Get Wicked with Entangled Blog Hop ~ Trick or Treat!

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Entangled Publishing is hosting a blog hop from 10/29-10/31. Authors and bloggers on the hop will all post something wicked on 10/29 with a small trick or treating prize. To join in the fun, hop around to see everyone’s tricks!

For my post, I’m sharing a snippet of Opposing the Cowboy, my latest Entangled release, and giving away an ebook copy of Taming the Country Star, the first novella in the Hometown Heroes series.

 

OtC

Buy Links available here

 

Never trust a good kisser…

Yoga teacher LeeAnn Walker has no desire to see the unspoilt beauty of her grandmother’s ranch violated by a greedy oil company. But unless she finds the paperwork confirming she owns the mineral rights, that’s exactly what could happen. The worst part? The guy spearheading the whole mess is none other than the hot and sexy stranger LeeAnn just kissed to make her ex jealous.

Jonah Hamilton thought his day was looking up until he found out the gorgeous blonde who kissed the hell out of him is the same stubborn woman he came to town for. And she’s not too happy to find out she might be forced to allow drilling on her land.

But Jonah has a job to do, even if LeeAnn tempts him to turn his professionalism into something much more personal…

 

Excerpt

Without a word, she drew her T-shirt up over her head and tossed it in a corner, then stepped out of her jeans. There was nothing overtly seductive about the moves—they were straightforward and direct, like LeeAnn herself, and they made his heart stutter in his chest. She paused, standing in her lacy bra and panties, her eyes and mouth serious. Jonah remained perfectly still, afraid that she would bolt if he moved too quickly.

“So beautiful,” he whispered, drinking in every inch of her long, lean, tight body.

Blinking a little, she glanced down at the scraps of lace that barely covered her, a blush heating her cheeks and a rueful smile hovering around her lips. “I know they’re not very practical—not for yoga or the ranch.”

Yet she had worn them, and like everything about her, her lacy undergarments told a story—this one of a woman with a secret femininity, hidden under the concealing outfits of both the yogi and the cowgirl.

It was, he suspected, a side of herself that she didn’t often share with others.

Every cell of him strained toward her, demanding that he sweep her up into his arms and claim her lips—bury himself in her—but his instincts warned him that he needed to take this slowly, even as he hardened at the sight of her.

 

Picturesque landscape, fenced ranch at sunrise

 

About the Author

MargoBondCollinsMargo Bond Collins writes urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She lives in Texas with her daughter and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.

 

 

Contact Margo

Newsletter: https://confirmsubscription.com/h/d/03A21E5E161401F0

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.net

Blog: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

Tsu: http://www.tsu.co/MargoBondCollins

 

___________________________________________

Enter to Win a copy of Taming the Country Star

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Taming

He’ll do anything to win her heart. She’ll do anything to keep him away.

Country star Cole Grayson is in town, and Kylie Andrews is less than thrilled. As if months of changing the radio station and tearing down his posters weren’t bad enough, now she has to deal with a town of fans swarming toward the man who deceived her the year before. But when Kylie’s eyes meet Cole’s again, she can’t deny the electric chemistry that drew her to him the first time around.

Cole Grayson is on a mission. Ever since Kylie left him, he hasn’t been able to forget her sweet country smile. After writing a song just for her, he sets off for her hometown to prove he’s not the player she thinks he is. But as much as Cole can’t forget her, Kylie wonders if she can forgive him…

 

___________________________________________

Now HOP to the rest of the participating posts and enter to win!

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Cover Reveal: The Witching Hour Collection

by Various Authors
Release Date: November 30th 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
Good witch. Bad witch. White magic. Black magic. Kitchen magic. Pick your potion. Ready for Halloween? The authors of the Blazing Indie Collective, who brought you the Falling in Deep Collection, are brewing up something new. Check out all the novellas in The Witching Hour Collection coming October 2015:
Melanie Karsak: Witch Wood
Claire C. Riley: Raven’s Cove
Eli Constant: Sleeping in the Forest of Shadows
Elizabeth Watasin: Charm School: The Wrecking Faerie
Erin Hayes: I’d Rather be a Witch
Carrie Wells: Playing with Magic
Evan Winters: The Witch of Bracken’s Hollow
Minerva Lee: Spun Gold
Blaire Edens: The Witch of Roan Mountain
Poppy Lawless: The Cupcake Witch
 
The Authors
 Melanie Karsak          Carrie Wells          Claire C. Riley          Elizabeth Watasin
    Eli Constant          Poppy Lawless          Blaire Edens          Erin Hayes
 Evan Winters          Minerva Lee

Spotlight On: The Lock, by KT Grant

The Lock
Book 3, Dark Paths Series
KT Grant
Erotic Romance, 105,000k
The dark path continues for Erika and Max as secrets unfold and threaten to destroy all they hold dear…
Erika Walsh’s every dream has come true. She’s received both critical and public acclaim for her best-selling erotic romance, and has chosen the magnetic millionaire and BDSM club owner Maxwell Crawford as the keeper of her heart. Although, her former crush Chris Milton still refuses to accept her decision. As she plans her wedding to Max, she’s confronted with his past and the many secrets he’s kept under lock and key –for good reason.
When Max’s older brother, Daniel, a big Hollywood producer falls ill, Erika and Max rush to Los Angeles to help him recover. Max is shocked to find Daniel has become the victim of a blackmailer who seeks revenge against the brothers. Max must confront the loathsome Abraham Rovner, a former classmate from high school, who has never forgiven him for breaking off their relationship.
Abraham brings out Max’s lurking deviant nature, which sends him to a dark place in his mind. Erika must find the strength to help her lover purge his demons, even though it may come at a major cost for them both.
Releasing December 14th, 2015!!
Book 1    The Gate
A chance encounter between a successful author and a billionaire owner of an underground BDSM club, leads to the most pivotal relationship of their lives…

Erika Walsh has carried a torch for Christopher Milton, heir to her father’s publishing empire for years. After one steamy make out session she begins to wonder if it might develop into something more. But when M. L. Crawford, better known as Max, her father’s publishing rival, seeks her out at a society event, she’s drawn to his magnetic charisma and powerful demeanor. Their verbal bantering and innuendo laced overtones stir feelings she never knew existed, and soon Erika is consumed with knowing the real man under Max’s restrained public façade.

Erika’s sweet nature and naivety excites Max to near madness. He wants to train her in the art of seduction and make her succumb to his every wish and command…as his perfect submissive. Yet, Christopher is determined to keep Erika from becoming the latest victim of Max’s sinister sexual hungers. He knows all too well what Max hides in his black soul and will stop at nothing to reveal all of Max’s secrets in order to protect the one thing he holds dear above all else- Erika.

Max’s dark desires scare yet arouse Erika, as he opens her eyes to a new bold world full of passion and ecstasy she never imagined until him. But the biggest question remains: Is Erika’s craving for Max just an illusion that transpires behind the walls of The Gate?

Available now…  Amazon
Book 2    The Key
The seductive world of The Gate continues with The Key…

Erika has reinvented herself as an author of erotic romance under the pseudonym, Lily Fredericks. After her eight month sabbatical in New Orleans, she’s returning to Manhattan to promote her new book. Chris is handling her book tour and wants Erika to give him another chance. She’s forgiven Chris, but Max is always in her thoughts. Sick of waiting for Erika to come to her senses, Max takes matters into his own hands. He’ll go to New Orleans to claim her before it’s too late.

With Erika back in Manhattan, both Chris and Max try to seduce her in the hopes she’ll choose one of them. As both men battle for her heart, a woman from Max’s past reappears, bent on revenge. Chris will ruin Max anyway he can in order to make Erika his own. However, Max has something up his sleeve to insure he’s the victor, but not without a price—Erika’s soul.

Can Erika choose between a man who seeks to possess and a man who can’t live without her?

Available now… Amazon
About the Author:
KT Grant is a self-proclaimed eccentric redhead who not only loves to read a wide variety of romances, but also loves writing it. Under her alter-ego, she is a well-known book blogger who doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. A proud native of New Jersey, KT is multi-published and writes Gay, Lesbian and Straight romance. KT has been a top ten best-selling author at Amazon, as well as being a multiple All Romance Ebooks best seller and a Night Owl Reviews Top Author Pick. KT is also About.com’s Romance Novel Expert and Columnist.
KT loves to hear from readers. You can drop KT an email at ktgrnt@gmail.com.

Historical Vampires ~ Beyond the Count ~ Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop

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Welcome to the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop! This week, I’m sharing a post about the early appearance of vampires in England, adapted from the introduction to Beyond the Count, along with a snippet from one of the oldest stories about vampires in English.  Enjoy the post and excerpt, then HOP on over to check out the rest of the authors’ entries this week!

 

When Vampires Came to England

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(reposted from a guest blog at World Weaver Press)

Much has been written lately about the sudden explosion of vampires onto the literary and popular-culture scene, from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, to Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries and their HBO television version True Blood, to the hundreds of paranormal romances and urban fantasies with fanged heroes and villains. With this resurgence of vampires has come a renewed interest in older vampire tales, as well. And there are many of them to be found!

The most commonly known of these earlier vampire stories is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, of course. Dracula has become the model for countless vampires since its publication in 1897. One of the most striking elements of Dracula, and one that a number of scholars have touched upon, is the vampire’s journey to England, often interpreted as a xenophobic British attitude toward Eastern Europeans and Jews. When Dracula comes to England, he threatens the very heart of the Empire.

But Dracula was not the first vampire in England.

In March 1732, several London newspapers—including the London Journal, which seems to have first published the news—carried the story of Arnold Paole (rendered “Paul” in most English reports), a Hungarian who had apparently become a “vampire” after his death. Other newspapers quickly picked up the report and all included the same salient points: Arnold Paul had been attacked by a vampire during his lifetime and had returned after his death to haunt and murder his loved ones. Determined to exterminate the menace, local officials dug up Paul’s body, staked it through the heart, and burned it to ashes. These reports led to what has been termed the “Eighteenth-Century Vampire Controversy,” a debate over the existence of vampires that would eventually engross a number of clergymen; cause the exhumation, staking, and burning of bodies from countless eastern European gravesites; and end with the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria sending her personal physician, Gerhard van Swieten, to investigate. He concluded that vampires did not exist, and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies.

Those 1732 reports probably constituted the earliest uses of the word “vampire” in English, despite the Oxford English Dictionary’s claim that the word actually appeared two years later. By 1734, vampires had already been much discussed in England as in the rest of Europe, and by 1740, at least one French clergyman—Dom Augustin Calmet—had written a treatise speculating about the possibility of the reality of vampires; this treatise was translated into English, then reprinted and often quoted.

Thus vampires were haunting England long before the Count appeared. Those of us who write about vampires owe much to Bram Stoker, but Dracula was only the latest in a long line of vampires to appear in English print.

I’m including a snippet below from one of those early vampire news stories, and Beyond the Count offers a number of early vampire tales, plays, and poems.

_____________________________________________
From “Foreign Advices” in The Gentleman’s Magazine, March, 1732.

From Medreyga in Hungary, That certain dead Bodies called Vampyres, had kill’d several Persons by sucking out all their Blood. The Commander in Chief, and Magistrates of the Place were severally examin’d and unanimously declared, that about 5 years ago, a certain Heyduke[2] named Arnold Paul, in his Life Time was heard to say, he had been tormented by a Vampyre, and that for a Remedy he had eaten some of the Earth of the Vampyre’s Grave, and rubbed himself with their Blood. That 20 or 30 Days after the Death of the said Arnold Paul, several Persons complained that they were tormented; and that he had taken away the Lives of 4 Persons. To put a Stop to such a Calamity, the Inhabitants having consulted their Hadnagi[2] took up his Body, 40 Days after he had been dead, and found it fresh and free from Corruption; that he bled at the Nose, Mouth and Ears, pure and florid Blood; that his Shroud and Winding Sheet were all over Bloody; and that his Finger and Toe Nails were fallen off, and new ones grown in their room. By these Circumstances they were perswaded that he was a Vampyre, and, according to Custom, drove a Stake thro’ his Heart; at which he gave a horrid Groan. They burnt his Body to Ashes, and threw them into his Grave. ’Twas added, that those who have been tormented or killed by the Vampyres become Vampyres when they are dead. Upon which Account they served several other dead Bodies in the same manner.

Notes:
1. A term meaning originally “robber, marauder, brigand” (a sense still retained in Serbia and adjacent countries), which in Hungary became the name of a special body of foot-soldiers (to whom the rank of nobility and a territory were given in 1605), and in Poland of the liveried personal followers or attendants of the nobles. (OED)
2. Generally translated in the eighteenth century as “bailiff”; clearly a public official.

 

Beyond the Count high resolution cover

Long before Dracula, vampires stalked the literary scene.

These early literary vampires are sometimes terrifying, at times melodramatic, and occasionally ridiculous, but they are always out for blood—and their vampiric descendants continue to fascinate and captivate us.

Beyond the Count includes an edited collection of vampire stories, plays, and poems from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, annotated and introduced by literary scholar Margo Bond Collins. This collection gives students, scholars, and vampire aficionados alike the opportunity to examine works often long out of print and to contextualize the development of the vampire beyond that most famous of literary Counts.

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Paperback

Spotlight On: Silverfall, by Raven de Hart

Silverfall

BLURB

The city hides a lot of secrets. Sometimes, those secrets break free.

Unicorns can’t be real. That’s what Anthony Gates always thought. At least until he saw one murder a man. Now there’s a myth stalking him through the streets of San Francisco. And right when he’s starting in on a very passionate—and promising—relationship.

Leon Phillips is a security guard with a secret. A dangerous secret. One he can’t even share with his new flame, Anthony. But when the mysterious Lionshead organization rears up, he’s left with only two choices: come clean about who he really is, or give up on Anthony forever.

Can their romance survive onslaught from all sides, or will the secrets eat away at what could have been?

EXCERPT

I made it through and leaned against the other bar. This bartender wasn’t quite as cute as the first one, but I hardly thought I’d be headed home with either one of them. “Double bourbon, rocks.”

I reached for my wallet to give him my card, start a second tab, but a large, gruff hand wrapped over my wrist. Its partner handed a twenty to the bartender. “I’ll cover it.”

Shit on fire. Someone was actually paying for my drink. Of course, it was probably some old fart who was hoping to get lucky with someone the same age as his fucking grandson. That would be my luck. But I had to show my appreciation. Hopefully I could end the bad situation there.

“Thanks, but you really don’t have to.”

“It’s my distinct pleasure.”

He didn’t sound old. Fuck it. I dared eye contact, and I was fucking thrilled with the outcome. He was tall. Over six feet. Short black hair, clean-shaven, and well-built. Very well-built. He had these big, dark eyes. Almost black and almost too big for his face. His gaze bored into me. Even when I blinked, I could see them, clear as the clearest night sky. He had scars all over his face, neck, and arms. Subtle, but there. And, perhaps most importantly, he had to be somewhere close to my age. Or know a really good plastic surgeon.

“Hi.” I offered him my hand properly. He grabbed it, squeezed it as he shook. Strong.

“Hi. My name’s Leon.”

“Anthony.” I sipped at my drink, but suddenly, I didn’t seem to need it so much. I leaned on the bar and smiled. “So, how about that small talk?”

“Hate it. But I occasionally endure the torment.”

“On what occasions?”

He shrugged but didn’t break eye contact. “Mainly when my conversational partner is lovely enough to warrant the effort.”

“And do I qualify?”

Again, a shrug. Then a smile. It wasn’t a cute smile or a sexy smile or a pretty smile. It was too big, and his teeth were too horsey. That was all right with me. He was real and attractive, not fake and plastic like all the other guys I’d come across in California.

He took a drink of whatever was in his glass. “So the weather’s been pretty good lately.”

“It’s California. The closest thing I’ve seen to bad weather here is an earthquake.”

“Well, that’s not entirely true.” He clinked his glass against mine before continuing. “It rained that one time.”

“Must have been before I moved here.”

“Where’d you move from?”

“Montana.”

“Cow country.”

“Not exactly. Our neighbors did the whole cattle thing. My family was always more into horses.” And just like that, the unicorn trotted back into my mind. But it also trotted right back off and let me focus on Leon. “What about you?”

“I’ve pretty much been here my whole life. Moved around to different towns, but the city life always suited me best of all.” He took another drink and finished it most of the way off. “What do you do for a living?”

That was a great question. Totally made me datable material, talking about my dead-end job. “I’m on the night crew down at Michaelson’s Grocery.”

“What do you do?”

So much for my artful dodging. “I’m a stocker. Nothing special, but it pays the bills.” Needed to get off that subject quick. “What about you?”

“Security.” He said it fast. If I wasn’t feeling the liquor so hard, I might have questioned it. And if he wasn’t so damn good-looking and interested in me. For once. “I work for whoever decides to pay me that week.”

“Is it dangerous?”

He snorted. “Hardly. There’s not nearly as much activity as the TV writers would have you think.” He reached over and touched my cheek, rough skin scratching. “How do you feel about kissing strangers, Anthony?” When he pulled his bar stool closer, I didn’t back off. I thought I maybe should have, but I didn’t. I let him touch me. His skin was warm and hard, and he smelled like cut grass and wet dirt. I don’t know why. Maybe it was just my imagination. That was completely possible. But I still breathed deep. If my brain wanted me to think he smelled that perfect, I was going to take full advantage of the delusion.

He kept his hand there for a long time. Longer than I’d ever normally allow a stranger to touch me, sober or not. My heart thumped hard in my chest. Damn it, I felt good. I brushed my fingers through his hair. Soft to the touch.

And then it happened. I leaned forward, balancing my stool on two legs. Given how much liquor I’d had, that was an impressive fucking feat. I hesitated for half a breath just an inch away from him. Close enough to see his pores. Close enough to feel his gentle breath, hot and scented like whatever fruity cocktail he’d been drinking.

I leaned in that extra inch and pressed my lips to his. Not long. Hardly more than a peck. No tongue. But it still sparked inside me, lighting something animal to life in my core. I snuffed it out. Or tried…and failed. It remained there even as the heat of embarrassment took hold.

“Was that all right?”

“No complaints from me.” The big toothy smile again. “In fact, I think we should do it again.” He scooted even closer, weaving his legs between mine. He whispered the next part. “Go ahead.”

It took me a bit to believe it, to believe he really wanted to kiss again. But he didn’t pull back when I leaned closer. I parted my lips, conformed to the curve of his mouth. I dared a flash of tongue, just the slightest brush against his teeth. His tongue touched mine just as I went to pull back, and the sensation stuck there, lingering in my mouth.

I looked into the big, dark eyes. The skin crinkled around them as he laughed. “Well, I think that was okay, don’t you?”

About the Author

After years on hiatus, Raven de Hart has once again picked up her pen to write her salacious stories and tantalizing tales. And the occasional lewd limerick, if she’s had enough wine. Her short work has been published in various anthologies from Cleis Press and Bold Strokes Books, among others. She is also the author of a variety of books, including Wild Ride and Silverfall. When she is not writing, she can be found tending her herb garden, playing with her Basset Hounds, and trying to figure out this new-fangled internet fad.

BUY LINK

http://www.loose-id.com/silverfall.html

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Release Day Blitz: Shattered by Cynthia Eden

Shattered
 (LOST Series, #3)
by Cynthia Eden 
 
Blurb: 
In New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s latest novel featuring the Last Option Search Team (LOST), one agent is forced to face her past as she uncovers secrets about the man who may be the key to her future.
Criminal psychologist Dr. Sarah Jacobs is all too familiar with the kind of bad boys who belong behind bars. But the dark, dangerous man she meets in the New Orleans underworld is a new kind of ruthless, and all too irresistible.
Jax Fontaine doesn’t claim to be a good guy, but he’s loyal to his own code and brutally honest about what he wants. He and Sarah may be worlds apart, but when they’re skin to skin, nothing matters but the heat between them.
And when a deranged killer targets Sarah, Jax will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
Available for purchase at
                  
  Excerpt

His blue gaze sharpened on her. “Are you afraid of me?”

“Aren’t most people?” she dodged. Most smart people?

“Yes, but they have a reason to fear me.” His knuckles fell away from her. “You don’t. I wouldn’t ever hurt you.”

Right. Like she was just supposed to take him at his word. Once Jax had been drawn into LOST’s investigation, Sarah had made it a top priority to learn as much about him as she could. Only it turned out that there wasn’t a whole lot to discover. Most of his past was cloaked, little more than rumors and smoke. Sure, she’d seen his criminal record, but that had been all juvie stuff. The guy had been good at covering his tracks once he’d become legal.

He’d been on the streets since he was a teenager. Somehow, he’d clawed his way—quite literally—out of the gutter and become a force to be reckoned with in the area. He owned several businesses and had connections that stretched across the county. And the local police were sure that he was a criminal. They just hadn’t been able to pin any serious crimes on him.

It’s hard because he has money and power. And he’s smart. She could see the intelligence in his eyes. The cunning. He won’t make mistakes easily.

“I love it when your mind starts spinning,” he murmured, his voice a deep rumble. “Tell me, Dr. Jacobs, are you profiling me right now?”

Her hands lifted and she shoved against his chest. He backed up, not because she’d been uber strong and knocked him back, but because … dammit, she suspected he moved for her.

To make her feel in control.

But he likes power.

And, hell, she was profiling him. “I don’t understand the point of this little meeting. Stopping a woman in the elevator is hardly an appropriate pick-up routine—”

He laughed. His laughter actually sounded real. Warm and rough, and it rolled right over her.

“How is anything about us appropriate?” Jax asked. That man’s voice—so deep and rumbly—it was like pure sex. She was pretty sure, like one hundred percent so, that he normally had women tossing their panties at him on sight.

She wasn’t one of those women. Or, rather, she was trying not to be one of those women.

The Lost Series Now Available

 (Book #1)
Available for purchase at
               

(Book #2)

Available for purchase at
               


About the Author

 
USA Today Best-selling author Cynthia Eden has written over twenty-five novels and novellas. She was named as a 2013 RITA® finalist for her paranormal romance, ANGEL IN CHAINS, and, in 2011, Cynthia Eden was a RITA finalist for her romantic suspense, DEADLY FEAR.
Cynthia is a southern girl who loves horror movies, chocolate, and happy endings.  She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.
 
Cynthia’s foreign sales for her books include translations to Japan, Germany, Thailand, Greece, and Brazil.
(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people).  Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.
You can find Cynthia at
          
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Spotlight On: Haunt My Heart By Lisa Medley

Haunt My Heart 
by Lisa Medley
 
Blurb:
A Civil War soldier is hexed and dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?
Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg, VA, she brings home more than a souvenir.
Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex: a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.
Available for purchase at
Excerpt

It all starts when Sarah finds a ring on the grounds of Chatham Manor after a night of ghost-hunting. She takes home much more than a souvenir.

Ellie opened the driver’s side door, and Sarah waited for her to crawl across the seat of the old Mustang and pop the passenger-side lock. The broken power locks were one of many deficiencies in the classic car. Sarah retrieved her betraying phone from her pocket and powered it up as Ellie shuffled about inside the car.

As she checked her phone display, a glint of light on the ground to her right caught her eye. Aiming her screen at the ground like a flashlight, she bent low and searched for the source of the flash. Just as she began investigating, though, she heard the lock pop, and Ellie pushed the door open. The door hit Sarah in the head, knocking her to the cold, hard ground.

“Sorry,” Ellie said, scrambling to catch the door before it slammed closed again.

Sarah mumbled a few choice obscenities and rubbed her head. She reached down and ran her finger over something half-buried in the ground.

“What is that?” Ellie was hanging out the car, her body stretched across the seats.

“I don’t know.” Sarah turned the flashlight of her phone up to full beam and picked at the object in the frozen turf. “Do you have a pen or something?”

Ellie scuffled around inside the dark, rolling landfill that was her car—the interior lights long burned out—and produced a screwdriver instead. “Will this work?”

Sarah took the offered screwdriver and dug at the buried treasure. After breaking it free from its cold grave, she examined it by the light of her cell phone. “It’s a ring.”

“Let me see.”

Ellie scrambled back into the driver’s seat. Sarah joined her in the car, then shut the door against the cold.

“Hold the light,” Sarah said, digging a Kleenex from her coat pocket to clear as much of the mud from the ring as possible.

The ring remained caked with mud, which filled the engraved edges, but the stone cleaned off easily enough. The set, a square cut black onyx, glinted. The cold metal of the band warmed in her hand.

“You know what that is, right?” Ellie asked.

“A ring?” Sarah couldn’t keep the sarcasm from her voice, not after the night she’d had.

“An artifact.”

“No. Someone just lost a class ring. Like one of the sorority girls.”

“Does that look like a woman’s ring? No. No is the answer. That is a man’s ring. An officer’s ring or something. That could be a real-life, true-blue Civil War artifact.”

“I doubt it. And if it is, we’ll return it. This is a national park. There are rules.”

“I say finders keepers. Let me see it better.”

 
 
About The Author
Lisa has always enjoyed reading about monsters, and now she writes about them, because monsters need love too.
She adores beasties of all sorts, fictional as well as real, and has a farm full of them in her southwest Missouri home, including: one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig.
She may or may not keep a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times, including a machete. Just. In. Case.
You can find Lisa at
               
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