Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cover reveal: Beneath the Lighthouse

Beneath the Lighthouse
Julieanne Lynch
Publication date: TBA
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness’s sister is dead. Sinking into a deep depression, he frequents the lighthouse where her body was discovered, unaware of the sinister forces surrounding him.
When an angry spirit latches onto Jamie, he’s led down a dark and twisted path, one that uncovers old family secrets, destroying everything Jamie ever believed in.
Caught between the world of the living and the vengeful dead, Jamie fights the pull of the other side. It’s up to Jamie to settle old scores or no one will rest in peace—but, first, he has to survive.

Author Bio:
Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy and contemporary fiction for both adults and teens. Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland, with her husband and five children, where she works on novels full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and is thankful for each day she lives her dream.
Julieanne is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management, and is both traditionally and independently published.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Blitz : Posse Legends

Posse: Legends
T. Hammond
(Posse, #1)
Publication date: October 26th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
It should have been an easy job.
Track the jackal. Locate the girl. Rescue said girl. Return bad puppy to the Council for questioning.
As leader of the Posse, a paranormal alliance, shapeshifter Lexa O’Clare thought she’d seen everything over the past millennia. Neither she, nor her vampire partner, Etienne, expected this case to be different.
A fugitive werejackal leads them to a secret lab where supernaturals are unwilling subjects in genetic experimentation. The Posse uncovers a conspiracy implicating high-ranking members of the Inter-species Council.
Can anyone’s motives be trusted?
Lexa: a shapeshifter sheriff who also proxies for humans killed before their destinies are fulfilled.
Etienne: a Knight Templar, turned master vampire.
Yasmin: a dragon who walked among the gods.
Jade: an historian & Fox-familiar to a cranky dragon.
Sentinel: a gargoyle who mourns the fall of Atlantis.
Richard: a witch with a target on his back.
Tris: a rare polyshifter with an eye for a sexy male.
Rhys: four months ago he was human…
I rocked forward on my arms so I could lean closer and hear more clearly. My attic bedroom was directly above the coven leader’s desk, and from this angle, I had a clear line-of-sight to the witches gathered below. It’s surprising how, after all this time, they still hadn’t caught on to the fact I was spying. I could see and hear everything they discussed. Note to self: when creating a sound-dampening spell, it’s not sufficient to muffle the walls, windows, and door—the floor and ceiling should also be considered.
The peephole had been a fortuitous mishap. I’d been practicing my air-moving skills when I accidentally created a small tornado. Hey now, it was a little one, only a couple feet tall—it’s not like I created a whirlwind of epic proportions. Did you know, if you got air spinning fast enough over a single focal point, it’s possible to drill a hole in a wood floor? It was easy enough to make a plug to conceal the damage, and my room’s simple privacy spell was always active, so there were no worries of discovery. Even if they’d looked up—and they never looked up—my magic was flawless enough they’d see an unblemished ceiling. Cocky witches.
Each coven contained a main circle of twelve witches, plus a priestess. The strongest groups consist of extended families who could pick and choose the most promising amongst themselves, but most covens are formed from a collection of individuals with varying degrees of power and skill. Mother Nan’s coven was moderately talented, with a core group of six sycophants, err…I mean, mature practitioners, all of which were crowded around her desk—standing, of course. The seventh witch was Lea, a semi-strong practitioner who still lacked emotional control over her mouth and her magic, but was her mother’s favorite daughter.
“He’s an abomination.” Mara spat the words as if they left a foul residue in her mouth.
“Too true,” Betti agreed, as was her nature.
“It’s a miracle we haven’t been killed in our beds,” Ella said, lips pursed in sour disapproval.
“Oh, definitely, in our beds.” Betti nodded in quick little jerks, like a bobble-head doll.
Coral sniffed. “It was touch-and-go while he went through his let’s-set-everything-on-fire phase.”
Oh, come on now, I’d been sick, running a high fever. I was seven! You’d think, after all this time, they could let it go.

Author Bio:
T, a paranormal romance and urban fantasy author, feels writing is not a calling so much as it is a compulsion. No one is more surprised than she is when characters take over the plot and dialog, (re)directing stories in directions she had not (consciously) intended. Although T starts out each novel with a basic outline, she finds one or two chapters into the novels, not only have the characters shredded her outline into tiny unidentifiable pieces, they use the resulting confetti in a nose-thumbing parade.
T is fully convinced the writer is the tool a story uses to tell its tale.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Blitz : Marked by Fate

Marked by Fate: A Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Marked by Fate is now enhanced with Augmented Reality! Read, Watch, Listen. The new ultimate reading experience!
Step into adventure with Marked By Fate; the ultimate reading experience. Be immersed in twenty-six fantasy & science fiction worlds with state of the art Augmented Reality technology. Read, listen, and watch bonus content inside to bring the characters and story to life around you.
Enjoy the added features of this special edition, which allow you to enjoy bonus content right from your reading device. See character artwork. Listen to your story’s soundtrack. Watch book trailers and bonus videos. Experience behind the scenes like never before, thanks to Augmented Reality technology. Immersive Fantasy™; bringing fantasy worlds to life.
Embark on fantastic journeys through magical realms, dystopian lands, and faraway galaxies in this exciting collection of fantasy & science fiction novels brought to you by some of today’s hottest authors. Encounter werewolves, robots, angels, time travelers, shifters, and more in this action-packed box set that will leave you breathless.
Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Rhonda Sermon
Kelly St. Clare
Raye Wagner
Ednah Walters
Erin Hayes
Siobhan Davis
Jamie Thornton
Debra Kristi
Sarah K. L. Wilson
Hilary Thompson
Ingrid Seymour
Jeanne Bannon
Melle Amade
Lena Mae Hill
C.J. Anaya
Jackson Dean Chase
D. L. Armillei
Emily Martha Sorensen
Amalie Jahn
Dionne Lister
J.L. Weil
Alisha Klapheke
Angela Fristoe
Meg Cowley
Brandon Barr
99¢ for a limited time only!
Welcome to Marked By Fate:
An interactive Immersive Fantasy™reading experience!

The authors of Marked By Fate are thrilled to share this ground-breaking novel with you!
Think Harry Potter and Kindle in Motion. Moving, singing books,and all the excitement of a truly enriched reading experience.
We call it Immersive Fantasy™, because that’s what it does. It draws you into our stories and brings our worlds to life!
The titles in Marked By Fate use this revolutionary technology to bring you the best reading experience of your life.
How does Immersive Fantasy™ work?
Immersive Fantasy™ utilizes what’s known as Augmented Reality (AR). Using a smart phone/device, you can scan secret cues in the stories, and extra AR content will pop up on your device, streamed direct from the cloud (internet connection required).
See amazing, exclusive character artwork. Watch video content.Listen to the soundtrack whilst you read. Discover behind the scenes with the authors in bonus content.
Would you like to try it?
Then keep reading! You have already downloaded the Immersive Fantasy edition of Marked By Fate, and you just need to bring the magic to life.
The simple instructions overleaf will help you easily access this astonishing new world of fantasy that will delight your every sense.
Start your Immersive Fantasy™ adventure today!
Immersive Fantasy™ Instructions
Getting set up
These three steps are crucial to ensure you can access the AR content.
1.On your smart phone or tablet, download the Aurasma app from your app store.
2.Login to the app, and register your account.
3.Search for the user ‘MarkedByFate’, and click follow.
Accessing the Immersive Fantasy™ Augmented Reality content
Follow these steps carefully to access the AR content. Additional help can be found on the Aurasma help desk.
1.Read and enjoy the story, and watch for clues to the AR content. These will appear in the form of images with a symbol next to them, denoting the type of AR content. Content viewable includes images (camera icon), videos (movie clip icon), or music (music icon).
2.You will need one device/format to read on, and a smart device to access the AR content.
3.When you spot an Immersive Fantasy™ clue, open the Aurasma app on your smart device.(Navigate to the viewfinder screen if the app does not automatically do this.)
4.Centre your viewfinder on the trigger image. Make sure to include all of the trigger image in the screen. You can view the content vertically/in portrait or horizontally/in landscape.
5.The app will display the AR content in the form of an image overlay, video overlay,or music overlay, as denoted by the symbol next to the image.
6.Enjoy!You can zoom in and out and tilt your camera to fully explore each piece of content. Make sure you have your sound turned on so you can listen to the video and audio content! You will have to continue focusing on the content to keep listening to music/watching videos/viewing images.
7.It might take a little practice – don’t worry if you struggle on your first try.
What to try if it won’t work.
1.No AR content is popping up: have you registered an Aurasma account,and followed ‘MarkedByFate’? You must do this to access the content.
2.No AR content is popping up: have you made sure all of the trigger image is in your viewfinder?
3.No AR content is popping up on my kindle/e-ink device: please adjust your device screen brightness. If the screen is too bright or too dim, the image cannot be recognised by the app.
4.I can’t hear any sound: check the icon. Only video/music AR content has sound.
5.I can’t hear any sound, and it should be playing some: please ensure your volume is not muted,and turned up.
6.The content keeps disappearing: ensure you keep the viewfinder focused on the trigger image so that the AR content will remain overlaid on your screen.If you move too far away from the trigger image, the AR content will disappear.Activate it again by re-scanning the trigger image.
7.Can I access the eBook and the AR content on the same device? No. Aurasma uses your device camera, so you will have to read the book on a difference device to the device you are using Aurasma with.
8.It’s just not working – I’ve tried everything: Please refer to the Aurasma help files,and contact their help desk if you are still having issues. Whilst extensive testing has been performed to ensure maximum device compatibility, regrettably not all devices may be compatible. Best compatibility will be found on pixel based screens with good brightness levels.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Blitz: Haven

Mary Lindsey
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”
Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.
Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

Author Bio:
Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.
Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 "pet" Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the "pet" roaches found a home... somewhere else.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens

Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There's only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.
Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

When I picked up - or better yet per-ordered - A Enchantment of Ravens I didn't know what to expect and maybe because of this I was not disappointed by it, quite the opposite. I found myself loving every word of it with a long forgotten child's wonder.

An Enchantment of Ravens is a nicely written romantic fairy-tale with dark undercurrents (Tim Burton would be proud). It is a sort of fantastical Romeo & Juliet but with much less drama and more sass. Full of enchanting landscapes filled and evocative images, the riot is swept along with a Isabel in whirlwind of leaves, colors and vine.

More times than on I imagined myself reading this story off of an old leather bound book emerged from ancient trunk discovered in some ancient castle ruins. Such was the timeless and diaphanous quality of the story.

Rook and Isabel were a real to treat to read (do you ear this noise? It is me sighing in a corner...). They are also the most well defined characters (not surprisingly since they're the protagonists). I would have liked for Emma, Gadfly, Aster, Lark, & Hemlock to have more page time but the book is so short that I understand why they did not. I would have liked to know more about the World Beyond or how the fair ones came to be but then again I understand the space limitations. I also would have loved to see Rook and Isobel interact some more before he spirits her away instead of being told how much time passes (I won't as far as saying it was insta-love, as I understand it isn't...). Let's say that I would have probably liked the book even more if it had been 50/60 pages or so longer, but I'll take what I get. Long story short, the book has its flaws but I loved it nonetheless.

I found this not only a nicely crafted and enthralling tale but also a story about the importance of change and how loved how in this beautiful faces and dazzling dresses were more often than not just a facade hiding emptiness and rot (quite literally too...)
And I must say that I appreciated that Isobel's feelings never falter not even when she sees the strangeness that lurks beneath the beautiful mask.

An Enchantment of Ravens was often compared to ACOTAR's series but I really don't see any point of comparison here, not in the story not in the messages hidden between the lines. In fact I'd reread this book anytime while I'd rather not touch (or read) Maas's series ever again, lol.

If you're looking for a dark (but also very romantic) fairy tale, easy and quick to read please do read this book and prepare to be enchanted, literally!


   4 blossoms

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Blitz : Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them

Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them
Debra Goelz
Published by: Hachette Audiobooks
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Waverly Fishwater believes that people who act suspicious are asking for her to spy on them. When she eavesdrops on one of her dad’s clandestine meetings, she learns that mermaids are being abducted. Fearing no one else will save them, Waverly swaps her tail for legs and heads to the site of the disappearances, but it doesn’t go as planned. After exposing mermaidkind to humanity, Waverly has to come to terms with leaving the home, friends, and school she loves. For her safety, she must go to a remote boarding school on the California coast.
Waverly discovers her new classmates are from a multitude of supernatural species, including werewolves, fairies, and minor Greek gods. But the bigger problem might be all the mermaid-blood loving vampires, and the fact that the most infuriating one has taken an interest in her already.
She must navigate this weird new world where her class schedule includes time-traveling history, fairy dance, interspecies biology, and sand-sculpting vain gods with rock-hard abs. The biggest letdown is that she still has to take algebra, even though polynomials are not her friends.
Just when she’s starting to fit in, she begins to unravel a dark plot that could destroy the bayside school and the oceans beyond. As she gets close to solving the mystery, the mernapper takes hold of her mind and hides the clues that will piece it together. Waverly is left with the knowledge of one thing: she’s next.
If Waverly is to expose the scheme and take out the mastermind, she’s going to have to rely on the most dubious kind of help-reckless gods, single-minded werewolves, and virtuous fairies. To avoid a supernatural catastrophe, Waverly must rally this eccentric band of heroes, learning to rely on the help of others in order to stay afloat.
Listen to an audio sample here!

Author Bio:
Debra Goelz is a refugee from Hollywood where she served for ten years as a financial executive for such companies as Universal Pictures, Dino de Laurentiis and Jim Henson Productions. Her performing career began and ended with her puppeteering a chicken during the closing scene in "Muppet Treasure Island." After garnering over 9 million on-line reads, her award-winning YA fantasy, "Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them," will be published by Hachette audio on October 17, 2017. She lives in a redwood forest in rural Marin County with her husband. Her two children have abandoned her to seek a college education in New York.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Book Blitz : The Cutting Room

The Cutting Room Floor
Dawn Klehr
Publication date: October 13th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley
Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she’s publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.
Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn’t know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez’s web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

Author Bio:
Dawn Klehr is the author of the young adult thrillers: The Cutting Room Floor and If You Wrong Us.
She began her career in TV news and though she’s been on both sides of the camera, she prefers to lurk behind the lens. Mostly, she loves to get lost in stories –in film, the theater, or on the page – and is a sucker for both the sinister and the sappy. She’s currently channeling her dark side as she works on her next book.
Dawn lives in the Twin Cities with her funny husband, adorable son, and naughty dog.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blog tour: Unearthed After Sunset (Song for a scene)

Unearthed After Sunset
by Lauryn April is the first novel in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles. 

Continue reading to find out how “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine inspired a scene from the book.
Song for a Scene: “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine
As many writers do, I like to listen to music when I’m writing. Music helps me tune out the rest of the world so I can stay focused on my novel, but it also inspires me. When I was writing Unearthed after Sunset, the song “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine really spoke to me. Though the song isn’t about vampires (I don’t think), with lines like “holy water cannot help you now,” and “I was dead when I woke up this morning,” it was hard for me to listen to it and not think of vampires.
“Seven Devils” has this spooky sound that reminded me of Greg’s journey into the world of vampires. The lyrics also remind me of the different battles that occur in the novel, especially the line “See I have to burn your kingdom down.” In Unearthed after Sunset there are two gangs of vampires that are trying to destroy one another and will stop at nothing to win. There’s also the constant battle that exists between the Vampires and the Hunters.

Here’s an excerpt from a scene where the vampires make a statement at a local club: 
I spun. The lights flashed. The music pounded. People danced. Movement pulsed all around me.
A girl brushed against me, swaying to the beat, her body pressing against mine. Her curly blonde hair thrashed about as the tempo of the music sped. An image of Caroline flickered through my mind, but I caught the girl’s eyes; they were green, not brown – green like Sarah’s. This is wrong. She danced, and knocked her head back, exposing her neck. I smelled the blood, watched the pulsing vein in her neck, and it was all over. The lights, and the sounds, the smell, my gums tingled and in a rush my lips were at her throat, teeth embedded in flesh, hands holding her small frame tight against me. This feels right. 
Her screams drowned in sound waves. I grabbed her hands as if we were dancing, and her distress went ignored by the partygoers surrounding us. Flashing lights veiled her death, and she slipped away.
After I’d drained her, after we’d all fed, there were some who started to take notice of our activities. People shook the lifeless corpses of their friends, and it became apparent they hadn’t passed out. It didn’t matter. They’d never know that vampires had stolen their lives. We sneaked out into the night and left the rest of the party to devolve into madness.
As we stepped out the back door of the club, I saw a red symbol spray painted on the wall. A round eye, with a circle on either side, and a triangle behind it lay atop a thick x. It hadn’t been there when we arrived. My sight remained focused on the design as we walked away, but I didn’t ask about it.

Want to know more about Unearthed After Sunset follow the Blog Tour here

About the Author:
Lauryn April has always been fascinated by the paranormal, picking up a healthy Stephen King habit by the age of thirteen. Her favorite TV show growing up was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and she's always preferred bands like The Rolling Stones, and The Doors over whatever they're playing on the radio.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cover reveal: Fire & Bone

Fire and Bone
Rachel A. Marks
(Otherborn #1)
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future.
Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party—one that turns out to be a trap.
Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she’s of age, she’s asked to pledge her loyalty to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means necessary. She has to admit that she’s tempted—especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glamour, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could give her more than she ever imagined.
As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out who to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing is for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.
Read a sample chapter here!

Author Bio:
Rachel A. Marks is a cancer survivor, a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. Her four kids and amazing hubby put up with her nerdiness with tremendous grace, even when she makes them watch Buffy or Smallville re-runs for days on end. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Blitz: There Be Demons

There Be Demons
M.K. Theodoratus
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult
After her father remarries, Britt Kelly’s life becomes a cesspit. She lives in her sister’s two-bedroom tenement apartment with her mother, two brothers, and two young nephews. She starts a new high school where she knows no one. And, even when Britt thinks she’s making friends, the church where she studies in is torn down.
Then, the field commanders of The Demon Wars draft her and her friends to aid the four Gargoyle Guardians who fight the demons invading the city of Trebridge. The fate of the city hangs on Britt’s ability to lead and learn enough self-control to manipulate the natural magic of Grace. Meanwhile, she also needs to decide what to do about Cahal, her chemistry lab partner who is as strong as her and may have interests more than just protecting Trebridge.
“There Be Demons” is a continuation of M. K. Theodoratus’ urban fantasy, “Night for the Gargoyles”. It tells the tale of Gillen and his team of Gargoyle Guardians as they defend Trebridge while teaching Britt and her friends – the untrained “reinforcements. Along the way, Gillen and Britt learn things about each other to make them stronger both together and alone.
Are you a book reviewer?
Request an ARC here!
Britt Kelly leaned against the jamb between the cramped kitchen and living room of her new home in the projects. I feel like a sardine stuffed in a can.
Her anger churned. If her father hadn’t abandoned his family for his bimbo boss, she’d be back home in her own bedroom, chatting with friends about the new school year. Instead, she was stuck in her older half-sister’s apartment.
Many prized the apartments in St. Edmund’s Towers for their size, but Britt refused to see it. She looked at the walls they had painted as a trap. Her mother and sister were sleeping in each family’s respective bedroom. Her two small nephews smeared jam on their faces in the living room as they waited for the cartoons to start. Her two younger brothers, Carlos and Darin, whispered in the bathroom, forgetting their argument over who got the sink first might wake their sleeping mother.
Welcome to another merry day in the projects.
The teen huffed as she waited for her brothers to get ready to sneak away to go see their father uptown. Her thoughts switched to getting revenge on her absentee father. He’d missed his last two court-ordered visits, but she’d get him today, even if her mother forbade them to annoy him. The court said he could see his kids every third Sunday of the month. See them he would. Her brothers had a right to visit him even if his new wife hated them like cooties. Britt was going to make sure they did.
Wish I could make him suffer for the visits he’s missed.
A vision of Britt sticking him with a knitting needle in each hand like his Granny Nan made her smile.
No. That’s not vicious enough.
A vision of a steamroller with thousands of pins on its roller popped into Britt’s mind. In seconds, the machine squashed her father into the ground. When he emerged from underneath, he was a bleeding mess.
A low volume fanfare announced the TV news. Just as she was about to yank her brothers out of the bathroom, her favorite reporter came on. Jessica Hawthorne of the The Trebridge Channel wore a stunning form-fitting green outfit that Britt coveted. The color would go as well with her dark hair as the reporter’s blond, blue-eyed looks. Hawthorne took a deep breath, ready to deliver her morning spiel.
Britt swallowed hard. Before the Divorce, Britt had worn expensive clothes like Hawthorne’s, not thrift shop junk like she wore now. When they lost their uptown apartment after her mom got sick, the county sheriff had dumped all their belongings on the sidewalk. Most of their stuff got stolen.
Dad could’ve helped us. At least buy us some new clothes for school. He’s still got plenty of money. Mom couldn’t help getting sick.
The small living room swallowed Jessica Hawthorne’s breathy voice. Britt strained to hear her over the bratbies’ sporadic giggles as they shoved pieces of toast in each other’s faces.
“Enough about the underage Crown Prince of Andor getting caught in a strip joint when he should have been at school. Closer to home and our thought for the day. The Guarda assures the citizens of Trebridge the new curfew will end the vandalism and muggings. Stronger measures are needed, I tell you. Scores of people appear at hospitals with the most dreadful wounds and can’t remember how they got them.”
The reporter blathered on, an earnest expression knitting her brows. “We need more guarda on the streets, especially in the river districts. These hoodlums need to be stopped.”
Britt concentrated harder, not daring to turn up the volume while her mother slept. She worked the swing shift now and didn’t get home until four in the morning. Someday I’ll look that polished again, I swear. Granny Nan would bawl Dad out for how we live now if she were still alive.
Britt shut her complaints down, feeling embarrassed at how proud she had once been to be called her daddy’s ‘little princess’.
“While the guarda say their investigations are ongoing, I don’t see any results. Why have so many people disappeared? The police haven’t a clue.” Her lip curled. “You’d almost think we’re being invaded by demons and our fine protectors are too scared to investigate.” Her contempt poured from the screen.
Britt tapped her foot, wishing her brothers would stop giggling. She wished she lived uptown where she still had a room of her own. Granted, they didn’t live on the streets, but four people stuffed in one bedroom in her half-sister’s apartment was torture. Her father deserved to be kicked in the ass. Britt wanted revenge. Her father needed to pay for abandoning his family and her.
The noise in the bathroom grew louder.
Those buttheads better not wake Mom up.
Britt twitched the draped folds of her new V-neck blouse wishing she had the boobs to fill it out. It did have a designer label, just the thing she needed to sneak into the posh condos where her father now lived.
Just like the boys can’t wear their grubs today.
“I want to wear a T-shirt to Dad’s, Britt.”
Quarrelsome Darin whined behind her, making her jump. He had become a total pain since their parents’ divorce. Britt hoped seeing their dad would stop his constant bitching. Britt didn’t feel any guilt for disobeying their mother’s orders. The boys deserved to see their cockroach of a father. His ice-blooded new wife could just tough out their visit.
Britt’s muscles tightened in the cold, funny way they did when something bad was going to happen. She shook her head, forcing herself to ignore the bothersome feeling that was happening too often for comfort.
Glancing at the closed bedroom doors, she put a finger to her lips. Mom’s going to blister our ears if we wake her.
Darin opened his mouth. Lifting her hand to smack him, she brushed back the thick fall of hair across her eyes instead. If she hit him, Darin’s screams would wake their mom and Pietra, their half-sister.
Keeping her voice low, she said, “Get your butt in gear. You’re wearing what you’re wearing. End of questions, comments, and complaining.”
Darin did not give up. “My tees are clean. Dad don’t like fancy either. He sat in front of the TV with his shirt and shoes off all the time. In summer, he only wore his boxers. Remember? Mom always got mad at him for leaving beer cans on the coffee table. Always.”
“Shh. Don’t wake Mom or Pietra.” Britt held a finger to her lips. “Get your shoes on, and we can talk in the hall.”
“I don’t like dress shirts either.” Carlos, her older, calmer brother, carefully left the bathroom door partly ajar. “It’s not fair to make us wear them. You’re just a kid like us even if you’re taller. Being a high school freshmen ain’t no bigger deal than being in fifth grade.”
“Stop being buttheads, both of you.” Britt jerked the apartment door open. “You begged to visit Dad. I’m doing the best I can to see you do, so shut up and move your ass before Mom wakes up.”
Her mother did her best to push their father out of their lives. Britt refused to let her have her wish. Since the messy divorce and his marriage to the Ice-Bitch, Timothy Kelly had seldom spent more than an hour with them. Their dad mostly offered excuses when his visitation weekend came.When he did see them, they barely ate a fast lunch before he sent them off to a movie on their own. The last time was three months ago. Britt missed him and his compliments terribly.
He’s not going to escape today.
Britt remembered their one visit to the posh high-rise, so different from both their suburban and project homes. The pristine rooms, sprinkled with figurines and trinkets, made her nervous enough to get the cold crawls down her back every time she moved. The Ice-Bitch’s rat-dog had barked and snapped at them the whole time.
Carlos didn’t mean to break the stupid shepherd figurine when he jumped. The damn dog would’ve bit him if I hadn’t kicked the yapping rat in the head. I don’t care if the cabrona told us never to come back again. It’s our right to see him.
Outside the apartment, the hallway reeked from years of cooking in the eight apartments of the fifth floor, B-wing. In spite of the blinking light of the security camera in its wire cage, someone had tagged both sides of the hall. Thankfully, they left the picture Britt called the “Tree of Life” undamaged. Someone had painted a huge tree with birds flittering through the leaves. No one told the artist that real trees didn’t grow alone, especially the big ones. Britt missed the trees lining the streets of their lost home, and the painting’s survival gave Britt hope she might survive living in the slums, too.
Be glad you don’t down near the docks.
The thought of trees made Britt smile as memories of her summers at Granny Nan’s flitted through her mind, the pines sighing in the breeze while the oaks rustled with a brisker note. Her huge white dogs slipping out of the house to silently disappear into the tree-covered hillsides. Granny Nan standing lost in thought, rubbing her hidden necklace with the tips of her fingers until the gems glowed, when she thought she was alone. The three guard dogs, Nan called her guardians, licking Britt’s face.
Britt’s heart clutched when she recalled their goodbye last summer. Granny Nan had bustled about the kitchen, packing a lunch with extra snickerdoodles for the drive back to Trebridge. Just before she shoved the paper bag into her hands, she rose to her tiptoes to kiss Britt on the forehead.
“Cheer up, my girl. Next summer will be loads of fun. You’re going to learn all sorts of new stuff. Our secret now. Remember.”
The last word had held force as she tapped Britt’s forehead. She’d loved Granny Nan. Staying with her was always fun, except when she trained Britt in self-control. Britt had looked forward to her coming summer, not ever imagining the old woman would die.
Britt shoved the memory away because it hurt too much to remember. Won’t learn anything now since she’s dead.
A shuffling noise on the stairs put Britt on alert, living in the projects wasn’t as safe as Uptown. The head of the girl from across the hall appeared, followed by some older guy with broad shoulders carrying a sack. The girl took one look at Britt and dropped her gaze before scurrying toward her door.
On her way, the girl said, “Hi, tree.”
“Why do you always talk to that silly tree, Sara?” asked the guy following her. His gaze rested on where Britt’s boobs should be and sank to her crouch area.
When he smirked, Britt was glad her skirt was loose, happy she did not share Pietra and her mom’s busty figures.
The dark-haired Tejano girl pushed the door open after unlocking it. “Gerome, Hurry up. Mama wants that milk yesterday.”
He scooted into the door, throwing a backward glance at Britt. “Okay, Sara. Okay.”
Carlos slipped into the hallway, pulling their door shut without closing it. “Okay, Britt. Now tell me why I gotta do the dress-shirt shit before school starts.” He stopped and folded his arms across his chest. His expression mirrored his father’s when the old man was ready to start a tantrum and throw things when something didn’t go his way. “I’m not going to move an inch until you let me go back and get a t-shirt.”
“Yeah,” said Darin, joining them.
“We gotta sneak by the co-op’s security, buttheads. If you don’t blend in, they’ll check their list of undesirables and bounce you out the door faster than you can spit. So, you’re wear prissy clothes. Comprendes? Or are you guys totally too stupid to understand?”
“Dad don’t like you speaking Spanish,” said Carlos.
Darin parroted in the high-pitched voice that grated her patience raw. “Yeah, we’re Andorians. Have been forever. You can even join the Daughters of the Kingscourt.”
“Shut up, or go watch TV with the bratbies.” Britt gave him a cold stare. Her fifth-grade brothers hated being lumped with Pietra’s pre-school sons. “Carlos and I’ll visit Dad by ourselves and get bigger ice creams afterward.”
Carlos gasped. “You won’t really leave Darin behind?”
Britt’s glare heated. “Damn sure I would, if he don’t stop whining like a baby.”
“Okay, but I still don’t like dress shirts,” said Darin. “All the guys around here wear tees.”
“Duh. Wear a tee to school tomorrow. Now move your ass. We gotta catch the tram.”
Once on the street, the boys forgot the argument in a game of shoving and giggling. Was I ever so young? Maybe before Pietra fell down the stairs and everyone blamed me for pushing her.
Memories of her father’s great-grandmother who lived back in the hills flooded through her mind. Longing pulsed through Britt as she thought of the summers when she lived with her.
Britt should’ve hated the old woman, but she loved her. When she was nine, Britt had been sent away because everyone thought she shoved Pietra down the stairs, breaking her leg. Pietra had been teasing her by lifting her Mr. Pongo over her head, and she had been jumping trying to grab him away. But she slipped. Pietra had fallen down the stairs when Britt had grabbed her for balance. No one believed her when Britt said it was an accident.
The summer after, Granny Nan had invited her back. She did teach her to “control” her temper. She taught her imagination games. Made her use her use all her senses to examine the world around her. Taught her to sing in descant during the long evenings with the mages who came to visit her. Granny Nan was a Dissenter who disliked the Kingscourt and all it stood for. Still, Britt had loved Granny Nan’s mountain valley. The summers had been the most wonderful of Britt’s life.

Author Bio:
A Northern California gal, M. K. Theodoratus has been intrigued by fantasy since she started reading comic books. She has traveled through many fantasy worlds since then. When she's not disappearing into other writer's worlds, she's creating her own alternative worlds--that of Andor where demons prey on humans and the Far Isle Half-Elven where she explores the social and political implications of genetic drift on a hybrid elf/human people.
A sixth grade English assignment introduced Theodoratus to story writing. The teacher asked for a short story and gave a "C" for an incomplete, 25-page Nancy Drew pastiche which turned into a novel the next summer. Theodoratus has been addicted to writing stories happily ever after.
Currently, Theodoratus lives with her old man and two lap-cats in Colorado.