Have You Met Riley Stone? He’s Your New Book Boyfriend

Riley

Readers of the Protect Her serial might not realize this, but each part begins and ends from Riley’s POV (point of view). That was a very deliberate decision on my part, because everything about this story started for me with Riley. He was the first character in this alternate reality who came to visit me, and he has a lot to say. 🙂

Riley is a complicated character. When we meet him in Part One, he’s dark and lacks any kind of moral compass- and he is completely okay with that. He is a glorified bounty hunter for both angels and demons when he isn’t using his necromancy skills for questionable purposes. As we start to learn more about him through his interactions with Paige, you find out that Riley wasn’t born to be that kind of guy. He made himself that way after one particularly tragic situation that happened five years ago with the demon official, Bruno Proctor. This is the reason it has been such a pleasure for me as a writer to see Riley blossom into a true hero across the course of his and Paige’s journey.

Riley’s exactly the type of guy you’ll want to snuggle up with as you escape into your next story. He’s still going to make mistakes, and he’s definitely flawed, but he’s finding redemption through his relationship with Paige. He’s well on his way to being one of the ‘good guys’ in a really big way.

And it all starts here…

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CHAPTER ONE – RILEY

“You can’t make me tell you anything,” the apparition said to me. Its dark, grainy voice was defiant. “I’m already dead.”

Things had been slow around the office lately, so I kind of got a sick thrill knowing that the apparition was sorely mistaken. That meant that I was going to get to do what I did best.

“You must not have heard of me then,” I said, crossing my arms. “Which surprises me considering the scumbag circles you ran in while you were alive.”

The apparition, a hundred year old Klybor demon, hissed at me. The ghostly mist that resembled his inhuman image hovered about a pile of ashes, the last remnants of his earthly form. Klybor demons were able to appear human in order to stalk their prey, but in death those abilities fell away. They were ugly motherfuckers in their true form. All horns and scales. It was almost hard to look at him.

“You’re lucky that I’m dead. You think you are my equal? You are nothing but a measly mortal man with a life span that is barely more than a fly’s. You aren’t worthy to lick the soles of my boots. I’d enjoy eating your bones for breakfast if I lived,” the beast snarled.

I had no doubt that he would. Klybor demons had a particular affinity for thighbones. I really did love this part of the game. Demons were so cocky and self-assured that they forgot that not every human cowered before them. Especially not humans like me.

I rocked back on my heels, feigning that his empty threat meant something to me.  This was where things got fun. I put up my hands in mock defeat. “I think we got off on the wrong foot here. Let’s start with proper introductions. You’re a filthy, scumbag Klybor demon named Jerico Hopper. My name is Riley Stone.”

I enjoyed the shocked look that appeared on the demon’s face. I waited for it to sink in. The only reason he was here was because I called him up from Purgatory. His ass was officially mine. I controlled him, and he knew it. We’d see how tough the beast wanted to play it now. I truly hoped that he was still going to play hard to get.

“The Necromancer.”

It wasn’t a question, but a statement. It was common knowledge how to conjure up a spirit from the dead. Anyone with even an echo of magical talent and the right know-how could whip that kind of spell together, although avoiding the consequences of touching that kind of magic was a whole other story. What I did though was entirely different.

I grinned. “So you have heard of me. Excellent. Let’s start back at the beginning then. Why were you poking your nose around Calamata Island? You know its off limits to all demons, so it must have been something pretty important for you to risk it. Benjamin doesn’t tolerate trespassers well.”

Benjamin was the archangel in charge of this region of the country. He wasn’t known to be big in the ‘let bygones be bygones’ sentiment. It amused me that humans automatically assumed angels were benevolent. I had yet to meet one that I considered a true good guy.

“I don’t remember,” the demon said, avoiding my eyes. “I must have forgotten when I died. That happens you know.”

He was going to play the game. That made me happy. It had been awhile since I’d been able to flex my true talents.

I clucked my tongue. “I’ve met a lot of dead demons in my day, so actually I do know better than most what happens when you kick the bucket. Losing your memories is a line of bullshit. Whoever sent you sent you on a suicide mission. You realize that, right? Calamata Island is rife with demon traps. I’m not surprised your dumb ass walked right into one. You just need to tell me who and why. That’s all. And I’ll let you get back to rotting in Purgatory until you get dumped back into Hell.”

“You can’t make me tell you something I don’t remember,” he hissed again.

It was all bluster, and both of us knew it. He would fold. It was just a matter of how painful it would be for him before he did. That was how my talents were different than any sideshow witch. What I did, my prisoners felt even in death.

Working with ashes is a little bit trickier than working with a corpse. Like most necromancers, I needed to be able to physically touch the remains of the person or thing that I’m interacting with in order to make the kind of point I was about to make.

I pulled a small baggie out of my hip pocket and displayed it to the demon. “Does this look familiar to you?” It was a small amount of ash.

His bravado was starting to falter. I’d interrogated enough apparitions to know it. It was the same song and dance and the same routine every time. The only difference was how far they pushed me to push them before they broke. And they always broke.

“It was strictly intel,” he sputtered. “That’s it. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

I opened up the baggie and poured a few of the ashes, about the size of a dime, into the palm of my hand. This always encouraged them to keep talking.

“Intel on what?”

“It was stupid. I was supposed to find a human and report back. That’s it.”

I grazed my thumb over the ash pile, and the demon in front of me squealed. “What the hell, man? I’m telling you what you wanted to know.”

“Tell me everything I want to know, and tell me quickly,” I said as I stroked the pile again. The demon screamed this time.

“A dame. I didn’t even know her name. I just had a picture. Eckland told me to do a pass through town because he heard she was supposed to be here, and he’s been looking for her for a while. Report back. That’s it.”

Eckland Rainer was a high level demon who was well-known for his backstabbing, vicious methods of climbing the demon chain of command ladder. It wasn’t any of my concern, but I did pay attention to demon politics just in case it ever interfered with my own self-interests.

“Where’s the picture?” This was going sideways. If the demon didn’t know the name of the person of interest, then I was going to be at a standstill yet again. Eckland wasn’t the only demon official who was looking for a girl on Calamata Island. The Klybor demon was the third demon I had interrogated in the last week, and all three of them were sent by someone different and said the same thing.

There was a picture and instructions to find a woman who was believed to be here. That was all. The level of secrecy was surprising for the demon community. They weren’t known for their tight lips.

“I don’t know. It was in my pocket when I stepped into the demon trap,” the demon replied. “I’m assuming it went up in smoke just like the rest of my body.”

I sighed. He was likely right. This was another dead end. Sheriff Halpren was not going to be pleased.

“Thank you for your time, scumbag. Unfortunately, you had little information of value to me, and I’ve had a long night.” I turned sideways so that he could see the small stack of materials in the corner behind me.

A panicked look crossed his face as he realized what it was. “I told you everything I know. You can’t do this,” he stammered.

I didn’t answer and blocked out his pleading as I shook the ashes from the baggie onto the floor in a straight line from where I stood to the pile of ashes underneath the demon’s feet. He tried to swipe at me, but he was an apparition, and I was corporeal. It made me chuckle. Then I walked over to the corner and picked up the container of consecrated salt and the blowtorch that I brought with me. No matter what happened during my interrogations of demons, they always ended the same way. Leaving them to return to Purgatory was too risky.

“I know that if I just leave you here, your essence will eventually find its way back to Hell and you’ll join all the other scumbag demon essences waiting for a new body. And at some point in the future, some stupid human kid will be getting his or her goth on and think it’s cool to conjure a demon. You’ll be free and have a spankin’ new host to infect for another life cycle. Then maybe you’d think it would be a good idea to track me down. I can’t have that. Besides, the last thing we need is another reincarnated demon wreaking havoc in the world.”

Then I intermingled the salt with the ashes. I watched as the demon’s apparition began to spasm and then a trickle of white foam appeared in the corners of his mouth. I stepped to the end of the trail of ashes and ignited the blowtorch, then set the nozzle on it.

Instantly, the ashes caught fire and in a haze of blue flame the trail burst up into flames and set the apparition on fire. Two seconds later, the fire burned itself out leaving nothing but a smoking patch of black smudge on the floor.

“May you never rest in peace,” I said to the air.

I had just gathered all my equipment back into my bag when I heard a high-pitched scream in the distance. I looked at my watch. It was 3:10 am and I was in the middle of an isolated crypt at the edge of a graveyard. As I heard the shriek of distress again, I detected that it was definitely female.

Grabbing my knife out of the side pocket of my kit, I moved quickly out of the crypt and listened again. A burst of movement off to my left caught my attention. I dashed off in that direction. Demons were crawling all over Calamata Island for the first time in a decade. Somebody had to make sure that the humans didn’t suffer for it.

Continue the story by picking up your copy of Protect Her: Part One on Amazon.

(Photo credit)

*SPOILERS* on Protect Her: Part Five!


Watch the video for the full details on Part Five of the Protect Her serial, including spoilers that you’ll hear for the first time right here. Here’s a sneak peak of what’s in the video:

  • What’s next for Riley and Paige’s relationship
  • The introduction of a new character (who has ties to Riley)
  • More on the ‘Big Bad’ Bruno Proctor

Protect Her: Part Five is available for pre-order HERE, and you can get it for just $0.99 if you order it now!

I am looking for ARC reviewers for Part Five, so please email me at authorsinclair@gmail.com if you’d be interested in that sneak peek.

Latest and Greatest News on the Protect Her Serial

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A lot has happened since my last post, and so I wanted to do a quick catch-up for everyone on the latest news with the Protect Her Serial.

Protect Her: Part Four
Great news: an early release date!!!
Instead of November 21st, Part Four will be available on November 13th. 🙂
But, the pre-order price of $0.99 will only last through release day and then it will go up to it’s regular price of $2.99.
Grab it now HERE!

Protect Her: Part Five
Tentative release date: December 11th
More to come on this as we get closer, but I’m busy working on it as we speak.

Protect Her goes into Kindle Unlimited
That’s right! Starting November 11th, the entire Protect Her catalog will be part of the Kindle Unlimited program. Start at the beginning and get each part through your KU membership.

Want to keep up-to-date on all the latest Protect Her news? Be sure to join my Fan Club to get special ‘member-only’ deals!

Happy Reading. 🙂
Ivy

Super Duper NA Romance December Giveaway!!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, and what I’m sharing today is so AWESOME that I can hardly contain myself!! I’ve joined forces with some fantastically awesome NA/romance writers to bring you the MONSTROUS Super Duper December giveaway of all of the books that you see above.

Getting your entries in is easy- just click the buttons (the internet version of the “Easy” button!). Just like that you’re entered, and the more buttons you push, the more chances you have to win.

It runs from December 5th-December 19th, so don’t wait to enter. Do it today!

Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends December 19th at 11:59 PM EST. Open internationally. Warning: content possibly not suitable for minors under the age of 17. Prizes will be sent electronically via mail. Winner will be selected on 12/20/2013 by Random.org and be notified by email. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Giveaway and Book Blitz: Grounded By You’s Release Party!

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There is no better feeling for a writer than the day that you release your book out into the world. You hope that you’ve given it all the critical elements it needs to be successful, but its fate is no longer in your hands. There’s a lot of joy in that moment (and admittedly, a lot of angst as well).

Grounded By You is officially live at all your favorite retailers and on sale for $0.99.  I have a bunch of support in spreading the word, as you’ll see below. Please take a minute to visit all of these fabulous blogs who are kindly hosting my book blitz, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!

Buy Grounded By You at Amazon

Buy Grounded By You at Barnes & Noble

Buy Grounded By You at iTunes

Buy Grounded By You at Kobo

Buy Grounded By You at Google Play

December 1st

December 2nd:

December 3rd:

December 4th

December 5th

December 6th

(post will be updated daily with new blog links as their posts go up)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Grounded By You Teaser

The release of Grounded By You is just around the corner, and I’ve shared a few teasers with fans of my Facebook page this past week. Here’s the latest teaser to whet your whistle, and look for news on when it is available very soon. 🙂

 

“I can’t explain why I acted the way I did at the end of last summer. It won’t make any sense, and it won’t make it better or change what happened,” Millie whispered. She was afraid then that he was going to tell her to go to hell. That his reappearance in her life had been just a way of him finding the right way to strike back at her for being such a bitch. “It was wrong, and I’m sorry. But what I’m really sorry for is that I didn’t say goodbye.”

Instead, he sighed, and one of his hands came up to wipe the tears on her cheek away. “I am sorry too, Millie. There were a lot of things that were left unsaid between us. I figured you knew that, and maybe wanted to save me from embarrassing myself. I kept thinking that I did something to push you away.”

She bit her lower lip, uncertain what to say next. She saw that his eyes drifted down to her mouth as she did it, and her heart sped up. Millie had been with her fair share of men, but this was different. There was something strangely intimate about that moment that she had never remembered feeling with a man before. When Sam looked at her, she knew that he saw her for who she was, not just some pretty face, or a person who carried the St. John name. She appreciated that more than she could ever tell him.

Millie reached a hesitant hand up and brushed a stray piece of hair off of his forehead. When he turned his cheek into her hand and closed his eyes, she knew that everything she thought was happening the previous summer was real. A year ago, she ran from those feelings because she was too scared to deal with them. Now, she was afraid that if she did run away, she’d regret it the rest of her life.

His lips pressed gently against the palm of her hand sending a tiny chill down her spine. Then his eyes opened, and his gaze blazed down on her. Goosebumps broke out across her arms as she read the emotions that she saw there. Desire. Passion. Maybe something more.

His arm pulled her closer to him, and she could feel the heat from his body through her clothes. Her breath hitched as his fingers swept down her cheek and traced the outline of her lips.

“You had a lip gloss that you’d wear on the nights when you’d help me in the dining room. It smelled like peaches and mangos, and it made your lips shine in the candlelight. I noticed them every time you’d smile at me,” Sam said. His voice was low and husky. “I must have wondered a million times what it would be like to kiss them. I watched you hoping that one day, you’d look at me in a way that told me you wanted me to kiss you.”

Millie flushed at Sam’s words. She tried to look away, but Sam’s hand cupped her chin and brought her eyes back to his. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you want me to kiss you right now.”

Her breath became shallower at the intensity of his tone. She understood what he was asking and why he was asking. She was the one who ran away from him. She was the one who rejected him and everything that he had given her over the course of the summer. Sam wasn’t a taker, and she always knew that.

He was asking her permission to take this though.

She slid her arms up around his neck. “I’ll go find the lip gloss if you want,” she said with a shy grin. When Sam’s head lowered, his lips claimed hers with a low growl, and the rest of Millie’s thoughts were swept away.

~~~~~ end of teaser from the DRAFT version — final published version may change.

A Post Full Of Goodies: HUGE NA/Romance Giveaway!

You know that feeling you get when you’re in a group of people who totally get you? That’s how I’m feeling today!! I’ve joined forces with some fantastically awesome NA/romance writers to bring you the MONSTROUS giveaway that you see below.

Getting your entries in is easy- just click the buttons (the internet version of the “Easy” button!). Just like that you’re entered, and the more buttons you push, the more chances you have to win.

Good luck!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where My Heart Breaks: Grab It Now for $0.99!

Where My Heart Breaks WEBSITE USE

Today is the day! It’s finally here!!

Where My Heart Breaks is available for purchase at all the major retailers (Apple coming soon). Buy links are below. As a special “Thank You” to all my readers (old and new), you can snag your copy of the ebook for $0.99. The new release pricing runs through September 29th, 2013.

I want to give a special shout-out to my beta readers, Audi and Lisa!! I couldn’t have done it without you beautiful ladies. 🙂

Buy Where My Heart Breaks on Amazon

Buy Where My Heart Breaks on Barnes and Noble

Buy Where My Heart Breaks on Kobo

Also, there is a paperback version available for purchase on Amazon for $14.99 and you can find that here.

Happy Reading!

Countdown to Where My Heart Breaks Release!

This is one of my most favorite, and nerve-wracking, points in the publishing process. It’s the point where I’m cresting the top of the roller coaster and about ready to shoot down the other side. It’s the point of no return where I release my newest creation to the world.

Where My Heart Breaks WEBSITE USE

Where My Heart Breaks will be released on all major retail sites on August 30th. Here’s the set-up:

If there were a course in screwing up your life, Kate Spivey would get an A+.

Trust is in short supply for Kate at the start of the summer before her senior year of college. Her parents sentenced her to spend it under the watchful eye of her aunt at the famous Willoughby Inn. It was further proof that she was a prisoner in, and not the decision maker of, her life. Nothing she does is good enough to prove that she learned from the mistakes of her past.

Almost immediately, Kate finds that her new summer home holds another person who understands the unfairness of her situation better than most. Reed Black has had his own share of tragedy and regrets, but instead of trying to fight his reputation, he embraced it.

Sparks fly between Kate and Reed, but his mixed signals remind Kate that she needs to watch her step. He is one temptation she can’t afford to indulge in, no matter how strong her attraction to him. If she isn’t careful, she’ll lose more than her heart.

ARC copies of Where My Heart Breaks are now available on NetGalley.

Be sure to add Where My Heart Breaks to your Goodreads TBR shelf here.

Let the nail biting begin!

A One-Track Mind

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You probably read this post’s title and had a completely different idea of what I was going to talk about, being a romance writer and all. 😉 But actually, I wanted to share a little bit about the story I’m working on now and how it’s different from almost everything I’ve written before, which is cool and scary all at the same time.

I had the idea for for this story before I even finished writing Bittersweet Junction. I’ve got a thing for big, old houses. The picture at the top of this post appeared in the corner of the calendar for June above my desk. I couldn’t stop staring at it and that’s always the red flag in my mind that there’s a story there. And so Where My Heart Breaks was born. I somehow managed to keep focused on my final edits for Bittersweet Junction, which was a good thing because when a story idea grips me it’s pretty hard to tear myself away.

Where My Heart Breaks is going to be told from a single point of view (POV) which is a pretty significant departure for me from my usual method of storytelling. Out of the twenty-odd stories I’ve published to date (I also write paranormal fiction under another pen name) only one, My Heart to Rescue, is also a single POV story. That makes this whole endeavor a bit unsettling. Events are unfolding in front of me and I’m finding out about all sorts of things right along with Kate, my heroine.

The logical question is why would I decide to write from a single POV if I’m obviously so comfortable (and enjoy) dual POVs stories? It took me awhile to figure that one out myself. In the end, the answer was simple. When we fall in love in real life, we don’t know what the object of our desire is thinking about. We fly blind hoping that the things we do or say will eventually pull them into our orbit and convince them to stay. But there is a big unknown.

When you see both sides of the story, it makes you feel a bit more settled as a reader (and as a writer too). I wanted to strip that level of comfort away and push myself to really remember what it felt like to fall for someone with no idea if it was going to be reciprocated. I am delving into Kate and her emotions and feelings at a deeper level than I could if I was telling the story from both sides. Even now, halfway through the first draft, Kate’s love interest Reed is still a bit of an enigma to me, but the connection that is developing between him and Kate is exciting to watch nonetheless.

As I ride the roller coaster down the other side, approaching the end of this story, I’m holding on and enjoying the ride, just like Kate. Hopefully my future readers will find it just as satisfying as well.