Book Blitz: Vampire Detective Midnight by JC Andrijeski

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Title: Vampire Detective Midnight 
Series: Vampire Detective Midnight #1
Author: JC Andrijeski 
Publication Date: June 27, 2019
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery

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Synopsis

Vampire with a past and homicide detective, Naoko “Nick” Tanaka just got transferred to the NYPD, where he works as a “Midnight,” or vampire in the employ of the human police. Like all state-registered vamps, he gets his food delivered to his door, lives in government housing, and basically can’t sneeze without the U.S. government knowing about it.

Still, he’s determined to play by the rules. More than anything, he just wants to be left alone, to finish out his immortality in peace… but he’s barely there two weeks when things already start to go sideways.

It starts with a weird case involving inexplicable paintings that predict murders before they happen.

Between his mystery painter, a bunch of dead hybrid-humans, a conspiracy involving the richest families in New York, and a school principal who has an unsettling effect on him, Nick finds he can’t get personally uninvolved with any of it.

Instead, he gets sucked in even deeper, until he’s pretty sure he’ll end up forcibly reprogrammed by his human masters — assuming they don’t just rip his heart out of his chest and be done with it.

VAMPIRE DETECTIVE MIDNIGHT is book #1 of a gritty, romantic new series set in a futuristic, dystopian New York, involving vampires, humans and psychics trying to rebuild their world after a devastating race war that nearly obliterated all of them.

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Purchase Link:
Amazon

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An Interview with JC Andrijeski 

What’s the basic plot of your current book or series?

VAMPIRE DETECTIVE MIDNIGHT is about a vampire, Nick Tanaka “Midnight,” who works for the NYPD in a dystopian / future version of Earth. The whole planet has recently come out of a massive race war involving vampires, humans, and a species called “Seers” who no longer exist on Earth. Seers disappeared at the end of the wars through an event known as The Exodus, but their disappearance is still shrouded in mystery.

In Nick’s world, vampires are legally required to register with the human authorities, wear GPS bar codes and implants, and succumb to random blood checks to ensure they aren’t engaging in unauthorized feeding. Because he works for homicide, Nick is given the designation “Midnight.” Every vampire working / living among humans is given a name that corresponds to their work assignments, in part so humans can easily I.D. them.

Nick just moved to New York after he more or less got booted off the force in Los Angeles. He’s trying to keep a low profile, but soon finds himself working a case that won’t really let him.

Which scene from your book do you like best and why?

I think my favorite might be when Nick meets Wynter, a half-human hybrid, for the very first time. Their whole dynamic and interaction really just wrote itself. It also brought out a side of Nick I hadn’t seen up until then, and I got such a better glimpse into who Wynter was as a character. There’s something about their personalities and the way they clash and connect, and just the intensity of emotion between them, even in their initial meeting, that was also just a blast to write. They have absolutely no idea why they’re reacting to one another like that, either. From their very first conversation, they’re kind of circling one another, trying to figure out what the hell is going on with the other one.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Not right now. Before I switched to writing full time, I used to do a lot of corporate work, and I’ve worked as a freelance journalist in the past. Across my lifetime, I’ve worked a whole host of crazy jobs: all kinds of food service, stable-hand, bartender, research assistant, photo printer, sound editor, teacher, cow-milker, ditch-digger… to name a few.

What song would you choose as the theme song of your book?

Hmm… that’s hard. Maybe “Hurts 2B Human,” by Pink and Khalid. That, or maybe “We Were Beautiful,” by Rob Thomas.

What’s your writing routine?

I’m one of those boring, creature-of-habit people. I’m also that rarest of things among fiction authors, a morning person. Now that I write full time, I seem to be even more of both things. I get up, make my bed, meditate, exercise, shower, walk to my favorite coffee shop in my neighborhood in Bangkok (listening to news on the way). The coffee shop is a few miles away, which is good because I tend to sit and write for hours once I get there, after my initial tea and breakfast. I write every day, unless there’s some administrative emergency I have to deal with. All that said, I’ll be moving soon, back to the U.S.A., so I’ll be retooling my whole routine to match my digs in Los Angeles.

What are your writing plans for this year?

I’m working on book #2 of the VAMPIRE DETECTIVE MIDNIGHT series right now, which is called Eyes of Ice. I’ll be writing book #3 right after that, and then the next book in my QUENTIN BLACK MYSTERY series. Depending on how long that all takes, I’ll possibly be revising / re-releasing another series of mine too… or maybe writing the next book in either or both series. There’s never enough time to write, really.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love to travel. I live in Bangkok right now, and it’s been a great home base, although I’m about to move back to the United States in a few weeks. I’m going to miss it here. There are just so many countries close by and it’s super cheap to travel in Asia. It’s pretty cheap to live here, too, which is a bonus, and I’ll miss the coffee shops, the temples, the street markets, the people.

Apart from that, let’s see. I love to read. I also really enjoy photography, painting, hiking, martial arts, yoga, meditation, going out with friends, wandering around street markets, seeing movies, long philosophical conversations with a lot of hand gestures, playing with animals (human and non-human), horseback riding, hanging out in nature, petting elephants, yodeling.

Okay, maybe not yodeling, but I can appreciate a good yodel.

What else should we know about you?

Hmmm… well, I hail from Northern California originally, but I’ve been a nomad most of my adult life, so I’ve lived all over the place, both in the United States and abroad. I lived in New York City during graduate school, which is why I think I end up setting a fair-few of my projects there.

This will be my first time living in Los Angeles, although I lived in San Diego for a few years, and once spent a summer in Ventura County.

Oh, and neat fun fact! The Thai name for Bangkok translates as “City of Angels,” so I’ll be transitioning from one City of Angels to the next, which is kind of cool.

Other things, hmmm… I sang (badly) in a rock band once. I love jumping in swimming pools and hugging puppies, as well as taking long, pointless walks in the rain and getting lost in street markets.

I also love talking to my readers, pretty much anytime, so if you have any questions about me or my work, feel free to join my reader’s group on Facebook or sign up for my mailing list, or you can write me directly via my website.

Quick quiz:

Favorite Halloween candy? probably Reese’s peanut butter cups

Best holiday spot? Nepal? Maybe Hawaii

Do you plot-write, or write by the seat-of-your pants? Pantser, at least for fiction

Dog or cat person? More dog. Possibly rabbit.

Best superpower? Telekinesis.

Star Wars or Star Trek? More Star Wars, I think. I’m a mythology geek.

Which Harry Potter house? I would love to say something interesting here, but every single time I take the test, I get Gryffindor.

Favorite T.V. Show? Probably Sherlock

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About the Author

JC Andrijeski is a USA TODAY and WALL STREET JOURNAL bestselling author who writes paranormal mysteries and apocalyptic fiction, often with a sexy, romantic and metaphysical bent. JC has a background in journalism, history and politics, and loves martial arts, yoga, meditation, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, painting… and of course reading and writing. She grew up in the Bay Area of California, but travels extensively and has lived abroad in Europe, Australia and Asia, and from coast to coast in the continental United States. She currently lives and writes full-time in Bangkok, Thailand.

Current series include: Vampire Detective Midnight, the Bridge & Sword series, the Quentin Black Mystery series, The Morph series, and the Alien Apocalypse series. She’s also written a number of standalone novels, novellas and short stories, as well as nonfiction articles and essays.

To learn more about JC and her writing, please visit jcandrijeski.com.

Author links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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GIVEAWAY

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
$30 Amazon gift card

Enter here.

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Book Blitz: The Missing Season by Gillian French

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Title: The Missing Season
Author: Gillian French
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

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Synopsis

Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the kids in the old factory town of Pender know what is really behind it: a monster out in the marshes that they call the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town. Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing. Spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war. And magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist.

Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler–not like Kinkaid does. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender. Lurking in the shadows. Waiting to bring the stories to life.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks
Amazon // The Book Depository // Indiebound

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An Excerpt from The Missing Season

“It’s sad, you coming here.” Kincaid takes me in, his smile fading. “Now you’ve got no chance.”

No chance. Like he read it in my tea leaves or the lines of my palm. “Why?”

“Because he only takes Pender kids. Likes our taste, I guess.” Kincaid drops his board, glides backward on one foot, never breaking eye contact. “Like . . . hopelessness.”

“And Steak-umms from the caf,” somebody says, making people snicker.

“Liver.” Trace shows his teeth. “God, I love that shit.”

“What about Gavin Cotswold?” Sage says. “Have they figured out how he died yet?”

“Mumbler got him.” Trace.

“He OD’d.” Bree gives Trace a withering look. “He went out in the woods, got fucked up, and died. His own mom thinks so.”

“I heard the animals didn’t leave enough of him behind to be sure.” Trace says. Then, to Kincaid, “Tell her about the first boy. Ricky Whoever.”

“Sartain. Ricky Sartain.” Behind Kincaid, most of the activity has stopped, everybody pulling up some concrete to listen. He’s holding court, a storyteller who knows his audience. “It all started, like, twenty years ago. Kid went missing two days before they found him on the banks of the marsh, way out by the railroad bridge.” Kincaid nods slowly, easing into it. “Somebody put their hands all over him.”

More covert laughter, Trace’s whisper: “Loved to death.”

Kincaid entwines his fingers, working his palms together in sinuous rhythm. “Squeezed him, crushed him. Mashed his spine, smashed his belly.”

A voice speaks up: “My mom said that kid got hit by the train.”

“Of course she did.” Kincaid doesn’t turn. “She also told you that Santa Claus is real and honesty is the best policy and if you’re good, you’ll get into heaven, right?”

Snorts. Somebody mimics, “But my mommy said,” whacking the boy who interrupted with a baseball cap.

“He was folded in half.” Sage grips Trace’s forearm. “That’s what I heard.”

“No.” Kincaid’s hands are tai chi slow. “Lengthwise.”

“Stop.” Bree says it under her breath; I’m the only one who hears.

“Ricky disappeared right around Halloween. That’s the pattern.” Kincaid skates a circuit around us, dismounts, and slaps the tail of the board so it pops into his hand again, all one smooth movement that I wish I could watch again frame by frame. “Truth. After, Ricky’s friends told everybody how they’d all gone out to the railroad bridge to smash pumpkins one night, and there was somebody hiding under there. Too dark to see, but they heard him, mumbling and yammering away.”

Yip, yip, yip! I look up to see audience participation, lumbering shapes aping around the others, sounding like a zoo after hours—Ahhh-ah-ah-ah! Mwaaa-hoohoo!

“Next time anybody saw Ricky, he was red guacamole.” Kincaid pauses, smiling faintly, but he’s not really seeing me now. “Ever since, Mumbler’s been around. Takes a bad kid every few years, always in October. Grown-ups have some bullshit excuse for what happened to them, but we know.”

Nods pass around the circle. I watch for inside looks—they’ll drop the act when they see I’m not taken in—but the quiet drags on. “What’s the Mumbler look like?” I hold Kincaid’s gaze, willing him to let me in on this, let me prove I don’t scare easy. “So I’ll know him if I see him.”

Kincaid looks to Trace, again with the smile that creases his eyes into merry slits, a kid showing his little sister where Mom hides the Christmas presents. “We can take you to him.”

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About the Author

I’m a ridiculous, sometimes cranky, often hungry, frequently writing flibbertigibbet who really hopes she can keep doing this for a living.

My debut novel, GRIT (HarperTeen), was an Indie Next List pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and ALA Booklist, was an Edgar Award Finalist, a South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Finalist, and received both a 2018 Lupine Award from the Maine Library Association and a 2018 Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

My other novels include THE DOOR TO JANUARY (Islandport Press; Bram Stoker Award Finalist), THE LIES THEY TELL (HarperTeen; 2019 International Thriller Award Finalist, 2019 Maine Literary Award Finalist, 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection), and THE MISSING SEASON (HarperTeen, coming 5/21/2019; preorder giveaway happening now). My short fiction has placed in Writer’s Digest and Zoetrope: All Story contests, as well as appearing in such publications as Weirdbook and Creepy Campfire Stories for Grownups.

I hold a BA in English from the University of Maine, and I’m a member of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Currently, I still live in my native state of Maine–shocker, I know–with my husband and sons, where I’m perpetually agonizing over my next novel (in the best possible way, of course!)

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

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Giveaway

4 winners will win a signed finished copy of
THE MISSING SEASON, US Only.

Enter here.

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Book Blitz: Extinction of All Children by L. J. Epps

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Title: Extinction of All Children
Series: Extinction of All Children #1
Author: L. J. Epps
Publication Date: June 4, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult

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Synopsis

A young adult, fantasy novel about a teenager who is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory. There will never be another child; every baby born after her has been taken away. Everyone wonders why she survived.

Emma Whisperer was born in 2080, in the small futuristic world of Craigluy. President Esther, in charge for the last twenty-two years, has divided their world into three territories, separated by classes—the rich, the working class, and the poor—because she believes the poor should not mingle with the others. And, the poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.

Any babies born, accidentally or willfully, are killed. Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate.

During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma doesn’t like the rules; she doesn’t believe in them. So, she feels she must rebel against them. Her family doesn’t agree with her rebellion, since they are hiding a big secret.

If this secret gets out, it will be disastrous, and deadly, for her family.

During Emma’s journey, she meets—and becomes friends with—Eric. He is one of the guards for the president. She also befriends Samuel, another guard for the president, who is summoned to watch over her. As Emma meets new people, she doesn’t know who she can trust. Yet, she finds herself falling for a guy, something which has never happened before.

After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger.

In the end, she must make one gut-wrenching decision, a decision that may be disastrous for them all.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Amazon

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An Excerpt from Extinction of All Children

Today the wind is colder—sharper—and it whips right through my bones. Even so, I continue to run as fast as I can through the wooded area. It smells damp like rain, and mud sticks to my shoes. The air feels thick like sand is choking me. At times, it is hard to breathe; but I continue on. I have to make it back home before dark. If I’m found on the streets after dark, it means I’m not following orders. And my family might not receive our daily supplies; supplies we need to make it in this land.

Even though I make this trip through the woods at least three times a week, today I feel weaker, more sluggish, as if it is my first time. But it isn’t the first time, and it will not be the last, since I’m the one my family counts on.

No, I’m not the boy of the family. Boys are considered stronger, but my brother Theodore—we call him T, for short—is nineteen and not a fast runner; so, he couldn’t make the trip that I have to. That isn’t the real reason. The real reason is that they say they need his talents for other things, and he can’t get hurt.

I have to pace myself. The trees seem thicker and wider, which is odd, since they should be thinning out. This time of year, the leaves should be falling toward the ground, but they aren’t. This land is different, and the seasons aren’t exactly on point. Sometimes, it is hard to even tell what time of year it is. Ever since our world was taken over and broken into territories, everything seems to blend together.

I know I’m tiring because my thoughts jumble. Why didn’t I wear my hair in a ponytail? It is long and thick and reaches beyond my shoulders. I usually know to put it up, out of the way, on days like this. The wind slaps me in my face, obstructing my view. Maybe I should put my hood up; but, it won’t stay on, and there is no time to fight with it.

The pack on my back that I used to carry to school starts to feel heavy, as if lead weighs me down. But, I can’t soften. I’m almost there, and, not only am I bringing what my mother asked for, but I’ve also made the most important part of the trip. The part of the trip my mother will ask me about first. She always does; it is always the same.

I need to hurry. It will be dark soon. Normally, I make the trip early, before dusk arrives. But today, I spent more time at the market, looking for what mother asked for. I groan. I don’t know how many more times I can make this trip; especially, once winter is upon us.

Not to get food but the other thing, the thing we aren’t supposed to talk about, the thing we aren’t supposed to mention until we are within the four walls of our small home.

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About the Author

L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.

Author links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

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Book Blitz: Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

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Title: Smoke and Key
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Dark Fantasy, Mystery

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Synopsis

A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon
Entangled Publishing // Indiebound

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About the Author

Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She will soon have a master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore. You can visit her online at www.kelseysuttonbooks.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Author Links: Website // Goodreads // Twitter // Facebook 

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Giveaway

Print copy of Smoke and Key

Enter here.

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Book Blitz: Stolen by Marlena Frank

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I am so excited that STOLEN by Marlena Frank is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Marlena Frank, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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Title: STOLEN (Stolen #1)
Author: Marlena Frank
Pub. Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 342
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksKobo

It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.
In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy…
Book Trailer:
Excerpt:
PART I
FREEFALL
AN EMBARRASSMENT
Shaleigh didn’t think about how much concrete and steel stood over her head as she stepped carefully down the decaying hallway of Ferris Factory. The building had been abandoned for so long that the mildew and fungus ran rampant from the moisture that crept down the crumbling walls, so a respirator was a requirement. Ferris Factory was only two stories tall from the outside, but the floors underground felt endless. The elevator shaft only went down three floors when it had been operational; the rest of the floors could only be reached with the stairs. She doubted any of it had been inspected by the fire marshal.
Her best friend, Kaeja, walked so close behind that she could feel her warm breath on the back of her neck. The only sound that echoed up and down the hallway, besides their footsteps, was the snap of Shaleigh’s camera. The photos were why they risked their lives to explore dangerous places: to document the decrepit. It was thrilling to explore a place that nobody else would see. Eventually all the walls would fall, and Ferris Factory would decay into memory. Shaleigh and Kaeja would have the only remaining proof it even existed, especially since it was clear that nobody was supposed to know about this section of the factory.
A rat skittered out of a heap of moldy paperwork and Kaeja took a deep breath until it passed. “This is the worst one yet. By far.” Shaleigh grinned, though her respirator concealed it. “Come on, we had to come back and take the stairs down. We couldn’t just end it at the base of the elevator.”
“Do you see that?” She swung the flashlight to the side. “I couldn’t even hang a picture on that wall. Four floors down was enough, five floors is just begging to get hurt.”
Kaeja was right, the walls of the hallway curved inward like a bow string. Shaleigh hadn’t noticed how bad it was until she mentioned it. “We’ll be quick.”
She snapped as many photos as she could while Kaeja held the flashlight. It illuminated a good portion of the hall, but the beam had little effect against the thick, sick air. The light ought to have made the place more inviting, but it only made the shadows darker. It was hard for Shaleigh to keep her hands steady for the photos; fear and exhilaration kept combating within her. Sure, this place was terrifying and could collapse at any moment, but the thought of capturing a world that would never been seen again, of documenting the forgotten before it disappeared, made her tap the shutter button of her camera faster. “I wish we had more time. I’d love to look inside some of these rooms.”
“Not me,” Kaeja said, her eyes shadowed by the reflections of the flashlight on her mask. “These halls are creepy enough, thanks.” The light flashed across some metal scraps against the bowed wooden wall. It was hard to tell if it had been left behind by the workers, or if it had fallen from the ceiling. “Didn’t they used to make cars here?”
“Sure, that’s it.” Shaleigh snorted as she tapped on a dirt-encrusted sign that warned visitors that the hallway was a high security corridor. “Whatever helps you sleep at night.”
“It’s an old building, but that doesn’t mean they were hiding anything down here.”
“Then what’s with the high security? They had to be doing something illegal down here. The maps we found don’t even show these floors. I heard it used to be a hospital,”  Shaleigh glanced back to her with a smile. “Dad heard it from a colleague at work. They used to keep dangerous people here.” Kaeja stared at her, the beam from the flashlight in her hands trembling.
A high-pitched squeal of metal echoed down through the insides of the building, as though the entire structure was shifting under its own weight. The squeal turned into a groan that shook the very floor beneath their feet. Both teens froze, barely daring to breathe as debris fell from the ceiling. Seven levels of exhausted steel, wood, and plaster shifted over their heads. They stood in silence waiting for the walls to give way, waiting to be buried beneath the rusty metal beams, discolored
linoleum floors, and rat-infested insulation; but the building remained steady.
The noise stopped. Particles drifted in the air.
“It doesn’t sound very good, does it?” Shaleigh whispered.
“I don’t like it. I don’t care what you say, this is the lowest I’m going. Five levels below ground is far enough.”
Shaleigh stifled a laugh, “That’s what you said when we found the stairs.”
A high-pitched noise erupted down the hall causing both teens to jump. It didn’t sound metallic…it didn’t sound like the building at all.
Kaeja stared down the hallway with wide eyes. The noise broke into a whimper, and then there was silence. It only lasted maybe a few seconds, but they both knew what they had heard. Someone was down there with them.
Shaleigh turned to look behind them, but without the flashlight beam it was too dark to see anything. “Was that—was that behind us?”
Kaeja spun around, temporarily blinding Shaleigh in the process. “I don’t know. I thought it came from in front of us.”
The darkness felt like a cage all around them. The beam of the flashlight, darting forwards and backwards down the hall, seemed so small and insignificant now. Someone was in the darkness. Someone was watching them. Shaleigh stepped around Kaeja and started back toward the stairwell. “We should go.”
Kaeja grabbed her arm and Shaleigh could feel her clammy fingers through the sleeve of her jacket. “Are you crazy? You said that’s where it came from.”
“How else are we going to get out of here?”
Kaeja could give no argument and shook her head. “Shaleigh…” she whimpered.
“It’s okay, we’ll do it together.” She put her camera around her neck and took Kaeja’s hand. They walked slowly towards the door of the stairwell, side by side, fingers clasped in a death grip.
For a moment, Shaleigh thought she saw movement ahead of them and stopped. Kaeja must have seen it too because she swept her flashlight left and right, searching for whatever it was. Just before the beam of light reached one of the doors, Shaleigh was certain she spotted a shadow move into one of the rooms.
“Ow…” Kaeja whispered giving their joined hands a tug. Shaleigh realized she had been gripping too hard and loosened her hold but didn’t say a word. Her eyes were fixed on where the shadow had been. As they drew closer, an arm stretched out, hairy with long, black fingernails, and pulled the door closed. There was a splash as though something heavy had fallen into a pool of water from behind the door.
Kaeja screamed. A bolt of adrenaline hit Shaleigh and she grabbed Kaeja’s arm. Together they ran. As they passed the door, the knob began to turn with a creak. She wasn’t sure if Kaeja had seen it or not. “Keep going!” she yelled, all pretense of caution forgotten.
Once the stairwell came into view, they sped up. Shaleigh slipped on a wet spot and her foot skidded. She would have sprained her ankle if she hadn’t grabbed for the wall. What a stupid way to die, she thought as she regained her footing. She had to keep her head straight, because panicking in an old, decrepit building was a sure way to get hurt or killed by whatever was after them. She forced them to slow down to climb over a pile of broken boards and nails. Shaleigh had thought it odd to have it so close to the stairwell when they’d first come down, but now she saw it as a marker, a warning perhaps, to keep trespassers out. As she helped Kaeja down the opposite side of the rubble, she heard limping footsteps approaching them.
“It’s coming!” Shaleigh cried and together they sprinted for the stairwell. The flashlight bounced beams off the walls.
They hit the metal door like a battering ram, shoving it into the rusted railings of the stairs, causing it to reverberate like a gong up and down the concrete shaft. Shaleigh gripped the metal rail, feeling the flecks of paint come off on her hands, and the raw rust beneath. She exchanged a glance with Kaeja, both trying to catch their breath. The respirator was humid with her breathing and she couldn’t wait to rip it off when they got outside. She looked up the dark stairwell above them and grimaced. There were too many floors between them and safety.
Kaeja gasped and reached out to grab Shaleigh’s arm. Shaleigh stared at her. She thought she could make out footsteps from the hall they just left, but it was so faint it was hard to make out. It could have just been the sounds of the building, but she didn’t want to take any chances. Taking a deep breath, Shaleigh led the way as they started up the stairs.
One floor, two floors, three floors.
Was that the sound of the doorknob beneath them being turned? Kaeja hurried to her side as they continued to climb. Both were audibly gasping now. It wouldn’t take much for their pursuer to know where they went. Shaleigh’s thighs were burning. She could sprint up a flight or two of stairs, but this was tough. It didn’t help that she was already out of breath before they even started climbing.
“What if it’s locked us in?” Kaeja asked between sucking in gulps of air.
Shaleigh didn’t respond. She didn’t want to even consider that option.
They climbed two more flights of stairs. Kaeja reached the door first. They both let out a sigh of relief when the door opened. Panting, they jogged to the main exit, a pair of massive iron doors that looked like they belonged in a mausoleum. Neither of them said a word as they descended the short flight of broken steps to the grass. Shaleigh ripped off her respirator, Kaeja did the same, and they both exchanged grins as they crossed the grass-pocked concrete walkway. It felt good to feel the heat of the day on her skin too. The sun was sinking in the west, but the air was sweet with wild honeysuckle and a light breeze rustled the old oaks. Shaleigh relaxed a bit but could tell by Kaeja’s expression that she wouldn’t be able to relax until they had left the property completely.
The concrete walkway fell away to tall grass that came up to their hips, as they sidestepped small pine trees that were beginning to take over the lot and moved further away from the building. The chain link fence that surrounded the property sported multiple warning signs for trespassers, though they were faded from exposure. Kaeja pulled back the corner of fencing they had used to get in, and they both climbed through without saying a word. Kaeja paused, took a deep breath, and relaxed her shoulders.
“I know you’ll hate to hear this, Kaeja,” Shaleigh started. “But I think I’m done with Ferris Factory for a while.”
Kaeja laughed. “No complaints here. I’m going to add that we never go underground again either. I am not running up that many stairs again, no matter how great you say the pictures will be.” Shaleigh couldn’t help but laugh. The downtrodden path through the woods made it a short walk to reach the bus stop. Shaleigh unwrapped the scarf from around her head and shook out her twists. The breeze felt wonderful on her scalp. They dropped everything into Shaleigh’s backpack as they walked. The main road was surprisingly empty for a Sunday afternoon. After exploring inside of decomposing buildings for a while, she had new respect for even the simplest things. The bench for the bus stop, covered in graffiti and bearing a single broken board, looked like a luxury. Kaeja sprawled across the broken wooden bench and covered her eyes with her arms.
“Wow, what a rush!”
“I know!” Despite her smile, Shaleigh still glanced over her shoulder, as though expecting the person from the building to be slinking toward them through the woods.  “What do you think it was?”
Kaeja stared up into the sky. “Someone crazy, I’m sure. It’s a good thing they made some noise. I don’t like the thought of them sneaking up on us like that.” She sat up and patted the bench beside her.
Shaleigh obliged, her legs were still shaky. “Did you see that hand?”
Kaeja shuddered, “Looked like he hadn’t seen the light of day in forever.” She stretched her arms over the back of the bench. “This is exactly why I don’t like the big ones. There are too many hiding places.”
“The small ones aren’t much better,” Shaleigh added. “Sometimes it feels like a shot right out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know?”
Kaeja nodded and the two grew silent from their own nerves. Kaeja’s leg jumped up and down, as though at any moment she would jump up into a sprint. Shaleigh kept resisting the urge to look over her shoulder once more. The bus couldn’t come fast enough.

“Ugh, I need to think about something else.” Kaeja said with a tense smile. “You’ve got a party coming up tonight, don’t you? You get to get all dolled up. I know you don’t like the people much, but I do envy you getting to go.”
Shaleigh sighed. “I had almost forgotten about it.” She checked her watch. It was a good thing they had left when they did because she still needed to get home and clean up. “If you like it so much, you can totally go for me.”
“Your dad would never let me. He needs you there.”
“Unfortunately.”
Kaeja scooted closer and put an arm around her shoulders. “I’m sorry. I guess that is pretty hard on you. Do they ask you a lot of questions about him?”
Shaleigh nodded. She hated the tight feeling she got in her chest whenever she thought of those stupid parties. She hated the fact that she had to go. Why in the world did Roseworth College have so many of them anyway? It was like they wanted to torture her.
Deciding to change the subject, she picked up her camera from around her neck. After checking to make sure nothing had been damaged in their mad dash, she asked, “Want to see the pictures?”
Kaeja nodded but looked concerned. Shaleigh ignored it.
The brilliant light of the flash somehow made the dark halls of Ferris Factory less frightening, less dangerous. If only people were so easy to strip of fear.
************
About Marlena:
I write about strange creatures. Typically they shouldn’t exist, or they have bled through from a different reality, or they’re pretending to be a crying baby in a crib. Sometimes that
lands my stories in horror and other times in fantasy, but there’s always an air of strangeness to my tales. If you want to get a better feel for what I’m talking about, check
out a few clips
 or read a few drabbles.
My work has appeared in a spattering of short story collections, but I do have a few novellas and novels in the pipeline. Other than talking about writing, I also talk about cryptozoologywerewolveswildlife conservation, and of course kitties. I’ve also been known to nerd out about Batman and The Hobbit, and have recently discovered the cracktastic fun of Black Butler cosplay, so there will likely be more of these incidents.
By day I work as a web developer, so I’ll occasionally talk about web issues like finding the right theme.
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Giveaway Details:
1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.

Book Blitz: Stealing Tranquility by J.L. Weil

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I am so excited that STEALING TRANQUILITY by J.L. Weil is
available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by
Author J.L. Weil, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon
Gift Card, International, courtesy of J.L. and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d
like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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About the Book:

Title: STEALING TRANQUILITY 
Reverse Harem (Dragon Descendants Book 1)
Author: J.L. Weil
Pub. Date: August 30, 2018
Publisher: Dark Magick Publishing, LLC
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 180
Get ready to meet Jase, Kieran, Zade, and Issik, the last dragon descendants.
Olivia Campbell’s life gets turned upside down when her mother suddenly passes away. Left with only a stepdad who despises her, she turns to the streets. Penniless and alone in the Chicago winter, how much worse can it get?
She is about to find out.
A chance encounter with a stranger who has the most breathtaking violet eyes changes her world. Just a warm smile and
a quick flash of dimples is all that it takes to capture her interest in Jase Dior. Olivia wonders if her luck has finally returned.
She soon finds out that Jase collects things—pretty girls to be precise. A glimpse of her sultry honey hair in an alley excites him. He must have her. And he isn’t taking no for an answer.
Jase sweeps Olivia off the streets to the Veil Isles—a mystical and hidden land uncharted by any mortal and ruled by the only dragon coven left in the world.
What the hell did she get herself into?
Four dragons. 
One headstrong heroine.
And a reverse-harem fantasy romance that could change the fate of a dying race. 
Stealing Tranquility will transport fans of Twilight, A Shade of Vampire, and Shadowhunters to an enchanted world unlike any other. Prepare for  a unique spin on the lore you love—and an adventure that is as thrilling as it is unexpected. 

Scroll up and BUY NOW to begin…
*Recommended for ages 17+ due to language and sexual content

Excerpt:

Zade moved so he stood just slightly in front of me as if protecting me. Odd. Did I need protection from Jase? “Just making sure our little gem doesn’t get herself in trouble.” Zade cocked his head to the side. “Isn’t that what we agreed on?”
The tranquility-breathing dragon stood inside the arched doorway, glaring at Zade with a mean scowl—his eyes so dark
they almost appeared black. “Yes, but that doesn’t include you seducing her.”
“Since when do you meddle in my extracurricular activities?” Zade challenged him, with an edge to his voice.
It was my turn to frown. I was no one’s extracurricular activity.
A growl rose up in Jase’s throat. He stormed to where Zade and I where awkwardly standing. “She’s off limits.”
Golden God’s lips formed into a tight line. “You forget, Jase, you’re not king. There is no single ruler of the Veil anymore.”
Things had escalated quickly, and I didn’t want these two going into the dragon ring over me. “Hey!” I yelled, stepping between the two. Not the brightest of ideas, but at the moment, it was all I could think to do. I didn’t want blood spilled over me.
A muscle began to thump in Jase’s jaw. “Keep your lips off her.”
Spreading my arms out wide between them, my hands flattened on their chests. “Okay. First off, I can kiss whomever I want.”
Jase’s glower deepened.
I rolled my eyes. This was ridiculous. Framing Jase’s face with both of my hands, I rose up on my toes and planted one on him, just to prove a point. The joke was on me.
The moment our lips met, all annoyance vanished from within me. My eyes fluttered closed as I fell into the blissful storm that was all Jase. His lips were soft… and skilled, expertly moving over mine. His hands came up to cup either side of my cheeks, and he deepened what was supposed to be a peck. My mouth opened, letting him in, and a purr sounded at the back of my throat as his tongue swept inside.
I’d never been kissed like this before—so passionately and fervently. My fingers bunched his shirt, holding him in place just in case he got any ideas about pulling away. I wasn’t done yet. Honestly, I never wanted to stop kissing Jase Dior.
Zade cleared his throat behind us. How had I forgotten about him? Jase pulled back, his breath as ragged as mine.
I glanced up into his eyes, seeing the violet in them glowing brightly. “There. Are you satisfied?” I rasped, swallowing a knot of yearning. No more kissing dragons.
“Not nearly.” Jase’s head dipped as if he was going to take possession of my lips again.
My hand pressed against his chest, keeping him just out of reach. “Oh, no. I think I’ve kissed enough dragons today.” I could barely believe I had locked lips with two of them within minutes of each other.
What is wrong with me?

About Jennifer:

USA TODAY Bestselling author J.L. Weil lives in Illinois where she writes
Teen & New Adult Paranormal Romances about spunky, smart mouth girls who
always wind up in dire situations. For every sassy girl, there is an equally
mouthwatering, overprotective guy. Of course, there is lots of kissing. And
stuff.
An admitted addict to Love Pink clothes, raspberry mochas from Starbucks,
and Jensen Ackles. She loves gushing about books and Supernatural with her
readers.
She is the author of the International Bestselling Raven & Divisa
series.
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Giveaway
Details:

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon
Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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