Orion City has been on lockdown for ten years. Courtney Spencer, a disillusioned barista doomed to live a “normal” life in a quarantined fishbowl, is certain she’ll never see over the Wall again. Until one rainy evening, Courtney unintentionally befriends W, an eccentric customer who leaves a switchblade in the tip jar. The unexpected acquaintance soon opens the door to a frightening string of questions that flips everything she knows upside down. Stumbling into a world of secrets, lies, and disturbing truths, Courtney grapples with a burning temptation to look again at the Wall. Surrounded by citizens trained to ignore its looming shadow, Courtney no longer can. Intrigued and terrified to expand her world, Courtney finds herself toeing a knife’s edge between the law and justice, learning quickly that the two are not always compatible. She wants to cling to her morals. She also wants to stay alive. But most of all, she wants to see a certain customer again, despite everything in her whispering W is dangerous. In a gritty urban clash of hope and fear, passion and survival, The Walls of Orion explores the edges of light, dark, and the gray in between.
About The Author
A world-romper from the Pacific Northwest who quite enjoys the label “crazy,” T.D. Fox supplements a hyperactive imagination with real life shenanigans to add pizzazz to her storytelling endeavors.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies, her favorite stories to write usually involve a clash of worldviews, an unflinching reevaluation of one’s own internal compass, and an embrace of the compelling unease that arises when vastly different worlds collide.
When not recklessly exploring inner-city alleyways during midnight thunderstorms in the States, she can be found exploring rainforests without enough bug spray somewhere along the equator.
Cross my heart, and hope to die… You should be careful what you wish for.
Danielle Renaud would have never wished for this life of endless hunting
and isolation, but it’s the only one she’s ever known. But while her second
cousin, Heather Ryan, is off to single-handedly rid the world of Vampires,
she is stuck on the side-lines.
Frustrated and concerned when Heather hasn’t checked in for over a
fortnight, she decides it’s time to take matters into her own hands. What
she doesn’t expect is to learn her childhood friend, Nathan, is also
missing, or to discover him half-naked and shackled, lurking around their
old hangout. And he needs her help, because to her horror, he is now one of
the undead. Although she is trained to kill his kind, something about his
creation and the circumstances surrounding it just don’t add up.
Promises should not be broken, but no one ever expects to die if one is.
Nathan Kennedy was warned that Vampires existed, but he always believed his
childhood friend just suffered from an overactive imagination. Boy was he
wrong. Dragged into a world he once made fun of and “turned” against his
will, he will soon discover he has a role to play that even his Slayer
Bestie couldn’t have cooked up.
Nothing is a coincidence.
Though the circumstances are extreme, fate has brought them back together,
and they need to find Heather, the first born Infected, to make sense of
what’s going on. But neither of them could have predicted the path that lies
before them, or how much their lives were truly about to change … for the
This title contains explicit language and some scenes with violence.
The dream darkened. The images disintegrated to ash as something deep inside me stirred. That unusual, invisible tug I had quickly learnt was my new alarm clock, my body telling me that I now had to be awake, and therefore, without my consent, it pulled me into the realm of semi-consciousness. The innocent dream got lost in darkness.
No, not a dream. I didn’t have the luxury of dreaming anymore. It was just a memory, and one that kept replaying in my mind every time I closed my eyes—my subconscious telling me that I owed an old friend one big, fat apology; an apology that would surely get me an ‘I told you so’ as a reply, and that was presuming I ever got to see her again.
It was the truth. Everything she’d ever told me … It’s all real.
The past seemed like a pleasant place to live, but then again, anything was better than my current predicament, which proved nothing short of a nightmare. A cold, dark, twisted nightmare.
“I told you t’be careful what you wish for.”
Her voice rang in a soft and sweet whisper that I could feel dance across my skin, the usual taunting tone accompanying her words.
“Go away, Elle.”
A lock clicked. Hinges whined as heavy, rusted metal scraped against concrete. Light briefly touched my face, only to be overtaken by an unfamiliar presence that filled my door frame. My eyeballs hurt behind my lids, but I didn’t bother opening my eyes and indulging in the mild curiosity that involuntary tickled the back of my mind. Truth be told, I didn’t have the bloody energy to even try to look. Then again, if I had learnt one thing during my time in purgatory, it was that nothing ever good happened when you opened your eyes and that the things you did see weren’t always real.
A crinkle of plastic accompanied the odd squeak and shuffle of clumsy feet. My visitor moved into the room, allowing the overhead lighting from the outer corridor to slither into my cell. Not as good as daylight, nowhere near, and yet being locked in the dark for such long periods of time had made my skin super-sensitive. That horrid illumination was all I had, all I could use to delude myself into pretending that I was really lay on a rock-hard stretcher in my back garden, and not some dank room in a strange facility in God only knows where the hell I could be. The light was cold and pale, not like the warmth from the sun, but regardless, I could feel it on my skin, feel its energy in a way I couldn’t before.
Iron clamped around my jaw, breaking my momentary delusion. Not to mention the impact was so sudden, my lids snapped open, and my eyeballs practically bulged from their sockets. Jesus, talk about a wakeup call.
The left side of my friend’s face remained in the shadows of the room, but the right … The light barely touched him as if almost afraid to. His jaw was square, and from the patch of skin that was illuminated, he was as pale as every other Vampire I’d had the pleasure of meeting during my time here. His hair seemed dark, and he looked to be wearing black—the meatier fellows all seemed to wear black and have the role of ‘the muscle’ in this joint. Clearly, they were prison guards, and one other thing I had learnt during my stay? These guards didn’t have patience, not that human bouncers or security guards rarely did, but then again, humans couldn’t go around biting or beating the crap out of the people they were responsible for.
He raised his left hand, and the red, opaque silhouette of my feeding tube caught the corner of my eye, a droplet ready to fall from the slit. The scent of blood touched my nostrils … Jesus … how I hated that I even knew that smell.
“I’m not thirsty.”
The words didn’t quite make it past my lips. Instead, they remained locked between my throat and teeth, but my new friend seemed to understand—this was made obvious by the tick in the visible side of his neck. Not that he gave a shite, which he proved by digging his ice-cold fingertips into my cheeks, pushing my flesh into my teeth so violently that I was sure they would have shattered, but being a compromising soul, I obliged and opened my mouth. Although I doubted anyone would class my mouth as being opened since my lips were vertical and the top lip was stuck in the opposite direction of the bottom. I no doubt looked like a fish mid-breath.
“More like a fish with a botched lip job, mid-breath.”
I said go away, Elle. I slanted my gaze to the right corner of the room, watching as the shadows solidified.
“And I said, make me.”
The tube was pushed between my teeth, the tip grazing along my tongue and pushed farther, until it was stuck halfway down my gullet. Blood, cold and thick, coated my throat, slithering into my system. My throat flexed, more from the slight discomfort than the need to drink or even to retch. Retching would be the right thing to do when someone force-fed you blood, but since I’d woken up, it was all I could eat—well, drink. Even though my mind was still plagued with disgust and the madness of the situation, a part of me had accepted the inevitable and ridiculous truth … I was a Vampire.
Unease set in my stomach along with fear and relief, a jumble of emotions that even made my heart feel woozy. “Than, what happened t’you?”
“I, erm—” He lifted his head and looked toward me … no, not toward me, past me, and he shook his head.
The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. My grip on the hilt of my sword tightened as I cautiously turned, half-worried I was going to find another half-naked person standing behind me, but as I moved my phone torch around the space, I could see nothing, just gravestones.
When I moved the light back to him, he was sat on the grass, his head pressed against the wall, staring off into space.
“Than?” I took a step toward him.
“Truth is I-I do actually need your help, Elle.”
“You need my help?”
“I had no one else I could turn to.” He looked past me again, giving empty space a pointed look. His brow furrowed, and he shook his head once more. “No, scratch that, you’re the only person I could come to like—” he flicked his hands up and down his chest. “—like this.”
“And how exactly did you get like this? A casual hook-up gone wrong? Or perhaps you joined a travelling renaissance fair?”
“What? No.” His gaze was firmly fixed on me. “I-I was attacked, Elle. Me and my friend Freddie, we were attacked in London. I-I woke up in this place, in this dark room and, well, we were—” His jaw was trembling; he couldn’t get the words out fast enough or without tripping over his own tongue. “—we were fucking kidnapped, fucking experimented on, and now, Freddie’s dead—”
His eyes grew wide. His words held too much weight, too much clarity, as if he was not only trying to convince me but himself.
“Freddie’s dead. He’s really dead, like dead-dead.” His face fell into his hands, his words muffled. “Shit. Shit, fuck, shit. I’ve spent the last six weeks locked in a cell in some fucking facility in the middle of a goddamn forest—”
His words became a jumble of curses and broken information beyond comprehensible. My head hurt, my eyes riveted on this mess of a man crumbled on the ground in front of me. This wreck of a man was Nathan. He was safe—well, at least he was now, but he had been locked up for six weeks? What? Why? His friend was dead due to experiments?
I suddenly felt like the scrap of caffeine-fuelled energy that had been circulating in my body the last half an hour had been absorbed. My legs felt like dead weight as exhaustion hit me right in the face. My temples were hurting, and I felt sick as all the built-up worry and frustration I’d had for the last couple weeks dropped to the pit of my stomach.
None of this made any sense. Nathan was no longer missing, but who would have kidnapped him? Why would they lock him up? Did he have enemies? Was he mixed up in something bad, drugs, or maybe he owed someone money? Why hadn’t he gone straight to the police? Why had he come here? Why to me? Why—
My thoughts ground to a halted as his hands dropped to his lap.
“That’s why Ma hasn’t heard from me, why no one has.” Black blood streaked his pale skin, seeping from the corners of his dark eyes.
The blood in my own veins froze. I couldn’t move. I could hardly breathe. “You’re … you’re crying—”
“Grown men can cry under times of stress, Elle. It’s not that unusual.”
I wasn’t sure if I was about to throw-up or pass out. I felt like I had a typhoon in my stomach, and my head had grown light. Maybe it was due to the early hour. Maybe it was the five-hour nap I’d had—short bouts of sleep often made people feel funny, didn’t they? And I really was freaking exhausted right now. Maybe it was the unexpected shock of seeing an old friend for the first time in a decade, or more how he had approached me after apparently being missing—naked, ill, and rambling like a mad man.
God, if only it could have been any of those reasons, but it wasn’t, and without having to think about it, I’d already tightened the grip on the hilt in my grasp. Despite the tension seizing my muscles, I had already dropped down to one knee, my left arm held high so that the white light of my camera coated his upper body and face.
“Blood.” The words were acid on my tongue, the tip of my sword a mere two inches from the Vampire’s jugular. “You. Are. Crying. Blood.”
About the Author
Elizabeth Morgan is a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal,
erotic horror, f/f, and contemporary; all with a degree of romance, a dose
of action and a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but you can be sure that no
matter what the genre, Elizabeth always manages to give a unique and often
humorous spin to her stories.
Like her tagline says; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just
And that she does, so look out for more information on her upcoming
releases at her website: www.e-morgan.com
Away from the computer, Elizabeth can be found in the garden trying hard
not to kill her plants, dancing around her little cottage with the radio on
while she cleans, watching movies or good television programmes or curled up
with her three cats reading a book.
A tale of two communities learning to live in harmony but will the trust stay strong between them?
After everything they have gone through. Why now? Why this?
Kelpie and Jason grew up in peaceful solitude, at one with nature. Yet when they are forced to move, they are also forced to change. Nevertheless, they grow to appreciate this new life and the harmony between both the human and the fae societies. When the killings start, their tranquillity is threatened and in their midst a well of fear, mistrust and discord has risen.
If she is to survive, she must learn to adjust and be ready for the danger hidden in the shadows. Will the life she fought so hard for fall to pieces? Or will Kelpie and Jason withstand the darkness and escape the misfortune of their troublesome cycle?
He was right, of course, but that didn’t settle the nerves twisting my gut.
At least he seemed to acknowledge that and he patted my thigh before slowly getting back up. “Why don’t you take the rest of the day? Decide what you want to do and if you need time alone to read, I can give you that. I’ll send you some coffee from that shop you like.”
“…The pumpkin spice?”
“I’ve told you a million times it’s out of season now.” His grin seemed to quirk at the question, but he wouldn’t laugh. At least, not while I was in the room.
I appreciated that, at the very least. I don’t think I would have been able to stomach his mockery. No, not mockery…I knew better than to label it as such a thing. That was the little voice talking to me. I took the book from him, nodded in thanks, and made my way back upstairs to our home. “Fine, surprise me then, since you know me so well.”
That comment did pull a laugh from him and I couldn’t help but smile. It was a sweet sound to hear from his lips.
About the Author
Emilie Dallaire was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec and now enjoys her full-time job as a QA Lead in the Gaming Industry. After having the unique opportunity to have her works – ‘My Demon’ and ‘Starved’ – published in the Melting Pot Anthology (compiled by Syndie Beaupre), she has finally been able to switch her attention more to her true passion; writing! The project reignited her deep affection for the written word and gave life back to her childhood dream.
Throughout and since her youth, Dallaire has always had a wild imagination allowing her to be the author she is today. The author likes to unwind with classic Disney movies, video games, anime and photography, that all help her to relax while still stimulating her creative juices. Dallaire adores and is inspired by relatable fiction stories including impelling romances, of which you will often see incorporated into her own works.
Former ADA Alastair Maddox pursues Prohibition Chicago’s most dangerous
monsters after witnessing the deaths of his parents and grandparents as a
boy. When a former colleague in Chicago PD comes to ask Alastair for help,
he comes face to face with the mysterious Alexandra DeLane. But something’s
off. DeLane is way too calm and her eyes are the color of blood. After she
escapes, Alastair goes on the hunt only to find himself the prey of an
ambitious and mysterious mob boss who plots to have him murdered. The
problem? Alastair doesn’t stay dead and comes back as something else.
Something more dangerous and straight out of a horror novel.
My memory held little of the minutiae of details surrounding how I wound up in this place.
All I knew for certain? I sat in the mud covered in dirt streaming down my body and had no clothing to shield me against the brisk winter night.
How no change in the weather affected me – hot nor cold – made no sense. I knew it was winter because of the tinkling of the icicles dancing on the end of pine needles in the trees, yet I didn’t shiver.
Trying to swallow sent my throat into a fit of burning worse than any raging flame. It forced me to barrel over, falling to my knees, grip-ping my throat and gritting my teeth, squeezing my eyes closed. All around, the world spun with every struggle to get the pulsing in my incisors to cease.
Whipping my head, I attempted to locate the source of the inner voice plaguing my brain.
You need to feed.
Feed? What did that mean? Feed on what?
Trust me. Fo!ow me.
I dragged myself to stand. My shaking legs struggled to handle my tall frame. To shield myself against the cold, I wrapped my arms around my torso, even though I no longer needed it.
Where I would go, I had no idea. My body took over, following a terrifying new instinct.
My mind swam in an attempt to grasp at anything to piece together what happened.
The woman’s voice sounded familiar. For some reason it ignited rage within me, also comforting me in a dark time.
Walking the woods without the protection of shoes and the shaki-ness of my legs slowed progress; still I trudged on.
I knew these woods; hiked them many times.
Blackthorn grew alongside American Elm and Black Cherry permeating the air with the fresh scent of musky brush, bark, and crisp sap.
The effects of the swirling scents were much stronger than I remembered them.
Heartbeats and the sounds of liquid from the sleeping animals
mixed with the sounds of the rain, trees, and wind in my ears. My head jerked from side to side trying to grasp the location of each of the smallest creaks, crunches, and shuffling of the hedges.
Distracted from everything going on, I slipped and rolled down a steep ledge, grunting, screaming, landing in a puddle of water. Mud splashed into my mouth and eyes.
I gagged, spitting out the muck and filth. My tongue swelled, my mouth a desert filled with musty flypaper. Muscle memory caused me to panic when I found it difficult to take in a facet of air.
Content to lie amidst the muck, dazed with the confusion and the burning of my throat took hold within the confines of my mind.
Feed, the dark voice called again.
I don’t understand. Why can’t I lie here and sleep?
Trust me. Fo!ow me.
The aroma of smoke from some kind of fire and the nagging of the voice in my head pushed me to rise and climb the opposite side of the ledge. It took all the strength in my fingers and arms to haul myself to the top, sliding a few times.
Rain helped to rinse some of the mud away from my eyes and hair, but not enough to make me look less horrible than I imagined I looked.
Not long now, the voice said.
Beyond the tree line, I saw a house settled on the outer rims of the city near Lake Michigan. Decrepit roofing, yellowed wood, and the presence of vines along the side told the story of its long stand against time.
My nose tested the breeze, catching smoke from the chimney rising behind the two-story structure. The place itself reminded me of the large farm houses used in the Victorian days. Its walls displayed a pale yellow against black door and window rims.
In front, dead stems I imagined once housed gorgeous flowers swayed in the breezes.
An old Model T with faded red paint sat nestled under one of those make-shift garages someone might put up to protect their vehicles or in this case, farm equipment.
Beyond the house I saw the roof of a small barn.
About the Author
Blaise started her journey in writing at the age of the fifteen with her
first unfinished urban fantasy novel based on a popular video game series
known as .Hack. From there she moved her journey into designing characters
and doing concept art for various paying clients. In her older career,
Blaise moved into working for the Indie Gaming industry where she did
concept art for the company HollowRobot and their debut game, Johnny Reboot
and various other clients. Sadly, the game didn’t go anywhere and Blaise
found herself losing interest in what she had done for fifteen years.
In 2017, Blaise embarked on her first ever NaNoWriMo challenge where she
finished the Paranormal Shifter Romance, Blessing of Luna which she indie
published. It has then produced a second installation into the Wolfgods
series titled Bane of Tenebris. Both have recently been picked up by
Both of these books gave birth to the first of Blaise’s three businesses.
The first, FyreSyde Publishing, a small press, has recently opened its doors
to authors and works alongside them in the ever difficult challenge of book
marketing. A running joke is Blaise considers herself an “odd duck” in the
sense that she loves the marketing phase more than the writing phase of
production. Her other two businesses include full-time freelance
ghostwriting and the independent bookstore, GreenWood Grove
After falling in love with the Dresden files by Jim Butcher and later
Saints & Shadows by Christopher Golden, Blaise found a new love for
Urban Fantasy. Reading the beloved Vampire Files by PN Elrod prompted Blaise
to initiate her next phase and begin producing paranormal detective and noir
novels. Now she combines the two and loves every minute of it.
She currently lives in the hometown of Bonnie & Clyde with her husband,
two adorable kids, two cats and a dog.
Twenty years ago, Reaper of Souls Kassidy Simmons battled Azra-El, the
Angel of Death and won—or so she thought.
Now, a number of strange and unexplained deaths are afflicting
Kassidy’s quiet New York town. She wishes she didn’t care. But
Her empathic abilities are expanding beyond her control, and the intense
emotions are tearing apart her relationships. They’re also degrading
the magical wards put in place to protect her from other Reapers and the
even deadlier Wraiths—onyx-eyed henchmen of Azra-El.
Allied with her longtime mentor and a college professor with ties to
her past, Kassidy learns that the untimely deaths are regenerating Azra-El,
and that the only way to stop him is with the Scythe of Cronus, the
legendary weapon of the God of Death.
To save her loved ones and reset the natural order, Kassidy must journey
home and confront a past she’s been running from for two decades.
She’ll face-off with enemies, old and new, and through a haze of fear
and addiction, Kassidy will learn the secrets of her heritage, and challenge
head on the one being she fears most—herself.
“You shouldn’t be able to do that here, Reaper,” he said, pointing to the sickle at his throat with his eyes.
“What?” Kassidy asked absently.
Kassidy gasped at the weapon pressed to his throat. He was right. She shouldn’t be able to do that. No Reaper, not even a Wraith could manifest weapons in the Nexus. The only beings with that power were the Primus—and he never did it because he simply didn’t need to wield that type of power there—and Death himself.
She backed away, staring at the sickle, then willed it to transform back into a hand.
“Perhaps now you see why I found you so interesting,” Azra-El said.
“Okay, found and still find. Happy?”
There was that fucking smile again.
“What do you want?”
“Come on. Can’t we catch up? How’ve you been, love?”
“Fuck you! That’s how I’ve been. Now what do you want?”
“Okay, fine. I want to kill you, of course. That goes without saying.” He shrugged his shoulders. Nonchalant. Playfulness intertwined with menace.
Kassidy inched back from him, each step slow and deliberate. She tried to drift out of the Nexus but couldn’t. He’s fucking blocking me! Shit!
“We didn’t finish our last conversation, my dear. It was like we were talking, and then all of a sudden, you stabbed me with those blades. I don’t even know where you found those fucking things. But I never got a chance to argue my point.”
“That you and I need to work together to establish some new rules to the natural order.”
“Oh, that line of horseshit,” Kassidy said.
“You wound me.” Azra-El, held his hand to his chest, feigning offense.
“Yeah, I did wound you. Sadly, not enough.”
Azra-El’s hands dropped to his side.
His eyes radiated a dim red. She did her best to remain calm, but every Reaper knew that when his eyes glowed that way, he was angry.
“You’re after my power, aren’t you? You wanted to fatten me up, make me stronger, then kill me and absorb my abilities. That was your plan.”
“I mean, can you blame me?” he asked with a sly grin. “Look, in any corporation, the idea is to get promoted, right? Not to stay in the same position doing the same thing millennia after millennia.”
Kassidy’s fists clenched tighter. She shifted from side to side, doing her best to keep her rage in check. “So that night you found me, that was a set up?”
“In exchange for power and immortality, you instructed a boy to terrorize me? To beat me? To . . . rape me?”
Azra-El held up a hand.
“Whoa. I told him I needed you to be down and out. I needed you in a state near death.”
“But you didn’t care how he did it?”
“And all so you could have power? You ruined my life for power?” Kassidy asked.
“Ruined your life? Ruined your life! I saved you, you ungrateful little bitch! I gave you a chance to take vengeance. Vengeance on him, on all the Jeremy Reins of the world. On everyone who’d ever treated you wrong. I gave you a chance to be powerful for once in your miserable fucking life! And for that gift, you spat in my face and tried to kill me.”
“You orchestrated all of it. You took away any chance for me to be normal, to find my own way. You turned me into a monster, a killer, all in an effort to make you more powerful. You didn’t save me. It was all for you. I was happy to die. I was happy to fade away.”
Kassidy advanced toward Azra-El again. Her power building. Fists clenched.
“Then why did you say yes?”
Those six words stopped her in her tracks. She relaxed her fists.
“Cat got your tongue? Or are you afraid of the truth?”
“That deep within there’s a darkness, a hunger, a thirst for power, for reckoning. You needed what I gave you, and when it was offered, you willingly accepted.”
“You tricked me. With what I went through, what human being wouldn’t want that?”
Azra-El laughed again. His eyes dimmed, transitioning from red to their natural state. “Sweetheart, you’re not human. Do you think most humans walk around feeling the emotions of others? Sensing when death is near? Do you think they see Reapers and Wraiths as easily as they see stop signs and clouds in the sky? Even now you have abilities beyond the norm. You bested two Wraiths in the last few days. You bested me twenty years ago. No, my dear, whatever you are, it isn’t human. Far from it. Why do you think I chose you?”
About the Author
Dennis Crosby grew up in Oak Park, IL and completed his undergraduate work
at the University of Illinois in Chicago. With a degree in Criminal Justice,
he spent six years working as a Private Investigator and during that time
developed an affinity for writing poetry. While working on a master’s
degree in Forensic Psychology, Dennis transitioned into social service.
Dennis has spent the last twelve years working with men and women
experiencing challenges with mental health and addiction. He currently
serves as Clinic Director for an Opioid Treatment Program.
With a lifelong passion for writing, Dennis wrote dozens of short stories,
tapping into his creative side, but did not pursue the finer points of the
craft until later in life. After leaving Chicago and moving to San Diego,
Dennis had the opportunity to get more involved in the writing community
where he strengthened his skills. To further augment his writing skills,
Dennis completed an MFA program at National University.
A self-proclaimed geek and lover of pop culture, Dennis still lives and
writes in San Diego, CA.