Ruled by a gracious, wise Sultana, the humans of the great desert city of Al Khair dwell in uneasy peace with the vampires and demons who claim the lands as their ancestral homelands under the leadership of an ancient, powerful vampire. Their shaky truce becomes strained when a young human woman arrives from distant lands.
Orphaned since childhood and outcast, Alyssa joins a caravan to the fabled Al Khair where she seeks only to make a new life for herself. A life that quickly becomes complicated when she draws the attention of the Dark Lord himself.
A thousand years ago, Lord Damien permitted the humans to build their city. When he senses a new, immensely powerful magical being in the land, Damien suspects the humans of plotting to overthrow him. Furious, he searches for the source of this power, but he cannot stop thinking of the young woman in the tower who had seen through his glamour spell that cloaks him from humans.
When he discovers that Alyssa is the mysterious being he has been seeking, his determination to have her for his own threatens to pit the two races, human and vampire, against each other in all-out war.
*Please Note, this is a trilogy! Books 1 & 2 have cliffhangers and are not meant to be read out of order.
About the Author
A former career medical transcriptionist and disabled Veteran, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. Allie now lives in the beautiful southern California with her family and her two rescue cats.
Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”
Despite being a skilled fortune teller, Faith is unable to predict what will become of her floundering occult shop, Faye’s Fortunes. Between apologizing to her disappointed business partner, struggling to pay the bills, and dealing with a surprise eviction from her apartment, she’s barely able to put one foot in front of the other, let alone predict a customer’s future. If she had any customers, that is!
When she awkwardly stumbles over a sidewalk crack, the help of a friendly construction worker seems much more embarrassing than fated. Then his girlfriend showing up confirms for Faith that it was just another clumsy fall, not a sign.
But when worlds start to collide and Faye’s Fortunes reveals a dark secret about Jasper’s relationship, will their fates prove to be destined, or doomed?
“Speaking of pavement,” Faye sang, as if their conversation had never strayed from the broken sidewalk, “let me see what kind of damage was done out there.”
“Dressed like that?” Charlotte eyed her conspicuously.
For a darkened fortune telling sanctuary, Faye was perfectly, majestically adorned. But for a bright Saturday morning on the streets of Fallstaff, Missouri, she was extremely out of place.
She faked a commanding bellow, “I am the all-knowing oracle of a divination shop, and I declare that walking outside to survey my lands shall invoke the great spirit to send customers my way.” Her robes danced as though an invisible breeze had struck only her.
Truthfully, a small twist of her wrists shifted the fine robe material just enough to make it look like a mysterious wind had caught it.
Charlotte had seen this trick done many times before. She shook her head and retorted, “alright then, magic lady. You go outside and use your psychic powers to create some customers. I’m going to prep my massage table. Maybe if I sprinkle it with extra love I can invoke the spirits to send me some customers, too.”
“Watch it with the love sprinkling,” Faye teased, “we run a clean business here.”
Faye danced herself over to the shop door and whisked it open with another fake flourish designed to entertain Charlotte.
She almost danced right into Kelsey, who stood prepped with her hand ready to grab the door handle.
Kelsey’s jaw drop could have hit the already busted pavement. She gushed, “how’d you know I was here?”
Although startled, Faye composed herself quickly and lowered her voice, “I know everything.” She stepped backward into the shop and waved her robed arm, “Please, do come in again my child.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Faye caught Charlotte shaking her head as she ducked into her massage studio. Faye didn’t need to be a psychic to know there was an eyeroll, too.
About the Author
Emmy Tidning lives in a magical fantasy world called the Pacific Northwest, where anything is possible but no one is real. She has two cats, a dog, a husband, some kids, and a widowed crow she befriended using peanuts. Emmy reads Tarot cards, writes paranormal romantic fun, and loves love!
Veterinarian Piper is pragmatic enough to know her marriage wasn’t working, which is why she left Dylan a year ago and pretends it hasn’t hurt like hell every day since. Then Dylan calls out of the blue and tells her to come right away for an animal emergency. Piper arrives on the ranch that used to be her home to find her horse savagely killed. She can’t fathom what could have done it. One thing, however, is obvious. Piper still loves Dylan.
Dylan isn’t over Piper, not by a long shot. After her horse was ripped apart by something he’s pretty sure wasn’t a bear, it feels so good to hold Piper in his arms again. If only they could find a way to undo the mess that drove them apart.
An epic blizzard hits, trapping Piper and Dylan on the ranch for what just might be their one chance at reuniting. But as things get a whole lot scarier, it’s clear something evil has brought them together.
Hunted by the supernatural, they must fight for their lives, but can they also fight for their love?
Piper pulled her phone from the pocket of her white coat, glanced at the screen, and in her shock, dropped it onto the floor of the exam room. Part of the case popped off and her patient, on account of being an Irish setter, lunged for it with an audible snap. The owner yanked back the dog and shot Piper a disapproving look.
Piper bent to pick up the phone and reattached the case. She used the moment to blink back the tears that came as unexpected as the phone call had.
“Sorry about that,” she said with a brightness she didn’t feel and straightened up, trying to put the phone call from her mind. She patted the setter, feeling kinship with a fellow redhead. “Rusty is definitely an eat-first-and-ask-questions-later kind of dog, isn’t he? You said you’re worried he’s been eating gravel?”
After ten minutes of repeated reassurances that Rusty showed no signs of an intestinal blockage, Piper was relieved at the knock on the exam room door.
“Dr. Mitchell?” Her receptionist poked her head in, and Piper smiled as she always did when her best friend had to address her in such a manner. “Hate to bother you, but you have an emergency call.”
Something about the way her best friend smiled back tightly made Piper wonder about her earlier phone call. She told Rusty’s owner they were free to go and slipped back to her office.
The red light blinked on her desk phone, indicating someone was holding. She sank into the chair and drew a deep breath, allowing herself a moment. Just in case.
She stared out the window at the ski lifts hanging still and empty on the brown mountainside. The calendar on her bulletin board might say November, but the sun shone warm and bright. The entire town of Crested Butte was waiting anxiously for the flakes to fall and the tourists to blow in with the cold.
Piper’s vet practice didn’t rely on ski tourism, but she too couldn’t shake the distinct feeling she waited for the cold as well. Waited for it with an odd sense of dread she didn’t understand.
With a sigh, she picked up the phone. “Hello, this is Dr. Mitchell.”
Just like that, his voice sliced open one year, two months, and nine days’ worth of healing. She heard so many things packed into two syllables when he said her name—pain, relief, longing.
No, not longing.
“Dylan,” she whispered. Then cleared her throat. “What’s going on?”
“It’s one of the horses.”
“Maybe you should call Dr. Ramirez.”
She wished he’d stop using her name. His voice was thick like he was fighting off tears, and Dylan wasn’t a man who cried. Ever. Something was wrong.
“Piper, it’s Lightning.” She caught a rustling sound, so faint she might have imagined it and could picture him sitting at his desk in the barn office, taking off the black cowboy hat that had won her heart, and running a hand through his thick, dark curls before shoving it back on. “He needs to be put down.” His voice grew even thicker. “I thought you’d want to come.”
Damn him. He couldn’t have spared her this? Lightning had been her horse for seven years. She’d sat astride him when Dylan got off his own mount and proposed to her one beautiful spring day five years ago. He wanted her to euthanize him?
She wasn’t even a large animal vet.
“I’ll do it,” Dylan said, with that uncanny ability of his to somehow read her thoughts. “But I thought you’d want to come and say good-bye.”
Damn him twice. He knew her too well. If ever there was something to make her set foot on that ranch again with all its painful memories, this was it.
“Piper? Hurry, all right? He’s hurting bad.”
The faint rustle came again. “That’s just it. I have no idea, but something tore him up real good. I was hoping—”
A screaming whinny cut through his words—and her heart.
“I gotta go. Hurry, Piper.”
The line went dead.
The Crazy K Ranch lay only fifteen minutes away from town, but Piper hadn’t driven this road since the night she found Dylan kissing Holly behind the horse barn.
Or, if what he’d said was true, when Holly had been kissing Dylan. Regardless, he’d appeared to be enjoying the kiss. At any rate, their marriage was already almost through by the time she discovered her husband locking lips with the young wrangler in the tight jeans.
She shoved the memory from her mind only to have it replaced with the unpleasant situation at present.
Lightning. The lump in her throat grew as she guided the silver Honda down the dusty, red-tinged dirt road. Leaves rattled across the hood in warm gusts, and she turned up the air in the car.
She crested the hill that afforded the full view of the two-story, log ranch house below, nestled in a broad mountain meadow. The new red horse barn stood a short distance off to the north and behind that, the East River winked in the afternoon light. The elk pen—more the reason for their divorce than Holly—lay to the east, where a few large brown bodies could be seen resting on the hillside. Gunnison National Forest, dark and green, lay behind the elk pen.
Various outbuildings—trailers for the ranch employees, sheds, a few cabins, even an old schoolhouse—lay scattered across the three-hundred-acre spread. No cars were parked outside the cabins, which was strange. It was the middle of hunting season, after all.
Piper put down her window and smelled hay and dust and sagebrush. Crazy K, even during a dry spell that rendered it brown and dull, still looked beautiful. Beautiful and dangerous as a rattlesnake.
A gunshot made her jump. It sounded close, rolling like terrible thunder over the surrounding mountains.
She was too late.
“Oh, Lightning.” She gripped the steering wheel so hard that her fingers hurt, an echo of the ache in her heart.
She stopped the car and put it in park, trying to figure out where the sound came from. Not the new horse barn below. Past the elk pen maybe. Tears spattered the front of her shirt. She could turn the car around and head back into town. Dylan didn’t need her anymore. She’d call him later and tell him she heard the gunshot and thought it best to leave him in peace.
She could. She’d sound like a coward though if she did. Piper wiped her face and put the car in gear. The road curved past the elk pen and a little ways off, Dylan’s white Chevy sat in the grass, a rifle propped against the front bumper.
And then she saw him. She’d seen him around town many times since the divorce. How could she not when the place was so small? But they’d managed to avoid speaking or coming into closer contact than a glimpse across a street for over a year.
The last time she’d spoken in person to this man, he’d still been her husband. Now he was…just Dylan.
She didn’t know if she could handle interacting with him in the best of situations, and the scene before her showed it was the worst.
Dylan, his broad back to her, crouched beside the body of Lightning. A crimson patch, horrifying in its size, surrounded the palomino. A wide trail of blood headed from the forest. At her car’s approach, Dylan turned to look over his shoulder, but she couldn’t see his face under the cowboy hat.
Her pulse thundered in her ears at the sight of him. At the sight of her dead horse.
By the time she’d pulled off the road and climbed out of the car, he was standing, hat in hand, beside Lightning. It unnerved her, the way he watched her walk toward him. She’d seen him give that same look to others over the years before he hired hunting guides or entered a business dealing with someone.
He was taking the measure of her.
She squared her shoulders and strode over to the body of the horse she’d loved. Flies rose and fell in clouds over the mess that had been Lightning. The smell of offal hit her like a punch to the gut.
At the sight of him, she gasped with shock. As a vet, she was well-versed in dealing with dead animals. Indeed, death was often an old friend, called upon by her own hands to administer mercy.
There was nothing merciful about this.
Lightning lay on his side. His stomach had been slashed open to release glistening loops of intestine, strewn ten feet away. Four long slashes ripped open his back. The cuts were so deep she could see the bluish-white glimpse of vertebrae and ribs. A large hunk of his hindquarters was missing to reveal a mass of red muscle too reminiscent of ground beef for Piper’s comfort.
Something was very wrong here. The cream-colored skin on three of his legs had been stripped back from the bone like a peeled apple. It was unnatural.
The only part of the scene that made sense was the blood streaked down his white blaze from forelock to nose from the bullet hole. The first sob escaped her when she noticed one of his eyes had been ripped out. She turned away and found herself enfolded in Dylan’s arms.
He led the horse out of the barn with that wide grin of his, and she swore he and the horse sauntered over with identical cocky steps.
“Lightning and I had a talk,” he said.
“Yeah. Said he’d much rather have you as his rider from now on. He said you’re awful pretty.”
“Really. I didn’t know you spoke horse.”
“I’ve always had a way with different tongues.” He raised his eyebrows and she rolled her eyes. Then Dylan’s mouth pressed against hers in a kiss both sweet and hot as he showed her just how good he was with that tongue of his.
When Piper finally came up for air, it was to bury her face in Lightning’s mane to breathe in the smell of horse. He nickered softly in approval.
“I’ve never had a horse before,” she said.
“Yeah? Seems we’re both having new experiences because I’ve never loved a woman like I love you, Piper Mitchell.”
And he’d pulled her back into his arms much as he was doing now in circumstances that couldn’t be any more different.
Dylan held her tight against his chest as she cried. His scent—his deodorant and sweat and leather and something uniquely Dylan—hurt more than the smell of death overpowering it all.
“I know,” he said, his deep voice rumbling under her ear.
She stiffened in his arms, but he felt so familiar and good, she let him pull her in tighter.
“He must have suffered so much,” she said.
“I shouldn’t have tried to wait for you. So stupid.” His voice caught, and a tear fell from above to slide down her hair and over her jawline.
He hadn’t cried on their wedding day. He hadn’t cried when she told him they wanted different things in life. He hadn’t cried when she asked for the divorce.
But he was crying over a horse. Irritation flared inside her, despite her sorrow for Lightning.
Dylan’s tears on her skin were too intimate anyway, and she eased away. A glance at his face was all she could stand. His hazel eyes were red-rimmed, and he had a day’s worth of stubble, but he looked as good as ever.
He turned away and spun his hat in his hands. “Two months ago, one of my mares foaled Lightning’s colt.” His mouth curved, not quite a smile. “Looks just like him.”
Part of Lightning would live on. She wished she could see the colt. “What’d you name him?”
Now he really did smile. “Thunder, what else?” The smile vanished. “I think I’ll bury Lightning right here. He always liked being up near the forest.”
Piper looked up at the tree line where the national forest began. What secrets did it hide? She and Dylan stood for a bit in a silence only interrupted by the flies and the occasional raucous cawing of some ravens sitting in a nearby tree. They waited for their chance to start in on Lightning, and she tried not to hate them for it.
Dylan cleared his throat, once more reading her thoughts. “What do you think did that? I thought maybe a cougar. But Lightning’s torn to shreds. Big cats strangle their prey.”
“Yeah.” She made herself look back at the body, and the impression of wrongness returned. “Mountain lions eat neatly. They don’t start at the hindquarters or spread around intestines. And something had to be strong enough to drag him from there.” She pointed at the forest. What had he been doing up there?
“Agreed. A bear?”
“Not unless we suddenly have grizzlies in Colorado. When did you find him?”
“A minute before I called you. I think it might have happened earlier this morning.”
“You didn’t hear anything?”
“Don’t you think I’d have mentioned it if I had?”
She experienced another flash of irritation.
“I looked around for tracks, but I couldn’t find anything,” he added. “Ground’s pretty dry. It’s covered in leaves.”
Piper followed the blood, climbing up the hill and into the steep forest where the trail ended in a patch of wet, crimson leaves. She studied the ground, but she was no tracker. Other than the smears of blood, there wasn’t any sign of anything unusual. She didn’t see any animal prints. Dylan was right. Too many leaves everywhere.
The forest was still and quiet. The base of her skull prickled. She hurried back from the tree line and returned to Lightning’s body. The cloud of flies buzzed higher. “I’m going to take some photos.”
Dylan hung his hands on his hips. “What for?”
“Just in case.”
“In case what?”
“You make any enemies lately?”
His tongue went to the inside of his lower cheek, despite giving up chewing when they started dating years ago. Or maybe he’d taken it up again. None of her business now. “You think a person—”
“I don’t know, Dylan. I just can’t imagine what animal could inflict this kind of damage. It seems—cruel.”
“Nature is.” He shook his head. “Hell, I know better than anyone, right?”
“Domestic elk aren’t exactly natural.” She regretted the words as soon as they slipped out her big, fat mouth. Her ex-father-in-law had been very unlucky, becoming one of a handful of people ever killed by an elk. But if the Kincaid men hadn’t run this stupid operation that counted as canned hunting in her book, he’d still be alive today. “I shouldn’t have said that,” she said. “That was—”
“Low, yeah.” His mouth tightened. “Last week made four years he’s been gone.”
She’d forgotten. She hung her head. Dylan crying over a horse made more sense now. Most likely those tears weren’t just for Lightning. They were for Dylan’s father. And she didn’t think she flattered herself to believe her presence brought up as many painful memories for him as it did her. He was probably feeling, like her, all alone. His mom died of a rare form of bone cancer when Dylan was eight, and his older brother had moved to his wife’s ranch in Idaho. His mom, his dad, his brother. Piper. Lightning. All gone.
Dylan squeezed the bridge of his nose. “Um, as far as enemies, I had to let one of the hands go last month. Caught him stealing liquor from the house. But he was a pathetic mess from his wife and kids leaving him, not some kind of psychopath. He wasn’t even that mad about losing his job.”
He leveled a look at her. “I’m sure as hell not Holly’s favorite person.”
Piper’s stomach clenched. She didn’t want to hear this. She had to hear this. How many nights had she imagined her husband tangling legs and sheets with that twenty-year-old? Veronica said she’d seen them down at the Black Diamond bar shortly after Piper moved out.
Had he slept with her? She took a deep breath. Did it matter? Dylan was a good-looking man. If it wasn’t Holly, there’d surely been other women. He wouldn’t have stayed celibate over a year.
“You think Holly did this?” she said, not asking the question she really wanted answered.
“Course not. But you asked me about enemies. I wanted to be clear she doesn’t like me much now.” He waited a couple of beats, but she refused to give him the satisfaction of asking why. “When she kissed me, I had no choice but to terminate her employment. It was completely inappropriate. I was her boss. She’s more than ten years younger than me. And most important, I was married.” His gaze dropped to the ground. “I liked being married.”
“Yeah.” Her heart beat harder, and her throat closed on what was meant to be a snort. “Just not to me.”
A muscle in his jaw twitched. “You believe what you want. You always did.”
“I’ll just take some pictures and then I’ll be on my way.”
“That’s probably a good idea.”
Whether he meant the photos or her leaving, she wasn’t sure. Maybe both.
Careful to avoid stepping in the mess, she held her phone high over the scene and took several pictures from different angles.
Dylan leaned against the bumper of his truck and studied her studying Lightning. She did her best to ignore him. She moved around behind the horse and wondered what wounds might be hidden on the side he lay on. She bent to examine the slashes closer when she caught sight of something black protruding from the wound over the spine.
“What is it?” Dylan asked, pushing off the bumper in that sexy way he had of moving.
“Let’s find out.” She took a pair of latex gloves from the back pocket of her jeans and snapped them on.
She poked inside the wound and glanced at Dylan, who’d moved nearer. His top lip curled in disgust. Piper’s own stomach curdled, but she was determined not to let Dylan see how sick this made her. She was a professional after all.
Her fingers curled around something hard and cold, about as thick as her thumb. Whatever it was, it had stuck into Lightning’s backbone. Piper fought off her disgust as she wiggled it back and forth until it gave. Then, with a terrible squelch, she slid the bloody thing out and stood to show it to Dylan.
“What the hell is that?” he breathed.
About the Author
Joy enjoys imagining something creepy in every situation, starting with a fourth-grade theater production when she became convinced a monster lived under the stage. She might not let different foods touch on her plate, but she’s fearless when it comes to mixing love stories and horror in her scary good romances. Joy is currently a school librarian, but has worked in a pet store, a safari park, and vet hospitals and holds a Zoology degree. Animals always feature in her writing. On a good day, her two cats and two pugs make room on the couch for Joy and her family. They live outside Denver, where Joy experiences frequent shaming that she’s never gone skiing in her life. She enjoys reading, traveling, board games, and going with her English husband to explore castles in Britain, where she finds plenty of romantic, spooky inspiration.
By Scarlet Le Clair, Elaine Barris, Cora A. Murray, Susan Griscom, Robbie Cox, S.J. Pierce, Christina Escue, Monica LaPorta, Tami Lund, Skye Jones, Ava K. Michaels, Bella Roccaforte
Date Published: April 20, 2021
Publisher:Hot Box Publishing
Release Week Sale – Only $.99 Until April 25th
Dive into the romance and come to Dark Moon Falls.
High in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the sleepy town of Dark Moon Falls is not what it seems. Full of secrets, shifters, romance, and so much more…
This highly acclaimed series is back with Dark Moon Falls III! Packed with even more thrills for you with a collection of brand-new stories you’re sure to want to get your paws on. Filled with hot wolf shifters hunting for their one true mate, witches brew up trouble while mystery and suspense lurks around every corner.
Danger, intrigue, peril, and steamy romance abound in this amazing paranormal romance set which is sure to set your heart pounding and keep you glued to the pages into the wee hours of the night. Don’t set your alarm … you’ll be up all night with this!
One-click now to book another getaway to Dark Moon Falls III … You won’t regret visiting our town filled with romance, action aplenty, and hot steamy shifter escapades!
Elias by New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author A.K. Michaels
Alpha Elias Grant is sworn to protect his pack, but when he finds a girl on the run, with danger on her tail, he must make the toughest decision of his life. But, she’s not just any girl: she’s his … so, what will he risk for her … simple; everything!
Darius by Scarlet Le Clair
He lost her once to the world, but this time will she give up the world for him?
Reed by Robbie Cox
Old enough to be her father, Reed Walker doesn’t think he’s right for Hayley, regardless of what his wolf believes. That is, until someone from her past threatens to take her away from him.
Aiden by Best Selling Author S.J. Pierce
Hell hath no fury like a scorned widow out for revenge. Aiden might get burned if he stands in her way.
Garrett by Elaine Barris
Former detective Garrett is running for his life, and he finds safety in Dark Moon Falls, at least for the moment.
After her coven is attacked, Meridian is running as well, but will her arrival in Dark Moon Falls bring doom down upon them all?
Tucker by Susan Griscom
Fate intervenes after a one-night stand, transforming the lives of two casual lovers.
Anthony by Tami Lund
When wolf shifter Anthony Remington’s son goes missing, only one witch can help him, Luna Moran, who his wolf thinks might be their mate. Problem is: using her magic may turn Luna evil.
Theo by Cora A. Murray
Theo’s a wolf shifter lost and alone, but the burning need inside him to find his best friend keeps him going. He didn’t expect to run into a girl that’s his everything, a girl who sends his heart racing, who is more than his heart can handle.
Marco by Monica La Porta
A witch on the run & a wolf sent to hunt her down: a Star-Crossed love story
Eros by Christina Escue
After the murder of his mate and pup, Eros Lykaios wanted nothing more than to live life as a lone wolf, until a dark beauty named for the goddess of the night crossed his path.
Kellan by Bella Roccaforte
Born enemies, fated to be mates. Kellan goes to Dark Moon Falls to find his brother’s killer and prevent war. What he finds his fated mate and has to choose sides between his Legion and his one true love.
About the Authors:
The twelve authors of Dark Moon Falls, Volume 3 are from all over the world, Scotland, New Zeeland, Australia, United States. They are an amazing collection of New York Times and USA Today best selling authors.
About the Publisher:
Hot Box Publishing is run by Bella and Ava … two gals from opposite corners of the world. Ava is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author and Bella is an Award Winning, and Amazon Bestselling Author, and between them they have over 85 books published. They have experience in various shared worlds where they have both individual and shared IP rights, including boxed sets. They own and run Hot Box Publishing with integrity, honesty, and fairness as their mantra.
Once upon a winter’s night, a lost cowboy finds himself in Purgatory Bend.
Patrick Doolin is plagued by a wound that won’t heal, but winter is the
season of miracles. As Patrick wanders through Wyoming, he meets Fawna
Darling, the mysterious granny witch, who channels the folk magic of her
With nowhere to go and a secret Patrick doesn’t yet understand, he seeks
shelter with Fawna in the snowswept prairie. Forbidden to fall in love, they
form an eternal bond in the dreamscape, but when the bluebirds sing of
summer and threaten their empire of dreams, they are faced with an
impossible decision. Will Patrick stay in the land of the living, or will he
cross over the prairie?
Summer is the season of surprises, and Fawna’s childhood sweetheart, Dezi
Ketchum, longs to win her heart too. When winter melts across the gold-slick
prairie, Fawna searches for answers under the rose moon. Caught between fire
and water and flesh and fantasy, she follows her heart and ventures into
Praise for Snow Dust and Boneshine
“A warm and spellbinding tale…Soleil’s writing flows like a stream,
relaxing and exotic. Mixed with folk magic, simpler times and beliefs, this
is a wonderful escape.” ~ Tome Tender
“Soleil’s writing is riveting…It’s much more than a fantasy – it’s a
story of love and faith.” ~ Literary Titan
“Curl up under your blanket, grab a cup of tea, and let yourself wander
between magic and reality in Purgatory Bend…Snow Dust and Boneshine is one
of the sweetest, selfless, heartbreaking but also heartwarming love stories
I have ever read…The characters, the atmosphere, and the imagery are done
so beautifully. Every description made me sink my teeth into the story just
a little bit more.” ~ Snez at Book Lifey & A Quintillion Reads Book
“Snow Dust and Boneshine was incredible…There’s romance, intrigue and lots
of magic. It’s very well written, so much so, I could feel the cold and
bitter wind as I read about it. The characters are beautifully written, and
I could see it playing out as a movie as I read. I highly recommend picking
this one up. 5 stars all the way.” ~ Angela Scavone, Author of Celebrity
“This story was magical and fascinating with an element of surprise. It was
well-researched and beautifully thought out to bring us so many amazing
details. If witches and love stories set in a small town with a sprinkle of
magic interests you, I would urge you to read this.” ~ Kriti Dalmia at This
Prologue: Angel Creek
Wolf Moon, 1854
Patrick Doolin hid behind a sunbaked boulder, his bare ribs sticking to the sagebrush. He grabbed the wet, mushy hole in his belly, his heart pounding, his ears ringing raw. Around the bend, there were howling beasts in the canyon, sniffing his blood trail. Trapped in the crossfire, he closed his eyes and pretended it was all a bad dream. He cloaked himself in a cloud of dust and prayed for invisibility. Patrick didn’t know whether to beg for his life or submit to death’s sting, but instinctively, his body forced him to gasp for air.
From the moment he boarded the ship last summer, he regretted leaving Ireland. He missed the sheep-strewn pastures and the soggy sea cliffs. He missed the rolling fog and the taste of coddle by firelight. By the grace of God, Patrick survived the great hunger, and despite its brutal aftermath, he still yearned for his motherland, for fairy trees and cloud cover. It was better to be hungry at home than stuffed to the gills with strangers.
Patrick’s father suffered the most during the great hunger, so when a fever ravaged him last February, he was too weak to recover. Although Patrick bowed his head and prayed every morning, his father was skin and bones by Easter. Worst of all, his father’s spirit was troubled by Patrick’s black-hearted brother, Liam, so Patrick made a deathbed promise to his father. He vowed to look after Liam come hell or high water.
As soon as their father rattled his last breath, Liam set his sights on California. After the wake, the Doolin brothers boarded a ship to Philadelphia. From there, they made the long trek to Dakota territory. It took them three months to reach their uncle’s homestead, and by the time they arrived, old man winter was already there. The Doolin brothers agreed to work for their uncle until the following summer and then make their way to California, but after Christmas, Liam didn’t want to wait any longer.
Patrick knew they were late to the gold rush. Their uncle showed them the newspapers and implored them to stay in Dakota. He said it was treacherous to travel in the dead of winter, but there was no reasoning with Liam, so the Doolin brothers saddled up and battled the pelting ice and blowing snow. They slept under giant fir trees, their fingers and toes tingling with frostbite. They hadn’t been on the trail for long when Liam started a gunfight with a goliath of a cowboy, then disappeared into thin air.
Now, Patrick was all by himself, stranded somewhere between Dakota and Wyoming. Utterly disoriented, he clutched his belly in agony and stumbled through the wilderness. He meditated on the pine trees as they swirled into a blur of whistling green. Patrick saw trains and ships in the shadows. He saw the sea cliffs of Ireland in his dreams. When he couldn’t take another step, he collapsed on the edge of Angel Creek, his wounded body glinting red with sunburn, his sticky blood mingling with the cold stream.
As he faded in and out of mortality, he saw a young woman with hair as black as a raven. A pack of wolves surrounded her and swaddled her porcelain skin with their ashen fur. Patrick couldn’t get a good look at her face, but he caught a glimpse of her scarlet lips. She was nothing more than a stranger to him, but he took comfort in watching her dance through the shimmering snowfields. As he stood there in the frozen prairie, held captive by the bone-chilling wind, he felt strangely warm as though a hearth was glowing inside him.
The next morning, an old cowboy named Charlie was fishing for salmon when he came across Patrick’s body floating belly-up in the creek. Charlie took Patrick for dead, but as he got closer, he witnessed pulse and breath. Charlie rubbed his eyes in disbelief. He figured there was a reason this poor man was still alive, so he slung Patrick over his shoulder and lugged him for half a mile, dabbing his sweaty face with a red bandana. When he got back to his wagon, he plopped Patrick down next to the salmon and gave him a ride to Purgatory Bend.
About the Author
Grendolyn Peach Soleil was born in the Appalachian Mountains on a full
moon. She is an old soul and a folk magic fiend. Grendolyn loves twisted
fairy tales, all things vintage, tales of true love, and creature features.
Some of her fancies include pumpkins, black cats, mermaids, tea parties,
cowboys, dahlias, and sunsets. She is a member of the Visionary Fiction
Alliance and The Independent Author Network. Grendolyn is the author of
Limbo Jubilee, The Mermaids Melt at Dawn, and Snow Dust and Boneshine: The
Chronicles of Granny Witch (Book 1).