Listen Inside is a daily podcast from Readers in the Know founder, Simon Denman, where each day he narrates a sneak preview of one of the great books to be found on the website.ReadersintheKnow.com is a truly international Book Promotion website for Amazon-listed books, where thousands of the smartest readers from around the world stay 'In the Know' about the best upcoming deals on the books they most want.
When an unstoppable warlord meets an unyielding rebel, their link becomes a new force of nature.Taryn's dream of forging an alliance with a powerful alien race has become a nightmare. She is linked to a ruthless warlord, an alien killing machine who could destroy humanity on a whim.Taryn will go down fighting before she surrenders to the monster invading her mind.But in her struggle to regain control, she finds her tormentor has irreversibly changed her, and she has in turn changed him. The link is turning her into a weapon, drawing strength from the world-slayer who had no regard for another's life—until now.As death and destruction erupt around them, they carve their way out of their old lives with a single common purpose: unite their forces and change the future.
The elevator slows and stops. It opens onto a broad, dim corridor with sparkling walls arched outward like the curvature of a tunnel. The alien nudges me out, and the shift in gravity shunts me into the air. I flail, but manage to land on my feet, my stomach in my throat.
Half a g, at most. I bound across the elastic floor, an awkward smile creeping up my face as my mask relaxes. Soft blue light renders the glittering walls and floor into an uncannily good impression of outer space.
The alien walks quietly beside me. I can't read its facial expression, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't enjoy the change of environment. It's tenser than before, its movements brisker.
Curves and bends in the spacious corridor pass without comment, until the alien brings one hand down on my shoulder and halts us both.
"Prepare," it rumbles, and turns me to face the wall on our right.
A new doorway opens, and I'm pushed into a round room, maybe five meters wide. There's a single white chair at the center, reminiscent of a gamer's hub. But I doubt he brought me here to play VR games.
"Prepare for what?"
The alien grunts, picks me up as if I weigh nothing, and plants me into the chair.
"Hey, wait a minute, this—"
It presses a heavy hand against me, jabbing the barbs of my mandible pendant into my chest. I clench my jaw as the Dorylinae chitin punctures my skin. The alien rakes its claws along the side of the chair, and I'm immobilized. All I can do is stare into the glowing eyes of my alien captor.
Then it rips my mask off.
The air reeks of ethanol and molten plastic. My eyes and throat start to burn. Every muscle screams to fight, to run. But I can't move. Panic snakes through me, stirring up old nightmares.
I was twelve when the TMC bombed the Dorylinae hives and killed everyone I knew. They weeded out survivors by their informative value, like data chips. I got passed along repeatedly until I landed on a command carrier, where I was recognized as the daughter of xenologist and traitor Gregory Harber, and his equally traitorous wife, Mira. I was suddenly interesting to the Ticks, and with that interest came a long procession of interrogations, brain probes, and drug-sustained virtual torture. The Ticks fucked with my mind so much it took me years—after I escaped and hitched
After losing his sight in a terrible accident, only to learn that the woman he was planning to marry did not love him enough to accept him, Damien Falconer was devastated. Struggling to cope with his disability, he isolated himself from society, allowing no one to get close to him, but his personal assistant, Jake. Upon learning Jake was soon to leave his employ and return to Scotland, Damien was forced to advertise for his replacement.
Among the applicants who answered his ad was Lisa Andrews, a registered nurse from Connecticut. But Damien was adamant that he would not be replacing Jake with a woman. His argument was, he did not feel comfortable with a woman doing the things that Jake did for him, but one whiff of Lisa’s unique scent and Damien found himself fighting a blistering physical attraction the likes of which he’d never known before. Should he hire her or should he ignore what his “other” senses were screaming at him, about this woman. Damien rustled with the question for several days, but in the end, he caved. And so began a hunger for a woman he couldn’t see...could only recognize by her unique scent...yet wanted like he’d never wanted anything before.
Ms. Andrews walked into the room, and Damien felt the air leave his lungs. He could not see her, but he sensed Jake’s reaction too. He was not certain if he was mirroring Jake’s reaction to the candidate or whether his overactive imagination was playing a trick on him. Whatever the reason, he had a physical reaction to whomever it was that walked into his library. She was polite and calm, and he sensed she had a smile on her face because Jake had an answering smile in his voice when he greeted her. Poor Damien, he couldn’t see a thing, but boy, was he aware of her. He could smell the fragrance she was wearing, and it was doing strange things to his body. There was a hint of jasmine, mixed with a bit of musk, but the overwhelming scent was of violet. He recognized the scent because of the perfusion of violet plants that grew in the garden surrounding his house. It was his favorite flower. He was never tired of sitting on the porch just inhaling its heady fragrance. On Ms. Andrews, the fragrance was positively intoxicating. The mixture of violet with her unique scent was overpowering. Damien was almost in pain from the strength of his physical reaction to her. He was uncomfortable in his seat and kept fidgeting to get a more comfortable position. He did not want either Jake or the young woman to notice his discomfort. He desperately wanted to see the woman who was in his library, but he had to be content with listening to her responses to Jake’s questions. She sounded a bit flustered because she would begin each response with a slight nervous laugh, and Jake would respond in kind. This exchange between the two infuriated Damien, who wanted to participate in the conversation. He interrupted one of Jake’s questions to her with one of his own. “Tell me, Ms. Andrews, how long have you been out of school?” He knew the answer because Jake had briefed him on all the candidates ahead of time, but he wanted to ask her a different question to throw her off. She responded with the same little laugh. “About eight years this month, and I can assure you, I have the experience needed to be your personal assistant.” “We’ll see,” was all he could think of by way of a response. He tried to tune out the sound of her voice and concentrate on Jake’s questions, but that proved to be very difficult because he found himself trying to interpret every nuance in her voice as if his very life depended on his understanding her. He became annoyed with himself and signaled for Jake to end the interview. This time he did not move his head, either once or twice. It was left to Jake to make the decision whether or not to have Ms. Andre
“This novel is a book in which I was able to express a new divine awareness. I realized I had experienced a lot in life that had left me strewn and unsettled; the book brought about the resurgence of a strong feeling of cohesion. In this book I have tried to present some of the elementary principles of human nature that can be outside of perceiving, but not outside of holding dear, I call it “Ugly People.” For example, the violence of feelings, the slave of passion and the dark tyranny of despair. My life might not have been full of ease and luxury; but I preferred to glorify my existence, as I lived it, enticed by the wealth of experiences placed in my path. Watching the world around me, I became interested in Fate. Stories, of the sudden deaths of the rich and famous awakened even more trains of thought on Destiny. We strive to travel, what we think are the right paths in life, but, does destiny have to have the final say? Is fate everywhere we are, involved in everything we do and not only just the end? What do you think? On, that same note, I would answer, “Yes, it does!” And so this book was born. I could feel my heart glow with excitement and enthusiasm as I wrote this book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.”
I remember the day we visited Dane's older brother in the hospital. He had his appendix removed. As we walked into his room we had to pass bed one and there lie a man bandaged for burns. I staggered backwards from the sight. All I could really see were his eyes and so much pain in them. Dane and I learned that his wife boiled a huge pot of grits, fed up with his physical abuse, waited until he was asleep. She carefully removed the covers he was sleeping under and threw that pot of steaming hot, sticky grits on him. It was a horrific sight to see! He lay there silent as a tomb, obviously suffering. The image stuck in my head.
A week later, Dane staggered around the house, naked, trying to find the bathroom. Frustrated, trying to avoid cleaning up more piss, I decided to get up and guide him to the toilet. To my horror, he had walked into the baby's room. He bumped into the crib and stood there peeing all over our son. Rage crawled up my spine! It was as if I'd blacked out and became someone else! I don't even remember jumping him from behind. You'd better believe I did. We fell back onto the floor. We wrestled up off the floor and all the way through the house. One of my house shoes knocked loose. He grabbed my arms painfully I squirmed loose.
"Stop it, Dani" He kept yelling.
I wanted to hurt him! We battled, until we were bumping up against the front door. My robe had fallen off and I was naked. He tried to open the front door and push me outside. He had done that before, leaving me shivering and pleading to get back in. However, this time he couldn't manage. I had the strength of Wonder Woman. We fell to the floor, again. We were deep into a violent War Dance. HE HAD PEED ON MY BABY! I was in a witch-hunt hysteria! He was going to burn one way or another! I managed to get to my feet. I bent over his body, close to his face and roared and slapped him with a strength that rose up from my toes to the tips of the fingers on that hand. His head wobbled,
"Do you remember, the grits? DO YOU! You sleep soundly at night!"
I let out a demonic roar!
His eyes were big as saucers. He couldn't believe his ears. He couldn't move. I strutted out of that room, butt naked to bathe my screaming baby. Once we were speaking, again, Dane admitted he was jealous of the baby! I liste
Fast approaching forty, life’s experiences haven’t mellowed Terry Gallagher. He’s become an angry man. Sickened by the mindless violence all around him while trying to come to terms with his own thuggish past, he despairs as his near neighbour, old Mr. Johnson, war hero, is almost beaten to death in his own home while the police fail to bring anyone to justice. He rails at the apathy and neglect of incompetent politicians past and present who use an already deprived community as a dumping ground for social misfits, bad debtors, drug addicts and so called economic migrants. This was your legacy If you had the misfortune to grow up on the notorious Broughton estates, and all that Terry Gallagher had wanted to do was make a difference...
From these lawless streets, a rag bag bunch of thirteen year old scallies are shaped into a football team by one disillusioned man and his unwilling buddy. On a forgotten piece of waste ground, with stolen scaffolding for goalposts and a twenty-four hour pitch surveillance protection programme patrolled through the telescopic sight of a .22 air rifle, this team of dead end kids begin their adventure. From an inauspicious start in the local Junior District Football league to potential glory in the prestigious County Cup, for Terry Gallagher and West Broughton Albion, the season unfolds amidst a backdrop of squalor, depravity, manic depression, heroin addiction, Yardies, guns, and death; where a web of bizarre and tragic circumstances transpire to push the emotional and mental state of this reluctant philanthropist to the limit and ultimately tip him over the edge.
‘Duane?’ he called tentatively. ‘Duane?’ he called out again, a little louder, hardly daring to move from the bare, damp hall. He accidentally kicked the busted Yale lock that went scurrying across the floor before smacking itself to a halt up against the skirting. He thought he heard the whimper again and he slowly edged his way towards the sound, into the room that still had the meagre curtains pulled across the window where a small shaft of light penetrated the gloom through a gap at the top where they didn’t quite meet.
Then he saw her.
He froze stock still in shock. He’d been half expecting to come across something terrible, but the sight that confronted him still managed to stop him in his tracks. He tried to swallow but his saliva glands had stopped working and his sweat had started to dry cold on him. He peered into the half-light and held on to his breath. She was dead; he could see that. He inched his way into the room on feet that were reluctant to move until he could see her face, tipped back at a grotesque angle. One eye had settled up inside her head while the other, from behind a half-closed lid, stared out beyond him. Her head wasn’t the right shape; it was puffed and swollen. Curiously, just one side of her face, the one that was turned away against shoulder and settee, had become a ghastly, grey-blue colour; heavy and deformed, like all fluid had drained and settled there from other parts that were now colourless, waxy. There was vomit from her mouth, dried and congealed in a reservoir between her neck and shoulder.
Terry held his sleeve up to his face and tried to breathe sparingly. At some point she had let go of all her bodily functions and the smell was unbearable. He recoiled and tried to stop himself gipping; in t
After Billy Reeves had survived a poverty ridden and violent childhood on a council estate in Newcastle he thought he had it all; a loving family, money and respect but a face from the past with a point to prove and muscles to flex is out to bring his world crashing down on him. He turns down an offer of a job with Tyneside’s most paranoid and psychotic gang lord and is faced with bent police, a corrupt judge, an army of bouncers and the knowledge that if he makes one wrong move in this game of cat and mouse his family will end up imprisoned, abused or worse.
Billy is going to have to work very hard just to keep everyone he cares about alive and that means the gloves are coming off...
He's waiting in the alley under the bridge for me; I spotted that big, pretentious Shogun of his by Kwiksave. It's a contradiction of visions that just sums up the coke addled, muddled up prick quite nicely. Vince Merry, he believes himself to be the top man on Tyneside, my nemesis for so many years. He's had my little brother put away for murder and burnt down his business, threatened my ageing mother with violence, killed owld Dave and now he wants me. Well now he gets me, all of me. I'm at the entrance to the alley under the bridge, there's only one streetlight and I'm under it, darkness and shadows all around me, the fine rain is visible against the light and the wind blows sweet wrappers around my feet. I feel in my jacket pocket for the knuckle-duster, its chunky, solid feel is reassuring. Sighing softly I look up into the Newcastle night sky for what could possibly be the last time and wonder how it ever came to this. Over thirty years of keeping my head down and not offending the big boys, playing it safe and paying my dues every time and still, in the end, I have to fight it out with them. The streetlight is slightly comforting, it's got a warm yellow glow to it but it doesn't lift my mood, I would give anything to be cuddling up to Lisa now. Growing up where and how I did I've always known that life's not fair, I constantly expect to have people shit on me, I accept this and probably deep down knew that one day it would come to this. I think I even half knew it would be with this wanker as well. Weary and resigned to my fate I have to start this thing. I hope I finish it. 'Merry,’ I call into the blackness. There's a rustling sound and two figures step forward into the half-light. Big Tony stands to the right of Merry, a tattooed behemoth, all broad shoulders, big neck and massive biceps, Merry himself is brandishing a big blade, again, I expected this. My heart is pounding as the adrenalin rushes through my 9 Andy Rivers body, my legs feel frozen to the floor and my internal system is asking the question fight or flight? Understandably my brain is screaming flight but my heart knows the score and is telling me that I must fight, I've got to put him to bed once and for all. Looking at the knife, I go for the token question. 'Thought it was a straightener?' He smiles at me without humour and replies, 'Grow up Billy, we're not at school any more.' There's nothing more to say, it's time to start the endgame. Putting my duster on my right fist I smile back and step into the alley towards them.
What if evil visited the one place where you feel the most safe?
Following the breakup of her marriage, Rachael retreats to the old beachhouse in Jenny's Cove, where she once lived with her grandmother. It is the one place where she had always felt safe and loved. Devasted and lost, Rachael longs for the simplicity of her childhood.
But Jenny’s Cove has changed. From the moment of Rachael’s arrival, a man watches. He has already killed, and mercilessly will do so again. Soon Rachael becomes a target for a vicious predator whose own dark and twisted past forms a deadly bond between them.
And sets her on a collision course with a crazed killer.
Rose Haldane is confident about her identity. She pulls the same face as her grandfather when she has to do something she doesn’t want to do, she knows her DNA is the same as his. Except it isn’t: because Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it.
'Ignoring Gravity' connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. Finding her mother’s lost diaries, Rose begins to understand why she has always seemed the outsider in her family, why she feels so different from her sister Lily. Then just when she thinks there can’t be any more secrets…
Rose Haldane is confident about her identity. She pulls the same face as her grandfather when she has to do something she doesn’t want to do, she knows her DNA is the same as his. Except it isn’t: because Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it.
Ignoring Gravity connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. Finding her mother’s lost diaries, Rose begins to understand why she has always seemed the outsider in her family, why she feels so different from her sister Lily. Then just when she thinks there can’t be any more secrets…
In this scene, Rose meets with social worker Mrs Greenaway, to receive the official records of her adoption in 1968.
‘…I know I’m older than average for making this sort of discovery. I don’t blame myself for whatever it was that made my birth parents give me away, they had their reasons. I just want to understand. I’m not seeking to blame them for inadequacies in my own life.’
She glanced out of the window. The view was a red brick wall, the glass speckled with raindrops. She could feel Mrs Greenaway’s eyes focussed on her left ear.
‘I have had a fantasy since I was a child that I had a friend, a friend who was fun to play with, a friend who understood me.’ She swallowed. ‘Since I found out I was adopted, I’ve wondered if she might be my lost sister, if she was some residual memory from when I was a baby, that I have a real elder sister.’ Wanda’s face swam into focus.
‘But the sister you grew up with, err…’ Mrs Greenaway looked down at the file again.
‘Yes, Lily. She is still your sister. You grew up together, you share a common history. No one can take that away from you.’
Rose looked Mrs Greenaway straight in the eye. ‘No, they can’t. But I’m tired of wondering. I want to know if I have a lost sister or not, so can we just get on with it?’
‘Sometimes the birth mother may be dead or…’
‘Or a criminal, or worse. Yes, I know. I have thought about these things.’ And I’m trying to be positive, Rose reprimanded herself. My mother could be a businesswoman, an actress, an opera singer, an author. A journalist, like me.
Mrs Greenaway straightened her shoulders as if she had made a decision.
Rose leant forwards. Is this it?
‘You have a legal right to the following information.’ Mrs Greenaway’s voice sounded as if she were quoting from an official handbook. ‘Here is Form CA5.’ She pushed a sheet of paper across the desk towards Rose, text side down. ‘It gives you the information on your original birth certificate: your name at birth, the names of your birth parents, and the district of your birth. I’ll give yo
When unimaginable calamities strike, Mercy Carver, a poor London woman, wonders what she has done to deserve such immeasurable suffering. It is only when she faces imminent death in the snow and ice-encrusted Virginia wilderness that she finally understands the power of destiny.
After escaping from sadistic criminals, she crosses an ocean and falls in love with Jacob Stone, a plantation owner determined to fight Abraham Lincoln and his government.
Mercy is passionate. She loves and hates in equal measure. Can love and hatred give her the strength she needs now to reach a Northern state and free a runaway slave, wanted for murders she committed, in order to save him?
America and her people are strangled in an uncompromising political stalemate. Southern states have seceded from the Union, and a civil war is imminent.
Will Jacob find Mercy before he is embroiled in a war which could see them separated forever? Can Mercy’s determination to exact revenge on the criminal who imprisoned her be realised before she is forced to make a choice between her love for a slave owner and her ambition to assist fugitive slaves?
Mercy Carver: her journey is just beginning.
Mercy, dazed, bewildered, and terrified, stood in a bedraggled line with the other girls. She was afraid to move a muscle, even though her aching limbs demanded that she do so in order to free herself of painful cramps. She was terrified of being noticed or of allowing a sound to leave her mouth. Cold air was not responsible for making her teeth chatter. No, they clicked together in a song of fear. She was exhausted, sick, and trying her utmost to stand on unsteady feet.
Her wrists and ankles were raw and covered in dried blood in places because of her determined efforts to free herself from the ropes that had bound her. Her face was stinging, swollen, and bruised as though she’d been punched. Her mouth was still half open due to the painful hours she’d spent gagged, and her lips were swollen to twice their normal size with several doses of chloroform.
Horrific images floated through her mind, but she was not having a nightmare. She was not dreaming this. This was a conscious experience that she could neither comprehend nor associate anything with.
The chloroform was still lingering in her system, but she attempted to focus her thoughts on exactly what had happened to her. She had offered to help a man who was worried about his wife. The man in question was now standing alongside another man right here in this stable. She couldn’t believe stupidity and trust had led her to this. It was an unimaginable horror.
Getting tied up was not an experience she had any recollection of at all. She had woken up on the floor with back-breaking pain. Only then had she discovered her tethered body. She remembered sporadic drinks of water because of the painful procedure involved. The smelly rag that gagged her mouth had been pulled off her face and then replaced, stinging her skin. The drops of liquid poured on it had sent her into an abyss of darkness, without dreams each time.
Her tongue was numb. Her mouth was so dry that it was difficult to swallow her saliva. She had no clue as to her whereabouts. Was she far from home or was home close by? No, she determined, home was not nearby. London was not that big, and they had been on the road for a long time. She had to conclude, therefore, that they were nowhere near the city or i
Sandy Lovett's confused mother and chaotic life are having an effect on her waistline. She knows she needs to change her life but doesn't know how until she buys a risqué dress which sets in motion a sequence of life-changing events.
After years as a mother, carer and full-time employee, Sandy quits her job and places her mother in a care home, and life seems on the up. But disaster is never far away for the hapless Sandy as her mother’s obsessions continue to wreak havoc and her husband’s business begins to fail. Short of cash and needing a flexible job, Sandy joins a sex-chat service. At The Beaver Club Sandy discovers a talent for selling telephone sex - a skill she later regrets when she meets unscrupulous local politician and prospective MP, Trewin Thackeray.
The Changing Room is a comedy-drama for all those whose glass is half-full. Preferably with gin and a big fat cherry.
“Did I tell you I used to play cards during the war?” says Mum.
“Yes, you did,” I say, trying to disguise the weariness in my voice.
“We played for hours in the shelter. I learnt poker, bridge, crib and rummy. They called me The Whizz Card Kid. When I got evacuated I lived with Mr and Mrs Swanson. They had a big house near Bletchley Park.”
Mum leans forward conspiratorially and taps the side of her nose. “Mr Swanson did something top secret.”
“Really?” I say, trying my best to sound interested, even though I’ve heard this story numerous times. I stir my crème de menthe with my orange Matchmaker and suck it luxuriously to alleviate the boredom.
“Yes. He was a code breaker. Only we didn’t know back then. It was all very hush-hush.”
Mum picks up another card, studies her hand intensely, and puts down the three of spades. This seems odd as she’s only recently put down the two of spades.
“Hmm, curious,” I say, smoking my Matchmaker like Sherlock Holmes. I take another puff of my Matchmaker and rue the fact that Dr Watson is not here to assist me – or indeed anyone with some new conversation. Evenings can be very, very long with Mum.
“Of course, even though Mr Swanson was a code breaker, he couldn’t beat me at cards,” says Mum. “Not even when I drank some of their home brew cider and got tipsy.”
“Well, I’m not surprised you beat him,” I say. “You’ve always had an excellent memory.”
And don’t I know it, I groan inwardly. I could repeat all of Mum’s stories in my sleep. In fact, I could repeat all of Mum’s stories in my sleep, whilst inebriated.
“I was the best in the class at tables,” boasts Mum, interrupting my train of thought. “Ask me any and I’ll know the answer!”
Mum’s eyes light up with excitement at the thought of a maths challenge. I decide to go with the flow. “What’s seven times seven?”
“Six times eight?”
“Nine times seven?”
“What’s nine times three, multiplied by two, minus thirteen?”
“Forty one!” exclaims Mum, striking the table.
They take his sister, attack his family and mean to kill him with extreme prejudice … What’s a guy to do?
BIZZ is a greedy collusion of organised crime, banking, government, business, politicians and corrupted spooks. They’re making lot’s of money. They aim to stay invisible, and no one gets in their way.
When investigative journalist, Eilidh Duncan, uncovers BIZZ … it’s only a matter of time
When BIZZ finds Eilidh … uhh-ohh!
When big brother, Sam Duncan, wonders why she’s offline … OMG!
Sam goes to London and joins some dots … KABOOM!
Nearby, the executioner waited, patient and ready. He couldn’t kill the soldier in the pisser, not with publicity one of the goals. Tension-fuelled humour rippled in his gut.
In a lavatory stall, air cut by a sharp scent of bleach, the target pulled out a Browning Hi Power. He jacked a round into the chamber and eased the safety-catch off.
He stepped from the cubicle, ready. Empty space. He made a quizzical face at the mirror, eased the gun back into his holster and headed for the door. The urinals hissed to chase him away. No evidence, no clues, only inkling. Probably nothing, but he trusted his inner voice.
Across the way, the assassin appeared to scratch his back, touching the grip of a concealed pistol. He didn’t care about the impact of his action on bystanders. Nightmares and trauma lay beyond his concern and taking someone out in public made for an exciting mission.
He visualised the kill: up behind the victim; barrel close to the bump at the base of the skull; the shot; the drop of the body; the coup de grâce; and a swift exit.
Imagining the escape, and excited camaraderie with the driver, gave the killer a fantastic rush. Tension became tense elation as the final trigger-pull neared. Another notch on the gun.
He looked forward to the pub, in a few hours. A quiet meeting of recognition with the commander. Glowing eyes and handshakes. The powerful affirmation, adulation and whispered congratulations. Knowing glances and nods.
He dissociated murder from the rest of his life; without doubt, a loving family man.
The target reappeared, walking among the shoppers. His wide-shouldered, lean frame, dressed casually in jeans, a country shirt, tweed jacket and Chelsea boots blended in. Easy movement suggested strength and lithe athleticism. Curling dark brown hair blew about, ruffled by fingers of breeze. The sun brightened the world for a few seconds, only to hide once more behind surging clouds.
O’Reilly left a shop window and followed walking briskly behind his quarry. Twenty metres, fifteen, ten ... The adrenaline flowed, yet his breathing stayed measured and movements precise. A car door slammed. Bus brakes squealed and hissed. Neither diverted his focus as he closed behind his victim.
He raised his pistol. The sun came out. His toe stubbed on an uneven pavement slab deflecting his aim and affecting his balance. Worse, his silhouette betrayed him as it strode abreast of the mark.
At an instinctive, professional level the prey understood the silhouette’s hand movement. The target faced the inevitable. Honed instincts and train
These are linked stories, in the spirit of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. They are about a sixteen-year old girl, Kedzie Greer, who was raised in a utopian community and leaves home to make her way in a dystopian society. The year is 2199; the place, the Reunited States.In these stories, technology coexists with a haunted world. There are witches and robots, ghosts and e-beasts, a mystical lake and a human warehouse.
In the end, it was the town gates that got to Kedzie. The gates were symbols of the caged feeling that was driving her crazy, and the fact that they had stood for hundreds of years was particularly maddening. Except for the summer tourists who came to gawk at what they called its quaintness, no one new ever showed up in Stillwater. Everybody who was already there knew everybody else who was already there. She could not walk past those heavy ironwork gates without wanting to shake them and cry out.
The vigilbots that manned the gates were polite and amiable. They said hello and wished you Godspeed. Although in 2199 vigilbots could be legally programmed to kill, the worst the Stillwater bots could do was surround people and deliver mild, persistent electric shocks. This, too, exasperated Kedzie. Why bother having a defense if it did not actually defend you?
Kedzie had ridden her bicycle over every street in Stillwater. She had been inside most of the houses. She had been to every community celebration: Christmas, Yule, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the first day of spring, summer, fall, winter. She had been to every picnic, done every volunteer job. Every step she took, she had taken before.
All the shopkeepers said, “Hi, Kedzie,” when she entered. Kind Mr. Glimm always gave her a piece of candy, not caring to notice that she was an adult of sixteen. In the Reunited States in 2199, sixteen-year-olds were economically accountable for themselves. They had no legal right to be supported by anyone. Kedzie was so well-loved that it never occurred to her that one of the consequences of turning sixteen was that her parents could force her out. All she knew was that if she wanted to leave, her parents had no legal power to make her stay.
Kedzie’s parents, Julia Margoles and Adele Freyer, practiced white witchcraft. As faithfully as any believers of old, they celebrated the Sabbats, they prayed to the God and Goddess. They did no harm to any creature on Earth. Kedzie had heard them say many times that they lived in harmony with “the great round”—the turning earth and the tenets of their faith.
It was fortunate that they never pressured Kedzie to adopt their beliefs, because she did not believe in anything they said or did. The idea of devoting her life to benign witchcraft—home, community, nature, and smiling—made her itch and toss restlessly in bed. She did not see what was so great about those elaborate stories her parents called spells:
Now walk into the forest. In a clearing, you will see a golden well with a bucket suspended from a rope. Lower the bucket into the well. All her parents’ incantations sounded like that.
“We live in a false bubble,” she said to her parents. “Stillwater is unreal.”
Her mother Julia said that Stillwater was the real world. “Outside is the place of unreality,” she said.
“It is not easy to live as we do,” her mother Adele said. “We have to choose to do right every day of our lives, and it can be very, very tiresome. We do not alway
Lady Chrissie Wellsby and her two country friends research dozens of rogues before selecting the notorious Viscount Hawkesbury, owner of London’s most exclusive and expensive brothel, to educate them in erotic seduction. The ladies abandon respectability and coerce Justin Tremayne into letting them visit The Pleasure House and to teaching them the sensual tricks mistresses and prostitutes use to entertain men.
Though Justin believes three naive ladies will see the debauched romps in his themed rooms, cover their eyes and ears, and run back to their sheltered lives, he underestimates the desperation of abandoned women who imagine a wider knowledge of sex will keep the men in their lives at home, in their own beds. But despite watching several of their friends, men and women, perform raunchy acts at his brothel, the ladies insist on participating in the last of Justin’s infamous Sultan’s galas, held in numerous silk tents and outdoor bathing areas on his estate.
Justin concedes to Chrissie’s demands only to gain information about his long-lost mother and sisters, but the world-weary viscount falls head over heels in love with his emotionally bruised pupil. He yearns for a wife, children, and an uncomplicated wife, but can he convinced Chrissie to take a chance and marry again? Because Justin never wants to leave her bed.
”Remove that hideous gown!” Justin Tremayne, known in amusement-
seeking society as Handsome Hawkesbury or the Virile Viscount, struggled to
hide his rising frustration. “I need to examine your body. All of it.”
He smiled a little. “I’d still like to see a little more of you. I can’t
even see the color of your hair.” He pointed toward her groin. “Top or
bottom. Here, let me unbutton you,” he said, his fingers set to work on
her top button, brushing the soft skin of her nape as he did so.
She flinched and held tight to the gaping neck of her dress with
clenched fists. “Please. Listen to me. I’m not seeking employment.”
“Ah, then you’re simply a bitch in heat like all the others.
Wanting a lusty tale to recount to your upper- class friends over tea and
cake. Perhaps compare notes on Viscount Hawkesbury’s infamous
Her quick series of breaths hissed and sizzled like water spitting
on hot coals. He heard the girls tut-tutting nearby, but taunting, teasing,
and arousing the lioness who’d dared brave his den so late at night had
proved too delicious a temptation to resist. Only one more jest at her
expense and then he’d summon the butler and a couple of strong
footmen, and bid her farewell.
He turned, slowly and deliberately, and spoke to his two friends.
When people call her a control freak, Peri Milano takes it as a compliment. As the preferred go-to special assistant to Philadelphia’s rich and almost famous, having everything under control is part of her job description. With the organizational skills of a data processing program, the discretion of the CIA, and the creativity of an Ikea research and design engineer, Peri fulfills whatever whim her customers fancy and finds methods for their madness.
Never has she received a request she couldn’t complete nor a problem she couldn’t solve. So when she finds the dead body of one of her clients and lands smack in the middle of a murder investigation, Peri simply adds a few more items on her to-do list. It's nothing she can’t handle.
But when another client receives a blackmail letter, her son’s type-1 diabetes nearly kills him and her mother ends up in jail (again), Peri starts to doubt whether anything is truly ever under control. She can’t help but wonder just who will be the next to Show Up Dead.
“Just stop saying things like that for a little while,” I said to my mother. “It’s too much for me to handle right now.” I sighed and turned to Mr. Wooley’s daughter. “Jacqueline, why did you kill your father?”
“I DIDN’T KILL HIM!” She jumped up, knocking over her chair. “Why do people keep saying that?” She clenched her hands in front of her mouth. “Peri! You’re supposed to be taking care of me for the rest of my life! You can’t just accuse me of murder whenever you want!”
“I’m not supposed to be taking care of you. I’m only responsible . . . Ugh! That doesn’t matter right now.” I dumped my tea in the sink and hit the coffeepot’s on button. “Let’s get back to square one. Jacqueline, why were you poisoning your father?” I picked up her chair.
Jacqueline pulled herself together and returned to her chair.
“Do you know what it’s like knowing your father is going to become your mother?” she asked.
“You know, Archie and I experimented with that once,” Ma said.
“Who is Archie?” Jacqueline asked, somehow making herself heard over me shrieking. “Jesus! Ma!”
“Archie is my husband,” Ma continued. “We started our parenting adventure by deliberately reversing our roles so Peri wouldn’t grow up with the stereotypes of what a woman is supposed to be like, or a man. We wanted her to decide that for herself. It was very amusing. Except, we kept forgetting to follow through. Eventually, we got confused as to who was supposed to do what, so we decided to just let Peri teach us how to be parents.”
“That explains so much,” Mel cheered me with her teacup. I nodded in return. If I had ever believed tears were useful, I may have allowed myself to cry.
“Well, Ma, that’s not quite what Jacqueline means.” I sniffed. The coffee aroma calmed me. “What she’s talking about is that Mr. Wooley was planning on becoming, medically and completely, Miss Wooley.”
“I see.” Ma sipped her tea. She poked a Sfogliatelle pastry as if she worried it might attack. “Arch and I never tried that, though I can see how Mr. Wooley would be so inclined. The man had a gift for color coordination.”
Kick back and enjoy this mini-anthology of spine-tingling short stories from Diane Wing, author of "Thorne Manor And Other Bizarre Tales" and "Coven: Scrolls of the Four Winds."
Another Walk in the Park: A familiar walking path leads to a disturbing encounter in an unexpected realm.
Dark Hollow Road: A grieving sister searches for her brother on a road notorious for missing persons.
The Restaurant: An adventurous foodie couple are consumed by a life-changing meal when they explore the peculiar cuisine at a mysterious new restaurant.
Wrong Directions: Jealousy prompts a technological genius to conjure a diabolical solution to deal with unfaithful husbands.
It was just another walk in the park. A gentle summer breeze blowing, rustling the dense leaves on the trees. The occasional chipmunk suddenly bounding across my path and disappearing on the other side. Butterflies flew alongside, guiding my journey. I followed the same path I had countless times before, knowing what was around the next bend, changes only made by the seasons. The big old oak ahead was mostly dead; yet refused to go quietly. Its twisted trunk, bulging bark, and thick, broken branches gave it an angry, evil countenance and dual personality when viewed from the other side, where its skin was smoother and new branches sprouted from the top of the broken trunk. There was a large opening at the base that I could fit inside easily to experience the spooky tree from its core, yet never did. It seemed an invasion to enter through this spirit portal. Out of respect, I looked in, but maintained our separateness. Teenaged black walnut trees danced in a circle to mark the boundary of a large grove, a sacred space that seemed to have an energy all its own. The grass grew thick, awaiting park employee intervention to trim it back. Just to the left, a four-foot high, rough-hewn headstone proclaimed that this was the site of the Winterton Mansion, circa 1785. There seemed to be an energetic residue left from the mansion, accompanied by a sense of foreboding. I had walked up to the stone many times, yet felt an invisible barrier that prevented me from moving past it and into the walnut grove. A friend of mine was with me on one of my woodland walks and as we stood before the headstone, she commented that the house does not like attention drawn to it and prefers that visitors disregard its presence. The story goes that the house burned down and that the area is haunted. Some park visitors have smelled smoke and heard screams. My visits had, up to this point, been uneventful, having established good rapport with the trees and nature spirits in the area. Yet there was always an underlying sense of an alternate dimension, of layers waiting to be discovered, and of the distant past wanting to be remembered, waiting to be explored. While usually approaching with great respect and reverence, this time felt different. It was as though the barrier was thinner, and the area was no longer off-limits. My feet were on the dirt path, but the grove beckoned me to visit, to experience, to cross into another time, another place. All six senses were on alert, prickling from past encounters with the area, teetering between honoring its solitude and an intense curiosity drawing me closer. Something tickled my ankle, and I realized I was standing in the overgrown grass halfway between the path and the headstone. The headstone glared at me in silence, daring me to come forward, to break the seal and the unspoken agreement we had to remain apart. I For Review Only - Do not distribute 2 Diane Wing telepathically assured this sacred space that I meant no harm and asked if I was being invited in.
Based on a true story. Ted and Florrie were childhood sweethearts who in 1936, married in the church on top of the Hill where they both lived, unaware of the dark rumblings from Europe, which in a few short years were to change their lives forever.
Ted is called up and joins an elite Airborne glider force tasked with capturing and holding the Pegasus and Horsa bridges in enemy-held Normandy vital to the success of the D-Day invasion. Their mission is a complete success but this is only the awful beginning. From there he continues to fight at the bloody Rhine Crossing, across Germany until finally meeting the Russian Army on the Baltic coast. Casualties are terrible.
In 1946 Ted is demobbed and returns to Florrie and his young family unscathed. But only physically so, for Florrie doesn't recognise the man who returns and soon the experience of constant death and the horror of battle takes its destructive toll on him. Both he and Florrie struggle to understand and come to terms with the problem in the buttoned-up society of the 1940s and 50s. To make matters worse, Florrie's mental health begins to deteriorate. How will Ted deal with this? With the same heightened sense of duty and loyalty that won the war, or will that same stubbornness turn on him and destroy him?
The story also looks at the lives of ordinary people in post-war England, at their values and culture, from the greyness of the fifties with the horse-drawn baker's van and the black footprints of the coal-man, to a country slowly emerging from the devastation of war and is a must read for fans of historical fiction.
Pegasus to Paradise is an ode to both the extraordinary efforts of ordinary men and women during the Second World War, and a moving portrait of duty, survival, humour and the power of love in post-war Britain.
Ted clicked through the metal gate and opened the front door. He would be glad to put all this shopping down. His forehead felt clammy and he rubbed a dull ache away in his chest.
‘Florrie. You there?’
There was no answer.
Probably asleep. Better have a look.
The landing was quite dim and he didn’t see it at first. The blood red smear on the white bathroom door and the mark of two fingers.
‘What the hell?’
The words gasped.
Now he could see the dark drops on the landing carpet leading to the bedroom. His heart froze and he leant for a second against the wall. There was no sound.
‘Oh no Florrie.’
He pushed the bedroom door open, slowly, and stepped inside.
Florrie was lying on her back on the bed, both arms outstretched. Her hands and arms and clothes were soaked red. A smudge of colour around her nose. A streak slashed across her throat. Her eyes closed. Behind her, the wall was smeared and splattered crimson.
Ted recoiled as the violent scene screamed into his senses.
‘Jesus Christ.’ And hot tears flooded into his eyes. Then he realised. Something about the smell.
This wasn’t blood. He knew what blood smelled like, lots of blood. And the colour...? He moved beside Florrie and placed his fingers on her neck. The pulse beat strongly. Beside her on the bed lay
A humorous, animal detective story for 7-12 year-olds.
When Mr Woodland Mouse mysteriously disappears, Constable Mole is quick to enlist the help of Leon Chameleon, Private Investigator, whose expertise enabled the Pigeon Valley Police to solve the case of the missing canary eggs.
After organising a search, Leon realises that there is only one creature in the valley who can spring the captured mouse from his prison. But just when he thinks Mr Woodland Mouse is safely on his way home, the plan goes horribly wrong..."
All the animal details of food, habits, and lifestyle are true to nature (apart from Constable Mole’s sunglasses!) and the animals solve the crimes using their own natural abilities. Children will absorb much knowledge of the small creatures of Africa without being aware of it.
A section of interesting facts has been added to this second detective story in the Leon Chameleon PI series. It provides valuable and little-known information on chameleons, moles and other creatures featured in the story.
“LEON, Leon!” cried Constable Mole, clambering out of his burrow and hurriedly dusting the soil from his fur. “Are you there, Leon?”
Mole’s urgent, squeaking voice startled Leon Chameleon, who was dreaming, with half-closed eyes, of all the detective cases he would one day solve. The branch he was perched on swayed slightly in the gentle breeze, and the warm sun filtering through the leaves made him feel quite sleepy.
“Leon!” demanded Mole.
“Drat,” thought Leon, as Constable Mole’s frantic voice became even more urgent. “What can the little chap want in such a hurry?”
Leon’s eyes at the end of their cone-shaped turrets swivelled down in search of Constable Mole, whose reddish-brown body was almost invisible against the brown of the earth. At last he spotted Mole’s anxious figure.
“Leon!” squeaked Mole in annoyance, stamping his feet.
“All right, all right. I’m coming,” said Leon, sighing at Mole’s impatience. Slowly Leon unfurled his tail from the twig, around which he’d secured it for extra support in case he fell asleep and toppled off. He began his ponderous climb down through the branches of the Pigeonwood Tree, which was his headquarters where he waited for clients who needed his help. On reaching the lowest branch he yelled a warning: “Watch out, Mole!”
“Oh no,” muttered Mole when he heard Leon drawing in great puffs of air. He knew from past experience that it wasn’t safe under trees when Leon was about to launch himself from a branch. He scurried down his hole out of harm’s way.
Leon puffed and puffed, sucking air into the tiny airways of his lungs which were spread throughout his body. When he’d blown himself up like a miniature balloon, he bellowed, “Look out below,” and with a mighty push of his strong back legs leapt from the branch. But even when he was filled with air, Leon’s descent was still quite rapid. Mole remained in the safety of his hole until he felt the ground shudder as Leon’s plummeting body landed with a plop amongst the dried leaves.
Mole was always amazed that Leon never hurt himself when he jumped from trees. But Leon’s trick of blowing up his body cushioned his fall and he simply bounced when he hit the ground.
“Now, what’s the problem?” L
Richmond, California. World War II. A cross burning takes innocent lives and unsettles the town. After Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, American Italians start to disappear, a rapist promises to revisit his victims, and someone viciously beats shipyard workers – to death. His failure to solve these seemingly unrelated events haunts homicide detective Oliver Wright, even after he reenlists in the Marines and finds himself fighting in the Pacific.
Oliver returns to Richmond near the end of the war, injured and afraid his career is over. But when an Italian Prisoner of War is murdered the night the Port Chicago Mutiny verdicts are announced, and black soldiers are suspected of the crime, the Army asks Oliver to find out the truth. He joins forces with an Italian POW captain and with a black MP embittered by a segregated military. During their investigation, these unlikely allies expose layers of deceit and violence that stretch back to World War I, and uncover a common thread that connects the earlier crimes.
In the Shadow of Lies reveals the darkness and turmoil of the Bay Area during World War II, while celebrating the spirit of the everyday people who made up the home front. Its intriguing characters will resonate with the reader long after its deftly intertwined mysteries are solved.
San Francisco Bay, 1944
“Stop, or I’ll shoot!”
A soldier raised his pistol and searched the water for Luca.
The Italian POW broke the surface ten feet away from the ferry. The soldier fired at the bobbing head, then aimed again. A cane struck his arm.
“Stand down, soldier!” Lt. Oliver Wright stumbled against him, then righted himself with the cane. “Can’t you see what’s happening?”
“Oh, I get it.” The guard smiled and lowered the gun. “Why waste the ammo? That dago won’t last ten minutes out there.”
Something flew past their heads once, then again. An MP threw a third life preserver into the bay. Harley trembled at the rail and barked sharply at Oliver. The dog flew into the air and over the side as soon as Oliver’s hand began the signal to go.
The MP saluted. “My people don’t much take after Johnny Weissmuller, but we do have a talent for throwing. Corporal Nate Hermit, sir.”
Their hasty introductions were subsumed in shouts and cries.
“Man overboard! Come about, come about!”
The ferry shuddered as the engines slammed into reverse. Above the vessel’s groans, a woman shrieked. Soldiers and POWs rushed to her side.
Another group of POWs spotted a motorized skiff lashed to the rail and raced toward it. Nate took off after them, reaching the boat as it swung out and back against the side of the ferry, the POWs straining to lower it and the weight of two of their compatriots. Oliver watched Nate launch himself into the skiff, knock down one of the POWs, and almost wrench the lines free.
“Sorry. If I don’t come with you, that cracker with the pistol will sink you before you can help that little girl—and your captain.” He righted himself and looked toward the water. Oliver heard him mutter, “Then again, he would just as happily sink me, too.”
When Jamie Keller's father is killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb, her mother decides to combat the financial and emotional stress by moving the family from Hamilton, Ohio to the rural town of Promise, Oregon.
Fourteen-year-old Jamie narrates the tale of the journey, intermingling descriptions of family dynamics with her own personal philosophy of life.
The victims of Jamie's scrutiny include: older sister Jenny, who listens to praise music and wears a WWJD bracelet; younger brother Jake, contained and brainy, with know-it-all tendencies; and little sister Jana, lover of animals and sometimes the comic relief.
In Reno, Nevada, the mystery begins when Jamie's mother fails to pick the kids up at the mall as had been previously arranged.
After waiting for hours in the blazing heat, brother Jake finally goes in search of his mom only to return with an amazing story. He has located the car, and everything in it is intact (including the family's pet cats), but Mrs. Keller is nowhere to be found. Intensive searching proves futile. Their mother has vanished!
Nervous about becoming wards of the state of Nevada, and fearful of being put in separate foster homes, the Keller kids decide to avoid authority, choosing instead to take the gamble, and continue on to Promise, Oregon.
On the way into town, a giant JESUS banner is the first sign that Promise is in a bible belt. Jenny is thrilled, Jamie, not so.
Upon arriving at the ranch, the Kellers are met with further disappointment when they discover that the 'ranch' is nothing more than an old trailer, situated off the grid. Jake is in his element, with the challenge of solar panels, batteries and generators, but the girls are far from enchanted.
War, religion, world peace, inner peace, dealing with financial stress and self sufficiency are some of the key topics in this often humorous story story.
Off the Grid is a contemporary novelette directed at a young teen audience but enjoyed by all ages.
By the time we got to Reno the whole idea of having anything to do with my family completely lost its charm. I hated these people! Even Jana was whining, and Jake’s ability to stay so distant and calm was rattling my cage, too. Speaking of cages, I hadn’t mentioned how the cats were faring in all of this. I hadn’t mentioned how they pooped in Nebraska, forcing us to drive with the windows down, in over one-hundred degree heat. We suffered for over an hour, without air conditioning, until we could get to the rest stop and clean the cage. Poor Isaiah and Schwartz, they were panting, and so miserable. We were seriously concerned for them. And then, there was Jenny. For being such a Christian, it amazed me how blatantly materialistic she was. Her mall withdrawal was just plain annoying, and she wouldn’t let it go; begging Mom to stop at every mall we saw along the way, and then sulking till the next, when it would start all over again. I imagined she had to be holding out some of her own funds if she wanted to get to the mall so badly. However, Jenny had certain leverage here, because her birthday was three days after we got the news about Dad. It was a shame she’d had such a sad fifteenth birthday, but she was milking it for all it was worth. Lucky for her, Jana had left all her underwear (in the form of clean laundry) on Cousin Robin’s bed, back in Hamilton, and was putting in her own pleas for replacements.
Known for hunting the supernatural, no mortal man realizes Lord Cedric is one of Sorceress Morrighan’s abominations. After competing in a tournament, he is wed to a Lady of the Court, Angeline. Cedric’s senses begin to overwhelm him and he struggles to decipher his feelings; Are they a creation of his incubine bloodline or truly heartfelt emotions for the girl who has lost it all to him? He finds himself forced to choose between falling in love or continuing his suicidal quest to kill his creator. Epic battles against all manners of beasts and demons fill this story with memorable antagonists such as Morrighan and her two sisters; Romasanta the Father of Werewolves; Succubus Queen Lillith and many more. Find yourself engulfed in lores and history long forgotten from the 12th Century and beyond.
Angeline’s face mottled. Raised on a farm, she couldn’t help but scoff at the fact his lordship was rather bold for someone of his rank. In all her years at the Castle, not even a peasant had dared to spit in front of a Lady of the Court, let alone relieve himself. It was exasperating keeping her back to him. He was right behind her doing his business while she was trying to gather wood. Dropping what little she had in a pile, she decided it would have to wait. He was in the way and was in no mood to go too far from the camp. She watched as the horses started fussing and fidgeting at their hitching tree. Her eyes caught a strange movement from the tree. Once more, the bare tree shuddered and one horse screamed, pulling its reins tight as it backed away. “There it is.” Cedric finished and turned around to walk back to the horses. “Stay back.” “What is going on?” Swallowing her nervousness, she watched the dead tree quiver again and more screams came from the horses. “What is happening?” “Dinner.” Scoffing, he stopped halfway; the horses were frantic and trying to tug free, biting at their reins. Despite the distance, Angeline could see the whites of the eyes of the horses that were now pawing at the tree. They were desperate and frightened beyond anything she had ever seen. One horse managed to break free and sped off down the trail, leaving its companion screaming and bucking. The other horse was fighting to free itself, but all it produced were raw spots from its harness that dripped blood down its cheek. The bright red lines glistened in the sunlight as the struggle continued. A rumbling was coming from the ground as the dead tree started to grow taller as if a weed pulled up by an unseen hand. The horse was bucking and squealing, foam dripping from its mouth, eyes wild with fear. In horror, Angeline watched as the ground exploded, the horse pulled high in the air. The dead tree was the horn on the nose of a Sand Orm. It was a massive serpent with scales running down into the ground that imitated the look of an earthworm. Smooth and the color of the soil, she marveled over its size as she caught glimpses of a treelike fin that ran the beast’s length. Once more, the ground trembled under her feet. The mammoth Orm snatched the horse dangling from its nose-horn into its mouth. Its gapping jaws were large enough to hold three horses with room for the riders. She slid to her knees in awe as she watched the massive creature eat. Its jaws muffling the horse’s scream quickly, despite the lack of any teeth besides the hard boulder-lined lips. Her ears met with a mixture of crackling and popping, unsure of when she was hearing the bones of the horse or simply the stony collision of the monster’s jaws. Lord Cedric was unmoved. The Orm turned its enormous head to face Cedric, a low groaning rippled from it as it did so. Trees and bushes shifted and moved just behind it and down the trail. The entire forest snaked back and forth like waves on the ocean connected to this monster that towered over them like a small mountain. Th
When Beth's eccentric boss at the government research lab asks her to try out his latest duplicating machine, she'd be crazy to do any such thing. She's not cleared for this, insured or authorized; it's late Friday evening and she wants to go home. But Beth is fatally unassertive. She agrees, and unknown to her another Beth is created.
The replica overhears MI5 chief, Sir Peter Ellis, discussing her future - or rather, lack of it. Terrified, she goes on the run. Penniless, friendless and homeless, she has to find the inner strength and aggression to survive on icy London streets.
Spec op Nick Cavanagh likes to win. Though Beth thinks he's outside her apartment to protect her, in fact he's hunting her double. As the replica proves difficult to catch and the stakes get higher, he has to decide whose side he is on.
Beth had stacked the dishes and was wiping surfaces when Nick returned with Ollie’s tray. He moved to the sink and turned the tap on, then got the Fairy Liquid from the cupboard under the sink.
“It’s okay, I can do that…”
Nick disregarded her and carried on. “You wipe, I don’t know where things go.”
The washing up didn’t take long. As they did it, they made desultory conversation like old friends. When the last saucepan was clean, Nick ran the water away, put the inevitable lone teaspoon he had missed on the draining board, wrung out the dishcloth, laid it over the tap and dried his hands. Beth picked up the teaspoon, wiped it, and put it in the drawer. She leaned back against the counter and smiled at him, fingering a red-gold tendril of hair which twisted in a perfect spiral, shining like metal. Funny, Sandra’s hair was red, too, a dyed dark red that was heavy and dead compared to Beth’s.
“No problem.” He reached out, pulled the curl gently and let it go. It straightened, and sprang back when released. She stared at her feet, then as if compelled, raised her gaze to his. Nick gave her the look that usually worked; women liked his eyes, dark, warm, not altogether trustworthy, and he knew it.
In the room next door the phone rang. Beth didn’t move to answer it; her eyes stayed on his; he noticed the irises were darker round their rims, and as she blushed they became bluer. The moment lengthened, till the phone finally stopped ringing. Nick stepped through that invisible barrier which separates strangers and keeps them apart, and laid his cheek on hers. Giving her plenty of time to recoil or remonstrate, should she want to, he leaned against her, turned his head and kissed her soft lips. Three heartbeats, then her arms circled his waist, pulling him closer. She’s thinking of the boyfriend, how he cheated on her…if this isn’t a window of opportunity, I don’t know what is.
After some time, mid-kiss, Beth smiled. It is not possible to kiss satisfactorily while smiling. Nick drew back and raised his eyebrows. She said, “How can I put this…is that a gun in your pocket?”
Nick laughed. “I don’t carry a gun.” He kissed her again. “It’s a taser.”
His voice went lower. “Though I am quite pleased to see you.” His hand slid under her jumper, discovering a silky layer beneath. The counter she leaned on got in the way; it was probably digging into her back, too. “There’s a lot to be said for doing this horizontally, on
A psychological legal crime thriller
A lawyer, a murderer and a policeman – caught in a tangled web of love, loss, terror and intrigue in this driving psychological thriller.
When criminal lawyer Julia Grant interviews Sam Smith who has been charged with a vicious murder, she feels a strange connection to him.
Has she met him before? Does he hold a key to her lost childhood memories?
He feels a connection too. 'Julia, you are the only one who can help me,' he pleads.
Is it the same connection? Does he know something she cannot recall?
When he is duly convicted despite her best efforts, he suddenly turns on her in the courtroom and threatens that one day he will make sure to wreak his revenge on her.
What has she ever done to him?
From the best-selling author of Golden Sapphire
The door to the jury room swung open. The seven men and five women filed in and took their seats. Julia glanced at the dock. Perched behind the thick protective glass Sam Smith looked immaculate in a fresh white shirt, the blond beard newly trimmed, nothing moving except those marble blue eyes.
She saw Paul come in through the swing doors. He sat down in the seats reserved for the police, glanced at her and smiled ─ a slow half smile and a slightly raised eyebrow, as if to say that for only one of them would today's outcome be successful.
She tucked a wayward strand of hair behind her ear and smiled back. Defence versus Prosecution. Part of the day's work. Only this time the stakes were higher than usual.
Sam Smith was also watching her, his face so alien it was hard to imagine how the thoughts that had haunted her in the eight months she’d been preparing his defence had ever entered her mind. Even a hardened criminal like Smith must surely feel some trepidation now. But there was nothing. Not even a flicker to show he registered one iota of emotion.
The Clerk of the Court rose to his feet. ‘Will the court please stand.’
The door opened. Mr Justice Steel strode to his red leather chair, scarlet and ermine robes flowing, wig well down his forehead. He nodded to the crowded court and sat down.
Julia pressed her shoulders against the back of the bench. Another five minutes and it would all be over. And what then?
He might be free, but would she ever be?
The Clerk of the Court cleared his throat. ‘Will the foreman of the jury please stand.’ He looked directly at the foreman. ‘Have you reached a verdict upon which all of you are agreed?’
‘Yes,’ the foreman said.
Julia looked straight ahead. Remembering what Ben had told her this morning she cringed with embarrassment. ‘You’re the best young criminal lawyer in Manchester and you’d better make sure you uphold your reputation and that of our partnership,’ he’d said as she left for the court. Huh. A fat lot of good her reputation was doing her now.
Something made her look at Smith again as if he’d called her name out loud. Clearly he’d been waiting for her to look at him, knowing that
A true life story of four generations of a family plagued with kidney disease and death. Finally through the miracle of organ transplants, Harry was the first member of the family to live and have his transplant for forty one years. When their son Joe was inflicted with the disease, his transplant should have been highly successful in this day and age. It was however turned into a nightmare by the incompetence of the Cleveland Clinic hospital. The permanent injury to Chris, the donor, and the near death of Joe, the recipient, brings this family to the depths of despair and near suicide. Through a miracle of God they were given a copy of the surgery and made the shocking discovery of how these so called "world class surgeons" performed this surgery, and then tried to cover it up. As Joe and Chris suffer and their health declines, the family desperately searches through the medical cover up to save their lives. Only their faith and perseverance help them to ultimately triumph.
When we came back from Ripley, Joe asked me if Harry had any living relatives, and the age-old question came up of what had happened to them. I told him they had died of kidney disease. He told me he was going to be really pissed off if he ever got that disease.
About a month later, we realized that Joe’s blood pressure was getting higher. Again, we do nothing and are in denial until it is really high. It was then I knew why Hilda waited so long to see a doctor when Harry got sick.
I called Harry at work and told him I was taking Joe to the ER. There was no sense going to the doctor and waiting for the results of a million tests. I knew the answer anyway and the waiting would kill me. Harry met me at the hospital.
So here it was, again August 8, the same day I found out I had cancer and the same day Harry had the aneurysm surgery. Needless to say, I would hate that date from that day on. Harry was still hoping it was something else, but I knew better. I was a mess and Harry made me wait in the waiting room so I wouldn’t upset Joe.
I just paced up and down the hall crying because I knew he was going to come out and tell me that Joe had kidney disease, my worst nightmare. I selfishly was glad he made me wait outside, because I could not stand to see Joe’s face when they told him. I had seen enough of that the night they told Harry he would probably die.
They did several tests and finally realized from something that Joe said that our family had kidney disease. I myself would have told them to check that first, but I wasn’t there. Harry came out and told me they were checking his urine. I knew this was it. When Harry came back out again, he said they had told Joe his kidneys weren’t working well, and they were admitting him to the hospital.
John and Carol called Joe; they both understood what we were going through. Dee Dee, my lifelong friend, and her daughter Amber came to visit that day. I had to go to work, so I went home for a while. I got home and just screamed “NO, NO, NO!” to the empty house. Even though I knew, I just could not believe that what I had always feared had finally happened. It was just too painful.
The nephrologist came in the next day and we told him about the family having glomulernephritis, and he asked what kind. Well for all the years we refused to even discuss the subject, we didn’t know. How stupid could we be? Anyway, we needed to find out or they were going to do a kidney biopsy.
I called Harry’s doctor i
Celebrate the ancient and powerful magic held within the Wheel of the Year with this clear and well-ordered guide. This book is much more than a guidebook; it offers everything needed to mark the changing of the seasons in a meaningful and fulfilling way. Within these pages are suggestions for activities, spells, guided meditations and lists of correspondences for each of the eight Sacred Festivals. Learn something of the role of the Goddess and her Consort and gain an understanding of the important role the Festivals played for our ancestors. Also included are guidance on Casting a Circle and collecting and cleansing the basic tools used for Craft work. Although aimed at those new to the Craft it will give the more knowledgeable tried and tested ways to celebrate these ancient and beloved Festivals.
Prepare for meditation in the usual way. When you are ready enter your forest. Take the time to feel the earth beneath you and the breeze on your skin. Smell the trees and plants that surround you. A path is before you. You follow it to a clearing. In the centre is a large boulder draped with ivy. Go to the boulder and look around you. It has been a long hot day but now the sun is beginning to go down and the light slants through the trees making bars of sunlight beneath them. As you look through the bars of light and shadow an animal comes into view. It stands and watches you for a while and then turns back into the forest as if asking you to follow. You do so and it leads you through the trees until you come to the foot of a steep hill. At the top of the hill you see a huge fire sending sparks and coils of smoke high into the air. Your animal guide leads you up the hill toward the fire and then waits for you at a safe distance from the flames. From the top of the hill you can look out over the forest. There are other fires scattered as far as you can see. It seems as though every hill has its fire, all glowing red and orange all except for one. This one is the tallest of them all and the furthest away. It glows piercingly white.
Sit in the warmth from the fire and find the things you no longer wish to carry around with you; old hurts, old disappointments, old quarrels. If they make you feel restless and uncomfortable look to your animal guide for support. It is standing in the shadows waiting for you. You know the time has come to part with all those things that are holding you back from reaching your full potential. Visualise taking each of those troubling thoughts one by one and dropping them into the fire. Do it with love. They were originally there for a reason, now they have simply overstayed their welcome. Watch as the flames convert them into light releasing them and carrying them up into the air to be swept away in the powerful outgoing tide of Litha. Sit for a while. Watch the last of the midsummer sun’s rays fade. From tomorrow the days will begin to grow shorter but there is much life and growth left in the year. Now you are free from the burdens allow yourself to look forward to taking part in it.
When it is quite dark stand and re-join your animal guide who will lead you safely back to the ivy covered boulder. Enjoy the walk in the woods; know you are safe with your guide. Hear the night noises and smell the damp earth as it breaths out after the long hot day. When you arrive at the boulder thank your animal guide and know you will see it again. Prepare to return to the room you are sitting in. Take it slowly.
When you are ready ground yourself by having a drink or something to eat or both. If you feel really spaced out go into the garden and do a little gardening but whatever you do be sure
Hym and Hur are a young couple who never age and have been in love for more than a century. They also possess an array of magical abilities, two of which are either to play pranks on humankind or to perform good deeds. Enacting both at the same time is now what gets them into trouble, especially since it's the unruly character of Death they must deal with to bring their plans to fruition.
The prank Hym and Hur have come up with must first be agreed upon by Death, who happens to be a rambunctious, difficult character. Once agreed upon, the prank is set in motion. Hym and Hur soon discover Death had tricked them into a contract with dire consequences for all of us.
During their attempt to break the contract, Hym and Hur try to save the relationship of an earthbound couple, knowing they are truly meant for each other. A good deed that will bring Hym and Hur even more trouble.
A bright flash lit up the restaurant window. The waitress snapped her eyes shut, thinking it was the sun bouncing off a windshield. Blinking her eyes open, she noticed the booth alongside the window was occupied. A booth she could have sworn had just been empty, and she made her way over to it.
Hym set the breakfast menu down. "Coffee," he said to the waitress, "and can I get a hot fudge sundae at this hour?"
"No problem," she told him. "And for you, ma'am?"
"Hot tea," Hur said, "and a slice of cherry pie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream."
"Sounds great," the waitress smiled, and she left them.
"What'll we do today?" Hur asked Hym.
Searching for an answer, his hazel eyes filled with mischief. "How about this?" he whispered. "For twenty-four hours we give everyone in Los Angeles bad luck."
"But most of them already have bad luck," Hur said. "And it would be a negative. Why not give everybody good luck?"
"Not really my kind of fun," he slouched.
In the silence that followed, each tried to come up with something.
"Breakfast time," the waitress announced. She served the drinks and desserts, and then was off to the next booth.
Hur's blue eyes brightened. "I got it," she said, and it was her turn to whisper. "For a day or two, no one in Los Angeles dies."
Hym slapped his forehead. "That is great!"
"Oh-darn," she said. "We'll have to get you-know-who to go along with it."
"Why wouldn't he?" Hym said as he dug happily into his sundae. "It'll give him a chance to shorten his list."
Hur nodded skeptically as she took a big bite of her dessert.
Barney's Beanery had just opened. There were only two customers at the bar. A chubby old woman sipped a beer at one end. At the other sat Death tossing back a shot of Jim Beam.
He grimaced with delight, slammed his glass down and said, "Barkeep—I'll have another."
Pouring the drink, the bartender eyed Death's black coat and fedora, the pale skin and long gnarled fingers. "Perfect weather for a coat," he cracked, "must be only about 80 out there."
The Field of Blackbirds begins when Arben Shala disappears in Eastern Europe. Jeff Bradley, a recently retired special forces soldier, promises Arben’s wife to uncover the mystery behind his disappearance and bring her husband home. Jeff travels to the UN administered Serbian province of Kosovo still in a state of political uncertainty after the Yugoslavian conflict. With help from American Morgan Delaney, Barry Briggs an Australian working with the UN and the enigmatic Lee Caldwell an agent for the world’s largest private security firm, Jeff uncovers a criminal conspiracy responsible for a series of bombings across Europe.
Ignoring death threats Jeff and Morgan dig deeper and when the shocking truth behind Arben’s disappearance is finally uncovered it sets in motion a chain of events that brings Kosovo to the brink of civil war and NATO troops onto the streets of Kosovo’s major cities.
Jules Finn and Szaja Trautman know that sorrow can sink deeply--so deeply it can drown the soul.
Growing up in her parents’ crazy hippie household on a tiny island off the coast of Boston, Jules’s imaginative sense of humor is the weapon she wields as a defense against the chaos of her family’s household. Somewhere between routine discipline with horsewhips, gun-waving gambling debt collectors, and LSD-laced breakfast cereal adventures, tragedy strikes a blow from which Jules may never recover.
Jules’s story alternates with that of her grandfather, Szaja, an orthodox Jew who survives the murderous Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s, the Majdanek death camp, and the torpedoing of the Mefkura, a ship carrying refugees to Palestine. Unable to deal with the horrors he endures at the camp, Szaja develops a dissociative disorder and takes on the persona of a dead soldier from a burial ditch, using that man’s thoughts to devise a plan to escape to America.
While Szaja’s and Jules’s sorrows are different on the surface, adversity requires them both to find the will to live despite the suffering in their lives—and both encounter, in their darkest moments, what could be explained as serendipity or divine intervention. For Jules and Szaja, these experiences offer the hope the need in order to come to the rescue of their own fractured lives.
September 5th, 1923. Ivnitza, Russian Empire.
We lived near the Teteriv River in a small village called Ivnitza, which is surrounded by ancient forests. Zhytomyr, the nearest city, sat north of us.
This is the day my mater and foter left the Ukraine, which had, in recent years, been swallowed up like a pig’s dinner and become part of Russia. I am thirteen years old. Mater and Foter also left me, my two younger brothers Idel and your uncle Oizer, my two older twin sisters Ruchel and Sura, and my eldest sister, Reizel, your aunt Rose, eighteen and married to a young man named Berl. We are left on my Bubbe Chava’s farm.
That day they began their long travels to Turkey and to the eventual sailing to America. They are going to make a new life for us. My foter promised to send for us as soon as he could.
Every night, for weeks, we spent the evenings helping to pack. This involved much more laughing, singing, and making fun of my foter’s terrible dancing than actual work. The day before, we had finished the last of the apple harvesting from our orchards. It had been a good year for fruit. First the cherries in the spring, and now the apples. We made more money in the markets these two past seasons than in the years before—the years of the famine.
Since they are leaving before the Rosh Hashana holiday, my foter said we should say the religious poems, the piyyuttim, together. Mater, Reizel and the twins made a feast of food—apples dipped in honey, rodanchas, potato latkes, and delicious challah bread, finished with a delicious Lekach cake with cinnamon and raisins. This I remember as the first time my belly felt full in nearly two years.
The three youngest children—including Idessa, still a baby of five months—would leave on the journey with my parents. I am to take charge of my two younger brothers; Ruchel and Sura would help with their care. Reizel and Berl would take charge of all of us. My foter, Abram, like most of the people in our village, spoke Yiddish
It is the year 1586. England is awash with traitors, plotting to assassinate the Queen and bring about a foreign invasion. The young physician Christoval Alvarez, a refugee from the horrors of the Portuguese Inquisition, is coerced into becoming a code-breaker and agent in Sir Francis Walsingham’s secret service. In the race to thwart the plot, who will triumph – the ruthless conspirators or the equally ruthless State?
I was washing alembics when he came. Often, in the months and years that followed, I wondered how things might have turned out, had I been away from home. My father had been summoned to one of his private patients and I had pleaded to go with him to the great man’s house, for I had never even stepped over the threshold of the mansion in the Strand, but the winter had been severe, we were short of many remedies, and I must stay at home and wash the alembics so that we might spend the evening distilling. I did not like being alone in the house, with the dark afternoon heavy in the sky outside, and chill draughts plucking at the back of my neck like the unforgiving fingers of the dead. The old timbers of the house swayed and creaked and moaned in the wind.
My father entrusted the delicate glass vessels, so costly to replace, to no one but me. His own hands had grown unsteady with age and our maid Joan could shatter an earthenware pitcher on the far side of the room merely by looking at it. So I had heated water over the fire until it was hot to the touch, but bearable, and poured it into the big basin which was used only for the instruments of our profession. From a pot on the windowsill I scooped out half a handful of the grey soap, the consistency of soft cheese, and stirred it into the steaming water.
It was cold in the kitchen, and for a moment I closed my eyes and enjoyed the warmth soothing my hands and the smell of the lavender and rosemary oils I mixed with the soap. Then I lowered the first alembic into the water and wiped it over with a rag, dipping and pouring until the tubes and nozzles were clean. Rinsed free of soap (for no foreign body must contaminate our remedies), it stood draining on the wooden table while I picked up the next one.
The row of four was drying on the table as I lifted the heavy basin across to where my father had contrived a drain to run out through the wall and empty into the street outside. The sudden rush of water sometimes gave passers-by a soaking. It was just as I poured the water away that I heard the running footsteps approaching our door. I glanced around fearfully. Joan was away at the market and my father would not return for an hour or more. There was nowhere to hide. The water pouring out of the house would have given away my presence. And I had lit a candle, the better to see my work, even though it was not yet dark outside. The room was illuminated like a play at one of the indoor playhouses, the candlelight reflected off the glass vessels, gleaming warmly on the dark oak of table and benches, chest and cupboard. I had no time to retreat to the inner parlour.
We do not readily open our doors to strangers, the people of my nation.
I saw a blur as someone ran past the window, then he was pounding on the door and crying out something incoherent.
So I must answer. On such trivial matters may a life turn, to follow a new road – to heaven or hell? Who knows? All I knew at the time was that I did not want to answer, and I wished my father were there.
When I opened the door, the boy blew in on a gust of bitter January air, bringin
Dr. Jack Gallagher, one of Marietta, Montana's most eligible bachelors, hasn't been serious about a woman since his wife died five years ago. He's been content to date occasionally, practice medicine and raise his teenage daughter.
Then happily divorced former fashion model, Maya Parrish, moves back to Marietta, with her own teenaged daughter in tow forcing Jack to rethink his casual dates only rule. Maya, Jack's high school girlfriend and almost fiancée, may have broken his heart the night of their high school graduation, but the moment Jack and Maya meet again, all the sizzle and sparks, and then some, come rushing back.
Maya is ready to give love a second try. Jack isn't sure he can take that chance again. He knows how quickly happiness can be ripped away, leaving heartbreak in its place.
Can a mad, passionate affair last or will it burn itself out as quickly as it began?
Marietta had grown, of course, but it was still a small town, with that lovely small town flavor. Of course, there was also the “everyone knows everything about you and your business” angle of living in a small town, but that seemed a small price to pay for such a great place to raise her child. Marietta was a beautiful place, situated to the north of Paradise Valley, in between the Absaroka Mountains and the Gallatin Range. Copper Mountain rose to the west of town, lending dignity and majesty to the view with its purple and white peaks, and the green of the Evergreens and spots of yellow where the Aspens had only just started to turn.
There was only one possible fly in the ointment. One tiny little thing she was worried about. Living in the same town as Jack Gallagher again. Dr. Jack Gallagher now. Along with the mountains and her family, she’d left Jack behind when she left Marietta to pursue her modeling career, in Dallas, Texas.
Jack Gallagher. Her almost fiancé, whom she’d almost jilted at the altar, the night of their high school graduation.
Maya had plenty of time before she needed to worry about seeing Jack again. Right now, she was driving to the high school with her daughter in tow. Some bright soul had decided the Spirit Club should have a party shortly after school started, so that all the students and parents could get to know each other. The same bright soul had also decided to make it a potluck supper. Maya had volunteered to make her famous Death by Chocolate dessert. It was always a crowd pleaser. Not to mention, it was one of few desserts Maya knew how to make.
She asked Carmen to help her carry everything in, since she not only had the glass compote full of the dessert, but also various bags of paper plates, napkins, and plastic cutlery. So much for that promise. Maya hadn’t even turned off the car before Carmen dashed off to see some friends. “Carmen, wait,” Maya called, watching her daughter’s retreating back. Typical, she thought. Determined to make only one trip, Maya balanced the heavy dish in one hand and the bags in the other and headed for the gym doors.
Holding the compote carefully, she reached with her other hand for the double wide doors just as they swung open. She jumped back to avoid being smacked by them, losing her precarious grip on everything, including the dessert.
“Da—darn it!” she yelled, just in time to see her beautiful masterpiece slide right out of her hands and land upside down on the door ma
When she was a child, the author happily identified with all the male heroes she read about in stories that began, "Once upon a time, a young man went out to seek his fortune." But she would have been delighted to discover even one story like that with a female protagonist. Since she never did find the story she was looking for all those years ago, she decided to write it.
In Book I of the trilogy, Tamras arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. To make matters worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the position of companion, little more than a personal servant, to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter, and this stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras.
In ancient days, when only women were warriors, lived a young girl and her mother in a cottage at the edge of the forest. All around the cottage were meadows where they grazed their sheep, and in the springtime flowers of great beauty grew there. The forest was a dark and dangerous place, the abode of wolves. In wintertime, the hungry wolves came in search of sheep, and every year they killed at least a few.
All her life the girl had feared the forest. One summer day, when the flowers in the meadow had all bloomed and faded, she sat near her flock in the shade of an old oak at the forest’s edge. The day was hot, and soon she slept. The sound of singing filled her dreams. She awoke, and still she heard it. Sometimes one voice, sometimes many, echoed among the trees.
The girl followed the sound. Deep she went into the forest, deep into the dark beneath the trees, until she came to a clearing where flowers grew. They were all the colors of the night — the violet of twilight, the pale silver of the moon, the rose of dawn. In her delight, she fell to her knees and began to pick them.
She had forgotten that it was the song she’d followed, but when the singing stopped, she remembered. She stood up and put the flowers she had gathered into the folds of her tunic. Then she began to be afraid. She turned for home but could not find her way. Night was falling.
As the darkness deepened, she saw the amber eyes of wolves glowing in the shadows. The wolves drew near, until they were all around her. The whole pack of them pressed in on her, so that she could not tell one wolf from the other.
They began to run, and she had no choice but to run with them. It felt to her as if her body ran on all fours, as if she were gathering her arms and legs beneath her before springing forward with a power she had never had before. Her eyes could see as well in darkness as in daylight. Her ears attuned themselves to every sound. She heard the wings of night birds as they pursued their prey, the scurrying feet of mice, the beating hearts of hunted animals, and their last cries.
New smells too came to her on the air — the rotting of the forest floor, the breath of leaves, the bite of water as they passed a brook, the scent of each wolf, as distinct as the faces of the people she knew. She ran and ran until she had no memory of herself, and her waking life became a dream that shimmered at the edges of her mind.
In the morning the girl awoke beneath the oak tree. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she caught sight of a wolf as it va
Professor Kompressor is an inventor. He is excellent at inventing, but the inventions are not always excellent.
The first book in the series about Professor Kompressor, an ever-so-slightly misguided inventor, contains 12 entertaining episodes from the Professor's inventing career.
When the Professor sets out to improve the world, unexpected things happen. Making your mechanical helper too clever might be an obvious mistake, but who would have known that tinkering with an old Volkswagen Beetle could turn out to be so dangerous?
And who would have thought that a time machine would turn out to be such a waste of… well… time?
Professor Kompressor is a fictional character but his adventures are inspired by ideas from science and the modern world. They show that you can have a lot of fun with science and technology, especially if you allow for a little bit of creative mis-interpretation.
A book that entertains children of all ages from Professor Nils Andersson, award-winning author and an authority on matters of gravity and the extremes of our weird and wonderful Universe.
Professor Kompressor loved the idea of travelling. He had numerous travel books in his library and he enjoyed finding out about the world. It was amazing how people from various parts of the planet were so different, yet basically the same.The idea made the Professor excited, but unfortunately travelling did not agree with him. He always got himself confused, lost the tickets or his passport or forgot the name of the hotel he was staying in. He did not find it easy to get up early in the morning, and there was not a single mode of transport that agreed with him. Bumpy airplanes, rickety buses, unsteady bicycles... He could not stand any of them. It was remarkable how someone could be so excited about finding out about other places, yet so reluctant to go anywhere.At the end of the day, the Professor was a stationary traveller. He was happy to travel in his mind. Only very rarely did he actually go anywhere.Indeed, this is not the story of where he went. It is the story of when.It was late in the evening. The air was still warm and Professor Kompressor was sitting outside in the garden. There was a beautiful sunset, and he was drinking the last mouthfuls of a very satisfying cup of tea. It had been a busy old day, and now the Professor was tired. But he was enjoying the evening, so he stayed in the garden. Thinking about everything and nothing.A very odd thought came into his head. It was something he had heard when he was young. Possibly part of some oddball scientific theory, perhaps complete nonsense. It did not really matter. It was still an interesting thought.“We travel into the future at the speed of one second every second...” thought the Professor.“Nice idea,” he mused.“Is it true, though?”He could not help wondering, and once he started thinking he could not stop.It did not take the Professor long to agree that the statement had to be true. We clearly do move into the future one second every second. But the word travel concerned him. In what sense was this actual trav
A Letter to My Mother is the harrowing, true story of Nomanono Isaacs, a young girl born at the height of South Africa’s cruel and oppressive Apartheid regime. Forced to endure cruelties that were beyond measure, the brave young woman manages to fool the brutal Special Branch police force and makes an arduous and dangerous getaway to neighbouring Swaziland, where she hopes for a brand new start. Told as a long and loving letter to her mother, this book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to experience the strength of the human spirit at its finest.
LOVE UNDER A WILLOW TREE
Mama, the year is 1992 and the month is May. We are thousands of miles apart. You are in South Africa and I am in England. It was twenty-four years last Christmas since I saw you. Do you remember the Christmas of 1967? I remember it as though it was yesterday! It was the last time we spent together. There are so many things that I always wished I could tell you about. I always hoped we would meet soon. But soon has turned into many years. Nevertheless I still pray to whoever is out there in the universe that one day we will meet. I pray our old prayers too - to our ancestors.
One evening four years ago I scribbled these lines:
So many times I have told myself
Life has to go on anyway.
For there is so much I want to do.
I have told myself
Life is short and has to be lived,
The book’s title, Clouds in the Wind, is an expression that means futility, and nothing is more futile than war. In the 1970s in Southern Africa, successful business man Andrew Mason is drawn into the Rhodesian bush wars. With great narrative energy and a keen visual sense of detail, Ian Mackenzie guides us into the fray. He describes skirmishes with blood-curdling accuracy where the Rhodesian side wins every battle, but as we all know, they eventually lost the war. White supremacy is defeated.
The laboured rasp of Stuart’s breathing sounded like the dregs of a milkshake being repeatedly sucked from the bottom of a glass through a straw. The sound was unmistakable – Stuart had taken a lung shot and was breathing through his own blood. Twenty metres farther ahead, Rob had gone down and the manner of his falling indicated that he was dead – probably without ever knowing what had happened.
Sergeant Andrew Mason had taken cover thirty metres away and, in the time he’d been lying there – somewhere close to an hour – he had become immobilized in the grip of rising horror, in the face of an unfolding catastrophe.
Mason could hear movement close by, just ahead of where he lay. The unseen peril was drawing closer, but the darkness was absolute and for what he could see he may as well have been blind.
All he could be sure of was that the slow, soft disturbance of dead leaves and twigs only metres away was not Vern. The fear had slowly crept through him, and it was now a consuming wave of terror. It welled up from his groin, through his tightened guts and chest, and into his throat where it threatened to explode in an anguished scream..
It was five years since Mason had left South Africa to join the Rhodesian army, and in this African theatre of war he’d faced down death in scores of engagements. It was death, in fact, that had driven him from South Africa to Rhodesia – the tragic demise of two people whom he’d loved. He had faced the grim reaper with something very near to flippancy, a confidence born of anger and a desire for retribution. He’d been commended and decorated for his conduct under fire, and he had the emotional ability to endure danger and fear. But this was different. Never before had he been so vulnerable. He was trapped, hunted, and alone in a hostile and foreign country, facing unknown odds in the dark, with no immediate possibility of support or escape.
The emotional control was utterly gone. He had broken out in a sweat that soaked his shirt and denim fatigues, and he trembled as if he’d been lifted from an icy sea and dumped naked onto a cold windy beach. He had involuntarily pissed and shat himself, and the stench assailed his senses and the remnants of his dignity.
There was absolute certainty in Mason’s mind that this night he would die; and he was so unprepared for it. A thousand thoughts and images, events and people, raced through his mind. So much left incomplete, so many thoughts unspoken, so many dreams and desires cut short, like pages left permanently and unalterably blank between the covers of a half written book. The present reality held him helpless and his fear blended with a deep sense of profound sadness as he pondered sudden and final oblivion.
And then, through the rush of images and the gripping panic, there came on him a sudden and overwhelming will to survive. It was like the cracking of a whip, and it brought him back to the situation.
‘It mustn’t happen!’ he thought. ‘Not now, not here, not like this! Focus,
Dave Currick was everything Matty Brennan wanted for as along as she could remember. Right up until he broke her heart six years ago. Now that she's returned to Wyoming for good, what she wants more than anything is to save her family's ranch. Even if that means swallowing her pride and asking Dave to marry her.
Matty's up to something - Dave knows that much. Just as he knows that Matty needs help, so of course he'll provide it, just as he has all her life. Doing what's best for Matty is second nature, and part of the cowboy code. Even when it comes to marrying her in name only. Although he can't resist one hot-blooded kiss after the I-dos.
Maybe - just maybe - his Matty will become more to him than Almost a Bride.
She took a breath and leaped.
"I want to marry you."
For a second, she could almost believe she'd really jumped into the swimming hole. She felt the same shock of cold surround her and the same sensation that all sound in the world was muffled and distant. The only thing she could hear clearly was the beating of her own heart.
Then a single word from Dave brought her back.
He hadn't moved an inch and his expression hadn't changed. He sounded as if he was certain–as only Dave could be certain–that he'd heard wrong.
"I want to marry you. In fact, I have to marry you."
He seemed to come out of a trance. He pushed his cowboy hat back off his forehead, and leaned against the pole that held up the roof over the sidewalk, crossing one leg over the other.
"Have to? You sure it's me you're thinking of?" The amusement was back in his voice. At least she thought it was amusement. It had an edge to it and the look he was giving her didn't strike her as a laughing matter, but maybe that's how he showed amusement these days. "Darlin', either I missed something in the past few weeks that I'd truly hate to think I'd missed or you're setting to make medical history. Unless there's someone else more, let's say, recent?"
"Don't be an idiot, Dave. I'm not pregnant."
"That's a relief. I'd hate to have you be the subject of all those tabloid newspapers for bearing a child six years after the fact. As for the more usual time frame, well a gentleman doesn't like to think he's forgotten things like that. And if someone else–"
"Oh, shut up, Dave. It's nothing like that."
"Nothing to do with oh, say, an affair of the heart?"
"Why would it have to do with an affair of the heart?"
"Well," he drawled, "marriage sometimes does."
"Not this time. I told you, it's business."
"This is all beside the point." She barely gritted her teeth at all; she was proud of that.
"And what is the point, Matty?" His mouth twitched.
"The point–" She figured she couldn't be blamed for a little teeth-gritting now. "–is that I want us to get married. Right away. But only temporarily."
Forced out of the DEA after twenty years, Hardin Steel, Stainless to his close friends, has managed to get himself elected Sheriff of Cameron County, Texas. Twice divorced, with a bit of a drinking problem, he’s now dating Rory Roughton, a fiery sixth-generation Texan who’s as rich as she is beautiful—and hell-bent on keeping Steel on the straight and narrow. But then his best friend, Wes Stoddard, is nearly shot down flying in a load of pot, Rory is kidnapped by a Russian mercenary working for the most dangerous cartel in Mexico, and the Cuban Mafia decides they’d like the former DEA agent—dead.
Steel is forced to take unsanctioned, unconventional—and mostly illegal—action in order to save himself and those closest to him . . .
Two days later, I put on some civvies, jumped in my Jeep Laredo, and headed for Matamoros.
Wes was supposedly in the produce transport business and kept an office and condo in Brownsville, but he was seldom there. He felt more comfortable south of the river. He’d bought a walled compound from a dead drug dealer’s wife in an upscale, or as upscale as one could find in a war zone, part of Matamoros. And he pretty much stayed put, except for his smuggling forays.
When I crossed the International Bridge into Matamoros, I was pretty sure I saw the late Rod Serling leaning against a lamppost, smoking a cigarette. As I passed by he smiled, took a deep drag, and flipped the butt into the Rio Grande. And then he was gone.
Wes was waiting for me on the other side of the bridge. He got out of his white Ford Explorer and waved. I pulled in and parked as near to the Mexican Immigration office as possible. I really liked my Jeep and hoped parking near Immigration would keep it safe.
As an extra precaution, I paid a kid five bucks to keep an eye on it. Then I walked over to Wes’s SUV.
Wes was about six feet tall with straight brown hair, piercing blue eyes, and a perpetual tan.
"Stainless," Wes said, extending his hand. "Welcome to Dodge City."
I smiled and looked around. "I don’t see many Yankees," I said, shaking hands
Wes frowned and looked at the nearly empty border crossing. "Yeah, things are a bit out of hand down here, I’m sorry to say."
"Ochoa?" I asked, keeping my voice low.
Wes nodded. "Yeah. FreddieO has definitely upped the ante," he said, opening the driver-side rear door of his Explorer. A large Mexican wearing khakis and a white Guayabera shirt was driving. A second, slightly smaller man, dressed in jeans and a crisp white shirt, was riding shotgun. Except he had an AK-47 across his lap.
I glanced over at Wes. "Expecting trouble?"
Wes shrugged. "Nowadays, you never know. How about a little lunch? I know a place with great cabrito, and only sporadic gunfire."
I nodded and rolled my eyes. "Sounds good."
Wes gave me a wink, leaned forward and spoke to the driver in Spanish. "Los Cuatros Amigos." He turned back to me. "Best damned grilled goat in town."
Wes was right. The cabrito was some of the best
This sparkling memoir gives a personal view of Irish rural life from the Economic War of the 1930s to the farming boom and recession of the 1970s. It describes the upbringing of a Protestant only child on a farm in north Tipperary-an idyll interrupted by two years at school in Dublin during the 1940s. Taking over the farm on her father's death, working the land and animals the author recounts with great humour, acuity and poignancy her dealings, from the age of seventeen, at fairs throughout the country-Limerick, Kilrush, Cahirmee, Ballinasloe, Spancilhill -a lone woman in a man's world. With rare brio and eye for character, incident and idiosyncrasy, Quarton lovingly documents a world of country people, eccentric relatives, home cures and recipes, and unaffected living. Breakfast the Night Before is both entertaining and enduring.
'It makes riveting reading and I was desperately disappointed when I reached the final page. Marjorie Quarton is a natural storyteller'-Grania Willis, The Irish Field.
'I defy anyone to dip into Breakfast the Night Before and put it down without reading to the end. This special blend of humour crosses the divides of age, sex, religion and social standing.'-The Irish Times.
"Mrs Quarton writes with wit. Her experiences are related in a lovely, dry style, which does not conceal her deep love for horses and understanding of that strange animal which is the human being. Breakfast the Night Before is a passport to another world that anyone can enjoy, and I recommend it highly. -- Morgan Llwelyn, author of Lion of Ireland and The Horse Goddess.
Life wasn’t all buying and selling horses in my early farming days. I of course had to grow crops. The war years had seen a boom, when you could throw any kind of wheat into a bag and it would end up as flour – optimistically called ‘white’.
We had ploughed out a lot of extra land, bought an extra horse and paid extra labour in order to produce more wheat. Modern strains of wheat ripen early; hay-time and harvest overlap. When I was growing wheat it ripened in mid September or, if the weather was unkind, even later. Times got very hard in the early fifties, when I was running the farm for my father and working on it along with three workmen. I wasn’t allowed to give orders, so I had to indicate to Paddy, Edmund and John what I wanted without telling them to do it.
In April 1958, my father died, after a desperate illness, lasting about three months. My mother was asthmatic and I tried my hand at nursing. My father wouldn’t hear of hospital, although he grumbled about my methods. ‘You’re not dosing a bullock,’ he would say. Neither would he allow anyone else to look after him. My mother couldn’t possibly heave a big heavy man about. I could and did. For the last fortnight, I don’t think I left the house once.
The summer which followed my father’s death was one of the worst on record. The farm was under-stocked, over-staffed and had long ceased to be a paying enterprise. I had hastily ploughed out an extra ten acres and sown it with wheat in order to meet my commitments. It was ready in mid September, but most of the field was too wet to carry machinery. Many farmers lost all their wheat that year. We would have lost most of ours except for industry born of desperation. Edmund and I scythed the last and wettest two acres, and my mother helped to tie the sheaves. We dragged the sheaves by hand to higher ground, where we could take a trai
WHEN YOU’RE A BRAIN WITHOUT A BODY, CAN YOU STILL BE CALLED HUMAN?
Marc Gregorio wakes up paralyzed. He can’t feel his own body, and he doesn’t know why. Accident? Stroke? Did someone slip him an overdose of Botox? The answer, he discovers, is much, much worse. He’s only a copy of Marc, a digital brain without a body, burdened with all Marc’s human memories, but without access to human sensual pleasures. Now he has to find a reason to keep on, um, “living.”
The Mindclone (Adam 2.0 as he dubs himself) meets the real Marc Gregorio--and Molly Schaeffer, the prickly, brilliant cellist Marc met and fell in love with just days before his brain was scanned. Adam loves her, too. But how does a digital entity experience love? He can’t even experience pizza, the aroma of fresh-baked apple pie, the burn of exercise, a plunge into an icy stream, sex. But there is one compensation: his digital brain can instantly absorb, understand and remember peta-, exa- and yettabytes of data. He keeps himself busy sulking and surfing the Internet in search of happiness. However, Adam’s existence must remain a secret while the Memento Amor lab struggles to replicate their one success. Years ago, Memento Amor launched itself on the dubious promise that by scanning the brain-waves of the soon-to-die, it would “one day” be possible to digitally resurrect them so their loved ones could bask in their warmth and wisdom through video calls. An ad-man, enthralled/appalled by their claim, quit his job and joined the firm on the proviso that they hire real scientists and engage in serious research. Thanks to his pushing, they’ve achieved their first successful upload--Adam. Now Marc and Adam both struggle to win the heart of Molly Schaeffer. One day, feeling an excess of self-pity, Adam asks Molly why he should go on. She teases that he has the Pinocchio problem: he wants to be a real live boy--with a conscience. Why not use his astonishing digital skills to combat evil in the world? Encouraged, Adam unearths terrorist plots, aborts schoolyard mayhem, exposes congressional malfeasance and Wall Street chicanery. However, his good deeds as the mysterious “superhacker vigilante” gain publicity--and the attention of Dynasine, a military contractor. A struggle for freedom and his very survival ensues.
Mindclone, 92,000 words, is a serio-comic speculative fiction romance about the first successful upload. It’s a book of ideas that explores looming advances in computer technology, and what it means to be human even if you don’t have a body. Plus there’s a carbon-carbon-silicon love triangle, a redeemed ad-man, adventure, humor, frustrated romance, human and digital foibles, and as an extra added bonus, the defeat of death itself.
My name is Stanley Eldridge. I’m here to let you in on a little secret. You might call it the story behind the story. It’s not my story, understand, but none of the things that happened--the brain-scan and upload, the creation of the super-intelligent digital entity, the TV appearances and all the mind-blowing events that followed--none of it would have taken place without me.
Who am I? I’m neither the computer genius nor the brilliant neuroscientist who teamed up to create the breakthrough; I’m not the fellow who allowed his brain to be scanned; and I’m sure as hell not his super-intelligent digital twin. Me, I’m just an advertising man. In fact, it was an ad that sparked all this. A quarter-page ad in a magazine called Mortuary Times.
My ma had just passed, you see, and I was at the cemetery office to make the funeral arrangements. So there I am, si
Like any significant career move, this one happened by accident. Karen spent a lot of time planning what she was going to do with her life, but Fate had other plans for her, as she often does for most of us.
As a single mother who’s struggling to make ends meet, Karen stumbles into the worst job on earth: transporting souls into the afterlife. To make matters worse, she is contractually bound to continue the job indefinitely, and her difficult employer is none other than Fate. It doesn’t take long for Karen to learn that Fate may be fashionable, but she’s also heartless.
In bondage to Fate, but in love with Fortune, Karen struggles to find a way out.
Karen studied the coffin she had just uncovered. The lid, once a shiny lacquered surface, was now partially decayed and fell apart as Karen pried it off. Bits of wood turned to dust in her hands as she worked diligently to make an opening. Her arms were tired from digging and the fatigue made it more difficult to be gentle with the rotting wood. She paused to shake her arms vigorously and relax the tension in her muscles and upper body. As she breathed in the chilly night air, she could smell her own sweat mixed with the fragrance of the rich earth and decaying wood. She took a few more deep breaths and turned back to the task of opening the grave. She worked patiently to handle the lid with care and managed to remove a large chunk that was nearly a third of the entire lid. Through the hole she had made she saw the top half of a well-dressed skeleton.
The grave was on the edge of the cemetery in a neglected corner that looked as if it could be part of the adjoining land. The gravestone had fallen over years ago and weathered so much that it looked like an ordinary limestone rock. A few days earlier when Karen recognized that it was actually a grave, she decided to rob it. She hoped that no one had gotten to it before she did.
This particular plot was an older grave from a time when individuals placed ancient coins over the eye sockets of the corpse, although the coins weren’t ancient when they were buried. Most of these graves had already been robbed, but due to the location and lack of distinct marking or some other mystical reason, this one had gone unnoticed by robbers until now. It was almost as if the grave had been hidden until the right person came along. Karen wasn’t the typical grave robber, and perhaps the corpse found this attractive. Regardless of how the grave had remained unspoiled for so many years, Karen was the one who finally opened the casket and plucked up the coins. It was at that moment that Fate appeared.
“You have three days to finish the task,” someone said as soon as Karen had snatched the coins and a few other small trinkets from the corpse. Karen jumped when she heard the voice. It had a rich, mellow tone and resonated with authority. Karen slowly turned around and briefly thought about running, but she decided to stay put when she saw a woman staring her down. The stranger had come out of nowhere and appeared to be alone.
The woman was, if nothing else, fashionable. She was very fit, toned but not bulky in stature, and wore clothes of the finest quality. Her boots were Italian leather and the jacket and pants looked like something from a Chanel boutique.
Karen slowly put the coins into her pocket, along with the gold watch she had taken from the breast pocket of the skeleton’s suit, and addressed the woman. Other people might have felt intimidated by the situation, but Karen was ready to fight.
Ten-year-old Dina Frydman lives a comfortable middle class life with her family in Radom, Poland in the summer of 1939, just weeks before the Nazi invasion. The love of family and friends offer no protection against the menace of the Nazi regime that begins to siphon off the worldly and spiritual goods of Radom’s Jews. We witness Dina’s battle to survive and understand the deadly apocalypse that transforms her from an innocent child to a teenage/adult. When her family is deported and murdered at Treblinka she finds safety at a forced labor facility where she experiences her first taste of love when she at thirteen meets Natek Korman, a passionate sixteen year old who rekindles her will to live. Forced by the Nazis to separate, the young lovers vow to find each other after the war. From work camps to death camps, Dina survives against all odds. The aftermath of six years of death and destruction presents a new obstacle, how to live? With the war over Dina travels from a German castle to a DP facility and finally a school for orphans as she struggles to reclaim her life. In 1945, she is reunited with Natek Korman only to face the most important decision of her life. She chooses to follow her dream.
In the Face of Evil is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the tenacious endurance of love and the resilience of the human spirit. It is an epic journey through the nightmare of the Holocaust—the single most defining moment in modern history, as told through the eyes of a young girl.
“Arbeit Macht Frei” - June 1944
It is dawn and a kapo has come to tell us that we have been ordered to
come to the platz naked for a special appell. Surely the end has come
and we will be marched straight to the gas chambers. There is a relief that
seizes my heart knowing that the fight to live will soon be over. We line
up, maybe five hundred women, naked in front of a platform where a high
ranking Nazi accompanied by two other Nazi’s glare out at us. The tall
man as handsome as a movie star is a vision in his finely tailored immaculate
uniform jacket that is embellished with medals and ribbons of military
valor. He wears riding pants that are tucked into his freshly polished black
boots and wears his hat dashingly off center completing the picture of perfection
and confidence. I am struck by his white gloved hands that would
be more appropriate if worn by someone attending a dance instead of one
about to make a selection of who will live and who will die. I hear one of
the women whisper that it is Mengele, the infamous doctor and master of
Auschwitz. We all have heard what a cold blooded murderer he is and of the
secret diabolical experiments he is conducting on Jewish prisoners who
upon arrival are given a choice of being his guinea pig or the gas chamber.
It is difficult to reconcile his reputation for indescribable cruelty with the
good-looking man that stands before us.
We stand shivering not from cold, but with fear at what is about to come
as the three Nazis proceed to walk down the rows of women. Some of the
women, in vain, try to cover themselves in modesty. Stopping now and
again to inspect the teeth of a woman he clearly relishes the moment when
he makes his selection of “right” or “left”.
After what feels like an eternity he stands before me. I can smell the luxurious
spicy scent of his cologne. He is so close to me that I am tempted to
touch his perfectly coiffured hair that is brushed back off his high forehead,
every hair in place. His blue eyes drift down my body with a penetrating
Six science fiction short stories written by the author of Pearseus, the epic fantasy series that has reached #1 on Amazon. This edition includes one extra story, written by Amos M. Carpenter.
Although they seem to be concerned with various themes, there are certain passions that run through them, almost obsessively. What is the nature of reality; digital and corporeal? Is there more to the world than we can see? How far can we trust our senses? What are the consequences of our actions, and is it possible to change them? And if so, would we simply repeat same mistakes, or make new ones?
The anthology includes “I Come in Peace”, an award-winning short story that deals with a tortuous question: how far would man go to alleviate his loneliness? Readers of Pearseus will certainly recognize here the birth of the Orbs.
Humorous and poignant, these short stories are exciting, intriguing and imaginative.
The bartender rubbed a soiled glass with a dirty towel, not quite sure which one was cleaning the other. The bar might be a dusty, crummy drinking hole, but it was the closest one to the Academy. As such, it was busy every evening, as soon as the cadets were allowed to leave the walled premises. He stole a glance at his watch; soon the bar would fill with uniforms.
A chuckle made him look up at the only full table. A bunch of cadets had gathered around the Veteran to listen to his story. The bartender had to admit the old man knew how to hold a crowd’s interest. He’d better; he must have told that story a million times in exchange for a drink.
The Veteran had just started his tale. Staring into his empty glass, his eyes opened as if he was watching the Beasts approach once more.
“You see, girls, things were different back then. Nowadays, each colony has its Academy and barracks in every major city. Back then, mankind had built a vast fleet of transports, but only a handful of military ships, safe in the illusion of its uniqueness.”
A cute redhead with freckles interrupted him. “Surely you suspected we were not alone.” She scrunched her face as a blonde with short hair dug her elbow into the redhead’s ribs to stop her.
The Veteran continued as if he had not been interrupted. “We were finally at peace after millennia of conflict. No one was prepared for the shock of encountering a hostile alien species; so alien, that communication was impossible. When we lost contact with the more remote colonies, we thought it was a glitch with our transmitters. As one colony after another fell silent, we sent ships. Not military ones, either. We had too few of those.” He took a napkin to his forehead to wipe beads of sweat and looked suggestively at the empty glass.
“Can we have one more over here?” the blonde yelled across the bar, without even bothering to look at the bartender.
A sweet smile played on the Veteran’s lips, and he licked them in anticipation. “Thank you, my love. Now, as I was saying, when the ships disappeared as well, we realized we had become complacent. I still remember the day we first saw the Beasts. A boy had beaten the odds to send us a video of their attack. I was a designer back then, waiting to go into a meeting. One of the secretaries rushed into the meeting room to switch the vid on. The poor thing aged ten years in a single moment.”
The girls around him leaned away to allow the barman to deliver the man
Joshua is small for his age. He has been bullied relentlessly for years, and all of his friends have drifted away from him. Eve is a pretty girl who has just been recruited into the popular clique. The two couldn't be more different.
As they begin their final year of middle school, the unlikely pair find themselves partners in Science class. At first reluctant to work with him, Eve soon discovers hidden truths about not only Joshua but their school that turn her world upside-down.
The two form a relationship that will teach them both the true meaning of friendship, loyalty, and love... a relationship that will end up changing not only their lives, but the entire complexion of their school.
I was on the ground writhing in pain from two gut-punches within seconds. They were there, all four of them, laughing at me. I didn’t look at their faces; as terrified as I was, I always tried to never let them see it. I just clutched my stomach, trying like hell not to vomit.
I looked around to see who else might be watching, hoping I might catch sight of a faculty member in the distance … but no, only a few familiar faces had stopped to watch. Random classmates, people I’d once freely socialized with, now chose to stand well back and observe my humiliation from a distance. That always happened. It was sad, but I’d gotten used to it.
Then I saw Eve. She was standing on the upper concourse with Rhonda, looking down at me. Rhonda was smiling that shark’s smile she always did. Oh God, did she know about our study session? Is that what this was about, or was this pounding just business as usual? I locked eyes with Eve for a brief moment, but then the bully squad surrounded me, blocking out the light.
“How was lunch, dog turd?” Brent asked, laughing cruelly. “Here’s your dessert.”
He put his filthy sneaker on my head, pinning it to the sidewalk for a full minute. Then he kicked me once in the stomach before calling it a day. They left me lying there, beaten and humiliated, for all to see. No one came and offered me a hand, or even asked if I was okay. That, too, was normal.
Ten minutes later, I was in Science class being handed my test. I’d washed Brent’s shoeprint off of my face as best I could, but the emotional impact of my first real beating in months was causing me to tear up. I could feel my hands shaking, and my mind was going a million miles a minute.
Nothing’s changed. Not a goddamn thing. It’s not fair! Why does this keep happening to me? Why am I so weak? Why doesn’t anyone care? I hate this place so much …
I tried not to look at Eve. I couldn’t stand the thought of her seeing me like this. As we began the test, she gave my hand a reassuring squeeze.
I was only able to half-concentrate on the test. All I could think about was … how much did Eve really know about me? Had she seen me getting beaten up before? What was I going to do? Wait a minute, did she really just squeeze my hand, or did I imagine that?
* * * * *
Later that day, I was still in a fair amount of pain as I took my customary seat on the bus, thinking paranoid thoughts that maybe I was bleeding internally or something. I was so lost in thought, I didn’t even notice when Eve sat down in the seat next to me. She w
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, The Blood of Christ, provide the backdrop for Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, a tale of murder, revenge and redemption. Jack Sloan, businessman, gambler, casino operator, and tough guy is trapped by two con artists and kills them to escape. Three years later, he’s built a new life with his new love, Darlene, but knows payback is on the way. It comes in the shape of two hard cases bent on avenging their partners’ deaths. The beautiful Mattie is the brains behind the crew, while Irvine, a psychotic who wields a knife, plays her main muscle.
The two track down Jack and plot their attack. Jack and his enemies weigh the risks of confrontation and then prepare for the battle of their lives. But no matter how carefully they plan, it’s still a crapshoot, and the outcome is in doubt until the end.
Rain pelted my thin tee shirt. It chilled me through in five heartbeats. No sense in trying the fancy Leica field glasses. Water dripped from my eyes and obscured the lenses. The storm surprised me. Nothing to do except hunker down and pull my hat over my ears.
I could make out my rancho without binoculars. The arroyo behind the barn roared with runoff. Twenty-six acres looked small from here, marked off by the barbed wire and coyote fences that crisscrossed the property. Someone ran from the casita to the main house with an umbrella.
The rain stopped after fifteen minutes. I took off my tee shirt, wrung it out, worked my arm and shoulder muscles, and put it back on. The dampness would feel good once the sun came out.
Movement to the west made me look up. Too awkward for a coyote or stray dog. I wiped the lenses and adjusted them to the new distance. I focused on a shadowy figure in a poncho. Short and skinny, he looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I stretched out on the level rock I’d selected for an observation post and hoped no rattlers wanted to come out and take the sun.
The man carried a battered leather satchel over his shoulder and what looked like a scoped .223 rifle in his right hand. A bush hat shaded his eyes, and a pair of binoculars hung around his neck. He placed his paraphernalia on a rock and stripped off his rain gear. He spread the poncho on a flat shelf and disappeared. What the fuck? I stared through my Leica’s for a full five minutes before I picked up an outline. His clothes made him blend into the landscape. The storm had caused him to move, otherwise, I wouldn’t have spotted him. Once detected, his image became sharper. He’d assumed the position, flat on his belly, propped on his elbows, field glasses trained on the main house.
I checked the load in my Glock, shoved it into my shoulder holster and crab-walked to a boulder twenty feet back from my position and out of his line of sight. Once I felt safe, I stood and stretched. Way too old for this kind of shit. I peeked over the rock, shaded the binoculars with my hat, and checked to make sure my man hadn’t moved. I wouldn’t feel so alone if Mike, my old collie, were with me. Bile rose in my throat when I thought of the moron who ran him down.
The familiar terrain belonged to me. I worked my way several hundred yards downwind and around the backside of the slope until I judged I stood behind his position. My running shoes may not have been official western wear, but they didn’t make noise on the rough surface. If he spotted me from a distance, the rifle would give him a huge advantage, but close quarters would give the edge to my pistol and
Trapped in a web of deceit & confusion spun by her father from the age of 11, the author shares her true story of incest in the hopes that by coming out from under years of sexual abuse, other victims will be encouraged to do the same. This is an important, no-holds-barred book complete with graphic scenes and language because "that’s the way it happened and that’s how it must be told. Victims’own voices are the best weapons against child sexual abuse." This 291-page story comes with a "trigger warning advisory" as it details the mental, physical and sexual abuse inflicted on the author by her biological father. Victims of similar abuse need to realize this story could cause flashbacks of their own as they identify with scenes and language that mirror their own experiences. Those who have never suffered sexual abuse may be shocked by what the author's father put her through and the utter control he had of all areas of her life until she finally got away.
This book will frighten and enlighten readers as to what goes on behind the closed doors of too many homes and is rarely talked about or acknowledged, or worse yet, is even denied by family members who know it is going on.
The years following that traumatic day are actually quite a blur, even more so than the ones that preceded it. All that sticks out in my mind now are incidences that cemented the hopelessness of my situation. Each event convinced me I would never escape this role my father had selected for me: I would be his mistress forever. I fantasized about escaping but I was too terrified of him to even try. I completely believed that if I were to try, that other mound of dirt in that cellar in my dream would indeed be my body and he would have put it there.
He also very cleverly began brainwashing me. He knew how to talk, how to manipulate my feelings and fears: if I were to tell anyone, who would believe me? After all, everyone who met him found him handsome, friendly and quite charming, a father who cared greatly about his wife and daughter. To all the world he looked like a model father, albeit a strict one. So who would believe me?
He'd reach for a cigarette after his morning dose of sex with his daughter, and before he'd let me go and get ready for school, he'd deliberate a little more about the psychology and morality of incest:
"After all, what is so wrong about what we are doing?" he'd muse. "This is just a man and woman having sex, right?" Was he trying to convince himself or me? When I wouldn't respond one way or another, he'd try another angle:
"Don't you realize what a wonderful thing you are doing for this family, for your mother and me? If it weren't for you, I'd probably be out having affairs with other women. And what might happen then? You would be the cause of our family breaking up if I fell for someone else."
This soother was his justification for what he was doing. He'd drum it into my head that I was just being a really good daughter to mom and dad and keeping our family together. Wasn't that a great thing? I had no reply. The way I felt, I just wished that he would indeed find another woman and leave me the hell alone!
As for his argument as to why I shouldn't tell my mother, I bought into it, not just because I reasoned he was right i.e. who would believe me ... but also because I simply wouldn't and couldn't hurt my mother with the truth. Furthermore, what would she think of me? Would she believe, as he insisted she would
Jeanne Le Page is lucky to be alive … 15 years ago she was almost killed in a boating accident which brought heart-breaking family tragedy. Now 31, Jeanne is returning reluctantly to the Island of Guernsey following the death of her beloved Grandmother. Struggling for breath as the ferry nears the Island, Jeanne feels a dark foreboding overwhelm her as hazy memories of that terrible day resurface.
Only back on the Island to sell her inheritance - her Grandmother’s old cottage - she has no intention of sticking around to pick up her old life. But the cottage holds a secret, dating back to World War II, and Jeanne becomes drawn into discovering more. Then ,shortly after her arrival, a chance meeting with an old teenage crush leads her to thoughts of love.
Jeanne is forced to face her demons, reliving the tragedy as her lost memory returns.
The truth is finally revealed, endangering Jeanne’s life for a second time…
Dangerous Waters is a heart-warming contemporary romance that captures the reader’s imagination, written in a style compared to that of Maeve Binchy.
Jeanne stepped out on deck as the spring sun broke through the clouds. A warm glow spread across green and gold jewel-like Herm and its big sister, Guernsey, patchworked with fields and granite buildings.
The salt-laden air enveloped her like an old, trusty coat. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and was a child again, playing on the beach with her parents. The image was so powerful that tears formed and she blundered, unseeing, towards the railings.
As her vision cleared she found herself staring at Herm and, without warning, was overwhelmed by such a strong feeling of fear that she had to hold onto the rail. Jeanne’s heart began to race, blood pounded in her head and her breathing came in short, painful gasps. Oh my God, what’s happening to me? After all this time, please, not again! Struggling to breathe she was on the verge of passing out. Letting go of the rail she stumbled, crashing into a man walking past.
‘Hey, steady on! Look where you’re going!’ he shouted, grabbing hold of her to stop them both falling. ‘Overdid the dutyfrees, did you?’
Stung by his accusation, she took a deep breath before replying. ‘No…no. I just lost my balance.’ His hands gripped her arms so hard that she could already imagine the bruises. ‘Hey, that hurts!’
His grip loosened and he guided her back to the rail. She clung on, filling her lungs with sea air.
‘Sorry, didn’t mean to hurt you. Okay now?’
Jeanne nodded. As the man stepped back she took in, through a still blurred gaze, dark brown hair, deep blue eyes and the muscled arms of a man unlikely to be a pen-pusher. Responding to his warmer tone, she managed a tight smile before straightening up and walking, unsteadily, to the starboard side.
What on earth was that? Is this what I can expect now? Perhaps I shouldn’t have come back. Not that I had a choice…The thoughts whirled around her pounding head and she shuddered as she leant against the railings as Guernsey came into full view. While the ferry headed towards St Peter Port harbour, it seemed as if she were approaching a strange, unknown country rather than the land of her birth. The whole of the northern sea front, from Les Banques into St Peter Po
No sane airshipman will fly near a storm, but the cover of storm edge offers effective concealment for airship pirates who can strike quickly from above before anyone knows a ship is near. With the protection of Aide, the goddess of air travel, one airship defies the elements to seek fortune for the rag tag aerialists who make up the pirate crew.
The elements are the least of their problems when they find themselves saddled with an airsick clerk, a crewmember suspected of working for the East India Company and a love sick farm girl whose headstrong misconceptions compel her to seek adventure where no decent woman would wander unescorted.
Battling businessmen, mechanoids and villagers armed with torches and pitchforks, Captain Bonny must decide who to trust, and if the only rational course of action is one of apparent madness.
In this unsettling and mysterious vision of the future, animals are almost extinct and humans are subjugated by the sinister and secretive Agros; nothing is as it seems. And 17-year-old Adara must use all her courage and power battling against evil forces to save herself and those she loves.
This is a coming of age tale with a difference. The inventive slang-derived language creates a fresh and dynamic style to create a truly compelling world inhabited by characters such as Clonies, Nearlymen, and S.A.N.T.S.
Eadgard walked to where we stood. He reached out and touched the sleeve of my dress, then shook his head and stepped back. “Adara, your dress is far from suited to this terrain. Do you have other garments?”
I looked down at my torn and flimsy frock. The small holes and rips obtained from clambering along the tunnel had become larger. In places there was more flesh than fabric on view. I tried to pull together a vast rip that let my thigh through, but failed.
“I do indeed have more suitable attire.”
“Good. When we are at a safer place, you must change your garb to something more fitting.”
“That I will gladly do, for in this flimsiness I do feel more at risk than I should.”
As if to rub said vulnerability in, a low deep growl grew from out of the unnerving darkness. I looked down at my stomach and waited to see if the noise was just an empty tummy grumble. It was not. The growl became a snarl of such magnitude that I near jumped with fright. Wirt let out an “Eh? Wha was that?” and almost drew blood so tightly did he force his fingers into my skin. The growl again, joined by another.
“Yes no doubt. But not as you know them. Bigger, hungrier and faster than those once-owned you will be familiar with. Out here are strewn the outcast Clonies of every type of creature.”
I held my breath and felt Wirt press himself closer into my side. Becoming somewhat relieved by the sight of Eadgard’s shadowy shape as he moved nearer. And more than a little grateful that he came to stand next to us, for I could think of no other more suited to saving our lives, if it came to that. The snarls continued, gaining in volume with every sec that passed.
We stood in the dark not able even to see our own limbs if we were to lift them to our faces. I turned my head skywards and saw nowt, no moon and no stars. I heard Wirt take a gulp and I too felt a dryness creep up my throat. I remembered the last encounter with Wolfies had been in daylight and with some sort of diversion for us to make our escape. Out here in pitchy blackness, I feared for us all and shuffled nearer to Eadgard.
“Shhh! Quickly stand back to back in a circle and do not move, or make a sound. Do not turn on a torch or any source of light. The darkness now is our only protector. These hounds, although fierce to be sure, are about as bright as a black hole and will only attack when they see movement. Again I urge you to be as still as still and quiet as quiet. Now let me feel your hands.”
The grumbling, rumbling noise grew louder and I smelled a pungent wetness waft across my face. The darkness seemed to thicken around us and I saw red dots appear here and there. They winked and burned and I knew they were the soulless eyes of the Cloniewolves that Eadgard had described. A dagger like voice slashed
Kings of Brighton Beach Series
In Brighton Beach, the largest Russian immigrant community in America, criminals and spies live among hardworking immigrants. The mafia rules with an invisible hand that reaches from beyond the former Iron Curtain. Ruthless men vie to reign as kings over their profitable corners of Little Odessa, and no one can be trusted. Not even family.
Part 1: Gangsters with Guns
At fourteen Vlad escaped his violent father and the criminal soup of Brighton Beach. Now, twenty years later, he will reclaim his father’s place in the Russian mafia if he can survive.
Vlad plans to ingratiate himself with his father’s former partner, Artur, learn the “business,” and commit a hostile takeover. But Vlad isn’t the only one interested in claiming Artur’s slice of Little Odessa. Vlad’s rivals have no code of honor, and Artur’s daughter, Inna, is discovered in her brother’s own nightclub, raped and drugged, with a gun in her hand and a dead mobster sprawled on top of her. The dead man’s comrades want retribution, blood for blood, but Vlad is convinced Artur's mafia princess is innocent and that the real killer has ambitions to start a war in Brighton Beach.
The door slammed open and Detective Saul Hersh stalked in. “I don’t fucking believe it,” Vlad blurted as one of the few men who could blow all of his plans to hell strutted into the room.
“Believe it,” Saul said. He was short and on the slight side for a cop, but his threat wasn’t in his physical strength. The man was clever, sneaky. He used to have a reputation as a hardcore interrogator, the kind who always got his answers. Sharp was only the warm up. The real deal had just arrived.
Another test, Vlad thought, as dangerous as the others. Artur had eyes and ears on the police force.
Saul placed scarred hands on his narrow hips, and the circular marks drew Vlad’s eyes, just as they had the first time he had met Saul. Ivan’s abuse hadn’t left visible scars on Vlad, other than the cleft in his eyebrow from where his head had hit the corner of a coffee table. Saul had told him his own father used to burn cigarettes on his hands. “I had a choice,” Saul had said, “to be like him, or go another way. You have that choice too. What will you choose?”
“Never thought I’d see you here again. On that side of the table,” Saul said now. “Thought I’d scared some religion into you. Guess I was wrong ’cause here you are. Playing your father’s favorite role—gangster with guns.”
“Stuff it, Hershey. We both know you’re the one who tried to play my father’s role,” Vlad said. “You thought if you saved Nadia from Ivan she’d shower you with … gratitude.”
“Does your mother know you’re here? That you’re gunslinging for Koslovsky—just like your old man?”
“I don’t talk to Nadia. The worthless whore,” Vlad said. He made a spitting sound for extra effect.
Saul got up in his face, grabbed him by the collar. “Don’t talk about your mother that way.”
“You’re defending her?” Vlad couldn’t hold back a mirthless laugh. The poor fucking sap, sucker punched by love for a woman who would never love him back, who would never love anyone save Ivan, even her own son. Ivan had beaten Nadia so hard she couldn’t stand and then turned his rage on Vlad,
The young painter Karla Bocelli is all too familiar with loss. When she was five years old, her mother died in a car crash in the south of Switzerland. Her Peruvian father lives at the other end of the world, and a year ago her aunt and guardian passed away. Now, at age twenty-four, Karla almost gets hit by a speeding car. As if this wasn’t fateful enough, Andreas, the driver, turns out to be a sculptor and carver of tombstones. In spite of his profession, Andreas is anything but morbid. Quick-tempered and intense, he exudes a rough-and-tumble energy. After a tumultuous start of their relationship, Karla comes to see in Andreas the “rock” in her life, the perfect antidote to her fears of abandonment and bouts of depression. Andreas, however, wrestles with his own ghosts: an alcoholic father who abused him as a child and his own fits of anger. Together, the two artists must confront the demons that haunt them.
LOVE OF A STONEMASON is a story about the struggle of two artists with their past, their families, their creativity, and their love for each other. It takes the reader on a journey full of sights, smells, tastes, and sounds from the south of Switzerland to Italy and the Peruvian Andes.
Karla Bocelli hated the painting. She had worked at it off and on during the past year and never managed to finish it. But no matter how much she disliked it, she couldn’t convince herself to destroy it. It seemed to haunt her. It was warm and muggy in early June in the south of Switzerland. Patches of mist hugged the mountains behind Lago Maggiore. Karla clasped her artist’s portfolio under her arm and brushed a strand of hair from her damp forehead. She was on the way to the old part of Locarno, thinking, once again, of the troublesome picture. She saw the car just as she stepped into the crosswalk. An old beat-up Fiat screeched to a stop a few inches away from her. Karla jumped back and dropped her portfolio, spilling its contents onto the pavement. Her heart thudded and she took deep breaths, trying to calm the queasy feeling in her stomach. That smell. Burnt rubber. A young man got out of the car and stared at her, stunned. “Are you all right?”
Karla, still dazed, nodded. She bent down and began to pick up her drawings. A few pedestrians stopped, but when they realized that nothing major had happened, they walked on. The driver’s dark voice rose to an angry pitch. “Jesus Christ. What’s the matter with you? You practically threw yourself in front of my car. I could’ve killed you. Are you suicidal or what?” “I’m sorry, I wasn’t watching.” Karla slid the papers back into her portfolio. “Yeah, well, that’s obvious. Wake up, for heaven’s sake.” His belligerent voice angered Karla, who was gradually regaining her composure. She stood up, flipped her long dark hair back over her shoulders, and faced him. “I said, I was sorry.” He was tall, broad-shouldered, and sturdy, with longish dark tousled hair and green eyes, which now glowered at her. He must have been her age or a little older, perhaps in his midtwenties. As Karla continued to pick up her drawings, he approached and bent down to help her. “You’re an artist?” he asked in a friendlier tone as he looked at one of the charcoal sketches. “Yes.” Karla snatched the paper out of his hand. “I hope your pictures aren’t ruined.” “What do you care? Why do you have to drive like a maniac?” “Great,” he shouted. “Now it’s my fault?” “This is a pedestrian zone, in case you haven’t noticed.” Karla grabbed her portfolio and stepped back onto the sidewalk. Her heartbeat had slowed to almost normal, but her knees still felt wobbly. “Do you always jump in front of moving cars without looking?” He turned around and walked away. “Airhead,” he
Jacob Cotter survives the Civil War to finish Yale Medical School and confront two more battlefronts–one in Connecticut as a medical student and one in Texas as a surgeon. In 1868 Cotter is financially solvent for Yale from banking two-year’s worth of bounty hunter money. Post-Civil War medicine is exciting. Cotter experiences advances in anesthesia and antisepsis enabling surgery and medicine truly saving lives. He finds pseudoscience–phrenology–laughable. However, he must confront his siblings who disowned him after his father was killed in the war alongside him in 1864. His brother and sister want him dead.
After graduating Yale, Cotter finds private practice in Endura Texas with a colleague as also being under fire trying to establish the first hospital in the area. Cotter faces a ruthless land baron extorting and killing opposing citizenry. He also finds his father’s murderer part of the lethal lot. Dr. Cotter is forced to combine his stethoscope and his sixguns.
Cotter always wore the same clothes when confronting his opponents. He wore tan buckskin from head-to-toe. The sweatband on his hat had a single polished silver concho off center to the right but clearly sparkling to the person facing him. His buckskin blouse had bib buttons forming an upside down “L”. The buttons on the down stroke of the L on the right side of his chest were also highly polished silver conchos. The horizontal buttons were tan buckskin and almost invisible. His two Colt revolvers were the same models but his right gun was highly polished nickel. It glinted like the hat’s concho. His left hand gun had an unobtrusive matte gun-metal finish. Cotter’s tan buckskin pants had a row of polished conchos on the outer right leg seam only. His tan buckskin boots gave him almost silent under-footing. He had his photograph taken to help get the outfit just right. To anyone confronting Cotter, the man was off center. The bib buttons and the shiny silver conchos directed an opponent’s vision to the right. When Cotter drew his guns he moved slightly to the left. Even if his adversary was faster than he, the bullet usually missed and went off to the right. Usually, on two occasions he was shot superficially, once in the in the right shoulder and once in the right thigh. Every man who drew on him had died.
Cotter adjusted his hat and checked for the weight and balance of his two-gun holster. He went into the saloon.
“Morely.” Cotter spoke the name with a penetrating tone. He didn’t shout. He didn’t have to. Cotter’s baritone voice caromed around the saloon and could be heard above the voices at the bar and over the dialogue from the two card game tables. Cotter’s back was to the swinging saloon doors and the dirt street.
The suddenness of the silence was a shock to the Saturday night crowd. Within a second of the lack of noise all eyes turned toward Cotter and then focused on Morely.
“Yes, you Morely.” Cotter stood with hands on his waist. He reached into his bib top and removed a large sheet of paper and waved it at Morely and the general audience. “I’m taking you to the sheriff’s office–‘dead or alive’–just like this poster says.” Cotter was 6-foot-5-inches of fine-tuned muscle. His two-gun holster rig was three-inches below his beltline. Both buckskin-gloved hands went to his sides after he slid the poster back into his bib shirt.
“I don’t know you. Go away and you’ll go alive. The last three bounty hunters are under the dirt.” Morely pushed his slight beer-bellied form away from the bar to face Cotter. The rest of the men at the bar ran away from
One young man dying of cancer. One struggling journalist. Six single Londoners. One night that changes everything....
Dan is trying to conceal a stretch in jail, while time is running out for Sanjay, though his specialist can’t say how long he has left.
A 38-year old lawyer is desperate to rewrite her past but, for one single mum, sex is a distant memory she longs to relive. At speed-dating there’s a nice doctor. There’s also the kind of guy your mother warned you about.
Journalist Harriet needs a by-line not a boyfriend, but she soon becomes the focus of her own feature.
Is happiness possible when you’re trying to hide a whole carousel of baggage?
In her drawing-room, Dorottya looked past the flowers on the Osborne and Little curtains.
She let out a breath through pursed lips. He was mowing again. What was it with Englishmen and lawns? Roger was so obsessed with his precious expanse of grass that he had even designed a special mowing strip, as he called it, to make cutting easier and to prevent the children from wrecking the edges when they played cricket.
And another thing. Why had he decided to work from home? For years he’d had a perfectly good job in the City, which kept him from under her feet for the whole day, or even, if she was lucky, for days at a time. Now that he was self-employed, he irritated her much more. He was lucky she hadn’t thrown one of his best plates at him.
Still, he had his garden to occupy him while she used her laptop. Dorottya logged onto the site and evaluated her options. Since she never had much privacy these days, it was important to know whom to tick. Oh, she knew it was whom, not who, thanks to the classes she had attended years ago in Paradise Road. Hungarians were far better linguists than the silly English.
“Ah, there you are, sweetie.” Roger had appeared in the doorway without warning.
She snapped her notebook shut, breaking a nail. She would have to delete the history later, for sure. Last week he had spotted a credit card item listed as DMQ. When he queried it, she told him it was a shoe shop. He was visibly pleased that it had only been £30, which showed how stupid he was. What kind of man thinks you can get anything in a shoe shop for £30, except maybe a pair of laces?
“How is your lawn, dahlink?” As an accompaniment to calling him dahlink, a term she used whenever she wanted to charm anyone, she flashed her expensively veneered teeth. How bizarre that people from the UK went to Hungary for cosmetic dentistry when she had done the exact opposite.
“Coming along nicely. Don’t forget the flower show this afternoon.”
He loved plants with the same ferocity that he loved sex. Well, she would use the same tactic. “But I’ve got a headache. I must lie down.”
“It’ll do you good to get out, sweetie. Fresh air and all that. Much better than sitting in a stuffy room hunched over a laptop all the time. I don’t know why you spend so much time indoors. No wonder you have headaches.”
“But you wanted me to study, dahlink.” Fresh air was an idiot British idea. Hungarians never thought fresh air would help. They took patent medicines instead. If your brain needed a boost, you took a Cavinton tablet, not a walk in the country. “Roger dahlink, w
Robert had reached the summit of many mountains. His adventures took him to unimaginable heights, yet his greatest achievements were not in conquering these majestic beauties, but in his ability to reach people in need. That is, until he's the one facing the toughest climb of his life.
Roberto Sanchez is living the dream; one could say the man had it all. He is blessed with a beautiful wife and daughter who complete him. A career that reaches at-risk kids that brings him true joy. Then a tragic accident leads Robert to a chasm of dark despair. Although his interventions have reached many, he found he is incapable of helping himself off the edge of a cliff, jeopardizing his career, his marriage, and himself.
because takes us on a journey of two Roberts as he struggles to find a way to once again Believe.
Celebrated as a ragtag force that defeated and broke the Soviet Union, no one predicted the Mujahideen would bring with them a plague that would spread like wildfire through Pakistan in the years to follow. When the battle-worn fighters returned with no enemy or war to fight, they turned their sights on the country that had been their creator and benefactor.
From the same battlegrounds that birthed the Mujahideen, a young Kamal Khan emerges as a different breed of warrior. Discarding his wealthy family comforts, Kamal becomes a precision sniper, an invincible commando and a clandestine operative bringing intimidation, dominance and death with him to the battlefield. Ending the plague is his prime directive.
Shrouded in political expediency, hampered by internal power struggles, international espionage and doublespeak that makes Washington's spin doctors proud, Kamal's mission is a nightmare of rampant militant fundamentalism that threatens to choke and take Pakistan hostage. For him, the fight is not just for freedom, but the survival of a nation.
Standing in the hall of the abandoned warehouse, blood dripped from his body, leaving a trail on the grimy floor. A body was slumped in the chair in the middle of the hall with a singular light hanging above, illuminating a small radius around it. Another lay in the doorway propping the door open. The fight inside had been more than expected from the three days he spent surveying the warehouse. By his count, there should not have been more than five men both inside and out. Instead, he had found almost seven men around the facility.
They had prepared well for his arrival.
On his approach, he saw one man guarding the entrance. There were usually two… where’s the other one? Kamal shook off the thought and sized up his enemy, noting that he was a scrawny soldier that didn’t fill his uniform. He ducked into the shadows where he could use the darkness against the soldier, catching him by surprise. He rushed the guard, knocking him to the ground before he could set himself or draw his weapon. With a quick strike to the head, the first guard was neutralized. Before he could get up, he heard the door to the warehouse open. Jumping to his feet, Kamal saw the second guard emerge, finding Kamal hovering over his partner’s incapacitated body. The guard, surprisingly, dropped his AK-47 and rushed at Kamal, driving him into the concrete wall of the warehouse with a shoulder block. As he pulled back from Kamal, he landed two solid right crosses to his jaw stunning Kamal and giving himself time to set for the fight. Kamal pulled himself up from one knee, gasping for air and taking the time to assess his opponent. The guard didn’t wait for Kamal to position himself and struck again with a swift kick to his midriff, bring the taste of blood to Kamal’s mouth. Oh, that is just unacceptable.
Kamal spat the blood onto the ground and spun around, taking the guard’s legs out with a vicious kick to his knees. As the guard hit the ground, Kamal launched himself onto him, grabbing his neck in a chokehold. The guard threw elbows behind him, and kicked helplessly in the air as Kamal increased the pressure on his throat. Within minutes, his body stopped fighting and he was down.
Kamal stood, spitting a few times to clear the blood that had filled his mouth, finally using the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the remaining away. He smirked, admiring his work. Not as tough as he looked.
Standing over both bodies, his plan rapidly changed. Grabbing the second guard by the legs, he drag
The Guardian of Secrets, an epic historical family saga, of love, war, and revenge, spanning four generations, from 1912, Kent, England to, Spain and its 1936–39 civil war.
In present day Spain, María Martinéz Merrill is dying, but welcomes the end of her long life. She is one of the last of her generation. A survivor of the Spanish Civil War; a hellish war, long ended but still lingering in her mind like the familiar caress of an old friend.
When her granddaughter, Lucia, arrives for a visit, María finds the perfect opportunity to share her dark world filled with shocking family secrets, guarded in old journals and written decades before by María and her mother, Celia Merrill.
María forces herself to relive her tormented past in order to convince Lucia to veto the sale of the family estate whilst her children plot behind closed doors to dismantle and destroy everything she has built...
It soon seemed that the whole of Madrid had upped sticks and moved camp to the Jarama valley. Fifty battalions had been mustered, converging on the Jarama area in hundreds of trucks, tanks, artillery units, and ambulances. They drove slowly and carefully through the muddied dirt tracks and the cornfields destroyed by the heavy traffic. Everyone in the convoy had been told repeatedly that the stakes were high and that should they fail, they would leave the back door open, allowing the nationalists to enter Madrid. For the first few weeks, María could think of nothing but the job she’d been sent to do. There were enormous losses, estimated at between twenty and twenty-five thousand, on the republican side, and the International Brigades also lost thousands in the first few days of fighting.
Day after day, María watched the orderlies leave the tents, carrying out amputated limbs and corpses, mopping up blood from the floors that filled buckets to the brim, and dumping mountains of bodies for a later burial. When the fighting eased off for a short
while, her life became a monotonous existence of muddy fields of olive groves, rain-drenched trenches, and food that consisted of watery soup or congealed stew. María acknowledged that the doctors and medical staff tried their best to save the dying men,
crying for their mothers and asking with hope in their eyes if they were going to live, but the reality was that they just couldn’t cope with the seriousness of injuries inflicted on the battlefield.
The normal passage of time didn’t exist anymore. The wounded came in day and night—they were everywhere—and the shortage of doctors and nurses was becoming increasingly apparent. María was only a trainee nurse at best, but she found herself giving
injections and administering anaesthetics for doctors who no longer cared who did it. Soldiers with stomach wounds were the worst, for she had been warned not to give water to those patients. She did disobey that command on occasion, though only when she thought that a drink of water was the only comfort she could give to a man who was going to die anyway.
After a while, the medical station found itself right at the front, stuck there without the possibility of moving back again because of the risks to the stretcher-bearers. To make things worse, the dressing stations were carried into sheltered ditches and trenches that made them increasingly vulnerable to enemy fire, not to mention a dirty and muddy place to work.
María handed the wounded who
When Jesse McDermitt retires from the Marine Corps, he has no idea what he will do for the rest of his life. At 37, his greatest skill is killing people from up to a mile away. He knows there aren’t many job opportunities in the civilian world for that. However, he knows the south Florida waters, is an experienced diver, loves to fish, and knows his way around a boat.
A waitress in a waterfront restaurant in north Key Largo gives him an idea and he runs with it. An old friend helps get him set up as a charter fishing and dive boat Captain and a new friend helps him buy just the right boat.
Danger lurks in the sleepy little town of Marathon, in the middle of the Florida Keys, as well as in the swamps of the Everglades. But danger doesn’t expect to run into a man like Jesse, who will not only respond swiftly, but with a vengeance unexpected.
The smell of fresh coffee woke me the next morning. The coffee maker had a timer and I’d taken to setting it up before going to bed. It was better than an alarm clock. Sitting on the bridge, I watched the night sky slowly turn purple, then the first finger rays of the rising sun lit up the clouds hanging over the eastern horizon. I’d always reveled in watching the sun rise and set in different places around the world. No matter where I was, it looked the same and different at the same time. I heard a splash and looked toward the sound. Savannah was tying up their dinghy. Just what I needed. She climbed out and walked along the dock toward the Revenge. Stopping at my pier she looked up and said, “I think I owe you an apology.” She lifted a thermos. “Can I buy you a cup of Australian coffee?” Never one to turn down someone else’s brew, I said, “Sure, come aboard.” She sat on the transom and swung two tanned and shapely legs over, stepping down to the deck in bare feet. I climbed down and met her in the cockpit. “Come on in,” I said as I held the hatch open. She stepped up into the galley. “Wow! This is a really cool yacht. I thought it was a fishing boat.” “It is,” I said. “Kind of a reverse mullet. Party up front and all business in the rear.” “You’re dating yourself. Nobody wears a mullet anymore.” “Have a seat, I’ll get another mug.” She slid into the settee booth and twisted the top off the thermos, unconcerned about where I’d sit. I didn’t bother with a saucer, sugar, or cream and my guess was right, as she poured both our mugs with the strong smelling coffee and took a sip. “I asked around about what you said. About the sex slave thing. I’m sorry I accused you of lying. Also, thanks for bailing us out the other night. Sharlee is a little gullible sometimes and I was way toasted.” I noticed that she didn’t have a hint of southern drawl like her sister and asked her about it. “Sharlee went to ‘finishing school’,” she said, rolling her eyes at the words. “I was sort of a tomboy and preferred to go out on my dad’s fishing boats.” “Boats? Plural?” “Yeah, he owns a fleet of commercial boats. I skippered one until he retired and sold the fleet.” “Really?” She used both hands holding her mug, as she took another sip. “You like the coffee?” I’d finished half the cup and hardly noticed it. “Yeah, it’s great,” I said looking into her blue eyes. “Where’d you learn to fight like that? You went through the three biggest guys like a hot knife through butter.” “Fight? Oh, the other night. I studied a little martial arts. You and your sister are as different as night and day.” “Thanks, I love her, but she can be a handful sometimes.” I nearly spit out my coffee. “What?” she asked. As I tried to control my laughter I said, “She said almost exactly the same thing about you.” Refilling both our cups she said, “We’ve decided to stay here a while.” “What br
Olivia wants the 80 acres in far off Michigan that her father's will left to whichever of his offspring claims the land. As Olivia says, "I'm sprung off him just as much as Avis or Tobey."The problem: she's seventeen, female, and it's 1841.Mourning Free, Olivia's trusted childhood friend, knows how to run a farm and is also sorely in need of a new start in life.The problem: though born in a free state, he's the orphaned son of runaway slaves and the slave catchers who patrol the north hunting fugitives are not particular about who they take back south with them.Not without qualms, they set off together. All goes well, despite the drudgery of survival in an isolated log cabin. Incapable of acknowledging her feelings for Mourning, Olivia thinks her biggest problem is her unrequited romantic interest in their young neighbor.Until her world falls apart.Strong-willed, vulnerable, and compassionate, Olivia is a compelling protagonist on a journey to find a way to do the right thing in a world in which so much is wrong.
A few days later Olivia walked down to the bank of the Saugauta River. It was a warm day in May, the sky a startling blue, the fields dotted with yellow and purple wildflowers. She spread a red and white checkered tablecloth over a patch of clover and knelt on one corner of it. A gentle breeze played with the cloth, so she anchored two other corners with her rag doll and picnic basket. She was humming “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” to her doll when she heard someone slosh out of the river. She looked up, amazed to see Mourning Free climbing up the bank, his scrawny chest bare and his trousers dripping. He was carrying his shoes in one hand and a brown shirt and blue cloth bag in the other.
“Hullo, Mourning,” Olivia said, eyes wide.
“Hullo to you, Livia.” He walked over and tossed his belongings to the ground.
“Did you fall into the river?”
“Nah. Been gettin’ cleaned up. Heard someone come and thought I’m a have to hide
down there. Then I hear it just be you, talkin’ to your stupid doll.”
“Do you want to have a tea party with us?” She reached for her doll and pulled it back
to her lap, making room for him to join her on the tablecloth.
“You got any food ain’t make-believe?”
She opened the picnic basket and arranged chunks of cheese, a few slices of bread,
and two apples on a white linen napkin. Mourning sank to his knees, making large wet
circles on the cloth, grabbed some cheese and bread, and filled his mouth.
“Ain’t et nothing for two days,” he mumbled, cheeks bulging.
“Who were you hiding from?”
“Everybody.” He swallowed and reached for more bread and cheese, but hesitated,
glancing at his hostess.
“It’s okay,” Olivia said and leaned away from the food. “You can have it all. I thought they took you away.”
He bit into a chunk of cheese and sat back on his heels. “That right. But I run away from ’em. Been walkin’ for three days.”
This announcement left Olivia frowning. She watched him eat for a few moments before asking, “But who’s going to take care of you?”
“Me.” He jerked his thumb at his bare chest. “I can take as good care a myself as them Carters ever done.”
“Why, were they mean to you?”
He tilted his head back and grinned. “That what Goody think folks gonna say.” Then he looked straight at Olivia, his expression serious. “No, Goody always give me a good tanning when I got it comin’, but they ain’t never treated me bad. But they got four kids without me. That
The general public still has much to learn about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the Mental Illness. Bettina "Sparkles" Obernuefemann gives a lay language overview about the "Modern Trauma." There are many causes other than the horror of war, such as bullying, natural disasters, death, divorce, child abuse, abortion, and rape. It’s easy to get stuck in an unhappy life, suffer from chronic depression, anxiety, anger, failed relationships, feeling helpless and hopeless, which leads to addictive behaviors.Author starts with a short narrative of her "Abuse Recall," the Trauma diagnosis, and shows her "willingness" to dive into into healing activities. She believes no matter what the causes, no matter what the symptoms, we are empowered and must face the past to make changes for the better. Recovery requires healing conflicting, self-defeating thoughts in our minds which helps us grow in spiritual understanding. With the processes we get a good sense of “who” we are and “why” we’re here, making us smile "inside" as well as on the "outside." Bettina lists traditional and spiritual healing processes which worked her. She hopes that her writings can play a small part in the prevention of child abuse and inspire women that they ,too,can turn their lives around. Set your struggles free and live in harmony!
At the early stage of my transformation, I needed interactions with like-minded groups, who gathered to overcome their own personal pain from the past. If you’re looking for suitable workshops ask friends and you might check out religious, spiritual, or wellness centers.
My first workshop was suggested by my hairdresser friend, Ilse, at the perfect time. One day when I had an appointment, she came to the rescue. The kind lady knew I was in the middle of ending a five-year relationship, which was going nowhere, and that I was having difficulty making the final decision. Up to that time, age 45, I believed that a good love life was the answer to all my problems. But during my PTSD recovery, I recognized that I’d been “looking for love” in all the wrong places. It took me many years to discover that real love already resided inside of me.
Back to that morning, Ilse was more bubbly than usual. I complimented her for being extra cheerful and my friend thanked me, “It’s interesting, Bettina, I feel totally better after last weekend. I went to a fantastic workshop, and in only three days I became more confident, learned to trust myself and make faster decisions. Bettina, you might consider the weekend retreat for yourself.”
“So, it really helped you, Ilse?”
“It did. I feel more empowered by taking responsibility for my own actions.”
“Wow, that’s quite a change, isn’t it? Well, you’re probably right. The retreat might just be what I need at this point in my life. What have I got to lose, anyway?”
Just in case I was interested, my friend handed me a brochure as I left the beauty salon. I thanked her for caring so much.
At home I settled down and read what was offered at the three-day seminar. I liked the information and registered for my first workshop ever. The next month went by slowly with nervous anticipation,
Mesmerized by the sensuous moves of the stranger who danced with her at the Lucian Club, Caitlynn Pilgrim has been trying for almost two years to get him out of her mind, with no success. Until that night, she was perfectly happy with her single life and was not looking for a man to complicate it, but this stranger with his seductive moves has her rethinking that decision. So, for over a year, she has been returning to the club, hoping to run into him and have one more dance with him. Alas, Caitlynn does not know the stranger's name or even what he looks like. She was so taken with dancing with him, she’d neglected to look into his face, and when she was suddenly called away by her friend, Esther, she’d returned to pick up where she left off only to find him gone.
Andre Cunningham burns with memories of the beautiful, passionate woman he danced with two years ago at the club. He had spotted her as soon as she walked in, waving her hand in the air. He’d danced up to her and, without uttering a word, fitted his body against hers. They moved together as one. She was as fluid as honey, weaving her magic over him, until he was intoxicated. Just as he was about to ask her name, she separated herself from him and went to talk to her friend… she did not return… he was devastated. From that day to now, he has haunted the club every chance he gets, searching for his mysterious dancer, but so far, it has been an effort in futility. This Labor Day will be two years since that unforgettable dance. He hopes this will be the night he reconnects with his mysterious dancer, even if he has to search every corner of the Club. He will not give up until he finds her. She has branded him with her magic, and ruined him for all others.
Chapter Two Caitlynn went to work that day still feeling the after-effect of the dancing dream orgasm she had experienced with her mystery man. She had woken in a state of arousal, and even the cold shower she had taken had not helped. If anything, it had further aggravated matters by causing her nipples to harden under her own touch, demanding attention. In the end, she had to take care of the itch in order to get dressed.
She was just settling down when her phone rang. Glancing at the phone, she saw that it was Esther. She was tempted to ignore her because had it not been for her selfish attitude Caitlynn would have been better satisfied on her birthday with her mystery dancer—she hoped. She had not spoken to Esther since she saw her off in the cab. She was tempted to ignore her now, but she didn’t.
“Hi, Esther, how did you make it home last night?”
“Fine! Did you bring your lover boy home with you and screw yourself insensible?”
“No, I didn’t and stop being vulgar. It does not become you, Esther.”
“Me, vulgar? You should have seen how you were behaving with a man you didn’t even know. I could have sworn he was screwing you on the dance floor.”
“What would make you say that?”
“For the simple reason that what you guys were doing was not dancing. It was what a man and a woman do in bed.”
“Says who? How the hell would you know what a man and a woman do in bed? You don’t even have a man.”
“Cool it, Caitlynn. You don’t have to get offensive.”
“Well, what did you expect when you stopped me from having the only fun I’ve had in a long while?”
“I left you to your
This is a book of magic.
It is full of practical, real world advice and is brimming with insight and erudition.
If you want to know how to bring money, love, good health and luck into your life, it explains how.
If you’ve ever experienced anything out of the ordinary that you can’t readily explain, you may well find answers here.
Many personal development books recount how some enlightenment can be gained by encountering and overcoming some adversity or setbacks. By going to the edge and coming back, we can often help others in similar predicaments by sharing our experiences.
This book takes a different approach by exploring the notion that life doesn’t have to be intrinsically tough, unless we want it to be.
Just imagine all that your heart desires just turning up.
Just imagine having as much time as you ever need.
Just imagine a life without dis-ease and one full of joy and ease.
The idea that we can only reap rewards through hard work and graft is one we can now leave behind. Each and every one of us can live a charmed life.
The New Magic referred to in the title is only Old Magic that we can now understand, comprehend and invoke with the advantage of 20:20 hindsight.
The New Era is what turns up when we tap into the New Magic and bring more of heaven down to Earth.
What the first two readers of this book said about it:
"New Magic for a New Era is written in plain English, with easy-to-understand examples and narrative. What I love most about this book, is the humility and wonderful sense of humour that run throughout. The core message is one that we can all understand, and respond to and that is that personal transformation does not have to be difficult.”
“As I read this book, something strange is happening. My hands are tingling and extremely hot then I am distracted by the heat and tingling in my feet. There is something truly special about this book. The last time I got this feeling was whilst reading The Ringing Cedars Series, but it was not this intense. Those books changed my life. I know this one will too in a way that I cannot possibly imagine."
Little Miss Sure Shot is a fictionalized account of the life of Annie Oakley, drawing heavily on the real timelines and events of her life. The book invents situations, people she meets, and a myriad of conversations. Moreover, while the book is presented chronologically, apart from the prologue, it skips certain periods and attempts to focus on those that are especially vital, such as the early years Annie spent with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, including the tours through Europe. A special feature of the novel is the framing of Annie's loving marriage to fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler, whom she married at sixteen and remained married to for 50 years until her death. Frank was far more than just her husband - he was her manager (he gave up his own shooting for that role) and her constant companion. The novel closes with an epilogue in Frank's voice, presenting an overview of their lives together and the circumstances of her death in 1926.
There was nothing like Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, and there never would be again. It was the best thing Annie and Frank were ever involved with, and it took them to places Annie had never dreamed about, like London and Paris. And it made her famous: Some wrote during her time with the show that she was one of the most famous women in the world.
It wasn’t a circus; it was an event, an extravaganza. Cody had devised a series of tableaus, each involving dozens or more performers, that played up key themes and events from the West. The most specific one was the defeat of Custer at Little Big Horn, with the make-believe battle and the slaughtering of the cavalry. He also had pioneers crossing the prairie and being attacked by Indians, and scenes from Indian villages and firefights with Mexicans. More than anything, it was about the taming of the West. It was loud and rousing. The Indians didn’t come off all that well, but it treated much of their culture with real feeling, and emphasized their bravery as much as their savagery. And it used real Indians as performers, a fact that was highly unusual for the day.
It was hard to describe the show without talking about its scale. It was what Annie learned to call a menagerie, a new word for her. There were Indians galore, decked in war paint and feathers, with bows and lances. There were Mexicans, with huge sombreros and serapes draped over their shoulders. There were cowboys in chaps and Stetsons, with big mustaches. There were even long-horne
The world is a far different place in 2259. Thirty years of world war, rampant bombing, and the melting of the polar ice sheets have changed the very face of the planet. The former countries of Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America have banded together as the North American Alliance, led by distinguished military hero President Walker. His daughter Poppy has served as the First Lady of the North American Alliance since she was only twelve years old, helping her father restore order to the chaotic new world they live in. Now nineteen, Poppy finds herself caught in the middle of a government takeover and dodging assassins. After fleeing to the war-torn ruins of Denver, she must face unknown dangers and new experiences. She will have to use every skill learned from her military upbringing to survive the terrifying beasts, deadly plant life, and fierce rebels who live in the shadows of the abandoned city.
All this went through my mind in seconds as the gunmen continued to force their way into the library. And then they began to fire. The sound was like a hammer blow, forcing me to my knees. I cried out, but luckily no one could hear me over the incredible volume of the gunshots. I crawled closer to the wall and found a peephole. It allowed me to see only glimpses of the events, but it was enough to let me see my father and the three governors fall to the ground under the hail of bullets.
I shoved my hands against my mouth to hold back my screams. If the gunmen heard me they would only need to begin firing into the shelves. The small safe-room was reinforced to block the stream of a stunner, but I had no idea how well it would stand up to the deadly bits of metal flying through the air. Shaking, I stayed as still and as silent as I could, praying that the attackers would leave so I could go to my father.
When Uncle Cruz walked into the room I wanted to scream out a warning. I couldn’t let these people take the only family I had left. But I was so frightened I could only gasp for breath. And then I lost my breath for another reason because, in spite of my fears, the gunmen didn’t fire at him. Instead, a man at the front of the group stepped forward and saluted.
Presidential Trail is a fast moving, action packed thriller following the exploits of two MI6 agents, Kane Rhodes and Brian Jones as they trail a deadly assassin and revenge-bent chemist from the U.K. to Pakistan and Dallas to Washington. Linking up with the CIA their original mission was to prevent the assassination of a Presidential candidate but soon developed into a race against time to stop, or at least minimise, the catastrophic effects of a major terrorist attack
Kane Rhodes quickly removed the telescopic sights before sheathing the AS50 back into the soft, brown leather case. The dull ache in his neck and back was the result of six hours surveillance, the last sixty minutes of which were spent scanning through the sights of the scope. He paused briefly to reflect on how relatively easy the mission had been and not what he would have expected from someone with Leidmeister's background.
“You wanna go take a look while I keep up the surveillance,” Zach drawled. “Give me a call on the radio when it’s a done deal.”
“Okay, then next stop a coffee shop."
“And I thought you Brits only drank tea?”
Kane gave Zach a brief, sarcastic smile as he opened the door and made his way to the staircase, but he could not shake off this feeling of doubt, something was missing, but what? He jogged down the remaining two flights of time worn, wooden stairs and out into the brilliant, warm June sunshine. As he walked towards the car, the covered AS50 butt tucked under his shoulder and the barrel cradled in the nook of his right arm, he scanned the old, paint flaked windows of the tenement building and pondered over the events of the last few days. There was something wrong, considering what he had learned about Leidmeister over this short period, he could not help feeling that this was too easy - and he was soon to be proved right.
Dropping out of sub-space into the wrong galactic sector, Sethran Kada wakes up with a headache and an extraordinary alien aboard his ship. She implores him to help stop the abductions of her people, a newly evolved species emerging from sub-space. Their dangerous potential has caught the attention of rebel factions as well as the ruling Commonwealth. When contact with her kind turns pilots into casualties, the Governors fear an imminent invasion engineered by their rebel enemies. Pursued by Air Command, Seth heads deep into rebel-controlled territory to recover the stolen entities and keep this deadly weapon from falling into the wrong hands. Things get personal when his alien visitor begins to transform his mind and his life, turning the rescue mission into a fight for s`urvival for all of them.
The carnage on the second floor made even Deve blanch. He walked past the bodies of Humans, Centauri and a Feydan, recognizing his crew mates, three civilians in suspiciously expensive clothes and armor, and a few strangers. “That’s my boss,” he said wincing. “Used to be my boss. What a mess.”
He crouched beside a Human and, after a brief search, enriched himself with a fine rail gun and a large sum of currency accepted on a number of planets, if you shopped in the right places. “This one’s rich.”
“Vanguard officer,” Lep Ako said.
Deve recoiled. “You could have said something before I touched him.”
“Another over there. The female.”
Reluctantly, Deve walk
Dian Parker, 53, lives on her own land and is hardworking, talented, spiritual, and happily alone. Until she falls deeply in love. Everything she thought about herself crumbles in the wake of this new passion. She had thought she was successful, an independent strong woman, and confident. Instead, unresolved fears erupt from her past and doubt permeates her newly found bliss. In the midst of this powerful love, one woman faces herself head-on, determined to sustain the ecstasy she is experiencing, every single day for the rest of her life. A tale of courage and transformation, a modern-day Song of Songs and a bedside book for lovers, Sustaining Ecstasy fills you with gladness knowing extraordinary love really does exist as a possibility for us all. From the stages of London to the rugged coast of the Isle of Aran, from the desert sands of Syria to a yurt in the Pacific Northwest, Sustaining Ecstasy is one woman’s journey into the territory of ecstatic love.Dian Parker is a freelance writer for a number of New England publications. A passionate gardener, oil painter and graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she worked professionally in theatre for 25 years as a director and teacher. She lives in Vermont with her husband, her sustained love, and is working on a novel.
We flood one another with presents. Every night on my coffee table I pile ribboned packages for him: a book, candy, a piece of marble where I write a dream come true on the back, shiny black obsidian, a packet of blue poppy seeds. He brings his wrapped in newsprint. A Scarlatti CD with the wrapping in green and pink crayon with “my favorite music for my favorite being” in blue. A box of sparklers — “for sparkling moments.” A framed photograph of the Hourglass Nebulae, a little screwdriver set, a journal. All these gifts collected from around the house; we had bought none of them. I hold the screwdriver for a long time and only allow myself one lit sparkler a day. But I play the Scarlatti over and over, drinking the staccato notes and the flurry of galloping runs as if I were dying of thirst and had walked across the desert in a windstorm.
The intensity I now feel reminds me of the
There's no slavery in the Yorkshire Dales, not in 1887, not ever. But loving families use artful schemes to enslave the innocent. Twenty nine year-old Tizzie is such an innocent. She has worked herself down to skin and bones as a dairymaid on the farm of her dear brother, Jack, his gracious wife, Maggie, their three boys and one girl, Agnes. Expert at many things, though not in spotting conniving entrapment, Tizzie longs to see that young Agnes will not suffer her spinster fate. In trying to help Agnes find an education and avoid a life of drudgery in their male-dominated world, Tizzie begins to suspect and then uncover Jack and Maggie's treachery, and the family's plots to enslave and use up Agnes too. With only her wits to guide her, Tizzie tries to right years of wrongs and set Agnes free.
Monday, February 28th 1887.
“Never a moment,” Tizzie muttered, hurrying to the lambing pens, “always summat to do and no time to think.”
A mild couple of days followed by rain and freezing wind brought on the lambs. The boys guessed correctly, many more multiple births than the previous year, even old Tuppence had twins. Twins a ewe could manage if you watched her carefully, a job Jack gave to Tizzie. “A woman’s more patient than lads, and slow to interfere.”
Tizzie enjoyed the work. It warmed her heart to see a nervous ewe settle to two young ‘uns suckling, tails shaking, wig-wagging like poplar leaves in a breeze. It were a pleasure to hear a young ewe call to her lambs, see her nuzzling and licking both spotted faces and tucking them in close to her side. Now, as she worked, Tizzie’s thoughts wandered. Why did she feel guilty, scolding herself even, for thinking badly of her family. And how would she ever know the truth about Sam’s letter and about Johnnie Oldsby?
Wrapped in the old shepherd’s coat and her knitted bonnet, a worsted scarf covering her cheeks, wool gloves under homemade sheepskin mittens, Tizzie scrunched over iced cobbles, squelched in the mud and through grass, to the sheep barn five and six chilly times a day. Every lamb had been spared this year and eight ewes had a treddle lamb, a third lamb they could not feed, that meant eight lambs to hand feed. At least it were warm in the barn, and the mixed smells of sheep, lamb, milk, straw and cold stone pleased her nose better than the byre. There Jack h
Japan’s horrific tsunami in March of 2011 was seared into the minds of TV viewers worldwide, but few had any idea of where the tsunami hit on that fateful day or to its long-term impact. This book answers many of these and other questions with maps, photos, and text providing a sense of those coastal towns. There are links to videos also, with one showing the tsunami surging into Central Otsuchi, the author’s adopted home town.
As Fate Would Have It
Earthquake…tsunami…fire…the triple whammy that destroyed Otsuchi caught everyone by surprise on the 11th of March, 2011. That town in Iwate Prefecture was only one of many on the Sanriku Coast to be shaken to the core by the Great East Japan Earthquake, then engulfed by huge walls of seawater followed by flames consuming what remained. For us the loss of Atsuko’s hometown had triple consequences—the loss of our home, of the community chosen for our retirement, and of family members. Bad things come in threes, it seems.
As fate would have it, we were not there on that unfortunate day. For the first time since making Otsuchi our primary residence in 2004 we had decided to spend the winter in our Tokyo condo. Located in Ayase, a community in Adachi Ward on Tokyo’s north side, the two-bedroom apartment had been our home since our marriage and one we kept even after moving to far-off Sanriku. From 2004, our yearly travel schedule had included a short visit to Tokyo in April to coincide with cherry-blossom season, followed by a trip to Honolulu for a month, a return to Tokyo for two weeks or so to catch up with friends and colleagues there, and then in June back to the tranquility of Otsuchi.
A GIFTED BOY forced to grow up too fast... A father who will do anything to protect him... A madman bent on destroying them both.
In Amsterdam, a visionary scientist is laying the groundwork for a cybernetic life-extension project that will transfer individual consciousness to a personalized avatar. Halfway around the world, his brilliant grandson is secretly planning to use the same technology to infiltrate the world’s most secure networks.
But the scientific advances necessary to perfect the brain-to-computer interface are slow in coming, too slow for the aging founder of the Everlast foundation—who may die before realizing his dream of immortality—and too slow for his ruthless grandson, who will stop at nothing to attain the recognition that is his birthright.
Caught in the middle are Jake Bronson and his seven-year-old son, Alex, whose combined mental gifts might provide the key to leapfrogging the impasse.
When Jake’s family and closest friends are simultaneously abducted in a globally coordinated kidnapping scheme, Jake is thrust into a frantic race that takes him from the canals of Amsterdam and the cobbled streets of Rome to the back alleys of Hong Kong and the South China jungles, where he must lever every scrap of his failing abilities to rescue his loved ones and crush a madman’s plans to bring the world to its knees.
[From the point of view of 7-year-old Alex Bronson, set in the jungles of South China where he crash-landed along with his brother and sister]
We were about to set off when I heard a rustle in the bushes behind us.
“No move!” a deep voice shouted.
Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. How did one crazy night of excess end up with 25 years behind bars? Convicted for the brutal murder of an ex girlfriend, JD Smith is back on the streets a bitter and broken man. Now in his fifties, the once good looking, carefree, former musician in a post punk R & B band is left to reflect on the bizarre events that led to his long incarceration without right to appeal, where, despite maintaining his innocence, all the evidence continues to point to his guilt. Out on licence, Jack Smith is determined to find the real killer and bring them to justice. But before he can pursue the quest to clear his name, he first has to assuage the demons that reside inside his head and haunt his nightmares; rid himself of the darkness that continues to taunt, torment and test his sanity.Other distractions come in the shape of a sultry female lawyer whose practice methods aren’t always entirely ethical. And a trip to India in search of an elusive butterfly, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was two.Mistrusting of a legal system that has already failed him, Jack decides to take the law into his own hands, but unbeknown to him, someone else is on a mission to catch a killer...Scrapyard Blues is a pulsating story of one man’s quest for redemption and reconnection with a life lost.
The prison officer walks briskly down the narrow corridor with a sense of purpose, shiny boots marching out time along polished concrete. I follow a couple of paces behind, at my own speed, not quite lethargic but almost. Inside my head I instinctively apply a twelve bar rhythm in order to mellow out the kerlunk-kerlunk regular beat that leads the way. He casts the occasional backward glance just to make sure I’m still with him. I send him a little reassuring smile in return. He frowns slightly and it’s like he’s a bit puzzled as to why I don’t want to get this short journey over with as quickly as possible, only for me, this journey has been anything but short, and even now I can’t be certain that it’s at an end. After all this time, I’m in no rush.
At the end of the corridor the kerlunk-kerlunk stops abruptly, and the accompanying rhythm inside my head fades into the ether. I casually swing my bag of meagre but precious belongings over my shoulder and patiently watch the screw punch numbers into an electronic keypad on the wall. Patience is a virtue. He takes a key card, which is attached to a chain, which is, in turn, fastened to his belt, and swipes it in another machine. LED’s twitch and beep, electronics click and whirr and metal bolts slide neatly back into their hollow shafts with satisfying clunks. A green light above the door flashes. He pushes it open and ushers me through.
‘This is as far as I go, Smithy.’ He offers me a look that says he’s sad to see me leave, like we’ve been best mates for years, and like he’s about to burst into tears and give me a hug. But the guy’s a virtual stranger, hardly knows me. The walls know me better; I’ve been here longer, a hell of a lot longer. My eyes show the same sentiment as the walls: fucking none. He passes me my release papers with one hand and offers me his other. I shake it loosely. ‘You take care now, and make sure you stay out of trouble. You hear?’ He gives me a condescending slap on the back as I turn away, and for the millionth time a voice inside my head screams out in protest, because the fact is I’ve never done anything wrong in my life, not criminally wrong anyhow, but no one has cared to listen for these
Samuel Prite introduces you to thirteen tales of ghostly encounters, supernatural events and rather unfortunate happenings. As he leads you along this meandering path, it will become clear that Prite is not merely a guide, but someone, or something far more sinister.
Once inside, Paul heard Ruth whisper, ‘Are you ready?’
‘Almost,’ he replied. No sooner had he spoken than he threw his weight against the gate. It grated, then slammed against the retaining post with a clang which echoed through the still night.
‘What are you doing?’ Ruth demanded, forgetting to whisper. ‘Let me in.’
‘Sorry Ruth, can’t do that … It might be a little more dangerous than I let on.’ She banged on the gate, not caring what noise she made. ‘Let me in!’
The reply was the sound of him walking on dry leaves.
The frightened young woman stepped back and surveyed the barrier before her. Rushing forward, she grabbed the ivy and began to haul herself up. Immediately, the creeper broke away and she fell heavily. That’s not right, she told herself. Having helped in her grandfather’s garden since she was very small, she knew ivy to be much stronger than this. Something was not right, she felt it deep down, and was powerless to do anything … Unless? she thought …
She ran back down the road. It would only take her a couple of minutes to get to the two policemen. They’ll get in!
Paul approached the wide stone steps leading up to the faded, one-time-grand, double door. Two ornate lamp posts, rusted and with grimed glass, stood to either side of the doors. They sputtered into life, despite a lack of power to the house in over a century. The light remained constant for only a matter of seconds before flickering, just like the lamp’s younger street cousins minutes earlier. As before, the flicker heralded the shadow’s appearance.
As close as he was, he could make out the outline of the figure’s tailored coat and long straggling hair, and a peg-leg!
A continuous light returned and the shade vanished, only to return a few seconds later with the re-emergent flickering. This time, however, it appeared on the lower step … flicker … It was on the path … flicker … It reared up, directly in front of him, causing him to lose balance and fall … flicker … It was leaning over him, shadow arms outstretched, then … darkness.
When he begins searching for answers, an assassin begins his own search--for him!Trained in lies, a covert agent learns the truth Veteran CIA officer, Titus Ray--on the run from the Iranian secret police--finds shelter with a group of Iranian Christians in Tehran. While urging Titus to become a believer in Jesus Christ, they manage to smuggle him out of Iran to freedom in Turkey.Will it help him deal with his past?Returning to the States, he discovers his Iranian mission failed because of political infighting within the Agency. In a hot-tempered outburst, he delivers a scathing indictment against the Deputy Director of Operations, and, as a result, the deputy forces Titus to take a year's medical leave in Oklahoma.How will it change his future?Before leaving Langley, Virginia, Titus learns he's been targeted by a Hezbollah assassin hired by the Iranians. Now, while trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ, he must decide if the Iranian couple he meets in Norman, Oklahoma has ties to the man who's trying to kill him, and if Nikki Saxon, a local detective with an intriguing past, can be trusted with his secrets.
In far northwest Iran, a few minutes after clearing the city limits of Tabriz, Rahim maneuvered his vehicle onto a rutted side road. When he popped opened the trunk of the car to let me out, I saw the car was hidden from the main highway by a small grove of trees. In spite of our seclusion, Rahim said he was still anxious about being seen by a military convoy from the nearby Tabriz missile base.
For the first time in several hours, I uncurled from my fetal position and climbed out of the vehicle, grateful to breathe some fresh air and feel the sunshine on my face. As my feet landed on the rocky terrain, Rahim handed me a black wooden cane. I wanted to wave it off, but, regrettably, I still needed some help getting around on my bum leg.
Rahim slammed the trunk lid down hard.
“You can stretch for a few minutes,” he said, “but then we must get back on the road immediately. Our timing must be perfect at the border.”
Rahim and I were headed for the Iranian/Turkish border, specifically the border crossing at Bazargan, Iran. He was absolutely confident he could get me out of Iran without any problems. However, during the last twenty years, I’d had a couple of incidents at other border crossings—Pakistan and Syria to be precise—so I wasn’t as optimistic.
While Rahim was tinkering with the car’s engine, I exercised my legs and worked out the stiffness in my arms. As usual, I was running through several “what ifs” in my mind. What if the border guards searched the trunk? What if the car broke down? What if we were driving right into a trap?
I might have felt better about any of these scenarios had either of us been armed. However, Rahim had refused to bring along a weapon. Carrying a gun in Iran without a special permit meant certain imprisonment. Imprisonment in Iran meant certain torture, so I certainly understood his reasons for leaving the weaponry back in Tehran.
Still, a gun might have helped my nerves.
From flooded refugee camps in Thailand to posh gourmet restaurants in Maryland; from corporate boardrooms to cholera camps in Bengal; from US Naval bases to Maya ruins in the jungles of Central America; Vampire Chimeras carries you along on its tense roller coaster plot. How will Dr. Diana Rigsby, a seasoned medical researcher and physician, stop a rampaging hemorrhagic fever threatening the lives of those she loves… especially if it arose out of something she may have created.Not just a medical thriller, Vampire Chimeras is filled with cutting edge science, backing plausible plot twists, spun out as a multiply layered moral play, providing lots of points of debate. Its metaphors force the reader to ask, who/what are the real Vampires? The Chimeras?
Guatemala, Boca Grande, Central America
"Mortal beauty often makes me ache, and mortal grandeur can fill me with that longing..."
- Anne Rice, Interview with a Vampire
After that seemingly endless journey of airport layovers and connecting coach seat flights from Dulles to Miami to Guatemala City, Victor realizes he is aching all over. But it's that pounding throbbing behind his eyes, which almost blinds him. He can barely get through customs inspection, and now finds he is stuck waiting impatiently for the bus to arrive that will take him on yet another day long trip, to his family's rural mountain hacienda in Boca Grande. Will I ever finally get there?
When it is not pouring down rain, it is steam coming up from the hot buildings and puddled walks. The humidity oppresses so. Having come from a cool spring in the States, he's not yet used to this clammy climate closing in on him. And mosquitoes are everywhere, relentlessly biting. Finally his bus arrives, crowded as usual. He elbows his way on board and displaces a chicken from a seat, grabbing it quick, stowing his gear in rare free space.
Ahh last leg of the journey. Just this one bus ride and then I will be home and back with my family. They must be so worried. This year's dengue came on fast and hard. Can only get worse now with all this endless rain. Damn. Really hope this vaccine makes a difference.
Looking out the bus window, he watches as the remaining petals on the white star flowers of the hillside's Arabica coffee trees, drift away like a snowflakes, revealing their green coffee fruit berries beneath. Further in the distance he can see fields of spiky bushes, where stalks, heavy with ripe pineapple fruit, sway slowly with the growing wind. Oh how he has missed this, his homeland.
He sees yet another storm is brewing on the east horizon, dark clouds condensing, ominously. Will it hold off long enough to let me get home before it hits?
Finally his stop arrives. He gets up to get off the bus and grabs his gear. Shocks of pain shoot up his arm, neck and back, forcing him to stop and catch his breath. The chicken and a bleating kid, seize this opportunity to jump quickly behind him and fight to occupy his emptied seat. An entropic chaotic mass exodus moves him off the bus and out on to the road -- the road that he must walk up, to finally reach his home.
Touching ground, the bus pulls away behind him, belching black diesel smoke.
In the falling twilight the shadows cloak the Maya Acropolis ruins off a ways on the hillside, peeking out fro
CONNECTED is a speculative fiction thriller with touches of science and philosophy, which reached No.1 in Amazon UK's Bestseller lists for both Thrillers and Science Fiction within 5 days of release.
Beginning with the funeral of a renowned classical violinist in a sleepy rural hamlet in the Lake District, a former theoretical physicist tries to make sense of his brother's suicide. Across the country, a university student, enjoying the unexpected attentions of an enigmatic seductress, is disturbed when his best friend falls to his death from the thirteenth floor of a neighbouring campus tower block.
As each tries to unravel the mystery behind the apparent suicides, they are drawn into an obsessive search for a computer-generated fractal video sequence, with startling effects on human consciousness, and which might just pave the way for discovery of the ultimate Theory of Everything.
However, they are not the only ones to have seen the potential of this mind-altering video, and soon find themselves in a desperate race against time with gangsters from the shadowy worlds of sex, drugs, cyber-crime, and massively multi-player on-line gaming.
As the coffin was lowered, the sky darkened and a gust of wind ripped through the churchyard, stirring the ancient trees and momentarily lifting the masks of reverent solemnity gathered
around the open grave. Peter studied the faces with a detached sense of curiosity. How well, he wondered, had these people really known his brother? His gaze came to rest on Isabelle. Even now - even through the tears - she looked beautiful. He tried to imagine the feelings welling behind those big brown eyes: anguish tinged with guilt, denial, loneliness - perhaps even anger. He shivered. His own feelings were somehow suppressed. His brother was in a box, about to be sealed away for an eternity in the damp, peaty earth beneath his feet, and yet he felt strangely calm, the whole service having washed over him like a dream from which he might awaken at any moment.
The call had come last Saturday as he and Abigail had been leaving for dinner. Isabelle had just returned home from visiting her parents in Paris to discover Martin’s lifeless body slumped before the PC with his headphones on. The initial appearance of sleep, supported by the half bottle of scotch on the desk, had faltered at the sight of an empty container of tranquilisers, and finally shattered at the touch of her husband’s cold, dead skin.