Thrillerathon Winter Edition TBR

Hello, everyone! I thought I would participate in the thrillerathon. This readathon starts on the 18th of February and ends on the 24th of February.

  1. Read the thriller that you’re most anticipating.Sadie
  2. Read the thriller that’s been on your tbr the longest.Copycat
  3. Read the thriller you most recently added to your tbr.You Owe Me a Murder

4. Read the thriller with the best cover.

Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1)

5. Revisit a thriller book or author.

Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back #2)

6. Read a thriller that was recommended to you.

What You Hide

 

So that is what I’m planning on reading!

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Awesome ebook Deals #1

Hello, everyone! I was browsing Amazon to see what ebooks were on sale. I found quite a few that I thought was interesting so I thought I’d share what was on sale. These prices might change by the time you are reading this so please be sure to check the price!

Love, Life and the List Kasie West 

Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen

Three Sides of a Heart

A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Honor Among Thieves

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

The School for Good and Evil

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

A Study in Charlotte

All of these were 1.99 expect for A language of thorns which was  2.99.   I hope you managed to get a few of these while they were on sale!

 

Queen To Ashes Preorder Blitz

 

 

 

Today Mallory McCartney and Rockstar
Book Tours are happy to announce that QUEEN TO ASHES, is available for
pre-order! Check out all the book info and enter the giveaway!

 
 
Title: QUEEN
TO ASHES (Black Dawn #2)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Pub. Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Formats: eBook
Pages: ?
 
“You lived your entire life feeling like half of
you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”
 

 

Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life
on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling
sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her
parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and
she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was
once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.

 
With the King’s attention on her, can she buy
Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times
comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as
the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal
trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process. 
 
Sequel to Black Dawn, now a bestselling series,
the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her title.
Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land,
stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But
above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the
darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?
 
Renegade and Black Dawn will be available in the
following #Vancouver area locations : Chapters Burnaby, Indigo Surrey, Chapters
Coquitlam, Indigo West Vancouver, Indigo Granville (2505 Granville St) and
Indigo Robson (1033 Robson St) in December!
 
Title: RENEGADE (Black Dawn 0.5)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Pub. Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
Pages: 274
Find it: Amazon, B&N,
TBD,
Goodreads
 
 
“The time for
Kiero’s reign in prosperity is over.”
 
Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair
Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at
The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future
of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair
longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory
tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him
there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the
capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.
 
An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the
roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles,
and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and
wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their
proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death
over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of
their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters
most- finding out the truth.
 
In this gripping prequel to Black Dawn, their
world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made. War ravages through
Kiero and is torn apart by acclaimed Kings. Through the throes of betrayal,
lies, hidden magic and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision- to
fight or to bow to the darkness within him.
 
Title: BLACK DAWN (Black Dawn #1)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Pages: 352
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, TBD,
Goodreads
 
Emory Fae enjoys
leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome
soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked
away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden
world of Kiero, and bringing Emory back she will discover she is the long lost
heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a
dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.
 
With both men being
darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long
dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans,
love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
 
Some things are better
left in the shadows.
 
 
 
About Mallory:

 

Mallory
McCartney is the author of the bestselling Black Dawn series. She currently
lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola
and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be
found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes
involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new
coffee and dessert shops.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Giveaway Details:
One lucky winner will receive a $10
Amazon Gift Card, International.
 
Giveaway ends March 15 at midnight, EST!
 

 

Haven Realm Blog Tour

HAVEN REALM

Boxed Set

Title: HAVEN REALM Box Set

Author: Mila Young

Pub. Date: February 11, 2019

Publisher: Mila Young

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 813

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

Mila Young’s 3 Reverse Harem Fairy Tale Retellings in a box set!

Hunted (A Haven Realm Novel)

Little Red Riding Hood. Three Big Bad Wolves. A Poisonous Scheme.

Scarlet, a healer, lives nestled in the forest surrounded by humans on one side and wolves on the other. But when a rogue wolf attacks her, she’s rescued by another pack and taken deep into their den to perform her healing magic on an injured Alpha.

The wolves in the forest are under threat from a mysterious affliction, and Scarlet is the only hope they have left. Faced with a mixed pack of threatened shifters, Scarlet must use her wits and magic to survive and unravel the strange affliction now affecting the wolves… All while trying to navigate an overpowering attraction to not just one, but three of the Alphas.

Witches, wolves, magic and love intertwine in an exciting mystery that finds its own, unique, ‘Happily Ever After.’

Note: Each book in the Haven Realm series is a standalone book.

Cursed (A Haven Realm Novel)

Beauty and the Four Beasts. A Deadly Curse. A Fallen Kingdom.

With magic banned in the human realm, Bee, a powerful witch, has had to offer her services in secret. When a request to break a curse comes from the dangerous mountains and royal bear shifters, Bee is hesitant, but winter is coming and funds are tight.

At the castle, Bee finds things are not quite what she was led to believe. The curse Bee is meant to break has reached its zenith, siphoning off the Prince’s life while preventing him from controlling his shifting abilities. He is volatile, angry, and far stronger than she had imagined. His brothers, who commissioned her, present her with a challenge – fix it, or lose everything.

Soon the curse is spreading throughout the castle, taking brother alike. It’s a race against the clock, buffeted by dark magic, intrigue, and a strange attraction that has her looking at the four brothers in a new light.

Note: Each book in the Haven Realm series is a standalone book.

Entangled (A Haven Realm Novel)

Tangles of death, danger, and monsters. Rapunzel and her sexy shifters must escape a witch’s vengeance.

At the age of eight, Elliana lost her father, her future, and her freedom in exchange for eternal captivity. Not to mention unimaginably long hair.

Trapped in a tower by a magical gargoyle, Elliana chances a few daring and ill-fated escapes in search of a powerful, hidden weapon, which could free her and kill the stone creature once and for all. But to do that, she must summon a sly dragon shifter, a ferocious lion shifter with way too much baggage, and a devious tiger shifter. But the witch who hexed her is returning to finish Elliana. Can she save herself and the heroic three shifters she’s slowly losing her heart to before they all die?

Dragons, lions, magical hair and love merge in this heart-wrenching tale that finds its own, unique, ‘Happily Ever After.’

Note: Each book in the Haven Realm series is a standalone book

Review of Entangled

This was a fun and unique retelling of Rapunzel! I liked how there was plenty of action and twists that kept me on my toes. I loved the writing and the characters and of course the romance. If you are looking for a fun and unique twist on Rapunzel than look no further.

About Mila:

Mila

Bestselling Author, Mila Young tackles everything with the zeal and bravado of the fairytale heroes she grew up reading about. She slays monsters, real and imaginary, like there’s no tomorrow.By day she rocks a keyboard as a marketing extraordinaire. At night she battles with her might pen-sword, creating fairytale retellings, and sexy ever after tales. In her spare time, she loves pretending she’s a mighty warrior, walks on the beach with her dogs, cuddling up with her cats, and devouring every fantasy tale she can get her pinkies on.

Sign up for Mila’s Newsletter!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group

Giveaway Details:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

2/11/2019- Dazzled by Books– Excerpt

2/11/2019- Kelly P’s Blog– Excerpt

 

2/12/2019- BOOK BRIEFS– Review

2/12/2019- BookHounds– Excerpt

 

2/13/2019- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt

2/13/2019- K.L. Knovitzke – Author– Excerpt

2/13/2019- Books a Plenty Book Reviews– Review

 

2/14/2019- Hauntedbybooks– Review

 

2/15/2019- DJREADSBOOKS– Review

2/15/2019- Abooktropolis– Review

 

Week Two:

2/18/2019- Julia Swoons– Review

2/18/2019- JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder– Spotlight

 

2/19/2019- Good Choice Reading– Spotlight

2/19/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

2/19/2019- Love in a time of FeminismExcerpt

 

2/20/2019- The Reading Corner for All– Review

2/20/2019- Don’t Judge, Read– Excerpt

 

2/21/2019- Stormy Vixen’s Book Reviews– Review

2/21/2019- Down The Rabbit Hole– Spotlight

 

2/22/2019- D Books and Reviews– Review

2/22/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Excerpt

2/22/2019- Adventures Thru WonderlandReview

 

A Court of Earth and Aether Release Week Blitz

I am so
excited that A COURT OF EARTH AND AETHER
by Meg Xumei X is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Meg Xumei X, be sure to
check out all the details below.
 
This blitz
also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Meg and Rockstar Book
Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the
bottom of this post.

Title: A COURT OF
EARTH AND AETHER (War of the Gods #4)

Author: Meg Xuemei X
Pub. Date: February 12, 2019
Publisher: Meg Xuemei X
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 239
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
Cass Saélihn is the weapon, the
hybrid born to kill the Olympian gods.

Only the price is
her own life.

One dies so millions can live. So her
mates will live.

But Cass can’t just
abandon them, can she? She’s just found them–a home she’d never imagined she
could have. So when Death offers her a way out if she plays one of his sick
games, she can’t refuse. If she plays it right, she might just rise from ash
and ember.

And her loyal warrior-mates will be
with her in life, or death. Even when she has to become the Darkness that devours
the worlds. Even when she’s lost to herself.

She’s not lost to them.

So, she’ll play the
final deadly game, and when Cass unleashes her true, powerful self, the
immortal gods will burn in her flames.

  
** This is the final book in the
popular War of the Gods series. It contains brutal battles, explicit love
scenes, raw language, magic, swordfights, Greek gods, dark fae, vampires,
shifters, and a lot more assholes.

Title: A COURT OF ICE AND WIND (War of the Gods #3)

Author: Meg Xumei X
Pub. Date: December 5, 2018
Publisher: Meg Xumei X
Formats: eBook, paperback
Pages: 197
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
Cass
Saélihn isn’t some defenseless damsel, sitting on her ass and waiting for
her hot, alpha males to rescue her.
She won’t accept the fate of being in another cage.Even though the torque on
her neck binds her, rendering her powerless.

She won’t allow Ares and Apollo to sever her mating bond to her beloved mates,
no matter how they seduce, threaten, or torture her. She doesn’t bend, and
she’ll never break.

They may have a terrible plan for her, but she’s reserved worse for them. Now
she awaits the one chance to strike back and return to her mates, who she knows
are coming for her.

Warning: This is a full-length reverse harem fantasy/paranormal romance that
features one hell of strong woman and her four powerful supernatural mates. It
contains brutal battles, explicit love scenes, raw language, magic,
swordfights, Greek gods, dark fae, vampires, shifters, and a lot of
assholes. 

Title: A COURT OF FIRE AND METAL (War of
the Gods #2)

Author: Meg Xumei X
Pub.
Date:
 October 10, 2018
Publisher: Meg Xumei X
Formats: eBook, paperback
Pages: 267
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
The four mighty, smoking-hot warriors had wanted to use
Cass Saélihn as the weapon to kill the Olympian gods, but they fell for
her instead. 
   
Now all they want is
to protect her. So they hide Cass in the magically glamoured Academy, the only
safe place for earthlings.
But Cass won’t cower or run from danger. She sets her own rules and stands her
ground, no matter how her blood heats for her alpha mates. She’s determined to
take the fight to the gods, not as a weapon but a leader.

Yet an all-powerful, beautiful, cruel god is already among them, much closer
than she and her four mates can imagine. He covets Cass and her power more than
anything, and when the god strikes, he leaves nothing to chance.

  
Warning: This is
a full-length reverse harem fantasy/paranormal romance that features one hell
of strong woman and her four powerful supernatural mates. It contains brutal
battles, explicit love scenes, raw language, magic, swordfights, Greek gods,
dark fae, vampires, shifters, and a lot of assholes.

Title: A COURT OF BLOOD AND VOID (War of the Gods
#1)

Author: Meg Xumei X
Pub. Date: September 6, 2018
Publisher: Meg Xumei X
Formats: eBook, paperback
Pages: 272
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
They call me beautiful. They call me a monster. Soon,
they’ll call me death.

As a direct
descendant of the God of Death, Cassandra Saélihn is considered the most
dangerous monster of all time. Her own mother locks her in a cage to protect
the world from her lethal potential. Cass thought this imprisoned life would be
her fate, but then four sexy, formidable warriors–a vampire lord, twin fae
princes, and a demigod–find her.

They claim she’s not a
monster, but a powerful weapon, one who can kill the Olympian gods, who have
returned to Earth with a vengeance. But Cass has a mind of her own and can’t be
told what to do, no matter how drawn she is to her four warrior saviors. To
their dismay, the four warriors can’t tame the wild, cunning, and volatile
Cass. But they have a bigger problem–their growing attraction toward her.
To turn the woman they
desire into the ultimate weapon and ensure Earth’s survival, they’ll have to
conquer her body and heart, which seems even more impossible than winning the
war against the atrocious gods. But nothing turns these alpha males on more
than an impossible dare. And nothing turns Cass on more than being stalked.

Warning:
This is a full-length reverse harem fantasy/paranormal romance that features
one hell of strong woman and her four powerful supernatural mates. It contains
brutal battles, explicit love scenes, raw language, magic, swordfights, Greek
gods, dark fae, vampires, shifters, and a lot of assholes.

 

Excerpts:

 

 

 

About Meg:
 
Meg Xuemei X is a USA Today
bestselling author. She writes steamy paranormal and sci-fi romance. She finds
it dreamingly delightful to be around drop-dead gorgeous alpha males who are
forever tormented by her feisty heroines, formidable alien angels, wild shifters,
haughty fey, dark vampires, and cunning witches.
She’s visited the universe of The
Empress of Mysth, The First Witch, and Dark Chemistry. Next she’ll boldly go to
the badland of The Wickedest Witch. At this moment, in her southern California
abode, she’s packing as many forbidden weapons as she can carry. Her favorite
one is a magical whip.
 
Giveaway Details: All International
1 Winner
will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.
 
Ends on February 22nd at Midnight EST!

 

The Council of Nereth Book Blitz

The Council of Nereth
T.J. Amberson
Publication date: December 2nd 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult

Six months have passed since the Council of Nereth was formed. The land is at peace. The people are thriving, secure in the knowledge that Raelin, the evil sorceress who once ruled over them, is no more.Like the other members of the Council of Nereth, Edlyn has returned home to live and work, waiting for the time when the council will meet again. Busy serving the people and restoring the manor of her childhood, Edlyn keeps her deepest wishes hidden away in her heart.On Edlyn’s eighteenth birthday, a messenger from the capitol arrives to her home and delivers devastating news: Maddock has gone missing, and the worst is feared. Edlyn rushes back to the capitol to join the other council members in a desperate search for Maddock. Soon, a ghostly attack confirms the terrifying truth that evil forces are upon Nereth once again. With time running short, Edlyn and her companions must find Maddock and save Nereth before it is too late.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“I am afraid there is no time,” the man interrupted. He crossed the threshold and closed the door behind him. “I apologize for the abruptness of my visit, but I must implore you to hurry. My name is Dalton. I am the new Chief Officer. I was sent by Sir Briac to escort you to the capitol without delay.”

For one instant, Edlyn stood in stunned silence. Then her heart thudded in her chest, and she lunged across the room for her still-damp cloak. “Of course. I shall ready myself immediately.”

“Oh, Miss Edlyn.” Lancy wrung her hands. “I do hope that the cause for your summons is nothin’ too serious.”

“It must be of great importance. The council was not scheduled to meet for another month yet.” Edlyn hung her sword over her side. As she donned her boots, she raised her head and addressed Dalton again. “Did Sir Briac say anything to you about why we are being so urgently summoned?”

“It is in regards to Sir Maddock.”

Edlyn froze. “Maddock?”

Dalton removed his hat and pushed his wet, shoulder-length brown hair from his face. “It would seem that Sir Maddock has gone missing.”

“Missing,” was all Edlyn could manage to say, her breathing growing strained.

Dalton replaced his hat. “After the council members parted ways last June, Sir Briac never received any correspondence from Sir Maddock. Concerned for his welfare, Sir Briac led soldiers into the Colleland to ensure that all was well. But Sir Maddock was nowhere to be found. No one seems to know what happened to him, and our ongoing searches have not uncovered even a trace of a clue.”


Author Bio:

TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest. With a love of writing in several genres, TJ strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, & original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Rune’s Folly Book Blitz

Rune’s Folly
Garen Glazier
Publication date: February 5th 2019
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult

By day, Tansy McCoy is a florist making charmed bouquets for the citizens of Junonia, capital of the Kingdom of Terranmar. By night, she’s an assassin and the keeper of the Dangerous Garden where deadly blooms grow. Together with the town tailor, butcher, baker, and metalsmith (just don’t call her a candlestick maker), she is part of the Guild, a secret group of spell-wielding thieves and mercenaries. Their task: consolidate all that remains of the realm’s fading magic under the ruthless King Zeno’s control.

Impetuous loner Tansy chafes under her Guild demands. She longs to quit her town and trade and head for the hills. Unfortunately, King Zeno has other plans. He wants to marry off his daughter to Terranmar’s famously reclusive wizard, Rune Hallows, and he’s willing to have the Guild kidnap him to make it happen. Fail to deliver the wizard and the consequences will be swift and deadly.

Reluctant but determined, Tansy sets out on the long journey to faraway Wentletrap and Rune’s desolate tower by the sea. To get there she must cross a swamp full of sinister surprises, battle a werewolf, and outrace a bloodthirsty band of revenants, while she wrestles with her own magical powers that seem to be expanding in unpredictable ways.

But reaching Rune’s tower is only the beginning. When Tansy learns the real reason behind the king’s contest, she’ll need to decide whether to give in to the growing forces of magic ready to reclaim Terranmar or embrace her newfound powers to save the kingdom.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

The tower was his retreat, the night his refuge.

During the day he was the subject of ridicule. The children stared. The old women whispered, shaking their heads as he passed by. He would curse them under his breath and pull his hood down.

Rune’s days were harsh, soured by the small minds and cruel tongues of the villagers that called Wentletrap home.

But the nights were his.

And most nights, by candlelight, he would shape with knowing fingers a crude little figure, a man, out of the red clay he gathered from the rolling hills just beyond the shore. He would thrust two arched sticks into the clay man’s back, and to these he carefully attached feathers. Albatross, gull, and osprey.

His ancient books kept him company, and they had taught him the right words. Whispering them into the sour-salt air, the wings of his creation would beat once, twice, and then the clay man, his homunculus, would fly. It would soar over the moonlit ocean until the morning came and the cruel sun cracked the clay, wilted the wings, and stole the magic away.

But before the blasted rays of daylight destroyed them, the homunculi would return to Rune’s tower bringing back ingredients from their journeys. Leaves, hair, teeth, sand, among other things. Most common enough, some rarer than rare. Occasionally, if Rune was lucky, clutched in one of the creatures’ tiny fists would be a shell. Always white, but of different sizes, shapes, and textures.

When the shells came back to the tower, Rune’s stern face would soften just a touch, and the barest hint of a smile would play across his lips.

Last night had been one of those delicious evenings.

And so, from his day amongst the rabble, he had recalled the particularly hateful sneer of Old Lady Turnbull, the baker’s wife. He hadn’t forgotten that brat Bilga and the mud she’d kicked across his shoes either.

With his lips nearly pressed against the chest of his little winged man, he’d given it one last set of instructions, breathing mischief into its heart. Then, as the homunculus zipped not east out to the sea but west into the village, Rune had walked down the spiral steps that ran along the curved wall of his tower.

At the bottom he repeated his route, but this time slowly. His fingers bumped along the shells that covered every inch of the wall, the intricate patterns glowing softly at first and then more brightly the further up his keep he went. From floor to floor he climbed until he stood once again on the uppermost story.

To the casual observer it would appear that here, too, the wall was carpeted with shells, but just above the casement of the large window overlooking the dark sea, a space no longer than a finger remained.

He held the shell to the wall and spoke the words he knew so well. When he took his hand away the shell stayed put, glowing so brightly along with the others that Rune could hardly bear to look.

The shells’ light reached its zenith and then dimmed, but an afterimage of the swirls and whorls Rune had so carefully rendered on his tower walls remained, dancing across his vision and filling the rest of his night with reveries of years past and lost love.

Now, as the first tepid rays of sun slid through the perpetual fug that surrounded his tower and the sorry little village nearby, he crossed to the western facing window and opened it wide.

Directly below him the curve of his tower plummeted to a rocky piece of land. As the tide was in, the sharp rocks and weather-beaten keep formed a tiny island half a mile or so from the shore.

High tide was Rune’s favorite time of day. He could rest peacefully knowing that none of Wentletrap’s citizens would disturb him. During low tide the swirling eddies of the black ocean would recede, revealing a greasy spit of land just wide enough for a single footpath. More often than not a shucker or fisherman or some other human flotsam would shuffle out of the godsforsaken village to cross the spit and stand at the bottom of his tower, shouting out in graceless tones for assistance, occasionally, or retribution, more commonly.

He expected Old Lady Turnbull or Bilga’s father would be paying him a visit later, dirty and grey and cursing his existence. Although it might be difficult for Old Lady Turnbull to make the trip herself, what with the swelling and the stink, not to mention the boils, so perhaps it’d be the baker himself. Rune might even give him the antidote if he came bearing a conciliatory basket of scones. Bilga’s father, on the other hand, was on a fool’s errand, for while baked goods might temporarily melt Rune’s cold heart, nothing could move him to offer a cure for the terminally obnoxious teen.

Smiling now, Rune stepped away from his territorial view of Wentletrap and its miserable environs. He was about to descend the stairs for a well-deserved cup of tea and early morning nap when a strange movement caught his attention out the opposite window. Quickly crossing the floor he tore open the casement and leaned out, certain he was seeing things. But no, there it was, flapping its smoking wings erratically as pieces of its legs and torso began to break off and plummet into the sea below.

It was a homunculus he’d sent out a few days prior. It hadn’t returned, which happened occasionally, and he’d given it up for lost. It should have been ashes by now, turned to dust beneath the sun’s merciless rays. Rune’s face hardened with concern.

As he watched, the little creature gave one last flutter of its wings and disintegrated, red dust and feathers blowing out to sea, but not before Rune reached out and caught the bundle the homunculus had been clutching in its tiny hands.

Wrapped with a black ribbon was a nosegay of purple flowers. Examining the sweet-smelling bouquet at a safe distance he saw the dusty spears of lavender, the dark hoods of wolf’s bane, and the round petals of oleander.

“Troubling,” Rune muttered to himself. “Quite troubling.” Then, “I wonder.”

He turned from the window and crossed to the stairs, holding onto the ominous flowers with just his finger and thumb pinched around the ribbon.

Leaving the uppermost floor, Rune circled round the stairs to his library. He quickly bypassed seven of the eight tall, double-sided bookcases that bisected the circular floor at regular intervals. Stopping in front of the last, he crouched down and used his index finger to pry a slim volume covered in red velvet from the bottom shelf.

Carefully he cracked open the cover of A Compendium of Flowers and flipped the pages, coming first to lavender. When Rune saw its traditional meaning his brows furrowed. When he got to the symbolism of oleander he gritted his teeth. And when he turned with dread to the page describing wolf’s bane he snapped the book shut, strode up one flight of the curving stairs to the kitchen and tossed the nosegay into the fire smoldering under a crusty pot of stew or potion. He couldn’t remember which.

As he watched the blooms crackle and blacken, his mind buzzed with the message his homunculus had delivered. Caution, beware. Future misfortune. All in the color purple for royalty.

Had the king discovered his plan? Rune was sure he’d been discreet, but Zeno had eyes everywhere, the suspicious bastard. Then again, the message was rather oblique, and subtlety was definitely not his majesty’s strong suit. As a rule, he skipped warnings altogether and went straight for punishment, harsh and swift.

No, this didn’t seem like the king’s doing. Maybe the color was just a coincidence, but something told him that whoever decided sending a message via flower would be the best means of communication would certainly never ignore their shade in terms of conveying intent or meaning.

Rune went through the names of the king’s various associates in his head, dismissing all of them as either too brutish or too dull to be the origin of the troubling flowers. He was still pondering the odd dispatch when a harsh voice calling his name blew in on the dank ocean breeze filtering down from the still-open window upstairs.

“Rune! You bloody mongrel! Show yourself!”

Ah, Bilga’s father. Was the tide out already?

Rune tossed A Compendium onto the podium that stood near the base of the stairs before vaulting them two at a time. Never one to back down from a colorful exchange, he didn’t want to keep the man waiting.

“What do you want?” Rune bellowed on his way up. “I hope it’s to apologize for afflicting the world with your brutish progeny.”

Mysterious messages would have to wait; verbal abuse heavily peppered with colorful insults was what passed for entertainment around here. Besides, he was almost done with his shells. One more and he could leave everything behind: the tower, Wentletrap, the whole stinking kingdom along with any and all parties dealing in floral threats.


Author Bio:

I have always called Seattle home and find the perpetual gloom to be a wonderful writing ally. I like coffee shops, bookstores, dancing in my living room and singing in my car. The opening scene of Up makes me cry. Three Amigos makes me laugh. Fashion magazines, croissants, and long, long baths are my guilty pleasures. They might occur separately or together. I prefer boxing classes to yoga, and I get some of my best ideas when I’m running. I loved school and spent more time than one really should getting a business degree in marketing and a master’s in art history. In an ideal world I’d go to bed at 2am and wake up at 10am. I’ve never been an early bird, and I feel strongly that alarm clocks kill dreams.

Learn more at garenglazier.com.

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