Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Available now: In the Dark by Becca Fox

Becca Fox



(99c through 21 January)
How far would you go to save your family?

Movies and books have made being a monster sound cool.

Lindsay can’t wear silver jewelry or get drunk with her friends, but hey, she sprouts fur and fangs during the full moon. Totally rad, right? Not. Forget about exploring the beast within, Lindsay just wants to graduate from nursing school. When a stroll in the park ends with her and her little brother being surrounded by masked goons who want to sell them overseas, Lindsay has no choice but to change.

Despite her best efforts, these kidnappers know how to handle a werewolf inexperienced in hand-to-paw combat. She regains consciousness hours after the scuffle to find her brother gone. In a panic, she turns to the only werewolf she knows: Wayne, Mr. Werewolf Pride, the guy Lindsay rejected none-too-kindly several years ago. Being the forgiving kind of guy he is, Wayne agrees to help. . .so long as Lindsay joins his pack. Living among others of her kind is the last thing Lindsay wants, but for her brother’s sake, she bites her tongue and agrees.

Lindsay learns a few things while traveling through Europe in search of her brother. One: Being a werewolf can be pretty badass when you know how to use your abilities. Two: Being a freak isn’t so bad when you’re surrounded by other freaks. And three: She might have misjudged Wayne.

When she and Wayne stumble onto the mastermind behind the kidnapping, this werewolf mafia king decides they know too much. Lindsay and Wayne should get out of dodge but, they know that unless this man is stopped, innocent people will die.

• • •

“Are you okay? Talk to me! I can’t see you.”

She lowered her hand, wrestling with panic and anger. He’s barely thirteen. Who could’ve done this to him? Why was he targeted? She immediately thought of her father. Has he made any enemies?

The thirteen-year-old stumbled over something and fell. “Oof!”

Surprise jolted Lindsay out of her thoughts. “Kyle?”

“I’m okay, I’m okay. I think. . .Holy crap! Lindsay, there’s somebody else in here.”

Lindsay nodded grimly to herself. I know.

“I don’t remember there being anyone else with us when they came.” He gasped in alarm. “Brody! Brody was with us. Do you think they took him, too?”

Lindsay remembered that first swing of the bat and the shriek of the Yellow Lab. She shuddered. They would never see that dog again. “I think he would’ve woken us up earlier if they had.”

“Oh, right.” He paused. “Um. . .”

“What? What is it?”

He sounded uncomfortable. “Well. . .I know it’s a guy. . .”

She laughed, but stopped when pain stabbed at her ribs.

Kyle’s hesitant footsteps came closer. “What’s going to happen to us?”

“They can’t keep us in here forever, munchkin.”

Kyle stumbled on her ankle. With a shout of triumph, he threw himself down by Lindsay and wrapped his arms around her.

“Gently,” she grunted.

“I thought you said you weren’t hurt.”

“I’m not. Not very badly, anyway.”

“Lindsay.” Kyle brushed a hand across her face. “Why’s your cheek wet?”

She wiped her skin and brought her fingers to her nose. Blood? It can’t be mine. I’d recognize the scent. . .I think. “It’s blood, but it’s not mine,” she told Kyle. “I don’t have any cuts on my face.”

“You must’ve been lying near someone who was bleeding. Maybe it was that guy I tripped over. No, wait, he wasn’t bleeding. . .”

“There must be a fourth hostage,” Lindsay concluded.

Kyle’s grip around her tightened. “I’m glad you came back.”

“I should’ve visited sooner. I’m sorry,” Lindsay said, giving his shoulder a squeeze.

Her brother shifted his weight, suddenly gruff. “That’s okay.”

“There were a bunch of things going on between me and Dad. It had nothing to do with you. I—”
Lindsay tensed. “Did you hear that?”


“Shush.” There was movement somewhere across the room.

“God, that hurts!” a man groaned. “What the—? Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

A mixture of emotions coursed through her at the sound of his voice: familiarity, longing, frustration, and exasperation.

“This doesn’t make any sense. I’m freakin’ broke, people!” The air around Kyle and Lindsay was disturbed as he walked right past where they sat, and ran into something solid. After grumbling more curses, he pounded what sounded like a cement wall. “I don’t have any money for you!”

“Before you start yelling again,” Lindsay said, causing him to yelp in alarm, “just know that you’re not the only one down here.”

“Don’t you have a sexy voice?” the man purred, recovering quickly from his scare. “What’s your name and what you in here for?”

“Shut up and back up, Avery, before I do something stupid,” Lindsay snapped.

“Oh, great,” Avery Mackenzie said, dropping the act. “I’ve finally been sent to hell, haven’t I? If this is the first stage, I’m never going to get through the rest.”

“Didn’t I tell you to shut up? What are you doing here?”

“I’m obviously being tortured by one of my other exes. All right, I’m a jerk! I’ve learned my lesson.” He started pounding the wall again. “Get me out of here before she eats me alive.”

“You know this guy?” Kyle asked.

“Unfortunately, I dated him for ten months,” Lindsay muttered.

“You still love me. They all do,” Avery said with an audible smirk in his voice. “Why I didn’t recognize your voice earlier I have no idea. Maybe it’s because you weren’t yelling at me or screaming under me.”

“I swear, Avery, you say another word and I’ll—”

“What’s he talking about, Linds?” Kyle squeaked. “Did he hurt you?”

“Repeatedly,” Avery said. “Not that she complained, of course.”

Lindsay kicked out with her good foot and made contact.

He fell with a grunt. “Often. She didn’t complain often.”

“Ignore him, Kyle. He’s just an idiot.”

Avery chuckled. “So you’re Kyle. Nice to meet you, kiddo. Your sister told me lots about you. Don’t be too hurt that she’s never mentioned me before. She swore I didn’t exist after she ended it.”

“You ended it,” Lindsay said. “Seriously, who in their right mind would pay a ransom for you?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, toots. I’m broke.”

Lindsay snorted. “Big surprise there. Don’t call me toots.”

“Whatever you say, sweetheart. All I know is that one minute I’m walking this really cute girl home after a lame party, and then I get hit on the back of the head. I woke up here.”

“We were attacked,” Kyle chimed in. “Three dudes in masks appeared out of nowhere and put a sack over my head. Lindsay tried to fight them, but I think they hurt her to keep her quiet.”

“What?” Avery said, concern changing his voice.

“I’m fine,” Lindsay said, irritably. You have no right to be worried about me.

A feminine moan sounded in the distance. “What’s. . .How. . .Where am I?”

Avery lit a match and held it up. “That’s what we’d all like to know.”

• • •

Becca Fox was that strange girl in high school who always seemed to have her nose in a book. She didn’t talk much because, more often than not, she was daydreaming about the different worlds in her books. Instead of doodling on the corners of her notes, she wrote scenes for her works in progress while the teacher lectured. She preferred quiet weekends at home with family or with Netflix over parties and large crowds.

Becca talks a bit more now, but not much else has changed. She still enjoys reading, writing, daydreaming, and watching TV, although, she’s gotten a lot better at socializing…over Twitter.

She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, a fat orange tabby cat, and a forever-puppy.

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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Available now: Misfortune of Vision by Christy Nicholas

Druid's Brooch series, #4
Christy Nicholas



(99c through 14 January)
Prophecy can be dangerous

In 12th century Ireland, Orlagh has been Seer to her king for forty years. He doesn’t want to hear her prophecies of war and destruction, and dismisses her efforts to warn him. Therefore, she is determined to fulfill her own quest: to find a worthy heir for her magical brooch.

In the course of events, she must pass judgment on a thief, escape a Norman war camp, and battle wits with a Fae lord. She receives some prophecy of her own and enlists the help of a grizzled old warrior, who happens to be a long–time friend.

• • •

January 5th, 1177AD
Dún Dá Leathghlas (Downpatrick), Ulster, Hibernia

Orlagh breathed deep of the fragrant smoke, concentrated on her magical brooch, and willed her Vision to begin.

Her chief’s voice broke in. “What do you See?”

“Patience, my chief. It has barely begun. Let me See something first.”

The incense wasn’t necessary for the Vision. They were part of the trappings, along with the wooden cross. It was all an attempt to defend against hostile cries of her magic as something demonic. Still, it helped her concentrate, at least when her chief didn’t interrupt.

The mists parted, and her chief stood on a barren desert, surrounded by nothing. He stood tall and proud, dark blond hair and multi–colored cloak whipping in the wind. She spoke as a new detail appeared. She was always careful to tell exactly what she saw, lest any detail be lost.

“You are standing in an empty field. A crimson river flows past your feet, roiling with bloody chunks.”

He grunted. “Bloody chunks of what? Pig? Cow? Those Ui Neill bastards?”

“How could I possibly tell? Do be silent for once. I see something on the horizon. A great host arrives. Hundreds, no thousands of men. They are well–equipped and carry a banner.”

“What’s on the banner? Describe it for me!”

“It is white, with three scarlet eagles, the same color as the river.”

She relished his silence as he digested that information. Willing herself to See more, she cast out beyond the plane. The soldiers didn’t end, but trailed off into the mists. Ravens swooped but didn’t harry the soldiers. Instead, they attacked her Thigerna, Chief Ruaidrí mac Con Ulad Mac Dunn Sléibhe, known as An Dunn Sléibhe, Chief of the túath, and her distant cousin.

A loud bang shattered her Vision and brought her back to the chief’s rooms in Dún Dá Leathghlas. Someone had slammed open the door and yelled. She shook her head to clear the incense fumes and looked through the smoke to see the intruder.

“My chief! I’d heard, but I didn’t wish to believe! Thank our dear Lord that I arrived in time to save you from this wicked hedge–witch!”

The man was of medium height with a tonsure, neatly dressed in clerical robes. This must be the new Bishop. She’d heard he was on the excitable side.

With a deep sigh, An Dunn Sléibhe said, “Bishop Malachi, your concern is touching. May I introduce Orlagh íngen Gobhann?”

The bishop’s eyes barely flicked in her direction, but he shuffled a few steps away. Confronting this ignorant arse was the last thing she should do at the moment, as much as she’d love to give him a piece of her mind. Who did he think he was, the pope in Rome?

She tried hard not to laugh. Fighting off the incipient headache that always came after a Vision, Orlagh trusted her chief to handle this. Anything she said was likely to add fuel to the zealot’s fire.

An Dunn Sléibhe stared at his bishop. “You’re a stranger here, so I’ll ignore your accusation. She’s kin and my trusted advisor, Bishop Malachi. I trust her with my life.”

“You know the scriptures almost as well as I do. ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’.”

Lovely. That’s just what she needed. A self–righteous churchman was always trouble.

An Dunn Sléibhe stood. He was shorter than the bishop, but much broader across the shoulders. “Cack. She’s a Seer and an honored advisor. We share a grandsire, so she’s within my dearbhfhine. For heaven’s sake, if she were male, she could be elected tánaiste and succeed me as An Dunn Sléibhe.”

“That’s as may be, my chief. It’s all very good and honorable to stand by your kin, but the fact remains—the woman is still a pagan hedge–witch.” The bishop paced.

Hedge–witch, indeed. God’s Bones, but her head pounded.

“Scorching and burning upon you! Orlagh is a good church woman, Bishop Malachi. She attends every evening for Mass. She uses a cross in her rituals, for heaven’s sake!”

The bishop looked down at her. “She may act like whatever saint she likes, she’s still a false prophet. God does not sanction prophecy.”

Orlagh had had enough. It was time to speak. “And what of your own predecessor, then?”

The pacing stopped, and he glared at her with burning eyes. “My predecessor?”

“Máel Máedóc predicted all the popes for almost a thousand years to come.”

The bishop gasped. “That’s not prophecy!”

Orlagh stood, crossing her arms. “Then what is it? Poetry? A love song? A bawdy ballad?”

“That’s not… the archbishop refuses to acknowledge such writing exists.”

As if simply wishing something away worked in this world.

An Dunn Sléibhe’s chair scraped against the flagstones as he rose. “Well, regardless of your internal politics, my seer has done well by me these last forty–five years. Her gift is a true blessing from God, according to several other bishops. I shall not dismiss her, nor burn her, nor even chide her for her help over the years. In fact, I believe she’s due a gift for her continued help and support. Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve work to do before the noon meal.”

The new bishop spluttered for several hilarious moments before he stomped out of the room. An Dunn Sléibhe rolled his eyes, and Orlagh chuckled as she gathered her implements. She heard another door slam and glanced out the window to see the bishop leaving the royal hillfort.

The last bishop assigned to Dún Dá Leathghlas had accepted her as a spiritual colleague, and the one before that had studiously ignored her influence with the chief. Orlagh must convince this one she represented no threat to his own power. That’s all most of them cared about. The prior Bishop had been a cut above the rest. He had a talent for prophecy himself, and it nearly got him excommunicated from his church. However, the old man wisely died before the decree could be made, and this new feisty pup now threw his weight around. Well, she refused to be bullied, and he’d best learn that and right quick.

With a nod to An Dunn Sléibhe, she left his rooms and walked down the curved hallway.

• • •

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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