Sunday, September 23, 2018

Week in Review: 9/16-9/22

Books Received for Review

Freezing Point  by Grace Hamilton
Second Star by J.M. Sullivan
City of Everdark by Debbie Cassidy
Shadow and Ice by Gina Showalter

Books I've Read

Heart of Ice by Lisa Edmonds
Scattered Plume by J.M. Miller

Reviews Posted

City of the Lost by Debbie Cassidy (@amoscassidy)


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

* Monday- Guest Blog: Pawned by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway: A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas by Terry Spear (@TerrySpear, @SourcebooksCasa)

* Friday- Haunted Halloween Spooktacular: Flesh by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)


* 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, September 21, 2018

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular: Flesh by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author Laura Bickle. Thanks for Joining us!!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I love making decorations for this time of year. Most of the time, I look at the materials I have around the house and think about what I can do with what I already have. 

I dug up an old wreath that’s been sitting in my garage for more than ten years and has seen better days. It’s faded, and a lot of the foliage is dropping from it. I thought about throwing it out, but decided that it could make a fun Halloween project. For this project, I used:

An old wreath
Black spray paint
Three strings of bat LED lights
Two packages of sparkly bat clips
Glue. This isn’t totally necessary – depending on the lights you use, you might not need it, or you could use zip ties or electrical tape to secure the light battery packs.

I had the wreath, the glue, and the spray paint, but found the LED lights and the bat clips at my local dollar store. So I’ve invested about five bucks in this project. I won’t too feel bad if it doesn’t turn out! 

First thing I did was spray paint the wreath black. I started on the back side. When it dried, I turned it over and sprayed the front. As is the case with all spray paint projects, I did it outdoors and painted it from several angles to make sure I got everything. 

Then I added the lights. I used three strands of purple bat lights. I wound them around the foliage and made sure the battery packs were in the back, where I glued the housing down to the sturdiest part of the wreath. If you’re using LED lights with button batteries, you probably wouldn’t need to do this step, since you could tuck a smaller battery pack in the foliage. Zip ties or electrical tape would also work to get those battery housings out of the way. I made sure to add my batteries first and didn’t add glue to spots that would interfere with the operation of the switch or changing out batteries.

I turned my wreath over and was pretty pleased with how it looked so far.

Next, I added my sparkly purple bats! The ones I got had alligator clips on the back, so I could perch them wherever I wanted. A couple were in precarious spots, so I added a bead of glue to make sure they stayed stuck.

And the wreath is finished! I’m pretty pleased with it…I can’t wait to hang it for Halloween!


Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

Find Laura and her books

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The dead are easy to talk to. Live people, not so much.

Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party. But navigating her life as a high school sophomore is an anxiety-inducing puzzle to her. She haunts the funeral home with her parents, emo older brother, Garth, their pistol-packing Gramma, and the glass-eyeball-devouring dachshund, Lothar.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. The bodies seem tied to a local legend, Catfish Bob, who has resurfaced in the muddy Milburn river near Charlie’s small town. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.


“Amanda, I…Oh.”
I don’t know what else to say. My brain just shuts down.
She is wearing the sheet, wound around her like a toga. It trails behind her bare feet, sort of like a painting about Greek goddesses I’ve seen in art books. She’s leaning over another body stored in the cooler unit on a cart. Her back is to me, and I can only see her pale skin and her burgundy-black hair shuddering.
She turns at the sound of my voice, seeming only to hear me for the first time. Her face is covered in dark blood. In her hand, she’s holding a big chunk of purple flesh. Her eyes are half-closed. The autopsy incision on the elderly body below her has been ripped open, and I’m pretty sure that what she’s holding is a lung.
“So hungry…” she murmurs.
I retreat until my back presses against the cold door. A whimper escapes my lips, and I drop the laundry basket with a sharp crack of plastic on the tile floor. This has to be a dream. A screwed-up anxiety dream that I’ll wake up from any moment now…
Amanda’s black eyes snap open. She stares at the chunk of flesh in her hand. “I…Agh…What’s going on?”
Lothar waddles over to her and begins to beg. Bile rises in my throat. “That’s Mrs. Canner,” I manage to answer. “She’s seventy-two and died of surgery complications for varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis, I think. I don’t remember.” I’m babbling, trying to keep the bile down.
Amanda drops the lung with a wet splat. Lothar scrambles to it and begins scarfing it down. Her hands are trembling. She presses them to her temples. “I don’t understand. I don’t understand.”
I nudge the laundry basket closer to her with my foot. “I brought you some clothes. And, um. Food. You should get dressed.”
I think I should be afraid. I think I really ought to be. But Amanda seems genuinely confused. She reaches for the clothes I’ve brought her. To be polite, I know that I should really look away. But I can’t move. I am not turning my back on her. My heart pounds, and I struggle to take deep, uneven breaths.
Amanda unwinds the sheet and slips into my clothes. Though I avert my eyes, I see that her shoulder and side are still torn open. But my mother hasn’t begun the autopsy yet, so there is no Y-incision across her chest and abdomen.
“Do you remember what happened to you?” I manage to ask. I congratulate myself for having a rational thought. Woot.
Her voice is halting, and her brow wrinkles as she struggles to button my jeans. “I remember…something was chasing me. Jesus, it hurt…” Her hand comes up to her neck, and she seems to remember, fingering the edges of the wound. “Am I in a hospital?” she asks again.
I suck in a breath. “No. You’re at my house.” It’s not a lie. Not really.
She scans the room, as if registering the sight of the cadavers. “You’re the girl whose parents run the funeral home. The Ghoul Girl.”
“It’s gonna be okay,” I tell her.
“Why am I here?” Her breath makes ghosts in the cold air.
“The Sheriff found you, alongside the road.” That’s true also, even if not the whole truth. “I think we should get you upstairs, so you can talk to my parents…”
She shakes her head, and her dark hair slaps across her face. “No. I…Oh my god. I’m here because…somebody thought I was dead?”
I swallow hard. “Yeah.”
Her hands press to the wound on her side. “But I’m not dead!”
“I…uh…I think we need to get you to the hospital.” I tentatively reach toward her, to grasp her arm and guide her upstairs, toward the light of the much more civilized parlor and rational discussion. This is so far over my head, and I need my parents to handle it.
She shakes her head. “No. No. No.”
I hold her elbow gently, trying to keep her calm until I can get her upstairs to my parents. Her skin radiates cold through the sweatshirt, and I can see that the edges of her neck wound are dry, not seeping so much as a hint of blood. “Come with me.” I open the door and gently lead her into the lab, as if I’m herding a frightened cat. She gazes at the stainless-steel equipment. “I was here. I remember being here.”
“Come upstairs,” I urge, struggling to keep my composure. I use all the empathy that I’ve learned, dealing with grieving family members, trying to understand the shock and lead her away from the Body Shop.
She squints up at the buzzing light. “You were here, weren’t you? You and that woman. Looking at me.”
“My mother,” I say. I’m thinking crap crap crap. I’ve heard of cases of people whose vitals have dropped far beyond detection, who have awoken in hospital morgues. This has never happened to us. Not ever. Oh shit. The other body. Maybe it the same thing…
“The woman with that knife…” Her fingers go to her sternum, where my mother’s scalpel had rested. All of a sudden, Amanda becomes rooted in place, as immovable as a mountain.
“No one’s going to hurt you,” I promise. “Let me make you some coffee.”
She shakes her head, and I feel her trembling. Her eyes slide to the back door.
She slips from my grip. Before I can stop her, she rushes to the back door. She slams it open with a sound like a gunshot and plunges into the darkness.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Promo + Giveaway: A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas by Terry Spear (@TerrySpear, @SourcebooksCasa)

A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas
Billionaire Wolf #3
Heart of the Wolf #26
Amazon  BN  Apple  Kobo  IndieBooks
When the wolves' own blood betrays them, they risk their lives to find a miracle.

Wolf shifter Dr. Aidan Denali has been working day and night to find a cure for werewolves' alarmingly sudden decline in lifespan. The key to the problem eludes him. But when Aidan grudgingly leaves his work to do some holiday shopping, he meets a remarkable she-wolf whose mysterious pack could bring him one step closer to the answer.

Dr. Holly Gray is thrilled to meet the wolf who's been working so hard to help others. Now, it's her turn to help him. But while their attraction is sizzling, the packs are at odds, and the danger is increasing. It's going to take a holiday miracle for Holly and Aidan to get themselves--and their loved ones--out of this alive...

Before they had supper that night, Ted had put on some nice instrumental Christmas music and God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman was playing. Even though they hadn’t intended on staying here for the holidays, hadn’t even planned to be here for it, the guys were making an effort to add a little Christmas cheer for their unexpected guests, and Aidan really appreciated it.
Ted and Mike were speaking in private in the kitchen, but Aidan overheard a little of the conversation while he, Holly, her brother, and Nick were piecing together a 1,000-piece wildlife puzzle on the coffee table in the living room. Everyone who visited the cabin tried piecing the puzzle together for a time. Though they usually did so many outdoor activities, that this was a nighttime activity when they wanted to wind down, drink beers, sit before the fire, and have something more to do while having a conversation.
Ted and Mike were saying something about making spaghetti for Nick, Greg, and themselves, because they didn’t have enough for all six of them. Aidan knew better. They always overbought food supplies when they picked up groceries as if they were cooking for a whole army of wolves for a month so they’d have plenty of meals. They planned to serve a special dish of veal parmesan, new potatoes, asparagus, and wine for the docs. They sounded like they had taken on the role of matchmakers too. Maybe they believed Aidan needed help in the romance department. With Holly, he didn’t need any encouragement or assistance, though he could use more privacy.
He eyed the puzzle, but then looked again at Holly when she pushed another piece into place. She’d done it with twice the number he’d placed. He and Rafe and the others who came here with them hadn’t finished a lot of the puzzle, maybe a hundred pieces since they bought it a few months ago and hadn’t been up here but once since then. But at the progress she was making, she’d have it done in short order. He was trying his darnedest to find another piece that would fit in next to some of the border, since that was completed.
She watched him for a minute and pointed to a puzzle piece that was lying among the ones he’d spread out. “Can you hand me the blue one that has a couple of orange leaves floating on the water?”
He was looking for the one she meant. There were lots of blue ones. And lots of fall leaves. Any of which could be the one she was looking for. He looked at the spot she wanted to add it to, but he couldn’t see any that might work there.
She smiled at him and leaned over him, brushing her body against his in a sexy way when she could have easily avoided touching him. He took advantage of the opportunity to wrap his arms around her and kiss her cheek. “Have you put this puzzle together before?”
“No.” She reached for the puzzle piece. “This one. See how that part of the leaf fits in there with the partial leaf on that part?” She pointed out the parts of the small puzzle piece, but he still couldn’t see that it would work.
He also realized, even if she had put the puzzle together before, the puzzle had too many pieces to be able to know where they would all go again. She’d eyed the picture of the finished puzzle on the box cover for a long time before she had begun doing her part.
He was still trying to find a puzzle piece when she placed three more. If he was in a race and not doing this just for fun, he would have felt outdistanced in a hurry. Then he studied her for a minute more, watching her place another piece, and frowned. “Are you eidetic?” It was rare to find an adult who was.
“Some think so. I can see a visual of something, like the puzzle box cover, and remember where everything goes for a short time. When I see the pieces, I can recall the bordering pieces they connect with. But not long term. If we did this for a couple of hours, I would have to look at the cover again.”
“That’s a heck of a lot better than I can remember. We’ve got to do this as teams when we go to the chalet, just for kicks.”
She laughed. “You mean you and I would team up against Rafe and Jade? That would be cheating. Now, if Jade and I took you guys on—”
“You’d have an unfair advantage.”
She laughed again.
Greg shook his head. “I’m still looking for my first piece and she’s already filled in fifteen pieces.”
“That’s a remarkable gift,” Nick said.
“Some children have it, but unless it’s nurtured, the ability is lost. I guess I just was interested in recalling visuals I’d seen, and it helped to keep that ability alive.”
“I wish I’d done that. Not long enough attention span for me though,” Greg said.


Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense.

She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA.

USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!

Find Terry and her books
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: City of the Lost by Debbie Cassidy (@amoscassidy)

City of the Lost
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy/
Reverse Harem
Review Copy Source: Author

When life gives you lemons, punch it in the face.

Time is running out for Wila and Azren as the meeting with the dragon liege looms, and Wila is no closer to locating the rogue Shedim base. Death by dragon seems like a definite possibility according to the voice in the basement.

With the Lost loose in the city, and the arcana Institute twiddling their thumbs, it’s up to Wila and Co to clean up the mess, prevent general panic and make sure they get home in time for a proper cup of tea.

Add several mechanical monster’s hell bent on attacking civilians into the mix, and we have a recipe for a case that’s out of this world. But with her jade-eyed shedim partner, an Arcana royalty, a draconi prince, and her troll blood lover at her back, no foe is unbeatable…right?

It’s going to take several slices of lemon cake for the gang to get through the week, but Wila has a plan.

Unfortunately plans have a way of derailing themselves where the dragon liege is involved. Wila is about to be tested, and when the lights go out how loud will she scream?

Wila may be striding into the dragon’s den, but will she be striding back out?

Join Wila as she continues to kick butt, turn heads and unravel mysteries in the thrilling second installment of the Chronicles of Arcana.

A kick-ass Urban Fantasy with a slow burn Reverse Harem romance

I was ready to jump into CITY OF THE LOST as soon as it hit my kindle.

We get some nice development on the storyline, but I honestly can't say there was a whole lot of character development on Wila's part. Who and what she is, is still a giant mystery and I hope we get some tidbits about her soon. I really want some hints about the guy locked up in the basement too. Quite a bit is revealed about Azren and his people. I am excited to learn more as they learn more.

There is a ton of action. People are hurt and there are a few moments where you're not so sure they might come out of stuff.

Again, just like I mentioned in book one. The romance is VERY slow burn. Frustratingly slow at times, but we do have some progress in that department in CITY OF THE LOST. The sexual tension is very high throughout the book though and I'm still not totally sure who all the men in the harem will be.

I still want to read more. CITY OF EVERDARK is set to release on Oct 16, 2018.

I  gave it 3.5/5 stars

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Guest Blog: Pawned by Laura Bickle (@Laura_Bickle, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author Laura Bickle. Thanks for Joining us!!

Top Seven Magical Things in Stannick’s Pawn Shop
By Laura Bickle

Stannick’s Pawn Shop isn’t what it seems. To the casual observer, it’s a pawn shop like any other, a space crowded with old guitars, military memorabilia, record albums, and jewelry. It’s been run by generations of Stannicks, barely managing to turn a profit on the boardwalk of Starboard City.

Aside from its ordinary inventory, Stannick’s Pawn Shop keeps a secret inventory of magical things that would shock outside observers. These magical objects are coveted by both the Mob and the supernatural underworld. Raz, a teen boy with the gift of psychometry, sorts the powerful magic away from the duds. There are a few things in the shop that he won’t soon forget:

7. A pair of antique dueling pistols. Through Raz’s psychometric sight, he sees that these identical pistols have drawn blood. One always hits its target, and one always misses. It’s anyone’s guess which is which.

6. A watch that stops time. With the Mob breathing down his neck, Raz’s father gives him a watch that belonged to a fighter pilot. It can stop time for a few seconds – maybe even long enough to dodge a bullet.

5. A ring that grants invisibility to the wearer. Raz’s cousin, Carl, has been given a ring that makes him invisible. You’d think that Carl would be tempted to use this magic on the football field, but he’s more worried about the Mob and denizens of hell invading the pawn shop in the dead of night.

4. The Gargoyles. They appear to be sculptures from an old church, but these stone ankle-biters are the shop’s primary security system. If there’s scuttling under the counters, it’s these cat-sized stone creatures fishing around for loose change.

3. An hourglass that can restore life – or end it. A powerful demon shows up at the night window with an hourglass, agreeing to sell it to restore Raz’s Grandpops’ life after a heart attack. The demon demands blood as payment, far too much blood. The Mob also wants the hourglass, and it will take all the shop’s magical forces to defend it.

2. The Gnome. The Gnome is the most fearsome weapon in the shop. When set in the front window, it appears to be a harmless garden statue. But it was sculpted around the head of a warlock, and it likes chewing livers. The Gnome is not a force to be trifled with.

1. Bert. His full magical name is “Bertasimus,” but he much prefers to go by “Bert.” Bert is a six-foot-tall demon who takes the shape of a T-Rex. He eschews the wearing of pants, and serves as security for the shop. Bert’s got a checkered past, but his loyalty to the Stannicks is eternal. Well, that, and they know his magical name. Bert will fight Hell and the Mob to the bitter end…and only Bert’s knowledge of the secret landscapes of magic will determine who is left standing.

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams.

Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

Find Laura and her books

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For fans of Stranger Things and the works of Neil Gaiman, Pawned is a Young Adult novel that blends dark fantasy adventure and noir — on the New Jersey boardwalk.

You can hock almost anything at my family’s pawn shop…even your own soul.

You think running a pawn shop full of cursed objects with your dad and grandpops is cool? Try it for a week and get back to me. Now try picking up any random object and seeing its creeptastic history play out right before your eyes — yup, that’s my little “gift.” It’s my job to sort out what’s haunted and hexed from what’s not, and do my best to keep all of us — including Bert, our ice-cream-truck-driving-lizard demon — employed.

So it wasn’t all sunshine, roses, and possessed samurai swords even before grandpops’ heart attack — but now things are garden-gnome levels of bad. Dad made a deal with the wrong end of the dark side to save grandpops’ life, putting my whole family smack dab between the forces of evil and our friendly local blow-your-pawn-shop-to-smithereens mobsters. And Lily next door…I shouldn’t even be thinking about Lily.

All I ever wanted was to get out of this crap town and away from my messed-up family, and instead it looks like I’m gonna have to use every scrap of magic in this joint or there won’t be any family left to leave behind…


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Week in Review: 9/9-9/15

Books Received for Review

Heart of Ice by Lisa Edmonds
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins
Scattered Plume by J.M. Miller
Cowboy Wolf Trouble by Kait Ballenger

Books I've Read

Pride by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Prey by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Shift by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)
Alph by Rachel Vincent (Re-read)

Reviews Posted

Exile of the Seas by Jeffe Kennedy (@jeffekennedy, @KensingtonBooks)


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

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Courted by her Cougar by Felicity Heaton (@felicityheaton)

* Wednesday- Promo + Giveaway for Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (@GraceDraven, @AceRocBooks)

* Friday- Guest Blog + Giveaway for The Wolf King’s Bride by C.A. Worley (@caworleyauthor, @RoxanneRhoads)


* 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, September 14, 2018

Guest Blog + Giveaway: The Wolf King’s Bride by C.A. Worley (@caworleyauthor, @RoxanneRhoads)

UFI welcomes Author C.A. Worley. Thanks for Joining us!!

Obsession with Fate

I’m a big fan of fantasy and paranormal romance books. I used to think it was because I had an unhealthy obsession with werewolves—or, healthy, depending on how you look at it. Then I read some books where vampires fell in love. Then demons, and so on and so forth. I was devouring these novels like there was no tomorrow. I’ve always been a good reader, but this was becoming an addiction.

Slowly (because I’m slow on the uptake at times), I began to see a running theme through the books that were becoming my drug of choice. These stories were rooted in the idea of fate. I love the idea of fated mates, that there is one person out there in the universe made just for you. It got me thinking about how wolves mate for life. Well, in books they do. Geese mate for life, too, but I doubt anyone’s dying to read about a shifter turning into a goose tearing up your grass. But I digress …

It got me thinking about the supernatural world and what if a wolf found his fated mate, but she was born into a species that did not recognize mates. I’ve also been fascinated by arranged marriages and the horrifying prospect of marrying a stranger. Just how optimistic could one be in that situation?

This is how I came up with the idea of The Wolf King’s Bride. I wanted to write a male character who was alpha, completely smitten, but a little high-handed. As I wrote each chapter, even when Kellan was being a little unreasonable, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. It was hard for me not to allow Nora, his mate, to jump right into insta-love like I had.

Of everything I’ve written (I also write under the Cass Alexander moniker), this is what I’m most proud of. Not because of super-hot werewolves or witches who can control the elements—though, I do find those things way cool. Not because I didn’t use my typical off-color humor. It’s because I choose to believe we all have a fate. We just have to be brave enough to fight for it.

C.A. Worley is the alter-ego of Romance Author Cass Alexander. Where Cass tends to focus on humor in her publications, C.A. loves to write fantasy. She chose to write under the two different monikers to not confuse (or tick off) her readers.

C.A. currently resides in the Midwest, but was born and raised in the South. She spends her days working from home and her evenings are spent shuttling her kids to and fro. Her dinners are subpar, but she makes a mean dessert.

When she's tired of living her sons' travel sports schedules, C.A. enjoys a glass (or four) of wine. She needs the liquid courage to click the publish button for her fantasy romance novels.

Her motto is, "Be Brave," and she tries to live it every day—it takes a healthy dose courage to get through this thing we call life.

Find C.A. Worley and her books

The Wolf King's Bride
Fate of Imperium #1
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When Kellan, Wolf King of the North, meets his fated mate, she is only a child. He immediately brokers a betrothal and, on the day after her 20th birthday, whisks her away to his castle in the Northland. Kellan is elated, believing he has everything he has ever wanted. His new wife, Nora, doesn’t quite share the same sentiment.

Before Kellan has time to court her, Nora is attacked. An ancient brotherhood refuses to allow an heir of one kingdom onto the throne of another. All four factions in the land of Imperium appear to be involved in a surreptitious struggle for power … while Nora hides a few secrets of her own.

***The Wolf King's Bride is the first book in the Fate of Imperium Series. Each book is the story of a different king and his fated mate. While the three books do not have to be read in order, it is highly recommended.

Nora ran for the door and Kellan caught her by the waist. “I don’t think so, love.”
She clawed and scratched at him, using her combat training to try and get free. Her father was in danger. He needed help.
Kellan was bemused by his wife’s strength. She managed to score her fingernails across the side of his face. She drew blood and Kellan was half-proud of her.
In his stupor over witnessing her abilities, he must have hesitated, because she landed a hard knee to his kidney. Kellan grunted, but did not let go. He was the strongest wolf in the pack. His little mate was no match for him.
He carried her to the bed and held her down with one hand. He reached for his belt on the floor and his kidney suffered another blow.
Despite his efforts to avoid it, his cock hardened. He made note to revisit this in the future. Battling with her in bed was something he wanted to explore.
A punch to his mouth was enough to dampen his lust. He growled, seizing her wrists and slamming them above her head.
Holding them with his left hand, he looped the belt around them with his right. Nora was bucking like a madwoman, so he flung one leg over to straddle her ribs as he tightened the restraints.
It took longer than it should have. Nora was a skilled fighter. Yet another secret withheld from him.
“There,” he proclaimed once she was secured to the bed. Her feet were still loose, but he didn’t think she could get her arms free.
“Please, don’t do this, Kellan. My father … please!”
“Nora, calm yourself. I will find him. Did you think I would ignore the vision? I may be furious with him, but I’ll not ignore my father-in-law’s need for help. Trust me to do what is necessary.”
“But I can track him. The earth, it will tell me where he is.”
“As will my nose. Do not worry. I will handle it.”
“Don’t you dare leave me like this, Kellan.”
He ignored Nora as he started to dress, then thought better of it. He would leave the castle in wolf form, so he could track Edward.
“I will return as soon as I can.”
Kellan bent to kiss Nora. Instead of allowing it, she tried to hit his forehead with her own.
“Woman, will you calm down?” Kellan did not want to get his nose broken.
“How could you? Are you trying to ensure you’ve earned my abhorrence? Because I can assure you it’s working,” she seethed.
Kellan recoiled at the vehemence in her words. “No. Do not say that.”
“How could I not? You do not listen to me. You have no regard for me. You think of me as a witch. Do not pretend that you’re not disappointed I’m not a she-wolf. I bet if I was wolf you would let me go to my father. Instead, you’ve tied me to your bed like a damned animal.”
“You are tied to our bed, so I can ensure your safety, Nora. I will be gone from the castle and you refuse to stay put. I cannot concentrate on whatever your father is facing if I am worried about you. You are my mate. Nothing is more important to me than you. Do you hear me? Nothing. I care not that you are an elemental. I shouldn’t have called you a witch. I am sorrier than you could possibly know. My anger got the best of me. It won’t happen again. Just as you will not lie to me again. Mates do not lie to one another. Ever. I am hurt that you could do it so easily. But we’ll discuss it later. I have to go.”
Kellan had his hand on the door handle when Nora landed her final blow.
“I may be your mate, but you are not mine. I am Gwydion. We don’t have mates.”
He bowed his head as his heart filled with more sorrow than he had ever known. He took a calming breath, wanting to ward off the reaction he was having to Nora’s harsh words, but the grief inside him was too big to hide.
Kellan turned his head towards his wife, eyes wet from the enormity of his heartache.
Nora was shocked to see tears forming in Kellan’s eyes. One spilled and mixed with the blood from the scratches on his face. The ones Nora had put there only a moment before.
“I may not have your heart, Nora. But you have mine. You can wound it easily. Yet, I give it to you, freely, with no expectation of anything in return. I’ll endure your hatred to ensure your safety. For this, I’ll not apologize.”
With that, Kellan exited the bed chamber, leaving behind the only thing he had ever truly held onto—hope that his mate loved him.

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