LAST GIRLS ALIVE
Half-buried in the muddy earth and surrounded by puddles of water lies the naked body of a beautiful young girl. Her pale skin looks like porcelain in the early morning light. Her fragile arms bent and crooked like a broken doll.
When Detective Katie Scott is called to the discovery of a young girl buried on the grounds of a former children’s home in Pine Valley, California, she’s hopeful it’s the end to a devastating cold case she’s been working on. No one has seen Candace Harlan since she ran away from Elm Hill Manor five years ago. Her death will be a tragedy, but it will also bring peace to those who miss her most. But the girl in the ground is not Candace.
The victim is almost identical to Candace in every way, but fear grips Katie as she takes in the black ink that decorates the girl’s back—a terrifying message tattooed on her skin after she drew her last breath.
Forcing down traumatic memories of losing her own parents, Katie is certain someone mistook this poor soul for Candace, and that this crumbling home for lost girls is at the heart of this terrible crime. She sets to work digging into the tragic history of the owners who lost so many children of their own and tracking down the last six residents and the staff who cared for them—but no one wants to talk, let alone remember.
The next day, as second girl’s body is found down by the creek at high water, the same words etched into her skin. Katie’s worst fear is confirmed: someone is picking off the last of the Elm Hill girls one by one. But what does the tattoo mean? And what monster would target these innocent girls who have already been through so much?
Katie must dig deep to confront her own fears and protect the vulnerable—but as the body count rises further, will there be anyone left to save?
An absolutely gripping, dark, and totally unputdownable serial killer thriller that will keep you racing through the pages all night long. Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh will read in one sitting!
“This novel is about Detective Kati Scott, Kati is a detective for the Pine Valley department. Her and partner work on solving cold cases together. Kati hasn’t had an easy life but things will be getting worst for her before getting any better. Kati has a lot of anxiety but she makes it work. She and her partner are put on a case where a girl from the past is found on the property of a former children’s home in Pine Valley. and it’s up to her and her partner to figure out who the killer is. This novel was so good. I was hooked from the start, I couldn’t stop reading I just need to find out what happens next with Katie and the case. Katie is a total badass. She is one strong lady. She is a very good female lead. I loved the story soo much it was full of suspense and mystery. I loved how it wasn’t very predictable. Things could change at any time and the ending was perfectly full of action. I really enjoyed this book. The writing was perfect and it flowed very well. This is my first Jennifer Chase book, I will definitely be looking for more. This book had everything I like action/mystery/romance/ suspense.”
– 5 Star Review NetGalley
“A nail biting, suspense packed action crammed thriller that keeps you on edge…”
– 5 Star Review Amazon
Amazon → https://amzn.to/3nQSoAe
“Hurry,” Candace whispered urgently as she disappeared down the wooden staircase and into the pitch-black basement.
“Wait,” was Tanis’s breathless reply as she slowed to glance behind her. In just a flimsy yellow nightgown, the damp air from below chilled her bare arms and feet. She shuddered.
The padlock Candace had picked open swung precariously from the latch, ready to drop and awake the rest of the sleeping house. This was a bad idea.
“C’mon,” urged Candace from somewhere down in the abyss. “Hurry up!”
They were going to get caught.
The consequences would be merciless.
Shifting her weight on the wooden landing, Tanis pushed herself onward and pressed her foot onto the first wooden step. And then another. Each footstep creaked beneath her slight weight. She clutched the loose railing and clumsily made her way through the dark until her feet touched cold cement.
Hands fisted at her sides in fear, she frantically blinked her eyes, straining to see through the darkness—to the unknown. It left her powerless. There had been no time to find a flashlight, but it would only capture unwanted attention anyway.
A hand grabbed her arm.
“C’mon, we’ve got to go now.”
Candace took Tanis’s hand and pulled her toward the end of the basement and around a sharp corner to where a dim light from outside allowed her eyes to begin to focus.
The girls moved as fast as they dared through the maze beneath the old house.
Tanis could only see Candace’s long hair flicking from side to side as they ran. At one point, she closed her eyes and relied on her friend’s strong will and instinct to get them to safety.
They stopped abruptly at a storm door, the only thing standing between them and freedom. Panting in the darkness, a creak from upstairs lifted both their heads in fear—someone was awake.
Candace lunged forward and grabbed the large bolt locking the door with both hands and pulled. It gave way with a loud clunking sound, and she pushed the bulky door open to reveal the half-moon outside.
Cool air whipped inside, wrapping itself around Tanis’s shivering body as she watched her friend take the final two steps—to a new life.
With the moon behind her, and with her arms outstretched in joy, Candace resembled an angel in her white cotton nightgown, her dark hair blowing all around her. “C’mon,” she urged again.
Tanis froze. It was as if her feet were cemented to the basement floor. Doubts about running away from the foster home plagued her mind.
They would never stop searching for them—ever.
She and Candace knew too much about what went on at Elm Hill.
How would they survive without any money?
She realized that she just couldn’t do it—not now, not like this. She would soon be eighteen and then things would be different—the home would no longer be her prison. She would be legally free. No one would care anymore.
“What are you waiting for? This is our chance.”
“I can’t… I can’t do it. It’s just another year,” said Tanis. “Not even that long.”
“No, we’re doing this together. We have each other,” said Candace adamantly, shaking her head. “I’m not going to leave you here. We escape together.”
“You have to go. You can’t stay…”
Candace ran to the side of the house and retrieved a duffel bag, which had been carefully packed and stashed for their escape. Unzipping the top, she pulled on a pair of jeans and slipped on a pink sweater. It was her favorite color, always matched to her nail polish.
“Hurry.” Tanis changed her tone. She wanted her best friend to escape the abuse of the home—the authority and focus was always more concentrated on her anyway. Tanis knew that she could endure another ten and half months, but Candace couldn’t.
“Yes, hurry. I can help misdirect the she-beast and the cops. You’ll be safe.” Tanis heard the rustle of branches in the distance and looked toward the edge of the property, near the hiking trail, and saw the outline of a man. She had never met Ray, had only seen him from a distance, but he was their ticket out of here. At least, that was how Candace had described him. “Go. We’ll meet back in ten months and three days at our secret spot. I promise.”
“I will come back for you.” Candace’s voice faltered. It was clear she wanted to stay, but as she looked to the south she saw Ray waiting; that was all she needed to push forward.
Tears welled up in Tanis’s eyes. She knew that she’d made the right decision to stay behind, but that didn’t make it any easier. One of them had to stay. It would soon be over. It all would be over.
Candace hugged Tanis tight. Whispering in her ear, she said, “I love you and I’ll be back.” She gave her a long look before she turned and ran.
Tanis watched her friend move quickly into the shadowed night—and soon disappear altogether.
I love you and I’ll be back.
Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.
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Title: THE WALTZ OF DEVIL’S CREEK
Author: Justine Carver
Genre: Historical Fiction
Judith Campbell is dying, and she cannot take the painful truth about where her son came from to the grave with her. While on her deathbed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, Judith tells him the tragic story of his conception, and which of two men his birth father could be: the young man who professed his love to her, or the pastor who assaulted her.
Set in the Deep South in 1947, The Waltz of Devil’s Creek digs into the dark crevices of racism and women’s rights during a heated political climate in an era of segregation. Combined with Judith’s lack of social stature, and at a time when reporting sexual assault was unheard of, every injustice is stacked against her from the very beginning.
But there is a light in Judith’s young life: her best friend, Joseph Bird, who has loved her since childhood. Joseph stands up for Judith when no one else will and proves that even in the darkest of times, a light is always burning.
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“But Mrs. Bird,” I said, looking over at her, “God don’t want people like Pastor Allman.”
She just looked at me for a moment, and then a smile slowly lit up her eyes again.
“YOU COME ON OUT HERE BIRD!”
The voice snapped Mrs. Bird and me from our moment, our heads simultaneously jerking toward the living room.
When we heard Joseph’s feet stomping against the floor as he ran down the hallway, Mrs. Bird and I dropped the dishtowel and the plate and hurried out of the kitchen.
“YOU GET YER DUMB ASS OUT HERE!” a second voice shouted, “OR WE’RE COMIN’ IN TO GET YOU!”
“That’s the Woodson brothers,” I told Joseph’s momma.
“Don’t you go out there,” she warned him as he thrust his big feet into his shoes. “I mean it, Joseph, don’t you go out that door!”
He flung the front door open anyway, and before he could step outside, the Woodson brothers jumped on him in the doorway.
“Joseph!” I screamed.
“Get out of my house!” his momma shrieked.
The whole house shook as the three fought; a small table underneath the window beside the door fell over, shattering the flower vase atop it; fists swung and legs kicked, and cuss words flew.
“You little piece of shit, you burned up my truck!” said the blonde-haired brother.
“I’m gonna kick your nuts right up yer throat!” said the brown-haired one. “What tha hell were you thinkin’ boy?!” Thwap! When his fist pulled back, his knuckles glistened with Joseph’s blood.
“Let go of him! Let go! Let gooo!” I dug all ten of my fingernails into the blonde’s arm, trying to stop him from pulling Joseph out of the house.
His momma was on the other side, screaming as she worked, unsuccessfully, to beat them off with a broom. The blonde shoved me away, and I fell onto my butt on the porch as they dragged Joseph down the steps and into the front yard.
“Don’t you touch my son!” Mrs. Bird roared, and the broom came down hard on the brown-haired one’s back.
He whirled around, seemingly unfazed by the blow, and yanked the broom from her hands and tossed it.
They nearly beat Joseph unconscious.
Mrs. Bird ran next door and called Sheriff Woodson, but he never showed; he’d stayed out of all the incidents between Joseph and his sons. But Joseph wouldn’t have had it any other way.
About the Author
Justine Carver was born and raised in the Southern United States on a heavy dose of creek-wading, lightning-bug-catching, and Saturday morning cartoons. She is a full-time writer, all-the-time reader, and every now and then, she pulls her head out of the clouds long enough to remember how much better it is up there.
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Why does your tummy ache? Why does it make noises? What happens in your stomach after you eat? Why should you eat slowly?
In this educational picture book, the author answers these questions and more, describing the “five tummy men” that inhabit our stomachs and their specific jobs:
Mr. Boss, the one in charge
Mr. Swallow, catcher of food
Mr. Grinder, most happy when you chew well
Mr. Piler, sorter of nutrients into piles for different parts of your body
Mr. Deliveryman, carrier of piles to your body
FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN encourages dialogue between children and adults, making it a good resource for class or homeschooling discussions. Children are told to eat healthy and chew well and not snack a lot between meals, and in a simple, clear and friendly manner this cute little book explains exactly why. Recommend for readers 4-8. A multicultural edition of the book is also available.
Multicultural edition on B&N
HELLALYLE AND HILDEBRAND
Hellalyle and Hildebrand, were drawn into a relationship engineered by those same unseen forces who had selected her bodyguard; their purpose, to thwart the devil, incarnate in Prinz Paulus, in its attempts to kill the princess.
A downs-syndrome girl of mysterious origins, named Ethla, emerges out of the wildwood. She is taken care of by Princess Hellalyle. and plays a crucial part in the narrative.
The king, while away, learns of the developing relationship between his daughter and the leader of her bodyguard, and feels betrayed by the English knight, and so dispatches his champions – his seven sons, and Paulus – to arrest, and execute Hildebrand, and confine Hellalyle until the king`s return.
The eleven, remaining protectors of the princess, leave the kingdom, believing their contract has been nullified by Thorstiens edict, leaving Hildebrand alone to face Hellalyle`s brothers and step-brother. The Englishman takes the fight to his adversaries, and slaughters all the unfortunate siblings of the princess, except Paulus, who after surrendering to Hildebrand, turns about and treacherously kills him, and then brutally, incarcerates his step-sister.
As these occurrences were unfolding, in another part of the continent, one of her bodyguards, the Teutonic knight, Karl von Altenburg, now living in a monastic order, experiences a vision, informing him of Hellalyle`s plight, and sets out to for Castle Preben.
Meanwhile, in her prison, Hellalyle gives birth to Hildebrand`s son, now sole heir, whom she names Hagen. On a fateful day, Ethla, at the princess’s urging, flees into the wilderness, taking to safety, the infant crown prince, to save him from Prinz Paulus, who, feeling outwitted mortally wounds the princess in revenge.
“A beautiful love story of a medieval knight and a noble princess written by Tagai Tarutin. The book allows us to go back in history and hear more about the exploits of the legendary Hildebrand and his beloved Hellalyle. The book is full of picturesque scenes of the events in Medieval Europe and it gives us the opportunity to immerse in the spirit of those times. It will be a good read for those interested in history, literature and romance…” – Alexandra Suyazova, Teaching Fellow of English, Saint Petersburg, Russia
“A fabulous story that could be easily transformed into a screen version, about a truly romantic relationship beyond any prejudice, driven by pure intentions at the times when the chivalry and nobleness made the difference in survival of a human life.” – Anatoly Leonidovich Rasputin, graduate in English from the University of Linguistics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Amazon → https://amzn.to/3mcbyi3
B&N → https://bit.ly/2TgAJnj
In the great hall, Hellalyle, on hearing the news that her brothers were coming to arrest Hildebrand, pleaded with him to leave. “Hildebrand, you must leave – my father has dispatched my brothers to seize you. Our relationship has set in motion a fait accompli, and now your life is in great danger.”
However, Hildebrand, staring into the fire, was in no mood to listen to her pleading, saying, “Whatever the other knights decide to do, I cannot in all consciousness allow myself to abandon you to an uncertain fate, as I feel responsible for this dire situation.”
Hellalyle, in desperation, pleaded, “Will you, please, be sensible! You cannot defeat eight armed men! Remember, these are my brothers, and at the end of the fight you will lie dead, and so will most of my brethren, and for what end? My family destroyed, and
Prince Hildebrand ignominiously buried in a foreign field, which will be a tragedy for the English nation, and it will not end there, as I feel further calamity awaits those remaining at this fortress.”
“Fate must run its course!” exclaimed the defiant knight, raising his voice. “If you think I will deliver you into the hands of Paulus, you gravely underestimate me. No greater evil walks the land, and he will surely die on the blade of my sword! As for my remains lying beneath the woodland floor, that holds no fear for me, as you have introduced this knight to the beauty of nature, and honour awaits if wild creatures should walk across my grave!”
The soldier’s expose of his inner self prompted Hellalyle to gently grasp his forearm, in a gesture of empathy to his plight, with a pained expression etched on her face. The other bodyguards met to decide on what action to take considering the king’s command, knowing that they must not obstruct. All – save one – agreed that they should depart, convinced their contract with the monarch was severed by these unfortunate events. Von Altenburg, at first, declined to abandon his friend. He was fearful for the safety of the princess, but he eventually conceded, opting to join his comrades in arms.
News of their impending departure reached Hellalyle, who decided to visit them. In a fractured voice, she addressed the company.
“Honoured knights, whom I might almost regard as my brothers and such gallant men, warriors of the Christian church…my heart is about to break. I stand here now imploring you to persuade Hildebrand to leave at once with his fraternal fighters, for if he were to stay, I fear that some tragedy may befall him and my family.”
Her impassioned speech prompted the knight von Streitz to say, “He appears to be deaf to our pleading, Your Highness! What more can we do to sway him?”
Hellalyle, almost in despair, raised her hands to her face and burst into tears. All eleven knights, embarrassed, kept their eyes fixed on the ground before stealing past her prostrate figure, anxious to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
As they rode from the castle, von Altenburg lingered to pay one last visit to Hellalyle and Hildebrand. Entering a chamber, he observed them by the window, Hildebrand pacing up and down, stabbing the floor with his sword, in apparent frustration, the princess standing in sombre contemplation of the densely wooded prospect below. They were all alone as she had sent her staff to the safety of the kitchens. As they turned to face him, von Altenburg became struck by their dramatically altered demeanour. The once-resolute Prince of England now despondent and downcast; and Hellalyle, her face once so radiant now shut down, her eyes that brightly sparkled now eclipsed. She appeared almost lifeless.
‘Hellalyle and Hildebrand’ is Tagai Tarutin’s first completed novel.There are two others of a completely different genre, that lie unfinished, awaiting inspiration.He has worked most of his life in sales but has always had an interest in Arts and Humanities. Things that are beautiful and appealing play an essential part in his imagination.Besides travelling in West Europe, he has journeyed to the far South Atlantic, and European Russia, anxious to see parts of the world that are for many mystical destinations on a historical map.You can visit his website at www.hellalyleandhildebrand.com.
Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria , which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy, as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter.
“As long as you are willing to bend a little…it is possible to make a living doing what you love.“
Q: What’s inside the mind of a historical fiction author?
A: I wrote contemporary fiction for several years before I began to write historical. Historical novels are generally bigger projects, because they require so much research. If there is a fire in the year 1908 in the town of Hoboken, NJ—as was the case in my historical novel Before We Died—would it have been responded to by horse-drawn fire wagons or motorized fire engines? Both were operational in 1908, but which would have been used in Hoboken?…
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Title: SURVIVING HIROSHIMA
Author: Anthony Drago & Douglas Wellman
Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books Publishing Company
From Russian nobility, the Palchikoffs barely escaped death at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries until Kaleria’s father, a White Russian officer, hijacked a ship to take them to safety in Hiroshima. Safety was short lived. Her father, a talented musician, established a new life for the family, but the outbreak of World War II created a cloud of suspicion that led to his imprisonment and years of deprivation for his family.
Then, on August 6, 1945, 22-year-old Kaleria was doing pre-breakfast chores when a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima, Japan. A moment later, everything went black as the house collapsed on her and her family. Their world, and everyone else’s changed as the first atomic bomb was detonated over a city.
After the bombing, trapped in the center of previously unimagined devastation, Kaleria summoned her strength to come to the aid of bomb victims, treating the never-before seen effects of radiation. Fluent in English, Kaleria was soon recruited to work with General Douglas MacArthur’s occupation forces.
At 09 15:15am Tinian time – 08 15:15am Hiroshima time – the bomb drop sequence counts down to zero and Little Boy falls free from the bomb bay. Major Ferebee announces, “Bomb away,” but the everyone already knows that. Suddenly no longer struggling with its nearly 10,000 pound load, the Enola Gay has leaped upward, jolting the crew. Tibbetts immediately pulls the aircraft into a 155 degree right turn to put as much distance as possible between them and the blast site. They will have some time to make their escape. It will take Little Boy 44 seconds to fall to its designated detonation altitude of just under 2,000 feet.
In 44 seconds the future of warfare will be inalterably changed.
In 44 seconds tens of thousands of people will witness a horror never before seen.
In 44 seconds a 24-year-old Russian émigré, Kaleria Palchkoff, will be in the center of a horrendous conflagration never before unleashed in human history.
Amazon → https://amzn.to/2DHTSue
Meet The Authors
Anthony “Tony” Drago was born in Camden, New Jersey and spent much of his early childhood at his paternal grandparents Italian grocery store. From a young age, his mother, Kaleria Palchikoff Drago, would tell him the captivating story of her journey from Russia to Japan and then to the United States. It created Tony’s foundation for his love of history—especially his family’s history—bringing him to write this book.
After retiring in 2006, Tony doubled down on his passions—flying his airplane, restoring his classic car, and traveling the world with his wife, Kathy. Tony and Kathy have been married for forty-five years. They have three adult children and enjoy spending their days on the beach in their hometown of Carmel, California with their eight grandchildren and dogs, Tug and Maggie. For more information about Kaleria and the book, visit http://www.survivinghiroshima.com.
Douglas Wellman was a television producer-director for 35 years, as well as dean of the film school at the University of Southern California. He currently lives in Southern Utah with his wife, Deborah, where he works as a chaplain at a local hospital when he isn’t busy writing books.
For more information on Doug and the books he has written, visit his website at http://www.douglaswellmanauthor.com.
Title: THE WICKED CRIES WOLF
Author: McKenna Grey
Publisher: Cambron Press
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Thriller
In the shadow of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, a darkness lurks and threatens a quiet coastal village in The Wicked Cries Wolf, the third book in the Kyndall Family Thriller series.
A woman desperate for solitude. A man with an enemy he can’t see. A dangerous game neither wants to play.
International bestselling author Meaghan Ryers has gained wealth, success, and fame . . . and all she wants is to be left alone. When her sister suggests she escape to someplace quiet where no one will find her, Meaghan picks a spot on the map and heads for Alaska.
Sheriff Donovan Kyndall of Stewart’s Crossing, Alaska, arrives at the scene of a car fire after receiving a mysterious call. He doesn’t expect a woman from out of town to be at the scene, begging him to believe someone was killed. As clues into the fire emerge, Donovan has to ask himself how she’s connected and how a caller knows details from his own tragic past.
As the truth is revealed, Donovan and Meaghan are entangled in a puzzle of lies, treachery, and clues they must decode if they are to survive.
Praise for the Kyndall Family Thrillers
“The Dragon’s Staircase is a mind boggling adventure that will keep you guessing until the last page.” – Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick
“Holy smokes! This is one suspenseful, anxiety-ridden, skin-crawling tale of murder, mystery, and psychological creepiness. Looking for a hard-to-figure-out mystery with a side order of nail biting? Then look no further!” – InD’tale Magazine on The Dragon’s Staircase
“McKenna Grey & Everly Archard, I loved this book! I was captured, terrorized, thrilled, and couldn’t put it down. I loved the first book in the Kyndall Family Thrillers, “The Dragon’s Staircase”, and this one … well I read it in one day! I love all the Kyndall family characters and their love and protectiveness towards each other. Your mix of romance and thriller really is astounding! I cannot wait for book number three about Donovan Kyndall to come out.” —Kindle Reviewer on Shadow of the Forgotten
“I was literally at the edge of my seat. The suspense level is amazing.”
—Donna McBroom-Theriot, My Life, One Story at a Time
“I’m amazed at how smooth these two authors have combined their talents into one fabulous story.” –Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com
“THE DRAGON’S STAIRCASE by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard is romantic suspense full of thrills and spine-tingling moments. The twist at the end is as unexpected as it is disconcerting . . . the story keeps you guessing at every turn. This is a great start to a series that promises to be full of wonderful surprises.”
— Readers’ Favorite
“LOVED! LOVED! LOVED Shadow of the Forgotten, written by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard. A suspenseful story that makes you feel excited or anxious about what is going to happen next. It starts with fast action and it keeps going on until the very end. You won’t be disappointed! These authors have nicely woven endearing characters into a wilderness background that adds a touch of mystery. It’s gripping from the start to finish.” —Nicole Laverdure on Shadow of the Forgotten
“Beware, this new series is highly addictive! It’s suspenseful, mysterious, and riveting! You won’t want to miss it!” —Nicole Laverdure on “Blade of Death””A well written story and well developed characters . . . give the reader an exciting ride of investigation and the gentleness of a protective loving relationship.”
—Lyn Ehley, Book Reviewer
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Fire snaked into his lungs. Suffocating. Debilitating. He couldn’t breathe, his body immobile. He clawed at the air, at the coarse rope binding his feet, at everything his hands managed to reach. Why were his hands free?
Is this how someone feels when they burn?
Helios promised him there would be consequences. It had only been one more fire, one more kill. He had craved it more than he feared Helios’s warning.
One more mistake.
Smoke curled upward from the flames, dancing up the walls in a seductive swirl of lights and sound. The crackling of gunshots echoed somewhere beyond the steel door.
No chance of escape.
He didn’t deserve to die this way. His scream lodged deep in his lungs, so deep it burned his insides. A round of hacking coughs escaped his scorched lips. He desperately wanted water or a beer. Yes, when he got out of this—if he made it—he’d down a whole six-pack of Bud Light and thank whatever powers that be for his salvation.
I’ll be good. If you let me live, God, I’ll be good forever.
Did he hear his name coming back to him from the darkness beyond the flames? Yes, but from where, exactly?
It’s only in my head. No. No, no, no!
He heard shouts, or was fear mocking him? He yanked at the ropes around his ankles and brought away flesh covered in his own blood. Why couldn’t he move?
The door pounded. No, someone pounded on the door. The blaze caressed the floor around him, moving closer with a lover’s passion, inch by inch. He heard the loud crash this time and was certain someone stood on the other side of the door. A gust of air whooshed into the room and the fire found new life. It tormented him, licked his skin. A scream escaped, louder now because of the burn. Two strong bodies in masks lifted him away from the center of the inferno. His eyes remained opened, even as the sensation of floating carried him away from the chamber. He’d promised to be good and he would be. No man or woman or creature walking the earth could claim to be so good as he from this moment on and into forever.
Darkness consumed his whispered thanks while a cacophony of sirens trumpeted his fall into oblivion.
All Titles in the Series
All titles in this series can be read as stand-alone books.
“Blade of Death” – Short Story Prequel
The Dragon’s Staircase – Book One
Shadow of the Forgotten – Book Two
The Wicked Cries Wolf – Book Three
About the Author
McKenna Grey is the contemporary alter-ego of an award-winning, historical romance author. She writes romantic suspense, including the Kyndall Family series, and heartwarming, small-town romance to break up the murder and mayhem. She enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.
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An inventive, intriguing, and extraordinarily thought-provoking tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles centers on a titillating question: who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking to the corner store and simply disappearing?
About Somebody Else’s Troubles: Ohio businessman Travers Landeman has plenty of troubles. Between a marriage that is loveless at best, a hateful, greedy, self-consumed wife, and a family business changing in unexpected and unwelcome ways, Travers copes in the best way he knows how: by making a conscious effort not to think. But when his teenage nephew, Matthew Calkins, reaches out to him for help, Travers turns away. When his inaction causes unspeakable guilt, Travers fakes his death on the Caribbean Island of Mabuhay, an act that sets into motion a most unusual series of events—events that will bond together a most unusual cadre of people.
Years pass and it appears that Travers, now settled in to a new life with a new family and a new name, has gotten away with it. Or has he?
The Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company hires Albert Sydney McNab to bring Travers back to Ohio. But McNab, a bumbling, sore-footed, ne’er-do-well with a litany of failed careers—waiter, bus driver, door-to-door salesman—is surprisingly somehow hot on Travers’ trail.
Chicago bookseller Joe Rogers leads a group of amateur archaeologists to Mabuhay. Dealt a fistful of trouble when he acquired Chicago’s oldest bookstore, The Yellow Harp, Joe Rogers has a penchant for vodka, an abject ineptitude for following orders, and an abundance of useless knowledge. But at a dig site in Mabuhay, Rogers discovers an ancient treasure—a jeweled mask. Will Joe, who has his own axe to grind with Atlantis Fidelity Insurance, step off the sidelines and get back in the game?
Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of the UN’s newest member nation, the Commonwealth of Mabuhay, has her own set of troubles—protestors who denounce her part in the sale of the mask that Joe Rogers discovered as “cultural genocide.”
Do love, peace, and redemption even exist on Mabuhay? Or are somebody else’s troubles just that?
A brilliantly-rendered tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles takes readers on an unforgettable journey spanning from the streets of Chicago’s gritty Austin neighborhood to the remote island paradise of Mabuhay. Resplendent with richly-drawn characters that spring to life in the novel’s pages, Somebody Else’s Troubles is peppered with wit and subtle humor. Novelist J.A. English delivers a clever, captivating, smart, seamless story replete with fascinating historical detail and literary allusion. A beautifully written literary novel about escape and inertia, action and inaction, faith and doubt, and finding home—and hope—in the unlikeliest of places, Somebody Else’s Troubles is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.
About the author:
A proud native of Paterson, New Jersey, J.A. English came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He received his B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He has lived for a half century in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, where he still maintains a residence, but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic. English is a widely-published writer whose works have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller. Visit J.A. English online at: https://sites.google.com/view/somebodyelsestroubles/home
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Author: James S. Kelly
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Historical Fiction/Civil War Love Story
Two young men grow up in the south, become great friends and love the same woman. One moves north as the civil war nears and becomes Administrative Asst to Abraham Lincoln The one who remained in the south vacates his office of US Senator to become the south’s chief spy. Both men are pitted against each other during the war. As the war ends, they try to renew their friendship but will the presence of the one they both love be an impediment.
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As soon as the seven southern states seceded from the union, their sons and relatives in the Union Army and Navy resigned their commissions and became the elite officers of the Confederacy. They were euphoric; they threw parties and prided themselves on their great fortune. They didn’t’[t stop there; they became aggressive. The state of South Carolina, one of the first to secede, claimed that Forts Moultrie and Sumter in the Charleston Harbor belonged to the Confederacy; therefore, the Union Soldiers in the fort must vacate. General PGT Beauregard, the former Superintendent of Cadets at West Point, who immediately switched sides, was in charge of that state’s militia, but was taking his orders from Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, the interim Capitol of the Confederacy. Whether Jefferson Davis’ request to Lincoln to turn over the forts was rejected because it lacked merit or Lincoln took too long to respond, is mute in the long run.
The firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 began a war that had no reason to happen. It was as though a disagreement between father and son had escalated way beyond what either wanted. At some point, each realized that they had gone beyond the normal barrier of good behavior and tried to step back and assess their actions. The father made every effort to try to explain to his son why his actions were unacceptable, but a sense of freedom to do as he wished, made that view almost impossible for the son to accept. He and his friends were caught up in a wave of excitement, which escalated into a cause. The normal civility between father and son was met with obstinacy and imprudence. Consequently, neither could see how to rectify a situation that continued to fester and finally got out of control. There seemed to be no common ground, no mediation and no chance for reconciliation. Just like a family, a nation was splitting apart.
So too, did the distance between two childhood friends from Charleston, South Carolina, widen even though in the early stages, they tried to maintain a sense of decorum and respect, ignoring all outside influences. But it was not to be. The tension had grown from anxiety to acceptance, on both sides; their views were incompatible.
On that fateful day, James Stephen Harris and his wife Claire were sitting at the dining room table in their rented Georgetown Residence in Washington DC. The lights on the black wrought iron lamps on their porch illuminated their entrance steps and their beautiful white slump stone exterior.. They were hosting four of their closest friends to celebrate Claire’s thirtieth birthday. Her mother and step-father planned to attend, but the situation was such that they wanted to see what would happen next before they crossed the Atlantic to be with the one they raised.
James had spent the busiest two weeks of his life getting acclimated to his new position as Special Advisor to the newly elected President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. All six friends looked solemn; the neighborhood outside was quiet; it was as though an honored member of their family had died. No one spoke of the situation; no one wanted to. They talked of trivial things until ten that evening and then the guests left.
Several hundred miles to the south in their home outside Charleston, South Carolina, John William Beauregard, with his wife Louisa and their two children were celebrating the same occasion with champagne at their magnificent plantation, called Magnolia. He’d resigned from the US Senate, as soon as the State of South Carolina seceded from the union. Interim President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, with an endorsement from John’s cousin, General PGT Beauregard, asked him to lead the Confederate Signal Corp. He was that new nation’s chief spy.
They were embarking on an adventure and everyone was excited. John looked over at his wife and said, “We won’t be told what to do or how to run our lives anymore by some Union Bureaucrat in Washington.”
“Be careful what you wish for, John.” She responded.
“I just don’t understand the provocation. Why start something that can’t be reversed. The forts weren’t being supplied, so why not wait. The defenders would eventually have no recourse but to leave. Firing on the forts seemed to force the issue.” James Beauregard, their son, who was scheduled to attend West Point in the fall asked.
“I wouldn’t have done it that way, but the die is cast. I believe many in our new administration wanted to make the break as sharp and as quick as possible, so there’d be no recourse.” His father responded
Over the next four years, the two childhood friends, James Harris and John Beauregard, would be rivals, as antagonistic and would use every conscious moment during that period to assist their side in this ridiculous loss of life, property and dignity..
About the Author
James S. (Jim) Kelly is a retired United States Air Force Colonel with over 100 combat missions in Vietnam. Prior to his retirement, Jim was Program Director for a Communication’s Program in Iran, working directly under the Shah. Jim and his wife, Patricia own and operate High Meadow’s Horse Ranch outside Solvang, California. All of his novels use Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley as a setting. Over the past 15 years, Jim and his wife have been active in a charity supporting our troops in forward operating locations, in hostile territory, overseas. To contact Jim, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Character Interview: Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s historical romance novel ‘The Rising Place’
We’re thrilled to have here today Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s new historical romance novel, The Rising Place. Madeleine is a 39-year-old print shop owner, living in Hamilton, Mississippi.
It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Madeleine. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I guess David Armstrong portrayed me pretty well, but I feel like he made me fatter than I really am. And that restaurant scene at the end of the novel—there’s no way anyone could have eaten as much food as David had me eating. Personally, I thought this was cruel of him to do so. If I had been with David when he was writing about me, eating like a pig, I would have cracked my walking cane over his head, too!
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
He definitely did with that, and I’m a very colorful character. The only way I would have liked to have been portrayed differently is that I really did love my husband, Will Bacon, but this was never brought out. In fact, I loved Will a whole lot more than I did any of my three, previous husbands. I do wish David had shown this part of me, but it probably wouldn’t have been believable. Love didn’t seem to fit my character. It is what it is.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
My inner strength. I grew up with an older brother who loved to tease me about how fat I was, so I learned young how to defend myself—with both my words and my fists!
I’m not afraid of anyone. I’d stand up to the devil himself and spit in his eye, if I could.
I’m afraid to reveal who I really am to others. I’m afraid they’ll see right through me—like Emily Hodge did. I’ve never wanted anyone to see my soft side. I’ve always been terrified of that. That’s probably why I never had any true friends, until Emily came along. Emily taught me how to open up, and thank God that she did!
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Well, the book has already been made into a movie, and in it I was portrayed by Beth Grant, who is an excellent actress. But if there’s ever a remake of the film—which does happen, you know—I think I should be played by Lady Gaga. Lady is as colorful as me.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Yes. I love my husband, Will Bacon, though David never developed this—for some dumb reason. I also loved Emily Hodge—the best and only true friend I’ve ever had.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
That’s an easy one. I thought David was never going to write me into the story. I kept on trying and trying to get his attention to make me Will’s wife so we could complement each other’s character. At first, I thought David was going to portray Will as a confirmed sissy, who never wanted to get married, and leave it at that. But, finally, he listened to me and wrote about how Will was floundering after he came back from the War and in need of a job. Then I reminded David I was a rich widow, looking for a challenge as much as I was another husband. He finally got the message and brought Will and me together. I just wish he had done it sooner in the story, though, because I had such a great time with the other characters in the book who I got to meet—even Eddie Scruggs!
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I wouldn’t have wanted to be Harry Devening. What a fool he was to have not loved Emily Hodge back. I can’t even conceive how Harry couldn’t have loved Emily—as beautiful and tender as she was. And then to have finally realized, like Harry did, what a great mistake he made in not returning Emily’s love—I would have rather died. Harry might have lost a leg after his plane crashed during the War, but he lost far more than that when he lost the love of a fine woman, like Emily Hodge. What a pity.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I like how David ended the book, but I would have liked to know what, if anything, happened between Emily and Streete Wilder. Also, who was the old, gray-haired stranger at the start of the book? Was that Harry, Streete, or someone else? I hate it when authors tease us like that—makes me want to crack my cane over their skull!
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
Write me in at the beginning of the book. I’m a great character!
Thank you for this interview, Madeleine Bacon. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
You’ll have to ask David Armstrong, that one. Getting through to a hard-headed author like him was difficult enough, the first time around.
David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was a former mayor and candidate for the United States Congress. He received an undergraduate and master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, where he taught American and local government. He also received a law degree from the University of Mississippi, graduating with honors. In addition to The Rising Place, David’s debut novel, he has written two other novels, one of which will be released this summer, and four screenplays. David has also taught screenwriting at the college level, and he has spoken at several literary and film festivals about writing novels and scripts.
David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon. When he isn’t working on his fourth novel, he serves as the COO for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. He and his cat, Butch, live in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus.
About the Book:
What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to an old maid spinster who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did read them and discovered an amazing story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened over seventy years ago in a small, southern town?
After a young attorney moves to Hamilton, Mississippi to practice law, his first case is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a seventy-five-year-old recluse who is shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is fascinated with her and can’t understand why this lovely lady seems to have lived such a solitary and forgotten life.
When Emily later dies, the lawyer goes to her hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he finds a sewing box full of old letters in the back of her nightstand drawer. He takes the box of letters back to his office, and after he reads them all, he learns why Emily Hodge was ostracized by Hamilton society and why she died alone—though definitely not forgotten by those who loved her.
The purchase link is The Rising Place by David Armstrong.