Spotlight & Excerpt: Black Oak Series + Giveaway

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Enter the Black Oak
Black Oak Series Book 1
by Monique Edenwood
Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense

 

Falling for a man like Jackson Wilder was not something I had planned.

He was wild, experienced and savagely beautiful. He was also damaged and dangerous. Our love was a cosmic collision of lust and obsession that left me scorched by exquisite flames of desire and domination.

Jack possessed me. He educated me. Loving him was the greatest pleasure I’d ever known… up until the moment I discovered the dark secrets he had been hiding.

I could never have imagined that pulling myself out of the agony of betrayal would lead me to reconnect with a former friend, Cameron O’Neill, scion of one of Manhattan’s wealthiest and most powerful dynasties, and sworn enemy of Jack.

Cameron’s craving for me was acute. The relentless force of his devastating masculine beauty and his powerful, controlled virility was dizzying. Desire colored his fierce gaze. I knew it was wrong. Jack would never allow it. I had to do everything within my power to resist him, even when he pulled me down the rabbit hole where I uncovered dark truths about Manhattan’s most secret society that led me to the brink of madness…

Enter The Black Oak is a thrilling romantic suspense set in Manhattan’s high society and the first novel in the Black Oak series by author Monique Edenwood.

Enter The Black Oak will take you on a dangerous journey through lust, desire, betrayal and obsession that will leave you breathless by the end and desperate for more. 

Mature Audience.

Please note that Enter The Black Oak features a love triangle between the heroine and two men who are sworn enemies. The early stages of the novel explore the multi-dimensional complexities of infidelity. It features a strong female lead who is initially thrown off balance by the discovery of her partner’s infidelity and who regains her strength and power as the novel progresses. The infidelity is a catalyst for the rediscovery of an old friend. The novel features two alpha males, one quite dominant, and is an homage to radical female strength and stunning masculine beauty. If depictions of powerful, beautiful, dominant but damaged men are not your thing, this may not be for you!

excerpt

As I fumble in my purse for a tissue to wipe my eyes, the energy around me shifts and I begin to sense… something—some presence coupled with a charge of electricity…
The hairs stand up on the back of my neck and goosebumps prickle down my arms as I spot a shape out of the corner of my eye. Mustering the courage to look, I turn to my left and let out a breathy gasp as I see a man—a tall, beautiful, dark-haired man—standing between me and
the door I came through.
 A man that I know—or at least that I once knew.

Cameron.
 Cameron O’Neill.
 Scion of the O’Neill dynasty.
 My heart beats out of my chest.
 Finding yourself alone with one of New York’s most breathtaking eligible bachelors is something that most women in Manhattan would kill for, but seeing the man I used to be so close to, and that I still feel so betrayed by, see me in this pitiful state is one injury too many for my battered self-esteem.

A shadow darkens his features and he frowns as he watches my tear-streaked face. “I’m… sorry. I didn’t realize anyone was up here,” he says taking an unwelcome step towards me, his voice deeper and richer than I remember from our college days together.
 I wipe the tears from my eyes, barely able to speak. I loathe crying in front of anyone, never mind this ex-friend who has a history of hurting me.
 Despite my embarrassment at being caught in this pitiful state, I can’t help but be taken aback by the intense, impossible beauty of this stunning man. A mop of thick, wavy dark-brown hair caresses the golden skin of his forehead and jaw. His strong hairline frames a chiseled, heart-shaped face with cheekbones so sharp they cut shadows beneath them. His mesmerizing, almond-shaped brown eyes are large and his irises a swirl of deep amber tones, visible in just the moonlight and the pale glow of the light above the roof door. His stubble is thick, clearly not having been touched for a couple of weeks. He seems taller than I remember too; he must stand just under six foot three, about the same height as Jack. He has a look of anguished concern on his devastating face, my attempts at concealing my distress having obviously been in vain.
 “Jess, I… didn’t mean to disturb.”
 It’s surreal to hear him say my name—annoying almost—as though he should no longer have the right to use it. I wipe my face and try to compose myself. I hate that the man who spent so long warning me about Jack may now think that

Jack is the reason I’m upset and that he was right all along.
 “You— I— You’re not disturbing. I just needed to… get some air,” I stammer, starting to get up. “I didn’t think anyone would be up here. I can go—”
 “Stay,” he says firmly. “I mean, you can stay, as long as you need. Please.”
 I sit back down. In the state I’m in, I’d better not try to go back down those stairs unless I want to be surrounded by people asking me what the problem is. I look up at him, half expecting him to turn and leave me to my misery.

But instead, he stays.

Suspended moments pass between us as he peers into me in awkward silence, studying my face with intent, his eyes wandering over every inch of my features

“Jess, I don’t want to get too personal, but… are you sure everything’s okay?” he asks.
 “Yeah,” I shrug. “It’s just been one of those days.”
 “Sure,” he indulges me. “Believe me, I often feel like crying after a night with some of these people.”
 I shoot him a smile of gratitude at his gracious attempt to downplay the situation as my eyes float over his impossibly beautiful face. The moon emerges from behind wisps of blue clouds and lights up his unflinching eyes, leaving me skipping a breath. Cameron was one of my best friends for several years, but he never once made me as jittery as he’s doing now in all that time.

In my defense, the guy truly is breathtaking. It’s no mystery why most women lose all rational thought around him. Plus, he looks so much more like a man now than when we were students together at college, and not just because of how amazingly well he’s grown into his masculine features or how much
broader his shoulders are and stronger his arms look, even under his white shirt and expensive-looking black suit. His whole energy is different. The youthful exuberance has gone, and in its place is a man who looks poised and collected and unnervingly confident. His gaze is impenetrable, his face composed. He wears the body language of a man that is confident about his physical strength and social position.
 He looks determined. And powerful. And dangerous.

Black Oak Burning
Black Oak Series Book 2

 

Cameron’s relentless craving for me never seemed to end, even when it seemed that he may end up claiming his victory over Jack.

The irresistible odyssey into his dark dreams of domination thrilled me to my very core, breaking some of the chains holding me to Jack and setting my soul on fire with the fervor of relentless lust and unspeakable threats of ecstasy.

The incessant magnetic pull of his hard, capable body and the yearning in his determined eyes overpowered all attempts at reason. And he knew it acutely.

Just as it seemed the storm had begun to still, demons that had long haunted Cameron started to resurface and Jack launched an all-out assault on my senses and need for protection, pulling me into his dizzying vortex of indecent desire and fervent obsession and making it clear to me that I would always belong to him.

I had no idea the Society would be watching our every move, waiting for the moment to strike, allowing Manhattan’s most powerful patrons to take their revenge on Cameron.

And Jack.

And me.

If I let them.

Would we all make it out?

Black Oak Burning is the scorchingly hot sequel to Enter The Black Oak and Part 2 of the Black Oak Trilogy. It starts with an explosive release which will leave readers breathless and giddy as they prepare to experience the ecstasy and torment of those who enter The Black Oak.

Goodreads * Amazon

Black Oak Scorched
Black Oak Book 3

 

I did everything in my power to resist Cameron’s never-ending need to have me as his own. The heat of his hunger and the fervor of his attacks on my will was merciless, wearing me down as I struggled under the weight of Jack’s ceaseless craving and possessive need to reclaim me… as well as his surveillance of my every move. 

I was also forced to fight Sebastian Gravier’s growing desperation to have me submit to him so that he could educate me in the dark pleasures of the Black Oak Society that have been so carefully crafted by his wicked deviance.

What the resistance didn’t know is that as they were finalizing their plan to take down Quercus Velutina once and for all, the Society were mounting one of their own, with brutality and betrayal that no one could have ever imagined. 

Despite the victory of his bloodshed, Sebastian’s restless hunger for suffering and revenge never abated, and once Cameron made it clear to Jack that he intended to take me for his own, Gravier finally got what he had ached for–Jack declaring all-out war on Cameron, restless and ready to hand down his own special brand of justice.

_______________________________________________________________ 

He thinks he has won, but the war will not be over until Jessynia belongs to me and me alone. And my craving for her flesh and my need to possess her soul will never end…

_______________________________________________________________

Black Oak Scorched is the third novel in the Black Oak series and is the first book in the series featuring multiple narrative points of view.

For mature audiences.

Monique Edenwood is a British-Canadian author based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Her love of the magical trees and forests that she grew up surrounded by helped to inspire her first novel, Enter The Black Oak, book 1 in the Black Oak trilogy.

She loves helping people escape their daily lives for a short while with the help of some intrigue, suspense and some smoking hot fictional boyfriends!

When she isn’t writing or reading, she loves hiking and cycling around beautiful Vancouver.

She’s also an epic fantasy geek and lover of 80’s and 90’s music. 

Monique absolutely loves hearing from readers of her novels so please feel free to contact her!

Website * Facebook * Twitter *Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
 
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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Realm of the Vampire Council + Giveaway

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The Vampire’s Angel
The Realm of the Vampire Council Book 1
by Damian Serbu
Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance, Dark Urban Fantasy

 

As Paris devolves into chaos amidst the French Revolution, three lives intertwine.
 
Xavier, a devout priest, struggles to hold on to his trust in humanity only to find his own faith threatened with the longing he finds for a mysterious American visitor. Thomas fights against the Catholic Church to win Xavier’s heart, but hiding his undead nature will threaten the love he longs to find with this abbé. Xavier’s sister, Catherine, works with Thomas to bring them together while protecting the family fortune but falls prey herself to evil forces.
 
The death, peril, and catastrophes of a revolution collide with a world of magic, vampires, and personal demons as Xavier, Thomas, and Catherine fight to find peace and love amidst the destruction.
 
 
Thomas walked back to Paris after Anne pushed him out the door. Of course she was right. If he planned on eternity with Xavier, waiting for even a couple of years meant little. The only risk was Xavier’s mortal safety, but Thomas could protect him.
Still, he hated that Xavier fought his true nature, and despite the peace within him, his passion against the church intensified. Against his better judgment (he heard Anthony scolding him in his head), he headed for the Seine and the glorious Notre Dame Cathedral. It took no effort to locate the bishop. He scaled a wall, opened a window, and seated himself on the end of a bed. The figure at its head slept soundly so Thomas wiggled the mattress.
The man woke and screamed in terror. With superhuman haste, Thomas covered his mouth and ordered him to stop. “I won’t kill you if you obey,” he said. He let go of the bishop, who cowered under his sheet.
“We need to chat.” Thomas got up and walked around, taking in the room’s opulence: the expensive furniture, the ornate china left from dinner, the silk vestments, all the finery that one would find in the homes of Paris’s elite. He compared it to the sparse conditions of Xavier’s room: the blank walls and broken desk. Thomas ran his hand along the crucifix, mocking its inability to protect the allegedly holy man. After a grand pause, he turned back to the bishop.
“I know I woke you and it’s late, but I didn’t think that you’d accept my request for a visit.”
“What do you want? Take anything.” The bishop’s voice shook.
“Do I look like a common thief?” Thomas waved his hand at his own expensive clothing. “You and I have other business.” He took a seat on the bed next to the quivering man and ran his fingers along the wrinkled cheek, delighting in the bishop’s terror.
“It’s about a mutual friend. But I warn you, our friend has no idea I’m doing this. If you utter one word to him, I’ll break your neck. The same will happen if you speak of this to any other soul or seek retribution. Agreed?”
The man nodded, hands trembling on the sheet.
“I need you to write a letter of retraction regarding the things you’ve said about Abbé Saint-Laurent. You must admit you were incorrect and commend him for his fine work.”
“He defies the laws of the church.”
“That’s not why you harass him,” Thomas said, leaning forward, tone dangerous. “I couldn’t understand it before I saw you. Why would someone insult a priest who serves a parish few others would even enter? You tried to seduce Xavier and he rebuked you.”
The bishop’s pallor faded even more at Thomas’s words. “I don’t know what—”
Thomas nestled up to the man, put his face nearby, and massaged his leg. Though Thomas glared, the bishop refused to look at him. Thomas blew into his ear and then grabbed his genitals.
After a second, he released them and jumped off the bed. “Still want to deny it, Father?”
By now, the bishop was weeping as he shivered. Thomas marched to a desk, snatched a parchment, and thrust it at him. The bishop obeyed every command. He wrote three letters: one for his official files, one to the Vatican, and one to Xavier, apologizing for his mistaken condemnations and instead praising the young priest for exemplary service. Thomas took them when he had finished, sealed them with the bishop’s emblem, and slid them into his coat pocket.
“You have what you want. Leave me,” the bishop said.
“Do you understand what I mean to do if this isn’t the end of it?”
“Go away. You’ve won.”
Unconvinced that the bishop grasped the severity of his threat, Thomas grabbed the foot of the bed and broke it from its hinges. The mattress crashed to the floor and the bishop rolled to Thomas’s feet. He cried and quaked anew. Thomas reached with a swift motion and broke the man’s little finger. As the man howled in pain, Thomas smashed through the window and jumped two stories to the ground.
Now, to celebrate. Time for a kill.
As usual, people crowded the bars and drank, gambled, had public sex, and railed against Louis. The tawdry scene would produce a worthy victim or two. Thomas entered an establishment and took a seat. Nothing unusual caught his eye. No one longed for his fangs to end an unseemly life, until he heard a familiar voice. He turned, slowly, and saw Marcel seated nearby and talking to the likes of whom Thomas never wanted to even touch. They stank of men hired for dirty, illicit, and violent tasks.
There was a group of worthy victims. He could kill all of them, including Marcel, and rid himself of a major problem. Then Thomas remembered those damn ethical guidelines Anthony pronounced: never meddle in human affairs. Killing Marcel, even in a vial setting, violated that principle. And he had already gone too far in violating the ethic with his visit to Notre Dame. But that logic seemed faulty, until he recalled his conversation with Marcel. What if the demon placed some spell on Xavier to protect himself if Thomas came after him? Was such a thing possible? Thomas had no idea what to do.
Frustrated, Thomas listened.
“You’re fine gentlemen, as always,” Marcel was saying. “I hardly believe you dispatched that customer so fast and without a mess. I appreciate your efforts on my behalf—”
“Enough talk, old man, get to the point,” said one of the men. His breath hit Thomas from two tables away, stinking of tobacco, rum, and a gross assortment of decay.
“Don’t take that tone with me. I have a spying assignment, to watch two men. I need to know their patterns, their friends, and their beliefs. Discover any weaknesses, any material for blackmail, anything they conceal. Try to find out where they keep their money and when they sleep. I must know anything and everything about both of them. Monitor the two Saint-Laurents. One of you watch Michel, the other take Xavier.”
“How long do you want us to do this? It’ll cost you,” the other added.
“I’m well aware of your prices, and believe me, this is worth the cost. I’ll expect a weekly report. One more thing. Never go near their sister. When they visit her, walk away.”
Marcel described Michel and told them where to find him and Thomas pictured the route to Xavier’s church as Marcel gave it to the other man, depicting him, as well.
Thomas let Marcel leave, against his better judgment, as the rules haunted him and his magic concerned him. He followed the other two, however. He sensed enough to know that killing them would not violate the ethic, at least not as much as if he had gone after Marcel. These two had never met anyone from the family, so Thomas decided they stood outside the ethic’s prohibitions. They walked a few blocks, singing drunken songs, proud of Marcel’s coins and then entered a salon with rooms for rent. Thomas stayed close behind when they entered their room. He waited a few seconds and then burst in as they counted their money.
In a complete fury, he first grabbed the one intended to spy on Xavier. He almost failed to notice the terror on his face as he crushed the man’s skull between his hands. He paused as the cranium crunched like a seashell and gore exploded all over the room. He dropped the corpse and swore under his breath. He’d waited too long. The second man had escaped the room, and his screaming brought other patrons into the hall to see about the commotion. Thomas kicked the dead body before he swiftly went into the hall and vacated the building. He could not risk going after the remaining man as he stood among all these onlookers. Instead, he went to feed, once again hungry for blood after several nights of depriving himself.

 

The Vampire’s Quest
The Realm of the Vampire Council Book 2

 

The Vampire’s Quest brings back the beloved gay vampires, Xavier and Thomas, in the anticipated sequel to The Vampire’s Angel.
 
In 1822, the Archangel St. Michel orders Xavier to go on a quest to America, a quest that violates the Vampire Council’s laws to the point of a possible death sentence. Worse, Xavier must abandon his lover, Thomas. Xavier runs to his aging sister and pleads for Catherine’s help as Thomas races after them. With Thomas and the Vampire Council vying for Xavier’s soul, Xavier and Catherine struggle to obey the former priest’s divine calling before their inevitable capture.
 
 

 

The Vampire’s Protege
A Realm of the Vampire Council Novel

 

A sinister vampire offers Charon a choice he can’t refuse: play a deadly game of winner takes all, losers die.
 
Charon relishes the competition and molds himself into a sexy vampire who defies vampire law, savoring his power and embracing the role of villain. He also loves surrounding himself with hot young men. But when an alluring vampire stalks him and threatens to turn him into the Vampire Council unless he helps with a seemingly impossible task, will Charon risk his perfectly narcissistic life on the challenge? Does he have any other choice?
 
 

 

The Bachmann Family Secret
A Realm of the Vampire Council Companion Novel

 

Jaret Bachmann travels with his family to his beloved grandfather’s funeral with a heavy heart and, more troubling, premonitions of something evil lurking at the Bachmann ancestral home. But no one believes that he sees ghosts.
 
Grappling with his sexuality, a ghost that wants him out of the way, and the loss of his grandfather, Jaret must protect his family and come to terms with powers hidden deep within himself.
 
 

 

The Vampire’s Witch
The Realm of the Vampire Council Book 3

 

The Vampire’s Witch welcomes readers back to the world of vampires, witches, and magic.

Jaret Bachmann’s life spins out of control after a handsome stranger saves him from an attack along the bike path on Lakeshore Drive. His estranged high school sweetheart stalks him, the enraged ghost of his ancestor destroys his family, and his bike path savior-cum-lover abandons him after learning Jaret is a powerful witch, all of it sending Jaret into deep depression. Struggling to find his way afterward, Jaret searches for comfort in the unlikely friendship of a secret vampire community.

Xavier, Thomas, Anthony, and Catherine return in this, the third book in The Realm of the Vampire Council series and a sequel to The Bachmann Family Secret. Over time, Jaret’s friendship with the vampires strengthens and he forges a new family connection with Xavier, Thomas, and Catherine.  But he and Anthony are estranged and though their souls are entwined, there hearts are another matter.

 

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published several gay horror/romance/humorous books with NineStar Press. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.DamianSerbu.com.
 
 

 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
 
$15 Amazon giftcard,
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– 1 winner each

Book Blitz: Rabbit in the Moon, by Heather Diamond

Rabbit in the Moon

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Rabbit in the Moon
By Heather Diamond
Genre: Memoir

Blame it on Hawaii’s rainbows, sparkling beaches, fruity cocktails, and sensuous breezes. For Heather Diamond, there for a summer course on China, a sea change began when romance bloomed with Fred, an ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong.

Returning to her teaching job in Texas, Heather wonders if the whirlwind affair was a moment of madness. She is, after all, forty-five years old, married, a mother and grandmother.

Rabbit in the Moon follows Heather and Fred’s relationship as well as Heather’s challenges with multiple mid-life reinventions. When Fred goes on sabbatical, Heather finds herself on the Hong Kong island of Cheung Chau with his large, boisterous family. For an independent, reserved American, adjusting to his extended family isn’t easy.

Life on Cheung Chau is overwhelming but also wondrous. Heather chronicles family celebrations, ancestor rituals, and a rich cycle of festivals like the Hungry Ghosts Festival, Chinese New Year, and the Bun Festival. Her descriptions of daily life and traditions are exquisite, seamlessly combining the insights of an ethnographer with the fascination of a curious newcomer who gradually transitions to part of the family.

Moving between Hawaii, Hong Kong, and the continental US, Rabbit in the Moon is an honest, finely crafted meditation on intercultural marriage, the importance of family, and finding the courage to follow your dreams.


Brief Excerpt from book:

Our gourmet eating tour includes visiting a series of tourist centers devoted to Chinese specialty foods. Our stops include a pork floss factory, a tea farm, and an eel farm where I refuse to get out of the bus. I’ll eat eels cooked and on rice, but I have no desire to discover how they’re raised, skinned, and smoked. In the bus, Amah passes around a package of sweet, dried, and shredded pork she bought to share along with all the snacks she purchased as gifts for friends. Americans give chocolates; Chinese give pork floss. I have to admit that it’s good. I gave up eating vegetarian somewhere between the last trip and this one, partly because of my desire to be a good traveler who can fit easily into a new culture and partly because I tired of being told that there was only a little pork or chicken in Chinese dishes “for flavor.” On the last trip, my special vegetarian soup was garnished with a chicken foot, which Fred quickly snatched from my bowl. Being too much trouble is an issue I’m working on.

Because there are so many of us, meals require two large round tables. I have always had a weak stomach when it comes to cleanliness in restaurants. My father liked to tease me about going to his favorite hamburger joint, Mel’s Diner, where I once found a crispy fly in my French fries. This trip poses challenges that go beyond my issues with Chinese table etiquette.

In a Teochew restaurant in Shantou, we’re squeezed into a tiny upstairs room that holds only four tables. We’re seated on stools like the ones at Number 10, and I’m sitting near the wall when I spot a good-sized cockroach lazily ascending. Not wanting to make a scene, I nudge Fred and tip my head toward the roach. Fred calls the waitress and points. She pulls the wet towel out of her apron pocket, smacks it against the wall and the roach, and tucks the rag back into her apron. She then calmly goes back to taking orders from the next table. I tamp down my gag reflex just in time to see a winking chicken head arriving on the next platter.

I have never seen a naked, boiled chicken head, and I do not understand how anyone could think it attractive as a culinary garnish. Yet there it sits, propped up in the middle of its own chopped, steamed, and sauced flesh, one eye closed and its comb flopping left. Fred turns to me with an exaggerated wink, his fingers crooked over his head like the chicken’s comb. Stifling a giggle, I nearly choke on my tea. Mimi sees him and says she heard that if you go out with your boss and the chicken head points to you, you’ll know you’re about to be fired. This strikes me as hilarious, and as Fred plops steamed chicken into my rice bowl, I’m shaking with the effort to contain my laughter.

Back in our hotel room, I put a shower cap on my head and prance around singing a made-up chicken head song in my beginner Mandarin to the tune of “Fish Heads,” by Dr. Demento: “Ji tou, Ji tou, heng pang ji tou.” We roll on the bed, whooping and wiping our eyes. Humor, it occurs to me, might be my secret weapon for surviving Lau family travel. I already adore this man for making me laugh, for the way he laughs with his entire body — shoulders shaking, head thrown back, snorting and gasping for air. For his playfulness, his silliness, his willingness to be the epicenter of a joke by laughing at his own mistakes and foibles. The first man in my life who makes me laugh out loud and thinks my jokes are as good as his own. Serious people like me are pressure cookers with stuck safety valves. Left to ourselves, we can ferment or implode. Levity lifts the lid, lets out the steam, and connects us to the world.


Author Bio:
Heather Diamond is an American writer in Hong Kong. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii and has worked as a bookseller, university lecturer, and museum curator. She is the author of American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition. Her essays have appeared in Memoir Magazine, Sky Island Journal, (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences of the Pandemic, Rappahannock Review, Waterwheel Review, Hong Kong Review, and New South Journal.

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