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Storms and Crones (Dragon Thief Book 5)

Millie and her handsome fiancé Ben Castle are finally achieving a long-sought goal: to reach the ancestral home of his mother’s people, Rookwood Manor.

Storms and Crones (Dragon Thief Book 5)

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Dakota Combes’s boring life as the quintessential office-slave comes to an abrupt end one fateful Friday evening when she stumbles on the CEO of the company, and his dark secret. Her world turns upside down in a sensual mix of awe and wonder as he leads her into his dark world of wealth and adventure.

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Blood Wizard

COMING SOON
Book Cover: Blood Wizard
Part of the Dragon Key series:

Kate and Tegan have escaped the Keys, but now they find themselves on a dangerous path to learn more about their impossible union.

The werewolf capital of Malartu is far behind them, but the threat from the Seer Senate and their Keys remains. The overarching reach of the powerful Senate means they have to avoid the main roads and travel cross country to the kingdom of the vampires. There they hope to find the Blood Wizard, a mysterious figure who may be able to tell them more about Kate’s unique gift as a twilight witch.

Matters are complicated when they stumble upon a hungry undead. One vampire bite later, and Kate is in even greater danger as the curse of the undead begins to take hold of her body. Her anxiety stirs up her unpredictable powers and hiding her dual magic becomes a nearly impossible task.

Stuck between an uncertain future and a pursuing past, can they reach their destination before they’re found out, or will she succumb to the growing lust within her?

Excerpt:

“Duck!”
The shout came from Tegan and the command was aimed at me. Something else was aimed at me, and that was the dagger-like claws of the creature that swooped down from the skies. I threw myself to the ground and covered my head with my arms. The wind from the claws brushed past my limbs before the creature regained its altitude.
I whipped my head up and glared at Tegan as he held a fireball in each upturned hand. “I don’t like your shortcut!”
We were in the middle of the dark woods with a starry sky overhead. I sat up and rubbed my ankle which I had sprained slightly after a trip over some rocks. A flurry of stones had fallen into the mouth of a nearby cave and three foul creatures had flown out. They had the neck and head of a woman but below that was a bright display of feathers and dagger-like claws. Their human parts weren’t much to look at, either, with wrinkled faces and dull gold eyes.

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Their long, straggly hair flew out behind them in crusty strands.
I ducked again as one of them swooped down to try to grab my hair in their claws. The creature dropped a flurry of feathers on top of me. I sputtered and spat one out as the creature shrieked like a banshee.
“I didn’t mean to disturb your beauty sleep!” I shouted at the fiend. “And heaven knows you could use it!”
The three creatures screeched as Tegan hurried to my side and knelt beside me. “I don’t think they appreciated your comment,” he pointed out.
I fluffed off the feathers. “I don’t appreciate them dive-bombing me.”
The trio circled above us like vultures. Tegan watched them with a sharp eye as the flames in his hands increased in size. He looked like he was holding a pair of campfires. “Whatever happens, stay behind me.”
I glared at him. “I can take care of myself.”
“Not if you trip again and fall into my line of fire,” he countered.
My face drooped. “Point taken.”
I scurried behind him as the creatures made another pass at us, this time all in one go. They swung their claws out in front of them as they let loose more horrible screams. Tegan threw his fireballs and struck two of them, but the center continued its kamikaze mission as it aimed straight at us. My companion opened his mouth and spat out another fireball. The orb of fire struck the creature in the chest and dropped it like a rock. The three fiends flapped about on the ground and extinguished the flames, but they looked even worse than before. Their feathers were singed and their hair smoldered. They gave us dirty looks as they stumbled back into their hole.
I fell back onto my butt and breathed a sigh of relief. Tegan did the same beside me and lifted his eyes to the thick foliage. “I guess this wasn’t such a good shortcut, but at least we’re not bored.”
I snorted and brushed off more feathers. “Or maimed. Yet.” I picked up one of the quills and admired the green and orange hues. “You think they’d mind if I took one?”
“We won’t be staying here long enough to ask,” he told me as I climbed to his feet and offered me a hand. “Can you stand?”
“And walk,” I assured him as I accepted his hand. He pulled me to my feet with a little more force than I expected. I fell against his chest and blushed at the comfortable heat that radiated off his person. A chuckle rumbled through him. “Like what you feel?”
My cheeks were lit on fire and I stumbled away. “I-I wasn’t thinking that!”
“Thinking what?” he innocently asked me.
I glared at him. “Thinking what you were thinking?”
“I was merely thinking about where we should go from here,” he countered as he swept his gaze over the area. “We should be nearing the border between Conas and Blutstein.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Those sound like two different types of hard liquors.”
“They serve very different drinks in Blutstein,” Tegan mused as we made our way westward.
“Blood on the rocks?” I guessed.
“Among other ways. Some prefer their drink served very warm.”
I clapped a hand over the side of my throat. “Should I have packed a turtleneck sweater?”
A rustle of branches ahead of our location made us freeze. Tegan swung his arm out in front of me and he scanned the area. “Who’s there?”
The bushes ahead of us parted and a man of about thirty stumbled out. The man had shimmering long black hair that stopped halfway down his back and sported a pair of dark brownish eyes. He was slightly taller than me with disheveled jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. The stranger wore plain brown sandals and a matching thin brown coat covered him.
The man started back when he noticed us and yelped before he stumbled backward and vanished into the same bushes he had just escaped.
“Damn these things!” the man swore as the bushes shook violently. The stranger crawled out on his stomach looking even more scraped than before. He slammed his fisted hand against the ground. “Damn all these plants!”
“Did you need some help?” I spoke up.
The man climbed to his feet and brushed the leaves and twigs off himself. “No, I’m quite alright. I was just trying to get to Blutstein.”
Tegan nodded to the west. “We were just headed that way ourselves.”
The stranger eyed us with a curious look. “Through the woods?”
“In the same manner as you,” Tegan countered.
The man folded his arms over his chest and shrugged. “I like to be alone.”
“Out here?” I wondered as I inspected the dark shadows that surrounded us.
The man winced and rubbed the back of his head. “Well, I wasn’t planning on traveling this way, but I sort of kind of got. . .”
Tegan cocked his head to one side and his eyes twinkled with mischief. “What was that last word?”
The stranger scowled at him. “I’m lost.”
“You could come with us,” I suggested.
“Provided you keep your distance from our necks,” Tegan added.
I did a double take on the stranger. He was unusually pale.
The stranger kicked a stone on the ground. “Suit yourself.”
Tegan bowed his head and took my hand. He led me around the man and westward through the woods. I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder at the stranger as he tagged along. He didn’t have the same deathly pallor as Mrs Brogan, but there was a strange air about him that seemed to block me from distrusting him.
He noticed my attention and gave me a big toothy smile. “I don’t think I introduced myself. The name’s Zahn.”
“Kate,” I replied.
He bowed his head to me and his long dark hair slid over his shoulders. “A pleasure to meet you, Miss Kate.”
I nodded at Tegan. “And this is, um-” He had a look of warning in his eyes. “This is Hal.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Hal,” Zahn greeted him.
“The pleasure is all ours,” Tegan replied with more than a little terseness in his voice.
Zahn didn’t appear to notice as he grasped his hands behind his back and looked up at the night sky. “Nice night for a walk, isn’t it?”
“Not too bad,” I answered. “But what’s taking you to Blutstein?”
He shrugged. “Business and pleasure. I’ve been away for a while and was wondering if anything changed.” A barking laugh escaped him that made me jump. He noticed my fright and got control over himself. “Bad joke, wasn’t it? Blutstein hasn’t changed in a century. It’s not bound to be any different after just a decade.”
“So you lived there before?” Tegan spoke up.
Zahn nodded. “Oh yes, for quite a few decades. I’m just coming home because I heard some interesting news from an old friend.”
I lifted an eyebrow. “What kind of news?”
He lifted his chin and furrowed his brow. “What was it again? Can’t seem to remember.”
Tegan didn’t look too pleased with the man’s shallow demeanor. “Did you forget that with the way to the town?”
“Of course I didn’t forget-” The man caught himself, but it was too late. He sheepishly smiled at us as he scratched the back of his head. “I’m no good at lies, am I?”
Tegan stopped and turned to face the stranger with narrowed eyes. “Why are you really out here?”
Zahn scowled back at him as I scooted closer to my companion. “I wasn’t lying about that. I heard some interesting news and wanted to see it for myself.”
“And what is this news?” Tegan persisted.
Zahn nodded at me. “That your friend here is about to be attacked by a vampire.”
My mouth dropped open. Tegan threw himself between the stranger and me. He stretched his arms out and his hands became claws. “I won’t allow you to touch her.”
Zahn smiled and shook his head. “You can’t stop me.”
I blinked and the vampire had vanished. My heart raced as I whipped my head about, but he was nowhere to be found.
I grasped Tegan’s sleeve and my words came out in a squeaky whisper. “I thought you said vampires weren’t any faster than us.”
His eyes darted over the area. “They aren’t but some of them have their own unique magic that-”
I didn’t hear the rest as a paralyzing pain struck me. The pain was focused on my throat and I could turn my head just far enough to see Zahn’s dark eyes staring back at me. His long fangs were impaled in my neck and two thin lines of blood ran down my neck. His cold arms wrapped around me from behind and drew me against his chest.
A garbled cry escaped my lips. Tegan spun around and tried to slice half the vampire’s head off at an angle. Zahn leapt back and all my support went with him. I crumpled to the ground and Tegan caught me before I face-planted.
Zahn stood over us with his teeth still grotesquely long. He wiped away a few drops of blood with the back of his hand and grinned down at me. “Thank you for that, Miss Kate. Until we meet again.”
He turned and fled into the woods. Tegan drew me into his arms and his worried face hovered over mine. “Kate? Kate, can you hear me?”
I weakly nodded, but the world around me was growing dim. The last thing I saw were the stars twinkling above us. Then all went black.

COLLAPSE

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Mac Flynn