Friday, May 29, 2015


We're celebrating the release of THE FIRE DANCER by Kristen Strassel! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!

THE FIRE DANCER (Cirque Macabre, #1) by Kristen Strassel
Adult Dark Fantasy

Designer: Hang Le Designs

Artwork illustrated by: Daoyi Liu




At Le Cirque Macabre, Holly Octane bursts into flames five nights a week. The stage is where Holly feels most alive. When she’s there no one can touch her, and everyone adores her.

Brought to Las Vegas as vampire bait, Holly’s connection to the immortals is a mystery. She’s one of a kind-- traveling through time and igniting when her emotions get too hot to handle. The only people who understand her are an aunt with a hidden agenda and her fortune teller girlfriend, Rainey, who doesn’t see a future with Holly in it.

Cash Logan needs Holly, but she’s not the reason he came to Vegas. The enigmatic magician seeks Blade Bennett, a vampire that has a power that he shouldn’t have--fire. A power that could determine the future of all of vampire kind. Holly’s the only one who can help Blade control his fire, but their feelings for each other are too fiery to ignore.

Immortals rule the Vegas night, and not one of them trusts Cash or Blade. If Holly lets them draw her in to this world designed to destroy her, she’ll lose everything—the only family she’s ever known, and everyone who adores her.

Las Vegas is her stage, and Holly is determined to set the city on fire.

*THE FIRE DANCER is a spinoff novel from The Night Songs Collection.


I felt a closeness to Cash I’d never felt for another person before. Not Rainey, not Bette, certainly not Lucille. Maybe that’s why I welcomed him back. When I sucked down the flame from the baton at the next night’s performance, I only saw one face when everything began to glow. His.
He sat at one of the tables by the stage, the ones that the tourists paid a fortune for. A look of lazy bemusement had spread across his face while I performed my routine, climbing up the pole and sliding down, leaving a trail of flame in my wake. He actually seemed proud of me.
This time, he didn’t surprise me when he greeted me in my dressing room, spinning my discarded top hat on his finger.
“Am I a witch?” I asked him as soon as he closed the door. He’d given me time to settle after the show. I’d just come out of the shower, and I met his gaze in the reflection of the mirror as I wiped the leftover soot from my skin and hair. Many people speculated I dyed my waist-length hair red and wore gold contacts as part of my act, but they were wrong. That’s just the way I came. “And leave the light off. My eyes are still sensitive.
Cash’s laugh was throaty, deep, and warm. It came easily to him, laughterHe tipped his head back and let himself enjoy it. “Is that what you think you are?” he asked.
I titled my chin up, and pulled my robe tightly around my body. “Is that what my mother was?”
Another chuckle. “Why do you think I would know that?” Cash considered my top hat before putting it on his own head.
Turning away from the mirror to face him, I thought maybe he’d take me more seriously. But I’d already shown my hand. I had no answers. For him, this was playtime. Whether he needed anything from me or not, he knew he had what I’d been so desperately seeking my whole life. I blinked when he turned on the light. The gold in his hazel eyes sparkled, and something about them was too familiar. I knew those eyes, but again, I didn’t know why. Back to the mirror. “Lucille said you knew her.” And destroyed her. I left that part out. Cash thought he was here for a comedy show, and he had the wrong theater.
“You can’t trust Lucille. I’m sure that’s not news,” Cash scolded me, but then asked softly, “How old are you, Holly?”
Panic rose from the pit of my stomach, electric shocks numbing my limbs. It was such a simple question. “I don’t know,” I whispered, leaning against my dressing table and bowing my head. “I feel like I’ve lived forever.
Cash rose from the chair, my top hat still on his head, and stood behind me, so close I shivered. He moved my hair away from my neck, his cold fingers brushing my skin, and placed it over my right shoulder. Our eyes locked in the mirror. “Do you remember being a little girl?” His breath tickled my bare neck.
I nodded. The timeline didn’t make any sense, I could place myself anywhere in time, at any age, and I could mold and shape history. I had no proof of this, because when I snapped out of itas Lucille called it, everything was recorded as it always was. Only I knew it was different. Rainey understood, but she couldn’t explain how it happened.
“How long have you been like this?” His gaze ran the length of my robe, and he didn’t have to clarify what he meant.
As far as everyone knew, I was twenty-four. “Decades. I think.” The concept of time simply made me dizzy.
Cash nodded; my answer didn’t surprise him. “You were born north of London in 1781, in a village called Moorfields.” My knees buckled, and if I didn’t clutch the table, I would have fallen. Even though I knew the answer wasn’t going to be something nice and neat like twenty-five years ago in Memphis, actually having the answer blew my mind.
“I remember things that happened before that.” I couldn’t face him. “And I think I remember you.”
“Do you?” Cash ran his fingers lightly along my hair, never touching my body. At first, I was terrified we’d burst into flames. We’d fireproofed my dressing room, but Cash wouldn’t survive. This information was just the tip of the iceberg. I needed him to stay alive. “What do you remember?”
Images jumbled in my brain as if someone spun a wheel. I saw Cash, bound, bloody, and burned, surrounded by laughing onlookers. His hair was shorter, and it was a different time, but I knew him. His eyes. No matter what humiliation was bestowed upon him, they remained proud. “Chaos.”
His silky laugh almost convinced me I’d been wrong. No one could actually survive the state I pictured Cash in, his skin purple from abuse, weak from starvation, and still have a sense of humor. But those eyes. “That’s about right.” He moved closer to me, my robe pressed against my skin.
I couldn’t let him distract me. “But why do I remember things that happened before that? Like I was there. Is that even possible?”
“If you experienced it, then you made it possible, Holly.” His words were soft, and like time, they made me dizzy. “You’re a Bleed.”
My eyes snapped open. “A what?”
“You’re a Bleed. You age much more slowly than mortals, and you’re immortality extends in all directions. Forward, backward, and sideways if it’s possible.”
had to turn and face him. Rainey would knock on the door any time now, and I needed to wrap this up before she came. She’d warned me stay away from Cash. We’d been fighting too much lately already. I hated it. “How many of us are there?”
“You mean how many of you are there.” Someone knocked on the door softly. I forced my eyes away from Cash, and he stepped back. The knock repeated, more forceful this time. Rainey would be able to sense I wasn’t alone, even if she couldn’t see Cash. “You might be the only one.”
“Then how do you know so much about it?” I kept waiting for the heat to rise in my body, but it didn’t. All the triggers, fear and frustration, were there, but no flames. The knocking became frantic.
“Because I do.” Cash placed my hat back on my head before he headed to the door. His hand was on the doorknob when he turned back to me. “You’ve been patient this long, Holly. I want you to need me.”

(1) Night Songs Collection ebook set

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About the Author:

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house. 


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All Antonio did was hurt her.
All he did was give her hell.
He took away everything good in her world.
Everything that ever mattered.
Jenny is used to putting on a brave facade, letting the outside world see her as wild and free. She is loyal and loves with her whole heart, loving others so much that she is willing to sacrifice herself in the process.

Jules was only supposed to be a diversion for Jenny. Fun times with no strings attached. She didn't intend to fall for Jules, a member of The Devil’s Crusader’s Motorcycle Club. But fall for him is exactly what she did.

Antonio has been wreaking havoc on her life since Jenny was sixteen years old. Now she is forced to marry Antonio to keep her loved ones safe, destroying the man she loves in the process and driving him away.

Riding back into town after years away, Jules discovers the woman he once loved no longer exists, and it’s up to him to see if he can bring her back.

NOTE TO READER: This book contains strong sexual scenes and violence against women. Jenny curses so if you can't stand the "f" bomb then avoid this one. This is book 3, however, each book in the series can be read as a stand alone.

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Shelly’s 5 Star Review:

Jenny never lets any man get close.  If she does Antonio reminds her that she belongs to him and he will come for her one day.  After a break up she decides to have fun and stops at a bar.  There she meets Maura and is introduced to The Devil’s Crusader’s Motorcycle Club.  Jules is suppose to be a diversion for her but her heart thinks otherwise.  When Jules admits his love Antonio swoops in and changes Jenny's life.  

"Life is ugly and hard.  I tried to do my best to dance through it, but what I should've learned is that if the rhythm is off and you can't catch a beat, you just look like a fool.  I was a fool to believe it would all work out.  I was a fool to believe in love."

Jenny is a strong, funny lady but she is always looking over her shoulder waiting for Antonio.  She does what she needs to to save her family and the ones she loves.  This includes breaking thing off with Jules.  It breaks her heart and his.  As she is trapped in a relationship with Antonio she looses herself and alienates herself from her family and friends.  Jules is hard core but you will also see his softer side.  Years later Jules see her and knows that something is not right.  Can he save her before it is too late?  Can they find their love again?

I love the rawness that the story told.  Ms. McCarthy always does a great job of writing a story that is not only about love but suspense, angst, and survival.  You will fall in love with the characters.  This can be read as a stand alone but I have read the other books in this series and love them also.  I highly suggest that you read about the alpha males of The Devil's Crusader's MC Club and their women

Abby Excerpt

I looked away from the paper and met Jules’ eyes. He was searching mine trying to read my thoughts. He looked worried like he was nervous about what I would think. Jules moved a piece of hair behind my ear and then said, “I know. It doesn't do you justice.”

“Are you kidding me? I was thinking that I don't live up to the woman in the picture. Is that how you see me, Jules?”

In a flash, he closed the sketchpad and tossed it on the chair. He moved on top of me, holding himself up like he was going to do a pushup, his hands on each side of my head, “If you could only see how I see you.”

I gulped at his words. There is so much more to Jules than meets the eye. With him on top of me, staring down at me, whispering words to me that made me feel vulnerable and beautiful, I felt guilty. This happiness wasn't mine to have. I took advantage of the night, and now the sun was starting to rise. A ray of light peeked through a high glass block window telling me my time was up.

“Jules,” I began, then drew in a breath and continued, “Tonight has been amazing but…”

“Don’t you dare lay beneath me in my t-shirt and nothing else and try to give me some it’s not you, it’s me crap. You feel this right here.” He moved to his knees so that he was straddling my thighs then reached up between my legs and pressed his thumb right into my pussy, “That’s me inside of you. You feel all that wetness? That’s my cum and you coating my finger. You like me there, don't you?” His thumb moved over my clit and two fingers filled me up. I gasped. This was not going how I envisioned. I needed to get away and tell him this was a one-time thing. “You need me here, don’t you?”

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Abby McCarthy
Abby McCarthy is reader and a lover of words. She is a blogger turned author and released her first novel in May 2014. She is a mother of three, a wife and a dog person. She has always written, sometimes poetry, sometimes just to vent about failed relationships, however in parenthood she has found her voice to help keep her sanity. Words have flowed from her, to review and with the support of amazing friends in the Indie community she has decided to pursue her dream of writing! She loves to write and read romance, because isn't that something we all yearn for? Whether it be flowers and hand holding or just the right tug on your hair. Isn't that what life is about? The human connection?