Tag Archives: Month9Books

In the mood for a romantic southern gothic ghost story? The Artisans is on sale for .99! @Month9Books

Whaa-hoo!

For a short time only, THE ARTISANS is on sale for .99

  Indigo   Amazon   Kobo   Google Play   BN

 

Blurb: 

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

 

Are you a Beauty or a Beast?

Take my quiz and find out!

 

What people are saying about

THE ARTISANS … 

“THE ARTISANS is a quick and enjoyable read for fans of Marissa Meyer, with an unpretentious narrator and quirky characters.” Teenreads
  “A modern day Beauty and the Beast retelling with the perfect blend of romance, mystery, and suspense this is sure to be a great hit with all young adult paranormal fans.”  ~ Dark Faerie Tales

Goodreads

“I didn’t want this story to end. I was enjoying living in this world so much!” ~ Michelle, Bookaholic Banter

“An electrifying retelling of Beauty and Beast with a hauntingly good twist.” ~Mundie Moms

“This book is one of the most amazing books I think I’ve ever read!” ~ Jackie, No Bent Spines

 

Want to get an even better feel for the story?

Check out my Pinterest inspiration board for the book.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy my quirky, gothic romance novel!

Julie

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Jennifer Jenkins is in the house! FEARLESS blog tour spotlight @authorjenkins @chapterxchapter @Month9Books

 

Welcome to the blog tour for Fearless by Jennifer Jenkins! 

 

I’m so excited to be promoting Jennifer’s latest book on my site today. She’s an amazing author who loves history, teaching teens to write, and is passionate about both.

I met Jennifer at a book signing in Savannah.

She is every bit as sweet in person as she seems online.

She’s the cute one on the right. The goofy, fangirling one on the left is me.

So anyway, she’s completely awesome.

 

Now, let’s talk about FEARLESS, the next book in her NAMELESS series.

Here’s the cover!

Fearless (Nameless #3) by Jennifer Jenkins

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Add to your TBR here. 

Blurb:

In exactly twenty-three days, Gryphon will offer his life to Chief Barnabas in exchange for the lives of his best friend and mess brothers. Until then, he must keep his plans from Zo while avoiding the Wolves of the Allied Camp. But Gryphon is not the only one harboring secrets. To spare her own life, Zo has made a blood oath promising to help the Kodiak Clan free their families living as Nameless slaves. When Gryphon learns the truth — that the peaceful life he’d planned for Zo is not secure — he divulges a secret that will give the Allies the upper hand against the Ram.

Now, The Great Move is underway and a final battle between the Wolf, Ram, Kodiak and Raven cannot be stopped. Strength will be tested. Loyalties will be questioned. Alliances will form. In a world of uncertainty and danger, Zo and Gryphon may finally have what they’ve each always wanted.

About the author …

 

With my degree in History and Secondary Education, I had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, I’m obsessed with ancient warfare. Weird? I know.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, I feel blessed to be able to fulfill both my ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

I have three children who are experts at naming my characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom I am secretly afraid).

Fid out more about Jennifer here …

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |Instagram

Want more?

Here’s  the skinny on the first two books in the NAMELESS series …

Click on the covers for info!

Thanks for visiting today.

And don’t forget to enter the contest below to win!

 

Giveaway Details:

One (1) winner will receive a 1-month Owl Crate Subscription (INT)

Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e651/?

 

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-fearless-nameless-3-by-jennifer-jenkins/  


Fantasy Panel: Southern YA Authors #Raleigh #FantasyWriters @ErinMFitch @quailridgebooks @Month9Books @LeighStatham @shaila_writes @rrsmythe

Hey Guys!

Fantasy is alive and well in the South. The awesome @quailridgebooks   will host a panel of regional fantasy authors, writing for children and YA audiences. Join us on Saturday, July 15, at 6:30 pm for a look at recent or upcoming releases and to talk about what makes great fantasy. Ya’ll know Southern Gothic is my favorite!

Aspiring writers, bring us your questions!

 

North Hills 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road RaleighNC 27609

Featuring speakers:

You can find more info about the authors on the Quail Ridge Books website here:

**** Pssst ….  if you’re headed for Raleigh SuperCon that weekend, our booth is No 533.

Can’t wait to see you there!


That’s right, the cover reveal for Fearless (Nameless #3) by Jennifer Jenkins is finally here!@chapterxchapter @Month9Books @authorjenkins

Here it is guys, the final cover in Jennifer Jenkin’s NAMELESS trilogy. I’m so excited to share this with you today!

Congratulations, Jennifer. Can you believe the day is finally here?  !!!!

 

 

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Fearless (Nameless #3) by Jennifer Jenkins

presented by Month9Books!

Be on the look out for this upcoming YA title!

What do you think of the cover?

 

 

 

In exactly twenty-three days, Gryphon will offer his life to Chief Barnabas in exchange for the lives of his best friend and mess brothers. Until then, he must keep his plans from Zo while avoiding the Wolves of the Allied Camp. But Gryphon is not the only one harboring secrets. To spare her own life, Zo has made a blood oath promising to help the Kodiak Clan free their families living as Nameless slaves. When Gryphon learns the truth — that the peaceful life he’d planned for Zo is not secure — he divulges a secret that will give the Allies the upper hand against the Ram.

Now, The Great Move is underway and a final battle between the Wolf, Ram, Kodiak and Raven cannot be stopped. Strength will be tested. Loyalties will be questioned. Alliances will form. In a world of uncertainty and danger, Zo and Gryphon may finally have what they’ve each always wanted.

 

Fearless (Nameless #3) by Jennifer Jenkins
Publication Date: October 2017
Publisher: Month9Books

 

 

 

With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid). Visit her online at jajenkins.com

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |Instagram

 


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

 

 

 


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


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:

 

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