Friday, November 26, 2021

Scattered Legacy by Marlene M. Bell #Mystery #Suspense


Scattered Legacy
Annalisse Series  
Book Three
Marlene M. Bell

Genre: Mystery - Suspense
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: 11-4-2021
ISBN ebook: 978-0-9995394-7-7 
ISBN Print: 978-0-9995394-6-0
ASIN: ‎ B09HRCTBXJ 
Number of pages: Print 352     
Word Count: 84,610
Cover Artist: Isabel Robalo

Tagline: The Truth Has Claws

Book Description: 

To outsiders, the relationship between Manhattan antiquities assessor Annalisse Drury and sports car magnate Alec Zavos must look carefree and glamorous. In reality, it’s a love affair regularly punctuated by treasure hunting, action-packed adventure, and the occasional dead body.

When Alec schedules an overseas trip to show Annalisse his mother's birthplace in Bari, Italy, he squeezes in the high-stakes business of divesting his family’s international corporation. But things go terribly wrong as murder makes its familiar reappearance in their lives – and this time it’s Alec’s disgraced former CFO who’s the main suspect.

Accompanied by friend and detective Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father – linking him to embezzlement, extortion, and the dirty business of the Sicilian Mafia. The search for the truth sends the trio straight into riddles, secrets, and an historic set of rosary beads. Annalisse leads Alec toward a discovery that is unthinkable, and events that will change their futures forever.

Scattered Legacy is the third in Marlene M. Bell’s thrilling Annalisse series, which weaves romance, crime, and historical mystery into addictive tales to instantly captivate fans of TV show Bones or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. 


Excerpt From Chapter Four:

The reception area is completely empty, and there’s a smell like metal in damp dirt circulating overhead. Farther in, the ceiling fan is hovering on high speed, and the windows are open.

A dead body inside a warm office leaves an unmistakable odor behind, as did the body Ethan found inside the stall at Walker Farm. Decomp is one smell that sticks with you forever. Adding to the office creepiness, who chose the interior’s decor? We’re surrounded by limestone walls painted an ugly shade of ochre, slightly more yellow and definitely more unappealing than the building’s exterior. The rooms will need another coat of fresh paint to cover a harsh stench known to stick to the walls like cigarette tar does.

No one is nearby, not even the receptionist.

The office cubicles are silent but for a few flapping papers. Not a single desk phone is ringing.

It’s like the office decided to have a fire drill midday, and the employees left their computers on and didn’t bother to close folders—open to anyone passing by. Frames holding pictures of sweethearts and children stand by as guardians for the people who are absent from their high-back swivel chairs.

Officer Raffa returns and mutters in heavy Italian brogue, “Il signore is waiting for his… avvocato difensore.” He points to the room with a closed door. “Come, Mr. Zavos. Your friends stay here.”

“Josh is in there waiting for his defense attorney. Back soon.” Alec touches my arm and looks aBill, sending him a private message.

Alec’s led to a side office, and the solid door closes behind them.

“Is Alec signing autographs, or should I even worry about what’s going on in that room?

Has Josh been here the entire time messing with evidence?” I ask Bill.

“Alec’s prepared for all contingencies. I’m surprised they haven’t taken Jennings down to the station by now.”

A few minutes later, Alec emerges by himself. “They weren’t going to allow us to talk to Josh, but I persuaded him. It shouldn’t be much longer.”
For what feels like an eternity, we sit in ladderback pine chairs with brown cushions while Alec keeps adjusting his watch. I don’t know what Alec had to promise the officer. Autographs are fine with me, but if he had to pay him off, I’d rather not know.

“I hope Brad is parked in the shade somewhere.” Alec looks at his watch for the eighth time in twenty minutes and turns to me. “Now that we’re here, they seem to be in no hurry to get rid of us. I’m sorry, Anna. Hold on a little longer.” His smile is an honest one full of regret.

I’ve heard the sentiment from him so often it doesn’t even register with my brain anymore. We both have a lot of work to do in the I-promise-to-do-better department.

The closed door at the back wall opens, and a guy pokes his head out, surveying the room. He’s fiftyish and, with his reading glasses, reminds me of Gen’s studious accountant.

Alec pivots, and his earlier smile vanishes.

“That’s Jennings,” Bill says quietly.

“Yes.” Alec waves to draw the man’s attention.

A confused Josh looks at us and then the floor as if he’s embarrassed. Eventually he settles his eyes on Alec. “I wasn’t sure you’d come. My attorney should be here soon. Come back to the conference room.”

Bill asks Alec, “Is it okay to go on ahead?”

Alec must have compensated the officer well to allow us entry this close to the crime scene.

“Let’s get this over with.” Alec seems queasy.

The three of us move through the aisle between desks and toward the room with a door left open for us. Josh has already gone inside. For someone who wants Alec’s help, he sure doesn’t appear happy or grateful for his effort. A huge effort. This had better not be Josh’s way of buying himself out of the woman’s death. The disgrace of being fired from Signorile after Pearce’s tragedy has to hurt his pride.

There’s news of a deadly virus moving through Europe, and the typical handshake is no longer being used between business execs.

Bill lifts his arm and catches himself. “Mr. Jennings? My name is Bill Drake, an associate of Mr. Zavos. You’ve asked to see him, and we also have some questions for you on another matter.”

“Wonderful.” The man in a sweaty, slept-in polo isn’t thrilled with us staring him down. There’s frost in the room as testosterone flies between glances. No one wants to be the first to break the sheet of ice forming around the presumed blue-eyed killer. Alec hasn’t made any assumptions yet until we talk to him, but Josh’s cool facade feels calculated to me. A superior to Alec, or something like that. For an innocent, I don’t like his peculiar behavior in the presence of a man who’s here to keep his neck from a noose.

“I asked to see Alec. Who are the rest of you?”

He’s behind a chair, using it as a shield to save himself from a CEO who wants to take his livelihood from him again. Or is it because he’s guilty of ending a woman’s life?

Alec pulls out the chair for me, and we all sit at the long conference table with a fancy letter F embellished in the center.

Josh’s temples bead with sweat, and he’s wringing his hands next to a wool felt fedora hat with a band. They seem to be popular in Italy. The guy’s bloodshot eyes and dark circles are sure signs of insomnia and stressing to the max. Wet ovals hang beneath the armpits of his beige shirt.

Alec’s unshakable gaze lands on Jennings, who abruptly turns away.

This meeting isn’t opening well.

Bill addresses Josh. “We don’t have a lot of time. Authorities aren’t thrilled with us questioning you, but they were… let’s say, swayed. Tell us what happened here?”

“She was tied and tortured in my office after I left night before last. I opened the building in the morning at seven and found her lying on her side, strapped to a chair and wrapped in wire near my desk. Lots of blood.” Josh holds a paper towel over his mouth, then uses it to wipe away perspiration. “When I left the building, she was in the conference room. I have no idea how she ended up in the office. Maybe the cat went in there.” He slides the fedora into his lap.

“Who is she?” Alec asks.

“Benita Alvarez.”




About the Author: 

“Mystery at a killing pace”

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer, artist, and sheep breeder who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines.

The third book in the Annalisse Series releases in 2021. Scattered Legacy is an international mystery with light touches of romance. Stolen Obsession and Spent Identity, books one and two, received numerous awards including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery in 2020. Her mysteries can be found at marlenembell.com.

Marlene also writes children's books. Her first children's picture book, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! is based on true events with Natalie from the Bell’s ranch. It's a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Mia and Nattie is honored to be a Mom's Choice Gold Award winner.

Marlene shares her life with her husband and a few dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.












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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

She Died on a Monday by Kevin McLeod #ParanormalLoveStory


She Died on a Monday
Kevin McLeod

Genre: Love Story, paranormal
Date of Publication: 20/09/2021
ISBN: 979-8469680987
ASIN: B09DYZ1D4W
Number of pages: 50
Word Count: 8886
Cover Artist: Theresa Bills

Tagline: What do we do when everything changes in an instant?

Book Description: 

Picture the kind of enduring love that most of us would wish for; the kind of elderly, married couple we might see on the street, or in a café, so in tune with each other that it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

John and Elizabeth have a love like that, but John’s world is suddenly shattered when Elizabeth is brutally taken from him. For some people it can feel as though it’s just too difficult to go on when one half of you is missing. How will John cope with his broken heart? Who, or what, can help him?

Kevin McLeod is a best-selling children’s author, but this is his first adult short story, inspired by the love his grandparents shared. Kevin writes beautifully, in heart-rending detail, about the numbness, shock, and crushing grief that John faces. He explores challenges that we will all face when someone we love dies, made all the more poignant by his tender evocation of a long and happy marriage.

‘She Died On A Monday’ is a story of love and loss that you’ll want to read time and again, to enjoy each perfect detail and the clever twists and turns. But, be warned, you might just cry every time that you do.


Excerpt:

She died on a Monday. No long lingering illness. No last words, just there, then gone. One minute they were sharing breakfast, the next his world collapsed. She was falling too fast and he was moving too slow. Later, the doctor would tell him that it didn't matter how fast he had moved. He couldn't have saved her. Like that makes it ok. As if that would make him feel better. It mattered to him. He should have caught her and helped her; instead he had moved in slow motion as the love of his life, his very reason for living, disappeared in front of his eyes.

There was no warning. She had been healthy and happy. Ten minutes before she died, they had been discussing what to do after breakfast. He remembered scoffing at her suggestion that they should visit his sister. He tried to remember the last words he had said to her. Finally, they came back to him. Is there any toast? Such a normal question, but now it seemed so stupid, so banal. If he had known they were going to be his last words to her he would have said something meaningful, something profound.

Later, the doctor would tell him that it had been an aneurysm in her brain and that she had felt no pain. Should this comfort him? If it was supposed to, it didn't. Somehow the suddenness made it worse. Neither of them had been prepared for this. The numbness he felt began cocooning him in his own sorrow.

At some point, he didn't remember when, his daughter arrived. She was talking to the medical crew. She turned and began to talk to him. He couldn't make out the words. The lines of her face were blurred by his tears and her words were unable to penetrate an overwhelming numbness.

They took his wife's body away, carted it off on a trolley like she was nothing. He wanted to yell at them, to make them do this terrible thing in some different way. Instead, he sat and watched while his daughter hugged him. He was vaguely aware he wasn't hugging her back, his arms unwilling to move.

He found himself on the couch, unaware of how he had come to be there. His daughter was on the phone and his son had arrived. His son was looking in drawers and speaking, but he couldn't make sense of it. He heard the word funeral and slowly his brain began to understand. His son was looking for the funeral plan papers. He managed to tell him where to find them. His voice was quiet, broken, as he mumbled through the words. His son put a hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. A simple act of love from a son to his father. He put his hand over his son’s. No words were said.

He couldn't accept it, wouldn't accept it. His wife couldn't be dead. They had so many plans. So much to do. How could she be gone? They were due to go on holiday next month. It was all paid for and arranged. She had been looking forward to it. They both had. Now, they would never get to see those views, or take that boat trip. The same one they had taken on their first holiday together.

After a few hours of helping and being there for him, his son and daughter left. His daughter had asked to stay with him tonight, or for him to come with her, but he wanted to be alone. He managed to thank them for helping, while ushering them towards the door. He shut the door, instantly becoming aware of the silence. It crashed into him like a wave. There were no sounds coming from the kitchen, or from the radio in the living room. She always liked to listen to the same channel, keeping it on for some background noise. He walked to the living room and switched on the radio, as if this would bring her back. Feeling foolish, he turned it off again.

He lay down on the couch and cried himself to sleep.

'John, wake up, it's time to get up.'

He heard her voice so clearly that he woke with a start and sat up straight. Confusion took over as he tried to work out whether it had been a dream or if he had actually heard her voice. He looked to the large window, the one with her favourite view over the city from their fourth-floor apartment. It was one of the reasons they had bought this place, she loved that view. It must be late, as darkness had replaced light while he was sleeping. He turned on a lamp and went to shut the curtains. He froze, as just for a second, he swore that he saw her behind him. He turned to the living room but found only emptiness.

He drew the curtains and went to the kitchen. The clock on the wall told him it was a quarter past ten at night. He hadn't eaten all day and knew that he should. He went to the fridge and found a sandwich that his daughter must have made for him. He sat at the table, the same table where she had died, and stared at her empty space. Slowly, he ate the sandwich, tasting nothing.

He walked through the hall to their bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he stared at her side. Suddenly he felt it, her touch. He couldn't explain it, but he felt her. She was here, she was with him. But, as quickly as the sensation came, it left. His mind was playing tricks on him. It surely was understandable; he was processing the enormity of what had happened. He didn't bother to undress. Lying down on the bed, on top of the covers, he curled into the foetal position and began to cry.

She died on a Monday.


About the Author:

Kevin McLeod is the international best selling author of The Viking’s Apprentice series. He has written 4 books in this series and now takes a step into a different genre with ‘She Died on a Monday’ 

Kevin is 46, lives in Hamilton in Scotland with his two daughters and his dog, Tiger. Kevin is a keen cook and loves the outdoors. He loves spending time with his friends and family. 

Kevin began writing professionally in 2013 with the release of his first book, The Viking’s Apprentice. After his huge success in middle grade fiction he has moved into a more adult genre and looks forward to writing many more stories in the years to come. 









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The Golden Hook by Jennae Vale #TimeTravelRomance



The Golden Hook  
The Green Sky Series
Book Two 
Jennae Vale

Genre: Time Travel Romance
Date of Publication: October 12, 2021
ASIN:B09JB82GG7
Number of pages:190
Word Count: 57,000
Cover Artist: Sheri McGathy

Tagline: Swashbuckling pirates plus time travel equals adventure and romance on the high seas.

Book Description: 

What happens when a swashbuckling pirate meets a time traveling twenty-first century woman?
 
Edward Sutherland has always been a self-assured and confident man of the sea. He’s spent years alongside his friend and captain Jameson Mackall and until now has only ever wanted to find treasure and retire a wealthy man. He wasn’t expecting to travel through time and he certainly wasn’t expecting to meet a woman who would challenge and impress him at every turn.
 
Susanna Cole has lost her best friend in a boating accident. In a deep state of grief she is about to close her once thriving business when a stranger walks through her door with a letter from her friend. A letter dated 1724. Can she believe this man? Or is he playing some cruel joke?
 
Two strangers with one goal, to get back to the year 1724. There are plans to be made, treasure to be found and most importantly they must locate the one woman who can possibly help them in their quest. The feelings they are developing for one another will be put to the test when history, as it is written, comes into play and the life of Edward Sutherland is on the line.




Excerpt:

Boxes were piled high around the offices of NYC Party Planning, crowding in on the desk where Susanna Cole sat going through emails and messages from friends and business acquaintances.

This had been one of the hardest times of her life.

Life wasn’t the same without Danielle. She’d lost her best friend and business partner. They worked together and lived together. She was completely alone now and more depressed than she’d ever been in her life.

Her head popped up as there was a knock at the door. “Come in.”

The door opened and the sight in front of her was like a slap in the face. Some idiot had decided it would be a good idea to remind her of her loss by showing up in pirate costume. “Was there a costume party someone forgot to tell me about?” she snapped.

“I’m sorry. Costume party?” the man asked.

“I’m not in the mood right now. What can I do for you?” Maybe if she sounded cranky enough he’d just turn around and leave.

“I need your help,” he said, stepping closer.

“You’ve come to the wrong place. I’m no longer accepting new clients. The business is closing for the foreseeable future.” That should do it. There was nothing more to be said. If he was looking for a party planner he was going to have to go elsewhere.

“But this is the right address. You’re Susanna Cole, am I correct?” He raised his eyebrows and offered a questioning gaze.

His surly English accent was not charming her. The more she looked at him the more irritated she became. Seeing him was like rubbing salt into her wound. “Seriously, what’s with the outfit?” Whoever this guy was, he was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Reaching into his jacket pocket, the man pulled out an envelope and looked at it. “I was directed here by the people on board the ship. This is NYC Party Planning, Brooklyn, New York, isn’t it?” He straightened his coat and stood at attention.

Susanna noted his height. Easily over six feet tall, very handsome and from the way he stood it seemed he might be in the military. No matter. She’d had enough of being toyed with.  “I don’t know what cruel joke you’re playing, but it is not appreciated. My friend recently drowned on a pirate cruise to Bermuda and I’m, I’m…” She wasn’t going to cry. Not in front of this stranger. She took in a deep breath, held her head high and stood up.

“I know the whole of it. Your friend Danielle fell overboard.” His voice was soft and low, filled with understanding.

Was he purposely trying to upset her? How did he know who Danielle was? “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

He threw his head back in apparent exasperation before inhaling deeply and looking at her.

“Please don’t. I’m sorry. I understand you’re upset, but do let me finish what I have to say.” He paused, gazing at her with what seemed an impatient glare.

She kept silent.

“Thank you. I’ve a letter here for you from Danielle. It will explain everything.” He held the letter out for her to take.

Susanna’s hands shook as she took it from him. She couldn’t help but feel skeptical. She’d seen Danielle go overboard and disappear beneath the waves. They’d searched for her for days, as had the Coast Guard and they found nothing.

“Did she give this to you before we went on the cruise?” She glanced down at the letter. It was Danielle’s handwriting. There was no mistaking it. Everything down to the little heart she used to dot the letter I.

“No. She gave it to me yesterday morning.” He seemed to be watching and waiting for her reaction.

“This better be good,” she said. At this point, she was ready to throw him out the door and lock it behind him. If that didn’t work, she’d call the police, but her curiosity was piqued. She opened the letter and read.

About the Author:

Jennae Vale is a best selling author of romance with a touch of magic.  As a history buff from an early age, Jennae often found herself day-dreaming in history class and wondering what it would be like to live in the places and time periods she was learning about.  Writing time travel romance has given her an opportunity to take those daydreams and turn them into stories to share with readers everywhere.

Originally from the Boston area, Jennae now lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where some of her characters also reside.  When Jennae isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her pets, and daydreaming, of course.










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Thursday, November 04, 2021

Haunted Halls & Magickal Marketplace Sunday November 7



Drop by and get a copy of Haunted Flint, Ghostly Tales of Flint, or The Feminine Macabre Volume 2.


Haunted Halls & Magickal Marketplace
Psychic & Paranormal Expo

Sunday, November 7th, 2021
Holiday Inn - Gateway Center
5353 Gateway Center - Flint, MI 48507

10am-6pm

TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR!
$5 Admission (FREE With $50 #MidMichParaCon Ticket)

Walk the Haunted Halls of our Psychic Fair and browse our Magickal Marketplace! Over 60+ Unique Vendors!

🔮 Psychics/Mediums/Astrologers
✨ Healing Sessions/Reiki
👻Paranormal Books/Authors/Artists/Items
✨ Paranormal Investigators & Teams
🔮 Unique items, Oddities, & Jewelry
✨ Metaphysical Supplies, Crystals & More!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2021

That Magic Mischief by Susanna Allen #PNR


That Magic Mischief 
Susanna Allen

Genre: Paranormal contemporary romance
Publisher: Ally Press 
Date of Publication: October 01, 2021
ISBN Print: 978-1-953290-12-0 
ISBN eBook: 978-1-953290-13-7 
ASIN: B09G97RGZF
Number of pages: 326 pages
Word Count: 82,000
Cover Artist: Tamara DeStefano

Tagline: A heartbroken amateur witch is in over her head after casting a spell that  actually works—will the handsome Irish artist she fancies come to her rescue?

Book Description: 

What was the point of being a witch if Annabelle Walsh couldn’t manage a spell to fix her broken heart? As a dedicated dabbler in all things esoteric, she figured she could speed up her healing process when she’s dumped out of the blue by her boyfriend... but nothing’s working.

An idle wander into an unfamiliar new age shop adds the bit of magic in her life that she’d been looking for: an interfering, mischievous Pooka called Callie who’s determined to turn Annabelle’s life around— mostly by turning it upside down.

Suddenly, Annabelle’s too busy to brood, and her writing career begins to take off; in fact, it’s during a brainstorming session for an off-off-off-off Broadway theatre production that she meets tall, dark, and handsome Jamie Flynn, an Irishman in New York who seems to be keen at first sight, if not in love quite yet. As Annabelle gets her life back on track, she starts to see the difference between a real life, a real career, and a real man… and all it took was a little magic mischief.

Amazon     BN     AmazonUK     Kobo


Excerpt:

Annabelle lit candles and sat down on the floor. She tried deep breathing for a few seconds, and feeling slightly calmer, took her tarot deck out of its wooden box and shuffled the cards. She let her breath flow in and out; it lulled her, cleared her head, calmed her down, and the smell of the burning wax soothed her, as she tried to formulate a mature, non-attached-type question. Not: Will Wilson come back to me, please, please?

Her breathing hitched. Yeah, definitely not that. “Okay. The issue is… Wilson. Um. Do we have a future together?”

She turned over a card. The Knight of Pentacles, reversed.

“Damn it.” Reversed, this Knight meant carelessness, a standstill in affairs. “Okay, so if things are at a standstill, that means they can move forward again, right?” She turned another card.

Three of Swords. Sorrow due to loss. Well, duh, Annabelle thought, and then winced, as if she’d said it out loud. As if the cards could hear.

She turned over the next card. The Wheel of Fortune. Not always a good sign, though, as it could mean an unexpected loss rather than a gain, even when in the upright position as it was now. “I don’t know what any of this means,” Annabelle mumbled, knowing full well what it meant. This was all about the now, and she didn’t like the now.

At moments like these, Annabelle found it was usually a good thing to stop pulling cards.

Queen of Cups. She shivered. That was her court card. Good natured, intuitive, a loving female figure, one whose imagination often outweighed her good sense.

Strength. The beautiful woman grasped the lion by the jaws, symbolizing the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Sun. “Summertime? Two months from now? I’ll be better in two months?”

Annabelle gathered up the reading and returned the deck to its box.

She continued to sit. She tried to go back to the deep breathing but got bored. She thought about how she’d never had much luck reading Wilson’s cards. Maybe it never worked because it was almost always post-coital, the only time he was ever mellow enough to entertain the idea. She could never make sense of his configurations, none of the images seemed to relate to the others, she’d pull card after card and make a spread that was meaningless, confused. He would lose interest and patience. She would feel as though she’d failed. Ugh.

She’d like to blame it all on him, but she supposed her own muddled thinking got in the way as well; always hoping he was asking about the future of their relationship, whether she would marry him, whether she would like an emerald-cut diamond in a platinum setting, as opposed to a three carat marquis-cut in white gold.

Someday, maybe, she’d find that remotely amusing.

But not today. Rising, she left the candles burning and got some incense going as well.

Lavender: soothing, healing. She wanted healing. She wanted that fistful of pain out of her chest. She wanted all her lessons learned in a six-week correspondence course, she wanted a whole, strong heart, she wanted Wilson back, she wanted all the sadness to leak out of her pores, she wanted her life back. Herself back. Now.




About the Author:

Susanna is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communication Design and counts The Village Voice, New York Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly as past design experiences. Born in New Jersey, she moved to Ireland for twelve months—in 1998. She is the author of the Shapeshifters of the Beau Monde series, published by Sourcebooks: A Wolf in Duke’s Clothing, an Amazon Editor’s Best Book of the Month, is available now; A Most Unusual Duke debuts in December 2021.

Writing as Susan Conley, she is the author of Drama Queen and The Fidelity Project, both published by Headline UK; Many Brave Fools: A Story of Addiction, Dysfunction, Codependency…and Horses is available from Trafalgar Square Books. Susanna is living her life by the three Rs—reading, writing, and horseback riding—and can generally be found on her sofa with her e-reader, gazing out a window and thinking about made-up people, or cantering around in circles. She loves every minute of it.



 






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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Halloween Flash Fiction by Megan Speece #HauntedHalloweenSpooktacular



Halloween Flash Fiction by Megan Speece 

Charles Benson lived alone in a stately old manor on the outskirts of town. Alone was how he preferred to be. He’d spent time living with roommates in college, and he’d shared hotel rooms and cramped bus spaces with his fellow musicians of a traveling orchestra.

As far as Charles was concerned, he’d paid his dues, and now he deserved the quiet and solitude of this old place. He made his way to the ballroom, yes, a ballroom. It was part of what had attracted Charles to the property.

The house was a bit run down, it had sat empty for nearly a decade before he’d come along with his life’s savings. He was still working on replacing fixtures, repairing cracked walls, and painting peeling crown molding.

All of that was worth the ballroom, with its beautiful wooden floors, ornate rococo inspired trim, and many floor to ceiling windows that filled the room with natural light. The room was dark as he walked into it, stars winking in at him from the grounds outside. He hit the light switch, and took in the majesty of the blue and gold paint, the floors now gleaming after a clean and wax.

His gaze landed on the black lacquered grand piano in the center of the room. When he’d toured the house, this had been the image in his mind. His beautiful piano at home in the center of a room as grand as it. The acoustics in this room were made for live music, and he hummed happily to himself as the fingers of one hand slid along the top of the piano in a loving caress.

He set a small tumbler containing his whiskey, neat, on a coaster atop the piano as he took his place on the bench. He drew in a deep breath through his nose and closed his eyes, his fingers settling gently on the keys. And then Charles Benson began to play.

He lost himself to the music and the way it filled the large space and bounced back at him, each note the gentle caress of a lover as it passed him by on its way to a silent death. He sat like that, eyes closed, playing a complicated classical piece for ten minutes.

He opened his eyes as the last note wavered, clinging to the air, begging to stay in existence. He let out a small sigh, content and ready to retire for the evening, but as he reached for his glass, someone clapped.


Tranquil Heights
Book One
Megan Speece

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Publisher: Megan Speece
Date of Publication: 10/15/2021
ISBN: 978-1-7374715-0-9
ASIN: B09B8WZDW1
Number of pages: 228
Word Count: 42,767
Cover Artist: Megan Speece

Book Description: 

Katie Edgecomb is questioning everything she thought she knew. 

She thought the family curse was fake, just a scary story her mom told her to keep her from misbehaving. The first-born daughters in each of the last three generations lost their lives on their twenty-fifth birthdays, a series of tragic accidents sending shock waves of grief through multiple generations. 

It isn't until Katie is faced with the real-time impacts of the curse that she starts to believe it may be more than a story and she sets out to discover the origins of the family's fabled curse. Her only clue lies in an exclusive girls' preparatory academy in Washington that was once an asylum. There, she must face heart-break, ugly truths, and events so terrifying that they threaten to sever her very ties to reality. 

She has no choice.

Katie is pregnant, and she won't let her child become another life claimed by the curse.


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About the Author:

Megan is a thriller author, horror buff, and dog person. She is currently writing books and helping authors navigate self publishing. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs, and can be found spending her weekends at the beach, exploring everything Washington has to offer, or settling in with a good horror movie.


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21389585.Megan_Speece



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Need by Madison Wentworth #ParanormalEroticRomance


Need
Madison Wentworth

Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Madison Crest
Date of Publication: Aug. 30, 2021
ISBN: 979-8468157046
ASIN: B09F3WVDZC
Number of pages: 165
Word Count: 24,000
Cover Artist: Bookcoverzone.com

Tagline: Sometimes you crave what’s good for you. Sometimes he craves you too.

Book Description:

Cherie just met the love of her life, but there’s a catch: He’s dead.

It’s not every day you find true love on an adult website, but that’s the most normal thing about Cherie’s new boyfriend, Evan.

To start with, he isn’t actually new. They’re engaged, or so he says. But she has no memory of planning their wedding, or even meeting him, for that matter, because for her, it hasn’t happened yet.

The bond is there, though. She can feel it. As a vampire of the soul, she can taste it, and she needs to taste more of it. It’s a bond so strong that it awakened his spirit in order to find her. Now, she must save him in order to free him from death... so she can have all of him. She needs that.

Need isn’t a word she uses lightly. She’s never truly needed anyone before. But she’s discovering she needs him now, even as their time together appears fated to be cut tragically short. And he needs her, too, more than she knows.

Yet their mutual craving is only just awakening. Can they find a way to cheat the fates and find a future together?

Time alone will tell.



Excerpt:

How are you supposed to feel when you find out the man you’ve fallen in love with, who you’ve never even met in person, reveals that the two of you were once engaged, and that you were—inadvertently or not—the cause of his death?

I try to plan for every contingency, but even super-prepared Cher hadn’t seen that one coming.

“Does that mean the whole thing has to happen all over again the same way?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Does it mean we’ll get to meet, after all? Or do I meet another version of you instead?”

“I don’t know.”

This was exasperating. The odd thing was, I found it almost impossible to be mad at him. It wasn’t his fault, anyway. He had no idea how to get out of the place where he was, wherever or whenever that might be, or what would happen if he did. I had no idea how to get him out, either, but I did know I had to find a way—and without him getting run over by a car again. I’d strap him to the bed if I had to.

“If we were engaged before, does that mean we still are?” I asked.

“I think so, unless you want to break it off. Do you?”

“No, I like being your fiancée.”

“Good. Because I like it, too.”

I still didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone else about Evan, or telling Layla anything more about him, because now it was even weirder than before. So, the only person I was left with as counselor was my inner voice.

I need to get him back here again. I need to see him.

Need. It was a word I’d hardly ever used before, and certainly not in connection with myself. But I seemed to be using it more and more with Even.

How do you think you’re going to do that if he’s dead?

It was a good question.

I could call my ghost-hunter friends.

You don’t need to hunt him. You already know where he is: In that smartphone screen of yours! You drew him to you through the internet. Now you just need to bring him the rest of the way.

How?

By being yourself. He hungers for you and can’t resist you. He will come.

Could it possibly be as simple as that? It couldn’t be. I remembered the voice had asked me once before who I was, and I’d answered that I was just me. But I was only that person when I was alone. Otherwise, I was always pretending—except when I was with Evan. I could be myself with him, too. So maybe it really was as simple as that, after all. It had to be, because I couldn’t think of anything else. But how could I be my true self, my vampire self, when the world was watching?

You can’t. You need to go someplace.

It didn’t help that I was having this conversation with myself at work.

“Cher, can you come over here for a sec?” Joy motioned toward me. “This customer needs his frames adjusted.”

“Coming.”

Fortunately for the eye clinic, and for my own job security, I was great at multitasking. I was able to keep brainstorming about how to get some privacy even while I was adjusting Mr. Thompson’s new glasses to fit him perfectly without pinching the bridge of his nose or pulling down too much behind the ear.

“Thank you,” he said. “You’re very good at that.”

I laughed easily. “I should be. I’ve been doing this long enough. But you’re very good at being a patient patient, and that makes all the difference.”

He nodded slightly and... was he blushing? So often, I found that the smallest kind word or gesture was appreciated beyond what I’d expected. People didn’t treat each other with kindness enough anymore. It had become rare enough that, when it happened, it was unexpected.

And they were grateful. It was sad that common courtesy had fallen so far out of style.

But being nice to people was how I’d been raised; it was part of who I was.

Vampires are known for their courtesy. They only enter where they’re invited.

That was it!

I had to be myself—my vampire self—to draw Evan back to the land of the living, but I had to invite him, too. That was the one thing I’d been missing. He might be dead, but he was also a vampire, and if I invited him, he would have no choice but to accept.


About the Author:

Madison Wentworth grew up on syndicated reruns of Dark Shadows and The Twilight Zone, coming of age not far from the Malibu surf. A job as a reporter for a small-town newspaper meant digging through police reports, gossip, rumor, and innuendo. And that led to more work as a writer, and a move east and northward to the opposite coast, a venue far more conducive to night-owl vampires and their felines.

An interest in cinema — and outings to see movies such as Ghost and The Sixth Sense — reignited a fascination with the paranormal, and stirred an interest in blending the mystical with the sensual.

The result is NEED, the author’s debut novella.




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