Rockin’ Reads Giveaway Hop ~ These Mermaids ROCK!

rockin reads

Everyone needs a Rockin’ Read! Stop by Sept 23rd to 30th and find out which reads have rocked 2015 for us! There will be a giveaway on each blog so don’t forget to visit them all!
Check out the Falling in Deep Collection below, then enter to win ebook copies of An Officer and a Mermaid by Blaire Edens and Siren’s Kiss by Margo Bond Collins. When you’re done, HOP over to check out the rest of the entries!
 

All summer long the authors of the falling in deep collection have been launching unique mermaid tales for you to enjoy. Maybe you grabbed one by your favorite author, or tried a couple, or maybe you were hoping we’d do something like this…for a LIMITED time, ALL the Falling in Deep novellas will be available in one massive, 900 page, anthology! That’s a lot of seashells! And to thank you for loving our mermaids so much, we’ve set our Pre-Order and Release Week Price at 99 cents!

We aren’t going to off this collection for long, it’s a LIMITED release, so do grab it before Ink, Kate, Skyla, Tara, Gaire, Anya, and all the other mermaids swim away!

From mermaids to sirens, Miami to Athens, dark paranormal romance to contemporary stories with steam to folktales, the fourteen award-winning and best-selling authors of the FALLING IN DEEP COLLECTION are bringing you mermaid tales like you’ve never seen before.

Scales
by Pauline Creeden
Ink:
A Mermaid Romance by Melanie Karsak
Of
Ocean and Ash by A. R. Draeger
Deep
Breath by J. M. Miller
At
the Heart of the Deep by Carrie Wells
The
Mermaid’s Den by Ella Malone
The
Water is Sweeter by Eli Constant
The
Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless
An
Officer & a Mermaid by Blaire Edens
How
to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes
Cold
Water Bridegroom by B. Brumley
Immersed
by Katie Hayoz
Siren’s
Kiss by Margo Bond Collins
To
Each His Own by Anna Albergucci
The Falling in Deep Collection

 

SCALES BY PAULINE CREEDEN
Verona is a bottom feeder. She is the one mer in her
clan who is considered the ugliest and least intelligent. Growing up with the
constant bullying and abuse wasn’t the worst of what her kind had in store for
her. At seventeen years old, she must now endure “The Reckoning.”
The scales will measure her worth to her clan. Will she
endure thirty days as a land-walker to gather information and knowledge to
appease her clan and return a valued member? Will she wait three years, until
she is twenty, and find a mer of her kind to accept her and marry her? Or will
she suffer exile for the rest of her life?
INK: A MERMAID ROMANCE BY MELANIE KARSAK
A mermaid princess destined to wed a handsome king…

It sounds like a fairy tale, but the reality is far murkier.

Ink, Princess of the Florida Atlantic mers, is slated to wed the ancient enemy of her tribe, the
King of the Gulfs. After years of war that led to countless mer deaths, as well
as the genocide of aquatic shapeshifters and the freshwater mers of Florida,
Ink’s marriage will bring lasting peace.


Or so it seems.

Mere hours before she’s supposed to leave the ocean for her customary year as a drywalker, Ink meets
Hal, an alligator shifter who warns her that a storm is brewing. There is
malicious intent behind Ink’s marriage—and worse, meeting Hal has also caused a
storm to rage in Ink’s heart. Nevertheless, loyal to her tribe, Ink will put
aside her feelings and journey to Miami to marry the decadent King Manx.


Ink soon learns that her
only hope of surviving the crashing force swelling around her is to tap into a
power deep inside—a forbidden power that might destroy them all.
OF OCEAN AND ASH BY A. R. DRAEGER
Of Ocean…

Cast into the sea at birth, human-born Ia found her
adoptive family among the merfolk. While her underwater upbringing was
peaceful, Ia’s blood-heritage and the strict societal rules of the merpeople
lead her to wonder of the world above the waves. 


And Ash…


When a storm lands Ia ashore, she discovers her body
has transformed into the human she would have been. Taken in as property by a
callous plantation owner, Ia works alongside the slaves until she can make her
way back to the water. There is nothing Ia wants more than to go home, that is,
until she meets a handsome, troubled man named Matthias, who has a touch that
can be as kind as his tongue is harsh.


Torn between two very different lives, Ia must choose –
stay in his world and risk her life for a love untested, or return to the
familiar arms of the underwater world that raised her and risk losing what may
be the greatest love she will ever know.


Will Ia’s choice lead to her happiness or her destruction?
DEEP BREATH BY J. M. MILLER
Before disappearing at sea, Marissa Pruitt’s father—a
once revered marine archaeologist—walked the line of insanity, claiming to have
seen a mermaid during an ordinary dive in the Gulf of Mexico. He abandoned his
life and career, completely obsessed with chasing the truth.
It’s been years since his death, and Marissa is still
tormented by countless unanswered questions. When she finds dive coordinates
and a stone pendant hidden in her father’s things, she asks for help from his
old protégé and sets out to give her father one last goodbye and maybe find
closure for her troubled heart. Instead, she finds the truth he’d been searching
for all along, with a life and love she never could have imagined. But there’s
a price to see it all, one set by betrayal and paid with an anchor at her feet
and salt water in her lungs.

AT THE HEART OF THE DEEP BY CARRIE L. WELLS

Oceanographer Luke McAllister races to figure out why
the ocean depth is changing off Florida’s Treasure Coast. But before he and his
crew discover what’s transforming the deep, he stumbles upon an even greater
mystery. Leagues below the waves, he swear he sees…a mermaid?
Anya isn’t allowed to get close to humans. But when a
golden-haired researcher gets too close to her island, she can’t afford to stay
away.
Together, this unlikely pair will seek to discover
what’s causing shifts in ocean floor. While their new alliance is forbidden,
Anya will risk everything to save her beloved ocean. The only problem is, she’s
not sure what’s really luring her in, her love of the sea or the tempest Luke
has stirred in her heart. Either way, Anya knows that the dangers facing the
sea are nothing compared to what will happen to her when her father learns
she’s broken the merfolks’ most sacred law.
Can Anya and Luke discover what lurks at the heart of
the deep before it’s too late? 
THE MERMAID’S DEN BY ELLA MALONE
Laura and Tom Flynn married after she fell for him hook, line, and sinker — literally. Finding
Laura in his fishing net had been a shock for Tom, but one he came to embrace
as they quickly fell in love. For fifteen years, they have lived and worked by
the sea, and Laura hasn’t thought once of what she left behind when she chose
to marry Tom. She doesn’t regret giving up her mermaid form. It wasn’t a
sacrifice. It was a good decision, and one she made to survive.
Now, with Tom missing at sea, Laura faces a decision she swore she’d never consider. In order to search
for Tom and his crew, she must become a mermaid again and face the demons of
the deep that she eagerly dodged when trading in her tail. Or she can stay on
land and continue her life, but without Tom.
Does she enjoy her future alone, without the man she loves, or face her fears and her past in the ocean?
Either way, nothing will be the same for her again. 
HOW TO BE A MERMAID BY ERIN HAYES
All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid.
So she takes a year off between high school and college
to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional
mermaid troupe.
Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life
merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a
nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.
Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and
reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war
between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s
sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.
THE GLASS MERMAID BY POPPY LAWLESS
Kate
I’m the last mermaid.

I’m back on shores of Lake Erie, but the cold waters
are silent. There is nothing here for me but ghosts and the beach glass that
litters the rocky shore. Long ago, I lived below the waves. Now, I am the sole
survivor, and at long last, my mermaid glamour is leaving me.
Every day, I walk the beach. Every day, I wonder what
happened to my people. The little pieces of colored glass that wash ashore give
me simple pleasure. They are gifts from the lake, reminders of home. I fashion
them into trinkets: necklaces, earrings, bracelets. They are beautiful things.
The humans seem love them.


Every day, I walk the beach. Nothing ever changes,
until the day he says hello.


Cooper
I’m dying.

It’s not a question, it’s a fact. The cancer is eating
me alive. They told me I have six months to live, maybe less. I came home, back
to Chancellor on Lake Erie, to die. The sunsets are vivid there, and I will
relish every one.


I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than a Lake
Erie sunset until I see her.


All life is as fragile as glass.

What would you sacrifice to save the one you love?

 

AN OFFICE AND A MERMAID BY BLAIRE EDENS
When a slave uprising threatens the life of Syreena,
the daughter of an eighteenth century plantation owner, a servant uses voodoo
to transform her into a mermaid. The spell will be only broken when she returns
to the beach where it was cast. After three hundred years of swimming, she’s
ready to trade fins for legs. The only problem is she can’t find her way home.
Dylan, a twenty-first century Coast Guard Officer, has
sworn off love for the sea. When a wave throws him overboard, Syreena uses her
amulet to ward off the sharks and save his life.
With Syreena and Dylan stranded on a remote cay in the
Caribbean, Dylan has the know-how to build a raft and navigate but his
near-drowning has made him terrified of the water. Syrenna will use every charm
she has to convince Dylan to take her home. 

Even if it means falling in love. . .
THE WATER IS SWEETER BY ELI CONSTANT
When the land becomes a desert, the water will quench
your soul
Orphan Lena McMillan used to think that what she shared
with Truman Kent was real. Now she sees their relationship for what it really
is- controlling and abusive.
She has to choose to die slowly from ‘love’ or say
goodbye to the family she’s always desired. Leaving scares her though, so much
so that dying seems like her only option.
But fate won’t let her quit life and Truman won’t let
her quit his love. Not without a fight.
Under the layers of a lonely childhood and an adulthood
romance gone wrong, a starfish holds the key to Lena’s parentage and the answer
to the mesmeric ocean dreams that haunt her.
If she can find the strength to leave the only life she
knows, Lena will discover the truth. And she will find a new world, one that
will cleanse her of the memories of false love and abuse.
One that will finally lead her home.



COLD WATER BRIDEGROOM BY B. BRUMLEY

Having grown up in San Francisco, Calder Brumen is
drawn to the ocean, and he’s spent his life trying to capture the beauty of the
Pacific on canvas. Over time, he has become obsessed with painting the image of
a dark haired mermaid named Gaire, and Calder struggles to explain his devotion
to these portraits to his best friend. When Calder finds sandy footprints
leading to the edge of his bed, he suspects that the haunting siren is real.
Pursuing the truth, Calder is dragged into a murderous,
underwater plot that could destroy them all. And he must choose – is the
possibility of a lifetime with Gaire worth risking death for himself and
everyone he loves?
IMMERSED BY KATIE HAYOZ
Forget petticoats and demure female behavior. Melusine
Doré prefers armored corsets and knives and slays evil creatures for a living.
The grim and gruesome don’t frighten her; she’ll take on a cyclops or a dragon
and not even break a sweat. But when her rival, the charismatic Levi Cannon,
comes to town, all her buried fears begin to surface. Melusine realizes she is
in danger of something much more horrifying than facing blood-thirsty beasts –
she’s in danger of falling in love. Because love alone has the power to reveal
a secret terrible enough to completely shatter her world.
Set in the muddy streets of 1850s steampunk Chicago,
Immersed by Katie Hayoz is a dark yet romantic fantastical romp. It is a
stand-alone novella, the first in a series of adventures that follow Melusine
on her quest to rid the world of monsters…and her struggle to come to terms
with every monstrous facet of herself.
SIREN’S KISS BY MARGO BOND COLLINS
Her kiss might save the world . . .
Unless his kiss kills her first.
It’s been almost two thousand years since the
mer-shifter Skyla walked the streets of Athens—not since her heart was broken
by a human man and she exchanged the land and sky for the ocean depths. Ever
since, she has lived in the underwater ruins of Atlantis, studying with the priestesses
of the goddess Amphitrite, refining her mermaid powers and ignoring her human
half.
But her studies are interrupted when she is called upon
by the god Poseidon himself to investigate rumors that the world above is being
polluted by the magic of creatures from another realm—and worse, that the ocean
kingdom of the mer-people might be next.
When her inquiries in modern-day Greece lead her to an
American detective asking similar questions, Skyla realizes that the magical
problem she’s been sent to research is bigger than she anticipated—and that one
human’s kisses might be more dangerous to her, and her world, than she ever
could have imagined.
TO EACH HIS OWN BY ANNA ALBERGUCCI
Douglass McGrail is a Scottish water horse—his clan the
deadliest in the British Isle. When the shifter chooses to save—rather than
eat—a young lassie, he never expects her innocent face to mark his memory so
strongly.
Months later, he stumbles onto a perceived attack in
progress and plays the hero once more. He’s shocked to find the victim is the
same lass who haunts his dreams.
Jinny Fairchild is an English miss who’s come to the
Highlands to live with her last remaining family. She is pursued by her
handsome older cousin, Lachlan Brockhouse, but he has a dark side that lands
her in the path of the mighty Douglass McGrail.
Douglass wants Jinny for himself, yet discovers she is
connected to the attacker she denies knowing. He’s determined to find the
truth.
Jinny loves Lachlan, even with his dark side. And she
loves Douglass, even with his dark secret. Her heart is torn, but one thing is
certain—no matter which of these men she chooses, she will be choosing a
monster.
About our Authors
Pauline Creeden, author of SCALES, is an award-winning author,
horse trainer, & overall book ninja.
Melanie Karsak, author of INK, is a steampunk connoisseur,
white elephant collector, & zombie whisperer.
A. R. Draeger, author of OF OCEAN AND ASH, resides in rural
Texas with her husband, Josh, & son, Logan.
J. M. Miller, author DEEP BREATH, writes Young Adult
& New Adult romance novels.
Carrie Wells, author of AT THE HEART OF THE DEEP, crosses
genres, writing everything from newspaper editorials & textbooks to
paranormal romance novellas.
Ella Malone, author of THE MERMAID’S DEN, is a lover of all
wonderful things: cherry blossoms, red lipstick, city skylines, the finest
chocolate, a man’s hands, a woman’s back, vodka, & high heels.
Eli Constant, author of THE WATER IS SWEETER, writes
characters that are real–light and dark and everything in between, and makes
her readers truly think.
Poppy Lawless, author of THE GLASS MERMAID, is a counselor in
the field of mental health & is a trained herbalist. This is her debut
work.
Blaire Edens, author of AN OFFICE & A MERMAID, loves iced
tea with mint, hand-stitched quilts, & yarn stores
Erin Hayes, author of HOW TO BE A MERMAID, is a sci-fi
junkie, video game nerd, & wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes who writes a lot
of things.
B. Brumley, author of COLD WATER BRIDEGROOM, is an award-winning
freelance writer. She lives with her husband, five kids, & three dogs in
West Texas.
Katie Hayoz, author of Immersed, lives in Geneva,
Switzerland with her husband, two daughters, & two fuzzy cats.
Margo Bond Collins, author of SIREN’S KISS’spends most of her free
time daydreaming about heroes, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, & the women
who love (and sometimes fight) them.
Anna Albergucci, author of TO EACH HIS OWN, puts inspiration to
paper, weaving her stories into deeply passionate characters that live lives
the rest of us only dream about.
 
Falling in deep Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/bdRtbD

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Cover Reveal: The Keepsake by Suzy Vitello

The Keepsake (The Empress Chronicles #2)
Release Date: December 1st 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
In this second Empress Chronicles book, Liz and Sisi continue their intertwined journey through time. On the heels of discovering a magical locket in the empress diary, Liz comes to understand its very special power: the wearer must speak the truth. Not only that, but it turns out that there are three lockets, each with their own magic and power.

 

Meanwhile, Sisi realizes that she’s communicating with a girl who lives 150 years in the future. A girl who knows what awaits her if she marries the emperor: lack of personal freedom and a legacy that will refer to her as the “reluctant empress.”
With the world’s future hanging in the balance, the two heroines must work together to thwart Lola, whose ambition to rule the Habsburg Empire will rewrite history, and lead to a terrifying new version of reality.
Book One:
(click on image for Goodreads link)
 About the Author
Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland, and her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship).

Suzy’s young adult novels, THE MOMENT BEFORE and THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES are available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

An e-chapbook of some of her stories, UNKISS ME, can be found here
Author Links:
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Cover Reveal: The Starriest Summer

The Starriest Summer (The Cycle of the Six Moons #1)
Release Date: December 20th 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Michelle saves the world on a daily basis…with her trusty video game controller, of course! Naturally, she jumps at the chance to play an experimental virtual reality game.
The beautiful fantasy world of Starrs? Check. The power to mold matter? Check. No reset button? Wait, she didn’t sign up for this!
Turns out Starrs is really real, and to make matters worse, Michelle’s interference awakens the Cycle of the Six Moons, a series of devastating trials that will devour the universe.
Fighting the apocalypse was way easier when danger stayed on the other side of the screen, but Michelle finds a secret weapon in her new-found powers. She uses them to rescue the crown prince of a powerful magic kingdom from their sworn enemies, a technologically-advanced cult that strives to eradicate magical blood.
Michelle starts to fall for Prince Jayse, the only one who believes Michelle to be a savior rather than a curse. But not even video games could prepare her for what the cult has in store for them…
About the Author
Adelle Yeung is the author of The Cycle of the Six Moons trilogy, a young adult fantasy adventure.
She is also a voice-over artist who can’t go a day without a cup of tea. When she’s not writing or recording, she enjoys sewing costumes, baking sweets, and escaping on video game adventures. She lives in California with a cat that dreams of eating the pet bird.

She has provided script supervision for the independent animation, Shattered Heaven, and is head script editor and one of the co-writers for the upcoming game Fiona Frightening and the Wicked Wardrobe.
Author Links:
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Happy Release Day! Real Ways Moms Can Work from Home, by Mandie Stevens

RWWhardbackIf you could change your life for less than $5 would you?

It’s true–you can stay home with your children and still earn money! Work-at-home businesses are on the rise, and Mandie Stevens has been living this life for almost ten years.

Do you need to pay for dance lessons for your kids? Do you want to pay off credit card debt? Or do you need full-time income? You can do it. Find out how to get started with this book.

Purchase on Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Amazon ReviewThis book has websites and gives help as to how to build your audience. For someone like me it has to be dumbed down enough for me to understand and I had no problem following her how to’s. Other how to books lose me, they offer so much information that after a while it all seems Chinese to me. This book was point on and she tells it to you straight, you have to put yourself out there if you want to get something out of it.

Amazon ReviewIt gives real life tips and advice on how you can get started including websites you can visit. This is not a get rich quick scheme, but honest to goodness ways you can start a business from the comfort of your own home. The author does not sugar coat anything by saying it’s easy and will just fall into your lap. She lets you know you have to work for it, but shows that it can be achieved. The book includes her testimony as well as that of several others who have been successfully doing this for years. This book is the real deal.

Mandie Stevens has always been accused of living in her own world so she decided to put it to paper. When she isn’t writing you can catch her lounging on the beach reading. Mandie has penned both non-fiction and urban fantasy. She has ridiculously little feet and would be happy eating seafood every day.

Want a little extra help starting a blog? Check out this giveaway. OPEN WORLDWIDE. Must be 18+

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Fill out the form below to enter to win.

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Spotlight On: A Fistful of Fire, by Rebecca Chastain

A Fistful of Fire

Madison Fox survived her first week as California’s newest illuminant enforcer, defending her region against imps, vervet, hounds, and one lascivious demon. If her grumpy boss, Mr. Pitt, was impressed, he hasn’t told Madison. In fact, there’s a lot her boss has been closemouthed about, including the dark secret haunting his past.

But Madison’s problems are just igniting. Neighboring regions report an uncharacteristic flare-up of evil, fire-breathing salamanders blaze unchecked across the city, and Black Friday looms. Trapped doing cleanup amid mobs of holiday shoppers, Madison watches from the sidelines as dubious allies insinuate themselves in her region.

As suspicions kindle and the mysterious evil gains strength, Madison must determine who she can trust—and whose rules to follow—before her region and career go up in flames.

Sizzling with adventure and sparking with magic, A Fistful of Fire is fused with Madison Fox’s trademark blend of humor and ass-kicking action.

FOF-CR-Pre-order

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011F6E6KM?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Amazon (Everywhere Else): http://smarturl.it/FistfulFire

 

A Fistful of Evil

Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.

Available now:

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MV8VQ70l
Amazon (Everywhere Else): http://smarturl.it/FistfulEvil

FOF-CR-AuthorBio

Rebecca Chastain is the International Amazon Fantasy Bestselling author of A FISTFUL OF EVIL and MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.

Rebecca Chastain

Visit Rebecca at http://www.rebeccachastain.com or

Twitter: @Author_Rebecca (https://twitter.com/Author_Rebecca)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccachastainnovels
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5660379.Rebecca_Chastain

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Spotlight On: Dagger, by Steven Dos Santos


DAGGER
The D.U.S.T. Ops:  Mission 1
Steven Dos
Santos
Paranormal, Urban
Fantasy, Gay, Romance, Sci-Fi
Released Sept. 10th
–  Editor’s Pick
62k words
When Ultimate Evil
engulfs the entire world, only Dagger can pierce the
Darkness—even if the Apocalypse falls on a school night!Dagger Beaumont is a High School senior who’s been recruited by D.U.S.T.—a
covert governmental organization dedicated to battling supernatural terrorism
all over the globe.However, Dagger’s unresolved conflict over his missing brother could be his
undoing, as he races around the world battling the Dark Reich, a diabolical
organization on a quest to possess an ancient artifact and unleash a mystical
plague to enslave humanity. If that weren’t treacherousenough,
Dagger must juggle his life as a secret agent with his social life, where he
faces romantic rivalry for the guy of his dreams, a mysterious and handsome new
student at his haunted boarding school.

But in a high-stakes world where nothing is as it seems, and death lurks in
every shadow, love rides shotgun with survival! 

Buy Links:    Evernight Teen     Amazon
Excerpt:
I pulled the sheet down Reinaldo’s naked right hip,
trying hard not to peek at what lay beyond. Why did he have to
be so damn hot? Hey, I was a typical seventeen year-old guy, raging
hormones and all that jazz. With one big difference.
I had orders to terminate.
Reinaldo lay sprawled beside me on the king-sized bed in our
Parisian hotel suite, looking like the statue of David in a centerfold spread:
jet-black curly hair, Roman nose, angular jaw, the chiseled body of a college
gymnast. His biceps bulged, as did his pecs, which were lightly coated with
hair that tapered into a trail leading down ridges of sculpted abs, past his
pelvis, before disappearing into the tent under the sheets. As far as what was
hidden, let’s just say all that rigorous exercise hadn’t stunted his growth.
He was the first guy to tell me he loved me. And now he’d be
the first guy I had to kill. The quintessential love-hate relationship. If
there’s one thing I’d learned ever since my brother Phillipe’s supernatural
disappearance, it was that love had no business in the world of occult
espionage.
Opening your heart was akin to opening your wrists.
I shifted closer, my face inches from his pelvis. Moving in,
I smelled the freshly laundered linen, mixed with Reinaldo’s own musky athletic
scent. I blinked my eyes three times, activating the infrared contact lenses
I’d slipped on earlier, while Reinaldo’d slipped out of his clothes, after
drinking the potion I’d slipped in his wine. Talk about a slippery slope.
He didn’t look quite as sexy bathed in a green glow, more
like Michelangelo’s boy with a serious case of gangrene. But the only part of
Reinaldo’s body that truly mattered was the part no longer hidden by the sheet.
The part that throbbed underneath the gaze of my infrared lenses.
It was there, on his inner right thigh. The birthmark. My
intel had been correct.
It was so tiny I might not have ever seen it, even if we’d
done the deed.
What was it? Right?—no, left to
zoom in. I blinked my left eye a few times enlarging the image. It was a
symbol. A dragon inside a pyramid, its base parallel to another pyramid base
facing the opposite direction and encasing some type of demon. Both of these
were housed within a larger triangle.
I squinted, flexing my brows. Snap! Snap! Snap! The
photographic evidence of the mark uploaded via the lenses’ transmitter. These
shades rocked. I’d have to give props to Felanie—if I made it out of this.
I glanced back up at Reinaldo’s face. He looked so peaceful
lying there, completely unaware he’d been duped. For a split second I almost
felt sorry for him. Keywords split and almost.
He’d more than duped me by pretending to be my boyfriend,
until I’d found out he was a member of a sorcerist cell. Even so, the concept
of terminating him sounded clinical and abstract when discussed in a cold,
sterile briefing room, especially when I’d prepared months in advance, both
physically and mentally, convincing myself it was for the greater good. With
the target warm and curled up against me like a helpless pup, termination
seemed more like murder. Orders be damned. Better to drug him and see if I
could find it first before going down that road.
I maneuvered my body across his sleeping form. When our skin
touched, I broke out into goose flesh.
Reinaldo stirred slightly.
I held my breath, tensing every muscle.
Then he stretched a sculpted bicep over his head, not a care
in the world.
My heart down-shifted.
I reached over the side of the bed, past the ornately carved
nightstand, and carefully rummaged through the pile of clothes Prince Charming
had deposited on the lush, wine-colored rug. One black V-neck T-shirt with no
pockets, the better to show off his massive chest. Skin-tight jeans that hugged
his thick thighs and narrow waist contained nothing but empty pockets. A pair
of size twelve flip-flops. Not much else.
I’d already performed a sweep of the room. He had to
have it on him.
Wait a minute. The big silver belt buckle. Trendy.
A good place for hiding a top-secret micro-chip embedded with an encryption key
… stylish. I snatched it up, the metal feeling cold, even in my icy
hands.
I examined the buckle, a very butch affair, complete with
some type of horned steer. At first I’d thought Reinaldo’d been going for a
metrosexual country western look. But the horns reminded me of the ones on that
birthmark nestled against his loins.
My fingers explored the buckle’s surface, my thumbs pressing
against every ridge. Nada. I’d have to improvise. Following my instincts, I
pricked my thumb on the prong. A small trickle of blood bubbled forth. Kind of
unconventional for espionage, I know, but it’s not like I worked for the CIA.
As a matter of fact, I doubted even the CIA knew about us, that’s how high we were
on the secret ladder. The Department of Unexplained
Supernatural Terrorism. DUST. Saving the unsuspecting world from the criminal
forces of the supernatural and the occult, one phenomenon at a time.
I smeared the blood on the buckle’s surface, hoping the
“offering” would activate the trigger point. Voila! The
surface snapped open, revealing the microchip lying in the buckle’s womb. It
amazed me the clout virgin blood carried in the occult world. Yes, technically,
I was still a virgin, though hardly the poster boy for innocence at the moment.
I sat up, carefully removed the dime sized-chip, and slipped
it into the hidden slot in the waistband of my tighty-whities. Then I replaced
the buckle’s face and dropped the pants back into the pile, just as the light
came on. Two powerful arms encircled me from behind.
About the Author:
Steven dos Santos is the author of THE TORCH KEEPER novels,
THE CULLING & THE SOWING, a Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic series. The first
book was named an American Library Association 2014 Rainbow List Top Ten
Selection. His new novel, DAGGER, The D.U.S.T. Ops Mission 1, a Young Adult
Paranormal Espionage Adventure, has just been released by Evernight Teen on
September 10th, 2015! Steven is a Team Member of We Need Diverse
Books and is represented by literary agent, Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown,
Ltd. Steven studied Motion Picture production at University of Miami and
graduated from Florida International University with a B.S. Degree from the
School of Journalism and Mass Communications Television Broadcasting program.
He is a passionate advocate of LGBT rights.

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Make sure you join
his Goodreads giveaway as well !!!
Giveaway:  $10 Evernight Teen GC and 1 Print of Dagger

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