Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Now On Tour Amber Ruin by Suzanne M Sabol - Exclusive Excerpt Haunted Halloween Spooktacular

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Amber Ruin
The Blushing Death Series
Book Eight
Suzanne M Sabol

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication: October 9, 2019

Word Count: 106,733

Cover Artist: Rae Monet

Tagline: Racing to survive the traps set by Baba Yaga and the magic of the Outer Realm to rescue two of her wolves, Dahlia Sabin enters the Outer Realm understanding she may never come out again.

Book Description:

Dahlia, Dean, and Patrick are attempting a political coup of the supernatural world. Gathering allies to upset the balance and throw off the shackles of the ancients won’t be easy. But to live alongside humans instead of in their shadow, they’ll have to overcome enemies at every turn; vampires, shifters, the fae, and humans.

Baba Yaga, the queen of the dark fae, has her own designs for Dahlia. Moving her chess pieces on the board, the ancient witch has set a trap to draw The Blushing Death back into her clutches. To possess Dahlia and the power of Fertiri magic for her own purposes, Baba Yaga will do almost anything -sacrifice anyone – to rise to power once more. 

Racing to survive Baba Yaga’s traps and rescue two of her wolves, Dahlia enters Baba Yaga’s mountain understanding that she may never come out again.

Gladi in my hand was soothing at least. I tightened my grip and took a steadying step back as a massive being erupted from the forest. One solid foot landed and beneath squiggling toes, arms, and legs flailed until they didn’t move anymore.
People ran. Left. Right. Back. In every direction that wasn’t in the path of that gargantuan . . . thing.
Gray skin, cracked and flaked, stretched over bodies that were close to fifteen feet tall. From solid, thick necks, seven heads sprouted. The face upon each head was different but equally hideous and disfigured in its own way. A large bare chest, two gigantic hands with a club clasped in one, and what I could only assume were supposed to be pants—thankfully hiding his sensitive bits, made up the creatures.
One after another filed into the clearing and chased us. It didn’t seem to matter who or what pack they were from; they just chose whatever person was closest. The ogres grasped at anybody in their reach, swinging their clubs at those not in their reach. Bones crunching. Grunts of pain. Panicked screams. Chaos erupted in the blink of an eye.
Dean stepped back, blocking my view of the approaching threat and I sunk a punch into his shoulder. He ignored me and my punch, then took off running. I watched in horror as he jumped up, propelling himself up off the ogre’s forearm and grabbed one of his necks, swinging onto its back. “Run!” he bellowed.
No way in hell was I running and leaving him behind. One of the ogre’s heads turned toward me and called out to his buddies, grumbling words in a language I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what the ogre said but the shrill call seemed to echo into the night. Stampeding feet from the other eight ogres didn’t dissipate. They didn’t cluster and didn’t veer too far from the clearing either. An ogre came out of the forest and lowered its heads, barreling toward me like a freight train. I stood my ground, waiting until the perfect moment. The ogre had ten or nine feet of height on me and about a bazillion pounds. There was no way I was going to win a knock-down-drag-out-fight with any one of these bastards but I was willing to bet I was quicker.
The ogre ran at me, closing the distance in easy, thunderous strides.
Twenty feet.                                                                      
I couldn’t dodge too early or he’d be able to change his trajectory. I had to wait until it was too late for him.
Five feet.
The ogre’s arm swung out, thick fingers grasping for me. Dropping to a crouch, I spun and sliced Gladi across the back of the ogre’s ankle as he stumbled, suddenly off balance as I cut his Achilles tendon. The ogre collapsed, face-planting into the tree trunk in front of him with a crunch of bone and breaking bark that made me queasy. I quickly got to my feet, ignoring the blood oozing from one of the ogre’s noses, and strode over. Running up the creature’s back as it lay still on the ground, I grasped Gladi in my hand. With a sure, clean stroke, Gladi slid through the flesh of the ogre’s neck and severed one of the heads from its bulky body.
I turned in a panic, searching for Dean. On shaky legs, he got to his feet with a dismembered ogre’s head clutched in his hands. The flesh of its neck was jagged and torn, where the head had been ripped from the neck. Dean tossed the head and met my gaze. His shoulders eased at the sight of me and a tiny grin turned up the corner of his lips. I knew there were seven more out there but I was just thankful Dean was all right and didn’t seem too banged up. I smiled back at him and glanced down at his ogre, my eye drawn by the soft, flickering amber glow where the ogre’s head used to be.
“Dean?” I called as the ogre’s arms and legs began to twitch.
Flesh and bone sprang from the ogre’s neck where its head used to be. Before I could verbalize what appeared to be happening without gagging, a head was beginning to shape at the base of the neck. Slimy with ill-defined goopy features, clumps of hair began to sprout from the top of the rounded nub. A crocked nose jutted out from the front and the gleam of a few crooked teeth shone bright white in the darkness. Before I had time to really be sick, a fully formed head once again sat on the ogre’s neck and he was getting to his feet.
“Behind you!” Dean bellowed.
As I turned, thick fingers the size of tree branches wrapped around me, lifting me off the ground and into the ogre’s vise-like hold as the downed ogre got to his feet. With his own brand new head, he took off at a steady clip, stomping into the forest with me in his grasp. With each heavy step the ogre took, my insides jostled like being on a carnival ride that twisted and turned, flipping and spinning, that wouldn’t stop. One of his heads turned and glared at me, licking his lips in a way that made me think I might be dinner. No! No fucking way was I getting eaten by a God-damned ogre. I refused to go out that way.
Dean’s ferocious roar filled the night behind me, even over the thunder of stomping ogre feet. I hadn’t known he could make a noise like that and it sent chills down my spine. I had to get myself out of this or he and Patrick would burn the world down to get to me. No matter the costs. That was a comforting thought and pretty damned romantic if you asked me, but not a good idea. Shit, my life was fucked up if I equated world destruction with romanticism but that’s who we were and I refused apologize for it.
Vaguely, off in the distance and too far away for me to focus on, the sounds of fighting, growling, screeching, and destruction reigned through the altogether quiet forest. Gladi was still clutched in my hand, just smashed against my side in the ogre’s tight-as-hell grip and not at all useful. I sucked in my breath, hoping to create a little room between my body and the scaly skin holding me tight. Clutching the hilt, I began to squirm and worked the sword up an inch at a time.
The farther the ogre ran into the woods, the fewer sounds from the fighting I heard. That worried me.
First step in an ogre’s plan, separate girl from group.
Second step in ogre’s plan, eat girl for dinner.
Fuck no! I squirmed faster, tugging harder on Gladi. After a few stressful moments, I managed to draw her free and the tightening in my gut eased a little. If I had a weapon, I had a chance. Cutting off a head was not going to work, evidently, since they just grew them the fuck back. The ogre had to bleed out. Hopefully, this would work and they wouldn’t magically heal that because bleeding out was all I had left. I didn’t have another plan and I couldn’t think through the panic thrumming through me like fire. With a quick swipe of my blade, Gladi sliced through the flesh of the ogre’s neck.
The ogre stumbled and shook me, as if punishing a mischievous bird.
“Fuck,” I swore as I fought to keep the bile rising in my throat from escaping. Shrinking into the ogre’s grip until I was almost flush with his hand, I fought to refocus and stop my brain from turning to mush. He stumbled again, and the ogre’s unsteady step gave me an extra moment I needed to reorient myself and take another swing. Gladi sunk into the open wound, cutting through more thick flesh. A spurt of hot, black, blood washed over me, covering my face and hair as my sword ripped through the carotid.
I groaned in complete disgust and tried to wipe the blood from my eyes with my free hand. The ogre’s grip holding me was so tight I thought my insides might be crushed. With each beat of my heart, my pulse throbbed in my brain and the pit of my stomach turned to fire as I fought to breathe. Then, just as suddenly, the fingers around me relaxed and went limp.
I freefell from the ogre’s hand for a second and my stomach leapt into my throat. Then I hit the ground . . . hard. My body crumpled and I slammed down onto my hands and knees, Gladi still clutched in my hand. That was it. I couldn’t keep everything in anymore and I rolled over and threw up, the bile burning through my nose. I was honestly lucky I hadn’t accidentally stabbed myself as I hit the ground and the relief of that realization, at being alive and relatively unharmed was too much for my body to process. So, vomit. As I finished emptying my stomach of all its contents, the ogre stumbled one step and then a second before falling to his knees. Swaying slightly from side to side, his gargantuan body wavered and I wasn’t sure which way he would go down. Ah shit! I wasn’t out of danger yet. A part of me wanted to call out “timber” just to relieve some of the tension burning through my muscles as the adrenaline wore off. I managed to hold back, too busy trying to decipher which way he was going to collapse.
I wasn’t far enough away to avoid being crushed if I didn’t guess right. Crushed to death wasn’t high on my list of “ways to go”. I scrambled to my feet, slipping on the pooling blood around us that had mixed with my puke and got as far as I could before he tumbled sideways, in the other direction.
With a relieved sigh, I plopped down, the ground hard and unforgiving under my ass. I leaned back against the tree and let out a heavy sigh as my shoulders fell in relief. Christ, that had been close and now I was covered in blood. Awesome!
A panicked howl broke through the sudden silence and my heart sped up at the sound. I took a deep breath and called, “I’m here!” Leaning my head back against the tree, I propped my knees up and balanced Gladi across them, gingerly gripping the hilt and blade in my hands.
I was so tired and each breath burned through the rawness of my throat. For a minute there, I’d thought I was done for and my racing heart couldn’t quite catch up with the idea that I’d survived. Heavy footfalls should have sent all my senses on alert but the warmth of excitement and relief that filled my middle, eased any dread I might have felt. Dean burst through the brush, sliding on his knees through the blood in a graceful move that almost appeared intentional. I snarled at him, knowing I’d never be able to pull off some shit like that. He cupped my face in his hands, ignoring my sad snarl, and stared into my eyes, ignoring the blood and gore.
“Okay?” he asked in a deep vibrating growl. I nodded. His gaze traveled over me, evaluating and disbelieving. “You wouldn’t lie to me?”
“Not my blood,” I whispered.
He brushed the soggy hair away from my face, smudging the crimson stains on my skin. Others filed out from the forest behind him but he didn’t seem to notice. I glanced over his shoulder to meet Kurt’s worried gaze.
“What is it?” I asked.
“We can’t find Milagra,” he said, hesitantly.
“What do you mean, you can’t find her?” Dean growled, standing to his full height before holding his hand out for me. I took it and let him tug me up to my feet. My legs felt like jelly but I managed not to fall over. I wanted a shower, some mouthwash, and a nap-not particularly in that order. Was that too much to ask? Yes, it was, in fact, too much to ask.
“She drew one of those things off me and it took off after her. She got about twenty feet away before it grabbed her, then . . .” He stopped, his eyes wide and his shoulders stiff and raised. “Poof. They were all gone. The monsters, Milagra. All of them.”
“Ellie!” A deep guttural cry echoed through the trees. “Ellie! Where are you?” Jerome called, his voice desperate and sharp. 
I don’t know if they followed the voices or were drawn by the smell of blood but the woods surrounding our pack quickly filled with people, wolves, two tigers, and a very large shaggy brown bear. I gasped as my heart raced at the sight. Sure, I knew they were bears but for fuck’s sake, that was a gigantic fucking bear.
Jerome hobbled in on one good leg since his other leg was broken again, his eyes large and his panic spreading like a virus through the others. “Where is she? Have you seen her?”
“One of those things grabbed her,” Jerome’s beta said, just as agitated as his Alpha.
“How many did we kill?” I asked.
“Other than the one you killed? Two,” Dean answered.
“There were nine ogres in total. They’re probably pissed now that they’ve lost three of their own,” I said, smearing the blood from my forehead to keep it from my eyes.
“How do you always get covered in blood?” Garrett asked.
“Cutting a giant-fucking-carotid will do that,” I snarled. I peered up at Dean and said, “We have two missing. They took them somewhere.”

About the Author:

Suzanne M Sabol is the author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has two Bachelor of Arts degrees with majors in Criminology, International Studies, Russian, and Political Science. She has a Master’s degree from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs. She is married with one child and lives in Columbus Ohio.
Suzanne M Sabol is a member of several professional organizations; Romance Writers of America, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, North East Ohio Romance Writers Chapter, and the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter of RWA.

The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are published through Soul Mate Publishing. Editor, Debby Gilbert, can be contacted through their website at www.soulmatepublishing.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzanneMSabol           

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007HBLC0M           

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