Tag Archives: epub

Woot! Double cover reveal: Mirror of Immortality Trilogy by @VickiLWeavil @DerangeDoctor @snowywingspub #ya

Whoo-hoo! Get ready for stunning …

Today I’m participating in a special double cover reveal for the first two books in the Mirror of Immortality Trilogy by Vicki L. Weavil. The all-new second edition of the first book, Crown of Ice, releases on May 9 from Snowy Wings Publishing, with the second book, Scepter of Fire, coming on May 23!

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s love, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Add Crown of Ice on Goodreads!

 

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

Add Scepter of Fire on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki, who writes in other genres under the pennames V. E. Lemp and Victoria Gilbert, is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Visit Vicki online at vickilweavil.com, or on Twitter at @VickiLWeavil or Facebook at @VickiLWeavil.

 

Remember these release dates! May 9 for the second edition of Crown of Ice, and May 23 for Scepter of Fire.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by. XOXO

 


Excited! Blog Tour: OF THE TREES by @ErinMFitch #YAlit @Month9Books

 

of-the-trees

 

Welcome in! I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour for the amazing E.M. Fitch and her new book! I’ve got more tour stop dates, an excerpt and special giveaway here, so don’t forget to scroll down and enter the contest near the bottom of the post!

 

Now to get on with it. Have you seen this cool and freaky cover yet?

I love the vibe!

of-the-trees-cover

Title: OF THE TREES

Author: E.M. Fitch

Pub. Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 345

Where to get it:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound

 

Watch the author’s  video about her book here:

Blurb:

Cassie and Laney fancy themselves amateur ghost hunters. When a carnival comes to town, Cassie embraces the chance to try something new.

Carnival workers watch the girls with a collective gaze that ignites in Laney a dark and dangerous fascination, leaving Cassie unnerved.

It’s not just their age or the unsettling way they stare. There is something in the shifting of their skin and the way their features seem to change in the shadows.

Cassie can’s shake this sickening feeling that there’s more to the carnival than meets the eye.

When townspeople suddenly start dying and bloody warnings appear around town, Cassie is lured into a nightmare where trees whisper and strange, shape-shifting men haunt the backwoods she once hunted for ghosts with her best friend.

Then Laney goes missing, and only Cassie can get her back. But the creatures of the trees aren’t simply going to hand Laney over to Cassie without getting something in return.

 

Here’s more about the author … 

erin-fitch

E.M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages (somewhat successfully) with her husband, Marc.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway!

1 winner will receive a $25 Fandango Gift Card, US Only.

Rafflecopter:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjU1MQ==/?

Excerpt:

Cassie’s boots crunched on the gravel, the grating noise cutting through the faint undertone of laughter and squeals that were just up ahead. Her imagination always went into overdrive during these isolated, dark moments. She knew it, and sometimes the little movements everyone saw out of the corner of their eyes took on a life of their own. So she ignored it, not wanting to give life to the fear.

Laney was different. She’d run into the shadows and flush out the monsters, which would, of course, invariably turn out to be a rabbit, or bird, or the errant flash of light cast from someone’s wristwatch. It was always explainable. Even knowing that, Cassie wasn’t one to tempt fate. She preferred to let sleeping monsters lie.

“Have a light?”

Cassie jumped, not really expecting a voice from the dark. From between two cars, a shadow solidified. A boy stepped forward, his jeans smeared with grease and his dark hood up over his head and hanging down past his brow. She could just make out the sandy hair that hovered over the piercing, blue eyes. He stared at her as he stepped closer, his gaze sharp in the darkness.

Or was it a man? Now that he drew nearer, the lines of boyhood seemed to melt. His face was older, drawn. There were creases in the folds of his skin that she hadn’t noticed at first. Somehow, it seemed like he was wearing a cheap Halloween mask, something rubber made to emulate human skin, and suddenly she was terrified, a feeling of danger rising up from her core.

“No, sorry,” she stammered, stepping back.

He stepped with her.

She jumped again when a car horn blared and turned to see her father still parked there, his outline peering at her through the dark. A chuckle echoed from the shadows, and Cassie shivered, even in the unseasonable warmth.

“Got to go, sorry,” she said. The man stared, his head tilting slightly as he regarded her. He didn’t speak, and yet Cassie got the strange impression he was trying to communicate with her anyway.

Wings black

Creepy right? The sort of creepy that’s right up my YA thriller/horror alley. I can’t wait to start reading this one, ya’ll.

Hope you enjoy and thanks so much for stopping by! 

 

Fotolia_18178337_XS

By the way … if you want to follow more of the tour, all the dates are listed below!

Week One:

2/27/2017- Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course)– Interview

2/27/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review

2/27/2017- Julie Reece– Excerpt

 

2/28/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Guest Post

2/28/2017- Book Review Becca– Review

 

3/1/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

3/1/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review

 

3/2/2017- Always & Forever Fangirling– Excerpt

3/2/2017- Bookaholic Banter– Review

 

3/3/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Guest Post

3/3/2017- Quantum– Review

 

Week Two:

3/6/2017- LILbooKlovers– Interview

3/6/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

 

3/7/2017- The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange– Excerpt

3/7/2017- Book Lovers Life– Review

 

3/8/2017- Hidden Worlds Books– Guest Post

3/8/2017- Book-Keeping– Review

 

3/9/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Interview

3/9/2017- StephanieCassidyBlog– Review

 

3/10/2017- So Few Books– Interview

3/10/2017- I am not a bookworm!– Review

 

 

 


Valentine’s Day FB party with Swoon Romance authors! @SwoonRomance

swoon-fb-party

https://www.facebook.com/events/1334329459952777/?active_tab=discussion

 

♥ Hey everybody! ♥

Since Swoon Romance is all about romance, we’re hosting a

Facebook party for Valentine’s Day on February 14.

I’ll be there along with other romance writers to talk about books,

writing, and the good, bad, and ugly of Valentine’s Day.

So many swoon worthy books.

What’s your favorite romance title?

 

2634189429151390

one-summer-with-autumn-cover145f1acbfbd0a56c0fad00192f70c56c

2327207020707146

 

Here’s the scheduled line up of author times:

10 am EST: Natalie Decker
11 am EST: Jennifer DiGiovanni
12 am EST: Julie Reece

5 pm EST: Elizabeth Miceli
6 pm EST: Linda Budzinski
7 pm EST: Stacey Mosteller

Link to join in!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1334329459952777/?active_tab=discussion

♥♥♥

I’ll be answering questions about my latest romance ONE SUMMER WITH AUTUMN

I love this book quote done by lovely book reviewer @MoriahChavis

oswacvutqgpwyaavi

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29151440-one-summer-with-autumn

I hope you will drop by and see us.

♥ We’re going to have a good time! ♥

 


Happy Book Birthday: EMBERS IN THE SEA by @JenniferMEaton @Month9Books #ReleaseDay #EmbersInTheSea #Month9Squad #Month9Books #scifi #aliens


I am so excited that EMBERS IN THE SEA by Jennifer M. Eaton releases today
and that I get to share the news! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book,
be sure to check out all the details below.

 

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value),
and an Alien Charm Necklace US Only courtesy of Jennifer & Month9Books
.
So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
 
Title: EMBERS IN THE SEA (Fire in The Woods #3)
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but
failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of
options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers
rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the
human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.
Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s
precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless
depths of Earth’s ocean.
The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face
a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but
some secrets don’t want to be found.
 
Excerpt:
 
We rattled, cascading and spinning. My sight blurred. My breakfast
threatened a reappearance. I closed my eyes and prayed David and Edgar could
bring us under control. The tiles rumbled beneath my cheek before we collided
to a stop.
 
My body left the floor before slamming back down once again.
 
Oww.
 
I blinked until I could focus. David lay across the side of his seat, his
head dangling near the floor.
“David!” I dragged myself from the unforgiving tiles and sat him back in
his chair. His head lolled back, his mouth slightly open. “Oh, God. David,
please wake up!”
 
Pressing my fingers against the side of his neck and his wrists, I sought
a pulse. I couldn’t find one, but relief flooded me as his chest rose and fell
in a shallow breath. I glanced over each shoulder, and toward the back of the
ship, looking for what, I didn’t know.
 
Why hadn’t the seats come to life and protected us?
 
I grabbed the edge of David’s chair, pulling him from the seat and into
my arms. “David?” I kissed him and ran my fingers along the side of his face.
“David, please … ”
 
I would have felt less empty if part of my chest had broken off and
floated away into the abyss. I didn’t care that we’d crash-landed again. I
didn’t care that the marine floor was probably more alien than the green planet
we’d been marooned on. I didn’t care that the pressure of an entire ocean
weighed down on us. And I didn’t care that he left me alone for two years.
 
He was here. Now. And hurt. I fisted my hands and pushed with my mind. If
he needed strength, maybe I could send it to him.
 
His lashes fluttered. His eyes opened, but didn’t seem to focus. “Jess?”
 
I gulped back a sob. “Yeah. I’m here.”
 
He tried to sit up, but frowned and relaxed back into my arms. “Are we okay?”
“I don’t know.”
 
 
About Jennifer: 
Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore
of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is
human, but please don’t hold that against her. While not traipsing through the
galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her
wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who
runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)
During infrequent excursions to her home
planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming,
snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but great
adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.
 
Who knows where we’ll end up next?
Giveaway Details:
(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20
value), US Only.
(1) winner will receive an Alien Charm Necklace, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


It’s the THIS ELF WANTS BOOK MONEY December giveaway! #win #yalit #giveaway

Welcome!

All ye who love to read YA, get excited!!

15320418_10211745126443060_227818331_n

Thanks for the pretty picture @JennBardsley 

Does your elf love books? Well, guess what! Some of my favorite author-friends have banded together to giveaway a

$175 e-gift card to Barnes & Noble.
Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.
Would you like to find out more about the awesome authors behind this giveaway?

Jingle on over to their websites …

Jennifer Bardsley

Jennifer DiGiovani

Dorothy Dreyer

Shaila Patel

Melanie McFarlane

Julie Reece

Suzanne VanRooyen

Stephanie Scott

Liza Wiemer

Nicole Conway

Jennifer Anne Davis

Jennifer M. Eaton

bn

 

***Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!***

Fine Print and stuff:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
1. Promotion Description: The ‘$175 Barnes & Noble Giftcard’ (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 11/28/2016 at 07:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 12/13/2016 at 08:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Jennifer Bardsley (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
2. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of who are or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.
3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively “the Prize Claim Documents”). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.
4. Prizes:
– 1 (#) winner(s) will receive [(1) $175 Barnes & Noble e Gift Card ] (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $175 USD)
Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded. Gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the terms and conditions of the issuer. Prizes cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if a prize described in these Official Rules is unavailable or cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, for any reason. The ARV of the prize represents Sponsor’s good faith determination. That determination is final and binding and cannot be appealed. If the actual value of the prize turns out to be less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded in cash. Sponsor makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of any prize awarded. Restrictions, conditions, and limitations may apply. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prize items.

 


Cyber Monday and Fiery YA Romance for a dollar. What could be better? @SwoonRomance #onesummerwithautumn #yalit

Woot!

Lookie what you can get for just one dollar!!!!

 

one-summer-with-autumn1

Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Autumn Teslow arrives at her father’s job fair knowing she’ll never measure up to the perfect image of daddy’s little girl—her twin sister.

Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college.

Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.”

At Nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He’d only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters.

Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility.

Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want.

Until it isn’t.

Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/One-Summer-Autumn-Julie-Reece-ebook/dp/B01LWA5TLQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480356416&sr=1-1&keywords=One+Summer+with+Autumn

 

Swoon Romance has lots of other great titles on sale today ….

 

image1

 ♥ Happy Reading!!!


Month9Books Friday Reveal: Cover and Chapter 1 for SOULMATED by @shaila_writes #yalit

Today Shaila Patel and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for SOULMATED, which releases January 24, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!
 
A quick note from the author:
 
When people find out that I’ve written a book, invariably the first question is, “Where did you get the idea for the story?” If I had a quick and easy answer like, “I checked http://www.BookIdeas.com,” my phone calls with the family would be so much shorter! Anyway, the truth is a bit more complicated—much like my family’s recipe for the perfect cup of chai.
 
After years of writing literary short stories, I thought I’d try my hand at a paranormal romance. Perfectly normal leap of logic, right? (I have Twilight to thank for that!) For whatever reason, I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was and that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stands for emotional intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She just always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings. I’d never seen a story about empaths—people who could read emotions like psychics could read thoughts—but the idea grabbed on and wouldn’t let go. And that, my friends, was the beginning. Soulmated is finally ready to be released, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I had fun writing it!

On to the reveal! 

Isn’t it pretty? ♥

Title: SOULMATED (Joining of Souls #1)
Author: Shaila Patel
Pub. Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.
Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.
When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.
Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?
Excerpt

CHAPTER 1 – LIAMThey’re calling this a test?

Not even a ping grazed my mind as the five Elders tried to slip past my mental blocks and into my emotions. A sheen of sweat over William’s lip proved he wasn’t faring as well. Of all the cousins now come of age, William and I were the last to be sitting before the Elders. I’d have felt guilty for his not doing so well had he ever shown an interest in leading the family. But, we all knew he’d rather have his head in a library. Now his heart was with his wife Colleen. He at least seemed to have a choice about his fate.

I sighed. Not so for me.

“Are we boring you, Prince Liam?”

I snapped my eyes up to Elder Adebayo. He wore his trademark bow tie with a traditional fila atop his head. In the fraction of a second it took me to untangle the meaning from his heavy Nigerian accent, I’d blanked my expression and sat upright. The Elders sat along one side of an antique conference table, facing William and myself. The manor staff had rearranged the study to hold both the testing and signing-over ceremonies. Gone were the leather club chairs and stained glass lamps normally dotting the large space, giving it the air of a posh library. Now it seemed more an election-night headquarters, like the sort you saw on the telly, with bright lights and a gathering of family strewn about, waiting for the results. A photographer hung out in one corner, camera in hand. Not far from him stood a team of solicitors guarding rolling briefcases that were no doubt stuffed with legal documents for the victor to sign.

My throat-clearing echoed in the now silent room, and my cheeks warmed. “No, sir, not at all. Although, uh … I’d like to know when it is you’ll begin with me.” I pasted on an oh-so-innocent smirk and watched William shake his head and smother a grin. I shrugged at him, hoping to lighten the mood.

Four of the Elders cocked an eyebrow—all except for Elder Claire Brennan, our lone Irish representative. She leaned ever so slightly forward from where she sat at the center of the group.

So much for having a bit of craic.

The familiar knocking on my brain—like the distant sound of drums—told me someone had got past my first line of defenses with their probe. The rest of my mental blocks held up though. The corner of Brennan’s lip stretched upward. Toying with me, was she? I leaned back with a matching smile and loosened my tie. Mum and I were the only ones in the family who’d mastered the skill of probing and manipulation. A handy skill that, especially when the burden of the entire clan’s financial success might well be resting on my shoulders.

As if sensing the end of the ritual, Mum whispered to the house staff and pointed toward the main doors, directing them to begin preparations, most likely. She turned and nearly ran into a Mediterranean-looking man with a grotesque mole on his left cheek. He wasn’t a relation or a solicitor, so I assumed he was a council minister. Their stances were stiff, and despite being too far for me to hear, I sensed Mum’s replies seemed short and clipped. He moved around her, and on his way out, his eyes met mine. He lifted his lips in a smirk.

Arse.

My attention darted to Mum. She was smoothing out the front of her dress, and her shoulders heaved a time or two before she turned back to face the room. I mentally sent her my curiosity, but she ignored me with a smile. She did at least send me her love before she weaved herself into the crowd.

Within a few minutes, Elder Brennan squared her shoulders and opened the portfolio in front of her. The rest of the Elders relaxed back in their seats and passed her folded slips of paper.

Jaysus Christ. Thank you. This bleedin’ muck-up was about done.

After tallying the results, she stood with the help of a finely carved cane. Rumors about her age had always been entertaining—the last one I’d heard was that Claire Brennan was well over 140 years old. Apparently, documents as to her history had disappeared. Her regal manner and piercing blue eyes—the sort that’d make a gutless gobshite piss his pants—set her apart from the rest of the Elders. She now set those sights on me.

“Prince Liam, please stand. It is our unanimous decision that the Royal Empath House of O’Connor will now be led by you, Prince Liam Joseph O’Connor-Whelan, on this day, the

sixth of June, in the year 2015.” Flashes from the camera punctuated every other word, and spots began to form in front of my eyes. “You have proven your worth to lead your clan by exhibiting the strength of your empath skills to the satisfaction of the presiding group and by extension, the Council of Ministers.”

Brennan rattled on about allegiances and legal mandates, all of which bore down on me like the weight of history, dry and inescapable, yet … a bit liberating. Now we could stop our search and stay in Ireland—better of two evils and all that. I could make that happen now.

An explosion of clapping hands, and thumps on my back from a relieved-looking William, forced me to plaster a smile on my face.

Mum hurried over with open arms. “Darling! We’re so happy for you.” Da and my older brother Ciarán, a non-empath, followed, both decked out in a suit and tie. After her hug and kiss and Da’s pat on my back, they congratulated William on his effort and made room for the Elders to come around with their well-wishing. Ciarán smirked and punched my shoulder. The strobe-light effect of the flashes had me squinting.

Elder Santiago from Spain shook my hand. He sported a thick mustache and proudly wore his Catalonian flag pin on his lapel. He’d been wooing our clan for support in Catalonia’s bid for secession from Spain. Ciarán had thought it a good cause to be getting behind—especially if we beat another royal clan from doing so first. We had several holdings in Barcelona, after all. Now that it was my call to be making, a hasty decision didn’t seem wise. Santiago always had the look about him of a tapas dish drowning in olive oil.

He sidled closer. “Your strength is most impressive. And at the age of eighteen too. It is not hard to believe you will be the next soulmated empath, in truth. Some have doubts though, eh?”

He wants to discuss this now?

Da pointed to his own temple, stabbing at an unruly black curl. “No need for doubts. If I’ve seen it, it’s as good as true.”

I resisted rolling my eyes. Admitting I had my own doubts about Da’s visions wouldn’t be wise. “Time will tell, yeah?” No point kissing Elder arse.

The other Elders came one by one, congratulating me and posing for photos. Brennan was last. The crowd dispersed enough to give us a bubble of privacy. She tipped her head back and studied my face.

Without being able to read her blocked emotions, her body language was all I had to go on. A smile like before tugged at her lips.

I leaned in. “So were you toying with me earlier?” My bold question would either be living up to the liberties given to the heads of the four remaining Irish royal houses, or it’d be taken as the yipping of a whelp learning to growl. I hoped for the former and straightened up just in case.

“The test need only be as strong as the weakest candidate.” She curved her gloved hand around the crook of my elbow and turned me to face the patio. “Come now. Walk me outside.”

Leading an Elder outside for a private conversation wasn’t as nerve-racking as I’d thought. With her hand resting on my arm, she exuded an unexpected grandmotherly warmth. The stone patio ran the length of the building on this side of our manor home. It overlooked the meadows of our property—now mine—and with the cloudless days we’d had of late, the scent of heated earth surrounded us. I inhaled deeply. Definitely better here than returning to the States.

The few who lingered outside turned and meandered back to the study once they spotted us. Elder Brennan patted my arm, then released it, flattening her palms upon the balustrade, her ever-present white gloves in sharp contrast to the weathered stone.

Her gaze floated over the view. “It seems you are to have a very interesting future ahead of you.”

“Possibly.”

Her features relaxed with another one of her enigmatic smiles. “When will you be returning to America?”

“I’m thinking to stay here,” I said.

A disapproving frown appeared, and she tapped a sole finger on the stone.

How the hell was this any of her bloody business? I forced my expression to remain neutral and unclenched the hands I’d not realized I’d fisted. If only Da had kept his mouth shut over the years.

“Choices are a funny thing, Prince Liam. We often treat them as black and white, but rarely are they.”

I pocketed my hands. What was I meant to say? Yes, Zen Master Brennan.

A breeze picked up and coaxed a few strands of her silver hair across her cheek. She tilted her face into the wind and closed her eyes. “You should return to your search.” She turned and pinned me with a stare.

“What? Why? Are you trying to boot me from Ireland? Away from the estate? Is something happening you’re hiding from me?”

She held up her hand. “The demesne will be in capable hands. Go now. Enjoy your celebration. Congratulations and happy eighteenth birthday.” With a nod, she summoned two of her gendarmes, who came to her side and escorted her down the patio.

Mum must have been watching because she rushed outside. “What did she want?” Her concerned gaze scanned my face as if to get a read on my emotions, but as usual, I had them blocked.

I rolled my shoulders and took a breath. “She wants us to go back to the States.”

Her mouth opened and closed.

I knew that look. “Just say it, Mum.”

“Your father had another vision during the night.”

I snorted. “Where now? Alaska?”

“Liam, you used to believe—”

“Do you think we’ll be seeing some actual igloos? We could even go to the North Pole and watch the ice cap melt—”

“What harm could one more year—?”

“Have you tried whale blubber, Mum? I hear it’s a right treat.”

An elderly couple came out onto the patio. With a huff, Mum crossed her arms and broadcast her emotions as clearly as any mother’s scowl would convey. Waves of her irritation registered in my mind like seaweed washing in and wrapping around my toes. I moved a few steps away and leaned over the balustrade, resting my forearms on the sunbaked stone. A good fifty yards out, a hare popped up to scan its surroundings and then chased a second one into the shrubbery.

After a few moments, Mum joined me. “We know this isn’t easy, Liam, but we’re doing it for you. We’ve sacrificed so much. Please understand.”

I ground my back teeth and straightened. So much for making it happen my way. “Fine. One more year.”

I stormed back into the study so the signing could begin, passing by several girls in long glittering dresses, tittering behind their fingers. No doubt my pain-in-the-arse brother had arranged for them to be here.

If the Elders knew about our search, so did the rest of the empath community. Speculation would be flowing like whiskey tonight, but it didn’t change the fact we’d not be finding our target in Ireland.

Want to read more? Shaila has chapter 2 on her website

 

As an unabashed lover of all things
happily-ever- after, Shaila’s younger self would finish reading Cinderella and
fling her copy across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next.
Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of
stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she’s a
pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night.
She enjoys traveling, craft beer, and teas, and loves reading books—especially
in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red
light or connecting with other readers online at: http://www.shailapatelauthor.com
 
Find Shaila:

 

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive an eGalley of SOULMATED. International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js