Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 8

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 8
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“Okay, that wasn’t real. I must be hallucinating.” Nira accepted her bag from the man who’d retrieved it.

“No hallucination. You were nearly ensnared.” Zohar prodded her toward a parked white van. “This is why you need our protection. Secure her.” He handed her off to another masked man before heading toward the driver’s seat.

“I have my own car. I can meet you wherever we’re going.” Nira thought it worth a try.

Zohar whipped around. “Give your keys to Kaj. He will follow us.”

“I don’t think so. Hey, what are you doing?”

One of the men flashed a pair of stormy gray eyes as he snatched her purse. He fished inside until he found her key ring. Tossing the bag back, he strode toward her vehicle as though it emitted a beacon. Along the way, he ripped off his mask. She got a glimpse of unruly wheat hair, even features, and a taut jaw before he turned his back on them.

“All right, how did he know that’s my car?” She held her ground, refusing to budge.

“Your signals are strong, little one. You left your essence on your automobile. Even we are not immune.”

Zohar tore off his hood, making her inhale sharply. If kidnappers competed for looks, he could win a spot in GQ.   Zohar

Deep set turquoise eyes sat under emphatic brows and above a straight, aquiline nose. A firm mouth spoke of a man who set himself high standards, his upper lip a bit narrower than its fuller bottom. He wore his dark brown hair swept back over a regal forehead like Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek show, although his was a bit tussled from the mask.

He grinned, transforming his stern expression into one of devilish amusement. An answering coil of warmth rolled through her.

Okay, get a grip. You’re trapped with four hunky guys who could easily overpower you, and you have no notion of their true intentions. She had to give them credit for rescuing her, though. Maybe they were undercover agents working with some federal agency on a drug bust case.

“Can we take off our masks, rageesh?” another man asked in a respectful tone.

Zohar shrugged. “Why not? The lady is one of us now. Tell me where you wish to go.” His deep voice flowed over her like warm honey.

The police station, big guy. Unfortunately, she didn’t know where one was located on International Drive.

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Do you think it’s wise for Nira to go with these men?

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This is a 14-day series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced on Day 15. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 7

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 7
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“How about if we make a deal? My men and I will take you home, but then you must listen to my proposal. We could use your help.”

She nodded, having every intention of bolting for the door when on her feet. As he untied the strap around her wrist, tingling warmth raced along her nerves. Before she could jerk away, his strong hands grasped her by the waist and lifted her off the table.

Standing, she rubbed her arms, grateful for her mobility. Her glance skittered toward the exit. Unfortunately, the stranger obstructed her route. His tall physique overpowered the room.

“What’s your name?” Maybe she could gain his sympathy.

“I am Zohar Thorald. Let us leave this place before the displacement field reactivates.” While the man spoke in a soft tone, his authority brooked no arguments.

Whatever that means. He must be a foreigner, judging from his stiff manner of speech.

He stalked into the hallway, calling for his comrades to follow. Nira trailed after him, frustrated when she still couldn’t reach the main entrance. As if reinforcing her plight, Zohar snagged her elbow while he addressed his men.

“Find anything?”

“It’s too late,” one guy answered. “They must have taken anything of value before we arrived. It’s almost as though they expected us.”

The wall shimmered, and Nira blinked.

“Everyone outside.” Zohar yanked on her arm, dragging her into the anteroom and out the front door. Daylight pierced her vision.

“My sunglasses. I left my purse in there. Let me go.”

She twisted sideways but couldn’t break his grip. No way would she leave her Coach bag behind. It had been the first designer item she could afford, even if she’d bought it at the outlet store.

Zohar nodded to one of his men, who detached from the group and raced inside. He reappeared in the doorway and leapt onto the pavement just as the entire structure faded before her eyes.

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What just happened? Did that building vanish from sight?

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This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

 

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 6

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 6
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

Wriggling against the strap holding her down, she cursed when it wouldn’t give way. Now what? Was she a prize to be claimed by their leader? She cringed when he stroked her cheek.

“Who are you, little one?” His gentle tone surprised her. “And how did you resist the Confounding?”      Drift Lord

“Untie me.” She attempted to twist away, but he gripped her shoulder, holding her down. Flat on her back, she gazed into his intense turquoise eyes. She couldn’t see the rest of his face, hidden behind a hooded mask that covered his head. He smelled like pine trees and peat smoke. Calm trickled through her, quieting the buzz in her mind.

Strange that she didn’t abhor this man’s touch as she had Jek’s. Far from it. She squirmed under his scrutiny, aware that her situation wasn’t much better and yet she felt no fear. The stranger in black continued to study her, his eyes narrowed as though he contemplated a decision.

Banging noises sounded from outside as his men searched the building as per his orders. A single lightbulb glared overhead, casting the room into a surreal light. Dust motes floated in the air.

“I will release you, but you must come with us.”

Ice water sluiced through her veins. She didn’t want to go anywhere with these fierce looking men. “Look, I won’t tell anyone what’s happened here if you let me go home.”

“I understand you are frightened. Be assured no further harm will come to you.” He spoke soothingly, as though to a child. “I promise to keep you safe.”

“Please, just set me free.” She hated the way her voice quavered.

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Would you trust this man?

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This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebooks. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.

 

Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 5

This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my romance backlist ebook titles. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page to see more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 5
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

The brute thrust Nira against the hard metal table and pressed her in place with his thighs.

“You’re different.” Algie’s smooth tone belied the enmity in her eyes. “You can block my spell. We haven’t met any humans like you before. It could be a danger to us.”

Nira swallowed against rising alarm. These people must belong to some cult. Get out while you can.

She stomped on Jek’s instep, hoping to dislodge his grip. He merely chuckled and dumped her supine on the table. When he reached for restraints, she screamed.

“Help! Someone help me!”

Jek had secured one wrist in a leather strap when a crash sounded from outside in the corridor, followed by shouts and loud blasts. The door burst open, and black-clad masked figures poured inside. They aimed weapons at Algie, who repelled their fire by dodging aside in a blur of speed and then vanishing. Air rushed by Nira’s ear. Then Jek was gone as well, leaving her at the mercy of these formidable men.

They stood in a huddle, murmuring in low voices. One of the terrorists slid his gaze her way and pointed.

“I’ll take care of the woman,” he said in a commanding tone. “Algie and her troops have probably vectored out by now, but search the place anyway and see what you can find.” As the others scrambled to obey, he strode over to where Nira lay helpless on the table.

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Are these black-clad men good guys or bad guys?

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Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 4

This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my romance backlist titles in ebook format. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page for more opportunities.               Warrior Prince

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 4
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

Algie’s eyes blazed. “How are you resisting me?”

“What?”

“Never mind, just do as I said. Fix Jek to look more human.”

Human? She shook her head. That annoying buzzing sound must be affecting her brain.

However, it didn’t affect her instincts. An inner voice hammered at her to leave. She backed away, but at a simple nod from Algie, the door slammed shut from an invisible force.

“You’re not going anywhere until I find out how you’re blocking me. Jek, seize her.”

The big man’s beefy hand clamped onto her arm.

“Let me go.” Nira fought to elbow him in the gut, but his strength overwhelmed her. He hauled her toward the treatment table. “Stop, or I’ll scream.” Panic laced her voice.

The woman’s sinister chuckle chilled her blood. “Go ahead. No one will hear you.”

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Does Nira have reason to panic under these circumstances?

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Warrior Prince Excerpt Part 3

This is a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist romance ebook titles. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. Go to my Contest page to see more opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 3
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“Jek is a test subject to see if you suit us for employment.” Algie’s brow wrinkled. “See if you can make him look more normal.”

Nira stifled a nervous cough. Aren’t those huge cauliflower ears prosthetics? “Uh, I’m not sure I—”

“Just use those makeup supplies.” Algie pointed to the counter. “Shadowing, for example, can de-emphasize certain features. You’ll know what to do.”

The blonde sauntered closer. Her porcelain features were so refined, she could have been a model. She leaned inward, her ocean blue eyes shining brightly, her rosy lips parting as though about to confide a secret. Nira couldn’t drag her gaze away. Her nostrils picked up a floral scent that held her spellbound.

It seemed so natural when Algie placed a palm on her arm like an old friend.

No. Nira sprang back, the buzzing sound in her head increasing to painful decibels.

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Should Nira flee this place as quickly as possible?

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Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 1

Today begins a series of excerpts from my upcoming release, WARRIOR PRINCE: Book One in the Drift Lords Series. I hope you’ll follow along and leave a comment. All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my ebook backlist titles. Two lucky winners will be announced at the conclusion of this series. September also offers you a chance to win more prizes. Go to my Contest page to see all your opportunities.

Warrior Prince Excerpt: Part 1
Copyright 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen

“Hi, I’m Nira Larsen, here for an interview,” she told the receptionist, whose solemn stare and black attire would have suited the funeral home she’d visited earlier.

“Please be seated until you are summoned.” The woman’s blunt-cut dark hair swung as she pressed a button on her console to announce Nira’s arrival.

Nira glanced at the small waiting area with its threadbare carpet, row of vinyl seats, and musty odor. Why was no one else here? And why did this place appear so seedy, with peeling paint and grime-coated windows? Maybe she didn’t want to work for people who treated their applicants with such disrespect.

Nonetheless, she’d like to land a position at Drift World. On her budget, she couldn’t afford a ticket to the role-playing adult theme park, but getting a job there would solve that problem. Plus she needed the money for other reasons.

She took a seat, an odd buzzing in her ears. It had started when she walked into the place. But even weirder had been the way the theme park’s temporary employment office appeared to materialize out of thin air.

The address specified on the classified ad had taken her next to a popular café on Orlando’s International Drive. Maybe she was just tired after her last two disastrous interviews, but she could have sworn this log cabin hadn’t been in the parking lot when she’d arrived.

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What would you think if you were applying for a job at this place?

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NYC Sleuths in the Hamptons

NYC Sleuths in the Hamptons by Elizabeth Zelvin

In some ways, the beaches of the Hamptons in Eastern Long Island, a hundred miles from New York City, resemble Florida beaches: same white sand, same ocean rolling in, same sun turning the unwary, and especially the fair-skinned, “red as a lobster in a pot of boiling water in about the same time as it takes the lobster,” as someone remarks in Death Will Extend Your Vacation, my new mystery featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler and his friends. In other ways, not so much: northern beaches aren’t fringed with palm trees, the Atlantic is jade green rather than turquoise, and the water is a lot colder. A lot.     Zelvin Cover

When I wrote the first book, Death Will Get You Sober, I imagined a series that would alternate between New York City settings and what we New Yorkers call “out of town.” More experienced authors quickly enlightened me: if a publisher bought a New York series, they would want every story to take place in New York, on the premise that readers, too, would buy the next book and the one after that for the pleasures of revisiting the familiar haunts of familiar characters. So the first and second books about Bruce and Barbara the world-class codependent and Jimmy the computer genius, as well as the four published stories, were set in Manhattan, with excursions on the subway to Brooklyn as close as they get to out of town. (Bruce takes a quick trip to Dayton, OH in the first book, but he doesn’t have to like it.)

My book ideas tend to start with titles, and from the very beginning, I knew I wanted to write about the Hamptons, a resort area that stretches along the south shore of Long Island about 45 miles from Westhampton Beach to Montauk. I meant to use it as a setting whether or not the series made it to Death Will Extend Your Vacation. The alternative title I had in mind was A Season in Deathhampton. The Hamptons abound in cutesy names. The bookstore is Bookhampton (an excellent indie, family owned, with branches in East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Southampton). There’s a Cashmerehampton and a Pet Hampton. And I always get a chuckle when, on my run around my neighborhood, I pass a house whose owners must be Abrams, Abraham, or Abrahams: the sign on their driveway says “Abrahampton.”

What publishers (some of whom, I bet, have homes in the Hamptons themselves or go there to visit) have to understand is that in real life, New Yorkers never stay in New York. Stimulating as living cheek by jowl with eight million people is, every once in a while we’ve got to get out. We want to see a little green, breathe a little air, get a little elbow room. Getting out of town is as much a part of us as our attitude and the way we say “New Yawk.” So in locating a New York book in the Hamptons, I’m simply being true to my setting. In fact, the Hamptons are a playground for vacationing New Yorkers, whether they stay in mansions on the dunes or flimsy little ranch houses on half an acre like the one we bought twenty years ago so I could garden, hole up with my writing, and get to the beach.

When Bruce ends up in detox on the Bowery at the beginning of Death Will Get You Sober, he hasn’t been out of town in years. Alcoholism tends to limit one’s horizon. So a summer in a clean and sober group house in the imaginary Hampton that, after much reflection, I named Dedhampton (known locally as Deadhampton) is one of those new experiences that Bruce has to go through sober as his character grows and changes, like having relationships, feeling his feelings, and figuring out what to do with his life.

I had yet another good reason for writing a Hamptons mystery. The traditional whodunit works best in a limited setting, where the amateur sleuth knows most of the people and can easily find excuses to ask them questions. That’s why so many of them are set in small towns. My books feature personal crimes. The victims, the suspects, and many of the witnesses all know each other. But it’s not realistic to expect the investigators—Bruce, Barbara, and Jimmy—to know them all. I’ve been living in my apartment building for almost 45 years, and I don’t know the names of some of the five neighbors on my floor. I recognize three of them to say hello to in the elevator (and a fourth when she has her dog with her). I’ve never been in any of their apartments. Writing about amateur sleuthing in a big city is a challenge that never goes away. A group house at the beach, on the other hand, has as much potential for a murder as an English country house weekend in the Golden Age of mystery. So I went for it, and Death Will Extend Your Vacation is the result.

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ZelvinHeadshot

Elizabeth Zelvin is a New York psychotherapist, a three-time Agatha Award nominee, and author of the mystery series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler, starting with Death Will Get You Sober. The third book, Death Will Extend Your Vacation, is just out, and “Death Will Tank Your Fish” was a 2011 Derringer Award nominee for Best Short Story. Liz has also just released a CD of original songs, Outrageous Older Woman. She summers at the poor end of the Hamptons.

Learn more about Liz’s mysteries at www.elizabethzelvin.com and about her music at www.lizzelvin.com. Liz blogs on Poe’s Deadly Daughters and SleuthSayers.

The Road to Mystery Trivia

The Road to Mystery Trivia with Kathleen Kaska

Kathleen Kaska is the author the Classic Triviography mystery series, which includes The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz. All three books have just been reissued in by LL-Publications. Kathleen also writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s. Her first two mysteries, Murder at the Arlington and Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the largest book group in the country.

From Trivia to Sydney

The road from mystery trivia to Sydney Lockhart meandered, hill-climbed, and detoured. Good detours. Not linear, and with a mind of their own.

I started assembling mystery trivia to learn that craft by dissecting the work of master mystery writers Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle; and suspense filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. I also wanted to offer something different to catch the eyes of a publisher. The trivia book idea came to me when I read an article in a writers’ magazine about the popularity of those books. The second Stephen King trivia book had just been published as well as one on Clint Eastwood and the Seinfeld TV show. Gazing up at my complete collection of Agatha Christie mysteries on my bookshelf, a cerebral light blub went on. Three months later I completed a proposal and two months after that, I had an agent. He sold the Christie trivia book in short order, and it was followed by my Alfred Hitchcock trivia book (The 100thanniversary of Hitch’s birth was right around the corner. Timing is everything.) Later came my Sherlock Holmes trivia book.             

SherlockHolmes book

        Agatha Christie book 
Was I ready to plot my own mystery? I tried hard, attempted an outline, played around with a few settings, and worked on character development. But I couldn’t seem to create anything that resonated. Although aware of the basic plotting formula, I had a difficult time pulling things together. Focusing on what I enjoyed the most, writing travel and outdoor articles, I soon landed a staff-writer position at a local fitness and outdoor adventure magazine. Then after a couple of short-story contest awards and some nice reviews on my trivia books, it was time again to refocus.

Starting a plot outline caused an immediate knot to form in my stomach. What was the problem? I’d done outlines for my trivia books and lengthy articles, but for my first mystery? It wasn’t happening. Then my old “pal” Stephen King came to my rescue again. His “seat of the pants” method of plotting gave me a brand new perspective. Characters seemed to walk into my life and tell me their stories. All I had to do was listen. And write.

Sydney Lockhart introduced herself to me on the long drive from the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas to my then-home in Austin, Texas. By the time I pulled into the driveway, I had gotten to know Sydney very well. The first hotel-setting was in place, and when I started to write, the story flowed fast and furious. I’m now on book number four, and Sydney hasn’t stopped talking.

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Website: http://www..kathleenkaska.com

Blog: http://www.kathleenkaskawrites.blogspot.com

BOOK BLURBS

Sherlock Holmes: “Kathleen Kaska has put together a wonderful mind teaser for all Sherlock Holmes aficionados. She covers it all—stories, books, the media—with lots of questions, puzzles, and trivia facts. No true Sherlockian will want to miss this grand Triviography and Quiz Book.”—Michael R. Pitts, author of Famous Detectives I, II, and III, and co-author of The Great Detective Pictures.

Agatha Christie: “Kathleen Kaska covers every aspect of the Queen of Crime’s life and career in The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book. She has packed an astonishing number of quotes, characters, plots, settings, biographical details, and pure fun into these quizzes. As Poirot might say, your “little grey cells will get the exercise!”

This book, fiendishly clever and remarkably researched, is pure gold for fans of Agatha Christie.” —Kate Stine, publisher Mystery Scene Magazine

Sherlock Holmes: A must for any fan of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and movie history. The quizzes are fun and challenging – and the surrounding text provides a wealth of information on the life/work of the revered filmmaker. A real treat for pop culture enthusiasts!—James Robert Parish, author of The Hollywood Book of Scandals

BUY Link: http://www.ll-publications.com/triviography.html