#ExcerptWeek & #giveaway – DESPRITE MEASURES, #UrbanFantasy by Deborah Jay

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DESPRITE MEASURES – a Caledonian Sprite Novel

Genre: Urban Fantasy

DESPRITE MEASURES (yes, you read that right) is the tale of a Scottish water sprite who’s quiet life is jeopardised by a magician intent on using her natural powers to fuel his dangerous experiments in energy production.

A reviewer recently described it as ‘an eco-urban fantasy’ which sums it up pretty well.

Excerpt

The drive into town seemed to take forever.

In truth, it took no longer than any other time, but I was impatient. I’d chosen the Audi Quattro this time—no point making things easy for Liam—and I was frustrated that I could not use all the power the sleek little beauty offered me. Every driver who delayed me by even a fraction of a second had me fuming at the wheel. By the time I turned into the club’s paved driveway, I was as near boiling point as it is prudent for a sprite to reach. A discreet parking attendant, whom I suspected doubled as a bouncer, pointed me to an empty bay, and then directed me to the head of the stairs leading down to the basement club. Not wanting to arrive looking flustered, I paused to gather myself.

Hair still caught in pony tail band. Check. Dress neckline showing equal expanse of skin either side of cleavage. Check. Hem straight and not quite riding high enough to show that I hadn’t wasted mass on fashioning underwear. Check.

Ready to go, I stepped one well-shod foot onto the first step down. And froze. Involuntarily, my body ceased to function. My mind blanked and a chill of fear iced my veins. I gazed numbly at the slender, dark figure lurking at the base of the stairs until he glanced away, freeing me, permitting life to return to the lifeless.

My paralysed brain shot back to working order. Recognition of the figure chilled me all over. Vampire.

Not something you see every day in downtown Inverness, but I’d encountered enough of them in the distant past to know one when I saw one. And to know the horror of being trapped by their gaze, unable to move or even to think.

This one, darkly handsome and with more than a passing resemblance to a youthful Bryan Ferry with his ever-present hint of a sneer, glanced at me again but without interest. Vampires prefer their blood more full bodied than the pseudo-stuff that runs through my counterfeit veins.

Somewhat troubled at finding his sort here, I was, however, still determined to continue with my evening’s plans. I descended, brushing past the cold figure in his immaculate Armani suit. A body-wracking shiver ran down my spine, even though I knew I was in no danger from him.

I wondered what he was doing here. Perhaps it was simply a good place for him to get a carry-out meal.

Find it on Amazon

FREE to Amazon Prime members and on Kindle Unlimited

hobbit hole Author Deborah Jay, seen here posing with her own hobbit hole, can be found at:

http://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

http://www.pinterest.com/debbylush/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: http://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

For your chance to WIN an ebook copy of DESPRITE MEASURES, or one of 5 ecopies of the short story SPRITE NIGHT you can enter the contest today or tomorrow:

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#ExcerptWeek – USURPER’S LEGACY by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

So this time I am treating you to a teaser excerpt from my upcoming release, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN, titled (probably) USURPER’S LEGACY.

This is from the prologue, which gives us the climactic scene from the end of the previous book from the villain’s point of view…

“Risada!”

The high voice cut through the crackle and hiss of the burning hall. Mykel spun towards it and saw the one piece of good fortune left to him. When the beam fell, Lady Risada had been forced back from the dais and now stood, wavering on unsteady feet amidst tumbled chairs, two rows over. Mykel smiled. Small compensation, but at least one of Halnashead’s spies would not leave the hall alive. He raised his sword.

“I don’t think so.”

The voice came from right beside him—just before a chair crashed against his shoulder, knocking him off balance. One of its legs caught him along the side of the head and stars sparkled across his vision. The breath that whooshed out of his body was replaced by smoke as he inhaled, and he coughed it back up even as he lashed out at his attacker. His sword swung through empty space as something smacked into the back of one knee, felling him.

He landed in a tangle amidst fallen chairs and smouldering greenery. Heat seared his lungs as he struggled to regain his breath. If he didn’t escape the hall soon he would die, yet he still found his focus drawn to Lady Risada, on her knees now and so tantalizingly close.

Continue reading

Boys Don’t Cry Excerpt

BoysDontCry_promoHow awesome is it that excerpt week coincides with release week for my brand new contemporary romance, Boys Don’t Cry? Nate and Tali are two of my all-time favorite characters, and falling in love with them while they fell in love was quite possibly one of my favorite experiences as a writer. I’m really excited for others to meet them, so here’s a little excerpt that introduces Tali.

From Chapter One

Three minutes ago, all I could think about was how much I was going to respect the refreshment of that air conditioning, but I’m already cold and anxious to steal Dad’s body heat as I tuck into myself and snuggle closer. I tilt my head to rest on the shoulder of a faded black Depeche Mode t-shirt that’s almost a decade older than I am.

“They heard you were coming and dumped all the chocolate chips into the trash,” Art adds, pushing across the table so his paper dining mat shoves into mine and sends it into my lap.

“That’s enough, Arthur. Sit down before the waitress comes.” Mom sighs and sweeps her hand across her brow like she’s got a headache. Sitting next to Art, I wouldn’t be surprised. He does that to me, too. Continue reading

#Excerpt Week – Epic #fantasy – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay

Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN

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Epic fantasy ~ Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings…

 

Chapter 12 – TUNNEL CREEPERS

Rustam squeezed past Nightstalker, and scrambled up behind Elwaes. He had no idea what tunnel creepers were, but the fear in the elf’s voice was all too apparent.

“Go Risada, go!”

The grey leapt forward, kicking loose stones from beneath its feet to clatter away down the mountainside, adding to the horses’ rising panic. Sickly pale, bloated creatures swarmed out of the holes, and Rustam gagged on the mephitic stench that preceded them. Risada’s mount spooked sideways and jumped half a length up the left bank to reveal the pallid, segmented body of a creeper blocking the path ahead.

The nightmarish thing, which stood as high as the gelding’s chest, shifted its weight rapidly between its six legs, threatening great speed although the huge body merely quivered up and down with the multiple joints clicking loudly. Tiny eyes glittered from behind its mouth-parts, vanishing as ragged fronds waved under its pincers. Those pincers with their wickedly serrated edges and pointed tips held Rustam’s horrified gaze, and he felt his empty stomach constrict even further: the monster’s exoskeleton looked as tough as armour, probably impervious to steel, except perhaps at the joints. Not that he had any desire to get close enough to test the theory. Continue reading

#Excerpt Week: Even humor columnists like a good mystery — and that’s no joke

(NOTE: Look who slipped in under the wire…okay, he totally missed the wire altogether, but do we care? NOPE. So here he is, folks! Ned Hickson, with an excerpt for your reading pleasure. Take it away, Ned!)

As a humor columnist, when I mention I’ve been working on the final draft of a murder mystery, people usually assume it’s a comedy or satire. Possibly with a detective who faints at the sight of blood. And whose partner used to be a rodeo clown.

That’s actually not a bad idea.

But it’s not this book. They say for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Following that train of thought, the flip side to humor is drama. In this case, I’ve delved into the flip side of my weekly humor column to write a murder mystery that is best described as a “why-done-it.” There is no mystery behind the murder. The question is why it was committed; and what does a seemingly homeless young boy know about it? Who can he trust? And will a solitary private investigator with a dark past be able to find the answers before it’s too late for the both of them?

This is the premise behind No Safe Harbor, a murder mystery I wrote 15 years ago that has been collecting dust and waiting for its final revision ever since.

The wait is finally over for this manuscript, which I’ve begun preparing the final draft for. My goal is to have it completed by mid August. What will happen after that is the real mystery.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at the first chapter. Aside from a handful of family and friends, no one has seen these pages. Please feel free to offer your suggestions and feedback.

I can take it!

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Chapter 1

Flashing red and blue erupted across Lynda Bettington’s rear window, escalating her steady rhythm of panic into a mounting crescendo. Hands trembling, she held the road through a fishtail over the damp streets, pressing the accelerator closer to the mat. She raced onto Highway 99 toward Lake Washington. The roads there were dark, with streets spurring off every few blocks. She took a narrow side road as the car shot through pale lamplight and a maze of industrial alleyways. In the back seat, suitcases bounced and shifted, slamming against the rear doors as the car careened onto another pitted avenue.

Dampness just short of rainfall blanketed thin layers of oil, creating a slick skin over the asphalt. Suddenly, the car hydroplaned, pinwheeling across the roadway. Lynda’s grip locked onto the steering wheel. For an instant, red and blue flashing seemed to be all around her, until an explosion of glass and twisting metal replaced all thoughts of color.

A few yards away, the police car swerved to an angled stop.

The caution lights turned off, leaving only high beams spilling over the mangled car. Officer Dan Perkins sat forward and crossed his arms over the steering wheel. Next to him, Gerome Taylor tossed aside his seatbelt and cracked the passenger door, planting his foot on the road. He remained seated, staring at the wreck. Continue reading

#Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN – prologue

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Risada tiptoed across the darkened bedchamber and felt behind the tapestry for the hidden niche. Her tiny fingers located it and she grinned as the lock tripped with a faint click.

She heard voices in the outer chamber and light flickered around the doorframe.  Heart thudding against her ribs, she dropped to her knees and scuttled forward through the swinging panel into the secret room. This was such fun!

Careful to close the panel behind her—Daddy said you must always lock doors when you were going to have your back to them—Risada wasted no time clambering onto the chair she had positioned beneath the spy hole. Her nose wrinkled at the smell of dust. It seemed like ages since Daddy had shown her how to work the hidden catch. Certainly it had been before that woman had arrived.

At thought of Mistress Chalice, Risada scrunched her face up into a ferocious scowl. How she hated her dancing tutor. Oh, the woman was very polite, and she was very beautiful—all the servants said so—but Mummy didn’t like her so Risada didn’t either. And the maids were saying such wicked things about Mistress Chalice and Daddy. Well, tonight Risada was going to see for herself.

Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek #ABoyNamedRabbit by #MarciaMeara

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Excerpt From Chapter 14:

MAC AND I raced up the stairs to find Rabbit sitting up in bed, screaming hysterically. Rosheen was beside him, covering his face in frantic licks, whining in distress—a pretty good sign there was no real danger in the room.

I sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled him into my arms, holding him as close as possible, and making shushing noises as I rocked him back and forth. Mac checked the windows and closets to be sure we were alone, then stood beside us, face pale and distressed.

“It’s all right, Rabbit. Everything’s all right. Mac and I are here. You’re safe with us now.”

His arms twined around me, but gasping sobs continued to wrack his thin shoulders for several more minutes, before they slowed down, fading into sad, little whimpers.

“Open your eyes, Rabbit. We’re here. See? Tell me what happened. Did you have a bad dream?”

His whimper turned into a moan. “He’s comin’.” Continue reading

Two Weeks and Other Periods of Decay #Excerpt

From the short story Archangel

No one was coming for them.

Lola realized that hard truth right about the time she carved the thirty-sixth notch into the metal plating of her left boot. One hundred and twenty-four days passed. 17.7142857143 weeks. She never liked math, but she didn’t need to be a statistician to know a rescue effort would have found them at least twelve weeks ago.

She smoothed her finger over the ding in the metal, a small burr digging into the skin and drawing blood. She watched the bright red bead drip into the sand, soaking it up until nothing remained but a small spot that would bake in the morning sun and blow away with the next swift wind.

“We’ve been here almost eighteen weeks.”

“Yes,” the assassin said.

Not looking up from the edge of her boot, the pilled metal would wear away on its own. Twenty-six days earlier, she dinged it much the same, though she hadn’t cut herself that time. Twenty-six days of walking, and mark number ninety-eight was little more than a thin, dust-encrusted notch. Most of the others weren’t even visible anymore. They were the thinnest of lines detailing unexpected survival, and sometimes she let herself believe she would expire when she could no longer see them.

“Eighteen weeks,” she sighed.

“And your point?”

“No one is coming.” Continue reading

Edgelanders Excerpt

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Her own enemy rammed its body harder into her, crushing her with its weight until she couldn’t breathe. If the beast couldn’t tear her to pieces, its weight bearing down on her lungs would suffocate her. Her head swam, panic rushing through her as she kicked and jerked her legs in an effort to throw it off, or at least shift its position so should could draw proper breath.

Its weight was crushing her and she couldn’t breathe. Turning her head into her shoulder, she gasped and wheezed, but it was no use. She could barely even hear the sounds of battle outside the din of its angry claws pounding and pummeling the only thing standing between her and death. Her whole world in that moment consisted of thumping metal, gnashing, snarling, growling, rattling bones and the blood in her mouth. The taste mingled with the scent of brutal cold and wind and the copper-tinge of bloodshed in the air. It roused something feral inside her, waking a feverish brutality and lust for vengeance that tightened like a fist in her gut. She could feel it growing, teeming inside her until it reached her racing heart.

No! She wasn’t ready, she didn’t want to.

A ragged scream of rage erupted, and she shoved hard against the shield atop her, pushing the beast off long enough for her to notice how silent the world seemed even amid the fighting. Clarity, crisp and new, her sharp mind refused to battle with the fear in her heart because she was not going to die. Her friends were not going to die. And then just as quickly as the clarity came, the roaring snarls of battle resumed all around her. Continue reading

Heart of the Sun Excerpt

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It had been two days since last they roused her from her lonely cell. Dazed and bitter, her patient had only just discovered the severity of his injury and what his last fight cost him. Still feverish and groggy from the poppy essence she’d given him to dull the pain, his awareness was sharp. He asked for water and she made the mistake of telling him her name. Then he sent her away from him again and had not called her back to tend to him since.

She wondered if the fever gripped him. At night when she did manage sleep, she dreamed she was leading him once more away from the dark path that would take him to death. From a distance she watched herself cradling his head in her lap, running fingers through his hair and promising him that everything would be all right, but even she didn’t believe that. Not for Taven Grimmbane, and certainly not for herself.

It was a strange thing that she worried for him. She found herself stretching her neck and peering through the branches of her cell whenever someone moved near the tent. More than once she thought to ask after him, but she already knew her inquiries would yield silence. Continue reading