Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand

Dirty Blood
Heather Hildenbrand

Kindle copy provided by author for review.

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And two, I was born to kill them.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this novel. I had never read any of Heather's work before. I was absolutely NOT disappointed with this book. I loved it. The story is an easy read meaning that it flowed well and was worded wonderfully. The characters are defined very well. Heather did a GREAT job with this novel. 

Kindle edition is FREE on amazon right now! 

The Inheritance book Blitz tour

Kaylee has one night to re-connect with her ailing father, but they don’t have much to talk about. Inspired, she decides to read him a story that eerily mirrors their relationship. She wants to bury the hatchet so badly, but all she can remember are the pranks Zachary pulled and in an attempt to make parenthood interesting. But long ago Kaylee learned his Achilles heel, the one silly object that could undo him and change the balance in their relationship. Should she use it? Will she? Find out what happens when love and forgiveness become twisted by anger, retaliation, and disconnect.

The Inheritance
Zillah Anderson

Buy Links: No Boundaries Press / Amazon /

About the Author:
Never one to run from uncomfortable and unusual subject matter, Zillah Anderson is an author of the speculative, the dark, and the sexy – and sometimes all three at once. She is the author of The Inheritance and the young adult title Knocking Down Heaven’s Door with No Boundaries Press, the erotic short Power Chord with Rebel Ink Press, and has also had her work included in the Wicked East Press Anthology Halloween Frights vol. III. She resides in the Midwest, loves all things crafty and nerdy, and writes while she bides her time for her true purpose: total world domination.

“‘Forgive?” he finally wheezed and Katherine was surprised he actually acknowledged that there was a wall between them. She forced her lips into something that was a cross between a tender smile and a wince.’”
“‘Come on, Dad. It’s not like you did anything bad. We just never really clicked. There are far worse relationships.’”
“‘The clearing of a phlegm-coated throat tugged the young woman from her thoughts. “Forgive?” Zane asked again.’”
“‘Kathy sighed and forced herself to squeeze the fingers that were too much like flesh-covered cushions. “You weren’t home. You had a lot going on at work. And you played jokes that I took the wrong way. Everything is in hindsight and we both know I was sensitive as a kid. I understand. Can’t we just forget about that?” Katherine’s voice was soft and rich, but it shook far more than she wanted it to. It had always been so easy for her to talk about him behind his back, to complain about how much he embarrassed her. But now everywhere she looked there were tubes running out of the arms that she’d wrestled with as a kid. The whir and buzz of the machines made Kathy’s jaw ache from clenching. The expression on Zane’s sagging face with too much forehead showed that he didn’t like her interpretation, but he relaxed deep into the mattress at her willingness to move on.’”
“‘But too soon a look out the window at the setting sun reminded her it was time to go. Kathy rose, kissed her father’s cheek, and said her soft goodbyes that had the pretense of being difficult. Maybe in some ways they were; after years of growing up in a blurred reality it was hard for her to tell anymore.’”
“‘When Kathy left, there was something on the visitor’s couch in Zane’s room to take her place, something that Kathy’s mother had kept in storage for years. It was almost the size of a toddler and was dressed in one of Kathy’s old dresses. Its tiny feet even had her old patent leather baby shoes. The plastic eyes were unfeeling, dark blotches in smooth plastic skin that stared directly across the room towards Zane. The setting sun cast eerie shadows over the synthetic, butchered hair that framed the artificial face.’”
“‘Zane tried to sleep, but even with his eyes closed he knew the toy was there looking at him. Somehow the little thing saw everything he had ever done and wanted to do, everything he regretted, every little thing at all. And it didn’t care about any of it. With his eyes still tightly shut, Zane’s good hand fumbled for the button to call the nurse. The box had slipped down under the covers and out of reach. If he opened his eyes to look for it he’d have to see the dear little girl gone wrong and all her features: the straight legs, un-skinned knees, and tidy little bows on scuffed shoes. But there would be no emotion and no hint of a smile. That was not how a child should behave. If anything, it was the demeanor of a killer.’”
“‘Stop, stop, stop! Zane screamed in his mind, his weakened heart bursting against his chest. His twisted mouth struggled to work as he focused on the sound of his breathing and opened his eyes.’”
“‘The bright lights had been shut off so he could sleep, though the curtains had been left open. Outside, the city lights twinkled in a cold rhythm. Zane’s gaze focused on the couch — the empty couch. His breathing went sharp and shallow, a raspy noise against the low hum of the room’s medical equipment. Cleanser mixed with the scents of decaying flesh and old woman’s face powder. There was a brief flash of memory from when he had caught his daughter patting the face of one of her favorite dolls with a puff borrowed from her grandmother. The thing’s hair had reeked for weeks afterwards and little particles of scented dust had shown up on furniture at the most inopportune times.’”
“‘Zane’s neck ached from not enough movement and he winced when he tried to turn his head. All he had to do was look down. The tainted perfume grew stronger and crawled right up his nostrils to the working cells in his brain. The soft outline of a ragtag cut hair was just barely visible in his peripheral vision.’”
“‘Inhumanly smooth plastic brushed up his arm. The molded fingertips were permanently curled and the seams of the plastic bit ever-so-lightly into his skin. “Daddy, I’m a good girl.” The voice was a soft whisper that was close to — but not the same — as his daughter’s. “I’ll be your little girl. I’ll sit with you.” A tight whine strangled out of his throat. It was worse than if the doll had wanted to kill him.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shattered Circle Blitz

Be sure to enter the giveaway after the exerpt :)

Shattered Circle
Persephone Alcmedi
Linda Robertson

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books

ISBN-10: 1451648936
ISBN-13: 978-1451648935


It’s tough being a modern woman, but Persephone Alcmedi has it worse than most. Being the prophesied Lustrata has kicked her career as a witch into high gear, and juggling a wærewolf boyfriend who is about to become king of his kind and a seductive vampire who bears her magical Mark isn’t easy either.

Still, Seph’s beloved foster daughter, Beverley, is causing more trouble than these two men put together. The young girl’s been playing with a magical artifact that’s far more dangerous than she realizes. Now Seph must summon help from a mystical being so potent that even vampires fear him . . . and the cost of his aid may be more than she’s willing to pay. Seph, Johnny, and Menessos face threats from all sides—and a few from within. Will the forces of destiny cement their tenuous supernatural union, or shatter it forever?

Simon and Schuster   Amazon  BN   BooksaMillion    IndieBound

About the Author
Linda Robertson is the mother of four wonderful boys, owns three electric guitars, and is followed around by a big dog named after Bela Lugosi. Once upon a time she was a lead guitarist in a heavy metal cover band and has worked as a graphic artist. She still composes and creates art, when time permits. Linda currently writes and rocks in northeast Ohio. Visit her at AuthorLindaRobertson.com and @authorLinda

Special Exerpt:

The main door opened and Meroveus, Advisor to the Excelsior and currently their esteemed guest, entered the suite. “She is back?” he asked.

“That is what I’m told,” Goliath answered. “If you’re referring to Ms. Alcmedi, that is.”

“I am. Is she here?”

Leaning on one elbow, Goliath reclined. “She required a shower.” He wanted to give his nose a quick pinch to indicate she’d reeked of the scummy edges of Lake Erie, but he refrained. He was a Master now; taunting disdain was no longer acceptable.

Mero headed for the iron-studded door. Goliath cleared his throat.

In mid-reach for the knob, Mero stopped. His hand fell to his side and he turned on his heel. “I have been disrespectful. Forgive me, Haven Master.”

His sardonic grin flashed fang. “Does urgency always make you thoughtless?”

“I assumed that Menessos was still lord of these chambers, and that she was with him in the rear chamber.”

Goliath sat up, placed his elbows on his knees, and clapped his hands together. “Hear me, Advisor Meroveus, and do not forget my words: The former Haven Master may have extended you many courtesies, but barging into his private chamber—especially if you think Ms. Alcmedi may be attending him—would be particularly dangerous.”

Mero glanced at the main door as if he would leave, but there was uncertainty in his expression.

“To be honest,” Goliath added as he stood, “I have not yet made claim to these rooms, and, as you have assumed, the former Quarterlord is in the rear chamber. However, my Erus Veneficus has her own suite.” He used the formal title of the court witch for impact.

Mero blinked.

It seemed to Goliath that the other vampire had not considered that in declaring this the Cleveland haven and Goliath the master of it, Persephone would by default become Goliath’s court witch. Her services were now his to command.


There were many prophesies concerning the Lustrata. The one that the vampires were most concerned with claimed she was incredibly valuable to them. Because of this, they could not dare to kill her. But they could do much without killing her. The question was: What would interfere with her destiny, and what wouldn’t?

Menessos would know the most about it, so Goliath resolved to follow his Maker’s lead. “Dabbling in the destiny that Menessos, the witch, and the Domn Lup share is a hazardous pastime, Mero. I strongly suggest you stay the hell out of their way.”

Mero quoted the prophesy:
   “Lustrata walks,
    unspoiled into the light.
    Sickle in hand,
    she stalks through the night
    wearing naught but her mark and silver blade.
    The moonchild of ruin, she becomes Wolfsbane.
“According to my interpretation,” Mero concluded, “she must be marked.”

Menessos breathed deep. Releasing it, he said, “Your interpretation is bullshit.”

Mero’s brows rose in surprise.

Goliath struggled to keep a laugh from getting out.

“The Witch Elders Council will not stand for their Lustrata to be marked by the Excelsior,” Menessos said. “Would you risk a war?”


Opening the closet there, Beverley dug straight to the back where the item she wanted was stored. Her little hands grasped the cold sides of the rock-board and she pulled. It was heavy and the cast on her arm made the task more difficult. She lost her grip on the slate—the bottom edge dropped onto the top of her foot.

Stifling her yelp of pain, she regained her grasp and silently laid it flat on the floor before shutting the closet door. Crouching between the bed and the wall so she couldn’t be seen from the doorway, she studied all the strange symbols painted across the surface. She’d heard Seph and Celia talking about this. Great El’s slate.

They’d said that a person could talk to ghosts with this . . . and that Seph had used it to find her mother.

But how does it work?

Beverley ran her hands over the surface. Her fingers traced the lines of a symbol here, there. They tingled like the fine lines of her fingerprint weren’t so fine after all.

She studied her index finger, then compared it to her other hand’s index finger. If one tingles . . . what does two do? She picked two symbols she liked that were side by side and put her fingertips to the slate. Carefully, slowly, she traced both. The tingling began immediately and resonated through her hands and into her wrists. Suddenly, some force grabbed her hands. She gasped and tried to pull away, but it just squeezed tighter.

It dragged her fingers along to one symbol, then on to another. She watched in horror as all her fingers were pulled across the board, each finger moving independently. The more symbols she traced, the more the tingling increased. It became like a fire inside her skin, swelling up through her thin arms, crackling through the broken bone.

It hurt. It hurt so bad. She drew a breath to scream—

—and then it felt good.

It wasn’t hot, merely warm. It wasn’t warmth like summer, though, not something a thermometer would show. This was warmth of another kind. The kind only a heart could feel. She felt so . . .


A shimmer flashed across the surface of the board.

She whispered, “Mommy?”


Liyliy, a vampire-harpy, had tried to kill me a few hours ago, and the struggle left me exhausted and sore. That was the reason I was still abed at nearly two in the afternoon. When my satellite phone blared the opening riffs of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon,” it startled me, instantly reminding me about all the sore muscles I had.

Mid-reach, I stopped. That was Johnny’s ringtone.

He had tried to kill me, too.

My hand shook as my finger jabbed the Answer button.


“Red . . . I’m so sorry.” Johnny’s voice was barely audible.

I sat up and deliberated whether to play deaf and repeat my “hello” as if I hadn’t heard him. I considered being a jerk and hanging up. I even contemplated ripping him a new one.

Instead, I remained silent.

Two days before, minutes after I’d performed the forced-change spell on him and his loyal pack mates, Johnny had attacked me. He’d always retained his manmind while transformed, but that last time he didn’t—he’d been pure animal. The only reason I was still among the living was because I’d pumped ley line energy into him like a human Taser.


He’d frightened me to my core. The unshakeable faith I’d had in him had been shattered by an emotional earthquake. Damage was done. My fear felt like betrayal.

But . . .

Could going through the forced-change spell repeatedly have an undesired effect?

No. I was sure the whole terrible incident could be pinned on the fact that my mother, Eris, had revoked the tattooed bindings she’d placed upon Johnny eight years ago. He suddenly had access to all the power and potential she’d locked away from him. That was surely a disorienting, difficult situation.

I’d helped him dig up the clues, helped him achieve that goal. Hell, I’d even been a part of the reversal spell. So some responsibility for the consequences was mine to bear.


He rarely used my full given name; he usually called me Red, as in Little Red Riding Hood to his Big Bad Wolf. Or Seph like nearly everyone else. I had to respond.

“I’m here.”

“Then say something.”

Pushing back the covers, I stood and began to pace. “I don’t know what to say.”

He paused. “Can you forgive me?”

I wasn’t sure.

Part of me said I couldn’t allow his attack to be a personal issue because of the fateful trio that Johnny, Menessos, and I forged by binding ourselves magically. The other part argued that no matter the circumstances, attempted murder was very damn personal.

It all happened because Johnny had surrendered to his destiny. His unique ability to transform at will made him the Domn Lup—king of the wærewolves. It was a position with power, prestige, and perks such as a Maserati Quattroporte. Johnny knew his royal place was unavoidable, but he’d fought it and hid from it a long time. He’d finally pushed forward because it was beneficial to our triple union, but kinghood was costing him his dream of being a rock star.

It had been my fear that he’d lose who he was in the course of this alliance of ours. More than ever, it seemed this fear was being borne out.

On the other corner of our triangle was Menessos. He now bore two witches marks—mine, of course. That made him my servant. When Heldridge, his former right-hand man, learned of my authority over Menessos, he tattled to the highest vampire authority, the Excelsior. To protect us against the personal grudge of the truthseeing vampire-harpies sent by VEIN to make formal inquiry, Menessos had allied himself at great personal expense with someone dangerous—a “nameless” guy I had aptly dubbed Creepy.

The secrets he’d wanted to hide from VEIN—secrets even I didn’t know—were apparently safe, but our little who-marked-whom secret was out. Menessos lost his haven and his status as Northeastern Quarterlord. Johnny had accepted great power and lost a lifelong dream. Menessos had lost great power and accepted serious personal risk. It didn’t seem fair.

And what about me?

In the last several weeks I’d learned that I was the longprophesied Lustrata, the Witches’ Messiah, She Who Walks Between Worlds, She Who Will Bring Balance, blah blah blah. As this news spread throughout the nonhuman communities, some scoffed and some believed. I was fine with the scoffers; it was the believers who were dangerous. They wanted to know if I truly possessed the power that accompanied those titles. Yeah, I was a magnet for nasties who either a) wanted me dead to be sure I didn’t have that power, or b) wanted to try to force me to wield power for their gain.

I guess I’d accepted the endless complications of my status and was well on my way to losing all scraps of naïveté.

At that thought, I stopped pacing. As I stared into the nothingness of a darkened corner, it felt like my innocence had slipped from my grasp and I was watching it skitter across the floor, waiting for it to come to a stop so I could reclaim it.

I wasn’t sure it was worth the effort to look for it. Or perhaps it would be impossible to find if I made the effort. Maybe it had rolled into some crack, never to be seen again.

I heard Johnny breathing through the phone.

It wasn’t Johnny who had rescued me last night.

When I defeated Liyliy, Menessos had been there to bring me to the haven. Sure, Menessos had a hand in creating the monster she now was. And it was he who had imprisoned her, creating her need for revenge. But it was me and my marks upon him that had brought her to Cleveland. When she pursued me from the haven—according to the Offerling I’d spoken to—Menessos had sent everyone out to search for me.

Had Johnny even known I was missing?

It was shitty of me to compare the two men in my life, but I couldn’t help myself. Though Menessos had drunk my blood numerous times, he hadn’t tried to kill me.

Yes he did! He nearly killed you not long after you first met.

We were strangers then, I argued with myself. Now, we know each other well.

Better, perhaps, than you should. . . .

Defiantly, I ignored my conscience’s scolding. I will not regret what I did last night. During the predawn hours, reeling from my encounter, I’d kissed Menessos.

Fine, but clearly you were able to forgive him.

That was true. Considering this, I felt hope. I sighed heavily into the phone. My whispered answer was, “In time.”

“There’s so much I need to tell you.” Johnny’s voice was raw, and the rev of an engine punctuated his words. I wondered where he was going. And I wondered if I should tell him about kissing the vampire.

It hadn’t been a peck.

When our lips had touched, I felt the promise and power of a more intimate union. He’d definitely felt it. It wasn’t only the power of the marks between us that had been kindled.

“I don’t know where to begin,” Johnny said.

His voice drew me out from my memory of a passionate moment with another man. Guilt swelled around my heart . . . but not remorse. What am I going to do?

Phantom by Laura DeLuca

Laura DeLuca
The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.
Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.
Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out his tormented love through the words of his song. And she was as breathless with wonder as Christine herself must have been when the masked stranger serenaded her in the candlelit labyrinth of the opera house. In that moment, Justyn wasn’t just portraying the phantom. Justyn was the phantom.
                                              “Let the music touch your soul.
                                                Let the darkness make you whole.
                                                Do not fear what is unknown.
                                                Your true path has now been shown.
                                                Listen to the words I sing.
                                                Embrace the peace that night will bring.”
As he continued to sing in his deep but somehow angelic voice, Rebecca found that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. With every line, her heart began to beat faster.  She truly felt the arms of night wrapping her in a warm embrace. She could almost feel the hands of the phantom glide along her body as the words poured forth. The music caressed her. It possessed her—mind, body and soul. Each word left her longing, yearning for more.
She was gawking so obviously, it was hardly surprising when Justyn felt her eyes on him and steadily met her gaze. She realized her mouth was hanging open in stunned awe, and she quickly snapped it shut. His lips moved into just a small hint of a smile. He never took his eyes off her while he sang the final verse, making her cheeks flush to the point that she felt almost feverish. But it wasn’t embarrassment but excitement, arousal even, which was sending her mind spinning in so many directions.
When the song was over, and Rebecca had recovered just a hint of her composure, she couldn’t help but burst into a healthy round of applause. A few scattered people joined in, including Debbie and Carmen after she nudged them in the ribs. But only Miss King seemed to truly appreciate the brilliance of his talent as much as Rebecca did.
“That was amazing, Justyn!” the teacher gushed.
“Lord Justyn,” he corrected as he stepped down from the stage.
A few others complimented him as well, but he took in all in stride. In fact, his serious expression never faltered as he stepped down from the stage. He seemed almost bored, like it was all he could do to hold back a yawn, despite the smiles and words of encouragement.
But not everyone in the crowd was pleased as Justyn glided down the aisle, so ethereal in his dark garments that he still resonated the spirit of the Opera Ghost. Miss King might have been excited about the newest male addition to her cast after being limited for many years, but Tom and his group of boisterous companions glared at him as he passed them by.  Jay sneered and tossed a balled up piece of paper in Justyn’s direction, but the Goth was quick, and caught it in his hand without missing a beat.
“I think you dropped something,” he said.
His speaking voice was no less melodic than his singing voice, but something about his tone made Rebecca shiver. He tossed the paper back at Jay, who was nowhere near as coordinated as Justyn. He practically fell off his seat in his efforts to catch it.
“Hey vampire,” Tom called when Justyn went to walk away. “Are you sure you can handle the competition?”
Justyn smiled, a cool, sarcastic half-smile, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you?”
Miss King didn’t notice the short confrontation, and Justyn vanished from the auditorium as quickly and mysteriously as he had appeared. Only Rebecca had noticed the very real tension between the two boys. She wondered if it was a bad omen for them to start off the production with hard feelings and envy. That could only lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that could end with someone getting hurt.  The kind of trouble that Rebecca would do whatever it took to avoid.

About the Author:
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart.  In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.  Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan and Player.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Release Day Blitz / Without Consent by Bev Irwin

She found the first victim... 
now she might be the next.
In South-Western Ontario a crafty, vicious psychopath is at work excising the kidneys of the women he abducts. Doctor Claire Valincourt, recently jilted, finds his first victim and assists with the autopsy. But little does she know the killer has his sights on her, too.Relationship-jaded Detective Gerry Rosko desperately searches for a serial killer who is on a quest of his own—the hunt for a perfect kidney for the terminally ill mother he tends. Will Rosko track him down before Claire becomes his next victim?


The scalpel gripped securely between his fingers sent a delicious thrill up his arm. He laid the blade against her abdomen. The ease with which the razor-sharp edge sliced through the creamy white flesh triggered a response that was nearly orgasmic.

The woman’s inert body jerked violently with the first slice, her face twisting into a grotesque mask of pain. He pressed on the stainless steel instrument and slid it across the taunt skin. She twitched several times, settled, then became still. The drug was working.

He inspected her naked form–so beautiful, so perfect, so calm. He studied the soft swell of her breasts. He saw no movement, but the flicker of the feather he’d taped to her mouth told him she was still breathing. He glanced at the empty syringe.

Maybe next time I’ll use less.

He focused on her abdomen. Cherry bright blood oozed out of the incision. He picked a white cloth from the nearby table and wiped at the fluid. The fabric became saturated within seconds. He dropped the cloth. The smack of it hitting the cement floor ricocheted like a gunshot through the silent space.

Choosing a large towel, he draped it around the wound. Like long spider legs, blood scrambled along the towel tracing an intricate pattern on the white material. His hands trembled. Each beat of his accelerated heart rate hammered through his head.

He needed to hurry, he needed to finish before the blood stopped circulating, he needed to do this right. Sliding his hands into the incision, he felt a thrill as the heat from her body penetrated his gloves. How long would she stay warm once she’d taken her last breath?

A pool of blood filled the wound, obstructing his view. Damn. He needed to see. He pulled his hand out of the incision and used a dry corner of the towel to wipe away the fluid. The sight of so much blood sent a frigid wave sluicing down his vertebrae. He shuddered and reached for another towel. Within seconds it consumed the liquid gushing into the naked woman’s abdomen.

He pitched the saturated towel over the table, grinning as it thudded on the cement floor. Dark fluid splattered in irregular shapes. He glanced at the family-sized ice filled cooler sitting a foot away. Droplets of blood showered the outer plastic and formed unique ink splat patterns. What would a psychologist make of them? His harsh laugh echoed through the room.

The ice inside the cooler glittered like a mountain of diamonds–pure and unspoiled. Expensive, but worth it, the cooler would preserve his treasure for hours. He could use it for beer later. But he couldn’t think of that now. It was late, he needed to extract the organ and get it on ice before it spoiled. Then he could reward himself.

He swabbed the incision. So much blood. And the smell. He closed his eyes and inhaled letting the unique metallic odor fill him. His heart was racing so fast he could feel it pounding against his ribs. Suddenly lightheaded, he leaned into the table until the dizziness passed.

Hurry up. Get it out. Focus.

Willing his fingers to stop trembling, he forced himself to concentrate. He mopped at the pooling blood then inserted his gloved hand into the incision and probed her abdomen.

There it is. His fingers closed around the organ, so soft and slippery and warm. He lifted his hand. Resistance. Pausing, he let his fingers travel the edges of the kidney. Gentle. You don’t want to damage it. He palpated the thin cord of vessel restraining the organ and encircled it with his index finger.

Careful. Don’t be rough. You might bruise it. You know how important a good kidney is. You know what happens to the damaged ones. They can kill people, can’t they?

Sweat trickled into his eyes and clouded his vision. Using the back of his hand, he wiped away the beads of perspiration coating his forehead.

A stainless steel table sheathed in a thin green towel stood beside the bed. On it, aligned in a neat row, lay several shining silver instruments. With one hand cradling his prize, he reached over and selected a fine–toothed clamp. He slid it into the incision and guided it around the organ. Snapping the tiny teeth over the vessel, he occluded the flow of blood.

He left the clamp in place and reached for the scalpel. Lifting the kidney a fraction of an inch at a time, he paused only when he felt tension on the vessel. He scrutinized the razor-sharp scalpel blade–a finely honed weapon. He had to be careful. It wouldn’t do to slip and leave a trace of his own blood.

Inserting the scalpel into the gaping wound, he guided it beneath his hand. He felt the blade meet an impasse. With a swift slash he sliced through the tenuous strand. Blood spurted into the incision. Inhaling the scent, his heart skipped several beats and he became aware of the blood spurting through his own veins.

That was the artery, now for the vein.

He probed for the next vessel, clamping and cutting in a similar fashion. The cavity brimmed with blood and he couldn’t see. But now, it didn’t matter. He had what he wanted. He lifted his hand. He felt resistance. A thin tenuous cord stretched out of the wound. Another vein. Grasping the scalpel, he carved through the connective tissue and the organ came free. For several seconds he nestled the coveted organ as if holding a newborn robin in the palm of his hand. Its warmth seeped through his latex gloves. Below his hand, blood surged into the gaping wound.

He shot a glance at the woman’s face. Mary Jane, her driver’s license said. How plain. He’d call her Gabrielle. Yes, she was more beautiful than a Mary Jane. He smiled at the woman lying unconscious on the stainless steel table–her ashen cheeks exhausted of their normal rosy coloring, her lips and eyelids tinted a powder blue not derived by artificial means. Dark shadows ebbed into the fragile skin below her staring eyes. An irregular grunt of air erupted from between her lips. He had to hurry.

Should I take the time to stitch her up? Yes, finish the job properly.

Laying the organ on the bed of ice, he turned back to the woman. He ripped open a package of fine black sutures and deposited it on the sterile green towel. Attaching the suture to the needle driver, he threaded it through the mottled skin.

He worked quickly. Gabrielle wouldn’t care what her scar looked like.

Bev Irwin
Award-winning author Bev Irwin lives in London, Ontario, with three assorted cats and a collie-cross, named Tiff. Her three children have flown the coup. As a registered nurse, she likes to add a touch of medical to her romance and mystery novels. She also writes YA, children's, and poetry. She prefers spending time in her garden, writing, and reading to being in the kitchen. For her romance novels, she writes under the pen name of Kendra James.

You can check out my other books and an excerpt of each one on my website:

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Blitz Tour for In Jen's Words

In Jen's Words: Facing the Issues
Jennifer Brown

Jennifer and Justin Barnes have been raised by their older brother Jacob since they were teenagers…little did Jacob know, he was raising a third personality as well.
The Barnes have been through it all. The loss of their parents in a car crash, rape, and incarceration. But nothing could prepare them for what they are about to deal with.
When Jacob decides to run for mayor of Springwood, Ohio someone else decides to haunt him and his family, using his younger sister’s alter personality as leverage in their game.
After Jen’s mental disorder is made public, the first of many shocking revelations are made, including who her biological father really is. She is ordered into custody in the mental health wing of Springwood Memorial as a case is built against her for the murder of Davis Cauley, a former local news anchor
Jacob gets his sister released in time for the holidays, only for another murder to occur. The body of Brenda Sowers, Davis Cauley’s sister is found in Mercy Park, the same area where her brother was found—in a storage shed, with hedge clippers in his back, and Jen across from him with no memory of what happened.
More incriminating evidence links Jen to Brenda’s murder, as Black Friday looms. The big weekend draws Jacob to the mall, where he’s in for another surprise. A photo of his brother sent to his phone reveals another huge secret, involving all of Springwood.
As the Barnes recover from what has been a very turbulent Fall, other secrets are lurking and waiting to be revealed as a family faces a trial of issues to come.

About the Author:
Jennifer Brown lives in Springfield Ohio, and has written since third grade. She was taught to read at an early age and fell in love with books, mainly mysteries. Her love of books grew, and in the summer before she started high school she wrote her longest story, halfway filling an old school notebook. In high school she started to enter writing contests, and in her junior and senior years joined the Herald staff becoming entertainment editor over her high school newspaper.
After graduating, with a few writing contest awards under her belt she attended college a year later, and was urged by her English instructor to join the college paper. She did, writing a few reviews of restaraunts and movies, as well as writing a review of her first Alanis Morissette concert. A few years later she was asked to take the position of entertainment editor.
At 37, Jennifer has written several stories and has many more in store for readers.  When she is not writing she likes reading, working on computer graphics, editing photos, listening to music, and brainstorming for new ideas!

After speaking his sister’s name several times into the receiver, with no response, Jacob hung up. He tried calling back, but got a busy signal.
He hadn’t talked to Danny for more than five minutes. She couldn’t have gotten tired of waiting for him.
He sat down on an armchair nearby, trying to tell himself this was nothing. But ever since Scott had shown up at the store earlier, he felt a little on edge. Scott was the last person either of them needed to see at this time. Just seeing him brought back all the anger he felt back then.
He could still remember that night. He was at work, trying to close up for the evening. He had been running late because Dan had gone home sick and he had gotten swamped with computers needing repaired.
Justin had been the one to reach him. He had been home and got the call from the police. Their sister had been raped. They needed Jacob to come to the hospital. He had been so upset, he nearly forgot to lock up the store when he left.
The moment he laid eyes on Jen, he could have crumbled. She had a few cuts and bruises on her arms and face, but she said she had done that on some bushes trying to get away from Scott. The police had said the cuts were consistent with those of a thorn bush. But it didn’t matter to Jacob. He had been responsible for her, and he screwed up. Even though she was of age, and she was no longer his responsibility, he still felt every bit that she was.
What would ensue from that moment on, was months of tension and emotional turmoil. The case went to court, and the argument went back and forth. His sister said she told him no, she passed out and he did it anyway. She woke up to find him pulling out of her. Scott said she seemed to become a totally different person and gave in to him, was willing. He never forced anything on her, even though he did admit to being drunk. His arrest report said his blood alcohol level was .12, while his sister’s barely made it to .08. It seemed to be a sure thing he would go down for the crime, until one of the jurors posted a blog about the trial. As a consequence, Adams’ lawyer got the judge to declare a mistrial.
Jacob willed himself to stop thinking about it. Just because Scott was in his store didn’t mean something had happened to his sister.  Shaking inside, he got up, grabbed his keys and went out the door.