Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: February 13, 2019
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Adventurous American nurse Samantha Winters is on a study abroad program in Australia. But after one perfect night with a handsome stranger, she finds herself with child. Intrigued with an elderly patient's tales of a local creek where pregnant women drown themselves, Sam agrees to help end the curse.
Historian James Campbell keeps a vigilant watch on his family's haunted land, hoping to prevent more deaths. A loner in his personal life, he's stunned to discover his grandmother's nurse is the one woman he can't forget.
Sam is a believer. James is a skeptic. With the legend's anniversary looming closer, the two work together to solve the mystery of Crying Girl Creek. Amid the tangles of secrets and lies Sam has a secret of her own: James is the father of her baby. And he doesn't want children..
James Campbell knew what to expect. A breeze whipped up against the cloudless blue sky, and soon turned into a wild wind that tore through the canyon carved into the Broken Back Range. It chilled him to the bone, even though the noonday sun beat upon his shoulders.
“Steady.” He held tight to the reins with one hand and stroked the horse’s neck. “Good boy, Blaze.”
The skin on the back of his neck prickled, and the hair on his arms stood like a tangle of spider legs. The wind abated as swiftly as it had started. He stared toward the canyon. New South Wales had suffered an extreme drought, hell, for that matter so had most of Australia.
His dog whimpered.
“Ruby, come on, girl.” He patted his thigh to encourage the pup. She was barely a year old. An Australian kelpie, chocolate brown with a hint of red, and while she enjoyed being out here at the creek instead of the apartment, he understood there were many new things that created some nervousness. Hell, even he had to shake off a chill. He ran a hand inside his shirt. Sweat clung to chest hair. The sweat of fear? Nah, the legend was based on rumor, and the bloody thing kept alive by the curious.
Ruby slunk through the tall, dry grass.
“That’s good. There’s nothing to fear.”
With binoculars raised, he scanned the banks of the creek. The normally still water rippled like someone had skipped a rock into its midst. The sounds—moans that whispered through the grass and rustled the fronds of the willow trees—had been soft today, like a mother crooning to a baby.
Stuff it. Those sounds were purely scientific. They happened when the coastal breezes met the heat of the valley and channeled through the narrow gully. He turned the chestnut gelding, pushed back the brim of the Akubra, and wiped his brow. Binoculars dangled from their strap and bounced against his chest as he headed for the stables. He took off Blaze’s saddle and tossed it over the stall door, rubbed him down, then released him to the lower paddock.
Whatever the hell is going on here, it will be okay. It has to be.
He ambled across the dry land toward the old house, kicking at the red dirt with the tips of his boots. Inside, he pulled a bottle of water from the ancient refrigerator and strode to the front verandah. He loved Crying Girl Creek, but there had been difficult days. So much loss over the years, and that weakened a man. He sat in Grandma’s old rocker. Memories he needed to dig into, things that might help him heal, flooded his senses. After the anniversary of the legend, then he’d give them some thought.
About the Author
Robena Grant is Australian by birth but resides in Southern California. She has two adult children, enjoys reading, swimming, friends, simple dinners, a glass of wine, a board game, and heaven forbid…karaoke! Travel has always been her greatest love. France, Australia, Italy, England, and Scotland have featured in her stories. She often chooses a setting that has captured her senses through travel.
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Date Published:February 13, 2019
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
Some people’s lives unfold in the most unusual ways.
In 1970, the only things Violet Hawkins wanted for her eighteenth birthday were to escape the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system in which she’d been raised and to make her way to San Francisco. There, she hoped to enjoy a mellow lifestyle and find the love that had always been absent in her life.
Though she made it to San Francisco easily enough, she soon discovered she couldn’t afford a clean, safe place in which to settle down. At first, it hadn’t seemed to matter. Caught up in the excitement and freedom of living in a large city where free love and openness to so many things reigned, she almost forgot about eating and sleeping. One couch, one futon was as good as any other as long as grass or other drugs were available, and others didn’t mind giving her a place to sleep. But after spending four months there, the dollars she’d carefully saved, which had seemed so many in Dayton, were nothing but a mere pittance in a city where decent living was too expensive for her. She took to wandering the streets with her backpack until she came upon a friendly group willing to give her a sleeping space inside or a bite to eat.
One June day, feeling discouraged, she’d just sunk down onto the steps outside a row house when a young man emerged.
He smiled down at her. “Tired?”
She was more than tired. She was exhausted and hungry. “Looking for work. I need to eat.”
He gave her a long, steady, blue-eyed look. “What’s your name?”
“Violet Hawkins. But call me Lettie.”
His eyebrows shot up. “With all that red hair, no flowery name for you?”
She shook her head. She’d always hated both her hair and her name. The red in her hair was a faded color, almost pink, and the name Violet indicated a delicate flower. She’d never had the luxury of being the least bit frail.
He sat down beside her and studied her. “You don’t look like the hippie type. What are you doing in a place like this?”
“On my eighteenth birthday, I left Dayton, Ohio, to come here. It sounded like a great plan—all this freedom.”
“How long have you been here?”
“Four months. I thought it would be different. I don’t know … easier, maybe.”
He got to his feet. “How about I fix you a sandwich, and then I’ll tell you about a job, if you want it. It’s at a vineyard in Oregon. I’m heading there later today.”
Her glance slid over his well-built body, rugged facial features, and clean, shoulder-length, light-brown hair. He didn’t fit into the usual crowd she’d been with, which made her cautious. “Who are you? And why would you do this for me?”
“Kenton Chandler.” His lips curved into the same warm smile he’d given her earlier. “I’m heading to Oregon, and, frankly, I could use the company. Keeps me from falling asleep.”
“Yeah? And what is this vineyard?”
He shrugged. “A couple of years ago, my dad bought a small inn with 75 acres in the Willamette Valley south of Portland. He’s planted most of the land with grapes. He doesn’t know that much about making wine and wants me to learn. That’s why I’m in San Francisco. I’ve been working at a vineyard in Napa Valley just north of here, learning the ropes.” He grinned. “Or maybe I should say, learning the vines.”
“What kind of sandwich?” she asked, warming toward him and his wacky humor. Her stomach rumbled loud enough for them both to hear it.
“How does ham and Swiss sound?” he said, giving her a knowing look.
“Okay.” Lettie didn’t want him to think she couldn’t manage on her own. That was dangerous. She’d learned it the hard way, fighting off a guy who thought he could have her just because he gave her a puff of weed. She’d been careful ever since to stay away from situations and guys like that.
“Well?” He waved her toward the door.
Lettie checked to see if others were within hearing range if she needed them. Plenty of people were hanging around nearby. Thinking it was safe, Lettie climbed the stairs behind Kenton. He didn’t know about the knife tucked into one of the pockets of her jeans.
Inside, she found the same kind of contrast between this clean house and others she’d been in. It wasn’t sparkling clean, but it was tidier than most.
He led her into the kitchen. “Sit down. It’ll only take me a minute to make your sandwich.” He handed her a glass of water. “Mustard? Mayo?”
“Both,” she replied primly, sitting down at a small pine table in the eating area of the room.
She sat quietly, becoming uncomfortable with the idea that he was waiting on her. She wasn’t used to such a gesture. She was usually the one waiting on others both in her foster home and at the church where she’d spent hours each week attending services and events with her foster family. Thinking of them now, a shiver raced across her shoulders like a frightened centipede. It had been her experience that supposedly outstanding members of a church weren’t always kind to those they’d taken into foster care primarily for the money.
“Ready!” said Kenton, jarring her out of thoughts of the past. He placed a plate with the sandwich in front of her and took a seat opposite her.
She lifted the sandwich to her face and inhaled the aroma of the ham. Keeping her eyes on Kenton, she bit into the bread, savoring the taste of fresh food.
He beamed at her with satisfaction when she quickly took another bite.
“Who lives here? Lettie asked.
“A friend of mine,” said Kenton. His gaze remained on her. “You don’t look eighteen.”
She swallowed, and her breath puffed out with dismay. “But I am.”
“And you’re not into drugs and all the free-love stuff everyone talks about?”
Lettie shook her head. “Not really. I tried weed a couple of times, but it wasn’t for me.” Her strict upbringing had had a greater influence on her than she’d thought.
“Good. Like I said, if you want to ride to Oregon with me, there’s a job waiting for you at the Chandler Hill Inn. We’re looking for help. It would be a lot better than walking the streets of Haight-Ashbury. Safer too.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “And if I don’t like it?”
He shrugged. “You can leave. One of the staff recently left for L.A. That’s why my father called me to ask if I knew anyone who could come and work there. You’re my only choice.”
Lettie’s heart pounded with hope. Acting as nonchalant as she could, she said, “Sounds like something I’d like to try.”
The ride to Oregon was mostly quiet as an easy camaraderie continued between them. Kenton answered any questions she had about him, the inn, and the way he thought about things. Lettie was surprised to learn he hadn’t joined in a lot of the anti-war protests.
“My best friend died in ’Nam. He believed in serving our country. I want to honor him,” he said to Lettie.
“A boy in my high school was drafted. His parents weren’t happy about it.”
“Well, if I’m drafted, I’m going,” Kenton said. “I don’t want to, but I will. I don’t really have a choice.”
As they talked, they agreed that John Wayne was great in the movie True Grit.
“And I love the Beatles,” said Lettie.
“Yeah, me too. Too bad they just broke up.”
“And what about the new group, The Jackson 5?” Lettie said.
“They’re great. And I like Simon and Garfunkel and their music too.”
At one point, Lettie turned to Kenton. “Sometimes you seem so serious, like an old man. How old are you, anyway?”
He gave her a sheepish look. “Twenty-two.”
They shared a laugh, and in that moment, Lettie knew she’d found a person with whom she could be herself.
Lettie woke to someone shaking her shoulder. She stared into the blue-gray eyes of a stranger and stiffened.
“Lettie, we’re here,” said a male voice.
As she came fully awake, she realized Kenton was talking to her.
“Here at Chandler Hill?” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
She looked out through the windshield of the Ford Pinto and gaped at the huge, white-clapboard house sitting on the top of a knoll like a queen overlooking her realm.
Lettie scrambled out of the car and stood gazing at the clean lines of the two-story building. Across the front, four windows offset by green shutters were lined up with identical windows below. Beneath a small, protective, curved roof, glass panels bracketed a wide front door, welcoming guests. To one side, a two-story wing had been added to the house.
Green, leafy bushes offset by an assortment of colorful flowers she didn’t recognize softened the front of the building. As she walked closer, she realized between the main house and the addition a small, stone patio and private garden had been installed.
“Come on in,” said Kenton. “There’s a beautiful view from the back porch.”
Feeling as if she were Alice in a different kind of Wonderland, Lettie entered the house. As she tiptoed behind Kenton, her gaze darted from the polished surfaces of furniture to gilt-edged mirrors to a massive floral bouquet sitting on a large dining-room table. It all seemed so grand.
Kenton led her to a wide porch lining the back of the house. Observing the rolling land before her and, in the distance, the hills crouching in deepening colors of green, Lettie’s breath caught. The sun was rising, spreading a gold topping on the hills like icing on cake.
Lettie smiled and answered, “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, so peaceful.”
At the sound of footsteps behind her, she whirled around.
A tall, gray-haired man with striking features similar to Kenton’s said, “Welcome home, son.”
They shook hands, and then the older gentleman turned to her. “And who is this?”
Shy, she stared at the man who seemed so familiar to her.
Kenton nudged Lettie.
Minding her manners, Lettie held out her hand as she’d been taught. “Lettie Hawkins. I’ve come for a job.” A niggling feeling kept her eyes on him longer than necessary. When she could no longer stop herself, she blurted, “Aren’t you Rex Chandler, the movie star?”
He smiled. “Yes, I am. But I’ve changed professions.”
Lettie held back a chuckle of delight. A friend’s mother had privately adored him.
“Why don’t the two of you come into the kitchen,” said Rex. “Mrs. Morley will want to talk to Lettie, and I need to talk to you, Kenton.”
As Lettie followed the men into the kitchen, a woman hurried toward them, crying, “Kenton! Kenton! You’re home at last!”
Laughing, Kenton allowed the woman to hug him. “You’d think I’ve been gone a year, Mrs. Morley.”
“You almost were,” she said, smiling and pinching his cheek. “And look at you! More handsome than ever.”
Looking as if he couldn’t wait for her to focus her attention elsewhere, Kenton said, “Mrs. Morley, I’d like you to meet Lettie Hawkins. She’s here for a job.”
Mrs. Morley’s gaze settled on Lettie. “So, you like to work?”
“She likes to eat,” said Kenton, bringing a smile to Mrs. Morley’s full face.
“By the looks of it, Lettie, you could use more food,” said Mrs. Morley. “Let’s you and I talk about what kind of jobs you could do around here. I’m short-handed at the moment.”
Kenton and Rex left the kitchen.
Mrs. Morley waved Lettie over to a desk in a small alcove in the kitchen. After lowering her considerable bulk into a chair, Mrs. Morley faced her. Her green eyes exuded kindness as she studied Lettie. Her gray-streaked brown hair was pulled back from her face and banded together in a ponytail, giving Lettie a good look at her pleasing features.
“Have a seat, dear.”
Lettie sat in the chair indicated for her and clutched her hands. After seeing the small inn and the beautiful countryside, she desperately wanted the job.
“Where are you from, Lettie? And why in the world do you want to work here in the country? I’d think a pretty, young girl like you would want to be in a city having fun.”
Lettie paused, unsure how to answer her. She’d thought she’d like living in the city, being free to do whatever she wanted. But after four months of doing just that, the excitement had worn off. She liked to know where she was going to sleep at night and when she’d next eat.
“Maybe I’m just a country girl at heart,” she answered lamely. Her two best friends at home would scoff at her, but right now, that’s how she felt.
“Well, that’s what you’ll be if you stay on. A lot of activity is taking place around here, what with people buying up turkey farms and the like, turning them into vineyards, but it is country. I hope it always will be.” She leaned forward. “Know anything about cooking? Cleaning?”
“Yes,” said Lettie. “I used to do both in my foster home. I was the oldest of eight kids there.”
“Eight? My land, that’s a lot of kids to take in,” said Mrs. Morley.
“It’s a lot of money,” Lettie said, unable to hide her disgust. “That’s why they did it.”
“I see,” said Mrs. Morley, studying her. “So how long have you been on your own?”
“Four months,” she replied. “I was in San Francisco when I met Kenton.”
“Such a good, young man. I’ve known him for a while now,” Mrs. Morley sighed with affection. “You’re lucky he found you. Why don’t we start in housekeeping, see how it goes, and then maybe you can give me a hand in the kitchen.”
“Okay,” Lettie said, jumping to her feet. “Where should I put my things? I need to get them from the car.”
Mrs. Morley gave her an approving look. “I like your eagerness. Let me show you to your room and then I’ll give you a tour.”
The north half of the front of the house consisted of a large, paneled dining room she’d seen earlier. The long mahogany table that sat in the middle of the room held seats for twelve. A summer flower arrangement consisted of pink roses and pink hydrangeas interspersed with white daisies and sat in a cut-glass vase in the middle of the table. Along one wall, above a service counter, an open cupboard made of dark wood stored coffee mugs, extra wine goblets, and water glasses. A coffee maker and a burner holding a pot of hot water sat on the marble counter. A bowl of sugar, a pitcher of cream, and a dish of lemon slices were displayed nearby. At the other end of the counter, a large plate of homemade, chocolate-chip cookies invited guests to take one.
“How many guests do you usually have?” Lettie asked.
“We have six guest rooms, so we have as many as twelve people for the breakfast we serve. During the day, people come and go on their own, tasting wine at nearby vineyards or sightseeing. We offer a simple dinner to those not wishing to travel to restaurants at night.” A look of pride crossed Mrs. Morley’s face. “Sometimes my husband, Pat, grills out, or Rita Lopez cooks up Mexican food. Guests like these homestyle meals. In fact, we’re becoming known for them.”
Lettie’s mouth watered. It all sounded so good.
Mrs. Morley led her to a sideboard, opened its drawers, and gave her a smile. “Let’s see how well you polish silver.”
Later, after being shown how, Lettie was working on the silverware when Kenton walked into the kitchen.
“Well? Are you going to stay?” he asked.
“Yes,” Lettie said with determination. The whole time she’d been cleaning the silver she’d been able to gaze at the rolling hills outside. This, she’d decided, is where she wanted to be. It felt so right.
About the Author
Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
Growing up, books were always present being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges and meet them with strength.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she's lived or visited and on the interesting people she's met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love.
GOOD LUCK AND HAVE A PLEASANT APOCALYPSE WITH THIS YA ADVENTURE, AVAILABLE NOW!
Title: Apocalypse Five
Written by: Stacey Rourke
Genre: Young Adult Sci-fi
The end of the world is coming. How or when, scientists can't agree upon. For decades, Earth's best line of defense has been a team of young soldiers known as the Apocalypse Five, forced into virtual reality simulations to train for Doom's Day. But, this is no game. Death on the grid is brutally final and calls up the next in a long line of cadets. Stationed aboard the AT-1-NS Starship, the A5 are celebrities thrust into the limelight by a calling they didn't choose. All it takes is one unscheduled mission, showing seventeen-year-old team leader Detroit a harsh and unfathomable reality, to shake the A5's belief in all they thought they knew. After questioning people with the power to destroy them, the team is framed for a crime they didn't commit and marked for death. Now, the hunt is on. Can the Apocalypse Five expose the truth the starship would kill to keep hidden? Or, will their bravery end in a public execution?
Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Adapted for Film. She lives in Florida with her husband, two beautiful daughters. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012 and Turning Pages Magazine
Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers' Favorite Fantasy Silver Medal Winner for 2015
Readers' Favorite YA Fantasy Bronze Medal Winner 2017
Utopia Award Winner Author of the Year 2018
Utopia Award Winner for Best Villain 2018 for Ursula in Rise of the Sea Witch
Author/Founder of OUAB
Date Published: January 2019
An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he's pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler's fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.
He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can't do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they're going to have to engage the enemy.
James' goals aren't necessarily the same as his crew. It's a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.
Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.
Fala nudged Dan with her shoulder, then fed the anvil bird a red berry.
As they rounded the corner onto the docks, the ship came back into view. Gold letters nearly two feet tall arched across her stern. They read, Lanternfish.
Dock workers lugged items aboard the ship, rolls of canvas, kegs of gunpowder, live pigs, and more. A glazer worked on the large lanterns attached around the poopdeck. Stuttering Lewis hung over the stern on a bosun's chair, and carved a log that replaced the supporting statue they'd destroyed when they took her. Rather than a lady with a vase, he was making a skeletal pirate, complete with a branch that became an arm holding a cutlass.
McCormack sat at a desk underneath an umbrella alongside the ramp up to the ship. He turned his journal around quickly. "Do you want to check it, ma'am?"
"No need Mr. McCormack. Maybe later. Things look much improved around here."
"Aye, ma'am. You look much improved too. Island life agrees with you."
"That it does. We're going to have a look around, we'll report in this afternoon. Where's the captain?"
"Could be in the tavern. That's where most business gets done around here."
They walked the length of the ship. Underneath the bowsprit was a new figurehead made of riveted pieces of metal, like a suit of armor. It was a huge lanternfish. Circular white portholes served as eyes, and a long twisted steel rod protruded from his forehead. The rod arched until it was tangent with the bowsprit, then bent back down. At the end, a huge hexagonal lantern hung, it matched the others on the back of the ship. Long sharp teeth protruded from the creature's bulldog-like jaw, and the fish appeared to be hollow inside.
The ship resembled an anthill. Men scurried everywhere, painting, tying new rigging, glazing, and more. When they turned back, a young woman approached McCormack's desk.
The woman was tall, thin, and muscular. She wore a bamboo coulee hat that was wider than her shoulders. It was covered with a gauze beige cloth. Her features were Eastern, giving her an exotic beauty. She wore only short leather boots, and a leather pair of shorts. Her legs were covered with wrapped strips of beige silk up to her knees, as were her breasts, forearms, and fists. She thumped the bronze foot of her pole weapon on the dock then waited for McCormack to speak. The shaft of her weapon was ebony black. The curved blade of the glaive started above her head, and had but a single edge.
As they walked closer, they made out a jade disk pendant around her neck, and the weapon had bronze fittings of a fierce dragon holding the blade in its mouth. The fittings served to add strength opposite the cutting edge.
"Name?" McCormack asked.
"What are you good at?"
"Any experience with guns?"
"Can you rig a sail?"
"Like a master."
"Sign here. Then find Don Velasco topside. He'll get you situated."
Dan and Fala walked past. Serang's braided black hair hung to the small of her back, nearly touching her shorts.
"Wonder what she does with that frog sticker?" Dan said.
Serang spun around, took two running steps toward the side of the pier and threw her weapon like a spear. It sailed across the water to the next dock and impaled a huge bay frog that was sunning itself. "Stick frogs," she said.
About the Author
C. S. Boyack was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. He likes to tell everyone that he was born in a small town in the 1940s. He's not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives him a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into his fiction.
Boyack moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back.His writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups he jumped in with both feet.
He likes to write about things that have something unusual. His works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. His goal is to entertain readers for a few hours and he hopes you enjoy the ride.
Date to be Published: March 7th, 2019
They say you can't run away from your problems. EmVee knew from experience it was true. She and her father tried to run, until the truth came and got them. Now with nothing to lose, she must confront the monster that changed her life forever. Unfortunately, she has to work with his best friend, Kayson who she is almost sure, isn't quite as nice as he seems. Kayson revealed not just why her father disappeared, but a new world of magicals that wanted the debt he left behind to be paid.
(Insatiable Darkness - Book 0, Caged Fire - Book 1, Unbreakable Darkness - Book 1.5)
“Look kid, your father’s time is running cold. They are on to us, too many lives are at stake if either of you get caught.” Rocky handed her a thumb drive. “It’s a matter of your life and his death. He owes me, and I owe another a favor.”
“You give it to him,” EmVee replied evenly, checking her emotions and desire to punch the guy and run.
“No, this is where my road ends. Remember. Remember the name to nowhere and the code is your father’s real name. If you are his daughter. He would have told it to you, it’s a safe-word of sorts. I’m tired of running and they made sure I don’t have anything to run to. My son, he’s out there somewhere, and I’ll die taking the name of his safe-place with me. He’ll be free of them, both of them. Max and you have a chance. Don’t forget my name. It’ll mean something someday I hope. Run. Run now.” Rocky grasped her wrist, yanked it toward him, and placed the thumb drive in her hand.
EmVee looked at the drive, squeezed it in her palm.
Rocky tossed something in his mouth and pushed her back. “Look away, kid.” His body started convulsing. He groaned and collapsed, eyes open and staring towards the moon teased by dark clouds.
Sweat slid from under her drawn hoodie. Why’d he’d do it? They could’ve taken him to a hospital.
She glanced around quickly, then went for Rocky’s pockets. She reached in his jacket, flesh and entrails had spilled from his waist and into his coat. EmVee jerked back, shook her head a shaky sigh escaped her lips. She bit down on her lip and did what she had to do. In his jacket she found his cellphone and put it in her back pocket. His wallet she stuffed in the side pocket of her backpack. There was nothing else.
Putting her hand over her nose, swallowing back the tangy taste of vomit. She reached over and closed Rocky’s blue eyes. She’d never forget them.
Title: Dream Walker
Author: Bridgette OâHare
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Cover Designer: DARK UNICORN DESIGNS
Editor: Jennifer Green of Plot2Published Editing
Publisher: CLOVERHOUSE PUBLISHING
Publication Date: January 25th, 2018
Lullaby: Silent Night: Dream Walker: https://amzn.to/2S7LohL
Bridgette O'Hare is a writerly life form surviving on high doses of chocolate, excessive episodes of Supernatural, and copious amounts of snark.
She spends her time in search of sleep, witty co-conspirators, the planet Gallifrey, and ways to unleash treachery upon her characters in interesting ways . . . or you may find her instigating shenanigans on Facebook.
Sheâs the proud Mum of two highly entertaining humans and she resides on the coast of North Carolina.
Bridgette is recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Number 5 was unavailable for comment.
Smart Masses Newsletter http://bit.ly/smartmass
Silent Night: Dream Walker: https://amzn.to/2S7LohL
Matt had never been one to let a chance to provoke Jenna slip by. âI know what Iâm getting you for Christmas,â he chided.
âDoes it involve a trip to some tropical island and drinks with those tiny umbrellas in them?â Jenna quipped back.
âWhat makes you think Iâd take you somewhere like that?â he retorted.
A sly smirk slinked up one corner of Jennaâs mouth. âWhat makes you think I was going to take you with me on my little island excursion? Itâs my present.â
Matt shook his head. âA watch, Jenna. Iâm getting you a watch. Not that youâd use it.â
He checked his mirrors and backed out of the driveway.
âAlright, children. Letâs play nice,â Halle interrupted before the back and forth really took off.
âThat was nice,â Jenna mumbled.
âYeah, about as nice as when you two ditched me at Leviâs Halloween party. Left me with a house full of masked marauders, and I donât mean the interesting comic book kind.â Matt glared at Jenna in the rear-view mirror.
âWhy are you looking at me like that? Halle bailed on you, too!â
âHey now!â Halle piped in.
âShe was hurt. She gets a pass. You could have found me, or called, or texted, or something.â His words came across with a little something Halle couldnât help but be concerned about. For the past year, she had watched as Matt and Jenna bantered back and forth, always teetering on the edge of something more than friendship but never slipping over. Halle found herself glancing between the two, wondering if Jennaâs secret was why she had always kept Matt at armâs length.
Jenna went silent for a moment. The countenance of her face saying more than words could. âIâm sorry, Matt. Youâre right. I should have let you know. Forgive me?â
Mattâs eyes darted between the road and the rear view mirror several times before he blew out a heavy breath and his stare rested on the mirror for a long moment. âI forgave you the moment it happened. You know that,â he replied.
âOf course you did,â Jenna chimed. âYou canât stay mad at me. I wonât let you.â She stuck her tongue out at him.
Halle laughed at the exchange. âYou two are something else.â
âDonât know what youâre laughing at,â Matt remarked as he turned the Jeep into the school parking lot. âYouâre friends with both of us. What does that say about you?â
âThat Iâm crazier than I thought,â Halle muttered. âBut hey, at least yâall are entertaining.â
She adjusted her sunglasses and reached for her bag in the floorboard. âIâll see you guys at lunch. I need to bolt. Have to try to get to Senior Mozingoâs class before homeroom to ask about some work I missed.â
âYou sure youâre not just trying to avoid him?â Jenna asked as she nodded her head at the guy standing on the sidewalk straight ahead of the Jeep.
âCrap,â Halle mumbled.
âWant me to run him over?â Matt smiled. âI can say the gear slipped.â
Halle rolled her eyes, though her sunglasses hid the gesture. âNo. I donât want you to run him over. Geesh. But . . . you could run interference for me.â
âAnd you donât think hitting him with a car would do that?â Matt grinned.
âNevermind. I donât want to deal with the police interrogation afterward. Iâll just do the best I can.â Halle made a face at Matt, slipped out of the Jeep, and eased toward the back of the car parked beside them.
Your one stop spot for delicious food and books you’ll devour!
Author of the Week: