A new bestseller with a new teaser: Fancy Man Blues

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A Thursday teaser from new member A.J. Llewellyn

Exciting news, readers! Bestselling author A.J. Llewellyn has joined the ranks of your favorite bestselling writers. Without further ado, let’s go to the sample of her newest book.

Stumpy Lake, Virginia Beach, Virginia, February. Midnight. Five Years ago. 

Athen felt ridiculous, in the dead of night, to be waiting to meet a man who’d claimed he could help him with his case. A man who was blind, no less. Athen shifted his feet a little farther apart on the edge of the damp, rock-strewn lakefront. His boots were wet, but the water hadn’t soaked through to his socked feet. Yet. 

He let his flashlight blaze a trail around him. The lake was considered perfect for watercraft, especially kayaks and ca- noes, but not for swimming. Athen had already been warned it was filled with deadly snakes. 

Something terrible had happened here to someone beauti- ful, and he wouldn’t rest until he solved the mystery of Allie Madden’s disappearance. He focused his gaze on a ripple of movement in the water. He didn’t want to get bitten and die before he could find her. 

Her disappearance and apparently brutal murder ached in his gut like an ulcer. 

He took some deep breaths and it only hurt his throat more. How cold is it? Last time I checked it was thirty-two degrees. Much colder now. Athen switched off the flashlight, tucked it into the pocket of his pea coat, and rubbed his gloved hands together. It didn’t help him get any warmer. 

I should have worn something else. This old coat won’t cut it. A fleeting sense of passion scissored through him for his lover, who’d lent it to him. Another worry invaded his thoughts. 

What if the tracker doesn’t show? Was it this cold the night Allie Madden was dragged out here?

He slid his left foot across the sand to his right. Then he drew it back, bringing the right foot toward the left. He shuf- fled this way repeatedly until the heat from his feet traveled up his calves and moved up toward the rest of his body. 

He let out a breath, condensation evaporating from his frigid lips. 

Keep moving, man

He continued sliding his feet back and forth, a trick he’d learned from his days working for the US Marshals. An ac- tress he’d protected from a stalker had taught him this routine from her long days standing on movie sets.

Where is she now? She’d been stalked by an ex-lover and he’d guarded her for two months in Savannah, Georgia. It had been hot and sticky and… Yeah. That’s the ticket. Pretend it’s hot right now. Her won- derful smile came to mind, and her wicked sense of humor. She was the closest thing he’d come to falling for a woman. 

And the nearest thing he knew of perfection.

Athen kept his gaze swiveling across the deserted beach. Where is this guy? Was this a hoax? The skin prickled at the back of his neck. The gift of fear. No. Not a hoax. He detected movement. The old man was close. 

Or somebody was. 

Fancy Man Blues

Can Blackeye solve his craziest case yet?

Athen ‘Blackeye’ Mavromatis, roving lieutenant with the Bev- erly Hills Police Department, is trying to enjoy a rare day off. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen when the mayor hands him a twisty missing person’s case. A Saudi Princess has vanished. Because of royal protocols, Athen must conduct his investigation under the wire. He doesn’t mind doing that, but it soon becomes apparent that the princess, who’s also a wannabe actress, might have been murdered. Her apartment appears to be one big giant crime scene.

But just who is Natasha Al-Khan, AKA Natasha King, and who wants her dead? Though Beverly Hills has the reputation of being crime-free, this is the second murder case he’s tackled in the short time Athen’s been with the department. Not only does he have to solve this one fast, but he and his lover, Grady, are dealing with Athen’s delinquent niece who’s just come out to them. Oh, and somebody very near and dear to them may turn out to be a deranged psychopath…

A.J. Llewellyn

A.J. Llewellyn is the author of over 300 M/M romance novels. She was born in Australia, and lives in Los Angeles. An early obsession with Robinson Crusoe led to a lifelong love affair with islands, particularly Hawaii and Easter Island.

Being marooned once on Wedding Cake Island in Australia cured her of a passion for fishing, but led to a plotline for a novel. A.J.’s friends live in fear because even the smallest details of their lives usually wind up in her stories. A.J. has a desire to paint, draw, juggle, work for the FBI, walk a tightrope with an elephant, be a chess champion, a steeplejack, master chef, and a world-class surfer. She can’t do any of these things so she writes about them instead.

A.J. I started life as a journalist and boxing columnist, and still enjoys interrogating, er, interviewing people to find out what makes them tick.

How to find/friend her:

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter by emailing ajllewellynnewsletter@gmail.com – each month she gives away a free ebook!

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Nicoli

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A Thursday teaser from the latest crime romance

By Sydney Landon

Warning: explicit language.

“Good day at the office, honey?” I ask sarcastically as I watch the woman a few feet away unloading what looks like an arsenal. Very few people would guess that the voluptuous blonde staring back at me is in fact the daughter of Ray Gavino, head of the Gavino family. Of course, that’s a rather old-school description because not everyone in the mafia is related by blood. Unlike what the movies would have you believe, most of the successful organizations are more corporate now than gangster. Steal from us and we’re more likely to bankrupt your ass than to pop a cap in it. Unless you really fuck up. Then we’ll do both.

But neither Minka nor I are stupid. We grew up in the life and know well how dangerous it can be. There are strict rules and consequences. Fuck, we’re breaking a big one just by being together.

I should have pointed out at the beginning that I’m Nicoli Moretti, top lieutenant and best friend to the head of the Moretti Family—Marco Moretti. The fact that Marco himself fell in love with, and eventually married, Nina Gavino, stepdaughter to the late, and kinda nuts, Franklin Gavino, surprisingly helped ease the nonfraternization rule.

For you newcomers, I should have pointed out at the beginning that I’m Nicoli Moretti, top lieutenant and best friend to the head of the Moretti Family—Marco Moretti. The fact that Marco himself fell in love with, and eventually married, Nina Gavino, stepdaughter to the late, and kinda fucking nuts, Franklin Gavino, surprisingly helped ease the nonfraternization rule. Although, there are many on both sides who do not like it. We both have trust issues where the other families are concerned. Neither of us takes offense though, as it’s simply the way of things. A smart person is wary of everyone and everything. But when you’re born mafia, it’s a part of your DNA. At a young age, you know the names of your rivals, and you draw a fucking line in the sand between you and them with your crayon.

Sure, business interests cross over at times, but it’s rare we place complete faith in outsiders. Which means a relationship between two such high-ranking rivals is tricky, to say the least. Even Marco, who certainly understands that you can’t always choose who you fall in love with, isn’t thrilled that Minka and I are still together. I think he was hoping we would fuck it out of our system quickly. Yet six months after the big mess of Marco’s mother taking out his father and attempting to kill Nina, we’re still fucking. Hell, we’re pretty much living together. And I have no clue what it means or where it’s going. In truth, I spend far too much time trying to dissect it. I feel like the pussy I’ve accused Marco of being in regard to Nina. Maybe it’s our lot in life to be the chicks in our relationships when they involve Gavino women. I’ll kill any motherfucker who verbalizes that shit.

My thoughts are brought abruptly back to the present when Minka sticks a hand down her black leather pants and pulls out a switchblade. Fuck, I love her—er, lust her. Those “L” words are tricky bastards. I lean back against the sofa and eye her lazily. “See something you like, Nicole?” she asks with the smirk I’ve become so accustomed to. And as insulting as it is, I’ve also accepted her deliberate mispronunciation of my name. Hell, I’ve long since stopped correcting her. Especially since I know she gets off on chapping my ass. And I get off on everything about her.

Nicoli: Pierced, Lucian & Lia, Book 9

What do you do when those closest to you are not who they appear to be? For a man as loyal as Nicoli Moretti it’s the ultimate betrayal. As the top lieutenant and best friend to the head of the Moretti family, he thought he knew everything about the man he considered a brother—but he was so very wrong. Still reeling from that blow, he discovers that not only did the woman he loves know before him, but she also has secrets of her own—ones that could well get her killed.

His thirst for revenge is almost overwhelming—yet so is his love for Minka Gavino. A relationship with someone from another mafia family would be complicated on a good day, but is it even worth fighting for now? Once the trust is gone, can it ever be rebuilt? Or, will he walk away from the only life he’s ever known and the only woman he’s ever loved?

Get it on

Sydney Landon

is the New York Times & USA Today best selling author of:  Weekends Required, Not Planning on You, Fall For Me, Fighting For You, Betting on You, No Denying You, Always Loving You, Pierced and Fractured.  Sydney is currently working on the next book in the Danvers’ Series as well as the Pierced Series.

When she isn’t writing romantic erotica or romance, Sydney enjoys reading, swimming and the beach.

She lives with her family in Greenville, South Carolina.

Get to know more about Sydney:

Her BestSelling Reads author page   |    Website    |    Amazon Author page    |    Barnes & Noble    |    Kobo    |    Google Play    |    iBooks

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Dead Man Lying

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A sneak peek ahead at the upcoming third Hawaiian Storm mystery

By Scott Bury

Vanessa paused at the edge of the forest to try to rub some of the dirt off her shoes. “Steven Sangster. I can’t believe I’m investigating his death. Did you like his music, Detective Ferreira?”

“Call me Lani. Yeah, I had one of Steven Sangster’s albums as a girl. I loved trying to figure out the hidden meanings in the words. Did you like him, too?”

Vanessa could not repress a smile. “I was a big fan. I had all his old CDs — still do. But I thought the ‘hidden meanings’ thing was blown way out of proportion. I thought his songs were easy enough to understand. Still, I had a huge crush on him when I was 16. He was so handsome.”

Lani smiled back. “The blue eyes and the square chin, huh?”

So this is the famous Nalani Ferreira, Vanessa thought, looking at the slender detective with her peripheral vision while appearing to study the heiau. She was small for a cop, but athletic, with beautiful big brown eyes and cheekbones that told Vanessa of mixed Asian and Hawaiian extraction. She had tried to tame her thick, dark hair, but the humidity of Maui’s rain coast was curling it .

 “Is this where it happened?” said an unfamiliar voice. Vanessa and Lani turned and Vanessa’s shoe slipped again. Her knee buckled and she almost went down, but Lani’s small hand grabbed her arm, steadying her. Vanessa was impressed — Lani was stronger than she looked.

Steady again on the wet lava, she looked up to see a short, balding man letting the yellow police tape down behind him.

“Don’t the words ‘Do not cross’ mean anything to you?” Lani demanded, stepping toward the man.

“I’m Simon Sangster. He — the victim … I mean, he was my father,” the man stammered. He did not step back, but actually put a foot up on the lava rock.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Sangster, but you still cannot step past the yellow tape.”

The man scowled, straightened his back and puffed out his little chest, which did not protrude nearly as much as his belly. “Now that my father is — I mean, this is now my property,” he said, but his voice did not match his posture.

“I’m not sure that’s quite true, but even so, this is a crime scene and you’ll have to step back past the yellow tape,” Lani retorted. She lifted the tape for him.

“It’s so that no one inadvertently compromises the investigation,” Vanessa offered, trying to make her tone conciliatory. “Please, step back.”

“In-investigation?” he said, seeming to deflate. “I thought it was an accident?”

“We’ll have to wait for the coroner’s final report to know that,” said Lani. She stepped off the heiau and took the younger Sangster by the arm, directing him into the path back down the hill.

Vanessa was just about to step onto the path when a koa tree exploded. Wood chips flew through the heavy air and the sound of a shotgun rolled up the slope. Lani threw herself off the path, pushing the pudgy Simon Sangster down. Behind her, Vanessa dropped to the ground and rolled, tearing her jacket on ragged volcanic rock. They held still, barely breathing, counting the seconds as the top half of the koa tree slowly toppled.

Dead Man Lying

Vanessa Storm is back! Dead Man Lying returns the FBI Special Agent to Hana on Maui’s rain-soaked coast.

She knows when you’re lying …FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm is back on Maui to catch a killer.

With lush rain forests, black sand beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle, Maui offers the perfect retirement location for once-famous country singer Steven Sangster … until he ends up dead.

As the killer, or killers, strike again and again, FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm must untangle the lies spun by the singer’s associates, friends, family — and the singer himself before the music dies.

Dead Man Lying will be out in autumn 2020.

Find out more about the Hawaiian Storm series on Scott Bury’s website.

Scott Bury

can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has several mysteries and thrillers, including Torn RootsPalm Trees & Snowflakes and Wildfire.

Scott’s articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

He has two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Learn more about Scott on his:

Website   |   Blog    |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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Boys of summers in the before time

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Sample this excerpt from the baseball romance For Everly

By Raine Thomas

Cole looked back at Wyatt. “I don’t think it’s a great idea to receive treatment by a student, Wy, genius or not. What if she screws up my arm even worse than it is?”

“Then you’ll get treated by a proper specialist, which you should do in the first place.”

Cole narrowed his gaze. “That’s not funny.”

“Hey, I’m just telling you like it is. You’re the one who thinks it’s worth risking under-the-table treatment in order to garner top dollar on your next contract.”

That wasn’t the only reason he was so concerned about keeping up appearances in regards to his physical health, but Cole let it pass. He knew how the business worked. There was no way he was going to come out to the public about his shoulder. Not if there was an alternative.

“What about another student?” Cole insisted. “Someone further along in their studies?” Preferably some Poindexter who doesn’t look so good in a skirt, he thought.

Wyatt shook his head. “There isn’t anyone more experienced than Everly. She might still be a couple of semesters from earning her doctorate, but she could pass the needed courses with flying colors right now. I’d wager that girl has more practical experience in her field than any doctoral student at GSU.”

They stopped conversing when Everly walked up with a tray. She placed their bowls of crab risotto in front of them, as well as Cole’s drink. The smell of the food was amazing.

“Is there anything else I can get you two right now?” she asked.

“No, I think we’re good here, thanks,” Wyatt said.

“All right. You know how to reach me if you think of anything.”

This time she winked at Wyatt before she walked away. Cole couldn’t deny the strange resentment he felt that the wink wasn’t for him. He shook his head at himself. Finding a hot date hadn’t ever been a problem. He didn’t need to worry about that right now.

“I feel like you’re forcing me into this decision,” he told Wyatt, picking up a fork and stabbing his risotto with it.

Wyatt’s brown eyes leveled on his. “Cole, I’ve reviewed the scans we took when you were in the hospital. You should have started treatment weeks ago to get ready for the season. If you feel like I’m forcing you into this decision, well, that’s probably because I am. You’ve got three choices: don’t do anything and deal with the pain, go public about the injury and seek the services of a specialist…or Everly.”

For Everly

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life…not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Get it from

Raine Thomas

is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction.

Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches, and will soon be crossing the border again to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Get to know Raine at her

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Repelling the Shark

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A Thursday teaser from Book 5 of The Date Shark Series

By DelSheree Gladden

Piper’s expression pinched in confusion. “What the hell is a date shark service?”

It was a challenge not to laugh at her reaction, but Leo didn’t want to embarrass her. He was so used to discussing the date shark thing amongst his friends, he often forgot what a novel concept it was to most people.

“It’s basically a dating coach service.”

Her expression soured even more. “I’m not sure you’re qualified for that. Not if you and Legs are any indicator.”

“Katheryn and I had an understanding from the beginning. It worked well for us for a long time,” he argued, his tone a little more clipped than he meant for it to be.

“Clearly,” Piper said.

Her sarcasm annoyed Leo, but he brushed it off. “Actually, it was Eli’s business originally. When he met Leila, he eventually gave it up for her and Guy took over. I got roped into helping out.”

“But you don’t like it…”

Leo sighed. “It’s not always bad, but…it’s not something I would choose to do.”

“Then why not just tell Guy to find someone else?” Piper asked.

It wasn’t said with any attitude or unkind tone. She really didn’t seem to understand why he would do something he hated for his friend. It made Leo wonder whether she’d ever had someone in her life willing to sacrifice for her like that.

“He’s my friend,” Leo said simply. The expression on her face made it clear that wasn’t a good enough answer, so he expounded. “When I stepped in to help, Guy’s wife Charlotte was in the middle of chemo and she’d had a really bad scare earlier in her treatment and almost died.”

“So why are you still doing it?”

“I don’t know, to be honest. It’s just not that big of a deal most of the time. I rarely have to actually fill in for him when he’s gone, which is a few days every couple of months at the most.”

Piper pursed her lips. “So, what exactly do you have to do this time?”

“Take the client out to dinner and coach her through the meal, mainly trying to curb embarrassing or shocking behaviors so she doesn’t run off her upcoming date before the drinks are served,” he explained. He could only hope that was the worst of it.

“What kind of behaviors?” she asked with an interested gleam in her eyes.

Leo thought back to that last date and shivered. “She tried to feed me her chewed up food…like a mother bird does for her chicks.”

Piper gagged and she pulled back from the table. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

He shook his head. “Once, a woman brought thirteen porcelain dolls with her and tried to seat them all in their own chairs at our table. I was barely able to talk her into letting them share the two available seats without her bursting into tears and having a complete meltdown.”

After staring at him for several long seconds, Piper asked, “How did she get all thirteen dolls to the restaurant in the first place?”

“Specially designed, huge pieces of luggage with built-in doll compartments.”

Piper snorted and covered her mouth, but it didn’t do much to hide her snickering. “I’m sorry,” she said between laughs. “I know these women need help and I shouldn’t laugh, but…”

Leo chuckled. “I can’t help it either, sometimes. There was this guy once…”

“You date guys, too?” she asked, intrigued again.

“Not personally, but I don’t mind working with male clients. Sabine used to handle them, but she hated being a date shark and quit once she got her visa worked out.”

Piper crossed her arms and looked at him with an oddly pleased half-smile. “Go on. The guy you took out?”

“I couldn’t keep him seated at the table. Every time I took my attention off him, he would start introducing himself to the others diners and trying to kiss each one…on the mouth.”

Pressing her lips together to keep from laughing again, Piper shook her head. When she could manage words without the laughter, she asked, “Why?”

“It was a combination of affective and compulsion issues. He was referred to counseling and seems to be making progress.”

“Thank goodness,” she said. “Kissing everyone you see is a good way to get a punch in the mouth, or worse.”

Repelling the Shark

The Date Shark, Book 5

Simple and easy falls apart when secrets revealed require making promises and opening up to the possibilities of hurt and hope.

Leo Bailey has so far escaped the curse of the date shark business. He fills in when needed, but has held onto his casual relationships and family emergency-free existence. hover

Marriage and family are a vague idea for the future, but he’s not ready to give up the freedom of being single and answering only to himself.

When Piper Moretti witnesses the demise of yet another of Leo’s friends-with-benefits relationship, she doesn’t think much of it. She has a long list of more pressing responsibilities and headaches to occupy her mind.

Friends, and the strings that go with them, are at the bottom of her priority list.

When a date shark client who tops the list of bizarre behavior Leo has seen, his half-joking request for rescue drags Piper into the chaos and into Leo’s life.

Neither one wants more than a simple, no-stress friendship. Secrets and surprises force them to admit neither one is nearly as in control of their futures as they think they are.

Helping each other means getting involved, making promises, and opening themselves up to the hurt and hope they’re both terrified to face.

Get it from

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their cousins close by. When not writing novels, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and working at the local newspaper.

DelSheree has several bestselling young adult series, including Invisible, which was part of the USA Today Bestselling box set, Pandora. DelSheree also has several contemporary romance and paranormal new adult series. Her writing is as varied as her reading interests.

Check out her latest books. Get updates and sneak peeks of new projects!

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A Constantinopolitan wedding

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A Thursday throwback teaser from The Bones of the Earth

By Scott Bury

Ancient Constantinople in its day. Image source: History.com

This week’s teaser is from the novel set in the late sixth century CE, in the capital of the Roman Empire.

Javor wandered around the wedding hall, looking at the mosaics on the walls, nibbling on cakes and drinking wine. It was becoming decidedly hot.

The music changed, and people started moving about quickly with a sense of purpose. One of the entertainers, a thin man with a long, emaciated face and a crimson robe, stood in the middle of the floor and began chanting. The wedding guests formed two concentric circles around the chanting crimson man, women on the inside circle, men on the outside.

Javor watched them, bemused and sipping wine, until a giggling Xenia skipped up from behind him, grabbed his robe and tugged him toward the outer circle. Javor resisted until two burly young men at Xenia’s bidding hooked his elbows in theirs and pulled him into the men’s circle.

Javor did his best to keep up with the circles as they danced one way, then the other, but he couldn’t match the footsteps. They danced around the women, first left, then right, then left again, in time with the musicians and the chanting of the crimson-robed man in the centre, who clapped his hands in time to the music. The women danced in the opposite direction to the men, their skirts swaying.

5th-7th century Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire fashion
Source: Pinterest

They unlinked arms, turned around and re-linked their elbows so that they faced the men, their backs to the chanter, and danced back and forth. Javor looked for Xenia and found her beaming back at him. She smiled in that way that only beautiful young women can smile at susceptible young men and skipped away with her circle, and then all the women turned around again so that they faced into the centre of the circle, their backs to the men again.

Javor realized all the men were turning, too. He stumbled and did a few steps left, then right, bumping and jostling Xenia’s friends—cousins? bodyguards?—as he tried to follow them, but he couldn’t predict when they would change direction.

They turned again to face inside the circle, and the women’s backs. The women turned again. Javor felt disappointed that could not see Xenia’s face before the men turned around one more time, their backs to the women. After that, all he could do was try to follow along with dancing left and right, turning into and then out of the circle.

Finally, the music reached a climax, the chanter cried out one last time, and the dancers stopped, men facing the women. They bowed to each other. Xenia was almost a quarter of the way around the circle from Javor, and she didn’t seem to be looking his way until just before the music started up again, when she smiled at him.

The music started again, a little slower, and Javor followed along to the left and right the best he could. There was no turning back and forth this time, but a lot of stately, formal steps. Javor started to feel a little proud of his ability to mimic the others when the music stopped.

He was out of breath and sweaty as the groom. He unlinked from the burly brothers and stumbled to the buffet table for a drink of wine, then to the open door where a cool breeze was blowing in.

A small group of men stood on the outside steps, holding drinks and chatting good-naturedly. Briefly, Javor wondered if they were laughing at him. He took deep breaths, trying to cool down and wondered where his friends were. He couldn’t see anything in the hall but the dark, scowling face of a young man with a wispy black beard. His hair was black and curly, his eyebrows thick and black and bunched together, and the top of his head came up to Javor’s shoulder.

“What’s wrong, barbarian, don’t you like our dancing?” His words were slightly slurred and he seemed to waver back and forth in front of Javor. Is that because of him or me?

 “I just came out to cool off. It’s hot in there.”

Byzantine nobles

“So we’re too hot for you, is that it?” The dark man stepped closer. Javor felt his amulet stir.

“No, I just want to cool off,” he replied, looking down into the strange man’s eyes. “Maybe you should, too.”

“I saw you liked Xenia.”

This must be Vlassis. “She seems very nice.”

“She’s taken.” Javor noticed what seemed to be tiny bubbles of foam at the corner of Vlassis’ mouth.The amulet started to vibrate softly. Javor turned slightly to see two other young men in dark tunics trying to move unseen behind him. They had removed their dressy robes and dalmatics. They lunged forward, each trying to grab one of Javor’s arms. Before they could, Javor stepped ahead and grabbed Vlassis, wrapping one arm around his neck and twirling him around so that the shorter man became a shield between Javor and the attackers. They collided with each other. One fell, tangled in the other’s legs, and brought his partner down on top of him with an “oof!” Other men on the steps chuckled at their antics.

“Let me go, you barbarian!” Vlassis yelled, choking. He cursed. Javor pulled the small man’s arm up behind his back. “Get your filthy paws off me, you stinking barbarian!” Vlassis cried out again.

The Bones of the Earth

The Dark Age, eastern Europe: the earth has decided to rid itself of humanity with earthquakes, volcanoes and new plagues. Civilizations, even the mighty Roman Empire, crumble under the pressure of barbarian waves that are fleeing worse terrors.

Rejected by his own people, pursued by a dragon, young Javor heads for Constantinople, the centre of civilization, looking for answers to the puzzle of his great-grandfather’s dagger and the murder of his family.

Author Scott Bury has just completed writing the sequel to The Bones of the Earth: The Children of the Seventh Son. In anticipation, he has released this vignette of life in Constantinople, the greatest city of its time.

Scott Bury

can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has several mysteries and thrillers, including Torn RootsPalm Trees & Snowflakes and Wildfire.

Scott’s articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

He has two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Learn more about Scott on his:

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