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Give Us Your Best Excerpt Blog Hop

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Today we're doing something really special, kids. It's excerpt day! From Wystan (The Heckmasters), no less. I joined in the Give Us Your Best Excerpt blog hop, so I hope you'll visit the other participants and read the other paranormal postings.

Here's the set up for Wystan: Rhia Duke has come to Berner, New Mexico Territory in search of a teaching job. When she arrives in town, she learns there is no job and that the town is occupied by reformed demons straight out of Hell. Half demon Sheriff Wystan Heckmaster wants nothing more than for her, her sister, and her friend to get out before he ends up losing human lives to demon activity. Because she demanded it, he's taken her to see the Pit, which is a gateway to Hell. Rhia, however, has other plans besides leaving...

“I reckon a hot hole in the ground isn’t enough to convince you to leave Berner.” He touched his horse with the reins, signaling it to turn around.
“I couldn’t leave if I wanted to, Sheriff. We’re out of money. I hope you’re planning to pay me eventually for the knowledge I’m passing on to the students. I’m good at what I do.”
Her horse followed his, shoes ringing against the rocks.
“Eban thought I’d better. I’ll have to run it past the townfolk, but I imagine they’ll be pleased to know the school’s open again.” Even if he wasn’t. Couldn’t trust Astaroth to send a minor demon with experience in teaching to the surface. No, they had to get their very own human in Berner.
The ground under them rumbled and cracks split the rock. Wystan’s horse cried out in fright and Rhia’s reared, nearly unseating her. The shield across the Pit expanded, bubbling up as though the heat beneath it was too much.
“What is it?” Rhia asked, her voice strained with fear.
Wystan freed his knife from the sheath, fighting to remain in control of his horse. The animal wanted to run and he didn’t blame it. Even as the son of a demon charged with protecting what was left of the town, he didn’t much want to face anything that emerged from the Pit.
Steam rose from the cracks, obscuring the barrier from view. The ground stopped quaking, but his horse whinnied in fear. Its ears swiveled and its eyes rolled.
“Rhia, look at the pretty ribbon.”
Sylvie’s voice issued from the swirling steam. Rhia sat up straight in the saddle.
“What…”
Wystan reached out and grabbed her arm. “It’s a changesteed. They can mimic voices,” he whispered. “Don’t answer it.”
“How does it know Sylvie?”
“Can we get ice cream? Just this once? I won’t ask again until I’m thirteen. Please, big sister?”
A range of emotion crossed Rhia’s face. Disbelief, fear, worry, terror. Beyond the steam, something scraped against the stone. She looked at Wystan with wide eyes. He shook his head, passed her the horse’s reins, and dismounted.
On the ground, he felt smaller, more vulnerable. The changesteed could see through the steam, was extremely strong, fast, cunning, and hungry. Fortunately, it had the disadvantage of being freshly discharged from Hell.
“What are you waiting for, Wys? Aren’t you going to kill it?” Tell’s voice rolled out of the curtain in front of the Pit.
He knew it wasn’t his brother. Knew Tell was tracking a lesser demon who’d arrived last week.
“Come on out. No need to play games.” He gripped the knife loosely and took a step forward. “I know you just got here, but it’s never too soon to go home again.”
“Wys, don’t be that way.” The changesteed was remarkably convincing. “You wouldn’t threaten your little brother.”
Wystan sneered. “You don’t know me that well, do you?”
“Sheriff?” Rhia’s voice cracked. “We should go.”
It stepped out of the vapor, six feet tall at its sloping shoulders. A wide mouth gaped with uneven teeth. Big eyes bulged from its face and pointed ears pricked forward. Its long legs carried it over the rocky ground without breaking stride. Cloven hooves clacked on the stone.
“Wystan. Astaroth sends warm regards.” A deep, gravelly voice issued from the creature’s throat.
The horses’ hooves clattered on the rocks and one of them screamed in distress. Killing the changesteed would take more effort than a bargest. It was safer for Rhia if she wasn’t around.
“Rhia, go.”
“Wys—”
He waved his arm at her. The changesteed crouched and sprang. Lifting the knife, Wystan braced for the impact of the beast. It crashed into him hard enough to take him off his feet. Sharp jags of rock bit into his back. A cloud of fetid breath clogged his nose.
With all his strength, Wystan drove the knife into the changesteed’s chest. The blade sliced through sinew and cartilage, but the tip stopped shy of the closest thing it had to a heart. Demons didn’t have hearts, didn’t require blood to circulate through their veins. Brown sludge oozed over Wystan’s hands and the creature’s jaws snapped. Foamy flecks of saliva dropped onto his face.
He wrenched the weapon free of the creature’s chest and it sank jagged teeth into his shoulder. In response, he pushed the knife into the softer tissue below its rib cage. The changesteed yelped and turned him loose long enough for him to spill its entrails. Ichor spewed from its mouth, but it didn’t stop snapping.
A shot rang out and the changesteed collapsed on top of Wystan. He craned his neck around and saw Rhia sitting calmly atop the horse, smoking rifle in her hands. The changesteed’s black mouth and yellowed teeth were inches from his face. He pushed the carcass off and removed his knife from its guts.
Rhia looked down at him, expression grim. “You still think I won’t fit in here?”

About the Book:
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.

Get it at: Samhain || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Google Play ||Kobo || ARe

The second book in the series is Eban and is also available for purchase:
If love can’t save them, there will be hell to pay.
Grateful for his mother’s human blood that cools the dark fire of his demon father, Eban Heckmaster has set up a medical practice in New Mexico territory. But there’s no hope of living a normal life until he rids himself of a seductive demon that’s been pursuing him.

Vanquishing it won’t be as simple as sharpening his demon-hunting sword. The clever creature is hiding inside his best friend’s head, and she has no idea of the havoc she’s been wreaking, especially with his body.

Beryl suspects Eban knows why she’s been waking up with no memory of where she’s been or what she’s done, but he’s not talking. But when she inevitably learns what he’s hiding—or rather, what’s hiding inside her—she wonders if her love for him is real, or an illusion created by the demon’s lust.

Eban is losing the battle to hold his rising desire in check. There may be only one way to extricate Beryl from the beast entangling her mind. Call upon his demon blood...and offer it as a sacrifice.

Get it at: Samhain || Amazon || B & N || ARe || Google Play || Kobo

The third book, Tell, is coming March 2016!

Visit the other blogs on this hop!

Comments

  1. Sounds to me like Wystan could do with someone to watch his back and Rhia is pretty good at it :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press

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  2. First off your cover is awesome sauce :) Second I love demon romances and they are better than me because I would have left so fast. LOL

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  3. Fantastic excerpt! can't wait to read more

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  4. I love this cover, first and foremost. Well done. Secondly I like the world you are building here. Fantastic excerpt.

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