Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tales from the Forest by Author Johanna Sarah Aldridge **Giveaway**

Tales From the Forest
by Johanna Sarah Aldridge
Genre: YA Mystery

The Forest Realm is a magical world within our own. You cannot see it, nor can you hear it, and only very few might be able to feel it. The realm feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, and protects the hunted... so long as their hearts are pure.

Recently orphaned, two heartbroken brothers are at risk of separation by the government...

A black Labrador leads a colony of rabbits away from danger...

A destitute family of rats seek a new life away from the pollution of the big city...

All have been rescued by the realm of magic, and their lives are truly about to change.

Come and join us in The Forest where magic thrives, adventures are rife, and friendships last forever.

About the Author

Jo was born in Colchester, Essex, in 1974 and since an early age has always been accused of having a wild imagination. This didnt stop her from studying for an honours degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, training as a science teacher, then go on to train as a Biomedical Scientist. She eventually took a post in Clinical Chemistry at Jersey General Hospital in the Channel Islands.

Whilst holding down a full time job, and working 28 hour emergency on call shifts, she has managed to find the time to share that wild imagination with the world by writing online fan fiction stories about the CW series Supernatural.

She enjoyed it so much that, with a lot of encouragement from her husband, she decided to write her own stories. Not an easy task for somone dogged by anxiety and depression, and since her diagnosis in 2013 she has also been battling with Ulcerative Colitis.

In spite of her struggles, Tales from the Forest, a series of short stories set in a magical realm, began to take physical form on her laptop screen, and her black labrador Nelson is a valiant hero in some of the stories. As an avid animal lover, she has vowed that all proceeds from the sale of this book series will help to set up a forever home sanctuary for stray, elderly and abandoned dogs.

Although still working full time at the hospital, she has turned her thoughts to the future, and now holds a Diploma in Dog Training from the Centre of Excellence, and is currently studying towards a Diploma in Canine Communication in order to prepare for a life of working with rescue dogs.

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Character Interview with Tessa Laurent, A Werewolf from: Being Alpha, by best selling Author, Aileen Erin **Giveaway**

Being Alpha
Aileen Erin
(Alpha Girl #7)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin

For the first time since Tessa met Dastien, life is quiet. The evil witch, Luciana, is six glorious feet under, St. Ailbe’s is closed due to human trespassers, and people are finally getting used to the fact that supernaturals exist in the world. It seems like the perfect time for a honeymoon.

After traveling to Dastien’s house in Provence, clubbing in Paris, and attending Meredith and Donovan’s Full Moon Ceremony in Ireland, Tessa and Dastien head to the Caribbean. Their trip is turning out to be the honeymoon that fantasies are made of-sunset cruises, long walks on the beach, and every romantic cliché you can imagine. Tessa couldn’t be happier. Except that Tessa’s visions are on the fritz. She hopes that means that nothing is brewing. That everything is quiet because all is well. But Tessa’s never been one to assume anything.

When she’s magically attacked and nearly dies, Tessa knows she can’t ignore the signs anymore. Something huge is going on. As much as she doesn’t want to call an end to their six-week honeymoon, it’s time to head back to Texas.

Whoever messed with Tessa is in for a rude awakening. Because if there’s one thing fighting rogue witches and werewolves has taught her, it’s how to be Alpha.

Character Interview
Meet Tessa Laurent
Werewolf from Being Alpha

Welcome to Character Madness and Musings, Tessa. Please don’t shed on the carpet while you’re here. (I can’t believe I said that, but it is pretty new you know).

Tell us a little bit about your story:

The story takes place during my honeymoon. Ever since they killed Luciana, something’s been brewing. We just didn’t know it yet, and it totally bit us in the ass!

Is it stand-alone or part of a series?
Part of a series! This is book 7.

Who is the main character?
I’m Tessa Laurent. I love my new name!

I like it too.
Who is the protagonist?

Do you feel like your Author did a good job portraying all the characters?
I think so. Especially Chris. I got to know more about him and what’s going on with his future mate. Oh boy… Drama city going on there!

Is there anything or anyone you would change?
No. I’m actually pretty happy with how the book turned out, especially since I ended up living!

Living is definately a good thing.
What’s the best part of being a werewolf?

The best part is getting to eat as much as I want and never having to worry about it.

What’s the worst part of being a werewolf?
The fact that there’s always someone trying to kill us. Also, the eating thing, because it really gets old. But probably the supernaturals being stabby. They need to calm down. I have some serious TV to catch up on!

Do full moons scare you?
Not anymore, but when I first got bitten—yes. I was really scared of shifting. It felt like I was giving in to fully becoming a werewolf. That was pretty stressful, but once I did it, I found I actually liked it.

What is your biggest fear?
Astaroth coming back. Or something else worse, although I’m not sure what that could be anymore. A fey? An evil archon? Satan himself? Okay… I gotta start thinking of happier things or else I’m going to give myself nightmares.

That was a harsh question. Sorry about that.
What do you do with your free time?
Right now, Dastien and I are making plans for our house. I’m super stoked about that. I love the cabin, but I don’t have enough space for my stuff and it’s getting a little cramped.

Does your Author have any plans for future books?
I sure hope so! I definitely have more adventures ahead of me.

Will you be part of them then?
For sure. I don’t think my author could get rid of me now even if she wanted to. She’s kind of stuck with me.

Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
A mate. Sure do. His name is Dastien Laurent. He’s French and pretty freaking hot. Seriously. You should see his abs.

*Secretly has visions of more fur in the carpet, but like abs.*
It was good to have you today, Tessa. Thank you for being with us.
Thanks for having me! Hope you have a good one!

Author Bio

Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Interview with Jennifer Honeybourn, Author of 'When Life Gives You Demons': Some people have school spirit. Shelby Black has real ones. **Giveaway**

When Life Gives You Demons 
Jennifer Honeybourn
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 17th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Some people have school spirit.

Shelby Black has real ones.

Shelby Black has spent the past six months training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy―a Catholic priest―has put her through exorcist boot camp hell, hoping to develop her talent, but ohmygod, he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.

High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity to herself. The last thing she wants is for her crush, Spencer, to find out what she does in her off time.

But Shelby knows how to keep a secret―even a big one. Like the fact that her mom left under mysterious circumstances and it’s all her fault. Shelby is hellbent on finding her mom, no matter what it costs her―even if what it ends up costing her is her soul AND a relationship with Spencer.

An Interview with Jennifer Honeybourn

Welcome to Character Madness and Musings, please tell us a little about yourself.

My first YA novel, WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE, debuted last year. I love to read and I’m pretty much never without a book. I’m always thinking either about the book I’m working on or ideas for books. I love to travel – London is probably my favorite place in the world, but I also really love Hawaii. I’d like to go to Sweden and Greece and the southern US, among many other places. Like almost everyone else on the planet, I’m a fan of Harry Potter. One of my highlights last year was visiting Harry Potter’s World of Wizardry in Los Angeles. I currently live just outside of Vancouver, BC, but this summer I’m moving across Canada to Stratford, Ontario with my family.

Tell us about your newest book.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS is a story about a girl who is reluctantly training to be an exorcist. Shelby’s great-uncle is a Catholic priest and he believes she has a gift for expelling demons. She’s keeping her extracurricular activities a secret from her friends but that’s becoming harder and harder to do.

Is it available now?

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS is available in bookstores and online as of July 17, 2018.

Have you published any others?

Yes, my debut novel WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE, was released last summer. It’s about a girl who is suddenly forced to deal with her arch nemesis when he returns to town and is hired at the medieval restaurant where she works.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing most of my life, but I only got serious about writing YA within the last eight years or so. I spent almost twenty years in corporate communications, where writing was a big part of my job. It taught me a lot about meeting deadlines and writing through it, even when you don’t necessarily feel inspired.

What inspires your stories?

I was inspired to write WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE after I attended a renaissance fair. For WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS, I wanted to write a fun paranormal. I like interesting settings or places that you don’t necessarily expect to read about. For me, a story almost always starts with the setting.

Titles are tough. How did you come up with your title?

Titles are very tough and I was having a hard time coming up with something that fit this book. My publisher, Swoon Reads, actually crowdsourced title suggestions on their website ( and as a result, I owe a big thank you to Jessica Hansen for coming up with the perfect title!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school. I’ve spent my life writing, in some form or another. Being an author is truly a dream and I feel very lucky.

Is theme an important concept in your stories? If so, is it personal for you, or something you feel strongly about?

I don’t consciously set out to write about a theme. I’m sure there are themes in there, but I haven’t really analyzed my books for them, believe it or not. I focus on writing fun stories that will entertain the reader because those are generally the books that I always love the most.

What do you look for most in a book when you’re reading, and how do you incorporate that into your own writing?
I usually look for good writing and solid plots, something on the lighter side. A book needs to pull me in right away. There are so many authors that I admire (Stephanie Perkins, Becky Albertalli, Emma Mills, Jenn Bennett, to name but a few) and I try to give the reader the same happy experience that I have when I’m reading their books.

What can we expect to see from you in the future, any books on the backburner?

I’m currently working on my third book for Swoon Reads about a teen hotel maid in Maui, whose efforts to fix her terrible luck by returning items she's stolen from guests are thwarted when her luck-stealing past catches up with her.

Is there anything you want to add before we close our interview?
Thank you for the opportunity!!

You're welcome. Thank you for being with us today. Good luck with your new book.

Author Bio

Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm Black and White Coloring Book by Sybrina Durant: Middle Grade Fantasy **Giveaway**

The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm
Black and White Coloring Book
by Sybrina Durant
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

The wood-cut look illustrations in The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm Black and White Illustrated book are reminiscent of old world fairytales by authors like Lewis Carroll and The Brother’s Grimm. It is a story which transcends age and presents valuable life lessons on overcoming adversity through perseverance and valuing friendship.

Everybody loves unicorns! OK maybe they don't but for those who do, they will love this story about a little unicorn who was born into a tribe of magical, metal horned unicorns. The little guy has no magic and he has no metal but somehow he must save the tribe from an evil sorcerer. Read the book to find out if he can do it.

“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad?

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors.

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed.

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

This ebook, for teens and older readers, will introduce you to the Read and Color black and white version of The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm Illustrated book. If you love to read and you love to color, this is the book for you. Read a chapter, then color the fanciful pictures yourself in this fully-illustrated black and white version of "The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm".

This book, written by Sybrina Durant and illustrated by Dasguptarts, offers readers a
visual feast of over forty beautiful water-color pictures that each span two pages. Forty-two - easy to digest two-page chapters are chock full of adventurous and entertaining morsels. If you love to read and you love to color, this is the book for you. Read a chapter, then color the fanciful pictures yourself in this fully-illustrated black and white version of "The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm". This illustrated book will become a favorite of teen and older fantasy readers. A companion coloring/ character description book is also available at any online bookstore.

About the Author


I'm Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you'll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I'm so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski. Love is but an instant away. **Excerpt-Giveaway**

The Boyfriend Whisperer
Linda Budzinski
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

As President and CEO of Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises, Lexi Malloy is Grand View High School’s undercover Cupid. One problem: She’s stuck in the friend zone when it comes to her own crush, Chris Broder. She and Chris have been best friends since the third grade, and he doesn’t even seem to realize she’s is a member of the opposite sex.

When pretty and popular cheerleader Lindsay LaRouche hires Lexi to whisper Chris, she has to decide whether to place her commitment to her company—and Chris’s happiness—before herself.


I crank up Mumford & Sons on my iPod and pull up the Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises files on my tablet. With Valentine’s ten days away, I need to plot out some big moves for my clients.

I start with Jolene. I watched Brendon staring at her this afternoon during the pep rally. He’s falling hard. No need to play it subtle. He likes spicy food, so Red Hots are an obvious choice, in a heart-shaped tin. What should the card say? Something super flirty. “Let’s heat it up on Valentine’s.” No … “spice it up.” I jot that down and move on to my next client.

Just as I’m picking out a sweet YouTube link I want her to send her BF-to-be, Coach Reilly pulls my earbud out and scares me half to death.

“Malloy! I’m talking to you. What are you working on?”

I slam my tablet shut. “What? Homework. Sorry. What do you need?”

She shoves my backpack to the floor and plops down beside me. “Let’s talk about tomorrow. We’re expecting scouts from all over. Rumor has it someone from U Conn might even turn up.”

She pauses as if to gauge my reaction, so I force a smile. “U Conn? Wow. That’s great.”

She leans in. “There’ll be a lot of buzz in that arena. Parents, coaches, other players. They’ll all be talking about the scouts and about you and your future. Here’s the thing: You need to ignore them.”

“Ignore them.”

“Exactly. You have one job tomorrow, and that’s to play the best game Alexis Malloy knows how to play. Run, pass, shoot, rebound. That’s it. The rest is static. Ignore the static.”

“Got it. Static.”

Coach furrows her brow. “You nervous?”

“Maybe a little.”

She pats my arm as she stands. “A little nervousness is good. You’ve got this, Malloy. You can do it.”

I smile and slump back into my seat. The fact is, I’m not at all nervous. I only said that so she wouldn’t launch into a lecture about being too cocky. She’s forever vacillating between warning me not to be too nervous and not to be too cocky, when in reality, I’m neither. The truth is, when it comes to college scouts, I just wish they’d leave me alone.

Author Bio

My young adult novels, EM & EM (2015) and THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013), were both published by Swoon Romance YA. My upcoming novel, THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, scheduled for publication in fall of 2016 by Swoon, received the Romance Writers of America Young Adult Chapter’s 2015 Rosemary Award and the Virginia Chapter’s 2015 Fool for Love Award.

I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer). I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.”

My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”

When I’m not writing, I work in nonprofit management. I’m represented by the amazing Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

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Character Interview: Meet Delaney from Between Frost and Fury, by Author Chani Lynn Feener. **Giveaway**

Between Frost and Fury 
Chani Lynn Feener
(The Xenith Trilogy #2)

Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 24th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Delaney might have done her job a little TOO well…and now her life has once again been turned upside down by aliens, this time by a deadly (and devastatingly handsome) alien prince in this explosive second installment of Chani Lynn Feener’s The Xenith Trilogy.

Delaney has been kidnapped by aliens. Again. After only a month back on Earth with her hot new alien boyfriend Ruckus, the deadly and devastatingly handsome prince Trystan has dragged her right back to his planet.

While some girls may dream of winning a prince’s heart, Delaney just wishes this one would leave her alone. Instead, she finds herself at the center of both a tense political battle between two alien kingdoms and Trystan’s romantic attentions, both of which are absolutely ruining the life she’s built on Earth. Not to mention the fact that she’s about to be crowned queen of a planet she’s barely even visited. Just another day in the life of an ordinary human girl.

Readers won’t want to miss Between Frost and Fury, the compelling, fast-paced sequel to Chani Lynn Feener’s Amid Stars and Darkness.

A Character Interview with Delaney


Between Frost and Fury

Welcome to Character Madness and Musings, please, tell us about your story

My name is Delaney, and I end up getting mistaken as alien royalty, kidnapped, and have to pretend to get along with an alien prince named Trystan. It isn’t easy. Usually I have Ruckus to help me understand and navigate alien policies, but in Between Frost and Fury, we’re separated, and I have to rely on Trystan more than I’d like.

What part do you play in it?

For the most part, I play the Lissa, which is an alien princess for the kingdom Vakar.

Is it scary or a love story?

I wouldn’t consider it scary—though I get shot at…a lot—so I would definitely say love story.

Have you heard any good gossip lately?

The other day, I heard Pettus mistook an experiment Gibus had been working on as lunch and was locked in the bathroom for hours. Does that count?

*Laughs* Absolutely! 

If you could be anything you want to be, what would you be?
A normal girl about to start her first semester of college with my best friend.


There are a lot less chances of getting shot by a fritz that way, and also, there’s no alien royalty.

Where would you live?

I’ve got an apartment with my best friend and boyfriend in Maine. Ideally, we’d stay there for the next few years at least.

Where do you live now?
That’s hard to say…Technically, I still live in Maine, but since I keep getting kidnapped and brought to Xenith…

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

I have a boyfriend. He’s an ander.

What would they think about the change?

He’d definitely prefer if I were a regular college student too! For the exact same reasons I would.

Who is the scariest person in your story?
The Rex, also known as the King of Kint, and Trystan’s father.

Who is the happiest?

Probably Gibus. He has a very cheery, positive personality. Mostly because he’s usually off in his own head creating something.

Creating things is good. 

What’s your author like?
She also has a positive personality. Mostly because she’s usually off in her own head creating something.

Hahahaha, Creating things is good.

Do you think she portrayed your part well?
Since she doesn’t over plot, nothing was forced so I think she did an all right job!

Do you have any pictures to share?

I’m actually not even sure if they have cameras on Xenith, so I don’t. But fan art is posted to my author’s blog: :)

Author Bio

Chani Lynn Feener has wanted to be a writer since the age of ten during fifth grade story time. She majored in Creative Writing at Johnson State College in Vermont, and graduated in 2012. To pay her bills, she has worked many odd jobs, including, but not limited to, telemarketing, order picking in a warehouse, and filling ink cartridges. When she isn’t writing, she’s binging TV shows, drawing, or frequenting zoos/aquariums. Chani is also the author of teen paranormal series, the Underworld Saga, originally written under the penname Tempest C. Avery. She currently resides in Connecticut, but lives on

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Dociles: The Secret Archives Trilogy: Book One, by Author Valerie Puri: Walls are meant to keep the monsters out… **Excerpt-Giveaway**

The Dociles 
Valerie Puri
Publication date: July 12th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

Walls are meant to keep the monsters out…
Deep in the forest there is a wall where no wall should be. Behind it live the people of the Commune, the last remnant of human kind.

Jennie Caraway has lived behind the wall her entire life, certain that it protects her and her brother from the lemerons, ravenous undead monsters whose only desire is to kill – and feed.

Jennie’s peaceful existence is shattered when she uncovers a secret organization whose purpose threatens to destroy not only Jennie, but her entire world. The Order has a deadly mission, and they will stop at nothing to see it completed.

Jennie and those closest to her must expose the evil truth before they are killed – or worse.



The ranger had feared he might risk encountering a lemeron that night; anyone who came too close to one rarely lived to tell the tale. The torrential rains and the intense darkness had made it nearly impossible for him to see. As he ventured through the blackness, finding his way with his outstretched hands, he couldn’t shake the feeling something bad was about to happen.

That’s when the lightning began, giving him intermittent visibility. He saw the skeletal figure stagger forward becoming visible through the heavy rain. The blotchy-grey flesh of the lemeron sagged from its bones and hung like ill-fitting clothing. It released a guttural moan causing the ranger to go rigid.

When he saw the lemeron approaching him, the ranger turned and hurried in a new direction, one perpendicular to his previous course. After putting some distance between himself and the monster, the ranger took care to disguise himself in the underbrush growing beneath a tall tree. He gazed in the direction he had just come from to see if the lemeron followed him. The loud pounding of his heart in his ears made him aware of its rapid pace. He tried to slow his heart rate if only to hear better, but it was to no avail.

He was startled by a crack behind him, the sound of a stick breaking underfoot. His fear turned to terror as he felt a boney hand seize his left arm. As the ranger spun around, the firm grip tightened, and sharp fingernails pierced his skin. The blood drained from his face at the sight. He was staring into the grey, sagging face of a lemeron.

He struggled and tried to pull away from the monster, but the action only made it clench tighter, its fingernails digging deeper and deeper into his arm. The cloudy, yellow eyes of the lemeron were wide and hungry. Its green lips parted, exposing blackened teeth. It lunged at him with its fully bared teeth.

The ranger was certain he would die in that moment. He frantically grabbed for the dagger hanging from his belt, his trembling fingers wrapped around the cold handle. He drew the blade from its sheath and instinctively swung it upward. His attack cut diagonally through the lemeron’s chest, sending it stumbling backward, but it was not enough for the monster to release him. Brown, congealed blood oozed from the rotting flesh. The ranger raised his dagger high above his head, and with all his strength, brought the blade down. His aim was good, and the small blade sliced through the monster’s wrist, severing the hand, thus releasing the ranger from its grasp. A crackling groan escaped from its throat, not from pain – lemerons feel no pain – but from anger.

The ranger ran mindlessly through the darkness, stumbling over the tangle of slippery roots covering the forest floor. He had to put as much distance between himself and the lemeron as possible. He smashed into a tree, not noticing it was in his path. Searing pain exploded through his left shoulder, and a rush of warm liquid ran down his arm. It must be my blood, he thought. His arm felt like it was on fire, but he could not stop to tend to it. He could hear the beast crashing through the underbrush behind him.

His head pounded, his heart raced, adrenalin surged through his veins, and his muscles begged him to stop running. Suddenly he slammed into something massive. The force of the impact knocked him on his back and the air rushed from his lungs. Dazed, he lay on the soaked ground while the freezing raindrops battered his face. He remained horizontal and motionless until he was able to recover his breath and regain control of his limbs.

The ranger stood up and reached his hand out in front of him to feel what had stopped him. The oppressive night was growing ever darker as the storm raged; he could barely see his hand in front of his face. He touched something smooth and hard – it felt like stone. Lightning ripped across the sky in a spider web of brilliant streaks. In the prolonged flash, the ranger saw a stone wall extending as far as he could see in either direction.

He was trapped. His only options were to go backward or to go forward. Behind him was the lemeron, and in front of him was a wall four times the height of a man. Frantically, he felt the surface with his hands and discovered crevices large enough to use as footholds where the large stones met. Quickly making his decision, he climbed the wall not knowing what he would find on the other side.

Author Bio

Valerie Puri has always had a lifelong interest in all forms of artistic expression. She has tried her hand at many things, yet she always found her way back to reading and writing. With inspiration everywhere, she finally put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) with the intent of publishing her stories.

Writing has always come naturally to Valerie, and for a time she even worked as a technical writer. She continues to hone her skills by having at least one writing project in the works at any given time. Her true passion lies in the freedom that comes with writing the stories that pour from her imagination and real life inspiration.

Valerie believes that the experiences we have in life are just stories waiting to be written.

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