SPOTLIGHT: The Forever Forest

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Gayle Cranfield was born in London and found her forever after, Mark at the age of 14.

After nearly 30 years of being together, they have two children, both at a university, and now live in Wiltshire in the South West of England somewhere between Stonehenge and Bath.

Whilst on a road trip around California in 2013, she read some disastrous books and when she returned home decided to write one of her own. Having never creatively written a word since school, she picked up her iPad and hesitantly started to write in secret thinking she’d write a short story, before she knew it she had 97000 words!

That was four books ago. She has written three erotic thrillers for Siren Publishing and this time has written her first erotic/paranormal, The Forever Forest, and has chosen Evernight to publish it for her.

“It is great to see your work come alive,” Gayle says. “Although you have various Beta readers telling you it is a great story and a real page turner until a publishing company says ‘Yes we want your work’ you only think your friends are being nice and trying not to hurt your feelings. Seeing the front cover being emailed to me for approval is always the best part and Jay Aheer has done the most amazing job, as she always does ,with all the Evernight Authors.

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The Forever Forest

A series of unusual, and unexplained murders in Bath, England, pushes Detective Sergeant Rebecca Leigh and Psychic Investigator, Gabriel Lewis, to work together.

They discover a link to a new Steam Punk nightclub, The Wolf’s Den, where owner Darius Wolf, when interviewed, disorientates Rebecca.  On exciting the club, Rebecca collapses, seemingly intoxicated, leaving Gabriel no choice but to take her to his home.

She has no memory of meeting Wolf, but attraction between Rebecca and Gabriel reaches boiling point as she discovers Gabriel is not as he seems. The timid psychic is a Dominant in the bedroom and turns her world upside down, as the normally strong willed Detective realizes what has been missing in her past relationships, the submission Gabriel requires from her.

Darius, now obsessed with Rebecca, gains access to her dreams when she is kidnapped by him, leaving Gabriel having to find a passage into Rebecca’s dreams and save her from The Forever Forest.

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Excerpt – The Forever Forest

“You mentioned Jekyll and Hyde earlier, I’d that how you see me?” Gabriel asked as they sat eating their pasta.

“A bit yes. You seem so quiet normally, but this morning, when we were in your bedroom, you were a different person. More forceful.”

“I asked you this morning if that scared you and you said no, but when you walked in here today you seemed very nervous.”

“Apprehensive I think is more the terminology you should be using.”

“Why?” he asked casually.

“The word dominant conjures up many images in my head. I’ve read books, and I know what it means.”

“Is that how you see me?”

“Yes.” She gulped.

“You are a very astute woman. You’ve already worked me out from this morning?”

“Yes. I’m a Detective you know, it’s my job.” She tried to make a joke, but she knew it just sounded like panic.

“The term Dominant can mean all sorts of things in life.”

“What does it mean to you?”

“I’d like you to look at yourself,” he said, deflecting her question.

“In what way?” she asked.

“You are an extremely dominant woman in your work, and I presume you are like that because you are in a very male oriented world and have had to learn to be like that. Am I right?”

“To a certain extent, yes,” she agreed.

“But I get the feeling that is not your natural personality.” He took a long drink from his glass and refilled both glasses again.

“How so?” She nodded in thanks to the wine and picked her glass up and put it to her lips. The wine, along with the food that Gabriel had prepared, was a taste sensation. “Every now and then I see Alice falling down a rabbit hole, only fleetingly, but it’s there.”

“That’s a strange analogy, explain.” She smiled as she put her glass down and picked up her fork once more.

“I know you’re good at your job and you are obviously very thorough, but I get the feeling that this persona, this hard woman, is not the real you. You have been dragged out of your comfort zone with this career and have had to learn to adapt.”

“Keep talking.” This man was good.

“You are an extremely foreboding personality and I wouldn’t want to cross you at work, but last night and this morning I saw a different side to you, a timid side, and one I’d like to explore a little further.” She went to open her mouth, but Gabriel put his hand up to stop her saying anything. “Before you jump down my throat, hear me out please.”

“Ok.” She was beginning to take offense at his hint that she was weak.

“You do not socialize with people from work, do you?”

“No, they’re a bunch of arseholes. I like a few of them, but I still wouldn’t choose to  spend any amount of with them, Tanya is probably the only one I would see out of work.”

“So is that because you don’t want people to see the real you when you take your mask off?”

“I’m sorry?”

“When you get home, do you close the door behind you and lock the woman away and the little girl is released?”

Rebecca didn’t say anything, visions of her unicorn pajamas folded on her bed suddenly flicked through her mind.

“I take it by that silence I’m correct.”

“Go on…”

“Let’s take another avenue. Tell me about your last relationship.”

“Er, ok, I met Harry when I was working on a stalking case few years ago. He was the victim before you ask.”

“And you started a relationship with him?”

“After the case was over, yes, I did. He was a lovely man and wanted to marry me, but it wasn’t what I wanted.”

“What did you want?”

“Something else.”

“And what was that?”

Silence reigned as Rebecca couldn’t quite give him a reason why she didn’t want to marry Harry.

“Did you ever take that mask off in front of him?”

“Why do you keep going on about a mask?”

“Because I think, and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, that you are such a force in your work and all you want to do when you get home is curl up and lock the door with a book and a glass of wine. Am I right so far?”

“Possibly.”

“Harry met you in a work environment, didn’t he?”

“Yes.”

“When he was possibly at the lowest time in his life being stalked, making him jumpy and needy.”

“True.”

“And you were the strong Detective Sergeant Rebecca Leigh, crime fighter extraordinaire.”

“Now you’re taking the piss.” She laughed. “You had me believing you then.”

“Look at the situation. Was it the tough DS Leigh he fell in love with, or the little girl lost that escapes to her fantasy world in books or TV?” Silence again. “How was your sex life?”

She blushed. “Good, I think.” She hated talking about her sex life as she’d discussed with Tanya that morning.

“Was it always you that took the lead, perhaps always instigated sex?”

She thought for a moment. “He was busy, always working long hours.”

“And you weren’t?”

“That’s not the point,” she answered abruptly.

“It totally is the point. He saw you as the dominant personality in your relationship and in all aspects of it, and I don’t think you are. Yes, you are dominant in your work life, but you want to be that woman who is taken care of, too.”

“I think I get what you mean.”

“So I want to explore that side of your quieter personality, not the tough CID Detective Sergeant.”

“How do you intend to do that?”

“There is one avenue I want to explore with you, Rebecca. It will probably make you very apprehensive.”

“What’s that? You’re killing me here, Gabriel. Get to the point will you?”

“I want you to submit to me.”

“What, in everything I do?” She panicked.

“No, just in the bedroom or wherever sex occurs. Your life is your own. I would not try and change that. I like that side. It’s feisty, but it is Rebecca I want to explore further, not Detective Sergeant Leigh.”

“I’m not into whips and chains and things.”

“Stop panicking. It’s not all about that. It’s about control. It can be, but that’s not what I want from this.”

“What do you want from it?”

“Basically, to Dominate you in our sex life.”

“I’m not sure about this, Gabriel. Is this something you’re used to?”

“It has been in the past, yes. It can make a very interesting relationship. Basically I want to pleasure you in every way possible, and I want to ensure that you have enough orgasms to make your ears bleed.”

“And what do you get out of this?” she asked curiously.

“To take care of you. Don’t worry, you will satisfy me, too, but my purpose will be your pleasure.”

“The perfect man?” She chuckled.

“You said it, not me.” His eyes looked over his wine glass, and although she couldn’t see his mouth she knew he was smirking behind the blood red liquid.

Moonlight Haunting (Ashton Grove Werewolves)

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One hot werewolf. One determined ghost. And a woman with a choice…

Cole is secretly a werewolf… will Cassie be able to handle the truth? Or will the fact that he turns furry turn her off…

More importantly, will Cole be able to handle Cassie’s psychic abilities? With ghosts popping up here and there, will they have a shot at a real romance?

Cassie has a choice to make. Will she choose the hottest werewolf of all, or the ghost of her dreams?

EXCERPT

Prologue

Cassie woke up in a cold sweat, heart pounding and gasping for breath.  The sheets were tangled around her legs and twisted in her sweat slicked palms. She’d been gifted with the sight—able to see ghosts, and occasionally she would get premonitions through her dreams.  This one had scared her more than most. She blinked the moisture out of her eyes as her vision adjusted to the darkness of the room around her.

“Shhh, it’s okay.  You just had a bad dream,” a deep masculine voice soothed, strong arms wrapping around her body.

Cassie looked up into Matt’s ruggedly handsome face.  How many nights had he helped her through horrifying dreams?  How many times had he been there for her when no one else was? Matt had been her rock ever since they met, and his presence always soothed her. He was her best friend and she wasn’t sure what she would have done without him.

“It seemed so real,” she whispered, resting her head on his shoulder, enjoying the comfort his strength lent her. It wasn’t often he held her like this, but when it happened she melted into his embrace.

“I’m sure it did, but you’re safe and sound in your bed at home.  Nothing is going to harm you,” he assured her, stroking her hair softly.

Cassie nodded her head, but wasn’t quite ready to go back to sleep, worried the dream would return.  Flickers of the gruesome scenes tormented her. A crime not yet committed, and one she wouldn’t be able to stop, just like all the others. Why was she plagued with the horrific visions if she couldn’t help? The people involved were often faceless entities. Sometimes she felt the helplessness of the victims and other times the surge of anger or lust from the perpetrator.

“Thank you for being here,” she murmured.

Matt chuckled softly in her ear. “Where else would I go?  I can think of no one else I’d rather haunt.”

Closing her eyes, Cassie laid back down with a slight smile on her face.  She was never quite sure if Matt preferred to haunt her over anyone else because she could see him, or if he truly enjoyed her company. Opening her eyes, she realized Matt had disappeared.  Sighing, she rolled to her side and tried to go back to sleep, ignoring the ache she felt inside whenever he was near.

Being in love with a ghost sucked.

Chapter One

Cassie woke the next morning to sunlight streaming through the window, the warm rays caressing her face.  It looked like it was going to be a beautiful autumn day, the orange and red leaves outside rustling in the breeze.  She stretched and glanced at the clock, a gasp escaping her lips as she noticed the time.  She’d overslept and was going to be late.  Jumping out of the bed, she ran into the bathroom, flicking the light on as she shut the door.

Cassie turned on the shower, letting the water warm while she brushed her teeth and untangled her hair. When she stepped into the watery paradise, she shut the shower curtain and just stood under the stream for a few minutes, letting the heat soak into her. She picked up her strawberry shampoo, squeezing a generous amount into her palm before working it through her long locks. As the suds washed down the drain, she thought about the day ahead.

Today was the beginning of an adventure.  She was going out of town with two of her best friends.  Whispering Lake, North Carolina seemed like the perfect get away vacation.  A girls’ only trip that Cassie hoped would include a hot guy or two. Preferably of the living variety. She might love Matt, but there could never be anything between them, nothing more than friendship.

Snatching her loofah off the hook on the wall, she poured her favorite body wash on it and began scrubbing herself from head to toe. When she was finished, she took a moment to shave before shutting off the water and getting out. The air was cool and goose bumps erupted across her skin as she wrapped her towel around her body. She grabbed another towel out from under the sink and wrapped it around her hair, squeezing the moisture from the tresses.

The mirror had fogged over and she swiped her hand across the surface, clearing a swatch of glass so that she could see herself. She smoothed moisturizer on her face, then picked up her body lotion and slathered the cream on her arms and legs. When she opened the bathroom door, a puff of steam billowed out into her bedroom. She dried off in a hurry and pulled on her favorite blue sweater and most comfortable pair of low-rise jeans. Slipping on a pair of low-heeled boots, she pulled her suitcase out from under the bed, tossing clothes in as she pulled them out of drawers and off of hangers.

Grabbing a small bag out of her closet, she gathered her bathroom essentials, cramming them in the case.  With her hands on her hips, she surveyed the room. Had she forgotten anything? Toothbrush? Check. Socks and undies? Check. Cassie nibbled her lower lip as she looked around, feeling as if something was missing, yet not able to find anything amiss.

Cassie caught her reflection in the mirror across the room and walked over to it.  Her hair was still soaked and she groaned as she realized she was going to be even later. Hurrying into the bathroom, she clicked on the hairdryer and began drying the long, chestnut tresses that hung nearly to her waist. With her green gaze fastened on her reflection, she made quick work of taming her wild hair. She turned off the hairdryer and ran a brush through the length, untangling the mass. When she was finished, she tossed her hairbrush into the small case on the bed and zipped it up.

Picking up both cases, she turned around and headed toward the bedroom door, pausing when she felt a chill in the air. She turned and smiled when she saw Matt sitting on the edge of her bed, gorgeous as always. Frozen forever at the age of twenty-seven, he would always look youthful and far too sexy for his own good. Or hers. It had been fifty years since he’d been murdered, but his arms still bulged with muscles, his waist was just as tapered as it had been the day he’d breathed his last. His sandy hair fell over his forehead, his blue eyes looked troubled.

“Leaving without saying goodbye?”

Cassie smiled. “It’s easier to say goodbye when you’re here.  I thought you had forgotten that I was leaving today.”

She put her bags down and walked over to Matt.  Sitting on his lap, she threw her arms around him in a big bear hug.  This was one of the times Cassie didn’t mind her gift so much.  While she had trouble speaking with most living guys, she was able to be herself with Matt and could talk to him about anything.  They had been best friends since the day they met six years before.

“I didn’t forget, but I had hoped you would change your mind.  I don’t like the idea of you being gone for a week,” Matt told her with a worried expression. “Anything could happen to you and I wouldn’t be able to stop it.”

“You’re just afraid that you’ll miss me and be lonely.” Cassie looked at him and grinned.

“I already know that I’ll miss you, but that isn’t why I wish you would stay here.  I just have a bad feeling about this trip of yours.” Matt sighed and buried his face in her neck.  “I wish that I could go with you, watch over you. Something feels off, like something bad is coming.”

Cassie sighed and snuggled closer to him. She would love nothing more than to have Matt with her over the next week, but they had both researched the matter extensively and hadn’t found a way for him to leave Ashton Grove.  Well, that wasn’t entirely true.  Cassie knew that she could bind Matt to her with magick, but she didn’t want to take away his free will.  What Cassie couldn’t figure out was what kept Matt in Ashton Grove.  He had told her on more than one occasion that he wasn’t from Ashton Grove and he hadn’t died in her small hometown.  If he had been able to leave the place of his death, why was he stuck in Ashton Grove now?  It didn’t make any sense.

“I wish you could come with me too, but we haven’t been able to find anything on the subject of ghosts traveling from one place to another.  I know there has to be a way, but we’re out of time.  My friends are leaving in less than two hours.”  Cassie kissed Matt on the cheek and stood up.  “I have to go.  I’ll miss you!”

“I’ll miss you, too.  If I find a way out of Ashton Grove, I’ll come and find you.”

 

 

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