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Coming Thursday, September 20!
Prologue: The Storm Gloats as the Dead Man Sleeps

“The candlelight was failing.” (page 1)

And so it begins… and ends.

No, no, nobody rush to dial 9-1-1. My mental “irregularities” have not taken me to that point. I am talking storylines here, folks. I’m talking characters who have been living inside of my head for over a year and a half. I am talking Hellesgate, Kansas closing up its shop windows and everybody going back home.

*sighs*

My thirteenth novel, A Torch Kept, concluding the Hellesgate Series will be released this Thursday, September 20 by Ravenous Romance. It is the fifth installment of the first series I have ever written. Talk about bittersweet…

*kicks herself in the butt*

My THIRTEENTH novel!! Wow, ok, just wow! Who’d have thunk it? Certainly not my ninth grade English teacher. Hah! Stick that in your ear, Mr. James.

*slaps herself hard on the side of the head and checks that the meds have been taken on schedule*

Getting back to business… May I please welcome you to Day One of Hellesgate’s Long Goodbye. In short, we’re calling this puppy ATK (A Torch Kept) Day 1. Yes, this is a twitter-ification. Ahh, I wonder what Mr. James has to say about Twitter-ese? I can hear his teeth grinding right now. Hee-hee.

*checks warning labels on meds for “bitter-laced childhood regression”*

Moving quickly on… For anybody new to this little venture I have dubbed preview blogging, here’s what you can expect in the next five days. Every day you’ll get a blog entry complete with 2 chapter titles and 2 tiny excerpts from each chapter of A Torch Kept (out this Thursday, did I mention?). Along with these juicy tidbits, my blog of the day’s subject matter will be based on that days titles or excerpts. Got it? If not, don’t sweat it. Just follow along and you’ll get the swing of things real soon.

Hardcore fans might notice that I’m doubling up on the titles and excerpts this time around. Well, release day kind of happened a lot quicker than I had thought, so, yes, I’ve essentially been caught with my pants down… Yes, appropriate for a smut writer, I know.

No worries, though. You will still get your fill of author trivia, hysteria, manic thoughts and chicanery. Our ride might be short this time, my friends, but damn will it be bumpy!

To start things off with a roar, I am proud to present to you the back cover blurb to my THIRTEENTH novel, A Torch Kept…

Six years have passed since a lone house burning on the Kansas horizon brought Matthew Archer into Cane Summerfield’s life. The love of the New York real estate mogul and the wounded Iraqi War hero has steadily burned brighter with each passing year, enveloping marriage, parenthood, tragedy and triumph.

 

Nothing, however, had prepared the lovers for Memphis.

 

The last Archer brother has been found.

 

Matthew and Cane travel to Tennessee, hoping to finally reunite their fractured family. But Fate has other plans.

 

The final story of the Hellesgate Series has been written. Endings are had, beginnings made. Who will survive the storm that is life?

 

It is said that a torch kept alight through a storm will burn forever. Is love such a fire when death is the night?

Intense, huh? Got you circling Thursday on your calendar with a big red pen, right? This one is super good, ladies and gentlemen. You’re going to love it.

And never fear, just because Hellesgate might be shuttering its doors and windows doesn’t mean Chloe Stowe is cutting a trail. I am thrilled to announce that I have just signed with Ravenous to write my 14th novel… a novel which you’ll get the name and a sneak peek of at the end of ATK Days.

Yes, that’s right, Mr. James, my 14th novel… Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Until tomorrow, when hopefully clearer heads will prevail…

Chloe Stowe

Chapter One: The Riot of Silence

“Dimas Cabral slept. The dreams, as always, came quickly and vibrantly. Being a strange cocktail of memory, fantasy, and something much more, Dimas never tried to understand them. He simply imbibed them hungrily, hoping to wake hours later punch-drunk with the taste of Alanyo on his lips.” (page 14)


 
 
As release day for book #3 of the Hellesgate Series nears (tomorrow, folks!) and the last reindeer of our WWII love games has arrived, I’d like to take a few moments to re-introduce you to Shafts of Torchlight’s locale, a crazy little place called Hellesgate…

Hellesgate is a little town of about 500 citizens in southwestern Kansas. It has a post office, a small store, a gas station, a granary and a row of neat tiny houses running up Main Street. At first glance, Mayberry comes to mind, but fair warning: there are no Opie’s here.

Bingham Daughtry is an old, old man who runs the post office. He was a sniper in the Korean War and never got out of the habit of calling his gun his best friend. He’s famous for his hard lemonade and the senility he flirts with daily. He is a loyal man who says what’s on his mind and who defends the few he calls his friends with vigor and when necessary with violence.

The Eastons, Iona and Elwood, run an apple orchard on the outskirts of town. Iona babies her apple trees and her husband with an equal but fierce passion. While the couple were never blessed with children of their own, they were blessed with Cane, their nephew. Having raised him since he was a baby, they consider Cane their own and would gladly defend him with their lives.

May Shaw is an eccentric girl. A beautiful woman in her twenties, she is as slight as a thistle and as winsome as the prairie wind. She loves Cane Summerfield with a passion which frequently crosses over into the obsessive. Her stalking tendencies have mellowed some through the years but her incendiary love of Cane has not.

Jefferson Shaw is May’s brother. With all the passion with which May loves Cane, Jefferson hates him with equal fire. Convinced that Cane has somehow wronged his sister, Jefferson has vowed to destroy Cane’s life… that is if he ever sobers up enough to figure out how.

This is Hellesgate, Kansas. It is an environment rich with love, hate and fire. It is the bed in which Cane Summerfield and Matthew Archer’s love was sparked and their family was born. I hope you will drop by for a visit tomorrow and be sure to bring your friends and enemies – after all, there’s something for everybody (be it murder, mayhem or momentous love) in Hellesgate, Kansas.

However, Matthew and Cane’s love and adventures are by no means limited to Kansas. Denver, Colorado plays a crucial role in Shafts of Torchlight, a backdrop to a dangerous night in which lives are threatened and love is tested…

 Chapter Seven: Sleet in Denver

“Standing there alone at a frosted window Matthew missed the brush of arm against his arm, the tickle of breath against his neck, the sound of his own voice tangled in the sound of his husband’s.” (page 85)

Well, I believe I have flapped my jaws enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll give you a recap of the histories of Matthew and Cane and their little girl, Sahara. Until then, I leave you with the final reindeer of our WWII games…

I imagine Blitzen to be…

An assassin. He is a man who is sent in as a war’s last resort. He must blend in, get lost among the maddening crowd… until the final shot can be had. He trusts no one but his own gun. While he once hated his role as reaper, he views it now as a mission of mercy. The atrocities of the war have changed him, hardened him. In the mirror, Blitzen no longer recognizes himself. Who he will be after the war, if there is an “after the war” for him, only God knows. Until then his crosshairs are set on only one man… a man who is responsible for hundreds of deaths or so the intelligence alleges. When the truth of his target’s actions come to light, will it be enough to convince Blitzen to betray his own orders to save one good man’s life? Or will his own heart feel the cold death of his own assassin’s bullet?

Until tomorrow (Release Day!!!)…

Chloe Stowe and her Hellesgate homies.