Sunday Snippet: A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween Anthology Part 2

Posted October 31, 2021 by Jen in Sunday Snippet Tags: , , , , ,

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A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween

Authors: Leisl Leighton, Hellucy Howe, Marnie St Clair, Samantha Marshall, Georgia Tingley
Publisher: Georgeous Publishing
Release Date: October 18, 2021
Series: Anthology 2 in the A Perfectly Paranormal Anthology series
Genre: Paranormal Romance

A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween box setWho will get their happy ever after the night the veil to the Otherworld thins?

When Demi-Gods and Demons, Witches and Fae, Dracons and Shifters come out to play on All Hallow’s Eve, it’s a night for mischief, for revelry, for power plays. It’s not a night for love … or is it?

Anything could happen this Halloween … and probably will. 

A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween is the second offering in the A Perfectly Paranormal Anthology series by new and award-winning Australian authors, and features continuing and standalone stories that will give you goosebumps of the romantic kind. With sweet or spicy romance, action, revenge, secrets and curses, delicious chills and emotional thrills, you are sure to fill all your Halloween desires with this exciting collection of paranormal novellas. 

Unlock the magic and preorder your copy of A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween today. 

Buy Links
Amazon | Amazon Aus | Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes&Noble | Books2Read

Snippets & Blurbs:

Since this is an anthology, we thought it’d be fun to include excerpts from each author. So be sure to come back next week for more!

Headless by Samantha Marshall:

Cursed and headless ex-knight Devlin didn’t think his un-life could get any worse. With his honour in tatters, all he wants is a chance to break his curse… except the demon who can break said curse has better things to do with her time – like running from the Demon Hunters who followed to town, destroying the life she’d eked out for herself. Forced to work together to survive, Devlin gets another chance to change her mind; all he has to do is turn up the charm, appeal to the sense of honour his sinfully delicious demonic companion doesn’t have, and hope she doesn’t mount his head on her wall as a trophy – or worse, his heart. 

Excerpt:

Tucked in a chair by the open fire, Ivory hummed softly to herself as she ground pestle into mortar. It was well past the time she usually lingered at Mystic Madhouse, and she certainly wasn’t of a mind to turn the raw materials she sold into actual products, but … with Halloween only a few days away, the little shop was overrun with requests for outlandish ingredients and pre-brewed potions. Jacinta had reached out for help and though Ivory didn’t much like being beholden to anyone, she did owe the businesswoman a favour or two.

Ivory glanced over the meticulously detailed potion recipe on the arm of the chair and then down at her mortar and pestle, judging the state of the ingredients inside. Being what she was, she didn’t need the recipe for more than the list of components – nor did she require the ridiculous verse the author insisted must be chanted while the mixture was formalised into a whole.

Dipping a clawed finger into the mortar, Ivory drew out the tiniest sample of her work and flicked it into the open fire. A great hiss went up, as though some horrid beast crouched among the logs, and the flames flared momentarily blue before returning to their normal orange and yellow.

Perfect.

“Um … Ivory?”

Swallowing a sigh, Ivory glanced towards the doorway where Jacinta stood wringing her hands. “What is it?”

“There’s a … uh. Someone here, that I … um. I need your help.”

My help?” Ivory tipped her head to the side, brow furrowing. Jacinta was a powerful mage, the left forearm bared by her sleeveless dress marked by two thick bands of sapphire blue that warned anyone who cared to look that she was well and truly capable of defending herself. “What for?”

“It’s …” Jacinta trailed off, pinching the bridge of her nose. “You’ll see. Please?”

Please. Ack. Ivory made a face, the very air souring with the taste of such a pathetic word. Still, Jacinta had opened Mystic Madhouse to her when she was starving. When nobody else would so much as twitch aside their blinds, the mage had offered kindness and acceptance – a gift Ivory had snatched with greedy hands, even as she hated herself for needing it.

“Fine,” Ivory groused, rolling out of her chair. After a final grind of mortar against pestle, she tipped the mixture into a jar, screwed on the lid and dusted her hands together. “I can finish the liniment later.”

Jacinta’s gaze tracked to the recipe balanced on the arm of Ivory’s chair. “I thought it was a draught?”

“A liniment will work better.”

“The recipe says—”

“The recipe is stupid,” Ivory snapped. “As is whoever wrote it. Were they watching old cartoons about witches while they squiggled in their fake pigskin notebook?”

Jacinta rolled her eyes. “You really are a bitch, you know that?”

“Thank you.” Ivory followed the other woman out the door and down the short flight of stairs to the main shop. “Are you sure want me going out there? Looking like this?

“I need you to,” Jacinta said, her expression sombre in a way Ivory had rarely seen. “Pl—”

“Don’t say it,” Ivory snapped. She dusted her hands on her jeans, then blew out a breath. “Fine. You were warned.”

Mystic Madhouse was set out much like a conventional grocery store, with neat aisles running parallel down the length of the floor. The sales counter was at the back of the area, blocking access to the rest of the building, and the glass windows at the opposite end let in enough light to see by without blinding. For the most part, the shop was functional more than ornamental – but with Halloween only a matter of days away, jack o’lanterns dotted every available surface while cheerful bats and smiling skeletons peered down from the evergreen garlands framing the walls and windows.

A man stood at the counter, his eyes a peculiar shade of light green that was anything but natural. Long lashes lowered to half-mast as he turned those eyes on her, giving him an air of menace that immediately piqued Ivory’s interest. He was almost obscenely tall, with shoulders broad enough to block out most of the light from the windows. Though shadows clung to his form, they were no impediment to Ivory’s vision; she drank in the rugged lines of his face, from his shaggy, dark brown hair to the slight scruff on his jaw and the tiny scar that bisected the skin just below his left eye. A striped scarf poked from the high collar of a black leather jacket, below which Ivory glimpsed jeans that fit tight enough to show off unfairly muscular thighs.

Handsome wasn’t a strong enough word to describe him – in fact, if she’d been the poetic type, Ivory fancied there wouldn’t be a word to accurately portray the look of him correctly. If that wasn’t bad enough, he opened his mouth and the words that poured out were guttural and deep, the intonation in his voice striking against Ivory’s soul as though she were some ritual instrument he alone knew how to play. Her breath caught as the sounds rolled over her, through her, and when he stopped, she could only turn to Jacinta and gape.

The mage spread her hands and shrugged. “I have no idea what he’s saying. Do you?”

About Samantha Marshall:

head shot of author Samantha MarshallAward winning and nominated author Samantha Marshall writes a fusion of adventure, magic and romance – as long as it’s got paranormal creatures, space odyssey features or anything in between she’ll be there writing happily ever afters to rule them all. 

When she’s not hiding in her dragon cave eating chocolate ice cream, Samantha can be found at: www.sliceofsammy.com and if you’re of a mind to find out more info about her books, giveaways, specials and Space Deer, sign up to her newsletter HERE.

Ancestors and Expectations by Hellucy Howe:

Seelie Lord DeMaksim Aphiski is his father’s perfect heir … until the day he breathes fire. Blue blazes, is the rumour of a Dracon in the family actually true? Needing answers, DeMaksim pursues reports of a draconian family connection into the threatening Dark Reaches – where a crazed Unseelie monster binds him to a soul-sucking Undine. Stuck in an awkward partnership with enemies close behind and an uncertain future ahead, freedom becomes DeMaksim’s top priority … except his reluctant companion smells divine, and her smile rivals the sunrise. Maybe a little soul sucking wouldn’t be so bad, after all?

Excerpt:

A massive elderoak dominated the clearing, its characteristically drooping branches reaching for the sky, the thick, age-whorled bark a rough brown cloak. The sign – Elderoak Tavern – hung from one branch, squawking in every wind gust. Straightening his leather jacket, DeMaksim thrust the door open and strode inside. Conversation ceased. The curious stares of patrons elicited a crawl of goosebumps as he threaded his way to the bar encircling the tree’s heartwood. Rolling his shoulders, he wished he could scrub his spine against bark to ease both the goosebumps and his aching wing muscles.

“Whaddya drinking?” A grey leathery-skinned monolith with a rock-solid build and a voice which rumbled like a grating slide of scree, shuffled from the shadows of the trunk’s core.

DeMaksim cleared his throat. “Flamuisge, neat.”

The flicker of the Rock-troll’s beetling brows dislodged a sliver of crumbling shale to the counter top. “Hope yer gut’s strong.”

DeMaksim chuckled. “What food’s on offer?”

One square thumb elevated. “Squirrel stew.” A finger joined the thumb. “Two hunks of toasted rye-bread with berries.” The second finger. “Vegies with green dip.” A third finger. “Powdered limestone on gemstone chunks.” Fourth finger. “Dwarf bread.”

“Hmm.” DeMaksim rubbed his chin. “The stew, thanks.”

“Five coppers the lot.”

Reaching into his waist pouch, DeMaksim eased the metal chips free, pushing them across the polished surface. He was impressed how quickly the troll’s blunt, stony digits nimbly palmed the coins.

Stubby granite teeth glistening, the craggy behemoth filled a beaker from a keg, then plunked it in front of DeMaksim. “Grab a pew.”

Holding his mug, DeMaksim crossed to an empty window booth; his moulded leather trousers slid easily along the wooden pew. Studying the panes of glass beside him, he decided the name ‘window’ was a misnomer – years of dripping sap covered any possible glass. Fortunately, the gloom was lightened by glow-bug wall sconces.

“May I sit with you, Sir Fae? I dislike drinking alone.” A woman approached his table, her red-lipped smile afire with invitation. Coppery hair rustled as she swept it artfully behind her.

“Not buying.” Set on his mission, DeMaksim was in no mood for pick-ups.

“I already have a drink.” Her wide-lipped smile failed to reach her eyes as she produced a flask from her shoulder-bag and sat. “Are you from around here?”

“Thereabouts.”

“Got any kinfolk?” She fingered the design etched on her flask.

“Why?” Her questions, especially to a Seelie this deep into Unseelie territory, raised hackles.

A hiss of laughter. “Just small talk.”

The troll appeared, placing a wooden trencher in front of DeMaksim and a second, larger beaker of liquid. “Water’s free.”

“Thanks.” The delicious aroma of the stew was its own advertisement. Fisting the spoon, DeMaksim dug in. Despite his hunger, he remained uncomfortably aware of the fidgeting woman across the table; of her intent gaze, the fingering of her flask, the rearrangement of the burgundy flower nestled in her hair, the trailing of her fingers down her neck, across her throat and down her right breast.

DeMaksim chewed, swallowed. “Not interested.”

She frowned. “I’m trying to get to know you.”

“I don’t want you getting to know me.” He spooned up more of the delicious stew.

Pouting, she tapped a finger on the wooden surface. “Just trying to be friendly.”

He grimaced. “Take a hint lady – leave.”

“Thraxarkzal!” Two dwarves lurched against the table; one with fists in his opponent’s beard, jerking the long fibres. DeMaksim flinched as Mr Trapped Beard bit his antagonist’s nose and yanked an ear.

“Bezeknazonite!”

“Durkitz!”

Rock-like grey arms yanked hoods tight around dwarfish throats as the Rock-troll bartender – ignoring choked cries – dragged the pair of brawlers to the door and ejected them.

DeMaksim spooned the last few bites of stew, chomping hard on something tough. Rewarded when it popped, he swallowed, grabbing a chunk of bread to drag through the gravy.

A sly smile widened the face opposite. “Good stew?” Lamplight glinted off small, curved fangs. “I thought Fae were herbivores?”

“Look for prey elsewhere.”

Her purr was throaty. “I like you.”

He tensed. “Go away.” Something unpleasant roiled in his stomach; it heaved. Bile threatened. Recalling the tough thing that’d squelched in his mouth, DeMaksim’s gaze narrowed on the smiling, over-friendly female fiddling with her hair blossom … again. His lips tightened. “You seeded me.”

Hasty fingers dragged red tendrils from her flower – the further her hand stretched, the longer the strands became. Grinning, she cast the threads.

Snarling viciously, he flexed his dagger from its forearm sheath, slicing through the airborne strings. Shrieking pieces plummeted to the table, the strands writhing, blackened where he’d cut them.

“No!” Delicate, curving fangs morphed into vicious, hooked needles.

“Nageen!” DeMaksim vomited, continuing until a coiled pile of snake fell to the tabletop. It raised a scaly, hissing head, but DeMaksim called forth a sheeting whoosh of flame, searing the rejected invader and the extra red tendril chunks he’d slashed. Those would’ve sealed a lesser Fae’s fate.

Hissing like steam from a covered billy-tin, the Nageen’s eyes slitted, barbed fangs protruding from her suddenly reptilian mouth. Her forked tongue flickered. “But you’re just a Fae! Fire isn’t possible!”

“Damnation take you!” Slamming fists on the table, DeMaksim spurt-flamed the seeding pod disguised under burgundy hair blossoms. It shrivelled to a blackened wisp.

Screaming, the Nageen abandoned all pretence. It transformed into a large, thick serpent and slithered hastily for the door. The doorbell clanged repeatedly, forced to open and shut for each coil of the reptilian body as she fought to escape. The repetitious sound echoed through the suddenly empty tavern.

DeMaksim retched again.

About Hellucy Howe: 

Head shot of author Hellucy HoweMeet Hellucy Howe. A book dragon who teethed on romantic fairy tales and went on to devour anything fantasy and paranormal as long as romance was involved. Writing her own fairy tale romance was the next logical step, which Hellucy does in a comfortable chair, with a cup of tea at hand and her spaniel, Lexie, asleep at her feet.

Her first published novella, Filigree and Fate appeared in A Perfectly Paranormal Valentine Anthology and she continues the series in A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween with Ancestors and Expectations. When Hellucy isn’t devouring books or writing them, you can find her at: https://hellucywrites.com| Instagram | Facebook