Theodosia “Teddy” Ballard knows nothing about community theater, but when the stage manager for “Little Shop of Horrors” takes a tragic header down the costume-loft stairs, she agrees to fill in for the sake of her actor friend, Will. Teddy takes the superstitions and swelled heads of The Stage in stride—till she meets George Clancy Everhart, the theater ghost, who informs her that the previous stage manager was murdered and demands that she find the killer. Both investigation and rehearsals are complicated when she makes a surprising discovery about her relationship with Will—and learns that George has his own dramatic agenda.
There was no way I had left a door open, but I got up and checked again. Must be a draft from somewhere in this old building. I retrieved the scattered pages and made sure they were in the right order.
I heard a thud as if something had fallen over backstage. Looking in the wings, I found a hammer on the floor. I put it back where it belonged and returned to my papers.
An overhead light flickered, red, then green, then white.
“All right, that’s enough.” I got to my feet for the third time. “Good joke, Will. Ha, ha. Now show yourself.”
“I beg your pardon, dear lady,” said a deep voice.
I stared in disbelief as a man appeared before me. He was tall and elegantly dressed in a three piece suit and cravat. His features were blurry, but he had an aristocratic air, a distinctive nose, and a satisfied smile.
He removed his bowler hat and bowed. “George Clancy Everhart, at your service.”
I didn’t know how Will had managed to create this image. This must have been some bizarre rite of passage for people new to the theater. Well, it wasn’t going to rattle me.
“Theodosia Ballard,” I said. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Theodosia! What a splendid name!”
“I prefer Teddy.”
“Teddy? That’s a boy’s name! You are a woman, and a very fine woman, at that. Such a magnificent presence! You should be on stage.”
“I am on stage right now, and I have a lot of work to do, so you can turn yourself off, disappear, whatever, just go away.”
He looked startled. “You don’t believe in me.”
“I believe you’re a really good special effect. Go on now, get lost.”
The image drew himself up. “My good woman, you are speaking to one of the premiere actors of the Twentieth Century. Why, I appeared in hundreds of plays during my lifetime. Thousands of performances! All to great acclaim!”
“I’m sure you did.”
“Excellent reviews! Encores by the score!”
“Then why are you haunting a little theater in Rossboro, North Carolina? Shouldn’t you be in New York? London?”
He paused and put a hand to his heart. “You wound me to the core, Theodosia. In my later years, my career took a sad tumble. Like your lover William, I was unable to continue my passion for Broadway. I ended up here, disillusioned but undefeated.”
“Whoa, hold on, buster. Will is not my lover. And how do you know about his New York experience?” I’d had enough. “Will, stop this right now. It isn’t funny.”
“I agree, Theodosia. It is tragic. The boy has such talent, such a love for theater.”
“Stop it.” I moved to push the man away, but my hands went right through him, and I almost fell into the orchestra pit. A strong force shoved me away from the edge.
“Dear me,” he said. “You must be more careful.”
I caught my breath. “I don’t believe in ghosts. Why are you here?”
“Because you need my help,” he said.
“What do I need your help for?”
“Why, to solve the murder, of course! I liked Paula. She was efficient. I admired her work ethic. I do hope you have a strong work ethic, Theodosia.”
“Wait, wait. Go back to the first thing. Solve the murder? No one’s calling Paula’s death a murder!”
“But it was,” George Clancy Everhart said. “I saw it.”
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s home town, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Mysteries, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her reformed con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, and the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, and an array of tenants who move in and out of Cam’s boarding house at 302 Grace Street. Ghost Light is her first standalone mystery and the first to feature an asexual heroine.
True Ghost Stories & Other Spine-chilling Paranormal Adventures
Mind-Body-Spirit, Religion and Spirituality, Occult and Paranormal
Publisher: Outskirts Press
A Knock in the Attic—my second award-winning book—is, as Uri
Geller stated, “a fascinating true story of incredible psychic
In these entertaining and adventure filled stories I’ll tell you what it
was like to grow up with a powerful and accurate psychic gift that sometimes
spooked the adults around me, leaving them bug-eyed and slack-jawed; and
I’ll relate some of the emotions I experienced while encountering
hair-raising visitations from ghosts on a regular basis.
I’ll share with you the times when my own Guardian Angels not only
protected me from physical harm but when they also literally saved my life
with a belated Christmas Miracle, to the astonishment of others who said I
had lived through the impossible.
Travel with me to Roswell where I have my very own “‘UFO’
encounter” at the Roswell UFO Museum, an encounter that validated the
fact that the Roswell UFO crash was a real event and also explained why many
witnesses to UFOs are reluctant to come forward.
Plus: I’ll tell you what it was like to meet Uri Geller; give you a
behind-the-scenes look at filming the TV pilot for The History Channel; take
you along with me to a haunted horse barn; and then…what was that knocking
in the attic…?
You’ll enjoy more than a few spine-tingling moments as you join me to
experience these astonishing true stories of the unknown…incredible
paranormal events that you will not soon forget.
Praise for A Knock in the Attic
“John Russell’s A Knock in the Attic is a fascinating true story of
incredible psychic experiences. If you are a skeptic or a believer
this is a book for you.” — Uri Geller
“This is a book that is filled with adventure and mind-blowing
experiences…[told in] prose that is crisp and in a voice that is
irresistible.” — 5 Star Review by Grace Masso for Readers’
“John’s second book, A Knock in the Attic, is an experiential tour de
force of the Other Side. John immerses us in his life’s fascinating
journey through planes both seen and unseen, giving us powerful insights
into how the two worlds intersect. With his distinctive Texas-style
storytelling, John has laid out a must-read for anybody wanting to gain more
clarity about all things paranormal.” — Jim Mullen,
multi-award-winning television producer/editor/writer
“Takeaway: Readers who enjoy a good heart-racing, spooky ghost
story will enjoy this collection claiming real-life encounters with the
paranormal world. Great for fans of: Alvin Schwartz’s Scary
Stories to Tell in the Dark; Sylvia Browne’s The Other Side and Back.”
— BookLife (by Publishers Weekly)
“I’m giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. In response to John’s
message to his readers on the last page: yes, this book has challenged
me, made me laugh, given me food for thought, and inspired me. I
highly recommend this book to ALL readers who love reading real paranormal
stories.” — Shey Saints’s Reviews
About the Author
John Russell has been a professional psychic for 50 years.
He is a Psychic/Psychic Reader, a Medium, a Certified T.A.R.O.T. Master, a
Paranormal Investigator, and now a published Author. Internationally known,
he has provided psychic readings for clients in over 40 countries.
For over 15 years he has been a popular featured guest, heard worldwide, on
many radio shows and podcasts, including: Coast to Coast AM with George
Noory; The Unexplained with Howard Hughes (UK); Beyond Reality with JV
Johnson; The Leak Project with Rex Bear; FATE Magazine Radio with Kat
Hobson; Beyond the Darkness with David Schrader of TV’s The Holzer Files;
The Singularity Lab with Michael Mataluni; and many more.
John also filmed a TV pilot for The History Channel in which he psychically
explored the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
The Tribe of the White Dragon has lived in the frozen wastes of the north for thousands of years, but they are slowly dying without their dragon to protect them from the inhospitable cold.
In desperation, they kidnap Kam, hoping to use him to breed witch power back into the Tribe. But Kam is not a witch, and there is nothing he can do to save them—until he sees the white dragon encased in ice and all alone and a chain reaction is set off that may save them after all.
“In the before times, when the cold ice and biting wind were welcoming to our kind, dragons flew,” the old storyteller warbled. The man was bent and gray, and his crabbed hands shook on his gnarled staff, but his voice still held the power that had made him the storyteller of the Tribe in his youth.
“The golden dragon rained fire and melted the ice, and the white dragon taught the Tribe the spells to survive the difficult, yet beautiful, climate. Together, the gold and white kept these plains of ice tamed, and the Tribe survived in plenty.”
The old man’s voice reached Kam even from the other side of the fire. Warmth in the ice wastes was hard to come by, especially for one not of the Tribe, so Kam appreciated his place near the flickering flames. His brown hair was city short, which meant his ears and neck were exposed to the cold wind. The barbarians all had hair that reached well down their backs, tied in intricate braids with feathers and stones woven throughout. None had hair more elaborate than Lor, the man with the snow-white hair and ice blue eyes who had the seat of honor next to the storyteller.
“But—” The storyteller’s voice darkened, and Kam felt his chest clench at the ominous tone. “—such times were not meant to last. The golden one gathered his followers around him and declared that for the happiness of dragon-kind they must separate themselves from the wars of humans. No more deaths of dragons, was the golden one’s goal, but the white dragon disagreed with his methods.
“They fought with their words, their arguments echoing through the icy canyons, but neither would back down. The white dragon knew that to abandon the humans was to allow the Tribe, his hoard, to die in the ice wastes. But the golden one wished to keep his kin alive and to do so he needed to rule the humans, not be ruled by human whim.
“The best of friends, and possibly lovers, the golden dragon and the white dragon never spoke again. All but the white dragon flew south, where the plains are formed of grass rather than ice. There they settled in the mountains. They built a city for the humans in the foothills. And the white dragon withdrew to the ice caves, alone.”
The storyteller bowed his head in sadness, but Lor’s piercing eyes scanned the assembled members of the Tribe.
“So we survive.” Lor continued the story. His voice was strong, but as the leader of the Tribe, he had to be. Lor was the tallest and most muscular of all the barbarians, and he was the only witch the clan still had. “Bereft of the dragons who allowed us life in the barren waste of ice and snow, the Tribe learned new ways to survive. We adapted, so after tens of thousands of years, we still live.” Kam looked around at the assembled Tribe and frowned. There were barely sixty people of all ages and genders still remaining in the circle around the fire. He had learned that there was another clan to the northwest with equal numbers. But most alarmingly, there were only two witches left: Lor and the man named Bay who led the other clan. There were no female witches to pass the traits on, nor had any of Lor’s children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren shown any aptitude during Lor’s hundreds of years of life.
The Tribe was dying.
That was why Kam had been brought north. The only way to invigorate the clans was to breed more witch blood into the lines. The hope was if Kam were to have a child with one of the descendants of Lor, maybe a child with powers could be born. But Kam wasn’t a witch, and he hadn’t exactly been asked before he was kidnapped and taken to the ice wastes.
“We live and we are strong,” Lor continued. “The Tribe of the White Dragon does not fade away!”
The barbarians cheered loudly around Kam, but Kam didn’t join them. As the assemblage broke up, Kam returned to his small tent. Once the barbarians had been sure he wouldn’t run away—as if there were some way to survive in the endless ice wastes for a city-bred boy—they had given Kam his own space. The tent was small, with barely enough room for bedding and a small wooden chest filled with the meager belongings he had accumulated in the last few weeks, but it was heavy with furs and thick woolen blankets that kept the cold and the wind out. Kam curled up in his bed, glad when his blankets began to warm with his body heat, and closed his eyes.
The barbarians were nice enough despite the fact that he couldn’t give them what they wanted. And it was better than being back in the city. Kam went to sleep with that thought firmly in mind. As much as he had disliked being kidnapped and taken to the barren north, it was still better than what he endured in the city. His thoughts focused on those times as he drifted to sleep.
“Kam, Kam, the witchery man,” the kids sang as Kam walked past them. He ducked his head, but otherwise kept himself from acknowledging their taunts. His mother hadn’t exactly been discreet with her passions, and lying with the resident witch had supposedly produced Kam. Since the man in question was a charlatan and his mother had never actually said he was Kam’s father before they both died…well, all that didn’t matter to everyone else. To them, Kam had witch blood, and in his part of the city, he was someone to be ridiculed.
Kam pushed his way into the small shop where he worked. The bell jingled overhead.
“Kameron, you’re late!” the harpy who was his boss screeched from behind the front counter. As usual, the place was dirty and the goods covered the shelves with haphazard organization. The sour smell that had appeared early last week had only grown worse overnight.
“Sorry, ma’am,” Kam murmured, ducking his head further as he wended his way through the mishmash stacks of random goods and into the back room. The pawnshop bought and sold everything. Sailors on leave after making the journey down the Great River came to the shop to sell what they could so they would have the funds to drink and carouse in the bars and whorehouses that also populated that part of the docks.
It was Kam’s job to clean and fix those often grimy and broken items so the owner could in turn sell them for profit to a higher quality pawnshop in the northern part of the city. It paid well for the woman, but Kam only saw a few coins a week for his work. As the witchery man he was lucky to have a job, so as much as Kam wished, there was no way he could find better prospects.
Kam worked hard for his pay, and at the end of the day his hands ached, but his quota was met. He left the shop at dusk and hurried home. He couldn’t tarry, because the docks became very dangerous after dark, and since his rent was due, he couldn’t afford to stop for dinner anyway.
He walked up the three flights of rickety stairs to his tiny apartment. It was one room, barely large enough to hold his threadbare bedding and one change of clothes, but it was a place to sleep. He had left one window cracked while he was away so the three cats that had crept in during the previous night could leave if they wished. The family of mice that lived under his floorboards were running about, so Kam was careful where he placed his feet as he walked over to collapse on his blanket.
One of the mice climbed up onto his pillow and gently nuzzled him on the nose. The mouse was hungry, too, and was probably looking for crumbs, but Kam appreciated the meager comfort his small friend could provide. Kam smiled, despite his rumbling stomach, as he slowly fell asleep.
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.
Standalone, set in the Paper Flower Consortium world
Date Published:June 21, 2021
Publisher: ZB Publications
Issaquah, Washington, USA
My name is Norma Mae Rollins. I’m fourteen and an illegal vampire. I miss my mom, but new ghoulish appetites force me to remain with my creator.
Bill didn’t mean to transform me. At least, that’s what he claims. His frightening temper, relentless lies, and morbid scientific experiments makes it hard to know what to believe. However, someone snitched about Bill’s experiments to a nearby coven. Now both of our corpses will burn.
Bill won’t run. He is curious what happens to a vampire after final death. I don’t want to die again. It hurt so much the first time. Bill thinks his vampire boyfriend might shelter me. I must brave an eternal existence with elder vampires and other monsters who don’t think I ought to exist. Oh and figure out who I am allowed to eat.
A vampire’s reality is nothing like the movies.
Diary, there are movies like Dracula’s Daughter, which show the reluctant vampire. I feared losing control and missed my mom, dog, friends, and old life. Still, I liked being a vampire.
The sun sank under the foothills of the Cascades; we raced into the coming darkness. Though Bill slowed himself to not leave me behind, I was faster than I was as a human. We sprinted into Tiger Mountain’s thick stands of ferns and Douglas firs. The girl I was, the life I had, became meaningless as the night wind tousled my hair. My heart pounded with strength as we, Bill and I, jumped over rocks, twisted around trees, and climbed clay-covered slopes. I was Artemis: a goddess of the hunt and moon, dashing through the forest to find prey.
He signaled with his hand.
I saw our prey in Bill’s mind before I saw him in reality: a young, slenderly built man in overalls and thick flannel. Perhaps working, perhaps in college. It didn’t matter. His blood mattered. His flesh mattered.
Distract him. I’ll kill him, and we’ll feast. Bill disappeared into the darkness.
“Sir? Excuse me, sir?” I called to the man.
My victim’s mind exposed worrisome thoughts about what should happen to girls alone in the wood. The world was better off without such people.
Bill attacked from behind. The man shouted as Bill’s fangs sunk into his neck. It was not a killing blow. He maimed the skin.
I comprehended Bill’s plan. I jumped on the victim and ripped into the wound. His viscous blood poured into my mouth. Ravenousness compelled me to kill. I relished the taste, the scent, the smooth feeling in my throat as I swallowed his life force.
Our victim’s heartbeat fluttered. Gasping spittle dripped from the man’s lips. Heartbeat slowed. Stopped. The man was dead but not yet cold. I felt powerful, formidable, as if I was a conquering goddess of the night.
Still, this time I stopped when Bill instructed.
Bill smiled, his fangs stained with scarlet.
“I can’t wait for my fangs to grow in!”
The man’s boots were too big. They were discarded. His clothes were a little long, but once modified, they fit well enough.
Bill took measurements of the body and drained it of blood before he allowed me to gnaw on the flesh.
I was insatiable. With each bite, scarlet danced into my vision. Yet consuming gave me no release from the hunger. Though it was impossible for me to eat a grown man in a single night, I wanted more. All that mattered was sinking my teeth into the flesh.
About the Author
Elizabeth Guizzetti is an author, podcaster, illustrator, and a collector of dragons — the ceramic kind. Elizabeth lives in Seattle with her husband and poodle. When not crafting stories, she can be found hiking, birdwatching or hanging out at the dog park.
Of the Lilin Paulette Hampton
(The Sage Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
While dealing with depression, Sage attempts to pull herself into the light. What she finds is better left in the dark.
After the loss of her mother and her stepfather’s mental breakdown, Sage Frankle agrees to move in with her aunt and cousin at the Englewood Inn. Soon, her aunt arranges for Sage to begin working through her trauma with a psychologist. As time passes, Sage finds that she is far from healing and begins to slip from reality into a realm of darkness she is unable to escape. After the arrival of her cousin’s intriguing acquaintance, Sage is forced to realize she is indeed trapped, not by her mind, but by her bloodline.
Sage describing her depression: I didn’t deserve happiness. Those joys shouldn’t exist without my family’s and friend’s presence. I should have to endure more suffering for what I had done. I no longer pressed my memory to find out what I was guilty of. It was a blur, a blip in my mind, but it was there. I felt it, and I needed to suffer for it.
Sage, when her dark side appears, describing her feeding: From his wanting mouth, I began to inhale his essence, his spirit. It was exhilarating and decadent. I was filled with what was flowing and still, energetic and peaceful, awe-inspiring and banal. The dichotomies fit like two puzzle pieces. There was not one without the other. This was the only moment that existed. It was completeness.
Paulette is an indie author who holds a Master of Arts in reading education. Her writing inspiration stems from watching fantasy and paranormal movies, as well as her real-life experiences with mental health issues. She hopes her readers will find humor in her stories, become curious about seeking peace through the present moment, and consider reaching out for help if they are struggling with their own issues.
Paulette loves drawing, watching a good thriller, kayaking, and eating chocolate…lots of it. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two cats, Linda Hamm and Bree. Of the Lilin is the first book in her new upper YA paranormal series, The Sage Chronicles.
Tagline: Overworked. Underfunded. Outgunned. Sometimes the greater good needs a little help from a lesser evil.
“Dragon is hard to overcome, yet one shall try.”
– Nowe Ateny, Polish Encyclopedia, 1745
Diane Morris is part of the thin line separating a happy, mundane world from all of the horrors of the anomalous. Her federal agency is underfunded, understaffed, and misunderstood, and she’d rather transfer to the boring safety of Logistics than remain a field agent.
When a troupe of international thieves make off with a pair of dragon eggs, Diane has no choice but to ally with a demon against the forces looking to leave her city a smoldering crater.
Facing down rogue wizards, fiery elementals, and crazed gunmen, it’s a race against time to get the precious cargo back before the dragon wakes up and unleashes hell.
I guess there’s always been a Department of Intangible Assets, in some
way or another, since humanity first banded together against the dark. Ancient
orders of knights, sects of religions, monasteries and their like had been the
first real organizations determined to hold off the things that bled into our
world from other realities. Great and epic individuals did a lot of work in the
past, though more often than not mere pawns as one ultra-powerful being played
against another. Gilgamesh. Solomon. Miyamoto Musashi for a while even worked
as a kind of Japanese defender against the supernatural. Things must have been
easier back then. If somebody had a problem with a corpse rising from the
ground and eating people, or with creatures slinking out of the mountains and
taking children, they could talk openly about it, and people would fit it
neatly into whatever cultural narrative they had. No press releases concerning
carbon monoxide leaks, no awkward local police trying to stutter their way
through an ogre rampage by blaming gang violence and drugs. If you were a 17th
Century farmer in the Tajima Province of Japan and tengu started picking off
your village one by one, Musashi would come by one day, cut down all those dark
spirits, and then leave. You’d replant your fields, mourn your losses, and tell
warning stories about warding off evil. And, probably, pay him whatever he
Modern times gave way to a general idea that reason and logic were
enough to stop something from dragging you into the sewers and wearing your
skin to protect itself from daylight. It’s easy to see why: it doesn’t happen
to a lot of people, therefore it must not happen. I see it all the time, people
who say things like “I’ve never seen a ghost, so they must not exist.”
Oh yeah? Because if spirits did exist, they’d all be tripping over their ghost
dicks to haunt you? Do you understand the preternatural forces that conspire,
the circumstances that line up, to create any kind of ghost? Let alone one that
shows up in your room at night and moans about revenge or betrayal or rattles
some chains and teaches you a valuable lesson about being selfish?
“Well, there’s no such thing as Bigfoot. All those pictures are super
blurry and grainy,” they say, their voices nasally and snobby, like all the
knowledge of the world is pumped directly into their tiny brains through their
tiny phones. I don’t care to get into whether or not any of the literally
thousands of kinds of entities that flit in and out of forests would like to be
called “Bigfoot,” but just because you haven’t left your couch in twenty years
doesn’t mean there’s not something out there you don’t understand. Go stand out
in a remote Colorado forest one night.
Turn off your phone, open your eyes and ears, and wait. When you feel
those eyes watching, and when you know, deep in that primitive monkey brain,
way, way down inside, that there’s more than just the animals you have names
for sharing that clearing with you, then you can call me to tell me that there’s
no such thing as Bigfoot.
That is, if you live to turn your phone back on again.
About the Author:
Robert Gainey is a born and raised Floridian, despite his best efforts. While enrolled at Florida State University and studying English (a language spoken on a small island near Europe), Robert began volunteering for the campus medical response team, opening up a great new passion in his life. Following graduation, he pursued further training through paramedic and firefighting programs, going on to become a full time professional firefighter in the State of Florida. He currently lives and works in Northeast Florida with his wife and dogs, who make sure he gets walked regularly. Robert writes near-fetched fantasy novels inspired by the madness and courage found in everyday events.
Tagline: Turning the big four-five isn’t a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that’s gone to hell in a handbasket.
It’s bad enough that Everly’s drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband’s criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. And didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.
It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there’s bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town’s founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home.
After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town’s border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. Everly’s mom hasn’t started nagging and she has a whole bottle of wine to herself. But after minute six, all hell breaks loose. Everly gets bitten by a hellhound, faints in front of her hot-and-single old high school boyfriend, and accidentally becomes the town’s Gatekeeper to Hell. A job she never wanted, isn’t trained for, and can’t shake off like gum stuck to her shoe. And as much as she’s flipping out, the celestial ruling body aren’t too pleased about it either.
Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of this mess, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. Plus, an archangel and his army surround the city and are itching to contain the town’s problems with a heaven-sent big boom. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell she’ll figure it out in time.
When all the good choices have disappeared faster than kids at chore
If eighteen was the age of exciting self-discovery, then forty-five was the
weary age of having zero shits left to give.
What did it matter if my husband of twenty years was rotting in federal
jail? And that our chiropractic clinic had gone belly up, leaving me jobless?
Or that my friends had turned from “we’ll help hide a body” to “we’ve got your
back until the reporters hit our lawn?” I also didn’t care that the DEA had
frozen our joint bank accounts and seized our assets. I never liked that house
Homeless. Jobless. Friendless.
Add in a pickup truck, beer, and an old dog and it would be the most
pathetic country song played on the tiniest fiddle ever. I gritted my teeth as
the wipers shrieked across the windshield. Nothing like driving through a
late-October downpour to add to your misery, and the constantly patched roads
in this part of Central Texas didn’t handle rain well.
My phone rang with its cheerful tone that I kept forgetting to change.
Sadie’s name lit up on the display, and I almost knocked it off the dashboard
holder while hitting the speaker button.
“Sadie? Is everything okay? How’s Laney?” I really hoped the trembling
in my voice wasn’t audible. My daughter hadn’t spoken to me in two months,
refusing to answer my calls or respond to my texts. Her girlfriend had even
gone so far as to block me on her social media.
“Mom? Where are you? God, this connection sucks.” Her voice had a
recognizable anxious edge to it. I wanted to ask if she was taking her meds,
but at twenty-one Sadie hated coddling. “Someone needs to talk to you.”
“What?” I eased onto the shoulder of the road, then placed the truck
into park. “Who?”
“Mrs. Collins? Uh, Everly Collins? This is Sam Duncan, your husband’s
attorney? We really must discuss your husband’s case.”
I glanced at the clock on my dash: 10:33 p.m. Duncan was raking in some
“What the hell are you doing with my daughter?”
“Mrs. Collins?” He lowered his voice. “I know you’ve been advised not
to speak with me. But you really need to before certain other people do. We can
meet anywhere you want.”
“Listen to me, you scum licker. Tell my husband and his thug buddies to
leave my kid out of their mess. I’m not afraid of their flaccid threats and
won’t be intimidated.” I slapped at the phone to turn it off, sending it
careening to the passenger floorboard, out of reach and therefore away from
I didn’t have the money to replace the stupid thing, but the desire to
take out my frustration on the helpless and innocent electronic device was strong.
Part of me wanted to turn the vehicle around, race to Sadie’s apartment
in Austin, and kick the crap out of that attorney. But I knew the truth. Sadie
had taken her dad’s side and was angry I’d snitched on him. She would do
whatever she could to get him out of trouble. What was a little money
laundering for drug dealers, after all? She might have my dark hair and eyes,
but unfortunately, she inherited her father’s defective moral compass.
A lesson for all the kiddies: choose the sperm donor
for your progeny well.
About the Author:
Carla holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Angelo State University. Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of the colloquialisms “y’all” and “bless your heart.”
Find out more about Carla and her books at carlarehse.com and connect with her @CRehse on Twitter.
Introducing Helsing’s deadliest villain yet! Liesel Van Helsing returns in a brand new series set to turn the inventive huntress’ world on fire. A mysterious being rises from Helsing’s long forgotten past hell bent on revenge. A being whose secrets could very well destroy Helsing…and all she holds dear. Don’t miss this exciting new series written by fan favorite Wonderland writer Raven Gregory and artist extraordinaire Allan Otero!
Van Helsing vs Dracula’s Daughter has amazing artwork and a storyline with enough twists to keep you entertained. While I enjoyed the unique additions to the Dracula/Van Helsing story, there were times I felt like I was missing something. I hadn’t read the other comics in this universe, so if you’re trying to read this as a stand-alone, be advised there are bits and pieces that are further explained elsewhere. All in all, it was a great graphic novel and I definitely want to read more.
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.
My statement was brave—considering—and I hoped I’d spoken loud enough to be heard by the intended recipient. I didn’t want to repeat myself. It had taken a lot of courage—or foolhardiness—to say it the first time.
The paranormal was one of those difficult-to-approach topics, especially with my best friend. History had proven our differences of opinion. Despite being inseparable for over ten years, I knew this was a topic where we were unlikely to reach a consensus.
But at this point, I was desperate. I might be going crazy, and only Finn could help me.
Yet, there was no response. No reaction.
Across the small cafe table, Finn furiously typed on his laptop—undisturbed by my nervous confession. He’d made no outward acknowledgment of my words, and it made me wonder if he’d even heard me.
The coffee shop was rather loud, after all.
“Finn.” I pressed my foot against his shin, trying to get his attention. “Finn, did you hear what I just told you?”
With perfect lips turned downward, he glanced up, meeting my gaze. His gray eyes were normally playful and light, but at the moment were sharp—disapproving. At once, I was thankful his black-rimmed glasses offered a filter for his judgment.
“I heard you.” His distinctive baritone dipped an octave lower than normal, signaling his annoyance. “Considering the absurdity of what you said, I chose to ignore it.”
Then without further ado, he refocused his attention on his laptop.
I gasped. How could he be so callous and uncaring?
Even if he didn’t believe me, he could at least hear me out. He was my best friend and the only person in the world I cared about besides my parents. But he could be such a jerk!
I was being haunted. I could die.
MY REVIEW – 3.5 stars
Mu: The Grimm Cases Collection got off to a bit of a rocky start for me. The first few chapters made me feel completely lost. Once I settled into the story a bit more, I found the characters enjoyable. If you like quirky heroines, you’ll love Bianca.
The writing was good. Aside from feeling a bit like I’d been dropped into the middle of something during those first few chapters, I enjoyed the collection. The writing flowed well, and the rest was easy to follow.
There’s more going on with Bianca than the supernatural, but I hate spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say on the matter. The story is rather complex, and full of enough twists and turns that at times I found myself re-reading a passage just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
Overall, it was good but it just didn’t wow me.
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.
About the Author
Lyla Oweds is an Amazon bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.
When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom to small children, cleaning, and gardening. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee.
The devils aren’t in the details. They’re in my bed…
When my warlock foster father trades me to demons for his outstanding debts, I find myself in Hell on Earth. I’m thrust into a supernatural underground crime ring I can’t get out of, eternally bound in a contract I never made.
Three hot-as-hell demons stand in between me and my freedom.
A tattooed, brutish Hellhound shifter. An incubus with the power to bend wills on command. And the heir to Lucifer’s throne—the original sin demon, Pride, himself. I have to find a way out of the deal before they devour me, body and soul.
But I’m no angel. There’s something inside me, something that craves the chaotic darkness these demons possess.
Escaping may mean giving in to Hell’s more sinful temptations. But playing with fire only hurts if you get burned…
A fantasy reverse-harem romance that will pull you in and not let go…
I stumbled across this little gem as part of the suggested reads on my Kindle, and I’m glad I decided to check it out. If you like darker reverse harem romances, this one has it all… demons, magic, slavery, and more…
Aria is a strong heroine, who won’t stop until she gets what she wants. In this case, she wants to escape a deal with three demons. She didn’t agree to be sold to Cain, Elias, and Dorian, and she refuses to stay with monsters. One failed escape attempt after another ends up in heated encounters with each demon.
Cain, a Prince of Hell, doesn’t want Aria in his home. And yet, he can’t seem to let her go. Elias, the hellhound, finds himself drawn back to the house more and more now that Aria is in residence, and the incubus, Dorian, is mystified that she can ignore his sexual lures.
With a mystery of who – and what – is Aria, three demons determined to do whatever it takes to return to hell, and a woman who refuses to be a pawn in their games, the pages are filled with action, emotion, and sexual tension.
Be warned, it does end with a cliffhanger… so naturally I’m off to read book 2! I have to know what happens next.
*Disclaimer: The author did not request a review of this title. I purchased/borrowed through Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.