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Jo Grafford: DR. MAGIC, Coming April 10th!
Sunday, April 8th, 2018

DR. MAGIC

Book One in the Vampire Island Series
Over 60,000 words
By Jo Grafford
www.JoGrafford.com

** It will premiere in the Mystic Realms Box Set on April 10, 2018 **
** Available for pre-order sale of 99 cents at Amazon:  http://a.co/dNku1oA **

A few months before her eighteenth birthday, Grace Livingston’s tragic world collides with vampire Stellan Romolov’s dark one.

Until then, she’s suffered more than any teenager deserves to suffer. Shouldering the loss of a parent, practically raising herself, keeping honor roll grades, and applying for a coveted dance scholarship has left precious little time for a social life. After one earth-shaking dance with Stellan, though, she realizes every step in her broken journey has led her to this moment — and him.

It’s an instant and explosive attraction.

She soon discovers the super hot and super sexy Stellan is far more than he seems. He sails ships and flies airplanes. He’s also the billionaire owner and chief surgeon of an all-new medical resort on a private island: On a mission to save humanity by healing one broken or badly burned body at a time.

Neither of them realizes their encounter has awakened a curse set in motion more than a century before, and every moment they spend together puts everyone they love in danger.

EXCERPT:

“You kept your word, Mr. Livingston. My pilot will return you to the mainland.” Stellan’s baritone voice washed over me, as crisp as the creases ironed into his black trousers. Up close, I deemed them a fine quality of silk, and the white gold watch that flashed at his wrist was no department store bargain. The Stellan I had known before was not so richly dressed. Nor so polished and sure of himself. Nor so bleak. Or so cold.

But those eyes! The deep blue was startlingly reminiscent of the other Stellan I knew so many years ago. His gaze had held secrets then, mystery and longing. They were aged now, darker, more jaded. I shivered. It was like staring into the eyes of an older, angrier ghost. The tenor and cadence of his voice was familiar, too. Every word he spoke revived the exhilarating happiness and excruciating pain of timeworn memories. Completely unnerved by the encounter, I fought to regain the power of speech.

“Is it…really…you?” My hand slid from my throat to cup my mouth. Frantic hope warred with the impossibility of what my eyes beheld. I couldn’t bear the misery of waking from such a desperately real dream. God, help me! I wanted it to be real. I wanted it so bad I could feel old scabs tearing off. Stitches long since hemmed together ripping open anew, fresh blood gushing from what remained of my heart. I was breaking on the inside, shattering… “I thought you were dead.” The last word came out as a hoarse whisper. “How—”

“Grace!” He leaped toward me as my legs gave out.

My father’s arms tightened around me, but another set of arms wrested me away from him. They lifted me against an impressively ripped chest. Arms that at once felt breathtakingly familiar, ones I never thought to feel around me again.

My forehead dropped against a massive shoulder. I felt feverish and strange.

“I warned you,” Bax’s voice was fierce. “It’s too much too soon. I swore to you she didn’t know.”

What didn’t I know? My first husband is still alive? How long had Bax known? I wanted to scream and weep at the unfairness of it all, but I was too weak to lift my head.

“I will ask my own questions now.”

“Where are you taking her?” my father demanded.

“None of your damn business.”

“The hell it isn’t. She’s my daughter.”

“She’s my wife.”

“You have no right to haul her off like some—”

“I have every right. She is mine.”

Mine. Amazing how a single word could pack so much meaning, so much finality. Stellan, rising from the dead to claim me. It was preposterous. It was wildly amazing. It was a kaleidoscope of light and color completely consuming me. The voices faded, and my world skidded across memory lane.

ABOUT JO GRAFFORD

Jo Grafford is a lover of all things historical, romance, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, and action. She adores alpha males, strong-minded women, humorous sidekicks, diversity, vampires, Vikings, dashing lords, zombies, cyborgs…you get the idea.

She loves to stay in touch with readers on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, and Instagram. Plus you can read free chapters of many of her books on Wattpad.

Sign up to Jo’s New Release email list and you’ll automatically be notified as soon as her next book is released: www.JoGrafford.com/More-Jo-Books. Check out her website: www.JoGrafford.com.

 

DR. MAGIC WILL DEBUT IN THE MYSTIC REALMS BOX SET

A Limited Edition Collection of Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Romances

What goes bump in the night? What causes you a fright?
While the answers for each may vary, I promise that these stories will not leave you wary.

From vampires and demons to shifters and creatures that you’d never suspect, this set will leave you breathless in the best possible ways.
So, don’t be afraid. Come, step inside our realm. Allow the mysticism of romance in many shapes and forms fall over you like a veil of sweet, soothing, spine tingling comfort.

We promise… you won’t be sorry.

Purchase Links:
Amazonhttp://a.co/4CCVBGi
iBooks:
https://itunes.apple.com/mt/book/mystic-realms-limited-edition-collection-paranormal/id1348421156?mt=11
Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mystic-realms-1
Nookhttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mystic-realms-nicole-morgan/1127071453?ean=2940158782725

FEATURED STORIES:
Secrets of the Hollows (Book 2)
by Nicole Morgan
What’s a girl to do once she falls in love with a demon?
Fallen by Tamsin Baker
Gabriel thought he’d do anything to earn his way back into Heaven. He was wrong.
Cursed by Tracy Goodwin
Forbidden love. Dangerous prophecies. Limitless power. Fate is a witch.
Avenging Aingeal (Protectors of the Earth 1) by Lynn Crain
Bound by vengeance, she is humanity’s one hope…
Her Fate, His Mate (Wolves of Windsor Woods) by Krista Ames Author
Can she accept all he is and all he stands for?
Sleeping in the Dragon’s Den by Lexi Thorne
His Hungry Dragon
My Curious Desire
His Tattoo Curse
My Wet Dreams
Dark Side of the Moon by Laura Baumbach
Vampire rentboy vs. the world.
Angel Vindicated by Viola Estrella
Some sins are hard to avoid…
A Wolf’s Touch by Christine Duncan Donovan
Can she love him–wolf and all?
Dr. Magic (Vampire Island, Book 1) by Jo Grafford
One more dance with the devil…
Dark Heat by Jan Springer
Betrayed by her two forced mates, she hides within Vampira.
Torkel by Mardi Maxwell
Love unites them in the mists of time.
Silent Storm by Sadie Carter
Sometimes the monster is the good guy…
Tangled Sin by Georgia Lyn Hunter
She was the light in his eternal darkness…
Seduction’s Scent by C.I. Black
Giving in to temptation threatens everything.
Ghost Mate by D. Anne Paris
She was going to kill him even though he was already dead.
Living on the Edge (Clan Book 1) by Laverne Thompson
Mate wanted. Dead or alive.
The Warrior’s Curse by M. Elliott & T. Eden
What comes next may be the end of it all.
Three Days From Hell by Dariel Raye
Can a permanent resident of Third Hell be trusted?
Just Tell Me What You Want by Tina Donahue
Her wishes will leave him breathless…

Kryssie Fortune: An Interview with Blaxton de Ferrers from One Knight Stand
Friday, April 6th, 2018

What is your name? Do you have a nickname?

I’m Blaxton de Ferrers, medieval knight, vampire, twenty-first century property developer, and philanthropist. Back when I strutted around in armor, the ladies called me Blaxton the Bold. I fought for things I believed in, like justice and honor. I don’t believe in much anymore. It’s not that I’m jaded, more that I’m empty inside.

What is your character’s hair color? Eye color?

Once, my eyes were clear blue. That’s different now I’m undead. My eyes have a ring of golden flame around the pupil. People think I’m a poser when I wear dark glasses to hide them. Mostly I just ignore people’s comments when they see them. My hair’s a sort of dirty blonde with permanent sun streaks from when I fought in the Holy Land before I died. My Cousin Rolfe stuck a knife in my back when the Saracens attacked. Only, since I don’t have a soul, I didn’t stay dead.

Where were you born?

Whitborough, on the Yorkshire coast in the North of England. My father built a castle there. It’s full of secret passages and hidden rooms. Or it was. Most of it is in ruins now. I thought coming back here would be sad, but I don’t feel anything.

Do you have a secret?

Do you mean apart from the fact I drink people’s blood to survive? Nobody believes in vampires anymore. That makes feeding easy. I try to feed little and often. I would never drain anyone dry. I used to hate that I preyed on the people I swore to protect, but it doesn’t bother me now I don’t feel.

What makes you laugh out loud?

I haven’t laughed for centuries. Nothing amuses me, and I don’t feel anything anymore. I haven’t since the night I rose as a vampire. Even the color’s fading from my vision now. I feel like I have nothing left to lose. Or I did until this morning. I saw this woman, you see. She put the fire back in my belly and strength back in my soul. Things could have gone better when I spoke to her, but I will find a way to put that right.

Have you ever been in love?

When I joined the Knights Defender, I took vows of poverty and chastity. I took them seriously. My vows were only until I died. After my cousin murdered me, I wasn’t bound by them, but I’ve tried to live a good life. After eight hundred years of feeling nothing, it’s hard sometimes. I fear I’ll lose control and rampage though Britain in a feeding frenzy.

You joined a religious order of Knight – the Knights Defender. What do you think of God now?

I think he’s deserted me. Then again, I don’t have a soul. Why would any God speak to a mongrel creature like me?

What’s your best childhood memory?

My memories are like faded black and white photographs. I wrote them down, then I even if I lose them completely I’ll know where I came from. The one I reread most is about sunny afternoon’s sparring with my brothers. My mother embroidered as she watched. My father shouted out tips. My older brother could never beat me, but he didn’t bare a grudge because of it. I beat my younger brother every time we fought. He was a better tracker than me though. I left the tracking to my dogs. I always had four or five, but since I turned vampire, even dogs avoid me.

Do you have any plans for the future?

Same old. After eight hundred years as a vampire, there’s nothing new under the sun. And yes, I can go out in the sun. That woman though? She made me want to smile for the first time since the Knights Defender stole my soul. Did I say she works at the castle? I think she’s the new archivist, but the last two people who filled that role vanished. I’ll need to look out for her. And that’s her heading for the castle tearooms. Sorry to dash off, but I need to speak to her.

One Knight Stand

Buy Links
PLEASE NOTE – FORMERLY SOLD AS KNIGHTS VAMPIRE
Amazon USA http://amzn.to/2pgAf24
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2pnLBAe
Amazon Canada http://amzn.to/2FYZKhT
Amazon Australia http://amzn.to/2FSUUiV

Crusader knight, Blaxton de Ferrers rises as a vampire after the Knights Defender steal his soul. Murdered by his cousin, he preys on the people he once swore to protect. His emotions leach out of him. Gradually, he forgets how to feel.

Eight hundred years later, he meets Harriet.

Harriet Mortlake’s a strong, sassy woman who battles her weight and her temper. She’s the modern-day archivist in the castle which was Blaxton’s childhood home. She’s supposed to ferret out the castle’s secrets. Instead, she finds the love of her life.
When danger threatens Harriet, Blaxton steps in. Harriet and Blaxton are a match made in heaven. Except… he’s a vampire and he’s destined for hell.

Previously sold as Knight’s vampire

Excerpt

“How dare you embarrass me like that?” Harriet Mortlake planted her hands on her hips and glowered at the man she’d cornered outside the cafe. Her normal iceberg cool deserted her, and she wanted to slap the condescending smile off his face. Around this stranger, she felt as though lightning bolts flashed from her eyes.

“It’s a temple, not a chapel,” he insisted.

Stubborn. Damn. Male. She’d been showing the big guns from the Castles’ Management Trust around the building. They’d already made it clear they thought her too young for the archivist’s role. This know-it-all had infuriated her when he sounded off in the chapel. Now he antagonized her all over again.

“As if!” Harriet snorted. “No way would medieval Christians build a pagan temple on their grounds. Superstitious locals would have accused them of devil worship. They burned heretics at the stake, remember?”

Despite Mr. Condescending’s interference, she’d impressed the big bosses—she thought. Now the sexiest male, ever, clung to his ridiculous belief the chapel had been a pagan temple.

He flashed her a smile which would have lit up the underground chapel where he’d embarrassed her earlier. He should keep his mouth shut and let her admire his looks. Everything about him radiated sex appeal. Looking at him almost made her anger evaporate, but he gave her the know-it-all look that made her bristle.

“You need to get your facts right,” he told her, determined to have the last word.

Stupid, arrogant male. She couldn’t decide whether to show him her diplomas and degrees or kick his shins. She’d reined in her temper while the higher-ups carried out their inspection. Now they’d left, she felt free to vent her rage. Hands still on her hips, she tapped her foot at him.

“Lost for words without an audience? Or don’t you have any facts to back up your cock-and-bull story? Put up or shut up, Mister. Tell me why you think it’s a temple.”

Mr. Condescending sat outside the castle’s tearoom as if he hadn’t a care in the world. His interference when she’d shown the bigwigs into the chapel could have cost her the job she loved. Whitborough Castle’s extensive records needed cataloging, and Harriet couldn’t wait to get her hands on them.

More about Kryssie Fortune

Kryssie Fortune writes the sort of hot sexy books she loves to read. If she can sneak a dragon into her paranormal books she will. Her paranormal heroes are muscular werewolves, arrogant Fae or BDSM loving dragons.
Kryssie likes her contemporary hero’s ex-military and dominant. Her heroines are kick ass females who can hold their own against whatever life – or Kryssie – throws at them.

Kryssie’s pet hates are unhappy endings, and a series that end on a cliff hanger.
Her books are all stand alone even when part of series. Plot always comes before sex, but when her heroines and heroes get together, the sex is explosive and explicit. One review called it downright sensual.

Kryssie Fortune Social Media
Website http://kryssiefortune.wixsite.com/kryssie
Blog http://kryssiefortune.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter https://twitter.com/KryssieFortune
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KryssiesFortune
Pinterest http://bit.ly/1OGFnjc
Goodreads http://bit.ly/2kxqabJ
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2hA0ZVO

Big Bad Wolf is here!
Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Love a rugged, no-nonsense guy who falls for the last creature on earth that he ought to? Do you love a fight with the Big Bad and some off-the-charts sexiness? Big Bad Wolf is here!

Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf
Night Fall, Book 13
Coming November 9th!

Ginnie Martin is a badass. She was born that way one horror-filled night. Forged in blood—her own and her family’s—all were ravaged by savage beasts. Her vampire savior recruited her to fight with his small army against the creatures responsible for her devastating loss. But now, he’s asking too damn much. He wants her to open her home to new allies who, until only recently, were their fiercest foes. Wolves.

Calum Fletcher already bristles against providing muscle to a vampire force. Content living in his remote mountain cabin, he’s never been much for mixing with other wolves, much less making nice with vampires. He was already having a hard time dealing, but the woman letting him bunk in her home wears an even larger chip on her shoulder. Quickly, his new favorite sport is goading her into losing her temper—because everyone knows a vampire’s bloodlust leads to very sexy places…

Get your copy here!

N.J. Walters: A Treat for a Cold Fall Evening — Recipe!
Friday, November 3rd, 2017

November is here and that means the days are getting shorter and colder. Sometimes you just want a treat. If you have a family or a significant other, you can bake a cake or pie and share it. But if you’re a single person it can be a little more challenging. I mean, who wants to eat an entire cake or pie? Okay, I may want to, but I know it’s not good for me.

I discovered a great recipe for a mini apple crisp over at the Taste of Home website. Not only is it yummy, but if you eat it warm, it’s even better. If you want, you can top it with cream.

Ingredients:

Medium apple, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of butter
2 Tablespoons of quick-cooking oats
1/8 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Place apple slices in greased baking dish. Combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add oats and cinnamon. Sprinkle over apple slices. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (or until tender)

Maybe on some cold evening, you’ll whip yourself up a mini apple crisp and curl up with a good book. If you’re looking for a steamy vampire tale, you might want to check out Eternal Brothers.

ETERNAL BROTHERS

 

Dalakis Passion, book 4

When an anonymous late-night tip sends reporter Sophia Daring to the cemetery, she isn’t prepared for what she finds there—a grisly murder scene and the body of a woman completely drained of blood. Sophia’s never been scared off a story before, but this time all the clues point to one disturbing conclusion: this was the work of the mysterious and dangerous Dalakis brothers. And just as unsettling for the fiercely independent Sophia is the irresistible pull of the stranger also working the case, the sensually compelling Zane York.

A ex-cop, Zane has made it his personal mission to prove that the secretive Dalakis family are powerful vampires and ruthless killers. But when his investigation takes him to New Orleans and their latest victim, he begins to suspect that the Dalakis are being framed by an enemy as dark and mysterious as they are. And even as he struggles with his doubts about the family, there’s no doubt about his hungry response to the hauntingly beautiful Sophia. He knows he must make her his own, whatever the cost.

As the smoldering chemistry between Sophia and Zane ignites in a delirious haze of passion, they will find themselves immersed in the Dalakis family secrets and the trail of murder that leads to their door. And as their fears and suspicions war with an unquenchable desire, she and Zane will discover that a secret from the past may pose the deadliest threat yet . . .

This is a revised edition of a previously published book.

BUY LINKS:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076DHK161/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/752959
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eternal-brothers-nj-walters/1019316301?ean=2940158767982
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/eternal-brothers-1

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/awakeningdesires/info
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

What You Might Have Missed in September!
Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Wow! Can you believe September’s gone? I’m pretty happy today. My dd is coming back from two weeks in Virginia, which means tonight I get to sleep in my own bed! Whee! And I get to go back to job #1. WRITING!

Do I sound too gleeful? 🙂

Oh well, sorry, dd. Your kids are great, but 7 dogs, 4 cats, and 2 guinea pigs were also pretty demanding!

Anyways—just to remind you that I have been busy this month, and you do have plenty to keep you busy in your downtime—here’s what released in September!

September’s Releases

 

While hiding her true identity, Maddie must seduce the mysterious Lord Garon to cement their marriage contract and ensure she won’t be returned into her lecherous stepfather’s care.

Fresh from Crusade in Palestine, Lord Garon has a secret he must hide, a hunger that must be fed, and a dark and uncertain future. Having shed himself of a fiancée he’d never met, he’s home to lick his wounds. The only thing he wants is a warm-blooded meal–but the new housekeeper is strangely insistent on giving him so much more.

Maddie’s seduction doesn’t progress without complications, but one secret from her own past might put an end to the love she nurtures for her dark, tempestuous lover.

Get your copy here!

 

In Jefferson Parish, deep in the bayou, is a place called Bonne Nuit. Off the beaten path, isolated by swamp and connected to the sea, there the Beaux Rêve Coven thrives. Five witches… Too many demons to count…

Bryn Cavanaugh and her coven like that the community they live in is isolated thanks to a storm that destroyed the bridge between them and the outside world. Now the state wants the bridge rebuilt. When the construction crew checks into the inn, Bryn begins to suspect something about the crew’s boss isn’t quite…human.

Bridges are Ethan Thorne’s thing–after all, he’s a troll–so building a simple span over a remote canal in backwater Louisiana shouldn’t be this much of a problem. When he follows the pretty little innkeeper to a midnight rendezvous, he discovers why his crew keeps running in to trouble. Bryn and her coven are casting spells in the moonlight.

As a troll, Ethan feels the sting of his low place in demon hierarchy. But finding an unprotected coven of witches in the middle of the bayou could lead to all sorts of adventure. And it’s better to keep your enemies close…

Get your copy here!

 

When former SEAL, now Charter Group operator, “Snake” McPherson, is assigned to guard a social media star, he’s not pleased. Edgy from back-to-back tours in the sandbox, the last thing he wants it to tail some “selfie-princess.” Worse, the spoiled little rich girl doesn’t want anyone to know that’s his purpose. No, Cat Mikkelson insists he pretend to be her boyfriend for the weekend, a paid escort for a party at some billionaire’s private island. Worse, the woman dresses him like a Ken doll and insists they share the same room at the billionaire’s mansion.

Cat Mikkelson has a secret. Despite her carefree, online persona, she’s frightened. She’s been a prisoner inside her Manhattan apartment since she broke it off with her prizefighter boyfriend. She knows all too well what he’s capable of, so when she’s invited for a weekend getaway, she’s relieved for a chance to escape her prison while her lawyers gear up to serve him a restraining order. Her handsome bodyguard turns out to be a blessing in more ways than one. With him, she feels safe, and for the first time in a long time, she’s ready to play. The more she pushes his boundaries, the hotter their exchanges get.

As things heat up between Snake and Cat, her past pays a visit…

Get your copy here!


 

After bucking her trainer’s orders during a take-down, a female bounty hunter proves she’s more than ready for the job…

Get your copy here!

Just in time for your weekend reading pleasure…. (Contest – 3 Winners)
Saturday, September 9th, 2017

UPDATE The winners are…Katrina Whittaker, Gail Siuba, and Jana Leah!

* * * * *

For those fans of the Night Fall series, here’s another tale—slightly removed from the timeline by a few centuries… You honestly don’t have to read any other story in the series to enjoy The First Knight. And isn’t that cover droolworthy?

The story is set back in Merry Old England, in a musty old castle. My heroine’s plucky and determined to trap her former betrothed in marriage, but he has brought back an “affliction”, which makes his lust a dangerous thing to tempt. And once the deed is done, another problem presents itself that only a naughty ménage can solve. Of course. Ahem. I do love my job. Enjoy! ~DD

The First Knight

While hiding her true identity, Maddie must seduce the mysterious Lord Garon to cement their marriage contract and ensure she won’t be returned into her lecherous stepfather’s care.

Fresh from Crusade in Palestine, Lord Garon has a secret he must hide, a hunger that must be fed, and a dark and uncertain future. Having shed himself of a fiancée he’d never met, he’s home to lick his wounds. The only thing he wants is a warm-blooded meal—but the new housekeeper is strangely insistent on giving him so much more.

Maddie’s seduction doesn’t progress without complications, but one secret from her own past might put an end to the love she nurtures for her dark, tempestuous lover.

Get your copy here!

Contest

To celebrate the release of The First Knight, I’m giving away copies of Night Fall stories, one each to three winners! All you have to do is answer two little questions!

Do you like ongoing series? How many sequels do you prefer? 

Sm(b)itten Truly, Madly ... Deadly Knight in Transition  Knight Edition

Night Fall On Dark Mountain Frannie and the Private Dick Sweet Succubus Truly, Madly...Werely (Night Fall Book 9) Bad to the Bone

And excerpt from The First Knight

Maddie shivered at the creaks and groans the portcullis made as it slowly rose. The rain-laden wind carried the noises and filled the silences in between with a howling that sounded like the hounds from hell had arrived at the castle gate.

Shouts outside the curtain wall had alerted them only minutes before of Lord Garon d’Albermarle’s arrival. With only a bliaut covering her sleeping shift, Maddie stood on the first step of the keep, holding a tray with a goblet of wine, ready to offer a proper greeting to her overlord.

“Are you sure this is the way you wish to go about this, M-Maddie?” Egbert asked, fidgeting at her side.

She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her mouth and nodded.

“It be on your head then,” he said, his always-mournful tone as dire as one of Father Ansel’s Sunday sermons. She sent thanks above that the cranky priest was away, or her deception wouldn’t last past the introductions.

The clatter of dozens of hooves on the cobbled bridge beyond the gate filled the castle yard with thunder. From the encroaching darkness, the sounds were as ominous as the dark shapes looming on the gatehouse walls. The torches she’d ordered lit sputtered and flared, distorting and elongating shapes, so the men riding through the entrance appeared as tall as giants.

Already tired and on edge because she hadn’t slept since a messenger had arrived, warning the castle of his lordship’s arrival days before, Maddie’s fevered imagination painted them darker and larger still.

“Be they devils?” Egbert asked, his narrow shoulders shaking. “No one travels on a night with nary a speck of light in the sky.”

“Hush!” The storm whipping at her clothing and the fatigue from months of worry over this very moment combined to make her hands shake and blackened an already foul mood.

The horsemen entered the bailey, and a large figure separated from the contingent who approached the keep. As he drew closer, her fears weren’t eased one whit. The warrior sat atop a huge black destrier, forcing her to raise her gaze quite high to seek his face.

He wore a helm that left only his square, stubbled jaw exposed. The darkness cast by the metal nose guard concealed his eyes. Only his mouth gave a hint of his mood—a thin, straight line with the corners crimped downward.

Under his stare, Maddie’s knees trembled, but her tray never rattled. She squared her shoulders and shot a glance about her at the castle folk. “Stephen!” she called to the stable master. “See to their horses.”

In moments, boys scrambled to accept reins, and the creak of leather and the clank of iron filled the air.

The stable master himself approached the dark warhorse at the foot of the steps, but the mounted warrior’s gaze never left Maddie.

She licked dry lips with an even drier tongue. “Lord Garon?” she asked, although there could be no question who led this contingent. All gazes remained on his intimidating figure. “Please come inside, milord. Your people will see to the comfort of your men.”

His mouth twisted. “And who will see to mine?”

Maddie’s heart leapt to the back of her throat. “I will, milord.”

A long pause indicated he looked her up and down. “And who might you be, madam?” he asked, his voice a deep, hollow rumble.

Maddie remembered to curtsy, and then straightened, girding herself to speak the lie aloud. “Your housekeeper. I take care of things now.” The latter, at least, was the truth.

Lord Garon grunted. Without a glance at the stable master, he tossed down his reins and dismounted.

When he turned toward her, Maggie’s breath caught. Lord, he’s a tall man. I thought it was just the horse.

Maddie lifted the ornate chalice from the tray to deliver her much-rehearsed welcome.

Instead, his lordship’s lips pressed into a tighter line, and he brushed past her.

She was left gasping on the bottom step. “What a rude ogre!” she exclaimed, annoyed he hadn’t fallen in line with the first step of her plan.

“Watch your tongue, madam,” an accompanying knight said tersely as he followed the lord up the steps. “He has exceptional hearing.”

“M-Maddie?” Egbert said, nodding toward the door.

She shoved the tray at his belly and grasped her skirts high to rush up the steps.

The plan had seemed so simple. All she needed was to get him alone and addle his sight with a little wine or ale, so he’d not care she wasn’t the comeliest creature in the keep. Then she would seduce him.

And the sooner, the better. The longer she took losing her virginity, the greater the risk he would discover her identity. The truth was, she would rather copulate with the devil himself than be returned home.

However, this business of copulation, which had seemed a simple, messy, perhaps even enjoyable act—according to the cook—now promised to be a daunting trial.

The lord of the keep had turned out to be a giant and as dour as a priest at confession. The thought of being naked with him and accepting his manstaff into her body frankly petrified her.

She rushed through the massive doors, hoping her preparations would meet with his approval. Nothing else could be allowed to mar her well-thought-out plan.

His lordship stood in the center of the hall, his hands fisted on his hips. Unlike his men, he wore no chain mail, only a leather hauberk to protect his body. He’d removed his headgear, revealing hair as black as midnight and a face as hard as carved granite.

He was everything she’d remembered and more—more frightening, more imposing—and more beautiful because of the differences. Thanks be to God, he hadn’t recognized her.

His gaze narrowed on the hall, and she looked around to see what might already have displeased him.

Around him, servants scurried, delivering warm food to the men-at-arms as boys eagerly divested them of their armor. If she hadn’t been observing him so closely, she might not have detected the change in his posture. He scarce seemed to notice the din of activity. His mouth lost a little firmness, his hands unclenched on his hips, and his chest rose and fell deeply.

In that instant, Maddie lost a measure of her fear. Here was a man savoring his first night home after a long absence. He had a heart and cared for something at least. Perhaps he wouldn’t be a complete troll when making her his wife.

N.J. Walters: Fictional Towns
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Writers have been creating fictional towns for as long as stories have been told. Some readers want to know why. The reasons are fairly simple. An author can create the town or even world they need in order to tell their story. When you create a world, you are able to put in landmarks, homes, shops, and everything you need. When you use a real town or city, accuracy is important and can sometimes get in the way of the story.

Then it depends on the kind of book you’re writing. Not everyone looks kindly on having their small town used in a book, especially if it’s a murder mystery or horror novel or even a romance. It can get complicated unless it’s a big city. Then no one really cares all that much.

I’ve created two small towns in my years of writing. The first was Jamesville, a small town in Maine that was patterned after the place I was living at the time. I set seven contemporary stories there.

Then there is Salvation, North Carolina. I first created this town for Stefan’s Salvation. I figured, what better place for a vampire to find salvation than a place with that name. The woods and mountains of North Carolina were isolated and perfect for the setting, so I put my own fictional town there. I went on to use this same small town in my Salvation Pack werewolf series. The vampires have never met the werewolves. Not surprising since Stefan and Laurel Rose left their at the end of their story.  🙂

Stefan’s Salvation

Dalakis Passion, book 3

Laurel Rose McCaffey never minded being branded an outsider, even when it meant carving out a solitary life for herself in the wooded hills of North Carolina. Now resort developers want to take her land, and vicious locals who stand to benefit from the deal have begun making threats. When a dark stranger enters her life, first as a protector, then as a lover, Laurel Rose is both fascinated and frightened by his mysterious power and all-consuming sensuality. But as the threats escalate into outright violence and her world begins to spiral out of control, Laurel Rose turns to the only man she knows she can trust—Stefan Dalakis, a creature of the night.

Stefan has roamed the earth for centuries in search of his one true mate, and as he becomes ever more tormented by loneliness, his every impulse compels him to unleash the raging beast within. When he retreats to the countryside to avoid harming the human population, his travels take him to a small roadside bar in North Carolina, where an overheard conversation leads him directly to Laurel Rose—and a love so complete he will do anything to save her . . . and anything to possess her.

As Stefan finds blissful release from his anguish and Laurel Rose surrenders to her first sweet erotic taste of belonging and acceptance, they must still confront the danger that presses in from every side. And when their newfound happiness faces the ultimate peril, the two outcasts must form an unbreakable eternal bond and give themselves completely to the overwhelming passion and love that engulfs them.

BUY LINKS:
Amazon: : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07432JBP6/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/737240
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stefans-salvation-nj-walters/1022140515?ean=2940158788284
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stefan-s-salvation-2

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

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Website: http://www.njwalters.com
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