Archive for the ‘Adult Fiction’ Category

Dead Blue Sea
Erin Hayes
(The Berkano Vampire Collection)
Publication date: November 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic

Point Break meets Buffy in post-apocalyptic Cape Town, South Africa.

They say that surfing used to be a way of life.
In Devil’s Bay, it’s the only way to survive.

My name is Carlyle. I’m a water witch who protects the fishermen of my village from the danger beneath the waves. My days are spent on my longboard saving everyone from the fins. My nights are spent dreaming of something more than my small village isolated from the outside contact by cliffs and jagged peaks.

Then a storm strikes out of the blue, and, well, I wipe out. When I wake up, I’m on the other side of the bay surrounded by vampires who want to see me dead. Major bummer.

Only Kopano, an outcast of the fangers, seems to take pity on me. You see, Kopano also spent his nights dreaming of something more, and he thinks I hold the key. The only catch? To find the truth, we’ll have to face the dead blue sea.

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~~~~~

Enjoy this glimpse inside.

“There’s some sort of irony,” I grumble, “in being sensitive to sunlight but also having to be outside during the day. Every damn day.”

She shrugs. “Do you want me to go tell the sharks to stop being nocturnal and hunt during the day?”

I snicker. “Aw, could you? Because then the fishermen could do their thing at night. And we could all avoid the sun like good, self-respecting, UV-sensitive witches.”

She chuckles darkly. “Ag, if only! But this is what we signed up for.”

I flick some sea water her way, and she squeals in mock-shock. “I signed up for this?”

Her smile falters. “Well, your mother did. But you’re still out here.”

Not that I really have any choice in the matter. It’s what’s best for the village, and there’s no denying that. I’m the best remaining water witch—if I suddenly stopped, we all knew that fishermen would lose their lives, food would become scarce in my village, and my own sense of self-preservation would be to blame.

Stuck between a shark and a wet place, I guess.

Author Erin Hayes

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.

She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she’s an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars. You can also sign up to her newsletter and get her free starter library.

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Subhuman
Michael McBride

(Unit 51 #1)
Published by: Pinnacle Books
Publication date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Horror

Synopsis

THEY ARE NOT HUMAN.
At a research station in Antarctica, five of the world’s top scientists have been brought together to solve one of the greatest mysteries in human history. Their subject, however, is anything but human . . .

THEY ARE NOT NATURAL.
Deep beneath the ice, the submerged ruins of a lost civilization hold the key to the strange mutations that each scientist has encountered across the globe: A misshapen skull in Russia. The grotesque carvings of a lost race in Peru. The mummified remains of a humanoid monstrosity in Egypt . . .

THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY.
When a series of sound waves trigger the ancient organisms, a new kind of evolution begins. Latching onto a human host—crossbreeding with human DNA—a long-extinct life form is reborn. Its kind has not walked the earth for thousands of years. Its instincts are fiercer, more savage, than any predator alive. And its prey are the scientists who unleashed it, the humans who spawned it, and the tender living flesh on which it feeds . . .

Praise for Michael McBride

“A fast-paced and frightening ride. Highly recommended for fans of creature horror and the thrillers of Michael Crichton.”—The Horror Review on PREDATORY INSTINCT

“McBride writes with the perfect mixture of suspense and horror that
keeps the reader on edge.” —Examiner

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~~~~~

Enjoy this glimpse inside.

Anya screamed and ran to Richards. Grabbed him by the back of the jacket and pulled.

“You have to help me!”

The freezing air buffeted her in the face when she looked up and saw a man only vaguely resembling Armand Scott pounce to the ground from on top of Connor. Snowflakes blew sideways past him and stuck to the walkway between them. His cranial deformity was identical to that of the remains she’d unearthed in Russia, only the physical expression of the flesh was for more terrifying than she could ever have imagined. She’d envisioned its face as being similar to that of modern man, but there was nothing remotely human about Scott’s appearance. Everything about him was alien, from the grayish cast of his skin to the way he twitched and moved in lurches, as though unfamiliar with the mechanics of motion.

Fissures crackled as they raced through the Plexiglas.

The creature scuttled forward and cocked its head, first one way and then the other. Blood dribbled from its mouth when it issued a hiss that sounded like steam firing from a ruptured pipe.

Anya screamed and threw herself to her knees.

“Come on!”

She grabbed Richards underneath his arms and shouted with the effort of lifting him. He found his feet, but couldn’t seem to take his eyes off the creature.

“It’s magnificent,” he said.

“Hurry!” Friden shouted.

The stairwell echoed with the drumroll of footsteps hitting the iron steps.

Anya looked back and saw several silhouettes bounding down the staircase toward them. She jerked Richards so hard she nearly sent him sprawling once more, but he regained his balance and stumbled backward with her. She took advantage of his newfound momentum to drag him away from the creature, which lunged forward, cutting the distance between them in half.

A scream from behind her.

She whirled to find Kelly in the opening to the Skyway, her hands clapped over her mouth. When Anya looked back, the creature was within ten feet of them and tensed to make another advance.

More popping sounds from above her. The cracks spread through the walls in her peripheral vision. Chunks of Plexiglas fell to the ground between her and the creature, which released a series of clicking sounds and retreated into the blowing snow.

A loud snap and a cable sang past to her right. The entire bridge shuddered.

“Hurry, Anya!” Friden shouted.

“There’s another one behind us!” Jade screamed.

“Start barricading the stairwell,” Evans shouted.

“And then what?” Jade asked. “We’ll be trapped in here without light or heat or any way to signal for help.”

Anya pulled Richards toward them. If she could just cross the threshold at the end of the Skyway, they could seal the creature on the other side.
Another cable snapped and the floor dropped.

Anya hit the ground on her knees and barely scrambled out of the way before Richards landed on top of her.

The walkway sloped downward toward where the creature crouched. The domed Plexiglas shattered and dropped enormous shards between them. The storm raced through the gap, creating a moving wall of snow between them that nearly concealed the creature as it approached, low to the ground and coming up fast.

A resounding thud.

The Skyway slanted downward, so steeply that Anya started to slide. She grabbed Richards by the back of the jacket with one hand and reached for anything at all with the other.

“Hang on!” Evans shouted and dove for her. He caught her by the wrist and halted her slide.

Another cable snapped and whipped the frozen glass beside them hard enough to shatter the glass and impale her cheek with tiny fragments.

Evans groaned and pulled her up toward the doorway, the seal around which was already buckled and peeling away from the building.

“Give me a hand!” he shouted.

Friden tentatively crawled to Evans’s side, grabbed Richards, and pulled hard enough on the back of his coat to pry him from Anya’s grasp, lightening her burden enough that Evans could drag her up the slope and over the fractured edge.

She scurried past Evans, turned around, and helped the others pull Richards into the stairwell.

Bolts snapped and structural rings disengaged. Bits of Plexiglas cascaded down the bridge toward where the creature crawled toward them.

A chasm opened behind it. Connor’s body slid through, tumbled out over the nothingness, and vanished into the storm.

“Close the door!” Anya screamed.

The creature slapped at the floor with its bare hands as the bridge grew steeper, digging its fingernails into the tiles in an effort to gain traction.

Evans pried the door from the recess until the others were able to help him drag it across the entryway.

The creature shrieked and scrambled uphill, blood dribbling from the gunshot wounds on its chest.

Ten feet.

Five.

It was nearly upon them when the Skyway broke away from the building.

The creature’s eyes widened. Its nails tore from the cuticles. It screeched and flailed.

The last thing Anya saw before they sealed the door was the expression of sheer terror on its face as it plummeted into the blowing snow.

“Someone help me!” Roche shouted from the landing at the top of the staircase, where he struggled to jerk the door from its slot in the wall. “It’s right behind me!”

Anya rushed for the stairs and hit them behind Kelly and Jade, who were already halfway up. She barely had the strength to climb and had to use the railing to pull herself higher. She nearly lost her balance when her hand slipped in something wet, but she managed to stumble forward and made it to the landing, where the others already had the gap down to a mere foot. A dark shape streaked straight toward the opening from the foyer on the other side, the light reflecting from its inhuman eyes.

“It’s coming!” Anya screamed.

She threw herself against the face of the door and used her shoulder to help the others drive it closed with a resounding thud.

The creature struck it from the other side, hard enough to knock her backward, but she braced herself and leaned into it again.

Kelly screamed beside her as the creature hurled itself against the steel door, over and over.

Until, finally, it stopped.

Anya desperately listened for any indication of what it was doing on the other side but couldn’t hear anything over the combination of their heavy breathing and whimpering.

She pictured Arkaim, with its twin fortified rings, a veritable fortress that should have been able to withstand any siege, reduced to little more than scorched rubble in the middle of a field, and the strange remains she exhumed near its outskirts. She’d made a terrible mistake in assuming that the coneheaded species represented a terminal branch in the human evolutionary tree rather than an off shoot from modern man, one facilitated by something lacking in humanity, something subhuman, the outward physical manifestation of which looked an awful lot like the alien species referred to as Grays.

Only there was nothing fictional about this being.

The creature shrieked and threw itself against the door one final time. It released a torrent of guttural clicks, then retreated into the station. The sound of its footsteps diminished until she couldn’t hear anything from the other side at all.

Anya stepped back and looked at the door. Her hand had left a smear of blood on the steel. She glanced down at her palm, expecting to find a laceration, but the skin was intact.

She took Roche’s flashlight from him and traced the railing down to where she’d slipped. There was blood on the rail, and even more on the wall above it, leading up to a hole in the exposed ductwork. Her heart sank when she gave voice to what they were all thinking.

“We’re going to die in here.”

 

Author Michael McBride

Michael McBride was born in Colorado and still resides in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. He hates the snow, but loves the Avalanche. He works with medical radiation, yet somehow managed to produce five children, none of whom, miraculously, have tails, third eyes, or other random mutations. He writes fiction that runs the gamut from thriller (Remains) to horror to science fiction (Vector Borne, Snowblind) . . . and loves every minute of it. He is a two-time winner of the DarkFuse Readers’ Choice Award. You can visit him at author.michaelmcbride.net.

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Voodoo Angel
Erin Hayes
Publication date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Ruled by a demon. Bound by a curse.
Life in the new Big Easy is hard.

In the sunken ruins of New Orleans, everyone has been cursed to a life of protecting their bakas—talismans that hold pieces of their souls. That is if a person can find theirs. If a baka is destroyed before it’s located, the owner dies too.

Lost without hers, the fallen angel Nadège has been desperately searching for her baka while trying to stay hidden in this hellhole. With it, she’ll have access to her full angelic powers and the ability to break the curse. But without it, she’s at the curse’s mercy like everyone else.

Meanwhile, the witch doctor Emmanuel has been trying to escape his demons—literally. The last thing he needs is the Voodoo Angel on his trail, but that’s exactly what happens.

When Nadège learns the terrible truth about her baka’s connection to Emmanuel, there’s nothing she won’t do to break the curse. Even if that means killing the one man whose love could save her.

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~~~~~

Erin traveled to New Orleans to research this book, where she went to the Voodoo Museum:

 

Author Erin Hayes

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.
She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she’s an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

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In Wolves’ Clothing
Greg Levin
Publication date: October 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller

Synopsis

Zero Slade is not a bad guy—he merely plays one when saving children’s lives.

During his seven years on a team fighting child sex trafficking, Zero’s become quite good at schmoozing with pimps, getting handcuffed by cops and pretending not to care about the Lost Girls he liberates. But the dangerous sting operations are starting to take their toll on his marriage and sanity. His affinity for prescription painkillers isn’t exactly helping matters.

When the youngest girl the team has ever rescued gets abducted from a safe house in Cambodia, Zero decides to risk everything to find her. His only shot is to go rogue—and sink deeper into the bowels of the trafficking world than he’s ever sunk.

It’s the biggest mission of his life. Trouble is, it’s almost certain death.

~~

“A truly original and enthralling novel. Levin’s blazing prose and acerbic wit capture the madness—and the humanity—of working undercover in the darkest corners.”
Radd Berrett, former Jump Team member, Operation Underground Railroad

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~~~~~

Enjoy a glimpse inside

I can’t remember if I took an oxy during the flight, so I eat two. They pair nicely with the scotch.

It’s good to be home.

I should be upstairs sleeping, especially since I didn’t catch a single wink on the flight from Guadalajara. But there’s something I have to finish first.

An eight-letter word for gradually losing one’s edge.

Slipping.

I fill in each box of 27 Down with my black pen and take another sip of scotch. It’s times like these I turn into God. The crossword squares fill up by themselves in a secret blurry code. A few of the answers might even be correct.

The black pleather couch makes love to me as I solve 32 Across.

A four-letter word for spouse.

Neda.

She’s leaning on the banister, wearing a white T-shirt and gray sweatpants that might have fit me when I was ten. Her eyes, almond-shaped during waking hours, are half open.

“You’re home?” she says, pre-dawn gravel in her voice.

“Hi, baby,” I say while trying to conceal the nearly empty lowball glass in my hand. “Sorry to wake you. I’ll be up in a sec.”

Neda yawns and combs her hand through a shining cascade of black hair. “What time d’you get in?”

I scratch my shaved dome, feeling the perspiration forming, and say, “Uh, a little after one maybe.”

Neda opens her eyes the rest of the way. “You’ve been here for nearly two hours? Why didn’t—”

“Baby, I just needed to unwind a bit before bed.”

Neda’s eyes open wider than the manual recommends. “Why must unwinding always involve single malt and a crossword?” she asks. “You know, some men unwind by spooning their beautiful wife. Especially when they haven’t seen her in four days.”

I ponder the answer to 36 Across.

“Zero!” Neda shouts.

The sound knocks the pen from my fingers, and I go, “I didn’t want to wake you.”

“And look how that worked out for you,” says Neda. “At least if you’d come up when you got home you wouldn’t be getting yelled at.”

I tell her not to be mad, then get up from the couch as gracefully as a man two drinks and twenty milligrams in can. “I knew if I woke you right when I got home, you’d want to talk about the mission.”

I realize this is not what God would say. I can tell by Neda’s face.

 

 

Author Greg Levin

author in wolves

 

Greg Levin is an award-winning author of contemporary fiction with a dark comedic tinge. He’s gone from being read merely by immediate family and friends to being read also by extended family and Facebook acquaintances.

Greg’s novel The Exit Man was optioned by Showtime for development into a TV series, and won a 2015 Independent Publisher Book Award (a.k.a., an “IPPY”). He earned a second IPPY with his next novel, Sick to Death, which Craig Clevenger (The Contortionist’s Handbook) called “a tour de force dark comedy.” Greg’s upcoming book, In Wolves’ Clothing, is due out October 2017 and is his most dangerous work yet. He wrote much of it during a ten-week-long workshop led by the great Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club and lots of other books Greg sleeps with at night).

Greg resides with his wife, daughter and two cats in Austin, Texas. He is currently wanted by local authorities for refusing to say “y’all” or do the two-step.

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One Shade of Gray
Monica Corwin
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis

My name is Dorian Gray. You might think you know my story? Please. That was just the beginning. Not the end.

I’ve lived over 100 years. I don’t know why. I’ve sinned, deeply, but haven’t we all?

Now Sybil is back. Her name is Izzy and she looks the same. Smells the same. Walks the same…but everything else about her is different. Stronger. Bolder. I want her more than ever.

I should keep her safe, and keep my hands to myself. But those dark parts of my soul still linger. I won’t lose her again.

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~~~~~

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Some said women who knew their own minds were dangerous. I disagreed. A woman who knew her mind, and her worth, was intoxicating.

She cleared her throat and I realized my thoughts had been wandering to the past. “My apologies.”

Her face flushed a pretty pink. “It’s fine just stop looking at me like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like I’m more than an employee.”

I leaned out, about to pull her in again for another lesson but she stalled my hands, placing her small ones on the outside of my own. They were chilled slightly but the touch sent a heat through me I hadn’t felt in years.

“I think we just had this conversation.”

She leaned in and pulled her hands into her lap. “No, we had a lecture. You told me how you wanted it and didn’t give me the chance to offer an opinion.”

Fair point. “Very well, what is your opinion on the matter, Miss Vale?”

“Do you actually want to know, or are you going to do that playboy billionaire thing where you declare something to be and suddenly the universe aligns against the poor unsuspecting female you set your sights on?”

I chuckled. She was funny. Maybe Sibyl had been funny too, and I never took the time to notice. “I promise your opinion will be considered with appropriate weight.”

“That sounds like something a billionaire playboy would say.”

I didn’t respond to her taunts but waited instead for her answer.

She raked her eyes over my face and body, and I’d never felt more on display. I sat up straighter, which caused a little tick of a smile to appear at the corner of her mouth.

“I don’t want to date you, Gray. You’re technically my boss, and while you’re very attractive I can’t put aside my personal work ethic.”

My heart hit my feet and shattered like a boulder into a pile of rubble. Of course I wasn’t going to force her to do anything. But part of me had hoped my charm or appeal might at least give me the opportunity.

“Is there anything I can do to change your mind?”

She shook her head and gave me a sad soft smile, the kind reserved for deathbeds and christenings. Definitely not the reaction I wanted from her. Not the smile I wanted from her.

I nodded and stood up, unable to remain under her scrutiny once she’d made her opinion so very plain. “Of course. I’ll not bother you again.”

“And you’ll stop following me?”

I threw some bills on the table, slipped my arms into my coat, and buttoned it, all without meeting her eyes. The rejection stung. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever felt this particular mix of humiliation and sadness. Once I was put together and glued on the face I showed the world, I gave her my own version of the deathbed smile and a little bow. “Of course.”

I walked away without a word but when I reached the middle of the square a hand clasped my shoulder. Izzy grabbed me and held out the book I’d left on the table. I took it and met her eyes, unsure what she could see there, unsure what I could and couldn’t hide when I was around her.

She leaned in and whispered, “I’m not going to ask to kiss you but I will give you this as a parting gift.”

.

Author Monica Corwin

Monica Corwin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioian, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan football. Monica owns more books about King Arthur than should be strictly necessary. Also typewriters…lots and lots of typewriters.

.

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Beyond the Mist
Casi McLean
(Lake Lanier Mysteries, #2)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Time-Travel

Synopsis

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?

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~~~~~

EXCERPT:

A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.

I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––

A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.

 

Author Casi McLeab

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. WATCH THE TRAILER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwOqm8DUUfA

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

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Three Heart Echo
Keary Taylor
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Suspense

Synopsis

The demented thing is that this evolved from the most sickly sweet, heart-wrenching love story you’ve ever heard. I went to Sully because I just couldn’t get over Jack’s murder. I couldn’t deal.

Iona came to me for the same reason most did: because there was no closure. A love cut too short. She begged me to open the gate between the living and the dead.

We should have left it shut.

This. This is not a love story. This is a possession story. A story of lies. A story of two faces. This is a story of death and violent echoes from the other side.

And there will be no happy endings.

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~~~~~

Enjoy the excerpt:

There’s been this look of dread and apprehension in Sully’s eyes since the moment he opened the church doors to find me. It’s been growing into something hard and cold moment by moment. But with my revelation, it solidifies into something heavy as the world.

“Sit down,” he says in something very close to a growl. He points to one of the two chairs set in the middle of the room.

I sit, dread and fear and anticipation climbing in my throat.

Sully closes the door, and locks it.

The huge man stalks around the room, lighting a match to first one candle, then taking it to light the others. The room gradually grows lighter until a dozen of them are lit, and I can finally see more than a foot in front of me.

I rub my hands over my arms, because suddenly I realize that it is freezing in here, despite the roaring fire Sully has kept in the other room.

Deep, slow breathing pulls my attention back to the man.

He stands in one corner, before a solitary, lit candle. His back is turned to me, his hulking shoulders blocking out most of the light, casting him in an eerie glow. His long hair hangs around his face. He breathes, slow, deep. But there’s a quiver to it. Something unsteady.

I want to ask him if he’s okay. To ask what is the matter, because everything in me screams that there is.

But I’m too petrified to open my mouth.

A draft pushes through the edges of the covered window, sending the flames dancing atop the candles. A shiver works its way down my spine.

Sully suddenly steps back from the corner and drops down into the seat across from me. He holds his hands out.

“The watch,” he says nodding to his right hand. “Your hand.” He indicates the left.

I can’t stop shaking. I set the pocket watch in his hand, and trembling, I rest my hand in his other. He closes his fingers around mine, fully engulfing it with his size.

Sully’s eyes slide closed. I watch his face, seeing something come over it. Like he’s slipping underwater, preparing to hold his breath against certain death. His breathing becomes very light and shallow. His entire body becomes very still. The temperature of his hand drops.

The pain in my chest comes to a peak and I realize just how hard my heart is beating. My hands are slick with sweat. I lean forward in my seat, far too close to Sully’s face for comfort.

My breath is held.

“Jack,” Sully says, his voice low and deep. I jump when he speaks, startled, a bent twig on the verge of snapping. “I know you’ve moved on, but I have someone here who wishes to speak to you. If you wish to speak to her, please show yourself.”

Sully is quiet for a long moment afterward that seems to roll into an eternity of anticipation.

“What’s happening?” I whisper, a cloud of breath billowing out from me.

Sully lets out a slow, long shh, his face suddenly going peaceful.

All the blood in my body drops into my feet.

“Iona,” Sully says. There’s something breathy in the way he says my name, something disbelieving and hopeful and so full of everything.

“Jack?” I breathe as tears spring into my eyes.

“Yes,” Sully says, and he suddenly opens his eyes. But they only meet mine for a moment. They shift off to the right, next to the window, by his shoulder.

Goosebumps flash onto my skin as my eyes follow Sully’s.

“Can you see him?” I whisper. I want to shy back, to put some distance between myself and the ghost only he can see. But I’m also dying inside, knowing he is hidden from my eyes.

“Yes.”

 

Author Keary Taylor

Keary Taylor is the USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now splits her time between a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and Utah, with her husband and their two children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night.

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