Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Paranormal Romance Spotlight & Giveaway: Taken: The Vampire's Concubine – Christmas on Legionnaire (Part 6) by Desiree Broussard

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/vampire-romance-book-tour-giveaway-taken-the-vampires-concubine-christmas-in-legionnaire-part-6-by-desiree-broussard-111814-121614/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/18/14 – 12/16/14
Genres: Vampire Romance, Erotic Romance





Blurb:
Taken: The Vampire’s Concubine – Part Six
Christmas on Legionnaire
A vampire romance bestselling paranormal romance series!
Keely has found happiness as mate to the most powerful alpha vampire on Legionnaire… or so she thinks. When the latest shipment of concubines are unloaded, though, her entire world is shattered as someone unexpected is revealed. Will the magic of Christmas be enough to heal her broken heart?
This series is best read in order. See parts one through five exclusively on Amazon Kindle!

Excerpt:
A hand slid along his upper shoulder, as a woman moved to stand in front of him. Her long dark hair was pulled back in a bun, her attractive dark eyes simmering with arousal in the flashing lights. She was beautiful, and she was a vampire. And from the fresh bite marks on her neck, she was exactly what Zander was looking for.
“I haven’t seen you around here before,” she murmured, in a sexy, throaty voice.
“That’s because I haven’t been here before,” he retorted, his muscles tensing as her hand followed a slow path from his shoulder to his abdomen. With her eyes locked to his, she dropped her hand down to the bulge of his crotch as she squeezed.
“Mmm, nice, “ she breathed out, caressing him boldly. She wiggled her way in between his legs to whisper in his ear, “I’m interested. Let’s go in the back.” 

Buy Link:
Amazon 

About the Author:
I’ve always had a fascination with vampires. My ideal man evolved from tall, dark, and sexy to tall, dark, and sexy with fangs. And so my fantasy was born.
My first release is Taken: The Vampire’s Concubine (Part One). If you like a safe and neat series, this is not for you. Taken is very dark in nature, with strong sexual themes, dangerous situations, and Gothic undertones throughout it. When you open the pages to my series, you’re stepping into a world ruled by beings that survive on blood. There’s nothing safe about that.
The year is 2050, and Keely has just been abducted from her home in small-town USA. Blindfolded and bound, she is taken into outer space and delivered into a world with three moons and no sun. Almost immediately, she discovers her fate. Due to a rare blood factor she’s been taken and now she’s expected to select a male vampire mate and breed.
The attraction between her and her guard is instantaneous, but where can it lead? Now a concubine, Keely is taken for her grooming. The market is quickly approaching, her future dark and uncertain. She’s destined to be a vampire’s concubine, but which one will she pick?
Follow my blog to receive a notification when the next book releases: http://authordesireebroussard.wordpress.com/

Connect with the Author:
Website
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Facebook 

Giveaway:
Enter to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards. Open Internationally. This giveaway will run 11/18/14 – 12/16/14. Enter through Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 17, 2014

Romance/Fantasy Spotlight and Giveaway: Snow Wars, Book 1 by N.S. Grimm

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/romantic-fantasy-book-tour-giveaway-snow-wars-book-1-by-n-s-grimm-102814-112514/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 10/28/14 – 11/25/14
Genres: Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy, Gay & Lesbian Fantasy, Young Adult (18 + over).
General Note: there are graphic battle scenes, soft sexual content, drinking, and some gay and lesbian characters (in books 2&3) in this series.
Tour Promotional Price: $.99



Blurb:
~~In a world covered by snow, where deadly predators are everywhere, resources scarce, and love even more elusive, two young women hold the key to the mysterious death and destruction surrounding their cave dwelling people. One side wants to keep these women alive and the other side wants to see them dead, but how can these young women tell the difference between the two sides? And what is the dark secret in their past that holds the key to the threats of today?
The sole survivor of a bloody genocide attempt, Iana runs for her life, but is there anywhere safe to run? Daniel swore to his dying brother that he would protect the small woman and her sister, but how can he help a girl who continually puts her life in danger? As Daniel binds Iana closer to himself, and his own dark secret life, Iana finds herself drawn to him in more than one way.

Excerpt:
“Hang on, Nathanial. I’m coming to get you,” Iana said.
The Raven Dog above her seemed reinvigorated at this new movement from its trapped prey. The mad dog danced on the edge above her with snapping jaws and bloody teeth. Every move the creature made sent rock and dirt cascading over Iana’s head. Her grip was already precarious and weak on the rocky cliff she was scaling. Any amount of falling debris was dangerous and could dislodge her handholds, causing her to fall.
“Iana, what are you doing? Don’t do it; stay where you are.”
“Still trying to tell me what to do Nathanial?” Iana tossed back to him, trying to keep both their spirits up. “Haven’t you learned yet?”
“Don’t risk this, Iana. I’m not worth it.”
“Yes you are!” she countered and continued to creep slowly over toward him. Her hands were shaking so hard she was scared they would shake off the rocky ledge. Maybe she should have taken off her gloves, but then she would just have the cold to deal with.
“Iana, go back. It’s too dangerous. There is snow all over that cliff; you will slip and fall.”
Iana looked over to the bush where the wind was blowing against him. He was very pale in the dusty pink light of the setting sun. He was too white Iana thought.
“Keep talking to me, Nathanial, okay?” she yelled at him.
A frigid gust of wind blew up, tossing Iana’s hair wildly. The snow swirled about, blinding her temporarily. Iana clung closer to the rough cliff wall with her eyes squeezed tight, waiting till it died down. Her lips were quivering now, but she didn’t know if it was from the cold or fear. What had made her think she could climb across to him like this?
“Hey, Easterner,” Nathanial called to her, “never seen a mouse so bad at climbing before; maybe you should have stayed behind?” he teased.
Iana opened her eyes and shot him a look that could kill. Rising to the challenge, she said, “Don’t worry, mice are very good at improvising when it comes to survival.”
Iana was frozen with fear. She could feel the tears of anger and despair start to well up in her eyes and she fought hard to push them away. She hadn’t been climbing long when Nathanial decided to continue his harassment.
“You really aren’t very good at that you know,” he said.
Iana screamed back in mock frustration, “Training for rock climbing isn’t till the next lunar!”
Nathanial kept the banter up in a lighthearted voice, but when Iana looked his way she could see his eyes were closed against the cold and he was shaking as he tried to hang on.
“I’m just saying…that you might want to work on that when we get back if you want to be a Rambler,” he continued teasing her in a trembling voice.
“I’m beginning to rethink that occupational choice at the moment,” Iana confessed, only half joking.
Nathanial laughed into the wind this time. “Aha! I knew you didn’t really want to make this run today,” he joked.
“Haven’t you bled to death yet?” Iana countered, and Nathanial laughed out loud again.
It was good to hear him laugh. Nathanial was quiet for a long moment. When he spoke next, it was in a low and serious voice. “You know I didn’t mean all that mean stuff I said to you back there at the start ribbon.”
“I know,” Iana said, forgiving him.
She paused a moment and leaned her head against the rock wall to catch her breath. It was then that Iana noticed the absence of the Raven dog from overhead. She held her breath and waited for it to return. Shadows passed over and Iana sniffed hard against her runny nose. The longer she waited, the more her nerves set on edge. Suddenly a head appeared over the edge—a human head. It was Daniel reaching his hand down to her.

Buy Links:
Kindle
Nook 



About the Author:
NS Grimm is a new and upcoming American writer with self-published works in multiple genres. Works always focus on strong female characters with a passion for life and love. Her international experience finds its way into all her books in one way or another. Raised in Texas, GRIMM is the last child of three. Hobbies include: kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, gardening, house flipping, sewing, singing, ballet, scuba and visiting museums of any type.

Connect With The Author:
Official Website of NSGRIMM
Facebook
Blog
Email: NSGRIMM100@gmail.com
Amazon Author Page
Barnes & Noble Author Page

Giveaway:
Grand Prize (1 winner)
  • Amazon or Nook gift card $50.00
  • Sneak Peek, Book Cover reveal for Book #6 of the Snow Wars Series. The final book of the Snow Wars Series (Homecoming, book #6) jacket cover has never been released to the public. You will get a framed and autographed copy of the cover.
First Prize (2 winners)
  • Amazon or Nook gift card $30.00
  • Autographed Book Cover Book #1 of the Snow Wars Series. You will get a framed and autographed copy of the cover art for book #1 Snow Wars.
Second Prize (5 winners)
  • Amazon or Nook gift card $20.00
This giveaway will run 10/28/14 – 11/25/14. Open worldwide. Enter through Rafflecopter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber





October 8, 2013

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Don’t miss Debbie Macomber’s short story “Lost and Found in Cedar Cove” and a sneak peak of her new novel Mr. Miracle, among other special features, in the back of the book.

’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

Praise for Starry Night
 
“Contemporary romance queen Macomber (Rose Harbor in Bloom) hits the sweet spot with this tender tale of impractical love. . . . A delicious Christmas miracle well worth waiting for.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“[A] holiday confection . . . as much a part of the season for some readers as cookies and candy canes.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“A sweet contemporary Christmas romance . . . [that] the best-selling author’s many fans will enjoy.”Library Journal
 
“Macomber can be depended on for an excellent story. . . . Readers will remain firmly planted in the beginnings of a beautiful love story between two of the most unlikely characters.”RT Book Reviews (Top Pick, 4½ stars)
 
“Macomber, the prolific and beloved author of countless bestsellers, has penned a romantic story that will pull at your heartstrings with its holiday theme and emphasis on love and finding that special someone.”Bookreporter
 
“Magical . . . Macomber has given us another delightful romantic story to cherish. This one will touch your heart just as much as her other Christmas stories. Don’t miss it!”Fresh Fiction


From the Paperback edition.
 
 
 

Author Biography:

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today's most popular writers with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber's novels have spent over 750 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Eight of these novels hitting the number one spot.

In 2014, Macomber's all-new hardcover publications will include Blossom Street Brides (March), Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Inn Novel (August) and Mr. Miracle (October) and paperback editions of the #1 bestseller Starting Now (April) and her acclaimed Christmas novel, Starry Night (October).

In addition to fiction Macomber has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; and two acclaimed children's books.

Macomber's beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove Series became Hallmark Channel's first dramatic scripted television series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, which was ranked as the top program on cable when it debuted in summer 2013. Hallmark is now filming a second season of Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove which will premiere this July 19. In addition, Macomber's upcoming Christmas novel, Mr. Miracle, will be made into an original movie premiering on Hallmark Channel in fall 2014. Previously, Hallmark Channel has produced three successful Christmas movies based on Macomber's bestselling Christmas novels, Mrs. Miracle, Call Me Mrs. Miracle and Trading Christmas.

Macomber owns her own tea room, Victorian Rose Tea Room & yarn store, A Good Yarn, named after the shop featured in her popular Blossom Street novels. She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision's international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative.

A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

YA Fantasy Fiction Spotlight: Sceadu by Prashant Pinge

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/ya-fantasy-fiction-book-tour-giveaway-sceadu-by-prashant-pinge-111014-12814/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/10/14 – 12/8/14
Genres: YA Fantasy Fiction




Blurb:
All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.
Nine year old Matilda ends up with a century old book through a series of strange coincidences. And disappears. Her brother and cousins are forced to suspend their hostilities and pursue her to Sceadu, a land inside the human shadow. Once there, the reluctant visitors find themselves chased by the vicious Hefigans, creatures of Sceadu. However, everything changes with the revelation of an ancient prophecy that foretells the doom of the world they left behind.
With the stakes suddenly raised, the children must now navigate the dangerous terrain, overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets of the shadow. But can they do it in time to thwart the plans of the treacherous Hefigans? Or will they succumb to the guile of a ruthless enemy who is equally determined to destroy mankind?
Sceadu is a fast-paced adventure which blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.
 




Excerpt:
Matilda sat at her old wooden desk, staring into the thick yellowed pages of a book under a dull moth ridden beam cast by the night lamp. But every time she blinked, it seemed as if the words had played a round of musical chairs. And the moths, fluttering through the words at times and hovering over them at others, did not make things any easier.
Matilda was about to turn the page when there was a tug at her feet. It was a very gentle one, almost imperceptible. Surprised, she glanced down, but there was nothing. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, she thought. She was about to shake her thick dark brown curls out of her face when she felt it again.
Matilda pushed her head down and looked into the dark void with furrowed brow. Her skinny legs stared back. But before she could decide on whether she had actually felt anything, there was another tug, an unmistakable one this time. And another one. The truth suddenly dawned upon Matilda. It was her shadow, trying to drag her into itself.
Matilda jerked back the chair, kicking hard at her shadow. But it snapped back, pulling at her even more viciously. She stomped upon it repeatedly. But the dark grey shape began jabbing at her feet and ankles. Matilda pushed herself up and made a frantic attempt to run. But her legs refused to move, and she almost toppled forward.
All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Buy Links:
Amazon 


About the Author:
Prashant Pinge was born and brought up in the picturesque neighbourhood of Shivaji Park in the bustling city of Mumbai in India.
A quiet and diligent student throughout his schooling and college years, Prashant proceeded to pursue electrical engineering at Purdue University in the United States. Over the next decade, he accumulated three more degrees, a master of science in management from Lancaster University, a post graduate program in management from Indian School of Business, and a post MBA master in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Apart from enjoying the company of books, Prashant had always had an imaginative bent of mind. But writing only happened in the fall of 2003, when a remarkably intriguing dream interrupted an uncharacteristically deep spell of slumber, compelling him to stagger to his desk and pen down the idea. That book is still a few years away from being written. Prashant, however, continues to work from his cauldron of creativity and churn out critically acclaimed works of fiction.
In addition to his literary pursuits, Prashant is Managing Partner in his marketing and branding firm, Media Panther. In his spare time, Prashant enjoys collecting old coins, reading fiction, travelling to exotic destinations, watching movies, and listening to music. He recently wrote and produced a short film titled Freedom of Expression. Prashant is also keenly interested in the subjects of psychology, mythology and ancient history.
Prashant lives with his wife and son in Mumbai.

Connect With The Author:
Author Website
Blog
Email imagine@prashantpinge.com
Author Facebook Page
Sceadu Facebook Page
Twitter Page
LinkedIn Page
Google+ Page

Giveaway:
This giveaway is opened WW and will run 11/10/14 – 12/9/14 at 12 AM Eastern time. Five winners.

Prizes:
Two Amazon gift cards ($10)
Three e-book copies of Sceadu
Enter through Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Memoir Spotlight & Giveaway: A Cat Taught Me That – Life's Lessons From Felines by Charlotte Gerber

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/humor-book-tour-giveaway-a-cat-taught-me-that-lifes-lessons-from-felines-by-charlotte-gerber-102714-112414/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 10/27/14 – 11/24/14
Genres: Memoir, Humor







Blurb:
Catnap often. Don’t be a stalker unless food is involved. Despite the rumor, it is okay to be curious! A Cat Taught Me That is filled with humorous advice and the wisdom of elder cats that includes information on how to get more out of life, and how to avoid common pitfalls along the way. Cat lovers will enjoy the adorable photographs and cute illustrations throughout.
Celebrity cat ‘Awesome Louie’ provides insight with his gritty cat interviews, as well as sage advice with his “Mewsings” column. Short essays from the cat-lady author will bring smiles to the faces of readers who have learned that “Not All That Glitters is Gold” and “To Be Kissed By a Cat” can have unintended consequences.

Excerpt:




“A Little Indulgence is Okay”

I’m Louie and I’ve been told I have a problem with cat treats. Of course, a problem is in the eye of the beholder. In my eyes, loving cat treats isn’t a problem unless I run out of them.
After I was rescued, I learned three things about my caregiver and new best friend. First, food was readily available day or night; I would never be hungry again. Second, I was now living in a house that was warm and cozy; freezing outside in the winter was highly unlikely. Third, I learned about this tasty food called “snacks”. I would come to love it when my caregiver announced the magical words with enthusiasm – “Kitty treats!”
When I was first introduced to this fabulous dining experience, the flavors included turkey, beef and chicken. Eventually catnip and dairy-flavored treats entered the scene. Once I tasted those little nuggets of goodness, I was hooked.
I perfected the sad kitty face, which is subtle and very effective when done properly. The trick is to look longingly at your target and try not to blink. Raise a paw in a slightly pathetic manner towards the treat container as the caregiver opens it – a classic move.
While my owner swears that she may check me into a clinic for cats with food addictions, she is more purr than hiss. I know that the next time she comes home from the pet store with kitty snacks, she’ll rattle the bag because she knows I’m listening. I’ll come racing into the kitchen like a furry, 16 pound bowling ball on steroids, and she’ll love me for it. And give me treats.
Take it from me, you can never be too furry or have too many treats!


Buy Links:
Amazon
Createspace
Barnes and Noble







About the Author:
Charlotte Gerber began her writing career penning content articles on the Internet. Her articles have appeared on LoveToKnow.com and the New York Times/About.com Disability site, as well as numerous other outlets. She is also the author of Murder in Middleton and I Dream of Zombies (Rose Lee’s Zombie Adventures series).
Charlotte lives in upstate New York with her husband Gregg, two teenage children, one dog and ten rescued cats. She is a disability advocate and a supporter of animal rescue missions.

Connect With the Author:
Website
Twitter

Giveaway:




2 winners:  Each will receive 1 stainless steel tumbler mug, a signed copy of A Cat Taught Me That, and mystery swag items. Open to readers located in the USA, UK, or Australia. The giveaway will run 10/27/14 – 11/24/14. Enter through Rafflecopter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Christmas Dark Fantasy New Release Spotlight & Giveaway: KRENGEL & THE KRAMPUSZ by M.C. Norris

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/christmas-horror-book-tour-giveaway-krengel-the-krampusz-by-m-c-norris-11314-12114/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/3/14 – 12/1/14
Genres: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Supernatural Fantasy, Horror
Kindle Unlimited: Yes



Blurb:
The epic origin of a beloved holiday icon unfolds, as nine-year-old Klaas Krengel flees plague-ravaged Germania on a swashbuckling adventure across Medieval Europe to the remote ends of the earth, where he finds himself pitted against a gruesome host of adversaries, all resurrected from old Austrian lore. A bit of a spoiled brat, Krengel’s only friend is an insidious counterpart called the Krampusz, a blue-furred monster who suffers from a pronounced hoarding disorder.
Vexed by his half-brother’s lifelong privilege and pampering, the Krampusz enjoys nothing more than imperiling the boy through calculated misdirection, ultimately trapping him in the bottomless depths of the enchanted “Sack of Shadows.” Therein, a fantastic realm of weird and warring races demands a showdown between Krengel and its tyrannical ruler, a horrendous witch who alone holds a key to the connection between Krengel and the Krampusz.

Excerpt:
Every bell in Bari had a unique tone and timing. Each was synchronized to the timing of a specific, daily event. The toll of a bell would prompt a skyward glance from anyone within earshot, to make a quick check of the sun’s position. The bells were so intimately linked to the passage of time that on the rare occasions when every bell in the city tolled at once, the experience rattled a Baresi to his very soul, stilled him in his tracks, for time itself unraveled and was strewn to confetti. The joyous crash of sound reverberated through the seaport’s writhing arteries to flush pigeons in dappled flocks that flashed in the sky like schools of minnows.
At midday on May ninth, the first day of the annual Festival of the Translation of the Holy Relics, Bari came alive with clanging bells. Starlings gushed from the clerestory windows around the pealing bell tower at Basilica di San Nicola, the final resting place of Bari’s patron saint. It was an imposing fortification, a somber hulk of ancient masonry that loomed darkly over the peninsula with its back to the Adriatic Sea. With its cruciform mass shouldered between Romanesque towers, it better resembled an English castle than an ordinary place of worship. And at times, it had served as such.
Across the bustling piazza from the seaward dormitories, a hooded figure emerged from the basilica’s Lion’s Portal. The brown fabric of his Dominican robes flapped in the briny wind, throwing back his hood as he skulked beneath the engraved names of those famous sailors who rescued Saint Nicholas from Myra, five hundred years ago. He jerked the hood back over his naked head and turned to face the wall. Head bowed as though in prayer, he reached into the sleeve of his tunic, and withdrew a steely dagger.
Cast upon the spike of shimmering steel, was a leering distortion of his broad face and blazing eyes. He lowered and tilted his chin, trailing his fingertips over his newly shaved scalp. It was another of the Krampusz’s bright ideas. Krengel smiled. He looked funny bald, a bit like Friar Otto.
In five months, he’d grown in height and width. Though they might’ve starved a passive child with their severe Dominican diet of broth and rye, what were Krengel’s lifelong failings, but symptoms of his indomitable will to have while others around him had not. Greed ran strong in both sides of his family. And it was no small irony that Krengel, now a custodian of the relics of a saint canonized for profound acts of generosity, had honed his naturally greedy edge to a perfect tool for survival. Since Christmas Eve in Rome, he’d grown meaner, stronger, and more formidable. Daily acts of theft and trickery against the hardened peasants of a foreign land had honed Krengel, right beneath the noses of his Dominican handlers, into perhaps the most dogged urchin in all of Bari.
Krengel lifted his tunic, glanced around the crowded piazza, and then sheathed the dagger back into a tight fold in his braies. He hitched up his secret contraption. The rope was itchy about his waist, and the weight of the invention had begun to chaff his flesh. The dangling wood blocks clonked between his knees. Should’ve wrapped them in cloth to quiet their knocking. Too late for any of that, now. This was the big day. Around front of the basilica, cartwheels rumbled against the pavers as guests and dignitaries continued to arrive.
He’d not yet spotted Cardinal Moretti, rumored still unfit to attend this evening’s festivities, deathly ill as he’d been. Moretti posed him little threat in his weakened condition, but he was indeed the one person in all of Italy who could possibly spoil everything by summoning for him at the critical hour. Thus, the first phase of Krengel’s plan for May ninth was simply to avoid Moretti at all costs, to meld into the visiting crowds and simply lay low until sundown.
“What in Heaven do you think you’re doing, back here?”
Krengel spun to find the rector glowering out at him through the Lion’s Portal. He seized Krengel by an ear and marched him along the wall toward the main entrance of the basilica. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you! Your benefactor has arrived!” The rector lifted him by his ear and flipped back his hood. “You’ve shaved your head. What is this?”
“I had lice?”
“Shush it!”
The rector harried him to the main portal, where Cardinal Moretti was being lifted from his wagon in a sort of birthing position by a host of able-bodied Dominicans. The friars set him gently upon his unstable feet. He swayed weightlessly in the bullying wind, as though might at any moment be sucked off the earth and flung through the heavens. He lolled back his head and peered at the ecclesiastical assembly from beneath his fallen eyelids. The purplish growth in his lower jaw had swelled to the size of an onion, forcing his tongue to protrude like a newly hatched chick. He attempted to speak, but his lips produced only bubbles.
Krengel’s survival for five months in the favored hunting grounds of this predator was owed mostly to a bout of poor health that robbed Moretti of all but an infant’s strength, slackening the musculature of his face, not a day after Miso del Gallo. As a result, Krengel hadn’t suffered sight of the awful man since Christmas Eve, which was fortunate, but rumor held that Moretti’s health was steadily improving. So said the Dominicans anyway, who’d just this morning doted over Moretti’s latest accomplishment of peeling and devouring a boiled egg all by himself.
A breeze kicked up and snatched the mitre right off Moretti’s head, tumbling and spinning it down the street. But the friars supporting the feeble body of their guest could only look on in despair as they goaded him forward, one cautious step at a time. A silvery thread of slobber whipped from Moretti’s lip and bowed like a harp in the wind. Snowy wisps of hair all writhing on scabrous pedestals, Moretti looked for all the earth to be some deranged and ancient warlock, routed from his alpine rookery.
As the trio approached, Krengel bent his knees until he felt those wood blocks beneath his tunic touch the ground. He then stepped atop them and rose, oh so slowly, to his tiptoes, causing the special knot from which they were suspended to unwind. Through the fabric of his robe, he gathered the reigns of his makeshift stilts. Those milling around him were so transfixed by the precarious transfer of Cardinal Moretti that none seemed to notice that Klaas Krengel had suddenly sprouted a foot in height, looking quite enough like an adult friar, with his broad shoulders and shaved head, to pass before the myopic eyes of the monster.
Moretti made some unintelligible grunt as they led him past Krengel, swinging his disheveled head. Yellowed fingernails splayed as he reached for the boy, but groped naught but thin air. Those rattling claws sliced past his face without touching, only to rasp against the doorpost as they pulled Moretti inside.
Safe. Just as the Krampusz had promised.
So many friars were about for the Festival of the Translation of the Holy Relics, tending to all the dignitaries being housed in the monastic dormitories that a hooded man-boy on stilts could walk freely through the piazza, disturbing only a few pigeons. The first phase of his great caper was complete. Krengel grinned at the dull impact of his clopping stilts upon the pavers. By nightfall, he’d be comfortably seated aboard a ship destined for the Habsburg Netherlands, his mother’s homeland, where not even the Holy Roman Empire could touch him. But first, he needed a hostage. And not just any would do. His hostage was to be a man more celebrated in Bari than both Christ and Pope Alexander VI combined, a man with the power to lift an orphan right out of Bari.

Buy Link:
Amazon 



About the Author:
M.C. Norris is an Active HWA member, whose first four novels, all published by Severed Press, are slated for release in fall of 2014: Deep Devotion (09/01/14), Krengel & the Krampusz (11/01/14), The Dread Owba Coo-Coo (11/15/14), and Nod (TBA).  His nineteen short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and e-zines, including: Withersin, Wrong World DVD, Brainharvest Magazine, Pseudopod, Malicious Deviance, and Dead Bait.  M.C. Norris also won 5th in Chizine/Leisure Books 13th Annual Short Story Contest.

Connect With The Author:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Amazon Author Page 

Giveaway:
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Open WW, 11/3/14 – 12/1/14. Enter through Rafflecopter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway