Friday, October 24, 2014

#SpankorTreat: Under Her Spell


SPANK OR TREAT 2014

Spank or Treat 2014 is finally here! Visit GoverningAna for the prize list, sign-up sheet, and full instructions. You can win from a prize pool valued at over $1,000, including a Kindle Fire or Nook HD donated by Blushing Books!

Many authors will also offer a contest on their individual blogs.  Your comment on their blogs enters you in both contests! 

How do you play?
  • Visit each blog between Friday, October 24th and Sunday, October 26th to read the stories.
  •  Leave a comment on each blog. You must demonstrate that you have read the entire story. Copy-and-paste or inappropriate comments will be disqualified. You will receive one entry per blog for the grand prize drawing. Note: You must have a minimum of five entries in order to win a grand prize. 
  • If you have visited all of the blogs, visitAna’s blog to sign up for FIVE bonus entries to the grand prize. 
  • Deadline is midnight EST (UTC -5) on Sunday, October 26th!
  • If you successfully completed a previous challenge (Sci Spanks 2014, Love Spanks 2014, Spank or Treat 2013, Spankee Doodle 2013, Love Spanks 2013, or Spank or Treat 2012), you may add “VIP” to your comments.  You will earn THREE bonus entries toward the grand prize.  (Yes, we will be doing this again.  Yes, if you successfully complete the Spank or Treat 2014 challenge you can become a VIP for our next activity!) 
  • If you are a writer of fiction (any kind), add “W” to your comments to be entered in the special author prize drawings. 
  • If you are a Spank or Treat 2014 Ambassador, please add “Amb” to your comments to receive your extra prize drawing. 
  • Visit Governing Ana or any of the participating blogs on Friday, October 31st to find out the lucky winners. Will it be you? We will also announce prizes on the Spank or Treat Facebook page.

Like these events? Want to support your favorite authors? Become a Spank or Treat Ambassador! In exchange for promoting this event, you will receive one extra prize entry, AND you are still eligible to participate and win prizes! To find out the details, sign up on the Ambassador page or message Ameliah Faith on Facebook.

For more information, updates, and a list of participating authors, please visit Anastasia Vitsky’s blog.
  • Like Spank or Treat on Facebook!
  • Tweet #SpankOrTreat on Twitter!
  • Join the exclusive chat with Spank or Treat authors! Message Anastasia Vitsky on Facebook or any of the authors to receive an invitation
For more spanking fun, visit Saturday Spankings for additional snippets.


Okay, now to the good stuff. As promised, you get a story to read and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card at the end. But first, here's Under Her Spell.

UNDER HER SPELL

Phinnius Winterbourne tried to throttle the overwhelming envy curling through him as he watched his elder brother Darius chasing his adoptive daughters in the grassy clearing behind the millhouse. Phinn wished he could be the one running.
I am running. Only it wasn’t his brother who chased him.
With a morgira after him, a powerful tracker demon kept by the Winter Court to find wayward members, visiting his brother hadn’t exactly been a stroke of genius.
Even if I’m not technically a member of the Winter Court.
The Winter Queen didn’t see it that way, not with their father’s blood running through their veins. Apparently, the association hadn’t ended with the senior Winterbourne’s death, and now Phinn had brought the demon to his brother’s door.
My intellectual prowess is a marvel.
He retreated from his brother’s happiness, shaking his headand ran straight into the most silent woman he’d ever met.
“By the Goddess, I’m sorry!”
Phinn managed to catch her before she fell to the ground in an ungainly mess, but a frisson of awareness shot through him the moment he touched her. The scents of pumpkin spice and sun-baked leaves suffused his nose as he met a pair of eyes as blue as his own. An immediate sense of home and belonging filled his heart with yearning, and it broke free in a moan.
“Are you all right?”
A melodious contralto voice flowed over him and washed away some of his tension as if it had never been. Wait, I nearly knocked her over, and she’s asking me if I’m all right?
“Of course, mistress. Forgive me for nearly knocking you down.” He took a step back before he released her, curiously reluctant to let go. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“Nope. It’s my fault for sneaking up on you.” She tilted her head and a tendril of hair the color of golden wheat escaped from her hood. “Who are you and what are you doing hiding in the woods?”
Phinnius raised his eyebrows at her direct boldness, but she met his gaze frankly.
“I’m Phinnius Winterbourne, brother to Darius Winterbourne.” He inclined his head and gave his best charming smile.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Winterbourne. If Darius is your brother, why are you skulking in the woods?” The woman raised an eyebrow of her own.
I do believe I’ve lost my touch. “I decided that perhaps my presence would be more of a hardship than a blessing. And who might you be?”
“I’m a friend of Sabrina Winterbourne.” She raised her chin.
“And your name is?”
“None of your business. If you’re just passing through, get along, lil doggy. Time’s a’wastin’ and Samhain’s approachin’.” She waved her hands at him as if to shoo him off. “Off you go, now.”
Phinn gaped at her. Was he really being dismissed by a woman no taller than his chin? “Tell me your name first, mistress.”

****

Kendra MacGillivray had met many cheeky men in her time, but the tall, dark-haired beauty with sapphire blue eyes took the cake. Or maybe it’s the come-hither eyes, long hair, and leather jacket that’s doing it. Whatever it was, he wore arrogance like a comfortable suit. He smelled like vanilla, the sweetly spicy scent of Ponderosa pine trees in the sunshine, and she reminded herself men didn’t like women sniffing after them like bitches in heat.
And if they do, they aren’t worth it.
“You can call me Kendra. Now, off you go.”
The tall warrior with the heavy sword over his shoulder gave her a sardonic smile, but bowed. “As you wish, Mistress.”
All the hair stood up on the back of her neck as the fetid scents of rotting wine and old sex hit her nose. Phinnius froze and lost his smile. Sweet glory, what is it? Swallowing against the gag reflex, Kendra shifted sideways, presenting her back to neither the man nor whatever approached through the underbrush.
“Aw, hellfire.” Phinnius yanked the sword off his back with a metallic hiss and settled into a battle stance.
“What the hell is that?”
Kendra fought bile back down her throat as she took in a creature resembling a cross between a panther and a dragon. A ridge of fins from each vertebra protruded along the back and tail, and oddly jointed limbs ended in long, sharp claws. Black lips drew back as it hissed.
“Stay back, Mistress Kendra. This demon is here for me.”
“Oh, that’s comforting.” The demon’s glowing green eyes shifted from Phinnius to her, and it licked its slavering jaws.
“I promise I won’t let it hurt you.”
Good luck with that. Kendra settled her mind to gather the life energy around her. Magic wasn’t an alien forceit came from the living beings inhabiting the world. The creature held some of the same energy, but it appeared tangled or kinked, breaking the flow.
Kendra took a deep breath and built a ball of power in her mind’s eye as the creature crouched, its hindquarters wiggling in a prelude to pounce. The spell she had in mind wouldn’t harm the beast, but it would contain and heal some of the conflicting energy paths.
Phinnius moved into her line of fire and she growled. “Get out of the way. I don’t want to hit you.”
“Hit me? With what? I’m the one with the sword. Just stay back and I’ll protect you.” He kept his eyes on the snarling animal.
Arrogant man. Goddess only knew what a defensive spell like this would do to him if he stood in the way. He didn’t have completely human energy and this power was her own special recipe.
“I don’t need protecting, Mr. Winterbourne. I just need you stay to the side, okay?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“And you don’t know a damn thing about me, so please just get out of the way.”
Phinnius ignored her and she swallowed her frustration as she stepped to his other side. The demon’s eyes tracked her movement. A gurgling growl rumbled from its throat as she brought her hands up into position. She met its gaze, judging the next perfect moment.
Apparently, Phinnius waited for the same moment because he leapt at the creature with a yell, swinging his blade. The creature snarled and lashed out with its tail. The spiked limb caught Phinnius in the side and threw him into a tree with a resounding thud.
Kendra swore and ducked as the demon swiped at her with one clawed hand, destroying her concentration. She threw herself into a roll and thanked her lucky stars for self-defense training. Her shoulder slammed into a tree trunk, but otherwise she escaped without harm.
When she rose, Phinnius stood with the creature between them. Ah hell, he’s in the way again. Her shoulder screamed a protest, but she gritted her teeth and crept through the trees to find a better position.

****

Bloody hell, the morgira had strength like a juggernaut. Phinn’s head rang as he staggered to his feet and scanned the clearing. The demon twisted its sinuous body to face Kendra, growling. The boney tail twitched back and forth with ire as it fixated on her.
“Don’t let it touch you.” He didn’t know if his voice carried, but the demon’s attention shifted to him with a baleful look.
Right back at you. Phinn took a fighting stance, ignoring the stabbing pain of his ribs. Dammit, either something’s out of joint or broken. He swallowed a groan and waved his sword. “Over here, you scaly menace.”
The morgira snarled, its lips pulling back from long, needle-like teeth. The green eyes flashed malice, but the demon swung back to Kendra when she moved. Phinn swore under his breath and sheathed his sword to free his hands.
The demon crouched again, preparing to leap, and Phinn gathered his strength. He couldn’t let it take Kendra. “Mistress Kendra, get behind the trees.”
The morgira’s ears swiveled toward him, but it kept its focus on the woman.
“Just stay out of the way, Mr. Winterbourne.” Her hands cupped something he couldn’t see. Little flashes illuminated her face and she dropped her gaze to them, just as the beast lunged.
Phinn hurled himself at the morgira to throw it off course, plowing into the beast with a move reminiscent of an American football tackle. The demon shrieked, dragging Phinn with it as it slammed into Kendra. It snapped at Phinn, sharp teeth tearing at his arm.
Pain bloomed in his shoulder and side as the world lit up in brilliant golden light. The demon’s shriek mixed with a feminine battle cry, and Phinn closed his eyes against the brilliance. A hollow-sounding pop echoed through the trees and something jerked his body. He held onto the demon with all his strength as they slammed into a hard surface, and the darkness swallowed his consciousness.

****

Kendra screamed when the demon leaped at her, half battle cry, half protest. Phinnius attacked the beast just as she threw her spell, and the magic exploded over all of them, lighting the world in a fireball. Kendra went down under the mass and stench of the creature Phinnius held, praying he’d be all right as she blacked out.
Gasping, Kendra sat up. Where the hell am I? The world wore a mantle of snow and ice, bare tree branches scratching the gray sky. A thick blanket of silence surrounded the impact crater of their arrival.
Something whimpered nearby, sounding like a distressed dog. Warm breath smelling of rancid meat filled her nose as a soft muzzle nudged her side. Kendra turned her head and met the green-gold gaze of the demon.
Oh, sweet Goddess.
The creature whined and nudged her again, flattening its ears in a good impression of supplication. Kendra blinked. She leaned back out of its breath and shook her head. This can’t be right. Where’s Phinnius?
She spotted him on his side in the snow, his arms splayed out in front of him. Kendra scrambled up to check if he breathed. Small puffs of steam showed in front of his nose and mouth, and relief cascaded through her as she crouched beside him. Thank the Goddess.
“I have to get him out of the snow.” Kendra’s voice startled her, almost as much as the demon’s curious presence, sniffing at the man. “And just what do you want?”
The beast whined again and head-butted her shoulder as if begging for reassurance. She stared at the animal, its short furred hide gleaming asphalt-gray in the wan light.
“Hey, what happened to your bones?” Taut skin covered the demon from head to tail and its energy flowed in smooth lines. The beast bumped her again. “And why aren’t you trying to rip my throat out?”
The demon mewled and sniffed at Phinnius, before returning its green-gold gaze to her. Its ears twitched and she caught new sounds echoing through the snowy woods. Kendra scanned the snowy clearing as the hair on the back of her neck rose. Something headed their way, and she doubted it would be pleasant.
“Come on, Mr. Winterbourne. We gotta get out of here.” Kendra leaned over Phinnius’s head, trying not to enjoy the warm vanilla scent of his clothes and hair. “Mr. Winterbourne.” She shook him and he groaned. “Great.”
She rolled him onto his back, crossed his legs one over the other at the ankles, and grasped him under the armpits. She used her strength to drag his inert body deeper into the trees. Kendra stopped and crouched behind some thick shrubs with the demon beside her just as riders on impossibly tall, slender horses jogged past.
Each rider wore a helm with snowflakes imprinted in the metal and pointed ears stuck out from beneath flaxen hair. Kendra swallowed hard and glanced at her creature companion.
“I don’t know who they were, but I don’t think we’re in Colorado anymore.”

THE END for now...

So there you have it. This is just the first scene in a longer tale entitled The Samhain Soldier, coming out in 2015 from Three Lakes Books. It's a sequel to The Beltane Witch.


Magic, mayhem, and motherhood… a witch’s work is never done, but Sabrina draws the line at the Fae.

After almost two decades as a practicing witch in Cloudburst, Colorado, Sabrina Foxglove is done with men, magic, and the fertility rituals of High Beltane. She’s dealt with all three before and ended up with a young daughter and no partner. Twice. She’s looking forward to a magic-free May Day, with nothing more exciting than making brownies for a kindergarten class and decorating a May Pole. She definitely doesn’t have time for a handsome, Fae-touched man.

After almost two centuries as the human chamberlain to the Fae’s Summer Court, Darius Winterbourne is a man accustomed to getting his way. So when the Summer Queen tasks him with finding a witch to perform the annual rituals and strengthen the ancient warding magicks, he figures it should be easy. He doesn’t expect Sabrina’s hardheaded refusal, her untrained abilities, or his attraction to her. With less than a week to Beltane, he must gain Sabrina’s trust before he loses his home, his position…and his heart.

To have a chance to win my $10 Amazon Gift Card, please leave a comment with your name and email address or Twitter handle with the answer to this question: If you could have any kind of guardian pet like Kendra's morgira demon, what would you choose? You must be 18 years or older to win, please void where prohibited. Good luck and thanks for playing. Happy reading!

#ThursThreads - Week 141 - Winners


Week 141 of #ThursThreads had some terrific tales. I'm honored to see all of the returning writers and read your stories. Thank you for coming back again and again to write and for helping me celebrate these years of flash. Great thanks to Sasha White for judging this week. Be sure to check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction group on FB to keep up with news, etc.

Entries:
  • Charley Emma | @lindorfan
  • Silver James | @SilverJames_
  • Anna Lund | @AnnaLund2011
  • Sheilagh Lee | @SweetSheil
  • Siobhan Muir | @SiobhanMuir
  • Kelly Heinen | @Aightball
  • Cara Michaels | @caramichaels

Winners Announcement:

Honorable Mentions

Anna Lund | @AnnaLund2011
Sasha says: Imaginative, and told a story in 100 words. I got a picture of things, and knew what wasahappening. Good Job!

Kelly Heinen | @Aightball
Sasha says: Great job turning an everyday occurrence into a dramatic piece of fiction. I think you should send this to Jill Shalvis or post on her page….She’s a fan of spiders. :)

Week 141 Winner


Sasha says: I’m not normally a fan of anything poetry like, but this one amused me. I loved the rhythm of it, and it sort of reminded me of who I felt when I was in school.  Add this, divide that, pencils scribbling, and eerie silence. It’s probably not what you were thinking when you wrote it, but good writing evokes different things for different readers. Good Job!

What's that you say?
You want me to write what?
I would have to pay what?
Goodness it's hot!

Eye's dart around the room
Heads are bent busily
Effortlessly scribbling with aplomb
Pencils scribing their words wisely

Footsteps sounding behind
Head bends quickly
Eyes' focus wildly and find
Lines blurring wickedly

Are they multiplying?
Add this divide by that!
Question after question flying.
Checked the clock and sat.

Oh goodness me, of course!
I was blinded by panic
Screaming myself silently hoarse
Scribbling against the clock satanic

Pencils stop scribbling
Finger's stop tapping
An eerie silence descending
Nothing is multiplying

Congratulations Winner Charley, Anna, and Kelly! Don't forget to claim your badges and display them with pride. You certainly earned it!

Pass on the great news on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, shiny mirrors, Morse Code, and signal flags. Check out all the stories here. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 141


Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday today so get your flash ready to celebrate and write a #flashfiction thread! Welcome to Week 141 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? You're welcome to join the FB #ThursThreads group where we'll do events and make announcements. Need the rules? Read on.

Here's how it works:
  • The prompt is a line from the previous week's winning tale.
  • The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
Rules to the Game:
  • This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
  • Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
  • Post your story in the comments section of this post
  • Include your word count (or be excluded from judging)
  • Include your Twitter handle or email (so we know how to find you)
  • The challenge is open 7 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time
  • The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up.
How it benefits you:
  • You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we're all about promotion - you know you are!)
  • You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
  • Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus

Our Judge for Week 141:

World traveler, recovering bartender, and erotic romance author, Sasha White.



And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“Are they multiplying?”

All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck!