Monday, August 19, 2013

Open Promo Day for Authors!

It's been awhile since I've done a Monday Blues....and while I'm too out of it to come up with a theme, I will open up the comments for some excerpt promo (Allergies suck)

Just post the book title, author name, and buy links, and of course, an excerpt! ....Keep it fairly clean today, but have fun!  Looking forward to reading some great excerpts!


  1. Hi there! My name is Jennifer Snow and here is the blurb from my upcoming November release-The Trouble With Mistletoe. Book one of my Brookhollow Series releasing through Harlequin Heartwarming:) Enjoy!


    You can't say no to a mistletoe kiss, no matter who’s under it!
    Since leaving Brookhollow and her fiancé, Luke Dawson, twelve years earlier, Victoria Mason hasn’t looked back. She’s traded the small-town dream of marriage, kid and family Christmas dinners for late nights working at a high-powered acquisitions firm, lunches at trendy New York restaurants and jet-set vacations on the slopes.
    So her latest work assignment, to acquire Brookhollow’s sporting goods store, poses a challenge for Victoria, in more ways than one. Because it’s almost Christmas, and she’s got other holiday plans. And the owner is reluctant to sell. And the owner is Luke.
    If she can just wrap up the deal before she gets caught up in her old life and her old love… or becomes trapped under the mistletoe. Again.

    Thanks Nikki!

    Jennifer Snow

  2. Hi Nikki, thanks for the promo op. I'd like to offer a peek at my soon-to-be-released Enchanted Skye.

    Alexander MacCodrum belongs to a race of shape-shifting sea creatures living on Scotland’s Isle of Skye. Jenna MacLeod unknowingly adds seven tears to the salt of the sea and accidentally unleashes an ancient charm that catches the transformed Selkie unawares. Under this binding spell, Alex must win Jenna's heart, or the pain of unrequited love will drive him to take his own life. Unfortunately for Alex, Jenna hasn’t come to Skye looking for love and it will take the force of a hurricane to bring them together. But worse, Jenna’s violent ex-boyfriend has found her at last and Carl has made it perfectly clear – if he can’t have her, no one can.

    Setting the Stage:
    The fear of Carl finding her, the grief of scattering her grandmother's ashes, and frustration at being locked in this room with an obnoxious stranger, lead Jenna to down a too-large glass of scotch. Overcome with tears, she finds the stranger a comfort after all. To both their surprise, one moment leads to another. For Alex, it's the enchantment talking. For Jenna, it's the scotch. Or is it?

    My snippet:
    Words husky with desire, he whispered in awe, “I ache for ye, woman. I ache like I never have.”

    Kneeling at the end of the bed, he kissed the top of her foot. Her knee once more swung to and fro. Seeing invitation in that sensual display, he kissed up the length of her leg, murmuring heated declarations of desire between kisses. Though a part of him was keenly aware they didn’t know one another, another part of him was certain he’d known her soul forever. “I can hardly control this hunger for ye. Will ye allow me to love you, Jenna?”

  3. I am Mary Marvella and Protective Instincts is my newest release, 1 week old, actually.
    Gut pain bent him almost double. He glanced around the deserted hall. Familiar pressure built in his head. A premonition attack was coming on. Why now? Why when his son’s teacher had passed by? He didn’t need an attack now. He hurried to the school parking lot to catch up with the cause of his discomfort. He’d finish his figures later.
    Sam had figured he’d probably see Ms. Roberts here sometime before he left, but he hadn’t planned to do more than nod to her as he always did. She was attractive but standoffish. Sean had mentioned she was a widow. Maybe that was why she seldom smiled.
    His mama’s training in the ways of a gentleman prodded him toward her and the old Mustang. He’d follow her tonight. He had no choice. Maybe this premonitions was about car trouble. Probably. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d rescued someone from being stranded.
    She whirled around to face him, annoyance in her expression. “Are you following me?” Sounded like an accusation.

  4. Thank you, Nikki :) Here's mine (condensed) from my historical romance, Viking Fire by Andrea R. Cooper:

    Ireland 856 CE

    “I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown. Dressed only in her leine, she glared at the new gown on the stone floor.

    “Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.” She wore her white hair twisted in a chignon, underneath a linen head cloth. Strands of white hair poked out the sides of her covering.

    “No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

    Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor. Why was she not born plain like her two older sisters? Already they had married and expected their second bairns by spring. Well, at least so far she had enjoyed twenty years of freedom. Neither of her sisters had had matrimonial dreams of love matches. Both were arranged marriages.

    “You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

    Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Many a raid has come from them. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

    Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight. Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

    “You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

    “So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

    “Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled at her. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.”

    Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

    “If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

    “Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.

    Viking Fire Amazon:
    Viking Fire B & N:

  5. Hi! Thanks for letting us post excerpts on your blog.

    Dangerous Flames, Mafia Hearts Book 1 By Wendy Ely

    “Get up,” she ordered. Her arms crossed over her chest.

    “Come’ere. It’s cold.” One of Mik’s hands gave half an attempt to reach toward her. “I wanna keep you warm.”

    Obviously he was still in some sort of dream state since the cabin was very warm. He must have turned up the temperature sometime in the night, but at least she’d been able to sleep. Heat blasted from the registers in each room, which woke her up earlier than necessary this morning.

    And curling in bed with him would be nice. “Mik?” She walked over to the bed, tempted to crawl beside him.

    “Fine, Gabi. You’re going to hurt me in the end anyway.” He pulled the blanket over himself. “Who cares if I love you?”

    Her mouth dropped open. It didn’t matter if he was asleep or not. He really felt that way?

  6. hey there,
    here's an excerpt from The French Resolution coming dec 17 from rebel ink press.

    Antoine kissed her. Then he grabbed the wine and the food and headed to the living room. “Have a seat. Eat. Then we will discuss the next few days.”
    She appeared nervous at the proposition, so he popped a cracker with Camembert into her mouth.
    “D’accord. We will discuss it now. I think you should stay here with me for the next few days. I realize that if your father should come back, I will have to return you, but I do not think the butler is a good enough excuse. Tomorrow is Monday. I will have to do some business but not for long. I will be in meetings on Wednesday, so you may use that day to see old friends. I am willing to negotiate days off for good behavior, but not nights. Is this acceptable?” Antoine stared into her blue-gray eyes, willing her to agree. She paused long enough to worry him.
    “Does this agreement include food? Because for a short person, I eat a lot.”

    and please check out current releases on my website.

  7. Hi Nikki! Thanks for the opportunity. I just published the e-version to LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, a romantic suspense originally published in paperback in 2007.

    Life has delivered one sucker punch after another to Emma Wadsworth. As a matter of fact, you could say the poor little rich girl is the ultimate poster child for Money Can’t Buy Happiness — even if she is no longer a child.

    Billionaire real estate stud Logan Crawford is as famous for his less-than-platinum reputation as he is his business empire. In thirty-eight years he’s never fallen in love, and that’s just fine with him — until he meets Emma.

    But Emma’s not buying into Logan’s seductive ways. Well, maybe just a little, but she’s definitely going into the affair with her eyes wide open. She’s no fool. At least not any more. Her deceased husband saw to that. Besides, she knows Logan will catch the first jet out of Philadelphia once he learns her secrets.

    Except things don’t go exactly as Emma has predicted, and when Philadelphia’s most beloved citizen become the city’s most notorious criminal, she needs to do a lot more than clear her name if she wants to save her budding romance with the billionaire hunk someone is willing to kill for.

    She shouldn’t have accepted the dinner invitation, let alone a dance. Obviously some alien had taken possession of her brain. And her mouth.

    Logan led her to the dance floor as the string quartet began playing How Long Has This Been Going On. How long, indeed? When she’d danced with Phillip, she’d danced with two left feet. In Logan’s arms she danced like Ginger Rogers. Her body nestled against his. The lyrics to the song so appropriate: There were chills up my spine, and some thrills I can’t define....

    A tingling sensation traversed from her scalp to her toes. Good Lord! Fire ignited her flesh at each place where their bodies met. Such foreign feelings. Too bad nothing could come of it, but she’d allow herself to enjoy the moment.

    It’s only one evening. One dinner. One dance.

    After so many years of hell wasn’t she entitled to a few hours of happiness? Tomorrow life would return to normal, but long after she wasn’t even a flicker in Logan Crawford’s mind, she’d still have the memories of this day. It would have to be enough. She couldn’t risk more. “I feel like Cinderella at the ball.”

    “You’re not going to turn into a pumpkin, are you?”

    “The coach changed back into a pumpkin,” she reminded him. “Cinderella just returned to her cold hearth.”

    Buy Link:

  8. Thanks, Linda for the opportunity.

    Curse of the Lost Isle Book 4
    by Vijaya Schartz

    978 AD - Melusine the Fae, immortal and cursed Lady of Luxembourg, managed to hide her Pagan nature from mortals for many years. She fiercely protects her handsome Count, Sigefroi, but in their princely bliss, neither of them seems to age, and a few suspicious bishops take notice. Then an ondine wreaks havoc during a battle, luring enemy soldiers into the river.

    Betrayed, Sigefroi reflects on his many sins from the depths of a rat infested dungeon. Under torture, will he reveal her deadly secret? And when her beloved turns into a devout Christian, can Melusine salvage her happiness? Can love truly redeem her curse, or will she burn at the stake?


    "Schartz is a gifted writer in many genres, and the research she does for every book is phenomenal. Every detail is woven into the story seamlessly, so you feel as if you are really there, watching the horses, the fighting, the clothing, the lovemaking. Looking forward to the next volume." 5 stars - Manic Readers


    Sigefroi walked resolutely toward Melusine, his forehead shiny from the fencing yard. The morning sun set aflame his reddish gold hair. He tossed his practice sword to a squire and wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his white tunic. A triangle of moisture stained the red prancing lion embroidered on his chest.

    Melusine took hold of his muscled arm and leaned against his tall frame as they wove through the parting crowd. How she relished his scent of clean soap and male. “Who is coming?”

    “One of our secret observers at the French court.” Sigefroi grinned and patted her hand on his arm. “Good news I hope.”

    Melusine’s insides warmed at his familiar touch. She glanced up at her husband’s smooth, cheerful face. Sigefroi had grown younger and handsomer since taking her elixir. Although well past fifty, he looked like a young knight. He might not be immortal like her, but she would keep him vigorous and healthy for many decades to come. In truth, she couldn’t imagine life without him.

    Hooves clattered on the drawbridge across the narrow gorge separating the main plateau from the Bock, the rocky needle on which Sigefroi had erected his fortress. The destrier galloped through the open gate then reared at the sight of the small gathering, nearly unhorsing the rider.

    The knight spotted Sigefroi and Melusine, then directed his mount toward them. He dismounted in a jingle of mail, lifted his helmet, set it under his arm and bowed deeply.

    “My lord,” he sputtered between broken breaths, then raised his weathered face. Gray hair escaped from his mail hauberk. “The Archbishop of Verdun is marching upon Luxembourg with his army.”

  9. Title and Author:
    In My Mother's Footsteps by Forbes Arnone

    Buy Links:

    Contemporary Romance

    Neil walked back into the kitchen and asked me if I wanted to speak with Christian. I looked from Penny to my father, hoping I'd find the answer, but I wanted to know why he was looking for me. I shrugged my shoulder up and walked to the foyer, finding Christian standing there in a nice pair of blue cargo shorts and a short sleeve, button down shirt. The hints of blue from the lines on the shirt really made his crystal eyes stand out. I hovered there, unmoving. Not only was I surprised he was there in my long-lost father's house, but I was happy about it, too.
    “Hi,” I said, waving like a spaz and making myself look like an idiot.
    “When I mentioned you weren't answering my calls, Takata told me you were here. I want to talk to you,” he muttered.
    For once, I could see how nervous he was; his hand moved from rubbing his neck to scratching the nape of his hair. It snapped me out of my nervousness quickly and made me feel more confident.
    “Okay, about what?” I probed.
    “I'm sorry about the last time we saw each other. I need to explain to you why I freaked out.” Christian was still fidgeting. “You see, I've never been interested in a commitment or a relationship before. And even though I'd just met you, I wanted to try. The feelings came on so fast, and it freaked me out, not to mention the fact that you live on the mainland. I knew you’d be leaving soon.”
    I barked out a nervous laugh.
    “I told you my pathetic life story. You know about my parents and what my mother did. I'm afraid of loss, and not even sure I know how to love. So, on top of all that, you think I haven't thought about what will happen when I go home? But I really liked you, and you let me down.” I sighed, unsure if I wanted to continue this conversation with him. “Why are you telling me this now?”
    “Because I've missed you. I'd like for us to try to get to know each other better and take it from there. That is, if you'll give me another chance.”
    I stared into his eyes, trying to gauge his sincerity. “I guess we need to be patient with each other, right? And I'll need to come to terms with having my high hopes for finding a fairytale-type love squashed?” I asked, half joking and half serious.
    Christian chuckled. “Well, I don't know about all that, but yeah, patience is a virtue, you know?”
    Smart ass!
    “You know, I was beginning to enjoy our newfound friendship, and I think if we started from there again, I'd be okay with it,” I said.
    “That sounds like something I can handle. So, you'll answer my calls now?”
    I laughed. “Yes, I will.”
    “Good. Well, I'll let you get back to, you know . . .” He waved toward the kitchen.
    “Thanks. Bye, Christian.”

  10. Thanks Linda!

    This from "Immortal Relations"

    Comment: ”...I find myself constantly searching for the next vampire series to reach out and...bite me. I believe I have found my holy grail of vampire novels...Mr. Ogan has delivered a tale at breakneck speed, one that jumps out of the starting gate and never loses steam. A tale filled with life lessons, love, sex, action and adventure. Complete with new insights into the powers of the immortal vamps, and fresh takes on the complex inner workings of their existence. From page 1 until the very end, Immortal Relations promises to have you on the edge of your seat and begging for more…”


    Impulsively, I turned and said, I know it’s probably inappropriate for me to say it, since I'm much older, but you have been so kind and gracious to me that I think I’m falling in love with you. I’ll understand if you can’t feel the same way toward someone like me and I hope my expressing the way I feel won’t make you leave and keep me from being with you anymore. I’d rather be just a friend with no possibility of developing a deeper relationship than to never see you again! Saying that brought up some deep feelings of loneliness I wasn’t able to suppress; tears suddenly welled up in my eyes and, ashamed of those tears, I turned away from her.

    She grabbed me from behind and spun me around so fast my head took a second to follow the trajectory of my body. When my face caught up with the rest of me, she kissed me gently on the mouth saying she had similar feelings toward me, but there were complications for us to do much about those feelings. I wiped my eyes and felt as if my heart would leap out of my chest; with my emotional high it took a minute to recover. If this was a dream I prayed I’d never wake up.

    Looking deeply into her eyes as she had done with me, I said if it is a matter of your immortality and super-human strength a solution is to change me!

    Now she looked confused. What makes you think I’m an immortal?

    I’ve thought it from the first, only an immortal could move from one side of a four-lane road to the other in less than a second, I saw you reflected in a window suddenly disappear from one side of the road then you were just inches behind me when I turned around, which caused me to jerk back, and almost fall. With lightning speed and amazing strength you kept me upright and when you recognized my father in the picture and my legs failed me, again your strength helped me over to a bench.

    When we've been at the café, you didn’t eat or drink, and I've never seen you eat or drink anything. You have strength that surpasses the strongest weight lifter, but wield it with total gentleness. You smell of sugar and cinnamon and are the most kind, considerate and lovely companion I could dream of. You’ve captivated my heart in the time I’ve been with you. Your hands and lips are cold like stone, yet you move with grace and fluidity of motion and your touch sends electrical shocks through me, which I want to last forever! You ask me how I could know. How could I NOT know?

    You recognize I used the term immortal. I hope you realize I do so, not out of fear of the word vampire, but because I wanted to state my feelings before I asked you to explain how you became a vampire. I believe when you knew my father you were fully human!

    And yes, I realized you are in fact 'the great aunt' you described to me. I knew it because of the way you expressed her love for him and the catch in your voice when you spoke of him.

    I went down on one knee, and then looked up at her, “We’ve been together for only two days, yet I feel I’ve known you all my life! If you’ll allow me, I’ll spend forever with you any way I can; I prefer as your companion, but if not, I pledge you my blood if you need it.

  11. Hi Nikki, thanks for this opportunity.

    This is my newest, Winning Violetta. It's a sensual, very sensual faery tale.

    Violetta is a princess graced with two faery godsisters who want to help her find her prince, but they don't do such a great job. The prince, though, does the job. There's a joust, romantic walks on the towers, a bow-wielding princess.

    “Will you give me your scarf as a talisman?”
    Her chin lifted suddenly, and she gazed searchingly at him. “You’d like that?”
    “Yes.” God, her face gleamed in the moonlight. His eyes had adjusted to the dark, but he didn’t need the light to envision the living, burning flame that was her hair. Her part wariness, part curiosity amused him. She didn’t quite know what to make of him, but he believed she was drawn to him.
    Slowly, very slowly, he lowered his head, holding her gaze. At the last moment, he closed his eyes and brushed his lips gently back and forth across her luscious mouth. With great satisfaction, he heard her gasp for breath. Had she let her tutor do this?
    He slit his eyes to peek at her. Hers were closed, lashes resting on her cheeks. She didn’t respond, not exactly. But then, thank you, Lord, her lips parted. She gave a little moan, and her body surrendered meltingly against his, grasping his doublet with both hands. As his kisses deepened, her fingers clenched in the cloth more tightly with each passing second.
    He cinched his arm snugly around her. The fall of her thick hair brushed over the back of his other hand wrapped possessively around her nape. Little sounds escaping her throat inflamed his already aroused senses, and he nipped and sipped at her lips. Fighting an overwhelming need, and by some immense force of will, he curbed his desire to devour her mouth, inside and out. He recognized the delicacy and tentativeness of her kisses, undoubtedly the kisses of a virgin. A virgin he desperately wanted.
    It was intoxicating, the scent of her, her honey sweet mouth, her lithe body wriggling against him as he threaded his fingers up through the long, heavy, silken mass of her hair to cup her head. The reality of it, the actual feel of its weight and texture, was even more arousing than he’d imagined at dinner.

    Thanks!! Jane

  12. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, Nikki.
    Here is an excerpt of the second novel in my Descendants of Ra series,Everlasting.


    Trailing behind the police car, Alexis couldn’t keep her gaze off the back of his head and broad shoulders. Every single thing about him embodied the fantasy lover she’d created, then forgotten and remembered again just days ago. She had dreamed of his naked body covering hers, wrapping her legs around him, and begging him to take her.
    Somehow, he shifted his big body around and stared at her from the caged back seat, as if he knew where her thoughts strayed. A shiver raced down her spine. Heat pooled low in her groin and released in a whiplash of pleasure. She clenched the wheel with suddenly sweaty palms and tried to hold onto the tendril, all the while his gaze remained locked on hers. “Thank God,” she sighed when they pulled into the police station parking lot.
    It seemed the entire police station had stopped to stare at the new arrival. She couldn’t fault the women for gawking or the men for unconsciously touching their weapons. Immense and overwhelming, he stood at least six foot eight with shoulders as wide as a linebacker with the pads. Black cotton stretched tight over massive shoulders and molded to perfect pecs and brick abs. Even stretched behind his back, his biceps bulged. When contracted, they’d probably peak like mini Mount Everest. His eyes, electric blue, peered through his shaggy midnight hair, watching her approach.
    Palpable menace seeped from his pores, polluted the air, and set everyone’s nerves on edge. The man was a killer. He wouldn’t wax poetic like a comic book villain. No, he’d kill you and move on to the next combatant before your body hit the ground.
    Her heart suddenly ached. The embodiment of the man she dreamed about most of her life now stood before her and he was probably a criminal. And for some weird reason, she cared. Her life had plopped into the crapper yet she cared about a criminal she had met fifteen minutes ago.
    Then he pivoted that body so she got a full frontal and whipped his hair back with a snap of his neck. Alexis sucked in a sharp breath. That face. There was nothing pretty about him or even handsome. He demolished her senses like a freight train smashing into a two seater. He was almost too much to look at, yet she couldn’t turn away. She didn’t dare.
    Exhaling slowly, Alexis didn’t back down from his stare. His eyes seem to deepen into dark drowning pools when she approached. His hard, lean face softened and an increment of his fury abated, lessening the overall testosterone level in the room.
    “No ID and he won’t tell us his name,” Paul’s partner told the desk sergeant.
    Her prisoner’s—that’s how she thought of him—lips curled slightly in a mockery of a smile.
    “Reign,” he said.
    Oh, shit. She had to lean against a wall. His rough voice kicked off a pulse deep in her groin making her imagine something else rough and deep.

  13. Thanks, for the opportunity, Nikki.

    Hi, I'm Ella Quinn, and this is from The Temptation of Lady Serena which releases on January 14, 2014.

    1816, Scottish Borders region

    The Earl of Weir scowled. “Damn it, Serena, you can’t back out now. Not after the plans have been made. If you don’t go to London who will you marry? What do you have left here?”

    Lady Serena Weir stared out the solar’s window, studying the bleak late February landscape. Snow covered the ground, more gray than white; the trees lifeless and black against the gloom. She glanced over her shoulder at her brother, James. “I could marry Cameron.”

    “Do you even care for him more than moderately?”

    If Mattie had her way, Serena would not be there to see it.

    James snorted with derision. “Cameron likes your dowry. Mattie has made all the plans. She assures me you’ll have a wonderful time.”

    Serena pressed her lips tightly together. The plans, he’d said, as if they had taken on a life. The plans for her to go to London for her first Season at six and twenty years of age. A little old to be making a come out. The plans meant she would leave her home. The place she had been born and raised and never before left. Tears pricked her eyelids. She would not cry. Not in front of James. If a London Season was such a good idea, why hadn’t he sold out of the army after their father died, when she was still young? Instead, he’d left her here to manage the estate while he remained on Wellington’s staff.


  14. Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley and I'm excited to announce that the fifth book in my Vespian Way series Hesitant Desire is now available with the sixth book Forgotten Desire due out in September.


    Heather swore she’d never go back to Aruka after a mission had gone bad. The planet had an archaic view of women and Heather fought against those views, angering one man to the point of whipping her. Now Earth has requested she rescue a missing woman on that planet. She wants to say no, but Storm has already accepted for her, as long as he accompanies her. They hoped it would be a quick in and out assignment but didn’t expect to run into the man carrying such hatred for her all these years. Now they have to try to finish their mission while evading the man who’s only goal is to make Heather pay for her crimes.

    If you'd like to read an excerpt please go



  15. What a wonderful way to brighten up a Monday. Thank you!

    Fallen Redemption by RB Austin

    “Will you, Caderyn O’Cearnaigh of Llangwyllog, lead my kindred against the fight with Apollyon and lend protection to the Creator’s Followers?”

    Followers. He meant humans. Like . . . What of my Sarah and unborn child?

    “They are beyond my help.”

    On some level, he’d known his wife wouldn’t make it, but he believed, hoped. Pain consumed him. He squeezed his eyes shut. His anguished cry pierced through the night. Memories of the last weeks, months, swept through him.

    The horrible wretchedness at having to bury Sally Mae and Laura. The guilt for allowing that stranger into their home. The worry over his wife and unborn child. The pain and ache in his own body. The tautness of his upper cheek where the sickness begun its destruction.

    He opened his eyes. Could this man fix it? Elias could turn him into a Behnshma. Perhaps he could bring Sally Mae and Laura back. Caderyn’s eyes widened at the possibility. Elias could cure Sarah and the unborn babe. Caderyn would exchange his life for theirs. Gladly, he’d suffer in their place.

    “And that is why I chose you, son. But I’m terribly sorry. I cannot revive the dead.”

    “My Sarah, then?”

    “I’m sorry I can’t save them.” Elias moved too fast for Caderyn to block. “But you, you can save many.” He grasped Caderyn’s palm, trapping it in between his hands.

    Again, image after image flashed through Caderyn’s mind. This time quick, but vivid. Each burned into his brain.

    Horrible. Bloody. Body after body. Nothing mattered to these beasts.

    A man. His throat ripped into pieces. Eyes open and staring unseeing. Horror captured forever in his expression.

    A woman. Dead. Unclothed. Bruised neck. Legs spread wide. Blood dried on her inner thighs. Long deep cuts on her neck, wrists, and belly.

    A child. Thrown to the ground like an abandoned toy. Limbs twisted out of place. Blood pooled underneath its tiny body.

    Every emotion the victims possessed before death was Caderyn’s. Pain. Terror. Hopelessness. He was the one being pursued, tortured, beaten, violated. Falling to the ground on all fours, he panted for air. Elias was no longer touching him but the images didn’t stop. These people had not been saved. Apollyon and his creation, the Fallen, had slaughtered these victims. Their demise had been drawn-out. So much violence. They were monsters. Murderers.

    The pictures changed. Caderyn saw himself. Different, yet the same. Stronger. He knew how to kill. Protect. Fighting the Fallen he wielded a large curved sword as if it was an extension of his arm. Moving with grace and speed he didn’t now possess, he saved an old man. A young boy. A family. A couple.

    Five against one. Kill after kill. Fallen after Fallen. He rescued. Defended. Guarded.

    A woman with child. He swung his sword high and in one swoop cut off a Fallen’s head. It disappeared in a gray cloud. The woman gazed at him. Tears ran down her face. Her hand curved protectively over her extended belly. Fear faded, replaced by relief, thankfulness, and gratitude.

    The last emotion hit Caderyn deep in his stomach. The woman was grateful he’d been there. She was alive because he’d been there.

    The image flickered out and the mind storm stopped. Caderyn’s head hung low in between his arms. His chest ached from panting. He wanted to weep.

    How could he choose any other path? How could he let that woman and all the others down? He wanted to go back and save those who were already lost.

    What emerged what a whisper, but he knew Elias would hear him even if he chose not to speak. “Yes.”

    Caderyn was whirled onto his back in the dirt. He watched two of Elias’s teeth grow in size, sharpening at the ends. Terror stuttered his heart. Striking fast, Elias’s teeth punched through the skin at his neck.