Tuesday, May 28, 2024

DARK HOURS, a Fantasy Romance by Linda Mooney - Chapter 5

Posted by: Linda Mooney


Chapter 5 

            Kayge stared in horror as the dragon lifted its face, extending its neck so that the bulge could slide from its throat into its gullet. His mind continued to deny what his eyes were witnessing, even though his heart knew it for the truth. He threw a hand out toward the creature as it continued to undulate its neck, forcing Emers’ body downward.


            He tried to get to his feet, but his body wouldn’t obey. Helpless, he watched the dragon make one last effort to swallow. The swelling in its throat finally dropped, and the creature opened its mouth to belch.

            “No! No, no!” He managed to turn onto his side but his muscles remained rubbery and weak. Useless. Rolling onto his face against the cold packed earth, Kayge fought not to cry as his body refused to obey. “Get up, damn you! Get up!

            A hawking sound caught his attention. It was a sound he’d heard many times before, but not from a winged beast. Opening his eyes, he watched the thing hunch over until its chin rested on the ground. Its stomach heaved, and the thought that it might be trying to regurgitate Emers flashed through his mind.

            Struggling, Kayge somehow managed to turn onto his side. The dragon made several more hard coughing noises, when its jaws spread open as far as they could. A mass of something poured onto the dirt. Something grayish that shimmered in the sunlight. Something hard that fell in lumps.

            He eyed the vomit, searching for sign of Emers’ body. For something that resembled an arm or a leg. The mass had none of it.

            Glancing back at the thing, he saw the creature staring at him with one eye, and he’d swear he saw a smile peel back a portion of the dragon’s mouth.

            “You fiend! You abomination!

            He knew if the dragon could laugh, it would have. It seemed to be taunting him with its cruelty. Delighting in his misery.

            “This is not over!” Kayge swore to it. “I will kill you! I will slit your throat and bathe in your blood!”

            The animal took a few steps back, then turned and leaped into the sky. Knowing that all he could do was watch it fly away, Kayge kept his eyes on the thing. As it banked and came back around, an eerie voice came from overhead. A voice he thought he recognized, except this one was high-pitched and raspy.

            Follow me!

          Kayge gulped. He’d never heard of a dragon that could speak. Roar, yes. Bellow and howl as they normally do. But never speak a language.


           It swooped over him, almost sweeping the tips of its leathery wings across his skin. It gave him one more steely glare with its crimson eyes, then straightened and took off. Taking a direct path…

        Kayge doublechecked its flight path. If it continued in that direction, it was heading toward…

Toward Noranye.

            As incredible as it seemed, Kayge would swear the dragon wanted him to follow it back to Noranye.

            He gritted his teeth. “Aye, I will follow you back to that cursed town! I will follow you anywhere you want me to go, if only to avenge my beloved Emers. To make you pay!” he yelled at the departing creature.

Kayge groaned loudly. His arms were twisted in an unnatural position beneath his body, and little stilettoes of pain were slicing up and down his muscles to let him know they were about to fall asleep on him. After much effort, he dragged himself into a semi-sitting position as his mind fumbled about blindly, trying to grasp every sliver of reality.

A sudden gust of wind wrapped him in a grip of ice. His knee-jerk reaction was to draw his limbs against his body to try and preserve heat. It was then he realized he was completely naked and covered in some kind of slimy substance.


He blinked. His mind still felt groggy, as if he’d spent the night drinking and had fallen asleep in the arms of Bacchus. The inside of his mouth felt incredibly filthy, his tongue like a lump of clay. He ran a hand over his face to try and rub some sensation back into it. A slow thread of shock wove through him when he saw the smear of blood on his palm. Another swipe over his mouth, and more blood came away at his touch. Blood mixed with that clear, gel-like…

Phlegm, his brain informed him. It’s dragon phlegm.

Whirling around, he stared at the mounds of what the thing had vomited.

“I was vomited up,” he said aloud, if only to hear himself voice the truth. “I was vomited up so it…” The next part was like a dagger to the heart. “It vomited me up to make room for my Emers.”

Lifting his face to the sky, he screamed her name. Venting his pain and despair until his voice was no longer his own. Only then did he allow himself to rest until he was able to perform his next task.

He faced another struggle before he was able to get on his feet. Despite the blasts of frigid air trying to knock him over, Kayge’s soldier instincts and training took over. For the moment he was unmindful of the weather.

The day had been born not too long ago. The sun had already cleared the distant mountain peaks and was now ascending higher in the sky. A quick check in the direction where the dragon had gone showed no sign of the thing, but Kayge knew he hadn’t dreamt it. The fact that he was here in the condition he was in, and Emers was gone, was proof he hadn’t imagined the encounter.

In all directions he could see gently rolling hills that, in the warmer months, would have been covered with hay or grain crops. Now they were only stubbled fields. Barren but for the occasional tree or large rocky cluster.

A sound from behind him made him whirl around in a crouching position. Immediately he felt a flood of relief. A small fire was burning itself out. The sound of charred logs falling over the embers was what had alerted him.

He paused, locking onto a nearby dark red object. He recognized it as a cloak, his woolen cloak lying across a fallen log, as if the person who had been wearing it had tossed it there and forgotten about it. Glancing around, Kayge saw that he was alone. Just as Emers had been alone.

But where was here? Where was this place?

Another gust of wind made his muscles spasm from the cold. Kayge went to retrieve the cloak. As he passed by the mound of vomitus, he nearly tripped over a pair of boots lying nearby.

“By the saints!”

Examining the mucus-covered remains more closely, he identified his uniform, his chain mail, and his armor. Vaguely, he recalled Emers wearing his clothing, but it hadn’t imprinted on his brain during his initial awakening. Now he could tell that, although the dragon had swallowed her whole, it had been forced to regurgitate that which wasn’t flesh.

The objects were sticky from the drying slime, but he had no choice if he wanted to keep from freezing to death. He winced as he noticed parts of his uniform were still warm—either from Emers’s body or from the dragon’s. It didn’t matter.

Once he was dressed, Kayge wrapped himself in the cloak for warmth and reached for the boots. They weren’t his, nor were they Emers’s, making him wonder who they belonged to. They were a tight fit, even after pulling out the bundles of dried grass stuffed inside them. But they would do until he could find more suitable ones to wear.

A sudden fit of coughing overtook him. Kayge tried to muffle the sound, but his throat felt like he’d swallowed sand. From the corner of his eye, he could see what looked like a water skin lying near the dying campfire a few meters away. Quickly he strode over and grabbed it. The skin was half-full. The water was cold and tasted better than anything he could remember. It also washed away the remaining threads of bile from his throat. Wiping his hand across his mouth, Kayge glanced around.

The horses were nowhere to be seen. He fleetingly wondered if the dragon had consumed them as well. At the thought of the creature, Kayge turned to face the route the creature had taken, and fierce determination strengthened him. Almost at the same time, that eerie voice whispered in his ear.

            Come find me! Emers needs you!

            He shuddered. Emers needed him? “She needs me? Does that mean she is not dead? Does that mean she still lives?”

He was answered with the ghost of more maniacal cackling.

            You are alive, are you not?

            The truth gripped him with icy talons. The dragon had swallowed him! The dragon had consumed him the same way it consumed Emers, except it didn’t have enough room for the both of them. It made sense now. It had vomited him up to make room for her.

            But why? Why make the switch?

            “Emers. My beautiful Emers. If there is the slightest chance you are still alive…”

            Iron resolve sent heat through his body, strengthening his bones and muscles, and giving him the clarity he needed.

            “I am coming for you, you beast from Hell! I am coming for you, and I will relieve you of my Emers even if I have to shove my arm down your cursed throat and pull her out myself!” He shook his fist at the horizon. “I am coming for you! Do you hear me? I am coming for you!


Linda's Website

Monday, May 27, 2024

HERE BE NEWS for Monday May 27, 2024

Posted by: PG Forte



 Monday May 27, 2024 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:

Thursday May 23, 2024: PG Forte considers deadlines in Deadline Reprise (a post from the archives)

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Deadline Reprise (a "From the Archives" post)

Posted by: PG Forte

So, I'm on a tight deadline this week, which means all my thought processes are focused on my current WIP.  So I thought I'd repost this blog post from the last time I rode this merry-go-round. Interestingly enough, my current story is in the same series as the books I wrote about in the original post. I'm working on Giada's story. 

Giada first appeared in The Name Game and I'm very excited to be getting her story out there as well. If all goes well, her story will appear first in the Love and Espresso anthology due to release on September 3rd.  Details below.


Douglas Adams said it best: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." I usually have a love/hate relationship with deadlines myself. Sometimes I find them motivating, other times not so much. And, yeah, I usually manage a sense of equanimity in the rare instance when one flies past unmet. Not this time though. That's because this time around the stakes are a little higher than normal. If this deadline isn't met, it will screw with my publishing plan for the rest of the year. And I really need that to not happen. 

So, instead of a post, I'm going to link to an excerpt from Truth or Dare--the first book in my Games We Play series. The reason I chose that book is two-fold. Number one, the most recent book in the series, The Name Game goes on sale in less than two weeks. January 24, to be exact. Number two, it's one of the books featured in a romance series starters promo I'm involved with (link below). 

With some books, you always feel like you didn't quite hit your mark. Maybe there was a plot hole, or a character that no one got. Maybe you lacked the skill to transcribe the story as it existed in your head. 

Other stories turn out exactly the way you wanted. This book--and really the entire series for the most part, even considering the convoluted timeline of book three--is definitely the latter. It's been a fun series to write, which I guess is in keeping for a series with both "games" and "play" in the title!

Link to excerpt:http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-beachin-winter.html

Link to BookFunnel Promo: https://books.bookfunnel.com/firstinromanceseries/id5zup4qds

Love and Espresso

This collection features meet-cutes that take place in a bookstore/coffee shop. The heroines are looking for their HEA but never expected it to happen while picking up a cup of coffee or picking out their next book boyfriend.

Monday, May 20, 2024

HERE BE NEWS for Monday May 20, 2024

Posted by: PG Forte



 Monday May 20, 2024 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:

Tuesday May 14, 2024: Deborah Bailey offers Three Ways Authors Can Protect Their Mental and Emotional Health.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Three Ways Authors Can Protect their Mental and Emotional Health

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey

 As we know writing can be very rewarding and very challenging. Whether you’re writing full-time or not, the process can be stressful. It takes a lot to navigate deadlines, rejections, and the pressures of the creative process. May is Mental Health Awareness Month so here are three ways authors can safeguard their mental and emotional health: 

1. Create Boundaries:

Creating boundaries includes setting limits on work hours, managing expectations with collaborators, and setting time for self-care and relaxation. Burnout doesn’t help you become more productive, in fact it’s exactly the opposite. You may want to reach that deadline but it shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health and well-being. 

2. Prioritize Self-Care:

Self-care is essential for maintaining mental and emotional well-being, yet it's often neglected when working on your goals. Prioritizing self-care means making time for activities that feed your mind, body, and soul. Meditation, exercise and hobbies can help to reduce stress. And don’t forget other creative pursuits that you do for the fun of it. Rest is also very important. It’s hard to be creative is you are completely drained and tired.   

4. Seek Support:

Writing can be solitary, but you don’t have to go it alone. Seeking support from friends, family, and other writers can provide emotional support. Whether it's joining a writing group, attending workshops and conferences, or simply reaching out to a friend for encouragement, you can benefit from connecting with others.

It's easy for authors to neglect their mental and emotional health while working. However, by taking care of themselves, authors can nurture their creativity and enjoy the writing process without burning out.

Monday, May 13, 2024

HERE BE NEWS for Monday May 13, 2024

Posted by: PG Forte



 Monday May 13, 2024 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:

Thursday May 9, 2024: Nicole Luiken discusses three series she's fallen in love with.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Three Series I've Fallen in Love With

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

 It's May, and I've read about 70 books this year (not counting rereads). I thought I might share some finds.

In the order that I discovered them, here are three series that I began this year, fell in love with and rushed to buy more of:

1/ Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faerie by Heather Wilde

Set in Iceland. Emily Wilde is an academic professor of folklore doing research on the fae of Iceland in a remote village. At first she rubs the villagers the wrong way and is extremely annoyed when fellow academic, Wendell, shows up. Rivals are always fun--and then the plot twist hits: Emily suspects that Wendell himself is a fae pretending to be human. 

I loved the building relationships in this one, both between Emily and the villagers and herself and Wendell, and how this time the woman was the grumpy one and the male love interest more sunshiny.

As soon as I finished I went out and bought book two Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands, which was just as good. There should be a third book out next year!

2/ Gilded and sequel Cursed by Marissa Meyer


It's a good thing both books in this duology are out, because book one ended on a cliffhanger.

This is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, with the miller's daughter as the main character, but it's all mixed in with fae and the Wild Hunt. The Erlking is the best villain I've run across in a while. He has his own goals and sinister plans and he always seems to be one step ahead of Serilda. I also loved the reveal about Serilda's backstory.

3/ The Fire in the Glass by Jacquelyn Benson

This series (The London Charismatics) has so much going for it! Set in 1914 London it has mystery, a very satisfying romantic subplot and people with fascinating psychic powers. The main character, Lily, sees visions of the future, but has always in the past failed to prevent what she's seen. She's sworn to stop trying--until she sees her friend, Estelle (a medium) killed. Strangford, the psychometric, made for a swoony love interest, and Sam Wu's ability to  talk to  animals was fascinating.

The series is complete. I binge-read the next three books and will probably go on to the last one soon.

What series have you fallen in love lately?

Monday, May 6, 2024

HERE BE NEWS for Monday May 6, 2024

Posted by: PG Forte



 Monday May 06, 2024 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:

Tuesday April 30, 2024: Read Chapter 4 of Linda Mooney's fantasy romance, Dark Hours

From Linda Mooney:  While cleaning out my office, I came across a few paperback print copies of some of my earlier titles left over from when I was with several other publishers.


Each month I'll be posting one of them FOR SALE for only $10, and that includes postage. Plus I'll autograph them!


Quantities are limited!


May’s Title:


Sweet Contemporary Romance for the Christmas Holidays

Word Count:  10.4K


Terrie Myers didn't believe life would give her a second chance at love. She had managed to survive cancer, but she had lost the man she thought she loved. 


Returning to her parents' vacation house on the Texas gulf coast, she never expected to fall for the man living in the bungalow next door. Sadly, he was already married. Still, she couldn't help the way she felt, or deny the joy of living he gave her.


With Christmas hours away, can the magic of the season make dreams come true?

Releasing Tomorrow: May 8, 2024

The Lyon's Gambit: 

The Lyon's Den Connected World

In a world bound by rules, love becomes the ultimate gambit.

In the glittering world of London, where society dictates everything, Nathaniel, Marquess of St. John, learned the hard way that playing by those rules doesn't always guarantee a happy ending. Jilted by a woman chosen for him by his father, Nathaniel swore off marriage and embraced the life of a steadfast bachelor.

Louise Hartfield is a talented seamstress with a disdain for the 
ton's rigid expectations. Trapped by her mother's antiquated insistence that as the elder daughter she must wed before her younger sister, Louise scoffs at the idea of conforming to such a preposterous rule.

When Nathaniel and his friends bet on whether love can transcend class, they turn to Mrs. Dove-Lyon, whose Lyon’s Den hosts their daring experiment. As Nathaniel and Louise navigate society’s expectations, they find themselves drawn together in a quest for true love.

Will they defy tradition or succumb to its demands? In this high-stakes gamble for love, who will emerge victorious?

Read free in Kindle Unlimited!

Pre-order here: https://www.amazon.com/Lyons-Gambit-Den-Connected-World-ebook/dp/B0D18F864Y

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