Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Jonas Trust Deception by A.F.N. Clarke @AFNClarke

The Jonas Trust Deception

by AFN Clarke

AFN CLARKE is the author of 8 books, including the best selling memoir CONTACT, that was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film.  His latest novel, The Jonas Trust Deception, is a Thomas Gunn thriller and follows the success of The Orange Moon Affair.  Readers have called it “classy, complex and cunningly compelling” and a “powerful force in the thriller genre”.  In solving the mystery of an ongoing conspiracy involving his old friend Morgan, Thomas Gunn, ex-Special Forces, takes an action so shocking and bold, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind.  The question is, has he?  To get a taste of things to come, here’s an excerpt from the book.  And for more information visit or the Amazon Kindle store.

There is something so totally desolate about sitting in a prison cell staring at the blank grey walls that, unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never understand. There is a finality and hopelessness that is almost beyond comprehension. A despair that sucks at your soul. My salvation was that I knew that my stay here was going to be short-lived, but what the future held was one big question mark. I had the distinct feeling somebody had put a ring in my nose and was leading on a mystery tour with more questions than answers.

Left alone with just the usual sounds of dissatisfied inmates, clinking keys and slamming doors for company, I thought back to the frantic last few days.

Confusion would be an apt description of my state of mind.

What facts could I scramble together?

Several dead bodies at Morgan’s ranch.

A small but ruthless Mexican Mafia gangbanger, with the unlikely nickname of ‘El Cobra Poco’, who seemed as if he could be a strange ally.

And the mysterious Robert Sutherland.

What other questions remained?

There were many, starting with who would have wanted to kill Morgan? Everything went back to my request for her to investigate the financial dealings of the Griffin Trust and its Chairman Ted Lieberman.

How was the Mexican Mafia involved if what Sutherland said about Morgan working for him was true?

I could just lie here all night long and create imaginary scenarios, but that wouldn’t supply any answers, so I closed my eyes and concentrated on emptying my mind.

Sleep was what I needed.
It must have been two hours after the jail cell lights went out, that the goons came for me. Dragged me off the bed and frog marched me down the corridor to the back of the jail and down narrow stairs to a basement garage without saying a word. There was a nondescript cream coloured painter’s van waiting with the rear doors open, and I was unceremoniously bundled inside.


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Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#Free - Defying Age with Food by Freda Mooncotch @Kindleexpert #AmReading #Exercise

Reclaim Your Health, Energy & Vitality! 
It's What You Eat, Not How Much You Exercise 

In a society that spends billions of dollars annually in seeking better health and appearance through pills, powders, drinks, hormones, exercise obsession, gym memberships, and medical drugs, Freda Mooncotch is making a very bold proclamation with the title of her new book Defying Age With Food: Reclaim Your Health, Energy & Vitality. It’s What You Eat, Not How Much You Exercise! Can we really defy the aging process with what most of us take for granted each day — our food? Freda says we most certainly can in fact dramatically slow our inevitable passage of life while attaining superior health and vitality.

The pages of her new release are not filled with theories, conjecture or speculations; they tell the riveting tale of a woman’s plight to regain her health. In describing her story, Freda literally runs the gauntlet of healing protocols from both the orthodox medical and alternative health fields. What the author accomplished in her success not only gave back her health and beauty, but fired a few heavy artillery rounds across the bows of a good number of our “sacred cows” such as excessive exercise, fad dieting, mega-dosing on supplements, and a pharmaceutical drug reliance that has forged the industrialized world.

This is a must read for anyone wishing to seriously upgrade their nutritional knowledge.

Media celebrity, Kathy Hart said:
“What an eye-opener! I learned more about the effects of food on our body from Freda and her book, Defying Age, than I’ve learned in months of interviewing health experts! Her passion, knowledge and energy are a true inspiration … and those pictures of her in the book are absolute proof of how the right diet can give you a rockin’ body”.

Randy Roach of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors wrote:
“This is a story of tenacity where a strong determination saw Freda through a fight to reclaim a healthy mind and body while ridding herself of a number of addictions plaguing so much of our society.”

Along with her amazing story and nutritional revelations and tastefully done photos of Freda, this resourceful book also contains recipes that she promises will nourish one back to health, strength, and vitality.

Defying Age with Food by Freda Mooncotch
Rating – PG
Genre – Non-Fiction
4.7 (25 reviews)
Free until 28 January 2014

Vadim Babenko – Stories behind my books: Farewell

Stories behind my books: Farewell

by Vadim Babenko

The Yeltsin-Gaidar economic reform, which impoverished the entire Russian nation and created a small group of super-rich oligarchs, began in January 1992. I was working then at the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Right after New Year’s vacation we were told that financing for the Academy had been cut off. All academic institutes were advised to survive on their own. Thus began the collapse of the fundamental science system of the former USSR – created many decades prior and considered one of the strongest in the world.

Our institute was engaged in new approaches to microbiology problems. Serious scientists, who were regularly published worldwide, worked for us. As soon as it became clear our salaries would no longer be paid, a mass exodus of employees ensued – to the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, France… Within two months the Institute was emptied by two-thirds. The only ones who didn’t leave were those bound to Russia by personal reasons. I too remained.

No, I had neither sick relatives nor thorny domestic problems. I simply didn’t want to leave the Russian language environment. Knowing already that my future was in literature despite my scientific successes, I decided it was time for me to write prose, my first big novel. And I believed to write in Russian I had to be surrounded by it on a day-to-day basis.

However, I needed to live on something – at the Institute they didn’t pay at all. In the Russia of that time it was possible to earn money only by reselling something brought from abroad – discounting plainly criminal jobs. Trade in consumer products was not for me; I chose the most abstract of goods – money. I began to collaborate with a firm that was profiting from currency speculation.

What we were doing wasn’t illegal – in the law of the new Russia there was simply a gaping hole about the issue. I formed a small team of some of my former scientist colleagues – all of them had excellent educations, doctorate degrees, and families with nothing to eat. The first five months everything went OK, but then we caught the eye of professional swindlers. They took notice and – quite easily and gracefully – set us up by slipping us some funny C-notes instead of real money. As a result, I ended up owing my “employers” an amount unattainable for those times: nearly five thousand dollars.

There was nowhere at all for me to get this money. However, my employers treated me well. They didn’t send tough guys after me with baseball bats, but suggested I work off the debt – by collecting weekly payments from the kiosks that they “protected” on Arbat Street. This I could not do and, persuading them to wait one month, I began seeking the path to my salvation.

Strangely enough, a path was found: in the US I located a partner who was interested in the technology I had been developing over the last two years. We decided to open a joint venture and, with a Herculean effort, I convinced him to send me money as an advance on my future share. This sum made up nearly ten percent of our “capital” at that time, which my partner had acquired from his friends. Nevertheless, he took a risk; it turned out to be the best decision of his life.

And now, having repaid my debts and wrapped up my Russian affairs, I stood in line for customs inspection in the departure wing of Moscow Sheremetevo Airport. November 1992 was passing. I was completely disappointed, both in Russia and in my abandoned novel. Actually, it was still too early for me to write something serious. And the country was quickly becoming a violent, disgusting place. All the worst of humanity had bubbled to the surface and run amok. Those who found it unpleasant could only get the hell out of there.

The customs officer, young and impudent, carelessly set to rummaging in my bag. Suddenly he lighted upon something, and his eyes twinkled. In his hands was a pack of diskettes that contained everything: all my computer programs, calculations, presentations, and so on. “This is restricted!” he announced with a sneer. “It’s not allowed to leave the country! We’re confiscating this.”

I knew he was lying to extort a bribe, but I was helpless – his supervisors were far away, and the plane wasn’t going to wait. Besides, the customs administration would most likely take issue with something else to insure I wouldn’t press my rights. I had heard many stories about this practice, and I had no illusions.

The customs official and I stepped to the side. He forced me to empty my pockets, then reached into my wallet and took all my cash, leaving only some loose change for coffee.

On the escalator as I ascended toward my gate I resolved that never again – NEVER! – would I return to this country.

A Simple Soul

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Beyond Neanderthal by Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust

From Chapter 12 – Visit to a Blue Amber Mine

As Tara alighted from the vehicle, she found herself facing a ghostly white haze of wispy, low-lying clouds that hung as if suspended in time above the undulating hilltops. The peaks rose from the variegated emerald and olive valley below and stretched into the distance amid a virginal mixture of lush equatorial undergrowth. She drew a deep, involuntary breath.

‘Wow!’ There were no other words to describe the feeling of awe-inspired privilege that washed over her. The vista was about as far removed from Central Park as a New York city skyscraper was from the little pastel coloured huts lining the Carretera Turística.

Aurelio smiled. Intuitively, he seemed to understand that the most appropriate response to this magnificent sight was silence. It was a full two minutes before Tara gathered her thoughts.

‘Let’s get going,’ she said.

They made their way carefully—gingerly climbing over dead logs, negotiating their way around rocky outcrops, and grabbing onto available plant life to steady themselves as they walked and stumbled their way towards the valley below. On either side of the track, a mixture of tall, fronded plants grew in an array of shapes and sizes beside stunted and gnarled old trees with deep green foliage. Tara thought of the trees like friendly bystanders, their leafy branches protectively shading Aurelio and her from much of the glaring sunshine above. They came across a trickling stream, which they followed for a while; Tara ever mindful and vigilant, watching for any sign of wildlife in the undergrowth. Except for the background humming of insects, the occasional noisy squawking of a flock of parrots flying past overhead and, once, the silent imprint of a shoe sole on the muddy banks of the stream, they seemed to be alone.

Then, in a clearing, they came across a group of young men standing seemingly relaxed and chatting. A few feet away, under a lean-to made of branches and palm fronds, one of them squatted while cooking something on a small paraffin or gas stove. Aurelio and Tara had arrived at the mine.

Again, there was a short conversation in Spanish. Again, there was a wrinkling of noses followed by broad smiles of understanding and agreement. There were also some side comments and laughter amongst the men. The word ‘gringa’—foreigner from America—came up a couple of times. Tara thought she also heard the words ‘bonita’, and ‘sexual’, but she couldn’t be sure. She decided to keep a slight distance for the time being. They were in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest civilization.

Aurelio walked back towards her. ‘They will be happy to show you around, but we should remember our time limitations. We cannot spend more that half an hour here if we are to return to Santo Domingo before dark.’

‘Are you trying to protect me from these guys?’ she asked with a smile. Aurelio looked embarrassed.

‘What’s he cooking?’ she asked to change the subject. ‘It smells great.’

‘That is called arroz con abichuelas, a mixture of rice and beans. He is probably cooking some small pieces of beef with it, but it could be any meat.’

‘Can one buy that in a restaurant in Santo Domingo?’

‘Of course, but not exactly the same. This is a local dish for locals. To sell food like this to tourists would be like offering leftovers to your guests. It would not be right. In the restaurants it is much more carefully presented and is usually served with salads.’

The word ‘dignity’ popped into Tara’s mind. Aurelio seemed to have it, and that was what she had seen on the faces of the fruit vendor and the amber polisher and, now, even the miners as she approached them. Other than their initial jocularity, they seemed to consider her as their guest and themselves as hosts who happily welcomed visitors into their world. The men were just being men.

As they approached the entrance to the mine, a happy looking miner wearing a backward facing baseball cap sat with a short-handled pick in one hand, a lump of soft rock in the other.

Hola, señorita,’ he said, grinning broadly.

She smiled back at him, lifted her hand in greeting, but continued to follow Aurelio to the mine entrance. It was like standing at the entrance to the burrow of a large animal.

Beyond Neanderthal

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Genre – Thriller

Rating – MA (15+)

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Bulletproof by Regan Black @ReganBlack

Thanks for having me here today, courtesy of Orangeberry Book Tours. It’s always a pleasure to share my books with readers, especially with sneak peeks like the one below. This excerpt from Bulletproof showcases Amelia, the heroine in this first book in my new paranormal romantic suspense series, Unknown Identities.

Amelia is a tough investigative reporter in Boston. She always gets her story and this one could make her career. But the powerful politician she’s after isn’t ignoring her investigation with a simple ‘no comment’:


Her apartment had been ransacked.

No… no. That wasn’t right.

Ransacked was nowhere near an apt description of the damage done. The whole place looked as if a scare-the-controversial-reporter bomb tucked into the sofa had exploded. About the only item still intact was the front door. The same door with – count them – three state-of-the-art deadbolts that were still locked when she arrived home to this chaos.

The intruder must have had a key… or maybe he was a ghost.

Amelia Bennett took a big, deep breath. She forced her respiration to slow, and outright refused to permit her heart to keep up the wild pounding.

The intruder had succeeded in scaring her. Bully for him.

She’d found the mess and called 9-1-1 as she ran out of the building. Like a stunned bystander watching the rescue efforts after a massive pile-up on the Turn Pike, she’d stood outside – in the rain – until the police arrived.

Anger compressed her lips. The first officers on the scene had gotten a good look at Amelia Bennett scared witless. Cutting herself some slack, she had to admit that this was not just another nasty phone call or threatening letter.

This was over the line…way over the line.

One thing was absolutely certain…whoever did this wouldn’t get that opportunity again.

In the last hour she’d grabbed back control. Staying calm and rational was essential. Her competition didn’t call her the stone maiden for nothing.

Tomorrow she would have her locks changed and call in a contractor for her own personal security system.

The mutilated and busted furniture she could deal with. It wasn’t even the end of the world that so many of her most personal belongings, photos, clothes, basically everything, were damaged beyond repair in one way or another. What really made her nuts was the idea that someone had gotten in here so easily and had the balls to leave her a message on the living room wall scrawled in blood.

Knock, knock… you’re dead, bitch.

According to one of the techs, who wasn’t supposed to tell Amelia anything, particularly at this point in the investigation, it was not human blood.

That she was thankful for.

Amelia took a mental step back. Dragged in a deep breath. She spent an enormous chunk of her paycheck each month on a Back Bay location. The building had topnotch security and was located on the best block in the area. She’d had two extra deadbolts installed when she moved in. And it hadn’t been enough to stop this.

“How long will it take to determine if there are prints or whatever?”

The idea that someone had come into her place and touched her stuff gave her the willies. Banished any patience she attempted to dredge up for the weary detective who’d been here for hours already. He hadn’t offered much in the way of hope for finding the culprit. She doubted any amount of time was going to change that sad fact.

“Depends,” Detective Arnold Fincher scrubbed a hand over the salt and pepper stubble on his chin, “we’ll run everything we get through the usual databases.” He executed another of those listless shrugs. “Techs took photos. Video.” He gestured to the man and woman still picking through Amelia’s stuff. “Soon as we have something, I’ll let you know.”


Writing strong, independent female leads is important to me. Amelia might not have the covert skills or martial arts expertise of my previous heroines, but she has grit and determination in spades. Which made her journey to survive the process of getting the story out there a fascinating roller coaster ride for me and I hope readers will feel the same way.

Live the adventure!



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Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward by Caroline Kennedy @StephenWardBook

FBI director, J.Edgar Hoover, was convinced that British society was riddled with whores, pimps, sex maniacs and Soviet agents. His conviction was given a boost on Sunday, 16th June, when an article by British solicitor, Michael Eddowes, appeared in the Journal-American. In it Eddowes told of his meeting with Yevgeny Ivanov during the Cuban missile crisis. Eddowes described Ivanov as highly aggressive and full of blustering threats to wipe out England and to drop an atomic bomb in the sea 60 miles off New York. According to Eddowes, Hoover immediately ‘instructed’ him to make further enquiries into the security aspects and report back to him.
Washington was now buzzing with as many rumours as had swept London during the height of the scandal, so what happened next was not entirely a surprise. The White House became involved. The most likely explanation for President Kennedy’s sudden interest in the affair is that his brother, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, told him of the long report from Hoover.
There were then both political and personal reasons for the President’s interest. One was that the scandal could provide Kennedy’s opponents in Congress with ammunition to attack his plans for a multi-nation NATO nuclear force. If Britain was so leaky, why should the US share it’s defence secrets? Another was a call in the Washington News for Kennedy to cancel his scheduled visit to London because it would provide moral support for the foundering Government of Harold Macmillan. ‘We can think of no better time for an American President to stay as far as possible away from England.’
And a third reason, a personal one, was that given Hoover’s animosity for the Kennedy family, the President became concerned that Hoover would somehow use the scandal against him….The only feasible reason for this widespread fascination is that all these people feared that the President of the United States was about to be dragged into the scandal, not on a political level, but on a sexual one…..The reason was that Robert Kennedy was worried that Christine or Mandy, or even both girls, might have slept with the President during their recent visit to the United States and he needed to know for certain so that he could protect the President from the scandal that would follow if the girls blabbed. It would have been simpler for Robert Kennedy to ask his brother if he had slept with either of the girls. But, as we now know, John F. Kennedy’s sexual appetite was so prodigious and so indiscriminate that he would not have been able to remember.

How The English Establishment Framed
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Genre – Politics, Espionage, Scandal
Rating – PG-16
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Sunspots by Karen S. Bell @KarenSueBell

* * *

As I lie in bed with these thoughts, I finally notice that Marina has quietly come back into my room and is sitting in the armchair watching me. She offers me some more medicine and I shake my head, “no.” I don’t want to sleep, and I don’t want to be awake. There is no comfort in anything. She says, “Come. We’ll have a nice cup of tea.” And I follow her downstairs and into the kitchen, zombie-like. I watch her with dull eyes that do not see her movements as she opens cupboards and finds a teapot, cups, and tea bags. I listen with deaf ears to her hum a Russian tune. I sit patiently with no patience sipping the tea I cannot taste. In silence, we sit. In silence, we speak without speaking. Marina’s life force wills me to feel her love.

And then she tells me her plan. “Maybe, I’ll stay with you awhile. Nothing back in Brooklyn right now.” I answer, mouthing words that I want to feel and yet cannot feel because I have closed myself off to the emotions of life, “Oh yes, please stay, Marina. I couldn’t bear all this alone.” I’m overwhelmed by her generosity, my loss, and the hidden truths lurking under the surface waiting to be revealed. Then the cordoned off person inside me breaks through all my controls again and unwonted tears erupt in a torrent of suppressed anguish. I am enveloped in her arms and her soothing voice whispers calming words as I try to regain the safety of stoicism.

Marina and I, sisters of a sort, sit together in my huge kitchen, in my huge house, sharing the huge hole in my heart as my tears pour down my face, flowing as if someone has turned on a spigot. Two small souls in a too-big kitchen of a too-big house silently wondering about the business problems of which his lawyer spoke using carefully chosen words somberly executed while his eyes burned with deep meaning. Problems that would have to be sorted out after I finished sitting “Shivah.” How can one cope with all of this? When will I wake up from this nightmare?

Eventually, it is dawn and I must sit on the wooden bench that signifies my mourning as memories cloud the present and I relive a life that is no more.


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Genre – Contemporary romance, Magical Realism

Rating – PG-13

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Author Challenges Women to the 90-Day Pink Experiment – Parker Paige @parkerpaige86

Author Challenges Women to the 90-Day Pink Experiment
With the upcoming release of her new book “The Color Pink,” author Parker Paige proposes that women abroad take up the 90-Day Pink Experiment.
In “The Color Pink,” inspired by true events, the protagonist, on a mission to find love after a long dry spell, taps into the mystical powers of the color pink with amazing results. According to Color Consultant Rebecca Ford, all eyes are drawn to those who wear pink and wearing this color will almost certainly attract a potential partner. Not only is it attractive, but it is feminine and very sexy as well. Rebecca Ford goes on to say that “not only does color have such a powerful effect on our moods, but also it plays a huge role in how others perceive us.”
The author doesn’t just recommend that participants (for 90 days) wear pink shirts, pink panties, pink socks and pink bras, but also decorate their surroundings with pink sheets, pink towels and yes, pink candles.
Author Parker Paige is challenging single women to witness for themselves if there really is any magic in the color pink. For women interested in participating in this 90-Day Pink Experiment, all you need do is send an email to, stating your interest in the 90-Day Pink Experiment. Please include your first and last name initials only and the city where you live.
A list of participants will be posted at After the 90-day experiment which begins November 1, 2013 and ends January 31, 2014, participants are asked to send their success stories to where they will be posted.
“The Color Pink” by Parker Paige will be published October 1, 2013.

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Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG-13
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Her Books Presents: Book Club Picks @Kathleen01930

It was fitting that the oldest building on Hephzibah Regrets housed the most beloved of its institutions. Hephzibah Regrets was the actual name of the two hundred acres of rock sticking up out of the Gulf of Maine on which Wyatt Quinn Ravenscroft built Hathor. Over the course of the twentieth century, more people knew the island as Hathor than by its actual name. Fourth and fifth generation islanders still used the name Hephzibah Regrets and had been known to tartly respond, “Never heard of it” to mainlanders who asked about Hathor. The rocky cliff that formed the seaward side of the island harbored a few inlets where the first settlers, who more than likely were not on good terms with the law, gained access away from observation.
Triangular in shape, Hephzibah Regrets had once been the summer home of the Algonquin tribes that fished the waters off of Cape Ann. It was said then that the cod was so plentiful they could be scooped up in baskets along the shore. The forest that covered Hephzibah Regrets was filled with oak and pine trees. The cliffs were covered with rosa ragusa, blueberries, beach plums and raspberries, and the beaches that rimmed the inlets were backed by dunes in which wild birds were plentiful. Located midway between the cities of Salem and Gloucester, the island belonged technically to Salem but it inhabitants, mostly fishing families, did more business in Gloucester, which had been known for its fishing fleet since its beginning in 1623.
When W.Q. Ravenscroft bought the westernmost half of the island there were two settlements, one seasonal, one year-round. The islanders, never given to affectations of any kind, referred to them as The Camps and The Village, respectively. The Camps to the north was a small collection of wooden cottages owned by Boston people who came in the summer to swim, fish, and escape the heat and noise of the city. In more recent years the cottages had been “gussied up”, as Priscilla Nettleton put it, and a seasonal business was added, a combination clam shack/ice cream stand/rental shop for everything from surf boards and kayaks to motorbikes and dune buggies. The villagers tolerated the summer residents as long as their boats didn’t interfere with their lobster trap lines and they minded their manners when they ventured into their territory.
The Village occupied the widest part of the island. Snug inlets provided some shelter for fishing boats. Most of the men fished for lobster, though a few gill netters still eked out a living, and the piles of lobster traps that covered the docks and the beaches below the cliff shrunk or grew according to how good or bad the fishing was in any season. Years back one of the early settlers had introduced goats to the island and some of the island women kept their own herds corralled by low stone walls. They made butter and cheese, which was sold both on the island and in gourmet shops along the North Shore. A few island women had taken up spinning and the income from their yarns helped compensate for the decline in fish catches.
The earliest structure was built as a combination barn and livery where goods, both legal and otherwise, could be unloaded. It was a stout building of native granite, surrounded by a seawall that had been carefully improved over time. For nearly a century it housed a dry-goods store - called simply The Grocery - a fish-packing plant, town hall, and most important, a tavern known by all as the Riptide.
It was in the Riptide that everything of significance on the island either took place or was discussed until it might as well have taken place there. It was in the Riptide that William Silver, local fisherman and scalawag, had created a scandal by romancing Rosalind Ravenscroft, the wild and impetuous daughter of W.Q. and Lisette’s son Wyatt - called the Old Man by the locals. And it was in the Riptide that everyone gathered to watch the televised trial of Syd Jupiter when he was accused of shooting his brother-in-law, Raven Silver, the offspring - along with Syd’s wife, Rachel - of William’s seduction of Rosalind. During that time, when reporters swarmed over the island trying to find fresh information to add to their coverage of the story, Riptide patrons were often asked if Syd frequented the tavern. Not a one of them could ever recall seeing him there, but that was nobody’s business but his, in their opinion.
Gracie Silver, who ran The Grocery, recalled the visits Syd made to the store when he jogged along the island’s cliff-walk. Since the store was roughly half the distance from Hathor, he often stopped for a bottle of water on his daily run. Once Gracie learned the brand of water he preferred she stocked it just for him. Like the other islanders who met him, she recalled Syd as being quiet, soft-spoken, and slightly hard to understand thanks to his gently drawling New Orleanian accent. What she didn’t say was that she also found him devilishly attractive.
Gracie was an islander like most of the patrons of the Riptide. She’d worked as a backman on her father’s lobster boat from the age of ten, then on The Quicksilver, the boat belonging to her husband Harry and his brother Will, the father that Rachel and Raven never knew. The first time she saw Syd in the store - there was no mistaking who he was - she wondered what he would say if she told him she was married to the brother of his father-in-law but she held her tongue. It didn’t do to meddle in other people’s affairs and she didn’t know how much Syd, or for that matter Rachel, knew about the Silver side of the family. Still, the twins had been given their father’s family name. She suspected that was poor Rosalind’s doing.
Poor Rosalind, indeed. She was born on Hathor, the only child of Wyatt and his first wife Natalie. As a boy Wyatt’s life was divided between elite boarding schools and Hathor. He had been both well-known and well-liked among the islanders. He was a strong, sturdy boy who spent summers working alongside his buddies on their fathers’ fishing boats, digging clams, and scouring the beaches for salvage. He didn’t care if he got paid or not and complained when he had to leave to go back to school. The islanders considered him one of their own. He finished college and law school and was gone for some years before he returned home with his bride, a Boston beauty named Natalie, and settled into a career overseeing the legal interests of his father’s investment firm - and into life at Hathor.
Wild Rosalind. She was their only child and, like her father before her, she loved island life. Right from the beginning Rosalind had the run of The Village. Everyone knew her and she knew the names of everyone. She came and went from The Village and was known to turn up at any number of kitchen tables at meal time. The story was that Natalie, born and raised on Boston’s Beacon Hill, never really took to island life. She preferred to spend her time in the city. Those villagers who found employment in the house at Hathor told of screaming fights between mother and tiny daughter who refused to accompany her mother to the mainland.
Once she was of school age Rosalind was sent off to a series of boarding schools but she demonstrated a talent for getting herself kicked out of them, usually in short order. At the age of thirteen she was shipped off to a school in Austria but even Austria could not contain her. She was back at Hathor before the beach roses that covered the cliffs to the south of the island were in bloom. Natalie washed her hands of the girl and Wyatt made a deal with his maddening gypsy daughter, he would allow her to stay at Hathor with the housekeeper and a governess as long as she spent four hours a day with the private tutor he brought up from Cambridge for her. If she studied, maintained her grades, and passed her exams, the rest of her time was her own. Rosalind agreed.
Wyatt divided his time between his wife in Boston and his daughter at Hathor. Rosalind grew wilder with each passing year. By the time she was fifteen the women of the island knew two things for sure about Rosalind Ravenscroft. She was going to be a great beauty and she was headed for big trouble.
“I hope those rich folks ain’t got their heads so far up their asses they don’t see what’s going on,” Prudence Wainwright observed watching Rosalind, in tight jeans and a sheer cotton peasant blouse that was doing its best to fall off of her, perched in the bow of Bart Sparrow’s dinghy as Bart energetically rowed toward his boat.
“Hope they have her on birth control,” was all Bart’s sister-in-law, Maddie Sparrow, had to say.
Rosalind tilted her head back and her long auburn curls fluttered in the breeze as she placed her bare feet in Bart’s lap. Maddie could see the sweat on Bart’s upper lip from all the way up on her front porch - and it was a chilly day.
Will Silver was as good-looking a young fellow as the island had ever produced. He was no damn good, or at least no better than he had to be, but the islanders, whose standards for acceptable behavior consisted of little more than being neighborly and not attracting the attention of the law, weren’t too concerned about that. He fished with his brother Harry and lived in his father’s stone cottage on the cove where they had grown up. Their mother had died when Will was still a toddler. Their father, a third generation lobsterman, suffered a stroke when Will was seventeen and spent the final years of his life sitting on the dock, repairing lobster pots, and hurling clam shells at seagulls while screaming unintelligible curses at them.
Will turned twenty-one the same summer that Rosalind Ravenscroft turned eighteen and, when they started showing up at the Riptide together, everyone took notice. Collectively the islanders decided, after a few evenings of watching those two good-looking young folks swarming all over each other, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Rosalind, it was believed, was living on borrowed time when it came to getting in trouble, and Will might just be the fellow to scratch that wild itch of hers. There was even idle speculation about when the wedding would take place, how grand an affair the Old Man would spring for, and, since both Will and Rosalind were true islanders, it was expected the entire island would participate. Not a one of them was prepared for Wyatt’s reaction.
It was a rainy night in September when Will Silver showed up at the Riptide alone and well on his way to bat-shit crazy intoxication. He sat at the end of the wooden bar on a stool and ignored all attempts at conversation as he kept his nose buried in mug after mug of Smuttynose Ale. Finally Darren Finn, himself a good ways along to feeling no pain, clapped Will on the shoulder and asked him what-the-fuck was eating him. Will responded with a right jab that sent Darren backwards over the table where four old-timers were deep in a heated game of Cribbage. Will stomped out.
The next day the story was everywhere on the island and on fishing boats halfway out to Stellwagen Bank. Wyatt Ravenscroft had responded to his daughter’s announcement that she was going to marry lobsterman Will Silver by packing her into his high-speed motor boat and heading straight down the coast to Boston. He said he’d set Hathor on fire and lock her up in the Carmelite Convent on Beacon Hill before he’d see her married to a fisherman. The islanders were flabbergasted.
But, as history had demonstrated, Rosalind was not to be thwarted. Thus began a series of moves and counter-moves that climaxed in the simultaneous disappearance of Rosalind from her mother’s Louisburg Square brownstone, Will from his cottage on Hephzibah Regrets, and The Quicksilver from its mooring in the harbor. All three were discovered within days on Cape Cod. Will and Rosalind were married and, as time would tell, Rosalind was pregnant with twins. Safe, they thought. Even the Old Man would have to admit defeat in the face of wedding rings and pregnancy positive tests. Or so Rosalind thought, but she was about to learn something she should have known by now - she may have inherited her willfulness and her obstinacy from her father but she had not inherited his ruthlessness.
Rosalind had, unfortunately for her, made one fatal mistake. She had fallen madly, wildly in love with Will Silver but, in her willfulness, she had overlooked one regrettable thing - Will Silver was no damn good.
Samples to Savor: Book Club Picks, presented by Her Books:
Discover your book club’s next page-turner and spark fascinating conversations with your friends in this free sampling from eight bestselling authors. You’ll find rich prose, evocative plots, compelling characters and surprising twists from:
Finding Emma by Steena Holmes
Composing Myself by Elena Aitken
Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby
The Scandalous Ward by Karla Darcy
The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge by Christine Nolfi
The Promise of Provence by Patricia Sands
Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson
Depraved Heart by Kathleen Valentine
About the Author(s):
Bestselling authors Steena Holmes, Elena Aitken, Rachel Thompson, Patricia Sands, Christine Nolfi, Kathleen Valentine, Bette Lee Crosby and Karla Darcy provide readers worldwide with contemporary fiction and nonfiction releases ranging from historical romance to literary.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre –  Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG
Connect with the authors on Faceboook

Friday, January 24, 2014

#Fantasy #PNR Absolution (The #Vampire Alliance) by Angela Louise McGurk @Angela_McGurk


Eve Blakethorn can barely remember what it was like to be unaware of the vampire world around her. Many years have passed since she met the stranger, the man who saved her life, gave her the world and promised her immortality. Unfortunately for Eve someone in power had not wanted her to have the world. Within days of her marriage her life is shattered. Everyone Eve cares for, vampire and human, is taken from her and she is left alone to fend for herself in a world she neither understands nor fits into.

How can she hope to survive her dark and lonely existence while still plagued by the horrors she witnessed when her husband died? How can she avoid becoming prey to the monster who stalks her footsteps, the devil she has long suspected to be the one who brought about her husband’s downfall?
Desperation drives her every move, leading her into the darkness where monsters wait. Can Eve discover the truth about how her world came to crumble and who was really responsible? Is there another stranger out there capable of bringing her some sense of peace? And just what is the vampire government, The Senate, hiding in the dark tunnels under the city?

Praise for Absolution*: 
“I enjoyed every chapter haven't stayed up so late for a book in so long I just couldn't put my phone down. Great book.”

“Wow! It's a nice change to read something in the vampire category with a more mature storyline. Your story was interesting and had me captivated from the beginning until the end. It was beautifully written, and falling in love with with the characters was easy. Great job absolutely loved it!”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed this book! I think this has been one of the most original, mature vampire stories I have ever read... The lives of your vampires are fully realised, their abilities are believable, and the twists in your story are sublime.”

*All comments are from readers.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Angela Louise McGurk on FacebookTwitter

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Quick Chat with #Author Deidre Havrelock @DeidreHavrelock #AmReading #Christian

Image of Deidre Havrelock

1. Favorite place? With my family.
2. Best Christmas present? I once got this toy dog that did back flips—that was pretty awesome.
3. Favorite book(s)? Memoirs, Gothic, theology, Bible.
4. Favorite author? Margaret Atwood, maybe.
5. Favorite smell? Smoke and also flowers.
6. Favorite series? Star Trek.
7. Nickname? Let’s not talk about that.
8. Favorite writing spot? Bed or desk.
9. Favorite movie? Anything Star Trek.
10. Favorite dish? Curry or Japanese.
11. Favorite color? Red, black, white, yellow, green…I like color.
12. Favorite quote? “Theology in the hands of the Holy Spirit is a beautiful science.” But I also like… “Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling?”
13. A bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one? I’m a simple girl; I’d like a bunch of small gifts: a trip to Greece for just two, a million dollars in small bills, a smallish island.
14. Your best trait? Ask my husband…hopefully he knows.
15. Your worst trait? Ask my daughter…she’ll tell you, no problem.
16. Skittles or M&Ms? M &Ms with peanuts. Love ’em!

Living the testimony

We testify in accordance with what we know and have experienced.
…It’s time to learn and experience more!

The first book in this thought-provoking series explained how testimony relates to the Bible; this book will help you understand how testimony relates to living. Living…The Testimony will not only encourage Christians to reflect on who they believe Jesus to be (and why they choose to believe this), but it will also correct current misconstrued ideas as to what the Christian testimony is all about.

- a testimony is not about church;
- a testimony is not about God;
- a testimony is not about faith in general terms;
- this book contains numerous testimonies that will strengthen your faith in Jesus.

A strong Christian testimony is one that continually grows in the knowledge of Jesus, continually shares that knowledge boldly, while at the same time performs good works based on Jesus’ teaching of love—all while abstaining from works of darkness.

Because a biblical testimony deals not only with our belief system, but also with the way we conduct our whole lives, our Christian testimony becomes our most valuable asset. It is life itself.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Christian Living
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter
This book will be on sale for $0.99 during the tour

Thursday, January 23, 2014

#Free #Music #Memoir Showtime at the Apollo by Ted Fox @Kindleexpert

Showtime at the Apollo is the definitive history of Harlem’s world-famous showplace. Home to nearly every great black star including: James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Richard Pryor, Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Redd Foxx, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn and “Bojangles” Robinson, – the theater still hosts contemporary luminaries like The Roots, Mary J. Blige, Chris Rock, Wynton Marsalis and Whoopi Goldberg. Numerous performers relate their own poignant, exciting and sometimes hilarious stories. Some 150 photographs – many never before published – are interspersed throughout.

For African-Americans, the Apollo was the greatest black theater, and a special place to come of age. For whites – including Elvis Presley and the Beatles – the Apollo was as close as they could come to the reality of the black experience.

Still thriving, the Apollo has exerted an unprecedented influence upon popular culture. Since 1934, the Apollo has been at the forefront of African-American music, dance and comedy. It’s legendary Amateur Night spawned countless stars. Renowned for having the world’s toughest and most appreciative audience, it is the place where, as Dionne Warwick says in the book,

“Everyone gave their best performance".

"The essential book, mandatory for the most casual student as well as the most ardent fan." – David Hinckley, Daily News

"Ted Fox made the Apollo come alive for me again."– Jerry Wexler, co-founder of Atlantic Records

"Ted Fox mows through the 20th century's mind blowing cavalcade of segregation byproduct, inhumanity producing creative transcendence. The survivors of the era provide Fox with a front-line document." - Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle

"A wonderful book." – Tavis Smiley, National Public Radio

"I could almost feel and taste the Apollo again." – Doc Pomus, classic songwriter

"The definitive history of Harlem’s (and black America’s) essential theater." – New York Magazine

"Showtime at the Apollo is not only a history of that wonderful theatre, but also a fascinating insider’s view of the Harlem music scene." – John Hammond, legendary producer and talent scout

TED FOX is also the author of In The Groove a collection of interviews with men who have shaped the music industry. He produces and manages Grammy-winner Buckwheat Zydeco and lives in upstate New York.

Showtime at the Apollo by Ted Fox
Rating – PG
Genre – Music History & Criticism
4.8 (7 reviews)
Free until 24 January 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author – Harriet Hodgson @healthmn1

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author

By Harriet Hodgson

Being a published author looks exciting from the outside. From the inside, however, it’s a different story. I’ve been a freelance writer for 36+ years and my years in the trenches have taught me a lot about book publishing. I write non-fiction health and wellness books and these points come from this experience.

  1. You have to work hard. When I say work, I mean writing every day. While you may not write during the holidays or when you’re on a trip, most days you sit down and write.
  2. Writing takes planning. You start with an idea, make an outline, flesh in the details, do your research, and start writing. This process can take weeks, months, or even years. I worked on a book for a dozen years and am still amazed at the time it took.
  3. Revisions come with the territory. The copy that sounded good last week may seem a bit sour the next week. When you’re revising copy, think of Pulitzer Prize winner James Michener, who said he wasn’t a good at writing, but was good at revisions.
  4. Rejection also comes with the territory. Every publisher isn’t going to like your book. When your first rejections arrive you may cry. (I did.) Instead of focusing on emotion, focus on making your book better.
  5. Staying current is essential. When you’re a published author, you need to be aware of trends and update yourself on them continuously. Your book ideas should fit these trends.
  6. People will tell you they were going to write the book. This has happened to me several times and I just say something like “Good ideas have their time” or “Guess we both had the same idea.”
  7. Marketing is part of being an author. Publishers’ marketing budgets are shrinking and most publishers, whether they’re royalty publishers, indie publishers, or print-on-demand publishers, ask their authors to help with marketing.
  8. Support your book with talks and workshops. Your workshops shouldn’t be book commercials, they should be extensions of your book. People should go away with new information and a better understanding of you.
  9. Use the power of the Internet. I’m a grandmother and never received any computer training. Anything I learned I learned from experience. You need an Internet presence in order to sell books.
  10. Get reviews. Amazon reviews, Internet book club reviews, and print reviews all draw attention to your book. Getting reviews isn’t easy, but they are worth the time and effort you put into them.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Harriet W Hodgson on Twitter


Order of the Seers by Cerece Rennie Murphy @CereceRMurphy

Chapter 1: The End

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Liam was losing his patience. “Aw, come on! Are you serious? You can’t want to ride this thing again!”

Instead of answering her older brother, Lilli remained in her seat as the Ferris wheel conductor looked on expectantly, hand outstretched and waiting for another two tokens.

The way Lilli’s skinny arms hugged her book bag while she stared blankly at the pressed metal floor of their “Fairy Land Caboose” made it hard for Liam to stay angry. The sight of her looking so dejected softened him enough to give the conductor his fifth set of tokens in less than 45 minutes. Liam settled back into his seat just as the lap bar clamped down uncomfortably against his thighs.

“Lilli, say something. Why’d you drag me out here if you were just gonna sulk? I hate the carnival, you know that.”

“I know something… okay? Just… trust me. We have to stay here.” Her voice was so low he could barely hear her over the wind-up music that was blaring from the overhead speakers.

“Did Mom say something to you?”

Lilli responded to his question with silence and a barely discernable shake of her head back and forth. He tried again.

“Lilli! Did Mom…?”

“Yes,” she snapped.

They both fell silent again as Liam took in the latest weird thing of the day. Lilith Knight, or Lilli as she preferred to be called, had always been strange. Even when she was five, she could beat Liam at chess lazily, without even thinking about it. She would find things and give them to you before you asked for them. Before you, or even she, knew why. Up until recently, he thought she was just a freak. No biggie. All little sisters are like that, he told himself.

It was only in the past few months that his perception of her began to shift, after her prediction that he would catch his new girlfriend, Krista, kissing his teammate Lance in the locker room after their championship game. At the time, he’d brushed off her premonition as meddling. Krista wasn’t even his girlfriend and his team was 1-1 with the whole basketball season ahead of them.

He’d forgotten her warning completely until two months later when he ran back into the locker room after winning the championship to get the jacket he’d left behind and immediately smelled Krista’s perfume. When he found them, two thoughts overshadowed the scene unfolding in front of him. The first was that what they were doing wasn’t really “kissing,” though he could see how a sheltered thirteen-year-old would describe it that way. His second thought was that Lilli was right; she was exactly right. He was so stunned by Lilli’s accuracy that he didn’t even bother to disturb them, leaving his new ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend to their business. From that moment, Liam understood that Lilli wasn’t just a freak, or more accurately, that she wasn’t a freak at all. She was special…gifted.

The sound of Lilli’s sniffling followed by the trembling of her body as she began to cry uncontrollably broke the long silence that had fallen between them. What the…, Liam half-mumbled as his mind swung from irritation to absolute bewilderment. Slowly and deliberately, Liam moved his palms down the front of his face as he fought the urge to shake the truth right out of her and end whatever this was. But he couldn’t. She’s so brittle already, he thought, without any idea as to why. So instead, he reached out to envelop his sister in his arms, trying to soothe her and comfort her from some unknown force.

“Lilli, it’s all right. I’m sorry, okay? Don’t cry. Just… tell me what’s going on. Why are we here?”

He tried to wait patiently, to rein in the confusion and frustration that had been piercing through the calm day he had planned for himself when he woke up that morning, as cool and carefree as any sixteen-year-old boy. It was Lilli who had dragged him out of the house before he could even wolf down his second bowl of Honeycombs. “Mom said you have to take me to the carnival. NOW!” She had demanded.

He had started to head upstairs to launch his appeal when his eye caught his mother’s note on the refrigerator door. “Take Lilli to the fair. NOW.—Love, Mom,” it read. He knew that meant his mother had left the house early; there was no appeal to be made. Begrudgingly, he slipped on his sneakers and grabbed the car keys, all the while wondering if Lilli was still too young to be left at the fair by herself.

His earlier thoughts of abandonment brought him back to his sister’s form beside him. Not knowing what else to do, Liam simply held her tight as her convulsing turned to trembling, and finally, back to stillness. At the top of the Ferris wheel, she finally spoke.

“It’s over now, we can go home,” she whispered. But as impatient for answers and a reprieve from big brother duties as he was, Liam knew that it was not over. The emotionless tone in her voice scared him. It made him want to stay on the Ferris wheel he’d been begging to get off of a few short minutes ago. As the music died down and their feet got closer to the ground, he suddenly felt conflicting urges to stay where he was and to rush home to his mother. As the ride came to a stop, he suddenly realized with profound certainty that this was much more than one of Lilli’s “episodes.” Something was very, very wrong.

When Liam pulled his father’s green 2002 Saab in front of their small brick house, everything seemed as it always did—quiet and predictable in their modest yet comfortable home. They had lived in a much bigger house before his father died, but Liam never minded sharing a bathroom with his mother and sister. All the toys and trinkets that had mattered to him when he was a child were rendered insignificant the moment his mother told him that his father would never come home again. As he got out of the car and began to take the front steps two at a time, he noticed that Lilli had stopped at the tree stump his mother had cut down the week before. Sitting down, her eyes remained on the ground. Just as his mouth formed the shape of a question, she spoke.

“No, you go. I can’t see it again.”

Liam didn’t stop to ask what she meant. Whatever she meant, he was sure it was worse than he thought. He tried to hold back the swell of fear in his chest as he ran to the front door, but his emotions spun out of control the moment he tested the front door knob and found it opened—easily. They never left the front door unlocked.

When he stepped into the house, he actually felt the life, the person he had been, rush past him and out the door as his eyes took in the overturned, splintered remains of their living room. It was a feeling he’d felt only once before, when his father died. But what made it worse, what made it permanent, was lying in the middle of the floor, with its contents thrown everywhere. It was his mother’s purse, which had not been there when he left that morning.

“Mom!” he shouted as he raced up the stairs to her room. “Mom. Please!” he shouted again, but no one answered. In every room he looked, it was the same - scattered clothes, broken mirrors, and silence—a deafening silence that rang louder than the sound of his own shallow breathing.

If he took the stairs at lightning speed to make it to the second floor, an age could have passed during his descent. The entire house consisted of three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a small open dining area that you could see clearly from the front door. As he walked down the steps, he knew there was only one room left to check. His mind was frozen on what to hope for as his hand reached the end of the banister. If she wasn’t in the kitchen, she might have been taken, but at least there was a chance she was still alive. If she was in the kitchen, it was unthinkable.

Lilli’s words came to him just as he rounded the doorway to the kitchen.

No, you go. I can’t see it again.”

He found his mother sitting with her feet planted on the floor, shoulder width apart, bright eyes open and cast to the ceiling, with a hole blown through the middle of her chest.

Liam braced himself against the door frame as he began to sob, the sounds seemingly emanating from a place far away from where he stood. He could not look away from the horrific image before him, the last image of his mother. He stood there with wide-eyed and tear-stained pain as the last measure of his youth drained from him like blood rushing from an open vein. When it was done, his body slid to the ground.

We are alone, he thought. There’s no one left.

Ever since his father had died, Liam lived in fear that one day he would lose her. Unable to tear his eyes away from her body, he could hear her vehemently denying that there would ever be a time when she wasn’t with them. “Never,” she would say.

Never, he thought, has finally come.

Though Liam had been staring at her body since he entered the kitchen, he had not seen the gun in her hand until he noticed a fly land on it. Years of training to keep the gun out of Lilli’s sight made him jump to his feet until he remembered that Lilli was still outside. He knew the gun well; it was his mother’s. She had taught him how to use it and to keep it out of Lilli’s reach when she was small.

At first his mind could not decipher the meaning of the scene before him. Was he meant to believe that she did this to herself? Why would the people who broke into their house ransack the place and then try to make it look like a suicide? But he couldn’t think straight, couldn’t figure out the logic or the answer to any of the crazy questions running through his mind. Why would she kill herself? He was sure the answers were obvious; he just wasn’t making sense. None of this was making any sense.

His confusion caused him to draw closer to her body. Kneeling down beside his mother, Liam took the lifeless hand that dangled at her side, the one that was not holding the gun. Though his eyes were still filled with tears, they were no longer breaking through the barriers of his lower lids. This momentary fortitude allowed him to have the courage to look directly into her face and see her open smile. The sight of it knocked him down and back into the base cabinets. She was smiling. She was smiling, he thought. She had known what was coming, and she was smiling.

Suddenly, he remembered his mother’s constant warning every time they went to the shooting range. “Don’t pick up a gun unless you mean to use it. There can be no hesitation. Do you understand me?” she would ask him sternly. Liam knew Jill Knight was skilled at using a firearm. If she had a chance to draw her gun, no one could take it from her. The implications made him immediately sick and angry before their full meaning could even register.

As if retching the contents of his stomach into the kitchen sink made room for clarity, he suddenly understood the reason behind her smile. She had killed herself. She had done this to herself, on purpose. He threw up again in a wave of protest at the notion that she would abandon them, even as the resentment of her betrayal took root. When he was done, he didn’t want to turn around, didn’t want to face her.

How could she do this? She wouldn’t do this. She promised.

Holding himself up at the sink, his thoughts turned to Lilli. Is this what she saw?, he wondered, fighting a new wave of nausea. No wonder she cried like that. No wonder… Rather than try to sort out the conflict of thoughts and emotions inside him, he decided to check on Lilli and make sure that she remained outside while he tried to figure out what to do next.

As he peered over his shoulder toward the doorway, his eyes caught the folded cuff of his mother’s sweatshirt, which was turquoise save for the blood, and a little corner of white paper that was peeking out. He knew his mother hid things in the cuff of her sleeve all the time; it was one of the many old lady habits Liam enjoyed teasing her about. He stared at the white edge of paper for a long time, warring with his own feelings of anger and grief before simple curiosity forced him to bend down and retrieve it. As his fingers curved around the edge of her sleeve, he could feel something flat and hard inside. When he rolled down her sleeve to get it, the key to his gym locker at school slipped out before he could fully unroll the note. When he did, it unleashed a new avalanche of questions upon heartbreak over questions.

In his mother’s tiny cursive handwriting, the note read, ‘Go now. Protect her.’ Liam felt a new level of understanding peel back in his mind as he read her note again. He began to see the very real possibility that perhaps his mother had not wanted to do this to herself. Perhaps she was forced by the same people who came into their home. The same people who she wanted him to protect Lilli from now. Liam grabbed the key off the floor before rising to meet his mother’s eyes one last time. They looked so different from how they had even two minutes ago and held so much he couldn’t understand, couldn’t handle right now. He closed his eyes and softly kissed her on her forehead before running out of his home for what he knew would be the last time.

Liam closed the front door behind him and turned to find Lilli sitting exactly where he left her twenty minutes before. He had only two objectives at that point - making sure that she was safe, and getting the hell out of there. As Liam scanned the neighborhood for anything suspicious, he took in the studied quiet of his block. There was no one on the street at 11:23 am on a beautiful Sunday morning. Where is everyone, he wondered, suddenly wary of the neighbors with whom he had grown up. How had no one heard the gunshot? Why didn’t anyone call the police?

The tremor in his neighbors’ curtains gave credence to the sensation that they were being watched, but no one would step outside to help them. This realization came over him with a bitterness that cast itself over all the sorrow he held inside. They had all been witnesses, he guessed, but they would no longer be friends.

Watching Liam as he crossed the small front lawn to reach her, Lilli was struck by how much older her brother looked compared to just a few hours ago. Though his straight black hair hung as sloppy and heavy as it always did over his blue-green eyes, there was none of the playful nonchalance that usually characterized her brother’s disposition. His hair was slick, spiked, and jet black with sweat, and it framed the angles of his face in a way that made her easy-going brother look cold and menacing. But it wasn’t a surprise, Lilli could see everything Liam felt on his face—anger, sorrow, betrayal, and a ferocity emerging that she did not understand. Seeing her brother so unlike himself made Lilli’s face crumple in agony as she trembled under the weight of her own choices.

“I’m sorry, Liam,” she begged in between sobs. “I know you’re mad at me for not telling you. Mom told me that if I did, they would kill you. She said I had to be strong enough… strong enough to save you.”

“Shhh, Lilli. It’s all right. We’ll talk about this later. Don’t cry. Shhh.”

Lilli knew Liam meant his response to be soothing, but his words came out cold, devoid of any life or feeling behind them. When she looked up to search his face and understand the hollowness in his voice, she found him scanning the street with the same look of fierceness. Something in the clenched set of his jaw made her finally understand. He was determined, to keep her alive, to protect the only family he had left.

“We need to go,” he said, as he led her to the car.


“I don’t know, Lilli. I don’t know.”

Order of the Seers

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – NC-17

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