Monday, 30 April 2018

Compelled by Fate by Christa Paige

Title: Compelled by Fate
Series: Kan Asma Vampires Book 2Author: Christa Paige
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Publication Date: April 10, 2018

Thrown together in a race against time, he has to win her heart to save her life.

Vastian is the deadliest warrior prince in the history of the Kan Asma Vampire Council. He'd willingly give his life to follow his revered leader's orders to protect their people, no questions asked. Brutal wars have honed his skills as a ruthless killer while the beast that hides behind a human façade craves vengeance for the infiltration of his homeland. It is all a distraction from what he truly wants.

When the unthinkable happens, and tragedy follows, Vastian must reveal a secret that alters his life forever.

His blood-bound oath to the Council and their the long-held traditions forbid him to uphold the solemn vow he made to save the one female his heart desires but can never have. He can't risk falling in love with Thalia, but he will keep her safe and matter what.

Because she will die without him.

Vastian is about to wage the biggest battle of his life. If he fails to win this war, it will mean losing her, forever.


Author Bio:

Strict professor by day. Romance author by night. Lover of all things alpha-male twenty-four hours a day. Christa Paige writes contemporary romantic stories featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement. Christa’s expanded Kan Asma series includes alpha-male vampires fighting against all odds for their mates. Also, Christa writes sweet Regency love stories. A native SoCal girl, Christa loves, knitting, Star Wars, LOTR, Austen, and Disneyland.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

My Blog’s Name in Books

I had fun doing this challenge by Fictionophile, on Rainne's Ramblings this morning, so I thought I'd also do one here. This one was easier - shorter name, lol










Saturday, 28 April 2018

Immortal Reckoning by Tara Fox Hall

Title: Immortal Reckoning
Series: Promise Me Series # 18 (Origin Story)
Author: Tara Fox Hall
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Romance
Publisher: Melange Books
Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Through the love and loss of the ages, immortality brings only one certainty: vengeance.

Disinherited and poverty stricken, bastard Danial clutches at the slim chance to earn a living as a guard, until a night attack leaves both him and his half-brother Devlin vampires. After finding true love with the aristocrat Lacey, Danial comes to the attention of James, the devious Vampire Lord of France. Enslaved by James, his love murdered, Danial plots to escape, his complex plan of years finally succeeding only to result in all of Europe’s demonic forces on the hunt for him.

After a reunion and subsequent falling out with Devlin, Danial travels to the new world of America in pursuit of a new life. Settling in the west, Danial forms alliances with native vampire Valerian and the witch Cheyenne to survive a game of cat and mouse with Devlin and protect his new love Kathryn amid his rapidly changing world. Triumphant yet nursing a broken heart, an undeterred Danial protects his friends and thwarts his enemies, determined to find a life of peace…until unexpected news comes of James’s presence, the one man on whom Danial has waited centuries to get revenge.

Tamara Fox Hall is giving away one print copy of Immortal Reckoning to one of my readers - Thank you, Tamara

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance.

She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series, the paranormal romantic suspense Unhallowed Love series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series.

Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Picture by Roger Bray

A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.


Context: Vince Brown is a key protagonist in the story, he hits on the idea of a reality TV show focusing on natural disasters. He thought of the idea after seeing how much money was donated after the Japanese Tsunami. In a chance meeting in a bar with a TV producer he lets the other man think that Vince is the key figure in an iconic picture taken during the Tsunami relief effort, which he is not. As a throwaway line he thought it unimportant but it takes on primary importance when the idea of a reality TV show is closer. This part is when Vince is just starting with his idea, as his celebrity begins to grow. But even now he realises that his connection to the picture could be his undoing if the truth were to come out.

         Vince wasn’t stupid, he knew that it wasn’t him, he was the only one in the room that did, but he was arrogant as well, and that had been his undoing more than once, letting his overwhelming belief in himself get ahead of the truth. This time, he decided, he needed to cool the bragging on this as soon as he could. He could still buy off the photographer, buy the copyright. Jeez, he was paparazzi wasn’t he, what did they take pictures for if it wasn’t to make money?
         Although he didn’t yet know it or understand the ramifications of his lack of knowledge he had badly underestimated Joe at this point and completely misunderstood Joe’s relationship with his work and the subjects of his pictures. And offering money for a lie would be like trying to fight a wildfire with gasoline.
         Vince decided to start downplaying the picture almost straight away, he mostly wished he had never seen the damn thing, but he couldn’t deny that it was the catalyst that had got his foot in the door to start with, so it was a Catch-22, no picture, no idea, but the picture had the real ability to bite him on the ass, and he needed to build up defenses around that. At least he had sense enough to realize the damage it might cause if it were to blow up in his face.
         Years ago, it probably wouldn’t have mattered so much. But in these times with all the social media outlets around and all the twenty-four-hour news channels, all desperate to fill the gaps between the adverts with something resembling news, a little story like this would be magnified and explode across the world. It would be a quick and bright story, as most of them were, the big bang in the first thirty-six hours before fading away and taking Vince’s cash dreams with it. So, damage control had to start before the damage was realized.
         “But we want to move on from there as well, build it into something more than only that—” he started.
         “That’s fine, Vince and you can. If you want to get past that then that’s fine, give yourself a bit more depth than one photo. But, you have to start somewhere, man, and this, for you, is it.”
         Fleeton looked Vince straight in the eyes.
         Vince held his look for a moment before he felt himself flush slightly. He grinned quickly and went back to the bottle and poured himself another without asking. Drinking half of it quickly he turned back to the other two who were looking at him a little more intensely than he would have liked, or was it his paranoia and fear coming through?
         He knew that reality TV shows were popping up all over the place, from fat trailer trash with fat kids who had pretensions of worth, to some cheerleader from some hick town with a young and slim body but a face only a mother could love, a grating accent and a slutty dress sense trying to be the next top model. Model for what, Vince had no idea, tractor parts probably, but she’d get her fifteen minutes of fame and likely progress from a few bikini shots through lingerie in some crappy magazine to finish up doing a few low budget pornos before disappearing back into whatever insignificant life was left to her.
         Used, abused, and spat out by a system looking for new fodder, week in week out.
         And as the shows multiplied the only way they could rise above the herd was to either stand out as something truly different, which was getting more difficult as ideas, initially rubbish anyway, were cloned and incestuously multiplied. The trick was to be different and profess some worth above some mere titillation or be obnoxious and the more obnoxious the better. It seemed the mind numbed audiences for this crap seemed to like their reality more and more real.

Author Bio:

I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Dimension Drift by Christina Bauer

Title: Dimension Drift
Series: Dimension Drift Worlds, #1
Author: Christina Bauer
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: April 24th, 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

“Fans of A Wrinkle in Time can’t miss Dimension Drift!” 
– Christina Trevaskis, The Book Matchmaker

Truth time. I go to a Learning Squirrel High School. Don’t judge.

On second thought, judge away. Learning Squirrel is one step above attending class in a junkyard. But what do you expect? Everything’s made out of garbage these days. At least, I have my freelance work to keep Mom and me housed, clothed, and fed. How? I’m your regular high school science geek for hire, except my work manipulates space-time. The good news is that these gigs pay really well; the bad news is that the government likes to kill people like me. Whatever. I’m not worried; hiding from their detection systems is easy for me.

Then I screw up one of my illegal projects. Badly.

In fact, things go so sideways that my house slips into two-dimensional space-time. The shift only lasts for a few seconds, but that’s long enough to set off a dozen government alarms. If those goons track me down, Mom and I are as good as dead. Long story short, I need to pay someone off, hide the evidence, and keep us safe.

Unfortunately, that means asking the Scythe for help. He runs the local underground crime scene and has absolutely no conscience…Or at least, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. It’s hard to think straight when a guy’s that hot in an ‘evil Mafioso kingpin’ kind of way. Most importantly, the Scythe is a crime lord who can conceal my slip-up with a few clicks on his minion’s computer keyboards. But the man has his price. In this case, the Scythe wants me to finish a certain dimensional prototype for him in twenty-four hours. I can do it, but it might mean Learning Squirrel High gets blown up in the process. Oh yes, and there’s also my new hot classmate who may or may not be an alien…and he says he’ll do anything to help me.

This job won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. Maybe.

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Chapter One

         Nothing like waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to find your mother standing over your bed holding a thermos, moldy picture frame, and plastic bust of Albert Einstein.
         That wakes me up, fast.
         This whole thing is a shocker because for the last year, Mom’s been doing nothing but staring out the window, hoping my older sister, Luci, will come home. Such a disaster. Back in 2611, Luci ran off with her high school beau, Josiah, saying they wanted to start a new life somewhere that wasn’t Western New Massachusetts. For the record, I don’t blame my sister for leaving. Mom isn’t exactly the poster girl for stable parenting. And Josiah is a nice enough guy. You know, in the way that vanilla is a nice enough flavor.
         That said, Luci only left us a quick note on the kitchen table the day she took off. Since then, my sister hasn’t sent us any word. Mind you, this is the same Luci who couldn’t go six hours without talking to Mom. Now, twelve months go by without so much as a peep? That’s not Luci.
         Long story short, Mom and I are both pretty worried.
         We just show it in different ways.
         Mom holds up the bust of Einstein and stares at me wild-eyed. She doesn’t say anything, but that’s pretty typical. After Luci left, my mother’s routine has been pretty predictable.
         Bed to window.
Window to bed.
No talking.
         A little eating.
         Not much sleep.
         But now, Mom’s out of her chair with a vengeance. Plus, she’s even wearing one of her old lab coats from her researcher days. The frayed insignia of “United Americas” is still visible on her pocket protector. We’re not even supposed to know the name of the United Americas anymore, let alone save themed clothing. My high school teaches us that the only government that’s ever existed are the sickos in power today: the Righteous Command and Ultimate Authority. Mostly, we call them the Authority.
         So what’s Mom doing in her old lab coat? Tons of scenarios skitter through my head. Most of them end with Mom getting trucked off to a mediprison. The Authority strives for purity in all things. Any signs of what they call mental weakness, and the Authority declares you an enemy of the state, and you disappear.
         At this moment, the words total panic pretty much sum up my life. “What’s wrong, Mom? It’s four a.m.”

Author Bio:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!

Website ■ Blog ■ Facebook ■ Twitter ■ Instagram

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Hatchet Hollow by Amanda McKinney

Title: Hatchet Hollow
Series: Black Rose Mystery Series, #2
Author: Amanda McKinney
Publication date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

After an afternoon of mind-numbingly boring surveillance in the woods, Private Investigator Raven Cane goes for a twilight jog to clear her head, only to discover a gruesome murder in the town’s most notorious cave, Hatchet Hollow. Minutes later, the impossibly handsome Lieutenant Zander Stone arrives at the scene to take over, but Raven has a hard time letting the case go. Why did the killer cut off the victim’s fingers? More importantly, who would do such a thing?

After a failed attempt at tracking down the elusive Marden Balik, aka, the legendary witch of the Great Shadow Mountains, Zander dives headfirst into Devil’s Den’s most recent murder, only to uncover twists and turns at every step—including a secret book of curses that may, or may not, exist. As the list of suspects grows, Zander does his best to keep Raven at arm’s length. But Raven is persistent, nosing her way into his case, making it increasingly difficult to keep his concentration on the task at hand, and off of her sultry body.

And when another woman is found brutally murdered, Zander worries that Raven has gotten too close to the investigation… close enough to put her directly in the killer’s sights.


      Raven crossed the cave in two swift steps and gaped down at the body. Her breath stopped, her heart skipped a beat.
      The woman’s bloodshot eyes grotesquely protruded from her skull, staring blankly at the dark cave ceiling. A thin trickle of dried blood ran from the corner of her blue lips, down her neck. And as Raven’s gaze moved down the body, her stomach sank to her feet. The woman’s fingers had been cut off—every single one of them.
      “Oh, my God.”
      Bile rose in her throat as she looked at the bloody nubs at the end of the woman’s hands.
      Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.
      Her stomach churned, and for a moment, she thought she was going to vomit.
      No, don’t throw up on a crime scene, you’ll destroy potential evidence, you idiot!
      She inhaled, swallowed the saliva that had gathered in her mouth, and forced herself to get a grip—get in control of the situation. Her shock slowly began to fade, and the cool-headed, calm, laser-focused demeanor that she was known for began to settle in.
      She squatted down for a closer look.
      The woman’s skin was pale, almost ghostly white. Her muscles were frozen in full rigor mortis. She assumed she'd been deceased for twenty-four hours, tops. Purple bruising speckled her jawline, and ran across her skinny neck.
      Oh, no.
      Raven shook her head, stood, and grabbed her cell phone from the ground.
      She clicked it on—no reception in the cave, of course.
      She spun on her heel, jogged outside and dialed 911.
      As she gave the dispatcher the details and her location, her eyes scanned the ground for any obvious evidence but saw none. The dispatcher promised someone was on their way, and she clicked off the phone.
      She glanced up at the sky, completely blanketed now by storm clouds. Nightfall was coming. The woods would be completely dark in less than thirty minutes.
      A cool breeze rustled the leaves above. A buzzard called out. She looked around—acutely aware of the fact that she was completely alone. Just her and a dead body. Alone, in the middle of woods that stretched as far as she could see—so many places to run, to hide.
      Who had done this?

Author Bio:

Award-winning author of sexy murder mysteries, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning whodunits peppered with steamy romance. Amanda is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

In The Darkness by K.M. Scott and Anina Collins

Title:  In The Darkness
Series: Project Artemis, #1
Author: K.M. Scott and Anina Collins
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 24th April

Persephone Gilmore comes from a life of privilege. The oldest daughter of media mogul Marshall Gilmore, she grew up wanting for nothing. But her father taught her more than just how to make billions, and even though she could sit by the pool and eat bon bons every day for the rest of her life, she chooses to work as an ER nurse and live on her own away from the family estate and her father's security.
Then one night, those choices come back to haunt her.

Nick Hanson hasn't been truly happy since he left the FBI. Life as a hired gun for wealthy clients has paid well and made him very much in demand, but it isn't the same as the life he used to have. When Marshall Gilmore wants to hire him to rescue his daughter after she's taken hostage by a terrorist group, he agrees, but to save her, he'll have to go undercover and become one of them. It's dangerous work, but he knows what to expect and he's never been one to turn down a challenge.

What starts out as just another case turns into something much more, and Nick finds out just how much he's willing to do to save Persephone.

AmazonB&N ⬪ Kobo ⬪ iBooks

Author Bios:

K.M. Scott writes contemporary romance stories of sexy, intense, and unforgettable love. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, she's been in love with romance since reading her first romance novel in junior high (she was a very curious girl!). Under her Gabrielle Bisset name, she write erotic paranormal and historical romance. She lives in Pennsylvania with a herd of animals and when she's not writing can be found reading or feeding her TV addiction.

Anina Collins has always loved a good mystery. From Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective Sherlock Holmes to Dan Brown's intrepid Professor Robert Langdon, she's spent some of her favorite reading times with mystery novels. When she's not writing her favorite mystery couple, she can be found watching entirely too much Supernatural and dreaming about the beach.


Monday, 23 April 2018

No Holds Barred by Stephanie Nicole Norris

Title: No Holds Barred
Author: Stephanie Nicole Norris
Genre: African American Contemporary Romance

Love was no longer on the menu for Camilla Augustina. After her fiancé calls off the wedding not once but twice, Camilla's had enough. In a brazen move, she takes a new position in the windy city of Chicago; leaving her parents, friends, and ex in a bittersweet goodbye. Adapting to her new surroundings isn't easy but as Camilla settles in a chance encounter with an infamous playboy throws her off balance and rattles her world. She hadn't expected to be drawn so meticulously to another but denying the magnetism that lures her is a futile fight.

As President of VFC Energy, a fortune 500 company, Hunter Valentine is at the top of his game. The renowned bachelor holds no secrets about his risqué rendezvous, and his allegiance is saved for family only. However, when Hunter spots Camilla Augustina, dining alone at the breakfast hut in his building, he can't explain the adulation that runs through his core and shakes his entire world. Lust never weakened him like this, and the inclination of love at first site was silly. But when Hunter decides to prove the sudden rapture is unreal, he may find himself enamored by love.

Read for free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Meet Stephanie:

Stephanie Nicole Norris is an author from Chattanooga Tennessee with a humble beginning. Always being a lover of reading, during Stephanie’s teenage years her joy was running to the bookmobile to read stories by R. L. Stine.

After becoming a young adult, her love for romance sparked leaving her captivated by heroes and heroines alike. With a big imagination and a creative heart, Stephanie penned her first novel Trouble In Paradise and self-published it in 2012. Her debut novel turned into a four book series full of romance, drama, and suspense. As a prolific writer, Stephanie’s catalog continues to grow. Her books can be found on Amazon dot com. Stephanie is inspired by the likes of Donna Hill, Eric Jerome Dickey, Jackie Collins, and more. She currently resides in Tennessee with her husband and two-year-old son.

Edger by David Beem

Title: Edger
Author: David Beem
Genre: Comedy Fiction

It’s been said every story must start somewhere. Ours begins with a professional dork. The kind who fixes computers and lives in his gran’s basement. The kind tapped by destiny (that saucy minx) to become the world’s first superhero!

And not a moment too soon…

A nano-sized artificial intelligence is on the loose! It got itself dart-gunned into a cow butt by a frog man in a porn store! Two stoners are corrupting it on twitter! And that’s just the first three pages!!

Join our dork of destiny as he channels the collective unconscious—his psychic superpower—in a harrowing tale of high drama, romance, betrayal, revenge, jesus chickens, cocaine, weirdos, magicians, ninjas, nfl spies, and disco ball water torture administered to the tune of rapture, by blondie. My god, man, what does it all mean!?

It means uncorking that next bottle of wine isn’t only a good idea—it’s advisable.


Water and glass shower the dance floor. Needle scratches vinyl. Hattori Hanzo seizes control instinctively and I land with the grace of a ninja. Mary, who has no dead ninja in her head, thuds with the grace of a turkey carcass dropped from the Level Two parapet of Westfield Horton Plaza.

“Kill them!” someone yells.

“Don’t kill them!” I yell back, figuring that’s got to be worth a try.

Shots are fired. Screaming patrons run and duck for cover. A bullet ricochets off the wall. I grab Mary by the ropes binding her, and drag her behind a nearby couch.

More gunfire.

I chance a peek. Caleb Montana is near the front door, exchanging shots with two Nostradamus agents hiding behind a life-size statue of Caleb in his quarterback uniform, one arm cocked back, preparing to pass the football, and the other stretched out in front, pointing.

I round on Mary, who flings her wet hair back like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Water sprays my supersuit’s visor.

“Cut me loose.”

“Right, right,” I say, feeling around on my utility belt. Jeez, I’ve never tried to locate anything without someone helping me from the Collective Unconscious. There are a lot of things here. I pull a tiny ball out, and the nano-technology grows into a switchblade-shaped object. Seems promising. I flick it on. Blue flame blows out from the end.

“Holy crap!”

“Come on, quit fooling around.”

“Don’t rush me! Do you have any idea how stressful this is?”

“Come on,” she says, her voice husky, cheek to floor, back arched, butt in the air.

“You never see Batman having this problem,” I mutter.

Author Bio:

David Beem enjoys superhero movies, taekwondo, and flossing. He lives in Djibouti with his family and crippling self-doubt. Help actualize David’s inner confidence. Visit his website today, and buy all the stuff.

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Durable Goods by Patricia Hale

Title: Durable Goods
Series: Book #2 of the Cole and Callahan Thriller Series
Author: Patricia Hale
Genre: Thriller
Date Published: April 15, 2018
Publisher: Intrigue Publishing

Detective John Stark approaches the PI team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan with a postcard he’s sure is from his estranged daughter, Kira. She’s been listed as a runaway for three years by Portland, Maine police, but John isn’t convinced that her continued absence is by choice. As Stark’s long-time friends, Cole and Callahan agree to look into the postcard marked only with the letters O.K.

The postmark leads them to Oracles of the Kingdom, a farm where women sell fresh produce in return for a fresh start with God. But nothing seems right about the town or the farm and Britt goes undercover to look for Kira. Once inside, she realizes Oracles of the Kingdom is not the refuge it appears. And when she's trafficked over the Canadian border she’s on her own, over her head and losing clarity between hero and victim.


         My heart went into overtime making it difficult to hear the rest of the house over the rush in my ears. But it had to be now. There was nothing I needed to take from this place. The picture of Kira was back in the closet upstairs, but I didn’t need it anymore. My phone was somewhere within the skeleton of the house, no chance of recovering that and the watch from Griff was in my shoe. I was good to go.
         I opened the backdoor and slipped outside onto the porch, down the steps and across the side yard. The only light was on the front of the house illuminating the driveway. At the barn, I stopped and leaned against the outside of the far wall, listening. Nothing. I was shaking either from fear or the frigid air. Either way I had to keep moving. I slipped the watch out of my shoe and onto my wrist then headed for the trees. Two feet from the pines the backdoor slammed. I dove into the shadows tearing the skin on my forearms, brushing heavy pine boughs out of my way. I could still make out the back door. Isaac was coming down the steps. He wasn’t moving fast. He seemed to be looking for something on the ground. He stooped, picked up a bucket and went back inside.
         I held onto the tree beside me until my breathing returned to normal and my heart slowed, but I couldn’t stall for long. Sooner or later Rose would be back in the kitchen asking where I was. I took off running deeper into the woods. The full moon was both a blessing and a curse. The driveway was to my right and if I stayed in a straight line, parallel to it, I’d eventually reach the road. But ducking branches and avoiding fallen trees had me unsure if I’d veered off course. I stopped again to listen. It was dead still around me and with a mix of crusty snow and brittle leaves underfoot there’d be no way anyone could sneak up. I took off again but didn’t get more than ten feet when I tripped over an exposed root and went down hard. A sharp pain shot through my forearm and I couldn’t move my wrist. Struggling to my knees, I wrapped my right hand around my left wrist holding it tight against my chest. The watch from Griff was gone. It had slipped from my shoe into the snow-covered leaves. There was no time to search for it. Back on my feet I was running again. I’d completely lost my bearings and didn’t know if I was still moving in the direction of the road or back toward the house. It was slower going having to hold my arm and the jolt of each step increased the pain.
         Ahead of me, through the trees there was a light. I stopped and watched. If it moved, it meant I’d reached the road. If not, I was back at the house. It moved toward me and became two. Headlights. A car was coming. I felt delirious and forgetting the pain in my arm, ran headlong toward the road. Breaking through the trees, I stepped out and waved my good arm moving as far toward the center of the hot top as I dared. The car came to a stop in front of me and I bent forward at the waist ready to collapse. Tears of relief poured down my cheeks, the asphalt blurred as blue lights swirled around me reflecting off the wet pavement and bouncing tree to tree. The driver’s door opened and a man stepped out. As he came toward me I recognized Sheriff Stebbins.
         “Well, well, well, don’t you look all banged up. Come outta them trees, huh? What’re ya runnin’ from? A bear?” He started laughing and looked me up and down. “I know where you belong and lucky for you I’m headin’ your way. Bet Isaac will be damn pleased to see who I’m bringin’ home. Don’t you think?”
         He grabbed my arm and pulled me to the cruiser, opened the back door and threw me in. Once in the driver’s seat, Stebbins hit a button and all four locks clicked into place.

Author Information:

Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child (9/17) is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. The second book, Durable Goods, will be released April 15, 2018. Patricia is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, NH Writers Project and Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs.

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