Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Deadline by Lorhainne Eckhart - FREEBIE

FREE

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In THE DEADLINE, Andy Friessen has packed up everything and moved his family two states away, to Montana, to protect his wife, Laura, his newborn babies, and his stepson, Gabriel, from the threats of his mother. What Andy doesn't know is that they'll soon face a new threat, one he never saw coming. Gabriel is sick, and a trip to the doctor confirms Laura and Andy's worst nightmare: Without a lifesaving transplant, their son won't survive. What Andy doesn't count on, as he tracks down the young man who fathered Gabriel, as well as Laura's estranged parents, is that a whole host of problems are about to be unleashed.

Fever: A Ballroom Romance, Book One by Tonya Plank - FREEBIE

FREE

Amazon

Rory’s once promising ballet career was destroyed by family tragedy and illness. She turned her life around and became a lawyer. Now at the start of her legal career, she lacks passion in her work and self-confidence in her abilities. But when she meets gorgeous, mysterious Russian ballroom dancer, Sasha, at a firm holiday party, her passions for life and dance are immediately rekindled.

Since leaving his Siberian family as a child, Sasha’s life ambition has been to be world ballroom champion, a path he was destined for until his former partner pulled the plug on their partnership. She went on to win the world title, leaving him, without a partner equal in ability, forever in second place. The instant he lays eyes on Rory, he recognizes the depth of her passion and talent, and falls hard for her in more ways than one.

But she also reminds him of great pain from his past. He must not only overcome his own demons but convince her to leave her demanding law career, and all that she has worked for in her adult life, to train with him full-time in order for their partnership – both on and off the dance floor – to work.

This is part one in a continuing three-book series.

Tangled Up In Tuesday by Jennie Marts

$3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

Organized accountant Zoey Allen likes her life neat and tidy. But it goes from managed to messy when a dead body ends up in her apartment on an ordinary Tuesday night. After uncovering a money-laundering scheme in a routine audit at her company, Zoey finds herself the target in a murderous plot that doesn’t quite add up. Good thing she has Mac—a handsome police officer—and the Page Turners book club to help her solve the case.

Officer ‘Mac’ McCarthy came back to Pleasant Valley to get away from murder and corruption. The last thing he needs is to be tied up in a case of attempted murder with the beautiful blonde bookkeeper that he can’t get out of his mind. She’s looking for him to protect her, and that’s the one thing he doesn’t think he can do.

Mac and Zoey find themselves in a dangerous adventure full of lies, betrayal, and murder that takes them from the underbelly of the legalized marijuana business to a secluded cabin in the mountains. As she finds herself falling in love, is she really falling into a trap? Is Mac the man she thinks he is? Zoey must learn to let go of her ordered life and risk it all because murder can be a crime of passion, and falling in love is about to get messy.

The Page Turners prevail in this newest mystery with their amateur sleuthing and undercover missions and…as always…delicious desserts.

Women of all ages will enjoy this tale of humorous, women's fiction, mixed with cozy mystery and romantic comedy in this small town love story.

A Romance for Christmas by Kayelle Allen Excerpt

$1.49

Amazon http://amzn.to/1wpW8qE
ARe http://bit.ly/christmas-are
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/christmas-bnn
CreateSpace (print) http://bit.ly/christmas-csp
Goodreads http://bit.ly/christmas-good
Kobo http://bit.ly/christmas-kobo
iBooks http://bit.ly/christmas-ibk
Smashwords http://bit.ly/christmas-smw


A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift. 

A sweet holiday romance showcasing love, loss, and the spirit of giving. 


It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves has been lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. 


When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he also brings a gift she never expected to get. 

Excerpt:


"Mommy?" Christine's young voice broke in on her thoughts.
Dara put down the romance she'd been re-reading, the favorite she'd had since she was sixteen. She'd sold all her others at a yard sale the previous week. "What is it, sweetie?"
"Why don't we has a real tree for Chribmas?"
"Why don't we 'have'," she corrected. "Come sit by me." Dara patted the couch and tucked her chenille robe closer around her.
One arm around Matilda, her cloth doll, Christine climbed up and cuddled.
Matilda's going to need stuffing before long. Her head flopped forward, face against her flat chest. When did the lace on her dress get so ragged? Dara smoothed the doll's dress. "Remember when Daddy went home to heaven before Christmas last year?"
Christine knuckled her eyes and yawned. "I 'member."
"And then Mommy got hurt in the car accident and couldn't go to work?"
"Uh huh."
Dara took a deep breath. "Well, it meant there was no money for a real tree this year. But I'm sure Santa will still bring you presents." Gifts Dara bought by selling her entire collection of romance novels at a yard sale at her friend Sherilyn's house. "And we drew a tree, right?" She pointed at the crayon-bright drawing taped to the wall. Construction paper ornaments decorated each branch.
"But it doesn't smell like a Chribmas tree."
Dara hugged her. "I know, baby. I know."
"How will Santa leave his presents?" Christine pulled away and got on her knees. "He can't put them under the tree, Mommy."
 
"Oh, honey!" She ruffled her daughter's hair, swallowing the lump in her throat. "Santa will find a way." She leaned forward and kissed her little girl. "We should get you in bed so he can come. He can't leave presents while you're awake."
 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Calm Assurance: Orlosian Warriors Bk. 1 by Dariel Raye

$2.99

Amazon

Two hearts, two different worlds, uncompromising love.

Calm Assurance

A straight-laced Nephilim-descendant and a human trouble-magnet?

When Asriel - Orlosian Warrior, descendant of Nephilim, law enforcer – is sent to guard Malina, a human with a penchant for drawing trouble like a tornado, she becomes his obsession.

With no hope of finding love in his dimension, he breaks the cardinal rule, leaving his home to protect her, but she has also drawn the attention of his enemies, and he is forced to face demons from his past. If Asriel chooses to stay with Malina, not only does he risk forfeiting his right to ever return to his dimension, but he will need her blood to survive.

RIDING FOR REDEMPTION by Bev Pettersen - FREEBIE

FREE

Amazon

A talented rider disappears without a trace.
His frantic sister poses as a student.
A private investigator’s plans for quiet recuperation are shattered.


Megan is determined to find her missing brother even though no one else at the illustrious California Jockey School seems to care. Her only ally is a recuperating private investigator who unfortunately is the owner’s best friend. Soon she is caught between a blossoming romance and a far-reaching conspiracy…and misplaced trust can be deadly.

An Impassioned Redemption by Sydney Jane Baily - $0.99

$0.99 or FREE Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

Self-made woman, Jo Holland answers to no one. She runs a successful saloon and bordello, keeping off the streets women with few opportunities in life. Unlike her girls, she neither needs nor wants any man. That is, until she meets the wickedly attractive and intriguing Jameson Carter.

From atop his gambling riverboat, Jameson rules what he sees, and he has his sights set on one delectable lady. His odds of winning Jo are suddenly stacked against him, when a series of unexplained events puts more than his heart in danger. They threaten his life and that of the woman he wants to make his own.

This standalone novella is an offshoot (also called a "bulge," which is not the most attractive word), featuring two secondary characters from Book 3 of the popular Defiant Hearts series.

Surface: Sonata's Moon Book 1 by Patricia Green Excerpt

$3.99


The year is 2145, and a terrible war plagues the North American Union. It's a time when "free love" has cycled back, touching the social mores and habits of people everywhere. But Sonata McLir has held herself apart for much longer than the norm. The time for her to jump into the desperate parties and hurried relationships is only beginning. She's begun a love affair but stubbornly refuses to see it's not right for her. 

Mikhail Andropov is a psychology professor with a knack for listening to people and caring. Upon meeting Sonata, he is very attracted to her, but she's in a relationship with his best friend. It's a destructive relationship, but he doesn't know how to tell her or that she's ready to hear it. He formulates a plan he hopes will be enough to teach her she's not a jaded man's plaything; she has much more to offer. 

The war escalates. Along with close friends, they've built an amazing shelter underground in the countryside not far from Los Angeles. The tricky part is getting there in case the ultimate cataclysm happens and the nuclear bombs drop nearby. Sonata and Mikhail, and a group of their friends, struggle with the dilemma as well as their incendiary interpersonal bonds in Surface: Sonata’s Moon Book One

Note: This book is part one of a two-book erotic romance SERIAL set. If you read book one, you'll want to read book two to discover the conclusion to the romance, the war, and the relationships of all the people involved. Look for Sanctuary: Sonata’s Moon Book Two when you're ready to find out what happens next.

Excerpt:

Charles preceded Mikhail into the narrow foyer and headed for the bathroom to start the bath water circulating, heating, and the water jets going. Mikhail followed him, noting the black, tall-heeled women’s shoes on the table by the front door. If Sonata remained in the house, how might Charles react? He didn’t have to wonder long for the answer.

“Sonata, damn it! Whatever are you still doing here?” Charles barked as he stood in the doorway to his bedroom. Sonata rolled from the bed, surprise and hurt in her eyes, her face falling from the joy which had been there a moment before.

“I-I just woke up a few minutes ago, Charles. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you’d be upset to see me.” Her hands held the sheet to her breasts like a shield. Charles’s face was dark, jaw tight, his brows drawn into a scowl. Mikhail stood silently nearby.

“You must have something to do today. You’d better go and do it,” Charles said in a tight voice, as though trying not to shout. Embarrassed at the domestic discord, Mikhail went past Charles, though the hallway, and into the bathroom. He could still hear their exchange of words as he disrobed and sank into the warm water.

“I…yes. I’ll bathe and go. I’m sorry. I….” She floundered for words, stuttering. Her voice sounded unsteady, as though on the verge of tears.

“How could you be so lazy?”

Mikhail didn’t hear a reply.

“Stop crying. Go have your damn bath and then go. I’ll contact you later in the week so we can discuss this. I’m going to check my messages and return a few calls. I expect you to be gone by the time I’m done.” Mikhail assumed he’d been forgotten when Charles didn’t seek him out.

He could hear Sonata sobbing and sniffling and found himself angry with Charles and embarrassed for the girl. Why did Sonata take the abuse?
 She’s so attractive, she could have any man she might want. Why Charles? Her acceptance of Charles’s mistreatment might indicate any of several dysfunctions within her. Do I care why this relationship is so volatile? I shouldn’t. What is the matter with me? As he pondered his confused emotions, she came into the bathroom.



A Heart Full of Christmas by Various Authors

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

There's no time like the holidays to fall into romance with some of the best-known inspirational romance authors around! No matter what part of the country (or world!) you're from, these tender, holiday themed romances make you feel the joy of a faith-filled Christmas and the tender spirit of angels with every page you turn! Join these authors as they transport you to a "Joy-to-the-World" type happy-ever-after, the kind of joy every couple deserves!

How to Bewitch an Earl by Ally Broadfield Excerpt

$2.99


He never expected the clues to lead to her…

Edward Adair, heir to the Duke of Boulstridge, is more interested in finding a missing family heirloom than a wife. But when his parents issue an ultimatum – marry or lose your allowance – he reluctantly agrees to attend a house party to find a bride. Instead, he discovers attractive but infuriating Miss Isabella Winthrop in his library, reading the private family journal that holds clues to the location of the heirloom.

Though Isabella finds Edward haughty and arrogant, she offers to take him to the next clue mentioned in the journal if he will pay her, which will enable her to help her brother restore his estate. Edward counters with an offer of an even larger payment…if she agrees to masquerade as his betrothed to deter the other ladies until the house party ends.

As they work together to solve the mystery their mutual attraction grows, but just when they begin to think they should make their engagement real, a secret is revealed that could destroy everything.

Excerpt:

As her breath whispered in and out, he realized there was an immediate intimacy in watching another person sleep. Something stirred inside him. She wasn’t necessarily conventionally beautiful. Her light brown hair was rather ordinary in color, though the flickering fire revealed strands of both red and amber, and her mouth was wider and her lips fuller than normal. They were the sort of lips that were meant to be kissed, to feel trailing along one’s—
Good grief. So she was intriguing. But who was she? The guests for the house party weren’t set to arrive for another week. He took a step closer, and Biscuit trotted over to greet him. He bent down to give him a pat. Wait. What was she holding? He inched closer. Blood surged past his temples. It was the journal. He towered over her, waiting for the weight of his ire to wake her.
The woman’s lids popped open within seconds, and she focused on him immediately, her eyes wide with…terror?
“How dare you,” he practically shouted.
To her credit, she did not panic. After rubbing her eyes and refocusing her gaze on him, she calmly said, “I beg your pardon?”
He crossed his arms. “Who are you, and what are you doing in my library?”
“I could ask you the same question. Well, except for the library, which is most certainly not mine.” She stood and stretched, arching her back in a most tantalizing fashion before continuing. “But it’s not your library, either.” She looked him up and down. “Who are you?”
He forced his gaze away from her breasts, which were more exposed than she probably realized, as her gown had slipped off one shoulder. Perhaps he ought to have told her, but the view was quite appealing. He shook his head and went back to the matter at hand. “I am Lord Kenworth. Who are you?”
“Oh, dear. I am no one of consequence.” She glanced around the settee then continued. “The duchess gave me full access to the library last night, and I’m afraid I must have fallen asleep.” She stood and picked up a stack of novels and moved to pass him. “If you’ll excuse me, I must go tend to Lady Concord.”
He sidestepped to block her exit and noted that one of the books she had chosen was the first volume of The Count of Monte Cristo. “Just a moment, if you please. What are you doing with that journal?”
“Oh.” She turned back and lifted it from the cushion. “I found it between two of the novels on the shelf. It was quite diverting and—”
Ire swirled through his stomach. He crossed his arms. “Are you a simpleton?”
She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off.
“You don’t look like one, but you must be to think that you can waltz into someone else’s library and delve into a private journal with no compunction whatsoever.”
She lifted her chin. “Now wait just a moment.” She set the books down and crossed her arms over her chest. “I will thank you not to insult me. I was invited by the Duchess of Boulstridge to read anything I liked from the shelves of her library.”
“Yes, well, my mother can sometimes be overly accommodating to our guests, but that hardly exonerates you.”
“She was very specific that I…your mother?”
“Yes.” He raised his brows and let that sink in for a moment. “In any case, you ought to have known that it was a private family journal and should have had the decency to refrain from reading it.”
“It is more than a century old. Who am I hurting by reading it? And why is it in the library if it is meant to be kept private?”
“I…that is…” He completely lost his train of thought as rapid footsteps sounded in the corridor.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Freebies and Steals for December 18th

Warm Winter Kisses by Jill Steeples
FREE

When Beth Brown is dumped by her long-time boyfriend, she needs a brand-new start. She ends up stuck in the middle of nowhere, working as a PA for superstar chef Rocco di Castri. She has to deal with his legendary temper and annoying supermodel girlfriend, Pandora.

But Beth grows to like the lovely English countryside . . . and her gorgeous boss, Rocco. Then her ex-boyfriend Martin turns up and she assumes he wants to get back together. But he has news which will turn her world upside down.

And when she finds out that Rocco’s going to become permanently unavailable, she flees the wintry countryside back to her old life in the city.

Will Beth ever get things right with the man she really wants? Find out in this charming and funny chick-lit novel.




Wicked Good Witches Books 1 - 2 by Starla Silver
FREE


The Howard Witches, three siblings charged with protecting The Demon Isle...
Charlie, the werewolf.
Michael, the empathic death reader.
Melinda, living under self-inflicted house arrest. Her gift: prophetic dreams of people about to die.

Their mentor, the four-hundred year old Vampire, William Wakefield. Charming, ridiculously handsome, and walking a dangerous line between sinking into darkness and living in the light. In constant temptation to declare his love for the one woman that could be his undoing.

Come stalk the streets of The Demon Isle... you'll go up against witches, vampires, werewolves, demons, shapeshifters, ghosts, mermaids, faeries and a host of other devious supernatural creatures waiting to wreak havoc on The Demon Isle. Where fans of the paranormal come to vacation and immerse themselves in fantasy. Where magic comes to life, mysteries abound, and you might just find yourself laughing, crying, and most definitely, falling in love.




Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham
FREE


’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house...

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse...

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John's agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?


Burkheart Witch Saga Box Set Books 1-3 by Christine Sutton
$0.99

The women of the Burkheart family are special. As witches, they have magical abilities.These witches serve the side of good as they battle werewolves, vampires, evil witches and all manner of fairy tale creatures. Follow their family as each generation fights to survive in a world of fairytale magic.Will the Burkheart line survive or will the forces of evil win out in the end?










The Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase
$1.99

Lacey Quinn does not believe in happily-ever-after or the legend of the Christmas Cottage. But her best friend does, and she's the one getting married. It's Lacey's job to make sure everything at the cottage is perfect for the newlyweds. Instead, she finds herself snowed in with the best man, and she begins to wonder if fairy tales really can come true.

All I Got For Christmas by Genie Davis and Pauline Baird Jones

$3.99

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/All-Got-Christmas-Genie-Davis-ebook/dp/B017TBSFFO/
Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1057680155
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-i-got-for-christmas-pauline-baird-jones/1122933249?ean=2940152693300
GP: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Genie_Davis_All_I_Got_For_Christmas?id=eiHlCgAAQBAJ&hl=en
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/all-i-got-for-christmas-1
ARE: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alligotforchristmas-1924164-343.html

Beware of aliens bearing gifts!

Christmas is coming and so is All I Got For Christmas. Inside you'll get the evocative and haunting, "Riding for Christmas," and the offbeat and heartwarming, "Up on the Housetop."

Riding For Christmas:

A mesmerizing tale of interstellar time travel and romance! 

Jane MacKenzie, visiting her grandfather's abandoned ranch, discovers something in the snow. When she opens the ribbon-wrapped box, it mysteriously returns Sam Harrington, who "disappeared" in an 1885 blizzard. 

There's nothing alien in this enduring tale of holiday homecomings and the hope of love that lasts a lifetime.

Up on the House Top: 

Will her Christmas be ho, ho, ho? Or oh no, no, no? 
Gini knew Christmas in Wyoming would be challenging as she headed over the frozen crick and through the woods to the family cabin. The lights are going out in her mom's attic, the guy who broke her heart is on the porch...and there are aliens on the roof. 

According to her mom, it's going to be the best Christmas ever.

Do something for you (0r someone you love) and make "All I Got for Christmas" what you GET for Christmas!
 
Excerpt:
 
Gini pushed open the driver’s door and stepped out into blowing snow and a chill that cut through her Texas coat like it was a puff of smoke. At least it wasn’t as cold as it could be, since it was snowing, but her blood had thinned in warmer climes, so it felt cold enough—as she told the lady at the rental desk earlier when asked about it. And the lady who had sold them bottles of soda and water. And every person they met heading out of the airport. Cue so many eye rolls from Daphne she looked like a zombie.
She pulled open Isaac’s car door in time to see him tuck a notebook and his electronic tablet into his backpack. His gaze was a bit too bland as it met hers. She knew that look, or remembered it, but what could he be plotting up here in the snowy middle of not much?
“I’ll get your suitcase out,” she said and waded through calf deep snow to the rear of the SUV. Up on the spacious porch, the front door opened, spilling a hopeful shaft of light onto the white drift piled up there. The figure in the square of light wasn’t her mother, who had gotten steadily smaller with each passing year and rolled in a wheelchair these days. Did she see the broad shoulders of a guy—
“Gini?” The voice was man-deep and twanged a chord of memory she’d thought she buried too deep to twang.
It couldn’t be the boy next door, her best friend besides Van, her first love who’d left without looking back— 
He strode forward, the porch light briefly falling around him like a spotlight.
Dexter James Tolliver. In the flesh. 
Her head tipped to one side. In the much-better-than she remembered flesh. And wearing the uniform of the local sheriff. Her thoughts did a kind of spin, but considering she had a Thing—a Thing that was kind of a marriage proposal that she wasn’t thinking about—pending at home, the hallelujah chorus seemed inappropriate.
 

 
 

Home for Christmas, Historical Christian Romance Collection

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Subscribers

Amazon

There is nothing better than romance unless it's faith-filled romance plus Christmas! Join these multi-published, award-winning and best-selling historical authors as they take you on a joy-filled, old-fashioned sleigh ride full of sweet, happily-ever-after romances, the tried-and-true kind that honor God, love, romance and timeless Christmas spirit!

Wicca: From the Ground Up by Joshua Dery

$3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

An insider's look at the differences between Faith, Culture and Magic in Wicca. Wicca: From the Ground Up discusses and illuminates the differences between solitary and group practice as well as the differences between the culture of Pagan Religious groups, the exploration of Magic, and the details of Wiccan Faith.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Leaving Cub Creek by Grace Greene

$3.99

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

In the heart of Virginia, where the forests hide secrets and the creeks run strong and deep ~

Libbie Havens never fit in. She bought the old Carson place on Cub Creek and moved to the Virginia countryside to prove she could live on her own terms. In the process, she learned some truths about herself and found love ~ but love, acceptance and belonging can be easier to find than to keep.

While on a trip to Sicily with Libbie, Jim Mitchell must leave suddenly because his son is injured in an accident in California. Now alone, Libbie is surprised by an old friend, Dr. Barry Raymond, but Dr. Raymond is a reminder of her troubled past and she’s glad to see the last of him when she leaves Sicily ~ until he shows up at her house on Cub Creek.

Years before, Dr. Raymond told Libbie that if troubles weren’t dealt with, they’d keep coming back. With Jim still away helping his son, Libbie’s troubles are returning in force and wreaking havoc on her confidence and their relationship.

Libbie would rather hide than risk rejection, but she must face down the past and fight for what she wants, or the troubles that haunt her past and present will forever doom her future. 

A Christmas Homecoming by Melissa McClone

$3.99

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

A kiss is just a kiss…

Unless it’s under the mistletoe.

Ellie Smith is determined to make up for Christmases past by spreading holiday cheer throughout the Bar V5 dude ranch, but tech “bah, humbug” billionaire, Josiah Whittaker, refuses to bask in the spirit of the season.

Unwilling to let the geek-to-gorgeous Josiah win, Ellie plans to give him a Christmas he’ll never forget. But after a simple kiss under the mistletoe, Ellie and Josiah both start questioning everything. Can Christmas really bring the gift neither one of them were expecting: true love?

Naughty & Nice: My True-Life Adventure with Santa Claus by John Phythyon


FREE

Amazon


Holiday Hilarity!
Every child adores Santa Claus. Every child dreams of catching Santa in front of their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, watching him work his magic, and maybe even taking a ride in that famous sleigh.

John Phythyon was not every child.

While every kid dreams of meeting Kris Kringle, John was obsessed. Every year on Thanksgiving Day, he would begin planning mad schemes to catch Santa Claus in the act, determined he would at last meet that jolly, old elf in person. And on December 24, 1977, this annual ritual would finally pay off.

In this laugh-out-loud mini-memoir, John tells the story of Christmas as a Midwestern kid in the 1970's. He recounts his adventures surviving Wisconsin winters, battling with his brother over who got to look at the Sears Wish Book, of how, despite his best efforts, he kept slipping off Santa's Nice List and onto the Naughty one, and of his burning desire to meet the One, True Santa Claus in action. If you liked Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story, you'll love this quick, hilarious read about a child who took meeting Santa way too far. Funny, charming, and sentimental, "Naughty & Nice: My True-Life Adventure with Santa Claus" is a perfect holiday treat that conjures up the spirit of Christmases past.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The One by Lorhainne Eckhart - FREEBIE

FREE

Buy Here

You never know when you’ll suddenly meet The One!

In THE ONE, Margaret Gordon was once a prominent Seattle surgeon, until a slip of the knife leaves a young boy without a future. Margaret is fired and returns to her hometown, the perfect spot to hide out from everyone and to lick her wounds, with no one around but her horse.

Margaret never considered herself a horse person. In truth, she understands horses better than people. And when the now-widowed Joe Wilde drives in one morning with a teenage boy and a horse with a problem, Margaret turns into that klutzy teenage misfit that silently carried a torch for Joe all through school. But when smooth-talking Joe convinces Margaret into working with the temperamental horse, she grows closer to his son Ryan, and soon learns the horse’s issues have more to do with father and son, and Ryan’s anxiety over the fact his father is now dating a woman who is only interested in the sexy Joe Wilde, and not his misfit of a son.

The only problem is that Ryan wants Margaret to be his mother, so he takes matters into his own hands putting Margaret in his father’s path, every chance he gets. Even though sparks fly and sizzle between them Joe believes Margaret has despised him all his life, and decides all his rebellious son needs is a mother. But when Joe proposes marriage to the wrong woman, his son takes off with a backpack and a feisty horse, into the Backcountry.

Except to Joe’s surprise, it’s Margaret who saddles up her horse, and heads off alone with him in over a hundred of miles of wilderness in a race against time and the elements to find his son. And with his son’s life in jeopardy will that be enough for Joe and Margaret to put aside their differences and realize that the other is, The One?

Cowboy's Pride by Morgan Blaze - $0.99!

$0.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

The hardest second chance they'll ever take.

For six years, Sydney Davis has completely avoided the man who broke her heart. Now she needs a favor, and ranch owner Cam Thatcher is the only one who can do it. She thought she was over him -- but when she sees him again after all this time, her powerful attraction returns stronger than ever.

Cam wants nothing to do with the woman he used to love -- especially when he finds out she's marrying the man who's trying to destroy him and take his ranch. But he soon realizes his feelings aren't as buried as he thought. When he learns Sydney doesn't know about her fiancé's dark side, he races to stop her from making the biggest mistake of her life.

If you love contemporary romance and romantic suspense, don't miss this steamy, emotional story of first loves, second chances, and the healing power of love.

Heat level: Steamy **Standalone book, no cliffhangers**


Excerpt:

Cam didn’t say a word for a long time. Sydney couldn’t see him, though she heard him clanking around somewhere beyond the glow of the flashlight he was using. Eventually he came around to the window holding a little hose with a metal clip at one end, and what looked like an oversized thermometer at the other.
“You might have a bad spark plug,” he said. “When I tell you, crank the engine. But only for a few seconds. You keep grinding it over, your battery’s going to die.”
She nodded. “What’s that?”
“A spark tester.” He started back for the engine.
“Cam?”
He stopped without turning. “What?”
“I…” It was on the tip of her tongue to apologize for what she’d said. But she didn’t know if he’d heard it, and maybe he didn’t want an apology. It might even piss him off more. So she settled for saying, “Thank you.”
“I haven’t done anything yet.”
He kept going, and Sydney leaned back against the seat with a sigh. She really didn’t know how to take this. After all this time, to have Cam Thatcher help her not once, but twice in the same day was disconcerting at best. It galled her even more to think that Tommy had tried to forbid her from talking to him.
He’d been right about one thing, though. Cam didn’t have any friends. And for the first time, she started to wonder why—how much of it was Cam keeping to himself, and how much was the whole town assuming he wanted it that way.
“Okay. Crank it.”
She started, reached for the key, and gave it a single hesitant twist. The engine barked once.
Cam leaned over and stared at her. “A few seconds. Not half a second.”
“Right, sorry. Tell me when.”
He disappeared behind the hood again. “Okay, go.”
She turned the key and counted to four before she switched it off. Cam didn’t stop her, so she figured that must’ve been right. Then he muttered under his breath, and she heard him rustling through his tool box.
“Cam? Was that it?”
When he didn’t answer, she took a deep breath and got out of the truck. “Hey,” she said as she headed for him. “Can I help…”
She caught sight of him in the wash of the light that was settled on the edge of the hood, and her heart skipped a beat or three. He knelt in front of the tool box on the ground, looking up at her with a tight expression. And his eyes were burning.
“No. You can’t.” He grabbed the biggest socket wrench she’d ever seen, then stood and stared at the engine. “I can probably get it going,” he said without looking her way. “Just need to clean and gap the plug. But you should get it replaced as soon as possible. I don’t have the right size here.”
“Okay.” The single word sounded lame and pathetic. She wanted to say something more—anything, really. Thanks for rescuing me. Sorry I said that. Why do you hate me so much? But he didn’t seem in the mood to listen, so she stepped back to give him space.
He picked up the flashlight and stood there another minute before he tucked it under his arm and leaned forward. As he fitted the socket over one of the spark plugs, the flashlight dropped and hit the edge of the frame with a hollow clunk. It bounced off and rolled across the ground a few feet.
Cam hung his head and sighed. “Could you hand me that?”
“Sure.” Sydney grabbed the light and hesitated a second. “I can hold it for you,” she said. “It’d probably be easier.”
“Fine. Just keep it still.”
She watched him work the wrench, trying not to pay attention to the way his arms flexed with the movement. The rhythmic ratcheting sound was almost soothing, and definitely a lot more pleasant than the bitterness that etched his every word. There was no trace of the easygoing, quick-to-smile person he’d been in high school—up until the end, at least. Not that she’d paid any attention to him after he humiliated her.
Well, maybe a little. And hadn’t she been just the tiniest bit satisfied that he seemed to be losing his popularity? He’d gone downhill pretty fast over the last month of his senior year, even before he lost his father.
“Got it.” Cam straightened and extracted a mostly black spark plug from the socket. “Christ, Sydney. When’s the last time you had this thing tuned up?”
“Um. It was around…never.”
“What a surprise.” He knelt to the toolbox again, sprayed something all over the plug from a small, clear bottle, and then started wiping it with a rag. Black grime slowly gave way to off-white. “Listen, you have to replace this plug, and get your truck in for a tune-up,” he said without looking at her. “Engines are like people. They need some TLC, or they’ll up and quit on you.”
“My engine is a person,” she said. “Got it.”
“Why do I bother offering advice? Especially to you.” He slammed the rag back in the toolbox and stood. “Just hold the flashlight over here.”
She bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I was trying to make a joke. A bad one.”
He sighed and leaned on the truck. “Okay. I guess I’m sorry, too.”
“For what?”
“I’m sorry your jokes are bad.” He smiled, just for an instant—and her heart stopped. God, what was wrong with her? “And I could be a little nicer,” he said. “So let’s get this beast started.”
“All right.”
She managed to hold the flashlight without letting her hands shake. All of a sudden, being this close to Cam seemed dangerous. She had to forcefully remind herself that she hated him.
It only took a minute for him to get the spark plug back in. “Okay,” he said. “Hand me the light, and go ahead and give it a try.”
She nodded, leaned into the truck and turned the key. The engine started right up.
“Oh, God,” she said. “Thank you so much. You’re…you really are a genius.”
“I just know machines.” He closed the hood and stood back. For a long moment he looked at her, but she couldn’t read anything in his expression. Finally, he said, “Make sure you get that serviced. It’s not going to stay running for long.”
“I will. Cam…”
He raised an eyebrow. In that split second, she could’ve kissed him.
And a huge part of her wanted that more than anything.
“Thank you,” she said on an exhale. “I really appreciate it.”
“You’re welcome.”
After they exchanged awkward goodnights, Sydney climbed in the truck and waited until he moved his. She headed out of the parking lot and forced herself not to look back. The last thing she needed right now was to remember just how sexy Cam Thatcher was, and how badly she’d wanted him.
She was practically a married woman. And that was just the way she wanted it.

Green River Blend: A Supernatural Thriller by Armand Rosamilia

$2.99

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Nothing exciting ever happens in a small town…

Especially in the sleepy Florida beachside stretch known as Hammond Beach, nestled between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine. Free from corporate businesses and a slew of tourists descending upon the quaint former fishing village, Hammond Beach is like a painting.

Locals run the businesses on Main Street. Even when a new coffee shop opens, the owner hires only Hammond Beach locals, including manager Betty. She’s born and raised in Hammond Beach and knows everyone.

But when the latest and greatest coffee is put out, Green River Blend, strange things begin to happen to the residents of Hammond Beach…

Freebies and Steals for December 16th

Forager by Peter R Stone
FREE

Over 20,000 Copies Downloaded/Sold to Date

Twenty-year-old Ethan Jones lives in a post apocalyptic, oppressive society that terminates anyone with mutations caused by nuclear radiation in an effort to keep the human race pure. Because of that, he lives every day in fear for his life, for he has an incredible mutation that gives him an edge when foraging in Melbourne’s ruins. An edge he uses to survive encounters with the vile Skel savages who roam those ruins.

His life becomes complicated when he rescues a mysterious Japanese girl from the Skel and brings her back with him, for she breaks the town’s rigid conventions in her pursuit of him, placing their lives in jeopardy. Her odd behaviour and probing questions baffle him, as does the fact that he understands her when she speaks in Japanese.

At the same time, the Skel ramp up their attacks on the foraging teams. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town’s doom? And why do the Skel suddenly possess advanced technology – who is backing them, and why?

Keeping his mutation secret, uncovering the girl’s true intentions and trying to save the town all vie for Ethan’s attention. And if he fails, not only his life, but the lives of all, are at stake.


Christmas Cozy by Kathi Daley
FREE

Christmas in Ashton Falls is always a magical time of year. The first big snow has arrived, the tree in the town square has been decorated, the window displays completed, and Hometown Christmas is just around the corner. Zoe finds herself knee deep in holiday shopping and Children’s wishes as she and Zak play host to nine year old Scooter Sherwood and his friend Alex. Although a bit hectic, the magic of Christmas is in full bloom and things couldn’t be more perfect until Zoe finds the body of history teacher Holly Jolly in the Ashton Falls High School Christmas Tree lot run by best friend Levi Denton and is pulled into a dangerous holiday investigation.





Witchwood Estate - Going Home by Patti Roberts
FREE

There is something very evil lurking in the woods surrounding Witchwood Estate... Witches, spells, ghosts, sprites, shape-shifters, wolves and more... For all those young at heart... Equal measure of both Magic and Evil.

Alexandria Santorini learns as a child that she comes from a long line of Harvey witches. Now, as a teenager, Alexandria must say goodbye to Catnip Cottage and the Barnabys, her loving guardians for the last twelve years, and go home to Ferntree Falls to claim her inheritance. Witchwood Estate. The home where she was born and her parents were murdered. Her journey home becomes somewhat sinister, however, when she discovers that there are those who have other plans for her and her new friends…

Grab your broomstick/dustbuster out of the closet and come along for the ride! 


Mossy Creek: A Maggie Mercer Mystery Book 1 by Jill Behe
$0.99

Welcome to Mossy Creek. We’re small and easy-going with a lot of community pride and camaraderie. What we don’t have a lot of is crime.

A close-knit laid-back little borough, so close to the southern border of Pennsylvania we’re almost in West Virginia. Townsfolk like to say: “We’re south enough to lend credence to our slight drawl, but sufficiently north of the Mason-Dixon to be ‘damn Yankees’.”

None of us were prepared for murder … especially involving a teenager. 





Merry Sucking Christmas by Jessica McBrayer
$1.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

It’s Christmas in San Francisco. And all your favorite characters are celebrating in their own special ways. From Julian’s Saturnalia to Helena’s Winter Solstice, from Christmas mass to Santa Claus the vampires of San Francisco have it covered.

Lily just wants everyone to be happy. But with a surprise visit from Diel’s father and his new wife nothing is for sure. Meanwhile the children all demonstrate that they are definitely the next generation of vampires, djinn and demons.

Will Diel’s father ruin the holidays or will Lily’s Christmas wish prevail?



A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd
$1.99

A beloved, bestselling classic of humorous and nostalgic Americana—the book that inspired the equally classic Yuletide film.
The holiday film A Christmas Story, first released in 1983, has become a bona fide Christmas perennial, gaining in stature and fame with each succeeding year. Its affectionate, wacky, and wryly realistic portrayal of an American family’s typical Christmas joys and travails in small-town Depression-era Indiana has entered our imagination and our hearts with a force equal to It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.

This edition of A Christmas Story gathers together in one hilarious volume the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. Here is young Ralphie Parker’s shocking discovery that his decoder ring is really a device to promote Ovaltine; his mother and father’s pitched battle over the fate of a lascivious leg lamp; the unleashed and unnerving savagery of Ralphie’s duel in the show with the odious bullies Scut Farkas and Grover Dill; and, most crucially, Ralphie’s unstoppable campaign to get Santa—or anyone else—to give him a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Who cares that the whole adult world is telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”?

The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story, previously published in the larger collections In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, coalesce in a magical fashion to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and tickle the funny bone.

Christmas Countdown by Vicki Hinze

$5.75

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

A simple trip home for the holidays is all former FBI profiler Maggie Mason wants. But a serial killer has other plans. Trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Maggie finds an ally in Lost, Inc. with private investigator Dr. Ian Crane. The handsome widower is reluctant to love again, and the last thing Maggie wants is to put Ian in the line of fire, too. Love could cost them everything…unless they can find their way to each other, in time for Christmas.

Monster (A Cassidy Edwards Novel) Book 1) by Carmen Caine

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon


AMAZON TOP 100 BESTSELLER

#1 Romance Paranormal Vampires

#1 Romance Paranormal Witches & Wizards


Grab yours before the price goes up! Happy reading!
Revenge. It's all I've lived for. Revenge against those who stacked the cards against me from the start. But I'm changing the deck now. I'm getting even. Born to a vampire, I wasn't supposed to survive--but I did.

My name is Cassidy. Cassidy Edwards. And I'm the first of my kind.

The Job
Trapping a sixteenth-century Scottish Highlander of a vampire who just might be seduction itself.

The Team
A firedrake with an attitude, a werewolf with a problem, and an imp in dire need of rehab.

The Boss
A dangerously powerful warlock as handsome as sin.

My Problem
Bluffing my way into a job, my first mission into the Charmed world opens a Pandora's box of betrayal and secrets ... along with attractions of the most lethal kind.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Passion Bites by Mary Hughes Excerpt

$4.24

Amazon

A broken vampire and a driven doctor, seized by a passion neither can afford.

Biting Love, Book 9

Dr. Alexis Byornsson has her hands full in the ER when her patient’s uncle blows into the exam room. Stitching up a five-year-old’s cut is hard enough without a blond god distracting her all to hell.
To say she’s furious is putting it mildly—not that anyone would notice. Not with the legendary control that’s earned her the nickname “Dr. Frozen”.

Luke Steel never knew a woman chastising him could be so sexy. But for the first time in three hundred years, passion stirs in his gut—along with panic. Since his wife was taken before his eyes in a brutal attack, he’s sworn he’d never feel that powerless again.

Almost before either Luke or Alexis realize what’s happening, they’re sharing a blazing kiss that shatters her logical armor and unleashes his wholly unwanted mating instinct. And spurs a closer-than-skin enemy to put into motion a devastating plan for revenge.

Warning: This book contains a hot doctor and a hotter vampire messing up sterile surfaces. The usual rogue shenanigans, but this time covering deeper motives. Hang on to your stethoscopes at what’s revealed!

Excerpt:

“Damn.” I scowled at the computer screen. “There’s no discharge option for a father simply whisking the patient away.” I’d have to improvise. I pecked at the keyboard, trying to make a fifty-letter issue fit a two-radial-button field. Computers make all our lives better, when they’re not clucking them fup.

Nurse Battle glanced at Luke and cleared her throat. “I will be bringing in the next patient. Room Two.” “Vill” and “brinkink”.

“Thanks.” Busy with my little computer issue, the click of door as she left barely registered.

But gradually, an intense stare on the back of my skull ate through my concentration, setting off a shiver low in my pelvis. Squirming a bit on my seat, I turned.

Luke’s eyes burned gold on me. “You remind me of someone…” He slipped two long fingers under my chin and tipped my head from side to side, studying my face so intimately I burned for his hot gaze lower. Much lower. “Especially about the mouth…”

His irises heated to red-gold and dialed wide, all pupil with thin coronas of copper, like twin solar eclipses. His nostrils flared and his lips parted, as if he was having trouble breathing. He stepped next to me and bent until his breath was warm on my skin.

Close enough to kiss me.

My own breath quickened. I hadn’t had the release of sex in a while, concentrating on my plans for the future.

But here was a vampire, Mr. Insta-sex, dropped in my lap.

Desire rose hot and thick, more than usual, bubbling like a head of beer, foaming up until it threatened to overflow.

I was at work but between patients, the door was shut, and besides, I’d never kissed anyone above seven-point-two on the sexiness scale. Did an angel taste different?

Well, there it was. I had to do it. Scientific necessity, really. Just a taste.

My eyelids slid shut and I shivered in anticipation.

His mouth alighted on mine like the brush of angel wings. Brief sweet touches that said, Hello, that’s nice, you’re nice.

So. For the catalog, angels’ lips tasted deliciously sweet.

My heart beat faster, my belly shimmering. My lips parted on a soft sigh of invitation, coming all the way from my curling toes.

His tongue answered playfully, with short little licks that teased and tempted. Not so much tasting me as letting me get a taste of him.

I flicked a tiny lick back.

He purred his approval. His artistic fingers came to cradle the back of my head. He worked his lips and tongue against my mouth, revving my feminine engine with a fine skill and precision. I opened to him. His tongue thrust inside.

Angel lips were sweet; angel mouths were hot, spicy and boldly male. A shiver of desire threaded me, pooling as golden heat low in my belly, bubbling up as a soft moan of pleasure.

I stood, palms on his chest, and pressed flush to him.

A thin layer of cotton shirt covered hot boulders beneath my palms. I’d touched well-built men, toned muscles and warm skin. I’d never felt a man like him, like scaling bare rock cliffs. A moan tore from my throat.

His groan twined in. “You taste amazing. All hot and wet.” His head slanted, his tongue beginning to plunge. Angel wings became angel fire.

I gasped. That driving tongue pistoned with intense male power. His heat rushed in, waking every bit of my mouth. Like biting a cinnamon red-hot, my lips, then my whole body flushed with desire, a flame spiraling through me like a coiled, lit fuse.

Luke might look like an angel, but his kiss was hotter than sin.

Hunger rushed through me, dark and powerful. Suddenly I was the most excited I’d been in my life. Ready to hop up on the exam table, pull out the stirrups and play doctor. My fingers curled, digging into iron-hard pectorals, and I swirled my hips against him.

As if my hip bump was a cue, something unlocked in him. Strong arms wrapped me, pulling me into an inferno of lust. He wasn’t playing anymore. He kissed me in a flurry of lips and teeth and tongue, driving me mad with desire. I pressed into his hard body. He embraced me so tightly, we melded.

Against my belly, a hard length grew enticingly.

I was two seconds from suggesting we put the exam table to good use when the door clicked open.

Ark of Witches: Destiny by Lady Grimoire - $0.99

$0.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

Tara Silver will soon be a true witch. She will shortly be enrolled in one of the largest schools for witchcraft, the so-called Ark of Witches in London. However, her first day in the witch school is going completely different than Tara could have ever imagined in her wildest dreams. The young witch realizes that she has very powerful skills: the magic of the empty hand. When her best friend Sandra gets into trouble as a result of a sorcerer changing sides, it is hard to know what to do. Can Tara help her? And what is the mysterious Book of Shadows that Tara finds in the witches’ library?

*** The second volume of the series “Ark of Witches” will be translated from German into English in 2016. ***

Excerpt:

RUNNING BROOMS


Tara could hardly wait. Tomorrow would be her first day at her new school and she would finally become a real witch. She had yearned for this day for such a long time. Two days ago she had finally celebrated her thirteenth birthday. That was the age determined by the Witches’ Council that young female and male witches were admitted to the witch schools, the so-called Ark of Witches. The wise witches of the council had finally agreed on 13 years of age because in the past there had been many magic accidents when the schools had still been open to young primary school age witches. The small witch children had always simply practiced magic without considering the consequences, and not even the teachers could manage the situation and revert every spell in time. Some classrooms rather looked like pet shops than schoolrooms because of all the different animals the children had conjured up. Even vermin exterminators had to be organized. It was pure chaos. As magically structured learning was not possible at such a young age, the Witch Council had finally decided heavy-heartedly to increase the admission age for the Ark of Witches, and at the same time introduce witch primary schools that young witches had to attend from the age of six. At primary school, there was an absolute ban on magic and the students abided by it. The fact that they had a very strict teacher made obeying the ban that much easier. Regarding the age of entry to the Ark of Witches, there was only one exemption and this applied to those who would turn thirteen by the end of the current school year. They could already be admitted at the age of twelve. Otherwise, the young witches would have to wait until the next school year to finally begin their magical studies. Tara was very happy about this rule. It would be a true disaster for her not to be in the same witch class as her best friend Sandra, who would only turn thirteen in December.
Tara was obviously overwhelmed: after she tied the laces of her new stylish shoes—a birthday present from her mother—and moved to stand up, she realized that her spiral earrings had gotten caught in her blouse. She peered at her caught earring from the corner of her eye and freed it cautiously from her blouse. The thirteen-year-old girl was under time pressure. Her mother had come to her room in the morning, woken her up with an astonished face and asked why she was still not dressed. Tara had asked with a sleepy voice what she was talking about. It appeared that her mother had thought she had told her the day before that they would go today and buy her witch tools together. Just in time for tomorrow’s enrollment. Tara’s mother apologized for her forgetfulness and told her to get ready fast so that they would have the privilege of being among the first in the shop after its opening. Only today would all goods be reduced to half price. That was the main reason why her mother had delayed the purchase for such a long time. Tara had agreed on the shopping tour more or less excitedly. She would have preferred of course to buy all her school stuff alone. After all she was no longer a baby. But her mother had insisted on joining her, as she was afraid her daughter could buy defective goods. Being a trained witch she knew which magic tool was flawless and which was not.
As if she wasn’t already feeling enough disgrace, on her way to the large standing mirror to eye her complete outfit, Tara stumbled over her pink plush slippers. She was just picking up her slippers to throw under the bed when she remembered happily that she was a now witch and had powers that went along with her new title!
“Threespot, do you want to see magic?” she asked her little tomcat who had just started his morning grooming upon her blanket. It seemed he was not really paying her much attention. Tara’s tomcat was only two months old, and his fluffy fur was mainly white. Only three black spots, one around his left eye, one on his right forepaw and one on his belly, resisted the prevailing white. His unusual markings inspired the name given to him by the young witch. Threespot suited him perfectly, plus common cat names were just too boring.
“Okay, I understand, you do not want to witness my super witch powers,” she said to Threespot in an amused tone before gazing at her shoes. With her right hand she gestured to the left, but suddenly and unexpectedly, as if taken by an invisible hand, her slippers flew in a completely different direction and bounced against the wall. One shoe knocked over a white porcelain vase that was standing on a small table. It burst loudly on the hard floor. The tomcat was startled by the noise, jumped up and hid anxiously under the bed.
Tara was also startled. “Oops!”
“Tara?” her mother shouted from below. “What are you doing up there?”
“Threespot accidently knocked over the vase,” the young witch lied, “he was trying to catch a fly.” She felt very sorry that she had accused her innocent tomcat, but if she had told the truth, the consequence would have been a ban on magic. And as a future witch student, that would be the last thing she needed.
“Clean up the shards later, sweetheart. Come down now, please! Do you want to become a real witch or not? If not, we don’t have to fly for shopping.”
“Of course I want to become a witch,” Tara said loudly. “I am coming!” She looked from one plush slipper to the other in dismay. The shoe that had given the vase the fatal push was laying on the small table, while the other had landed in front of the open wardrobe. When Tara looked at the shoe in front of the wardrobe she had to smile because Threespot had come back from under the bed and stuck his small head into the slipper. The scene was quite sweet.
Tara stood in front of the mirror and was annoyed immediately. In her rush she had chosen a gray blouse and black trousers. What a boring combination. No, she could not go shopping like this. Tara was afraid that some of her future classmates would be among the potential special offer buyers. She did not want to get the reputation of having a lapse of fashion taste on the first day. She needed some color! Staring at her reflection, she blinked once shortly—and suddenly the black the trousers turned canary yellow. Then she looked at her gray blouse and blinked again—immediately it turned forest green. She repeated this blinking spell in short intervals until she was happy with the color combination. The now blue blouse and green trousers harmonized perfectly.
“You can do that at least,” Tara told her reflection.
“Tara? I won’t wait any longer ….”
“Just a second!” the young witch shouted in a slightly annoyed tone.
“How many seconds exactly am I supposed to wait?”
Tara did not answer such a silly question. Before she left her messy room—she really hoped that at school she would quickly learn a tidying up spell—she gently put her right hand under her tomcat’s belly and picked him up. He answered with a sweet meow. With the other hand she gently removed the slipper that he was still holding on to with his claws. She wanted to move him into a room that wasn’t littered with glass shards. The girl quickly made her way down the hallway and entered her mother’s bedroom. Cautiously she put Threespot and the plush slipper on the blue velvet comforter of the huge bed. The tomcat started to play with the slipper immediately as his tail moved back and forth happily. Threespot would be safe here while Tara shopped with her mother.
Tara left her mother’s room closing the door behind her. Then she ran downstairs as if a swarm of bees was behind her. Once downstairs she saw her mother confidently leaning against her flying broom with crossed arms. She looked at Tara rebuking. “No surprise that it took you so long the way you have vamped yourself up. I hope you know that we are not flying to a model casting but only shopping.” Her mother smiled amused.
“Shall I go shopping and expose myself to the humiliation of someone from my future class seeing me in unstylish clothes? Absolutely out of the question.”
“Why do you young people always define themselves through the eyes of others?”
Tara laughed. “Nice joke, mom. Why don’t you try to explain that to my classmates. I am simply adjusting to the times, and that means dressing smartly. Tomorrow I will finally become a real witch and don’t want to make a mockery of myself in class.”
“It was so different in the past. It didn’t matter if someone had a crooked nose or their teeth looked awry, we all respected each other anyways. No one even thought to conjure away an imperfection. Today the idea of simply being yourself is unthinkable.”
Tara wrinkled her brows and wanted to ask what the connection to fashion was, but her mother kept on talking, “Today, magic is more and more used to improve one’s look. That is not the old way of the goddess.”
“Oh no,” Tara moaned, “not this story again.” When Tara realized that she had actually spoken the sentence out aloud—she had just wanted to think it—she added, “I didn’t mean it like that, you know.”
“Tara, please respect the goddess!”
The young girl really did not want to hear a sermon about the goddess. So she looked for a chance to end the conversation and glanced at the antique pendulum clock that was standing in the hallway. “Don’t we have to get started? It is surely time to go. Would hate to be late!”
Her mother looked at the clock, too, and said, “Oh, we will have to hurry now. The shop already opens in fifteen minutes.”
Tara’s mother grabbed the broomstick and left the house together with her daughter. While Tara was quickly locking the door, her mother threw the broom into the air where it hung horizontally about one meter off the ground. Tara’s mother gathered her skirt in the middle and sat gracefully side-saddle on the broom. Tara sat herself down astride behind her. She kept a certain distance from her mother and held the broomstick with both hands.
Tara’s mother looked up to make sure there were no low flying witches above them. Flying so low was against the rules. Within cities witches were only allowed to fly at a certain height. This was to prevent witches from getting hurt by power poles, skyscrapers or trees, and of course to also not endanger other people. When Tara’s mother saw that there was no danger of collision, she commanded her broom, “And off we go!”
The broom rose horizontally, higher and higher, leaving the multicolored houses of London’s Camden district smaller and smaller behind them. Camden, where they lived, was one of London’s most beautiful districts. When they reached the respective flight level, Tara’s mother also sat astride.
Tara was truly relieved that her mother was now sitting on the broom the way a witch was supposed to sit. As she embraced her mother’s slim middle, holding on tight, she said to her, “In the future can you please sit on the broom normally from the very beginning?! I can no longer stand to see you sitting sideways on the broom when taking off. And don’t tell me again that nothing can happen to you because you can transform into a bird. Have you not considered that I would then be sitting on the broom alone, spinning through the air without a guide? I cannot fly by myself. That is not very responsible of you. You wouldn’t want the witch youth welfare to get involved would you?”
“Do you have anything else you want to say to me or are you finished?” her mother asked sarcastically. “You have quite the attitude today.”
“Mom, I mean it well. I only say it because I love you.”
“Okay, okay, you are right. In the future I will sit normally on the broom when taking off.”
“So mote it be,” Tara said. Her mother had to laugh because witches usually used these four words to reinforce a spell.
All around them witches were flying. Air traffic was busy despite the many heavy dark rain clouds.
“Mom, is there a witch festival today? There are so many witches in the air.”
“Oh my dear goddess, I fear the worst. Not a witch festival. No, they all want to go to the bargain shop.” She looked over her shoulder. “Tara, hang on! Mama is going to mentally switch on the turbo-speed.”
“Don’t forget the aura belt!”
“Oh my goodness, I almost forgot. Thanks, Tara!”
“You’re welcome! If I wasn’t reminding you of everything, you would have lost your broom license a long time ago.”
Out of nothing, a bright purple energy circle appeared above. It slowly lowered until it reached the center of their bodies, clamping the both of them securely.
Tara moaned. “Not so tight, please!”
Tara’s mother used mental force to loosen the aura belt a bit. “Better?”
“Yes, much better.”
However, Tara still held on to her mother firmly. Suddenly, the broom took off like a rocket, overtaking two witches in one swoop. Both Tara’s auburn hair and her mother’s stood straight out behind them as a result of the airstream. One of the witches they had overtaken had been thrown out of the flight path due to the sudden gust of wind. She would have collided with an oncoming sorcerer if he had not quickly corrected his broom a meter downwards. An older woman almost lost her pink wig that she only just almost managed to catch in time. The witch granny shouted at Tara’s mother, “Shame! Such a person should lose their broom license.”
“It is an emergency!” Tara’s mother shouted back.
“They all say that,” the old woman mumbled—now just to herself as Tara and her mother were already far away.
Tara wondered if the two witches were also on their way to the shop. Suddenly the broom lost speed. “What is happening?” Tara asked horrified.
“Uh-oh, the tank is empty.”
When the young witch turned around she saw that the broom’s bristles were only discharging a little pixie dust, an unmistakable sign that the flying magic of the broom was gradually declining.
“Today’s brooms aren’t good for anything,” Tara’s mother complained.
Just then, the previously overtaken witch granny pulled up alongside them on the left side and slowed down so that she was going the same low speed. She looked furiously to the right at Tara’s mother. “Well, ever heard of the threefold witch law? Everything you send out will come back to you threefold, darling!” With one hand she held her wig and took off, quickly reaching a normal flight speed. A malicious witch giggle trailed behind her.
Tara had to laugh. “Well, mom, there you are.”
“Don’t start taunting me now!” Tara’s mum said jokingly and directed the broom to the next broom service station. “Kudos to the Witch Council that had the great idea to put a service station every hundred meters.” Broom service stations were small flower islands kept in the air by the mighty magic of air pixies.
At the very moment the broom landed in a sea of flowers, wafting a pleasant fragrance into the air. The broom’s bristles had begun to turn red, indicating that all the flying magic had been used. Before the two witches dismounted, Tara’s mother conjured away the aura belt that had secured both of them to the broom.
“You just barely made it,” a squeaky voice said.
Both turned around at almost the same time. Tara’s mother smiled at the blue-skinned, plump service station pixy and said in an amused tone, “Tell me about it.” On every flower island, an air pixy was responsible for the job of filling station attendant.
Tara stared unbelievingly at the large, flittering pixy and asked herself how such a fat magic being was able to hold herself in the air. She assumed that it could only be a spell the pixy had put on her wings. There could no other solution to how those delicate wings supported such a creature.
Just as Tara ended her thought, the pixy appeared in front of her face flittering and with a rebuking look on her face. “No, my witch child, I have not put a spell on my wings. My wings are extraordinarily strong, despite looking fragile. It is not very nice to call me fat. Even though it may not be obvious, I was class winner in flying. And no, I was not thin back then.”
Tara swallowed dryly. “How ...?”
She was interrupted abruptly by the pixy, “How do I know what you are thinking?” The pixy looked at her insistently. “You really don’t know?”
“Don’t know what?”
“That us pixies can read your thoughts, like an open book.”
Tara looked at her mother wondering why she had never told her.
“I’ll explain later.” Her mother looked at the pixy disapprovingly. “Sorry, but could you charge my broom now, please?! We are in a hurry and have to ...”
“Go to the magic shop,” the pixy finished her sentence, “I know, I know.”
The round creature pulled a long pixy wand out from a little bag that was hanging on a belt at her side. How such a small bag contained such a wand was not clear to Tara.
“Sorry for my silly thoughts before,” Tara said.
The strict face of the pixy became much softer. “Apology accepted, but only because I can tell you really mean it.” She blinked at Tara conspiratorially as she pranced by on her way to tamper with the bristles of the broom. When she was above the bristles, she swung her long magic wand back and forth, until a vast quantity of glitter fell from her wand, charging the broom with magical energy. The red color vanished immediately and was replaced by a pleasant, wooden brown.
Before the two witches took off again—belted—the pixy searched the broomstick for the code number of the witch broom. When she found it, she wrote it onto a memo pad diligently, just like a meter maid, and double-checked to be sure that she had noted the right number. Every witch broom was marked with a code assigned to a specific witch. At the end of every month, all witches received a refueling bill from the service station.
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