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Raising Money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

UPDATE – Thanks to all of you amazing readers, I was able to donate an extra $350 to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer! Team Lab Rats raised $1,500! Woot woot!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As many of you know, when I’m not writing fiction, I spend my days in a laboratory looking for new therapeutic targets for breast cancer treatment. After twenty years in the field. I thought I knew cancer.

Then, on April 19, 2018, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

I had a lot to learn.

As a survivor, caregiver, and researcher, I am passionate about fighting this disease. My fellow investigators, clinicians, advocates, survivors, and loved ones affected by breast cancer work tirelessly to fight this disease and to help those diagnosed with breast cancer. But we can’t do it alone.

This year, I am a Team Leader for The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Event in Nashville. Team Lab Rats has already raised over $500 with a goal of raising at least $1,000.

I want to do more. So I pledge to donate 100% of my October Book Royalties to American Cancer Society and Making Strides. Not only do they support research, they provide support and resources to patients, survivors, and their loved ones. This is a great organization doing amazing things.

Want to help? Purchase any D.B. Sieders book from now until October 31 to support this wonderful organization.  Here are universal links to all of my books that will take you to a site that will allow you to choose your preferred format – eBook or print book. For Southern Elemental Guardians audiobooks, click here.

I will be posting updates on how much we raise. Together, we can all make a difference!

Thank you for you support!

Southern Elemental Guardians: Making Waves, Lorelei’s Lyric, Crosscurrents, Firestorm, Three Wishes, River Spell, Forest Charmed

Soul Broker: Chasing the Dead, Waking the Dead, Raising the Dead

Dragons of Tarakona: Silver Unleashed, Red in the Morning, Gold Fever, Blue Streak

 

 

 

Author Interview!

Author Interview with The Romantic Editor!

 

Today, I’m sitting down with author D.B. Sieders, talking about her mermaid romance series, Southern Elemental Guardians. Let’s jump right into it…

 

D.B.! You write about mermaids falling in love with humans, risking their immortality. Why mermaid romance?

 

I’ve always been a mythology nerd. Seriously, I was the kid who read every volume of Encyclopedia Britannica* cover to cover looking for all I could find about Greek, Roman, Norse, and New World myths and legends.

 

*This was in the Dark Days before the Internet

 

I found mermaids fascinating in how they were portrayed. In many myths and legends, mermaids are beautiful and deadly. Using their looks, sensuality, and irresistibly gorgeous voices, these predatory creatures would lure mortal men to their deaths. In other legends, mermaids were known as healers and protectors. In my Southern Elemental Guardians series, I explored these dual natures and used them to craft stories rich-in-conflict and hard-won happily-ever-afters.

 

Everyone’s spin on mermaid powers is different. What makes the mermaids in your romance series unique?

 

My mermaids are alpha females with a great sense of adventure. I also drew on lesser known mermaid legends, including Lorelei of the Rhine, Wagner’s Rhinemaidens, Nixies, and Melusine, the legendary mermaid that inspired Starbucks’s logo. These freshwater shape-shifting beauties travel from their native Rhine home waters to visit America for a bit of fun and rebellion—their mother, Melusine, is overprotective to the max! To keep them from falling in love with mortal men and suffering the same heartache she endured, Melusine curses her daughters with deadly voices. Song is as important to Nixies as the lakes, rivers, and freshwater streams that sustain them and fuel their power, so the curse is particularly cruel. As you might imagine, mortal men are as irresistible to my mermaids’ song, leading to heaps of trouble in their romantic pursuits.

 

 

Can you summarize each book in your series in 10 words or less?

 

Making Waves (prequel novella) — Grumpy sea god spars with jilted ex on stormy seas.

 

Lorelei’s Lyric — Brooding, suicidal rock star falls for mermaid with a deadly voice.

 

Crosscurrents — Entitled mermaid princess rescued by skeptic hot geek marine biologist.

 

Three wishes (novella) — Guys’ Las Vegas road trip derailed by Genie’s tricky wishes.

 

Firestorm — Playboy Sylph prince burns for Phoenix harbinger of the Apocalypse.

 

River Spell — Vigilante renegade mermaid tamed by sexy cop-turned-paranormal investigator.

 

 

Holy crap, those sound amazing. Do you have a new mermaid romance releasing soon?

 

Yes! Currently working on Forest Charmed. This story features a Dryad heroine, Beverly Forrester, and a former Marine hero, Jack Roberts. She’s protecting one of earth’s precious hidden resources. He’s suffering from PTSD from his last mission and has been hiding out in her forest. They’ll team up to fight a monster sent by Mother Earth’s evil sister who wants to destroy earth’s bounty.

 

Last question. The series is titled Southern Elemental Guardians, and I keep asking you just about mermaids. Are mermaids Elemental Guardians? What are the other magical creatures in your series?

 

Definitely! The four elements—earth, wind, fire, and water—are all represented in the series. Dryads are guardians of earth. Sylphs are in charge of wind. Fire is the dominion of Lampades and the Phoenix race. You’ll also encounter Orishas, Genies, gods and monsters of river and sea, and even a giant talking catfish! The world keeps expanding, so I’ll be introducing more magical, mythical creatures in future books.

Raising the Dead (Soul Broker 2) Teaser

Raising the Dead DIGITAL.jpgI’m super-excited to announce that the sequel to Waking the Dead and second book in the Soul Broker series, Raising the Dead, is in production with City Owl Press! Release Day is January 16, 2017!

Afterlife management is a tricky business, especially for a living soul broker.

Juggling normal life with her otherworldly responsibilities—like helping departed souls cross to the other side while collecting grief from the living through her empathetic connection—just got a whole lot more complicated for Vivian Bedford. Her guardian spirit bosses, who make the mafia look tame, don’t like the side jobs she’s been taking to help living souls in peril.

But they don’t know the half of it.

She’s been working in secret with Lazarus Darkmore, a grim reaper and unlikely ally against the guardians’ hold on her. When a rogue guardian sends an ominous message that threatens to expose the alliance unless she stops, she has no choice but to put her trust in the reaper. But can a creature as dark and terrifying as Darkmore keep her safe, or will his appetite for cruelty and terror be her undoing?

With a spirit world energy crisis looming and guardian spirits closing in, Vivian must choose—toe the line with the guardians, plunge into darkness with the reaper, or join a rebellion that could unleash hell on earth.

Excerpt:

In the meantime, here’s a snippet to whet your appetite for the Reaper’s dark machinations for Vivian Bedford. Confronted with a sticky situation with a rogue guardian spirit, Lazarus Darkmore, Reaper, is the only creature to whom she can turn for help. Can she trust him? And what will be the price of his service?

***

They settled into an awkward silence, at least awkward for Vivian. Darkmore closed his eyes and inhaled the spring air. When he opened them, he regarded the Greek columns of the Parthenon before him with interest. “The materials are not authentic, of course, but I have to admit, it’s a decent reproduction. If you don’t have any more burdens to share, my dear, I think I should like to see Athena. It has been centuries!”

Now or never.

“I’m fresh out of burdens, but if you wouldn’t mind some company, there’s something else I’d like to discuss with you.”

Darkmore’s eyes widened as he said, “Oh my, the honorable Vivian Margaret Bedford, spiritual intercessor for the city’s downtrodden, wishes to consort with a grisly reaper? Tsk, tsk, what would Ezra think?”

“Never mind Ezra,” she said. “I have a big problem and I need some information from you and…possibly your help.”

There. She’d managed to ask for his help. Now she waited for the axe to fall.

“I take it that this ‘problem’ does not deal with the realm of the living. Very well. I’m intrigued, which may compensate for the paltry sustenance you brought today,” he said as he offered his arm. “Come along then, my dear.”

With a sense of falling, she placed her hand on his proffered arm, and before she could blink, they were standing before the impressive statue of the Greek goddess of wisdom, all forty-two feet of her. She felt Darkmore’s cool arm making its way around her back to support her as she shrieked. To her surprise, none of the other patrons turned in response, or even registered their presence.

Motherfucker!

“Now, now, Ms. Vivian,” he purred into her ear, his cool breath making goosebumps erupt over her flesh. “Do try to calm yourself. We are in the presence of divinity.”

“Couldn’t we just go through the fucking front door like normal people?” Vivian gasped. Spirit travel seemed cool in theory, but in reality it just made her nauseous. Not to mention nervous.

“But then we’d have to pay,” replied Darkmore.

When he was certain that she could stand on her own, he released Vivian and moved closer to the base of the statue. He seemed to be lost in admiration, as he didn’t even flinch when a couple walking hand-in-hand walked straight through him. She figured that Darkmore was trying to scare her, or impress her, or both. Probably both. Vivian knew that guardians and reapers could pull off tricks like that with ease, though she wasn’t quite certain if his lack of a corporeal presence extended to her. She moved out of their way just in case.

“It is a pity to keep the doors closed. The goddess would shine with more splendor by the light of the sun,” Darkmore remarked.

He was right. Her headdress, toga, spear, and shield were gilded. Vivian was more than a little surprised, not to mention impressed. In all of her years living in Nashville, she’d never stepped inside the Parthenon. It was remarkable.

“I was expecting plain marble, and not so much makeup,” she said, staring in wide-eyed wonder.

“Oh no, it was ivory over bronze back in the day—I believe that’s the expression. Her very dress once held much of the treasury for Athens. Hence, the gold. The mighty did, and often still do, enjoy audacious displays of wealth. Though she isn’t quite on par with Phidias,” he said, inclining his head toward her and spoke in a low and confidential tone. “This likeness captures the pretense of her remoteness and frigidity quite a bit better.”

“Huh?” she said, astonished. Athena was real? She was going to ask him to elaborate, but was caught off guard once more when Darkmore transported them from the floor to the statue’s shoulder.

He laughed. “Parthenos indeed! She was many, many things, the goddess, but the title of ‘virgin’ was dubious at best. Now then, come a little closer and tell me all of your troubles,” Darkmore drawled, pulling her beside him.

Now that would be an interesting story.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” She had to admit, being a little closer to the reaper eased her fear of falling. She didn’t think gravity would affect them in their current state, but decided to take no chances with that either.

“Of course I am,” he replied nonchalantly. “After all, it is in my nature. And your troubles are always most interesting.”

With a deep breath, Vivian gave her account of the attack on Father Montgomery at the hands of the unknown rogue guardian as Darkmore continued to examine the statue. She was a little annoyed by his apparent lack of concern, though he at least nodded from time to time to let her know that he was still listening. He only gave her his full attention when she got to the part about healing the priest.

“You’re a healer? You are full of surprises, Ms. Vivian.”

“I only just found out, and I still don’t know how it works or if I can heal people with regular ills as opposed to zaps from your kind,” she confessed.

“It wasn’t my kind who did this,” Darkmore said. He didn’t seem upset, but he waited until she nodded in acknowledgment.

“So why would a guardian want to hurt someone close to me?”

“To get your attention, of course.”

“No kidding,” Vivian said sardonically. “What I mean is, why does this one want me to stop what I’m doing? I’m on their side.” She blushed and put her head down then, realizing her faux pas.

Damn my big fucking mouth!

“What I meant is, um…I’m working with them, you know? For them. I didn’t mean…look, I know from experience that it’s not all black and white, and I sure as hell know that guardians aren’t always the good guys.”

“Which brought you to me,” Darkmore said. He didn’t seem smug, or angry, or even surprised. He just seemed…interested.

Good thing. Maybe he’d help her if she kept his attention and entertained him. Taking a deep breath, she said, “I need to know what I’m up against, and I’d like to find out who this so-called rogue guardian is and how to get him off my back. Can you help me?”

“That’s not the relevant question, my dear.”

“Then what is the relevant question?”

“You want to know if I am willing to help you, and what it will cost.”

“Well, yeah,” she answered. She was beginning to feel a bit ornery. “You don’t work for free, though I would have thought you’d be concerned enough about your meal ticket to want me safe.”

“Well, there is that,” he conceded, smiling.

Vivian was not amused. “So, will you help me or not?”

“Yes.”

“What will it cost?”

“I shall have to think on it. Do you trust me?” Darkmore asked.

“No more and no less than I trust any other spirit,” Vivian answered honestly.

“It’s a start. I’ll be in touch.”

With that, he disappeared, and Vivian found herself back on solid ground, left to wonder about what the going interest rate might be for her line of credit with Darkmore. She shuddered, knowing full well what sort of collateral he’d hold. She stared at Pandora on the statue’s pedestal. Well, I hope that isn’t a bad sign. Hope was definitely the key word.

 

***

 

Like it? Leave a Comment and let me know if you’d like an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

Blurb:

 

Afterlife management is a tricky business, especially for a living soul broker.

 

Juggling normal life with her otherworldly responsibilities—like helping departed souls cross to the other side while collecting grief from the living through her empathetic connection—just got a whole lot more complicated. Her guardian spirit bosses, who make the mafia look tame, don’t like the side jobs she’s been taking to help living souls in peril.

 

But they don’t know the half of it.

 

She’s been working in secret with Lazarus Darkmore, a grim reaper and unlikely ally against the guardians’ hold on her. When a rogue guardian sends an ominous message that threatens to expose the alliance unless she stops, she has no choice but to put her trust in the reaper.  But can a creature as dark and terrifying as Darkmore keep her safe, or will his appetite for cruelty and terror be her undoing?

 

With a spirit world energy crisis looming and guardian spirits closing in, Vivian must choose—toe the line with the guardians, plunge into darkness with the reaper, or join a rebellion that could unleash hell on earth.

New Release! Making Waves: Southern Elemental Guardians Novella 0.5

Go back to the beginning as Rhinemaidens Lorelei and Ilsa cross the Atlantic in style on The Wavesweeper, and enchanted ship captained by surly Celtic sea god MacLir. Before our mermaids begin their own adventures, they’ll conspire to help MacLir reunite with his long lost love, sea goddess Calypso.

Or perish trying.

Scheduled for release on July 15. Want it sooner? Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you a copy for FREE before it goes on sale!

MakingWaves_SEG 0.5_FinalECvr_RBG150dpi

For disgruntled Celtic sea god MacLir, nothing beats the solace of Atlantic waves and mortal women. Disguised as captain of the luxury cruise ship Wave Sweeper, he gets his fill of both.

Until babysitting duties get in the way.

MacLir is charged with ferrying a pair of troublesome Rhinemaidens to the Americas, giving the mermaids their first taste of freedom. All he has to do is deliver them safely to their chaperone in the New World. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, Lorelei and Ilsa have a lust for adventure and a knack for causing problems. From full fins moonlight swims to bacchanal parties crashed by nymphs and satyrs, Captain MacLir has his hands full. But when the mermaids conspire to reunite MacLir with his long lost love, the sea goddess Calypso, they set off a storm fueled by old wounds and passionate desires.

Will love calm the waves, or will all on board perish in a fearsome maelstrom?

Teaser Tuesday – Three Wishes (A Southern Elemental Guardians Novella)

Three Wishes_ A Southern Elemental Guardians Novella - D.B. SiedersHey there, peeps!

 

 

Teaser Tuesday sneak peek at a novella in progress featuring the heroes from the Southern Elemental Guardians series!

 

 

SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t read Lorelei’s Lyric or (especially) Crosscurrents – be warned!

 

Here’s the premise:

A Sylph, a Merman, and a Rock Star get into a car…

It was the Sylph’s idea—a guy’s trip to Las Vegas before Paul Pulaski and Vance Idol say goodbye to bachelorhood forever. Bruce has big plans to show his buddies a great time while having a little fun of his own in Sin City.

Mischief and mayhem ensue when the trio hit the tables, the strip, and get roped into a surprise performance at the Bellagio that gives Cirque Du Soleil a run for its money. But when Bruce gets them an audience with a bona fide Genie, will their wishes come true, or will demons past derail their happily ever afters permanently?

***

If you like what you read, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric and Crosscurrents! Better yet, if you’re willing to leave honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m giving away review eBooks for FREE until the end of the month. No strings. You agree to read, review honestly—no pressure from me for a specific star rating or review content—and you get free books. Fair, honest, and I get a boost in my review numbers for better visibility on Amazon and iBooks.

Teaser:

Get in the car.”

Vance Idol had seen some weirdness in his day. Oddly enough, the weirdest had been while he was sober.

But standing in his driveway with his soon-to-be brother-in-law, a guy who’d recently discovered he was a merman, and staring at Bruce the winged freak as he beckoned Vance and Paul to hop in a 1969 red Mustang?

This rock and roll life just got a whole lot weirder.

“Birdboy, do you even have a license?” Paul Pulaski, merman/future bro-in-law, appeared to be taking it all in stride. Maybe Paul hadn’t yet experienced one of Bruce’s “thrill rides.”

Bruce put a hand to his bare chest in mock indignation. Must’ve forgotten his shirt. Again. Either that or he just wanted to show off. Exhibitionism was his middle name. “You wound me, Flipper boy! I’ve been driving since cars were invented. Mustangs are my fave!”

Vance sighed. “Can I assume there’s enough space in there for our bags and my guitar? Looks a little crowded with the wings and ego.”

Bruce popped the trunk, hopped out, and started grabbing bags and tossing them in back. Vance held onto his guitar. Not that he didn’t trust the Sylph…mostly—after all, Bruce was an elemental guardian of air and wind. No matter how hard he threw the bags, enchanted air would soften the blow and protect their breakables. But his custom-made acoustic embodied his livelihood and his second greatest love: music. It had been gifted to him by his greatest love. Lorelei, Siren of the Rhine, had saved him from his demons and brought him back to sobriety and life. For reasons he still didn’t fathom, she loved him and had vowed to spend eternity with him.

Which meant he had eternal life so long as he honored her love and returned it.

Well, that wasn’t so tough, the love and fidelity part. Keeping his demons and bay, the ones that told him he didn’t deserve her? Yeah. Tall order.

“What are you waiting for, Idol? A gold-embossed invitation? No, wait, you’d want platinum, like your albums.” Bruce grinned like a freakin’ giddy schoolgirl. A six-foot-something schoolgirl sporting brown-feathered wings, yellow eyes, and those damned buckskin pants that blended in exactly nowhere.

“You’re going like that?” Vance asked, pointing at the pants. “If so, can I assume we’re hitting pride week out west or Comic Con? You’ll make the other cosplayers green with envy even if they don’t know what the hell you are.”

“Give it a few centuries, former mortals, and you’ll become as fashion savvy as yours truly.”

Yeah, Bruce could put the “fairy” in Fae. The guy always seemed comfortable in his own skin—shirtless and leather clad. And he’d lived long enough to try anything and anyone. Forget pansexual. The giant eagle dude was fucking omni.

Not that it mattered. They were all practically brothers. Besides, he’d never make a pass at Vance or Paul even if they weren’t. Between Lorelei and Ilsa, Paul’s fiancée and Lorelei’s sister, the Sylph wouldn’t live long enough to regret it. Plus Bruce was cool. Not that Vance would ever admit that out loud. The guy already had an ego the size of Montana.

Bruce chuckled. “Oh I’ll blend where we’re going. But don’t worry, I’ll be sure and make myself look like a respectable mortal man before we arrive. Now, put the guitar in the trunk, put your ass in the seat, and let’s get going.”

After Bruce jumped back in the driver’s seat, Paul turned to Vance and asked, “Do you have any idea where this crazy fucker’s taking us?”

Vance shrugged. “Not a clue. Just go with it. He’ll never shut up if we don’t.”

Paul’s eye twitched and his jaw clenched. So much for taking things in stride. Interesting. Yeah, maybe Pulaski hadn’t quite forgiven Bruce yet. Could still be harboring some jealousy over the fling Bruce had with Ilsa—before she met Paul. Some guys had trouble letting go of the past.

Vance should know.

And Pulaski had his own demons. Different flavor than Vance’s, but maybe as tough to wrestle.

Shit. If they survived this guy’s road trip, it would be a damned miracle.

But you know it’s going to be one helluva ride.

Pulaski called shotgun. Just as well. Vance slid his guitar case in the back and then planted himself on the smooth, black leather seat. Bruce had great taste in cars. He’d give the birdman that.

“Seatbelts, ladies,” Bruce said, fiddling with the console until AC/DC blared from the speakers. Apparently birdman had great tastes in music, too. This road trip might just turn out all right.

Paul groaned. “Why do we need seatbelts? We’re all immortal.”

“Because I said so. Because it’s my car. And because even immortals get big boo boos when they fall out of the sky.”

Fall out of the sky?

Bruce gunned the engine and the car took off. Literally. Vance yanked his seatbelt over his shoulder and buckled the damned thing just as the car went airborne.

“That’s right!” Bruce yelled over the music. “Buckle up, bros! Vegas, here we come!”

Teaser Tuesday – Firestorm (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 3)

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Hot on the heels of Crosscurrents, Firestorm (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 3) is coming along nicely!

Speaking of hot, Sylph Prince Tlanuwa, a.k.a. Bruce in the modern age, has his hands full with a fiery Phoenix. And, boy, has he ever met his match! What begins as an investigation into a rogue hybrid Sylph known as ‘Hawk’— who’s been misusing his powers on mortal skydiving adventures—takes an unexpected turn for the worse.

And the consequences be apocalyptic!

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come. If you want to get to know Bruce sooner, check out his appearances in Lorelei’s Lyric and Crosscurrents, available now on Amazon and iBooks.

***

Well done, little sparrow.

In addition to winning his bet with Dak, which was honestly reward enough, watching the small mortal woman overcome obvious fear and distress and complete the jump gave Bruce’s adventurous heart a thrill. Plus, she’d likely thrown Hawk off guard.

With any luck, the hybrid would compensate with wind power and give them the evidence they needed to punish the fool.

Cloaking his presence, he flew as close as he dared to the pair in free fall, balancing the necessity of detecting whatever weak elemental energy signature Hawk might unleash with the need to avoid detection himself. The woman’s eyes remained tightly closed, her body stiff in spite of the force of the fall, her face twisted in a rictus of anguish that cut Bruce to the core. Whatever tormented her clearly went beyond the fear of hurling through the air. She seemed on the verge of losing her very soul.

An unexpected blast of heat hit Bruce and knocked him off his flight path. What in the name of the gods? How did Hawk manage that?

Bruce regained control and signaled to Red and Dak. Someone was channeling some serious elemental energy. If Hawk had allies with that much power, they’d need back up. But a hybrid Sylph should only have dominion over wind, not fire.

Bruce came back abreast of Hawk and the woman in spite of the growing heat. Blast, why hadn’t the fool deployed the damned parachute yet? Every other mortal in the party now soared above the earth under the support of flimsy fabric. Red and Dak were floating in a sea of flying humans, for gods’ sake.

What if the parachute had malfunctioned?

Bruce calculated the distance to the ground and gauged their rate of descent. Hawk couldn’t afford the fall. Most hybrids weren’t immortal, and no one, not even Elemental Guardians, were immune to pain. Bruce could wait a bit longer before intervening.

If not for the woman.

Busting a rogue hybrid wasn’t worth the cost of a mortal life.

He banked right and prepared to send a blast of wind to buoy the pair until he could improvise a way to get the to the ground safely and without detection. Just as he inhaled a deep, fortifying breath, he caught the scent of smoke and a surge of power the likes of which he’d never experienced. Hawk rolled, hurling the pair toward the ground as he and the woman fought over some small object.

Then it hit him. She was the source of the elemental energy.

Great gods!

“Dak, Red! Sweep the mortals to safety! We have a fire elemental in the mix. A pureblood. And she’s getting ready to blow!”

His Sylph brothers whipped up an east wind that sent the mortals on what was likely a terrifying ride. No matter. The experienced instructors could land them safely on the adjacent field. With any luck, the hapless mortals wouldn’t witness whatever was coming next.

Bruce dove, sucking as much air as possible away from Hawk and the female elemental in hopes of suffocating her fire. The pair suddenly shifted away under the power of another’s wind. Damn it! Why was Hawk moving away? Surely by now he must have realized how far out of his element he was with his passenger. Bruce gave chase, dropping his shield charm and appearing before the pair.

They didn’t notice. They were too busy grappling with each other over some metallic orb like a pair of petulant children fighting over a ball.

“Stop, you fools! You’re violating almost all of our kind’s rules of secrecy and giving me whiplash in the process!”

The female’s head jerked up and her glowing gaze met his. He’d never seen anything so beautiful and so horrifying.

“What are you?” he asked, his voice barely carrying over the wind.

“Help me!” she screamed, her warped voice full of terror.

Aw, Hades. She was scary as fuck, but she’d asked him for help. He didn’t understand why a creature packing that kind of heat, literally, needed his help, but clearly the situation had escalated to more than a rogue hybrid misusing his powers. And Hawk seemed hell bent on slamming himself into the ground and taking her with him.

Dakota showed up and grabbed Hawk by the neck, slowing their descent while Bruce tugged on the female. His hands burned and his lungs filled with hot air and smoke, but he fought to loosen her straps. He managed, but she refused to let go of Hawk and the small orb.

“Let go!” he yelled, fighting through waves of pain his cooling winds couldn’t quite soothe.

“No!” she screamed. “You don’t understand. I have to destroy it!”

“Keep this up and you’ll destroy us all! Dak, heave!”

The wiry Sylph Lord channeled his considerable strength and power to wrench Hawk away from the female, which sent Bruce and his fiery cargo hurtling toward the earth. Bruce summoned gale force winds and storm clouds to break their fall and carry them away in a violent, and blessedly cooling, downpour.

He held on to the trembling creature in his arms, or perhaps his flesh had melted into the fabric of her jumpsuit. Fighting pain and exhaustion, Bruce crash landed on top of a nearby hill and dropped his burden unceremoniously to the ground. He shouldn’t risk it, but he needed to heal. It wasn’t as if he could fight whatever flavor of elemental she was in his current state.

If he could fight her and the raw power she wielded at all.

She didn’t appear willing or able to fight at the moment. She curled up on the ground in a fetal position, shaking and keening in the scorched earth upon which she rested.

Disappearing into the air, he let his element rush through his essence, soothing, cooling, invigorating. Great gods, what had happened out there?

Red landed nearby, feathers ruffled but thankfully unscorched. He approached the elemental on the ground with caution, amber eyes wide and posture stiff with tension. “Tlanuwa,” he called. “You are unharmed?”

Bruce materialized. Judging from the look Red shot him, he must have still looked like fried chicken. Made sense, since he felt like fried fucking chicken. “I’ll do,” he muttered, joining Red and trying to wrap his mind around what had just happened.

“Where’s Hawk?”

Red waved a dismissive hand. “Dak took care of him. We’ll deal with him later. It would seem we have more pressing matters.”

No shit. The fire elemental showed no signs of aggression. She seemed damned near lifeless. Whatever. She could talk at least. Throwing caution to the wind, Bruce knelt down on the ground, yanked her chin, and got right up in her face. “You’ve got some explaining to do. Care to start?”

A blast of fire threw him to the other side of the hill and into a pile of rocks.

Red landed right beside him.

“My Prince, you know you have my undying loyalty and fealty, but as your trusted advisor and friend, I must advise you to, for once in your existence, shut the hell up.”

“What?” Bruce replied, staggering to his feet and shaking the dust off. “It’s a legitimate question.”

The fire elemental rose with flames rippling from her form, burning mortal garments, and searing the foliage all around her. She turned her gaze to the far horizon and unleashed a blood-curdling scream. Bruce and Red turned and saw a cloud of smoke, ash, and flame rise in the distance as a figure emerged, its fiery plumage blinding and brilliant as it soared away.

“Great gods,” Bruce muttered. So much for rumors. The Phoenix had arisen, at least two. One more and—

Something crashed against his temple. “Ouch! What was that for?”

The female Phoenix, for that’s what she was, no doubt about it, pointed to the shiny metal orb resting on the ground at Bruce’s feet. “Kill me. Kill me now, put my ashes in that, and scatter them to the four winds before we all perish!”

Teaser Tuesday – Angsty Rocker with a Dark Past

Happy December!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday is all about Vance Idol, an up-and-coming rock star battling demons on the eve of his band’s big break. When we first meet him in Lorelei’s Lyric, we find a troubled man in a very, very bad place. No wonder his heartache calls to the healer and nurturer in Lorelei.

This one’s for all of the angst junkies out there!

If you like what you’ve read, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric to read more! You can also sign up for my Author Newsletter to get bonus content, as well as updates on new releases and fun giveaways!

Excerpt

 

 

 

“Hey Vance, we’re on in ten, okay?”

 

Vance Idol nearly jumped out of his skin. The sound of his bassist’s knocking ricocheted through his pounding skull. Mark Rogen’s voice, on the other hand, sounded muffled and distant though he stood right outside the bathroom door. Vance cradled his aching head in his hands, brow slicked with sweat underneath trembling fingertips, and let out a low groan.

 

“You okay in there, bro?”

 

“I’m fine,” Vance managed to croak. He hoped he sounded more convincing than he felt.

 

“Look, I know it’s been tough…but we can’t blow this gig. Mags would’ve wanted us to go on.”

 

“I know,” Vance snapped. “Just give me a sec to get it together, okay?”

 

“Okay, but if you aren’t out in five I’m grabbing Josh.”

 

Heavy footfalls echoed down the corridor, and Vance’s nanosecond of relief faded with them. He needed to get a grip. He couldn’t afford to screw this up. The band had been working their asses off in every dive bar, shit hole, and roadhouse from New York to Cali and back again for the past five years. Nashville was one of their last stops on the long and winding road to discovery and a shot at the big time.

 

After all those years of paying dues, they’d wrangled a tour/production manager, a couple of regular crew, and plum gig at Marathon Music Works. Along with a loyal fanbase, Internet buzz, and a lot of self-promotion, The Rivermen, with Vance Idol billed as the frontman, managed to attract a sizeable crowd. The frontman bit happened on account of the small sliver of “fame” Vance garnered on a television talent show. He didn’t make it to the finals but got far enough to be remembered. Yeah, that fame was about fourteen minutes, thirty seconds and counting, but it apparently still helped. Their lead guitarist, Joshua Rollins, had even spotted a couple of producers in the audience just before Vance excused himself.

 

I need a drink.

 

Okay, technically, he couldn’t chalk his misery up to withdrawal anymore. That nightmare passed shortly after he’d quit drinking cold turkey. No, the oh-so-clinical term for this special brand of hell, according to the docs and counselors, was post-acute withdrawal syndrome. PAWS, they called it. Yeah, real cute and clever. Only there was nothing cute or funny about chronic insomnia, soul-sucking depression, or cravings that never went away. Then there was the joy of panic attacks and mood swings, though the latter fit with the surly rocker image. Good thing he’d picked a profession that allowed him to channel his inner black-hearted bastard.

 

He’d been warned, to be sure. His stint in rehab had been short, if if not sweet, and the staff thought he’d left too soon. But hell, the band needed him and he didn’t want to let them down by bailing for a few months, not when he was convinced he could deal with his problems all on his own. Now, faced with performance pressure and the ghosts of his past, he was on the verge of blowing it.

 

He stood and paced around the small room. Sweat seeped from every pore as anxiety pierced his gut like a thousand knives. His innards protested at the sudden change in equilibrium, forcing his left hand to grip the cool porcelain in front of him as his right strummed along the surface of the sink.

 

Perched on that sink was the key to oblivion, the bottle filled with amber liquid that would ease his pain and steal his soul. Again.

 

“Aw, hell!”

 

Everything had been fine. Scratch that, it had been shit, but the manageable kind of shit that still allowed him to drag his sorry ass out of bed, sleepwalk through his day, and pull himself together long enough for a gig. But then he’d walked into the dressing room and found a fifth of Jack sitting front and center on a small table, gift-wrapped with a damned purple ribbon. Someone must have sneaked it in while the crew was busy. Those guys knew alcohol was a no go on account of their lead’s little problem. But hell, he should’ve been prepared for the possibility. For staff, groupies, sleazy execs—anyone on the scene who wanted to get in good with the band and grease some wheels with social lubrication—booze was the go-to. Just like the pills some skank out on the floor shoved into his palm, some kind of free sample as she breezed by, chilling him to the bone in her wake. He hadn’t been on the wagon that long, and dealers knew how to sniff out desperation.

 

Not that he was into pills.

 

Yet.

 

Jesus, this was bad. Really bad. He should’ve turned around and bolted out the door as soon as he spotted the bottle. But no, he’d stuck around long enough to let his old mistress start whispering her pretty lies, tempting him to sneak off to the bathroom and take a swig. He was such an idiot for jeopardizing his recovery and his band’s last shot at the big time, but a combination of nerves and  grief had him clinging to his old crutch. He could have poured it down the sink, but then that sweet scent hit him, almost eased him. At first, he thought knowing it was there would be enough, buying into the delusion that he could always get rid of it as soon as they wrapped up their show.

 

Instead, he now stood at the precipice of disaster, overlooking a downward spiral from which he might never emerge.

 

He slammed his fist against the sink as anguish, frustration, and shame forced the strangled cry from his throat. The pain of the blow might have made him throw up, but he hadn’t eaten more than a bag of chips the entire day. He couldn’t risk it. Three bottles of Pepto and a Dramamine over the past twenty-four hours served as insurance against the messier symptoms he could ill afford on stage.

 

Just one more time, and I swear I’m done with this. I gotta get through tonight and then I’m done.

 

Hating himself, Vance picked up the bottle and pressed it to his lips. He’d had the lid unscrewed by the time Mark started banging on door. His eyes were already bloodshot, and he could chase the hooch with a couple of uppers and still make it to the stage. He’d have to scarf down some breath mints if he didn’t want Josh to find out he was drinking again.

 

No, damn it, this is the last time!

 

Staring in the mirror, he wished he could punch the guy glaring back at him. He still had his looks, but weight loss and insomnia had taken their toll. His already prominent cheekbones jutted out from a gaunt face he barely recognized, and the hard set of his jaw told of a life lived too hard and too fast. Though bloodshot, his green eyes blazed with all the rage and pain he carried inside. He looked dangerous.

 

Yeah, you’re real fucking glamorous, asshole.

 

He took a swig, letting the sweet taste and slow burn assault his senses as the liquid filled his mouth, but stopped short of swallowing. He closed his eyes, and waited, savoring the sensation before shame could drown it. The sweet oblivion he craved wouldn’t come, not without a lot more. But maybe he could get through the next few hours. The ache in his back and legs would ease, and his hands might stop trembling. All he had to do was let it roll down his throat.

 

A vision of Maggie flashed in his mind, smiling, healthy, and whole—so very different from the strung-out junkie he’d last seen at the morgue after losing her to her demons and a poison not unlike the one he was about to swallow. Different from the ruined man he saw every time he looked in the mirror.

 

He couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it.”

***

Will he or won’t he? To find out, grab your copy of Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) today!