Fantasy Excerpts

Fantasy Excerpts Page on BTH Reviews

These fantasy excerpts are from past promotions we featured when we were on Books That Hook.

Because all of that site is gone forever, I’m using my email to try to compile all the fantasy excerpts from those deleted posts.

These fantasy excerpts are all ones I had permission to post. I am just moving them to our new website. Enjoy!

Note: I am in the process of moving these excerpts. As soon as they have all been moved, this page will be deleted.

 

 

 

Excerpt from WAKING THE DRAGON by Juliette Cross

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

The beautiful blonde froze.

Silence.

She peered down the darkened corridor of the cellar beneath the Vaengar Stadium. No one.

The Morgon with black hair and black eyes at the bar had told her the restroom was this way. The only sound was the wafting crackle of the torches. The only sight was long shadows cast by flickering flame. An eerie tendril of fear snaked up her spine. Even half-drunk, something primitive warned her of danger, like the innate foreboding a deer senses when the tiger stalks unseen from the trees.

She shook it off, flipped her long hair over one shoulder, and walked on, knowing the restroom must be just around the bend up ahead.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

She stopped again and spun around, unable to tell from which direction the sound came.

“Bennett? Is that you?” A hollow echo of her voice reverberated down the empty corridor. “Stop it! You’re scaring me.” The last came out a faint whisper. A presence—corporeal, malevolent, and drawing closer—plunged her into icy fear. Her pulse quickened. A hiss of wind pressed the thin fabric of her mini-dress to her thighs. The flame on the wall guttered to nothing, then relit anew.

Tick.

Tick.

Directly behind her. She whirled and stared up at a massive Morgon man who stood only feet away. A behemoth silhouetted by the flambeau. His pointed wings, half-open and huge, kept the rest of him in shadow, as if the light itself repelled him. She could see nothing but his eyes—amber orbs with serpentine slits, bright as the torch-flame. Her breath hitched in her throat. She fell back against cold stone, scraping her bare shoulders against the rough cavern wall.

He passed near a sconce, the light illuminating hard, angular planes, the ancestral lines of the dragon sculpting his face in stark relief—more beast than man. Her heart thrashed against her ribcage.

“I—I lost my way, I think. I should go.” She gestured in the direction she had come, inching along the wall.

He moved with lethal grace, angling closer in slow, even steps.

Tick.

Her gaze dropped to his large hand. Claw-tipped fingers spread wide, the sharp nail of the index tapping the stone. She bolted left, only to find a wall of six Morgon men blocking her exit. They’d materialized out of the shadows in silent stealth. Unmoving, watching. Backing against the wall, she swiveled her head from those blocking her path to their master stalking closer.

“What—what do you want from me?” Her voice cracked, primal fear ripping through her gut.

By now, she’d reached the pinnacle of terror, petrified in place. Tangible evil seeped into her skin as the sinister creature loomed, enveloping her in his shadow. Something screamed for her to run, while a compelling power rolling from the beast kept her pinned in place. It was as if his very presence demanded obedience, subservience.

The beast braced one arm next to her head, her panic filling up the confines of their space. He inhaled a deep breath, drinking her fear in like the sweetest nectar.

“Will she serve, my lord?” A voice of authority from one of the Morgons in shadow—sultry but edged like a razor.

Her chest rose and fell, drawing the beast’s gaze. He leaned closer, trailing one claw lightly over her swelling breasts. Viper-swift, he clamped her mouth with his other hand, stifling her screams, and continued his exploration of her naked skin with the blade-like nail. Her rapid pulse beat frantically at the base of her neck.

“Perhaps.” One word, grating and broken. The voice of a monster.

He snaked his claw across the bottom of her throat, then down the line of her cleavage, pressing just enough to scrape the skin, a thin line of red rushing to the surface. Keeping her immobile with his crushing weight, he scraped a drop of blood from her breasts. He opened his mouth, revealing a row of sharpened teeth, the canines most prominent. Reeking of menace and power, he licked the tip of his claw.

“Perhaps.”

His voice fell to a raspy whisper. A rumbling growl rattled her bones. A flash of flame and shadow and all was black.

 

Excerpt from CAGE OF DECEIT by Jennifer Ann Davis

Allyssa despised sparring in a dress. However, that was the way her father had taught her to fight. He said if someone attacked her, she would be in a gown, so she had to be able to maneuver in heavy fabric.

“Faster,” Marek instructed. “You’re not focusing.”

She wanted to growl because he was right, she was too distracted. Putting all thoughts of the pretty prince out of her mind, she gave Marek her full attention. He swung his sword, hitting hers near the hilt, making her drop it. Not intending to lose their match so easily, she twisted and came in close to him. When he went to grab her, she rammed her elbow into his stomach. He hunched over and she yanked him down, slamming her knee into his face.

He dropped his sword.

“I win,” she declared.

Catching his breath, he wiped his forehead. “You seem to have gained a few new moves.” Not a question.

“Perhaps,” was all she said in reply. The training room was lined with her personal guards. She knew her father didn’t want her practicing—he’d rather she prepare for the ball. But in order to make it through dinner and dancing, she had to release her anger and frustration.

Marek took their wooden swords and put them back on the rack.

“I’m not ready to return to my rooms.” She still felt off balance and unsettled.

He glanced to the door where Mayra and Madelin were waiting for her. “I need to go over some security details with my father,” Marek stated.

“Then go.” She waved him away. “I’ll only be a few more minutes.”

He briefly spoke with the guards before he said, “Your Highness,” and left.

As soon as he was gone, she put leather gloves on and went to the hay figure secured to the wall. Taking a deep breath, she started punching it, imagining the dummy was the prince. Smiling, she started hitting it harder and faster, allowing all of her aggression to evaporate.

Someone started clapping, and she spun around about to yell at whoever had interrupted her.

Prince Odar stood there with a smirk.

“What are you doing here?” she demanded, wiping the sweat off her forehead with her arm. He was accompanied by two of his soldiers and the squire she noticed earlier in the Throne Room.

He clicked his tongue. “A testy remark from someone so delicate and lovely.”

Her eyes narrowed. She was dirty, smelly, and certainly not the picture of a princess at the moment. The squire clasped his hands behind his back, staring daggers at her. He must not approve of a woman who could take care of herself, knew how to fight, and who dared to sweat. She hated him almost as much as she hated the prince.

“I’m sorry, Your Highness,” she said, trying to keep the detest from her voice. “Please excuse me, I must prepare for this evening.”

Mayra rushed forward and placed a cloak upon Allyssa’s shoulders. The princess yanked the hood up, concealing herself so no one from the court would see her all sweaty. She swept out of the room, not looking back. She could have sworn she heard the prince chuckling as she hurried down the corridor.

“Why didn’t you use the opportunity to speak with the prince?” Mayra asked, trying to keep up. “He obviously sought you out.”

Allyssa’s eyes sliced over to her lady-in-waiting. “Because,” she snapped, “I don’t want to talk to someone who flatters with pointless words.”

Mayra laughed. “He is rather charming.”

“He appears to be exactly as a prince should,” Allyssa said. “And I have no interest in princes.”

“Aiming a bit higher?”

“No,” Allyssa replied. “I’m aiming for someone a bit more real.”

 

Excerpt from ILL FATED by Rachel Rawlings

“You’re awake?” He sounded more than a little surprised.

“I’m not really sure the state I’m in qualifies as awake.”

“Here I was, terrified to poke the dragon, and you’re already drinking coffee and talking in complete sentences.”

I snorted and took a sip of the aforementioned liquid gold. “Are you always like this in the morning?”

“If you’d let me sleep over you’d already know the answer to that question. Why aren’t you asleep?”

In general or just tonight, I silently wondered. “Bad dream. I’ve been tossing and turning all night. I finally gave in and got out of bed.”

Papers rustled in the background and when he spoke again, his voice was lower, intimate.”You want to talk about it?”

“Something tells me my nightmares are the least of our problems.”

“You have no idea. I need you to come down to my office.”

I sighed. “Can it at least wait until after sunrise?”

“Would I be breaking the no phone calls before noon policy if it could wait?”

“There really is no rest for the wicked, is there?”

He laughed and the sound warmed me more than a hundred cups of coffee. “Apparently not, in your case. Now, there’s a dirty chai latte and a croissant for you if you’re here before Amalie. I can’t promise real coffee and pastries will survive beyond five minutes of her arrival.”

“It’s four-thirty in the morning, Mas. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll make sure at least  one dirty chai and croissant remain unmolested.”

“I’ll see you soon.” He was laughing as he hung up the phone.

Three hours ago I’d practically crawled through the doorway, exhausted from cleaning up after a newbie vamp who’d broken the Jus Sanguinis Intergentes when she killed her donor. The blood pact between people and vampires had a clear no killing, no exceptions clause.

It was up to the maker to ensure their child was ready to feed unsupervised. If something went wrong and the Council found out about it, we cleaned up the mess and the sire was subject to heavy fines and possible revocation of their rights to expand their blood lines. She’d been quite literally a bitch to track and take down.

It had been a long night and it was shaping up to be an even longer day.

I wasted little time getting dressed, opting for a slip on black jersey dress, eighteen hole Docs and a leather jacket. Jewelry was a hindrance in my line of work. My meeting with Mason could easily turn into a run. Choked with my own chain? No, thank you. Unclasping the necklace, I set it in a glass dish on my bathroom counter. I ran a brush through my hair, a toothbrush over my teeth and slipped into the between. I stepped out of the alley two buildings down from the station and walked the last block and a half.

Amalie was swarmed by detectives trying to get at the goodies she brought over from the Daily Grind. She greeted me with a warm smile, shaking her head when I offered to pull her out of the fray. She had managed to endear herself to the entire department in record time. All it took was real coffee and fresh pastries. I pointed to Mason’s office. She’d make her way over once the starving masses had their fill.

Mason was so engrossed in the file on his desk he didn’t hear me come in. He looked as tired as I felt – too many double shifts. Despite an uptick in activity, SPTF was short staffed due to budget cuts. Without enough man power to staff the shifts properly overtime was mandatory.

“Is that for me?” I pointed at the to-go cup and white paper bag on his desk.

He finally looked up and gave me a smile which lit up his whole face. “As promised.”

I stole a quick kiss, grabbed the coffee and croissant, and settled in the chair across from him. I took a long sip of my latte, savoring the delicious mix of tea and espresso. “Man, I needed this. Is that the case you’re working on?”

“Yeah, we’ve got a real problem on our hands.”

“Don’t we always.” I tried to peak at the file.

Mason closed the manila folder. “I’d rather wait until everyone is here.”

“Who else is coming besides Amalie?” My curiosity was definitely peaked now. I reached across his desk, hoping to grab the file.

“You look exhausted. Tell me about your dream while we wait.”

I narrowed my eyes and glared at him. “I see this for the obvious distraction it is but you’re right.” Sighing, I rubbed my temple.“However, I’m exhausted, too exhausted to argue. So I’ll tell you. Prepare to be confounded.”

He listened intently as I filled him in on the nightly visits from the weathered old woman who washed my clothes and hauntingly called my name. I expected him to laugh and tell me it was just a dream, that I had nothing to worry about.

I didn’t expect him to look so stricken.

“Bean Nighe.” He all but whispered the name.

“You’ve heard of her?”

“Of course I’ve heard of her. How long has she been coming to you?”

I stared at him curiously. “A few weeks. Why?”

“A few weeks and this is the first I’m hearing of it?” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, obviously struggling to control his temper.“We talked about this. No holding things back, remember?”

“I thought it was just a dream.” I shrugged.“Honestly, I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

“It was a big enough deal for you to research it.” Agitation rolled off him in waves.

When I agreed to give this thing with Mason a chance I also agreed to some conditions. No more flying solo, no more rash decisions or rushing off to play the hero. We were a team, in everything. This was just one of many set-backs.

“I got curious, did a little digging. Until tonight, everything I found pointed to deep seated family issues, particularly with a mother figure. I’ve told you about my childhood, does that dream analysis surprise you?”

His growl told me he wasn’t in the mood for reasonable—at least to me—explanations. “When did you discover the true meaning of the dream? How long have you known about the Bean Nighe?”

“Tonight. This morning. Before you called me.” I held up a hand to stop the tongue lashing I knew he wanted to give me. “I would have told you. I got the impression on the phone there were more pressing matters than my insomnia.”

“Is this why you won’t let me stay at your place?” His gaze roamed over my face, searching.“Why you never stay at mine?”

“Is that the real reason why you’re so upset?” I arched my brows. “Because we’re not having sleepovers?”

“I stayed at your lovely apartment the first night we met.”

I turned to watch Aidan glide into the room, stopping behind my chair. Rolling my eyes, I snorted and muttered, “In the closet.”

Mason’s jaw twitched but he didn’t take the bait. “Aidan.”

“It’s almost sunrise. Shouldn’t you be hunkered down for the day?” I sighed, wondering what he was doing here. I was too tired to deal with Aidan and Mason and their combined testoserone.

Putting the three of us in a room together was like throwing lit matches at sticks of dynamite – eventually one of them will explode.

 

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