Monday, October 03, 2016

Excerpt from Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake plus Giveaway!

The Qwillery is thrilled to share with you an excerpt from Dangerously Charming (A Broken Rider Novel 1) by Deborah Blake which will be published on October 4th by Berkley!

Chapter 1

MIKHAIL Day was rather enjoying the sound of the rain on the metal roof as he read by the warmth of the crackling red- and-orange fire. Rain was one of the things he liked about this side of the doorway; it never rained in the Otherworld, although there was always plenty of moisture to balance the heat of eternal sunless summers.
     He’d always taken pleasure in the time he spent in the Otherworld, that enchanted land where the paranormal folks had gone to live permanently after retreating from the encroachment of Humans. But after six months spent there healing from the horrific wounds he and his fellow Riders had suffered at the hands of the deranged former Baba Yaga Brenna, he’d grown tired of the perfect weather and the pitying looks and had retreated to the anonymity and imperfection of the mundane world.
     The Queen’s generous parting gift of a sack full of gold coins (almost certainly not the kind that disappeared the day after you used them) had purchased him a year’s rent in this rustic cabin deep in the woods of the Adirondack Mountains. Built to provide an austere but comfortable writing space for an author who’d then discovered he couldn’t create amid that much quiet, the cabin was miles from the nearest road and as private as Day could wish. The coins had bought him plenty of supplies, but most of all, they’d gotten him what he truly wanted: nobody else around.
     Much had changed in his life in the last year. Brenna had stolen more than his immortality with her torture; she’d stolen his abiding self-confidence, and his identity as a Rider. He couldn’t bear to be around his brothers, his fellow Riders, who had lost all that and more because of his error in judgment. Mikhail had no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his now-limited life, with the exception of one vow: he was never, ever going to help a damsel in distress again. The last time had cost him too much.
     A piece of wood snapped and sparked in the fireplace just as thunder crashed overhead. May in the Adirondacks could be chilly and volatile, but it was still better than being out in the world. Mikhail gave a small sigh of satisfaction as he turned the page of his book, an amusing mystery he’d picked up in his travels that took place in the imaginary town of Caerphilly, Virginia, a setting as far removed from witches and faeries and magical mayhem as was Humanly possible, and where all the murders happened to people he didn’t care about.
     Let the rain fall and the wind blow, he thought, taking a sip from a glass of deep red merlot. He might not know what he was going to do with the rest of his life, but for now, doing nothing was just fine with him.

JENNA Quinlan stared down at the inert mass that a few minutes before had been her beloved if ancient Dodge Colt and said a rude word. Then said a couple more, just in case the gods hadn’t heard her the first time.
     Not that they seemed to have been listening lately. It hadn’t been a good few weeks.
     First there had been the shocking, impossible news from her doctor. Then the fight with her now-ex-boyfriend, followed rapidly by being fired by her now-ex-boss.
     She’d gone into work a couple of days after her talk with Stu to find her belongings in a box on the top of her desk and Mitchell standing next to it with his arms crossed and a miserable expression on his face.
     “Sorry, Jenna,” was all he’d said. “Stu and me, we go way back. And his father’s company sends us a lot of business.” He’d handed her a pathetic severance check and the box with her Hello Kitty coffee mug perched on top, and that had been that. It wasn’t as though she’d loved the job; being a personal assistant wasn’t as glamorous as it sounded. But after the first two blows, the third one practically knocked her off her feet.
     She’d spent days calling around town looking for work, only to find that Stu’s influence had preceded her there in every instance. Then she started feeling as though she was being watched.
     It was subtle, at first. A glimpse of the same unfamiliar face at the store, an anonymous figure lurking in the shadows across the street from her apartment. One day she came home to find scratches around the edges of her locks and signs that someone had been inside, rifling through her belongings. She had no idea what on earth anyone thought they were going to find, but she suspected Stu’s less-than-delicate hand there too.
     Jenna hoped it was Stu. The alternative was a lot more frightening.
     In the middle of the night, she’d woken up with the memory of her grandmother’s voice ringing in her ears. “When it happens,” the older woman had said, holding on to Jenna’s hand with surprising strength for someone with one foot in the grave, “and it will, don’t stay in the cities. She can find you in the city. Too many eyes and whispering tongues that no one can see. Run to the woods, far away from everything and everyone you ever knew. Run, girl, run as far and as fast as you can.”

THE next morning, Jenna had taken what little money she had in savings, grabbed the go bag she always kept on hand more from paranoia than any true belief that she’d ever need to use it, and taken off toward upstate New York. There was a cabin deep in the woods there that belonged to a distant cousin. Jenna’s grandmother had inherited it long ago, and passed it on to Jenna when she died. Jenna had never even been to the place. But under the current circumstances, that was a good thing, since no one would think to look for her there . . . assuming she could actually find it. In theory, all Jenna had to do was follow the handwritten map the cousin had given her grandmother, hike in with her bag of supplies (including her grandmother’s journals, which contained everything the older woman had known or guessed or researched), and hole up until she could figure out the answers she needed.
     Her world might have been rocked on its axis, but Jenna Quinlan wasn’t just going to curl up in a corner and give in to fate. She was going to run and hide, yes, but only so she could fight another day. Of course, that plan would have worked better if her transmission hadn’t seized on this back road in the middle of nowhere. One minute she’d been driving along, watching the rampant green underbrush for errant deer and other unexpected hazards, and the next, her poor car had given one last agonized thunk grind whine and then slid lightly into a gully on the side of the road, its steering completely frozen and the engine as dead as the life she’d left behind.
     Jenna banged her head gently against the steering wheel a few times, but not surprisingly, that neither fixed the car nor improved her general attitude. Wind whispered in through the open driver’s-side window, bringing with it the luxuriant scents of late spring in the mountains, barely touched by the intrusive burnt-rubber aroma of technology self-destructing. Birds flew by, singing their coquettish flirtations in alternating keys. Jenna had never felt so alone in her life.
     And yet she wasn’t truly alone, was she? Not anymore. And that fact meant she didn’t have the luxury of sitting in her car and crying, as much as she might feel like it. Doing nothing was no longer an option.

“THERE’S no mistake, Ms. Quinlan. You’re eight weeks pregnant. These things happen,” the doctor had said, not unsympathetically. She supposed he’d used those words with other bewildered and slightly indignant twenty-nine-year-old women, all of whom said much the same things as she had.
     “But I am so careful,” Jenna had protested anyway, knowing there was no point but needing to say it out loud. “I’m on the pill, and I use condoms, and I watch the calendar. Plus my current boyfriend has a vasectomy, for God’s sake! It’s not possible.”
     The doctor leaned back on his stool, his golf tan dark against the pristine white of his coat. Brown hair starting to go gray at the sideburns added to the professional air he projected. Jenna had never seen him before she’d gone into the clinic that day, so she had no idea if he was as competent as he seemed. It didn’t matter, since the test results couldn’t be argued away.
     “No form of birth control is one hundred percent effective,” he said, looking at the clock on the wall and not at her. “Vasectomies do fail, although not often. Yes, the odds were against it, but as I said, these things do happen.” He finally met her eyes and gave her a tentative smile. “I understand that you hadn’t intended to get pregnant, but at your age, you might want to consider that it will only become more difficult to do so later on, should you decide you want to have children. Perhaps you could look at this as a miracle, rather than a disaster?”
     Jenna had swallowed down bitter irony and just shaken her head instead. The doctor could utter any platitudes he liked, but she knew what really lay at the heart of this so-called miracle: curses simply couldn’t be thwarted.
     And as curses went, this one was a doozy.
     She sat in the car for a moment or two more, remembering that day when everything changed. Then she squared her shoulders, grabbed her duffel bag out of the trunk, slung her purse across her chest, and set off. According to the map, she couldn’t be more than ten or twelve miles away from the cabin. A manageable hike in decent weather.
     When the rain started falling an hour later, she almost laughed.

Dangerously Charming
A Broken Riders Novel 1
Berkley, October 4, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

From the author of the Baba Yaga novels, a brand new series set in the same “addicting”* world, filled with wild magic, enchanting damsels, and the irresistibly daring men who serve the Baba Yagas…

The Riders are three immortal brothers who protect the mythical Baba Yagas. But their time serving the witches has ended—and their new destinies are just beginning…

Ever since a near-fatal mistake stripped Mikhail Day and his brothers of their calling to be Riders, Day has hidden from his shame and his new, mortal life in a remote cabin in the Adirondack mountains. But when a desperate young woman appears on his doorstep, he cannot resist helping her—and cannot deny how strongly he’s drawn to her…

For generations, women in Jenna Quinlan’s family have been cursed to give up their first born child to the vengeful fairy Zilya. When Jenna finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is determined to break her family’s curse and keep her baby, even if it means teaming up with a mysterious and charismatic man with demons of his own…

To unravel the curse, Jenna and Day will have to travel deep into the Otherworld. But the biggest challenge of the journey might not be solving an ancient puzzle but learning to heal their own broken hearts…

About Deborah

Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful) and has published nine books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide. When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.

Newsletter  ~  Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @deborahblake  ~  Goodreads

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a fabulous prize pack from Deborah Blake:

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on October 11, 2016. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Baba Yaga Novels

Wickedly Dangerous
A Baba Yaga Novel 1
Berkley, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages


Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…

Wickedly Wonderful
A Baba Yaga Novel 2
Berkley, December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has her faithful dragon-turned-dog for moral support, especially when faced with her biggest job yet…

A mysterious toxin is driving the Selkie and Mer from their homes deep in the trenches of Monterey Bay. To investigate, Beka buys her way onto the boat of Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.

While diving for clues, Beka drives Marcus crazy with her flaky New Age ideas and dazzling blue eyes. She thinks he’s rigid and cranky (and way too attractive). Meanwhile, a charming Selkie prince has plans that include Beka. Only by trusting her powers can Beka save the underwater races, pick the right man, and choose the path she’ll follow for the rest of her life…

Wickedly Powerful
A Baba Yaga Novel 3
Berkley, February 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

The only thing more fiery than Bella Young’s red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga’s power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart—and everyone around her—the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.

But when Bella is tasked with discovering who’s setting magical fires throughout Wyoming’s Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett—and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.

Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she’ll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires—a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…