romance

Unintended Excerpt

We’re very pleased to bring you an excerpt from the novel Unintended, by Justine Alley Dowsett!

This book is available now! So if you enjoy what your read, make sure to pick up a copy. The e-book can be found here, and the physical copy, here.

Unintended

Chapter One

The rolling hills and grasslands of Ismera were strange to her in the beginning. Now, after nearly a month of riding through them, they had begun to seem commonplace. What the High Clan Chief’s daughter was not prepared for, however, were the high turrets of the palace she was headed towards and the sprawling city of Ismer that surrounded it. Even more surprising than all that was the fanfare that greeted her when at last she reached the city’s high-walled gate.

A handsome man atop a white horse rode boldly out to greet her, without so much as a weapon drawn or a friend to watch his back.

They are much more trusting here of strangers than they are back at home, she noted. Unless, it’s only that they don’t consider me a stranger.

Mackenzie en Shareed of Haldoram straightened her back, instinctively preparing herself to make a good impression. She felt her breath catch in her throat as he came closer and she realized that the man before her, with his sunny hair, tanned skin and bright blue eyes, could be none other than the man she’d ridden all the way here to marry. She felt her usually flawlessly tanned skin flush an uncomfortable shade of red as she watched him dismount and walk the rest of the way to her side, a wide grin spreading across his face at the sight of her.

I didn’t expect him to be so handsome. Kenzie found that as much as she might want to, she couldn’t deny the pounding of her heart or the fluttering in her stomach. I’m very fortunate to be attracted to him so easily.

If he took notice of her discomfort he didn’t show it, bowing over her hand and kissing it lightly. “Princess Mackenzie, let me be the first to welcome you to the City of Ismer.”

Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Kenzie reached for the marriage bracelet she’d woven herself for this very occasion. Unhooking it carefully from her belt, she caught his hand before he could take it away and swiftly wrapped the small, white-flowered wreath about his wrist, tying it with a practiced motion.

She could see in her husband-to-be’s eyes that he was confused, but she didn’t have time to explain it to him now. That would come later, after they were entwined together in their marriage bed. Right now, only the ritual mattered.

I have to do this now, she affirmed silently. Once I enter this city of theirs and am completely surrounded by Ismeran culture and politics it will be too late to marry him in my own way, in front of my people and by our customs. It’s the only way I will feel comfortable with his arrangement. I can marry him in the Ismeran way afterwards. (more…)

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REVELATION

Lori Lorimer

Racetrack’s a funny place. People says they come here for entertainment, but there ain’t nothing they take more serious. It’s the gambling. They see themselves hitting the big one and taking it all home in a big bag. Course, that never happens, but it seems some always had that idea. Mind, there’s a few can come here and just spend a few dollars and leave, and it don’t bite them. But others, well, they get hooked the first time they’re here. I think it’s got something to do with the horses. Maybe they think they’re not really gambling cause it’s live animals.

I been here near forty year, ever since about 1955. Started out as a groom, then got a lucky break to start as a sulky driver in the races. Even got to travel around the state for a while. But then I got hurt in a bad pile-up and the boss offered me this job. I’m sort of a security guard now. It’s okay, but I sure do miss the horses. I’m not so close to them no more.

I remember this one young feller, back about thirty year ago. His daddy knew somebody and got him into the barns as a groom. That’s the starting point, where you learn everything. He wanted to be a driver and could have made it, too. He had a good touch with horses and was showing some real promise on the practice track. But then I start seeing him in the stands, and at the window, and I thoughtwell there goes another one. He’d caught the gambling bug. There’s a certain look they get in their eye when that happens, a kind of intense focus when they watch the horses or read the program. There’s despair when they lose, but it ain’t long before they’re looking at the next race. (more…)

slasHim – Part Two

By Edle Winnie

She felt trapped. They sat at a beautiful table in an elegant dining room but she could feel the invisible bars around them. The supper was some fancy stuff but she could not taste it. Her boyfriend Morman the giraffe was a talkative animal and he and his mother kept the conversation light and constant. Oblivious. She sawed at everything with her table knife. Daddy scarface sat silent, smiling politely and staring at her. She glared back and sawed her potatoes into even smaller pebbles.

The rest of the evening was spent in banal conversation. As they were leaving Norman’s father managed to catch her alone, a strong hand on her thin arm.

“What are you going to do?” He hissed.

“What are you going to do?” She hissed back and twisted his grip away. (more…)

slasHIM – Part One

By Edele Winnie

She could not pinpoint the beginning of it.   As a child she had been obsessed with knives. A cute little girl with a shining blade in her hand. Her parents, predictably, had scolded and slapped and shaken and hidden the knives until she learned to pretend that she was not interested in them.   She was only nine when her mother found the first scars on her arms. That had been a freak out. She’d been hauled away to see doctors and therapists and she told them whatever she thought they wanted to hear.   Now, as a woman in her twenties, she realized that those therapists had just nodded and collected their hourly fees. No one can care forever. No one can understand everyone. What if you were born not caring or not understandable?

She liked blades because they were powerful. They shined. They were hard, yet they could easily slip into a stuffed animal, or an armchair or a thigh. They could transcend barriers. They could take life. And sometimes when life was taken, it could give life. She didn’t believe in vampires but she knew that humans had always killed and eaten. And that was how she thought of herself. Huntress. (more…)

Through the Blinds, Darkly

By Edele Winnie

Through the broken window blind she could see his mouth. Just his mouth, as he frowned, as he ate, as he smiled.   She did not know what his eyes looked like. She had never seen his face, or his body. Never heard his voice or saw his hair. Just his mouth. The lips. The teeth, sometimes the sneak of the tongue. And she fell in love.

It seemed crazy. She was a reasonably normal young woman, a bit on the scrawny side, brown hair and brown eyes with an unfortunate penchant for the dramatic- but only when it came to love, she reminded herself.   Love was some kind of a drug and she could not stop watching his mouth through the blinds.

Was it an obsession? She started out thinking that it was not. It was just curiosity. A tiny peek into another house, another person’s life. She did not know her neighbour, had not known that it was a man with a mouth like that. A mouth made for kissing, for saying I want you beside me always. (more…)

Failure Angels

By Edele Winnie

Puker Peters held onto his beer cup too tightly and spilled half the contents. On another day he would have been angry, but today was different. Today everything was going to change for him.

He had bought the Pierre Angels National Basketball League Franchise for a paltry seven million dollars. It was all the money he had in the world combined with all he could borrow. It was the chance of a lifetime, an opportunity too good to be true.. And that turned out to be quite accurate- it was too good to be true. Pierre, capital city of South Dakota, had 15,000 people and only four of them liked basketball. At every game Puker Peters lost money that he didn’t have. He started drinking as his life and future withered, and that was how he’d gotten his nickname.

But today was going to be different, because he had done something extreme. He didn’t have a good team filled with skilled players. The Pierre Angels were in last place and the team were dregs of the dregs. Puker didn’t hate them- you had to start somewhere- and they were all he could afford at the time. Truthfully he couldn’t even afford them anymore. He’d mortgaged his house, his car, his children, he’d sold his dog for scientific experiments and removed one of his mother’s kidneys while she was sleeping and sold it on the internet. (more…)