Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Holiday #Anthology: A PERFECTLY PARANORMAL CHRISTMAS, A Perfectly Paranormal Anthology Book 4 by Hellucy Howe, Leisl Leighton, Marnie St. Clair, & Samantha Marshall

KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


Paranormal Holiday Anthology

By Hellucy Howe, Leisl Leighton, Marnie St. Clair, & Samantha Marshall


Have you been naughty … or nice?

Christmas is coming! Santa is readying his reindeer and sleigh with toys for all good girls and boys – but he’s not the only magical Being in town. Gods, Goddesses, witches, Fae and all sorts of magical creatures are gathering to celebrate the spirit of Christmas with a spot of tinsel-strewn mayhem.

But they better watch out what they ask Santa for … they just might get it!

The A Perfectly Paranormal Anthology authors are at it again, this time with a Christmas anthology to fill your heart’s desires – and your stockings! Whether it’s making magic or making merry, these four novellas will jingle your bells and add a dash of spice to your egg nog.


“Magical! This is a great anthology filled with HOT AS SIN ALPHA MALES and unexpected romance! Wonderful characters with real depth stories are intriguing and suck you in from the very first chapter to the end! Oh my God, this steamy paranormal stories are just the gift I needed for this Christmas. Thank you Santa!” Di Ketchup – Goodreads and BookSprout Reviewer

“Loved it! I enjoyed the book it was sweet suspenseful and a page turner. I would definitely recommend this book.” Silindile – Goodreads and BookSprout Reviewer

“A collection of Christmas stories with in different series that push you to remember the meaning of the holiday.” Lauren in Japan – Goodreads, BookBub and BookSprout Reviewer

“Good plots. I enjoy the stories … Good world building and background that adds to the story. Well created characters and relationships among them. Enjoyable read plus some hot action.” Ula – Goodreads, BookBub and BookSprout Reviewer

If lost souls, wild magic, shifters, fated mates, action, mystery and sexy romance make you tingle, then this anthology is for you. So decorate your tree, curl up with some delicious cookies and magic yourself some holiday spirit with a copy of A Perfectly Paranormal Christmas today.

Paranormal Holiday Anthology
By Hellucy Howe, Leisl Leighton, Marnie St. Clair, & Samantha Marshall

Excerpt from BLITZEN

Whatever Floats Your Boat

“Hi, yes, I have a reservation?”

The maître d’ perused the guest list down the length of his hooked nose, lips pressed into a prim line. “Under what name?”

“Um.” Sin scuffed a canvas shoe against the polished floorboards. “Lucinda Watkins?”

The lone digit which had been trailing the length of the guest list halted. “Is that a question or a statement, madam?”

“Uh. A … statement?”

“I see.” After a cutting look at her acid washed t-shirt and mint shorts, the maître d’ returned to his examination of the guest list.

“Ah, yes. One of the cruise ship refugees.”

Sin shifted her canvas tote to her opposite shoulder and tried not to look like a cruise ship refugee. “Shining Star Cruises said—”

“No explanations are necessary, madam.” He straightened his formal waistcoat with a crisp snapping motion. “I personally oversaw the negotiations with Shining Star Cruises, and am only too aware of the current … situation.” The maître d’s face creased in distaste as he motioned Sin further into the restaurant. “Since you do, indeed, have a reservation, it is my duty to welcome you to the Hibiscus Lounge. Follow me, if you please.”

Sin’s host turned with militant precision and strode away, leaving her little choice but to scurry along behind with her tote bag clutched to her chest.

The restaurant’s layout had likely been fashionably minimalistic not so long ago, but with the Shimmering Wave emptying a goodly portion of its passengers onto the resort’s shores, extra tables had been crammed into every available space. The maître d’ navigated the maze of furniture and patrons with ease, patent leather shoes clicking together as he stopped beside a small, two-person table in the furthest corner of the restaurant. Sin fancied it’d been intended as an insult – but since the location put her right next to one of the open windows overlooking the beach, she was more than happy to drop her tote and flop into the elegant wooden dining chair.

“Your menu, madam, and some water.”

Sin managed a nod of thanks, snatching up the iced water and draining the lot in several large, inelegant swallows. Her host made a choked noise as he retreated, but she was well past the point where the opinions of others mattered – after the last few days, a cool drink, a comfortable chair and the reassurance of dry land underfoot were the epitome of decadence.

Why had she let her children talk her into this again?

Sin set the glass back on the table and let out a weary sigh. Being surprised with a ticket for a tropical cruise on Christmas morning had been as exhilarating as it was terrifying – a fact her children well knew, just as they’d known that giving her the gift in front of her grandchildren would protect them from both her wrath and any attempts to give the ticket back.

Now, some two weeks or so later, the cruise she’d always dreamt of but never imagined actually taking had turned out to be a nightmare plagued by engine troubles, leaving several thousand passengers stranded in the middle of the Caribbean Sea on a cruise liner with no power.

The next time someone suggested Sin could use a break, she’d tell them exactly where they could shove their holiday and book a massage instead.

“There’s nothing wrong with my life,” she muttered, glaring at the foiled lettering on her menu. “I’m happy just the way I am.”

“Excuse me.”

Sin blinked and looked up. A man stood beside the table, dressed in bright pink board shorts with black tropical flowers and a loose black tank whose armholes were so large, several acres of tanned muscle were on display. Sin caught a glimpse of a tattoo before she forced her gaze up to his face, which boasted a square jaw dusted lightly with salt and pepper scruff, a tumble of black hair streaked white at the temples and impossibly dark brown eyes with thick, long lashes. Oblivious to her struggle to breathe in close proximity to so much excruciatingly attractive masculinity, he smiled, creasing his face with lines that said he smiled genuinely and often, and putting Sin in serious danger of passing out.

“Is this seat taken?” The stranger gestured to the chair opposite. “I forgot to make a reservation and with the cruise ship unexpectedly emptying passengers, the maître d’ said this was the only unoccupied chair. I know it’s rather forward, but would you mind if we ate together?”

“Uh …” Hoping the natural heat of the tropical evening hid her shock and simultaneously cursing her sweaty, grimy face, Sin shook her head. “No?”

“No, you don’t mind, or no, you’re waiting for someone?”

“I don’t mind,” she managed, tangling her fingers so tightly in the pristine white table cloth it was a wonder they didn’t snap. “Please, sit. I’m here by myself.”

Now, why had she said that? What if he was some kind of axe murderer and a fifty-something Australian woman stranded on a tropical island in the Bahamas was exactly his flavour? With over 700 islands in the area, the vast majority of them uninhabited, it’d be the perfect environment for a smiling assassin to snatch her away, never to be seen again.

“My children know I’m here,” Sin blurted, pushing as far back in her chair as she could manage. The table seemed to shrink as he sat down, and though there had to be a veritable rainbow of scents wafting in through the open windows, she swore he smelled of nutmeg and pine. “They’re not here themselves, but they know where I am.”

The stranger smiled again, broad and easy and oh dear heavens, she was either blushing or having a hot flush, neither of which were going to improve the current state of her complexion.

“It’s wonderful to have a close family,” he said, voice as smooth and warm as her favourite blanket. “Is your husband resting in your villa?”

“Ah. Oh. No? Well. I mean … he’s dead.” Sin stared at the fine woodgrain of the table, trying to stop the words from tumbling out of her mouth – but they were determined, and she was tired, and so she added, “Not recently. Fifteen years ago, actually.”

There was a protracted silence, and she dared glance from beneath her lashes to see him eyeing the two wedding rings she wore on a chain around her neck. Releasing her death grip on the table cloth, Sin snatched them up and stuffed them inside her t-shirt.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” the stranger said at last. His smile was softer as he offered a hand. “I’m also embarrassed to realise that my manners have lapsed terribly – my name is Blitzen.”

“Uh …” Sin stared at the extended hand as though it might bite.

“That’s … a very unusual name.”

His smile didn’t waver, his broad, strong fingers remaining firmly on her side of the table. “So I’m told.”

“I guess I’m Sin.” With no other recourse that wouldn’t cause offence, she slid her hand into his. It was dry and warm, the skin calloused just enough to send pleasant shivers up her arm. What must he think of her clammy grip? Retrieving her hand as quickly as she could, she wiped it on the leg of her shorts. “It’s short for Lucinda. My husband used to call me Cinders, but when he died I didn’t want to use that any more. I also didn’t want to go back to Lucinda because it felt so staid and my daughter, who was twelve at the time, suggested Sin because it ‘sounded edgy’ and even though I thought it was ridiculous it stuck and oh my stars why am I still talking?”

Blitzen’s grin had only widened as she rambled, and Sin dropped her face into her hands to avoid the potent virility exuded by the simple curve of his lips. She was fifty-six, for goodness’ sake, and she’d never had the inclination to even look at another man since Hugh died.

Why was she now noticing the virility of a strange man’s lips? How in the world were lips even virile, anyway? They were lips. All they did was frame a person’s mouth, which in turn was nothing more than a hole in which to insert food in order to prevent starvation. Nothing special, and certainly nothing alluring about them.

At all.


She was saved by the return of the maître d’, his down-the-nose sneer replaced by one of quiet reverence as he bowed – actually bowed – to Blitzen.

“Sir.” He produced a notepad with a flourish, materialising a pen from somewhere in the vicinity of his left ear. “My apologies again for the seating arrangements.”

“It’s not a problem, Devon. I should have thought to book ahead.”

“The fault is not yours, sir. The sudden residence of a malfunctioning cruise ship in our waters is hardly something one could plan for.” Devon twisted his mouth into what might have been a smile in some cultures, but seemed to Sin to be more like a grimace of pain. “Are we ready to order?”

“Sure. I’ll have the usual, thanks.” Blitzen pushed his unopened menu aside and favoured Sin with yet another mind-melting smile. “And you?”

“I … will … uh.” Sin flipped open her menu and pointed to a random spot on the page. “This?”

One of Devon’s immaculate eyebrows peaked. “The children’s nuggets and chips? I’m afraid those are only for patrons under twelve.”

“Oh. Um … well.” Sin coughed politely, her face growing warmer by the second.

“Can I suggest the Caesar Salad?” Blitzen reached over the table to tap the menu with a calloused finger. “It’s best with bacon.”

I love Caesar,” Sin blurted, nodding. “And the whole Roman Empire. Oh my gods I’m still doing it.”

Blitzen flicked an amused glance up at the scandalised maître d. “One Roman Salad for the lady, if you please.”

“Indeed.” Devon pocketed his notepad without bothering to write a single word, retreating with a disapproving sniff.

Sin snatched up the cloth napkin from the table, her heart going so fast she wondered if it was possible to have a heart attack from simple proximity to an incredibly attractive man. Oh yes, doctor, she’d say. I have my check-ups regularly, but he had these forearms, and they were so brown and muscular, and oh dear gods save me but he’s leaning them on the table and I can’t help but stare …

“Is that a bird?” Blitzen’s aforementioned forearms flexed as he stretched towards Sin, trying to see her hands where they fussed with the napkin.

She looked down and cleared her throat. “Oh. Um. Yes. A crane, to be exact.”

Feeling even more self-conscious than before, Sin placed the intricately folded fabric napkin on the table where he could see it. The bird’s long neck was pointed upwards as though about to take flight, wings spread wide in glorious display.

“Amazing.” He brushed a finger down the crane’s back. “How did you do that so fast, and in such detail?”

“Well.” Sin inspected her fingers, which were even now tingling with the aftermath of her ability. “Magic.”

“Your magic manifests as origami?” Blitzen pushed back his chair to crouch beside the table, inspecting her panicked creation from a different angle.

“I … no?” She resisted the urge to rub at the single, thin blue line on her forearm that marked her small, very particular magical talent.

“My magic gives me the ability to reproduce something I’ve seen as art out of whatever materials I have on hand.”

Blitzen shook his head, awe etched into his unfairly attractive features. “Your fingers moved so fast they were a blur.”

“Yes. Well. That’s part of it – the speed, I mean.” Sin cleared her throat again, wishing she could sink through the chair and into the floor. “I run a small business selling my creations.”

“A woman of not just talent, but intellect, then.” Resuming his chair, Blitzen reached for the crane and then stopped with his hands poised in mid-air. “May I?”

“Oh! Uh, sure. Go ahead.” She bit her lip as he scooped the crane up in surprisingly careful fingers, twisting it this way and that before positioning it on the table beside him. “You … uh … don’t have a mage mark?”

“Hmm?” He glanced up, those deep brown eyes so large and dark they stole her breath. “No, I’m not a mage.”

Sin shifted in her chair. How rude would it be to ask him exactly what he was, then, if not a mage? Would it tarnish the perfection of his raw, earthy energy if he turned out to be something unpalatable? Did it make her prejudiced to even think that, let alone voice it? And what business was it of hers, anyway? Just because those perfect forearms didn’t bear the obvious mark of magic, it didn’t give her the right to pry into his private affairs just to salve her own curiosity, or—

“I don’t mean to sound bold, since we’re practically strangers, but …” Blitzen straightened from his examination of the crane to offer his own napkin, expression so boyishly hopeful that Sin accepted it before she’d had the chance to think. “Do you take requests?”

“Um …” She flipped the napkin back and forth in trembling fingers. “That depends. What would you like?”

He tipped his head to the side. “How about a reindeer?”

“A reindeer.” Sin let out a sigh of relief. “Sure. I’ve done a lot of reindeer in the last few weeks; they’re very popular in the lead-up to Christmas.”

“Excellent.” Blitzen watched avidly as she began to fold the napkin. “So, since we have nothing better to do while we wait for our food, why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself, and how you came to be here?”

No. What a perfectly terrible idea. Sin began to shake her head, lining up a very polite excuse involving broken cruise ships and fatigue, but then she glanced into those decadent brown eyes and her thoughts took flight like a puff of startled butterflies. Drowning in the overwhelming intensity of the man opposite, Sin’s fingers picked up speed, her mouth opened and she began to speak.

Meet the Authors…

LEISL LEIGHTON: Award winning author, Leisl Leighton, is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables, and like Anne, is a voracious reader and born performer. It came as no surprise when she went on to a career as a performer, script writer, script doctor, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants.

After starting a family, Leisl stopped performing and began writing the stories plaguing her dreams. She is addicted to sci-fi and romance books and DVDs, she sometimes sings in a choir, loves to ski and horse ride, and was President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014–2017. When she’s not writing, she helps other writers make their manuscripts shine.

You can contact Leisl through her website www.leislleighton.com or sign up to her Newsletter and be the first to find out about new releases, appearances, special deals and exclusive giveaways.
You can catch up with Leisl at: www.leislleighton.comhttps://www.leislleighton.com/ | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter @LeislLeighton |

MARNIE ST CLAIR: After years of forecasting the price of tea in China, Marnie finally shut down the spreadsheets and got serious about her passion for romance. A country girl at heart, Marnie now lives in Melbourne, Australia, with two surprisingly civil teens and a weatherman husband. She likes prosecco, cottage gardens, driving at night, sandalwood-scented anything and a strong cup of coffee. Or preferably two.

You can find out more about Marnie and her books at https://www.marniestclair.com/

SAMANTHA MARSHALL: Award winning and nominated author Samantha Marshall writes romance – as long as it’s got paranormal creatures, space odyssey features or anything in between she’ll be there writing happily ever afters to rule them all.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, two children, a fluffy golden retriever and a turtle. She is most at home in front of her keyboard with a hot cup of chai tea and a raven on her shoulder, bringing her imagination to life.

Samantha’s series, The Weaver’s War and The Kin Chronicles, have both been well received with Sorcery and Stardust (Book 1 of The Weaver’s War) winning her Favourite Debut Author in the 2019 ARRAs and Aislinn’s Shadow (Book 1 of The Kin Chronicles) being nominated for 2 awards in the 2019 ARRAs.

When she’s not hiding in her dragon cave, Samantha can be found at www.sliceofsammy.com or Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

HELLUCY HOWE: Helen Lucy Howe is a bookworm who teethed on romantic fairy tales and went on to voraciously devour anything paranormal. She became a Professional Reader and a Closet Scribbler because who’d want to look at the mad ramblings of someone who hates getting dirt under her fingernails and thinks ironing was invented as a torture method?

Nowadays, Helen loves inventing paranormal and fantasy romance from the comfort of her cosy study, with a hot cup of tea beside her laptop and her little spaniel, Lexie, snoring at her feet. With her anthology contribution of Filigree and Fate, Helen has been dragged kicking and screaming from her closet and into the deer-in-headlights world of being a Real Author.


Links to Leisl’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon (ONLY $.99): https://amzn.to/3EWRzAt


**Special Giveaway** A Perfectly Paranormal Christmas Giveaway

We are celebrating the release of our new anthology, A Perfectly Paranormal Christmas, by giving away signed print copies of all 4 of the anthologies in the series:

A Perfectly Paranormal Valentine
A Perfectly Paranormal Halloween
A Perfectly Paranormal Easter
A Perfectly Paranormal Christmas

This prize pack is valued at over $100 (USD) and is open to everyone, no matter where you are.

There will be 2 prize packs to win and the winners will be drawn after the closing date of Monday 12th December.

Who knows, you could have a pack of the first signed copies of these 4 amazing, holiday-themed anthologies, winging their way to you as an extra Christmas/Holiday season present!

The direct link:

Entry Conditions:
To enter you must give your email address. Entering the contest means you automatically give permission for these to be sent to these 4 authors to be added to their newsletter lists. Your personal details will not be shared with any other party.

If you are already on one of our newsletter lists, your email address is needed to join the contest but will not be added a 2nd time to the newsletter list you are already a part of. As per the above condition, it will be shared with the other authors in the anthology, but nobody else.

You can gain more entries by following us on social media or joining our A Perfectly Paranormal Paramours Facebook Group.


Thanks, Leisl, Marnie, Samantha, & Hellucy, for sharing your anthology with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

4 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Holiday #Anthology: A PERFECTLY PARANORMAL CHRISTMAS, A Perfectly Paranormal Anthology Book 4 by Hellucy Howe, Leisl Leighton, Marnie St. Clair, & Samantha Marshall”

  1. Good morning, Leisl and company, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. What a fun collection of Christmas stories! I love Christmas anthologies. Add in the paranormal element, and I’m hooked. Blitzen sounds like a fun, different read. Can’t wait to read the book cover to cover. Thanks for sharing you book with us today!

  2. Good morning, wow, this Christmas Anthology sounds great! I love everything Christmas!! Thank you so much for sharing about this anthology today. Have a great day and a great rest of the week.

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