Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gift Warped for Christmas

I’m warped and twisted. I know that. I come by it honestly though. My mom used my brother and I for her own personal amusement when we were kids. For Christmas, she'd buy us toys like rubber band guns, puff ball shooters, belly whoppers and socker boppers, making us gladiators in our own living room coliseum. Then she'd let us go at it, while she laughed her butt off, and so did we. We never got hurt (except for that one time my socker bopper deflated, and I took my brother out with a right cross, but that's another story), and we loved playing tricks on each other.




One morning, my mother and brother mounted a puff ball shooter sneak attack while I was still sleeping. The puff ball shooters were large, plastic straws loaded with a puff ball that you blew at your enemies. Fairly mild compared to our usual weapons. Of course, I had mine loaded and ready. In my dazed, sleepy state, I grabbed my shooter and blew for all I was worth, hoping to hit them as they made their cowardly retreat. What I didn't know, was that my brother had filled my shooter with toilet paper, effectively plugging it up. I blew so hard that, with no where else to go, the air actually came out of my tear ducts and dried out my eyes with the added bonus of popping my ears, which I didn't even know were plugged. They laughed hysterically. But revenge is sweet, and they had to sleep with one eye open for awhile.

I love those crazy memories. I'm glad my mom was twisted. Twisted moms are more fun. I hope to pass that spirit on to my children. In all of the holiday insanity, don't forget to have fun! Get some socker boppers! I guarantee you'll get more action than a gaming console.

May you and your family have the Merriest Christmas and a Happiest of New Years!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Release! Where Will You Turn?

YES! It’s finally here! Where Will You Turn? Book Three of the Díon Series is now live on Amazon and Nook. Thank you all for being so patient. I’m really excited about this book. I don’t normally say that about my writing, but I'm really happy with the way this book turned out. I thought this was going to be the last book in the series, but now I’m not so sure. Plus, my editor threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t write books for Bohdan and Pierce. She said “Please, please, please!” That’s three pleases! How can I say no?

This series will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first one I started writing. The characters seem like family to me, and I’m not sure I can leave them just yet.

To the fans of this series: You are amazing! Your comments and encouragement mean the world to me. It makes me smile and keeps me focused. Thank you for all your Facebook shares and tweets! Muah! XOXOXO

The first book in the series, Where Will You Run? is on sale for 99 cents through the month of December!




Get your copy here!


Friday, November 29, 2013

New Release - Close Call: A Doris & Jemma Vadgeventure

I've been able to read some excerpts from this new book, Close Call: A Doris and Jemma Vadgeventure, by Australian author Eloise March (AKA - Dionne Lister). From what I've read so far, this book is hysterical. What if our genitals could talk? What would they have to say about our sexual encounters? Check it out! Heehee...



Blurb:

Twenty-two year-old Jemma can’t seem to get her life in order. Her track record with men stinks, she constantly worries about getting fat and ending up a spinster at thirty. And to top it off, she has to be a bridesmaid at her most-hated cousin’s wedding. She feels like her life is over, until Doris decides to help out. Who’s Doris? Doris is Jemma’s vagina, and she thinks more of Jemma than her own brain does. Doris is on a mission to save Jemma from herself, but is the task too much for one vagina to handle?


About the author:

Eloise March is a woman who laughs at her own jokes, swears way too much and breaks any new diet by lunchtime on the day she starts. She believes in women’s equality, and all equality for that matter, and hopes the things she writes touch people in a positive way, and make them think about how they can create a better society for themselves and others.

In her spare time, she enjoys living as her alter ego, Dionne Lister — a suspense and YA fantasy author who is way too embarrassed to talk about vaginas. She likes spending time as Dionne because Dionne has an awesome family, wonderful friends and a cat called Lily, oh, and she has great hair. (She really does have great hair).

If you’re looking for Eloise, or any information about future books in the Doris & Jemma Vadgeventure series, you can visit Dionne’s website, where Eloise has been lucky enough to get her own page http://www.dionnelisterwriter.com. If you’re looking for a chat, you can find Ms. March on Twitter.

Links to the book: 

Waiting for it to be approved for premium and distribution to itunes, kobo, B & N. The paperback should be available in less than a week. I’m just waiting for the proof copy. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ask An Author Event 11/29-12/1/13

For those of you not brave enough (translation: crazy enough) to go out on black Friday, I have a fun alternative for you. This weekend, Book Junkie Reviews and the Genre Underground are hosting an Ask an Author event on Facebook. The schedule is listed on the event page here. Keep in mind all times are EST. Join in the event and get your questions ready!



On Friday, the Genre Underground will be hosting their “Read In The Dark” event on the same Facebook page. Yours truly will be available to answer questions from 5-6pm on Friday (that's 2-3pm here on the west coast). Tons of authors from different genres will be there all weekend, so check it out! Hope to see you there!

For more information about the writers in the Ask an Author event, check out the Book Junkie Review’s blog here. For more information about the #ReadInTheDark event, the Genre Underground’s event page is here, and don't forget to enter to win the ebook prizes they're offering! 



Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's on my Kindle? Charity Parkerson

Next up on my Kindle blog series for authors with multiple books is Charity Parkerson. Now Charity is no stranger to my blog. Not only is she a fabulous author, she’s also a good friend. Ever been in that awkward spot where you make friends with another author and don’t like his/her books? I have. Not good. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with Charity. I love her books. They are full of romance and humor. Plus she’s my hero for the amount of work she puts out. She makes me feel like a slug! LOL

I went to her Amazon page and was surprised to see how many of her books I’ve read. Now you guys know I’m a pansy when it comes to erotica, so I haven’t read hers. But I absolutely love her other romance books. She has contemporary as well as paranormal love stories. They’re still meant for an adult audience though. I can’t fit all the books I’ve read by Charity in one blog, so here are just a few:


Sinners Series

I read this paranormal series first and fell in love. Charity skillfully crafted an amazing world with a variety of paranormal beings who find refuge, love, and action in Jackson Station, a place where they can live together without interference from the outside world. Or at least, that’s the plan…




“Evil lives in the dark. We instinctively know this as children.” Nestled high in the mountains . . . The quiet community of Jackson Station is where everyone knows your name and . . . species?

Vampires have existed since almost the beginning of time, but not in the way we have been led to believe. These were not men cursed by the devil, but warriors blessed by God to have great strength, agility, and eternal life. Eternal life came at a price, the price of human blood. Some chose to live within their own society: The Society of Sinners.




Adriana Claymore moved to Martinique to start a new life, but when she stumbles upon an ancient book, she finds herself drawn into a centuries old battle between brothers.

“Sorcier” Julien Dubois has been on the hunt for his twin, Jacques, ever since the day that Jacques stole a book of spells from him and allowed their younger brother to die.

Adriana is about to change the game, but when she gives her heart and soul to one of the brothers, she must face a difficult question. Did she lose herself to evil?




The Society of Sinners and the Safe Haven Corporation team up in Parkerson’s third installment of the Sinners Series in order to locate and capture the head of Research Inc., Tacha Vasiliev. Tacha is accused of using her company as a cover for development of a weapon of mass destruction, the ultimate vampire.

Caleb Cook, aka Danger, is sent to infiltrate the home of Sr. V.P. Narmer Horus in hopes of uncovering clues to Tacha’s whereabouts. Disguised as head of security, Danger finds his biggest challenge isn’t Narmer himself, but his headstrong daughter, Kim. However, just as Danger is not what he appears to be, neither is Kim.

(Haven’t read this one yet. Can’t wait though!)



The fates conspired to keep them apart, but destiny will bring them together again… When one of their own becomes the target of a demon bent on revenge, the Society will do anything to keep her safe, including stealing a God from the Heavens, Heru, son of Geb, once sold his soul to forget her, now he’ll give anything to keep her safe.


Great news! You can buy the whole series in a set HERE 


The Sexy Witches Series

I have to admit, this is my favorite series. Charity Parkerson’s wicked sense of humor shines in these books. More lighthearted than the Sinners Series, she carries her paranormal world over with new characters and more romance.  I made the mistake of reading Tasting Temptation in a library and was afraid I was going to get kicked out because I couldn’t stop laughing.



A potion gone wrong, or right? Single, unemployed, and in charge of her very own pet zombie, Ella Perry is cooking up trouble, and it’s raining men.

Ella has spent years searching for a cure for a zombie named Freddie. However, when an experimental concoction takes an unexpected turn, she gets a glimpse of the life she’s been missing by hanging out with the undead.



It is said that the man who controls fate controls the world, but what of the person who controls the man? What is said of them? Rowena the Fate has a problem; a problem of the pirate variety. Following the advice of friends, she’ll seek out the wizard Randall Cruz for help.

As owner of an apothecary, Randall is used to unusual requests, so Rowena’s pirate removal spell doesn’t faze him, but what happens afterwards will leave him in a position he never dreamed possible.




Be careful what you wish for, or better yet, what you allow your friends to wish for.

As Samuel the Dark’s ward, Tam the Pixie is living in the mortal realm under the watchful eye of her guardian angel, Thomas. However, when she gives Thomas on free wish, she never expects that he’ll use it to turn her life upside down.

Chained to the side of an ex-lover and trapped in the Mirror lands, Tam will have to come to terms with their past in order to break the curse.



Guardian Angel, Gideon Black, has found a new career since being granted his freedom from the Heavens. Working as a professional fighter has given Gideon a place to release his powers. However, he has another outlet in mind – Skylar Jones.

For Skylar, Gideon is a fantasy man whom she never dreamed could be a reality, but a parking lot collision will end in a very unexpected way.

Find out what happens when desire beyond definition comes to life.




Introducing the devil…

A Fate lacking inhibitions, and the wizard who holds her powers in his grasp, collide in the latest book in Bestselling Author Charity Parkerson’s “Sexy Witches” series.

Out of the three Fates, Rowena is the wildest. No matter how h ard she tries, she can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Now, she is in the biggest fix of all time. She’s lost one of Heaven’s Seers to the Devil, and she needs Randall’s help in order to find her.

Once upon a time, Rowena pulled Randall Cruz into a supernatural fight in order to regain her powers. In retaliation, Randall cast a spell that gave him the control she seeks. With the exception of a few angels, a zombie, and an outrageous pixie, Randall enjoyed his quiet life as owner of the local apothecary before Rowena pushed her way in. Since the day they met, he’s been forced to battle a pirate, give up wearing glasses, and now deal with the Devil. Every day, he braces for what will come next.

An undeniable attraction, a struggle for dominance, and a love to last through the ages comes to life in The Wizard & The Wanton.

You can also get this series in a set HERE

Charity’s books are also available on Kobo, Barnes and Noble for Nook, and Smashwords.

For more of Charity’s books, check out her author page on Amazon 

Connect with Charity



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's on My Kindle? Kylie Scott

For my Kindle blogs, I usually post a bunch of different books I’ve been reading. I am so far behind with reviews and blogs that I’m going to change it up a little.

As an author, my evil plan is to write books that readers love so much, they come back for more. Lately, I’ve been reading authors who hooked me the same way. I want to do a series of blogs devoted to great authors with multiple books.

The first author I want to share is Kylie Scott. Her book, Lick: Stage Dive 1, was recommended to me by a friend. I got sucked in from the first page! Loved it! I went back to see what else she had to offer and found a zombie series as well.

Here are the books I’ve read so far:

Lick: Stage Dive 1

First cover


Brand spanking new cover!

I like them both :)

Evelyn goes to Vegas to celebrate her 21st birthday with her best friend. She wakes up in the morning with a monster hangover, and a huge diamond ring on her finger. Apparently, she married the hot, half naked, tattooed guy in her room, who just happens to be a famous rock star . . . too bad she’s a country fan and doesn’t know who he is. He thinks they’ve really connected and had a life changing night together, but she doesn’t remember a thing. Love it! This story is packed full of humor, and I totally fell in love with her characters. The sex scenes are incredibly steamy, so it’s definitely for mature audiences. This woman can write, people.

Since I loved Lick so much, I went back to see what else she had written and was happy to see several more books. The ones that caught my eye were Flesh and Skin, two books in a zombie series. Think of them as The Walking Dead: Australia.

Get Lick: Stage Dive 1 at:


Flesh



Flesh is the first book in the series. Ali has been hiding in a friend’s house since the zombie apocalypse, but she’s running out of food. On one of her foraging trips, she runs into Daniel, a former construction worker. Unable to trust anyone in this new world, she tries to get away from him, but he isn’t having any of it. He’s just happy to find another survivor, and a hot female one at that. Sparks begin to fly as they find comfort in one another, but they get careless, and Finn saves their lives. Finn, a cop before the zombies took over, has been shadowing them for awhile and wants to join them. Wow, this book had me fanning myself on several occasions. Ali is one lucky girl, that’s all I’m going to say.

Get Flesh at:


Skin

(I wanna lick this cover)

The second book in the series picks up soon after Flesh ends and follows a minor character from that book, Nick. He’s been watching a group of survivors holed up in a school. Nick has his sights set on Roslyn, so he offers the group a truck load of supplies in exchange for her. She feels betrayed when the majority of the group agrees to the trade and sends her packing. Nick is practical and sees his ability to provide for and protect Roslyn as an even exchange for sexual favors and companionship. Roslyn doesn’t see it that way at all and decides to escape the first chance she gets. This book was just as crazy as the first. It was impossible to put down. I was pleasantly surprised when their paths crossed with Ali, Daniel, and Finn in a shocking, cliff hanger ending that has me dying to read the next one!

Get Skin at:


Kylie Scott is a fabulous writer, and she has several other books available that I’m going to be checking out.

Here’s her info!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where Will You Turn? News and Excerpt

I had planned to publish Where Will You Turn? today, but due to some personal issues with my editor, the book release has been put off a bit. Not only is my editor awesome at what she does, she is an amazing person and a dear friend. For me, family and friends always come first. I would rather take a little extra time and put out the best book I can instead of rushing it. The book will definitely be published in November. I'll keep you all posted when I know more. I appreciate everyone's support and patience.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you the first chapter from Where Will You Turn? Book Three of the Díon Series.



CHAPTER ONE

         
          Mari got up from the dining room table to stretch her legs. She turned around and pulled the curtains back, looking at the lights of Scarborough. She had quickly grown to love the old seaside town and wished the team was there for rest and relaxation.
          It had been a month since they had stumbled upon the last remaining draugr, Reinn Gunnarson. According to the Díon laws, Reinn should have been killed on sight. As fate would have it, he had lost his life saving his nephew, Aran, from a draugr. Instead of entering Valhalla, Reinn awoke to find he had been turned into the monster he had destroyed.
          Aileana was an original member of the Díon council and Raith's sire. She had demanded Reinn's death, but Raith was able to save him using a loophole in their Díon laws that made him responsible for Reinn's actions.
          If Reinn created another draugr, Raith would be forced to kill him and turn himself in to the Díon for punishment and possible death.
          It wasn't a long-term solution, but it bought them some time. Aileana had ordered that Reinn be kept prisoner in his castle "as a precaution." The Díon council had allowed his human lover, Kylee to remain with him. As if the council had a choice.
          Raith's team had remained in Scarborough, but they had not been allowed to contact Reinn. Since all had been quiet, they assumed Reinn was behaving.
          Mari knew Raith's biggest fear was that Aileana would have one of the Díon teams harm Kylee, forcing Reinn to either turn her, or let her die. Either way, the Díon team responsible would be doomed. Reinn would destroy anyone who harmed Kylee.
          Raith and his team had been busy hunting down key players in the human trafficking ring. They were used to going after rogue creatures, who were threatening humans. But this was a highly organized group of vampires, who knew what they were doing and how to cover their tracks.
          They chose homeless people and runaways - humans who might not be missed, herding them up like cattle and selling them to vampires and other blood-drinking, flesh-eating creatures. The lucky ones died right away. Mari's stomach turned when she remembered what Raith had told her about the fate of humans being kept as blood slaves.
          Their investigation of the human trafficking ring had been done with the help and blessing of the Díon council, but their recent run-in with Aileana led Mari to believe that she was somehow involved.
          Raith didn't want to believe it. He'd been fighting for the Díon cause since Aileana had turned him during the Draugr Wars over one thousand years ago. Mari convinced him to at least consider the possibility and to follow the evidence.
          The rest of the team was on edge. Since Mari and Raith had  decided to investigate the Díon itself, they gave the rest of the team the option of leaving, knowing the danger they'd be in. They had all signed on without hesitation.
          "So what now?" Mari asked, turning to stand next to Raith who was sitting at the dining room table with Aran.
          "We keep playing along like good little Díon members until we can figure out what the hell is going on." Raith sighed.
          Raith knew they had to follow wherever the leads may take them, even if the evidence pointed to the Díon council. He also knew Aileana was ruthless. If she was behind the disappearances of the humans for sale as food, she wouldn't hesitate to kill anyone who got in her way. The fact that she had sired Raith would not save him.
          They didn't know how far the conspiracy went in the Díon, but it was unlikely that Aileana could keep that kind of operation a secret from the other council members.
          Raith wanted to be able to talk with other Díon teams, but there were only a handful of people outside of his own team he could trust now. Aileana was very powerful. The fact that she was using those powers to control and use werewolves, was something he had not expected.
          After the Draugr Wars, the werewolves kept out of Díon business. They had a representative on the council, but they policed their own packs. Their representative was always thought to be more of a spy. A way for the packs to keep track of what the "parasites" were doing.
          Raith, Mari, and the rest of the team had been waiting impatiently for their next assignment. They were secretly investigating Aileana, but she wasn't stupid. Eventually she'd catch on to the fact that they suspected her, if she hadn't already. Raith wanted Aileana to make the first move.
          While the team continued to gather evidence, they decided to remain in Scarborough, waiting for any Díon assignments they were given, keeping up the appearance of business as usual.
          Mari ran her fingers through Raith's hair as she looked into the living room and smiled at the dysfunctional group who made up her new family.
          Marco was trying to keep Steve occupied with video games, which meant they'd be buying new controllers again due to Steve's habit of biting whatever pissed him off.
          Bohdan was pacing and throwing his daggers in the air forcing Pierce to take cover in a corner, scowling. When Bohdan was in a bad mood, daggers had a bad habit of flying off course. Ami pretended to read the same magazine for the tenth time.
          "Wraith." Bodhan froze.
          "Yeah," Raith responded.
          "Not you," Bohdan whispered, pointing.
          "What?" Raith followed Bohdan's direction to a spot above Mari's head, where a faceless specter floated menacingly. Mari glanced up as well. Her feet suddenly rooted to the floor.
          "Oh shit." Raith tried to grab Mari but the creature's decaying claw reached her first.
          Mari dropped to the floor feeling a icy blast that froze her very bones. She couldn't see, hear, or feel anything but the cold. Fear started creeping into her brain, as she realized whatever was happening to her was slowly killing her. She could sense the intense rage in the creature that seemed to be draining the life from her. Despair overwhelmed her.

********

          "Don't touch it!" Aran screamed at the other team members as he tackled Raith, who made a move to snatch Mari out from underneath the creature.
          "We can't just sit here!" Bohdan raged.
          "Marco..." Aran started.
          "On it."
          Raith could hear Marco whispering while burning something that made his nose want to close for business, but he had to focus on Mari.
          "Listen to me brother," Aran forced Raith's head around until he had eye contact. "You aren't helping her like this. Marco is working as fast as he can. You have to help her hold on."
          Raith nodded and crawled over to where Mari had fallen. He tried to ignore the cold despair, seeping from the wraith, sucking Mari's life away. He moved in as close as he dared.
          "Mari, listen to me. I need you to hold on. Marco just needs a few minutes. Focus on my voice. Just stay with me, don't give in to the fear and despair. That's what it wants. You have to fight. Fight, Mari!" Raith struggled to keep himself calm. He didn't want to give the creature any more fuel.
          "Marco!" Aran yelled.
          "Done," Marco said, breathing heavily.
          They watched as the wraith appeared to be struggling with something, as it pulled away from Mari and was dragged from the house by some unseen force.
          "Get her some blood!" Raith yelled, as he moved in to scoop up Mari's still body and place her on the dining room table.
          Bohdan ghosted next to him with two bags of blood. Raith tore the top with his teeth and opened Mari's mouth, pouring the thick liquid in.
          "Come on baby, swallow." He continued to pour blood into her mouth and talk to her, while the rest of the team stood by and waited.
          Mari finally snapped awake, swinging her arms in self defense, as if she were still under the effects of the wraith.
          "Shh...baby it's me." Raith crushed her against his chest, and she melted into him.
          "Is it dead?" Mari croaked.
          "It's banished," Raith said. "From here at least."
          "Banished? What was that?" She asked, pulling back, while shaking her head as if to clear it.
          "A wraith," he said quietly, as if saying it louder would bring it back.
          "It's a creature of pure vengeance," Marco added.
          "From what I read, I thought they fed on souls," Mari added, sounding dazed.
          "They do, but they can also feed on energy or emotion," Marco explained.
          "It takes someone very powerful to raise and control a wraith." Bohdan vocalized what, Raith assumed, everyone else was thinking.
          The fact that it had targeted Mari left no doubt who had sent it. Aileana had made her first move. So much for covertly investigating her and the Díon. Game on.

Book one of the series, Where Will You Run?, is still on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Tour: A WITTECK'S DREAM by Mireille Chester


It's always a pleasure to have Mireille Chester on my blog. I've been a fan of hers for some time, and I'm looking forward to her newest release A Witteck's Dream. I'm currently reading The Chosen One Trilogywhich comes before this book. The entire trilogy is currently on sale for only $0.99!


A Witteck's Dream

It's been five years since the Chosen One's war and Hayden's pack has been able to enjoy life once again. Of course, things can never stay calm and they soon find themselves caught up in another epic fight and this time it looks like Ternach might hold the key to winning.

Mortal since losing his powers in the battle of Paradin, Ternach decides to take a trip to Sageden in hopes that Hayden can help him get his magic back. Along the way, he meets Sarah; a woman with a secret and an agenda.

It doesn't take long before sparks are flying and Ternach starts to think that maybe being human has it's perks after all.

When he discovers Sarah's secret he needs to make a decision: Does he stay human so he can stay with Sarah, or does he attempt to become immortal again knowing he has what is needed to win...


EXCERPT

          She looked at him over the fire and frowned.
          “What?” Greg was sure he hadn’t done anything to warrant being glared at.
          She shook her head. “Nothing.”
          “Well, if I’ve done something, let me know. By the moons, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going half the time when it comes to your moods.”
          She looked at the fire. She knew she should try harder to be nicer to him. Since they’d been on their own he’d been nothing but a gentleman. There were even times when she felt comfortable with him. Other times she was downright attracted to the man. It wasn’t his fault. It was just that so much about him reminded her of a past she would rather forget.
          “I’m sorry. Really, I am. You must be regretting asking me to come along.”
          His gaze softened. “Not at all. I just… I’m sorry I remind you of him.”
          She started to laugh. “By the moons, what a stupid thing to be sorry for. It’s not like you do it on purpose.”
          He smiled. It still didn’t happen very often, but he was sure it was getting easier to get her to laugh.
          “I was… I was just thinking, that’s all.” She looked into the fire.
          He frowned. “About what?”
          “Oh, nothing. It’s none of my business.”
          He stood and went to sit by her side. “Ask away.”
          She took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. “Well, I was wondering if you were born here or if you crossed.”
          He smiled. “I crossed. I was fifteen when it happened. I was found at one of the crossings and brought to Paradin.”
          “Oh.” She waited for him to ask her something in return. When he didn’t, she volunteered the information. “I was born here.” She couldn’t look away from his eyes. She’d never looked at them this closely and she noticed quite a few things that set them apart from her mate’s. They were a lighter green, for one, and had a gold ring by the pupil. The lashes around them were longer, thicker. She blinked.
           “Anything else?”
          She shook her head. “You’re lying.” He smiled. “How do you know I’m lying?”
          “Because your nose wrinkles when you lie.” His smile vanished as the sight of her swallowing hard. “I’m sorry. He used to say that to you, didn’t he?”
          She nodded. “Stop apologizing. It’s me that’s sorry.” She frowned and decided to ask what she’d originally been thinking of asking him. “Who…your nose and your jaw…who did that to you?”
          A dark shadow passed over his features quickly. He smiled and she wasn’t sure she’d see the change in him. As of yet, she still hadn’t seen any indication that he might have an angry or vicious bone in his body. He could fight and was a deadly shot with his bow and arrow, but she was sure she’d never seen him angry.
          “Braw did.”
          “Why?”
          “Well, where I come from, a fifteen year old boy is exactly still that. A boy. Here, your fifteenth birthday comes around, you turn of age, you start your training in whatever army you are a part of. I told him he was nuts. I refused to join his army.” He took a deep breath. “He didn’t like that. They tied me to a table and went to town.” He was looking into the fire and she was sure she’d never seen him frown for this amount of time before. He closed his eyes at the feel of her hand on his arm. The frown disappeared and he smiled at her once again.
          “Do you ever wish you could go back?”
          He shook his head. “I wouldn’t know what to do with myself there anymore.” He almost added, and you wouldn’t be there, but managed to stop it before it made its way out of his mouth. He cleared his throat. “So, are you ready for bed?”
          “Oh, um… yes.” She made her way to her blankets and watched as he made his way to his. The night was cool and she shivered. It was almost as if he’d been watching her.
          “Do you want one of my blankets?”
          “Then you’ll be cold.”
          “I’ll be fine.” He started to sit up.
          “No. I’m fine.”
          “Alright. Let me know if you change your mind.” He rolled over. That’s how it always was between them; always an awkward politeness.
          She snuggled deeper into her blankets unable to warm herself. She made a quick decision and stood before she could change her mind. Greg started as she lay beside him and pulled her blankets over his. She could feel him, tense beside her and she knew he was scared to say or do something that would cause her to get angry and get up.
          “We’ll be warmer this way.” Her body felt the heat from his behind hers and she soon found herself with her back pressed against his side. By the moons, he was so warm. Why in the world had she been freezing every night when he’d been just a few feet from her?
          She felt him turn and she moved back again so that her back was just inches from his chest. He slowly put his arm around her then pulled her closer when she didn’t pull her dagger. She felt the tension leave him.
          “Good night, Red.” His breath was warm against her neck.
          She took a deep breath. “Good night, Greg.” She felt sleep take him, but for as tired as she was, she couldn’t follow suit. Something about tonight wasn’t right. Even with Greg’s warmth behind her she couldn’t stop her skin from crawling. They were being watched, she was sure of it. She listened for any indication she might be right. Nothing. She placed her dagger where she could reach it, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. No, it was no use.
          “Greg.” She waited for a response. “Greg, wake up.”
          “Hmm?” His arm tightened around her.
          “We need to move.”
          He blinked a few times to wake himself. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to hold you.”
          “No, no, that’s not it. We need to move from this site. It feels wrong.”
          He yawned. “Alright.” He didn’t argue. She always seemed to be right when it came to things like this.
          They quickly packed their things and started to move farther north. The clouds moved to cover the moons and Red tensed at the scurrying sound off to their left. Greg put a hand on her arm. She turned so that they back to back. The sound came again, this time from their right. Whatever they were, there was more than one of them.
          “Where are we? Do you know?” She reached back to see where he was and moved back until she touched his hip. He did the same with his other hand.
          “Not really. We should be in dragon territory. Do you think that’s what these are?”
          “No. Dragons would have just killed us.” Something ran past and Red cried out as claws raked across her thigh. She sucked in a breath and got ready for the next attack. “Aim low, Greg.”
          The scurrying came again and Red stabbed down just as teeth sank into her leg. The creature screamed, the high piercing sound hurting her ears. Greg grunted and fell away from her. She reached down, grabbed a handful of fur and stabbed again. The thing let go of her leg then scurried away. Greg hissed as teeth pierced his arm. The clouds moved and Red’s eyes widened at the sight before her. 
         Jainks! The small wolf like animal let go of Greg’s arm then aimed for his throat. Greg managed to get his arm in the way once more. The silver, long haired creature growled, its silver eyes looking deep into his green ones. Red remembered a story that had mentioned a jaink could hypnotize its prey into being submissive simply by staring into its eyes. She saw Greg relax and threw her dagger as hard as she could then ran toward them. The jaink yelped and looked up just as Red slammed into it. She pulled her dagger out of its side but couldn’t manage to kill it before it ran away. She looked around, waiting for another attack. Greg groaned.
          “Greg! Are you alright?” She knelt by him and looked him over. His arm was bleeding badly and she knew she’d have to stitch him up, but other than that, he seemed fine. So why was he just lying there?
          “Ugh. It’s my head. It feels like it’s going to explode.” He tried to open his eyes and the pain tore through him.
          “It was hypnotizing you.”
          He groaned again. “Help me move. I think I’m going to black out. Let’s get somewhere a bit more protected.” She looked around. “This is about as protected as we’re going to get.” She got their blankets ready then rolled him onto them. “Get some sleep. I’ll make a fire and keep watch.” He mumbled something.
          “What was that?”
          He lifted his head, groaned, and lay back down. “Sorry.”
          The adrenaline was starting to wear off and she started to laugh. “By the moons, Greg, stop apologizing all the time. This was hardly your fault.” He grunted.
          “I need you to hold still. You have three spots on your arm that need stitching.” By the time she was done cleaning him up he was out to the world. She checked her leg and was glad to see no serious damage had been done. She sat beside Greg and watched him sleep. Every once in a while he would frown and groan. When one particular frown refused to disappear, she ran her fingers over his brow lightly. She couldn’t help but bend over and kiss him softly between the eyes. She straightened abruptly. She remembered the panic she’d felt when it had crossed her mind he might have been badly injured. Could it be that even though she’d tried her damnedest not to she was starting to have feelings for the man? No. It was probably the fear of finding herself alone. So he means nothing to you, then. She frowned. Did he? She looked at him and took a deep breath. Fine, he does. So what? She was allowed to have friends, yeah?
          She got up and built up the fire and saw him shiver. She lay down beside him and pulled him close. It wasn’t because she gave a damn, she scowled at herself. It was simply necessity. It took a few minutes before he warmed enough to stop shaking. Well, then, he’s warm, the sensible half of her brain was saying. You can let go now. The more emotional side didn’t reply and she was surprised when her heart answered instead. Shut up, it said.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

          Red put a hand on his forehead. He seemed fine, so why wasn’t he waking up. It had been two days since they’d been attacked by the jainks.
          “Greg. We need to get moving.” She knew it wouldn’t help. She’d tried everything from whispering in his ear to yelling that they were under attack. She blew out of her nose, picked up a stone and threw it into the woods. She frowned at the sound of it hitting something metallic.
          “What was that?” She got up and made her way in the direction the stone had gone. The sunlight flashed through the trees and a glimmer to her left caught her eye.
          She knelt and picked the dagger up from under the leaves and snow. It was rusted and had obviously been here a while. Once back at the campsite, she placed it into her pack. She knelt by Greg once more. She remembered a story she’d been told by a woman who had crossed over. The name of it escaped her, she’d been seven or eight when she’d heard the tale, but she remembered how it had been about a princess who wouldn’t wake up until her prince had kissed her. She smiled. The roles were reversed and it was just a story after all, but nothing else had worked so far.
          She spent the last two days arguing with herself over her feelings for Greg. It had taken a bit, but she’d finally admitted to herself that she did care for him. She wouldn’t go so far as to say she loved him, mind you, but he was nice to have around… when he was awake.
          She bent slowly, the butterflies in her stomach fluttering about. Her lips touched his lightly and she pulled back, looking for any sign he might have noticed. Nothing. Of course, that wasn’t much of a kiss, she thought to herself. How was a prince supposed to kiss a princess, anyhow?
          She straddled him to get a better angle and cupped his face in her hands. Her thumb ran over the scar along his jaw. Damn Braw and all of the foolish notions he’d ever had. What would she do if this didn’t work? What if Greg started to get worse? She closed her eyes and her throat tightened at the thought.
          “Please wake up, Greg.” It was just a whisper. She jumped at his groan then relaxed at the feel of his hand on her face.
          “Red, would you mind getting off of me before I forget how much you dislike my presence. I might decide it’s a good idea to kiss you.”
          Tears of relief streaked down her face and she laughed. “Thank the moons, I was starting to think you were never going to wake up.”
          He smiled and brushed the tears from her cheeks. “You mean you might have missed me?”
          She snorted and hugged him tightly. “Yes, I would have missed you.” His arms wrapped around her and she lay on his chest. “I swear I tried everything! I tried whispering in your ear, I tried yelling we were under attack; I tried splashing water on you… I even tried kissing you!” She stopped suddenly, very aware that she could hear his heart beating in his chest, aware of how strong his arms were. His arms tightened and his heart beat a bit faster. She blushed.
          “You mean the kiss didn’t work?” He grunted. “I’m surprised.”
          “Well, it wasn’t much of a kiss.”
          There was an awkward moment of silence while Red tried to decide how that statement must have sounded to him. Maybe he’d think she didn’t care enough to actually kiss him properly. Greg, on the other hand was trying to think of something to say that wasn’t, “would you mind showing me now”.
          “I, um, well, I was about to try again when you woke up.” There, that showed she cared.
          “Oh.” That seemed like the safest thing to say. To be quite honest he was enjoying just having her lying on his chest like this and was scared to say something that would cause her to get up. What he wanted to do was run his fingers along her back just to see if what she would feel like against him when she shivered, but he kept his arms as still as possible. He let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
          The breath was hot and tickled down her neck. Red shivered.
          Greg cleared his throat to hide the groan that escaped him. “Um, how long was I out?”



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