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Artesans of Albia by Cas Peace

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 Series: Artesans of Albia
Author: Cas Peace
Genre: Fantasy

Taran Elijah’s quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world…

boxset coverDesperate to learn how to control his innate Artesan powers, Taran embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. The military backlash his action unleashes forces Albia’s High King to send Major Sullyan as an envoy to the Fifth Realm. But a dark and treacherous power is moving through the realms and all will feel its influence.

Captured and tortured by the power-hungry Lord Rykan, Sullyan is trapped in Andaryon. Aided by the unlikeliest sources, the major formulates a plan to defeat Rykan and end his quest for the throne. But Sullyan’s strength is fading fast and time is running out. The only thing that can save her is Rykan’s mysterious Staff, which lies buried in the ruins of Taran’s cellar.

Sullyan’s lover, Robin Tamsen, sets out to recover the artefact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. If Robin fails to secure the Staff, Sullyan’s life, the Artesan craft, and the very existence of their world is under threat.

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Excerpt from King’s Envoy:

Taran’s metasenses pricked him and he instantly woke, leaping to his feet and snatching his sword. He stopped short, biting back a curse, as he registered the confident stance of the young man standing before him. And he had every reason to be confident, Taran realized, with armed hunters at his back. His failure to sense them sooner made Taran scowl. Apprehensively, he waited for the man to speak.

“You’re trespassing, Albian.”


The man’s arrogant manner and rich clothing confirmed Taran’s immediate suspicions—he was an Andaryan noble. Taran’s sleep-muddled mind struggled to frame a reply but he wasn’t given the leisure.


“The penalty for trespass is death.”


Taran stared, knowing he was trapped. The huntsmen stood with bows unnocked but he knew how swiftly they could draw and shoot should he make a threatening move. And though the ugly giant birds they had were hooded and leashed, they could be loosed in an instant if he tried to run. His only chance lay in the bargain he hoped to make. He opened his mouth to answer but was again interrupted.


“However, I came out this day for sport. What do you say to a duel, Albian, to determine your fate? If you win, you’re free to leave. If you lose, you submit to my will.”


The noble’s pale, slit-pupiled eyes were avid and he fingered the hilt of his sword as he spoke. The motion drew Taran’s gaze. Events were moving a little fast for him despite this seemingly favorable turn. He had not expected things to work out like this—according to his father’s notes, he should be the one making the challenge—but in the end, did it matter? And what choice did he have? The noble had him at a severe disadvantage and would be within his rights should he decide to kill Taran out of hand. Even if he wasn’t, there was nothing Taran could do about it. No one would protect him if he could not protect himself.


He gathered his courage and faced the noble. He looked a little younger than Taran’s twenty-eight years but Taran had faith in his own skills. He was taller than the noble and he was agile and fit, there was no reason to believe he would not win. And the noble was an Artesan, Taran could sense it. He didn’t know what rank but that wasn’t immediately important. His father’s notes indicated that Taran only had to force a draw to win the right to the noble’s aid. If he turned out to be incapable of teaching Taran himself, his duty would require him to find someone who could.


“I accept,” he said, trying to keep the nervousness from his voice. The younger man grinned and Taran frowned. Those slit-pupiled eyes, unique to the Andaryan race, made his facial expressions unfamiliar. Taran would have to be very careful when reading his moves in the duel.

 

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AuthorPhoto2016Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website

See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch

Find out more at her website

 ~ Blog ~  Facebook – Cas ~ Facebook – Artesans of Albia ~
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Something Down There by Nancy Widrew

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Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Azure Spider Publications
Publication Date: November 15, 2017)
Not all caves are uninhabited
something-down-there1Horror erupts when newlyweds, Karen and Jeremy, cross paths with members of a diabolical cult inside a West Virginia cave. Living below the earth’s surface has triggered mutations, rendering the cult members nearly infertile. Their leader, a wild-eyed, cunning brute, refuses to let the couple leave, believing they and their potential offspring hold the key to surviving underground. Are Karen and Jeremy doomed to spend their lives inside this sunless, subterranean wasteland, or do they escape before their minds shatter and their bodies betray them?
Available now $3.99 only. Grab your copy today.
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Schedule

Ongoing till December 2, 2017.
Get behind the scenes on Something Down There.
Visit each stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and other extras.
To check the latest schedule, visit the Something Down There Book Page at Book Unleashed.

Giveaway

WIN A PRINT COPY OF SOMETHING DOWN THERE *

 

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About Nancy Widrew

Nancy Widrew

Nancy Widrew was born and raised in NYC before settling in New England with her husband. She has two grown children and two four-legged furry ones, always a source of amusement. She has had short stories published in webzines and a print anthology. This is her first novel.
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Hell Week Event

A Week long event with guest appearances by indie authors such as
Karen J Mossman, Myk Pilgrim, Claire Plaisted, Jay Norry and more.

 This Fun- Filled week runs from 25th-31st Oct

Each day of the event, three random people who like, share and comment on the day’s video will win an ecopy of one of Michael J. Elliott’s works:

Portraits Of Dread, Choice Cuts and his novella Sharpshooter.

That’s not all!

There’s a Mega Prize Contest for subscribers only.

*** Subscribe to The Dark Realm Diaries ***

for a chance to win over 13 ebooks including horror, fantasy, crime etc. plus a $10 Amazon gift card.

 Everyone who is a subscriber is automatically entered into the draw.

UK Indie Lit Fest

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This year’s festival will take place in the heart of Bradford, at the beautiful Kala Sangam.
The festival will run from 10am until 5pm on Saturday 26th August 2017.
This year we will comprise of the following:

Nearly 40 authors attending from all over the UK, they will be available to talk to readers, take pics, sign books and chat.
FREE workshops for readers, aspiring writers and authors.
Readings from some of our authors and poets.
Books available to buy throughout the day.
2 international hubs with best-selling authors from across the globe via Skype.
FREE entry.

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Don’t forget that your FREE virtual ticket could win you a FREE, signed paperback from one of the attending authors.

 

Who is UK Indie Lit Fest?

 
The UK Indie Lit Fest is a non-profit community interest company, the sole purpose of which is to promote indie authors, smaller publishing houses and allow writers to reach new readers.

The UK Indie Lit Fest is an exciting new project which made its debut in 2016. The brain child of Follow This publishing and UK indie authors, the UK Indie Lit Fest, took place on the 23rd of July 2016 at St James hall, Bolton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The festival brought together indie authors from around the UK, for an amazing FREE event. Fans met authors from around the country, talked to authors from all over the world in our international hub, learned all about being an indie author, how to become a published author, took part in in our exciting workshops, listened to readings by the authors, entered our exciting competitions to win signed books And much, much more …

 

Some of This Years Authors!

Mark CantrellMark Cantrell Zoltan PosfaiZoltan Posfai Helena FairfaxHelena Fairfax David WickhamDavid Wickham
Felicity SnowdenFelicity Snowden David ProctorDavid Proctor Joshua SuttonJoshua Sutton Irene LofthouseIrene Lofthouse
Razwa Ul-HaqRazwa Ul-Haq Joe KiplingJoe Kipling Ian WoodheadIan Woodhead Maria GibbsMaria Gibbs
Leanna RathboneLeanna Rathbone Samantha DenisonSamantha Denison Emma Warner-ReedEmma Warner-Reed Victoria HowardVictoria Howard
Melody WinterMelody Winter G M SherwinG M Sherwin Michael WombatMichael Wombat Rose EnglishRose English
Meg CowleyMeg Cowley Roger J BartonRoger J Barton D M SinghD M Singh Katherine BlessanKatherine Blessan
PR EllisPR Ellis Adrian BaldwinAdrian Baldwin D.G. TorrensD.G. Torrens KS MarsdenKS Marsden
TL WainrightTL Wainright Keith HoareKeith Hoare GK HollowayGK Holloway Elaine R ChissickElaine R Chissick
CA BellCA Bell Marie LavalMarie Laval Debbie IoannaDebbie Ioanna Lynda StaceyLynda Stacey
Chris TurnbullChris Turnbull David DriverDavid Driver Frank EnglishFrank English Sharena Lee SattiSharena Lee Satti

 

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I had planned to attend last years UK Indie Lit Fest, but things happened and I was unable to get there.

Fingers crossed I make it this year!

 

The Curse by Margaret McHeyzer

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Title: The Curse
Series: The Butterfly Effect #2
Author: Margaret McHeyzer
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 20, 2017

 

The Curse Ebook CoverIt’s been the butterfly effect.

I changed the course of my life because I warned a man.

I thought what I had was a gift, but it’s quickly turning into my curse.

Now I realize I’m much more than a girl with an ability.

Because now… I’m becoming a weapon.

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Author Bio:

 

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER OF UGLY AND MISTRUST
**Write something worth reading**

I’m Margaret and I’m a self-published author.
Recently I was fortunate in obtaining New York Times best selling status on my YA/NA book – Ugly, and my YA book – Mistrust.

My last three books have been YA and I’m completely in love with the genre. I love being able to communicate with people through my words and stories.

My writing genres all differ, but the one thing I keep consistent is my heroines. All my female lead characters are strong, gutsy and not the ‘perfect’ woman. While my books all have romantic elements in them, they aren’t just about the romance. They’re about finding strength, acceptance and making life long connections.

I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I have while writing them.

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Redemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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Genre: Mystery
Date Published: May 17
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

redemptionlakebysusanclaytongoldner1800hrTucson, Arizona – Eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead the following morning. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal.

Detective Winston Radhauser knows Matt is hiding something. But as the investigation progresses, Radhauser’s attention is focused on Matt’s father. Matt’s world closes in when his dad is arrested for Crystal’s murder and Travis breaks off their friendship. Despite his father’s guilty plea, Matt knows his dad is innocent and only trying to protect his son. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?

Redemption Lake is a novel of love and betrayal. It’s about truth and lies, friendship and redemption, about assuming responsibility, and the risks a father and son will take to protect each other.

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Excerpt:

For the next hour and a half, he drifted in and out of sleep. Cradled by the night sounds of the desert outside the open window, each time a memory emerged, his thoughts thickened and folded back into sleep. At one point he heard water running for a bath. A little later, he heard a car outside.
Oh God, please don’t let it be Travis. He stumbled to the window and opened the curtains. In the street, two long rectangular taillights moved away, turning south onto Oracle Road.


Matt leaned against the wall, staring at the sunflower sheets on Crystal’s bed. The same bed he and Travis had jumped up and down on when they were eight. The digital clock read 10:38 p.m. His head throbbed. He needed to close his eyes. Crystal would wake him in time to leave before Travis got home. He fell back onto the bed.


When he woke up again, the room was very dark. He wore only his boxers and a white T-shirt his mother had insisted upon — claiming his usual dark one would show through his tuxedo shirt. As if the color of his T-shirt could ruin her perfect wedding. But he’d been ingenious and found another way to ruin things for his mother. He turned toward the empty space beside him. It took a few moments for him to realize where he was. He closed his eyes, shook his aching head to clear it. Crystal was his best friend’s mother. What the hell was he doing in her bed?


He thought he heard the sound of the front door open, then close again.
Oh God, please don’t let it be Travis. His eyes adjusted to the darkness. One event at a time, he remembered everything.


Fully awake now, he shot from the bed, rocking for a few seconds before he achieved balance, then hurried to the window. The moon hung over the mountaintop, its light silver and unforgiving. Crystal’s driveway was empty. Whoever he’d heard, it wasn’t Travis. On the other side of the street, an engine started. This time the taillights were round. Definitely not Crystal’s Escort. The car turned north on Oracle Road.


Matt let out the breath he’d been holding and glanced at the digital clock—its red letters told him it was 11:20 p.m. He needed to get dressed and leave. The dance ended in forty minutes and Travis would head home. He grabbed his tuxedo pants and shirt from the chair. His hands shook so hard he could barely work the fly and the button on his trousers. He slipped into his shirt, then sat on the edge of the bed. As if he had the flu, his head throbbed and his stomach felt queasy.


He rushed down the hallway toward the bathroom. And when he did, he saw the puddle of blood on the floor beside the bathtub.


He hurried across the room, jerked open the pale green shower curtain.


Crystal lay naked in a bathtub filled with blood-colored water. Her hair, her beautiful blonde curls, had been chopped off, shorter in some places than others, as if a small child had done it. Some of the curls were floating on top of the water.


For a strange moment, everything remained calm and slow.


Her head was propped against one of those blow-up pillows attached to the back of the tub with suction cups. The tint of her skin was pale and slightly blue. Crystal’s eyes were open and staring straight ahead—looking at something he couldn’t see. Blood splattered the white tiles that surrounded the tub. It dripped down them like wet paint. One of her hands flopped over the side of the tub. A single thick drop fell from her index finger into the crimson pond congealing on the linoleum floor. It covered her neck and shoulders. Tiny bubbles of frothy blood still oozed from the gash in her neck.


An empty Smirnoff bottle sat in a puddle of blood on the tub’s rim beside a straight-edged razor blade.


The bathroom was so quiet. Nothing but the sound of his own breathing. He clenched and unclenched his hands. His body grew numb. “Oh no. Oh God, no,” he said, the words thickening in the air in front of him. His head filled with strange sounds—the drone of insects humming, violinists tuning their strings. “What have I done?”


The contents of his stomach rose. He crouched in front of the toilet and heaved until nothing more came up. Then he started to rock, back and forth, muttering what he already knew was a useless prayer.
Please, just let her be okay. He said it over and over like an unstoppable mantra. If only he could keep saying the words, maybe he could reverse this unthinkable thing.


Maybe she was still alive. He straightened up and stepped over to the bathtub to check Crystal’s neck for a pulse. As he bent closer, he smelled the metallic scent of her blood as it mixed with her perfume and the stale, metabolized smell of alcohol seeping through her skin. He placed two fingers on her neck, searching for her carotid and pressed. His fingers slipped into the gaping hole. It felt wet and warm. He screamed and jerked them out. They were covered in blood.


He swiped his hand on the front of his shirt, then checked the other side of her neck for a pulse.
Please, just let her be okay. Nothing. He shook her by the shoulders, then tried again. Still no pulse. At that moment, he stopped his mantra.


Though he knew she was dead, he held her hand—soft and still warm. It belonged to Crystal, who’d taught him to line dance, who liked hot buttered popcorn with cheddar cheese grated on top. Crystal, who was sometimes irresponsible and drank way too much. Crystal, who’d cheered for him at bat in Little League, cheered just as loud as she had for her own son. Crystal, who’d always be sitting in a bathtub of blood. “I’m sorry.” He squeezed her hand, then let go. “And I swear to you, Travis will never know what happened between us.”


Struggling to his feet, he headed for the kitchen phone to call 911. Halfway to the bathroom door, he stopped. Blood smeared the front of his white shirt. And there was still blood on both his hands, drying beneath his fingernails. His body was slick with fear. He smelled it, tasted it, and felt it coming out of his pores like sweat. His mind told him to call the police, to tell the truth. His heart told him to keep his promise to Crystal. It was the last thing she’d ever ask of him.


He dropped his chin and stared at his shirt. Holy shit. If anyone saw him like this, they’d think he’d killed Crystal. The thought stopped him. Had he? Was he capable of doing something so heinous?


The bubble of panic in his throat got bigger. He hurried across the bathroom to wash his hands. There were more clumps of hair in the sink and a hardened blue streak of toothpaste. He used toilet paper to pick up the hair clumps and dropped them into the trashcan. Looking at the uncapped tube beside Crystal’s toothbrush, he felt as if something had been cut out of his chest.


He grabbed the sides of the sink, stared at himself in the mirror. The face staring back resembled no one he’d ever seen before. Was it the face of a murderer? Had he just pushed someone else to her death? He shook his head—breathing in short gasps, like a swimmer gearing up for a plunge. His lungs burned as if he were being swept away by a strong current.


When the memory of his cousin’s death surfaced, as it often did, Matt used his fists to hammer the stranger’s face he saw reflected in the medicine cabinet. The mirror fractured, sending out long cracks in every direction. The face split into interlocking parts like an abstract puzzle. One jagged sliver fell into the sink, breaking in half. It left a black and empty space in what had once been the mirror.


He held onto the sides of the sink again and rocked slowly in front of it, still staring at the blood on his hands and under his fingernails. “You’re all right,” he said, but could barely hear the words, the sounds inside his head were so loud.


In his mind he saw himself letting go of the sink and getting as far away from this nightmare as possible. But it would destroy Travis to come home and find his mother like this. Matt had to intercept him.


He washed his hands, then rinsed the blood from the sides and bowl of the sink, recapped the toothpaste and tucked it into the medicine cabinet. He wrapped the shards of mirror in toilet tissue, careful to avoid getting his fingerprints on the glass, and placed them in the trashcan, jagged sides down. There were no towels in the bathroom, so he wiped his wet hands on his pant legs. Panic rolled in, sucked him under.


What should he do? Call the police? His father? 911? If he did, there’d be a recording of his voice and he’d have a lot of explaining to do. The police often suspected 911 callers. They might take his DNA. What if they found semen inside of Crystal? What if they matched it to Matt’s DNA? If that happened, they’d know. It would be in the newspapers. It would hurt Travis. He couldn’t let that happen.


He hurried back into Crystal’s bedroom. Hands shaking, he sat on the edge of her bed and put on his socks and shoes. Then, as if he were someone else, running through an obstacle course, he went into the kitchen and gathered the empty beer bottles. He took them out into the garage and carefully placed them in their cardboard carriers. Next he wiped the kitchen table, closed the open drawers, loaded the dishwasher, emptied the ashtrays, then made Crystal’s bed with fresh sheets. He tossed the sunflower sheets into the washing machine and started the cycle, careful to wipe his prints from the lid and dial. With the same cloth, he wiped down the edge of the plastic shower curtain, then pulled it closed—the way he’d found it. For the most part, his fingerprints were easily explained. He’d spent almost as much time in Travis’ house as his own.


Matt stood in front of the coffee table. He heard the candles guttering, smelled the wax melting. He blew them out, then picked up the clothes Crystal had discarded in the hallway beside the bathroom door. Folding them neatly, he then placed them on the chair beside her window. He grabbed her red cowboy boots from the living room and set them beneath the chair. It was the least he could do for Travis.


The clock on the stove read 11:45 p.m. The Narrow Way didn’t allow opposite sex teenagers to spend unsupervised time together. Jennifer’s parents would pick her up from the dance. That meant Travis would be leaving for home soon.


If Matt hurried, he could intercept him, convince him to spend the night with Matt and his dad. He raced into Travis’ bedroom, jerked open the drawer where he kept his T-shirts. Surely he had a plain black or a dark blue one somewhere. Matt lifted the stacks of folded shirts until he found one, then ripped off the tuxedo and stained T-shirt, slipped Travis’ shirt over his head, then grabbed his jacket from the kitchen chair and hurried outside.


On the back deck, insects clustered around the light fixture, high-pitched, insistent and frantic. The sound reminded him of Crystal’s voice when she’d pleaded with him not to tell Travis. Why hadn’t he agreed?


In the carport, Matt unlocked the trunk of his Mustang, a restored nineteen sixty-seven Grande that had been his mom’s first car, and dropped both the jacket and the bloodstained shirt inside. Silence ballooned into the night air around him, a strange silence with a ticking heartbeat. Then he remembered the cufflinks. Crystal had tucked them into his shirt pocket. He checked. They weren’t there. He plunged his hands into his pants pockets and then the tuxedo jacket. No cufflinks. He didn’t have time to go back inside. He had to stop Travis from coming home.


When he climbed into the front seat, he looked out through the windshield, but the dome light inside the car and the darkness outside had changed the glass into a mirror. He turned away. His face was the last thing he wanted to see.

 

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An e-book of my first novel, A Bend In The Willow

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The Author:

photoshoot-5Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers’ Association Novel Award twice for her novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Her novel, A Bend In The Willow, was published in January 2017. Redemption Lake, the first in a 3-book detective series, will be released May 17, 2017. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. In her spare time, Susan likes to make quilts and stained glass windows. She says it is a little bit like writing, telling stories with fabric and glass.

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The Quiet Type by Summer Prescott

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Genre: Thriller
Date Published: April 18, 2017

The Quiet TypeTim and Susannah have ordinary lives on the surface, he’s a mortician for whom death is a serious business, and she’s a chef who really knows her way around a knife, but if the neighbors in their small Midwestern town knew of her dark hobby, they’d run for the hills.

Raised by an apathetic mother and a cruel father, Susannah was bullied and pushed to her breaking point long before she met mild-mannered Tim, and has learned to channel her murderous impulses into a strange form of art, which keeps her clueless husband safe…for now.

As strange events occur, and Susannah’s eccentric behavior becomes more dynamic, Tim starts to wonder about his wife. Will he be too perceptive for his own good?

This twisted, psychological, serial killer thriller will sear your psyche and rattle your soul, so buckle up, you’re in for a terrifying ride.

CONTENT WARNING: If you are a reader of Summer Prescott’s Cozy Mysteries, please be advised that this book depicts the actions and mindset of a serial killer, contains some adult language and adult circumstances.

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Excerpt:

Susannah Guntzelman was invisible. Not in the traditional sense of the word, of course, but in the far more painful translation where all of humanity simply failed to notice her existence. She’d been overlooked and unnoticed her entire life, whether at home, by parents who worked too hard to care, or in public, where strangers merely saw a plain, overweight girl, if they saw her at all. Today was no different, as she shuffled to class in last year’s jeans and sensible shoes, her mass of dry, frizzy hair carelessly piled atop her head in an unruly bun.

Being invisible had its advantages of course. It allowed her to get through nearly every day of her dreary existence without having to interact with other human beings. Teachers never called on her, no one said hello when they passed her in the hall, and she sat alone during every unending lunch hour, methodically eating the interesting assortment of foods that she’d stuffed into her bright blue insulated lunch pack. The bag was an intrusive spark of color in her otherwise beige existence. She hated it, but her mother, Greta, the long-legged, perfect-haired china doll who loved her job more than her daughter, had said that the store didn’t have any black or grey ones, so she would ‘just have to deal with it.’


Susannah trailed behind a gaggle of giggling girls, entering the calculus classroom with perhaps less trepidation than the twittering twats in front of her. She was good at math, it came easily to her, and the teacher seemed to know that she might just spiral into a panic attack if she were forced to participate in a way other than quickly scribbling out correct answers and turning them in. Math was orderly. She liked things to be orderly. She was glad, for the teacher’s sake, that he somehow understood her need for invisibility.


Early parent/teacher conferences had pegged little Susie as an angry child who didn’t get along with others, which led to wretched things. The punishments at home for bad reports were worse than the punishments at school, so she’d learned to keep her seething resentment to herself. She’d kept it to herself for so long, in fact, that she’d grown numb emotionally. Even when battered and taunted mercilessly by thoughtless and cruel classmates, she compressed her mouth into a thin line and kept her head down, waiting until she got home to pick the spitwads from her colorless and tangled hair, and to dab a cold cloth on the welts made by well-aimed rubber bands.


At home, she taught herself to withhold tears from the monster who tried his best to encourage them. When she was stripped naked and whipped with kitchen utensils, belts, shoes, or any other handy device, when she was locked into the chicken coop for days at a time, not even allowed to sleep in her bed or relieve herself in private, and even when she was denied food after the beast who spawned her poked at her soft, white flesh, declaring her to be a fat pig, she’d bite the inside of her cheeks, dig her nails into her palms, or even hold her breath if necessary…but she Would. Not. Cry.


Her goal was simple, wait for the herd of cattle to get out of her way, and get to her seat without bringing any attention to herself. She’d had a rough morning at home, and her nerves were sprinkling dark sparks into her psyche. Susannah was more than ready to immerse herself in the orderly realm of math, glorious math. So focused was she on getting to her seat, that she never saw the furtive foot, encased in an expensive running shoe, darting out like the tongue of a serpent, tripping her.


Arms full of books, the gawky teen hit the ground hard, her head knocking against the metal leg of a desk. There were a few gasps, and more than a few giggles, and when Susannah turned over, stunned, still clutching her books, the concerned frown of Mr. Davis loomed over her.


“Susannah…are you okay? What happened here?” he asked, the cuff of his polyester pants brushing against her arm.


She sat up slowly, dazed, a trickle of defiantly crimson blood running down her forehead, and over the soft round of her cheek. Her heavy glasses were askew, and she pushed them up absently, horrified that every eye in the class was upon her. She flushed bright red from the base of her neck to the roots of her hair, as she heard the guffaws and soft pig sounds of her classmates. Humiliation was an overwhelming emotion that couldn’t be stopped, even with years of conditioning. It slammed into her with brute force, threatening to steal the very breath from her lungs. Her head throbbed with it, her mouth turned to cotton, and beads of sweat sprung out on her forehead as she worked to control the tremors which rippled through her. It took her a couple of tries, while the teacher blathered on with his concern and his questions, asking if she needed to go to the nurse, but she rolled herself onto her knees, and leaning on the desk that had struck her, she rose shakily to her feet.


Debbie Moran. Smug, snooty, Debbie Moran was smirking at her, enjoying the result of her sly move. Until this moment, Susannah hadn’t loathed her more than any of the other simpering American princesses who glided through the halls as though their nimble feet didn’t even touch the chipped linoleum, but now…it was different. Now, dainty little Debbie Moran made something dark rise up inside Susannah the Sow, as her classmates called her, something darker than the judgmental little bitch was prepared to deal with. So dark that it made her heart pound. So dark that it made her mouth water. Soon, Debbie Moran, soon.


Susannah lumbered from the classroom, with Mr. Davis saying something about it being good that she was going to the nurse, but once out of his sight, she bypassed the office and walked out of the school unchallenged, breathing hard, but not from exertion. She huffed and puffed as she walked, striding fast and far as she made her plans, the need for order and justice in her world burning like a hot coal within her.


Teeth clenched, hair blowing in the chill autumn breeze, Susannah swiped absently at the tickle on her cheek, fascinated when she saw blood smeared on her fingers. She turned her hand this way and that, focused on the blood – the rude red color of it. The blood made her think, the blood made her feel, the blood made her hunger. She brought her fingers to her mouth, sucking the crimson liquid in, the metallic blast of it invigorating her. She licked and sucked her fingers until every last trace was gone, and surveyed her pale hand with a slight smile playing about her lips. Soon, Debbie Moran, soon.

The Quite Type Author Summer Prescott

 

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The Author:

The Quite Type Author Summer Prescott LogoSummer Prescott is well-known in the Cozy Mystery realm, having written and published several Best-Sellers in the genre. An avid reader of Thrillers, Horror and Suspense, the author has decided to follow her passion with the debut of her Thriller, The Quiet Type, which launched in the top 50 of the Serial Killer category on Amazon. The novel has received high praise in its reviews, and Summer is considering a possible trilogy or series to continue the story.

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