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Heaven is hell without her.

The Soul Mate Tree series has been quite a wonderful project, with talented authors adding a new story each month. I have had the pleasure this year of reading many of them and hosting a few of the writers here on the blog. This month I am happy to have author L.D. Rose visit. Her contribution is called “Sweet Sacrifice”. Welcome, Linda! Can you tell us what “Sweet Sacrifice” is about?

Former Navy SEAL Sebastian “Bash” Lockard died in Afghanistan after leaping on a grenade to save his comrades. Little did he know his act of heroism would grant him a ticket into Heaven’s elite army as one of the few and powerful Archangels. Struggling with his new existence, Bash still retains his human memories, leaving behind a wife he loves with all of his heart. Although he’s forbidden to see her, he can’t resist her lure, or the mortal desires he harbors for her.

As a young widow and nurse, Irene Lockard still mourns her husband two years after his untimely death. His absence is everywhere, and when her best friend weds, she hits an emotional rock bottom. As if summoned from the skies above, Sebastian appears before her, and they share an unforgettable night. But when he once again vanishes, she wonders if she’s truly gone mad with grief.

The only way Sebastian can remain with Irene is if he makes the ultimate sacrifice. But will she overcome her fear of losing him again to another war?

And here is a short snippet of it:

Bash’s gaze caught on a couple on the dance floor, the sight of her sinking into him like hooks and bringing him to a standstill.

With her dark curls springing over her shoulders, she spun across the hardwood, her pale gray dress flowing around her. Much like in his recent vision of her, she tipped her head back and laughed, beautiful, stunning, her smile as bright as the yellow calla lilies tucked in her hair. She swayed with a man in dress whites, a Marine, another fucking soldier she didn’t belong with. And as the rain of realization became a downpour of comprehension, he remembered the engagement, where Claude proposed to Lucille—at their wedding—right before Bash left for another tour of Afghanistan.

“Bash?” Gabriel stepped in front of him, blocking his view, pale eyes narrowed.

Bash’s hand slammed into Gabriel’s chest, pushing him away as he lurched forward. Gabriel reacted faster, though, snatching his arm and wrenching him back at least four feet. Bash lunged again and the Arc’s hand fisted in his white button-down shirt.

“Don’t,” Gabriel growled, all humor draining from his angular face and setting his expression in stone. “Do not.”

Bash’s heart punched at the angel’s fist, every fiber of his being burning with the urge to run to her, to wrap his arms around her and feel her body against his one more time. Envy, rage, longing, and sadness blasted through him in a toxic tornado of emotion ready to whip this place into oblivion.

He nearly ground his molars into pulp. “Let. Me. Go.”

“You are dead, Sebastian. You’re no longer part of this world. All you’ll do is bring her pain, bring yourself pain. Don’t do this.” Twin streams of air whistled from the Arc’s nostrils as he shook his head. “I should’ve never brought you here.”

Bring him pain? More pain than he’d already endured? No.

No.

 Oh, I like that! And I love that name, Sebastian. Where can we get a copy, L.D.?

List of Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074KJTJT8/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074KJTJT8/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B074KJTJT8/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B074KJTJT8/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35912787-sweet-sacrifice

Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/writerldrose/sweet-sacrifice/

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/12150626565/playlist/4nG0R3mLB36hP2osulBBJp

To learn more about L.D.Rose, check this out:

L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a PAN member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.

Sign up for her newsletter for the latest on the Senary, sneak peeks, giveaways, and other fun stuff: http://eepurl.com/bKvuXD. You’ll receive a free horror short story with sign-up!

You can also join her reader group on FB for more shenanigans. 😉 DEVOUR THE NIGHT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1544747369161573/

Where else to find her:

Website: www.writerldrose.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/ldrose

Facebook: www.facebook.com/writerldrose

Author page: www.facebook.com/ldroseauthorpage

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ld_rose

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/ldrose

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/writerldrose

Tumblr: www.writerdoc.tumblr.com

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

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/l-d-rose

And just in case you weren’t already hooked, here is a longer snippet of “Sweet Sacrifice”:

Her eyes snapped open, her vision blanketed by huge white feathers, before a giant wing shoved her back. Her arms flailed as she fell hard on her tailbone, the impact rattling up her spine and clacking her jaw shut.

Pain and awareness ripped into her, the veil of fantasy torn from her eyes as she gawked at the rail in front of her.

She was outside. In the dark. Ready to jump from her hotel balcony.

Her sharp intake of air scraped her ears, her heart kicking against her ribcage as she covered her gaping mouth with her hand. Holy shit. Did I sleepwalk? Was she really about to plummet to her death from fourteen stories high?

And did a huge bird just save her life?

Backpedaling across the concrete, the air cool against her thighs now that she’d nearly torn her dress in half, she hit the glass of the sliding balcony doors. Reaching up with a shaking hand, she clutched the handle and pulled herself haphazardly to her feet, yanking the door open and stumbling inside. She slammed it shut behind her, the glass rattling from the force of the blow as she flipped the lock closed. Retreating farther, she toppled onto the bed, staring at the night outside with growing horror.

She recounted her steps from when she’d arrived at the hotel. The elevator, the housekeeper, entering the room, sitting, crying, falling asleep, the river, the blood, the panic, the tree—

The tree.

Climbing the tree, touching its leaves, remembering . . .

A loud thump hit the balcony outside, muted by the thick glass. Her bleary eyes shot to the figure standing on the ledge and she released a cross between a sob and a shriek, then stifled her mouth with a hand.

Tall, bare-chested, his suit jacket and shirt bunched in his fist as he tossed them aside. Tattoos covered his arms, shoulders, and the base of his neck. Closer now, she discerned the pattern of inked wings, pale muscles rippling, lines and cuts he’d never worn before. His dark hair fell a little longer on top, disheveled from the wind, his face still carved with gorgeous edges, but thinner, wearier. His eyes were black holes, endless, consuming. Infinite.

Sebastian.

His knuckles rapped on the glass, the sound sending a terrified jolt into her nervous system. His eyes bore into hers, cutting through the darkness.

“Reen. Open the door.”

Reen. Her nickname rumbled from his lips, his voice still that resonant timbre she adored. God, some nights she’d pleaded to hear that sound again, just to listen to him speak one last time.

This had to be another dream. He had to be a dream. She was hallucinating.

Christ, had Phillipe spiked her drink?

“Reen.” He grasped the handle, tugged on it, his inked bicep contracting. “I know you see me.”

She couldn’t move, nailed to the bed with fear, paralyzed by disbelief. He pressed both palms flat on the glass, big hands with callused fingers, hands that had memorized every part of her body. He broke eye contact, dipping his head as he murmured, “Please, baby. Let me in.”

As if his plea granted her motor skills, Irene was suddenly on her feet, hurrying across the carpet toward him. She struggled to control her shaking hands, trembles reverberating through her entire body. It took her three tries to flip the latch, and then she backed away, recoiling, afraid of this man who looked so much like her dead lover.

He pulled the slider open in a smooth, fluid movement, the cool ocean breeze escaping into the airless hotel. Setting his sights on her, he stepped over the threshold, his presence filling the room, overwhelming her entirely. When her back hit the main door, the opportunity to flee opened up wide, but she stilled as his scent wafted into her nostrils, a blend of sandalwood and her husband.

Sebastian. Her Sebastian.

The slider closed behind him, the finality of the sound echoing through her bones, and she couldn’t run.

Not from him. Never from him.

An almost strangled sigh escaped him and he swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. A gut-wrenching pain glittered in his dark eyes while he drank her in, his gaze skittering over her from head to toe, as if reacquainting himself with his broken disaster of a wife.

Finally, he approached her in the dark, closing the distance between them, and she pressed harder against the door. If he held her, if he so much as touched her, she would be lost to him, squandering any semblance of sanity she’d managed to retain in these awful years without him.

Blistering tears flowed freely down her cheeks as he halted mere inches away, so close, so goddamn close his warmth radiated off his bare chest. He lifted a hand and she flinched, stopping him as if she’d slapped him. The pained expression on his face yanked a wretched sob from her throat, and she just couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe he stood right there in front of her.

The medal, the flag, the decorated casket, the salute . . . had it all been a lie?

His finger brushed her cheek, tentative, soft, waiting for her to strike. When she didn’t, he cupped her face in his hand, his skin still rough and callused, wiping away her tears with his thumb. She leaned into his touch, unable to resist his warmth, and he framed her face with his free hand, staring into her eyes with a need so raw it stole what little breath she had left in her burning lungs.

“My God.” He whispered the words, as if he didn’t have the strength to give them voice. “I’ve missed you.”

.

 

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I am delighted to have another contributing author visit, and bring their story for the Soul Mate Tree Collection of stories. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Steven Mitchell. His book is a delightful and fun Science Fiction Romantic Comedy, called “Between Venus and Mars”.

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An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

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HEAT LEVEL: Steamy **  An intergalactic adventure filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Once Upon a Galaxy . . .

Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.

Pulled from a relaxing shower, across the galaxy to Old Earth, Galactic Marshall Kyle Kepler finds himself naked and marooned with a quirky rim rat. Zana’s broken more laws than Kyle can count, and he plans to arrest her, just as soon as he can find transport off the planet and a pair of pants.

A junk heap of a starship, a magical tree, and a roving gang of mutant kangaroos are just the beginning of rollicking intergalactic journey filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Book Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Venus-Mars-Soul-Mate-ebook/dp/B01N7OXSND/

Author S.C. Mitchell has this to say: When series collide: Between Venus and Mars is not only set the multi-dimensional worlds of the Soul Mate Tree legend, but also ties into my Hearts in Orbit series, a futuristic universe filled with starships, aliens, and new technologies. And, of course, romance. The Soul Mate Tree project offered me a great way to play with some new characters and further develop my universe, while partnering with some of the best authors in the business.

The Hearts in Orbit universe is a place where galactic marshals keep the peace in the cosmopolitan Core Worlds as well as the wild-west type rim world planets. While this book works as a standalone, and you don’t have to have read any of the others, I consider it Hearts in Orbit 2.5, fitting nicely between Pirates of the Dark Nebula and my soon-to-be-released Hearts in Orbit 3 novel Captives of the Kratzen.

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016DF63JM/

 

                              Hidden strengths, adventurous hearts.

S.C.Mitchell grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.

As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.

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You’ll find him at:

http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Blog: http://scmitchellauthor.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSMitchell

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk

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Incredible. That was the single word that came to mind months ago when I first learned of Soul Mate Publishing’s latest endeavor.  As it was described to me, this is a flagship group of Soul Mate authors who are busy creating a series of thirteen novellas for The Soul Mate Tree Collective, which combines legend and fantasy to bring soul mates together over time, over continents . . . over worlds.

 

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The legend of the soul mate tree:
I am old, I am ancient, my purpose is clear
To give those who are needy a treasure so dear.
They who come to my roots, touch my bark, stroke my leaves
Find the soul of their lives if they but believe.
When I call and you listen, your prize will be great
If your heart remains open and you don’t hesitate.
Do you yearn? Be you lonely? Is your time yet at hand?
Reach for me and I’ll give to you. I’m yours to command.
For your trust, for your faith, keep my secrets untold
And I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.
An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.
For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.  The second story to launch in this series is by C.D. Hersh, entitled “Can’t Stop the Music”. As a treat, there is a short except at the bottom of this post.

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Here is the story’s Blurb:

For college senior and hippie wannabe Rosemary—Rose for short—a teaching job is within her grasp, but she wants more. She wants love, the kind of love that has bound her parents for so many years. When she’s dumped by her current boyfriend because her morals can’t bring her to give in to free love, she finds herself at Woodstock in the middle of the biggest free-love music festival of the Sixties. Alone, again. Until a magical tree grants her wish and she finds the man of her dreams—and loses him before she really knows who he is.

Dakota meets the girl of his dreams at Woodstock, but a jealous wannabe girlfriend drives them apart before he can discover Rose’s last name and where she comes from. After he sees a disappearing tree that promises him true love, a frantic search to find Rose comes up empty-handed.

Magic and music brings them together at Woodstock in 1969. Misunderstandings tear them apart. Will two flower children find one another again, or live with missed opportunities?

Book Trailer for The Soul Mate Tree: https://youtu.be/VjxyyD3TVoA

Trailer for CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC: https://youtu.be/18EuE-SOvH4

About C.D. Hersh:  

Two hearts creating everlasting love stories. Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

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The books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors. (including yours truly)

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Connect with C.D. Hersh:

Website: https://cdhersh.wordpress.com/
Soul Mate Publishing Author Blogsite: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cdhershauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/cdhersh
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCDHersh
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh

As Promised, a Short Excerpt:  “Can’t Stop the Music”

As they made their way to the festival site, Rose and her friends grooved to the music coming from the stage.

When they reached the makeshift bridge over the road, someone yelled, “Hey beautiful! You with the red hair.”

She looked around to see if there was anyone else with red hair. Then she glanced up and spotted two guys, one blond and the other dark-haired, leaning over the side of the bridge.

“Yeah, you,” the blond called out as he caught her gaze.

Willow halted beside her. “He’s cute. How about him?”

Rose looked away, her gaze landing on the other guy.

He jabbed his companion in the ribs. “Quit trying to pick up every girl you see.” Then he leaned farther over the rail. “Don’t pay any attention to him. He’s high.”

“So she’s not beautiful?” Willow yelled to the hippie.

She poked her friend. “Stop it, Willow, you’re making a scene.” In spite of her protest, her gaze remained on the dark-haired guy.

He rested his elbows on the rail and stared back at her. The intensity of his expression shot heat into her belly.

“I didn’t say that, just that she shouldn’t pay attention to him.” He flapped a hand at his blond buddy, then tapped his own chest with his thumb several times as if to say, ‘Choose me!’

Does he want me to pay attention to him? Her heart thumped in rhythm to his jabbing thumb.

“Take that one,” Willow whispered. “He’s the real cutie.”

Before she could respond, the crowd pushed them forward. When they reached the other side of the bridge, she looked back, searching for the dark-haired hippie, but the spot where he’d stood was empty.

Just my luck. I see someone who’s intriguing and he disappears.

With a sigh, she continued the trek to the festival grounds.

_________________________________________________________

I’ve had the pleasure to read this story before its release and would like to offer my opinion here.

Fans of Woodstock will enjoy the trip down memory lane. At the back of the book the authors thoughtfully included the song list of 60’s, 70’s, and other nostalgic titles that will surely wake up those groovy feelings of yesteryear. Music fans will be pleased with the many references to the classics and assorted instruments. All grown up, Rose (the heroine) and Dakota (the hero) leave Woodstock behind them and engage in teaching careers within the music field.

“Can’t Stop the Music” is a short read that delivers a lot of feel good emotions and enough questions to keep one turning the pages. The ultimate question of whether a bit of magic from a special tree can transcend time to bring two free love kids from the 60’s together ten years later will be answered only after much tension and twists & turns. Without spoiling the plot, let’s just say it is expected for people to move on and have a life over a ten year span. What happens when that life collides with the return of a past life? What happens when you can’t stop the music in your heart and soul?

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