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Flesh and Spirit by Amanda Steiger

Flesh and Spirit

by Amanda Steiger

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 06572-02114

Rose has always dreamed of serving Kalia, the goddess of healing and pleasure. But in order to become a priestess, she has to complete a ritual in which she casts aside all inhibitions and enters a trance of sexual ecstasy. Only then will Kalia imbue her with healing powers. Her friends Gabe and Rafe — two strong-willed, sensual men from her village — are more than happy to help her complete her Initiation. But can Rose handle what they have in mind?

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Bull and China by Rayven Renshaw

Bull and China

by Rayven Renshaw

Razor’s Edge Press

eBook ISBN: 06205-01993

China walks into a bar… and makes Bull an offer he’ll find impossible to refuse.

The life of a female warrior can be a lonely one. One look at China’s array of weapons tells Bull she’s a warrior, and dangerous — maybe as dangerous as he is. China needs careful handling.

Maybe Bull can be the one to tame her.

Note: This title has no chapter breaks. Please enjoy the first scene.

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More Than Chains To Bind by Stevie Woods

More Than Chains To Bind
by Stevie Woods

Amber Quill Press

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61124-134-1
Print ISBN: 978-1-61124-954-5

When Prince Liander and his Guardian, Hollis, are captured during a raid on the south coast of Tesla, they realize they’re prisoners of their country’s ruthless enemy. They are chained and kept separate in training halls fearing the day they may have to fight each other for their very survival.

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Mating Call by Kate Hill

Mating Call
Whisper, Book 3
by Kate Hill

Changeling Press

eBook BIN: 05793-01857

For Rebecca getting physical with the sexy New Zealander whose magical stallion has come to mate with her mare is the easy part. It’s emotions she can’t handle. Rebecca has a secret that keeps her from fully exploring and enjoying her existence as a wraith, but Hugh doesn’t intend to let a chance for love fade away.

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Darkness in Paradise
Spirits of Abaddon, Book 3
by Mychael Black

Changeling Press

eBook BIN: 05784-01854

With his lovers Gabriel and Lazarus, Jesse Eldridge traverses the shadowy realm of Abaddon, a world of demons and gods, in pursuit of Hiil, the rogue god of a neighboring world. Hiil fully intends on bringing all of Abaddon to its knees, but he doesn’t realize that Gabriel has a secret weapon in the coming war: Jesse. As a vampire/elemental crossbreed, Jesse possesses powers surpassing those of both his lovers. There’s little time for him to come into his full abilities, however, and it’s going to take a miracle if he and his lovers are to survive.

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No Dragon, No Problem by Dawn Montgomery

No Dragon, No Problem
WTF Dragon, Book 1
by Dawn Montgomery

Changeling Press

eBook BIN: 05669-01816

The Twist: Dash Ryan has a few secrets of his own. Secrets he’s more than willing to exploit for just a taste of the princess’s sexual awakening. But will one taste be enough?

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Aurora Skies by Ashlynn Monroe

Aurora Skies
Aurora, Book 2
by Ashlynn Monroe

Changeling Press

eBook BIN: 05635-01805

When an alien rock-creature bites her hand, Mallory learns how real the mystical forces on Aurora are, and how much her body craves her protector. DeBaron knows there’s only one way to save the foolish Earthling from the creature’s bite — sex, and lots of it. Together they will discover the secret of Aurora’s mysteries may be a chemistry of their own.

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Star Prince by Ashlynn Monroe

Star Prince
Aurora, Book 1
by Ashlynn Monroe

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60521-758-1

When DeMarcus impulsively declares he owes Tasmin a life debt, she must convince the Imperial Council to grant them both their freedom. But after a night of erotic delights with the sexy alien, will she be able to let him go?

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Wolf Tracker by Cynthia Sax

Wolf Tracker
Wolves of the Wild West (multi-author series)
by Cynthia Sax

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60521-690-4

When a rival werewolf pack takes Harriet, Trace reckons he’ll do his courting with a six-shooter and a fistful of silver bullets. ‘Cause no one touches Trace’s woman and lives.

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Landlocked
by Cindy Jacks

Ellora’s Cave

eBook ISBN: 9781419933783
Print ISBN: 9781419964909

Kathryn has struggled to survive in a war-torn region that used to be part of the United States, she and her son need a miracle. That miracle comes in the form of Captain Brett Logan, a privateer for the Republic of Texas. When an enemy bomb nearly ends him, Kathryn nurses him back to health. She’s drawn to the enigmatic pirate, finding shelter in his arms and in his bed.

Chapter One

The dream was always the same—a golden-haired savior on a golden steed. No not a steed. He was a swashbuckler, sword drawn, golden hair glinting in the midday sun. But who used swords anymore? A flaxen-haired gunslinger, a pistol on his hip. Okay, so the dream itself wasn’t exactly the same, but the wish it represented was. Someone to save her from her nightmares. Someone to hold her, to love her.
Firm lips against hers, the hint of stubble on his cheek. Probing tongue seeking hers. The feel of his hips between her thighs, his heavy frame over hers. Hot and wet and dirty sex. She craved it like chocolate or cheeseburgers. More pleasures she’d probably never know again.
Kathryn awoke in frustration to find herself in her bedroom, her hand in her panties, her most useless body part throbbing. Extracting her hand, she turned her attention to the tin roof over her, popping as it warmed in the rising sun. She hated when her base physical needs reared their ugly heads. She hated the fantasies—they only made her waking life more unbearable. Knight in shining armor, cowboy…a pirate? As if that was ever going to happen, even if hell froze over. And Kathryn knew all about hell. She’d lived here for ten years.
* * * * *
September 7, 2013
Shoving against the latch—the one that always stuck, the one that she always meant to fix, but never did—Kathryn threw the window open wide. A moist, hot breeze swept into the kitchen, better than no air at all. The tiny house got so stuffy. She inhaled the scent of the clouds in the distance and basil from the window box.
Seven in the morning and already the heat of the day was stifling. She clipped her long, black hair into a sloppy pile atop her head. The breeze moved across her neck, though it provided little relief. Perspiration already formed beneath her breasts, soaking into her tank top. A few drops slid down to the waistband of her cotton skirt. A frayed thread clung to her calf. The hem needed repair—yet another task that would go neglected until she found the time to do it.
Ha, found time As if time could be stored and then forgotten about like a stained copy of a recipe in an old cookbook or that key that once had a purpose, but damned if anyone could remember what it was now. Time wasn’t like that. It rushed past, churning and frothing like rapids. Most days, she struggled to keep her head above water. It’d been hard enough when Jonas had been there to help, when he’d been there to hold her when panic and fear overtook her. Swallowing hard, she dismissed his memory. Not now.
After she lit the wood-burning stove, she rinsed a load of laundry in a bucket of well water, then went out back to hang it. She’d have to keep an eye on the weather and bring in the wash if it rained this afternoon. The screen door slammed behind her on her way inside, arms full of the bedclothes she’d aired overnight. She folded them and set them on the counter.
From behind a bowed cabinet door, she pulled the cornmeal, oil and salt. Tired of johnnycakes, she cast a glance at the sourdough starter on the counter. Best to save that, her sense of frugality warned. Marcus’ birthday was next month. She’d squirreled away some sugar and cinnamon. He’d be so excited when he woke to the scent of fresh sticky buns. Kathryn smiled to herself. Eleven years old already. Life marched on regardless of the adversities surrounding it.
“Momma?”
Speak of the devil.
Good morning, baby. How’d you sleep?”
Good.” He yawned and stretched, sinking into a chair at the table.
They ate breakfast and she sent Marcus to do his chores while she packed the cart for market. Fresh produce and the item most in demand—homemade sour mash whiskey. It’d been a good summer. Lots of sunshine with nearly the perfect amount of rain. The same could not be said for past summers, not to mention it’d taken her two growing seasons to figure out how to tend a vegetable patch. Much of what she’d learned was thanks to her neighbor, Roy.
Come on, Marcus,” she yelled, tying her wide-brimmed hat under her chin.
The boy sped out the door, clothed only in a pair of shorts—no shirt, no shoes. His golden skin glistened in the sun, his usually unruly hair wet and slicked back.
Have you lost your mind?” she asked.
It’s too hot today. Besides, Sam and me are going to the pond to swim. I don’t need no shoes.”
First of all, it’s ‘Sam and I are going to the pond.’ And you think you don’t need any shoes. However, I say you do so you will go back inside and dress properly or so help me I’ll leave you at home.”
The dark cloud that sat above his brow more and more often these days blackened his features but he didn’t argue. When he emerged from the house his feet were shod in grubby sneakers and he wore a dingy t-shirt.
Thank you. Now let’s go, please.”
She picked up the handle and Marcus pushed at the back to get the wooden cart moving. Along the two-mile walk, Kathryn met up with other neighbors headed in the same direction. At the junction of three small farming communities, the marketplace—more of a happening than a locale—was the place to be on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. She waved hello to Susannah, the local apothecary and hostess to male travelers, old Sampson, who sold cotton yarn and thread, and of course Roy.
Roy walked next to his mule with a plodding gait until he caught sight of Kathryn. Jogging up beside her, he took the cart handle from her. “Allow me, Miss Kate.”
Oh, you don’t have to,” she said, but didn’t object too strenuously. She took the mule’s lead from her neighbor and handed it to Marcus. What harm was there in letting Roy play the gentleman? Peeking under the tarp, she saw his cart brimmed with contraband. Oil and firearms from the Republic of Texas, and coal, spices and tequila from south of the border. Since the attacks twelve years ago and the subsequent collapse of the United States, the Reformer siege had cut off supply lines to the former states that surrounded the Gulf of Mexico, now known as Gulfland—or No Man’s Land as the locals called it. It was the Reformers’ attempt at choking the region into submission.
You’ve been mingling with privateers,” she said.
Me?” He gave her a sly grin. “Never. I found this stuff by the side of the road.”
Of course he had. Roy was the kind of man who knew how to get things. Anything…for the right price.
Marcus,” the man barked, “you’re getting bigger every day.”
Yes sir.”
Your birthday’s next month, right?”
Yes sir.”
I just might have something for you. And for you.” He turned to Kathryn, pulling from his cart a package wrapped in cloth and fastened with string.
You shouldn’t have.” She covered her mouth with one hand. “Thank you.”
My pleasure.”
May I open it now?”
Heck, yeah.”
Her fingers worked the crude knots to reveal a carved plastic comb, a sewing needle, a small glass bottle and a pot of some kind of balm. She uncorked the bottle and inhaled. Coconut oil. “Oh Roy, thank you, but this is too much. How can I ever return this kind of favor?”
Nervous laughter shook his thin frame. “Don’t think nothin’ of it. I found those by the side of the road too.”
Well, it’s a beautiful gift. Thank you.”
You can use the wrapping as a scarf. The coconut stuff’s for your hair and skin, the other’s made from honey and beeswax. I think it’s for your lips.”
And who told you that? The bush by the side of the road?” she teased.
He twittered again.
Though he didn’t want to take payment for the items, she slipped him a pint of whiskey to show her gratitude.
Kathryn found a place near the pond to set up her cart so she could keep an eye on Marcus while he fished and swam. The other children, ones with horses or mules to draw their family carts, had beaten him there and were taking flying leaps from the rope swing.
A pop of gunfire caught her attention. She scanned the woods for Reformer troops or Resistance soldiers, but it was just some kids taking shots at a squirrel. She mopped her brow and her bosom with as much modesty as she could. Roy’s gaze followed her as usual, a fact she’d learned to live with but one that still unsettled her. Ready to get out of the heat and Roy’s line of sight, she set about making her trades for the day.
She’d prioritized the goods she needed in her mind. Firewood, cotton yarn and a spool of thread, clove oil, wheat flour and cream.
Hey ya, Sampson.” She carried a bushel of strawberries and a gallon of whiskey over to the old man’s cart. Despite being in his early seventies, he was still hearty and strong.
Good day to you, Miss Kate. You look fresh as a daisy.”
Very sweet of you. Not true, but very sweet.”
His dark skin crinkled around the edges of his eyes as he laughed. “Let me help you with that.”
He took the strawberries and poured them into a plastic crate, then placed an empty gallon bottle, thread and ten skeins of yarn into her baskets.
Thanks for returning the bottle. I’ll refill it for you for next month.”
Much obliged. Anything else I can get for you?” he asked.
A quarter cord of firewood. Would it be too much trouble to deliver it tomorrow?”
Sampson patted his old mare. “No trouble at all.”
Thank you.” She bussed his cheek and picked up her baskets.
The morning turned to afternoon with more socializing and bartering. Her face had begun to sting from the sun and sweat, but she’d completed her shopping. Time to collect her boy and head home. She found Marcus dozing under a birch tree. The four sun grannies he’d caught lay gutted and bound together next to him. A sigh lowered her shoulders. She’d never get the scent of fish out of his clothes.
Since he was too heavy for her to pick up anymore, she ran a hand over his freckled cheek. “Time to go home, baby.”
His green eyes fluttered open. “Mommy.”
Just a small, breathy term of endearment, but to Kathryn, it meant the world. When he woke up enough to realize what he was saying, he’d call her “Mom” or “Momma”—or “Mother” if she annoyed him, but inside the haze of sleep she could still catch a glimpse of the little boy behind his rush to grow up. She brushed his hair off his forehead. With her dark coloring and his father’s startling eyes, her son’s beauty never ceased to amaze her.
Let’s go home, baby boy.”
“’Kay.” He yawned and scrambled to his feet.
Since it was much lighter than when they’d set out, she let him ride home in the cart. Once back at the farm, he bounded into the vegetable patch to do the weeding, clearly refreshed by his nap. Kathryn envied his energy. Though her back ached and her head pounded, she had no time to rest. A long drink of well water slaked her thirst and revitalized her a bit. While she made supper, she worked on canning the last of the berries and added to her stash of canned goods. A survey of the larder gave her something akin to peace, for the moment at least. They’d have plenty to eat this winter.
Marcus,” she called him to the table.
The screen door slammed, announcing his arrival. “Smells good.”
Yes, the fish you caught fried up nicely. Go wash up, please.”
The boy’s chest swelled with pride. Ever since his father had been gone, Marcus did his best to emulate what he could remember of the man. One thing Jonas had always been good at was fishing.
They ate dinner while Kathryn read to him from one of his favorite books, Treasure Island. If he’d heard the story once, he’d heard it a thousand times, but he never tired of it. Sad would be the day when he no longer thrilled at the adventures of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver. Or Robinson Crusoe for that matter. The novels were some of the only things she’d managed to take with her from the old country.
The chapter and their meal finished, she sent him to his bedroom to change into his pajamas. At the rate he was growing, she’d have to knit him another tunic this winter.
As the moon rose in the night sky, she kissed his brow and wished him sweet dreams. Marcus didn’t protest much and soon the sound of snores carried from the bedroom—charming her in the way only a child’s snores could.
Then, and only then, did she allow herself to ease into her rocking chair by the oil lamp. After lighting the wick, she poured herself two fingers of whiskey, a nightly ritual that included praying for Jonas. If the man were still alive, she prayed for his safe return one day. If he’d met his end, she prayed his soul was at rest. Even after five years, she didn’t know what to believe. He wasn’t the kind of man who abandoned his family, but she didn’t like to think that he’d died trying to save them either.
We’re doing well, Jonas,” she said to the darkness outside her window. A rustle and hushed voices contradicted her.
Goddamn it,” she swore under her breath. Uninvited guests were never a good thing in Gulfland. Grabbing the lamp, she jumped to her feet and fetched the flare gun and shotgun from the safe in the kitchen. Out back, she set off one flare and loaded the double barrel. Deliberate, quiet footsteps carried her to the front of the house. She got the drop on three men—two white, one Hispanic.
You fellas lost?” she asked.
They turned to her, each wearing a sneer. The two white guys were tall, thick and looked a bit inbred, with sloping foreheads and noses too small for their faces. They could be brothers. The Hispanic man was shorter but no less beefy. They all smelled like a spittoon, or maybe more like a urinal.
You got no business here,” she went on. “If you want to get out of here with only the holes in your body the good lord gave you, I suggest you leave, now.”
Simmer down, missy. We’re just looking for some hospitality, that’s all. We can make it worth your while,” the tallest one spoke. Even in the dim light, she could tell he was built like a brick shithouse.
Sorry. There’s only enough for me and the mister.” Her shotgun jerked toward Jonas’ old pair of mud boots, which she kept on the porch for just such an occasion.
Another sneer. “What kind of man lets his woman come out to face three strangers like us?”
He can tell light work when he sees it.”
At this they laughed.
And in case y’all are too stupid to notice, that flare tells my neighbors there are some unwanted visitors here.”
Brick Shithouse took a few steps toward her. “I’m betting none of them things is true.”
Well, believe this—” She cocked the shotgun. “I’ll unload both barrels if you take one more step.”
The man studied her face, crossing his arms over his massive chest. Kathryn’s heart pounded its way into her throat. If they didn’t leave, she knew she could drop one, maybe two of them, but that left the third one to contend with while she reloaded. And where the hell was Roy?
I suppose I’m inclined to believe you,” Shithouse said. “We’ll be on our way.”
She didn’t reply but stood inert, frozen to her spot on the lawn as she watched them slowpoke their way down the dirt path and toward Sampson’s farm. The man’s pit bulls would eat them alive if they decided to drop in on him.
Shaking, she lowered herself to the porch steps and fought the urge to vomit. The clip clop of hooves announced Roy’s approach. He looked comical, a Tec-9 strapped to his chest, riding up on his little mule, the beast galloping as fast as her stubby legs would carry her. Kathryn’s knight in shining armor on his steed—not exactly as she dreamed him.
You all right, Kate?” he asked.
Yeah, just some drifters. I ran them off already.” She wiped her forehead. “What the hell took you so long?”
Roy dismounted his less than noble steed. “I was—I was in the outhouse.”
Oh. Well, there’s nothing to worry about now.”
Looking around, he ran a hand through his dishwater-brown hair. “If you want, I’ll stay out here for a couple hours so you can get some rest.”
Go home, Roy. It’s fine.” She stood and straightened her skirt.
Really, I’ll stay a while.”
Suit yourself.”
She went into the house to put away the shotgun. The fact that she and Marcus could’ve been gang raped and murdered by the time he’d shown up gnawed at her. And now he wanted to play tough guy? Kathryn took a steadying breath. Though she tried to be annoyed with him, she couldn’t muster the energy. Instead, she brewed a pot of tea and brought it out to him.
Is that the tea set I gave you for Christmas?” he asked.
It is. I only bring it out when I have special company.”
Thanks.” He grinned up at her. His expression reminded her of a runty puppy she’d seen at the pound as a little girl. Hard to stay angry with a runty puppy.
Good night, Roy. Thanks for standing guard.” She gave him a quick hug and headed inside.
Good night, Kate.”
When sunrise came, she found Roy still there, asleep in the porch swing, snuggling with his machine gun.

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