Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Flash Fiction - BONDED, a Paranormal Romance Flash Fiction by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney

Bonded
A Paranormal Romance Flash Fiction
by Linda Mooney 


           
“Burn her! Burn the witch!”

            Peg screamed as she struggled to free herself from the men’s grasp, but they were stronger than her. Stronger and bigger, and hurtful.

            It didn’t matter that she swore she had nothing to do with the crops failing this year. They needed a scapegoat. Someone they could pin the blame on. Someone they could offer in sacrifice in order to appease the gods, who’d then bless them with an abundance the following year, and end months of near starvation.

            She scanned the square where they were dragging her, hoping to spot the face of the one person who’d come to mean so much to her. Sadly, he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Maybe because he’d been chased off by the guards after they discovered him coming around to the tiny barred window of her dungeon cell.

            Hanging her head, she ceased resisting. It would do her no good, and only end up causing her more pain than she’d already endured. The guards delighted in hearing her protest. Sometimes they made bets to see who could make her beg for mercy the quickest.

            They paused in front of a set of steps that led up to a stake. Dry brush already surrounded the length of wood. The scene was set and was waiting for her.

            As she waited for them to take her up to where they’d tie her to the pole, she closed her eyes. All she had left to give her comfort was the sound of Alim’s voice in her mind as he spoke to her. Although she’d never been able to see his face, she would never forget his words of encouragement where no hope was left.

            “Why have you sought me out?” she asked. “Don’t you know that if you’re caught speaking to me, you could condemn yourself to my fate?”

            “The guards do not frighten me.”

            “They should. It would tear at my heart if anything should happen to you because of me,” she admitted.

            “You’ll make it out of there. Trust me on this!”

            How? She wanted to ask, when she realized he was right. Giving a soft laugh, she responded, “Yes, I’ll be taken out of here…on the day they fulfill my sentencing.”

            “No, Peg. You’re wrong. I know you’re not a witch. There are many who believe you’ve been unfairly targeted by the burgomaster.”

            “Why? What have I done to him?” she demanded hotly through her many tears.

            “You’ve done nothing,” Alim assured her. “Nothing but be beautiful and be guilty of brushing off his advances.”

            The young man was right. The burgomaster had been trying to seduce her for the past few months, ever since her and her father moved to this borough. The man had even suggested a few private trysts, to no avail. She knew that the longer she continued to keep the man at bay, the angrier he got.

            And it was never wise to anger the most powerful man in the village.

            Three times Alim had come to her in the dead of night, to spend hours talking to her through that little window. To keep her company. To let her know her life mattered to him, if to no one else. He never told her why he risked coming to see her, or even why he’d sought her out in the first place. After a while, she stopped asking and accepted the fact that he was determined to keep her spirits up, regardless of the outcome they both knew was inevitable.

A loud howl came from outside the walls that buttressed the township. For a few seconds the populace silenced to listen before resuming their screeching and yelling. Peg was aware of someone in uniform coming toward the phalanx of guards surrounding her. The man made no attempt to prevent her from overhearing when he addressed the men.

            “We cannot burn the witch today.”

            The soldiers made it clear they were not happy with the news. “We’ve been ordered to see to her execution,” one man argued.

            “The burgomaster was informed that the forests are too dry. Any attempt to burn her at the stake could result in stray sparks catching aflame outside our walls. If the forest burns, all game will be chased away. And, worse, the outer walls, including our homes and shops, could also catch fire.”

            “Then what are we to do?” the lead soldier demanded. “If we don’t follow through with our orders, our necks could be next.”

            Another howl, this one closer and louder, resounded through the air. It sounded both plaintive and dangerous.

            “Sir, we could have an executioner appointed to cut off her head,” another soldier suggested.

            The commander shot that down. “It would end her life too quickly. The burgomaster decreed she must suffer in the greatest way.”

            Peg glanced up in time to see a smile cross the man’s face. A smile that left her sick to her stomach. The lead soldier seemed to get the same idea. “What if we feed her to the wolves?”

            “I think that’s an excellent idea,” the commander replied. “I will go tell the burgomaster our decision. If he agrees to it, we’ll put her outside the gates. While I’m away, bind her tightly. We don’t want her to make any attempt to run away. We must witness her death for ourselves, to make sure the burgomaster’s wishes have been fulfilled.”

            The commander hurried away. In the interim, Peg’s arms were bound behind her back. They pushed her onto the ground to do the same with her legs and ankles, before drawing the rope from her arms through those knots the way a hog was tied to a spit.

            She rested her cheek to the bare ground. The dirt was cold. The weather was freezing. The wind was unbearably icy. She had just her shift to keep her warm, but it wasn’t enough. If she was lucky, she would freeze to death before the wolves got to her.

            As if on cue, two more howls came over the walls. Although she couldn’t be certain, she would swear each cry had come from a different throat.

            The crowd shifted, moving aside to allow the commander to come back through. Stopping in front of the soldiers, the man never glanced at her as he delivered the news. “The burgomaster is agreeable to letting the witch meet her fate with the wolves.” Turning to the crowd, the man raised his voice. “The burgomaster has declared that if the wolves leave the witch be, then she is proven to truly be a vessel of the devil. But if they set upon her, then she can be declared innocent of all charges.”

            The proclamation, approved by resounding cheers, almost drowned out another howl that seemed to come directly outside the front gates. The people surged toward the big double doors, ahead of the soldiers who picked her up under her arms and half-dragged, half-carried her to her fate.

            Someone opened one of the doors wide enough for two men to haul her outside. They dumped her less than a dozen meters away before quickly retreating back inside the safety of the walls. Peg was aware of more people climbing up to the parapets to stare down at her, watching and waiting to see what would happen.

            Beyond the barricade, the winds were bitterly cold. The sun had disappeared behind dark gray clouds, and there was the unmistakable smell that appeared whenever it was due to snow.

            Someone above her yelled. She couldn’t make out what they were saying, but she didn’t need to. A howl came from in front of her, from amid the forest. Closing her eyes, Peg prayed her end would be swift.

            It happened too quickly for her to react. A pack of wolves descended upon her, surrounding her, growling, barking, and snapping at her all at once. She steeled herself as teeth bit down on the ropes. Their fangs scraped her skin but didn’t pierce it as they chewed on the fibers. The animals continued to prowl around her, alternating between sniffing her and biting at the ropes.

            Without warning, several chomped on her bindings and began dragging her into the woods. Peg tried to fight them off, but she knew it was futile.

            At the edge of the tree line, the wolves stopped, and she’d swear other wolves took their place. One shoved its muzzle against her cheek, and a low voice whispered, “Scream.”

            She gasped. “What?”

            “Scream, Peg.”

            That voice. She knew immediately who it was.

            Taking a deep breath, she screamed.

            The pack continued to pull her into the cover of the forest. Once they were out of sight of the town, several animals bent over her to concentrate on the ropes. Within seconds, she felt the cords give way. Painfully, she managed to get her arms underneath her as the wolves who’d freed her now crowded around her. It was then she realized they were sharing their warmth with her, as well as protecting her. The beast on her left gave her a strange look. “You’re not afraid of me?”

            She answered with a smile. “No, Alim. I’m grateful, not afraid.”

            “Can you walk?”

            “I can try.”

            “Good. If you find yourself growing tired, we can stop to rest. It’s going take us a while to reach our den.”

            Peg started to reply, when she heard screaming coming from the direction of the village. The shrieks were punctuated with growls and barking. She turned to Alim and asked him an unspoken question. He sighed. “A few soldiers attempted to retrieve your body and take you back. We took care of them. You do not have to worry about them coming after you or finding you.”

            Wearily, she leaned against the animal, who nuzzled her cheek with his wet nose.

            “You have nothing to worry about anymore,” he answered. “I’ll take care of you. I’ll keep you safe.”

            “How can I repay you? How can I thank you?”

            “You already have, Peg,” he told her. “You’ve accepted me as I am.”

            As she stared into his eyes, his face changed, melted, and reformed, until she was looking at a man’s visage. A man whose emotions lay raw across his countenance.

            “Thank you,” she murmured. She didn’t object when he leaned forward and kissed the side of her mouth.

            “Are you ready to go?”

            She nodded, wishing he would kiss her on the mouth, but that would come later. She knew it, and he knew it. They were still strangers who’d bonded through a tiny barred window in her dungeon cell. But now they had all the time in the world to get to know each other better.

            Alim returned to his wolf form. Grabbing the back of his ruff, Peg got to her feet and allowed him to lead her deeper into the woods.

            She never looked back to see what the other wolves had done to protect her. From that moment on, these creatures were her family, and she knew it was a decision she’d never regret.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

New!

X MY HEART

Dark Sci-Fi Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 58.7K
$3.99 e

For the past four years, the war against the invaders has raged on, with seemingly no end in sight. Cities and towns have been razed, with the majority of the population killed or forced into hiding. The military branches—what’s left of them—are joining forces against the enemy.

The aliens.

Lieutenant Gretchen Twoey and her squad are quickly losing hope. Supplies are limited, soldiers are becoming even more so, but the alien mechanoids are never ending. Despite the military’s best efforts, nothing is being learned of the extraterrestrials. The mechs they do manage to kill disintegrate before they can even be studied. If the tides don’t turn soon, the world will be defeated.

When Sergeant Leif Stoddard and his men are reassigned to the 181st with Gretchen, things seem to finally be going in their favor. They were set to marry four years ago, but then the first Medusa struck and they were both called to arms, and it’s been an uphill battle since. Finally, they can be together…or will the war tear them apart yet again, once and for all?

The world has a choice—lie low, stay invisible, and hope the aliens leave, or stage one last battle where the winner takes all.  

Warning!  Contains living spaceships, spare uniforms, love letters, dissolving weapons, bladders, black blood, and proof that love doesn't care what you look like because it's the heart that matters.

 Excerpt and Buy Links        

Monday, September 28, 2020

HERE BE NEWS for September 28, 2020

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author



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Monday, September 21 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic, including a new release!

Friday, September 25 -
WHAT'S IN YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE? – TV offers us a welcome break from reality - and sometimes great ideas. Author Deborah A. Bailey shares some of her recent favorites. 


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Thursday, September 24, 2020

What's In Your Netlflix Queue?

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey

Sometimes you just want to take a break from everything on your to-do list. And with so much going on around us, there's nothing like some binge watching to take our minds off of things. 

Even better, you might get a few ideas for stories. 

Whether you want to be entertained or informed, there's a lot to choose from. Here are some series and documentaries that I've watched lately.


The Social Dilemma 

If you have any doubts about social media, this documentary isn't going to put you at ease. Various people who helped to design the functionality (such as the, "like" button on Facebook) are interviewed. And, they share their opinions about what they created and how they feel about it now. The takeaway?  What they created is now beyond their control, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. 


Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Her advice for clearing clutter and creating comfortable spaces seems well-intentioned and extremely positive.  If nothing else, her very sweet and relaxed vibe is a balm all by itself.


20 Feet from Stardom

Not a new movie, but a very inspiring one. I saw this years ago and was uplifted by the stories behind some very familiar voices. You might not know them by name, but you’ve probably heard the singers in songs, commercials and soundtracks. Watching this reminded me how so many of us are just trying to get ourselves out there, and what we’re willing to sacrifice on the way. (This is also on Amazon Prime.)


Fyre - The Greatest Party That Never Happened

A cautionary tale about following people who appear to know what they’re doing just because they’re good at selling ideas. Having big, splashy ideas is fine. Not being able to execute – and throwing other people’s lives in to chaos – is not. At times amusing, and at others alarming, it shows the dangers of online influencer culture. 


The Great British Baking Show

Definitely an old favorite that's been going strong for several years. My favorite seasons are the ones with the original hosts (I enjoyed season 3 the best). Seems like much more fun than competition reality shows in the U.S. The contestants actually support each other and seem to be enjoying themselves, which also makes watching much more entertaining. 


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

 Yes, it's yet another travelling chef show, but I enjoyed seeing the dishes from different parts of the world. All prepared by local chefs who also share the history of the foods, Even if you're not interested in cooking some of the elaborate recipes, it's fun to watch.




Monday, September 21, 2020

HERE BE NEWS for September 21, 2020

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author



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Monday, September 14 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic. Plus, a trio of ebooks on sale this month!





X MY HEART
Dark Sci-Fi Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 58.7K
$3.99 e

For the past four years, the war against the invaders has raged on, with seemingly no end in sight. Cities and towns have been razed, with the majority of the population killed or forced into hiding. The military branches—what’s left of them—are joining forces against the enemy.

The aliens.

Lieutenant Gretchen Twoey and her squad are quickly losing hope. Supplies are limited, soldiers are becoming even more so, but the alien mechanoids are never ending. Despite the military’s best efforts, nothing is being learned of the extraterrestrials. The mechs they do manage to kill disintegrate before they can even be studied. If the tides don’t turn soon, the world will be defeated.

When Sergeant Leif Stoddard and his men are reassigned to the 181st with Gretchen, things seem to finally be going in their favor. They were set to marry four years ago, but then the first Medusa struck and they were both called to arms, and it’s been an uphill battle since. Finally, they can be together…or will the war tear them apart yet again, once and for all?

The world has a choice—lie low, stay invisible, and hope the aliens leave, or stage one last battle where the winner takes all.  

Warning!  Contains living spaceships, spare uniforms, love letters, dissolving weapons, bladders, black blood, and proof that love doesn't care what you look like because it's the heart that matters.

Excerpt and Buy Links

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Monday, September 14, 2020

HERE BE NEWS for September 14, 2020

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author





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Monday, September 7 -
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic. Plus, a trio of ebooks on sale this month!

Saturday, September 12 -
This week's Bring It Back(list) is a TRIPLE FEATURE! 

3 POST-APOCALYPTIC ROMANCES by Linda Mooney - and they're on sale this month. 

Get all 3 of these ebooks by Linda Mooney for just 99c each! Find blurbs, excerpts and buy links here: https://lindamooney.blogspot.com/2020/09/september-is-month-for-post-apocalyptic.html






Can love be found again in the future? 
Or is it a thing of the past?

September is the Month for Post-Apocalyptic Romances, and author Linda Mooney has a trio of them on sale right now: FORBITTEN, A DIFFERENT YESTERDAY, and THE TRUNK 

Find blurbs, excerpts and buy links for all three books here: 
https://lindamooney.blogspot.com/2020/09/september-is-month-for-post-apocalyptic.html


THE TRUNK
by Linda Mooney

Sc-Fi, Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic, Time Travel Romance
Word Count: 44.6K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p

In the not too distant future, the human population is nearly wiped out by an alien invasion. Six years after the initial attack, Emlee Dow isn’t too worried about the continuing alien presence any longer. It’s the few humans left who pose a greater threat. Food and supplies are hard to come by, making survival an ever increasing struggle. Luckily, she finds refuge in an undiscovered basement room, containing enough supplies to last weeks.

Feeling full and relatively safe, Emlee decides to rest while she can. She wasn’t expecting her world to be turned upside down when she woke. Or for the already upside down world to be flipped right side up, pre-destruction. Thrown into the past, she meets Mykail, and has only days to convince him she’s not crazy before history repeats itself…or is it the future?

In these difficult and trying times, it’s hard to know who to trust. Just when you find someone, they’re lost just as quickly.

Can love be found again in the future? Or is it a thing of the past?  

Warning! Contains several outfit changes, broom handle self-defense, a spare key fob, expired food, freckles, the sound of thunder, a never-ending search for sanity in a world gone insane, and two people forced to wait years before love triumphs.

Find blurbs, excerpts and buy links for THE TRUNK, FORBITTEN, and A DIFFERENT YESTERDAY here:

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Bring It Back(list) - Three Post-Apocalyptic Romances by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney
September is the Month for Post-Apocalyptic Romances! And You Can Get All 3 for Just 99c Each!

FORBITTEN
Futuristic, Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Word Count:  58.2K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p

Not all who are bitten are turned.

After World War III, better known as the Nuclear War, survivors were forced to move underground, where they had a better chance of survival. Those who were caught above ground in the aftermath inevitably died of exposure. However, the animals and vegetation were not so lucky. Although most species survived, they also mutated. And sometimes those mutations reached the remaining human population.

Shaddoe March lives in one of those subterranean bunkers, called SubForty. Her life is nowhere idyllic. No one’s is. But she’s healthy, and that means she has a future. Until, one day, her nightmare becomes reality, and she’s infected.

She is thrown out of the bunker, above ground, unarmed and alone to face the hideous creatures and other Condemned who’ve been discarded to face their inevitable deaths. As she prepares herself for the worst, she finds redemption.

Chyler Comstock was also infected, but he didn’t turn, and he’s not dead. Yet. Neither are the thirty-two other souls who’ve banded together for the sake of survival. When he meets Shaddoe, he’s more than willing to let her join their group, but not until the critical thirty-seven-hour window is passed. If she remains human after that, then she’ll be welcomed.
But, for now, it’s a waiting game, and the world ran out of patience decades ago.

Warning! Contains a beatdown with a broom, shattered solar panels, a deadly lunch tray, radioactive ammo, explosions, and a possible cure that could mean the difference between love cut short, or love everlasting.


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A DIFFERENT YESTERDAY
Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Futuristic Romance
Word Count:  67.3K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p / $19.95 a


The Apocalypse.


It didn't come because of man's inhumanity to man. It didn't come from bombs, or plague, or even from aliens descending from outer space. In fact, no one knows what triggered it. And even if they did, there was no way to turn back time.

Only one thing was certain. One evening the sun had grown unexpectedly bigger and hotter, and heat and radiation unlike anything ever experienced washed over the Earth, bathing it in searing rays that devoured over three-quarters of the world's population.

Now the sun is smaller, and it doesn't radiate as much heat as it used to. The world is colder. Food is scarce, and people are fighting to stay alive.

Andrew Michael Tollson, aka "The Silent Wraith", was a man who roamed from settlement to outpost to city, offering his protection from scavengers and renegades. Years ago, right before the sun had exploded, when he had been a boy growing up in a small Texas town, he had felt his first crush for the little tomboy he knew as Jo. Now, as a grown man, he has finally made his way back to his boyhood home to see if Jo is still alive, or if she has been a victim of the Apocalypse. He has to know if the dreams and memories he has harbored were mere fantasies, or if the infatuation he'd felt then has grown into something else, something stronger and more tangible.

JoBeth Wythe was a member of The Triad, three leaders who protected their little settlement, and tried to recall the carefree days before the Apocalypse. All they wanted was the chance at a decent life, with enough food, some shared warmth, and a little hope for the future. She had never forgotten the pudgy little kid who had followed her around when she was growing up, the little boy she called Mikey. Every time she thought of him, it only brought back pain and a wistfulness for a past that no longer existed.

For Drew and Jo, it was only a matter of time before they would be reunited to fight together. To survive together. And to discover that the innocent kisses they had shared as children had grown into a love that would overwhelm them with desire.


Warning!  Contains permanent extreme cold, love everlasting, survivalists, separation, a legend in the making, a brutal mass murder, childhood friends to lovers, and the end of the world as we know it.

Excerpt and Buy Links

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THE TRUNK
Sc-Fi, Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic, Time Travel Romance
Word Count: 44.6K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p



In the not too distant future, the human population is nearly wiped out by an alien invasion. Six years after the initial attack, Emlee Dow isn’t too worried about the continuing alien presence any longer. It’s the few humans left who pose a greater threat. Food and supplies are hard to come by, making survival an ever increasing struggle. Luckily, she finds refuge in an undiscovered basement room, containing enough supplies to last weeks.

Feeling full and relatively safe, Emlee decides to rest while she can. She wasn’t expecting her world to be turned upside down when she woke. Or for the already upside down world to be flipped right side up, pre-destruction. Thrown into the past, she meets Mykail, and has only days to convince him she’s not crazy before history repeats itself…or is it the future?

In these difficult and trying times, it’s hard to know who to trust. Just when you find someone, they’re lost just as quickly.

Can love be found again in the future? Or is it a thing of the past?  


Warning! Contains several outfit changes, broom handle self-defense, a spare key fob, expired food, freckles, the sound of thunder, a never-ending search for sanity in a world gone insane, and two people forced to wait years before love triumphs.

Monday, September 7, 2020

HERE BE NEWS for September 7, 2020

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author



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Monday, August 31 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic. Includes a new flash fiction story, plus some things you may not know about the naming of books. 

Tuesday, September 1 -

MOST ANTICIPATED SEPTEMBER BOOKS- Author Nicole Luiken is looking forward to reading new SFF/paranormal books. Will one of them be YOUR favorite?





September is the Month for Post-Apocalyptic Romances! And right now, you can get all 3 of these ebooks by Linda Mooney for just 99c each!



Excerpts and purchase links here:
https://lindamooney.blogspot.com/2020/09/september-is-month-for-post-apocalyptic.html

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