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Out Now – Earthbound by Melora Johnson (@MeloraJohnson) #paranormalromance #urbanfantasy #TirgearrPublishing

Do you love action, romance, and fantasy all rolled into one? Love strong heroines? Then check out Earthbound!

Earthbound is a paranormal romance filled with angels and demons struggling to find their way here on Earth.

 

Blurb:

Her healing touch could start a fire.

Ally Reynolds is a veterinarian specializing in raptor rehabilitation in New Hampshire. Other than one horrific incident in her childhood and a little extra “spark” for healing in her hands, both of which she has kept secret from even her best friend, her life has been singularly boring. It has also been extremely lonely. Ally longs for someone to share her life with, but how can she trust anyone with her secret?

Matthew Blake, an ornithologist at Cornell University, calls Ally, asking for her help with an injured raptor. Matthew grew up in New Zealand and has lived around the world. He has read about Ally’s high success rates in raptor rehabilitation and suspects there is more to it than is generally known.

Matthew has some secrets of his own; he is a demon hunter. He suspects Ally’s healing powers could benefit him. He wants her to join him and thinks they’d make a great team.

Can Ally trust him or is he just using her? Matthew definitely has more secrets, and some of them are about Ally.

 

Buy now on any ebook platform: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Johnson_Melora/earthbound.htm

Add to your Goodreads shelves: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18209725.Melora_Johnson?from_search=true

Excerpt:

“Doctor Reynolds,” a male voice called out from across the room, pulling me back to the present. It sounded somewhat familiar.

I looked up, shielding my eyes from the afternoon sun shining in the front window as a male figure strode toward me, blond hair haloed by the light. He stopped in front of me.

Startled, I rose to my feet and looked into a chiseled face, his eyes the indeterminate blue green of sea glass like I’d collected along the shoreline once as a teenager. His dark golden blond hair was short and spiky, his lopsided grin pure perfection. He was gorgeous.

In my experience, gorgeous men were not to be trusted. Well, no men really were. Oh, all right, no one was, period.
“Doctor Allyson Reynolds? I’m Doctor Matthew Scott Blake. I’m honored to have you join us. I’ve read your articles in the Raptor Rehab Newsletter.”

He held out a hand, but when I put out mine to shake it, he simply captured mine in his and placed his other hand over it. His eyes flashed green with golden flecks in the sunlight.

“I’m glad to be here,” I said, not at all sure I was anymore, as my pulse sped up. “Please, call me Ally.”

“All right, Ally it is.”

I want to climb him like a tree. I swallowed, aghast at my own thoughts. I’d only known him a few minutes.

His hands were so warm. My mother’s voice played in my head, Gorgeous men are dangerous, arrogant, and being involved with them will lead to no good. I frowned.

“It’s so good to see you…” he said. At my expression, he faltered and cleared his throat. The wattage of his smile dimmed significantly. “I mean, to meet you. I’ve been following your work since I arrived in the States, in the newsletter.”

He turned, drawing my hand through his arm. “Please, let me show you around the facilities here.”

“Uh, thank you,” I murmured, wondering how to tactfully withdraw my arm. My attraction to him was overwhelming. At the same time, his overly familiar attitude seemed a little odd.

A tall woman, her long, brown hair in a ponytail, appeared at the doorway through which Matt had arrived. She positively glowered at my arm through Matthew’s. She wore work boots, khaki shorts, and a sand colored polo shirt with the university logo, so I assumed she worked there as well. She approached us and stopped several feet away, then turned a bright smile on Matthew. “Hi, Matt. What brings you down from the Ornithology Lab?”

“This is Doctor Allyson Reynolds, the veterinarian and raptor rehabilitation specialist I suggested to Rick we bring in to help with the injured eagle from Sapsucker Woods.”

Shelly took one more look at my arm entwined with Matthew’s then smiled again at him. “Would you like me to show her around?”

He paused a moment before replying. “That’s okay, Shelly. I can handle it, I know my way. No need to take time out of your busy schedule. I’ll just show Doctor Reynolds around, then bring her to meet Rick. He’s the one overseeing the care of the eagle. Oh…” He turned to me. “This is Doctor Shelly Madison, she’s a clinical associate professor in zoo medicine.”

I saw my chance and pulled my arm out of his, ostensibly to shake Shelly’s hand. I murmured hello. She responded stiffly. Her behavior made more sense to me than his. Why treat me like an honored guest? I was just a vet who specialized in raptor rehab. I had been so anxious to get out of town I’d jumped at the chance, but now there was one question paramount in my mind—why had he called me? They were the experts here.

“Now, let’s show you around the animal hospital here.” His hands clenched, his bicep bulging under his short sleeve as he tugged the inner door to the offices open for me.

I fought the urge to retreat a step. Here stood a warrior from medieval legend. It would have been more appropriate for him to be dressed in leather armor than a button-down, short-sleeved khaki shirt, but he grabbed my hand and drew me around Shelly. “We’ll start in the library.”

As we walked, I had a stern conversation with my subconscious. Go to Ithaca, you said. You’ll get away from anyone Jen wants to set you up with, you said.

Matthew squeezed my hand. I looked up to see him beaming at me. My stomach lurched. I was out of the nest and free falling.

 

Author Bio:

Melora Johnson is a poet and novelist living in Upstate New York with her husband, daughter, a black cat, and quite a few chickens. Her most recent published work includes A Sanctuary Built of Words: Poems of Peace, Grief, and Passion, and publication in The Sexuality Poems from Foothills Publishing. She also runs a large and thriving writer’s group for adults. Of course, into every life a little rain must fall as well as the occasional tornado, but you’ll find that amply covered in her writing. Find out more about Melora and her writing on her website www.melorajohnson.com  and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MeloraJohnson.Writer or follow her on Instagram or Twitter @MeloraJohnson

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

Shower You With Love by E. D. Parr (@parr_books)

Shower You With LoveBlurb:

Chris Everhart attends his best friend’s weeklong wedding festivities. He meets handsome, enigmatic, Owen, and in a haze of attraction ignores the strangeness surrounding Owen. Convinced he’s falling in love, Chris spends every moment he can with Owen, until on the final day of his best friend’s celebrations he discovers a heartbreaking and shocking truth. He and Owen can never be together.

Traumatized, lonely, Chris can’t settle into another relationship, and then, after two years of wishing he could feel the way he felt for Owen with another man, fate intervenes. He meets gorgeous, gentle Matthew.

Spooked, Chris is about to run from Matthew who reminds him so much of Owen, but Matthew asks Chris to dance with him.

In Matthew’s arms, Chris can’t ignore the feeling of belonging that rushes over him.

Will he take the risk to love again, or continue to yearn for a ghost?

BUY the BOOK

On new release special price at Evernight Publishing

https://www.evernightpublishing.com/shower-you-with-love-by-e-d-parr/

OR available

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Shower-You-Love-D-Parr-ebook/dp/B083D8Z8PX

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shower-You-Love-D-Parr-ebook/dp/B083D8Z8PX

https://www.amazon.ca/Shower-You-Love-D-Parr-ebook/dp/B083D8Z8PX

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/997913

Siren Bookstrand https://www.bookstrand.com/book/shower-you-with-love-mm

KOBO https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/shower-you-with-love

NOOK https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shower-you-with-love-e-d-parr/1135881488?ean=2940163429974

*****

Read a teaser

The early evening sun glowed in the sky. Birds still sang. The breeze caressed his face, gentle and warm. Only white wisps of cloud trailed across the sky. It was an evening meant to walk hand in hand with a lover.

Chris sighed and drank some of his whisky. Since his boyfriend left him nearly a year ago, he hadn’t met anyone who stirred his heart. If there were any gay guys at the gathering, he’d yet to identify them. Since he was the only gay man among his friendship group, Chris expected to be the only person who hadn’t hooked up with someone by the time the bride and groom met at the altar. He smiled to himself recalling a work colleague’s words about wedding festivities. “That’s what usually happens isn’t it … you sleep with someone out of sheer envy for the “glowing with love” bride and groom?” Chris had laughed when the guy put air commas around the words “glowing with love.” “Some might. I might not,” but in his heart he dearly wished for a gentle, handsome man to love. Chris was lonelier than he admitted to himself or anyone else.

Four days of games, parties, and outings stretched ahead of him. Chris forced a more positive mood. This is a beautiful estate. I should explore. Phil’s parents owned the huge old house on a wealth of gardens. Ben, Phil’s dad, ran his events planning business from there and often one or two of the large rooms were used for conferences. Presently, the estate was closed for two weeks as the families and friends assembled to celebrate Phil’s wedding.

He peeled the label that named him from his jacket lapel, and stuffed it into his pocket. Then left his half-empty glass on a bench beside a row of rose bushes, heavy with large pink blooms, and wandered off down the path that wound around the house. The hem of his jacket trailed along two of the flowers and the perfume shed by the roses followed him.

The path forked at a corner of the house, and Chris took the one that led into an archway of trees. The path beneath his feet changed. Some of the paving stones held large cracks where tiny white daisies grew among dark moss. Chris bent and picked one—so small, yet so perfect. He put it into the buttonhole on his collar. The tree branches met at their canopy and only a few slanting rays of sun penetrated. Some scented climbing flowers wove through the trees, twining around their trunks. Chris smiled, enjoying the fragrant enclosure. Peace dropped over him as he walked.

At the end of the path, he turned at a fork that led toward the house again. Chris considered striking out across the lawn for a look at what appeared to be a small round pond, but the evening sun had disappeared behind a bank of clouds. He glanced upward at the sky. A few large orbs of rain splattered on his face. Funny, only minutes ago it didn’t look like rain at all.

He walked more rapidly in the direction of the house as the sky became overcast. On this side of the building, he could see a long line of windows, two of which from that angle, seemed to be French doors, and they were flung open. As Chris neared them, strains of music floated in the descending twilight. Fairy lights glittered, strung across the tops of the doors, and as the rain fell, the drops reflected their silvery twinkle.

By the time Chris reached the entrance, dark stars of raindrops patterned his dove-gray suit jacket and dampened his face. Chris dashed into the room accessible from the large glass doors and froze. He’d expected this to be another way into the living room he’d left earlier, especially with the lure of music guiding him, but a totally different and smaller room lay before him, and in the middle of the parquet, a man danced a kind of waltz, alone, clutching a rectangular cushion to his chest.

*****

Find E. D. Parr

Evernight Publishing http://www.evernightpublishing.com/e-d-parr/

Twitter https://twitter.com/parr_books

Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MUNJ3I8\

Blog https://parrx.blogspot.com

Facebook @parrbooks https://www.facebook.com/parrbooks/

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The Alpha’s Demiwolf (Utopia 1) by Gale Stanley (@galestanley)

Blurb:

Kya: I’m a demiwolf — half wolf, half human, and both species despise my weird mix of genes. Despite the fact I strip for a living, I’ve hung on to my virginity for twenty-two years. Until I got knocked up by a big, bad wolf. Now, I’m going to bring another demiwolf into the world, but his father will never know.

Levi: I’m all wolf, and Alpha of my pack, committed to keeping our bloodlines pure. Then on the night of my bachelor party, I hooked up with a stripper. I just wanted to teach the demiwolf a lesson, but the sex set me on fire. My wolf claimed her and now I can’t get her out of my head. But what if she won’t accept me?

Available at:

Changeling Press: https://www.changelingpress.com/the-alpha-s-demiwolf-utopia-1-b-2934

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y8SWS3R/

B & N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w?ean=2940161161746

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-alpha-s-demiwolf

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-alphas-demiwolf/id1481112064?ls=1

*****

Excerpt:

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

The Alpha’s Demiwolf (Utopia 1)
Gale Stanley
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Gale Stanley

Kya

I cringed when I saw the billboard proclaiming, Girls! Girls! Girls! It was a tacky way to get attention, and I hated it. Averting my eyes, I turned the corner, pulled into the lot, and parked my old pickup behind the club. It was my first night at Show ’n Tails, and a definite step down from my old job, but I’d been fired and needed a gig ASAP.

The incident wasn’t my fault. There were two of us on the stage and Brandi was so sloshed she invaded my space and fell on her ass. As if that wasn’t enough, she accused me of tripping her. Well, one thing led to another and we both got canned. Another girl told me that Show ’n Tails was hiring and I went for an audition. The manager was an asshat, but he doesn’t ask too many questions. I like to keep a low profile.

This isn’t the life I wanted, but taking off my clothes pays the bills, and I won’t apologize for trying to earn a living. At least I’m not selling my body, just the illusion of sex. A lot of girls up their game, but not me. My virginity is the last piece of self-respect I own and I won’t give it up to some creep for any amount of money.

The heavy backdoor slammed shut and locked behind me and the manager shot me a dirty look. “Hey, Kya. You’re late.”

“Sorry, it won’t happen again. And my name is Raven when I’m working.”

Marty’s lip curled in a sneer. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. You better get dressed. I mean undressed.” He snickered.

I ignored his disrespectful ass, and walked over to the dressing room. A row of dented lockers lined one wall. A wide counter with a lighted mirror behind it ran the length of the opposite wall. Everything stunk from sweat and cheap perfume. The long vanity was cluttered with makeup and no one made room for the new girl, so I started changing next to my locker. When a spot at the mirror opened up, I grabbed it and started working on my wild black curls.

Marty stuck his head in the door. “Hey, fresh meat, you’re on next.”

I knew he meant me. I was the newest girl there. Half of me cringed, the half that’s wolf. The half I keep hidden. Or is it a quarter of me I keep hidden? I guess it depends on how you look at it. A full-blooded wolf-shifter is already half human, although they’ll never admit to it. My father was a wolf, but my mother was human.

Does that mean I’m… Oh, fuck the fractions. No matter how you look at it, I’m a demiwolf.

But I look human. I checked my body in the mirror. Yep, a hot as hell human female stared back at me. Tacky, but sexy. Nothing says stripper like stiletto platform heels and a thong that shows off a girl’s booty. I slipped on a white, halter mini-dress with a drape-neck, an open back, and a side slit. Then I ran my hands through my curls and gave my lips one last swipe of purple-plum gloss.

It’s so much easier to call myself human and blend in with the majority. The humans are clueless. They know we exist, but they believe we keep to our own side of the tracks. The wolves are a different story. They can smell my lupine pheromones, but they don’t want me. I’m not pure. Fuck ‘em. At least I can make a living among the humans. Stripping might be a trashy job, but it pays for the life I’m trying to live. It’s not the life I want, but it’s all I’ve got. I used to dream about being accepted by my father’s people. Fat chance. They wouldn’t even accept him because he had a human lover and a half-breed kid.

My parents never married, but they lived together — sometimes. When my father was around, I was daddy’s girl. But all too often, he would disappear as if he had no family. My mother would drink and tell me that he liked to hang out with his own kind in places where we weren’t accepted. When he came back from his trips, he’d act cold and resentful, but it wouldn’t last long. Eventually, he’d tell me he loved me and everything would be okay again. I thought nothing would keep us apart for good. I was wrong.

One day he didn’t come back. We found out he was killed in a bar fight. One of his so-called friends called me a mongrel and Dad died defending me. My mother cried and cried. She said this was why they never wanted kids. So I was what… an accident?

I couldn’t blame them. Not really. Life was hard enough without being born with this weird mix of genes. I hated myself, too. I wished I’d never been born. At least I could make things easier for my mother. As soon as I finished school, I left home and never looked back.

While waiting to go on, I thought about my routine — floor work, then pole dancing, then back on the floor. I’m not nervous anymore about being naked in front of a roomful of men. I was at first, but now I focus on my moves. I’ve been scorned and dehumanized all my life, so I like to emphasize something I can do well — dance.

I peeked through the curtain and watched Candy finish her routine. There’s a mirror behind the stage and a pole in the center. Chairs surrounded the stage for customers who wanted direct contact with the dancers. I watched one of the men put a bill in his mouth. Candy shoved her breasts in his face and used them to grab the money. There were hoots and hollers and more men waved bills at her. She collected all of her tips, then picked up her clothes, and ran off the stage.

The DJ, sitting in an alcove nearby, introduced me. “Next up is a beautiful lady who’s new here. You’re gonna see her naked for the first time tonight.”

Well, it’s not a complete lie. It’s my first time naked on this stage.

“Give Raven a nice warm welcome.”

My heartbeat skyrocketed as I stepped through the curtains and climbed the three steps to the stage. The opening bars of my music started up and I began to move.

* * *

Levi

My anticipation ran high. I’m always excited to see new talent. Samson made a joke about the taste of fresh meat and we all laughed, then I looked up at the stage and my eyes practically popped out of my head, like in one of those old cartoons. The new girl… what’s her name? Raven. She took my breath away. Her curvy shape and that thick black mane had me salivating. From what I could see, everything looked natural, and she had the best set of legs in the club.

“That is one hot piece of ass.” Samson stood up. “I need a closer look.”

Samson walked over to the stage and we all followed. Raven smiled in our direction and my heart took a leap. Her white mini dress emphasized all that golden skin, but it was her eyes that really stood out. Almond in shape and color, they seemed to be staring directly at me.

*****

Author Bio and Links

Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.

Some things never change.

Website | Blog | Twitter | FaceBook | Instagram | Pinterest

Killian’s Hope (Alpha Protectors #4) by Elyzabeth M. VaLey (@ElyzabethVaLey)

Killian's HopeHope is a precious thing.

Hope is all Alpha Protector Killian has. Hope for more time with his mate. Hope for a better future in which they can be together freely. When they’re both assigned to the same undercover mission in Spain, Killian seizes the opportunity as a chance to spend more time with Prudence.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t share his point of view, but hope is the last thing he’ll lose.

It’s not greed if it’s for the greater good.

Prudence loves Killian above all else, but her mission in life is to serve the Virtues and keep the balance between good and evil. Being appointed leader of the Spell Casters in the dangerous mission to defeat the Sin Lords is her chance to prove to her superiors that she can be the next High Priestess.

The only problem is resisting Killian.

With years of pent up love and frustration tugging at them, will they be able to avoid succumbing to their forbidden mating? And what will happen when the evil which they were sent to destroy threatens to tear them apart forever?

Available Now: Evernight ~ Amazon ~ Amazon.uk ~ Smashwords ~ Bookstrand ~ and more

***** 

Excerpt:

The last rays of sunlight filtered through the stained-glass windows, creating a pattern of dancing colors on the floors and walls. It would have been a spectacle worth watching if she wasn’t so bent on seeing Killian. She was glad they weren’t allowed to be in the same room together, because otherwise, she didn’t know if she would be capable of not throwing herself into his arms. Prudence reached the appointed room. It was not much larger than the one on the other side of the wall. With an impatient flick of her wrist, she brought the ancient scripts on the walls alive with light. The protection spells glowed brightly for a few seconds then began to fade, remaining dim like the last licking flames of dying firewood. Sitting on the padded stool in front of the window, Pru inhaled deeply. She bit her lip to keep from gasping. Surely, she couldn’t smell him in here. Surely, it was only her mind playing tricks on her, recalling his scent from previous encounters. She dropped her gaze to her hands, staring at her quivering fingers which matched the erratic thumping of her heart. She had to control herself. Recall their true reason for being here.

Killian cleared his throat loudly, shattering her thoughts. There was no point in delaying this any longer. Her pain would not ease so she’d just have to bury it. As she reached for the window’s knob, she swore she heard Killian’s labored exhale, as if he too were releasing something pent-up inside him. Was it possible he also felt the same pain as her? Selfish thoughts tried to surface but she beat them back. It was time to focus. Bracing herself, she slid open the window dividing them and any pretense of focus was nearly lost. Eyes blue like the ocean on a clear morning with dark irises and long blond lashes locked with hers. Her heart danced in her chest and her cheeks heated. Every fiber in her body woke up, alert to the presence of the man she loved.

She dug her fingernails into her knees. Dear Gods, she wanted to touch him. Her gaze dropped to his lips which she could see through the fine mesh. Kiss him. Feel his warm mouth against her, breathing life into her. She looked up again and realized he did the same, taking her in like some kind of starved animal. Tears stung the back of her eyes and she averted her gaze. She had to end this quickly, before their emotions got out of hand. She glanced at the ring on her left hand. Silver with a white stone, it represented the order of Spell Casters. She had to keep her mission in mind.

“Why are you here, Killian?”

Silence stretched between them and she wondered if he had heard her.

“Killian?”

“You can’t keep the sweetness out of my name even when you try.”

Her gaze flew to his and she saw the familiar spark in his eyes. The one which lit her up inside and out and made the corner of her lips twitch. Daredevil. She clasped her hands together, pressing the pad of her thumb against the ring. Remember.

“Why are you here?” she asked drily, proud that at least her voice didn’t tremble.

“You know why.”

“I don’t.”

“You requested me.”

“You have received the documents.”

“And your note.”

“You would have tried to see me and gotten yourself into trouble otherwise.”

“So you decided to make it easier for me by leaving a love-locked message.”

She could hear his grin. He was holding back a chuckle. Damn man. She pursed her lips. If she smiled, she’d be opening a window of opportunity, giving them both hope when there was none.

“Yes. And—” She paused. Here it went. “I just wanted to make it clear that this is strictly business.”

“Yet, you requested me for the mission.”

“What?” she squealed.

“Aslan told me.”

“That’s not how it happened. It has nothing to do with us. I would have requested another but—”

“But, Pru?”

She didn’t reply. Her head pounded as she tried to find a way to get out of the mess she had created. She could almost taste the savory sweetness of hope, stretching between them like an invisible lasso binding them together.

“Killian, you know we can’t be together,” she whispered at length.

“I know, but that’s not what I’m asking. Not today.” His tone was gentle, their roles reversed. One moment, she’d had the upper hand, had been dealing the cards, the next, he’d plucked them out of her hand.

“I simply want to know: why did you request me? Why, Pru?”

*****

About Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Elyzabeth M. VaLey is a writer of sizzling, sexy romance who firmly believes in happy ever after.  From paranormal to contemporary, fantasy, or historical, she enjoys exploring her characters’ darker side and writing stories about tortured heroes, strong heroines, and all that comes between them and their love.

When she’s not writing, she can be found walking in the Spanish countryside with her black Lab and Golden Retriever mix, exploring castles, or enjoying some tapas with her friends.

Follow her at:

Blog
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram (@elyvaley)
Goodreads
Pinterest
Amazon

***

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Now in Audio – The Third Wish by Jewel Quinlan (@jewelquinlan) #giveaway

The Third Wish AudioBlurb:

Owen only has one wish left. And this time, he wants to ensure it doesn’t come with nightmare side effects like his first two did. Unfortunately, Cleo, the scornful genie granting his desires, isn’t willing help. With the wish deadline fast approaching, Owen must find a way to gain Cleo’s assistance, or he’ll be stuck forever in a tangle of his own making.

Trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP_8M_Ykxkk

Audiobook Details:

Listening Time: 1 hour  18 minutes

Narrated by: Jack Calihan

Where to buy the audiobook:

Audible  |  iTunes  |  Amazon

Want the ebook instead?

Evernight Publishing |  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  iBooks  | Kobo

Or add it to your shelf on Goodreads

*****

Excerpt:

“…Maybe if you’d executed my first two wishes better I wouldn’t be so strung out.” Wrong thing to say. If I could have punched myself, I would have.

Cleo stiffened, eyes wide. And then they narrowed, and I could almost see the millions of ways she was killing me in her mind right now. I braced myself for a barrage of scorn mixed with profanity. If there was one thing I’d learned about Cleo in the past couple of months, it was that she had an extensive vocabulary of swear words. Not only was her range impressive, it was also interestingly exotic. I was well acquainted with it because it’d been directed at me on the frequent occasions I managed to get her to come out of the pill box. I’d thought I’d heard it all at this point in my life, but she proved me wrong. And somehow, whenever she directed her skill at me, I couldn’t help but feel that every term she used was eminently fitting.

“I’m so sorry you’re dissatisfied with your first two wishes, Master,” she drawled in an uncharacteristically chilly tone that made me shiver. “I shall return to my vessel and spend my time reflecting on how to do better with your third wish.” She turned and moved away from the door.

Fuck. The lack of profanity made me panic. I leapt up the stairs in one bound and grabbed her arm in desperation. If she evaporated back into the box, I’d have a hell of a time getting her to come out again. “Cleo, I’m sorry. Don’t go. I’m an asshole, okay? A dick. I’m—I’m every foul word you’ve called me since we met.”

The skin of her arm was soft beneath my fingers, but the biceps was firm. Did she work out? Would a genie even need to, being able to shapeshift and all? There was a small strange golden tattoo on her arm. I watched, fascinated, as it shifted from a crescent moon, to some intricate round design that reminded me of snowflakes, and then into a symbol of some kind. This close, her scent was warm in my nostrils. It was a mix of jasmine, incense, and something spicy that I had yet to identify. The intoxicating medley had visited me in my dreams more than once.

“Take … your hand … off me.”

The words were spoken slowly and in a deadly acid that had me snatching my hand back as though I’d touched a hot exhaust pipe. She glared up at me and twitched her arm as if to dislodge any germs I’d left on her creamy skin.

“Sorry. So sorry,” I said, my words coming out light and breathy as though I might set off a bomb. I took a half step back from her, lifting my hands in front of me in that universal I’m-not-armed gesture. “Please don’t go,” I pleaded. “I really need your help. Please.”

There were less than three days left for me to make my third wish, and I was desperate not to fuck it up.  I’d made the first two rather quickly, and they hadn’t turned out exactly as I’d hoped. Well, no, I can’t say that. I’d gotten exactly what I’d wished for. I was now ridiculously wealthy and famous. The problem was that both of those things had come with a lot of problems, like fleeing from people who were trying to kill me for reasons I had yet to determine. And I really didn’t want to spend the rest of my life using my new, magically-granted resources running, hiding, and generally having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my days. Of course, I could always wish to undo the first two wishes. But who in their right mind would do that? I ran a hand through my hair, and pleaded with her with my eyes.

Cleo made a scoffing noise and raked a critical gaze from my black biker boots, over my favorite well-worn jeans and grey t-shirt, and finally to my face, which no doubt looked more haggard than ever from worry and an overgrown five o’clock shadow. “And why should I help you? Out of the goodness of my heart?”

I scrambled to think of something to say, but my mind was blank. I was a mere human. And before she’d come into my life, I was only doing a passable job at being that. There was nothing I could give her that she couldn’t give herself, not even freedom.

“I can’t think of anything,” I said, feeling deflated. “But maybe you can.” It was a shot in the dark, but worth it. There was a faint glimmer in her caramel-colored eyes that signaled I was on the right track. Inspired, I pushed forward, desperate. “Is there something?”

She relaxed her stance, making hope soar within me. Then she dropped her gaze to the floor as if—No. Could it be?—as if she was reluctant to say it. I closed the gap between us again, feeling bolder, but I didn’t touch her. “Tell me,” I urged in a low voice, fascinated. “I want to know. No, I have to know. What I could possibly give you that you would want?”

*****

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*****

About the Author

Jewel Quinlan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. Since her debut in late 2013, she has published seventeen stories and has many more to come. Restless by nature, she is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine, she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer drafting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.

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