Book Blitz & Giveaway: Touch of a Witch + Giveaway

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Touch of a Witch
by S.G. Slade
(Darkness Rising, #1)
Publication date: October 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical

When visions of death haunt her every move, only the darkest magic can save her.

Sarah Stone’s family have always closely guarded the secrets of their witchcraft. Though they tend as healers to those that know them, few guess the truth of the family’s skills.

But others have secrets too, and when Sarah finds herself caught in the grip of a terrifying curse, she fears for the fate of all she holds dear. As a dark shadow haunts the taverns and brothels of Bankside, whispers of the curse begin to spread. Then she is accused of witchcraft, and there seems to be no escape.

In a world where the those called Witch end up on the gallows, can Sarah find a way to turn the curse aside? Or will the price be too high to pay?

Content warning: strong sex scenes and the occult.

Touch of a Witch is the first standalone novel in the seductive Darkness Rising series.

An earlier version of this novel was published previously as Shakespeare’s Witch

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


EXCERPT:

She dreams she is in a forest of pine at night, walking barefoot on the cold, soft earth. A full moon glimmers through the branches of the oaks overhead, brushing silver hues across everything it touches, and a stream trickles lazily beside her – she seems to be following its path upstream, searching for the source, and despite the darkness, she finds her way easily, unafraid.

In time she comes to a clearing where the stream begins, emerging from an outcrop of rocks to spill into a pool that fills before it overflows and runs off along its way. Stepping out of her shift, she slides into the water and lowers herself down until the surface laps around her shoulders. It is cool and clear and sweet, and she is tempted to submerge herself, to give herself to the sacred water and stay in this place always.

Then, one by one, four men approach to stand at the edge of the pool, one at each point of the compass. She feels no shame at her nakedness before them, no fear, content and at ease in the pure crystal water. She has no doubt this is where she is meant to be. Wheeling slowly, the rock hard and smooth beneath her legs, she regards each of them in turn. As she turns, each man holds out a hand to beckon her to them, and she sees then that they too are naked.

She goes first to stand before her father, out of habit of respect and obedience, and he speaks to her, though with no voice she can hear with her ears.

Bride thou shalt be, obedient daughter of Christ.

Placing one hand on her shoulder, and the other on her breast, he rests them there until she steps away and drops back into the water to wash herself free of the taint of his touch.

Then she turns to Simon.

Wife thou shalt be, loving mother of children, though none of mine.

He too places one hand on her shoulder and one on her breast, until she slips away from his touch also to rinse herself clean in the pool.

Then she goes to Tom, whose skin is taut and pale in the moonlight: his nakedness before her quickens her breath. He steps closer.

Lover thou shalt be, spirit of the earth.

For a long moment she waits before him, and when finally he lifts his hand to her breast, she gasps as a charge fires between them. She steps closer, her breasts pressing against his ribs and his member hard against her belly. Desire flares through her before he takes her hand in his and leads her to Nick. She waits, drinking in the beauty of the man who stands before her, his muscles strong and vivid in the silver light.

Mistress thou shalt be, if thou so wills it.

He reaches for her hands and lifts them to his lips, drawing her closer in towards him. Then she stands against him, and with his touch to her breast, she feels herself begin to fall, floating and free.

 

Author Bio:

S.G. Slade was born and raised in the historic city of Bristol in England, and now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, son, and a very small dog called Livvy. She has worked variously as a secretary, a teacher, a shop assistant and a nurse, but lifelong obsessions with books, history, and magic have never waned. When she isn’t reading or writing (which isn’t often), you can find her either doing yoga, going for long walks, or watching old movies. Touch of a Witch is her first historical fantasy book.

She uses the pen name S.G. Slade for her fantasy books, and also writes Historical Fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok


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Spotlight & Excerpt: Blindspots, by Rhonda Parrish

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I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the BLINDSPOTS by Rhonda Parrish Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.

 

Title: BLINDSPOTS

Author: Rhonda Parrish

Pub. Date: June 5, 2023

Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 195

Find it: Goodreads, books2read

 

The war is done. 

Ricky wants some time to lick his wounds and learn what the new normal is going to look like for him but then his brother goes missing. Now Ricky needs to team up with his wartime friends (and at least one dog he’d hoped never to see again) to find him, figure out what’s going on and save the world.

Again. 

And the clock is ticking…


Excerpt:

Choosing an excerpt to share from a novel can be challenging. You must choose a brief bit of the story that will capture people’s attention and also accurately give a taste of the book without requiring too much context. Usually I share the very first couple hundred words, however, because this book is kind of tricky to define I actually already shared the first chapter on my blog (you can read it here. So that complicated my choice. But only a little bit *wink*

Another of my favourite scenes happens right near the start of the story. Our intrepid hero Ricky the (mostly) Golden Retriever has arrived at his friend Winter’s workshop.

*

Winter didn’t like us scratching at her door to get her attention, so she’d rigged up a doorbell system using a rope tug.

I caught the rope in my teeth, thankful for the knot that had been tied on the end, and pulled. It tasted exactly how you’d expect a giant piece of doggie dental floss to taste and I was also rewarded by the sound of the buzzer echoing through the depths of Winter’s hovel.

Then, I heard something move above me. I leapt back, hackles raised, growling, and saw a telescoping pole separate itself from the wall and lurch awkwardly in my direction.

I growled louder, and let loose a bark just before Winter’s chuckle crackled through a speaker near the door.

“Don’t panic, Ricky,” she said. “Just me getting a look at you. Come on in.”

“Don’t panic, Ricky,” I mumbled under my breath. Easy for her to say, she wasn’t the one who’d just had part of a wall come to life and come straight for him.

I heard her chuckle once more, so she must have heard me, and then the resonant click of her speaker ticking off. I pushed the door open and wandered inside.

Stacks of boxes and papers and metal woopdewoos loomed over me from either side and a basket hanging over my head rattled when my tail tapped against it. I tucked my tail in close to my body and ducked my head. I did not want to cause an avalanche in here. No one could expect to survive that.

“I am over here,” she called, from somewhere in the depths of her labyrinth. The good news was, like with any labyrinth, there was only one direction I could go. Her collected bits and bobs created walls which effectively left only one path, and I was on it.

I stepped carefully. In stark contrast to every other horizontal surface in the place, Winter’s floor was clean and clear. But even so I’d tromped on a tiny spring last time I’d been here and it had stabbed deep enough into the pad of my foot that I’d been limping for a week afterward.

One day there was going to be a ground rumble around here and all this stuff was going to bury Winter tighter than a grunt in a foxhole. Winter said no way, but I figured that just went to show that no matter how brilliant you are we all have blindspots.

I wound my way through the various stacks of stuff and eventually found Winter. The room was round, I think, though it was difficult to tell with the stacks and piles of all manner of metal thingamagigs. Winter was right in the middle of it, where the floor was most concave. She was staring through what looked like a pair of binoculars, except that they were attached to a series of pipes and poles. Three wide screens were arrayed directly in front of her, flickering between different scenes in and around her home. A series of buttons, levers and what looked like the stick shift from a very large truck filled the rest of the space that made up her workstation.

I saw the front door flash into view on one of the monitors. Fenton, Meep and Moo had all made it.

*

Winters Workshop IllustrationWinter is a lot of fun for me – she’s the only one of Ricky’s friends who isn’t a dog and I enjoy making her a big of a collector as well as the genius of the group. She’s also named in honour of my late mother, who loved owls, so that’s another point in her favour.

Oh! And I loved Winter’s workshop so much that I commissioned the amazing Allie MacAlister to illustrate it for me!

That is just one of four illustrations by Allie that are in the book. Because, who says books for grown-ups can’t have cute pictures?


About Rhonda Parrish:

Like a magpie, Rhonda Parrish is constantly distracted by shiny things. She’s the editor of many anthologies and author of plenty of books, stories and poems. She lives with her husband and cats in Edmonton, Alberta, and she can often be found there playing Dungeons and Dragons, bingeing crime dramas or cheering on the Oilers.

Her website, updated regularly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com and
her Patreon, updated even more regularly, is at https://www.patreon.com/RhondaParrish

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/5/2023

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt

6/6/2023

@jaimerockstarbooktours

IG Post

6/7/2023

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post

6/8/2023

The Reading Life

Guest Post/IG Post

6/9/2023

A Dream Within A Dream

Guest Post

Week Two:

6/12/2023

The Momma Spot

Guest Post

6/13/2023

Cara North

Guest Post/IG Post

6/14/2023

Sadie’s Spotlight

Excerpt/IG Post

6/15/2023

Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post

6/16/2023

Nerdophiles

Review

Week Three:

6/19/2023

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review/IG Post

6/20/2023

@allyluvsbooksalatte

IG Review/TikTok Post

6/21/2023

A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/TikTok Post

6/22/2023

Jenguerdy

IG Review

6/23/2023

Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post

Week Four:

6/26/2023

The Chirpy Bookaholic

Review/IG Post

6/27/2023

Fire and Ice

Review/IG Post

6/28/2023

@enjoyingbooksagain

IG Review

6/29/2023

@jypsylynn

IG Review

6/30/2023

Carly Sunshine Books

IG Review

 

Spotlight & Excerpt: Between the Dragon King and His Wrath, by Barbara Russell

Between The Dragon King and His Wrath Tour Poster

Between the Dragon King and His Wrath Book Cover

Between the Dragon King and His Wrath
by Barbara Russell
Romantic Historical Fantasy

Revenge is a curse that can only destroy.

Princess Annika loves dancing, wearing bright gowns, and enjoying life. When she travels to the neighbouring kingdom of Walhack for the spring festival, she expects to make new friends. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Wlad, the former prince of Walhack now a slave in his own kingdom, starved and beaten by the violent usurper. Her attempt to help the fallen prince ends with her being assaulted and her father damaged for life.

Revenge is the only thing that keeps Wlad alive after the invaders occupied his kingdom, killed his parents, and turned him into a slave. Annika is the first ray of sunlight in years of pain and humiliation. Her kindness and compassion awaken the most dangerous feeling of all in his heart—hope.

Desperate to take his kingdom back, he makes a pact with the Sister Witches. He’ll be cursed forever in exchange for the supernatural powers that will allow him to defeat his enemy.

Eight years later

Annika doesn’t dance anymore. Doesn’t wear bright gowns anymore. As she struggles with her trauma, she has to meet King Wlad the Dracul—the Dragon King of Walhack—who slaughtered his way back to the throne. Everyone says he’s cursed, turned into an immortal creature who seeks blood to survive. But she hopes he’s still the kind young man she met years ago.

~ Please note this isn’t a dragon-shifter romance ~

This is a standalone, steamy paranormal/historical romance with a happily ever after. Trigger warning for explicit sex scenes, assault (off page), violence (off page), and trauma. There’s a time jump after the first few chapters. Cinnamon roll hero.

Buy / Goodreads


Excerpt:

The Kingdom of Walhack, Arges Castle, 1450

ONE STEP TO the left and Annika would plunge to her death into a chasm of sharp rocks and spiky brambles, and wasn’t that exciting?

She balanced her weight on her toes, walking along the three-foot-wide stone parapet. A thrilled yelp escaped her as the hem of her long skirt almost caused her to trip over. Blood pumped in her veins in a combination of fear and anticipation. Her skin tingled with excitement. If she lifted her skirt, she could twirl on one foot and watch the majestic castle spin around her—

“Annika!” Her father’s deep voice thundered from the room, breaking her moment of freedom. He marched towards her, his lips flattening in a grim line under his grey moustache and beard. “Come down immediately.” He didn’t wait for her to leap off the railing but took her wrist and helped her down.

The heavy crimson brocade skirt of her dress fluttered around her legs as she landed on the stone floor with a graceful leap. “I was about to come down, Papa. There was no need to grab me.”

The sun was setting behind the Carpathian Mountains, casting a red-blood shadow over her father’s face and turning the lake into a large ruby. The view was ominous and stunning at the same time.

He led her inside the bedchamber and locked the window, cutting off the pine resin scent rising from the forest.

“This isn’t the place or the moment for one of your antics.” His hands trembled as he pulled the curtains. “Not to mention that you nearly killed me out of sheer panic when I saw you over the railing. Lord almighty.”

It was never the moment to enjoy herself for her papa. At almost nineteen, Annika had been lectured on the appropriate behaviour of a princess more times than on the arts and literature of her kingdom.

A lady should never sweat. A lady doesn’t laugh too loudly. A lady doesn’t behave recklessly. A lady

…doesn’t have fun.


Author Bio

Barbara Russell Author PhotoLove stories have always captured my imagination. What’s better than two people falling in love with each other? I write steamy romance, usually with a paranormal twist in an historical setting. Add a touch of suspense and mystery and a pinch of darkness. I love stories with strong, sexy heroes and mischievous heroines who pull no punches.

I live in the City of Sails, New Zealand, drinking tea (coffee gives me anxiety) and devouring books.

Join my newsletter for exclusive content and the chance to receive an ARC copy of my books. Just copy and paste this link into your browser: Barbara’s Newsletter

If you love steamy paranormal romance set in Victorian London, my Royal Occult Bureau series is for you: The Royal Occult Bureau Series

Are you into shape-shifter romance? Check out my da Vinci’s Beasts series, set in WW2: da Vinci’s Beasts Series

For more Victorian paranormal romance with witches and sexy warriors, see the Knights of the White Blade series: The White Order Series

Love steampunk? Check out my Auckland Steampunk series: Auckland Steampunk Series

Follow Barbara at :

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Follow the tour at Zooloo’s Book Tours.

 

 

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