It’s release day! I’m so excited! I can’t wait to hear what readers think about Deadly Shadow, the first book in the pulse-pounding Assassin Chronicles paranormal thriller series. Deadly Shadow is available in eBook.
Free to read with KindleUnlimited!
Available in trade paperback this weekend. Coming soon to Audible!
Read Chapter One
Within the hour, Derrick Lynn would kill his next target, a popular radio host known as ‘Big Mouth’ Bullington. He didn’t want or need any specifics about the target, only who and when. He’d learned a long time ago to keep that distance to make his job a lot easier to deal with. Never women or children. Never a non-target—which at times took an incredible amount of self-control. More than anyone could imagine.
Like his grandfather and father, he could move about in real-time, watching people and events while his physical body remained asleep. The paranormal freaks called it etheric travel. But his real gift was psychokinesis, a gift very few in the world had. He used his mind to move objects. It came in damn handy, turning anything and everything into a deadly weapon.
For over twenty years he’d evaded the authorities—in particular FBI Agent Victory McClane. And he was hell-bent on keeping it that way, no matter the cost.
In the large soundproof bedroom, Derrick laid on his back in his king-size bed, looking up at the ceiling with his hands clasped behind his head. Silk sheets covered his legs and, barely, his groin. The only light in the room came from the eerie glow radiating from the cell phone cradled in its charger on the nightstand next to his laptop. He glanced at the studio headshot of Eddie Bullington filling the phone’s screen as the podcast of the man’s radio show played at mid-volume.
“… and while it’s a bunch of bull that Republicans work to keep the Black man down…”
His eyes shifted to the bathroom doorway to his dinner companion, Alessandra, a thirty-something runway model with long blonde hair and voguish features. She straightened her white blouse over her black skirt then put her hoop earrings back on. Alessandra shot him a soft smile and grabbed the silver faux-fur coat laying on the end of the bed. Before leaving she bent and kissed him, her lips warm against his. Derrick closed his eyes as Bullington’s podcast droned on.
“… if you think the Dems are squeaky clean then I’ve got some prime Louisiana property for you. Those Limousine Liberals keep their boots pressed against the back of our necks, pretending to be on the side of equality and justice…”
He inhaled and exhaled slowly a dozen times and visualized his target’s bedroom. His body felt light, floating. Before losing consciousness, he jerked himself awake, then let himself go under again. Deeper into a half-sleep state, he felt as if he were bobbing in a boat. As the rocking intensified, high-pitched ringing sounded in his ears and his limbs vibrated and buzzed like a bee’s nest. He left the physical plane, his astral body flying.
Eddie Bullington stood in the shower. Steaming hot water pulsated hard against the back of his shoulder blades. The “God Bless America” Muzak-like ringtone blasted from the phone sitting on the counter next to the double sink. He shut the water off, stepped out of the shower stall, and grabbed his regal-looking red and gold bathrobe from the back of the door. He quickly slipped it on and answered the call.
“Let me guess, Sid. You want to talk about last week’s show.”
“Sure do. Ratings are down five-percent from last quarter. That’s a cause for concern.”
“Just relax, okay? Anything else or are you going to keep on complaining about the same old thing?”
“Five percent is a big deal, Eddie.”
“Go to bed, Sid. I got this. I’ll be in a little earlier than usual for the show.” Eddie disconnected and shook his head.
His producer, Sid Moller, was a pain on a good day. Eddie didn’t feel like dealing with the man’s silliness. His ratings were fine. He was still the top radio host in the United States, his shows syndicated on four continents.
With the phone clutched in his hand, he strolled barefoot into the spacious antechamber located next to his bedroom and flopped down into the extra-wide recliner. After setting the phone on the end table he picked up the TV remote, along with a half bag of Cheetos. He flicked on the TV to watch the latest episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and dug into the snack bag.
Derrick’s eyelids fluttered. Blackness. Then a long, dark tunnel emerged and grew wider. Sounds, natural and alien, came and went as a frantic rush of lights, faces, and places blazed toward him. He bobbed and weaved. Images, some distinct, others not, warped and flew toward him, through him, past him. The sounds and images intensified. Then they stopped. He was in Bullington’s bedroom.
Derrick stood behind Eddie, his naked body blurry and silhouetted in shadow. The room was filled with over-stuffed antique furniture, gaudy gold and green patterned drapes, and a Victorian rug in various hideous shades of red and pink. A mounted rhinoceros head glared down at it all.
His eyes shifted to the end table, then to Eddie’s phone. He trembled. Sweat dripped from his forehead and ran down the sides of his face. His gaze moved to the colorful ad for gold on the TV screen while the male announcer excitedly implored viewers to act now because there has never been a better time to buy. Derrick directed his energy at the end table drawer. It quietly eased open. Inside was a Baby Glock. He concentrated harder, staring, focusing as much energy as he could at the weapon.
The gun twitched. And turned. And rose from the drawer. The barrel moved within an inch from Bullington’s right temple.
Eddie twisted his head as if sensing something was about to happen. “What the—”
An angry gunshot cracked.
Blood, bone, and brain matter splattered and sprayed across the room. Various colored fluids and small lumps ran down the TV from a splotch at the top of the screen.
Derrick grunted. The gun traveled back to the end table and the drawer slammed shut.
Derrick’s physical body and astral body snapped together like strong magnets, slamming him back into the bed. His body jerked. Intermittent banging and dinging invaded his head. Then the familiar headache kicked in. Like an elastic band tight around his forehead, traveling down the base of his skull. His eyes jolted open. He stared for a long moment, disoriented, before slowly sitting up in bed. Bullington’s podcast continued to play.
“… oh, yeah. Give them freedom then lock them up in prison cages for years. That’s all I’m saying. Thanks for tuning in.”
Once he got his bearings, Derrick grabbed his laptop from the nightstand and opened the lid. The brilliant screen illuminated his tense face as it booted up.
He opened a new email and typed “task completed”, encrypted the data, then tapped the “send” button. It would only be a matter of seconds before he received confirmation that the payment had been transferred to his account at the Panama National Bank under the name, Miles McGrath. A million dollars. Not bad for less than two hours work including surveillance. A soft beep. Then a message popped up on the screen.
With a couple of keystrokes, he ran the special decryption software he’d been given, and within seconds the garbled message became readable.
Fee transferred. Face-to-face requested
He shut down the laptop and wondered why his contact had requested meeting in person. His face reflected on the black screen, yet his blue eyes shone.
©2018 Kim Cresswell (P) 2018 KC Publishing
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Jack Templar and the Last Battle by Jeff Gunhus
In the last book of the Jack Templar series, Jack and his friends race to stop Ren Lucre before he launches this Creach army against humankind. But the Lord of the Lesser Creach and the Lord of the Zombies hold the last two Jerusalem Stones Jack needs to have any chance of success. To make matters worse, the Oracle predicts that one of their group will die in the upcoming fight, and Jack discovers betrayal among those he trusts most.
Even so, Jack must find the courage to lead his friends into battle. Either they collect the Stones in time to defeat Ren Lucre or die trying. It’s “Do your duty, come what may” no matter the cost. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Before the witch could move, a shadow crashed through the hole in the collapsed roof, snarling and growling. Simultaneously, the cottage door flew open, nearly ripping from its hinges, and something ran into the room moving faster than I could track it. A second later, a person flew in from a side window, landing on the floor with a grunt, rolling and then popping up into a fighting stance.
This last addition was Will, sword pulled, ready for a fight. The other two took me a second because my mind still wasn’t used to their appearance. Daniel had dropped in from the roof, but he was in his werewolf form. Up on his hind legs, he clawed the air in front of him, lines of saliva dripping from his long snout. The shadow that had rushed in from the door was Eva. She stood near the fire, but even in the glow of the flames, her skin appeared pure white, almost translucent. Her posture was perfect, her back slightly arched. Chin out, she stared down the witch as if challenging her to one-on-one combat.
“What took you guys so long?” I asked.
“Oh, I don’t know. You sneaking out without telling anyone. And then trying to cover your tracks,” Will said. “You’re a real bonehead. You know that, right?”
“He knows,” Eva said. “Everyone knows.”
“Thanks,” I said. “I kind of liked it better when it was just me and Bella.”
“Really, looked to me like she was about to let you have it. If you want, we could just leave and –”
“Enough,” the witch yelled, sending the flames higher in the fireplace. “This changes nothing. You think you are any match for me?”
“I don’t know,” Eva said. “You’re looking pretty beat up to me. I feel like I might be able to get a little payback for last time.”
Daniel snarled, chomping the air with his teeth in agreement. The last time we’d had a run-in with Bella of the Woods, she’d easily mopped the floor with Eva and Daniel. I wondered if her ragged appearance meant she was less powerful now – or just more desperate and dangerous.
“We don’t have to do this,” I said. “We all want the same thing.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Templar,” the witch said. “You want to save your friends. Save your father. Save the world by stopping Ren Lucre’s mad plan to start an open war against humans all over the world. All I want is to have my son back.”
I lowered my sword, hoping to buy more time. “You can’t get him back,” I said softly. “I think you must know that by now, even if you don’t want to admit it. Look at all of your attempts,” I said, pointing to the stack of Talib heads against the wall. They all stared, wide-eyed, their mouths opening and closing like fish out of water gasping for air. “That’s not your son. Not really. And you know it never will be.”
The witch hunched over slowly as if each word I said made her chest ache more. I decided to make my final appeal.
“I said this to you last time I was here. If you can’t bring your son back, at least let me take my best shot at avenging his death. Let me have the Jerusalem Stone back so I can continue my quest to defeat Ren Lucre once and for all.”
The witch’s head twitched to the side as if she heard a new noise. Her lips curled into a cruel grin. “Sorry, Jack. That’s not what I had in mind.”
With a high-pitched scream, she pointed her hands at Eva and Daniel. The two of them blew backward as if a battering ram had run into them. That instant, Will was on the move. He was in the air as the witch turned to him, but he’d been just fast enough. He landed both feet on the witch’s chest, kicking her backward.
The dozens of Talib heads opened their mouths, and their screams joined the witch’s. I lunged forward, ducking as she spun around, the hand with the Jerusalem Stone stretched out toward me. I felt a surge of energy pass over my head like a solid thing. No doubt, if I hadn’t ducked, it would have taken my head clean off my shoulders.
I rolled onto the ground and used my momentum to crash into the witch’s legs. It wasn’t the most graceful move, but it worked. The witch tumbled over, her hand with the Jerusalem Stone smashing into the stone hearth. The Stone rolled out of her hand and into the fireplace.
“Bella, don’t!” I yelled.
Author Jeff Gunhus
Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.
After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Get JET: OBLIVION (Kindle Worlds Novella! Only Available at Amazon (US)
**Featuring JET from Russell Blake’s bestselling action-adventure thriller series and characters from Kim Cresswell’s action-packed Whitney Steel suspense series!**
After a catastrophic terrorist attack at a nuclear plant in California, JET, Mossad’s former deadliest operative, is leading a quiet life off the grid two-hundred-and-seventy miles away with her young daughter. But peace is short-lived when former FBI agent, Hal Decker, and ex-intelligence officer, Angela Donahue, track Jet down and blackmail her into helping them stop a new threat.
In a race against the clock the team must hunt down an al Qaeda terrorist cell working with the Sur del Calle cartel before a dirty bomb is smuggled out of Colombia and into the United States unleashing a deadlier attack at a second nuclear facility.
California – November 17
Umar Sarouk glanced up at the over-sized wall clock in the sterile fifty-by-fifty-foot control room and exhaled a long steady breath. It was six-thirty in the morning, and his twelve hour shift at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant would end in thirty minutes.
After twenty years of marriage, he would not be returning home to his wife and two daughters. There would be no graduations, no weddings to attend, and he wouldn’t be celebrating his forty-seventh birthday next week. Nor would he meet his first grandchild due in three months, born to his eldest daughter, Jewel.
Any apprehension for what he was about to do had disappeared months ago, replaced with deep sorrow for the many things in life he would miss. His children. His wife. His friends.
He leaned back in the chair and looked around the horseshoe-shaped room cluttered with vertical panels, bench boards and control switches used to monitor the nuclear reactor’s coolant pumps, steam generator and pressurizer levels. A lifetime of memories flashed, fast-forwarding through his mind, and he held on to each of them like a life preserver.
He knew the time would come when he would be called upon to carry out a mission and he gladly accepted his fate.
After he was gone, the experts would argue that he had been “radicalized” to an unbending ideology; that specific signs were ignored before he’d reached the final plateau. They call it the “jumping-off point to terror”. But they wouldn’t uncover any of the typical signs.
He had done everything he had been ordered to do to stay off the FBI’s radar, including keeping his thoughts to himself, not once indulging his ideation, beliefs or fears to anyone, not even to his wife. He never lived a life of isolation and never posted messages on social media. More importantly, no one was aware of his link to al Qaeda. At least, not yet.
For the first time in his life, Umar felt whole—that he was part of something greater.
He wrung his hands together and noticed how his stubby fingers trembled slightly. It was almost time. He stood and faced the clock. His legs shook. He clutched the edge of the desk and held his head high.
Six-forty-nine. The calm before the storm.
For over eight months, he had smuggled all the necessary parts he needed into the facility, hiding pieces in his locker, behind the washroom hand dryer, in his lunch, and even in plastic bags submerged in the toilet tanks. As a nuclear engineer, he had access to restricted areas that were usually off limits to many of the employees. Every free moment he had, he secretly assembled the explosive devices and placed each one where he knew they would have the most impact.
Sweat slid down his forehead and dripped onto the bridge of his nose. He swiped the wetness away with the back of his hand and thought about his wife, Afina, grateful for the many wonderful years they’d had together. She was a good woman. A good mother. She’d never forgive him.
Umar’s heart pounded.
The lights flicked off.
The electrical malfunction had originated at the power station a half mile north. He knew this because it was part of the plan to guarantee his mission was a success.
Two minutes later, the plant’s backup diesel generator fired up. The control room lights flickered twice then stayed on. Panic took over, and his breath came out in small bursts of air.
Remember why you’re doing this.
A loud boom directly below him sounded like lightning hitting a tree. He swore the tile floor shifted. The vibration from the explosion ripped up through his feet and tunneled through his body. He grabbed the edge of the desk to steady his balance.
The first bomb was meant to disrupt the backup power supply and the cooling system to the nuclear reactors.
The room went pitch black.
He felt bad for the men and women still in the plant and for the workers who had just arrived for the day shift—people he’d worked with for over a decade. They wouldn’t be returning to their families either. By now the plant’s internal emergency phone lines would be severed, leaving his friends to rely on their cell phones, if they worked at all, to communicate with their loved ones for the last time. Most would suffer thermal and radiation burns and then quickly perish from the lethal dose of radiation.
Tears filled Umar’s eyes at the thought of what would be coming next.
For a split second, survival instinct kicked in, and he wanted to run. But running wouldn’t save him. Nothing would. At least he’d be at peace, knowing his family was safe, vacationing on a Caribbean island far away from California—away from the fallout.
The floor below his feet shimmied then shook violently. The steel control room door blew outward, taking out half of the outer wall. Chunks of cement, wood, metal, wiring and sections of control panels rained down around him.
The shock wave from the second blast catapulted him backwards and slammed him into the bottom of a cabinet next to the row of alarm panels. He felt the bone in his arm crack and shatter on impact.
Dazed and in agony, Umar lumbered to his feet. Dust and choking gray smoke filled the air. He yanked the collar of his shirt up over his mouth and nose, in hopes of shielding his lungs from the thick smoke.
It won’t matter. It will be over soon.
It seemed as if a lifetime had passed before the third bomb rocked the facility.
If the explosion was successful, it would destroy the plant’s main structure, setting off a massive catastrophic fire and taking out the emergency water feeding system used to cool the reactor’s cores. Then, within minutes, one of the reactors would overheat and explode, sending a plume of radiation into the atmosphere, spreading deadly particles hundreds of miles across the United States, depending on the direction of the wind.
High-pitched emergency sirens wailed, alerting anyone within a ten-mile radius that something horrible had happened at the plant. Within minutes, the San Luis Obispo County warning system that extended from Cayucos in the north to Nipomo in the south would begin to howl.
Intense heat melted patches of skin on his face and bare arms, the pain unbearable. Umar’s throat and lungs burned, and he prayed it would be over soon.
He dropped to his knees and wheezed for a breath, scarcely able to whisper his last dying words. “Allahu Akbar.” Then he slowly raised his head and stared into the eye of the raging fire roaring toward him.
Text copyright © 2015 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Reprobatio Ltd.. All characters, scenes, events, plots, and related elements appearing in the original JET remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Reprobatio Ltd., or their affiliates or licensors. For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindlewords
Evil lurks within…
When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?
PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT
“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall
“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath
“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector
The baby was coming. Here. Now.
In this ancient, godless wood with the devil chasing her.
She staggered up the bank seeking refuge. She doubled over and fell to her knees. There. A curved bush with a den inside. She crawled on pine needles to her sanctuary, scratching her knees and stomach.
She fell on her side and curled up in pain. Daggers ripped through her.
Charlie had come so fast. This one would, too. The pain subsided and she rolled onto her back, praying the killer stayed afar. Moonlight stabbed through the branches, exposing her. She pulled herself further into her wooded cave. A lone owl hooted above, announcing her hideaway. Laura darted her eyes back and forth from tree to tree, but the woods remained empty.
Pain grabbed her harder, tightened across her belly like a giant fist pounding into her. She scrambled in the dirt for a twig, in between gasps and grunts. She bit down hard on a stick, swallowing sour grit. Pressure pushed all around. And such pain. She held her legs up, from underneath, widening the way for her child. She felt his head between her legs, pulsing to get out. Not here. Not now. Oh God, help me.
Then a laugh cut across her hell.
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.
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Title: Saving Us
Author: CM Hutton
Series: Paradise Taken #2
Genre: Adult Romance
Publication: January 2014
Our love affair wasn’t what everyone wanted it to be. It was raw and full of absolute joy and unbelievable pain. My love for her had consumed me for years and now that Kaye was mine, I was never letting her go. I knew the consequences of our affair would be devastating and hated to see the hurt in Claire’s eyes. I thought it would be so easy to just walk away…start a new life. I didn’t expect to feel so conflicted about leaving. I needed her. She was my lifeline and we were determined to get our happily ever after….until one day, one event, one conversation threatened it all. “I had to know what went wrong. My stomach was sick with grief and I didn’t know what to do next or even how to help Kaye. I needed to get to her. It didn’t matter what Rob or Claire thought. No one could stop me from going. I knew she needed me. I could feel it deep in my soul.
I put my finger up indicating I needed a minute as I still had to see the caterers out. Rob winked at me and smiled, reminding me of Jake’s odd response earlier in the evening. I
smiled back as I tried to ignore my thoughts.
Jake’s eyes never left me, but Rob didn’t notice. It should have been unnerving,
but it wasn’t. I snuggled deep beside my man, laid my head on his muscular chest, and wrapped my arms around his waist. He was my home.
chatting with Jake about work stuff, and I started to get up, but he pulled me back down and held me in place.
I knew what that meant. He loved to swim naked with me, but I certainly wasn’t going to do that with Jake and Claire here. He chuckled at my raised eyebrows because he knew I was about to protest, so he whispered, “With suits this time.”
I’m a wife, a mom of three, a friend, an aunt, a sister, a daughter and a teacher. Now, I can add writer to my list! I’ve always wanted to write and finally found inspiration and support to do it.
I live near Austin, Texas with my family and love to read and travel. Put me on a beach with a good book and the world just disappears around me.
Paradise Taken was my first novel and is a highly emotional book based on true events. Its sequel (Saving Us) is due out February 2014.
Loving Her was the second book I wrote after needing a little time off from Paradise Tak-en. It is a story close to my heart.
I love that you are willing to take a chance on a new writer and promise to keep striving to put out great books!
If you don’t like my books, that’s okay. Just please be gentle on my fragile ego. 😉
I’d love to chat with you, so look me up on any of my social pages.
Happy Reading. 🙂
Author: Wendy Knight
Series: Fate on Fire #1.5
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published: January 14th, 2014
Watching helplessly while your baby sister saves the world alone? It kinda sucks.
Will Delacour is one of the most powerful sorcerers to ever live. He’s Guard to the Edren Prodigy—his sister, Ari. But he walked away from the war, refusing to fight in a cause he didn’t believe in. He was deemed a traitor by the powerful Family, and now there’s a price on his head that leaves him trapped in a prison of his own making. And he can’t even tell the love of his life what she means to him because of the magical war that still controls their lives.
Instead of embracing his destiny, Will is forced to watch as Ari goes into battle over and over again, facing her enemies alone. She might be okay with it, but he’s not. He doesn’t believe in the war, but he does believe in her, and he knows his place is fighting by her side. Somehow, Will has to find a way to be there when Ari needs him , even if it means he forfeits his own life in the process.
Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.