It’s finally here!!! The Chosen is out today.

Y’all, it’s finally release day! I feel like we’ve all been waiting way too long for this book to come out, but the wait is over!!

Want a sneak peek? Here’s Chapter Two of The Chosen! Don’t read on if you haven’t read book two yet or else…

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“Calm down, Liv.”

Myka tried hard not to get frustrated. Her best friend was terrified—and rightly so. She was pregnant with a hybrid, what the monsters wanted.

Silent tears strolled down her cheeks, and Myka swallowed down her guilt. She’d apologize later. Right now, she had to save them.

What didn’t make sense was why she wasn’t drugged. She could change and get out of there—but not without Liv. That was what Preston wanted. He wanted her to know he could control her.

“They can’t have my baby,” Olivia cried.

“They won’t get it,” Myka answered, resolute.

“So how are we gonna get out of here?”

Liv sat up the best she could given her restraints.

“I don’t know yet.”

“Can’t you just transform?”

“And what will you do? I don’t know if I’m strong enough to carry you on my back.”

“I didn’t think of that.”

It’s all I can think about, Myka thought, but she didn’t voice her concerns. She would be strong for Liv. She had to be.

“There’s a way out,” Myka said. “We just have to take a deep breath and think.”

She heard Olivia suck in a deep breath. Maybe it would keep her busy thinking of ideas instead of worrying about her unborn child. Her unborn child. There was no way Preston or Marcus Knight would get their hands on Liv’s baby.

“Just go,” Olivia said.

“No. I’m not leaving you.”

“It’s the only way out, and you know that.”

“Liv, I’m not leaving you. End of story. Now keep thinking.”

Myka pulled at her arms, trying to break free of the tape holding them together. She could change and break them, but that would alert the vampires that something was up.

Myka thought back to when Preston had first kidnapped her. She pushed the memory down. There was no reason to relive that horrible experience, since she wasn’t going to let it happen again.

Her skin ripped and burned as she tugged against her restraints, yet she didn’t stop. She wouldn’t stop.

Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw something in the darkness lurking behind the trees. She prayed it was the werewolves coming to save them.

“Do you see that?” she whispered.

“See what?” Olivia matched her tone.

“Over there.” Myka nodded her head to the left of them. “I thought I saw something.”

“Do you think it’s Luka, Milo, and Brent?” Her voice was optimistic, and Myka hated to shatter her optimism. How were they going to stop a moving truck if it was?

“I hope so.”

Myka kept her eyes on the trees, hoping to see a sign of life, but she didn’t see anything else. Maybe she was just going crazy?

“I don’t see anything,” Liv said, losing her faith.

Myka nodded in the darkness, aware that she should speak so Liv could hear her, but there was nothing to say. What if that flash of black was nothing? Was Brent even out searching for her?

Myka had to push those thoughts out of her mind. It didn’t matter if someone was coming to her rescue or not. She would get out of this. Myka was the Shewolf now, the alpha. She wasn’t dependent on any man; she could save herself.

“Whether they’re here or not, you and I are smart enough to get out of this alive. Come on, Liv. What can we do to get out of this?”

Myka continued to pull at her restraints, and they were loosening some. Not enough, but it was progress.

“You have to change.”

“And then what? Run away and leave you to these monsters?”

“No. You fight them.”

“There are too many. I’m smart, remember?”

Olivia laughed despite their circumstances. “You are smart, and that’s why you have to take down Preston.”

“How?”

“You’ve learned how to fight, right?”

“Some, but if I attack Preston, the rest are going to attack me. I can’t withstand this many vampires on my own. Look what happened back home.”

“But there are only two in the truck.”

“But we’re in a caravan of other vampires.”

Olivia sighed. She must’ve forgotten about the others. They would stop if they sensed any trouble, and she would die. She didn’t want to die, but if it meant saving Olivia, she would.

“Okay. I’ll do what I can, and as soon as this truck stops, you run. I mean, you run fast and hard. Don’t stop, no matter what you hear. We’re going to save you and that baby.”

“Myks…”

“Don’t, Liv. I’ve worked up the courage, and I want to keep it.”

Olivia nodded, and Myka changed, breaking out of her restraints and clothing. She bit at Olivia’s restraints until they came off.

Myka nodded to Liv and then threw herself against the back glass of the truck, shattering it and falling into the cab of the truck. The vampire driving swerved, throwing Myka onto Preston’s lap. Preston reached out and grabbed her neck, squeezing.

“I knew you’d try this, dog. It wasn’t the smartest idea.”

Myka growled and bit at him, trying to keep his focus on her instead of Olivia. The vampire driving slowed down, and Myka barked again, hoping that Olivia knew that meant it was time for her to run.

“Shut up,” Preston said, grabbing Myka’s muzzle and squeezing hard.

She yelped in pain and clawed at him, trying to work her way out of his grasp. She kicked out at the vampire driving the truck, honking the horn in the process. He cursed at her and slapped at her legs. But she kept kicking at him and wiggling away from Preston. She broke free of his grasp enough to bite down on his hand.

“You stupid dog. I will kill you!” Preston yelled.

Myka kept biting him, not letting go. She wasn’t sure what to do next. There was nowhere to run. So, she twisted her mouth, digging her teeth further into his hand. He pushed at her with his other, cursing her, demanding she let go, but Myka was diligent. She had to buy her friend some time to get out.

“I knew you would try something so idiotic,” he said, taking his other hand and squeezing right under her neck. She had a hard time getting a deep breath, and she felt her grip loosening no matter how much she didn’t want it to. A low growl emanated from within, but it turned into a quiet whimper. She released Preston’s hand, but he didn’t release her neck.

“I should kill you for that, but I won’t. Not right now. I want to make you suffer first, and when you start begging me to kill you, I’ll torture you even more, making sure that you don’t ever get a break from me.”

Myka shook, but she refused to give up, even though her strength was waning.

Suddenly, the truck lurched to a stop, and Preston let go of her to catch himself from going through the window. Myka jumped through the shattered glass behind Preston and ran.

She didn’t see Olivia anywhere, but she hoped that she could catch her scent and find her soon. She had to be somewhere near. Maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she was out of harm’s way.

Myka ran into the woods and stopped, taking a second to regain her breath. She couldn’t run if she was panting as hard as she was.

“That was quite a display,” a voice said, startling her.

She growled and turned around to see who was speaking to her. It was Dragon. He was smiling.

She stopped growling and changed back into her human self.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Saving you and your little friend. The wolves were taking too long.”

Myka scanned around her and saw a few of the vampires who had fought alongside them earlier surrounding her. And then Olivia flew at her, hugging her.

“Thank you, Myks.”

She nodded, unable to speak.

“We have to go, Princess. They’re searching the woods right now.”

“Right.”

Myka let go of Liv and changed back into her wolf. She passed Luka, and he reached down and patted her head. “I’m glad you’re okay, Myka.”

She nodded.

 They trotted through the woods until they came upon some vehicles. Olivia opened the door for her, and she jumped into the backseat. Olivia slid in beside her; Luka came next.

Dragon got into the driver’s seat, and one of the other vampires got into the passenger’s seat.

Dragon said, “There’s a jacket back there, Princess. No need to stay as a wolf.”

She changed again, and Olivia handed her the jacket. She slipped it on and said, “Thanks, Dragon.”

“Anytime. Can’t let the sucker have what he wants.”

Olivia leaned over on Myka’s shoulder, and they held each other close.

Myka was furious. Why hadn’t the wolves come after her? Instead, the vampires came to her rescue. She didn’t expect that at all.

“Where’s Milo and Brent?” Myka asked Luka.

“They were in a heated debate with Colin when I left.”

“About what?”

She faced Luka. His face was stoic, but she knew. They had to bargain with Colin about saving her.

“My own fiancé wasn’t going to save me, was he?” she asked.

“He was weighing his options.”

Myka bit back tears. If her own betrothed wouldn’t save her, what would their life together be like?

Olivia reached over and took ahold of her hand, squeezing it, but there was no comforting her now.

 “Sorry, Princess,” Dragon said. “You deserve better than that little punk.”

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And, end scene! What happens next? Find out in The Chosen! Purchase your copy on Amazon today! It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited!

Happy Reading!

The Chosen’s Cover is Here!!

**Post has been updated to reflect the NEW release date of 2.5.19**

So, I’ve been sitting on this beauty for a while, and it’s been killing me! But today, today I finally get to show her off!

Okay, so there are those who are mad at me for ending book two in the Knight’s Academy series on cliffhanger. I’m so sorry, but it had to be done. Anyway, the book you’ve been waiting for is *almost* here! Just another month to go! The ebook of The Chosen will drop on February 5, 2019!

But, today, I can finally show you the cover. Whoop whoop!

Ain’t she purty?

About The Chosen:

Still reeling from her grandmother’s death, Myka William’s has been chosen to rule her pack, but she isn’t sure she wants the job. It comes with an unwanted fiancé and vampires who are still hunting them down. Running away has always been her go-to answer, but Myka’s finally found what she’s been looking for—home. Running is no longer an option.

As the last female alpha in her pack, Myka isn’t allowed to follow her heart, and she has to fight a battle between her heart and head. Will Myka be able to have the happy ending she so desperately wants?

Along with help from vampires, hybrids, and werewolves she can trust, Myka must learn how to find a way out of her engagement, get the pack to take her seriously, and save her pack from the vicious vampires who want to use them for unspeakable things.

Being the chosen one isn’t as easy as it seems.

And if you haven’t read books one and two yet, what are you waiting for? Get them today! Just click on the photo below to be taken to Amazon. 🙂





Things you probably won’t understand if you don’t live below the Mason-Dixon Line. #SouthernLiving

We’re a rare breed down here in the South. I’ll attest to that, but I’m proud to be Southern. I’m a self-proclaimed Southern belle, and though I’m a girly-girl, I don’t mind telling you like it is, which is definitely a nod to my Southern-raising.

But, as I watch TV shows set in the South and read books written by non-Southerns set in the South, I find it funny how they see us.

So, here’s a little about us, written from the perspective of a Mississippi girl proud of her Southern roots.

  • Our accents may be thick, but they’re authentic. Honey, you can’t fake this, no matter how good of an actor you are. that accent's fake
  • Mosquitoes are real, and they will eat you alive! I’ve seen mosquitoes out in February because honestly, it never really gets cold here. So, no, though it’s ideal to leave windows up and doors open, without screens on windows and doors, you’re fighting mosquitoes, flies, and red wasps. And if we’re able to even be blessed with days where we aren’t boiling alive and can open windows and doors, it’s only a day or two a year. So, air conditioning is our best friend.window
  • These Christmas movies set in the South, yeah, snow doesn’t happen down here, and if it does, it only lasts for a little while and freezes on the road after it melts so we can’t drive on it.  Don’t laugh at us for not knowing how to drive on ice either. Seriously, these back roads are no joke! They don’t get salted either, so it’s definitely not safe to hit black ice and go sliding around a sharp curve or fly down a steep hill.christmas truck
  • We speak in cliches and funny sayings such as “bigger fish to fry”, “bless your heart”, “up a creek without a paddle”, “so good it makes you wanna slap ya momma”, etc. But trust me on this. You don’t wanna slap your momma. She’ll slap you back down here!bless your heart
  • Speaking of mommas… Never, under any circumstances, do you test ya momma. Let me tell you. A Southern momma is a woman you don’t want to mess with. And we have mad respect for them. A Southern woman is a blessing. We love our mommas down here!thanks for letting me bother you for life
  • Sweet tea. There’s really no explanation for it except for the fact that you have to know the right amount of sugar to put in your sweet tea and how to make it the proper way. I’m not talking about iced tea. That’s a whole ‘nother thing completely, and it ain’t nearly as good as what we have down here. Down here, we drink sweet tea or coke (and that’s any flavor, any brand). everyone's addicted to sweet tea
  • Food, family, and friends are synonymous. If you’re friends and family, we will offer you food and welcome you into our home for coffee or sweet tea to go with it. family dinner
  • Don’t let our accents and cliched sayings scare you away, down here, you’re always welcome, and even though it might not be home, you’ll feel like it is! welcome home

 

HUGE eBook Black Friday sale!

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Hi, y’all!

I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving (if you celebrate). I’m still full from the food we had!

Anyway, I have some exciting news for you! I wanted to tell you about a HUGE sale that is going on this weekend! There are over 150 titles available, and they are all either $.99 or FREE! There are also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly discounted prices as well! And the good news is they are all clean reads! Be sure to go check out this amazing sale here.

You’ll find that Delivered by Angels: Entertaining Angels Book 2 is in this sale for $0.99 as well!

There is also an amazing giveaway going on! Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the 2nd place winner gets 20 e-book titles, including Entertaining Angels Book 1, from the sale for free!

 

You can sign up for the giveaway here.

Giveaway runs from November 22nd until November 26th.

Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd place prize is open Internationally.

2nd Place Winner Receives 20 E-books

Gather Round the Fables by Erika Matthews

The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Kirkpatrick AudioBook

The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick Audiobook

Coffee Shop Christmas Ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller

The Land of Cotton ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller

Entertaining Angels, Entertaining Angels Book 1 by Emerald Barnes

Secret’s Kept by Jennette Mbewe

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue

Beyond Broken Pencils by Julie C. Gilbert

Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert

Soldier On by Vanessa Rasanen

Burning Rose by Hope Ann

Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels

Imani Earns Her Cape by Bokerah Brumley

October by J. Grace Pennington

Disowned by Sarah Addison Fox

My Compass Home by Michaela Bush

Summer Shadows and Necessary Evil by Killarney Traynor

 

Grand Prize Winner Receives 20 Paperbacks

Mythical Doorways by Jenelle Schmidt

Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum

Kiera by Kate Willis

Because Anonymous Diana L. Sharples

After: Book One in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski

Specter: Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski

Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones

Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash

London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn

When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood

Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels

There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman

Bridgers: A Parable (paperback) by Angie Thompson

Love Blind (paperback) by Angie Thompson

Code by Angie Thompson

Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah Morris

The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek

He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness by Sara Willoughby

 

 

Participating Authors

Kate Willis

Hope

C.B. Cook

Vincent Trigili

Malachi Cyr

J. Willis

Diana L. Sharples

Sarah Addison-Fox

Annie Douglass Lima

Marc Secchia

Katy Huth Jones

Savannah Jezowski

Kandi J Wyatt

Joan Lightning

Angela Watts

Ava Mallory

Sara Bourgeois

Jaye L. Knight

Sarah Ashwood

Killarney Traynor

Zanna Mackenzie

Valerie Howard

Bokerah Brumley

Kat Bellemore

Faith Blum

RJ Conte

Abigayle Claire

Tayla Alexandra

Kristen Iten

Emily Selby

Stephanie Damore

Erika Mathews

Frances Hoelsema

Grace Pennington

Rebekah A. Morris

Frankie Bow

Martha Fuller

Lena Karynn Tesla

Allison Tebo

Sarah Monzon

Victoria Lynn

Sonia Parin

T.I. Lowe

Lia London

Tammy Lash

maria grazia swan

Deany Ray

Paige Sleuth

Jenny Berlin

Annie Louise Twitchell

Jordaina Sydney Robinson

Kelsey Gietl

Kendra E. Ardnek

Frances Hoelsema

Stacy Juba

Laura Guenot

Michaela Bush

Tricia Mingerink

Hailey Rose

Ryana Lynn Miller

Angie Thompson

Nadine C. Keels

Kellyn Roth

Angie Thompson

Vanessa Rasanen

Julie C. Gilbert

Jennette MbewS. Johnson

Amy Williams

April Lynn Newell

Lauren Lynch

Lea Doue

Kelsey Bryant

Avery Daniels

Sarah Holman

R.M. Arch

Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Cathy Perkins

Laura Jackson

P.D. Workman

Emily Hinkle

Hannah Loviisa

Claire Banschbach

Rebekah Jones

Faith Potts

Sara Willoughby

Happy Halloween! The final post of 10 Days of Halloween and a look into Knight’s Academy Book Three

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Thank you all so much for hanging with us these 10 Days of Halloween! I hope you’ve found a book you want to pick up and read that will give you the creeps! And I want to thank all of our guests these past ten days for hanging out with us and sharing their scariest works! It’s been a pleasure.

If you missed them, be sure to find the 10 Days of Halloween category on the sidebar and check out the posts!

Though I don’t write, read, or watch anything scary, I do write about vampires and werewolves, and even demons in my Christian fiction.

But today, I’m going to talk about my vampires and werewolves in the Knight’s Academy series!

In honor of The Chosen, book three, coming out in January (if all goes well), I wanted to share some fun information about book three!

oooo

  • Life as Myka knows it will forever be changed because of the way book two ended. What she thought she had time to prepare for suddenly falls in her lap. And she doesn’t feel prepared at all for what life holds for her. I can’t divulge anymore info if you haven’t read book two. My lips are sealed. shh
  • Myka finds herself in a strange predicament, another love triangle. Just kidding, she loves one man but is forced be with another. But who is who and what is what? You’ll have to find out in book three!it isn't fair
  • Dragon, a vampire and Myka’s guard, is my favorite character, and he was honestly never supposed to be in the book to start with. #minorcharacterschangetheworldi love you
  • There’s a werewolf/vampire hybrid. shocked
  • Milo has moved on from the Brent/Myka drama.moving on.gif
  • There is some betrayal!traitor
  • And another death. time to die
  • And it all ends on the brink of war…

if you don't fight

That’s all I can say. I’ve probably said too much, but y’all, I’m so excited about book three! I’m even more excited about book four, which I’m currently writing.

intrigue

What are you most excited to see in the Knight’s Academy series?

 

10 Days of Halloween with Carol Riggs

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Today, Carol Riggs is joining us for the 9th day of 10 Days of Halloween! She’s sharing a little bit about her book Junction 2020 and the boogeyman! Ooooo….

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***

Hello! I’m Carol Riggs, and I like to read and write books with a twist of weird.

Most of my YA novels have a sense of mystery, maybe because I grew up reading Nancy Drew books. I also enjoy science fiction and fantasy elements, so I throw those in there too. THE LYING PLANET, my third published book, was born one night in 2010 as I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep…and I thought I heard a noise out in the living room. Nothing was really there, but my mind started spinning scenarios about What If. I figured this could be the initial pivotal moment of a YA novel, the story about a teen lying in the darkness of his room, and hearing…something.

More recently, my JUNCTION 2020 series involves portal travel to a dimension built by my 5 main characters’ sweetest dreams and worst nightmares. It’s been loads of fun! From magical music rooms to awesome lighthouses, and vampire spiders to street gangs, the alternate-dimension landscapes challenge my characters like nothing else. Each book in the 5-part series is written from the viewpoint of one of the characters. Book 3 of JUNCTION 2020 is Lauren’s book, and is called SILENT SCREAM. Interestingly enough, it also involves a character lying in bed and hearing something creepy (do I detect a pattern here?).  

EXCERPT from Silent Scream, Chapter 3:  

Stray thoughts tumble through my head, blurring with images of me blowing on my steaming mug of hot chocolate and swinging my arm to throw snowballs. I’m drifting off into serious drowsiness, when I hear a distinct and prolonged metallic creak.

Blinking, I lift my head. What was that?

I heard it loud and clear. Is someone walking around, maybe Stefanie in the outer hall as she heads to the bathroom? Except the creak didn’t quite sound like a floorboard, and it didn’t sound like the noise came from the hall.

It sounded like it came from inside my room.

I sit up, breaking into a clammy sweat. Impossible. There’s no one in here except me. I’ve got to be imagining things.

Squinting around the moonlit semi-darkness of the room, I see the tall, solid-wood dresser against the wall, the motionless, thin curtains over the window. Across the room the closet is silent, but its door stands ajar a few inches.

Crap. Wasn’t that door shut before I got into bed?

Creak.

That’s the metallic noise I heard earlier, I’m sure of it. It’s the rasp of a squeaky hinge. And right as I’m watching, the closet door opens wider. Slowly, inching its way outward.

Creak. Creeeaaaak.

The gap is now a spooky wedge of blackness that makes an instant lump form in the pit of my stomach.

Creak. The gap widens further yet. A foot and a half of sheer terror.

A hoarse breathing begins—and it’s not mine.

I clutch the quilt to my chest, paralyzed on the bed. My lungs forget how to work. Only my mind is whirling. It’s been nine long years, but I know exactly what’s behind that door. In this landscape, my nightmares have caught up with me at last.

It’s the Boogeyman.

He’s real. And he’s coming to get me.

More about Junction 2020:

It all started on New Year’s Eve, 2019. Despite being hearing impaired, Lauren Carnes was determined to go to Stefanie Anders’ party and celebrate the holiday like everyone else. But instead, she and four others got blasted through a portal into another dimension. They ended up with strange triangular marks branded on their forearms.

Worse yet, the whole thing happened again ten days later. Instead of a creepy landscape built by her new friend Mari’s dreams and nightmares, they fought to survive in a world built by Tony Rodriguez. In both of these alternate realities, ruthless black-cloaked Shifters tried to capture and exploit them as Mainworlders.

The third time is not a charm. Because on this journey, it’s Lauren’s fascinating—and dangerously silent—landscape everyone is stuck in.

Purchase your copy of Junction 2020!

For anyone who comments on this post, there will be a drawing for a giveaway. The winner will get the choice of an ebook or (if a U.S. winner) a signed paperback of THE LYING PLANET or a JUNCTION 2020 series book.

Carol Riggs author photo_head

About Carol Riggs:

Carol Riggs is an author of young adult fiction who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.

 

 

Follow Carol Riggs:

EMAIL: carolriggsauthor@gmail.com

WEBSITE:  http://www.carolriggs.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CRiggsAuthor

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/CarolRiggsAuthor?sk=wall

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8055261.Carol_Riggs

BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carol-riggs

 

10 Days of Halloween with Tabitha Caplinger

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Let’s all give a warm welcome to someone who isn’t a stranger on this blog and who is a dear friend, a talented author, my online pastor, and did I mention a talented author? Tabitha writes one of my all time favorite series, The Chronicle of the Three, and I’m sad it’s over. But, such is life. All good things must come to an end! 😉 The TCO3 series is pretty much the cousin to my Entertaining Angels series (just kidding, sort of), and I think you guys would so love it!

***

From Tabitha:

Hi!! In honor of all things creepy and spooky I thought I’d share with you lovelies one of my favorite scenes from the final installment of The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy, Eden Sword.

In this little snippet, Zoe, Daniel and Maggie are doing one of their regular night patrols for demons who are ravaging their small town of Torch Creek. In the dead of a winter night the local playground takes on a darker visage.

 

***

Things seemed strange at night. During the daylight hours, even in winter, there was always some activity here. Joggers would be pounding the pavement of the small track that circled the perimeter. People walked their dogs. Children played on the colorful playground. Under this blanket of darkness, it was much more eerie. The wind rustled through dead branches, replacing the summer song of tree frogs and mockingbirds, and the rays of the moon created shadows of each limb as cracked lines along the ground. In the daytime, this place was nothing but life, but in the dark of December, it seemed like only death.

Zoe clenched her fists and squared her shoulders.  The smoldering battleground of her nightmares flashed like a slideshow through her mind. The shadowy grass of the park a reminder of that horrid landscape she couldn’t shake free of. She bit the inside of her cheek trying to regain her grip on reality.

“Is it windy enough for that to be happening?” Maggie asked, pointing toward a red and blue see-saw that was beginning to teeter back and forth, its hinges squeaking with the movement.

“No, it isn’t,” Daniel answered. Zoe saw that he already had a knife in his hand.

The low whistle of a slowly turning merry-go-round and the creaking of movement of the swing set created a creepy chorus which filled the silent night. The melody of customary hissing joined the arrangement, swirling in on an icy wind that drew goosebumps up Zoe’s arms and down her spine. She squatted to retrieve her dagger from its keep, rising back up with it gripped tightly, ready as the demons glared from their perches all over the small playground.

Zoe felt an arm brush hers as Maggie leaned close to her to ask, “When would be a good time to shoot one?”

“I’d prefer that you go right to rock formation.” Zoe’s eyes never left the ensemble that was now drooling ash from its many barred fangs. “Daniel, you take the swings on the left, I’ll take everything to the right. Maggie stay back and shoot anything that looks at you.” Zoe ordered then took the first step toward the see-saw but paused to give one last glance over her shoulder. “Oh, and Mags, don’t miss.”

To her relief, Maggie lifted her bow with steady hands. “Yeah. Got it chief.”

Zoe gave a nod to Daniel and the two charged at the shadows before them. Sulfur stung Zoe’s cold nose. The rustling of chains at the swing set and shrill shrieks signaled each demon’s demise. But Zoe didn’t dare turn to verify Daniel’s triumphs. She was focused on her own task. There were at least five shadows that she could see, and she was sure more had to be waiting in the darkness of nearby branches.  “Maggie keep your eyes open!” she yelled.

“I’d be afraid to close them!” came Maggie’s comforting response.

Zoe lunged at the first two shadows that had perched themselves on the teeter-totter. She stabbed her dagger into the first while drawing one of Lucas’s throwing knives and flung it at the other. As they dissolved, she turned toward the three that had dug their claws into the old wooden merry-go-round. She ran and leapt onto the turning wheel, tossing another knife into one’s forehead, and then thrust her lion blade into a second. The third reached out, planting its nails in her shoulder. She could feel the burn through her jacket but bit back the pain with a low growl. She spun around and drove her dagger into its hollow chest.

“Zoe!” She heard Maggie cry out as the shadow in front of her turned to ash and another jumped onto her back.

Zoe was pushed forward, falling onto the wood underneath her. She kicked and squirmed until she was able to roll. She shoved the demon off of her and onto the ground just as an arrow struck its abdomen. Relief was short lived as another shadow dropped from a high branch and landed on top of Zoe, pinning her shoulders down. The force of it knocked the dagger out of her hand. She strained her fingers but couldn’t quite reach it so she grabbed the demon’s wrists and pulled instead. She tore loose from its grip and then bucked up so that she could roll it off of her and switched positions so that she was now straddling the creature. She gripped its neck with her bare hands and it writhed underneath her, scratching at her arms and legs trying to break free.

“Zoe!” she heard Daniel yell.

“Zoe stop!” Maggie’s panicked scream got louder as she got closer.

Zoe felt pain seer through the skin of her hands where they choked the demon under her. Blood was trickling down her arms and soaked into her sleeves. She could feel the cotton material clinging to her and only then realized that there was no power flowing along with the blood in her veins. There was no light nor warmth emanating from her to kill the unholy vermin that still struggled against her. Zoe’s face pinched together and she quickly searched for her dagger with pained eyes. She reached one hand to grab it, wincing when her tender skin gripped its handle. Her muscles quivered as she plunged the blade into the shadow with a frustrated roar. She stabbed it again and again and again, oblivious to the fact that her knife was only hitting ash and wood until Daniel stopped her hand.

 

***

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The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy follows Zoe Andrews as she learns demons are real, the people she loves are at risk, and she is chosen to defeat a great evil. But fighting with swords might be a little easier than fighting the demons that begin to plague her mind and heart. Can she find the strength to withstand the darkness trying to destroy her before it destroys her world?

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FullSizeRenderTabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and author. She loves coffee, chocolate and takes her tv addiction very seriously. Besides writing about girls who slay demons she seeks to help all young women who struggle with who they are and what they are worth. She wants them to discover their identity and learn to live for their purpose on purpose (#LiveChosen). Above everything she uses her writing to show them that, like her characters, they are powerful, chosen, loved and never alone.

 

 

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