Saturday, September 30, 2017

✱✱ Book Review ✱✱ The One by Brooke Kinsley

I spent some time with Brooke Kinsley this evening. Technically, with her newest installment in the Jewels and Panties series, The One.


LINCOLN
I need to find her!
But right now this son of a bitch police sergeant has other plans. 
Under arrest for a murder I didn’t commit, I find myself stuck in a backwater town miles away from where I should be and all I can think about is finding Etta. 
The more time without her, the more I know she’s theone. 
As soon as I’m out of here I’m going to propose to her. 
If she’s still alive.

ETTA
I haven’t got much time left. 
I’m being held captive by a madman who says he loves me. 
He’d rather see me dead than see me happy with someone else.
Every second in this house is a second closer to death. 
All I can think of is Lincoln. 
I know he’s the one. I know he’s out there looking for me. 
But will he get here on time?



The One is available on Amazon and is listed in Kindle Unlimited
You can also find the entire Jewels and Panties 9 book set on Amazon




Momma Says: 5 out 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This ninth book in the Jewels and Panties series gives some insight into Lincoln's past, somewhat explaining the path he has taken thus far. I was happy to see Detective Berger again and even happier that he may have found a bit of romance of his own. Etta is still missing while Lincoln is at a loss in his search. True-to-form, there's a new twist in the tale and I'm here, tapping my foot, not so patiently waiting for what's next. 
This is a continuing story and it needs to be read in order to get the full impact of this deliciously dark and suspenseful tale. There are lots of cliffys as it progresses, which is something I'm not usually a big fan of, but Lincoln and Etta's story hooked me from the beginning and has been one helluva ride. I'm dying to know how it all comes out. 


Thanks for joining me!

Momma😘

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✱✱ Book Review ✱✱ The Omega's Dearest Baby by Louise Bourgeois

I've read several MPreg romances and the latest one, The Omega's Dearest Baby by Louise Bourgeois, is quite a bit different than any that I've read before.


Noah is an Omega who wanted to do right by his long-time girlfriend. Yet he's wooed by the charms of his best friend Vincent, a gorgeous man, talented artist— and an irresistible Alpha.
When the Alpha and Omega pair return from a vacation in the tropics, Noah’s body begins to change, which leads to a discovery that turns his entire world upside down in a beautiful way.
Pregnant with Vincent’s child, Noah is determined to make their relationship work if only for the sake of their baby daughter. He finds himself falling even deeper in love with the father of his child. But this new family is nearly snuffed when Noah finds Vincent unconscious and is thrust into the most challenging time of his life.


The Omega's Dearest Baby is available on Amazon and is listed in Kindle Unlimited.

 Momma Says: 2 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐

This story threw me a bit and the blurb was very misleading. Maybe I missed something, but the whole Alpha/Omega story line was nonexistent. I suppose Vincent could be thought of as an alpha male, and he does take care of Noah, but nowhere is it mentioned that they are alpha and omega. In fact, omega or not has nothing to do with Noah being pregnant. It is medically explained, pretty far-fetched, but still explained, in detail, with some sci-fi medical reasoning.
I did have an issue with Noah's cheating. Not because he cheated. It's fiction, after all, and cheating does happen. My issue was the fact that he had no problem with it until Kaycie found out and left him. Then he feels guilty. And that's another thing, Kaycie isn't exactly floored at the fact that Noah's pregnant, but the fact that he cheated! In fact, everyone in this story, with the exception of Noah in the very beginning, completely accepts this scenario with little surprise. Maybe in the world the author has created, this is commonplace, but we aren't told that.
Then, we have the "romance" between Vincent and Noah. We're told several times that Vincent has feelings for Noah, but Noah resists even speaking of feelings until he almost loses what he has. The pair is attracted to each other, but I found little in the way of romance and by the time that Noah realizes how he really feels, I found it hard to care.Honestly, I found Cedric, a secondary character and friend of the couple, to be the most interesting character in the story.
The book is lengthy, but jumps time so frequently that it felt like things were missing. We get tons of details about some things, but just snippets of others, making for a rather confusing story that, for me, was more science fiction than romance.
Overall, the story left quite a bit to be desired and in my humble opinion, the lovely cover is the best of it.


** Read and review copy provided by Shifted Sheets and the author


Thanks for joining me!

Momma😘

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✱✱ Book Reviews ✱✱ & The Cedric Series Tour and Giveaway!


Cedric the Demonic Knight
The Cedric Series Book 1
by Valerie Willis
Genre: Epic Fantasy

Known for hunting the supernatural, no mortal man realizes Lord Cedric is one of Sorceress Morrighan’s abominations. After competing in a tournament, he is wed to a Lady of the Court, Angeline. Cedric’s senses begin to overwhelm him and he struggles to decipher his feelings; Are they a creation of his incubine bloodline or truly heartfelt emotions for the girl who has lost it all to him? He finds himself forced to choose between falling in love or continuing his suicidal quest to kill his creator. Epic battles against all manners of beasts and demons fill this story with memorable antagonists such as Morrighan and her two sisters; Romasanta the Father of Werewolves; Succubus Queen Lillith and many more. Find yourself engulfed in lores and history long forgotten from the 12th Century and beyond.



Momma Says: 4 out 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I don't read a lot of Epic Fantasy, but the blurb for this one intrigued me. The story is Epic and fantastical, but it's also romantic. When we first meet Cedric, he isn't the most likable of fellows and I wasn't at all thrilled with the way he treats Angeline. Then, he tells his story and my heart broke for him. What follows is a slow-build love story. 
The book is beautifully written and a wonderful mix of fantasy, legend, and historical fiction with some characters that we've all heard about and some other, not so well-known legends. 

-Momma😘

CHAPTER ONE: PRESENT DAY
It was another dead Thursday night at the smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall bar,
Rusty’s. The bartender set out to look busy, vigorously scrubbing the bar top,
waiting for the regulars to drag in. There was a wet musk scent in the air.
Besides the homeless man in the back booth, there was not a soul in the joint.
Most of the people rolled in closer to midnight after their late shifts and were
gone within an hour. Startled by the bell on the door, the bartender failed to see
someone sitting in the chair near him.
Perhaps he was daydreaming again, but it was rather early for this particular
customer to be here tonight. The regular appeared across from him as if he had
been there all evening. He never saw the man come or go, ever. The customer
did not give out his name, and it was rare for the man to talk. He was just the
‘silent patron’ over the past three months since he started coming in on
Thursdays. At least he tipped well, paid in cash, and always ordered vodka on
the rocks, top shelf stuff. The bartender started making the drink, no need to ask.
“Evening,” A deep stern voice flowed from the lips of the regular. He was a
broad shouldered man and wore a hooded sweatshirt and baseball cap, the brim
low, hiding the expression on his face. “Slow night?”
“It’s Thursday.” Tony the bartender replied, relieved that the man at the bar
was willing to talk for a change. “Here you go, one Goose on the rocks. Besides,
you’ve been here every Thursday, it’s always slow.”
The bartender slid the glass towards his customer who met him halfway.
There was a slight pause, as once more Tony could not help but stare at the
man’s left hand as it glided the drink away. He was missing his ring finger and
curiosity was itching at the back of Tony’s mind. Tonight he decided to
investigate the story behind the man’s missing digit.
“I just have to ask, how did you lose your finger?” He gave the mysterious
regular a sincere grin. “Was it work related? I get some good stories from a lot of
the guys about how their wedding bands saved their lives and cost them their
fingers.”
“No.” The man took a sip from his drink and gently placed it back down. “I
refuse to let it grow back… That’s the only reason why it’s still missing.”
“What?” A sickening feeling came over Tony as he realized something was
not natural in the man’s tone of voice. The other servers were right; there is
something very creepy about the Thursday night regular with the missing finger.
This had to be a sick joke. He wasn't serious, right? “You what?”
“I refuse to let it grow back.” Holding up his left hand, the regular covered
his expression except for one gleaming green eye that stared menacingly at Tony
through the gap where the finger should have been. “When I find her again, I’ll
allow it to come back. I know she is still out there. She is alive, but just out of
my reach. I feel her even after all these centuries.”
“What are you?” Tony could feel the life draining from him as his instincts
started to scream. This was not your typical drunk off the streets, or was he? He
finally stuttered his decision. “You must be drunk.”
“I am nothing for you to be afraid of.” Tony could now see the strong jaw
line and grave expression the regular carried on his face as he spoke. Finishing
his vodka, the green-eyed man slid the glass back to him, beckoning for another.
“The others make you work tonight because they can’t stand being in the same
room as me. Shocked you’re still alive, in fact. You are the only human in the
entire lot of bartenders that works here. Normally they would have taken
advantage, but then again, there is a good reason as to why they haven’t yet.”
“What are you talking about?” Tony’s body was bartending on its own
accord. Shaking, he refilled the glass and reluctantly slid it back to his
frightening customer. “Cut it out, you’re go-going to spook me away too, you
know.”
“Forgive me.” His grin revealed wolf-like fangs as he scoffed to himself.
“Call me Cedric. I am no enemy to you, just looking for someone to talk to,
that’s all. I have spent a lot of time being on my own and sometimes it’s nice to
indulge in another’s company.”
“Ced-Cedric,” If Tony could melt, he would have done so right there behind
the bar. There was something about this Cedric that made his curiosity override
every fear. “How do you know about the other bartenders? What on earth did
you say to spook them?”
“They are all female, yes?” He paused from taking a sip while staring into
the bartender’s eyes. “Female vampires have an easier time than the males in
regards to hiding that they are not human. They can control their bloodlust much
better and tend to inherit and master illusion-based traits more often. Anyhow,
they could smell my blood and knew something was not right. It’s like mice
serving drinks to a hungry cat, or worse off, a starving lion.”
“Vampires?” Tony began to feel silly for letting himself get so startled over
a fairytale. Why had he taken Cedric seriously about nothing more than a story?
“That’s cute, yes; women are like vampires.”
“You don’t believe me? Well, I suppose not in today’s world.” Cedric took a
sip of his drink again. “Let me tell you a story about the girl I lost. Then, perhaps
we can be friends? I do miss having someone to talk to since my best friend left
me behind.”
“I don’t know, Cedric. You’re a little out of my league at this rate.” Praying
he had not offended him, Tony topped off Cedric’s glass, eyeing the missing
finger once more. “You can call me Tony.”
“Well, Tony, I’ll make it a Thursday ritual to tell you my story. I have
nothing else to do while I wait. It’s been far too long since I last indulged in
another’s companionship.” There was a burdensome sigh from his fanged mouth
and his eyes dulled. “I lost my best friend not too long ago. The old dog lived far
too long for his kind, but I was glad to have someone like that to help me during
those hard times. Good friends are hard to come by, especially in my case.”
“So sorry to hear that,” Tony watched as the vacant stare of Cedric’s green
eyes seemed far off for several minutes. The weight of pain and sorrow was
unmistakable in his gaze. “It’s never good to lose a close friend.”
“Where to start?” The shine had returned to Cedric’s eyes as he finished
another glass of vodka and nodded for his refill. “How about the first night I saw
her? It’s only appropriate. Like the poet said so many years ago; whoever loved
that loved not at first sight...”
“Yes, tell me about this girl of yours.” Tony eagerly refilled the glass
waiting to hear what kind of story this was going to be.


Romasanta: Father of Werewolves
The Cedric Series Book 2

Romasanta finds himself a cursed man and struggles with his internal demon, literally. All his troubles start with a stone and after that he will be losing everything he's ever loved. Faced with clinging on to what little humanity he has, he will lose it many times before reaching the end of his journey. His life's tale will take you through time to see how every lore, every moment in history tied in with wolves all come back to him. They call him the Ancient One, others simply refer to him as the Father of Werewolves, but we know him by his name, Romasanta. Many battles will be fought before he gets closer to his goals, but will he be ready to finish what was asked of him at the very beginning of his horrible fate. Will he be able to return the Eye of Gaea and free the love of his life from the laurel tree in the Black Forest?


Momma Says: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Willis delivers another page-turner in the Cedric series with Romasanta's story. I was a bit ambivalent about this character in book one, but reading his journey has endeared him to me quite effectively. Romasanta is such a complex character and my heart broke for him. He's full of self-hatred and oh, so flawed, but I couldn't help loving him in spite of those flaws - or maybe because of them? 
It is impossible to explain everything that I found wonderful about this book without spoilers, so I'll just say that, once again, Willis has created a world of fantasy and legend that I absolutely couldn't put down. 

-Momma😘


CHAPTER ONE: FENRIR
The flies had engorged themselves in the morning light. They bumped into
Romasanta’s arms and face as he walked up to the blood-soaked field. He
covered his nose and mouth; the air tainted with the smell of iron as he looked
over what little was left of his bull. Pieces of guts scattered across the mud, but
the drag marks led through the broken fence and into the Black Forest.
Somewhere in there laid the rest of his cow.
Squatting, he looked over the paw print that lay at his feet. The smallest toe
was large enough for his own foot to fit inside. This was the work of the demon
wolf called Fenrir. The trees, the ground at his feet; all of it was Fenrir’s domain
and he tolerated Romasanta and his farm. They lived in the field where no trees
grew in hopes that they would be on safer ground. Everything in this land was
Fenrir’s to take or leave, including Romasanta’s own life. Waving off another
flock of plump flies, he headed back to his hut.
“Was it the bull?” His wife questioned, her brown eyes expressing her
concern. “You don’t intend to chase after Fenrir this time, do you Romasanta?”
“No.” Grunting, he lugged his travel pack over a shoulder. “That would be
suicide.”
“What are you doing then?” She was chasing him out the door as he grabbed
up his spear. “If you dare cross him, surely he’ll take us nex—”
“I just want to see where he dragged the bull. If I can salvage a horn or some
leather, perhaps we can get something back.” His jaw twitched as a line of sweat
crawled down his temple. “I have no plans of staying out overnight, my love.”
“Please, don’t go.” She hugged him tightly, pressing her face hard into his
chest. “If the nomads find out you dare leave me alone, they would surely drag
me away from this place.”
“They will not come close with Fenrir feeding on our cattle.” Kissing her on
her forehead, he brushed back a lock of her wavy black hair. “Just stay inside the
hut until I return.”
Standing on her toes, she pressed her lips hard against his, earning his
passion in return. It was a bitter sensation as he broke away from the kiss,
walking into the Black Forest without glancing back. Her large doe-like eyes
watched as he vanished between the thick trees behind the broken fence still
crimson and wet where the blood soaked it.
The drag marks led him deeper into the more dangerous part of the ancient
forest. Sunlight speckled the ground where large roots leapt in and out of the
earth. Large arches made from these tangled wooden specters reminded demon
and man that they were inferior among the trees of the Black Forest. He stayed
true to the path that soaked the earth with blood. A raven cawed, startling him as
he froze mid-step, his nerves knotting in his stomach.
A horn snagged in a root caught his eye and he worked it free, placing it in
the pack at his waist. Perhaps there was a chance to recover some of his lost bull
after all. Continuing on, he found himself in a brighter, newer section of the
forest. His path stopped on the edge of a crevasse cut into the forest floor. There
were no more signs of his bull or Fenrir anymore. Rubbing the sweat from his
brow, a glint of red caught his eye. At the bottom of the groove in the earth,
something gave off a scarlet glow.
Taking one last look around, assuring himself there were no predators, he
started to climb down. Making it to the bottom, he peered upward. The walls of
the crevasse were easily four times taller than he, but he was relieved to see no
signs of the bull or wolf. Turning around, facing deeper into the unseen parts, he
scanned the rocky walls for another sign of the faint glow. The hairs on his arms
prickled in excitement as another sheen of colored light called out to him.
An alcove held a glimmering gem about the size of a man’s fist. As he
approached, its light became brighter, as if encouraging him to free it from the
stone. Gripping it tight with both hands, he steadied a foot on the rocks, putting
his full weight into pulling it out. Jerking his weight into it, it broke from the
rock face sending him stumbling up against the far wall. As he leaned there, the
sunlight hitting his hands, he opened his fist to see what it was that he had
claimed for himself.
The gemstone’s light dissipated and within it, a liquid bubbled and swirled.
He had heard rumors of bloodstones found in the area, but this was the first time
he had encountered one. The powerful vibrations the gem gave off told him this
could be something more. It was of the deepest red he had ever witnessed as it
mesmerized him. Heat flowed from it, making the summer temperature feel cool
by comparison. Focusing on a sound that tickled his ears it seemed as if a
humming sound was coming from it. A curious sound called his attention deeper
into it, almost as if a whisper on the wind.
Growling broke him away from the stone. His gaze stopped at two large
golden eyes that glowered down at him. Fenrir had found him. Romasanta
shivered as the demon wolf took another step closer, baring his enormous fangs.
Staring in awe, one canine was the size of Romasanta’s forearm, if not larger.
Another step forward allowed him to smell the blood of his bull upon Fenrir’s
breath as he growled louder. The sound coming from the beast’s chest and
muzzle shook the air from Romasanta’s lungs. He had overstepped his
boundaries. Fenrir was enraged. The black wolf had planned to lure him out this
far the whole time. Pain pounded against Romasanta’s chest, his heart screaming
to be set loose as fear washed over him. Fenrir had him; he was to be the next
kill. As the monstrous wolf lunged, Romasanta could only raise his arms in
defense. The action would do him no good against the demon wolf.
Fangs dug deep into his arms. He screamed from the twisting pain as
muscles popped in half, bones rattled as the impact greeted them. Blinding red
light stopped the horrendous bite from breaking his bones. Fenrir’s eyes grew
wide. The stone pulsed and burned in Romasanta’s hand as a red glow engulfed
the demon wolf. Both of them were startled as the massive monster swirled in
the air like fog. Horrified, Romasanta watched as the stone absorbed the demon
into it.
Sliding down to his feet, he dropped the stone. The wounds that still stung in
his mind closed before his eyes. He could not stop his body from shaking as a
desperate howl echoed from within the stone. Staring down into the bubbling
red, Romasanta stared into the fearful eyes of Fenrir. Both knew that neither of
them had realized what had happened.
“What in the world is this stone?” He breathed in wonder, hesitant to pick it
up. “Fenrir, we may be enemies, but this is a fate no creature should live. I will
make a pact to find a means to set you free – if you, in turn, let me live my days
out in peace here in your forest.”
Another howl rung out and the eyes of the wolf returned within the stone.
The solidarity of the gaze made it clear they had reached an agreement.


The Oracle
The Cedric Series Book 3

Released Sept 1st

With Angeline back in Cedric’s arms and the Eye of Gaea in Romasanta’s grip, the next step in their journey begins. All eyes are set on Mt. Parnassus where the Oracle is protected by Delphyne, the mother of all dragons and beasts. Assembling a group of willing patrons, Romasanta leads them to Delphi, Greece where they will cross into a realm void of technology. Only brute strength and magic reign in a place where packs of Mimick dogs, Wyverns and Jaculus still run wild. Meanwhile, back home Lillith takes on a mysterious curse cast on Tony who will have to make a life changing choice. The question weighing on all their minds is if two werewolves, the Incubus King, and a demonized sorceress will live to fight their way into Gaea’s Gate to enter the Otherworld?


Momma Says: 5 out 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wow! This series just gets better and better. Make no mistake, it is most certainly a series. While some parts of the first two books overlap, it is all necessary to get us here, to this epic quest. There's no predicting what will happen next as this third book unfolds - believe me, I tried and the twists just keep coming. 
Willis creates a world that is so wonderfully descriptive that the reader feels like they're right there, watching every battle and holding their breath to see what will happen with these terrific characters.
Epic Fantasy isn't a genre that I read a lot of, but the author's mix of myth and legend, a bit of historical fiction, and such complex characters kept me turning the pages, soaking up every word. 

-Momma😘


CHAPTER ONE: STRUGGLE
Sighing, it was a mixture of frustration and relief pouring out from Angeline.
The intense aroma of cigarette smoke and spices did nothing to keep her
thoughts from blurring her vision. Once again she found herself falling into the
melting pot of images, feelings, and frightening memories. She was still
struggling to accept she had escaped, that this place she found herself sitting in
was indeed real. A shudder shook her shoulders. She had left the world and came
back to something completely different. All of it in her eyes seemed surreal
compared to the life she lived so long ago.
When Cedric first step foot on Avalon, his aura engulfed me, his soul
embracing my own before our bodies dare meet. It wasn’t any of my own
emotions, I had lost them long ago by that point. It was Cedric’s feelings coming
to life inside my own heart, resuscitating my soul after an agonizing silence. He
woke me from my undying nightmare where I was lost, wandering in darkness.
Her skin prickling at her thoughts as the air conditioning hummed to life
overhead. The cool air made the sweat on the back of her neck icy, chills
trickling across her spine. Taking in a slow inhale, holding it a few seconds, she
dared her thoughts to continue.
I lost myself to the flow of time allowing the centuries to fade in and out. For
a long time, I even forgot my own name. Those images, those fleeting moments
where I sat there whispering to myself in the damp darkness. Over and over
again, I told myself my name was, is ‘Lady Angeline du Romulus.’ My chant of
desperation. Tears had stopped falling by that point. I became a bewitched husk
of my former self. Praying to the shadows I would remember I was once a
person, and even worthy of such a high title.
An old habit, Angeline found herself in a daze lipping her own name from
where she sat leaning on the bar top. No one around her noticed how she was
stumbling through her emotions. She couldn’t tell which sensation was fear,
sorrow, or even elation. A swirl of hooks grasping and pulling her deeper into
her mind searching for answers, trying to come closer to discovering who she
was, who she had become through all the pain and torture.
I had stopped counting the passing days, but then my fears gripped me.
Cedric made it to Avalon, but would he be able to survive Merlin? My salvation,
my only glimmer of hope would be shattered with Cedric’s death. All this
torturous hope would end and then I would have no more whims of pleasure, no
more chances of knowing I wasn’t forgotten, no one left to save me if he failed
here. I would be nothing, no one, and not even remembering my name would
have saved me after that point…
The feeling of their bond reconnecting again still stung in every joint and
nerve within her body. Like lightning striking her soul, a flood of Cedric’s
emotions filled her when they were finally within a mile of one another. Stunned
and breathless, the torrent of emotions jerked her out of her solitude. Thousands
of years filled her memories with only the cold harsh touch of Merlin. The day
she lost her freedom she never imagined feeling Cedric close ever again, not in
the flesh. In fact, she had started accepting the torture as a monotonous task or
chore. On occasion a sickening excitement would come over her when Merlin
came to her cell door.
Shuddering, under the dim lights of the bar, she recalled the thrill of torture.
It was the only moment when she knew Cedric was still out there, some place in
the world. This was the one sliver of light which kept her soul from breaking
into an irreparable state, from being swallowed by the void of nothingness. His
determination to find her was so strong that pain never rattled her. It had all been
replaced by Cedric’s pleasure; a gift and a promise to her through their bond that
was only possible through an incubus-moroi. His words echoed through her soul
with each rapture, each slice and fillet of her flesh, “as long as you feel my touch
through our bond, know that I am still searching for you!”
Peering down at her drink, the bar around her had faded further away.
Huffing the stinging smoke from her nose, she was having a hard time with her
newfound senses. It wasn’t her first time there in Tony’s bar with its neon sign
out front blinking The Lion’s Den through the dark tinted windows. Still, like the
last visit here, the smell of smoke overwhelmed her. She had grown sensitive to
smell, touch and even her sight looked into dark corners as if lit by an unseen
torch. Most of the bar was dark with nothing more than yellow-toned bulbs, her
ears hearing them buzzing as they casted shadows on the patrons who loitered
under them. It wasn’t very busy, but they had come long before the main rush.
This was her way, Cedric’s way, of slowly helping her grow more comfortable
with this new world she knew nothing about.
Everyone had told her their own version of what had happened the day they
found the entrance into Avalon. The bar had been destroyed when the portal
opened and they leapt in, magic lashing out in angry swipes like a wild animal.
Tony insists Badbh the Battle Goddess had been the front runner in wiping out
most of the place. She had destroyed the bar top with the pool table and then the
rest of the furniture afterwards impatiently waiting for Avalon to return to its
former state, eager to join the battle. None of that damage could be seen. The bar
top was glossy black with her reflection staring up at her doe-eyed. The long
countertop came off the wall in a large ‘L’ shape from the entrance to where it
protected the office door. A new pool table lay under a long fluorescent light and
spiraling out from there were several tables and chairs until your eyes hit the
walls adorned with booths hugging around them.
The Lion’s Den had become a meeting place for creatures and demons alike.
It was a much needed hub for the rebuilding of a community where they no
longer fought for the top of the pyramid of power in this new age. Many hadn’t a
clue they were weighed on these imaginary scales, but there was no mistaking
they were frightened by those who dominated the top: Lillith, Cedric and
Romasanta. Merlin had taken down some of the strongest nonhumans in the
world. With the Eye of Gaea keeping him safe from recoils and even curses, he
had dwindled their numbers to the point where humanity was choking out the
remaining populations to near extinction. All that remained were half-breeds or
those who rarely left the many sanctuaries keeping them hidden from modern
man. Many of these hidden realms were unknown, unmarked. The most any of
them could do was hear about one from word of mouth, but even then, it was up
to the Guardian of the Barrier to allow you to enter or even leave.
She wasn’t sure if she was relieved or sad over this fact, this struggle Cedric
and those like him found themselves living with. When she was taken from what
she thought was her life, she had been a human girl married off to a demonic
knight. This is not the world she knew, nor could she even begin to decipher
what anything she witnessed meant or what purpose it served in everyday life. It
might as well be an encrypted dream, with foreign names and purposes that felt
unnecessary. Her days of camping on a route during her travels riding horseback
wherever she went had been discontinued centuries ago. She had yet to even see
a horse in the few months she had been living in this place of square castles and
mechanical transportation. This was not home, this was not her world, whether
she chose humans or demons to live amongst, she belonged nowhere.
Closing her eyes, the conversation between Cedric and Tony was no longer
audible to her ears. She allowed herself to remember the horrific events,
something she still fought over whether it was a good or bad to urge herself to
recall any of it. Her mind stretched back to the beginning of her torment. It
wasn’t her time with Cedric that had rotted her soul, but one twist in fate she had
failed to see coming. The frightening turning point wasn’t the fight where Cedric
defeated Boto and became the new King Incubus, but the appearance of Merlin.
At first glance, he seemed like nothing more than a bald old man with a long
white beard. A few layers of long-sleeved tan robes and a rope belt with a satchel
added to his sage-like appearance. Powerful and wise, yet the sensation of good
judgment faded in an instant. He had placed the Amulet of Avalon, the Eye of
Gaea, into one of his sleeves after snatching it from Morrighan when he turned
to address them. Cedric was still in his incubine form. Horns black and curled
like a rams at the sides of his skull. Glaring at the wizard, he clenched his fangs
tight with contempt. Hands and feet were clawed and massive, while he was
three times larger in overall bulk and muscle in this form. A smooth thin tail
swished with anger and his massive bat-like wings adorned with two fingers at
the main fold were still held high in alarm.
All I could do was stand there covered in my own sweat and tears.
Everything crimson, blood painting my body from war waging all around me. I
remember how my nostrils stung with the iron smell from it all. Red rivulets
raced down Cedric’s side where Boto’s first strike had torn through his flesh. The
world slowed. I watched drops fall to the black marble floor with a tick-tock like
the ticking of a Doomsday clock, splattering at Cedric’s feet like rose petals
breaking apart, scattering from a hard fall. My chest ached and fear clawed at
me to think he could feel that emotion within me.
Cedric had slain Boto only minutes before, claiming the title of King Incubus
for himself. Angeline witnessed the harsh reality of a bond breaking, the outburst
of magic’s harsh whiplash rattling through Morrighan. The amount of pain
ripping through the souls of Boto and Morrighan was unmistakable and neverending.
Her breath caught in her throat as Cedric’s fear slammed into her and she
mirrored back her own. This could be them someday. She tried to voice her
concern, wanting to ask if this is what he would face due to her own mortality,
but his green glare silenced her. The wave of dread retreated back into him,
letting her know it was not her place to worry. She was a human bound to a
demon, married to Lord Cedric du Romulus the Demonic Knight. In this world,
she had no right to voice her thoughts. The world of humans was the extent of
her knowledge, while his world was a cruel place somewhere between demons
and gods.
But now, I have no knowledge of any world… no place to belong…
Morrighan had fallen victim to the recoil of her sins. Years of curses had
been waiting for an opening to exact their revenge for her abuse of necromancy
and other black arts against magical beings and creatures. Taking the stone away
was like stripping her of her shield and armor. She had been left naked and
exposed to Gaea’s Law and the lashing for hurting children of Gaea; those who
were made by her, descended from her or carried her magic within them.
Morrighan’s punishment unfolded at incredible speed and she took on a
gruesome and beastly appearance. Spending decades, possibly centuries making
chimeras had made her into one as well. She fell, passing out across Boto’s
lifeless body, exhausted from the sudden physical change. Cedric and Merlin had
stripped Morrighan of everything she’d held valuable in her life.
Merlin had materialized before them, his power resonating through the air.
He continued his casual conversation with Cedric while eyeing her at every
chance. Goosebumps prickled across her skin and she involuntarily held her
breath, hoping it would make her less visible.
“You see, I have been digging through a century’s worth of time trying to
find this particular bloodline, but I see you have spoiled it with your own blood.”
The eyes of the wizard were growing brighter, bluer even as he scowled. His
tone of voice towards Cedric was as if he were a child who broke an expensive
vase. “This is going to delay my work. I will have to find a way to undo the
damage you have done to her witch’s blood. I despise demons and the work they
do on the human body. Worse off, you have gone as far as binding yourself to
her, it’s degrading.”
Cedric’s wings flared out in response of the wizard making it known
Angeline was his target. Her heart had been pounding, leaving her chest aching.
Anger waved out of Cedric, the heat of it physically flowing from him. She
could feel the scorching fire of his ire and his muscles tightened as if they were
her own.
“Don’t touch her.” Fear shook her core at the sound of Cedric’s growl, a deep
demonic tone pouring from him.
Her thoughts tightened their hold on her. ‘Am I afraid of Cedric or the
wizard?’
“You will not take her!” Cedric roared.
“Ah, but I will, demons are such poor thinkers, tsk.” A smile crawled across
the old man’s face.
Angeline stood, watching it unfold. ‘No, not Cedric, but the wizard has every
part of me shaking with fear. Those glowing eyes… he will leave here with me…
I can feel it…’
“She will be making her new home on Avalon, without you, of course.”
Scoffing, he continued to patronize Cedric. “It never shocks me to see how
easily demons fall for humans. The wolf never sleeps with the sheep for a
reason.”
Cedric snarled, “What do you want from her?”
‘I can’t run, he’ll get me.’ Looking down she saw her enchanted bow and a
sparkle of hope fluttered in her heart. ‘But if I can land a hit with Wylleam’s bow,
I can’t help but wonder if its magic might allow us to run.’
“Her magic is dormant, there is nothing you can get from her.” It was more
of a plea coming from Cedric.
“Ah, but you see, I have been pulling such deep magic into my own blood to
gain immortality. With the ancient line she holds, I will be able to achieve this as
well as the power to clean the rest of the demon powerhouses off this earth. I
will become supreme ruler of mankind, not Beelzebub, or any creature of such
spoiled lineage.” As Merlin continued his rant with Cedric, she gripped the wood
of her bow tight, sweat rolling down her cheek. “Feh, but unfortunately, I got
here far too late and will now have to cleanse her of your filth and try not to kill
her in the process. Bindings and transformations are difficult filths you hellish
dogs have plagued mankind with.”
She froze. The wizard took a step towards Cedric, sending him into a charge.
Her stomach knotted as she watched the distance between them grow until she
was out of Cedric’s reach.
‘NO! He’ll get me! I know it! I can sense it! CEDRIC COME BACK!’ If only
he could hear her thoughts!
His claw swiped, but it met a swirl of wind. The illusion broke, nothing more
than a breeze. It had served its purpose, pulling his focus away from his goal,
Angeline. She watched Cedric struggle to catch his balance. A burst of wind
from behind her knocked the bow from her hand, he had saw her attempt. Merlin
grabbed a fist full of her hair, firm and harsh, her scalp stinging. She was jerked
back against the wizard, his breath hitting her shoulders hot with anger.
“You are mine!” Hissed Merlin in her ear.
Her brown eyes locked with Cedric’s own, both wide and full of fear.
“CEDRIC!” The shriek echoed in an unnerving manner across the great hall,
muting the war waging outside.
“LET HER GO!” Another yank of her scalp sent tears down her face, a
dagger digging deep into her neck.
“Watch, girl, as your demon panics over the smell of a drop of your blood.”
The tip stung at her throat and a warm crawling snaked down her neck. “You feel
his fear, don’t you?”
All she could do was cry. She could tell Cedric was struggling to hide the
emotions unraveling within him. Her own terror had sent her heart racing, each
piece slipping through their bond, driving him further into a panic. A searing
heat within her soul struck her like Death’s bell revealing what had went so
horribly wrong. Her own voice laughing, whispering an echo of a promised
heartache from so long ago over a campfire. The heat of the tears on her cheeks
were self-indulged anger sliding down her face.
‘I cursed us… that night at the fire, I left the door open for Merlin. This, this
is my fault.’
“Oh, what do I see there?” The dagger’s point pulled away, but his grip
tightened and pulled at her further as he glowered at Cedric. “You can’t be
serious? A wedding band on a demon’s hand is improper and insulting. Let me
fix that.”
Merlin called forth his magic, she could barely breath. Her lungs felt
squeezed and her blood boiled in reaction to the magic being summoned from
her captor. It was hard to say if it was the smell of searing flesh or the red hot
glow of the golden wedding band which called her attention back to Cedric. In
horror, she watched him scream. With ease the molten metal burnt through his
ring finger. Gasping, she was overwhelmed with breathtaking arousal as they
stared into each other’s eyes. Droplets of melted gold continued to dig into the
marble floor around the fallen finger. Paling, dread swallowed her. There was no
hope for him to be able to save her against power like this. Cedric panted, the
stump of a left ring finger smoking still. He demanded her to not look away from
his fiery green stare.
“Angeline, remember that sensation well!” It was the first time she had seen
tears fall from those sharp eyes.
‘He knows he can’t save me,’ her heart was breaking.
“I promise you that no matter what, you will never feel pain again! And as
long as you feel my touch through our bond, know that I am still searching for
you!” Cedric’s look of desperation and the bitter reality in his words stabbed
deep in her soul.
‘No! I don’t want that! Don’t do this to me! I’m not as strong as you are!’ Her
lips trembled, unable to scream the thoughts, unable to respond to those green
eyes embracing her for the last time.
Grunting, Merlin pulled her closer, the wind rushing around them. “Sorry to
disappoint you so soon, but only Lillith would be able to keep a promise like
that.”


Valerie Willis is a sixth generation Floridian who loves crafting novels with elements inspired by Mythology, Superstitions, Legends, Folklore, Fairy Tales and even history. She braved the Independent Publish route at the end of 2012 and has devoted herself for being a pillar of “Self-Publishing How-to” from formatting of both print and digital versions to book cover designs. 



Her fantasy romance novels within The Cedric Series is a wonderful blend of genres that appeal to a wide-range of readers whether they like paranormal, fantasy, romance or action adventure. The characters are flawed in mental and emotional ways while being amazing powerful creatures, demons, witches and Gods. Many of the monsters presented in battle derive from Medieval Bestiaries and adds a fun flavor of new yet deeply rooted assortment of creatures such as Coin Iotair, Shag Foal, Cynocephali, and many more. 

For Young Adult readers looking for a Dark Fantasy and coming-of-age lessons, Tattooed Angels Trilogy is an ode to her teenage life for those teenagers getting ready to step out in the world on their own. Hotan is a failed reincarnation and is becoming immortal against his will. Life is complicated and often we withdraw within ourselves, shut others out, when life becomes hard. As the story unfolds we learn the importance of opening up and asking for support in all its forms to the people in our lives even beyond friends and family. Each immortal controls amazing powers of Nature, like fire, or elements of Humanity, such as fear.

You can often find this Author hosting workshops about writing and self-publishing in the Orlando, Florida area or working on the next novel. She loves to inspire other writers and creative minds. Be sure to visit her blog for some of the advice she has to offer from a perspective that has influences from Game Development and Graphic Design.




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