Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Just wanted to thank everyone who made Rising Darkness #3 at iTunes this morning.  Thank you! (((hugs))) 



I loved writing book 8. So now, it's time to start book 9! 



Monday, November 12, 2018

Rising Darkness by Chrissy Peebles Releases November 14th!


Rising Darkness

The Vampire and Werewolf Chronicles
Book 8


Chrissy Peebles





Copyright 2018 Chrissy Peebles
  
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.
  

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.



Chapter 1

I took all three of my dogs for a quick walk outside before I left to get a bite to eat with Beth and Julie. We hadn’t done lunch in a long time and we were eager to catch up. It was a last-minute idea we came up with while chatting on the phone. The birds chirped and the sun shone brightly. Suddenly, my dogs took off across the well-manicured lawn. I’d give them a couple of minutes before reigning them back in. So I sat down on a concrete bench and enjoyed the lush garden that burst with vibrant color all around me. I loved the gorgeous fragrance, it was like I was running in a field of flowers. The fountain and reflective pool Al had installed were so calming, tranquil, and relaxing.
My gaze drifted off in front of me. I stared at my magnificent castle. I couldn’t believe how happy I was. While fairytale castles are more often associated with medieval Europe, I had my very own right here in the good old USA. I lived in a safe, impregnable fortress that had stood longer than the United States had been established. I was truly blessed. Slayer barked. I laughed as my dogs gleefully romped and rolled around in the soft grass to their heart’s content.
I’ve never been so happy.
I sent a text to Logan, then looked down at the time on my phone. I better get the dogs back in and check on Beth.
When I stepped back inside, I called up the stairs to Beth. “Are you ready yet?” 
“Almost.”
“C’mon, girl. It shouldn’t take this long.”
“That long? You only told me we’re heading to lunch what, twenty minutes ago?”
“A little spontaneity never hurt anyone,” I hollered up at her with a shrug.
“Don’t lecture me about being come-what-may. You know the things I’ve seen! I’ll be down in a minute.”
“Okay.”
“Hey, did you let your hubby know you’re going to lunch?”
“He’s helping Mr. Peterson put up some drywall in his shop in town. The poor guy is seventy years old and doesn’t have anyone to give him a hand.”
“Aw. That fella of yours is a saint,” she said.
A grin spread across my face. “And that’s why I love him.”
A flash of yellow light brightened the room as our friend teleported in. “Hello, ladies!”
My little dog, Slayer, barked as his nails clicked across the marble floor. My hellhounds just wagged their tails. They all greeted Julie with a warm welcome.
I rushed over and gave her a hug. “Julie! It’s so great to see you.”
“It’s wonderful to see you too.”
“Hmm,” I said, staring curiously at her camouflage attire. “Is this some sort of new trend I didn’t know about?”
“Oh. About that…” she said, looking down at herself.
Before she could finish her explanation of the military garb, Beth walked in wearing a cute dress with ruffles, looking like she’d just stepped off an episode of Overgrown Toddlers and Tiaras.
“Uh, I’m sorry, but that frilly frou-frou is just not gonna work,” Julie said, shaking her head.
Beth frowned. “Why not, Miss G.I. Jane?”
My brow raised. “What, exactly, do you have planned? I was told we were just going to grab a quick bite somewhere in town.”
She handed us some power bars. “There’s been a change of plans. So here’s a snack.”
“But I wanted real food.”
Beth smirked. “What was that you just told me? A little spontaneity never hurt anyone.”
“Hush, you,” I scolded, pretending to be irritated.
“No worries, girls. Munch on these snacks. We can get a bite afterward.”
“After what?” Beth said with a nervous laugh.
“Oh, nothing much, just a little raid,” Julie said.
This time Beth sighed. “Look, my stomach’s growling, and I’m dressed to kill in this cute little number I found at that boutique. I’m not doing any raids unless it’s a boxer shorts raid at the local frat house.”
Julie laughed. “It’s not exactly fitting for taking down a house deep in the woods and arresting all the occupants.”
“Arresting them? What for?”
“They’re vamps who’ve been feasting on humans, breaking immortal law. The Council thought it might be good for both of you to accompany us, for a little training and experience.”
“I’m intrigued,” she said. “Let me just change really quick.”
“Change quickly? That’ll be the day,” I whispered to Julie.
“Hey! I heard that,” Beth said before she ran up the stairs. “I may not be immortal, but my ears still work, you know.”
I laughed and clapped Julie on the shoulder. “I’ll be right back,” I said. I then hurried upstairs to my room, threw my hair into a high ponytail, and changed out of my little skort and tank and into my trusty camouflage skinny jeans and boots. When I ran into Beth in the hallway, she was wearing an army-green jacket, black skinny jeans, boots, and a hat.
“Much better, you two. Now you really are dressed to kill!” Julie said.
We said goodbye to our furry friends, then we were transported to California, where we were briefed about the upcoming mission.
***
Lunch was definitely postponed. The next thing I knew, I was lying on my belly in the bushes, peering through the riflescope and watching for any signs of movement in the house in front of us. I felt like some sort of military sniper. I’d even been fitted with a bulletproof vest, and I had a tactical earpiece headset to allow me to eavesdrop.
“Got satellite on the house?” a voice asked.
“Yep. Our drone’s up and running, and there are definitely signs of life in there.”
“You sure about that?” the voice said. “I mean, technically speaking, vamps are—”
“Yeah, yeah. You know what I mean.”
“Anyway, how many?”
“Four total, one on the south side, two on the east, and another on the west…er. Hold up. They’re moving. Looks like they’re movin’ the party to the living room.”
“The living room? Nice.”
“Very funny…but there’s nothin’ nice about it. We’ve been made!”
“All right. Proceed as planned.”
I peeked through the bushes and watched a smoke grenade sail through the air, right into the open window of the family room.
“Go time, girlies,” Julie said, then tapped Beth and me and motioned for us to follow her.
With weapons drawn, we crept behind her.
Julie pointed at the door. “Sophie, why don’t you do the honors?”
I nodded and grinned, then gave it a swift kick, splintering it down the center. Sometimes, I didn’t know my own strength. But I was super strong, maybe even stronger than one of these immortals here with us.  
Once again, Julie took the lead and leapt in, sweeping her gun back and forth in the smoky house. With my heart racing, I followed, with Beth right behind me. Windows crashed, and more immortals from our team flew in, bursting through the smog and commotion. Shards of glass peppered the floors.
“Watch out!” Julie yelled, giving me a shove to save me from doom as glass flew past me.
With a shuddering breath, I stumbled against the wall. “Thanks. That was a close one,” I said.
More gunfire filled the air, coming from friends and enemies alike. Chunks of plaster separated from the wall, and screams echoed around me. I blinked and coughed, trying not to inhale too much of the sulfuric stench.
While I was trying to breathe and ignore the burning sensation in my eyes in the aftermath of another explosion of bullets next to me, a vampire pounced. The undead thing growled like some rabid beast as it savagely bit the neck of a nearby police officer. Beth’s ammo hit it more than once, but it was too strong and powerful to be taken down so easily, and it quickly turned its attention to her. Fearing the worst, I ran over to help, but by the time I got there, Beth had everything under control and emptied her clip into the vampire. It fell down, twitching, then closed its eyes.
A burst of machine gunfire was next on the menu. Fortunately for everyone on my side, I could give Superman a run for his money when it came to being faster than a speeding bullet. I simply held up my hands, and the shells stopped in midair, then clattered to the floor.
While I was disarming the spray of gunfire, strong arms wrapped around me and lifted me high in the air. Before I could even turn to see who it was, I was flying over the table and crashing into a mirror. Stunned, and with pain filling my body, I jumped to my feet. My head spun, and I couldn’t seem to force my eyes to focus.
The thudding of heavy boots and the crunch of glass underfoot alerted me that someone or something else was coming my way. I squinted through the swirling smoke and made out a man with long, red hair and razor-sharp teeth. With a look of disgust on his face, he raised his automatic rifle at me and fired. As a shiver ran up my spine, I threw up a wall of energy to defend myself. I was highly relieved when the bullet bounced back and embedded itself deep in the wall.
Furious, the redheaded vampire picked up the table, as if it weighed nothing at all, and violently swung it around in the air. His wicked gaze never left me, not even when he sidestepped to avoid the blazing energy ball I hurled his way. The wall exploded behind him when the fireball hit, but I concentrated on conjuring up another one. I took better aim with the second onslaught, and that time, I didn’t miss; with all the accuracy of an NFL quarterback, I knocked that creature right on his end zone, slamming him into the china cabinet.
“Drop your weapon!” Julie shouted at him. “Now!” Then, as soon as he complied, she threw the vampire up against the wall and cuffed him.
I was on my way over to help her with the brute when a woman came out of nowhere and clamped her hand around my throat. Her black nails were so long that I felt them graze my earlobes, and she came at me with such momentum that it sent us both rolling, till we collided with the dining room table. I lifted my arm and threw a fireball at her, and she let out the scream of a banshee in labor as she flew back and connected with the wall.

End of sample. 

Rising Darkness releases November 14th, 2018. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies! OH MY!


Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies! OH MY! 

These are my four most popular series. If you love paranormal romance or zombies, then be sure to check out one of these great series below!  

Did I mention that the first book in each series is FREE!?

Check out The Crush Saga Book Trailer below: 

***
The Crush Sagahttps://www.amazon.com/Crush-Saga-9-Book/dp/B01BP0TMKC

A fantasy romance with paranormal elements. 
Enchanting romance. 
FREE Paranormal Romance Series Starter!

Jump into this adrenaline-packed, supernatural thriller from USA TODAY bestselling author Chrissy Peebles.


 The Crush Saga (a 9 book series)

Synopsis of the series:

I was born to die... But to defy fate is to control your own destiny. Little did I know that I was entering a world of ritual and magic and that my blood needed to be spilled so the witches’ legacy could be complete.

Vampires. Witches. Werewolves. Supernatural Creatures. Dramatic Revelations. A Ritual Sacrifice. Ancient Artifacts. A Cold-hearted Serial Killer. Spilled Blood. Secrets. A Hidden Heritage. A Love So Deep. Supernatural Bloodlust. A Dangerous Curse. An Uneasy Alliance With A Dangerous Vampire.

Legends of vampires and shape-shifters have been around for centuries, so Taylor Sparks isn’t too worried when the rumors start to fly. When Taylor learns secrets that are beyond terrifying, they threaten to destroy her entire world. She is born to die... But to defy fate is to control your own destiny.

She warns her crush to leave. But how do you forget someone who is aligned with your soul? They fight against the witches, the vampires, and the werewolves. They know the consequences. They know the risk. But they don't care. Nothing will get in the way of these two star-crossed lovers.

Taylor finds out she’s a KEY player in a dangerous game created 1,000 years ago that will give the witches and werewolves the upper hand against the vampires. Blood will be spilled and secrets will be revealed in this action-packed thrill ride and paranormal romance.

Will Taylor dive into a paranormal world she knows nothing about to be with the one her heart can’t live without? Or will her life spiral out of control when she learns her blood is needed, just the serum necessary to lift an ancient curse from a group of supernatural beings and give the witches back their magic? Werewolves will serve as her guardians and protect her until the first full moon of the new year, the night of her sacrifice…

Will she accept her destiny?

Or will she refuse to let evil swallow her up?

“Be resilient!”

“Never give up!”

 “Be strong and courageous!”

“Be a champion!”

“Be you.”

“Stand tough.”

Life is a struggle…but keep fighting!

When life and death were on the line, Taylor Sparks didn’t become a victim, she became a WARRIOR.

I was born to die... But to defy fate is to control your own destiny. Little did I know that I was entering a world of ritual and magic and that my blood needed to be spilled so the witches’ legacy could be complete.

***


A werewolf bent on revenge joins forces with a woman who is a secret weapon to destroying his enemy. 





Never pretend to be a princess.

Never marry a stranger...even if he is a drop dead gorgeous immortal king.

 And most importantly...never slip on an ancient wedding ring you know nothing about.

Sarah Larker returns to a cave where her sister disappeared ten years earlier. She walks through a portal, and is mistaken for a runaway princess by a dangerous immortal king in medieval times. Her plan is bold as well as daring; become this princess, wed the king, and slip on an ancient wedding ring that will unlock the portal back home. Then find her sister, and run as fast as she can out of Dodge. But taking on the identity of Princess Gloria comes along with dangerous consequences; and slipping on the ruby ring comes with an even higher price.

This is a paranormal romance, fantasy adventure, and time travel novel.



 The Zombie Chronicles: https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Chronicles-9-Book/dp/B071YN9BVW

Here is the book trailer: https://youtu.be/ociUHiL1g70

Jump into this action filled, adrenaline-packed, thrilling series from USA TODAY bestselling author Chrissy Peebles.

The Zombie Chronicles is a young adult dystopian thriller for fans of The Walking Dead and Hollowland (The Hollows, #1) by Amanda Hocking. Readers who love horror, zombies, and action-based survival stories will love this gripping YA adventure.

Each chronicle will feature Dean's struggles as he tries to survive in this new world. And thus the name, The Zombie Chronicles.

Welcome to the Apocalypse Infection Unleashed Series.

Book 1 – The Zombie Chronicles
Book 2 – Race for the Cure
Book 3 – Deadly City
Book 4 – Poisonous Serum
Book 5 – Undead Nightmare
Book 6 – Revelation
Book 7 – Trepidation
Book 8 – Impact
Book 9 – Siege
Book 10 – Val

Val was bitten by a zombie and now she’s scheduled for lethal injection. Breaking all the rules, eighteen year old, Dean Walters snags an experimental serum. But it can’t be tested until Val turns into a zombie: something authorities won’t allow. Her execution is scheduled to happen before transformation is complete, giving Dean only hours to break her out.

When their helicopter crashes straight into the heart of Zombie Land, his rescue mission becomes a fight for survival…and giving up on Val is NOT an option.




Tag words: Fans of Amanda Hocking, Richelle Mead, Stephenie Meyer, Bella Forrest, L.J. Smith will love this young adult paranormal romance series by Chrissy Peebles.
This is a free, paranormal, young adult, vampire romance. 
 Enchanting romance!
From bestselling author Chrissy Peebles comes a paranormal romance, dark fantasy, and urban fantasy perfect for fans of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and A Shade of Vampire.
Keywords: urban fantasy, gothic, free, freebie, free ebook, free romance, free vampire, free romance ebook, free fantasy book, free dark fantasy, free lycan, free werewolf, free romance book, paranormal, vampire,   quick read,  short, serial, romance, free romance books, free romance book, romance, free, freebie, free book, free ebook, free romance ebook, free romance book, free romance novel, free book, free romance books, free fantasy, free paranormal, teen, young adult, vampire love story, vampires, young adult reads, contemporary crushes, werewolves, witches, dark fantasy, supernatural, The Vampire & Werewolf Chronicles
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Monday, June 25, 2018

Sneak Peek at Blessed Union - Book 7 - The Vampire & Werewolf Chronicles


Wanna a sneak peek at book 7? Blessed Union releases August 1, 2018. 



Blessed Union
The Vampire and Werewolf Chronicles
Book 7


Chrissy Peebles



Copyright 2018 Chrissy Peebles

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.







Chapter 1

The cardio alone from the constant movement and all that boxing made for a mega-intense workout. We jumped rope, jogged, did knee lifts and butt kicks, then worked on magic and a little fencing, followed by making like Jack Be Nimble and jumping over an obstacle course of cones in the courtyard. We even ran laps through the rungs of a ladder laid in the lush grass.
“Follow the sway of the bag like it’s a moving opponent,” Dylan, my tiger shapeshifting instructor, said.
I punched with all my might, then kicked it just for good measure, but I couldn’t move without panting. “I’m beat,” I confessed between heaving breaths.
“We’re almost done for the day,” Dylan said.
“Sure thing, Boss,” I said, wiping the sweat from my brow with my equally sweaty arm. “I bet by now, I could give any Marine recruit or NFL draftee a run for his money.”
 “Do I sense a little hostility from you?”
“Gee, I don’t know. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you held back when we were sparring earlier.”
“Listen, I know I’ve pushed you hard today, but—”
“That’s putting it lightly!” I interrupted. “If you ask me, it seems a little…personal.”
“No, by no means. I cannot afford to mess around and let emotions get in the way. I have to be hard on you if you are going to have any chance to survive out there. That’s precisely why Tabby hired me. Not to sound arrogant, but I know what I’m doing, and I’ll do what it takes to make you the best there is.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I said with a roll of my eyes and a dismissive wave of my hand. “You’ve trained kings and queens and yada, yada, yada...”
“There is no need for theatrics.”
I punched the bag harder.
He stepped closer. “You did really well with your magic today. You’re learning to control it, and I’m impressed.”
“Well, it’s nice to know I can electrocute humans without killing them.”
“Yes, that can be quite beneficial.”
“I talked to Julie today.”
“And?”
“Look, I know the monks are in the dark about these little training sessions of ours,” I said. “They want me to be a bridezilla, not the ultimate Godzilla.”
“You must be properly trained to take down the Falcar. They know you must be able to defend yourself, especially when your fiancé is out…well, doing whatever wolves do.”
“I’m not sure I’m cut out for all the roles I’m supposed to play,” I admitted.
“Sophie, they chose you.”
“Well, I never asked to be the poster child for this cause, and I sure as hell know Logan doesn’t wanna be either. As for what wolves do, he’s out on a day mission right now, but knowing how things are going with the case he is on, he’ll probably be gone for a week.”
“The marriage will generate peace across the land and…”
“And what? You know as well as I do that I’m not going to be some immortal high-society wife. I’m sorry, but I’m not the Stepford wife type, and Logan is more stubborn than I am. They won’t be able to clip his wings or mine. If they try, he’ll only be bitter, and then I’ll have to deal with his pent-up werewolf rage.”
“Don’t you want to be with Logan?”
“Yes, but I don’t want it to be forced,” I said. “I wanted a normal proposal, one that comes from someone seeing me as the love of his life.”
“Regardless of the motives behind his proposal now, everyone knows Logan is in love with you. He’s very territorial. I’m surprised he’s not marking his territory all over the castle.”
“Wow. Thanks for that visual,” I said, shaking my head. “I’m just scared my heart will be broken.”
“Why? You don’t think even you can tame him?”
“I honestly don’t know. You know what a wildcard he is.”
“Hmm. Maybe you should have stuck with the good boy instead of going for the rebel with all the paws,” he said with a smile.
“Funny kitty,” I teased.
“Sophie…”
I stopped punching the bag and looked at him. “Yes?”
“Do you love Logan?”
I pondered, then glanced up. “Yes, with all my heart.”
“So what’s the problem? If you both love each other, you don’t have anything to worry about.”
“I just can’t figure out how and when it happened. I knew better. Heck, I even tried to break it off with him and see other people.”
“But it never worked, right?”
“Right. I just couldn’t get him out of my system, no matter how hard I tried.”
“I knew you were holding back when we kissed. I never had a shot, because even then, you were wishing your lips were on him.”
“I’m sorry, Dylan. At that time, I honestly thought I was free of him. I was trying to make a clean break.”
“Some bonds just can’t be broken,” he said, with a tinge of sadness in his voice. “I saw the look in his eyes when I was dancing with you at the ball. He felt genuine pain and heartbreak, no matter how hard he tried to play it cool with Cindy. That wolf loves you.”
I nodded as he quietly left the room, then wiped more sweat off my face and returned to hitting the bag. As exhausted as I was, I still found it therapeutic in some way, a great way to work out my frustration.
“Whoa, there,” Al said as he walked in.
Ignoring him, I continued pummeling the unfortunate mass in front of me, like some kind of modern-day, female Rocky Balboa.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “You’re worked up. I can sense it.”
I stopped only long enough to give him a shrug. “We’re out of groceries again.”
“Nonsense,” the elf said. “No one gets that angry over empty egg cartons. Now what’s got you so riled up?”
I stopped again, and sweat dripped down my back. “Nothing. I choose to persevere, overcome, and survive. It’s what I was born for, right? Sometimes that means blowing off a little steam, that’s all. Besides, Dylan says I have to train hard every day.”
“C’mon, Winters. Give it to me straight.”
I sighed. “Fine. It’s Logan.”
“Ah, the wolf. Of course.”
“Dylan says Logan loves me.”
Al paused and stared at me in confusion. “I’m not sure why you’d be upset that the lad you’re engaged to is in love with you.”
“I know you haven’t been around here that long, but the truth is, Logan is sort of a…uh…”
“A cad?”
I had to snicker at that. “Yes, a cad, or, as modern humans would put it, a player. I swear, he’s dated every immortal woman there is, even the one I helped to rescue from that mental institution.”
“Everyone has a past.”
“Yeah, some more adventurous than others.”
“Perhaps you should think of it a different way. Perhaps Logan dated all those women because he was really looking for you. He’s not playing the field anymore. He’s with you and only you.”
“Yes, because it’s sort of a job requirement. I mean, I know he loves me, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have asked me to marry him, at least not for another five years. What if he resents me later, because he’ll be stuck with me?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Al said, shaking his head. “From the moment I got here, I could see in your eyes and his how much you want to be together. No matter how you tried to deny it, I knew. Why do you think I never courted you?”
I blinked at him, shocked. “Huh? You would’ve asked me out?”
“Maybe,” he answered, a bit shyly, “but I would never get in the way of such a special and obvious bond. Besides, we’re great friends and roommates. I’d never risk messing that up with any romantic entanglements.”
“I agree,” I said, then gave him a fist-bump, something I just taught him to do the week before. “I just wish Logan and I could have dated like a normal couple. There’s something weird about being forced into a marriage, no matter who I’m marrying.”
“My dear, you basically saved him from being shackled to that gargoyle for the next 100 years. Not only would he have been miserable being married to his best friend’s lover, but he also doesn’t get along with her that well. She is now out of the picture, and you’re in it. The wolf wants to marry you, because he loves you. It might not seem like it, but the choice was his.”
“I just don’t think he’s ready for marriage.”
“He’ll be ready enough. Love does that to a man.”
I threw down my gloves. “I’m gonna take a shower, then head to the grocery store.”
“Mind if I join you?”
“Hmm. I’m not sure my fiancé would like that much. With that temper of his, he might tear off a limb or two.”
He laughed. “No, silly! I only meant for the shopping. I promised you I’d help out around here, and I can lift more bags with these thin arms than you might think!”
“Thanks. And I promise not to make any jokes in the Keebler cookie aisle.”
“Please don’t,” he said with a roll of his eyes. “Your sister teases me about that enough already!”


Chapter 2

Just after I dressed and was throwing my damp hair up in a loose ponytail, everything went dark. That didn’t make any sense, since it was the middle of the day, but I couldn’t see a thing. I fumbled around for my phone, but I couldn’t even find that.
“Screw you, phone,” I muttered, then turned to run out, only to find myself paralyzed by fear when I sensed a presence in the bathroom with me. If it was even possible, my terror only escalated when I felt a clawed hand touch the top of my head. Next, another hand tilted my chin up, and the stench of rotting death invaded my nostrils. Then, a puff of hot air blew across my neck. 
Vampire? Hell no!
I opened my hand, and a smoldering ball within it filled the room with yellow light. A mysterious shadow flitted above me, but I ignored that and ran to the door. Of course a jiggle of the doorknob did nothing; it was locked by some sort of supernatural force.
Suddenly, arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me back a few feet in a violent jolt. Even when I threw volts of electricity at the poltergeist, it would not let go. Instead, it only hissed in my ear, as if mocking me.
“Help!” I screamed, pounding on the door. I turned and saw my tormenter, a dark shadow with horns on its head and a devilish, evil, cartoonish smile on its nasty face.
Flabbergasted and horrified, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, conjuring up all the magic I could to blast the door off its hinges. However, when I opened them, everything was normal again.
Sun filtered in through my window. After another deep, cleansing breath, I walked out of the bathroom and stood in the hallway, trying to regain my composure. Al was downstairs, and I heard the most alluring music drifting out of the living room. For once, it soothed instead of annoyed me. In fact, I stopped halfway down the stairs to listen to the impromptu concert for a few minutes, as I wasn’t quite ready to ruin my friend’s peaceful moment with my ghost story.
I sneaked past the living room and out the back door, so I could call Tabby and tell her all about it.
“Everything will be all right,” she assured me. “You are just under a great deal of stress, and the supernatural forces will toy with you.”
When I walked back in, not feeling so reassured at all and wondering if it was the right decision for me to leave the asylum, I heard Al singing a sweet love song. It was an indescribable feeling, seeing him lazily strum his guitar and sing those beautiful notes. It spoke volumes about the elf and his deep-lying passion. He looked up at me but didn’t seem to actually see me as he continued to croon. It was as if his huge heart had carried him to some faraway place, to another time. He was a gentle soul, not at all like the other males in the house.
“Sam…” I said gently.
“Oh, hi Sophie,” he said, stopping and looking at me with a smile. “Are you ready to go shopping now?”
“Yeah. Hey, you’re really talented. I could listen to you for hours.”
He laughed as he set his guitar down. “You probably expected me to play a flute or harp, huh?”
“Maybe…an ocarina or piccolo,” I joked. “Can you though?”
“Yes,” he said with a nod, “and a violin too. Of all the instruments, I enjoy the guitar the most. I’m not a fan of tubas.”
“Logan guitars as well,” I said.
“Yes, but his style is…different. He played with me once on the patio. He has a wonderful voice.”
“Huh?” I asked, taken aback. “Logan sings?”
“Like an angel,” Al replied.
“Wow. You guys will have to perform a duet for me sometime. You know, it’s a scientific fact that a perfectly executed G chord will make women swoon. We should get you a gig in a singles bar with that guitar of yours!”
He laughed. “Wouldn’t that be a sight!?”
“Musically inclined people are creative souls, often quite romantic,” I said.
“Yes, I believe I am. I enjoy writing soulful, profound lyrics. That one I just sang is about finding the love of one’s life. I was married for a long time, until… Well, you know. I suppose I’m different from your wolf because I must have a deep connection with someone before I will pursue her.”
“So you’re just waiting for that special someone to come into your life, huh?”
“Yes…another special someone.”
“Aw. That’s sweet. Do you ever think about getting remarried?”
“I would love to join with someone again someday, if the right one comes along. It’s been many years, and I’m just beginning to feel my heart beating again.”
“You’re a whole different breed than the men I’ve known.”
“Yes, I know. I’m an elf.”
“No, I mean you’re sensitive, romantic, artistic, and intelligent. Not only that, but you’re a rock star with that long, blond hair of yours. A little crazy gel job, and the eighties would have loved you. Have you ever considered leopard-print spandex?”
“I love nature and would never kill a leopard for pants,” he said, totally missing the point.
“Never mind,” I said with a chuckle.
“Are you flirting with me, Mrs. Wolf-to-Be?” he teased with a smile.
“Maybe just a little,” I admitted, “but please don’t tell my fiancé. I just find it intriguing that you actually look forward to marriage someday. I can’t say the same for him.”
“Someday, yes.”
“Well, at least you’re open to it. I’m like you in that regard. I don’t have a lot of experience with guys.”
“Did you not have a flung with your instructor?” he asked, blinking his eyes innocently at me.
“A flung?”
“Yes, a flung, with the tiger.”
“Oh! You mean a fling!”

“Yes, that.”
“No. Dylan and I only went out once. Yeah, we fell into a kiss as well, but we both know that was a line we should not have crossed.”
“Are things between you awkward now?”
“Not really. I’ve managed to put it behind me, and he doesn’t come around much, except to train me. I’m assuming he’s over it too.”
“Hmm. You’re right. He doesn’t linger about, does he? Maybe he’s banished you to emotional Siberia.”
 I couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “Yeah, well, if he has, it’s my fault. I’m just glad the two of us never kissed.”
“As I told you before, I wasn’t sure whether the wolf or the tiger would end up with you, but I didn’t want to be the middle of that sandwich. It’s best for us to be friends…though I thank you for the thought.”
Smiling, I clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Well, what can I say? You’re fun to be around, passionate about your music, and so full of life. You’re also spontaneous in the most extreme sense. I’m glad I met you.”
“Spontaneous? Are you referring to our trip to those terrifying caverns?”
“What else?” I asked, laughing as I grabbed my purse. “Now, are you ready for our shopping trip? They can be pretty terrifying too. Just hope we don’t get behind one of those grouchy ladies with a checkbook and a coupon binder.”
He looked at me quizzically, then set his guitar down. “If you say so. Let’s go.”
“What would you like for dinner?” I asked when we stepped inside the market.
“We elves must be light on our feet. Salad sounds nice to me.”
“Oh, that does sound good,” I agreed. “We probably can’t go vegan, though, or the wolf and gargoyle will complain.”
“With all the complications Logan’s having on that case, you’re not even sure if the wolf will make it home tonight.”

“But he might. So let’s be hopeful.”
“Chicken it is, then,” he said. “You go find the poultry, and I’ll harvest the vegetables.”
“Teamwork, huh? I like that! We’ll be out of here in no time.”
I heard Al laughing over my shoulder as I walked away with the cart. As I tossed packs of skinless, boneless chicken and a few filets of fish in it, I thought about my friends and hoped they were okay. Logan, Cindy, and Fred were out on a day mission with Tabby herself, accompanied this time by my sister and her friend John. I really wanted to go with them, especially when I found out Taylor and Julie were in tow, but Tabby insisted that I stay behind to work with Dylan on fine-tuning my powers and getting them under control.
I sighed at the thought. Dylan had worked me out rather violently from five a.m. till two. Emotional Siberia is right, I thought, reflecting on Al’s wise summation, or more like emotional Mars! I learned a very valuable lesson in it though: Never, ever mix business and pleasure. I picked up an extra pack of thick chicken breasts for the tiger, but at that point, I didn’t even know if I should expect him for dinner.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a woman in her thirties smiled at me, approached my cart, then reached in, grabbed one of the packs of fish, and tore it open. My jaw dropped in shock as she put one of the raw filets in her mouth and bit into it.
“A big sushi fan, huh?” I said, arching a brow at her.
Rather than answering me, she just licked the fish juice off her lips and tore into another package. I almost gagged when she snatched an egg out of my carton, cracked it open, tilted her head back, and let it ooze into her mouth and down her throat.
“Wow. Impressive. Rocky Balboa would be proud of you,” I said.
Still, she said nothing.
Slowly, I backed away from the crazy woman who was snacking from my cart. As I did, I saw Al charging toward me, his eyes narrowed and his lips pressed into grim lines. He dropped a head of lettuce, a bundle of carrots, and a clutch of radishes as he ran, but he paid no mind to the plummeting produce as he made a beeline toward me.
 “She’s definitely a carnivore, maybe a wolf,” I said when he was within earshot.
“Not a wolf at all! Get away from her!” he cautioned.
“What? What’s her problem then?”
“Obviously, she’s being compelled to act like a lunatic. Who knows what else she’ll be forced to do.”
“Wh-What is sh-she?” I stuttered, staring at her in horror as egg yolk and smelly fish chunks rolled down her chin and dripped onto the checkered linoleum in front of the meat counter.
Before Al could answer me, a little boy ran up to her in a soccer uniform and tugged on her arm.
“Soccer mom,” Al answered.
“Oh. Well, that’s a whole different kind of monster,” I said. “Tell me, why she’s plundering my cart?”
Staring at the woman, he opened a small box, and retrieved two sets of earplugs. “I snagged these a few isles over.”
“You have to pay for those first! And why do we need these to grocery shop?”
Ignoring me, he stuffed some in his own ears, then reached toward mine.
“What are you doing? What’s going on? We still have groceries to get…and some to replace, so—”
Before I could finish, he shook his head and pulled me away from my cart, dragging me toward the entrance.
“What’s wrong with you? Are you being compelled to act insane too?” I then pulled out one earplug so I could hear. “I worked retail for a while, and I know it can be nuts, but—”
“He’s here! Put that earplug back in right now! It’s for your own good.”
“Who’s here? Vincent?”
“No! Dominic, our unfriendly puppet master at play. He told her to do it.”
My eyes widened, my throat felt dry, and I darted my eyes around at the other shoppers and wondering how many of them were zombefied by Dominic’s magic. It did nothing to unsettle my nerves when my gaze settled on the man behind the meat counter, brandishing a humongous cleaver and wearing a sinister, Jack-o-lantern grin on his face.

Chapter 3

“Ladies and gentlemen,” came an announcement over the loudspeaker, “I’d like to announce a special sale, today only. Please visit the front of the store for your flyer.”
“I can’t believe this!” I yelled. “Isn’t Dominic supposed to be in immortal jail?”
Al just shook his head, as if he had no idea what I was saying.
Suddenly, a horde of customers came my way, waving flyers around. When one fell near my foot, I picked it up and was appalled to see my picture on it, with my name below it, and instructions: “Chuck it, one-buck it sale! Any customer who hurls grocery items and produce at this shopper will receive special pricing of a full cart for one dollar!”
“As a special bonus,” Dominic continued with his announcements, “everyone will receive a fifty-dollar gas voucher if Sophie’s adorable elf friend Al slaps her in the face with fish from her cart. Al, I command you to do it. Now!”
“Shit,” I said.
Luckily, Al’s ears were still plugged, so he didn’t follow through with the hali-butt-kicking he was commanded to do.
“Sophie, dearest, I’d like you to—”
Quickly, I stuffed the plugs in my ears so I couldn’t hear the awful thing he wanted to compel me to do.
When a can grazed my shoulder, I turned and saw a redhead pitching corn and peas at me, with an evil scowl on her face. I ducked as the next one flew over my head, but when I tried to use my magic, Al put my arm down.
“No!” he said, pulling out my earplug and pointing up at the security cameras. “We cannot risk it being on the news.”
I covered my face as a barrage of kohlrabi and cauliflower flew at me from every direction. An old lady on a motorized scooter lobbed oranges my way, then put her pedal to the metal and drove in my direction as fast as the thing would go, determined to run me over, I dodged to the left, and the woman crashed into a towering display and was quickly buried in a pile of E.L. Fudge cookies.
“Not a word,” Al said as her fingers poked through one of the little elves on the packages. “Not one word!”
“Dear shoppers, please note the stipulation on the bottom of your flyer. Sophie Winters and her companion cannot leave this store, under any circumstances,” Dominic announced.
I put the earplug back in and motioned to the exit. “Let’s get the hell out of here!”
We sprinted down the diapers aisle, but just as we turned the corner, we noticed that the exit was blocked by a huge gathering of people, with a wall of shopping carts in front of them. I wasn’t sure what else Dominic had brainwashed them with, but they looked at us with pure hatred in their eyes, as if they were possessed.

End of sample. 

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