ASCENSION BOOK TOUR~ November 18- 22
Illustrator Crystal Ord will be bringing some of your favorite Gryphon Series characters to life!
Crystal Smalls Ord is a freelance illustrator and writer who resides in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Her art and stories have appeared in the macabre children's lit magazine, Underneath the Juniper Tree. Last year she illustrated her first children's book, Ethan's Story; My Life with Autism which can be found on Amazon.com. Her art has also appeared in hitRECord.com's musical short, Madamoiselle Noir.
In her free time Crystal plays with her kids, cleans house, teaches music in Sunday School, and lingers in the geekery corner of Pinterest.
Contact her at:
The demonic and fantasy elements of the Conduit’s journey will jump off the page thanks to Robert Immings;
In 2000 Robert Immings graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with a BFA in graphic design. Since then he’s done work in package design, web development and designed training applications and software interfaces. These days he’s a mild-mannered operations technician with an electronic trading firm in Alpharetta Georgia. Earlier this.year he had a chance to enter Sony's "Treasures of Middle Earth" design contest which was a promotion for the hobbit movie. He came in as a runner-up. More recently he had the opportunity to do some sketches and collaborate on the cover for Emily Fogel's wonderful fantasy novel Dragon Wars and created the cover for her soon to be released book "Chasing Flames". Right now he’s excited to be working on a collection of illustrations for Stacey Rourke's Gryphon Series.
He’s always interested in illustration and graphic design projects and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somewhere between sleep and awake he came to me. The mattress shifted under his weight as he settled in beside me.
Warm breath teased against my ear. “I could ne’er leave you, lovey.”
His wandering hands gripped my waist and rolled me to face him. This warbled land governed by sleep couldn’t conjure his whole essence—too much time had passed for that. Instead it teased me with glimpses of what I’d been missing; silky hair caressing my cheek. Hot kisses traveling down my neck. Emerald eyes filled with an insatiable hunger. The sensual awakening that jolted through me when his mouth found mine.
“I’m always with you,” Caleb whispered against my lips.
I twined my arms around his neck and pulled him closer; a move that garnered a low groan of appreciation. His hands roamed up my arms and encircled my wrists. In a sudden, shockingly violent, move he forced them down against the mattress and pinned me there.
I gaped in confusion as green eyes blinked to sapphire blue. His seductive stare twisted into visible disgust and hatred. Like ink dumped from a bottle, the black drained from Caleb’s hair. The dripping color leaked away to reveal long strawberry blond hair ponytailed at the nape of his neck. Alec. Not the latest version of him currently possessed by a three-hundred-year-old demon, but the Alec I first met whilst rolling a tire. The carefree boy I had started to fall for before fate intervened. Yet the look that darkened his gaze was more murderous than welcoming. I thrashed and bucked beneath him but couldn’t seem to summon one iota of strength. His grip on my wrists tightened to the point of pain.
“Is he worth it?” he hissed in my face. “Is he worth the blood on your hands?”
Crimson red blood bubbled up Alec’s throat. It seeped between his teeth and dribbled down his chin. “Will he still want you when he knows what you’ve done and what it cost?”
Squeezing my eyes shut, I cringed further into the mattress as blood rained down. The warm stickiness, with its pungent rusty smell, dripped on my face and soaked my shirt.
I risked a glance up to see Alec’s lips curl in an evil grin. “Now, how ‘bout a kiss?”
He bowed his head and crammed his blood soaked lips to mine. My muffled scream quickly turned into a gurgled gasp for air as I fought not to drown in this crimson hell.
Swirling together to form a detailed map of carnage.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk.” The Countess pursed her full lips in a mock pout. “And to think he was trying to save you. You must feel simply dreadful right now.”
Anger quickened my breath making each word come out a breathless gasp. “Shut … up.”
“Why’s that?” She rested her palms on her ample hips and let her head fall to the side in a flowing curtain of scarlet. “Don’t feel like talking about it? Can’t say that I blame you. Here he was marching over here so gallantly to protect you while you called him names and berated him. That’s evil even by my standards and I make a viable vocation out of this.”
One stride into a forward charge toward certain death, I froze. My shocked heart lurched into an awkward stutter beat. The cause of my surprise? Rowan, rolling to his side and yanking the dagger from his gut. The Countess’s painted lips pulled back in a sneer.
Heels clicked across the floor with sharp snaps as she strode straight for him. “I hate it when people don’t have the courtesy to die the first time you kill them.”
With the stiletto heel of her boot, she pinned Rowan’s wrist to the floor … then stomped. Rowan howled and writhed as blood spurted from his wound. His injured hand loosened around the hilt. Before the blade could clank to the ground, the vile enchantress scooped it up. Flipping it in her hand, she arched back for the death blow.
“Nooooo!!” I channeled everything inside me. Pulling every emotion that ravaged me throughout this god-awful day into my core, I raised both hands and hit her with the full force of my telepathic fury.
The dagger flew from her hand as she pin-wheeled into the darkness.
I rushed to Rowan’s side and eased him to a sitting position. “Row? Rowan?”
It took a minute for his sleepy gaze to find me. Even then his dilated pupils hinted consciousness would be fleeting. In the distance came a soft thud. The Countess must’ve found the other side of this massive hall. My little stunt bought us seconds only.
“Row?” My fingers dug into his shoulders as I attempted to shake him awake. “Can you teleport? I don’t know any other way out of here and we need to go now!”
In place of an answer, his eyes rolled back and his head lulled to the side.
Like rapid-fire gunshots, her heels clicked closer, building around us in an ominous echo.
I slapped Rowan softly once, then a second time with more vigor. “Rowan! Come on! One little poof then you can pass out! I promise! Just get us out of here!”
He woke with a jerk, a protective passion rising on his face. His tensed features sharpened. Turquoise eyes blazed as his injured hand weaved into my hair and pulled me to him. Blood dripped down the back of my neck and dampened my hair, yet pulling away never occurred to me. His lips brushed mine with a tentative question—a plea for acceptance. I hesitated for a fraction of a second before consenting with a resounding mutual urgency. Locked in each other’s embrace, we disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
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