Maggie Series

MAGGIE series

Maggie, Naomi, and Entangled Souls

by Mya O’Malley

 

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery Thriller

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to share your home with an unearthly spirit who can’t find closure? Living on the edge of a cemetery with souls dating back to the 1700s would be enough to spook anyone, but Naomi finds it oddly romantic, and becomes inspired to write her next novel. Why not, when her muse, Maggie, calls to her from beyond her own window?

After all, the story couldn’t possibly be as complicated as Naomi’s own love life. Torn between Ryan, the mysterious and seemingly perfect man she just started dating, and Bryce, the sexy single dad who recently moved in next door, Naomi must navigate the tangled web of dating—all while trying to solve the mystery of Maggie’s death.

When things turn dangerous, Naomi quickly learns whom she can trust and, more importantly, whom she can’t. Will she be able to write Maggie’s story and finally give Maggie the peace she deserves?

Naomi sighed as she thought about the outcome of Maggie’s story. Her body had been found washed up near the river. Awful. What a horrible thing. The location of the body had been a place where people walked along a path by the river. Naomi herself had been close to the crime scene many times, unaware of the traumatic events that had taken place there.

No clues, other than it appeared to be a drowning. Evidence pointed to Maggie going out on a friend’s boat, perhaps, and falling overboard.

But how?

And where was the friend? It didn’t make sense. A piece of this puzzle was missing; a rather large piece.

A cold mystery was all that was left of Maggie’s story.

Come on, come on. Maggie. Talk to me. Tell me what happened to you. What kind of girl were you?

A sudden screech sounded from the window. Zelda. How was she supposed to concentrate on writing when Zelda kept intruding with her unpredictable behavior? She needed to write Maggie’s story. It was calling to her. If she didn’t write the story, she wouldn’t be able to write anything else.

Cries filled the air. This was ridiculous. Naomi wouldn’t even waste her time trying to figure out the cat’s problem. “You’re a piece of work, you know that?” Zelda cried out in response. Now the cat had broken her concentration.

Naomi needed to get out and clear her mind. She grabbed her notebook and her jacket from the hook in the entrance foyer.

Once she was out of the house and down the narrow path heading into the graveyard, she turned around. It wasn’t surprising to see Zelda pacing back and forth on the windowsill. Crazy.

After walking around for a few minutes, she was pulled toward Maggie’s grave once more.

“Maggie, tell me your story. I’m listening.” Naomi didn’t actually expect to hear a response, but she knelt down and listened. She strained to hear the slightest sound, anything at all that would open up this mystery.

Of course, she heard nothing.

Nothing but the faraway sound of cars passing down the one-way street adjacent to the cemetery, then the faint cry of a crow overhead. Lifting her head to the darkening sky above, Naomi could have sworn the crow was staring right at her. Was she in the middle of her own eerie dream? Brushing off the uneasy feeling, Naomi shook her head and sat in the grass.

“Was it your ex? Was it a stranger? Or was your death your own doing?” Naomi’s fingers touched the cold stone, running up and down the gravestone. A sharp crackling from behind caused Naomi to spin around. There was nobody there.

Naomi would have sworn she heard someone. Perhaps it had been a darting squirrel or other small animal. Her attention returned to Maggie’s grave once more. Call it a gut feeling, but Naomi was convinced there was foul play at work here. It could be her overactive writer’s imagination, but instinctively she knew Maggie had been killed by someone.

Most likely someone close to her. Wasn’t that usually the story?

More determined than ever to solve this crime, Naomi stood up and brushed her pants off. She leaned over and spoke directly to Maggie’s headstone.

“I will figure this out, girl. Just give me some time. I’ll find out who was responsible for this and you’ll give me my story. How does that sound? Fair?”

The sound came from the woods this time. Whatever was creating the sound remained hidden.

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Naomi has a knack for attracting attention from ethereal beings—whether she wants it or not. Newly engaged to her sexy neighbor, Bryce, she has little time to celebrate and plan for her upcoming wedding, because no sooner does she wrap up a heartbreaking cold case than she finds herself right back where she started, searching for answers alongside ghostly spirits.

This time, however, Naomi learns that things are not what they seem as a man from her past quickly becomes her worst nightmare. If she’s not careful, this man might crush her hopes and dreams forever as he proves to be her most difficult opponent yet.

Still, Naomi tries to focus on her relationship with Bryce. Can it withstand head games and cruel intentions? Naomi makes it her mission to keep Bryce and his daughter safe from harm, but will true love be tough enough to withstand her adversaries?

Naomi must keep her eyes wide open and question everything— and everyone—in order to survive.

She sensed it before she heard the news. She could feel it deep in her bones. All night long she had tossed and turned, unable to find sleep.

Nick.

“No,” Naomi wailed into her pillow, pounding her fists.

No. But, of course, she knew it was true. After all, she had a sixth sense about things such as this. Damn, Nick. Why? How?

It had been several months since she had taken in his disheveled form, those cowardly eyes scanning her face, pleading for forgiveness from the other side of the depressing, stained, plastic divider at the county jail.

Forgiveness that was difficult to give, although she had been working on it. Too late, Nick. It’s way too late for you now. Part of Naomi’s heart ached for Nick’s troubled soul. For the troubled child he had once been.

Another part turned cold as she conjured up his face in her mind. As she had woken from a fitful night’s sleep, the image of Nick crying out, lost in the empty dark place where challenged souls lacked peace and closure, was too overwhelming to dismiss as a bad dream.

“Bryce.” Naomi spoke his name aloud, even though her fiancé was most likely sound asleep at his house just up the dirt road.

She needed Bryce.

But Naomi knew Bryce would have to wait. Right after her first cup of coffee, she would have to call Officer Marty to confirm the facts of what she already knew to be true.

How had it happened? Possibilities swirled through her mind. Endless scenarios came forth. It could be anything. Nick had been doing time for his part in the cover-up of Maggie Field’s death. Prisons could be dangerous, particularly for someone like Nick, a man who struggled to keep his emotions in check and often had difficulty conforming to the rules.

One with a dark, menacing presence.

One with attitude.

Memories of the not so distant past slammed Naomi. Images of Ryan and Maggie . . .

Maggie.

The ghost that had all but consumed her. Maggie had reached out to Naomi, demanding peace. Naomi admitted to herself that she had become obsessed at that time in her life. Preoccupied with putting both Maggie and Ryan to rest. Luckily, Bryce was loyal and patient to the core during the first hectic months of their new relationship.

What would he say now, knowing that a spirit was back? Knowing that this time it wasn’t the sweet spirit of a girl named Maggie or a quirky, kindhearted man that needed her help?

This time it was worse, far worse.

This time the spirit was unsettled, tortured—and to make matters even more daunting . . .

He was her ex-boyfriend.

Would Bryce be as understanding about Nick as he had been with Maggie and Ryan? Hopping up out of her bed to make her cup of coffee, Naomi figured she was about to find out.

***

Moments after she hung up the phone with her friend, Officer Miriam Marty, Naomi reached for her coffee mug but then placed it back on the counter with a gentle thud.

Damn, Nick.

Miriam had confirmed Naomi’s worst suspicions and provided the bare facts surrounding Nick’s death.

He was, indeed, dead. But the strange thing about it was that it appeared to have been intentional on his part. It was too early to say, but Miriam suspected that traces of drugs would be found in his system.

An overdose? Could he have intentionally taken his own life? No, that didn’t sound right. Then again, how well did Naomi even know Nick anymore? For that matter, how well had she ever known him? Naomi supposed it was easy enough for an inmate to have the means to obtain drugs. And, let’s face it, prison life could be grueling.

No, no. Something didn’t feel right about this. Nick’s sentence was only to last just a few more weeks, why would he purposely harm himself? As Naomi tried to make sense of the news, she paced the floor. Zelda, her loyal feline companion, weaved in and out of her legs as Naomi stopped and grabbed her coffee mug from the table.

Sharp rapping on the door startled Naomi, causing her to spill her coffee on her blouse. “Shoot!”

Voicing her own displeasure at nearly being stepped on, Zelda screeched as she tore into the living room. Naomi snatched a napkin, wiping at her top as she made her way to the door.

“Are you ready?” Bryce raised an eyebrow as Naomi stepped to the side to allow him through the front door. He leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her forehead.

“Ready?”

“Ah, yes. Remember? We were going to grab a bite and then head over to the trail for a walk?”

Yes. That’s right. She and Bryce had plans this morning. With everything going on, she had clearly forgotten.

“I . . . I’m so sorry. Give me a minute to change my shirt. Sit, I’ll be right back.” She scurried up the stairs to her bedroom to change. This could be a good thing, the time alone with Bryce. His young daughter, Holly, was in school, and she could have Bryce’s full attention.

Dressed in a clean shirt, Naomi sprinted down the stairs and grabbed her sneakers. She attempted her best smile as she tied the laces. “Almost ready,” Naomi managed.

“What’s with you? Why are you out of breath?” Bryce cocked his head as he studied Naomi.

“Just excited to spend the morning with you,” she offered a bit too cheerily, glancing up at him as she felt nagging guilt rise in her throat. He wouldn’t be happy about the news regarding Nick, and that was putting it mildly. He simply couldn’t even begin to understand. He would tell her to leave it alone, not to get caught up in somebody else’s problems.

Naomi swallowed hard and gripped Bryce’s warm hand as they made their way to his truck. Once inside, Naomi glanced at her fiancé and then gazed down at her lap.

“Bryce?” she whispered.

Concern etched his handsome face. “What is it? What’s wrong?” He reached for her hands.

“We need to talk.”

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coming soon

ENTANGLED SOULS

coming late 2018

If Naomi thought solving three murders was going to earn her a respite from the spirits who flock to her for guidance and resolution, she couldn’t have been more wrong. This time around, helping her friend, Officer Miriam Marty, solve a particularly daunting case is just the beginning.

Newly married to her soul mate, Bryce, Naomi figured she could settle in and enjoy the first few months of marriage without the all-consuming task of helping the spirits around her find the closure they so desperately seek. She should have known there was no chance of normalcy, though – even her stepdaughter Holly’s quirky friend, Lillie, adds to the confusion.

This time, Naomi’s challenge is unique. Not only does she have to put her heart and soul into helping an intricate, beautiful ghost, but this precious soul soon teaches Naomi that her path in life, her fate, has led her to precisely where she needs to be.

Everything about Naomi’s past experiences with the paranormal crashes together as Naomi becomes entwined in the entangled plot that has become her life, alongside the unique souls that complete her destiny.

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Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and step-daughters. The family also consists of a boxer named Destiny and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her eleventh novel.

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Wait, You Did What?

 

Wait, You Did What? by T. A. Moorman

Published 1/16/18 by After Glows Publishing

Contemporary/Romantic Comedy

 
Synopsis:
Justine had the job of her dreams, the best parents in the world, and a brother she more than just tolerated. The one thing she gave up on was finding love. She didn’t need that to be happy, right? In helping her brother pull off his own last-minute wedding, Justine may be in for a surprise of her own, and find love had been right there in her face the entire time.
Join in on Justine’s adventure of #love#laughter,
and #limousines#PreOrder your copy today.
Excerpt:
Pops was a six foot three inch tall bear of a white man with white hair cut to the quick, with a small beard and mustache that made his handsome face look menacing, when in truth he was one of the nicest men you’d ever meet. Mom was just a touch over five feet, a fierce, robust black woman with more than a touch of Native American. She had long dark brown hair and the face of an angel, though she could be mean as a damn grizzly if you got on her wrong side. She was also more than a touch racist: she doesn’t count Pops as white. Yes, I know how idiotic that sounds. But since he grew up in the heart of Detroit and played pro basketball for a while until an accident took out his knee, Mom said that made him black enough for her. Did I mention they were a touch insane?
“Well, don’t just stand there like some statues. Your mom made some brunch and has it all set up nice in the dining room,” Pops said as he ushered us in, “And she wouldn’t let me touch a damned thing ’til y’all got here and I’m half starved.”
“You got enough meat on those bones to afford to miss a meal or two,” Was Mom’s snappy reply to that comment.
“Estelle, you wound me with your words. Now, I’m going to need some extra affection from you or I’ll start believing you just don’t love me like you used to.”
“I’ll give you some extra affection alright, a whack upside the back of your head if you touch that food before we say grace.”
Rolling my eyes at that, I sat down. I couldn’t help but smile at how much the two of them loved one another, as we bowed our heads to say grace. They almost gave me hope that I could find that type of love too.
Almost.
Mom cleared her throat before saying, “There’s some grown up juice mixed in with the orange juice, since I’m more than sure we gonna need it. Nothing ever bodes well when Max calls and says he wants to discuss something with us.”
“Ma, come on, maybe I just wanted to spend some time with my family.”
“Boy, do I look like I was born yesterday to you? If so, them damn contacts ain’t worth a damned dime that you paid for ‘em, and you need to go get a refund.”
I just about choked on my juice listening to the two of them go back and forth. I don’t think Pops even heard a mumbling word over his own chewing. I barely recall seeing the man even fix his plate, but when I looked over at him he was already halfway done and eyeballing seconds.
I had a coughing fit so bad Pops was about to get up and beat me on the back until I choked out an, “I’m okay,” when I heard Max telling Mom, “Maybe I wanna just discuss going on a family vacation. We haven’t done that in a while now.” I downed another glass of ‘grown up juice’ to help soothe my throat, and get ready for the big reveal.
“Maybe if you actually ate some food to go with all that juice you keep downing you wouldn’t be over there having spasms,” Pops suggested to me between mouthfuls.
Only thing I could say to that was, “I am. I’m just a bit more thirsty than I am hungry.” You would be too if you knew just what kind of vacation your son was talking about.
As if he was reading my thoughts, Max cut his eyes at me.
“Quit eyeballing your sister, and tell us some more about this vacation idea of yours.” Poor Mom, she truly sounded excited about it.
“Yes, Max, please enlighten us with more details about this vacation plan of yours,” I said. “I am just so intrigued.”
“Justine, I hate you.”
“Love you too bro.” I even blew him a kiss with that.
Which made him look as though he wanted to strangle me. “Just trying to offer up some encouragement. I’m in the mood for a vacation myself and would love to hear the details.”
“You are so not helping here.” He was turning beet red. Maybe I should let up a little bit. I had barely had that thought before there was a knock at the door. My eyes went round as saucers. “Please tell me you didn’t.”
When Mom scooted back her chair to go to the door, Max stopped her saying, “I’ll get it.”
Sure enough, when he walked back in he had Chelsea on his arm. “Mom, Pops, meet Chelsea, my fiancée.”
After about two seconds of stunned silence, Mom finally recovered enough to say, “Justine, pass me that damn juice you hogging up over there.” Then she turned to Pops saying, “Henry, please tell me your son did NOT just bring me home a white girl.”
 
About the Author:
When you become a Mom, you begin to put yourself last, and your combat boots begin to collect dust.
Going to your child’s PTA meetings in full Gothic, especially industrial, regalia is pretty much frowned upon. Especially by your own children, and your teens would die of a heart attack. But, one should not have to completely stop being themselves, uniqueness is greatness. So all of that darkness is put into words in her books, and designs in her jewelry sold in her GothicMoms
DarkCharms shop.
Mother of five beautiful children, but by far more than just that. T. A. Moorman is an artist, a
violinist, a seamstress, a crafter, a writer, a blogger, a reviewer, a dark confidant and a darkly dangerous, fiercely protective friend. And currently broke, so go buy something of hers. Lol.
 
Author Links:

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Goddess of the Wild Thing

Let nature and the elements be your guide as we introduce you to Goddess Of The Wild Thing!

Paul De Blassie III

Paul De Blassie III

Goddess of the Wild Thing is a dramatic tale of one woman’s spiritual journey where magical happenings, unexpected turns of fate, and unseen forces influence her ability to love and be loved. Eve Sanchez, a middle-aged woman and scholar of esoteric studies, encounters a seductive but frightening man who introduces her to a supernatural world in which the wicked powers of a surrogate mother’s twisted affection threaten love and life. In the mystic realms of Aztlan del Sur, Eve and three friends struggle with whether bad love is better than no love and discover that love is a wild thing.

Paul De Blassie III

Paul De Blassie IIIPaul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico. He specializes in treating individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis. His novels, visionary thrillers, delve deep into archetypal realities as they play out dramatically in the lives of everyday people. Memberships include the Author’s Guild, the Depth Psychology Alliance, the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the International Association for Jungian Studies.

His other award winning book:

Paul De Blassie IIIA young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, “The Unholy” is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Books On Fire Tours: This was a difficult read. Not because it was a bad story. On the contrary. It was mind blowing! It was difficult because it messed with one’s mind in the most clever and effective way, which only a Pscychologist can do. So what is it about?

Eve and her friends use yoga and other spiritual means to help them navigate life when it gets tricky, and the often elusive thing called love. Debating whether or not bad love is better than no love at all, they go through life’s ups and downs together. Yet when Eve meets a man called Sam, who has potential, evil lurks and causes havoc in her life. An epic battle between good versus evil ensues between her and Sweet Mary, and in the process she finds her true self. BUT, there is so much more and as a reader you can only wonder what is real and not real.

Many people will complain about the lack of dialogue on this novel, but it is rich in back stories and information vital to the development of the plot. This book is not only filled with mystical and magical, but paranormal, metaphysical and occult elements. Essentially a great read for horror/ thriller fans, those who like a little romance will also enjoy this read. Because it catered to all my needs as a reader, I give this book 5 stars.

“Paul DeBlassie III has an extraordinary ability to pull the reader into his mythical world, and the special effect depictions drawn within my mind while reading *Goddess of the Wild Thing *could easily match up with some of the most gruesome of horror stories on film. He transports you through an amazing spiritual journey exploring the power of fate and love. Packed with action, suspense and even romance, Dr. DeBlassie has written a truly brilliant and riveting supernatural story!” ~ Tamara Ferguson, international, multi-award-winning author”

“Paul DeBlassie III has a wicked gift in writing psychological thrillers, and he does it in a way I have never experienced before. In *Goddess of the Wild Thing*, he gave me a glimpse into his reflections, inviting me to draw closer to the dark side. His writing is rich with supernatural symbolism and, when all is resolved, deeply empowering.” ~ Uvi Poznansky, artist and award-winning author

“*Goddess of the Wild Thing* by Paul DeBlassie III brilliantly couples his in-depth knowledge of the human mind and behavior with his love of lore, imaginatively knitting a deeply psychological and esoteric story that will keep you turning the page. I could picture clearly the fantastical sense of place . . . a must-read magical tale.” ~ Luna Saint Claire, author of *The Sleeping Serpent*

“Dr. DeBlassie, author of the multiple-award-winning *The Unholy*, produced another novel with depth, action, and spirit in *Goddess of the Wild Thing*. For centuries we’ve struggled with whether bad love is better than no love. In this paranormal thriller, a fierce woman tackles the question with determination and fire.” ~ Rayna Noire, author of the *Pagan Eyes Series*

 

The stone altar was used by Eve and company to conjure natural energies of earth, air, fire, and water. Tonatzé symbolized feminine strength and ancient powers. Around the altar, the four women entered mystic states with intuitive inspirations and visions. The four mestizas frequently gathered at midnight, when the full moon shone most lustrously. They held hands, sipped their whiskeys, and inhaled magic herb. Soon the image of the Goddess flickered in rhythm with their soft singing under the light of the high-desert moon. Chant and trance conjured natural magic. They yielded to relaxation, reverie, and trust in one another and the natural world.

Descending into a meditative state, they were whisked from one world to the next. On slips of paper, they quietly wrote their worries, dilemmas, trials, and tribulations.

Seeking answers and relief, they placed the folded papers in a granite bowl before the altar. They lit a match. Paper burned. Silence wrapped its arms around the four. Gentle breezes stirred. Hoots of distant and nearby owls carried through the nighttime atmosphere. Flames from the granite bowl rose three feet and abruptly expired, devoured by darkness.

The ritual of fire fortified the coven, foul happenstance and unexpected hazard averted, all save one kind. Man trouble waited for Eve like a demonic jack-in-the-box, head bobbing and grinning. Muscles up and down her back tightened. It was this that caused her to flee into denial, the thought of time wasted, mind and body pained. The desire to talk, confide in her friends about misgivings about Sam, the last worst guy ever, fled like alley cats into a lonely night. Denial made everything go away—and stay gone—better than a couple of vodkas on the rocks on a chilly evening.

A white cab edged out of the alleyway bordering the cantina. It pulled stealthily alongside Eve. She bent down and looked through the smudged passenger window. She wanted to make sure she knew the cabbie. Past midnight was no time to be in a trusting mood.

Paul De Blassie III

***

At three a.m., the proverbial witching hour of Aztlan, Sweet Mary left her apartment for the gathering of Las Brujas Malas, deep in the crumbling limestone edifice of vicious spirits. The condemned downtown limestone church, once a prosperous enclave of the Ecclesia Dei, had long been abandoned. It sat adjacent to Sweet Mary’s bedroom, badly stained by gray and black soot.

Putrid odors of the cursed underworld that lay beneath its unhallowed edifice, curled through the atmosphere surroundingthe decaying structure.

Sweet Mary wound her way past the fenced and barbed wired blockade that deterred homeless souls and nighttime vandals. Her lithe frame smoothly squeezed between the slightly ajar, chained doors. She walked over the toppled wooden pews and stone statues littering the concrete flooring from the back of the church to its altar.

The religious artifacts had been defaced by those news media referred to as sledgehammer-wielding lunatics claiming clerical abuse as children.

She quipped to herself, Religion mocks, uses, and abuses. Nothing new under the black sun.

She opened a narrow side door that led to a rusted iron spiral staircase. Into the haunted and torch-lined basement that stretched thirty feet beneath the surface, she stepped. At the final stair, she touched bare earth.

Torches were lit along a cave of mirrors, shards embedded in the walls, shattered remnants taken from the homes of victims who had defamed Las Brujas.

Anyone who dared speak ill of the brujas ended the day tormented, injured, or maimed. Crises happened. One second they were safe, the next mowed down by an out-of-control car, or mugged and cut, or worse, lured in by a soft and sexy vixen loaded with a nasty biological curse. Mirrors confiscated from homes during nighttime raids reflected the victim’s horrified face when doom struck. Sweet Mary hurried past the legions of rats scampering away from her every step into the cracks and crevices of the century-old limestone structure.

An unavoidable eyesore at the heart of one the most decayed areas of the often sinister downtown Aztlan del Sur. It was a meeting . In this haunted zone, Sweet Mary presided over the witches of black magic. They knew how to spot love, taint love, kill love. It’s what bad mothers did. It’s what Las Brujas did. It’s what Sweet Mary did—because what had been received must be given.

No one knew where they gathered. Evil demanded hiddenness. Street-smart folk and fear-ridden church folk knew them as Las Brujas Malas, the foulest of witches, not to be crossed. Even those who suspected the whereabouts of their lair dared not cross the street to look at the unholy building, now a crumbling religious edifice.

The witches met at the mouth of a deserted tunnel, which in former years led to the secret chapel of the reigning archbishop, who there entertained a bevy of female devotees. Las Brujas, the four desert urban witches, walked down the twenty-foot descent. Hard-pack dirt sloped gently into the entrance of the unhallowed region of the chapel that had become the accursed cave of Las Brujas.

They moved forward, into the mouth of the cave.

Paul De Blassie III

***

But here Eve was, paralyzed. Waves of gurgling and quicksand were no metaphor. Agitation could turn bad to worse. Eve clutched harder for a stable mind. It was a torment, nearly impossible not to panic. She gritted her teeth, tightened her mental hold. Gently, millimeter by millimeter, she managed to raise her right hand. Mud offered no resistance. She raised her right forearm out of the hungry maw of dirt and grit. She grabbed hold of a desert oak’s dropping branch. It held firm. Five fingers clutched like a vise. She lifted her left arm and hand. Inch by inch, she loosened her torso from the deadly mud. Low-lying olive tree branches gave steadier purchase.
Relief.

Memories of circling sparrows, an ancient warding against fated demise, provided a moment’s comfort. She pulled upward. Branches did not snap or break. They were supple. Evenly, she pulled with breath after concentrated breath. She gazed toward the sky. There were no sparrows overhead. The silence felt unnerving.

The sky shifted, turquoise bright turned to leaden gray. The desert olive branch snapped. Eve screamed and dropped. She sank to her shoulders. Quicksand lapped up past her chin, grains of sand forming crusts along her lips.

Clenching her teeth, she was grateful her mind hadn’t snapped along with the branch. Wits kept panic at bay.

Dying wasn’t a concern, survival was. It was the getting there that mattered—how it happened, how she did it. She detested the thought of dying by a witch’s curse, slipping into an underworld of final breaths and mud-loaded lungs. If she went down into the belly of the abyss and the mouth of a soul-famished witch, she’d do it on her terms. Middle finger out.

Paul De Blassie III

Book trailer with the Author’s choice of music to listen to his book.

The Burnout Cure

THE BURNOUT CURE

A Prescription: Romance! Book

by Jill Blake

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 25, 2017

When it comes to burnout, Lily Reid is an expert. Determined to turn her personal tragedy into a cautionary lesson for other physicians, she travels the country, lecturing about life balance and stress management. But her words falls on deaf ears—until she hits on a plan to appeal to a broader audience.

Enter Dr. Wolf Knox, aka “Wolfman MD.” He’s gorgeous, charismatic, and his patients love him. So do millions of fans who follow him online, watching the music video parodies he makes in his spare time. Too bad Wolf believes “burnout” is synonymous with weakness. His motto? Suck it up—and if you can’t handle the pressure, get the hell out of medicine.

As Lily and Wolf clash over plans for a joint project, their mutual disdain gives way to desire. But when a fellow physician’s suicide forces them to confront their own fears and prejudices, will their fledgling relationship survive?

(Please note: This is a steamy contemporary romance that contains mature themes and explicit content, meant for adults 18 and over. It is a stand-alone novel, with no cliff-hangers, and a guaranteed HEA.)

Wolf tapped a finger on the pristine white tablecloth. From across the table, another physician glared at him. Obviously not a fan of syncopated rhythm. Wolf sighed, dropped his hand, and feigned interest in what the hospital’s chief of staff was saying.

Another five minutes of the man’s rambling welcome speech, and Wolf was back to tapping, this time against his jean-clad thigh.

He should have just stayed in bed. Or gone for a run. Or ironed out the lyrics he’d been toying with for weeks. Or done any of a dozen other things, instead of wasting his Saturday morning listening to a bunch of self-proclaimed experts pontificate about physician wellness.

What the fuck was that, anyway?

The stupid catch phrase seemed to be popping up everywhere. Kind of like physician burnout. Another term-of-the-moment Wolf hated. You’d think people would tire of the topic. But no. Whenever he opened a medical journal, or stepped into the doctors’ lounge, or went to the ER to admit a patient, there was always someone talking about wellness, burnout, or both.

And now, thanks to his best friend, Wolf had to sit through six more hours of torture. Unless he managed to sneak out early, during one of the breaks. He glanced at the printed itinerary, searching for the two names he’d been assigned. The first was easy enough to find. Lily Reid, the keynote speaker. But the second….He scanned the list to the very end. Yeah, it figured. The last speaker of the day.

He was going to kill Doug for getting him into this.

Of course, it wasn’t Doug’s fault that his wife went into premature labor last night. But the guy could have tried a little harder to find someone else to sub for him. Someone who wasn’t Wolf. Someone who actually chose to serve on Doug’s damn committee. What was the point of being chair if you couldn’t delegate scut work to other committee members, rather than dumping it on your best friend?

“Come on, man,” Doug had said over the phone, after waking Wolf from the first decent sleep he’d had in week. “Free food, six hours of CME credit, and you’ll be out of there by one at the latest.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Wolf groaned. “No amount of free food is worth sitting through six hours of BS.”

Doug sighed. “Just because you’ve got the sensibility of a rhinoceros doesn’t make the issue any less real or important.”

“Give me a break,” Wolf said. In the background, he could hear the familiar sounds of the hospital: a monitor beeping, the low murmur of voices. “It’s one in the morning. You really want to debate this? Now?”

“Two introductions,” Doug said. “A minute each. That’s all I’m asking.”

Wolf rubbed his eyes and leaned back against the headboard. “Don’t you have someone else you can tap?”

“Like you said, bro, it’s one in the morning. Everyone else has a spouse or family. You know, a life.”

“Fuck you,” Wolf said. “I have a life—”

A sharp cry on the other end of the line cut him off.

“Gotta go,” Doug said. “I’ll email you the text.”

And that was how Wolf ended up at the 65th Annual Postgraduate Medical Assembly, waiting to introduce some quack hired by the hospital to explain how to get in touch with your inner child. Or whatever motivational mumbo-jumbo the woman planned to sell as the latest antidote to burnout.

A native of Philadelphia, Jill Blake now lives in southern California with her husband and three children. During the day, she works as a physician in a busy medical practice. At night, she pens steamy romances.

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The Touch Saga

Title: Touch Saga
Author: Airicka Phoenix
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Blurb:
I assumed I was human.
I assumed wrong.
I dream of death and warm blood on my hands. I dream of the day I burn the world to the ground. I dream of the day I will finally die.
Running is something my mother taught me to do very well. I never knew why until the night I cause an earthquake and meet Isaiah. My shadow. My protector. My other half. I need him. I need his blood. He is the only one who can keep me hidden from the man who created me. The man who created the monster.
The world is depending on me not to fall in love. But what happens when the temptation becomes too great and falling is my only option? Can I live knowing I will destroy the world because his touch is the only thing keeping me alive?
And how can I trust someone as lost as I am?
Touch Passion. Touch Power. Touch Smoke!
Blurb:
Finding her past was supposed to end the nightmare. Only it was just the beginning.
Entrusting the fate of the world, not to mention her and Isaiah’s life to a father she’s never met is a big leap of faith on Fallon’s part. But it’s a necessary risk. Ashton is the key to protecting Isaiah and keeping her out of Garrison’s clutches. He is also the only one who can tell her what she is, except what she learns is that she is from a world that is far more dangerous than anyone could possibly imagine.
As her powers grow out of control, Fallon must pick between her mortality and a legacy that does not include Isaiah. She must summon the courage to face a destiny that will test the boundaries of everything she has ever known. But most of all, she must protect Isaiah from the monster within herself and trust the man whose toxic blood runs through her veins.
Danger builds as power clashes between two evils, both seeking her to tip the scales to eternal darkness and suffering.
Can humanity rise to face an ancient calling to which Fallon is powerless to stop? Can she protect those she cares about, or will their blood forever stain her hands?
Touch Vengeance. Touch Malice. Touch Fire.
Blurb:
Life from fire.
Hope from ashes.
I thought I could escape him. I thought I was safe.
I should have known better.
For the first time in my life, I am alone to face my fate. The world I had once known is gone and I am responsible. I am the bringer of death. Everything I touch becomes ashes and I can’t stop. He won’t let me.
Touch Chaos. Touch Destruction. Touch Embers!
Blurb:
Before Fallon was created to destroy. Before love became the ultimate weapon of destruction. There was Amalie and the horror that started a revolution that tore the fabric of humanity, of everything standing in the balance between power, hope and survival.
Amalie has one wish, one gnawing desire — she wants to die.
She wants to leave this world behind with its pain and darkness. She wants to finally breathe. But Amalie is a prisoner, a disease, not fit for life. She is unwanted, unnatural. She is defective, something useless and broken. Her own mother hadn’t wanted her. Her father hated her. The world shunned her and the only person she had ever loved, truly and with all her heart and soul, couldn’t stand the sight of her, couldn’t stand the thought of ever being with her. She repulsed him. Her insanity disgusted him. He’d forgotten her. He’d left her behind, deserted and abandoned her to a madman hell bent on crushing her, stealing her soul and shattering her will.
But what if she’s finally given hope? A reason to live? Can Amalie finally accept the hand offering so much for so little in return? Can she love again when she has nothing left to give?
Can she finally be free?
****************************************************************
WARNING: Due to sensitive matters portrayed throughout the novel, Touching Eternity (Touch Series, book 1.5) is rated 18+ (Adult).

Airicka Phoenix is a multi-genre author of novels starring strong female leads and sexy alpha heroes. She started her journey after never finding the type of books she wanted to read. Her love of tortured souls and forbidden romance carried her into writing her own hard-earned happiness. Currently, she lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her babies and can be found hard at work on her next project.
For more about Airicka, visit her at AirickaPhoenix.com

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Buy Links: 
Touch Saga: (YA Paranormal Fantasy)
»Touching Eternity (Prequel):
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»Touching Smoke (Book 1):
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»Touching Fire (Book 2):
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»Touching Embers (Book 3):
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A Dungeon, A Vampire and an Infatuation

Title: A Dungeon, a Vampire and an Infatuation
Author: CC Dragon
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Cover Designer: Viola Estrella
Blurb:
Who can have a personal life when an infatuated and possibly demon infested man is luring a dear friend to the dark side? Deanna has to try but she does have a team of angels on her side to help!
Problems with a creepy little church that belongs in the 1800s converge with an evil bar that keeps changing hands and names but the darkness never fades. The vamps need to go!
Mary Lou is out to prove her independence or is she rebelling when she plays with the bad boys? A crazy ex and a murder hit way too close to home and have the gang spinning in different directions.
Everyone is off their game and looking to establish their own alibis while chasing down all the bad guys and uncovering the murderer. Just another tale of Deanna Oscar and the gang out to fight evil and save the innocent people of New Orleans.
A loyal Chicago girl who loves deep dish pizza, the Cubs, and The Lake, CC Dragon is fascinated by the metaphysical and paranormal.  She loves creating characters, especially amateur sleuths who solve mysteries. A coffee and chocolate addict who loves fast cars, she’s still looking for a hero who likes to cook and clean…so she can write more!
Author Links:
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Lady of Steel

LADY OF STEEL

Medieval Ladies series

by Mary Gillgannon

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

One rapturous hour sparks unforgettable passion between Lady Nicola and Fawkes de Cressy. The memory of their time together enables Fawkes to survive the horrors and perils of the Crusades and gives Nicola the hope and strength to endure a brutal marriage.

Fawkes returns to rescue the woman of his dreams and finds Nicola enmeshed in a dark web of castle intrigue. Fawkes is so altered by the hardships and cruelties of war, that Nicola fears to trust him with her secrets or her heart.

Surrounded by enemies, the battle-hardened knight and the aloof, wary woman must rebuild the bond between them. Only if they dare let the soul-stirring magic their bodies share grow into love can they escape the sinister plot that threatens to destroy them both.


The tower room seemed much too small. It was like being caged with a wild creature.

He left the table and approached her. Nicola fought the urge to draw back. He seemed to sense her apprehension, for his fierce expression softened. “I don’t want you to fear me, Nicola. Unlike some men, I don’t believe in striking women. Or children. Or anyone smaller and weaker than myself. If I were ever to feel the need the discipline you, I would choose other, more civilized means.”

Discipline her? What did that mean? His words sounded reasonable and reassuring, but there was an edge of warning there. She must find some way to convince him she wasn’t his enemy. She must make it clear she would never deal with him as she had with Mortimer.

Body rigid, her heart pounding wildly, she said, “Milord, you must understand. Mortimer was a brute. There were many times I feared for my life at his hands. Whatever you may have heard of me…” Her hands trembled as she gestured and this time she was glad he saw. “I did what I had to do to survive.” And for Simon to survive.

His expression softened. His dark eyes again flared with violent emotion. “You forget. I knew Mortimer. He tried more than once to kill me. I have no sympathy for him. None at all.”

She let out her breath. Perhaps now they could begin again, and he would stop playing this game of cat and mouse with her. She nodded. “I’m very grateful you understand. I’d worried you might have heard tales of me, stories meant to portray me as wicked and manipulative.”

He watched her intently. “Aye, I have heard tales. ’Tis good you saw fit to reassure me. Perhaps now, perhaps we can…” He let his words trail off and the atmosphere between them shifted. His dark eyes no longer seemed stern and implacable, but smoldered with frank sexual desire. The tension between them changed, erupting with blazing arousal.

Fire started in her loins and spread outward, making her skin ache for his touch. She tilted her head, awaiting his kiss.

He hesitated, as if even now he feared to take this final step and give into what his body obviously desired. Observing his forbearance, she thought for the dozenth time of how different he was from Mortimer. Mortimer had been a slave to his emotions. This man sought control at all times.

But at last he brought his lips to hers. The blaze took them both.

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Mary Gillgannon is the author of eighteen novels, including romances set in the dark age, medieval and Regency time periods. She’s been married to her real-life hero for over thirty-five years. Her two children are grown, so now she indulges her nurturing tendencies on five very spoiled cats and a moderately spoiled dog. Her day job is working at the local public library where she has the gratifying task of overseeing the adult fiction collection. Besides writing, she enjoys gardening (a serious challenge in Wyoming) reading, and travel.

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