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Winter is fading into the distance and the season of love is upon us.
With desires building, passion explodes in this collection of steamy and must-read romances.
Come and join us, won’t you? Spring is in the air…
Sixteen-year-old Lucinda is getting the home-coming from hell. England is in the grip of the War of the Roses and her tyrant father has promised her hand to a vile man three times her age. In need of aid, she seeks sanctuary with an old childhood friend only to find him accused of treachery and harboring a supernatural secret. All too soon Lucinda is caught in a fight that’s not her own but, to be with the man she loves, she’ll gladly take up arms.
When you stand at Traitors’ Gate, keep the vampires close, and the zombies as far away as possible!
Battle of the Undead, 1“I am Britannia. I am your protector. I will fend off the hungry hordes of undead hands that reach toward you. I am your steadfast defender. I will stand between you and the zombie masses as they try to taste your flesh. I am strong, unyielding, and dedicated to your survival. All I ask from you… is your blood.” A 500 year bloody game of vengeance will need to be put on hold if vampires are to survive the zombie uprising. Bitter enemies, Britannia and Nicholas must work together to save un-infected humans, delivering them to a stronghold in Scotland. Unable to drink the zombie blood, vampires need humans to stay alive. But will they tell the survivors who they are, and what they want from them? Will Britannia be able to hold back her vengeance? Is survivor Josh the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love? And can she bring herself to deliver him to the safe hold? Survival instincts run deep, but bad blood can run deeper.14+ for violence and adult situations
Battle of the Undead, 2“You know now that monsters are real. Whether they have recently risen to reach for your flesh, or have chosen now to step from the shadows; you are surrounded by them. You also know that I am one too, but I’m all you’ve got and time is running out…” There’s no rest for the wicked, especially in a zombie apocalypse. Britannia has used every vampire skill at her disposal to keep those she cares for safe, but with old enemies and unseen adversaries moving against her, she will have to push herself to both her physical and ethical limits to survive. Britannia is changing, but will it be for the better? 14+ due to violence and adult situationsPlease note this is the second book in a series that should be read in order.
I rush into the dining room like the wind on a stormy night, gaining a withering look from Mistress. Black who is seated at the table along with my father and a strange man.
“And this is Lucinda,” my father says pointing at me. The man next to him gets up and smiles at me. He bows slightly and takes my hand in a sweaty grip. He drags his moist lips over my palm in what I assume is a romantic gesture. I look over at father, who doesn’t seem to care.
“This is Lord Appleby. He has a large estate in Dorset.”
“Dorset? My, that’s quite some way away.” I try to smile at him, but fail miserably.
“Yes, you’ll love it there.” Lord Appleby sits back down to the right of my father and Ms. Black physically moves me to the seat across from him.
Lord Appleby is painfully thin with almost black eyes and a complexion like a cooked frog. I imagine him putting his arms around me, and I shiver; it would be like being enclosed by a sallow fleshy girdle.
The dinner slowly marches through seven courses, every one of my favorites from Mistress. Leighton’s repertoire, but each plate is tainted by the obvious conclusion to my homecoming: my father has sold me and didn’t even have the decency to tell me beforehand. I’m to become Lady Lucinda Appleby, the sixteen year old wife to a forty year old man who eats with his mouth open and, as he’d gotten drunker through the evening, and has become more and more leery, regardless of Mistress. Black or my father’s presence.
The moment I finish chewing the last piece of the cheese and bread, I stand up.
“I’m tired from my journey, so I will bid you goodnight, father, Lord Appleby, Ms. Black.” I nod to each of them and turn to leave.
“Wait,” my father says, “Lord Appleby would like a turn around the garden with you.”
I glance toward the window. It must be at least ten o’clock and is pitch black outside.
“Now?” I ask.
My father narrows his eyes at me.
“Oh please, yes. I so love a garden at night.” Lord Appleby jumps to his feet and moves to my side. He’s protecting me. Have I misjudged him? I take his arm and we head into the garden.
Outside, the chill of the night air pinches at my bare arms. I look at Lord Appleby in his lovely warm cloak, but he makes no move to offer it to me in any kind of gentlemanly gesture.
“And these are the white roses,” I say. “My father planted them for my mother.” I linger at the small patch of buds that I remembered as being much bigger, fuller, and more fragrant.
“Ah yes, we are all white roses here,” he says with an exaggerated wink. He’s referring to the House of York. A war has been raging for quite some time between the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster, each backing a different king for the throne of England.
We make strained small talk for a while longer as we walk farther away from the lights of the house. Suddenly he stops and grabs my elbow, spinning me round so my body is flush against his.
“I do hope you are amenable to this arrangement, Lucinda,” he says.
I try to pull back, but he’s stronger than he looks and holds me firm. “Please let me go.”
I look up into his eyes and see a slight madness there, a malevolence that I hadn’t noticed before.
“Let me go!” I say again.
“Just a kiss,” he whispers and lowers his lips to mine.
I pull my head back so that he lands his kiss on my chest. I’m unsure as to whether that is worse than his mouth on mine. His grip on me tightens and he begins to slobber rough kisses over my collarbone, while his hand frantically pulls up my petticoats ripping into them as he does. I scream, but no one comes. I struggle and pull back as far as I can from him, falling halfway out his grasp. A wild look crosses his face and he raises up a hand and slaps my cheek. The blow makes me stagger backward, out of his clutches. He stares at me for a moment. I kick him in the crotch. He doubles over with a strained groan. I run.
Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira it’s a curse from which she cannot escape.
To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated for the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of the miracle drug Gaudium. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth, but proving it just might get her killed.
A tube runs from an IV bag into my arm, the plastic needle burrowing under my skin like a tick. Thank God I was unconscious when they put that in. I cringe at the thought of being deluged with so many psyches at once—paramedics, nurses, doctors, all of them touching me.
Where are my clothes? They must have taken them off when I was out. This flimsy gown can’t protect me. I want to tear off the tape securing the IV tube to my skin, rip it off like a Band-Aid. I want out of here, but then I see Mama sleeping beside me, her body sloped in a plastic chair. I shouldn’t have done this to her again. But I had to try.
A plastic clamp pinches my finger, connecting me to a heart monitor. Three inches further up, my wrist is wrapped in gauze. Two months ago I would never have had the courage to do this—or any reason to. But now, feeling the staples beneath the bandage, I wonder how deep someone has to cut in order to die?
The curtain jerks back, the metal rings dragging across the ceiling rail. Mama snaps to attention. I half expect her to stand and salute.
“Miranda Ortiz?” says a woman in a beige linen suit and crisp white blouse. She is thin, stiff, and colorless. She reeks of gardenias.
“I’m Dr. Walsh from Mental Health,” she continues. The plastic laminated nametag hanging from her neck confirms this.
Dr. Walsh extends her hand, but instead of taking it, I grasp the edge of my sheet and pull it up to my chin. Other than this stupid hospital gown, it’s the only barrier I’ve got right now.
Mama stands up and reaches over the bed to shake the doctor’s hand. “I’m Mira’s mother, Ana,” she says wearily. She starts to sit back down, but Dr. Walsh interrupts.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you in person, Mrs. Ortiz. However, I’d like to speak to your daughter alone, if that’s all right.”
Dr. Walsh is insistent, in a polite sort of way. Mama leans toward me, and for a split second I think she’s going to kiss me goodbye. Though deep down I almost wish she would, instead she offers me her gentle smile and tucks the sheet under my shoulder.
“Please don’t go,” I whisper.
“It’ll only be a few minutes,” she says. “I’ll be just outside, all right?”
Mama brushes a strand of hair from my eyes with her manicured fingernails, careful to avoid contact with my skin. She smiles at me, but her eyes are wistful. As she walks out, my insides tighten up, and I suddenly realize how much I’ve missed her touch. My instinct is to cling to her like when I was small, but instead I press my arms stiffly to my sides like a corpse.
A security guard opens the door and accompanies Mama out into the hall. Dr. Walsh takes Mama’s empty chair, crosses one leg over the other, and lays a clipboard on her knee. “So,” she begins, “you cut yourself last night. Is that right?”
Her voice is casual and smooth, as if she’s just asked me what I ate for dinner. She waits for me to respond. When I don’t, she glances down at her clipboard. “I understand it’s not your first attempt. You were here a couple of weeks ago, I see. Overdose, but no permanent damage done.”
She glances up at me, pausing in case I have something to say.
Laurisa White Reyes is the author of The Celestine Chronicles and The Crystal Keeper series. She has a Masters degree in English and is the Editor-in-Chief of Middle Shelf Magazine. Visit her website at: www.laurisawhitereyes.com