Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lani Aames, Dreamscaper’s Desire

Title: Dreamscaper’s Desire

Author: Lani Aames

Rating: Three And A Half Siren Stones

Genre: Romance

Sub-Genre: Paranormal

ISBN E-Book:9781419927751

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/pc-8338-101-dreamscapers-desire.aspx

Reviewer: Brigit

Blurb/Summary:

Carmen dreams of a handsome, sexy man who fulfills all her fantasies. His touch ignites her body and makes her soar to new heights of fiery sensation. But Nicodemus is merely a dream, isn’t he? A figment of her imagination conjured in her sleep because there is no real man in her mundane life.

When Carmen comes to the difficult decision to find a way to give up her dream lover, a friend tells her about a place where sleep habits and dreams are studied. Sounds like exactly what Carmen needs.

Nicodemus spends hot, sweaty nights locked in Carmen’s embrace, making all her dreams come true. There he finds true peace and love. But Nic knows demons can also escape through Carmen’s dreams and he’s fighting to keep the real world from turning into a nightmare.

Review:

Hot dreams and fantasy guys, what more could a girl ask for?

Certainly not demons and to be a gateway for them. And yet that is just what Carmen gets.

A wonderful concept that had the potential to be out of this world. However, it was only off the planet a little. While I appreciated the work the author put into the book, it lacks the emotional pull which would draw me into the story, so that I felt connected to the characters.

It was interesting enough that I want to read the second one, but I am not invested into what happens to Carmen and Nic. If you are looking for a quick, easy read that doesn’t take much from you, then this is a good book for that.

Desiree Holt and Allie Standiffer, Kidnapping the Groom

Title: Kidnapping the Groom

Author: Desiree Holt and Allie Standiffe

Rating: Four Siren Stones

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN E-Book:9781419927959

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8285-kidnapping-the-groom.aspx

Reviewer: Yvette Lowe

Blurb/Summary:

Cameron Greeley had spent a lot of years trying to put the memory of Gabe Holder behind her. But now he’s getting married to the wrong person and, despite the way they’d parted, she can’t let that happen.

Kidnapping Gabe and taking him to an isolated cabin, she treats him to hours of the hottest sex either of them could imagine. In one all-too-short evening they indulge in every erotic act she can think of—and then she dumps him back at his house, the memory of those hours eating at her. Will he let her go, or will he come after her, taking her into his bed and into his heart?

Review:

This was a great story of two people who never could stop thinking of an intense love that once was. It is a sneaky, hot, and steamy story of two people after one night together that they would never forget.

The story is very well written, and a fast paced love story that grabs a hold of you in the beginning, allowing you to feel every emotion they go through. If you are looking for a quick, steamy, fun read, you need to grab this one.

Desiree Holt and Allie Sandiffer did a great job with this story. I can't wait to read more from both authors.


Lynnette Hallberg, Lace and a Pretty Face

Title: Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face

Author: Lynnette Hallberg

Rating: Five Siren Stones

Genre: Romance

Word Or Page Count: 200

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Buy-Link (If available): http://www.thewildrosepress.com/chantilly-lace-and-a-pretty-face-p-4047.html

Reviewer: Yvette Lowe

Blurb/Summary:

Stone Powers needs a wife. Today. Though he hadn’t intended to marry—ever—the court refuses to award custody of his orphaned niece and nephew to a bad-boy, bachelor father. The only way to keep his family together is a sentence of play-acting at marriage for twelve months with a clause for parole at year’s end. So, when the beautiful answer to his prayers literally drops from the sky dressed in bridal white, he doesn’t hesitate to say, “I do.”

Supermodel Josie Holland can’t believe she’s even considering risking her career for a make-believe marriage. True, Stone is too sexy for his boots. But mother to two young children? Diapers and peanut-butter sandwiches? Not in her plans.

Oh, those best-laid plans!

And Stone agrees, for his simple plan takes a drastic turn when he finds himself falling in love with his pretend wife.

Review:

Lynnette Hallberg did an amazing job on this story! From the beginning I was totally in love with Josie and Stone. Josie is thrown into a crazy situation when she meets Stone. But her heart and her true dreams come out even shocking her.

Stone knows he has gotten more than he bargained for with Josie. This story had me laughing one minute, and crying the next. Lynette did a great job making you feel everything that Stone and Josie were going through.

This book is a must read for the true romantic at heart. If you have a chance, you need to take the time to pick up this great story. It will brighten even the cloudiest of days for you, and leave a smile on your face.


Louise Crawford, What Lies Beneath

Title: What Lies Beneath

Author: Louise Crawford

Rating: Four Siren Stones

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN E-Book:978-1-60394-429-8

Publisher: New Concepts Publishing

Buy-Link: http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/louisecrawfordbooks.html

Reviewer: Rhonda J Callum-King

Blurb/Summary:

Robert Damien has never seen a mermaid and when he does she's a red-haired siren wearing a face mask. Is he hallucinating? You bet!

Suffering from nitrogen narcosis, he's losing consciousness when the ‘mermaid’ appears and pulls him to the safety of Goliath, an underwater habitat which Rob financed for Global Institute of Oceanography so that he could secretly dive for treasure from the Santa Marta, a Spanish ship which reportedly sank off the coast of Catalina Island.

Like the proverbial mermaid, his saviour disappears back into the sea.

When a red-haired vixen appears at the Millionaires' Costume Ball, Rob discovers she's the mermaid.

Gelsey Roarke can hardly believe the scuba diver she saved is the infamous Robert Damien, a millionaire who has a reputation as a love 'em then leave 'em ladies' man. Gelsey figures out he's the treasure-seeking playboy who practically stole her half-sister's company, then dumped her. So Gelsey decides to play along with Rob's seduction, to enjoy him, then recover the precious Spanish gold for herself and teach him the lesson of a lifetime. But it’s a lesson that two can play


Review:

What Lies Beneath by Louise Crawford is a fun-filled romance novel. It is a little bit adventure with some intrigue and fairy tale type romance dashed on top. The story was well written, the editing flowed nicely from beginning to conclusion.

As the story progresses, you learn what drives the characters has previously influenced their personalities. All is not as it previously appeared once the villains come clean.

This was a story that you won’t wish to put down. The characters will make you smile and possibly cry as you proceed with them on their journey from pride, to understanding and finally to love. What Lies Beneath is exciting mixture of romance and adventure that is sure to please. This story is well worth the read.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mysti Holiday, Shut Up And Kiss Me

Title: Shut Up And Kiss Me

Author: Mysti Holiday

Rating: Four Siren Stones

Genre: Erotic Romance

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Page Count: 48

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Buy-Link (If available): http://www.thewildrosepress.com/wilderroses/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=773&zenid=c13d42abd37d8ef256625c4244c255e4

Reviewer: Brigit

Blurb/Summary:

Kasey Davenport and Cole Roberts—adversaries since junior high when Cole did nothing but pull her hair, snap her bra strap and tease her mercilessly—find themselves unexpectedly thrown together when Kasey is in town on a layover. As always, sparks fly between them, but this time the attraction simmering close to the surface explodes into a passion neither of them expected or wanted.

After years of mutual avoidance and denying their attraction, can Kasey and Cole stop arguing long enough to discover if what they feel will last more than just one night?

Review:

Hot, steamy, and fun. Shut Up & Kiss Me is fabulously fun. What better premise then falling for your brother’s best friend?


Short and to the point, with a small twist that I didn’t see coming this was well worth the time. Cole and Kasey have a well established friendship and the jump from friends to lovers was well written and believable. Take the time to pick this one up for sure.

N. J. Walters, Seeking Charlotte

Title: Seeking Charlotte

Author: N.J. Walters

Rating: Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre: Paranormal Romance

ISBN E-Book:9781419926624

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8281-seeking-charlotte.aspx

Reviewer: Brigit

Tagline:


Book three in the Hearts of Fire series

Blurb/Summary:

Creed Lawson knows Charlotte Jones is trouble from the moment she presses her lithe body to his and kisses him. But that doesn’t stop him from taking what she’s offering—a night of hot, uninhibited sex. But Creed hasn’t bargained for the feelings she stirs in him, nor the talk of crystals, demons and destiny.

Charlotte is an empath. The ability to feel people’s emotions has made it difficult for her to lead a normal life. At eighteen she received one of the eight pieces of the Heart of Fire, a crystal that contains untold power. She was told there was a male who held the other half of her stone, as well as a demon that coveted all the pieces of the crystal.

The demon has finally found her. But she knows that Creed is the special man she’s been waiting for. Charlotte is facing the fight of her life. Will Creed fight beside her or walk away?

Review:

A phenomenal concept, brilliantly written with well-developed characters and steamy love scenes.

That is what you get with Seeking Charlotte by N. J. Walters.

Book 3 in The Hearts of Fire Series is wonderful. I have not read the first two, but this book works well as a stand-alone, although now I will be picking up the first two, so that I can see what has happened before and I am waiting impatiently for Book 4.


Ms. Walters writes the emotion into her stories in a truly impacting way. From the bond the sisters share, to the fear of the demon, Asmodeus, the emotion comes through. Charlotte and Creed are truly fated, and while the relationship develops quickly the story is written in such a way that the reader can believe they fell in love that quickly. I recommend this for a quick, fun, steamy read.

Jan Springer, Nice Girl Naughty

Title: Nice Girl Naughty

Author: Jan Springer

Rating: Four Siren Stones

Genre: Romance

Sub-Genre: Suspense

ISBN E-Book: 9781419927423

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link (If available): http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8352-nice-girl-naughty.aspx

Reviewer: Stacey Krug

Blurb/Summary:

Blind since nineteen, Summer has blossomed into a famous wood carver, her talented hands giving life to erotic art. When her own life is nearly taken by a serial killer, she finds herself suddenly whisked to a secluded wilderness cabin by sexy bodyguard Nick.

Summer can’t get enough of touching Nick’s thick, powerful muscles and all those other hard, yummy male body parts. It doesn’t take long before the cabin’s every surface—horizontal or vertical—is marked by their scorching lovemaking.

For years Nick has stayed away from nice girl Summer. Now he’s back, and sweeping his gorgeous redhead into the naughty, erotic sex-fest they’ve been craving for years. With passion blinding him, Nick doesn’t realize their hideout isn’t safe—until it’s too late.

Review:
Nice Girl Naughty is a good romantic suspense story. The author does a great job of giving us some history that helps build the characters, and push the story forward to present day.

Nick and Summer have scorching chemistry together that is palpable. Their romance builds from sweet and sensual to erotic and hot. They are lovable characters and make the story fun to read.

It was quite different to have a blind heroin, and Summer’s impairment doesn’t hold her back from experiencing life. This aspect of the character adds a new dimension to the plot twists and action scenes.

The evil that Summer and Nick face makes this a suspenseful page turner. As the reader, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

Jan Springer did a wonderful job with this story and I’d like to check out some of her other creations.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Karen Dales, Book One of the Chosen, Includes Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen

Title: Angel of Death; Book One of the Chosen, Includes Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen

Author: Karen Dales

Rating: Five Siren Stones

Genre: Horror

Keywords: Vampire

Page Count: 580

ISBN For Print: 978-0-9811965-0-3

Publisher: Dark Dragon Publications

Buy-Link: http://www.amazon.com/Angel-Death-Book-One-Chosen/dp/0981196500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245983847&sr=8-1

Website: http://www.thechosenchronicles.com

Reviewer: Rhonda J Callum-King

Tagline:

The Vampires of London are being murdered and only the Angel of Death can save them

Blurb/Summary:

When Father Paul Notus is captured and threatened with a gruesome death by the Mistress of London and her vampires, the Angel is forced into a dark world of murder and deception to discover who is killing the Vampires of Britain.

Forced into a partnership with the Noble Fernando de Sagres, a vampire of sadistic tastes, and joined by the beautiful and mortal Jeanie Stuart, the Angel seeks out who is behind these killings.

Plagued by demons from his past and his increasing affections for Jeanie, the Angel walks a fine line between his heart and his fears. He discovers the culprits but at a high cost – the irrevocable discovery of what he truly is and the Destruction of one he loves.

Bio:

Karen Dales is the Author of The Chosen Chronicles. Writing fiction from an early age she went on to complete York University’s creative writing program. She has been published in numerous periodicals and has been interviewed by The Toronto Star and The National Post. Karen is married, has one son, and two cats. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Currently she is at work writing the next novel in the series, Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen.

Review:

Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen by Karen Dales was by far one of the best stories by a new and upcoming writer that I have read. I cannot wait for the sequel, and wish that I were able to continue the series right now.

The Angel’s story will bring you to tears. Unlike other currently popular angsty vampires, Gwyn’s turmoil and pain has nothing to do with the morality of dining upon humans, a re-occurring theme which is becoming over-used.

Like a breath of fresh air, Gwyn’s problems arise from the fact that he is a nearly seven foot tall albino, born into a medieval world completely unequipped to deal with such an individual. He also is not exactly a vampire, and may not have been entirely human before his conversion.

While he was never accepted among the medieval humans, and suffered torture which today’s population can scarcely imagine, he is also not accepted among the chosen.

The chosen fear that he is tainted, and believe he should be destroyed, like an animal. The Angel, is not even allowed love over the millennia that he is forced to endure.

While there is humour in The Angel of Death, this is a story of humanity’s failings. The one person that constantly shows true humanity in the face of 1000 years of abuse, is the one individual that may not in fact have ever been fully human.

This tale was wonderfully written. Every character has a complete and utterly unique personality. Various readers will be able to relate to someone within this story. While there were a couple of small editing errors, nothing could possibly take away from this story.

The Angel of Death will make you smile, and it will cause your heart to break. Very few stories are the equal to this tale. When you read this story, have a box of tissues handy. Ms. Dales I am trying to await the next instalment patiently, and it is not working out so well.

KUDOS!!


Anne Patrick, Ties That Bind

Title: Ties That Bind

Author: Anne Patrick

Rating: Three And A Half Siren Stones

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sub-Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Keywords: Paranormal

Page Count:270 pages

ISBN E-Book:978-1-58749-732-2

Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing

Buy-Link (If available):http://www.awe-struck.net/books/ties_that_bind.html

Reviewer: Rhonda J Callum-King

Blurb/Summary:

FBI profiler, Jo McDaniels has an unusual gift. As with most
profilers, they are able to take the evidence, background of the victims
and crime scene photos and reenact in their minds what took place between
the killer and the victim. But what if there are no crime scenes and the
victims have been decapitated in order to hide their identity? This is
where Jo's unusual gift comes into play. Unlike most profilers in her
field, she is able to go a step further. Using her psychic ability she is
able to sense exactly what victims felt prior to their death. Her ability
allows her to get to know the victims better than anyone else. She not
only feels their emotions; she feels their pain.

Sheriff Austin Garrett doesn't quite know what to think of the sassy and
beautiful profiler that is able to tell him more about the victim after a
few minutes with her than the coroner knows. But he's willing to try
anything to catch the serial killer plaguing his community. In all his
years in law enforcement, nothing has prepared him for the monster he is
up against now. A killer so cruel and calculating that it leaves him no
choice but to turn to Jo and her unique gift.

Jo knows the risk she's taking by using her psychic abilities. The last
time she relied on it, it almost cost her career as well as her sanity. As
the case progresses and the body count rises they soon realize that Jo's
sanity isn't all that is at risk. She has become the killer's ultimate
kill.

Review:

Ties that Bind by Anne Patrick is a forensic mystery. A serial killer is on the loose, and psychological profiler is brought in to aid the local small town sheriff. The profiler happens to be a long-lost town local that is on the outs with her family. She also has some psychic abilities which she utilizes in the completion of her cases.

As a forensic mystery, for me, this one was not hard to solve. I had it solved correctly the moment the character was introduced and described. I did have to wait until nearly the end to be sure, but I was correct. There were not a lot of possibilities to confuse the reader.

The book itself read well and well edited. The story flowed nicely, and the two main characters also were nicely filled out. Even the cover looked good on this book.

However, the story contained an on-going under theme pro-Christian in origin to the telling of the tale. At first this was not detrimental to the story, but as the reader nears it’s end, it increases in frequency. Ties That Bind is an eminently readable short crime mystery.


Jayne Rylon, Driven

Title: Driven

Author: Jayne Rylon

Rating: Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre: Romance

Sub-Genre: Ménage (MMF)

Keywords: Older Woman/Younger Man

ISBN E-Book: 9781419927720

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link (If available): http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8341-driven.aspx

Reviewer: Stacey Krug

Tagline:

A standalone title in the Cougar Challenge Series

Blurb/Summary:

Lynn Madison transformed from repressed corporate drone to bold seductress overnight when her online friends at Tempt the Cougar encouraged her to take charge of her destiny. Their advice haunts her as she drools over the hottest Italian stallion on the planet while stranded in an airport.

Sebastian Fiori is a master of speed. A rally car driver, he’s used to winning on and off the track. He sees no need to put on the brakes when a sexy sophisticate revs his engine. After spotting Lynn’s decadent ménage novel, he decides to take her for the ride of a lifetime—with his navigator Mark.

Storm delays would be far more upsetting if Lynn’s young stud wasn’t offering a first-class ticket to indulge her fantasy. Neither of them expects their rendezvous to last beyond their transatlantic flight on his private jet. But sometimes there’s no escaping the forces of nature.

Review:

Driven is a great story. It is fast-paced, action filled, and sexy making it a definite page turner. Sebastian and Lynn have great chemistry together. Their characters are both a little cheeky and funny, which adds wonderfully to the story.

Lynn’s girlfriends also supply another dimension of humor and fun. When Sebastian’s friend Mark, is added the sex turns erotic and steamy.

This is a great romance that starts out fast, ebbs and flows realistically, and leaves the reader happy and hopeful in the end.

The editing was great and the story can be read in one sitting, which is good since you won’t want to stop! Based on the wonderful characters and smooth flow of this story, I would check out other works by Jayne Rylon.


Allie Standifer, Twenty-Four Hours

Title: Twenty-Four Hours

Author Name: Allie Standifer

Rating: Four Siren Stones

Genre: Romance

Sub-Genre: Older Woman/Younger Man

ISBN E-Book:9781419928260

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link (If available): http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8331-twenty-four-hours.aspx

Reviewer: Jeanne

Blurb/Summary:

After a tanning-bed mishap, Courtney Museo is without her sight for the next twenty-four hours. Who better to call for help than her handsome, way-too-young assistant?

Mason has waited six years for Courtney to finally need him. He’s not going to miss this chance to make her see how good they could be together, in a more personal environment. Twenty-four hours of non-stop sex might be just enough to convince Courtney they’ve got a love not even time can touch.

Review:

Allie Standifer captures the readers from the first page, and holds them hostage until the last. The playful banter between the characters ensures that the readers can not only relate to them, but fall head over heels in love with them as well.

This story gives a realistic view of the pressure faced by the modern woman who has chosen their career over permanent relationships, and the turmoil that accompanies such choices. It allows readers a view of the driving force behind insecurities that exist in the untraditional relationship of older female younger male.

Though this story was short, it allowed the reader to become fully engulfed in the world of the characters by weaving a web of playfulness, insecurity and sensual loving.

I recommend this story for anyone wanting a quick read that surrounds the reader with intoxicating sexuality and a perfect happily ever after.


Stephanie Julian, Edge Of Moonlight

Title: Edge of Moonlight

Author: Stephanie Julian

Rating: Three And A Half Siren Stones

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Keywords: Shape Shifter

ISBN E-Book:9781419927911

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Buy-Link (If available): http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8346-edge-of-moonlight.aspx

Reviewer: Jeanne

Tagline:

Book three in the Lucani Lovers series

Blurb/Summary:

Etruscan wolf shifter Kaine Giliati has longed for John Simmons since he willingly agreed to wipe all memory of her from his mind. The pain in her heart is only magnified by terror—the ability to call her wolf appears to have deserted her, as well.

For months after he and his sister escaped a crazed kidnapper, John has been dreaming about a beautiful woman he’s never met but who seems so familiar. A woman he’s shocked to find in a dark bar one night. A woman who agrees to come back to his apartment for raw, passionate sex.

One erotic, stolen night reopens old wounds, uncovers buried memories and sets Kaine and John on a path filled with danger, magic and potential heartbreak.

Review:

Stephanie Julian has created a distinctive story of love – lose –and love-found. With a cast of characters that were unique and breathtakingly realistic, she has managed to weave a world of mystery that exists alongside that of our own.

This was book three in the Lucani Lovers Series and though the story was complete, it was not what one would call stand alone. Without the benefit of the prior books in the series, the reader is left at time in a state of complete confusion while trying to play catch-up on events from previous stories.

This story was well written and the author has a distinctive voice that allows the reader to absorb the events and characters with complete acceptance and believability. It does however seem to be a bit drawn out in some sections, but fails to pay the same attention to areas in which the reader wishes to explore more thoroughly.

All and all, I found this to be an enjoyable read that I do not regret reading but doubt to revisit.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Siren's Book; Ayperi's Destiny, Chapter Two, by Kristin Manter

“Exactly where have you been, you insolent girl?!” My father's voice boomed through the dining chambers as he rose from his position at the head of the table and began (walking) toward me. His face deep crimson under his wiry white mustache and beard. “Thank the gods you are not the heir to my kingdom, surely it would crumble under the weight of trying to maintain itself while you satisfied whatever curiosity occupied your time.” His eyes studied me, judged me harshly, “Your inappropriate dress is a disgrace, you disrespect me and each member of the court by attending in your night garments!”

My eyes dropped to the floor and I clutched the book tighter against my chest. As if responding to my feelings of insignificance the book became warm against my breast. Beginning in my heart a melody pumped through my bloodstream and into my ears, drowning out the sound of the various members of the court seated around the grand oak table talking amongst themselves. A combination of peace and confidence filled me with each private note and my chin rose and my gaze met that of the king. I held my breath and my tongue as I awaited the inevitable continuation of his rant.

“The next time an enemy declares war on this land, I will offer your hand in marriage to the heir of that throne as I would ultimately have the victory when your thoughtlessness destroys them.”The stout man's height matched mine, our eyes fixed on one anothers and his finger pointed just inches from the tip of my nose.

Apart from the ocean blue eyes and fair skin, this man and I shared no other resemblance. In his youth, my father was a gallant figure. A prince who rode into battle at the side of his men, wielding a sword like no man in any nation or tribe. In times of peace, his laughter filled the halls and the ladies of the court were often caught daydreaming aloud about running their fingers through the golden waves of hair he kept bound at the nape of his neck. Only one woman ever won his favor, however, and she became his queen. My mother, the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, was tall and slender. The caramel color of her skin perfectly reflected the sweetness within her soul. Her eyes were the color of honey, her hair straight, sleek, and as black as onyx. She smelled of lilacs and there are still times when, in the still of the night, as I float off to sleep her floral scent will drift into my room and bid me adieu as my mind wanders to the land of dreams. When I look into the mirror, t'is her face that stares back at me and the loneliness that haunts me since her disappearance fades.

“Father, she is not worth your anger. We have serious matters to discuss and her presence at the meeting is more of a formality than a necessity,” My brother appeared behind my father and placed a hand upon his shoulder. His appearance, like mine, also favored our mother, however, the gods blessed him the same rich skin and eyes as she. His chin tilted upwards ever so slightly in order for him to look down his nose in disgust upon me. My grip tightened on the gift clutched to my chest and my confidence did not waiver. Again, I remained silent as I stepped just past them and took my seat to the left of the King's empty chair.

“Now that we are all in attendance, our (meeting) can begin. As you are all aware, we are a peaceful nation, on good terms with those we share borders with. We have gained the respect of counties near and far because of our ability to negotiate fairly and remain steadfast in our values.” The King began, still standing, hands planted firmly on the table in front if him.

“A testament to our leadership, my Lord!” A voice rose from the man midway down the table as he raised a goblet in recognition of my father's (leadership).

“Nonetheless, this is not a time to become complacent. There is danger afoot, a danger we could not have prepared for.” His face grew more solemn yet, and pain filled his eyes as he continued, “I have been warned by the High Priest that we are coming upon a time where we will face an enemy unlike any we have ever met. The Gods granted him nothing more than the warning.”

“Then how shall we prepare? How will we fight?” My cousin, a Duke and one of my only allies in our family rose from his seat, he drew his hand across his waist and gripped the (handle) of his (sword).

“Be seated, nephew,” my father paced behind him and lowered him back into his seat with the weight of his palm on his shoulder. “I suggest, let it come. We will conquer the darkness with light. We will we will have the upper-hand on familiar land. We will stand strong and put forth a strong defense.”

With each word he spoke, I felt the blood rise into my face. My stomach twisted in knots at the thought of a battle, of any measure, in my Kingdom angered me. The idea put those I love so much in jeopardy, innocent lives would be risked. This could not happen. I could not let this happen. The thick wooden legs of my chair screeched on the floor as it slid from under me and I stood, “I object! Father, you can possibly be serious. You would bring danger onto our lands and risk the lives of our citizens? Do you understand that even children will be affected by this decision? No, there has to be another way.”

“I agree with Mi Lady, Your highness. We should strengthen our forces, and watch for the enemy at our borders. Attack them before they even have the opportunity to reach our soil. This will have an element of surprise and may catch them off guard. Send men out near and far to report any suspicious activities or oncoming (troops).” As the duke spoke his brown eyes met each other pair of eyes at the table. Sincerity and concern for the people of Solstice blanketed every word he spoke. He was the only son of my father's youngest brother and exemplified the bloodline perfectly. Confident and brave, proud and pure hearted, he was devoted as much to his family as he was to the Kingdom. He appeared to be the child of the union between the sun and ocean gods with his crystal blue eyes, fair skin, and wavy golden hair. I so often wished it was he who was first heir to the throne as he would make a King who would carry on the legacy of my father's rule nobly.

“We have no time line, no idea of when we will face this enemy, we simply have the warning. We can send men to evaluate the safety of our borders, we could send them as far as a weeks ride to analyze the threat, but I fear that will only raise concern and create a feeling of unease amongst our citizens. The Prince and I have spent many hours discussing our options, evaluating our allies as well as our (enemies), and pouring over strategies. We have simply called you here to vote.” The king's face remain expressionless, his voice even.

“All in favour of the King's proposed mission, say Ay.” My brother's voice echoed through the hall.

Agreement followed, from nearly every voice seated at the table. Uncertainty on the faces and in the tone of each person. Respect for The King's judgement and leadership had shadowed rationality.

“All opposed, day Nay.”

In unison, the Duke and I loudly declared our opposition.

“Majority rules. We will wait for the foreseen enemy. Our army will continue to train under the impression of preparedness.”

Chatter filled the chamber once again and quickly I made my way in the direction of the exit, seeking the solitude of my bedchambers in the Easternmost wing of the castle. My cousin's hand gripped my elbow as I brushed by him, his gaze demanded my attention, “Your father is wise and cares much for the people of his land. Have faith, Ayperi, we may not see it as he does but he has ruled for many years and has much experience.”

“He is being ignorant. He has grown weak and passive with age. I will not stand by and watch the people of this land be put in harms way, and I know you will not either, Gavin.”

“I will do what is right for the people, and right now that means obeying their king.” He released his hold and I hurried to my sanctuary.

I closed the heavy wooden door behind me as I entered the spacious bed chamber. I Placed the Siren's Book on my bed and began lighting the candles that lined the walls of my room. I pulled the soft linen of my gown over my head. I fell to my bed, comfortable with my nudity in the soft glow of the candles mixed with the gentle light beaming in from the afternoon sun through the line of tiny windows along the very top of my room. A soft breeze lifted the sheer canopy that draped the parameter of my (bed). I did not open the book, simply placed an arm over it as I drifted to sleep.

“You must take control of this situation, Ayperi, it is more dire than your father knows.” A male voice startled me from my slumber. I sat up to find a tall cloaked figure at the foot of my bed. He brought the hood away from his face and off of his head to reveal smooth bronze skin, piercing dark brown eyes, high cheekbones, and a face as beautiful as any imagined by the most talented sculptors. The sun had gone dark as night fell upon the earth. The flicker of the candle danced off of him, further adding to his mystery as well as mystery.

“Who are you and how did you get past the guards?” The threat in my voice and the power behind each word shocked even me.

“You know me as Nalag.”