Spotlight & Excerpt: Alex Mckenna and The Academy of Souls + Giveaway

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Alex Mckenna and The Academy of Souls

Alex Mckenna Series, #2
by Vicki-Ann Bush
Genre: YA, Paranormal, LGBTQ
Publisher: The Parliament House Press
Date of Publication: October 20, 2020
ISBN: 979-8697729533
ASIN: B08HCFGHXJ
Number of pages: 314
Word Count: 61,823
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton Machova

 

The Dead Need Him

After surviving a harrowing case, Alex McKenna just wanted to rest. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted by the ghost of Seven-year-old Haven, who is lost in an in-between realm.

Despite his great-grandmother’s warning, Alex crosses the bridge between the living and the dead, sending him and his girlfriend into the world of the Academy of Souls, a high school for dead teens who are unable to complete their journey.

There, Alex meets Ophelia, Haven’s teenage sister, who’s been searching for her for more than a century. Together, with a few friends he meets along the way, Alex must cross the treacherous terrain of the Underworld in-between, to save Haven from the clutches of the Soul Gatherer and reunite the sisters.

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Excerpt:

The streetlamps illuminated the black empty sea of asphalt. A quiet calm laced the row of sleepy houses. Alex reveled in the tranquility. So much noise constantly filling his head, any semblance of stillness wrapped around his mind like a child’s favorite blanket.

            In the center of the glass, a small sphere of light caught his attention. At
first, he thought it was in the yard. Leaning forward and squinting, he realized it was a reflection coming from directly behind him.

            Jumping up, he spun around. Growing in diameter, it was beginning to spin.

            “Hey, whatcha doin?” Margaret said groggily.

            “Stop. Babe, slowly move to your left and come over here by me.”

            “Why? What’s going on?”

            Margaret gingerly slid to the left as Alex instructed, and then quickly scurried by his side. “What do you see?”

            “It’s the vortex opening, the gateway to that girl, Ophelia.”

            “Alex, please be careful. Remember what your Gram said. Don’t get too close,” Margaret pleaded.

            “She’s there, it looks like a bedroom.”

            “What’s she doing?”

            “Sitting on the bed, she’s covering her ears.”

            The wind whipped around the vortex howling like a wolf speaking to the full moon.

            “I don’t hear anything?” Margaret turned to Alex.

            “It’s like a high-pitched howl. It’s deafening. Wait. It’s quieting down. She sees me.”

            “What’s she doing now?”

            “She’s coming closer.”

            Alex leaned closer to the anomaly.

            “Alex, back up.” Margaret tugged at his t-shirt.

            “Babe. I gotta do this. Please. Let go of my shirt.”

            Margaret reluctantly let the fabric fall from her fingertips.

            Alex inched closer.

            “You are Alex McKenna, right?” Ophelia asked.

            The anxious teen widened her eyes in anticipation.

            “Yes. I’ve seen Haven. Who is she?”

            “She is my sister.”

            “I think she’s in trouble,” said Alex.

            Ophelia floated off the bed and stood directly in front of the entrance to the living.

            “I’ve been searching for her for years. She was taken by a man, a Soul Gatherer. I think she is counting on you to help.”


“I think she is, too.”

            “Can you?” Ophelia’s eyes widened.

            “I can try. Where are you? Is it The Academy of Souls?”

            Ophelia’s chin dropped.

            “Yes. You know about my school?”

            “I do.”

            “Oh no.”

            “What is it?’

            “The gateway. It’s closing!” Ophelia shouted.

            Alex heard the desperation in her voice as he helplessly watched the circle shrink. The wind cried out once again, as it violently thrashed around the outer edges of the bridge between the dimensions.

            “I have to go.” Alex tasted Margaret’s lips. “I’ll be back soon.”

            “What the hell? No. Alex. You can’t,” Margaret shrieked.

            “I love you,” his voice trailed.

            Alex stepped into the center of the storm. The vision of Ophelia rippled, traveling
to the rim of the circle, and splashing into the void. “This shield is my power to protect against evil, this shield keeps out harm. No dark entities shall pass through this shield. As I will it, so shall it be.”

            Sawing to fill his lungs with air, he pushed forward and landed on the floor of the dorm room. Gazing up, Ophelia stood in front of him, her mouth wide open.

            “Ugh. My head hurts. Where are we?” a voice echoed.

            Alex winced. His heart punching the walls of his chest. Whipping his head around in a frenzy, Margaret was lying on the floor beside him.

            “No, no, no, no. What the fuck, il mio amore.” Alex scrambled to her side.

            Ophelia moved closer. With her pointer finger, she quickly poked his shoulder and
retracted.

            Alex didn’t respond. His focus was Margaret.

            “How could you do this? Why did you do this?” his voice strained.

            “I couldn’t let you go without me.”

            Alex kissed away the saltiness from her cheeks. With the back of his sleeve, he gently patted dry her eyes.

            “Alex?” Ophelia murmured.

            The couple turned to the bewildered Ophelia Wetherton.

 

 

About the Author

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision and access to behind the veil.

 

 

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Safe + Giveaway

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Safe
Jessica Frances
(In Midsummer #5)
Publication date: January 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance

One big day. One missing groom. One answer. One life-changing event. One life-threatening disaster. Multiple targets.

Conner:

I never pictured myself getting married, but then I met Rocky and knew I found my perfect match. So, why are so many people determined to ruin our happiness? Why can’t we just have some peace and quiet? And why has Rocky disappeared on our wedding day?

Rocky:

I never thought I would get married again, but that was because I never knew what true love really was until Conner. I never had a true partner who was always there for me. And now I can’t wait to be married to him. I can’t wait to start the rest of our lives together. But, just like our entire relationship has had hurdles, why should this event run smoothly for us?

Between sabotage, grabby fans, exes, and an unwanted wedding planner, our wedding is looking more impossible by the minute. However, we’re both determined enough to get down that aisle and say I do. We will be married, and not even a crazed killer will stop us.

I hope. Hell, are we going to survive this wedding?

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Safe Teaser 1

EXCERPT:

“Rocky.” Conner moves onto his knees and faces me, cupping my face. I instantly rest my hands on his hips to prevent him from losing his balance and painfully knocking our heads together. “I love you so much that anyone can come through that door and say they want me, and I won’t even think about the offer for a second. You’re the one I want now, the one I’ll always want. None of my exes even begin to come close to how amazing you are. Henry Prince is someone universally considered to be the full package and even he didn’t compare to you. You’re perfect to me, and I will never want anyone else. You believe that, right?” His tone is pleading, as is his gaze.

I do see what he’s saying. I know how truthful it is. And while I’ve always known Conner would never cheat on me and that he loves me, there is something that clicks into place for me. A final piece that solidifies that we’re so solid that nothing that comes at us during this wedding or after it is going to rock us.

I lean forward and rest our foreheads together, our noses brushing. Then I wrap my arms around him so he’s forced to rest his body over mine. “I believe you, Conner, and I love you so damn much. You’re all I want, too. I cannot wait to call you my husband. Let’s do this tomorrow.”

Conner snorts out a laugh, but when I don’t break into so much as a grin, his smile fades and he pulls back just as much as my arms around him will allow.

“You’re serious? Tomorrow?”

“Yes. I don’t want to wait any longer. And I don’t want the charade that June Fuller is planning to be our day. I want it to be on our own terms. I want you to myself. I don’t want to share you on our wedding day.”

“But … tomorrow is Wednesday!”

“You call Love and, under oath of secrecy, she can come. I’ll call Reed and Bell, and they can come, too. We’ll pull River out of school. Then Bell can take River back to hers, Love can take Ryder back to her parents’ for the night, and we have one night to ourselves.”

“What about work?”

“I’ll get Abby to cover for me. Or, hell, I’ll just call in sick. I’ve got hundreds of those days I’ve never used.”

Conner gasps, but I get the feeling it’s slightly mocking. “You didn’t even call in sick when you were shot!”

“Just marry me tomorrow,” I plead, knowing I can’t bear to wait any longer now that I put it out there.

 

Author Bio:

Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: The First Boy I Ever Kissed + Giveaway

the first boy i ever kissed

Book Title: The First Boy I Ever Kissed

Author: Suki Fleet

Publisher: Stars and Ink Press

Cover Artist: Suki Fleet

Release Date: January 11, 2021

Genre: Contemporary New Adult M/M 

Trope/s: . Second Chances, Friends to Lovers, I have always loved you

Themes: Second chances, Bi awakening

Heat Rating: 3-4 flames (not frequent but detailed)

Length: 35 000  words

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

 

THE FIRST BOY

Kim was the first boy Tommy ever kissed. The only person he’s been in love with.

But Kim broke Tommy’s heart when he left without a word. Can Tommy give him a second chance?

Blurb

It’s been over two years since Tommy’s heart was broken. Two years since Kim vanished from his life without a word. 

Kim was the first boy he’d ever kissed. The only person he’s been in love with. He’d thought they were starting something when he showed his feelings on prom night, and they shared their perfect messy kiss, but he’d been wrong. He never saw Kim again. Until tonight when joy riders crash into the warehouse complex where he works. 

Kim’s life is a mess. For two years he’s been involved with a criminal gang, trying to protect his mum from harm. He knows he has nothing to offer. But seeing Tommy again gives him the strength to try. If only Tommy wasn’t leaving the day after tomorrow to go travelling around the world. If only tonight wasn’t all they had. 

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Excerpt 

It’s almost Christmas Day—surely, he’s got somewhere else to be, other people to be with? People far more important to him than me. I think again of the girl with the green braids. The sharp-eyed way she watched him as he gave a false name to the police. Wherever his life is at, ramming a four-by-four into a warehouse complex and then being arrested has got to build up some serious tension. Maybe he needs to let off a bit of steam too. Maybe that’s what this is.

I take my time cycling down the rough track to the park. I’ve popped a tyre before on the glass that’s scattered around here, and my fingers are too frozen to be fiddling around with fixing on a spare.  

As soon as we make it into the skatepark’s tiny car park, Kim hops off the bike. I find myself still wanting to feel his arms around me. The ache of it. Like the past has a weight, a texture, and it’s all him. 

God, what am I doing? This is such a bad idea. Spending time with him is just going to hurt, I know it is, and here I am just about offering myself up to it like a masochist.

He scrambles to the top of the little grassy hill surrounding the park. “God, I’ve missed this place.” 

The wistfulness in his voice surprises me. I follow him up with my bike. He turns to me, pulls off my massive gloves, hands them to me in my helmet, then holds his arms out, races down to the centre of the second biggest ramp, and starts spinning. Spinning and spinning, his head flung back, hair flying. He looks seventeen again. Young. Wild. Free.  

For a moment whatever shadows are haunting him are chased far away. And my heart aches and aches.

I remember the first time I saw him, swinging on the metal railing by the coffee shack near the smaller ramps with a couple of girls from school. He was laughing, head thrown back like it is now, pink hair falling away from his narrow face, sharp white teeth flashing, the whole of him vibrating with some wild aliveness I’d never seen in anyone else. Still haven’t. Too involved in watching him, I forgot what I was doing and nearly killed myself, lost control of my bike in the middle of a turn and crashed face first into the ramp. Later, I told myself I’d been so transfixed because I didn’t know whether he was a boy or a girl. But, of course, it wasn’t true. It took a long time for me to realise that though. 

That was the summer I finished my GCSEs. I was fifteen. Kim was new. He’d moved from another school across town. I never asked him why.

Back then the skatepark was full from sunrise till late into the night, and Kim hung around almost as often as I did. He made friends quickly, and though I watched him all the time and caught him watching me, I remained clueless. Maybe if I’d have worked out sooner that I was bi, things would’ve been different. I don’t know. 

Leaving Kim spinning, I clip my helmet in place, toss my gloves next to my backpack on the frozen ground, and take off down the biggest ramp, doing a few sharp turns at the top to warm up. 

“I used to love watching you,” he yells. “You ride like the water flowing in a river.”

It’s ridiculous how buoyed up his words make me feel, and I flush. I’m too old to be showing off at the skatepark, trying to impress some boy I know is watching every jump I make, and still I do it, taking my bike through a few 360 tailwhips. Making it look casual, easy, though it’s not, but that’s the trick. Isn’t that always the trick?

Limbs vibrating with adrenaline, I skid to a stop in front of him. “Get on.”

Kim’s eyes widen. “You’re going to kill us if you jump with me on your bike.” But still he gets on.

I laugh. “Still up for anything, eh?”

“With you, yeah.” His arms fasten around me, and he plasters himself close. “I’ve missed you, you know?”

Has he? I stiffen a little. I can’t let myself believe him, not just like that, because, no, I don’t know. But I don’t say that. I don’t say anything. My feelings are too jumbled to work out how to respond. Instead I focus on the things I do know and take us swooping down the big ramp and up the other side. I’m not about to do any tricks with Kim on my bike. He’s right, it’d probably kill us, plus I only have the one helmet. But it’s just nice riding around with him like this, even though I’m not sure how I feel right now. 

“I’m sorry,” he whispers after a while, his arms squeezing me a little tighter like he’s afraid I’m suddenly going to stop and shove him off. “I’m really fucking sorry. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me.”

“I don’t hate you,” I say quietly. Of course I don’t. How could I ever hate him? I kind of suspect in forty years’ time, if I’m still around, I’ll still get this sharp pain in my chest when I think about him.

 

About the Author 

Suki Fleet is an award-winning author, a prolific reader (though less prolific than they’d like), and a lover of angst, romance and unexpected love stories.

They write lyrical stories about memorable characters and believe everyone should have a chance at a happy ending.

Their first novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards. Their novel Foxes won Best Gay Young Adult in the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter @SukiFleet

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