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Monday, September 30, 2013

Aphrodite's War Spotlight&Giveaway






Aphrodite’s War by Donna Milward

Book Blurb:
Aphrodite despises Aries and when Zeus proposes a contest, the prize being expulsion of her enemy from Olympus, Aphrodite cannot resist. The catch: should Aries prevail it is Aphrodite who must leave her home. Risks aside, she cannot refuse the possibility of a future without her former lover.

The challenge: two mortals must fall in love. It is simple. However, the players could not be more ill-suited. Poetry, a free spirited artist and Adrian, a defense attorney would not normally choose one another. But when gods interfere anything is possible.

Where can you find the first book? AmazonKobo / B&N
 Goodreads
 
Author Bio: 
Donna Milward lives in Edmonton, Alberta in a tiny house with a huge yard. She’s been writing all her life, but decided to put writing on hold to get ‘a real job’ as a meatcutter and build a future with her beloved troll, Dan and her cats Freya, Sully, and Spartacus Jones.

Twelve years later, an invitation to a Romance Writer’s Conference in Washington D.C. led not only to new friends and new knowledge, but to the inspiration to write again. Thoeba was completed the following year.

Donna likes to mix her fascination with reincarnation and all things paranormal with her love of mythology in her work, and has even written her own myth ‘The Sacred Truth” (on earthtothoeba.blogspot.com) as the lore behind Thoeba and future novels to come.

Donna enjoys fishing, gardening and canning. Despite these hobbies, she much prefers city life.

Author links:
Pub site: http://www.staccatopublishing.com/Staccato_Publishing/Donna_Milward.html
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5065526.Donna_Milward
Website: http://earthtothoeba.blogspot.com/

GIVEAWAY
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Schedule for the entire tour of Staccato Publishing Family Autumn tour:
 Sept.18 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Please don't feed the Mimsey ~Mimsey-style post

Sept. 19 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight
Sinful Review ~Review

Sept. 20 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Review & Guest Post
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Sept. 21 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
World's of Wonderment ~Spotlight & Review

Sept. 22' THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight
Becca Anne's Book Reviews ~Review & Character bio

Sept. 23 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review

Sept. 24 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & author top 10 scarey movies
E.C. Hibbs ~Spotlight & Review

Sept. 25 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Please don't feed the Mimsey~Spotlight & Author interview
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Sept. 26 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Review & Playlist
Becca Anne's Book Reviews ~Review & Character bio

Sept. 27 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Jacinta Maree ~Spotlight
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight

Sept. 28 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
The O'Raven Chronicles ~Spotlight and excerpt

Sept. 29 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight
Sinful Review ~Review

Sept. 30 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review

Oct. 1 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & Authors top 10 Greek Gods
E.C. Hibbs ~Spotlight & Author Interview

Oct. 2 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Please don't feed the Mimsey~Spotlight & Guest Post

Oct. 3 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Spotlight
Crystal & Sara ~Review & Spotlight

Oct. 4 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight

Oct. 5 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight

Oct. 6 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review
Sinful Review ~Review

Oct. 7 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Jacinta Maree ~Spotlight

Oct. 8 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & Authors top 10
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Oct.9 Pre-release tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight

Oct.10 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Jacinta Maree ~Spotlight
Becca Anne's Book Reviews ~Review & Character bio

Oct.11 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Spotlight & Top 10
Sinful Review ~Review

Oct.12 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Oct.13 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review

Oct.14 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & quirky mimsey post

Oct.15 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' BOOK BLAST RELEASE DAY
Bookend 2 BookEnd
Tam's Two Cents
Jacinta Maree
Please don't feed the Mimsey
The O'Raven Chronicles
Oh My Shelves
Romance Bookworm's Reviews
Random Musesomy
Our New Generation For Reading
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle
Becca Anne's Book Reviews

Sinful Review

My Review:




 

Burned by Passion Blog Tour



Title: Burned by Passion
Author: Dez Burke
Genre: African American Romance/Interracial Romance
Publisher: Pink Lotus Publishing, Inc.
Release Date: Aug 8 2013



Blurb/Synopsis:
Even good girls make mistakes.
Kira was shocked to meet her boss’s handsome, long-absent son and find him even more lethal in the flesh. He’d always been just a face in a photo - and nothing had prepared her for the way they clashed and burned when they finally met.
Blake Carter returned to America for a reunion with a father he hadn’t seen since he was ten. But Blake had never bargained for falling for his father’s sexy secretary, the beautiful and impressionable Kira Taylor…
Blake caught one glimpse of the gorgeous beauty from across the crowded room and felt the primal taste of desire like he’d never known. The sparks were more antagonism than attraction on her part as they collided over differences about the way he treated his father. But Blake had very strong persuasive skills when it came to bringing the vulnerable Kira to bend to his carnal passions…

Book Links

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Goodreads

Author Information



Dez Burke grew up in rural Alabama and spent most summers reading worn copies of her Grandmother's Harlequin Romances. Even as a young girl, she noticed the absence of African American characters. So today, she writes hot, steamy romance books featuring black women and gorgeous men of all races.




Author Links

Amazon Author Page
Facebook Author Page
Goodreads
Twitter


Excerpts (Please Chose Only One)


Excerpt 1:

His eyes narrowed, smile disappearing once again. “You’re going to come out of the tub right now; unless you want me to help you out myself?”

Glaring at him hatefully, Kira muttered feelingly, “Damn you, Blake.” But he merely smiled. She knew he realized she had no choice but to give in. And the water was starting to cool uncomfortably.

He straightened, holding up the towel patiently.

Taking a deep breath, Kira rose from the water, resisting the urge to place her arms across her nudity. Even though she knew he was looking at her unabashedly. He wrapped the towel securely around her streaming body and waited until she’d stepped out onto the bathmat before surprising her by swinging her easily off her feet and into his arms, carrying her back into the bedroom.

“Really, Blake?” she muttered, instinctively wrapping her arms around his neck and fighting the pounding in her chest at how easily he’d lifted her, as if she weighed little more than a bag of feathers.

In the bedroom, he placed her gently down to stand on the thick rug and Kira instantly curled her toes into the thickness underfoot. The room was deliciously warm by now, a beautiful June night in London. What wasn’t great though was Blake doing the unexpected and whipping the towel off her slightly damp body. Kira gasped.

She felt too paralyzed with shock to move. What on earth…?

“Why would you wish to deny me the pleasure of seeing your gorgeous body, Kira?” he asked softly, head cocked to one side. He held her gaze with almost hypnotic intensity. “You’re unbelievably beautiful and now you’re mine.”

Kira didn’t know what to say. She felt outraged, and…well, a bit gooey in places as she let his words wash over her. She’d sworn to herself he’d never again get a glimpse of her without her clothes on but she couldn’t have foreseen this scenario.


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SCHEDULE

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Awakening the Fire Blog Stop



Title: Awakening the Fire (The Inferno Unleashed Series, Book Two)
Author: Jake Bonsignore  
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Thriller
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours



** SYNOPSIS **
Breena Taljain’s idyllic days in Araboth came to a skidding halt when circumstances forced her into the dangerous hinterlands. The dire sacrifice she made to protect her comrades tainted her heart with hatred and despair. To cleanse herself she must outrun Death’s relentless pursuit and venture into the bleak unknown. With the odds stacked against her, stumbling into love when she least expects it may very well be her saving grace.
Meanwhile, succumbing to the Patriarch’s devious traps has Galbrecht Atalir questioning his motives. The folly of his recklessness has left him physical scarred and mentally traumatized. Now he must overcome more adversity as the wrath of the Sin Ministry bears down upon him. He will need more than wits and quick fists to find the truth he has sought for seven years.
Alas, every second Breena is apart from Galbrecht draws her further into strife. With her world rapidly crumbling inwards, she puts everything on the line for a last stand against the ruthless force that threatens to destroy all she holds dear….

Release: August 30, 2013 (Online release PARTY https://www.facebook.com/events/391835377604418/ )
Book Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography
Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/oKfRtBcb_jo (by Amygdala Art)



Author Bio:

Jake Bonsignore is the author of Descendant of Strife, Empyreal Illusions, and Awakening the Fire. he is a graduate of the University of South Florida with magna cum laude honors. Outside of his literary pursuits, he enjoys playing sports and is a fitness enthusiast. he is currently working on his next novel, The Lioness.

Links:
Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/author/jakebonsignore (Direct links to purchase Empyreal Illusions and/or Awakening the Fire are available here)
Signed Paperback (with Bookmark) – Contact Jake Bonsignore directly via Facebook or jakebonsignore.author@gmail.com



EXCERPT ONE
He took a hearty sip of his steaming coffee and settled into the hard, uncomfortable bench outside the Intensive Care Unit. Hospital shifts that seemed to drag on for a thousand eternities made him truly appreciate the magic of hot water and brown beans. He could not function properly without a caffeine boost on such a hectic evening. His taste buds relished the warmth as the potent beverage settled in his stomach. The rumbling it caused reminded him of how little he had eaten today. His hunger surprised him. An appetite was the last thing he expected to have after tending to so many injuries and ailments tonight, especially those to the youth in Room 316.
Years of experience in the hospital had taught him that the end results always remained the same. Only the names attached to the husks of flesh that came into the depressive rooms changed. Still, he had to be positive. Believing that he could make a difference in someone’s life was more than part of his job. It was his outlook. Attitudes were very contagious, though, and those of Doctor Atalir always found a way to spoil his. His near-feral reaction when they had discussed alternatives for the Taljain girl had been terrifying. Why he built such a strong attachment to a girl he had never before met was beyond Rivas. He just prayed that Galbrecht did not let his inner demons draw him into trouble or worse.
He’s probably getting drunk again at The Laughing Banshee.
Doctor Bardum downed the remainder of the coffee and reopened Breena Taljain’s file. His heart simply broke every time he scanned her intake sheet. He had never seen anyone with her injuries maintain such a tenuous grip on life. It was not as if she had the chance to avoid it. Fate had wronged her the day she exited the womb of a Purgairan woman. Kill or be killed; eat or be eaten. It was simply the way of things in the slums.
Her mother doesn’t even come to visit. She probably doesn’t even realize the poor thing’s gone. Another Nepenthe addict, I bet.
Against his will, Doctor Bardum slouched and let out a weary yawn. His wrinkled coat and plastic glasses were becoming very heavy. Morning could not come soon enough. Alas, such wishful thinking was not fooling anyone. His shift was far from over. Heavens only knew what other complications would happen between now and then.
He scratched the tiny, scruffy hairs growing along his cheeks. “Stick with it, Rivas,” he convinced himself. “Don’t get lazy now.”
For the second time that night he flipped through the report Doctor Atalir had put in Breena’s file. The poor, blessed thing deserved better. Her attacker’s chains had broken almost every bone in her body and had her trapped in a coma. She would never breathe or eat properly again, if she even survived at all. Her attacker turned her ribs and jaw into a jigsaw puzzle of bones. Though her limbs and pelvis fared no better, it was the fractures on her frontal and occipital bones that frightened him the most. At any time the arteries in her head could surrender to the trauma and burst. He knew not if it was God’s benevolent grace or cruelest torment that they were still intact.
Are Galbrecht and I the real monsters for letting her live? Where do we cross the line between doing our duties and being humane?
Rivas sighed. He hated himself for the sentiment. Not more than two weeks ago he had seen something similar happen to another child. The boy had arrived in the wee hours of the night, as she had. It pained him that he could not remember his name.
You’re a hypocrite, the voice in his heart of hearts reprimanded. You remember Breena but not him? What makes her so worthy?
Doctor Bardum shook his head to ward off his conscience. The boy had been in the ICU for less than two hours when one of the arteries around his sphenoid burst. The hemorrhaging that followed imposed a tragic death. More than anything, Rivas felt like a murderer for not being able to act quickly enough. He did not think he could bear the same fate befalling Breena. Heavens forbid.
He had to be practical, though. Her chance of survival was bleak. The fact that Galbrecht had already withheld Anodyne-94 from her did not please him, either. It was the only painkiller that let her sleep restfully. At least make her final moments restful! 
He pitied the girl, yes, but she was not the only patient needing tending to. It was time to check up on the others. The night would only drag on if he did not keep himself busy.
Rivas passed Room 302 about twenty minutes later and sauntered in with fingers crossed that the patient inside was finally sleeping. The man was a glutton for conversation, despite the puncture in his side that—
“Doctor Bardum! Doctor Bardum!” The frantic voice of the nurse he had reprimanded earlier on filled his ears and stopped him in his tracks. Was there no rest for the weary?
He stepped outside the room and waited impatiently for the nurse to reach him. “Doctor Bardum, you’ve got to come quickly, please!”
Then why did you leave and run all this way?
“What is it now?”
“It’s Room 316, the girl—!”
Oh, heavens pity her!  “Breena T—”
“Yeah, doctor, that one!” She stammered out each word as if it were a chore and breathed through her mouth. Breena was on the other side of the wing. Where was the other doctor on duty? “She needs you now. Come on!”
“Get ahold of yourself! What’s the problem?”
“You’re wasting time, Doctor Bardum. She’s starting to hemorrhage!”
The blood rushed from Rivas’ face as if he had seen a ghost. Had he jinxed it? No, not her too! If the nurse is right, the girl is as good as….
He let the thought trail off. Her body was too fragile for surgery and could not tolerate any other anesthetics, either. 
Curse it all! I need Doctor Atalir here! He shook his head and swore under his breath. With a flail of his arm and unintelligible command he hurried over to the ailing girl in Room 316. Where in blazes are you, Galbrecht?

“Ghariel! Oh Ghariel! Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Cain Valkyr purposefully dragged out each syllable in his maniacal, singsong rant so it echoed throughout Penance Row. He was clearly having fun taunting his enemy from the other side of the dank catacombs. “You can run, run, run, but you’re still going to die! Six minutes, Ghariel! Six more minutes until the hunt begins!”
Galbrecht exhaled slowly and wiped his brow. The Cardinal was far enough away to grant him a moment of reprieve yet still too close to shake off his dread. Crossing paths was inevitable. Cain held the key to get out of Penance Row. At least he says so. He had to believe that Tairo—the Patriarch of the Sin Ministry—was somewhere up ahead, too. Next time he would be more careful.
The real challenge would begin when the countdown ended and the Cardinal pursued him in earnest.
Galbrecht cringed and spat on the ground. The aftereffects of Cain’s recent torture were encumbering. He had to remember that the stolen Prodynorph-32 only numbed his pain. It did not actually heal his injuries. Over exertion was still a very lethal possibility.
He had to return to the hospital before it wore off. I need a miracle.
Galbrecht wasted just over one minute adjusting to the murky darkness and surveying his surroundings. Penance Row was more of a roach-infested maze of sewage than a prison. The sconces housing weak, dying torches were few and far between. Thick patches of scraggly lichen and fetid moss hung from the walls and the vaulted ceiling far above. Rusted bars chiseled into the stone walls were the only hint of captivity in the cells. Resting on the opposite side were piles of rat droppings and forlorn skeletons shackled to stone. Galbrecht grimaced; he pitied those whom the world had simply forgotten about. It’ll do the same to you, too, if you let it. Keep your guard up.
Narrow, rocky straits littered with refuse lined either side of the greenish-black waterways. Any intent of using them to hide from the Sin Ministers faded when he ran his hand over the surface and immediately recoiled. Hot! It was a wonder he did not scald his flesh.
The revelation made him screw up his lips. Was sensitivity a side effect of the Prodynorph-32? His senses were becoming too acute. Even the humidity was smothering and debilitating, enough so that he nearly shed his shirt and coat. He needed them as a layer of armor against Cain’s vicious claws. 
Stay alert, Ghariel. You can take them. They’re just drugged up, worthless scum. Just look out for Cain. He’s no god. He’s barely a human.
His musing shattered easily later when he spied an olive-drab, scaly snout emerging from the fizzing water.
You should be thankful you’re even walking, he chided himself. He knew exactly what it was and the meal it would make of him if he ventured near. You won’t be if that gets to you. Think of what you’ve been through after your girls died. Embrace those instincts again. You know you want to. That’s why you still think of yourself as Ghariel instead of Galbrecht. You’ll never find out why Tairo targeted your family if you perish here.
Not for the first time Galbrecht wondered how everything had come to this.
You could’ve let sleeping dogs lie. You chose not to. Now deal with the consequences. 
The loudening clamor of footfalls thrust him into motion.
He crossed one of the trash-lined channels with a running leap and immediately sought cover behind a stack of rotten, musty crates seconds before a Sin Minister strolled by. He was too busy marveling over a pair of stolen, steel knuckles to notice Galbrecht. So that’s where they went. His vulnerability was too much to ignore.
Galbrecht surmised only one way to get his trusted weapons back.
With a deep exhalation he darted forth and threw his hand over the Sin Minister’s mouth. The man scarcely had a chance to realize what was happening when the doctor slammed his boot against his Achilles’ tendon. Galbrecht grabbed his skull with the other hand before he finished falling and violently jerked his neck leftwards.
The harsh crunch that followed instantly silenced his wail.
Galbrecht frowned and gently laid the body onto the ground. The nagging sense of morals he was trying to overlook gnawed at him. He had shed too much blood in the name of justice. The fallen might have once been someone’s brother, father, or friend.
That was then and this is now. 
Galbrecht eased the steel knuckles over his hands and dragged the body behind the crates. Ethics blurred when his survival was at stake. Every passing second left him in greater amazement of the person he had become. 
No, more like animal. I might even blend in or fool the bastards for a bit.
He was flexing his hands and savoring the feel of cold metal upon his palms when he heard the strident clang of metal scraping against metal. The distant, maniacal bout of laughter that followed made his spine tingle.
“Are you scared yet, Ghariel? Have you gone mad, mad, mad with fear?” Cain let out another maddened howl. “The excitement makes me want to cut, cut, cut you to pieces now! I can’t take it! Two more minutes, Ghariel. Two!”
Galbrecht had not realized how hard it was to stay calm until now. He needed to be ready. At once he rummaged through the thug’s pockets for anything useful. All he found was a few flint matches and two unused syringes of Nepenthe. What a waste. Only dust and air kissed his fingers when he searched for more. He lifted—
The apocalyptic click of a crossbow trigger behind his neck halted his search.
Beads of cold sweat trickled down his brow. The Nepenthe fell freely onto the ground. How had he been so careless? Again. He was at the mercy of the Sin Ministry now.
“You weren’t much of a challenge. Get up and put your hands where I can see them.” His fetid, sour breath made Galbrecht want to hurl again. “I’m going to make a spectacle out of you for the Cardinal. He’d get a real laugh out of that.” The man prodded him twice with the blunt edge of the crossbow.
Get ready, Ghariel. He’s overconfident. You can do this.
“I don’t know what you did to tick off the boss but it’s pretty bad. You should be honored.” He laughed smugly and slammed the crossbow into the back of his skull. “Don’t speak or I swear I’ll spill your brains.”
Move on the count of three.
“The bolt’s got a splash of the Cardinal’s tropical frog sweat on it.”
One.
“A few drops will bring about paralysis. You should know.”
Two. 
“No, I changed my mind. Talk…now. Beg me to—”
Three.
In a single, lightning-fast motion, Galbrecht bashed his heel into his captor’s shin and ducked. The Sin Minister screeched and haphazardly pulled the trigger. The poisonous bolt whizzed just over the doctor’s head before the crossbow tumbled harmlessly out of his hands. He gasped and stammered in confusion—
That was the only opening Galbrecht needed to grab the man and launch him over his shoulder. A loud splash sent a spray of warm water onto his clothes and cheeks.
He watched the Sin Minister flail about and gasp frantically in an attempt to breathe. He was completely oblivious to the bubbles moving ever closer as he swore boorishly and reached for solid ground—
Then eighty carnivorous teeth closed in upon his legs and pulled him under. A muffled cry followed by a horrifying crunch radiated throughout Penance Row. A successive bite consumed the Sin Minister’s torso up to his shoulders. Within seconds only a patch of bloodied breeches and a widening, crimson puddle remained of him.
Galbrecht did not move until the alligator plunged back into the murky depths. The sound of it devouring flesh, bone, and everything in between made his stomach turn. He had not intended to deliver the man to such a grisly demise. It was exorbitant. Cain would find the red stain he had left behind easy to follow, too. He wracked his mind for a way to cover it up but could think of nothing.
I’m no different than they are, he mulled over in disappointment. I’ve stolen another life and yet I’m only thinking about saving my own skin.
That could be you if you’re not careful, his reason warned. Get real! These bastards aren’t going to stand still while you overcome this petty regret. The dog threw in his lot with murderers and criminals. He deserved to die. You’ll slay more before this night is over, too. It’s just the way of things. Kill or be killed, Ghariel. Kill or be killed.
He clenched his teeth together and kicked the weapon into the murky water. It would do him no good against someone as fast and wily as Cain.
As if on cue, all the torches rimming the walls abruptly died out. Galbrecht could not see more than a dozen feet ahead. He realized he had not known true danger until now.
“Ghariel!” Cain’s familiar yet distant shriek made his temples throb. At least he had some breathing room. “Your time is up, Ghariel Lodan! You are still alive, yes? I heard that splash, splash, splash just now. You better not be dead. If you are I swear I’ll kill you again, and again, and again!” He chuckled and grated his claws against the iron bars six times in succession. “Beware the fiends in the water, Ghariel. They can’t have you. No, no, no, they cannot. You’re all mine!”
The harsh screech struck Galbrecht like the blow of a hammer. He could feel tingling waves shoot up his forearms. Even his eardrums felt on the verge of exploding. The Prodynorph-32 was clearly making his senses far too keen. Not for the first time he wondered if he would have been better off without it. 
Don’t be stupid! Without it you’d be utterly crippled.
“Five nothings and four very hungry reptiles will join me in my hunt, hunt, hunt. Have you any last words, any dramatic confessions to make?” He let out a screeching hiss. “You’re a surgeon, Ghariel. You’re supposed to be, be, be smart! You could’ve figured out why, why, why the Lord Master took your family away! Look at where your oh-so noble quest for revenge got you. Look at it, Ghariel. Look hard!”
So, he’s not acting alone, the doctor considered. He tried to tune out as much of the Cardinal’s gloating as possible. Two are already down, which leaves three. I still don’t like the odds. To say that survival is farfetched is an understatement.
“It’s time for the hunt to begin! Ready or not, not, not, Ghariel Lodan, here I come!”

EXCERPT TWO
The cry Galbrecht had tried to repress shot forth from his parched throat and startled his adversary into silence. Gone was the dull agony from his wounds that the Prodynorph-32 would not heal. With it went his concern about surviving the night and every desire that did not focus on taking his enemy down. The Patriarch was the center of his world. Oddly enough, the enigmatic sensation held no hatred. His very soul seethed with feeling one moment and brimmed with purposeful emptiness the next.
The warped logic of Tairo’s story bothered him. No amount of contemplation would change the end result. Revenge was all that remained, pointless as it was.
So it really is revenge you seek, not justice? His conscience mocked him even now, at this pivotal moment. Nothing you can say or do will ever change the past.
Where the line blurs matters not. I will have it. One way or another, I will!
Every shred of humanity in him receded to an unknown crevice in the core of his blackened, racing heart. Whether the man called himself Tairo, Surin, the Patriarch, or heaven knew what else mattered not. Amending the past was outside of his power, but preserving the future was not. He would make certain that the Sin Ministry never harmed another.
Eliminate the head and the rest of the body will fall. 
He had always ignored the truth. Now Tairo exposed his grim reality and he accepted it. No…he welcomed it. The truth had freed Galbrecht from his self-imposed chains. Memories would become nothing more than whispers of the past again.
This would be the last time he bloodied his hands.
This is no way to live. I can’t go on with it. I’ve embraced darkness to find light and found the way out, at last. He hesitated and found the serenity that almost slithered away. I don’t care if he’s right or wrong, Adine. I’ll always love you, no matter what.
He scarcely realized he had dashed forward and nimbly evaded a wild swing of the studded ball until it whizzed by his chin. He feinted to the right to throw Tairo off balance and loosed an uppercut into his gut. The sound of the merciless impact upon his bare abdomen was like a thunderclap from above. Galbrecht followed up with a ferocious roundhouse to send the Patriarch careening into the boiler behind him. 
The satisfaction from the surprise assault heightened Galbrecht’s adrenaline. He pressed on until Tairo rolled to his feet with surprising alacrity.
How is he still moving after that?
Blood trickled out of the corner of Tairo’s mouth. The perturbed sneer across his swelling lip revealed one shattered, jagged incisor. The conniving smile that had doubtlessly enticed more than a few clueless addicts had vanished.
“You’ve made a mess of things, Ghariel,” he spat. Flecks of crimson mixed with his saliva. The anger and surprise in his voice was undeniable. “Get ready to join your junkie wife in the pits of hell.”
Adine.
Galbrecht advanced with caution until Tairo flailed his kusari-gama wildly. He sidestepped to avoid but only half succeeded. Attacking the Patriarch head on was a one-way ticket to death.
Tairo swore an obscenity under his breath and swung the studded end of his chain for the deathblow—
Then the unexpected happened.

EXCERPT THREE
Breena screamed. 
She knew not if they were real or figments of her ailing imagination. The grief was debilitating enough. The merriment she had felt seconds ago was already gone.
Grief. Sorrow. Disgust. Cowardice. Woe. Despair. Fear. Hatred. Betrayal. Rage. Embrace them now, Breena Taljain. I won’t let you banish me!
Her expression became hollow as her fingers fell away from Ophion’s, leaving her to float listlessly in the water. She inhaled deeply and nearly doubled over when her lungs burned fiercely. The spell he had weaved around her was gone!
She fought Emptiness’ urge to flee with every fiber of her being. She would not make it halfway to the surface before her oxygen ran out! Every second of resistance made her brain feel more and more like jelly.
Then a strong pair of hands gripped her shoulders and shook her roughly. Air returned to her lungs at once. Thank t-the…! She distantly heard someone calling her name but the dark void held her too tightly to answer. It must be Ophion. She wanted so badly to answer and return to their sweet dance. Instead, she pounded him with futile punches and tried feverishly to push him away. N-no, no, no! I-I don’t want to but I…I can’t stop it!
“Breena, you must snap out of it. I am not your enemy. Get ahold of yourself!”
Ophion pulled her face close to his. One way or another she would know that he meant what he said. Her impassive expression told him that her mind was somewhere far, far away. She was losing to the Fiend in these final, pivotal moments.
“I know all about you, Breena. You must not let your anger contort things any longer. Cassiel Macoton did not send you here to die. He did it so you could find your own way in life. He had faith that you would not give up. Your father is not away from you by choice, either. Instead, he’s fighting in the Sheol so he can be with you another day. You must realize and accept this.” He shook his head while three more currents of fire whooshed past him. “Look at all you’ve accomplished. You have Izanami trembling from the pits of Yomi!”
Rays of violet like beams of sunlight freed from a prison of clouds broke through the veil of black all around Breena. They fell away like shards of broken glass with every passing second, taking her mess of phobias with them.
“Face the truth, dearest. The world has not shunned you.” He tightened his grip ever so slightly. “Please, don’t let Emptiness win. You mean far too much to me, to everyone. We need you, Breena. I need you. You stole my heart the moment I saw you. You…you are my Eurynome. D-Don’t you…?” He paused to watch the Apsaras swimming about and gulped deeply. “Don’t you believe in love at first sight?”
Breena was still staring at him despondently when Ophion pulled her close and pressed his lips against hers.

EXCERPT FOUR
Breena frowned at the same time Helel averted his gaze in shame. Never mind the question of how she knew all this. What was her point? “I don’t see how—”
“Of course you don’t,” she spat. “The world went on. Nothing you did or didn’t do mattered. What transpires today is no different. What is the purpose of it all? What matters to you one moment is meaningless the next. Nothing you do affects the greater scheme of things. You are merely a hiccup in the pulse of the world.” She turned from Breena and craned her neck backwards. “This is the truth, Breena. You will live and die. Others will rise after you and they, too, will live and die. Nobody will remember you. Nobody will remember them. Do you understand now? Nothing matters.”
“Then why are you—”
“This isn’t about me,” she rebutted. “You are just another flower in the field, Breena. You sprout from a seed and bloom into something special. The world adores you as you blossom. It takes advantage of your sweet aroma and praises your beauty until you wither away. What good are you then? You’ve become nothing. Soon you die cold, wilted, and alone. The world tramples on your remains, yes, but it does not mourn you. No…another seed will take your place and carry on as you had until it shares the same fate. Eventually the field will turn so barren that nothing else will grow. Then it will serve another purpose. The endless cycle of no true beginnings or endings will continue.
“Life goes on with or without you. Your existence will have no impact on the grand scheme of things. A single tree won’t make a rainforest any more than trouncing me would rid this plane of black emotions. Years, decades, even centuries from now, I will be born again and so the sequence will endure. Forever we shall dance this depressive, endless waltz.” She glared at Breena again. “I will change things, though. I intend to stop the cycles of rebirth. None will suffer as I have then.”
“That’s wrong. We live to make our own experiences. Joy and sorrow, love and hatred, pain and pleasure…it’s all part of the blessing! Who are you to put a price on it?” Breena pressed her hands against her hips. “Your flawed logic sickens me. You’re insane!”


Monday, September 23, 2013

The Reapers Spotlight & Giveaway


Hello Everyone and welcome to the start of the 'Staccato Publishing Autumn Family' book tour! Our first week we get to meet the lovely author Jacinta Maree and a look into her series 'My Demonic Ghost: The Reapers' book 2!! Check it out and make sure to enter the giveaway below! 

The Reapers by Jacinta Maree


Book Blurb:
The day you die is meant to be the end, but for 18 year old Jordon Hastings, his death was only the beginning.

In a dark and twisted world, lost spirits known as Reapers remain behind after death to help collect the spirits from the realm of the living. A new Reaper, Jordon struggles to accept his fate and lingers in the shadows of his mortal life. But when a demon wolf starts to live through his shadow, hunting his family and friends Jordon has no choice but to leave. As soon as he accepts his new role the truth behind the relationship between Reapers and Angelic Hunters is revealed. His loyalty is tested, making him choose between a corrupted God and a single Banished Spirit.


Where can you find the first book 'My Demonic Ghost'? Amazon / Smashwords / Kobo / B&N


Author bio: 
Self confessed chocaholic, Jacinta was born and raised in Melbourne Australia with her loving family of five. Even as a child Jacinta had an itch to write. Writing was the one constant hobby she clung to, also trying her hand at piano, flute, tennis, horseback riding and drama.

Jacinta works full time in the family business and spends her afternoons either playing basketball, reading, writing or hanging out with friends. She is always happy to try something new; getting her real estate license, practicing ninjitshu, Zumba and parkour to name a few.

For her future, Jacinta sees herself writing. It is a large part of her identity and something she hopes to continue. Aside from her love of stories she loves Japan and its unique and beautiful culture and history. From their delicious sushi dishes right down to their wooden sandals and kimonos. She is also a huge cat person and loves to snuggle up in front of the fire for a good movie or book. Her favorite genres are paranormal and fantasy but she also loves anything written by thriller writer, Stephen King.  

Author links:
Pub site: http://www.staccatopublishing.com/Staccato_Publishing/Jacinta_Maree.html
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448929.Jacinta_Maree
Website: http://jacintamareeauthor.blogspot.com.au/  

GIVEAWAY

Schedule for the entire tour of Staccato Publishing Family Autumn tour:
 Sept.18 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Please don't feed the Mimsey ~Mimsey-style post

Sept. 19 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight
Sinful Review ~Review

Sept. 20 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Review & Guest Post
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Sept. 21 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
World's of Wonderment ~Spotlight & Review

Sept. 22' THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight
Becca Anne's Book Reviews ~Review & Character bio

Sept. 23 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review

Sept. 24 'THE REAPER'S' by Jacinta Maree
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & author top 10 scarey movies
E.C. Hibbs ~Spotlight & Review

Sept. 25 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Please don't feed the Mimsey~Spotlight & Author interview
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Sept. 26 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Review & Playlist
Becca Anne's Book Reviews ~Review & Character bio

Sept. 27 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Jacinta Maree ~Spotlight
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight

Sept. 28 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
The O'Raven Chronicles ~Spotlight and excerpt

Sept. 29 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight
Sinful Review ~Review

Sept. 30 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review

Oct. 1 'APHRODITE'S WAR' by Donna Milward
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & Authors top 10 Greek Gods
E.C. Hibbs ~Spotlight & Author Interview

Oct. 2 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Please don't feed the Mimsey~Spotlight & Guest Post

Oct. 3 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Spotlight
Crystal & Sara ~Review & Spotlight

Oct. 4 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight

Oct. 5 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight

Oct. 6 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review
Sinful Review ~Review

Oct. 7 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Jacinta Maree ~Spotlight

Oct. 8 'AN UNDYING OATH' by HK Savage
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & Authors top 10
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Oct.9 Pre-release tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle ~Review & Spotlight

Oct.10 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Jacinta Maree ~Spotlight
Becca Anne's Book Reviews ~Review & Character bio

Oct.11 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
BookEnd 2 BookEnd ~Spotlight & Top 10
Sinful Review ~Review

Oct.12 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Random Musesomy ~Spotlight
Oh My Shelves ~Spotlight

Oct.13 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Our New Generation for Reading ~Spotlight & Review

Oct.14 Prerelease tour 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' by Jay Mims
Tam's Two Cents ~Review & quirky mimsey post

Oct.15 'THE GRAY GHOST INN' BOOK BLAST RELEASE DAY
Bookend 2 BookEnd
Tam's Two Cents
Jacinta Maree
Please don't feed the Mimsey
The O'Raven Chronicles
Oh My Shelves
Romance Bookworm's Reviews
Random Musesomy
Our New Generation For Reading
Wine Relaxation and MY Kindle
Becca Anne's Book Reviews

Sinful Review



My Review:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Infatuated cover reveal


Title: Infatuated 
Author: Elle Jordan 
Genre: Contemporary New Adult 
Publisher: EJ Books
Release Date: Oct 2013
Blurb/Synopsis:

When I took a job as a bartender at Hanson’s to help pay for my classes, the last thing I expected to find was Kale Wilder. He’s sexy, smart, and he makes me smile and laugh faster than anyone ever has. More importantly, he makes me believe in Mr. Right. 
But Kale came to the wrong place at the wrong time, because someone else has his eyes on me. Someone who watches my every move.
Kale’s the only one I want, but the more I feel for him, the more I fear for my safety. Because the other guy is getting closer and doesn't want to share. He’s made it clear if he can’t have me, no one can.



Elle lives in the south, about an hour from the Happiest Place on Earth (aka Disney), drinks enough Mtn. Dew to keep the company in business, and has four lovable (read: evil and conniving) pets. She’s also the secret, evil alter-ego of another name. She’d tell you that other name, but then it wouldn’t be a secret.
When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found on Facebook, Twitter, or with Photoshop open, making covers for books she doesn’t have enough time to write.



Places to find Elle



Places to find Infatuated

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Love, Kinsey cover reveal


Title: Love, Kinsey
Author: Brandy Jeffus Corona
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Inspirational/ New Adult
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Oct 1 2013
Blurb/Synopsis:
All her life, Kinsey Masters has thought of herself as ordinary, boring almost.  She had a normal upbringing, a stable career and a good love life, finally meeting “the One,” Colby.  
But life has a funny way of turning the tables on you.
Faced with a devastating diagnosis, Kinsey sets out to write her last story – her own. 
Her journey reunites her with each man she’s fallen in love with and with their words, along with other friends and family, she pieces together the story of herself. With each meeting, Kinsey begins to realize that each of her past loves has happened for a reason. And she’s left footprints on their lives just like they did for her.
Every life is special, especially your own.


Brandy Jeffus Corona has been writing stories since an early age. She would dictate them to her mom who would type them out on a typewriter.
She is a wife and mother to two precious children and lives in North Texas, but she’ll always consider herself an East Texan, hailing from the Rose Capitol of the World, Tyler.



Places to find Brandy

End of Dreams Blog Tour



Title: End of Dreams (The Immortal Destiny, Book One)
Author: Kim Faulks 
Genre: Dark Paranormal/Horror

Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours



Blurb:

A vicious killer hunts a young pregnant woman. He wants more than her blood--he wants her baby too.

Young Eve dreams of being a good mother to her unborn son, that dream is shattered when child killer, Edric Hasting finds her in the middle of the night.

Haunted by the images of black wings on her baby’s ultrasound and the killers last words Eve knows her only hope of survival is to run.

She soon finds hard-bitten detective Adley Scott who dreams of justice for a string of murdered children which hit too close to home.  

A group of Immortals are drawn into Eve’s battle for survival as events are played out across the globe by two opposing factions of immortal beings.

The fragile, divine balance of all things is at stake, and the world is the ultimate prize.

Against a background of universe-changing events and an ensemble of vivid, unforgettable characters, Eve and Adley will have to fight to survive as they begin to learn the truth of The Immortal Destiny.




Author Bio:

The author of The Fire and Ice Series, No Angel Series and now the Immortal Destiny Series I was raised on a staple diet of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, there I fell in love with the darker styles of writing. I started writing at a young age but quickly realised that I lacked an important ingredient, life experience. Now I have this in spades.
I am firstly a Mum and a wife and second an Author of Dark Fantasy/Horror, although sometimes I'm sure my family feels it's the other way around. I live in Queensland Australia and work full-time. Writing is my passion and a dream and I'd love to share it with you.

Author Link: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Faulks/e/B005J7EPH8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377400549&sr=1-2-ent

Buy link (Amazon only): http://www.amazon.com/End-Dreams-Immortal-Destiny-ebook/dp/B00DPR22FQ/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377400618&sr=1-6
Excerpt:
Eve tucked her hair behind her ears and straightened her blouse before stepping inside Hurrow’s Federal Hotel. Narrowed eyes and glassy stares followed her all the way to the bar. She sat down on a ruptured leather stool, listening to the juke box belt out some hit from back in the eighties. The song sounded vaguely familiar. Like something Mother had once listened to—before she became a Christian, before she found God.
“What’ll it be?” The bartender’s voice boomed beside her. Eve jumped and her heart sped. He gripped the counter, leaning forward. He was waiting for her to say something, anything. Eve opened her mouth. But no words came, so she closed it again.
This was her first drink. In her first bar. On the first night of her new life. She was finally away from her mother’s controlling rule once and for all—she was free. She stared back at the bartender as a feeling of hope fluttered low inside her belly like a weighed-down moth. Even his scowls wouldn't dampen her mood tonight. Eve couldn’t help but grin.
The bartender no longer glared at her, but exhaled, closed his eyes and swore. Beer? No. Sex on the Beach? I’m not saying that. Eve’s gaze danced along the row of bottles, trying to find something nice which didn’t look like liquid fire. “Umm. May I have a glass of champagne?”
His brows shot upwards, hovered there for a moment before his forehead creased. “Champagne? Does it fucking look like we serve champagne?”
Like a ghost, Eve’s confidence dissolved, as though it had never been there at all. Someone behind her laughed. A woman who called out behind her, “Champagne? Who does this bitch think she is?”
Eve’s face burned.
“Don’t give the girl a hard time, Trev. Can’t you see she’s nervous? Just give her something sparkling and make it expensive.”
Keeping her head still, Eve glanced sideways at the man sliding onto the seat beside her. He was older, by a lot. His pitted face and long, greasy hair matched a black ensemble of leather jacket and dirty jeans which covered his stick-like physique. He caught her staring and winked. Tiny black stumps she guessed had been teeth were revealed with a smile. She looked away and slid from her seat, her eyes drifting to the door. “No. I’m fine, thank you. I… I’ve changed my mind.”
The stranger caught her arm with a soft hold. His touch made her wince. “Nonsense, come on. You’ve come all this way. Just have one little drink.”
It wasn’t his conviction that made her hesitate—it was his words.
She had come a long way. A lot farther than the four-hour bus ride with one suitcase to her name. Her longest journey was the road she’d traveled within herself. Her fight for freedom, even though she was afraid to be alone, but more afraid she’d give in and go back, so the loneliness was bearable. You won’t survive, you’re too weak. Her mother’s parting snarl still haunted her.
Eve’s vision blurred and her throat thickened, cutting off the air to her lungs. She inhaled sharply, wheezing, coughing. The stench of sweat and nicotine filled her nose as tears blurred her gaze. She thought she’d be able to leave behind all the hurt and the hateful words. There was no new life, here or anywhere. Only the baggage of her old one she dragged behind wherever she went.
Her hair fell into her eyes and she shoved it away with the back of her hand, along with a tear. She’d never escape her father’s suicide, or the depression and Valium which followed. Eve took in the bar, now that her rose-colored glasses were gone. She didn’t belong here. She didn’t belong anywhere. But she had nowhere else to go.
The bartender slid the frosted glass toward her. The drink wasn’t champagne, but at this moment, she didn’t really care. Tiny bubbles surged from the bottom to break free on the surface. She’d tried to break free and yet somehow she still failed. The bartender waited patiently while Eve dug for a crumpled ten-dollar note. Her fingers skirted the tiny yellow pill lodged in the crease of her pocket, her weakness and her disease. She grabbed both the note and the tablet while the stranger beside her opened his wallet. His thick pile of bills was hard to miss. He pushed a twenty along the bar.
“No… please, it's okay.” She might be a lot of things, but she’d never be bought. Not for a drink in a bar, not for anything. “I can pay myself.”
She palmed the pill and slid the note across the bar. The bartender nodded snatched up her crumbled bill. “Looks like she be buyin’ her own drink tonight, Matty. You just run along now and leave the young lady alone.”
The stranger pushed off the stool to tower over her. A flash of rage filled his eyes and Eve was paralyzed. His lips slithered back over his gums. Her scalp quivered and her hands shook. He loomed over her, breathing heavily and pinning her with a piercing glare for what seemed like forever before he stormed away.
Her cheeks buzzed with heat and her hands trembled. She shoved the pill into her mouth and washed it down with the fake champagne. She wanted for one moment not to feel hurt and humiliation. She wanted for one moment not to feel anything.
For Eve, time wasn’t measured in weeks or days, or even hours. She counted time by the minutes and seconds it took for the magic pill to dissolve the grip clenching her insides, so she could breathe.
Valium and alcohol made for a dangerous combination. By the time she swallowed the last of the bubbles, she felt off-balance. The room spun out of control and took her stomach with it. Her heart beat frantically and the walls closed in around her. The barroom chatter became screams of laughter. The raucous roar was too much for her and Eve slipped from her seat, leaving the stares and snide comments behind, and stumbled for the doorway.
The November air was thick and warm. Eve fanned the bottom of her shirt to catch a breeze and headed for the alley which would lead her home. The haunting bay of a dog caught her attention. Her heavy thoughts were captured by that woeful sound while she turned and stumbled in the dark until hands dug into her back. She was shoved hard against the side of a building. The brick walls were unforgiving. Her head cracked against a wall and the pain slashed like lightening through her head. She stumbled sideways and lifted her hand toward the back of her head, her thoughts frozen. 
“Fucking stuck-up bitch! You think you’re too good for someone like me?”
Eve’s world seemed slow and thick, like syrup. The snarl in her ear became distorted. She didn’t understand his words, but revulsion shot like cold fire through her veins, fighting the effects of the pill. He pushed his hand inside her shirt to fumble at the cup of her bra. Her thoughts sharpened. She screamed.
The stranger from the bar invaded her field of vision. He gripped her jaw and squeezed. Eve ignored the pain and whipped her head from side-to-side in an effort to break free. But he held on, snaking his leg around hers to pull her tight against him. Please God, no. Not like this… not like this. “Get away from me! Let me go!
“I’ll show you. I’ll show you good, you stuck up little bitch!”
“No, plea—”
Her words were silenced by his mouth. Eve felt violated, filled with revulsion… sickened by his touch and the fear of what might happen next. His hands were everywhere. Not one part of her body was left sacred. His tongue slithered in and out of her mouth. His fetid breath, forced into her lungs, became hers as she struggled to breathe.
Valium fought against the adrenaline, pushed along by the rapid fire of her heart, Eve hit, scratched, and kicked with everything she had. Her arms felt like lead, her movements seemed as though she moved underwater. She tried to escape his touch, rolling her shoulders forward and tucking her chin down. He held her still, and his hands burrowed deeper, finding the soft flesh of her nipple. Eve's stomach rolled and the taste of acid filled her mouth. Her attacker stopped moving, his frantic fingers left her bra. Has he given up? Please God….
“I said, take your hands off her.”
A new voice bounced around the alley, low and threatening. Her attacker stilled, but he didn’t let her go. The sound of his voice reverberated against her body as he spoke. “You best be on your way. This doesn’t concern you.”
Eve thrashed, using her weight to break free. He held on, his grip on her mouth became harder, distorting her frantic words. “Pease, pease. Hep me.”
“Shut the fuck up,” her attacker growled into her ear.
The deep voice bounced around Eve once more. “I’ll not say it again. Let the woman go.”
“Or what? You best fuck off or—”
He pulled her forward and slammed her back against the wall. Her shoulders took the brunt of the impact and her head snapped back against the brick. Agony roared inside her skull, the pain took her breath away and dominated her thoughts. White lights sparked in her vision. She stumbled and her knees connected sharply with the sidewalk. Screams from her attacker filled the air. Eve lurched forward as hot wine and acid flowed from her mouth, spilling onto the pavement. Helpless, she rode the waves of panic and revulsion until only dry heaves were left.
She wiped her mouth and glanced sideways. Her attacker flailed on the ground. His body jerked and thrashed in the air and then was slammed to the ground by a blur of a hand. She caught a glimpse of a face, a beautiful face hidden behind savagery. Eve covered her ears, but his screams drilled through the gaps of her fingers. A loud snap fractured his wails. Eve looked up to the night sky. Please… please make this stop.
And the night became silent like the moon above her.
Scared to move, she stayed still and sneaked a glimpse at the fight. The streetlight cut a triangle across the alley entrance, dividing light from the dark. Shiny black shoes and the bottoms of perfectly-creased pants seem to glide toward her. 
“It is okay. I will not hurt you.”
Eve wrenched her hands from her ears to grip the edges of her torn blouse.
“You have nothing to fear from me.”
Her rescuer knelt before her, his hand outstretched. The street light illuminated his broad cheek bones, revealing arctic blue eyes and glossy black hair.
Eve searched those eyes for kindness and compassion. She found none. It's enough he just saved my life, isn't it? Her gaze shifted to the unmoving feet of her attacker.
“He is not dead, merely asleep.”
Eve turned back to her rescuer. He waited for her to take his hand, like he had all the time in the world. She reached out. Her own hand hovered in the air and trembled before she grasped his and he helped her to stand. The minute she felt steady on her feet, she snatched her hand away and gripped the edges of her shirt tightly. Forcing the words through the pain in her jaw, she whispered, “Thank you.”
“Please tell me you are okay. When I saw him hurting you I thought he had already—”
She cut him off, needing to stay the words for her own reassurance. She wrenched her hand from his grasp. “No. Thank God.”
He stared at her, his eyes reflecting the street light. He smiled. “Yes, thank God. Although you really should be thanking me.”
“I’m so sorry, please forgive me. Thank you, thank you so much, Mr…?”
He shook his head and smiled.
He doesn’t want to give me his name. He’s afraid I’ll drag him into this mess… Into my mess. Can I blame him? “I am grateful for everything you’ve done for me. I’m Eve.”
“Eve. That... is... a beautiful name. The name of the woman who begat the fall of man, if I remember correctly. How... fitting….”
He moved closer to her, drawing her into his gaze. In this moment, Eve no longer stood in the darkened alley with the remnants of cheap wine drying on her lips. Instead, she floated, caught in his ice-blue gaze.
Her mind slowed and then stilled. Her panic eased until everything apart from this stranger seemed to fade away. His words were hypnotic. “May I walk you home?”
“Yes.” She answered before she’d had a chance to think it over. Her response had been so automatic. Should I really allow a stranger to walk me home at night? Shouldn’t I be concerned? Those questions seemed to slip through the numbed fingers of her mind. Instead of fleeing in fear, she found herself nodding and taking his hand when he held it out once more.
He walked beside her, not too close so they touched, nor too distant, giving her space to slip away. 
“Are you afraid of me?”
His question was carried to her on the soft night breeze. Even though she wanted to pretend she hadn’t heard him, shame forced her to answer. This man had risked his life to save her. But she couldn't lie, not even to herself. Honesty forced her to accept the fact Valium was a way for her to cope, hiding the truth from her and everyone else—the truth that everything scared her.
“Look at me.”
She stopped, glimpsing the door to her apartment building in the corner of her eye. Keep walking, don't stop, said a tiny voice inside her.
“Eve. Look at me.”
There was something about his voice, something so spell-binding and compelling. It was hard not to look, impossible to not obey his commands. Eve turned toward him, yet somehow a part of her was urging her to run. But she couldn’t run, she was frozen. Eve stared into his bottomless eyes, unable to tear away from his gaze, or his touch.
“You are exactly what I am looking for, someone pure and so... tender.”
His accent was so strange, old-fashioned and rigid. It wasn’t Australian that she was sure of. It wasn’t anything she knew. He trailed his fingers down her jawbone. His finger hovered on the end of her chin and then lifted her face to his. His words were jumbled, whispered phrases she couldn't quite catch. All she could see were his perfect, soft lips. “Shall you succeed where others have failed?”
He didn’t wait for her answer. Instead he stepped closer, towering over her. “Well, we shall see, won't we?”
He stared into her eyes, as though he seemed to savor this moment, before lowering his head. “Ahh, humans,” he whispered, and then he kissed her.