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Drengr – Starlight Vikings Book 2 (Intergalactic Dating Agency) by Sky MacKinnon


Drengr
Starlight Vikings Book 2
Intergalactic Dating Agency
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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He thought his life was over.
She’s about to prove him wrong.

After the loss of his betrothed, battle-scarred warrior Errik has locked his heart away. All he wants to do is be the fearless, emotionless Vikingr he trained to be. He never wants to love again – until he meets Holly, who knows the pain of loss. But is that shared experience enough to bring them together? And when the future of his species is under threat, will the strain tear them apart or make them stronger?

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Errik is furious, his wishes have been ignored and his DNA was submitted for a match. He hasn’t gotten over losing his Kvenn and doesn’t want another mate. The first group of mates are due on the Valkyr and Njal is ordering him off with the others. The Peritan (Earth) woman would have a bit of time to adjust to being on the ship before being introduced to their matches.

Holly is a widowed teacher she’s ready to start living again and signed up with Hot Tatties because of the claim to find soulmates. Not that she really believed that nonsense, but she was ready to put herself out there again.

While most of the others in her group were scared or shocked Holly was curious. She has so many questions as she realizes they were indeed on a shuttle to a larger spaceship.

The crew that have mates in this group were watching as they arrived all of them excited and while understanding why things had to move slowly, anxious to actually meet with them. The men are in a house on Earth and while Steff introduces the women to their history and what to expect in the days to come.

They don’t see much until the following day when Steff introduces them to her mate Njal. She also explains the technology of the cameras that allow their mates to observe them from afar.

While Errik hasn’t read the information on his mate, one woman catches his eye. She’s not nervous or scared her curiosity is written all over her face. He’s a bit surprised when Njal informs him the woman who has caught his eye is indeed his mate.

Holly herself is just absorbing this new environment and is the first to want to meet her mate. They had special rooms set up, they were romantic settings and of course the interpretations of some things were funny, yet sweet.

Errik in spite of originally not wanting to have mate, has now fully embraced the fact that he has one and even before he meets Holly has begun the Fýst. Their time together is fun and informative for both but it’s the end of the time together that really gets interesting.

This is a favorite scene.

We talked for hours. The ship kept serving us more food and once we were full, drinks started appearing, most of them alcoholic. By the time I’d downed my third bright green cocktail – it tasted of bananas and blueberries, despite the colour – I was tipsy, giggly and didn’t want to ever leave this room again.

A knock on the door interrupted Errik’s story of how he’d single-handedly raided an entire container ship. Most of his tales had been full of violence and bluster, but I found them entertaining and surprisingly adorable.  

“Come in!” I called, not surprised when Steff poked in her head.

“Hello, lovebirds. How’s it going?”

I exchanged a look with Errik. It was going fabulously. Better than any date I’d ever had. The agency’s matching technology had proved itself to be highly effective. Errik and I were matched perfectly. That wasn’t to say that we were the same, not in the slightest. I had no interest in war and battles, while he appreciated my insatiable curiosity and drive to learn, but didn’t have the same urge to know everything. His hobbies were working out, training and studying past battles, while I liked to be creative or go for long swims in the sea. On paper, we were nothing alike, but despite that, I felt a kindred spirit within him. It wasn’t just the shared experience of loss that connected us. It was so much more.  

“Great,” was all I said. Steff’s knowing grin said she already understood. After all, she had her own Vikingr match. She had to know what it felt like.  

“Errik, Njal says you’re needed back on Earth. You have another ten minutes to wrap this up, then I’m afraid your first date is over. You can meet again tomorrow – if you want, of course.”

“I do,” I said at the same time as Errik. I smiled at him with adoration while he flashed his pink teeth at me. Aye, we were perfectly matched.  

“Holly, come see me once you’re done,” Steff said on the way out. “Don’t talk to the other women yet. I want to have a chat first.”

I nodded, but the door had already shut behind her.  

“Ten minutes,” Errik mused. “How long is that in Vikingr time?”

It had to be all the alcohol that made me say, “Long enough for a kiss.”

Errik’s grin turned predatory. He was on his feet in an instant and then he was towering above me. Again, he had moved faster than my mind could comprehend. Steff had said nothing about superhuman speed, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t real.  

Slowly, with a slight wobble I blamed the cocktails for, I stood up. I only reached to his collarbone – his blue, silky, muscle-surrounded collarbone. Some of my ovaries fainted at the sight. His eyes reflected the candlelight, sparkling like stars in the night. He wasn’t smiling anymore. His expression was serious, intense, hungry. He devoured me with his sweeping gaze until I couldn’t take it any longer.  

“Do you feel it?” I whispered huskily.  

He didn’t reply. Instead, he cupped my cheeks with his huge, calloused hands, before his lips met mine. The first few moments were sweet, gentle and strangely normal. A kiss that a human guy would give. But then he slung one arm around my waist, pressing me tightly against his hard body, and the kiss turned feral. All softness disappeared as he claimed my mouth. This was more what I’d been expecting. And I loved it.  

He tasted like the sea, salty and wild, while his sandalwood scent filled my nose. His beard rubbed against my cheeks, but the hair was softer than it looked and didn’t chafe.  

I got lost in the kiss, letting him plunder me with his demanding tongue. My body was screaming for more. My breasts were taught and heavy, my core throbbing with need. I could feel his erection between us, a hard rod of temptation. For a moment, I wondered what he looked like, but then a sharp, delicious pain on my bottom lip drew my attention. His vampire teeth must have grazed me. Unaware, he continued, and I saw no need to tell him. On the contrary, I wanted to feel that pain again. Wanted him to bite me. They did it during their wedding night, but maybe he could give me a little preview?

I didn’t recognise myself. This wasn’t vanilla-Holly. This was a seductive vixen slumbering deep within, only emerging now that she’d found her match. Following the urge to feel more of him, I ran my hands over his back, amazed how even there, he had planes of thick muscle. He was a beast, a warrior, and he was mine.

A knock on the door made us freeze for a heartbeat before we continued, our kiss turning more desperate. We were running out of time. And I never wanted to let go of Errik ever again. I clung to him, breathing in his alluring scent, feeling his hardness press against my body. I wanted more, needed more. Ten minutes were like a drop of water for someone dying of thirst. I couldn’t stop. Didn’t want to. And Errik seemed to feel the same. His tongue raided my mouth, his lips hard against mine, only occasionally lessening the pressure to breathe. One hand roamed over my back, while the other was tousled in my hair, holding my head in place as if he was scared I’d move away from him. As if. There was nothing that could make me leave. Nothing.

The door slid open behind us, but we ignored it. Didn’t listen when Steff shouted something. The world around us didn’t matter.  

I was pulled away from Errik. I struggled against the grip around my waist, but then another set of hands clamped around my arms and pulled me back. Reality slowly drifted in, waking me from my blissful state. It took me a moment to realise what I was seeing. Three Vikingar warriors were restraining Errik, pushing him against a wall.

“What the fuck are you doing to him?!” I screamed, turning around to face my own attackers. Steff and Njal stood side by side, their faces grave.  

“Let go of my mate,” Errik growled, fury lining his words.  

Njal lifted his hands. “Not touching her. I am sorry, but we have an emergency. We need the two of you.”
Skye MacKinnon. Drengr (Kindle Locations 828-874). Peryton Press.

The emergency that ensues involves the IGA, a secret revealed and a whole lot of heat in more ways than one.

I really enjoy these dating agency books and I really can’t wait for the next Vikingr one.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Vikingr: Starlight Vikings Book 1 (Intergalactic Dating Agency)


Vikingr
Starlight Vikings Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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He’s an alien Viking.
She has no intentions of being his captive.

Njal enjoys the life of a ruthless Vikingr captain: eat, drink and pillage to his heart’s content. Then he and his crew of warriors get the worst possible news: their planet is destroyed.

If their species is to survive, they must claim females to breed offspring. Luckily, scientists at the Intergalactic University discovered that women on a backwater planet called Earth are compatible. And what does a Vikingr do once he’s found his mate? Right, he abducts her.

Steff is terrified of the huge blue alien who’s kidnapped her. He’s wild, loud, and has never heard of table manners. But is there pain and vulnerability behind his bluster? Perhaps she can help him and his men. Not by becoming his mate, no way. By adding them to the roster of her dating agency. Maybe he won’t hold her hostage if she finds him another bride…

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The prologue of this book takes place two years prior when Njal the Bloodthirsty and his crew are stricken with the pain of the knowledge that their planet is gone and with it everyone and everything they’ve always known.

Hot Tatties Dating Agency is a success thanks to the Albyans. They’ve made sucessful matches and the native females are starting to wake. There is however an exclusive contract in place. As her day is winding down Steff gets a strange phone call asking if Peritans are compatible with him. She instructs the caller leave genetic sample with the Intergalactic University (IGU) to find out.

Njal secretly contacted the IGU and got a list of compatible species, the thing is although the Peritans are on it they were crossed off. Apparently, they are now under intergalactic protection. With IGU and Intergalactic Authority satellites orbiting the planet he knows they are breaking all sorts of laws but he doesn’t care. Njal has a purpose and he won’t be deterred or kept waiting, he’s going to kidnap a woman.

Steff is almost home after an exhausting day at Hot Tatties when she’s accosted by a man. The next thing she knows, she’s waking in a dark room. Realizing she’s been kidnapped she decides she’s not going to be a victim here. She’s going to get out of this. She’s also fortunate to have a translator implant.

This is a favorite scene.

He wore heavy combat boots, black as the night, the style completely at odds with his shirtless chest.   As if he’d been in battle and forgotten to put on his armour. Or used his naked torso to distract his enemies.

“Like what you see?” He grinned wolfishly. His lips were midnight blue, but the teeth flashing between were a pale pink. His incisors were too sharp for human standards. Did his species bite?  

I looked him straight into his cobalt eyes, refusing to feel guilty for checking him out. A, don’t walk around half-naked if you don’t want to be stared at, and B, he’d abducted me and I had every right to observe who’d kidnapped me. Plus C, I had ovaries. No straight woman could look at this guy without feeling a slight flutter in her nether regions. He oozed masculinity.

“Who are you and why did you abduct me?” I demanded. “This planet is under the IGU’s protection.”

He seemed taken aback. “You know about the IGU? I thought Peritans didn’t know about life beyond their planet.”

I grinned at him, hoping to unsettle him with my display of confidence. I hoped he couldn’t see the slight tremble of my hands as I faced off my abductor.  

“I deal with Albyans and the IGU on a daily basis. You chose the wrong woman to abduct. I repeat, why did you kidnap me and who the fuck are you?”

He pushed back his shoulders, all pride and bravado. “I am Njal the Bloodthirsty, captain of the Valkyr. I am a Vikingr – if you’ve heard of Albyans, I’m sure you’ll know of the great Vikingr race. We are feared and admired across the galaxy.”

Arrogant much? What an arse.  

“Well, I’ve never heard of you. And if you have to give yourself a scary title, that’s only proof that you’re not as fearsome as you think. Now answer my bloody question before I get angry.”

My drama teacher would have been proud of my performance. Inside, I was scared shitless, but he didn’t have to know that. Once I was back home, I’d send my alma mater’s drama department some flowers.  

Njal continued to grin at me, but his gaze had turned from curious to appreciative.  

“Peritan females really are as strong as I’d hoped. That’s excellent news. The IGU scientists were sure that we’re compatible on a physical level, but a true Vikingr would never accept a soft female as their mate, even if he could breed her.”

Breed. The word echoed in my mind and I suddenly felt very cold. This wasn’t an alien like the Albyans – honourable, decent, kind. Albyans didn’t use words like breeding. They conducted sacred rituals as their version of marriage, which gave a human woman the same rights as her alien husband. Women weren’t seen as walking wombs like I’d heard other alien species treated their females.

Why couldn’t I have been abducted by a nice alien?

“You’re not going to breed me,” I hissed.

The door behind him was still ajar. I could try and run. But where to?  

“Perfect,” Njal muttered, his gaze still roaming my body. “My crew will be pleased.”  

Crew. Multiple aliens. He was going to give me to them.

My knees wobbled with fear, but I pushed past it. I had to show strength. So I ran at him and jammed my knee right up his crotch.
Skye MacKinnon. Vikingr (Kindle Locations 311-337). Peryton Press.

Steff’s first attempt at escape is thwarted by Njal and fortunately for him she had been heading in the direction of his cabin. He’s determined to get to know this female and see if they were compatible in ways other than just science.

I truly enjoyed the way this book plays out, there’s laughter, tears, frustration, sizzle and so much more!

I can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

Coming Soon!

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

My Big Green Alien Orc – Starlight Monsters Book 1 by Skye MacKinnon


My Big Green Alien Orc
Starlight Monsters Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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Aliens are real.

I know because they abducted me. Now I’m trapped in a deadly game and everything I do is for the entertainment of aliens. If I fail, I die. My only chance of survival is a big, scary monster…but is he truly on my side or is this yet another game?

She’s my mate.

They showed me my fated female, then took her away. I will do anything to get to her. I will tear this planet apart. And once I have found her, I will claim her as my mate.

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This book opens as Vruhag smells his mate is near. He’s trapped in his cell that even he with all his orc strength can’t escape. Although he does some damage before they get a restraining collar on him. The mating fever riding him hard.

Fay McLean has no idea where she is when she wakes with a massive hangover. At least that’s what she thinks it is. She’s in the dark and tries to find a window or door, but there aren’t any, it’s a cell. The question is where.

The next thing she knows, she’s naked and submerged in water on a planet that is clearly not Earth. She needs clothing, shelter and food and then to figure out how to get home.

Vruhag is forced to watch as his mate is sent to the surface with no clothing or weapon to use against the monsters that inhabit that planet. He needs to find her, mate her, and then survive for ten days to be freed. That was the rule of the Trials of Kalumbu. Unfortunately, he’s sent down with only an axe and with no idea of where Fay could be.

Fay has a stroke of luck when the first creature she meets on this horrific planet is a Chii, the small creature leads her to its home and there she begins to learn about where she is and what happens there. The chii who found her is called Ali’quii and her relative Ta’quii is the powerful clan-mother. Ta’quii is the one who tells her someone is searching for her and that Ali’quii’s chosen has found him and is leading him to her. It seems this someone is her mate. Not that she believes in such things.

The first thing Vruhag does is kill for food, he’s weak and not at his top strength. He’s not so lucky in his search for Fay, he has to battle not one but two rakefangs. They were attacking a small chirping creature, and he couldn’t let them win. The creature he saves is a Chii and his name is Ano’quoo and he is traveling to meet his chosen and will lead Vruhag to his mate. She’s with Ali’quii and her clan safe for the moment.

The first meeting between Fay and Vruhag is interesting to say the least. He can understand her, but she can’t understand him. Ano’quoo and Ali’quii get them to a safe place and create a mind room for them to talk.

This is a favorite scene.

I sat cross-legged opposite the two chii, while Vruhag kneeled to my right. He wore the same brown kilt as in real life, but he now had straps and holsters wrapped around his shoulders and arms. A knife glinted from a bone sheath strapped around his forearm, while the pendants on his necklace suspiciously looked like teeth or fangs. He oozed strength and uninhibited power.

“Can you understand me now?” he asked, his deep voice echoing through my mind. I didn’t hear him with my ears, but with my heart.

“Yes, I can.”

He smiled at me, and my mouth went dry. It was a sinful smile, full of desire and promises. He shouldn’t smile at me like that. Not when we were strangers.

“Tell me why we’re here. Tell me how to get home,” I demanded.

His smile disappeared in an instant. “This planet is called Kalumbu,” he began slowly, as if not sure what to tell me and what to sugar coat. “In simple terms, it’s an arena. Cameras watch everything we do. The show is broadcast on hidden channels across the galaxy. Contestants are sent here to fight for survival. If they are still alive after ten rotations, they are taken to safety.”

“How long is a rotation?” I asked at the same time as Ali’quii muttered, “Wrong.”

Vruhag’s attention snapped to the chii. “What?”

“They’re not safe.” For the first time, Ali’quii moved her lips while speaking. “I’ve seen them. They’re lifted on a floating platform, high into the sky, then they’re pushed over the rim. They fall. They crash. They die.”

A barrage of emotions ran across Vruhag’s face. He was so expressive. Or was I just particularly attuned to him? It felt easy to read what he was feeling even though he wasn’t human.

“Are you sure?” he asked hoarsely.

Ano’quoo’s tufted ears lowered. “I have seen it as well. Nobody ever leaves here alive. The beasts feast on them, whether they’re alive or dead. The forest feeds off its sacrifices.”

A series of shivers ran down my back and this time, they weren’t the pleasant kind.

Vruhag looked at me, his eyes hooded. The spark in his eyes extinguished as all hope seemed to flee him. The room turned cold.

“You said you have a way off this planet,” I said weakly.

“I nodded,” he muttered. “In my culture, that means no. I’m a captive just like you. I was abducted from my ship. My only hope was that we’d survive for ten rotations and finish the Trials that way. Ten rotations, that’s ten cycles of day and night. We haven’t even been here for one. And now it turns out we will die anyway, no matter if we somehow make it to the end of the Trials.”

He sounded so defeated. If this warrior, this beast of a man, didn’t see a way out, then what hope was there?

I wrapped my arms around my chest. “What do we do?”

He gave me a grim look. “We fight for as long as we can. Until the day the planet kills us.”
Skye MacKinnon. My Big Green Alien Orc (Kindle Locations 1062-1085). Peryton Press.

From this point on it’s getting to know each other and surviving. Fay has a lot of accepting to do when it comes to her mating. This is as foreign to her as her current environment.

So many things happen in this book, it kept me on edge through every page and there’s an interesting surprise as well.

I really can’t wait for the next book in this series. I have a love/hate relationship with this strange world Skye has created that others use to torment and kill.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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My Big Sweet Waffle Monster – Starlight Monsters Book 0.5 By Skye MacKinnon


My Big Sweet Waffle Monster
Starlight Monsters Book 0.5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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After her alien abduction from Earth, Penny has resigned herself to never returning home.

For two years, she’s been forced to work on an illegal space station and has lost hope of better things to come. Until she stumbles across a caged alien who smells like home.

Almost naked, with golden scales, and the most delicious scent, she finds it hard to resist when he insists she’s his mate.

Will Penny risk everything to free her alien?

My Big Sweet Waffle Monster is a prequel to the Starlight Monsters series and includes a standalone m/f alien monster romance.

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Penny is smelling waffles, just like her nan used to make with all the sweetness of honey and maple syrup. She has to find where this delightful aroma is coming from. Now while that sounds easy to do for Penny it is not. She’s somewhere in the galaxy not anywhere near Earth and the prospects of going home are less than none. She waits until the guards are at their meal before attempting to find the source of the waffles. Her only way into the area is through the very small vents.

Qong is a prisoner on this ship, he’d been rudely wakened from cryosleep and put into this cell. He’d been traveling to Kev-4 a place for his people to start over with better lives. Now he has no idea where he is his only happiness is in sensing his mate. She appears to be closer now, over his head in fact.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

The alien stared at me with confusion and something like disgust. I’d become pretty good at reading aliens’ expressions, no matter where they were from. It wasn’t all about facial features, but also about stance and body language, plus a large dose of intuition. This particular alien male was confused, which confused me in return. Why was he looking at me as if I wasn’t what he’d expected? He shouldn’t have expected me at all. I was only here because of the sweet scent, the same scent that was so strong now that I could taste waffles in my mouth. I had to fight the urge to chew.  

Up close, he was even bigger than he’d seemed from above. His hexagonal scales formed thick layers, reminding me of medieval plate armour, but far more delicate. They were adorned with a honeycomb pattern, which combined with their golden colour made them look like tiny, crispy waffles. Or maybe not. It was entirely possible that I was only making that connection because of the scent.  

“Do you have any food in here?” I heard myself say.

“Is that what I smell?”

His confusion became even more obvious as he looked down at me with a frown. The scales on his face were only about the size of my fingernails, giving him the flexibility to have an expressive mimic. Even his eyelids and lips were covered in scales, so small that they appeared like gold dust on his skin. His eyes weren’t all that different from a human’s, with dark irises ringed with shimmering gold, although his eyelids closed from the sides like in reptiles.  

“I don’t have food. Are you hungry? What are you?” He clasped a hand over his mouth. “Sorry. That was rude.”

I found him strangely adorable. He was huge and could squeeze me like an insect, but there was a vulnerability in his beautiful golden eyes that made me look past his intimidating strength.  

“I’m human, although it seems most beings call us Peritans,” I explained. “Turns out we’re pretty rare. We’ve only just developed space travel, so only a few of us have left our planet.”

“Peritan,” he repeated thoughtfully. “I’ve never heard of that before. What is your planet called?”

“Earth in my native language, Peritus in Intergalactic Standard.”

“Is your planet close to Aggo?”

“I’m sorry, I have no idea. I don’t know much intergalactic geography. I didn’t exactly leave my home by choice. But anyway, maybe we should start with names?” I smiled at him. “I’m Penny.”

Back on Earth, I would have held out a hand, but I’d learned quickly that most aliens weren’t familiar with that gesture. One had actually taken my hand into his mouth. The memory of his enormous tongue swirling around my fingers still gave me the shivers.  

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma… Penny. I am Qong, son of Qing, third enforcer in the Macwuel Clan.”

He said the words with pride, but of course, it meant nothing to me. I just nodded and smiled as if I knew exactly what an enforcer was or how important his clan was.  

The sweet scent of waffles drifted into my nostrils once more and I couldn’t help but ask, “Why does it smell like waffles? Where is it coming from?”

“I don’t know what waffles are. And I only smell the sweet scent of my m… you.”

I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or creepy. “Are you saying that I smell?”

His eyes widened and he raised his scaled hands as if to erase his words. “No, of course not! I simply mean that your scent is the most delicious fragrance I have ever smelled. So sweet, so delicate, so strong. I…” He shook his head and stopped talking before he could dig himself a bigger hole.  

I ignored him and walked around the cell, sniffing every few steps. The scent was coming from in here, that much was certain. I avoided the toilet column, hoping very much that it wasn’t his shit that was smelling this delicious. That would throw up all sorts of new problems – quite literally.

“What are you doing?” he asked after watching me circle his cell twice.

“Finding waffles. Or maple syrup. Or whatever else it is that is driving me crazy by smelling so good.”

“Describe waffles for me.”

I gave him a quick look to check if he was serious, then shrugged and continued pacing. “They’re baked flat cakes, kind of like pancakes, but I suppose you probably don’t know what those are, either. They can be sweet or savoury, although my favourite ones are sweet drizzled with maple syrup. Some people make them in a square shape, but I have a heart-shaped waffle iron. I know it’s silly, but I always feel like they taste better when they look like a heart.”

I realised I was rambling – and drooling at the memory of my nan’s waffles – and stopped.  

“Are they your favourite food?” Qong asked curiously, still not taking his eyes off me. His confusion had abated slightly, but he still didn’t seem sure what to think of me.  

“My favourite sweet food, yes.”

“Then I’m honoured.”

That sentence didn’t make sense at all, so I stopped once again to look at him. “What do you mean?”

“Your kind, your… Peritans… Do you have a mate bond?” he asked instead of answering my question.

“No. We have relationships and fall in love, but we don’t have bonds like I’ve seen in other species.” One of my roommates, a young Ferven woman named Dra-Lia, had explained all about mate bonds to me once. They seemed common and most aliens living on the station were either mated to a partner or looking for their mate. Humans were strange in that regard. I’d tried to explain to Dra-Lia that I didn’t want a fated mate because I wanted to decide who to love, but she’d just shaken her head and given me a pitiful look. For her, finding the mate destined to her by the stars, was the fulfilment of all her dreams. For me, it sounded like a chore.  

“Oh.” Qong looked disappointed, his hairless brows furrowing. “That is strange.”

“Not strange, just different,” I said automatically. It had become my mantra, something I told myself several times a day, especially when confronted with particularly weird aliens and their even weirder habits. Like the species that communicated by farting. I doubted I’d ever get used to that.  

He didn’t seem to know what to say to that. I finally stopped my exploration of his cell, conceding that there were no waffles hidden away anywhere. I’d known that from the start, really, but the intensity of the scent was pushing away all rational thought. I needed to find the source of the smell so I could think clearly once more.  

Qong breathed in deep, a smile curving his lips as he sighed in contentment. “I don’t smell what you call waffles. For me, it’s the sweet fragrance of the yumii flower mixed with a hint of coradomn, a spice we use a lot in confectionery. It is the most beautiful scent I could imagine. Nobody ever knows what they will smell until the time comes. It could be your favourite flower, dish or even animal, but quite often, it’s a combination of scents, made even better by their union.”

“Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You have to be clearer. Why are we smelling different things? What is causing it?”

“There is no easy way to say this,” he muttered. “So I shall be blunt. You are my mate.”

I froze, unsure how to react to that. Hysterical laughter was one option, denial another. Or maybe should I scream and run?  

Mate. I looked at him, the golden scaly alien, and tried to imagine him as my partner. I didn’t know him, he was a complete stranger, yet it didn’t feel that way. Our gaze met. His eyes were kind and full of hope. He was watching me closely, waiting for my reaction. I liked that he gave me time to process what he’d said.  

Mate.
Skye MacKinnon. My Big Sweet Waffle Monster (Kindle Locations 150-213). Peryton Press.

Knowing Qong is her mate, she needed the answer to one question, did he volunteer for Kalumbu or are the trials his punishment.

That he is neither is not a surprise to her, she’d seen much over the course of her stay here. Volunteers often weren’t but the trials are harsh and most often deadly. She would need to get him off the ship and get both of them off the station without being caught.

This book is both fun and exciting as they make plans and execute them. I can’t wait for the next book in this brand-new series.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

Coming Soon!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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The Alien’s Farmer – Aliens and Animals Book 3 by Skye MacKinnon and Arizona Tape


The Alien’s Farmer
Aliens and Animals Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Authors
Skye MacKinnon
and
Arizona Tape

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Rachel thought it couldn’t get worse than losing her farm. But when a hot stranger turns out to be an alien, her life is about to change forever.

Tamsia’s sisters both have human mates, but she can’t quite understand the appeal herself. Until she meets Rachel, the owner of an adorable yet intimidating Highland cow. Will Tamsia be able to persuade her to move to Kyven?

An out-of-this-world f/f alien romance with a headstrong human woman and an alien female used to getting what she wants. This is a standalone sapphic love story with a guaranteed happy end. If you love lesbian romance, cute animals, and humorous science fiction, this series will make you laugh, swoon, and wish you had your own fluffy Highland cow.

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Rachel meets Tamsia, at a Halloween party, totally unaware that she’s an alien. They have a few too many drinks and Rachel takes Tamsia to her hotel where they both fall asleep rather quickly.

Back on her home planet, Kyven, Tamsia is in charge of financials at their Animal Park while her sister Valla and her mate Tilly are podding. Their planet enables couples of the same gender to give birth in a process called podding, it is sacred and the couple stays together throughout the process. They are running out of money and they have to do something. There just isn’t enough income, even with their main attraction of the hybrid katzpard cubs. Disturbing Valla and Tilly wasn’t a good idea so Tamsia approaches Sahra and Abby. Sahra decides they need cows so they can sell earth products like clotted cream.

Tamsia is sent back to earth to buy the cows, only instead of going where Abby wanted her to she heads to the farm owned by the woman she met eight months ago, Rachel.

Rachel’s surprised to see Tamsia and even more so when she discovers Tamsia wants to buy cows. Since her cousin Heather owns the farm so Tamsia would have to talk to her about that and Heather was in town. It was starting to get late so Rachel offers their guest room to Tamsia for the night.

Heather arrives with disturbing news they were going to lose the farm. Tamsia decides to buy all the animals on the farm and then convinces both Rachel and Heather to go with them.

This is a favorite scene.

Humans and their drinks. They were certainly fascinating in their own way, not that I was in a hurry to admit that to my sisters. I didn’t want to put up with Bavalla’s gloating that she’d been right.

“What are your sisters like?” Heather asked, hiccuping once.

“Sahra is annoying and wishes she was the eldest. Valla does whatever Valla wants and gets us in trouble. It’s her fault we ended up with an animal park,” I said, surprised at how easy it was to talk to them. I wasn’t a very chatty person but in the moment, I was feeling bubbly and glowy and warm. I blamed the wine.

So to remedy it, I drank some more.

A couple of bottles later, the spirits in the kitchen were high and I couldn’t stop laughing at all the things they were saying. Most of it didn’t make sense but that made it so funny.

“I’m hungry,” Heather announced abruptly, rising from the table and wobbling over to their oven-stove. “I want greasy food. Oh, let’s order a munchy box with thick chips. And kebab.”

“And eggs?” I asked hopefully, hungrily licking my lips. I loved eggs.

“Eggs?” Heather echoed, gripping the counter so she didn’t fall. “We have eggs. I’ll make you the best scramble you’ve ever had. Sit tight, I’m going to get some fresh ones.” She stumbled out of the house, leaving the door wide open.

“What are you doing? Come back!” Rachel cackled, howling with laughter. “I don’t know what Heather’s doing. Why is she collecting eggs in the middle of the night?”

“I don’t know.” I laughed even though I didn’t really understand what was so funny but her amusement was contagious.

My controlband chimed to alert me to an incoming call from Amison and excited to hear an update, I accepted. A little holographic version of the spotted pink alien appeared in the air.

“Oh my god, that’s so cool!” Rachel screamed, tilting my wrist towards her. “Wow, that’s some advanced technology you got.”

Oops. I forgot I shouldn’t show her this stuff. At least she didn’t seem freaked out or anything.

She waved at Amison. “Hello! Cool outfit!”

The smuggler seemed confused and ignored her, speaking in the common intergalactic language instead. “I’m approaching Planet #47283’ s orbit. Are you ready?”

Rachel hiccuped and rubbed her temple. “Woah, I can’t understand him at all. I must be drunker than I thought. Or wait, is this how you sound in Kyven?”

She was so adorable.

Wait, what was Amison saying? He was already here? But it wasn’t morning yet. Or was it?

“Almost ready,” I told Amison. My tongue was strangely heavy and didn’t behave as it should.

“Good. Get everyone in one spot and send me the coordinates.”

I wasn’t in the mood for springing into action. I wanted to drink some more wine and enjoy the fuzzy warmth it was giving me. But somewhere deep within my mind, rational-Tamsia bounced up and down in annoyance, trying to get me to hurry.

Heather stumbled into the room, clutching one egg. “Only found this one. The hens haven’t laid yet.”

“No surprise there,” Rachel giggled. “I could have told you that before you went on a wild egg chase.”

Heather handed me the egg and I took it gingerly, not wanting to break the delicate pod.

“Thank you,” I said. “Our transport is here. Do you want to come with us?”

“Pleeeeeaaaase,” Rachel chirped and threw an arm around her cousin. “It won’t be the same without you.”

“Now?” Heather asked, looking around the messy kitchen. “But we need to pack and clean and-“

“Or we could just disappear,” Rachel whispered conspiratorially. “And not do the dishes for once. How naughty would that be?”

“Very naughty. And for some reason I really want to say yes.”

Rachel grinned. “Then say it.”

“Alright. I know I shouldn’t because I’m drunk, but let’s do it. Let’s throw all caution in the wind and go to Kyven. You did pack all the supplies for the animals, right? Even my alcohol-addled brain knows that’s important.”

“We did,” I reassured her. “Got everything for journey.”

I joined the two humans as we hurried outside, leaving the kitchen in its messy state. I realised I was still clutching the egg. No time to cook it now. And I’d never find out what a kebab was.

We kept laughing while we somehow got the chickens in their carriers. The cows stood in a huddle in their stable, the hay bales and other supplies next to them, but we still had to get the sheep and pigs which were housed in another building. It was all so very funny. My mouth hurt from grinning. This was so much fun.

The sky was starting to turn orange and red hues by the time we’d shepherded the pigs into the cow stable. While the two humans tried to get the pigs to behave, I returned to the sheep. They were funny-looking animals that looked like fluffy clouds with four legs. We didn’t have anything similar on Kyven.

“Bavoosh,” I muttered, the Kyven word for cloudling. “I will call you Bavoosh. Better than sheep.” One of them bleated in response. At the same time, my controlband vibrated.

“Are you ready?” Amison asked.

“Almost. Are you close enough for the A-Beam?”

“Yes and I’ve already got it locked on your signal and all other life forms within a one hundred intergalactic feet radius.”

I did a quick calculation. That would include Heather, Rachel and the animals in the other barn, but not the road leading to the farm. I didn’t want to abduct an innocent passerby. I wasn’t Valla.

“I guess we’re ready then. When you say life forms, does that include bugs and plants?”

Amison laughed. “No, just over a certain size. I’ll beam down a set of markers now that you can stick on anything non-living.”

He’d thought of everything. I wasn’t sure if he did this regularly or if we were his first farm relocation.

With a bright flash, a heap of little blue stickers materialised next to my feet. I gathered them all up and hurried back to the human females who were still busy chasing pigs.

I quickly slapped the stickers on the feed bags and our other supplies, then turned to Heather and Rachel.

“Are you ready?” They exchanged a look. “I didn’t hear a truck,” Heather said, sounding confused.

I smiled at her, then pressed my controlband. Bright light encompassed us as our bodies dematerialised.
Skye MacKinnon; Arizona Tape. The Alien’s Farmer: Aliens and Animals 3 (Kindle Locations 873-927).

Of course, Tamsia left out one important detail. Kyven isn’t a place on Earth.

There’s a lot of fun and challenges in this book, but Tamsia and Rachel do seem to be meant for each other.

I loved seeing how happy Tilly and Sahra are with their Alien mates and I know Rachel will be happy with Tamsia. Now Heather needs to find a mate too.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Arizona and Skye!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

A creator at heart, Ari has always been in love with the idea of turning nothing into something. She wants to conquer the book world with stories that focus on inclusivity and diversity, writing what she likes to read. Whether it’s adventure or romance, dragons and vampires, or princesses and students, there’s something for everyone.

Born in China, raised in Belgium, and currently living in the United Kingdom with her girlfriend, Ari is a citizen of the world and loves discovering new cultures. Luckily, her crazy imagination lets her discover places she’s never been to, meet people that don’t exist, and talk to readers from all over the world.

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Amazon Author Page

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Amazon Author Page

Just A Taste From: Eat Your Heart Out 2 – A Charity Anthology For The Hunger Project and Unicef’s Ukraine Appeal.


Eat Your Heart Out 2

Featuring

Arizona Tape
Calista Jayne
Danika Bloom
Demelza Carlton
Erin Bedford
Gwyn McNamee & Christy Anderson
Jade Waltz
Jessalyn Jameson
K. R. Max
Lacey Carter Andersen
Laura Greenwood
Lexie Miers
Linzi Basset
Margo Bond Collins
Mia Harlan
Rachel Everly
Skye MacKinnon
TB Mann
Zoey Indiana

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Are you ready for seconds?

Eat Your Heart Out is back for 2022 with 19 brand new standalone stories from bestselling romance authors.

Pull up your chair and dig into a variety of drool-worthy stories! Whether you want to dip into something steamy, or nibble on something sweet, you’ll find your perfect match amongst the pages. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer your treats paranormal, contemporary or with a side of aliens, we have a dish for everyone.

All net proceeds from Eat Your Heart Out 2 will be donated to The Hunger Project and Unicef’s Ukraine appeal.

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My Big Sweet Waffle Monster
Starlight Monsters Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

Penny is smelling waffles, just like her nan used to make with all the sweetness of honey and maple syrup. She has to find where this delightful aroma is coming from. Now while that sounds easy to do for Penny it is not. She’s somewhere in the galaxy not anywhere near Earth and the prospects of going home are less than none. She waits until the guards are at their meal before attempting to find the source of the waffles. Her only way into the area is through the very small vents.

Qong is a prisoner on this ship, he’d been rudely wakened from cryosleep and put into this cell. He’d been traveling to Kev-4 a place for his people to start over with better lives. Now he has no idea where he is his only happiness is in sensing his mate. She appears to be closer now, over his head in fact.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

The alien stared at me with confusion and something like disgust. I’d become pretty good at reading aliens’ expressions, no matter where they were from. It wasn’t all about facial features, but also about stance and body language, plus a large dose of intuition. This particular alien male was confused, which confused me in return. Why was he looking at me as if I wasn’t what he’d expected? He shouldn’t have expected me at all. I was only here because of the sweet scent, the same scent that was so strong now that I could taste waffles in my mouth. I had to fight the urge to chew.  

Up close, he was even bigger than he’d seemed from above. His hexagonal scales formed thick layers, reminding me of medieval plate armour, but far more delicate. They were adorned with a honeycomb pattern, which combined with their golden colour made them look like tiny, crispy waffles. Or maybe not. It was entirely possible that I was only making that connection because of the scent.  

“Do you have any food in here?” I heard myself say.

“Is that what I smell?”

His confusion became even more obvious as he looked down at me with a frown. The scales on his face were only about the size of my fingernails, giving him the flexibility to have an expressive mimic. Even his eyelids and lips were covered in scales, so small that they appeared like gold dust on his skin. His eyes weren’t all that different from a human’s, with dark irises ringed with shimmering gold, although his eyelids closed from the sides like in reptiles.  

“I don’t have food. Are you hungry? What are you?” He clasped a hand over his mouth. “Sorry. That was rude.”

I found him strangely adorable. He was huge and could squeeze me like an insect, but there was a vulnerability in his beautiful golden eyes that made me look past his intimidating strength.  

“I’m human, although it seems most beings call us Peritans,” I explained. “Turns out we’re pretty rare. We’ve only just developed space travel, so only a few of us have left our planet.”

“Peritan,” he repeated thoughtfully. “I’ve never heard of that before. What is your planet called?”

“Earth in my native language, Peritus in Intergalactic Standard.”

“Is your planet close to Aggo?”

“I’m sorry, I have no idea. I don’t know much intergalactic geography. I didn’t exactly leave my home by choice. But anyway, maybe we should start with names?” I smiled at him. “I’m Penny.”

Back on Earth, I would have held out a hand, but I’d learned quickly that most aliens weren’t familiar with that gesture. One had actually taken my hand into his mouth. The memory of his enormous tongue swirling around my fingers still gave me the shivers.  

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma… Penny. I am Qong, son of Qing, third enforcer in the Macwuel Clan.”

He said the words with pride, but of course, it meant nothing to me. I just nodded and smiled as if I knew exactly what an enforcer was or how important his clan was.  

The sweet scent of waffles drifted into my nostrils once more and I couldn’t help but ask, “Why does it smell like waffles? Where is it coming from?”

“I don’t know what waffles are. And I only smell the sweet scent of my m… you.”

I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or creepy. “Are you saying that I smell?”

His eyes widened and he raised his scaled hands as if to erase his words. “No, of course not! I simply mean that your scent is the most delicious fragrance I have ever smelled. So sweet, so delicate, so strong. I…” He shook his head and stopped talking before he could dig himself a bigger hole.  

I ignored him and walked around the cell, sniffing every few steps. The scent was coming from in here, that much was certain. I avoided the toilet column, hoping very much that it wasn’t his shit that was smelling this delicious. That would throw up all sorts of new problems – quite literally.

“What are you doing?” he asked after watching me circle his cell twice.

“Finding waffles. Or maple syrup. Or whatever else it is that is driving me crazy by smelling so good.”

“Describe waffles for me.”

I gave him a quick look to check if he was serious, then shrugged and continued pacing. “They’re baked flat cakes, kind of like pancakes, but I suppose you probably don’t know what those are, either. They can be sweet or savoury, although my favourite ones are sweet drizzled with maple syrup. Some people make them in a square shape, but I have a heart-shaped waffle iron. I know it’s silly, but I always feel like they taste better when they look like a heart.”

I realised I was rambling – and drooling at the memory of my nan’s waffles – and stopped.  

“Are they your favourite food?” Qong asked curiously, still not taking his eyes off me. His confusion had abated slightly, but he still didn’t seem sure what to think of me.  

“My favourite sweet food, yes.”

“Then I’m honoured.”

That sentence didn’t make sense at all, so I stopped once again to look at him. “What do you mean?”

“Your kind, your… Peritans… Do you have a mate bond?” he asked instead of answering my question.

“No. We have relationships and fall in love, but we don’t have bonds like I’ve seen in other species.” One of my roommates, a young Ferven woman named Dra-Lia, had explained all about mate bonds to me once. They seemed common and most aliens living on the station were either mated to a partner or looking for their mate. Humans were strange in that regard. I’d tried to explain to Dra-Lia that I didn’t want a fated mate because I wanted to decide who to love, but she’d just shaken her head and given me a pitiful look. For her, finding the mate destined to her by the stars, was the fulfilment of all her dreams. For me, it sounded like a chore.  

“Oh.” Qong looked disappointed, his hairless brows furrowing. “That is strange.”

“Not strange, just different,” I said automatically. It had become my mantra, something I told myself several times a day, especially when confronted with particularly weird aliens and their even weirder habits. Like the species that communicated by farting. I doubted I’d ever get used to that.  

He didn’t seem to know what to say to that. I finally stopped my exploration of his cell, conceding that there were no waffles hidden away anywhere. I’d known that from the start, really, but the intensity of the scent was pushing away all rational thought. I needed to find the source of the smell so I could think clearly once more.  

Qong breathed in deep, a smile curving his lips as he sighed in contentment. “I don’t smell what you call waffles. For me, it’s the sweet fragrance of the yumii flower mixed with a hint of coradomn, a spice we use a lot in confectionery. It is the most beautiful scent I could imagine. Nobody ever knows what they will smell until the time comes. It could be your favourite flower, dish or even animal, but quite often, it’s a combination of scents, made even better by their union.”

“Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You have to be clearer. Why are we smelling different things? What is causing it?”

“There is no easy way to say this,” he muttered. “So I shall be blunt. You are my mate.”

I froze, unsure how to react to that. Hysterical laughter was one option, denial another. Or maybe should I scream and run?  

Mate. I looked at him, the golden scaly alien, and tried to imagine him as my partner. I didn’t know him, he was a complete stranger, yet it didn’t feel that way. Our gaze met. His eyes were kind and full of hope. He was watching me closely, waiting for my reaction. I liked that he gave me time to process what he’d said.  

Mate.
Skye MacKinnon. My Big Sweet Waffle Monster (Kindle Locations 150-213). Peryton Press.

Knowing Qong is her mate, she needed the answer to one question, did he volunteer for Kalumbu or are the trials his punishment.

That he is neither is not a surprise to her, she’d seen much over the course of her stay here. Volunteers often weren’t but the trials are harsh and most often deadly. She would need to get him off the ship and get both of them off the station without being caught.

This book is both fun and exciting as they make plans and execute them. I can’t wait for the next book in this brand-new series.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Amazon Author Page

Tea Apocalypse: Love In The Time Of Tea – A Charity Anthology by Nine USA Today Bestselling Authors


Tea Apocalypse: Love In The Time Of Tea

Featuring
USA Today Bestselling Authors

All The Tea In Texas by Margo Bond Collins
Alien Abduction For Milkmen by Skye MacKinnon
Nymph’s Trust by Laura Greenwood & Arizona Tape
Why Yes There Are Witches by Rebecca Royce
Do It For The Tea by Erin Bedford
Totally Steeped by Zoey Indiana
A Cup Of Sin by Demelza Carlton
Refresh by Jade Waltz

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No one expected the end of the world to start with a tea disaster, but in these nine brand new fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi romance stories, that’s just what happened.

Enter eight post-apocalyptic worlds filled with witches, shifters, aliens, and more in these tales steeped in adventure, love, and magic.

Grab yourself a brew and one-click this limited edition collection from nine USA Today Bestselling authors today! All proceeds from the sale of the Tea Apocalypse anthology will be donated to the Tea Leaf Trust.

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All the Tea in Texas
AN ​ ​ INCANTATION INVESTIGATIONS, INC. STORY
USA Today Bestselling Author

Margo Bond Collins

When private investigator and owner of Incantation Investigations, Inc. Harlowe McKee is hired to join forces with a coyote shifter and track down a stolen shipment of tea, she gets more than she bargained for— and the chance to save all the tea left in Texas after the Tea Apocalypse.

Tea is a precious commodity in this post-apocalyptic world, so it comes as no surprise that when a shipment is stolen Harlow is hired to find it.

A surprise is the client, Benedict Abercrombie insists a shifter from his security work with her.

This is a favorite scene when they meet.

“There’s at least one person who wasn’t hurt by the Tea Apocalypse,” I murmured to myself as I scrolled through a list of the holdings they’d acquired recently.

“I take it you mean our mutual employer.” A tall, dark-haired man closed the door behind him. “Hi. I’m Connor Cole.” He held out his hand, and I stood to shake it.

“Harlowe McKee. I take it you’re the shifter he sent to help out— or keep an eye on me, maybe?”

He ducked his head, one lip quirking up in a slightly crooked grin, and glanced up at me through envy-inducing lashes. “Yep. That’s the plan.”

I bit back my irritation at having to include a stranger in my investigation and managed a smile. “I was planning to head down to Houston to interview the people who unloaded the missing shipment. Want to go with me? You can tell me what you know about the case on the way.”

“Sure. I’m all yours.”

His statement pulled me up short, reminding me as it did of a comment my former business partner— and boyfriend— had once made.

Jonah hadn’t been telling the truth, as I had discovered when I caught him in bed with another woman, and for a moment, I wondered if Connor Cole was lying, as well.

Keeping one hand down below the desk, out of Connor’s line of sight, I wove a quick spell, sending a tiny tendril of magic out into the air. It swirled through the air and around Cole, picking up information.
Abercrombie had told me Cole was some kind of shifter, but not what kind.

The magic pulsed back to me, confirming the shifter bit.

I spun the magic around in my fingertips, letting it fizz against my skin.

Not any kind of shifter I had encountered before, however. He wasn’t a werewolf, or a bear shifter, or even a snake shifter, rare as those were.

No, he carried a hint of something canine. Not one of the giant black hound shifters, either though. There was something wilder than that in him.

I flicked the magic up to my mouth, letting it sparkle against my lips and tongue. It tasted too rangy to be a fox, way too canine to be one of the big cats.

Finally deciding he was something entirely new to me, I rolled the magic into a tiny ball between my forefinger and thumb, then with a squeeze and a pop, allowed it to dissipate back into the air around us.

Connor quirked a grin at me. “Find anything interesting?”

I blinked, forcing myself not to show my surprise. Shifters generally didn’t recognize magic when it was deployed by a mage. They tended to have heightened senses in line with their animal sides, but not necessarily a recognition of magical forces.

“A little,” I acknowledged. “Not as much as I wanted to. What kind of shifter are you?”

“Coyote,” he said, his grin growing sharper. “See how easy it was to simply ask?”

I shrugged. “In my line of work, I find people are more likely to lie than not. But coyote definitely fits with what I sensed.” Without waiting for him to respond, I changed the subject. “How did you end up working for Abercrombie?”

“My parents went to college with him in the UK. So, when he came to Texas, he reached out. He said he wanted someone with local knowledge to help out as he set up his business here.”

“Are you a born shifter, or turned?”

“Born, on my father’s side. My mother’s British, and not a supernatural at all.”

“A coyote shifter attending college in the UK before the supernaturals were outed? That must have been interesting.”

“Oh, even more than you know. Apparently he didn’t tell Mom he was a shifter until she was pregnant with me.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah.” He grinned again, a dimple appearing in one cheek.

“Any idea why Abercrombie chose Texas? Seems like there would be plenty of tea drinkers in England.”

This time, it was Connor who shrugged. “He never said— only that there was business to be had here.”

I nodded. Not that really mattered why Abercrombie had started importing tea to Texas.
Margo Bond Collins; All the Tea in Texas. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 101-137).

Harlowe is good at what she does, and it doesn’t take her long to find a trail. Connor is also very helpful with finding and remembering scents.

As they follow the leads these two find they have an attraction, and they also work well together.

I was as surprised as they were as to the culprit, and now I have to read more of this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Margo!


Alien Abduction for Milkmen
THE INTERGALACTIC GUIDE TO HUMANS
USA Today Bestselling Author

Skye MacKinnon

Alien scientist Bainne never meant to cause the apocalypse, but a simple mistake means planet Earth is suddenly in the grip of the Great Curdle. He’ll need the help of milkman Kenneth to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

As the two unlikely allies try to save the world, they realise their shared interest in milk isn’t the only thing they have in common…

When aliens mess up, they do it in a big way.

Kenneth is a milkman and suddenly he’s getting calls that the milk is curdled. His supplier isn’t answering his phone, for the same reason. Then Kenneth gets a strange call.

Bainne has made a terrible mistake and he has to fix it before his reputation is ruined. He calls Kenneth, a milkman to help him figure out what went wrong with the scans. Promptly ‘collecting’ him.

This is a favorite scene.

This was a catastrophe. It could spell the end of my business. I’d worked hard to get this far. I’d left school with no qualifications. After years of doing odd jobs here and there, I’d jumped on the chance to take over an existing milkman business from an uncle’s friend. Until today, it had been developing well. I’d started advertising on social media, targeting eco mums and health-conscious millennials.  

Now, my dreams were curdling.   Another call appeared on my phone’s screen. The number wasn’t anything I’d recognised. Long and from abroad. It had to be. No British phone number started with 69.  

Curiosity piqued, I answered. “Kenneth, your local milkman.”

Crackle made me wince and I held the phone further away from my ear.

“Milk. Man.” A deep male voice said in a heavy accent. “I need. Milk. Man.”

“You’re calling the right number, I’m your local milkman.”

The slogan came easily off my lips. I’d used that phrase every day for years. People liked the idea of buying locally, especially since the pandemic of 2020.

“Milk expert?”

He clearly didn’t know much English. That was alright. I was proud to deliver to all parts of town, the very multicultural ones included.

“Yes, I suppose so. Are you calling because the milk curdled?”

“I don’t. Understand.” More crackle. The line really wasn’t good. “What is ‘curdled’?”

“Curdling is when the milk goes sour. It smells and tastes bad. Is that what happened to yours?”

“Yes. Milk bad. You know. Good. Will you help?”

I couldn’t help but smile. His voice reminded me of thick cocoa, rich and velvety. His accent was kind of sexy. I wasn’t able to place it. Something Slavic, maybe?

“Yes, it would be my pleasure to help. What’s your address? I’ll go back to the farm and get a new batch of milk.”

“Pleasure.” The way he said that made me shiver. He should become an audiobook narrator. I often listened to them while doing my deliveries and had come to appreciate a beautiful, expressive voice. His accent was a little distracting, but with a few English lessons he’d become an audiobook sensation.

“I will…” The rest of the sentence disappeared in crackle. “Prepare.”

“Huh? Prepare for what?”

My phone suddenly grew scorching hot and I gasped, letting it drop to the ground. Before it even hit the tarmac, a blinding light flashed all around me, causing me to squeeze shut my eyes. Something touched me all over my body, like a massive hand grabbing me. Drowsiness overcame me as I felt like I was being lifted off the ground.

Maybe I was having a seizure. Maybe I was fainting.

I tried to open my eyes, but my eyelids were glued shut. It was probably better that way; the bright light was still all around me. My skin was hot all over, almost burning. I couldn’t move. I was frozen, unable to even wriggle my fingers.

And then it was suddenly all over. The light disappeared and I could move again. I collapsed into a heap before I could regain control of my body. The ground was no longer black tarmac. It had turned into a deep emerald carpet. What the fuck?

I blinked, trying to get my bearings. I was in a small room, a mix between a storage cupboard and an office. Tall shelves lined the walls, stacked to the brink with books, and a large wooden desk in front of me looked like it belonged to someone important. Only the dozens of cardboard boxes and plastic crates covering most of the floor and the top of the desk destroyed the impression of being in someone’s office space.

I staggered to my feet, using one stack of boxes for support.

“Hello?” I called out before erupting into a coughing fit. My throat was strangely dry. Even the inside of my lungs felt dry.

Footsteps outside were the only warning I got before the door opened, revealing a man in a Halloween costume. Not that it was anywhere near Halloween.

Horns sprouted from his forehead, almost as wide as his broad shoulders. His face – and the rest of him – was painted purple. He only wore black trousers, leaving his feet and chest bare. And what a chest that was. He looked as if he worked out every hour of the day. His chiselled abs were a thing of beauty. I had to close my mouth, or I would have drooled.

“Milk man.”

His voice was even more stunning than over the phone. Smooth and velvety with a sexy accent that I couldn’t place. His gaze ran up and down my body, an appreciative smile curling his lips. I supposed I had done the same. We were checking each other out. My gaydar was running at full strength. The way his emerald eyes were undressing me made it very clear what kind of milk he preferred.

“Yes, I’m your local milkman-” I stopped when I realised that I was spurting the same old slogan. I always fell into familiar patterns when I was nervous. And right now, I was more than just nervous. I had no fucking clue what was going on.

“How did I get here?” I asked instead. “I was on a street and now I’m suddenly in an office.”

“I collected you,” he said simply as if that made total sense. He pulled a small metal box from his pocket and handed it to me. “Translator.”
Skye MacKinnon; Alien Abduction for Milkmen. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 522-568).

Bainne and Kenneth are attracted to each other, and Kenneth is a more than a little curious about Bainne’s appearance. The problem at hand is a bit more important but that doesn’t seem to stop these two.

I really can’t say anymore without giving too much away. I laughed when I read the title and to be honest, this book is not only sizzling, it’s hysterical.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!


Nymph’s Trust
PURPLE OASIS
USA Today Bestselling Authors

Laura Greenwood & Arizona Tape

The end of the world was bad for everyone, especially the tea witches who had to ration the leaves that give them power. When the witches of the Purple Oasis hear a rumour about a group of nymphs who have successfully grown tea on British soil, Jasmine finds herself representing the Oasis in a trade deal.

But a trade link isn’t the only thing on Jasmine’s mind when she meets the nymph liaison.

This book opens with the council’s tea ceremony, and a meeting where Jasmine is chosen to travel to verify a rumor of Tea being grown on British soil. If it’s true she’s to negotiate with the Nymphs to acquire some.

Ryburn is Mother Nature’s choice to meet with the Tea Witch. He’s a water nymph and while he’s surprised to be chosen, he’s looking forward to traveling outside the Grower’s Cove.

Their meeting is one of my favorite scenes.

The sound of footsteps cut through my thoughts and I sat up straighter, trying to appear dignified and experienced. I had no idea who the Grower’s Cove were sending, but I didn’t want them to dismiss me as powerless, even if I felt a little that way.

Relief crashed through me as a guy who looked to be around my age stepped through the doorless frame, coming to stop in front of the metal table.

He didn’t look comfortable enough to be from around here, but then again, that didn’t mean anything. Most people had moved on from where they’d once lived after it became inhospitable to them.

He ran a hand through his short, black hair and waved awkwardly.

“Hey.”

“Hi.” I tried to smile reassuringly, but I was pretty sure it just came across as awkward.

“I’m Ryburn, from Grower’s Cove. Are you the liaison from Purple Oasis?”

I nodded, standing up and offering him my hand like Dad had taught me.

“I’m Jasmine,” I said. “It’s nice to meet you.”

His hand was surprisingly soft and his grip pleasantly strong. I could have lingered in our touch for longer but knew we needed to move on to the important task at hand.

“Likewise.”

“Have a seat,” I gestured to the dingy chair on the other side of the table. It was one of the better ones I’d found in the abandoned building. Not for the first time, I wondered about the practicalities of meeting somewhere like this. But the nymphs of Grower’s Cove were a secretive bunch who refused to let anyone into their home. And we weren’t exactly free with our borders either.

Which meant that we had to meet somewhere in the middle, even if that meant a rundown building and chairs that had seen better days.

I opened my bag and unpacked my travel kit, setting up a small gas burner and lighting it. I poured water from my stainless steel water bottle into the small travel kettle I’d brought with me, before setting it on top of the burner to boil.

The tea leaves waited in a small pouch, worth more than the rest of my equipment put together.

“What are you doing?” Ryburn questioned, gesturing to my set-up.

“Making tea.” I frowned. Wasn’t that obvious? Surely he knew I was a tea witch and that we had ceremonies we needed to perform.

He seemed confused. “Do you have to do that now? I thought this was a meeting.”

“We always drink tea during a meeting,” I answered. “I’m sorry, is this not common where you’re from?”

“No,” he said hesitantly.

“Oh. Okay. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed.” I fiddled with the reusable tea bag, unsure what the best course of action was now. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, but I did want some tea. And not just because it would recharge my magic. “Do you want some tea?” I offered.

Ryburn hesitated. “Is it magic tea?”

“No, I brought green tea.”

“But aren’t you a tea witch?”

I smiled reassuringly as I pulled out two cups for us. “I am. But it’s not the tea itself that’s magic. It sort of recharges us, if that makes sense.”

“It does.” He still didn’t seem too sure.

“It isn’t magic tea,” I promised. “It’s just normal tea.”

Ryburn thought for a moment, probably trying to work out whether or not I was telling the truth. I’d be insulted, but I could understand his apprehension. It was a different world from the one I’d grown up in, and that meant dangers I’d never considered before.

“All right then,” he said after a moment.

I flashed him a relieved smile and turned my attention to preparing everything.

I tried to do it with the same grace as Father usually did, but I feared I didn’t manage nearly as well.

Ryburn watched me patiently, not saying a word until everything was set up and I faced him with my hands folded on my lap.

He gave me a small smile and cleared his throat. “Shall we get started?”

“Yes, we can,” I responded, my voice barely shaking. I was lucky it was covering up my nerves. “I’ll speak frankly, I don’t want to waste more time than necessary. Your Cove has recently succeeded in growing tea plants, correct?”

A surprised look flitted through Ryburn’s eyes but he covered it quickly.

But not quickly enough. I’d seen it, and that was all I needed to know that it was true.

“I’m not at liberty to say.” There was a hesitancy in his voice that made me think he wasn’t completely comfortable with lying, but knew that he had to.

But if that was the way he had to play it, then I would approach the subject carefully. Alienating Ryburn and Grower’s Cove wasn’t something I wanted to do.

“Okay, so let’s speak hypothetically. If it’s true that your Cove has successfully grown tea on British soil, Purple Oasis would be very interested in forging an alliance. We don’t want an inequitable trade. We have resources that we imagine Grower’s Cove might be interested in.”

“Right, the Nixion Spring.”

I raised an eyebrow. “I’m impressed. Not many people know the real name. Most just call it the Purple Spring now.” Though it wasn’t surprising in the slightest that he knew what I was talking about.

“I’m a river nymph, I know my springs,” he declared, rather proudly.

Ah, that explained it. The water in the kettle began to boil. I leaned over and turned off the burner, but left the kettle where it was.

“Are you not making tea?” From the expression on his face, he seemed to be both confused and curious.

Despite knowing I shouldn’t let myself get distracted, I couldn’t help but appreciate his patience.

Or the intelligence sparkling through his eyes. No wonder Grower’s Cove sent him.

“For green tea, it’s best to leave the water stand for a bit so it’s not too hot. It makes it taste better,” I explained, realising he might not know the ins and outs of proper tea brewing. He hadn’t had the same repetitive tea brewing lessons as I did as a child.

“Oh, I had no idea. I usually drink black tea.”

“You do?”

He flashed me a tight smile. “Yes.”

Had he inadvertently confirmed the truth about the tea growing in Grower’s Cove? Black tea had become a scarcity since the apocalypse, the little we had at Purple Oasis was locked in a secure safe and only used sparingly. I tried to keep a straight face so I didn’t let my thoughts slip out. But I wasn’t going to push the subject. It seemed like he didn’t want to talk about it. Or perhaps he’d been ordered not to. Either way, it wouldn’t be good for our negotiations if I made him uncomfortable.
Laura Greenwood; Arizona Tape; Nymph’s Trust. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 1236-1285).

Jasmine and Ryburn are attracted but neither can really act on it since they can’t jeopardize the negotiations.

Ryburn loves the spring in Purple Oasis and Jasmine is very impressed with the tea. Now Purple Oasis has to meet the requirements for the deal to happen.

Of course, someone doesn’t want that to happen and Ryburn and Jasmine have to figure out who and why quickly or everything is over. Including their budding romance.

5 Contented Purrs for Laura & Arizona!


Why Yes There Are Witches
WARDS AND WANDS UNIVERSE
USA Today Bestselling Author

Rebecca Royce

Have you ever wondered how the witch world and the human world became divided in the Wards and Wands universe? Well… maybe it had to do with tea.

This tale takes us into the past to before the split of the human and magical. Marie has totally gone out of character and spent the night with not one but all three of the men who own the shop next door. She thinks they’re human, but they aren’t.

However, in the light of day there’s another problem. No tea, anywhere! It’s totally disappeared, not even a plant. Marie knows who’s to blame though, and she’s got to make it right quickly.

Enoch, Beau and Archie pop her into her mother’s kitchen for the confrontation.

This is a favorite scene.

“Ready to go? Check on your tea-loving mother?”

I shook my head. “You’re going to be seriously cold. She lives on top of a mountain. It’s really cold there already.”

“Thanks.” Archie immediately dressed all of them in leather jackets. It would really be a neat trick to be able to do that. What was more was that I couldn’t feel their magic at all. Usually, there was a feeling that happened, that told me there was magic, like a feather over my skin. Nothing. They could do magic so subtly that I didn’t notice the sensation.

Enoch put out his hand. “Come. Picture where your mother lives. And we’ll be there in seconds.”

“Can you only do this with an image? And are you taking the image from my head?” I had to draw the line somewhere. There were privacy issues. I didn’t need them roaming around uninvited. Or worse, my inviting them in without understanding what I was doing.

“I can do it with an address, too. Makes it a little trickier. Beau can actually track a person. Think of them and go but that’s not my gift. And, no, I’ll not be in your head. You’ll actually be leading the jump. I will, for just a second, give you my power.

Then it’ll transfer back to me and I’ll take us there. Not at all in your head. I wouldn’t do that.”

I appreciated that. “As I said, we don’t know each other. I don’t know that about you.”

He stroked a finger down the side of my face. “We’re guys who had a really hard time doing really tough stuff. Things we’d rather not talk about most of the time. Now, we’re living our dream. Part of that seems to be you. Who knew we’d all like the same girl? I think last night worked. I think you know that, too. So let’s go see your mom. And then you can check our morality after. If you want to. Maybe you’ll like it better when we’re a little bit bad.”

I opened and closed my mouth. Maybe I did.

Beau walked over slowly. “She needs to see her mom. So we need to do that. And get to being bad later today.” He lifted his eyebrows. “Unless you’d rather reverse that. Personally, I don’t give two shits about the tea. Fuck it. And I’d rather just stay here and do what I pictured doing to you in the morning when I passed out last night. It involved licking whipped cream off your body.”

My heart rate kicked up. Yes, I could easily let him do that. And then we’d get some chocolate syrup and…

I forced my brain to take over. Taking Enoch’s hand, I pictured my mother’s home on top of her mountain. Snow around them most of the year. Her crazy friends cackling as they made plans for world destruction because they were bored, because life had been unkind to them, and because it was nice to pretend that you could be that kind of powerful when the truth was that you were pretty unaccounted for most of the time.

Empathy ran deep in me. It was part of my power source. I could always understand someone else’s reasons. It was a problem when it turned out that the other person was truly filled with ill intention. Darkness would burn for the moments I felt it. And I’d grown up feeling those things all the time in the presence of my mother.

On her own, she was okay. Put her around her friends and it was a whole different issue. They could go dark. Of course, I could be wrong. I might just be thinking they’d done something they hadn’t done.

But I doubted that. Highly.

This tea nonsense was their fault. I just knew it.

There was a pop. I gasped. A swirl of light assaulted my eyes, and seconds later, I was just where I’d pictured myself being, in my mother’s kitchen.

I gasped, and Enoch dropped my hand to grab my shoulders. “Just breathe. It sucks the first couple of times. Then you get a little bit of a tolerance for it.”

Two more pops sounded, and his brothers appeared.

Archie grinned. “I can always find my brothers and Beau can always find anyone. Makes doing that really easy.”

“You’re all so impressive. I mean… the things you do.”

“Marie.” My mother gasped, coming into the kitchen. “What are you doing here with them?”

I stared at her, realization dawning for a second. “Do you know them? Have you met them before?”

She pointed. “I told you three. The next time you came here…”

“You do know them.” I stepped away from Enoch. “Did you know she was my mother? What’s going on here?”

Beau sighed. “I didn’t know. I should have put two and two together. But you are using a different last name, and we are trying to not investigate every person who comes into our lives. Now, however, it makes sense. This isn’t just that you’re worried about your mother. You’re worried that Dru here, one of the nastiest almost-offenders I’ve ever encountered, did this.”

“I am.” I’d deal with what they had and hadn’t known another time. “I’m using a different last name.”

My mother pointed her finger at Beau. Uh-oh. That wasn’t good. “I swore I would get you holier-than thou witches. I swore I would. Acting so big and tough because you never bend the laws. You do. Because you’re in charge, you do.”

“Mother,” I said her name fast. “Do not do anything here that you will regret. Do you understand me? Control yourself.”

“Don’t you speak to me like that, young lady. You’re not better than me. None of you are…”

I tried to take a deep breath, but it failed to calm me. Anger that only my mother could raise in me surged to the top of my skin, and despite my trying to push it back down, the kitchen started to shake. I took another deep breath. That was right. My temper wasn’t pretty. I almost never got mad but sometimes things shook. I had to control this. I had to…

“Mother, did you make all the tea disappear?” I spoke through gritted teeth. “Did you do this?”

“I did.” Now she was shouting. “And there isn’t a thing you can do about it.”

Archie waved his hand. “Pause.”

My mother stilled. She actually stopped moving mid-word like she’d been frozen in place. I would be very impressed if I weren’t worried I was actually going to destroy the room. Beau put his hand on my shoulder. “Easy, now. I can help you with this. But not without your permission.”

Enoch smiled before he stepped toward me.

“We can both help. If you want.”

I could be prideful about this but this was one of the reasons I’d left home and conducted my life the way I did. I kept things as even keel as I could handle. And even if I got mad, it was never mother mad. Mother mad was an entirely different thing.

“I’ll take the help.”

Two hands touched me, one on each of my cheeks. What followed was a cooling off the likes of which I’d never felt before. One second I released so much witch energy, the next it just stopped. They pulled their hands away and Beau hugged me close. “Don’t fall over. We dosed you pretty hard.”

I leaned my head against his chest. “Thank you.” With a wobbly hand I patted Enoch, too. That was when my frozen mother caught my attention. “How did you do that?”

“It’s a little trick I have.” Archie raised his hands over his head to stretch. “I absolutely promise to never do that to you. Unless you make all the tea in the world disappear.”

I was never, ever going to do that.
Rebecca Royce; Why Yes There Are Witches. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 2255-2312).

Quite a bit happens in this fun, short, sizzling tale and I really liked the epilogue. Now I have to go back and re-read the Wards and Wands series.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!


Do It For The Tea
USA Today Bestselling Author

Erin Bedford

There’s nothing worse than the end of the world. Except maybe having to live in it without your daily cup of tea.

Hazel enjoyed living by herself in her immaculate base beneath the dessert world with only her dog and her tea to keep her company.

Until she runs out of tea.

Now, Hazel must face the blazing desert, sand pirates, and a tantalizing trader just to get another cup. The only thing going through Hazel’s mind now was… is it worth it?

Hazel’s home is a fortified underground her parents built. She’s mostly self-sufficient but there are some things she can’t grow herself. Tea is one of those and she is truly addicted to it. When she finds she’s out of the life sustaining brew she sets out with her dog Tracy to her supplier Nic.

On the way they are attacked by a large animal and Tracy is injured. Nic does what he can and assures her Tracy will be okay. However, he doesn’t have any tea, and informs no one else does either.

Now these two have some history that they avoid, but you can see the attraction between them. Nic agrees to go to the sand pirates to get her tea, but she wants to take Tracy to their medic as well. Which is how they end up pretending to be together.

This is a favorite scene.

The sand cleared enough so that the full picture was available and what a picture it was. Half a dozen small steel boats surrounded us, their wheels covered in spikes to better move through the sand. On top of each boat had at least ten masked people looking menacing with their blasters and swords at the ready. Who carried swords nowadays?

“Hey Goose,” Nic cleared his throat and shifted in place, “I know I’m not due yet but I had a special circumstance.” He jerked his head in my direction.

The man named Goose shifted his face over to me and though I couldn’t see his eyes, I could feel his eyes roaming over my body. “Aye, I see. And what are you wanting in trade for the woman?”

I gaped at him and shot a glare at Nic. “I am not for sale.”

Nic dropped the reins of his sled and stepped over to me, sliding an arm around my waist.

“What are you doing?” I hissed at him, not wanting to shove him away in front of the pirates.

“Just play along,” Nic whispered through the side of his mouth. To Goose he said, “Sorry, Goose. This one’s mine.” He slapped a hand on the side of my hip a little too close to my ass for comfort.

A series of groans came from the pirates around us. Goose grunted, his focus on our embrace. “That’s too bad. My crew hasn’t had fresh tail in ages. So what brings you here if not to trade the woman? You didn’t run out of tobacco already?” He arched a thick fuzzy brow.

Nic laughed. “No, no. This errand isn’t for me. The woman -” I cleared my throat. “I mean, Hazel needs more tea and we were hoping you’d lend us your medic for a moment?”

Goose stared at us for a long moment before he threw his head back and laughed. “Aye, I can see how dire a situation it is. I, myself, cannot bear to go a day without my hit of caffeine.” He waved his arms and a long plank cranked out of the bottom of the boat. “Come aboard and we can see what we can do for you.”

The other pirates yarred and the engines calmed down around us. The majority of them went inside their boats while a few meandered around on top, keeping their eyes on us. That part was particularly annoying.

“I’m going to kill you,” I snarled into Nic’s ear as we gathered Tracy up off the sled and walked up the plank.

“Just play along,” Nic bit out between his teeth. “You don’t want to be something they trade. Once they see you as goods and not a real person then it’s all over.”

I snorted. Tracy whined in my arms. I shushed her. “Sorry, baby girl.” To Nic, I glowered. “And I’m sure this has nothing to do with you wanting to own me.”

“What?” Nic gaped at me and then forced a smile at a pirate watching us come aboard. “This has nothing to do with that and that’s not what I meant. You know that!”

“Doesn’t it?” I tried to talk without moving my lips. “We conveniently are in the position where I have to be your woman. I bet you’re just loving this.” I shrugged his hand off my shoulder and stalked forward.

A pirate jerked his bald head toward the entrance to the lower levels. “Don’t touch anything. Unless you’re willing to pay for it.”

I clutched Tracy close to me, causing her to yelp. I loosened my grip. “Sorry.”

The light through the lower levels was brighter than I expected. Not that I’d been expecting much from a bunch of pirates. It was a lot cleaner than Nic’s place for sure.

“Down here,” Goose’s growling voice called out further into the lower level. There was a lot more room inside of the boat than it looked like from the outside. If I didn’t already have a prime place of my own, I’d have said it was a good alternative.

I walked into the room Goose’s voice came from and glanced around. Not bad. Not bad at all.

“Ah so that’s the patient.” Goose said from his desk and jerked his head toward Tracy. “You can lay her over there.” He pointed a pen toward a small cot in the corner. “I’ll have the medic come in just a moment.”

“Now, Nic,” Goose addressed the man coming in behind me. “Why haven’t you ever told me about your woman here? I had plans to set you up with my own girl, Beth Ann.”

Nic smirked and leaned on the edge of Goose’s desk. “Ah, you know. It took me a bit to tie this one down.”

Goose guffawed. “A feisty one is she?” Goose raised a brow at me with a masculine grin that made me want to punch him in the face.

I lowered Tracy down to the cot before I hurt her from needing to hurt something. Or someone. Turning back to the two of them, I gave a look to Nic that made the grin fall right off his face.

Nic jerked up straight and cleared his throat, lowering his gaze to the ground. “Yeah, you know, gotta keep that spirit alive and whatnot. So…” he whistled and gave me his back to look at Goose. “What about that tea? Got any on hand?”

Goose flipped through the pages of the book he had in front of him, checking off this and that every few seconds. “Ah, yes. We’ll get to that in just a moment. I’m pretty sure we have a good stock left. What do you have to trade? Any copper?”

Nic scratched the back of his neck and gave me a sideways look. “No, no copper today.”

Goose harrumphed. “What about buckweed? You’re usually good for an ounce or two.”

I snorted and crossed my arms, turning my back to him. Not surprised Nic would be doing the kind of trading no one else would dare do. Copper was hard to find nowadays. You had to travel to the remnants of the big cities to find it. Buckweed was hazardous to the health. Growing that stuff took up way more resources than it was worth.

“Uh, yeah. I’ve got some,” Nic grunted and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Think you could help me out with the medic? I’d owe ya some next time.”

Goose’s head lifted up finally to look at Nic and then to me. A sneaky grin curling up his lip. “Actually, I have a better idea.”
Erin Bedford; Do It For The Tea. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 2840-2888).

The pirate’s idea of a trade becomes attendance at a party. Nic and Hazel find they really are attracted to each other, and things heat up to sizzling rapidly.

I’m going to have to check out more of Erin’s books.

5 Contented Purrs for Erin!


Totally Steeped
A SHIFTER SPEED DATING ROMANCE
USA Today Bestselling Author

Zoey Indiana

Need to repel a curse for shifter speed dating, what could go wrong?

The curse has stolen years from me with my fated mate. I have a plan in place to give myself a few hours to find my mate, but it all hinges on the True Love Tea Luncheon. Except the witch who curse our town to never find true love has struck again. The cream we use to activate our tea spells has curdled. Not only does it steal my chance to find my fated mate, it destroys my mercenary business, leaving all my employees on the run for their lives.

A spell experiment goes wrong, leaving me at the mercy of my screaming mate bond. I want Ravenna, but is this urge because she’s my fated mate, or a side effect of the tea. When the tea’s side effects never dissipate, I know she’s the one destined for me.

But when she finds out that I hid her dream job from her, I’m not sure she’ll find a way to forgive me. Throw in a kidnapping, a possessed witch, and three meddling shifters, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to save our town, let alone the world from the tea apocalypse.

Zagan and Nora were planning an event designed to get rid of a curse on their town. Shifters who live here or even visit won’t ever find their true mate. Apparently, someone isn’t happy with that idea.

This is a favorite scene.

“I’ll have to call the mayor if she-” my words drifted off as a green ball of light slammed into the window next to us. “What the fuck is that?” I watched as the shimmering light repeatedly bounced off the glass.

Nore rolled her eyes. “Probably the answer to our questions. Someone forgot to imbue it with common sense.” She flicked her fingers as she whispered and the window slid open right before the orb would have crashed into the glass again.

The green ball floated between us then exploded green goo everywhere. Nore squealed in anger as it splattered over her face and clothes. I tried to spit out the gelatin-consistency slime. Oddly, it tasted like lime and cucumber. When I’d scraped most of it off my face, I saw the wax sealed envelope sitting on the table between us. It didn’t have a speck of green on it.

Nore screeched as she flicked her fingers uselessly. “I’m going to hex a bitch for this!” She snatched up a cloth and wiped her hands and face. Then she grabbed the envelope and looked at the seal. She didn’t seem to recognize it. Keeping it intact, she carefully pried the wax off the paper, then ripped the envelope open.

An unknown female voice read the letter aloud. “How dare you attempt to thwart my spell! It’s one thing to sully yourself with your magick for hire by a shifter… but to work around my love banishment spell is another. For your audacity, I’ve had to rid the entire planet of cream. Don’t choke on your creamless, bitter tea. P.S. I embellished this messenger spell with a little something extra. Have fun cleaning this up without magic!”

The letter burst into flames and disappeared with the envelope and wax seal. “That annoying, egotistical, self-serving bitch!” Nore grabbed a fresh cloth and wiped the pages of her book clean. “At least I preventatively placed a protection spell on all my books.”

I pulled my shirt off, turning it inside out, and used a clean spot to wipe off as much of the goo as I could. Nore glared at me, then snapped, and an identical shirt appeared on me.

“No one wants to watch you flaunt all that flying rodent flesh of yours.” Nore went back to cleaning up.

“Hey, some people like my human form. Females frequently flirt with me. I just don’t date them because I’m trying to find my fated mate, as shifters do.”

She tossed the cloths in the trash. “Well, now it’s confirmed. A witch cursed our little town. Which explains why none of you shifters can find love…” Nore paused as her glare focused on me. “It’s your stupid True Love Tea Luncheon that started this!”

I gaped. She was right. The letter had referenced a love banishment spell. “Wait a minute. If they’re trying to ban fated mates within this town, that means they have something to lose. You know what that means?”

Nore examined her shirt then cast a spell. When she pulled off the one covered in goo, an exact replica was already in place under it. “I have no idea.” She dropped it in the trash can as she closed the window and went back to the book.

“We have to move forward with the True Love Tea Luncheon. This witch doesn’t want someone to meet their fated mate, so we can’t cancel it.”

I tapped the table with my fingers, which resulted in another glare. “Of course when someone tells you not to do something, then curses the entire planet, you feel the need to piss off this powerful witch even more?” Nore tapped her long, perfectly polished nails on the table. “Actually, I think it might be fun. Flush this witch out and see how powerful this someone might be. And I have an idea of how to activate the tea.”

Nore flitted around the room, grabbing different ingredients. A scoop of this, a sprinkle of that. I wasn’t able to read any of the labels since they were in the same unfamiliar language as her spell book. She glanced at me, then whispered a spell so quiet, I couldn’t even make out the words with my shifter hearing. A tiny jar of leaves flared with a bright white light. When she was done, she carried the small jar into the shop area. Nore placed her new enchanted tea on a table, then retrieved a larger container of Terrible Tipping Tea.

Her main business was enchanting prank teas with punny names for tourists to buy for unsuspecting victims back home. Without the activator cream, they worked more like a mild suggestion than actual magic. I watched as she boiled a tea pot of water, then set it on the table’s potholder. With precise measurements, she combined the two teas and steeped them.

“Aside from being clumsy for an hour, it shouldn’t bother you much.”

The door chimed. I turned and watched the most gorgeous woman I’d ever seen step into the store. Ravenna. She lived on the other side of Witch Cove in a cute little cabin on the beach. I couldn’t remember what she did for a living, but I’d run into her a few times.

“Are you having a tea tasting?” Ravenna neared the table and inhaled deep. “It smells delicious.”

Nore smirked as she glanced at the jar. I noticed there was no label on the jar, just the shelf. “Yup, Zagan here is testing a new blend for me.” She poured two cups of the tea and gestured for us to pick them up.

I grabbed mine, wondering how to stop Ravenna from Nore’s little prank. Since Ravenna was human, she wouldn’t normally notice the effects of the tea, but with the new activator, it might actually enchant her.

Ravenna was too trusting. She picked up the mug and tapped it against mine, then took a drink before I could warn her. Not wanting to look suspicious, I gulped mine down. “This is really good.” Ravenna took a few more drinks before she finished it off. She set the cup down and smiled. “I came to pick up my usual…” Ravenna’s voice trailed off as she glanced at me.

Her gaze lit a fire inside of me I’d never felt before. I set the teacup down. Before I’d realized what I’d done, I’d pushed Ravenna against the wall and kissed her. Ravenna’s hands pulled at my shirt, sliding underneath.

Nore cleared her throat. “Oh shit. I think I accidentally switched the teas earlier when I was straightening them. Probably should label the jars and not the shelves.” Every muscle in my body froze at her words. I stared into Ravenna’s gaze, consumed with the need to claim my mate. “I think this was the True Love Tea.”
Zoey Indiana; Totally Steeped. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 3107-3155).

Ravenna and Zagan drink the tea Nora prepares, but it isn’t what she thought it was. As the mating hits the two of them Zagan struggles to explain to Ravenna that this is for life. What he doesn’t realize is she knows about shifters and has been attracted to him for a long time. He wants to be sure their mating is for real and not just a side effect of the tea before proceeding so with a push from Nora they head to his apartment.

They don’t make it there, instead they’re kidnapped and things heat up in more ways than one!

This is a fun read with so many consequences I’m going have to read more of this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Zoey!


 

A Cup of Sin
A TALE FROM THE COLONY
USA Today Bestselling Author

Demelza Carlton

Sinclair has one goal in life: to survive her sentence on a prison ship full of male prisoners so she can go home and live her life again. Until the ship’s systems start to fail.

Edward prides himself on being a model prison guard, obeying all the rules. Until Sinclair steps aboard his ship. She’s everything he ever wanted… and everything he can’t have. But when disaster strikes and they’re stranded in space, a little sin could mean their salvation…

Sinclair and her sister Virtue are inmates on the Prison Mining Ship Vice. They are awakened by Virtue’s alarm and head to the dining hall for breakfast. At the food fabricator, Sinclair orders up her tea, only tea isn’t what she gets. Thanks to her sister’s quick move she’s saved from death, and watches the liquid burn through what was thought to be an indestructible surface.

When their guard Edward joins them, he surveys the damage and goes to reset the system and get the days orders. Only what he finds is that there are none, no communications for hours. He is able to reboot the computer system so at least they should get actual food. It’s after breakfast that he discovers that not only are there no communications, but there is no gravity in the cargo hold and Captain Solon was in there, dead.

When Edward doesn’t show up for lunch or with afternoon orders, Sinclair goes looking for him.

This is a favorite scene.

She sought him out in the guard office, raising her fist to rap on the door, only to find he hadn’t even bothered to close it properly. That wasn’t right – he always locked this door, because he knew he couldn’t trust convicted criminals not to cause trouble.

“Mr… Edward?” she ventured, peering inside. She’d almost called him Mr Perfect to his face. That would have gone down well. “Are you in here?”

“Stars, I killed him.”

His voice came from under the desk.

Sinclair leaned down for a better look. He was under there, all right, with his knees up under his chin, and his head buried in his hands.

Only something utterly earth-shattering could have wrought such a change in him. Whatever it was, Titania had to be at the heart of it.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I killed the captain.”

Sinclair scanned the office. There was no corpse to be seen – not the captain’s or anyone else’s. She scrutinised the checkerboard of surveillance footage on the screen for a long moment before she had her answer.

Captain Solon did appear to be dead.

“I didn’t know he was in the cargo hold, and the artificial gravity failed. He must have been crushed. If I’d known, I could have saved him,” Edward – for she could hardly call the ashen faced guard huddled under the table perfect – mumbled, more to himself than to her.

Sinclair had answered enough emergency calls to recognise shock when she heard it. What he needed was to be talked off that hypothetical ledge, into taking practical action. But in order to help him, she needed more information.

Information she could find far more quickly for herself, instead of having to talk him through getting it for her.

She pulled up a diagnostic on the ship’s systems. Just one look had her swearing, wishing she’d had this data hours ago. The ship had lost contact with Titania in the early hours of the morning, and the ship had responded by kicking the systems into emergency mode. Anything non-essential, like gravity in the cargo holds or the equipment in the refinery levels, had shut down.

If the captain had sneaked into the cargo hold to snack on the ore, which he did several times a day, he could easily have fallen asleep in there and not noticed when the gravity failed.

“You couldn’t have saved him. He’s in a hold full of free-floating ore that was waiting to be crushed before it could be stored safely. The safety locks on the doors won’t let anyone in there until gravity’s restored. He shouldn’t have been in there in the first place,” Sinclair said. “What was he after, anyway?”

“Aluminium,” Edward said. “He was addicted to raw aluminium ore. He had aluminium supplements, which should have been enough for any alicanto, but he’d developed a taste for the raw stuff while working the mining ships, and no one cared enough to help him as long as there was enough lithium on board when the ship reached port. I told Central a few times, but all they cared about was the lithium, and they told me to let him do as he wished on his ship. He’d scoff as much aluminium as he could before the lithium he’d accidentally ingested with it sent him off to sleep.”

Sinclair nodded slowly. So that’s why Captain Solon had showed up as unmoving on the life signs detector when she was manning the comms desk. He’d been in a lithium-induced stupor. “Have you contacted your superiors on Tito?” she asked.

Edward shook his head. “Comms are down, too. Haven’t received any messages since before midnight last night.”

Stars. So Titania really was taking over.

“Then we need to return to Tito,” she said.

Edward stared at her for an impossibly long moment. He climbed out from under the desk and stood in front of her, still staring. “You are a genius,” he breathed.

Sinclair wasn’t entirely sure how it happened. One moment, she had her mouth open, ready to tell him she wasn’t, and the next…

Mr Perfect was kissing her, and if there could be such a thing as a perfect kiss, then he was definitely giving it to her.

Was it any surprise that he had her kissing him right back?

Stars, she didn’t want to stop kissing him. He was… it was… everything was… perfect.

Until it ended.

They both gasped for breath, staring, but not daring to say a word, for that would break the spell.

Sinclair swallowed. Her mouth tasted of him. She hadn’t imagined it, though it sure felt like she had, but they needed to face reality.

“Everyone is still in the galley, awaiting the afternoon work orders. We’ll have to… you have to go tell them,” she said. When his eyes widened, she added, “About returning to Tito, of course.”

If anyone found out she’d kissed a guard, even Mr Perfect, there’d be hell to pay. And if the others found out he’d kissed her… that’d be even worse.

So they kept a courteous distance, like any other guard and prisoner, as far apart as the passageway would permit, all the way back to the galley.
Demelza Carlton; A Cup of Sin. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 4118-4161).

With the systems detached, Sinclair tells Edward they really have to head back to their home planet, Tito. They can’t continue mining on the asteroids without the computer directions.

Getting out of the asteroid belt was an interesting feat as was the route Sinclair takes after Pride refuses to fly without the computer guidance. The relationship between Edward and Sinclair rapidly accelerates once they are out of the belt.

Plenty of surprises await them as they get close to Tito, a visitor and a change of landing location.

I’m going to read more of this series, I want to know all these characters better.

5 Contented Purrs for Demelza!


Refresh
PROJECT: ADAPT SERIES – SLICE-OF-LIFE
USA Today Bestselling Author

Jade Waltz

Xylo:
Demihuman pregnancy cravings are real… And now Destima is out of tea.   My research didn’t repair me for this.We are in desperate need for supplies.  I am afraid of what will become of my nestqueen if we can’t find her any tea.And until we find a solution, I shall sacrifice my body for her.Note:
This is a slice of life novelette of my Project: Adapt series. It features characters and relationships that are currently established in the series, but focuses on Selena and Xylo. This is part of a scifi space opera alien-looking-alien reverse harem romance series featuring the same heroine as she collects alien mates as she travels around the galaxy.

Selena is a demi-human who is having pregnacy cravings. Her mates are doing everything they can to provide her with those things but now the entire planet of Destima is out of tea. One of her mates, Xylo is the one to tell her and he hated to disappoint her. In a last effort they call her sister Masmi. She’s a little miffed they haven’t called sooner since it would have been easier during the harvest festival. It’s Selene’s friend Tori who comes up with the idea of a competition. While that’s in the works her only relief is her mate Xylo his ‘flavor’ is most like her favorite Osso tea.

This is a favorite scene.

Standing behind my dark marbled podium, I faced thousands of Destima citizens and the guest tea growers in their booths who were eagerly awaiting my official announcement to begin the tea tasting contest. I knew I had the support of my clan and our friends behind me, ready to aid me whenever I needed it.

I wouldn’t be able to have this tea contest if it weren’t for Masmi working with Vagren on organizing it. They were the ones responsible for making this happen. I knew I had nothing to worry about because I had full faith in Kaede and the Fab Five. Security would be tight, especially when there were demi-human guards roaming about, ready to prove themselves to their superiors.

I just needed to focus on enjoying the event— and tasting all the tea.

Tea.

No matter how many times Vowels reports to me that my body— or my daughter— wasn’t lacking anything, I couldn’t deny the intense cravings that flooded my thoughts often. If it wasn’t sex, it was tea. I felt as if I was in some heat like Kaede had experienced, but instead, it was a never-ending experience.

I felt for Xylo— and was thankful that he had never complained about me needing to sample him. My Primary was selfless and so giving. After today, I needed to make sure I paid him back for everything I’d done to him.

Tea.

It was time to start my tea competition— before everyone started to get restless.

Taking a deep breath, I rolled my shoulders and slowly exhaled. It was time for me to steel myself and bring forth my confidence.

“I would like to welcome everyone here today for this amazing opportunity.” Placing my hand on my small baby belly, I flashed a warm smile to the crowd. “I’m sure most of you know about my pregnancy cravings and how this tea competition was created. Tea is one of the most ancient and well-known beverages in the galaxy. Almost every species has their own process on how they harvest, care for, and create it— including their own wide variety of flavors and how it’s prepared.

“Tea has always been my favorite beverage, and I want to share my love for the beverage with all of you—”

“Listen up!” Tori yelled as she placed a hand on my shoulder and carefully pushed me away. “I am going to take it from here.”

My blonde haired friend stepped in front of the booth as Zirene gripped my hips and guided me to stand in front of him, securing me in place. Her rainbow highlights glistened in the sun beaming through the dome’s glass.

“My girl, Selena, is pregnant and doesn’t want to worry any of you about her needs. The Beacon needs tea. There is something in the beverage that her body craves, and pregnant humans don’t crave anything unless their body is lacking something from that specific refreshment. Sometimes those cravings can be a little nontraditional— like combining items that aren’t typically served together or at a different temperature. It’s a serious matter and the true reason why this contest was created.”

“Tori,” I whispered, sounding more like a hiss. “You can’t say stuff like that!”

Ripples of concern echoed through the moon’s mental network as all eyes turned to me. Fear flooded their eyes at the discovery— the mere thought of being lost without a leader to hold the Circuli psychic web.

Tori flicked her long rainbow-highlighted hair over her shoulder as she turned to peer at me.

“Selena.” She let out a sigh as she covered one side of her mouth with her hand, as if she were trying to tell me a secret without being beside my ear. “You can’t deny how much tea cravings have taken over your life. A leader such as you shouldn’t be without something as common as tea. Let them know how important it is to you, so they understand why you are doing this.”

“Today was supposed to be a celebratory day—”

“And it will be. Just watch.” Tori flashed me a wide smile as she turned toward the crowd and gripped the podium. “Okay. The rules are simple. Each one of you has three votes. The top three companies will be given the opportunity to sell their teas here on Destima. The Beacon will reward one tea as her official tea of the royal family. These are all very honorable opportunities, including being some of the first outsiders allowed to set up a business here on this exclusive moon.

“Once the suns set, we will announce the winners.” She pointed at the suns beaming through the glass dome. “And now, let the tasting begin!”
Jade Waltz. Refresh. Tea Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 4668-4702).

Selene finds herself disappointed that the teas she’s been offered taste so similar to her favored Osso. She’s looking for something different one that satisfies the cravings.

The characters we meet are fun and different, her best friend Tori is a hoot and her mates as loving as they are devoted.

I truly loved where she finds what she’s looking for. I am going to have to read more of this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Jade!


Margo Bond Collins’ Bio and Links

USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times bestselling author Margo Bond Collins is a former college English professor who, tired of explaining the difference between “hanged” and “hung,” turned to writing romance novels instead. Sometimes her heroines kill monsters, sometimes they kiss aliens. But they always aim for the heart! Want to hang out with the author, win book prizes, see the cool covers first, and read her books early? Join the Official Margo Bond Collins Fan Club!

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Skye MacKinnon’s Bio and Links

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Laura Greenwood’s Bio and Links

Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, trying to resist French Macaroons, and watching the Pitch Perfect trilogy for the hundredth time (at least!)

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Arizona Tape’s Bio and Links

A creator at heart, Ari has always been in love with the idea of turning nothing into something. She wants to conquer the book world with stories that focus on inclusivity and diversity, writing what she likes to read. Whether it’s adventure or romance, dragons and vampires, or princesses and students, there’s something for everyone.

Born in China, raised in Belgium, and currently living in the United Kingdom with her girlfriend, Ari is a citizen of the world and loves discovering new cultures. Luckily, her crazy imagination lets her discover places she’s never been to, meet people that don’t exist, and talk to readers from all over the world.

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Rebecca Royce’s Bio and Links

As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.

I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend. I live in Austin Texas where I am determined to eat all the barbecue in town.

I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing. I’ve been told I’m a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers!!


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Erin Bedford’s Bio and Links

Erin Bedford is an otaku, recovering coffee addict, and Legend of Zelda fanatic. Her brain is so full of stories that need to be told that she must get them out or explode into a million screaming chibis. Obsessed with fairy tales and bad boys, she hasn’t found a story she can’t twist to match her deviant mind full of innuendos, snarky humour, and dream guys.

On the outside, she’s a work from home mom and bookbinger. On the inside, she’s a thirteen-year-old boy screaming to get out and tell you the pervy joke they found online. As an ex-computer programmer, she dreams of one day combining her love for writing and college credits to make the ultimate video game!

Until then, when she’s not writing, Erin is devouring as many books as possible on her quest to have the biggest book gut of all time. She’s written over thirty books, ranging from paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and even sci-fi romance.

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Zoey Indiana’s Bio and Links

Zoey Indiana was inspired by the idea that everyone deserves love and their own happily ever after. She loves to write about heroic heroines who go on amazing adventures while finding the love they deserve. After creating her first fictional planet where amazing creatures roamed at age ten, she was determined to prove love could be found in the stars. In addition to writing, she listens to eclectic music, practices Krav Maga, and takes on home improvement projects just for the fun of it.

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Demelza Carlton’s Bio and Links

USA Today Bestselling author Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

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Jade Waltz’s Bio and Links

USA Today Bestselling author, Jade Waltz lives in Illinois with her husband, two sons, and her three crazy cats. She writes character driven romances within detailed universes, where happily-ever-afters happen for those who dare love the abnormal and the unknown. Their love may not be easy– but it is well worth it   in the end. Jade enjoys knitting, playing video games, watching Esports, green tea and writing all the stories that live in her imagination.

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Countdown to Christmas: Thud – Christmas Special: Catnip Assassins Book 8 by Skye MacKinnon


Thud
Christmas Special: Catnip Assassins Book 8
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

This kitty loves playing with baubles…

Four years into being a mother, Kat needs a break. She’s barely killed anyone since she gave birth and the panther within her is frustrated. She needs blood, murder and mayhem.

When she’s offered the chance to infiltrate a strange cult’s annual festivities, there’s no stopping her. Along with her three devoted mates, Kat will have to look beyond the holiday cheer to find a serial killer. Not to arrest him. No, to make him her friend.

NOTE:
A Christmas sequel to the bestselling Catnip Assassin series, an urban fantasy reverse harem romance featuring a bloodthirsty cat shifter assassin and her hunky mates. A book to warm you in the depth of winter.

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First let me say that in Kat’s world there are no religions per se.

In this book Kat and her guys are supposed to be relaxing, instead they are restless without their kittens around. Aunt Rose has taken them so Kat can have some real alone time with her guys.

Now Lily is the one now in charge of the business, Kat only consults. When Lily calls with a murder, she’s a bit vague about the cause of death other than to say the weapon is a tree.

The investigation of the crime scene is followed by information gathering at MEOW headquarters with Lily.

This is a favorite scene.

What interests me more is the quick summary about the victim.

Name: Geoffrey Baker
Age: 46
Relationship status: divorced
Profession: Cook

A cook. Not exactly a job that gets you killed. Unless you give a crime boss an overly salted meal, I suppose.  

“Who did he work for?” I shout.  

“Give me a second!” Lily sounds annoyed. Hey, I never asked her to make us tea. She could be sitting here with us. Instead, she’s treating us like guests or clients rather than family. We should have met at our house instead.  

“I’ll have the cats scout out his home,” Ryker says, his eyes fixed to the page. “Maybe they’ll pick up any strange scents.”

“Good idea. If we can’t get more information from his place of work, we can go to his home and take a look ourselves.”

Lily finally returns with a tray stacked with mugs and a chipped tea pot. Since when do I care whether crockery is chipped? I groan internally. I’m turning into a housewife. Worst. Nightmare. Ever.

“Let me do that,” Gryphon offers helpfully. Always the good samaritan. “You tell us what we need to know.”

Lily looks like she’s about to argue, then shrugs and takes a seat. “Alright. He’s a full-time employee at an organisation calling themselves the Womb of the Tree. Yes, you heard that correctly. The others are still collecting info on them, but it looks like they’re some sort of cult. On the outside, they portray themselves as a retreat and self-improvement centre, but everything I’ve seen so far screams cult to me.”

“What do they worship?” I ask. “Are they basically tree huggers?”

“It’s surprisingly hard to find out. I’ve got one of their brochures, but it only talks about going back to nature and how spending time in the forest can help you relax. How it can help in putting one’s life back together. It doesn’t go into more detail. I think we’ll have to do our own research.” She grins widely. “How do you feel about infiltrating a tree cult?”

I exchange a look with the guys. That sounds a lot better than lounging at home with nothing to do. I’m sure we’ll be done by the time the kids return.  

My mates all nod their approval. Lennox looks as if he’s ready to jump up right away. I know the feeling. This adventure can’t start soon enough.
Skye MacKinnon. Thud (Kindle Locations 168-188).

Now infiltrating this cult was interesting to say the least. The whole Father and Mother tree thing intriguing and a bit creepy. Taking tree decorating to a whole new level.

While not a traditional Christmas themed story, this was different, fun and sizzling.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Amazon Author Page

The Alien’s Veterinarian – Aliens and Animals Book 2 By Arizona Tape and Skye MacKinnon


The Alien’s Veterinarian
Aliens and Animals Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Arizona Tape
&
Skye Mac Kinnon

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

blurb-fall-cornucopia

No space adventure is complete without a cat

Abby prefers animals to people, which comes in handy since she’s a vet working long hours at a cat rescue. She can’t say no to a critter in need, so when she’s offered a quick and well-paid job to look after a pregnant jaguar, she accepts it. Problem is, she didn’t read the small print…

Sahra has travelled to Earth to find a healer who can help with the animals back on Kyven. But how do you persuade a human to leave their planet without revealing that you’re an alien? It’s time to twist the truth a little and abduct an unsuspecting vet.

Throughout the journey, their ability to work together is tested. When a storm and a dangerous beast threatens their lives, can they make it out together?

NOTE:
An out-of-this-world f/f romance with a cat-loving human woman and a determined alien female willing to do anything to find her mate. Part of the Aliens and Animals series.

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In the Alien’s Zookeeper we met Tilly and her animals as they were taken from earth. The mess up was on the part of Bavalla who is now Tilly’s mate. Now they have a pregnant leopard and she’s in trouble. They send Sahra to earth with directions to get medications and a Veterinarian. She kinda messes this up but at least not as badly as the previous book went.

Abby is surprised when Sahra requests her to come to her home to treat the cat in trouble and even more so when she sees the horse and buggy Sahra is driving instead of a car.

This is a favorite scene.

I stopped in my tracks when I saw the horse-drawn cart parked outside the practice. It didn’t look like one of the romantic wedding carriages that sometimes drove through the centre of town. This was something you would have found at a farm a hundred years ago. I’d cared for horses before, but most farmers and riders used specialist vets, so it was unusual for a horse to stand in front of my house.

I looked around for the owner, but the street was empty. Maybe they weren’t here to see me after all.

Sahra confidently headed to the cart and climbed on the driver’s seat. It was hers. Bloody hell. This woman was becoming more and more intriguing by the minute.

She held out a hand to help me up. When our fingers touched, a strange zing of electricity shot up my arm. I rubbed my hand, but the tingly feeling was gone.

The bench was narrow and our thighs touched when I took a seat. Again, the tiniest of electric shocks hit me.

Sahra seemed oblivious, taking the reins.

I put my vet’s bag in the back. The cart was strangely clean; not a single bit of hay or mud anywhere.

“Do you have medicine for cats?” Sahra asked, pointing at my bag.

“Yes, it’s got all the essentials. If I need anything else, I can write a prescription later.”

The horse moved without her having to say anything. Its hooves clacked on the tarmac, the sound echoing back from the narrow terrace houses.

“This is an unusual choice of vehicle,” I said after a moment’s silence.

“I was told this is what you use,” she replied in her strong accent that I still couldn’t place.

Was she making a joke? Or had she really thought that we used horse-drawn carts in 21st century England? She had to be from somewhere very remote without access to television, the internet or even a newspaper. No, this had to be joke.

“Where are we going?” I asked to skip the awkward moment. “Do you live far?”

For some reason, that made her chuckle.

“We need to stop on the way,” she said instead of giving an answer. “My sister’s mate gave me a list.”

“A list?” I asked curiously. “What kind of list?”

She handed me a scrap of paper. On top was the address of the veterinary pharmacy I got most of my own supplies from. Underneath someone had scrawled about twenty different drugs and salves. One I recognised as a powder I regularly prescribed for treating rodents’ skin infections.

“Is he a vet? Your sister’s mate?”

I found it strange how she described her, but maybe that was because of her lack of vocabulary.

“She looks after animals. A zookeep.”

“Zookeeper,” I corrected automatically, regretting it when her expression fell.

“But I totally understood zookeep, don’t worry. So she asked you to get all these things?”

Sahra nodded. “The list and a veteri… vetar…”

“Vet,” I said quickly. “Everyone calls us vets. Veterinarian takes forever to say.”

She gave me a grateful smile. “Vet. I like that. Do you know where we have to go?”

“Yes. We’re actually really close. Take a right turn over there and then a left at the junction. And – wait, those lights are turning red!”

* * *

Twenty minutes later, we had several bags full of bottles, pills, powders and creams in the back of the cart. I’d helped Sahra with persuading the pharmacist that yes, she really needed all those things. I wasn’t sure why that zookeeper didn’t get all those things herself, but it was actually quite fun to go shopping.

Cars kept passing us, some of them hitting their horns, but Sahra ignored them all. Her horse was surprisingly fast, so we weren’t as much of a traffic jam creator as I’d feared.

She pulled another piece of paper from her bag and handed it to me.

“My sister’s mate wrote words for you. She said you have to write your name on it.”

“A contract?”

Sahra only shrugged and looked straight ahead.

I scanned the handwritten document. It looked like it had been written in a hurry. Some of the words were smudged and completely illegible. I had to squint to make out what this letter was supposed to say.

By signing this contract, you agree to come …. to … and to care for the feline and her offspring until they’re well enough to be without veterinary care. You will be offered travel, … and generous remuneration. We will of course pay for any drugs prescribed. [insert amount here]

You will not divulge anything you see or hear during your stay on … once you have returned to your home. In return, we promise complete confidentiality.

This is a binding agreement under … law.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t read some of the smudged words. Still, the rest was enough to make sense.

“Isn’t this a bit over the top?” I asked. “I’d never gossip about a patient.”

Sahra smiled. For a moment, a trick of the light made her hair shimmer blue before it returned to its deep chestnut colour.

“I’m sorry. My sister’s mate says it’s important.” She shrugged. “She says you can write your own money.”

“Money? You mean my fee?”

She nodded. “Yes. Fee. That was the word. Sorry, I’m still learning.”

“Oh, you’re polydactyl!” I exclaimed when I spotted her extra fingers. “That’s rare for humans, but I see cats with it all the time.”

Sahra looked embarrassed and curled her hands into fists to hide the sixth digits. “

Sorry,” I said, feeling guilty for calling her out on it like that. “My social skills aren’t always the best. I spend most of my day with animals. They’re much easier to be around than people.”

“I agree,” Sahra muttered. “Animals are nice.”
Skye MacKinnon; Arizona Tape. The Alien’s Veterinarian: Aliens and Animals 2 (Kindle Locations 159-213).

The journey back to Kyven, is not without problems. Abby is more than a little curious, she just wants to make arrangements for her practice to be covered in her absence.

There’s more than a little tension between Sahra and Abby, and I really thought they’d figure it out sooner than they did.

A bit of drama, some sniffles, and giggles too. I can’t wait for Tamsia’s story.

5 Contented Purrs for Arizona and Skye!

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Coming Soon!

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A creator at heart, Ari has always been in love with the idea of turning nothing into something. She wants to conquer the book world with stories that focus on inclusivity and diversity, writing what she likes to read. Whether it’s adventure or romance, dragons and vampires, or princesses and students, there’s something for everyone.

Born in China, raised in Belgium, and currently living in the United Kingdom with her girlfriend, Ari is a citizen of the world and loves discovering new cultures. Luckily, her crazy imagination lets her discover places she’s never been to, meet people that don’t exist, and talk to readers from all over the world.

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Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Cyle – Starlight Highlanders Book 3 By Skye MacKinnon


Cyle
Starlight Highlanders Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye Mac Kinnon

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An alien scientist desperate for answers

Cyle is the only Albyan alive who knows who was responsible for their females succumbing to the Sleep: his father. Ever since he discovered the truth, he’s been trying to find a way to wake the females.

He vowed to himself that he’d never accept a mate until he succeeded. But that’s easier said than done when he meets the female of his dreams and his mating instincts kick in.

The only way to stop himself from getting distracted is to push her away – but she has no intentions of leaving.

A human woman strong enough to match him

Before her accident, Beth had everything she’d ever wanted: a doting husband, the house of her dreams, a promising career. Now she’s a widow scarred inside and out, jobless and on the verge of being kicked out of her home.

She only registered at a dating agency because her therapist thought it was a good idea. She didn’t expect to be matched to a kilt-wearing Highlander – especially not an alien. He embodies the chance of a new life, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in her.

It’s time to cheat fate and take her life into her own hands. He will become her mate – even if she has to resort to unusual measures.

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In the last book we saw Eron meet his mate June and all that entailed. We also saw more of Thorrn’s brother the lead scientist Cyle and Thorrn’s mate Jenny.

While that meet and greet was going on Cyle was working, as he always is, looking for more matches. His assistant Vhom didn’t want to even observe that meeting, not wanted to be jealous of those fortunate enough to get mates through the process. Instead he checks on the control sample of females in the sleep. No one expects any change but they must be monitored for any detrimental changes.

Beth has met her supposed mate Obi. She feels no attraction to him, even a kiss was extremely distasteful to her. He gets arrogant and demands she go home with him, but she’s not having any of that. She gets escorted to the hotel reserved for those who want more time to get to know their mate. One thing she’s sure of, Obi is not her mate.

Cyle is dedicated to not only finding mates from the Peritan data provided but also finding a cure for the sleep. Before his father died he told him something that shaped his path, he can’t fail in this and he won’t mate until he accomplishes his goal. He takes Jenny with him to do some scans on Eron and June had as they too had such a strong reaction to each other. It’s while they’re doing that that Jenny gets a message that Beth has runaway. After reviewing the tapes of her and Obi meeting there is concern that he has taken her against her will.

While the authorities are looking for her, a couple of things happen. First he finds there is a second marker in all the successful mate pairs, and when compared to Albyan mates only the male has it. Second Beth and Obi are not mates, which is an overall relief.

When Cyle adds that second marker to the process to find mates, he is matched to Beth. Now he has to explain to her why he can’t mate with her, at least not yet.

This is a favorite scene.

It was the stuff of dreams. Beth was a miracle. Holding her in my arms, kissing her, was more than I could have asked for.

Her slender body fit mine perfectly. We were made for each other. Mates.

But the longer we kissed, the faster my conscience returned. It had been dimmed by the uisge beatha and Beth’s touch, but now it was back, screaming at me to stop.

I’d made a vow. I couldn’t have Beth. Not yet.

The thought of not having her by my side broke my heart. My eyes stung at the same time as my antennae started burning with fury. A single tear escaped, falling onto Beth’s cheek.

She stilled. Our lips were still fused together, but she’d stopped moving, even stopped breathing.

How such a miniscule group of hydrogen and oxygen molecules could destroy everything.

The tear was the signal to stop. This had gone far enough.

“You said forever,” Beth whispered. “And now you’re already changing your mind?”

I groaned. I wanted her so much it hurt. But I had to stay in control.  

“I meant it,” I said, my voice hoarse and dry. “But not yet. Not now. I have to find the cure. Then I can be the mate you deserve.”

She moved backwards, but I didn’t let go of her. I couldn’t.

“And how long will that be? Months? Years? Will we both die before you even find a cure? This doesn’t make sense, Cyle, and you know it.”

She’d said my name. For the first time. I liked how it sounded in her Peritan accent. A little harsher, but I could listen to her saying my name all day long. And all night.  

Not helping. I wanted to push her away and at the same time keep her pressed against me. Now I knew why Thorrn kept carrying his mate around. It was hard not to touch her.  

“I can’t.” I had to force the words out. “If I give in, if I claim you, I won’t be able to focus. You’ll be all that’s on my mind. I want to give you all my attention. I want to spend every click with you. But I have to think of more than just my needs. Our species is dying and I can’t rest until I find the cure.” I sighed deeply. “Until now, I’ve never considered giving up my mission. Know that you make me want to throw it all away. You’re so close to breaking my conviction.”  

Her eyes shone with tears. “I can’t go. I won’t leave you. I only just found you.”

There was no way around it. I’d have to break the delicate thread spun between us.

“You don’t know me,” I said and finally let go of her. I stepped back fast as if touching her would burn me. “This is an illusion, nothing more. We’re more than our genes. We can control this temptation.”

“We,” she scoffed, her smile fading. “You mean you. I have no desire to resist. When I met Obi, I felt nothing for him, but I saw all the other women react to their matches. Their bodies leant towards each other without them even realising. And now that’s exactly how it is with you. I won’t give this up. I won’t.”

“You have to,” I said as gently as I could. “I can’t give you what you need.”

She looked close to punching me. It would be in her right. I deserved it.

Every single male in Albya would be grateful to get a mate. Me? I refused the match. I was an absolute idiot. When my brother found out, he’d have a few choice words to say. And Jenny, his mate… I was scared of her fury. She was a bundle of feminine energy ready to strike whoever went against her and the other Peritan females. She wouldn’t understand. Neither would Thorrn. They didn’t know what our father had done. They didn’t feel the guilt I’d been carrying around ever since I discovered the truth.

My father had been selfish. When he’d burned the lab, himself in it, he’d destroyed all his research. Any data that could have helped me find a cure was gone. I still didn’t understand why he’d done it. End his life, yes. I got it. He’d sentenced our species to extinction. But why destroy the lab? He could have found other ways to kill himself. And he must have known that my mother would die the instant he did. In all the years since that horrible moment, I’d still not found an answer. He’d loved her. I’d expected him to fight for her, not give up on both of them.

“I give you a month,” Beth suddenly said, ripping me from my thoughts. “One month to find a cure. After that, I’m organising the handfasting ceremony and you’re mine.”

“One month?” I echoed. “That’s not enough. It could take years. The data is promising, there might be a cure hidden within you Peritans, but I need more time.”

“One month. Twenty-seven Albyan days. Or wait, I’ll be generous. You get an Earth month. Thirty days. And I’m not saying you have to stop your research after. Not at all. But I won’t wait longer than that to officially become your mate.”

The burning heat in my antennae lessened to a warm tingle. They approved. Was I really going to let these two tiny appendages dictate my life?

I looked down at Beth and decided that yes, I would. Her deal gave me a goal, an ultimatum. A month was different now than it had been a rotation ago. Back then, we’d not discovered Peritus. We didn’t know that there were compatible females across the stars. Now, everything was different.

Maybe I could do this.

Beth was encouragement enough.

“One month,” I agreed. “And we will meet once a day for lunch.”

A smile spread across her face. “Will there be kissing?”

“Are you trying to kill me, lass?”

The smile turned into a wicked grin. “It’s you who’s making me wait. The least you could do is sweeten the deal.”

And I did. I pushed away all doubts and worries and kissed her like she deserved it.
Skye MacKinnon. Cyle: Starlight Highlander Mail Order Brides 3 (Kindle Locations 862-911). Peryton Press.

With that ultimatum Cyle knows he has to find the cure, and Beth gets the other Peritan women to help.

It’s Vhom who brings some information to Cyle after having checked the data on the control group, there had been a change to their brain waves. This is a major break through.

Beth is supportive and being with Cyle isn’t difficult as she makes sure he eats and rests. Oh and the attraction here is not a simmer, it’s sizzling.

I truly love this book and I really want to see more of the Albyan’s we’ve met get their mates.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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