Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Perfect Fit by Lynda Simmons - Serialized Novella and Giveaway


,br> This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Enjoy today's chapter of "Good Works" a serialized novella from Lynda Simmons:

Chapter Three


You don’t spend years working in conflict zones without learning one of life’s great lessons: never let the bad guy take you anywhere. So when he started dragging me toward the dumpster, I jerked back against him quick and hard. Throwing him off balance long enough to stomp on his foot while reaching behind me for a fistful of something.

“Crazy bitch,” he muttered, his hold loosening when my fingers locked in his hair.

“Thank you,” I said, throwing myself back again, toppling us both in a heap beside the dumpster. I rolled to the side, tried to get to my feet, to run away, but a hand shot out and grabbed my ankle. So I twisted round and kicked out with the other foot, connecting with a jaw that I recognized. The original Bike Thief, returned to the scene of the crime.

“You,” I said.

“I can explain,” he answered, earning himself another kick in the jaw.

The girl dropped the backpack, took a few steps toward us. “Finn, are you okay.”

“I’m fine,” he grunted as he fought to hold both of my ankles down. “Just get out of here.”

“Your name is Finn?” I muttered, working one foot free long enough to do some damage to his shoulder.

“You don’t like it?” he asked, rising up on his knees, finally getting the leverage he needed to avoid another kick.

“Sounds fake,” I said, and sat up. Took a swing at him instead which brought the girl running.

I ducked my head, certain she was going to cuff me a good one to help him out. But instead of encouraging her, the Bike Thief said, “Aisha, please, there’s no more time.”

And just like that, she turned around and headed back to the bike. My bike.

“Don’t you dare,” I hollered and both thieves winced.

“Will you shut up for a minute,” Finn growled.

“Will you let go for a minute?” I said and was about to holler again, louder this time, when another voice joined the conversation.

“Aisha,” a girl called. “What are you doing?”

Relief rushed through me. Finally a witness, someone to call 911. But the cry for help froze on my lips when the junior bike thief’s face drained of colour and her body went perfectly still.

“Aisha,” the voice called again and the thief lifted her chin. Looked up at an open window on the second floor where another girl in a hijab, periwinkle blue, stood equally still, watching.

“Aisha, don’t listen to her,” Finn said, releasing my feet and getting to his own. “You need to leave.”

But Aisha stayed put, eyes welling with tears and locked on the window. “Zara, I’m begging you.”

The girl in the window tilted her head to the side. “Aisha’s outside,” she shouted. “She’s running away.” The periwinkle hijab disappeared from the window. “Hassan, did you hear me?” she called her voice fading as she ran to spread the news.

“I have to go back,” Aisha said, dropping the bike, heading to the door. “I can’t do this.”

“Yes you can,” Finn said and picked her up. Ran with her to the fence on the other side of the alley, a six foot wall of pressure treat with another foot of lattice on top of that. “Aisha, there’s nothing for you here and know it. “

He set her down by the fence and when she didn’t run, he linked his hands together to give her a boost.

“Hassan, where are you?” drifted into the alley.

“It’s now or never,” Finn said.

Neither he nor Aisha noticed me righting the bike, getting on. Preparing to ride off and spend this beautiful sunny day at the beach while Zara hollered for the elusive Hassan and Aisha struggled to get a leg over the lattice. Whatever was going on here was none of my business, and my daughter must be getting worried, wondering where the heck I was.

I pushed off, rose up on the pedals. Got as far as the back door to the neighbouring shop when Finn called out, “Please. Don’t go.”

I should have ignored him. Should have kept the bike pointed at the street and pedalled for all I was worth. But the audacity of the words, and my own ridiculous curiosity, made me stop, look back. “Why on earth not?”

“Because she needs help.” He was at the fence, Aisha’s backpack in hand. “I know it’s a lot to ask, but she’s only seventeen and she’s terrified.” He tossed the pack over and looked back at me. “She knows where to go, but I told her to wait a moment because I’m afraid that if she heads out alone, she’ll lose her nerve and come back.“

“So you want me to help some girl run away from home?”

“I want you to help her escape.”

“Escape what?”

“Hassan!” the periwinkle informer shouted. “You have to come upstairs now.”

Finn sighed and glanced back at the door of AK Framing and Shoe Repair. “A marriage she doesn’t want and a future in a country where girls like her endure lives you can’t imagine.”

I almost smiled. “You’d be surprised what I can imagine.”

Nathan and I had watched scenes like this play out more times than I cared to remember. Had grown weary of seeing girls younger than Aisha given to men older than Finn. And in spite of every excuse we’d been given, we never could understand the complicity of mothers, aunts and sisters who did nothing to stop it. When the girl inside the shop shouted, “Hassan, your father will kill us both if she gets away,” I knew Finn was right. There was nothing for that girl here. And it would be a while before I got to the beach.

“Okay.” I wheeled my bike behind a dumpster and locked it to a downspout. “What do you need?”

MediaKit_BookCover_PerfectFitFast-paced, funny and incurably romantic

Rachel Banks has never believed in magic or moonlight, but if she’d thought that putting a piece of wedding cake under her pillow would conjure up a nightmare in the form of blue-eyed charmer Mark Robison, she’d have stuffed that cake into her mouth instead! Mark is only in Madeira Beach for some much needed R&R and his new neighbour is not the kind of woman made for vacation memories. But there’s something about the incurable romantic that just keeps drawing him back.

Jennifer Crusie. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Lynda Simmons? Oh, yeah!


About the Author:
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page ~ Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


Buy the book at Amazon.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Serialized Novella by Lynda Simmons: VBT Just the Way You Aren't


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If this is your first time checking out Lynda's serialized novella, you can catch up on Lynda's Facebook Page. Read today's section:

Part Five: Bernard


“The meeting will come to order,” Old Tom calls. “Bernard, you have the floor.”

I do a quick head count. Everyone is gathered here in the basement, including the Calico twins, a testament to Old Tom’s dogged determination. If you’re familiar with the phrase ‘herding cats,’ you’ll appreciate the daily challenges I face as leader of this colony. Ophelia’s death has made everything that much more complicated. It’s still hard to believe she’s gone, her body twisted and motionless upstairs in the foyer. Grief threatens to swamp me at every turn, but the survival of this colony is my responsibility. And with all the doors locked and no idea when rescue will come, the hard work is about to begin.

“I’ll start with a few words about Ophelia and our colony. In recent months our population has grown to nine –”

“Ten if you count the Newcomer,” Scruffy calls, referring to the black cat crouching in a darkened corner.

“You can’t count him,” one of the Calico twins says.

“Because he killed Ophelia,” the other one adds.

“With a lot of help from Boots,” says Old Tom.

The co-accused peeks out from his own dark corner. “It was an accident.”

“You were under her feet,” Tom growls. “How was that an accident?”

“Because there was no intent,” Fluffy says. “That’s why neither Newcomer nor Boots can be held responsible.”

“As I was saying,” I shout. “This colony was everything to Ophelia, a woman with a lot of love to give. Our tribute to that love will be our survival, but to manage that we need a plan for food, water and sanitation. Annie has inventoried all of the food and will give us her recommendations. Annie, please.”

“I honestly thought there was more,” she says. “But I can only find one bag of crunchies and a few bags of tuna treats. It’s not a lot, but if we limit ourselves to one small meal a day, we can make it last a while.”

“Hold on,” Scruffy says. “How small is small? And who gets to decide?”

Scruffy has always been rough around the edges, but this confrontational side is new, and disappointing.

“We’ll leave that to Annie,” I say. “We don’t know how long this situation will last, but we do know that we can trust Annie to be fair.” I look over at Sneaky Manx. “Which brings us to the matter of water.”

“I can flush,” she says. “We’re good.”

“As long as the bill is paid,” Newcomer puts in.

“So what if it’s not?” Tom says. “They’ll come to shut the water off, see Ophelia, and bang, instant rescue.”

“Complete with instant animal control trucks,” Newcomer says.

“Moving on to sanitation,” I say. “Scruffy, what are your recommendations?”

“We got three wading pools full of litter. Ophelia cleaned them all the night before the accident, so we started from a good place. If we all use the same one till it’s full, and then we all move on to the next, we’ll have clean litter a while longer.” He looks up at me. “Course if no one’s eating much, it could last forever.”

“Are you looking for trouble?” Old Tom says and smacks Scruffy in the head.

Scruffy arches his back in response and I would be happy to let Tom take that ragamuffin down a peg, remind him where he sits in the grand scheme of things. But Newcomer leaps out and puts himself between them.

“Food rationing is our only option,” he says to Scruffy. “Conserve your energy for important things.”

“Newcomer’s right,” I say. “We need to work together, not fight each other.”

Tom backs down because that’s what I want. But if Scruffy steps out of line again, it’s unlikely Newcomer will be around to help him out.

“Scruffy, I like your idea,” I continue. “Let us know which pool to start with and we’ll get the system rolling. As for the food rationing, Annie will create a schedule so everyone knows when it’s their turn.” I get to my feet. “That about wraps things up.”

“What about a way out?” one of the Calico twins asks.

“Newcomer opened the window,” the other says.

I glance over at Sneaky Manx. “Why wasn’t I informed?

“Because the twins exaggerate,” she says. “He only got the window down a little bit. Nowhere near enough for anyone to get out.”

“But my idea is solid,” Newcomer insists. “I just need more bodies.”

“What he needs is food,” Fluffy says. “And so does Boots. I assume they’ll be included in the feeding schedule.”

I sigh. “Unfortunately, not until we establish their guilt or innocence.”

“When will that happen?”

“It’s on my list—”

“You want Newcomer’s help, yet you’re starving him.”

“We could give them both a little each day,” Annie offers. “Just to keep–”

Tom shakes his head. “Nothing until after the vote.”

“So let’s vote now,” Fluffy says. “All who agree it was an accident—”

I leap in front of her. “Do you want to be left off the schedule too?”

“No.” Newcomer nudges her aside and stands toe-to-toe with me. “I’ll keep you up-to-date on my progress. But I’ll need that help.”

I motion to Boots. “You’re with Newcomer. Everyone else, see Annie about the schedule.”

Annie heads up the stairs to the kitchen and the rest follow, the Calico twins bringing up the rear.

“Girls,” I say softly. “I’d like you to come with me.”

I lead them along the hall to my private quarters in the rec room. They don’t need to be told to wait at the door. It’s the first thing you learn when you get here – no one gets into my quarters without an invitation.

Grabbing a bag of treats from behind the La-z-boy, I head back out to the hall. Rip open the bag and let snacks spill onto the floor in front of me. “You girls interested in doing a little undercover work?” I slide a few treats toward them. “Quietly, of course.”

What happens when an everyday Cinderella makes a play for the prince?

A moment of madness. That’s all muralist Sunny Anderson expected when she donned a glittering mask and a fabulous gown to crash the gala at Manhattan’s newest boutique hotel. Project manager Michael Wolfe has no idea that the beauty staring up at the mural on the ballroom ceiling is also the artist who painted it. He’s captivated and she’s willing, but when their moment of madness on the sofa in his suite comes to an abrupt end, his princess is off and running, leaving nothing behind but a pair of earrings. He’s determined to find her again, but all he has to do is look closer at the woman painting the mural in his office to see that the one he needs is standing right in front of him.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sunny’s feet moved of their own accord and she stared straight ahead, horrified and thrilled at the same time. Wondering what she was playing at and not at all surprised when he fell into step beside her.

This was why she wasn’t ready to leave, she realized. She was enjoying herself too much. Enjoying the fact that as Sonja she could do anything or say anything. Be shocking and sexy, and make Michael Wolfe sit up and take notice.

She glanced over at him as they walked, feeling beauti­ful, powerful, but most of all desirable. Because if that wasn’t hunger she saw in those dark eyes, then she’d been out of circulation for far too long.

Which was a distinct possibility given that her last sexual encounter had been almost a year ago in the back of Vince Cerqua’s convertible when the top wasn’t the only thing that wouldn’t go up. She’d spent the drive home assuring him that it happened to men all the time; at least that was what she heard in the tearoom.

She felt her face warm, knowing instinctively that Michael’s top would never let him down. Not that she wanted to find out. Not really. Not now, at any rate.

“Where will you be going in the morning?” he asked.

“New Jersey.”

He drew his head back and she laughed. “There’s a theater group I’m rather fond of. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m just a wanderer. Never in one place long enough to plant a garden as they say.”

“Is that what you’d like to do? Plant a garden?”

“Yes,” she said, slipping in a touch of Sunny, but staying true to Sonja. “Of course, with so many emerging artists, I’m not thinking about that right now.”

He stopped and took her hand. “What are you thinking about?”

Trouble. And sex. Mostly sex. For all the good it did her.

Truth to tell, Sunny wasn’t the kind to have a one-night stand. She was conservative in her thinking and cautious when it came to matters of the heart. She was the kind who delivered hampers at Christmas, painted faces at the community center on Halloween, and made sure her organ-donor card was signed. No question about it, she was Sunny the good: Balanced. Friendly. And utterly predictable.

But Sonja? Now there was a real vixen. A woman who traveled the world, took risks every day, and was never, ever predictable. It seemed a shame to make her leave the ball so early when she was only in town for one night. And Sunny had the rest of her life to spend being good.

Michael ran his thumb across hers and the pull was stron­ger than ever, bringing her back a step. After all, it wasn’t as though he was a total stranger, some masked man she picked up at the sushi bar. This was Michael Wolfe, Beast of Brighton, Terror of the Tradesmen. And she already knew he looked good without a shirt.

Maybe Hugh was right. Maybe a moment of madness was good for the soul.

The music changed again, the singer launching into a slow, sultry torch song that begged an answer to the question women had been asking for centuries: what is it with men and commitment?

Sunny had wrestled with that issue herself for years, convinced that the boy she’d loved too much would come back for her one day. Pale and contrite, wanting nothing more than to love her the way he should have all along. But commitment wasn’t on her mind at all when she twined her fingers with Michael’s and gave him Sonja’s best come-hither smile. “I’m thinking we should go to your place,” she said, and was sure she was floating as they headed for the door.


About the Author:
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page ~ Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


Buy the book at Amazon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Episode 8: A Flash Fiction Story by Lynda Simmons, author of LOVE, ALBERT

12_8 VBT_TourBanner_LoveAlbert copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance at winning a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner above to see the rest of the stops.

Lynda Simmons' flash fiction episode eight is now available. Watch out for episode nine tomorrow at Flirting with Romance

Flash Fiction # 8
Day of the Dead (With Interim Director, Josh Smythe)


“What time is it?” Mr. Bailey asks.

He’s the husband of the deceased. First name, Jeff, retired teacher.

“Ten fifteen, sir,” I say and extend my hand. “Josh Smythe, Interim Director. If you need anything at all today, just let me know.”

He nods and looks past me to the rows of people gathered in the Music Room where the Celebration of Life for his wife, Bernice, will be getting underway shortly.

“Your wife was clearly popular here at Willow Tree,” I say and give him a small empathetic smile.

“Sure,” he says and turns, watching someone sign the guest book. There is no casket here, nor ashes nor anything else depressing. Just Dixieland favourites in the air and photographs of Bernice on an easel. High school graduation, wedding day, the birth of her first child. Pictures that bring her life to life, reminding us that she was more than a senior with dementia.

Our company has been organizing Celebrations like this for years. The families are always delighted with the results and find the fee more than reasonable. In light of recent events, however, today’s Celebration is provided free of charge for the Rutledge family, including refreshment table, guest book and three vases bursting with the red roses Bernice loved. Instagram and Facebook have all reacted positively to the shots and Twitter is coming around. At last check, even @Hangemhigh was giving us props for kindness and positivity. Yet Bernice’s husband seems untouched, distracted. In fairness, I suppose I would be too if my wife had been found frozen to death in the snow.

As Interim Director of Willow Tree Long Term Care, my main job right now is damage control. Getting out ahead of yesterday’s fiascos to direct the public discussion and keep a couple of tragic accidents from blossoming into a full blown public relations crisis.

Since the news broke yesterday morning, I’ve been living on Twitter and Facebook, answering accusations and accepting responsibility every time my phone vibrates.

Willow Tree Cares is the message we want to get across, as well as corporate’s official stand: we had no idea that former administrator Gina Baron was so deeply troubled.

Troubled? She’s a bonafide nut job that one. Drawers full of candles, strings of pearls in every pocket and more pictures of her mother than can possibly be healthy. I heard she was in some kind of trance when they found her. On her knees, weeping, begging her mother for forgiveness. Took cold water in the face to snap her out of it.

Naturally, rumours started right away. Drugs, alcohol, sado-masocism you name it she was supposedly into it. But I don’t trade in rumours, just the truth as we would like it to be known. And our truth is that Gina Baron is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

Maybe she shoved Mrs. Rutledge out the door, and took Mr. Bailey down to the cellar as well. The world may not know the truth for years, but they definitely know that a Celebration of Life will be held for Rick Bailey as soon as we have the body back.

“Mr. Rutledge, would you like anything before we begin?” I ask. “We offer gluten-free, dairy-free and nut free choices, all in bite-size portions and prepared right here in our kitchen.”

“Call me Jeff,” he says. “And stop trying to sell me on this.”

He heads back along the hall to where the local reporters lurk. Letting them in speaks to transparency, and the CEO is conducting a press conference this afternoon anyway. Making it clear that we’re co-operating fully with the on-going investigation and that improvements to security are already underway.

We need to reassure not only the families of our residents that Willow Tree is a safe and happy place, but also the families of those with loved ones on our waiting list. And more importantly, the investors who had the misfortune to be here during yesterday’s events.

Fortunately, I convinced them to come back this morning, to see for themselves the strength and resilience of the Willow Tree brand. I seated both of them not fifteen minutes ago, and am pleased to see them enjoying the refreshment table as they wait. Willow Tree will get through this, is the take away for today.

A line of residents shuffles toward the door. “Come in,” I say. “And enjoy the buffet.”

Over their heads I notice Mr. Rutledge, Jeff, isn’t with the press after all. He’s talking to the wife of the guy who died in the basement. Anna Bailey. Husband, Rick. Cause of death, unknown.

“Good to see you again,” a woman says to me and extends her hand. “I’m Joyce. The Bingo Lady? I’d like to speak to you once more about continuing the bingo games —”

“I’m sorry,” I say. “We knew Gina was running unsanctioned programs for a while, but you’ll understand that everything has to be tighter now. Of course, you’re welcome at the Celebration. I’m sure you knew Bernice well.”

She says nothing, just moves past me and squeezes into a row as the CEO signals that we’re about to begin.

Anna and Jeff are heading back this way. They’re both smiling, and their shoulders are touching as they walk. The romantic in me hopes that something is going on there. The cynic suspects that they’re pleased to be free of their spouses, and both agree we could have charged for the refreshments at least.

I’m composing a tweet about love and eternity when someone races past me. It’s one of the investors, pale and sweating and heading for the bathroom. A woman also pushes past me, heading for the ladies room. The old man behind her isn’t as quick. He throws up in a potted plant.

I turn back to the room. A stampede is heading straight for me.

“What is this?” I shout.

“Food poisoning,” a nurse shouts back.

And my twitter feed explodes all over me.

12_8 love BookCover_LoveAlbertSometimes all love needs is a road trip, a rubber chicken and a touch of magic

Vicky Ferguson loves her husband Reid, always has, always will. But with two kids to think about, it’s time for the free-wheeling, sports car loving pilot to put his feet on the ground and lay down some roots. Reid can’t imagine life without Vicky but neither can he see himself pushing a lawn mower or driving a mini-van. They’re on track to a divorce neither one wants until a last request from beloved Uncle Albert puts them on the road together one last time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Which brings us to the issue at hand,” the lawyer said and opened a file. “I have here the last will and testament of Albert Ferguson. Handwritten but perfectly legal.” He leaned down and picked up Albert’s old leather suitcase. It was the only thing the old man ever carried – the true master of travelling light. Lyle set the case on the desk, undid the straps and slid back the zipper. Reached inside and came up with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, complete with bulbous pink nose, bushy eyebrows, and a formidable mustache.

Reid sat forward. “Not the glasses,” he said, a smile already tugging at his lips.

Lyle nodded solemnly and put them on, carefully adjusting the nose over his own before picking up the paper again. The lawyer’s delivery was perfectly straight, if a bit nasal. “I, Albert John Ferguson, being of sound mind and body— ”

Reid glanced over at Vicky. She was staring at the lawyer, eyes wide, lips pinched tightly together, holding back her laughter.

“Do hereby bequeath all my worldly goods to my favorite nephew and niece, Reid Allan Ferguson and Victoria Ann Ferguson, to be used as they see fit. This includes one hand buzzer, one whoopee cushion, one pair of Groucho glasses.” He reached into the suitcase again. “One rubber chicken –”

“I’ll take that.” Vicky’s face turned pink when the lawyer paused and looked at her over the nose of the glasses. “For the kids,” she added, and turned to Reid. “Unless you want it.”

“Not at all.” He pointed to the suitcase. “But I’ve got dibs on the fl y-in-the-ice-cube.”

“One fly-in-the-ice-cube,” Lyle continued, and set it in front of Reid. “One can of worms—”

“Snakes,” Reid cut in. “They’re snakes.”

The lawyer slid the can toward him and Reid popped the lid. Three long colorful snakes sprang from the tin and flew over the desk, squeaking as they bounced against the walls. “They were always his favorite.” Reid smiled at Vicky. “Do you mind if I take them?”

She held up the whoopee cushion. “Not as long as I can have this,” she said, and Reid understood why Albert had loved her, too.

“You can go through the rest on your own later,” Lyle said, taking off the glasses and setting them aside. “But in return for his worldly goods, Albert has a favor to ask.”

Reid raised his head. “A favor?”

“More of a decree really.” Lyle cleared his throat and resumed reading from the will. “In return for my worldly goods, Reid and Vicky must promise to take my remains to Seaport, Oregon. ”

The chicken’s head bobbed as she sat up straighter. “But I thought he’d already been buried.”

“Not quite.” Lyle lifted a plain white shoebox out of the suitcase and set it on the desk in front of them. “He’s been waiting for you.”

Reid stared at the box. “That’s Albert?”

“Ashes to ashes.” The lawyer picked up the box. “I know it’s not much to look at, but it’s practical, sturdy, and holds up to five pounds of loved one, no problem.” He looked from Reid to Vicky. “The point is Albert didn’t want a fancy urn because he wasn’t planning to spend much time in it anyway.”

Reid shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

Lyle smiled. “Your Uncle Albert wants to fly one last time.”

12_8 love AuthorPhoto_LyndaSimmonsAbout the Author:Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynda-Simmons/e/B001KI3Z4O

http://www.lyndasimmons.com/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/958842.Lynda_Simmons
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynda-Simmons-Author/149740745067442
https://twitter.com/LyndaMSimmons

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Friday, December 12, 2014

A Special Flash Fiction Installment from Lynda Simmons, author of LOVE, ALBERT

12_8 VBT_TourBanner_LoveAlbert copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance at winning a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner above to see the rest of the stops.

Lynda Simmons' flash fiction episode five is now available. Watch out for episode six on Monday at Marlow Kelly

Flash Fiction # 5
Happy Trails
(With Nurse Dylan Feeney)


“What time is it?” Grace asks. “Four o’clock,” she continues, answering her own question on her way into Mr. Bailey’s room for the third time this morning.

“Dylan,” the doctor says.

“On it,” I say, happy to escape both files and the front desk for even a moment.

On any other day, he wouldn’t have sent anyone after her. Willow Tree Long Term Care is small and expensive with a carefully cultivated relaxed atmosphere. Lavender scents the air, music plays constantly and residents wander through each others’ rooms at will. Opening closets, fishing through drawers, even carting stuff away. That’s why important items are stored on upper shelves and everything else is labeled. Eventually, stuff finds its way back to where it belongs. No harm, no foul – as good a philosophy as any in a place where no one gets better and the days all blend together.

This isn’t where I saw myself after graduation. Dylan Feeney, Male Nurse, was heading to Africa or Micronesia, someplace where happy endings are only a vaccination away. But then I met the doctor. He’s older, sure, but we hit it off, had more than drinks. When I talked about booking a ticket to Nairobi, he offered me a job, full time with a good salary. He talks a good line and before long, the booming voice of my student debt drowned out the whispers of my heart. So here I am, chasing Grace instead of malaria and fraternizing with a staff member in secret. Not quite the life I imagined, but his place is nice and there’s nobility in caring for those who can’t care for themselves. And I don’t tell anyone that I still think about those happy endings now and then.

“What time is it?” Grace asks when I step into the room. “Four o’clock,” she says, to no one in particular.

She hasn’t rifled the dresser or even peeked in the closet. She’s intent on only thing – touching the windows, ensuring they’re closed. Or perhaps searching for one that’s open, I can’t tell, but she’s been at it for days. Inspecting every window and door in the place, a woman on a mission and normally left alone to amuse herself. But this morning, Rick Bailey’s room is out of bounds.

He was on death’s door again last night and his wife, Anna has been here since midnight. She could have gone home when he rallied around five a.m. Or when he had oatmeal at seven. Definitely when he was taken for his bath at nine. But she’s still in there, slumped in a chair, staring at the phone in her hand. And the last thing she needs is Grace coming and going.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Bailey.” I head toward Grace. “I’ll try to keep her occupied.”

“Don’t bother.” Anna looks over at me. “She’s not hurting anything.”

Grace ignores me and Mrs. Bailey seems sincere. It’s back to the files for me. “Can I get you anything before I go, then?”

“A handful of sleeping pills? Perhaps two?”

I open my mouth and she holds up a hand. “Dylan, I’m kidding.” She sighs and sets the phone on the table beside her. “I doubt Rick could swallow them anyway.”

I step closer. “Mrs. Bailey, I know last night was difficult –”

“Trust me, Son, we left Difficult a while back and have been firmly mired in Impossible for some time now.” She gets to her feet, crosses to the bed. “But the good news is that he’s having fewer lucid moments. Fewer times when he looks me straight in the eye and says something that tells me he’s there and he’s listening.” She plumps the pillow. “And that’s a blessing because those damn moments keep you hoping and bringing in pictures and telling stories. Believing that if you just try a little harder, somehow things will work out.”

She glances back at the phone and I know I should leave it alone, get back to the desk, tell a counsellor to come on down. But her face is pale and her hands are shaking and if the Director wants to add this to my growing list of infractions, so be it.

“Tell me about the last time he had one of those moments,” I say and smile when she looks over. “Was it like in that movie?”

She laughs. “God no,” she says and is about to elaborate when Joyce, the Bingo Lady bustles in with her cards and dabbers. “How is everyone this frosty Friday?”

Anna glances over. Smiles. “About the same. You?”

Older than most of the residents, Bingo Lady still runs, practices yoga and volunteers here every day. A poster for the perfect retirement and a favourite with the families. “If you’re here for Grace,” she says to me, “don’t worry. I’m taking her to bingo.”

“What time is it?” Grace asks.

“Time to go,” Joyce says, and turns to Anna. “I’m picking up Bernice along the way, just so you know.”

It’s no secret that Anna and Bernice’s husband, Jeff, have been seeing each other. And I wonder now if Bingo Lady played Cupid.

“See you later,” Joyce says and takes Grace’s arm, motions me to follow her out the door. Once in the hall, she lowers her voice. “I know you mean well,” she says. “But getting her to talk about Rick won’t help her. Anna’s finally moving on, coming back to the land of the living again.”

“But he’s still her husband.”

Joyce leans closer, whispers in my ear. “He’s a potted plant Dear, just like the rest of them. If you want to help, be happy that he’ll be dead soon, before she starts to hate him.” She straightens and draws Grace closer. Gives her a bright smile. “Bingo awaits.”

“What time is it?” Grace asks then turns suddenly. Grabs my arm and looks straight into my eyes. “It’s time to go,” she says and every hair on my body stands straight up.

12_8 love BookCover_LoveAlbertSometimes all love needs is a road trip, a rubber chicken and a touch of magic

Vicky Ferguson loves her husband Reid, always has, always will. But with two kids to think about, it’s time for the free-wheeling, sports car loving pilot to put his feet on the ground and lay down some roots. Reid can’t imagine life without Vicky but neither can he see himself pushing a lawn mower or driving a mini-van. They’re on track to a divorce neither one wants until a last request from beloved Uncle Albert puts them on the road together one last time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Which brings us to the issue at hand,” the lawyer said and opened a file. “I have here the last will and testament of Albert Ferguson. Handwritten but perfectly legal.” He leaned down and picked up Albert’s old leather suitcase. It was the only thing the old man ever carried – the true master of travelling light. Lyle set the case on the desk, undid the straps and slid back the zipper. Reached inside and came up with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, complete with bulbous pink nose, bushy eyebrows, and a formidable mustache.

Reid sat forward. “Not the glasses,” he said, a smile already tugging at his lips.

Lyle nodded solemnly and put them on, carefully adjusting the nose over his own before picking up the paper again. The lawyer’s delivery was perfectly straight, if a bit nasal. “I, Albert John Ferguson, being of sound mind and body— ”

Reid glanced over at Vicky. She was staring at the lawyer, eyes wide, lips pinched tightly together, holding back her laughter.

“Do hereby bequeath all my worldly goods to my favorite nephew and niece, Reid Allan Ferguson and Victoria Ann Ferguson, to be used as they see fit. This includes one hand buzzer, one whoopee cushion, one pair of Groucho glasses.” He reached into the suitcase again. “One rubber chicken –”

“I’ll take that.” Vicky’s face turned pink when the lawyer paused and looked at her over the nose of the glasses. “For the kids,” she added, and turned to Reid. “Unless you want it.”

“Not at all.” He pointed to the suitcase. “But I’ve got dibs on the fl y-in-the-ice-cube.”

“One fly-in-the-ice-cube,” Lyle continued, and set it in front of Reid. “One can of worms—”

“Snakes,” Reid cut in. “They’re snakes.”

The lawyer slid the can toward him and Reid popped the lid. Three long colorful snakes sprang from the tin and flew over the desk, squeaking as they bounced against the walls. “They were always his favorite.” Reid smiled at Vicky. “Do you mind if I take them?”

She held up the whoopee cushion. “Not as long as I can have this,” she said, and Reid understood why Albert had loved her, too.

“You can go through the rest on your own later,” Lyle said, taking off the glasses and setting them aside. “But in return for his worldly goods, Albert has a favor to ask.”

Reid raised his head. “A favor?”

“More of a decree really.” Lyle cleared his throat and resumed reading from the will. “In return for my worldly goods, Reid and Vicky must promise to take my remains to Seaport, Oregon. ”

The chicken’s head bobbed as she sat up straighter. “But I thought he’d already been buried.”

“Not quite.” Lyle lifted a plain white shoebox out of the suitcase and set it on the desk in front of them. “He’s been waiting for you.”

Reid stared at the box. “That’s Albert?”

“Ashes to ashes.” The lawyer picked up the box. “I know it’s not much to look at, but it’s practical, sturdy, and holds up to five pounds of loved one, no problem.” He looked from Reid to Vicky. “The point is Albert didn’t want a fancy urn because he wasn’t planning to spend much time in it anyway.”

Reid shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

Lyle smiled. “Your Uncle Albert wants to fly one last time.”

12_8 love AuthorPhoto_LyndaSimmonsAbout the Author:Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynda-Simmons/e/B001KI3Z4O

http://www.lyndasimmons.com/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/958842.Lynda_Simmons
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynda-Simmons-Author/149740745067442
https://twitter.com/LyndaMSimmons

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Flash Fiction from Lynda Simmons, author of LOVE, ALBERT

Enjoy this third segment of the flash fiction story written by Lynda Simmons. You can follow the story on the stops here: Love, Albert Book Tour Posts.

THREE
Ain’t Love Grand
(With Jeff Sanderson)


“What time is it?” my wife asks.

“Breakfast time,” I tell her and take her arm. “Shall we go into the dining room?”

But still Bernice resists and I look over at Edna’s side of the room. The curtain around the bed is drawn. The doctor is in there along with a nurse, Edna’s daughter, Janice and her ex, Marty. Their two kids are slouched in the chairs in the corner, staring at the floor, saying nothing while a man I don’t recognize paces in the hall. Janice’s boyfriend perhaps, and good for her. People aren’t meant to be alone.

“If you have any more questions,” the doctor is saying. “Come to my office. And again, I’m very sorry for your loss.”

Edna passed away last night. I don’t know the cause. She always looked healthy enough to me, sitting by the front door, shouting every time the doctor went by. It’s odd to think of that spot being empty now.

“I’m so sorry about your mom,” the nurse is saying. “Please let me know if you need assistance in gathering up her things.”

The doctor steps out from behind the curtain and I look away, acutely aware that I shouldn’t be witness to any of this.

“Morning, Jeff,” he says as he walks to the door.

“Isn’t it a lovely day,” Bernice sings, her smile bright and vacant. “Your room is all ready.”

Edna’s grandchildren look over. “I’m sorry,” I say and try to coax my wife to follow the doctor. But the Bingo Lady, Joyce, has arrived, distracting Bernice once again.

“Come in, come in,” she says. “Do you have a reservation, dear?”

“I do,” the Bingo Lady says. “And don’t you look lovely this morning. “ She smiles at me. “Bingo at ten in the common room.”

“She’ll be there,” I say, watching her step aside so the doctor can pass.

“Who died and made you king,” someone hollers.

The doctor jerks around, then heads off in the opposite direction, moving quickly but followed by that voice all the same. “I know who you are.”

The words might have belonged to Edna but that voice is strictly Grace, the woman in the next room. A friend of Edna’s from way back, as I understand it.

She walks briskly past the door, chasing the doctor. “I know what you’re doing,” she yells.

Does Grace understand that Edna is gone? Is this some sort of tribute?

I know only too well that lucid moments can be magical, giving those of us on the outside a glimpse of the person we knew, the one we loved. I hope that’s what this is for Grace, a moment of clarity for a dear friend. But even if it’s simple mimicry it makes me smile. And wonder if the good doctor really is up to something.

“Such terrible news,” the bingo lady is saying. She’s behind the curtain now too. “Your mother was a joy to know. A real gem at the bingo table.”

“I didn’t realize she played,” Janice says, her voice cracking.

“You mustn’t be hard on yourself,” Bingo Lady says, her tone soothing, just this side of patronizing. I’ve never cared for her myself, but I respect the work she does, coming in five days a week to hold bingo games that no one here can really play. She’s a retired therapist of some sort and brings along her own specially designed bingo cards and enough dabbers for all. The program has grown so popular she doesn’t finish until nearly noon now.

Bernice seems to enjoy the games, so I try that to get her going. “You need to have breakfast so that you can play bingo later,” I say, and she starts walking.

Who knows if the promise of bingo did the trick, or if she simply lost interest in whatever is going on behind the curtain. Either way, I don’t care. I just need to get to the dining room before 8:00.

I take my wife’s arm and we stroll along the hall. “Morning Jeff, morning Bernice,” a passing nurse says.

Bernice calls out, “your room is ready,” and I smile and we keep going.

After two years, I’m a familiar figure here at Willow Tree. Arriving every morning at 7:30, making sure Bernice eats breakfast, goes to the activities and doesn’t give the nurse a hard time on bath day. I stay until after lunch when she takes a nap and then head off to take care of my own health. After all this time, I know how important that is for both of us.

I hear the clink of silver, smell the aromas of bacon, toast and eggs before we reach the dining room. Some residents arrive in wheelchairs, others on walkers, but the majority, like Bernice get there under their own steam. Willow Tree encourages exercise and the staff does their best to keep everyone physically strong as long as possible, which I appreciate. The mental deterioration is hard enough to accept.

Turning into the dining room, I see our usual table for six in the corner. Greta is already there, getting help from a nurse, as well as Robert who still copes fairly well on his own and Anna who is feeding her husband Rick. Anna and the nurse wish us a good morning as Bernice and I approach. My wife’s apple juice is waiting and a plate of eggs and toast arrives before we’re settled.

Anna passes me a napkin. “I think you’ll need this,” she says.

I nod and unwrap it slowly. A silver door key winks at me.

“For later,” she says, and I can’t help but smile.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Scavenger Hunt pieces for MISTLETOE WEDDING by Melissa McClone


Click the banner above for a listing of all stops on this tour.

Stop #19:


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

HATHOR LEGACY: BURN by Deborah A Bailey Giveaway & Excerpt

I'm back! This is my last post about my new science fiction romance, Hathor Legacy: Burn, book two in the Hathor Legacy series. I've had fun sharing excerpts and posts with you. Hope you've enjoyed them too!

At the end of the party, one randomly chosen commenter will win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card and a ebook version of the book (either .mobi or .pdf). 


In this excerpt, Nadira is in a medical evacuation center or “medi-evac.” She was caught in an ambush of a security team and used her PSI abilities to fight her way out. Now she has to rest in order to regain her strength. She’s had a few shocks up to this point (with more to come) and Jonathan is concerned that she’s taking on too much without giving herself a chance to recover.


Nadira tried to sit up, but her arms ached so much they couldn't support her. Instead they wobbled and she was forced to drop back down against the pillows.

"Relax. You're not going anywhere." Jonathan propped himself up on his elbow and pulled the covers back over her.

She looked up into his grey eyes. What she saw there wasn't what she was expecting. But it wasn't just concern for her that had etched the dark circles under them, there was something else.

"You look tired," she said, as she ran the tip of her finger along his face, following the line of his squared jaw. Stubble pricked and tickled her skin, encouraging her to continue her exploration. After reading Varyn and being attacked in the warehouse, she'd shut down her awareness, just so she could block out her emotions. If she allowed herself to feel something now, she'd have to feel it all, and she wasn't sure she was ready for that.

Jon captured her hand and pressed it to his lips. "I didn't know how to find you. A security officer told me about the warehouse fire. When I got there, they told me to check the medi-evac. I heard you calling me."

Had she? She couldn't remember now. In fact a lot of the attack was hazy, without clear definition, like waking up and trying to remember a dream. "I couldn't save them. I tried and I couldn't." Tears welled up in her eyes, blurring her vision and making her feel ashamed.

Emotions were to be controlled at all times. That's how Zina had trained her, and that's what she had always fallen back on. But now, it wasn't working.

"Let it go," Jonathan said. "It's all right."

"No." She shifted and turned her back to him. "Stop. Just go. Come back in the morning." She wasn't ready yet. If she let it out now, she'd never be able to stop.


About the book

Book Two of the Hathor Legacy Series

On the planet, Hathor, an old threat re-emerges that may destroy the fragile alliance between the Guardians and Novacorp.  When Nadira is called to investigate a rash of fires throughout the city, she discovers the Deshtu, another group with PSI powers who have been purposely kept in the shadows.

Working to uncover the source of the fires, Nadira learns the brutal truth about the origin of the Guardians. The Guardian Elders have plans to make Nadira more powerful, and she may be forced to sever her psychic connection to Jonathan Keel.

When an unexpected ally gives Jonathan information about the Deshtu that connects them to the fires, he becomes a convenient scapegoat for the opposing factions. Nadira puts her life on the line to solve the crime, while the Elders make their move to remove Jonathan from her life forever.

As time runs out, the Guardians prepare for a clash with Novacorp that could plunge the planet into chaos, and a final betrayal forces Nadira to risk everything to save herself and Hathor.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LW95G7K








As a little girl when Deborah A Bailey was watching Star Trek and Twilight Zone, she was writing and drawing her own superheroine comics. When she grew up, she continued to write and followed her love of technology into a career as a computer programmer and developer. But writing was never far away from her heart, so over the years she wrote and published stories set on other worlds and in Earth's future.

Ultimately she fulfilled a lifelong dream and completed her first novel in the Hathor Legacy universe, Hathor Legacy: Outcast. Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers' Conference and her work has been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun. She's also the author of a short story collection, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales.

Website: http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AuthorDeborahB

Lord of Sherwood by Laura Strickland--Blurb and Excerpt

Lord of Sherwood: The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy Book  Three--release date 8/8/14

Blurb:


Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny.  With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny.  But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding.  He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down.  But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet.  She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …

 Excerpt:
 
“What must I do to convince you I should stay?” Anwyn spoke before Curlew could voice the refusal she saw in his eyes. “I can prove useful to you and your folk—I know I can. Did I tell you I am well able to use a bow? My father taught me when I was still growing. I often shot in company with the young folk of our town, and you know how good Welsh bowmen are.”
A smile curved those lips of his—warm, tantalizing lips that had explored every part of her in the dark. Desire slammed into the pit of Anwyn’s stomach. She did not understand the power of her longing, but oh, how she felt it!
“It makes an intriguing picture, that—you with a bow.” The hand not fused to hers came up and touched her hair lightly, as if he could not help himself. “But one I think we must neglect.”
Anwyn stepped closer. Now only the swiftly falling rain separated them. She knew men and how to manipulate them. Those games she had played at Shrewsbury and, aye, in Nottingham also were all about manipulation. Men wanted but one thing, and a woman could get whatever she wanted if a man thought he might win it in return. Dangerous, aye, and she had nearly been caught once or twice. Yet she had already given this man that prize and, besides, he was like no one she had ever met. She was sure the great restlessness in her had sent her always, always searching for him.
What a cruel irony that this one man appeared to be the only one ready to turn her away! She could not allow it, not on her life.
“I can think of still another reason for you to let me stay,” she breathed.
Desire ignited in the silver of his eyes. Even before she pressed her body against his she felt something in him leap to her, a reaching of pure spirit, and she yearned upward to find his mouth even as he sought hers.
And oh, it was as she remembered from the darkness but better, ten thousand times better, for the answer it made to her fierce wanting. Her lips belonged on his, just as her fingers had been made to curl into his. Every separate part of her had been formed, before birth, to fit his flesh. And by heaven, his tongue belonged inside her mouth and the taste of him burning through her. Her spirit needed to be at home with his until she died, and after.
She breathed his name into his open mouth. His hand released hers and she grieved, she grieved until his arms closed around her hard, lifted her from her toes, and gathered her against him.
He knew who he kissed now, right enough. Let him make any excuses he would about what had happened in the dark. He knew who she was and she could feel him strain for her.
Available 8/8/14 from Amazon and The Wild Rose Press!

Forever Friends by Amanda Kimberley Teaser and Book Giveaway


 

Forever Friends Teaser Copyright 2014


Alec ordered another shot of Scotch and chased it with a beer before looking at his watch. He was becoming impatient with the wasted minutes he used up at Backtrax. Hunting for Raine and his bitch was becoming rather annoying. He needed to find them, and now. The time to claim revenge for his lover was fast approaching. He needed to know quickly where they were so he could put his plans in place.

Raine’s scent was becoming harder and harder for Alec to track. There was little doubt in Alec’s mind that Raine had become more versed in the craft and probably came up with a detracting spell. Raine’s cunning was becoming quite aggravating. The planetary alignment would happen soon and if he could not find Raine and Skye by that time, his spell to vanquish them would never work. He hoped he could pick up their scent by asking for help from an old friend. Alec knew of a medicine man around the New England area that specialized in hunting down witches. 

Medicine men played an integral role in finding the witches who performed the dark arts during The Were Rebellion. One witch that was tracked was Obsidian and it was unfortunate because her spell was not considered dark arts to the gods. If it were, they would not have allowed her to be with child. She, of course, suffered death, but many witches were not as lucky. They were turned during the rebellion. And since they became either part werewolf or vampire, it became harder to track a hybrid. Tracking a pure blooded witch was much easier.

Raine and Skye were pure blooded, but Raine must have found a way to mask himself from Alec with the blood binding they had both performed centuries ago. He must have figured out some way to use that spell against Alec. It was an unfortunate mistake on his part, but Alec now knew better. Raine’s cloaking couldn’t last long, Alec would see to that.    

Alec befriended a particular medicine man and sorcerer named Zhan Li. He helped Zhan during the rebellion by vanquishing as many werewolves and witches he could find. Zhan was not particularly fond of vanquishing witches because they were as close as kin. He remained a neutral sorcerer and favored no side in the rebellion. He felt that each magical and supernatural race had a hand in trying to overthrow the world. But it was the werewolves that Zhan had the most disdain for during the rebellion. They allowed their emotions to get the best of them in battle. Zhan was not fond of their lack of focus.

Many, though, did look up to the werewolves in the magical community. They were one of the few creatures that could defeat a vampire that turned rouge. That respect alone should have been reason enough for them not to start the fight. Instead, they tried to enlist the help of unknowing witches. These witches, who always fought for the greater good, were tricked by the werewolves into performing the dark arts against their own kind. They then turned these unknowing witches for their own selfish mating purposes. 

Vampires were not innocent in any of this either. They too, turned witches for their own selfish reasons. Though, it was worse when a witch turned vampire. Their power was far greater than a Werewitches because they had magic on their side. There were legends of Lilith-Vampires trying to come to power during the rebellion, creating an army out of witch fledglings. It was, however, a myth in Alec’s eyes. He knew first hand, not to believe these legends, Lilith’s only protégé was himself at the time.

Once Obsidian had died in The Were Rebellion, Alec had no intentions of fighting for the greater good, nor was he doing anything for the races out of the kindness of his own cold, dead heart. His only intention was to hope that Zhan would eventually track down the werewolf of Strega descent that killed his beloved Obsidian. Despite the ulterior motive, Zhan, felt he owed Alec a favor for defeating as many rouge witches and werewolves as he did. Therefore, Zhan never protested Alec’s motives.

Alec took the last swig of his beer and motioned the bartender to give him another. He snickered at the thought of being able to pound as many beers as he could in an evening. It was something most mortals could not do, let alone a vampire. It wasn’t hard to hide the fact that a vampire did not eat or drink. A vampire merely used their dark arts to persuade a mortal into thinking they saw the undead engage in food and drink. But for Alec, it was an annoyance to constantly have to keep up appearances, especially for what was considered prey. 

Alec wasn’t into this kind of pallor trick. Magic like this wasted time, which is why he had little need for hiding. Another annoying trait Alec had little patience with was The Dark Sleep. He knew that if he had any hopes of hunting Raine, Alec had to be considered part of the living. The king of the Vlad Vampire clan needed a way to blend into the human society if he wanted to kill Raine. And though he hated pallor tricks, he used them to persuade a Dynion Mwyn Witch to cast a glimmer spell that would allow him to eat, drink, and walk among the living freely. He detested the fact that he needed a witch to do it and redeemed himself by breaking her neck. Sucking her dry would have made his stomach turn.

Despite losing Raine’s scent for about a week, Alec knew Raine liked bars. It was one of Raine’s downfalls. Raine always seemed to like the night life. And even though Alec could walk in daylight, the bar scene made things much easier on him when it came to prey. He needed to feed, and unsuspecting, drunk humans suited him just fine. 

Alec, in his fledgling days, used to be of discerning tastes. He relished the blood of a virgin over anything vilely tainted. But since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, many of the humans lacked any sense of restraint. Drunkards were more common than any other prey in these times. He still tried to relish taste and preferred the wine drinking women over the beer guzzling men. The women tasted much sweeter, but beggars could not be choosers, and either one was fine just as long as he kept his eye on the real prize.

The planetary alignment would soon be upon him, leaving little room for error when it came to locating Raine and Skye. Alec hoped he not only could destroy the heads of the Kersh Gypsy clan, but he also wanted the added bonus of neutering the werewolves.

It was a known fact that werewolves were the only supernatural being that could defeat a vampire. Whether they were a young fledgling, or older, did not matter, they could defeat a vampire. He wasn’t really into preserving himself or his own race, but neutering them would be pleasurable because it would punish the race for killing Obsidian. Sticking around a bit to revel in the fact that he avenged his lover’s death through defeating the entire werewolf race was just a pure bonus in his book.

There was talk of the werewolves trying to start another revolt, but it seemed it was just talk at this point. Not every pack wanted to get involved, especially since there was no pious reason to. Those pups were loyal to a fault and needed some sort of greater purpose to fight. It was rather vexatious to listen to them since a vampire didn’t care for anyone’s greater purpose but their own.

Zhan, whom Alec had met during the Ming Dynasty, didn’t want to work with the vampires after The Were Rebellion. He was firm in remaining neutral, and siding with a selfish vampire made that task tough. The bond still remained, though, because he not only had a shared interest in magic amongst the Vlad Vampires and witches, Zhan also knew it was possible for the werewolves to revolt again. He had seen a vision after The Were Rebellion. Since the hatred for the werewolves was great, and Zhan knew the pups needed to be silenced for the greater good of all the races, Zhan agreed to resurface before this alignment of the planets and help as best as he could. All Alec needed to do was find him. 

There was a particular spell that was in Zhan’s possession that would eliminate the threat of werewolves all together. It would transform them into harmless watch dogs. The werewolf’s human half would disappear, leaving only their wolf side intact. Their bruit strength and power to tear human or vampire flesh would be gone, though. They’d be nothing more than a house dog, still loyal to the humans they’ve so desperately wanted to protect from vampires throughout time, but they’d be rendered helpless and hopeless to the human race.

Alec had to hope that Zhan would keep his word about helping to defeat the werewolves, but he could only hope. He did not feel Zhan would live up to this promise since that spell could backfire and shift the balance of good and evil. Zhan obviously wasn’t predictable, or biased, something Alec was not used to.

Human prey always was biased, however. And usually to what suited them and their likes, something Alec could admire. On occasion, though, Alec would run across human prey that was righteous. He wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole. Their blood was awful, tasted like Holy Water. Holy Water had no effect on him due to the Dynion Mwyn glimmer spell, it didn’t kill him, or burn him, but the taste was vile. 

Unlike many humans, Zhan was not biased due to his likes, preferences, or even needs. He truly was a purely neutral sorcerer. From time to time he’d switch his stance, but he wasn’t a flake, he was just firm on neutrality. His stance would only change if destiny did. If someone were to change their course of action, they’d change the course of destiny, and that’s why Alec could not be so sure that Zhan would aid the vampires in neutering the werewolves.

The lights in his most recent bar hop called Backtrax, started to brighten. Alec knew that was the signal to exit for the evening.  He had usually had a piece of arm candy to feed off of by this point, but his deep thoughts had prohibited this. Hungry, Alec scanned the bar for prey. His eyes settled upon a rather young woman in her early to mid-thirties with ebony hair. She smelled like peonies. It was a delightful scent.

Alec hadn’t seen such a tasty number lately, and this one intrigued him. She appeared to be alone, a good sign for him. He took another swig of his drink, placed it on the bar rail, and proceeded to walk over to her.

“Hello.” He said plainly and directly. 

Alec learned in the early 80’s that mortal women didn’t take kindly to the one-liners of the 60’s or 70’s. After they got jobs and felt liberated, they seemed to demand sophistication. The 60’s and 70’s were filled with woman that had to be wined and dined. It felt like it took forever to hunt woman prey during those decades. But these Millennials were different. They were direct and knew what they wanted. That suited Alec just fine. He liked being direct, it saved him time. A smile came across the woman’s face as she said hello back.

“The name is Alec, Alec Cirino, and you are?” he stated. 

Alec took in a deep breath hoping to partake in the smell of peonies once more, but what he wound up taking in interested him even more. He could smell the faint scent of Skye on this one. A rather interesting find, indeed. If he were still walking among the living, his body might have tingled with excited rage. Right now though, he was just intrigued in knowing that this one might be worth more to him alive, rather than dead.

“I’m Morgan Walker.” She said with a smile. “Is this your first time here?”


Author Bio:

Amanda Kimberley has been writing for three decades and is a no nonsense nonfiction writer named Kimberley Linstruth-Beckom by day, who focuses mostly on the health condition known as Fibromyalgia, due to her own diagnosis in late 2005.
By night, she dons her bathrobe and enjoys typing out paranormal romances at her white marble desk. She likes to nibble on chocolate, nuts, and potato chips while drawing out her characters with music from her iPhone in the background.
 



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