Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spotlight on Special Offers by M.L. Ryan

Special Offers
The Coursodon Dimension Series – Book 1
M.L. Ryan

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Running with Scissors Publishing

ISBN: 978-0615672762 

Number of pages: 216
Word Count: 63,000

Cover Artist: M.L. Ryan

Book Description: 

As soon as Hailey Parrish discovered her husband was cheating with her co-worker, she swore off men. She had to find another job when her boss went to prison for being a pimp in his spare time. Three years later, Hailey still hadn’t gone on a date and she milks chinchilla for a living. Her life is about to get weirder. 

While in pursuit of inter-dimensional miscreants who use their arcane powers to prey upon humans, Sebastian Kess was ambushed and mortally wounded. To save his life, he used his own magic to convert his soul to binary code and transfer it into Hailey’s soon-to-be shipped Kindle eBook reader. When Hailey inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined.

Hailey must come to grips with the existence of the parallel dimension of Coursodon and the realization that magically inclined non-humans walk the world while dealing with Sebastian’s arrogant banter in her head.  Her predicament also introduces her to another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland.  The action moves from Hailey’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona to New England and across Europe as she and Alex try to return Sebastian to his own body while staying one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is. 

Special Offers, the first book of the Coursodon Dimension Series, combines paranormal romance, urban fantasy, a bit of science fiction and a healthy dose of quirky humor.


While I waited for Wyatt to take my order, I swung around on the stool and glanced about the room searching for anyone I might know so I could hang with them instead of at the bar.  No such luck.  Someone slipped into the empty seat next to me, and from over my right shoulder I heard “Hey, how’s the knees?”

I turned back and was caught in the cornflower blue gaze of No Sweat Bastard.  And he looked even better in the tight black t-shirt and black jeans he was wearing than he did this morning.  The outfit accentuated his sinewy, athletic physique while giving him a look of confident masculinity.  Yum.

“I almost didn’t recognize you with your hair down,” NSB remarked.  “It looks good this way.”
As my bad luck would have it, Wyatt picked that moment to come by to ask what we wanted.
“You having your usual?” Wyatt drawled as he started to grab a bottle of Patron.

Wyatt knew me well.  The only alcohol I ever drank was tequila; either in a margarita or straight.  But I heard someone say “No. Glen Fiddich, rocks,” and realized soon thereafter that it was me.

I wanted to immediately right the obvious wrong that was my drink order, but I was too embarrassed to admit I had misordered in front of NSB.  I thought I noticed a flash of unease on his face when I asked for the scotch, but it was gone as soon as it appeared.  He probably thought I was trying to seem exotic or something, ordering single-malt.  Great, I fretted, now I was doubly self-conscious.

 “I’ll have the same,” he directed toward Wyatt.  To me, he said “I never introduced myself this morning. I’m Alex, Alex Sunderland.”

“Hailey Parrish,” I replied.  Not wanting the conversation to stall, the only thing I could come up with next was “Wow.  What are the odds that we would run into each other twice in one day?”

He unleashed one of those spectacular smiles my way and said, laughing, “Astronomical, I would think.”

Just then my purse started to vibrate.  When I went out some place crowded, I liked to use one of those little cross-body bags instead of the behemoth I usually carried.  That way, I was forced to limit myself to the essentials - phone, driver’s license, lip gloss, some cash and a credit card – and I never had to worry about misplacing it in the throng.  I excused myself, and turned away slightly as I grabbed the phone.  It was Rachel.

“Hailey, I’m really sorry, but Harrison has some sort of stomach bug and he’s currently curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor moaning, ‘kill me’, over and over.”

Ew.  “That sounds awful.  Does he need to go to urgent care?”

“No,” she continued, “but you know men, they’re such babies when they are sick.  Obviously we are going to have to beg off tonight.  Are you already at the bar?”

“Yeah, I got here early,” I yelled.  Even with my finger pressed into my other ear, I could barely make out what she was saying with all the raucous bar noise.  “Too bad Harrison’s sick.  Tell him I hope he feels better.”

“I’m sure he will by tomorrow.  But I feel terrible that you are there by yourself.”

“No problem,” I assured her.  No problem, indeed, I thought as I glanced at Alex, who was paying for both the drinks that Wyatt had just delivered.  “Hey, it’s really noisy in here, so I’m having a hard time hearing you.  I’m fine, though.  I’ll just talk to you tomorrow.”

I ended the call and set the phone on the bar.  I wasn’t particularly unhappy that they weren’t coming.  After all, Alex was easy on the eyes and Rachel would be so proud of me for talking to him instead of making an excuse to hide in the ladies’ room.  Besides, there was something about him that felt very familiar, like I had known him for a long time.  Astounding as it seemed, I actually felt comfortable sitting with him.

As I turned to face him, he raised his glass towards me and I did the same with mine.  We saluted each other with scotch and I took a sip.  God, this stuff really is wretched, I thought, but somehow I felt compelled to keep drinking.  And not just to keep up the pretense of having ordered something I actually liked.  It was the weirdest feeling; wanting to both spit it out yet at the same time longing for the next mouthful.  It occurred to me that maybe that’s how all scotch drinkers feel.  Because truly, the stuff tasted like turpentine.

Throughout the evening, the conversation encompassed the usual get-to-know you banter.  I got the important information without too much digging; he was single and an insurance adjuster from Portland, Oregon in town for two weeks for some specialized training.  He seemed sincere, but really, he could be from Salt Lake City, unemployed with ten kids for all I really knew.  Not wanting to get into a complicated dialogue about my unusual career path, I just said I worked at a local dairy.  That was my go-to angle when I wasn’t in the mood to get into the specifics.

We ordered another round, which I paid for, and then switched to non-alcoholic choices; ice tea for me, sparkling water for him.  He had a relaxed way about him that belied his obvious intellect and he shifted effortlessly between topics ranging from popular culture to global economies.

Too bad he doesn’t live around here, I lamented. It figured that I actually meet a guy that I might actually like, and he’s only here for two weeks.  No sense letting this go much further, I reasoned.  I certainly wasn’t up for a one-nighter, or even best case scenario, a fourteen-nighter.

It was getting late, it had been a long day and I wanted to drive home soon before I risked falling asleep at the wheel.  I rooted in my bag and found some bills to leave on the bar for Wyatt’s well-deserved tip.  Then I downed the last of my tea and turned to look at Alex.

“This has been fun,” I began.  “But I really should be getting home.  Hope your training goes well; maybe we’ll run into each other again at the River Park.”

As I started to get off of the bar stool, a peculiar sensation coursed through me, as if I was suddenly exerting a great deal of energy.  My expression must have communicated the discomfort, because Alex frowned and asked if I was okay.  When I didn’t immediately respond, he reached over and took my hands in his, concern etched across his handsome face.

Suddenly, I felt an electrical zap similar to what I had encountered days before when first synching the Kindle.  I might have been able to rationalize it as some hackneyed romantic sign had the next two events not occurred in rapid succession: First, I inexplicably uttered one long, unrecognizable sound.  Then I heard the voice.

I always wondered how Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams managed to stay relatively calm when he first heard “if you build it, he will come” whispered in his cornfield.  But that was a movie, after all.  When, in my head, a man uttered “I need his help” over and over, I panicked.  I tore myself from Alex’s grip and ran through the crowded dance floor, shoving unsuspecting patrons out of my way as I quickly escaped out the emergency exit.

I sprinted to my car and managed to fish my keys out of my purse despite the fact I was shaking from head to toe.  Thankfully, the repetitive pleading of my auditory hallucination had ceased by then.  I’m not really sure how I got home; I know I drove, but beyond that I had no recollection of the journey.  When I reached the safety of my house, I rushed inside and collapsed on the living room floor.

About the Author:

M.L. Ryan is a profes­sional woman — not that she gave up her amateur status, but rather that she is over-educated with a job in which she spends a lot of time writing dry science non-Fiction. In an effort to strength­en the less logi­cal side of her brain, she decided to write some of the many stories rolling around in her head.  She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, son, four cats, two dogs and two adopt­ed desert tortoises.

Twitter: @MLRyan1