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Monday, February 8, 2016

Action. Adventure. Paranormal Romance. Underground Heat by Ann Gimpel.



Today it’s my pleasure to feature Underground Heat by Ann Gimpel.

Dream Shadow Press
155K words

Release Date: 1/25/16

Genre: Paranormal Romance Boxed Set featuring shifters

Shifters keep their friends close and their enemies closer in a shadowy world where the line between hunter and hunted thins, blurs, and finally shatters. 

Book Description


Underground Heat is an action adventure, paranormal romance boxed set containing three full-length books. It’s the entire Underground Heat Series. 

Roman’s Gold

Once respected members of society, shifters are running for their lives. Devon’s been a cop for a long time. He has shifter blood, but not enough to change into anything. His latest assignment is Kate. From the moment he sees her, he can’t get her out of his mind. But she’s the enemy he’s sworn to eradicate. As he tracks her, the line between hunter and hunted explodes into fiery attraction. If their passion doesn’t save them, it’ll doom them forever.

Wolf Born

Max leads a dangerous double life in a futuristic California that’s almost out of resources. If Audrey could finesse it, she’d go to work helping the shifter underground. The only sticking point is Max. She’s been in love with him forever. If she joins the underground, she believes she’ll never see him again—but that’s because she has no idea he’s the head of it. After a second attempt on his life, Max faces critical choices. He can’t believe Audrey’s behind the assassination attempts, but everything points her way. Will he follow his head or his heart?

Blood Bond

Head of the shifter underground’s security force, Johannes has his hands full. He’s the most compelling man Daria’s ever met, but he’s also stubborn and arrogant. Her cat thinks he’s their mate, but if Daria had her way, she’d run hard the other way. Just her bad luck, a series of lethal attacks keep her square in his gunsights. Johannes is desperately attracted to Daria, but anything beyond sex isn’t part of his life plan. He has his reasons. They’ve served him well, and he’s not changing them now.


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Excerpt from Roman’s Gold 

Chapter One


Kate Roman sauntered down Telegraph Avenue, the sounds of the constant Berkeley traffic loud in her ears. The city had banned hovercraft when air quality got so bad people needed masks to venture outside. The air still made the back of her throat burn, but at least her eyes didn’t tear up.
She pushed her dark glasses up her nose and wrapped a colorful scarf more tightly around her hair. Someone was following her. She’d caught a whiff of something unusual with her feline senses half a dozen blocks back. Her perceptions weren’t as sharp in her human form, but they gave her a definite edge. Who was back there? Try as she might, she couldn’t identify their scent. She didn’t want to stop and turn around. So long as her pursuer thought himself invisible, he—or she, or it—wouldn’t do anything rash.
She hoped.
Her heart beat a little faster. No cause for alarm. Not yet, anyway. She worked as a sex surrogate, and there had been hundreds of clients over the past several years. Her hair was unmistakable with its bright red tone and warm, golden streaks. Clients sometimes trailed after her. Too shy to approach directly, yet drawn to her because of the best—sometimes the only—sex they’d had in their lives, they just liked to be close. Even though they had no idea she was a shifter, it played into the equation too. Humans were attracted to her animal energy.
Shy clients were one thing. The other options were scarier. Humans had made a big push to get rid of shifters. Because killing them outright would’ve engendered a great hue and cry from personal rights groups, they’d been imprisoned in droves. Conditions were so deplorable, many of her kin had died. Others were desperately ill. Apparently the personal rights groups weren’t into visiting prisons to check on things. Disgust twisted Kate’s features into an annoyed scowl.
Appalled by what was looking a lot like the beginning of genocide, she’d joined the shifter underground, a group masterminding escapes for those like her. Of course, the escapes were only the first step. Once out, shifters almost always needed medical care. They had to be hidden until their magic recovered enough to shield themselves. Many opted for dramatic plastic surgery to obliterate any trace of who they’d been when captured.
Kate blew out a tense breath. She had three post-surgical shifters concealed in the basement of her home in the Berkeley Hills. A coyote, a mountain lion—like her—and a bear were sequestered behind a hidden wall panel. She hadn’t expected them to stay quite so long, and her pantry was almost bare. She glanced at her wrist computer and clicked a few keys. Ration Coupons flashed on the screen, followed by the numerals one and zero.
Shit.
Even if the food was only for her, ten coupons wouldn’t buy much more than a day’s worth, and her account wouldn’t be replenished for another four days at the beginning of the next month. No way around it. She needed to put in an emergency call to the underground, once she got to her office where no one could hear. They had code words for everything, but still…
Kate tilted her head back. Her nose twitched. Whoever was behind her was closer. Not much, but a little. Should she turn around? She glanced at the cross street. Another half block and she’d be at her office. Someone jostled her shoulder. She pulled back, wary of a trap. Kate strengthened the illusion that softened her lengthened incisors and muted the sharp angle of her cheekbones and jaw.
“Sorry,” a man muttered and pushed past.
She stared after him and reached out with a dribble of shifter magic, exhaling sharply.
Just a human. Damn! Definitely not who’d been following her.
Garden-variety cops had genetically-altered enhanced abilities. They smelled different. Trackers, elite police squads targeting shifters, had their own unique scent. She pressed her tongue against her teeth, thinking. What she smelled behind her was different from either of those. Did that mean it wasn’t a cop—or a Tracker?
Not necessarily. He could be using one of their tricks to mask his spoor. Her throat tightened. She tried to swallow, but her mouth was too dry.
Enough excitement for one morning.
Kate lengthened her stride, loped across the street, taking advantage of an amber light, and took the steps to her office in a renovated Victorian two at a time. She ran her palm over the keypad. The electronics hummed, and the door clicked open. Safely inside, she shut the door and reset the lock.
Annoyance tinged with fear made her stomach roil. Against her better judgment, she turned and peered through a frosted glass side panel next to the thick, carved oak door. Eyes narrowed, she used her feline vision to take a good, hard look at who was walking down the sidewalk. After a couple minutes of nothing, she chided herself for being paranoid.
Kate was about to turn away and get ready for her first client when a man caught her attention. Boy, did he catch her attention. He was tall, maybe six feet four, with broad shoulders and slender hips. Form-fitting jeans, a knitted dark blue top, and a brown leather vest showcased his body as if they’d been made just for him. Well-muscled arms and thighs rippled beneath his snug clothing. Maybe because of her work as a surrogate, Kate focused her gaze on his crotch.
Wow.
If he looked like that soft, he’d have a hell of an erection. Waist-length black hair swirled around him. Dark eyes, set in Native American bone structure, stared right at her building, almost as if he sensed her looking at him.
What was he? Human, but not. Unfortunately, she couldn’t identify much. Wood and glass absorbed most of her magic. Kate moved away from the window. Heat poured through her. Her nipples pebbled into hard points. Whoever was out there was the most sexually-charged man she’d ever come across. Was he the one who’d been following her?
She snorted. Part of her hoped he’d been tracking her—she itched to jump his bones. In spite of being aroused, she felt edgy. He could be a member of the elite Tracker hit squads targeting shifters. Her underground organization had received intel the enemy was using more sophisticated strategies to trap them.
If they start using sex, we’re done for.
Her lips curled into a wry grin. Shifters loved sex. It was a weakness from their animal sides.
“No, it’s a strength,” the mountain cat who lived inside her commented smugly.
“Hold on, sweetie. You’ll get your fix soon enough.”
“I don’t want human sex,” her cat complained. “Find a shifter for us.”
“Enough of this. I have to get ready for my first client.”
Her cat grumbled.
Kate smiled indulgently. She’d dreamed her bond animal like all shifters did when they hit puberty. The animal had picked her, but she’d sealed the deal by accepting it. The cat was a part of her, but its own entity as well. That included having opinions that sometimes diverged from hers.
She consulted her wrist computer. Not much time to spare. Kate walked through her spacious office. Furnished with late nineteenth century antiques to match the building’s architecture, it was a homey place with overstuffed floral couches and chairs and golden oak tables. A small computer desk allowed clients to enter their personal data—or as much of it as they were comfortable divulging. Unlike the world’s oldest profession, men actually needed a doctor’s referral to see her. Kate liked it that way. She’d never had problems with any of her clients. The doctors screened them for diseases before sending them, which was another plus, though not exactly necessary. Virtually all the men who came through her door were virgins, and she was immune to human ailments.
A lush bedroom with a four-poster bed and an inventive assortment of toys sat behind the front office. Off to one side was a marble-inlaid bathroom featuring a sunken tub big enough for two, with Jacuzzi jets. Mirrors lined the walls. The gleaming gold fixtures and green-veined marble glowed invitingly. Water was good for loosening up nervous clients. Her first task was getting them used to being naked.
She ducked into her private quarters—a small room off the bedroom—dropped her bag in a corner, and stripped off her street clothes and shoes. Pants were a no-no in her business. She needed skirts with nothing under them, in case a client got hard, and she needed to move fast. Most of the men who visited her had erectile issues. Either they came too fast, or they couldn’t get hard at all.
She pulled a teal jersey top out of a drawer and tugged it over her head. The soft folds of the fabric molded to her body. No bra. Looking at the curves of her breasts was good for clients. She traced the outline of a nipple through the silky fabric. It stiffened instantly. A vision of the man in the street slammed against her, and her nether regions flooded.
Kate grinned. She felt sorry for her first client. She’d probably attack him before he even got his clothes off.
She stepped into a black skirt with an elastic waist and grabbed a hairbrush. Red-gold curls cascaded nearly to her waist. A smattering of shiny lip gloss and she walked into the bathroom to check her appearance. Perfect. She looked about twenty-five. Good for when she needed to play the innocent in seduction charades. She blew a kiss at the glass. Not bad for a three-hundred-year-old shifter.
Three hundred six, her inner voice corrected. Kate laughed. She wasn’t exactly immortal, but she’d live for hundreds more years before her face betrayed any sign of age.
The front bell chimed. Hector was right on time. Bare feet pattering over the thick, Oriental carpet in her front office, Kate strode to the door and peered through the safety viewer. She rolled her eyes. He’d brought flowers. She waved her palm over the electronically controlled lock, and the latch clicked open.
“Hi, gorgeous.” Hector stepped inside and waited for her to lock up before handing her a bouquet of expensive-looking hothouse blossoms. She laid them on a side table. They’d keep for an hour out of water.
“Why, thank you. They’re lovely. Hi there yourself, handsome.” Kate smiled at him. She liked Hector. At forty-five, he’d decided it was time to find a wife. Problem was, he’d spent his entire life locked behind a computer screen and had no idea how to even say good morning to a woman, let alone ask for a date. All his sexual experiences had been with his hand until he tried to hire a hooker and failed miserably. He’d come while she was unzipping his pants and hadn’t been able to get hard again.
He shook light brown hair back from a high brow. His hazel eyes shone with pleasure. He wasn’t bad looking, but he needed to get outside. His skin was pasty white and his body soft. She’d suggested he join a gym and walk at least half an hour out-of-doors every day. She wondered if he’d taken her up on either suggestion.
His hand snaked out and curved around one of her breasts. She glanced between his legs, pleased to see the swell of an erection. Good. He wouldn’t make her work very hard today. Kate cocked her head to one side and pressed her breast into his hand. “Business first. That will be five hundred credits.”
His eyes widened. “You’re giving me a break today.”
“Not really.” She cupped his hard-on. “Looks like you won’t need much from me.”
Color stained his fair cheeks. “Funny thing. It got hard when I was on the bus. Just thinking about you…” His voice trailed off.
“That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Pay up, so we can get those clothes off you.”
He went to the computer, bent over, brought up his account, and transferred money into hers. The printer whirred. She grabbed the piece of paper, tore off one end, signed it, and handed it to him.
He came around behind her, closed his hands over her breasts, and nibbled her neck. “Mmm, you always smell so good.”
She leaned against him for a moment, then led him into the bedroom and closed the door. One of the best things about being a surrogate was she trained her clients to do exactly what she liked, while cautioning them that part of lovemaking was communication. What she liked might not work for a different woman.
She turned toward him. His shirt and sports coat lay on a chair and he’d stepped out of leather loafers. His fingers were busy with the fastenings of his slacks.
“Pretty good progress,” she said, flashing him a warm smile. “First time you came here, it took me most of the session to get your shirt off.”
He shrugged. His pants pooled around his ankles. He stepped out of them and shoved his boxers down his hips. Kate felt her eyes widen. He was more than ready. Not just hard, but a drop of semen glistened in the center of his glans.
“Do you want to undress me?” she asked.
He closed the distance between them, put his arms around her, and kissed her. She kissed him back, aware of her own arousal. Hector didn’t have much to do with that. But he’d give her something to think about other than the wonderfully seductive stranger she’d seen through her window. She pressed her breasts against him and thrust her hips against his hard-on.
Hector broke their kiss. He slid his fingers under her top and tugged it gently over her head. His gaze locked on her breasts before he took them in his hands. He twirled her nipples just the way she’d shown him. He’d been surprised when she told him women could come just from that.
She curved a hand around his erection. It bucked in her hand. He hadn’t had problems with premature ejaculation the last few visits, but he seemed more excited today. “Do you need to be inside me?”
His breath came fast. “Could I? All I’ve thought about is—” His cock jumped in her hand again. Fluid leaked from it. She rubbed it around the velvety top with a gentle fingertip.
Kate backed toward the bed. “How do you want me?”
His gaze sought hers. “Could you be on top? I’ve done like you said, you know, playing with myself and fantasizing.”
“Sure.” She waited for him to lie down. Kate got a condom out of the night table drawer, opened the wrapper, and rolled it onto him. She straddled him and lowered herself onto his shaft. He groaned. She took care to keep her hips still. “Tell me when it’s okay to move. Open your eyes. Look at me. Think about breathing. You can control this.”
The line of his jaw clenched, and then softened. He cupped her pussy in an outstretched hand. Tentative at first, he rubbed her clit when she pushed into his hand. Her muscles closed around his cock. He rubbed harder. She laid a hand over his to show him the rhythm she needed.
“Is it okay if I make you come this way?”
“More than okay.” With her fingers atop his to guide him, he rubbed harder and faster over her sensitive tissue. She knew she was moving around his erection, but hoped he had enough to think about besides coming that he’d be able to control himself. “I’m going to take my hand away. Now you do the same thing.”
“Like this.”
“Um-hum.” She felt a familiar tightness, tried to hold back so she could savor things, but it was too late. She came, shoving her pussy against his hand. A vision of the gorgeous man she’d seen in the street danced behind her closed lids.
Deep in her mind, the cat purred, “Yesssss. Find that one for us.”
Kate shushed it.
Hector had learned well. He kept moving his fingers until her hips quieted. “Wow. That was amazing,” he crowed. “I got to watch you come. Your nipples got really hard, and you’re all rosy.”
“And you didn’t come yourself. Even better.” She laughed. “Is it okay if I move now?”
“Will I be able to make you come again?” She heard a hint of masculine pride in the question.
“No question.”
He held out his arms. “I want to feel your breasts against me.”
She lowered her torso until it touched his. “Very good. Asking for what you want is important. Women aren’t mind readers. Put your hands on my hips. Move me the way you want to be fucked.”
“What about you?”
“I had a turn. Besides, you can always touch me or lick me.”
“You haven’t taught me about licking.” His voice had a catch in it.
“Well, if we don’t get there today, there’s always next time.”
He gripped her hips. She let him control the movement, pleased it took him several minutes to come. Once his cock was through spasming inside her, she moved off his body and went to get a warm, wet cloth from the bathroom. By the time she returned, he had the condom off. She held out her hand. “I’ll take it. Here.” She handed him the cloth, dropped the condom into a waste can, and slid into a robe.
A disappointed look washed across his face. “Is our time up?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“How many more visits do I have?”
“Not sure. Just a minute, I’ll look.” Kate padded into the outer office and clicked a few keys on the desktop computer. She was also buying a little time. Clients frequently got too attached, which was why she never told them up front how many visits had been authorized. Sometimes, even if they had several more sessions, she’d hedge, call their MD, and cut them off.
The truth was, Hector didn’t really need her anymore. Seven visits had cured both his impotence and his problems with premature ejaculation.
“Good thing you asked.” She breezed back into the bedroom, smiling brightly. “We’ve run through your sessions.” He looked so crestfallen, she went to the bed, sat on the edge, and took his hands in hers. “Hector. You got what you needed here. You can make love with anyone now. You don’t need me anymore.”
“But I thought—I mean, I hoped…” Color crept up his chest to his neck and face.
“Aw, honey. Everyone falls in love with me. It’s natural. I’m the first woman you had sex with.” She patted his hand. “I guarantee you I won’t be the last. Try asking that cute brunette you told me about out for coffee.”
“Can I come back if I get into problems?”
“Sure. I’ll square it with your doctor.”
“Really?” He smiled. Hector was decidedly handsome when he did that.
“Really.” She touched a finger to his chin. “You’re quite the hunk when you smile. Remember to do it more often.”
He dressed quickly, and she ushered him out the door. “Thanks again for the flowers. And best of luck, not that you’ll need any. You’ll make some woman very happy.”
She closed the door, locked it, and looked at the time. She needed to call the underground about groceries, change the bed, and take a shower. It would be tight, but she was pretty sure she could work everything in before Todd showed up in half an hour.
Kate glanced at the calendar in her wrist computer. Good. Only two clients today. Worries about her three houseguests ate at her. It was better when she was home. The shifters in her basement were vulnerable by themselves.

About the Author




I'm basically a mountaineer at heart. I remember many hours at my desk where my body may have been stuck inside four walls, but my soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry.

Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), I finagled a move to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. Stories always ran around in my head on backcountry trips, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made me fear for my life, sometimes for company.

Eventually, the inevitable happened. I returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. It wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. I learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel, and I've been writing ever since.

In addition to turning out books, I enjoy wilderness photography. A standing joke is that over ten percent of my pack weight is camera gear, which means my very tolerant husband has to carry the food -- and everything else too. 





@AnnGimpel (for Twitter) 



Friday, January 29, 2016

Up for a Winter Masquerade Ball?



Welcome to Ocean 2 Ocean Book Promotions’ first annual Winter Masquerade Ball and Romance Tour!! The blog tour will start Friday, January 29th at 1PM EST, accompanied by a kick-off event on Facebook. The tour and party will continue through February 1st at 11 PM EST.

In addition to posting on their blogs, some of our favorite authors and bloggers (listed at the event) will be hanging out at the party as featured guests posting games, activities, chatting, and just having a good time. Join the event and stay tuned throughout the weekend to ask questions, get to know our featured guests, and of course enjoy the opportunity to win more prizes.

Check out the list of featured guests below. Joining the event, completing as many Rafflecopter options as you’re interested in, and visiting as many blogs as possible throughout the tour will increase your chances of winning prizes! When you enter the Rafflecopter, leave a comment here with your e-mail address so we can easily connect you with your entry.

Happy Hopping!


Featured Guests

Darlene Kuncytes
Stephanie Williams
Karissa Thorpe
Raven Moon



To help celebrate Ocean 2 Ocean Book Promotions’ first annual Winter Masquerade Ball and Romance Tour, I’ve put the first boxed set in my MacLomain Series on sale!

HIGHLAND DEFIANCE- Mildred, a young woman living in New England during the onset of World War II, worries about her family. What is to come? Little does she anticipate change is to come not from war, but from an unexpected trip back in time to medieval Scotland. Laird Adlin MacLomain will never forget the moment he lays eyes on her. Mildred redefines the man he thought he was. Her quick wit and perseverance humble his natural arrogance. Her sensuality cripples his defenses. The maddened determination of a rival chieftain threatens their very existence. Caught together in time, they must find a way to evade the mighty MacLeods and keep peace in the Highlands.

HIGHLAND PERSUASION- Iosbail MacLomain will do whatever it takes to bring Laird Alexander Sinclair to his knees. Even if it means she has to travel through time to eleventh century Scotland and manipulate a king into marrying her off to the enemy. What she doesn't anticipate is a bitter rivalry between King Edgar and Alexander Sinclair. It seems the man she just married is by birthright a threat to the throne. Their lives on the line, Alexander and Iosbail are forced to flee across the country. Fraught with risk, adventure and wild, unexpected desire they struggle against overwhelming odds.

HIGHLAND MYSTIC- Alan Stewart loves the lasses. Beautiful all, he's never been one to settle. Until, that is, Caitriona appears. Shy yet alluring, her unexpected and rare gift gains his respect. But Caitriona is not who she seems. Her fate was foreseen long before birth and so important it will impact all future MacLomains. When dreams of Alan begin, she knows the time has come. But how to convince a Highland laird from another century that he must die for her? Especially when it soon becomes apparent that she couldn't bear his death. When their paths cross with Stephen and Arianna of the Broun clan, a powerful prophecy begins to unravel. 

.99 Cents for a Limited Time!

Purchase at Amazon

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Elegant. Outstanding. A Cut Above the Rest. Bess McBride has Done it Again.



I hope everyone is doing well. Forgive me for being off the radar for quite a while. The holidays kept me very busy. Nonetheless, something has come to my attention that I wanted to share. A scrumptious bit that no Scottish time travel romance reader will want to miss. 

Did you know Bess McBride has pre-released book two in her ‘My Laird’s Castle’ series? That’s right, My Laird’s Love is available for preorder now! So if you love sweeping Scottish romance as much as I do, check this out…

Maggie Scott, having recently lost her fiancé to a terminal illness, travels to the Highlands of Scotland for a brief respite—from the arduous months of caring for a sick loved one, from the grief that now engulfs her. 

But instead of finding solace, she finds herself transported back in time to 1747, the year following Culloden, a year that saw the Highlands suffer in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rebellion. 

James Livingstone, laird of Castle Stonie, survived Culloden, and by a miracle, he survived the purge of the lairds who participated in the rebellion. When Maggie comes into his lonely life, it seems as if another miracle has occurred—that of love. 

But tragedy strikes just as James and Maggie find each other, and Maggie races against the clock to save the man she loves. Can James truly ask for one more miracle?  


Purchase at Amazon


Monday, December 14, 2015

Love. Lust. Betrayal. Rage. Redemption. Of War Series by Lisa Beth Darling.



Today it’s my pleasure to interview Lisa Beth Darling, author of the OF WAR SERIES, an Epic Journey of Love, Lust, Betrayal, Rage, and Redemption

The Complete no-box set.
ASIN: B00RI9I2CO

Series Description


Fall in Love with Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. Together they Rock the World from the Heights of Olympus to the Celtic Moors.

In The Heart of War, Magdalena MacLeod has been on the run from Cernunnos, Great Horned God, for 200 years when she mysteriously washes ashore on secluded isle of the God of War. When the Olympians discover her presence on Ares' island, they send Apollo to the island to retrieve her while Ares is away. Diplomatically winding her way out of immediately going to Olympus and having nowhere to turn, Alena strikes a bargain with the God of War--her virginity for his protection.

Ares sees a sweeter deal; her in his bed and himself back in his rightful place on Olympus even if it means turning Alena over to Zeus. After Alena proves herself to Ares in battle and his bed, the God of War must choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena.

Child of War-A God is Born  Ares and Alena have settled on snowy Olympus to await the birth of their son, Raven. Before Raven is even born, Zeus outwardly despises him for his Fey blood. With only one to keep his family safe from his father, Zeus the God of Gods, Ares enters into a blood pact that could cost the God of War everything he holds dear.

After a harrowing birth wherein mother and son are nearly lost to Ares, it quickly becomes clear that Raven may be the most powerful and cunning Olympian ever born despite his muddled bloodline. Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite plot against the new family by carefully planting the seeds of rage and doubt in Ravens' mind, they turn son against mother. It appears as though Cernunnos' prophecy is coming to life as Raven grows to be a very angry young man.

As the true past between the Olympians and Celts is revealed, the battle for Ravens' mind and the ultimate control of Olympus begins. Before it's over, the white snows of Olympus will run red with blood.

Child of War-Rising Son sees Raven on the verge of manhood as his rampage continues and he begins the difficult path to Acceptance by his fellow Olympians. Out to prove he's as good, if not better than, any of them he bests the Trials set before him by Hades and Poseidon. This isn't enough for him, in his quest to prove to his Father, Ares, that he is an Olympian Raven preys upon the Mortals below Olympus in a time of great weakness. Enlisting the aid of his Uncle Apollo and settling for nothing less than utter Chaos, together they push the Mortals to pure anarchy. Ready to conquer the remainder of his Trials so he may take his place at the Counsel Table, and bring Ares the glory Cernunnos once prophesized, only one thing stands in his way; the night his Mother fell down the stairs.

Apollo, ever the Man Behind the Curtain, pulls Raven's strings like a true puppet master. It's far too late when Raven realizes all he's done in hopes of pleasing his Father actually makes Ares look guilty of destroying the Mortal World. A little Chaos and a little Anarchy aren't enough for the Golden God, in his on-going quest to destroy Ares, Apollo sets a plague loose upon the embroiled Earth. By the time the Olympians discover what's going on twenty million people are dead with the number multiplying exponentially every day.

Women of War gives us a brief reprieve from the death and darkness as we journey backward in time spanning four generations of women in Alena's family. From her great-grandmother, Shar Draiocht the last known Queen of the Dark Kingdom to her tortured daughter Morrowind, to Maven Alena's free-spirited mother and through the lonely life of Alena MacLeod ending where The Heart of War begins with the night Alena washes up on Ares' shore. With intensity, lust, fear, and strength these Women of War make their way in the world revealing the hidden truths of the past and Ares true connection to his beloved Wife, Alena.

Kingdoms of War, the OF WAR Series Finale, sees nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of Anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls.  Ares, Athena, and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule.

Ares and Athena wander the world, hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction the Wolf inside the God of War slowly succumbs to Major Falls. A rabid God of War is not a pretty sight. Soon it becomes clear that Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored.
By the time Ares' fevered body is brought to Olympus, Apollo's descent into madness is utterly complete. The Gold God is quite insane as he expertly kills off the members of his Divinely Dysfunctional Family. Yet, Alena's greatest nemesis holds the key to saving Ares' life. The price is high and, should she pay it, Alena can't be sure Ares would ever be able to forgive her.

Trailer



Available at Amazon

Price Reduced 40% from $9.99 to $5.99 until January 7, 2016

Giveaway! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter after this post to win one of the following: 1st prize $50.00 PayPal Cash or Amazon Gift Card. 2nd prize 3 e-book copies of OF WAR Complete (gifted to the winner through Kindle or Nook regular price value $9.99/each)

Let’s Interview!


What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?

I write in several genres—paranormal/mythological, contemporary, horror, suspense, and drama. However, all of my stories have one thing in common; a central relationship. It can be the dynamics of an intimate relationship, those of parent and child, or even brother and sister. I always hesitate to say that I wrote "romance" because, for my books, that can be very misleading. There aren't many  hearts and flowers in my stories, I prefer to go deeper and darker than that.

Do you prefer to write short stories, novellas or novels? Why?

I have no preference, the story is as long as the story is.  Most often, I write novel-length fiction (most of that is full-length over 100,000 words) but sometimes the tale just wants to be a glimpse into a single night or day of someone's life and not a full-blown novel. I like writing short stories but, with the way my mind works, I don't get to write them very often. Novels allow me to full explore all details and aspects of the story and central relationship.

What inspired you to write this series?

I was in between books and hoping for inspiration to strike me with the next Great American Novel when I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself. Writing is supposed to be fun and if it isn't chances are whatever story a writer produces won't be an enjoyable read. As I puzzled and pondered I thought it was time to write something just for myself. I started to wonder what would happen if Ares God of War fell in love. Not lust. Not a temporary thing. What if some woman came along and knocked the big man off his feet? After all, Ares was a notorious womanizer and bachelor, what would he do if a woman stole his hard heart? That's where we (the Muse and I) started writing The Heart of War. That book was supposed to be just for us and just for fun something to get us out of our little rut, but most of all it was supposed to be a single novel not an entire series. We had so much fun with and it was so juicy (because we didn't care what anyone thought no one else was going to read it) that I made the decision to put it online free for a while. People loved it. When we reached The End I realized there was much more of this story to tell. We just kept going until we ended up with a six book series.

How did you come up with the title?

With the exception of the short story Christmas Eve on Olympus every story in the series has the words 'Of War' in the title. We have; The Heart of War, Child of War-A God is Born, Child of War-Rising Son, Women of War, and Kingdoms of War.  Of War refers to Ares our unlikely hero.

What made you choose the main setting for the series?

There are several settings within the OF WAR Series but The Heart of War takes place almost exclusively on Ares' secluded island. Mostly, I've always wanted to live in such a setting but here the island reflects the isolation of not just Ares but Alena, the woman who still his heart, as well.  When the book opens, Ares is living in exile he's alone except for a small harem of women he keeps and a few trusted men he keeps around to guard his island. Being a God he doesn't need those men to protect him but he likes their company and what's a God without a few people to pay him homage?  Alena, too is alone, she's on the run from Cernunnos and has drifted from place to place over the course of 200 years trying to put down roots but never getting the chance.

The other main setting in the series is Olympus, which we move to in Child of War-A God is Born.  This is not the paradise that you may have read about. Here Mount Olympus is exactly as it appears in real life; a cold snow covered barren place. It serves to keep Alena's isolation intact while reflecting the overall personalities of the Olympians who reside on the very top of the mountain.

What sort of personality does your hero have?

What can I say? He's Ares. He's the Alpha Male Supreme. When we first meet him he's grouchy, moody, intimidating, conceited to the highest order --let's face it, he's a God so he has reason to be! He'll even tell you that he's devilishly handsome.  (And he is.) He'd rather lob a fireball at someone's head than have to work something out with them by talking. As we come to know him, we also find that he's very protective of those in his charge, he cares for them and about them even when he's trying to get his own way which is all of the time. We discover that he's lonely having been turned away by his Family, a Family that never liked him and who he tried very hard to please for thousands of years. This is an older Ares than what people are probably familiar with, for an Olympian, he's just a pinch past middle-age. He's looking back on his life as much as he's looking forward.

What sort of personality does your heroine have?

Alena is almost his polar opposite. Although she's been through great tragedy and abuse, she's very diplomatic and nurturing having spent most of her life as a teacher caring for children she believes she'll never have.  She's also very manipulative. She's the kind of woman who can talk an Eskimo into buying an ice truck for three times its value. She's strong willed but gentle and she'd rather find that diplomatic solution (the one in her own best interests) than get into a physical confrontation. However, if someone forces her to, she will kick butt just as well as Ares.

Did you enjoy writing one scene above all the rest? If so, share.

The very first love scene between the two of them is my favorite. Not only is it incredibly hot and steamy, it's very intimate and reveals much about both characters. It starts out as a bargain, a barter, she'll sleep with him, giving up her virginity and, as a Fey, her heart to him, so long as Ares agrees to protect her from the Olympians and Cernunnos. Ares figures he'll take her to his bed, get what he wants, then bring her to the Olympians anyway. He'll use her to barter his way to back to Olympus. But it doesn't turn out that way. No, not at all. By the time the sweating is over it isn't he who whole stole her heart but she who captured his.

If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why

Ares, hands down. I'd spend the rest of my life with him if I could. He's just, well, he's hotter than hell for one and that's never a bad thing. But he's also very complex and funny, he has a wicked sense of humor, truly wicked.

If you had to sell your series based on one run of dialogue (start quote to end quote), which would it be?

This is Ares speaking to Alena: "And still I am alone except when I’m with you.  Then I am whole, no longer restless, and no longer weary." 


The Heart of War
Book One
Lisa Beth Darling


Genre: Mythological/paranormal,
dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama,
contemporary

Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing

Date of Publication:  December 2010

ISBN: 978-0615424682
ASIN: B004DCB3CA

Number of pages: 597
Word Count: 200,000

Book Description


Inside the Heart of every Warrior breathes the Soul of a Hero--even within The Heart of War.

Meet Ares God of War, the greatest Warrior the world has ever known. He's moody, grumpy, dominant, ravenously sexual, and above all, built like a Greek God.

Suspected of killing his Daughter in-Law, Psyche, and long in exile from Olympus, the solitude of Ares' island is interrupted when Magdalena MacLeod a brash and sometimes manipulative Fey washes up on Ares' island after believing she's been shipwrecked. It's not mere fate that has brought the unlikely couple together yet it may be what tears them apart.

Branded with a golden chastity belt bearing the mark of Cernunnos, Celtic God of the Forest and Death, Alena has been on the run from her husband the Great Horned God for 200 years. When the Olympians discover her presence on Ares' island, they send Apollo to the island while Ares is away with orders to bring her to Olympus. Diplomatically winding her way out of immediately going to Olympus, when Ares returns and with nowhere to turn, Alena strikes a bargain with the God of War--her virginity for his protection.

Ares sees a sweeter deal; her in his bed and himself back in his rightful place on Olympus even if it means turning Alena over to Zeus. After Alena proves herself to Ares in battle and his bed, the God of War must choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena. Get lost in this sweeping dark saga battling Ancient Gods while falling in love with Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. Ares and Alena share a love that will rock the world from the heights of Olympus to the Celtic moors but; will it be enough? Will love triumph, or will revenge and rage win the battle for the Heart of War?

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Excerpt The Heart of War


Ares was in a foul mood and suffering from a splitting headache when he arrived back on the island with Alena. "Go inside." He said gruffly and pointed toward the cliffs and the cave above.

"Ares?"

"Please, Alena, just do as I ask. Go."

She didn't want to leave him here, alone, on the beach but it didn't appear Ares was wanted company, not hers anyway. In the face of his Father and the other Olympians, Ares stood tall and strong. He'd come to her aid just as he said he would and kept his promise. Alena was stunned. When Zeus said he would return Ares' property and his station to him, she felt sure the God of War would sell her down the river. She wanted to thank him, wanted to ask why he had done it but she held her tongue. "Yes, my Lord." Hiking up the hem of the dress, she turned to make her way up the long strange stairs leading from the beach to the top of the cliff. With a heavy heart, she walked a few steps until she got to the base of the stairs and there she turned around. Ares was sitting on the sand facing the water and the setting sun. He had thrown off the belt with the heavy sword and his thick leather vest; they were in the sand next to him as he sat there with his head down in his hands. She could not leave him there. Quietly coming up behind him, Alena sat down, wrapped one arm over his left shoulder and the other under his right lacing her fingers together and pulling him backward. Alena expected him to balk or to fight but, instead, Ares settled backward into her arms, rested his head in the crook between her neck and shoulder as he let out an exhausted sigh. "I'm sorry I'm so much trouble, my Lord." She whispered as she nestled her face into his hair.

Letting the softness of her touch and the warmth of her body comfort him, Ares closed his eyes and drew in the peaceful shelter she offered. "It's not you. It's Them."

The Olympians were quite the Divinely Dysfunctional Family. Alena had never seen or heard so much bitter bickering from one clan. If that was her Family, she might be damn happy that she lived in Exile on a beautiful island such as this. "They're awful." She whispered in his ear careful not to let any prying ears overhear. Ares gave out a deep chuckle and then another sigh as his hand rose up to caress her arm. She thought of how brave, how daring, and even dashing, Ares had been as he stood there telling all of them they could not have her. When she listened to him speak of Artemis, Alena nearly cried. Then she had been stunned into silence having expected the God of War to hand her over, maybe not with ease but readily enough, in return for his crown and scepter. "Thank you for keeping your promise."

"You expected this chauvinistic pig to do less." Ares mused still with his eyes closed. "Everyone does." 

 

Child of War-A God is Born
Book Two
Lisa Beth Darling


Genre: Mythological/paranormal,
dark romance/erotica,
suspense/action/drama, contemporary

Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing

Date of Publication:  November, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615523460
ASIN: B0063I60HU

Number of pages: 386
Word Count:  150,000

Book Description


Do you remember Damien? Raven makes that kid look like an angel.

In book #2 of the OF WAR Series, Ares settles down with his wife, Alena, to await the birth of their son, Raven. As Alena struggles to enjoy what should be a blessed event, prophetic visions of an adult Raven haunt her dreams. Are they true visions or false ones implanted by Cernunnos who told her the boy would bring glory to Ares but only pain and agony to her? The strong but delicate Fey is relentlessly bombarded by hostility from the Olympians making her yearn to be back on Ares' secluded island home, far away from all the bickering and backstabbing that makes up Life on mighty Mount Olympus.

Before Raven is even born, Zeus outwardly despises him for his Fey blood given to him by his filthy Celtic mother. With no way out and no way to keep his family safe from his father, Zeus the God of Gods, Ares enters into a blood pact that could cost the God of War everything he holds dear.

After a harrowing birth wherein mother and son are nearly lost to Ares, it quickly becomes clear that Raven may be the most powerful and cunning Olympian ever born despite his muddled bloodline.

As Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite plot against the new family by carefully planting the seeds of rage and doubt in Ravens' mind, they turn son against mother. It appears as though Alenas' visions and Cernunnos' prophecy are coming to life as Raven grows to be a very angry young man.

As the true past between the Olympians and Celts is revealed, the battle for Ravens; mind and the ultimate control of Olympus begins. Before its over, the white snows of Olympus will run red with blood.

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 Excerpt Child of War-A God is Born


Alena, daughter of a warrior and wife to one as well, had no objections and she joined them in the basement daily. Ares wholeheartedly approved, as he believed it was high time Alena worked with her own powers and skills. Even though she was the boy's mother, since her powers were bound for so long, they were very evenly matched and sparred well together, Raven with spear and she with the staff Ares made for her.

Having the complete run of the cavernous basement, they sparred and chased each other around as Ares shouted out encouragement and strategies to them. Alena was only a few inches taller than Raven but his arms were already longer than hers, and that gave him an advantage when thrusting and swinging out with the spear. Alena almost always seemed to sense such moves and jumped over the spear as though she were playing double-dutch. The smacking of wood on wood clattered throughout the Fortress. Raven gave it his all but Alena treated the matches more like a game; when she struck out it wasn't with all of her force and a few times Ares caught her letting Raven best her. He took great exception to that. An opponent either won or lost in battle; there was no mercy. A few times, late at night in their bed, Alena told him it was good for Raven's self-esteem if she let him win once or twice, but that only made him angrier as he told her self-esteem was earned and not given like a toy. Raven would learn nothing if she let him win; he had to learn how to be victorious on his own, or when it came time for a real battle he would be unprepared.

From that night on, Alena won every match between her and Raven, though the last few had been very close and Raven was catching on to his mother's moves and strategies. It turned sour yesterday as they sparred and Raven chased his mother into the small meat locker where their meat was either cured by smoking or roasted in the huge stone pit. The pit was five feet deep and seven feet across, surrounded on three sides by stone four feet high that came together in an arch at the center. A drop from the top to the bottom wouldn't prove fatal, but it was certainly deterrent enough when Raven cornered his mother up there. Alena was going to jump to the top and then down the other side to use the stone walls as cover, but Raven was faster than she thought. By the time her foot landed on the uppermost stone, Raven was already waiting for her on the other side, sharp point of the spear thrust upward toward her throat. "Yield!" Raven commanded, feeling victory in his fingertips for the first time.

Ares still didn't know just how she managed it. Alena swung out with one foot as she pivoted on the other, knocking the spear safely away from her as she turned, silver hair flying out behind her like the mane of a steed, to make the jump to the other side and safety. When she came around the corner with her staff at the ready, Raven, angry at having been cheated, let an ice ball five inches thick fly from the palm of his hand to hit her squarely in the jaw. Alena was knocked back by the force, her lips split open, gums bleeding, nose broken. Raven loomed over her, his eyes vacant and empty as he held the sharp spear to her throat. "Yield, bitch." It was no command-it was a threat.

Before Ares could shout to his Son that was enough, a great gust of wind swirled around in the small room. It blew back his hair and then pushed against him with such force he had to fight to stand his place. Alena's beautiful gray eyes closed as her arms splayed out at her sides, one with the palm open and the other choking the staff. The point of the spear wavered in the strong wind as Raven struggled to stay pitched forward as the growing gale threatened to lift him off his knees and toss him across the room. Raven countered, his young hands glowing with an eerie blue light as they began freezing to the staff, the new ice ball growing between them. This one was twice the size of the other and if he hit her with it at this close range, Raven might well kill his mother.

Without any warning, the wind seemed to turn on Alena; it lifted her body upward from the small of her back to her shoulders, bringing her throat dangerously close to the tip of the spear. Suddenly her eyes opened to reveal only the whites. As though she could see through them, they shifted to Raven's hands and then back to his face. Amazingly, Alena's lips turned into a cold grin that fixed Raven's stare to her face while she lifted the staff and then brought it crashing down to the marble floor with such force the echo was deafening. Raven flew off her. The staff left his stunned hand, the ice ball retreated, and he hit the stones of the fire pit with such force that they shattered. Before the boy or his Father knew what was happening, Alena, her eyes still showing only the whites, was standing over Raven with her staff pointing at his throat and her foot on his heart. "Yield," she whispered as the wind whipped around them, tossing bits of dust into Ares' eyes.

Angry at having had victory snatched so cruelly from his grasp, Raven stared up her as he shielded his eyes from the biting wind. "Uncle," he spat.

It took a few moments but the wind subsided, Alena stumbled backward on unsteady feet before the whites of her eyes rolled down and she looked out at the world through those luminescent pearls of gray.

"Wow," Ares muttered, stroking his beard trying to digest everything he'd seen. Magick was not normally part of Alena and Raven's sparring routine; she was afraid to use it even though he'd tried to tell her that he could counter any damage she might do. No matter what he did he couldn't coax her into it, so magick was off-limits when they sparred. Today when Raven unexpectedly threatened her with it, Alena didn't hesitate to answer the call.

Catching her breath and feeling a wave of nausea wash over her, Alena looked down at Raven, who looked up her angry and afraid. "Are you ok?" She reached out a hand to him but Raven batted it away.

"Fine, mom." Jumping to his feet in a quick move, he brushed off the dirt and debris from his bare skin. Instead of stepping up and congratulating his mother, when she turned her back to him to look at Ares, Raven let an ice ball fly from his hand to strike her in the back of the head, splitting it open as it brought her to her knees. "Take that, you whore."

Ares didn't hesitate, he didn't even know he was doing it; all he did know was that one moment Raven was standing there with that snide smug look on his face and the next he was screaming as flames surrounded him. He stumbled in the fire a few moments before turning his whole body to ice and putting out the flames. When Raven returned to normal, he was lightly singed but otherwise unharmed. "Don't ever do that again, boy."

Christmas Eve on Olympus
Book Three
Lisa Beth Darling


Genre: Holiday, Romance, Fluff

Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing

Date of Publication:  December, 2011

ASIN: B006HUECGA

Number of pages: 20
Word Count: 10,000

Book Description


This holiday themed short story is meant as an enhancement to the OF WAR Series. Join Ares, Alena, and Raven as she brings Christmas and Yuletide to Olympus. This bit of romantic happiness contains graphic adult material.

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Excerpt Christmas Eve on Olympus


As her mind feverishly searched for what she'd missed, a small bit of fluffy white and green came into her view and she felt relief as a smile broke out on her pretty face. "What's that?"

"Mistletoe, I believe there's some Mortal custom about standing beneath it and then being forced into kissing."

Alena glanced upward over her shoulder to take him in and marveled at how handsome he was. "Forced? How terrible."

"Awful," Ares held the mistletoe over their heads with one hand and pulled her in close with the other. He lowered his head for the kiss he'd been waiting for all night. When their lips he was not disappointed but encouraged to probe deeper with his tongue and grasp the soft red velvet surrounding her tighter as the mistletoe fell to the marble floor and he grabbed her with both arms turning her fully around to face him. Her heart raced against his stomach, even through the velvet, he felt it as she pressed against him and reached up to grab handfuls of midnight hair. "You know, if you're lucky," Ares said breathlessly as their lips parted, "I think I might have a candy cane around here for you to suck on."

"Oh, really? I love candy canes," she winked up at him as she bit down on her lower lip, "where oh where could it be? Over there by the tree?"

Ares shook his head as he ran a hand through her silky silver tresses, "No. Guess again."

"Did you put it in my stocking?"

"Not yet." Ares crooned making Alena giggle like a schoolgirl.

Child of War-Rising Son
Book Four
Lisa Beth Darling


Genre: Mythological/paranormal,
dark romance/erotica,
suspense/action/drama, contemporary

Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing

Date of Publication: November, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615721422
ASIN: B00ADAWTSS

Number of pages: 396
Word Count: 151,000

Book Description


On the Verge of manhood, Raven's rampage continues

as he begins the difficult path to Acceptance by his fellow Olympians. Out to prove he's as good, if not better than, any of them he bests the Trials set before him by Hades and Poseidon. This isn't enough for him, in his quest to prove to his Father, Ares, that he is an Olympian Raven preys upon the Mortals below Olympus in a time of great weakness. Settling for nothing less than Chaos, he enlists the aid of his Uncle Apollo and pushes the Mortals to pure anarchy when a global financial crisis leaves the entire world destitute, in ruins, and at each other's throats. Ready to conquer his Trials, take his place at the Counsel Table, and bring Ares the glory Cernunnos once prophesized, only one thing stands in his way; the night his Mother fell down the stairs.

Alena, her body asleep in Ares' bed for four long years, is lost deep in the clutches of a never-ending dream induced by Morpheus. After years of living an illusion and becoming Morpheus Wife, Alena discovers his deception and struggles to escape her prison. Morpheus has no intentions of ever letting her go. He'll fight to the death to keep her.

Apollo, ever the Man Behind the Curtain, pulls Raven's strings like a true puppet master. It's far too late when Raven realizes all he's done to please his Father actually makes Ares look guilty of destroying the Mortal World. A little Chaos and a little Anarchy aren't enough for the Golden God, in his on-going quest to destroy Ares, Apollo sets a plague loose upon the Earth. A bio-chemical weapon stolen from the United States Government at Area 51, known commonly as Major Falls. By the time the Olympians discover what's going on twenty million people are dead with the number multiplying exponentially every day.

With only one option left to each of them, Raven and Alena turn to their unlikeliest of enemies-- Aphrodite and Apollo for help. One night in the bed of the Goddess of Love can be painful but one night in the bed of the Golden God can kill and destroy all that Ares and Alena have built and endured. To ensure that her beloved Husband and her Son are not put to death she may have no other choice.

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Excerpt Child of War-Rising Son


"Trinity?" He called out.

"HERE!" They all called back.

"No, not you. Her! Trinity! Look at me I want to help you. I want to get you out of here but you have to help me do it. Turn around, please. Turn around."

In the cage near the middle of them all, the girl who sat still and quite with her head resting unnaturally on her shoulder turned around and watched him gasp. "What?" Trinity asked through lips nothing more than shredded meat. She stared him, her head on her shoulder, her face smashed in, and one eyeball bulging out of its socket. When he flinched, she gave a smile nearly hideous enough to freeze the raging river below her.

Raven found it very hard to look at her, he wanted to turn away, wanted to run away. There was nowhere to go and nothing to do but stand back and fully appreciate his handy work all over her face. What a jagged little pill, but Raven swallowed it the best he could before he opened his mouth. "I'm gonna throw this to you, you catch it, you tie it around the bars and then I'm going to swing you this way and pull you down, got it?"

"Why? What do you care? Why should I trust you?"

"You're gonna burn in that river," Raven warned.

"So what?" She turned away from him again.

"So what? What...so....so you don't deserve that, do you? You didn't do anything. Let me help you, I'll take you back to the Fields where you'll be happy."

"I was happy on Olympus," she mumbled. "You were my Brother, you were supposed to protect me, look out for me not kill me. You're only doing this so you can rule Olympus one day."

"I want to help you, please, Trin, I'm gonna throw this, we'll only get one shot if the rope lands in the river it's gone. So get up and catch it. Let me help, let me get you out of that cage." Raven waited but she didn't turn around and she didn't say anything. "I'm sorry," he muttered looking down at the rope in his hands and feeling the nasty sensation of guilt run through him. "I never should have…I'm sorry, Trin." Words he never thought he would utter fell out of his lips, "Please forgive me."

Women of War
Book 5
Lisa Beth Darling


Genre: Mythological/paranormal,
dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama,
contemporary

Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing

Date of Publication: February, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615767611
ASIN: B00BEJPA3S

Number of pages: 206
Word Count: 58,000

Book Description


Venture on a Mystical Journey through Time and Secrets Past This story spans four generations of women in Alena's family from her great-grandmother, Shar Draïocht the last known Queen of the Dark Kingdom. Morrowind, her tortured daughter. Maven, Alena's free spirited mother. And ends the night Alena washed up on Ares' shore. With intensity, lust, fear, and strength these Women of War make their way in the world revealing the hidden truths of the past and Ares true connection to his beloved Wife, Alena.

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Excerpt Women of War


Sitting in the dank cell hour after hour and day after day, time lost all meaning. Not even the rancid food came to him on anything that resembled a steady basis. All Ares knew for sure was that one moment he'd been doing his best to sleep on the tilting cot with his knees hanging over the foot of it when the cell door burst open and a full battalion of the Queen's Guard rushed him. Wrestling him to the ground, they clasped him in chains and dragged him to the center of their little underground village. The whole town gathered to witness, torches, staffs, and readily available throwing items in hand. They hissed at him, cursed him, and tossed their stones while guards led him up to a round platform with a pillar of granite jutting out of the middle. Ares needed no introduction to the structure or to learn its intended purpose, after all he invented the whipping post.

Understanding their intention, Ares fought as mightily as he could with his ankles and wrists bound together. "I'm a GOD! How dare you try to whip me?" he railed as he threw off the guards to deliver double axe handle blows upon them, but they were so damn small and agile that he kept missing them. This infuriated him mostly because he was so large they couldn't help but land their return blows on his half-naked frame. It wasn't long before the Queen's Guards knocked his legs out from under him with a heavy blow of a study staff. Once on his knees, blows landed on his head, shoulders, and jaw. Ares discovered that tiny fists hurt a great deal. Bloody and dazed, they shoved him down on all fours and attached the chains on his wrists to the post.

Looking out at the crowd with seething eyes, he cursed them. "You're going to regret this."

"I think not," replied a soft but stern voice from behind him.

Ares looked back over his shoulder to see Shar Draiocht standing there, whip in hand, ready to dole out the punishment they thought he so rightly deserved. "Unusual for a Queen to get her hands so dirty," he snarled.

"It's a special occasion," she hissed back as she brought the whip forward with a practiced wrist. It licked between his shoulder blades and split open a wide swatch of his olive flesh.

Each time the whip sliced through his perfect flesh, Ares snarled, "You bitch!"

With every crack of the whip the crowd shouted out, "Hazzar!" They raised their staffs in victory.

Queen Shar gave Ares God of War fifty lashes before she dropped it to the floor and took her leave in silence. The guards left him tied to the post, sweating, bleeding and in agony for the next five days.

Kingdoms of War
Book 6
Lisa Beth Darling



Genre: Mythological/paranormal,
dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama,
contemporary

Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing

Date of Publication: June, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692248409
ASIN: B00LEVJAJ6

Number of pages: 496
Word Count: 190,000

Book Description


With nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls, Ares and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. Unleashed by Apollo, Major Falls—a weaponized version of the flu and rabies-- has wiped out every person of watery Mortal Blood.

From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule. For the last millennium the Dark Kingdom has sent small legions of its Daughters in search of its Lost Queen. Among their number is Lenora, a sharp tongued Dark Fae who joins up with ARES hoping to get close to its leader, Raven. And she does.

The Wolf inside the God of War contracts Major Falls. As Ares and Athena wander the world hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction he slowly succumbs to the sickness taking over his fevered rabid mind. Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored nor fight to keep his Wife. If he does, how high will be the price for Ares' life? How long will Alena have to keep paying Apollo even once Ares is crowned King of Olympus?

With devastating consequences shattering their lives will Ares ever be able to swallow his pride and forgive Alena when the truth is revealed or will she take her place on the Throne of the Dark Kingdom leaving Olympus and Ares behind forever?

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Excerpt Kingdoms of War


Apollo looked off into the distance and to the glittering reflection of stars dancing on the ocean surface. "Just thought I'd check in and see how things are going." He glanced back to the opening of the cave. "I take it they're not going well."

"A hundred million dead aren't enough for you? You have to come here and watch three more die?"

Apollo looked down at his feet and kicked his feet around a little. "Actually, we're closer to two hundred million-left alive that is," Apollo proudly crooned before raising his golden eyes back to the sea to wonder aloud.

That couldn't possibly be right. There was no way nearly six billion people dropped dead in a few short months. Apollo was playing her. "You're lying, you always lie."

"Awww, Maggie, you wound me." The Golden God hung his golden head but his eyes didn't stop shining as they stayed fixed on her. Holding her stormy stare firmly Apollo let his head roll up on his long neck as he wondered aloud. "Maybe those women in there don't have to die? Maybe I can help."

Ragging flooded through Alena's small frame. The fine tea cup in her hand tumbled to the ground at her feet and shattered as she reached out for his throat. "There is a cure? You son of a bitch!"

Apollo stood there unflinchingly but at the last second he batted away her angry talons as though she were no more than a fly. "Maybe, but you won't find out that way."

Knowing he couldn't be trusted, Alena took a step back and away from him, a step toward the edge of the cliff. "You're still lying! You're trying to get into my head, that's all. You don't have a cure. This is just another mind game of yours."

"Is it?" Apollo muttered thoughtfully. "Hmmmmm. Maybe. Maybe not."

Surely there was some pact with the devil to be made here and Alena wasn't interested in signing on the dotted line. "Get out of here. Nothing that comes from your venomous lips is the truth. You're just a nasty little boy with a wide cruel streak."

Apollo kept his voice tight as he bit back the sting of her barb. "Look into my eyes little Fae then tell me I'm lying," Apollo challenged as he took a purposeful step toward her. "As for my cruel streak, you haven't seen the worst of it yet." He glanced down at her hip hidden below the tight fitting blue jeans. "What did you tell my Brother about the scar? I know you didn't tell him it was me or I'd be dead. Is that because you dream of me in the night? This…nasty little boy," Apollo whispered seductively. "Now that the belt is no longer between us do you lay awake aching to know how I'd feel inside you?"

Instinct took over and Alena's little hand curled up into a tight little fist as she landed a right hook across Apollo's smug face. "You're a pig!" Alena spat and took another step away from him, another step closer to plunging off the cliff. "Get out!"

Apollo rubbed his cheek and ran his tongue along the inside to catch the salty taste of his Ichor. His golden eyes rolled in her direction, the rage in them unveiled. He wanted to hit her back but that wouldn't get him what he wanted. It wouldn't do him any good if she fell off the cliff either still he ventured one more step. Alena backed up, lost her footing and began to topple just as he slipped his arm around her waist to catch her. "Fine," he whispered, holding her close, "but when their eyes are glazed and the fever hits their brains, when they're foaming at the mouth, snarling, trying to bite everything that comes into view as they twist and turn in agony, " he glanced off toward the cave's opening and then smiled slyly, "don't say I didn't offer." Twirling her swiftly back to safety, Apollo chuckled and then disappeared from the cliff.


About the Author




It was in the 4th grade when Lisa discovered she was a naturally gifted writer. The teacher asked the class to pen a story about a baby bird's first flight and read them to the class. Putting pencil to paper, Lisa was instantly whisked away by a force she couldn't explain. When they were finished, all of the children read their happy stories to the class.

Not Lisa. She got up and told of how the baby bird flew too high, hit a plane, crashed to the ground and died. She told of how the mama bird and daddy bird cried of how even God was upset sending the rains pouring from the sky. The class was speechless when she finished all they could do was stare at her. The teacher kept her after class told her the story was very good but it was different from the others. She asked Lisa if she'd ever heard of Icarus and did she base her story on him. Lisa had yet to encounter Greek Mythology or hear a whisper of Icarus. As Lisa left the classroom the teacher again told her how good the story was but suggested she might want to write something happier next time. When Lisa asked her teacher why she had no answer. Luckily for us, Lisa I never took her advice.

Lisa Beth Darling is 49 years-old, lives in her hometown of New London, CT with her husband of nearly 30 years, Roy.  She is the author of more than fifteen novels along with several short stories and non-fiction books.


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