If you do decide to check out the full book, please consider leaving a review wherever you purchased. They make such a difference and I read every single one.
If you do decide to check out the full book, please consider leaving a review wherever you purchased. They make such a difference and I read every single one.
I also realized that it has been a month since your last teaser. So, without further ado, here’s something for you from Amelia! (As always, unedited and subject to change)
It didn’t take long for Micah to show up and he looked inordinately pleased as he gestured me out into the hall.
“What gotten into you?” I grumbled, eyeing him and wondering if good for him meant good for me.
“Well, I have a surprise for you today, Amelia,” he said, his eyes were alight with mischief and his enthusiasm forced a smile from me.
“Yeah? Did your mom take a dive off the nearest cliff?” I could’t help it. Sarcasm was my best offense and he had left it wide open. I was surprised to hear Micah chuckle as he shook his head. “Well, in a manner of speaking, she did. I was informed this morning that the situation in the East is larger than she expected and she will be gone for the rest of the week.” He rolled his eyes as he continued, in more of a mumble, “All the better for us to bond, she said.”
I chose to ignore that last part. A betrothal was one thing, this whole consummation business was something else. “What does that mean? Have they found the — ” I didn’t get to finish my sentence before Micah started speaking loudly over me, glaring at me intently as he did.
“That means that we can do some uninterrupted work together and I can show you around. This home is one of my favorite places in the world and I’ve never really been able to show it to anyone.” I mentally smacked myself in the forehead, of course, we were in the middle of the hallway and there were Hunters everywhere. I let my questions lie and jumped into his line of conversation.
“No one? Didn’t you have friends growing up? Aren’t there other royal people you hung out with? Did they keep you away from everyone, too?” It disturbed me to think he had been as isolated as I was and I was genuinely shocked to see the sadness Micah didn’t bother to hide. He looked knowingly at me, all of his normal charm was gone and it was plain to see that we weren’t so different after all.
He clasped his hands behind him as we strolled along a hall. It was as we turned the next corner that he grabbed my arm and quickly drew me into a room, closing the door. “There are stories I owe you. Explanations you need. But this isn’t the time nor the place for them.” Micah’s words were quick and hushed. He kept glancing over my shoulder at the door. “They are watching — always watching. And they will report our every word to my mother. For both of our sakes, just give me time and I’ll a find a way for us to talk openly. Just try to keep your more in-depth questions to yourself. Do you understand?”
His breath was warm on my face as I nodded. A hundred questions raced through my mind and I pushed all of them back but one.
“But why? Can you just tell me why it is you’re helping me?” My own words were an exhale into his ear as I tried to be as quiet as I could. Micah’s lips were at my ear as we heard footsteps coming toward us. The loud thudding footfalls that could only be the Hunters.
“Blood does not trump madness. She must be stopped and you are the key.”
Head out to the Indie Author Facebook page and comment on the “Best Paranormal Romance” category with a C-D, that will indicate my book as your vote.
I hugely appreciate your support!
Part of my duties in being featured was to answer a holiday-themed question.
My question is – What gets me in the holiday spirit?
Hmmmm…I’m typically a late-bloomer when it comes to getting into Christmas. I totally make fun of people who turn their lights on before Thanksgiving, and I don’t want to listen to Christmas music until at least Dec. 1, if not later. It’s usually about Dec. 15 when I really get into it. By that point, most of the stress of the month is gone. The house is decorated, the presents are mostly bought, my grad school semester is over and I’m counting down the days until my annual holiday break (I take from Christmas through New Year’s off work every year). But what really gets me in the holiday spirit is my yearly tradition of making an ornament with my husband. We go wander around Michaels together and bring each other random objects or ideas for what to do that year. We’ve been making ornaments for ten years and this year, and I hope to someday have a tree filled with our memories. We have our supplies, but haven’t had the chance to actually make the 2014 ornament. Hopefully that happens this weekend!
The 12 Days of Christmas event also means I’ll be taking over the Facebook event page for an hour tonight. From 6 – 7 p.m. (Central time) I will be chatting with whoever is online, doing some giveaways and having tons of fun. You should join the event and come hang out!
Now…on to the really fun part of being featured! All the extras I have for you – can I get a “woot, woot”? (I’m close to being delirious guys, stick with me).
Aidan Montgomery hadn’t been prepared for Amelia Bradbury to walk in and then out of his life. He also hadn’t expected to find the powerful magic hidden deep within him for the last nineteen years, but he’s embracing it — finding more control and more answers every day. Now, with the help of Amelia’s best friend, Bethany, Aidan is on a quest to understand his destiny and find Amelia.
Amelia made the decision to stand by the duty her mother gave her before she died, which included walking away from her first chance at love. Trapped in Cresthaven at the Queen’s mercy, she spends her days with Micah — an ally she still holds at arm’s length — struggling to manage her heartbreak while keeping her mind focused on the task at hand. As she continues to unlock the secrets of the Keeper power, Queen Julia’s true motives reveal themselves, forcing Amelia to decide, yet again, how much she’s willing to sacrifice.
Will Aidan get to Amelia before it’s too late, or will the very power that sustains them keep them apart?
AND A TEASER!
It’s just a little guy, because really, if I keep giving you guys long teasers you’re just going to have the whole book. So, savor it. 😉 Also, I’m in editing madness, so this is subject to change.
From Amelia -
What felt like seconds later I was awake, but not really. I was dreaming. I was back in the forest that had haunted my dreams for months, the fog sweeping through and feeling alone. I was at least still on two legs, which was different than the last time I’d been here after I brought Bethany home from the AniMages. Oh, how long ago that seemed. It was hard to believe it had only been weeks since I truly started to understand who I was and what was inside me. I was lost in my own head as I pushed through the trees. I wasn’t scared, I had been here so many times before. The trees that closed around me had become friends. Their leaves slid through my fingers as I wandered around and their bark scraped the pads as I grazed them along the trunks.
I felt safe here. For the first time in weeks I truly felt safe. As I turned to head a new direction, the brush rustled and I could feel the vibration of something coming toward me. Every hair on the back of my neck stood up as I realized that I truly wasn’t alone. For the first time, someone or something was here with me. I looked around, trying to decide if I could run and which way made the most sense. I searched inside me and found only my small violet flame. The Keeper was nowhere to be found and I was unsure of how much power I held without her. I went to take my first running step when it burst through the trees.
I was flat on my back before I could even gasp for the breath that had been knocked out of me. Two paws dug into my chest and a snarling lip curled around pointed teeth. I still wasn’t breathing as my eyes traveled up and connected to brilliant sapphires I would know anywhere. I saw recognition flit through his eyes and the growling slowed to a low whine as Aidan stepped off and back from me.
And… guess what, Bound by Duty is ON SALE!
Because I want to reward my awesome readers, I will be posting a contest on my Facebook page around 8 a.m. that will ask you to do two things. 1) Tell me what you think Charlie is, or should be? 2) Gift Bound by Duty to a friend you think will love it.
Do number 1 and you get one entry in the contest. Do number 2 and you get three entries in the contest. What do you win, you ask? You get to be a beta reader for Bound by Spells! I know, I buried the lead. But, it was fun.
So, that’s all! You know my holiday secrets, you got the synopsis and a teaser, and now you have a chance to be a beta reader for BBS. It’s a big day, kids. Enjoy your weekend, I’m going to finish out this work day and spend my weekend editing!
It had taken some time to shift of my own accord. It didn’t help that I was surrounded by other AniMages, impatiently waiting for me to force something they could do with a thought. It was only as I got more angry at myself that the beast finally made his presence known and I was able to let him take over. Because I would have no idea what was happening, I had to trust Elias when he said the group would be able to keep me with them. It could have been minutes or hours that we ran, but we I woke up, Elias and Dillon were standing with their backs to me and we were alone in a patch of trees.
“Are we there?” My voice was raspy and my thoughts muddled. It always took me a few minutes to disengage and become myself again.
They both turned and Dillon beat Elias to the punch. “We’ve been here, Mr. Aidan. Just waiting on you. The others went on ahead. Hopefully, Mr. Will can help you…because, sheesh.”
“Now, Dillon, don’t be rude. What would your mother think?” Elias scolded Dillon and his ashamed expression made me feel guilty.
“It’s okay, Dillon. I appreciate you watching out for me while I figure all of this out. Has your owl told you anything else about me while we were out tonight?” I got dressed with the clothes Elias tossed my way as Dillon scrunched his face, thinking.
“During the run, he could feel that you weren’t there. You were with us, but you weren’t. It didn’t make sense, but he kept telling me you were somewhere else and we needed to watch out for you. But you were right there, so maybe he was wrong.”
Elias and I exchanged perplexed looks and he changed the subject. “The last time I saw Will, he was staying in this area. There’s a small cabin within a mile of here. It’s likely he already knows we’re here, so I would imagine we’ll see him before long if he’s still around. I’ve also sent for a few friends that are supposed to meet us here. They should be able to help us get to Amelia.”
That perked my interest but I tried to stay cool. I nodded and fell in step with Elias, my thoughts a whirlwind in my head. I had always been drawn to Amelia, I could recognize that, but I could separate that from her. It had been nagging at my mind that all of my attraction could be a product of this prophecy, but when I thought of her I didn’t think of her as drawing me in against my will. I thought of her laugh. I thought of the way she hid so much of herself until she knew you and trusted you. I remembered all those days I spent pursuing her, working to build that trust and climbing over her walls. The vision of her laughing that day in the parking lot when she accused me of being a stalker, but her smile gave away the fact that she looked forward to seeing me just as much as I did her. Fate may have brought us together but we could have pushed against it and we didn’t. We had something. We just needed time to keep figuring out for ourselves what it was.
I hope you had fun inside Aidan’s head. Stay tuned, I’ll have the synopsis for you soon, and you’ll be glad to know that I have officially finished the first draft. Now, it’s on to making her shine!
Until next time,
I’ve pasted it in here, but you can always find the scene under the Bound by Duty tab on my website. I redesigned it in the last few weeks, so things are looking a little different, but everything you need is still there.
I’d love to hear what you think, so leave me a comment!
From Aidan —
What in the hell am I doing here? The thought raced through my head for the hundredth time. I scrubbed both hands over my face and back through my hair, yanking on it a little and trying to reason with myself.
You’re going to freak her out.
She doesn’t even know you.
‘Oh, hi, Amelia. I know you don’t know me but I’ve been watching you the last few weeks and I think we’d get along great. No, I’m not a creeper. Trust me.’
I groaned and dropped my head down. I was sitting under some kind of beach pergola on a picnic table that had seen better days. If I even took a deep breath it might crumple under me. I was hiding and I knew it. It’s bad enough I heard Amelia and her friend talking about this party and then psyched myself into showing up, but now I have totally chickened out. I wasn’t interested in the party or the drunk chicks upstairs. Just her.
I don’t normally get worked up like this but she has me all turned around. I’d been watching Amelia Bradbury since the first day of class. I was the charmer. I knew from years of experience with foster families how to make sure people liked me, but she never even gave me a chance. She wanted to hide and never once even looked my way. I could see it in the way her eyes darted all over the room without making eye contact with anyone. And in the way she wore her hair down, trying to hide behind the long, dark strands. She sat in the back, forcing me to the outer edges of the room so that I could keep watching without making it obvious. When she got up she would often run into things, but never people, clutching her backpack before hustling to the next place.
The first time I saw her relax was by accident. I was in the commons eating and suddenly, there she was. Her eyes lit up and her posture straightened. She yanked the band from her wrist and flipped her head down, coming back up with it in a ponytail. It was the first time I’d been able to truly see her and I was captivated. Her eyes couldn’t decide what color they wanted to be and floated between brown and green. Some people would call it hazel but they didn’t mix so much as shift as the light hit them. She was thin but curved. I wanted to run my hands from her shoulders to her hips just to feel the dip and flare. I turned, anxiety flooding my system, and found the source of her joy…another girl. I let go of a breath I hadn’t known I was holding and couldn’t stop the laugh the erupted from my chest. Amelia strode up, gave the blond a hug, and they immediately started talking. Then the blond spoke and Amelia laughed. It was music to my deaf ears and something inside me came alive. I wanted to be the one to do that. I wanted to make her laugh. For the first time in my life I was jealous of a girl.
I was ready to call it. Being here on this picnic bench was ridiculous and there was no way I was going to have the balls to walk up to her now. I had completely psyched myself out of having any kind of shot at this. I was ready to get up and head for my car when I heard someone bouncing down the stairs. I worried first that something was wrong. Their feet pattered down so quickly I thought they might be running. I stayed in my spot in the shadows, but tensed my body in case I had to move quickly. Lately I had had way too much excess energy and I’d been spending a lot of time in the gym. I could do some damage if it came down to it. The last thing I expected was to see shoes flipping off and long legs soaring through the air as Amelia leapt from the last step and landed softly out into the sand. For just a moment she was suspended mid-air and I could have sworn she was flying. When she hit the beach she didn’t miss a beat, her feet moving her swiftly toward the water.
Her body was long and lean. A ballerina but with curves. She was so focused on the water that it wasn’t until she was ankle deep and had dropped her head back, a small satisfied smile pulling at her lips, that she realized she wasn’t alone. I had barely moved, a low groan coming from the bench underneath me. Her whole body stiffened in what I assumed was fear. I felt like an intruder. This was going to be a great way for us to meet, surely. But, you shouldn’t blow opportunities when they come. Or so said my last caseworker before I turned eighteen and had been accepted into Brighton’s community college. No sense in turning back now.
“So, you’re hiding from them, too, huh?” I was going for charming. Like I had some kind of game. But the words felt like peanut butter in my mouth and I was glad she couldn’t see my reddened face from where she was standing. Amelia slowly turned toward me, her voice small as she squinted and tried to see me better. “Do I know you?”
I felt like even more of a tool. She had no idea who I was. She stared my way for a few more seconds and then whipped around, facing back out into the water. I watched her chest moving quickly, her breaths coming too fast. I slowly started to move toward her, worried she might be getting a little too freaked out and wanting to reassure her that I wasn’t actually a sociopath.
“You don’t have anything to worry about,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady but soft. She turned to face me slowly and the full moon sliced its light just perfectly to illuminate me but keep her face mostly shadowed. She was close enough that I could see her eyes widen and roam from my nose to my knees, without ever meeting my own. I stood up a little taller and couldn’t stop the smirk as I realized I might have some of the same effect on her that she had on me. She raked her gaze up and down and it wasn’t until I tried to get her attention that her eyes finally snapped back to mine.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I waved a hand in front of her face and said, “Hello?” Then the Amelia I knew came back in a mad rush. She fumbled over her words, looking anywhere but at me. She tugged at the ends of her hair and a tried to walk away, but I couldn’t let her. I wasn’t ready to let her go yet and I needed to know her. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out and taking her arm. It was our first contact and I don’t know what I had expected, but it wasn’t heat blooming under my fingertips or her heartbeat inside my head. In milliseconds of my skin on hers she was inside me, and I knew I’d never get her out.
“Wait. Just wait.” More quiet, controlled words. I couldn’t let her leave. I had to keep her there. I had to keep touching her. “I’ve seen you before. You’re Amelia, right?” Normal, Aidan. Act normal.
“Yeah,” she whispered. I had forced her to look at me and I would swear to any judge that we wore the same expression. She felt something. I knew she did.
“We have a couple classes together, but you always sit in the back and never say anything.” Dammit. So suave. So charming. You’re an idiot, Montgomery.
I was instantly ashamed. I watched her reaction and I knew it too well. She squeezed her eyes shut and her lips smashed together, holding in the pain of not fitting in. I might be a charmer now, but I’d been sent away by enough families to know what I had just done.
“Oh, that was dumb. I’m sorry. Anyway, I’m Aidan. Aidan Montgomery.” I took advantage of the opportunity to trail my fingertips from her bicep down to her wrist and then folded her hand into mine, shaking it softly. I felt fire the whole way and judging by the widening of her eyes and the swift intake of breath, so did she. For a second, she gripped my hand, but as our eyes connected again and I couldn’t stop my grin, she dropped it and without a word took off running. I couldn’t move, my hand still in front of me and my jaw hanging open, as I watched her bound up the stairs and disappear. I dropped onto the hard-packed sand and didn’t bother to move as the tide rose and the salty water surrounded me.
Well, that couldn’t have gone better.
For those who are ready, I’ve been working hard and this morning felt compelled to share a piece of Bound by Spells with you. It is unedited and subject to change. Enjoy!
— our first scene from Amelia’s perspective —
I stayed true to the promise I had made myself and once Micah drove us away, I hadn’t cried another tear. But as his SUV drove me away, the madness within me spread — burrowing into every crevice and threatening to push me over the edge. I heard voices, many of them, but couldn’t make out the words. It was all emotion and sound and color, but nothing I could make out. It was a feral agony and it consumed me.
I didn’t understand what made today different, but with every mile we drove it got worse. I was in no physical danger. There were no threats. Yet still, my small violet light was reduced to a tiny flame as the dark blot of power the Keeper magic represented took over. After Uncle Derreck had explained that my power came from five female Elders, I had taken to personifying my Keeper as a girl instead of just a thing. And right now that girl was pushing me past anything we’d experienced to date. My head throbbed, sweat built on my forehead and it sounded like a horde of bees had taken up space between my ears. My blood raced in my veins and the violet smoke I’d grown to love turned on me, swirling around my fingers and building in my palms even when I willed her back down. She raged in my mind, wailing and screaming in a multitude of tones and pitches, making me want to bash my head against the glass of the window just to let it out and make it stop. Micah kept glancing my way, never turning fully to look at me, but watching me as the situation grew worse. Finally he stopped the car and turned to me. “Amelia.” He said softly as he reached a hand in my direction. My head snapped toward him and I could only stare, panicked, at his outstretched hand.
“Don’t touch me,” I gritted out between clenched teeth. I hoped he could see the fear. I was teetering on the edge of losing myself to her and even given everything we’d been through, I didn’t want to hurt him.
He slowly retracted his hand and nodded. “OK. I won’t touch you. But, Amelia, you have to control this. Or at least, just make it back to Esmerelda’s. The room will quiet the pain.” He threw the car into drive and punched the gas as he continued to watch me out of the corner of his eye.
The room. I sighed audibly. For the first time I was looking forward to the enchanted bedroom that quelled my power. I could feel my mother’s bracelet in my pocket but there was no way I’d put it back on. It had given me my power back and right now, all I wanted was for it to go away. If only Micah understood that this wasn’t pain. Pain I could shove into a little box and file away in the back of my mind. This was agony. This was the very fabric of my soul being shredded into jagged pieces that sliced and split me open as they dropped to the ground beside my broken heart.
My head fell back against the seat and I fought it with everything I had. I had lost Aidan, I couldn’t lose myself.
I am still reeling and can’t thank you guys enough. Really and truly – you rock my world in ways I didn’t know possible. It’s inspiring on so many levels.
A consistent question I’ve heard over the last few weeks through direct messages on Twitter and Facebook, and via reviews, has been “When will we get book two?!” And I am here to let you know!
Book two is tentatively titled “Bound by Spells” and my goal is to release it in the first quarter of 2015. I wrote and published Bound by Duty in 12 months and my goal with BBS is 8 months. I think I can do it, but I’ll be honest in that I have graduate school starting up this week and a full-time job, so the best I can give you right now is first quarter. The great news is that I’m already eight chapters in and the words are flowing. I have the book fully outlined and am hopeful things will keep clicking.
The really fun news is that Amazon has recently made pre-orders a possibility for self-published authors. So, 90 days out, I’ll be able to put Bound by Spells up on Amazon and you can one-click to your heart’s content. On the day BBS releases, it will magically show up in your Kindle app. So, if you want to make double-tripe-quadruple sure you don’t miss the pre-order notification, make sure you sign up for the New Release Newsletter. You’ll only get new release-related emails – I pinky swear.
Please keep doing what you’ve been doing – every sale keeps me going, every review inspires the hell out of me and teaches me where to focus while writing BBS and every message you send to me shoots me over the moon. I had no idea what this would feel like and I wish I could find the right words to convey what it means.
Much love — Stormy
For three months I wrote and wrote. I “pantsed” as they like to call it when you don’t use an outline and you just bang it out. And then I rewrote 80% of it in the second draft. And 40% in the third. I tweaked and tweaked and made everyone I know listen as I droned on about my book. But some part of me never truly thought the day would come when I would hold it in my hands.
Today, I opened a box and pulled out MY BOOK.
Thank you so very much for your support in this journey. There is so much more to come. Much love.
Here’s the link to Bound by Duty on Amazon!