Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bewitching Book Tours Spring Sale




Receive 10% off any virtual tour package scheduled before May 9

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Can not be combined with other sales or special pricing

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr



The Dastardly Miss Lizzie
An Electric Empire Novel
Book Three
Viola Carr

On sale: 4/18/2017
ISBN: 9780062363121

In the third book in Viola Carr’s fantastically fun and wonderfully edgy Electric Empire novel, set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll must team up with her secret other half, Miss Lizzie Hyde, as her world comes crashing to a halt when a madman begins targeting the city’s most important scientists, and sorcerers threaten all she holds dear.

About the Book:

Crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to share a life with her rebellious second self, Lizzie Hyde. But being two people in one body isn’t easy, not when Eliza has a professional reputation to protect and Lizzie is veering headfirst into a life of debauchery and crime with an increasingly demented Mr. Hyde. Not to mention the difficulty of making a respectable marriage with Remy Lafayette--Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope--while Lizzie enjoys her own dubious romantic entanglements. And with England on the brink of war, Remy’s secretive mission in sorcery-riddled Paris grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is Eliza finally going mad?

Now, she’s confronted by her most baffling case yet: an evil genius with a penchant for theatrics is murdering eminent scientists in the most inexplicable ways. Her investigation uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories and bleeding-edge science punishable by death--and a shocking connection to her father’s infamous experiments. Desperate to learn the truth about her past, she must infiltrate a cabal of fanatical inventors bent on a discovery that will change the world--or destroy it.

With London under attack by sorcery-wielding terrorists, and the Royal Society’s enforcers determined to bury her evidence for good, Eliza needs all the friends she can get if she’s to thwart the killer and keep her head. But when Lizzie’s criminal shenanigans get Eliza fired from the Metropolitan Police, and Remy is implicated in an act of bloody vengeance he didn’t commit (or did he?), she’s on her own.

Except for wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie. But Lizzie’s got her own life now. And she’ll do anything to keep it. Even if it means attempting the unspeakable and finding her own body. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn…

Amazon     BN     HarperVoyager     BD    Kobo     iBooks


About the Author:

Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist.





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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Release Day Blitz It Had to Be You by Melissa Kate




It Had To Be You
Crystal Valley
Book Two
Melissa Kate


Genre: Contemporary Romance , RomCom

Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing

Date of Publication: 25 April 2017

ISBN:  978-0-9984714-1-9
ASIN: B06ZZ2TPJ9

Number of pages: 200 pages
Word Count: 50 k

Cover Artist: Amy from Q Design

Book Description:

Emma Wyatt has had enough of her ex best friend and his lady killer ways. Gone was the sweet boy of her youth and in rides the womaniser. But this time he has ready gone and done it!

Oliver didn’t expect to be coupled with Emma. She was in an awkward situation and he couldn’t help the words that came out. She should be grateful, he saved her.

Now the whole town knows. And Emma is pissed! She’s going to kill him.

But a heated argument leads to a fiery moment of passion and suddenly the two are fighting an unlikely attraction that neither saw coming. But Oliver has a secret that could tear them apart…

Amazon     BN     Kobo




About the Author:


Melissa Kate is a self-confessed book-a-holic who lives in a small town along the coast in sunny South Africa. She writes contemporary romance with quirky characters and witty banter; a true romantic at heart, she loves the moment of falling in love. Her pet Beagle and maniacal lovebird keep her company while writing and often inspire senseless moments in her stories.

When she’s not furiously tapping away on her laptop, Melissa can be found laughing away with her husband (who happens to be her pre-school sweetheart… you just know there’s a story there) or scouring online stores for additions to her ever growing stiletto collection (ehm addiction).

She balances her day job and conjuring up new romantic tales with a local personal blog with arb ramblings about her life in Durban.

http://www.melissakatebooks.com/

https://twitter.com/MelissaKate_1

https://www.facebook.com/melissakatebooks



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My Defender by Alanea Alder






My Defender
Bewitched and Bewildered
Book Eight
Alanea Alder

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Sacred Forest Publishing

Date of Publication: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-941315-18-7
ASIN: B01N18RZXY

Cover Artist: Kim Killion

Tagline: She’s been Bewitched, he’s Bewildered

Book Description:

When a mysterious illness begins to sweep through Noctem Falls affecting the children, Eleanor Kimball is called to the city to see if she can determine what is wrong. As a pediatrician Eleanor loves children and desires many of her own, however, after several dating disasters she has not only sworn off men, but has given up her dream of a family, and the promise of a destined mate.

After discovering Grant in Noctem Falls she is faced with her own insecurities and finds it hard to believe in his love.

Grant Douglas is a man of few words and doesn’t do well surrounded by others. He is scared to death of finding a mate. He believes the harshness of his past, where he struggled to survive, didn’t cultivate a gentle heart. After a series of terrifying nightmares where his mate is at risk, Grant has decided he doesn’t want a mate at all.

When he meets Ellie, he realizes there are some things worth fighting for. Even if it means putting himself out there by becoming the Alpha he was born to be and facing the power he desperately tries to hide.

As Ellie starts to believe in Grant’s love it will take every ounce their combined strength to discover why the shifter children are suddenly falling ill before it’s too late.

Amazon       Amazon UK       Amazon AU     Amazon CA

Excerpt

He grabbed the hem of her shirt and in one fluid motion pulled it over her head. She squealed and grabbed for a blanket. His dark chuckle reverberated through her. “Don’t hide from me.”
Ellie had one arm across her breasts and the other one was desperately trying to use the blanket to cover her legs. “My thighs are huge!”
When Grant crawled out from under the blankets Ellie could clearly see that he was, indeed, naked. With a wolfish grin he pushed her onto the pillows. “The only time a man should be worried about a woman’s thighs is when he’s trying to earn a place between them.”
What was probably supposed to be a sexy moment turned into a game of tug of war with the blanket. Their actions reminded her of playing with her neighbor’s dog, Kip. She released the blanket and Grant landed back on the mattress. She covered her mouth with both hands giggling uncontrollably.
Grant tilted his head to one side, just like Kip and she could barely breathe she was laughing so hard. “S-s-stop it!” When he growled out his frustration she had to cross her legs.
“Ellie, what has gotten into you?” he asked as he rolled her on her back. He knelt between her legs and stared down into her face.
“You remind me of Kip.” She wiped her eyes.
“Who is the hell is Kip?”
“My neighbors yorkie-poo.”
“What the fuck is a yorkie-poo?”
“Yorkshire terrier and poodle.”
He blinked. “I remind you of a poodle?”



About the Author:

USA Today Best Selling Author, Alanea loves reading almost as much as she loves writing. She began writing at a very young age, some of her first scribblings are treasured in a keepsake box and written in green marker. She started when she was still in grade school and continued on through college.

She believes that love truly conquers all and that everyone no matter what, deserves a chance at that love and a place they can call home. She absolutely loves to hear from her readers so don’t hesitate to reach out to her. As always, her promise to her readers remains, “If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing!”

Website        http://alaneaalder.com/

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Strong Women in Speculative Fiction - Slither by Melody Steiner



All too often, the gender is a means of advertising whether a book or movie is going to be about control or helplessness. If it features a male, there’s a fair bet that they are controlled and competent. Everybody loves John McClain. Everybody loves when he says the empowering "Yippee ki-yay" line. Everybody loves the threat/promise of Terminator's "I'll be back." Or the slow burning threat of Inego Montoya as he searches for the six-fingered man.

What great lines do we remember from female characters? "Help me Obi-Wan-Kenobi, you're our only hope." "There's no place like home." My favorite empowered female one liner goes to Sigourney Weaver from the Alien franchise. Actually, a lot of lines from those movies. I kind of love them, the same way I love Xena.

The first "strong" female I remember seeing on TV was Xena, Warrior Princess. What made me connect to her was that I realized that if she'd been a man, the story would have been just as good. Her gender, frankly, was a bonus but not the main feature. And because it wasn't, that made it feel even more groundbreaking. Xena did what Xena did, and she did it well, with skill and drive.

In Slither as with my other novels, I’ve worked hard to create characters who aren’t helpless and waiting for some hero to save them. In time of trouble, they must pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get to fixing things. Yes, they can make friends and alliances who will help them when they need it. But, in Elanor’s words:

The ship won’t dock here, even if I send a smoke signal. If I want an end to my imprisonment, to the dragons, I will have to do it myself. The ships do not carry heroes. I am my only savior.


Slither
Melody Steiner

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Dragon Moon Press

Date of Publication: April 24, 2017

ISBN:  978-1-988256-59-7 
eISBN: 978-1-988256-60-3

Number of pages: 310

Cover Artist: Gwen Gades

Tagline: Her revenge is better served cold-blooded

Book Description:

Elanor of Onyx, enslaved by the dragons who scorched her kin and country, is determined to escape her island prison.

When the changeling dragon, Adom, demands that Elanor come with him to the mainland on a secret mission, she sees this the opportunity she’s been waiting for—a chance to exact her revenge. But when his actions take a surprising twist, Elanor begins to suspect that maybe things are not as they seem.

With a plot brewing against the mainland king, alliances are tested and Elanor discovers a secret that will forever change the way she views the slithering dragons—and herself.

Books2Read     Amazon     iTunes     BN

Excerpt:

“Forgive me,” he says. “But when I say the word, you really should scream.”
That’s all the warning I need. If Adom wants me to scream, he wants the others to think he’s hurting me. He wants to send fear shuddering down their monstrous, twisted spines, to dry their mouths and shrivel the pits of their cavernous stomachs. He wants to show them that he is the king, the master of this mountain, the master of me.
Adom averts his gaze. “Scream.”
In the seconds it takes him to morph from human to dragon, his chest expanding, scales popping out of his skin like boils, I’m already at the door. I scream, just as he asks me to.

The full blast of flame doesn’t hit me, but it’s enough heat to sting my lower back. Good thing I tied my hair this morning—he misses singeing it off by a few inches. The monstrous roar he releases bursts a decanter on the table. The mirror cracks. But the fire inside me has nothing to do with Adom’s monster, and everything to do with my own. Only mine burns for revenge.

About the Author

Melody Steiner is a novelist, librarian, warrior woman, and a mother. She grew up in a home where science fiction and fantasy were staples of the imagination. Her earliest novels were written in elementary school and involved rocket ships to the moon, alien life, and gumdrop kingdoms at war with other invading candy nations. Over the years, she found herself drawn to fantasy stories that empower female characters and particularly women of color. Currently, she’s based near Columbus, Ohio, along with her husband and the wild things they call “children.”

Her recent work, Slither, is a traditional fantasy about a young woman who is enslaved by a herd of dragons.

You can find her at

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The Setting of The Diner by Michael J Melville


The Oregon Series: Book Two

First I want to thank Fang-tastic Books for being a part of my very first virtual book tour EVER, so this is all pretty exciting for me. 

The location is such an important part of my stories and I dare say it’s almost as important to me as the characters. The Diner primarily takes place in and around the small, hard working and blue collar town of Tillamook Oregon. Tillamook has a long and rich history in both Air, Sea as well as farming. The Diner also has stops in Cannon Beach and Astoria which lie north of Tillamook on the coast.

For a few years, I lived in Oregon and Idaho and spent quite a bit of time on the Oregon Coast. This area of Oregon is the home in my heart and now is the backdrop for part of my first series. It’s a quieter and calmer part of Oregon, always has been and for me at least it’s the most beautiful and peaceful. Many people are unfamiliar with this part of Oregon or the state in general so, please join me while I guide you through the areas that are the setting for The Diner. 

The Diner spans the years from 1968 to 2017 so I will combine some historical pictures with more current ones. 



Thanks for taking a look at this Pinterest board and I hope you found it interesting. 

I’m sure now you can see exactly why I love this part of Oregon so much and why I set part of the series here. 

The setting is important to a lot of authors but for you, the reader, what is your favorite setting a book you read has taken place in?  

What was it about that location that just…hit you as a reader. 

The Diner
The Oregon Series
Book Two
Michael J Melville

Genre: Romance/Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Books by Michael Melville

Date of Publication: April 21st 2017

ASIN:  B06WW67FJG

Number of pages: 245
Word Count: 71,661

Cover Artist: Victor Fuentes

Tagline: “A powerful tale of love and hope that spans a lifetime and reminds us all of how precious life is.”

Book Description:

“In a powerful story that spans decades, we see the beginning and the end of a lifetime of love, friendship, and devotion. From a chance encounter on Christmas Eve to a heart-wrenching vision on a beach decades later of the love of his life, we follow Johnathan Hays on a journey through his nearly 50 years on the Oregon Coast. This journey not only changes his own fate and future but the lives of others around him in unforeseen ways while he learns what being a husband, father, friend and man mean to him.

Through remarkable storytelling and letters that John himself writes, we get a glimpse at his past, future and the years in-between then and now. We see his broken soul, inner and outer frailty as he bravely moves forward with only his heart, love and hope guiding his way. We see the beginnings of familiar characters, friendships and bonds are formed, new beginnings are started and it all begins in a small diner.”


Excerpt 2

My Dearest Elizabeth,

I’ve seen you. At least I think it was you…it felt like you. Sometimes when I’m alone I swear I see you walking out on the beach waiting for me to walk with you. We loved the sunsets together, didn’t we? It was our time alone, to be in love even when Andrew was scampering around. I keep looking for you. Did you forget about me, my love?
Sheila, my nurse, left a bit ago. She is a sweet girl and you would like her. I feel bad that she must see me lingering in the twilight of my years and suffering through most days like I have. I didn’t have the nerve to tell her what I know to be true before she left; that she will never see me again.
 I need to tell Andrew goodbye. I wasn’t sure how but now I know. It’s the only way where I feel like I can make sense. 
You see, I’m done. I have nothing left in me anymore but I suspect you already know that. The bad times happen more and more and I am thankful for this moment of clarity so I can talk to you. I can feel the life draining away.
Are you there?
Can you hear me?
I can feel it…the end. It’s my time. Please find me wherever you are. I still don’t know if there is a heaven but if there is I hope you are there. If I make it there, please find me so I don’t have to be alone anymore.

Your ever-loving Husband,

Johnathan

About the Author:

Michael Melville lived and grew up in Grandville Michigan. With blue-collar beginnings, he is the son of a retired factory worker and an interior decorator. In 2002, he moved to Portland Oregon and spent several years living in the Pacific Northwest and northern Idaho. He spent a lot of his time traveling up and down the Oregon coast often with his dog, Harley, at his side. That coastline, the small towns, and the people he met and saw have inspired and become a part of him. Michael considers the Oregon coast his second home even while currently living in Michigan and goes back as often as he can.

Mike (Michael) strives to live his life on his own terms, to be different and not settle while seeking his own version of happiness. He spent years writing without most people knowing about it while secretly honing his style and voice. In 2012, he finally published his first novel, a romance called Running Northwest. Michael attends Grand Valley State University where he is a senior and is earning a BA in Writing with a focus on creative writing. He is newly married and the proud parent of a 2 1/2-year-old boy. Traveling is an important part of his life both professionally and personally and he draws inspiration for his stories from all the places he visits and the things he sees.









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Damned by LM Pruitt



HODGE-PODGE

Playlists are a huge thing in the book world. Readers always want to know what writers were listening to when they wrote that scene, you know the one, the one which ripped the reader’s heart out or sent shivers down their spine or made the reader’s heart beat a little faster. Writers, for the most part, are more than happy to share the details of what inspired them or helped move the story along. Karen Marie Moning, for example, is famous for not only sharing her playlist but also incorporating lyrics in to her work.

Unfortunately, I am not nearly as organized.

Now, that isn’t to say I don’t listen to music when I’m working. However, since I tend to write in coffee shops and restaurants, whatever I’m listening is Pandora or Muzak with the occasional political discussion thrown in for good measure. The music in the coffee shop tends to change with whoever is behind the counter—Mondays and Wednesdays, it’s eighties music with a foray once in a while in to classic country. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s music from the fifties and sixties, heavy on the Rat Pack and blues.

This is music which, for the most part, I wouldn’t listen to while relaxing at home. It is, however, music which has provided some of my biggest plot breakthroughs. The huge cliffhanger scene at the end of BARRY which set up the premise for DAMNED happened because I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You played on Pandora and got stuck in my head for a week. The first intimate scene in DAMNED was written while Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On was playing in the background—which gave me more than a few giggles, to be honest. As I’m writing this, getting ready to dive back in to the world of DAMNED, Tainted Love is playing on Pandora—again, shockingly apropos.

Influence can come in the strangest of places and at the strangest of times. Mine tends to come at eight in the morning, surrounded by ducks and people on their way to work and a hodge-podge of music—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Damned
LM Pruitt

Release Date February 15

Book Description:

From the writer of the international bestselling WINGED series comes a look at the other side... where it's good to be bad....

I was thirty years old when I chose to die--or rather to give up my soul.

Eternal youth, endless money... and sex.

Mind blowing, life changing, otherworldly sex.

For all those things, being damned is a small price to pay.

WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND EXTREMELY GRAPHIC SEX SCENES. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Excerpt:
“I’m Lacey Jackson.” She stuck out one hand, something in her eyes daring me to not take it. “And you are…?”
“Julie Watson.” I took her hand, making my reluctance more than obvious. The second my skin made contact with hers, a spark of energy shot through me so violently I couldn’t help but gasp. Swallowing, I said, “What brings you to Savannah?”
“Oh, I’m here for work.” Without releasing my hand, she slipped out of her seat and slid in to the one across from me. Leaning in, she lowered her voice and said, “I was fully prepared for it to be another dull, routine trip but now… well, now I think I’m glad I got assigned this route.”
“Oh.” The low fluttering in my stomach wasn’t unfamiliar—I was far from a virgin and I’d not only done Mardi Gras and Spring Break in Miami but I’d also spent a month in Europe after my college graduation. But this… this was something different. And not because it was caused by a woman.
This was… raw. Visceral. Almost feral. Like she’d tapped in to some hunger I wasn’t even aware I’d had and now that I did the idea it would go unfulfilled was almost too much to bear.
“You should come work with me.” She lifted our joined hands, brushing her lips over my knuckles. “I have a feeling you would be… amazing.”
“What?” It was as if all my attention was focused on the small bit of skin where she’d kissed me, tendrils of lust spooling out through the rest of my body in lazy ribbons. “What do you… what do you do?”
“I collect souls.” Her eyes darkened, her breath catching in her throat and I realized for the first time I wasn’t the only one affected by our contact. “Or rather the energy from them. The actual soul is taken up by someone else—it doesn’t matter, the details can be explained later.”
“You collect….” I trailed off, part of me sure she was joking and an even larger part of me sure she wasn’t. “Really. Why?”
“Because I can.” She flicked her tongue over her lips and I sucked in a shallow breath. “Because it’s fun.”
“But that would make you….”
“A demon, yes.” This time when she smiled, a dimple appeared in her left cheek and I was caught with the sudden urge to kiss it. “More specifically a succubus.” My confusion must have shown because she laughed. “I fuck people for their energy—sometimes to death, sometimes not. It all depends.”
“And you want to do that to me?”
“Oh, no.” She shook her head, her hair sliding across her shoulders, the tips curling over the swell of her breasts. “I told you. I want you to work with me and my sisters and Lilith.” She leaned closer and I breathed deep, the scent of her perfume almost painfully exotic. “I want you to join the ranks of the Morning Star and spend eternity tempting the weak and the wicked.”
What she was suggesting was lunacy. Madness. Even if I believed her, the idea of giving up my life to be some sort of demonic minion was ridiculous. Although….
What would I be giving up? A lifetime spent catering to David’s whims, denying myself the things I truly enjoyed because it would be bad for his reputation or his political chances or his weight? A lifetime attempting to please my parents and knowing it would never happen because nothing would ever overshadow Joanne’s sacrifice? A lifetime being nothing but the substitute?
What, exactly, would I be giving up?
“Jules.” The nickname I hated hearing from David sounded and felt like a caress coming from Lacey. Lifting our hands again, she ran her tongue over one of my fingertips before nipping lightly. Her voice was heavy with promise when she spoke again. “Come play with me.”
“Yes.” I breathed out the single word before leaning over the table and crushing my mouth to hers.
Who needed a soul anyway?
 

About the Author:

L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She knows this because she's killed bamboo. Twice.  She is the author of the Winged series, the Plaisir Coupable series, Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, and Taken: A Frankie Post Novel.






The Ghosts of My Lai by JC Braswell



Vietnam was a tragedy written without a pen or pencil. My Lai happens to be one of the most sordid chapters, one imagined with innocent blood. We’re several decades removed from the conflict—the dark memories fading with each successive generation—but the horror still remains with those who reluctantly carried the rifle.  

I’ve met several Vietnam veterans throughout my years. One in particular, a man who I hold in the highest of esteem, opened himself up about his experiences. I’ll never forget the void in his eyes. Never.

I wrote The Ghosts of My Lai to tell a different tale, one focused more on the soldiers than the conflict itself.  It’s not a traditional war book. There are several paranormal elements haunting the men in the tale. Some are simply specters of their past actions. Others you will have to decide for yourself. But it is war that broke some of these men 

With that in mind, I decided to put together a short list of books/film that may provide the reader with the setting for this tale.

1.)   The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
2.)   Platoon - Movie
3.)   Four Hours in My Lai – Bilton/Sim
4.)   Full Metal Jacket
5.)   Heaven & Earth
6.)   Cover - Ketchum



The Ghosts of My Lai
JC Braswell

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Publisher: Magothy Publishing

Date of Publication: April 20, 2017

ISBN: 0-9979909-3-5 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-9979909-2-9 (eBook)
 ASIN: B06XNVPB2P

Number of pages: 264
Word Count: 89,700

Cover Artist: Marcy Arnold

Book Description:

Lieutenant Chris Williams and his platoon flee My Lai—the site of an unfathomable massacre during the Vietnam War—only to have their helicopter shot down over unchartered jungle. Disoriented and separated from the outside world, Williams faces the unenviable task of navigating the waylaid band of survivors to safety. But Vietnam has other plans…

Fear begins to trump logic. Specters of the assault call for them during the jungle nights. The escape mission descends in to mutiny as they discover an unknown threat unlike the Viet Cong hunts them from within the primitive environment.

Williams soon realizes that survival is not possible without first confronting the ghosts of My Lai…and the sins of their past.


Excerpt:

“So what’s the plan now, LT?” Simmons moved his arms in a repetitive semicircle manner like he was making a snow angel in the leaves. “We just going to sit here and wait for the jungle to take us? Or do you think we’ll just die from boredom and exhaustion?”
“Quiet, Simmons,” Garcia said.
“We keep going.” He didn’t want to let them know that they might be stalked by a tiger, which would only cause more panic in the group.
“I guess there’s only one answer right now,” Donovan said, resting back on his elbows.
“What’s that?” Harris asked.
“We’re screwed.” Donovan could summon a smile even in the direst of situations, thrusting his hips in the air. “We’re completely and totally screwed. No chance at all.”
“Please don’t say that,” Harris’s voice cracked.
“Donovan, seriously? Why do you have to go on and say something stupid like that?” Jackson nudged Donovan’s thigh. “You’re gonna scare the kid.”
“’Cause it’s true. He’s right.” McEvoy smacked the back of his neck, smashing some insect guts into his skin. “Look at us. Nobody wants to say it, but we’re lost. No map. A useless compass. Not much food. Lost. And don’t get me started on these bugs.” McEvoy slapped the back of his head again, this time catching the bug and causing it to pop like a balloon. McEvoy gagged as he looked at his palm before wiping it across his thigh.
“They sure seem to like you,” Simmons said. “Must have some of that sweet boy blood.”
“Why do you have to start when I’m worrying over here? And I don’t have any sweet boy blood.”
“Enough. No more talk of death,” Williams said, tossing one of the river pebbles he kept in his pocket at McEvoy. “No more talk of anything. We take a short sleep and get going.”
“If you say so, boss.” McEvoy squirmed as the rock plunked him on the shoulder.
“What I wouldn’t give to listen to a little Doors right now. Just fade away with it all.” Donovan looked up at the stars. “Seems appropriate to die while listening to some good music
“How’s the injury?” Garcia dropped to one knee and went to untie Williams’s makeshift compression bandage. “I’m not sure how many we of these left. Maybe one.”
“Shouldn’t I ask how your shoulder is doing?”
“No need to worry about something small like that,” Garcia responded. “I’m not the one with a rotting leg.”
“Since you put it so gently.”
“You said it yourself. Might as well be honest. We’re just a sideshow.”
“Touché.” Williams knew there was reason to be concerned. He could smell the infection from three feet away: rotting eggs. Based on Garcia’s tempered reaction, it could only be getting worse.
“Hey, what about the radio? We’re on higher ground. Might be worth giving it another shot.” Harris, with his naïve youthfulness, held on to a simple hope.
“Go for it. Not like it’s going to hurt,” Williams answered, drifting back to the memories in his mind. Seagulls cawed from around Annapolis harbor, the zip of a fishing line pulled as a fish splashed on the surface. It was only a pipedream.
“It ain’t even turning on,” McEvoy said. He clicked the switch a few times, relying on a miracle that would not happen.
“Oh, come on,” Harris whined. He slapped the radio a few times—the old magic trick never quite worked out for anyone with experience in electronics.
“Relax, guys. That things as useless as both of you.” Donovan said, drumming his fingers along the ground to the beat of whatever Doors song played in his head.
“Wait. Think I got something.” McEvoy’s words called their attention. The radio whined as McEvoy adjusted the knob until a muffled song broke through the static.
“What’s that?” Jackson asked, leaning in as if he could listen better.
“I don’t…I don’t know.” McEvoy honed in on the signal until a distinct muffled chant emerged. The small troupe stared at each other, a mixture of confusion and disbelief as the unknown words captivated them.
“It can’t be,” Donovan said.
“Maybe some local station?” Harris asked.
The chanting grew more distinct with little melody to the deliberate words.
“A local station…out here? No damned way.” Williams said, noticing the VC perking his head up with a glaze covering his face. It was as if the chanting signaled the VC to wake.
“These people have some weird tastes,” Jackson said.
The troupe gathered closer, exchanging glances between each other and the radio. The lights flickered with the strength of the foreign words, the dials shifting back and forth.
“You recognize any of this?” Williams looked at McEvoy.
“I…no. It’s…too old. An older dialect.” McEvoy shrugged.
The chanting intensified, the chorus of foreign words almost shouting. The treetops around them rustled as a stiff breeze suddenly rolled across their makeshift camp. Williams looked back at their VC prisoner, who remained silent, transfixed by the radio’s signal.
“This ain’t right. None of this is right.” Harris withdrew from the contraption.
“Hold on to yourself,” Donovan said. “Nothing we can do.”
Louder. Faster. The radio shuddered with the strength of the signal.
“Turn if off. Turn it off,” Garcia demanded.
The VC’s lips started to move, almost in unison with the chanting, but he did not make a sound.
“I’m trying.” McEvoy twisted the dials, but the radio refused to obey.
Its housing crackled then sparked, causing McEvoy’s arm to snap back. The sharp smell of burnt rubber and metal poured out of the case. Then, with a pop and brilliant flash, the radio went silent, its light fading to black. The VC then dropped his head in concert with the chanting as it came to an abrupt halt.
“Jesus,” McEvoy said, blowing on his finger.

“El Diablo,” Garcia muttered in a voice low enough for only Williams to hear.

About the Author:

A fan of Lewis, Hemingway and Tolkien, author JC Braswell writes in a few different genres including Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi, and Young Adult.

In addition to writing JC is a practicing attorney specializing in estate planning and corporate law, he is the recipient of the American Health Lawyers Association award for his legal writing.

JC makes his home along the Chesapeake Bay with his wife and two children.

You can visit his website at www.jcbraswell.com  and check out his podcasts at www.freestateradio.com

Author website: http://www.jcbraswell.com


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