suitcase after her. It bumped into a particularly deep hole and caught. Yanking, she lost her balance and teetered to the right.

“Watch out!” Strong hands caught her, setting her on her feet. The same hands lifted her suitcase. “You all right, little lady?”

Pia wasn’t sure she liked being called a little lady by any man, but when she turned to look at him, she decided he had the right to. He was at least six foot three, maybe taller. She, a petite five three, was indeed a little lady. He flashed a brilliant smile at her.

“You’re the newbie.” He extended his hand. “Flynn Chancellor. Welcome to the fold.”

“Pia Donovan. Thank you. How does this work, exactly?”

“Didn’t get orientation?” He tugged her suitcase, ushering Pia inside.

“Sort of? They told me to report here this afternoon, but I took the wrong bus and ended up on the way to Maryville. I got as far as Walnut Street and finally figured out I was in the wrong spot.”

“Ooh, not a place for a lady of your delicate sensibilities to be.”

“Yeah, tell me about it. The driver wouldn’t let me out on the street. He dropped me at a satellite station and told me the right bus to take back.”

“That was nice of him.”

“He said he has a granddaughter my age. He wouldn’t set her loose to the wolves.”

Flynn chuckled. “Apt. I grew up in that area. It ain’t pretty.” He opened the door for her, letting her walk under his arm. It was an easy fit. “Where are you from, Pia Donovan?”

“Out of state. I moved here from Nebraska. Outside Kearney.”

“No kidding? What brings you up here?”

“I got a scholarship to City University.”


He opened a set of inner doors which led into a large, open area. To the right and left there were arched doorways which had once led to reception and lobby areas. They were now full of cast-off furniture and crowds of men and women, all about her age. Every ethnic blend imaginable greeted her small-town Nebraska eyes.


“We’ve got several music majors here. I’ll show you around, if you want.”

“I’d like that, thank you. How do I get settled?”

“We talk to Amita.” He pointed to the desk area. It had formerly been the receptionist’s desk — a tall, dark wooden structure that wrapped around like a bar.

“When was this place built?”

“Early 1900s.”

“And they’re tearing it down?”

“No. It will, eventually, be renovated.”

She nodded, looking around her at the early elegance of the place. It sported dark wood wainscoting, light walls, brass wall sconces. This was in stark contrast with the battered linoleum laid over the original hardwood floors, holes in the walls, and pieces of plywood over missing glass panes.

“You wouldn’t know to look at it, but it was a showplace in its time. Celebrities from all over the world visited. It was built by one of the founding families, so they will never tear it down.”

“It’s still got a stateliness to it, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” he agreed.

No one was at the desk, but he leaned over and called through an open doorway. “Oi, Amita! Found our newbie!”
A tall, mocha-skinned woman with wildly curly hair came out, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Hi! You must be Pia. I’m Amita, I’m the resident manager. We expected you ages ago.”

“I got lost.”

“Ended up on Walnut Street,” Flynn added.

“Oh, my God! And lived to tell about it!”

Flynn chuckled and leaned against the tall desk, hands in pockets. Pia had a moment to take in details she hadn’t noticed outside in the dusk. He was broad-shouldered, with dancing green eyes. His chestnut colored hair was nearly to his shoulders, thick and straight, covered by a faded black fedora. Steel gauges, about the size of a quarter, stretched each earlobe. His arms were covered by intricate tattoos, forming sleeves from the wrist up. His shirtsleeves were rolled just past his elbows. Rusty black pants, which looked as if they had seen better days, dangled from colorful suspenders. His huge feet were covered in clunky, leather boots. Every piece of clothing was spattered with different colors of paint.

“You’ll be in the Ambassador Suite,” Amita said with a grin, handing over a registration card for Pia to sign.

“Sounds elegant.”

• • •

Dellani Oakes makes her home in Florida, but she grew up in Western Nebraska. Before that, she had lived in four other states. Since then, she has added two more, giving her a unique perspective on life. Always a people watcher, Dellani put that talent to use when she became an author.

Bitten by the writing bug early in life, Dellani first pursued poetry as her medium of self-expression. Soon, she moved on the song parodies and then short stories and humorous essays. Once she got to high school, it became apparent that she needed to learn to spell when she got a paper back from her English teacher, “For content – A+. For mechanics – F.” That comment changed her life, forcing her to focus as much on how she said things as what she said.

Dellani took up writing full time when her youngest son started kindergarten in 2002. Since then, she has published four books. Her two romantic suspense novels are with Tirgearr Publishing, though she has an historical romance and sci-fi novel with another publisher. She has also contributed to several anthologies.

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Available Now: Heart of the Highlander by Kate Robbins

Highland Chiefs Series, #5
Kate Robbins


(99c through 29 September)
Devastated to learn the betrothal to her beloved Rorie has been broken, Muren Grey vows to take control of her life once and for all. But independence is not an easy path in a world dominated by men. Can she love a man who wants to control her? Muren must gather her strength and find the essence of who she truly is—even if it means losing the only man she will ever love.

Rorie Mackenzie has inherited a clan he will do anything to protect. Drawn into the king’s schemes involving Muren, diplomacy will only take him so far before he must make a stand, for her and for the Highlands.

Facing impossible odds from their world and beyond, Muren and Rorie seek the one power that can obliterate any barrier.

• • •

Dunrobin Castle, Scotland 1435

Toes curling over the outer window-ledge, Muren Grey gripped the shutters tight as she stared into the murky depths below. Her mind raced with images of the torment she would soon face if she did not find a way out of the situation in which her brother, Ronan, had placed her. She raised her head to the sky. Perhaps God would send one of his fastest angels down to carry her away from this mess. A light drizzle kissed her face and, yet again, her silent plea went unanswered.

Her demise was surely predestined.

Muren turned back toward her chamber and stepped off the ledge back onto the cold stone floor. She wrapped her arms around herself for comfort, but nothing would help. In less than an hour she would meet, and be betrothed to, one of the cruellest men in all of Scotland, and no amount of prayer or pleading could prevent it.

No matter how hard she tried, she could not find sense in Ronan’s decision. He had always been kind to her, ever since childhood. But to break her betrothal to Rorie MacKenzie, whom she had come to love, and then promise her to the Black Douglas, who was surely Satan’s spawn, brought Ronan’s motives and his sanity into question.

A loud knock sounded at the door causing her to her jump. Her heavy crimson and gold brocade gown lay on the bed. She had not the stomach to don it, and so now stood in the middle of her chamber with her hair unkempt wearing only her shift. How would the Douglas feel if he saw her in such a state? Perhaps he might cancel the entire arrangement if he was not pleased with her. Muren would not credit the man with empathy for she had heard of all the atrocities bestowed upon new brides at the hands of his clan. She swallowed hard.

Her hand shook as she reached for the door’s latch. Lifting it slowly, she whispered, “Who is there?”

“Someone who will give her life to protect you.”

Muren swung the door open and let her breath out slowly when her brother’s wife, Freya, came into view. Her frown shattered any hope Muren possessed for good news.

Freya stepped into the chamber and closed the door behind her. Pulling Muren into an embrace, she said, “He has arrived.”

Icicles of dread clawed at Muren’s insides until she was certain she would lose her wits and her consciousness. “Why is he doing this, Freya? What have I done to vex him so that he must punish me like this?”

“Would you believe me if I told you that it has nothing to do with you?”

Muren pulled back so she could see her sister-in-law’s eyes. “No. Considering my life is the coveted prize in these barterings of his. Does he not realize who this man is?’

“I am on your side in this, Muren. You must believe me when I say that I have ranted and raved at him for days since he told me of this madness.”

“And what did he tell you?”

“He said only that he is caught in a position which does not afford him any other option but to comply with this demand.”

“Demand from whom?”

“From King James.”

“But why?” Muren raised her arms in the air. “How did I manage to become ensnarled in the king’s business? Who am I to him?”

Freya shook her head. “Like so many of us, unfortunately, we are too often used as barter to increase the position of the men around us.”

“But you changed your fate, Freya. I recall it was originally you who were to marry my Rorie.”

“Aye, but mine and Ronan’s need for the other could not be denied. Marrying another surely would have killed me.”

A lump formed in Muren’s throat and she swallowed hard. “That is how I feel.”

Freya frowned. “You’re right. How can I expect you to accept that which I could not?” Freya’s brows knit. “I am certain there must be a logical way out of this.”

“Freya, if there was, do you not think we would have found it by now? I must either present myself to the Douglas or leave, and considering the fact that he is already here, it would not be easy for that to happen, would it?”

Shouts from outside drew Muren’s attention to the window. “Do you think Ronan has refused him entry after all?”

“I do not know, but from the sound of it, someone is vexed.”

From her chamber at the back of the third floor of Dunrobin, Muren could only see the ocean. But the din of men shouting from another side of the castle was unmistakable. “Should we go below to see what passes?”

Freya went to Muren’s chest and pulled out a plain grey woolen gown Muren had not worn since coming to Dunrobin years earlier. Freya threw it at her and then pulled out her old black cloak. “Put these on, and we will use the passageways to get as close as we can.”

Muren slipped the gown over her head and while Freya fastened the ties, straightened up her long braid. Her heart beat wildly in her chest as the shouting from outside grew louder and was now accompanied by the clang of metal on metal. Was Ronan fighting the Douglas? If so, Freya was right. They needed to find out exactly what was going on and the last place she should be was in her chamber. If the Douglas won, she did not want to be anywhere he could find her.

• • •

Kate Robbins writes historical romance novels out of pure escapism and a love for all things Scottish, not to mention a life-long enjoyment of reading romance.

Kate loves the research process and delving into secondary sources in order to blend authentic historical fact into her stories. She has travelled to Scotland twice and visited the sites described in her Highland Chiefs series.

Her debut award winning novel, Bound to the Highlander, is the first of three books set in the early fifteenth century during the reign of James Stewart, first of his name.

Kate is the pen name of Debbie Robbins who lives in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

See Debbie here on Canada's Back Stage Pass TV program, aired 4 March 2014.

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Available Now: Warwick's Mermaid by Ellie Gray

Ellie Gray


(99c through15 October)
Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself.

When the arrival of her new neighbour and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?

• • •

Chloe stared at the bright blue front door, not quite sure if she was willing it to open or remain shut. Cerulean Bliss. She had been drawn to the name, conjuring up images of crystal clear Mediterranean Sea, sandy beaches, and cloudless skies. Chris had appeared amused by her decision to choose the paint based on the name rather than the colour.

‘‘Babe, if you want Cerulean Bliss for the front door, Cerulean Bliss is what we’ll go for.’’

But when he’d returned from a boys’ weekend away to find Chloe had painted the door, it had been a different story. He had flown into a rage, claiming she hadn’t consulted with him on the colour and had gone behind his back, waiting until he was away to make changes to his house. That was the first time she had been on the receiving end of his anger; the first time she had been frightened and confused by his apparent about-turn on something he had previously agreed to. It hadn’t been the last time.

Chloe glanced at her watch, frowning when it showed only a minute had passed since she had last looked. The frown deepened when she lifted a hand to rub her eyebrow and saw how much her fingers were trembling. A gentle hand touched her forearm and she looked up to meet her friend’s calm gaze.
‘Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.’

Chloe shook her head, unable to prevent her gaze from returning to the front door only twenty or so metres from where they were sitting in her car. What if he glanced around and saw her? What if he didn’t?

‘What am I doing, Bekah?’ She dropped her head in her hands, squeezing her eyes shut and immediately wincing as that small movement resulted in more pain than it should.

‘The right thing, that’s what.’ Rebekah rubbed her friend’s forearm. ‘Come on, Chloe. We talked about this.’

‘I know, I know we did.’ Chloe lifted her chin, but didn’t remove her gaze from the door. ‘I just…I keep thinking about it, over and over. He’s not always that bad, not really, and I think…I think maybe it was my fault.’

Chloe didn’t have to see her friend’s face to know she was angry; she could feel it radiating from her in waves. Rebekah remained silent and reached across to pull down the sun visor in front of Chloe, lifting up the small flap covering the vanity mirror.

‘There is nothing you could have done that would ever justify what he did to you. Nothing.’

Chloe stared at her reflection, taking in the dark purple bruise circling her left eye—now bloodshot and half-closed—the ugly graze reaching across her cheekbone and further down to the swollen and split bottom lip. Without thinking, she licked her lip. The tip of her tongue slipped over the injury, and she drew in a sharp breath at the sting it produced.

She met her gaze in the mirror once more, noting the confusion and uncertainty dulling their green hue. ‘I know. But it’s not usually this bad. He pushes me around a bit sometimes, nothing major, and he says things…you know, usually when he’s had a drink.’

‘That doesn’t make it right. You know that.’ Rebekah blew out a long breath. ‘I can’t believe you never told me.’

Chloe avoided her friend’s accusing gaze. What could she have told her? That Chris was proving her mother right? That she wasn’t woman enough for any man?

‘It doesn’t matter now anyway. I—’ She drew in a strangled breath as the front door opened and, shrinking down a little in her seat, Chloe prayed he wouldn’t glance down the street and recognise her car among all the others parked along the kerb.

As she watched, Chris locked the door before turning and sauntering along the path, tossing his keys in the air and catching them, his lips pursed as he whistled. Chloe couldn’t hear from this distance, but she knew he would be whistling the tune to whichever song had been on the radio before he left the house. She glanced at her watch once more; 8.15am on the dot. Chris was a creature of habit.

‘Bastard.’ Rebekah thumped the dashboard in obvious frustration as he got into his car without glancing left or right before driving off. ‘Look at him, acting as if he hasn’t a care in the world. You should have let Sean come round last night and hammer ten bells out of him, see how he liked it.’

Chloe gave a weak smile. ‘I don’t suppose that would have solved anything.’

They sat in silence for a few minutes before Rebekah finally opened her door.

‘So, come on then. Let’s do it.’

Chloe bit her lip and immediately winced in pain, wishing she hadn’t. Gingerly exploring her lip with her fingers, she saw they were stained with blood, and stifling a sigh, searched in her bag for a tissue.

‘What if he comes back? What if he’s forgotten something?’

‘He’s not coming back. He’s gone to work,’ said Rebekah, nodding her encouragement. ‘Come on, the sooner we get in, the sooner we get out. We’ll only be a few minutes.’

• • •

Ellie loves to write sweet romance and YA fiction, and is very proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelist Association. She lives in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire with her partner, David, two children, two cats and a chinchilla.

Currently working full-time in public services and studying for an MSc in Public Management, Ellie one day hopes to achieve her ambition of writing full time.

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Available Now: A Love Restrained by Becky Flade

Becky Flade


(99c through 8 October)
Old secrets, new threats...What are they willing to sacrifice?

Philadelphia police officer Kylee Parker is dedicated to protecting and serving. She sees the work in absolutes: right and wrong, black and white, good guys and bad guys. That is, until she chases a drug dealer into a dead-end alley and finds the bad boy she had a painful crush on throughout her teen years has turned into a more dangerous and more attractive man.

Jayson Donovan knows he doesn’t deserve someone as good as Kylee Parker. As the right hand man to a local drug-pushing mobster, he’s solidly on the wrong side of Kylee’s moral compass. But he can’t help reaching for her time and again when he knows he shouldn’t.

Even when his secrets threaten them both.

• • •

Spring in the city brought people out of winter hibernation like a siren song, but as the temperature rose, so in turn, did the crime rate. Cops had to be sharp as they walked the streets of Philadelphia. In her ten years on the force, on these streets, she’d seen a lot of crazy and often stupid criminals do a lot of crazy and often stupid things. But to be so brazen, or so plain dumb, as to do a hand-to-hand drug buy right in front of two uniformed officers rode high on her list of top ten.

“Tell me you saw that?”

“Saw what?” Hunks of half chewed soft pretzel fell from Sherman’s mouth.

Pete Sherman’s not a bad cop, just not an observant one whose paunch portrayed his love of all things fried and his reupholstered recliner. He hadn’t seen a thing in the last six months. But he took direction well, despite the fact he had seniority.

“There, across the street.” She pointed. “The junkie walking east just scored off the guy in the leather bomber heading west. I swear the dealer looked right at us before the exchange. Call it in, Pete, and grab the junkie. I’m going after the dealer.”

Sherman didn’t argue. She took off into a quick lope, kept her footsteps light so as to not alert the man she pursued. The spring day had drawn people out and the complaints of the pedestrians she weaved through grew loud. The guy glanced over his shoulder, and the edge of his mouth tipped into a grin before he sprinted around the corner.

“Cocky jerk.” She turned the corner, and shouted, “Stop! Police.”

She ran clean and fast, closing the distance between them with little effort. The dealer ducked into an alley she knew to be a dead end. She slowed and put one hand on the butt of her service pistol as she approached. He had his back to her, his hands on his hips as he stared at the brick wall in front of him.

“Philly PD, you’re under arrest. Slowly put your hands above your head and against the wall to your left.” She closed the few feet between them, using her free hand to release the handcuffs from her belt, the other remaining on her weapon. She cuffed him, with practiced efficiency, and then read him his rights before leading him out of the alley, preferring to do the pat down with her partner present.

“Kylee Parker, I’ll admit I daydreamed a time or two about you cuffing me, but it was never in this context.”

• • •

Becky has been writing stories since kindergarten. But it wasn’t until she found her very own knight in slightly tarnished armor that she took the leap in to publishing. And hasn’t looked back once. In addition to being a wife, mother and grandmother, she works as a legal professional when she’s not writing, reading or dancing. And Becky’s proud to tell people she’s making her own dreams come true one happily ever after at a time.

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Available Now: One Night in Venice by Eden Walker

City Nights series, #32
Eden Walker


(99c through 1 October)
“Il sono molto pericoloso,” he said softly, “I am very dangerous—for you, caro—don’t you think?”

Kate Pollock is an average art student from London who, by sheer fluke, ends up in Venice on a scholarship. On her first day, she spots sex-on-legs in the corridor, the illustrious Martinez Di Ser Piero, and is shocked to learn he’s her Practicals tutor. The last thing she expects is for him to be attracted to her, but after one kiss, she’s lost to this mysterious man.

Following a dry spell in his career, Kate inspires Martinez to paint again. When his latest work goes missing, she has to solve the crime, as well as the enigma that is him. Kate thinks she’s falling in love with Martinez—could he be ‘the one’, or will his secret past break her heart?

• • •

Ten minutes later the gorillas in uniform ordered me out of there and on request pointed me in the direction of the cloakrooms. There was an annoying amount of paint on me by this stage. I’d stuck two pieces of hastily filched newspaper to the soles of my feet and had so much paint on my fingers that I needed to open the swing-door of the bathroom with my bum.
I held my hands up like the virulent evidence from a crime-scene. The place was empty, but steamy. It was some kind of locker room. Antique, with black and white floor tiles and exposed copper pipes. Lime yellow walls peeled at the cornices. I padded on over to the gargantuan sinks when someone opened a cubicle door to my right and a figure stepped out. I jumped.

Jesus. It was him, in just a pair of black trousers. He stopped, regarded me, and pulled his fly up slowly. The sound echoed in the room.

“Shit, you scared me,” I croaked.

He cocked his head at me. That thick hair was wet.

“This is the staff locker room,” Martinez said mildly. “For gents.”

“Oh, crap,” I said. Somehow I couldn’t stop swearing.

“But you’re welcome,” he added, leaning back against the tiled wall of the cubicle and crossing his arms. His pecs flexed against the smooth, almost hairless quality of that broad chest. His olive-coloured skin took on a slight sheen in this light. “It would be a pity to get paint on that sweater.”

Did he mean Peter’s dreadful cardie? How embarrassing.

“That colour looks familiar,” he added, glancing at my red feet. And my oversized men’s jeans, which, on consideration, were probably Peter’s too.

“I didn’t touch it…” I mumbled, heat rushing into my face. I felt faint.

“No, it looks like you fell on it.” He shifted his weight onto one leg and crossed the other over it, becoming even more casual. I tried not to look at his perfect body, but I couldn’t look at his face either, so I just stared at the floor like a naughty schoolgirl.

Which is so not a good role for me. I hated school. I even struggle with university, because I’ve been a rebel all my life. Something inside me snapped and I jerked my chin up, looking him in the eye. “I helped with the clean-up?” I suggested, sounding bolder than I really felt.

He laughed. “Okay, we can go with that.”

“I wanted to touch you?” I don’t know why I said that. It just slipped out. Seriously, I had no control.

Martinez smiled knowingly. Steam still emanated from the changing room behind him, which I assumed also contained a shower. He looked like a real live pin-up. May: Mr Italy. He bowed his head. It was an oddly defeated gesture. His breathing became slightly accelerated.

“There’s a sink over there,” he said. “Do you need help getting your foot into it?”

I laughed, though my heart crashed to the ground. “No thanks, I’ve already put my foot in it plenty.” I stalked past him stiff-legged, as the newspapers beneath my feet turned to papier-mâché on the damp floor. I was probably leaving a trail of red paint that the officials could follow…straight to the staff showers.

What on earth possessed me to mention touching him?

“A Painting Major?” he asked, still leaning calmly against the outside wall of the shower. I could see from his reflection in the mirror that he was watching my bum.

“Nope, feet of clay,” I said, shrugging. Jeez. First I’d been completely inappropriate, and now I was making appalling puns.

“I know it’s…unfashionable.”

He chuckled. “Art? Unfashionable?”

The pompous prick. I turned the water on loudly and ran my hands under it. A large red smear stayed behind on the brass tap.

“Is this oil?” I asked, rubbing.

“Your powers of observation, Ms…?”

“Pollock,” I muttered.

“You’re joking.”


“Not oil,” he continued. “A fast-drying polymer resin.”

“God.” I heaved my right foot up into the sink and nearly fell over. Then I scratched at the newspaper, which was firmly encrusted to my sole. I whipped it out again, christening the floor with pink water.

This is just fantastic.

“I won’t be long,” I shot over my shoulder.

“Do you do this often?”

“What?” I asked, quietly alarmed.

“Roll in paint and then head for the men’s showers to get it off?”

I had to laugh again, turning to him. He looked straight into me, just as he had in the Master-class. “No, do you?” The atmosphere between us, which had been kind of flirty but awkward from the first, suddenly got several degrees hotter. I turned back to the sink in a hurry and stuck my other foot in. I wobbled. Before I knew what he was doing or could stop it, Martinez Di Ser Piero stepped forward and steadied me with a hand to my hip.

A jolt shot right through me. His touch was like molten lead running under my skin, a hotline to my pussy. I jerked involuntarily as I was squeezed by a spasm of desire, and caught my breath.

“Oh yes,” he said, near my ear. “All the time.” Up close, right behind me, tension in his voice. “How old are you, anyway?”

It was a weird question. For some reason it turned me on beyond sanity.

A pause. “How old do you want me to be?”

• • •

Eden Walker (nicknamed Aziza, or Beloved) worked as an actress and a psychologist before committing to writing full-time. She began writing love stories on a little blackboard as a young teen, the advantage being that she could rub the risqué bits out before anyone saw them! But now she is having fun going public. She has two books, The Seeing Place and its sequel, This Crazy Paradise, with another house. She is a keen blogger and would love to hear from readers.

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Available Now: Unleashing the Pack by David J O'Brien

Silver Nights Trilogy, #3
David J. O'Brien


(99c throuhg 24 September)
One man's monster is another man's role model—Patrick has been leading his werewolf pack for five years. He's perfected his abilities at leash, and all seems easy for the pack to slip through the full moons of the city, unseen into the future. Once he's navigated some issues concerning the most recent additions, he's ready to hand the leash to Conor, next in line, and settle down with his mate, Cora.

However, a new challenge confronts him and the pack when an Eastern European organised crime gang recognise them as the survivors of some ancient foes from the Carpathians. Paul recognises, in his turn, that this gang are monsters much more fearsome than mere Mafiosos. 

For Paul and Patrick and the rest of the Wilkez, the time has come to unleash their violence, to use their power to shield the clan. But can they do it without drawing the attention of the police and bringing even greater destruction upon them?

10% of the author's royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

• • •

Patrick McHew strolled along a quiet street at sunset. A spring shower had cleared the air and left small puddles on the uneven pavement. Strings of horse chestnut petals lay along the gutters. The old trees standing up out of the concrete and asphalt shed no perfume into the coming night, but Patrick yet smelled the fallen flowers among the other scents emanating from the street.

He passed a kid of ten or twelve cycling around in circles on a BMX. A block away a young man in his twenties lingered on a corner. He watched Patrick approach, then turned away. An unspoken agreement had been reached. Patrick strolled past as if the man was as much a part of the street furniture as a lamppost or traffic sign.

Further on, a small group of teenagers leaned against the railings of a small park. Two of them pushed themselves from the railings and stood in the middle of the sidewalk. The other three stayed where they were, but stared fixedly at Patrick as he neared. Patrick instantly saw they were different. They dressed in the same kind of clothes—pants hanging down just as far—but these teens were from the suburbs. While the drug dealers and local street kids let Patrick and his friends pass through their territory the same way they let the trains and buses pass, these kids wanted to interact negatively.

Released to the city on the pretence of going to the cinema or some such legitimate pursuit, he surmised, their parents never discovered they found violence more diverting than the movies. These thugs always picked on weaker people and those in smaller groups, so they never went home with bruises.

Tonight they would.

The farthest one shifted his stance and took out his cell phone. Still leaning against the railings, he started to film the proceedings. Another annoying trend among the youth; posting their exploits on the Internet, even when those exploits were beating up other kids or stealing hats from strangers.

"What's goin' on?" one of the two blocking his way asked.

Patrick kept walking. He was now ten feet away and quickened his pace.

"You walkin' on my street?"

"You got to pay the toll," the other added.

Patrick shook his head, wondering where they'd got that line. It sounded like a bad eighties movie. The nearest two thugs let him pass without speaking; they wanted to surround him.

"You talkin' to me?" Patrick asked the nearest teen, imitating DeNiro. Before waiting for a reply, he lashed out. The heel of his palm slammed sideways against the teen's nose, shattering it in a spray of blood. The thug doubled over, holding his gushing face and cursing.

Patrick kept walking, lengthening his stride.

The others stared at their injured companion for a second, too shocked to react. The thug with the phone spun on his heel to follow Patrick as he passed by, his mouth agape.

When Patrick was already five yards away, they began to run after him.

"You'll fuckin' pay for that," one shouted.

Patrick began to jog, then broke into a run.

As he skirted around the block, he yipped loudly. The pursuing teens took this as a cry of fear. They started yelling, breaking into sprints after him.

Patrick looked behind and laughed. He ran fifty yards down the next street and then cut into an alleyway, the gang of youths at his heels.

As he passed by a dumpster, Patrick saw two men standing behind it. He pulled up short. Above him, on a fire escape, another five men stood.

One of these dropped to the ground behind Patrick.

Patrick turned around. The figures at the dumpster stepped out of the shadows. They smiled at Patrick.

He grinned back. "Say hello to my new friends."

The teens thundered into the alley and came to a halt when they saw Patrick had stopped.

When they saw the men step out from behind the dumpster they spread out, ready for a fight.

Then the other four figures dropped from the fire escape, landed light as cats on the asphalt.

It was five against eight, now.

The youths looked at one another and in unspoken agreement began to back out of the alley. Behind them, however, two more shadows materialised into the shapes of men, and slowly approached.

Patrick glanced right and left at the men now standing beside him; his own gang, his pack.

• • •

David J O'Brien was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. He studied environmental biology and later studied deer biology for his PhD, at University College Dublin. Instead of pursuing his life-long interest in wolves and predator-prey interactions, after completing his doctorate, he taught English in Madrid, Spain, for four years while his girlfriend finished her doctorate in molecular biology. They married and moved to Boston, USA, so his wife could pursue her career and David decided that teaching was a vocation he was happy to continue. After seven great years teaching Biology at Boston's Cathedral High School and Zoology at Bridgewater State College, he returned to Spain three years ago so his wife could set up her new research group in her hometown of Pamplona shortly before their daughter was born. He currently teaches English and science in Pamplona in addition to writing and looking after his children.

David has loved writing since his teens. He began with poetry and had one of his first poems published in Cadenza, a small Dublin poetry magazine at the age of fourteen. Since then several more have been published in journals and anthologies such as Albatross, The Tennessee State Poetry League, Poems of Nature and various anthologies of Forward Press imprint in Britain. He began writing fiction soon after and wrote the novella that would later become Leaving The Pack at the age of seventeen. Though his academic writing took precedence for a number of years, and he is still involved in deer biology and management, he kept writing other things in his spare time and has always dreamt of one day being able to do it full time. While living in Madrid, he wrote some non-fiction articles for the magazine Hot English and while in Boston for the newspaper Dig.

An avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David's non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science, and he sometimes seeks to describe the science behind the supernatural.

His Young Adult paranormal novel The Soul of Adam Short and children's novel, Peter and the Little People. He has also published three novellas under the pseudonym JD Martins.

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Available Now: Turlough's Tale by Christy Nicholas

Druid's Brooch Series, short story extra
Christy Nicholas


After his wife dies in childbirth, Turlough decides his children will be better off with their aunt. He leaves in the middle of the night, with only his son, Ruari. Turlough and Ruari travel west to find music, the other true love in Turlough’s life. Unwittingly sleeping under an ancient Faerie stone, they wake up in Faerie. Amidst enchanting music, they almost lose their souls before they escape with their lives. When they returns, Turlough finds two years have passed, though he’s only been gone two weeks. His mother is waiting for him with the gift of a magical brooch.

• • •

Glasán, Ireland, 1735

Time. He needed more time. And that was the one thing he couldn’t control.

Turlough held his wife’s hand. She was so incredibly thin. He didn’t want to squeeze for fear of breaking her bones. This would be their fifth child. He prayed that Maeve would live long enough to hold the child in her arms.

She moaned again, and he glanced at the midwife. The woman shook her head and closed her eyes. The tears pummeled at his eyes as he closed his own.

Maeve was the joy in his life. His whole reason for being. She’d never been strong, but this pregnancy had wasted her to a frail husk.

She strained against the pain and screamed. The tears in his eyes burst forth, and his throat closed. The coppery smell of hot blood infused the small, dark room.

A thin scream cut the air, and a small bundle squirmed in the midwife’s arms. Maeve’s hand went limp in his own.

“No! No, Maeve, no! You can’t die on me now, my love, you can’t! Wake up, Maeve! Maeve, please, please, no please, no…”

His throat choked off any more words, and he cried. His beloved wife’s hand was flaccid in his own, but he refused to relinquish it. It was still warm. She must still be here. She mustn’t leave him.

The child’s wail turned to a whimper as the midwife bundled it in cloth and cooed over it. Turlough didn’t even want to know if it was a boy or a girl. He had no wish to see the child who killed his wife.

The midwife left, and he was alone with his wife’s body, but he couldn’t see her any more through the tears. His sobs wracked through him, and he fell over her. He lay there for hours, begging her to return.

• • •

Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon, has her hands in many crafts, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing, and photography. In real life, she's a CPA, but having grown up with art all around her (her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected her, as it were. She loves to draw and to create things. She says it's more of an obsession than a hobby. She likes looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or seeing a fragrant blossom or a dramatic seaside. She takes a picture or creates a piece of jewelry as her way of sharing this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus she writes. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. She does local art and craft shows, as well as sending her art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.

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