Prince of Demons 1, 2, 3 11

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Buy on the e-box set on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Demons-1-3-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00T0PEM8M/

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 Too Much Story for One Book!

 

part 1 BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…

After Dallas finance manager, Atalanta Ravin, was left standing at the altar in a publicly humiliating jilting, she quit her job, sold her house, gave away her furniture, and set off in search of a new life living on a boat in Boston Harbor. She got the adventure she’d always secretly longed for, but not in a thousand dreams could she ever have imagined that fate would lead her to her fantasy lover or that he might turn out to be a prince of demons.

Vampire Romance Books.com   … hooks you right from the start and there is no getting loose. 

Lightning Room Literary Reviews   This book made me laugh out loud, drew out of me a deep sigh of contentment and made me grin with anticipation for what’s to come.

Prince of Demons 1 BUY links:

AMAZON http://amzn.to/1wrdIMf

part 2 The Witches Say That A FEAR IS AN UNREQUITED WISH…

 

Prince of Demons 2 BUY links: Release Jan 3rd

In the second part of this rapid release trilogy, Lana wakes after a night of too much song, dance, and pub red ale to find herself in a demon dungeon sleeping on top of a fellow prisoner who happens to be seriously drool worthy. When the cryptic stranger proposes an escape plan, she goes along and gets the adventure she’d subconsciously longed for.

WHETHER SHE LIKES IT OR NOT.    

AMAZON http://amzn.to/1yMug4N

part 3 WISHES ARE MYSTERIES FILLED WITH SHADOWS and LIGHT

AMAZON  http://amzn.to/13OKqNh
YOU’RE INVITED to the Prince of Demons 3 release event Jan 19th

https://www.facebook.com/events/596078137164595/

 

Prince of Demons 1, CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT

When she was left standing at the highly polished altar of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in a four thousand dollar dress facing everyone who had ever meant anything to her, she decided Stuart Pruitt was easily the biggest asshole in the universe. Atalanta Ravin spent the next three weeks sitting in ice cream-stained yoga pants and a holey tee shirt, staring straight ahead while two sisters and her best friend tried to convince her that, even if he was easily the biggest asshole in the known universe, life wasn’t over. Not really.

For weeks, she’d been riding a sugar overdose that left her unable to sleep at the time she needed the escape of sleep more than ever before in her life. And it was showing.

“You look like shit, Lana,” Dizzy summed it up unapologetically.

“And why would I care?”

Dizzy had been her friend since they’d been college freshmen and learned that they had both been assigned to dorm rooms with certifiably sociopathic roommates. At the end of the first semester, they scored a room they could share together and had pretty much shared everything but boyfriends since then.

Dizzy was loyal to a fault, a trait highly prized in a best friend. Unfortunately, at least in that case it seemed unfortunate, she was also persistent to a fault.

“Lana, come out with us. You can’t just sit here in a puddle of Starcream and look like shit forever.”

“I can, Desdemona.” She used Dizzy’s birth certificate name knowing it would make her wince, hoping it might also make her give up and go. “Don’t you have something else to do? Go pester Robert. He’s got to be resenting the hell out of the time you’re spending over here trying to get me to do something I don’t want to do.”

“Exasperating, Lana. We can’t help you if you won’t let us.”

“I appreciate the effort, Dizzy, but I’m not going out. I need to spend some time processing. You know. On my own.”

Dizzy, the almost maid of honor, pulled back and stared at her for a full minute. It took even longer to push Dizzy away than it had to get rid of her younger sisters: twins who, like her, were named after figures from Greek mythology. They were responsible for the nickname, Lana, because they couldn’t quite manage Atalanta when they were babies.

They were fiery, freckled redheads named Nike and Nemesis. They’d tried sympathy as far as patience would carry, then turned to threats, vowing to abandon her to her Triple Pecan Crusted Rocky Java Chip Starcream until all that she would require from them was a selection of mumus.

With a sigh of resignation, Dizzy rose saying, “Okay. I actually get that. Call me when you want to talk. If I don’t hear from you by Tuesday…” She let that hang in the air and seemed to be mulling it over. “You know I never liked him. I always knew he was a prick.”

Lana spluttered. “Liar. You were crazy about him.”

“On the inside.” Dizzy looked indignant. “I hated him on the inside.”

“Whatever.” She waved a hand in the air and blew a half-hearted kiss, but Dizzy proceeded to prove that it would take more than a wave of dismissal and an air kiss to get rid of her. Lana had doubts that even the National Guard could deter Allision when she was on a mission.

Eventually Lana had stood in a warm shower not particularly caring about the water temperature, reluctantly pulled on clean clothes and let Dizzy comb out and blow her hair like she was a doll. When Dizzy was satisfied with the cleanup, she marched her prisoner out to Nike’s car where the twins waited and deposited Lana in the backseat

“Where are we going?”

“The Four Sixes.”

It was a chic urban bar on Turtle Creek in the heart of Dallas urban posh, named after one of the famous ranches of Texas. Dizzy’s rescue party never made it inside though.

Nem had started to reach for the big brass handle that was an eclectic cross between Southwest and art deco. The door opened before she touched it letting the muted sounds of thumping bass escape and touch everyone nearby with the vibration. Lana saw out of the corner of her eye that the people who emerged were a couple. He had his arm over her shoulder. They were laughing, nudging and leaning into each other.

What she didn’t notice, until she realized her companions had gone stone still, was that the male half of the happy couple was none other than Stuart. The other half was Lana’s very own goddamn administrative assistant, Stephanie. When the soon-to-be former employee registered that she’d come face to face with the ex, who was also her boss, she was suddenly much more interested in her shoes than in meeting Lana’s gaze.

Stuart nodded to the group in general then added a curt, “Excuse us,” as he placed a hand to the small of Stephanie’s back and gave her a little push to get her started in the right direction. The two of them had almost made it all the way to Stuart’s precious royal blue Audi before Lana’s brain reengaged. A red hot curtain of fury descended in front of her vision as all the missing pieces fell into place and her body took on an agenda of its own as surely as if it was possessed by a devil. With a quickness that would make a superhero proud, she whirled and began sprinting after them.

Stuart and his date had just reached the car, which he had parked himself because Stuart didn’t trust valet parkers. He’d pointed his key fob, been greeted by the car’s answering tweets. Stephanie’s face froze in silent horror when she saw the rundown coming, but Stuart had no warning. Lana didn’t slow the charge. The only adjustment she made was to put her hands out in front of her at the last second. The result was slamming into Stuart from behind with such force that his body was thrown into the side of the vehicle and his face bounced off the roof of his car. Hard. Hard enough to draw blood.

When he turned around and looked at Lana, the devil who had possessed her whooped with satisfaction on seeing reddened eyes and blood dripping down the front of a prissy custom made shirt. With cuff links. Christ. What a tool!

“What the fuck, Lana? I think you broke my nose.” He looked at the blood on his hand as he brought it away from his face and spat. “I should press charges.”

She gaped, but not for long. Stuart’s apparent disconnect with the trail of damage he’d left behind caused Lana’s fury to gel into a cold anger and even colder laughter.

“Press charges, Stuey? Unless you want a lawsuit to pay my family back for a wedding that cost as much as your average priced house, I’d rethink that threat. A hundred pounds of fucking shrimp, Stuey! That’s a lot of fucking shrimp. Fifty cases of Dom Perignon. Shall I go on? Or maybe I’ll just turn my cousins loose and let them take it out of your hide.”

She hoped her smile looked every bit as menacing as the images of revenge that were chilling her blood. He paled a little at the thought of the triplets who were Lana’s cousins. Yes. Multiple births ran in the family on her mother’s side.

Those boys, the McKesson triplets, were privileged, but that was just disposable package wrapping. They were descended from wildcatters who were, well, wild and probably carrying the genetic ancestry of horse thieves. Or worse. The family joked that attempts to reconstruct genealogy met a quick dead end because their forbearers had been one step ahead of the law when they’d come to America. They may have changed names again when they left some landing point on the Eastern seaboard and pushed west. One thing was sure. They weren’t carrying the genes of farmers.

Everybody in Dallas knew the McKesson name by reputation. Among other things, it was rumored that they preferred to settle disputes out of court. So to speak.

Atalanta always laughed it off when she heard those whisperings and said that people love to believe bigger than life stories. From her perspective, her cousins weren’t people to be feared. In her mind they were boys, ripe for teasing, who fumed if you tricked them at blind man’s bluff and ate unhealthy amounts of Bananas Foster if given half a chance. That didn’t stop her from using the rumors to her advantage though.

Lana turned her attention to the soon-to-be-pink-slipped admin. Only then did she recognize that the expression she’d become accustomed to seeing on Stephanie’s face was guilt. Lana had thought Stephie was having some kind of trouble. Maybe money. Maybe a boyfriend. As her boss it wasn’t up to her to ask.

Looked like it was a boyfriend problem after all.

The devil in Lana was roused to dancing in triumphant circles when she startled Stephie into taking a fearful stumble backward by doing nothing more than taking a step toward her.

 

 

Lana felt her sisters on either side of her, trying to pull her away. “Come on, sis. Everybody here knows who’s boss,” Nemesis had said. Lana glanced at her sisters just in time to see them throwing identical pointed glares at both Stuart and Stephanie.

Nobody said a word on the drive back to Lana’s house. Her girls were sensitive enough to know that there wasn’t a single word in the English language that would be better than the silence.

When she was finally alone – as she’d wanted to be in the first place, she thought bitterly, she let emotion overtake her. Tears pooled then gushed onto the pillow where she’d landed on her bed, curling into a ball as she fell. She cried freely for the first time, not so much because of two humiliations, a very public jilting and an excruciatingly embarrassing confrontation. Not even because of the high price tag of a wedding that was a nonstarter.

She cried because she hated herself for missing the fucker. He may not have been a great lay and he may not have had any character to speak of, but he’d been company for three years. Long enough to build every aspect of her life around him as if she’d gradually become remnants of personality circling his sun.

She reminded herself that, being perfectly honest, she needed to amend that. He’d been good company until the past six months when his job had become so demanding that he was either away or out late more often than not. He’d been too busy to take part in any of the wedding planning. “Whatever you want will be fine with me, Lana. You have good taste,” he’d said. She didn’t think much of the distancing at the time.

 

She woke up early the next day, still in her clothes, tangled in bed covers. She rose to go to the toilet then took a look in the bathroom mirror. Her eyes were almost swollen shut from going to sleep crying. She hated what she saw in the mirror and might have broken it if she wasn’t superstitious, the remnants of a heritage that couldn’t be documented, but could be substantiated as Scot-Irish. So instead of shattering the mirror, she came to a conclusion.

Sometime during all the hours of staring straight ahead, not really hearing what people were saying, she’d arrived at a point of absolute clarity. She needed a change. Not a small change. Not even a big change. A change of such monumental proportions it would effectively be hitting the reset button on her life.

She changed into plain pajama pants and a comfy well-worn tee, turned the ringer off on her phone, then sat down in front of the TV with a box of tissue and a grease-stained box of cold day-old extra pepperoni pizza. She chomped into one of the stiff slices thinking that one of the finer privileges of relationship mourning was punishing the body with bad food, alcohol, and no exercise while ignoring the domestic hallmarks of civilized living such as laundry, dishes, garbage control and personal hygiene.

Punching the remote she began going through channels one by one. Stuart had taken control of the remote when their relationship was still new and had never considered relinquishing it, not even on special occasions. He always went straight to the guide and picked out something he already knew he liked and wanted to see. Stuart liked what he called “tried and true”. He had his favorite restaurants and stuck with the same menu items. He had a morning routine, an evening routine, and a weekend routine that involved the same people, places, and things. No sense of adventure whatsoever.

Lana no longer needed to be concerned with Stuart and his damnable preferences. She was her own person. On her own. She would reject Stuart’s lack of adventure. She would channel surf all night if she felt like it! She punched the air with every flick of the remote button as if to say, “Take that, Stuey! I will yield the remote to no man ever again.”

Moving past a cooking show, a rerun of a seventies sitcom, something about criminal midgets who loved pit bulldogs, a home show, a black and white movie starring Tyrone Power, another cooking show, a thing with a boat, and a band of ferret-like creatures standing on their hind legs in a field of brown grass. Then she stopped and backed up two channels. It was the home show.

They were doing a series on alternate lifestyles and that particular installment featured a handsome bachelor who lived on his boat. She washed the mouthful of pizza back with a swig of tequila straight from the bottle and turned the volume up.

Twenty minutes later, by the time the show was over, she knew exactly what she was going to do. She was going to quit her job as portfolio manager for Gelz Leageman Capital and sell her bungalow. It wasn’t a Highland Park estate, but it was an eye-catching brick cottage in one of the posh Dallas park cities. It had been a great investment even if it was next to the noise of the north-south toll road that cut through the middle of the city.

She’d take the proceeds and move far, far away. To New England, where she would buy a boat. To live on.

For somebody who was not quite thirty, she’d done alright for herself. She’d stayed out of trouble, gotten good grades, and made her parents proud. In the process of living up to expectations, she’d accumulated enough net worth to be able to cash in a 401K and do nothing for a while until she decided to do something else. She had no memory of waking up without a goal to pursue. Hitting the reset button meant she would find out what it felt like to wake up without a plan. Maybe she’d do jigsaw puzzles until she got tired of them and then switch to crosswords. Maybe she’d watch every movie she’d wanted to see and hadn’t. Read every book that had been reviewed by the New York Times. She might learn to knit. It was cold where she was going. She’d need lots of knit stuff. Scarves and hats and afghans and such.

She’d never experience another summer with dead brown grass on the sides of the roads and blackened burned out areas every few yards where people had tossed lit cigarette butts as they sped by. She always thought it made the Metroplex look like a version of highway to hell. She wouldn’t experience daily air quality alerts, the result of living in the world’s most populous inland area. Or the constant spring and summer threats that went with residing in “tornado alley”.

Yes. She wanted to live someplace that didn’t have tornado alarms. Clean air. Blue water. Cool days. Sure there might be snow. And ice and single digit temps. Every place had its downside.

Maybe she’d make new friends. Maybe she wouldn’t One thing was certain. It would be very unlikely that she’d run into anyone who had witnessed the color drain from her face when her intended had stood at the front of a church and blurted out, “I can’t. I just can’t,” right before he’d bolted out a side door and left her standing there staring at the best man.

The best man. In her mind she kept replaying the look of pity and apology on his face as he blinked at her with uncertainty as to what to do next since the groom no longer between them. She remembered how she didn’t want to turn her head to the right and see the shocked expressions of eight hundred well-dressed guests.

Later that day, face still mottled red with fury, Lana’s father had promised to take care of Stuart in his own unique Texan sort of way. “I’ll neuter the son of a bitch and throw his balls in with the calf fries down at the restaurant for some stranger to enjoy. Ignorance is bliss. Unless you’d like to have the privilege for yourself, little girl.”

Getting an unbidden image of that, she’d gagged twice.

“Thanks, Dad. I appreciate it, at least the sentiment behind it, but I’m thinking I’ll pass. And unless you want to end up in Huntsville, I think you better find another way to express your displeasure. You know sometimes I think you skipped the twentieth century altogether. You just popped in right out of 1886.”

He nodded. “Something to be said for simpler methods, if you know what I mean.” He looked at her meaningfully.

“Yes. I know what you mean and so does every electronic listening device with surveillance distance.”

Her comment gave him pause. He looked around uneasily as if someone was eavesdropping and kissed her on the top of the head as he was making ready to leave. “You worried about what you say in your own house? There’s no excuse for that. Ever heard of McKesson Security?”

She sighed. “I’m not worried about what I say inside my own house because I don’t plot crimes out loud.”

Lana’s father simply grunted at that as if to say maybe she was slow. “Come have lunch down at the store tomorrow.”

She was pleased that he had calmed a little and smiled. “We’ll see. Maybe.” She caught his sleeve as he turned toward the door. “You know I’m, um, sorry about the expense and…”

“Don’t you dare apologize!” He’d turned red in the face again and she immediately regretted having said something to cause it. She worried when his coloring went so out of whack. “You haven’t done a thing to be sorry for. It’s that dump of steaming yellow horse turds that needs a good dose of sorry.” He lowered his chin and stepped in closer. “You know your cousins…”

“Dad! Don’t say another word!” He stopped. She grabbed hold of his lapel and squeezed like it had nerve endings. “And make sure you’ve got them under control. Please.” Leaning in she whispered, “Stuart is out of bounds. Let karma deal with it.”

Her dad looked at her incredulously and then guffawed. “Karma! Shit.” He left shaking his head.

Yeah. That’s what she’d told her dad alright. Then she proceeded to break Stuart’s nose herself. Guess the thing about apples not falling far from trees isn’t just horse honky. She didn’t feel a bit of remorse about it. The fucker’s nose was in need of rearranging and she was glad she’d been the one to do it.

 

She was thus replaying the events in her head when the oddest thing occurred. She’d been staring at the TV that had been the source of her inspiration, and maybe salvation, while her mind had been elsewhere. Then she felt something unusual. It wasn’t sorrow or despair or grief. It wasn’t any of the emotions that usually hang with broken heartedness. It was excitement, sort of a tingly rush at the thought of pulling up stakes, leaving everything and everyone she knew behind. A transformation. The true essence of total “make over”.

She was throwing caution to the wind. Hell. She wasn’t even going to give reasonable notice at work. She knew they had two people prepped and groomed to step in if necessary. So it wasn’t like it would be a serious hardship on anyone. If it ruined her future career? She shrugged at the thought not being able to imagine caring about it anymore.

She took a moment to examine the flutter of anticipation in her tummy and concluded that she liked the adventurous Lana. The one who would leave everything familiar and embark on a whole new life at the drop of a hat.

Quit the job. Sell the house. Give everything away that won’t fit on a boat and move so far out of her comfort zone she might not even be able to remember her own resume.

She chuckled at the thought that it was like putting herself in a witness protection program. Well, not really. She knew that when she got where she was going and decided what she was doing that she would let her family know where she was. And Dizzy, who wouldn’t hesitate to deliver a lecture and say she’d tumbled off the rack. In her fantasy, Lana imagined her reply. “You were hounding me to get out. So I got out. Far out.”

The prospect was delightful from every conceivable angle. Damn. She wondered if there was even a remote chance that Stuey had done her a favor. She hated to admit it, but Stuey was just metrosexual enough that she didn’t have a hard time picturing him in a dress with many layers of tulle in the skirt, holding a star tipped wand. Bing. There you go, little lady. A whole new life to replace the one you thought you had, but didn’t.

Looking around she said, “I’ve got to get this cleaned up. You go up for sale tomorrow morning.” The walls didn’t reply, which made her like them all the more. She decided that talking to herself felt good and could become a habit with little effort. Maybe, once she was moved and settled in, she’d get a cat. She’d be that strange young woman from Texas who lived on a boat with a cat and talked to herself.

Such was her train of thought as she went about picking up Coke cans, tissues and other debris, preparing to face an upheaval that the old Lana would never have considered in a hundred years. In a couple of hours she had the place looking like a little bit of yuppie chic heaven. She heated up a frozen dinner in the microwave and ate in front of the computer. It didn’t take long to decide where she’d start looking for a new home.

Constitution Marina, Boston.

 

When A Series Became A Serial Saga… Reply

NOTE: THIS WAS RELEASE NEWS ON THE ARE CAFE FOR A SUMMONER’S TALE.

Please welcome romance author Victoria Danann to the Cafe!

I fell in love with paranormal romance after reading Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other. I’d been a fan of paranormal for most of my life and had read everything by Anne Rice and Stephen King, among others, but found that adding the element of romance is like putting the ice cream in the cone. I began to see that I could write romance using paranormal elements to mold male characters into the stuff of fantasy – what men should be.

I spent two years reading every PNR that had enjoyed any success at all so that I would know what had already been done. Armed with that information, I set out to write a series unlike anything that had been done before. All went well. The first book flowed almost like it was being channeled. I took care with the world building and the finished result was lengthy (475 pages), but I was satisfied that it fulfilled my vision and perhaps exceeded it.

The book, My Familiar Stranger, was so well-received that I’m still humming with the vibration. It was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by the Reviewers’ Choice Awards and has broken all kinds of records for the first work of an unknown author.

This note, however, is about what happened when it was time to begin Book Two. Put simply, I had fallen in love with the characters from the first book and wasn’t ready to let them go. There was more story to tell. I knew from feedback that readers felt the same way. So Book Two, The Witch’s Dream, picked up where Book One ended.

I knew that creating a series that is also a serial saga was going to be a lot more trouble than a collection of books that are loosely related, but I decided it was going to be worth the risk. The third installment, A Summoner’s Tale, was just released. If you have not read any of the books, it will be a real treat for you to read the story as it was meant to be told, from Book One through Three without interruption.

http://www.arecafe.com/cafe-news/victoria-danann-when-a-series-becomes-a-saga/

 

NEW! Goodreads Group for fans of the Black Swan series. Reply

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Michelle in Scotland has started a Black Swan Group on Goodreads for fans of the series. If you don’t have a Goodreads account, it’s easy to sign up, friend me and join the group.- Victoria

You’re invited to join the group and join in for discussion, questions, and chat.  CLICK ON THIS LINK.

Every person who joins can request a free advance e-copy of A Summoner’s Tale: the vampire’s confessor. After you join the group, return here and leave a reply on this post with (1.) your Goodreads name (2.) whether you would like to receive a Kindle file or an epub file (3.) whether you have read the first two books in the series.

Twice Cursed FEATURE & GIVEAWAY 3

twicecursed

TWICE CURSED

CURSED BY BLOOD SAGA BOOK TWO

MARIANNE MOREA

Genre: URBAN FANTASY

Publisher: COVENTRY PRESS LTD.

ISBN: 0988439603

ASIN: B009RYG86U

Number of pages: 310

Word Count: 111,000

Amazon          Smashwords

Book Description:

Psychic, Lily Saburi is no stranger to the supernatural. Tough as nails, she’s a hunter in her own right, a once self-proclaimed vigilante that has joined forces with the man she once sought to kill, and now can’t live without. Sexy, Sean Leighton, Alpha of the Brethren of Weres. Their passion surpassed every obstacle set in front of them, yet in the wake of a mysterious virus threatening everyone they love, they are embroiled in an unforgiving scheme of political double dealing, hidden agendas and assassination, with Lily and Sean as primary targets. To stay together, they are forced apart. But treachery follows hard on Lily’s heels when she returns home, to find New York City bathed in a series of bloodbaths. Baffled, the police have no leads, so they call in their last line of defense to work the case. Lily.

Thrown together with homicide detective, Ryan Martinez, dangerous sparks fly as the two uncover the undead truth behind the killings. Long hidden secrets are revealed, as are truths too unbelievable to accept when Lily is kidnapped and Sean and Ryan have to work together to find her.  Revenge and the struggle for power all play a part in this urban fantasy suspense, taking you from the rocky coast of Maine to the heart of New York City, the NYPD and the vampire underground, where Weres and Vampires are forced to work together to solve the mystery of what’s tearing their veiled world apart from the inside out.

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY: 2 US prize packs with signed copies of Hunter’s Blood and Twice Cursed along with the water bottle and tote bag AND 3 international prize packs featuring both ebooks with Kindlegraph signatures

marianne moreaMarianne Morea is a New Yorker, born and bred, and for the most part her stories and characters embody the grit and complexity of the city. An avid traveler, she uses her experiences from around the world in all her books. There isn’t a place her characters live or travel that she haven’t been herself, and through her words, tries to transport my readers. Like most authors, her love affair with the written word started as a child with the books she read. Even today, she loves to read almost as much as she loves to write. Marianne’s favorite stories are the ones that transport her, that bring her to places and introduces her to characters that leave readers breathless…the ones that spark the fire of her imagination, allowing her to dream in the world of ‘what if?’ She’s always been a scribbler, and from the time she could write her name, Marianne has been making up stories. So it was no surprise to family and friends when she earned degrees in both Journalism and Fine Art, but after working in the trenches of Madison Avenue as a Graphic Artist, she decided to do what she loves most fulltime. Write.

Her dark paranormal romance, Blood Legacy, is the first book in her Legacy Series, and takes you from New York City to the Costa del la Luz in Spain, to foggy London and the romance of Rome. The story also takes you back in time 300 years to a place rife with conflict and brutality, bringing an historical edge to my vampires, their lives, a love that spanned the centuries and the search for absolution and redemption that carries death in its wake. Hunter’s Blood and Twice Cursed are books one and two in Marianne Morea’s contemporary shifter series, Cursed by Blood. The story is set on the east coast of the U.S., taking you from the rocky coast of Maine to the heart of New York City, the NYPD and the vampire underground. Revenge and the struggle for power all play a part in this urban fantasy suspense, where Weres and Vampires are forced to work together to solve the mystery of what’s tearing their veiled world apart from the inside out.

In the meantime Marianne is also a founding member as well as a former President of The Paranormal Romance Guild, a not-for-profit organization for readers and authors of the genre. She’s now a PRG Board Member and Co-Chair of the PRG Event/Marketing Team. She is still writing, and when not sitting ‘bichok’ (butt in a chair hands on keyboard), she’s spending time with her husband and three kids, traveling to exciting, romantic places …for inspiration, of course! Who says dreams can’t come true?

http://www.mariannemorea.com

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16092311-twice-cursed

http://www.mariannemorea.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mariannemoreaauthor

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cursed-by-Blood-Series-by-Marianne-Morea/120410728010356

A Summoner’s Tale RELEASE Tour Schedule is Winding Down 11

A SUMMONERS TALE Blog Button

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1.) OPTION: Leave a blog post comment here saying why you’d like to win for 5 points. 2.) OPTION: Leave a new review of My Familiar Stranger, The Witch’s Dream, or A Summoner’s Tale on Amazon for an additional 10 points each.

Then go to the Rafflecopter giveaway and leave your email or FB contact.

watch BOOK TRAILER

March 16th The Jeep Diva

March 17thhttp://www.coffeeaddictedwriter.com/

March 18thRiverina Romantics

March 21st The Reading Cafe

March 22nd –  Book Monster Reviews / Literal Addiction

Marcy 23rdMad Hatter Reads

Muscles & Mistletoe BLOG HOP Underway !! 32

GIVEAWAY: One Set of Signed Paperback Copies of ORDER OF THE BLACK SWAN, BOOKS ONE and TWO plus a gorgeous BLACK SWAN mousepad. (U.S. only!)

WINNER is Larissa Rodgers. Congratulations. You have ALSO been entered in the GRAND PRIZE raffle.

WHAT’S MY FAVORITE PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL WITH A HOLIDAY IN IT? This does not have to be a holiday book  – just has to have a holiday in it.

Why, that would be My Familiar Stranger, of course. Christmas expressed as Yule because it is an alternate dimension.

My Familiar Stranger can be downloaded for FREE at any of these links:

AMAZON.COM http://www.amazon.com/My-Familiar-Stranger-Paranormal-ebook/dp/B007V8RAKW/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-familiar-stranger-a-paranormal-romance-victoria-danann/1113594093?ean=2940045052818

iTUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-familiar-stranger-paranormal/id576452347?mt=11

SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/153078

HAPPY HOPPING and visit all these blogs participating.

The Witch’s Dream Releases Under the Auspices of the Hallows Spirit Reply

Released October 14th.   Amazon BEST SELLER in Fantasy Romance.

a love letter to Paranormal ROMANCE

In keeping with the season, I’m including an excerpt from the book at the end of this post that described a witchcraft event. (Not to be confused with Wicca. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan, just as all Christians are not Catholic.)
Litha Brandywine is a witch who is employed by The Order of the Black Swan and, when it comes to events of a paranormal nature, she’s the best tracker alive. In the scene cited here, she is performing a rite to locate a missing person.
Though the book has been out for less than a week, several people have commented about the details of the working described. Let me take the opportunity to say that this is a work of fiction. The magick described in the book is based on actual practice, but, according to the very wise policy originally established by the Egyptian Mystery Schools, I would never accurately recreate the details of a spell or method that could hold a potential of harm in the wrong hands; either to the would-be practitioner or others. Enough things are depicted to convey the feeling, but enough details are always scrambled, disguised, and withheld to prevent misuse as a result of the description.
READING THE SERIES IN ORDER HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  MyFamiliar Stranger, BOOK ONE. This series is a true serial in the sense that every book begins where the last ended. BOOK TWO, The Witch’s Dream is a PURE romance and might be seen as the second act in a three act play.

DESCRIPTION: From New York to Ireland to Edinburgh to Siena to the Texas Hill Country to Napa Valley, a secret society, a witch, a demon, a psychic, a berserker, an ex-vampire, modern day knights, heroes, werewolves, elves and fae come together where emotions intersect. The story maps a trail from rages to epiphanies, but, in the end, proves that true love can find you in the strangest places, when you’re least expecting it, even when you’re far, far from home.

He was left behind when Elora Laiken made her choice. Now he’s had it with love, but a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker hopes she can change his mind.

The Witch’s Dreambegins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop in Ireland for a few days and help celebrate a handfasting at the palace in Derry.When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly turns all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give – finesse.

INCLUDES: The first chapter of the third book, The Summoner’s Tale.

Erotic content: 18+ A few steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM.

EXCERPT.
It was Litha’s great honor to have the dragon temporarily in her keeping as he had been recognized as a potent object of power and in service to magick for millennia. The proud Teuton dragon currently served as The Order’s own version of Prometheus, silently holding the world on its shoulders while also protecting its treasure: a precious crystal ball held lovingly in its curved claws. The multifaceted crystal ball picked up every color in the room and reflected it back onto walls and ceiling as rainbow prisms. The effect was a space that was magical as well as magickal.  Litha’s dragon, and she thought of him that way as she was his temporary caretaker, was charged with several tasks and he performed each admirably.
The globe, rendered in shades of green and brown, was perhaps a foot and a half in diameter and hinged very much like one of those liquor cabinet parlor tricks. It would separate at the equator and become two parts of a sphere, one half stationary, one half lid. When opened, it revealed one of Litha’s two most prized treasures, a concave, black glass, scrying plate the same diameter as the globe’s equator. The dragon stand had been built so that, when standing barefoot, the scrying plate was at exactly the same height as Litha’s navel.
She reached out and lovingly ran her hand over the dragon’s head as if he was a living pet. Sometime during the past two thousand years, his eyes had been replaced with black glass. The candle flames and rainbow prism danced together in his eyes making them seem so intelligent and lifelike that it was easy to imagine him as a familiar.
Litha pulled her red robe closer as she paid homage to the Spirits of the Four Winds whom she would be summoning to assist with Locating Magicks. Real witches are risk takers, comes with the territory. Even so, few witches would dare wear red when practicing the magickal arts because the color red possesses powerful attraction properties. That means red can be a shortcut in summoning, but also attracts the bad as well the good. Litha came from a rich history of witch ancestors who tended to act according to a philosophy of “great gambles bring great rewards” and, at some point, it had become part of the family’s genetic legacy. It was partly natural to her and partly logical since Litha knew she was powerful, or practiced, enough to hold a sufficient protection barrier while admitting friendlier Powers of Assistance and accepting their help.
The witch took up a large purple candle and began circling the globe in the center of the room in a clockwise direction. She carefully counted nine revolutions as she sang an old medieval melody with lyrics written and substituted by the witch, herself. Her singing voice was quite pleasant although the quality of performance would have no bearing on outcome. The melody was not more magickal because it was medieval. It was simply a useful hook on which to hang the quatrains she had quickly, but specifically composed for chanting which would be crucial to outcome. She wrote the four-line rhymes in her head while she was bathing and now repeated them in magickal form while she raised energy by stirring the atmosphere into the equivalent of a small whirlwind.
After completing nine circles and chants, Litha used the flame of the purple candle to light a large white candle with three wicks. She then sprinkled a mixture of Dragon’s Blood resin, Solomon’s Seal, white sage, and crystalline salt directly onto the candle’s flames. When the herbs caught fire, she invited into the circle those who could be of service whether spirits, guides, or elementals with the caveat that they were welcome so long as they wished her well and would not prove to be a lot of trouble later on.
When she was satisfied that conditions were optimum, she opened the globe. She always felt a rush of satisfaction upon viewing the gleaming surface with alphabetical, numerical, alchemical, and Theban script symbols etched on its surface in circular patterns. Taking hold of the pendant necklace that she always wore, she pulled downward to remove the outer cover which was a crystal with planed edges forming a heptagon. No one would guess that the crystal was a cover disguising a pendulum of black opal, perfectly weighted for scrying, encased in a Celtic knot filigree of white gold matching the necklace chain.
The pointed stone was the rarest black opal, alive with deep red flecks called “fire” by jewelers. Litha’s pendulum had been hand crafted for her by the monks of Cairdeas Deo and given to her on her sixteenth birthday. Or, rather, the day that had been arbitrarily established as the day they would celebrate her birth.
That birthday was a milestone because it was the day she had been given the freedom to legally drive by herself. In the process of celebrating by doing exactly that she came across a scene that would forever be etched in her heart: a pink Italianate villa sitting high above the Sonoma Coast with vineyards terracing toward the sea, neighboring hills covered with flowering yellow mustard so that it looked like something from a fantasy. She had pulled the car over, taken a mental snapshot, and knew that someday she would drive through the gate and it would be hers.
She ran her finger over the pointed end just to reestablish the connection – which was never really broken.
When she held the pendulum over the glass, it immediately dropped into place and stilled, awaiting instructions from its mistress. She began to trace Katrina’s name, one letter at a time, while picturing Katrina – replaying the snapshot moments of their brief time together – and “hearing” the sound of her voice. Then she began to add details about Katrina’s current situation and state of mind that were gained from Aelsong’s visions.
By the time she reached the “i”, the pendulum was moving on its own to complete the specification ritual. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see candle flames dance and flicker as if a draft had blown through the room. For Litha spontaneous movement of air was a more or less commonplace occurrence, at least when she was scrying. If others preferred to think of the phenomenon as invisible, or discarnate entities, it made no difference to her.
She closed the globe and moved so that she was facing Scotia, then held the pendulum above it simply saying, “Where?”
The pendulum did not move. Which was a first. Frowning, Litha repeated her command a little more firmly, “Where?”
No response.
She lowered the pendulum, took it in her hand, and rolled it around in her palm a few times while deliberately focusing on an image of Katrina.
Again, she held the pendulum above the globe. “Where?”
No response.
Remembering that Aelsong said Katrina was no longer in the same reality, she decided to alter the question. She held the pendulum above the globe and asked, “Near where?”
Almost instantly it began to pull toward the east like it was magnetized. Allowing enough slack so that it could go where it wanted, Litha allowed the point to slide over the map of Europe. Across France. Past Genoa. It came to rest just south of Florence. Siena.
Got it.”
Hope you enjoy this book and have a wonderful
Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowstide, Hallowmas, the Great Sabbat, the Feast of the Dead, or Witches’ New Year. For Witches who practice one of the branches of magick based in Celtic heritage, it is called Samhain. Pronounced like sau’-wan.
(The image is one my illustrations. It first appeared in Seasons of the Witch in 2011.)
My Best,

The Witch’s Dream BOOK TRAILER 21

In some ways this book trailer will be sweeter AFTER you read the book.  Click the post title to enlarge the video for viewing.

My very, very special thanks to Derik Nelson, the genius behind the gorgeous voice, spellbinding acoustic guitar, and brilliant arrangement of “Never Gonna Give You Up” which is an integral part of the story.

I have this music on every single jog playlist on my iPhone. I listen to it every day and always hear something I didn’t hear before. Derik – you’re the best.

Week 13: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP 4

Week 13: The Next Big Thing   – September 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing . . . we all like to think we will be.  I suppose there can only be so many Twilight’s in a lifetime, but you never know . . . right?
We are blog hopping our way through some new reads.  For those who aren’t familiar with a blog hop . . . to me it’s kind of like a treasure hunt – once you find something on one blog you hop on over to the next blog link for more treasure.  In this case, the treasure is a wealth of new and exciting books.  Some are still being written, some are just being released.  Either way, for fiction lovers . . . it’s a treasure and I’d like to thank Bridgette O’Hare for tagging me to participate. (Click the link to read Bridgette’s Big Thing Entry.)
In this particular hop I answer 10 questions . . . you get to learn about my current WIP (work in progress), some of the characters I’ve come to think of as real, and how I got to the point of being nuts enough to write down over 70 thousand words worth of what the voices in my head have been whispering to me.  When it’s all said & done . . . comments and questions are always welcome.

What is the working title of your book?

The Summoner’s Tale, The Order of the Black Swan, Book Three

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Although the series is not a trilogy, the first three books have formed their own story arc so in many ways this book is like the third act in a three act play. There are two simultaneously running plots. One is the story of one of the major characters: a six-hundred-year-old former vampire, named Istvan Baka, who has amassed a fan base among Black Swan readers. The other will be a surprise.

What genre does your book fall under?

Adult Paranormal ROMANCE, Adult Paranormal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Chick Lit, Vampire Romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

It sort of surprises me that I have an answer for this one, but, I would definitely tap Hayden Christensen to play Baka. Directors don’t always manage to get performances out of him, but I saw him in “Life As A House” when he was still a teen and know he has enough heart to give me Baka’s angst.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I could not despise this question more. Ex-vampire tortured by six hundred years of misdeeds seeks happily ever after. See why I hate that question? Synopsizing always makes my work sound juvenile and stupid or both. AND IT’S NOT! I SWEAR!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

At this point I’m comfortable an indie, in the sense that I own the publishing company that publishes my books. I love the complete freedom that goes with deciding what I write, when, how, where, and what length the finished product will be. Editing would be a nightmare for me and I don’t want to have to go six rounds with somebody over a paragraph. I’m old enough to know better than to say never, but it seems less likely with every day that passes. Now, if we can just overcome the built-in industry prejudice toward Indies…

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two months, but that is after the first two steps of my outline process are finished and those take a year if you count the simmering in the depths of my subconscious mind.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I couldn’t be more pleased to say that is an impossible question by design. Before I started writing, I spent a full two years reading every PNR that had enjoyed any success at all so that I had a thorough understanding of what had already been done. That way I could be assured I wasn’t copying or being formulaic. People are always trying to find similarites. “Well, it’s a little like Black Dagger, but, then, as soon as you get into it you realize it’s not.” One of my favorite reviews says, “She explodes stereotypes.”

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Kresley Cole. About three years ago I read A Hunger Like No Other and fell in love with PNR.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Book One, My Familiar Stranger, and Book Two, The Witch’s Dream. Like Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, these must be read in order. I logged over 100 reviews on Amazon (74 five star and most of the four stars read like five) as an unknown author, first book, and an Indie at that within four months of release. That’s pretty much unheard of. Whether they liked it or didn’t, lots of readers were moved to talk about it.

Tagged for next week – you’re it!

Lindsey Parsons http://lindseyjparsons.wordpress.com/
William MacMillan Jones http://willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com/
Joss Landry http://josslandry.com/category/wednesday-book-reviews-other-news/
Trish Marie Dawson http://writertrishmdawson.wordpress.com/
Allison M. Cosgrove http://www.stanbrookshire.comstanbrookshire.com

Excerpt from The Witch’s Dream 2

If you read a copy of My Familiar Stranger in the past three weeks, you may have this excerpt at the end of your book.

She could see from records that Storm had been in trouble at school from the first day of first grade. Like a lot of the knights, he was too smart to be suited for the public school curriculum and the system isn’t set up to cater to individuals. Also, most adults have a really hard time liking children who are smarter than they are.

He seemed to have been born knowing things, like math for instance. His mind would grab on to a concept on first presentation and then, while his classmates struggled, he would be looking around for something to do. That something usually ended up being disruption.

Storm was loved by his parents, but school faculty was another story. He had a reputation with the teachers for instigating pandemonium in the classroom. He was the triple threat: smart, bored, and a natural leader. It wasn’t that he was a class clown, nothing so obvious or exaggerated. He just quietly went about doing whatever the hell he pleased and ignoring objections. In short, no one in his life to that point had given him adequate reason to believe that anarchy was not the best policy.

Peers wanted to be like him. If that wasn’t possible, they would settle for doing whatever he was doing. So Storm’s experience of the public school system was time spent in the hallway, the principal’s office, or in trouble at home with his parents agonizing over what to do.

At one point they thought sports might be the answer. He had an extra helping of athletic talent and one of those bodies that would have said yes to any physical demand. Unfortunately he never saw the point. To him sports represented an endless, mindless, repetition with some arbitrarily established goal that made no sense when he broke it down and it turned out to be… well, boring. Put it all together and he was a public school educator’s nightmare. He was also a textbook ideal candidate for Black Swan.

One day he was sent to the Vice Principal’s office under protest claiming that, for once, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He sat down in his usual chair to wait for the usual carpet ride, but, instead, the door opened to reveal too many people crowded into a smallish room. That included the V.P., Storm’s parents and a tall, serious-looking guy with a piercing gaze and an unmistakable air of authority. Storm sat up straight and had only one thought. Uh oh.

The stranger wore slacks, highly polished loafers, and a sports coat.  He guessed the man was old, thirty-five maybe, but he looked hard all over like one of those athletes who can’t repeat enough Iron Man triathlons to please themselves.

Engel Storm’s father worked for the Randolph Moldavni vineyards as head winemaker. The work was personally fulfilling and he wasn’t chained to a desk in a cubicle, but it didn’t cut a path to either greatness or riches. His mother worked part time as library receptionist at the local branch of the University of California. Between the two they made enough to take care of three kids in solid middle class fashion. They could eat steak, but not every day. They had good health insurance with the vineyard. They could take a summer vacation if they drove and stayed in motels. It was an upbringing no child should complain about, but most do anyhow.

Storm’s background hadn’t afforded an education on the finer points of better men’s’ clothing, but even to an untrained eye there was a vague sense that the stranger’s style was expensive.

“Have a seat, son.” Vice Principal Rodgers motioned to an ugly metal chair with green leatherette seat and back. Storm noticed that there was a small tear in the seat that showed a little white stuffing. His mind was racing, partially occupied with the fact that Rodgers had called him “son”. He decided that meant he was in even bigger trouble than he thought, but, on the other hand, his parents looked serious, but not mad. The tall guy leaned against an old book case and looked really, really out of place against the backdrop of venetian blinds that were partly bent and a room that needed repainting.

Mr. Rodgers, better known to the student body as “Tums” as it was said his tummy entered a room five minutes before the rest of him, sat down with a plop that forced air out of the vinyl cushion seat. Another boy his age might have had to suppress a snicker, but Storm sometimes seemed more like an adult than a kid.

When the wheezing subsided, Tums said, “Engel, this is Mr. Nemamiah.” Storm looked up into flinty blue eyes that didn’t blink or apologize for staring. After a couple of seconds he wanted to look away, but pride wouldn’t let him. So he raised his chin just a hair and determined he wouldn’t give in first. Mr. Nemamiah’s expression didn’t change at all, but Storm thought he saw a little light flicker in those steely eyes. Nemamiah let him off the hook and looked away first.

 Tums continued. “It seems he’s taken an interest in you and your education.”

Storm was starting to panic. Not military school. Please. Please. Please don’t let it be military school. It was then he started calculating how long it would take him to be up, out the door, and hitchhiking on I80.

“It’s been noticed that your test scores are extraordinary. To say the least.”

Wow. That wasn’t what Storm had expected to hear next.

“Mr. Nemamiah is in a position to arrange a scholarship to a private school that develops talent such as yours for possible future work with a quasigovernmental agency. He asked that I make this introduction so that you would know that he and his organization are legitimate.”

“Develops talent? What does that mean?” Storm demanded. He directed the question to Tums, but Nememiah interjected answering in a gravelly voice.

“It means specialized training. Highly specialized.”

Storm stared at Nememiah for a couple of breaths and then barked out a laugh intended to imply rebellion, irreverence, and a healthy dose of cynicism. “Spy school? You want me for spy school?” He laughed with his whole body as only boys can – for a few seconds. Then, in the time it took to draw another breath, Storm raked a gaze up and down the older man sizing him up, reasoned through the bizarre nature of the offer and decided that first, it would not be boring and, second, it might be cool. “Okay. Sign me up.”

Mr. Nemamiah almost gave in to the temptation to smile. While such behavior might be seen as rash, impulsive, or even schizophrenic in the mundane world, the ability to quickly sort through an equation and make hard decisions on the fly was one of the traits his organization prized. Neither parent was particularly surprised. With Storm they knew the one thing they could count on was unpredictability.  

Nemamiah talked directly to Storm as if to say from now on this is between you and me. “Clean out your locker and say your goodbyes to your friends. Let them think you are going to military school. I’ll be by your house tomorrow morning at 10:00 o’clock. You and your parents will have an opportunity to ask questions. You may consider it an interview if you wish. If, at that time, you are satisfied with my answers, we will leave together. You may pack some personal things into two duffel bags, but that is optional. Everything you need will be provided for you from now on. You’re going to receive a first-class education, the kind money cannot buy, from people who will be honored to teach you.”

Storm blinked and his brows came together to form perfectionist lines that would be permanently etched into his face by the time he was twenty five. People who would be honored to teach him?

Mr. Rodgers cleared his throat. “Well,” he stood and held out his hand to Storm’s father to shake. “Thank you for coming.” He nodded to Mrs. Storm. “Give us a call tomorrow and let us know what you decide.”

Everyone in the room knew Tums would feel like he’d won the lottery if the troublemaker kid was on the way to being somebody else’s problem.

Storm’s parents waited in the car while he cleaned out his locker. In the few minutes that took, he had already made a list of questions. He couldn’t keep himself from peeking into the classroom where he would normally be looking for something to occupy his restless mind and body. When the other kids looked up and saw him at the door, he gave them a goofy smile and a wave, just so they’d know he hadn’t been led away crying or something disgraceful like that. He wanted to leave with his reputation intact.

Prune Face Blackmon followed the eyes of her students to the classroom door which stood open to the hallway. “Mr. Storm. Do you have someplace you need to be?”

He didn’t want to give her the finger. He really, really, really didn’t want to give her the finger. But he gave her the finger and trotted away grinning at the uproar of laughter from the poor douches who were going to be stuck in that hell hole the rest of the hour. “Not a bad exit,” he thought to himself. “Points shaved for lack of planning, but…”

He didn’t know where he was going or what he was going to do. But he would have felt really good about the whole thing if he had known that Sol Nemamiah would have laughed, on the inside, had he witnessed the teacher receiving a prime example of bird as a parting shot. What you want at your back if you’re heading into a nest of unknown fuck all is not a man who was afraid of a little authority as a kid. That guy will just as likely freeze and shit his pants or vice versa.

Sol’s philosophy, had he ever been asked, would have been something like, “Give me a kid with a proud third finger and I’ll give you back a vampire slayer.”

The Storm family stopped at McDonalds drive-through on the way home, then settled down at the Formica top kitchen table with a yellow, legal pad and the goal of making a comprehensive list of ask-now-or-hold-your-peace questions.

What was the scope of this “first class education that money cannot buy”?

Did it include geometry, foreign language, literature, biology?

Would he be receiving a diploma?

Would it be accepted by desirable institutions of higher learning?

Where would he be going?

Could he leave if he didn’t like it?

Would he be able to call home whenever he wanted?

Could he visit them?

Could they visit him?

Would he have a room of his own?

Would he get spending money?

Would he have an opportunity to spend spending money?

Would he be signing up to get an education or pledging himself to pay off the investment in service to a job that wasn’t his choice?

Would he have an opportunity to interact socially with others his own age?

And, did they know it wasn’t all mind-blowing test scores and high I.Q.; that he had been in trouble at school pretty much nonstop since first grade?

By the time his two siblings got home from school, Storm and his parents were agreed on which questions were deal breakers.

He and his dad pulled down two duffels they kept in the attic for camping. After packing everything he wanted to take, he hadn’t even completely filled one. That realization gave him pause, but not as much as the fact that he didn’t have any friends worth lying to about where he was going.

He didn’t sleep that night. At all. He didn’t know whether he should be excited or apprehensive. So far the information he had was cryptic at best. What he did know is that it was an adventure come knocking at his door and that this kind of thing didn’t happen every day. In fact, he’d never heard of it happening to anybody. Ever. The idea of a school that wanted him was so outrageous it made him smile to himself in the dark.

The next morning Storm said goodbye to his older brother and younger sister when they left for school, then sat down at the kitchen table with his parents to wait. His duffel was by the front door just in case. At precisely ten o’clock the doorbell rang. 

Nemamiah was invited in. He graciously accepted coffee and the four of them sat down in the modest living room for a question and answer discussion about the future of a very special boy. After all their questions had been answered, to everyone’s satisfaction, Mr. Nemamiah clicked open an old-fashioned, battered, brown, leather briefcase and withdrew a contract. 

Storm’s dad put on his reading glasses. Every one of the questions they had asked was covered in the contract already. It spelled out what they would do for Engel Storm. It spelled out that the initial choice of facility would be theirs, but that he might be transferred at any time at the discretion of Saint Black’s which was the parents’ code name for the organization. Storm and his parents agreed not to say anything other than that he was awarded a scholarship to a private school. When Mr. Storm was finished reading, he handed the contract to his wife and asked Mr. Nemamiah to excuse him and his son. He took Storm into the back room, closed the door, and gestured for him to sit on the bed.

“Your mother and I want to do the right thing, the best thing, for you. If you decide to accept this offer, we want to be sure that you’re doing it for you and not for… any other reason. We love you enough to let you go if you’re inclined to think this is the best thing, but we want you to stay if it’s not. Do you understand?” Storm nodded and tried to swallow back the lump in his throat. That was the longest speech his father had ever made, that he knew of, and he heard the love in it loud and clear. “Alright. You know what you want to do?” Storm nodded again.

So Storm and his parents signed the contract. He gave his mother a big hug and tried not to notice how hard she was working to keep the moisture in her eyes from spilling over. He was already two inches taller and could look down on her when she wasn’t wearing heels. He was more trouble than the other two put together… more trouble to the third power. Even so, although she would never admit it even to herself, he was her favorite.

He stowed the half filled duffel in the trunk of Nemamiah’s understated black sedan and waved to his parents who were standing in the front yard watching him drive away. He had just turned fourteen.

They drove south toward San Francisco. Nemamiah wasn’t big on small talk, but he told Storm he was welcome to listen to whatever radio station he liked. He then rolled the driver’s side window part way down and lit a little, thin, black cigar.

They kept driving until they reached the naval base at Treasure Island. They were headed for the compound in the middle surrounded by a twenty foot wall. They passed three checkpoints where guards recognized Nemamiah and waved him through. As they passed a gorgeous old, graceful mansion with lawns and tennis courts, Nemamiah said it had once been an Admiral’s home, but that it was being used for the school now, that Storm would eat and enjoy leisure time there.

They parked next to a brick building, opened the door with a key card, and entered a long dormitory-style hallway. Each door had a name plate. When they stopped mid way to the end, Storm looked at the door. The name plate said Engel Storm.

He reached up to run his fingers over the lettering. “Wow. You must have been pretty sure I’d come.”

Nemamiah didn’t smile, but his eyes did soften just a touch. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, Mr. Storm. We know what we’re looking for.” He turned the knob and swung the door open. “And you’re it.”