Wednesday, June 30, 2021

#TheTalisman #HistoricalRomance


The Talisman by Christine Young

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level:


Buy at Amazon



Blurb: The Talisman

The Talisman


Running from a marriage that lasted one night, Dr. Moriah McKeown discovers the land she has settled on is coveted by determined and lawless men. Yet the proud young woman who once vowed never to abandon her home has second thoughts when her adopted children are threatened. Her only recourse is to enlist the aid of a dark, dangerous gun for hire. 


Haunted by the past and a betrayal he will never forgive, Ian Civanovich uses his fast gun and his reckless courage to forget the faithlessness of a woman in his past. He will trust no female--nor will he rest until the threat hovering over Moriah McKeown is put to rest.


This is a wonderful tale, full of action, emotion and a bit mystical at times. Enjoy this one.


Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More 4 Cups



EXCERPT: The Talisman


Buffalo Creek, 

South Dakota 



Hot, dry air scorched the prairie grass. Sweat slid along his spine. Danger clung to every whisper; seemed to swirl and grow with each passing second. Ivan Civanovich watched the woman below. With deadly purpose, he studied the lady who had hired him--the woman who had bought his gun and perhaps death.

"Reckless courage," Ivan mused. 

"Si Senor, she does have what you call a great courage, but I don’t know about the reckless part. She is always so very careful," Pedro said. 

"I’m a dangerous man, Pedro." 

"This is why she hired you."

"The lady has no business hiring men like me. She’s a woman. She is supposed to nurture lives."

"She needs you to keep the bad men from taking the land away--our home," Pedro said.

Ivan pushed the tip of his hat back from his brows. From his vantage point, he considered the woman while she hung the freshly laundered white sheets on the line. A strange shudder swept through him, his muscles tensing with the sudden feeling he knew this woman, had known her forever. The sensations were too strong, the feelings too acute, and it troubled him because knowing her was impossible.

Her hair, a wild mop of red curls, battled with the stiff, hot wind rising off the prairie. The breeze and her hair flowed in undulating currents between the lines, threatening to tangle themselves in the wire. She bent over at the waist, giving him a perfect view of her backside while she toyed with something on the ground. Seconds later she picked up the object of her curiosity, turned it over in her hands then tossed it aside.

He didn’t like to think about what could happen to her in the next few weeks. She’d advertised for a gun for a hire. She didn’t know what she bargained for, and he’d bet his inheritance she didn’t have any idea what kind of trouble she’d purchased. 

When she looked up the hill, his grin widened. She couldn’t see him, but her shoulders tensed and she sucked air. Her hand touched her forehead, shielding her eyes from the blinding sunlight. She scanned the horizon, turning a complete circle before she stopped.

"Good," he said, "she is cautious." 

"She knows someone is up here," Pedro announced. 

"She’s got more starch in her drawers and the stiffest backbone of any woman I’ve ever seen." Ivan whistled through his teeth, his eyes intent and focused upon the woman.

"Si." Pedro agreed. "She sure enough does but her heart is made of spun gold."

Ivan wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. Beads of sweat dripped down his back. His gaze swept across the barren landscape then followed the line of trees that bordered the creek. He lifted the glasses to his eyes and turned his attention to a spot about a mile north of her ranch. The railroad wanted easement rights. So why wouldn’t she sell to them. "Spun gold, huh." He dropped the binoculars, letting them dangle from their strap around his neck.

"Si, boss."

"I see." Ivan leaned forward, resting his forearm on the saddle horn.

Ivan wasn’t sure he understood. Women had a lot of fine qualities, many of which he didn’t want to live without but a soft, feminine heart shouldn’t be deciding life and death matters. 

Spun gold.No, he’d never met a female with a heart of gold, spun or otherwise. He’d never known a woman who wouldn’t betray a man for a piece of gold. Save one, he amended, and his best friend had married her. Alexi Popov had his trials too. He had kidnapped Angela and spirited her away to his home in the Crimea. In the end though, he gave up his title, his land, and most of his wealth for Angela. He followed her back to America and married her.




This is a wonderful tale, full of action, emotion and a bit mystical at times. Enjoy this one.


Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More 4 Cups


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

#TellTaleTuesday #LovingLeslie


Title: Loving Leslie

         Bad Boys Book Five

Author: Christine Young

Genre: Historical romance

Book Heat Level:


Buy at:AmazonBarnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Google Play


Read first chapter




Leslie Stewart is used to having his life well ordered until he meets Lacie McTavish who has known since the tender age of fifteen this is the man of her dreams.




He's a bad bad boy...


Leslie Stewart, Duke of Southcliff is stoic, set in his ways, a spy who is used to having his life well ordered. He expects life to continue on in this perfectly conventional fashion. He assumes his bad boy status while keeping mamas and debutantes at arm's length. An heir is needed but Leslie has every intention of finding a woman who doesn't covet his wealth and tittle. He is irresistibly drawn to the headstrong young lady who becomes more beautiful as she develops into a woman.


...but she is loving him.


When Leslie kisses Lacie MacTavish, she knows even at the tender age of fifteen this is the man of her dreams. Forced to wait until she comes of age, Lacie withdraws into herself. Now she is eighteen and Leslie has returned from a mission for the British Government ready to claim her as his bride. She refuses him and he must find a way to seduce her and in the process create a burning passion within her, which she cannot deny.




A storm was coming. Maybe more than one if he had to guess. Sunshine would disappear and be replaced with snow or rain. Looked like snow to him.

Pushing his hat back, he spotted a rider due east of the house. It was Lacie, racing the wind as well as the darkness. He watched her as she neared the house and veered toward the stables. She would take care of her horse first then leave for the house. In the stables where he kissed her for the first time, he would confront her. Perhaps this scrape of hers was really nothing and could easily be dealt with.

The gallop looked reckless, but he knew her expertise when it came to riding. Still he worried a hole in the ground, a small animal, anything could spook a horse and throw its rider. For the duration, he held his breath, his heart beat doubling in time as his breath held steady in the back of his throat.

Once she was safely inside the stables, he walked Garth toward the barn, handing the reins to the stable boy then proceeding to the stall where Lacie was brushing down her horse. Her dark hair had come lose from all its pins and was in glorious disarray framing her delicate features.

He crossed his arms, leaning against the stall door, much like he did the day he first kissed her. Watching her was like seeing heaven, and he’d been away for so long all he wanted was to pull her into his arms, feel her soft warmth against him, filling his soul with heat and fire. He realized he missed her. Her face was flushed from the ride. He was sure her skin would have a sheen of moisture covering it, much like he imagined when they finally made love.

Tonight he hoped if everything went as planned, she would be in his arms and sweetly beneath him. Perhaps a start on an heir, he needed to stop tongues from waging and his mother from nagging.

Her start of surprise made him grin and raise one eyebrow.

“It’s you.” She sounded panic struck, one hand just above her heart as she gasped for air. She closed her eyes for a second, her breasts heaving.

“Welcome home would be nice.” He stepped forward only to see her back away from him, terror on her face.

He stopped midstride but had no words, unsure of how to proceed. He couldn’t fathom why she was afraid of him, why her eyes were wide with terror.

She swallowed, wiping her hands on her riding habit. “I’m sorry. You did surprise me. Welcome home, Leslie.” Then she turned her attention back to her horse just as if her husband wasn’t standing two feet away from her. Picking up a blanket she started to cover the animal.

“A hug would have been nice, too, as well as I missed you my dear husband. Perhaps even I’m glad to see you or a kiss on the cheek. At the moment you look as if you detest me, or are terrified of me. I don’t know which scenario is worse.” He wanted more than a kiss on the cheek, but he knew by the sheer terror he saw in her dark blue eyes flecked with tiny particles of green even that intimate gesture wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

What to do?

“You’ve been gone so long. I nearly forgot what you look like,” she spoke softly, unable to look at him, continuing to administer all her affections on her mare. She stopped to stare at him, her eyes still wide but this time more uncertain than terrified.

This was not like Lacie. So foreign, he didn’t understand. Couldn’t comprehend what was happening here. For the longest time, he stood unmoving, watching the jerk of her muscles as she worked.

She turned back to her horse as if she was hiding from him. He knew he wasn’t going to pull her into his arms then kiss her as he did that day so long ago. Now, it seemed, he needed to tread lightly until he could figure out what was going on with her. That scrape must have been devilishly more than a minor incident. He needed for her to tell him what it entailed.

“What do you want, Leslie.”

She didn’t look at him. No, she sounded as if she wanted him to go away. Her voice was cold, icy.

“You know what I want.” He didn’t move toward her, just settled for watching her for the time being.



KEYWORDS: Historical, Romance, Scottish, Highlands, Bad Boys, Regency

























Barnes and Noble:;jsessionid=928CE1573A0115BEAD2FD870E4A561D8.prodny_store01-atgap14?ean=2940162644682






Google Play:


He's a bad bad boy...but she is loving him. When Leslie kisses Lacie MacTavish, she knows even at the tender age of fifteen this is the man of her dreams. Forced to wait until she comes of age, Lacie withdraws into herself. Now she is eighteen and Leslie has returned from a mission for the British Government ready to claim her as his bride.



Monday, June 28, 2021

#MysteryMonday #MoreThanAStarTraveller


Title: More Than a Star Traveler

Author: Genie Gabriel

Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance

Book Heat Level: 1


Buy at: AmazonBarnes and Noble


Read first chapter




Chessie Durand and her collie travel through stargates on angel assignments, discovering different worlds and the extent of her supernatural powers through a merkaba necklace gifted from a man who has loved her for many lifetimes.


BLURB: More Than s Star Traveler


To come back to Earth Three in his collie form, Chap agrees to go on Angel Assignments with his beloved human. Chessie Durand is sometimes amazed and sometimes frustrated as she learns how to use the powers of a mystical necklace given to her by a man who has loved her for many lifetimes. 


Peter Stravel knows Chessie is his Chosen One when he travels through the stargate to her dimension. However, their love and their lives are threatened by those who want to destroy Chessie before she realizes her full power as the One who travels in the light of the merkaba. 


Their survival depends on learning to trust their love and use their supernatural powers, as they team up with animals who play a special role in their lives.



EXCERPT: More Than a Star Traveler


I smell smoke.Chap lifted his nose to the air, then climbed out of his bed next to Chessie’s to open the french doors into the conservatory in the middle of the farmhouse.

Stars twinkled in the night-time sky, seeming unaware of the curl of smoke rising from the trees to the west of the farmhouse.

“Woof!” Chap returned to Chessie’s bed and nudged her awake. I smell smoke and it’s close. Too close!

The sleepiness instantly cleared from Chessie’s brain. She shoved her feet into the shoes that constantly waited beside her bed since she and Chap had started their angel assignments, then rushed out into the conservatory. “Omigosh! Wake the others and let’s get the sprinklers going to soak down the buildings.”

As the others stumbled from their beds, RT shouted, “Go to the barns, Chessie, and talk to the animals to calm them. I’ll turn on the pump in the creek to start the sprinklers.”

Peter joined Chessie as she ran toward the barn. “I can see flames. This fire is moving fast.”

“Let’s get the animals to the stargate. We can escape through there.”

Peter turned in a slow circle. “It’s all around us. This is no accident.”

Chessie followed his gaze and realized Peter was right. “Bring the animals to the pool. I’m going see how the merkaba commands water.”

When Chessie touched her necklace, she instantly materialized in the middle of the pool, envisioning the waters splitting to flow around the farm and extinguish the flames.

Soon, Peter and Kiki and the dogs appeared, shepherding the animals from the barns toward the water. The animals milled around, uneasy as the fire closed in around them.

RT splashed alongside the creek to help, coughing from the smoke now settling over the meadow. “The water’s rising in the creek, but we need more. The flames are still coming closer.”

“Chap, what can you do with angelic connections?”

Calling on them now.

I’m here too.Grandfather Alston appeared among the flames. Why didn’t you call me earlier?

“Knew you’d want to come in at the last minute and play the hero.”

“Maybe we can add some rain to go with the waters of the creek,” Peter said.

When Peter took Chessie’s hand, fat raindrops began falling around them.

“Did you feel that surge of energy?” Chessie touched Chap and the rain increased. “Kiki, put your hand on Chap’s head. RT, Grandfather–”

On it.Alston’s image shimmered between Kiki and Peter, forming a human and angelic chain between the advancing fire and the animals.

“The creek’s rising again and spreading out.” RT yelled as the rains fell harder and harder.

The roaring beast of fire hissed as the waters of the creek challenged its advance, and the rains pounded the flames from above. With the roar of the flames muffled by the water, the reassuring sound of sirens became audible in the distance.

Before the group could catch a breath of relief, human screams erupted as a strange man ran across the meadow grass toward them.

No, not a stranger.

“I’ve seen that man before,” Chessie said.

The arsonist we saw in the park planning to frame someone else for a fire he started. He’s also the man we saw by the fire near Gio the Cat’s house.Chap stood protectively between Chessie and the man now close enough to see the fury etched on his face.

“You cannot take this victory away from me!” He threw the contents of a red can toward the group then flicked a lighter. The shield of the merkaba activated instantly, forming a clear, glass-like container that trapped the arsonist inside with the gasoline and the flames.

Close behind him, Deputy Doug Burkhart drove across the bumpy ground in a sheriff’s SUV. He screeched to a stop and flung open the door, staring at the sight in front of him. “What the–”

The arsonist stood encased in a clear shield. Flames still burned, though all that remained of the man was the expression of impotent fury on his face.

Doug slowly approached and walked around the crystalline flame sculpture, then lifted his phone to snap a photo of the arsonist. “I guess Brant Aagney truly went out in a blaze of infamy.”

Only the first media cameras to reach the scene recorded the mysterious face in the flame. By morning’s light when law enforcement wrapped up their investigation, no sign of what used to be a human remained. Only a beautiful crystalline sculpture in the shape of a flame.


Website URL:


Blog URL:


Facebook page:


Sunday, June 27, 2021

#RomanceSunday #LegacyOfTruth


Legacy of Truth

Genie Gabriel

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 2


Buy at Amazon

Buy at Barnes & Noble



BLURB: Legacy of Truth


Thomas O'Shea is the bad boy in a family of overachievers, haunted by what he saw as a child. When he turns to a woman known as The Wizard to help him solve the mystery of his adoptive father's death, the killers start closing in. His childhood memories hold the key to saving his family--if they can uncover the truth buried beneath years of fear and deceit.


Excerpt: Legacy of Truth


Thomas stared at Jenny standing in the great room in a little slip of a dress. No jeans to hide her long, sexy legs. No cane to steady her balance. 

Love and desire plowed into his belly. "Wow."

She smiled at him uncertainly. "Is that a good wow or a bad wow?"

"Definitely a good wow." Thomas stepped forward and took her hand. "Do you want your cane?" 

With a shake of her head, Jenny said, "I'm walking unaided tonight."

Thomas raised an eyebrow, and her spirited side burst out. "You don't think I can do it?"

He grinned. "I think you can do anything you set your mind to."

Her gaze narrowed on him, as if assessing whether he was teasing or not. "I may need an occasional hand from my escort."

Thomas tucked her hand in the crook of his arm. "Any time."

When they arrived at Waring House, a look of dismay crossed Jenny's face when she stared at the broad, curving staircase. The one she would have to climb to reach the ballroom on the third floor.

"There's an elevator," Thomas whispered.

"I'm walking tonight." A slight tremble vibrated in her words.

"Save your energy for dancing." Thomas swept Jenny into his arms and carried her up the stairs.

A squeak of protest slid out of her throat before she quieted. Not the first time he had carried her slight frame, but the first time since he realized she was The One. 

That realization changed everything. Thomas felt more protective, yet also felt the need to be more gentle, as if to let her know without saying the words how special she was. He set her carefully on her feet in the entryway just outside the ballroom. 

"I won't break, you know." Jenny brushed non-existent wrinkles out of her dress.

Her prickly comment told him she noticed something different, so Thomas fell back into their usual verbal sparring. "Didn't want to crumple your dress." 

"Hmmph." However, she did take his arm before they entered the grand ballroom, where tables had been set up so diners could enjoy the fine French cuisine and listen to the music at the same time, then perhaps dance later on.

Thomas walked slowly with Jenny on his arm, letting her savor the moment of triumph when she walked all the way to their table. No cane. Just using those beautiful legs.

As Thomas pulled out a chair for Jenny to sit down, they shared a victorious smile. Then they dined with the rest of the family as the chamber group of Halo citizens played. Muted conversations and enthusiastic applause for the musicians made for a delightful dinner. Mayor Audrey beamed over the success what she hoped would be the first of many "cultural evenings."

The chamber musicians had just started on another piece when the lights went out. 



Saturday, June 26, 2021

#sciFiFantasy #Saturday #SeasonOfTheWitch


Title: Season of the Witch

Authors: Christine Young, C. L. Kraemer, Genie Gabriel

Genre: Anthology/Romance/Fantasy


Book Heat Level: 1


Buy at: AmazonBarnes and NobleAppleKoboGoogle Play


Read first chapter




Three stories that travel through time with the magic of All Hallows’ Eve.





A few days shy of All Hallows' Eve Connal McKenna, Laird of Clan Chattan stands on the parapets of his castle. Bonfires line the hillsides while his clan prepares for the upcoming festivities. Drawn by the whispering of the wind, Connal McKenna feels a strange restlessness in his soul. Setting out to discover the wickedness that is calling to him, he discovers his mate. With gentle words and sensuous kisses, the auburn-eyed highlander conquers his mate, the beautiful, defiant Wynnie Adair who he comes upon during an evening ride. She must ultimately put her trust in the only man who can save her from the ruthless plans of her father and succumb to his gentle coaxing.



The Lending Library is open – again! 


The new “Other” is able to see the Fae and Wood Nymph buzzing about. She states she has no fear of the Night Elves on the hill. However... a lost traveler from another era pushes her to expose the secret she hoped to keep.



A half-bionic computer nerd teams up with a beautiful witch and an assortment of Halloween characters in a series of misadventures to save a small country from a zombie apocalypse.






Connal’s Eternal Love

Christine Young


He heard the pounding of the hooves, a single horse, but racing down the darkened road, shadows hiding the horse and rider. Suddenly, the silhouetted form raced around the bend in the road, cape and brilliant hair flying behind. Moonlight caught the vibrant strands for a brief moment sending slivers of color to greet his gaze. Connal’s heartbeat stopped then slowly began to beat again, the brilliance or the color, shimmering a deep red catching all the meager light until the elements appeared on fire.

            Connal’s breath caught in his throat, captivated by the site as the woman drew closer. She didn’t seem to see them, continuing on her wild ride toward him. Yet to Connal, she seemed remarkably skilled for a woman, vulnerable as well. He only knew of one other woman who could ride that well and that heedlessly without injury. His sister.

            When the woman was too close to turn around and race in the opposite direction, “Hold!” Connal raised his sword, moonlight glinting off the steel. Behind him, his men did the same.

            She pulled on the reins to stop the stallion’s mad dash down the road before she would run into him. The horse reared its front legs rising high, pawing in the air as she clung to him, desperately hanging on.

            “No,” her whispered word did not escape Connal. The single word sounded and felt like a cry for help.

            Yet perhaps he was mistaken. As soon as the young woman controlled the horse, she dashed through the woods away from them. A moment of breathless silence followed before Connal regained his wits, pushing the cobwebs from his brain.

            “Stay here and wait for me,” he ordered then followed the woman into the trees, hell bent on catching up with her. He suddenly felt alive and whole, all instincts driving him forward to claim the prize that had suddenly appeared in front of him.

            He couldn’t see or hear her. Pulling to a stop he listened and the silence was foreboding, unnerving. The wind’s murmurs no longer sounded evil to him, just fearful. She must have done the same. With nothing to lose, he would wait for her to make her move and when she did, he would have her and discover what caused her frantic and wild race this evening. He would ascertain what motivated her to put herself in such danger.

            It did not take long. A few minutes later he heard the swish of movement through the bushes. He smiled; his keen hearing would pay off. She must not realize it, but she was slowly moving toward him. When she was close, he spurred his horse, capturing the reins of hers before she could flee again.

            “You are mine now.” And he understood his words were true despite the fact she would gainsay him at every turn. His heart beat stronger suddenly and his mind cleared.

            “No!” This time her cry was of alarm and horror. “Leave me alone.” She tried to push his hand away, swatting at him but to no avail. “I weel nay go back.”

            “I won’t hurt you, lass,” he said as her fist hit his jaw. Then needing to laugh, “I suppose I didn’t see that coming.”

            “I’ve heard that before,” she grit out, still pushing at his hands, struggling away from him. “You’ve no right.”

            “Which part? I won’t hurt you or I didn’t see it coming.”

            “Let me go.” She jerked on the reins to no avail.

            “Stop it.” He tried to grab her around the waist to lift her onto his horse, hoping to control her struggles and subdue her in the process yet he realized that would not be an easy feat.

            “Never,” she said, still hitting at him, her fingernails raking across his face, drawing rivulets of blood. This time she pushed so hard, she fell from her horse.

For a moment, she lay stunned on the ground, gasping for air. That tiny second gave him time to dismount and reach for her. He held her now, once again her arms and legs flying through the air, her efforts directed at him. He wanted to shake some sense into her and tell her she didn’t need to fight him. He meant her no harm, but he also understood she wouldn’t believe him.

He didn’t know what to tell her. She needed to stop this foolishness before one of them got hurt. At this moment, he suspected it would be him who took the brunt of her blows.

            “Let me go. You’ve no right.” Her words were short and pained. She was very nearly breathless, exhausted by her desperate thrashing.

The pounding on his chest weakened her until she fell limp in his arms, her head resting against his chest. He heard the long raspy attempts for air, felt the rapid beat of her heart against him. In her gasp for air, a sob rumbled forth. A moment of sympathy or perhaps it was empathy that filled his soul for this lass.

            “Now are you going to stop fighting me?” he asked, even as she pulled back, hitting him in the chest with her head then with one last and very weak punch she quit for the moment.




Sorceress’ Secret

C.L. Kraemer


Finn stopped dead in his tracks. A massive web stretched across the barn, and moving rapidly toward them was the largest spider he had ever seen. “Just stand still. In spite of their eight eyes, spiders don’t see very well. They use their other senses to locate prey.”

“Well, she seems to have located us.” Chloe huddled closer to her uncle and squeezed her eyes closed. “I just want to find my dog and go home. Do something, Uncle Finn!

With Chloe clinging to his leg in fear, thoughts of his allergic reaction to spider bites dissolved in the face of finally being an uncle that Chloe could be proud of. Glancing around for a weapon to save them from the spider, Finn realized he still carried the bowl of candy corn he had saved from certain destruction when Batzy knocked over the table.

Hope this works!Finn narrowed his eyes in concentration and threw the bowl of candy corn at the spider. Using the keen sight from his bionic eye and the strength of his robotic arm, his aim was spot-on accurate–kind of. The bowl hit the web right where the spider would have been if she hadn’t started scrambling after packets of candy as they flew through the air.

Gathering as many as she could carry, the spider scurried off to stash them in one of the rafters.

“Look at that,” Finn whispered. “I think she likes candy. Let’s get out of here while she’s busy.”

As they carefully back-stepped toward the door of the barn, the spider dropped suddenly in front of them. Chloe shrieked again. With no more candy to throw to the spider, Finn considered grabbing up both of the girls to make a run for the door.

However, the spider didn’t seem threatening. She simply held out a packet of the candyand, from the pleading look in her eight eyes, Finn could have sworn she was asking for him to open it. Slowly, he reached out and took the packet, tore it open, and emptied the candy onto the palm of his hand. When he held the candy out to the spider, she daintily reached out with one of her legs and took a piece.

With a noise that sounded suspiciously like “Nom, nom,” she repeated the gesture until all the pieces of candy corn were gone. Then she disappeared, only to drop down on a thread of web a few seconds later with another packet. Finn repeated the process.

When the spider disappeared yet again, then reappeared with another packet, Chloe whispered, “What will happen when the candy is gone?”

“Don’t know.” Finn shook his head slightly.

“We still need to find Batzy and go home. My mom is going to be worried.”

“And my wings disappear at eight,” Shabina Louise added.

“Ms. Spider, we need to be going,” Finn called out. “Enjoy the candy.”

But when they stepped through the door out of the barn, the spider was there again, her legs full of packets of candy.

“I think she wants to go with us,” Shabina Louise said.

The spider appeared to nod her head.

“Ohhhh-kay.” Not really believing what was happening, Finn went back into the barn to pick up the bowl the candy had been in, then went back outside. “You can ride in this with your candy.”

The spider crawled into the bowl and held up a packet of candy to be opened. Finn opened several packets and dropped the candy loose in the bowl. The spider settled down happily to munch on the sweets.

Her name is Maurina and she doesn’t want to live in abarn with other spiders and eat bugs,” Shabina Louise announced.

“But–never mind.” Finn laughed at himself for relating to a spider who didn’t feel like she belonged. All his life he had felt like a misfit. Still did, but had finally realized he needed to find the positive aspects in his difference. “We’ll sort this out after we find Batzy and Sherbet and get home. Where shall we look now?”

Still munching on the candy, the spider pointed one of her legs down the shadowy road.



Thirteen Magic Pumpkin Seeds

Genie Gabriel


“Can we find Batzy and go home?” Chloe’s woeful look tugged at Finn’s guilt.

“We also need to help Batram regain his sonar and turn Maurina back into a human,” Shabina Louise said. “All before midnight.”

The adults shared a look. “Okay, girls, let’s head back to the party at Aunt Maddie’s.”

As the two girls set out slightly ahead of the adults, Finn asked, “Are all the offenders from the past?”

“Many are because the shock of traveling to a different era can make them more open to changing their ways, and they aren’t in a familiar environment with their usual connections,” Asteria said. “But we also get modern-day politicians and lawyers–anyone who thinks they don’t have to comply with the laws and agreed upon behaviors of their time. Again, shock value can be good therapy. If an offender comes face to face with a power they can’t manipulate or control, it shocks them into changing. However, some offenders like these two are good at adapting their crimes to fit any time period or circumstance. That’s when more drastic measures are taken to make sure they don’t harm others.”

Asteria paused, then pinned Finn with a direct look. “Now, tell me about this deposed dictator.”

Finn knew Asteria would see through anything less than the truth. Yet his agreement with the military bound him not to reveal some information. “Much of the details are classified military information. But the basics are this dictator was overthrown about a year ago, then disappeared, and has been gathering support to regain his power. My brother’s unit is charged with making him disappear permanently.”

“Wait a minute.” A frown of concentration wrinkled Asteria’s brow. “There was a kerfluffle in the magic community at the same time about witches mixing too closely with mortals in a little country named Hallowoden. That’s when Spell Central was established and witches were given computers to control their spells. Supposedly to keep dark magic from growing too powerful. Didn’t set right with me at the time, so I’ve kept up my own magic the old-fashioned way with spells and potions.”

Finn keyed the country name into his computer. “Looks like another kerfluffle–a news flash about a zombie apocalypse happening now. Think it’s fake news?”

“Well, many things are possible with dark magic.”

With a few more keystrokes, Finn said, “Thought I remembered a scientific possibility for zombies. A neurotoxin found in some sea creatures can cause problems walking and breathing as well as a confused mental state. Says high doses could also cause paralysis and coma, which makes some people seem dead. I would think a doctor could tell the difference, but generations ago doctors weren’t always available. So if relatives thought someone was dead and buried them...waking up and trying to dig out would be a real challenge. Unless grave robbers were prying open coffins and someone sat up to have a chat.”

A corner of Asteria’s mouth kicked up in a half smile. “There really is more to you than you appear. And, as I recall, a potion made with the corpse flower can turn people into zombies also.”

“We met an old man who had one in a coffin,” Finn said.

“It must be carefully combined with other ingredients under specific conditions. Otherwise, the one casting the spell could succumb to a coma. Older witches knew this well, but it became used for dark magic and was forbidden by Spell Central. Only a few witches, like my friend, Louise, retain this knowledge.”

“Witches who use dark magic wouldn’t care what was forbidden, would they?”

“No, they wouldn’t. These times of great world chaos have affected witches also, bringing up issues buried long ago to be vanquished. Just as with humans, there has long been the conflict between dark and light magic among witches, and where to draw the line between.”

“Sometimes more than a line. More like a very blurry no man’s land between the two.”

“You have been there.”

“Most of my life, it seems.” Finn looked at Asteria. Would she understand? Would she consider him a freak? One of dark ones?When declared clinically dead at six years old, Finn had no choice in his father’s decision to revive him with experimental bionic body parts.

Now he faced his own decision: whether or not to become fully bionic and a tool of the military. Was this a choice between dark and light?

From what his brother shared about military operations, much was kept secret, even from those involved in a mission. The need to keep information out of enemy hands if someone was captured? Or the selfish desire for power by dark forces in charge?

He would become a hero, they said in trying to sell him on their scheme. A pathfinder in a new generation of soldiers that used technology coupled with brains and physical might beyond that of a mere human to keep peace in the world.

Yet,Finn wondered, could a super-warrior designed for conquering, war and violence really be content with peace?All his life Finn’s desire for a sanctuary where he could feel he truly belonged had eluded him. Becoming a super-soldier sounded like it would take him farther away from contentment, and certainly would further set him apart from all other people.

“Finn?” Asteria’s voice pulled him from his musings. “Was there something you wanted to tell me?”

Yes, tell her, his internal computer urged.

This time, Finn pushed the voice aside. “Ah, sorry. My mind went off-rail for a moment. You think dark magic may be interfering with the atonement of souls sent to the enchanted pumpkin patch?”

Asteria considered this mortal man named Finn. He was indeed more than he appeared, and she did not for a minute buy the excuse about his mind wandering. This man had something deep and serious going on.

“Hey, what’s taking you two so long to catch up?” Uncle Werey reappeared as Chloe and Shabina Louise waited impatiently a short distance ahead.

“We’ve come up with a mystery.” Asteria briefly outlined what she and Finn had discovered.

“If a deposed dictator and someone with dark magic were working together to gain power, staging a zombie apocalypse, then saving the panicked masses by defeating the zombies would be a creative way to do that.”

“Does anyone who appeared in the enchanted pumpkin patch for atonement hold that much dark magic?” Asteria scrolled through the list of offenders.

“They wouldn’t really need much power if the mortals were predisposed to believe in zombies,” Uncle Werey said.

“I agree,” Finn said. “They could run old zombie movies to set people thinking about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, and run footage on the news, along with the information about the neurotoxin that can cause zombie-like symptoms...”

“And the imagination of mortals could do the rest.” Asteria shook her head. “They would be out digging up great-aunt Hilda to make sure she was already dead.”

“Depending on whether or not they had spent all the inheritance she left them.” Finn’s teasing remark earned a smile from Asteria.

“Well, I can transport to Hallowoden and deal with anyone using dark magic,” Uncle Werey said.

“While my brother’s military unit takes out the deposed dictator, now that they have the correct coordinates of his location,” Finn said.

“And we can find Batzy, as well as help Batram and Maurina.”

“Great! Let’s meet at Aunt Maddie’s party afterward.”





Halloween, Time travel, Paranormal, Witches, Magic




Rogue’s Angels





Christine Young











C. L. Kraemer




Facebook page:




Genie Gabriel


Website URL:

Blog URL:

Facebook page:







Barnes and Noble:;jsessionid=2F4A1EAC9559FD878585DDE7B2A92407.prodny_store01-atgap06?ean=2940162760580