Monday, July 16, 2018

#MysteryMonday #LegacyUnderFire #RomanticSuspense



Legacy Reborn
Genie Gabriel
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2


An attorney devoted to social causes and a burned out women's advocate help save their home town while struggling not to fall in love. However, an unintended pregnancy and a gift from the heart lead them on a journey to new possibilities and love.

Excerpt: Legacy Reborn

As CJ stepped onto the floor to dance with his sister, Phoenix couldn't tear her gaze away from his leanly muscled frame in a white tuxedo. Longish hair brushed his shoulders, bringing to mind a gentleman of the Old West, fitting perfectly with the mood of this celebration. 
Phoenix started out playing it cool, thinking CJ would immediately ask her to dance. When yet another dance started and he passed her by with no more than a wink, she began to feel a bit perturbed. 
I'm a wallflower.Standing by a beautifully inlaid wood wall of the ballroom in Waring House, but a wallflower nonetheless. 
Had she grown warts on her nose since the waltzing started? Missed a piece of salad between her teeth from dinner? Had her deodorant given out? 
Discreetly, Phoenix checked out the possible offenses. She took a quick glance in one of the gilded mirrors placed strategically around the room to reflect the twirling dancers. Stretched her arms upward with quick sniff to the side. 
Nope. Everything seemed normal.
"What are you doing?" CJ stood in front of her, curiosity in his eyes. 
"Ah...practicing my dance moves," Phoenix said. "I used to be a disco queen."
CJ lifted an eyebrow. "Unless my math is really bad, you're too young to be a disco queen. But would you like to waltz?"
Phoenix almost refused just to be contrary. But she so wanted CJ to hold her in his arms. So with what she hoped was casual indifference, she said, "I believe I have room on my dance card for perhaps one waltz."
CJ grinned and twirled Phoenix onto the dance floor. After a few basic box steps, he turned and swept her into a graceful swirl. Phoenix followed as if drawn by a magnet. 
Staring into her eyes, he back-stepped and turned. She followed flawlessly. Another turn and a swoop. A swirl and another. A backstep and CJ twirled Phoenix away from him and under his arm. Swirls and dips round and round left her breathless. Wanting more than a dance. Wanting...
Applause jerked Phoenix back to reality. CJ continued to grin as he spun her away to arm's length once more and bowed to the crowd, who had moved to the edges of the room to watch their dance. 
CJ turned to Phoenix and kissed her hand. "Thank you for the dance, my beautiful lady."
And he left her. Standing by the wall where she had been before the dance began.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

#RomanceSunday #SweetMisbehavin' #Paranormal Romance



Book three in the McKenna Clan Series

ISBN: 978-1-62420-110-3
Author: Christine Young
Email: aandcyoung@aol.com

Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 2
Book Heat Level: 5


Reviewed by Ashley Ladd, "Happily Ever After"
4 out of 5 stars


Sweet Misbehavin' is a romantic, mystical tale packed with magic, action, and adventure. Romance blooms when Margo, a novice fire starter running from an evil demon meets Carr, a heroic shape shifter. 
Although Margo has an innate distrust in people, especially in men, Carr gains her trust and convinces her to let him and his clan protect her and her young daughter. Not only does Margo come to know Carr, but comes to know herself, grow her powers, and trust in love again. This is a beautiful story that I heartily recommend reading. Although short, it packs a mighty wallop.


BLURB: Sweet Misbehavin

Cast adrift after fleeing the home of Jokul, the ice demon, Atantsi, a firestarter, grew to womanhood as she moved through time to keep the demon from finding her.Though stubborn and courageous, she was ill prepared to use powers she had not been taught. Her first sight of the intoxicating Carr McKenna left her breathless, and her second encounter gave her hope for a future she never thought she had.

A playboy, a second son and a shifter, a man who thought his life would be carefree, Carr McKenna was shocked to discover the woman he’d paid as an escort is a firestarter who is running for her life. He is the leader of all the McKennas around the world and that he has multiple powers. His passion for Margo and the need to defend her might cost him his life as well as hers.

EXCERPT: Sweet Misbehavin'

In a sign of unity, they linked arms and strode to Phaedra's room. She picked up the crystal, and walking onto the balcony, Phaedra held the clear orb toward the sun. "Take us to Jokul, wherever he might be." Phaedra began to chant as the crystal seemed to take on a life of its own.
Splinters of sunlight hit the glass ball. The glow surrounding the crystal flowed into and around the girls. The world turned and spun. All the colors of the rainbow wrapped them in a protective tunnel.
Margo closed her eyes against the blinding light, clinging to Phaedra as they hurtled through space. She felt the difference. Time was not changing, only their destination.
In a matter of seconds, they were set down on a ledge of ice. Laughter echoed through the hallway then thunderous booms. Margo motioned to Phaedra to follow her. With caution, they walked toward the sounds. The building they were in shook and the ice columns around them swayed as if they might fall.
"What is it?" Margo felt nausea roll in her stomach. For a moment, she closed her eyes, hoping to understand what was happening and how to deal with it. She tried to remain composed, knowing the ability to think and react in a rational manner would serve her well.
A young girl cowered in a corner, a collar around her neck. Tears flowed down her cheeks. She turned from them when she saw them, her body trembling.
Phaedra knelt beside her. "Are you Jokul's slave?"
The girl looked up, terror clearly written in her eyes and nodded, "yes."
"Where are they? Where is Jokul? And what is he doing?" Margo's impatience grew exponentially. Fear spiraled, yet she forced control of her emotions and tried to remember everything she'd learned.
"Down that hall. He has killed. The big cats didn't have a chance. He is keeping one alive just to torment him." The girl's shaking hand rose from her lap and pointed.
"You'll be fine." Phaedra cupped the girl's cheek with her hand. "I promise. When this is finished, I will come back for you."
The girl didn't say anything. Instead she stared back with a vacant and torn gaze as if she didn't believe Phaedra.
"Jokul will not survive this day. I promise you. You will be set free." At her sides, Margo clenched and unclenched her fists. She meant to do this and suddenly she was no longer terrified of Jokul, his ice or his threats. With each passing second, her courage and confidence grew.
Several heartbeats later, Margo stepped inside the room where the slave girl sent her. The sight caught her breath. Carr's siblings and cousin were frozen ice statues. Relief that Carr wasn't frozen swept through her. Yet fear for him immobilized her for a moment. She watched him leap into the air, avoiding an ice bolt Jokul shot at him.
So consumed with their fight, neither male noticed their entrance to the room. Time was apparently on her side. Before anyone knew she was there, she shot fire at the three guards, their bodies aflame. The inferno lit the room. Then she turned her attention to the demon. Focusing on Jokul's back, she raised her hand, sending fire his way. Seeming to feel the searing heat, he whirled.
Rage lit his face then a smile. "You have come back to me but it is too late." He sent a torpedo of ice her way. Unflinching, she met it with fire. For a second, confusion creased his brows. She saw determination and rage in his face and a moment of confusion.
"You cannot defeat me." More powerful than ever, he sent another wave of ice towards her.
She met ice with fire. "No, Jokul, I'm not an innocent young girl who has no idea how to use her powers. Phaedra has taught me well. Did you think I would always be weak and in your control?"
Rivulets of water from the melting ice ran across the floor. Carr let out a mighty roar and leapt toward Jokul, bringing him down. They rolled on the floor, Jokul caught between Carr's claws.
At the close proximity, Jokul was able to slather Carr in a coat of frost. He broke free, scrambling to his feet and sending a small coating of frost to entomb Carr.
Margo could not risk Carr's life. Yet she remained ready for the battle, waiting for the right moment. Jokul left his mark on Carr once more. Then he rose, his frown growing.
"I will end you, Jokul," Margo said. "There is no other way." Her arms extended, her hands pointing to Jokul, she was poised on the brink of no return. She recalled the spoken words of caution. If she ended his life, there would be repercussions felt around the world. But if she did not, her life as well as the McKenna's would be threatened.
"You're very certain." Jokul's laughter encased her soul and terrified her. Once again, he sent a stream of ice, and once more she melted it with her fire. "You're no longer the weak little girl who fled my care."
"I told you it was so. I am strong, stronger than you because I have love for these people. You have only hatred to guide you." Her heartbeat slowed and assertive energy surged through her.
Phaedra remained behind Margo. "You must finish this. His strength is great. You must strike now before he regains his energy field. You cannot outlast him and you have the others to think of."
Margo tipped her head slightly, noticing how Carr had thrown off the cloak of frost and was stretching his muscles. While she kept her focus on Jokul, Carr looked at her and nodded.
She heard Carr's words in her mind. You have no choice. He means to kill all of us if he survives.


Reviewed by Harps Romance Book Review

I have just finished this book and it was awesome!  Carr McKenna meets Margo on her first night working as an escort to support herself and her young daughter.  Margo is an untrained firestarter so when she gets mad things catch on fire.  She is running for her life from an ice demon named Jokul.  Carr is more than he seems as he is a shapeshifting jaguar.  And he has more powers that he is just learning about. He sees Margo as his life mate when they meet as sparks fly.  Can he save Margo from her stalking demon with the help of his family? Read and find out! I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

#Sci/FiFantasySaturday #FaerieChronicles #BoxedSet



Title: Faerie Chronicles Boxed Set
C. L. Kraemer

ISBN: 978-1-62420-309-1

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

BLURBS: Faerie Chronicles

Meadows of Gold

Eugene, Oregon in the 20th century, amid a property feud between the local faeries and night elves. The conniving faeries from Olde Ireland try to stir up more mischief. However, a warrior gnome convinces the magic folk to control their own destiny.


The Lending Library

Faeries try to fit into the human world when the forest where they make their home is destroyed by a mysterious enemy.



Defying the Odds

The night elves on the hill aren't happy without their magic. They concoct a plan to punish those who were involved in the act that rendered them almost human. Meanwhile, Uther, the rogue night elf, has returned to woo the Librarian to be his eternal mate.



EXCERPTS: FAERIE CHRONICLES

The sun sent bright shafts of light through the pine boughs and around the wooden pedestal upon which the morose figure resided. Ignoring the dancing beams, the leprechaun pulled a shuddered breath into his lungs and stared at a spot in front of the stump where a crumpled daisy chain necklace lay withering in the warmth of the afternoon. Another plump tear snaked down his unshaven face.
In the distance, a lone figure scuffed up the lane, which crossed in front of the tree stump. Thomas paid no heed to the approaching form, pulling a thin silver flask from inside his rumpled vest. He blindly opened the lid, placed the opened top to his lips and pulled a deep draught from the container. Refitting the cap to the top, he slipped the silver spirit holder back into his vest. His next shuddered breath was interrupted with a hiccup.
The figure on the road drew closer. Thomas raised his head and squinted his eyes. Was she coming back? He hiccupped and straightened up. Maybe she had been teasing him when she ran away and now she realized how much he cared for her. His eyes brightened and a smile began to touch his lips.
The figure came around the bend and toward him. The last he'd seen her, she was wearing a diaphanous, thin dress. Had she changed? The form nearing him was clad in leather breeches, a braided leather tunic, and knee-high, soft leather boots. A sword blade strapped to the figure's back flashed in the sunlight. Was Cary so angry she meant to cut him in little pieces? His heart began to pound in his chest and inside his mouth his tongue stuck to the roof.
The figure stopped two lengths from him and raised a hand to shade its eyes from the brightness of the day.
Thomas realized he was shaking. This was it…his life was over. He hung his head.
"Thomas?"
The voice was familiar but it didn't sound like Cary. If it wasn't her…


The Lending Library

Faeries try to fit into the human world when the forest where they make their home is destroyed by a mysterious enemy.


EXCERPTS
Chapter One

Ailidh wobbled precariously on her high heels. 

Kayne smirked. "Having problems, dear?"

"Shut up!" she snapped. "I need to practice this until I get it right. We don’t really have many options left open to us, Kayne. You had better practice, too."

He stopped and steadied himself on the railing of the porch. He wriggled his feet out of the closed leather shoes that encased them.

"I don’t know why you insist we wear these ridiculous articles of clothing. This long-sleeved shirt cuts off the circulation to my hands not to mention the lack of space for my wings and these long pants chap my legs.

"Worst of all, are these horrendous leather shoes. They pinch and make my feet swell. Why do we have to go through all of this? I don’t understand." Kayne grumbled.

Ailidh sighed and slowly, patientlyexplained to him, once again, why they were practicing.

"Remember last Wednesday when Keegan and Connal lost their dwelling? The sound of their tree crashing to the ground was deafening. The Others are moving out more and more. We will lose our home if we don’t act first. Now, put your shoes back on and walk for just five more minutes."

Kayne wrestled his shirt off and threw it to the porch’s deck. He pulled the long pants off his body and left them in a heap next to the shirt. Bending forward, he touched his toes gingerly as he gradually unfurled his lacey wings. Slowly, he pulled himself to an upright position. Shoulders back, wings completely expanded, he lifted his 18-inch form to its full height and looked at Ailidh defiantly.

"I don’t need to fit into the Others’ world. They need to adjust themselves to my world and leave us alone."

Ailidh, teetering, grabbed the lower railing of the porch and shook her head.

"Kayne, most of the Others don’t even know we exist. How can they adjust to something they don’t even believe?"

"They adjust to animals, don’t they?"

"The animals chose to be seen. We did not. Remember? Our great, great grandfathers took a vote and decided we would endanger ourselves more if we continued to be visible to the Others. At that time, they didn’t have all the machinery they have now. They moved into our lands at a slower pace. Now, put on the clothes and try to adjust."

"No." Kayne kicked at the clothing on the porch. "I’m going to get a magazine and a cup of coffee. You can stand here and practice day and night for all I care."

He turned on his heels and lifted himself off the ground with his delicate appendages. He lazily winged his way into the open window of the building marked Lending Library.

Hovering until he landed on the balls of his feet, he folded the wings tight to his torso and walked to the corner of the building signed Coffee Shop. He sat in a small chair snugged close to the matching table. Sliding the Newsweek someone had tossed on the table toward him, he flipped through the pages. Minimized for easier handling, the magazine was still large enough to require both of his hands to turn the pages. A diminutive nymph in a waitress uniform with a "Chrissy" nametag took his order for a latte. Ten minutes later, she returned with the steaming liquid in a cup. 

"Thanks, Chrissy." Kayne picked up the cup carefully and took a sip.

"No problem, Kayne," she had a surprisingly deep voice for a nymph. "Where’s Ailidh?"

Kayne jerked a thumb over his shoulder toward the front porch. 

"Practicing," he grunted.

"Oh," Chrissy mopped the table next to Kayne’s with a wet rag then flew daintily to the kitchen with the dirty cups and saucers she’d picked up. One of the resident dryads of the valley, Chrissy was living in the tree behind the Lending Library. Her home across the meadow had been one of the first destroyed.

Ailidh is right.Kayne frowned at the silent admission. The Others were invading his world with frightening, swift, uncaring swaths into the forestlands. Soon there wouldn’t be an Ancient tree left. While, at a glance, their movements seemed random, even careless, Kayne had noted a pattern, albeit haphazard, to their actions. Months earlier he’d watched from a safe distance as the huge screeching yellow machines ripped up his ancient wood friends and squashed their bodies beneath armored tracks. He could never be sure whether the squealing had been the old trees or the vicious yellow machines. After the first occasion of watching as they destroyed a sea of Ancients, Kayne had left on shaky wings and flown home. Ailidh was furious at him, thinking he’d been with his friends drinking honeysuckle wine. He couldn’t stop throwing up long enough to tell her what he’d seen.


Defying the Odds

The night elves on the hill aren't happy without their magic. They concoct a plan to punish those who were involved in the act that rendered them almost human. Meanwhile, Uther, the rogue night elf, has returned to woo the Librarian to be his eternal mate.

EXCERPT

In a meadow east of Eugene, Oregon

Bram ambled up the roughly hewn stairs to the willow lounge chair located at the front of his home. He pulled the scrimshawed pipe from his pocket and filled the bowl with his favorite blend of black cherry tobacco. The paced routine of loading the ivory bowl with fragrant leaves and tamping them firmly into place was one of his favorite after dinner rituals. Withdrawing a matchstick from the inner pocket of his vest, he struck the sulfured end against a river rock he'd placed on the root of the towering oak that served as his home.

The fading evening sky showered the mountains in hues of gold and red. Pushing away the light, a blanket of dark blue velvet sprinkled with luminous star points soon prevailed. Bram puffed smoke rings at the darkening heavens.

"Evenin'." A scruffy black and tan terrier mix meandered up and, after circling three times, lay next to the chubby gnome.

"Evening, Silas. How's the family?"

"Well, thank you. Daisy announced we're expecting--again."

Bram chuckled into his beard. "Congratulations."

"Humph. I'll be glad when we're both too old to care. I came over to ask if there are any jobs in sight. I'll need to be working as much as I can now."

It seemed he got one batch of kids out of the house and another was on the way.

Silence stretched between the business partners. Bram pulled deep draughts on his pipe, blowing the smoke away from his friend. His eyes were drawn to the large block of light spilling from the picture window of the behemoth on the hill. The Saun clan, night elves whose callous actions nearly destroyed the fae population of the meadow and surrounding forests, owned the out of place monstrosity.

Bram squinted his eyes to focus his vision on the methodical movement that broke the beam of light. He could just make out a figure pacing rhythmically in front of the casement. Unable to ascertain which of the night elves was engaged in the determined striding, Bram was sure of only one thing…if the night elves were restless and unhappy, the rest of the valley was in trouble.



~ * ~



Gitty paced in front of the picture window, ignoring the expansive view of the green valley below. The thick carpet covering the hand selected hardwood floors muffled the angry stompings of her boots. At the end of each turn, she jabbed the air with her finger.

"Think you can take away my magic, do you?" She spun on the ball of her foot and stamped to the other side of the room. "We'll see about that!" Jab, jab.

Morgan, the younger of the two siblings, stretched his limbs languidly across the fine leather couch, watching the angry display being played out in the living room, a smirk residing on his lips.

"What has your knickers in a twist?" His leg, hanging over the arm of the couch, swung slowly back and forth.

Gitty broke her tirade for a moment. "I'm surprised yours aren't. How can you tolerate not having magic to use?"

"Because, dear sister, I don't needmagic to get my way. I have my," he waved a hand up and down his body, "obviousattributes."

Gitty grimaced. "Please. Don't make me sick."

Pulling to an upright position, Morgan stretched his long legs in front of him, tucking his hands behind his head.

"You're just jealous."

"Hardly."

"Then what's your problem?"

"I don't fancy living my life in pubs among the scum of the valley sponging off the pity of strangers. My plans include owning all I see."

Morgan rose from the couch and faced his sister.

"Good luck with that. Even the Others are wise to your quest for power. I'm going out. See you later." He moseyed out of the living room and down the hall.

Gitty gritted her teeth. Morgan might be her brother, but he was useless when it came to thinking beyond his next good time.

She glared at the source of the fingers of light stretching over the meadow. The owner of the Lending Library was an Other the local fae had embraced with open arms. Even Uther, the one-time leader of the night elves and her uncle, had taken a personal interest in the older female.

"Must be losing his sanity."

She spotted a pinpoint of red light glowing in the far distance. As hard as she tried, she couldn't sense the origin of the light.

"I hate not having my magic!" She smacked the wall with her hand, immediately regretting the action. Bolts of pain shot up her arm.

"Damn it!"

Turning on her heel, she tramped out of the room.





Friday, July 13, 2018

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #FaceYourFears #LGBT #GeneralFiction





Title: Face Your Fears
Author: Bill Mathis
ISBN: 978-1-62420-365-7
Genre: LGBT/General Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Price: 4.99

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


TAGLINE

Face Your Fears shows how normal comes wrapped in different packages, yet inside each package, people are the same, whether able bodied, disabled, black, white, brown, green or LGBTQ+.

BLURB

Face Your Fearsis filled with vitality as it challenges the traditional concepts of normalcy, family, disability and love. Nate is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy raised in a family of achievers. He must be fed, dressed and toileted, yet has unique skills and abilities he gradually becomes aware of. Jude is able-bodied, one of 10 children raised on a hardscrabble Iowa farm. He can change diapers, cook, fix equipment, milk cows, and discovers his vocation as a physical therapist. Both experience tragic teen-age losses, navigate family tragedies, and come to peace with who they are individually as gay men, and eventually together.
            This book shows how normal comes wrapped in different packages, yet inside each package, people are the same, whether able-bodied, disabled, black, white, brown, green or LGBTQ+.


EXCERPT

Eve leans over and whispers to Mikey and me. “They’re getting into the spirit so someone will get healed tonight.”
Mikey tries not to giggle.
His mom pokes her elbow into his side.
I’m confused. I don’t understand this getting in the spirit stuff. Why is everyone crying if someone’s going to get healed? Wouldn’t they be happy? How do they know who’s going to be healed? Besides Mikey, am I the only disabled person here? I kind of wish I wasn’t one right now. That way, I could stand up and look around to see if anyone else is. Does it hurt when you get healed? Would it be like one big spazz, then you’d be all better? What would it be like for Mikey? Would he feel his muscles get all strong again?
I wish Dad was here. He’s good at explaining things. He doesn’t go to church much. He says, “I’m a holiday Catholic, Easter and Christmas is enough, especially after twelve years of nuns and priests.”
The other day, I heard him tell Mom she was taking this borned again stuff too seriously. This morning at breakfast, he got upset when Mom told him she and Judy were taking us to a healing service.
Dad hardly ever gets upset, but he pushed his chair back hard and almost yelled. “Krys, this is going too far. He’s fine just the way he is.”
I thought he was going to say more, then he looked at Mikey and marched outside to the pool and started getting it ready for winter.
I wish Mikey could get healed. He’s the one who will get worser and worser, then die. I’ll have some surgeries and get a little better. I’ll probably live a long time in my chair.
After lots more singing, some people talk with weird words, Eve whispers they’re speaking in tongues. I hear a man ask anyone who wants to be healed to come down front. My wheelchair is back by the coat rack, so even if I wanted to, how was I going to get down there?
Mom leans over Judy and Mikey. “Nate, do you want me to get you in your chair and take you down front?”
I jerk. My eyes get big. I shake my head back and forth lots. I want to say hell no, but I don’t. “No,” I whisper kind of loud. “I’m not going anywhere in front of all these people.”
Mom sits back down. I think she looks sad. I feel bad, maybe I should have let her, that’s what she brought me here for.
An old man pushes an old woman in a wheelchair by our pew. She’s wrapped up in a blanket. Her head flops to one side. Her eyes are kind of funny and her lips have got spit bubbles coming out. Her feet stick out in front and she has pink fluffy slippers on. The healing man prays real loud and talks about the stripes of Jesus healing her. I hear him say he’s anointing her with oil. He repeats everything all over, but louder. Next, he asks if there is anyone else who needs healing. I’m not sure the old lady got healed, ‘cause she didn’t come back up the aisle walking.
All at once, Eve stands up and points down at me and Mikey. Part of me wants to head butt her for pointing us out. Part of me is scared as heck.
“Pray,” Eve hisses. “Close your eyes and pray hard. You too, Mikey. Pray!”
I put my head down and close my eyes. How do you pray? Does it have to be out loud? That would be crazy with other people next to me, especially Mikey. So, I think about walking and running and swimming by myself and not being in a wheelchair. I guess that would be nice. And then, no one would have to wipe my butt or feed me, that would be good for my family. But they don’t seem to mind, they never complain. It all seems regular to us. Mom’s the only one who wants me normal, but it’s not ‘cause she’s tired of helping me. I think she feels sorry for me, or sometimes guilty, which I don’t understand.
Someone touches me and I jerk. I open my eyes and the healing man is leaning over us. He’s old and fat. His shirt button behind his tie is popped off. He’s got stains on his tie and shirt and suit coat. He says all the same things over us he did for the old woman. I get tired after a while, especially the louder he yells.
I peek at Mikey. He won’t look back, which is probably good. We might start laughing. He looks a little scared and worried.
His mom sits straight as a stick. She looks upset and don’t even look down at us, just stares out at nothing.
I can’t see my mom, but I can hear her. She’s whispering and crying real quiet.
The man dabs some oil on my forehead and my arms and legs. “Everything is in God’s timing, so be prepared for a miracle at home,” he says.
He does the same to Mikey and goes back up front. They take an offering. At last they sing the last song, another long one.
The service is over, and my butt hurts from sitting on the hard seat. I don’t think nobody got healed. No one is talking about it. I think if I was healed, or Mikey, everyone would be excited for us. He tried, the preacher healing man really did try hard.
Judy lights a cigarette as soon as we get out the door. Mikey says she only smokes outside and when she’s nervous.
Mom straps me in the car and loads the chair. She kisses me, then asks in a croaky voice, “Nate, honey, do you feel any different?”
I think a minute. I know she really wants me to feel something different. I tell my brain to tell my left hand to move, but it only jerks a little, like it always does. I wiggle my toes, or try, as usual, they don’t do much, instead my legs and body spazzes. I look at her and shake my head. I look away, so I don’t see how she looks, but I think it’s sad. I feel bad, but I can’t tell her something when it ain’t true, that’s lying. Once she washed my mouth out with soap for lying.
Mom closes my door and goes over by Judy, who’s smoking by her door. Mikey climbs in and leans over close to me, his face almost touches mine. “I think that man was crazy! I was scared you’d get healed and I wouldn’t. Then you could walk and everything and make new friends, normal friends, and not have time for me. That’s why I didn’t look at you in church. Are you mad because I wasn’t praying you’d be healed?”
I kiss his cheek. “Mikey, you’re my bestest.”
He joins in, “And bestest and bestest friend in the whole universe.”
We giggle, he slides over and hooks his seatbelt.
Mikey’s door is still open, and he can see our moms. “They’re hugging. I think they’re both crying a little. Your mom’s saying she feels guilty ‘cuz it’s her fault you’re handicapped.”
“It is not! Some cord was wrapped around my neck when I got borned. She didn’t do it on purpose. What’s your mom saying?”
“That she’s scared I’m going to die young. She doesn’t think church or God will heal me and it makes her mad.”
He puts his finger up for me to stay quiet.
“Nate, your mom is saying she doesn’t understand why God didn’t heal both of us tonight, especially after all her praying. Maybe we’ll get healed at home.”
He waits some more, listening to our moms. “My mom said she isn’t going to hold her breath and your mom shouldn’t either. Now they’re hugging tight.”
We’re quiet. “Mikey, I’m scared you will die young, too.” Mikey reaches over and touches my shoulder. I think he’d like to slide over and give me a hug, but he’s buckled in and getting tired out.
“I’m okay. You’re okay. Dad says we have to take it one day at a time. I think that means not to worry. So, I’m not.” We don’t talk anymore.
Judy closes Mikey’s door and climbs in the front seat. Mom gets in and starts the car. It’s cool when the car starts, it’s got a big engine. It’s an old Jag with a stick shift, but it’s in good condition. Mom’s always getting it washed and waxed. Sometimes Mom jokes she should have been a race car driver instead of a CPA and owning her own accounting business. Both our moms have tears on their cheeks, but they don’t seem as sad anymore.
Judy wipes her eyes, turns and looks back at us. She smiles extra big, like she’s making herself happy. “How are you boys doing?”
Mikey looks over at me, shrugs his shoulders and winks. I don’t know what he’s going to say, but I’m ready to laugh. In a deep voice, he says like he’s an announcer or something, “Well, Mrs. Howard, I found that to be an interesting way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Almost better than watching the Bears.”
He and I giggle. Both our moms look like they want to laugh and cry at the same time. Judy stretches her arm between the seats and pats Mikey on the leg. “Oh, Mikey, you always see the humor in everything, don’t you? I like that about you and wish I was more like you instead of worrying all the time.”
Mikey pats her hand back, then looks out the window for a while. It’s quiet till Mom turns on orchestra music, real low.
After a while, Mom clears her throat. “Nate, are you feeling anything different happening? Are you all right?” Her voice sounds shaky, but not as much as before.
“Ma.” I say Ma when I want to tease her or get her attention. She doesn’t like me calling her that. “Ma, I’m fine, at least I’m not worse or anything.”
“That’s nice, honey. I’m…”
“Hey, Ma? That man’s breath smelled really gross. Maybe he was constipated or needed to brush his teeth. I thought I was going to pass out before I could get healed.”
Mikey looks at me like he doesn’t know what to do. Judy snorts like she sucked milk up her nose. “Oh my God! Krys, you look like you’re going to lose it. Pull over someplace. Quick, there’s a McDonalds.”
Mom whips the Jag into Mickey D’s, puts the shift in neutral and yanks up the parking brake. She and Judy burst out laughing so hard tears run down their faces and they can hardly breathe.
“Oh my God, Nate. What cabbage plant did we find you under?”
I’m glad I got Mom to laugh hard. I hope she forgets about getting me healed. My bony butt still hurts.

KEYWORDS

Disability, Family, Romance, Able bodied, LGBT

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

#HighlandMiracle #HistoricalRomance #Fantasy


Author: Christine Young
Email: achristay@aol.com

Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2




EXCERPT: Highland Miracle

"Look, Tia," Reagan said as she pointed toward a nearby hill.  
"What is it?" 
"A handsome stranger," Reagan giggled, instantly transfixed by the man. "Coming to dance around the May Pole?" Reagan looked a little more closely. "Oh, it's the Laird of Sterling Castle. Why is he on foot?"
"You are not thinking what I think," Tia said. "You dinnae know who he is. He looks like the laird but then he doesn't."
"How do I look?" Regan asked, ignoring Tia and smoothing her skirts then hoping she looked beautiful enough to snare this man. She wanted to sweep the laird off his feet. This might be her one and only chance.
She heard the celebration in the background and watched as all eyes rose to meet the Laird's. Her brother William's eyes were startled then guarded and thoughtful. Tia's were intrigued. Some of the others gazes were wary and distrustful. They were a superstitious lot here in the Highlands. But even as she watched the people around her, she could not fully keep her attention from the Laird who had never attended this celebration before. 
She felt a curious draw as she met his piercing gaze. She had only once before seen the man. He was an illusive creature, usually keeping inside the walls of his castle. Rumor had it the castle was haunted and the ghost was a woman who kept him from finding true love or happiness.
"Who do you think he is and where did he come from?" Tia asked peering intently at the man. "I really don't think it's the Laird. No one has spoken to the man in years. He is so withdrawn. A few months ago people were saying he had died."
The man possessed a calm air as if he knew and recognized all the people in front of him. His dark gaze was mysterious, and when he stopped walking, he stood as still as a rock, striking and in clothes she had never seen anyone wear before. She had thought then, though, it would not have mattered what he wore.
Reagan could not draw her eyes from his and felt her flesh grow warm. The way he stared at her was unnerving. Her heart thundered beneath her chest. It seemed as if she knew this man from some long ago time.
But that wasn't possible.
It was May Day. The very air was filled with such excitement, and now this man was here as if sent for her and her alone. In the meadow maids and youths already danced around the Maypole. A man with a bear had the animal dancing circles upon his hind feet, and a marionette show was in progress. A flutist played in honor of King James, a group of Highlanders played the bagpipes. Noise and confusion flourished. The day was bright, clear blue, and so very beautiful. 
She saw a strange gold dusting swirling and dancing in the air around her. Instantly, she felt compelled toward the stranger. For a moment she thought someone spoke to her, encouraging her onward.
Reagan was grateful she'd taken so much time with her clothes. Her hose were white silk, and her little leather slippers were blue decorated with glass stones. Next to her flesh she wore a soft silk shift and over it a binding corset and three different petticoats. The dress was blue brocade, with stomachers in velvet, low-cut bodices, and half sleeves with scores of blue lace. Her facemask was covered with feathers and plumes. Her golden hair was done in ringlets, tied through with blue satin ribbons.  When she'd looked at herself in the mirror, she had been quite pleased with the results. 
So lost in thought, she had lost track of the man. 
Until he stood next to her.

"A...hi," he said. "I'm Sean Michael Sterling." He stared at her with dark dangerous brown eyes as he crossed his arms on his chest.