Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Memory Keeper of Kyiv
Erin Litteken
Publication date: May 16th 2022
Genres: Literary Fiction

Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
“A powerfully moving debut . . . Ukraine’s tragic history painfully echoes its current crisis, and on every page the Ukrainian spirit shines out, unbowed, unbent and unbroken. This is a compelling, timely read.” Kate Quinn, author of The Rose Code

In the 1930s, Stalin’s activists marched through the Soviet Union, espousing the greatness of collective farming. It was the first step in creating a man-made famine that, in Ukraine, stole almost 4 million lives. Inspired by the history the world forgot, and the Russian government denies, Erin Litteken reimagines their story.
In 1929, Katya is 16 years old, surrounded by family and in love with the boy next door. When Stalin’s activists arrive in her village, it’s just a few, a little pressure to join the collective. But soon neighbors disappear, those who speak out are never seen again and every new day is uncertain.

Resistance has a price, and as desperate hunger grips the countryside, survival seems more a dream than a possibility. But, even in the darkest times, love beckons.

Seventy years later, a young widow discovers her grandmother’s journal, one that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her family’s haunted past.

This is a story of the resilience of the human spirit, the love that sees us through our darkest hours and the true horror of what happened during the Holodomor.

“I never imagined the release of my novel on a past oppression of the Ukrainian people would coincide with such a parallel tragedy.” Erin Litteken

May we never forget, lest history repeat itself.

A share of proceeds will be donated to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

A sharp click echoed in the room, and everyone froze. The Russian’s cocked pistol pointed at Tato. “Are you resisting orders? If you are, we will have to label you an enemy of the people. We all know what happens to enemies of the people. I could shoot you right now, and nobody would care.”

Katya’s head buzzed. All the anger she’d felt morphed into sheer terror as she stared at her Tato. His beet-red face glistened with sweat and his hands curled slowly into fists, the anger crackling off him like a hungry fire seeking fuel. If someone didn’t intercede, he would be shot for attempting to murder Prokyp with his bare hands.

Mama, too, saw his inner struggle, for she stepped in front of Tato and spoke calmly. “I apologize for my husband’s behavior. He’s overprotective of his daughters. He didn’t mean what he said. We’ll cooperate, I swear it.”

The Russian smirked and lowered his gun. Dropping Alina’s hand, Katya pulled her father into a hug and spoke in his ear. “Please, Tato, there is no harm done, but we can’t lose you. Please.” She felt the tension lessen from his body, but vibrations of anger still throbbed like the veins on his neck.

Prokyp watched the scene with amusement, then sauntered back over to his cohorts, smiling. The Russian turned to him and asked with complete sincerity, “Have you been offended by this man? What would you like to do, Comrade?”

Prokyp glanced at Tato and then at Alina, who was white as a sheet, but holding her head high as Mama had taught them to. Katya’s legs wobbled, so she locked her knees and held her breath as they waited for this fool to decide the fate of their family.

“I suppose I can overlook it this once, as long as he and his family promise to cooperate fully in the future.” His gaze lingered on Alina. “But we shall have to check back here often to make sure they are behaving.”

Another activist pushed into the house with a large sack of wheat balanced on his shoulder. “I found this, and another just like it, hidden in the barn loft.”

Katya’s heart sank. She’d worried the wheat in the barn wasn’t hidden well enough, but Tato thought it safe out of sight beneath the hay.

“You can’t take that!” Tato shouted. “It’s my seed for planting this fall!”

“This will pay your quota. For now.” The Russian Soviet waved a hand dismissively, as if suddenly bored by them. “Come, we must move to the next house.”

The woman cast an apologetic look toward Mama and hurried behind the men as they left. The door swung wildly in their wake, and none of them moved until Tato strode forward and slammed it shut, though not before Katya saw the activists’ cart stacked high with sacks of grain, just like the ones they’d taken from the barn.


Author Bio:

Erin Litteken is a debut novelist with a degree in history and a passion for research. At a young age, she was enthralled by stories of her family’s harrowing experiences in Ukraine before, during and after World War II. She lives in Illinois, USA with her husband and children.

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Zulu ~ Sybil Bartel

Zulu
Sybil Bartel
(The Alpha Elite, #4)
Publication date: June 14th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Navy SEAL.

Sniper.

Mercenary.

The Navy trained me to be the best, but the Teams turned me into a deadly weapon. Every mission honing my tactical skills, I never missed a shot. Living for my brothers and the Trident I’d earned, I didn’t look past my next deployment.

Then my friend and former teammate made me an offer—private sector, government contracts, combat missions and the chance to fly my own jet. Retiring from the Teams, but not the mission, I joined Alpha Elite Security.

As second-in-command at AES, I demanded precision because I didn’t do things the wrong way. Until a mysterious brunette walked through the door, and everything went FUBAR.

Code name: Zulu.
Mission: Exfiltrate.

ZULU is a standalone book in the exciting Alpha Elite Series by USA Today Bestselling author, Sybil Bartel. Come meet Zane “Zulu” Silas and the dominant, alpha heroes who work for AES!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Author Bio:

Sybil Bartel is a USA Today Bestselling author of unapologetic alpha heroes. Whether you're reading her deliciously dominant mercenaries, bodyguards or military heroes, all of her heart-stopping, page-turning romantic suspense novels have sexy-as-sin alpha heroes!

Sybil resides in South Florida and she is forever Oliver’s mom.

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Shadowed Horizons ~ Reily Garrett

Shadowed Horizons
Reily Garrett
(The Guardians, #1)
Publication date: May 13th 2022
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal

Fate can have many paths. Which would you choose?

Kiera’s capacity to face death stems from training, begun when old enough to wield a knife. Befriended by wolves and raised by a group of psychic men sworn to protect humanity, she now faces mercenaries intent on reshaping the world using equal talents.

Prodigious keyboard skills and innate curiosity has led Wyatt McGlauklin to invent the unimaginable. He’s long since claimed status as the top computer science geek. Little do people know, there’s much more to Wyatt.

When a blonde spitfire steps out of nowhere to prevent his assassination, his life’s direction takes an extraordinary turn where his analytical mind can’t validate paranormal phenomena.

Fate decrees Kiera find her life partner, but she learns you don’t always get to choose whom you love. Wyatt’s arrival challenges destiny as they combine forces to preserve the world as they know it.

A must-read for fans of for fans of CM Sutter, Dale Mayer, Dean Koontz, LT Ryan, and Fiona Quinn.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Each flip of the key ring around his index finger tallied another reason to quit the world of high stake’s business. Work stemming from a far-fetched theory had taken form and flourished beyond his imagination.

Unlike the soundless steps of his bodyguard’s booted strides, Wyatt’s tennis shoes pealed squishy squeaks through the dimly lit parking garage.

“Adam, this does not make my list of top favorite places to visit. Next time I help an old college friend, maybe we could pick a drier day and find parking other than a creepy garage?”

A rat skittered across the floor in the shadows, its gimlet-eyed stare marking the intruders’ positions. Air redolent of filth, gas, and pizza from a nearby restaurant clogged Wyatt’s sinuses, reminiscent of the alley apartment occupied during college. Since those lean years, digital fluency and hard work had jettisoned him to the top of his field.

The clash of artificial dingy light and murky silhouettes added an ominous, prophetic feeling he couldn’t shake. Water stains mingled with shapeless apparitions to create fleeting two-dimensional monsters between vehicles, ready to attack unwary travelers.

He was not a fan of inkblot tests.

I haven’t been spooked like this in years.

Adam shrugged. “As far as security is concerned, it’s not an ideal location since the street side is open, but it is the closest available. Roadside parking leaves you too vulnerable. As much as you cherish you privacy, I’m surprised you offered to help him. Why couldn’t you do it over the net?”

“Hardware issues require hands-on assistance. He’s my ex-roommate. I felt sorry for him. Modern advances in technology left him in the dust.”

“Next time, suggest a meeting during daylight hours and a place of our choosing?”

Adam narrowed his eyes and tilted his head as if listening to a far-off sound. The combination spelled trouble. His steps slowed and adopted a deliberate edge even as his shoulders tightened in preparation to strike.

“A graveyard walk would be less creepy, and a proctologist’s exam more fun.” Sweat beaded Wyatt’s forehead despite the cool spring breeze drifting over the graffiti-covered knee wall.

“This place feels off to me. Let’s get the hell out of here—” Adam stopped, holding out his right arm to halt their progress.

Wyatt’s slip on a crudely patched piece of concrete necessitated his bodyguard’s steadying hand. Dirt and loose crumbles skittered underfoot, their audio report echoing off the walls.

“Watch your step, boss. No need to broadcast our location.”

“You know,” Wyatt muttered. “People think of me as a good analytical, concrete thinker. I guess whatever higher power gifted me with intuitive abilities for logistics and computers exacted a mental tariff—common sense.” His penchant for talking when nervous filled the quiet atmosphere.

“My instincts say trouble’s GPS has locked on. Stay close.”

The soft glide of his bodyguard’s gun from his shoulder rig compelled Wyatt to suck in chilled air that seared his lungs. Each step forward carried the expectation of death.

“Intuition is your best survival tool and seldom wrong. For an athletic geek, yours is pretty good.”

Wyatt didn’t argue the conciliatory assessment. Routine sparring with Adam revealed the bodyguard had reflexes that boggled the mind.

Sudden sharp beeps shattered the silence. A sequence of long and short chirps denoting binary code identified Wyatt’s caller. His heart rate shot into overdrive. Hair on his nape prickled as he fumbled the device. Swiping to ignore didn’t recall the audible beacon.

Massive pillars supported the five-story concrete structure that supplied parking space for the attached office building. Rounding one to his left, Wyatt stumbled as Adam snatched him sideways.

The colossal brute they almost bounced off had detached from the shadows with a stealth befitting a sixteenth century ninja. Colossal mass defied speed but personified malice with a savage gaze and gap-toothed smile.

“Jesus!” Wyatt’s split-second observation induced a rush of adrenaline with the hand holding his cell thrusting forward in self-protection. “Damn. You’re big.”

Deep chuckling inspired images of the worst villains in horror movies.

Brown hair pulled back in a ponytail swept the shoulder of the man bearing a gold tooth. A ridge of pitted, tanned skin separated the straight bushy unibrow deepening with a tilt of his head. Dark eyes retained terrible knowledge embracing and calculating endless methods for the most efficient kill.

After flicking a glance over the bodyguard in silent disregard, the brute’s appraisal raked Wyatt’s body head to toe. Thin lips widened in obvious glee.

“Time to meet your maker, prodigy.” He mimicked Wyatt’s sidestep in a lightning-fast move and knocked Adam’s gun from his hand. The pistol ricocheted under a nearby Toyota producing multiple tin-like clinks.

Time shattered into bits and pieces where each fractured instant unfurled another fragment of the ominous scene. Wyatt’s thoughts stuttered on a long blink.


Author Bio:

Reily Garrett is a writer, mother, and companion to three long coat German shepherds. When not working with her dogs, she’s sitting at her desk with her fur kids by her side.

Author of chilling suspense and snarky romance, her stories span the distance of romantic thrillers, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. Regardless of genre, each book delves into a dark and twisted imagination yet is tempered with romance and a touch of humor.

Reviews by Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Bay Review, and BestThrillers.com best describe her work:

"This could be James Patterson, Lee Child, and Tess Gerritsen rolled into one, but the dark, twisted methods used by the serial killer could surprise even those readers…” - San Francisco Bay Review

“…steamy, seductive police procedural…” - BestThrillers.com

“…well-researched thriller that remains romantically genuine throughout.” - Kirkus Review

Prior experience in the Military Police, private investigations, and as an ICU nurse gives her fiction a real-world flavor. Find Reily below.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon


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Sunday, May 15, 2022

In The Trap ~Jessica Cranberry

In The Trap
Jessica Cranberry
(Hazel & Maeve: The Campus Mysteries, #1)
Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Suspense

For Hazel, an introvert with a knack for people watching, campus life is awkward and hard and…lonely. That is, until she starts to let her guard down around her roommate, Maeve—who’s fun and has a wicked flair for drama. Could there be more than just a friendship here? Maybe. But Hazel has a lot of family trauma to work through before figuring out the other big parts of her life. For now, she’s just happy to have someone to talk to.

All seems to go well until a night in the Trap—the university’s green space—leads to a tense encounter with some drunk guys. When one of the guys ends up dead, Hazel is implicated, and she and Maeve set out to solve the crime before police can connect either of them to it. But how can two amateur sleuths put together a solid case to hand over to the police in time? By following the campus online diaries, that’s how.

Set at the beginning of the internet age, people are just starting to share all their deepest, darkest secrets via the World Wide Web, yet the assumption of online anonymity may be a critical mistake. As the perpetrator posts their criminal diary for public consumption, Hazel and Maeve scramble to use technology to piece together the murderer’s identity. Can they hack their way out of becoming suspects? And if so, could they ever go back to their boring majors?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“The rain subsided a little; its pounding beat softened to a patter, and Aunt Liddy relaxed her shoulders. She punched the radio back on, and the soothing tones of “I Can See Clearly Now” filled the car.

As Aunt Liddy hummed along, I worried a hangnail on my thumb, savoring the little sting of pain. It reminded me who I was, where I was going, and that I was doing it alone. The road stayed slick with water and sounded like its own river as we drove over and through puddles.

Suddenly, a sharp bite stole my breath as I lurched forward in my seat, the seat belt digging into my collarbone and chest. Aunt Liddy put her arm in front of me as if that would be enough to stop my head from splitting against the windshield. The dashboard was mere inches from crushing the bridge of my nose.

She stomped the brakes and yelled and cursed. Bright red taillights filled our windshield, sparkling and reflecting in the last of the raindrops that hadn’t been swiped away. The back of our car started to edge around. Back and forth, fishtailing as Aunt Liddy tried to gain control. Her face flushed pink, expression strained.

Life was supposed to flash in front of my eyes, but I hadn’t lived long enough for anything to really show up. I saw my mom smiling and heard my dad laughing, and nothing more. Were they—and everything they’d been through—all my life had amounted to?

Miraculously, Aunt Liddy steadied the car. She laid on the horn. It blared long and loud.

“Did you see him? He cut me off!”

The truck in front of us was massive, with a set of mud flaps showing the curving silhouettes of two naked women. Classy. The truck driver stuck his middle finger out the window.

“Stupid dick.” Aunt Liddy drew in a deep breath. “He’s gonna get someone killed.” She turned to me. “I’m sorry. Are you okay, hun?”

I could barely breathe. My heartbeat pounded in my throat and ears. My eyes watered and felt as though they were barely in their sockets. But sure, I was fine and said as much. That stupid song continued. Its singer insisted life was all clear blue skies and obstacles could be seen from far off, which was a damn lie. Trucks came out of nowhere, and so did bad people. Red flags didn’t look like red flags until after the fact.”


Author Bio:

Jessica Cranberry lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills with her family and spends days striking a balance between parenthood, teaching, editing/proofreading, and writing–suspense novels and eclectic short stories mostly. When she's not doing those things, she's reading, attempting to garden, or hiking around town. She's an okay baker, and has been known to paint on occasion.

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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Guardians of the Sea ~ Eva Pohler

Guardians of the Sea
Eva Pohler
(Vampires and Gods, #3)
Publication date: May 14th 2022
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

After enduring Delphine’s dangerous training regimen, the young gods and demigods embark on a mission to take down the corrupt shipping company once and for all, to liberate victimized communities up and down the Mediterranean and nearby seas. But unforeseen conflicts cause the young gods and demigods to question the nature of their mission, their purpose, and their relationships with one another.

In the face of impossible choices, how important are love, loyalty, and friendship? Moreover, how far should one go to defend those who can’t defend themselves? Should one sacrifice everything?

Read the surprising conclusion of The Vampires and Gods Series. For lovers of Greek mythology, paranormal romance, and action adventure stories.

Here’s what readers are saying about this series:

“Vampires and Greek Mythology combined in one fabulous adventure!”–Brie Strauss, Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

“I absolutely cannot wait for more Adventures. I tried not to read so fast but honestly I couldn’t be patient. This book blew me away and I honestly just need more.”–Southernmermaid85, Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

“Must read!! Anything this author writes is amazing to read. It’s what got me into loving anything about the greek gods! And her vampire series is so interesting as well! This book combines both and draws you in!!”–Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

“Everything I’ve come to love and expect from Eva’s book, was to be found in this latest episode, constant drama, intrigue and adventure, not forgetting the romance. Can’t wait for more!”–Traceyann, Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

“I really liked the new characters that were introduced in this book. The story was interesting and had a lot of twists and turns.”–Kathy E, Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

If you like enemies-to-lovers romance and heart-breaking love triangles combined with fast-paced, high-stakes action, then this series is for you.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Gertie stood in the foyer of the great hall on Mount Olympus, waiting for Hector to finish his tour with Hephaestus. Hector had invited her to join him to see the magical forge, but she’d wanted him to have this chance to be alone with his father. She hadn’t thought about her own comfort—or lack of it as she stood there with the Olympians on their thrones only a few yards away. Although she’d earned their respect in the battle with the old man of the sea and his entourage of monsters and was about to become a goddess herself, she didn’t dare presume that she was free to speak with them.

She pushed a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear and glanced nervously at the gods before averting her eyes to her boots. Her stomach hurt, and her heart wouldn’t slow down no matter how deeply she breathed. An eternity seemed to pass when Hector finally emerged with his father.

Just seeing Hector’s face again made her less nervous. Although people often mistook them for brother and sister because they both had blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, fortunately for them, they weren’t, even though they were both descended from gods.

“Are you ready for the council meeting?” Hephaestus asked her.

Gertie took a deep breath. “I think so.”

“Of course, she is,” Hector said. “She hasn’t stopped talking about it for days. Have you, Gertie?”

“Are you sure you’re ready?” Hephaestus asked again.

“Yes,” she said, this time without hesitation. “I’m just a little nervous about how it will feel and how I’ll adapt. There isn’t much written about apotheosis. I feel unprepared.”

Hephaestus laughed. “Preparation has its virtues, but surprises make life exciting.”

“I like that.” Hector beamed up at his dad.

Gertie would rather be prepared.

“Good luck,” Hephaestus said as he turned to walk away.

“Thanks again for showing me around, Father,” Hector said. “I hope I’ll have the chance to see you again soon.”

The god gave Hector a polite, if not distant, nod before taking a few strides to his throne, next to Apollo and across the white marble floor from Aphrodite.

“How did it go?” Gertie whispered to Hector, who hadn’t stopped smiling since he’d emerged from the forge.

“I’ve never felt happier,” he said, his blue eyes bright. “My father has finally acknowledged me publicly and has given me more than a moment of his time. It’s a dream come true.”

“Oh, Hector.” Gertie squeezed his hand. “I’m really happy for you.”

“Thanks. Being here has made it easy for me to make a decision.”

Gertie tilted her head to one side. “What decision?”

“I want to be a god, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to prove I’m worthy.”

Gertie’s mouth dropped open, and she felt like jumping up and down with joy. “What?”

“I know . . . I was against it before. I wanted a normal life, so I could give my kids a better childhood than the one I had. Now I know things don’t have to be the way they were with my mom—alienated from my father and from the other gods.” He circled his arm around Gertie’s waist. “We can be a part of this life here on Mount Olympus. We can be gods together.”

Gertie thew her arms around him. “Really?”

“Really.” He reached down and kissed her.

As much as Gertie enjoyed the kiss, she soon came to her senses and noticed that some of the Olympians were watching her. “I’ll make my acceptance conditional. If they want me to become the goddess of vampires, they’ll have to make you a god, too.”

Hector furrowed his brows. “What if they refuse?”

“They won’t, especially if your father speaks up for you.”

He kissed her once more, and, together, they made their way to his father’s side, to await the others.


Author Bio:

After earning her Ph.D. in English and teaching writing and literature for over twenty years, Eva Pohler became a USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels in multiple genres, including mysteries, thrillers, and young adult paranormal romance based on Greek mythology. Her books have been described as "addictive" and "sure to thrill"--Kirkus Reviews.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

S.H.R.E.D: Gorgon Rising ~ Stu Jones

S.H.R.E.D: Gorgon Rising
Stu Jones
(Espionage and Defense, Super Humanoids for Reconnaissance)
Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Action, Adventure, New Adult

THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON KNOWN TO MANKIND ISN’T A MAN.

High above earth in a low orbit facility, an experimental clean energy project known as Erebos—which taps into the vacuum structure of space—destabilizes and is jettisoned into the planet’s atmosphere.

Far below, unaware of the danger rocketing toward her, nineteen-year-old Sasha Kino goes night surfing to clear her head after a fight with her father. When Erebos crashes into the ocean the device fuses her DNA with that of an orca and Sasha is altered beyond recognition. She is stronger, can hold her breath longer, and can swim deeper and faster than any creature on the planet—but her newfound abilities may come at the cost of her humanity.

Captain Alric Jager, head of the U.S. Navy’s Special Projects Division, is sent to clean up the Erebos situation. But when Jager learns of what the device did to Sasha he decides to steal them both. Driven by a dark and twisted legacy, Jager is determined to create the ultimate super soldier – no matter the cost.

Torn between the land and the sea, and ruthlessly hunted by Jager, Sasha must rediscover who she is and for what she is willing to fight.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

With one last yank, Sasha tore the restraint collar, popping and fizzing in a shower of sparks from around her neck. In a single stride, she vaulted forward. Her body crashed through the dark glass of the observation room, slamming one of the two men inside against the far wall. In a bumbling fit of terror, the other fell to the floor, scrambled to all fours, then ran screaming for the hallway. As he did, he slapped a large red button on the wall labeled containment breach.

The screaming high-pitched wail of an emergency beacon filled the air, the walls around Sasha flickering with intermittent flashes of red. Instinct, strong and powerful, told her to run, but her higher brain held her fast: what they’d done here was illegal, and she needed evidence. She scanned the various consoles. There, a flash drive. No time to waste. Jager’s men must be on their way. Any data she could grab was no good if she couldn’t get it off the ship.

Snatching the data stick from the console and looping the lanyard around her neck, Sasha gave one last look to the unconscious man slumped against the floor and turned for the door. She stepped into the strobe-lit flash of the corridor and hovered there, her heart beating fierce in her breast.

On either side of the corridor, two pairs of Strykers squared up, the dark brown tones of their flesh offset by midnight black BDUs. They tensed, the banded muscles of their arms taut. No one moved.

“I don’t want to fight,” Sasha said over the wail of the alarm, her heart still thrumming. “But I’m not staying locked up here anymore.”

“You don’t have a choice.” The one named Alvarez said through clenched teeth. “Get back in, or we’ll put you back in.”

Sasha knew she should be afraid of these men, but then she remembered about how easily, accidentally even, she’d killed the whalers. How moments ago, she’d torn a titanium collar from her neck and crashed through a seemingly impenetrable two-inch-thick layered sheet of armored glass.

Sasha steeled herself as the four Strykers advanced on her from either side, their fists raised. “I don’t want to hurt you,” she said.

The Strykers stopped, exchanging amused glances. One of them closest to her, a man with a cropped mohawk, let out a chuckle. “We’re not the ones who are about to get hurt, darlin’.”

Sasha’s skin flushed hot. Her eyes narrowed to slits as she flexed her clawed fingers. “That’s what you think.”

Author Bio:

SWAT Sniper. Adventurer. Multi-Award-Winning Author of Epic Genre-Bending Thrillers.

A veteran law enforcement officer, Stu has served in patrol, narcotics, criminal investigations, as an instructor of firearms and police defensive tactics and as a team leader of a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team. He is trained and qualified as a law enforcement SWAT sniper, as well as in hostage rescue and high-risk entry tactics. Recently, Stu served for three years with a U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force - hunting the worst of the worst.

He is the author of multiple sci-fi/action/thriller novels, including the multi-award-winning It Takes Death To Reach A Star duology, written with co-author Gareth Worthington(Children of the Fifth Sun).

Known for his character-driven stories and blistering action sequences, Stu strives to create thought-provoking reading experiences that challenge the status quo. When he’s not chasing bad guys or writing epic stories, he can be found planning his next adventure to some remote or exotic place.

Stu is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo-Helin-Fountain literary.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Sirens and Leviathans ~ C.D. Britt

Sirens and Leviathans
C.D. Britt
(The Reign of Goddesses, #2)
Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Goddess of the sea
Head of the Zephyr Maritime Administration.
Spymaster.

Amphitrite has always lived in the shadows of her sisters, but the shadows are where she does her best work. Living two lives was always easy enough for the Goddess; from being a pirate ship captain chasing secrets instead of gold to an upstanding government official. She has worked alongside her spies and sirens for centuries, guarding both the sea and Halcyon.

But a war has started against the Titans, and the darkness taking over the sea is now more than she can handle alone.

West Murphy has been the golden heir all his life, making selfish choices and surrounding himself with disposable people. That was until the night an act of violence forever changed his life. Now, feeling betrayed by everyone he knows, he considers himself a hollow shell of a man with no true purpose.

Until a tsunami changes the tides of his fate forever.

Sirens and Leviathans is the second book in the Reign of Goddesses series.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Amphitrite stepped off the gangplank and steadied herself against the sway of the ship as waves met the hull. She looked around the deck, where her ladies were well into the process of commandeering the large vessel.

She took a deep, fortifying breath of crisp ocean air. The salty breeze revitalized her in a way nothing else could. They were still far from shore, a fact belied by the lack of birds calling out to her. She’d have enough time to handle her business here and move on before the human ships found her.

The pirates, having been rounded up by her crew, were on their knees with their wrists tied behind their backs.

Good. This was going to be easier than she thought.

The captives’ dark eyes watched them with a combination of anger and shock. Another perk of a ship full of female pirates. Men never knew what to do when faced with her crew. Did they fight the lady as they did a man? That moment of hesitation was all she and her girls needed.

Her first mate moved to stand beside her and, without prompting, gave her the lay of the land.

“A dozen men here. Twenty men, including the captain, are being held below decks.” Her first mate paused and ground her teeth. “And thirty-two in cargo.”

Amphitrite almost choked.

“Thirty-two?” She tried not to let her voice rise, but she was having difficulty. Thirty-two women sat in the ship’s hull, terrified, not knowing that their future meant being sold into a slave trade where the price was innocence and flesh.

“Yes,” she confirmed. “They are in a horrendous state. This lot,” she motioned to the men bound in front of them, “is lucky I didn’t separate their heads from their necks when I found them.”

The cadence of her first mate’s normally calm voice broke, telling Amphitrite all she needed to know about how to handle this.

“Take me to the captain,” she ordered. “Hold the men here. We will let our friends of the sea handle them soon enough and I don’t want to miss that.” She let a devious smirk cross her face as the men tied in ropes visibly paled at her reference to ‘friends of the sea’.

Oh, they knew. All the better.

Her first mate led her across the deck. As she turned toward the ship’s living quarters, she heard the tell-tale grunts of her crew taking their anger out on the newly captured men. She did not begrudge them, not if what she was walking into was anything close to what she imagined.

They stopped in front of an ornately carved door, the rich wood mismatched from the rest of the battered ship, and she knew immediately a pretentious bastard waited behind it. Her hand twitched toward her cutlass, but perhaps it was better to let him think her weaker, less able to handle herself in his presence.

Amphitrite was good at misleading people. That was what made her the best spymaster on the high seas. She was unremarkable when compared to her sisters; Persephone and Hera. She could fall back into the shadows, and she knew how to stay there. Even her sisters were ignorant of the network she’d amassed over the years and her role at its head. When her spies went to Hera with information, Amphitrite often wondered if she even questioned who’d accumulated those jewels of intelligence for her. How would that thunderous sister of hers react if she knew the truth? That she spent her days as a pirate, hunting for a treasure much greater than gold: secrets.

She stepped through the ridiculous door, her first mate following behind her, and stood before a fat, bearded man. He was strapped to his seat in the center of the small chamber. A sneer pinched his bloated face when she entered.

Amphitrite knew what he saw. A petite woman in scandalous trousers and a leather corset tied over her undersleeves. A dark blue coat large enough to suit a man twice her size. A tricorn hat with a bold feather. A gleaming cutlass. Wild red hair barely constrained in a wind-swept braid.

A menace.

A pirate queen.

The bane of his existence.

“Sea witch,” he growled, straining against his bonds.

Amphitrite shrugged. “Sea witch. Water witch. It matters not what you call me.”

The captain glowered.

“You searched him?” she questioned her first mate.

“Sadly, yes. The disgusting things I do for you…” she muttered.

Amphitrite gave her a wink and assessed the briny captain coolly.

Oh, how the tables have turned.

“And whom may I presume you are?” She smiled, but it was all teeth.

He spat on the floor near her feet. Neither she nor her first mate flinched.

“Ah!” Amphitrite held up a hand. “My apologies! I haven’t properly introduced you to my first mate! A thorough search without a name. Where are my manners?”

The woman stepped forward and Amphitrite watched the man’s weariness grow at the sight of the honey eyes and skin, the dark hair braided with colorful beads from around the world. She could have been a siren had she not been born mortal.

“Captain,” she said with flourish. “This is Medusa.”

The man jerked against the rope holding him to the chair, his eyes bulging with fear.

Amphitrite smirked at her friend. “Your reputation precedes you!”

Medusa’s beautiful face held no smile. “As it should.” Her flinty gaze was trained on the captain, who trembled violently.

“Honestly, I did not receive that same reaction.” Amphitrite pouted.

“You hide the nightmares in you. I let mine free.”

Author Bio:

C.D. Britt began her writing journey when her husband told her she needed to use her excessive imagination to write stories as opposed to creating a daily narrative for him. Ever since she penned her first words, life has been a lot more peaceful for him.

She currently resides in Texas where she has yet to adapt to the heat. Her husband thrives in it, so unfortunately they will not be relocating to colder climates anytime soon.

Their two young children would honestly complain either way.

When she is not in her writing cave (hiding from the sun), she enjoys ignoring the world as much as her children will allow with a good book, music, and vast amounts of coffee (until it’s time for wine).

C.D. Britt is the author of Shadows and Vines and the upcoming book, Sirens and Leviathans.

Both books are part of the Reign of Goddesses series.

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