Saturday, November 30, 2013

Press Release: Bewitching Book Tours Presents Exit by Shane Filer


For Immediate Release:



"Did you know I spent the whole of my fifteenth year in my room?"

Briar’s impromptu, mid-afternoon confession stirs up distant memories of the lonely time she spent trapped in her home; suffering agoraphobia — fear of open spaces. 

Now it’s six years later. 

She’s free, but the year's isolation has left serious personality disorders; disorders which will resurface as she relates her own story, and that of those in her orbit; Melodie, a pretty valley girl who Briar desires to be, Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret, and Dermot, a man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. 

Slowly Dermot begins to draw Briar into his ever-so-exciting world, but who is leading whom on their slow descent into crime? Duel periods of Briar’s life intertwine like a rope around her neck as her lost year begins to overtake the present. It leads her to the answer to one very simple question: 

“Is it what I always feared — am I losing my mind?”

About the Book:

Exit
Shane Filer

Genre: YA, General Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher: Biblio Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62249-142-1

Number of pages: 222

Word Count: 58,000

Cover Artist: Ekaterina Zagustina


Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18730410-exit

Amazon Purchase Link
The Book is free as of the posting of this blog entry.  Price is subject to change at any time and the owner of Sapphyria's Book Reviews is not responsible - please verify pricing before you place your order.



About the Author:

Shane grew up in provincial New Zealand, a small place where options are small, were people wear PJs to the mall, a small place where dreams of being a writer or artist are not only actively discouraged, they are actively quashed. Nevertheless he fell in love with books, comics and writing at a young age and his early influences include Oscar Wilde, Alan Moore and Dr Seuss. 

After many years of trying to get books, documentaries and films accepted in his own country, Shane gave up and settled for working in the fairly creative world of video-making and advertising. A trip to Europe and the USA rekindled his love of writing, and he wrote the American-based novel ‘Exit,’ submitted it this time to American publishers and immediately, received several offers for the work. He chose one and ‘Exit’ will be released December 2nd 2013 in the USA as his first novel from Biblio Publishing. Shane has since had comic book scripts accepted in the UK by DC Thompson, publisher of the long-running ‘Commando’ comic, fulfilling yet another dream for his child-self.

He lives with a very old and very vocal Tonkinese cat, and they both dream of eloping together to the USA or Europe. He likes oranges, orange juice, and orange furniture — in fact even the color orange. Why? Well, because it's the best color, of course. While he believes that being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be, he still enjoys ruining his appetite before dinner, and staying up past his bed time.






To receive a review copy, arrange an interview, guest blog, or event with the author please contact Roxanne Rhoads:   RoxanneRhoads@bewitchingbooktours.com

Friday, November 29, 2013

3 1/2-Star Review: Christmas Past by Susanna Fraser (Entangled Ever After)




Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.

Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful “Mrs. Sydney” from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.

Book Details:

Title: Christmas Past
Author: Susanna Fraser
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 47 pages
Release Date: November 25, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-388-0
Imprint: Ever After

You may read an excerpt here:  http://www.entangledpublishing.com/christmas-past/


Amazon Purchase Link:

Saph's Review:

Sydney Dahlquist is stranded in 1810 after her time machine from 2013 failed to send her back to her own time. The rules of time travel include suicide if you are unable to get back to your original time, which Sydney is almost okay with. Soon she's discovered with the time machine, an iPad, and other gadgets from the future, by handsome Miles Griffin. Miles fully accepts her explanation of what the items are, the time from whence they and she came, and that she's stuck in 1810. What he does not accept is her acceptance that death is the only way to preserve the time line. Will Miles be able to convince Sydney to abandon her views about death and the time line and to stay and build a new life with him?

This was a cute little time travel romance. Sydney is a likable character that knows for the good of the timeline and future she should follow protocol and eliminate herself by way of "time travel provided death mechanisms." She also knows that she doesn't really want to die. Her emotion level as she realized that she'll never see her family again is realistic and I empathized with her.  We don't really learn a lot about Miles other than he totally has the hots for Sydney and that's okay because the story is more about the present time - which happens to be 1810 - and how or if the choices Sydney makes will affect the future.  There is a steamy love scene that unites the two hearts of the main characters and it was written well.

Overall the story is very enjoyable.  It's short so there isn't a lot of useless filler to clog up the dialogue.  It was a bit rushed in places and Miles' quick acceptance of the time travel notion is pretty unbelievable but if you can move beyond those minor hiccups then I think you'll enjoy this time travel/historical romance.


Review Copy Courtesy of Entangled Publishing at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Saph's Rating:


4-Star Cozy Mystery Review: A Secondhand Murder (Eve Appel Mysteries Series, Book 1) by Lesley A. Diehl (Presented by Partners in Crime Tours)

A Secondhand Murder

by Lesley Diehl

on Tour October 1 - November 30, 2013


Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery 
Published by: Camel Press 
Publication Date: 9/15/2013 
Number of Pages: 260 
ISBN: 978-1-60381-935-0 
Amazon Purchase Link:


Synopsis:

Spunky and outspoken Eve Appel moves from Connecticut to rural Florida intent on starting a new life, free of drama, and more importantly, her soon-to-be ex-husband. The rural Florida town of Sabal Bay, situated only an hour from West Palm, proves to be the perfect spot for her consignment store. Thanks to the recent economic downturn, Florida’s society matrons need a place to discreetly sell their stuff and pick up expensive-looking bargains. But Eve’s life, and her business with it, is turned upside down when a wealthy customer is found stabbed to death in a fitting room. As accusations fly and business slows, Eve decides to take things into her own hands. With the help of an unlikely bunch of friends—including her estranged ex, her best friend, a handsome private eye, and a charming mafia don—she struggles to find answers and save lives. Through a maze of distorted half-truths, dramatic cover-ups, and unrequited passions, Eve learns just how far the wealthy will go to regain what they have lost. A Secondhand Murder is Book 1 of the Eve Appel Mysteries Series.

Excerpt:

It was still early so I strode back into the restaurant, indicated to the hostess I wanted a booth and ordered the breakfast buffet. Anger paired with disbelief gave me a hearty appetite. Returning to my booth after loading my plate with eggs, bacon, pancakes, pastries and a slice of toast, I noticed someone had joined me for breakfast. He was seated with his back to me as I approached the booth but I recognized the sun-streaked hair curling over his collar. My favorite PI. I almost dropped my plate. “Hi.” I tried for nonchalant but sounded more like a hormone-addled teenager. “Saw you come in. I guess you had an early morning chitchat with the local gendarmes.” “To be continued this afternoon at the station.” “Fingerprints?” He stirred a packet of sugar into his coffee. “Nope.” The tingle in my tummy was more than simple hunger for food. I tried to satisfy it by stuffing a large forkful of pancake into my mouth. I nodded and swallowed. “Like anyone would be dumb enough to leave their prints.” “Certainly, we know you’re smart.” “I had no reason to kill Mrs. Sanders. That would be like killing the golden goose.” “You didn’t like her very much, did you?” I dropped my fork on the plate. “What do you mean? I hardly knew the woman.” “So you say, but my sources indicate that’s not the whole story.” He stared at me. Last night I thought those azure eyes looked inviting. Now they looked more like ice. He smiled. “You said you were investigating Mrs. Sanders. Sounds like you’re trying to nose into my affairs. Why?” “Don’t get mad. I’m not accusing you of murder, you know.” He took a sip of coffee. “I’m not mad.” I was a little miffed, peeved even, but not really mad. Okay, I was mad. “Oh yes you are, and when you get angry, you stick your chin out and turn your head ever so slightly to the right. Your cheek twitches, probably from clenching your teeth. Did you know that?” I had lost my appetite. I grabbed my purse and slid out of the booth. “I don’t recall inviting you to join me for breakfast. I just remembered I have an important appointment.” “That would be ...?” He also stood. “That would be none of your business.” I stalked out of the restaurant, then remembered as I approached my car that I had forgotten to pay my bill. Damn. Now I’d have to go back in there and face him again. I gritted my teeth, stuck out my chin and slammed through the door. He turned from the counter, credit card in hand. “Don’t worry about it. I got it. Your treat next time.” “There won’t be a next time.” I spun around and pushed open the door. By the time he reached his car, I was already starting my engine, wondering what the man knew about Mrs. Sanders and me.

Sapphyria's Review:

A Secondhand Murder is a very intricately woven cozy mystery.  

Eve Appel moves from the East Coast to Florida in an attempt restart her life and get as much distance between her, hopefully soon-to-be ex-husband as possible.  She doesn't come to Florida alone, as her best friend, Madeleine Boudreau, comes with her.  Together they open a thrift shop that Madeleine defends to a potential customer as being "Classy, designer quality, secondhand stuff, gently worn by women of excellent taste" (Diehl, L., 2013).  On opening day, Eve finds one of their socialites from West Palm, face up with a steak knife protruding from her chest and not a clear suspect to be had.  

After the police do their thing, Eve is approached the next day by an Alex Montgomery, PI asking questions about the dead socialite, Mrs. Valerie Sanders.  He was hired to find out why a very rich woman was driving 60 miles away from home to buy and sell clothes in a secondhand store.   Only, the reasons for her being in Sabal Bay aren't what they seem and now Eve is a suspect in the eyes of the law.  Before anyone else gets murdered, Eve is determined, along her band and merry men & women, to figure out what happened inside her secondhand store.  And when her estranged husband Jerry shows up with the mafia not far behind, she knows that something much bigger than a rich socialite slumming in thrift stores is going down in the Florida sun.

I love how the author took a multiple story line approach to this novel.  The murder in the consignment shop is just the tip of the iceberg in A Secondhand Murder.  What follows is a string of "accidents" and possible "hits" out again Eve which shifts the novel in an entirely different direction.  The appearance of the Alex the PI brings out a possible romance between he and Eve and some of the one-liners spoken between the two are fantastic.  Eve and Alex banter back in forth in a very relaxed manner like they've know each other for years, but there is also an air of mystery about him that causes Eve to freeze up at times.  

Eve's best friend Madeleine is a clutz and her performance on the pages in the novel are excellent.  She is hilarious.  Frida, the detective, is a sort of friend to Eve and Madeleine, which makes her job investigating the murder a bit tough...especially when Eve can't stay out of trouble.  The character development of the key players is great and the small world building of Sabal Bay is done well.  I laughed out loud many times at the shenanigans that played out as well as the dry wit and humor of Eve.  

The story lines were intertwined so well that I didn't have a clue what the underlying issue was that caused the murder.  The author kept me so distracted with everything that was going on that I wasn't able to analyze who the murderer was - and I like that because nothing says a two star rating and boring review than an author who reveals his/her killer before you've gone 1/4 of the way through the novel.

If you're looking for a cozy mystery with one heck of a plot and snarky characters to boot, then make sure to check out A Secondhand Murder by Lesley A. Diehl.


Review Copy Courtesy of:  The author, via the tour organization, at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphyria's Rating:



Author Bio:

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida--cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. Back north, she devotes her afternoons to writing and, when the sun sets, relaxing on the bank of her trout stream, sipping tea or a local microbrew.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants:

Spotlight & Giveaway: Second Chance Christmas by Ellen Butler (Presented by Bewitching Book Tours)


SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS:


Prominent DC attorney Emma Taylor is pulled away from a promising date the week before Christmas to pick up her ex-fiance from the ER after a bar fight. She's in no mood to re-open old wounds, but it’s Christmas and she can’t just leave him alone and injured.

Eight hundred eighty-four days. That’s how much time has passed since Major Colton Evans made the biggest mistake of his life. Even after two tours of duty and too much shrapnel in his leg, it’s still the loss of Emma that haunts him. And if he can win her back, he’ll take any chance.

When she insists he stay with her during the holiday, they put out enough sexual electricity to rival the most decorated house on the block. But will it be enough to light the way to a future together?


Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author:

I am an old, new writer. In other words, old to writing, new to novel writing. My history includes a long list of writing and editing for dry but illuminating professional newsletters and journals, and windy papers on public policy and political science. The leap to novel writing is simply a creative outlet for my over active and romantic imagination to run wild.

My genre is Women’s Fiction and Romance. I like to provide strong female characters, romance, and suspense in my novels. I work hard to envelop you in the story, to make you root for the heroine by laughing with her or yelling at her when she makes mistakes.





Black Friday Extravaganza ~ Gift Card & eBook Giveaways & Book Spotlight: Frostbite (Touch of Frost, Book 1) by Lynn Rush



Amanda gives a whole new meaning to cool…

Amanda Smith is sick of getting chased from town-to-town. So when she lands in tiny Trifle, Arizona, she hopes it’s her last move for a long time. Despite hating the smallness of the town, she settles in and finds a best friend, and even a boyfriend. Normality at its finest.

But for a girl who can shoot snow from her hands and lift a two-ton truck over her head like a bag of feathers—normal is not an option.

The scientists who murdered her mother come barreling into Amanda’s quiet life. She must decide if she’ll run again or stay and fight. The price of either choice might be her life or the lives of those she’s come to love…


Amazon Purchase Link:



Here are some links where you may find the author, Lynn Rush:





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

GIVEAWAY WINNER FROM: Sapphyria's Book Reviews: Spotlight & Giveaway: In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle


Congratulations to Lily B. - the winner of In Love with a Wicked Man from the following blog post:

http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/spotlight-giveaway-in-love-with-wicked.html

A special thank you to all who entered.

Please make sure to check my blog for more contests and giveaways!!

Entangled Flaunt ~ Spotlight & Giveaway: Playing Doctor by Jan Meredith (Presented by Bewitching Book Tours)


When a fellow RN jokingly predicts that Beth Roberts will meet a tall, ripped and totally lick-o-licious stranger who will fulfill her deepest desires, it’s supposed to be from across a crowded room, not giving CPR to a wedding guest. Given her tragic love life, Beth has no desire to become involved again, but who could have predicted the ponytailed doctor with the mischievous smile would break through her defenses?

Dr. Gabriel North blamed himself for his wife’s death. Now, after two years of battling guilt and meaningless hookups, he’s ready to move on. When he sees the sexy brunette at his friend’s wedding, his attraction is swift and strong, and he wastes no time in pressing his advantage. One night with the woman who makes him feel alive again isn’t enough, but gaining her trust as a man was going to take more than medical school had prepared him for.


Playing Doctor 
Jan Meredith

ISBN: 9781622664078

Entangled Flaunt


Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

**Saph's Review Coming Soon**

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Jan Meredith has been a romance junkie since her teens. When she isn't penning steamy stories about strong-willed, independent women and the sexy men who love them, she works as an Infusion Therapy nurse. She lives near Mammoth Cave, KY with her husband (and former high school sweet heart) Tommy.






Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Paperback Release Day & Giveaway: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase (Presented by InkSlinger PR)

Suddenly Royal Paperback Release Day Banner   


We are beyond excited to be able to share with you all the release of Nichole Chase's SUDDENLY ROYAL in paperback! This book is gorgeous and will definitely be one you'll want to add to your shelf!  

  Suddenly Royal   

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working on a master's degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it's to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed . . . As crown prince of Lilaria, Alex D'Lynsal has had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures in the press have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She's stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone's front-page news. While Sam tries to navigate her new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.


Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

About the Author:
  
Author PhotoNichole Chase is a daydreamer. No, really, just ask any of the math teachers that had the misfortune of seeing her name appear on their class schedule. For years she has had story lines and characters begging for attention, but she resolutely pushed them aside to focus on more normal (read, boring) jobs. Well, no longer! She is currently heeding the voices in her head and frantically writing their stories. Ms. Chase is the author of the Dark Betrayal Trilogy, Flukes, and Suddenly Royal (including several short stories). Nichole resides in South Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, dog, tortoise, and two cats. When not devouring novels by the dozens, you may find her writing, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

A true duchess (or duke!) would never be caught without a tiara on! With news of a secret duchess in town, the paparazzi are everywhere, waiting to catch unsuspecting readers sans royal accessories. So grab your sparkly head gear, head to your nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of SUDDENLY ROYAL by Nichole Chase, and get snapped in style!

SUDDENLY ROYAL by Nichole Chase is on sale from Avon Books on November 26, and we’re celebrating this positively regal release by giving you a chance to pamper yourself like a princess! 

Pick up your copy of SUDDENLY ROYAL & upload a picture of yourself reading it while wearing a tiara (no royal leaves home without one!) for a chance to win this gorgeous Tranquility Bath Gift Basket from Overstock.com! 

From 11/26 to 12/6, tweet @avonbooks using hashtag #btwncovers or tag Nichole Chase on Facebook (www.facebook.com/author.nicholechase) with your picture, and a random winner will be announced on 12/7. 

You can see all about it at Nichole's post here: http://www.nicholechase.com/2013/11/snapped-in-style.html a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links: Website: www.nicholechase.com 

Spotlight & Giveaway: War of the Wildlands (Tales from Nōl’Deron) by Lana Axe (Presented by Bewitching Book Tours)

 

Unrelenting war between humans and elves threatens to destroy the forest forever.

A tyrant king has declared war on the elves and will stop at nothing to see them annihilated. Despite fighting savagely to defend their homes, the elves are outmatched by vicious attacks from highly skilled battle mages. The elven clans must join forces to have any chance of survival against the ruthless king’s army.

Meanwhile, a young half-elf is forced from the human world he has always known and travels into the Wildlands to seek out his elven kin. Along the way, he learns to draw on the magic within himself to craft weapons of tremendous power. When war arrives on his doorstep, he must choose whether to stand with the family he has always known or the elves who share his blood.


Book Details:

War of the Wildlands
Tales from Nōl’Deron
Lana Axe

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publisher: AxeLord Publications

Date of Publication: November 2013

ISBN: 0615897134

Number of pages: 437
Word Count: 76,451

Cover Artist: Michael Gauss

Chapter One Excerpt:

As he did every morning, Yori woke before dawn to begin his work at the smithy. He rose from his small cot and pulled back the curtain that separated his tiny living space from the rest of the shop. He splashed water over his face and around his neck and ran his fingers through his sandy blond hair. Carefully, he positioned a worn red headband at the precise level to cover the pointed tips of his ears. Life was easier in the village of Enald if its citizens could forget for a moment that his father had been an elf.

The shop was open-air with a low wall surrounding it, forcing customers to enter through the area farthest from the furnace. This design helped to avoid accidents from careless citizens, children, and animals. For the last few years, the shop had doubled as Yori’s home. His aunt and uncle’s cottage was too small to fit everyone comfortably, and the shop was safer having someone present all night. The cool fall weather made for pleasant nights, despite being out of doors. In the winter, he would move his cot closer to the furnace to stay warm.

Grabbing a leather apron from a hook near the anvil, he quickly tied it around himself to cover his tattered gray shirt. He began adding charcoal to the furnace and squeezed the bellows to fan the flames. His Uncle Ren always treated him well, but if the furnace was not hot enough to begin work at dawn, Yori could expect to receive an open-handed smack to the side of his head. To avoid the embarrassment, he always tended the fire first and made its maintenance his top priority throughout the day.

As dawn broke, Yori was still laying out tools for his uncle’s use in the day’s work. Out of nowhere, he heard a young girl screaming. Startled by the sound, he dropped the pliers in his hand, which fell to the ground with a thud. Realizing the cry had come from his young cousin, he immediately rushed toward the sound. As he stepped out of the shop, he saw arrows whizzing in every direction, and panicked villagers were running away. One lone little girl stood frozen in fear near the well.

Without a thought for his own safety, Yori rushed to the child and grabbed her in his arms. Just as he lifted her to run back to the smithy, his left calf was struck by an arrow. He dropped to his knees, barely setting the girl back on her feet. She wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her tear-stained face in his shoulder. Again he lifted her, ignoring the searing pain in his leg. Turning his back to the oncoming arrows in an effort to protect the girl, he limped as quickly as possible back to the safety of the shop.

Placing the girl behind the anvil, he grabbed the axe near the wood pile and readied himself for a fight. He had never been trained in fighting, but he had learned to defend himself as a child. As an outcast, his world had been full of bullies, and he had realized that fighting back felt much better than just accepting a beating. They may have beaten him worse for his efforts, but at least he had earned his lumps. He did not know exactly what he was facing or why his village was being attacked, but he was ready to defend his young cousin against whoever was approaching.

As quickly as the attack had begun, it ended. Villagers once again came out of their homes and began filling the streets. Yori set down the axe and knelt before the sobbing girl.

“Are you hurt, Meladee?” he asked.

The little girl shook her head. She raised an arm and pointed to the arrow sticking out of Yori’s leg.

“It looks worse than it feels,” he said, attempting to ease the girl’s fear. In truth, his leg was throbbing and still bleeding a considerable amount.

Ren rushed out of his small cottage and ran to the smithy. “Yori!” he called. “Have you seen Meladee?”

“She’s here,” Yori replied.

The girl remained seated until her mother, who had run out of the cottage in her nightdress, rushed to her side. Meladee threw her arms around her mother and continued to weep.

“Yori’s hurt,” she managed to say through her sobs.

Ren knelt down to have a closer look at the arrow sticking out of Yori’s leg. “This is going to hurt,” he said, his dark eyes sympathetic. “You might want to bite down on the corner of your apron.”

Yori, confused by the comment, looked down at his uncle just in time to see him grab hold of the arrow. In an instant, he yanked the shaft and pulled the arrow free. Yori screamed in pain and fell to his knees, grabbing at his injured calf.

“I told you to bite down on the leather, didn’t I?” Ren said with a smile. “You’ll be alright. Let’s clean it and get a bandage on it.”

As he watched his uncle retrieve an iron rod and place it in the fire, Yori realized what his uncle had meant by “clean it”. He was going to cauterize it to stop the bleeding and seal the wound from infection. Yori’s head swam as his Aunt Trella brought over a bowl of water and some cloth.

“It will only hurt for a second, and then you will feel much better,” she said. Gently, she began wiping the wound with a wet cloth.

Ren approached, a red-hot iron rod in his hand. “Don’t scream too much or you’ll scare Meladee,” he said. “Oh, and don’t move around too much or I’ll have to sit on you.” He offered Yori a small stick of wood to bite down on, which the young man graciously accepted.

As the hot metal touched the wound, Yori moaned and grunted in agony. After a few seconds, the procedure was over. The pain had dulled but persisted. All the bleeding had stopped, and Ren offered Yori a hand getting back to his feet. Placing weight on the leg was agony, but he had very little choice. There was work to be done, and he could not spend the day sitting.

“They were Wild Elves,” Meladee said quietly, her brown eyes still full of tears.

“You shouldn’t be leaving the house alone,” her mother chided. “You could have been killed.”

“Did you see them, Meladee?” Yori asked, bending to her level.

The little girl nodded.

From the design of the arrow, Yori was forced to accept that the little girl must be correct. The speckled feathers and runed tip of the arrows left no doubt in his mind that Wild Elves had just attacked their village. This could only bring trouble for him and his family. The villagers already disliked him for being a half-breed, but now they might think he was a traitor.

Yori had never known any Wild Elves except his father, but he was killed when Yori was very young. His mother always spoke fondly of him, even though loving him made her an outcast among human society. According to her, the elves were not happy about it either. They refused to allow a human to live among their clan. Therefore, the couple chose to live independently at the edge of the woods. When she died, her brother took Yori in and put him to work in the smithy. He was not treated as a son but as an apprentice. Still, he was grateful to have someone looking after him in any way.

“This wasn’t the Sycamore Clan,” Ren said, looking at Yori. “Your father’s clan is too far from here. I would wager anything it was the Oak Leaf Clan. They’re nothing but trouble.”

Members of the Oak Leaf Clan had been banned from trading in Enald’s marketplace. On several occasions they had been accused of stealing and causing disturbances. They had gotten the reputation as troublemakers, but none of them were ever given a trial. If a human accused a Wild Elf of wrongdoing, then the elf was presumed guilty. King Domren had no use for elves in his kingdom, and he sanctioned all punishments against them.

“We may as well get to work,” Ren suggested. “If we carry on like everything is normal, maybe we’ll be left in peace.” His voice contained very little hope. Since most people in town were aware of Yori’s parentage, trouble was likely to find them.

Meladee squeezed Yori tightly before her mother led her back to their cottage. The poor child was covered in black soot from being held tightly against Yori’s dusty apron. She would protest having a bath and would dislike having to wear clean clothes. She much preferred her tattered play clothes, which she only wore while she was in the smithy. She loved her cousin dearly and would rather spend the day in the hot, dirty shop than anywhere else as long as Yori was there.

Yori retrieved the pliers he had dropped earlier and continued to prepare his uncle’s workbench for the day ahead. He checked on the furnace and decided it was hot enough for now. “Where should I begin?” he asked.

“Fetch that sword we’ve been working on. We need to finish up the hilt and get the whole thing together.” He scratched at his beard as he spoke.

Yori did as he was told. For several weeks, they had worked together on a sword for one of King Domren’s lieutenants at the palace. His father was originally from Enald and had purchased swords made by Ren’s father. The quality of those swords was superior to the ones being crafted by the palace’s smith, and the man had insisted Ren craft one for him in the tradition of his father. Yori himself had done half the work and was quite pleased with the outcome so far.

The sword’s hilt was inlaid with ebony stones which Yori had shaped and polished meticulously. He offered the hilt to his uncle, who inspected it closely.

“This is well crafted,” he said. “You’re ready to fit it to the blade.”

Yori carried the sword to his workbench at the back of the shop. As soon as he turned his back, one of Enald’s wealthier citizens appeared in the doorway. He was dressed in a fine burgundy tunic and wore a large feather in his hat.

“What does that one know about the attack this morning?” the man said, pointing at Yori.

Yori turned to face the man, his eyes darting nervously to his uncle.

“He knows he got an arrow in the leg for rescuing my daughter,” Ren replied, his tone suggesting he was well prepared for an argument.

“If he’s been sneaking around with those savages, I’m going to inform the mayor,” the man threatened. “His kind are not welcome here. You should have done away with him when he was a baby.”

Ren grabbed a hammer from his workbench and walked toward the man. “I suggest you get out of my shop and leave the boy alone.”

“Boy?” the man scoffed. “I know for a fact he’s at least seventeen. He’s a man and should be fighting his own battles by now. A war is coming, and he will betray this town if he gets the chance.”

“My family is here,” Yori said. “I don’t even know any elves other than the ones who trade goods here. They weren’t the ones who attacked us.”

“So you know which clan it was?” the man asked. “Apparently you do know a thing or two. Perhaps you should come and speak to the mayor yourself and save him the trouble of sending the guards.”

“Get out of here before I bury this hammer in your skull!” Ren’s tone meant business, and his face was serious. He tightened his grip on the hammer.

Seeing that he had truly angered the smith, the man decided to back down. He turned and strode briskly from the shop.

“I should have kept my mouth shut,” Yori said, his pale green eyes focusing on the floor. “I always say the wrong thing.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Ren replied. “It wouldn’t have mattered what you said. That asshole came here looking for a fight, and he nearly got one.”

Yori turned back to his workbench and tried to occupy his mind with his work. He was worried that others in the village would also come to accuse him, and he hated the thought of causing trouble for his uncle. For now, he would simply focus on his work and avoid visiting other areas of the village.

“You’ll have to sleep at the house tonight,” Ren said. “I don’t know how safe you’ll be out here. We’ll just have to make some room.”

Yori nodded and tried to hide the relief he felt. The last thing he wanted was to be alone at night with a town full of angry citizens. If the attacks continued, his life could very well be in danger.


GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:

Lana Axe lives in Missouri near the edge of the woods. She is inspired by her love of nature to write about elves, magic, and adventure. Growing up in Mark Twain's backyard inspired her love of fiction from an early age. She grew up an avid reader and went on to study literature in college.

After eight years of jotting notes and building a fantasy world, she has finally begun releasing novels in her Tales from Nōl'Deron series. They will feature many of the same characters, but each novel will stand alone.

Spotlight & Giveaway: White Lie Christmas by Christine Bell & Riley Murphy (Presented by Bewitching Book Tours)



WHITE LIE CHRISTMAS:


The holidays are here, and Leah Latrelle has made a mess of them. When her out-of-town parents’ concern over her non-existent love life threatens to interfere with her father’s health, she invents a boyfriend who quickly turns into a fiancé. Her family is thrilled, and they change their Christmas plans last minute to meet their future son-in-law. Now Leah has no choice but to come up with the goods. She needs a man, fast. When her friend and business partner, Mick, offers himself up as a sacrifice, she’s all over it. He’s handsome, dependable and available for the job. What could go wrong?

Tis the season, and Mick Kilpatrick can’t say no to a damsel in distress. Especially when that damsel is his luscious business partner who has been the object of his reluctant desire for the past year. He hasn’t pursued anything because being a dad is still priority number one. A sexy woman like Leah will only distract him from what’s really important and he can’t have that. He’ll pretend to be her fiancé, but when it’s over, everything will go back to normal. Sure, he’s fantasized about her once or...a million times but that doesn’t mean he’s in love with her. Does it?



**Saph's Review will be posted on Dec. 6, 2013.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble
About the Authors:

Christine Bell:


Christine Bell is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romances, and one half of the happiest couple in the world. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in Pennsylvania with a four-pack of teenage boys and their two dogs, Gimli and Pug. She doesn't like root beer, clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate, going to the movies, the New York Giants and playing Texas Hold 'Em. 

Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate...or, like, a ninja maybe. She loves writing fun, sexy romances, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to dig his eyes out with rusty spoons. Christine also writes erotic romance under the pen name Chloe Cole and YA fiction as Christine O’Neil.

Christine loves to stay in touch with readers, so please feel free contact her via her website www.christine-bell.com and on Twitter @_ChristineBell.







Riley Murphy:


Riley Murphy writes sexy, humorous and emotional romance, happy ending guaranteed. An optimist, she believes life is awesome, people are complicated, but in a good way, and we should never stop learning. Riley currently resides in Florida with her gorgeous husband. She has two wonderful kids and one very bossy English Bull terrier she has dubbed ‘The divine One’. 

When Riley’s not working she enjoys reading, oil painting and getting to the Sunday crossword puzzle before anyone else does, so she can fill-in all the easy answers first. 

If Riley wasn't a writer she’d be an international spy with top-level security so she could have a peek at Area 51 and decide for herself if those green guys are for real. Failing that she’d probably go with chicken sexer. Riley loves to hear from readers. Swing by and say hello to her on her website at www.AuthorRileyMurphy.com or connect with her on twitter @Riley__murphy where she’s always sharing her deep-dark secrets.