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December 10, 2014
Title: Beautiful Collision
Author: T.G. Ayer
Release Date: Dec 10, 2014
Published by: Infinite Ink Books
Genre: Contemporary
Eighteen year old Gray McAllister is on the run. Leaving her dangerous past behind her is easier said than done, even when she finds herself at last able to forge a new life for herself.
But then the planets align and Gray finds herself bumping into super-hot Thane Blackwell. Drooling over him from afar is safe but that's only until she is forced to look after Thane while he recovers from surgery.
Being holed up in her apartment is a bad bad idea. Can Gray control the fire that Thane seems light inside her, or will she give in to her deepest desires. Can Thane achieve his goal without hurting Gray in the process?
The stakes are impossibly high, but love and lies don't play nice with each other. Will Gray's past catch up with her first? Or will Thane's own secrets explode and tear them apart?
I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognize that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practice given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes... I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It's a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each others loves - it works wonderfully...
My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands - I shall forever remain cross-eyed.
I love talking to my readers so email me if you have any questions or even if you just want to chat...
Keep up to date with news, release dates and giveaways by subscribing to Tee's newsletter HERE.

December 04, 2014

Title: Inside Out
Author: Lia Riley
Series: Off the Map #3
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication: December 2nd, 2014

When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she'd find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they've faced, they've always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they'll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?


Purchase
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Excerpt

       “Show me the way back to you.” He buries his face in my neck, drags his lips to the place behind my ear, the headwaters for all delicious shivers.
       “I want that so much.”
       “I’ll do whatever it takes, go off the map.”
       “You will?”
       “We’re already there.”
       He’s right. We’ve been explorers for some time. During the last little while it’s as if a blizzard descended, we were stuck in a whiteout, so close, but the snow made everything indistinguishable. At last, the storm’s abating and he’s right there, and I’m over here. Suddenly, we can see each other.
       Within us is the way forward. We each possess half of the compass and must join together to find the right direction.
       “You’ve got to know how much I need you.” A lock of his wet hair twists in a boyish curl.
       I go to smooth it down, but my fingers tangle in the thick waves, and instead draw him closer.
       He bows his head, still panting a little. “You can’t check out on me like that again. I can’t live this bloody life devoid of you—”
       I brush my mouth over his lower lip, that reddening mark where his teeth left imprints. “I won’t. I’m so sorry. I-I’m ready to try. Thank you for believing in me.”
       “I’ll never stop.”
       We rest our foreheads together, holding one another upright. Droplets fall from his hairline onto my cheeks, joining fresh tears. He’s water, I’m water, and our flotsam and jetsam fit in a way that’s strange, yet familiar. I have no idea where we’re going, only that the way out is lined with broken feathers, bloodstains, marrow ash, and the serrated teeth of sharks.
       This journey will take all I’ve got, a small price to have everything.
       And that’s exactly what this guy in my arms is.


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About Lia

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live in Northern California.



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Giveaway


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December 03, 2014


Title: Daughter of Isis
Author: Kelsey Ketch
Series:  Descendants of Isis #1
Release Date: October 26nd, 2013
Genre: Upper Young Adult Fantasy

“Her mouth parted slightly, waiting for Seth to breathe life into her own body, just like in the story. She wanted him to awaken her senses.”

Their worlds collide in California’s high desert.

The last thing Natara “Natti” Stone wants to do is to start anew at Setemple High School. She wished she had never left London. Yet the brutal murder of her maternal grandmother has made her life very complicated. The only clue related to her murder is an ancient, encrypted necklace Natti discovered after her grandmother’s death. And if trying to adjust to American life is not enough, Natti is being stalked by a mysterious, charming high school senior, Seth O’Keefe, who is annoyingly persistent in his attempts at seduction.

Seth O’Keefe is secretly a member of the Sons of Set, an order that worships the Egyptian god of chaos. Seth’s blessing from Set, his “charm,” never failed, except with one person: Natti Stone. Her ability to elude him infatuates and infuriates him, and he becomes obsessed with the chase. But the closer he gets to her, the more his emotions take a dangerous turn, and he risks breaking one of the most valued covenants of his order. The punishment for which is a fate worse than death.

The adventure this unlikely couple becomes engulfed in could cost them their lives and their souls.

*Note: Content for Upper YA*


Purchase for just 99¢
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords


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•Excerpt•


Seth let out a deep breath as Natti waited, hoping. He ran his fingers through his hair before his face came inches from her.
“The traditional story told to me began during the days before Ra had left Earth. His council told him that if the goddess, Nut, bore any children one would end his reign. So, to protect his power, he placed a curse on Nut, one where she would not be able to bear children on any day of the year.
“Desperate, Nut went to Thoth, the god of wisdom, for help. Thoth knew that once spoken, the curse could not be recalled. However, he discovered a loop hole, went to the moon god, Khonsu, and tricked him into giving up some of his light. From it, Thoth created five extra days which were set between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.
“On the first of these days, Osiris was born. The second day was set aside for the later birth of Horus, Osiris’s son. On the third day, the second son of Nut was born, Set. Isis, Nut’s first daughter, was born on the fourth day, and her second daughter, Nephthys, was born on the fifth. And when they finally grew up, Osiris married his sister, Isis—”
“Ugh, gods.” Natti rolled her eyes. “Why do they always have to marry their siblings?”
“Well, who else were they supposed to marry?” Seth asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe a mortal for a change.”
Seth crinkled his brow. “The gods are too great to marry a mortal.”
“And how would they know? Have they ever dated one?” Natti trailed off when Seth placed his finger gently on her lips, letting them tingle under his touch. Oh, how she was beginning to love that feeling. She let it consume her.
Seth smiled. “Do you want to hear the story or not?”
Natti focused on his eyes. “You have my full attention.”
“Good. . . . As I was saying, Osiris married Isis, and together they traveled the land. Now before Osiris, the people of ancient Egypt were considered barbarians. Chaos reigned through wars and cannibalism. But when Osiris and Isis spread their knowledge, the people learned to plant grains like wheat and barley; how to tend and water the crops; how to cut the corn when ripe and thresh grain; and then how to dry the crop, grind it, and make bread. They even taught the people how to plant vines, and turn grapes into wine. For his teachings, Osiris became the ruler of all Egypt.
“Set, however, was not pleased by his older brother’s rise to power. So he laid out a plan to kill Osiris and rule in his place. Aided by seventy-two of his most loyal worshipers, Set obtained the exact measurements of Osiris’s body and carved a beautiful box that would only fix to his exact size. Set then threw Osiris a grand feast, the greatest feast Egypt had ever known. He called for only the best food the realm could provide and for the strongest wine to be served. And the dancing girls, they were the most beautiful creatures anyone had ever seen as their bodies swayed to the hypnotic music—”
“That part of the story would get your attention, wouldn’t it?” Natti teased.
Seth’s cheeks turned a slight pink, and the corners of his lips pulled into a smile. He let his finger slide across Natti’s lip again. A delightful shiver silenced her thoughts.
“As the festivities continued, and Osiris drank, Set commanded that the box would be brought to the grand hall. Osiris marveled at the rare cedar inlaid with ivory, gold, silver, and painted figures of the gods and their creations. Using his charm and deception, Set made a grand gesture. He offered the box to whoever could fit inside. A few people tried and failed. When Osiris finally took his turn, though, it fit perfectly, and the lid slammed shut, locking him inside to die. Later, Set returned, dismembered the body into fourteen pieces, and scattered them across the desert.”
The imagery that crossed Natti’s mind caused her whole body to cringe. Seth took her wrist and rubbed his thumb over her hand. The soft tingling sensation soothed her nerves, making her feel all warm and gooey inside.
“When Isis heard what happened, she and Nephthys set out to look for the pieces, gathered each one, and carefully wrapped Osiris in strips of cloth. Unfortunately, this was not enough. The manner in which he had died had prevented his entry into Amenti, the place for those who have passed judgment. So, ultimately, Osiris would not be able to rest in peace.
“However, Isis was clever. She crafted a magical serpent out of dust and Ra’s spittle and placed it in the sun god’s path. The serpent bit him, and Ra—being the most powerful god of all—commanded the poison to leave his body. Yet his magic would not work, for the serpent was made from Ra’s spittle, and therefore, he was unable to cure himself of the poison running through his veins. He called upon Isis, a great healer herself, to withdraw the poison. Isis, though, told him she could only heal him if she knew his secret name. A large request, considering. You see, knowing a god’s true name gives the other person their power. In this case, Isis would gain the power of creation itself.”
Natti thought back her first day at Setemple High when Seth had “stolen” her name in gym class. She understood exactly how the Egyptians felt. It left her feeling violated and betrayed.
“As the pain of the poison spread, Ra finally submitted. He gave her his name in secret and in confidence that no one other than herself shall ever know. Isis agreed and cured Ra of her serpent’s poison.” Seth’s voice became soft and slow. “When she returned to her husband’s side, she took him into her arms, called on the power of Ra, and breathed life back into his body.”
Focused on Seth’s words and his eyes, Natti hardly realized how close his lips had come to hers. They brushed up against her mouth, sending sparks across her flesh. Her heart galloped with excitement. Her mouth parted slightly, waiting for Seth to breathe life into her own body, just like in the story. She wanted him to awaken her senses.



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•About the Author•


During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.
For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.






December 02, 2014
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 photo Burnt-Edges.jpg
Title: Burnt Edges  
Author:  Dana Leipold
Published:  October 21st, 2014
Word Count:  56,000
Genre:  Women’s Fiction
Content Warning:  contains sexual abuse and domestic violence
Recommended Age:  18+
Synopsis:
Abuse or an uncertain future. This is Laurel Lee Page’s choice when she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy at 18. Born into a broken family, all she has ever known is guilt and shame. No matter what she does or who she meets, Laurel appears to be living a condemned life but she is determined to find independence and freedom in spite of her family’s legacy of hatred and self-contempt. Can Laurel see that she is in a powerful position, poised to break the cycle of abuse? Set in Southern California during the tumultuous 1960s era, Burnt Edges is based on true events and proves that strength can be found even in the most horrific situations.
 
Excerpt:
Laurel decided that Rusty was Mother’s favorite child. The afternoon in the garage had been proof. But because he often took the brunt of Father’s anger, she felt a bizarre kinship with him. She also loved the stories he would tell when they had nothing to do. He would make up tall tales like the one about spacemen who came to Earth to taste hamburgers because they had none on Mars. He described them as little green men with antennae. “Whenever they come to visit, people find their hats missing, because the Martians steal them to conceal their antennae,” Rusty said. “That’s just silly,” Laurel said. Gerry sat in the dirt, playing with rocks and half-listening. Laurel thought he’d rather be playing football or punching some kid, so he sometimes got bored of the stories. “No, it’s true, really.” “What did they do to hide their green skin?” Laurel asked. “They also steal women’s pancake makeup and put it all over their faces. Helps them blend in.” “Ew, they wear girl’s makeup?” Gerry said, sticking out his tongue. Laurel giggled, imagining Martians wearing makeup and hats just to get a taste of a hamburger. “Why don’t they just steal the recipe and learn how to make hamburgers on Mars?” Laurel thought she’d caught Rusty off guard with this question. “They tried that once, and it was a disaster,” he said, picking up rocks and throwing them against the fence in their backyard. “Yeah, it almost wiped out the whole Martian race.”
“What’d they do, get all sick and throw up?” Gerry laughed at his answer. Rusty threw a rock at Gerry but missed him. “No, moron.” He kept throwing rocks without saying anything. Laurel thought he was trying to come up with a good story. She waited another moment. “Well, what happened?” she asked. “I’ll tell ya! Don’t rush me!” He stopped throwing rocks and sat Indian style, his elbows resting on his legs, hands clasped together so he was leaning forward a bit. “The explorer Martians who had just come back from Earth brought the hamburger recipe to the King of Mars. They told him about the most delicious food they’d ever tasted and that they had brought the secret to it. The king was excited and told his royal cook to make up a batch, but they don’t have meat on Mars.” Rusty paused, and Gerry rolled his eyes, waved his hand, and climbed the rope up to the tree house. Rusty watched him, but Laurel was listening, waiting for Rusty to tell the rest of the story. “Go on,” she said. “Nah, no one cares about the dumb old story,” he said. “I do! Tell me!” “All right, but it’s horrible!” “I don’t care. Tell me!” “Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Rusty paused and then he began again. “So the cooks tried to figure out what to do. They didn’t want to tell the king that there was no meat. Once a cook had told the king he was all out of Martian mush-rooms and the king executed him. They thought and thought about what to do, and then they called in the royal jester.” “The jester? What does he know about cooking?” Laurel asked. “Exactly.” Laurel looked confused. “So the jester came in, and the cooks smashed him on the head and put him in a boiling pot. Once the Jester was done cooking, they ground him up into bits and fed him to the king.” “Yuck!” Gerry must have heard about the cannibalism. He peeked his head through the hole in the tree house. “That’s disgusting,” he said, loud enough for Rusty and Laurel to hear. “The king loved it and ordered the cooks to make more. So they did. This time they called in the royal guard, bopped him on the head, boiled him up, and fed him to the king. The king couldn’t get enough of those hamburgers, so he made a royal decree stating that the official food of Mars was hamburgers.” Gerry had the tree house door open and was sitting on the floor with his legs hanging out. Laurel shook her head. “The cooks went through the whole Martian Royal Army, the royal court, and most of the Martian population before the king caught on. He ended up executing the cooks, but now the King of Mars comes to visit Earth himself, because he loves hamburgers.” “That’s the dumbest story I ever heard,” Gerry said. “If it’s so dumb why did you listen to it?” Rusty answered back. “Hamburgers aren’t that good,” Laurel said. “Not as good as pizza.”
 
 
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About the Author:
Dana Leipold is a freelance writer, author, and member of the Association of Independent Authors and Creativity Coaching Association. She has self-published two books: a collection of limericks in Dr. Seuss-style for adults entitled, Stupid Poetry: The Ultimate Collection of Sublime and Ridiculous Poems, and a non-fiction book entitled, The Power of Writing Well: Write Well. Change the World, to help writers get their message heard, create stories that connect, and leverage the power of writing well. In addition, she coaches other writers on story structure, messaging, and writing skills so they can achieve their dreams to become published authors. Leipold lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • 5 Lucky Winners will each receive a $10 Amazon gift card.
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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November 07, 2014
Title: Life of a Fool
Author: CM Hutton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Honest Love Spin-off

Jason

I was a fool…
- for letting Lori Ann convince me that we were wrong for each other.

- for watching her walk away from me fifteen years ago and not stopping her.

- for not realizing she was in trouble.

- for thinking her nightmare, our nightmare was over.
I was a fool for letting my guard down.

And now, I’d do just about anything to keep her safe, including the most reckless, foolish thing a man — a cop, in fact — could do.
___________________________________

Lori Ann

Jason saved me, only to nearly lose me forever.

We’d been fools to think Antonio wouldn't come after me. I was still his wife, after all. He’d hurt me, broken my arm and left me in pieces, but he wasn’t finished. He’d fooled me for years, made me believe he was a great man. Now that I knew the truth, I was going to fight like hell to save myself and Jason, to save the love we’d finally confessed.

I prayed that what I was about to do would be enough.

I was done being someone’s fool.



Purchase:

_________________________________________________________

Excerpt

Prologue


My life had been a nightmare.

My younger brother, the former NFL player turned firefighter, had been severely injured and on deaths door, as a matter of fact.  Wed been held hostage at the hospital for weeks.  His bride-to-be, Claire,was one of the strongest women Id ever knownaside from my mom and Lori Ann.  Actually, they were probably all about equal in their feminine strength.

DamnLori Ann.  I needed to return her call.

Thankfully, Derek pulled through, married the love of his life, and they were expecting a baby.  I was really happy for him.  My little brother had seen more hard times than I cared to mention, and hed finally found happiness with a woman that was pretty incredible.  Claire had been through her own share of shit and had risen above it.  I was in awe of the woman and loved her as fiercely as I did one of my blood family members. 

Truthfully, seeing Derek find his soul mate, at the age of thirty-five, made me jealous.  I was his older brother.  And although thirty-seven wasnt that old, I felt ancient.  Perhaps, it was due to the stress of holding us all together these last few weeks while we watched Derek struggle for his life.  Maybe it was the ache I felt seeing him so happy. 

Id dated plenty of girls.  They were nice, kindsome a little kinky, but not one of them held my heartheld my soul in their hands. 

Only one had that privilege, and she was already taken.  


_________________________________________________________

About Honest Love

Starting over was never easy for anyone.
I’d heard the stories over and over.
But after the hell my ex-husband had put me through over the last year, over the last twenty years…well, I was ready to move on, repair what was left of my shattered heart and find someone to share my life with—someone who would put me first.
I deserved it. I’d done my time being in her shadow, being a cheap understudy, always second. For. All. Those. Years.
Never again.
Our move to San Diego provided a fresh start, a new place away from all the hurt and memories. Life as a single mom to three teenagers had its' challenges, but we were adjusting and my kids were doing well.
It was time to focus on my happiness, for once. I had a huge capacity to love and I wanted to share my love with a man that respected it, accepted it and gave it in return.
It was just a matter of time before he found me and showed me what true, honest love was all about.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N

Excerpts

Claire

Every now and then, during his session, Id notice an odd glance or two from him, but ignored it. I didnt want his negative shit adding to my own. This was my job. I was his physical therapist, not his friend or counselor, and this job was what would keep me going while I learned to wrap my head around my new life. 

Derek didnt say much. He grunted a few times when I pushed him harder, but other than that, nothing.

It wasnt until we were just about done and I was giving him our customary mini relaxation massage, that I took the opportunity to really take a good look at him. Derek removed his shirt as he laid face down on the massage table in my therapy room and an involuntary gasp escaped from me. 

Wasnt expecting that.  

Most patients didnt remove their clothing as these massages were only meant to relieve the tension built up in the body as a result of the stress from working an injury.  Hed apparently heard me because a small, stupid grin turned up on one corner of his mouth. I ignored him.

He was tall and lean, not too bulky, and his skin was tan and smoothdefined. I noticed a few tattoos on his ribs. Id never been much on body ink, but it was sexy on Derek and I couldnt stop staring at it as I slowly rubbed the tension from his neck and shoulders. 

Yeah, you could say I was attracted to him. 

___________________________________________

Derek

Claire seemed nice. Actually she seemed like she probably wouldnt take any crap from me. And I didnt think she knew who I wasalways a good thing. 

She was good at her job. I had a feeling Id be back on the truck soon. My life as a firefighter was about all I had to keep my mind occupied. Football used to do that for me. 

Nothing but tainted memories now.

I shook my head, brushed off my thoughts and focused more on my new therapist. Id asked her a few questions, which she answered willingly. I was curious about Claire, but my pissy mood made my questions come out way too harsh and nasty.

I just hoped I could stop staring at her. She was shorter than me. Maybe 55 with beautiful blonde hair and amazing brown eyes. Not who I would typically pay attention to, but what the hell did I know? The only girl Id ever loved was Claires complete opposite with dark brown hair, blue eyes and really tall.  Shed also ripped my heart out and practically ate the damn thing right in front of me. 

Maybe Claire was just what I needed. 

But first, I had to find out more about her past and what lead her to San Diego.

_________________________________________________________

About the Author

Im a wife, a mom of three, a friend, an aunt, a sister, a daughter and a teacher.  Now, I can add writer to my list!  Ive always wanted to write and finally found inspiration and support to do it.  
I live near Austin, Texas with my family and love to read and travel.  Put me on a beach with a good book and the world just disappears around me.
Paradise Taken was my first novel and is a highly emotional book based on true events.  Its sequel (Saving Us) was released February 2014. 
I love that you are willing to take a chance on a new writer and promise to keep striving to put out great books!  Be sure to check out my newest releases, including Honest Love, which was released in June 2014 and Life of a Fool, the second London Brothers novel, will be available November 6, 2014.

I'd love to chat with you, so look me up on any of my social pages.  
Happy Reading.  :)
CM Hutton


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November 02, 2014


Title: Stalking the Demon
Author: Ciara Ballintyne
Series: The Seven Circles of Hell #2

Six months ago, the disgraced wizard, Alloran, sacrificed his hand to rescue the woman he loves from his traitorous friend, Ladanyon. Despite saving the city from a demon, his reputation remains tarnished, and the council of wizards has penalised him severely for the practise of banned magic.

Now he learns his desperate efforts to stop Ladanyon led more to damnation than salvation. Finding a solution compels him to breach his sanctions and venture into forbidden places at risk of his life and freedom.

Alloran must choose between saving himself and everything he holds dear.







Book #1








Chapter 1

Collapse

Alloran rushed through the citadel halls heedless of the rich carpets crushed beneath his heavy boots. Gisayne hung limply in his arms, and her black hair trailed over his elbow. A few people watched him pass, but none offered assistance. Over the past six months, Gisayne collapsed often enough to blunt the urgency and the panic. The faces turning in his direction bore only mild curiosity, oblivious to the fact that this time was different.
Her chest barely rose and fell beneath the thin cream silk of her night gown and robe, and blue tinged the edges of her bee-stung lips. Seven hells, was she dying? As he raced onwards, he clutched her against him and her cold skin pressed against his. With no left hand, he had no way to check for a pulse. A choked-back scream of desperate frustration tightened his chest until it squeezed the breath out of his lungs.
While juggling Gisayne, he fumbled with the latch on the door to the citadel’s hospice. Damn his missing hand to the first hell. When the door finally gave, he shouldered it open and backed into a long room lined with starkly made beds. The few occupied by sick or injured had curtains drawn for privacy. Breidmar, dressed in the red-trimmed white robes of a citadel doctor, bustled over at their entrance.
Orange brows pinched with concern over her violet eyes. ‘Again?’
‘She’s…’ The lump in his throat choked him. He swallowed hard. ‘She’s hardly breathing.’
‘This way.’ Pointing to an empty bed, Breidmar called out and strode to a door at the far end. Before she crossed halfway back, an unfamiliar girl in acolyte’s white appeared in the doorway.
Alloran placed Gisayne on the bed with gentle care. Her slack body slid from his arms, her skin pale. When he let her go, her eyelids fluttered but did not open. Nausea knotted his gut. The last time she’d fainted, the recovery was quick. Now, she looked as if death hovered over her, waiting for the moment to snip the thread of her life.
As Breidmar began checking Gisayne’s vitals, she waved Alloran off. He hesitated. What would he do except wait, patient, and idle while Breidmar tried again to determine what illness affected her? She would try and fail, most likely.
‘Are you sure this is not the falling sickness? It’s supposed to get worse with each successive bout.’
‘She’s not got the right symptoms. No seizures,’ Breidmar responded in precise, clipped tones.
Alloran frowned. He wasn’t an idiot. ‘Then what? These collapses are getting more frequent and more severe! Seven hells take you, tell me. Whatever the illness, it can’t be too complicated for me to understand.’
With her severe lips curving down, she sniffed. ‘No amount of genius can assist you to comprehend a malady I cannot explain. While you’ve made any number of miraculous discoveries, you have no particular expertise in medical matters. Leave this to me.’
‘The title of doctor is reserved only for those who have studied in the citadel, and yet you say you don’t know? After all this time, you must have some notion.’ Wisps of his black hair hung about his face, torn free of their bindings in his haste. He pushed them back with a rough motion. When they slid back into disarray, he tore the leather thong free and began tying his hair back with short, sharp motions.
The doctor scowled at him. At her nod, the acolyte whipped the curtain around the bed in a rattle of rings. The cloth brushed Alloran’s nose; he jerked his head away.
A heartfelt sigh escaped his lips before he retreated to a waiting area that comprised a group of chairs. No, sitting still would be intolerable. He changed direction and paced the length of the room, passing the rows of identical empty beds. His boots echoed in the open space. Sterile and odourless air filled his nostrils.
Apparently, Breidmar shared the sentiments of many people in the citadel. Some blamed him solely for the demons that plagued the city of Ehsan six months earlier, and others accused him of working with the renegade wizard, Ladanyon. Although Alloran wasn’t subjected to a disciplinary hearing, the council’s public announcement that they were banning him from all forms of magic involving the hells only reinforced the blame.
Seven hells, the councillors banned him because some of them felt the same as the other citizens. Those residents who lost loved ones in the battle against Ladanyon’s first-circle demon were the most damning. Councillor Valgon’s wife died, and he made no bones about believing Alloran to be a public menace. I just can’t prove it, was what he said.




Ciara Ballintyne was born in 1981 in Sydney, Australia, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, one masochistic cat, and one cat with a god complex. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and has been a practising financial services lawyer since 2004. She is both an idealist and a cynic.

She started reading epic fantasy at the age of nine, when she kidnapped Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings from her father. Another two years passed before she began her first attempts at the craft of writing. Confronting the Demon is her debut book.

She enjoys horse-riding, and speculation about taking over the world. If she could choose to be anything it would be a dragon, but instead she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House. M.D.




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