Once upon a time, there was the wandering soul of Morgann, an 8th century Irish calligrapher-monk longing to be reunited with his soul mate. Deirdre was his forbidden love, a witch with whom he wrote a coveted book.
Under her spell, the souls of the star-crossed lovers travel from bodies to bodies until they find each other. Eventually.
That became his quest: unearth her new body and trigger her memory, for she is clueless about whom she once was. Unfortunately their story didn’t get a chance to become a fairy tale yet it still turned out as a famous urban legend referred as The Black Angel Book.
Twice upon a time, not so long ago, there was me, rational and devastated Rose. I needed to get a grip, said my French mum after my year of numbness due to a painful break-up that led me to cut my wrist daily, to feel something, anything.
So she sent me off to the free-spirited village of Provincetown, Massachusetts, to spend the summer with my American relatives. And just like that, I wasn’t myself any longer. Because someone pulled me out of the darkness and bewitched me, somehow.
I couldn’t wait to jump his bones… but why was he holding back?
He couldn’t wait to welcome me into his world… but was I ready to question my convictions and acknowledge that my self-inflicted cuts were now healing in record time?
How could I have imagined he was longing for his own unorthodox fairytale to come true? Frantically.
In the 8th century, an Irish monk/calligrapher named Morgann did the forbidden act of falling in love and going against his pledge of celibacy. But he didn’t just fall in love with any one. He fell in love with a witch. Deirdre, the witch in question, fell in love with Morgann too, and together they worked on a book of spells that was coveted by the very people who tried to kill them. But before their demise, Deirdre placed a curse on them that would allow their souls to travel across time, occupying different bodies in order to meet each other again one day. True soul mates. Now in the present time, Virgil, the host body for Morgann’s soul, remembers his past life and is in desperate need to find his soul mate so they can finish the book which their past selves couldn’t. But he is aware that the host for Deirdre may not remember her past with him, so he has to find her and push her into remembering or their love may be lost forever.
Rose, a Parisian college graduate comes to Provincetown, Massachusetts to visit her American family and to also get away from a very bad breakup. She had been depressed for a year, practically a zombie, and only found some sort of rush for life when she cut her wrist. Although vacationing with her favorite cousins and aunt seemed like fun, she was afraid that nothing would get her out of her funk. That is until she decided to take a calligraphy class and meet the very tall and awkwardly handsome Virgil. After spending time with him, a fire is ignited inside of her that she has never felt before, and her whole body desires him. She has no explanation for why she wants him so bad, but when Virgil feels the same way about her, he realizes that she must be his soul mate, the host body of Deirdre. Not wanting to rush things, Virgil decides to take things slow and gradually get to know Rose instead of forcing them together because of Morgann and Deirdre. But can he find the courage to tell Rose the truth about them? And if he does, will Rose stick around and believe him about why they are attracted to each other, or will she find the whole thing nuts?
Twice Upon A Time is a true roller coaster ride. Some parts exciting, some parts uncomfortable, but altogether a rush to read. I will say that it took me a while to get into the main plot of the story, because the first half or so is about Rose in Provincetown and then about Rose and Virgil meeting and getting to know each other. I’m not saying that it was necessarily a bad thing, but it kind of frustrated me to know that the real nitty-gritty stuff happened more than midway through. It made me wonder what took so long to get there. Maybe that’s just me since I’m the type of person who likes to know what’s going on before the halfway mark (well except if I’m reading a mystery/suspense/horror), especially in a book about soul mates that triggers romance. I don’t like waiting long before I know that the characters are going to be together. And I don’t like waiting long to find out that my characters are different than they appear (once again except in mystery/horror/suspense). I shouldn’t have to read more than half the book to find out that a character I once thought shy and awkward is actually a killer with a cause…in a plot I would consider a romance! Even though it was a nice and exciting twist that added more depth to the plot, it was a mind blow because there were no innuendos that led up to that crazy character development, and it was kind of just thrown at me. It made me sit up and read it over again, hoping I didn’t read the words wrong. But none of that turned me away from the book. There were a lot of surprises within the plot and between the characters that kept me on edge and made reading enjoyable. I give Twice Upon A Time 4 fangs! I recommend it to the romantics out there who believe in the power of love, reincarnation, and the existence of soul mates.
Reviewer for Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock!
Ambitious, twenty-something FBI Special Agent Jade Harrington cuts her vacation short to investigate the murder of a conservative radio personality only to discover that he may be the victim of a serial killer. Whitney Fairchild, the elegant and charismatic Democratic senator from Missouri, campaigns in a cutthroat race for president of the United States. Cole Brennan, the most popular conservative talk-show host in the nation, battles nightly to save his country and help the incumbent Republican president maintain his ‘inner conservative’ to win re-election.
The lives of Jade, Whitney, Cole, and the killer—who has an agenda of his own—are on a collision course. That course will not just impact them each in ways they could never have foreseen, but also the future of the United States of America. Amidst a backdrop of contemporary power politics driven by the influence of talk radio and social media, DON’T SPEAK thrills even as it explores many of the complex issues facing Americans today.
What happens when you mix politics with murder? In this case a book I couldn’t put down! This is a book that keeps you guessing from the beginning. Who’s killing the conservative radio talk show hosts? That’s the answer FBI Special Agent Jade Harrington and her group are looking for. Throw in a presidential election with a look at the dealing that goes on behind closed doors and you have a winning story line. The characters are fleshed out and realistic and the author’s take on conservative vs liberal politics is spot on. The ending left the book open for another story with Jade and Whitney and I hope the author has plans for a book 2 because I’d definitely love to read more.
Independent reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock. 5 thrilling hearts.
Danielle is one tough female and vows only to believe in herself and her dedication to protect mortals. In her past, she has several strikes against her and has had to prove herself time and again. One, her lineage as the daughter of a Goddess who cares nothing for her. Two, the painful betrayal of a male she was sacredly pledged to. And three, just the fact that she’s female and considered weak. Even though times have changed, she still harbors the insecurities secretly deep within and strives to maintain the respect she is due as a member of the Freyodin Warriors.
Aaron is an archeologist searching for a mythical relic. In the process, he blunders upon an ancient chain that causes problems he wasn’t expecting and may change the course of his lifelong dreams and aspirations. Maybe even against his will – if he can survive.
The unexpected connection between them is filled with inexplicable attraction, danger and adventure. They learn truths of their past that neither one is prepared for and face a possible future neither one may want. Can they overcome their differences, secrets and pasts, and work together to find a solution they both can live through?
This book is the first in the Freyodin Warrior series and ends in an HEA. This story leans heavily on mythology and the actual existence of gods and goddesses alongside humans, but not known to most humans. Aaron is an archeologist on a dig to find a sacred relic that must not go into the hands of evil. He also stumbles across a chain. This chain draws the attention of the gods to the dig site. Danielle, a demi-god warrior is sent to retrieve the chain. There are a lot of emotions in this story. Each god has his or her own personality, with all of the baggage that comes with living hundreds of years. Danielle feels she must prove herself as a warrior and a woman. She is attracted to Aaron, but knows they can never be together due to his humanity.
>This story had a lot of gratuitous sex scenes that didn’t further the plot at all. A mated couple’s relations are described, yet the couple has really no other purpose in the story. One of the female warriors, Mikayla, has a threesome with 2 of the male warriors and their scene is described in erotic detail. That scene had no bearing on this story. If the book was about Mikayla and how she recovers from losing the love of her life, then the scene made sense. As this book is written, the extra eroticism tended to cheapen the story.
>The book had a lot of misusage of words. For example, when talking about a sordid family history, the author writes about a sorted family history. A bare neck is described as a bear neck. The ultimate mistake was made when the word your was used in place of the words you’re. These kinds of errors take the reader right out of the story.
>I am a reviewer for Romance Author’s that Rock. I am giving this book 3 stars. There was so much to the story, but the story was pushed to the back in favor of eroticism.
Please feel free to check my web site http://www.lindahadaway.com for book videos and/or send e mail email@example.com.
I live in a small town in Washington State-I’m a lifer here and enjoy it very much-despite the rain. I have always loved to write and certainly have had my dreams come true with four published novels.
I have spent most of my life working in the Human Services field.The people I have worked with have taught me so much. It has certainly enriched my life.
I’m a positive person- a romantic at heart. Like life, my stories contain twists of humor.
As always, I am so greatful for my wonderful family. My children: Jacob, Brandy, Donn, Dale; my daughter-in-law Heather. Grandchildren: Donn III, Hallie, Melinda, and Daylen, twins: Holton & Dalton, Anthony, Little Millie and great-grandbaby Jade. I am also thankful for Bryon, my husband, who gives me so much love and support every day.
I am a member of the Cascade Writing Group- which has given me great support and encouragement.
Damned If He Does
Genre: Light Paranormal
Date of Publication: 7/19/2016
Number of pages: 333
Word Count: 98k
Cover Artist: Danielle Fine
Rejected by heaven, twisted by hell, what’s a damned dead man to do when he stumbles upon a life and love worth fighting for?
Though damned for his earthly sins, Darsorin Incarri likes being an incubus. Prowling women’s dreams to siphon off their sexual energy for Satan’s consumption has its perks: an array of infernal power and a modicum of freedom. Sure, Ole Scratch holds Dar’s soul in thrall, and Dar has to spend a few hours recharging in Hell every day, but it could be much worse. All he has to do is hold up his end of his damnation contract – five women seduced, satisfied and siphoned per night for eternity. So when he encounters gorgeous, bright, and funny Fiona Renee, it’s business as usual. Deploy the infernal charm and rack up another score. Except it doesn’t work. She’s immune. He has to find out what’s gone wrong or face Lucifer’s wrath.
Fiona Renee has the life she’d always wanted: a career, a home, a cat with a bad attitude, and peace. Fiona’s dated. Had boyfriends. And hated every minute of it. She’s reconciled to being lonely. So when a man shows up in her bedroom in the middle of the night demanding to know why her dreams turn to nightmares every time he tries to seduce her from within them, Fiona winds up negotiating a contract with a demon that allows him access to her life. She never anticipated that it would also give him access to her heart. If she’s going to fall in love at all, something she never thought would happen, shouldn’t it be with someone who’s alive? If Fiona wants to hang on to Darsorin, she has to find his true name—the one he’d been given at his birth over a thousand years ago. But Satan, himself, stands in her way. Even if Fiona can dodge Lucifer, she and Darsorin have to face the question neither of them can answer: What happens to a dead man if you manage to wrest his soul from the Devil?
This book was awesome. The characters came alive very fast, the development drew the reader in right away. I had a hard time putting this book down till I was done. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes paranormal stories and romances. While there is some discussion of sexual fantasies early on and some sexual situation toward the end of the story this is a book that could be read by most readers, young adult and up. I would like to see more books like this.
I’m giving this book 5 hearts
Reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock
About the Author:
Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She writes science fiction romance for Berkley Sensation. Her first book, Enemy Within won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Futuristic of 2010. The second book in the series, Enemy Games, released on May 3, 2011. An erotica novella, Enemy Mine, set in the same world as the novels was released as an e-special edition by Berkley in April 2012. Emissary, a sword and sorcery short story released in the two volume Thunder on the Battlefield Anthology in the second half of 2013. Nightmare Ink, an Urban Fantasy novel from Intermix came out in April of 2014 and the second in that Living Ink series, Bound by Ink, came out in November 2014. Damned If He Does, a light paranormal romance came out in July 2016.
She lives aboard a sailboat in Seattle where she and her husband are outnumbered by cats.
3 copies of Damned If He Does
Three Contemporary Romance Novels by Bestselling author Nikki Sex, and Zachary J. Kitchen!
Sometimes love has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with karma…
Marcy Paget worked full-time putting her husband through University. When he finally became a success, he dumped her for a trophy wife more than ten years younger, leaving Marcy to raise their four year old daughter on her own.
Even though Marcy knows she is better off alone than with a cheating husband who doesn’t love her, she is still struggling to make ends meet.
When an ethical dilemma presents itself she makes a choice – never realizing the incredible karmic chain of events that will follow her decision. . .
Promises to Keep
As the only ER doctor this side of Fallujah, Iraq, Jack Curren is a very busy man.
When he’s unable to save the life of his wounded medic, the soldier’s dying request is for Jack to personally deliver his wedding ring to Laura, his newlywed bride.
He vows to do so the moment he returns home.
Jack’s been through Hell on earth, while Laura’s a feisty, stubborn survivor of her own personal Hell. She’s got a mind of her own, and she’s no victim—but what is she so afraid of?
Despite their growing attraction, there’s just one thing the young widow doesn’t know about her husband’s death:
Jack Curren is the one who got him killed.
What Wendy Wants
After thirteen years of marriage and three children, Wendy Hayward is bored with sex.
As much as she loves her husband, Wendy married “Mr. Vanilla.” Now she reads nothing but steamy romance stories on her Kindle and fantasizes about with fictional characters, complete strangers, and tattooed rock stars.
One fateful day however, her husband grabs the wrong Kindle on the way to work, and discovers some of Wendy’s more “interesting” fantasies.
Unbeknownst to Wendy, Frank is very keen to fulfill every one of her secret desires. . .
Next in line was “Promises to Keep”. Jack is a war torn military doctor, who in a very loose way is responsible for the death of Laura’s fiancé. Through the process of writing letters to apologize Jack and Laura develop a relationship that comes to fruition upon his return from Iraq and subsequently saving her from a deadly ex-boyfriend. Sadly I did not enjoy this story as much as the first and actually felt that it drew away from the collection as a whole. I felt that the characters were very disjointed between their letters and once they meet in person. I felt that the Laura in letters was very incongruent to the Laura in person. In letters she comes across as very strong and somewhat demure, but in person she was somewhat Bi-Polar. I especially didn’t like their major fight scene and found it very unrealistic. In my opinion she got way over angry for the situation and where they were in their relationship, especially right after Jack telling her she wasn’t bad for never loving her first fiancé. I found it unrealistic that she could say some really horrible things and then it’s magically over and their back together again in the epilogue just because they went through a tragic event together. I also didn’t like the ending, I found it inappropriate but won’t go into further reasons here to give things away.
Finally, by far my favorite and sadly the shortest of the three, “What Wendy Wants”. I read A LOT of books and a lot of those are romances with some kink thrown in, but I’m going to put it out there that this may be one of my favorites for a truly romantic story and ideally what every woman wants from her husband. Frank and Wendy have fallen into the rut that almost all long time married people fall into of her wanting more and his having no idea something is missing. That is until Frank accidentally takes Laura’s kindle and reads her spicy stories and really learns what she has been wanting. I loved that Frank went all in to his desire to make his marriage better and that the author showcased his nerdy ways even in his “researching” what his wife wanted and how to make their sex lives better. I thought that it made Frank incredibly sweet and endearing. I especially liked how he never lost his core personality of being somewhat nerdy and continued to think with his accountant brain, remembering percentages, even when caught up in the throws of lovemaking. Again this story by far made this book and gave the perfect combination of being a VERY sexy, but romantic read.
Overall, I give this entire collection a 4 hearts. Book 1 was good and a sweet story independently would have given it a 4.5 heart. Book 2, again I felt was lacking the depth and development of the other two stories so would have given it a 3 independently. But Book 3, pulls it home for me with being the best and would have independently rated it 5+ hearts.
***Reviewer for Romance Authors that Rock***
Found Footage, Horror, Apocalypse
Date Published: May 4, 2013
Publisher: Chelshire, INC.
Seth is laid off from work. His wife Lara just found out they are expecting a baby this summer. Seth plans on documenting the entire pregnancy with his brand new digital camcorder. During an evening home watching television, the news reports that a swarm of cicada (Brood Ten) are expected to overwhelm the entire Northeast. Brood Ten is vicious and ready to invade. During a sweltering summer night, Brood Ten emerges and wreaks havoc with the electric grid, phone and cell service, wi-fi, food and water supply. Civilization as they know it is gone. Seth and Lara are thrown back to the stone age in their own home with trillions of cicada trying to deposit their eggs and breed. Fast paced and filled with tension, Brood Ten is the perfect summer read when you’re sitting outside listening to the cicadas sing.
I was given this book by the author in exchange for a honest review, that being said let’s get on to the review.
What happens when Cicadas invade the entire northeastern portion of the United States? Read this book and you’ll find out.
It starts with Chet and Ralph, security guards trapped in the hospital they work at. When EMT Jonathan gets in, he brings a camcorder he found in a police car on his way to the hospital. Since the TV ,electric and wi-fi are down the guys decide to watch it and see if they can find out anything about what’s going on.
The video is about a young couple Seth, a slacker,and his wife Lara, a third grade teacher. When they find out they’re pregnant they decide to tape the pregnancy and from there it leads into the horror of the invasion. Lara tries to get Seth to go out and get extra supplies bit he thinks she’s over reacting due to the pregnancy so he concedes by getting a freezer. By the time he realise Lara was right the chances of getting supplies are slim to none. Add when two of Lara’s friends who need a place to stay show up and with the electricity,wi-fi and TV down its a disaster of epic proportions. Can Seth keep Lara and the baby safe? Who and what will be left after the invasion is all over?
This is the first book I’ve read by this author but definitely not the last line. I really enjoyed this and look forward to more from this amazing author. It started out kind of slow but once it picked up I couldn’t put it down! I can never look a cicadas the same ever again. This would make an excellent movie, right up there with movies like Arachniphobia. If you’re interested in horror then this is definitely a book worth reading.
Independent reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock. 5 pounding hearts.
Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning and best-selling novelist of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels. He’s written ten books including the best-selling “Brood X”, “Stillwell”, “The Flip”, “The After House”, “The Hanging Tree”, “Witches Protection Program”, “Pokergeist”, “Monsterland”, “The History Major”, and “Battle for Darracia” series. Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island.
Five hundred years after the death of King Arthur, a sadistic tyrant of Visi-Galia, attacks unprotected and vulnerable townships in Gilleon, igniting a deadly chain of events. Because he was unfairly denied a proper chance to compete for valuable mine rights and outbid by a Councilman from Gilleon, he reasons that he can invade Gilleon’s vulnerable townships and force the Council to negotiate with him.
Merlin, the lead knight in Lycenea, has foreseen just such a predicament. With the gifts of premonition, telepathy and intelligence, he and 9 of his most formidable knights go into battle against Jason and his force of nine thousand.
At stake is everything. The fate of the prisoners who are awaiting to be sold into slavery rests in the hands of the deadly knights. Specifically, two girls who were attacked in Missalia and are now orphaned, are at the mercy of the sadistic King. Will Merlin and his band of knights be able to rescue them in time?
Adele, the older sister, has plans of her own for escape. Will she prove successful or will her plans be foiled? If she is caught, what will become of her and her sister, Sylvia?
Dante, a boy from Coifen, is also now orphaned. He is the sole survivor of a brutal attack on his family. An unlikely heroine has come to his rescue- a mysterious white wolf. Unfortunately, the attack has left him blind. He and his guardian make their refuge in a remote cave. He clings desperately to the hope that God has spared him for a reason. Every night he goes to bed, he says a prayer to his talisman, the Merlin, a game piece that his father gave him before he was forced to abandon him. It was the last gift he received before all hell broke loose. Will he be rescued? Will he find a permanent haven? His fate also lies in the hands of the Merlin.
Merlin and his troupe lead the Visi-Gauls in a high stakes game of cat and mouse. Jason, though capricious, is not stupid. He uses every means at his disposal to eliminate Merlin. Who will prove the victor? Fighting a severe war of attrition, it seems at times that Jason will inevitably win; but don’t count the Merlin out. He is beyond slippery. Every time it seems that Jason has the gifted knight, he is thwarted yet again.
The jaw-dropping confrontation will leave you breathless
This is a book in medival fantasy but some modernish mix thrown in magicish swords and guns etc. There’s a evil sadistic man who wants mine rights in townships in Gilleon. When he goes after what he wants blood is shed, families are lost , children are orphaned and innocents are kidnapped.
This is a fast paced bloody battle packed story. Merlin is the hero but don’t get me wrong he’s not perfect or innocent, he has to scheme and resort to dirty tricks to battle the evil he and the brotherhood face.
The author has written this so well that you feel you’re there watching everything that’s happening. The final chapter shocked me and I know it will you too. The characters are fully fleshed out and each brings their own special touch to the book. I can’t wait for the next in this brutal and sometimes spiritual fantasy.
Independent reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock. 4 hearts.
Series: Montgomery Men #1
Author: C.A. Harms
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: August 23, 2016
|I was running from my husband, a man I thought I’d known. Running from the hell he had put me through.
He’d nearly destroyed the woman I had once been and I would do whatever it took to regain my freedom.
I would lie, and cheat. I would steal if it meant that I never had to go back there.
I’d run and keep running…
But there was one problem. I hadn’t planned for Ashton Montgomery.
He was a distraction I couldn’t allow. Not if I wanted to stay safe. I had to remain distant, but he was relentless and had other ideas.
I caved because I hadn’t thought it all through, not in detail.
If I had I would’ve realized that you can only live in a fantasy world for so long before everything came crashing in around you.
And those lives you’ve destroy along the way, make you no better than the monster you were trying to break free from.
How could I have been so careless? It wasn’t meant to turn out this way. But the Rush of my freedom took control and I forgot how important it was to keep the secret of who I had once been.
And now I had nothing…
Only the fear that the man I’d run from would find me again, and finish what he started.
EARLY REVIEWERS ARE LOVING IT!
|A little about me. Let’s see where to start.
I love HEA stories, as long as they come packing a little heat. I need some excitement, some angst, and moments that make me fan my face are always good too. I am an Illinois girl, born and raised. Simple and true, it honestly doesn’t take much to make me happy. I love the little things; they truly mean the most. I may have a slight addiction to my new Keurig–oh my, that thing is a godsend. And so fast too. I have two children who truly are my very best friends, and their faces never fail to put a smile on my face. I have been married to my husband for sixteen years, and even though at times I want to beat him with a stick, I would never change the years we have had. We have learned and fallen, only to pick each other up, dust off the ache, and help each other make it right.
I am one of those authors that adore my fans. I love to hear from you. After all, it is because of each one of you that I continue to write. I look forward to your feedback.
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Genre: fantasy/historical fantasy
Date of Publication: September 1, 2016
ISBN: ebook 978-0-9847731-0-
ISBN: Paperback 978-0-9847731-8-3
Number of pages: 392
Word Count: 116049
Cover Artist: Elliot Kreloff
“LIBAHUNT!” Alexei breaks the terms of the wolf-magic he inherited from his grandfather and loses the ability to control the shapeshifting. His grandfather’s magical wolf-pelt was meant to protect their rural village in 1880s Estonia by fighting the terrible storms in the sky but instead, it drives Alexei to kill, slaughtering his neighbors, his friends —even his family.
Heartbroken, Alexei flees his home in search of an enchanter to free him from this hideous curse. Wandering through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Bohemia, he encounters the Master of Wolves, who forces Alexei to terrorize and murder the local farmers, and the infamous Frau Bertha who traps all those who anger her by turning them into wolves. Will Alexei find a sorcerer who can free him?
What Reviewers Are Saying About Storm Wolf
“Morris’ werewolf isn’t a fur-coated romantic, but a refreshingly murky protagonist who’s both flawed and sympathetic; he kills innocents, but never intentionally. There are quite a few werewolf onslaughts, which the author unflinchingly portrays as bloody and brutal…. A dark supernatural outing, featuring indelible characters as sharp as wolves’ teeth.” — Kirkus Reviews
“…a unique weaving together and retelling of central and eastern European werewolf folk tales. Set in 1890, when such tales were still being told, Storm Wolf stands apart from contemporary myth and legend retellings… The magic–Alexei’s battles with storm creatures, the conjuring of a snake demon from pipe smoke, a witch’s talisman of skin stripped from a sailor–is extraordinarily well imagined and described here. Dollops of regional history and glimpses of customs and legends are fascinating.” — Blue Ink Review
“…the beginning of the book also serves to give us a thorough grounding in the setting, which is impressively fleshed out by Morris, and provide an unusual as well as detailed folkloric background for the tale. Morris has done extensive research about the folklore, customs, daily lives, and language of the people of 19th-century Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and it shows. Morris’s initial premise—that of a man who becomes a werewolf willingly to protect others—also puts a welcome and unusual spin on things.
Alexei is also a highly sympathetic, realistically flawed character who the author is clearly invested in, and this enthusiasm is infectious. Trouble seems to hound Alexei (forgive the pun), both as a result of his inner wolf and some seriously bad luck, and it’s easy to root for him to find peace with himself and the world. Morris also takes care to give us enough information about secondary characters for readers to care about what happens to them, sometimes—perhaps especially—when they are in danger of meeting bad ends.
Filled with details that make for a sincerely rendered world, peopled with characters who breathe; STORM WOLF is a thoughtfully constructed fantasy tale filled with emotion and action.” – Indie Reader
Chapter 1: Libahunt
(Estonia, Winter 1815)
he wolf, its thick silver-gray fur bristling and standing up along its neck, stood its ground, snarling as the humans approached. Edvin and his father drew their hunting knives and the wolf fought to free itself from the clanking trap, even as it knew that it was doomed.
Edvin and his father stood before the trapped animal. Edvin heard a quiet whisper. “You’ve seen this done before, Edvin. You helped skin the wolves last year and have been practicing the kill all summer.” His father paused. Edvin’s eyes locked with the wolf’s squinting eyes. “Why don’t you kill this first one of this season?” The boy glanced at the
older man out of the corner of his eyes and slowly nodded.
Edvin was able to slip up through the quietly crunching snow to the wolf from behind as it continued to glower at Edvin’s father—yellow eyes glinting, upper lip curled back, and snarl rumbling in the back of its throat, free legs poised and ready to leap at whoever would attack first. When Edvin leapt onto its back and held on with his left hand, the wolf twisted through the air, jaws snapping at the teen. Edvin wedged his knife into the wolf’s throat and pulled the knife back towards him, ripping the muscles, tendons, and arteries in ragged, jerky motions.
Blood sprayed out in great bursts as the animal’s heart pumped vigorously in its breast. Edvin held on, terrified of the still snapping jaws and knowing that the only safe place was on the giant’s furry back. It seemed to be forever before the monster gradually slowed its writhing and abandoned its attempts to bite Edvin’s young head off, before the shower of blood was reduced to a trickle, before the beast slumped down onto its haunches and then finally collapsed in the now bright-red snow. The iron trap lay still and silent.
Edvin pushed himself up from the carcass, panting. His breath hovered in frosty clouds before his face. He looked across the corpse at his father. His father grinned broadly before coming around behind and clapping him on the back. They surveyed the carnage before them.
Dead, the wolf seemed even larger than it had when it was alive and standing before them, crouching and ready to attack. It seemed the largest wolf Edvin had ever seen. As big as, or even bigger than, the wolf Fenrir that the old stories said would devour the sun at the end of days. Together, Edvin and his father hoisted the wolf onto their nearby sled and brought the creature back to their house on the edge of the vast forests of Estonia. Edvin was given the honor of skinning this, his first kill. He was careful to keep the gray pelt with its tawny streaks intact, rather than cutting it into easier-to-handle smaller strips. Then the whole family undertook the job of butchering the meat to be smoked, dried, or eaten that evening. There was enough to feed them for at least a month.
The skin was large enough for Edvin to wrap around himself three or four times, with the head—easily half again as large as his own—hanging over his left shoulder. The thing was huge, lush, and warm. It was beautiful. Edvin’s youngest sister wanted to add it to her wedding chest, but everyone else agreed that as Edvin’s first kill, it was his to do with as he pleased. He kept it on his bed but would, on occasion, wrap himself in it and play with the younger children, chasing them and catching them, pretending to devour them as they collapsed in giggles and laughter.
It was five years later that the terrible storm had appeared on the horizon.
Edvin’s marriage to his sweetheart in the village had been arranged for late in the summer of 1820. It was in the early summer, though, when the fields and gardens were full of the wheat and vegetables to feed the village during the coming year, that a tremendous storm appeared on the horizon, beyond the forest. As the massive thunderclouds slowly approached the village, they seemed to hang so low that they scraped the treetops. Ribbons of storm cloud streamed out behind them in the wind, and lightning flickered high in the sky. Deep within the clouds, thunder rumbled. Treetops tore rips and tears in the heavy, low-hanging thunderclouds and out came the howls of ghosts and devils.
That was when Edvin took the wolf pelt to the local nõiatar, the village cunning woman. In Estonia, in the traditional village practice away from the German and Russian landowners, it was the responsibility of the libahunt or suteksäija—the vlkodlak, or man-wolf, as many who do not speak Estonian might call it—to drive the storms away from the farmlands and villages. The werewolves of Estonia had been known to fly into the storm clouds and fight the spirits there, the ghosts and devils that bring terrible storms and blizzards that destroy crops and homes. But there had been no werewolf in Edvin’s village for many years, and he knew someone had to defend the farmers against the storm everyone could see coming. Because he didn’t know how to make the werewolf, he took the pelt to the cunning woman—he knew that she would need that to work with, at least.
The nõiatar took the pelt and rubbed it against her deeply lined face. The fur was thick and soft. Rarely had anyone killed such a large wolf, and keeping such a large pelt intact was even rarer. She studied Edvin. “Do you truly want to do this thing?” she finally asked him. “It is more dangerous than you know.”
“I do,” he answered. “It is dangerous,” he agreed, daring to look her in the face. “But we will starve next winter otherwise. The storm coming looks more terrible than any we have seen since my father was a boy. It is the duty of the werewolf to fight the storms, and our village has no werewolf. We cannot expect the werewolf of another village to fight the storm for us, and there is no time to travel far to find one who will. I have the wolf skin, so I must use it to save my family and the village.” He pulled himself up, holding his head high, and thrust his shoulders back. “I am young. I am strong. I can fight such storms, but I cannot do it as a man. I must become the werewolf.”
The cunning woman considered what he had said. “Yes, we need a werewolf to protect the village and it has been long… long since we have had one here. Yes, I can help you become the werewolf. But you must be careful. It is said that the power of the wolf skin can be intoxicating and can make you as drunk as it makes you strong and able to fight the storms. You must not use it every time it rains, but only when there is a true äike, a thunderstorm that can destroy the crops or flood the küla. Our village. You must resist the temptation to use the wolf skin for your own advantage and use it only for the sake of the küla. It is not a power to wield for yourself and your own benefit, but only to protect others. Can you remember this?”
“Yes,” Edvin answered without a moment’s hesitation. “I only want the wolf skin and its magic in order to protect the village. Or any village that needs our help. But you must do the magic now or it will soon be too late. The storm will be here any moment.”
Alexei travels through Europe looking for a cunning woman who can help him control the wolf again but will he ever find one?
This is a tale of redemption, Alexei loses control of his wolf and slaughters people he loves. While traveling through different countries he meets people that help shape his life. Some are trying to control him and use him while others want or need help. Alexie’s actions while traveling help him redeem himself and pushes the wolf back.
The knowledge of folk lore and myths by Stephen Morris brings this tale to life and I love that this is a darker werewolf tale. There are some well detailed descriptions of werewolf attacks and the storm creatures that draw you in. The scene where Alexei finds the peace he has searched for was very touching and beautifully done.
A well written tale with historical detail and fantastic folk lore that captivates you from the start.
Independent Reviewer for Romance Authors that Rock On
About the Author:
With degrees in medieval history and theology from Yale and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Academy, Stephen Morris brings his extensive knowledge and meticulous research in medieval magical practices to his historical and contemporary fantasy novels. In each of his novels, the magical and fantastic elements are all drawn from authentic occult beliefs and practices from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance or from local legends and folklore.
“I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!
“The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the movie. She became my idol for years and years! (When a major storm recently struck Manhattan, I made a comment on FB about the wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing peppermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: ‘You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!’ LoL!)”
A former priest, he served as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. His previous academic writing has dealt primarily with Late Antiquity and Byzantine church life. As a Project Leader with Inter-Disciplinary.net, he also organizes annual conferences on aspects of the supernatural, monsters, evil and wickedness, fairy tales and folk tales, and related subjects.
Stephen, a Seattle native, is now a long-time New York resident and currently lives in Manhattan with his partner, Elliot.
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Morris/e/B0089PYB6C/