Book Blitz: Winter of the Shadow Fae, by L.P. Dover

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Title: Winter of the Shadow Fae
Series: Land of the Fae Book 1
Author: L.P. Dover
Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance, Fae, Royalty, Enemies to Lovers
Release Date: January 10, 2023
Cover Design: Dark City Designs


“OMG!!!!!!!! This book was AMAZING!!!! Enemies to lovers, and mystical creatures all wrapped up into one fabulous action-packed story. From the second I started reading I was hooked and couldn’t put this book down.” Sassy Southern Book Blog – By Alisa



New York Times Bestselling author L.P. Dover delivers an enticing enemies-to-lovers romance with a magical twist!
Twenty-five years have passed since the darkness was defeated in the Land of the Fae. Since then, the realm has flourished under four courts.
However, nothing is as it seems. An evil lurks close by, known as… the Shadow Fae. Years ago, a plan was set in motion to keep the darkness alive. But there is one who’s destined to defeat it.
Ella, the future queen of the Frost Court, has trained to embrace her destiny and save her people.
When Kai, the Shadow Fae leader, crosses paths with Ella, he knows it’s his time to strike. Yet things take a shocking turn when he begins to long for the one woman he’s supposed to kill. While passion ignites between the enemies, there is no escaping their fates. Ella is meant to save her people, and Kai has no choice but to end them. A decision must be made… and it could cost them everything.





New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Everything’s sweeter in the South has always been her mantra and she lives by it, whether it’s with her writing or in her everyday life. Maybe that’s why she’s seriously addicted to chocolate.
Dover has written countless novels in several different genres, including a children’s book with her daughter. Her favorite to write is romantic suspense, but she’s also found a passion in romantic comedy. She loves to make people laugh which is why you’ll never see her without a smile on her face.



Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Fall of Titan + Giveaway


I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE FALL OF TITAN by H.G. Ahedi Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:

Title: THE FALL OF TITAN (Realm 1)

Author: H.G. Ahedi

Pub. Date: November 12, 2022

Publisher: H.G. Ahedi

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Pages: 338

Find it: Goodreads, Books2Read

Read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited Membership! 

In the twenty-fourth century, a sophisticated security system called the perimeter guards the outer rim of the solar system. Governed by Titan, a powerful space station, the perimeter is almost impenetrable. Emmeline Augury, an astrophysics cadet on Titan, believes in a family folklore about a mythical device with unlimited power. Recognizing its scientific and military value, she uses unorthodox methods to follow a trail of cleverly concealed clues. Her search uncovers an ancient plaque, which reveals a star map of a secret network of portals leading to the device, the key that opens the doors to the seven realms. Suddenly, the key to absolute power is in her grasp, and everyone wants a piece of it, especially the power-hungry Orias queen. What began as a scientific adventure turns into a dangerous manhunt when an Orias fleet attacks Titan. The queen threatens to slaughter everyone unless she is given the device. When the fate of Titan and the seven realms hangs in the balance, Emmeline must make a choice. Will she save her home or the device?


Get all the books in the Realm Series now!


Chapter 1

The Orias

The silence in space was always uncomfortable for Argon Keston. But today, he didn’t know if it was the silence or the reason he was out here. For the third time, he checked the
environmental controls. The temperature was normal, but he still felt cold. He rubbed his hands together and surveyed the beautiful view on the screen. He admired the massive rings. It was an extraordinary sight, and yet he knew that within seconds of opening the airlock, deadly gases would kill him.
Atlas was one of many squadron ships. The semicircular spacecraft was ten feet wide and fifteen feet long. Her weapons were located at the edges. The pilot’s cockpit was in the elongated section, which emerged from the middle. Three other fighter ships just like her hid in the vast outer rings of Saturn. Behind them was a sea of millions made up of millions of rocks and asteroids of all sizes. Monitoring. Waiting.
Argon was a young, slender man who was quiet and gentle with kind green eyes and thick brown hair. He was amiable and innocent looking and preferred to keep a well-trimmed beard, which made him look a bit more mature.
Today, for the first time, he wore the uniform of the Imperial Command: a black half-sleeve t-shirt with navy-blue trousers and a high-neck maroon jacket. All his life he wanted to command his ship and fly into the unknown, but today he was getting first-hand
experiences of the dangers of space. Wearing this uniform, he actually felt the burden of being a fighter, a leader, someone responsible.
Argon moved back and forth, waiting for the signal. It had been six hours. Too much time had passed.
It had all begun two months ago on just another day on Titan. Lieutenant Adrian Olson and his team had been conducting a routine survey of the perimeter. Unexpectedly, they’d detected an unusual energy signature, and there it was: an unidentified spacecraft.
Adrian had hailed the ship immediately. But the alien ship had been beyond communication range and had disappeared within minutes. Two weeks had passed, and the unknown visitor had reappeared with two of its friends, this time closer to the perimeter.
Their arrival had sent a wave of excitement through the citizens of Titan. They’d tried to contact the three ships, welcoming them to their home. But the outsiders had remained silent. The ships had drifted close to the perimeter and began scanning. Alarms had gone off, and Titan’s patrol ships had been dispatched. The alien ships had quickly disappeared but had left a sense of restlessness in their wake.
Argon wanted to believe they were explorers, but he did not. These aliens frightened him. He felt as if the cockpit of Atlas turned colder. He recalled the meeting on Earth with the Imperial Command. Some believed invasion was inevitable, while others sought more diplomatic methods.
He wondered about their choices. Did they have any? Could today be the beginning of an interstellar war that would change their lives forever? Would they survive? Would he see his family again? No one he knew had experience with war. For generations that had lived in peace, interstellar war was a frightening concept. But leaving Titan or any other colonies undefended was not an option.
Since their first appearance, the crew of Titan had kept looking for signs of the aliens, and the Imperial Fleet remained on standby. Days passed, and things began to settle down. Everyone thought they would never come back. Argon wished it too, but his wish was not granted. Twelve hours ago, Adrian had detected the unusual energy signature again. Like it or not, it had begun.
Admiral Jacob Donavan was in charge of the fleet, and his priority was to take a diplomatic approach. He wanted to communicate with the aliens. Argon’s squadron was a backup if things went south. Argon wasn’t sure the admiral’s plan was going to work. In fact, no one knew if anything was going to work. They had limited ships, resources, and fighters. The admiral had full confidence in the fleet. But Argon didn’t think he was qualified for this mission.
Argon had just finished training as a pilot, and before he could think about his future, these aliens had appeared, and he’d been appointed as the squadron leader. He was surprised; he thought Byron Thames, his best friend, would have been a better choice. But the decision wasn’t his to make.
A large asteroid drifted in front of his viewscreen. As if they were a family, three small asteroids followed the larger one. The cloud of dust particles surrounding the ship dispersed momentarily, and Argon saw the perimeter. A vast security system built by his ancestors to protect Earth and other colonies like Titan. At this distance, it looked like a glowing chain of stars.
He looked to his left and saw a small yet powerful ship belonging to Byron Thames. Not too far away from Byron’s ship was another craft. It appeared almost like a ghost, flooded in the gases of the planet’s rings. Argon knew Micah Dew was out there, waiting. He was surprised he had remained silent for so long. To his right was the fourth ship. Its pilot, Clio Ranger, was a patient, quiet, intelligent young girl.
Argon’s eyes drifted toward the panels. Adrian hadn’t contacted them. Maybe it was a good sign. But he knew they were out there. Suddenly, the silence was broken. “They’re here. Be ready. The fleet is approaching the gates,” a voice crackled on the radio. Straightening up in his chair, Argon was about to power up the engines, but he stopped. The admiral had told them to power down their ships. He thought this would help them remain undetected. Personally, Argon thought the aliens wouldn’t care. He thought they were here for something, searching for something. Their scans bothered him. One day, he would have his answers, but today, he would settle for defending his home.

“Well?” asked Commander Anastasia Waters. She stood in the middle of Titan’s bridge with her legs apart and her arms folded. The perimeter glowed brighter than any stars she could see. Her big black eyes remained glued to the viewscreen. Anastasia was an athletic long-legged woman with thick, wavy hair tied up neatly in a bun. She wore bellbottom trousers, a black body-fit sleeveless top, and a navy-blue turtleneck jacket. She was the commander of Titan, one of the most powerful space stations built by man. But at the moment, she felt powerless. Imperial Command had ordered her to stand back, and not join the fight. She was to wait and watch the fleet engage the enemy and she didn’t like it.
Lieutenant Commander Adrian Olson turned. He brushed his auburn hair with his left hand, and his deep blue eyes dropped to the floor for a moment. “The energy signature has reappeared. But this time, it’s stronger.”
Anastasia knew he was worried. Adrian was of middle size, and an ordinary build. The clean-shaven man was known for his sensitive nature, and his down-to-earth attitude which had worked a lot in his favor. She knew her crew preferred working with Adrian to the previous second in command of Titan. Anastasia knew he would be an excellent commander, but for some reason he held himself back.
“What do you mean?” asked Anastasia.
“Their ships emit a peculiar energy signature. When the first ship appeared two months ago, the energy signature was detected because we were surveying that section of space. Otherwise, we would never have known the ship even existed.”
“And this time?”
“It’s the same energy signature, only stronger.”
Anastasia nodded.
The bridge was a disc-shaped hall. Two doors opened into elevators that connected it to the ten decks of the space station. The lights dimmed. An alarm went off. Anastasia lowered herself into her chair and crossed her legs. Her eyes remained fixed on the viewscreen. Waiting. Anticipating. Part of her wanted to join the fight; another part told her to obey orders. She felt as if she were fighting herself.
Lieutenant Evan Weeds sat opposite Adrian and was busy monitoring communications and operations. He was a stocky man of average height with a round face, a sharp nose, and thin dark-brown hair.
To Anastasia’s right, Titan’s tactical officer, Lieutenant Edward Ward, stood with his arms crossed. He watched the movements of the fleet on the screen like a hawk.
Anastasia gently tapped her feet and swirled. The scientists were huddled together near the science station. From experience, Anastasia knew that if Dr. Chris Kent had found something, he would have told her already. He would have told the entire quadrant. “Anything, Doctor?” she asked despite knowing the answer already.
Chris turned. “Nothing yet.”
Anastasia raised her eyebrows, and without a word, she turned back to the viewscreen.
“Commander, the signal is gone, and a cloud has appeared,” Adrian announced in an edgy tone.
All of Anastasia’s breath left her. The viewscreen glowed. She leaned forward to see a vast cloud of purple and blue raging through space.
“It looks like a storm,” muttered someone.
“Lieutenant Weeds, contact the Freedom,” Anastasia ordered. “Yes, Commander.”
“Can you see the cloud?” Anastasia asked Admiral Donavan. “Yes,” Jacob’s calm voice echoed on Titan’s bridge.
“I think we should call for reinforcements.”
“Don’t worry. We can handle this. Our priority is to make contact.” “We’ve tried that before and failed,” said Anastasia.
“I know,” Jacob replied. “But we should try again.”
“I insist that we call reinforcements or let Titan . . .”
“No. We cannot defy the orders of the Imperial Command.” “Fine,” Anastasia replied reluctantly. “Good luck, Admiral.” “Thank you. You never know. We might make some friends today.”
Or our worst enemies, thought Anastasia. The purple storm disappeared, and ten ships appeared beyond the perimeter. The computer announced, “Spatial anomaly Orias detected. Alert. Alert. Spatial anomaly Orias detected. All officers report to your stations. All officers report to your stations. All civilians return to their quarters or remain in secure locations.”
“Orias?” asked Anastasia.
Adrian turned to face her. “Well, we had to call them something. Since I detected them first, I thought I could name them.” “What does Orias mean?” asked Evan.
“In mythology, it means ‘noblemen of hell,’” Adrian replied calmly. The bridge became silent, and all eyes fixed on him. Anastasia was fond of her crew’s quirkiness, and often indulged them. Another time, Anastasia would have laughed her heart out, but today was not that day.
“How many times have I told you to stop reading those stupid books?” muttered Evan. His eyes met Anastasia’s. She tried not to smile.
“Ahem. I-I thought it would . . . be interesting and funny,” explained Adrian.
“It’s not,” Anastasia told him.
“Commander,” said Chris. “Our initial scans show no humanoids or any signs of life on those ships.”
All heads turned toward the doctor, but Anastasia couldn’t look away from the viewscreen. “Drones?” she asked as ten Earth ships flew past Titan.
“The alien ships have the same energy signature as the cloud but no engine or life signs that we can detect. But something tells me they’re more than just drones.”
Anastasia twirled on her chair. “What do you mean?” “It’s a hunch. Since we’ve never encountered these . . . Orias before, our technology may not be advanced enough to detect them.”
“You mean you don’t know,” said Adrian.
“Not at this point.”
Anastasia turned her attention back to the screen.
“Commander, we’re ready,” said Cyr Storm, Titan’s engineer. “The shields are up and at full power. All systems are ready to go. The weapons are fully powered, and we have enough fuel in case we have to head back to Earth.”
Cyr’s words gave Anastasia some comfort. “Excellent.” “Commander, the fleet is nearing the gates of the perimeter,” announced Evan.
“When the fleet is ready, open the gates,” Anastasia instructed. Never had Anastasia thought she would be thankful to have the perimeter to guard their home. It had been built before her time, and she’d always thought it was a pain. All her life, she’d hated taking approval for what she loved to do: explore space. When she’d been captain of Marion, she’d had to go through tedious procedures involving long and detailed paperwork. It was frustrating when bureaucrats tried to control the tiniest aspects of her projects. A female voice broke the silence on the bridge. “Emmeline to Commander Waters. Emmeline to Commander Waters. Are you there? Commander?” Emmeline was an enthusiastic astrophysicist cadet who worked under Chris. Anastasia felt his eyes on her, but she ignored him. She pushed the green button on the small screen on the hand rest of her chair. “Yes, Emmeline.”
“Commander, has the anomaly disappeared?”
“You mean the cloud?”
“Yes. It’s gone. The alien ships are here.”
“Warn the admiral not to engage the alien ships if the cloud appears again,” said Emmeline. “I repeat do not engage the alien ships if the clouds return. It’s—”
“Lieutenant Weeds, relay the message at once,” Anastasia said. “Emmeline, explain?”
“It’s a theory. I think the cloud is a gateway. My scans . . .” “A gateway?” asked Anastasia. “To where?”
“I don’t know!”

Jacob sat silently on the bridge of Freedom. He had received Emmeline’s message. That girl knows her stuff, he thought. But she’s naïve and needs to learn a lot.
His chair was in the middle of the small bridge. His crew moved around the bridge effortlessly, preparing for battle. The computer made announcements from time to time. A continuous alarm echoed in the background.
The admiral didn’t take his eyes off the viewscreen. He was a hefty man with black eyes and short, curly hair that was beginning to turn gray. A snake tattoo ran down the back of his neck and disappeared into his uniform. As the biggest member of his family, he’d been nicknamed “the giant.” He lived by two rules: enforce the law and stay in control.
Freedom, the ship he commanded, was just like him, old and stern. It was a medium-sized craft, roughly fifty meters long and twenty meters wide. Loaded with powerful phasers, torpedoes, and multiphasic shields, it was one of the best ships in the fleet. The craft had withstood the test of time. It had helped discover and study numerous nebulas and explore uncharted planets and solar systems. It had also helped set up new space stations and carry food and medicine. Most of all, Freedom had been successful in finding three new homes just like Earth. Jacob had felt dejected when they’d had to return to Earth report to the Imperial Command and reassess their plans. Then the Orias had appeared, and everything had changed.
For the last decade, Jacob had used Freedom for exploration. The last time he remembered using the phasers was to blast an asteroid. Today, he might use it to begin or end a war.
Freedom was followed by a small group of ships. Jupiter and Marion were fine ships, almost of the same size, but they were more powerful than Freedom. The rest of the ships were smaller and equipped with the latest technology and weapons.
Having nine other Earth ships did not give Jacob any comfort. Most of them had been standing in the space dock two weeks ago, and their commanders had never left the solar system. His attempts
to gather more ships with experienced commanders had failed. Prometheus was the nearest ship and his greatest hope, but it was in a part of space affected by an ion storm, which was likely to interfere with communications. Since he’d never heard back, Jacob didn’t know if Captain Lockhart had received his messages.
The viewscreen of Freedom displayed the glowing perimeter ahead. In front of them was a magnificent sparkling vertical web of white and blue color. It reminded Jacob of a magical web in a children’s story he’d read to his granddaughter. The princess powered the web telepathically, and it had kept her kingdom safe from monsters that lurked in the darkness beyond its borders. Today, the perimeter that separated Jacob from the Orias appeared no different.
With a heavy heart, Jacob said, “Lieutenant Weeds, we’re ready. Open the gates.”
“Yes, sir,” Evan replied.
The bright light in front of them disappeared, and a huge spiral opening appeared. Jacob turned to Eugene Walker, Freedom’s pilot. “Eugene, take us out.”
“Yes, sir.”
Freedom, along with other Earth ships, passed through the gateway. When they cleared the gates, it closed behind them. Never had Jacob felt so vulnerable and alone, not even when he had taken Freedom through uncharted space. He stared at the ten alien ships approaching the perimeter. The Orias ships were long and cylindrical. They reminded the admiral of missiles his ancestors had built in the twentieth century, though these were longer, heavier, and had a slightly different design. The cylinders were curved into spikes at the ends.
“Open a channel,” Jacob told the communications officer. “Channel open, sir.”
“This is Admiral Jacob Donavan of Freedom. We represent the Imperial Command, which governs this section of space. We are a peaceful race eager to open communications.”
A minute passed in silence.
“Perhaps you can start by identifying yourself,” Jacob added. The alien ships kept moving forward.
“Alien vessel, I advise do not enter this region of space without authorization.”
The outsiders remained silent.
Jacob glanced at his tactical officer. Taking a long breath he said, “If you do not respond, and attempt to cross our boarders we will retaliate.”
The bridge was silent again.
He repeated the message once more and waited. He glanced at his communications officer, who shook his head. “Convert the message in all languages and dialects in the digital library and broadcast it on all channels,” Jacob instructed.
The officer nodded.
The bridge was so quiet that for the first time, Jacob could hear the beeping of the communications console.
“Sir, I’ve scanned the ships. I can detect no power signatures or weapons. As far as I can tell, there’s no one on those ships,” said the tactical officer, Lieutenant Tessa Clark.
“Oh, they’re there . . .” Jacob stopped mid-sentence. The Orias ships glowed red, and their spikes burned like fire. “What the . . .?” A bright flash emitted from the lead Orias ship and hit one of Earth’s ships, blowing it to pieces. Jacob grabbed his seat as the bridge shook. A couple of gasps echoed on the bridge, and the alarm blared.
Freedom steered toward two Orias ships and launched torpedoes. A huge ball of fire filled the viewscreen.
“Yes! We got them!” said Eugene.
From within the fireball, two alien ships reappeared and flew directly toward them.
“Fire at will!” Jacob shouted.
Freedom glided through the debris and fired. The Orias ships’ tails began glowing.
“Change course. Move us away!” yelled Jacob.
A blaze was emitted from the alien ship.
The next moment, an explosion on the bridge threw the admiral to the floor. Darkness engulfed him, and the air filled with smoke. He sat up and looked at his wrist. It was bleeding. He got to his feet and
froze. The two Orias ships had returned their attention to the perimeter. “I thought they’d destroy us,” he muttered. “Report,” he ordered Tessa.
“Sir, we were hit by an electromagnetic charge as powerful as five of our torpedoes. If we hadn’t steered away . . .” “What about the Orias?” Jacob asked, taking a seat, and spinning toward the viewscreen.
“My scans show that there was minimal damage to the Orias ships. But the second torpedo did more damage than the first.” The admiral eyed her. “Any theories?”
“I suppose proximity to the alien ships might have more effect. But I suggest . . .”
Jacob turned to Eugene. “What was our distance from that ship when the second torpedo hit it?”
“Sir, our second torpedo hit it at forty thousand kilometers.” “And damaged it?”
“It appears so, but that Orias ship is still functioning. We need more da—”
The admiral cut him off. “Open a channel,” he told the communications officer.
“Channel open, sir.”
“Freedom to the Imperial Fleet, do not engage the Orias upfront. Attempt to get less than thirty thousand kilometers from them, then fire.”
A blast blinded everyone. Turbulence hit Freedom.
“What happened?” demanded Jacob.
“Sir. Jupiter. Jupiter. I-It’s gone. They have . . .” cried out Eugene. “Engage thrusters. Follow those ships! Do not let them reach the perimeter,” Jacob ordered. He stood up from his chair and approached Eugene. “Continue to maneuver, but don’t fire. Don’t draw any attention to us. Tell me when we’re about twenty-five thousand kilometers away from the Orias ships.”
Eugene nodded. Freedom glided forward.
Jacob returned to his chair. “Chart the locations of all the alien ships and put them on one side of the viewscreen.”
“Yes, sir.”
The view in front of him changed. Jacob watched the Orias ships heading toward the perimeter. They moved in a circular fashion as if connected by invisible spokes. It looked like a giant wheel moving through space.
“Their pattern is interesting. Four ships appear to be keeping us busy while these six head toward the perimeter,” said Tessa. “Yes,” replied Jacob.
“Sir, the fleet is taking heavy damage,” reported Eugene. “Patience.”
“They’re ignoring the fleet,” said Tessa. “As if we were . . .” “Mosquitoes,” finished Eugene.
“Mosquitoes are extinct,” said Tessa.
Jacob jumped to his feet and opened a channel. “Attention, everyone! Six Orias ships are heading toward the perimeter. Focus on one ship. Just one. Destroy their pattern. Fire now! Now!” “What are you suspecting?” asked Tessa.
“I think the six ships will combine their energy and create a very powerful blast.”
“Sir! We’re twenty-five thousand kilometers from the Orias wheel,” reported Eugene.
“Increase speed. Pick one ship and fire. Give it everything we’ve got!”
Freedom’s weapons blasted through the hull of one of the alien ships, pushing it off course. Freedom fired again, and the Orias ship blew into pieces.
“Yes!” cheered Eugene.
Suddenly, another horrific explosion filled the viewscreen. Jacob’s shoulders slumped and holding his head he waited for the bad news. “Sir, it’s Marion,” said Tessa. “It took out one of the Orias ships.” The admiral smiled.
Suddenly, the alien ships broke their pattern and turned toward the Earth ships. Two of them flew in the direction of Freedom. Torpedoes blasted through Freedom’s tubes, disabling one of them, but the second spacecraft dodged the torpedoes.
“Evade! Evade!” shouted the admiral.
“Sir. I’m . . .”
A bright light blinded everyone. Freedom shook, throwing everyone off their seats. Multiple blasts occurred simultaneously. Alarms blared. Smoke filled the bridge.
When Jacob opened his eyes, he saw a huge crack in the roof. He turned. The viewscreen was fractured, and the Orias ship was powering up again. He scrambled to his feet and rushed towards navigation. He entered the coordinates and engaged the thrusters. “Come on! Come on!” he said, pressing the keys several times. But Freedom moved slowly. “Tactical, tell me we have weapons!” he yelled over the top of the screaming alarms.
The alien ship’s tail turned red.
“Tactical?” Jacob asked.
A blaze hit the alien ship, and it turned to dust. Another tremor hit Freedom. Jacob grabbed the console and saw Marion fly past them. “Whew, that was close,” he muttered, making way for Eugene, who took control of the helm. “Report.”
“Decks 5 and 6 have been heavily damaged. Six crew members have been injured. No fatalities so far. We still have power, engines, and life support.”
“What about the fleet?”
“They have destroyed three Earth ships; two ships have taken heavy damage, but the rest of the fleet is engaging the enemy. The Orias ships have turned their attention back to the perimeter. Three ships are engaging us, and the other four have formed the same wheel-like pattern. They’re heading for the perimeter.”
“I think it’s time to change strategies.” Tessa breathed heavily. The admiral eyed her. “Do we have orders from Earth?” “No.”
He looked at the screen. “Those four ships might be our last hope.”

Argon gritted his teeth. He didn’t like their odds. There was still no word from Imperial Command, and Titan was silent as well. People were dying. People he knew. He returned to his chair and opened a channel to Freedom. “Admiral Donavan, this is Argon Keston. Permission to join the battle.”
“Negative. Stay there.”
“Sir, if my readings are correct, the fleet has taken heavy damage. We can help.”
“The fleet was ordered to engage the enemy; the squadron ships are to remain as backup. Those were our orders. We stick to them until the Imperial Command says otherwise. Is that clear?” “Sir, with all due respect . . .”
“Argon. Stay there. That’s an order!”
Argon banged the console. He sat back and listened to the communications between the ships. He almost jumped when he heard another blast. He got up and stood in the middle of the cockpit. If he defied orders, he’d be thrown out of the fleet, and his career would end before it had even started. But if he didn’t act, he risked the lives of everyone he loved. What mattered most to him? He returned to his chair and reached out to his squadron. “This is Argon. I’m going to defy orders and join the fight. If you choose to stay back, I’ll understand.”
“Argon,” said Micah in his husky, heavy voice. “How long have you known us?”
Byron said, “If we don’t join the fight, everyone could die.” “Oh, that’s comforting,” Argon muttered. He pushed the buttons, and the engine roared to life. The tail of the small fighter glowed in the yellow mist. Atlas slowly glided through the rings of the planet, leaving a long trail of dust behind it. Another three ships followed. “Commander Waters to Cadet Argon,” Anastasia’s voice crackled on the commlink.
“Yes, Commander?”
“What are you doing?”
“Commander, I can’t just sit here,” Argon said. “They need our help!”
“I understand, but we have our orders. Turn back.”
Argon huffed. “With all due respect, I can’t sit here and watch people die!”
“Cadet, you’re out of line!”
There was no point in arguing. Argon ignored her messages and charged ahead. He felt as if a sword loomed over him; he was damned if he did, he was damned if he didn’t. He was a man of action, and every fiber in his body told him it was time to act.
As they neared the battlefield, the size and shape of the Orias ships mesmerized him. “Let’s begin with omega sequence,” he suggested. Pairing with Byron, Argon flew closer to one of the alien ships. “Break the wheel?” asked Byron.
“I agree.”
They got nearer to the four ships.
“Distance twenty thousand kilometers,” said Byron.
“Close enough,” Argon replied and fired.
Two torpedoes hit the alien ship, blasting through its hull. Atlas bounced and dipped, but Argon quickly regained control and reduced speed.
“Did you see that?” Byron shouted.
“Yeah! Too easy. I thought we would need more torpedoes.” The Orias ships broke their pattern and turned their attention to the smaller ships.
“Here they come!” yelled Byron.
Argon swayed Atlas away and pushed the engines. The Orias ships followed him. Byron came from behind and fired. Atlas jolted moving away from the blast. Argon turned around and pursued the two alien ships following Byron. Aiming for the tail of the Orias ships, Argon called, “One, two, three, fire!”
The blast from the two Orias ships was enormous. Hundreds of pieces of metal spread through space. Atlas dipped and shuddered. A huge section of debris headed straight for it.
“Whoa!” Argon cried out, whirling the ship out of harm’s way. A piece of debris hit the wing of Atlas. The spacecraft jolted. Alarms blared. Argon punched a few buttons and brought the ship under control.
“Wow. How did you do that?” Byron asked.
“I aimed for the tails,” Argon replied and opened a channel to the fleet. “Attention, everyone. This is Argon. We’ve discovered a flaw in
the enemy ships’ design. To disable them, target the tails at close range. Just be careful not to get too close.”
Argon was about to contact Freedom when he noticed two of his squadron members were on a collision course. “Clio and Micah, what are you doing?”
“You know what we’re doing,” Micah replied.
Argon saw two Orias ships pursuing them.
“They’re going for the death maneuver,” said Byron with a hint of distaste in his voice.
“It won’t work. Abort. Now. Abort!” Argon yelled.
“How would you know? We’ve never tried it before,” protested Micah.
“This is not the time nor place,” Argon said.
“He will not listen to you,” Byron said calmly.
Atlas steered past two Earth ships, chasing an Orias ship. It maneuvered under Freedom and headed for Micah’s location. Clio and Micah were heading straight for each other. The end of the Orias ship following them began to glow.
“They’re going to fire. Change course now!” Argon shouted. “Wait for it,” Micah said.
“I’m coming in.”
“Argon, don’t. I can do this without firing a single shot.” “You’re going to get killed.”
“Argon, trust me.”
Argon shook his head and reluctantly decreased speed. Clio and Micah were getting close. Too close. The Orias ship was right on their tails. If they miscalculated, it might cost them their lives. “Micah, they’re charging their weapons,” Byron said. “You should act now.”
“One, two,” Micah counted. “Now!”
Both squadron ships turned away. The Orias ships fired. The massive beams missed the small ships and hit each other. The blast was gigantic. It created a turbulence wave so strong that every ship in the battlefield shook.
“Woo-hoo!” shouted Micah.
“Yippee!” yelled Clio.
Argon shook his head in dismay.
“That was uncalled for!” Admiral Donavan yelled over the communication system. Argon ignored him. Then Anastasia’s voice echoed in the cockpit. “Commander Waters to Cadet Argon. Commander Waters to Cadet Argon.”
“Yes, Commander. We have them. Just three more to go.” “Argon, Emmeline detected another ship,” said Anastasia. “It masked its signature. It’s heading for the perimeter. I’m sending you the coordinates.”
This was unbelievable. “Affirmative,” Argon said, feeling his heart rate rise. The console beeped. He entered the coordinates. Atlas swayed along the perimeter and headed away from the battlefield. Byron’s ship wasn’t far behind it.
In a few minutes, they saw a new Orias ship. Argon felt uncertain, and his heart leaped to his throat. Why had this ship come in later? Why not join the battle? Did it have a different purpose? Could he stop it?
“There it is,” said Byron.
They fired phasers to sway the alien ship away from the perimeter, but it kept moving. They targeted the tail, but it was resilient.
“We need to get closer,” said Argon. He pushed the small ship. When he thought he was close enough, he pushed the button to fire the torpedoes. Nothing happened. “Oh no! No!” he cried out and pushed the button again.
“Weapon’s system malfunction,” announced the computer. “Byron, my ship is damaged. Tell me you have torpedoes.” “I’m out!”
Byron fired phasers. They did little damage, and the alien craft kept moving toward the perimeter. “It’s not working!” he shouted. Byron ship’s gained speed, moving closer to the Orias ship. Argon pushed Atlas and caught up with him. At least he could fire phasers. They had to stop them, at any cost. They fired again. The Orias ship jolted a bit but kept moving.
“This one is different!” Byron called.
Argon banged his console. “Tell me someone has torpedoes!” he shouted. “Hello! Anyone? We need help!”
The ship’s tail turned red.
Atlas’s proximity alert went off. Argon turned to his scanner. There was a reading he couldn’t understand. “What the hell?” he muttered. His eyes widened as realization dawned on him. “Byron, move away. Move. Move now!” he shouted, hurriedly changing course.
Just behind Atlas, Prometheus appeared. The hefty scorpion shaped spacecraft flew past the small ships. Two torpedoes blasted through its tubes. The Orias ship turned to dust.
“Yes!” cheered Argon.


About H.G. Ahedi:

I am H.G. Ahedi, writer of the award winning science fiction series Realm. I dabble a bit with crime fiction too. I am the owner of the most vacant apartment in Sydney (it has minimum furniture and more books). My plants do not survive (I have buried four) and if you buy me a good cup of coffee – we are friends forever!

My dream is to find a way into the fictional world, and write about it in real world. I would love to have a cup of tea with Agatha Christie and solve a case with Sherlock Holmes. And of course pick their brains for my books. I spend my weekends with box of popcorn and TV series (mostly sci fi and mysteries). My real life is a bit more sensible or rather boring. I have done a PhD (I don’t know what I was thinking) and right now I spend my day handling a database.

So what have I written?

Stella is free book is available on my website :

Mysteries/thrillers – Black Moon, Calculated Murder, Haunted, Shadow Pandemic and Shadow Fraction.

Science Fiction – Transcendence, Realm 1: Fall of Titan, Realm 2: Poseidon, Realm 3: Icarus

Do I do social media? A little bit…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Bloodstone + Giveaway

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Bloodstone by Rebecca Henry

Book 3 in the Ambrosia Hill series

General Release Date: 10th January 2023

Word Count: 47,930
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 166



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Book Description

There’s something wicked in the wind on Ambrosia Hill.

Zinnia knows nothing is as it seems in the witching world. Her aunts calling her back to Fern House was not without consequences—for Zinnia and for her mom. Zinnia must embrace her witch abilities and undergo her biggest test yet. Can she learn to rely on her personal magic, embrace the strength of others and trust that what she sees isn’t always reality?

There’s something wicked in the wind this Halloween on Ambrosia Hill and Zinnia must fight for those she loves most.


Being a witch has one certainty—I’ll never have all the answers to life’s mysteries. But one mystery I needed to figure out, and now, was who was Ursula Geist. A strong breeze rustled through the maple trees that towered above me, showering my tree-lined path in a golden hue. I inhaled the aroma of dried leaves, their desiccated scent mixing with dying plants, rotted earth and plump mushrooms, reminding me I was home. My pupils dilated, a sensation green witches experience when our awareness comes alive in nature. Breathing deep, I could taste the crisp cabbage and sweet corn growing free in my aunts’ garden. Closing my eyes, I could sense the very fabric of life coursing through my arms and legs like an electrical current. In Ambrosia Hill, autumn was authentic, unlike the artificial scents of the city.

The world felt mirthful and alive, so incongruent with the fear I had a strong gush of for my mother. It seemed unfair the rest of the world would continue on when mine was so dangerous and unsure. The day was perfect. I could almost forget I was on my way to the local library to search for a clue about a cryptic name, spelled out by my obsidian pendulum. Almost, but not quite.

When I’d googled the name, nothing had come up, telling me that whoever this Ursula Geist was, I’d have to find the answers within Ambrosia Hill. The autumn breeze picked up my hair, so I pulled my beanie down tight over my head and stuffed my hands in my coat pockets, bracing against the wind as I charged down the path leading me to town.

I hadn’t been to the Ambrosia Hill Library in quite some time. I preferred to read the books at my aunts’ house, full of whimsy and witchcraft. The library was conveniently located across the village green from the local hardware store. I checked the time on my phone and flaunted my first real smile of the day. Billie would still be at the hardware store with her dad. I quickened my steps to make a detour inside to see her. She worked behind the counter on Saturdays so her dad could be on the floor to help with customers, and we had made plans to meet up after her shift.

I swallowed a lump in my throat as I debated whether or not to tell Billie what had happened in the garden after she left. She had told me she wanted to be included in my life, and that meant she accepted me being a witch. She had taken the news better than I’d hoped, but was this too much too soon? Do I tell her about Ursula Geist? I don’t know anything yet, but I do know it can’t be good. Magical candles holding secret messages was one thing, but a diabolical spirit trapped inside a pair of old witch boots buried in my aunts’ garden was not second date material.

I sighed, kicking a pebble off the sidewalk. I thought back to an online article I’d read on the train ride from New York—Nine Signs Your Girlfriend Has Toxic Baggage. An evil entity buried in the yard ran circles around each and every one on the list. I’m fourteen, not twenty-five, and here I am dating my first girlfriend with more baggage than a diva in Vegas.

Gathering my courage, I stopped in front of the door beside a wheelbarrow filled with hay. A snarky-looking skeleton holding a trowel smiled at me as I shuffled from one foot to the other. A tall man with thinning hair in an oversized work coat and black boots passed me. I pulled the door open and gestured for him to go in ahead. He shot me a peculiar glance, his eyebrows pulled together as he looked me up and down, as if he knew me and disapproved. Knew my family name, knew my house on top of the tallest hill in this sleepy town. It was a look I was familiar with, what with being a Fern woman in this small town. He rubbed at his thick beard as he stepped through the door, cutting a wide berth around me as if I were contagious. The door closed again, and I watched through the glass as he nodded to Billie’s father Ben, who greeted him in the center of the store surrounded by a horde of shoppers.

Billie leaned over the counter and spied me through the store windows. Laughing, she mouthed, “What are you doing?” before motioning for me to come in. The man paused his conversation with Ben to glance at me through the window, raising his bushy eyebrows in what I assumed was suspicion. Maybe he thinks I’m going to place a curse on the entire store where everyone’s teeth fall out? Whatever it was that was going through his head, I could tell he wasn’t crazy about me.

But now all three of them were watching me, so I bit my lip and headed in. The chime of the doorbell was loud, like a dinner bell calling the cattle home for supper, and I flushed, self-conscious that the rest of the store seemed to turn and was now staring at me. Then the moment passed, and everyone turned back to whatever it was they were doing. Only Billie’s puzzled grin was focused on me. My palms were sweating and I rubbed them down my pant legs.

The hardware store was packed. Customers cramped their aisles with their carts full of carving knives, decorations and large, round gourds. With everything that had transpired over the last twenty-four hours, I had almost forgotten that Halloween was a few days away. Ben caught my eye and shot me a big wave. Tension melted from my shoulders at the sight of his kind face, and I offered a shy wave with a warm smile in return. A line of customers awaited their turn at the checkout counter, and Billie held up her finger, letting me know she’d be free in a few minutes. I nodded and circled around the front of the store, listening as she made small talk with the old timers who praised her on her costume.

I had to agree with them. She looked amazing, and heat rushed to my face when she caught me looking at her and Billie responded with a wink. She wore a green blazer over a black T-shirt, which hit just above her belly button in her high-rise ripped black jeans. She wore a headband with two electrical bolts, making it look like she had sockets coming out of the side of her head, and she’d added stitches to her face and hands. She had topped everything off with black lipstick to match her black nail polish. Billie could pull off an outfit like that and make it look cool enough to wear out to a skateboard park, or even Price Choppers, the local grocery store.

An elderly man with stark white hair and thick overalls sidled up to the counter, tipping his driver’s cap at Billie. “Getting cold out there,” he drawled as he placed a package of light bulbs and a pack of gum on the counter.

Billie rang up his items with a smile. “Sure is, Mr. Johnson. Winter is coming fast this year.”

The old man nodded as he pulled a wallet from the bib of his overalls. “Speaking of fast,” he said as he handed Billie a ten-dollar bill, “which is faster, hot or cold?”

Billie smirked as she leaned against the counter, her eyes tilted up at the ceiling as if in deep thought. “Cold?” she guessed as she handed him his change.

“Hot.” He chuckled, pocketing the money. “Because you can catch a cold.”

Billie’s boyish grin spread wide across her face, and she fist-bumped Mr. Johnson on his way out of the door. “Good one, Mr. Johnson!” she called out to him. “I’ll have to remember that one,” she said as I strolled over to her.

Billie’s dad walked out from an aisle and flashed me a bright smile. “Hey there, Zinnia! Billie told me you were back in town for Halloween. It’s good to have you home, sweetheart.”

My face heated. “Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be back,” I replied, a trace of bashfulness in my voice.

“Why don’t you take Zinnia outside to visit with Bacon for a bit?” he asked as he slid behind the counter. “She needs lunch. I’ll stay in here to handle the front.”

Billie took off her work apron, tossing it on the counter as her dad wrapped his arm around her neck in a big hug, kissing her on the cheek. “Too much, Dad,” she squealed as she squirmed away, a big smile on her face. It felt like an old routine of theirs, something they did a lot and that Billie loved even though she’d never admit it. With a pain stabbing my heart, I realized how much I missed my dad.

“What?” he asked, taking a step back in mock surprise. “I thought you liked head-lock hugs? Next you’re going to say you don’t even like noogies.” His eyes were twinkling with mischief.

“Yeah, maybe when I was like ten,” she teased, bumping him in the side with her shoulder and I laughed. “And nobody in the history of the universe has ever liked noogies.”

They had an easy friendship between them, so different from my relationship with my dad. Billie had a quality about her—she was real with the people in her life. Billie wasn’t afraid of embarrassment or displaying public affection with those she loved. Even though her dad was her parent, he respected his daughter, and in return, she respected him back. I knew from experience that it wasn’t an easy task to be included in Billie’s circle. She kept that number low, selective. But what she lacked in quantity, she made up for in quality. One friend of Billie equaled a dozen friends. Billie wasn’t shy—she wasn’t afraid to be who she was. If she liked someone, they’d know it—they’d feel it across their skin and deep into their bones. It was an electric charge that ignited the entire body. That was real magic, something no one could receive from even the most powerful spell.

Of course, there was a trade-off. It worked both ways with Billie. If a person ended up on her bad side…their one hope was to run and hide. I admired her ability to be honest and tell it to me straight.

Billie smiled at me and I went weak in the knees. She was so pretty it made my head spin, and it was hard not to stare as Billie brushed her arm against mine, and all the tiny hairs on my skin shot straight up under my sweater. A tingling sensation ran up and down my arm as if electricity were running through me, as though Billie had flipped on a switch inside of me.

“Come on, City Girl. Let’s go out back.” My heart quickened at my nickname, coined by our first encounter over the summer at the lake. She reached for my hand as I followed her out through the back door and into the frigid air. I watched her from the corner of my eye. How does she have that effect on me?

Billie’s pet pig Bacon snorted, and Billie crouched down to give her a cuddle. I curled my now-vacant hand into a loose fist, already missing her warm touch. Bacon waddled over to me, wagging her spiral tail. I squatted down and gave her a huge hug. It felt so good to be back with them. I loved animals, and part of the reason I’d fallen so hard for Billie was her sensitivity toward all living creatures. Her strong vegan roots acted like a moral compass for her.

Billie studied me and Bacon, her emerald eyes locked on my every movement. I let out a slow, shaking breath. I liked her looking at me and she knew it. Billie offered me a teasing wink. She stood up, brushing the loose dirt from her jeans as she picked her way to a storage container and scooped out Bacon’s lunch—a mixture of grains and leafy greens. Her tail swinging like mad, Bacon pulled out of my arms, snorting as she ran over to her food bowl with what I could only assume was pure gluttonous joy. I plopped backwards onto the ground with a giggle. It was impossible not to smile as I watched the two of them interact. Billie’s entire face lit up around her pig.

“What are you up to today? Any big plans with the aunts?” Billie raised her eyebrows at me. “Perhaps an afternoon sacrifice, or maybe raising the dead?”

I laughed with an uneasy head nod. She wasn’t too far off. I countered with, “Ah, nothing that gruesome for us green witches. More like calling the corners. Maybe I’ll conjure up a small storm, like a tornado.” I pressed my lips together as if I were thinking. “Just over your store, though.”

Billie threw her head back and laughed. “I see you haven’t lost your spunk, City Girl.” And she threw me another wink. My face responded as it always did—I could feel the color rising in my cheeks and I pictured myself turning a deep red. The same color as the beets growing in my aunt’s vegetable patch.

“Okay, in all seriousness though, what are you up to?” She tilted her head. “Still able to hang out when I get off, right?”

I got to my feet and toed a pebble around in the dirt with my boot. Billie scrunched her eyebrows together and stepped closer to me. “Zinnia, is everything okay?”

My gaze met hers. Her face was etched with genuine concern. I took a deep breath, knowing I couldn’t hide the truth from her. Somehow protecting her with a lie seemed like more of a betrayal than dumping my witchy teen drama on her. I bit my lip.

“I’m on my way to the library to look up a strange name that I can’t find on the internet, but my pendulum told me that’s where I need to start looking if I want to figure out who and what is hurting my mom.” Billie’s jaw dropped, and I gripped her elbow, allowing some of the fear I’d been feeling to spill into my voice.

“Billie, her reflection moved backwards in the mirrors. And she can’t eat cinnamon—it flipping burned her!” I wrung my hands together as I continued to verbally vomit on my girlfriend. “Do you know how serious that is?” I paced as Billie stared at me with wide eyes. “She’s in trouble. Something is wrong, and my aunts aren’t here to help me, Billie.”

I stopped my frantic pacing to gauge her reaction. She was staring, an open-mouthed, blank expression on her face, her willowy arms dangling limp at her sides. Even Bacon paused mid-chew to watch my freak-out. Girlfriend of the Year award goes to…um, yeah, not me. More like Baggage Accolade of the Decade goes to the complicated and never-ending string of commotion girlfriend…yep, I’ll take that one, thank you.

I inhaled a long breath before continuing. “They left for Conjure Lake and I’m not sure when they are coming back. I can’t get in touch with them because there’s no cell phone reception in the mountains, and all I have to guide me is this.” I reached into my back pocket and pulled out the divination board. Billie gasped, then reached out for it. I gave it to her and she turned it over, studying the rows and symbols, being careful while examining the board before handing it back to me.

“So to answer your question—yes, I’d love nothing more than to see you this afternoon. You’re the main reason I came back to Ambrosia Hill. I want to be with you.” Tears filled my eyes, and I blinked them back. “But I have to find answers, Billie. And fast.” I shook my head, closing my eyes. “I can’t leave my mom to face whatever this is alone. Something is wrong, and I’m afraid of what might happen to her.”

Billie stood mute beside me for a long moment, examining my face with the same care she’d shown the divination board. “Well, you are never boring,” she said as she wrapped an arm around my back, pulling me into her. She held me in a tight hug, and I huffed a laugh as I melted against her, my head resting on her shoulder.

“It’s okay, Zinnia, I’m not going anywhere. I meant what I said last night. I’ll support you, no matter what. We will figure this out together.”

I sighed, hugging her tighter, “You honest to God—or should I say Goddess—don’t care I’m a witch?”

Billie laughed, rocking us back and forth. “Omigod, no way. The biggest problem most girls have is a surprise pimple. Not you. You’ve got monsters crawling out of the dirt in your garden.” She pulled back to grin at me. “My girlfriend is a witch. How many people get to say that?”

We both laughed, and I sighed again. “Not many,” I said with a shrug.

Billie’s dad called from the back door. “Hey, kiddo, another wave just hit! Come inside as soon as you can, okay? Bye, Zinnia! See you soon!”

I yelled goodbye back as I waved, standing on my tiptoes as if the extra height would make my goodbye more sincere. Billie offered me an apologetic shrug.

“I’ll meet you at the library when I get off. Find out as much as you can and we’ll go from there. What’s the name?” I told her, and Billie looked back at the store. “I’ll ask around today and see if anyone recognizes that name.” She leaned forward to give me a quick peck on my lips, and my eyes bulged out of their sockets like Buzz Lightyear. First, I’m her girlfriend, and now we can kiss freely? It was like a fairytale, and I was loving every second of it…minus the spooky entity stalking my mom.

Every fairytale has something creepy, but mine’s the one with Billie.

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About the Author

Rebecca Henry

Rebecca Henry is an American author living abroad in England. She is a devoted vegan who gardens, practices yoga, crafts, travels the world, and bakes. Rebecca’s favorite holiday is Halloween, and she is obsessed with anything and everything witchy! Besides writing fiction, Rebecca is also the author of her vegan holiday cookbook collection. Her love for animals, baking with her family, having a plant-based diet and cruelty-free food all came together in her holiday cookbook collection.


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