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Maria Vale's THE LAST WOLF with GIVEAWAY

Title: The Last Wolf

Author: Maria Vale

Series: The Legend of All Wolves #1

Pub Date: February 6, 2018

ISBN: 9781492661870

 

For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.

But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

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GIVEAWAY

2 advance copies of The Last Wolf and 2 posters
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EXCERPT

In which Silver, in an act of mercy, kills her former shielder

The circle of wolves in the Clearing tightens around Ronan, and for the first time since my Dæling, I am deeply grateful that I am not Pack. I am just a guest and don’t have to be part of this.

But when I start to lope away, Ti doesn’t move. He doesn’t understand what is happening, so I nip at his pant leg. The Alphas of each echelon are taking up their positions at the front of the circle. Everyone wants this over with quickly.

Opening a passage for Charlie, John nudges Ronan’s father toward his son. In its mercy, Pack law allows First Blood to Ronan’s family, so that when the Pack eviscerates him, Ronan won’t feel anything. I plant my front paws and pull Ti harder, because I really don’t want to watch Charlie rip out his son’s throat.

Ti doesn’t move.

John nudges Charlie again, but Charlie just stares at Ronan, his head cocked, his mouth open. Then his eyes roll around the circle searching for help he won’t find, because to be on Pack land as an exile is bad enough, but the only response to an attack on a pup, is a Slitung, a flesh-tearing, and every wolf shows teeth. Charlie throws himself on the ground in front of John, his feet up in the air, his hips shimmying back and forth in a clownish show of submission.

John snaps at him.

Charlie follows our Alpha around, one ear up, the other down, his mouth open in a rabid leer, until with a quick look over his shoulder, John signals Tara to drag the broken wolf away from the Pack. Tara grabs his muzzle tight in her powerful jaws and drags him off mewling. I run beside him whimpering too, begging Charlie to come to his senses long enough to do this last kindness. He seems not to even see me, more interested in the furry thing following behind him. As soon as Tara lets him go, he starts to chase his tail, barking.

Tara turns her back on him with a growl and a dismissive kick of rain-sodden soil. She heads back to the Pack, which clears a path for her. As John’s Beta, Tara has a place of honor, but she also has a place of responsibility and is expected to be right up front for the Slitung. I stick to her slipstream and push through to the whimpering Ronan.

Rubbing my muzzle against his, I turn to John, my body down, my head between my paws. I’m not sure he will accept my claim to First Blood, but I have a better chance if I at least smell like the wolf who had been my schildere but who never wanted to be my mate.

Then John’s nose bumps against mine, telling me to get up. With a quick snap of his jaws, the Pack retreats, giving us room. John is a good wolf and a great Alpha and, if given a choice, will always choose mercy.

First Blood allows for one bite only, and if Ronan decides to fight me, I doubt I’ll be able to make the kill. But after everything that has happened, the once-upon-a-time Alpha of the 14th Echelon seems to understand that his luck is not going to change again.

He lies back with his chin stretched high, staring at the mountains and the pinpoints of stars and the real world, the world of men, that he so wanted to be a part of.

Opening my jaws wide, I gently take his throat between them. It’s what we do, and it means trust me. It means I see you at your most vulnerable.

I bite down fast and hard on the cartilage tube, giving it the same fatal break I would for a deer. Ronan struggles a little, and blood spurts into my mouth. I curl my tongue against the back of my throat, because I don’t want to swallow this blood. I don’t want to be nourished by this death.

The pulse of his blood slows, but I don’t lift my head until it stops.

Before I even stumble out of the way, the Pack surges forward, eager to be done with this particular bit of ritual butchery.

I race for Clear Pond, my paws sinking through the cold, thick mud and dying sedges until I am in deep. Pushing the air out of my lungs, I sink and stay down until my own throat is on the verge of collapse, and the blood that had already started to stiffen on my muzzle and chest and legs begins to melt away from my fur. Maybe there was so much that all of Clear Pond is tainted, but no matter how many gulps of water I take, my mouth still has the sharp, metallic tang of blood, and there’s something stuck in my teeth.

I start to change, and as soon as I’m finished, I pick at the thing with my fingers until it comes loose. I don’t look at it before throwing it into the weeds. I think the change was a mistake though, because in skin, I feel the intense cold of the schist on my naked body and the icy water running from my hair down my back and the taste of death in my mouth. I can’t stop shivering. I try to get wild again, but my muscles are spasming so hard that I can’t. I lurch up on all fours and then to my legs and stumble only a few steps before collapsing again, my head on my knees.

A warm coat that smells like angelica and green corn and the earth before a storm settles around my shoulders. “Put it on,” says that quiet voice, and Ti lifts me, guiding my arms into the sleeves, and then pulls me close to his even-warmer body. He says nothing, just holds me tight, letting me shiver against him.

“I killed him,” I finally stutter.

He lifts my sodden hair out from under the collar of the coat.

“Yes, you did. And if you hadn’t, he would have died in pain and the whole Pack would have had the burden of it. Now only you do.”

Ti doesn’t say that I wasn’t responsible or that I shouldn’t feel guilty, but rather that it’s a burden worth carrying and one that I’m strong enough to bear. His faith calms me in a way that no amount of coddling ever could.

It’s one of the things I love about him….

“I can’t get the taste of blood out of my mouth.”

He doesn’t respond. I guess he didn’t hear, or knowing him, he did hear, but doesn’t think there’s any point in responding. It doesn’t matter. I settle my head back on his chest and listen to his heartbeat.

Did I say love?

He frees one arm and lifts my chin. It’s dark for my poor human senses, but he’s not like me and the nearly full moon lights up the green glow of the lucidum in his eyes.

He hesitates, his lips hovering above mine, like a boy nervously contemplating his first kiss. But I know what he’s hiding, and I stretch up as high as I can and wrap my arm around his neck, feeling the shape of his skull under the roughness of his cropped hair. I feel his mouth against mine, firm and ripe and warm and still closed.

Nuzzling the seam of his mouth, I catch his lower lip gently between my fangs, pulling him closer. I know you, Tiberius. I know the wildness that you’ve always hidden there, but I am not human and I want the untamed, inhuman sharpness of your mouth.

I let go and lick my lip before gently circling his, my breath feathering his sensitive skin.

Finally, his lips open softly and I seal my mouth around his, because this is his first kiss and mine too, and I am his shielder in all things.

Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly,

Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.

Jana Lane Speaks ~ New Porcelain Doll audiobook

JANA LANE SPEAKS

by Joe Cosentino

author of PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery, published by Wild Rose Press

audiobook performed by Derick Snow

 

As a writer, I hear each of my characters in my head. They talk to me as well as to each other. I know that sounds odd, but ask any writer, and you’ll hear the same thing (no pun intended). So, when it comes time for my novels to be made into audiobooks, I’m always nervous about the performer. Will he/she be able to fully embody each of my characters? Will my characters sound as I had always imagined them? Will the performer’s words bring the listener to my exotic locations, and also to the heart of the novel and characters? Will the performer connect with my sense of humor, flair for the dramatic, plot twists and turns, and expertly handle the shocking twist ending of the story?

That was my dilemma when I set about finding the perfect performers for the audiobook versions of my popular Jana Lane mystery novels. If you aren’t a Jana Lane fan (and you should be!), Jana Lane was the biggest child movie star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL, Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves and solve a murder. I was incredibly fortunate to find Charissa Clark Howe, a gifted actress, to beautifully perform the audiobook of PAPER DOLL.

In the second novel, PORCELAIN DOLL, Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous romantic co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Adonis. The other suspects include Jana’s James Dean type young co-star, her older John Wayne type co-star, her children’s Eve Harrington type nanny, the film’s gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film’s production, and Jason’s agent. For the new audiobook, I hit the jackpot with Derick Snow, an actor with a great deal of murder mystery acting experience. He not only connected with the mystery, humor, and mood of the novel, but also beautifully created the multitude of captivating and entertaining characters in Jana’s life in book two. Wouldn’t you know it? His versions of the characters sounded just like the voices in my head! Derick’s dramatic voice, crisp diction, and emotional availability perfectly bring the characters and story to life. His intensity is perfect for the many plot twists and turns, dropped clues and red herrings, sweet romance, and shocking yet gratifying ending.

You’ll love these two audiobooks. If you can’t wait to hear the next three novels in the series, SATIN DOLL, CHINA DOLL, and RAG DOLL are available as e-books and paperbacks now.

So, grab your popcorn and take your front row seat. Listen to the Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, performed by the wonderful Derick Snow. Lights up! Action on mystery, humor, romance, and lots of surprises!

PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery by Joe Cosentino

published by The Wild Rose Press

http://myBook.to/PorcelainDoll

Audible

Is art imitating life in 1982? Jana Lane, ex-child star, is doing a comeback film about murder. When a crew member is killed on the set, it looks like Jana could be next. Thickening the plot is Jana’s breathtakingly handsome and muscular leading man, Jason Apollo, whose boyish, southern charms have aroused Jana’s interest on screen and off. Will Jana and Jason stop the murderer before the final reel, or end up on the cutting room floor in this fast-paced whodunit with a shocking ending?

Praise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

“Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

“Every page fills the readers with intrigue..Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly…Once you read it, you can’t put it down.” Urban Book Reviews

Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets…The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises.” InD’tale Magazine

“What a delight! A fun mystery that takes place in the 1980s with a range of engaging characters and a strong heroine….Jana is the perfect heroine for a mystery….A must-read for mystery lovers! Porcelain Doll is charming with a great insight to the rise and fall of stardom, and with a twist at the end I honestly didn’t see coming.” Readers’ Favorite

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married.

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