The mystical green planet of Rendaz is home to devout goddess worshiper and university professor, middle-aged Beautimus Potamus—who also happens to be a hippo plagued by hot flashes and poor self-esteem. Beautimus forms an alliance with Samuel S. Goodwings, a younger womanizing, atheist praying mantis. When these two are together, life morphs from the mundane into the fantastic. Our unlikely duo solve mysteries, bring a murderer to justice, and even help end a war, while experiencing their own trials, triumphs, and tragedies. Often with humor, their situations and adventures parody Earth culture.
During their exploits, the two interact with a host of characters, including a pair of New Age flamingos, an A.D.H.D. afflicted trout, an orangutan detective, and a 310-year-old blue crane High Priestess. All of these creatures are more “human” in surprising ways than the citizens of the blue planet, Earth, we discover was once a Rendazian Colony.
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Bridgette replied “Yeah, I mean, it would be totally weird for one to transform into a 1960’s Black Ford Mustang and try the same dumb trick in nineteen ninety-eight as it probably pulled back in thirteen ninety-eight. I mean, seriously, they would have to modernize their game.” Sophie shrugged and said “Well I would think incorporating the car to be a pretty nifty adaptation. Besides, Kelpies have more important things to think about than keeping up with human toys.” Bridgette cocked her head to the side and asked “Really? Like what?” Sophie’s face grew dark as she said “Like the drainage of the wetlands to make room for mini-malls, the destruction of the forests for corn-fields, the murder of innocent animals for sport, the rape of resources for convenience, the never-ending backwash of putrid chemicals flushed into their homes… oh, Bridgette, a Kelpie, like all fairies, has a great deal things more important to consider than finding new ways to trick men to their death when the old ways work so well.”
Sophie took a step towards her and her teeth clenched. Her black hair began to move and wave as if it had a mind of its own. Bridgette’s eyes widened in fear. Sophie said “All of the Kelpie’s problems, Bridgette, have a singular answer. A simple, singular answer. The easiest way to end terraforming, clear-cutting, hunting, desolation and pollution is to simply end mankind itself.” Bridgette’s heart began to throb in her ears. Sophie’s eyes grew so dark as to turn black. Soon they became entirely black with no cornea to be seen. Sophie’s flesh and clothing began to melt and shimmer growing black as oil in color with a sheen to match. Sophie continued “You ask too many questions but I only have one.” Sophie held up a hand and her fingers began to bend backwards against their joints. They waved and waggled in a tentacle-like fashion. Sophie slung out her hand towards Bridgette and it elongated with incredible speed. Before Bridgette could even react, it wrapped the long, black, tentacle-like fingers around her throat. Sophie said “Did you actually think you would be walking out of this bathroom alive after challenging me?”
Ellie pulled the gun out of a shoulder holster that was just a touch too big for her. Its heft calmed her nerves. That lump of cold metal helped to ground her. She couldn't help the hope that lit up like a spark. The chances of Edward being in there were slim; still, she missed him so much. Ellie wanted him to be. She wanted this to be the one. Ellie thought back counting the labs like this they’d hit. The total was much higher than she ever wanted to admit.
She glanced across the seat at Reese. The truck sputtered as it idled. He stared up at the building, searching for anyone moving inside. She didn't bother. Ellie could barely see it. Only a few floors lit up by the streetlights. The building rose high into the sky, a veritable wall of glass. The upper floors lost to darkness. The parking lot was all but empty. The moon hung high and fat in the velvet black of the night sky.
“Check the clip,” he told her, tongue dancing over his full bottom lip. Reese hadn’t taken his eyes the building.
Ellie smirked and pulled back on the slide. The bullet popped out. Her hands shook so hard it rolled over the side of her palm onto her lap. She narrowed her eyes angry at her own clumsiness. Ellie moved to grab it, and it slipped between her thighs. She shook her head, awkwardly reaching for it. He laughed at her. Ellie did her best not to take it personally.
The bullet in her left fist, she hit the button. The clip shot out into her hand. Ellie stared down at the first bullet. It was full. She knew it was. The lesson Reese was trying to push was that you should always check your sidearm. Ellie pressed the bullet into the top of the clip rolling the gun up. The firing pin was difficult to see in the darkness of the cab. She had to look hard for it.
Satisfied that it was straight, Ellie slipped the clip back inside the bottom of the Glock 26, giving it a hard slap. Listening for the click, she pulled back on the slide to chamber the top bullet. Lastly, she checked the safety. That made Reese smile. She was finally getting to the point where he didn't have to drill it into her every time. Maybe she could learn after all.
He turned his head to look at her, long black hair falling into his handsome face. A sharp breath out the side of his mouth blew his bangs out of his gray eyes. A smile pulled up at the corners of his sensual lips. Eyebrows dragging inward, he sighed. His eyes danced over her heart shaped face.
“I don't suppose I could talk ya into staying in the car?”
“Not a chance. You go in, I go in.”
“Can't blame a guy for trying,” he mumbled. Ellie got the distinct impression that he wasn't talking to her. It was mostly because his eyes slid past her, looking over her shoulder into the shadows of the backseat. She caught herself turning to look. His eyes slid back over her face. “Ya stay behind me. No stupid heroics this time.”
Ellie frowned. She popped the latch on the passenger side door. It groaned loudly as she forced it open. The side of the Chevy was dented severely above the wheel well on her side. The craters and scratches spilled across her door almost to the edge of the cab. She hopped down and pulled her navy pea coat in close against the cutting wind that tore at her long, blond hair.
Ellie shoved the door closed and had to try a second time putting her shoulder into it to get it to stick. She was so ready to ditch this truck and get a new one. Ellie was surprised after the last time the thing still ran. She came around the front end her Glock held close to her thigh. Her fingers kept tightening around the grip, trying to get the perfect hold. It eluded her. The fear she refused to admit to had hold of her second and third thoughts.
She heard Reese's door shut and he just appeared next to her. Ellie took in a dragging breath. She was sure she would never get used to that. There were so many things she was sure she would never get used to. He was so damn fast she couldn't even see him move. Ellie had to jog to keep up with him when he was just walking regularly. His stride was much longer than hers. Reese stood at a tall and lean six foot two, where she was fighting to make five foot even.
“Leave the guards to me. Ya go straight for the…whatever they call it.”
“Serum. Miller called it the Serum.”
Reese gave her a noncommittal shrug that irritated the hell out of her. Ellie took in a deep breath just to blow it back out again, tilting her head to one side sharply. The parking lot felt much larger than it really was. The closer they got, the building seemed that much farther away. Her eyes were wide, showing too much white. Ellie glared down at her hand trying to get it to stop shaking. People were about to die, and Ellie knew that some of them would be at her hand.
She looked up at Reese. His expression was calculating. He was concentrating hard, and Ellie thought she knew why. “Thank you,” she blurted out.
“Thank you for doing this. I know what it takes out of you, Reese. I'm grateful.”
His boyish grin melted her to her very core. “Hey, anything for ya, sweetheart. Ya know that.”
“Yeah, I know that.” Ellie bit down on the corner of her bottom lip. “Ready?”
“Guess we're about to find out.”
And the town of Ransom is in total chaos…
Just as twelve thousand Vypers are about to descend on Ransom, California, to seek revenge for the attack on Shane, the GSA moves to take over the slayer facility and test their termination program on the supernaturals.
But Hunter’s back and he’s ready to reclaim his city from this horror by any and all means necessary. Now, locked and loaded, he’s determined to kill anyone who gets in his way.
Hunter King will take no prisoners. He will ask no questions. And he will do whatever it takes to re-take his city and protect those he loves.
Vampires. Werewolves. Humans.
They all want the same things: Territory. Autonomy. A “life.”
But which of the factions will prevail?
HUNTER’S HELL is Book Seven in April M. Reign’s Disciples of the Damned, the bestselling series of vampire bikers versus werewolves versus humans in an alternate history California where all supernaturals are controlled by the government. And they are bloody angry about it, too. Don’t miss this exciting, fast-paced science fiction / fantasy / paranormal series with heroes and heroines to cheer for—and villains to die for...
Where do the Banned go when home’s no longer home?
The lyrics of the old village tune haunt Astrea, who wants nothing more than to feel like she belongs in the redhead Rudan tribe. To prove it, she captures a unicorn who has wandered into the Mist, the first hope of meat for a while in the famine-ridden land.
But unicorns are magical creatures, and anyone who kills or eats one will become cursed.
When the tribe council votes to eat him anyway, Astrea fears the worst. She’s determined to figure out a way to fix it before the tribe pays for her actions.
This is part one of Running Toward Illumia, which will be released in three parts over the next few months.
Charlotte brushed her shoulder-length, golden blonde hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear while the sea breeze tried to blow it back. Her heart leapt at the sight of a ship out at sea as it rolled in the swell of the rising tide. Could it be a pirate ship? Why hadn’t she been more vigilant? If they came ashore there would be little chance of escape.
She spotted a smaller boat rowing towards her, heading straight for the beach. Her breath caught in her throat. What should I do? Is there enough time to save my little sister? Beth looked oblivious to the danger, chasing after a feather that blew away in the wind. By the time she reached her sister, they would be in clear view. Maybe I should save myself. At least one of us might survive. No. She couldn’t possibly leave Beth to the mercy of those murderous pirates.
Time ran out. It was now or never. The boat reached the shore, and its dubious occupants began to clamber out.
The loud cry made her jump. She snapped back to reality and spun around.
“Are you daydreaming again?” Her mum let out a frustrated sigh. She placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and steered her in the direction of the car park at the edge of the beach. “Can you help take some of this stuff back to the car, please?” She handed her an armful of bags stuffed with damp, sandy towels. “We’ve still got a lot of things to do before we go home tomorrow, and you haven’t even bought anything for your friends yet. If you get your skates on, you’ll have enough time to pop into the shops across the road.”
Charlotte wrinkled her nose at the thought of their holiday coming to an end, and cringed at the prospect of going back to school the following week. She scooped up her own towel and trudged through the sand, mumbling how unfair it was making her do all the work even though she was only ten. “I notice Beth’s not helping.”
Her dad grinned as she struggled to the car. “We’re going to grab some food. Take-away, nothing but the best for the last day,” he said as she reached him.
“Not McDonald’s again, Dad,” she remarked with a hint of sarcasm, dumping her load on the floor.
“No way! Fish and chips tonight.” He wore his silly grin that never failed to make her smile.
“Whatever!” She smirked. “Mum said I could have a quick look at the gift shops just across the road.”
He put the discarded bags into the car and slammed the boot. He slid his sunglasses up to his receding hairline, slipping his hand into his jeans pocket. “Do you need any money?”
“Nah, it’s okay. Mum gave me some yesterday.”
“Are you going to take Beth with you?”
She folded her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. “Do I have to?” She loved her six-year-old sister to bits, but she was the most annoying person in the whole world. “I’m not going to get much shopping done with Beth tagging along.”
His face brightened with a grin. “I’m only pulling your leg.” He nudged her playfully. “We’ll take Beth with us and meet you back here in ...” He paused to gaze at his watch. “Let’s say, in about fifteen minutes, okay? Don’t go far!”
She sighed with relief. “Okay. See ya later.” She left, fumbling through her pockets to check she still had her money.
Crossing the road, Charlotte admired the pretty seaside town lined with buildings all the way to the top of a hill, overlooking the sea. Interesting old houses displayed colourful shop fronts, and a local market filled any spaces in between. She ambled along the well-worn paving stones, not really paying attention to the task of buying gifts for her friends. With her hands in her pockets, she wandered past stalls that spilled out across the path, packed with beach balls and buckets and spades.
She paused for a moment outside an arcade, drawn by the sounds and flashing lights that filled the air around the neon-lit building. Fighting the urge to spend the last of her money on a teddy-grabbing machine, she continued to trudge up the hill, losing interest in her mission with every step.
Halfway along the road she stopped, stepping into an alley to shelter from the glare of the sun. She leaned her back against the bright-red tiles that decorated the archway. Each one contained a small figure. They reminded her of characters from a fairy tale. She turned to examine them closely, running her fingers over the textured surface. Something about them held a strange attraction.
She gazed into the alley. It led a fair way back, but in the gloom she could see the front of a grubby-looking shop with a large ‘Sale’ sign in the window. She strained her eyes for a better view, and wondered if she should have a look just in case she could pick up something unusual for Mum. After a moment’s thought, she decided she had nothing to lose and wandered a little closer, checking over her shoulder as she went.
Reaching the glazed shop front, Charlotte stood on tiptoes to see over the half-frosted glass that obscured her view of the inside. Despite being taller than most kids her age, the contents of the store remained a mystery. She paused at the door before giving it a shove and peering through the gap. Inside, it looked much smaller than expected, with tall shelves standing against the outer walls, each laden with an assortment of objects that appeared better placed in a junk shop.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, but curiosity urged her forward. She stepped inside. An old-fashioned till perched in the centre of a small counter at the far end of the shop. Behind it hung a set of drab curtains with tiny pinholes, allowing slivers of light to seep through. The whole place had an air of gloom and smelt musty and damp.
“Hello. Are you open?” Charlotte called out.
When no one responded, she browsed the shelves, discovering some odd, hand-carved figures, similar to the characters on the decorated tiles around the archway outside. She picked up one that resembled a garden gnome and turned the carving around, searching for a price label. Nothing. That’s not much help. She placed the grotesque figure back down.
A bright flash caught her eye when she turned to leave. She stared at a small bookcase resting against the back wall beside the counter. A gentle glow of green light illuminated the shelves, tempting her to venture further and take a closer look. She crept through the aisle and bent down to examine a small, glass snow dome nestled amongst a variety of clay pots. It looked out of place with the other articles displayed in the shop.
She reached out and touched the surface with the tips of her fingers. The cool surface tingled, a strange yet alluring sensation. With a quick check over her shoulder, she picked it up and tipped it upside down. She cupped the delicate item in the palm of her hand and held it close to her face. No snow.
Inside the crystal orb, a tiny globe like a miniature planet revolved in slow motion, casting eerie shadows against the dreary walls. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Yes, it is beautiful,” a gruff voice sounded.
She spun around and stumbled back a step. Behind the counter stood a large figure wrapped in a gray cloak, similar to the drab curtains that hung behind him. From what she could see of him in the gloom, his scruffy, charcoal hair hung down to his shoulders. Dark eyes peered out below bushy eyebrows, making his thin face look gaunt and pasty. She shuddered. He gave her the creeps, popping up from out of nowhere and staring at her as though he had never seen a customer before.
“I am sorry if I surprised you. I did not mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” he said, as if reading her mind. “You are very welcome here.”
She put down the small ornament and walked along scanning the contents of the shelves, picking through the strange collection of knickknacks. The entire time, she sensed the old man’s stare following her. She considered leaving, yet the eerie glow from the snow dome kept drawing her gaze back to the bookcase. The temptation from its hypnotic light got the better of her, and she walked back to pick it up again. “How much is this?”
A broad smile lit up the man’s face. “Take it, child. I have no use for it in my shop.”
Her eyes widened. “What, for nothing? I must give you something for it. I’ve got money, you know.”
The old man shrugged. “Well, if you are that keen on striking a deal with me.” He raised one of his bushy eyebrows. “All I will ask is for you to take great care of such a beautiful item. Promise me you will be good and always tell the truth.”
“I always tell the truth anyway. I hate liars!” she declared, a little puzzled by such a strange request. “Is that it? Is that all you want?”
He bellowed with laughter.
She placed one hand on her hip. “What’s so funny, then?”
“I am sorry.” He leaned closer across the counter. His weather-beaten face creased with concern. “Telling the truth is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you find yourself in trouble.” His expression lightened. “I am Goffer, the shop keeper, and if I am not mistaken, you will find yourself in trouble if you do not hurry. Time is getting on.”
Charlotte glanced at her watch. “You’re right!” She rushed to the door in a fluster, but stopped before leaving. “Thank you! Thanks a lot. That was really nice of you.”
Goffer stood motionless, barely visible in the shadows. “I would not be so quick to thank me just yet.”
The year is 2319. Lt. Comm Roy O’Hara leads his squadron against the enemy’s latest Super Destroyer and is shot down over an unexplored planet. The planet holds secrets to a long lost alien weapon and the key to Roy’s own destiny. Near death Roy is found by Katreena, a beautiful and mysterious woman. When she finds Roy, he’s broken and battered, and saves his life with the Boto Stone. She is unaware that by doing so she will create a deep bond and awaken an affect not seen for hundreds of years; the ability to communicate to each other in dreams. An unguarded moment leads to a forbidden night of intimacy; an act of betrayal to the crown, an act that will put both their lives in jeopardy. Katreena flees to save them both. Danger increases as their secret may be discovered and war erupts on their planet.
Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
Somehow… the game continues!
There were so many memories etched in the Light; painful memories, because defeat and near destruction seldom conveyed any measure of joy. Life, as he wanted to call it, continued for him, even in his diminishing form.
So close! He had come so close and the human adage regarding proximities and when they count seemed now only to gnaw at the last of his sensibilities. What he had composed and orchestrated had been neither a horseshoe nor a hand grenade, and while many of his targets had perished, the overall symphony had fallen resoundingly flat. Humanity still existed! Such had been the saga of Old Earth and the Elders, when he had been called Baron Nomed.
The Binadamu had always been so scattered; indifferent to one another over appearance… hostile to one another for any variation of culture… often hiding from one another in order to circumvent involvement as such could lead to indifference or hostility. Regardless, they should have been easier targets to obliterate, but they were not alone.
I closed my eyes and spoke quickly before my courage failed me. “I am the Fire Wielder of my generation, so I am the sort of weapon which, if the evil of my father comes to life inside me, it will be nearly impossible to stop me.”
Chatham stared at me, his jaw clenched tight.
I let out a deep breath and pulled a blade from my saddle bag. I used the combined power of my fire and the Seal of Solomon to encase the blade with both ice and fire. I stared at it for a moment, then resheathed it and handed the blade to him. “If you see evil come to life inside me, take this blade and plunge it into the base of my spine to paralyze me,” my hand shook with fear. “I am a healer, so it will not kill me . . . unless you then take me to the cliff of the dead . . . and throw me over.”
Chatham gaped at me, his mouth working silently before he shook his head. “Milady, I cannot do such a—”
Tears filled my eyes. “Chatham, please. I cannot allow myself to become like my father. Please. I beg you.” This was the only way. I had to be certain. He had to help me.
After a long moment, he reached out and took the blade. “I give you my oath, Milady, if I see evil inside you, I will do as you ask,” he said earnestly.
A young Amazon who has been at war with the vampires since as long as she can remember, is wounded in battle. Little does she know that she is being watched by something that is lurking in the shadows. Will she find death because of her wounds? Or will she transform into the thing which she has been at war with? Find out if she will fade to black or if she will become the Light Beyond The Darkness.
Only a vampire can solve these crimes--a vampire private eye named Samantha Moon...
Private investigator Samantha Moon is working undercover for the Fullerton Police Department’s new top-secret Vampire Crimes Special Unit (VCSU).
With the increasing number of supernatural-type crimes in and around Orange County, Detective Sherbet needs Samantha’s special talents to help solve and prosecute the real and growing threats to the citizens of Fullerton. People are dying—and some of them are already undead.
Sam’s first case for the VCSU threatens to expose her life as a vampire. When a 200-year-old mummified corpse turns up on the grounds of an Orange County mission with a note addressed to Sam, she needs to protect herself, as well as solve this case before something worse happens.
The more Sam digs into the case, the more evidence she discovers of the mission’s grisly history and scandalous past. But will there be a price to pay? What if the only way to save the people of the present from the people of the past would be to expose the truth to the public? A truth that could take down a mission that is the very foundation of a community.
To solve the mystery in the present, Samantha Moon must first solve the mystery of the past. It’s a good thing she’s a vampire. A very good thing. She’s going to need those skills…
MOON HUNT is April M. Reign's first novel in the Vampire Crimes Special Unit series, her series set within the licensed Vampire for Hire Kindle World created by J. R. Rain, bestselling paranormal mystery author.
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There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made me decide to write something different. On...
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