Monday, October 28, 2013

Across the Line by Amy Lee Burgess - Flash Fiction & Review with Giveaway

acrosstheline333x500-199x300When Councilor Allerton sends Stanzie to investigate a territory dispute between tiny pack Stony Fell and the British branch of much larger Mac Tire, it seems routine until someone sets a bear trap. A young Stony Fell man pays with the loss of his leg and now it’s up to Stanzie and Murphy to figure out who set the trap–and why–before more members of the packs are maimed.

Add a pair of star-crossed lovers, one love triangle, a grief-stricken bond mate with jealousy issues, and bad blood all around and the resultant twisted hell brew reveals the darker side of inter-pack politics that could prove too difficult–and dangerous–for even Stanzie to untangle.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, some sexual situations

Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August 26, 2013

 Book Excerpt 

We didn’t get three feet through the apartment door before he had me on the floor, tearing at my clothes. I ripped at his too. He kicked the door shut with his foot while simultaneously tearing at my clothes.

I sank my teeth into his shoulder and he yanked my hair hard.

“Are we playing rough?” he asked me.

For an answer, I head butted him. “That’s for being a giant asshole.”

We rolled over and over, smashed into the coffee table and knocked the lamp in the corner over. The crash of the bulb shattering was loud as hell.

“We’re not rolling around in glass.” Murphy lifted me up and I locked my legs around his waist. He staggered us over to one of the sofas.

We crashed down and the springs gave a protesting wail.

I scratched his back with my nails and he bit my lip until we both tasted my blood. It smeared across our faces as we kissed and he shifted so I straddled him on my knees as he sat upright.

“I love you,” he said as he tongued my earlobe. He sucked on it, sending a shooting burst of pleasure through my body.

“I love you,” I told him. When he lifted his head, his eyes gleamed with tears he blinked away.

“Say it again,” he begged. “Tell me again.”

“I love you.” I cupped his face with my hands. Beneath my fingers, his cheeks were smooth and warm. When his wolf colored his eyes amber, my wolf reached for his through me.

He pulled me down so he could kiss me and our lovemaking turned slow and gentle. His touch was reverent and lingering, his kisses a drug that pulled me into him, so my heart beat in time with his.

He brushed his lips, feather light, across my bruised jaw and bleeding lip, whispered to me in Irish as we moved together in a slowly building rhythm.

A rush of energy, my soul to his, and I buried my face in his sticky warm throat. God, I loved this infuriating man.

 Flash Fiction - Drombeg 

This tale is set right after Across the Line. In the beginning of the book, Stanzie and Murphy had to put off a road trip so Stanzie could go on assignment. This story is from that road trip when they finally were able to make it.

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Stanzie’s hand was warm in mine as we approached the stone circle. Although it was near sunset, one of the prime viewing times, the place was deserted. A winter wind scoured the gray stones, whipping up a cloud of dust turned orange-red by the dying light. 

“I suppose dawn would have been more symbolic,” I said. Stanzie was unusually quiet beside me. All along our road trip throughout Ireland, she’d chattered happily about all the things she saw. But the Drombeg circle seemed to steal the words from her throat.

I looked at her, the wind whipping her long gold hair away from her beautiful face and saw her blue eyes were wide with awe. Her face seemed filled with mysterious magic. Sunlight chased across her face as clouds obscured the light and then blew away. A complicated series of emotions flooded me. Foremost was love, but mixed in was gratitude, incredible joy, and yes, fear. I’d lost one bond mate and sometimes when I looked at Stanzie, this wild flood of emotion nearly swept me under. If I were ever to lose her. No, it didn’t bear thinking about. Tonight was a celebration of us being together. The most intensely perfect year of my life.

Struck by her beauty, I pressed my forehead against the side of her face .Her skin was cold, but her mouth was warm when she turned to kiss me.

The wind did its best to part us, but we were inseparable. She tasted of the licorice candy she’d been snacking on since two hours after we’d stopped for lunch at a roadside pub where she’d found the candy rack by the register.

“Did the packs in Ireland really come here for bonding ceremonies in the old days?” She rubbed her cold nose against mine after we broke our kiss. I couldn’t gauge her mood. Happy, yes, but something else too.

“The local pack, Cloughlea, still does,” I affirmed.

“It’s magic here,” she whispered.

“Are you scared?” I studied her expression. That wasn’t quite right, but close.

“The air is heavier here. Weighted down with, I don’t know, time or something. Or maybe people’s feelings. It presses against me. Everyone who ever performed some sort of ceremony or ritual here. It’s sacred space, Liam.”

When she called me by my first name, she was either scared, angry, or feeling very close to me. Tonight I’d plump for a combination of the first and the last.

“I never think of the Great Pack as being very magical, but it is.” She tugged my hand so I would walk with her toward the circle. The stones seemed to guard the space within the circle, yet they, too, were infused with power. Most of them were squared off or rectangular, large and small, but one was rounded. Lopsided and uneven like a meteor. Natural and unnatural fused. As we drew closer, the whole circle hummed, sending vibrations through the bones of my skull that felt strangely uplifting and not painful at all.

Stanzie turned to me, her face lit with wonder, most of the fear erased. “I think they’re talking to us!”

“What are they saying?” I grinned at her and tucked some of her wayward hair behind her ear.

“Liam and Constance, what brings you here before us?” She made her voice deep and imperative, yet oddly gentle.

“We want to renew our bond. We didn’t get a proper bonding ceremony as we barely knew each other when we took it. But now we love each other and we want to do justice to the rite.” I spoke to the stones, but I kept my gaze fixed on my love.

“Liam Murphy, I accept your offer of partnership and protection. From this moment forward, we move together as mates. May the Great Pack see and honor our union.” Stanzie whispered the traditional words. Solemn joy shuddered down my spine. A year and a month ago, she’d spoken the same words but she’d whispered, her eyes full of baffled tears and trepidation. She hadn’t known what the future held for us. She still didn’t, and neither did I, but the words felt right tonight. Right and true.

I was wearing my bond pendant tonight so she couldn’t present it to me as was customary in the ceremony. Instead she placed her palm over it and my heart and closed her eyes.

Sunlight burnished her hair into a splendor of gold. Around us the world seemed to hush and hold its breath.

I flattened my palm against her bond pendant and tonight I whispered the words that bound us together. A year ago I’d recited them in a flat, emotionless voice while inside I’d been racked with guilt for betraying Sorcha. Even though she’d been dead over two years by that time.

I’d bonded with Stanzie to save her from the clutches of Councilor Celine Ducharme. She’d had plans to keep Stanzie as a virtual servant, most of her Pack rights stripped away because Ducharme believed she’d murdered Rudi Grunwald. She’d agreed to let me bond with her, thinking I’d end up like Grunwald and she could prove Stanzie’s guilt this time although she couldn’t pin her down over Rudi’s murder.

Together, Stanzie and I had set the record straight and solved Rudi Grunwald’s murder. And Sorcha’s as well.

Funny, I couldn’t even remember Sorcha’s face anymore. Just a blank face surrounded by a halo of wild red hair. But when I closed my eyes, I could still see Stanzie’s gorgeous face. She was never far from my thoughts and always in my heart. I knew damn well I hadn’t saved Stanzie, she’d saved me.

When I opened my eyes, dusk had turned the sky lavender and the stones cast eerie shadows across the ground.

Stanzie unzipped my winter jacket, her eyes alight with mischief.

“Woman, what are you doing?” I wasn’t about to protest even though it would be bitter cold making love on the ground. She would be warm, that would more than make up for the winter wind chapping my bare ass.

For an answer, she stepped away and took off her jacket. Followed by her sweater, boots, jeans, socks, bra and panties. In that order and done with such sensual skill I couldn’t breathe. Blood rushed to my cock at the sight of her bare breasts, nipples puckered hard with the cold. Belatedly, I began stripping off my own clothes.

The stones watched and protected us. The thrumming sound intensified in my head, making my ears ring.

Stanzie dropped gracefully to her knees and she seemed to flicker in and out of focus, wrapped in a silver veil. Her face morphed from human to wolf. Beautiful.

Minx. Here I’d thought we were going to have a lovemaking session in the shadows of the stones and instead we were going to let our wolves run. She was right. It was too cold to screw on the ground. But fur would be welcome.

Her gorgeous light gray wolf pranced before me, head cocked, ears back playfully. She uttered a high pitched yip that tingled against the hum of the ancient stones. I kicked off my left boot, peeled off my socks, and let the shift overwhelm me.

Bright silver light seared my skin, my soul, I was uplifted, transformed, split apart and remade.

Mo Ghrá* wags her tail at me. I leap, but she is too fast, and races between the stones into the circle. I run after her. We are inside love. Inside the mystery. We are the love. We are the mystery. Mo Ghrá bares her throat and I take it in my jaws. Gentle, so gentle. I am hers. She is mine. We are love.

*Irish for “My love.” Pack wolves refer to each other by slightly (or very) different names than they do when they are in human form. Stanzie’s wolf has always called Murphy’s “Friend.” Murphy has never told Stanzie what his wolf calls hers. In fact, I just found out today when I let him tell this story.

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 Review from the Paranormal Dimensions  

Urban Fantasy is what this site is all about, so I was really looking forward to reading this book and let me tell you, Amy Lee Burgess does not disappoint!

Across the Line is #6 of The Wolf Within Series, and I've included information about the previous five books in the series (in addition to the buy links) below. I've read all of the the books, and I have to say that they just keep getting better. As I've read the series, I've become invested in the characters, especially Stanzie and Murphy even though their relationship is has definitely had its ups and downs.

This book is also interesting in that Amy expands some seemingly unconnected events from past books into major plots in Across the Line, and  she manages to convey the history of several different characters, along with their past involvements so that you can see the influence of those actions on what happens in this book. 

Amy Lee Burgess is obviously an extremely talented author with a wonderful descriptive voice and her world-building skills are top-notch, so much so that they allow the reader to suspend reality and invest in the story as well as the characters. Her story line is exceptionally original, with enough intrigue to keep me wanting more, her writing is smooth and seamless and her characters have strength and depth. Honestly, I can't think of anything I didn't love about this book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Urban Fantasy. I feel Across the Line earns a 5 Star Paranormal Dimensions Review! 
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and participation in a Virtual Book Tour hosted by 
Buy the Book Tours.**

 The Wolf Within Series 

About Face Book Cover
About Face – Book #5
Publication Date: March 27, 2013

Being herself is more dangerous than ever.

Stanzie’s job as Advisor to the Great Council is discovering other people’s secrets. When those secrets are being kept by the ones she loves most, can she find the courage to expose them?

Under orders from a Councilor, Stanzie journeys to Dublin and the MacTire pack. Her mission: warn her estranged bond mate, Liam Murphy, to abandon his overzealous search for the man responsible for the death of his first bond mate. Not only is he endangering himself, but also disrupting the delicate balance between opposing factions in the conspiracy threatening to tear the Great Pack apart.

Liam needs Stanzie’s help to protect their Alpha, who has entangled himself in the conspiracy’s deadly web. But he also desperately needs her back. In a race against time, Stanzie and Liam discover enemies often wear the faces of friends.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, some sexual situations
Inside Out CoverInside Out – Book #4
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

For Stanzie, being herself is more dangerous than ever.

There’s no place like home…or is there? When Stanzie is asked to investigate her birth pack- Mayflower–she isn’t prepared for what she finds. No one respects the Alphas and the newest adult member of the pack is being encouraged to leave. Why?

To make matters worse, the men are dangerously intent on mating and shifting with her. How far will the pack she thought she knew go to get what they want? Without her bond-mate, Liam, Stanzie must face this alone and, barely ahead of threat of violence, must solve the mysteries, and fast.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, some sexual situations
Hidden in Plain Sight
Hidden in Plain Sight – Book #3

As Stanzie discovers her wolf, she learns being herself is more dangerous than ever.

Where is Bethany Dillon? The seventeen-year-old girl is missing from the Maplefair pack and Constance Newcastle–Stanzie–and Liam Murphy must find her. Fast. A serial killer still has not been caught. Bethany could have run away, or killed herself. But no one in her pack seems to know the truth. Or, they’re just not telling.

Constance’s knack for uncovering secrets leads her into peril, and to save Bethany, she must break every rule. She risks losing everything, including Liam…and her life.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, some sexual situations
Scratch the SurfaceScratch the Surface – Book #2
Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Something’s rotten in the Riverglow pack.

Still learning more about each other as bond mates and adjusting to their new roles as Advisors to a Councilor, Constance Newcastle and Liam Murphy must deal with the ghosts of their past.

A quiet weekend in Boston is anything but that, when Constance comes face to face with the betrayal of those she considered the closest to her. Everyone has secrets, and wherever Constance goes, she has a knack for uncovering them. The only problem is that some secrets are deadly.

WARNING: Strong language, sexual situations, and a lot of graphic shoe description.
Beneath the Skin
Beneath the Skin – Book #1
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

If you could shift into a wolf, what would you discover about yourself?

Two years after the deaths of her bond mates, Constance Newcastle is ready to start over. The problem? The rest of the Great Pack, gathered in Paris to shift into wolves together, is not so sure she deserves the chance. Although the Great Council ruled the car crash an accident, even Constance blames herself. She was driving, after all.

Treated like a pariah by those she longs to rejoin, Constance reunites with an old lover. Everything looks promising until he mysteriously dies. Accused of his murder and desperate to clear her name, Constance joins forces with handsome, confident Liam Murphy, a former Alpha pack leader with a past as tragic and troubled as her own. Guided by the mysterious Councilor Jason Allerton, Constance and Liam discover they are not alone– throughout the Great Pack, people are dying. Can all the deaths be accidents, or is something more sinister going on?

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, some sexual situations

 About Amy Lee Burgess 

Website  Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Author Pic 400Amy Lee Burgess is a transplanted New Englander living in Houston, Texas with two dogs and lots of DVDs. In an attempt to bond with the city after being forced out of New Orleans post-Katrina, she turned to her writing. Determined to finally finish that novel she’d been hacking away at since high school, Amy managed to come up with a wolf shifter character named Stanzie Newcastle. She and Stanzie have been BFFs ever since.

In addition to Stanzie, Amy has also forged a relationship with several vampires, a witch or two, and other assorted supernatural creatures she hopes will entertain her readers. But she will always have room for coffee and butterscotch squares with Stanzie.

 The Giveaway 


Snarky Mom Reads said...

WOW! What a great, informative post! Thanks for giving us readers your feedback/review on the book series, Paranormal Dimensions!

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