This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By making a purchase after clicking through these links, you help support Brooke Blogs at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Stroke of Midnight by Andie Christopher
Stroke of Midnight
One night. New Year’s Eve in Miami. Even workaholic Alana Hernandez can’t resist the call of the city, especially if it will get her little sister off her back. But a night of celebrating turns into a night of mischief when an alluring stranger catches her eye across the dance floor.
Former Navy Seal Cole Roberts isn’t looking for anything more than a good time in Miami. Since leaving the military and being betrayed by his former fiancée, he’s not interested in unnecessary complications. But the moment he sets eyes on the sultry beauty, Cole knows this night will be far from ordinary.
No going back.
Neither Cole nor Alana are looking for a relationship, so they strike a deal: One night. No names. No repeats. But things get complicated when their night of passion becomes something neither can walk away from.
She’s waiting for her prince to come … but was he right beside her all the time?
Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairytales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she’s willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest.
Jeffrey Berkley can’t bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him… no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process.
Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord’s feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave?
Don’t miss this sweet tale of faith, love, and gastric bypass–get your copy of Love’s Promise today!
“Order’s up!” Jeffrey bellowed from the kitchen as he slid a pair of plates into the window that looked out upon Mabel’s Old-Fashioned Diner.
“That was fast,” Kristina Rose said with a smile as she loaded up her round serving tray with condiments and extra napkins, then grabbed the meals he had prepared. Her teeth gleamed white against her dark complexion. The added contrast made Kristina’s smiles seem all the more special. Jeff had never been sure why, but he’d always appreciated the little jolt her happiness sent rushing through him.
“Gotta be fast,” he responded without missing a beat. “Mabel’s got a reputation to uphold, after all. And, besides, I’m starved. Gonna whip something up and take a late lunch. Want to join me? I can just as easily cook for two as I can one.”
The corners of her mouth fell, and Kristina let out a slow sigh. “I wish,” she muttered. “I started my liquid diet this morning. I’m only allowed protein drinks and chicken broth… and water, of course.”
“Sorry, sorry, I forgot!” He shooed her toward the waiting customers. Now that she’d mentioned it, he had noticed her step become a bit slower, her tray droop lower than usual.
She’d be going in for surgery later that week and absent from the diner for at least a month while she recovered. Their boss, Mabel, had insisted on it. Part of him wondered why she had even come into work at all if she’d already started her pre-surgery fast, but the answer seemed obvious enough. She’d already be missing out on a month of income as she recovered, and for a young woman living on her own, well, she needed every dollar she could scrimp and save.
And while they liked many of the same things, lived in the same city, and even came from two of the only non-white families in town, they were also different in a lot of ways, too. For starters, Kristina Rose had grown up in their tiny town of Sweet Grove, Texas, whereas Jeff hadn’t shown up until high school when his parents took over the old pharmacy downtown. He was close with his parents, always had been, but Kristina had never known her father and always seemed to prickle whenever Jeffrey asked after her mother.
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa’s way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. When she’s not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Because priorities.
Welcome to the Spring Fever Giveaway Party!
A dozen authors over at YA Author Rendezvous have put an awesome giveaway together – with over TWENTY chances to win!
One grand-prize winner will walk away with a signed, first edition hardback of Witch and Wizard which just so happens to be written by one of the biggest names in fiction – JAMES PATTERSON! On top of that, they get a $100 amazon gift-card!
And all if takes is a minute or two and a few clicks of the mouse.
DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE!
Check out these other amazing prizes they have for you here.
Songs of Insurrection J.C. Kang (Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1) Publication date: January 6th 2017 Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Princess Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see her as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her voice.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend Tian and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
If marriage were a woman’s grave, as the proverb claimed, sixteen-year-old Princess Kaiya suspected the emperor was arranging her funeral. Entourage in tow,
she shuffled through the castle halls toward the garden where General Lu waited. Given his notorious dislike of the arts, the self-proclaimed Guardian Dragon of Hua had undoubtedly envisioned a different kind of audition when he requested to hear her sing.
After all, she was dressed like a potential bride.
She buried a snort. The Guardian Dragon—such a pretentious nickname. The only real dragon, Avarax, who lorded over some faraway land, might make for a more appealing audience. A quick trip down his gullet would spare her a slow death in a marriage with neither love nor music.
And it wouldn’t matter what she wore.
The gaudy dress compensated for her numerous physical imperfections, but stifled the only thing that made her special. How was she supposed to sing with the inner robe and gold sash squeezing her chest, in a futile attempt to misrepresent her woefully underdeveloped curves? The tight fold of the skirts concealed her lanky legs, but forced a deliberate pace. At least the short stride delayed the inevitable, while preventing her unsightly feet from tripping on the hanging sleeves of the vermilion outer gown.
At her side, Crown Princess Xiulan glided across the chirping floorboards. Kaiya suppressed a sigh. If only she could move with the nonchalant grace of her sister-in-law, or even the six handmaidens trailing them. She dug her nails into clammy palms. Through this choreographed farce, appearances had to be maintained, lest she embarrass her father, the Tianzi.
Chin up, back straight. A racing heart threatened to ruin her already meager semblance of imperial grace. Eyes forward. Servants knelt on either side of the looming double doors, ready to slide them open. She forced a smile, with her best approximation of feminine charm. If only she’d lived before Dragon Songs had faded into legend, she could’ve sent the realm’s victorious hero fleeing with the song he supposedly wanted to hear.
An aging palace official stepped into her line of sight.
Singular focus on the doors broken, she blinked. Her fluttering pulse lurched to a stop as she blew out a breath.
His blue robes ruffled as he tottered forward with averted eyes and a bobbing head. He creaked down into a bow. “Emergency, Dian-xia,” he said, using the formal address for her rank. “The Tianzi commands you to greet a foreign delegation in the Hall of Bountiful Harvests.”
JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen epic fantasy stories.
Shattering Truths Kyrian Lyndon (Deadly Veils, #1) Publication date: January 30th 2017 Genres: Suspense, Young Adult
She was left fighting her demons alone . . .
For sixteen-year-old Danielle DeCorso, the old house in Glastonbury was an eerie place to grow up. Coping with mental health challenges exacerbated by a traumatic family dynamic, Danielle watches from the window for two men in a dusty black sedan who keep circling the house and harassing her with phone calls. The two predators drugged her and her cousin, Angie, and then lured them from Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport to a secluded cottage on Long Beach West. She remembers feeling dizzy, the room spinning. She recalls screaming, crying, fighting, and then slipping in and out of consciousness. Angie, however, has no recollection of the incident.
When Danielle attempts to jog Angie’s memory and convince their best friend, Farran, that the two strangers had victimized them, no one seems to believe her. Alone in her pain, Danielle remains guarded, obsessed, and withdrawn. Soon she is sinking deeper into a tumultuous world of adolescent isolation and change. Grief, guilt, and anger send her spiraling into an even darker place.
Tormented by terrifying nightmares, she fears she will lose her sanity, or possibly her soul. Is she having post-traumatic stress hallucinations, as one of her friends suggest, or are her recurring nightmares as real as they seem? Trapped in an unyielding emotional bondage, Danielle continues the fight to reclaim her power. Startling revelations awaken her newfound spirit, inspiring a once naïve girl to grow into a woman of defiance and courage.
Kyrian Lyndon is the author of Shattering Truths, the first book in her Deadly Veils series. She has also published two poetry collections, A Dark Rose Blooms, and Remnants of Severed Chains. Kyrian began writing short stories and fairy tales when she was just eight years old. In her adolescence, she moved on to poetry. At sixteen, while working as an editor for her high school newspaper, she wrote her first novel, and then completed two more novels at the ages of nineteen and twenty-five.
Born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, Kyrian was the middle of three daughters born to immigrants —her father from Campochiaro, Italy; her mother from Havana, Cuba. She has worked primarily in executive-level administrative positions with major New York publishing companies. She resides on Long Island in New York.
Court of Vampires Megan Linski (The Shifter Prophecy #1) Publication date: January 31st 2017 Genres: Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Vampires and werewolves shouldn’t fall in love.
Lysandra was born for one reason; to kill shifters. Princess of vampires, the heir to Vlad Dracula’s throne and the last descendant of Princess Anastasia, Lysandra lives in a castle of witches and human slaves,engaged to a dark vampire prince and prophesied as the one who will end the war between vampires and werewolves forever.
Everything changes when Lysandra finds a dying werewolf. She takes him into her care and quickly falls in love, unable to explain the magical connection between them. If she’s discovered, she will be put to death. But how can she stop the war when her worst enemy is her true love?
A heart-stopping love story filled with shocking twists, Court of Vampires is a thrilling young adult fantasy that readers will devour over and over again. The legend of what really happened to the Romanov family is retold in Megan Linski’s newest haunting paranormal romance.
Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she was a little girl. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for teens and adults. When not writing, she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder.
In December 2016, Megan signed a deal with Amazon’s Kindle Press for her Kindle Scout Winner, Court of Vampires, due to be published 2017. You can find Megan at www.meganlinski.com, and receive a FREE book, The Witch’s Curse, by signing up for her VIP List there.
Megan Linski also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands Series, co-authored with Krisen Lison.
Welcome to The Cowboy’s Twins tour!! This is the third and last book in the Family Secrets Cooking Show series. It’s fun. The twins entertained me from the beginning of the book until the end. And, in typical ttq fashion, it’s emotionally intense, too.
Welcome to the Family Secrets cooking show, and the episode where you’re going to see everything that goes on behind the scenes, straight from the show’s creator, producer and director herself, heroine Natasha Stevens.
“I really enjoyed this one. What’s not to like about Spencer. He will do anything for his children even have a cooking show descend on his ranch. I liked Natasha as well, she has a big self discovery while working on this location for her show. It helps her work through some inner battles she didn’t realize she had.”
“With Book 3 in the Family Secrets series, we finally get to hear Natasha’s story. We’ve seen her producing the show and wondered what made her tick, and now we find out! It was a bit slower moving than the previous books in the series, but still an enjoyable cast of characters.”
Natasha’s long legs made it easy for her to keep up with the handsome cowboy’s strides. She just wasn’t used to tromping across dusty ground in new cowboy boots in the middle of the night.
Though she’d lived on the West Coast for most of her adult life, she’d never succumbed to that particular footwear—having just purchased her new shiny red boots for the show. She’d figured boots were boots. Not so.
“Heartwarming and romance fans alike will find much to love here. . . . Sweet, charming, with a little heartbreak that ends in happily-ever-after was exactly what I was hoping for.”
She didn’t need a man. Or his strength. Didn’t even want one. Her strength of character—okay, her innate need to run her own show, whether it be on television or in her home—was like a coffin in waiting for any relationship.
“Ultimately, The Cowboy’s Twins was a highly satisfying romance. Though it did end a bit abruptly, it was a good ending, and since the series is based on Natasha’s show, I’ve got high hopes of seeing more of Natasha, Spencer, Tabitha, and Justin in future books!”
Nodding, Natasha jumped into the fray. She grabbed when she was told to grab. Pulled. The calf didn’t budge. Her arms ached. Using her entire body weight, she leaned back. And managed to keep the hooves outside the cow’s body.
Everything happened in seconds after that. One minute Ellie was in obvious stress with Spencer on the ground by the struggling cow’s tail. The next, Spencer was pushing Natasha aside, grabbing hooves, and had pulled a calf out into the world.
“We did.” Justin’s immediate response was followed by a drop in his gaze. And then his chin met his chest. “No, we didn’t,” he corrected himself before Spencer could take the breath necessary to challenge the boy. “But…do we gotta?” Justin’s eyes widened as he gave Spencer an imploring look. “They’ll just get dirty again, and I’ll brush it all away tonight.”
Spencer pressed his lips together, hoping he looked stern.
The hardest part about being a single parent was having no one with whom to share the laughter.
And he made no pretense to himself about the reason for that.
He wanted to spend as little time as possible with the city girl who’d invaded his space.
In more ways than one.
And enter the giveaway below if you haven’t already…
The Cowboy’s Twins
(Family Secrets #3)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
January 3rd 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming
It looked so good on camera…
If it weren’t for the money, Spencer Longfellow would happily drive Natasha Stevens and her TV crew right off his ranch. But his land, and his kids, mean the world to him—and he’ll do anything to secure their future. Even cohost Natasha’s cooking show, Family Secrets, in his barn. Even play the token hunky cowboy to her sophisticated city slicker and flirt with her on national television… It could never amount to anything real anyway. After all, he was fooled and left in the dust by a city girl once. And he will never let that happen to him—or his kids—again
There’s no way that struggling single mom Janie Young is going to lose Family Secrets. Not even to Dr. Burke Carter. The prize money and media exposure from the cooking-competition show will secure the future for her and her son, who has special needs. Sure, Burke is a talented chef with his own reasons to win, but he already has so much: wealth, a beautiful daughter, great looks…and definitely her attention. As their families become closer, Janie is beginning to care too much about him. But she can’t afford to get involved. Not when everything is riding on beating him.
The baby she gave up for adoption long ago is a secret Eliza Westin has concealed from her husband. With good reason. Wounded soldier turned police officer Pierce Westin was Eliza’s high school sweetheart. He’s also her son’s father.
Seventeen years ago, Pierce went off to war unaware that he’d fathered a child. Eliza’s shot as a contestant on the Family Secrets cooking competition show is her chance to reconnect with the past. But once she finds her long-lost son, she can only hope that Pierce will embrace their newfound family. Or will Eliza lose the love of her life all over again?
The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.
Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.
Heart Murmurs arose from the concept of cellular memory. The story grew from my readings about the experience of a handful of donors who began to have memories…. they did not recognize. With people and place they did not recognize. In one case, a woman was actually able to identify her donor’s murderer.
“Cellular memory can refer to: A variation of body memory, the hypothesis that memories can be stored in individual cells.”
I hope you enjoy Mia’s story, her battle with her heart condition, and cheer for her to win her battle with the Secret Literary Society. THE LITERATI.
(Society Literati Series #1)
by Brynn Chapman
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 186 pages
December 23rd 2016
Mia Templeton is dying. Or was dying. After receiving a heart transplant, her world is forever altered. Before her eyes open, she overhears her donor was murdered. Whispers invade Mia’s mind before she’s even left the recovery room. She develops tastes for foods she once hated, and dreams so vivid, they feel like someone else’s memories. Her personality is altered – once a quiet doormat, she’s now inexplicably flippant, and confident. And her unexplained longing for the new boy at school is borderline obsessive.
Morgan Kelley is new. Adopted by his aunt, a descendant of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), he’s thrown into life at a new high school, and as a historical guide for his aunt’s store – a homage to all things Alcott. Conspiracy theories abound about his mangled lower leg – but no one has been brave enough to ask. Till Mia.
Something is awry with the Underground Railroad tunnels beneath his aunt’s home. Mia and Morgan enter the world of a secret Literary Society – and are drafted to help bring a rogue Literary giant to justice, solve the mystery of her heart donor, and the real fate of Beth from Little Women.
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.
Synopsis: Escape from the everyday with this set of 7 all-new travel-based romances from award-winning authors. These exciting stories span the globe (and beyond!) to tell stories of love and intrigue in exotic locations. Take a mental vacation today with the Fated Destinations box set.
Jessie is tasked with saving a set of jewels from pirates that attack her cruise ship. She jumps overboard and swims for shore, knowing only that she must find Lord Marcus at the majestic castle in Ospioria…
When workaholic Natalie Olsen is forced to take a vacation by her new boss, she books a cabana at the private island resort of Hibiscus Cay. But instead of relaxing, she finds herself intrigued by the handsome resort manager who seems to be hiding something…
Alyssa Monroe always dreamed of escaping to exotic locales as a photographer, so she’s thrilled as she sets off for Dasia Island. But only one guide is willing to take her deep into a forbidden forest… a sexy, tattooed local who sets her blood on fire and gets her camera finger itching.
After she lost her mother to cancer, Maxine Fox threw herself into drugs, drink, and partying to cope with the loss. When she is expelled from her third school, her father decides to send her to a catholic private school in Ireland. But tattooed bisexual Max is probably not going to fit in easily…
The invitation was to a diplomatic peace ceremony on the desert planet of Quassdar. But Quassdar is also known for its steamy sex magick rituals, and it seems like Griffin may have gotten things a little bit mixed up…
For graduation, Aubrey Sheppard’s fiancé gave her a dream Caribbean Cruise vacation. The only problem is, their relationship ended before the ship ever set sail. Now Aubrey—an inexperienced traveler—sets out alone, nervous and unsure. A shared cab ride introduces her to someone new, who’s also trying to move on with his life…
At Crimson Tree Publishing, we believe that our readers deserve to know ahead of time what they are reading. We do not believe in censorship; we believe in the right to know. Every reader, no matter what their age is, has certain boundaries they don’t want to cross. Currently there is no consistent rating system in place for books like there are for movies, music, and video games. We believe by offering a wider range of disclosure about the content of our books, we will give parents, and readers of all ages, a stronger sense of comfort according to what lies between the pages. With that said, we will not deem whether a book is appropriate or inappropriate for any particular age range. Our disclosure is simply for you to know what is in the book, and we leave it up to you to decide what you are comfortable with reading.
Our Commitment to Our Authors:
At Crimson Tree Publishing, we believe our authors, who create new and amazing literary worlds, deserve to receive a large share of the profits that their art creates. We also believe that our authors deserve the support of quality editing, breathtaking covers, and the power of a strong marketing presence behind them. As authors ourselves, we know that your writing comes from your heart and, in a sense, is a part of you. We will carefully protect that part of you and work hard to keep your creative vision alive.
You may remember me mentioning The Elf by Max Dune before on Brooke Blogs. I’m mentioning it again because I love this book! Check out my 5-star review here.
The Elf Max Dune Publication date: October 18th 2016 Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
This Christmas…it’s war. Grab your weapon and join the fight in this modern Santa Claus retelling with a dark twist. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar will be riveted by The Elf‘s action, humor and romance!
Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting.
One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado. These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.
“Where are you going?” I taunt. “There’s nowhere to hide.”
Jack Frost doesn’t answer. Under the canopy of winter-crystallized trees, he crawls across the snow. His tall, muscular body leaves a trail of berry-red blood behind him. He looks desperate to put distance between us.
I begin to whistle softly and draw closer to admire my handiwork. Broken nose. Swollen eye. An arrow buried deep in his leg. Ah, such a beautiful sight to behold. I turn to Blitzen, my most loyal of companions, and smile. “Thank you, friend. Without you, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Blitzen gives an affirmative snort, staying close to our sleigh and supplies. His strong legs and zesty spirit had kept me alive for the last two weeks. The Artic is a cold house for the unwary. Nothing in it ever stirs. Nothing moves. Nothing sings. Yet he had guided me through it, his hooves detonating like muffled grenades as they crunched the powdery snow. We’d traveled over timeworn mountains, through tomblike valleys and flash-frozen rivers. I plan on rewarding Blitzen with his favorite food once we’re back in Santa’s Village. It’ll be agaric mushrooms for life. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
First things first though: I cock my crossbow.
Upon hearing that sound, Frost forces his knees and elbows to move faster. He fights for his life like a desperate wild animal at death’s door. The expression of terror on his face is absolutely priceless. I wonder if he’ll start begging soon. Even if he does, it won’t do him any good. I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger and send one final bolt into his black heart.
For my friends…for my parents…
“Mmm,” I utter, savoring the moment. “This is even better than I imagined.” As I loom over him, a sudden wave of fury grips me. I violently plant my boot in his shoulder, prompting a muffled groan from him. Through gritted teeth I hiss, “And I’ve imagined this a lot.”
I remove my foot. Frost rolls over onto his back and gazes up at me in defeat. “Don’t do this, Lucian. Please.”
“Do you think begging is going to help? It didn’t help my parents or the other elves. They died just the same, all shaking, bleeding, and crying…and all because of you.” I point the loaded crossbow at his chest. “Now it’s your turn to die.”
“Wait!” He lifts up a trembling hand. “I can grant you great powers, unimaginable abilities, even immortality! Y-you could be the most powerful elf who’s ever lived!”
“Power?” I scoff. “I don’t want power. This is all I want.”
“Revenge won’t bring your parents back.”
I consider his words for a moment and do see the truth in them, but the rage inside pushes me on. “No, but it’s going to feel pretty good.” My finger slides the safety off.
Frost’s eyes widen.
Suddenly a deep, loud sound echoes all about us, seemingly coming from every direction. They disturb the serene beauty of this frozen, crystal paradise where Frost is meant to meet his doom. Puzzled, I lower my crossbow and search for the source. My eyes scan through the tall, gray trees, their skeletal wooden arms knocking against one another in the slight breeze, but I catch nothing in my gaze except the clear, blue skies beyond. What the heck’s going on? Confused, I dart my eyes in every direction. And why is that annoying buzzing getting louder?
Beep! Beep! Beep!
A sense of déjà vu hits me.
Wait! That sound… Isn’t that…?
The beeping continues to assault my ears for several more moments, muddling my senses.
“No!” I wail when I finally remember. “No! Not yet!”
My desperate cries prove futile, though, as my crossbow melts in my hands. Its liquefied remnants splash at my feet. It doesn’t take long for the surrounding trees to follow suit, forming charcoal-gray puddles on the ground. Blitzen, too, begins to disintegrate where he stands. His fur, flesh, and bones dissolves into a paste and seep into the ground
“No!” Without wasting time, I jump on Frost, wrap my hands around his cold neck, and begin to viciously choke him. “I’ll kill you with my bare hands!”
Rather than panicking or pleading for mercy, he only laughs in my face, knowing full well it’s too late. His flesh quickly melts like hot wax until my fingers are kneading the remaining mess.
I punch the ground with my fists again and again, even as they start melting away. “Come on! I just needed another minute!”
As I beg for more time, I feel my bones softening, becoming more pliable, like iron morphing into licorice. Soon I am unable to hold my weight, and I topple over, falling to the icy ground.
Max Dune is a Southern writer who spent most his childhood watching TV, devouring comic books and weaving magical worlds in his head. In his mid-twenties, he decided to follow his true passion. He has since created a number of short stories, novels, screenplays and TV pilots. To be alerted to future books and giveaways, please sign up for his newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b5Is91