Romance Reviews

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Crimson Romance

Crimson Romance
For the best in romance, from sweet to naughty!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest Post: Author Shelley Workinger + Giveaway

Today at Tink's Place, please welcome Shelley Workinger, author of Solid and a brand new addition to her series, Settling. Both are excellent YA reads about a mysterious genetic experiment, cover ups, and what happens when they're found out, and it's surrounded by the US Army and one crazed scientist. Join Calliope's gang to discover more! 

Ms. Workinger is an andie author who has found her niche.

Welcome Shelley!!

Today Shelley is going to share some of her thoughts about reading and the love for it. Why we choose to read, what makes us desire to read. So, please help me welcome Shelley to Tink's Place!

The very first time I talked to a newspaper reporter about “Solid,” she asked me if I was a big reader in junior high and high school – the age group I was writing for. I know I shocked her by answering, “No.”

It’s not like I didn’t like books; it was the opposite, in fact – I loved reading until I reached the age where the required reading at school was both so massive and, frankly, so boring, that the last thing I wanted to do was pick up another book in my free time when I was sure it’d no better than the rest.

Things have definitely changed since then; digital formats make so many more titles accessible (I lived nowhere near a bookstore); the blogosphere is filled with targeted suggestions (I had no resource to help me find stuff I’d like); and teachers and schools have changed tack in a big way. My friend that teaches high school English assigns books like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “The Book Thief,” along with the less-painful classics, like “The Great Gatsby.” I feel that a lot of people in my generation came to the same conclusion that I did – you foster the love of reading by introducing kids to books they’ll love, not massive tomes of ye olde torture – and are doing something about it.

I also think it’s important for staunch proponents of sticking to the same old standards to know that just because many new YA reads are fun and fast, it doesn’t mean they’re dumbed down. I might even argue the opposite, actually! I know that details that yank you out of the narrative – How can that character be using a Droid in 2009 when it didn’t come out until 2010? – get me every time, and I think young adults are the quickest to catch those kinds of slips, which keeps me on my toes! Maybe that’s even one reason why some readers are so reluctant – they don’t always trust the writer, or feel that he or she is really writing for them. Just because I didn’t know anything about chromosomes and bandwidths when I started writing didn’t mean the readers wouldn’t, and I worked to make sure that even though my story was highly improbable, it was not impossible.

I’ve been thrilled with the feedback I’ve received for both “Solid” and “Settling,” and I do hope readers see how seriously I consider their thoughts and time and how the series is very much being written for them.

Now, Shelley would like one lucky reader to have the opportunity to read her new novel, Settling. If you'd like to give it a try, leave a comment. If you're a blog follower, leave a comment for an extra entry. Follow me on Networked Blog to pick up another entry. It's an excellent read!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 46

Good Morning to all the aficionados of Flash Fiction!!

It just happens to be Monday morning again, and this weekend our friend and fellow aficionado, Blodeuedd, sent me some AWESOME Finnish images to use!!  Sweet, right!?!  So for this mornings flash prompt, I've chosen one of the fabulous images!

I hope everyone enjoys the images.... I know I've used different images in the past to try to mix up how we write about, what we're drawn to, and believe me when I saw, we've never had anything like this image before.  I'll be anxiously waiting to see what everyone comes up with.... after what the image produced from me last week, I'm almost afraid to try again, lol!!

It's almost a classical beauty, and when I saw it, I said to myself, this one has so many possibilities.

The rules remain the same, 350 words or there about, and come back Friday to post a response.


(I can already wait to see the pictures to begin rolling out of New York City and RWA2011!! Wish I was going.... too cool.... but next year is in Chicago. I'm definitely going to try to go.... checking the tea leaves for predictions!!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sassy Sunday Story Starter.... One Week Late.....

I haven't participated in Sassy's SSSS in a while because I've been too freaking busy, lol. But, I decided to give this one a try because when I was over on her blog, I immediately knew how the story was going to evolve. Took less than thirty minutes, lol.... Last week's prompt was from L.P. Robinson (which I ever so slightly edited to pm instead of am).

One More Night
by: Dottie Taylor
Work Count:  525

At 10:00 pm, I arrived at 220 Jackson Lane and found the body of a teenaged boy wrapped in a blanket and hidden in the basement. His name is...

I checked the log sheet, Luis McEnberry, fifteen years old. I scrubbed a hand across my forehead, it was a bitch being the assistant medical examiner for LeRoy County. Doc Lassy never came out in the middle of the night.

Squatting down next to the body, I looked over at the police photographer, and he nodded his head.

“Hey Nic, this is a bitch of a night, ain't it?”

“Yeah Paulie it is, I could've lived forever without another one of these calls.”

“Fuck, me too. You ready ta see the body?”

“I guess so... hey Mark, get you ass over here.”

My assistant slouched over, barely more than a teenager himself. I motioned for him to help me lift the blanket, sliding it into it's own garbage size baggie.

“Man, Doc, I hate this shit... These latex gloves make me itch.”

“Shut up Mark, on three we roll the body.”

“Whatever you say Doc.”

“Three!” We eased the body over, and the photographer stood quickly, snapping a few more photos. I motioned for him to take a close up. There were odd markings on his neck.

Suddenly, the body sat up, shivered violently, then started kicking and gasping like a fish out of water.

I hadn't yet touched the body long enough to feel for a pulse, but someone's ass was going to get kicked, and I hoped it wouldn't be mine.

Hurriedly, I leaned in and grabbed the boy's shoulders. “I need 5cc's of eppy now!”

Mark jumped up and looked at me, “Shit Doc, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about!” He stepped back, “this motherfucker's still alive!”

I motioned to the medical kit, and he shoved it toward me. Grabbing the quickpin, I jabbed the kid's thigh with the eppy pin, hoping to stimulate his breathing. As he started to relax in my grip, I felt his carotid, no pulse. What the fuck was going on?!?

His raspy voice whispered from his punctured throat, “What's happening to me?”

Suddenly, he grabbed my wrist, pulling it to his mouth. He sniffed the flesh before ripping through it and squeezing it in a death grip against his mouth. “Mmmmm, I want...”

Distantly, I heard a scream, and then another, and I realized it was me. Jerking my arm away, gore covered his mouth. He heaved a huge sigh, and jumped to his feet, horrified. “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO ME???” He flashed up the stairs, and I heard the door being torn from the house.

There was a mad dash of activity, APB's sent out, radios squawking, as I sank to the ground, holding my bloodied wrist. As I watched the blood coagulated, the burning eased. One of the cops wrapped it, trying to push me toward the ambulance, but I brushed him off. I could see the wound had already healed.

“I'm fine, I'll come by in the morning to make a statement.” As casually as I could, I walked to my car and slide behind the wheel, before the shivering started. I had to get home. What the hell was going on?

Well, see what I mean, 30 minutes to finish (it took longer to do the posting, lol)... and vampires.... yay!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 45, The Friday Post

I'm late, and I almost didn't post my response because.... it is strange, lol!  But, since it's already written, I'll post it anyway.

Death and Desire
by: Dottie Taylor
word count: 535

She stood at the edge of the precipice, embracing what lay ahead of her. One more step, and maybe this time, it would be over. One more step. All of it. Finished, she prayed. She looked out into the great abyss of nothingness. She edged her foot closer, then the other, until her toes hung over the edge.

She wouldn't go back, couldn't go back. The dead laughed at her, mocked her with their eagerness. She could hear them whispering, even now. “Go ahead, girl, go ahead. We dare you.” Their laughing voices whispered in her ear. “We want you to.” She brushed her ear across her shoulder, wiping away the uncleanliness left in it's wake. She squeezed her eyes tightly closed. Her long black hair a blanket to hide her soul.

Again, their voices whispered, “You can't, can you? Come back, girl,” they mocked with their sneering whispers, “come back to our comfort.”

“No.” She shook her head, she would and she could. She'd show them. “No, I'm free, I'll never come back.” She edged closer still to the precipice, leaning out into the fog that tickled her flesh.

She pressed her palms to the entrance way, lifting the length of her gown. The fog felt alive, groping her with smoky fingers, plucking at her skirt, drawing her further still, pulling her body into oblivion. She twisted back and looked over her shoulder. In the shadows, she could see the eyes that glowed maliciously, only for her. “No.”

She closed her eyes and leaned into the first step of forever, and followed it with another. Briefly, she felt herself hanging in the air. A scream broke from her lips as she fell, and all too soon, it was over. The ground met her body, slamming into it causing the air to puff out of her lungs in a “huff”. For a few moments, she fought to cling to life. Then, with the release of a stuttering breath, she died.


Gradually, she opened her eyes, finding herself in a fragrant bed of Summer wildflowers. Sitting up, she rubbed her eyes. Bees buzzed through the flower heads, a fat beetle crawled across a pulpy leaf. She looked around for the others, and found herself reclining on a beach, the hot rays of the sun burning her pallid skin as the ocean broke over the sand. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, she found herself in a great hall, surrounded by the others. They backed away from her with reverence, even as their hands were drawn like moths to a flame, brushing along her body. She shrunk back away from their intimate caresses.

“She's come!”

“She's here!”

“Release us!” They cried.

She walked through the parting crowd, up the stairs to find herself on the precipice looking down. She twisted back, looking over her shoulder. The others were gone, but the glowing eyes remained. “No.” She told the eyes. And once again, she leaned out from the precipice, stepping away. They were depending on her, maybe this time release would be found.

This was her curse. This was her existence. An endless cycle with a broken promise.

Okkkkaaaayyyy.... so I managed another entry....weird as it is, LOL!!

Remember to come back Monday for another edition of.....

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge

(and I promise to be much lighter this time...)

Have a great weekend!! (and Lea... I know you're preparing for NYC... have a great time!!)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Settling by Shelley Workinger (ARC Review)

Publisher:  CreateSpace/Shelley Workinger
Pages:  242

Release Date:  July 4, 2011

From the Cover:

At the beginning of the summer, Clio Kaid was one of a hundred teens brought to a secret Army installation.

But it was no ordinary camp and they weren’t ordinary kids…

Soon after learning they were the products of a secret genetic experiment, the teens began developing super-abilities ranging from bounding lightness to blocking heaviness; blinding brilliance and the ability to vanish. These same gifts made them targets of a psychopath in officer’s clothing, and they found themselves fighting for their lives.

Picking up where “Solid” left off, Clio and her friends realize that they aren’t ready to go home; they’re determined to stay on campus and continue their journey of self- discovery. But someone doesn’t feel the same way and will do anything to drive them away – even kill.

Friendships will be tested, abilities will evolve, and more secrets will come out as the teens race to stop the killer before he sets his sights on one of them…

Clio, Calliope Kaid, seems to have everything working for her. She's found her niche, even if it's at an Army installation because some whacked out Army doc on a power high corrupted her genome, like everyone else at the camp. She has the most awesome guy in camp as her boyfriend. Not that she and all of her friends at the camp haven't had the lives screwed up, having to deal with the aftermath of the CX9 experiment Dr. Heigl put their pregnant mothers through. Now, they've all discovered these special abilites... the stars, the jocks, the heavies, and the stealths, each with their own unique ability. And, they've decided to keep the camp open, let the kids attend school there. A place where they fit in.

But, something else is happening to Clio, something she can't explain. She's angry when she doesn't need to be. She finds herself attracted to Ford, Lt. Graham when she really shouldn't be, especially with the awesomely hot Jack waiting for her. What the heck is going on with her?

Then, Dr. Larson (who doesn't really have any fans at the camp) is murdered, placing everyone under suspicion. Do they have another killer hidden within their ranks?

Settling by Shelley Workinger is an excellent follow up to Solid. The characters are well developed, and I found myself liking them as much in this book as I had in the last. (Except I wanted to kick Clio in the patootie.) For me, the story seemed a little slower paced than the first book, but I think that's because I already knew all the characters, and the plot unfolded in a way that I didn't think it would go. All in all, I very much enjoyed Settling. It tells the next part of Clio's life and summer at the New Jersey Army Installation. There's so much we don't know about that's going on in those massive buildings, and I wanted to grab one of the kids, and demand to explore. And why do they need blood draws, if the Army is only trying to figure out how Doctor Demento's work (Heigl) then one draw should be enough, right? Is the Army hiding something up their sleeves? All questions I'll be looking to Book #3 for answers.

Settling is a YA paranormal romance/fantasy about what can go wrong during an unauthorized experimentation. If you a fan to preternatural storylines, give this Indie author a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed, I know I wasn't. I think Settling could be read as a stand alone, but I think you'd get a much better feel for the characters, their backgrounds, and connections (as well as the abilities) if you read Solid, Book 1 and follow it with Settling, Book 2.  I recommend this book to YA lovers, PRN and UF lovers, and fantasy lovers, something for everyone. For now, I'll be patiently waiting to read Book 3, I'm left wondering where this story will go next. Also, everyone please stop back by my blog on June 28, 2011. Ms. Workinger will be here to tell us a little more about her series and to hold a giveaway. Mark your calendars!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer TV ~ Who knew?

I've been watching a few of the new limited edition Summer TV shows (mainly because it has been stinking hot here, like the breath of Satan hot). But, lets face it, Summer TV viewage is usually lacking. This Summer, I've been pleasantly surprised, though it's still earlier in the viewing season and I'm easily fooled. Believe me, I don't have time to watch them all, but I don't sleep as much as I used to either....

Teen Wolf on MTV

Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) is a newly bitten were in this series where hunters exist as well as Lacrosse. MTV is making it's foray into teen TV, NOT based in a reality show format. I've been enjoying it, glad see MTV offering something besides teen reality shows. BooYa!

Falling Skies on TNT

Professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) leads a resistance band known as 2nd Mass as weird insectile looking alien race reins down on the Earth. Favorite line..."They can be killed, you just have to get in close." TNT has offered others shows, but it their first foray into a SciFi based fantasy, surprisingly good. Steven Spielberg directs.

Franklin & Bash on TNT

Franklin (Breckin Meyer) & Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) are lawyers with an irreverence for the law. It isn't strictly comedy, and certainly not drama, but together Franklin and Bash are proving to be humorous.

Suits on USA

Suits hasn't actually premiered yet (June 23), but it's USA's answer to Franklin & Bash, but with more drama, and some comedy. It's one I'm hoping pans out.

The Nine Live of Chloe King on ABC Family

Chloe King (Skyler Samuels) discovers the cat-like abilities after falling to her death. She's the descendent of an ancient shifting race called Mai. Her adoptive family brought her from the Ukraine. So far, lite and somewhat fluffy, but promises more. I'll keep watching.

Some old stand bys:

Covert Affairs on USA

Anne Wilkes (Piper Perabo) and Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham) team up for a second year as CIA operatives. Fun action/adventure, I enjoy this one last year, peeking in again this year.

Burn Notice on USA

Michael Weston (Jeffery Donovan) and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) bring us the fifth season of the action/adventure/spies gone wild show. Lets see if they can keep the show fresh, it's a past favorite for me. A covert operative gets burned, assets frozen and unable to leave Miami where trouble seems to find him. He must right the wrongs, plus he can use the cash.

White Collar on USA

Criminal Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) fight crime in a whole new way in this third season series. I love Neal's Sinatra-esque suits, ties, and hats. Again, a show with a little irreverence and more drama. And I have to admit, Matt Bomer looks cute in the skinny ties.

Shows Yet to Come, But Highly Anticipated!

Eureka on Syfy

Can't wait to see what the inhabitants of the world biggest small town have in store for us this season, starts July 11.

Trueblood on HBO

Trueblood resumes this Sunday (June 26)... I love Sookie and the gang... waiting, anticipating, salivating...

Alphas on Syfy

Having high hopes for this one, hoping it's not Heroes Redux..... (July 11)

The great thing about all of these shows are that the networks show them over and over again throughout the week, and seeing how I never have time to actually sit down and watch, I usually pick up the rerun late at night (you know, when insomnia as been known to reign, we're close friends... not good friends...). So, between running around with the kids, reading in the car, and watching TV in the middle of the night... my Summer's been quite full.... well, not really, but what are you going to do?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moon Spun, Book 3, The Unbidden Magic Series by Marilee Brothers

Publisher:  Bell Bridge Books
Pages:  246

(Released:  July 1, 2010)

From the Cover:

Junior's back from Mexico with his movie-star entourage. Beck's using his half-demon charms to "heal" a new girl. Mom's still wacky and now she's dating Principal Hostetler. High school is still an obstacle course of drama queens, bullies and nutjobs. The Trimarks are still a menace, and the moonstone pendant has revealed even more mind-boggling powers.

In other words, Allie Emerson's life as the Girl Voted Least Likely To Save The World From Evil has gone from Weird to Super-Charged Super-Weird, and it's about to get even weirder. You're a faery princess. So says the mysterious Ryker, whose handsome talents include turning himself into a hawk. By the way, he and Allie are destined to marry. In faery land--Boundless. If they can save it from forces even more deadly than Trimarks and high school.

The third book in the Unbidden Magic series plunges readers into a rich other-world of danger, humor, romance, fable, fairytale and magical destiny. 

Excerpt from the author's website:

If you thought Allie’s life couldn’t get any more complicated...

As I followed Ryker into the faery kingdom he called Boundless, the ground beneath us began to shake, and a voice that sounded like living thunder boomed, “You dare to bring this mortal into our world?”

I clapped my hands over my ears, frantically looking around for the source of the fearsome noise. Oh, this can’t be good, Allie. I made a move toward Ryker. Strangely, he was grinning like crazy and pointed to the pool and waterfall. “Over there.”

I took a cautious step forward. All at once, something burst from the water, reared back and let loose with an ear-splitting bellow so frightening, I screamed in terror. The ground shook harder. Or maybe it was my legs. I froze in my tracks, even though my brain said, “Run, Allie, Run!”
The creature looked like a humongous black horse with moss-covered green scales growing out of its back, flaring nostrils and water weeds tangled in its flowing mane. Its mouth was open, exposing large, slime-green teeth.

“What... is... that... thing?” I gasped.

 “Allie, meet Uncle Davey. Uncle Davey, this is Allie,” Ryker said calmly, as if I’d been invited for Sunday dinner to meet and greet the family.

In this installment of the Unbidden Magic Series, Allie Emerson's life takes on a whole new meaning.  And it's almost unbelievable, if you didn't know Allie that is. It seems in this continuation of the story that Allie, for the first time ever, get to meet her grandmother.  And she nothing like what she's expecting.  Most peoples grandmothers are sweet little old ladies who like baking cookies. Not so with Allie's grandmother.  She a Faery Queen, and Allie is a Faery Princess destined to marry another faery, Ryker.

All this as Junior strolls back into her life, some Mexican movie God complete with an entourage, and Beck decides to pay a visit... can things get anymore complicated? And not only that.... Principal Hostetler's son isn't who he appears to be... it seems Faery has paid a visit before.

Moon Spun by Marilee Brothers is the continuation of Allie's adventures, and this one is wilder than all the others. Allie has always wondered about her grandmother, her own mother hardly mentions her, but Allie can tell, it part of the reason why Fay is the way she is. When Ryker shows up, blazing down the world on his motorcycle, Allie doesn't know what to think.  He's bold, taking her for a ride, even though Fay would have a stroke.  But when Ryker tells her they have to return to some mystical wonderland called Boundless, to save it if they can, Allie is up to her eyes in trouble once again.

Moon Spun is the third installment in this series that keeps growing.  Allie is off on another wild adventure, and just so she doesn't miss anything important, Faery magic allows her to freeze time, at least temporarily. She doesn't want Fay to worry and end up thinking Allie has left her to her own devices.  This is one series that everyone will enjoy reading, there's action, adventure, myths and legend of Faery long since lost.  If you have the opportunity, this is an excellent series for the young reader, just becoming enchanted with books as well as some adults, still willing to remember high school, cliches, and dastardly antics. It's a fun filled adventure story that was hard to put down.  All YA paranormal romance lovers should give this one a peek.  Perfect reading on those lazy Winter afternoon when you can't escape the house, and I guess that would hold true for Summer as well.

I received this ebook from the publisher, Belle Bridge Books.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 45

Okay.... had to go to the doctor today with my hubby.... he has to go to the dermatologist once a year and today was it! But, we live in a itty bitty rural area, so we have to travel to Springfield to go. It feels like an all day adventure by the time we drive, have lunch, shop a little, and drive home. So, a late edition of...

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge!

I hope everyone has been enjoying these little challenges!  I've had fun playing along, and I hope we can continue them!

Today's image is one I found on the most awesome Michelle's facebook photo album! Yay Michelle!

So, have fun with this one!  I hope I have time to write, so many ideas swirling around!!

The rules remain the same, somewhere around 350 and come back Friday to post a response!

Ciao Bella!!

PS:  Carina Press is having a week of free ebook giveaways!  Check out their facebook page and while you're there, LIKE it, lol!  Then look for the post for the free code, (it's really, really free!!) Also J.K. Coi has the WHOLE list of what books will be free this week, check out her blog, here!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 44, The Friday Post

Well, this is actually Saturday, but Friday was too busy to be online much. But, with everyone sleeping in after Relay for Life yesterday, I have a few moments to myself. Here's my response to the challenge. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. (I'll be by to see what everyone else came up with... my take is probably waaaaay out there, lol!)

The Becoming
By Dottie Taylor
Word Count 980

Zoe didn't know where she was. What was happening to her, why? She'd woke in the middle of the canopy darkened forest. Green shadows moved around her, but no one answered her calls. She tried calling out again, she could sense the presence, but couldn't see it.

“Is anyone there? Please help me, I'm trapped!” When she had awoken, her body had been encased in forest debris, and she couldn't break free, and the more she struggle, the tighter the forest's hold became. She'd been out on an overnight camping trip with friends, suddenly they were gone.

Around her, the forest nymphs were her only witnesses, and they weren't freeing the monster, no matter how much she blubbered. The forest held her in it's embrace for a reason. They had to live here, the last thing they needed was the forest angry with them.

Still, one stood apart, different from the others, watching the human writhing on the forest floor. Nerling had been waiting a long time for the forest to claim it's own.

He watched for as long as he could before creeping closer, kneeling on the forest floor, finally whispering into her ear. “Hello human. Have you come to fulfill the prophecy?”

Zoe's head whipped around trying to see where the voice came from, who it belonged to. “I don't know anything about a prophecy!” She twisted, “Can you cut these branches?” She looked around bewildered, fear showed in her eyes.

“Better not,” he looked up at the canopy. “I could never... the trees, the pain, but you wouldn't know.” He smiled indulgently, and looked down at the girl. “What's your name human?” His baritone resonated throughout her body.

“I'll only tell you if you let me free.” Zoe twisted as far as the branches allowed, but still couldn't see the body that belonged to the voice.

Nerling looked up again, and the trees shifted, glowering. He'd stay out of their business. “Don't you know why you're here?” He longed to stroke her bark colored tresses spilling around her, mesmerized by the smooth pale flesh calling to him. Instead, he stood to leave her, to let her become. “I'd better go.”

“No! Please stay! My name is Zoe, and I have no idea why I'm here. I was camping, and woke up here.” She sobbed red tears, and the branches squeezed her closer in their hug.

“The trees... he started, but stopped. Here,” he crept closer, opening his hand, “take this. It will help you see.”

For the first time, Zoe saw her would be savior. He had slightly pointed ears, skin the color of a fall leaf with dark hair that fell in waves across his shoulders. His clothes, made almost entirely of fallen leaves, covered his well-muscled limbs. The rich timber of his octaves called to her, but she still didn't understand what was happening.

Before he turned away, she asked, “What's your name?”

As he made to leave, he glanced back, one last time, unable to resist the temptation of letting her rich tresses fall through his fingers. “Nerling.” Then he strode away, vanishing into the trees.

Gingerly, Zoe moved her hand until her palm faced her. In her palm lay the gift bestowed by Nerling, a small bottle of amber liquid. When she saw the liquid, she sensed it growing with life. She wanted to release and at the same time, embrace it. She moved her hand to bring the bottle to her parched lips, and the trees above her sighed with approval. She could move her hands with less restrictions, making it easier to remove the cork, to release the amber fluid. Whatever was happening, this seemed to appease her need and the canopy's above.

As the lip of the bottle rested against her chafed lips, she tipped it up, and the fluid flowed between her lips, quenching her parched desires.

Almost instantly the forest released it's grip, and she was free to move once more. But, where she had struggled for release, now she felt the need to stay, to become something greater than herself.

It was then she heard the whispering, or had it been there the whole time?

“Welcome, Zoe of the Tree Clan, come and meet your family.” She moved through and within the trees, branches caressing her flesh, leaves brushed up and down the smooth skin of her arms. Where the branches touched, her flesh tingled. Where the leaves traced, her skin became washed with their pulpy flesh. Though she spent her entire life amongst the human race; this was her true home, she could see it now.

From between the pebbled trunks, Nerling watched as Zoe grew to become part of the Tree Clan. One who could walk alongside man, but within the trees, her body willingly molded to them, giving and taking. It was beautiful, he decided as his eyes appraised her. She was wondrous and strong. She would make an excellent protector.

When she was surrounded by the trees, hair flowing like the leaves from the branches carried with the breeze, he spoke once more. “Zoe TreClan, welcome to your home.”

She gazed with wide eyes glowing with knowledge, “Nerling Greenman, thank you for your kindness.”

Prior to disappearing completely, he looked back with a grin. “It's my job.” He was much taller than she originally thought, his eyes a dark hunter green. “I'll be seeing you Zoe TreClan.” For a moment, he came closer, and he reached out. His long fingers brushed her lips. They were rough, but not unpleasant.

Before she could question him further, he vanished as if never there. Zoe lifted a fleeting hand, amazed by everything that was happening to her. How or why, she didn't know, but this was her true family and home. It was her job, to make her way within mankind, to work to save her new family. Zoe TreClan was a warrior.

Remember to join us again on Monday for another Flash Fiction Challenge!

Ciao!  Have a great rest of the weekend!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Pages:  272

(Released:  April 12, 2011)

From the Cover:


In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

The Enclave is a hard life with castes, the Builders who keep the enclave in repair, the Breeders who insure the survival of their tribe, and the Hunters who protect and feed those who live within the enclave. 

She used to be Girl15 but with her naming, she became Deuce. She has two friends who survived to be named, Stone and Thimble. They have their places, and now she has hers. Now all she has to do is prove herself. Prove that she's the Huntress she's been trained to be. Her first partner is the outcast, the boy found wandering the tunnels, more than a little feral. No one knows his age or where he came from, only that he has a great fighting prowess, Fade to those who dwell in the tunnels.

With their only they're second assignment, they find a blind brat from the Nassau enclave, and he claims Freaks have surrounded them. As punishment for breaking protocol, Fade and Deuce are sent to Nassau for recon. They find only Freaks, fat on the remnants of the Nassau tribe, the brat spoke the truth. With their escape, the Burrowers find them, another race living off the tunnels, warning them that they're being tracked. When Deuce and Fade return to the Enclave, no one wants to hear about the Freaks, the loss of Nassau, or that the Freaks are apparently hunting them, with a new intelligence glowing in their blood red eyes.
When Stone is accused of hoarding, the worst crime that can be committed in the Enclave, it's a setup to keep Deuce quite. But, honor and love of her friend refuse to let him suffer for a crime he didn't commit. Now, Deuce and Fade have been sentenced to banishment, sent out into the tunnels to live. But, Fade has other ideas, making his way Topside, to his home, because if they stay in the tunnels, they face certain death either at the hands of Hunters or Freaks, neither a good choice.

But, other things wait for them in the brightness of daylight, none of them good. Now the question is what will get them first.... the Muties, the Gangers, or maybe the Plague and the reason for their cursed existence in the tunnels.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre is a fast pace YA urban fantasy that I had trouble putting down. It's one of the best books I've read in the YA horror/urban fantasy category since The Hunger Games. For some reason, life above ground has ceased, or at least we're lead to believe that's the case by Enclave elders. Who are the Enclaves, why are they in existence, why have the Enclavees been forced into this existence? The elders lead the readers to believe that humanity had to escape for some unknown or forgotten reasons, horribly devastating reasons nonetheless, and the above ground is only for those who wish death from burning rays and blistering rains. The only safety is found in the tunnels. Deuce has accepted everything the elders have told their Enclave, until she sees differently with her own eyes. The elders have become so enshrined in their lies, they've forgotten or refuse to believe the truth, not enough when one of their own brings it to them. For her pains, Deuce is threatened, punished, and as a final nail in the coffin to insure her silence, Stone is threatened with banishment. She can't watch it happen, not like the blind brat was killed or Banner's apparent suicide. She steps forward, claiming his punishment, and Fade as her partner, steps up with her. Both are banished. But, instead of accepting their fate, Fade leads them topside where a new life begins.

Enclave was a one sitting read, start to finish about four hours. I, like Deuce, couldn't believe my eyes when the elders denied the Freaks had overrun Nassau, when Banner's wrists were slashed, when Stone was accused of hoarding. If you looking for an apocalyptic read, this is your book! I loved the flow of the action, the dance of Deuce while in hunter mode, and as time goes on, she learns that no one is strictly one thing, people have many facets, and life is what you make of it. It's a hard lesson and it goes against everything she has known in her life. The Enclave is nothing like she has been led to believe, and it gets worse.

Ann Aguirre tells an awesome tail of wonder, life, and the unknown. If you're looking for a great summer read, YA or not, pick up Enclave, I don't think you'll be disappointed. But, be forewarned, gore, blood, and more are found within the pages. In my personal opinion, it's a great read, and I highly recommend it for the 13 and over crowd, might be a bit scary for the younger set. If you enjoy urban fantasy, the blossoming of young love, the heat of the battle, and shifted realities, this is the book for you. Enclave is a must read.

If you haven't seen the book trailer, you're missing out...

I received my copy for review from and the publisher, Feiwel & Friends. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  304

(Released:  April, 19, 2011)

From the Cover:

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess. 

Kate would do anything she could for her mother including moving from her beloved New York City to some no name town in Michigan. If only it bought her mother a few more days, if only it made her happy to see her childhood home once more. Kate would even promise to stay in this place, even after her death, if only it would make her mother smile. And it does, it seems to squeeze a little more life into her mother's eyes, if only temporarily.

But, the school sucks. Kate excels at not making friends, ties are the last thing she needs in her life. Only one boy can't seem the hint, and he becomes important in her life. James turns out to be the friend who'll comfort her when her mother takes a sudden turn for the worse.

Before she knows it, others are intruding into her solitary existence. Where it's only been her mother before, others seep into her life. When Ava invites her to a party, she has little choice but to go. But, Ava isn't trying to be her friend, she's trying to keep Kate from drawing the attention away from herself. Ava plans to ditch her in the middle of nowhere. But, Ava's plans go awry when instead of ditching Kate, she hits her head and dies, leaving Kate with little hope and alone, until Henry finds them. With a single thought, Ava is whole. Now the question remains, would he be able to do the same thing for Kate's mother?

When fall arrives, it's time for Kate to fulfill the bargain she made for Ava's life. She must go to Henry and remain with him until spring's arrival. If she refuses, Ava's life will be forfeited.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter is a wonderful take on the mythology surrounding Hades and Persephone. In this reality, Hades released Persephone from the underworld because she fell in love with a mortal. His love for her goes unmatched, and for a hundred years, the Gods try and fail to find her replacement. Someone is killing any mortal woman who might become Henry's mate and Queen, and he doesn't know why. But, Henry has vowed to end his own existence, to fade into the unknown, before another mortal woman can meet her end. His sister-Goddess, Diana, begs him not to fade, to give her one more chance to find him his match, and though he is dishearten, he agrees. There is only one possible way left. Into his life walks Kate, with a mother dying of cancer, without anyone else, as wanting as he is. What he sees in her eyes is someone who could pass the tests, become his mate, rule at his side, and possibly, take Persephone's place. She'll have to meet the Gods's tests, pass them all, to become a Goddess, immortal, and Henry/Hades's mate.

The Goddess Test was an excellent YA read, fast paced, drawing the reader deeper into the mythology of the story. I want to encourage all mythology lovers and YA lovers to pick this book up, the retelling is fantastic! The heroine, Kate, is a little older than the average at 18, but the story deals with the death of Persephone (the death of love), the death of Kate's mother (loss of a parent), and finding love (there is a brief sex scene when Henry and Kate fall under a spell). That leads to the 13 and over crowd, but other than these few brief scenes, it is an appropriate read for all ages, so, I'll leave it to a higher authority, lol. I love how the author develops her version of the story between Hades and Persephone. [If you know the story of Hades and Persephone, Hades abducted Persephone (some say willingly) and carried her off to the underworld. There, even though she knew better than to eat any underworld food or drink, she consumes six pomegranates (some say seeds, some say she was starved, some say again willingly). Demeter, Persephone's mother, becomes enraged and seeks Zeus's decree. He rules since Persephone ate six pomegranates, she would spend six months in the underworld, six months with her mother.] In Ms. Carter's world (as in the mythology) Henry/Hades truly loved Persephone, but here's the twist. Hades released Persephone from her obligatory underworld stay when he can't find a way to make her happy. She fell in love with a mortal, but to love a mortal, she has to become a mortal which means her eventual death. Henry cannot reign in the underworld unassisted, he must have a mate. Kate is the only likely candidate, and only if she survives where the others have not.

Aimee Carter creates a world where anything is possible, where Kate remains in the underworld for six months of the year, then released to the mortal world for the remaining six. Just like Persephone, she'll be in contact with other mortals, and we have yet to see where this will be lead in the story. She becomes attached to the people who make up her new world, and falls under the gorgeous Henry's spell. But, as she slips further into Henry's world and love, can he let her take Persephone's place in his heart? Can he forget a dead love to find a new one, living and breathing, wanting his love in return? Can Kate survive the true test of love? Will she remain Henry's or fall in love with a mortal as Persephone had? I fell in love with the characters in this story, one by one the Gods are revealed to be the people who make up Kate's new world, the Olympians. Personally, I don't look for an exact retelling of the mythos, that would be boring, and as I am such as lover of the mythos, I already know those stories. I want something new, someone else's take or possibilities, and that's what you'll find in The Goddess Test, an original story full of possibilities. To all lovers of mythology, this is an excellent addition to the growing genre. YA lovers will want to give this one a try, it's a most excellent retelling. Paranormal romances lovers will find an endearing tale of love lost and found. The Goddess Test is another to add to the growing list of must reads. The next in the series, Goddess Interrupted, will follow in January 2012.

From the Cover:

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she'll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

OMG!!!  I so want to read this!!!

I received my copy for review from NetGalley and the publisher, Harlequin Teen. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 44

Well, I've done it again! It's evening and I'm just getting around to firing up my computer!! I mean it was on all day, I just wasn't home to enjoy a relaxing day playing. (I really thought once the kids got out of school, I'd have more time for.... I don't know....EVERYTHING! I was so wrong.... now all I do is catering to three kids! LOL (all teenagers too!) Oh well, I love it! We've been running around, it's cooled off here for a few days, so we've been enjoying it. But, it's time for flash fiction!

This is another one of those weeks when I was torn, but I finally chose this one. I hope everyone enjoys it, and I hope I have time to write for it (unlike lately.... I haven't had time for anything!!) But there are so many possibilities with this image!

The rules remain the same... 350 words (or somewhere around there), and come back Friday to post a response.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Half Inch by McCarty Griffin

Publisher:  McCarty Griffin / Smashwords
Pages:  67

From the Cover:

Pammy has had enough of Bobby, her abusive drunk of a husband. One lovely spring day, she decides to kill him, despite the fact that they will soon be divorced and he will, at least in the eyes of the law, be out of her life for good. Indulging in homicidal daydreams for years has led her to devise her own perfect and completely bizarre plan.

Pammy has suffered for twelve long years at Bobby's hands, before he decided to leave her. And instead of questioning why, all she can do thank her lucky stars. But, when it comes time for dividing up the assets she has earned with the scars on her body, Bobby balks.  

Even though it is he who wants out of fruitless marriage, he'll be damned if he gives Pammy the barest of considerations, even if it has been she who has suffered the beatings, bruising, and broken bones.  

It all comes to a head for Pammy, when Bobby thinks he's going to take the only thing that is rightfully Pammy's, her childhood home left to her with the death of her mother.

Half Inch by McCarty Griffin is a short novella of a marriage gone terribly wrong. But, it's Bobby's deficit personality, his abusive nature, his lack of human capacity for true emotion that drives Pammy to the point of breaking psychologically.  That's when her inner voice takes over, driving Pammy to make plans and come up with contingencies to remove Bobby permanently from her life. And, to her inner voice's delight, it's about time.

Half Inch is a quick little read, about a little more than an hour's worth of time. It reaches is conclusion with an ending where the reader maybe isn't surprised, but certainly fooled.  Pammy's ultimate plans are foiled by Bobby even from the grave.  Thriller/chillers lovers may want to take a look at this one, though short, it's fulfilling.  I found myself hoping Pammy's plan succeeded, even if I did think her a little whiny, but then, I didn't have to put up with her abusive husband either.

I received this ebook for review from the author.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Memories of Murder by Lara Nance

Publisher:  Crescent Moon Press
Pages:  302

(Release Date:  March 1, 2011)

From the Cover:

When Maeve McKenna renounces her witch powers and accepts a low-key nurse practitioner position at a Virginia retirement community, the last thing she expects is a suicide her first day on the job. As the town's sexy sheriff, Paul Sutton, starts looking into the tragic death of his father's friend, Maeve can't help but get involved--with both the case and him.

Their informal investigation unveils an old journal that connects the ruins of a nearby asylum and long-forgotten cemetery with the shiny new retirement community's memory unit--and Maeve's Alzheimer's patients. Maeve senses a sinister presence in the old asylum, calling to the patients, but in order to stop it from killing again, she must first conquer some demons of her own and reclaim the magic she's denied herself.

Maeve has bound her powers. She never thought she'd be able hurt anyone, never imagining her powers would be strong enough to kill.  After months of healing from the attack and the ordeal with mother, Opal, at their Savannah home, along the Gems, Aunt Ruby and Aunt Pearl, she's ready to face life on her own.  But, her life is going to take a new direction.  She accepts a position as nurse practitioner at a retirement community in the small town of Rolling Gap.  And, already, things aren't looking up. On her first day, she witnesses a suicide.  She came for quiet and finds turmoil.

Golden Acres, as it is fondling called by the townies, has a sordid past that comes back to haunt this newbie to community.  A one-time asylum resided on the grounds, as well as a cemetery where the remains rest of those who died while locked away in the cruel asylum with it's sadistic doctor.

Paul Sutton, now sheriff of Rolling Gap, takes over for his father when he suffers from early onset of Alzheimer's.  His dementia and decline happen rapidly, and George Sutton becomes a resident of Golden Acres.  Paul discovers a case his father was working with Nellie Dunbar, Rolling Gap's local crazy.  Her great-grandmother was one of those lost to the cruelties of the asylum but she convinces George to investigate the old asylum, and Paul takes over.  But, Maeve becomes involved in the case when things don't add up, and Paul finds himself draw to the nurse practitioner.  Can he accept Maeve with her witchy abilities?  Can Maeve accept Paul's attention after her attack and near rape?

Memories of Murder by Lara Nance is a paranormal romance / romantic suspense centered around a century old asylum.  Though most of the asylum is gone, the main building still houses the dementia unit of Golden Acres, and the cemetery remains hidden on the grounds somewhere.  After Maeve experiences strange occurrences, she decides to investigate the asylum, if for nothing else than to bring peace to Nellie.  She encourages Paul, and after a couple of supernatural accidents, he's convinced he needs to follow through with the investigation too.  He soon discovers Maeve's secret she's hiding.  All this time, Maeve's family (Opal, Ruby, and Pearl) take up residence in Rolling Gap after some ominous premonitions and Pearl's odd vision of events yet to come.  They've come to help, offering protection for Maeve and Paul as well as their abilities to excise the evil surrounding Golden Acres.

Memories of Murder is an exciting paranormal romantic suspense with a heroine, Maeve, who isn't sure of herself anymore, not since killing her attacker.  Could she accidentally lose control, could she kill again?  Instead of finding out, she binds her magic away, right at the time she might need it the most.  Paul, the hero of our story, finds himself trapped in the small town where he grew up.  He thought his life belonged to military, instead, he's the new sheriff of his hometown.  Neither character has ended up where they thought their lives would be.  But, together, each comes to realize that they're just where their supposed to be, where they're needed the most, where they want to be.

Memories of Murder was a quick little read, turning pages filled with magic and suspense.   Celtic magic mixes with a sickness long existing from the old asylum.  A long forgotten heritage begging for release, loves lost and found, and a mystery to be solved.  An excellent read to warm chilly nights or heat up those air conditioned summer afternoons.  I recommend this read to a variety of readers, paranormal romance lovers, romantic suspense lovers, and magic lovers will all want to give this enticing little read a try.  I very much enjoyed it.

I received my ebook for review from the author.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 43

I don't know about anyone else, but it was a long weekend here at the Taylor ranchero... I've been reading Dakota Cassidy's posting's on facebook.... vampire cowboys.... sure does sound yummy to me!! LOL And it made me want to search for an image I hope we'll all enjoy.

So, that must mean it's time for .....
The Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge!!

The image really doesn't have anything to do with vampires, but it does remind me of one of my favorite author's book covers.... and I wondered if image wasn't one he's used. If you read this author, you'll know exactly what I mean. But, the image is fantastic, and it's as close to a cowboy as I'm ever going to get, lol!! It really enjoyed it, and I hope you to do.

So.... what do you think? I've been trying to find images that aren't similar to what we have been using, and this one looked interesting... it really does remind me of a book cover, it might actually be part of one. But, I hope it inspires all the flash fiction writers out there!!

The rules remain the same.... 350 words and come back Friday to post a response. But, most of all, have fun and let your creative juices flow!!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 41

Okay, this is a week late, but I really loved this image, and wanted to write for it!!

 King Once More
By Dottie Taylor
Word Count:  990

Katrina stood behind the angry man who, at one time, she gazed upon with adoring eyes.

As he glared at his court, everyone shivered with anticipation and dread. Katrina wondered who would be next accused? She eased up behind her King and Majesty, gently touching his shoulder. “MiLord,” she breathed with a whisper, “come, MiLord, it is time to rest for the evening.” She hoped to spare those he surveyed one more night.

Without standing, he twisted around, giving her his piercing black eyes. “Do you presume to know the King's mind?” She felt her face coloring.

She glanced down at her feet, willing them to escape his steadfast stare, “No MiLord, I only wish to offer his Majesty the comfort of his bed.” Almost unwillingly, her hand reached out with shaky confidence, offering to take his.

“Aye, MiLady, and is the rarity of the Queen's comfort being offered as well?”

She tried not to shudder, once she had loved this man. She still did, he had to be there somewhere. “Of course, Majesty, I am your willing slave.”

For a moment, she glimpsed the man whom she had wed, had loved, had laughed with, before the sickness of hate and fear stole him away. It had all started with the traveler, the maker of magic, who came to the court to offer an evening's entertainment. Slowly, her eyes lifted and found the man who stood at her husband's opposite shoulder. The evil bastard had the nerve to smile into her steely gaze.

He leaned in, whispering in the King's ear as well, “She means to bring your death, Majesty.”

Thomas's eyes widened, they had been at one time kind, filled with love. He flatly glared back at Katrina. “Be gone, witch, or I'll have your head!” He thundered.

Morgan grinned as he stepped back. His plan was nearing fruition. Soon the Queen would be useless to the court.

Katrina bowed her head, “Your wish, sire.” She stepped back into the shadows. With a nod of her head, her guards surrounded her, each eying Morgan with contempt. Everyone around the King could see the perversion, everyone except King Thomas. As the guard carried the Queen back to her chambers, she said with a sure and steady voice, “Morgan's death must come tonight. To wait may bring certain death to our court members, even to myself. Who knows where he will tempt the King next?”

The Captain of her guards leaned in, “Morgan will be relieved of life this evening, my Queen.”

Katrina took another step, and turned to look at her Captain, “I only hope it isn't too late.”

That evening, after the King had released the court, Morgan prepared the King's nightly elixir. As usual, the fog had started to lift from the King's mind. He wondered why the Queen refused his bed.

“I know not why the Queen meets your requests with refusal, sire,” Morgan said as the elixir swirled in the King's nightly brew. “Only that her eyes are filled with hatred.” He sighed, “I wish I had happier news.” He grinned as he stared at the King's back.

The King spoke in a defeated voice, “I will speak with her myself in the morning.” His response was the same every evening, but soon the elixir would take away his reasoning.

Abruptly, there was a pounding at the King's chamber door. “Majesty, it is the Queen, come quickly!”

In moments, Thomas pushed the elixir away as it slamming it away as it sizzled on the stone floor with it's vaporous cloud. He jumped to his feet, racing to the Queen quarters.

The Queen's Captain now stood with Morgan, his plan for this evening foiled. The Captain drew his blade, and nodded to Morgan. “Sir, it is time you left my King's service.”

Morgan glanced at the long sword in the Captain's hand. “You can't presumed to order me, I service at the King's command.”

“Not tonight.” The Captain replied, and ran the sword to the hilt into the man's board chest. Morgan's eyes watched with disbelief.

He drew a stuttering breath, “You've killed me!”

“Aye, and may you meet the devil on your way to hell.”

The King burst into the Queen's chambers, his heart hammered with dread. She laid upon the satin sheets, still as death. As he rushed to her side, he gathered her hand, bringing it to his lips. “My love, do not leave me.”

The Queen's eyes fluttered open. “My love, I will stay as long as you will have me.” She shifted, lifting her arms. “Come, my King, stay with me tonight.” She breathed weakly, the death serum wearing off, and she smiled. “I'm quite well, now that you are here.”

Once more the eyes of the man she'd married gazed back at her, filled with love. He gathered her close, more precious than life. How had he forgotten the comfort of her arms?

The Queen's Captain returned to his men, and he grinned a sure smile. “It is done, the King's quarters are being cleared.” His men congratulated him on his success. Tomorrow would bring a day with hard answers, but also, a return to sanity, or at least he hoped so, not only for his sake, but for the realm's sake as well. “Let us pray our King's mind has not been lost.”

The Queen didn't have any doubts, and tomorrow, she would prove it to the court. The King was once again her husband, and she would die rather than lose him to a charlatan. Soon, she would bring him an heir. Her King once more restored.

Morgan's body resided in a shallow grave, unconsecrated and unmarked, head separated from it's body. But, sometimes, his ghostly apparition could be seen wandering, mixing it's brew, sure of his desires, even in death.

I know, it's way long, and it feels like something has been left out, or unfinished. But, I'm out of practice, lol. It will get better as I flash a little more.

Have a great weekend!!

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