Thursday, September 21, 2023

Join us for Charity Saturday, 24 September 2023! #CharitySundaySignup #Altruism #Marketing

Autumn Leaves

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Hard to believe, but September is a short month, and Charity Sunday is almost upon us!

Since 2017, I’ve been devoting the last Sunday in each month to a post which features some worthy cause. Often, other bloggers join me in this effort, turning the event into a blog hop. This month’s Charity Sunday blog hop will take place this coming Sunday, the 24th of September.

Charity Sunday is a meme designed to give authors and bloggers a chance to give back to the world—as well as, hopefully, to attract new readers.

How does it work? Each participant selects a favorite charity. Before
the date, you should prepare a blog post that: 1) talks about the charity and why you support it; 2) provides a link to the charity; 3) includes an excerpt from one of your books; 4) includes the code to show links to other participating blogs.

It’s fun if you can make the excerpt relate somehow to your chosen charity, but this isn’t required.

For every comment left on your post, you commit to giving some amount to the relevant charity. The specific charity and the amount to donate are up to you. You can set an upper limit to your donation if you want.

If you’d like to participate in the next Charity Sunday
on September 24th, just sign up using the Linky List below. Please be sure that the link you enter will lead directly to your Charity Sunday post, not just to the home page of your blog.

I’ve created a new banner image for 2023. You can download it from here:

For more detailed instructions, go here:

For an example
post, check out this link from my last Charity Sunday:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

An invitation from her fellow journeyman – #Steampunk #EroticRomance #MFRWHooks

The Toymakers Guild banner

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another MFRW Book Hooks blog hop – lots of great books, lots of opportunities for you to find your next read.

My hook today comes from my recently published boxed set The Toymakers Guild: The Complete Series. The collection is available exclusively on Amazon, free for KU subscribers. But... you can always buy the individual books from other stores!

Today’s excerpt, from Book 2, is an early stage encounter between Gillian and Rafe, the man she will soon come to love (as well as lust after).


At Randerley Hall, lust is a lubricant to creativity. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is forbidden.

Defying the repressive morality of the Victorian era, the Toymakers Guild uses advanced technology to fabricate bespoke sexual devices for the discrete pleasure of select clients. Its members are not only brilliant engineers but also sexual renegades seeking freedom from the prudish society that surrounds them.

Nineteen-year-old prodigy Gillian Smith arrives at Randerley to apply for an apprenticeship in the Guild. With her technical abilities and her lascivious temperament, she is eminently suited to join the Master Toymaker’s close-knit band of uninhibited erotic artisans. Gillian flourishes among the Toymakers, designing and implementing ever-more-outrageous carnal contraptions. Each voluptuous commission she completes, each sensual adventure she enjoys, binds her more tightly to the Guild and to the perverse, tortured genius who is its founder.

If you like brilliant, wanton women and kinky steam punk sex toys, dive into the alternate universe of the The Toymakers Guild.

The Hook

At the foot of the stairs, she almost collided with a lean, dark figure. If he hadn’t grabbed her by both shoulders, they both might have tumbled to the floor.

Why, hello, Jill!” A cocky smile lit the young man’s aquiline features. “I haven’t seen much of you lately.” He held on to her for considerably longer than was necessary to stabilise them. When he let go, she continued to feel his hands, heating her skin through the fabric of her garment.

Good afternoon, Rafe.” She brushed some imaginary dust off her somewhat wrinkled lab coat. It was true that she’d barely spoken two words to her fellow journeyman since he’d rescued her on the moors two weeks before. Half the time he hadn’t even been at the dinner table. She’d wondered if he was travelling again. “I’ve been occupied with learning my new duties. The Master has been training me.”

His eyebrows arched. “Training, hmm? I’d like to know more about just what that entails!” He ran his fingers through his unkempt black locks. “I never got any sort of training from the Master. Of course, he wasn’t around much. If I recall, he left Randerley only a few weeks after I joined the Guild.”

When was that?” She wasn’t sure how she felt about the brash, forward young man who’d stolen a kiss within half an hour of her meeting him. Well, perhaps stolen wasn’t exactly the right term, but still, he seemed to have quite familiar manners.

Two years ago last Christmas. Seems like a lifetime.”

And before the Guild?”

His expression darkened. “I don’t really want to talk about that. Anyway, I’ve got an appointment with the Master in two minutes.”

Gillian stepped back to give him free access to the stairs. “You mustn’t keep him waiting, then.”

But I’m really delighted to run into you.” He chuckled at his own jest. “Care to go riding with me tomorrow afternoon?”

I’ve got quite a lot of work—”

Tomorrow’s Saturday. Even that slave driver Featherstone takes Saturday afternoon off! Come on, Jill. Say yes!” His hand was back on her shoulder, casual, warm, maddening.

Well... I grew up in the city, so I’m not much of a horsewoman.” She had to admit to being curious about Rafe. With his loose-limbed grace and easy smile, he was definitely attractive. Shouldn’t she be focused on her training, though?

We’ll put you on Dorothea. She’s a sweet, biddable mare who won’t give you any trouble. And Samson likes her.”

I don’t know...”

I’ve got to go!” He squeezed her shoulder briefly and ran his fingers through her curls, then bounded up the stairs. “Meet you at the stables tomorrow at three,” he called out as he climbed out of sight.

But...” There was no one to listen to Gillian’s excuses. In any case, why should she object? Rafe was a fellow member of the Guild. It was only fitting they should get to know one another – perhaps intimately.

Her first loyalties, both professional and carnal, belonged to the Master. She felt quite certain though, that neither he nor anyone else in the Toymakers Guild required exclusivity.

Buy Links

Available exclusively on Amazon:

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Add on Goodreads –

Add on BookBub -

Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today's Book Hooks!


Monday, September 18, 2023

A god’s blade and a dragon’s friend – #Fantasy #UnlikelyHero #Giveaway

The Futility of Defense cover


Paladins are nothing but trouble. When Krell, an uneducated nobody with a stubborn streak as wide as the sea, hears the call from ReckNor, the capricious god of the seas and skies, the attention of the rich and powerful turn their gaze toward him. Paladins are notorious for upsetting the balance of power, to the detriment of any who don't worship their deity.

When Krell stands against the might of the sea devils and emerges victorious, concern and interest turn to fear—fear of their secrets and plans being revealed and exposed, of the ruin that often follows in a paladin's wake. Now he stands in defense of a pitiful town at the edge of nowhere, even as the sea devil menace grows more dire for each day that passes.

For as deadly as the sea devils are to Krell, his past choices and the consequences of his actions may be deadlier still . . .


Petimus told us that you were unlike any paladin we have met before, but I must say, I am surprised nonetheless. Greetings, Krell of ReckNor. My name is Naerdra Smithforge, stonesinger of Talcon. Here to build a fortress to protect your small town from the sahuagin, I understand.”

Krell smiled, looking at her. She wore woolen leggings and a linen shirt, with a mantle of fine cloth embroidered with gold sigils. A red sash with a gold pin was her only other adornment.

I am most pleased you are here, Naerdra. The town sorely needs your aid.”

Hmm. Perhaps I will see one of these sea devils for myself.”

Krell’s expression darkened. “If you remain in Watford for any length of time, you certainly will.”

He gestured. “My trusted allies and companions, Verbena and Dahlia, who have stood with me against the sea devils and saved my life more than once.”

Naerdra nodded at them, and they both inclined their heads while bowing slightly. Krell stared at them for a moment. Their bows had been identical in both timing and depth.

You’re certain you are uninjured, Krell? You have blood on your face,” said Petimus, his voice concerned.

Krell turned toward him and grinned. “As Olgar will tell you, some lessons can only be learned a single way, at least for me. I am ReckNor’s blade, and he wants it sharp. That means that I will be pressed against the grindstone at times. Unpleasant, but necessary. Still, his gifts are many, and the grace of ReckNor has healed my wounds already.” Krell stood and stretched.

Naerdra looked at Krell, then at the tree in front of the temple, then upward to the sky. “I have heard also that you are dragon friend, Krell of ReckNor. Is this so? May I meet your mighty companion?”

Krell nodded, smiling. “Of course, Naerdra. Fortis is currently hunting, though I think he does it because it amuses him more than because he requires food. He dislikes it when I… uh…” Krell glanced at Verbena.

Query, Krell. When you query him.”

Krell nodded. “He dislikes it when I query him while hunting. He will return when he is satisfied with himself.”

About the Author

Bryan is an avid reader, and has loved the fantasy genre since he was a child. His love of stories of mighty knights, terrible dragons, and noble steeds has inspired him for decades.

Bryan Cole will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sizzling Sunday: The Gazillionaire and the Virgin – #SizzlingSunday #EroticRomance #BDSM

Sizzling Sunday: Gazillionaire banner

Happy Sunday!

I was working on an interview for another author’s blog this afternoon. She asked me if I had a favorite book. Now that’s a really difficult question – sort of like asking a mother which is her favorite child.

Still, I came up with an answer: The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. It’s not the most original book I’ve written, or the most outrageous, or even the best selling. Still, it is brimming with genuine romance and emotion – in addition to incredibly hot sex. And it’s a very personal book, strongly influenced by my own history.

Anyway, I decided to feature it for Sizzling Sunday, with an excerpt I’m pretty sure I haven’t shared previously.



Theo spears me with a curious gaze. “Is something wrong, Rachel?”

No, no. I’m fine.” I tuck the paper into my purse, then force myself to meet his eyes. “I’m very glad to see you, Theo.”

His stiff posture softens a bit. “Me too.” He sweeps his gaze over my form. “You look – well – just beautiful.” Before I know what’s happening, he reaches out to engulf my small hand in his much larger one. He gives me a squeeze. “I’ve missed you,” he says, almost inaudible.

You missed me? It’s been less than forty eight hours, I start to say, trying to laugh off his intensity. But his warmth accelerates my pulse and dampens my pussy. His scent of soap and menthol shaving cream swamps me with memories of our transcendent first night together. I ache to have him in my arms again—to have him in my cunt. I can’t deny I’ve missed him too.

He’s watching me, reading my face, his dark eyes flickering with emotion. I am suddenly as frightened as I am aroused. Theo Moore isn’t going to do casual. He’s an all-or-nothing sort of guy. I could seriously hurt him.

I want him, oh yes, more than I’ve wanted anyone in a long time. Am I ready to take responsibility, though, for the consequences?

So I don’t answer, don’t tell him how he has monopolized my thoughts for the past two days. Instead I change the subject.

Have you thought about how you’ll use the donations?” Even to my own ears, my enthusiasm rings false.

No–no–never mind that. I’ll consider that later.” He tugs on my hand, pulling me closer. My body slides across the leather upholstery, until my thigh presses against his. “I want to talk about us, Rachel.”

There is no ‘us’, I want to tell him. It’s too risky. Last night was great, but it won’t happen again. I choke down the words. I can’t think of any reply that won’t damage his fragile self-image.

There’s no chance for me to speak anyway. Theo wraps me in his bear-like arms, leans in, and claims my mouth. His kiss scatters my resolution like sun burning through fog.

His lips lock to mine, firm and muscular, taking control. I don’t fight him – how can I, when both of us know this is what I want? When he runs his tongue along the seam, I open automatically, following my instincts as he, I suspect, is following his. He tastes of peppermint. He smells like sun-warmed earth. He drinks me in as though he’d like to swallow me whole.

It sounds melodramatic to say I swoon in his arms, but it’s not far from the truth. I relax into his embrace, buoyed by his strength, dizzy with arousal. He kisses me thoroughly, thoughtfully, as though he’s memorizing my flavor. Meanwhile, he slips one hand under my jacket to palm my breast, thumbing my rigid, needy nipple as though he’d known about my nakedness all along.

Perhaps he did. He also knows exactly what to do with it, how to play with me until I’m drenched, trembling, moaning into his mouth.

I’m breathless when he finally releases me, with my pulse pounding in my ears and my clit throbbing in time.

You’re not wearing a bra.” He grins as he states the obvious. “What about panties?”

I suck air into my lungs and rake my fingers through my tangles, as though that might bring some order to my thoughts. When I start to pull my jacket closed, he stops me with a glance. Do I really think I can hide from him? “That’s none of your business.”

Oh really? I disagree.” He sniffs. Mingling with the scents of brass polish and seasoned leather is the tidal fragrance of my wetness. “I’m willing to bet the price of this fancy ride that your pussy’s bare under your skirt.”

Don’t be rash, Theo. Luxury Limos Limited charges six hundred dollars per hour…”

Prove me wrong, then. Spread your legs, Rachel.”

Don’t be silly…”

Rachel. Are you really going to disobey me?” There’s that tone of authority again, out of nowhere, challenging me.

Why am I resisting? Why in the world did I go commando unless I wanted Theo to see?

Still, it’s hard for me to comply. I’m so used to being the one in charge.

A fresh gust of pussy-scent fills the car interior when I part my legs. He rests a cool palm on my stocking-clad knee. I freeze as he walks his fingers up the inside of my thigh, up to the sensitive skin above the elastic of my hold-ups. Meanwhile, he holds me with that intense, knowing gaze. I can’t bear the sense of transparency but I can’t look away, either. Theo won’t allow it.

His thumb grazes my pubic hair. It’s the tiniest of touches but still enough to trigger a cascade of sparks in my cunt. I tense, waiting, hoping for more. He withdraws instead, a half-smile gracing his expressive mouth.

I knew it,” he murmurs. “You’re a total slut.”


Buy Links (Ebook)

Kinky Literature:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Barnes & Noble:



Add on Goodreads:

Audio (WordWooze):


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Review Tuesday moved to Thursday: Her Untameable Lust by A P von K'Ory #EroticRomance #Suspense #ReviewTuesday

Her Untameable Lust cover

Her Untameable Lust by A P von K’Ory

Self-Published, 2022

Leontine “Leo” Boswell deserves the somewhat nasty sobriquet bestowed by admiring, envious New York society: Gorgeous Ice Block. Exquisitely beautiful, ferociously intelligent, rigorously self-disciplined, a calculating predator who wields tremendous power at the top of the finance world food chain, Leo is formidable and untouchable. A secret history of violence and abuse has fueled her ambition while eroding her ability to trust, especially to trust men.

Then she meets Adrian Xerxes Cranford, a gorgeous, brilliant and insufferably arrogant Brit with secrets of his own. Like calls to like, darkness to darkness: Adrian turns out to be the one man with the ability to kindle Leo’s desire and melt her heart. Smugly certain of his own irresistible power over women in general and Leo in particular, he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that he’s irrevocably bound to the passionate, stubborn woman he has claimed as his.

Her Untameable Lust continues Leo’s and Adrian’s story, begun in His Untameable Wickedness. Leo and Adrian have mostly stopped fighting their intense emotional and physical connection. Adrian is pursuing complex, covert operations to punish the forces responsible for murdering Leo’s mother. He insists that Leo stand back and stay well out of harm’s way. When she violates his instructions, he punishes her with brutal sex that neither seems to be able to resist.

I found the first half of Her Untameable Lust both compelling and disturbing. With their overwhelming passion and mutual darkness, Leo’s and Adrian’s relationship strains credulity. Nevertheless, the author managed to suck me in. Both characters are damaged and of questionable morality. Yet underneath their fierce, competitive interactions, I sense a strange innocence, an unbreakable love that neither of them wanted or expected but which they can’t deny. Somehow this calls to the romantic in me.

Although I’m partial to erotic scenes and write BDSM content myself, I’m really not comfortable with characters who engage in dangerously rough sex to the point of damaging one another. Adrian can be cruel and scary. Women have died in the hands of men like him. It’s consensual – though just barely. Leo eggs him on; her abused background has made her a genuine masochist. Nevertheless, I can’t really enjoy a sex scene in which a woman is fucked so hard that she bleeds and cannot walk. To me, that’s the opposite of arousing.

For some reason, though, I didn’t give up on the book. I was too invested, despite myself, in Leo’s and Adrian’s connection, and too curious to see what would happen next.

The latter half of the book swings away from sex toward other types of action, as Adrian and Leo, independently, pursue her mother’s murderers. To be honest, I couldn’t follow (or recall) a lot of the plot details from Book 1, but it didn’t really matter. It’s a guilty pleasure to watch both Leo and Adrian at work – bold, brilliant, and ready to take risks. As Leo races off on her motorcycle, I was reminded of Emma Peel from The Avengers. Leo is younger and more twisted, but has some of the same style.

A warning: Her Untameable Lust ends with a cliff-hanger. I know that some readers dislike this. As for me, I’m looking forwarded to reading Book 3. Despite myself, I’m hooked.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Down in the engine room ... #MFRWsteam #VictorianErotica #Steampunk #Feminist

Toymakers Guild Collection banner

Welcome to the September MFRW Steam Hop! Today’s the day when authors whose stories include erotic elements (like yours truly) get the opportunity to showcase their work.

I have an excerpt from my latest boxed set release, The Toymakers Guild: The Complete Series. The collection, which is available exclusively on Amazon and which is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, seems to be doing quite well. Last time I looked, it was ranked #190 in all Victorian erotica, and under 200,000 on Amazon as a whole.

Finding an erotic bit from this series isn’t difficult; indeed, the real problem occurs when I need a PG excerpt! But for the Steam Hop I want to share an excerpt that’s new, not part of my media kit or previous posts. Here’s one the fits the bill, the first erotic encounter between my heroine Gillian and Jeremiah Manley, a Jamaican young man who’s the ship’s engineer on a Dover to Calais steamer. Later in the story, Jeremiah joins the Toymakers and becomes on of Gillian’s most devoted lovers.

Let me know what you think!


At Randerley Hall, lust is a lubricant to creativity. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is forbidden.

Defying the repressive morality of the Victorian era, the Toymakers Guild uses advanced technology to fabricate bespoke sexual devices for the discrete pleasure of select clients. Its members are not only brilliant engineers but also sexual renegades seeking freedom from the prudish society that surrounds them.

Nineteen-year-old prodigy Gillian Smith arrives at Randerley to apply for an apprenticeship in the Guild. With her technical abilities and her lascivious temperament, she is eminently suited to join the Master Toymaker’s close-knit band of uninhibited erotic artisans. Gillian flourishes among the Toymakers, designing and implementing ever-more-outrageous carnal contraptions. Each voluptuous commission she completes, each sensual adventure she enjoys, binds her more tightly to the Guild and to the perverse, tortured genius who is its founder.

If you like brilliant, wanton women and kinky steam punk sex toys, dive into the alternate universe of the The Toymakers Guild.


The ship was eerily silent as they abandoned their hiding place, slipped onto the deck, and ducked into a companionway to descend two levels. Somewhat to her surprise, the engine room was not by the propeller as she’d assumed, but near the middle of the vessel in the vicinity of the funnels. Upon consideration, she realised this made sense. It was simpler to transmit kinetic energy via gears and shafts than to send smoke and hot vapour over a long distance. There were likely considerations of weight as well; locating tons of water in the rear of the boat would tend to raise the bow.

Their footsteps echoed in the dim steel-clad corridor. Occasional electric light fixtures on the low ceiling allowed them to find their way. “She has generators to provide power when the engines are shut down,” Jeremiah commented, apparently noticing Gillian’s curious upward glances. “Otherwise we’d have to do repairs and maintenance by lantern light – difficult and inconvenient.” He stopped outside a rivet-studded metal door outlined by a rubber gasket and inserted his key.

There was significant resistance as he pushed the door open.

I gather it’s important to keep the engine room sealed,” said Gillian.

Her companion nodded. “If the hull were to be breached, water would fill this passageway. We need to protect the fires that heat the boilers.”

Down here in the belly of the ship, the quiet was not absolute. She heard occasional clanging, as well as intermittent rumbling which she assumed must be coal sliding into the hold. A little spike of fear quickened her breathing. What if someone discovered them here, in Invicta’s heart?

Jeremiah stepped over the raised threshold then held out his hand to help her across. “Do come in, Jill.”

She’d expected a cramped, dirty space. Instead, she found herself in a metal-walled compartment that soared at least one storey over her head, possibly two. An iron ladder affixed to the far wall climbed into the shadows above them. To the right were the boilers, three tall vessels of polished brass, while a shiny array of gauges, levers, dials and valves covered the surface to her left. A huge steel pipe, easily a foot in diameter, traversed the chamber diagonally a few feet above the floor, emerging from the closest boiler to exit through a rubber-lined aperture at the back.

Oh, how wonderful!” she cried. Tiptoeing closer, she peered at the controls. “It’s possible to separately monitor and adjust the pressure in each of the expansion chambers. Also in the feeder pipes and the different regions of the main steam duct that leads to the screw’s gear box, if I am not mistaken.”

You’re exactly right, Jill.” He’d come up behind her and spoke close to her ear, his voice soft and seductive as velvet. “So tell me, how is it that you know so much about machines?” He slipped an arm around her waist, then leaned closer to flick his tongue over her earlobe.

Pleasure sizzled down her spine at that intimate gesture. All at once she noticed how hot it was in the engine room, a phenomenon that was hardly surprising considering the quantities of boiling water and steam that surrounded them. Sweat beaded on her forehead and her clothing suddenly felt unbearably heavy and tight.

As though reading her mind, Jeremiah snaked his other hand up to her throat and began undoing the buttons of her bodice to provide her with relief.

His nimble fingers had unfastened at least half of them before she roused herself to object. She twisted out of his grasp and whirled around to face him, knowing her shift was clearly visible through the gap he’d created. “Wait—don’t—I mean...” Her heart slammed against her ribs. Perspiration drenched her armpits. The dampness between her thighs, on the other hand, was more than mere sweat.

Jeremiah’s dark eyes snagged hers, blazing with lustful challenge. “Who are you?” His pearly, slightly predatory grin sent her pulse climbing. “No, wait, you needn’t answer. I can tell you’re an engineer, and I’ll wager you’re brilliant at what you do. But for whom do you work? What sort of enterprise would hire a remarkable young woman like you?”

She shouldn’t tell him. The Guild required her discretion. But oh, what if he refused to take her if she didn’t confess? She wanted him so badly. Could she seduce him, in order to distract him from his interrogation?

She met his stare boldly. “Why do you care?” she asked, her fingers busy with the rest of her buttons. Shrugging off the loosened garment, she draped it over the big steam pipe. Her nipples made distinct peaks under the linen of her chemise. Jeremiah would notice, she had no doubt. When it came to women and sex, he was obviously no novice.

Because I need a new job,” he countered. With casual grace, he peeled off his jacket and laid it next to her discarded bodice. “And I have a hunch that your employer might give me one.”

He took a step forward, reached for her, and pulled her into his arms, squeezing her tender breasts against his lean body. The delicious pressure woke sparks, bright bursts of sensation that skittered down to her core. He bent to nuzzle her throat, alternating licks and nips, then inserted his thigh into the gap between her own and applied exquisite friction to her hidden clit.

Gillian couldn’t help herself. She writhed in his embrace, grinding herself against his leg. “Oh, by Ptolemy’s epicycles! Jeremiah!”

Is there something you want, Miss?” The man’s voice was husky with desire, but edged with laughter too. He drew back, so that their eyes met. At the same time, he pinched one of her shamelessly protruding nipples.

She gasped at the intricate mingling of pain and delight. “Oh, please!” Heedless of propriety, she reached down to cup the prominent bulk of his erection, stroking the lusciously hard shaft through the cloth. “This – this is what I want.” She settled her buttocks against the steam duct and raised her skirts to her waist to show him the plump folds of her cunny, peeking through the slit in her drawers. “Take me – take me quickly! I beg you!”

And you’ll tell me what I want to know?” He didn’t seem inclined to wait for her answer, though. In fact, the former ship’s officer was already unfastening his trousers and setting his cock free. It rose like an ebony tower from his loins, crowned by a taut dome of lighter brown. He swept his palm along his substantial length once or twice, then stepped into the vee of her spread thighs.

Buy Links

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Add on Goodreads –

Add on BookBub -

Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today’s Steam Hop!

Monday, September 11, 2023

Hell-bent on possessing her soul -- #Horror #Paranormal #Galveston

The Angel of Evil cover

I am excited to share the latest book by my friend Michael Swanson. Check out my review of his first novel in this series, The Angel Baby.

A new novel by the best-selling author of the Houston

Literary Award Reader's Favorite, 'The Angel Baby.'

On her way to the beach for spring break, Tanny Guidry stops at a "haunted" sanitarium to learn if all the terrifying stories online about the Laularie Parish Sanitarium are true. More frightening than the spirits of the dead she encounters, is the presence her entry into the sanitarium has awakened within her. Attacked by a gang who rob those foolish enough to enter the sanitarium, the presence within her proves more frightening and more deadly than all the terrors that haunt the sanitarium.

Arriving in Galveston, Tanny and her roommate head to the beach. That evening, eager to hook up with the young men they met at the beach, thegirls go to The Voodoo Lounge. For over a century, the Voodoo Lounge served as a brothel, and like veritably all of Galveston, it has a dark history Tanny now possesses the power to see. Later that night, while tagging along on a ghost tour exploring Galveston's notorious Post Office Street, Tanny's presence stirring up the spirits all around makes the Ghostman of Galveston's tour the most terrifying night of his life

On her own the next day enjoying the party scene along The Strand, passing by an antique shop, Tanny feels compelled to purchase a porcelain doll. While leaving the store, she notices an old photograph of an angel atop a crypt at Galveston's Old City Cemetery. While seeking out the angel, the one gang member who survived has followed her. When he attacks Tanny amongst the tombstones, she turns the tables impaling him upon the spikes of the fence surrounding the angel's crypt.

An assistant DA who knew Tanny's father sees the story on the news. Coming to her aid, Callie brings Tanny to her home in Houston's historic Heights. There, she and an old ghost-hunting friend of Tanny's father reveal the truth about the death of her father who died while battling a demon described as, The Angel of Evil. More frightening than learning about her father's involvement with voodoo and his terrible death, is discovering The Angel of Evil is now hell-bent on possessing Tanny's soul.

Buy Links



Barnes and Noble:


"Ray!" The return of Callie's impatience was a very-real presence in the room. "You're stalling again. Just go ahead and play the damn thing."

Clearly reluctant yet resigned, Ray nodded. Quickly plugging the adaptor cables leading from his laptop into the camera, he set it down on the table but still didn't press Play. "Okay, I've set the counter to the place where I believe Noel and I were just entering the hallway. There were these scratching noises coming from one of the bedrooms and--"

"Ray!" Callie only needed to bark his name to compel Ray to press the Play button. At the sound of the click, moving as quickly as if he'd just lit the short fuse of a powerful explosive, Ray raced over to take up a place behind the safety of the couch. 

Every eye was upon the screen. Even the doll appeared to be watching, yet there was only the sound of a soft whirring coming from the camera. All at once, the grid of camera images vanished. Yet as seconds ticked past, there was nothing but black. 

"Does anyone else hear that ticking sound?" Her hand down in her lap, Callie had lifted up her index finger and was swaying it back and forth. "It sounds like a clock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Where the hell is that coming from? Is that on the tape?" 

A brilliant flash of white caused Sloan and Callie to blink and sit back at the same instant. Just as quickly as the screen flashed, it went black again. Then spreading across from the bottom, slashes of grainy static zigzagging from side to side up the screen revealed jagged slices of what appeared to be a doorway framing pitch black within. 

There was a crackly sound of a voice that clearly wasn't Ray's. "What the hell is that, Ray? Are you seein' what I'm seein'? I've seen me some movin' shadows and crap like that. But, God's honest truth, Ray, I ain't never seen any shit like this!" 

"That's my daddy's voice!" Leaning down to place her cheek next to the doll's, Taneesha's squeal of excitement was like that of a small child. "That's my daddy!" 

Perhaps the reason neither Callie nor Ray confirmed it for her was that it was then the static vanished and the video finally came into clear view. Illuminated in the twin pools of light shining down from Ray and Noel's headlamps, reaching up from under a door were a pair of gray-white fingers ravenously scratching, picking and flicking away shards of wood from along the bottom of the door. 

The sound of Ray's voice not here and now but over fifteen-years-ago came next. "Noel, it might be that there really is someone in there."

No longer with his arm around Taneesha but sitting all the way up on the edge of the couch, Sloan shot out his hand pointing at the screen. "Damn! Will ya look at that! Now that right there's some crazy-ass shit! I don't know if those are claws or the fingers of a child!" 

Gray and filthy, what appeared to be the fingers of a corpse that had dug its way free of the grave, the chipped and blackened fingernails were reaching out and picking ravenously along the bottom of the door, scatting shards and chips of wood all over the well-worn wood floor. 

"Sweet Jesus!" Callie was sitting up all the way forward on the edge of the couch. "I've heard you describe this before, Ray. But seeing it with my own eyes, oh my God, it does look like there's someone really in there. Someone trying to claw their way out." 

"That's not somebody who's in there; it's that 'thing' that's in there." The unease in the hush of Ray's voice as real as the fingers tearing at the door, the distinctive Creole flavor of Noel's New Orleans accent presented a stark contrast to Ray's voice. "Come on, bro! We cain't just standout 'round out here lookin' at it. This kinda shit is exactly what we've been lookin' for. You and I got no choice but to open that door and find out just what the hell's in there. I'm ready if you're ready. You fling open the door, and I'll catch its scary ass on my camera."

Displayed across the entire screen covering most of Callie's wall, like twin spotlights shining down upon a stage, the beams from each man's headlamps illuminated the fingers ripping wood from the door. Adding to the insanity of the surreal scene the two men were seeing with their eyes and recording with their cameras, even the slightest move of Ray or Noel's head caused the light from their headlamps to cast moving shadows this way and that around the fingers. The video couldn't show the men holding the cameras, or anything of what was behind them, but there existed an unmistakable sense of the presence of where they were. In the air was that dirty, sour and musty stink found in old and rundown houses. Here in the hallway of this squalid rent house, freezing cold and absolutely pitch black all around, everything except that which was illuminated within the lights from Ray and Noel's headlamps disappeared off into utter darkness. 

Those fingers kept reaching out, ravenously tearing at the wood. Yet the sound recorded by the camera of the fingernails scraping and tearing was even more terrifying than the insanity of seeing the fingers of a corpse come to life. 

Noel's hands slipped into view, one holding an EMF meter and the other a camera, which was surely the one sitting out on the table and plugged into the laptop. "Whatcha waitin' for? We gotta do it now! Come on, Ray! Open that damn door b'fore it goes away!" 

In the light of his headlamp, Ray's big ham of a hand appeared as he reached out towards the door. When he gripped the doorknob, the fingers below instantly ceased their ripping at the wood and withdrew back up under the door. Caught up in the moment of Ray's hesitation, the tension of everyone watching the video raged off the scale. Taneesha was sitting back with her doll perched attentively on her lap, while to either side Sloan and Callie were sitting up on the very edge of their seats. Behind them, Ray was gripping the backrest with both hands, yet leaning as far back away from the screen as he possibly could. 

Perhaps it was through a connection with Taneesha as she watched in silence, or it might be the power of Ray's memories as he experienced his worst nightmare coming to life all over again. But the sense of the reality of what Ray and Noel were recording with their cameras had grown so overwhelming, both Callie and Sloan were experiencing flashes of the thoughts racing through the minds of the two men outside that door. Everything from just another empty room to an actual shit-your-pants terror held the potential of being behind that door. Yet deep down, despite the frigid air, the sobbing and the organ dirge, which had drawn Ray and Noel into this hallway, after so many years of frustration, all these two ghost hunters expected to find behind that door was an empty bedroom with filthy walls and broken down furniture. 

They could see Ray's fingers tighten, then slowly and carefully twist the knob. Pausing for just the span of a single heartbeat, in the blink of an eye, Ray yanked the door wide open. There it was. Standing right out in the open by the foot of a broken down bed. Not shrinking away or fading into the shadows, but glaring at the two men crowded shoulder-to-shoulder together into the doorway with all the rage of a rabid animal. 

"Dagmar!" From somewhere within another world, what sounded like Taneesha's voice cried out, "That's Dagmar!" 

Perhaps it was simply the shock of what they were seeing, but in these seconds as the video continued to play, time seemed to freeze and hold its breath. No more than three feet tall, the thing standing at the foot of that busted up twin bed appeared to have once been a little girl. Grim and ghastly, her skin a sickly and grayish-white, it wasn't any vaporous mist or quickly fleeting shadow here and then gone. Possessed of actual physical form, the naked body of what might once have been a little girl appeared solid and real to the touch. Real or not, there was no question but that the thing standing at the foot of that bed was dead. Within that frigid room, the soured air reeked of rot and decay. Visible up above her head, unseen up under the bed, and up in every corner of the room, clouds of tiny, gray moths swarmed in and out of the shadows. 

Lording over the filth and the foul stink, not a misty phantom caught only out of the corner of the eye, the Angel of Evil stood waiting for them. Without a beating heart, or a breath in the lungs to utter a single word, the spider was daring the flies to come closer, to cross the threshold of their own free will, to take that one...single...fatal...step in through the doorway. 

Yes, come inside...just a little bit closer. 

Ray and Noel both stood their ground, not making a move to enter the room, yet not turning and running. As the bits of gray in the air began to swarm more and more wildly, there held a momentary impasse in which the reality of what the two men were experiencing began to sink into the people watching the video play out. Dead, alive, whatever it was or had been, this was real. Her skin filthy and scarred, she appeared as if she had somehow broken free of her coffin and dug herself out of the grave. The worst of it was her face. It wasn't the hollows of her cheeks or the black of her lips; it was those awful eyes, yellow and streaked with blood they burned with a murderous rage. Yet strangely, the hair framing that frightful face was sweet ringlets of strawberry blonde curls. Standing before them entirely naked, the prurient details of her child's body shockingly exposed, starkly raw, horrifically pornographic. 

Still holding onto the doorknob behind him, Ray's hand finally fell away. Bringing up his EMF meter perhaps as a reflex, he didn't even look at the needle pegged sideways off the scale on the little green screen. 

"Ray? Hey, Ray?" Noel's hiss shattered the silence. "Whatta we do now?" 

Unable to take his eyes off its face, both fifteen years ago, as well as here and now, Ray couldn't find his voice to answer. 

Like people in a small boat with no hope of escape in those last seconds before a storm unleashes its fury, everyone on both sides of the screen could feel the power of what was about to happen coming on. Glaring up at them off the tops of its eyes with her chin pressed almost down to her bare, naked chest, within those awful, yellow eyes burned the evil intent of a rabid animal. Clenched into fists of stone down at the side of her thighs were those filthy fingers, the same ones they'd seen reaching out from under the door just moments ago. Every rib across both sides of her chest and her breastbone clearly visible beneath her grey and leathery skin, she appeared to be breathing, perhaps even panting, waiting, just waiting for her prey to make the mistake of coming just that little step closer. 

Yes, come in. Step inside...come closer...just another...step. 

Up on the screen, Ray's voice whispered, "Let's go in. Let's try to communicate with it." 

"Communicate! Are you fuckin' kiddin' me?" Ray didn't need to see Noel shaking his head. "You cain't be seein' the same shit I'm seein'?"

Noel also didn't need to see Ray swallow to feel the dry parch of his own mouth all the way down to his throat. 

Though Taneesha was smiling, Sloan and Callie both appeared stricken, sitting all the way forward up on the very edge of the couch with their eyes wide and their mouths hanging open. The nakedness of the thing stood as an affront to everything natural. Not just dirty but filthy from head to toe, more corpse than child, despite the vicious scars covering seemingly every inch of skin, surely the cause of its death had been starvation. Little more than a skeleton enshrouded in leathery, gray skin, the stark exposure of the bones of her hips and pelvis drew Ray's unwilling eyes down to a sight best left unseen.

Suddenly, it raised up its arms, spreading out her palms as if beseeching the men in the doorway for help. The stream of moths rising up from below the bed was merging with those above, swirling all about her in a frightful frenzy. From somewhere within the air came the sound of sobbing, seducing the men in the doorway to enter with the anguished cries of a child. 

Ray attempted to squeeze past Noel, but Noel held firm, keeping the bigger man wedged in the doorway and not allowing him to step into the room. 

"What the Sam-hell is wrong with you?" Ray growled. "She's in pain."

"She ain't in no goddamned pain." The resolve carried in Noel's voice came as a clear warning. "That thing is dead, an' it's tryin' to trick us. Just listen. That cryin' ain't comin' from her. Listen close an' you can hear it! It ain't her that's cryin'. She's tryin' to trick us with the sound of the things she does to people. What we're hearin' are the cries of her victims whisperin' in our ears." 

At that moment, Dagmar's eyes moved, focusing the full fire of her wrath upon Noel. The skin of her face drawing back and contorting in rage, her lips opened in a vicious snarl revealing broken and rotten teeth with an even blacker tongue within. 

The instant it rushed the door, it was Noel that saved them. Catching Ray off balance and pulling him back with him, Noel slammed the door shut. Half a heartbeat later there came a crash of elbows and knees impacting the door, then the most terrifying screaming and clawing, both men clinging to the doorknob desperate to keep the door shut at any cost. 

"Don't let her out!" Leaping to her feet and standing ready to defend herself, Callie screamed at the screen, "For God's sake! Don't let it the fuck out!" 

Appearing seemingly from out of nowhere, Ray wasn't just on the screen gripping the doorknob in both hands and bracing with his knee up against the doorframe but here at the table. Having raced around from behind the couch, he mashed down on the Stop button, and in and instant the screen went black. 

"Holy shit!" On the verge of rising up beside Callie, Sloan had grabbed up his crutch from where he'd left it leaning on the side of the couch. "Was that shit for real?" 

Beads of sweat dripped down off Ray's forehead and his shirt was sticking to his skin. Standing with his back to the screen, the big man was drawing each breath as heavily as if he'd just run for his life. "That..." his face grim and gray, Ray had to pause to time his words between breaths. "Is... as real..." he cleared his throat, " real as it gets." 

Seemingly sucked into the back of the couch, Sloan slumped back and let his crutch fall against the armrest. "I ain't never seen nothin' like that b'fore. I seen me some crazy-ass shit in that sanitarium, but...but...but that!" He stretched out his arm shaking a finger at the screen. "That wasn't crazy! It was insane!" 

Still standing ready to defend herself with her fists clenched, Callie's breathing was heaving as rapidly as if she'd just outrun Ray. Of the four in the room, Taneesha alone appeared unaffected. Holding her doll sitting up on her lap and clutched tightly to her, she had such a blank and distant expression on her face. 

"I'm sorry to have to do this to everyone." His finger already pressing the rewind button, as the camera whirred Ray reached up and wiped away the sweat from his forehead. "But now, I'm afraid we're going to have to watch it all over again."

About the Author

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael Swanson is the author of a number of Horror, Sci-fi and Adventure novels and short stories, including the Sci-Fi bestseller Farlight and the 2021 Houston Literary Awards Finalist, The Angel Baby. He also writes adult romance and erotica under the pen name M. Millswan. Amongst novels such as, Tabu, The Awakening of Anna Leigh, Lady Luck, OMG! I'm Naked in School!, his classically romantic erotic short story, Snap Shot has over two million readers and has been called, "A Masterpiece of Erotic Fiction." An avid blues guitarist, whitewater kayaker and scuba diver, after retiring at an early age from a successful career of international printing sales based from an office he founded in Mexico City, he built, owned and operated an extreme sports whitewater lodge in Costa Rica, catering to adventure sports enthusiasts from around the world. Now residing in Virginia, he writes full- time.

Facebook Link:

Linkedin Link: