Friday, September 2, 2016




Because first love deserves a second chance

 Standalone Contemporary Romance.



When love gets messy, it’s not just the talk that’s dirty.



Dirty Talk by S.L. Scott is LIVE!

ONLY .99 for a very short time & FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

**Bonus book inside!**



NOW AVAILABLE!!!







Blurb

From the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Resistance comes this new STANDALONE contemporary romance.

Because first love deserves a second chance

One month.

One movie.

One shot at a second chance.

I fell madly in love at first sight with Jane Lewis.

The girl with bright green eyes, a pretty smile, and great ass owned my heart. I thought she was happy with the status quo, but ten years later, I foolishly let her go. Despite dating other women, no one compares to my first love. We are meant to be together, and I'm going to try my damnedest to convince her of that.

Luke Anders tricked me. The deal was sealed before I knew he was behind it.

We agreed to be just friends. Simple. Easy. But it's not just the weather that's hot in Texas. I was a fool to think I could resist him. He knows how to work his charms and those kissable lips, that great jaw, and biceps. We are here to work, but he has become downright distracting.

I'm strong. I can handle one month of his flirtatious sexual torture. But if I happen to fall in bed with that sexy bastard for a night, or three, does that make me weak? Asking for a friend, of course.

I guess I'm about to find out when love gets messy, it's not just the talk that's dirty.

**BONUS BOOK EDITION of Dirty Talk includes the full novel of Sweet Talk. "Sweet Talk is a fun, sexy, emotionally-rich second chance romance with a charm-your-panties-off hero." ~ New York Times Bestselling Author, Violet Duke


Meet S.L. Scott

New York Times and USA Bestselling Author, S. L. Scott, was always interested in the arts. She grew up painting, writing poetry and short stories, and willing her days away lost in a good book and the movies.
With a degree in Journalism, she continued her love of the written word by reading American authors like Salinger and Fitzgerald. She was intrigued by their flawed characters living in picture perfect worlds, but could still debate that the world those characters lived in were actually the flawed ones. This dynamic of leaving the reader invested in the words, inspired Scott to start writing with emotion while interjecting an underlying passion into her own stories.

Living in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She's obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. She dreams of seeing one of her own books made into a movie one day as well as returning to Europe. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she's a pro.


 



THANK YOU!





Sports + Bad Boy + Second Chance

The Hard Way by Katie Ashley NOW AVAILABLE!







**Additional retailers to follow**



Blurb



Cade Hall has always been the golden boy of the gridiron. Because of his talent at

football, coupled with his father’s wealth, he’s always gotten his way. But when a

night of drunken debauchery lands him in hot water with the college athletic board,

neither his influential father nor his charming grin can save him. Cade finds it a total

buzz kill when he is sentenced to community service with troubled youth at an inner-

city shelter. But his nightmare is only beginning when his greatest high school regret is

the very one in charge of the program, and she has him by the balls in more ways than

one.



For Avery Prescott, senior year was a nightmare of epic proportions, and Cade Hall

played the lead villain. After she fled her small town for college in the bright lights of

Atlanta, she thought she had escaped the painful memories of her past. She never could

have imagined Cade would waltz through the door of the outreach program she

presided over. But Avery has news for Cade—she isn’t the same shy, doormat of a girl

she was in high school. Since she holds Cade's football future in her hands, she’s more

than ready to make payback a real bitch.



Will they stay in the defensive zone or discover that sometimes life's greatest lessons

are learned the hard way?





Excerpt

“Is this one of those old-timey record players?”
“A Victrola,” I answered as I joined him.
Cade snapped his fingers. “That’s right. There was one of these at my grandparents’ house.” He eyed the contraption curiously. “Does it work?”
“Sure.” I set my cup down before winding up the crank. Then I placed the needle on the record, and a slow instrumental tune came out of the Victrola’s horn. At Cade’s groan, I grinned. “Not a fan of classical music?”
“No. It’s more about the fact that it’s one of Strauss’s waltzes.”
Cocking my brows at him, I asked, “You know Strauss?”
With a snort, Cade said, “Don’t look so surprised, and no, I didn’t learn about him in Harlington’s music appreciation class either.”
I held up my hands. “I wasn’t alluding to anything.”
“Yes, you were alluding, as you say, to the stereotype of me being an uncivilized jock,” Cade teased in a snooty-sounding voice.
“I’m sorry. I’ve got to stop doing that. You really are so much more than a jock.”
He swept his hand to his heart. “Why, thank you.”
“So tell me how you know Strauss.”
“I have waltzed at ten cotillions and three debutante balls.”
“Wow. That’s quite impressive.”
“What about you?”
“I’ve never been to a cotillion or deb ball.”
“No, I mean, haven’t you ever waltzed before?”
I laughed. “Oh yeah, I often practice my dance skills out in the corn.”
“Every lady should know how to dance.”
“But I’m not a lady.”
Cade smiled. “Yeah. You are.” When I started to protest, he said, “Money and position aren’t what make a lady. It’s what’s inside you that counts.”
His words and his tone caused the breath to wheeze out of my lungs. Just when I thought he couldn’t surprise me any more with the things he said, he went and said something like that. “Thank you,” I finally mumbled.
“You’re welcome.” The world seemed to slow to a crawl around us as we stood there staring at each other. The sound of Cade clapping his hands together caused me to jump. “Okay. One waltz lesson coming up.”
“I’m going to warn you that you’re probably going to regret this. I’m the worst dancer ever.”
“How can anyone who plays the piano suck at dancing?”
“I’m not sure how it’s possible, but trust me, it is.”
Cade laughed. “We’ll see.”
A tingling jolt of electricity shot through me when Cade took one of my hands in his. After he put his other hand on the small of my back, he drew me closer to him. Even with all the times I had sat next to him while we worked on our project, I hadn’t been this close.
“Now you put your other hand on my shoulder.”
“Okay.”
“Step back with your left foot and then bring your right to the side.” After I followed Cade’s lead, he said, “Now bring your left foot to your right, and then step forward with your right.”
My mind spun as I frantically tried processing Cade’s instructions. Somehow it managed to click together, and I followed his lead. “Hey, you’ve got it,” he remarked with a smile.
“It’s not because of me—it must be the teacher.” I glanced up at him and smiled. “Sports, brains, and dancing; you’re really a true triple threat.”
“You forgot devastating good looks and charm.”
I grinned. “Does that make you a quintuple threat?”
“Make it a sextuple threat if you throw in the money.”
“I should have known you’d find a way to have ‘sex’ in your title.”
Cade threw his head back and laughed. “Always busting my balls, Prescott.”
“Yep. Just consider me your Little Ball Buster like Judith in Walking Dead was called Little Ass Kicker.”
Cade’s brows rose in surprise. “You watch Walking Dead?”
“Sure I do.”
“That surprises me.”
“Why?”
“I guess I just figured you only watched pretentious stuff like Downton Abbey.”
Downton Abbey is not pretentious.”
Cade grinned. “I’ll take that as a yes that you watch it.”
“I certainly do.”
“At least I’m 1 and 1 on picking the TV shows you like.”
“While you know me pretty well, you have a lot more to learn, Mr. Hall,” I teased.
“I look forward to you educating me.”
As I stared into his face, Cade’s expression grew serious. The idea of educating him suddenly seemed to take on a deeper meaning—one of both mental and physical knowledge.
Cade dipped his head to where our mouths were just inches apart. His breath fanned across my cheek, causing me to shiver. I stared into his eyes, silently pleading with him to go ahead and kiss me. We’d already been down this road before. Since Thanksgiving night, I’d wanted nothing more than to feel his lips on mine again.
When he finally kissed me, it sent energy humming all over my body. I’d kissed other boys, but it had never felt the way it did with Cade. It was all-consuming of my mind, body, and spirit.
Considering his experience, it shouldn’t have been too surprising that Cade was a good kisser. What surprised me the most was the emotion behind his kiss. It ran so much deeper than just a physical act, as if he was putting his heart and soul into kissing me.
Cade deepened the kiss by plunging his tongue into my mouth. It tangled along with mine in a waltz of its own composing. My hand snaked up his back to capture the hair at the base of his neck, and I ran my fingers through the silky strands, marveling at how much softer it was than I had imagined.
The Victrola ran out of steam, and the only sound filling the room was heavy breathing. At the loss of music, Cade stopped leading me around the floor, and his hands slid underneath my buttocks. He gripped the globes of my ass before hoisting me up to wrap my legs around his, and I molded myself tighter against him. I couldn’t seem to get enough of him—the way his strong arms felt around me, his thick waist against my legs, his broad, muscular back underneath my hands. Even though I knew I shouldn’t, I wanted all of him.
When we crashed into a chest of drawers, Cade momentarily released my lips to breathlessly ask, “Are you okay?”
“Mmhmm.” I gazed into his hooded eyes. “Don’t stop. Please don’t stop.”
I rubbed myself against the ridge in Cade’s pants, causing him to groan against my throat. “Jesus, Prescott, if you keep doing that, I won’t be able to stop.” When I did it again, my action was rewarded with a growl.
Cade’s wild eyes glanced around the room before leading us over to the wide red settee in the back corner. We collapsed onto the smooth velvet material. I widened my legs to allow Cade’s hips between them and his mouth sought out mine in a frantic kiss.
As our tongues battled against each other, Cade’s hand came to my breast. He kneaded and cupped it over the fabric of my uniform, my nipples hardening under his touch. When he began undoing the buttons of my dress, he broke the kiss to glance at me as if asking my permission. At my nod, he practically ripped the remaining buttons open.
He gave me a sheepish grin as he pulled me into a sitting position. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s okay,” I said as I slid my arms out of the sleeves.
My breath hitched when Cade’s arms snaked around my back to undo my bra. Once it was unhooked, I couldn’t help bringing my arms to cover my chest and keep the bra in place. I hated that in this moment I couldn’t seem to get past my modesty, or my fear that my average-sized chest would turn him off.
Cade tilted my chin with his fingers, forcing me to look him in the eye. “You sure you’re okay with this, Prescott?”
“I am, I promise.”
“Then what’s wrong?”
“I’m just a little scared,” I whispered.
“That I’ll hurt you?” Cade questioned with a wounded look.
I gave a quick jerk of my head. “That you won’t like what you see.”
“Huh?”
“You’ve been with so many other girls. I’m afraid I won’t measure up.”
His expression darkened. “That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.”
I ducked my head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t help the way I feel.”
Cade cupped my face in his hands. “There’s only right here and right now, and there’s no one else but you and me. None of the past, just us and this moment.”
My heartbeat thrummed wildly at his sentiment. “Okay,” I murmured as I stared deeply into his eyes.
“And you could never not be beautiful to me. I like everything about you, both inside and out.” At what must’ve been my incredulous look, Cade grinned. “And I’m not just saying that so you’ll let me in your pants.”
“I know you wouldn’t.” Deep down, I knew it to be the truth. If Cade had really wanted to just screw me, he would have attempted it over the past two months.
“I wouldn’t be here tonight if I didn’t want to be with you for the long haul.”
Once again, my heart began to beat so erratically that I felt a little dizzy. “Really?”
He nodded. “You’re all I need, Avery.”


About the Author


Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her two very spoiled dogs. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.
With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.


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MadSea_Reveal

Mad Sea

by K. Webster Publication Date: September 13, 2016 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Novella
MadSea_Front
Motorcycles and the ocean are my only loves. Until Hali. Every Sunday, I exchange my mancard for a punch on my pink frozen yogurt card. Just to see her. This is what stalkers do, you see. I’ll do whatever it takes to catch one tiny glimpse of her bright smile—a smile she shines upon me, even if only for a few brief moments—to light up my usually dark, lonely world. Hello, my name is Madden Finn. And I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t even know my name. ***Mad Sea was originally created as a story for an anthology. There were size constraints which explains the short length of this story. Because of this, the story is sweet, to the point, and all kinds of instalove. If you’re looking for a quick, lovable read that is quite outside your normal reading zone, then you’re going to love this.***
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MadSea

About K. Webster

K Webster2 K Webster is the author of dozens romance books in many different genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her husband of twelve years and two adorable children, she’s active on social media connecting with her readers. Her other passions besides writing include reading and graphic design. K can always be found in front of her computer chasing her next idea and taking action. She looks forward to the day when she will see one of her titles on the big screen. You can easily find K Webster on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads! Website: www.authorkwebster.com Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bllgoP
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SBPR-RB-LOCKED.jpg

Social Butterfly PR is proud to present the Release Blitz for the highly anticipated LOCKED by Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine!

LOCKED_FULL COVER-large.jpg

Release Date: September 2nd Series: PresLocke #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance M/M

 

Synopsis:

“ACE LOCKE JETS OFF TO SIN CITY WITH MYSTERY MAN”
Sorry, ladies—and fellas—Hollywood’s hottest action star, Ace Locke, is officially off the market!
The man on Locke’s arm has been identified as Dylan Prescott, the sexy new “it” model currently featured in the latest Calvin Klein ads. Sources tell TNZ the men met on the set of Locke’s upcoming action film Insurrection 2, and that “they only have eyes for each other.”
This is the first public gay relationship for Locke, who came out a year ago, and there has been much speculation on who would finally be the one to catch his eye.
According to multiple eyewitnesses, Locke whisked Prescott away on his private jet for a romantic weekend at Syn, the most exclusive hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. After pictures recently surfaced of the new couple, affectionately named PresLocke, it appears from the possessive way Locke keeps his new beau close that things are heating up.
The world is watching #PresLocke, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on this budding relationship!
Ace and Dylan’s story continues in Book Two of the Bestselling PresLocke Series.
© 2016 Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine
LOCKED_AMAZON cover
* * * * * * * * *
"Separately, Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine are must-read authors. Together, they create pure magic!"
~Erika Wilde, New York Times Bestselling Author
* * * * * * * * *

Add to Goodreads

  LOCKED Teaser 2  

Buy Links:

US http://amzn.to/2bWhUkH Universal: myBook.to/PresLocke
 

About the Authors:

About Ella Frank:
Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”
A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction and lives with her husband in Portland, OR. You can reach her on the web at www.ellafrank.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ella.frank.author
Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.
***
Ella Frank Author Links
Ella Frank’s Newsletter – www.bit.ly/1hEYtgn Ella Frank’s Bookbub - http://bit.ly/29d67dD Website – www.ellafrank.com Twitter – @EllaFrank2012 FB - www.facebook.com/ella.frank.31 FB Street Team - www.facebook.com/groups/TheBrellas/ Instagram - www.instagram.com/ellafrank1/ Email: admin@ellafrank.com
***
Amazon Buy Links
PresLocke Series Aced - http://amzn.to/29zhJug
Sunset Cove Series Finley - http://amzn.to/1MshEaY Devil’s Kiss - http://amzn.to/29kMlAF
The Exquisite Series Exquisite - http://amzn.to/22Dnwpm Entice - http://amzn.to/1q8fNOI Edible - http://amzn.to/1UQ73ta
Masters Among Monsters Alasdair - http://amzn.to/1q8fRhs Isadora - http://amzn.to/1RGmELp
Standalones Blind Obsession - http://amzn.to/1UQ7544 Veiled Innocence - http://amzn.to/21MqYYZ
Co-Authored Books Sex Addict - http://amzn.to/29jXd0n
Anthologies F*cking Awkward Anthology - http://amzn.to/29nCbP2

ABOUT BROOKE BLAINE

You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.
Brooke is a USA Today Bestselling Author and enjoys writing sassy contemporary romance, whether in the form of comedy, suspense, or erotica. The latter has scarred her conservative Southern family for life, bless their hearts.
If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for years.

You can connect with Brooke here:

If you’d like to be the FIRST to know about a new release, sale, giveaway, or upcoming signings & events, make sure to join Brooke’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/brxPkP
Purchase Links:
ACED (PresLocke Series Book One) AMAZON: http://amzn.to/29EAa1a Universal Link: myBook.to/Acedebook
LICKED (L.A. Liaisons Book 1) Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1q4C7bJ Amazon International: myBook.to/Licked *Exclusively on Kindle Unlimited*
HOOKER (L.A. Liaisons Book 2) Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1QKpkSA Amazon International: myBook.to/Hooker *Exclusively on Kindle Unlimited*
FLASH POINT Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1q4Cl2q Amazon International: myBook.to/FP *Exclusively on Kindle Unlimited*
SEX ADDICT Amazon US: amzn.to/29bJDhl Amazon International: myBook.to/SexAddictebook *Exclusively on Kindle Unlimited*
F*CKING AWKWARD Amazon US: amzn.to/299qA27
 

Enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Title - RAGE: President & First Lady
of the Death Dealers MC
Author - Alana Sapphire
Genre - MC Romance
Release Date - September 2, 2016 **Special Release Price $3.99**
She was FORBIDDEN, but she TEMPTED him like no other woman, so he’ll stop at nothing ’til he’s CLAIMED her. 
-Box Set Includes-
Forbidden, Tempted, Claimed, Deception, Envisage, **NEW** bonus scene (eBook only), and an excerpt from the next book in the series – Dr. E’s story (eBook only)
International bestselling author Alana Sapphire has a great love for writing and music, and always finds a way to combine the two. Her books, though in various subcategories, are all in the Erotic Romance genre. Like a little suspense with your romance? So does Alana! Pick up one of her books and you’ll get romance, suspense, drama, and lots of sexy time. With books ranging from MC to paranormal, an Alana story is out there for you. Her characters are like old friends—near and dear to her heart—and she hopes for her readers to enjoy them as much as she does.
HOSTED BY:

Heartborn
Terry Maggert
Publication date: September 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

READ CHAPTER 1:

The relentless wind cooled his skin as he mustered the courage to jump. It was a long way to fall, and he’d been poised on the edge for nearly an hour. It wasn’t fear that kept him rooted to the spot, but the effort of reaching through time to see what consequences his action might bring. To think of leaving was akin to dropping a boulder in the pool of his own history; there was no way to foresee what the ripples might cause. Or the waves, since this would make waves, not ripples. It was all an undiscovered thing.

No one had done what he meant to do; at least not in the memory of his House.

Under the points of his boots, featureless mist curled away to reveal an enticing glimpse of color and life so unlike his own home. Gray, he thought. I am so very tired of all the gray in these clouds. The longer he looked at the myriad of colors below, the more acute his hunger to see what mysteries rolled beneath him, unknown and vibrant. The land looked like a fairy tale made real, its hills and rivers gleaming like a promise in the early morning light. The sheer distance and appeal of it all clutched at his chest like a physical thing, making him cover his heart. His body fizzed with excitement and fear, and he liked it.

“You won’t go, you know.” His brother’s voice was bored to the point of insolence, a tone he’d perfected from years of practice. Like others who kept their face an impassable mask, he’d lost much of the joy in his life, if ever he knew it. Brother Garrick appeared from the sullen gray mist that hid the secret columns and towers of their home. Walking toward Keiron, a smile quirked at the cruel lips, so unlike his own. “We’ve already been to the edge of the scrying pool. You won’t go. It is known to us.” A look flickered across the impassive face, something ugly and hot. His control was slipping. That was new, as was his belief that he was equal to their parents. Or older siblings, at that.

“Yes. I will.” Keiron’s voice sounded small in the silence. Even the wind died out of respect for what he was about to say, and if his resolve held, what he would then do.

A sad shake of the perfect head said that was a lie. Garrick was beautiful to the point of distraction. His pupils were nearly colorless in a face framed with fine blonde hair that called sunlight to mind, so different from his brother. Garrick was light, while Keiron was dark, with skin golden from the sun and eyes the black of a starless night. A long, aquiline nose gave him a regal quality that Garrick, for all his perfection, could not possess. His hair was curled and ebony to the point of being liquid, a black mass that he pushed back with irritation at Garrick’s verbal assault. Keiron was lean and tall, and in the stages of bloom where men first leave boyhood behind when they are no longer concerned with a young man’s things.

Garrick spoke again, substituting arrogance for wisdom. “No. There is no escaping that which has passed. Even if you were to—”

A swift cut of Keiron’s hand broke the thought. His brother looked shocked, then amused, and then angry.

He didn’t like being spoken to that way. “I can, and I will. I know how to shift the light of days, and I know when to do it, too.”

“Really? A secret of that size, and you, a minor son, have figured it out? Do tell, fledgling.” He loved using Keiron’s youth as an insult, even though he was barely a year older.

“If you paid attention to anything other than yourself, you’d know that there is logic behind the Moondivers. There have been others, you know.” A hint of smugness colored Keiron’s defense, but his brother had it coming.

The reaction was volcanic.

Real anger spat forth from Garrick now, contorting his features into something crude and ugly. It was, Keiron thought, the first honest thing he’d seen of his brother in all these years. It was the face of fear and rage, and he knew why. This entire outburst was about power, or the lack of it. To control time was the province of elders, not some child who thought that he could move the forces of worlds to right a wrong. It was arrogance of a kind unlike anything he’d ever embraced, and his brother’s hate for him grew by the second because he knew that for all his perfection, the younger of them was more pure. The elder boy was ambition personified, but without courage and purity he would never control the clocks. For that matter, Garrick would not even control himself, a fact that dawned on him as he sputtered with rage.

Keiron squared his feet and repeated his intentions like a prayer. “The days will bend for me. I can feel it, and your anger will not change the truth.” His words rang with a kind of surety that made his legs shake, if only briefly.

It was something Garrick would say, and for that he was frightened and proud, since unlike his brother, Kieron meant every word of it and aimed to see it through.

In two long strides, his brother came close enough that he could smell the wind herbs on his breath. They were sour with hate, just like the expression contorting his face. “She’s already dead.”

Keiron went rigid, but fought mightily to gain control of the anger that bloomed in his chest. Heat spread like sunlight, and he took three long breaths to contain his next words. “She is now, but she won’t be when I get there. I told you. I can do it.”

“You think falling through time and distance can save her? Landing in that mud-spattered wallow that they crawl about in like feral swine? You don’t even know why they were driven from the land, let alone if death awaits you. What about you? Who can save you?” His brother barked with laughter, a short noise of jealousy and fear. “What if she doesn’t want to be saved? You’re a child. A favored pet who is loved because of his youth. You’re nothing but an amusement to this family.”

The wind blew harder as spots filled Keiron’s vision. He could not lose control, not now. He worked his jaw to let the words out. The sounds followed each other, chastened by the force of his will. “I have watched. I have learned. And I tell you, I am going, and she is worth saving.”

Garrick shrugged as the boredom returned to his face, now a mask of beautiful disinterest. “You actually care about them, don’t you? Those things down there? Those glorified cattle? Do you think they’re even capable of understanding us? We are not the benign, soft creatures that have been reshaped by their pitiful legends. We were born for war, not love. We are made to hurt, not heal.” He shook his head with a mocking grin. “You’ve always been weak, but this is beyond anything the family expected. It’s practically—”

“It’s decent, that’s the word you’re looking for.” Keiron’s voice was like iron, despite a small quiver at the end of his words. His jaw set again, and for an instant Garrick saw their grandfather’s stern profile there, lurking like a boulder under the surface of a still pool.

“You’re not even worth saving, let alone one of them.” Garrick’s eyes flicked down to the vista that unspooled under their feet, or perhaps it was above. It was difficult to tell with the curving horizon and shifting light. Part of what he saw was green, unlike their home. There were blue rivers, brown and green fields, and stony places worn by wind and weather. It was alien, but enticing. He let a woven cord of animal hide fall into his hand. On either end, a heavy molar prized from the jaw of a Windbeast acted as a weight. The teeth were well worn, and tied in with strands of fine leather. It had been a mature beast, killed to make things that the people of the wind needed. Like teeth. And rope.

“Then I belong with them, don’t I?” Keiron’s question was rhetorical.

Again, Garrick shrugged, this time with one shoulder. His lips peeled back to reveal perfect teeth, but there was no kindness in the gesture. “Fine, but you’ll need to know something first.” The cord spun outward from Garrick’s hand in a blur, spinning around Keiron’s wings with brutal efficiency. The weight of the heavy teeth spun the strand tight to bind him, flightless, as Garrick drew his sword and cut downward in a wicked blow that sent Keiron’s wings spinning away into the clouds below.

Paralyzed by pain and betrayal, Keiron stood swaying as Garrick stepped calmly forward, placing both hands on his brother and pushing him into a chaotic tumble from the ledge of House Windhook. Spatters of blood swept up and away in the swirling winds, the last sign of a boy who had been bound, and cut, and sent into the sky in less time than he had to register the sensation of being flightless and wounded.

Keiron’s stomach raged upward as glare and shadow coursed around him in a never-ending circle of dizzying light, and he began the long, cold fall through layers of sky and time that tore the scream from his throat even as it began.

From above, he heard Garrick’s last words, mocking and fat with poisonous joy. “Let us see if you can truly fly.”


Author Bio:

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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