Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski


Lady of Sherwood


Molly Bilinski

(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)

Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.
After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.
As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.
Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

EXCERPT:

Other girls—some of the youngest ones from the kitchen—came from the brush. Smoke clung to them like a shroud, and tears had run in rivers down soot-stained cheeks. Ginny, the youngest at six, ran to Jemma and attached herself like a limpet to the older girl’s legs.
“Where is everyone else?” Robin asked, glancing between them and then back at the flaming manor. “Where is—where’s—” Her face heated even as the rest of her body grew chilled, and she stuffed her first in her mouth to muffle her scream.
“We are the only ones.”
Robin looked up at Kitty, surprised to find herself on her knees in the damp grass. She curled her shaking fingers into fists, and then rested them on her thighs. “How—what happened?”
“That man,” the girl went on, absently twisting her skirt in her hands. “The one who’d been courting you… he came for you in the night. When he couldn’t find you, he gathered everyone in the great hall.”
“Except you lot?” Jemma inquired.
“He was hurting her.” Kitty’s eyes took on a glossy quality. “He had Maggie by the hair, and he was hurting her. She had Ginny behind her, protecting her. I—I hit him over the head with a candle stand.”
“We went through the old tunnel,” another voice piped up. Maggie slipped her hand into Kitty’s. “Me and Kitty and Ginny.”
“And my—my mother?” Robin took a deep, shuddering breath.
“She kept her secret. We heard ‘im, shouting. He wanted to know where you was.” Ginny, this time. She wandered away from Jemma, and Robin opened her arms for her to nestle into. She’d helped Jemma look after the younger servants on the sly for years. Whether they’d been orphaned at birth or left to the streets, Jemma had brought them each back to the manor, and she’d given them a home and a hope the rest of the world didn’t offer. “She didn’t tell, Robin. She didn’t tell him where you was.”
“I heard Charlotte say you were gone,” Maggie said quietly. “She’d gone to your mother’s chambers to tell her. Miss Jemma was gone, too, and so was your bow.” She shrugged, a delicate lift of her shoulders. “We all thought you had gone to the field.”
“And she said nothing?” Robin’s heart beat hard against her ribcage.
“Lady was very brave,” Ginny murmured.
“She was,” Robin agreed. “Like you are. You all.” She looked at each of the other girls, who stared back, clearly waiting.
It hit her then—they were waiting for her. With the only survivors of the manor in front of her, and her mother dead—God rest her soul, God hold them all in His hand—it occurred to her in that moment. She was the Lady of Lockesly.





Author Bio:
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May's Freebie Fair

May’s Freebie Fair! 42 FREE Books for a LIMITED TIME!
If you’re looking for free books and a way to connect with new and exciting authors, you’ve come to the right place! Visit this link and you’ll be able to select up to 42 FREE BOOKS!
Sneak a peek at a couple of books in this event:
Excerpt of BETWEEN BREATHS by Alexa Padgett

HAYDEN
I stared into those beautiful blue eyes. The tightness eased. Breathing wasn’t a chore. “I’m not saying tomorrow will be better.”
Her lips flipped up in a sardonic smile. “It’s possible tomorrow will be worse. This is hospice after all.”
“I’m expecting worse.” I tilted my head back and groaned. “I don’t want my mum’s death to drag out. Too many people are counting on me.”
“You’ll do the best you can.”
“Doesn’t feel good enough.”
“Welcome to the club. Speaking of, my sister doesn’t believe I met you, Mr. World Famous Rock Star.”
I raised my eyebrow. I cradled her shoulders. I liked holding Briar. Wasn’t a briar some kind of rose? Sweet but with enough defenses to bloom. I liked that—she’d fight for her chances.
“We’ll have to take a selfie. For digital proof.”
“Thought you didn’t like digital proof and journos, as you call them.”
“Reckon I don’t. But . . . I’m making an exception.”
Her lips curved up and her eyes sparkled. The weight from my chest eased a little and I could draw a full breath. “I’d like that. Ready to go?”
“Photo first.”
I grabbed her phone and positioned us together before snapping a few photos. “For posterity or whatever.”
She smiled again and the world shone brighter. I didn’t want to turn around and look at the building again.
“I know just the place to go.”
She snagged my hand, her cool fingers sliding between mine, our palms fusing softly. Something in me clicked, like I’d just latched into a safety belt. I followed behind her as she pulled me toward her car again. After she unlocked it, I opened her door and waited for her to slide in. Instead, she stepped in closer, her body heat mingling with mine.
“I’ve done a lot of soul-searching these past few months, Hayden. But today, with Ken’s comments, my purpose became clear.” She closed her eyes, reliving something. “I’m tired of closing off, pushing people away,” she whispered. “It’s all I’ve done for years.” She opened her eyes, filled with the fire of new determination. “So I mean it when I say I’ll be here with you. Through this. As your friend.”
I ran my knuckle down her cheek, marveling at the smooth, firm texture of her skin. “I don’t know how I got so lucky in the friend department, but I’m chuffed you’re here. And such a gorgeous lady at that.”
She rolled her eyes, and I winked. Walking around the car, I curled my fingers tight to hold in the fading heat from her skin. I glanced up at the building. Whatever my mum needed to tell me, I needed to hear. I could process her reasons and come to terms with her years of rejection later, but for now, she wanted me to know her side of the story. And I’d listen.
As I eased into the car, Briar’s floral scent wrapped around me, cradling me almost as well as her arms had just moments before.
Excerpt from XANDER: AN INCANDESCENT STORY by ELLE SCOTT

My feet drag with my legs feeling heavy underneath me. I see a stray stone and kick it along the path. It scuttles along the concrete path and hides itself into the garden-bed along the edge of the science wing.
A flicker to my right catches my eye—at first I’m expecting it to be a tree branch shaking in the wind, but then I see a body. He’s tall and dark and his glasses have slid down his nose; he’s wearing a grin and holds a large silver ball. It’s the professor Ross was with. How did he get out here so quick? There must be another entrance nearby. The Professor gently holds the silver ball as if he is handling a two-hour-old newborn baby. He closes his eyes. The ball shimmers brightly for a second and then him and the ball are… gone. I blink a few times. Am I going crazy? My head moves so fast a twinge makes its way from my shoulder to my skull.
‘Argh,’ I mumble, rubbing my neck.
Did I just see what I saw? Has the heat gotten to me?
I roll my head to loosen my seized muscles, side to side, forward and up—
There’s Ross. He is looking out a window on the second floor, eyes and mouth wide. And beside him, with a proud smile firmly planted on his face, is the professor.
I glance back at the spot where the professor disappeared from, grass strands still squashed where he stood. Is this what world-changing looks like?

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Interview with T.S. Hall, Author of Sonora and the Eye of the Titans



Welcome to T.S. Hall, author of Sonora and the Eye of the Titans! He was kind enough to answer a few questions today.

Tell us about the main character in Sonora and the Eye of the Titans. Who is Allora?

~ Allora is a shy, yet opinionated teenager who is unaware of her subtle beauty. She is coming to terms with her inner strength and otherworldly origin, while still trying to feel normal in the high school environment. Her confidence builds as the story moves along. The issues that she finds important also shifts. With that, the pressure of her lineage brings its own set of problems and she struggles to find the right path. She is also very strong-willed, intelligent, kind, and honest girl.

What inspired the story? Did you do any special research while prepping and writing?

~ The story was inspired by a vivid dream. I wrote the book for 3 months afterwards, with no real knowledge or prep work beforehand. During the editing process, I did a lot of research on Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology, which helped with grounding the story in a familiar setting.

Is this a standalone novel or will it be part of a series?

~ This is the first book in a five-part series.

The book looks like an interesting mesh of urban fantasy, mythology, and science fiction. Tell us a bit about how they blend together in the story.

~ The books are definitely a mesh of all three genres. I’ve tried to create a world where magic is explained through science, while also making magic unexplainable, just as spirituality requires us to believe in that which we can not see. Regarding mythology, I always wondered why the ancient gods of our stories were so flawed. That made no sense to me, unless those beings were really just mortals with special gifts or abilities beyond human comprehension at that point in time.

What are you reading right now, or what was the last book you read?

~ Last two books I read were Red Rising and I Am Pilgrim. My reading selection is rather diverse. I love all books - even romantic comedy ;)

Fun Question—If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would you entertain? What would you serve?

~ The Mad Hatter! Oh, god that would be hilariously fun! I would serve coffee instead of tea just to see what he would do.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you or your novel?

~ I’m actually heading out on a 6-month book tour starting in Portland, OR at the end of May. I’ll be wandering around the US going in a clockwise circle on the outer states and visiting indie bookstores along the way. If you follow the book tour site, it’ll show where I’m heading next!

Where can readers find you online?



Sonora and the Eye of the Titans


T.S. Hall

Publication date: January 14th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
The King is dead, and the capital city of Titanis has fallen. The world of Sonora is at war, and the only hope against the onslaught of the Titan army lies with the last royal descendant of Zeus, who is being covertly sheltered on Earth in the secluded mountain town of Sandy, Oregon. 
Allora is a shy, intelligent sixteen-year-old, trying to get through the gauntlet of high school while coming to terms with her otherworldly origins. After getting into a fight at soccer tryouts, Allora’s emotions boil over, and her hands suddenly burst into flames. She has harnessed the power of hadrons at the highest level, but at extreme cost. The magical outburst projects an energy signature that is detected by a group of assassins tasked with killing Sonoran rebels.
To survive, Allora, Katie, Dax, and Tanner must find a powerful ancient artifact known as the Eye of the Titans. With the help of a guardian known as Sasquatch, they will have to fight off creatures, solve complex riddles, and navigate magical caverns, all while enduring advanced calculus, jealous girlfriends, and prom.



Author Bio:
I’m a writer, skier, and wanderer. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, but currently live in the beautiful mountain resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho. I love history, mythology, and the fantastical interpretations that have been incorporated in my debut young adult urban fantasy series called Sonora.






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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Operation Child Soldier by Jaci Wheeler



 Operation Child Soldier

Jaci Wheeler

YA Suspense
Amazon


I was trained from birth to be the best Agent possible. Growing up in a Military Training Academy for unwanted children has its perks. I might not have ever been to a dance but I am a sharp shooter, master at hand to hand combat and best hacker the Academy has ever seen. I trained my whole life to pass the final and become an Elite agent. The only problem? My entire life has been a lie. My father is a monster and I’ve been trained to kill monsters.










About the Author

Jaci Wheeler lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband and two precious kids.
Her love of literature began in Jr. High when she was introduced to Lowis Lowry’s books. Since then she has had a passion for writing Young Adult books, and creating strong female leads. When she’s not writing, she is advocating for Autism Awareness and involved in the deaf community.

Her favorite things to do are play with her children, craft with her friends, sleep while her husband watches movies and indulge in her favorite addictions: Coffee, candy and shoes.

https://www.instagram.com/jaciwheeler1/

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

July Lightning by Shannon A. Thompson


July Lightning
Shannon A. Thompson
(Bad Bloods #4)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: May 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
From best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson comes an exciting new duology in the Bad Bloods universe.
Sixteen-year-old Caleb has been called many things: a patient, a musician, even a prostitute…now he has a new name—son. After his identity is uncovered, Caleb bands together with the family he once rejected in order to save the city of Vendona. But it won’t be easy. Enemies wait around every corner—and so do harsh realities.

With Violet and Kuthun by his side though, nothing seems impossible. As Vendona sits on the verge of an economic collapse and a massive hurricane threatens the city, Violet and Caleb must show its citizens how to overcome decades of hostility and division to save themselves.
Standing or not, a sea will rage, a wall may fall, and all will depend on immortal pain and sacrifice.

EXCERPT:

Everyone in the Pits called the fifteen-year-old Skeleton, for obvious reasons. Supposedly, the bad blood had been born a normal, healthy baby boy, but, over time, his skin unraveled and revealed pieces of bone. Somehow, defying all science, the boy continued to live. The last time I’d seen him, his right arm and chin showed bone, but now, half his face and all his fingers had contorted to the haunting shape. Even Adam cringed.

“You here to fight?” Skeleton asked, eyeing both Adam and me.

I attempted to answer, but Adam shouted over me. “You work here?”

The betrayal Adam felt was one I would never comprehend, even if I wanted to. Adam was a bad blood. To see a fellow bad blood protect the Pits that killed his kind went beyond my human pain. I volunteered to fight. Bad bloods often didn’t. Moments like this reminded me why Kuthun slapped me when I told him I wished I was a bad blood. Just because I sympathized with them and loved them, lived with them and listened to them, did not mean I would ever be one. I could never feel the same emotions Adam did, and Adam couldn’t comprehend mine.

“The humans aren’t the only ones who see value in bad blood.” Skeleton egged Adam on, and Adam fell for it.

“You mean, your blood.”

The boy’s bony fingers rattled against the door. “Of course,” he said, then smiled. The addition of teeth only made the bony boy look worse.

“You’re one of us,” Adam snapped. “How could you—”

I stepped in front of my cousin. Thankfully, my actions stopped him. “We’re here to talk to Connelly,” I said.

The lanky, crass kid looked me over and stepped aside, but as we passed, he gave in to temptation. “If you need a tag for the bad blood, let me know.”

Adam knocked the boy out cold before I could stop him. That was how fast his powers worked. And, for once, I didn’t feel the need to reprimand him.

“You know you have to fight if you hurt the workers,” I said.

“No one will know,” Adam said as he strode past me. “You’re good at keeping secrets, right?”




Author Bio:
Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox.
As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies.

Represented by Clean Teen Publishing, Thompson is the best-selling author of The Timely Death Trilogy and the Bad Bloods duology. When she is not writing, she is climbing rooftops, baking cookies, or watching murder shows in the middle of the night, often done with her cats by her side.
Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.ShannonAThompson.com.

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Finding Hope by Lucie Ulrich

Finding Hope

Lucie Ulrich

Inspirational, Romance, Family Drama
Clean Reads
April 2017

Amazon | B&N

Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.

Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.

Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.

Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with.

Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?


Excerpt

Over dinner Hope chatted on about school, her dreams to become a veterinarian, and the school play she was taking part in. “I have a really good part. Do you think you could come back to see me, Noah?”

“As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure I could get away so soon.”

“Honey, that’s a lot to ask. The play is only a month away, and Noah doesn’t exactly live across town.”

“Sure.” Hope swirled the mashed potatoes on her plate with her fork. “I understand.”

The downward bent of Hope’s mouth tore at Noah’s insides. He’d barely made contact and was already letting her down. He swallowed his final bite of meat. “Maybe you could spend some time at the ranch over the summer.”

Hope’s frown quickly turned to a face-splitting grin. “That would be amazing. I can’t wait to tell Jenny.”

Fire practically shot from Beth’s eyes, and Noah knew he’d put his foot in it big time.

****
Beth asked Hope to clear the table and clean the kitchen. “I’m going to show Noah the garden. We’ll have dessert when we come back.”

“Sure, Mom.”

“The garden’s this way.” Beth walked past Noah toward the sliding glass door. She opened it with more force than necessary, causing the door to slam into its metal casing. Cringing at the racket, she was less forceful with the screen.

Noah followed her onto the deck. “Look, I know I spoke—”

“Not here.” She descended the stairs at a brisk pace and walked across the yard until she reached the gazebo. The walk and cool air did nothing to calm her nerves. Spinning around, she faced him. “You had no right to extend an invitation like that without speaking to me first.”

“I know, and I’m sorry. The words just came out before I had a chance to think about what I was saying.”

“Yeah, well, sorry isn’t going to help when I have to tell Hope she won’t be going. I opened my home to you so that you could meet your daughter, not for you to whisk her away at the first opportunity.”

He held up his hands. “Whisk her away? No, you’ve got it all wrong. I expect you to come with her. Hope has other family, which means you do, too. I think she’d enjoy a couple of weeks of ranch life, and you’re both going to love my family.”

“You assume a lot for someone who’s barely known me for twenty-four hours and my daughter half that amount of time. And, yes, I did say my daughter. You may have fathered her, but I raised her.”

“That’s a low blow, Beth.” Noah’s easy smile vanished. He leaned against the railing and crossed his arms over his chest. The mixture of hurt and anger in his eyes pained her. She knew she was overreacting but couldn’t help herself. He was moving too fast. Surely he realized that. “I think it might be best if you don’t stay for dessert. I’ll explain to Hope.”

“I’ll be the first to admit that my enthusiasm may have gotten the better of me.” He uncrossed his arms and pointed to her. “But you’re the one who invited me into Hope’s life. You asked if I was in for the long-haul, so I assumed you understood I’d want to bring Hope to Montana from time to time.”

“It’s too early for this to be about what you want.”                            


About the Author

Lucie Ulrich is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction. Her books are filled with stories of faith, family and forgiveness. She was honored to receive a RONE Award for her second novel, “The Rose Ring.” 

A former performing arts director, Lucie now enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She continues to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.

Social Media:
Website: http://lucieulrich.com/

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Deathbringer by Tamara Grantham




The Cat and the Computer: Background Information for Fairy World MD
by Tamara Grantham

When I asked my readers what they wanted to know more about concerning the Fairy World MD series, I got KULL, the CAT, and the LAPTOP!!

PART I: THE CAT!

Name: Han Solo
Color: Gray
Owner: Olive Kennedy
Favorite activities: Stalking birds in the window, chasing socks, napping, eating kitty kibbles, and NAPPING!
What does Han do when Olive is gone? First, Olive feels very bad about leaving Han behind all the time, but since the fate of the two worlds is usually on the line, she doesn’t have much of a choice. Han is not as lonely as some might think. In the earlier books, Olive’s elderly neighbor checks on him twice a day. Olive doesn’t know, but her neighbor brings over cans of tuna fish and balls of yarn.
Han and the neighbor get along well, although Han always prefers the company of Olive to anyone else.
Later, Olive asks Brent to check on Han. While Han doesn’t get as spoiled, he does like Brent because his hair always smells of that wax that has a faint fishy odor.
Once, two strange-smelling people broke into Olive’s apartment and tore it apart, but Han stayed out of sight under the bed. When the strangers left, Han found an unexpected surprise. The thieves had left the refrigerator opened. They had spilled luscious bologna all over the kitchen floor!
Han ate until his whiskers got greasy and his belly round and uncomfortable. When Brent found him, he brought him back to his place in Houston. At Brent’s house, he finally met up with Olive again, only for her to leave on yet another quest to save all humanity. Le cat sigh…
*This story is continued in Deathbringer.

PART II: The LAPTOP!

Olive made her magical laptop mirror in Boston when she was doing residency training for a year. She worked at a computer lab that doubled as a computer graveyard. Old computers would break and be brought to the lab where parts would be harvested to repair other computers.
For some time, Olive had been trying to find a way to diagnose her patients. She’d found that different types of magic triggered specific memories. For example, if someone had interacted with elves in Faythander, blue magic would trigger their memories. If they interacted with dragons, green magic would appear, and so on…
She created her five figurines before she made the laptop, but she needed a way to keep them organized.
One day, while gutting out an old laptop, she had the idea to use it as a box for her figurines. She replaced the computer keys with a velvet lining, and she replaced the screen with a mirror that she enchanted with Faythander magic.
The laptop is also a symbol for those savvy enough to pick up on it. She creates the mirror box on Earth, using a piece of Earth Kingdom junk. It represents a time of her life when she spent more time on Earth than in Fairy World. Earth is a place she always tries to fit into by never succeeds, just as she fits her statuettes from Faythander into a piece of Earth technology.
Later, she’ll use other various types of boxes, which represent differing aspects of her life. One represents her lost childhood, and another the person she’s always meant to be—but if I told you everything, I’d give it all away, and what’s the fun in that?


Deathbringer


Tamara Grantham
(Fairy World M.D., Olive Kennedy)

Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Some heroes are fated to save the world. Others are meant to destroy it…
Olive Kennedy is all about positive thinking. She’s been stuck on Earth for the past four months, waiting for the spring equinox to arrive so she can return to Fairy World — but she’s staying positive. She’s hopeful she’ll once again see her handsome Viking fiancĂ© who’s waiting for her. She’s optimistic that her mission to reclaim the sword of Dracon — a sword of King Arthur fame and the only weapon capable of killing Theht — won’t result in death and destruction. And then there’s the small matter of an asteroid that’s been ripped out of its orbit and is hurtling toward Earth…no biggie.
One last thing — she’s fated to destroy the world. To stop that prophecy from being fulfilled, she may have to sacrifice the one person she loves the most.
Good thing she’s staying positive.

EXCERPT:

I stood and crossed to my bedroom, then grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder. After grabbing my temporary mirror case out of a drawer, I placed it on top of my dresser.

I wasn’t sure if I should cringe or laugh as I scanned my new mirror. I’d found it at the dollar store after a frustrating day of trying to create a new mirror box with no success. I’d bought it because it was absurd and to remind myself that it was temporary.

The plastic box was pink with the name BARBIE scrolled on the top. Inside was a foam liner that had once held five nail polish bottles. I’d cut the foam to make larger slots. Now, it held my five figurines that represented the races of Faythander: Dragon, elf, Wult, pixie, and goblin.

After unlocking the latch, I opened the lid. “You’re fabulous! Inside and out!” sang to me in a bubble-gum voice as I propped the lid open.

As I said, temporary solution. Extremely temporary. It had a mirror under the lid and was the perfect size for my figurines, so it worked. For now.

Scanning my figurines, I found the Wult and removed it from the foam, then propped it upright against the mirror. I needed to get to the Wultlands, and this would be the easiest way to do so.
I ignored the glittery scrolling along the edges of the mirror and focused on the glass. Taking a deep breath, I paused before touching my fingers to the mirror.

Months ago, the portals had started acting erratically. I’d thought the problem had been solved after we’d restored the fairies’ stone, but when I’d returned to Earth four months ago, the portal had almost torn me apart. I’d gotten several stitches in my abdomen because the crossing had been so violent.

Since then, I hadn’t once been able to open a portal, but tonight, I had no choice. I needed to return to Faythander before the equinox, and I had one thing in my favor—I hadn’t tried opening a portal with my new Barbie box yet.

Here’s to hoping my luck improved, I thought. Then again, this was my luck we were talking about. Yeah, probably not.

Carefully, I placed my fingertips to the screen, inhaled a deep breath, and then conjured the word to open the portal.

Magic flowed from my heart, through my arms and hands, and into the mirror. Gold and amber swirls licked like fire over my skin as the magic interacted with the mirror, mingling with the blue glow coming from the plastic case.

The power grew inside me as the portal opened. Wind swirled around me until the room disappeared and I floated in a void. Voices came from somewhere. Soft whispers. Among them was a familiar one. The cold, detached voice of Theht.

I am here. I am waiting.

I’d gotten better at tuning her out, but being in a place like this, between worlds, made it almost impossible to keep her away.

Soon, we shall destroy the world together. Deathbringer.

The wind grew stronger and faster, wrapping around me, squeezing the air from my lungs. It compressed me until I couldn’t breathe. Pain coursed through my nerve endings as the pressure weighed me down. I felt as if I’d been buried under millions of tons of sand.

I cried out, but couldn’t hear my voice over the wind. Tears leaked from my eyes. I felt their warmth on my cheeks. In a desperate attempt to survive, I focused on the magic within me, unleashing every ounce, pouring it into the portal to keep it steady.

I thought for sure I was dead when I hit the ground. I landed awkwardly, my shoulder and hips taking the brunt of the impact. My mirror, on the other hand, made a graceful landing in a pile of leaves beside me.

I lay on the ground, panting for air, staring at the faded blue sky through the patchwork of branches with budding green shoots.

“Never again,” I muttered between gasps. Next time, I would find a Viking ship and cross through an underground ocean filled with man-eating sea-snakes before using a portal. “Never. Again.”

On the bright side, at least I’d finally made it back to Faythander. The $.99 investment into the Barbie mirror wasn’t such a bad buy after all.



Author Bio:
Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than half a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Mythology and Fairy Tales categories with over 100 reviews.
Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a featured speaker at the Rose State Writing Conference and has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.
Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks, which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds, and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGranthamBooks.com.

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