I'm so glad you could join me for this Paranormal Romance Howloween blog hop with giveaways and a very special look at my newest release Wystan (The Heckmasters).
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and nothing thrilled me more than having a book release right before it. Wystan (The Heckmasters) is the first book in a paranormal/historical romance series about three half demon brothers in charge of making sure Hell doesn't break loose on earth.
The idea for the heroes actually came from a tombstone at a mall kiosk. It read 'HECKMASTER' and I thought, anyone buried with that tombstone has to be a badass. And the Heckmaster brothers were born.
Here's the blurb for Wystan:
Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.
Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.
Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff. The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.
With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.
Well...how about an excerpt?
Wystan rolled his toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other. Damn his hide if Rhia Duke wasn’t strolling along Berner’s streets as though she owned them. Her little sister was nowhere in sight and he hoped she was safe with Beryl. Of course, if Rhia couldn’t get it through her head that this wasn’t a safe town, maybe both of them deserved to get eaten by whatever crawled out of the Pit next.
He followed her at a distance, scowling when she headed for the angel statue. She examined it with interest, touching the stacked stones that formed the dried-up pool around it. Years ago, it had been flush with plant life and dragonflies, a school of minnows, and the occasional frog or turtle. The plants had long since turned to dust and he supposed the minnows had starved for oxygen as the water evaporated. All that remained was the angel, whose face looked more judgmental than omniscient.
Rhia sat in its shadow, lifting a hand to her brow and squinting out at the barren land beyond town. Was she thinking about leaving? The notion left him with a twinge of disappointment. One he shouldn’t feel, because there’d be a hell of a lot less trouble around here without her.
As though she sensed his thoughts, she turned without getting up. She didn’t smile when she spotted him. He picked his way across the street, moving with deliberate slowness, watching her mouth turn down a fraction at a time until he stood before her.
“Don’t you know better than to be out on the street right before sundown?”
“In civilized towns, people greet each other with pleasantries,” she said. “For example, you could say, ‘Lovely evening, isn’t it, Miss Duke?’ and I’d respond with, ‘A bit warm for my taste, Sheriff, but otherwise, a fine evening.’”
He knew where Sylvie got her sass. “Then I’d say something along the lines of, ‘Get your ass home, Rhia.’”
Perfectly shaped eyebrows drew together, creating a set of lines on her forehead. “And perhaps I’d say, ‘Mind your own business, Wystan.’”
A smile started to form on his lips, but he held it in. “As long as you’re in my town, your safety is my business. Can’t figure why you’d sit out here under this ugly thing, anyway.”
“I’m trying to figure out how it works. And why it looks so formidable. Why, you look jolly as Saint Nick compared to this statue.”
He remembered the stone lips curved in a smile, the way it looked as though it was offering its tears as a blessing for the downtrodden and disappointed. How coming here with his mother had been a comfort. He and Eban and Sandra had played in the statue’s shadow many a day while Tell toddled along behind them.
“Why are you so hateful all the time, Wystan? For the life of me, I can’t figure it out.”
She gazed up at him, the constellation of freckles blending together when she scrunched her nose.
“Because I don’t like to lose. And when people carelessly sit outside after they’ve been told and told to go inside, I see myself losing another one to Astaroth.”
Rhia looked away. “Your parents were the first. Father to Astaroth himself, your mother to the townspeople. And your sister. What happened to her?”
The peppermint flavor of the toothpick had dissolved, leaving a bitter aftertaste in his mouth. He spat the sliver of wood out. “I killed her. Happy?”
Shock melted the concern from her face, but it changed to pity after a few seconds.
“What did the prince of Hell do to her?”
“One of his minions put a parasite imp into her brain. The only way to save Sandra was to kill her.” The effort of saying the words left him weak. He avoided Rhia’s gaze, afraid of the sympathy he’d see in her eyes.
Her hand slid to his knee. The shift in contact made him jerk, but he couldn’t bring himself to pull away.
“It had to be you, didn’t it?”
He nodded. “Eban doesn’t have that kind of strength and Tell was too young then. It wasn’t but a couple of years after our parents. Out of all of us, I always thought she’d be the one who found a way to rid the world of Astaroth for good.”
“I wish I could have met her.” Rhia leaned closer. “You did the right thing. It wouldn’t have been fair to leave an imp inside her head.”
“The right thing?” He glanced at her, his anger building again. “I should have found a way to cure her.”
“What were you supposed to do, leave her tied up somewhere, maybe for years, until you had an answer?”
“Demons can change, Rhia, or haven’t you noticed the ones in this town? I could’ve talked it down, made it see that what it was doing was wrong.”
“Would it have abandoned her?”
“Yes.” No. He had no idea, and from the look on Rhia’s face, he knew she sensed his uncertainty.
“I hope I have the kind of strength you carry if it ever comes down to losing Sylvie that way. Or that she could do it for me.” Rhia drew her hand away. “I’m sorry you’ve lost so much, Wystan, but I hope your ability to love and let go weren’t compromised for good.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you have magic of your own.” He looked at the ground between his boots.
“What makes you say that?” Her nose scrunched again.
He wished she was plainer, had more fear. He wished he didn’t feel attracted to her. “I haven’t talked about Sandra in a long time.”
“It’s good to get your feelings out. I don’t think she’d like knowing her brother turned into a grumpy old man.”
“Old?” Wystan sat up straighter. “By demon standards, I’m a baby.”
He thought the mention of his parentage might cause her to back away, but she didn’t move, except to smile. It was the sort of smile that made a man forget about vengeance and the losses he’d suffered. The kind that eased long-festering pain.
Now, what about a giveaway?!
From me, your lovely hostess:
I'll be giving away a copy of Wystan (The Heckmasters) and a $5 Amazon gift card. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and your email address, pretty please.
From the hop organizer Jane Wakely:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And make sure you visit the other authors for more chances to win great prizes!
Happy Halloween, may the goblins and ghoulies pass by your door!
Thanks to Web Weaver for the Halloween clip art