#BookBlitz “The Oni’s Shamisen (The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy Series, Book 9)” by Claire Youmans

 

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy Series, Book 9

 

Historical Fantasy, Japan, Paranormal

Date Published: April 2022

Publisher: American I Publishing


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Japan, 1877. Toki-Girl Azuki revels in her new-found freedom. But now what
will she do with it?

Using her patterns and the looms Western Dragon Prince Iyrtsh makes for
Eastern Dragon Princess Otohime’s ambitious project—resettling
refugees displaced by the failed Satsuma Rebellion—anyone can make her
fabulous fabric designs! But what of Azuki herself? Then the Oni, Kukanko,
who is sure she’s not a demon, calls on the Toki-Girl for help.

Can Azuki, Sparrow-Boy Shota, Dragon Princess Renko and Eagle-Boy Akira
find a way to help the Oni? What will a blind musician accomplish using
their results? How can they help Uncle Yuta and Aunt Noriko find places for
newly freed mill workers with no place left to go? Or help Lady Anko and
Lord Toshio defy convention and save their unlucky twins from potentially
lethal superstition? What’s going to happen to a very special horse?

Eastern Dragon King Ryuujin and Western Dragon Queen Rizantona contemplate
the future of their species and the planet, and infant Dragon Prince
Susu’s inability to keep a secret has catastrophic results.

Will Azuki and her friends find a way to help others while saving
themselves, their friends, and their future? Can Azuki find a new
path?

The Oni’s Shamisen is the ninth in the groundbreaking Toki-girl and
Sparrow-boy series where History and fantasy and magical realism collide in
this latest tale from the Meiji Era, a time and place where anything could
happen and probably did!

 

Get the latest novel in this exhilarating series today!

Other Books in the The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Series:

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 1: Coming Home

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 2: Chasing Dreams

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 3: Together

The Toki Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 4: Uncle Yuta has an
Adventure

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 5: Noriko’s Journey

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 6: The Dragon Sisters

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 7: The Eagle and the Sparrow

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, Book 8: The Shadows of War

Amazon

 

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Azuki, the girl who became a toki, laughed as she soared in the thermal. In
her form as a Japanese Crested Ibis, she rode the wind. Her powerful white
wings, touched with stunning peach accents, worked to carry her far above
the mountainous northern Kyushu landscape.

Laughing with her, Akira, the boy who became an eagle, matched her stroke
for stroke as they circled each other, dancing in the air. They were close
in size, for Steller’s Sea Eagles are proud of being the largest among
eagles—no matter what those Harpy Eagles might think—and the
Japanese Crested Ibis isn’t much smaller.

Dancing in the air wasn’t limited to birds, Akira thought as the wind
softened beneath his wings—only to those who could fly. The Western
Dragon Prince Irtysh and the Eastern Dragon Princess Otohime, though
divergent in form, had learned to dance together, and Otohime had first
learned to do it with her younger and smaller half-sister, their friend,
Renko.

But nobody did it like eagles!

“Let’s dive,” Akira cried to Azuki. She didn’t
answer, but slowed to nearly stall before tipping her long black beak
downward and tucking in her wings. Akira drove the air with his own muscular
wings to catch her, and they spiraled downwards, twisting closely around
each other, racing towards the land.

They learned this from the dragons, who rejoiced in flight as much as the
birds, and were smart enough and playful enough to take any airborne idea
and expand on it. They all learned from each other.

As they approached the treetops, Azuki called, “Crossover!” and
they changed their courses to hurtle past each other before starting the
upward curve of their next ascent. Careful to keep exact pace with each
other, they curved their angles inward so they would meet at the top of
their arc. Akira thought they might cross over again and descend in lazy
twining circles before landing.

Suddenly, right between them, a dragon appeared.

Akira and Azuki both dodged to avoid this obstacle, who was small for a
dragon, though large compared to them. He was bronze, brown and gold, and in
the classic European fashion, his hide was studded with jewels. When he was
a human, he looked Japanese.

“Nice flight, you two,” the dragon said.

“Susu-chan!” Azuki called. “What are you doing here?
Don’t pop in like that! It’s dangerous!”

“I wasn’t in your way!” Susu objected. Youngest of the
dual-natured dragons, Susu was Renko’s full brother. Otohime was his
much older half-sister, child of the Eastern Dragon King Ryuujin. Irtysh was
his much older half-brother, child of the Western Dragon Queen Rizantona.
Susu was a child prodigy who was afraid of nothing except his fierce and
royal parents, and sometimes his grown-up siblings, who could be quite
fierce themselves. Renko was young like him and would usually not only let
him get away with tricks but teach him new ones. She’d been a child
prodigy herself.

“That’s only because we’re good,” Akira said with a
mental laugh as the two big birds circled around the hovering dragon. They
all spoke in mental speech, convenient for times when their physical beings
or their circumstances didn’t accommodate physical, audible
speech.

“You did spoil our descent, though,” Azuki added.
“Isn’t it good manners for dragons to announce themselves to
avoid interrupting others?” Susu looked abashed.

“I should have,” Susu said. “I’m sorry. I forgot. I
guess I did come in right in the middle. Is it convenient?” That was a
popular dragon greeting. Dragons frequently spontaneously appeared in each
other’s presences without announcing themselves in advance, which few
of them could manage all the time.

Mental speech did not always work for any- and every-one or at different
distances. Dragons vanished promptly if they were told to come back later.
They enjoyed spontaneity and were sometimes impulsive. Susu, formally His
Royal Highness Prince Suoh-Sugaar, certainly was.

“No, but as long as you’re here,” Akira said with a grin
that forgave the dragon child too much and too often, “what can we do
for you?”

“Not for me, but for Brother.” In the Japanese fashion, Susu
usually referred to his relatives by relationship rather than name. He did
have other brothers–both his parents had other children–but when
he said “Brother,” as though it were a name, he invariably meant
the one he was closest to: Prince Irtysh.

“How can we serve His Royal Highness today?” Azuki asked
formally. She’d had just about enough of this childish nonsense. Susu
was old enough to use proper manners!

“Did you know Brother has children?” Susu swiveled to try to
follow the birds’ line of sight. Birds couldn’t hover like
dragons could. “Come land on me!”

Azuki and Akira glanced at each other, then swooped in to circle before
landing on Susu’s broad back.

“I didn’t,” Akira said as he banked,
“No.”

“I never thought about it,” Azuki admitted. “They
don’t live with him.”

“They’re kind of old,” Susu told them. “Grown-ups.
They all have their own caverns and their own mountains. All over the place.
Galina’s mountain is north of here, really close to Hokkaido!
She’s a princess, too. She’s older than me, but we like to swim
together. I think I’m her uncle.” Susu frowned at this. That
didn’t make sense to him emotionally, though if he worked it out,
intellectually, it did. His brother’s children….

“So Prince Irtysh has children?” Akira decided to move the
original conversation back on track. He positioned himself to land near
where Azuki would light down. While the prince was, by rank, His Royal
Highness, he preferred a lower level of formality from those among the
dual-natured and humans he seemed to consider part of his social circle, if
not his friends. Akira didn’t know if he would ever be able to truly
claim friendship with the suave and sophisticated dragon prince, though he
admired him enormously.

“Five!” Susu said. “He’s talking to them about
those machines he’s building for your refugees! He wants to know how
many you’ll need, so I need to get Tsuruko-san. Then she and
Kichiro-san can come back with us and we can all talk about going to the
Exhibition! It starts in just a few days!”

Susu was a jump ahead of everybody, as he often was, Azuki thought, though
he was frequently misdirected. Tsuruko-san, the Crane-Woman, was working
closely with Her Royal Highness, the Eastern Dragon Princess Otohime. Both
of them joined the fully human Lady Satsuki, her very pregnant daughter,
Anko-sama, and all the rest of them, in helping to resettle refugees
displaced by the Satsuma Rebellion. Azuki didn’t want to think about that.
The Rebellion was coming to its end, and its end would be, inevitably,
tragic.

“That’s where we’ll find out about the cotton spinning
machine.” Akira nodded. “I want to go, too.”

About the Author

Claire Youmans was captivated the first time she set foot in the Land of
the Rising Sun. After many years of travel to this magical place, the
retired lawyer now lives in Tokyo, exploring and writing fiction and poetry.
During the Meiji Era, Japan leapt from a decaying feudalism to a modern
first world power. How’d they do that? This history holds a key to
understanding Japanese culture and character. Like the ocean, Japan changes
only on the surface while the depths remain the same. Using folklore and
fantasy, Youmans tells this story in an accessible, fun, and exciting way
that reveals and explores the true nature of Japan, a culture that is
unique, quirkly and one she has ultimately come to love.

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

BookBuzz

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

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Smashwords


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#Featured “Blood Red Moon: Worlds of Fire Series” by Deborah A. Bailey

book cover

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Out of the ashes, a new beginning…

When his family and most of their kind were destroyed by the Guild, Derek inherited the position of Vampire Lord. Alchemists held the keys to creating portals to other worlds, knowledge they passed down to phoenixes. Their utopian society was crushed when the Guild invaded, intending to unlock the powerful secrets phoenixes possess. Lovers Derek and Avani met the night their city was sacked and after the city succumbed, they were lost to each other.

Love will be resurrected in blood and fire…

Having lost her memory, Avani became a protégé of the Guild Master, conditioned by magic to believe shifters and vampires were evil. Eventually, she was made Seeker, tasked with finding the Vampire Lord in order to gain access to phoenixes.

When Derek finds Avani, he neutralizes the magic that’s kept her from remembering who she is. However, the Templars have almost certainly made a pact with the enemy of all supernatural creatures, in order to gain access to the portals. Only a phoenix can save the world from utter ruin now, but that was precisely the asking price…

~~~

Excerpt

As he studied me his eyes were more hazel than brown. And they showed me his raw desire. This was Derek desperate to reclaim me.

“You’re not hungry for blood right now, are you?” I asked.

He shook his head, then averted his eyes as though he was afraid of revealing too much. But I’d already seen and felt it. When he met my eyes again, his were darker. Mesmerizing, pulling me in so that I was unable to look away.

An intense vampire gaze burning into me, arousing me to the point where I gripped the edges of the towel I’d wrapped around me. If I said yes, we could be together now in the way that he hungered for.

The image of him running towards me flashed in my mind. The sunshine, the sound of the water lapping on the shore, the smell of the grasses and sweet flowers…all of it came back to me in that instant. His arms around me. His touch. His scent that reminded me of the fresh, comforting earth.

Another image cut into my mind. The Guild house…our plans to purge the vampires, finish them off…destroy the evil. It had to be done and that was our purpose.

Before I could stop it, a sob pushed its way up into my throat. I covered my mouth before I voiced it. He can’t know what you’ve done. He’ll never understand.

Derek gripped my shoulders. “What is it? Is the heart magic still—”

“I’m not the person I was back then. We’re not the same people.”

“I know that. But you and I are connected, Avani. We have a purpose.”

“I’ve been told that before.”

“That was a lie. This is real,” he said.

~~~

Buy Link

https://books2read.com/BloodRedMoon

~~~

#BookTour “Magic Touch” by A.S. Fenichel

MagicTouch copy (1)

Such a beautiful cover!

Welcome to the book tour for Magic Touch by A.S. Fenichel. Read on for more info and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

MagicTouch-ASFenichel-Final-2-ebook

Magic Touch (Witches of Windsor #1)

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Genre: Paranormal/ Historical Romance/ Witches

ESME

I never dreamed my small curatives shop in Windsor, England would attract the attention of war hero Sir William Meriwether. My feminine heart is aflutter when he enters. But I’m a witch and a healer, and he’s a man in pain, so I heal him. Desperate to do him a good service, I stretch my powers to the limit—or perhaps beyond. Somehow, in curing his ailing leg, I unleash powers inside William. At a loss to stop what’s begun, I’m forced to seek assistance from the coven I’ve sworn never to join. I dread the encounter, but for William’s sake, I put my family’s hatred aside. Getting to spend more time with William is an added enticement.

WILLIAM

I’m mesmerized by Esme O’Dwyer from the moment I lay eyes on her. Despite our different stations in society, I want something more personal than any restorative tea she might offer. As a gentleman, I contain those baser needs, and accept her assistance to ease the pain in my leg. When the alluring witch’s touch bestows me with magic of my own, I want no part of it. But the coven’s leaders insist magic never make mistakes, and for this to have happened, I must be needed. I’ve never been one to shy away from duty, and being secluded for training with Esme is magical in more ways than one.

ESME

Trouble is coming to Windsor. The signs are all there. The race is on to train William as a witch before his power is needed, but our growing attraction is as undeniable as the battle that lies ahead.

Add to Goodreads

Now Available

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author

Fenichel_A.S._

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance, she also writes Contemporary Instalove as Andie Fenichel. A.S. is the author of the several series, including Forever Brides, Everton Domestic Society, Wallflowers of West Lane and more. Strong, empowered heroines from Regency London to modern-day New Jersey are what really excites her, and that’s what you’ll find in all her books.

A Jersey Girl at heart, she now makes her home in Southern Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing, she enjoys cooking, travel, history, puttering in her garden and spoiling her fussy cat.

A.S. Fenichel | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram | TikTok | Amazon | YouTube

MagicTouch copy (1)

Book Tour Schedule

April 18th

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April 19th

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April 20th

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April 21st

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April 22nd

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

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#BookTour “The Ghost Marriage” by Kirsten Mickelwait

TheGhostMarriage copy

Welcome to the book tour for The Ghost Marriage by Kirsten Mickelwait, now available on Audible!

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The Ghost Marriage

Genre: Memoir/ Supernatural/ Addiction

Publication Date: April 12th, 2022 (Audio Edition)

At thirty-one, Kirsten has just returned to San Francisco from a bohemian year in Rome, ready to pursue a serious career as a writer and eventually, she hopes, marriage and family. When she meets Steve Beckwith, a handsome and successful attorney, she begins to see that future materialize more quickly than she’d dared to expect.

Twenty-two years later, Steve has become someone quite different from the man Kirsten first met. Unemployed and addicted to opioids, he uses money and their two children to emotionally blackmail her. The couple separates but, just after their divorce is finalized, Steve is diagnosed with colon cancer and dies within the year, leaving Kirsten with $1.5 million in debts from properties that are no longer hers. It’s only then that she finally understands: The man she married was a needy, addictive person wrapped in a shiny package.

As she fights toward recovery, Kirsten begins to receive communications from Steve in the afterlife—leading her on an unexpected path to forgiveness. The Ghost Marriage is her story of discovery: that life isn’t limited to the tangible reality we experience on this earth, and that our worst adversaries can become our greatest teachers. This is a book about life after divorce and life after death. It’s a story of how forgiveness is the best revenge.

Available on Amazon and on Audible

GhostMarriage_AUDIO

“A divorced woman’s perceptions of her controlling ex-husband shift radically when she establishes a new bond with him following his death in this debut memoir… A skillfully written, thought-provoking account that positively reconsiders an antagonist as an important teacher.” – Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Mickelwait Head Shot

Kirsten Mickelwait is a professional copywriter and editor by day and a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction by night. She’s an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Paris Writers’ Conference, and the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. Her short story, “Parting with Nina,” won first prize in The Ledge’s 2004 Fiction Awards competition. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s at work on a new novel. The Ghost Marriage is Kirsten’s first memoir. The book tells her story of spiritual connection and surviving divorce after 50.

Kirsten Mickelwait | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Book Tour Schedule

April 11th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

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April 12th

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April 13th

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April 14th

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April 15th

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#ReleaseBlitz “Desert Devil (Sand and Shadows Book 2)” by Colleen Helme

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Sand and Shadows Book 2

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

 

Date Published: 04-05-2022

A fragile beginning, a past that won’t let go, and a deadly enemy.

With hope for a bright future with the man she loves, Ella St. John begins her new life, only to find that a deadly enemy from her past is intent on getting his way. Drawn into a fight that isn’t hers, Ella must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means going against everything she believes in.

~~~

Angel Falls: Sand and Shadows Book 1

 

Sale price: $1.99 – Beginning April 5 at 12 am and ending April 12 at 12 am (PDT)

Sent away because she let someone die, her burgeoning powers leave her with more questions than answers. Now her only chance for redemption comes at a price… one she may not survive.

As a trauma nurse in a New York City hospital, Ella St. John had no idea that refusing to help a known killer would have such dire consequences. Being sent to the middle of nowhere is bad enough, but when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger, everything changes. She can’t deny the attraction blossoming between them, but that is nothing compared to the trouble he brings to her door. Helping him could be the biggest mistake of her life… if she manages to live long enough to regret it.

AMAZON

~~~

About the Author

Colleen Helme is the author of the bestselling Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, a wildly entertaining and highly humorous series about Shelby Nichols, a woman with the ability to read minds. She is also the author of the Sand and Shadow Series, a spin-off from the Shelby Nichols Series featuring Ella St. John, a woman with a special ‘healing’ touch. Between writing about these two friends, Colleen has her hands full, but is enjoying every minute of it, especially when they appear in books together. When not writing, Colleen spends most of her time thinking about new ways to get her characters in and out of trouble. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of her books keep her writing.

Contact Links

Website

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Twitter

Blog

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Purchase Link

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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#PreOrder “Still Falling: A Troubled Spirits Novel” by J.R. Erickson

book cover

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Inspired by a sinister true story….On a desolate peninsula, Skelling Hall has stood for more than a century.

When Iris Walsh flees to the Upper Peninsula in northern Michigan, she’s grappling with some deeply disturbing truths. She seeks solace at her grandmother’s home and, for a time, she finds it.

But on a frigid winter night, Iris glimpses a man fleeing through the forest from a dark entity, and she crashes her car.

Iris is swept into a mystery that began nearly a century ago when two little boys walked into the forest on the Skelling Peninsula and were never seen again.

Don’t miss this chilling paranormal tale…

Each novel in the Troubled Spirits series is a stand-alone, paranormal murder mystery inspired by a true crime.

Special preorder price – 2.99

Releases March 17th!

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

~~~

#NewRelease “Kiss of the Reaper: Death Is Not The End: A Paranormal Fantasy Romance” by Ellis Leigh

Reaper book cover

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A paranormal take on the age-old Hades-Persephone love story

There’s this moment when you die.

This final sliver of time when the Grim Reaper comes to lead you through to the other side. When you are bathed in the glee he exudes at introducing another soul to his cold, dark world, and you have a split second of complete and utter fear at what lies ahead. Fear of the afterlife you have no control over. Fear of the Reaper.

But not all deaths end the same way.

And the Reaper isn’t who you think he is.

This is the story of how I died…and how Death himself brought me back to life.

KISS OF THE REAPER is a standalone fantasy novel that spins off from Ellis Leigh’s bestselling Feral Breed Motor Cycle club paranormal romance series. Readers who have read the FBMC will recognize many of the characters, but you do not have to read FBMC to enjoy this love story between the Grim Reaper and the dead witch he can’t stop obsessing about.

~~~

#PreOrder “Rejected Mates: A Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Collection”

book cover

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Is the sting of rejection a curse…or a blessing?

What happens when fate steals their happily-ever-after? When the one person they were supposed to spend their life with rejects them? Can these shifters, vampires, demons, and fae find love again from the ashes of rejection?

Or will they be tied to the mates who rejected them, forced to find a way back to them or suffer eternally?

Fans of Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, K.F. Breene, and Laurell K. Hamilton will love these heart-pounding, sinfully delicious stories!

Scroll up and one click today to lose yourself in the magic of this limited edition paranormal romance and urban fantasy collection featuring 20+ rejected mate stories full of heartache, angst, second chances, frenemies, and forbidden love.

Authors included in this set are: Rebecca Hamilton, Kathrin Hutson, Sofia Storm, Eliza Gayle, K.G. Reuss, Brenda Trim, Skye Alder, D.E. Chapman, Rebekah R. Ganiere, Ashley C. Harris, A.G. Harris, Brantwijn Serrah, Stephanie Mirro, Aliyah Burke, Jennifer Laslie, Julie L. Kramer, Krysta Fox, Lily Winter, Sapphire Winters, Kyrii Rayne, Dania Voss, Missy De Graff, Cassidy K. O’Connor, Candace Sams, Verika Sloane, and Elena Forest.

Releases September 6, 2022

PreOrder

99c at all online digital retailers!

Amazon

~~~

#BookTour “Eastside Hedge Witch: A Paranormal Women’s Fiction (Midlife Supernaturals, Book One)” by T.J. Deschamps

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A Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Midlife Supernaturals, Book One

Paranormal Women’s Fiction

 

Release Date: October 31, 2021

Twenty years ago, I stole something that could win the war between Heaven and Hell. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no do-gooder. I wanted to rule everything with the King of Hell. However, I have serious qualms with killing 8 billion people in order to get what I want. He didn’t. Irreconcilable differences, right?

So, I did what any witch would do. I faked my death and hid out in the Seattle suburbs, living as a mundane. Stay at home moms are practically invisible here!

I had a good thing going until a hellhound showed up on my morning run. Guess you can’t thwart the devil’s machinations and get away with it forever. Time to come out of the supernatural closet and save the world. Again.

~~~

~~~

EXCERPT

Chapter 1

No one expects to run into a hellhound on their pre-dawn run in the Seattle suburbs, not even me, and I’ve had a long history with the stinky mutts and their master. I stop dead in my tracks, my heart thudding faster than the beat in my earbuds. After pressing the bud in my right ear, the music ceases. Ambient noise filters in.

Luck is on my side, sort of, as I am downwind of the monster, not the other way around. The reek of sulfur was what had given away the hellhound circling my neighbor’s begonias long before I spot the glowing red headlights where eyeballs should be. Besides the glowing red eyes, there’s no mistaking the hellhound for a lost pooch or a coyote on the prowl. The arch of its back reaches about as high as my chest, and I’m about 5’6″, not tall but not short either. It’s three times as wide as my hips, and I’m, as my daughter’s generation puts it, “thicc.” Under a sleek coat of slate-gray fur, sinewy muscles ripple. Even without looking inside its muzzle, I know viscous slobber covers several rows of razor-sharp teeth. But what really gives away the doggo is not a helpful Lassie are the shadows, darker than dark, swirling about the killer canine.

Those shadows will suck you into a whole new world. Somewhere you don’t want to take a magic carpet ride, Aladdin, not one little bit.

Too busy sniffing at my neighbor’s hedges, likely distracted by a bunny, the hellhound doesn’t even realize I’m there. I don’t mind if the demonic beast eats Peter Rabbit, the circle of life and all that, but I sure as hell mind if the hound tries to devour me, or worse catch me up in those swirling darker-than-dark shadows forming around him.

My stomach knots with unease and I bite my bottom lip to keep from crying. I’d grown complacent over the years since I left Hell. I want to stomp my foot and cry out that this isn’t fair. I’d gotten away from His Creepiness and all his bullshit evil machinations a long time ago. I have a nice, albeit bland, life in the suburbs. I’m on the freaking Parent Teacher Student Association!

I give up my pity party. I am a middle-aged mom, not sixteen. I’ve known for a long time that life was never going to be fair, as life never is when someone has way more power than you have.

I’d grown complacent, but like all middle-aged mothers, I still came prepared. I’d thought I was safe from Hell, but the world is filled with a lot more things that go bump in the night than hellhounds. I ease off my backpack.

My kid likely thinks I carry around weights, tasteless nutrition bars, and a water bottle like a normal person. The water bottle is the only true part. What I do have in my bag stops all kinds of monsters from devouring me while I get my heart rate up to “cardio” on my smartwatch. I push aside ash and rowan wood stakes, a silver dagger in its sheathe, a jar of cream to distract fae—not that the high fae courts are even allowed on Earth after the angels kicked them out, but the tiny low fae love the stuff and keeps them on your side.

Among these contents, I retrieve a container of Morton salt, tear off the sticker, and flick the spout with my thumb. My stomach dips when the friction causes the metal of the spout to squeak against the cardboard of the container.

My gaze still on the hellhound, who is still tearing up my neighbor’s garden, I exhale in relief.

With great care, I pour the salt in a circle, whispering the words I’d learn by rote. I’d learned them in another tongue but say the spell in English—a focus, the actual words don’t matter. The intention does. The power comes from within me, as it does all witches. I contain a metaphorical light inside that can blaze with the brilliance of a thousand suns, or so my mother said.

Mom was more poetic than I could ever be. She read Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, and other greats of the twentieth century. I read comics and listened to Biggie and Wu-Tang Clan. She belongs to a coven. I am a lone witch, living a continent away from the women who raised me. Generational disconnect happens to the supernatural, too. Especially when your mother gave you to a fallen angel as a tithe when you were only a teenager.

When I’m done with the setup, I return the salt to my backpack and steel myself for what’s to come next.

I whistle. The first comes out dry and soundless. I moisten my teeth and try again. A shrill sound, loud enough to wake the dead let alone the neighborhood, departs from my lips.

The hound pauses the search for the rabbit, lifting its head. Alert. The beast’s nostrils flare as it sniffs the air. Red glowing eyes lock onto me.

Yeah. That’s right. I’m much better prey.

A low growl emits from the beast’s throat. Claws the length of my fingers click on the sidewalk as the hound stalks forward toward me.

Inside, I’m quaking with fear. I have not done this spell in a long time. If something happens to me, my daughter will have no one. I push that out of my head and plant my hands on my hips.

“Go tell your master take the hint and leave me alone.” I point as I speak, not intending a literal destination but a general begone direction.

The idiot looks where I pointed.

I roll my eyes. Hellhounds are not like Earth dogs. They have no instinct to protect, but they have the same instinct to hunt and follow signals. When the evil pooch realizes his master isn’t there, the predatory red gaze narrows on me, but it doesn’t move.

Doubt and confusion sets in. I’m not sure why he’s not pouncing and dragging me back with him to Hell nor ripping me to shreds. Am I not its target?

I curse under my breath.

I clear my throat. “Also, tell him stalking is a little gross and so creepy that he’s still got a thing for a me. I made it pretty clear I didn’t want to be with him anymore.” I throw up a hand and shake my head. “Wait. Why am I telling you? You’re too stupid to deliver a message.”

I spin on my heel like I’m going to walk away. Part of me wants to run. Wants to lure this beast away from my home, my kid.

The movement triggers instincts. In my peripheral, the monster snarls and lunges.

My heart leaps into my throat. The creature is doing exactly what I want it to do, however, a massive hellhound is launching in my direction. That and swirling magic that promises to rip me from everything I love to carry me to my least favorite ex scares the bejesus out of me.

After a moment of frozen terror, my brain revs into gear. I find my voice, murmuring the final words of the spell. A silly little rhyme stammered more than said—but stammered with intention!

The ground shakes beneath my feet, rumbling like a thunder cloud. Within the salt circle I’ve created, a swirling vortex appears. Fire erupts from the center, but I don’t feel the heat. It’s all contained by the salt I bought in a three-pack from Costco. The beast snarls and whines but cannot escape the flames toasting its flesh.

Oopsy. I’ve opened a portal to a less hospitable part of Hell. Guess this hellhound won’t be delivering my message.

I murmur another spell, voice still shaking. The swirling vortex sucks the hellfire and burning beast down like a flaming turd down a flushed toilet.

As I’ve said, I’m no poet.

The portal between worlds vanishes, leaving behind my salt art.

Sweat cooling on my body and adrenaline waning, all I want to do is go home and shower, but I need to clean up the salt first. If I left it, Seattle’s infamous constant drizzle would wash the salt into the neighbor’s yard and kill all the plants.

Television and movies with demon slayers never mention that salt will kill plants if absorbed into the ground. The ostensible heroes walk away from their salt circles, leaving a destructive mess, not caring whose yard they’ve destroyed, but I do.

As I sweep up the salt circle with a pocket-sized dustpan and broom, dumping the contents into a Ziploc bag, a sadness envelops me. I’d found safety and community on the Eastside—albeit while pretending I was something I was not. I don’t want to move again, but I have to.

The thing is, you don’t just leave my ex and get to live happily ever after, not after he’s shared his ambitions. Not after he’s named you his Harbinger of the Apocalypse. I’d only deluded myself that I could.

His Creepiness had once said that he’d tear the heart out of anyone whom I loved more than him, so they’d know how he felt. I used to think of the declaration as terribly romantic, instead of simply terrible. I certainly loved my daughter more than I ever loved him. Would he kill her or try to use her for the purpose he wanted to use me? New fears arise.

With the salt all swept and bagged up, I head to my house with a heavy heart. The life I’ve built here on the Eastside is over, and I have to break that, and so much more, to my daughter.

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About the Author

T.J. Deschamps lives in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. with her three teens, two cats, and a tortoise. She loves to read, write, dance, and lift weights–not at the same time, although that’d be cool to see.

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#PreOrderBlitz “Eastside Hedge Witch: A Paranormal Women’s Fiction (Midlife Supernaturals, Book One)” by T.J. Deschamps

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A Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Midlife Supernaturals, Book One

Paranormal Women’s Fiction

 

Release Date: October 31, 2021

Twenty years ago, I stole something that could win the war between Heaven and Hell. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no do-gooder. I wanted to rule everything with the King of Hell. However, I have serious qualms with killing 8 billion people in order to get what I want. He didn’t. Irreconcilable differences, right?

So, I did what any witch would do. I faked my death and hid out in the Seattle suburbs, living as a mundane. Stay at home moms are practically invisible here!

I had a good thing going until a hellhound showed up on my morning run. Guess you can’t thwart the devil’s machinations and get away with it forever. Time to come out of the supernatural closet and save the world. Again.

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About the Author

T.J. Deschamps lives in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. with her three teens, two cats, and a tortoise. She loves to read, write, dance, and lift weights–not at the same time, although that’d be cool to see.

 

 

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

TikTok

BookBuzz

~~~

Purchase Link

Amazon

~~~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~