Book Extract: The Devil’s Bride by Emma S. Jackson

Halloween is getting closer and it is an ideal time to catch up with spooky reads. I am pleased to share a book extract with you to celebrate a novel I enjoyed earlier this year, The Devil’s Bride by Emma S. Jackson. My review can be found here

Scroll down and have a read from The Devil’s Bride

The Devil’s Bride by Emma Jackson

Title: The Devil’s Bride

Author: Emma S. Jackson

Publisher: Darkstroke

Genre: Gothic, paranormal romance

Release date: 6th February 2020

Amazon link: http://bit.ly/TheDevilsBride

Book Extract for The Devil’s Bride

This extract from The Devil’s Bride comes a couple of chapters in when Jamie and the gang of highwaymen she works with have infiltrated the supposedly cursed Edburton Manor and found Matthew living there.

Now he’s their captive and this is the first conversation the two main characters have with each other. I loved writing this moment and exploring the beginning of the game of cat and mouse they would play. Although Matthew is tied up on a chair – having recently been knocked unconscious – he’s not entirely at her mercy…

Freezing cold water spilled down his head and face, throwing pain and tension through him so he coughed and spluttered and opened his eyes.

She bent down to peer into his face, her lips twisting in a wry smile that didn’t touch her eyes.

‘Yeah, I thought you were faking.’ Her voice was cool with amusement.

He blinked, water running along his eyebrows and dripping from his eyelashes. Her eyes were grey shadows in the candlelight, but her aura… He was overwhelmed by it all over again. The colours of her emotions ran at the centre of it, but all around the edge was that bleed of gauzy silver.

‘That makes two of us,’ he rasped.

She straightened up and took a step back from him, her head tilting ever so slightly. ‘Excuse me?’

‘Do they know you’re a woman?’

She showed no reaction save for a raised eyebrow. ‘I must’ve hit you harder than I thought.’

He shook his head gingerly, needling the ache behind his ear and gave a half-smile. ‘I think you hit me precisely as hard as you meant to.’

Her tongue touched the corner of her mouth as she considered him. He saw a kaleidoscope of curiosity, caution, and a flicker of desire, pulse through her.

No, it might not be that. He’d been wrong about that before. It wasn’t as though anyone had ever taught him what the colours meant; he’d had to work it out all by himself. Sometimes he couldn’t even be sure he was seeing different colours – it was more of an impression – and who was to say half of that wasn’t in his head? Feelings could flash in and out of a person, and regardless of whether he was reading them right; it didn’t always mean people would act accordingly. He’d learnt that in brutal fashion when his half-brother had introduced his fiancée two years ago.

‘Does it hurt?’ she asked idly, and it was only the glimpse of guilt slipping through her aura that recalled his wandering mind.

His heart began to beat harder at the intensity of his situation. He hadn’t been around anyone for so long, and he’d almost forgotten the onslaught – the way his brain constantly had to process the complexities of people’s internal secrets. How was he supposed the gain the upper hand and escape while he was struggling just to think straight?

And that was the goal now. Just escape. Forget protecting the homestead and its valuables. If he managed to get away with his life, he would be lucky enough.

He took a shaky breath, trying to pull himself back together.

‘Not as much as if you’d used the pointy end.’

She laughed at that; a genuine moment of amusement that made him see past the swirling colours to her. It didn’t soften her, but it lifted her. It didn’t make her look younger but it gave him a glimpse of her youth; the idea that once she had laughed regularly and that had been taken from her. Somehow that seemed worse than his own experience of childhood.

Author Biography

Emma Jackson

Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE and contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2020, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her latest romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, was released in June, with a festive romance, ONE KISS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, due for release on 2nd November 2020.

Emma also writes historical and fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

You can find out news about Emma via her website, by signing up to her newsletter at http://www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
Twitter @ESJackson1
Facebook @EmmaJacksonAuthor
Instagram @emma_s_jackson

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Extract: Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

I am excited to share with you an extract from Lucy Coleman’s new festive novel, Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage. I have read a few of Lucy Coleman’s books and they always sizzle with festive cheer.

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

Title: Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage

Author: Lucy Coleman

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Festive Romance

Release date: 3rd September 2020

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3fGdGvu

Blurb

Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds in this perfect festive escape, from the bestselling Lucy Coleman.

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina. 

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in. 

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.  

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secretslog fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft. 

Extract from Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage

‘Right, what can I get for you, Immi?’

‘One of your surf and turf sharing platters and a bottle of something special, please. I don’t suppose the Christmas beers have arrived yet?’

Our community is very proud to have a celebrated microbrewery virtually on our doorstep. The Middle Norton Brewing Company have made a real name for themselves and it’s become quite an attraction for the marina.

Sarah nods her head. ‘This morning. Two Santa’s Helpers? Or how about trying the new one – The Bullrush Christmas Brew?’

‘You didn’t!’ I exclaim.

‘We did. We put the proposal to Pete and David, and they thought it was a great idea. Ten pence from every bottle sold will be donated to The Santa Ahoy Christmas charity fund. When Tollie pops in later, Kurt is going to tell him the news. And Pete just rang to say they are going to run a promotion on it via their stockists, which will run into January.’

‘Wow, thank you, Sarah. I mean, that’s simply amazing.’

‘What’s amazing?’

I spin around and it’s as if a cloud of happiness has wafted in through the door. Gray throws his arms around me, lifting me off the floor as he raises me up to plant a kiss firmly on my lips.

‘I’m back. What’s happening?’ He pulls away, tilting his head to peer over my shoulder. ‘Hi, Sarah, you’re looking good, and busy. Have the Christmas beers arrived yet?’

‘It’s great to see you, Gray. And yes, Immi just placed your order and it’s on the way. Grab a table quickly, guys, I’ve just cleared one upstairs.’ Sarah nods towards the door and a large group about to step through.

‘Will do. Catch up with you later, Sarah,’ Gray calls over his shoulder. Grabbing my hand, he leads me upstairs.

As my foot hits the last tread and I look out over the canal, I get the familiar thrill I always feel to see the boats. This evening everything is right in my little world and my heart soars. I squeeze Gray’s hand and quicken my pace as he strides forward to claim the last table by the window. But before he lets me go, he spins me around into his arms and we stand there for several seconds. Resting my head against his chest and, oblivious to the background chatter, I close my eyes, savouring the moment. Just to feel the solidness of him and breathe in the smell of that lemony aftershave balm he uses is heavenly.

I hate it when we’re apart, but since last October, Gray’s life has had to revolve around his mother, Rona. She’s a lovely woman who dotes on her wonderful son. Sadly, just over a year ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a gruelling programme of treatment, she began having the most awful panic attacks and became a virtual recluse. Gray and I put our plans on hold because family comes first. But for Gray he has had to struggle to work to keep the bills paid and be her only form of support, so it would be a lie to say it hasn’t affected our relationship. True love never dies, but it needs constant care and attention. We’ve both been miserable and lonely, but as hard as it’s been for me, it’s been even harder for Gray.

Rona has been on her own for a long time, since Gray’s father, Grayson Alexander Adams, returned to the States when his son was five years old. Gray has never been to America, or met his grandparents.

I think that’s one of the things that drew us together when we were first introduced, almost three years ago now. Neither of us have siblings and both have just the one parent figure in our lives, albeit mine is a grandparent. There’s a sense of responsibility that accompanies that, I’ve discovered as the years have passed. Granddad worries about me, but now I worry about him – constantly. It’s been the same for Gray. He ended up having to move back into his family home, as Rona floundered to cope with day-to-day living. And suddenly, it wasn’t just our plans for last Christmas that fell apart, but our dream was put on hold.

I try not to dwell on the seemingly impossible question over whether Gray and I will ever be able to get together as a couple, permanently. Rona won’t consider leaving the house she’s lived in since the day Gray was born and Tollie, well, the marina has been his life for more than fifty years. He’s spent the last thirteen years making sure I’m okay, but as time passes our respective roles have begun to change.

Author Biography

Lucy Coleman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor/

lucycolemanromance.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter

Thanks Rachel Random Resources and Boldwood Books for inviting me to this tour.

Happy Reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Extract: Warbringer by Aaron Hodges

July is here and I am delighted to bring you an extract from Warbringer by Aaron Hodges to celebrate its 2nd year book birthday. Enjoy!

Book Extract: Warbringer by Aaron Hodges

 

Warbringer Cover Final

 Warbringer by Aaron Hodges

Title: Warbringer

Author: Aaron Hodges

Publisher: National Library of New Zealand

Release date: 2nd July 2018

 

Blurb:

Centuries ago, the world fell.
From the ashes rose a terrible new species—the Tangata.
Now they wage war against the kingdoms of man.
And humanity is losing.

Recruited straight from his academy, twenty-year-old Lukys hopes the frontier will make a soldier out of him. But Tangata are massing in the south, and the allied armies are desperate. They will do anything to halt the enemy advance—including sending untrained men and women into battle. Determined to survive, Lukys seeks aid from the only man who seems to care: Romaine, the last warrior of an extinct kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Queen’s Archivist leads an expedition deep beneath the earth. She seeks to uncover the secrets of the Gods. Their magic has been lost to the ages, yet artifacts remain, objects of power that could turn the tide of the war. But salvation is not all that waits beneath the surface. Something else slumbers in the darkness. Something old. Something evil.

Purchase Links

UK –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08653PM1L/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08653PM1L/

Extract:

 

Prologue – The Warrior

Romaine shivered as a breeze shook the treetops and somehow found its way through a gap in his clothing. He pulled the cloak tighter around his shoulders, eager to keep the winter cold at bay. The soft thump of falling snow came from nearby and he chuckled as two of his companions flinched. Settling himself more comfortably in the saddle, he flicked the lieutenant a glance.

“Want me to check it out?” Romaine asked, voice serious but the hint of a smile betraying his mirth.

The lieutenant scowled, though Romaine noticed the man loosened his sword in its scabbard before urging his mount onwards. Shaking his head, he let the lieutenant take the lead. The four other scouts fell in behind Romaine, nervous eyes on the dense forest to either side of the deer trail.

They were right to be nervous. Ten miles south of the Illmoor River, they were deep in no man’s land, far from the paved roads and walled cities of the northern nations. This was Calafe, a land of seemingly endless forest and great plateaus of tussock, of rugged hills and racing streams, with only the occasional settlement to prove the existence of humanity. This was his country, his home.

Or at least, it had been, until the Tangata.

Another tremor slid down his spine, though this time it had nothing to do with the cold. For ten years he’d fought to halt the Tangatan advance, ten long, brutal years of war. He’d been a simple woodsman once, but everything had changed with the destruction of their southern fortress, the Castle of Agzor. For a century it had barred the Tangata from the kingdoms of man, but with its battlements broken, its citadel cast down…nothing could halt the enemy advance.

And so those ten years of battle had proven futile. Just a few short months past, the last of Calafe’s territory had been lost. The allied armies had fought for every patch of earth, but in the end it had not been enough. The tide of the Tangata could not be stopped.

It had pained Romaine to leave behind his nation. Most of the Calafe army had already fallen by then, and yet more of his fellows had chosen to remain with the rearguard. They had been overwhelmed before the ships could return for them. Injured aboard one of the vessels, Romaine had been forced to watch as his comrades perished.

Thankfully, the enemy had not yet sought to strike across the Illmoor river. Some said they would remain in the south, but Romaine knew it was only a matter of time before they came. After all, people had once said the same of the Agzor Fortress, that it would stand forever against the beasts.

Romaine’s horse was struggling now, the snowdrifts growing deeper as they tracked their way eastward into the foothills of the Mountains of the Gods. Ahead, the lieutenant started to curse. Grimacing, Romaine edged his gelding alongside his superior.

“We’d best turn back,” he grunted. He didn’t bother with any honorifics—he rode with the Flumeerens, but he was not one of them. “If we press hard through the afternoon, we might make the crossing before nightfall.”

The lieutenant flicked Romaine an irritated glance. He was a young man, still in his mid-twenties, the son of some minor noble. Romaine could almost see the gears turning behind his eyes. Reaching the river before dark meant shelter over their heads and a hot meal for the night. But if they abandoned their path and missed some enemy movement…

“A little further,” the lieutenant replied finally. “We’ll turn around if the way becomes impassable.”

Romaine responded with a grunt. Pressing his horse forward, he continued along the trail, eyes on the way ahead. The storm had come upon them unexpectedly in the night, howling through the fir trees like a beast unleashed and burying the world in white.

They should have turned back then, but the lieutenant was new, still earning his stripes. Their orders had been to spend three days scouting for signs of the enemy. This being only their second, Romaine should have guessed the lieutenant would be hesitant to return. No doubt he feared the failure would be a black mark against his name.

It was an infuriating thought—evidence that the Flumeeren did not truly understand what came for them. They and the dregs of Perfugia might have fought alongside Calafe this last decade, but it had never been their land at risk, never their families, their very way of life.

That was about to change.

For if they could not stop the enemy at the Illmoor, Flumeer would be the next to fall.

Returning his thoughts to the present, Romaine scanned the path ahead. The snow had thinned again and the horses were making better progress. At least the fresh snow made Romaine’s task easier; not even the Tangata could move in these conditions without leaving tracks—

Romaine pulled sharply on his reins, bringing his horse to a stop. Beside him, the lieutenant cursed, but Romaine didn’t spare the man a glance. His eyes were on the trees, scanning the upper branches, the shadows beneath the broad trunks, seeking sign, however small, of an ambush. The wind had fallen off now, and he saw no movement. He let out a sigh as the others began to murmur. Breath fogged before his face as he returned his gaze to the trail.

Two sets of bootprints led away from them in the snow.

“What is it?” the lieutenant asked sharply as he got his horse under control. He had not noticed the tracks.

“Tangata,” Romaine replied.

The word cut through the whispers like a knife. Silence fell like a blanket over the six riders. The men looked to Romaine, faces as white as the snow all around them. Romaine might have laughed, if not for the racing of his own heart. Unlike the others though, it was not from fear.

This land had been abandoned months ago. There was no one left, not of his people, at least. It meant the general’s fears were true. The Tangata were moving north.

 

Author Biography

 

Warbringer Aaron Hodges Author Picture

Aaron Hodges

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and explore the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School (titled The Sword of Light) and began to rewrite the story. Six months later he published his first novel, Stormwielder, and hasn’t looked back since.

http://www.aaronhodges.co.nz/

https://www.facebook.com/Aaron-Hodges-669480156486208/

 

I hope you have enjoyed the snippet of the book. Why not visit the other blogs on this blitz to find out more about this book.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love