Book Blitz & Excerpt: Beasts of Burden + Giveaway

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Book Title: Beasts of Burden (The Black Blade Chronicles 2)

Author and Publisher: J.K. Hogan

Cover Artist: Wicked Pixel Designs 

Release Date: March 29, 2022

Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance

Tropes: Enemies to reluctant friends to lovers

Themes: Swords and sorcery, adventure quest

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length:  approx. 75 000 words      

It is not a standalone story. It is the second book in The Black Blade Chronicles series.

This book ends on a HFN, with the understanding that the HEA will be at the end of the 3 book arc.

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

The journey continues…

 

Blurb

Senne Clayward and Kasimir vas Hjardar continue their quest to rescue Senne’s young ward, Princess Sigrid, from the evil tyrant who has taken her hostage. After they follow through with a mad plan to sneak into King Prosper’s fortress that only halfway succeeds, the princess slips through their fingers once more. As they travel across the continent of Taleth, they are one step behind their quarry at every turn.

Encountering numerous obstacles and enemies both old and new, Senne and Kasimir doggedly pursue their goal while coming to rely on each other more than ever. The two unlikely companions enlist the help of a small band of adventurers to track the princess and intercept her captors while the armies of Toivonen march westward behind them.

Kasimir continues to grapple with the beast on his back—a lifelong struggle—while Senne must bare his soul to earn the trust of those around him. Can they survive the journey? Will they save Sigrid in time to keep her from harm and prevent the realm from plunging into eternal darkness? And what will be left for them after the dust settles?

 


Excerpt 

“You there. Halt!”

“Here we go,” Kasimir murmured under his breath. He turned to confront a group of greycloaks who had approached them from behind. None of them seemed to have any visible rank higher than foot soldier. Kasimir put on a carefully blank expression. “There a problem?”

“By royal decree, bearing arms within the city walls is prohibited. You are in violation of this order.”

“Oh, aye.” Kasimir nodded dumbly. “Saw the notices, I did. Smart idea, that. Only the notices was addressed as to say ‘Attention Senkalese citizens and Yesenians traveling within the city, by royal decree’ an’ all that. But y’see, we’re not Yesenian, an’ me mate here, well, he cannae read at all. So I figures it ’ad naught to do wi’ us.”

Senne cast him a puzzled look, no doubt wondering why he was putting on the thick Lunarii peasant burr. Kasimir’s reasoning behind it was sound. These guards were merely grunts. He had to confuse them enough to report to their commander, because without someone of higher rank noticing them, they had no chance of being put before the king.

Just as Kasimir predicted, one of the grunts, the one who seemed to be somewhat in charge, scratched his head and looked at the soldier to his right. “Does it say that?”

The other guard shrugged. “Well, yeah, seems right enough. Never thought about what happens if we catch an outlander armed up in the city.”

“We ought to fetch the captain, then,” said the grunt-in-charge.

His right-hand man nodded sagely.

“I mean you, ya bloody imbecile,” he spat. The foot soldier flinched and scarpered off. “Youse two, don’t move a muscle until the captain gets here.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Kasimir said in his normal accent.

Senne snorted quietly. The soldier gave them an odd look but didn’t comment. After countless minutes of the tension-filled standoff, the messenger returned, leading a man wearing a red officer’s cloak.

Upon further inspection, Kasimir realized he was not only an officer, but a decorated one. His cloak was pushed back off his shoulders so Kas could see he wore epaulettes studded with silver stripes and dripping with braided silver cords. The dragon emblazoned on his armor appeared to be inlaid with real silver, and the regulation bycocket hat had been replaced by an obsidian dragon-winged battle-helm. It all made for a fearsome sight, and Kasimir had to fight the urge to take a step back when the man approached.

When the captain reached them, he flipped up the visor of his helm, and Kasimir was surprised that he appeared much younger than he would’ve thought for a high-ranking officer, though the gray threaded through his dark hair proclaimed him to be middle-aged. He was handsome in that craggy, chiseled way Yesenians had—they always seemed to look as though they’d gone straight from mother’s womb to the battlefield and never looked back—with his square jaw, closely trimmed black beard, and slightly bent nose, as if it had been broken a time or two.

“I am Vilhelme, Commander of the King’s Army. Who are you and why are you in my city?”

“Commander,” interrupted the head guard. “These blokes said the arms notices only refer to Yesenian citizens, so I didn’t know what to do with ’em.”

The look Vilhelme turned on the man was nothing short of murderous. “That is absurd.” He turned back to Kasimir and Senne, effectively dismissing the ignoramus, and repeated his question. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“Just travelers passing through,” Kasimir hedged. “Here to trade for supplies.”

Vilhelme glared over his shoulder again. “In that case, welcome. If you wish to trade in the city, I am afraid you must surrender your weapons. They will be stored in the armory until you are ready to move on.”

Kasimir’s jaw tensed, his pulse thudding in his throat. “Can’t do that, friend.”

Vilhelme attempted a smile, though it was more a baring of teeth than anything. “You may address me as Commander Vilhelme and nothing else. If you do not wish to disarm, you will be escorted to the main gate so you may leave. In fact…” Vilhelme narrowed his eyes. “You should not have even gained entry with all those weapons. I shall have a chat with the watch captain.”

“No need,” Kasimir said conversationally. “We snuck in.”

Despite the smile, Vilhelme’s eyes glittered with danger. “Why would you do a thing like that?”

“We want to see the king,” Senne said. “Thought if we breached the wall, he’d come down from on high and deliver the mighty blow of justice.”

Vilhelme scoffed. “His Royal Eminence does not entertain petty criminals.”

“Oi,” Kasimir said. “Why don’t you give him a message for us, then?”

Vilhelme turned to face him head-on and crossed his arms as if he were bored. “I’m dying to hear what that might be.”

“Tell him,” Kas growled through clenched teeth, “that we’ve come for the girl.”

Vilhelme raised a fist to chin level, almost casually, and they were instantly at the sword points and arrow tips of the guardsmen who had tripled in number and somehow surrounded them. Easily thirty weapons, at least half of which would be aimed at a kill spot somewhere on Kasimir’s body. His vision wavered. His blood ran hot, pounding wildly in his chest and up through his neck, nearly choking off his breath.

“That,” said Vilhelme, “would be inadvisable if the two of you are in any way attached to your hides.” He cast a bored glance at the men around him, oblivious to Kasimir’s torment and the danger they were all in. Kas didn’t think Senne had noticed either.

“All the same,” Senne said, his jaw bunching with his frown. “Tell him the knight and the sellsword have come to collect our charge.”

“Well, I can’t say whether or not you’ll ever see the king, but you’ll certainly get a good long look at the inside of our dungeons,” Vilhelme remarked blandly. Then he gave his head guardsman a small nod. “Take them.”


Giveaway 

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your choice of ebook from the author’s backlist (3 winners)

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About the Author 

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, she found her true passion. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them.

J.K. resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and their pets. If she isn’t writing, J.K. can be found designing book covers at Wicked Pixel Designs, creating fiber art and supplies at Earthbound Fiber Arts watching Hurricanes Hockey and, of course, reading!

 

 

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Release Blitz & Excerpt: Lord Garrington’s Vessel + Giveaway

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Lord Garrington’s Vessel by S. Rodman

It’s 2022. Magic isn’t supposed to be real. Arranged marriages aren’t supposed to exist.

How are gay arranged marriages for the purpose of magic a thing?

Fen has grown up all alone in boarding schools. Never meeting any of his family. At his graduation, his older brother turns up to take him home. Except Fen discovers he is the result of a shameful affair and not actually related to Lord Garrington at all. Yet, for appearance’s sake, everyone must continue to believe they are brothers.

To make matters worse, an indiscretion reveals that Fen is a vessel. Someone who grows magic but cannot wield it. Magic can only escape his body and not kill him by regularly submitting his body to a mage. Hence the crazy arranged marriage idea.

It’s a shame the only mage he wants is his arrogant and obnoxious fake brother.

Lord Xander Garrington, like all British nobility, is secretly a mage.

He was only supposed to pay the boy off, but Fen turned out to be outrageously pretty. Then he turns out to be a vessel. The opportunity is too great to miss.

He needs to pretend Fen is his brother and sell his stepmother’s bastard to the highest bidder. Securing the best possible match to advance the family’s fortunes.

If only Xander’s emotions would obey.

He is supposed to sell his fake brother, not fall for him.

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Excerpt:

As Fen made his entrance, Xander decided that he could do dressing appropriately, very well. Very well indeed. He’d gone for a black suit, but the cut and fit was very modern and suitable for his age and incredible body. Xander could only see Fen’s front, but he could tell that the black fabric of the trousers caressed his pert ass cheeks, only to be tantalizingly half hidden by the jacket. He was planning on confirming this as soon as Fen walked past him. Fen had rolled the jacket sleeves up to his elbows and left it undone, showing the white, tight shirt that left nothing to the imagination on the firmness of his chest and stomach. The tight trousers embraced his slender waist and highlighted his long, shapely legs. He’d done something to his silver hair, and it practically shone, falling in a few subtle waves to his slender shoulders. Somehow, the unconventional length and color with the conventional suit just worked so well. It was a striking and compelling look. Xander wondered if the hair color was natural or dyed. His money would have been on dyed, it was far too unusual. He wondered if Fen dyed all his hair or if he waxed. If the curtains matched the carpet, as the saying went. Fen smirked at him, and Xander realized he had been staring. Scowling, he turned away. Annoyed that he had been so drawn in and angry that Fen had caught him in the act.
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To celebrate the release of Lord Garrington’s Vessel, we are giving 3 e-copies of the release!

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About the Author:

I love characters that are battered and broken by life, who through the course of finding love, discover they are strong.

I like to pour my dark past into my characters and hope I will be forgiven.

Despite everything, because of everything, I will always believe that love conquers all.

Catch up with S.: www.srodman.net Twitter – @dark_angst TikTok – @darkangst69 Facebook – S. Rodman


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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Little Red, by Shelby Rhodes

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Book Title:  Little Red

(Fairy Tales Retold Book 1)

Author: Shelby Rhodes

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Jahla D. Brown

Release Date:  January 30, 2022

Genres:  Fantasy, Fairy tale, M/M Romance

Themes: Good vs. evil

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:  72 415 pages

It is the first book in the series. The main story is resolved.

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link   |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Blurb

Follow along and you will see a tale retold in a world of unimaginable creatures, gods, and goddesses. A world filled to the brim with magic. Our story begins with a sorcerer with too much power without the age to match.

Ryder, our hero, who just so happens to be a painfully short redhead, has found himself burdened with the fates of thousands, in a life where he has so far received very few answers. In order to find the cure to the plague that has overtaken the Kingdom of Solais, he sets off on a quest to seek out his slightly crazy grandmother, in the Yore Forest.

Add in one flirty, handsome werewolf Prince, a sarcastic sorcerer-hating werewolf, some full-blown insanity, and a bit of magic, and Ryder finds his momentous task doubling in difficulty and stress. But all is not what it seems, and sometimes life takes you to places you never wished to stand. In the end, Ryder’s decisions and paths are not choices but destiny. And in said destiny lies insurmountable magic, death, and maybe even love.

Excerpt

       Bane sprinted into the forest, running faster than Ryder could ever hope to. The thudding of the man’s bare feet on the dirt path almost lured Ryder to sleep.

      It would have been to their detriment. The danger was not over. Escaping his grandmother would take more than physical strength and a little magic. She would not give up that easily.

      Ryder had barely had that thought when he felt it—magic. The air became electric as it surged closer. He could taste it. Ryder could feel it permeating his very bones. But something was wrong. Instead of fear or apprehension, his very soul felt elated.

      Ryder felt energy build inside him. Strength he shouldn’t have had, it called for his magic to rise. And as the unknown force sped towards them, his heart started to race in anticipation.

      At first, there was only a thundering rumble. Then the ground began to shake, and a roaring symphony of cracking, snapping, and explosions followed—sounds of pure destruction. Screeching beasts could be heard in the distance, the creatures dying as they are unable to get out of the way of his grandmother’s spell. And soon, the already dim sky darkened further.

      He watched Bane quickly glance back. When the werewolf swore and started a brutal pace, he knew they were probably screwed.

      Even knowing that, Ryder couldn’t stop his eyes from widening in horror when he finally caught sight of what was after them. It was not something anyone could outrun. Headed their way was a tsunami-size wave of dirt, rocks, and trees. He could see nothing beyond it. Not only was it coming from behind, but from all sides, leaving only an increasingly narrow path in front of them.

      And as the two waves began to swell over them, stealing away their path, Ryder’s first thought was that they were going to die. But then the defiant part of him, that always pushed him to defeat the odds, screamed no—no, he would not die this way! Ryder refused!

      He let his magic consume the mysterious energy—he let it free. Instead of recoiling from the all-consuming spell coming for them, his magic flew towards it. As their magic collided, a spell he had never learned filled his mind. The language was old, foreign to him, but he somehow understood.

      When the world turned to darkness, the wave mere seconds from crushing them, time slowed for Ryder.

      His body hummed, and the spell he shouldn’t have known past his lips. “Îgňaęϋe těŕrvʼna ɋȏnǹ ȸrǽ relǽg’uɱ Ťę môrʋǐtȕs!”

      He began to emit a red glow. That glow became brighter and brighter, until it was blinding.

      Ryder blinked as time returned to normal. The wall of dirt, all of it was gone. The only evidence of it having been there was the barren land all around them.

       “That was…insane,” Bane rasped, voice shaking. The man had a death grip on him, and the werewolf’s voice wasn’t the only thing shaking.

      In a slight daze, Ryder peered up at the man. Fearful brown eyes met his. It was the look one cast at a monster. Ryder quickly glanced away.

      Clearing his throat, Bane announced, “We should get going.”

      Going where, Ryder thought weakly. He found he was too tired to ask. The energy and magic that had saved them had dissipated, the spell that had been so clear moments before was lost to him.

      Bane started off again after a moment of hesitation, carrying him into the barren wasteland the spell had created. Listening to the werewolf’s speeding heartbeat, Ryder let his exhaustion take him.

      While he did not know where they were going, or what was going to happen, the one thing he did know was that this was far from over.

About the Author 

Books have always been a big part of Shelby Rhodes’ life. Unfortunately, growing up writing had been a constant struggle for her. So, even with her head filled with stories she never tried to write them down.

It took many years to gain the confidence to explore writing as a creative outlet. Now writing has become a way for her to dive into new adventures and explore new worlds.

With confidence, she fully intends to explore everything that has been stuck in her head. It is her hope that others will join her on her adventures.

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