Thursday, May 24, 2018

Midnight Moss Carissa Ann Lynch



Midnight Moss
by Carissa Ann Lynch
Genre: YA Fantasy

Fresh out of high school and stalling on college, all Dorothea wants is a little freedom. So when she's offered the opportunity to move into her late grandmother's house in Black Cat Springs, she simply can't refuse the deal. Cheap rent and distance from her parents is exactly what she's always wanted...and a handsome new neighbor seals the deal.


But as soon as she moves in, she's drawn to a mysterious fence in the woods. Despite her better judgement and dark stories beyond, she sneaks inside, learning that some things from her past are better left contained...

A twisted town with a mind-boggling past is about to become Dorothea's future. And one thing is certain–she cannot trust her instincts.



Excerpt
Today is the day I had dreamed of…
Ever since I hit puberty and grew to hate my mother, I’d wanted to live on my
own. At the age of twenty, I’d since grown to like her again. Nevertheless, the
day was still here. Time to move out, or “leave the nest,” as my old psychology
teacher used to put it.
I had gotten a part-time job as soon as I had been old enough, and I’d been
saving up my tiny paychecks for as long as I could remember.
While most kids spent their weekends partying and playing Xbox, I had been
working the backline at Burger Barn and babysitting kids in the neighborhood.
When I hadn’t been working, I had been shopping…but not for clothes or
makeup, or anything teenagers generally like.
No, I had spent my days off at Costco and Target, planning,
dreaming…organizing my perfect future life.
But all I’d planned for was the stuff, not what I’d do with it once the time
came or who I’d do it with.
My closet was filled with hand towels and unopened bars of soap. Plastic
packs of salt and pepper shakers were wedged between shampoo bottles and
shaving cream, and stacks of washrags were piled on top of a brand new vacuum
in its box.
Another box, labeled ‘Cleaning Supplies,’ contained everything I could
possibly need to keep my house germ and dirt-free, bleach, detergent, Magic
Erasers…enough cleaners to last me a lifetime. And did I mention that I rarely
clean?
Everything was labeled with neat yellow stickers.
There were candles and frames in this box, and there were plates, bowls, and
cups in another. One had oven mitts, tin foil, and a jumbo roll of plastic wrap.
There was even an entire box dedicated solely to ‘Spices’.
Staring at the boxes now, I couldn’t help feeling a little lame. I’d put so much
stock in this moment, this move, that now it seemed like a letdown.
All of this planning for one moment, and now the moment was here.
But why did it feel so colorless?
And what’s with this feeling of guilt? Why can’t I shake this feeling that,
despite all of my preparations, I’m totally unprepared for what lies ahead?
My mother wasn’t angry at me for moving out, but she wasn’t eager to get rid
of me, either. During this whole process, her attitude was a perfect blend of,
“You don’t have to go, but I’ll support you if you think you’re ready.”
She’d helped me pick out furniture and had even paid for the U-Haul.
I tried to imagine her sitting down to eat dinner, one lonely dinner plate in a
sea of overstuffed food platters, sipping white wine by herself.
Would she eat at the table, maintaining our seven o’clock dinner schedule? Or
would she take her plate and wine, wander out to the back porch, maybe watch
the sun dip down low behind the mountains? What if she got lonely?
I guess what it boiled down to was, I was worried about her. She had never
been the type to get depressed, but she had never been all alone, either.
My dad had left when I was little. Memories of him were mostly hazy or
nonexistent.
After all these years, she had never even dated. All she’d had for company
was me, until now.
My milky white reflection in the dresser mirror looked older than I
remembered, more like stone than flesh.
There was a soft knock on my bedroom door.
“Ready to load up?” Mom opened the door, letting herself in.
I tried to feign excitement, nodding and smiling as I scurried over to the closet
to grab my first load of boxes.
We carried one after the other, and just when it was time to lift the heavy
furniture, my brother Nolan showed up.
He was fashionably late, as usual. His dark black hair was a mess, with
cowlicks all over. It looked like he’d just gotten out of bed. Unlike me, Nolan
didn’t plan for anything. He was older than me, by three years, and he had no
plans to go to college. He worked part-time at a local bar, drinking for free and
spending his tips on God knows what. You’d think that with his lifestyle he
would still live at home with us, but he mostly crashed at his best friend
Cooper’s house or his girlfriend’s place, but his “girlfriend” changed every other
week, so I couldn’t keep up with the latest.
“A little late, aren’t ya?” I teased, smiling despite myself. His green eyes
looked droopy and bloodshot, but they twinkled all the same.
“Ready for your big day?” He went straight for the red fabric sectional,
breaking it apart to make the process of lifting it easier.
“I guess. I’m a little nervous,” I admitted, moving to the other end of one half
of the sectional, lifting when he told me to. I’d been storing it in one of our spare
bedrooms, but Mom and I had managed to drag it outside on our own before he
arrived.
Lifting it up and into the U-Haul left me feeling breathless.
He smirked. “You, nervous? Yeah right. You’ve been planning this forever.”
My mom came outside, pleased to see Nolan. She was carrying a painted blue
box that looked like it was about a hundred years old. It wasn’t that big, but from
the way she was carrying it, it looked heavy and important.
There was a hand-painted peacock on the front of the lid, the colors faded by
time but still brilliant.
“Uh…that’s not mine,” I said, coming over to help her.
“It’s not mine, either.” She gave me a strange smile. Nolan moved over beside
us, looking at the box with a bored expression.
“This was your grandmother’s. It’s been in my closet for years. I found it after
she died, stored away in the attic.” She carried the box to the back of the U-Haul,
resting it on the edge of the cargo area. There was an ornate latch with a rusty
brass knob to open it.
Grinning at my brother and me, she turned the box toward us, and it made a
small creak as she opened it.
I don’t know what I expected. Treasure or secrets, perhaps?
Whatever I had expected, it had been something more interesting than what I
saw, faded scraps of paper and cheap looking costume jewelry.
My mom stuck her hand in and shuffled through the papers and plastic.
“Here it is!” She pulled out a vintage skeleton key. It was bigger than any key
I’d ever seen, and it glistened in the fading sunlight. I took it from her hand,
surprised by how heavy it felt. It appeared to be made of gold.
“That’s the key to your house,” Mom said, her voice barely above a whisper.
“But we had keys made.” I stared at the crooked shiny key, mesmerized by its
intricate design.
“Yes. But that is the original key to Doris’s house. It belongs to you, now.”
Carissa Ann Lynch is the USA TODAY Bestselling and award winning author of the Flocksdale Files trilogy, Horror High series, Dark Legends, Searching for Sullivan, Things Only the Darkness Knows, Shattered Time, 13, Grayson's Ridge, and This Is Not About Love. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. 


When she's not writing, she's reading and collecting books. She has a background in psychology and corrections.




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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Night Stalker R.L. Weeks



Night Stalker
Dead Love Lives Book 1
by R.L. Weeks
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Winner of Best Paranormal Fantasy by Virtual Fantasy Con Book Awards 2017


Casey and George are traveling around Japan's notorious suicide forest when they see something move in the tree line and Casey can't shake the feeling that someone has been following them.
Later that night, Casey wakes up to find a woman in their room. After breaking free of the woman's entrancement, Casey wakes George, who convinces her it was just a dream. 
George has been acting off since their visit to Japan. Now they're home, the worst happens and George is killed in a freak accident.
It's one year later and she's about to leave her small hometown, Pleasant Springs - in hopes that her nightmares would end. Since his death, her dreams have been haunted by a mystery guy who is hellbent on causing her pain, but, before she makes it to the airport, Casey is kidnapped and taken to the hotel from her nightmares. 
She is plunged into a creepy world filled with the supernatural, underground cities, and sick games. 
Her mystery guy tells her he is trying to save her from the others. However, her ex - George could be behind her kidnapping in the most sinister way. 
Nothing is as it seems in the dark world of the Stalkers.




R L Weeks is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Dead Loves Life Series, Bloodlust, The Fallen, Willow Woods Academy for Witches, Cursed, and the owner of Enchanted Anthologies, publisher of Fractured Fairytales Books 1 & 2, A Deadly World: Vampires in Paris, Things Only the Darkness Knows, and Christmas Nightmares.

She lives in a small village in the UK.
When she's not writing, she's traveling, reading (paranormal, fantasy and horror being her go to genres) and designing covers for Dark Wish Designs.




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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Eternal Victim Dexter Morgenstern



Eternal Victim
by Dexter Morgenstern
Genre: Paranormal Horror

From the author of "The Slender Man" comes a fast-paced, terrifying tale, filled with gruesome murderers, ghostly abominations, and a dark puzzle that connects them all to the Witness.


Follow the Witness as she travels through a perpetual series of nightmares, haunted by a mixture of pernicious serial killers and their imprisoned, undead victims, known as preta. As she wanders through time and memories shared by the killers and their victims, she fights to solve the puzzle of their connection to each other and to herself. Her only hope of salvation lies in connecting key victims to the souls who can rescue them, thus waking her from the nightmare, but one killer follows the next, bringing forth a new set of victims, a new score of preta, and immediately landing her in a new terror.



Excerpt

I gasp, pulling my head out of a metal tub, and slip down the side, landing in a heap on the dirty floor. I cough, spit-ting up the fetid water I’ve swallowed, then gasp again, finally heaving some stale oxygen into my lungs.

What nightmare is this? I rub the water from the eyes, shivering beneath the icy droplets and frosty air. I just drowned… in someone else’s body. I stay like that for several minutes, staring at the rusted tub and trying to force myself to comprehend what just happened. How am I alive? Am I even alive? I finally turn over to see another sink across from me, a mirror looming above it.

I let out an exasperated breath that seems to fog up the entire room before managing to pull myself upright. I stand and hobble over to the sink. In the mirror, there is still no reflection. I look back at the bathroom doorway. The door itself seems to have fallen apart, and a dark passageway stretches into black.

I look back into the mirror. For a moment there is nothing; and then I fall, that silhouette appearing once more.

This time, it doesn’t send the world spinning. I crawl back, all the way to the wall, clutching a hand to my mouth, though there is no voice, no scream to suppress.

A head emerges from the mirror, then shoulders. Two pallid hands reach out and grab the sink. I close my eyes, hoping the monster will go away, but when I open them, it—she—stands directly over me. I flinch again, but when I look back, nothing but a hand is offered.

“Come with me,” she softly instructs.

Hesitantly, I take the hand. As she pulls me to my feet, the light in the room flickers back on, illuminating us both. Before me is a brown-skinned, black-haired young woman.

Like Ada, Christiana, and me, the bruises and scars along her skin tell the tale of what I can only assume was a brutal and bloody murder. The dimness in her once-brown eyes betrays no emotion.

“You don’t have a lot left in you. You have to move,” she says.

I take a few breaths, trying initially to respond, but she shakes her head. She knows I am without a voice. I look toward the doorway and then back to her. She nods.

“You don’t have time to wait here and panic. The killer gets closer with every breath. The closer it is to finding you, the more the balance is in its favor.”

She flickers, her widening eyes finally betraying the fear within her.

“You can’t let him hurt you again. Not here, not when the balance is this close to darkness,” she explains. “Witness and learn, and the balance will return to you. Then you can escape.”



The balance? Witness? What?
Dexter is a Southern-born Seattle author and model. Homeschooled after a diagnosis of mild Asperger’s, he learned to play to his strengths as an energetic, creative artist. He began writing at the age of fifteen, and published his first novel two years later. Outside of art, Dexter spends his time gaming, studying, and socializing with other ambitious minds. As an army brat, he attained a pragmatic sense of discipline that he uses to balance his artistic endeavors with his academic ones. Dexter’s ultimate goal is to contribute to the subjugation of humanity by artificial intelligence.



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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Flash Point C.L. Schneider



Flash Point
Nite Fire Book 1
by C.L. Schneider
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Slated for execution, shapeshifting assassin, Dahlia Nite, flees her world to hide in the human realm. As payment for the shelter they unknowingly provide, Dahlia dedicates herself to protecting humans from what truly lives in the shadows. Moving from town to town, she hunts the creatures that threaten an unsuspecting human race; burying the truth that could destroy them all. 


But the shadows are shifting. The lies are adding up. And when Sentinel City is threatened by a series of bizarre brutal murders, light is shed on what should never be seen. The secrets that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries are in danger of being exposed. 

Wrestling with a lifetime of her own deceptions, Dahlia investigates the killings while simultaneously working to conceal their circumstances. But with each new murder, the little bit of peace she has found in this world begins to crumble. Each new clue leads her to the one place she thought to never go again. Home. 



**Only .99 cents!**


Prologue

I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be afraid. I’d outgrown the nightmares of my youth long ago. Burying the events that sparked them, locking away the images, I’d dismissed the power they held over me. But I still remembered…
Waking in my dark den, throat raw, fire spitting from my fingertips; in those first few moments before sleep released me from its clutches, I’d sworn the creatures’ hot breath was still on me, their barbed tongues darting out, smelling my fear on the air. In every shadow, I saw the black blur of their shifted forms, circling me. Every heartbeat bore the promise of pain as the razor-like teeth of the savage nageun shredded the meat from my bones. Every night, I waited for the creatures’ bites to penetrate, for their venom to flow in and my blood to spill out.
            Those moments were far behind me. The nightmares were gone. Experience had made me stronger and wiser. Determination and training had pushed my fear of their slender, stunted reptilian forms to the depths of my mind.
Now they were crawling out.
They were stepping from my past.
The dark swarm was closing in, and the nageun’s pursuit of me was as real as the cold fear burning in my veins; twisting like a frozen blade with each pump of my legs as I ran.
            Shifting out of my human form, crimson scales erupted to spread beneath the malleable confines of my uniform, covering breasts, stomach, thighs, and back. Muscles increased in size as my slender nose widened. Rounded jaw hardened. Cheekbones and forehead became more distinct as my full lips darkened. I dropped to all fours, back arched slightly, and the forest floor sunk beneath my weight. Claw tips extended, digging in, releasing the aroma of damp soil and moldy undergrowth. With a rustle of leaves, I pushed off.
Night birds scattered in haste at my swift trespass. Woodland creatures stirred and scurried. My unmistakable smell, an arousing amalgam of human female and dragon, had them skittish as I dove headlong into the clog of downed boughs and scrub. My agile hybrid form slipped through the labyrinth of timber with minimal effort. Arcs of fire crackled off the ends of my hair as it fluttered out behind me.
I was too conspicuous. I needed to blend.
            Without breaking stride, I shifted the strands and their composition changed. From scalp to ends, human hair emerged, and doused the visible fiery heat wafting off the lengthy red waves. It wasn’t camouflage even close to what my pursuers were capable of creating. Their ability to shift into shadow, nearly erasing the edges of their bodies—little more than whip-like tails, long flat jaws, and serrated teeth to begin with—was one of the creatures’ greatest weapons.
It wasn’t easy to kill my kind. Death by nageun was a long, tortuous mutilation there was no coming back from. Picturing it, I tore deeper into the forest.
I tried to run and not think. But my mind was spinning, desperately seeking to understand, to conceive how a normal assignment on a normal day had landed me on the wrong end of an execution. With a single hesitation, my hopes, my future—my life—was over. The Guild was all I’d ever known. They’d plucked me from my den-mates, sheltered, fed, and trained me; promoted me to the coveted role of Executioner. They’d shown me the rewards of a life in service to our dragon elders. Dahlia Nite was a name respected in the ranks. I was known to all the tribes, decorated for fealty and bravery. Now, all had turned against me.
            I carried the order through. I did as I was told. I’d just needed more time.
            If the child hadn’t been there, if I hadn’t…
            What? I thought bitterly. I still didn’t know what happened. Only that her emotions had been strong beyond explanation. They’d been tangible, slithering over and in me, affecting me in an impossible way. I hadn’t been merely sympathetic to the human child’s terror. Her panic had brought me to my knees. I’d felt the violence of the moment, the violence I’d been sent to inflict, in a way I never had: as a victim. I’d seen it, growing around her ankles like a black wet fog. Stunned, I’d lost hold of my fire and faltered. Pausing, even just a moment, had created a memory; a record of my uncertainty, and, therefore, a death sentence.
In a society where not even our thoughts were private, no mistake was overlooked. No performance could be embellished or hidden. Our mission reports, our kills, were pulled straight from our minds by the highest authority: Naalish, the Exalted One; mother of all firedrakes and Queen of the Elder Dragon Tribes of Drimera.
Telepathy was common in female elders, but Naalish was said to possess a superior mind. It was also rumored she’d ripped the heart from her predecessor and ate it, consuming her soul to gain her power. I’d never believed it. Naalish was the most beautiful and majestic of all the dragons. Even hours ago, standing before her wrapped in chains, I’d been in awe of her presence. Deference and pride had kept me silent as she ordered my execution. I hadn’t even thought to plead for mercy. I was better than that. I was a hybrid, a shifter, a lyrriken. The product of a human female and an elder male in human form, both human and dragon existed within me. It was by the grace of the elders alone that I lived. They had every right to judge and punish me.
It didn’t matter that I’d gone before the Queen confused, that I’d needed help and she’d called for my arrest. Mercy was a not a common dragon trait, and I would never have shamed either of us by begging. I took her condemnation with my head held high.
It was after when my outlook changed. After, as I sat in my cell, with the blood of that human child drying on my hands, as I dissected my actions and tried to comprehend—I watched the walls go inexplicably fluid and gray. And I saw her. I saw it all again: the clearing where her home sat, the woods surrounding it, the charred body of her headless father on the ground. Stretching out like a hand from the grave, the child’s terror, stronger than anything I’d felt before, had gripped me anew. It dominated everything. My status, my honor, my duty to die as commanded, had no value. My squad, not even my lover mattered. Suddenly and inexplicably, I cared for one thing.
Survival.
No one had challenged my escape. They had no reason to expect such a bold move. Even facing execution, no Guild-trained lyrriken would dare defy the Queen. We would stay and take the death that was given us.
Yet something had crawled inside me that didn’t want to die.
Something that wanted to live more than it wanted to obey.
Now the coin had flipped, and I was the target. I was the one striving to outrun the oncoming death on my heels, clinging to life even knowing the odds of surviving. Fleeing was foolish. My impulse to do so was puzzling, but I couldn’t stop. Even now, with my cell in the depths of the Citadel far behind me, with the lights from the City of Spires dim in the distance, the sounds of the child’s scream rang as strong as the wind in my ears.
I’d left her alive too long. Her noise had brought the nageun out of the forest. My hesitation, my compromised aim when I recovered, had left her not quite dead when the horde descended. She’d watched them swarming. Felt their teeth puncture and tear. I’d backed quietly away, out of their view, listening to the foul crescendo of the cracking of bones and the slurping of organs as soft human bodies were reduced to strips of meat and puddles of viscous matter.
            They were to die, anyway. It had been my duty to kill them.
But not like that.
            I’d botched the entire job, and I still couldn’t fathom how. How could one little human melt away my years of training, one mistake label me weak and untrustworthy?
Now, in fleeing, I’d earned another brand. Traitor.



Chain Reaction
Nite Fire Book 2

If anyone can tell the difference between monsters and humans, it’s Dahlia Nite. For nearly a century, she’s hunted one to protect the other; safeguarding humanity from the creatures that slip through the torn veil between the worlds—creatures like her. But the lines are blurring. As people begin mutating and combusting on the streets, Dahlia realizes a strange affliction has descended upon Sentinel City. The mysterious ailment strikes all walks of life, from the posh, high-end nightclub district to the homeless community. Its victims, driven to random acts of savagery, are drawing attention too fast to cover up.


Assigned to the case, Dahlia and her human partner, Detective Alex Creed, investigate the deaths. But all they have are questions and bodies, and a public on the verge of panic. Working behind the scenes with her self-appointed sidekick, Casey Evans, Dahlia struggles to discover what, or who, is behind the alarming transformations. As the violence spreads and the mystery unfolds, she wonders: are the victims still human? Were they ever?



**Only .99 cents!**


Born in a small Kansas town on the Missouri river, C.L. Schneider grew up in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel took shape while she was still in high school, on a typewriter in her parent's living room. While her main focus is adult epic and urban fantasy, she also pens the occasional science fiction or post-apocalyptic story.


Though she has been writing all of her life, Magic-Price (the first installment in The Crown of Stones Trilogy) was Schneider's first published novel. With the trilogy complete, she is excited to be embarking on a new path with her urban fantasy series, Nite Fire.




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