Sunday, May 7, 2017

Author Spotlight: Konn Lavery

Hello, fellow Booknatics!
We are so excited to share a new-to-us author with you all! Konn Lavery writes suspenseful and thrilling dark fantasy novels; and today, we have the honor of sitting down to talk with him and learn more about him and his series Mental Damnation.


Mental Damnation: Reality synopsis: Having her family murdered by the humans during her people’s banishment from the surface world, Krista and her only friend, Darkwing, struggle to remain alive. The pair of reptilian street scum live in their newfound home, the City of Renasence, dictated by a fascist military known as the Renasence Guard. The two find themselves at odds when Krista puts her faith in the Five Guardians’ goal of unification, while Darkwing chooses to stand with a notorious gang, the Blood Hounds, who are known for their anarchist viewsThis divide in their friendship forces Krista to persist on her own as the Five Guardians become crazed from an unknown disease - Mental Damnation. After their infection, the Guardians develop a bizarre interest in her, claiming they must reap her innocence for their newfound master, the Weaver.With a military dictatorship, politically-driven gangs and their guardians infected and on a hunt for her, Krista has limited options for survival: Does she fend for her life in the City of Renascence, against menacing forces, or risk leaving everything behind and enter the uncharted realm of the underworld?

Find the first book in the Mental Damnation series here: Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback)
And here: Goodreads




Our chat with the author:
Hi, Konn, and congratulations on your upcoming release! This novel sounds like one hell of a ride and we can’t wait to read it!
Hi Sky, thank you for having me! The novel is a rollercoaster, both in the story and the writing process.


From our understanding, this book is a second edition of a retired version. Was the process of re-writing an entire series a quick and easy one for you--or were there some struggles?
That is correct, the first edition of Mental Damnation: Reality came out in 2012 which was about 70,000 words. The new edition has just over 100,000 words and an encyclopedia in the back. The original manuscript dates back to 2007, so overall it has been 10 years in the works to get the story where it is today.
For this second edition – and the final – it was a fun process. I was not fully satisfied with the original release of Reality in 2012 but at the time it was the best I could do as a writer. Now in 2017, I have learned a lot of new techniques. Between my improved skill base and a collected list of feedback from readers, I was able to review Reality with a critical eye and make a lot of overhauls.
The one struggle through this new process was keeping true to the storyline of the series while making adjustments to characters, scenes and locations while remaining consistent. The early beta readers of the new edition have given good feedback and pleased to see that the story arch remains the same, while the narration reads like an entirely new novel.


What was your inspiration to write in your chosen genre?
My big inspiration for fantasy came from RPGs (Role Playing Games). I used to play a lot of Never Winter Nights, World of Warcraft and Diablo I. I was very much invested in these fantasy worlds, learning about the backstories and playing them over and over to see how different choices alter the story.
Ultimately the story intrigued me more than the gameplay which inspired me to write fantasy novels.

That's how Krystle and I met--we love RPG's!


Do you have any certain quirks while you write? For example, a certain space for writing, any music playing in the background, etc.?
Music without lyrics. I can mostly write anywhere, although I often choose a pub late at night. The big thing that I cannot work to is music with lyrics, I find hearing the vocalist really distracts from the written word. So I choose to only listen to instrumental music.


Do you put “Easter Eggs” in your books that only your close friends will know to find? Perhaps, maybe some true events that may have happened to you or someone you know.
Indeed. I have Easter Eggs that are related to my personal life. Only those that are close to me will really see the relation. I do my best to shroud it in fiction.
I also drop hints that connect my books together. I have always envisioned my novels being a part of the same universe and readers that want to search for the clues can find it.


For fun: Can you describe this book using only two words?
Mental Damnation :-)
Another would be: Twisted Fairytale


For your Mental Damnation series, did you have to do any research? If at all, maybe some research enlightened you on something new and even inspired an event or two in your book or any future writing?
I did do a bit of research into Christian, Aztec and Egyptian mythology to understand some of the different takes on hell, demons, angels and god. This was both for the novel and the visuals to go with it.
I also had to research different illnesses for the series to develop the brain disease Mental Damnation.


How many unfinished stories do you have stashed away? If any, do you think you will finish writing them?
Lots of stories, there is never enough time to tell them all. I am uncertain if I ever will. I keep an idea book by my bed and during my travels. Sometimes an idea sounds amazing at first and when I return to it months later, it wasn’t that good. Ideas also evolve and sometimes multiple ideas are merged into one.


What books do you like to read when you’re not writing?
I like to read nonfiction, a lot about spirituality, philosophy and science. Currently I am reading Looking In, Seeing Out: Consciousness and Cosmos by Menas Kafatos and Thalia Kafatou which is a heavy ready.


The first ever story you’ve ever written: What was it about and has anyone else read it?
My first story I finished when I was eleven, it was all over the map and had no congruency. My mother and brother have read it and will be the only two to ever read it.


Now that you are an experienced author: If you could give your younger-self just one tip on writing, what would it be?
Network earlier on. Writing is a very isolated experience and it is tough to get to know people in the industry. It is critical to introduce yourself to people so they know you and your writing.


We are so happy you stopped in with us and we sincerely hope to see you again for the next installment of the Mental Damnation series!  
Thanks for having me! The second novel will be out in the fall.


I'm about to hop over to his novel's Amazon page and smash that One-Click button! Happy reading, all! 









To get to know Konn Lavery even more and to keep up with what's new, visit his author pages!
Amazon | Facebook | Goodreads


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Author Spotlight: Jessica Strawser and her book 'Almost Missed You' !!!

Author Spotlight:

 

Jessica Strawser


 
 

 
 
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, ALMOST MISSED YOU is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
 

Buy now on Amazon

 
JESSICA STRAWSER is the editorial director of Writer's Digest magazine and a mother of two based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times Modern Love column, Publishers Weekly, and other fine venues, and she is a popular speaker at writers conferences nationwide. This is her first novel, with another due out from St. Martin's Press in 2018.
 
“A book worth losing sleep over. —RT Book Reviews
“Perfect for readers looking for something new after all of the ‘Girl’ thrillers … Gritty, witty, and a worthy addition to the recent slate of domestic dramas.” —Booklist Online
“Strawser’s explanation of marriage, its expectations, and motherhood are spot-on, making for an absorbing read. —Publishers Weekly
“Fans of smart women’s fiction mixed with a fast-paced plot should not miss this startling first novel. —Library Journal
NEW FROM ST. MARTIN'S PRESS IN HARDCOVER, DIGITAL & AUDIOBOOK!
 
Jessica StrawserBy day, Jessica Strawser is the Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. By night, she is a fiction writer with a debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU, forthcoming in 2017 from St. Martin’s Press and another stand-alone novel to follow in 2018. And by the minute, she is a proud wife and mom to two super sweet and super young kids in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A Pittsburgh native and “Outstanding Senior” graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she counts her New York Times Modern Love essay and her Writer’s Digest cover interviews with such luminaries as Alice Walker, Anne Tyler and David Sedaris among her career highlights.
 

Stalk her below!

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Blitz! Seduction Games by Allyson Lindt!

Let the Games Begin!

Seduction Games (previously released as Will Game for Cookies) is book 1 of 2 in the Game for Cookies series, and it's on sale now!

Blurb

Andi’s been denied funding—again—to expand her cookie business, and walked in on her boyfriend screwing another woman. Saying she’s had better days is an understatement.
Kane and Isaiah, her online gaming partners and the cutest couple ever as far as Andi’s concerned, know exactly how to cheer her up. They’re thinking road trip to Las Vegas, compete in a national first person shooter competition for a cash grand prize, and find her a one night stand to take her mind off her cheating ex.
Andi’s all in… except she’s not sure she can seduce a random hookup. Isaiah and Kane offer to give her some hands-on experience. With each new lesson, it becomes harder for Andi to remember the guys are just friends.
If Andi can’t put some distance between their seductive three-way hookups and her heart, it will cost their team the competition, and she’ll lose two of the best friends she’s ever had.

Excerpt

Kane nudged Isaiah, and they shared another look. That would be nice—to have conversations without ever saying a word. Isaiah squeezed my hand before pulling away. “We’ll teach you.”
“How to seduce a guy?” I couldn’t keep the disbelief from my voice. “I don’t think that’s a teachable kind of thing. Especially in the next two days.”
Kane raised his brows and drew his lips into a thin line. “If you’re not interested, say no.”
I was, though. As completely implausible as the outcome seemed, I liked the idea of feeding James a taste of his own medicine, and I couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous or patient instructors. “I’m interested. When do we start?”
“Now.” Isaiah scooted to my side of the booth, boxing me in. His heat seeped into my arm, drawing already tingling nerve endings further to life. He shifted so he faced me, knee resting on the vinyl and pressing into my leg. When he tugged on one of my braids, I almost groaned. Where had that come from?
When I got a room tonight and had a little alone time, I was going to spend some time gliding my fingers over every inch of my body where these two touched in my fantasies. It was kind of a shame I’d left my vibrator behind, but over the past few months, I’d gotten good at getting myself off while James snored away next to me. At least tonight, I wouldn’t have to be quiet.

About Allyson Lindt

Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.

Find Allyson Lindt Online

The Edgeworld Chronicles - Subject 5691:Petri --- Coming Soon From Elaina M. Roberts!!






 
 
 
 
Created in a laboratory. Trained to be the perfect soldier. He has no name, no past, and no future. He is Subject 5691. One of thousands such experiments...and the only one who lived. Now he's free.

Grokhaar Xandria is an edgeworlder: a native from a world hovering just outside Alliance control. He’s an independent trader, a rogue, a scavenger, and a smuggler who longs for someone to share the skies, his bed, and his heart.

In a desperate bid for freedom, the experiment forces his way onto the Den’Lastrian Diamond and into Grokhaar’s life. As they fight their way across the galaxies, Subject 5691 must carve out his own identity, escape from the scientists who created him, and discover if a genetically created being has the capacity for love.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
“I am not what you think I am, Grokhaar Xandria.”
 
“No?” He slid his hands to twine their fingers together. Inching forward until their chests brushed with every breath, he nudged his knee between the male’s legs. “I think you’re everything and more, lad. You’re beautiful and maddening and sexy. Your skin is smooth as the finest satin. Your eyes draw me in until I could happily drown in their glow. I’m so hard right now it hurts, and I want to kiss you so bad I can barely think straight.”
“Why?” The word was a whisper on a breeze. A breath of sound that stirred him in all the right places.
“You’ve got no idea what you do to me, do you?” He moved in closer and ran his lips over silky hair and down one smooth cheek. Cradling the male’s hand, he pulled it from the wall and pressed it over his pounding heart. The soft inhale encouraged him to be bold. He urged their hands lower, down his chest and over the ridges of his stomach, until he closed their fingers around his dick. He didn’t know who groaned loudest. “Fuck waiting.”
He tried to keep the kiss gentle, to give the male a chance to turn away—Minost knows he tried—but his lips were so soft, so tempting. At the first spicy taste, his brain turned to mush and his libido took over. He nipped at the lush fullness of the plump bottom lip and then soothed the sting with his tongue. Each pointed fang called to him. Their sharp tips drew blood from his tongue and lips, blood he was happy to lose when it caused the male to gasp, to open to further plunder, to arch his lithe body against him.
Grokhaar slid his hand down the lad’s arm to tangle in his hair. Tilting his head, he pulled him closer and deepened their kiss. Every centimeter of his mouth was a new discovery, a new treasure of taste and desire. The first tentative brushes of the lad’s tongue against his nearly caused his undoing.
Tharking Azhell, he wanted this male, but not now and not like this. The boy deserved better than a quick fuck against a cold wall in the middle of the Between. He deserved hours of slow, thorough exploration. With his tongue. Groaning, Grokhaar lifted his head and rested it on the male’s shoulder. His pulse pounded in his ears as fast as a galloping oonta.
“That,” he brushed his lips over the heated skin, “is what you do to me.”


 
 
 
 
 
 
https://www.facebook.com/elainawrites/?hc_ref=SEARCH

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XVZC6SH
Pre-Order Today!
 


 



 


















 

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Release Blitz, Giveaway, and Review for - Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter!!

Beauty of the Beast

by Rachel L. Demeter Fairy Tale Retellings, #1 Publication Date: March 15, 2017 Genres: Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling, Gothic Romance, Adult

๐ŸŒน Special $2.99 sale price through March 19th ๐ŸŒน

๐ŸŒน Buy ๐ŸŒน

 
 

๐ŸŒน Book Blurb ๐ŸŒน

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist. A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago. A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more… Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice. Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist. Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

๐ŸŽฌ Book Trailer ๐ŸŽฌ


 
 

๐ŸŒน Excerpt ๐ŸŒน

~ Isabelle bravely takes her papa’s place ~

Quite a while later, as Isabelle relaxed and soaked in the hearth’s warmth, she found herself nodding off to sleep. Her mind detached from the stress of the past few days and receded to another time and place. She recalled her journeys with Papa when she’d been little more than a girl. All the villages they’d passed through; all the faces they’d seen. She thought of reading fairy tales beneath a bejeweled sky, of leaning against a mountain of crates as Papa pointed out the constellations and their eternal stories— Rattling seized her attention and ruptured her thoughts. She peered at Papa, who was carefully examining his teacup. Not with his sightless eyes, of course—but with wandering fingertips. The same impressive coat of arms engraved the fine proclaim; Papa ran his weathered fingers over its surface, clearly in awe of the raised gold decorations and studded gems. The thing must have cost a small fortune. Indeed, she’d never beheld such finery. Even the wares Papa had once sold paled in comparison. The faded brim of his top hat hung low and covered his glassy eyes. Then her mouth went dry as he slipped the teacup inside his coat. Has he gone mad—or simply grown that desperate? It was completely unlike Papa to steal. How could he—and after being shown hospitality? Her outcry startled him. He half leapt from the chair—and Isabelle watched in horror as the teacup tumbled out from the coat. It rattled and rolled onto the stone ground, shattering into a million pieces. A gloved hand broke through the darkness, quicker than a lightning strike. The hooded figure emerged from the shadows and seized Papa by his cravat. His other hand clasped a branch of flickering candles. The illumination flashed across the dark folds of his cloak, soaking him in a pool of light. “Stealing from me, are you? Breaking my family’s keepsakes?” A sharp jerk forced Papa to his feet. The rough movement sent the top hat tumbling from his head and onto the stone floor. Papa’s waxen features melted into an expression of horror and confusion. Her heart pounding, Isabelle lunged forward and frantically cried out, “Let him alone! It was an accident. Don’t you see that you’re frightening him?” “Good.” The simple declaration threw Isabelle into stunned silence. Papa called out for her as the man strode from the sitting room, his solid legs eating up the ground in swift, decisive strides. Mon Dieu, he was physically dragging Papa through the castle. This isn’t happening. It cannot be… “Stop it! Stop it now—you monster!” Isabelle picked up her skirts and frantically chased after them. Parts of the castle were dark and unkempt, causing her to trip several times over wayward pieces of furniture. Her heart violently pounded in her ears. The man moved impressively fast; between his agile stride and sweeping cloak, he almost appeared to float through the corridors. Plopping onto the stone floor, his dog gave up trying to keep pace. Dust motes rose and fell in midair like ashes, obscuring her vision. She followed the branch’s illumination, watching as the candlelight threw prisms along the walls and floor. “Please, monsieur. Have mercy, I beg you! He didn’t know any better. He's not in his right mind. He would never—” “No one steals from me.” His low voice echoed in the darkness, steady as a war drum. Isabelle felt herself descending. She ducked as she crossed a low archway, where she was met with a steep flight of stairs. A mouth into Hell. The ceiling lurked unusually low and was strung with cobwebs. Isabelle hiked up her skirts, which were now a filthy mess, and raced down the decayed steps. The hooded figure kept a swift pace while she desperately pursued Papa’s frightened cries. Plagued by the darkness, Isabelle tripped and crashed down the stone steps. Pain cascaded through her body, knocking the breath from her lungs. Her skinned knees and elbows throbbed, her heart pounded, her head burned. She spared a moment to catch her breath as she struggled to her feet and resumed her vain quest. Papa’s muffled pleas and the sound of slamming bars ripped at her very soul. The dank dungeon was nearly black. She slowed her pace, moving toward a beam of light at the far end. Rats the size of kittens scurried across the stone floor and filled the darkness with their terrible squeaking. Her heart thudding, Isabelle rushed through the maze of cells, following Papa’s voice and that flickering light. Chains and crude-looking objects littered the ground—torture devices from a past age, she realized with a shudder. She found them. Papa was grasping the rusted bars; disoriented and frightened, he was murmuring incoherent pleas. Tears fell from his sightless eyes, though Isabelle knew he fought to restrain them. The branch of candles sat in front of the cell, its wavering light illuminating his terrified expression. “Forgive me. I have wronged you when you showed my daughter and me hospitality and mercy. Please, monsieur!” The man towered before him, silent and still. His long arms remaining crossed, he stood with his lean torso straighter than a broadsword. His hood was drawn back, though Isabelle couldn’t see his face from her angle. “Papa, I’m here,” she said beneath the weight of a strained breath. “I-Isabelle?” Not sparing a moment, she dashed over to the cell—and the man slowly rotated into sight. Except he resembled more of a beast than any man she’d ever seen. Isabelle clamped both hands over her mouth and forced her eyes away. The sight burned—and the inferno in his gaze only kindled that fire. Half of his face looked monstrously twisted; charred mounds of puckered flesh distorted the features beyond any recognition, draining him of all traces of humanity. Those heaps of burned, leather-like skin gleamed and glistened in the candlelight. His hairline receded on the left side of his face and slanted high above a shriveled ear. Under the severe scarring, his age was more or less indistinguishable—though Isabelle guessed he wasn’t a day under thirty-five. But his eyes were breathtaking. Two brilliant sapphires. There was also a great sadness and anger in those eyes, as if he’d suffered more than his share of original sin. Alas, as she gazed into his eyes, all she saw was blue ice—an endless, arctic landscape of cold desolation. The man turned away, appearing greatly affected by her stare, and hastily rearranged the hood. His scarred hands trembled as he smoothed down the cloak’s thick folds. “Release him,” she demanded. “He didn’t mean any harm. I—” “No one meddles with my family’s possessions. He can rot down here as my prisoner. He ought to count himself fortunate that I haven’t taken his hand.” “Your prisoner? This... this is a mistake! You must believe me. He’d never—” A deep, husky chuckle cut through her plea. “Even so.” “Please. Just let him out.” “It’s too late for that.” Those words seemed to speak volumes. He exhaled a long breath, and Isabelle watched as it unfurled against the darkness in a cloud. Silence. “Why... why are you so angry? Why must you be so hateful? So cruel?” “If I let him go,” he said at length, “what can you offer in return?” Isabelle couldn’t find her tongue. She wandered directly in front of the cell, almost in a lucid trance, and clasped the cold bars. Papa was huddled in the corner now, coughing and shivering. Guilt, unlike anything she’d known before, pulsated through her. I’m to blame for this. And if Papa stays here, he’ll die well within a fortnight, likely much sooner… “Get out of my sight.” The man’s voice jarred Isabelle from her inward stupor. She turned to him and stepped forward, raising her chin at a defiant angle. I am not so easily broken or frightened. I am a survivor. She scanned her empty, dank surroundings: the cold stone walls, sweeping cobwebs, and blazing branch of candles. Despair encased her. Stark emptiness. She dared to step closer while a faint trace of pity bloomed inside her heart. They stood centimeters apart. Heat radiated from the man’s body, surrounding her, immersing her. Isabelle vainly searched for softness him, but only a dark, embittered spirit reached her. She stared up at his towering frame and gestured for him to bow forward. He hesitated, then did as she commanded. Her hands shook, damn her, as she peeled back his hood and met that piercing gaze again. Half of his face was handsome—devastatingly so. In her twenty-two years of life, she’d never beheld such haunting beauty. Jet black waves, rich and flowing, framed the chiseled lines of his startling features. Stubble peppered the strong curve of his jawline and shadowed a smooth, sculpted cheekbone. The right side of his face was striking, beautiful—a stark contrast to its wrecked counterpart. And within those patrician angles and intense eyes, she encountered his humanity. His was a face of inconsistencies. Complex. Damaged. Predatory. And more than a bit intriguing. “I will stay with you,” she heard herself whisper. “In my father’s place.” “Isabelle—no! I forbid it!” The man folded long, strong arms across his broad chest. His gaze crawled down her face and settled on the rise of her breasts—planting directly on her silver cross. “I demand he’s seen by the finest of physicians.” “Isabelle! Listen to me! I’m an old man. I’m dying. I—” The man’s dark, strangely erotic voice cut through the cellar, and his eyes whipped back to her own with a startling force. “As my mistress.” “What?” “You must stay here as my mistress. For as long as I demand. Perhaps forever.” Forever. The word rang with a note of finality. “Please, Isabelle! I beg you. Don’t do this!” How could I endure it? “Do as I say and your father shall safely return home.” He waved his cloaked arms with a magician’s delicate grace. “Your father—whatever family you may have—shall want for nothing. A house, clothing, anything they require. You only need to say the word. Your father will be under my protection—under the care of nurses and physicians—until his last breath.” Isabelle briefly recalled what—and who—was waiting for her back in Ruillรฉ. This fate wouldn’t be much worse. This desolate castle could serve as the perfect hideout. Papa would live in France, free from Raphael’s clutches and in the hands of the world’s greatest physicians… “How... how can I trust you?” And does he even have the wealth to uphold such a promise? “You cannot.” She had faith Papa would send help once his health recovered. Or she’d find a way out, means of escape. In the interim, she would survive this grim castle and whatever horrors it concealed. Papa would not. The castle would crush him beneath its dark heel in a matter of days. Isabelle glanced at Papa again, then stared into the man’s brilliant eyes. There, lurking within those expressive depths, she found the softness she’d pursued minutes before. She sucked in her breath and nodded her agreement. “It is done.” The man swept backward. “He’s to remain down here till first light. Then our agreement shall be carried out. In the meantime, I will bring blankets and food—” “But it’s so cold! He—” “Stole from me while he was a guest in my castle.” He would not compromise. That much was certain. “I demand to stay with him.” “As you please.” He unlocked the cell. “Beyond the dungeon lies a labyrinth. Try to escape, and you’ll be lost forever.” He tapped the wall with his booted heel. It swiveled, spun, and rotated, sweeping her captor to the other side...

๐ŸŒน Excerpt ๐ŸŒน

~ Adam gives Isabelle his library ~

“Close your eyes, ma belle.” Strong hands cupped either side of her face. She felt as Adam’s thumbs tentatively brushed back and forth, stroking her cheeks in reverent caresses. Isabelle shut her eyes and slipped beneath his spell... leaned closer in the darkness until they stood heartbeat to heartbeat. The warmth of his breaths teased her hairline, bringing with them a minty scent. His thumbs descended to just below her chin. She lowered her face... felt a featherlight kiss land on her brow. It happened so subtly and gently—Isabelle wasn’t sure whether she’d imagined it. She was allowing herself to feel too much. A stab of guilt penetrated her chest as her thoughts crept inward. Yet instincts told her to trust in her gut—to allow her heart to speak over her tumultuous thoughts. So she shoved away her guilt and allowed herself to simply feel. Pounding footfalls echoed in the room, attesting to its sheer size. Isabelle waited in anticipation under the veil of darkness, her small hands knotted in Stranger’s wiry coat. The steady beat of Adam’s boots floated away from her. A loud whipping noise and a burst of light illuminated the room as he tugged a heavy damask curtain aside. “Open your eyes, Isabelle.” She did as he commanded. Shafts of sunlight tore inside, dancing across the marble floor in blaring prisms—though the darkness still obstructed the room’s contents. Isabelle’s imagination soared as she fantasized about what lay in those clotted shadows. Pale light fringed Adam’s formidable shape, contrasting his silhouette against the dim atmosphere. He paused in front of the opened window and folded both arms behind his ramrod-straight back. Isabelle gazed at the line of his body, unable to tear her eyes away. Indeed, light from the window set him aglow, shrouding him in a cloak of gold. He wore black trousers and a white silk shirt, which fluttered lightly when he moved. Over the past several days, he’d made a habit of abandoning the cloak and hood. Isabelle had become accustomed to the mismatched sides of his face; where she once felt horror and revulsion, she now tingled with curiosity and budding admiration. Alas, the only true revulsion that remained was the memory of that night… Adam was an undeniably prideful man, and she knew he’d only scorn her pity. Even his stance exuded a sense of importance and authority. Strange, how he was so often shy and almost childlike; then, as if by a flip of a coin, he’d turn regal, confident. It was as though he was battling two separate halves... as if an intricate part of himself kept fighting to emerge. Not unlike the two contrasting sides of his face, Isabelle mused. For a suspended moment, he stood in front of the conservatory window, his scarred hands planted on his lean hips as he surveyed the distant gardens. Then he crossed the room, his footfalls amplified by the medallion flooring, and thrust open another curtain. Whoosh. Light flooded the space and chased away the shadows, and the room’s contents were ushered into view. Isabelle nearly lost her breath at the sight. It was a beautiful library—the most stunning sight she’d ever beheld. Ornate, intricately carved shelves towered against the painted walls and reached for a gilded ceiling. A baroque chandelier hung in the heart of the room; its crystals sparkled like diamonds as they drank in morning’s light. Isabelle fought to temper her racing heart as she gaped at the sweeping shelves. An intimate reading nook lined a curved window; lush pillows decorated the chaise, and a brass candelabra towered beside it. In all her life, she’d never seen so many books. There were far too many to count. Too many books to read in one lifetime. Isabelle couldn’t help but think of the little storekeeper from Ruillรฉ’s bookshop; she imagined his astonishment, how his bushy white brows would rise at the sight of Adam’s vast library. He’d run his wrinkled fingertips over the bindings and spines, reverently caressing each one. Her heart twisted with nostalgia at the thought of her former home. Once Raphael had entered her life, however, Ruillรฉ had transformed into a prison. This castle should have been just that. A jail cell. Yet she’d never felt more free than in that moment. The library was larger than her whole cottage; several book-filled rooms connected to it, each one built with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Three sliding ladders were nestled against the circular walls, soaring to the very top of the domed ceiling. She spun on her heels, twirling in place—watching as the immense collection flurried by in a fantastic mosaic of colorful spines and intricate woodwork. Her eyes planted on Adam, who stood in front of the large row of glowing, arched windows. His arms were still folded behind his body, his sleek back straighter than an arrow. She couldn’t find her voice, couldn’t move forward, although she ached to reach out and embrace his solid body. How would it feel to be enveloped inside that commanding strength? A devastating smile spread across his misshapen features and cut her thought short. He ran a shaky hand through his hair, which was highlighted by the sun’s rays, and then hesitantly strode toward her. His boots rapped against the floor, and the sound swelled through the library. Stranger barked as he approached, the loud noise echoing in the room and jarring Isabelle from her trance. “Do... do you like it?” Finally he stood before her, silent and still. Isabelle inhaled a long breath, then laid her palm on the left side of his face. Her fingertips danced over the raised ridges and welts, the reddish scars and shriveled ear. His eyes shuttered closed, and she felt a shudder rake through his tense body. “Yes. I love it.” And I'm starting to fall in love with you, too...  
 
 
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I was offered this book in exchange for an honest review, and once I started reading it...

I. Could. Not. Stop!

This is my first book that I've read with this author, and it's like she knew that I adore Beauty and the Beast. I think she's psychic??! Ha. That being said, if anyone is a fan of the classic, Beauty and the Beast, you have to give this book a try because you won't be disappointed! Especially since this is the grown up version * wink wink *

Okay, enough fan-girling, so about the book – Ms. Demeter is very good at describing everything, she makes you feel like you're actually in the book with the characters, experiencing what they're feeling and what not. I like that. Also, it flowed very nice. You're not bored within the first 30 minutes of reading saying to yourself, “Is this going to pick up soon, or what?!” It pretty much took off from the start. For Isabelle to really be strong and find herself, she needs to get her and her father away from the antagonist of the story Raphael. Did I mention the author is good at making you feel what the characters are feeling? Because you will really dislike that man! Unlike Adam...poor damaged Adam! I fell in love with his character. He was a really good “Beast” with his disfigurement from his injuries he had as a kid; his personality and attitude towards everyone fit the book perfectly and when Isabelle came along she turned his complacent world upside down!

5 huge stars from me, and I really look forward to reading more in this 'Fairy tale Retellings' series if the author continues it!
 
 
 
 
 

๐ŸŒน Meet the Author ๐ŸŒน

 
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul. Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words. Don’t be a stranger! Rachel loves to connect and interact with her readers:

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