Friday, September 19, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway: High Moon by Jennifer Harlow

High Moon
The F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation Series
Book Four
Jennifer Harlow

Genre: Urban Fantasy/PNR/
Paranormal Mystery                 

Publisher: Devil on the Left Books

Date of Publication: 9/16/14

ISBN: 978-0-9893944-6-8

Number of pages: 296
Word Count: 90,000

Cover Artist: Jennifer Harlow

Book Description:


Telekinetic Special Agent Beatrice Alexander has fought a horde of zombies, psychotic vampires, even a troll. But now she faces her greatest challenge: love.
Fully recovered from her holiday from hell, Bea has returned to the F.R.E.A.K.S. with a mission, to gain the love of her werewolf team mate, Will Price.

Of course nothing is ever easy when it comes to love and war. And when the killing fields of a pack of murderous werewolves is discovered in the wilds of North Carolina, the situation goes from complicated to deadly.

Because though Bea always seems to get her man or beast in the end, this time she does not know if she will survive with her love intact. Or her life…

Available at Amazon

Excerpt Chapter One- Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

Watching the man you love suck face with a gorgeous woman is not the best way to start a birthday. Welcome to my world.
He sits at a back booth, lips and every other body part pressed against that succubus, appearing to love every second and caress, the rat bastard. And how can he not be? The evil slut queen of doom has everything I don’t. Long, straight hay-colored hair, big blue eyes, big breasts, long lean legs, tight body all encased in a skintight black dress clinging to her perfect curves that only a plastic surgeon could ever recreate on me. I’ve envied women like her all my life, and now that succubus has my future husband in her enticing clutches. Literally. An actual succubus is clutching his soft brown hair and kissing him as if her life depended on it. Which I guess it does—as she feeds off sexual energy to live—but still. Does he have to frigging enjoy the whole experience so much?
Howdy. The jealous, insecure, emotional wreck before you is Special Agent Beatrice Alexander of the covert branch of the FBI known to the underworld as the F.R.E.A.K.S. We fight the monsters under your bed: the vampires, the ghosts, and the soon to be decapitated succubi of the world. Those terrors in horror movies? Real. Trolls, zombies, even giant snakes. Killed them all so the citizens of America can go about their normal lives. Why am I so lucky? Because technically I’m one of them. I can move anything with my mind. It’s called tele or psychokinesis. I can carry in groceries or stop hearts without lifting a finger. And let me say doing the latter is mighty tempting right about now.
The man having his tonsils examined by the succubus is my teammate Special Agent Will Price. He’s technically a monster too, at least once a month. He’s a werewolf, not that I hold that against him. After all us freaks can’t help who or what we are. We’re actually a lot like everyone else. Though Will did literally eat my last boyfriend. The psycho was trying to kill me at the time, so I gave Will a pass on that. But this…
Will shifts in his seat to get closer to her. They haven’t broken apart in over forty-seven seconds. Forty-seven! He’s kissed her longer than he’s ever kissed me all three times combined. I don’t care that she’s more or less bewitched him. I don’t care that it’s all for a case. My hands ball into fists, fingers digging so deep in my own flesh it hurts. A cool hand touches mine. I look away from this nauseating PDA toward the hand’s owner. My friend, the delectable Oliver Montrose gazes at me, his gray eyes warning me not to put into action what I’ve been contemplating. Namely storming over there and cold cocking that female dog with the butt of my Glock. Though she so deserves it. In Virginia Beach alone she’s been linked to two deaths. Two young seamen were found naked and dead in their own beds of apparent heart attacks after going home from a club with a hot blonde. Who knows how many others she’s sucked dry over the years?
For those not in the monster killer business, a succubus is a woman who Hoovers up the life-force from her lovers, much like a vampire feeds off blood. Now, I don’t begrudge a life form getting whatever they need to live. I watch Animal Planet. Sometimes it’s kill or be killed. But a succubus doesn’t need to kill anymore than a vampire does. A little can go a long way. Some people are just evil. And right now evil has Will in a lip lock.
“Whatever course of action you are contemplating inside that beautiful head of yours, I suggest you forget it post haste,” my vampire friend warns. His hand remains heavy on mine, a reminder about restraint. We don’t want to blow our cover. While Will plays doctor, Oliver and I sit at the bar, just another couple enjoying the Virginia nightlife. A few stools down, Agents Rushmore and Wolfe, in their chic Ralph Lauren polo shirts and buzz cuts, nurse ginger ales, and keep their eyes locked on the same booth. Chandler is lucky enough to be out in the parking lot waiting for the signal to take her down. Darn you, innocent bystanders. Darn you.
Lord, I hate clubs. They’re loud, crowded, expensive, and filled with hormone crazed men and women with no sense of shame or decorum. I’ve lost count of how many strange crotches have rubbed up against my backside while “dancing.” I’d only been a handful of times before I joined the F.R.E.A.K.S., and now it seems as if I live in one. Why preternaturals feel so at home in these places is beyond me. I guess to them it’s nothing but a smorgasbord. Easy pickings. Everyone’s mind is so filled with sex and booze they forget basics like safety and common sense. And now Will has joined their ranks.
“I wasn’t contemplating anything,” I snap, downing my screwdriver. “I’m not bothered by them. Not a bit. It’s work. We’re working. Another drink, please! Now! Now!”
“That is not a wise idea, my dear.”
“Wise is so overrated,” I mutter.
I glance back at the couple. Still making out, still…oh, no she isn’t! Her graceful hand slides up Will’s thigh, resting on the bulge in his pants. At first she just traces the outline with her fingertip, and then rubs against him with her whole harlot hand. He doesn’t push it away.
Rage boils over. Involuntarily I leap up, every inch of me tense and ready to rip her shining hair out at the roots. Before I’m totally upright, a hand on my shoulder presses me back into my seat. “No.”
“But she—”
“No,” Oliver says as if I’m an ill-behaved dog.
“But he—”
Torture. This is nothing more than torture. This is worse than the time I was actually physically tortured. At least that ends. Bones heal. This will be seared into my brain for years to come. I could kill her, just pop a vein in her brain or squeeze her heart until it stops. But I reign in the homicidal part of my nature, instead gazing at my ridiculously handsome friend in an effort to calm me the frak down.
I don’t normally act like this. I’m a good, sane person. Or at least I was until I fell in love with a man who refuses to acknowledge he loves me back. He does. I mean, I’m eighty percent sure he does. The man all but said he did, and his kisses shouted it from the rooftops. He just won’t give in. Won’t let himself admit it because apparently I make him nuts. I cloud his judgment. Of course my worst offense is I give him hope. But to a control freak who watched his wife get eaten by a werewolf, these are apparently bad things. I’m in love with an idiot.
And absence did not make the heart grow fonder, at least in his case. Me, I was watching Beauty and the Beast with my goddaughter and burst into hysterical tears at the end when Belle saves the beast. Will has fared better in the past two months. I had to remain in San Diego longer than expected because of my elbow. I broke it while I ran from a crazed cop hopped up on troll blood. Long story. Ended with previously mentioned psycho ex-boyfriend being eaten by the current object of my affection. I needed surgery to repair the damage, then it healed wrong and I had a month and a half of physical therapy before I was cleared for duty. I got back two weeks ago. So I was stuck in San Diego with nothing to do but watch sappy movies and think about Will.
He returned only one of my ten phone calls, and then just asked after my health and family. I could tell he couldn’t wait to get off the phone. And since I’ve been back, well this is the longest he’s been in the same room with me. I walk in, he walks out. When we’re working, I’m either assigned to a different team or barely acknowledged. If he didn’t blush every time he looked at me, I’d be put off. But I’m no quitter. I love him, and per the songs, that can conquer all, including the neuroses of a bull-headed werewolf. I’m banking my heart on it.
“You must calm yourself,” Oliver orders. “You are acting as wretchedly as he usually does. If you recall, this was your plan.”
“Yeah, but you were supposed to be bait. Or one of the other guys. Not him.”
“A succubus feeds off living energy, which I am lacking and werewolves possess in abundance.”
“Yes, and thank you for pointing that out in the meeting. Why didn’t you just wrap him in a bow for her while you were at it? Whose side are you on, anyway?”
“The victims’,” he says. Fudge. Now I feel like a total jerk. “It is our job to keep predators off the street the quickest and safest way possible. And occasionally that requires sacrifice.” He glances back at Will, and Grin Number Two, with the tips of his fangs, forms. “Though I doubt William minds playing the martyr at this moment.”
I have to look again. Great, not only is she feeling him up, but he’s returning the favor, kneading her breast with his strong hand. Can she feel those rough calluses? Does she even care how he got them? Years of rowing on the Potomac River, that’s how. And yet she gets to second base with him before I do. “This is hell. I am in hell.”
“I do not know why you are distressing yourself over that man. I really do not. He has not showed you the slightest regard since your return. Or prior to that while you convalesced. He made his position abundantly clear.”
“You don’t understand,” I sigh.  They pull apart for air, and she says something that makes him smile. He usually never smiles, except for me. She’s even stolen that from me.
“Understand what, Trixie?”
Will caresses her face and dives in for more. “Some things are worth fighting for. They make no rhyme or reason to anyone but you, but you just know. It’s outside logic, it’s outside reason, it’s just something you sense in your very core. And if you don’t listen to it, if you allow it to slip through your fingers, then you spend the rest of your life regretting it. You spend the rest of your life an empty shell. If that’s not worth a whole damn war, let alone a fight or two, I don’t know what is.”
Will moves his lips down the succubus’ neck, and I turn back to Oliver, who studies me with a mix of sadness and anger that takes away only a fraction of his exquisiteness. I can safely say he is the most physically handsome man I’ve ever seen. Pale skin, lush red lips, cleft chin, wavy shoulder length brown hair with blonde highlights, and straight nose all in perfect proportion. The impossible balance of masculine and feminine. The only other man who holds a candle to him in the looks department is the Lord of San Diego, and even Connor doesn’t come close to this level of perfection. Not outside and certainly not inside. No one does. “You are…” he touches my face with his ice cold fingertips, “such a fool.”

About the Author:

Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator.

Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.

She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, Midnight Magic Mystery series, The Galilee Falls Trilogy, and the steampunk romance Verity Hart Vs The Vampyres. For the soundtrack to her books and other goodies visit her at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 15 Interview
Author Karen Swart

September 15 Spotlight
Freda's Voice 

September 16 Spotlight
Roxanne’s Realm

September 16 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

September 17 Spotlight
Pembroke Sinclair.  

September 18 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

September 19 Spotlight
Fang-tastic Books

September 22 Review
Reading Reality

September 23 Spotlight/Excerpt
Sizzling Book Blog 

September 24 Character Interview
Darkest Cravings

September 25 Review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

September 26 Spotlight
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

September 29 Character Interview
Diane’s Book Blog 

September 29 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Colors of Us by Sandra Bunino

Happy Read-An-eBook Day!

Today is the debut of International Read an eBook Day! Authors, publishers, libraries, e-retailers, and of course, readers, will join together in the largest digital reading event to celebrate the booming success of eBooks. Electronic books have never been more popular. With so many reading option how can it not be? You can read on your phone, computer, tablet and eReader. In fact, half of all American adults own an eReader or tablet. How cool is it to pull out the device of your choice and find a virtual bookstore right at your fingertips (or stylus).

Be sure to join the worldwide celebration on Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #eBookDay.  Also, my publisher, Evernight, is celebrating with a day-long Facebook party. I love a party, don’t you? I’m hosting with my friend and fellow author, Lila Shaw from 10 – 11 pm (EST). You can even attend in your PJs, I won’t tell!  

So pour a cup of wine or make some cocoa and click over for a chat. You just may discover a new favorite book and author. I’ll share details from my new release, Colors of Us, and give away a bunch of brandy-new swag I can’t wait to show off!

While you’re on Facebook, check out my book group, Bunino’s Bookalicious Babes. It’s a no-promo zone where readers and authors chat about hot books, sexy heroes, yummy food, cool drinks and everything under the sun. I’d love to meet you!

Thanks again for having me on Fang-tastic Books! You’re a fang-tabulous host! xoxo

Colors of Us
McAvery Brothers
Book One
Sandra Bunino

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 62,000

ISBN: 9781771309783


Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

Book Description:

Everything she knew to be true fell apart. Then fell apart again…

Michelle Willis is running from her past. What better place to hide than in the anonymity of New York City. Finding refuge in a tiny SoHo art gallery, she rebuilds her life one painting at a time.

A wrong turn sends Hunter McAvery on a crash course with disaster. He fights his own demons by following his big brother’s lead - drinking and bed-hopping his way through Manhattan.

A glance at Michelle’s self-portrait triggers emotions Hunter can’t tamp down. Driven to meet the artist, he discovers a fiery chemistry as their lives collide. But when their past threatens to tear them apart, can their love survive?
Music Playlist:

“I think pink is your color. It looks great against your dark hair.” Reaching past her shoulder, he curled a strand of her hair between his fingers and tugged gently before letting it fall onto her shoulder.
Meeting his gaze, she smiled. “Thanks.” Michelle wasn’t used to compliments. It’d been her goal to fade into the crowd and not to call attention to herself. But her self-imposed rules seemed to float away around Hunter McAvery.  
Returning her smile, he continued the lesson. “After you slide your hands into the opening, you’ll wind the long strap around your fingers and wrist like this.” Holding her fingers in his hand, he wound the dangling strap around her palm and over her knuckles. “You want to protect the part of your hand that meets the bag.”
He stepped closer as he slipped the strap around the base of her thumb. When he brushed his fingertips against the sensitive area just below the fleshy part of her palm, a shiver shot up her arm and traveled to her belly. His warm breath ghosted her face as he circled the end of the strap around her wrist and secured the Velcro tab. Before she knew it, strong fingers captured her left hand and guided her arm to the warmth between their bodies. She itched to graze her fingers along his muscled chest, capturing his heat with her palm. Her gaze bounced to his neck and stubbled jaw, which clenched as he slid the other wrap over her hand. Slowly wrapping her other wrist, he secured the strap and held both of her gloved hands in his. “Make a fist,” he said huskily.
Tightening her hands into a ball, she tucked her thumb around the outside of her fingers like he showed her at the gym.
He squeezed her fists. “They look good. You’re a badass.”
Michelle snorted. “A badass in pink.”
“Let’s see what you got. Show me some upper cuts. Right here.” He tapped his abs.
“You want me to hit you?” She giggled.
“Sure. I can take it.”
Turning her palms up, she made a fist and alternated soft punches to his belly. His rock-hard belly. Each strike made her aware of how alive he made her feel. The force of impact sent ripples up his tight shirt, awakening the planes of his muscular form. She gulped back the desire to open her fists and run her fingertips along the line of each thick muscle.
His hands came to rest on her forearms, halting her movement. The pads of his thumbs stroked the sensitive skin near the inside of her elbow causing a delicious shiver up her arm. Michelle’s eyes met his. The fire brewing in his darkened gaze drew her in. Hunter stepped between her legs, nudging her back against the wall next to the mural. She closed her eyes and choked back a groan, wanting—no, needing—to grind her heat on his leg. Raising her arms above her, he pinned them against the wall on either side of her head. His scent flooded her senses as she lifted her chin to close the gap between them.
“I’m trying like hell not to kiss you.” Hunter straightened his back but didn’t loosen his grip on her arms.
Her skin prickled from the nearness of his body. She let her gaze drift to his lips. “Why?” she whispered.
He blew a slow breath between his teeth. “Nothing good would come of it. I’m not capable of giving or feeling… or offering anything much to you.” He shook his head but he didn’t move from her body.
“I don’t believe that.” Michelle wriggled her arms from his grasp. Her fingertips lingered on his corded forearms, which flexed under her touch. Easing a trail toward his shoulders, her fingers reminded her of a paintbrush’s first dab of color on a fresh canvas. She’d always believed each canvas had a personality of its own, and it was the symphony of the brush, artist, and canvas that created the work of art. She wanted to explore the blank canvas of Hunter McAvery.
She studied his arms, still caging her in. Protecting her. Wanting her. Her eyes met his gaze. He stared at her, unmoving, but a spark burned in his eyes. She held her breath, afraid to break his trance. Her palms smoothed over his shoulders and down his chest, stopping at the center of his ribs. Pushing into the muscles of his chest, she felt the strong beat of his heart on her fingers. “Kiss me, Hunter.” Raising her eyebrows, she dared to look him in the eyes, almost afraid of what she’d see.
“You don’t understand. You’re too… good.” He averted his gaze.
“Maybe you should let me decide what’s good for me.” She moved closer, his breath burned hot on her face, and he squeezed his eyes closed.
Her hands traveled up his chest and rested on the bulk of his strong shoulders. Pulling him in, her breasts molded into his chest and, finally, he crashed his lips down on hers. She met every stroke of his tongue as her fingers raked through the ends of his hair. Moaning into his mouth, she straddled his muscular thigh as warmth flooded her sex. She’d never felt more alive.
His hand grazed her cheek before taking her chin between his thumb and index finger and pulling away from their kiss. He tipped his forehead to hers, his raspy breath hot on her mouth. “Shit.”
Michelle widened her eyes. “What?” she whispered.
“You. Me. This just can’t happen. Not now. Not like this.”

About the Author:

Sandra Bunino is a romance author of several novellas including The Satin Rose Experience series. Her first full-length novel, Colors of Us from the McAvery Brothers series, released in August. She makes her parents proud by putting her MBA degree to good use dreaming up heroes who resemble David Gandy whenever possible. When not staying up past her bedtime torturing her oh-so-sexy heroes, she can be found shopping for shoes or saving turtles.

As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her new addiction, Pinterest. Sandra loves to read and chat with other readers, so she formed the Bunino’s Bookalicious Babes group on Facebook where they currently share their love of Jamie Fraser from Outlanders…and David Gandy, of course.

Bookalicious Babes Facebook group:

Bookalicious Babes mailing list:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 15 Guest blog
More Romance Please

September 16 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

September 17 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

September 18 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

September 19 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

September 22 Guest blog
Buffy's Ramblings

September 23 Guest post 
eBook giveaway of the day  
AllRomance eBooks

September 24 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt

September 25 Spotlight
Tattooed Book Review

September 26 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping

September 29 Interview
Author Karen Swart

September 30 Character Interview
Eclipse Reviews

October 1 Top Ten List
Darkest Cravings

October 2 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair 

October 3 Review
The Ultimate Fan Blog

 October 6 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

October 6 Spotlight and review
Crazy Four Books

October 7 Spotlight and review
cheekypee reads and reviews

 October 8 Spotlight
Brianne Hillson

October 8 Review

October 8 Guest post 
Ms. Romantic Reads

October 9 Review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

October 10 Spotlight
Sizzling Book Blog

October 13 Spotlight and review
Booklover Sue

October 13 Guest blog
Books Direct

Cover Reveal Dreams of a Wild Heart by Danube Adele


Fang-tastic Books

Roxanne’s Realm 

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

Lisa’s World of Books

Books & Tales:

Pembroke Sinclair.  

Anya Breton Author's Blog

Lissette E. Manning 

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

SBM Book Obsession

book purses & reviews

Dark Side of Romance

Dreams of a Wild Heart
The Dreamwalkers
Book Three
Danube Adele

Book Description:

Dr. Cecilia—Ceci— Bradford at your service.

I dance, rock climb, and have mastered MMA, because just being a twenty-six-year-old doctor isn’t enough. It doesn’t keep me from remembering the terrifying night my life changed, the night my true love died. I was nearly seventeen. 

Life goes on, but the secret I keep is that I still talk to him in my dreams. That was getting me by until Tabron showed up—or, more specifically, until the six-foot-two brute of a Viking whisked me off to another planet because his leader is dying. And the joy didn’t end there. I’m being forced to choose a mate. The Brausa are facing extinction. 

Tabron has no need for a mate, himself, and he’s told me as much. Multiple times. What he does have are hands and wicked lips that stir feelings I thought lost forever. Choosing him (just to play along until I can find a way home) seems to irk him and I find this surprisingly fun. But surviving a hidden conspiracy and the dangers of this alien place might be more difficult than I could ever imagine…

Available at  Amazon  BN   Kobo  

About the Author:

Danube Adele wrote her first romance at the age of seven when she penned the story of her dogs falling in love and having puppies. She’s been dreaming up romantic tales ever since. A lifetime resident of southern California, she spends time playing at the beach, camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and hiking Mammoth Mountain.

Always a lover of adventure, she and her husband took their sons on a cross country road trip to Florida and back in an old VW Westfalia, that had no A/C, in the month of July, and still, it continues to be the best trip they ever took.

Extensive travel and trying new things has kept the creative spark alive. Danube lives in Claremont with her biggest fans, her loving husband, amazing and wonderful identical twin sons, and a teddy bear of a Rottweiler.

Her debut novel, Quicksilver Dreams, Book 1 of the Dreamwalker series, was released January 6, 2014, and Dreams of a Dark Summer, Book 2 of the Dreamwalker series, is set for release June 9, 2014. The  next book in the Dreamwalker series is set to come out in December, 2014.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guest blog with Marlene Wynn Author of Chandrea

Diary entry for Chandrea Averill:

Dear Diary:

I’ve been on my birth world, Itova, for several weeks now, and I think I’m finally getting used to it.  Being yanked from Earth so unexpectedly was, well, traumatizing, to say the least.  Definitely not what I was expecting on my 23rd birthday!  I’m pretty sure my friends back home on Earth think I’m dead.  What else would they think?  It’s not like the spell that snatched me away left any physical traces that a CSI team could track!

Once I arrived on Itova, I discovered that I am this uber-powerful sorceress, and an avatar to boot.  Apparently, one of my ancestors was this super-strong sorceress, and I am the re-incarnated version of her, which is still…strange to me.  I’m me…not someone else.  Right? 

To top it all off, I’m still having a hard time controlling these newfound powers I suddenly have.  At first I thought that having magic might be kind of cool.  Now I think it’s more of a curse.  I’ve been told I’m “bleeding magic”, though I think that’s an understatement.   I’ve nearly incinerated a small forest trying to magically start a campfire, and  almost killed two of my friends while trying to move a stupid log! 

Maybe this is some weird cosmic joke at my expense.  One minute I’m graduating from a top Virginia university with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Development, and the next I’m told I’m an avatar sorceress queen of a devastated kingdom on another world.  Are these people crazy?  I’m just Chandrea…someone who is trained to run daycare’s, not reunite governments and gather an army to overthrow the tyrant queen of Svara. 

Throw in giant moor cats and teratorns, Dark and Light Fae, talking dragons, shape shifters, and sadistic, perverted Svaran Scouts, and I feel like I’ve been dropped into the pages of some crazy fantasy novel!

I just want to go home, but everyone keeps telling me this is my home.

The Return of the Avatar Queen
Marlene Wynn

Book Description:

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman.  But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.  Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue,

Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known.  But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. 

Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?

Available at  BN  Smashwords  Amazon  Kobo  iTunes

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf


Learning magic sucked.
Tears of frustration streamed down Chandrea’s face as she ran into her bedroom at the inn and slammed the door, shutting out the world. 
Since re-arriving in Ri Miora five days previously, she’d been working closely with Adelaide and her three sorceress friends, trying to learn how to control her newly-acquired powers. Though she’d been born on Itova, on the day of her birth, her home and kingdom had been attacked by Svaran forces, and her parents assassinated.  To save her life, Adelaide had magically sent Chandrea to live secretly on Earth. There, Chandrea had lived as a normal person, utterly unaware that she was of royal blood and the crown princess of a wasted kingdom.  Her growing powers had been masked during her years on Earth by Adelaide’s spells, so she’d been unaware that she was also likely the most powerful sorceress alive.  On her twenty third birthday, Adelaide’s spell had reversed itself, and Chandrea suddenly found herself back on her birth world.  Luckily, when she’d sent Chandrea away, Adelaide had had the foresight to place spells upon her that allowed her to communicate with those she encountered once back on Itova. 
Well, everyone except Leilah, that is.
She leaned against the cool, smooth wood and pictured the past few days of sheer misery. First thing in the morning she would travel with Adelaide and her new teachers outside the city.  For her protection, Ayden had hired a number of men to travel with them and protect them from attack.  The men worked in shifts, so she always had at least fifteen surrounding her at all times. 
Thinking of Ayden made Chandrea smile.  Though he was only distantly related to her, she didn’t care.  For the first time in her life, she had real, blood family.  For her, it was a gift beyond measure.
For most of his life, the world had known Ayden as the crown prince of Svara.  He had been raised to believe that Chandrea was his mortal enemy, and had made it his life’s work to find the missing Averill queen and kill her.
Then in a moment of stunning truth, he had discovered that Leilah was not his true birth mother, and worse, that in an act of revenge, she had stolen him from his real mother, Reyna, on the day he was born, and raised him as her own.  His entire life had been one enormous lie.  Upon discovering this heinous act of treachery, Ayden had rescued Reyna, and abandoned all claim to the throne and Leilah’s affections. 
Unfortunately, neither he nor Chandrea could fully deny a blood relation to the Svaran queen.  Though Ayden was only distantly related to Leilah, Chandrea was not so lucky.  The woman who was bent on killing her was her aunt.
In fact, Leilah was the entire reason she was here in Ri Miora, which brought her right back to her original problem.  From sun up to sun down they’d drilled with her, trying one spell after another. To no avail.  Everything they’d asked her to do had gone horribly wrong.
When asked to create a breeze, she’d conjured a howling tornado.  As everyone ran screaming for cover, it ripped apart the wagon they’d traveled in.  The horses, which had been unhitched and left to graze, had spooked and ran away in terrified fright.  The group had been forced to walk the eight miles back to the inn.
When they’d tried to teach her how to turn a bucket of water into ice, she’d caused it to hail.  Softball-sized balls of ice had rained down from the heavens.  Everyone squeezed under the wagon… and listened to the poor horses being bludgeoned to death by the massive, lethal orbs.  And, once again, they’d been forced to walk back to the inn.
They took her out to a far away, deserted beach to work on fire.  She’d created a fireball so massive that it melted the surrounding sand into a shining sheet of glass for a mile out. 
They’d tried to get her to replicate the spell she’d used to create her viewing mirror.  Instead, she’d managed to open some sort of wormhole that began to suck everything into it.  It took some quick thinking and powerful counter spells by her sorceress teachers to close it back up again. 
Chandrea banged her head gently on the door and groaned out her irritation.  No matter how hard she tried, she just managed to create havoc and destruction.  And death, if one counted the poor horses.  How was she ever going to learn to control her magic?  The only time it seemed to work was when she was in danger and it came out instinctively.   But even then it was just as unpredictable.  She’d ended up transporting herself hundreds of miles away from her companions once while trying to escape from a spell that had been cast upon them. 
Unable to see much in the gloom of the evening, she shuffled through the chamber until she reached the double doors and, opening them, she stepped outside onto the large balcony.  Able to see a bit better in the near twilight, she made her way over to the railing and gratefully leaned against it. 
She closed her eyes and let the sounds of Ri Miora surround and soothe her.  Voices of people talking, laughing.  Horses clip-clopping by.  A baby crying.  A dog barking.  All such normal sounds.  Made by normal people.  Normal people who didn’t have the weight of the world resting on their shoulders.
She raised her face and let the cool breezes caress her flushed skin.  Breathing deeply, she could smell the hint of fall in the air.  She wondered for a moment what autumn would look like in this world.  Would the leaves flare into vibrant colors and drop to the ground as they did back home on Earth?  Or would they remain green and stay on the trees all year?  For all she knew, they might just turn a different color, like pink or turquoise.  She snorted softly, amused by the image that conjured.  What would winter be like?  Would they have snow, or would it stay too warm?  Having grown up in Virginia, she’d only experienced snow a handful of times as it was too warm there for the white stuff to come very often.
She gave a forlorn sigh, then reached into her pocket and pulled out her viewing mirror.  She unwrapped it and peered at it in the dim light.  This was one of the few things her magic had done that was right.  She had intentionally tried a spell and not only had it worked, but it had worked well.  This little oval piece of glass would let her see anyone or anything she wanted.  Even if they weren’t from this world.  
So, if she could do magic successfully before, why couldn’t she do it again?
She closed her eyes and pictured her friend, Ashlyn, from Earth.  Ashlyn was her dearest and closest friend, and Chandrea missed her desperately.  Ashlyn was the sister of her heart, and it hurt Chandrea terribly to know that Ashlyn thought something fatal had happened to her.  When Adelaide’s magic had taken Chandrea from Earth, no one had been there to witness it.  And, as the magic had left no traces or clues, no one knew where she’d gone. The first time Chandrea had viewed Ashlyn through the mirror, Ashlyn had been at the Norfolk Police Department trying to convince them to continue looking for Chandrea.  But without any clues, Chandrea was sure the police had stopped looking for her long ago and moved on to other cases.
The need to see her friend again burned painfully through Chandrea.  She pictured Ashlyn in her mind, all the varied nuances of her.  Her voice quiet and intent, she murmured, “Show her to me.”
The little oval shimmered and sparkled to life with a soft blue light, and there within its depths, was Ashlyn.  She sat at a table near a young man Chandrea had never seen before.  Dressed in a pretty little mint green sundress, her friend laughed as she ate.  Seated by a window, the late afternoon sun caused her honey blonde hair to glimmer with gold highlights.  The young man reached out and took her hand in his, rubbing her skin gently with his thumb.  Clearly on a date, Ashlyn looked happy and content. 
It was a bittersweet moment for Chandrea.  Though she truly wanted her friend to be happy, a tiny, selfish part of her was unsettled. Had her friend forgotten about her so easily?
Torn between joy at seeing her friend, and fear that Ashlyn had moved on already, Chandrea stopped the flow of power to the mirror.  Disturbed not only by what she had seen, but also by what she had felt, she changed her mind and searched again.
Closing her eyes, she pictured her new boyfriend and traveling companion, Shawn, in her mind.  Gathering her power inside her, she released it toward the mirror and whispered, “Show him to me.”
The blue light illuminated her face and hands as she peered intently into the glass.  Soon, she was rewarded with the sight of a Hafaba dragon swooping and cavorting in the evening sky.  Smiling, she shook her head at Shawn’s antics.  Born a shapeshifter, Shawn could transform into any living thing, and dearly loved becoming a Hafaba.  Covered mostly with scarlet and deep indigo feathers, its body narrowed down into a snake-like torso.  Flash and drama combined with speed and power to make, in his eyes, the perfect dragon. 
Plus, he needed to be far, far away from any negative emotions, and frolicking as a dragon was a great way to do this.  The Shadow Leaf he’d placed on his chest still exerted powerful, dark cravings in him, and he avoided anything at all that could allow the Leaf to take control of him again – including her practice sessions.  Though Chandrea had urged him to try to find the Light Fae in an attempt to remove it, he resolutely refused.  His place, he said, was by her side until this mess was over.  If she ran across some Light Fae in the process, great.  He’d take advantage of the situation.  Until then, he was on his own, and he’d manage things as best he could.
She released her power on the mirror with a deep sigh. The image of Shawn and the blue light slowly faded away until she was left looking at a simple piece of glass once more.  Pursing her lips in frustrated resignation, she wrapped the mirror back up and placed it back into her pocket. 
She turned away from the railing and moved to sit on one of the chairs on the balcony, intent on spending some quiet time alone with her thoughts.  Exhausted, she flopped into the chair and put her feet on the small, nearby table.  Leaning her head back, she closed her eyes and let her mind wander.
Some small instinct warned her that she wasn’t alone anymore.  The hair on her arms and neck rose up.  Fear washed over her, and she felt her magic begin to swell inside of her in response.  Unsure as to how someone could have come out onto the balcony without her hearing it, she nonetheless knew someone – or something – was now there.  She dearly hoped that, whoever it was, it was human.  As a third degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do, she was confident in her ability to protect herself physically.  It was the magical aspect she was afraid of. 
Swiftly opening her eyes, preparing to spring off the chair and defend herself, she instead stopped short with a gasp.  Amazement and fear battled for dominance within her at the sight that greeted her. 

About the Author: 

Marlene Wynn is a Utah native - fondly referred to as "Utonian" by a friend.  She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since.  Though she has worked in the benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.