Blazing #BlogTour: Legacy of the Mind by H.R Moore

Blog Tour


legacy-of-the-mind-coverLegacy of the Mind
by H.R. Moore
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Release Date: January 2014

Summary from Goodreads:

Anita has never been ordinary, she’s stuck out like a sore thumb her entire life; not only can she see the energy of others, a rare skill, but she’s won every Body challenge she’s ever entered. So when the powerful, good looking Descendants, Marcus and Alexander, mysteriously arrive in Empire, her difference attracts and keeps their attention.

Once in Empire, the sudden death of ruling Body Descendant, Christiana, sets in motion a number of events; a quest for the treacherous Austin to find the girl Christiana had been looking for; a challenge where Anita stands out more vibrantly than ever before; a perilous dip in the world’s energy; and a dangerous belief among the people that they will never truly be free. Powerful factions soon form within the ruling elite and when a trusted friend and mentor reaches out to ask for Anita’s help, she has to make a choice; help her friend and betray the one she loves, or do nothing and watch the people starve.

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After three, enormous courses and a significant quantity of various types of wine, Anita decided it was time to open the dancing.  In line with tradition, there would be no announcement, but Anita and Marcus would take to the floor at a time of their choosing, throwing a signal to the band and surprising the audience by launching into their dance.

Anita reached over and took Marcus’ hand under the table.  She inclined her head in the direction of the open space between the banquet tables and he smiled in agreement.  He led Anita around the top table, waving to the band as they passed.  The band immediately sprang into life, striking up a jaunty number and the room quietened in expectant anticipation.  Anita could hardly contain her excitement.  She loved to dance and leaving Marcus by the edge of the tables, she spun her way to the middle of the floor.  Marcus ran after her and caught her just as she stopped spinning, leant her backwards seductively, then restored her to an upright position in a slow, fluid, silky movement.  They smiled at each other as they came back face to face, each reminded of their dance on the cliff, before Marcus almost violently spun Anita out and back in again.  They tangoed around the floor, paying no attention to their audience, who watched open-mouthed at the display.  They had all expected a polite waltz to start proceedings, and certainly no one had expected this.

After a couple of minutes of the borderline inappropriate spectacle, complete with too much body contact, a number of improper looks, and all topped off by the suggestive backing track, the others eligible to join the first dance got up and made their way to the floor.  All expect Austin, whose face was like thunder as he watched his son’s embarrassing exhibition with the girl he was beginning to hate.  Marcus and Anita finished their opener with a flourish, Marcus spinning Anita around so they were back to back before lifting her high on his shoulders, her arms outstretched.  He spun several times before letting her slide back to the floor, having masterfully positioned them to join the set laid out by the others in preparation for the formal dancing.  He kissed her hand racily and threw her one last risqué look as they took their places.


About the Author

h-r-mooreHarriet was born in Germany in 1987, the family returning to the UK, to Dorset shortly afterwards. She lived there until she was 5, her grandfather teaching her the basics of cheating at cards and swindling chocolate, her mother starting to instil a (some would argue) unhealthy relationship with cake, and the neighbours demonstrating that some people don’t understand cherry blossom is there to be picked, mixed with mint and water and sold as perfume.
Then there was Scotland; stealthy guinea pig breeding, riding horses, advanced cards, more cake, then to Devon and school in Exeter. She loved maths in the early years, but by the time she got to A Level, Sociology was her favourite subject, opening her eyes to things she’d never before considered, namely, nobody is really right, nobody is really normal and primary socialisation has a lot to answer for.
At the age of about 12, Harriet started rowing for Exeter Rowing Club. This quickly took over her life and before too long she was clad in lycra, training 6 days a week and competing at events around the country.

After finishing her A Levels, Harriet went to university in St Andrews, studying Philosophy for two years, then switching to Management. She was particularly interested in the ‘people’ elements of her course and especially the areas concerning how people create and react to change. After four very civilised years by the sea, she ventured to London, to foray into the strange world of insurance (surprisingly, more interesting than you might think). She worked as a Project Manager on large change programmes before founding her own consultancy in 2015.

Harriet now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband Chris and daughter Atia. When she isn’t, writing, editing, eating, running around after her toddler, or imagining how much better life would be with the addition of a springer spaniel, she occasionally finds the time to make hats.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookPinterest

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Ms. J Mentions…     Promo Post

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Blazing #BlogTour: The Ashes And The Sparks by Mary Victoria Johnson

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ashessparksfinThe Ashes and the Sparks
by Mary Victoria Johnson
Genre: YA Alt-History Fantasy
Release date: October 18th 2016
Fire and Ice Young Adult Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Welcome to the age of airships. It is a world powered by steam and innovation, ruled by an elusive empress at its heart.

Seventeen year-old Jorun is not part of this world. Hers is one of hidden tunnel networks and lights that dance across night skies, on that has remained separate from the rest of society for over a thousand years. This all changes when a boy appears from nowhere, raving about invaders from a faraway land. Purely by chance, Jorun soon finds herself in the middle of a struggle unlike anything she could have ever dreamed of, and must come to the realization that only she can stop an impending war.

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The Ashes and the Sparks Guest Post

Alternate History (about the “rules” and “limits” when writing Alt Hist)

As with most genres, althistory begins with one question: what if? What if Rome never fell? What if the Nazis won World War II? What if the Dark Ages turned into a period of great scientific advancement, or what if dragons really did exist in Ancient China? The possibilities are infinite, which is part of what makes the alternate history such a fascinating topic to explore. My novel takes place in the 1880’s, a period that many would recognize as Victorian. There’s just one key difference: Queen Victoria is dead. Gone. Assassinated. And when you remove such key players, society obviously develops far differently from what happened in our timeline. Really, that’s the core of what althistory is: creating a new, ‘alternate’ timelines.

Few writers enjoy the idea of rules and limits, and as far as genre boundaries go, alternate history offers lots of flexibility. You want the fairies of Irish folktales to be real? Sure. You want massive, gilded airships to be Europe’s primary mode of transportation? Go for it. You want Da Vinci and Michelangelo to be rival vampire-hunting vigilantes? Why not! Time travel, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic dystopias are all totally reasonable subgenres to delve into, but you’ve got to remember to keep the ‘history’ part too. You’ve got to remember that Earth –real Earth- has got to be the basic setting. Even if the magical land of Altoria mimics 3rd century Peru, if there are no connections to reality, then you’re writing straight-up fantasy. There has to be a connection to the real historical timeline. Of course, liberties can be taken; The Ashes and the Sparks involves a completely fictional society based on a mishmash of real Nordic cultures, set on a completely fictional archipelago of islands. But since it’s still set in this universe, with connections to other, real countries, it’s a go.

Another point to remember, is that usually, you only want to shift one major event. It gets way too confusing if the Spanish Armada successfully conquers Britain, leading to a chain of events that make them win the American Revolutionary War, but then a plague wipes out the entire country, so the moon landing never happens, so….lost? Exactly. Keep it simple; it’s amazing how a single event can create a massive ripple effect. Also, don’t leave plot holes. Since you are dealing with real history, your timeline shift has to be somewhat feasible. Nothing irritates readers more than logic jumps.

So go ahead: assemble all your outbreaks and assassinations, and give the past a twist! Set your chain of events in motion.

Book Trailer:

About the Author

mary-victoria-johnsonHi! I’m Mary Victoria Johnson, author of fantastical Young Adult fiction. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, and I haven’t stopped since! Now eighteen, my bibliography includes BOUNDARY, the first part of the Other Horizons Trilogy (Lodestone Books, 2015) and THE ASHES AND THE SPARKS (Fire and Ice YA, 2016). I was born in Cambridgeshire in the UK, and I now live on Vancouver Island where I study Creative Writing at the University of Victoria.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

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February 13th

Pirate Lady Pages   Review

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February 14th

Mythical Books     Promo Post

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The Avid Reader   Promo Post

February 15th

CBY Book Club   Promo Post

Don’t Judge, Read    Review

Deep in the Crease     Review

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February 16th

A New Look On Books     Promo Post

Kimber Leigh Writes      Promo Post

fundinmental     Promo Post

The Bookworm Knows      Review

February 17th

Lori’s Little House of Reviews     Review

forthenovellovers    Review

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Blazing #BlogTour: Sons of Kings Series by Millie Thom

Blog Tour
Shadow of the Raven
Sons of Kings Volume 1
by Millie Thom
Genre: Epic Fantasy
The life of Eadwulf, ten-year old son of the Mercian king, is changed forever when his family is betrayed to the Danes by his treacherous uncle. In a devastating Danish raid,
his father is killed, his mother raped, and along with his tutor and childhood friend, Eadwulf is captured and taken to the Danish lands to be sold as a slave.
As a slave in Jarl Ragnar’s village, Eadwulf’s life is hard, his days unbearably long. But on the return of Ragnar’s eldest son, Bjorn, from his summer raids, his life begins to change. Eadwulf spends the next few years aboard Bjorn’s beloved dragonship, sailing to places he’d never dreamed of, trading and raiding. And although still a slave, he becomes a
well-respected member of Bjorn’s closely knit crew. Yet through it all, the smouldering desire for revenge on those who destroyed his family refuses to abate.
Eadwulf’s story plays out against the backdrop of events unfolding in Wessex in the face of increasing Danish raids. Alfred, the youngest son of the Wessex king, faces family tragedies from an early age, losing first his mother, then his beloved sister when she is married to the new Mercian king: Eadwulf’s treacherous uncle. At his father’s court and the successive courts of his elder brothers, he learns the weighty art of kingship. And,
like Eadwulf, he learns the harshest lesson of all … that a trusted kinsman can so easily turn traitor.
Pit of Vipers
Sons of Kings Volume 2
The ninth century story of King Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia continues to unfold against the ever increasing threat of Danish raids. After years as a slave to the
Danes, Eadwulf has returned to his Mercian homeland and settles to a life of calm domesticity, marred only by his incessant desire for revenge. His frequent absences from his new home, connected to his past life, threaten to destroy the relationships he has fostered and alienate the family he has come to love.
In Wessex, Alfred, now a young man, has spent his childhood at the successive courts of his father and four older brothers, learning the skills of diplomacy and leadership.
Before too long those skills will be put to the test…
The Danish invasion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms is merciless and relentless. Every year more Norse ships come to join their comrades in a quest to plunder for wealth and gain
control over the people. The Danes take kingdom after kingdom and Alfred and his brother Aethelred wait with baited breath for them to set their sights on Wessex. By 869, their worst fear is realised.
And Eadwulf follows vital leads to the objects of his revenge.
Millie is a former geography and history teacher with a degree in geology and a passion for the Anglo Saxon period. Since retiring a few years ago, she has been indulging this passion by writing her historical fiction trilogy, Sons of Kings, of which she is currently writing Book 3. Millie has also become very fond of writing flash fiction, something that developed
from joining in with various challenges on WordPress. As a consequence, she has also recently published a book of 85 flash fiction pieces of 100 to 1,000 words, entitled A Dash of Flash.
Millie is the mother of six grown up children, and after living in a number of places in England, she and her husband now live in a small village in Nottinghamshire. When not
writing, Mille enjoys long walks in the countryside and visiting historic sites and re-enactments. She is also an avid traveller, swimmer and baker of cakes! Originally from the seaside town of Southport in Lancashire, she still misses the smell of the sea.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Feb 7- kickoff at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Feb 7- Rainy Day Reviews

Feb 7- Bound 2 Escape

Feb 8- Verna Loves Books

Feb 8- Shh, I Am Reading

Feb 8- Book Giveaways

Feb 8- The Authors Blog

Feb 9- Teatime and Books

Feb 9- A Mama’s Corner of the World

Feb 9- Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Feb 9- Traci Hayden

Feb 10- TMBA Corbett Tries To Write

Feb 10- Just a Little R&R

Feb 10- The Bookworm Chronicles

Feb 10- Mommabears Book Blog

Feb 13- The Bookworm Lodge

Feb 13- Loves Great Reads

Feb 13- Julayn Adams Books

Feb 14- Tales of a WannaBe Superhero Mom

Feb 14- The Reading Spot

Feb 15- SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews

Feb 15 CelticLady’s Reviews

Feb 15- Books Dreams Life

Feb 15- Ramblings of A Coffee Addicted Writer

Feb 16- Anna Del C Dye

Feb 16- The Kronicles of Korthlundia

Feb 16- Turning Another Page

Feb 16- Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin

Feb 17- Triquetra Reviews

Feb 17- Jazzy Book Reviews

Feb 17- The Avid Reader

Feb 20- Breaking Genre

feb 20- Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Feb 21- Mello & June

Feb 21- The Opinionated Woman’s Musings

Feb 21- Angels With Attitudes Book Reviews

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Blazing #BlogTour: Third Chronicles of Illumination by C.A Pack

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third-chronicles-of-illumination-coverThird Chronicles of Illumination
by C.A. Pack
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Release date: February 7th 2017
Artiqua Press

Summary from Goodreads:

Oh, no! Johanna Charette and Jackson Roth have allowed a sneaky shapeshifter to slip right through their fingers. The good news is that he’s now trapped between the layers of time and space with their Terrorian nemesis, Nero 51. The bad news is the Terrorian wants to control all the Libraries of Illumination, while the shapeshifter wants to control everything else. Who knows how long the Illumini system will remain safe? It’s taking a toll on Johanna and Jackson, who are smack in the center of everything as they struggle to protect the libraries’ legacy. Can you spell s-t-r-e-s-s? The pressure is driving a stake between the teens, and their mercurial romance could be over before it has truly begun.

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After dinner, Jackson asked Johanna to take a walk around the block so he could “work off” his steak. The sun slipped below the tree line and the streetlights came on as they walked. He took Johanna’s hand and gently rubbed his thumb over her knuckle. “I think we need a plan.”

“There’s really not that much we can do,” she answered, “until the Terrorians strike.”

“I’m not talking about the Terrorians. I mean we need a plan.”

She pulled her hand from his. “This is not a good time to be thinking about your raging hormones. We may be fighting a war soon, and I think that takes precedence.”

He let out an audible breath. “It has nothing to do with raging hormones. You talked about taking college courses. I want to take some, too. I’d like to look at a class schedule and decide what courses I want to take, but we need to make sure the library is covered. We need to coordinate when our classes will be so everything runs smoothly.”

“Where’s the real Jackson Roth? And who are you?”


“You’re thinking so pragmatically; you sound like me.”

“Well, I was going to ask you if I could stay on living at the library after my family goes back home, but when you started in on my ‘raging hormones,’ I decided to switch gears.”

“I knew it. But you’re right.”

He twirled her around. “I can move in permanently?”

“I meant about the class schedule. We really should decide on that now. Most students have already registered for the fall semester.”

Jackson’s shoulders slumped. “Oh.”

“Let’s just take a wait-and-see approach about your other ‘plan.’”

He raised his eyebrows. “You mean you’ll actually consider it?”

She smiled at how quickly he perked up. “It’s a possibility. You turn eighteen in October, and considering you’ll be old enough to get drafted or vote, I think you’ll have the maturity to know you’ll be living here as a curator and that we’re not playing house.”

“Not playing house. Right. But I could still do this sometimes, couldn’t I?” He slid his arms around her and pulled her in for a kiss. She wrapped her arms around his waist, and they melted into one another in the twilight. The horn of a passing car broke through their sudden show of passion. “Get a room,” someone shouted out the window.

They could hear laughing as the car drove away. Jackson shook his head. “Jokers.”

“Do you hear that?”

A soft mewling sound came from nearby shrubbery.

“Yeah.” Jackson walked over and bent down, pushing the branches away. A tiny white kitten with bloody fur huddled against the stem. “It’s a kitten. It looks like it’s injured.” He reached for it. The kitten battled him with her claw, drawing blood. “And now I’m injured, too,” Jackson said, pulling his hand away.

“Move over.” Johanna crouched down next to him and chanted a few words from one of Myrddin’s calming spells. She reached for the kitten and removed it from under the bush without a problem. “She’s hurt. Let’s take her back to the library, clean her up, and see what we can do for her.”

“Shouldn’t we take her straight to the vet?”

“Now that I have a few of Myrddin’s tricks up my sleeve, I’d like to try them out.”

Jackson spoke sweetly to the injured animal. “You used to be a kitten, but now you’re a guinea pig.”

“Don’t listen to him,” she said softly to the little ball of fluff. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”


Second Chronicles of Illumination on Goodreads

About the Author

c-a-packC.A. Pack is the author of the Library of Illumination series of YA paranormal fantasy novelettes, along with Chronicles: The Library of Illumination (2014), The Second Chronicles of Illumination (2015) and The Third Chronicles of Illumination (2017).Pack also writes for a general audience. Her first novel, Code Name: Evangeline—is an historical spy thriller which takes place in the 1930’s. The author followed it up with Evangeline’s Ghost—a fantasy about the death of that same spy. She recently completed work on Evangeline’s Ghost: Houdini, and is currently working on Evangeline’s Ghost: The Bridge.

Pack is an award winning journalist from New York who worked as an anchor/reporter and educator (she considers herself the fairy-godmother of television news reporters)—and has written for WNBC, LI News Tonight and News 12 Long Island. She also worked on PBS documentaries, radio and television commercials and created and produced a pilot for a news show focusing solely on marriage and wedding trends.

She’s a past president of the Press Club of Long Island and a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. Pack has been a speaker or panelist for organizations such as Women in Communications, Fair Media Council, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

The author lives with her husband and two picky parrots “on” Long Island, New York.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookPinterest


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February 7th

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium   Promo Post

Zerina Blossom’s Books    Promo Post

February 8th

Mythical Books    Promo Post

Loves Great Reads    Promo Post

February 9th

Literary Musings    Promo Post

Just Us Book Blog    Promo Post

February 10th

What Is That Book About    Promo Post

Desert Rose Reviews    Promo Post

February 13th

SolaFide Book Club Promo Post

The Cover Contessa   Promo Post

February 14th

Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina   Promo Post

Kara the Redhead Promo Post

February 15th

T’s Stuff    Promo Post

A New Look On Books           Promo Post

February 16th

deal sharing aunt Promo Post

The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange   Promo Post

February 17th

The Readdicts    Promo Post

February 20th

The Avid Reader      Promo Post

Laura’s Interests     Review

February 21st

CBY Book Club    Promo Post

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Rapturous #Release #Blitz: Ditch Lane Diaries Series by D.F. Jones

Release blitz
Lane Diaries
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Angels
and Demons,
Metaphysical and Visionary, Fantasy
Publisher: Jones Media
Date of Publication: 2/07/17
Number of Pages: 635
Word Count: 220,913
Cover Artist: Amanda Northcutt
Jones Media
Book Description:
Angels and Demons Collide in the Ditch
Lane Diaries
Ditch Lane Diaries One-Volume Collection, includes Ruby’s Choice, Anna’s Way,
and Sandy’s Story, follow three best friends from college to adulthood while
navigating life’s journey, true loves and supernatural powers bestowed by The
Creator as The Chosen to fight in a six-thousand angelic war between good and
A Prophetic Dreamer, a Divine
Healer, and a Soul Reader.
The Ditch Lane Diaries follows
three childhood friends from college to adulthood.
An afternoon adventure uncovers a
hidden room and mysterious stones in Campbell Ridge cave unlocking their
supernatural powers.
prophetic dreamer, Ruby’s Choice
is a coming of age tale of firsts
including the angst of falling in love. Ruby’s Choice introduces the main
characters of the story while adding a splash of paranormal.
Way is the second installment of The Ditch Lane Diaries.
Anna is a
healer, and one of The Chosen Wards of The Creator.
However, Anna learns quick that
true love doesn’t come in a nice and neat package. She is in love with Jerry
but when she decides to go away to medical school things change.
In Anna’s Way, the Ditch Lane
Diaries characters evolve with adult problems. She meets her guardian angel,
Ralph, who teaches Anna how to use her gift to help others without drawing
attention to herself. Anna’s friendships and true love is the tie that binds
them together while facing supernatural battles against the master of all evil.
clairvoyant, Sandy’s Story is the last book of the Ditch Lane Diaries.
The fast-paced,
gripping thriller keeps the reader on edge, and the pages turning.
Investigative reporter, Sandy
Cothran follows a murder lead on Music Row which uncovers Luc’s Testament along
with a string of related crimes.
Sandy’s guardian angel, Baldric
is sworn to protect her but finds himself falling in love with Sandy which
breaks all the rules of heaven and places her in grave danger because Luc is
waiting in the wings on his given moment to pounce.
The Wards of Campbell Ridge fight
with Heaven’s Warrior Angels in an epic supernatural battle against Luc and his
demons to save one of The Chosen.
$2.99 Special Pricing During Release Week!
Readers Are Saying:
“The Ditch Lane Diaries
series has it all and is easily one of my favorites! I am a forever fan of D.F.
Jones! If you like drama, romance, betrayal, demons, angels, secrets, magical
powers, and jealousy, then this book is for you!!!”
“The Ditch Lane Diaries
satiated the starving bookworm in me!”
“I’ll just say that if I
were an angel, this book would have me sprinkling love dust all over the place.
High five DF Jones. Remarkable Read!”
“Grab some tissues for this
heart-pounding, pulse-racing series!”
Signed Paperbacks are available to
purchase online through
order books online through most major
Lane Diaries: One-Volume Collection
Choice (Ditch Lane Diaries 1)
Way (Ditch Lane Diaries 2)
Story (Ditch Lane Diaries 3)
Mirror, a Halloween Short Story:


 Excerpt from Ruby’s
Choice book one of the Ditch Lane Diaries
Ruby sat close to Reed
on the drive back to Murfreesboro. There was a wintry chill in the air, and the promise of snow lurked in the late
October sky. The two-lane highway had double yellow lines with no shoulder. As
they approached the stretch of the road called Dead Man’s Curve, Ruby looked up
a second too late to see a deer run out of the woods and dart into the highway
in front of Reed’s car.
“Reed, watch out!” she
 Reed was driving too fast to react and tried
slamming on his brakes, but he hit the deer. That was when everything seemed to
happen in slow motion. Ruby heard the brakes screech
and smelled burning rubber. She heard the violent
crunch of metal as the car skidded in the gravel toward the ditch. She felt as
if they were slowly floating through the air—and then, all at once, everything
sped up, as Ruby heard the deafening grind of metal, and the car flipped on its
side. Ruby’s head hit the windshield, and then there was nothing.
Reed woke to a coppery
taste in his mouth and the smell of burnt rubber and antifreeze. His head ached
with intense pain. It took about a second for him to remember what had
happened. He looked down and found Ruby pinned underneath him. His car was
flipped over on the passenger side. A surge of adrenaline pumped through his
body as he lifted himself off Ruby and gently shook her.
Reed lifted her from
the floorboard and held her in his arms. “Ruby, honey, wake up. Are you okay?”
There was no movement from her. He screamed, “Ruby, baby, can you hear me? Please wake up, Ruby!” His hands shook as he
felt for her pulse. Thank you, sweet
Jesus! She’s alive!
People screamed from
somewhere outside, from the sound, there must’ve been at least a dozen people
at the scene. He heard sirens in the distance as people approached the car.
Brent yelled, “Reed,
help is coming. We’re going to try and place the vehicle upright. Can you hold on to something?”
Reed braced himself
with one arm so he wouldn’t fall on Ruby. With his other arm, he tried to
secure her next to him, gently, so she wouldn’t hit the dash when the
others flipped the car upright.
Brent hollered, “On the
count of three: One! Two! Three!”
The car flipped upright
and bounced like a buggy. Reed cradled Ruby in his arms.
Brent opened the
driver’s side door and started to pull Reed out. Reed screamed, “Wait. I’m not
leaving Ruby. Has anyone called an ambulance?”
 Reed glanced up to see the distraught look on
Brent’s face when Brent first noticed Ruby. And then Brent fell backward,
nearly falling. Ruby lay unconscious, almost lifeless in Reed’s arms.
Brent regained his
balance by placing his hand on the roof of the car. His voice quivered, “Reed,
I can see the ambulance lights now. The state trooper is here. Hey man, you’re
bleeding pretty badly.”
Nearing the brink of
hysteria, Reed cried, “Jesus, I don’t care about me. I care about her. I’m
staying here with her.”
Someone handed Brent a
couple of blankets, and his hands shook when
he gave them to Reed. Brent said, “You
need to place this one over Ruby and the other one around you. The paramedics
are here.”
with two gurneys, one for Reed and the other for Ruby, the paramedics pulled
Reed from the car. He begged, “Please get Ruby first. I’m okay. Get
Ruby out of the car.” Reed was out of his mind with worry. He tried to punch
one of the paramedics as they were pulling him from the wreckage. He screamed
and cried out, “Ruby! I’m here, darling! I’m not leaving you, baby! I’m right
 Ruby lay unconscious.
Excerpt from Anna’s Way
book two of the Ditch Lane Diaries
Jerry was the first-person Anna saw when she walked into the Glenn’s house. He leaned against the
stairwell with his arms crossed over his chest wearing a navy-blue suit and
black shirt. Jerry’s eyes locked with Anna’s. The molecules in the air charged
with electricity, kicking up a furor of fire flooding Anna with the warmth of
his love.
Jerry’s face lit with a smile,
and it felt like seeing the sun for the first time in years. Her pulse raced, and her fingertips tingled with power.
Anna swiftly looked around the room and didn’t see any sign of Rachel.
Anna made a beeline to Jerry. “I need to talk to you,
alone. I have no idea how because Rachel pops up everywhere. Will you please
talk to me in private?”
Jerry leaned close to her ear and whispered, “When and
Anna sighed with relief. That was all she needed to hear.
“Sandy intends to feed Rachel cocktails and suggest she go outside to smoke. We might have a few minutes then, okay?”
Jerry’s eyes turned a shade darker. He undressed her with his eyes, and she
trembled, leaving her knees feeling weak. She grabbed onto his hand and held it
tight. “I feel the same way about you.”
Anna noticed Rachel walking out of the kitchen. She quickly turned to Brent, who was talking to George and Lizzie.
Anna placed her arm around Brent’s waist.
Brent smiled down at Anna and circled his arm around her
waist. He whispered, “Are we playing a game?” Anna nodded.
Out of the corner of her eye,
she noticed Jerry tensed and his jaw muscles clenched. She looked down, and Jerry’s right hand balled up into a fist. Hot dog. Jerry’s jealous.
As the afternoon wore on, the neighbors and church folk
began to leave until the only people left were the Glenn family and a few family friends, including Brent, Sandy, Jerry, Rachel, and Anna.
Sandy plied Rachel
with cocktails all afternoon. Sandy winked and nodded to Anna when she led
Rachel outside to the backyard. It was show-time. Anna whirled around the room
and spotted Jerry near the front door watching her. Anna nodded, and he walked up the stairs. Anna
glanced across the backyard once more and made a mad dash up the stairs. She
made the top step and started down the hallway when Jerry opened Ruby’s old
bedroom door and pulled her inside.
Anna threw her arms around his neck, and he circled her waist. Searching his eyes, she said, “I
don’t need a man to complete me. I need love to complete me, and it’s the love
I have for you that makes me whole. I’ve made a ton of mistakes, but there’s
one thing I know for sure. You, Jerry Douglas
McDaniel, are the love of my life.”
Jerry held her face with both hands. “All it took was one
look into your eyes, and I knew I was still crazy for you, all of you, and I can’t go another minute without making
you mine.”
Anna’s eyes widened with
surprise. “What are you saying?”
Jerry brushed a strand of hair behind her ear and
caressed her cheek with the palm of his hand. “I didn’t sleep last night. All I
could do was think about you, about us. I don’t have any proof, but I think
Rachel may have deleted your messages and thrown away your letters. I didn’t think you loved me anymore, Anna. I can’t marry
Rachel. God forgive me. I don’t mean to hurt Rachel, but I don’t love her. I
love you. I always have.”
Jerry leaned in only inches from her face. The warmth of his sweet breath and the spicy scent of his
cologne made it hard for her to breathe. His loving eyes searched hers, saying everything and nothing. Anna’s
adrenaline kicked in high gear. The clarity she had
at this moment was razor sharp.
An emotional force unleashed between
them as Jerry’s warm lips made contact with hers,
and they slammed against the wall. His lips were gentle and rough, alternating
between kissing and sucking her top and bottom
lips. His tongue licked the corners of her mouth,
and he gently traced the outline of her lips before he plunged inside. His knee pushed between her thighs, and her heart skipped a beat

her up in his arms, carried her over to Ruby’s bed, and lay her down. He traced
his fingers along her jawline, down her neck to the swell of her breasts. Jerry
pulled back slightly, looking at her as if she were a lost treasure he had just found. He covered her with a
blanket of kisses and gently ran his hand over her breast and squeezed, and she
stopped him.

we can’t do this, not here in the Glenn’s
house. As bad as I want to make love to you right now, I can’t. I love and respect them.”
brushed his fingers over her cheek. “Anna, I’m sorry. The long and short of it
is, I damn well near died when you left. But now I feel like my heart is going
to explode with happiness. I don’t want to let you go.” Anna choked back her
tears and reached up to run her fingers through
his thick hair.
kissed her again. “I’m sorry, Anna. I should’ve never agreed to marry Rachel.
It wasn’t fair to her or you. Will you forgive me? I know you may think I’m
nuts, but let’s run away. I want you to run away with me. I’ve always wanted to
marry you. Always. Will you run away with me?”
kissed him hard and hugged him with all her strength. “In a Tennessee
heartbeat, I will. I’m staying at Ruby’s. What time will you come for me?”
rolled onto his side, propped on his
elbow. “I’m not sure yet. It could be late. Will you wait for me? I promise I’ll be there. I have to tell Rachel, and it’s going to get real ugly.”
couldn’t take her eyes off his face. “Yes, I’ll wait for you. I’ll be ready. If
you like, I could go with you to talk to
pulled her on top of him and ran his hand down the curve of her spine. “Bad
jealous about everything, especially you.
It’s my mess, and I’ll clean it up. I
have to go. Rachel will be looking for me, and I don’t want to create a scene
here. I love you, Annabelly.” They sat on the side of the bed. He hugged her
again. “Is this real? Are you really here
with me?”
gently touched the side of his face. “I’m here.”
walked to the door. He cracked it open
and paused before he strode back over, pulled her up into his arms, and kissed
her one last time. “Damn, I missed you.” Then he left, leaving her standing
next to the bed. Her heart hammered faster than a horse running the Kentucky
pressed her fingers to her lips. She couldn’t believe it. Jerry was coming for
her tonight. Anna stepped over to Ruby’s vanity, picked up a hairbrush, and
began to brush her hair. She opened a tube of coral lipstick and applied it to her lips.
went over to the door and peeked outside. She didn’t see anyone, so she quickly
walked down the hall and into the
skin flushed pink. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what she
had been doing. Anna began to breathe in
and out slowly to settle her racing pulse. She looked around the drawers in the
cabinets until she found Lee’s makeup case. Anna tried to make herself presentable
before she went back downstairs.
had waited for ten minutes before she
descended the stairs. On the bottom step, Sandy grabbed her hand and dragged
her outside. Anna followed Sandy around the back of the house. Sandy stopped
and turned to face her.
threw her hands in the air in apparent frustration. “Have you lost your mind?
from Sandy’s Story book three of the
Ditch Lane Diaries
Luc’s Testament held the keys
she needed to bring down his network in more places than Nashville. Sandy had
enough ammunition to disrupt Luc’s empire on earth. She held the power in her
hands. Sandy wrapped the large book with a black velvet cloth and secured it
with a leather strap.
Sandy felt weighed down by
Luc’s Testament as if she carried an enormous burden on her back while walking
slowly to her Corvette. She placed the book in the back storage with her Ditch
Lane Diaries master copy, then slid behind the wheel and cranked up the engine.
A stern Baldric appeared in the passenger seat, arms crossed and jaw clenched.
“You can’t stay mad at me
anymore. You’re right. Luc’s Testament has enormous power and contains
everything we need to bring him down. Nailing Cole Steele will be a bonus.
Before we head out to Everglade Farms, I need to stop at the library and make
copies of the pages mentioning Cole. I’ll keep the original book with me.”
Sandy grabbed Baldric by the face and kissed him on the mouth.
Flames of desire shot up her
spine as the kiss lengthened, and she melted into Baldric’s strong arms. Sandy gazed
at him through heavy lids, and a slow smile came to her lips. “You have
sparkles floating in the air all around you. Golden sparkles. What is that?”
“Don’t ask or we won’t make it
to the library or Everglade Farms, and I’m already in deep enough waters with
Seneca.” Baldric held her hand and kissed her fingertips.
Sandy turned up her CD player
and began to rock back and forth to the music from Electric Light Orchestra.
She teased him and sang out the words, “You like me, you love me, you want some
more of me.” She giggled and pulled out onto the highway.
“You’re some kind of woman.” He
“Yup, the kind that wants
some.” Baldric’s response to her kiss made her heart flutter with excitement.
It was the middle of February, and her palms were sweating.
Everglade was thirty miles
south of Nashville. Driving down I-65, Sandy’s thoughts raced back to Luc’s
Testament. She’d followed leads on Cole for months. Not a single solitary soul
would even speak to her off the record. Everyone was scared to death of him.
But with the book in her trunk, Sandy had all the answers she needed to nail
Cole to the wall and couldn’t wait until her segment hit the airwaves.
the Author:
After graduating Middle Tennessee
State University, I landed a job as a broadcast consultant at the ABC Affiliate
in Nashville, which led me to open an advertising agency. Over the years, I
created many campaigns for my clients and still enjoy developing marketing
However, in December of 2010, I
became my parent’s caregiver. There’s nothing quite like facing mortality to
shake up one’s life. I began my writing my first novel in the late Fall of
Writing is a source of creative
expression but also releases stress. I know many authors that would disagree
with me. But writing takes me to a place where anything is possible, and
fiction takes me to places made of dreams.
I’m happily married to the love
of my life and my best friend, KJ. We have two gorgeous sons whom I love and
adore more than life itself. I love to laugh, and my husband keeps me in
stitches! I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans. And I like getting my hands dirty.
Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. I like working in my flower gardens.
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Bombastic #BookBlitz: Obsidian Sky by Amy Braun

Book Blitz

Obsidian Sky
Amy Braun
(Dark Sky #3)
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

The final struggle against the Hellions has arrived. A trapped engineer and a desperate marauder scramble to fight an enemy with unspeakable power on its side. Time is running out, and one world will be destroyed…

After sacrificing herself to save the lives of her friends and family, Claire Abernathy struggles to outwit her Hellion captors. They torment and terrify her into working on a weapon with the sole purpose of obliterating the world, friends, and love she has struggled to save. If Claire has any chance of saving those she loves, she must delve deeper into the Hellion world, and witness nightmares she could never imagine.

In Westraven, Sawyer Kendric is desperate to find the woman he loves. To do so, he must finally embrace his family’s atrocious past and heal the wounds it has caused. He will be forced to make new allies, uncover secrets that change all he knows, and find the courage to lead a ragtag crew into the darkest, deadliest battle of their lives.

Claire and Sawyer fight to save their broken world in the final installment of the epic DARK SKY trilogy.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / Smashwords

Previous books in the series:

28260225 29963541


Chapter 1



The storm came out of nowhere. They always did.

I gritted my teeth and held up the crate lid, protecting my face from the fresh torrent of hail that came on the wind. The shards of ice pummeled the battered wood, then vanished completely when the wind changed. I tossed down my makeshift shield, grabbed the spokes of the helm, and fought the wind.

“Hard to port!” I bellowed. My throat was already burning from constantly shouting orders, and more yelling wasn’t helping.

Good thing it’s raining, I thought grimly.

I watched Nash sprint across the deck below, racing for the trap door to repeat my command to Gemma. We were in the air when the storm hit, and Nash refused to follow any order until Gemma was safely tucked away in the engine room, using the airship’s automated controls to alter our course instead of changing sails by dangling hundreds of feet in the air on a piece of rope.

I didn’t argue with him. I knew what it was like, to be so in love with someone that you couldn’t think about anything but protecting them.

But you didn’t. You let her go. You weren’t strong enough to defend her. You weren’t strong enough to save her.

Shoving the truth back down, I wrenched the wheel to the left. The Dauntless Wanderer pitched, pushed by the savage wind. I twisted the helm around and around, my biceps burning as the Dauntless struggled to obey me. I could feel the wooden slats of the quarterdeck vibrating under my feet as the generator struggled to turn the sails. I watched the masts twist and grind in their riveted sockets on the deck. If I pushed them too hard against the wind, they would bend and we would lose control. The top of the main mast was already swaying ominously in the punishing wind.

I mastered the ship. Not the weather.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Nash race up the deck steps and came to a halt next to me. All my focus was on the ink black clouds ahead. I was searching for darker ones.

“Sawyer, we have to go back,” Nash shouted in my ear.

“Not yet,” I yelled back. “We can hold another five minutes.”

As if hearing me, the wind shifted again. I grabbed the crate lid. Nash ducked down and covered his head with his hands. Chunky blocks of hail beat down on us, but I shielded Nash and myself from the worst of it.

As soon as the hail switched to rain, I dropped the crate lid. Nash rose to his feet and swung in front of me. He grabbed some empty spokes on the helm and kept me from turning the wheel.

“Sawyer, we can’t stay out here.”

I looked at my friend, the first person I recruited to my crew. He’d been with me for nearly four years. I trusted him more than anyone else in the world. He would never lead me astray, never abandon me, never tell me something I didn’t need to hear.

Right now, I wanted to punch his lights out.

“Let go,” I warned.

I tried to jerk the wheel out of his grasp, but even when my arms weren’t sore from maneuvering an airship in a rain-wind-hail storm, Nash was stronger than me. His muscles were almost twice the size of mine. I knew how to fight with a blade. Nash earned his reputation with his fists. The dog-faced tattoo from his old marauder life– when he was forced to fight for survival against fiendish killers– snarled up at me from the dark skin of his arm. Cuts from sharp hail lined his cheeks and arms. He was bruised, exhausted, and worried. But he wouldn’t back down.

“We won’t find anything out here,” he said. “The storm will get worse, and the Dauntless can’t risk taking major hits. We don’t have anyone to repair her if she does.”

Anger and pain spiked in my chest. But Nash wasn’t done.

“We have a little girl on board, Sawyer. Or did you forget about her?”

Abby. How could I forget her? Every time I looked at those blonde curls and bright green eyes, I saw them on an older, willowy young woman. I thought about her pale skin, soft lips, and achingly sad eyes. I remembered how heartbroken she’d been when she walked away to save our lives.

To save my life.

Abby was a wreck, same as me. Her big sister would never forgive me if anything happened to her.

If that wasn’t enough, Nash had one more nail to drive into my heart.

“Do you think Claire would want us risking ourselves like this to find her?”

He was asking a question that would hurt in more ways than one, because it was the only way I would listen. I knew the answer, of course.

She would be furious. In fact, she would probably try to punch me again. I would probably welcome it, if that meant I would see her and know she was safe.

Not a warrior, but a fighter at heart. That was my Claire.

My chest tightened. I closed my eyes and sighed. It hurt to breathe.

“The storm’s coming from the north. Tell Gemma to keep turning south. We’re heading back to the ports.”

Nash checked my eyes, making sure I wouldn’t break my word. It stung to know he doubted me now.

He let go of the wheel and raced down the stairs. I kept turning the helm, shifting toward the dull grey skies of Westraven. I steadied the wheel and waited a couple more minutes until I was sure

Nash would be safe below deck with Gemma.

Then I took a deep breath, hit the accelerator, and left another hope behind.




Now that the Dauntless sailed freely, I constantly expected an attack. Someone to ambush us and take my ship. I would be killed and my friends enslaved. I dreaded to think what would happen to Abby, who was little more than a scared child.

But even now, with the Behemoth destroyed, no one ventured into the ports. When the Hellions entered Aon and attacked Westraven a decade ago in The Storm, dozens of survivors fled to the expansive tarmac. It used to be the Westraven Trade Board’s landing pad for other provincial airships to land with their goods, and it was assumed that the five hundred foot square air hangar in the middle of the concrete tarmac would be filled with enough supplies to outlast the Hellions.

But it didn’t matter when the monsters landed in their raiding skiffs and burst into the building. They were always watching, always hunting, and always knowing where to strike.

For a few months, smaller bands of survivors tried to sneak inside the ports during daylight and the rainy seasons, trying to get inside the hangar and assuming the Hellions wouldn’t find them.

They always did.

It didn’t take long for most of Westraven to decide that the ports were cursed, and nothing in them was worth the risk of being devoured. I suppose that even with the Behemoth gone, they wanted to keep thinking that.Maybe they would keep thinking that until the Breach was closed. If that was the case, the ports would stay cursed for a long time.

I had a bad habit of taking potentially suicidal risks. While the other survivors assumed the ports were cursed, I decided to take them over. It was a safe place for me to hide my ship– and myself.

I dropped the speed of the Dauntless, letting her glide over the concrete tarmac toward the hangar. I liked speed, but I understood the value of patience. It had taken me two years to find my ship and set up traps so it wouldn’t be stolen. Another year to clean up the worst of the damage. Two more years to move the damn ship in the rainy seasons and daylight, constantly watching the skies to make sure the Hellions wouldn’t blast it to pieces, and yet another year to do more thorough repairs in the hangar.

Not easy to do when you’re a lonely, orphaned seventeen-year old––or was I eighteen now? I couldn’t remember––with a family name that everyone hates.

Even with all those years of labor and fighting for survival against the people I stole from, it hadn’t been enough. The generator had been damaged, and I hadn’t gotten the Dauntless to fly no matter what experimental repairs I did. No one had been able to fix it.

Not until Claire came along.

Hiding the pain again, I eased the Dauntless Wanderer to a stop fifteen feet from the main building, where the concrete met sheets of metal plating that circled around the hangar. Hidden by the plates was a Pitfall, a trap that would react when it sensed any kind of vibration moving over it. A trap that would send a devastating electric pulse over and above the metal plates and shock whatever was standing on it.

Claire’s way of protecting us.

Once the ship came to a stop, I let it idle and walked down the steps. I glimpsed Nash slipping on heavy electrical gloves, slinging a rope over the side of the Dauntless,and climbing down. Gemma stood at the railing, watching him with anxious eyes. I stood next to her while Nash knelt down by the metal plating and began to search for the wire that would disarm the Pitfall until we were inside.

“What the hell was that out there?” Gemma asked me, never taking her eyes from Nash.

I looked at her. Gemma was my master gunner, my ship’s rigger, and my friend. She was tall, lithe, and beautiful. She wore a sleeveless leather jumpsuit, heavy black boots, and had her short brown hair tied in a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her pale skin was smeared with soot and grime, her dark brown eyes intense and focused on what mattered to her. Two knives and a flintlock pistol were strapped to her waist. When I met Gemma, she was a thief set on corrupting both Nash and me. But she saved our lives, and proved her loyalty a thousand times over. I valued her opinion.

I just wasn’t looking forward to the barbs that would come with it.

“Nash already gave me an earful, Gemma,” I muttered, resting my arms on the railing as Nash worked cautiously. “I’m not in the mood for another one.”

Her hand curled on my shoulder and yanked me away from the railing. Sometimes I forgot how strong Gemma was. It was the mistake her enemies made, one that they paid for in the worst ways.

Then again, she’d never used that strength against me.

“Too bad,” she said, dark eyes burning. “You need to hear it.”

I glared. “I give the orders. Not you,” I reminded.

As if that bit of truth would stop Gemma.

“You’re not the only one who wants to find Claire,” she snapped. “We all do. But did you forget why she gave herself up in the first place?”

I balled my fists, wishing I could crush my memories in them. They surged without my control.

The pain as the Vesper, King of the Hellions reached into my mind with his own, bent on demolishing me. The empty look of the man who’d betrayed us. The cruel smile of my enemy when he knew he’d won. The heart-wrenching pain on the face of the girl I loved as she was taken, even as I gave her my deepest promise.

I’ll save you.

            But that was what Claire did for us instead. She gave herself up to build a Palisade– a two towered device that could cut through the thin fabric of dimensions– in exchange for our lives. Claire was the daughter of Westraven’s most famous engineers, and easily as skilled as they were. She repaired the Palisade her mother and father created, and used it to fend off the Hellions that had swarmed us.

But it had been a rush job, nowhere near as destructive as the original Palisade was ten years ago when it created the Breach. Yet Claire claimed she could make another one, just as powerful.

If she did…

But Claire wouldn’t do that. She was too good, and too smart. If she made a deal with the Vesper, she had another reason to do so. She had a plan.

Except I didn’t know what it was, and I couldn’t help her if–

Gemma punched me in the arm. She didn’t hold back, either. I would feel that bruise for days.

“What the hell was that for?” I snarled.

“To prove a damn point,” she shot back. “You’re distracted, Sawyer. Claire is in every inch of your mind, and you can’t think about anything else. You can’t think like a captain.”

I wanted to argue, but she was right. Claire was all I could think about, even before her surrender. She’d gotten under my skin, into my very soul, the way no one else had. I didn’t think anyone could do that, because of who I was.

But she did. She didn’t even have to try.

“You’re not the only one who’s in love, Sawyer.”

I narrowed my eyes at Gemma. She just rolled her eyes. “Please. As if we all didn’t see it.” A sly grin crossed her lips before she turned her gaze to Nash. The smile fell from her face, but love continued to burn in her eyes.

“We’ve been with you for years. You made a choice, we followed it. You made enemies, we fought them. You made a stupid decision, we shrugged and went along with it.”

A sardonic grin twisted my lips. Gemma wasn’t one to mince words.

“But this is different. You’re not asking us to cross into marauder territory and swipe a few goods. This isn’t even like when we stormed the Behemoth. We only did that because we had armfuls of explosives and a crazy engineer.” Gemma shook her head, sadness cutting out the love in her eyes.

“You’re asking us to go through the Breach. The heart of Hellion territory, where they will absolutely see us coming. If they don’t, the Vesper will know. We don’t know the terrain. We don’t have the numbers or weapons to fight them. We’ll be dead before we touch ground. If we’re lucky.”

Luck. She said that word like it existed in our situation. If the Hellions captured us, our lives would become nothing but torture and pain until they grew bored of us. I remembered the stories Riley toldof his captivity on the Behemoth. The things he claimed to have seen and endure. I had no love for the man, especially after what he’d done to us, but I hadn’t thought he was lying about the horrors he suffered.

My heart lurched at the thought of Claire enduring them now.

“I want to live, Sawyer,” Gemma said, her voice barely above a whisper. “I have something good in my life, and I don’t want to lose him.”

I glanced at Nash. He stood up and began peeling off the thick electrical gloves used to handle the Pitfall. He glanced at Gemma and smiled. She returned the expression.

“If you don’t slow down to think up a plan to get Claire safely, then we’re going to leave.”

I whirled my head so fast it almost wrenched off my neck. “You’re not serious.”

Gemma turned her sad eyes onto me, and gave me her answer. I would have rather she sucker-punched me again.

“We wouldn’t want to, but you wouldn’t give us a choice. Not if we wanted to live.” The hardness returned to her eyes. “So sort yourself out. Act like a leader. At the very least, pretend to care.”

I flinched. I couldn’t help it, because I did care. I cared too much.

And that was the whole problem.

Gemma winced when she saw the slip of my composure. Her eyes were pained, and she took a breath to apologize.

“Tell Nash to guide us in,” I said quietly. “You can open the door.”

I walked away before she could say anything else. I was glad that she didn’t call me back. I didn’t trust myself not to say something I would regret.

At least this way I could try and get some sleep.

I walked to the cabin door, then hesitated. Ever since her rescue, Abby had been sleeping in the captain’s cabin. The poor girl had been kidnapped by Hellions and turned into a blood donor for the monsters. As if standing for days on end, strapped to a cold table and having her blood drained from her ounce by ounce wasn’t enough, Abby was plagued with a disease that slowly turned her into a Hellion. Seeing her sister tortured in such a way nearly shattered Claire, and part of her bargain with the Vesper was to relieve Abby from the disease.

Abby was cured, but she couldn’t stop crying. I’d done my best to comfort her, but it had been a long time since I was an older brother. In the end, I failed at that, too.

Putting Micah in the back of my mind before memories of losing him could hurt me, I knocked on the door. There was no answer, but at least she would hear me. I twisted the doorknob and walked into the cabin.

It wasn’t as extravagant as it had been when my father was captain. The windows were covered with black cloth. Crates were piled in every corner. Clothing and blankets lay tossed over leather trunks. Hurricane lanterns were tacked to the walls. The wide oak desk was covered with swords, knives, pistols, and rags to clean them with.

At the far side of the room was a wide couch that doubled as a bed. Sitting on top of it, surrounded in sprinkles of sugar and nibbled bread, dressed in a baggy shirt and pants shortened and hemmed to fit her small frame, was Abby.

Claire’s baby sister reminded me of a cherub. Bouncy golden curls, pale skin, rosy cheeks, big green eyes filled with wonder. When she grew up, she would be a heartbreaker. She probably wouldn’t even know it. Her sister hadn’t, and Claire had caught my heart hook, line, and sinker.

Abby looked up from the book cradled in her lap. I smiled at her and crossed the hardwood floor to the bed.

“Hey, Stargazer,” I said.

Abby smiled at the nickname. She loved the sky. Her happiest moments seemed to be when we hovered in the cloudless night sky. Abby used a periscope to chart the constellations, drawing lines to connect them and turning stars into smiling faces.

It had been a long month since she’d drawn anything.

“Hi, Sawyer,” she said, scooting over so I could sit on the bed. She looked at the tiny crystals of sugar spotting the blanket and gasped lightly. She quickly brushed them away with her tiny hands.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make a mess.”

I smiled. “Don’t worry about it.” I wasn’t the least bit irritated. Abby was eating again, no longer looking pale and fragile. It hadn’t taken long for us to realize that Abby was obsessive about putting sugar on any and all foods. Even meats.

Moira, the caretaker who’d joined the crew a few months ago, had tried a few times to tempt Abby into eating by coating her food in sugar when she was sick, but the poor girl had been so plagued by the Vesper’s control and disease that it hadn’t worked. Moira would have been so happy to see that Abby was getting better, looking more like a little girl and less like a hollowed child. But she had died trying to defend Abby from Davin when he raided our home at the ports.

Moira had become another victim of my brother.

I kept the smile on my face and pushed the rage and hurt down, storing it for whenever I faced Davin next. He didn’t matter right now. This bright-eyed, curly haired girl did.

“How are you doing?” I asked, settling down next to her.“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good,” Abby told me. She closed the notebook and clutched it to her chest.

“Are you sure? I was sailing pretty wildly.”

“It’s okay,” she assured. “It was kinda fun.”

I grinned. “Glad to hear it. Maybe I’ll do it on purpose next time.”

Abby giggled, summer green eyes sparkling. Claire’s did the same when she was consumed by a project, or was intensely arguing a point.

I turned away from Abby and rubbed my chest, wishing I could shift the pain from it.

“You didn’t find it, did you?”

I dropped my hand. There was no point in trying to soothe the ache. Abby’s crushed voice just made it worse.

“No,” I told her honestly.

Abby and I sat in heavy silence. She sniffled quietly beside me. I gripped my kneecaps and stared at the floor.

“I’m trying to remember what Riley showed me,” Abby said after a long, long time.

When I looked at her again, she was shuffling closer and opening her book of constellations. But I wasn’t seeing stars. Dark, uneven circles were scrawled on the page. A jagged black shape spread across the middle of the pages, as if sketched by an angry fist.

“That’s what it looks like,” Abby continued. “The Breach.”

I stared at the drawing, wishing it would tell me where it was. How I could find it. Which direction to turn the ship. How to rescue the girl I loved without losing my crew in the process.

All I saw were scribbles.

“Did he tell you where it was?” I hedged, though I knew the answer. “Did he tell you exactly where the Breach was?”

Abby sucked in her lower lip. I could see her struggling to find an answer, to lie and keep up the search for her sister. Like me, she would rather scour the skies day and night, looking for any trace of the Breach or Claire. But Abby was a scared little girl. She wasn’t a fighter. She didn’t know how to operate an airship or work on the engines. She just wanted her big sister back.

The Vesper probably implanted the image of the Breach into Abby’s mind to scare her. He’d tortured her with nightmares of what she would become unless Claire surrendered, likely showing her the Breach to let her know the bleakness that waited for her in another world.

Now she was cured of the Vesper, and trapped in a different nightmare.

Abby made a choked, hiccupping sound. A hopeless noise.

I gently pried the notebook from her little fingers and set it on the blanket. I put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her to my side. Abby didn’t need further invitation, throwing her arms around my ribs and squeezing with all her strength. Her tears soaked my shirt. I rubbed her back, like I’d done for Micah so many times whenever Davin scared him. My older brother took pleasure in tormenting anyone he thought below him.

And now he had Claire. She was tough, but Davin’s greatest joy came from breaking someone strong.

“I’m scared, Sawyer,” Abby sobbed into my chest. Her tiny fists balled my shirt. She trembled violently. “I’m scared she won’t come home. He… he’s going to hurt her, I know it, worse than he hurt me, he’s going to––”

I pushed back from Abby. I couldn’t handle the details right now.

But I wasn’t going to lie.

“Claire is tough, Stargazer. Tougher than me. Smarter, too. She’ll survive. And I’m going to get her back. I swear it, Abigail.”

Tears stained the little girl’s cheeks and still brimmed in her eyes, yet her sobs had quieted. She stopped shaking. She believed me.

I just wished I believed in myself.

Sort yourself out. Act like a leader.

Gemma’s words vibrated through my skull, and as Abby cuddled next to me for comfort, I knew she was right. If I was going go through with this crazy mission and save the stubborn, feisty engineer that captured my heart, I had to stop moping. I had to think of a way to outsmart my enemies.

Riley, my newest and traitorous former crewmate. Davin, the cruel man-turned-Hellion who shared my blood. The Vesper, a nightmare King with harrowing power.

I had to outsmart them. Then I had to kill them.

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Author Bio:

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

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