Zombies and vampires and ghosts….oh, my!
From fae assassins to subjugating the dead, Strange and Lovely is a collection of short stories that seamlessly blends spine-tingling chills and swoon-worthy romance.
This young adult paranormal anthology of supernatural creatures from ten talented authors serves up short stories with heart-stopping storytelling that will haunt you long after you’ve put it down. Open the pages and discover worlds colliding and struggles for life and love. You’ll find a tale of a young incubus desperately fighting his nature (and diet) alongside Ashley who has a choice—run from the vampires who will stop at nothing to kill her, or become one of them. Dipping deep into romance you’ll find enchanting assassins too beautiful and deadly, and a touching tangle of a love story between an angel and a mermaid both struggling to make their love last. This book will be sure to make you believe that even in the darkest of nights love can find a way.
If you love tales of paranormal romance or supernatural thrills but can’t decide which ghostly or otherworldly creature to focus on, this is the perfect book for you.
Best-selling authors such as Jenni James, Amber Argyle, Stephanie Fowers, and Cindy M. Hogan craft thrilling new stories filled with engaging characters, while others, like Christine Fonseca, Jennifer Griffith, C. J. Anaya, Jennifer Bryce, M. Leigh Marrott, and Rebecca Gage, explode off the page with unique takes on familiar supernatural favorites.
Whether humorous, suspenseful, or romantic, the stories in Strange and Lovely will leave you feeling wickedly entertained.
Book 1: Huntress by Amber Argyle
Ashley has been given a choice—run from the vampires who will stop at nothing to kill her, or become one of them.
But it doesn’t take Ashley long to figure out there are much darker and deadlier forces at play than mere vampires, and more than just Ashley’s life is at stake. All hell is about to break loose, literally.
Book 2: My Fair Assassin by C. J. Anaya
Recently emancipated Crysta doesn’t expect a man to break into her house and threaten her life. But how can this handsome assassin kill her when he is clearly meant to love her?
Book 3: School Spirit by Jennifer Griffith
Basketball star Luke stomped all over cheerleader Hailey’s heart, but she still has to cheer for him. When a mysterious hot guy in a loin cloth appears on the basketball court and protects Luke from getting fouled, and nobody else notices or cares, Hailey takes matters into her own hands—and finds she might be having a supernatural encounter with a “school spirit.”
Book 1: Huntress by Amber Argyle
Word to the wise: Don’t read this past your bedtime!
Ashley couldn’t remember a time when she’d been in such total and complete darkness. In the city, there was always light. She opened her eyes wider. It didn’t help. Turning into the shower spray, she finished rinsing the rest of the conditioner from her hair. She kept waiting for the lights to come back on. They didn’t. “This company retreat is turning into a disaster,” she mumbled.
“A day in the mountains!” her boss had said. “Enjoying the solitude and colors of fall!”
Instead, Ashley had been stuck in a conference room for ten hours. Turning the water off, she jerked the shower curtain back and felt around for the towel she’d set on top of the toilet. She rubbed the rough terry cloth across her face.
Without the sound of the water, she heard something. Unconsciously pressing the towel against her chest she listened. Were those screams?
She padded off of the cold bathroom tile and onto the carpet of her room, hoping some light would filter in from the open window. It didn’t. She grabbed the first piece of clothing her hand touched, a white button up shirt she’d worn to the meeting today. Without bothering to dry off, she yanked it on and shoved the buttons through the holes, not really caring if she got them right or not. The shirt clung to her wet skin as she hiked a pair of jeans over her damp hips.
Screams were echoing up and down the hall now. Not ‘you just scared me’ kind of screams, but the terrified, ‘please don’t kill’ me kind of screams. Ashley jerked the hotel phone out of its cradle. Dead. She stumbled around, trying to remember where her cell phone was.
“Ashley!” a man’s voice yelled through her door. “We have to get out of here! Ashley!”
Josh. The man she’d been dating under her boss’s nose for months. Ashley ran for the door, but her shin smacked into the dresser. Clutching her leg and mouthing silent curses, she hobbled forward. She froze when something thudded against her door. A mangled scream gurgled to silence. She froze, too terrified to move or breathe.
Book 2: My Fair Assassin by C. J. Anaya
Having someone tell you they’ve come to end your pathetic existence is probably an uncommon occurrence. I can’t imagine that anyone intent on murder would have the decency to pause long enough to look their victim in the eye, state their mission and purpose, and with very little feeling, explain that the end result of their victim’s death will benefit an entire race.
Then again, what do I know?
There’s always the slim chance that plenty of killers are far more civil seconds before committing such a depraved act, but how would any of us ever be privy to those morbid details when the victims never live to share said details?
I knew I’d never live long enough to share mine.
The well-muscled warrior standing several feet in front of me had made that abundantly clear. I studied him intently, deciding it would be best to memorize every inch of him in case I managed to escape and succeeded in describing my would-be assassin to the local authorities.
Right! My need to drink in his image had absolutely nothing to do with his six-foot frame, broad shoulders, sharp, chiseled features, and flawless, crystal-blue orbs framed by a sturdy brow.
Weren’t murderers supposed to be ugly, unkempt psychos? This guy was a carbon copy of most of the Abercrombie models I lived to drool over. He had an otherworldly look and feel to him, and his clothing appeared to be made out of some kind of forest-green leather. His hands were gloved up to his knuckles, and his skin let off a golden, florescent glow.
I might have attributed his all-too-perfect tan to the San Diego weather, but I doubted other men in the vicinity were capable of making their skin glitter slightly whenever the sun’s rays kissed them. I didn’t think someone as imposing as this guy would have spent time throwing gold body glitter all over himself, but I couldn’t figure out what else he’d done to get his skin to shimmer like that. He looked like a warm summer evening, and smelled like the earth after a spring rain.
His hair was shoulder-length, shiny, and lightning white. Not the kind of graying white you might find on your local senior citizen, but the kind that looks like heaven.
His movements as he studied me and my dingy apartment were stiff and watchful. His expression was that of guarded curiosity, and when my cat, Nala, made a small whining noise from my bedroom down the hall, his stance came to attention and his arm muscles went taut as he withdrew a small dagger from a sheath at his waist.
Honestly, where had this guy come from, and why weren’t we dating?
Oh, yeah. He was here to kill me.
Book 3: School Spirit by Jennifer Griffith
Referees’ whistles pierced the air of the gym. Hailey lifted her orange pom-poms to protect her ears as the team’s center went down. The crowd screamed in horror.
Poor Luke! Not again. Oh, gosh. She moved the pom-poms from her ears to her eyes. Is he bleeding this time? She peeked an eye out. Sure enough, number fifteen lay bleeding on the wood floor, his teammates in their black and orange basketball shorts taking their huddle a step back in respect for the injured.
Bitsy popped her gum beside Hailey. She didn’t bother to whisper. “That guy is the klutziest athlete in the history of the sport. It’s almost hard to cheer for him. We might distract him, make him fall and lose his basketball scholarship.”
Hailey hushed her friend. “The scout might be here again this week.”
“Let’s hope not. For Luke’s sake.”
Luke hobbled to his feet, and Hailey spun around to lead the pep club in a rallying cheer for the fallen hero. “Go get ’em, tiger! Go get ’em, tiger!” It was their standard for an injury. There were cheers for the free-throw line, cheers for when the guys came on the floor, cheers for when they were ahead, cheers for when they were behind. And Hailey, as captain, kept track of the game and figured out when to make everyone yell which one.
If only she didn’t have to cheer for Luke. He wasn’t just a klutz in the ballgame (where he at least had other mad skills.) He was a klutz elsewhere, too. Especially when it came to Hailey’s heart. He’d stomped on it like a gawky buffalo in size fourteen Nikes. So when he got an elbow to the nose from another player a minute ago, that was when she wanted to cheer. Not when he got up and resumed his position as center in the game.
“What I can’t believe is how he didn’t end up with a broken nose.” Bitsy shouted over the crowd when they finished a pyramid cheer. “I could hear the crack when Macias gouged his face. That should’ve been a trip to the hospital, not a wad of gauze in the nostril.”
Bitsy was right. Hailey had seen Luke take the hit from Macias—a guy on their own Tilbury Tigers team. It should have been more damaging than it was. The forward was coming at him full force. But there’d been something odd. Macias’s elbow had made contact, crunched Luke’s face, but then Macias had chugged backward all of a sudden. Almost like he was pushed.
Something about it bugged her.
During the fourth quarter, even though they were two points down, Hailey slipped away from the squad and went over to the far sideline where Max was running the video camera. “Hey, Max. What you doing after the game?”
“Editing for highlights, like always. You want to watch? I thought you were over Luke.” A light came into his face and he looked up. “You are over him, right?”
“Totally over.” Probably. Oh, dear. Max’s face-glow went up by fifty candles. “For now, though, I’m taking a break from guys.” She didn’t want to give Max false hope. “But I’d still like to see what you’ve got, especially footage of the incident with Macias and Luke.”
Max’s light went out again. “Doesn’t sound like you’re over him. But okay. I’ll be in the editing room.”
The other team scored, tying it up with a minute left on the clock. Hailey jogged back to her spot in the cheer line just as the announcer called, “Back in the game at center, number fifteen, Luke Landau. He takes a hit and keeps on ticking. This guy is a Timex. He’s the Energizer Bunny.” The announcer went on to praise Luke, who waved to the crowd. He did have charisma, blast him.
Luke lined up at the tipoff, standing a full six inches over the other team’s center, who sneered at Luke’s charm. Hailey found herself holding her breath. The next minute of play meant a seed in the championship tournament—or not. Hailey wasn’t just a cheerleader; she was a diehard fan—which was why she tried out for cheer: she couldn’t bear to miss the away games, and her parents would never let her drive that far at night alone to watch them. Riding the cheer bus was the surest ticket. So cheer she must.
Even for Luke. Heart stomper.
Luke out-jumped the shorter guy for the tipoff, and the ball sailed toward the Tigers’ goal. The crowd surged to their feet as the clock ticked down, the hundredths of a second displaying now.
Hailey’s eyes normally stayed on the ball, but something odd caught her eye as they started the “Be Aggressive” cheer. Her voice trailed off. Some kind of dark shadow crossed the half court line, heading back toward the opponents’ basket. Hailey stopped slamming her poms together. She couldn’t hear the crowd or the announcer or the squeak of shoes on the wood; it all faded as she stared at the shadow—and as the shadow took shape.
On the court there was a dark-haired young man. Barefoot. In a loin cloth.
She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people.
C. J. Anaya
C. J. Anaya began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift.
Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author. She was born in Utah and raised everywhere else. She even lived a few years in Brazil, enjoying the people, the culture and learning the beautiful language of Portuguese; a language she is still fluent in to this day. As a result of her exposure to varying peoples and cultures, her interests became varied as well.
As a mother of four children she is now a singer and a songwriter, a baker and a cake decorator, a dancer and a choreographer, a girl with a degree in Criminal Justice and a first time published author of YA paranormal romance and fantasy. She is also married to the most deliciously, handsome looking Latino. As always, she has plenty to write about.
Jennifer Griffith is a wife and a mother of five, and although she’s never seen a ghost, she believes in them and would love to meet one and ask a lot of questions. She’s the author of seven novels, all romantic comedies.
C. J. Anaya
Huntress by Amber Argyle
My Fair Assassin by C J Anaya
School Spirit by Jennifer Griffith
Huntress, My Fair Assassin, and School Spirit
The Descension by Cindy M Hogan
The Crazies Got Me by Rebevva Gage
Mind Warp by Jenni James
The Descension, The Crazies Got Me, and Mind Warp
Dark Night by Christine Fonseca
My Big Hairy Romance by Jennifer Bryce
Broken Tales and Mermaid Wings by Stephanie Fowers
Dark Night, My Big Hairy Romance, and Broken Tales and Mermaid Wings
Dark To Dust by M. Leigh Marrott
Book 1-10 (Full Anthology)