Friday, November 24, 2017

Promo + Giveaway: Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

Flame in the Dark
Soulwood #3

Set in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the third, thrilling Soulwood novel stars Nell Ingram, who draws her powers from deep within the earth.

Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED—the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead—and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more—or less—than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.

Excerpt Part 4:

“Can you prove he—it— wasn’t human?” Soul asked.
“Empirical evidence in a few days,” I said, speaking in my work accent. “Maybe. But not scientifically.”
Soul heaved a sigh she might really need. I wasn’t sure if her species needed air the same way humans did. Maybe they breathed through their pores or had holes in their rib cages or something. “I’d like you to speak with Ming of Glass and her bodyguard. See what you can get out of them. When you are done, they may leave, with our thanks.”
I stood, flatfooted, meeting Soul’s gorgeous and slightly amused eyes. At her side, Rick looked as surprised as I felt.
“Ummm. Don’t you think there might be someone better than me to talk to a vampire?”
“No,” Soul said. “You are precisely the right person to address the issue of paranormal beings who’ve committed first- degree murder and/or hate crimes with the highest -ranked vampire in Knoxville. And it will be an opportunity to rebuild bridges that you set fire to when you referred to all Mithrans as smelling ‘maggoty,’ I believe?”


New York Times and USAToday bestselling fantasy author Faith Hunter was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. Altogether she has 40+ books in print under the names Gary Hunter, Gwen Hunter, and Faith Hunter. As Faith, she writes two contemporary Urban Fantasy series: the Jane Yellowrock series, featuring a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires, and the Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. Her Rogue Mage novels are a dark, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, is ROGUE MAGE, RPG.

Find Faith and her books
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving....

Gobble Gobble US Readers!!

Here is something that everyone can answer no matter where you live.... 

What book have you been thankful to read in 2017?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Guest Blog: Maid of Ice by Shona Husk

UFI welcomes Author Shona Husk. Thanks for Joining us!!

I like to try new things as new experiences provide new fodder for my imagination. In 2013 I did Tough Mudder (I thought it would be fun and challenging and it was). For me it was a way to experience a range of things that I wouldn’t normally get to do. I jumped into the ice bath. I leaped from a 5 meter high platform into cold muddy water. I climbed a mountain made of hay bales (those things are prickly, so a roll in the hay would be most uncomfortable). I also go to experience what it was like to be cold and wet and exhausted (it was a 20 kilometer course—I completed it in 4hrs). All things that I can use later to draw in when I write.

More recently hubby gave me a gift voucher to do some hot laps at a local track. So I suited up watched the safety lecture and got into the race car. My first few laps weren’t that fast as I had to learn when to brake and when to accelerate around the turns. By the end I was hurtling around at 180km/hr…at the speed it looks like the track is going to run out before it’s time to brake.

The hot laps were useful when I came to write the first scene for Maid of Ice as the hero plays a racecar driver on a soap opera. The only way he can save himself is to use magic…but how many people will notice? 

Shona Husk is the author of over forty books that range from sensual to scorching, and cover the contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance genres. Her most recent series are Face the Music, Blood and Silver and Annwyn. As well as writing romance she also writes sci-fi for the Takamo Universe game and urban fantasy under anther pen name.

She lives in Western Australia and when she isn’t writing or reading she loves to cook, cross stitch and research places she’d one day like to travel.

Find Shona and her books

Maid of Ice
Blood and Silver #3
Amazon  BN  Kobo  iTunes
Stalkers and death threats . . .
For Finlay Ryder, danger means playing a racecar driver on a daytime soap. That is, until he’s forced to reckon with his true identity as an Albah, a magical ancient race, by one of his own kind. Someone wants him dead. And worse, an ancient vampire is on the prowl, drawing blood left and right. Now, Finlay has no choice but to hunt enemies with unspeakable powers—or risk being hunted himself . . .

. . . and that’s just the first date
Ice skater Alina Nyx is using her broken wrist as an excuse for a career change. And when she falls for handsome Finlay, Albah drama feels like her new full-time job. Learning about magic and vampires is exciting, until her life is threatened. Now, as she begins to uncover her own mysterious powers, she must combine forces with Finlay to eradicate their foes for good, or all Albah will suffer . . .

The steering was heavy, which wasn’t a good thing at racetrack speeds. Finley Ryder didn’t know enough about cars to determine what was wrong and keep the race car on the track while it hurtled around the corner at over one hundred miles an hour. He eased off the accelerator and tried to remember all the lessons he’d had before being allowed to drive the car himself.
    Nothing came to mind that would save his life. The steering was getting harder. He wasn’t going to make the next corner and it was coming up way too fast.
    “Car’s not responding.” Finley said into the microphone in his helmet. The microphone wasn’t there for his team to call out tips. It was there for the film crew to give him instructions and for him to spout any lines they needed said.
    “What do you mean?”
    What he meant was he was jelly in under ten seconds. “No steering.”
    He pressed the brake, to slow the car so he didn’t hit the wall as fast. He swore. It wasn’t going to stop in time, that much was clear. “Make sure you get the accident. You might need it for a later episode.”
    When they’d have to kill off his character.
    Finley didn’t like his chances of walking out of this. Panicked voices filled his headset. They were never going to let him do his own stunts again after this, no matter how qualified he was.
His heart beat fast, pumping fear into his body. This was not how he’d planned on dying—he hadn’t made those plans yet. He didn’t give a shit how expensive the gearbox was. He tore his way down through the gears trying to slow the race car. There were sirens, emergency vehicles were already on the track. He didn’t take his eyes off the concrete wall to find out where they were. He knew what they were doing.
    They were coming for him.
    The car slowed, but not enough.
    He drew in a breath to calm the rising panic. This counted as dire situation, and he didn’t care who saw or what questions they asked. He drew the air around him into a shield. He’d tested his magical abilities before, but not like this. He wasn’t sure any Albah had.
    He was making history.
    With an exhale, he pushed every bit of will he had into cushioning himself, and the car, from the impact. If he’d been able to access some skin under all the safety gear, he’d have added blood into the mix.
    His eyes closed as everything collapsed around him.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Early Review: Lure of Oblivion by Suzanne Wright

Lure of Oblivion
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
ISBN:   1542049725
ISBN13: 9781542049726
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: NetGalley

Gwen Miller may be a human, but she has no problem taking a stand against her own kind. She’s going to testify against the teenage boy she saw viciously assault a lone shifter female—and no amount of pressure from the boy’s wealthy family will make her back down. But when the harassment turns violent, help comes in the form of a lean, toned wolf with winter-gray eyes.

As a guest at Gwen’s inn, shifter enforcer Zander Devlin can’t help but notice that the fierce and leggy brunette is in serious trouble. Since she’s putting herself at risk for one of his kind, keeping her safe is the least he can do. That’s not the only reason Zander wants her close. He desires her, even as the wolf inside him backs away from her. But his feral instincts are hard to keep down, and as they take shape, they’re harder for Gwen to resist. Then again, embracing them could be the only thing that could save her life.

LURE OF OBLIVION was a little different from previous Mercury pack books.

Different how? Well for starters, Gwen is human. Now don't make any mistakes, she might be human, but she's a total bad @ss. I totally loved her and can't wait to see her in future books as she continues to grow with the pack. I can't say that I came into LURE OF OBLIVION knowing anything about Zander. Sure we have seen him in past books, but he didn't stick out to me or draw me in and make me yearn for his story. I didn't finish book three totally loving him—he could be a bit of a jerk and his bedroom talk didn't do it for me—but I liked him.

The relationship between Gwen and Zander was slow, but built nicely. They had nice chemistry and their attraction towards each other jumped off the pages.

The story as a whole was decent. There was plenty of conflict, some life and death action, and the secondary characters added some nice twists to the story. There were a few slow dragging spots and I would have loved for the whole pack to be more involved, but enough of them were there to make it ok.

I haven't met a Suanne Wright book that I didn't like and LURE OF OBLIVION definitely hit the like list. Not her strongest book, but still enjoyable it and look forward to more.

I gave it 3.5/5 Stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Week in Review: 11/12-11/18

Books Received for Review

None this week!

Books I've Read

Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks
Princess of Draga by Emma Dean

Reviews Posted

None this week.


* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Monday- Interview + Giveaway for Nimbus by Jacey Bedford

* Wednesday- Guest Blog for Bitter Harvest Series by Ann Gimpel

* Thursday- Guest Blog for The Monster Of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton

* Friday- Promo for Witch of Death by Chrys Fey


* Did you know you can follow UFI on these other sites?

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Promo: Witch of Death by Chrys Fey

Witch of Death

Amazon US / Amazon UK / The Wild Rose Press / NOOK / KOBO
$0.99 CENTS!
Murder isn’t always committed with magic unless a witch is involved. 

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Liberty Sawyer glided swiftly through the horde of police officers, reporters, and on- lookers. Black hair fell from a rigid part in the middle of her scalp to her hips. Her eyes were a soul-stabbing blue and her lips were blood-red. She towered over the other officers on the scene, and wore all black, which set off the pallor of her skin.
Showing her badge to the officer, she slipped under the crime scene tape. A few paces away, she spotted Detective Corbin talking to his new partner, a man she knew by name but hadn’t had the privilege of meeting yet.
“I cannot believe you called her,” the new man was saying when she came up behind them. “We don’t need a damn psychic!”
“Actually, I’m a witch.” She smiled when Reid jolted and turned to face her. “I’m Detective Liberty Sawyer.” She stuck out her hand.
“Detective Reid Sanders,” he grunted back and took her hand.
The feel of his palm against hers sent tingles of lust from the tips of her fingers to her shoulder blade, and she knew he felt it too by the way he jerked his hand back. She winked at him playfully, hoping it would unnerve him even more.


Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s an administrator for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, running their newsletter and book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Fey realized she wanted to write by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen.

Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four cats and three nephews, both keep her entertained with their antics.

Find Chrys and her books

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Guest Blog: The Monster Of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton

UFI welcomes Author C.E. Clayton. Thanks for Joining us!!

“Elves? Why elves?”

Greetings, fans of UFI! My name is Chelscey, but I go by my pen name C.E. Clayton as it’s much easier to search for then trying to get the spelling of my name right. I am the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series, a YA to adult fantasy series, and I am thrilled to be doing a guest blog today! I don’t want to spend too much time talking about myself, but in a nutshell I recently moved from Southern California, where I spent my whole life, to New Orleans with my husband, our three fur-babies, and far too many electronics. I am a big fan of tattoos and dying my hair fun colors when I can (which isn’t often, my hair doesn’t like it all that much). I used to work in the Advertising/Media industry before the move, but now I focus on writing full time.
Speaking of writing, you may be asking yourself: “why, of all the mythical and fantasy creatures there are, why choose to make elves into monsters?” Well, I am so glad you asked!
I am a big fan of video game RPG’s, especially Dungeons and Dragons-esque games. I’ve always liked that, depending on the game publisher, elves were either these lithe, elegant creatures who had a palpable arrogance when it came to the other races. I also love how in other games, elves were considered second class citizens, creatures to be shunned and kicked out of the way if they were in the cities, or avoided due to their hostility out in the wilds. Sure, most people think of the Lord Of The Ring’s elves if they think about the creatures at all, but while I love the world Tolkien made, the elves weren’t the creatures I loved most in his books.
So, when I got the itch to finally pen all the voices in my head and give them life, I decided that this was my chance to bring to life the two opposing forces I found so interesting in elves. Their strength, their beauty, their connection to the forest, their abhorrence for humans and those who abuse the land, their heightened senses that make them a force to be reckoned with despite their small stature, but make them worthy of the scorn others show them. I turned my elves into monsters, leering beasts that fell from grace and now exact their revenge on humans in a terrifying and bloody manner.
I took the things people immediately associated with elves, and flipped it on its head. Thus altering a well-known creature and, hopefully, turning it into something different, new, and exciting. Transforming them into beasts that my readers are familiar with, but are still completely new and surprising. Given this is my first published fantasy series, I wanted to create something that was digestible, but still fantastic and interesting, even without a complicated magic system that has become so expected in this genre.
While taking a monster like a goblin or an orc might have been traditionally more terrifying, more expected, part of the tragedy that are Selkirk’s feral elves, is that they weren’t always beasts that occasionally steal children to snack on. They were beautiful, and relatively peaceful, making their fall all the more gut wrenching because deep down, I want the readers to feel a bit bad for the elves. You should pity them, at least just a little. They are monsters now, certainly, but they weren’t always. Which makes the question as to who, or what, the monster of Selkirk is, all the more fun to discover!
I hope my explanation about the twist I gave the elves in my book piqued your interest enough to pick up “The Monster of Selkirk” series! If you have questions about the elves, or the kind of fantasy creatures you wish were displayed more in the fantasy genre, I’d love to hear from you, as well. Just send me a message on my Facebook page or website. Thanks for letting me take over the blog today, it’s been a pleasure!

C. E. Clayton was born and raised in Southern California where she worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts that ranged from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). This was before she packed up her life, husband, two displeased cats, and one very confused dog and moved to New Orleans. Now, she is a full time writer (mainly in the fantasy genre), her cats are no longer as displeased, and her dog no longer confused.

More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, and poetry, can be found on her website:

Find C.E. and her books

The Duality of Nature
The Monster of Selkirk #1
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Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.

As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.

But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Guest Blog: Bitter Harvest Series by Ann Gimpel

UFI welcomes Author Ann Gimpel. Thanks for Joining us!!

Thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog. It’s the best compliment of all. I hope the close of the old year and the start of the new fulfills all your dream.

The Value of True Friendship

In this era where most of us have hundreds, if not thousands, of social media “friends” we’ve never met, there’s a tendency to either steer clear of our real friends, or not bother with flesh-and-blood relationships in favor of sitting in front of a screen. Virtually all of my writer friends are, well, virtual. There are only a couple I truly know. And if it weren’t for attending conventions, I wouldn’t know them.

So where am I going with this? Quite a while ago someone did a study on social support. It’s been replicated a number of times, so I’m certain the findings were valid. In any event, the perception that we have social supports is just as effective as really having them. By that token, virtual friendships are just as potent as real ones.

One of my flesh-and-blood writer buddies has spent most of her career as a journalist. When she was young, she worked for a very famous novelist, doing research for his books. Back then (1980s) authors all had agents and they visited those agents and their publishing houses, which by the way, treated their writers like gold. In other words, they had lots of human interaction.

Roll the clock forward a few decades. The Big Six no longer treat their authors as anything other than commodities except for a few consistently high producers like Stephen King. There are hundreds of small presses and hundreds of thousands of independent writers who self publish.

Before I started writing, I came from a long career as a psychologist which was very isolating. I always chose to practice in a group setting so I’d have someone to talk with. Yes, I know I always had patients to talk with, but that’s not a friendship. The therapy relationship exists solely for the client and can be very draining on the therapist. We worry a lot about our clients, but never tell them that.

For many of the same reasons I selected group practice, I chose to work with publishers when I wanted to become a writer. I truly appreciate having copy editors, line editors, cover artists, acquisitions editors, etc. to visit with because writing, too, is a very isolating occupation.

For the true introverted intuitives of the world, the Internet is a huge boon. It allows them distance from other humans while also providing the illusion of social support.

So, what is true friendship? Once upon a time it was my best friend who I picked up the phone and called. Do I still do that? Yes, but not nearly as much. Now I use email. It’s faster and easier. Or I text. It would be a fascinating social psychology experiment to take a close look at how people craft their relationships in modern times and whether there’s any connection between the high divorce rate, escalation in violent crime, and our tendency to gravitate toward virtual friendships.

What’s important to you in friendships? Do you have flesh-and-blood friends or web friends, or both? Do you feel differently about them? If so why?

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Find Ann and her books

Bitter Harvest #1
Author Store Amazon BN Kobo iTunes Google Play
Magic shattered the world, but the worst is yet to come.
The sea may have been a harsh mistress, but Viktor longs for the challenges of wind and weather, for the sound of waves crashing over his hull. Turned by a Master Vampire, he hates what he’s become, but there’s no escape. Not from Ushuaia that’s turned into a city of bones, or from the Vampire who rules him.

Ketha and eleven other Shifters traveled to Ushuaia to harness the power of an eclipse and were trapped there when the world turned upside down. Ten years later, they’re staying one step ahead of Vampires who blame them for the cataclysm.

With her luck running low, Ketha turns her badly depleted magic on the Vampire assigned to lock her away and gets sucked in by her own spell. Maybe magic can’t save the world, but love might be able to salvage what’s left.

.....Ketha woke in the middle of a dozen Vamps. Iron burned her skin where manacles circled her ankles and wrists. If she’d thought the smell was bad before, it was an absolute reeking horror now. Vampires smelled of blood and death and rot. How could any Shifters worth their vows align themselves with these bastards? Taking care to be stealthy, she glanced about an oval room, inlaid with wood. It had a church-ish feel that was clinched when she spied a Christ figure attached to one wall.
Close to a dozen Vamps crowded into the space. All of them held an eerie beauty, but Ketha wasn’t fooled. Their striking good looks ran less than skin deep. Skilled, ruthless killers, they counted on blood to survive. Living blood. Blood tapped from dead things ran a poor second.
The back of her head throbbed painfully, and she shut her eyes to buy herself time to think. Maybe no one had noticed she wasn’t unconscious. The Vamp standing nearest kicked her, right before he ordered her to wake up.
She flinched away from her attacker. Eyes flickering open, she regarded the one who’d struck her. Long, dark hair fell around his perfect face, and he augured fog-colored eyes her way. Ketha edged beyond easy reach of his booted feet into a sit, awkward because of her bound limbs. She didn’t waste words telling him she was already awake, or that no one could rest easy in their midst. She stared at a newly dead rat clutched in his hand and beat back a knowing smile. If they were using rats for blood, the Vampires were in as desperate a predicament as she’d assumed.
“You’ve captured me,” she sneered, opting for defiance. “Now what? Do I get to be everyone’s dinner?” She swung her head from side to side, encompassing the room full of Vamps. “At least remove my shackles. If I’m going to die, I’d rather face you as a wolf.”
The rat-wielding Vamp didn’t answer.
“I’m Ketha.” She held onto her slender advantage and flowed to her feet. Once she got her balance, she folded her arms as best she could beneath the swell of her breasts. “Rat got your tongue?” She jerked her chin at the rodent still clutched in the Vamp’s hand.
Before he could answer, she kept right on rolling, taunting him. “If you’re going to kill me, get on with it, but know this—” She summoned what magic she could, given the iron circling her wrists and ankles. The air about her shimmered with the blues and golds unique to her castings. “You will never escape Ushuaia without us.”
The Vamp faced off against her. “What makes you think we want to escape, Shifter?”
Ketha shrugged, favoring him with the full force of her gaze. “You like it here? Soon there won’t be anything left to eat or drink, and then all of us will die. Even Vamps. But if you’re good with that”—another shrug she hoped spoke for itself—“I suppose there’s nothing to talk about. Go on.” She made shooing motions with her bound hands. “Get on with it. I’m prepared to die. We don’t have too many more months here at the ass end of the world before none of us will be left. Take a chance, Vampire. Face my wolf.”
The Vamp smiled coldly. “I’ll pass. I suppose you have the answer to all our problems.”
“I do.” Ketha let a small, secretive smile play about her mouth. “But I’ll never tell you. Funny thing about being captured. It quiets the tongue.”
The Vampire’s chilly expression didn’t change. “Show some respect. No one addresses me that way.”
“It appears I just did.” Ketha tossed her shoulders back. She’d be damned if she’d let the blood-sucking bastard intimidate her. “You need us. Unfortunately, we need you as well, but what I had in mind was equal partners at a conference table, not being knocked over the head and dragged here.”
Satisfaction warmed her when a vein throbbed in the Vamp’s temple before he crushed the rat to bits of bone and tissue, splattering her with blood. Apparently, she’d gotten to him. What that meant remained to be seen. He summoned one of the others, a Vamp named Viktor. Ketha watched with interest when the other Vampire—clearly some minion—didn’t race to comply, but took his sweet time making his way to where they stood.
Another gorgeous man. This one had copper-colored hair that fell to his shoulders. A high forehead, square jaw, and emerald eyes made him movie star dazzling. Ketha bit down on her lower lip to force her thoughts away from his allure. Like the other Vampires, he was dressed in a motley collection of rags. Either they couldn’t sew—or they had no idea how to create garments that resisted decay.
As Viktor drew near, she assessed him with magic and shielded her surprise. He didn’t feel anything like the one with bloody rat remains on his hands, and the characteristic rot smell was absent Moving with the unholy speed characteristic of his breed, Rat-Vamp slapped cuffs atop her manacles and snapped, “Take her to the caves,” all but shoving her into Viktor’s arms.
Viktor latched a hand firmly around Ketha’s elbow, focused his attention on the other Vampire, and asked, “What then?”
Rat-Vamp sent a sharp look his way. “Lock her up and return. I’ll decide her fate once she tells us whatever she knows about escaping Ushuaia.”
“I already explained how that would happen.” Ketha made her tone pointed. No reason to be subtle around these fuckers; they didn’t deal in nuance. “At a conference table as an equal. So long as you hold me captive, my wolf and I will die before we help you do anything.”
Rat-Vamp shifted his gaze her way. “It appears we’re at a stalemate. Perhaps some cell time will alter your perspective.”
“Don’t count on it.”
She turned her magic toward Viktor, wanting to know what was in his mind. The answer shocked and thrilled her. This one was different, malleable. It wasn’t her imagination that he’d dragged his heels reacting to Rat-Vamp’s command. Viktor might be her ticket to freedom. He might actually let her go—if she played her cards right.
“Lead out.” She hip-butted him to spur him into action. “This room stinks of Vampires, and it’s giving me a headache.”
Rat-Vamp snarled and lunged for her, wrapping his hands around her shoulders and shaking her until her teeth rattled. “Never forget who runs things in Ushuaia. This is blood’s dominion. My dominion.”
Ketha stood her ground. “Funny, but I thought I and my Shifters were in charge. Besides, if you were going to kill me, I’d already be dead.” Ketha could’ve said more. Could have voiced her suspicion that he was intrigued by what she’d said, but she opted to keep her mouth shut. The sooner the weak one left with her, the sooner she’d be free.
Rat-Vamp drew back his lips and extended his fangs, bloody from his earlier skirmish with the rat, but he didn’t say anything further before Viktor herded her from the room.
“Remain quiet,” Viktor said sternly and shepherded her toward a stairwell. “Vampires have excellent hearing.”
Ketha took a chance. Easy enough since she had nothing to lose. Could he hear telepathy? Now was as good a time as any to find out. “I’m sure they do, and you don’t want them to know what’s in your mind. Lucky for you, Vamp magic can’t hold a candle to mine, even bound as I am by iron.”
They’d started down stairs dimly illuminated by long-unwashed windows. A startled look flashed across his face, and it gave her hope. “Son of a bitch. You heard me.”

Bitter Harvest #2
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A small group of Shifters sails south from Ushuaia, determined to assess what’s left of the world. A Vampire attack, a possessed priest, and a gateway to Hell mean fallout from the spell gone bad that pinned them in Ushuaia for years is far from gone.

Back on a ship again, Juan reconstructs what’s always been a comfort zone. The sea is the only life he’s ever known—if you don’t count the ten years he spent as a Vampire. His new magic, fueled by a bond with a mountain cat, brings its own set of challenges, but they pale in comparison with the white-hot need knifing through him whenever Aura is anywhere close.

A historian by trade, Aura deals in prophecies for her Shifter pack. Attraction for Juan ignited when they fought the Cataclysm, but she figures he left a string of broken hearts during his years as chief navigator on cruise ships. They have to work together. A self-indulgent affair could ruin everything. She does her damnedest to keep distance between them, but the ship’s not big enough to escape yearning for a future together.

“Watch it!” Her cat was near the surface, and a snarling hiss punctuated its words.
Aura ground to a halt. She’d pulled well ahead of everyone else with her leggy stride. Viktor and Ketha strolled with their arms wrapped around each other as lovers often did. Karin and Rowana brought up the rear, chatting.
“Watch what?” she asked her bond animal.
“I caught a whiff of wrongness. Check for yourself.”
“What is it?” Ketha pulled up next to her. “Why’d you stop?”
“My cat thinks something’s not right.”
Viktor slipped the rifle off his shoulder in a fast, fluid motion that spoke to his familiarity with it.
Aura shut her eyes, urging her senses to preternatural sharpness. Something unpleasant and eerily familiar zapped her. She curled her hands into fists and dug deeper. She had to be wrong.
Before she was through dissecting what she sensed lay beyond, perhaps in the barracks a couple hundred yards away, Ketha muttered, “Shit! It isn’t possible.”
Aura opened her eyes and gripped the other Shifter’s arm. “You picked up on Vampire emanations, right?”
Ketha nodded, eyes wide with disbelief. “How? They’re all supposed to have transformed into humans or Shifters.”
“Why are you talking about Vampires, dearie?” Rowana asked. She and Karin had finally caught up with them.
“I have no idea how,” Aura gritted out the words, “but they’re here.”
Karin narrowed her eyes to slits. “Vampires? Don’t be ridiculous. The Cataclysm altered them, removed the Vampire mutation in their DNA.”
“Or not.” Rowana twisted her face into a grimace.
“Check for yourself,” Ketha told the other two women.
Aura scrubbed the heels of her hands down her face, urging rational thought, and then scanned the place that felt menacing one more time. “It’s not quite right for Vampire, at least not the Ushuaia variety,” she muttered.
“Not exactly,” Ketha agreed. “But there are at least two of whatever they are, and their emanations are closer to Vamp than anything else.”
“The question of the hour,” Viktor said, “is whether we move forward or retreat. It’s a group decision.”
Aura thought about it, and when she spoke, her words came hard. “We left Ushuaia to figure out what was left in the rest of the world. If we turn tail and run the first time we encounter anything, we may as well never have set sail.”
Viktor grinned wryly. “Spoken like a true explorer. Shackleton would have been proud of you.”
“I remember reading about him,” Aura muttered. “If this is Grytviken, isn’t he buried here?”
“He is, indeed,” Viktor said. “His grave is on the far side of the post office, but only because his wife told the ship with his remains to bring him back here. I guess he was quite the philanderer, and she wasn’t interested in footing the expense of bringing his cheating ass home.”
“Interesting,” Aura said, “but we’re stalling. My vote is to see what the hell feels like Vampire.”
“Mine too,” Rowana said.
“I’m in,” Karin said. “If we could survive Armageddon against the Cataclysm, how hard could this be?”
Viktor cocked his head to one side. “Depends. If they’re Vamps, only beheading with iron will do them in.”
“Maybe they’ll be friendly.” Ketha screwed her face into what might have been a hopeful expression, except it came off more like a grimace.
“Friendly and Vampire in the same sentence is an oxymoron,” Viktor said in a flat, dead tone. “It appears we’re all game, so all of you get behind me and stay close. Deploy your magic. It’s still far more finely honed than mine.” He shouldered the rifle. “If I have to, I’ll use this. It should at least slow them down.”