Free Read Friday: Covenant Part IV


Part IV

Read the story from the beginning to this point HERE!

She stood on the other side of the glass, watching him with sparkling blue eyes, a faint smile playing hide and seek on her full red lips.  His back complained loudly as he pushed himself to his feet, and pulled open the door. She took a step back, her eyes never leaving his, as he emerged from the phone booth.

“Who are you?” He asked.

“Don’t you know? She answered before she turned and walked away, sashaying down the length of the bar to her seat. She stopped, turned, and motioned for him to follow with a crooked finger.

“Who is she? He wondered as he moved the length of the bar, aware of others on their seats, obscure shadowy shapes that muttered and groaned at each other in his peripheral vision. 

Coming abreast of where she sat he stopped and gazed at her. She looked so much like Pat when she was younger, yet there was something missing, some little thing that stood her apart from the woman he loved and had grown old with.

She motioned to the seat beside her, inviting him to sit down, and the shadows to her left shifted with a faint, yet menacing, growl, to clear a seat for him. As he sat down he realized he still had the baby monitor clipped to his belt, the hard plastic shell digging into his belly as it became trapped against his thigh. Removing it he placed it on the bar in front of him. A harsh white object surrounded by the murky depths of a bar that could be anywhere from a lonely stretch of two lane blacktop in the middle of nowhere, to the bustling center of a crowded city that never slept.

She lifted her hand, her index and middle finger pointing up, and two drinks appeared on the bar in front of them. Emerging from the shadows crowded around them. Above the bar a faint neon light glowed with a muted brilliance, its light battling the dense shadows that were as thick as smoke. From his left came assorted growls, moans, and monosyllable grunts, accompanied by the muted tinkling of glasses colliding with one another, and the surface of the bar.

“What is this place? What do you want?”

She smiled over the rim of her glass as she took a small sip. Archie followed suit, the amber liquid burning on its journey to his belly, almost taking his breath away, and causing him to choke. That was some powerful stuff.  As the heat faded he detected a nuttiness about it that left a strange aftertaste in his mouth.

“Don’t you remember me?” she said as she lowered her glass to the bar, turning to look up at him with sparkling blue eyes. Her eyes grew brighter, glowing with an internal light. They looked as if sparks were about to start shooting from them.

He shook his head as he tried to recall, the features of her face were familiar, her name playing hide and seek on the tip of his tongue, frustrating him as his thoughts became a muddled morass of shadowy images like the indistinct shapes that jostled around them.

He knew her, he knew he should know her, yet every time he tried to put his finger on that elusive name, to pin it in place long enough for him to grab it, it faded into the crowding darkness that was threatening to overwhelm him from within, and without.

Something bumped into his back and he swiveled his head around, an act that seemed to take impossibly long, and peered into the murky depths that pressed in close on every side of him.

“Hey, watch it,” he said, his words slurred as he peered into the that crowded emptiness. A hand shot out, slapping him across the face, hard, and a memory blossomed. They were supposed to have been home by supper, but hadn’t made it until after dark. He sensed fear and anger, tempered with a touch of love and caring, all battling for dominance. Something could have happened to you, the sensation trickled through his thoughts as the memory that didn’t belong to him faded into the shadowy recesses.

He spun back around, intent on finding out once and for all who she was, but she had vanished. Her empty stool remained, glowing in a soft light that held the crowding shadows at bay. He spun round on his seat searching for her in the murkiness that was gathering even closer around him. Dark shapes moved through the emptiness, bustling and jostling for position as ebony hands darted out of the shadows to snatch at him. He slapped at the shadow hands that reached out for him.

Spinning around on his stool he reached for the baby monitor as a pair of black hands emerged from the darkness to grab it.  Each finger was tipped by an ebony claw that clicked against the plastic case with a sound reminiscent of a bird pecking at a window.

“Archie,” Pat’s voice shrieked from the monitor and he struggled to pull it loose from those shadowy hands as one of the claws raked his hand, laying open his finger that bled onto the white surface of the monitor, staining it with his blood. 

He yanked on it with all he had, pulling it free, his actions causing him to spin around in his seat and slam his elbow against the side of the phone booth. Pain shot down to his hand as numbness danced through his fingers. He dropped the baby monitor with a clatter. He looked around wildly, searching for shadows that weren’t there as the realization slowly dawned that he was still sitting in the phone booth.

It had been a dream bordering on a nightmare.

“Archie,” Pat cried out again, her voice tinny, and filled with static, coming from the plastic grill of the monitor lying on the floor at his feet. 

It was just a dream, he sought to console himself. All the stress he’d been feeling coupled with his horror at his recent revelation had given him a nightmare.

“Archie,” she cried out for a third time, driving him up from his seat, and he pulled open the door of the phone booth. As he did he noticed the small cut on his finger, already starting to scab over, and a cold fear slowly unwound in the pit of his belly.

It had been a dream, right?  He sought to convince himself.

To be continued!

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New This Week in Post Apocalyptic Fiction 9/6/2017

Fire From the Sky  N.C. Reed

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Clayton Sanders left home the minute he had his high school diploma in hand. He waited that long only because the Army wouldn't accept him without one. Now, ten years later, he's home. Home with no warning, no advance notice, no anything after being gone ten years with almost no contact with his family. Home carrying a secret that is burning him up from the inside. A secret that has pushed him to the brink, forcing him to become a criminal in order to be where his family needs him to be, even though they don't realize it yet. Because Clayton knows something they don't. Something that hasn't happened, but will. Something that will burn everything it touches. And change the face of the world forever.

Aletheia Megan Tennent

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War. Chaos. Panic. These are the things that tore down a seemingly indestructible society. But for the survivors, it was forgetting who they were that cost them their humanity.

Nearly two decades after the fall, the transcendent city of Iris is the only place rumored to have a cure to the disease that decimated the world. Beyond Iris, are the remnants of the old world, crawling with the Depraved. Infected with Lethe, they no longer remember the people or dreams they were once willing to fight for, and are left instead with familiar voices that whisper dark and unfamiliar words within their minds. Instinct is all that keeps the diseased struggling to exist another day.

Deep underground, below Iris, exists a compound, prison to the Nameless who traded their freedom for the cure to Lethe. It is here that 736 fights to protect those she loves. Not against the Depraved that she's taught to fear, but against the society that saved her from that fate. She was willing to trade away her rights to regain the ability to form memories, but she won’t let the cult that cured her treat the lives of the Nameless like a resource to be used and discarded. At least, not without a fight.

How much is 736 willing to sacrifice for revenge against her captors? For those she cares about? For freedom? Everything has a cost, what would you be willing to pay?

Genesis Ellis Barrett

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Captured, brutalised and held captive as a serious security risk, Quincy Emerson once again finds herself in the grips of the sinister city of Oasis. In her way stand the walls of the Colosseum, a maximum-security prison. Escape, they say, is impossible.

With the city on the brink of anarchy, rumours of a rebel group powerful enough to take down Oasis abound. Could this be Quincy’s one last shot at freedom? Or will her determination to seek revenge on Oasis’ deceptive leader ultimately destroy her?

Island Chaos Aden Cabro

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Scarce food. Radioactive fallout. On the run. This wasn't Chuck's idea of an island vacation with his young son Paxton.

Keeping his child safe is Chuck's top priority. Safety seems like an outdated idea, though. The Jakkyls and the Harriers are fighting each other for resources and revenge, and father and son are caught in the middle.

When a third group shows up, all bets are off. Their heavy firepower makes the guns of the island gangs look like toys. It's clear they're out to kill everyone. But why? Chuck has no time to seek answers before the Jakkyls capture his son.

With Paxton's life in the balance, the hunted must become the hunter. Chuck must rise up even though he knows he's ill-equipped to mount a one-man rescue operation.

Chuck has nothing left to lose and the Jakkyls are about to find out what that means...

Solar Storm  Marcus Richardson

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Solar Storm is the ongoing saga of the Cantrell family as they try to survive a coronal mass ejection that plunges mankind back to the pre-industrial age. The story is told in episodic format, each one consisting of between 20,000-25,000 words (about 80-90 pages). Season 1 had 5 episodes, Season 2 will have 6.

In Episode 4, the group mounts a daring rescue mission to retrieve one of their own held by the Grover County Militia. They're willing to risk all to bring home the one they left behind, but at what price?

Free Read Friday: Covenant Part III


Part III

For a week he kept his promise, remaining attentive to her every need, even though it seemed she was unaware of him. Her mind having wandered to a remote place that lay beyond the edge of reason. He tried not to think about the phone booth in the basement, or the strange dream he’d had, a dream that had felt more real that imagined. But it was hard, that brief moment had reminded him what it felt like to really be alive.  That mysterious woman haunting his thoughts as he went about his duties.

Every day he brought her breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the appointed time. Every day she watched him with guarded mistrust. Like he was a stranger in her home, and not the man she had spent over fifty years with. She was slowly becoming just like her own mother in her final days, and the thought brought out another that had lain buried by sorrow.

The day they laid her mother to rest she had cornered him in the cemetery, in the older section where the stones were not as polished, and the names once chiseled sharply on those granite faces were losing their edge. Fading into the past like all of them would eventually.

“I don’t want to end like that,” she’d said as they walked among the tombstones. Her once vibrant red hair had already started to lose it luster, here and there the gray of her approaching old age had started to show through. Her steps were not as assured as they once were, and she carefully picked her way through the graveyard, ever watchful for hazards that might cause her to lose her footing.

“Like what?” he’d asked as he followed, noting, not for the first time, that the curvy figure that had caught his eyes so many years ago had softened around the edges. It was still there, just not as pronounced as it once was.

“Like my mother,” she said as she spun on him, forcing him to stop abruptly, “I don’t care what you’ve gotta do, I don’t want to end up like that.”

“What are you talking about? What are you saying?”

“You know. “ She looked at him with a hard stare, an unrelenting gaze, her blue eyes as cold as ice. He was forced to look at his feet, the ground, the tombstone to their right that carried the worn name of another. Anywhere but into her unrelenting gaze. A part of him noticed the crows feet spreading out from the side of each eye, the way her cheeks had grown just a tad heavier, her lips a little less defined.

“A bullet to the brain would be preferable to spending the last years of my life confined to bed, unaware of who or where I am, not even recognizing you or the boys. I couldn’t live with myself like that,” she said.

Archie was taken back by the sheer intensity in her voice.

“Promise me,” she said, stepping close enough for him to see the fine lines gathered at the corners of her lips.

“Promise you what?” He asked, but he knew all too well what she wanted. It was what anyone else in the same situation would want. What many already trapped in the illness likely begged for silently every day. An end to the suffering, the not knowing, the loss of self. An end to the indignity of being forced to rely on others for even the simplest of things.

“You know what,” she said, following him step for step as he backed away from her. The backs of his legs came against the curved top of a tombstone and he was forced to put his hand back to steady himself.

“What?” he said again. “Say it out loud, tell me what you want me to do.”

“I want you to kill me, it if comes to it. The doctors say I have a seventy five percent chance of becoming just like my mom. If I do, I want you to end my suffering.”

How? How could he kill the one thing he truly loved. He knew death, had walked hand in hand with it in the jungles of Vietnam, but that had been war. This was different, this was murder plain and simple

“I’m begging you not to let me suffer the same fate as my mom.”

He couldn’t respond, hell he couldn’t even wrap his mind around it, to kill his wife, the mother of his children, the woman he loved. It was too much to ask. It was one thing to kill your enemy in a battle. It was quite the opposite to kill the one you loved.

He stood at the foot of her bed as she slept, the memory of that day receding into the dark depths of his mind. It would be so easy. Hold the pillow over her face until she stopped struggling.

Would she struggle?

The direction his mind was taking frightened him and he raced from her room as fast as a man his age was capable of. Seeking the refuge of the basement. He reached the bottom of the steps and stared across the room at the phone booth as the memory of her sparkling blue eyes filled his mind. Before he even realized he was going to do it he was halfway across the room.

Reaching the phone booth he yanked open the door and stepped in to settle onto the hard wooden seat. There he sat as the stress from the past week slowly drained away and a heavy sadness settled over him. Lowering his head he cried softly, his hot tears dropping onto his hands.

It was too much to ask.

There was a knock at the door, and he looked up.

To be continued!

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New This Week in Horror 8/30/2017

The Soprano  Sarah England

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'It is 1951 and a remote mining village on the North Staffordshire Moors is hit by one of the worst snowstorms in living memory. Cut off for over three weeks, the old and the sick will die; the strongest bunker down; and those with evil intent will bring to its conclusion a family vendetta spanning three generations.
Inspired by a true event, 'The Soprano' tells the story of Grace Holland - a strikingly beautiful, much admired local celebrity who brings glamour and inspiration to the grimy moorland community. But why is Grace still here? Why doesn't she leave this staunchly Methodist, rain-sodden place and the isolated farmhouse she shares with her mother?
Riddled with witchcraft and tales of superstition, the story is mostly narrated by the Whistler family who own the local funeral parlour, in particular six year old Louise - now an elderly lady - who recalls one of the most shocking crimes imaginable.'

Tales from the Boiler Room  Assorted Authors.

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Leprechauns are out to get me. I'm not kidding. They're real, and they're a**holes. I'll tell you why. And while I'm at it, I'll tell you about the two guys who took on Hades’s demons on a drunken dare. What they brought back you'll never believe. I also heard about a dude who answered a help wanted ad from a vampire hunter. Hoo, was that a bad idea… But I bet you thought vampires weren't real or ghosts either. Pull up a chair. I'll tell you some stories that'll give you the creeps, maybe make you laugh a little, too. That's ok. I used to laugh at this stuff, until I met Patrick.
Terrors That Tingle  Wesley Thomas

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Want to experience terrors that make you tingle?

'The pages are drenched in blood, dread, and fear. Read at your own risk! But trust me, you will want to read this collection. It's sure to scratch all your horror related itches.’ – Horrornerd.

From the British horror author that brought you the bestselling horror collection 'Nightmare Fuel' comes his latest collection of horrifying tales.

From ominous messages, doll makers, transformational stairs, stage fright, crazy old ladies, malfunctioning elevators, and terrifying helicopter rides.
This collection is a must-read for horror bookworms.

‘This thriller will tingle your senses and send shivers down your spine. Another great collection by a go-to author of horror.’ – Pamela Winn, Author.

'A great collection of scary short stories.' - MP Book Reviews.

Broken  Stefan Mears

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Darien, a man on the verge of collapse. Not eating. Not sleeping. Not since his wife died. Not since the night of their last fight.

Darien visits a psychic. A specialist in hauntings. His last hope.

Darien will do anything to contact his dead wife.

"Broken", a tale of ghosts and one man's quest to reach beyond death. From Stefon Mears, author of The House on Cedar Street.

The Demon of London  Ayse Hafriza

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What does every demon want in life? To be invisible of course. Jassassah the Demon finds herself on the London Tube, and just what is a demon meant to do when traveling with busy distracted commuters? Well if she isn't ruining their lives it would be a wasted opportunity. Jassassah picks off her victims one by one, delving into their secret, dark and most disturbing thoughts. Reminding them of the monsters they once were or showing them the monsters they can become.

How would Jassassah play with your mind? Or could you even distinguish her whisper from your own thoughts?

Read the first book in The Demon Series and follow her adventures. Just don't read it in the dark, because she might be reading over your shoulder.

Free Read Friday: Covenant Part II


Part II

He’d found the booth buried beneath a pile of cast offs in the back of a barn on the vast Kansas plains. The owner had been a man closing in on ninety and had been happy to part company with it for the right price that Archie readily agreed to.

Archie’s dad had served in the European theater in World War II, wading ashore at Normandy on D-Day as Hitler’s finest mounted a stiff defense. Archie himself had served in the jungles of Vietnam, so he understood that need to make contact with those close to you before you stepped into the fight. That final moment to say your goodbyes. He closed the door behind him and settled onto the narrow seat as his emotions overwhelmed him.

The doctors said it wouldn’t be much longer before she required twenty four hour care, and the discussion had then turned to his options, that were becoming  limited with every passing day.

Nursing home? Absolutely not!

Twenty four hour in-home care was an option that came with a price tag far beyond his ability to pay. Even if he sold everything he had ever purchased in his den it still wouldn’t be enough. They had some money socked away, but nothing close to what would be needed to provide the care she required. She had reached the end of a life well lived and in a cosmic twist of fate was destined to spend her remaining years as a stranger.

Oh how he yearned for the old Pat, the young girl with the mischievous eyes and the quick smile. She was a flirt, even as they grew old together she had that ability to have every man anywhere she went eating out of the palm of her hand in no time. Yet she had given her heart solely to him. They’d had a good life together, raising two sons who had gone on to make both of them proud. Of course she would have been proud of them no matter what.

A rapping on the glass pulled him from his thoughts and he looked up startled. A young man in uniform stood on the other side of the door, knocking on the glass impatiently as Archie gathered his thoughts, trying to make sense of what was going on.

“Come on, Pops, I’m shipping out soon and I gotta get back, I need the phone to call my girl,” the young man said as he pushed on the center of the door to open it.

“I’m sorry, what? Where am I? What’s going on?” Archie stuttered as he looked around the room. His den was gone, as was his collection of signs and toys. In its place was the smoky interior of a tavern. A narrow bar ran the length of the wall on the left, several patrons, an even mix between civilian and military types, sat as the bar with cold drinks in front of them as tendrils of white smoke rose from what seemed like a cigarette in every ashtray.

“”Let me use the phone for just a minute then you can have it back, I just want to tell my girl I love her before they ship me out.”

“Where are you going?” Archie asked before he could stop himself. He had never been as open with strangers as Pat.

“Somewhere in the Pacific, won’t know for sure till we’re on the ship, just hope I get to kill some Japs for what they did in Hawaii,” the young man, no more than nineteen said as he tipped his head and slipped into the phone booth, closing the door behind him.

Everything around him was dark, dreary, not black and white, not quite, it was like a photo that time had taken the color from. Even the neon sign over the bar glowed with a dingy light that had been sapped of any brilliance. 

Then he saw her, at the end of the bar, her blue summer dress the only spot of color in an otherwise drab world, her eyes sparkling with a playful light, her red hair set off by the color of the simple dress she wore.

She got up from the bar, and was walking towards him, when from the baby monitor on his belt she cried out his name.


He looked up from where he was sitting to find himself  back in his man cave. Sitting in the phone booth, his shoulder resting against the glass side.

“Archie.” Her voice crackled from the monitor again, a forlorn cry from the wilderness of her disease.

His back was stiff, his buttocks numb from having sat so long, and he struggled to pull himself to his feet.

How long had he been out? He glanced at his watch as a sinking despair overwhelmed him. She had been alone for four hours. How long had she been calling for him before he realized it?

Pushing open the door of the phone booth he rushed upstairs to find she had messed herself. He had no idea how long she had been calling for him, but the look in her eyes, that humiliation of having lain in her own waste, burned with a brilliant intensity. 

“I’m, sorry,” he repeated as he worked to clean her, swearing to himself that he would never forget her again. As he worked he realized that while he was standing in that smoky bar, watching the red head walk towards him, he had completely forgotten, for the briefest of moments, about his ailing wife. He was surprised when he realized just how liberating forgetting her could be. His childish side sought to counter his guilt by reminding him that she had already forgotten him.

To be continued

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New This Week in Dark Fantasy 8/23/2017

Captivated by Crimson by Brynn Myers

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She is the fated one I have been waiting for...
The crimson in her veins will restore me…

My desire for her burns like no other…
I must possess her…
Dare to touch her and you will be the one to suffer…

Nola Blair is a free-spirited photographer sent to cover the party of the century in Elizabeth Bathory’s ruined castle. It was an assignment she'd declined––twice, but when she was offered a hefty sum to indulge the wealthy eccentric, she finally gave in. Little did she know that the guests at this party were centuries old and their desires reached far beyond those of a normal partygoer.

One captivating night will change her life and the two vampires vying for her will fight to the death to get what they want. One wants her to be his and the other wants her blood.

Who will decide Nola’s fate?

Throne of the Bastards  by Brian Keene &  Steven L Shrewsbury

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Sword and sorcery collides with horror once again in this sequel to Brian Keene and Steven L. Shrewsbury’s award-winning KING OF THE BASTARDS.

Learning that his family is in danger, Rogan returns to his former kingdom, now under siege from foreign invaders and supernatural forces led by his bastard son. With time running out, the aging barbarian and his trusted companions, Javan and Akibeel, must forge an alliance of new friends and old foes, mustering an army to retake the kingdom. Surrounded by savages, soldiers, demons, and dark magic, it will take all of their cunning, skill, ruthlessness, and courage to survive the slaughter and determine once and for all who shall sit upon the THRONE OF THE BASTARDS.

Swarm and Steel by  Michael Fletcher


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Zerfall awakens in an alley, wounded and unable to remember her past. Chased by an assassin out into the endless wastes of the desert, she is caught, disfigured, and left for dead. Her scabbard is empty, but the need for answers—and the pull of her sword—will draw her back to the city-states.

When Jateko, a naïve youth, accidentally kills a member of his own tribe, he finds himself outcast and pursued across the desert for his crimes. Crazed from dehydration, dying of thirst and hunger, he stumbles across Zerfall.

Hunted by assassins and bound by mutual need, both Zerfall and Jeteko will confront the Täuschung, an ancient and deranged religion ruled by a broken fragment of Zerfall’s mind. Swarm, the Täuschung hell, seethes with imprisoned souls, but where gods—real or imagined—meddle in the affairs of man, the cost is high.

In Swarm and Steel, the power of belief can manifest and shape reality, and for political and religious leaders, faith becomes a powerful tool. But the insane are capable of twisting reality with their delusions as well, turning increasingly dangerous as their sanity crumbles. It is here that a long prophesied evil will be born, an endless hunger. The All Consuming will rise.

Blood Huntress by Izzy Shows


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What does it say when vampires aren’t the thing most feared in the night?

Nina Rodriguez has become the most lethal weapon in the world. A blood mage trained by werewolves to hunt and kill with no remorse, no morality, and no hesitation. All that matters is the thrill of the kill, and the danger that comes with it.

When she’s given orders to infiltrate and observe the vampire court, she couldn’t turn it down anymore than she could cease to breathe.

The sweet taste of danger was enough to tempt her, and that only doubles when the vampire king chooses her as his own personal thrall.

He’s a temptation she wasn’t prepared for, but dangerous, and his attention could mean death if she doesn’t watch her mouth. Words are weapons in a vampire court, weapons she was not trained to use.

She can fight off any enemy, but no one prepared her to fight for her soul.

Bound by Sorcery by Antara Mann

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A supernatural apocalypse is brewing. And only secret magic can defeat it.

Alexandra Shaw may be an elemental mage, but she prefers the quiet life, running her struggling occult bookshop. With secrets of her own and a magical lineage shrouded in mystery, she keeps a low profile. But when a New York banker is found gruesomely murdered with an ancient symbol carved into his chest — one representing a cult of demon hunters long thought extinct — the supernatural community, including the Magic Council, is stunned.

Alex reluctantly joins the investigation to keep her shop afloat, but tensions between gods and demons continue to rise and threaten to break into a devastating war. To diffuse the situation, the Council assigns a fiercely powerful and sexy fae to the case.

Ancient cults, demons, gods, ritualistic murders, a tempting fae — and as if all that weren't bad enough, now someone’s trying to kill her…

Bound By Sorcery is the first book in the Half-Goddess Chronicles urban fantasy series. It features a kick-ass heroine, a hot hero, mystery, and otherworldly adventures. Fans of Ilona Andrews, Ella Summers and Linsey Hall will enjoy this series.

Free Read Friday: Covenant Part I

Some promises are kept for a lifetime

“Archie,” Patricia’s voice shrieked through the plastic mesh of the baby monitor on the counter top. He had installed them to keep tabs on his wife when he wasn’t in her room, and she needed him. All she said anymore was his name and even that was becoming an increasingly rare occurrence. It was if the disease had not only robbed her of her mind, and her memories, but was taking her voice as well.

Doctor Patterson had said it would eventually come to that as the disease progressed through its varied stages.

With her sandwich and a pile of potato chips on the Styrofoam plate he placed them on the plastic tray he used for her meals. There was already a Styrofoam cup full of lemon water, and a Styrofoam bowl of butterscotch pudding. Next to the plate were two napkins, and the only utensil, a plastic spoon for the pudding. Anything with sharp edges had to be avoided. She was past the physically violent stage, almost completely bedridden, with the exception of her bathroom visits that she insisted on continuing, even though a bed pan was available.  

Yet it was always wise to be careful.

With the monitor clipped to his belt he carried her tray down the hall towards her bedroom, and with every step the sadness settled deeper into his heart. She had once been a vibrant, loving, woman. A fiery redhead whose personality matched the color of her hair. To this day he was still in awe of the fact that she had chosen him over the array of suitors who were constantly at her beck and call.

At her door he paused, mentally preparing himself for what waited beyond the closed door. Once he was ready he stepped into the brightly lit room. The windows were open and a gentle breeze stirred the curtains as the steady sound of the oceans waves came crashing through. Birds twittered in the trees beyond the window as life contiued beyond the walls that surrounded them.

She had always loved the sound of the ocean

“Good morning Patricia,” Archie said as he placed her tray on the table next to her bed. The table was the kind found in every hospital, it looked like an angular letter C, mounted on four wheels that were capable of slipping under the hospital bed, so the surface could be brought close to the patient.

She watched him from the pillows under her head, her once vibrant red hair now the color of the sheets she lay on, her faced lined with age, eyes that once sparkled with a mischievous light now watched him with guarded mistrust as he moved around the foot of her bed, and crossed to the window.

“Is this too cold for you?”

She watched him silently as he pushed the window down, cutting off the sound of the ocean’s waves, and he turned to face her, the smile he’d plastered on his face faltering under her relentless gaze. She was in there somewhere, he knew it, it was just a matter of time before she managed to find her way back to him.

“I’ve brought you your favorite,” he said as he returned to the other side of the table, and settled into his seat as he slid the hospital table across in front of her. She looked from Archie to the sandwich, then back again.

He nodded at the sandwich and she cautiously picked it up from the plate, several pieces of chicken falling onto her chest as she brought it to her mouth.

After she had fallen asleep, he sought out the sanctuary of what she once called his man cave. Half the basement had been converted into a den of sorts for the assorted objects that Archie had come across in his travels.  The upper half of the walls were covered with signs from the past, advertising everything from Standard Oil to Wonder Bread, builds strong bodies eight ways. Beneath the signs, shelves overflowed with assorted small toys from the past, from cast iron to wind up tin toys all gaily painted in a variety of colors, many of which were also marked with the rust of neglect.

This was his sanctuary from the trials and tribulations of life and many a time he would just come down her and sit as he admired his collection, and listened to the music of the past, trying to recapture the innocence of the time period much of these items had come from.

His pride and joy was the nineteen forties telephone booth that occupied one corner of the room. It had been painstakingly restored to its former glory, its wood frame glistening in the light from a number of old style neon signs that were situated here and there among the other signs of the period. Every time he looked at the phone booth he imagined a line of GI’s waiting to use the phone for one last conversation with their sweethearts before they were shipped off the war.

An easy chair sat in one corner of the room, next to a bookcase filled with old volumes, and an old style table lamp whose surface reflected the light from above. Tonight he ignored the easy chair and turned towards the phone booth whose bench seat offered very little comfort.  The interior still smelled of old smoke, sweat, and the spilled tears of many a brave boy marching off to war. The phone mounted in the corner was black, its box like body designed with an eyes towards function over fashion. 

To be continued

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New This Week in Post Apocalyptic Fiction

Five Suns Saga Part III by Jim Heskett

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Kellen Richter survived the end of the world and the chaos that ensued. Now, he and a band of fighters will have to pull support from unlikely sources to prevent a familiar enemy from assuming control.

The final battle has begun. The warring factions will stop at nothing to destroy each other to seize control of what’s left of America.

Will Kellen and his friends maintain their freedom and find a way to live out their days in peace, or will the onslaught of power-hungry opportunists destroy everything?

The Blood Will Dry by Kate L. Mary

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Five years after an alien invasion, the earth is unrecognizable. The human race has been decimated and the sun completely blotted out by dark clouds that bring constant rain. All indigenous plant life has been killed off and replaced by vegetation that has proven to be as deadly as it is invasive, and the aliens that have taken over the planet are seemingly invincible.

Living in a crowded building with other survivors, Diana Foster wants nothing more than to forget what she lost the day the aliens arrived. But an incoming platoon brings a familiar face, one that not only opens old wounds, but also forces her to deal with the painful memories she's worked hard to forget. Bryan may not be the same cocky kid he was before the invasion, but his sudden appearance still turns Diana's world upside down in ways she never expected. When he showed up she knew it would mean finally facing her past, but she never thought she’d find a future that was actually worth living.

After years of struggling to find a weakness in the aliens' defenses, Diana stumbles upon a solution just as a new and more deadly threat surfaces. Faced with an attraction she never expected and a battle that most believe can't be won, Diana must work through her painful past as the survivors mount a battle that may determine the fate of mankind. If her plan fails it very well could be the end of humanity, but if works it will mean having a real future, and a chance to allow the blood to dry once and for all.

Winter Smith The Secrets of France by J.S. Strange

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A new world order, a city under control, and a new breed of zombie known as The Martyrs living alongside humans. France isn't safe. It never has been.

After fleeing from London, seventeen-year-old Winter Smith and her surviving friends learn that to survive in Paris means trusting those they don't know. An anti-government, known as The Union, are forming to take on V, a woman who has gained control of the world and has created the dead to establish a new world order.

But surviving in Paris is hard, as those who don't conform to V's new rules are quickly wiped out.

This not-so-typical zombie novel is the second instalment of the Winter Smith series. An action packed young adult horror that will keep you guessing, and wondering what could possibly happen next.

Dusk: A Dark Fantasy Novel by Tim Lebbon

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Kosar the thief senses that Rafe Baburn is no ordinary boy. After witnessing a Red Monk plunder Rafe's village and murder his parents, Kosar knows the boy needs his help. And now, for reasons he cannot fathom, others are seeking the boy's destruction.
Uncertain where to begin Kosar turns to A'Meer, an ex-lover and Shantasi warrior whose people, unbeknownst to him, have sworn to safeguard magic's return to the land of Noreela.

It is Rafe who bears this miracle of magic.

Now Kosar and a band of unexpected allies embark on a battle to protect one special boy. But horrific dark forces are closing in, and if they take magic for themselves dusk will fall forever.

Knight of the Wasteland by Jon Cronshaw

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Finding hope in a hopeless world...

In a world ravaged by dust storms and poisonous rains, Abel has survived feral dogs, raiders, and drug addiction...but he’s done with just surviving — now, he wants to start living.

When Abel stumbles across a boy suffering from the same addiction that almost killed him, he takes the kid under his wing and offers him a new life...a life free from drugs.

But when a brutal drug gang comes after the kid, Abel must risk everything to keep him safe and end The Family’s reign of terror, or die trying.

This Friday I will begin the next short story titled with the letter C, thank you Robert for the suggested title, Covenant. Nice juicy title, now which way do I go.