Categories
Uncategorized

The Spirits of Maine Series, by Lydia North/Kim Scott, Available Now

1966866_10152449869157580_4248858365408750476_n
http://tiny.cc/5o23kx

Erik went into the woods of northern Maine for a vacation. He planned to enjoy three   weeks of quiet serenity. But in the cabin nothing was what he expected and his life would never be the same.
As winter settles over the region Erik begins to question whether he will get away from the woods alive.
The woods of Maine belong to the spirits who live there. When the whispering begins… RUN!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10398686_10152771758132580_7976791583895332008_n
http://tiny.cc/rm23kx

This is the sequel to Waiting for Harvey.
Erik Rivard survived his time in the cabin with the ghost of Harvey Cloutier.
Now he’s going back to the clearing.
Harvey is a strong Spirit of the Maine Woods.
But this time Erik won’t be alone. Can he survive another encounter with Harvey?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More about Kim Scott/Lydia North

Kim Scott/Lydia North was born in South Carolina and grew up in Scarborough, Maine. She currently lives near the coast in Southern Maine. My pen name used for my Ghost Stories is Lydia North.  Ms. Scott is the author of:

The Ruth Chernock Series
1.Regarding Ruth

2. In Ruth’s Memory

3. On Grace’s Shoulders

4. Pink Sky & Mourning

The Manning Family Series
1. What Happened to Alex Manning?

2. Shuttering the Manning House

The Spirits of Maine Series (Pen Name Lydia North)
1. Waiting for Harvey, published under my pen name Lydia North.
2. Lilies in the Clearing is coming August 30th 2014.
3. The Talking Walls is coming in January 2015.

Additional titles coming in 2014 & 2015: ‘Plummeting’ ‘Forgive Me Mattie’, ‘A Solitary Grave in the Maine Woods’ & ‘The Talking Walls’.

My Contact Info:
Facebook: at https://www.facebook.com/RegardingRuth &

https://www.facebook.com/pages/What-Happened-to-Alex-Manning/416970635055640

My website: http://www.kimscottbooks.com/

By email at: kimscott@kimscottbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimScottAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450594.Kim_Scott

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kimscottwrites/boards/

Categories
Uncategorized

Happenings by Author Joy Redmond

Author Joy Redmond
Author Joy Redmond

In 1976, I sold my house, and my three children and I left Kentucky. We moved to a small town in Missouri. I had to work second shift and I left my oldest daughter, Paula and my son, Peter in charge of Mary.

One night I got a call from Peter. “Mom, Paula and me had Mary outside watching her ride her bike and I was showing her how to pop a wheelie. When we came in the front door we could hear somebody in the middle bedroom and it sounded like they were tearing up the place. So we ran back outside and we’re at a neighbor’s house. They called the police but I wish you’d come home.”

I said, “Stay at the neighbor’s and I’ll get home as fast as I can.”

My hands were trembling so badly it was hard to keep a grip on the steering wheel. Who could be in the house? How did they get in? I was thankful I only had a ten minute drive, but it seemed to take forever to get home.

I pulled into the driveway and the children ran across Neighbor’s front yard toward me. Neighbor was close behind. I jumped out of the car and ran to my children.

Neighbor said, “I went over to see what the kids were talking about and just as I entered the living room, I could hear somebody ransacking the house, so I went back home and called the cops. They should be here by now.”

Just as Neighbor finished the sentence, a police cruiser pulled into the driveway. I told Neighbor to take the children back to his house and I’d come for them as soon as Officer had Stranger out of my house. Officer walked my way and asked, “What seems to be the problem, ma’am?”

I explained the problem as it had been told to me. Officer told me to stay in the front yard until he investigated. In few minutes, Officer came back outside holding a shoulder-strap purse on his forefinger. “Here’s your intruder!”

“What?” I opened the purse and found an empty perfume bottle and a key ring with several keys attached. The purse had been packed in a box in my closet. I said, “Are you sure there’s nobody in the house?”

Officer smiled. “I checked the house thoroughly. The back door is locked, all windows are down and locked, and no sign of forced entry, and no sign of a person. The purse was hanging on the doorknob, inside the middle bedroom. It was swinging and banging against the door.”

I thanked Officer and apologized for wasting his time. He merely smiled and went back to the cruiser, and I’m sure he was thinking we were a bunch of nuts.

I opened the front door, set the purse on the floor, then went to Neighbor’s and collected my children. I carried Mary and Paula and Peter stayed close by my side. “There’s nobody in house. We’re safe. I’ll explain when we get home,” I said.

Peter opened the front door, I stood Mary on the floor, then told them to go sit at the kitchen table. When they were seated, I came into the kitchen holding the purse. I looked at Paula. “Have you been using my purse?

“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t use that ugly thing and I hate shoulder straps.”

I looked toward Peter. “Hey, I’m not into purses, he said.”

I knelt by Mary’s side. “Did you get in Mommies closet and get the purse out to play with it?”
Mary said, “I don’t like the purse, it stinks.”

“Stinks?” I said, pulling the purse under my nose and taking a whiff. It had an old musky smell. It had been boxed, but it had only been packed for a few weeks.

“Stinky Purse,” I said, and tossed it into the corner. I wasn’t going to leave the children and go back to work. A first happening is an alarming thing, and I needed to explain a few things to them.

We sat around the table. Paula was fifteen. Peter was twelve. Mary was five, but I thought it was time to tell them about visiting spirits. I told them about the visits from my mama and baby brother and how much comfort they had brought me. I told them about smelling roses from time to time, and how I believed it was Mama paying a visit just to let me know she loved me.

They intently listened and I saw their eyes widen in surprise and joy. Paula and Peter thought it was cool. Mary was sitting in my lap. She patted my face. “Mommy, did Grandma get your purse out and play with it?” The idea of Grandma paying a visit seemed to intrigue her.

I thought for a minute, then said. “Well, it doesn’t seem like something that Grandma would do. This was a prank, which is exactly something like Grandpa would do. He was the biggest prankster I’ve never known. He’s probably laughing his butt off. And I guess it is funny, now that we know it was a prank and nobody was in the house.”

The children agreed that it was funny and we all had a laugh.

After our talk, I fixed us a snack, then I got Mary ready for bed. Paula and Peter wanted to watch TV before going to bed. I was tired, so I decided to turn in, too. I picked up Stinky Purse and took it back to its box in the closet. “Now stay put!” I said.

Two months went by and Stinky Purse stayed put in the box in my closet. Then one morning we were all sitting around the kitchen table having breakfast. We heard a strange sound. It seemed to be coming from one of the bedrooms.

“Sit still,” I said. I made my way down the hall and into my bedroom. There in the middle of the floor was Stinky Purse! The musky smell was stronger. I picked it up and headed for the kitchen. When I came through the doorway, swinging it by the straps, the children laughed and said, “Stinky Purse is out again!”

“Here’s hoping it finds another home,” I said as I headed out the back door. I threw it into the trash can, then pulled the can to the curb out front, thankful it was garbage pickup day. Stinky Purse was out of our lives. I hoped. The smell was sickening.

By the end of that year we liked Missouri well enough to call it home. So I decided I’d buy a house. When the realtor pulled up in front of the third house on her list, I felt a warm glow come over me. The minute the realtor unlocked the front door and I stepped inside, the house seemed to be calling my name. Or maybe it was the brick fireplace in the living room with a beautiful mirror encased in a gold frame. The realtor said the previous owners had bought it especially for the fireplace and they wanted to leave it. I was gratefully. There was something special about the mirror that I didn’t understand.

I walked over and stood in front of the fireplace. I reached up and touch the beautiful frame around the mirror that seemed to be beckoning me. My breath caught in my throat as I gasped. Mama’s face appeared and she was smiling, the same smile I had seen on her face when she came to me after I had learned of her death. I placed my hand on her image and she disappeared. Tears filled my eyes, but my heart filled with joy.

I didn’t want to leave the mirror but the realtor wanted to show me the rest of the house. It was an old home but it was in mint condition. It had three bedrooms upstairs, a finished basement with a sitting room, bedroom, full bath and laundry room. Perfect! My daughters who were ten years apart in age wouldn’t have to share a bedroom, and Son would have his private man cave downstairs away from all the women. He was drowning in estrogen.

The weather was perfect all of October, but by early November it was cold enough to turn on the furnace. Soon all the rooms were warm and toasty—except for my oldest daughter Paula’s bedroom. I held my hand over the vents and I could feel warm air, but it didn’t penetrate the room. By late November you could see your breath in that room.

There was no way the cold bedroom was going to hold heat, which was nice for sleeping but too chilly for dressing and undressing. I called a heating and air-conditioning company. A young man came and checked out the furnace and all the pipes and vents. He found nothing wrong.

One night I was snuggled up in bed with Paula and we were having a mother-daughter talk. Suddenly we heard a sound, like wind chimes. The sound was clearly coming from a few feet away. Then we looked up at the ceiling. There in the far right corner above the dresser was a cluster of glitter.
Paula said, “Mom, do you see that? Is it fairy dust?”

“I see it honey, but I didn’t see Wendy come in with it. I just hope Peter Pan shows up and gives me directions to Never-Never Land, where I’ll never grow old.”

“Stop acting stupid, Mom. What is it?”

“I’m not sure, honey. It could be orbs. I think orbs are supposed to be angels who are watching over us.” I continued to watch the dancing of glitter and the colors were different than anything I’d ever seen. It was like a rainbow with every color imaginable, and some of the colors were foreign to me. They were mesmerizing. And the chimes were the most beautiful music I’d ever heard. I wondered if it was the same sound the angels make when they play their harps. If the angels actually do play harps and I have my doubts about that.

We waited for the fairy dust or orbs or whatever it was to hit the floor, but they just danced around in a circle a few inches from the ceiling. After a minute or so, the chimes went silent, but the beautiful display of colors continued. A few minutes later the rainbow turned into a cloud of fog, slowly dissipated and disappeared.

Paula smiled. “I hope it comes back. That was really neat!”
“We never know when a spirit will come or what they’ll do. And we’re never sure who the spirit is.

I think that was a cluster of many spirits who thinks it’s the 4th of July.”

“You’re not funny, Mom.

“Ah, lighten up, kid. You know I always have to make a joke about things. You should be used to it by now. I have no explanation, so you figure it out.”

I left the room, wondering who it could have been. I went into the living room and told Peter and Mary what had happened. Wide-eyed, they ran to the bedroom. We all piled into the bed and waited. And waited. By 10 o’clock, I told them the show was over for the night. Peter went to his bedroom in the basement. I put Mary to bed, and I read for a while before turning in.

For the next week, every night at 7 o’clock, which was the time the happening had occurred, we all piled into Paula’s bed and waited. Fairy Dust never returned. Peter Pan was a no-show, too. A big disappoint for all.

It had been a year since Fairy Dust had appeared. The children enjoyed making snowmen and I braved the elements and helped them build a few. Then came the snowball fights. Three against one, and I was pelted hard. I managed to get a few balls thrown, but my aim wasn’t good enough, and my hands were numb.

That winter, I introduced them to something I had enjoyed as a child. The snow was heavy and I thought it was safe to make snow cream. The children went outside with pans and spoons and gathered the snow as I had instructed. “Don’t take the top. Rake off a good inch, then get the snow underneath”.

When their pans were full, they brought them back inside. They watched in amazement as I emptied the small pans of snow in a large pan, added vanilla flavoring and milk and stirred for five minutes. I set the pan in the freezer. When it was frozen solid, I took it out, filled four bowls. We had plenty of snow cream that winter, and we enjoyed the fireplace. It was so cozy sitting close by the hearth and watching the flames dance. I kept hoping I’d see Mama, but she didn’t appear.

While we were snowbound, we entertained ourselves with board games. Our favorite board game was Monopoly. One night we sat around the kitchen table, all of us selecting our favorite board piece.

About thirty minutes into the game a horrible smell filled the room. In unison we said,

“Who cut the cheese?” all of us eyeing each other and waving our hands in front of our faces.

I didn’t do it. I knew the children didn’t do it because of their surprised looks, and when one of them did rip off a wind-biscuit, they would break into the silly giggles. We continued fanning the air with our hands. Within a minute or so it was gone.

“I think we just experience another happening, I said.

Peter said, “It had to be Grandpa. That was a manly fart!”

“It wouldn’t surprise me. It’s like something he’d do,” I answered.

We continued the game and it went on for almost two hours. I was tired of playing and I was losing. “I’m done kids. Finish without me.” Just as I rose from my chair the smell of rotten eggs filled the air, and almost knocked me backward. The children’s eyes were wide and they all ask, “Who did it this time?”

When I could get my breath, I pulled a Daddy trick on them and said, “That’s not Grandpa. It’s the devil farting. Don’t you smell the sulfur?”

I’d never seen three kids jump and run so fast. I bent over laughing—until it hit me—what if it is the devil?

Several weeks passed. One night I was sitting on the couch, the children were at my feet, lying on their bellies, faces propped in hands, watching one of our favorite sit-coms. We were all laughing when suddenly we started choking from a horrible smell. The children looked up at me with wide eyes. “It’s the devil farting!” I yelled.

Three kids were off the floor and trying to crawl into my lap at the same time. By the time they had almost smothered me with their bodies, the smell was gone. I did have to sleep with all three that night, which taught me a lesson—don’t act like Daddy and scare the children. Though I never let on, I was a bit unnerved by the smell. Mother sent roses. Daddy played pranks. Fairy Dust was beautiful. But who was sending the sulfur smell?

After spending two of the coldest winters of my life I decided I was moving out of snow country. I’d scooped my last shovel full of snow, I’d used an ice pick and busted ice in a driveway all I was going to for the rest of my life and I had my fill of being snowbound for weeks. I swore if the sun ever did shine and the snow finally melted, I was on my way to Florida. Several friends had vacationed in Clearwater and it sounded like the perfect place.

I put my house on the market and it sold in June. I took the children to Kentucky to stay with their grandparents, and I headed to Florida in search of a house. It only took three days to find a nice home that I could afford, in a nice neighborhood and friendly neighbors. I filled out all the paper work and we set a date for closing. I headed back to Kentucky to collect my children, anxious to start packing, excited about moving to Florida, living close enough to walk to the beach every day, and listen to the hypnotic sounds of the ocean waves as they lapped the shore.

Twenty-eight days later, I called the Moving Company. The next morning the movers were there by 7 o’clock in the morning. We had said our goodbyes to all of our friends the day before. Finally the household contents were loaded in the moving van, and it was on its way to Florida. We had packed all we needed for the trip in the station wagon. I told the children to get in the car and I’d be there shortly. I wanted to make one more sweep through all the rooms, savoring the memories we had made, and privately tell the house goodbye. It had been the happiest two years of my life.

After I had made my walk-through, I opened the front door, glanced over my shoulder at the beautiful fireplace, the large mirror still hanging over it. My breath caught in my throat as I watched Mama’s face appear in the center of the mirror. She held a beautiful smile. “I’m doing the right thing, huh, Mama? Please come back and visit me often. I missed you so much.” Tears welled as I watched Mama’s image fade away.

I hurried to the car, but I didn’t mention Mama’s visit. We buckled up and were on our way. Paula talked non-stop, Peter cracked jokes, Mary slept off and on, and fourteen hours later, we arrived in Florida. I had only lost my religion twice during the long drive. I had cramps in my right leg and toes, and I hoped I didn’t have to get behind the wheel for a long time.

We were told the moving van wouldn’t be there until three days later. I rented us a motel room. A Waffle House was next door, very handy for me to make coffee runs.

Two days later we had the closing on the house which only took thirty minutes. I collected the house keys, wished everybody a happy life, then headed back to the motel, hoping the rain would let up and we could go to the beach. The next day it poured rain. We were going insane being hold up in a tiny room at Motel Hell.

On the third day, the sun was brightly shining, a perfect day for the beach, but we had to go to the house and wait for the moving van. Thankfully, the van pulled in the driveway ten minutes after we did. It was mid-July, and the heat and humidity was unbearable.

Finally the van was unloaded. I shut doors and windows, turned on the air-conditioning and fixed us a glass of ice water. The children were hungry, so I told them to sit tight and I’d make a run to Taco Bell. I got back with the tacos and we sat on the floor, because the table was piled with boxes. We all had our mouths full, when suddenly the smell of rotten eggs surrounded us. We just looked at each other, smiled and in unison said, “Phantom Farter!”

“Yep, he came with us,” I said, “But we’re eating, not playing Monopoly.” Within a minute or so, the smell disappeared and it never returned. We had laughed about Stinky Purse, we missed Fairy Dust, but we were glad Phantom Farter had departed.

Then we got another visitor.

Our first three months in Florida had been wonderful. We went to the beach every day after I got off work, and we spent most every weekend walking the beach, digging our toes in the sand, and building sand castles. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened since Phantom Farter left us. Then one night I was home alone. Peter was fishing off the pier, Paula was out with friends and Mary was at a sleepover next door. How nice and peaceful, I thought.

I settled down on the couch in the TV room and began reading a book. I was a few pages into the book when suddenly I heard music. It was the same music that used to play when I was a teenager and opened my jewelry box. When I lifted the lid a little ballerina would twirl and sweet music played, though I never recognized the tune.

I put the book down and kept listening. The music was clearly coming from a few feet away. I knew my old jewelry box had disappeared years ago. My daughters had never had one or anything else that played music. To my knowledge there was nothing in the house that played music—especially the same tune. I searched the room like a detective on the prowl for drugs. I found nothing. By the time my search was over the music had stopped.

A year after our move to Florida, Peter decided he wanted to display his beer can collection. He had order many of the cans from a catalogue with names we’d never heard of. He even had a Billy Beer and it was his favorite. The catalogue also sold display shelves and mounting devices for the cans. Using his birthday money from Grandparents, he ordered a shelf with slots for each can. I helped him assemble and mount the shelves to the wall. Then we painstakingly used the sticky cubes. One side of the cube was to be stuck to the can and the other side was to be stuck to the shelf slot.

The directions read: place in selected spot and wait thirty minutes before touching. We had four rows fixed so-so and waited thirty minutes. “Time to test,” Son said. He flicked the cans, shook them, pulled on them, but they were as secure as if they had been placed in cement.

“By cracky, they won’t fall down,” I said.

One night the three children had overnight plans and I was home alone. Since I didn’t have to monitor TV programs, I decided I’d watch a movie on HBO. After the movie was over I went to bed with a good book, propped up and read until I fell asleep. I was awakened at midnight by a strange sound. I sat up in bed and listened. Bing! Bing! Bing! I got out of bed, walked into the living room, and the ‘binging’ was coming from Peter’s bedroom.

I looked round the room and saw several beer cans were on the floor. I picked them up and put them back into their slot on the shelf. Just as I had placed the last one, the cans started popping out of the slots as if they were being thumped, one by one in, in a straight line, and in rhythm. I smiled and said, “That’s amazing.” I stood transfixed as a dozen cans flipped off the shelf slot and hit the floor, still falling in a straight line and in perfect rhythm. Finally, two rows were empty and they stopped falling. I folded my arms and said, “Is that all you’ve got?” I waited a few minutes. That was it. The show was over. I went back to bed, picked up my book and I heard, Bing! Bing! Bing! I didn’t bother to go look or pick them up.

We’ve been in Florida for two year, and it was Mary’s 9th birthday. I had promised her a new bike. I even let her go shopping with me and pick out the one she wanted. Her eyes glowed when she spotted a bright orange bike. I bought it. “Happy birthday, darling,” I said as she pushed it out of the store. We loaded it into the trunk and she couldn’t wait to get home and ride it.

Our driveway wasn’t long enough for Mary to ride her bike as far as she wanted to, and I wasn’t about to let her ride out of my sight. There was a church parking lot across the road from us. So in the afternoons, I let her push the bike across the road and ride in the lot while I sat in the front yard and watched, with a stray cat by my side. The cat had taken up residence with us two weeks before.

One afternoon, a young boy joined her in the parking lot on his black bike. I sat in the driveway and watched them riding, and smiled as I saw what a little gentleman he was. He always stayed a few feet behind her and never crossed her path. Suddenly, Mary tumbled off her bike. She got up and got back on and continued riding. A few laps later, she took another tumble. I thought she was nervous because a boy was riding with her. Mary was a pro who never took a spill. A few more laps and she took another tumble.

I jumped up and hurried across the road. By the time I had reached her, she was in the little boys face, screaming and letting him know she would do damage to him if he pushed her again. The boy did his best to explain that he hadn’t touched her, but she wasn’t buying it. The little boy had tears as he continued his plea of innocence. I intervened and said, “Hey, he didn’t push you. I’ve been watching and he hasn’t been close enough to touch you. Cool your jets, kid.”

She was frothing as she yelled, “I felt his hands on my back and I felt him push me. He pushed me hard.”

I did my best to convince her there was no way, but she insisted she felt hands push her.
The little boy apologized, even though he hadn’t touched her, and went home. For the next week, Mary rode her bike every day and never fell off. Then one afternoon, the little boy came back to ride with her. It was a rerun. Him following a few feet behind. Her taking tumbles. Her accusing him of pushing her. Him swearing he didn’t touch her. Her swearing she felt hands pushing her. Me watching and knowing he didn’t touch her.

“Now we have Bike Pusher to add to the mix,” I said, wondering how many spirits were with us. And who were they?

Two years and four months passed and nothing out of the ordinary had happened since Bike Pusher had paid a visit. The stray cat had stayed with us. He was a strange acting cat and I started calling him Stupid. The name stuck.

Summer was coming to an end. One night, Paul and his friend and his friend’s dad were having an overnight fishing adventure. Paula was spending the night with a friend, and Mary was in a sound sleep. I decided I’d go on to bed and read for a while. I propped up with two pillows and had read three pages when a loud bang sounded on the back door, which led into the house from the garage. There was no way that Paula or Paul would be banging because the garage door was down and locked.

I lay the book on the bed and headed for the back door. Just as I opened the door, Mary’s orange bike fell across the sill. What? The bike had been parked on the far left side of the garage. I picked it up, put it back in its parking space and went back inside to read. One chapter later, I heard the same loud bang on the back door. I got out of bed and checked it out. Orange Bike was at the door again. I picked it up, put it in its parking space and said, “Don’t knock again. You’re not coming in and I’m tired of your tricks. Stay put!” It did for the rest of that night.

Two more years passed. It was time for Mary to start Middle School. I couldn’t bear the thought of her attending a school where stabbings were happening. The situation hadn’t gotten any better than they had been when Paul had attended the same school. I was in a stew. What to do?

I sat in the living room, deep in thought, but my eyes were heavy, begging for sleep. I went to bed. Suddenly, an orange bike with wings was flying through beautiful clouds. And Stupid was flying beside the bike. Stupid also had wings.

My body jerked and I realized I had dozed off. What was the bike trying to tell me? I ran things through my mind about Bike: Hands pushing. Knocking on door. Flying. I got out of bed and went out to the garage. I slowly walked over to Bike. “What? I don’t understand.” I stood staring at the bike as if I thought it was going to talk. And it did.

I didn’t hear a voice, but thoughts were running through my mind and I knew it wasn’t my thoughts. The message was clear. “Move!” I rubbed the chill bumps on my arms. “Okay. I get it.”

The next week I put my house up for sale. A month later it sold. I went house hunting in a town, twenty miles away. My instincts or the spirits or whomever were giving me strong feelings and thoughts were telling me I wasn’t supposed to buy, I was supposed to rent. I found a nice-enough house, and the owners said they would hold it for me until I closed on my house. That was a good sign that I was doing the right thing. How many renters would do that?

We moved two weeks before school was to start. Mary would be in school, only four blocks from the house. I had only heard good things about the school, and I breathed a sigh of relief. As much as the children and I loved Florida, Bay Area was becoming dangerous. Children were being kidnapped and killed on a regular basis. Old people were being robbed and killed for a few bucks. I had an eleven year old daughter and I wasn’t sure I wanted to rear her in such a dangerous place. I also had a twenty-two –year- old, wild daughter and I lived in terror.

Mary had been in school for three months and every day she had been begging me to let her ride her bike to school. It was only four blocks, but I was uneasy and wouldn’t allow it. The begging continued and I finally gave in. She was so happy that her stupid mother was letting her ride to school like a lot of her friends were. What she didn’t know was Stupid Mother was five minutes behind her in the car.

All bikes were to be parked in the bike compound and the gate was locked when the first bell rang. I pulled into the parking lot, walked over to the bike compound, looking for the florescent orange bike that always stuck out like a neon sign. It was nowhere in sight. I scanned the lot several times. No orange bike. With my heart pounding and my throat so constricted I couldn’t swallow, I managed to make my feet move across the lot and into the school building. I’m not sure I could feel the floor beneath my feet as I walked down the mile long hallway to Mary’s classroom.

Wiping sweat I made myself peer through the oblong window on the side of the classroom door. I blew a breath that I’d been holding since I had begun my journey. There was Mary, sitting at her desk, her double ponytails swaying.

I thanked the Good Lord and headed back outside, glancing at my watch. I was already late for work. I glanced over at the bike compound. What? There was the bright orange bike parked in the front row. There was no way I could have missed it. It was then I realized this wasn’t a happening. It was a warning!

After five wonderful years in Florida, we headed to the mountains of Tennessee. We watched the moving van pull out of the driveway, then we were ready to load into our cars. Paula was riding with Paul in his car, and Mary and Stupid were riding with me. Stupid was almost five years old as far as we could figure, and he refused to get in the car. He was a hard wrestle but I finally got him in. Mary placed him in her lap. Stupid set up a howl and he was wracking my nerves. By the time we were crossing the bridge in Bay Area, I’d had all I could stand.

I looked at Stupid, shook my finger in his face and sternly said, “If you howl one more time, I’ll pitch your hairy butt out the window and you can swim back to the house!” He was in mid-howl by the time I finished my speech. He swallowed the rest of the howl and didn’t make another sound.

Ten hours later we arrived. I pulled into the driveway and Stupid went crazy. Mary opened the car door and put him on the ground. He took off like a streak of lightening with Mary running after him, crying, “Come back!” I knew he was headed back to Florida but I tried to convince her that he was just exploring his new neighborhood.

The minute I walked into the house, I knew I had made the right decision. Peace and happiness flowed through me. I knew the spirit or spirits had been talking to me since Bike had given me a warning. We had called our visitors by many names in the past, but when things kept happening, I just called our visitor IT.

The next morning, Paul announced he was going back to Kentucky to finish his senior year. I understood, though it broke my heart to lose him. The moving Van arrived early the next morning. Then it was time to unpack and put the house together.

By the third day the screened in back porch was piled with empty boxes. I was too tired to flatten them, so I latched the back screen door, locked the sliding glass door that led into the kitchen, and went to bed. Mary was still sleeping with me, crying and praying for Stupid.

I got up on the fifth day and headed for the kitchen to get the coffee going. Just as I was filling the pot with water, I heard a faint meow. It sounded like a baby kitten. My heart leapt with joy. A kitten was at the back screen door. Kitten would be a replacement for Stupid, and Mary would stop crying.

I unlocked the sliding glass door and stepped out on the porch. Just as I headed for the screen door, I hear the meow again but it sounded closer. I walked in the direction where the sound was coming. I looked down into a deep, empty box. There sat Stupid. I picked him up and said, “I sure am glad to see you old boy.” Then I glanced at the screen door. The latch was still hooked. I checked all the screens around the porch. No holes. “How did you get in here?”

Just as I was carrying him back inside, Mary walked into the kitchen. She saw Stupid, ran across the floor and grabbed him from my arms. “He came home, Mom. I knew he would because I prayed for him.”

I patted her head and said, “His name should be Houdini. He managed to unlatch the backdoor, latched it back and climbed into a deep box. How he did that, I’ll never know.”

Youngest smiled, stroked Stupid and said, “The angels put him there.”

Her explanation was as good as anything I could figure out. Unless IT had brought him home.

 

 

 

You can find Joy’s books here:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/n5hyz46

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/ng5o5hg

 

10387097_804321619580052_1940400119699487655_o10290601_804321512913396_4464196077400792045_n10391393_804321816246699_8070070951962815085_n

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Endre by S.T. Bende


We’re celebrating the release of Endre (Elsker Saga #2) by S.T. Bende!

Endre (Elsker Saga #2) by S.T. Bende
Upper YA/NA Paranormal Romance
Blurb:

Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.

Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak — not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming.

And the gods aren’t even close to ready.

Buy Endre on:
  And AMAZON UK

Excerpt

When I came to, my chest heaved with sobs. Cold sweat cloaked my body from my forehead to the backs of my knees. My hair was damp, my pulse was racing, and my fingers gripped the sheets so tightly my knuckles ached. I was in my room at Ýdalir, the one place I had always felt safe. Only now I was absolutely terrified.

I ripped the covers off and wrapped my arms around my legs. My nose twitched at an unfamiliar smell. I pulled the cord on the bedside lamp, and looked around to see what might be burning. There was no smoke in the room; all of the furniture seemed to be intact. But when I glanced down, I saw the hems of my pajamas. They were black, singed from the fire I’d desperately hoped had been part of a dream.

This time things had gone too far. If my smoldering pant legs were any indication, being injured in a vision could have far-reaching worldly consequences. And if Elfie had come that close to killing me . . .

Ull had his rules, but I no longer cared. I jumped out of bed and raced down the hallway. When I reached his door I pounded on the distressed wood. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t bother to wipe them away. The downpour was too intense; it wouldn’t have done any good anyway.

The door flew open and Ull stood on the other side. He wore a loose pair of grey sweatpants and nothing else. Oh hot bejeebus. There was no way this guy was for real. It just wasn’t humanly possible to look that good.

Oh, right. Ull wasn’t human.

Despite the agony coursing through my awakening consciousness, this was a moment of glory I’d remember forever—the first time I saw Ull’s naked torso. His sweats hung low on his hips, affording me a view of the cut just above the bone.

Holy Lord.

“Kristia?” Ull rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He took in my matted hair, tear-streaked face, and shaking hands. “Great Odin. What happened?”

He pulled me to him, crushing my face against the muscles of his chest. The knot in my stomach loosened infinitesimally. Just being near Ull gave me peace, but being this near Ull was like taking a sedative. Breathing in his woodsy smell made my panic subside. And when he pressed his hands against me—one to my hair, the other against the small of my back—my gut knew I was safe. Nothing bad could happen to me so long as I was in Ull’s arms. I inhaled again, letting his familiar scent fill me from the inside until my shaking stilled. Then I pressed my lips against his skin. Hard.

“Sweetheart?” he asked again.

“I had another vision and it freaked me out. Can I stay with you?” I didn’t take my lips off his chest as I spoke. I couldn’t. He tasted divine—like spruce and soap and home. There was a very real possibility my mouth might be permanently adhered to his flesh, like a kid who’d tried to lick a frozen railing.

Only this was far less unpleasant.

The Amazon bestselling Upper YA Paranormal Romance series inspired by Norse mythology and featured in USA Today.

What reviewers are saying about The Elsker Saga:

“The characters will leave an imprint on your heart and mind for a long time to come.” -Lisa (Bound by Books)

“Bende takes classic bits of Norse mythology and throws in original elements to create her own tasty Nordic blend… I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel!” -Bookalicious Reviews

“One of my favorite books of the year.” -White Zin Bookends

“Action packed with a heart pounding romance!” -Curse of the Bibliophile

“This book was nearly impossible to put down and I’m dying for the sequel!” -Brittany and Bianca Blab Books (now BiblioBelles)

Tur: An Elsker Saga Novella (Prequel)

AMAZON – BARNES&NOBLE – KOBO

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

Elsker: The Elsker Saga Book One
AMAZON

You don’t win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way. Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr. Her new boyfriend isn’t exactly what she was expecting. He’s an honest to goodness Norse God – an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth. Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms.

Her orderly life just got very messy.

Author Social Media Links:

Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, pastries will be considered a health food.

Find ST on Twitter @stbende or her blog (http://stbende.blogspot.com). While you’re at it, introduce yourself to @UllMyhr — when he’s not saving the cosmos from dark elves, he loves meeting new friends. Especially the human kind.

Blog – ST Bende on Twitter – Ull Myhr on Twitter – Facebook – GoodReads
Categories
Uncategorized

Vote for Tristan!!!

Click here:

Vote Tristan
Categories
Uncategorized

Featuring Author Liz Crowe

1467290_568109426594980_856752147_n

 

Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.

Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.

index
Liz Crowe Author

Liz’s books on Amazon U.S. :

http://tiny.cc/e3sjix

http://tiny.cc/41sjix

*********************************

Good Faith Blurb

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]

Good Faith

by

Liz Crowe

 

© 2013 Tri Destiny Publishing – All rights reserved. Limited duplication allowed for pre-approved promotional purposes only. This content may not be shared or distributed in any capacity at any time outside the scope of the original intent without express written consent of Tri Destiny Publishing or their representative.

Back cover blurb:

Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.

Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.

Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.

With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.

Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.

Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.

Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.

As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”

Synopsis:

Three families—Gordon, Frietag, and Robinson—share complex connections previously established in the best-selling Stewart Realty series. This stand-alone, final novel explores the characters coping with mature marriages and challenging, adolescent children. Through shared experiences, their inherent strengths and fragilities as individuals and as couples are revealed forming the basis of relationships for the next generation.

Brandis Robert Gordon emerges as the golden boy from the crowd of children that have grown up together, the apple of his family’s eye, the kid the other kids follow — even when he heads over a cliff. He is being raised by fiercely focused parents who are determined to succeed at everything they do, even if it means unconscious neglect of their children’s emotional needs. Brandis’ star shines bright, blinding family and friends to his inner weaknesses until it’s too late.

Good Faith is, at its core, the story of this young man’s all-consuming struggles with success and failure. It is also a saga of his personal odyssey—his ultimate quest for normalcy, when everything around him seems destined to thwart that goal.

The intertwining relationships amongst Brandis, his best friend Gabe Frietag, Gabe’s younger sister, Blair, and her friend, Lillian Robinson, bracketed by the equally compelling lives of their parents and siblings, form the framework of this complex novel.

By the time Brandis fully grasps what Blair, the girl he’s known his whole life, means to him, he has embarked on a life journey plagued by multiple addictions. Recruited to play Division I football as a freshman starting quarterback, after years of dedicated effort towards that very goal, he attempts to focus and be the man his parents and girlfriend expect him to be. But his personal demons already have a firm grip on him, and his downward spiral threatens to drag everyone he loves into the vortex with him.

Blair Frietag has never considered herself strong or independent—she’s just “Gabe’s nerdy sister” and “Lillian Grace’s best friend.” But she is harboring a life-long obsession with Brandis Gordon. When he finally comes to her, she welcomes everything about him—the good and the bad—nearly destroying herself in the process. Because Brandis’ love is conditional and anchored in dependence, she must accept or reject her role as enabler. By the time she acknowledges the fact that her desire to help him overpowers her inability to do so, it’s nearly too late.

After being told that the man he considers his father is actually not, Gabriel Frietag’s final years of high school devolve into angry confusion. The fact that he has started to question his sexuality only compounds his misery and frustration. The love/hate relationship with Brandis, which began while the boys were small, is sorely tested by Brandis’ increasingly bad choices and is finally severed, thanks to what Gabe considers Brandis’ unhealthy dependence on Blair. In an uncharacteristic move, Gabe rejects everything he knows and loves, and accepts a scholarship to

play soccer for a college on the West Coast, hoping he can break from the painful confines of his childhood home. But his connection to Lillian Grace Robinson, another instrument in their life-long quartet of friendship, remains seemingly unbreakable.

Lillian is Blair’s companion from birth. A shy girl at first, “Lilly-G” seems destined to live forever in Blair’s shadow. But as she observes her friend’s descent into emotional turmoil with Brandis, Lillian comes to terms with her powerful feelings for Gabe. This realization of her own inner strength molds her into the touchstone everyone reaches for: their anchor in the storm, the friend they are all lucky to have, while remaining the one who will forever hold Gabe’s heart in her hands — no matter how far he goes seeking escape.

The Gordon, Frietag and Robinson ties are born of circumstance, necessity and emotion. Yet the choices of the second generation seem destined to destroy all they have built together. When the shocking loss of one of their strongest members comes at the precise moment when healing seems within reach, it threatens their tenuously rebuilt bonds. The tragedy forces everyone to open their eyes to the fickleness of fate and to rely on each other once more.

Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with all its temptations, joys, and sorrows. The plot’s twists and turns are designed to reflect the volatility of human nature, with all its hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks.

More than just another coming-of-age tale, this compelling new novel from best-selling author Liz Crowe is told with sympathy, humor and a real-life voice that will not easily be forgotten.

Categories
Uncategorized

Featuring Author Kristie Cook

kristiecookpicture
Author Kristie Cook

 

Happy 4th of July from Tristan Knight

Happy 4th of July, my friends!

I have a special greeting to you all.

As you know I am an advocate for Tristan Knight from Promise by Kristie Cook during NA Alley Crush Tourney 2014. Since today is 4th of July which is one the most important national holiday, then I thought it would be fun to get a greeting to all of you from Tristan Knight himself!
Happy 4th of July!!!

4th of July Tristan

I hope your 4th of July will be lots of fun and that you will enjoy the time with your families!

Don’t forget to vote for Tristan Knight on the July 8th on NA Alley!

Vote for Tristan here on July 8, 2014!!!  http://www.naalley.blogspot.com/

Tourney_Banner_v2

 

———————————————-

The Book of Phoenix……….The Space Between…………The Space Beyond…………..Available now

Publication1
The Space Between…….The Book of Phoenix, Book 1 Amazon

New Adult Paranormal Romance by bestselling author Kristie Cook ** Mature Content ** Recommended for ages 16+ due to sexual situations and language

First installment of the Book of Phoenix series. Part 2, The Space Beyond, coming in May 2014!
When Life Falls to Pieces, Answers Lie in the Space Between

Leni Drago can’t make a smart decision on her own, according to her mother anyway–the few times sheLeni and Jeric, The Space Between‘s tried resulted in disaster. When her uncle sends her on a dance tour in Italy to find her real self, she returns to an empty home and any evidence of his existence wiped out. Then things get even stranger, like the mysterious appearances of Jeric Winters–inked, pierced and a hit-’em-and-quit-’em type. He’s one decision that should be easy for Leni. Or is he?

Jeric doesn’t do girlfriends. Unless they’re someone else’s. He left the fighting cage and modeling for a reason, and girls who want more than a night of fun are distractions he doesn’t need. Especially when they come with as much baggage as Leni carries. But he can’t shake the gut feeling that he needs to know her. All of her.

To discover the truth behind their connection and their ties to a journal from 1989, they must face painful secrets from their pasts. And they must do so quickly because their own existences are falling to pieces.

This first part of The Book of Phoenix takes you on a heart-wrenching ride as you discover the answers that lie in The Space Between.

****************

Publication2

The Space Beyond, Book 2 in The Book of Phoenix, Amazon

The Space Beyond:

New Adult Paranormal Romance ** Mature Content ** Recommended for ages 16+ due to sexual situations and language

This book includes realistic scenes of domestic violence that are not gratuitously graphic, but may be disturbing to sensitive readers.

Hearts break. Souls shatter. Love lies in The Space Beyond.
As members of the Phoenix, Jeric and Leni are thrust into their new lives, expected to lead Earth’s Guardians. But Leni struggles with trusting her own soul, and Jeric is more concerned about keeping Leni safe than meeting others’ demands. When Darkness swarms Lake Haven, they embark on their first mission with little preparation and no idea which soul the Dark hunts.

Born and raised in Lake Haven, Bex hopes to escape her small-town life, ideally in the arms of her soul mate. She knows he exists, and her heart aches with the need to find him. When her long-lost mama calls to announce she’s knockin’ on death’s door, Bex reluctantly makes the trip to see the uncaring bitch (bless her heart), only to be knocked off her feet by the sexy and charming Dr. Mason Hayes. Is he really The One?

Leni’s soul felt an instant connection to Bex, but if Bex found her soul mate, she isn’t their mission. So who is, and why does Leni instinctively feel drawn to her? Can Leni even trust her intuition? And will Jeric step up and lead when the time comes or continue to hold them back?

If they don’t learn to trust themselves and each other quickly, Darkness will claim them all…along with the rest of Earth’s souls.

******************

Other buy links for The Space Between, book 1 of The Book of Phoenix:

Amazon U.K.

Amazon Canada

Nook U.S.

Kobo

iBooks

Other buy links for The Space Beyond, book 2 of The Book of Phoenix

Amazon U.K.

Amazon Canada

Nook U.S.

Nook U.K.

Kobo

iBooks

 

——————————————————

10313999_1504254863136063_8420763024600318715_n

Release Day Blitz!

Today is release day for The Space Beyond (Part Two in the Book of Phoenix) by Kristie Cook!! If you haven’t read The Space Between (Part One in the Book of Phoenix), it’s on sale for 99c! (Links below) – Join Kristie, along with author Lynn Rush, whose book Absolute Zero releases on May 21st! It’s an ongoing DUAL RELEASE CELEBRATION starting TONIGHT with several guest author appearances! https://www.facebook.com/events/509122122526573

The Space Beyond
Part Two of the Book of Phoenix
Author: Kristie Cook
Release Date: Currently Available
Where: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo (all countries) | Read Our Writes

 

Hearts break, souls shatter, love lies in The Space Beyond…

As members of the Phoenix, Jeric and Leni are thrust into their new lives, expected to lead Earth’s Guardians. But Leni struggles with trusting her own soul, and Jeric is more concerned about keeping Leni safe than meeting others’ demands. When Darkness swarms Lake Haven, they embark on their first mission with little preparation and no idea which soul the Dark hunts.

Born and raised in Lake Haven, Bex hopes to escape her small-town life, ideally in the arms of her soul mate. She knows he exists, and her heart aches with the need to find him. When her long-lost mama calls to announce she’s knockin’ on death’s door, Bex reluctantly makes the trip to see the uncaring bitch (bless her heart), only to be knocked off her feet by the sexy and charming Dr. Mason Hayes. Is he really The One?

Leni’s soul felt an instant connection to Bex, but if Bex found her soul mate, she isn’t their mission. So who is, and why does Leni instinctively feel drawn to her? Can Leni even trust her intuition? And will Jeric step up and lead when the time comes or continue to hold them back?

If they don’t learn to trust themselves and each other quickly, Darkness will claim them all…along with the rest of Earth’s souls.

Other books in the series:

The Space Between
Part One in the Book of Phoenix
Author: Kristie Cook
Currently Available
Where: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBookstore | Kobo

When life falls to pieces, answers lie in The Space Between…

Leni Drago can’t make a smart decision on her own, according to her mother anyway–the few times she’s tried resulted in disaster. When her uncle sends her on a dance tour in Italy to find her real self, she returns to an empty home and any evidence of his existence wiped out. Then things get even stranger, like the mysterious appearances of Jeric Winters nked, pierced and a hit-’em-and-quit-’em type. He’s one decision that should be easy for Leni. Or is he?

Jeric doesn’t do girlfriends. Unless they’re someone else’s. He left the fighting cage and modeling for a reason, and girls who want more than a night of fun are distractions he doesn’t need. Especially when they come with as much baggage as Leni carries. But he can’t shake the gut feeling that he needs to know her. All of her.

To discover the truth behind their connection and their ties to a journal from 1989, they must face painful secrets from their pasts. And they must do so quickly because their own existences are falling to pieces.

This first part of The Book of Phoenix takes you on a heart-wrenching ride as you discover the answers that lie in The Space Between.

*****************************

 publication3

The Space Within

Part Three in the Book of Phoenix

Author: Kristie Cook

Release Date: July 14, 2014
here: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo (all countries)

When Darkness threatens, what matters most lies in The Space Within…
Completing a mission that reunites Guardian Twin Flames turns devastating when the Book of Phoenix throws Leni and Brock into a Dark world, leaving Jeric and Asia behind. They count on their other halves to rescue them, but when that doesn’t happen, they must fight through the Darkness and find a Gate that will take them home.

Except all of Earth’s Gates are sealed.

Enyxa, ruler of Darkness, and her horde of Dark souls storm the Gates to push their way through to Earth. While Leni and Brock fight Enyxa on their side, Jeric and Asia must figure out how to save their Twin Flames without jeopardizing all of Earth’s souls. Through it all—and with a little help from Enyxa—Brock and Asia begin questioning their relationship and whether they’re truly meant to be together…or if they’re two Lost souls forced to become one.

If the Broken dyads don’t find each other fast, they’ll be lost to the Dark forever. But to reunite means choosing themselves over all of Earth’s souls. Can Jeric make that decision? And will Brock and Asia find the love they both desperately crave? Or are they all doomed to perpetual Darkness?

Discover how it all ends in The Space Within, the explosive conclusion to The Book of Phoenix trilogy.

About the Author:

Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, a New Adult paranormal romance / contemporary fantasy, with Promise, Purpose, Devotion, Power, and the latest release, Wrath, book five, available now. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella, which details the compelling history of her Soul Savers mythology. Over 300,000 Soul Savers books have been sold, with Promisepeaking at #54 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid list and at #1 in the Amazon Fantasy category.

Kristie’s second series, The Book of Phoenix, is a New Adult paranormal trilogy. The Space Between is currently available, and The Space Beyond is releasing May 19, 2014, andThe Space Within will be available Summer 2014.

Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three sons, a beagle, and a puggle. She can be found at:


Author’s Website & Blog: http://www.KristieCook.com

UK Fan Site: http://www.kristiecookfansite.co.uk

The Book of Phoenix Website: http://www.TheBookofPhoenix.com

Soul Savers Series Website: http://www.SoulSaversSeries.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristieCook

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/kristiecookauth

—————————————
Kristie Cook,The Book of Phoenix Part 2 The Space Beyond, and an Interview

Scheduled for release on May 19, 2014, The Space Beyond, sequel to The Space Between
As members of the Phoenix, Jeric and Leni are thrust into their new lives, expected to lead Earth’s Guardians. But Leni struggles with trusting her own soul, and Jeric is more concerned about keeping Leni safe than meeting others’ demands. When Darkness swarms Lake Haven, they embark on their first mission with little preparation and no idea which soul the Dark hunts.

Interview with Kristie

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first fiction story when I was 8 years old for a school assignment. When I started college , though, I became “practical” and gave up fiction writing. I didn’t think I had a novel in me, but writing was still a big part of me. I wrote business marketing, resumes, training programs, and as a
journalist. Almost 6 years ago, I began to write fiction again, realized I DID have a novel in me, and haven’t looked back since.

How long have you been a published author?
We published the first edition of Promise (Soul Savers #1) in July 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long!

What titles do you currently have available?
The Soul Savers Series currently includes Promise, Purpose, Devotion, Power, and Wrath. Books 6 and 7 will be out later this year. Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella is also available.
The Book of Phoenix series includes The Space Between, The Space Beyond (May 19, 2014), and The Space Within (July 14, 2014).

What made you choose the subject of this book?
My husband had a dream that was pretty cool, although vague as heck, as dreams are. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, adding in my own details and expanding the actual story. That became The Space Between and The Book of Phoenix series. The Space Beyond is part Two of the series.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
Developing the characters. Actually, it’s more like discovering them and their stories. They come to me fully developed, with their own backstories, motivations, goals, hopes and dreams, appearances, talents, disabilities, etc. Like all people we meet, I get to know them a little at a time as they tell me their stories.

 

*******************

10313999_1504254863136063_8420763024600318715_nBorn and raised in Lake Haven, Bex hopes to escape her small-town life, ideally in the arms of her soul mate. She knows he exists, and her heart aches with the need to find him. When her long-lost mama calls to announce she’s knockin’ on death’s door, Bex reluctantly makes the trip to see the uncaring bitch (bless her heart), only to be knocked off her feet by the sexy and charming Dr. Mason Hayes. Is he really The One?

Leni’s soul felt an instant connection to Bex, but if Bex found her soul mate, she isn’t their mission. So who is, and why does Leni instinctively feel drawn to her? Can Leni even trust her intuition? And will Jeric step up and lead when the time comes or continue to hold them back?

If they don’t learn to trust themselves and each other quickly, Darkness will claim them all…along with the rest of Earth’s souls.

Review of Kristie Cook’s The Space Beyond

In book 2 of The Book of Phoenix Kristie has outdone herself once again.

The story of Jeric and Leni continues to a whole new level in this book. Fast paced and intense situations. You will have trouble putting this book down and will leave you breathless with anticipation.

Embarking on a new mission, our lovers are in search of a soul about to go over to the dark side and this person must be rescued before it is too late. Like Jeric and Leni, she has a twin flame who will go to the dark if they are unable to save her from the savagery of an evil person.

In this story, Kristie brings out a social issue that needs more attention. This story will help help shed light on a difficult situation in our society. Overall, I was once again very impressed with Kristie’s storytelling.

*******************************

Curses, Fates, and Soul Mates on Amazon

 

 Souls of Indie

 

5 full-length novels from 5 of the hottest authors in New Adult Paranormal Romance!

Escape reality and immerse yourself in these steamy paranormal romances. With everything from tattooed bad boys and sexy demons to hot, otherworldly bodyguards, you’re going to fall in love. Beware: you’ll be up reading well past your bedtime!

Recommended for readers 16+
Approximately 1,200 pages

THE SPACE BETWEEN by Kristie Cook: Self-contained dancer Leni Drago and inked-and-pierced playboy Jeric Winters must discover the truth behind their connection as well as their ties to a journal from 1989 – and they must do it fast, before all evidence that they ever existed disappears. Two love stories, one mystery, and a paranormal twist that readers call “mind blowing.”

FROSTBITE by Lynn Rush: Love is warm and fuzzy for most people, and it would be for eighteen-year-old Amanda Smith, too, if her kisses didn’t cause frostbite.

CURSED by R.K. Ryals: Sometimes being bad is better… A vintage-loving witch. A cocky demon. An old grimoire. An ancient curse. A family secret that changes everything.

RETURN OF THE ASCENDANT by Raine Thomas: Party plans derail for college student Kyra Vaughn when she’s nearly killed…twice. She’ll have to rely on a sexy stranger with unusual abilities to keep her alive and help her discover who she’s destined to be.

REPOSSESSION by Rachael Wade: The Invaders have come for Earth, and Skylla Warden’s in the very center of the upheaval. On a mission to take back what is rightfully theirs, Earth’s population is determined to make sure this isn’t the end. But some endings were never theirs to begin with.

http://tiny.cc/z7mjix

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Featuring Author Thomas Ufert

1909517_751883178167509_2891995949863322821_o

Tom Ufert, a 46-year-old quadriplegic afflicted with three different disabilities is an inspirational voice in our troubled times. He received his bachelor of arts in political science and history as a scholarship recipient from Centenary College of Louisiana. Tom is a former Rotary International graduate Fellow who attended Australian National University in Canberra, ACT, specializing in East Asian political affairs and was a White House Fellow nominee. He is a former Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Intern and constituency aid for two former United States members of Congress. His past services for 11 political campaigns on both sides of the aisle were highly valued by former Louisiana Governor Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Henson Moore the former assistant chief of staff to U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush, and the present U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ron Kirk.

At age 23 he was the youngest artistic Board Chairman in the United States as head of the Shreveport Summer Music Festival. Mr. Ufert has served as a member of two other 501(c) three charity boards including his beloved fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as well as the community advisory board for his former rehabilitation hospital. Over the years he has acquired extensive customer service experience in the food and beverage, hotel, insurance, home security, and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Ufert has served as a member of two other 501(c) three charity boards including his beloved fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as well as the community advisory board for his former rehabilitation hospital. His professional memberships include Phi Alpha Theta, Sigma Tau Delta, and the Worldwide Who’s Who. In recent years he has worked tirelessly as a volunteer fundraiser for numerous AIDS charities in his community and served briefly as the community affairs liaison for Legacy Founders Cottage. Tom Ufert, a native of Louisiana, now resides in Texas.

*****
Tom’s books:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Tom%20Ufert&search-alias=digital-text1796761_689068921115602_64575855_o

A Call To Action: We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do herby vow to actively participate as informed citizens, holding ourselves and our representatives accountable, in the conduct of our nation’s affairs to serve all generations now and in the future. Obamacare. IRS Scandal. NSA & Privacy. BridgeGate… Anthony Weiner. Chris Christie. Tom Ford. Bob Filner… Shutdown vs Meltdown. Gridlock, TeaParty. Rep. vs. Dem… Deficits. Lobbyists. Unemployment. Opinion Polls… They’re all here and it’s all up to you! Enough is enough and the time for action is now. Everyone says they’re fed up with the partisan rancor, inefficient government, and the “blame games.” People cry for leadership and apathetically accept the status quo. In Political CRAPS. Author Tom Ufert lays it all out as a former political insider and holds both politicians & voters accountable. He reminds us all that with freedom comes responsibility and change takes action. “A Government by the people, for the people.”

HEAR TOM UFERT: A STATESMAN YOU CAN TRUSTTom Ufert, a 48-year-old quadriplegic afflicted with three different disabilities is an inspirational voice in our troubled times. He received his bachelor of arts in political science and history as a scholarship recipient from Centenary College of Louisiana. Tom is a former Rotary International graduate Fellow who attended Australian National University in Canberra, ACT, specializing in East Asian political affairs and was a White House Fellow nominee. He is a former Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Intern and constituency aid for two former United States members of Congress. His past services for 11 political campaigns on both sides of the aisle were highly valued by former Louisiana Governor Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Henson Moore the former assistant chief of staff to U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush, and the recently retired U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ron Kirk.
Political Craps: We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do herby vow to actively participate as informed citizens, holding ourselves and our representatives accountable, in the conduct of our nation’s affairs to serve all generations now and in the future.

Obamacare. IRS Scandal. NSA & Privacy. BridgeGate…
Anthony Weiner. Chris Christie. Tom Ford. Bob Filner…
Shutdown vs Meltdown. Gridlock, TeaParty. Rep. vs. Dem…
Deficits. Lobbyists. Unemployment. Opinion Polls…

They’re all here and it’s all up to you! Enough is enough and the time for action is now. Everyone says they’re fed up with the partisan rancor, inefficient government, and the “blame games.” People cry for leadership and apathetically accept the status quo. In Political CRAPS. Author Tom Ufert lays it all out as a former political insider and holds both politicians & voters accountable. He reminds us all that with freedom comes responsibility and change takes action.

“A Government by the people, for the people.”
The World According to Tom Ufert: Meet Tom Ufert one of the most interesting political commentators of our time.
On the Roll Again: A collection of inspirational quotes by disabled, HIV, MS toting charity-fundraiser and ex-politician Tom Ufert.
Tom shares the quotes that helped him through his darkest hours. Some are his own, some are from well known faces, some are from the unknown. Join Tom as he attempts to put a smile on your face.

Tom Ufert is the bestselling author of “Adversity Builds Character”. A tell-all memoir that takes the reader through the harsh realities of life, death and sexual identity. The book was widely praised as one of the most honest and indepth memoirs of 2012.

Tom Ufert currently lives in Texas with his partner Lester.
Adversity Builds Character; An Inspirational True Life Story of Disability, Addiction and Acceptance
“Tom Ufert is an inspiration!”~ Terry Irving, Emmy-winning news journalist and author.
_________
“Please know I do not say this lightly – with this book, Thomas has offered us a work which is impeccably written, quintessentially resplendent, deeply moving, and with a genuinely bright, beautiful, healthful, and meaningful message…so much so that I (humbly and respectfully) believe it is important to say that he has truly made the world a better place through his splendid effort and insight.” – Dr. Glen Hepker, author of “A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health)
____

“Thomas Ufert has written one of the most moving, emotional books I have ever read. I would like to tell you more- but my words just can’t compare to his.”~ Cliff Roberts, bestselling author of “Reprisal: The Eagle Rises.”
_________
“We have nothing to say! Just read it!”~ The Weekly Book Webinar
____

“Whenever I feel sad– I read about Tom Ufert and suddenly I don’t feel so bad…”~ Horst Popkey, literary magazine editor and writer.
_________
Adversity Builds Character is the story of a young man’s life struggles to find his way through the trials and tribulations of family turmoil, self determination, and personal judgment. This transformational life experience, like so many, demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit over the pitfalls in our modern world. From a divorce wrecked family life through the upheavals of a shattered home brought on by a disease-ridden single mom, Thomas Ufert is blessed with the first of many second chances granted to him by his Godmother and her family. Overcoming personal character flaws this new home life radically averts potential disaster and leads him to greater heights by redirecting and guiding the God-given talents of his character leading to never before realized academic and social achievements. At the height of his new found career development, while in college, Tom’s world is shattered yet again by the sudden tragic loss of his mother in a bizarre event of mercy-killing and suicide. While attempting to put this catastrophe behind him, personal doubt, guilt, and the awakening of his inner most desires threaten to destroy all he has worked so intently to achieve. Drinking and sexual experimentation almost ruin his future hopes of a promising political career to only be averted and redirected yet again through the guiding love of his life-long patron. Studies abroad and the first real love of his life demonstrate the truth of his path. Short-lived, divorce yet again forces a change of direction, ultimately pointing the way to his true self. Temporarily postponing his career, Ufert relocates and discovers a world where he finally feels at home and accepted without ridicule. As is so often the case, comfort and overconfidence lead to weakness and self-destruction. It is at this moment that one either succumbs to the burden of outside influence or gathers all his strength to rise like a phoenix. Though poor judgment nearly costs him his life, Tommy finds his character and rises above it all.

Where to find Tom:
http://www.tomufert.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tom.ufert

Categories
Uncategorized

Featuring Author John Higgins

John J. HigginsBio

John J. Higgins is an attorney and former statewide prosecutor who has had a multi-faceted career and life. He has worked on farms, performed firearm repairs, and refinished and sold antiques, all before he finished high school. In between pursuing his college studies, he supervised industrial finishing operations and assisted in developing a powder coating system. After college, he worked fulltime and attended law school at night. He also filmed rock stars and celebrities for public service announcements and produced and emceed a play that performed before audiences that totaled over 170,000. In his career as an attorney, he researched and wrote policy papers for governmental committees, drafted legislation, and revised statutes. In his role as a statewide prosecutor he was involved in some of the highest profile cases in his state, from prosecuting multiple and complex crime rings to homicides, including those committed by a serial killer. Among other things he does in his private life, he can scuba dive and pilot an airplane. An avid student of history and spiritual development, he lives in New Jersey in an old Victorian train station he converted into his residence.

 *****

The Archangel Jarahmael...........The War to Conquer Heaven

Book 1 The Archangel Jarahmael & The War to Conquer Heaven: In The Beginning

THE ARCHANGEL JARAHMAEL AND THE WAR TO CONQUER HEAVEN is the epic three-part story of the Creation of the Universe, told from the perspective of the Angels themselves. The first book of the trilogy, “In the Beginning,” describes the initial creation and the establishment of the Seven Heavens and Nine Orders of Angels, but it also tells of the first Humans, Lillith and Adam.

Although they are quite literally a match made in Heaven, free will wreaks havoc with destiny when Lillith falls in love with the Archangel Jarahmael. Can love, as the very essence of the almighty’s Universe, survive free will? Or will love, when exposed to an untethered will, rip the Universe apart, pitting Good against Evil in a battle for all?

 

 

Book 2 The Archangel JarahMael: In Rebellion

In RebellionWhat happens when the First Born of Heaven feels threatened by the Almighty’s love for the Humans in the Garden of Eden? IN REBELLION, the second installment of the Archangel Jarahmael and the War to Conquer Heaven Trilogy, chronicles the efforts of the Heaven’s elite to dethrone the Almighty Himself. Angels are forced to choose sides, legions of Rebel Angels who worship Luciferael against the legions of Loyal Angels who continue to worship the Almighty, two major forces divided into fighting for ultimate control of the Seven Heavens and the Universe. Can the Almighty and His Love for His Creations survive these trials? Who will win the prototypical war? Who will rule the Heavens? In the meantime, the Archangel Jarahmael and the first Human woman, Lillith, are swept up into the cataclysmic Heavenly War. Can they survive these monumental dangers? Will their love for one another endure?

 

 

 

Book 3 The Archangel Jarahmael and The War to Conquer Heaven: In Exile

IN EXILE, the third book of “The Archangel Jarahmael and the War to Conquer Heaven” Trilogy, chronicles what happens in In Exilethe Universe when the mightiest Angels live outside the Seven Heavens and without the presence of the Almighty. Can pure love survive the growing manifestation of Evil when jealousy, revenge, deception and selfish control descend upon the Universe? How do Adam and Eve and their offspring fare in the new hostile environment of Earth, now that they have been

sentenced to death? Will they ever gain the Almighty’s forgiveness and find redemption? What happens to the love between the Archangel Jarahmael and his Human mate Lillith after the War for the Heavens? Can the Archangel Jarahmael protect the Humans and Lillith, and from the designs of Luciferael and his Auxilium? Will Jarahmael keep the Almighty’s secrets safe from the fallen Angels? Will it call for his ultimate sacrifice?

 

 

 

*****

Where to find John:

Facebook Page

Web Page

Amazon Author Page

 *****

Amazon Buy Links:

Book 1 The Archangel Jarahmael & The War to Conquer Heaven: In The Beginning

Book 2 The Archangel JarahMael: In Rebellion

Book 3 The Archangel Jarahmael and The War to Conquer Heaven: In Exile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Featuring Award Winning Author Marie Lavender

Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more Mariepic2 - small1works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published nineteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. She just released Magick & Moonlight, a paranormal romance, in March. Upon Your Honor is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

*****

Upon Your Honor, sequel to Upon Your Return, Releases on Monday, April 21, 2014

*****

Upon Your Honor blurb:

Deception is a dangerous path…

New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms.  As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be. 

Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life.  But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.

 

*****

Excerpt from Upon Your Honor                                                                             

It was difficult to wake this time, like waking from a deep sleep. The remnants of confusion were with her immediately. Chloe moaned. Her eyes felt too heavy to open. With an effort, she opened them by degrees. The first thing she noticed was the blurriness of the room, then the terrible headache. For a moment, she had to squint to dull the pain. Gradually, it eased, but it was still there, lingering like an annoying neighbor.

When her vision cleared and she could focus, she saw that she was in a bed, a truly comfortable one. The room was a cabin, filled with books and maritime instruments, a large red chair near the fireplace, and a small chaise close by. A tall man with broad shoulders stood facing the fireplace, holding a glass.

Something had happened. They had found her. With that knowledge, Chloe became aware of her state of dishabille as well as the loose hair that fell past her shoulders. They knew she was a woman. What would they do to her now? A moan of distress escaped her lips as she tried to sit up, failing due to a bout of dizziness. She had wanted to appear composed, but she was more like an invalid.

At the sound, the man turned and stepped towards her with purpose. He set his glass on a nearby table, pulled a chair up to the side of the bed and sat down. “Perhaps it would be better if you lie still for now. You will have pain for a while. Until it goes away, I suggest you try to rest.”

His dark red hair was familiar. And now that he was closer, she saw that his eyes were a unique shade of gray. Once she realized it was the same man from before, she managed a nod. Her tongue felt leaden, thick in her mouth. How could one man render her speechless? Clearing her throat, she found her voice at last. “I feel a little silly lying here though, when there is an inquisition to attend.”

“Oh?” He nodded. “Yes, I suppose there is a lot to answer for. But, rest assured, I am at the moment the only one here that is aware of your presence, though others will know very soon. If you have an escape plan, you’d better hatch it.”

His warning sent a shiver over her. “You foresee a lot of trouble then.”

“In your position, you should expect it.”

“I do. I am prepared.”

 

“You are?” He smiled a little. “Even though you convinced me you were a sailor at first, I now know to expect anything from you. However, you don’t strike me as the kind of woman who has approached many of these situations.”

Chloe licked her lips before replying, “You don’t really know what I will do in order to survive.”

“I suppose I don’t know much of your character. But, you hid away in the storage room for some reason. Are you running from the law?”

She was suddenly aware that he had an accent. French perhaps? She shook her head. “Not yet. No.”

He nodded. “Are you willing to take it to that level?”

“I would like to avoid that if possible.”

“There must be a story, then, if you are willing to do nearly anything to survive. What will you divulge to me if I am your only hope? What will you do to save yourself?”

Indeed, what could she do? The minor insinuations he was making disturbed her, but did not shock her. She was aware that some men were not entirely honorable, including Lamonte. “First, I would need to know whether I was in any danger in your hands.” She swallowed hard. “And then, if that turned out well, we would see…”

Mademoiselle, you honor me.” He paused. “I assume you are not married?”

She shook her head in negation and licked her dry lips. “If my honor is at stake, then I would expect some cordiality.”

He cocked his head. “Would a stowaway have honor?”

Chloe’s jaw tightened. “Every man or woman has a right to some dignity in the face of extreme circumstances.”

“Extreme? I would say you’re fairly coddled right now. If I had any less respect for your dignity, you would be in a prison. Or worse.”

*****

Contact Marie Here:

Categories
Uncategorized

Featuring Ms. Denyse Bridger

10173191_10203314932451384_1970652136_n

 

Retribution – Silent Death on Amazon

Retribution – Silent Death on Crimson Frost Books

BLURB:

Adam Walker is one of the Company’s best field agents, a highly trained, well-honed killing machine when that’s what’s needed. But, he’s also a man of many secrets, and one of them is that he’s a ninja, one of Japan’s mythical death warriors. When another of Adam’s secrets, his lover Kiku, is killed, he turns to the one person he trusts, fellow agent Shainna Barton. While Shainna covers for him on a mission, Adam metes out his revenge, and discovers that his friendship with Shainna has a much deeper meaning that either of them ever realized…

EXCERPT:Retribution

Adam’s steps were sure and silent as he made his way to the rear of the small theater. Exhaustion consumed him, but the residue of rushing adrenaline afforded his body a moment of false energy. Successful in yet another assignment—when the body turned up with the stolen files, there’d be no questions asked. Business as usual.

Still, the timing had been off, and there’d been no time to warn Kiku to stay at home. Uneasiness whispered inside him again, as it had for most of the past hour. Not for the first time during recent weeks, though . . . . He wondered if it had been wise to reject her desire to take their relationship to a more intimate involvement. Loving Kiku was as natural to him as breathing. But being her lover was something he hadn’t honestly considered. Not until she’d brought it to his attention.

Why he hadn’t noticed her love changing to passion baffled him now, as he thought about it. He’d told her intimacy of that kind would create distractions within his mind—the kind that might one day get them both killed. She’d been skeptical, though uncharacteristically reticent about explaining why, when he questioned her quick acceptance of his decision.

He thrust the doubts aside as he reached her office and entered. As always, the closet-like room appeared in complete chaos. An organized mess, she called it. He crossed the short space and picked up the phone as he settled on the edge of her desk. He was about to dial her home number when a flicker of movement drew his attention to the small, private parking lot separating the theater from a large apartment building next door. Adam slipped the receiver into its cradle and moved to stand in the shadows next to the small window behind her desk.

He spotted Kiku’s nearly naked body and he froze. Instinct guided him as fear and rage surged through him. Reaching beyond the haze of tumultuous emotions, he drew on his training. A careful look at Kiku told him she was dead . . . her neck broken. Again, the flicker of shadows betrayed a presence. He waited. Seconds passed, so drawn out by tension they felt like hours, but one-by-one he saw each figure with striking clarity. And in that brief instant, each of the five faces was burned indelibly into his memory. He knew one of them by name, and recognized the others as students of Caisson’s dojo. The heavy weight of the gun under his left arm all but spoke to him the alluring suggestion to pull the weapon and use it was so tempting. Adam had to force himself to resist using his weapon, a task made all the more difficult when Caisson bent over Kiku and placed a mocking kiss on her forehead.

He tore his gaze away, no longer trusting his ability to control his grief-enhanced rage. As he leaned against the wall, he realized he’d been holding his breath. Slowly, he exhaled, shaking uncontrollably despite his imposed strength of will.

When the wracking spasms of anguish subsided, he emerged from the theater’s office and left without looking back.

* * * * *

Less than half an hour later, Adam slipped into Kiku’s small flat. Like her office, it was in disarray, although not to the same exaggerated extent. He did a thorough, systematic search of the entire four rooms, removing every trace of his presence in her life. The items were few, for he seldom left even the smallest of articles behind. No photographs of them to be found, together or individually, a house rule they’d agreed to years earlier.

Hovering in the doorway, he took one final look at the place. It was so much like her, he thought, inhaling the light residue of sandalwood incense in the air. Books on every subject to satisfy her insatiable thirst for knowledge were strewn about, along with old theater posters, exotically painted masques, and cassettes and CDs in various languages. Despite his protestations, a map hung on the wall, dotted with postcards from the countries they’d traveled together. He hesitated for a moment then decided to collect the cards and destroy the map.

When he finished, he locked the door and turned his back on this place, too. Kiku would have expected nothing less from him.

* * * * *

Shainna Barton sighed in weariness as she kicked open the door to her apartment to drag her luggage inside. She’d been out of the country for over a month this time, and home seemed more appealing than she would have thought possible. She was growing tired in more ways than one.

A quick slam and the door shut firmly, leaving her in the silent, air-conditioned sanctuary she’d bought only a year before, a purchase she’d recognized as the first step toward her accepting pending retirement from the field.

She’d called home the night before, and her oldest and dearest friend had opened the apartment and stocked the cupboards for her. DeeDee Caulwell was one of the few constants in Shainna’s life. She honestly didn’t know what she’d do without her.

The phone rang. She stole a glance at the caller ID. Dee. Shainna dropped her shoulder bag and flopped into a chair as she grabbed the phone. The worry in DeeDee’s voice hit before the actual words, and Shainna automatically reached for the TV remote control to turn on the news report her friend was going on about with such dread. The reporter’s words ran together as Shainna’s world twisted wildly on its axis. Her pulse roared so loud in her ears she barely heard DeeDee say she was on her way over.

* * * * *

From her window seat, Shainna looked out at the night sky. Her chill had very little to do with the air-conditioned air. The ice reached into her soul and expanded outward to her quivering limbs. She wasn’t prone to infatuation, never had been, but there was something almost obsessive in her passion for Adam Walker. They were friends; the relationship worked for them. But Shainna had realized, long ago, the hunger she felt in Adam’s company had precious little to do with being friends. If she’d been less honest, she would have hated Kiku Shimoda, simply for being the love in Walker’s life. But Shainna was too much a realist to pretend the other woman was the reason Adam didn’t love her.

She sighed and closed her eyes, letting her head thump gently against the wall at her back. Adam’s amazing topaz eyes came into focus so quickly she was startled to discover he wasn’t next to her. She could feel him, though. All around her. Inside her heart. His pain was agonizing—and total. He was out there, and by now, he knew.

“What are you going to do, Adam?” She asked the question aloud, as was her custom when working possible angles to a puzzle. She shivered when the answer, like a cold caress, brushed her consciousness—a promise of mayhem and death—as if Adam had spoken directly into her mind. They’d been connected on some level for what felt like forever. And in that moment, she wondered if he’d actually heard her and responded.

Before the odd thought could create another conundrum for her to ponder, she was distracted by a knock at the door. She crossed the room and opened the door, breathing a thankful sigh at the sight of her friend.

“Are you all right?”

She shut the door as DeeDee glided past, shedding her coat and tossing it into a chair before she turned to Shainna.

“I’m still trying to take in what’s happened.” Shainna confessed. “This is going to destroy Adam. Especially when he finds out what the press is reporting. I don’t even know where to find him, Dee!”

“Maybe that’s for the best.” DeeDee’s features showed visible concern.

Adam Walker was always a touchy subject between them, and the gentle censure in her friend’s voice made Shainna’s temper flare.

“Okay, Shain.” DeeDee held up her hands in a gesture of surrender before Shainna had time to snap. “Truce. Back off. What are you planning, anyway?”

“If I know Adam, he’s going to find who did this.” She paced, chewed her thumbnail, and tried to make her brain function past her fear for the man. Kiku was the world to Adam, and Shainna knew—via the Division grapevine—the two had been a solid couple for some time. Whether or not the rumors were based on truth wasn’t relevant to her heart. She’d tried not to resent Kiku for Adam’s lack of interest, but it hadn’t been easy when every part of her spirit and body cried for the man in ways she wished rather to never have experienced.

“And . . . .” She finally added. “He’s going to make them pay for what they did to her—in blood.”

“That sounds like Adam,” DeeDee agreed, her tone reflecting her dislike and her near contempt for the man they discussed.

“Why do you hate him so much?”

Startled, DeeDee didn’t answer for a moment, then she laughed. “I hate what he does to you. Adam himself means nothing to me. I know you’d walk through hell for him, and he wouldn’t have to ask you to do it. What would he do for you, Shain?”

“The same thing if I needed him.”

“You’re so certain of that. Why?”

“Because he’s Adam. Because what exists between us is a lot deeper than simply trusting another agent with your back.”

“What happened in Italy last year?” DeeDee asked. “You’ve never said much, but something changed between you and Adam on that mission.”

“Yeah, we took our last day and went sight-seeing like normal people. I got drunk and told him I loved him. We blamed the wine the next day, and pretended it never happened.”

“What did he say?”

“I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.”

DeeDee’s frown of confusion made Shainna laugh. “It’s a quote we found earlier that day, a 15th century Italian poet called Pietro Aretino wrote it. Adam told me we were friends, there was no room for anything else between us.”

“But he’s always willing to ask you to risk your life for him!”

“It’s my job, Dee. And his!”

“Not this time. This time it’s personal, so you should stay out of it.”

“How am I supposed to do that? He’s going to need backup, and if I know Adam, he’s going to make it clear he wants me.”

“Doesn’t mean Michael will agree.” DeeDee reasoned. She’d been fidgeting and tidying up the apartment from the moment she’d started the conversation. Now, she stopped moving. “He does have some control over Adam.”

Shainna laughed at DeeDee’s careful words, barely recognizing the shrill, hysterical edge that turned the sound brittle. “No one controls Adam,” she said, barely above a whisper. “Michael knows that better than anyone.”

“So, what are you going to do?”

Shainna trembled. “Wait.” She returned to the window and stared into the night once again. “I’m going to wait for him. What else can I do?”