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QUEEN OF STONE
Possessed by Passion Collection
BY CLOUD S. RISER
Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC is pleased to present a USA Today bestseller list-aiming dark romance and paranormal romance collection boxset for release on March 16, 2021. Featuring stories from USA Today and International Bestselling authors, this set includes more than twenty romantic novels and novellas aimed to ignite your passions and make you fall in love with the characters. Pre order your copy today!
Humans, angels, and demons alike are possessed with a common bind—desire.
Experience exquisite and sultry seraphs, demonic witches, a hellfire phoenix, a vengeful gargoyle, ordinary humans with dark sides, vampires, werewolves, ghostly spirits, and other creatures of the night, who will whet your desire for romance and seduction. Travel with them into their worlds as they lust for love, romance, and pleasure.
Will they find what they are searching for? Will you?
Find out in this twenty-plus, limited time paranormal and dark romance collection by USA Today, international bestselling, and award-winning authors.
Experience the passion.
Readers of Anne Rice, Debbie Paterson, Linda Howard, Dean Koontz, Kristen Ashley, and Paul Tremblay will love this dark collection! One click now to become POSSESSED…
Featuring the works of USA Today and International Bestselling Authors:
Bella Emy – USA Today Bestseller – For Better or For Cursed
Alyssa Drake – USA Today Bestseller – For Better or For Cursed
Cora Kenborn – USA Today Bestseller – Cast Stones
Catherine Wiltcher – Amazon All Star – Cast Stones
Erin Lee – USA Today Bestseller – Blank Slate
Olivia Marie –USA Today Bestseller– Blood Bound
Lorah Jaiyn – USA Today Bestseller – The Immortal Stone
Murphy Wallace – International Bestseller – Death in the Flames
N Isabelle Blanco – International Bestseller – Malice
Rena Marin – International Bestseller – The Arisen
Rita Delude – International Bestseller – Driven by Desire
M W Brown – International Bestseller – Under the Moonlight
Diana Register – International Bestseller – Electric Man
Stephanie Ayers – International Bestseller – Blood White
Yolanda Allard – International Bestseller – Gargoyles: Stone Curse
Sian B. Claven – International Bestseller – Neutral Ground
LJC Fynn – International Bestseller – Blank Slate
John Watson – International Bestseller – The Hollow-Eyed Girl
Tiffany Carby – International Bestseller – Meet Cut(e)
Michelle Edwards – International Bestseller – Demonic Destiny
Tracy A. Ball – International Bestseller – Blood Like Rain
Eve Corso – International Bestseller – Spellbound
Marie Ahls – International Bestseller – Villainous
Rheanon Nicole – International Bestseller – His Soul to Keep
Cloud S Riser – International Bestseller – Queen of Stone
Editor’s Note: Look for **Spring Madness** spotlights through March and April for authors included in this collection, a deeper look at the individual authors and their books, including Excerpts, Author Interviews, and Character Interviews!
Desdemona Richards has always struggled to find love. That’s probably because of the curse of the Gorgon. From birth, she’s always been watched over by three guardian deities that present themselves as snakes. Throughout the years, they judge all who cross her path. Anyone deemed unworthy is conveniently taken out of her life.
Enter Rodney Sabon and Toby Macenroy. One guy Desdemona can’t stand, and the other she likes more than she probably should. One of them is her soul mate. Unfortunately, the guardians can’t agree on which. As their power begins to run dry, so does their life force. If they can’t choose one guy soon and lift the curse, then not only will they die, but Desdemona will be doomed to a life of solitude as every man she touches will be turned into stone.
“Thanks for inviting me up.” The guy’s name was Bruno, or Brutus, or something along those lines. It started with a B, and it wasn’t something common like Brian or Bryce or Billy. It had an old school sort of feeling to it. Chances were, Desdemona didn’t know his name all too well either. She’d only said it one time at the bar where she’d met him. Like usual, she didn’t care if she knew him. What she cared about was getting her fix.
The next thing I know, they’re kissing. His hands are all over her. Her hands are all over him. I’m positive her mouth opened an unnatural amount as she tried to swallow his tongue. Not literally, of course. The point is, she wanted to consume him, or as much of him, as she could. To feel. Something. Anything. The only problem? Desi didn’t have feelings.
Ugliness comes in many forms. Physical, emotional, mental. It comes in all shapes and sizes too. Those who are ugly are often vulnerable and easily hurt by the beautiful. Whether it be from intentional bullying, or pure jealousy, the beautiful people of the world are good at inflicting pain on those not like them.
Beautiful people suck. We hate them, we love them, we hate that we love them, and we hate that we want to be them.
By “we”, I mean, Desdemona.
Desdemona was the definition of ugly in all ways possible. She didn’t care much about her appearance. Not to be cliche, but she was definitely the woman who could have been considered gorgeous by the world’s standards if she put in the effort. Since she didn’t, she often came across as average. Her sparkling wit and determination made her a guy magnet. Unfortunately, she tended to attract losers.
But I did say that she was ugly in all ways possible, not just physical in appearance. After all, that kind of beauty is subjective and superficial. It’s the type of beauty that doesn’t matter as much as it seems. The kind of ugly that matters most are the other two. Emotional and mental, and she was ugly in those ways as well.
Emotionally, Desdemona had one emotion: anger. If she didn’t feel angry, she didn’t feel anything at all. Indifference to what went on around her got her through most of her days, because feeling nothing is better than rage.
Then there were all of the ugly thoughts she had about others. The judgemental attitude, and the inability to see anyone else’s feelings as valid.
Desdemona had, essentially, constructed a wall around herself. A nearly impenetrable one at that.
I suppose some of that was my fault. As her guardian, it was my job to keep her safe and only allow her to connect with the one deemed worthy. That was the blessing and the curse of the Gorgon. It protected Desi from getting her heart smashed. It also prevented her from ever truly connecting to anyone. Connection brought the walls around her heart down, after all. Those walls kept good men away. Losers kept gravitating toward Desi, and her heart continued to grow harder because she refused to be vulnerable with a bunch of losers. Every so often she did try to connect, and it ended badly, reaffirming her belief that relationships were a waste of time. A vicious cycle.
She blamed the beautiful people for her problems. Bruno was a good looking guy, and that’s why she had to use him before he used her. My part to play was to figure out just how far I should let the date go.
Some of Bruno’s fingers tangled into her hair. They brushed past me, and I had only a few seconds to get out of the way before they grazed over my scales. I couldn’t have that. We cannot be known, not until the curse was lifted. The only one who knew we were there, was Desi. Even then, the only connection she made was that some unseen force protected her from heartache. Or sex blocked her. It depended on the day which perspective she had. I often wondered if she liked to push her limits and see as many men as possible to lure me and my fellow guardians out. She wanted to test us. Maybe she even wanted us to act out against her dates as a form of punishment.
Because all of her dates always ended up hurt.
Like I said, she was ugly.
Desi moaned as she pulled at the buckle holding Bruno’s jeans up. She tossed it to the side and ripped open the fly. And then she moved lower. His hands gripped her hair tight…
Then he yelped and pushed away from her.
“What the…” He gazed down at the bleeding tips of his fingers.
She frowned and tried to coax him over to her couch. “What happened?”
“I didn’t do anything!” He winced and sucked on the blood, then cursed incoherently.
“What’s wrong is I didn’t do anything and now I’m bleeding and the cuts on my fingers are deep!” He completely ignored her and refixed his jeans as best he could with his one good hand. Without so much as a goodbye, he bolted out the door. Probably for the ER.
Desi sighed, much like she always did after her dates went bad. She hid her face behind her hands and started to sob. “I’m going to die a virgin…”
“It really isn’t fair. Perhaps we could let her have that experience at least…then we could chase him away,”Preston offered. The second Guardian of Desdemona, he had always been the most free spirited of us and willing to give the poor girl a break.
I heard Brie, the last Guardian groan. “That monster pulled my tail and nearly crushed me!”
“So you were the one who bit him,” I said, and it took everything within me to hide my chuckle.
“You could have nipped him instead of sent him to the hospital!” Preston wailed.
She laughed. “Go big or go home.”
“You’re a horrible creature!”
I let the two of them bicker for a bit. Sometimes, that was the only way to deal with them. They fought, Desi cried, and I waited.
Just like any other normal Friday night.
Cloud S. Riser is a Minnesota native. She has lived in Minnesota her whole life. She will probably remain there for her whole life too. The mother of The Squid, Skyscraper, and two cats, her life is definitely never dull. An adventure she braves with her husband. In order to stay sane, she creates massive amounts of fiction which she has decided to share with the rest of the world for the simple reason of: she is a storyteller.
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