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Subversive

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Subversive (The Warrior – 3) by Rebecca Royce

Rachel Clancy has been through a lot. With a mission to fight vampires, while losing two boyfriends—one to a vampire and one because of his daddy issues—she is in charge of a secret revolution that could change Genesis, her home, forever. Her confidence is shot, her hands are shaking, and she hasn’t felt a real emotion, except for anger, in a long time.

But Rachel should never be counted out. She sees things others can’t, even if her ideas are considered downright traitorous. The life destined for Rachel is to lead in the world, filled with vampires and werewolves instead of romance and flowers—always forced to fight to stay alive and vanquish any threat to her friends and family. But no matter how many times she’s won, the evil that has stalked her never forgets her name….

Life is a continuous battle that never ends….

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My Review

5 stars

Rachel is still hurting from Chad’s death and Jason leaving for his pack. But now that Genesis is above ground she is going to have to put those feeling aside and fight to keep everyone safe. Although things look bleak, she still keeps fighting the secret revolution. But this is starting to weigh heavily on Rachel. How can one person be so important but feel like they are the only one fighting? But then a nasty twist just ratchets up the excitement.

Just when you think that it couldn’t get any worse, surprise! Rachel is starting to get burned out fighting, especially when it seems everyone is against her and she can trust no one. Then things change and turn everything on end.

I can’t get enough of this series. Just when you think you have it figured out you realize that there is way more happening. I can’t help but feel for Rachel. For her I hope there is an end in sight. But as a reader, I can’t wait to see what happens and don’t want this series to end.

To purchase Subversive make sure to check out Amazon, Goodreads and Rebecca Royce’s website.

I received Subversive for free from Candid Book Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

First Circle Club

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First Circle Club (First Circle Club – 1) by Alex Siegel

When Virgil is betrayed and murdered, he thinks his days of catching fugitives as a U.S. Marshal are over. He is condemned to an eternity of filing paperwork in the First Circle of Hell. Then a demon lord gives Virgil an unprecedented assignment. He will return to Earth as part of a team: two souls from Heaven and two from Hell. They must stop another damned soul who escaped and is now murdering teenagers on Earth. The serial killer has supernatural skills and is part of a larger conspiracy which is well prepared for a fight. If he is not careful, Virgil could be murdered a second time.

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Alex Siegel

Alex Siegel has written three series, full of hellish scenarios and diabolical plot twists. The First Circle Club is the first book in his latest series. He is a computer programmer by day and a passionate, even obsessive, writer by night. He lives in Chicago with his wife and triplet teenage boys. A gray cat and two guinea pigs complete the menagerie.

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Book

My Review

4 stars

Virgil was a U.S. Marshal that died in 1985. He wasn’t an overly bad person but enough to get sent to the first ring of Hell pushing paper. But then a serial killer manages to escape Hell and continues his killing spree. The Angels and Demons decide to put together a team of humans to hunt down the killer. Lisa was a rogue cop that was killed in 1995 and counted coins in Hell. From the first ring of Heaven we have Sara, a forensic specialist that passed in 1993 and Alfred, a forensic psychologist that died in 1965. All four are given powers to help them along the way. Lisa has the power to hurt while Sara can heal. Virgil can shame while Alfred can create trust.

The killer, Daniel has started killing kids again. They are at the proper age before they start sinning. His killing is sending them to Heaven before they get a chance to be corrupted and go to Hell. But there is more to this than just a serial killer escaping. Daniel had help getting out of Hell. And what are Heaven and Hell really when Heaven is more boring than anything and Hell gives you no chance at redemption.

I really liked this story. None of the characters were overly good or evil, just enough to send them to either Heaven or Hell. The one thing that got me was Virgil and Lisa did what needed to be done and didn’t think twice but it makes them look like the bad guy when in thier positions that is not always the case. But I was surprised at Sara and Alfred being so bored in Heaven that they jumped at the chance to be part of this team. I liked the Daniel, he was evil thinking he was doing good. But it makes you think about why are humans even on Earth if we just die young and not have any sin on our souls.

This is a great story and one that I recommend checking out. I’m really excited to see what happens in the next book of this series.

Reading Addiction
I received First Circle Club for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Exceprt

The angel touched down lightly on the sand. A supremely beautiful face made Sara want to cry with joy.

“I am Barachiel, chief of the guardian angels. You are Sara Bass?”

Sara nodded. “What can I do for you?”

“The Lords of Hell screwed up and allowed an evil soul to escape to Earth. Now we have to clean up their mess.”

“Oh. Sounds awful. What do you want me to do?”

“Go back to Earth as part of a search team,” Barachiel said. “The soul belongs to a serial killer, and he has started to kill again. It’s a uniquely important assignment.”

“I guess you know my background. I was a medical examiner for many years.”

“We picked you because of your background.”

“We?” Sara said.

“The Council of Light.”

The enormous magnitude of the situation was dawning on Sara. Of all the many millions of souls in Heaven, the Council had chosen her to return to Earth.

“Does this kind of thing happen often?”

“It has never happened before,” Barachiel said. “This search team concept is completely new. It might be a disaster, but we don’t have any other options. Regular angels aren’t suited for something like this. Hell is sending its own representatives. Try to be polite even if they smell bad.”

Sara wrinkled her nose.

“And of course, you can come back to Heaven any time you want,” Barachiel added. “If the job proves too much for you, we can find a replacement.”

“I’m sure that won’t be necessary.” Sara was looking forward to doing something useful again. “But how did this happen? I didn’t think it was possible to escape from Hell.”

Barachiel shrugged its beautiful shoulders. “I’m sure incompetence was the cause. Demons are so consumed by sinful thoughts they can’t think clearly. Regardless, it’s a big mess now. With all the bickering and accusations, you would think the Apocalypse had arrived.”

Sara doubted the explanation was so simple.

Escape to Redemption

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Escape to Redemption by Peter Parr

Josie only had the gun to frighten Curtis Rook, but his son disturbed her. One startled reflex and now he’s dead. Josie flees to Poland leaving her boyfriend Snaz to take the rap. A reformed criminal offers her refuge from the police and the chance to begin a new life, but she cannot hide from her guilt. As the stakes rise, Josie begins to realise that only her own forgiveness can set her free. Fast-paced and original, Peter M. Parr’s contemporary take on Crime and Punishment challenges traditional ideas about guilt and redemption, and the meaning of forgiveness.

Peter Parr

Peter M. Parr works part-time as a civil servant, which gives him time to indulge his passion for writing. He facilitates workshops to encourage people to reflect on what truly matters. He lives in Hastings, East Sussex, overlooking the sea. He is a Quaker and student of ‘A Course in Miracles’.

Website

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My Review

5 stars

Josie is a spoiled brat and learns something about her mother. She decides to teach Rook a lesson but when she threatens him with a gun she accidentally shoots and kills him and injures his son. Fearing the consequences, Josie runs away to Poland and plans to let her “boyfriend”, Snaz take the fall. Snaz quickly figures out that Josie is going to let him be blamed for the murders and plans on getting arrested just to blame her. But Josie can’t live with the guilt of what she has done and the thought that Snaz will be blamed.

I admit that I couldn’t stand Josie. She was such a brat and the plan to threaten Rook, what in the heck was she thinking? But I will say that as we follow along with Josie she does impress me. There is a lot of thought on her part and she does become a better person. Snaz on the other hand, he thinks because he is lower in the social scale he deserves to take the blame for the death. But as you read on, he just gets worse and worse.

I enjoyed this story, it does make you think. If you were in Josie’s position what would you do? How would you react? And how would it change you? The book is well written and had me thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. This is one book that I recommend people check out.

To purchase Escape to Redemption make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received Escape to Redemption for free from Virtual Author Book Tours for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

      Josie felt shy to ask for a glass of water, so the sour taste of the vinegar-drenched herrings lingered in her mouth. The others spoke in English, trying to include her in the conversation, but their efforts only made her feel more left out. She hadn’t heard of the writers they talked about, never mind read their books.

If anything, Kogut sounded the most enthusiastic: ‘We create our own experience,’ he declared to nods from Helena. ‘What you think, you become.’ Their hostess agreed with everything he said, interrupting only when she didn’t understand the meaning of a word. Ola also appeared to be a convert, coming up with clever answers when Kogut turned devil’s advocate to challenge her in jest.

Josie found herself warming to Roman more than to the women. He said very little and she assumed all their new-age talk must be above his head too. But when the conversation turned to people dying in Malawi because they had no clean water, he chimed in as animated as the rest. Josie could only nod: they all knew far more about it than she did.

She finished her herrings before any of the others, and the next course – steaming-hot sauerkraut with wild mushrooms – too. No doubt they considered her ignorant. She didn’t understand why Kogut had brought her here, unless he took pleasure in showing her up.

Her mind kept returning to what he’d said outside. We are Spirit. What did he mean? She stared at him, the dancing flame of the candle between them, and she felt a growing urge to confront him. We’re all Spirit? Well if he really believed that, why did he live in a mansion and have people to cook and clean for him, and Adam to drive his Merc? Or perhaps he’d set up the whole evening, but why would he? Not to get her into bed with him, surely, when he could have chosen a hundred more obvious ways.

Josie waited for a break in the conversation, but she couldn’t get a word in while Ola offered her solutions to the world’s problems. She spoke like a proper little oracle, like the world’s leaders simply had to follow her suggestions and everything would be sorted. Josie couldn’t help but smile when Ola spilled some greasy cabbage from her fork onto her plush velvet dress.

 

When Roman brought the carp from the kitchen and set a plate in front of her, Josie recalled the live fish in the bath at Pete’s family’s flat: the ripples it made in the water, the languid movement of its fins. Pete and his family would be having their meal too, an empty space at the table where a week ago she’d sat.

Josie had hoped Pete might change her and show her another way to live. She’d allowed herself to get close to him because a part of her did want to change. Instead she’d ended up hurting him twice now. She’d been kidding herself, to imagine a relationship with someone so different could ever have worked.

Helena borrowed her daughter’s plate to cut the meaty fish into small, bite-size chunks for her. The emeralds in Ola’s earrings looked real. Weren’t they wasted, on a girl who couldn’t see?

‘You are not eating,’ observed Kogut.

‘I’m not hungry,’ Josie said. ‘I’ve had enough.’

‘You’ve been very quiet, Josephine.’ Ola spoke to her for the first time since they’d sat at the table. ‘Tell us about yourself.’

The invitation jolted Josie. ‘Like what?’

‘Do you study?’

‘No. I went to drama school, but I left it after a year.’

‘So do you work?’ Ola pressed.

‘I do some modelling.’

‘Oh, really? What kind?’

‘Magazines. Fashion magazines.’

‘What colour is your hair?’

‘Blonde.’

‘Oh, but it’s much darker than yours is, Ola,’ said the girl’s mother, returning her plate. ‘Bardzo ostry—’

‘Vivid,’ Roman translated.

‘Almost halfway towards red.’

Josie realised, if she did stay in Poland, she’d have to dye her hair to avoid being recognised. Maybe black would suit her.

‘… Josephine is very beautiful.’ Helena interrupted her thoughts. ‘Don’t you think so, Arkadiusz?’

Kogut took a long moment to reply, until Josie looked at him. ‘Yes, she is. Very.’

Ola struggled to capture an obstinate piece of fish on her fork. ‘But of course, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Rogue: A Valkyrie Tale

Publication date will be September 27, 2016
Size: 6×9
200 pages
Trade paperback
Price: 9.99

Clytie, a Valkyrie, finds herself questioning Odin’s orders when Psyche comes for a shape-shifting panther, Storm. He rescues Clytie from a giant and something inside of her changes. A spark ignites, triggering an emotion Valkyries are forbidden to experience. Following her new feelings, she turns her back on all she knows to be with Storm. However, she knows it’s only a matter of time before Odin puts a price on their heads. Odin furious with his Valkyrie for disobeying him, and proving the Well right, accepts the War is coming and Clytie will be the goddess who dethrones him, unless her sister stops her first.

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Tonya Coffey

Tonya Coffey lives in southern Kentucky with her husband and two teen boys. If she isn’t reading a fantasy novel with lots of action, you will find her sitting in front of a canvas painting the landscape which is so abundant around her home.

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giveaway-domains-hostingGiveaway

Starting today (September 23) and running until September 30, enter to win 1 signed paperback copy of Rogue.

Giveaway

Driven

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Driven (Warriors – 2) by Rebecca Royce

My name is Rachel Clancy. Forty-six years ago, life as humanity understood it ended. Armageddon. Well, that’s what we call it, anyway. What other term works as well to describe the day the Vampires and Werewolves slaughtered nearly all of humanity?

When Rachel Clancy turned sixteen, she inadvertently changed the lives of everyone around her. Now, six months later she has to figure out how to live with what has happened.

Sent back into the wilderness—this time with a new love—she will find herself face-to-face with two people she never thought to see again: the boy she thought she loved and the man who wanted to destroy her since birth. If Rachel can learn what drives her forward, there may be a chance for everyone to start again. If she fails, all is lost.

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My Review

5 stars

It is 6 months after Jason left Rachel and she is still hurting. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her heart and finds that she is attracted to Chad. But her vampire senses can tell that the vampires are tunneling into their compound. The decision is made to send Rachel and Chad to another facility, Liberty to call for help. On their way, both are captured by vampire loving humans. While waiting to be sacrificed, Rachel notices three werewolves with them and realizes that one is Jason. But there is no time to hash out their differences when she also realizes that there are warriors from Liberty and learns that the compound fell six months prior. The group escapes but get back to the compound and find that vampires and werewolves are inside and there is a huge loss of human lives.

I really enjoyed reading Initiation but Driven blows it out of the water. There is a great story with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Rachel has come a long way since we first met her in Initiation but she still blames herself for the loss of any life. I admit that I was pissed at Jason but when you hear his side you can kind of sort of understand.

If you like apocalyptic/dystopia stories with vampires and werewolves this is the series for you. I am super excited to see what happens next in Subversive.

To purchase Driven make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Rebecca Royce’s website. I have heard that she is in the process of changing publishers at the time of this review. If you don’t see the book available now, make sure to check back.

I received Driven for free from Candid Book Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Stealing the Light

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Stealing the Light (Dies Irae – 1) by Lisa Hofmann

The age of magic is over, and the hunt for the Unnaturals is on.

Two young people with the Curse grow up amid the chaos of a changing world. Catherine learns to survive on theft and manipulation. When she steals from the wrong man, she has to learn several lessons the hard way, but she will employ every last one of them to plan her revenge. On the other side of the forest, the secret community of the Cine take in a refugee boy from the Sudlands. Lorcan’s magical Abilities surpass all others, but the lad’s father brings tragedy upon the safe haven.

Murder and betrayal shape the lives of both Catherine and Lorcan as they become adults, but while one of the two sets about stealing the light, the other plunges headlong into the darkness.

Lisa Hofmann

Lisa Hofmann was born in Siegen, Germany, in 1975. She attended schools in Germany and in Ireland. After graduating, she worked for a large international wholesale company and as an interpreter for two years before she attended the University of Siegen.

During her time at university, she translated books and other writings for her professors of Educational Didactics and Anglistics, discovering her talent for handling words. She began writing medieval fantasy fiction in her late thirties while working as a teacher.

She still lives near her birthplace today with her husband, three children and a houseful of pets. She writes predominantly in English.

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My Review

5 Stars

This world has a touch of magic which is usually enough to mix potions and such. But two children are going to change everything. Catherine comes from a broken home and is more wild child than little girl. But she has the ability to see different times and to be over looked. She survives by stealing until she is caught. Then there is Lorcan, he is powerful but it’s how he uses his power that can save or destroy everything.

Between the beautiful cover and the blurb, I couldn’t wait to see how this book played out. After seeing how Catherine’s has grown up you can’t help but hope that things work out for her. It I hard watching Catherine as she steals to survive. Then she is caught things go from bad to worse and she is going to get her revenge.

This story is about the abuses we received in life and how it can shape us. It is beautifully written and draws you in. It was hard to put the book down and I ended up reading late into the morning. It was completely worth the loss of sleep. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. This is one book that I strongly recommend.

To purchase Stealing the Light make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Lisa Hofmann’s website.

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I received Stealing the Light for free from both Sage’s Blog Tours and a physical copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt – Prologue

A wispy, insubstantial thing was she, rawboned and filthy. Here one minute and gone the next, Catherine was a clever little weasel dodging the owl in that one mere moment of silence when darkest night surrendered to the first hope of dawn. Off she went, raggedy and on her bare feet, toward the forest and the hillside upon which the old castle ruins stood.

There was nothing like a good downpour to wash the grime off a child, the girl’s mother thought.

Maebh slouched in the doorway, wrapping a tattered shawl around her shoulders against the cool morning air. She watched her daughter disappear in the thicket between ropes of rain and the lower branches of old beech trees and elderberry bushes. Pretty was different, to Maebh’s mind, but that might change if Catherine ever got enough to eat when she was older and able to contribute to their household.

It was a shame the rain wouldn’t rinse away what was beneath the dirt. Catherine would never be good or even easy to handle. No amount of water could cleanse the polluted blood in her veins. She was a burden to them and always would be, and she was smart enough to know it.

“Damn that brat! Close the bloody door,” her father muttered.

Caleb had given Maebh several other children besides, but none of them had survived infancy, and now, there was only Catherine.

Turning over on the lumpy straw mattress in the corner by the hearth, he yawned and languidly scratched his backside. Then, he pulled their coarse blanket about him more snugly and went back to sleep. Getting up would have been pointless. He had nowhere to be. No one had died in their nameless little village over the last days, so there were no graves to be dug today.

Maebh was sure he’d deal with Catherine later and give her a good whacking when she came home if he was still sober then, and if Catherine actually did come home. One of these days she wouldn’t, the still-young woman was certain. Times were tough, and evil bred danger in these woods.

She shuddered and closed the door, and Catherine ran.

Smoke and Mirrors

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Smoke and Mirrors (Blackhollow Academy – 1) by Jess Haines

A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight….

Jess Haines

Jess Haines

I’m a displaced New Yorker with a penchant for the silly, the obscure, and the fantastical. These days, you can find me in the Tampa area. I’m currently working on the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series and the Blackhollow Academy young adult/new adult contemporary fantasy series. Find out more about my books, drop me a line, or join my mailing list at www.jesshaines.com!

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My Review

4 Stars

Kimberly is a sorcerer in a mages world. Sorcerers have been killed and supposed to not exist and Kimberly is trying her hardest to keep it that way. But she is poor and can’t really go anywhere until she graduates from Blackhollow Academy. For her final she needs to find a familiar. Unfortunately she is unable to summon or create one, she is going to have to find a powerful, supernatural creature and convince them to be bound to her. But who in their right mind would agree to that?

Enter Cormac. Kimberly is told to talk with him, he might be able to help her. The thing is Cormac is a dragon and not about to be bound. But the more they go through together, they seem to have a connection. But is that connection going to convince Cormac to be bound?

I love Jess Haines H&W Investigations series and when I learned that she wrote a new series I couldn’t be more excited to review Smoke and Mirrors. We are back in the Other world but not the same place. I liked both Kimberly and Cormac. Kimberly is tougher than she gives herself credit for. Cormac is an alpha male without those annoying caveman, possessive traits that are so irritating.

I loved the story. I admit that I would have liked a little more information about why sorcerers were killed earlier in the story. Plus I was irritated with Cormac in the last half of the book trying to apologize for not telling Kimberly sooner, but with that information falling into the wrong hands can you blame him? Suck it up man, you were trying to protect yourself. But beyond that I did really enjoy this book. I will definitely be looking for book two in this series.

To purchase Smoke and Mirrors make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks, and Libary Things.

I received Smoke and Mirrors for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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EXCERPT: SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Blackhollow Academy – Book 1

By Jess Haines

Viper made a soft hissing sound of irritation between his teeth, pulling back from her. “Cormac has no vision. I know what I want and I’m prepared to offer anything to get it. You have but to ask.”

Well. There was one thing. Her cheeks flared crimson and she squirmed a bit before stuttering out another question, swallowing back her embarrassment.

“You keep a hoard like a dragon, right? I don’t suppose you would consider loaning me a little? I swear I’d pay it back.”

His head tipped to one side, and he looked her up and down anew. She suspected he was just noticing her frayed cuffs and cheap shoes. He’d been so intent on getting whatever it was he wanted out of her that he hadn’t paid attention to the package it came in until now. When she caught the very slight curl of his lip, there and gone in a flash, embarrassed heat filled her cheeks.

Feeling both dirty and humiliated, she ducked her head. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have asked. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this.”

“Come now, I’m sure it’s not that hard. All it takes is a yes.”

“No,” she said, this time with a bit more vehemence. Cormac was right. There was something off about Viper, and never mind what a perfect ass she’d just made of herself. Worst of all, that flash of disgust showed he obviously had no respect for her. At least Cormac never made her feel tolerated. “Thank you for the offer, but I’ll find some other way of getting what I need.”

He slowly rose to stand, heaving a sigh as he settled back on his heels.

“That’s unfortunate. This would have been much easier if you had agreed.”

Kimberly would have asked what he meant by that, but the look in his eyes froze her in place.

His eyes burned a molten gold as he spread his arms, which were expanding and shifting at an alarming rate. Faster than she might have thought possible, he was growing, his clothing melting and skin disappearing under a layer of metallic scales. Nearby, people were noticing, shouting and screaming in fear as they stampeded in every direction to escape the shapechanging Other in their midst.

When he ceased growing, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, he was over thirty feet long, with a wingspan half again that size.

Kimberly sat immobile, unable to so much as squeak in terror as the beast before her lurched back to arch its neck and spread its wings, barbed tail lashing as it growled at her. One thick, talon-tipped paw lashed out, flattening her on the grass and squeezing the air out of her lungs. It gave an awkward, one-legged hop forward to catch its balance before clenching its claws to dig deep furrows in the grass and close around her waist and legs, pinning her.

Then those wide, ribbed wings began to flap, the sun playing off the tones of brass and copper and gold. The ground fell away, people scattering before the airborne monster.

And Kimberly could do nothing but pray, staring up at this great beast that had her in its claws.

She’d gotten what she’d asked for. Now she would have to pay the price.