Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog Tour: MY WAY SERIES by HJ Bellus

MY WAY SERIES by HJ Bellus


 

CREE

By: HJ BELLUS

(My Way Series, #1)


Synopsis:

Whose parents abandon them in a trashy trailer when they are five years old? Oh Yeah! Mine do!
Hey Hoochies! I'm Milly, and I am tired of taking kicks to the gut. A broken family, an asshole husband and the loss of loved ones have left me crying Uncle, and declaring a serious case of the Fuck-Its!

I had my heart broken, stomped on and shattered before I ever started on my journey to find my little piece of happiness. With a bucket list, a '66 Ford and wild dreams, I set out on an adventure that changed my life forever.

I found Cree… 

A pirate with a little princess and they swept me off my ever lovin' feet, filling my world with sprinkles, mac n’ cheese and the courage to live again.

They forced my fragile heart to trust and love without fear.

But the truth is, nobody’s past stays hidden forever. It’s an invisible monster waiting to attack and destroy. It has the capability to ruin everything you’ve worked to set right.

All it takes is one final blow to the gut to end everything…





Purchase links:

Amazon | Paperback | B&N



MY WAY SERIES by HJ BellusTRIPP


by: HJ Bellus

(My Way Series #2)

Synopsis:


Lacey’s Story…

Covering up pain is easy. It’s keeping it tucked away that’s hard. I’ve always needed the cover of tattoos to hide the nasty past that leached its way into me, tainting me beneath my skin.

Not the shiny, trendy tats, but the ugly broken kind, meant to keep the world at bay. If they weren’t enough, then my piercings, foul mouth and crazy hair usually did the trick. Life had taught me to never follow the rules, because when you do, you get burned.


My life was perfectly imperfect until Tripp…



The only question left is, will we set the countryside ablaze with our hot tempers and foul mouths? Or will we paint our own happy ending filled with all the gushy shit normal people crave?




COMING MID MARCH!


MILES
(My Way Series #3)


Willow's story COMING SUMMER 2014!






About the author:
HJ BELLUS

 

MY WAY SERIES by HJ Bellus


I'm just a simple girl who loves the country life... Oh yeah, & a good corn dog! Throw in a little Vanilla Ice, and shits bound to get crazy!

Be Brave!




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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: WHAT IF by Bayli Lane

WHAT IF by Bayli Lane






WHAT IF

by: Bayli Lane

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:


For some people falling in love was a happy, glowing experience. For Briar Kelly and Arrow Donovan it was more like getting hit by a freight train.

Caring for one another was never an easy feat. They constantly fought to hold their feelings inside, not wanting to jeopardize their friendship. Then, Arrow left for the Marines, and everything changed. Briar was shattered. Arrow was hurt.

While Briar told herself she’d never let another man affect her in such a way, Arrow still remained in the forefront of her mind. For Arrow, his memories of Briar kept him alive in both of his near death experiences. When Arrow’s demons threatened to drag him under, Briar was there, pulling him from the darkness.

"What ifs" keep piling up while resentment and redemption battles continue; will Briar and Arrow be able to find their happily ever after, or will this be one war that Arrow can't win?



Release Date: MARCH 2014

Cover Desinger: Eden Crane Design
Photographer: ©MaeIDesign
Cover Models: Ripp Baker and Laurel Marie

WHAT IF by Bayli Lane
 

About the author:

Bayli Lane


Bayli Lane didn’t realize how much she loved creating a world from nothing until college. She went to Marian University where she majored in Communications but in her spare time wrote and read. Her love for reading is what really brought out her desire to create her own novel. After starting loads of stories and not finishing them, she finally decided it was time to put her passion to work. Bayli lives with her husband, Tim, in Indiana where she is probably sitting with a large cup of coffee and her computer working on her next book.


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Tour hosted by:
WHAT IF by Bayli Lane

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cover Reveal: Alluring Ties by Skye Turner



Alluring Ties by Skye Turner


Alluring Ties is a companion novella to the Bayou Stix series. It’s Book 2.5 Bayou Stix. In Alluring Turmoil, we were introduced to Lexi Sloane’s two best friends, Bradi and Erik. Alluring Ties will take you on a journey into their pasts and bring you to their present.

Bradi St. James is a force to be reckoned with. She’s strong, independent, and has something to prove. All of her life, she’s watched the world around her and is determined to have a different fate from what she’s grown up with. The path you’ve always believed to be the right path, may not be your destiny after all.

Erik Jenson is a kind man. A nurturer and the kind of friend everyone wants to have. Growing up surrounded by friends and family who support him, he’s a confident man. The choices he must make and the chances he must take as he lives and grows make him the strong, loving man he becomes.

Alluring Ties contains explicit sex, including some male/male, strong language and is not intended for anyone under the age of 18 or anyone who does not like M/M romance.



Disclaimer from Bradi St. James

Alluring Ties is NOT a full length novel, but is a companion novella to the Bayou Stix series.

It is recommended to be read in this order:
Alluring Turmoil, Book 1 Bayou Stix
Alluring Seduction, Book 2 Bayou Stix
Alluring Ties, Book 2.5 Bayou Stix

There are some situations which are not for everyone included in this novella: cheating, male/male romance and sex, and like all of Skye’s books, explicit language and hot ass sex.

If you can’t handle it, don’t read it. It’s that simple. But if you want to know more about myself and Erik, then turn the page and get started!


Skye Turner is an avid reader and an editor turned writer.

She attended Southeastern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University where she majored in Mass Communications, centering her studies in Journalism. Unfortunately life intervened and she made the choice to leave her studies.

She lives in small town Louisiana with her husband, 2 children, and 4 fur babies.

When she's not chained to her laptop pounding out sexy stories she can usually be found playing Supermom, reading, gardening (playing in the dirt), listening to music and dancing like a fool, or catching up on her family oriented blog.


Facebook  |  Blog  |  Amazon

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Deviant by Callie Hart

Deviant by Callie Hart
   

 

Synopsis:

Sloane, I'm not proud of the things I've done.
The things I've had to do.
The things I've given away,
but I'd give it all over again to find her.
Even if i die trying,
I have to find Alexis, Zeth
She wants me to help her, 
But I won't. She wants me to save her sister, 
But I can't. 
She wants me to be her hero, 
but I'm not a good man.
I am her damnation.    


Add to Goodreads  

Excerpt:

 
“You’re sick, you know that?” I say into the darkness. A soft rustling sound greets me, followed by the shift of movement. Yes, the lights are off but the corridor is lit behind me so it’s not like last time. I can see enough to make out the looming figure that slowly paces toward me.

“I know I’m not normal, if that’s what you mean.” A terrible devil’s mask appears before me, two feet away; Zeth is dressed entirely in black, the suit he wears obviously a thing of beauty even in the half light. His dark eyes shine from within the mask, sharp and hungry. “You’ve surprised me, Sloane. I like being surprised,” he rumbles.

“Well you’ve surprised me, too. Although I can’t say the feeling is mutual.”

He laughs, his voice so deep and powerful I can feel it in the soles of my feet. “You should open up a little. You never know what you might enjoy until you try it.”

“I know exactly what I enjoy, Zeth, and standing around watching fifty naked people grind on each other isn’t it.”

The eyes behind his mask flicker with annoyance when I say his name. He stalks toward me and reaches out, tracing his fingertips across my jawline. He seems pensive, intrigued by my stillness—I can’t freaking move—as he touches my skin.

“If you don’t like watching, Sloane, you can always join in.”

 

About The Author:

Callie Hart is a bagel eating, coffee drinking denizen of the greatest city on this earth. Born in Colorado, she moved to The Big Apple to study and undertake the Bar exam, and in the meantime she wrote this book! She lives on a ridiculously high floor in a way-too expensive building with her fiancé and their pet goldfish, Neptune. Deviant is the first installment in her Blood and Roses series. The next installment, Fracture, is scheduled to be released in April.

Stalk the Author:

   

Purchase the Book:

Deviant by Callie Hart
 
Deviant by Callie Hart
 
Deviant by Callie Hart
 
Deviant by Callie Hart
 

Giveaway:

Win a Kindle Paperwhite or GC of same value, a Signed paperback of Deviant or one of 4 Deviant bookmarks! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Non Friction by Morgan Parker




 
After 12 years, 4 months and 1 and 1/2 weeks of marriage, his wife packs up and leaves with their daughter. So he writes an Indie novel. And it becomes a bestseller. Well, sort of.

His fame brings him the lifestyle of a rockstar, and he has the fan mail (i.e. female undergarments, probably clean) to prove it.

But seeing his fame, his wife suddenly believes in marriage counseling. Their homework: to create something beautiful for each other.

So he writes Our Story, his literary secret-weapon that will win his wife back. But in the process he discovers that true love is more than just ticking the right boxes on a checklist, it starts with.....well.....}i{




What a great story! I must say first off, I was stuck in this book from the start. It has been a long time since I have been into a book the way that I was with Non Friction. I started reading Non friction one night with the thought that I would read just a few chapters before going to bed. Instead, I stayed up through the night and only stopped reading when it was time to take my kids to school. I finished the book shortly after returning.


Non Friction was written in such a way that I felt like I was watching a movie. Have you ever had to stop watching a movie mid way through? When it's a movie your really in to, its hard to stop for even a few minute break. I felt like that when I read Non Friction. I needed to know how the story ended before I could step away. 


Non Friction is a refreshing change to the general idea of a romance novel. The basic idea, two people meet, fall in love, and have obstacles to overcome before they can be together. But always in the end, they are finally together and life is just perfect. The problem with that idea of romance is that its not real. Fantasy can be fun, and yes we want characters we connect with to be happy, but reality just isn't that way. Non Friction gives you the comedy of a new novelist struggling with divorce and you experience him fall in love without even realizing it. The reader can see plainly what the main character doesn't, and as frustrating is that can be at times, it's pretty dang close to the way that it would happen in real life.


This wasn't a story that fits nicely into any format expected of a novel, and I think that is one of the reasons I loved it so much. Life is a series of events that lead us down one path or another, and we don't always do what's expected of us. Non Friction sticks to the idea of 'non structure' in such a way that it's relatable to anyone who lives in the real world. Anyone who has had a bad relationship, suffered divorce, struggled to hang on to something they no longer love but have become comfortable with. This is a story that breaks the mold and exposes a reality that most authors stay away from.

I give Non Friction 5 out of 5 stars!














Morgan Parker is the pen name for a shy and introverted banker. He currently divides his time between Toronto, Canada and his imagination. When he isn’t writing or working with clients or relaxing at Balzac’s with a medium non-fat cappuccino, Morgan Parker enjoys spending time with his family. And sleeping, preferably on a bed (the left side) but depending on the day, he can pretty much curl up anywhere. No, he is not currently accepting applications for cuddling partners. 



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Morgan Parker - Author Interview

 
What inspired you to write Non Friction?


I wasn't really planning on writing Non Friction. It just happened, a potpourri of scenes and ideas that floated to the surface.


It's funny how that happens sometimes. In a way, it makes it easier for the creativity to shine through.


Which character in your book (Non Friction) would you say you are most like? If any.


I have Morgan's immaturity and share some of his beliefs about love. I also have a daughter who makes me smile and love life. 


Cute answer! Morgan's immaturity certainly had me laughing. In some ways, his beliefs about love made a lot of sense, but they were also a bit cynical. Nonetheless, his idea make you think. 


What inspired you to become a writer?


Boredom. Yes, definitely boredom. When I was younger, I wanted a way to remember the stories and characters in my head and because I have a bad memory (and I didn't have enough money for a voice recorder), the writing was a natural fit.


Ha ha, I can relate to that. For me though, I think it was more a matter of getting them out of my head. 


What are you most excited about the most for readers to experience/learn from your newest book Non Friction?


I believe Non Friction is a love story. I don't think it's an easy or clear one, but it's still there. I also think the lighthearted nature of the story will let readers know that I'm approachable as a writer. So I'm ultimately excited to meet new readers who would otherwise avoid my Textual Encounters stories.


Interesting. The love story was definitely different that what's expected in romance, but I think that's what made it refreshing. It was much more realistic, which makes it much more relatable.


Were you scared when you first published? Did you feel exposed or vulnerable?


Yes, I was extremely apprehensive about publishing Non Friction - I was both exposed and vulnerable. I was unsure about the humor, I was afraid that the love story would not resonate with readers, I knew the story wasn't quite perfect... Oh, I have a grocery list of insecurities about Non Friction... the positive feedback so far has been extremely surprising for me.


Yes! Morgan's fear to press that publish button really hit home for me too. I felt that you must have felt some of that too when publishing Non Friction, or any book for that matter. It's very scary to put yourself out there like that.


Do you have ideas for dream cast members for Non Friction?


AnnMarie! I am horrible at this! Someone recently suggested Ashton Kutcher for Morgan, which makes sense to me (I originally would have cast Will Ferrell because he makes me laugh and I swear I heard his voice while writing the story). I'd go with the whore from Game of Thrones for Emma because she is beautiful (to me, anyway). And I'm not sure about Jennifer, but it would need to be someone who is very bitchy.


Ha ha, nice! I think I could see Morgan played by either, but based on Morgan's age, Ashton may fit a little better. For Emma, I could see Ros (Esmé Bianco) or Shae (Sibel Kekilli) who were both whores in Game of Thrones, but Esmé fits the vision in my head better. For Jennifer, Sarah Michelle Gellar or Rachel McAdams can be the girl next door or a complete nightmare, which would be a perfect fit.


What do you do on your down time? What do you do to relax?


I love spending time with my kids. And eating. If we can spend time together and sit at a buffet, even better. Or a dessert buffet would be best!


Nice! Kids are the best, but food can definitely make them better.


What do you love most about being a writer?


I love creating worlds and getting feedback for what I've written, both good and bad. It's interesting to see how my stories are interpreted - the positive feedback reinforces that I can write and the negative feedback always reminds me that everyone takes away something different from the stories. It's an amazing process.


That's a great outlook to have as a writer. I cringe at the thought of a negative review, but I know that you can't please everyone either.


What do you hate most about being a writer?


The pay! And deadlines. 


Ha, ditto! Deadlines add a level of pressure that just lets procrastination sneak in. For me and my ADHD anyway.


What authors have inspired you?


Traditionally published authors who inspire me are Colin Harrison and Dennis Lehane. Their storytelling has pushed me to think differently about life and this idea of right and wrong in the world. 


Great authors! Shutter Island especially. I have a love/hate relationship with psychological thrillers. (Psych Major)


When you get stuck in a story, how do you get through it?


I bug people. A lot. When I'm not restricted by deadlines, I'd like to smoke a cigar and drink single malt, maybe feel a little numb (good thing "getting stuck" doesn't happen often). And bookstores help too. I'm a visual person, so sometimes a good movie will inspire me. 


Great ideas! (Except the cigar, and substitute single malt for wine) I'm a visual person too, but I never thought of it that way. I thought I was watching TV or a movie to get my mind off of my writing for a while, but it makes sense that the visual storytelling would also contribute to inspiration. 


Do you listen to music when you write?


Most of the time, yes! 


It's a must for me too! I do find it helps me keep my rhythm going. Also, dead silence is just not something my mind can take.


Can you write anywhere? Or do you need a specific place to write?


I'm a writing whore - I can write anywhere. For me, the most writing I get done is in the most awkward of places. 


I've only tried the one spot, I haven't tried leaving my comfort zone. Yet. 


Do you have advice for aspiring authors?


Think like a 4-year old. Don't be afraid of taking chances and standing out. 


That's great!


What was the worst advice you were given in the beginning of your writing career?


Stop. Really, that was the worst advice ever. Even if I were horrible, the world needs horrible writers so the really good ones can stand out.


What? That's just awful. I am thinking this person may have been the inspiration for a certain character in your book? (*wink*)


What was the best advice you were given in the beginning of your writing career?


Why? If you stop asking why, you stop writing... 


That is so true! Thank you Morgan for participating in this interview! Good luck, and I hope to see you around again sometime. On the web, or at an author event! 








We are having a Scavenger Hunt during the blog tour. It's US Only!


Make sure you stop by each blog's stop and check out the fun facts about Morgan Parker they will be sharing. Some of the facts have clue's to the message from Morgan Barker (Character of Non Friction) You must find the ones with Yellow writing and put them together to make the message. Once you have the message send it to verna_loves_david5104@hotmail.com 


First person to get the message wins a Signed Paperback of Non Friction by Morgan Parker! 




Schedule to Follow: Verna's Book Tour Schedule
Hosted by:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow

Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Book Title: Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow
Series: Butterfly Days #2
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 15, 2014
Hosted by: Forever Me Romance


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


“She killed a part of me – the part which trusts when someone tells you they love you, and allows you to trust that person with your heart.” 

Ness and Evan return to Leeds from Europe, and begin their new life together. But the past Evan has buried for years resurfaces and threatens their future. 

After fifteen years, Evan doesn’t want any contact with the woman who abandoned him, but is unwillingly pulled into his mother’s life by Lucy. 

Feeling pushed aside by Ness’s focus on her studies and new friends, Evan can’t confide in Ness about what’s happening. This return to his old behavior adds more distance to their relationship. When Ness’s new friend Ollie picks up the pieces because Evan is away, Evan’s insecurities threaten their relationship further. 

Ness becomes aware of Evan’s situation, and she questions whether he will ever be able to break his ties to those dragging him down. If he can’t put himself first, and live the life he wants, she is unable to see how their relationship could work. In return, Evan struggles with Ness’s inability to get close to people, and her distance pushes him further away. 

The decision about the future of the relationship is taken out of their hands - by something that could end things between Ness and Evan forever…



Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow

Book 1 - Because of Lucy Excerpt

I side step the sink and turn. A guy leans against the door frame, trying to appear nonchalant but his slackened stance indicates he’s attempting to keep himself upright. His brown hair is longer at the front and spills into his face, and unfocused brown eyes appear to be looking in my direction. He’s one of the regulars. I don’t pay a lot of attention, but he’s a good-looking guy and they never go unnoticed.

“Yes?” I snap. I’m so not in the mood.

His eyes sweep my figure. Unbelievable... I straighten my sleeves and look at him with an eyebrow raised.

“Are you Abby’s housemate?”

“Who are you?”

“Evan.” He rubs his nose. “You’re not a student?”

“Correct, I am the one not lying in a drunken haze on the floor contemplating my navel.”

Evan takes a step forward, steadying himself with one hand as my witty repartee sails over his head. “Why?”

“Why am I not on the floor drunk?”

“Why aren’t you a student?”

“Because I work instead.”

“Hmm.” He pauses and grasps onto the sink, searching for a glass. I pass him the spare one.

“Did you fail?”

“Fail what?”

Evan fills the glass. “Or are you just not smart enough for uni? What is it you do?” He gulps the water in three mouthfuls then wipes his mouth with his hand.

Arrogant wanker.

“That’s right, I’m not smart enough. I’m living with Abby until I can find a nice man to marry then I can have 2.4 kids and a house in the suburbs. Because, as I’m not a student, I have no future.”
Evan leans against the sink. “Fair enough.”

Oh my god he believes me. How pissed is he exactly? “So, you think anyone who doesn’t go to university is inferior to you?” I demand.

I've seen her friends looking down their noses at me. Inverted snobbery. On top of that, the locals hate students and the students hate locals. I’m neither. I can’t win.

We’re close now and he stinks of alcohol and pot, a faint hint of deodorant lingering on his clothes. Evan’s T-shirt has come untucked and rides up as he leans against the sink. He’s toned, evidently works out.

I can’t help myself, I check him out. Beneath his curls he has deep brown eyes. Incoherent eyes. I hate to admit, but something about him is seriously sexy. Even if he is a dick.
“Well, if you’ll excuse me,” I say.

He sniggers.

“What’s funny?”

“You sound like the Queen.”

Not this again. I get enough crap at work. I move from Cheltenham to Yorkshire and suddenly I’m ‘stuck up home counties girl’. I don’t dignify his comment with an answer and turn away from him, and walk out of the  kitchen.

“Want me to get the guy out of your bed?” he calls after me.

I stop and look round. “You know him?”

“I could replace him.”

My mouth drops open at his arrogance. An attempt at a flirtatious smile plays around his lips but the unfocused eyes kill the effect he’s trying to achieve. He’s serious. I imagine he has a ready supply of eager girls. No surprise with a body and looks like his, such a shame he needs a personality transplant.

I step towards him. “Evan. I am not pissed. Nor are you getting into my bed. Good night.” Feeling happy with my retort, I saunter towards the stairs. Behind me, Evan impersonates my sentence with an exaggerated posh accent.

It’s a good thing that I’m sober otherwise I’d go back there and punch him.

Book 2 - Finding Evan Excerpt


With the full picnic container in my messenger bag, I wait outside the gym for Evan to finish his shift. When Evan appears, he’s jacketless despite the cool day. I shiver; just looking at him in his thin T-shirt makes me cold. And warm inside. I can’t help but feel a little smug when I take in the sight of my hot-as-hell boyfriend. He has the whole damp-chested, mussed hair, post-workout thing going on, fueling the less than clean thoughts I have about him as I watch. Watching him from a distance as if I’m a random onlooker turns me on? I must have some kind of weird stalker gene.

Evan doesn’t notice me at first; he’s on the phone and his eyebrows are pulled together in consternation. I recognize his hunched stance as frustration, and suspect he’s talking to his sister. Evan rests against the pillar outside as he continues his conversation, oblivious to those around.

A slender girl with long blonde hair passes me with her equally blonde friend. I watch them and wonder if they share the same box of hair dye to go with their identical straightened hair and designer gym gear.

“Book me in with him!” one of them says and giggles.

I jump to alert. There’s only one ‘him’ in the vicinity.

“Nope, all mine. Twice a week.” The giggling intensifies, and an unfamiliar feeling creeps across my scalp when it’s apparent they’re talking about Evan. Jealousy.

“He can get me hot and sweaty anytime!”

I gag at their immature sizing up of my boyfriend. Then I find myself doing something I didn’t intend. I stalk across the path towards him and dump my bag on the floor.

Evan’s eyes widen in surprise and he finishes the call. “Ness!”

Without a word, I slowly moisten my lips, and his eyes darken as I move in to kiss him. Evan grabs my rear and pulls me against his soaked chest, crushing his mouth against mine. He smells of workout sweat and deodorant, a mingled scent I associate with Evan. And sex. Tongue darting into my mouth, Evan holds me tighter, and through his sweats I’m aware of his arousal.

Yeah, girls. See if you can do that to him with just a kiss. I’m lost in time for a moment, until Evan peels me off him.

“Well, that was an unexpected surprise.” He regards me with shiny-eyed curiosity. “Not like you."

I smile up at him, loving his reaction. “I brought you lunch.”

“Suddenly, I’m not very hungry.” The intent in his eyes is unmistakable.

“I am. I brought a picnic.” I rummage in my bag, and from the corner of my eye, I spot the girls staring at us. An immature sense of triumph fills me. God, I might as well just stamp my name and phone number on his head.


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow

Book 1 - Because of Lucy


Book 2 - Finding Evan


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow

Lisa is an author of new adult romance and writes both paranormal and contemporary, often with a side of snark. In between running a business, looking after her family and writing, Lisa sometimes finds spare time to do other things. This often involves swapping her book worlds for gaming worlds. She even leaves the house occasionally. Lisa loves all things from the Whedonverse and preferred vampires before they sparkled.

Lisa has four books published: the ‘Butterfly Days’ series, and two in her urban fantasy series Soul Ties. She is currently working on a new contemporary romance series Blue Phoenix and the first book, Summer Sky is due for release in April. Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.


Finding Evan by Lisa Swallow


Monday, February 17, 2014

Blog Tour: The Killing Times by Morgan Kelley

The Killing Times by Morgan Kelley




      ~Prologue ~


Twelve Months Earlier



It was all wrong, and he simply couldn’t accept it. There had to be something connecting these deaths, and he just wasn’t seeing it clearly. Sheriff Charlie LaRue sat at his desk in his home office, eating his dinner with his case files open on his lap. As he compared the three victims, there had to be a reason their lives all came to an end. It wasn’t as if these were the first deaths the town had seen, and yet something rubbed him the wrong way. Just last year there had been a drowning in the lake, but they chalked it up to too much booze on the holiday, but these three... they truly screamed ‘foul’. Charlie was bothered enough to keep digging through the information. Eventually, he would get to the bottom of it, even if it became his life mission. Now he was a dog with a meaty bone, and plenty of time to strip it bare. It seemed that all he had left at this point in his life was time.

He’d been a lawman for thirty years now. Charlie worked his way up through the ranks in the big city, supporting a wife and daughter on his salary. He truly loved the job. Then one day, that all came screeching to a halt. His wife, on her way to a soccer game with their only child, was killed in a car accident. He then was forced to become the mom and dad to a stubborn little spitfire. Big city life had to come to an end. When they had the chance, he moved them to Salem, to slow down the pace. This would ensure that he would live long enough to raise his daughter.

In his opinion, there was nothing like living in the Deep South. In the north, time moved forward quickly, where in Salem- it didn’t. It stayed a sleepy old town.

His work there was gratifying as sheriff. It wasn’t always exciting, but he got to interact daily with the people he swore to protect. It also allowed him to watch his daughter grow up into a fine young woman. Sadly though, slow town life didn’t suit her at all, and once she graduated college, Elizabeth was off to Quantico to become part of the FBI.

Pride swelled in his heart as he stared over at her picture on his book shelf. She was the spitting image of her momma, and the stubborn duplicate of her father.

God help the world!

As he refocused on the files in front of him, Charlie continued eating his salad, despite how much he loathed the leafy clippings. It reminded him of lawn cuttings and tasted just about the same. But a promise was made to his daughter, one he intended to keep. If he ate better and stopped smoking, then maybe he would get to see grandkids one day.

He glanced down at the greens that he had dumped from the big container in his refrigerator. Yeah, this was going to be torture. His ex-wife couldn’t get him to eat healthy, but his daughter and a promise of grandkids one day certainly could.

In her last email, she mentioned a possible second date. It gave him hope that it would lead to more. Charlie desperately wanted her to find the love he once had with his first wife. She had been his soul mate, and he desired that for his daughter too.

Since he’d been thinking of her and the emails, he needed to send one back. Maybe he should ask for a second set of eyes to take a look at these files. It was possible a trained special agent with the FBI would have a better chance at sorting through all this crap. Then possibly, Elizabeth could give her old man a clue.

He rolled his eyes in disgust as more greens went down the gullet.

Apparently, Charlie would do anything to one day see those grandkids.

As he began to type the email, he felt a quickening in his pulse and a tightening in his chest. Possibly, he was pushing himself a little too hard. In his medical history, there was a slight arrhythmia that gave him concern. The doctor assured him with medication, he would be fine. Maybe taking the rest of the night off would be a good thing; after all, he wasn’t a young man anymore. Sixty was right around the corner, and he hadn’t exactly lived a clean life. Yeah, the smoking and beer were catching up to him, so maybe he’d just finish his lawn clippings and head to bed.

Charlie was almost done. All that was left was to hit send. Before he could, there was a scraping noise from the patio. It sounded like someone was opening his door, trying to get into gain access to the house. Immediately, Charlie shut down all his files and closed his laptop.

It would have to wait until his company was gone.

In his mind, Charlie had plenty of time.

Charlie tried to stand, but the room swam and his throat began to constrict.

Oh God, something was wrong!

He reached for the phone to dial 911, but it slipped from his hand. All the feeling in his hand was gone, as the numbness spread to his legs, his thighs, and finally his chest. Suddenly, he wished he sent the email, or better yet had taken the time to call his daughter.

“Did you enjoy your salad, Charlie?” questioned the voice from the doorway.

Charlie tried to speak, but his tongue felt incredibly swollen. He couldn’t understand why the visitor was in his house.

Uninvited.

“Oh, don’t worry, Charlie. While you were at work I mixed you up some special greens of my own.”

Panic set in as his breathing slowed. How he wished he could get to his gun and take one well aimed shot.

“I’m sure you realize now what Foxglove can do to the body. It’s very toxic and the poison works fairly quickly. Isn’t it delightful that digitalis is both a toxin and a cure? Nature can be such a wicked thing. As can humans, Charlie.”

He knew it was over, and he began whispering a mental goodbye to his daughter. He prayed when she was forced to come home, that she wouldn’t stay. If she remained, ultimately she would die too.

“It’s time to end your reign as Sheriff, Charlie. You won’t be investigating these deaths anymore. It’s time to sleep,” mocked the voice, as the man slowly began to slump over his laptop.

Breath shuddered, as everything came to a stop. He swore he heard the last beat of his heart. Soon, all his last cognizant thoughts were gone before the blackness came and swallowed him.

The laughter was sadistic and evil. “Tick, tock, Charlie. Now it looks like you’ll be my next victim. Sadly, they’ll think you had a heart attack, you old coot. Let’s keep that our own little secret. It appears you’ll be taking it to your grave.”

The voice placed the receiver back in the cradle and closed Charlie’s dead eyes. Now that he was gone, the purification of Salem could continue, but first, there would be a little break. There would be a new sheriff and the trail needed to temporarily go cold, until the replacement was found and studied. No need to draw suspicion with another death. There was plenty of time. Why rush and screw it up? After all, this was all a calling.

One from God!


Six Hundred Miles Away




Ethan Blackhawk tossed and turned in his bed. The dream grabbed him, refusing to let go, no matter how hard he tried to wake himself. He should be used to it by now, since the same woman had been habitually invading his nights and sometimes entering his days. There were moments where she brought him peace and other times abject horror.

Good dreams, bad dreams, even horrific ones all centered around her as if she was the catalyst. There were even some dreams that would make him blush if he wasn’t asleep. Ethan was ashamed to admit it, but his favorite ones were the voyeuristic dreams, where his blood heated his body. All of it was driving him mad with want.

The dreams were becoming more urgent. In this one the woman was standing in a circle of blood, as it ran over her body in sick rivulets. In one hand was a gun and in the other was a badge. Barely visible was the FBI lettering. Her long, black hair waved in the breeze, as she stared at him with the prettiest blue eyes he had ever seen. Correction, they were the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen in his life. They captivated his attention with their color alone. Her body was next to draw his full attention. The woman was tall and lean. Her hair whipped around her, like a cape in the invisible breeze. What Ethan wouldn’t give to slide his hands into the mass of black silk, holding her to his body.

“Come find me, Ethan. I need your help,” she whispered, into the darkness. It was as if she was staring right through him, seeing all his secrets.

“Where are you?” he pleaded. The desperation was building, as he needed to find her. Maybe if he located her, it would end the torment he was suffering. His life was plagued with this woman and the need to protect her. She had become his obsession, driven by his own selfish desires to touch, taste and feel her.

“I’m at the mouth of hell.” It was simply spoken with both fear and honesty. Wherever she was, it was indeed hellish. Death was surrounding her, and she couldn’t hold it back any longer. Soon it would be coming for her.

“How am I supposed to find you?” His own voice betrayed him, as all the need and want flooded through with the emotions. Blackhawk prided himself in being a man of few words. Yet in his dreams with her, he was always a geyser; desperate to keep her there with him as long as possible.

She tipped her head to the side, pondering the question and searching for the answer herself. How could she explain to him that she couldn’t supply him with the very thing that eluded her too?  “Follow the trail of bodies, and they’ll lead you to me,” she replied, dropping her gun and badge into the puddle of blood, willingly abandoning them.

“Wait!”

“Hurry Ethan, I need your help!” With that she turned and began walking away, leaving a trail of bloody footsteps marking her path.

Ethan watched the dream waver, sitting up in a panic and finally breaking through. He scrubbed his hands over his face, hoping to wipe away the dream and the panic brewing, but to no avail, it remained. He shuddered and pulled himself from his bed, walking to the window and staring out at the silence of the city.

“I’ll find you, I promise,” he whispered, praying it wouldn’t be too late for either of them.
Everything in him screamed the truth.

Ethan needed her to survive.


Back In Salem


One Year Later




The truck bounced haphazardly down the rocky road. It spewed pebbles and gravel behind it, as it sped into the darkness without a care in the world.

Death had no schedule.

When it was time to die, it was the end of the line and these two witches deserved it. They flaunted their bodies, giving away what shouldn’t be bargained so freely. They deserved what happened to them.

At first, it was easy to just get them high. It only took a few special joints and to lure them, one by one, to the Jacuzzi. It was quite simple as they didn’t weigh more than one hundred pounds each. Both girls were barely legal in age, and easy to trick into doing his will. There was such stupidity in youth, but alas, that was handled now. There would be no fast living; there would be no more drugs, sex and rock and roll. All there was now was the finality of death.

Theirs.

Both had gone fairly quickly. They were held under the water, until eyes were huge with fear. Ignored were their struggles, as they fought to survive. Although, he had to admit, there was definitely remorse with the second girl. Her parents were kind people, and it wasn’t their fault that they were raising a witch. How could they know she was willing to dance naked under the moonlight for any man?

What a shame! There was even a moment of pity, when she was pulled to the surface, allowing her to catch her breath and beg for her life. Only it wasn’t meant to be, as he pushed her back under to begin the torture all over again. He wasn’t permitted to stop. The voice had demanded it be done.
Cleanse the town of all the witches!

Evil was everywhere in the world, including Salem, and he was ‘chosen’ to find the offenders and purify his town.

This was his calling.

Now it was time to dump their bodies and head home. It had been almost a year since the last cleansing had taken place. The break in between only fueled the hunger and need to do the duty assigned at his birth. This was his calling, and a mission from God. It was one that needed to be completed. Everyone in town would benefit, and a new, pure Salem would be reborn.

He brought the truck to a stop beside the serene lake. It would be a good place to leave the girls. By morning they would be found by someone, and if not, it just prolonged the fun of watching the new sheriff trying to solve the crimes.

Charlie LaRue had been smart and didn't miss a thing. His replacement looked like she should be modeling in a magazine. Elizabeth LaRue had been in the FBI, but now her father’s death had brought her home.

That would be the worst decision of her life!

Attempting to match wits with a killer was one thing, but trying to stop the divine intervention of God was another. If she got too close, she too would end up one of the victims. Honestly, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Like the second girl, he’d regret it a little bit, but as usual the voice would give him strength and urge him forward.

It always did!

As the bodies were lowered into the lake, they made light ripples around the shoreline. The tiny fish began checking to see what was now disturbing their habitat. The moon shone down on their corpses, as they were pushed towards the deep, center of the water. Soon, they would sink and their transformation would be complete.

From sinner to cleansed.

From life to death.

The count was once again growing and the game was starting, anew. Continuing the hunt for the next witch was his ultimate plan. But why rush? Tonight was their baptism, and it should be all about them.

A silent prayer was said for their souls, and then followed by barely suppressed laughter.

Once again ‘the killing times’ were upon them. It was all about purging Salem of the evil that had found its way there.

Sinners beware.

Salvation was on its way!


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AUTHOR BIO



M. Kelley, born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania, spent her formative years making up stories in her head and traveling on the adventures that she had created. Always one to explore every aspect of life, she spent five adventurous years at Penn State University trying to find herself. Tossing between saving the world and just finding her place, she decided that there was only one way that she could truly be happy. So began the journey of writing, her greatest adventure yet. She has previously published two other novels; The Junction and Serial Sins.  The upcoming release of, Darkness Unleashed, will take her on a darker more difficult journey into the world of the paranormal.

Life for M. Kelley is always about the journey and this trek will be no different. When not writing you can find her lost in her garden tending to her flowers and being a kid again.

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