Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Tour Excerpt & Giveaway: Wolf's-own:Ghost by Carole Cummings

Title: Wolf's-own:Ghost
Author: Carole Cummings
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 350
Add to Goodreads

Dwelling in the land of Ada and defending magic users called the Jin, Fen Jacin-rei is a trained assassin and an Untouchable, one whose mind hosts the Voices of the Ancestors, spirits of long-dead magicians. His fate should be one of madness and solitude, yet Fen Jacin-rei desperately clings to his sanity and ferociously protects the family he loves. But how does Fen do it? Kamen Malick has every intention of finding out.

When Malick and his own small band of assassins ambush Fen in an alley, Malick offers Fen one choice: join us or die. Determined to decode the intrigue that surrounds Fen—and to have the Untouchable for himself—Malick sets to unraveling Fen’s past while Fen delves into the mysteries surrounding Malick.

As Fen’s secrets slowly unfold, Malick is drawn into a crusade that isn’t his, one surprisingly similar to his own quest for vengeance. Yet irony is a bitter reward when Malick discovers the one he wants is already hopelessly entangled with the one he hunts. 

“Nice attack,” Malick panted as he spun, swept the sword down on a forward feint then followed with a cross with the knife for a compound attack. 

The Ghost didn’t answer, didn’t even seem to hear, merely whirled back in a counter-defense, whipped yet another of those cursed little knives. Advanced again with a sweeping cut of the long knife that nearly took Malick’s nose off as he spun out of his dodge of the damned throwing knife. 

Little shit was really trying to kill him. 

“You’re—” Malick ducked under a press with the long knife, feinted to his right, watching for another of the little knives to come whistling at his head. “You’re very skilled.” He just managed to keep the wheeze out of his voice. 

Again, the Ghost was silent, concentrating, entirely focused on what his body was doing and what Malick’s was doing in response. 

Focus, purpose—all smooth economy and lethal drive, this pretty man with the hard glare and soft braid. Compact corded muscle and sinewy-sleek limbs; hard lines and angles; sculpted, silky masculinity, and every last ounce of it was out to part Malick very decisively from his life. Too focused, perhaps, too driven. Fast and seamless, but foreseeable, if one paid attention. No personal little flourishes to the moves, no stepping outside the lines of that perfection of skill. Malick could almost count out the steps himself, trace the shapes of the positions in his own head just before the man made them. Like he was performing for a trainer, or reciting the instructions in his head as he followed the steps. The technique was nearly faultless, every move in perfect form, every parry and advance styled and structured—a flawless copy. 

“Let’s see what you do with this,” Malick muttered under his breath as he lunged in with the knife and followed with an indirect attack with the sword. His eyes narrowed when the knife was smoothly parried and the sword deflected with a forward press.

Malick smirked. 

Control—that was the key, and Malick had never seen a body so completely under the control of the mind that inhabited it. Control was generally a good thing. Except when it equaled predictability. 

No surprises from this man, none but the deadly drive behind his attacks and the apparent conviction that the only way this could end was with one of their corpses cooling on the damp, dirty stone of the alley. He could beat Malick with his speed and determination—he was more skilled, and more focused in his attention to it—but Malick had to wonder what would happen if he changed the rules. 

Grinning now, Malick lunged again, forced an opening when the man parried, and caught him in a spinning counterattack with a hard shove of his boot to the solar-plexus. A thin whoof huffed from the man’s chest, and his eyes went wide before they narrowed down to slits, nostrils flaring and lips pressing tight. Malick could almost hear the, Hey, that’s cheating! that was all too obvious in the man’s indignant glower. 

Malick broadened his grin, waggled his eyebrows. With a deep breath he was all too aware might be his last, Malick turned to his right, left himself open—clear invitation—then swept the sword under his own arm. He caught the man in the momentum of his own spin to turn the offensive, putting them in positions opposite of where they’d been just a second ago. Lunged in again with a sideswipe of his foot toward the backs of the man’s knees. Turned it into a spinning kick to the thigh when the man dodged backward. Malick drove in right up close at the resulting stumble, one long knife tangled with Malick’s sword, the other grinding at the hilt of Malick’s knife. 

“Figures you’d fight dirty,” the man growled, glaring directly into Malick’s eyes like it was the lowest form of insult he could imagine. 

Malick’s brain went a little wobbly. 

Almonds. He smells of almonds. 

Sweat and leather and metal polish, too, but mostly almonds. 

Right. And so does cyanide. 

Pressing in close, so close they were chest to chest for a heady half second, Malick backed the man another two steps toward the wall of the building. Brick to his back and his left, Samin to his right and Malick in front of him. Two more steps and he’d be neatly cornered. 

“C’mon, love.” Malick kept his smile and let his eyelids droop halfway. “Everyone likes it dirty now and again.”

Author Bio
Carole lives with her husband and family in Pennsylvania, USA, where she spends her time trying to find time to write. Recipient of various amateur writing awards, several of her short stories have been translated into Spanish, German, Chinese and Polish.
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