Drum roll, please. I'm super-excited to show you, at last, the final cover for The Heckmasters series. Here it is in all it's glory, Tell (The Heckmasters, Book 3). I have to give a shout out to my awesome cover artist Kanaxa. I always get tons of compliments on these covers. She does a great job!
And here he is with his beautiful brothers. There you have it. A whole set ready for completion March 8, 2016.
Here's the lowdown:
Tell (The Heckmasters, Book 3)
Author: Allison Merritt
Release date: March 8, 2016
Half demon, all male...one woman strong enough to love him.
Knowing the day will come when his demon blood will overcome his humanity, Tell Heckmaster has been searching for a miracle. Something, anything, to counteract the spell. So far, he's come up empty.
Just as the town of Berner has finally found peace, Tell's worst fears manifest. Strange, new powers are tearing at his finely honed control. Putting everyone-including the pretty seamstress he's kept at arm's length-in terrible danger.
Sylvie Duke has everything she needs. Everything except Tell, who doesn't seem to own a lick of sense. His resistance only strengthens her resolve to stay by his side, driven by a nameless inner knowing that without her, all will be lost.
Reluctantly, Tell is forced to admit that the closer he is to Sylvie, the better he's able to quell his demon. But when a cryptic warning from an old ally tips the balance, nothing-not even love-may be strong enough to protect Berner from the raging fires of hell.
Warning: Contains a woman who can handle a hatchet with as much skill as a needle, and a man whose touch can transport her to heaven. Or hell. Accidentally, of course. Readers may wish to invest in an asbestos suit. Potholders just aren't going to cut it.
Add it on Goodreads. You know I'll get you buy links ASAP.
Want an excerpt? Yeah. You do.
The dried blood in his eyes and hair crackled like mud as Tell Heckmaster sneered. He was painted with it, but he had something else—fire in his fingertips. He picked himself up out of the sandy dirt as heat surged through his body. It started in his chest like he’d swallowed a coal and seeped into his arms and hands. The fire begged to be used.
The cyclops let out a roar and sprang forward, swinging his spiked club.
Sparks snapped on Tell’s skin, bright in the pre-dawn darkness. His muscles were weak, failing from the blood loss, but the fire flared and shot toward the one-eyed demon advancing on him. Flames swelled as they surrounded the monster. Orange lightened to pink and silver while the fire pouring from his hands remained the hottest blue. Tell gritted his teeth as the cyclops screamed and flailed.
The heat was immense, hotter than a forge, and the creature went up like it had been doused in kerosene. After a moment, it stopped screaming and collapsed in the dirt. It twitched—pure nerve reflex, not from any life left in it. The fire burned on.
Tell swayed as the heat inside him faded. He lifted his hands, but they looked the same as they always had. Not a blister, not a charred mark revealed what he’d done. He didn’t feel any different—except for the throbbing pain in his chest from the monster’s club and cuts on his face where it had backhanded him. One of his teeth wiggled as he pressed his tongue to it. The cyclops had a nasty haymaker. He spat blood at the corpse and cradled his left arm to his chest, over the ribs that felt like they’d been smashed to fragments.
The fire licking at the cyclops went out and all that was left was a pile of ashes. He kicked the ashes and they scattered. The vague outline of the crispy creature collapsed into a shape no human would recognize as something that had once been alive.
His horse was long gone and he was half a mile from Berner. The good news was the cyclops hadn’t made it into town. On the other hand, he was pretty sure he was going to pass out and probably choke to death on his own vomit. Hell of a way to go.
Over the throb of his heartbeat in his ears, the sound of hoofbeats reached him. His horse or someone out for a ride?
Double hoofbeats—two horses. Maybe it meant rescue. He closed his eyes. How in God’s name would he ever drag himself up on the back of a horse?
Assuming whoever it was even wanted to help him. His thighs trembled. He reached for the small silver dagger that hung off his belt. It was gone. The empty sheath mocked him.
The horses came closer and the sun inched over the horizon. On its first pale gold rays, Sylvie Duke rode across the desert. She didn’t look like a rescuer, wearing a stupid-looking hat decorated in flowers and feathers that waved in the wind or in her velvet riding habit trimmed with ivory lace. Her dark golden hair whipped behind her like a Crusader’s banner.
He dropped to his knees and the breath went out of him at the bone-jarring pain. If he got down, she’d never get him up. Well, not entirely true. Even if he died, he figured she’d still have the same kind of effect on him. The girl had blossomed into the kind of woman a man couldn’t get out of his mind. He had a pretty good idea that a corset was only enhancing her figure, but she could hold her own without it.
That second horse was his, a leggy paint that shied at the first hint of blood or full demons. A useless quality for a man who hunted the darkness that still sometimes rose out of the desert. These days, Tell so rarely crossed paths with monsters, he hadn’t worried about a skittish horse for years. Lesson learned.
Her horse, now he was a fearless animal with all the loyalty of a king’s soldier. While Tell’s horse snorted and danced, Sylvie’s planted his hooves on the ground and didn’t budge.
She knelt beside him and put her cool hands on either side of his face. “What happened?”
Her eyes were huge behind the shiny lenses in her spectacles. Brown eyes, the color of caramel—to match her sweet smile. They’d always captivated him. “What are you doing here?”
“Your horse showed up in town all alone while I was walking to the shop. I came looking for you. It seems like I found some leftover parts a demon didn’t want.” She laughed, but it had a slightly hysterical note to it.
“You always were funny, Sylvie.” He drew in a ragged breath. “You didn’t even ask how bad the other guy looks.”
“I’m not sure I want to find out.” A whole lot of worry darkened her pretty features. Only Sylvie would ride out into the unknown to find him without alerting one of his too-protective brothers first. The girl had more balls than the three Heckmasters put together.
He met her gaze. “You know Jeffrey Spinner’s a twat.”
She jerked away. “What?”
“I never liked him. He’s not good enough for you.” Tell’s head spun. If his battle with the cyclops killed him, it was important that she know what a shithead Spinner was.
The desert was a dizzying array of red and brown with some yellow thrown in. Against the sky bursting with pink and purple, it looked just as horrible and unforgiving as it was. “I hate this place too. I don’t want to die here.”
“You’re not going to die. You think I’d let that happen?” She gripped the collar of his shirt and yanked. Buttons flew in all directions. Sylvie looked prim and proper on the outside, but she wouldn’t know propriety if it bit her on her sweet, round ass.
She gasped at the sight of his chest and he didn’t think it was because of his impressive muscle tone. His whole left side was purplish-blue and bloodstained. “I’ll be fine in a few hours. I need some sleep, that’s all.”
She didn’t look convinced. “You need Eban. What did this?” Her voice was soft, choked.
“Cyclops. Eight feet tall and he smelled like ten days’ worth of death.” He smiled again. “You shouldn’t be out here alone.”
“I’m not alone. I have you.” She moved to his right side and slung his arm over her neck.
He closed his eyes. She didn’t know it, but that was the truth. Since the minute he’d pulled her out of the hidden room in Eban’s clinic when she was twelve years old, crying for her sister who’d been taken by a backstabbing echidna, he’d vowed to protect her. Until Hell opened up and swallowed them, or she took her last breath. Whichever happened first.
“Don’t have much, do you, Sylvie?”