Thursday, 28 May 2015

Life's a Beach and Then... by Julia Roberts

(Banner designed by Gina Dickerson:

What They Say:

Holly Wilson has landed a dream job but there is one proviso… she must keep it secret, and that means telling lies. Holly hates telling lies.

Her latest assignment has brought her to the paradise island of Mauritius where she meets a British couple, Robert and Rosemary, who share a tragic secret of their own.

The moment they introduce Holly to handsome writer, Philippe, she begins to fall in love, something she hasn’t allowed herself to do for twenty years.

But Philippe has not been completely honest either and when Holly stumbles across the truth, she feels totally betrayed.

What I Say:

I would like to thank Jenny Marsden and author Julia Roberts for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

When we first meet Holly she is on her way to a dream vacation in Mauritius but Holly hides a secret.  The beginning of the story is quite slow and I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it but I stuck with it and this turned into a really good read.  I liked Holly from the first page, also Robert and Rosemary who both hide a secret of their own.

I couldn't however take to Philippe and I'm hoping in the next book in the series that he will grow on me.  There was just something about him I couldn't take and regulars to my blog know I love my book boyfriends.

None of Holly's life has been a smooth ride and this story is no different.  There are so many ups and downs that it really did feel like a rollercoaster ride set in the Mauritius and back in England.  I loved how Holly developed a deep friendship with Rosemary and Robert.  Also her relationship with her son was really lovely to read.

The pace of this book really stepped up towards the end and I'm hoping the next in the series continues at the same pace.  I loved how Julia threw a couple of curve balls in that I really wasn't expecting.  A good beginning to a series from Julia Roberts.

4 out of 5 stars



Author Bio: 

Julia Roberts was born in Nottingham in 1956 and shortly afterwards, in 1957, contracted the deadly disease Poliomyelitis, more commonly known as Polio. After a five month stay quarantined in hospital she was discharged on Christmas Eve with her left leg in a calliper. Thanks to extensive physiotherapy, swimming lessons, and persistent parents, who wanted their daughter to be able to walk through her life unaided, Julia was out of her calliper by the age of 3.

It was at primary school that Julia’s creative and performance abilities began to shine through. Having started ballet classes at the age of three, again to help with strengthening her left leg, she was unable to attend for two years due to the death of her grandma and her mother’s ill health. Julia recommenced dancing lessons across multiple styles at the age of 9, and also began elocution lessons. She was very successful in the Nottingham Speech and Drama festivals and also in a variety of dancing competitions. At the age of ten she wrote her first play which was performed by fellow classmates at Jesse Gray School, and buoyed by that success she entered a short story writing competition, with her creation The Foundling, and was awarded second place.

Despite the challenges of a weak leg, Julia had decided that she wanted to become a professional dancer. Summer Seasons, pantomimes, a Caribbean cruise, and a stint at a theatre in Barcelona followed before Julia hung up her dancing shoes and moved into television. Initially she hit the screen as a TV extra before gaining small acting roles in TV shows such as Citizen Smith and many television commercials.  In addition to her on screen parts, Julia also secured a recording contract in the early 1980s with a band called Jools and The Fools.

As the 1980s fitness boom gripped the nation, Julia began teaching fitness classes to supplement her income before becoming one of the original hostesses on the game show The Price is Right in 1983. After 2 series of the show, Julia had a production of her own…her son, Daniel. He was followed 13 months later by her daughter, Sophie, which led her to take a short career break.

During this time, Julia decided to try her hand at television presenting, landing herself the role of chat show host for her local channel in Croydon. One of the shows she presented weekly was entitled Palace Chatback and this led her to become an avid Crystal Palace supporter. She also produced and presented features about her team for Sky Sports.

In 1993, she auditioned to become a presenter for a shopping channel called QVC and, having been offered the job, was one of the first faces to launch the channel on 1st October the same year. Julia has worked there ever since whilst continuing presenting roles for Sky Sports and several corporate productions.

Throughout her career, Julia has always wanted to write a book but, as a working mum, was time-starved. She kept her hand in writing for magazines and newspapers, and eventually started her first book – a memoir entitled One Hundred Lengths of the Pool - in 2011. The concept was a little different from a standard memoir, with Julia using the numbers of each of the chapters to relate to moments from her life.

Having battled against Polio as a young child, Julia had a new health challenge to face as, in April 2012, she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. CML as it more commonly known is a rare type of blood cancer which affects only 600 people per year in the UK. Julia responded well to the early stages of her treatment but in November 2012, her BCR/ABL results showed an increase in the levels of the disease. It was a frightening time for Julia as she feared she may have developed a mutation of CML called T3151 which is resistant to any currently available drug therapy. Fortunately, an increased dosage of her treatment drug, Imatinib, brought these elevated levels of the disease down and they have continued to reduce. It was in April 2015 that Julia received the news that there is now no recordable level of the disease in her body, although she has to remain on medication for at least two more years.

Throughout her battle with CML she has continued working full-time at QVC, attempting to keep normality in her life. She signed a publishing deal with Preface Publishing for her book One Hundred Lengths of the Pool and that was a sell-out success on QVC. As a result of the publicity surrounding her book she was approached by the British Polio Fellowship and asked to become an ambassador for the charity which she readily agreed to. In conjunction with QVC, British Polio and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Julia organised a charity swimming gala where she set herself the challenge of swimming one hundred lengths of the pool while other participants took part in fun races and games. A percentage of the profits from her first book went to polio charities and a similar percentage of her latest book will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

 Following the launch of her first book, Julia needed a well-deserved break and booked a holiday to Mauritius. Her children, now adults, had bought her a notebook with words on the cover that read Hold on people…  I’m having an Idea. On the first morning of her holiday, Julia had just that – the idea for her first novel.

Over the course of the ten days she was in Mauritius, she scribbled copious notes, thoughts and ideas. When she arrived home, she started writing.
Life’s a Beach is part one of the Liberty Sands trilogy.  Julia has already started writing book two, If He Really Loved Me… , which she hopes to finish in the Autumn.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Lost Child By Ann Troup

What They Say:

Mandy Miller disappeared from Hallow’s End when she was just three years old. She was never found.

Thirty years on, Elaine Ellis is carrying her mother’s ashes back to Hallow’s End to scatter them in the place that she once called home. Elaine has never been there, but it’s the only place Jean talked about while she was growing up – so it seems as good a place as any.

As Elaine settles into her holiday cottage in the peaceful Devonshire village, she gets to know the locals; family she never knew she had; eccentric and old-fashioned gentry, and new friends where she would least expect them. But she is intrigued by the tale of the missing girl that the village still carries at its heart, and which somehow continues to overshadow them all. Little does she know how much more involved in the mystery she will become…

What I Say:

I would like to thank you to Carina for approving me to read this on NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

When Elaine Ellis's mother dies the only place she can think of going is to where her mother grew up and talked about all the time.  As Elaine settles into her holiday cottage, she meets Brodie who is wise beyond her years but also vulnerable.

The main story of the missing girl is weaved through the story and this is written in a fast pace that I found I really enjoyed the whole book.

4 out of 5 stars

Release day post - The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot

The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot

Published by Harper Impulse, ebook release date 24th May 2015, paperback 30th July 2015

What They Say:

The Vintage Cinema Club

"A witty, warm-hearted romp through the lives and loves of three friends – with a cool retro vibe, and a sense of fun that will never go out of fashion." – Debbie Johnson, author of the best-selling ‘Cold Feet At Christmas’.
Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….
Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?
Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…
Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?
Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.
Fans of Lucy Diamond, Michele Gorman and Milly Johnson are going to love this heartfelt, funny story.

Buy Links:

About The Author

I’m Jane Linfoot, and I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and lots of heart.

I live in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos – happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. For me, writing is cool because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

Author Links

Personal Page Facebook Happy to have friends
Twitter @janelinfoot
Pinterest Lots of Vintage Cinema Club character pages on Pinterest

Friday, 22 May 2015

Cover Reveal - A Rancher for Rosie by Molly Ann Wishlade

Title: A Rancher for Rosie
Series: The Duggans of Montana
Number in series: #2
Publisher: Totally Bound -
Preorder: 19th June 2015
Early download: 3rd July 2015
General release: 31st July 2015

Series Blurb:
The Duggans of Montana work hard and play harder.

Kenan Duggan looks out for his twin sister Rosie, and Matthew and Emmett, their two younger brothers. The Wild West is a tough place to live and each one strives to carve out their life on the land whilst battling the prejudices, contradictions and restrictions of an ever changing society.

They say that blood is thicker than water…but can these siblings find love and still hold on to family ties?

A Rancher for Rosie – blurb:

The course of true love never did run smooth but there’s only one rancher for Rosie Duggan.

It is springtime, 1871, and Rosie Duggan is in love with Joshua Hampton, a handsome rancher’s son.

Joshua is seven years her junior but they have fallen hard and hope to marry.

However, Joshua’s parents have other ideas. Firstly, they believe that Rosie is too old for their son. Secondly, they do not want Joshua marrying into the Duggan family. They believe that the Duggans are tainted by their association with Catherine Montgomery and her mysterious past.

Rosie only wants the best for everyone she loves so she makes several difficult decisions, preparing to sacrifice her own happiness to protect those around her.

But sometimes the people we love are prepared to make sacrifices too, so Rosie could well find the happiness she craves with her gorgeous rancher.

Book Information
Author: Molly Ann Wishlade
Blog: Hot Sensual Romance -
Twitter: @misswishlade

Thursday, 21 May 2015

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz – Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel and Predator by Janice Gable Bashman with Giveaway #T4T

Hello and welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel and
Predator by Janice Gable Bashman!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post! 

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy.

add to goodreads

At the beginning, this novel is reminiscent of other popular fantasy novels like the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, but it quickly takes on a life of its own that will appeal to science fiction, fantasy, and young adult fans alike. Darlena’s struggles mirror issues that many teens face, making her a relate-able and likable main character. This is a title with wide appeal that will fly off the shelves.” – Voya Magazine

“Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel is a refreshing twist to the YA paranormal genre!”Dianne, Tome Tender

“Witches and Greek gods! This seriously couldn't get any better.” – Kelly Hashway, Author
Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


The hunt is on! Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

Bree will become the thing she hates, to protect those she loves!

'Predator' gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

add to goodreads

“Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner! Bashman had me at the opening sentence and she's still got me. I want more!”Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Rules

“Every twist and fascinating revelation fell into place smoothly, with an ending that will leave readers wanting more. With this kind of originality on the page, it is exciting to speculate at the surprises Bashman will unveil next.”Suspense Magazine

“Predator" by Janice Gable Bashman is clean-teen fiction at it's best. It's smart, scary and suspenseful. The main character Bree is a super positive role model for teen girls--no mater what shape she takes” Jennifer, Author
Janice Gable Bashman
Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Wanted Undead or Alive and Predator. She is managing editor of the The Big Thrill (International Thriller Writers’ ezine). Janice lives with her family in the Philadelphia area, where she at work on her next novel. Visit her at

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cover Reveal - Dear Darling by Ellen Faith

What They Say

I’m 30 years old and sat celebrating with a greasy pizza and a bottle of cheap plonk.’

On her 30th birthday, Ellie Darling decides that it’s time to start a diary. Mainly as a reminder for when she’s old and living with cats that she once had a life that wasn’t all bad. Even if it was one where at 30 years of age, she still refused to spend that extra £3 on the good wine instead of chocolate.

But when the only proposal she gets from her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day is that of a threesome, she decides that enough is enough! With a new, improved job as Personal Assistant to one of the most feared Partners at her law firm – one that she doesn't seem to be able to stop dreaming about – Ellie decides that this will be her year. And if she has to run errands for her boss’ neurotic Russian girlfriend or drag her best friend to a sponsored cycle with her now gay first love, then so be it.


Ellen lives in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, England where she spends most of her time baking, eating, baking, and eating. Occasionally she does leave the house to go to the cinema or do some food shopping though. 

After spending years with an overactive imagination, she decided to put all the magic in her head to some good use and put finger to laptop where The Story of Us was born and became her debut novel. 

She loves to travel, her favourite destinations so far have all been in America, hence the love of all things, and all people, American. The food rocks pretty hard too, she ate until her jeans begged her to stop whilst she was there. True fact.

Aside from day dreaming and eating, Ellen is a sucker for a lolcat, penguins and monkeys - she has never claimed to be normal. 


Revolution by Randi Cooley Wilson

Revolution Banner
About The Book:

A King Rises
A Fate Seals
Realms Fall

Eve Collins has set in motion a chain of events that could destroy everything she’s ever loved. Surrounded by dangerous creatures, dark worlds, and the struggle to become who she was meant to be, Eve must complete her ascension and accept her destiny.

War has begun. Losing is not an option. With dangers lurking around each corner, and everything against her, will Eve sacrifice her own happiness in order to tip the scale of balance? Which side will rise to power, and which fall to fate?

In this fourth installment in The Revelation Series, Eve must risk it all in order to prevent a centuries old war.

Everything comes with a sacrifice, even love.

What I Say:

I would like to thank YAReads and author Randi Cooley Wilson for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

After the ending of the previous book Eve expects Ash to hate her but how can he when they are fated to be together.  This book is a slow builder as more happens that will bring about the war between good and evil.  The beginning was a little slow for me but as it built towards it climatic ending there were lots of surprises along the way.

You have all the usual suspects and personally I can't make my mind up who I love the most Gage or Callen.  I love Callen sense of humour but can't help but feel for Gage and his pain.

Randi doesn't hold back and at times this pulled me in  all sorts of directions especially when it comes to who the traitor in the London clan is.  Did I guess who it was?  Hell no, and I won't spoil the book by revealing who it is.  All I can say is you would have been in big trouble Randi if it had turned out to be who I thought it was.

This book sets up the final book to be an epic finale.

5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Randi Cooley Wilson

Randi Cooley Wilson is a “New Adult” Paranormal/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author. Randi was born and raised in Massachusetts where she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. After graduation she moved to California where she lived happily bathed in sunshine and warm weather for fifteen years. Randi makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of wine and coffee, and has a slight addiction to bracelets.

The Giveaway:

One Winner: Signed Apron, Revelation, Restraint, Redemption and Revolution signed paperbacks.
Five Winners: One Signed Paperback of Either: Revelation, Restraint, Redemption or Revolution
Ten Winners: One Digital Copy of Revolution

Exclusive Excerpt - Chapter One

     My gaze lifts toward the heavens, searching for light. There is nothing. No stars shining brightly to guide me. No flush of the moon’s silver rays caressing the ominous tree lined confinement I find myself in. Panic begins to claw at my throat.
     Everything is unnaturally still. The trees are motionless. There’s no breeze to embrace me. No woodland creatures at home to calm me. Only silence. It’s eerie and yet, oddly familiar.
     “Hidden within the darkness, the unseen will eventually be divulged. Revealing the true purpose of your existence.” Gage’s deep, masculine voice penetrates my trepidation.
     I shift my body and tilt my head, meeting a pair of sea-green irises. The gargoyle clasps his warm fingers over mine in a soothing gesture while the scent of cigarettes and spice drifts over me. His presence rescues me from the shadowed corners my mind finds itself in.
     I inhale, for what feels like the first time tonight. A small smile appears on my lips at the sight of the good-looking protector. Gratitude washes over me, because I’m not alone on this self-imposed journey.
     The moment of reprieve passes quickly when I remember who I am and what I’ve done. At the thought, a sharp, unyielding pain presents itself deep within my heart. The sting causes my breath to hitch as my hand moves to cover the twinge.
     In the distance, a faint, familiar sound floats over me. “Come back to me, siren,” it whispers. The memory of how much hurt I’ve caused seeps in. “I will protect you, always.” The voice, belonging to Asher St. Michael, my gargoyle protector, and now my mate, promises. My stomach lurches at the recollection of my actions this evening. My treachery.
     Instantly, I fold at the waist and vomit into the plant life lining the forest’s floor. Gage steps closer to my uncontrollable, trembling body. Releasing my hand, he gently holds my hair back, allowing me to empty the contents of my stomach into the undergrowth. Shit.
     “You’re okay, love. It’s just the adrenaline wearing off. Take deep breaths,” he soothes.
     I close my eyes, trying to block it all out, as my body hums from the protector blood bond. In rapid fire, images of this evening flash through my mind. Each one cutting my soul like the dagger I used in my deception. All I can see is Asher. My dark prince. My everything.
     Asher’s gentle hand is wrapped around the lower portion of my throat, showing dominance. The feel of my gargoyle’s body pressed against mine, pushing me into his stone state bed. The stunning and blissful expression he had as he slid into me for the first time. His scent. His touch. His declarations of forever, all marred by my deceit.
     I’ve ended us by showing my disloyalty. When his indigo eyes met mine, my dagger fell into his heart, forcing him into a healing sleep. Protecting him. Then, I walked away from my love to save another who I hold dear to me. My sacrifice.
     A shiver passes over me and my breathing becomes ragged. My stomach churns again and my knees buckle. If it weren’t for Gage’s large hands wrapped around my waist, I would collapse in despair on the dirt-covered pathway. Crap. Pull yourself together, Eve.
     “Are you alright, love?” Gage questions quietly into my ear, holding me close.
     Once the visions dissolve, so does the nausea. I open my eyes to meet Gage’s troubled ones. Taking a step back, I allow for some distance from his protective arms. Then I center myself before pushing back my shoulders and lifting my chin.
     “Yes,” I say firmly.
     He knits his brows together, running a hand through his golden-blond hair. “Are you sure, Eve?” he questions with worry lining his voice.
     I’m actually taken aback by his apprehension. Normally, Gage doesn’t show signs of unease. It’s unnerving and making me question my resolve. I straighten and nod once.
     “I said I am.” My voice is strong, even though inside, I’m terrified.
     The undecipherable gargoyle’s eyes just search mine. His face is strained in disbelief.
     “I really am,” I assure him and attempt to turn my attention to the fog-covered fortress in front of us. I don’t want to see his troubled expression. 
     Gage doesn’t let me twist though. Instead, he snatches my chin roughly and tilts my head back. His gaze roams over my face before locking onto it with a raw intensity. “With every moment that goes by, they turn a deeper shade of indigo, love,” he whispers.
     My breath hitches and I slam my lids down, hiding the irises. Asher and I triggered our mate bond and fulfilled the divination of redemption. My light ignited and awakened his soul, protecting him from stone petrifaction. I was so concerned with his safety, I failed to remember his mate mark wouldn’t be the only change to my body. My eye color changed from hazel, to blue, the clan’s hue. I really should have read more paranormal books. Crap.
     Opening my eyes, I take in a deep breath through my nose. The memory of my intimate night with Asher disappears. His mate mark angrily pulses on my lower back, alerting me to Asher’s emotional state. He’s pissed. Of course he is. Why wouldn’t he be?
     Gage sighs in annoyance. “One look at you, love, and the Declan clan will not be able to overlook the fact that you are the dark prince’s mate.”
     My eyes narrow in response. “Not fully. Abby told me that the mark and eye color are temporary until my new mark is infused with Asher’s blood. If that doesn’t happen, with time, both disappear and release him of our soul connection. That’s what needs to happen, Gage. I only did this to protect him from the council and Dark Army.”
     Gage releases a hollow laugh that sounds more like a bark. “You’re naïve, daughter of Heaven, to think you gave yourself to him in the name of protection only.”
     My teeth clench in aggravation. “You said you would help me. I need to extract my aunt Elizabeth from Lucifer before he kills her. I’m the one he wants. It’s my role to save her. By any means necessary. Asher wouldn’t have let me do this, you know that.”
     He holds my gaze for a moment in contemplation. “Don’t you mean your mother?”
     “Ever since finding out that Elizabeth and Michael are your biological parents, you continue to refer to her as your aunt. She’s your mother, love. You are her flesh and blood.”
     I pull my chin out of his grasp. “Fine. I need to save…my mother.” As the words fall out of my mouth, my stomach sinks at the recollection that both the archangel and my guardian, whom I’ve known since birth as my aunt Elizabeth, lied to me for years before recently coming clean about our biological lineage.
     “Are you going to help me or not?” I snip impatiently.
     Gage’s focus shifts from me, down the haze-filled path, toward the ominous castle that belongs to Deacon, the leader of the Declan clan. Since Gage was the half-demon, half-gargoyle’s right hand man for a short time, Gage is the only one who knows of its location, which is why I entrusted him to assist me with this plan.
     My eyes follow his line of sight, landing on the stone fortress, as unease trickles down my spine. The last time I was here, Deacon was holding me hostage. Despite the bad blood between the two, Gage had helped Asher and his family, the London clan, with my rescue.
     Deacon’s entire focus has been to hand me over to Lucifer and the Dark Army. He killed Aria, my best friend and college roommate, while she was protecting me. After which, both Deacon’s brother Kaiden, and his mother Dimia, died doing his bidding.
     I shudder at the thought of what he’ll do to me this time, knowing that Asher and the St. Michaels won’t save me. Stabbing Asher, the future king of the gargoyle race, in the heart with my daggers was the ultimate betrayal. I’ve ended the protection the clan offered.
     Releasing a slow breath, I remind myself that I’m the weapon, created by Heaven, to tip the scale in their favor and bring redemption to the world ending this centuries’ old war. Heaven sees me as a pawn, but for Hell, I’m a threat to their very existence. It’s why they’re hunting me. If not restrained, I have the power to destroy the Dark Army. This time, though, I’m going to make it easy and surrender, exchanging my life for my Elizabeth’s.
     Chewing on the inside of my cheek, I wait for his answer. Deciding then and there, with or without his help, I’m still doing this. It’s my fault that Deacon and Lucifer kidnapped my mother to get to me. Gage faces me with a soft look. I can tell he’s made his decision.
     Silently, he extends his hand for me to take, and I do, as relief floods through me. The grip he has on me tightens, almost painfully, as he yanks me harshly to his chest. Without warning, his grey wings snap out from his back. Gage’s face morphs into one of regret.
     My expression turns to one of confusion at his sudden coldness, wordlessly questioning him.
     “Sorry, love,” Gage whispers in my ear before disappearing with me in his possession.

If I stand any straighter, I think it’s possible my spine might snap in two. Of their own accord, my hands clench and unclench at my sides in agitation. I fear if they stop, I might land a hard smack on the cheek of the sexy gargoyle watching me with his unimpressed eyes.
     “Are you fucking kidding me?” I scream and throw my hands up in dismay.
     The protector ignores my outburst. Instead of responding, he takes out a cigarette, rolling it between his thumb and index finger, momentarily distracting me. Damn, he’s alluring when he does that.
     “I said I was sorry,” Gage offers unapologetically, yanking me back to the present.
     “Take. Me. Back,” I demand.
     “No,” he says with finality then pulls out a lighter from the front pocket of his black dress pants. Once the nicotine stick is lit, he drags in a hard inhale, relaxing his face and shoulders.
     “Now, Gage.” I narrow my eyes at him.
     He pins me with a hard glare and he lets out a long exhale. A cloud of smoke is directed at me, forcing me to fan my hand in front of my face like Miss America does when she starts crying after she’s found out she’s won. Jerk.
     “I understand the word no is not something you’re used to hearing, love, since Asher bows at your every whim, but I mean it. So stop arguing with me.” His voice is rough.
     “She will die,” I seethe.
     His shoulders drop at my statement. “Elizabeth is not under my protection. You are.”
     I scoff. “Unreal. NOW you decide to step in and protect me?” What the hell? “What happened to, I don’t babysit, loveYou’re a big girl, Eve. Spread those wings and fly, daughter of Heaven.” I mock his previous statements.
     He shrugs and places the cigarette in his mouth again. “It pleases me to do so now.”
     I fold my arms over my chest and attempt to take on an even angrier stance. He just continues to stand there, unaffected, sucking on his cigarette. Letting it dangle over his infuriating perfect lips. Damn gargoyles.
     “Gage,” I fume.
     “This wasn’t the plan.”
     Gage throws the remains of his cigarette on the concrete sidewalk before stomping on it with his black designer shoes. “No, love, it wasn’t. Plans change. Isn’t that what’s so wonderful about free will, daughter of Heaven?”
     We hold one another’s irate glare before a deep tone cuts through our childish stand off.
     “In or out?” the gruff, accented voice asks in a short manner.
     My eyes shift to the large Samoan man glaring at Gage and I. His thick, tan arms are covered in tribal tattoos and folded across his heavy body. The stranger is guarding a black door with no sign on it. His sudden presence triggers the realization that we’re standing in a back alley, in a city.
     “Where are we?” I ask Gage, finally coming to my senses.
     “The Midnight Temple,” Gage says cryptically and walks over to the intimidating bodyguard. “Issac, it’s good to see you again, brother.”
     Issac doesn’t smile, or move for that matter. To be honest, he looks like he’s about to kill Gage. That unto itself makes him my new favorite person.
     “Ua leva tele ona o'u le toe va'ai ia oe,” Issac grunts out in what sounds like Samoan.
     “It has been a long time, man. I need to see him,” Gage says. “I’m owed a favor.”
     Issac slides his guarded attention toward me before motioning to me with his head.
     “O ai lou igoa?” he asks me.
     “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” I state.
     “He wants to know your name, love,” Gage explains.
     “Oh. Eve. Eve Collins,” I answer and put out my hand to shake his.
     Isaac doesn’t take it. His dark brown eyes skate back to Gage. “E le o inei le tama.”
     Gage stands straighter and leans in. “Don’t lie to me. I know he’s here. I sense him.”
     “E na'o 'oe?” Isaac questions frostily.
     Gage’s expression turns lethal. “Do I look stupid, ma a'u o?”
     After an awkward few moments, Issac tilts his head toward the door but doesn’t make any effort to move. Gage grabs my hand and yanks me around the large man. As we pass, my arm briefly brushes Isaac’s, causing the hair on the back of my neck to tingle. He just smirks.
    Gage drags me through the steel door into a dark, long hallway. A loud buzzing sound emits from the one small, circular overhead light that’s tinted red, basking the corridor in a burgundy hue. Immediately, the smell of sulfur assaults my nose. I dig my heels into the old, thin black carpet on the floor. Crap. I’m still not wearing shoes.“Where the hell are we?”
     “That’s a pretty close assessment, love.” Gage sighs before turning to face me. “At the risk of sounding like the dark prince, in here, you stick by my side. Don’t speak. Don’t move. Don’t breathe, unless I permit it. This place is where darkness comes to play. Understood?”
     I hold his intense gaze before giving in. It’s not like Gage to go all protector bossy on me.
     “I’m not wearing shoes,” I point out.
     Gage ignores the statement. Instead, he roughly snatches my hand again and continues to pull me along, forcing us further into the hall’s darkness.
     “Why are we here?” I whisper.
     “Christ. Don’t speak unless I speak to you, love,” he growls. “You want Elizabeth back? We do it my way. This is my way.” Why do I get the feeling his way sucks?
     This was not at all how this was supposed to go. Aggravated at the change in plans, I stop and rip my hand out of his hold so he’s forced to turn and look at me again. He does.
     “Gag—” He cuts me off. With supernatural speed, Gage is in front of me, pinning me to the wall and caging me in with his arms. A shrewd smile crosses his lips as he dips his chin.
     “I mean it, love. Not one word unless I give you permission,” he orders.
     After a brief moment of defiance, I press my lips together to prove I can behave. Satisfied, Gage pushes off the wall and continues to maneuver us through the shadowy passage and up several flights of stairs.
     As we walk, the dim vibrations of a bass flow through me, prompting my curiosity. There must be a nightclub on the other side of the wall.
     I keep my eyes trained on Gage’s back while we make our way up the last set of stairs. A snow-white door sits at the top of the landing. The color seems out of place given all the deep burgundy and blacks from the stairwells and hallway decor. Upon approach, I read Media Nocte In Templo spray-painted artistically across the entry. Before Gage knocks, the door swings open and my eyes meet a familiar pair of wild emerald green ones. What the hell?
     “I’ve been waiting for you,” she rasps out.
     “Sorry we’re late, buttercup.” Gage feigns an apology.
     Confused, I look to Gage and then to the pale girl blanketing her face with her long raven hair. The new purple highlights mixed into the glossy dark strands make Nassa, Sorceress of Prosperity, look effortlessly cool. They match her deep purple eyeliner. Longing for my own clothes, I take in her black converse sneakers, black skinny jeans and vintage band t-shirt.
    What in the world is going on? I’m about to ask, but a loud squawking noise interrupts my curiosity. At the sound, my focus stops on a black crow sitting on the sorceress’ shoulder. Its wings are silky with sleek deep cobalt streaks running through the raven feathers.
     “Noir, meet Eve, daughter of Heaven. Eve, my familiar, Noir.” Nassa introduces us.
     I smirk awkwardly at the bird while it tilts its head, assessing me. My life just keeps getting more and more absurd. “You have a pet crow?” I stare at the animal in astonishment.
    Gage shoots me a menacing look, probably for speaking out of turn. My eyes widen at him in apology as I motion with my hand that I’m zipping my mouth closed. Fuck, he’s bossy.
    “You don’t have to be afraid of him.” She enlightens, reaching up and petting the creature.
    “Isn’t he sort of a symbol for death?” I snort, causing the bird to caw at me.
     “Christ, love.” I get an aggravated warning from Gage.
     “Actually, crows are keepers of the sacred law. They can see our true soul self, representing transcendence. They’re also extremely smart and loyal.” Nassa shifts her focus to me.
     I arch my brow in skepticism. “Pretty sure Alfred Hitchcock would disagree.”
     At my reference, she rolls her eyes. “If it helps you sleep at night, they mate for life, sunbathe, and can count to six.” The quirky girl explains these points as if they will win me over.
     “Fascinating,” I reply warily.
     “Noir is simply my familiar, like Malefica, aunt Lunette’s spotted panther,” she adds.
     I’d forgotten Nassa was the niece of the eccentric Sorceress Lunette. A member of the Sorceresses of the Black Circle, and one of the Supernatural Royal Court members, as well as, the guardian of the scroll of divination. Oh, and a tantric sex hobbyist who pierced my mate in the most private of spots. My lips tilt at the vision of the slim, blonde haired witch.
     “Are you going to invite us in, buttercup?” Gage winks seductively from the doorway.
    Nassa glares at him, irritated at the nickname, before stepping aside and motioning us into another hallway. Odd. Before we enter, Nassa steps up to Gage angrily.
     “For the record, Gallagher, your mere presence makes me want to puke,” she quips.
     Gage just stares at her with a blank expression before leaning toward her ear to speak quietly.
     “Gallagher, huh? It’s nice to see you got my name right this time, buttercup. I loathe being confused with God. Oh God…please,” he says in a low, seductive voice.  
     My eyes slide closed. Well, crap. That can’t be unheard.
    Nassa releases a raspy, deep laugh. “Don’t flatter yourself, Gallagher. I was just surprised. Oh God, is that all there is,” she mouths off as I beg the floor to open up and swallow me.
    Gage rolls his neck, allowing the loud cracks of his straining bones and muscles to echo off the walls. He ignores her smart remark and snatches my hand, yanking me hard into the corridor as I stumble over my feet.
    “Eve needs to clean up. Maybe an outfit and some shoes. Can you help before she meets him?” Gage grits out.
    “If you’d release your overprotective grip on her, I’ll get right on that,” Nassa retorts.
    “Love, go with Nassa. You have ten minutes.” He releases my hand.
    I go to say something snarky, but Gage’s face morphs into one of caution. Damn my promise to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I follow the sorceress into a backroom, where she roughly throws a duffle bag at me. Rummaging thought it I find it’s filled with my own clothes and products, as well as my favorite shoes. My eyes meet hers in question.
    “How did you get my things?” I ask.
    “Gallagher told me about your little escape plan, so I packed some items I thought you’d need.” She points a dark purple, polished index finger behind me. “There’s a bathroom through that door to freshen up. No offense but you smell like vomit,” she states as a matter of fact.
    “Yeah…well, you smell like crow,” I retort.
    Her face scrunches. “That isn’t even an insult. You need to spend more time with Kenna.”
    I ignore the dig and snatch the bag off the floor then head into the bathroom to change. Ten minutes later, I’m clean and in my own clothes, shoes and all. I open the door to see Nassa sitting on a couch, magazine in hand. Noir stares at me with his beady bird eyes. Creepy.
    “Why didn’t you have that thing with you when you were at the summit in London?” I ask.
    “Noir doesn’t like flying,” she answers in an even tone, not looking at me.
    I study her for a moment to see if she’s joking. She’s not. Is she serious? She has a pet bird that doesn’t like to fly. Awesome. “Where are we?” I change topics.
    “Didn’t Gallagher warn you not to speak or ask questions?” Her head tilts, watching me.
    “He did. I thought since we know one another, you might be a little more forthcoming with information. My mistake.” I shift uncomfortably, while she focuses on the glossy pages of the fashion magazine. “Are you and Gage an item now, or something?”
    Nassa sighs. “New York. You’re in Manhattan. And no we’re not.”
    I drop the bag holding my dirty outfit and nod in appreciation. “Thanks.”
    She studies me for a moment. “For what it’s worth, I think what you did to Asher was pretty shitty. I’m willing to bet he kills you. Painfully. That said, I respect why you did it. I would do anything to keep my mom safe. So we’re cool. You and me.”
    I swallow the painful lump forming in my throat. “Good to know,” I whisper.
    Her eyes float around the storage room. “This is my uncle’s club, The Midnight Temple. That’s what the Latin graffiti on the door translates into.”
    “Why did Gage bring me here?” I sit down on the worn couch next to her.
    Twisting so she can see me, Nassa shrugs. “Probably because my uncle’s a demon lord.”
    I knit my brows. “A what?”
    “Demon lord. It’s the same as an archangel only for the other team.”
    “Your uncle is a demon? I thought you were a sorceress?” I accuse.
    “My mom is a sorceress. My dad, Mammon, holds a high position within the demon world. To avoid the look you’re giving me now, I tend to play up the sorceress side. It’s less…freakish. I make more friends that way,” she deadpans with a look of irritation.
    “Mammon… Your dad is the demon of greed?” I question in a high-pitched voice.
    “You’re in no position to judge. Your dad is the warrior of Heaven,” she throws back.
    “Sorry,” I murmur. Wait, how do you know about Michael?”
    “Noir can see your true soul. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” Nassa ensures.
    “Forgive my mistrust but my ability to read people’s motives isn’t what it used to be.”
    “I have nothing to gain by ratting you out, Eve. I live with my mother and the Sorceresses of the Black Circle. My allegiance is to them. I haven’t seen my dad, or my uncle, in a very long time. Nor do I care to engage in what their side believes to be truth,” she explains.
    “If your dad is Mammon, who’s your uncle?” I question, not really wanting to know.
    “The King of the Nine Hells, one of the original seven princes of Hell. Known to most as the demon of lust,” Nassa answers, holding my eyes.
    “Actually, my dear niece, my claim to fame is that I penned the contract of creation,” a baritone intonation cascades over us from the doorway.
    At the interruption, both Nassa and I become rigid, shifting our focus to the voice.
    “Eve, meet my uncle, Asmodeus.”