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A Confabulated Compendium of Anecdotes

by Melissa H North

Genre: Steampunk Fantasy



A Confabulated Compendium of Anecdotes is a Steampunk speculative collection of tales. The stories, herein, provide a glimpse into the imagination of a most anomalous Author.

Be swept away, if you dare, by sultry maidens with mechanical gadgets, hi-tech flying machines and grinding gears. Peculiar alien forms hell-bent on saving the earth, and a conglomerate of Vamps lead by Count Valdo.

Howbeit, why wait for me to tell you more, turn the book atop and be absorbed in the unputdownable.

Nephele’s first marriage ended in tragedy. And her second marriage seems to be headed in the same direction. Why do her husband’s die? Is she cursed? Or is she hiding a secret?

Valdo, a direct descendant of Dracula must enlist the help of beautiful Genevieve, a renown Professor. His coven is in peril and without her, their existence will end.

Jacques and his hired help, Bertram, find themselves crash landing to Earth, where they realise the extensive damage humans have inflicted upon the fragile environment, and who they thought were enemies, could actually be their friends.

Broderick is a private investigator and his assistant Abbey is an Automaton Humanoid prototype. When a series of murders in the small township of Whiteridge have Broderick baffled. The only clue, the last words of a dying man – Comic Book. He must use unconventional methods to solve the crimes.


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Writing has always been a hobby and cathartic experience for me. Turning my passion into a fulfilling career as an Author has been one of my greatest dreams. I write because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get. All you need is imagination.


I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth writing about. I am a curious and proactive Author, interested in preserving the foundations set by classical literature by adapting them to modern themes and trends.



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Author Links

Website: https://www.melissahnorthauthor.com/

Blog: https://melissahnorthauthor.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/melhnorthauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissahnorth/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16854098.Melissa_H_North



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Selenium Night

by Kharma Kelley

Genre: Paranormal Werewolf Shifter Romance


ShadowShifters – Shapeshifting wolf creatures that love as fiercely as they fight.

Aidan Bloodlocke never dreamed he was a wolf Shifter, much less an Alpha. When a pack takes him in, his entire world changes, and loyalties are developed. Then disaster strikes, and he’s on a ruthless mission for justice.

When veterinarian Maddie Ardelle moved to Bridgepoint, Maine, to start a normal, peaceful life on her own, she didn’t expect to get herself caught in the crossfire of two factions of violent, feuding werewolves. And definitely not entangled with a sexy biker shifter that made her weak in the knees. Against their will, Maddie and Aidan’s worlds collide, and with an attraction so enthralling, both are helpless to resist.

As Aidan struggles to fight for both love and duty, he uncovers a betrayal so heinous, it puts the lives of his entire pack and the brave woman he desires at unthinkable risk. The stakes are high, and both must decide if Maddie ultimately can live in his violent world of teeth and claw in this action-packed paranormal romance series!


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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35393527-selenium-night

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2tgG0Af

iBooks: http://apple.co/2saXpKN

Nook: http://bit.ly/2tQcEG6

Google: http://bit.ly/2sLg8uV

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ubbg0b


Selenium Night landing page: www.authorkharmakelley.com/purchase-selenium-night

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/3EP8QKwnoCE

A Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy author, Kharma Kelley has been enamored with all things that go “bump in the night” for who knows how long. She truly believes that finding humanity and beauty in some of the most seemingly unconventional places is part of the romantic psyche to her. A big fan of the Big Easy, Kharma tends to weave her proud Cajun heritage and values into her books. She enjoys reading other urban fantasy and romance novels and playing Minecraft in her spare time.

“Tall, Dark & Deadly” is the first book of her “Agents of The Bureau” series. Expect more sexy, dangerous and even hilarious installments to be released along with a new “ShadowShifter” series coming in 2017.

She frequents Wattpad (which she refers to as a story “incubator”) often and beta tests her new story ideas there as well as provide guidance and critiques to aspiring authors.

Her works are often compared to Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole and the late great author, L.A. Banks.

Quote from Kharma Kelley on writing Paranormal Romance:

“There’s something intriguing about strong women finding love in all the “wrong” places in the world of fantasy. Of angels, demons, ghosts, werewolves and your occasional blood sucker, all these paranormal metaphors are catalysts of what humans are and crave most…that we’re all different, beautiful and a little bit weird–and just want someone to love us for who we are.”

She lives in Texas with her husband.


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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkharmakelley

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kharmakelley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kharmakelley/

Website: www.authorkharmakelley.com


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kharma-Kelley/e/B01KSO56J2/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Finally alone, Maddie sighed and looked at the clock.  It was six o’clock and her last appointment was over an hour ago.  Most would’ve called it a day and packed up early, but it felt useless to Maddie.  Where the hell was she gonna pack up early to go?  Greta sometimes went to happy hour with a couple of her friends, but they ran in different circles and she only really liked Greta.  She had no pets to play with and no boyfriend to entertain.

She laid her head on the desk at her own frustration. “Ugh, I’m the most boring person in Bridgepoint. Guess I’m going to my landlord’s dinner group…again.” She stayed there for a few moments and heard the door entry bell ring.  Not lifting her head, she spoke against the wood, muffling her voice. “Sorry, the clinic is closed unless this is an emergency.”

“Well that sounds like a real shame.” A familiar deep toned voice replied. ” I’m all outta fresh cuts today.”

Maddie immediately raised her head to see Aidan standing in the entrance in a black leather jacket and jeans. His gray heather shirt was fitted against his abs, almost able to see the smooth ripples. He still wore his shades and Maddie was a bit thankful for that because all that man standing there threatened to overstimulate her to the point of hollering like a “woo” girl at a club. “Wh-what are you doing here?” She sat up, unsure on how she should react.

Aidan took off his shades and smiled. She looked surprised to see him. In fact, he was surprised to find himself there.  He should be out looking for Kieran.  But when his search came up empty and no leads came from the Sheriff, he figured he could look again tonight. Though he hadn’t talked to her, he did check her clinic when she was there after hours, he often found himself sleeping less and worrying about Maddie more. Seeing her in the flesh was part of an attempt to quell those ridiculous bouts of protectiveness he was getting. The other part was that, Arista help him, he just really wanted to see her.

He strode over to her desk, his boots clomping against her hardwood floor. The air around him intimidating as he closed in on her like prey. “I came to check on you.”

Maddie smiled. “You assume that I’m in some sort of trouble, is it?”

He looked around. “Well, given the several incidents we shared, that seems to be the theme.  I came by to make sure you didn’t disappoint.”

Maddie rolled her eyes. “Well, hate to break it to you but I’m not in any distress…unless your definition of distress is absolute boredom.” She pushed herself away from the desk so she could stand up. “I was just about to head out.”

Aidan shook his head. “Boredom, huh? Well, I’m sure you have a whole mess of books to catch up on.”

Maddie gasped. “Did you just insinuate that I was a nerd?” Maddie grabbed her bag and shut off the back lab’s lighting.  “You did, did you?” She playfully pushed him, but he was a wall. Nothing budged.

“Aidan threw his hands up. “I was just saying that you look like a reader.  A well-read individual who would enjoy the company of books. That’s all.”

“Yeah, well I’m not a nerd okay?”

He nodded, his expression amused. “Okay.”

“Just so you know. I’m hella cool, alright.  All the old people and kids in my neighborhood think so,” she mused, almost immediately laughing at herself.

Aidan shared in her smile, looking into her bright brown eyes. Staring at them almost made him forget what he came there to do. Almost.

“I have an idea that would chase away that boredom of yours.”

Maddie smiled as her thoughts begin to turn naughty. Oh?  I bet yours is not half as good as my idea.

“I’m listening.”

“It’s gorgeous out. Let’s ride through the countryside. Seriously, when was the last time you got out? Not counting that catastrophe at Riko’s Bar?” Aidan stood quiet as she nodded.

“It’s been a while.” She looked up at him and smiled. “Alright. Let me get my things.” She grabbed her red hoodie and hoisted her bag to her shoulder. Locking her clinic’s door, as Aidan walked out ahead of her past the sidewalk.

Maddie stood still has he gracefully straddled the bike and slipped his shades on, still looking at her. Have mercy, he had moves that reminded her of liquid. He was slow and fluid. Dangerously sensual. She could watch the man all day. However her thoughts hit the brake when it dawned on her what they would be traveling on.

She looked at his bike as it was some alien spaceship.

Confused at her hesitation, Aidan frowned. “What’s the matter?”

Her expression deflated. “You ride a motorcycle?”

Aidan looked down where he was seated as if he was confirming her observation. “That would appear so.”

She scowled at his sarcasm and took a step back. “For some reason I thought you had a car.” Most likely a muscle car, but a car nonetheless.  “I’m not getting on that thing.”

“What’s the matter? Bad experience?”

More like no experience. She had friends in college who rode them and though they fascinated her, she couldn’t bring herself to ride with them. And mostly her friends were young and stupid, eager to be the next daredevil. Wanting to keep her head intact, she had declined every single time. Part of her had regretted it because she hated to be afraid of anything.

“I’ve never ridden on one before.” She confessed. Half embarrassed of her honesty. She had expected Aidan to laugh at her. His face stoic, he didn’t.

“Then it’s an experience you should have. It’s just a short drive, and I’m very careful. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

His concerned, reassuring tone didn’t surprise her. She’s watched him too many times doing simple tasks. Every move he’s ever made was calculated. Precise. He seemed to be a cautious man by habit. When he walked her to the office that night, she noticed how tense he was watching the darkness. As if he was ready for something to pounce and attack them.

He leaned back on his bike and smirked. “C’mon. You don’t strike me as woman who’d give in to her fears and ignorance. A well-read woman like you?”

She frowned at his comment, “Are you trying to provoke me?”

“A little bit,” his smile broadened, “How else will I get you to trust me on this?”

Keep looking at me that way…Maddie shook the thought away. The man had a nasty habit of bringing out the horniness in her. Being around Greta did not help either. She was glad her thoughts were private. She didn’t know who would be more embarrassed she or him?

Giving an exasperated sigh, she looked at him.”Just a short drive?”

Aidan slipped on his gloves and crossed his heart. “I promise.”

Maddie looked at the seat and her heart sank. It was too narrow for the both of them. She had healthy hips and there was no way there was room for her on the seat.  Damn my mother’s genes.

Aidan sensed more hesitance in her. “What’s the matter now?”

She didn’t want to tell him. “I’m too…round to sit on your bike.” Her face flooded with heat from embarrassment. That was another reason she had declined her friends’ many offers to ride. Who would want a big-hipped woman riding on the back of them?

Aidan couldn’t have been more shocked if she said she owned a unicorn. Despite it, he managed to keep his expression impassive. Was she insane? He rather enjoyed looking at her body. It was curvy, soft and lush. Even now, he wanted to mold that tempting body into his until she came in his arms. A man would have to be blind not to want her. In fact, he thought best to remind her.

Maddie couldn’t breathe as Aidan raked her with his heated gaze from top to bottom. His shades still on, but no less powerful. A shiver ran through her.

“I don’t see a problem from where I’m sitting.”

When her cheeks once again mottled red, he smiled in spite of himself.

Funny, he never struck her as the blushing type. It made his body burn for her. She looked so ethereal and inviting even more so this way. It was all he could do not to grab her and pin her against the fuel tank, kissing her senseless.

He scooted up. “There’s plenty of room for you, Maddie. Ride with me.”

His voice was deep and tender and she was totally unprepared for it. How could she turn him down?

Deck of “Selenium Night” playing cards


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Changing Tides #2

by Gail Chianese
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 8/22/2017

Book Blurb
A military police officer on the verge of a new beginning. A beautiful woman devoted to her career and her dream of putting down roots. The hardest thing they’ll ever do is to take a chance on love . . .

Navy Chief Master at Arms Jackson “Jax” Faraday is at a crossroads. He has to decide whether to reenlist or get out while he’s young enough to make a difference in the civilian world. Either choice could mean leaving behind his girl: his K-9 partner, Bella. But when she’s injured during a training session, Jax’s only concern is making sure she’s okay.

As the Navy base veterinarian, town local Risa Reynolds is right where she belongs: close to her parents in a farmhouse full of animals—with room to grow. She’s seen enough to put military men are on her “not happening” list, because they always leave.

But when a tall, hazel-eyed sailor arrives in her clinic with his dog in his arms, Risa finds herself falling hard. And all kinds of rules will get broken when Jax, a man who sticks to the straight and narrow, learns that there’s no predicting the twists and turns of the heart . . .

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Buy Links
Kensington: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/35158

Gail Chianese’s love of reading began at the tender age of three, when she’d make her grandpa read Fourteen Country Rabbits over and over and over again (and correct him when he skipped parts). While she’s branched out over the years by reading mystery, women’s fiction, and urban fantasy, she always circles back to romance in the end. That’s probably because she’s married to her real life hero. Her wonderful hubby has served in the US Navy for the past twenty two years and he’s done things he can’t tell her about. But it doesn’t stop her from being extremely proud of him and the sacrifices he makes for her, his family, and his country. He’s also uber-supportive of her dreams and of their three children. Living in Mystic, CT and a member of Connecticut Romance Writers of America, Gail loves to hear from readers.


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Author Links

Website: http://www.gailchianese.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gail_Chianese

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gail-Chianese/e/B00PSIG1QQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1503100154&sr=1-2

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9788631.Gail_Chianese


Chapter 1


Jackson Faraday was worried about his girl.

He should have been worried about his future. Time was running out for him to make a decision—stay in the Navy or get out—and the detailer was breathing down his neck. But the decision to throw away the past twelve years wasn’t easy.

He wanted more.

If NCIS—Naval Criminal Investigative Service—would make a decision on his application, that would be great. But what if they turned him down? Did he stay in for twenty years and retire? Then what? Start over at the bottom? Go home to a one-stoplight town with a police force that spent all its time dealing with bored teens wreaking havoc or frustrated couples fighting? Work security for one of the nearby casinos? All viable options, just not what he wanted.

He wanted to make a difference.

He shoved away the nagging questions. He had more pressing concerns. Like what was wrong with Bella, which was why he was at the base training center, even though his shift was officially over.

“Come on, Bella. Give me your best for an hour, and then I’ve got a treat for you.” He wagged the Frisbee to get her attention. Instead, Bella whined and flicked her ear.

“Hey, Jax. Heard we had a win in the courtroom today.” Chief Casey Thomas drove his Jeep up next to the chain-link fence.

“Stone? Yeah, he’s going away for a good couple of years for that little video stunt of his. Not that it makes up for what he put Lieutenant Riley through, but it’s a start.”

“Me and a couple of the guys are going to grab some grub and head out to the beach. Enjoy what’s left of summer. Come join us.” Casey drummed


8                                                    Gail Chianese

his fingers on the outside of the driver’s door, giving away he had more on his mind than a night’s celebration.

“What’s up with you, man? You seem agitated.” He and Casey went back a ways; spent some time in the sandbox together. Normally the guy was as easygoing as cool beer slipping down your throat on a summer day. “Got my orders in today.” Casey slid out of the vehicle and walked

through the gate. “I’m heading to Pensacola.” “Isn’t your ex-wife there?”

“Near enough.” Casey squatted down and scratched Bella’s ears. “Did you hear back on your application yet?”

“You know what they say: No news is good news.” At least he hoped that’s what it meant.

“You know what you need? To find a nice lady who can take some of your stress away and make you forget your worries.”

“The only lady I need in my life is Belladonna.” “She’s a little hairy and full of attitude.”

“Aw, but you forget. She loves me unconditionally and always has my six.” “Not lately.” Casey stood and looked out at the obstacle course. “The new handler had her out this morning, running her through basic commands, and she ignored them all. I know you two have a tight bond, especially after two tours, but you’re leaving soon. She’s got to get used to new people.” Bella had been more than his partner while deployed; she’d been his anchor, his pillar of strength, his confidant, and his hope when all seemed lost. She wasn’t just his K-9 partner. She was his family, and the idea of leaving her was ripping him apart inside. Chances were she could sense

his mood and the turmoil going on inside.

“Which is why I’m passing on your offer.” Jax released the German shepherd’s leash. “Thought I’d do some special one-on-one training with her and see how it goes. Find out if it’s the new guy or her.”

“She wouldn’t be the first dog to burn out.” Casey looked down at the dog, who hadn’t moved. “Of course, if she’s declared unfit for duty, you could adopt her. But then, what would you do with her while you’re in Glynco for NCIS training?”

Jax dropped the leash and Frisbee on top of his backpack and looked into the brilliant blue sky. He’d been playing the “what if” game for two months now with no answers in sight.

“Let’s deal with one problem at a time.”

“If you change your mind about tonight, you know where to find us.” Casey waved as he hopped back into his Jeep and drove off.

Jax squatted down and ran his hand down Bella’s back. “Okay girl,


A HERO TO LOVE                                                     9


let’s get the work over so we can play.” Truthfully, everything they did was work. The game of Frisbee honed the dog’s speed, agility, and tracking ability just as much as anything else they did. She simply liked it better than the obstacle course. Not that Jax blamed her.

Jax stood up and gave the hand signal for sit.

The dog looked at him, then closed her eyes with a deep sigh. “Bella, sit,” he commanded.

She rolled over onto her side and laid her paw across her nose. Casey really nailed it with his description. The dog was full of attitude—bad attitude—and a military working dog that didn’t follow orders was of no use to the service.

Jax went through the commands again and again, getting no response. The two of them had worked together for almost six years, since Bella’s first assignment, and she’d transferred with him from the Middle East to the Sub base. In all that time, she’d never ignored an order from him. He bent back down and gave her a cursory inspection, but he didn’t find any obvious reason for the dog to balk. Concerned, Jax sat down on the ground next to his partner.

“Bella girl, talk to me. What’s going on in that brain of yours? Is it the heat? Don’t you like the new guy? Tired of the same old routine? Trust me, I’d understand if that was the problem. Maybe we should call it a night, and tomorrow go see Doc and make sure you’re okay.”

Bella scooted closer and laid her head on Jax’s lap, her tail thumping in the grass.

“You gotta be okay, girl.” Absently, he scratched behind her ears as he thought of the past six years. “I don’t think I could handle it if we’d come this far and something happened to you.”

Jax leaned forward and picked up the Frisbee. As he talked about nothing to the dog, he tossed the toy up and caught it, making no demands on Bella. Pretty soon she was sitting, her gaze following the disc.

“Ah ha. Okay, I get it. There are times when I don’t feel like working either. I’ll make a deal with you. Five minutes of play and then a lap around the course. Deal?”

Bella barked in response.

Jax laughed and jumped to his feet, relieved to see her respond like her old self. He threw the Frisbee, and Bella took off at the speed of light. She caught the disc and returned it.

They repeated it again and again.

“Okay, last one and then we work.” Jax threw it with all his strength. The disc flew up. Bella chased, but instead of running straight across


10                                                  Gail Chianese

the lawn, she ran up the stairs of the dog walk. When she got to the top, she jumped and caught the disc in her mouth. But as she came down, she twisted. The scene before him unfolded in slow motion. He ran, reaching for Bella. Almost there. He dove to catch her but it was too late. Bella crashed to the ground a couple of feet in front of him, letting out a yelp that made

Jax’s stomach cramp. He crawled to her side.

Thank God she was breathing. He ran his hands over her body. Nothing protruded and there was no blood, but she was crying.

Carefully, Jax scooped her up and ran for his truck. “Hang on, baby.

Everything’s going to be okay.”

And he prayed like he hadn’t done since his last night in the desert. Just like now, Bella had been at his side and they’d been pinned down by enemy fire. He’d prayed that night that they’d make it home alive and in one piece. He prayed now that his dog would live, because even though she technically belonged to the U.S. Navy, she was the love of his life.

copy of the book



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