#PROMO Blitz# A Northern Rebel- John. J. Schaffer

Historical Romance
Date Published:  February 2016
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Jameson Hartford and his wife, Abigail, return to their home in South Carolina to claim his inheritance, the Serenity Plantation, where he is determined to free all his workers and put an end to the evils of enslavement. He encounters hostility and hatred from family, friends, an entire community, and even his wife, as he steadfastly holds to his beliefs. Through the ordeal, he meets and falls in love with Delilah, one of his female workers, which further complicates the volatile situation.
 
Outnumbered and alone, he must sacrifice everything as he attempts to liberate Delilah and her people, facing confrontations, treachery, and even betrayal, culminating in a final deadly showdown between precious freedom and extreme prejudice.
 
A Northern Rebel is a romantic adventure that touches on human emotions and forbidden love amidst the rich backdrop of the old South at the onset of the Civil War.
 
 
Excerpt
 
Jameson tossed and turned until the wee small hours of the morning, unable to fall asleep.
His thoughts were filled with the events of the day: Abigail, Bethany Sue, and especially Delilah.
He felt guilty about Abigail and shocked by Bethany Sue but couldn’t get Delilah out of his mind.
She suffered so much at the hands of unscrupulous men. He decided to rise, get dressed, and go down to slave row to be sure she was all right.
He carefully
opened the bedroom door, and being reassured that Bethany Sue was not there, he crept along the wall and down the stairs, finally reaching the main door.
He turned the knob and pulled the door open, letting the hot, moist air engulf him.
He started down the path then suddenly stopped, wondering what he would say to her. Would she think he was coming to take advantage of her, to hurt her like his brother did?
He decided this was not such a good idea and it would be in his best interest to
go back to the house. He turned to retreat but was stopped bya voice.
“Mista Jameson?”
He turned around to see Delilah standing there; looking absolutely beautiful bathed in the pale moonlight.
 
Startled, he began to ramble. “Lilah, I couldn’t sleep. I was concerned, I mean, worried about you.
I wanted to be sure you were all right. You were so sad. I wanted to say again how sorry
I was.”
She walked toward him.
He kept on speaking. “Abigail left me. She thought you and I… Well, uh, I mean, she’s gone back to her mother.”
Delilah said softly, “I know. I saw her leave.”He continued nervously, “I want you to know that you never have to fear me.
I would never hurt you or force you to do anything you didn’t want to do.”
Delilah looked seductively into his eyes and whispered, “You
wouldn’t be forcing me.”
Jameson, confused for a second, did not know what to makeof this beautiful brown woman.
He stuttered. “Are you saying, I mean, that you… and I, that is, you would—”
She softly spoke. “You’re the first white man who ever talkednice to me or even treated me with any kindness.
You saved me from that horrible Mista Slycott, and you care enough about me
and my people to give us our freedom, even though it puts your life in danger. You’re the most wonderful person I ever met.”
She leaned in close to him and pressed her moist, soft lips firmly yet gently on his.
He did not hesitate and kissed her in return.
She tasted so different yet so delicious.
They looked deep
into each other’s souls; she could see the desire in his eyes, he could read the need in hers. They would never forget this moment for the rest of their lives.
Delilah joined her hand into his and slowly led him into the barn.
They crawled onto a pile of hay and began to kiss each other passionately.
She started to unbutton his shirt. He, in turn,removed her dress.
They fell into each other’s arms and gave into the temptation and the lust.
They wanted each other badly.He ran his hands up and down across her young body, touching her first with his fingers and then with his lips. She returned the
affection with eager anticipation, exciting him more and more with every touch—caressing, hugging, and kissing so deeply as they united their two bodies in love. It was a love neither one of them understood,but that didn’t seem to matter, as his lighter tan skin and her darker brown skin blended together into a beautiful shade of brown.
Their state of ecstasy grew stronger and stronger, finally releasing all the
pent up fear and anxiety in the beauty of the moment.
Then they lay exhausted yet content in each other’s arms,enjoying the forbidden love each one felt for the other.
They were lost in the moment and did not care about the time until they heard the rooster crow. Reality was calling them back.
They hastily got dressed. He couldn’t resist a last kiss before letting her leave, hoping this was not the end. They made no promises to each other, for they both knew the risks and perils of their tryst
 
However, he just couldn’t erase the big grin he had on his face ashe made his way back to the house.
They couldn’t help turning around, looking back at each other and smiling one more time,wishing the moment did not have to end.
He could still taste her sweet scent in his mouth and vowed to himself to preserve the
memory for as long as possible until he could taste her once again.
Delilah was also smiling and dreaming of a love she knew could not be.
She slowly sauntered back to slave row only to find
the other slaves in turmoil.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
About the Author
 
 

 

John J Schaffer has always enjoyed writing. He graduated college receiving a BS degree majoring in Marketing, with a minor in Psychology. Working in advertising for various major pharmaceutical and industrial corporations, he created, wrote and produced a wide range of promotional materials and literature for dissemination to physicians and sales representatives, winning several AGA awards for his works. He has a vivid imagination for creating memorable characters and situations, being able to bring an original idea to life. This is John’s first novel, and he is currently working on the equally exciting sequel to this fascinating and poignant saga. John plays guitar and also writes songs, receiving accolades for his original compositions while being a part of a rock group in the 70’s. He has also played and sang at church services during that time period. John was born and grew up in Elizabeth and currently resides in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey.
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#Release Blitz# SCORE Seven SUPER Football Romances For $0.99 ONLY!!!

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★★★ ONLY 99c! ★★★

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?! SEVEN books that will totally score!
ONLY 99c! This is one deal you don’t want to miss!

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It’s almost time for the big game. Whether or not your team is playing on Sunday, you need some romance to go with those hot wings. We’ve got it right here: seven SUPER football romances, love stories that go the distance and score that extra point every time.
The box set includes:

Patricia Burroughs: Some Enchanted Season In this doomed, yet enchanted, football season, dare they hope something magical can happen that will last forever?

Jami Davenport: Blindsided A temporary marriage knocked him off his game, but love blindsided him.

Ann Jacobs: The Rookie Rookie quarterback sets his sights on Marauders cheerleader.

Tawdra Kandle: When We Were Us All’s fair in love and football.

Nicola Marsh: Bold Aussie Rules? There are no rules in the game of love.

Liz Matis: Guarding the Quarterback Miss Congeniality meets the The Bodyguard.

Holly Roberts: Play Love scores when you least expect it and winning is everything.

*******

=Release Blitz= THE KNIGHT( The Endgame Series #2 )==SKYE WARREN

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Grab THE KNIGHT by Skye Warren NOW!

“Positively sinful, and outrageously sexy! Emotions run high and readers will be left gasping.” – New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fTV384
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The power of pleasure…

Gabriel Miller took everything from me. My family. My innocence. My home. The only thing I have left is the determination to get back what’s mine.

He thinks he’s beaten me. He thinks he’s won. What he doesn’t realize is that every pawn has the chance to become a queen.

And the game has only just begun.

THE KNIGHT is book two in the Endgame series from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love.

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Start the series today!

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BUY NOW:
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ADD TO GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2fnYPLB

Blurb:

“Sinfully sexy and darkly beautiful, The Pawn will play games with your heart and leave you craving more!” – Laura Kaye, New York Times bestselling author

The price of survival…

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

*******************************************************************

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

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The cover and blurb for THE CASTLE by Skye Warren is here!

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preorder now!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jmNICN
iBooks: http://apple.co/2kxF0Dp
ADD TO GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2kxNk66

Blurb:

I’m safe in the ivory tower Gabriel Miller made for me. That’s what he says. Enemies lurk outside, waiting to strike. An army of enemies held back by these walls.

Except some animal instinct warns me the danger is much closer. It’s already here. Is Gabriel Miller my protector or my enemy? Is this house a castle or a cage?

There’s nowhere for me to go, no one left for me to trust.

No escape from a past determined to capture its prize.

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About the Author:

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Contact Skye:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest | Website

*Teaser Tuesday* A Thousand Letters~~ STACI HART

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A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart

Publishing Date: February 9th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

A Thousand Letters, an all-new emotional standalone by Staci Hart is coming soon! 

Sometimes your life is split by a single decision.

I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them.

But now he’s back.

 

I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.

Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance.

One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey bought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.

 

*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*

 

 

Add to Goodreads: https://goo.gl/SORJXP

 

About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

 

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

 

Connect with the Author:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hv5OA5

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacihartnovels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/imaquirkybird

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/imaquirkybird/

Website: http://stacihartnovels.com

Newsletter: http://stacihartnovels.com/get-the-newsletter/

 

 

*Cover Reveal*Clickbait- Lisa Suzanne is ready for PREORDER TODAY 99c Only!

 

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Publication Date: February 3, 2017

Blurb

I run a popular dating and relationship blog in San Diego. People think I’ll spill their secrets all over social media—and that’s probably true. One mention from me can make you the hottest commodity in town or sink your social life. I protect my friends, but others sometimes end up as clickbait.

My newest column is all about the most undateable men in San Diego. Between my own experiences and those of my friends, I have plenty to choose from. Want to know if Carter King, the heir to King Communications with gorgeous abs and a persistent personality, makes the list or ends up in my bed? Read on to find out…


COURTING SANDY EGGO
posted by Courtney Sanders

FAST FIVE: WHY MY STORY IS WORTH READING
5. You could use a laugh. 
4. There’s a guy named Axel.
3. Abs and beaches.
2. Sex. Lots of sex.
1. Carter King may be my next headline.
 
 
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2jQjqXg
 

PRE-ORDER TODAY FOR .99 CENTS

 

About Lisa Suzanne

 
Lisa Suzanne is a romance author who resides in Arizona with her husband and baby boy. She’s a part-time college instructor and former high school English teacher. When she’s not cuddling baby Mason, she can be found working on her latest book or watching reruns of Friends.  
 
 

Follow Lisa Suzanne

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

*Release Blitz* FORGED IN DESIRE-BRENDA JACKSON

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Forged in Desire, an all-new sexy standalone from Brenda Jackson is live!!!

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Forged in Desire by Brenda Jackson
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Strong enough to protect her. Bold enough to love her.

When good girl Margo Connelly becomes Lamar “Striker” Jennings’s latest assignment, she knows she’s in trouble. And not just because he’s been hired to protect her from an underworld criminal. The reformed bad boy’s appeal is breaching all her defenses, and as the threats against her increase, Margo isn’t sure which is more dangerous: the gangster targeting her, or the far too alluring protector tempting her to let loose.

Though Striker’s now living on the right side of the law, he’s convinced his troubled past keeps Margo out of his league. But physical chemistry explodes into full-blown passion when they go on the run together. Surrendering to desire could be a deadly distraction—or finally prove that he’s the only man qualified to keep her safe, and win her love.

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/uYihxn

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Read Today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jc39Ok

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Kobo: https://goo.gl/re1LFH

Google Play: https://goo.gl/PmNqsV

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About the Author

Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. She married her high school sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-six and thirty-four, respectively. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever. Since then she has written over 100 titles, which includes a made-for-television movie by BET, One Special Moment as well as the movie, Truly Everlasting. She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread; and was named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.

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If you would like to know more about Brenda Jackson, follow her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaJacksonAuthor/

Twitter: @AuthorBJackson

Website: http://www.brendajackson.net

Stay up to date on Brenda’s latest news! Subscribe to her Newsletter today!

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*Teaser Tuesday* PUCKED OFF = HELEN HUNTING

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Pucked Off by Helena Hunting
Publication Date: February 21
st, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

 

Synopsis:

***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t. 

 

Add to Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/2i91aXl

 

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About the Author:

NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.


Connect with Helena:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/helenahunting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelenaHunting
Facebook:
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Facebook Fan group:
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Website:
http://www.helenahunting.com/

Never miss an update! Subscribe to Helena’s mailing list:
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*Release Blitz* BILLIONAIRE UNKNOWN -J.S. SCOTT

Billionaire Unknown – Author J.S. Scott 
Harper
I was perfectly content with my life. My career was
booming. I traveled. I did as much charity work as I possibly could for
the homeless, and I was perfectly happy with the choices I’d made.
At least…I was–until my sister, Dani, came up missing. As an
international correspondent, she traveled to war-torn countries, and
she’d stepped a little too far over the line. With my sibling kidnapped
and running out of time, I had no option except to approach Marcus
Colter for help.
Seeing Marcus again after having him break my
heart over a decade ago wasn’t easy, but to my relief, the old feelings I
thought I might still harbor for him were completely gone. He was like a
stranger to me. After meeting with him, my only emotion was gratitude
that he was going to try to rescue my sister.
Before I could
relax about feeling nothing for Marcus, I met Blake Colter, and realized
every emotion I thought I’d have for Marcus was suddenly present for
the gorgeous US senator.
It was ridiculous. I hadn’t seen Blake since we were kids.
How could I have given myself to Marcus so many years ago, yet have these feelings for his twin brother, Blake?
The more time I spent with Blake, waiting for my sister to be rescued, the more confused I became about my attraction to him.
Then, my entire world came crashing down when I found out that
everything I thought was true for over a decade wasn’t the truth at all.
What happens when a woman finds out that a man she’d both loved and hated for over a decade never really existed at all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.S.
Scott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of steamy
romance. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature.
Writing what she loves to read, J.S. Scott writes both contemporary
steamy romance stories and paranormal romance erotics. They almost
always feature an Alpha Male and have a happily ever after because she
just can’t seem to write them any other way! 
 

 https://twitter.com/AuthorJSScott

*Teaser Tuesday* FAKE FIANCEE – LISA MADDEN-MILLS

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Title: Fake Fiancée

Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Publication Date: February 6th, 2017

 

 

Synopsis:

 

A new standalone romance from Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Ilsa Madden-Mills…

 

They say nothing compares to your first kiss,

But our first kiss was orchestrated for an audience.

Our second kiss…that one was REAL.

He cradled my face like he was terrified he’d f*ck it up.

He stared into my eyes until the air buzzed.

Soft and slow, full of sighs and little laughs,

He inhaled me like I was the finest Belgian chocolate,

And he’d never get another piece.

A nip of his teeth, his hand at my waist…

And I was lost.

I forgot he was paying me to be his fake fiancée.

I forgot we weren’t REAL.

Our kiss was pure magic, and before you laugh and say those kinds of kisses don’t exist…

Then you’ve never touched lips with Max Kent, the hottest quarterback in college history.

Get ready for breathtaking kisses, dreamy football players, a heroine who yearns for the guy she can’t have, and a hero who will do anything for the girl he loves…

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2jh5mIR

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today best selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She’s addicted to dystopian books and all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she’s a Gemini), and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master’s in Education.

When she’s not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets and paints old furniture.

Connect with Ilsa:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorilsamaddenmills/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ilsamaddenmills

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2k6L96J

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jjRzlD

Website: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com/

 

 

 

 

*PROMO BLITZ* MINERAN INFLUENCE – P.N. BURROWS

 

Sci-Fi
Date Published: Jan 2016 (paperback Dec 2016)
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Sam, an ex-soldier who is trying to rediscover himself after twenty years of service, unwittingly stumbles upon a mysterious alien presence in rural Wales. He is drawn into a tangled web of intrigue, pitting him against forces bent on destruction and putting his life in peril. Feeling mentally eroded by his time in the army and having worked hard to overcome this, he is thrust upon an alien journey that will change his life and beliefs in a profound way.
Claims of benevolence are only the beginning of the mysteries he’ll have to unravel as doubt and mistrust haunt him. He will have to form unlikely alliances in order to fathom the mysteries at the secret Mineran enclave, where intrigue, deception and imminent danger reside.
His journey for answers will introduce him to pernicious enemies with hidden agendas, as a heinous plot to kill him unravels. Can he defeat his personal demons to secure justice and discover the truth of who or what is behind the nefarious machinations and why?
 
Excerpt
Sam could see rows of large stacked cubes. They were polished bright, reflecting the light from overhead. Sam cast a questioning glance at Reb.
 
‘Would it make sense if I said they are a by-product of the process? To be precise, they are two-metre tall cubes of solid steel or eight cubic metres of steel weighing over sixty-two thousand kilogrammes each. Does that help?’ The sarcastic tone failed to mask Reb’s amusement at Sam’s quandary.
 
Sam touched one of the cubes as he walked by. The sides were perfectly smooth, and he couldn’t see the top as it was above his head height. The edges and corners were rounded, giving the cubes a look of gigantic dice.
 
A subdued glow was faintly visible from the end of the conveyor. Sam calculated it to be a quarter of a mile away. He didn’t bother to figure out how many barrels were passing him on the conveyor. A steady stream of them, spaced six feet apart, were travelling lengthways, slightly faster than the pace they were walking at. They disappeared ahead, near the glow. Sam could not make out what was happening, it all seemed to be occurring in shadows, which didn’t make sense as it was also glowing.
 
He picked up his pace a bit, subconsciously eager to solve the mystery. ‘Do I need to wear a suit or anything?’ he enquired.
 
‘No, but do not and I stress DO NOT touch anything. In fact, put your hands in your pockets when you get there,’ Reb replied cryptically.
 
He could feel the heat; it was definitely getting warmer as he drew nearer to the glow. The air had the feel of a smithy he had once visited. It had a perceptible ferrous taste. He could partially see the end wall of the tunnel thirty or forty feet behind the glow, but something large and dark was obscuring the view.
 
The conveyor ended suddenly with a short downward section. The barrels seemed to enter a dark cave. Bastards, he thought, they are dumping the drums, after all, that bullshit and holier-than-thou crap he had been fed. The bright glow prevented him from seeing into the new cave or tunnel entrance. It seemed to be a set of ultra-bright strip lights. In his haste, Sam had gotten ahead of Reb at this point; he looked back with anger in his eyes.
 
‘You go ahead, I’ll catch you up. For your own safety, please do not go up the gantry steps or go into the red zone.’
 
Sam didn’t realise it, but he had broken out into a small jog as he strained to see clearly what was happening. What seemed to be a tunnel entrance from further back must be the opening of a large twenty-foot diameter pipe, whose opening was facing directly at him as the opening was floating in the centre of the tunnel.
 
He could see the barrels rise to the top of the conveyor’s apex and then descend, lost in the illumination from the bright strip lights. At thirty feet, his assumptions fell apart. He could see that the glowing strip lights were, in fact, a constant stream of bright luminescent liquid flowing into a grill in the floor. ‘None of this makes sense,’ he muttered to himself. ‘If the liquid was the toxic waste, what’s the pipe for?’ He looked back at Reb. ‘I don’t understand, you’re just dumping it all into the ground, but what’s the pipe for?’
 
‘Look closer, Sam, you not allowing yourself to see the truth.’
 
Sam paused at the railings which separated the danger zone from the walkway with the aid of red markings on the floor, defining a twenty-foot radius from the illicit dumping area. The whole area was brightly lit. The liquid wasn’t luminescent. It was white hot. He could feel the heat searing his skin even from this distance. The pipe was blacker than night. It was void of any reflection from the incandescent liquid that was pouring down. The barrels moved along the conveyor, and they should have fallen into the centre of the dark yearning chasm and rolled away. Instead, they seemed to hit a solid barrier. Where the metal met the beginning of the opening, it instantly became molten liquid, running down across an invisible surface and into the grate in the floor.
 
Sam walked around the railing to try and see the process from the side. He didn’t hear Reb as he eventually ambled alongside him. There was no pipe, there was no nothing. From his vantage point at the side, the barrels stopped their descent from the conveyor in mid-air. The metal simply melted as if it were merely chocolate touching a white hot skillet. It ran down and back towards the direction of the conveyor. A river of molten metal floated in the air as if it were on top of an invisible thin sheet of glass that was set at a thirty-five-degree angle. Sam walked further round to see if he could make sense of what he was seeing. All he could see was blackness, a huge disc of blackness.
 
‘I don’t understand.’
 
‘My ancient ancestors with their primitive minds called it “Dia Kuklos” because they could go through the circle. This is the cause of distortion here in Minera. This is what we guard, keep secret and safe. This is our primary duty.’
 
‘So is this a black hole? Shouldn’t all of our solar system be sucked into it?’
 
‘No, you’re not seeing what is in front of you, Sam. Come back to the front and watch.’ Sam and Reb walked back along the railing to view the barrels landing on the Dia Kuklos.
 
‘Think back to the balloon model we discussed. If two distortions happened to touch each other, they’d perforate the fabric of space and link together. You can literally step through one side to the other. Your scientists theorise about this and commonly call them wormholes. There’s no tunnel connecting them. Both openings occupy the same space at the same time. They have many names in different cultures throughout the universe such as spatial apertures or perforations, portals, Quantum eyelets, interstices.’
 
He looked at Sam, beaming. ‘Cool, eh? So we are using this cosmic abnormality to dump your toxic waste. Just not where you thought. The metal can’t get through the surface tension. The reaction is so volatile that it melts upon contact. We use this to allow the waste to escape and flow through while collecting the metal for recycling.’
 
‘So you’re saying I could step through to wherever you are dumping this stuff?’
 
‘Well, you could step through, Sam, but you wouldn’t last very long. The other side is in a fixed position near a star you call Canopus. Over the course of a year or so, the waste is gently drawn in by its gravitational pull and destroyed. The aperture itself is black because neither side opens facing the star. If you could pop your head through and look to the right…’ Reb shrugged and put his hand on Sam’s shoulder. ‘I was hoping to have thought of something witty to say by now, but, there you go. What else can I do to prove to you we are the good guys?’ He handed Sam the small stone from his pocket. ‘Go ahead and toss it in, watch it float away. Do it from the other side to get a better view.’
 
Sam walked to the rear side of the aperture and gently, with an underarm throw, tossed the stone through the portal. It physically slowed as it passed through what Reb had called the surface tension. It carried on into the darkness with its left-hand side clearly visible as it was being illuminated by the unseen sun.
 
‘Why are you guarding these, why the secrecy?’
 
‘Why? Well, that’s a long story, but I’ll keep it brief. My race evolved on planet Minera long before the Overseer arrived. As our population spread over the planet, legend says they found a portal and called it “Dia Kuklos”. It happened in the midst of the harshest winter in history. My primitive ancestors found a window to a sunny world; it saved thousands of lives. They sought refuge through it and others harvested food and brought it back. Over the centuries, we eventually learnt how to detect the distortions in the fabric of space and found thirty more on our planet. Because of the nature of their original creation, these portals were always located within spatial distortions like Minera, making them difficult to find unless you know what to look for. Not all distortions contained a portal and many, being like this one, open into empty space, or hundreds of feet above the ground. As our technology evolved and resources dwindled, we abused these portals to other worlds to carry out raids and wage war.’
 
‘We discovered one portal close to a black hole. The conflicting forces waged between the portal, and the event horizon of the black hole made it jittery. The other end wasn’t permanently fixed. It sporadically lashed across the universe, momentarily setting on other portals. We learnt how to manipulate it with gravitational and spatial distorting fields. We could lock onto other portals within its original range. It is, to this date, the only one we know of with this ability. History says we were ruthless, relentless and barbaric. To the unwary, we came out of nowhere. Whole armies massed secretly in the distorted areas, unseen by the local population. It was an era of terror that we waged covertly over the universe and a shame we still carry. The Overseer stopped this. Somehow he changed the surface tension on all of the portals. Nothing but light passed through; they became useless windows. In one fell swoop, he had isolated us. We had no long distance space travel technology as we had never needed to develop it. Our planet was over populated, and resources strained. He gave us an ultimatum, either we sign up and with our knowledge locate these portals throughout the universe and guard them against further abuse or he would cause our extinction.’
 
‘The elders in their vanity would not bow down to an unknown enemy, and millions died as ruthless factions fought amongst each other for the dwindling resources. After 225 years of planet-bound war, they realised no children had been born. We had been sterilised. The last generation to be born were now in charge, and the war machine had fizzled out long ago. The remaining populace had reverted to a simpler way of life. The preservation of life and the recovery of our planet became almost a religion. It was a hybrid of high technology and ecological, environmentally friendly living. On the eve of 250 years, the Overseer spoke again. The message was clear: police the portals for him or die out. The rest is history, as they say, they capitulated, and we have served him ever since. The Overseer returned to us the ability to reproduce and the use of the portals, though he has never allowed any metal to pass through since.’
 
‘Well, that’s not what I expected. I don’t know what to say.’
 
‘There is nothing to say, but you can see a similarity between our chequered history and how your civilisation’s developing. It took a long time for our planet to recover from our greed and negligence.’ Reb ushered Sam back around with his arms. ‘We try to keep the portals secret to make our life easier. There are only a few races out there that are partially aware of them. For some they are a thing of myth and legend, magic gateways to other worlds, but nothing more.’
 
Sam subconsciously switched the case to his left arm as he walked back around.
 
‘The process,’ swinging his arm at the conveyor, ‘should end in a few minutes, then we have a few people to see.’
 
 
 
About the Author
Born in England and raised in Wales, I started my working life on a farm in the glorious rural Welsh countryside.  I retrained to become an IT Consultant and having spent thousands on Microsoft, CompTIA and Cisco qualifications; I also obtained a contract to run and teach at a Cisco Academy in England.  After this, I became a small business IT Advisor for WCBC and the Welsh Government.  As this funding dried up, I retrained as a Business Advisor and have since helped thousands of people start up their own businesses.
 
In my leisure time, I work my way through a comprehensive bucket list with my Fiancée, Cath. This has caused us great delight as we have attended various courses and fun days out, such as beekeeping, pottery making, stained glass making, painting course, cooking courses, hawk walks, animal experiences, quad biking, gorge walking and much more. Our favourite one is learning to dance. This activity has remained with us and will hopefully do so for the rest of our lives. We can do a reasonable Waltz, collapse in laughter trying the Viennese Waltz, but it is the 1920’s Lindy Hop that we have fallen in love with. After three years of dancing, we still attend regular dance classes and events.
 
Strangely, for an ex-geek, my favourite gadget is my Italian Marcato pasta machine. I love real, unprocessed food and my freshly made pasta with a home cooked sauce is amazing.
 
I have always enjoyed reading, and in my early teenage years, I read authors ranging from Harry Harrison to HG Wells. Later in life, I turned to thriller writers such as the 3 C’s; Clancy, Cussler and Child. Also, I will always have a Pratchett book on my phone for light reading. His imagination was and always will be, inspiring. I have wanted to write the Mineran Series for several years prior to actually starting and with the encouragement from Cath, who has suffered my many varied, imaginative pranks over the years, I have begun.
 
 
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