Sunday, May 31, 2020

Stacking Our Shelves ~ 5/31/20


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Make sure to checkout her post with links to all the other participates.

Click covers for Goodreads links


For Review Consideration...



Thanks to...


Disney Hyperion & Big Honcho Media


That's what's new on the shelf this week.  What about you?  What's new on your shelf?  Leave us a comment.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Welcome to the Dark Side (The Fallen Men #2) by Giana Darling ~ Review

Welcome to the Dark Side (The Fallen Men, #2)Source: KindleUnlimited.

Welcome to the Dark Side (The Fallen Men #2) by Giana Darling


I was a good girl.
I ate my vegetables, volunteered at the local autism centre and sat in the front pew of church every Sunday.
Then, I got cancer.
What the hell kind of reward was that for a boring life well lived?
I was a seventeen-year-old paradigm of virtue and I was tired of it.
So, when I finally ran into the man I'd been writing to since he saved my life as a little girl and he offered to show me the dark side of life before I left it for good, I said yes.
Only, I didn't know that Zeus Garro was the President of The Fallen MC and when you made a deal with a man who is worse than the devil, there was no going back...

This is Daddy Zeus Garro's story from Lessons In Corruption. A standalone in The Fallen Men series.


*Available through KindleUnlimited!*




It's kind of wild how my reading moods can shift in the blink of an eye. Earlier this month I was all about vampires. Then I jumped two different genres and...somehow ended up here. I think because the love interest of this book was mentioned in a thread of loyal heroes and I was like HMMM. And then I downloaded the sample of this book...and then the whole book...and then read it. And I must say, Welcome to the Dark Side was not bad.

MC romances are very hit or miss for me. There's probably more misses than hits, tbh. Because cheating is a big no for me and it tends to be a common occurrence in MC romances. But reviews convinced me to give this one a try because it seemed like this book was nearly nonexistent on that front (cheating, I mean--and it's true, there's nothing that made me angry in that regard in this book!). That said, I tend to be drawn to them. I read so many reviews for these types of books. Because the idea draws me in, especially when I'm in the mood for it. But it always comes down to how the hero acts. As I mentioned, this one was a winner!

I was also very intrigued by the entire premise of this book. How the characters meet. How they connect. Her sickness. It was all an interesting mixture, and I easily became invested in the story early on.

I don't feel like I have loads else to say. It was an MC romance that didn't make me super angry due to cheating. The premise is one that draws you in. And the other characters surrounding the two MCs were interesting, too. I especially liked Mute, which I'm sure isn't uncommon because he was so very lovable.

All that said, I do wish the main character had been just a year older. I was here for the age gap, but if only she'd been 18 instead of 17...things would have been more believable. Or certain plot points wouldn't have felt so forced, is more the point I'm trying to make. Also, I very much had a good time reading the book but the MC drama didn't much pull my attention. I was here for the romance and the parts of the story that were centered around Loulou.

Overall, Welcome to the Dark Side was a good read that easily pulled me in, but it didn't blow me away. The premise was great, I enjoyed the romance, and I breezed through the entire book in one sitting. If you're in the mood for an MC romance and like me tend to prefer something on the safer (in romance terms) side, this is definitely one to try!

Note: I have not read book 1. I just jumped into book 2 because it looked good. I didn't have any trouble understanding what was going on, nor did I feel like I was missing anything important. (Though I may go back and read book 1 now that I've liked book 2...) So if you're wondering about whether or not this one can really stand alone, I say it can!


3.5 stars - An MC romance that was easy to enjoy


Friday, May 29, 2020

Pretty Nightmare by J.A. Huss ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


Pretty Nightmare
J.A. Huss
(Creeping Beautiful #2)
Publication date: May 26th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

INDIE

I have them all now. Just the way I want them.

McKay, the one who loves me deepest.

Adam, the one who protects me fiercely.

Donovan, the one who tells the truth.

They are my friends, they are my lovers, they are my world.

And Maggie belongs to all of us—no matter who her father is.

This is the family I’ve always wanted.

This is the family I deserve.

And I will do whatever it takes to keep them.


McKAY

I have a secret that could ruin everything.

But I’m not keeping that secret to hurt her.

Nathan St. James needed to go.


ADAM

I made plan that could ruin everything.

But I did it to save us in the end.

The Company needed to come back.


DONOVAN

I told a lie that could ruin everything.

But I didn’t tell the lie to them—I told it to myself.

Carter is closer than we think.

There is something truly wrong at Boucher House on the Old Pearl River.

Some hidden evil lurking deep inside the woods.

Nothing about their blissful life is what it seems.

Because just when they think they have it all—he shows up to take it back.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Book 1 is on sale for $2.99 release week ONLY!!

EXCERPT:

ADAM

She holds my hand as we walk, squeezing it a little. It feels natural, but then again, weird.

This girl—woman, now, I suppose—she has been off limits to me for so long. It’s really hard to get that out of my head. And sometimes, when I look at Maggie, I see Indie.

It’s just… weird.

Indie doesn’t lead me to the front porch. She takes me around the side. “Where are we going?”

“To spy on them, of course.”

“Ahh, I don’t know.”

She stops us on the side of the house in front of the office window. “Stop being a baby. Don’t you want to be with McKay?”

And this is weird too. Since when do I talk about my feelings with Indie? With anyone, actually?

“You’re really trying hard to find an excuse, aren’t you?”

“I’m not.” It comes out defensive. “Of course I love McKay. Of course I want to be with him.”

“So what’s the problem?”

I hesitate. She just shakes her head at me and drops my hand. “Fine. Then stay here. I’ll spy.”

She turns away and continues walking along the side of the house, then looks over her shoulder one last time before she disappears around the corner.

I jog to catch up.

Fuck it.

When I round the corner, Indie has her face pressed against the glass of the family room window. The only lights on inside are the ones under the kitchen cabinets. So it’s a low light. A soft glow of yellow But it’s more than enough to see them.

Donovan and McKay are kissing.

I exhale and then heat fills me up. And I don’t remember breathing, but I exhale again. And then again. My chest rising and falling as emotions flood into my bloodstream.

“It’s kinda hot,” Indie whispers.

I have to agree. It kinda is. But it’s a lot of other things too.

They are both shirtless. And I’m not gonna lie, Donovan is just as nice to look at as McKay.

That’s not the only reason it’s hot though. This looks like a real fucking kiss. McKay is even kissing him back. And then Donovan’s hand slips down McKay’s chest, then down his ridiculous sixty-four-pack abs and rests on the waistband of his jeans.

Indie sucks in a little breath of surprise. “Damn. I didn’t think they’d… ooohh. Wow.”

Donovan is gripping McKay’s cock through his jeans. And McKay pulls out of the kiss. I have a moment of hope that he’ll push Donovan away. McKay looks down at Donovan’s hand as Donovan grips his cock and begins massaging his hand over his groin area.

But McKay doesn’t push him away. He closes his eyes and leans back against the counter. Practically giving Donovan permission to do whatever he wants.

Author Bio:

JA Huss is the New York Times Bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestseller's list 21 times in the past five years. She writes characters with heart, plots with twists, and perfect endings.

Her new sexy sci-fi romance and paranormal romance pen name is KC Cross and she writes novels and teleplays collaboratively with actor and screenwriter, Johnathan McClain.

Her books have sold millions of copies all over the world, the audio version of her semi-autobiographical book, Eighteen, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award and an Audie Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her audiobook, Mr. Perfect, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award in 2017. Her audiobook, Taking Turns, was nominated for an Audie Award in 2018. Five of her book were optioned for a TV series by MGM television in 2018. And her book, Total Exposure, was nominated for a RITA Award in 2019.

She lives on a ranch in Central Colorado with her family.

Facebook / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon


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Thursday, May 28, 2020

I Hate To Stand Alone by Casey Winter ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


I Hate to Stand Alone: A Small Town Enemies to Lovers Romance
Casey Winter
(Little Fall, #1)
Publication date: May 29th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

The small town I ran away from. The Navy SEAL I’m supposed to hate. If I can get through this summer without falling for the off-limits alpha, I’ll consider myself lucky.

Steamy, intense chemistry … is just one of the things I shouldn’t be feeling for Luke Nelson, soldier turned security agency operative. His brother and I were high school sweethearts, but he broke my heart. Plus, our families hate each other, à la the Hatfields and the McCoys.

I return to Little Fall, Maine, to care for my sick mom. He returns to fulfil his brother’s last wish of reopening their mother’s roller rink. I spent half my childhood at Family Roller … but never with him.

He was the older bad boy. I was the girl next door. Love was never an option. But now we can’t stop making eyes at each other.

As I reunite with old family and friends, I learn that Little Fall has just as many secrets as my heart. And even if I’m supposed to say no, my intrigue for dreamy, handsome, rugged Luke Nelson is off the charts.

It turns out I might have a second chance after all … even if it’s with my ex-boyfriend’s big brother.

This full-length romance has a happily-ever-after and can be read as a full standalone. It is free with Kindle Unlimited.

Subsequent books in the Little Fall series cover different heroes and heroines … though your favorite characters will make appearances.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Hannah

I take a small sip of wine, letting its flavor burst on my tongue before swallowing. “You know how I hate to stand alone at parties?”

Penny rolls her eyes, a grin of reminiscence lighting up her face. “Do I remember it? Effing hell, Banana, it was one of the running themes throughout our childhoods. You couldn’t stand still, like ever. If you weren’t doing something, you were dying. That’s how it seemed to you. I remember one rare time when you convinced me to come to a party, I found you in the basement with a couple of the so-called dorks – June’s brother, right? – playing Dungeons & Dragons.”

“Oh, yeah,” I giggle, shaking my head at the memory. “I actually forgot about that.”

“I asked you what the heck you were doing, and you just looked me dead in the eye in that can’t-sit-still Hannah way and said, ‘Listen, Penny. I hate to stand alone. It’s as simple as that.’ All I did was go and use the effing toilet, girl. It wasn’t my fault Doug Helmsmore had a bad belly and I had to wait in line for the bathroom, was it?” She giggles. “But that was your little saying, whenever you threw yourself wholeheartedly into a new experience. If I ever called you brave, you’d toss your head and say, ‘It’s not brave, Lennie, I just hate to stand alone.’ But you were wrong, you know. It was brave, is brave, the way you throw yourself into stuff. I could never do it.”

“Thank you,” I say. “It’s really nice of you to say. But the point is, like, lately I’ve found myself standing alone at parties and having it feel sort of natural. Because even if I like my skating buddies, they’re not, I don’t know … they’re not home. Does that sound cheesy or what?”

Penny waves a hand. “Well, that’s great, then. If that’s really how you feel, it’s win-win. You’re happy and I get my bestie back. So what’s the problem?”

I pause, swallowing an awkward lump.

“Luke,” Penny says a moment later. “He’s the spanner in the works, right?”

I nod. “I guess so. To be honest, part of me was wondering if this would happen when I came back here for the long haul, like I sort of expected I might get involved in Little Fall stuff again. But what I definitely didn’t expect was for Luke Nelson to reopen Family Roller. I didn’t expect to find him completely, insanely irresistible. And I definitely didn’t expect to find out that our attraction went beyond just the physical.”

“Is that why you keep checking your phone?” she asks.

“What?” I flinch. “Do I?”

Penny rolls her eyes. “Hon, you’ve checked it at least once a minute.”

“That’s crazy,” I mutter. “I really didn’t even realize. But yeah, he texted me saying he wanted me to give him a day, which is sort of annoying, honestly, since I thought last night—well, I guess I thought it meant something.”

“Go to Family Roller, then,” Penny says firmly. “Go for a skate. If you feel like talking to him, march right up to him and say your piece. If not, just skate. That sounds like a win-win, too.”

“But there’s a lose in there, as well,” I mutter.

“And what’s that?”

“He breaks my heart, just like his little brother did.”

Author Bio:

Hello beautiful readers!

Thank you so, so much for checking out my books. My name is Casey and I just love to write romance with depth and characters you'll be able to connect with. My current series is called Little Fall, named for the town where it's set, but each book is a complete STANDALONE ... that said, don't expect Luke, Morgan, Hannah, or Penny (and many others) to disappear anytime soon! Little Fall is a town you can get invested in, for sure.

I just want to say I'm so grateful to you for checking out my work, and I hope you enjoy reading my romances as much as I enjoyed writing them (hopefully without less stressing LOL).

I've been writing ever since I was a little kid, sitting at my dad's fireplace in cozy New England winters and penning stories in my Barbie notepad. More recently, I've switched the notepad for a laptop, but I've never fallen out of love with the craft. Now, I live in just plain ol' England with a hunky husband and a Jack Russel named Loki.

I'd really appreciate if you could follow my Amazon author page, as I'm going to be around for a LONG time.

Bye for now! Or, should I say, see you in Little Fall ...

Facebook / Goodreads


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Swoon Thursday ~ 5/28/20



Who doesn't LOVE a good swoon?!  We love them for sure!  Check out our swoon below and then add to the fun.

Post anything that made you swoon, past or present read.  Include the cover, blurb and links.  Please no spoilers.









For the cases no one else can solve, they send in the Special Threat Assessment Team

Supernatural creatures are no longer keeping their existence secret from humans, causing panic around the globe. To investigate, monitor, and ― when necessary ― take down dangerous supernatural offenders, an international task force was established: The Special Threat Assessment Team.

STAT agent Jestina Ridley is in London with her team investigating a suspicious kidnapping. Over her radio, Jes hears her teammates being savagely attacked. She runs to help, but she's too late. The only survivor, Jes calls for backup and gets former Navy SEAL and alpha werewolf Jake Huang and his new pack. Convinced that the creature who butchered her teammates was a werewolf, Jes doesn't trust them. But if they're going to uncover the facts and make it back home alive, she'll need Jake's help. And with everything on the line, Jes will have to accept Jake for who he is, or lose the partner she never expected to find ...



Swoon...

Closing her eyes, she leaned forward until her forehead was resting against his, not sure why she was doing it, but knowing it felt right.
"But what if if happens again?" she whispered.  "What if these creatures we fought tonight hurt you and everyone else?"
"They won't," he said firmly, his lips brushing hers.  "We won't let it."
Jes stopped thinking about how foolish it was to be doing this and instead simply kissed him back.  (Kindle location 2033)
Oh yeah, it's right.  Now they need to figure out the rest.  Hehe.


That's our swoon this week!  What about you?  Leave us a comment & a link.



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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Fury of the Gods by Amy Braun ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


Fury of the Gods
Amy Braun
(Areios Brothers #3)
Publication date: May 26th 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Fate brings consequence.
Separated from his brother by curses and lies, Derek Areios is forced into hiding. With rogue goddesses on his side, he begins his search for the Mind of Cronus. But his plans come to a screeching halt when the Olympians send nightmarish warriors to hunt him. Creatures even the gods themselves fear.
Liam Areios, lost without his brother and trapped in service for the Olympians, continues the hunt for the Mind of Cronus. The remaining gods refuse to trust him—or any human—and Liam begins to see just how mad power has made them. Becoming entangled in the schemes of mortals and immortals, Liam will have to fight or lose everyone he loves.
Deadly monsters, betrayal, and pulse-pounding action fill the pages of the third novel in the AREIOS BROTHERS series.
EXCERPT:
CHAPTER ONE
DEREK
THINGS GO WRONG.
Sometimes it’s from a small crack that crumbles the foundations. Sometimes it’s just a string of bad luck that ties into a truly horrific end.
Today was definitely the latter.
I lay on my back and blinked rapidly against the rain pounding down on me and pooling in the crater beneath my spine. My left hand throbbed in agony, broken again. I curled my right hand around it and used my magic to heal the bones. I’d had to do that twice already in this fight alone.
I could hear Selena fighting the Crocotta on the hill above me—alone—after it kicked its cloven hooves into my chest and knocked me down a hill.
Getting close to a Crocotta was never a good idea, but I hadn’t been having many of those lately.
And bad habits were easy to fall into.
Get up, Derek, my internal voice demanded. Have an existential crisis later.
Exactly the kind of thing Liam would have said.
After clasping my wounded hand and swiftly healing it, I rolled onto my stomach. Water soaked through my armor. I grimaced as my bruises throbbed. This Crocotta had not wanted to be disturbed but would settle for us being a late-night snack.
Being devoured by a twisted stag/hyena hybrid was not how I intended to end my day. The cursed thing had imitated a man’s cry for help, and I ran into the Crocotta’s trap without thinking.
Now, my fingers clawed up the slope. The toes of my boots sank into the muck. I slipped my way up, clamping my lips shut so as not to swallow more mud and finally dragged myself to the hilltop.
Everything ached as I took a moment to catch my breath. A moment that ended as soon as I heard the Crocotta scream.
Instinct kicked in and I rolled through the mud as fast as I could. The hooves stabbed down inches from my head, splashing my back with muck.
I twisted to my feet and called Ki̱demónas back to me. The spear responded to my telepathic call and struck my hand a split second later. The monster twisted to face me.
The Crocotta was a ruddy brown stag with patchy fur and a knobby spine. It had a shaggy, lion-like mane and cloven hooves. Its beady black eyes glowered at me and my weapon. Saliva dripped from its frightfully wide mouth, filled with a jagged bone ridge instead of teeth.
It growled, a jagged hitching noise, like a hyena trying to cough. It was amazing—and horrifying—that the same animal could mimic a human voice and even call out names perfectly when they chose to hunt.
Which they did often.
It pounced and I Adapted, sidestepping to the left. I jabbed Ki̱demónas into its hind legs. The Crocotta screeched as the steel tip pierced its thick hide. It twisted, yanking Ki̱demónas from my hands, as its front hooves kicked out. I leaned back and watched the split in its hooves pass my chin.
The Crocotta’s rear leg buckled, causing it to stagger on its right side. Selena snuck out from behind the Crocotta and slashed her kukri along its flank once, twice, three times, doing as much damage as she could.
I couldn’t help but grin, my heart reveling at the graceful, effortless, and brutal way Selena moved.
The Crocotta roared and twisted, kicking at her. She nimbly jumped back and lifted her free hand. Flames spooled out from her palm and struck the Crocotta in the face. As it reared back from the intense heat, Selena darted forward and chopped at its foreleg. It howled and leaped again to catch up with her.
I ran straight for its back.
Selena hurled a blast of fire at the Crocotta. It hunched its shoulder and took the blast against its arm rather than its face. It swiped at her with its hoof. The kick missed her, but it bounded through the mud and rammed its head in her stomach. She toppled backward, striking a boulder before her head slammed hard against the stone. The Crocotta opened its sneering, sliced-open mouth, leaping at her slumped, dazed form––
I Adapted my weight a split second before I slammed into the Crocotta. I made myself heavier and swung into the beast like a wrecking ball. It jolted but I hooked my hand onto the stark ridges in its spine. It wasn’t going to dislodge me; I was ready to end this fight.
The Crocotta wrenched its head left and right, but my magically added weight kept me from rag-dolling against its body. I centered that weight while pressing my back against its rough hide. I jabbed Ki̱demónas into its ear, pushing deep. The Crocotta howled and thrashed, nearly throwing me off. I held on but my grip slipped from the spear. I cursed and filled my free hand with aether. Maybe I’d have luck with the second, more dangerous element.
I swung my aether-filled hand up toward the Crocotta’s face. My palm brushed its bony fangs, leaving a trail of black, corrosive smoke along its snout. The dark magic crawled up its face, the smoky edges digging in like hooks. It howled in agony, twisting guilt into my heart, but I couldn’t let it live. With our friends vanished, Selena and I were each other’s only backup.
The Crocotta roared again, its face now engulfed by the thick black smoke. I sent a command to Ki̱demónas. Burn.
The spear, still embedded in the Crocotta’s ear canal, exploded to life. My flames brushed harmlessly against me. With my free hand, I closed my fingers against the Crocotta’s throat and summoned aether––
My left hand, the one I was using to hold onto the monster, exploded with pain. Invisible glass shards splintered through my flesh. I hissed and let go reflexively. My right hand scrambled to get another hold on its spine, just as the Crocotta kicked me in the side. Pain exploded through my hip and ribs. Something cracked uncomfortably.
Clapping a hand to my side to at least set the rib, I sent another quick thought to Ki̱demónas. The spear tore from the creature’s ear and flipped end over end. Seven feet of bronze and steel stabbed through the monster’s leg. I reached for Ki̱demónas again and watched as the Crocotta closed its ridged, bone-filled mouth over my arm.
Ridged bone crunched down on my elbow, crushing the joint and breaking skin. Blood gushed from the wound. A little more pressure, a little more tearing, and the arm was coming off.
I didn’t think about what I was doing. I slipped my broken left hand up and set it inside the Crocotta’s mouth. I pushed a block of aether into its throat and hardened it in place, cutting off its air. Every push of magic sent waves of pain onto my shattered fingers, but I couldn’t lose my arm.
My left hand turned slippery from saliva and blood. The creature widened its jaws, freeing my right arm. I commanded Ki̱demónas and whip quick, it flipped from my hand and smashed through the Crocotta’s skull, puncturing deep. The monster’s coal-colored eyes rolled into the back of its head. I jumped away from the Crocotta as it collapsed.
I tucked my broken hand into my chest, trying not to think about the jagged pain within it as I looked at the monster. It had fallen on its side, its one undamaged eye glazed and lifeless, and its body entirely still. Even the rain seemed lighter now.
We survived, remained mostly unharmed, and were absolutely filthy. A winning outcome, all things considered.
Selena stumbled through the long grass toward me, one hand pressed against her skull. I covered my left hand with my right––wincing at the pull of raw cuts at the fold of my arm––and healed it again.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah,” she muttered, wincing when she moved her hand. There didn’t seem to be any blood or swelling, which I was grateful for. She looked more angry than pained. Her eyes turned to me, noting the blood on my arm. “Gods.”
“Looks worse than it feels,” I half-lied.
She hurried over to me and pressed her fingers to my arm just below the wound. It stung, but my arm swiftly filled with soothing, healing magic.
“Thanks. Didn’t expect a Crocotta to be here.” Though to be fair, we’d wandered into the wilds of Yosemite National Park. Artemis’s region. A huge risk for anyone, given how many creatures roamed free in that verdant territory, but more so for me, since Artemis likely wanted me dead for a crime I hadn’t––
My hand splintered again. I hissed.
Finished with my arm, Selena wrapped her fingers around my hand and healed it again. Her eyes flitted to the creature.
I tilted forward slightly to peer into her face, seeing the shadows on it. Her ponytail, soaked and caked in mud, rested heavily against her back. Her pale face glistened under the coat of rainwater, and her silver-blue eyes were just as stormy as the clouds above us. She’d dropped her kukris somewhere and didn’t seem to care about the smears of mud and grime on her neck, chin, and leather combat uniform.
“It’s not here,” she finally muttered. “All of this, crossing paths with a Crocotta that nearly concussed me and almost maimed you, and it’s not godsdamned here.”
It being the Helm of Darkness—the last of the three Trinity Weapons we had been tasked to find by the Olympians. There were still two more Cronus Shards to find, but we figured that finding the Helm took priority. Recovering the last key to Tartarus was the best way to ensure that the mad Titan himself, Cronus, couldn’t escape his prison.
Not that we needed to look anymore, to be honest. I was on the outs with the Olympians. They believed I murdered two of their own: Poseidon and Apollo. Sneaking into Artemis’s territory had been a huge risk—if we were caught, she would have my head on a spike.
Never mind that my forefather had lied to her—possibly even mentioned I was the Bringer of Shadow and Fire, the leader of an army bent on destroying the world when the Titans were released.
Olympians only saw things their way. Half their legends were born from their stubbornness and pettiness. The myths had been true.
But I couldn’t say these things out loud. I could barely think them, because Ares had hexed me. Every time I tried to speak the truth, my left hand would break.
At first, it didn’t seem like a debilitating curse. Painful? Absolutely. I’d had more than a few broken bones in my twenty-five years of life, so I was accustomed to pain and could use magic to heal.
But the hex was changing. My hand would break on its own at completely random times, and that sharp explosion of pain would drastically hinder me in combat. I was ambidextrous, but the pain caused a split second of distraction and hesitation. A split second meant the difference between surviving and maiming. The hex was becoming slow poison putting mine and Selena’s lives in danger.
And I wasn’t the only one who’d been cursed.
Selena had endured a two-thousand-year-old curse because she did not want to bed Apollo. At the time, Selena had been known as Cassandra, Princess of Troy. Not only were her visions doomed to never be believed, but he cursed her with immortality. Everything she Saw became muddled and skewed. It led us into situations like these, where she was certain she had Seen the Helm’s hiding spot, only to be greeted by a hungry Crocotta instead.
Selena blamed herself for the position we found ourselves in, but I never had. How could I, after the choices I had made?
“We’ll find it,” I promised her. We had to, because what else were we going to do? We couldn’t get our friends back, and there was no way to exonerate me, even if I had an extremely powerful Farseer and two goddesses on my side. Zeus’ decrees were law and he would never admit to making a mistake.
Selena’s gaze stayed on my hand, our intertwined fingers. My broken bones were long since healed. I wondered at her thoughts. Before I could ask, she sighed.
“We should go.”
I didn’t argue with her. Since learning about her past and how Athena tricked and betrayed her, Selena had become closed off. It didn’t help that her friends––and mine––were missing. We trusted and cared for each other, but I told her the truth about my feelings. Namely, that I loved her.
We hadn’t spoken about it, and neither of us seemed keen to. We talked as friends, and we didn’t touch unless we had to. When we needed healing or brushed against each other quickly turning around a corridor. I wouldn’t push for anything, either. Finding a way to clear my name and help my captive friends mattered more than finding a girlfriend.
But my memory so often betrayed me, and I thought about those moments back when things had been normal and Selena lived with Liam and me. We’d watched movies until she fell asleep against my chest. She’d curled her fingers around my arms or chest when I stood in the way of something she wanted to reach. She grinned as we sparred, eyes bright with challenge and ambition.
She kissed me to save my life.
I wanted to go back to those things, to feel her comfortable against me, curling my arms around her so we could be closer. I wanted to use my height to tease her until I could kiss her frustration away. I wanted to make her laugh and kiss her for the sake of it, not just because I was charmed or dying.
One day, we’d have to face this question. And if she wanted to remain friends, I would step back.
Right now, I just missed normality. Things were different now between us, distant and unsure, but I could no sooner change my feelings than I could tell the Olympians that Ares was manipulating them.
“Yeah,” I conceded, glancing at my blood- and mud-soaked body. “I’m ready for a shower.”
Selena just nodded and followed me as we trod through the forest, saying little.
It had been this way for three months, both of us silent and moving straight forward, trying not to think about the four people missing from our lives.
The nervous transporter. The wealthy and flirtatious heir to Zeus. The ex-con-turned-sea-goddess. The sharp-witted, loyal little brother.
We hadn’t heard anything about them, making these past three months agonizing. Even my blood bond with Liam remained silent. I only heard updates through Athena’s spies in the Zeus region.
They were alive. But they were with the Council of Clouds.
If anything, they were in more danger than we were.
Fighting monsters was one thing. Fighting gods…?
It would take a miracle to win. And the Olympians rarely traded in miracles.


Author Bio:
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action.
When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction, and diving headfirst into danger in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

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