#BookTour “Sentinel” by Drew Starling

Sentinel

A Monster. A Missing Boy. And Nowhere to Run.

Welcome to the tour for the chilling debut by Drew Starling, Sentinel! Read on for more details and a chance to win a great giveaway!

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Publication Date: May 14th, 2021

Genre: Supernatural Horror

Publisher: Eerie River Publishing

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO GET YOUR SON BACK?

Something is lurking within the woods just beyond the young Dreyer family’s new country home. And an evil that has been hiding in plain sight for centuries is about to emerge.

A neighbor is brutally murdered, their 4-year-old son goes missing in broad daylight, and the local town of Bensalem devolves into a cesspool of finger-pointing and chaos.

With nowhere left to turn, Aaron and Ellen Dreyer are forced to venture into the woods to find their son. But in the process, they uncover a force larger and more sinister than anything they ever could have imagined.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

But from that nothingness, something arose. A click-clacking of claws on hardwood perforated the stillness. It started faintly and grew louder, closer, until a pair of glowing, yellow eyes suddenly stared back at him from the center of the room. Cooper’s eyes. Cooper stood there watching, alert. Aaron pushed himself up off the couch. “You okay? Come here.” But the dog did not heed his owner, instead lumbering through the living room to the front door. It, too, faced the front yard and the meadow across the street. “You need to go out?” With his nose an inch from the solid oak door and his eyes glaring right into it, Cooper’s ears pinned themselves back, and his upper lip curled, exposing a trap of lethal white teeth. His tail, which usually bounced along as he walked, divined itself straight down towards the ground, and his back legs began to quiver. Cooper glared at the door, slightly shaking, growling in a triggered rage. “Cooper, knock that off.” Aaron stood and faced the living room windows. Nothing seemed out of place in the front yard or the meadow, but Cooper continued to growl, his volume low enough not to wake Ellen or Caleb, but so downright out of place for a dog of his character that Aaron kept his distance. Then, like a photo somehow coming alive, a dark object moved on the perfectly-still canvas. A shadow at the edge of the pine forest on the right-hand side of the meadow pulled itself out of the thick black trees.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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An Amazon bestselling author of horror and dark fiction, Drew Starling is a husband and dog dad who loves strong female leads, martial arts, and long walks in the woods with canine companions. He would like to think his plots are better than his prose, but strives to make his words sound both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. He listens to Beethoven, Megadeth, and Enya when he writes, and he’d be absolutely delighted if you’d consider joining his mailing list (which you can find a link to about one and a half mouse scrolls up this page). His only rule of writing: the dog never dies.

Drew Sterling | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

Sentinel

Book Tour Schedule

May 31st

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

June 1st

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

@bookloverleah (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookloverleah/

June 2nd

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

The Musings of a Final Girl (Spotlight) https://musingsofafinalgirl.wordpress.com/

Cats Luv Coffee (Guest Post) https://www.catsluvcoffee.com/

June 3rd

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@gin_books_crochethooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gin_books_crochethooks/

Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

June 4th

@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/

@evelovesbooks_travel_art (Review) https://www.instagram.com/evelovesbooks_travel_art/

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader/

GIVEAWAY: SIGNED EDITION OF SENTINEL (US) OR BOOK PLATE FOR INTERNATIONAL WINNER!

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#NewRelease “Called by the Blessed: Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy (World Breacher Book 1)” by Jali Henry

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“…it is simply a masterpiece! Well worth reading as an adult and as a YA.”
“My 12-year-old read this book, and she couldn’t put it down.”

If she fails, her sisters will die, demons will take over the world and she’ll get trapped in hell for eternity, so no pressure then…

Impoverished orphan Naledi struggles to raise her younger sisters in rural Africa. Her life already sucks but when she manifests the rare ability to open portals through time and space, her life gets a whole lot more complicated. Will learning to harness her powers piss off God and land her in hell?

Now a couple of archangels want Naledi to use her powers to spy on hell and stop a demon Armageddon. Spies who are caught on earth get tortured, so imagine how badly spies who are caught in actual hell get tortured…

If you love feisty heroines, gut-wrenching emotion, sweet romance and explosive endings, you’ll love this book.

—Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy—
—African mythology and Christian mythology mashup—
—No Cliffhanger—
—Clean YA (No graphic SVNL)—

99c for a limited time!

Amazon

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#CoverReveal “What Remains: An Anthology by Inked in Gray”

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What Remains

Check out the cover for upcoming release of What Remains! A chilling collection of Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy!

What Remains: An Anthology by Inked in Gray

Expected Publication Date: Summer 2021

Genre: Anthology/ Short Stories/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Horror

Publisher: Inked in Gray

Victory at all costs. Even at the price of our own life, the desire to survive transcends all rational thought.

What Remains brings together fifteen tales of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. From sacrificing loved ones or oneself, to doing what it takes to keep them alive, these stories shake the soul, rip out its insecurities and flay them on the page.

Careful who you trust. Some quandaries have no right answer when we cannot save what we love most—or when isolation, desperation, and betrayal leave you no choice.

Take the journey with us to see What Remains when civility, decency, and sanity have all but fled.

Coming Soon!

Authors:

R.A. Busby

About the Author: An award-winning literature teacher and die-hard horror fan, R. A. Busby is also the author of “Bits” (Short Sharp Shocks #45), “Street View” (Collective Realms #2), “Not the Man I Married” (Black Petals #93), “Holes” (Graveyard Smash, Women of Horror Anthology, Vol. 2), and “Cactusland” (34 Orchard, forthcoming).

“I was always instructed to write about what I know,” she states, “and I know what scares me.” In her spare time, R.A. Busby watches cheesy Gothic movies and goes running in the desert with her dog.

She can be found on Twitter and at RABusbybooks.weebly.com

David-Christopher Harris

About the Author: David-Christopher Harris’ fantasy publications include “Olam Ha-Ba” in speculative fiction and poetry magazine Arsenika, “Last Call” in The Arcanist Magazine, “Falselight” on PageHabit, and “Children of Ozymandias” in 50WordStories, among others. He received his M.A. in Medieval Literature, which he uses exclusively to teach his cat Latin. He is currently querying.

He can be found on Twitter and at www.dcharriswriting.com

Andy Dibble

About the Author: Andy Dibble is a healthcare IT consultant who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He has supported the electronic medical record of healthcare systems in six countries. His work appears or is forthcoming in Writers of the Future, Star*Line, Sci Phi Journal, and others. He is Articles Editor for Speculative North magazine.

He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and andydibble.com.

LT Ward

About the Author: LT writes mostly speculative fiction shorts and novels while spending her days raising her children and satisfying her never-ending thirst for knowledge through reading, meeting people, and first-hand life experiences. She has short story publications with Dancing Lemur Press, Me First Magazine, Jazz House Press, and forthcoming with Black Hare Press and Cardigan Press. She currently volunteers with WriteHive, a nonprofit literary organization.

She can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and at ltwardwriter.com.

Ben Armstrong

About the Author: Ben is a young author who has been writing stories for over six years now. Recently he has been published in his town’s newspaper.

Maxwell I Gold

About the Author: Maxwell I. Gold is a Rhysling Award nominated prose poet, focusing on weird and cosmic fiction. He is a regular contributor to Spectral Realms, edited by Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi and his work has also appeared in Weirdbook Magazine, Space and Time Magazine, Startling Stories, Baffling Magazine, and many others.

His debut prose poetry collection, Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose is forthcoming this August from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Maxwell can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and at www.thewellsoftheweird.com

Damir Salkovic

About the Author: Damir Salkovic is the author of novels Kill Zone and Always Beside You. His shorter work has been featured in the Lovecraft eZine, Dimension6 Annual Collection 2020, and in multiple horror, science and speculative fiction anthologies.

Find him on Goodreads and at his blog, Darker Realities.

Lawrence West

About the Author: Lawrence J West has been on his writing journey since he was fourteen years old and has always been drawn to fantasy, sci-fi, and horror because of the way these genres allow for the exploration of human experience in unique ways. Since becoming a husband and father he has also found that his writing has a greater degree of empathy and insight.

Lawrence can be found on Twitter.

Sharon Frame Gay

About the Author: Sharon Frame Gay is an award winning author whose work has appeared in many anthologies and magazines, including Chicken Soup For The Soul, Typehouse, Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Lowestoft Chronicle, Thrice Fiction, Saddlebag Dispatches, Crannog, and others. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

A collection of her short stories, Song of the Highway, was released in August, 2020.

Sharon can be found on Twitter and Amazon.

Timothy Johnson

About the Author: Timothy Johnson is a writer and editor living outside of Washington, D.C. His published work includes the novels The Pillars of Dawn and Carrier as well as short fiction appearing in various professional and semi-professional markets. He is an MFA candidate in George Mason University’s creative writing program and an affiliate member of the HWA.

Find Timothy on Twitter and at timothyjohnsonfiction.com.

DL Shirey

About the Author: DL Shirey lives in Portland, Oregon, where it’s probably raining. Luckily, water is beer’s primary ingredient. His stories and non-fiction appear in 60 publications, including Confingo, Page & Spine, Zetetic and Wild Musette.

You can find more of DL Shirey on Twitter and at www.dlshirey.com.

Dan Eveloff

About the Author: Dan Eveloff is a lawyer and sports agent living in Chicago, Illinois with his dog, Reuben. He studied accounting at the University of Kansas, and subsequently earned his law degree from Northwestern University. His short fiction “The Price of Recompense” has appeared in AHF Magazine,Shakespearean Justice” in Aphelion Webzine, and “Prevenge” can be found in Close to the Bone Magazine.

His social media presence can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Valerie Hunter

About the Author: Valerie Hunter teaches high school English and has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications including Cicada, Storyteller, Edison Literary Review, Other Voices, Room, and Wizards in Space.

Find Valerie on Instagram.

Nicholas Barner

About the Author: Nicholas Barner has farmed, cooked, and written variously in Oakland, Chicago, Maine, and Los Angeles. He lives with his partner, Shelby, and their Dog, Nuni.

He can be found online at nicholasbarner.com.

Thomas Canfield

About the Author: Thomas Canfield lives in the mountains of North Carolina. His phobias run to politicians, lawyers and TV pitchmen. He is still trying to plumb the logic of the sales pitch; The more you buy, the more you save. It never quite seems to work out that way in the real world. Canfield occasionally reviews books on Goodreads.

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#BookReview “Murder: It’s All in Your Head” by Cynthia Hilston

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4/5 Stars!

Emotionally and physically beaten and abused as a child, Helen Hawkins “blacks out” to avoid the horrors. What she at first believes to be daydreams, she realizes are the minds/bodies of other people.  Others who have easier lives where they’re loved and wanted.

Unlike her.

The death of the mother she loved, yet despised for not protecting her, and rejection from the only person she ever fell in love with leave Helen alone with her abuser… her minister father. She also has a new ability. She no longer suffers blackouts, but instead can possess the minds/bodies of others. Furious at never having the love and compassion so many take for granted, Helen will use her “gift” to “escape” and exact revenge on her father… and many others over the next one hundred years.

When two of her victims meet up in a mental hospital, they struggle to come to grips with who they are, especially when no one believes them, but their biggest obstacle is stopping Helen. Is it even possible?

Reminiscent of Denzel Washington’s Fallen, instead of possession by an ageless demon, this mind-bending thriller uses the endless abuses a young girl suffers to not only take her from her own mind (and body) but also make her the villain who wants others to suffer as she did. But could taking over the life of another teenage girl give Helen back her humanity or lead to her own personal hell… again?

Cassie/Randy/Jimmy are some of the well-written characters Helen interacts with who give this read its heart, along with a special mention for nurse Nora.

Enjoy!

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Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

Purchase Links

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#BlogTour “Murder: It’s All in Your Head” by Cynthia Hilston

Welcome to the book tour for supernatural thriller, Murder: It’s All in Your Head by Cynthia Hilston!

Read on for more details and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

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Murder: It’s All in Your Head

Publication Date: December 5, 2020

Genre: Supernatural Thriller/ Horror

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Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Cassie pedaled her bike faster to school as thoughts of staying home alone on senior prom night plagued her. A flash of light blinded her. She shielded her eyes. Horns blared and tires squealed, and the whole bike shook to a stop.

When she opened her eyes, a wall of old books stared back. She rubbed her eyes and blinked rapidly, taking in her surroundings. Gone was the familiar tree-lined street with rows of 40-year-old ranches and split-levels. Sunlight filtered in through parted drapes. Unlike her house, where dust danced in light beams, this room sat still.

Her sweaty hands clenched into fists at her sides, her nails digging into her palms. A chill jolted up her spine and extended down her arms, freezing her in place. She gazed across the room. Marble pillars flanked an archway to another room across the vast library.

A faint noise came from another part of the building. Curiosity claimed her caution as she took a step. Realizing her fingers were wet, she glanced down and nearly fell over. Blood covered her large hands all the way to her thick fingertips!

Cassie gasped. She reached for her throat. A sharp intake of breath.

“What?” she croaked in a foreign voice.blo

A dream. This must be a dream. Her voice rang through her mind, but when she opened her mouth to speak again…

“This can’t be happening.”

Cassie’s hands grasped her throat, in a failed attempt to excise the vocal cords responsible for this new voice. When her fingers grazed whiskers, she raked them over the jaw and cheeks.

“No. N-no.” What the hell?

She closed her eyes and forced herself to take a long, slow breath. Okay, okay. Calm down.

When her eyes opened yet again to this new reality, Cassie gave a shuddering gasp. She felt like she was doused with ice water, the burn throbbing through her body. She tried to step again, but she wavered in this oversized body that wore like a linebacker’s uniform. The large feet lumbered with a clumsiness contrary to her agile body. For a girl who had taken gymnastics since she could walk, the dragging, teetering movement of this form almost stopped her efforts. But Cassie willed herself to move. One step at a time.

Just do the best you can. Her mom’s words echoed through her mind.

Her steps were short-lived as her dad’s advice died. She halted. A trail of red on the spotless marble floor led to an archway. Her nerves fired in overtime, and her head spun. She followed the path and exited the elaborate room into a hallway.

The sound was louder now. The unmistakable sound of running water.

“What’s going on?” Cassie whispered. She tried to ignore the voice. Really tried.

Something moved out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head to the right and landed on her reflection, only it wasn’t her face. A tall man of about thirty stared back. She ran her hands through the trim brown beard that contoured the strong jawline, confirming what she felt earlier. Liquid brown eyes under thick, wavy hair and a deep brow held confusion, panic. A sleek black business suit covered her well-built frame—fit for an executive who dined on caviar and champagne and rode in chauffeured limos. But against the black of her suit the blood extended, weaving an unknown horror story.

She shook her head. “This is impossible.” Yet the voice told a different story.

Her body trembled, and her whole being felt different. Cassie’s eyes fell on a picture frame below the mirror. Her fingers fumbled to pick it up. A younger version of the man in the mirror gazed out of the photo. He smiled, his face next to a gorgeous auburn-haired woman. The woman’s hazel eyes crinkled around the edges, her freckles standing out against her fair skin in the sunshine. It was a happy couple’s wedding photo.

Cassie returned the picture to its place, the frame now coated in blood. A drop of crimson marked the floor every few inches. This body must have come from the opposite direction through the house, for how else could she explain the blood everywhere? She rested a hand on the railing at the base of the stairway and gazed up the twisting steps. The running water came from upstairs. She took the first step and steadied herself. Something drew her toward the source of that sound.

Cassie reached the landing and glanced behind her. Her mark was on the railing, another path of blood. The tell-tale trail continued, decorating the floor in a macabre design, as she went down the hallway toward the sound. Her knees wobbled as a dizzy spell overtook her. She steadied herself with a hand to the wall and blanched at the red print she left.

Call the cops.

I don’t know what the hell’s going on.

She pushed herself from the wall and arrived at the bathroom. Water leaked under the door.

The knob slid under her slick hand. She used the end of her sleeve to grip it and pushed the door open enough to peek inside. Pink water flooded the marble floor. Her gaze traveled to the bathtub. Water spilled over the tub’s edge. A woman lay sprawled in the tub, her vacant eyes staring at the ceiling, her mouth open in a scream. Her head lay at an odd angle, her neck nearly cut in two. Blood ran from the gaping gash into the water.

Cassie tried to scream, but her stomach tightened. Bile rose and she vomited into the pooling water and blood. She slammed the door and collapsed against the outside, pulling her knees to her chest. Water soaked her pants, making the fabric stick to her clammy skin. The tall frame of the man’s body convulsed with the sobs of a teenage girl as she cried into her hands. Hands that weren’t hers.

“I want my mom.”

She couldn’t get the dead woman’s face out of her mind. As the scene replayed through her head, Cassie realized where she’d seen the woman before. In the photo. She had been this man’s wife.

Available on Amazon

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Author Bio Cynthia Hilston

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Visit her website at www.cynthiahilston.com for more information.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Social Media Links  

Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Instagram   |   Goodreads  

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For a chance to win a paperback edition of the book, enter the giveaway below!

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Book Tour Schedule

April 12th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

@liliyanashadowlyn (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/liliyanashadowlyn/

April 13th

Michelle Meng’s Book Blog4 (Review) http://michellemengsbookblog4.simplesite.com/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

April 14th

Inked and Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

@brendajeancombs (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/

@geauxgetlit (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/geauxgetlit/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

April 15th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news

April 16th

@amysbooknook8 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amysbooknook8/

@thrilledtoreadya (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thrilledtoreadya/

@tiny.bibliophile (Review) https://www.instagram.com/tiny.bibliophile/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

Sue’s Musings (Review) https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

 

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#BookTour “Reaper: Aftermath” by Jonathan Pongratz

ReaperAftermath

Five years have passed since the Reapers invaded Earth, but Gregory is back and trying to survive the wastelands left behind! Welcome to the book tour for Reaper: Aftermath by Jonathan Pongratz! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win 1 of 3 print copies of the book! ReaperAftermathKindleCoverReaper: Aftermath Genre: Sci-Fi Horror/ Apocalypse Expected Publication Date: February 5th, 2021 Five years have passed since the Reapers invaded Earth and tore it asunder. Gregory, his mother, Trent, and their group of scavengers hunt the decimated wastelands for survival. But when a sudden Reaper attack forces Gregory through a Reaper door, he finds himself in a bizarre place, one that may provide answers to the Reapers’ past and where they came from. Can Gregory put together the pieces of the past and find his way home, or will he just become another human casualty in the lost war against the Reapers? Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

I crouched behind a row of old dusty cars beside my mom and two other sharpshooters, my body trembling. Don’t freak out. Be brave. Remember your training.

I took a deep breath and dared a peek ahead between two cars. Across the street was a deserted grocery store covered in grime and soot. It was a small shop, maybe two or three times the size of an average gas station. A bunch of old, rotted wooden planks covered the windows, but the front entrance was untouched. Whoever had been here was either dead inside or long gone. No one in their right mind would leave their home unfortified, not anymore.

All was quiet except for the wind, but I knew better. We all did. Any second and the Reapers could be right on us. Though they never came out during the day, we couldn’t leave anything to chance.

Mom pulled out her walkie. “Proceeding with root-out of potential Reapers.” She retrieved an oddly-shaped ball constructed from cans, tins, and several small bells we called chatter boxes from her supply bag and hurled it over her head.

The chatter box clunked loudly on the ground, bouncing before stopping in front of the seemingly-empty store. For a couple moments we all sat there, waiting for any sign of Reapers.

              Mom’s walkie crackled to life. “Patricia, I think we should–”

              “Quiet!” Mom hissed. “I think I hear something.”

              I couldn’t hear anything, but there was definitely a difference in the air, like it was charged somehow. Just like the basement five years ago. Images of the past filled my mind: My little sister Imogen, the electrified feeling down in the basement, the Reaper’s sudden appearance. I shook off my thoughts and edged close to my mother.

              “You’re right, something’s coming.”

Mom nodded, her gaze fixed on the grocery store. “Be brave, Gregory. If you have to, fall back.”

I shook my head. There was no way I was gonna miss out on this.

Her eyes widened, and she gripped her walkie once more. “Reapers, incoming!”

 I drew my Glock from my holster, turned the safety off, and tried to look through the abandoned store’s smudged entrance. It was dark inside, but I could see two hulking figures scrambling to the front of the store at breakneck speed.

Oh shi–

Two Reapers crashed through the entrance in an explosion of glass that blasted shards in a thousand directions. As the projectiles clinked on the ground I stared at the monsters before us, a chill running down my spine.

 Large, festering boils covered their reddish, emaciated bodies. They stood tall on two clawed feet, but could easily switch to all fours for speed, doubling the danger of their razor sharp appendages. The Reapers opened their mouths, revealing multiple layers of jagged, pointy teeth as they gave ear-piercing shrieks of rage.

A grin spread across my face. Time to die, assholes.

I aimed, then pulled my trigger as deafening gunshots came from my left and right. We’d hit the one on the right several times. A thick, black liquid oozed from its wounds, but it was still in fighting shape and pretty freakin’ pissed based on the hideous snarl on its face.

The aggravated Reaper leaped forward on all fours, bounding over the car we were hiding behind and landing in front of the sharpshooter furthest from me. It gave a mighty roar, snatching him up and throwing him like a rag doll. He went flying, landing on a nearby car’s windshield with a loud crack. The monster eyed the other sharpshooter with furious, predatory yellow eyes.

Shit, shit, shit! I lunged towards the Reaper as I targeted it, then yanked on my trigger.  It gave a high-pitched cry of pain and staggered back a step. Damn it! I’d only hit its shoulder. Its hateful gaze was now focused on me.

A sudden gunblast boomed from my comrade, and the Reaper fell to the ground, unmoving. A large pool of black sludge gathered underneath its head where the bullet had exited.

Before I could rejoice in the kill, Mom shouted nearby. I spun around. She was battling the other Reaper in front of the grocery store with a long knife in hand. She had deep cuts on her arms and legs, while the monster sported several nonfatal gunshot wounds. I tried to aim for the Reaper but they were moving too fast, desperately circling one another for an advantage. One wrong move and I’d shoot my own mother.

The Reaper took a wide-arching swipe at her, but she dodged to the side, cutting its leg as she went. The monster screeched and turned to attack, but mom slid between its legs and was now behind it. Point blank, Mom whipped out her revolver and fired three shots into the back of the Reaper’s head. It fell to the ground, twitching in its final death throes.

Mom lifted her combat boot and stomped on its head with a sickening crunch. The Reaper didn’t move anymore. She spat on it, then pulled out her walkie as I approached. “All clear. Torch the bodies.”

I glanced back. Twenty yards away behind another row of dead cars, our small group of noncombatants emerged. Mom strolled towards the grocery store and I jogged to catch up to her, eager to see what was inside. Whatever it was, it had better be worth it.

Available on Amazon! About the Author 054 Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.

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Book Tour Schedule

March 1st

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

March 2nd

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight)  http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Musings of a Final Girl (Review) https://musingsofafinalgirl.wordpress.com/

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Books & Such (Review) https://teripolen.com/

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Owl Book World (Review) https://www.owlbookworld.com/

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