Hi all! Welcome to a special blog to preview my new anthology with the boys from Two Dude Brews and Books. This is a special multiple genre anthology. Jack brings us a grim and bawdy pirate adventure, Jeff a wickedly spooky ghost story and Jeremy a twisted and dark take on Cinderella. Me? Well I’m bringing you a sexy spanky Tiger shifter in mating heat. Please enjoy a snippet of each story to whet your appetite for more.
Jack’s Excerpt from Merciless:
My second ale had been poured when another entered the establishment. It was a lady, but she wasn’t dressed like a proper wench at all. She wore an open tan shirt with leather pants and proper pirate boots. Attached to her belt was a long thing sword, a rapier I believe they’re called. She took off her hat and put up one finger. Without a word, she sat down next to me.
Red hair cascaded down her pale face. There was something of amusement in her eyes as she kept gaining my attention. After her first sip of ale, “Argus Fletcher, I’ve been watching you.”
I tipped my cup towards her and drank as well. “Well met my lady. And who do I have the pleasure of sharing a beer with?”
Her laugh was angelic, not fitting her figure at all. “Honestly, I doubt you’d believe me. For the meantime, please just call me Roxanne.”
Roxanne, a name fitting an angel or a devil. “A pleasure to meet you miss Roxanne.” I saw she was empty as was I. Finnegan remedied the situation for us. “I’ve not seen you on the island before; did the bad weather bring you this way?”
The first sounds of the hurricane echoed across the harbor, the wind starting to pick up. I looked worried as did the barkeep, but Roxanne drank as if nothing was out of place. “I’m here because of the weather, yes, just not in the way you think.”
“I’m intrigued and that doesn’t happen often enough.” I leaned in closer. “Care to share your twisted words?”
She waved her hand and everything around us froze in time. Finnegan was in mid-pour, the beer hanging in the air unnaturally. “There are certain truths you’ll have to understand. For one, I’m not human as you just put together.”
Jeff’s Excerpt from Paranormal Contact: A Short Story
The sun had set. Slowly the street lights were flickering on in the parking lot. Shawn and Brad exited out of the lobby of the hotel. They walked quickly through town and a few minutes later, they arrived in front of a cemetery.
Brad leaned forward, his hands grasping the cold fence. Shawn stood with his back to the cemetery and his arms folded. “Hi James, do you remember us?” Brad asked. He stood in silence as he waited for an answer. There wasn’t one. “We came by with our friends this morning. They left you a gift earlier in the week. We just wanted to check in on you. To see if you were still enjoying the ball.” Brad glanced over at Shawn who just stared off into the distance. “Come on, say something.” Brad gently nudged Shawn.
“I don’t want to,” Shawn responded back. “I told you that you’re more than welcome to talk to dead children. I’m good not to.”
“So when you’re picking what we’re doing tomorrow, it’s okay if I just act like little bitch then? I’ll go along but I won’t actually do anything? I mean if it’s okay for you to act like that….”
“Ghost kids scare the shit out of me, okay. There I said it,” Shawn blurted out. “Nothing about the paranormal scares me. Nothing – except this!”
Brad raised his eyebrows in a quizzically gesture. “Really? What about dead kids scare you?” Both of them let out a small laugh. “Okay I think I just answered my own question. But come on Shawn, if you can deal with demons possessing your friend, I think that you’ll be okay with a small child who died hundred years ago.”
Jeremy’s Excerpt from The Tragic Tale of Cinderella:
“I need not excuses, but better employees. I am sorry to say that you are no longer needed at this manor Cruxley. Take the worthless rat over there on your way out with you.”
Cruxley looked dumbfounded at the sharp words Tremaine just laid out. “My lady, I understand firin’ me, but leave the boy here. He’d be the best stable hand we ever had!”
Cruxley’s words of pride made me beam just for a second. Anastasia looked back at me and had a few yacking noises. “My God mother, they look and smell like animals. Can we leave now?”
She gave her daughter a pat on the shoulder. “Yes, I think our work here is done.” As she turned to go, Cruxley reached out with his hand to her shoulder. I think he wanted to plead his case, but the moment he touched her, the lady spun around and put something into his chest. “How dare you touch me animal?”
It all happened so fast. Red began showing on his dirty white shirt and Tremaine pulled out a dagger from his chest. Cruxley fell to the ground; his eyes wide open in horror. He gasped for breathe, but life left his body too quickly.
Then I realized something, I just witnessed a murder. Tremaine came to the same conclusion and started walking over to the stable I was working in. Her small knife dripping red with Cruxley’s blood.
I had one choice. Forcing myself to move, I jumped on the back of Comet. The horse was far from tame, but maybe in that moment he realized my peril. He bucked forward a few times and plowed through the stable door. Without even turning around, I urged him on into the dark forest that surrounded the manor…
Morganna’s Excerpt from Primal Heat:
It was complete and utter nonsense! Kyra had some irrational fear of mating but once she and Quinn were together is would be fine. In this instance her sister didn’t know what was best for her and it was up to Kalypso to see that her mating was handled. After all their parents weren’t around to see to things, so it was up to her to see Kyra settled and happy.
She’d researched things and knew Quinn was currently the only tiger on staff. The rest were mated. If everything worked out like she planned, Kyra would be happily mated within the month and she could settle in with her own mate once she knew her sister was safe and settled.
Kyra’s notion that she could live safely among the humans was ridiculous – eventually she’d get hurt. Kalypso knew that for some reason Kyra was afraid of mating and she thought moving away from the shifter communities would keep her mate from sensing her.
It was a silly fear though and Kyra would never be happy until she was happily mated like Kalypso herself.
Taking a deep breath Kalypso pushed into the inner offices of Sensual Fantasies, to her dismay Quinn was the one manning the office. She relaxed when she saw his nose twitch in distaste as the scent of her heavy perfume filled the room.
“May I help you,” his deep rumbly voice came out in a rasp.
“Yes. I’d like to hire a tiger shifter to kidnap me for a weekend fantasy,” she said softly. Kalypso took care to look down submissively.
Bonus Excerpt: Frothy the Snowman (Adult Christmas Story)
A figure entered the bar, two coal eyes burning with hate and merriment. Frothy the Snowman was here and he was pissed, in a peaceful, kind way. “Benson,” he roared with polite disdain. “The beer you sold me yesterday was total junk!”
Groveling with season’s cheer, “I’m sorry Frothy, but that’s all I had. The vendor ripped me off too!”
“Enough of your pathetic excuses,” Frothy steamed, his snowy knuckles cracking, much like the sound of children laughing. “This is the second time this week you’ve ripped me off. You know how I hate to be ripped off Benson.”
The old barkeep knew it was time for a beating, the gift of broken bones and black eyes aplenty. The baseball bat he had would do no good to the plush exterior of the delightfully angry snowman. He put it down and hung his head, following Frothy outside.
A short time later, Benson reentered the bar. His arm was in a sling and his left eye was swollen shut. The patrons looked on in awe and merry disgust. “It’s okay,” he bravely cringed. “Frothy is gone for now, but I have a feeling that awful snowman will come back.”
I forgot to mention the bonus story and I’m afraid Frothy is a bit of an asshole. Well hopefully you enjoyed the preview. Watch for me on a podcast with the Dudes next Thursday when we’ll discuss our upcoming release and where in the hell Jack is. Until then, happy reading. ~Morganna