Thursday, November 29, 2012

'The Forbidden Trilogy (Omnibus Edition with Bonus Features!)

For one week only, the award-winning Forbidden Mind will be on sale for 99cents to celebrate the launch of The Forbidden Trilogy Special Omnibus Edition by Kimberly Kinrade.

Paranormal teens with unimaginable powers. A secret organization with deadly intentions. When Sam, a girl who reads minds, meets Drake, a boy who controls minds, they discover their lives aren't what they thought.

Together, they must escape their fate and free their friends, before they lose everyone they love.

The Forbidden Trilogy has received rave reviews from bloggers and fans, and Forbidden Mind has a 4.3 rating out of 106 reviews on Amazon!

"...a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment." - Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

"The plot is very ALIAS and DARK ANGEL-like with X-MEN as its backdrop (awesome combo!). Forbidden Mind BLEW my mind!" ~Sour Skittles Book Blog

"Well written, unique plot filled with twists and turns, Kimberly pens "Forbidden Mind" with extremely strong characters. A totally fantastic book that is impossible to put down making you want more and more." --My Cozy Book Corner

"Wow! Kimberly Kinrade blew me away with Forbidden Mind! It's depth was so intense...the story line so twisted...I could not put this book down!! It encompasses all the elements to make a great book. Originality, excitement, love and loss. Throw in a little paranormal action and a hint of dystopia and you've got yourself one hella've a ride!! Seriously, please read this will not be disappointed! This is a wonderful start to an epic new YA series." -Nette's Bookshelf Reviews

The Forbidden Trilogy Special Omnibus Edition includes:

*Award-Winning Book #1 - Forbidden Mind
*Book #2 - Forbidden Fire
*Book #3 - Forbidden Life
*In-Depth Q&A with Author Kimberly Kinrade
*Extensive Bonus Content (Available ONLY in this Special Edition)

Get the whole trilogy, plus bonus content and save up to $5 off the trilogy... even if you already own Forbidden Mind you can still enjoy a savings on the last two books! This special edition gives readers the best deal with the best content!

Inside The Forbidden Trilogy
49% of Americans believe their government officials are honest. I don't know these officials, or their supporters, but I know their secrets, and 49% of Americans are wrong.

My employers pay me well to be right, to know things others can't. But I don't know why they brought that boy in, strapped to a stretcher, barely conscious. He asked me for help when I could give none.

I'm a wealthy spy, a talented artist, a martial arts black belt, and a prisoner. They tell me that on my eighteenth birthday, I will be released, free to go to the college of my dreams. It's my eighteenth birthday, and a man in black is at my door. I know he's not here to free me.

I know, because I can read minds.

My name is Sam, and this is my story.

So begins the tale of Sam and Drake--from the time they link minds, forging a bond that leads to an unconventional romance--to their fight for survival against the corrupt, twisted organization known as 'Rent-A-Kid.'  

Get your copy of The Forbidden Trilogy Special Omnibus Edition, Forbidden Mind, Forbidden Fire or Forbidden Life on Amazon.

The first three books are also available on B&N (with The Forbidden Trilogy soon to come.)

To celebrate the launch and enjoy a week of giveaways, chats with the author and more, join the Facebook Party at: The Forbidden Trilogy Launch Party.

From the author:

This series was based on a dream I had of a teenage girl named Sam who could read minds and was rented out by an organization called Rent-A-Kid. I thought it would be a short story, so I penned it quickly before I planned on launching The Reluctant Familiar and The Chronicles of Corinne (Death by Destiny, Myths of Magic and Paths to Power). Boy was I wrong.
What started as a short story, ended as an entire trilogy. Not only that, but come 2013 I have two more potential trilogies to write based on the Forbidden world.

This series explores the value of a human life and how we often see each other as tools to be used. There are ethical questions raised as Sam and Drake struggle to understand their powers and each other. It's also a love story, albeit unconventional. What is it about someone that causes us to fall in love with them? Do we have to be physically present with someone to know it's love? Sam and Drake explore the boundaries of love, loss, pain and morality in this series.

These are fast-paced books that are part paranormal/sci-fi, part thriller and part romance. I look forward to hearing what you think about each book as you work your way through the series.

I'm especially excited to offer this omnibus edition that gives you all three books in one at a great discount, plus gives you extra surprise content. Thank you so much for taking an interested in the Forbidden world that has commanded my time and attention for so long. May you root for Sam, Drake, Luke, Lucy and their friends as much as I did while writing them.


If you could have any para-power, what would you choose?

About the author:

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds.

She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they're humans, her two cats who think they're gods (and they probably are), and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

Find Kimberly Kinrade

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Salamander Stone' Book Tour

YA Fantasy/Thriller
Title: The Salamander Stone
Author: C.J. Fenge
Date Published: April 2, 2012
Publisher: Champagne Books


She’s just the girl-next-door, that long-legged pretty thing with the flowing auburn hair. Nothing special, just ordinary Amber Brigantia, a sixteen-year–old with boyfriends on her mind; nothing more.

But you’re wrong. Beneath that enigmatic smile lie dark secrets hiding an elemental power, and when those secrets come out, everyone wants her. Everyone wants a piece of Amber.

They murder her father and lock her mother in an asylum. Then they come after her, led by the charismatic Dr. Pitt who wants that power for himself. And he doesn’t care how he gets it, smiling and smiling as he twists the knife. But Pitt has a rival, the sadistic Mrs Fedorowicz. She wants Amber too and she is an expert at making people dance to her tune - a tune that can really hurt.

Even those who love Amber cannot help her. Khiza, the African boy, is the lost other half of Amber’s soul, yet when she encounters the damaged and demonic Meshak she is torn in two and cannot decide what to feel any more.

Then the demon Azmodeus suckers onto Meshak and time itself rocks in chaos, for the demon is after Amber as well - and what he wants is unspeakable.

So let the power-games begin. And let that long-legged pretty thing be the prize.

Read an excerpt:
That weird cry came again, much closer now, cutting through the thick air—a high thin wail thrown far into the darkness and returning as a series of diminishing mocking echoes. Like a baby, thought Meshak, though no baby ever cried like that; no human ever cried like that.

Meshak stood up shakily on the sandy path, straining to see, trying to make sense of this alien world. Below him, on the trail he’d just crawled, another thing was crawling. He could sense it as a furry black shadow shifting and sliding, sucking its way towards him. It cried again as it slithered closer.

Meshak knelt in the sand on the pathway, and the thing, the black shadow, stopped crying and snuffled up close, filling the air with its rotting reek. It slithered behind him and he waited. After a moment he felt a soft suction as it burrowed under his clothes and battened greasily onto his back, inching its way up his body until it reached his left shoulder. Its voice hissed, insistent as it whispered interminably in his ear. It filled his mind, blocking out all other thought. Meshak stood up, his body giving little shivers of excitement like greeting an old friend. A long slow smile split his face in half; an evil gleam glinted in his eye. He moved down the path and back into his own world.

And the shadow on his shoulder went with him.
Purchase Links:     (eBook £3.85; paperback £10.20) \   (eBook $6.09; paperback $15.95) \     (eBook $5.15) \ (eBook $5.99) \ (paperback $15.95)

C.J. Fenge

I’m an English Teacher, and all my working life I’ve been telling students: “Don’t put labels on yourself. They’re restricting.” I little realised that I was guilty of exactly that because I’d classed myself as analytical, not creative. And it was only when I was forced into some writing that I discovered I could create worlds, not just comment on other people’s creations.

So that’s what I do now and I have an increasing amount of time to do it in. My teaching career is winding down, my two children have grown up and left home, my husband of 40 years, also a writer, is busy creating worlds on his computer all day. To a casual observer ours is a very quiet, boring household. There aren’t even any pets making a racket since my two adorable, but elderly, ‘rescue’ cats died last year. But the inner life of our house is far from boring. Take a journey with Amber and her Salamander Stone and see what I mean. And remember not to put labels on yourself. If I can break free, anyone can. a Rafflecopter giveaway

'All the Right Moves' Promo Blitz

New Adult / College Romance
Date to be Published: January 2013

Life for Lilah had become too predictable. Convinced she needs a bit of a challenge and change of pace in her life, she moves away for college and embarks on a new journey of self-discovery.

A college town, new friends, and a new romance with a mysterious older guy that may prove to be an even bigger challenge then she bargained for!

Note: Not suitable for younger readers. Contains mature content including sexual situations. 

Ever Leigh

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'Wanted Dead or Undead (The Zombie West Series)' Book Tour


Trace Monroe doesn't believe in luck. He never has. But when a fiery-headed cowgirl saunters through the saloon doors, wielding shotguns and a know-how for killing the living dead, he believes he just may be the luckiest man alive.

Trace wants to join Red's posse, but she prefers to work alone--less messy that way. In order to become her traveling companion, Trace has to agree to her terms: no names, no questions, and if he gets bit, he can't beg for mercy when she severs his brain stem.

He agrees, knowing only that Red is the sharpest shooter he's ever encountered. The fact she's stunning hasn't escaped his attention either.

What he doesn't know, is that Red has a very good reason to be on top of her game. She not only has the answer for how they can all outlive the plague taking over the wild, wild west, she IS the answer.

Read the first chapter:
Prologue – The Night Knew No Difference

Elisabeth walked the path to the streambed with precise, careful steps. The moon proved enough light to go by as she navigated the familiar brush and rocks. She held a metal pail in one hand, and her father's pistol, pointed toward the ground, in the other.

At the end of the path, she placed the gun on a small boulder and knelt to dip the bucket into the stream. Frigid water trickled over her fingers as she clung to the handle, waiting for it to fill. She struggled to her feet on the muddy bank, weighed down by the heavy bucket, but she found her footing and stood in the slippery mess. 

" Elisabeth!"

She stopped moving and the bucket slapped against her thigh, soaking her dress. Tortured sounds came from the direction of the cabin—screams and cries intertwined—and wrapped their frozen fingers around her.

" Elisabeth!"

She threw the bucket down, grabbed the gun, and ran toward the sound of her brothers' squeals. Sharp rocks tore at her bare feet as she leapt over fallen trunks, clutching the pistol in her white-knuckled grasp. 

The deer carcass her father had hung in the barn could have brought a mountain lion or wolves to the premises, but most likely, the smoke from the chimney had attracted unwanted attention from the Natives in the area. Attacks were common. The Smiths on the other side of the hill had been burned out of their cabin just a few months before. 

Elisabeth cleared the trees and scanned the grounds around her home. Nothing—no Natives, no animals—only the swirl of smoke that escaped the chimney and the yellow, flickering glow of firelight that illuminated the windows. Silence blanketed the cabin and surrounding woods, which frightened her more than the sound of her brothers' screams and cries. She stood, gun raised, panting heavily as her fingers trembled on the trigger. 

"Ma?" She took a hesitant step forward. "Pa?" 

No answer. 

"Peter? William?" 
She half expected her brothers to come running through the open door and tackle her about the waist, but they didn't. Instead, she heard the sound of a wooden chair being dragged across the floorboards. Furniture tumbled. Dishes crashed. A shadow crossed in front of the window.
Elisabeth cocked the gun and pointed it toward the sky, afraid of accidentally shooting her mother or brothers in a panic. She lifted her foot and placed it on the bottom step.

"You a'right?" She softly placed one foot in front of the other on the weather-beaten boards until she reached the landing. "Ma?"

The door stood open a crack, but not enough to see inside. As she stepped forward to push the door wide, a sticky wetness seeped between her toes. Blood oozed over the threshold onto the porch and Elisabeth stood squarely in the middle of it. She opened her mouth to scream, but clasped her free hand over it and allowed only whimpers to escape through the spaces between her fingers.
She plowed through the door and wielded the gun like the sharpshooter her father had trained her to be. He would have been proud to witness his daughter's steady hand wrapped around the Remington revolver, if he weren't looking down the barrel of it instead. His cloudy eyes stared up at her as he knelt over the dismembered, gutted body of her mother. No sound crossed over Elisabeth's lips, though her mind exploded with terror and her knees threatened to buckle.

She didn't doubt her pa's guilt for a second. Blood drenched him, dripping from his hands, face, and mouth. He threw his head back and grunted, displeased by the interruption. The inhuman sound forced her to take a step back. That man was not her pa. He was hardly a man at all. He reminded her of a wild animal in the forest, feasting on fallen prey. Her mother? Fallen prey? 

"Pa?" The word choked her. She couldn't breathe. On crooked limbs, he worked his way to a crouching position, cocked his head to the side, and pinned his gaze on her. He stood and dragged himself forward—one step, then another. 

"Pa, no!" Tears wet her cheeks. The man who had hugged his family just hours earlier, who swung each of the boys around until they fell laughing and dizzy on the ground, had vanished. He had called her li'l girl, even though she was no longer little. The hideous monster that slowly lugged itself toward her had replaced the man she knew and loved. 

"Please, Pa, don't!" 

He snapped his head from side to side and roared a guttural response. Her mother's blood fell from his tongue and lips, splattering the floor at his feet. He reached his arm forward, and Elisabeth didn't hesitate—she wound her finger around the trigger and pulled.

The bullet ripped through his shoulder and his arm fell limp at his side. If anything, the injury stunned him, but didn't alter his progression. He continued his slow, agonizing path toward her. She fired again. The bullet penetrated his right eye and went clear on through, lodging itself in the wall behind him. His knees bowed and he wobbled briefly before collapsing in a broken mess on the wooden floor.

She continued to hold the gun in her hands, but squeezed her eyes shut. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. Her shoulders shook as sobs ripped through her chest and heart. Now she turned to throw her head back and yell into the night, to release the pain and fear that threatened to destroy her.

The sound of whimpering from the loft caused her eyes to fly open. She'd forgotten about the boys.

"Peter! William!" She stepped over her father's broken body and refused to look at her mother's remains as she moved past. "It's okay," she called to them. They must be terrified, hiding in the loft above her. "It's okay now. Everything's gonna be a'right. Come on down."


She released a sob from her constricted throat upon hearing the sound of her brother's voice. "Peter!" She climbed up the bottom rungs of the ladder. "It's okay now. No one's gonna hurt you."

He poked his blond head over the edge of the loft and peered down at her. "I don't feel so good, Beth." Beads of sweat dotted his brow as he wrapped his arms around his stomach. "Pa bit me."

Elisabeth climbed the remaining rungs to reach her brother. He sat on his haunches, rocking in pain. He leaned to the side and retched dark blood onto the floor.

"It hurts!" He removed his arms from around his belly, exposing a gaping hole beneath his bloodied nightshirt.

She grabbed the closest thing she could find—his discarded jacket—and balled it up before pressing it into his abdomen. Why is this happening? It doesn't make sense.

"It's gonna be okay. It's gonna be fine." She looked around the loft, panicked. "Where's William?"

Peter shook his head and nodded toward the shadows. "Willie's sick, too."

She crawled on her hands and knees toward the huddled figure in the corner. "William, you okay? You hurt?" She held her hand out toward her frightened brother. "I know you're scared, but it's a'right now. It's a'right."

The ten-year-old boy lunged forward, leaving her mere seconds to pull her hand back to escape his snapping jaws. He wore the same crazed expression she'd seen on her pa's face.

She fell backwards and scooted away from him, but William sprang forward again and gripped her ankle. He opened his mouth, ready to clamp down, but she kicked at him with her other foot until he released his hold. Once free, she pushed past Peter and climbed part way down the ladder before jumping off and landing on the floor below.

"Peter!" she yelled up at him. "Jump down to me! Come on! Jump!" The sick little boy, still pressing the increasingly bloodied jacket to his stomach, launched himself over the side and Elisabeth caught him.

"Don't look!" she told him, and Peter pushed his face into her shoulder to avoid the gruesome scene of their parents' deaths.

She carried him out the door and ran toward the barn with Peter wrapped firmly around her torso. He dug his fingers into her shoulders, while his tiny body shook and grew hotter by the moment. His warm blood seeped through her dress. She didn't have much time. God, help me!she silently prayed. I can't do this on my own.

The town was ten miles away, and she would have to hitch up the wagon in order to get her brother to help safely—balancing him on a horse would be near impossible—but it would take too much precious time. Time she didn't have.

"It's okay, Peter. Just hang in there."

He let out a low, throaty hum and she quickened her pace. If she didn't hurry, she would lose him, too.

Elisabeth struggled to hold onto her brother while fumbling with the wooden latch that held the barn door closed. As she shifted his weight to her hip, his sharp baby teeth clamped down on her tender flesh and a searing pain engulfed her shoulder. He shook his head like a dog refusing to release its bone.

She cried out, begging him to stop. Agonizing pain radiated down the length of her arm and her fingers splayed to the point of near breaking. She grabbed the back of his head and tugged at his hair in an attempt to pull him off, but his strength rivaled that of a full grown man.

She spun around and slammed his body against the barn door, trying to knock him off with force. He clung to her with greater resolve and tightened his fingers around her upper arms. When she slammed her brother's body into the barn door for a second time, it splintered and flew open, but the boy seemed unaffected. She wound her left hand around Peter's twisted face, pushed her fingers into his eye sockets, and began to pry him off her. He screamed out briefly, but his vice-like jaws clamped onto her shoulder once more and she lost all feeling in her arm.

She stumbled into the barn searching for anything she could use to strike him. A burning pain flowed through her veins and stiffened her joints and muscles, shortening her steps. Her eyes began to blur and she blinked in an effort to restore her vision. Her mouth dried up, as though her body was reabsorbing itself, and her stomach growled and rolled.

Without warning, Peter's head snapped upright. He cried out as his body went rigid, and his grip on her arm slackened. He slipped from her body and sunk to the earth at her feet, crying as his arms and legs jutted out and retracted.

She couldn't see him clearly, but heard everything—his moans, his cries, the sound of him choking to death. She stumbled backward, clutching her useless arm to ease her own pain. When her brother lay still, Elisabeth fell to her knees and looked heavenward.

Crickets chirped in rhythm and an owl hooted its warning off in the distance. The night knew no difference.
**My thoughts** 

I hate zombies and I hate Westerns. I know, so what the hell are you doing reading this book, Andi? 

I'll tell you why. I fell in love with Angela Scott's writing when I read Desert Rice. I saw the Zombie West series listed in the back of that book and contemplated reading it. When the opportunity to review it came available, I jumped on the chance. I wasn't disappointed.

Angela Scott is an excellent writer who tells a good story with believable characters. This western romance has twists and turns that will make you cower in disgust and laugh out loud. I am impressed that she was able to blend three different genres together into such a page-turner. I am also glad that I don't have to wait too long for the next one, as it is already on my Kindle!

I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it.

I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs.

As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.

You can find me at my website, where I blog obsessively about my writing process and post updates on my current works. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but be forewarned, I tweet and post more than a normal person

Stalk me (I like it) at: Blog . Twitter . Facebook . Amazon . Zombie Book Trailer . Desert Rice Book Trailer
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Monday, November 26, 2012

'Survivor Roundup' Book Promo Blast!


Red always knew she would have to face the man who nearly destroyed her. She just didn’t figure it would happen so soon . . .

With the plague sweeping across the nation, destroying many and turning others into walking corpses, survivors head West in search of a chosen land, a place designed to keep the infected out, while sealing survivors inside. In theory, the idea seems the only way to keep humanity alive. In practice, it doesn’t matter whether a person is on the inside or the out—there is no humanity.

. . . And even though John Gatherum hunted her down and instigated their reunion, Red’s no longer the passive girl he once manipulated. This time, she has a hidden agenda of her own.

Kill him. Save her family. Save herself.

Buy link:


Angela Scott hears voices. Tiny fictional people sit on her shoulders and whisper their stories in her ear. Instead of medicating herself, she decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. She's not crazy. She's an author. For the most part, she writes contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, she found herself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West--and loving it. Her zombies don't sparkle, and they definitely don't cuddle. At least, she wouldn't suggest it. She lives on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. She graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of her love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn't require math. She can't spell, and grammar is her arch nemesis. But they gave her the degree, and there are no take backs. 


Twitter - @whimsywriting

Stalk me (I like it) at: Blog . Twitter . Facebook . Amazon . Zombie Book Trailer . Desert Rice Book Trailer

Check out:

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'The Doorknob Society' Series Promo Blitz!

Welcome to The Doorknob Society

YA Urban Fantasy/ SteamPunk/Paranormal 

Title: The Doorknob Society (The Doorknob Society Saga Book 1)

Author: M.J. Fletcher 

Date Published: February 9, 2012 

Synopsis: Chloe Masters’ world changes in a heartbeat and all she did was touch a doorknob. When she was young Chloe’s mother vanished. Wracked by feelings of abandonment and anger she lost herself traveling with her father’s magic act, where illusions were part of her everyday life. Yet everything changes when they are pursued by a mysterious man in black out to kill her father. Touching a doorknob activates abilities she never knew she had and she finds herself thrust into a world of ancient societies and secrets. When her father disappears it is a race against time to find answers before she loses what’s left of her family. Now Chloe must choose who to trust, the man who will do anything for her or the one she can’t stop thinking about.

Read an excerpt:
We stood outside the arched wooden door while Jess texted Nightshade that we were there. The cold night air was starting to take a toll and I wrapped my arms around myself rubbing my sides to keep warm. Slade stepped behind me, placed his hands on the sides of my arms and ran them up and down warming me up until I wanted to melt against him.
The door creaked opened, Nightshade stood framed in the archway. He wore jeans with his ever present skeleton key belt buckle. He was shirtless; his chest was not as thick as Slade’s though well-defined with a natural cut of muscles and with a patch of hair running across it. He lifted his hand sliding it through his messed hair. He glanced lazily around to each of us until he rested on me —or more precisely— Slade’s hands on me and then he shifted his attention to my face and I could have sworn I saw annoyance in his eyes.
“Jess, you didn’t tell me you were bringing Paladin’s cutest couple.” He laughed and stepped aside waving us in.
Slade’s hands tensed on my arms and I grabbed one squeezing it gently and held on to it.
“Sorry, Jimmy.” Jess smiled and stood next to Nightshade after entering
“No problem, beautiful,” he said. His fingers slid across her cheek and she blushed.
He swung the door closed after Edgar, the last one to enter. We followed him up the stairs to a large open room that contained a couple of couches, a small kitchen tucked off to one side, and a breakfast bar and two stools protruding at the end.
“We need some help, Jimmy,” Jess said as he walked to the fridge, pulled it open and pulled out a can of soda. He turned and flipped it in the air toward Eddie who caught it and smiled.
“Thanks, Nightshade.” Eddie popped the top and drank.
“Anyone else? Lovebirds, I could give you two straws.”
“That’s it, Nightshade, one more comment…” Slade headed for him his hand pulled back in a massive fist.
Nightshade laughed and leaned against the kitchen counter and smirked. “Anytime you want to try Slade you go right ahead.”
His mocking grin made my blood boil. “This was a mistake.”
“What’s a mistake?” Nightshade asked.
As much as I wanted to leave, I needed Nightshade’s help. I grabbed my phone, clicked the photo of the list of names and slid it across the breakfast bar to him. He picked it up and looked over the list.
“Okay so?”
“The SKG member on the list do you know him?” I stared into his strange colored eyes and waited for an answer, hoping and praying it wouldn’t be some lie to further his own ends.
“I recognize the name.”
“Can you help us find him?” I asked.
“No,” he said not even giving it thought.
“What? Why not?” My frustration leapt but I caught it before it reached my tongue and I spit words at him that I’d regret since I desperately needed his help.
“Jess.” He turned away from me to her. ‘What’s going on? Why are you helping non-guilders?”
“They took… Gran.” As soon as Jess mentioned Gran her control slipped. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she started to tremble.
I moved to comfort her but Nightshade was there before me. He wrapped her in his arms and pulled her against him. She buried her head in his chest and sobbed. He pressed his cheek against hers whispering something in her ear that I couldn’t make out. He stroked her hair as he did, and I watched in amazement at how caring and loving he could be when I had known only his sardonic side.
Nightshade looked directly at me. “Give us a minute.” He then took Jess and they walked out of the room and I heard a door close down the hallway.
“What was that all about?” Slade asked.
“She’s upset. It’s been a rough night,” I said as I slid down on the couch beside Edgar.
“I guess,” Slade said as he sat on the opposite couch. “Though I doubt it hurts that Nightshade’s half naked.” He laughed.
“What are you talking about?” I snapped annoyed at what his humor suggested.
“Didn’t you see the way she looked at him? I think Jess was angling for more than some comfort.” Slade winked.
“She’s just upset.” I got even more annoyed when Slade raised his hands in mock defeat. I didn’t like what he was implying. We’d been through a lot and I doubted Jess was thinking about getting James alone. And it’s not like Nightshade would fall for that anyway, his conniving nature would see right through it.
Time seemed to slow down as we waited. Eddie rested his head back on the couch and was asleep within minutes. Slade was next stretching out on the other couch and drifting off to sleep. I sat alone with my thoughts, growing ever more frustrated that Jess and Nightshade had disappeared on us. I mean seriously, people, we’re running for our lives and she goes off with some guy and why? Because he’s hot with his shirt off?
After an hour I heard the click of a door and approaching footsteps. Nightshade entered still shirtless, his hair messier than before if that was possible. He looked around the room at the others sleeping and waved his hand for me to follow him. I got up quietly trying not to wake Eddie, who snored and rolled over on his side into a ball on the couch.
We left the room and at the end of the hall he touched a skeleton key on the wall and it fell away revealing a spiral staircase. James headed down; I took a deep breath and followed.
The staircase ended in a massive room filled with various makes and models of cars while several images of skeleton keys hung on the walls. In the middle of the room sat an old-fashioned car. It was deep blue and had red flames on the hood. James was standing by a workbench and grabbed a t-shirt off it and slid it on.
“What’s all this?”
“My garage, it’s quiet down here. We can talk and your friends can rest.”
“Talk about what?” I asked leaning up against the old-fashioned car. Nightshade stepped toward me, reached out and took hold of my arm. I looked down at his hand and back at him, and then he pulled me forward. My breath caught and I didn’t move.
“That’s a classic Hudson Hornet, please don’t lean on it.”
I pushed his hand off me and stepped away. Men and their stupid cars. “Whatever, are you going to help us or not?”
“Jess, told me what’s going on. It seems pretty serious and it’s a damn bold plan, I give you credit for that.” He grinned.
“But?” I knew something was coming, though I didn’t know what.
“I don’t know if I’m willing to stick my neck out for the lot of you.”
“Jess is your friend and so is Edgar?” I reminded, trying the guilt tactic, hoping it might convince him.
“But I can’t stand Slade, and then there’s you.” His half smile taunted me.
“I know you can’t stand me either, I get it.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty obvious.”
“I hadn’t realized. I should work on controlling my emotions better.”
“Sorry, I’m not a shrinking violet like my cousin. I didn’t come here to weep on your naked chest. I came here because I need help and you’re the only one I could turn too. If I couldn’t work up tears for my lost father or injured grandmother, I doubt I can do it for you. Okay, I’m broken, and you can’t stand me. I get it, alright!” I took a deep breath angry at myself for letting him get under my skin again.
He stared at me with those damn intense eyes. He didn’t say anything just stared, making me feel uncomfortable and stupid. Why do I always seem not to be able to shut up around him?
“Quit staring at me and say something.”
“I’ll help you on one condition.” He didn’t smile or smirk and he didn’t stop staring. It was as though he stared straight inside me and that made me more nervous than if he had worn one of his evil grins.
“Which is?”
“You and I have to go see him alone.”
“He isn’t going to talk to a bunch of people from the different societies. He knows me and he doesn’t really like anyone other than Guilders. It will be safer that way.”
“Jess is a Guilder?” I questioned unsure of going alone with him.
“You and I that’s the deal take it or leave it.”
What choice did I have and so I wouldn’t debate my decision I quickly said. “Fine we go alone.”
He nodded. “You’d better get some sleep. We’ll head there tomorrow.”
I didn’t bother to ask him where, he wouldn’t tell me anyway. I followed him up the stairs and part way down the hallway he stopped, opened a door, entered and waved me in.
“I’ll stay with the guys,” I stammered, though I entered the room.
“I don’t think so, they each have a couch. Take the bed; you’ll have it all to yourself.”
“Oh,” Did I really think he’d been inviting me to sleep with him? “Okay thanks.”
“I’ll be in by Jess.”
He turned and left through another door closing it behind him. I was glad he didn’t look back and see me flush red at his comment. I wanted to slam the door that opened onto the hall shut but didn’t want to wake the guys so I shut it quietly and turned into the room. I threw myself on the bed and took my frustration out on the pillows punching them several times. So what if James Nightshade and my cousin spent the night together… let them. They deserved each other, they only thought about themselves anyway.
I pulled my hoodie off and slid it into my bag .My hand connected with a small metal object. I took the locket out and turned it over in my hand. When this was all over I was going to need to figure out what it was that I deserved.
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Author Bio
MJ Fletcher is the creator of the comic book series Adam Zero: The Last Man of Earth published by Ronin Studios. He's also been published in Hope: The Hero Initiative and Digital Webbing Presents. The Doorknob Society series is his fist book series and he's thrilled about it. He lives near the beach with his wife, daughter, dog, and a crotchety cat.    

Contact Links
Twitter: @fletch125