Category: excerpt from books

Revenant: Falling Awake II Blog Tour ~ Guest Post and Excerpt

REVENANT: FALLING AWAKE II
Series: Falling Awake Book 2
Author: Kristoffer Gair
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: June 19
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 90,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Synopsis

Andrew O’Donnell’s childhood friend, Thomas, was murdered when they were ten years old. Nightmares and guilt have plagued Andrew ever since. And he believes himself responsible for delivering Thomas into the very hands of the men who committed the atrocity.

Now, fourteen years later, Andrew is driven to uncover the mystery of what really happened to Thomas, the reason behind the brutal abduction, and whether the assailants—who were never caught—have set their sights on someone else.

Even the help of an unlikely ally may not be enough to stop the darkness, the threat of what it will do to them in this life…or the next.

Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon

Guest Post

MY HOPES FOR THE SECOND BOOK

I set out to write a story two years ago with depth, a larger cast of characters, and a plot—if done correctly—that would tug at the heartstrings. This story became the novella Falling Awake, and it did everything I hoped it would. There was so much grief inside me during the time I wrote it, and the grief had nowhere to go. I channeled those emotions into the book, and attempted to create a sense of hope through expressing and expelling the grief. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t think I’d write a second book, let alone be writing a third.

The trick to me in writing Falling Awake II: Revenant has been writing a main character (Andrew) who is flawed, a product of experiences early on in life beyond his control, being gay in early 1970s, and entirely sympathetic. Everything in the plot hinges on us, as readers—since I consider myself a reader too—believing Andrew doesn’t deserve what happened to him, and what could possibly happen to him. His journey is a dark one, but one he believes will make him whole again.

I won’t lie. I put Andrew through more hell in his twenty-four years than I will ever go through. There are plenty of times in the story when he can make the choice to stop, re-evaluate, let things be, and fade into the background. He certainly might be better for it, only he refuses to surrender. As unrelenting as the odds are, he matches those odds with his own unrelenting nature.

My hope is for readers to feel his pain, his determination, his terror, and, ultimately, his own hope. One of my beta readers told me upon finishing a draft that as much as he liked how the story unfolded, he felt like he walked away after getting into a plane wreck. Oh, and he needed a drink. That’s the kind of intensity the story builds up to towards the end. I figure I did something right if my beta reader is having those reactions.

It’s fair to say I also hope after reading and reacting to this second book, readers will want to know how the much larger story this is part of will play out. I certainly want to get it out of my head. The weird thing is I know I’m going to miss having the whole thing in my head. Having the series in print makes it concrete, and separate from me in some way. Plus, after the third book, I don’t know if I’ll ever revisit these characters again. Guess that’ll depend on whether a story worth telling comes to mind. I didn’t plan on there being a second story, so stranger things have happened.

Excerpt

“Damn.” Frank’s face twitched and his eyes opened wide. “Is what you just did natural, or part of your government training?”
“Probably a little of both,” Andrew lied again. “I’ve always had some aptitude for reading certain situations.” His throat started to close up when he recalled one in particular, one fourteen years ago. “But I’ve learned to trust and act on my instincts instead of ignoring them.”
Losing one life because he didn’t act on those instincts was already too much to bear. It couldn’t be allowed to happen again. Ever.
“Okay.” Frank nodded. “Yes, I have them checking on you. They’re going to call Ruby here at the diner and ask for me, but I’m already confident you are who you say you are.”
“And?”
“And what?”
“You didn’t have to bring me here to buy them time.” He watched Frank squirm. “Your instincts told you I was on the level back at the house. We could have gone to the police station, only you brought me here instead.”
“Jesus.” Frank winced.
“What are you not telling me?”
“Some aptitude for reading certain situations my ass.” Frank wiped his forehead with a napkin. “OSHA? I think the only reason you aren’t working for the FBI is they haven’t heard of you yet.”

Meet the Author

Author/Blogger Kristoffer Gair grew up in Fraser, MI and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He currently lives with his husband in a suburb of Detroit.
Official Website
Facebook
Twitter

Giveaway!

Win a copy of Revenant: Falling Awake II

Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6554158495/?

Advertisements

Milijun Book Tour: Excerpt

Milijun
by Clayton Graham
Genre: Science Fiction
The next phase of human evolution depends entirely on her…
Laura is willing to do whatever it takes for her son. When aliens kidnap
Jason, it’s going to take a lot more than a mother’s love to get him
back. After infiltrating a military research base, Laura discovers
a
terrifying secret
: their plans to impregnate women with alien DNA.
Laura battles to save Jason, the mothers-to-be, and herself. But she
quickly realizes the aliens have their own mission for her, too. Soon
she faces a choice, take a chance at an impossible escape
or accept the aliens’ vision of a new humanity.
Milijun is the first installment of an action-packed

an action-packed sci-fi
alien invasion story. If you like tales of first contact, secret
military operations, and the people caught in the middle, then you’ll
love Clayton Graham’s fast-paced sci-fi thrill ride.

Buy Milijun to discover the future of evolution.
“Captured my interest from the very beginning, and never once let go.”
Jenna – Indie Book Reviewers
“If you love the genre, read this gem.”
Julius Zon – Self Publishing Review
“This is a must-read for science fiction fans who appreciate a hard
scientific foundation, in the tradition of Asimov, Niven, or Heinlein.”
Patrick Dent
“Million? 5 stars are all Amazon permit!”
Sarah Stuart

EXCERPT FROM ‘MILIJUN’ THE NOVEL

Laura lay back on the bed, hands clasped behind her head and knees drawn up as tightly as comfort would allow. Jason, emotionally exhausted, was asleep in the other bed and for the first time in many hours she had the luxury of undisturbed time to think the day’s events through. They had called a taxi from Robert’s house and directed it back to camp. Having found Jason, she had no wish to chase into Caiguna and risk further confrontation with the police, Janice Mepunga in particular. There was just no forgiving the policewoman for leaving her stranded at Robert’s house with a laser-seared dead body on her hands.
Some semblance of inner strength returned. They would have to see Mepunga tomorrow, of course, and learn what happened to Bradley Robert or, more accurately, how he had ended up with a hole drilled in his chest.
Careful not to wake Jason, she made her way outside, in search of fresh air. Looking up at the darkened sky she saw a pale moon rising and what could only be Venus shining brightly. The air held a slight chill, and she shivered involuntarily.
Laura scanned the sky, half expecting something to emerge from the star-pricked canopy and descend upon her with mischief in its heart. What was it Jason had said? Sometimes when it touched me I didn’t even feel it. She didn’t know what to believe but whatever it was, Janice Mepunga was the next step.
They had found the camera in a kitchen drawer, but it contained no record of Jason’s pictures. Robert had obviously removed the stick. Or, of course, the alien had. Surprisingly enough, observing Jason’s face at that moment of disappointment served to remove her doubts concerning his version of events. She had totally believed, if only for a few seconds, that an alien being had emerged from Bradley Robert and examined her son.
Tomorrow they would see Mepunga. And maybe get some answers.
***
At the Eucla defence base the only source of light in the room came from a large wall screen that portrayed the death throes of choppa flight 209 from Cape Pasley to Cocklebiddy on the night of 17 January 2179. In the room were Assistant Commissioner Ray Parlane of the West Australian Police, Major General Sebastian Ord, Air Vice-Marshal Jean Pescos and Sergeant David Jameson Cooke of the Australian Defence Force. The whole flight cam episode had run for no more than three minutes, and now the group were digesting, and struggling to understand, what they had just seen.
“At least it ties in with the radar records,” Jean Pescos stated, a frown ageing her otherwise smooth, olive complexion. “Definitely two …” she struggled for the right word, “… attackers.”
Sebastian Ord raised his brow at the use of the word. “Could it have been an accident, a collision?”
Cooke snorted and said, “No sir. The radar shows two objects peeling away from the main group. Definitely intentional.”
“I agree,” Jean Pescos ventured. “Definitely intentional. Analysis of the short flight path they took indicates an optimum trajectory for intersection with the choppa.”
“You mean it shows intelligence.” Ray Parlane looked incredulous. Short, with luxurious eyebrows, he had obtained his rank by being down to earth and taking no nonsense. This whole episode did not sit well on his shoulders.
“Perhaps even more to the point, what the hell are the damn things?” Sebastian Ord asked. Tall and wiry with piercing blue eyes, he wore his neatly pressed uniform like a glove. He started the video again and they watched as bright moonlight exposed a flock of large creatures moving through the night sky. The choppa had hovered no more than two hundred metres away, and its lights had picked out two of the objects breaking away to veer towards the camera. They looked large, too large for any known species of bat. Strong white beams highlighted their outstretched wings as they homed in on their target, revealing thin reticulated arms as they grew closer. Large reflective eyes dominated the screen for a moment and then focus was lost as the creatures appeared to collide intentionally with the choppa’s canopy.
Ord ran the video back to show the best zoomed shot of the creatures as they approached Pilot James Vanelli’s machine. He shook his head slowly. “Hands up those who have seen animals like that before?” he said sardonically. “We need to let an expert look, but I wouldn’t be confident of an identification.”
“And don’t forget the radar showed them descending from at least ten thousand metres,” Cooke added. “Air is thin up there.”
The group grew silent as Parlane switched on the light and turned off the wall screen. “So, what happens now?” he asked nobody in particular.
“One. Expert opinion on identification,” Ord replied, counting off on his fingers. “Two. Find out if anyone else saw them that night.” He looked at everyone in turn before raising a third finger. “Three. Try to find them.”
“Then what, after we find them?” Jean Pescos asked.
Parlane was swift to answer. “We must eradicate. Can’t have them bringing down air traffic.”
Ord couldn’t help smiling. “Let’s give the scientists a say. If they’re a rare or unheard of species it could be a different anecdote.”
The room became quiet again and Cooke stretched uncomfortably in his chair. He wasn’t convinced. Other than Vanelli, there were no bodies at the crash site. And the aerial attackers didn’t look like anything he had seen before; alien almost. Though nobody, of course, had the balls to say so.
***
The road ribbon system took them directly to the front of the Caiguna police station, seaward of the Eyre Highway along dusty, unkempt side streets. Mother and son dismounted as one and strode resolutely up the path and through darkened glass doors. They found themselves in a featureless foyer where a single three-metre plant was placed strategically in the middle of a brown synthetic marble floor. A long black desk stood at the far end but there was no sign of any other exit door or, for that matter, any other person. The walls were sky blue, the ceiling white, and the effect austere.
Laura approached the desk and saw a white button labelled Press for immediate attention. She did as requested. A flat screen rose from the desktop and the face of Janice Mepunga stared out at them. An aura of total distrust immediately gripped Laura’s mind, reinforced by unwelcome apprehension, but the image on the screen flashed a convivial smile and said, “Oh hello you two. I’ve been expecting you. Just one moment.”
To the right of the desk, a mechanism hummed and a well-disguised door opened within the blue wall to reveal a brightly lit office beyond.
“Come through. Come through,” Janice Mepunga called.
Jason seized his mother’s hand and looked at her questioningly. There was a strange fear in his ashen face, and his eyes mirrored the foreboding that Laura felt within her own heart.
“It’ll be fine,” Laura said quietly and gently guided him through into the inner office.
Janice instantly took the wind out of Laura’s sails by saying, “Look. I’m sorry about yesterday. An emergency came up. I had to leave. Sorry about leaving you with Robert, too – it was unavoidable. He tried to kill me. I knew Jason was around.” Her smile grew broader. “I knew you would find him.”
Shaking her head, Laura said sharply, “Maybe you did, but in what condition? It was absolutely unforgivable what you did.” She threw a challenging look at the policewoman. “And Robert wasn’t dead when I found him.”
Janice’s face hardened and Jason noticed she slowly worked her hand down to her pistol. “It was unavoidable,” the policewoman repeated.
“Are there any other officers here?” Laura asked.
Janice shook her head. “My partner went to Perth this morning. It’s normally pretty quiet around here, you understand, and there’s plenty of air backup from Kalgoorlie.” She cast a meaningful glance at her visitors before adding, “Should we require it.”
“What about a statement?” Laura asked. “Don’t you want one?”
“I certainly do,” Janice said, pointing to a terminal in the corner of her office. “Be my guest.” She was all sweetness and roses again, in control of the situation.
While his mother typed, Jason waited his turn. He was nervous, upset about Bradley Robert and about the loss of his photographs. His eyes hardly left Janice Mepunga, unsure in his own heart whether the alien creature was harboured inside her or whether it had moved to fresh pastures. On the drive to the station his mother had told him of Robert’s dying words, and he had felt sick. He desperately wanted to know the truth but was afraid of another confrontation. And worst of all, there was no proof of anything.
“How did the ranger threaten you?” Jason asked abruptly causing his mother to pause her statement mid-sentence.
Mepunga glanced up, her face like stone. “He just did, and that’s enough these days.” She gestured to Jason to sit down on the chair across the desk. “Let’s compile your statement together while your mother finishes hers.” She initiated a recorder and leant back in her chair.
Jason shot a fleeting look at his mother and received a warning glance in return, accompanied by a small shake of the head.
“How did you get to Robert’s house?” Janice asked.
“I was on the computer in the camp tourist centre,” Jason replied. “He knocked me out and I awoke in a bedroom.”
Despite the recorder, Janice typed as she said, “And then what happened?”
“He made me something to eat, just eggs and toast. Then he made me shower and took me into the basement.”
“What about his sister from next door? Did you see her at all?”
“No,” Jason said. “There was nobody else.”
Janice raised her eyebrows. “Did you try to escape?”
With a shake of his head, Jason said, “He was always in my face, and twice my size.”
“Even in the shower?”
Jason averted his eyes. “More or less.”
“He was naked when I found him,” Laura interjected. “In the basement.”
The policewoman looked hard at Jason. “Did he touch you? Molest you in any way?”
Jason bit his lip. “No, he didn’t.”
Laura stood up. “I’ve finished. It’s fairly short but to the point.”
Janice walked over and glanced down at the screen. “Not exactly flattering behaviour on my part,” she said, pursing her lips. “My statement will give my story.”
Laura shrugged. “I’d still like to see—”
Jason interrupted her. “Can we go now, Mum? I need some air.”
Laura saw he looked pale and distressed. “I’m sorry,” she said to Janice. “Is that all for now?”
“Sure. We have your vehicle tag. Stick around the district though.” She printed both statements and laid them on the desk. “Just sign these for now.”
After they had signed Laura turned to leave but paused at the door. “What happened to the body?”
“It’s been taken care of,” Janice replied. “Thanks for coming in.” It was the final dismissal. Laura and Jason left without further discourse. They moved through the stark foyer and once outside paused to breathe the fresh southern air, which was rapidly warming as the sun rose higher in the sky.
“No alien for the lady,” Laura said. “Thank God you didn’t say anything about that.”
“Not to her,” Jason said, looking at his mother fearfully. “I think it’s still with her.”
***
In her office, Janice read the statements again and put them through the shredder. She stood, swayed slightly, and pushed a floor panel with her foot to release the door into an adjacent room. Moving through, she closed the door behind her and stared at the uniformed body of her colleague. He was slumped face down on the desk, head resting in a pool of coagulated blood.
Suddenly, the winged alien was outside her, standing two metres away, observing with its head on one side. She sensed an instantaneous chill invade her body as the creature emerged but, once free of it, Janice felt warmer and strangely fearless. No words or other communication passed but Janice felt its mind boring into hers, trying to understand her emotions. At least she thought she did. She didn’t really want to see it anymore, was not interested in it at all, and wished it was light-years away.
“I’m sorry, Daniel,” she said to the motionless body of her partner. “I’m so sorry. I really could not help it.”
A tangle of meaningless images ran through her mind, and she turned to face her symbiotic disciple from another world. Something passed between them, intangible and outside her scope of logical thought. She asked the question anyway.
“What do you want from me? What do you want from us?”

As a youngster growing up in the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK,
Clayton Graham read a lot of Science Fiction. He loved the ‘old
school’ masters such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and
John Wyndham. As he left those formative years behind, he penned
short stories when he could find a rare quiet moment amidst life’s
usual distractions.
He settled in Victoria, Australia, in 1982. A retired aerospace engineer
who worked in structural design and research, Clayton has always had
an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within a
universe we are only just starting to understand.
Clayton loves animals, including well behaved pets, and all the natural
world, and is a member of Australian Geographic.
Combining future science with the paranormal is his passion. Milijun is his
first novel. Second novel, Saving Paludis, will be published early
2018. They are light years from each other, but share the future
adventures of mankind in an expansive universe as a common theme.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Ullr’s Fangs Blog Tour: Excerpt

Ullr's Fangs banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Ullr’s Fangs by Katharine E. Wibell.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 25 June till 15 July. See the tour schedule here.

Ullr's Fangs

Ullr’s Fangs (The Incarn Saga #2)

By Katharine E. Wibell

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Age category: Young Adult, New Adult

Release Date: 29 April 2018

Blurb:

According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one

female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the

love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter

rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.

Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is

beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across

the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of

the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must

discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will

she succumb to that darkness?

You can find Ullr’s Fangs on Goodreads

You can buy Ullr’s Fangs here on Amazon

Excerpt:

In the failing light, Lluava sat her weary body down on one of the cut logs that served as benches around the ever-blazing cooking fires. She ached from an exhaustion that was more than physical. In her hand, she held a steaming bowl of clumping porridge, or maybe repurposed hash. Although its taste was barely better than its looks, this mysterious gruel was the only thing the town could provide to feed the army for their extended stay. Lluava had grown accustomed to its bland taste and grainy texture. It might not be ideal, but it kept everyone’s strength up when they needed it.
“May I sit next to you?” Varren’s formal upbringing emerged even when there was no need.
Nodding, Lluava shoveled down the sludge. Eating quickly was her trick to keep the so-called food from sticking to the back of her throat. In contrast, Varren sat down, whispered a prayer of thanks, and began to eat. They remained silent until Varren had finished.
Wiping his mouth, he said, “I would like to head back to the capital tomorrow. Since you are my military partner—no, that is not the reason.” Varren seemed flustered. He was not one to fumble with his choice of words. Eloquence had always come naturally to him, so why could he not state a clear thought now?
“Yes?” inquired Lluava, hoping to coax him to continue.
Varren stood up in his most formal manner and asked, “Lluava, would you come with me to the royal palace? I want to introduce you to Grandfather and the High Council and, well…I would like you to be with me when I return to court.”
Lluava understood his fear of what he was about to do, for altering an age-old law was all but unheard of. Nevertheless, excitement fluttered inside her like a newly fledged bird. Varren wanted her near him. This was his way of admitting how much he needed her at his side. This day had truly brought wonderful news.
She was about to say yes when a new thought crossed her mind. “How long do you expect to be at court?”
“I do not know. Why do you ask?”
Lluava fingered the carefully folded letter in her pants pocket. “Well, I had hoped to visit home. I haven’t seen my family since the draft.”
Thoughtfully, Varren said, “I will not force you to come. You can leave at any time. However, I would like you to be with me when—”
Lluava interrupted. “Don’t worry. I’ll be standing by your side from now until eternity.” She grinned at her pathetic attempt at poeticism.
“That is good. That is great!” Varren could not hide his relief. “Well, I will say good night to you now. Tomorrow will be a new and exciting day.”
With that, Varren gently took Lluava’s hand and kissed it, which sent a tingling sensation up her arm. As he left, Lluava thought, Oh, what am I getting myself into?
Next morning, Lluava ran to the shanty that served as Ymen’s dispatch headquarters. Since a large portion of the Southern army was stationed here, the king’s messengers came to the town every two weeks. Lluava had to hurry so as not to miss the chance to send off her own letter. She had forgotten to do this errand the day before, and with her departure imminent this was the only chance she would have before she left.
Attempting to catch her breath, Lluava retrieved the letter from her pocket. It was surprisingly unwrinkled. Perhaps the gods were watching over her. She handed the parchment to the small man loading full satchels onto his horse. Annoyed at the last-minute arrival, he began to lecture Lluava on the importance of punctuality. She in turn quietly reprimanded herself for her forgetfulness. Satisfied with his thorough scolding, the letter carrier asked Lluava in a disinterested manner, “Are you human or Theriomorph?”
This simplest of questions caught Lluava off guard. An inner heat coursed through her body as she growled out the formal reply.
“I am Lluava Kargen, daughter of Haliden Kargen, and I am Theriomorph.”

First book in the series:

Issaura’s Claws by Katharine E. Wibell

“If they fail to trust each other, the consequences will be devastating. Death and destruction are on the horizon and time is running out.”

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon

Katharine E Wibell

About the Author:

Katharine Wibell’s lifelong interest in mythology includes epic poetry like the Odyssey, Ramayana, Beowulf, and the Nibelungenlied. In addition, she is interested in all things animal whether training dogs, apprenticing at a children’s zoo, or caring for injured animals as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. After receiving degrees from Mercer University in both art and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior, Wibell moved to New Orleans with her dog, Alli, to kick start her career as an artist and a writer. Her first literary works blend her knowledge of the animal world with the world of high fantasy.

You can find and contact Katharine here:

Website

Website blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Instagram

Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Ullr’s Fangs. One winner will

win a $25 Amazon gift card!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

banner Lola's Blog Tours

Cusp of Night Blog Tour: Excerpt

CUSP OF NIGHT
Hode’s Hill #1
by Mae Clair
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Pub Date: 6/12/2018
The truth hides in dark places…
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill,
Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore,
especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like
creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific
murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the
past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual
“Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of
the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone
dressed like the Fiend.
Compelled to discover who is behind the
attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode
clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late
nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a
woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s
Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a
trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The
disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the
monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But
the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden
world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die…

Excerpt

Within moments, Charlotte was outside in the dismal weather. The drizzle had steadied into a light rain, pattering in a ceaseless rhythm against the cobblestones. The gas lamp on the corner was barely visible through the thickening fog. It would be a rough ride back in the carriage, bordering on miserable, now that she’d lost the opportunity to communicate with her deceased mother and share the news of Reginald’s birth. Drawing the collar of her cloak about her throat, Charlotte hurried down Chicory toward the alley. How far to the carriage? The fog played tricks with the
distance, shapes materializing from the mist with an abruptness that made her regret not taking the lamp Frederick offered. When a cat shot out in front of her, she gasped.
“Silly animal.” Pressing a hand to her heart, she breathed deeply.
The feline darted across the alley, vanishing into the mist. Were those footsteps behind her?
She glanced over her shoulder, but it was impossible to see more than a few feet. Rain trickled from the edge of the umbrella and splattered onto her gloves. Quickening her pace, she scurried forward. She’d only managed a few steps when the footsteps echoed again.
Once more she looked over her shoulder. “Frederick.” Perhaps he’d left the carriage in search of her when the rain grew heavier. “Frederick?”
The footsteps quickened, lengthening into a fleet run. Hair prickled on the back of her neck. She hesitated, torn between fleeing and needing to see who followed. Within seconds, a painted face bobbed in front of her from the fog. The macabre mask hung disembodied, a leering devil with ice white eyes and cadaverous grin.
The Fiend! Dear God, the monster was real.
Charlotte screamed and tried to run, her long skirts twisting about her ankles. Stumbling, she dropped her umbrella. “Frederick!” Her frightened cry echoed through the night, swallowed by the fog. “Oh, Frederick, please help!”
Fingers fisted on the back of her cloak and yanked hard, wheeling her around and tugging, until she was pressed up against the hard body of the Fiend. Trapped mere inches from that demonic face and hateful gaze, she swooned. Her vision spun into a funnel curtained with fog and rain as if the night had blindfolded her. A stinging flare of heat ripped across her stomach, chased by something sticky and damp. She tried to find her breath and wheezed out a faint bubble. “Oh!”
Pain ruptured upward from her navel. Fire seared her voice and left her choking soundlessly on cold air. Her knees buckled. The Fiend released her, and she wilted to the cobblestones, conscious of a dark stain spreading beneath her.
Blood.
The stench of hot metal and damp wool clotted her nostrils. She choked on tears, overcome by the realization she would never cradle her baby again or see the husband who had given her such a precious gift. A foolish woman, she’d paid for her folly. Why hadn’t she heeded Henry and stayed safe at home? Blood plastered her bodice to her skin, sticky heat against the rain. She folded to the side—down to the damp press of cobblestones
against her cheek, the thick gathering silt of the dead.
The Fiend stepped closer. Hunkered down near her head.
Charlotte forced herself to grip the hand that clutched the bloody knife. Twisting her neck, she stared up into the awful leering face. “Why? Please…tell me why.”
The slice of the blade across her throat paid her passage to Summerland.

Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s
Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her
father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create
make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer
nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven
fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever
her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and
elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives
in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a
good Maine lobster tail and cats.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!









The Dead Game Blog Tour: Interview+Excerpt

The Dead Game
by Susanne Leist
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Linda Bennett leaves New York for the slower-paced lifestyle of Oasis,
Florida. She opens a bookstore and makes new friends. Life is simple
that is until the dead body washes up onshore. She is horrified to
learn that dead bodies and disappearing tourists are typical for this
small town. Rumors abound of secret parties held by the original
residents in their secluded mansions. Once night falls, the
tourist-friendly community becomes a haven for evil and dark shadows.
However, this is only the beginning.
Linda and her group receive an unsigned invitation to a party at End House,
the deserted house in the forest behind the town, a mansion with a
violent history. They are pursued through revolving rooms and
dangerous traps, barely escaping with their lives, leaving two of
their friends trapped inside.
It is up to Linda and her friends to search out The Dead and find the
evil one controlling their once peaceful community. Can they trust
the Sheriff and his best friend, Todd?
THE DEAD GAME has begun.
**Only .99 cents!**
Book 2 releasing soon!!

Interview

1. What place did you have the pleasure of growing up? If you could, would you move back and raise your children there?

I grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. I don’t believe I would want to live there now. The neighborhood has changed. I have fond memories of my childhood. It is hard to go back and recapture what we’ve already experienced. Since my immediate family has passed on, it is better for me to move forward instead of going back.

2. What is the first memory you have of books? When did you first realize you could write?

My brother, who was eleven years older than me, loved to read. Since he was my role model, I followed his steps into the pages of mysteries and science fiction. He read Agatha Christie, Isaac Asimov, and Alistair Maclean. And so did I.

I have always done well on reports written for school. I received comments such as insightful and organized. But I didn’t consider writing prose until I helped my daughter with her essays as she applied to college. We spoke about writing about my mother, her blindness, and later her dementia. The words poured out of me. That is when I first realized that I wanted, no needed, to write.

3. Did you ever enter writing competitions as a child? If so, did you win any?

I never thought of myself as a writer when I was growing up. I was a reader. I studied finance and marketing. I enjoyed science classes but never writing classes.

4. If you were to choose, would you rather be a vampire or a shape-shifter? Why?

I’ve always found vampires to be sexy and driven by their desires. They’re intriguing in their dark way. I first heard of shape-shifters on the T.V. show, Supernatural. Portrayed as creepy, some of them had extra-long tongues or resembled animals or monsters. I like my vampires to remain good looking until the end.

5. Which of your favorite TV shows has inspired your writing the most?

It is funny that you should mention this. The show, Murder She Wrote, planted a seed of one day becoming a writer. This seed never took root. I ignored it and went about my life pursuing a business degree. I wanted to be a writer like Angela Lansbury.

6. How did the character Linda Bennett come about? Which person did you model most of her characteristics after?

Linda Bennett is a form of myself. She desires to be happy above all else. A happily-ever-after seems to be forever out of her reach. But she’s determined to find it.
Most of my characters are based on people I know but with an extra twist or two. Shana loves adventure and finds herself in trouble most of the time. I have a friend like that. But my friend doesn’t cross the line, taking her into abandoned houses or a vampire’s lair.

7. Which secondary character in THE DEAD GAME are you particularly fond? Would you ever write a separate spin-off series for this character?

You must be reading my mind. I’m fond of Shana. She is going to be the star of the third book in The Dead Game series. My fans like her, and she deserves a separate book.

8. What were some things you learned about being an author when writing and publishing THE DEAD GAME that you never would’ve guessed otherwise?

I would never have guessed how hard it is to promote a book. I spend about eight hours a day advertising on social media sites. I’ve opened blogs and a website to share poetry to find an audience. The hardest part is struggling to keep The Dead Game alive on Amazon. Amazon controls the publishing industry. “If you make it there, you can make it anywhere,” to quote the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I’m determined to keep my book #1 in vampire suspense for e-books for as long as I can.

9. Between horror and romance, which scenes do you find easier to write? Were there any scenes or chapters in THE DEAD GAME that was particularly hard to write?

Chapter One was the hardest to compose. The Prologue flowed through my fingertips. Then I got stuck. It is difficult to introduce a town and its residents while keeping the action going strong.
The romance scenes have always been the easiest. In book two, which I have just finished writing, I included some hot scenes; and they were a lot of fun to write. I had to be careful: no fifty shades of vampires for me.

10. Is there anything you edited out of this book?

I edit each chapter and then go back to the beginning to make sure all points and plot twists are consistent. I haven’t edited out any significant scenes or chapters.

11. Besides becoming an author, which you have accomplished, what are some other things on your bucket list?

I would love to travel the world. Unless I win the lottery or become a bestselling author, that isn’t going to happen. I have dreams. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write.

12. Would you say that writing is an innate talent or an acquired one?

My imagination is innate, but the ability to create scenes and correct sentence structures is acquired. I’m still growing and learning.

13. Are you working on anything new at the moment? Or are you playing with any new ideas of late?

Book Two of the series should be ready to be released this summer. A group of authors has proofed it along the way. After it goes through an editing program, it will be off to the editor.

Excerpt

Linda passed the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged. Before she could react, she found herself being dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens, and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.
Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”
“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.
Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”
“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”
“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”
“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”
“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.
Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.
“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.
“Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”
Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.
“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”
Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave, didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.
He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. Linda tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. Linda begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.
While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.
She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.
Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”
Then he was struck down by Wolf.

I have always loved to read. I grew up with Agatha Christie, Alistair
Maclean and so many other authors who filled my imagination with
intrigue and mystery. The TV show, Murder She Wrote, kept me
entertained when I was not reading late into the night.
Over the years, my taste in books has expanded to include the supernatural
and paranormal genres as reflected in my selection of shows, such as
Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals.
My first book, The Dead Game, is a paranormal suspense/mystery. It
brings fantasy and the surreal to the simple murder mystery. It has
dead bodies and suspects. However, it also has vampires, vampire
derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice up the mix.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Stand & Deliver Blog Tour: Excerpt

Security expert Beckett Tate has met his match in colleague Gia Sinclair. He’s given her time to get used to the idea of “them,” but her time is up and he’s ready to go all in on claiming what’s his. When someone attacks Gia’s character and career they’ll need to find a balance between her independence and his fierce desire to protect. Return to Rhenna Morgan’s sexy Men of Haven series available 2018 from Carina Press!

Stand & Deliver
Author: Rhenna Morgan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 11th, 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Men of Haven
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Digital ISBN: B076ZV47MC
Print ISBN: 9781335948304

Synopsis

Live hard, f*ck harder and make their own rules. Those are the cornerstones the six Men of Haven bleed by, taking what they want, always watching each other’s backs and loving the women they claim with unyielding tenderness and fierce.

Security expert Beckett Tate has met his match in colleague Gia Sinclair. He longs to run his hands over each and every one of her lush curves. She’s wicked smart and wicked hot. He’s given her time to get used to the idea of “them,” but her time is up and he’s ready to go all in on claiming what’s his.

Despite her love of all things girlie, Gia’s no typical Southern belle. She’s built her skills and reputation in a field normally dominated by men, and now she has a kick-ass career she loves. She certainly doesn’t need a man to take care of her—especially not one who’s pure alpha. Still, Beckett’s the one man who can satisfy the desires she’s hidden under her tough exterior, and she’s hooked.

Letting Beckett take the lead in the bedroom comes naturally to Gia—not constantly proving herself to him professionally is more of a struggle. And when someone attacks her character and career, Gia and Beckett will have to find a balance: her willingness to let go just a little, with his trust in her abilities and his deep, primal need to protect his woman.

Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

Available at: Amazon| Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Excerpt

Copyright© 2018 Stand & Deliver
Rhenna Morgan

As light as Gia was, getting her in the house was a breeze, and thanks to Knox, her alarm didn’t pose a problem either. Thank God, he’d actually convinced her to let his company be the one to install the system when she moved in. Otherwise, he’d have had a whole different set of problems to juggle.
Soft lamplight spilled from the corner of the living room, so Beckett aimed that direction and laid Gia out on the couch. Once settled, he crouched beside her and smoothed her hair away from her face.
The impact hit him instantly, the soft and silky strands jolting his amplified need for touch into high gear and tempting him like a junkie on a four-day dry spell. As out as she was, he could toy with the long strands and sample the skin on her face and neck for hours and she’d likely never remember a thing. The thing was, if he ever got the chance to touch her that way, he’d want her to remember. Would want to see the response in her eyes and learn how her body reacted to his touch.
He braced on hand on the couch above her head instead. The fabric was nowhere near as luxurious as her hair, but it was soft like the chairs he kept at his place and kept him from giving into touching where he shouldn’t.
That was the thing about people like him. Touch was everything. The thing he needed to stay in balance and keep his head and impulses in check. While his sensory processing disorder—or SPD—wasn’t as debilitating as it was for some people, he’d sure as hell learned not to underestimate it.
He leaned in and lowered his voice, knowing full well she probably wouldn’t hear or understand a word he said. “How about you chill here for a bit, gorgeous. Let me go get things ready for you upstairs.”
Gia moaned and rolled to one side, tucking her hands beneath her cheek.
He couldn’t help but chuckle. The pose was cute. Totally innocent and sweet. Which meant she’d be mortified if she had any clue he’d seen it. “I’m gonna take that for a yes.”

Other books in Men of Haven Series

About Rhenna Morgan

A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at http://RhennaMorgan.com. You’ll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking hot inspiration boards.

Connect with Rhenna: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Giveaway

Carina Press is offer three lucky winner’s a digital bundle of the first four (4) books in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series! Titles in the digital bundle include: Rough & Tumble (Book #1), Wild & Sweet (Book #2), Claim & Protect (Book #3), and Tempted & Taken (Book #4). Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gone Blog Tour: Excerpt

Gone
by S.H. Love
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rory Richards is self-absorbed and suicidal.
Over the last year, he has lost his job, has attempted suicide multiple
times, and has gotten his relationship to the point where it is
heading for divorce. Fed up with everything, Rory has accepted his fate.
When he wakes up from a failed suicide attempt, he learns that his wife,
Maggie, has disappeared without a trace. Her car is found abandoned
on the highway, miles away from home. Her purse and her cell phone
are discovered in the trunk. There is no sign of Maggie.
All Rory can remember about the previous night is that the two had the
fight of a lifetime. The dispute causes him to storm out of the house
and steal prescription pills from his neighbors in an attempt to
overdose.
After that, everything is a blur.
Maggie’s sudden disappearance becomes a mystery.
Was she kidnapped? Did she disappear on purpose?
To avoid coming across as insensitive, Rory plays the part of loving
husband and attempts to find his wife. He gives an emotional plea on
television, reaches out to the Missing Persons Network, and even
hires a private investigator to gather information.
All of these actions are to show police that he is actively searching.
Deep down, though, he just doesn’t care anymore. But, does Rory’s
lack of affection mean that he is responsible for Maggie’s

disappearance? Or will he serve as the unlikely hero who finds her?
What happened the night she disappeared?

The taste of charcoal briquettes lined the inside of my mouth. It was chalky, almost sweet, but not in a good way. The charcoal’s texture was thick, pebbly tasting, and difficult to swallow. The sensation remained in my mouth and almost made me puke.
I had just woken up after what seemed like days. Months, really, the time just flew by. Just like that, it was gone. My brain was resting after a lifetime of activity, dreams creeping in, only to disappear again.
Body collapsed, exhaustion forcing me to nearly drift into another blackout, I inhaled quickly in order to stay conscious. Inhaling made my throat sore, the roughness scratching like sandpaper.
In and out, my mind went black, only to resolve to faint lights with warped images. Nothing really resonated inside, the time lapse unknown in my current state.
What day is it?
Where am I?
My eyes opened wide. Dried and strained, they focused on the ceiling. The drop ceiling tiles multiplied in front of me, expanding outward, adding four times the amount. Growing larger and then shrinking in a fast instant, the tiles kept going in and out of focus until they became clear. The mineral fibers absorbed all the ambient noise that surrounded me. Not that it mattered in my case. I was as laid up as one could get.
After a rush of constant blinking, my vision came into focus. The ceiling was again normal. Water stains shaped like countries struck out against the plain white tiles. Italy was to my left. Thailand was to the right. The United States’ forty-eight, it was as if the South had actually won the Civil War and had relocated to Africa. Stretched across one of the corners in the room was a thin spider web. Part of it was unattached and blowing from the air conditioner vent. The cold air pushing out of the vent kissed my face, tickling my cheeks and making them numb.
Looking around my environment, my body depressed in a slow, dragged out sigh.
My tongue worked around my lips, licking the spots where my skin and lips met. The heavy, smoky flavor was all I needed to know to describe what happened the night before. My face began to crease from the burnt charcoal taste within. Caving in, it was a crushed aluminum can bending inward. It was as if someone punched me super hard, my face staying locked in its current position.
The medical staff used the charcoal to absorb the toxins from the pills I had swallowed. All one hundred thirteen of them. In a single sitting, swallowing the enteric-coated pills until my vision faded. One by one by one, I had attempted to take my own life. It was a smorgasbord of poison with various colored pills. Some I had recognized. Others I had not.
There was a bottle for sleeping disorders. There were various prescriptions for pain. One container was filled with Ativan. Another, filled with God knows what. I had no idea.
It was the perfect cure for anxiety, pain, and seizures, for one low price.
Who would have thought that that many pills could be found inside your neighbors’ medicine cabinets? Then again, who would have thought that amount of pills could be pumped out of a human body? Gastric lavage and activated charcoal, these were two procedures that I didn’t recommend.
If you ever need an emergency antidote to combat the dangers of prescription drugs, consider the two-step process of gutting and then grilling your face. The stomach pump was to remove the pills. The charcoal was used as a poisoning antidote, to interrupt the circulation of drugs from the liver to the bile, back into the small intestine, and ending back into the liver. The process was called enterohepatic circulation.
Coming to, I was greeted by a small, empty hospital room. A single bed surrounded by varying degrees of medical equipment. There was a heart monitor near my bed. An overbed table pushed off to the side. A cabinet filled with supplies. All the ingredients were present to revive the damaged soul of a person.
The television hanging from above was turned off, an old tube unit sitting on a shelf that was bolted to the wall. The screen was dirty; it was covered in dust particles from not being turned on.
The thick curtains were closed. Peeking in underneath and on the sides of the curtains’ fabric was a parking lot streetlight. The light from the tall post cast dark shadows into the room; the shadows creeped me out. They were monsters ready to attack, ready and willing to conquer under their master’s order. Whoever their master was, I wasn’t sure.
Swallowing was difficult. There was a tightening in my throat each time I’d attempted. Harder and harder to bring the saliva up my esophagus, I could feel it start in the pit of my stomach.
This was not my first attempt at suicide. No matter how hard I had tried, I could never fully succeed. Three fucking times was definitely not the charm.
My first attempt at offing myself happened about a year ago. My wife and I had begun to feel the effects of money shortfalls.
I had lost my job when the economy crashed and had never really gotten back on track. Sure, there were a few part-time positions here and there. And one full-time job that was so out of my field I had to quit. But there was nothing that had brought in near the same salary, near the same satisfaction, of what I had been living with for years before.
My wife, Maggie, had said that she understood. That working in a job that did not complement your skillset was difficult. Deep down, I knew my not being employed (or as Maggie had put it, sitting around) had still bothered her. She would often throw in sentences such as, “But every little bit helps,” and, “Maybe just stick it out for a while,” ending in, “Well, it’s your decision and I will support you nonetheless.”
She was just going through the motions at that point. This marked the beginning of the end for us. We were heading for a divorce.
The truth was jobs were not that available in our hometown of Rock Island, Illinois. A stagnant population of just under forty thousand, with only a handful of big employers that could provide a decent living. The cost of living was low, but you would have to be in a position that paid well enough. Most of the residents in the area worked at John Deere and the Rock Island Arsenal. Neither of which seemed to ever be hiring. It was almost as if you had to know or be related to someone in order to get your foot in the door. Of course, generations upon generations handed these jobs down like relay runners passing the batons behind them. With so much history between the two organizations, getting a job at either of these places was equivalent to being born into the royal family.
Me, I used to be the operations manager of a manufacturing company. Relative to the size of Deere and Arsenal, our company was small, a blip on their financial scope, a mere footnote in the conversation. But it was big for me, and it was what worked. That was, until I was let go.
We specialized in packaging, various types of packaging and shipping methods. One of our contracts was with John Deere, so you could say that I was a bastard stepson of the prestigious royal family. I was more of a second cousin that hardly came around, one that never saw the photo ops or royal invites.
I oversaw the plant workers at different locations around the area, who spent most of the days boxing items and getting them ready for shipment to wherever it was they were headed. Much of my time was dedicated to streamlining the process in order to cut costs. It took me several months to scheme up the process, paying particular attention to its destinations and what trucks needed to be loaded and at what times. Logistics wasn’t difficult; rather, you had to be on your game to know the shortest routes possible. You could say I was so good at my job that I cut my own salary out of the company. Shipped it out in a nicely packed container. Really, there wasn’t a need for me anymore. A win/lose situation.
My job, my life, my marriage, they were all packaged and ready to be shipped out. And to be honest, I didn’t care anymore. To be frank, getting divorced was the only true thing I had looked forward to.
Lying on the bed, my head facing the ceiling, I moved my eyes left to right, and screamed, “NO!” Clenching my teeth until my jaws hurt, bringing my voice down to a hush, I whisper-screamed, “FUCK YOU!” I had convinced myself that I had wanted to die this time. Deep down to the depths of my soul, I wished that I was dead.
All the while, the chair shadow creature was lurking in silence, staring in my direction.
The angled door monster sat mocking me. A malicious grin on its face, it could turn on me at any moment.
My body tightened until I turned bright red. Holding my breath in a weak attempt to suffocate, hopes of passing out to prevent my brain from picking back up again, my mind started racing. Through the half-closed blinds leading into an illuminated part of the hospital, two detectives were talking to a doctor. They were in mid-discussion ever since I had come to. The doctor was, on occasion, looking into my room while he continued to speak.
Struggling on the bed, kicking my legs under the sheets, the jerking of my body like a possessed demon, I was vying for their attention. Whipping my head side to side, the air from the vent reminding me that I was alive and well, I screamed inside, my mouth wide open, stretching until my cheeks became sore.
The officers looked serious, their bodies stiff and alert. Staring with intent into the doctor’s eyes, one of the policemen leaned in closer. A concerned look on his face, the detective nodded in agreement to whatever it was the doctor was discussing.
The window made it difficult to make out what they were saying. The light, reflecting off from the other side, made the men appear translucent. Squinting with a brave optimism that I could read their lips, I saw the policeman with the crew cut on the right side crane his neck toward me and then slowly return to the doctor.
Leaning in closer to the door, my head pulling forward, a sharp pain ran up my spine and into the nape of my neck. My body tightened into a crunch, my abs flexing for the first time in years. The balls of my feet were blistering for some reason, as if I had been on them for days. The soreness caused me to straighten, and before I could readjust my body, the door opened.
Flipping the light switch, the doctor, wearing multi-colored scrubs and a white smock, entered with the officers in tow. The shadow demons, they disappeared into tangible objects. One became the sink faucet. Another transformed into the tissue paper box. In an instant, the monsters assumed their positions in the real world. Their master, so it seemed, signaled them to be calm. It only took a second for my eyes to adjust to the bright light. My brain was still disordered. My recollection, it was groggy to say the least. The three men came into focus as they approached me.
“Mr. Richards,” the doctor said, his eyes scanning the paperwork on his clipboard, never making eye contact. Nodding his head, his lips curled downward. Skimming the chart before speaking again, he mouthed some words to himself. He then looked up, rejoining the conversation, and said, “I’m Doctor Wynn.”
Dr. Wynn was a skinny Asian man, his hospital garb baggy off his legs. He was a middle-aged gentleman, mostly wrinkle-free with not much grey. He had a full head of hair. Crow’s feet branched out from his half-opened eyes when he spoke. I could tell that he laughed a lot. Other than that tiny flaw, he was well put together.
I pegged him for having a trophy wife, brunette and much younger, and driving a convertible Mercedes-Benz. Aside from announcing that he was a doctor, his pickup line could have been, “If you go out with me, it would be a Wynn/Win.” And then a sparkling smile filled with whites. Who wouldn’t fall for this? Hell, I was beginning to fall in love with him. But that could just be the medication.
Reading through my charts more in-depth, his lips moving slightly, he scanned the file and then re-addressed me.
Tilting his head, he smiled, flashing his medical school teeth. “And how’re you feeling today?” His cadence was quick and with crisp enunciation. He displayed a charming politeness to his audience when he spoke.
Before I could answer, the doctor said, “You’re very lucky, Mr. Richards.”
Was I? Tracing the words with his index finger, he said, “You swallowed a lot of pills.” He was lecturing me like a third grade teacher would do to one of her students—“Do you know what happens when you don’t finish your assignment?” I was waiting for him to put me in the corner, but I guess this was close enough.
The officers stood stoic, hearing the diagnosis from the medical expert. Each was attentive for the most part, often looking down at the floor or around the room to inspect the potential sleeping monsters.
Casual demeanor, reading the shorthand notes scribbled on the paper, Dr. Wynn gave an inappropriate smile. He said, “Over one hundred.”
One hundred thirteen to be exact.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “How do you feel?” The doctor was full of questions. For someone who was a supposed expert, he was definitely curious. “Does your throat hurt?” he said.
The large thirty-six gastrostomy tube that was jammed into my esophagus was, to be very thankful, lubricated. Just because I had tried to kill myself did not warrant a dry throat fuck. Leaning in toward me, he said, “You were administered two hundred milliliters of warm tap water on a repeated basis in order to be fully drained.” His crow’s feet, they branched out as he emphasized certain syllables. He said this as if this was an everyday occurrence, as if he saw attempted suicides all the time.
A cop, the one with shaggier hair of the two, glanced at the doctor’s clipboard, squinting at the small lettering. The other, staring through me, stood statue still with his eyebrows lowered. He was thinking, or waiting his turn to speak, one of the two, or both. Dropping the clipboard down toward his waist, cupping it in his hand, Dr. Wynn said, “I recommend getting some rest. Your body blah! blah! blah! gone through some blah! blah! blah! and you’ll need some time to recover. And then we’ll have—”
The toll on my body caused me to almost crash out. My attention drifted with quick ambition with every other word the doctor said. I could hear the voices in the room, consulting each other, but the dialogue was incomprehensible. It was as if I was sitting next to Charlie Brown in school. At this stage, I wasn’t even sure it was happening.
Then, my head fell backward, my mind going blank.
Before I went under, the room spun out of focus. The countries on the ceiling tiles began to swirl, spinning around in a clockwise motion until they transformed into something else. Slowly, the shadow creatures came out of hiding, taking their positions as the hand sanitizer and drawer handle. My eyes wandered, attempting to escape their reach.
The voice of Dr. Wynn dissolving, I fell into a deep sleep.

S. H. Love writes mysteries and thrillers. S. H. Love is the psuedonym
of a critically acclaimed author.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!