Friday, 31 October 2014

BLOG TOUR - Love's Last Call by Beth Matthews (Playlist & Giveaway)

Love’s Last Call by Beth Matthews
(Ladies of Jezebel’s #1)
Publication date: October 20th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Lucy York is an aspiring mechanical engineer working as a shot girl serving watered-down drinks to drunken frat boys at Jezebel’s Bar & Lounge. The job isn’t so bad—it pays her bills, and she’s managed to make a surrogate family for herself at the bar. But now, at 24, she’s ready to spread her wings and fly north to attend UC Berkeley and, maybe, distance herself a little from the all-consuming social scene at Jezebel’s.

Then her boss hires a new bouncer, Norm, a literature dork who seems like everything a bouncer shouldn’t be: tall, gangly, sweet (and, you know, named Norman). But as she gets to know him, ol’ Norm turns out to be everything Lucy never knew she wanted and the best friend she’s ever had. He’s not a bad bouncer either.

One obstacle to their happily ever after: the owner has a strict no-dating rule for employees. If anyone at Jezebel’s finds out she’s dating a bouncer, Lucy will lose her job, her surrogate family, and the money she needs to go to Berkeley.

But, if she loses Norm, is she losing her best chance at happiness?




Link to the playlist on YouTube:

"My Sharona"--The Knack
I love the beat on this song, it's one of those can't skip on the iPod songs. It's also the song that's playing in the bar during the opening chapters of the book.

"There She Goes"--The Las
This is the song for when the hero first sees the heroine. He falls hard. And it only gets better once he gets to know her. This is a song that is perfect, I think, for total infatuation.

The bar setting in my book has a piano player who sings covers of old rock tunes so there's a LOT of Journey songs on my mental playlist. This song is playing in the car when the hero and heroine are first alone together and it becomes "their" song.

"Under Pressure"--Queen and David Bowie
The heroine is trying to balance a stressful waitressing job with college classes and a secret romance. She feels a little "under pressure" most of the time. ;P

"Waking Up in Vegas"--Katy Perry
This was my personal "theme song" for the book. I would play it before I started writing everyday. I wanted something chaotic but also fun and tender.

"Open Arms"--Journey
Can never have too much Journey. Also, this is about the two leads getting over their problems to try and be together.

"Good Old-Fashioned Loverboy"--Queen
Tongue in cheek song for the first love scene. ^_^

"Same Changes"--The Weepies
The heroine is falling hard for the hero…

"Even Angels Fall"--Jessica Riddle
The "dark moment" song.

"Blackbird"--Evan Rachel Wood cover
The heroine finally telling herself she can do it. She can fix things.

"Better Together"--Jack Johnson
The "Happily Ever After" song. This would play over the end credits of the movie version.


Beth Matthews is a California girl, born and raised. She’s a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. She lives in sunny SoCal with her boyfriend and two of the neediest housecats on the planet.

Author Links:

(US only)

BOOK BLITZ - Evernight by Candace Knoebel (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Evernight by Candace Knoebel
(Night Watchmen #2)
Publication date: October 31st 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
The stunning sequel to the thrilling paranormal romance novel Everlasting!

One lie will change everything.

Faye Middleton has secured the Dagger of Retribution for the High Priesthood, but in doing so, she’s opened the door to more demands set by them. She now has to break the Holy Seal, and soon. Trapped in the alluring Ethryeal City, Faye is pushed to the breaking point trying to discover just what she is truly capable of, even if it means destroying herself in the process.

With the clock ticking down to the war between both Covens, and the truth about her parent’s mysterious disappearance within her reach, Faye is faced with tough choices that will forever change her. Will Faye be able to handle the demands from the Priesthood, and still be able to continue her search for her parents?

But more importantly, can she survive the truth she finds?


In fact, most of our world was built on the foundation of lies, some with the intent to serve the greater good, and others with the intent to serve one person’s giant ambitions. But the root of every lie is exactly the same. They’re all equally deceitful, treacherous propositions spewed from the mouths of men and woman alike.
Lies have the power to sound right, yet feel wrong. They have the ability to confuse your heart and twist your mind. The problem is, sometimes these lies become easier to believe than the truth. They become a sort of safety net from reality, a way to avoid what lingers in the back of your mind. And some say that over time, if you believe them long enough, they become real.
At least, that’s what my mother had hoped would happen in my case. But just like every lie ever told, all it takes is one small crack in that foundation for the whole thing to come crashing down.
And it did.
Because everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie. A beautiful and heartrending lie. I wasn’t the Defect my parents would regretfully see off to college before turning their backs on me. I wasn’t the weak friend who didn’t have enough backbone to stand up for what’s right, nor was I the loner without a purpose or a chance at real love. And I sure as hell wasn’t the weapon Bael and the members of the Darkyn Coven intended me to be.
But I am the weapon the Primeval Coven needs me be. Or so they keep saying.
In my Coven, there are two kinds of people: The Hunters and the Witches. They used to hate each other, even though they were on the same team, back in the old days when cars didn’t exist and time was tracked on a sundial. They hated each other so much that eventually a war was brought on by one of the original Witches—a Divine named Mourdyn.
The war was known as the Great Battle of the Covens. It was meant to wipe out the existence of every Hunter, and it devastated the population of my people, the Primevals. It annihilated the population of the Darkyns—the Witches who abandoned our Coven to follow the whims of Mourdyn and his persuasive lies.
But even though a lie can be struck down—imprisoned even—it can’t ever be fully erased. The scars it leaves behind on this earth and in our hearts are eternal, and somewhere along the way, someone will pick that lie back up and breathe life into it once more. Give it the wings it needs to rise again. Only, this time, that lie will be stronger, with an even greater purpose.
And that’s the part that scares me the most.
I glance down at my leg. The burn marks left behind from Bael’s wrath still tingle with echoes of the scorching fire he sent after me after I escaped with Weldon, reminding me that I’m nowhere near ready for the fight that’s sure to come.
And that has to change.
That’s part of why I agreed to come here to Ethryeal City—to the heart of our Coven. It’s where Hunters and Witches in an affinity bond enter as Night Watchmen and leave as Elites. Where those who have broken our Coven laws go to face the High Priesthood. Where those who need refuge… those like me… come to hide.
The only thing is, I never agreed to being separated from everyone I know. They call it debriefing, but with every day that passes, I’m beginning to wonder… to question how long it actually takes.
It’s been seven days and fourteen hours since my unfortunate and unplanned encounter with Bael—the Demon King of the Underground. In these last seven days, I’ve made more promises than I can count on two hands. And in those promises, I think I’ve told more lies than I ever have in my life.
Honesty seems to have slipped out of her bedroom from inside my integrity and, in her place, deceit has crept in with the offer of survival. If I just nod along with the many blending faces all interviewing me, then maybe somehow, I’ll make it out of this phase in my life alive. I’ll make it back into Jaxen’s arms and back into the graces of the friends I’ve come to trust.
But what deceit doesn’t offer is solace, because you can’t fool deceit. It knows every trick in the book.
Every day, twice a day, for the past four days, I’ve recounted in specific order how my friends and I nearly lost our lives in hopes that we’d gain an advantage on the Darkyn Coven and intercept them from taking the Dagger of Retribution. The one that has the power to initiate the removal of the Veil that separates the Underground and all its evil from the humans. The very Dagger that only I have the power to touch.
I’ve been singularly interviewed by every member on the Priesthood, and then by every general and Elder within the hierarchy of our Coven.
And I’m so very tired.
For the past four days, since I left the safe house beneath the church owned by the Night Watchmen, when I haven’t been in a laboratory undergoing strenuous testing, I’ve spent the remaining hours kept in a holding cell stripped of all personality. Chained down by claustrophobia. Shackled to the fears given free rein to destroy my hope.
I don’t have a home anymore. I have four white walls, one white jumpsuit, a white bed, white sheets… the color was bleached from my life the moment I crossed into the legendary Ethryeal City. I keep trying to remember the last time I saw Jaxen’s face, but my soul has fed so often on the happiness of that memory, I fear it’s disappearing. And I don’t know when I’m going to see him again.
They took everything away from me just to keep me repressed. Controlled. But what they don’t know is they cannot control what they do not own, and they do not own me. I can’t trust anyone. No one but myself, because all I know is I am more of a threat to them than I thought.
And the High Priesthood doesn’t know what to do with me.


Candace Knoebel is the award-winning author of Born in Flames-book one in a young adult fantasy trilogy. She discovered in 2009 through lunch breaks and late nights after putting her kids to bed, a world where she could escape the ever-pressing days of an eight to five Purgatory. And an outlet for all the voices residing in her head. 

Published by 48fourteen in 2012, Born in Flames went on to win Turning the Pages Book of the Year award in February of 2013. In January of 2014, the last book in the trilogy, From the Embers, was released, thusly completing the trilogy. She now works on the Night Watchmen Series, while guzzling Red Bulls and pretending to be a ninja on Heelys.

Author Links:

Blitz-wide giveaway 
  • Paperback copy of Evernight signed by the characters (US only)
  • e-Copy of the entire Night Watchmen Series (INTL)
  • e-Copy of the entire Born in Flames trilogy (INTL)
  • Night Watchmen button swag pack (US only)
  • 5 bookmark swag packs (US only)
  • Bracelet with charms (US only)
  • 5$ Amazon gift card (INTL)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

BOOK BLITZ - Kate Triumph by Shari Arnold

Kate Triumph by Shari Arnold
Publication date: October 16th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Normal is so overrated. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Kate Triumph tells herself everyday. But the truth is she lives in constant fear that someone will discover how not normal she really is. With her startling speed and her unusual ability to heal, Kate believes she’s something of a freak.
Then Andrew Shore arrives.
He claims he’s her father, sticks around for a few days and leaves her a plane ticket. “Come to Mercer Island,” he says. “Give me a chance to get to know you.” Soon Kate is floundering in a world of new: new address, new car, new high school and, of course, new father. Not to mention Zack, her intriguing new neighbor, who makes her want to abandon her steadfast rule of never allowing anyone to get too close. But when she discovers someone is trying to kill her, life for Kate gets a bit more complicated. And a lot less normal.


“I was thinking we could chat for a minute before Andrew gets home,” Zack says.
“I’d really love a shower,” I say.

“Well, I think it’s a little soon in our relationship for that, but, okay,” he drawls.
I whip around and find him leaning in the kitchen doorway. His arms are crossed in front of him and he’s laughing at me. At least his eyes are. The rest of him appears relaxed and too damn sexy. “It’s just a chat, Kate. I’m not asking for anything more than that.”
But I don’t believe him.
“Alright,” I say, and when he doesn’t immediately respond it’s my turn to raise an eyebrow. “What did you want to chat about, exactly?”
“You.” Zack smiles when he notices my frown. “What? I thought all girls loved to talk about themselves.”
I shrug. “I’m not exactly up on what other girls do.”
“Yeah, I kinda guessed that about you.” He moves into the room and sits on the arm of the big black couch. “I’m not sure if Andrew has told you or not but Brandon and I lost our parents a few years ago. Brandon was fourteen and I was sixteen.”
“He didn’t tell me.”
“Yeah, well, Andrew’s not much of a talker.”
“Neither am I,” I say.
Zack’s eyes narrow and then he smiles.
“You’ll get along fine then.”
When he doesn’t say anything more, just continues to stare at me with those eyes of his, I say, “what happened to your parents?” I didn’t want to ask but I get the feeling if I don’t contribute to this conversation soon he’ll just continue staring at me until I melt into a puddle right here on the stairs.
“My parents were killed in a small plane accident down in the Caribbean.”
“I’m so sorry.” I know it’s the proper response. I’ve heard it enough lately to know it by memory but it feels strange coming from my lips.
“I can’t imagine losing both parents. That really sucks.”
“Yeah. It does. You’re lucky to have Andrew.”
“Yeah, lucky.”
“You disagree?” he asks.
“Sorry. I just really hate that word, lucky. It implies that life is occasionally fair, and you and I both know that’s not the case.”
“Why, because we lost loved ones?”
“That’s one reason.”
Zack shakes his head. “That isn’t why I told you, Kate.”
“You mean you didn’t want this to be one of those bonding moments when two people realize they have something in common and suddenly a friendship is born?” I shrug my shoulders and take another step up the stairs. “I’m sorry about your parents.”
Zack slowly gets to his feet. I watch him take one step and then another until he’s standing right below me.
“No, I’m sorry, Kate.”
“About what?”
Zack’s eyes are narrowed on me now. The friendliness replaced with something else entirely. Something I can’t place. “I didn’t realize you thought I wanted to be friends.” His eyes drop to my mouth and hover there, until I’m so self conscious I pull my bottom lip in and bite it nervously.
“Okay, so you don’t want to be my friend,” I say.
“Then you won’t mind if I go upstairs now?”
“Actually I do.” He grips the railing on either side of me and leans so close our foreheads are almost touching. It’s way too close for me but I refuse to be the one to back away first. “Is this what I have to do to get you to look at me?” he asks.
“You mean invade my space?”
Zack’s smile turns into a smirk.
 “What’s your problem?” I ask when he doesn’t move away.
“That’s funny,” he says, and his breath tickles my eyelashes. “I was just going to ask you the same thing. I get that you’re sad. It sucks to lose someone. Believe me, I know. But I don’t think that’s what this is. This, I don’t give a damn, persona of yours. No, I think this is something else.”
“I don’t care what—” I stop talking when his eyes drop back down to my lips.
“What, Kate? Am I too close for you?”
“Am I making you uncomfortable? Asking too many questions?”
“Would you rather I stay on the other side of the room, maybe stop looking at you altogether?”
“Yes, I mean, I don’t really care what you do.”
“Really? I find that hard to believe.”
“Why?” I say far too softly.
Zack has me trapped on the stairs, my body bent backward to keep from touching him, but his eyes are like bands around my wrists, holding me in place. They burrow their way into my mind so that even when I blink all I can see are his gray-green eyes.
“What do you want, Zack? I’m tired and wet and I’m not really enjoying this game of yours.”
My game?” he says with a laugh. His white teeth flash at me and then his lips cover them with a smirk. “You must have me mistaken for someone else. I don’t play games.”
“Okay. You don’t play games. So this,” I point my finger back and forth between the two of us, “this is what you’d call chatting?”
Zack just smiles.

Shari Arnold grew up in California and Utah but now resides in Connecticut, with her husband and two kids, where she finds it difficult to trust a beach without waves. She writes Young Adult fiction because it's her favorite. And occasionally she takes photographs.

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COVER REVEAL - Reasons and Romance by Jenn Young

Reason and Romance by Jenn Young
Release Date: 12/09/14
Book Summary:
Being stuck in the godforsaken desert is Adrian Blake’s worst nightmare come true. Senior year is all about making fun memories. It’s not about starting over at a new school and navigating a new Brady Bunch family. It’s really not about living with a sexy, arrogant would-be stepbrother who knows how to push her buttons.

Alex Montgomery is the very definition of a player. The only thing he commits to is a one night stand. He’s exactly the kind of guy she hates­. When she sleeps with him, it’s the biggest mistake of her life. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Not at school. Not at home.

Sometimes the best mistakes are the ones that you make over and over again…

About the Author:
Jenn Young writes primarily Young Adult and New Adult. She used to write contemporary teen drama and romance under the pen name Myrika at Fictionpress. She also used to write under the pen name Moreta. Jenn is an unabashed lover of romance, soap operas, and paranormal/supernatural stories.

When Jenn's not working at her day job, she drinks too much coffee and buys too many books. She loves to hear from readers. Contact her via her website,, or follow her on Twitter at myrikami. She can be found on Facebook too. 

Author Links:
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Book Blitz Organized by:

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Release Day Launch: All Broke Down by Cora Carmack

ABD RDL Banner
 Yowza! We are extremely excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Cora Carmack's ALL BROKE DOWN!! ALL BROKE DOWN is a New Adult Contemporary Romance novel being published by HarperCollins, and it is the 2nd book in The Rusk University Series.

  All Broke Down

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2)
Cora Carmack
28th October 2014
NA Romance

About ALL BROKE DOWN: In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack’s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . . sometimes you have to fight for what you love. Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one. Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians—you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause. Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before—fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help. Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes**TBD

  ABD Teaser 1   


I think I get it then. That decision I saw in her eyes back in the kitchen. That’s what this, what I’m about for her, too. I’m just another part of whatever rebellion she started earlier today. About doing what she wants, not what’s expected of her. “We’re not talking about me, though,” she says. “So you went to meet your friend, and then what happened?” She keeps her eyes down as she picks up the gauze and begins winding it snugly around the knuckles of one hand, and then the other. “He said the wrong thing.” “Which was?” “Dylan.” Now it’s her that’s pushing too hard. I didn’t want to talk about things with my friends, and I won’t talk about them with her, either, no matter how gorgeous she is. “I’ll guess. You were mad about what he did, and he wasn’t sorry.” “This isn’t middle school, Pickle. He didn’t hurt my feelings. He said some shit he had no business saying, and it pissed me off. The end.” “But you don’t think some of that anger stems from what you feel is a betrayal of your friendship?” She finishes taping down the last of the gauze, but doesn’t let go of my hand. “I think you’re analyzing me again. Making things more complicated than they are.” “And I think you’re just a guy who doesn’t like to admit he has feelings.” She drags out the word, teasing me with some goofy smile on her face. I turn my hand over so I can clutch her wrist. I curlmy other bandaged hand around her waist and pull her closer. “I feel plenty of things.” The teasing stops. She swallows. “I wasn’t talking about that kind of feeling.” With her standing and me sitting, I’m eye level with her chest. I see the sharp rise and fall as she sucks in a breath. I want her in my lap again, straddling me this time. “Doesn’t mean we can’t talk about that kind of feeling. Or experiment with it.” “Is that Stella girl an ex?” I cough, surprised. My throat twists uncomfortably, and it takes me a couple of solid breaths to get a hold on myself. “Ah, no. Stella and I have never dated.” “Have you—” “Do you ever run out of questions?” “Not ever.” She turns playful again, and I’m done doing this the careful way. If she wants a rebellion, I’ll be the one to give it to her. I want her against me, and I’m tired of waiting. I pull her forward, insinuating my knees between hers, and her body naturally follows, settling across my thighs. Her lips part, but she catches herself before she gasps this time. I keep her steady with my hands at her waist and say, “I’ll make you a deal. A question for a kiss.” Tentatively, she lays her palms against my shoulders. They rest there, her grip light and casual. She ponders my offer for a moment, and it drives me mad that she can do that while our hips are inches away from alignment. “Okay then. Are you—” I cut her off. “Not so fast, Dylan Brenner. I’ve already answered one question. We’ve got to settle up first.” I wrap her braid around my hand like I’ve been waiting to do all night, and I use it to pull her head back just enough that I can crush my mouth against hers.

And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP Today!

All Lined Up

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes**TBD


About Cora Carmack: 
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.      

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** ALL BROKE DOWN Goodreads



ABD Teaser 3

BOOK BLITZ - Raven by Pauline Creeden (Excerpt & Giveaway) @p_creeden

Released Date: 10/2014

Summary from Goodreads:
This is the complete Steampunk Fantasy novel - all four parts of the serial in one volume!

Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter is as valuable as the rich living in a manor.
The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint.
Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.

Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.

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RAVEN STEELE COUNTED every footstep she chanced through New Haven with the knowledge that any could be her last. But the gamble wouldn’t last long. She quickened her pace. Only two kilometers of brownstone street stood between her and the safety of the forest.
A throng crowded the street. People. Men. Women and children. It had become too easy to think of them as cattle. But they were human. Her deepest desire was to become one of them and live a normal human life. Gregory would make her feel human; he always did. Her heart quickened at the thought of him, and her tread became light.
Raven winked at a fat-cheeked baby held by a pinch-faced woman with silver hair pulled into a severe bun. The woman looked Raven up and down, tching her tongue and shaking her head. Even in the city, a woman in breeches instead of a skirt remained unacceptable. Or maybe the crossbow snapped to the magnets on the back of her corset made the difference.
Would the woman know her secret?
Raven swallowed hard and assured herself of the ignorance of the populace. Few knew what a reaper was, much less their prohibition from the city.
Only the occasional cloud blighted the deceptively clear blue sky over New Haven. Sunlight sifted through and between the buildings stacked next to one another like books on a shelf. An automated horse bore down on her, and she flattened herself against the cool brick. The coachmen yelled at the crowd, “Out of the way! Clear the road. Coaches before walkers!”
The scraping metal and shouting continued down the street, scattering merchants who gave the coach malicious looks and then checked their wares for damage. Beside her, a bronze clockwork mechanical man pushed a merchant's cart, its jerky movements unsuitable for zeppelin-living high society. It stopped just before the haberdasher’s shop.
With a wave of his arm and a grand flourish, the man next to the clockwork man produced a small metal gadget in his palm. “Don’t be the last of your neighbors to procure this one. You’ve never peeled potatoes as expeditiously or had as much merriment in the doing. Your children will quibble over whose turn it is to do what used to be scutwork.”
He placed the gadget next to a pile of potatoes, and the clicking and whirring of the blades set the crowd into exclamations of eager yearning. The people applauded and mobbed the stand, blocking the entire walkway. No elbowing through the throng this time. With a sigh, Raven hopped off the walk onto the street, nearly stepping into a pile of manure left by a flesh horse. Her metal-heeled boots clicked with each step on the smooth stones.
Seagulls crowded a fishmonger’s cart on the other side of the street. The monger accosted her as she neared the bridge, but quickly moved on to the next person behind her when she shook her head. Boats docked behind him and bobbed up and down in the river. Skipping up the steps of the footbridge, she pushed away a black flyaway curl from her eyes and pulled the tendril behind her ear.
Halfway across the bridge, she inhaled a lungful of the salty air and released a contented sigh. Only a day’s journey still stood between her and Gregory’s house, and for once, she wasn’t injured. She smiled to herself as she imagined the look of surprise on his face. She planned to tell him she loved him this time. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. Would he be ready for marriage? Was she?
The fishmonger’s scream broke through the chattering crowd on the bridge. He jumped into the river to avoid an out-of-control carriage pulled by a polished brass automated horse. Steam poured from the nostrils of the metal horse and leaked from its joints in an unnatural manner. Its black lacquer carriage careened on two wheels through the turn onto the bridge before righting itself. Wires shot out of the neck of the metal coachman where the head should have been. The reins in its limp, useless hands were slack and whipping against the horse’s metal flank.
Raven jumped to the rail, moving out of the way of the crowd as they stampeded toward her. She gripped the lamppost and her reaper training kicked in. No fear. Breathe deeply. Think ahead. Make quick decisions.
The black lacquer carriage squeezed between the bridge railings, and the oak boards of the narrow footbridge splintered apart as though they were balsa wood. The railing to the left gave free another meter and the automated horse jerked in that direction.
In a quick, natural motion, Raven unsnapped her crossbow and felt through the quiver attached at her thigh for the right bolt. Pulling the wire from her belt’s winch, she hooked it to the arrow, pointed it at the wooden post of the gas lamp standing closest to the carriage, and pulled the trigger.
For a moment, the heavy metal horse hung over the edge with the carriage wedged between portions of broken railing. The horse’s brass legs still poured steam as they struggled in the air, creating the eerie sound of scraping metal. Gouges raked along the black side of the carriage as it inched its way toward the river. A small hand pressed against the window. The door surged past the railing and swung open. The body of a young boy tumbled out. He hung from the door handle with his fingertips. A gasp and a few screams filled the air behind her.
A female voice shrieked, “It’s the young baron!”
Adrenaline coursed through her veins, and Raven leapt toward the boy—toward the river. She fell in a controlled arc, the wind pulling her long hair as taut as the line from her belt. The carriage broke free from the bridge a moment before she reached it. She thumbed her winch to release more line and grabbed the boy in a full embrace. The cold water enveloped them.
The sudden change in temperature forced the air from her lungs, but she held it in as they darted below the surface. Her submerged body jerked to a stop as the line reached an end. The boy’s forehead struck her in the temple. Saltwater burned her eyes, and stars danced in her vision. Bubbles of air escaped her lips.
The boy went limp in her arms. She gripped him tightly in one arm and hit the rewind lever on the winch. She grabbed the line, and it wrenched her toward the light above. Streaks of her long, black hair stuck to her face as she emerged from the river. She released her breath and gripped the line. The winch pulled her toward the bridge, and the crowd above applauded. Gasping, Raven struggled with the sudden, heavier weight of the boy, struggling to hold him until they reached the top of the bridge. The line cut into her hand and her arm muscles ached.
Her tall black boots squished against the side of the bridge as they were pulled steadily up. She pushed off a tarred pylon to make it over the lip before the cable pulled them against the railing. The winch slowed when it neared the top. She reached up with her free hand and grabbed the crossbow bolt. With a flick of her thumb, she depressed the lever and the grappling hooks withdrew. After pulling the hook free of her line, she replaced the bolt in her quiver. A slow zipping sound continued as the winch on her belt drew in the cable. She allowed hands from the crowd pull the boy from her grasp. She blinked the saltwater from her eyes, her vision still blurred, her muscles quivering.
Four armed guards and one skinny man in a bowtie surrounded the boy she’d hauled to the surface, shooing away the people. Two other guards stepped forward to hold back the crowd.
With a sputter and a cough, the boy retched water from his lungs. The tension in Raven’s chest relaxed. She smiled and attempted to step toward him, but a vice-like grip took hold of her arm. Her fingertips twitched; she was ready to grab the knife on her hip and fight her way out, if necessary. The hard faces of two guards stared down at her. She could smack one in the jaw with the back of her head, and when he loosened his grip, throw a punch at the other. The taste of escape grew bitter on her tongue when she considered the surrounding crowd. She made a count of the collateral damage and clenched her jaw. The last thing she needed were more kills on her conscience, more lives to redeem herself for. With a deep sigh, she remained still.

The man in the bowtie held the wet boy to his chest. His cold blue eyes pierced hers. He pointed and said, “Arrest her.”

About the Author:
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.

Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.

Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary is scheduled for release September 30, 2013, and has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction.

One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group. 

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