Join Holly Bargo
Whether you’re into fantasy, mystery, romance, devotional reading or you’re looking for fun and unique children’s books, this event is for you!
The Mid-Ohio Indie Author Book Expo features works of fiction and non-fiction by local self-published authors. It is a free event for attendees but there is a fee for participating authors/illustrators (registration deadline – August 4, 2018).
Daughter of the Twin Moons
Cancer. The terminal diagnosis paralyzes Catriona. Both saved and imperiled, she must navigate a new, immortal life as mate to the Captain of the Seelie Palace Guard.
In obedience to the oracle’s command, Thelan abducts a human woman and takes her to the Deepwood where she is unmade and remade by ancient magic. Thus given his mate, he quickly finds himself enamored of her spirit, intelligence, and uncommon beauty. She arouses his passion and challenges both his control and authority at every turn. Thelan needs to win the heart and trust of this untraditional female whom he’s determined to keep and protect from those who covet control over the moon-born’s legendary influence.
Catriona let them have their way with her, obeying their softly spoken instructions as they massaged her limbs while they cleaned her body. She detected no prurience, no salaciousness, in their care for her and floated on a cloud of pure physical pleasure. She luxuriated in the warm languor, not particularly paying attention to her caretakers’ gentle splashing in the pool until she realized that their play with each other was not so innocent. She closed her eyes against their sexual play until, giggling, the women practically poured her into a long gray gown deceptively simple in its fashion. The neckline swept from collar bone to collar bone. The bodice seams followed the line of the feminine figure to flare at the hip into a full skirt. The hem dragged the floor, immediately darkening when the fabric absorbed the moisture.
“She’s not as tall as one might expect,” the attendant said in dismay as she stared at several inches of wet hemline. “I should find a shorter gown, perhaps in the children’s wardrobe.”
“She was built upon human bone,” Gwenda explained and, with a wave of her hand, dismissed the offer to find a child-sized gown which might be short enough, but would not accommodate adult curves. “The captain appears well satisfied with her small size.”
The attendant smiled slyly. “I would have thought a larger female would be necessary to satisfy one such as he.”
“She is his mate, created for him, tuned to his pleasure.”
Catriona frowned at hearing that. What did Gwenda mean by that? She held her own hand in front of her face, examined the slender, graceful, smoothly skinned appendage that yet glittered faintly as though lit from beneath by myriad twinkling stars. She could not deny that much had changed, but she thought she was still the same person inside the new body—at least her bones were if she understood Gwenda’s oblique reference. She pondered the meaning of the physical change, the extent of the change that made her respond to the handsome captain and forget she had a life, a career, and a family elsewhere. And a date with chemotherapy or hospice. She missed them, didn’t she?
“Will you take her to the dining hall, Gwenda? Or return her to the captain’s suite?”
“The suite for now. She tires easily and must rest.”
“First, take care of her hair, else it will soak the gown.”
The two females escorted Catriona into a warm, arid room and unwound the towel from around her head. Gwenda caught her hair and began running a comb through the long, long strands. Surprisingly, the comb did not catch on any tangles.
Soon—too soon, really—Catriona’s hair was dry. Gwenda efficiently plaited it into a long braid that hung to mid-thigh. Unbound, her hair stretched to her knees.
“Thank you,” Catriona said politely in the new language that came so readily to her tongue.
The attendant nodded acknowledgement and said, “I shall call an escort for you.”
Gwenda, who now tended to her own hair, nodded assent. In a moment, the maid, wearing a moss green dress, and her mistress, wearing a similarly styled gown of pale blue, met a uniformed guard who bowed with stiff precision and allowed the rapidly weakening female on his right to use his strength to walk.
As Gwenda had mentioned, the palace rearranged itself and the return trip to the captain’s suite took less time along a shorter route in accordance to their needs.
Thelan waited for them when they arrived.
“Thank you for escorting my lady,” the captain said with a curt nod of dismissal.
The guard bowed and retreated, steps smooth and quiet and hasty.
“I wondered where you went,” he said quietly in a voice gone soft with menace.
Gwenda turned pale. “My lady felt much recovered and wished to visit the baths,” she replied, head bowed, gaze averted, near to trembling as though she expected a blow.
“Leave her be, Thelan,” Catriona said, drawing his attention away from the maid. “She was only trying to be kind and helpful.”
Thelan’s eyes narrowed at his mate’s acidic tone.
“I am grateful to her,” Catriona added. “And now, I’m hungry.”
Still stinging with the shame of having not anticipated his mate’s hunger after her first awakening, Thelan sprang to fulfill her nutritional needs. He took a chair and drew her into his lap, insisting that she rest against him while he brought choice morsels of fruits and cheeses to her lips.
Daughter of the Twin Moons - July Book of the Month
On Sale - First Week Of July
Buy on Amazon
Cancer. The terminal diagnosis paralyzes Catriona. Both saved and imperiled, she must navigate a new, immortal life as mate to the Captain of the Seelie Palace Guard.
In obedience to the oracle’s command, Thelan abducts a human woman and takes her to the Deepwood where she is unmade and remade by ancient magic. Thus given his mate, he quickly finds himself enamored of her spirit, intelligence, and uncommon beauty. She arouses his passion and challenges both his control and authority at every turn.
Thelan needs to win the heart and trust of this untraditional female whom he’s determined to keep and protect from those who covet control over the moon-born’s legendary influence.
Catriona sat in her car, head bowed and white-knuckled hands clenched on the steering wheel. She leaned her head back against the headrest and tried to absorb the test results. It couldn’t be worse.
Stage IV ovarian cancer.
Intensive chemotherapy might--might--give her a few more months, but would those months be worth living? Should she call hospice care now or wait, because she was fairly sure she did not want to endure the misery of chemotherapy. She sighed and let the tears fall unheeded as she wrapped her mind around the dismal prognosis.
She was going to die, sooner rather than later.
How would she tell her husband? Her children? Her granchildren? Her elderly parents? Should she quit her job now and enjoy what time was left to her? What about insurance? She sighed again, sniffled, not knowing the answers and too stunned by the diagnosis to fully accept it yet. It didn’t seem quite real.
She drove home, went about her usual routine, claimed to be tired, and went to bed early. Her husband glanced after her retreating figure, questions and concerns unspoken. Catriona would tell him what was bothering her when she was ready and not a minute before.
The next day she got up and went to work as usual, letting her subconscious mull over her situation until she could figure out what to do. Her coworkers never suspected anything.
Thelan, captain of the palace guard, led three of his most trusted warriors through the dim, oily interior of a building where the horseless chariots of humans waited patiently for their owners’ commands. He could hear their thoughts: What is this place? What are those hulking metal beasts? In all his seventy thousand years, Thelan never thought to be grateful for such a distasteful environment as the humans built themselves. But it was there the oracle had sent him, there he would find his fate.
They heard a mechanical noise, the din of human voices discussing inconsequential things in their rough, rude tongue. A box opened and disgorged its passengers. Thelan had ridden in one during one of his intelligence-gathering sorties. It was called an elevator. He wasn’t entirely sure how it worked, but the mechanism performed with admirable efficiency. Humans, for all their shortsightedness and crudity, exhibited amazing ingenuity.
There she is, he alerted his men, communicating with them mind to mind across the common path. They followed the direction of his gaze and found themselves puzzled. The woman identified was no beauty among humankind. She bore a weary expression on her aged face and wore unflattering garb.
You must be mistaken, Captain, his lieutenant protested. Surely, the oracle would not burden you with an old woman.
Thelan, too, had been surprised by the woman revealed by the oracle; however, he could not argue. One only argued with the oracle at great peril.
The oracle identified this female and provided the coordinates to secure her.
The other three warriors did nothing so crass as shake their heads with disbelief, but he could feel their tamped-down incredulity.
You have the simulacrum? he confirmed.
Aye, his lieutenant replied.
We’ll need a few drops of her blood to activate the decoy.
The three warriors nodded.
The woman walked toward one of the shiny metal carriages parked in a somewhat darker corner of the parking garage than most of the other vehicles. Emerging from their concealment within a separate plane of existence, the four warriors surged forward and surrounded her. The abduction took all of three seconds. A silver blade pricked her arm which bled several drops onto the golem. The lieutenant tossed the activated simulacrum into the vehicle. It twitched and grew and transformed until a perfect facsimile of the woman rested unmoving in the driver’s seat.
“Sleep,” Thelan commanded, exerting his will upon her unprepared and unprotected mind. The woman slumped in his arms. He spat a quick spell that transferred the unattractive garments she wore to the golem. In deference to his mate’s modesty, one of Thelan’s guard shook out a blanket and wrapped it around her aged, pudgy body.
Remind me never to seek the oracle’s assistance in procuring a mate, one of the other warriors commented acidly as Thelan hoisted the unconscious woman in his arms. His captain threw him a dark look that promised retribution sooner rather than later.
At the end of those three precious seconds, one of the warriors opened the portal from one dimension to another and the other threw a silvery egg that shattered upon landing and released a final spell which would bring emergency personnel. The magic sustaining the golem would not last indefinitely, so it was necessary for the decoy to fulfill its purpose. Thelan did not want the woman’s family to search for a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter who could never be found. He had stolen her from them and they must know she was gone forever. Confirmation of her death would leave them no opening for doubt. He did not begrudge her family that final kindness.
Black void swirled with dizzying rainbows and meteor streaks of white light as the four warriors traversed the portal that led them from Earth to Emain Ablach. The one who opened the portal made sure to secure it shut to prevent any curious human from following through and stumbling into the Land of Promise.
“Thank you, Grigori,” Thelan said to his lieutenant as he shifted his grip so the woman lay more comfortably within his arms. He grunted under the burden of her weight.
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Captain,” his lieutenant commented.
“I am obedient to the oracle,” he replied solemnly.
The other males nodded their acknowledgement. One did not seek the oracle’s advice and then disregard it, however distasteful it might be. That might have been one reason the sidhe seldom sought the oracle’s wisdom.
“Return to the palace and resume your places there,” Thelan ordered. “Inform the king that we retrieved the female.”
The Barbary Lion
Once a king and now a police detective and always a hunter, Atlas Leonidus dreamed of his mate and knew the instant her foot touched the soil of his country.
Chloe cannot believe what her captor says, though the changes wrought in her own body give evidence to his wild words. Isolated, she becomes depressed. Rebellious, she breaks beneath his autocratic rule.
Upon discovering her escape, Atlas realizes what his cruelty has cost. Atlas hopes that Dmitry never learns that he did not complete the bonding ritual and that Chloe can still be claimed.
Tiger in the Snow
Healing from a deserved drubbing at the hands of Atlas Leonidus, Siberian tiger shifter Dmitry Alkaev travels from Cairo to Virginia. The strange compulsion leads him to his mate and a fearsome rival.
Tessa Hart's romantic Valentine's Day weekend ends in utter disaster. Fate drops her into the arms of two big, handsome men who both assert their ownership over her.
The choice, eventually, is hers. Accepting him means the end of life as she knows it and the beginning of a life she cannot fathom.
Daughter of the Dark Moon
Twin Moons Saga
Tasty Dish from Holly Bargo
Worlds fear the powerful, ruthless, and cold-hearted Unseelie king. Deposed and his kingdom conquered, Uberon answers the call of a young human woman's soul and claims her as his mate. Corinne soon learns her fate and the consequences of fae immortality as she adapts to a new world and her relationship with Uberon develops.
Corinne ignored him and got to work stowing her belongings in their proper places. In such a tiny space, organization and tidiness were mandatory. He followed her back outside to the stump of an old oak leveled off and sanded smooth after the remnant gales of a southern hurricane had toppled it. Cleaver in hand, she lay one largemouth bass on the stump and raised the blade. Another hand wrapped around her wrist, holding it. She looked into the silver eyes of the stranger. He raised one finely drawn eyebrow and, without speaking, gently extracted the cleaver from her hand. With his other hand, he drew her away from the stump. He gave her a pointed look that needed no words to explain he would clean the fish.
“Whatever,” she muttered and shrugged her shoulders before going back inside. It was, she mused, quite possibly the most idiotic thing she’d done that day, leaving a strange man outside with a cleaver. What if he happened to be an axe murderer?
She snorted and giggled at her own absurdity as she pulled a cast iron skillet from the cupboard and set it on the stove. A twist of the wrist, a hiss and a whoosh, and blue flame rose from the burner. Corinne found some dill-infused olive oil and drizzled it into the pan. A heady scent quickly rose. She grabbed a bundle of asparagus and rinsed the spears, a lemon and cut it in half, salt, pepper, and leftover rice pilaf from the day before. She loosened the lid on the rice and popped it into the small microwave oven for reheating.
Two perfectly cleaned and filleted fish slapped down on the countertop beside her. Without speaking the man turned on the spigot and washed his hands and the cleaver in the sink. Corinne found her gaze drawn to those hands, large but not crude, the fingers long and elegant and capable looking. When he finished, she rinsed the fillets, patted them dry with paper towels, and lay them in the skillet. The flesh sizzled. She dumped the asparagus spears into the skillet, too. Knowing she had a few minutes—not many—she pulled down two of her four plates and retrieved the necessary silverware.
“Thanks for cleaning the fish,” she said and held out the plates and silverware. “You can set the table. Cups are in the upper cabinet left of the sink. Napkins are in the drawer below the silverware.”
The man looked down his straight nose at her, faintly horrified, but he took what Corinne handed him and obeyed her order. With a spatula, she checked the underside of the fish and, satisfied with the golden brown color, flipped it. She turned the asparagus spears to ensure they cooked on all sides, squeezed the lemon over the contents of the skillet, and sprinkled salt and pepper. The correct buttons pressed, the microwave hummed and the old turntable rattled.
She placed a potholder on the table and transferred the skillet from the stovetop to the table. A moment later, she transferred the reheated rice to the table and extracted a serving spoon from a drawer.
“Bon appétit,” she said in her best imitation of Julia Child as she seated herself and gestured for her guest to take the seat across from her.
He looked at her with a puzzled frown.
“I’m not a good mimic,” she acknowledged with good cheer. “You should hear my Jacques Pépin imitation. It’s even worse.”
He blinked at her. She sighed, crossed herself, folded her hands, and bowed her head to quickly murmur a rote prayer over the food on the table. She crossed herself again and gave him a determinedly bright smile.
“So, tell me about yourself, like your name,” she said as she used a fork and spatula to transfer an entire fillet and several asparagus spears to his plate. He simply looked at her. “You’ve been watching me for the last few days. I know you have. Mind telling me why?”
She spooned rice onto his plate and he picked up his fork. She waited with an expectant attitude as he sampled her cooking.
“Oh, I forgot drinks,” she exclaimed and jumped up to retrieve a pitcher half full of iced tea. She poured and set the pitcher on the table.
“Will you at least tell me your name?” she begged as she filled her own plate. “You look like the Grim Reaper frowning at me.”
Her guest met her gaze, his unblinking, and he finally replied in a low, somewhat rusty baritone, “Uberon.”
She gifted him with a polite smile and said, steel lacing every syllable, “Thank you. Now please tell me why you’ve been shadowing me.”
Corinne choked on the tea she attempted to swallow. Setting the glass down, she said, “What do you mean by that?”
“You’re mine,” he repeated, his voice low, quiet, and calm as though he declared nothing more momentous than the state of the weather. He gestured at his plate with his fork and added, “This is good.”
Twin Moons Saga Book 3
Worlds fear the powerful, ruthless, and cold-hearted Unseelie king. Deposed and his kingdom conquered, Uberon answers the call of a young human woman's soul and claims her as his mate.
Corinne soon learns her fate and the consequences of fae immortality as she adapts to a new world and her relationship with Uberon develops.
He paused at the forest edge, observing the woman who sat on the old concrete boat ramp as she reeled in a fish with expert skill.
“Y’all can come out now,” she called over her shoulder without looking behind her.
He obeyed her beckons and quietly took a seat beside her as she cast her line again. They sat in companionable silence, inches apart and never touching. He did not quite know her reason for the studious avoidance of physical connection and did not question it. He simply enjoyed the soft sounds of her breathing, the rustle of her clothes, the splash of water, the rustling of leaves, and the chirps of birds. It reminded him of his home in midsummer.
She caught another fish, deemed it inadequate for her purposes, and released it back into the water after extracting the sharp hook from its mouth. She glanced at the horizon and noted the sun’s descent and the vivid flare of color across the western sky.
“I’ve got enough to feed both of us tonight if you’re hungry,” she invited him as she hauled up the day’s meager catch. She gathered her cooler and tackle and began the hike back to her tiny cabin. He fell into step behind her, feeling protective and watching for danger.
“Nothing but the occasional black bear or badger around here,” she said, her voice quiet in the rustling wilderness.
He said nothing, but shadowed her nonetheless. He knew park visitors occasionally tramped through what she considered her territory and that some of them had less than benign intentions. He’d killed one of them not three days past.
The elimination of a tainted soul did not disturb him. After hundreds of millennia, little actually disturbed him. He glanced at the slender hips swaying with each step, the lure to masculine interest unintentional. Desire surged, a heady sensation he hadn’t enjoyed since his mate died.
Had been killed.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Book Of The Month