Book Blitz & Excerpt: Fang + Giveaway

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Fang, by Ellen Mint

Book 2 in the Coven of Desire series

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

 

How can Cal live when the monster remains in the mirror?

Cal is struggling. After his past unraveled into a torment that claimed nearly his whole family, how could he not be? The only good left in his life is Layla, even if she comes with a pain-in-the-haunches incubus. Dealing with Ink is one more problem he’s ignoring, until the werewolf issues he’s refused to face come for him.

A second pack is hunting him and they’re threatening his mother. Cal has no choice but to travel back to Santa Fe and confront them, or lose the last family he has left. While a road trip with Layla sounds nice, Ink has to come along, and the demon keeps driving a growing wedge between Cal and his tenuous grasp on humanity.

Cal, Ink and Layla come face to face with an enemy Cal once believed to be nothing but a myth, his claws and fangs useless against their firepower. What do they want with the witch, werewolf and demon? And, most of all, how can they be stopped?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, peril, near death, blood and gore. There are references to a cult, abusive and violent parents, and references to patricide.

Publisher’s Note: Everyone who buys a copy of Fang will receive the short story Snow Print free. Set between the events of Claw and Fang in the Coven of Desire series, Cal’s struggling to overcome the loss in his life is interrupted by a snowman army.

Excerpt

A crack shattered the silence, trying to pry my locked jaws apart. Shadows clipped across the single floodlight above the floorboards.

Diesel, gun oil, salted pork and…old leather. Every scent filled my sinuses and I whimpered.

“Cal…”

No! I spun in the tight space, clamping my filthy fingers onto my brother’s mouth. Even in the muddy crawlspace, I could see his eyes blazing above my palm. Eli’s entire body shivered, his shoulders rising to shield himself from every clip of the boot above our heads.

“We have to keep moving,” Mark spat in my ear. I cringed at the loogie sliding down my face while the eldest brother easily spun on his haunches. Even with his messed-up leg duct-taped to a fence post, he crawled quickly under the floor.

The boards above our heads stopped creaking and the light vanished. Had he gone to bed? This was it. Mom had put me in charge of getting Eli. All we had to do was…

Blinding white punctured the world. The ceiling above us shattered, splintering my heart. A massive hand slammed down right in front of my face. I reached my foot back, prepared to kick and break a finger, when the entire house collapsed over Eli.

Another crack. We all flinched as he took it. Three more lines added to the ones crisscrossing his back. Growls rumbled from Mark, pinned by his mother to stand and watch. I tried to twist away, but my head wouldn’t leave. If I didn’t watch, I could be next.

“Ah!”

A single cry escaped from Eli, and both Mark and I screamed, “No.” If he made a sound, it started all over.

The belt hung against the five-year-old’s back, Eli straining to reach over the apple crate he bent over. Crimson wicked up his burlap cassock. The blood would be left to dry for days as a reminder because the scars weren’t enough.

“This is what happens to disobedient boys,” boomed the voice through my ears, up my feet and into my blood. I tried to spit it out, the scent of him merging into a putrid taste boiling down my throat. Leaning over, I tried to retch it away—diesel, gun oil, salted pork, old leather, and blood. A spray of it erupted from my lips, staining the floorboards of the great room. No one turned to me, no one noticed I was vomiting in front of them.

Every eye gazed upon him. The father. Our great leader into the next stage of existence.

“Cal!”

“Eli…?”

His dirty, matted hair began to lift. As it did, crimson paint dribbled down the sides. “I don’t wanna be here, Cal!”

“I…” Damn it. My gaze plummeted to the floor, tears threatening to burst. Slamming my lids closed so no one could tattle on me for crying, I said, “I’ll get you out of here, Eli. When it’s done, I’ll get you.”

“Forget it.” It wasn’t the soft cry of a kid, but the dead acceptance of an adult. Even with my eyes shut tight, I saw Eli rise from the box. He trampled it down with his foot, shattering the crate we’d all been whipped on. Eli stood tall, stretching far above my head.

“Weak,” the voice of my unending nightmares thundered. “All of you.” His face burned hot like the sun and I could only stare at the black gun extending from his hand. He pointed it at the followers standing in a ring around us.

“The time of the Moon is nigh,” the rotten bastard said. “Destiny, child. Blood.” He aimed his gun at Eli. A flash turned my brother’s head into a wolf’s skull.

“Eli!” I screamed, running for him. But my feet couldn’t get any traction. Every step kept me pinned in place, unable to reach my brother slowly tumbling to the cement ground.

“You cannot escape it, Calvin.” The asshole’s hand clamped to my shoulder and he pressed me down to my knees. I tried to fight it, but my bones were matchsticks against his might. They buckled, my nose pressing into the dirt.

A wind howled through the trees, parting the stricken branches to reveal the yellow-blue light forever beaming down upon us. Itching rippled under my skin, one no amount of scratching would solve.

“Give in,” he chanted almost serenely.

I shook my head, feeling fur and not hair brush against my shoulder. “No,” I declared, the words warping as my gums receded. Pain clawed up the roots of my teeth sharpening to fangs.

“You cannot escape, Calvin.”

Squeezing my eyes tight, I willed the wolf back. My teeth flattened. I patted my head, finding only the shaved hair. Lashing my arm back, I burst from his grip and took two steps forward. “I’m never changing again!” I shouted.

A low chuckle caused me to freeze. My body betrayed me, terror beckoning me to turn. Lucien bent down, half of his skull exposed, the skin ripped like paper, the muscles rotted away. The eyeball in his fleshless socket was milky white. “Child.” A squishy, flapping sound followed his words. Red and purple tubes flapped out of a massive wound in his throat. I wanted to scream, but my mouth drowned with hot liquid.

“You cannot escape your blood.”

Fuck!

I shook awake, my whole body slamming forward to try to escape. Instead of hurling myself off the bed, I almost knocked my teeth into a soft shoulder. Layla’s hair provided cushioning to stop me, and I buried my face in it. I opened my mouth in a rictus and gave all the force of shrieking without letting a single sound escape.

My tongue tasted of copper and salt, of Lucien’s blood that I had ripped from his throat. My brain thundered with the scents of his body, his boots, his instruments of terror. Get out of it. He’s not here. He can never be here.

Burrowing my nose farther into her hair, I pulled in the deepest whiff imaginable. Cereal marshmallows. We’d gotten into a pointless food fight last night and I’d flicked them at her as she laughed. Amber. She’d used my soap to wash her hands and face. Me. The long night I held her safe in my arms. The air right before a thunderstorm struck. Layla.

My body tightened around her as it recognized the fullness of her. And she was stirring. Damn it.

“Cal…?” she croaked. Most of the time her voice was lush and lyrical, but in the morning it sounded more like a smoking frog.

I placed my lips to the nape of her neck, kissing over her curly hair to try to find the skin below. The taste of her replaced the lingering memory of blood. “Sorry to wake you,” I said.

The wolf inside me was restless. No, angry. It wanted vengeance even though we’d already gotten it. I winced and started to slide away. If I stayed in bed, no matter how tempting, it could rip through me. Take over my thoughts and push me to its side. I slid my hand up Layla’s stomach and over her hip, having to abandon her to calm down.

I was fairly certain she’d passed out and I slipped to my feet, when her fingers crested over mine. Through the shadows of the old house, I couldn’t see much, but the silhouette of her breasts tumbling together out from under my blanket almost drove me back in with her.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

No. But I’ve never been okay my whole life. “You stay sleeping.” I bent over and kissed her lips. I wished her taste and touch could chase away all the nightmare, but it clung to me like a filthy sack caked in blood. Rising to my feet, I stumbled out of my room. The wolf inside me howled.

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About the Author

Ellen Mint

Ellen Mint adores the adorkable heroes who charm with their shy smiles and heroines that pack a punch. She recently won the Top Ten Handmaid’s Challenge on Wattpad where hers was chosen by Margaret Atwood. Her books, Undercover Siren and Fever are available at Amazon as well as a short story in the Lucky Between The Sheets anthology. Married, she lives in Nebraska with her dog named after Granny Weatherwax. Her hobbies include gaming, painting, and halloween prop making. The basement is full of skeletons because they ran out of room in the closets.

You can find Ellen at her website here and also on Bookbub.

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Ellen Mint’s Claw Giveaway

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Illusion + Giveaway

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Illusion by Aurelia T. Evans

Book 11 in the Arcanium series

Word Count: 85,949
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 304

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FANTASY AND FAIRYTALES
HORROR
PARANORMAL

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Book Description

Arcanium’s greatest illusion is that there’s any illusion at all…

When an old flame returns to Arcanium in the company of her own magical circus, Illumina, offering an alliance, Bell initially considers the merger an opportunity for much-needed change.

However, with Illumina comes Maya, who has lost her memories not just of Locke’s Arcanium but all her time with Bell—love, guilt, wishes, everything. Having her memories removed leaves Maya with too large a gap in her mind that she’s desperate to fill, and she knows that Bell, of all the people in Arcanium, can give her the information she’s missing.

Bell still loves Maya and spends every day trying to atone for the pain he caused her and the rest of his cast. In spite of her frustration, she’s happiest without him, without the memories that once nearly destroyed her. If Illumina is to become part of Arcanium, he has no choice. He has to keep his distance, because she doesn’t know why she should run as far away as she can from Arcanium—and from Bell.

Even so, resisting Maya is almost too much for him to bear.

Reader advisory: This book contains references to past torture, PTSD, consensual torture, self-harm through cutting and bloodplay.

Excerpt

Bell closed his eyes in the golden lantern light backstage.

When Bell let go, spread himself wide over the web of Arcanium, he was its omnipresent god and omnipotent voyeur, from the thoughts of his cast backstage with him to the audience anticipating the performances, the guests putting in their last efforts in the midway and the Skeletons settling in for their evening meal. He could see what they’d done yesterday and what they would do tomorrow. Even when he didn’t try, he had a finger on every pulse within the borders of Arcanium.

There had been nothing since Locke that had come close to taking Arcanium again. The fae hadn’t even constituted a threat. They would have left with far more chagrin if they had known how distant they had been from taking Arcanium by force. And Locke was now a red diamond on Neve’s finger, waiting for the day she was ready to kill him slowly.

Bell’s opiate of choice had always been pleasure, but his taste for violence went in and out with the seasons. He hadn’t the heart anymore for the punishment of man. He had enough of that to contend with in his cast’s memories and nightmares—but he’d rediscovered the old joy in punishing the immortals who had exploited his Arcanium, even if he had to experience the act of punishment secondhand.

Man swallowed against the apple every second they breathed, and Bell burned with the same sadistic sickness as his fireborn brethren. He kept the Ringmaster in Arcanium as much to remind himself of the line he couldn’t cross as to do the things he shouldn’t.

No one had ever told him what he could and couldn’t do. He was neither angel nor demon nor creation from dust. He had determined his own lines, chiseled his own moral code into his skin before Hammurabi had commissioned his scribes. He was free will incarnate, an agent of chaos to cast awry best-laid plans. He was his own, and so he made his world in his own image, populated it with free wills of all shapes and sizes to shape to his liking—which was often to theirs, because it pleased him to manipulate but not necessarily to control. Manipulation meant nothing without will. If he’d wanted slaves, he would have filled the circus with more convincing golems—like a flea circus of mechanical illusion but with zombies.

But where would be the fun in that?

Bell opened his eyes again, returning himself to the moment, although a blink could send him back out into the circus, forward or backward. All Arcanium and beyond was as accessible to him as the palace of his memories, but although grasping the world in his hands became easy when he made himself more of the god he was, he didn’t see much fun in that either. He made things easier for his cast and for himself, imparting skills that they hadn’t or couldn’t have learned before, gifting talent, but even the demons preferred to work for their performances. Without effort, there could be no achievement, and without achievement, no satisfaction. Pleasure, as with pain, had to be earned.

Selena wrapped her arms around his shoulders from behind, her sharp smile against his cheek. She kissed him lightly. “Ready, darling?”

As a demon, Selena could twist her body into shapes that Valorie couldn’t have hoped to create. In Valorie’s case, Bell had wanted a contortionist human enough to be both awe-inspiring and credible. When Selena had offered her services as a demon, he no longer had to keep the contortions credible. He didn’t need her to inspire awe. She preferred to inspire fear.

With her black eyes, dead blue skin and blood-stained hair, she was beautiful, but she was still a demon and plied most of her contortionist trade in the Haunted Funhouse rather than in the big top. For the big top performances, she’d taken over Maya’s role as his magician’s assistant and damsel in distress—at least, Arcanium’s version of a damsel in distress, which rarely followed a traditional plot.

Selena retrieved one of the steel knives, gleaming silver as new for every performance, from the bandolier around his torso and brought it to his throat. He lifted his chin, threaded his fingers through her locked hair, breathed in her craving for impure blood. When she shifted her kiss to his mouth, he met that craving with his tongue, hissing as her sharp teeth caught him and she slid the blade over his chin. Then she kissed down to the trickle of blood and drank from the wound until he healed it under her mouth.

She fed from his corruption instead of feeding from his people or too many of his guests, and in return, she made him numb. She could render men into oblivion, but the best she could do for Bell was take both the pleasure and the pain away for a time.

Most of the human cast believed he was sleeping with Selena. Kitty knew better. Neve and Elizabeth had guessed otherwise. And, to his annoyance, Vivian suspected, although because she didn’t know, she hadn’t shared that information with Dom or Delilah. The demons and the faerie could tell just by looking at him, but they wouldn’t share that information one way or the other. A jinni’s business, like that of a demon’s, was his own.

Selena kept his secret, liked keeping secrets in general, because secrets so easily corrupted, improving the flavor of that which she fed upon. It was only apt that she’d chosen an actual lover among his humans who was as ingenuous as they came. The fact that she regularly drained Victor of corruption that he had done nothing to earn satisfied Bell.

Selena licked the smear of blood from the edge of the blade before returning it to the bandolier. Then she jumped onto his back, wrapping her legs and arms around him. She was taller than him by half a head without heels, over a head with the ones she wore for the performance, but although taking a human form limited him in many ways, it didn’t impede his strength. He caught her legs and tucked her against him as he carried her to the curtains. Chelsine would finish her fire dance any minute, which would cue the lights for Sera’s aerial act. After Sera, Bell and Selena would enter. Though Selena should have been getting into place, Sasha and Mikhail had worked their magic, as they always did, and both Bell and Selena were reluctant to part.

Bell had never been so frustrated for so long.

Selena would find her own satisfaction after the performance, as most of his cast did. Some didn’t even wait until they were out from backstage.

To be surrounded by the lust and love of his people, to feel it against his skin, against his teeth, to drink it like milk and honey, hum with the vibrations of their moans and screams, watch them dance around each other, caress, kiss, their pupils dilated and their cheeks flushed, the touch of their tongue to their lips… It was the torture of his own dungeon, to be surrounded by everything he wanted but not to partake himself, even when he was tempted.

Instead, he rested his head back against Selena’s chest as her hair draped on either side of his face.

Selena slid from his back and kissed his shoulder. “Hard out there for a demon with a soul. You, of all people, should know better than to resist. God, Bell, there are so many willing victims. Why do you do this to yourself?”

He didn’t have a word she would understand. Demons punished with ease, but they had little concept of self-punishment. The closest any of them came was limited self-denial.

“I’ll see you in the ring.” Bell would seem casual to anyone without an extra sense or two to detect the deception.

“Sure, handsome.” Selena broke away, scurrying up the ladder to the heavens, where the trapeze swings, spotlights and aerial silks lived.

Neve was his crown jewel—the Spider, a black diamond he would keep in a vault if he could, but Kitty, who reclined on the chaise longue, was the life’s blood, the very beating heart of his circus. Locke had understood that she was valuable but hadn’t understood how much, or else he would never have allowed the Ringmaster to take her for himself.

Without an ounce of magic in her blood, Kitty sensed his attention, opened her eyes and met Bell’s gaze across backstage. Though she couldn’t see it, the Ringmaster’s darkness seeped from under the curtains as he introduced Sera, but when it reached Kitty, it dissipated. She was a pink, floral oasis in a sea of smoke.

Bell sent her what love he could spare from a distance. She received it like a blanket warmed in sunlight, because she was his Kitty Cat and he could rest his head on her shoulder and hold her until the sun rose and set again. Even if she blamed him like the rest, she’d lost none of her love for him. If a human being could become family to jinn, they had bound themselves with something thicker than blood.

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First For Romance

About the Author

Aurelia T. Evans

Aurelia T. Evans is an up-and-coming erotica author with a penchant for horror and the supernatural.

She’s the twisted mind behind the werewolf/shifter Sanctuary trilogy, demonic circus series Arcanium, and vampire serial Bloodbound. She’s also had short stories featured in various erotic anthologies.

Aurelia presently lives in Dallas, Texas (although she doesn’t ride horses or wear hats). She loves cats and enjoys baking as much as she dislikes cooking. She’s a walker, not a runner, and she writes outside as often as possible.

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Aurelia T. Evans Illusion Giveaway

AURELIA T. EVANS IS GIVING AWAY A $50.00 AMAZON GIFT CARD TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 11TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Silk + Giveaway

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Silk
Aurelia T. Evans

Book 10 in the Arcanium series

Word Count: 87,767
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 305

GENRES:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FANTASY
FANTASY AND FAIRYTALES
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS

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Book Description

Beauty in Arcanium has always been in the eyes of strange beholders

After her husband-to-be destroys half her face because she refuses to marry him, faerie princess Sera flees to Arcanium for sanctuary.

Fae royalty are defined by their usefulness and beauty. In Arcanium, Sera has some usefulness, frivolous though a silk aerialist is. But with the sex demons’ magic rousing all the desires she was never permitted to indulge in before marriage, she is all too aware that her disfigurement repels any hope for relief.

Except a certain legless Torso can’t take his eyes off of Sera, and the Horned God of Arcanium still bows before her.

Arcanium protects her, as it protects all the circus cast, but it has been breached before, and her desperate betrothed continues to pursue her within it. He and her family’s fae army are willing to do anything, even take Arcanium again, to get Sera back.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of public sex, domestic violence, arranged marriage, gay and ménage sexual interactions, references to past torture, PTSD and consensual coercion.

Excerpt

When Sera emerged from the woods, the cacophony from the circus assaulted her. So did the light. Squinting didn’t help, but still she stepped out into the sun, half afraid that she’d start smoking.

An iron fence lined the circus’s borders. Arcanium was now secure enough in its own offerings that it no longer had to attach itself to another event or park. Rumors continued to flit about that Bell had lost his nerve, that the empathic, empathetic, pathetic self-styled leader of Arcanium had finally tasted humble pie—humility that edged awfully close to mortality. But the gradual return of Arcanium to its former glory suggested that if Bell had been spooked by the demonic theft, he had since regained confidence.

Sera could scale the fence, but there were too many people who might see her doing it, and climbing it physically in a more innocuous way would hurt her hands.

She followed the fence to the entrance, an iconic, elaborate iron gate more theater than security. A place like Arcanium didn’t need iron for security.

She hesitated to enter. Too many people were coming and going, and they all stared at her, but she forced herself to press forward. She didn’t have time to waste fearing the stares or letting them bother her. She could suffer self-consciousness and question her decision later, when she was safe.

If necessary, Sera could have fooled the ticket-takers into letting her in free of charge, but the golems took one look at her and assumed she was just another member of Arcanium. That the soulless automatons of Arcanium used their limited deductive skills to conclude she was an oddity ached in her chest, but she passed the ticket booths with the fool’s gold coins in her purse untouched.

As she strode through Arcanium, some of the adults she maneuvered around turned to admonish her as they would any child in a brightly-colored, multilayered chiffon skirt and faerie wings. The sight of her face drew their sharp words up short, and her determination ensured that she didn’t have to see their shock for too long. Like the ticket-takers, once people got a good look, they assumed she belonged there.

She knew exactly where she wanted to go but not exactly where it was, because Bell changed the arrangement of the circus at every location, more to suit his ever-changing whims than to disorient. Her gait was resolute, her footsteps quick. The uneven ground couldn’t unsettle someone accustomed to soil, stone and bark rather than slats of wood or concrete. A few of the glances intended for her face or her dress dipped down to her heels—sturdy heels, yes, but her people liked to give themselves a little height for special occasions, like weddings or going out among the ungainly people who had taken over the wild places and made them barren for their less steady feet to walk. It took more than a stray stone or clump of grass to slip her to the ground.

Urgency finally rose in her chest when she’d searched the entire circus with no trace of the tent she was looking for. She’d found many tents, from those in Oddity Row to the big top, but not the tent she was trying to find. Fear—bright, unkind and rare as lightning splitting a tree—quickened her heart and her step.

If she had been there for sightseeing, oh, the sights she might have seen. She might have even enjoyed herself. Arcanium wasn’t the average carnival or circus, although those had sometimes been pleasant, too, on the occasions her kind hadn’t been forcefully kept out. Magic made for far more convincing illusions, and none of the Arcanium oddities were disappointments, enhanced and enchanted and real as they were. But Sera couldn’t dwell on them, even when they noticed her and tried to stop her—perhaps simply to talk or make sure she was all right. She avoided their attempts, brushed by them without a word. She couldn’t afford to stop looking.

After the third circuit through Arcanium, tears like seawater slipping down her cheek, she understood. She couldn’t find the fortune teller tent because he didn’t want it to be found. Bell had let her into Arcanium, but he had no intention of letting her stay, no intention of giving her a chance to stand in front of him to make her case. He’d let her in so she could see what she was not allowed to have, to torment her with her last bit of failed hope.

Sera swiped at her eye and ducked behind a midway booth, leaning back against the wood. The structure was flimsy, intended for transport and easy assemblage, but, like most temporary structures, it would stand most stress short of a tornado, even without magic. It shifted a little when she leaned against it, but she had no concern that it would topple, any more than the tents would fly away in a powerful breeze. The flimsiness here was as much an illusion as the cheap material.

She closed her eye to surround herself in far more comforting darkness. “I’m here in peace.”

The purr of his voice arose in the darkness she had given herself. “You do not bring peace with you.”

She opened her eye, expecting him in front of her. But there was only her. “I need your help.”

Contempt surrounded her like incense smoke. “And why should I help you?”

“I didn’t hurt your circus.”

“You watched and did nothing. I’m not accepting new recruits, darling. Go back home.”

“I can’t go back there. Please…” Just saying the word was like swallowing needles. “Help me.”

Silence followed her plea. But the contempt, too, dissipated, and she still sensed his presence around her, inside her. Had he been a demon, such presence would have been unbearably intrusive. But jinn, though hot as fever, were not the danger that those who called themselves demons could be.

When he said nothing more, Sera took a deep breath and rounded the booth again to search, desperately, for the fortune-teller tent once more.

This time, it was next to the entrance of the big top. It hadn’t been there before—or rather, Bell had kept it from her and only her, based on the number of people standing in line outside the closed tent flap.

It went against her training—and her principles, even for those who showed her people less consideration—but she couldn’t afford to wait. She superseded the line, billowing the closed flap open. Any protests from the people waiting died as soon as they saw her more clearly.

When the people to whom Bell was giving a reading took in the sight of her—with her opalescent dress, faerie wings, pink braids and half her face smashed into nothing—the couple stepped out. Maybe they thought, based on her grim half-expression, that she had come to tell Bell some kind of terrible news—a fire in the big top tent, an injured member of the cast, a fight among guests or perhaps that someone in his family was hurt or dying or dead.

Sera spared them a moment’s gratitude. Then she gave the whole of her attention to the man slouched in the parlor chair. He didn’t try to stop the couple from leaving nor did he demand that she leave, intended for paying customers only.

He said nothing, stroking his lip as he took in the sight of her. His posture remained deliberately casual—his legs spread, chest bare, spine curved—as though he couldn’t destroy her in less than a second if she tried anything against him.

Unlike the guests and his cast, she didn’t startle him—no recoil, no automatic disgust, no double-take. He considered her as any arrogant ass might consider a woman for his bed, although if he thought he’d have her in his in return for any favor, he would learn better quickly.

“I seek sanctuary,” she said.

“Does this look like a sanctuary to you?”

“Yes.” Sera crossed her arms, her face heating with his regard, with the prodding of his magic. It was nothing like the magic she was used to among her own. That was kindling sparks in comparison with the forest blaze of him, though he appeared as innocuous as any delicate human being, his human disguise more seamless than any other she had seen. He would be confused for human by even the keenest demon or god if he held his magic secret, rather than the way he made it known to her.

Sera lowered her eyes. It would be a mistake to believe that she could stand against him if he intended to make her kneel. But she didn’t kneel. Not yet. “If I wish myself in, what would you do to me?”

Bell didn’t move and blinked only once, more like a feline in derision than a sign of weakness or weakening. “I told you I’m not accepting recruits. As much of a headache as the humans have been, I am not taking in a stray faerie, especially not a member of the royal family—not when that same royal family availed itself of Locke’s Arcanium all too often. I know every single instance one of your brothers or cousins—and even your father—reveled in the downfall of my circus. In fact, I have one of your brothers here with me now.”

The lid to a chest next to the display sideboard swung open. Bell conjured a cluster of spirit quartz onto the parlor table. It gleamed against the dark velvet, shone different rainbow colors from different angles as she slowly approached the prison of her brother Falconell. He had been given up for dead, like all of the demons, monsters and immortals from the night Bell had taken back Arcanium. Sera reached for the crystal but Bell clicked his tongue, gathering the spirit quartz in both hands to rest on his lap.

“He’s mine now. He isn’t suffering. He isn’t anything. But when I release him from this prison, it will not be to save him. It will be to make my people stronger, not to give your people closure. All of you should know better than to step foot in Arcanium.”

“That’s why I came. They’d never think to look here first.” The fear that had cracked her chest had since warmed and melted away, leaving mere wariness in its wake. He had given her a chance to find his tent, to argue her case, and he hadn’t spirited her away into her own spirit quartz prison. That was something. “Look at me.”

Bell straightened, shifting his entire demeanor. Just like that, he became a coiled predator, his golden eyes gleaming, although she doubted the humans in his employ had ever seen them like this. They might have interpreted his change in posture as attention and concern, but Sera knew better. He had been at his most dangerous when most casual, but that didn’t mean showing her his claws meant she was safe—only that he respected her enough to cast off the mask and present his cards in anticipation of her own.

“I see you.” He held out a hand like a king to his subject.

After a beat, she allowed him to pull her in, close enough for him to take her chin and lift it.

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About the Author

Aurelia T. Evans

Aurelia T. Evans is an up-and-coming erotica author with a penchant for horror and the supernatural.

She’s the twisted mind behind the werewolf/shifter Sanctuary trilogy, demonic circus series Arcanium, and vampire serial Bloodbound. She’s also had short stories featured in various erotic anthologies.

Aurelia presently lives in Dallas, Texas (although she doesn’t ride horses or wear hats). She loves cats and enjoys baking as much as she dislikes cooking. She’s a walker, not a runner, and she writes outside as often as possible.

You can follow Aurelia on Facebook here and on her blog here.

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ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A FREE AURELIA T. EVANS ROMANCE BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 16th March 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.