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Rising by Sonya Weiss

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 Title: Rising
Author: Sonya Weiss
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Supernatural Romance
Pub Date: May 9, 2017

 

When sparks fly between a human and a Supernatural, the entire planet could be at stake.

9781516100279_400x600It’s been ten years since the Great Extinction, when Supernaturals threatened to destroy humanity. Now, in the sleepy town of Wayside, Nevada, seventeen-year-old Cassie Grant’s life couldn’t be more ordinary. Determined to get into an Ivy League college, her focus is squarely on her studies. But suddenly everything changes when she witnesses Jason Taylor, a cute and quiet loner, mysteriously save a young boy from falling to his death.

Although the Supernaturals ultimately retreated to their planet, three families were left behind—including Jason’s. So far, they’ve been successfully hiding in plain sight. But Jason knows that if Cassie exposes him, all their lives will be in peril—especially since Cassie’s father is the head of the Alien Eradication and Defense Department. At first, befriending Cassie is Jason’s survival tactic. But as they spend more time together, they begin to fall in love. With the authorities closing in and a hidden threat that could tear the very Earth apart, can Cassie and Jason keep each other safe—or will their star-crossed romance start another war?…

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Excerpt:

CASSIE
      I wiped off the mess I’d made of my makeup for the second time, and stared at the pallor of my skin in the mirror. The scar high on my cheekbone wasn’t as bad as the ones on my back, but it was a visible reminder of the attack that gave me nightmares. Each time I’d jerk myself out of sleep, I’d fallen right back into the disturbing images again. No high IQ needed to guess why. At dinner Dad had talked in detail about the destructive nature of aliens. As if I needed to be told.
      His stories and warnings alone weren’t the reason I didn’t like aliens. I knew firsthand that they killed, that they left humans scarred. I didn’t blame my father for my injuries, but my mother did. I pushed away the memory of what happened during that awful camping trip in New Mexico. That night had forever changed all of us and made me look at aliens differently.
      Aliens were mysterious, powerful beings who were hunted by the government but more often than not, we humans were the prey. While there were a lot of pro-alien groups around that spouted on websites and to anyone who’d listen that we had nothing to fear from these “visiting creatures,” the scars on my body were living proof that was a lie.
      A strange premonition swept over me and I shivered, then tried again to reapply my makeup fast so I wouldn’t be late for school. One more year, and then I was through.
      I couldn’t wait to get out of Wayside, Nevada, far away from my father, and his job as lead agent at the Alien Eradication and Defense Department. I didn’t want to live with the reminder of aliens at every conversation. I needed a clean slate, a place where I could build good memories. I wished we could go back to our lives before the Great Extinction.
      That war between the humans and aliens sucked the laughter out of our family like a tornado had spun through. Aliens had killed my uncle during one of the battles. My father hadn’t been the same since his brother’s death but he’d tried hard to keep himself together. But then after me nearly dying during that camping trip because of an alien attack, my father had unraveled in ways that baffled and sometimes even scared me.
      I finished applying my makeup, checked my arms and back in the mirror to make sure my scars were hidden, and gave my face one final glance. Good enough. Grabbing my backpack, I made my way down the stairs to the living room where Mom lay curled on the sofa beneath a blanket. She had the same shoulder-length black hair and brown eyes I did, but where she was cover-model confident, not even photoshopping could erase my self-consciousness. I was a little on the nerdy side so I’d never been that confident, but after I was scarred, it had only gotten worse. I didn’t wear sleeveless shirts anymore and I wouldn’t dream of ever wearing a bikini again.
      With a frustrated sigh, Mom sat up and muted the television, silencing the anchor mid-report on the frequent earthquakes striking our area. I stood behind the sofa and lip-read the closed captioning for a few seconds.
      “Anything new, or are they rehashing yesterday’s news?”
      “Not much new other than the United States Geological Survey is monitoring the area. Nevada is the twenty-first state hit with a wave of them.”
      “That’s a lot of earthquakes.”
      “There’s nothing to worry about, Cassie. If there were, the USGS would inform the right people who would then inform the public.”
      I didn’t believe that. Because of Dad’s job, I had insight into how the government hid things. The rash of unexplained earthquakes made me edgy. “Where’s Dad?”
      To my surprise her lips tightened, and I wondered if there was trouble again in Alienville. “He slept at the office last night.”
      “Chasing little green men wore him out?” I pushed my hands through my out of control hair to corral it into a ponytail.
      She tried to hide it, but a ghost of a smile flitted across her lips, and for a second we were unified in the knowledge Dad was acting weirder than usual. “You know your father.”
      My stomach dropped. They’d been fighting more lately and the fights were getting uglier. “Did he sleep at the office because of his work or…”
      “You should eat. I’ll make you something.” She got up and went into the kitchen. Mom was a great cook, but she never took the time anymore because she always had to leave the house before I did. I didn’t know what she was still doing home.
      After taking the milk out of the refrigerator, she poured a glass, and then reached for the box of pancake mix. When she pulled the eggs out and set them on the counter, I said, “Mom? What’s going on?” Different what-ifs flitted through my mind while I waited for her to answer. Dad was having an affair. Mom was sick. Or Dad’s grouchy, could-never-be pleased mother was coming to visit. That last one made me feel sick. “Is Grandma coming for a visit?”
      She glanced over her shoulder, shook her head, and laughed as we shared a look of mutual thank-God relief. “Speaking of aliens,” she muttered.
      I laughed again. “Seriously, Mom. What is it?” I covered her hand with mine to get her to stop trying to make breakfast.
      She hesitated, as if trying to decide how to answer. “Your dad thinks there’s a connection between aliens and these earthquakes.”
      I rolled my eyes. Their power wasn’t something to be underestimated, but I wasn’t stupid enough to think they could control the Earth. “He thinks there’s a connection between global warming and aliens, power
outages and aliens, rising taxes and aliens. When doesn’t he think things are related to aliens?”
      She shook her head as if trying to shake off the sudden heaviness blanketing both of us. “You don’t want breakfast?”
      I moved to the pantry and scored the last chocolate chip granola bar from the box. “I don’t have time. The class hike is today. I have to rush, or I’ll be late.”
      “You’re wearing that?”
      I glanced down at my jeans with the myriad of artful cuts. “These are retro. Everyone’s wearing them.”
      “I meant the T-shirt.”
      I put a hand over the image of ET. I’d unearthed the shirt at the secondhand store. “It’s a joke.”
      “Make sure you change before your father sees it. No use throwing gas on the fire.”
      Dad was exactly the reason I’d bought the shirt, and I didn’t care if he saw it. Yes, I was afraid of aliens, but I was tired of my fear holding me hostage and I was trying to find my way back to the me I’d once been. There were so many things I didn’t do anymore since that camping trip because I was too afraid.
      “Cassie?” Mom said.
      “Fine, I’ll change before he sees it.”
      “Are you riding in with Mark?” She sounded hopeful, not yet knowing my status as the alien hunter’s daughter wiped out my dating life once again.
      “Um…no. Gotta run.”

 

 

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Author Bio:

Weiss, SonyaSonya Weiss is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and author, including the Stealing the Heart series with Entangled Publishing. She’s addicted to great books, good movies, and Italian chocolates. She’s passionate about causes that support abused animals and children. Her parents always supported her bringing stray animals home, although the Great Dane rescue was a surprise.

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The Angel Knights Series by Mary Ting

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Series: The Angel Knights
Author: Mary Ting
Genre: Urban Fantasy

 

The Angel Knights

Prequel/Novella

Angel-FINAL-ebooklg_400x600Michael and Claudia’s decision to move back to Crossroads was to keep their children safe, but they can’t escape who they are. Their children, Zachary and Lucia, were destined to be demon hunters—Venators. From the age they were able to hold a sword, they were trained to become the best and to ensure they would become leaders one day.

All is peaceful throughout the land until the Fallen and demons’ presences were felt in the between and on Earth. As the Venators investigate these locations, they will quickly learn how dangerous their lives are. Hearts will be broken. Teammates will lose their lives. And they will face obstacles which will test their faith.

As danger grows, the fear of fallen angels and demons regrouping has the Divine Elders on pins and needles. Now, Zachary and Lucia, along with Uncle Davin, must prepare themselves—mentally and physically—to live on Earth to investigate where the focal point of evil resides before it’s too late.

**Strongly recommended to read before the rest of the books!**

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The Chosen Knights

Book 1

*** SILVER AWARD WINNER 2016–YA FANTASY–READERS’ FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD***

ChosenKnights_Ebook High_400x600When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside.

In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.

There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.

**HIGHLY recommend to read prequel first–The Angel Knights**

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A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page!
~InD’tale Magazine

 

The Blessed Knights

Book 2

Blessed_high_400x600Above a small hill lay a home.
And green men peer out under the dome.
Thirteen crisscrossing arches behold,
with angels singing must be told.
Cubes like teeth thus showed,
pierce one and the door shall glow.
Part the sea like Moses,
to see the bundle of red roses.
Only then you shall see,
what is destined to be free.

Eli, Lucia’s half-demon love interest, has been stabbed with a true-cross dagger and captured by Cyrus, master of the possessor demons. The Chosen Knights must work together once again not only to save Eli, but also to decipher a clue to find the second missing page of Jacques de Molay’s journal. Meanwhile, Uncle Davin informs Crossroads’ Divine Elders of the danger ahead and learns there is much to fear.

Countless children are being taken from all over the world to be turned into demons. Michael, one of the Divine Elders, has no choice but to intervene. The Chosen Knights track down Mortem, the demon who is the key to finding Cyrus, and learn they must travel deep into the pit of a Hawaiian volcano. When they astral travel to the past in search of a clue and follow Jacques de Molay to Rosselyn Chapel in medieval Scotland, what they find will rewrite history.

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Excerpt:

      Though it seemed impossible, in no time he stood in front of me. He appeared like a ghost, then became translucent, and then took on the form of black mist outlining the shape of his face and body. The beauty and the mystery of this supernatural being hypnotized me. As his entity flickered in and out, a soft wind lightly tousled my hair and caressed my body. To my surprise, an incredible warmth filled me. I gasped, unsure of what to do. I should be deathly afraid of the unknown, but I wasn’t.
      His stare never faltered. It reached to the depths of my soul as he breathed in the air of my existence, and I his. He smelled like a mixture of sweet coconut and the freshest greens of nature. As his lips moved closer to mine, a cool mist floated out of his mouth, then back in, and I felt my body levitate, feeling weightless as a withered leaf falling from a branch swaying with the autumn wind.
      Eli’s dark, menacing eyes told me he was dangerous. Something wicked ran in his blood. I sensed it with every angel instinct in me. Yet, at the same time, I sensed something good. How could I feel both at the same time? Then a strong urge forced me to close my eyes. When I opened them, he had vanished. He was sitting with his back to me again, as if what I had experienced was only a figment of my imagination. What the heck just happened?
      “Lucia? Are you okay?” I heard Jack’s voice, snapping me out of my trance.
      “Jack? Did you see? Was he just…?”
      Jack had no idea what I meant. I stopped asking him questions, realizing some kind of supernatural activity had happened. Stunned by how easily Eli had controlled me, he was…what?

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The Author:

MaryInternational Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one – Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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Rescue Me by Sara Schoen

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Title: Rescue Me
Series: Escape From Reality Series #1
Author: Sara Schoen
Publication Date: May 15, 2017
Genre: Romance

RescueMeCoverMia Daniels is running away.

She’s leaving her family, her job, and her life behind, all to get away from her past. With no plan, she packed her suitcase and took off for a town where she thought she’d be safe. She should have known she wouldn’t be safe anywhere…

Gage Greystone is running from his family name.

His family has owned the town for generations, but he doesn’t plan to take it over from his father. He has a dream to save others; from the treacherous hiking trails or from themselves. Maybe that’s why he’s so attracted to the newest resident of Escape, Mia. She seems to be silently begging to be rescued. From what, he doesn’t know, but he’ll do anything to rescue her.

But this rescue may be impossible for the decorated emergency serviceman…

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Excerpt:

As I traveled through the camping ground and the wellness camp, I could see what Lottie meant by a slow start to summer. There was room for well over one hundred and fifty hikers, and that didn’t include the trailers I’m sure drove through occasionally, at the camp site. The wellness camp had about ten cabins with what seemed like only one being used and a lot of open space.

I made a point to travel through the wellness camp slowly so I could possibly find Kelsey and see if she wanted her bike back, but I only saw a few girls who looked to be about fifteen. They were lacing up their hiking boots while others were preparing for a swim. A few waved at me as I passed, others seemed shy and looked away from me. I tried not to be offended. To them I was an outsider, someone they should stay away from. Just like he had taught me to do. I waved back regardless and continued my ride over Faith Bridge. I could see the town crowning over the hill to my right, but the well-defined hiking trail to my left beckoned me.


Lottie can wait a little longer, I decided with a smile. Turning my front tire toward the dirt path, I took off with the girl’s excited laughter and shrieks from entering the cold-water echoing around me. Their voices faded behind me as trees thickened around me, wrapping me in a cool, shadowy blanket, shielding me from the sun, and silencing everything around me until I was left with only my thoughts.
A few months ago, leaving me to my thoughts would have been dangerous. Maybe even suicidal. In the past few years, I had gone through more turmoil than I thought possible, and it seemed like the pain was never-ending. No matter what I did, I couldn’t escape bad news.


I thought I had found the one, the person I was meant to be with, the one who’s supposed to be by my side for the rest of my life, but then it all fell apart. “It’s over, Mia.” I had been trying to fix a broken relationship; cheating, fighting, and abusive, manipulative behavior. I should have known it couldn’t be fixed, but I didn’t want to give up on him. I thought we loved each other, but it turns out that had been one sided too. “Mia, stop. You’re embarrassing me and you’re embarrassing yourself. It’s over, Mia. I don’t love you, I don’t think I ever did. You’re someone I settled for, you’re nothing. It’s your fault this happened, not mine. Now it’s time to move on. I have, and you should too.”


Trees moved past me in a flash as I peddled faster, taking my memories with them. But once those were gone, I was left with a harsh reality. The same ex who had told me I wasn’t worth anything and would never amount to anything is chasing me to ruin the life I had created without him. I shook my head as the path took a turn. Stop thinking about it. It’s over now. The small flickers of sunlight through the leaves and the light at the end of the tunnel of trees echoed my thoughts; a new life, one without him.


I broke free of the trees and came out on a stunning overlook. The path settled against the edge of one of the mountains, giving me a great view of Peak View, a small town the bus had stopped in for a short time, and the surrounding landscape. It reminded me a lot of Escape, but with more shopping, a high school, a military base, and more homes. It’s going to be packed in the upcoming months. Not that I could blame anyone for wanting to visit. I had been here only a few days and I already loved the little town. Even as I looked over the lush green landscape, I didn’t feel as far from my family as I had when it came to Wes. For the first time, in a long time, I genuinely felt at home. I didn’t feel the need to look over my shoulder. This is the place for me. This is where I can finally heal and move on. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.


Taking a deep breath of the fresh mountain air, I realized I couldn’t wait to move on. I’d dive in head first, even if it meant accepting another gift I didn’t deserve from Lottie. If this is what they do, then I should accept it. It’s time to move on. Whether he wants me to or not. Turning my bike around to head back to town, I took one last glance at the overlook. The sun hanging over Peak View, the mountains keeping us concealed, and everything in me was screaming for me to take a leap of faith. And that’s just what I’ll do. I pushed away from Mountain Side Height lookout and headed toward town, thanks to the helpful signs on Morning Glory’s trail. I left feeling the best I had in years…I’d return when my life turned to shit again. As it inevitably would.

 

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The Author:

LSNpik77Sara Schoen is a Biology major at James Madison University who was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She has been an adamant writer since she was young. She hopes to have readers find solace in the worlds and characters she creates, and in some cases provide a cautionary tale. Sara plans to continue writing and will explore various genres in the future.

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Where it All Began by Lorana Hoopes

WhereitAllBeganBlitz_zpsfdkp9ape

Genre: Christian Fiction
Date Published: re-released April 2017
Publisher: H&H Publishing

where_it_all_began_2Sandra Baker thought her life was going perfectly until she found out she was pregnant. Her boyfriend doesn’t want the baby and pushes her to have an abortion. After the procedure, Sandra spirals into depression losing her relationship and nearly her job. When she meets Henry, a Christian man, who displays God’s love, she begins to wonder if God can forgive her and more importantly if she can forgive herself.

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Excerpt:

The delicate paper menu held only a few choices, and my eyes widened at the prices. I should have thought to ask where we were going before I agreed. I didn’t have the money to spend so much on dinner, especially since Peter had moved out and money was much tighter. My heart thudded in my chest as I quickly scanned for the cheapest item on the menu; even the side salad was nearly fifteen dollars. How do people afford this? Well, the salad comes with bread and a bowl of soup, so at least it should be enough to fill me up.

          The waiter, clad in a white dress shirt and perfectly pressed black pants, appeared just as I laid the menu down. “Have we had enough time?” he asked politely, glancing at each of us before focusing his attention on Philip, who took the lead in ordering.
          “Yes, we’ll have two glasses of your finest red wine and two plates of the steak and lobster, grilled medium well.” He handed his and Raquel’s menus to the waiter.
          “Very well,” the waiter nodded and turned his attention to me.
          I swallowed. “Um, I’ll have the side salad and the tomato soup.”
          The waiter cocked his head. “Will that be all miss?”
          My face flushed, and just as I was about to answer, Henry jumped in. “Yes, and the same for me please.” He handed our menus to the waiter.
          The waiter nodded. “Yes, sir, and anything further to drink?”
          Henry glanced at me; I shook my head. “No, water will be adequate for now, thank you.”
          As the waiter turned away, I regarded Henry. Who was this man, and why was he being so nice to me? He caught me staring and shot me a small wink as he picked up a piece of bread.

 

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The Author:

author20photoLorana Hoopes is an inspirational romance and children’s author originally from Texas. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. When not writing, she can be found singing or acting on stage or kickboxing at her gym. You can also find her hosting her show Write the World where she interviews authors and writers. If you are an author and want to be featured, be sure to contact her.

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Twice Betrayed by Gayle C. Krause

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The thread of friendship is stretched to the breaking point…

TwiceBetrayedFinal-FJM_Kindle_1800x2700.jpgWith the spark of independence crackling in Colonial Philadelphia, Perdy Rogers chafes under the strict rule of her Quaker grandmother and the endless duties of her apprenticeship in Betsy Ross’s upholstery shop. So when her best friend shares a secret and invites Perdy to help plan an elopement, she’s thrilled to be with her friends again. But Perdy has no idea that one favor will unravel the stable fabric of her life and involve her in a tangled web of deceit, lies and treachery.

Disguised as boys, three girls head to the river to put Perdy’s plan into action, but only two return. When the third, a young milliner’s assistant, is found drowned with gold coins sewn into her hems, coded spy letters in her bodice, and a journal implicating another sewing apprentice as her co-conspirator, all eyes turn to Perdy Rogers. But she’s no spy!

Accused of treason, she struggles to prove her innocence with the help of a handsome stranger and learns the hard way that freedom, whether an individual’s or a country’s, comes at a cost.

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Excerpt:
      I sit accused of treason and I’ve no one to depend on but myself. I’m not going to let these strange men who don’t even know me and these absurd lies win. I squeeze my teary eyes shut. They’ve all abandoned me.

      Mother, please send me the strength to get through this. Is this my punishment for foolishly disregarding Abby’s safety that night? I’m sorry for that. Mother, please make these men see the truth.


      Suddenly, footsteps hurtle down the aisle and interrupt my thoughts.


      Mr. White and Mr. Tillingham approach the Constable and the tiniest spark of hope ignites the darkness that surrounds me like a mourning cloak.


      I peer through my lashes as the men huddle and quietly debate. The two parties of men stand at the back of the hall.


      Finally, Constable Duffield faces me, waves his clenched fist above his head, and struts toward the judge. He opens his hand and whispers what Mr. White disclosed to him.


      The judge straightens in his chair and strokes his beard. “You may proceed, Constable.”


      “Councilman, we have uncovered the last bit of evidence that ensures a guilty verdict for our young traitoress. This button is the same type shown earlier in this court. Please pass it among yourselves.


      I gasp. More evidence? A guilty verdict? How could this be?


      Each man examines it closely. The last man pries it open. It’s in two pieces, when it returns to the Constable. His voice rings clear through the hall. “Here we have a secret compartment button, just as the others were, only this one has yet to have a message inserted.”


      He turns to me. “Does this button look like the others, Miss Rogers?”


      I turn the halves over and my heart sinks. The cover is exactly the same as the ones Old Annie tried to give me. I’ve no choice, but to answer. “Yes.”


      “In her own words, she has claimed this button is the same as those used to transfer secret information. Do you know where this button was found?”


      I’ve no idea. I bite the side of my mouth, mind frozen, unable to comprehend the warped logic of this man. Why does he think this button is proof of my guilt? I shake my head.


      He turns to the townspeople, holds both halves above his head for all to see, and bellows, “Under your bed, Miss Rogers.” He turns to the jurors. “It was found under her very own bed, in the room she shares with the Widow Lithgow.”


      The room erupts with whispers and insinuations.
Constable Duffield turns to where Mam was seated and continues. “Who is also gone from this court? Is this a coincidence? Whenever someone from that household is to be held accountable for their part in the conspiracy, they mysteriously disappear. First, Miss Montgomery, and now the Widow herself.”


      I spring to my feet, as Abby did, and with a running start, push the treacherous man from behind.


      He lands in the first row of chairs, where Mam and Abby were seated. My words are calm, but my tone is cold, almost threatening. “I told you not to accuse my grandmother. She’s a good woman with no blemish on her name. If you must blame me, then blame me, but do not try to implicate my grandmother.”


      “See here, Miss Rogers,” calls the judge. “I shall not tolerate violence in my court. Seize her.”


      Stunned silence hangs as thick as black velvet in the meeting room. Constable Duffield’s men grab my arms, and Quaker or not, I’ve no trouble focusing my hate on him.


      He pulls himself to his feet and charges to where his men detain me. Gripping my arms, he lifts me high in the air.


      I thrash my legs like a rearing stallion, as he carries me back to my chair, and forces me to sit. “We are not blaming you, Miss Rogers. We have proven you are, indeed, a traitor.” He’s so frenzied his spittle splashes my face. “You are the link between the British Loyalists and Colonial security. You, my dear, are a spy, a very cunning and clever spy. This button proves your connection and by your ‘own words,’ as the good grandmother would have it. This council will now decide your fate.” He pivots toward the Selectmen. “Gentlemen?”


      My bewildered gaze falls on Miss Betsy, my only hope for salvation.


      Tears glisten in her eyes.


      The rest of the town sits with grim expressions, approving of the so-called justice they witnessed.


      Adam Tillingham stands in the back, a smirk plastered across his face.


      My pulse races. The knot in my chest tightens like a hangman’s noose. I can’t let this happen. It’s wrong. They’re wrong.


      After several minutes of heated dialogue, the councilmen confront the judge. “Sir, she is but a girl, and some of us find the punishment for this crime to harsh.”


      “Ah, but the law is the law, gentlemen. It does not defer to age.” Constable Duffield glowers at them.


      “I order you to come to a decision, sir, as your verdict insures justice for our community,” says the judge.


      After more discussion, the eldest man stands. A tear glints in his eye. He hesitates, and then glances away from me.


      “Have you reached a unanimous decision, sir?” asks the judge.


      “We have your honor. The known penalty for treason is death.”

 
The Author:

photo.JPGAs a Master Educationalist Gayle C. Krause taught Children’s Literature, creative writing, storytelling techniques, and acting in upstate New York, where she trained young men and women to become successful Early Childhood and Elementary teachers. She also directed the Pre-K Laboratory School affiliated with her teacher-training program and taught at a local SUNY college as an adjunct professor.

Her years as a creative role model for teens and pre-school children have led to her career as a children’s author. She is a member of SCBWI, KIDLIT, INK, The JAGRS Writing Group, and a past member of the Historical Novel Society and The Poets’ Garage.

Her publishing credits include:

• Rock Star Santa, (2008) Scholastic.
• RATGIRL: Song of the Viper – Noble Young Adult /Trowbridge Books (2013)
• Scheherazade’s Secret – Trowbridge Books 2014
• Twice Betrayed – Trowbridge Books 2017
• And coming November 7, 2017 – Daddy, Can You See the Moon? – Clear Fork Publishing.

She lives in a small town not far from where she was born. She listens to her muse sing through the trees of the Pocono Mountains and is inspired to write for children everyday.

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The Heartbeat Hypothesis by Lindsey Frydman

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Title: The Heartbeat Hypothesis
Author: Lindsey Frydman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
LFTheHeartbeatHypothesisBookCover1600x2400_400x600Audra Madison simply wanted to walk in the shoes of Emily Cavanaugh, a free-spirited teenager who died too young. After all, Audra wasn’t supposed to be here.

Thanks to Emily, Audra has a second chance at life. She’s doing all the things that seemed impossible just two years ago: Go to college. Date. Stargaze in the Rocky Mountains. Maybe get a tattoo. You know, live.

Jake Cavanaugh, a photographer with mysterious, brooding gray eyes, agrees to help chronicle her newfound experiences. She makes him laugh, one of the only people who can these days. As they delve into each other’s pasts – and secrets – the closer they become.

But she’s guarded and feels like she can’t trust anyone, including herself.

And he’s struggling with the fact that his beloved sister’s heart beats inside her.

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Excerpt:

“Audra…I’m really sorry.”

My mind was stuck on the way my name sounded coming from him in that low, rough voice. I wrapped my arms together, running my hands down them to chase away the line of goosebumps. “It’s fine. I understand.”


His jaw twitched. Fingers flexed and unflexed. “I’ve still got more pictures to take,” he said, taking a step back. “If you still want a piano lesson, I’ll be in the rec center at seven on Monday, okay? Meet me there.”


I nodded, offering him the best smile I could manage. But as he turned to go, I whispered, “I’m the one who’s sorry.”


He flashed me a questioning look. “Sorry for what?”


I lowered my arms and pressed my palms together. “About Emily.” I’m sorry she’s dead and I’m not, and that you want her to be standing here and not me. I’m sorry if this isn’t what she would’ve wanted—me living the life she couldn’t have.


I’d never seen anyone stand so still and straight-faced for so long. The only movement was his chest rising and falling with increasing pace.


When he spoke, agony laced every word. “There’s nothing for you to be sorry about.”


My whole body trembled, a thousand tiny needles pricked at my skin, and I couldn’t keep my voice from wavering. “I think…I feel like—”


“No.” He shook his head, inching toward me again. “I don’t want your pity. I don’t want you apologizing.”


Peering across the street at a cluster of trees, I swallowed. The coils in my chest tightened like a winding rubber band until I thought I might snap in two.


Jake said my name again, lower this time, and when I looked at him, he was only inches away. “I have a lot of shit going on. None of it has anything to do with you.” Two fingers brushed the edge of my cheek, and he gave me a half-hearted smile. “You just don’t know me that well.”


My skin burned beneath his light caress. “That’s the whole point,” I whispered, still shaking. “I don’t know anything about you. But I want to.”


“I’m not an easy guy to understand.” His fingers drifted down my neck, and he took another deep inhale before he pulled his hand away.


I’m beginning to see that. I ran my own hand over the spot where he’d touched me, then rubbed the back of my neck. “Most people aren’t.”


“I know.” His eyes grew unfocused as he lifted the camera up. “I’ve got to get back to work. See you Monday?”


I nodded and he stepped past me, heading for the back of the house, his shoes crunching over the dry grass.


Flattening my palms against my sides, I looked at the porch steps, wishing I didn’t have to go back inside, through the crush of people. Wishing Jake wasn’t leaving me.


“Hey,” he called from yards away, his figure merely a shadow beneath the trees. “I want to know you too.”

 

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The Author:

LindseyLindsey has been writing since she was nine years old, when she discovered the awesomeness that is Harriet the Spy. Her books always include a romance, though sometimes there’s an added sci-fi or magical realism twist. She lives in Columbus, Ohio (where the weather is never quite right). Her BFA in Photography and Graphic Design has granted her a wide assortment of creative knowledge that serves as inspiration (and not much else). When she’s not crafting YA and NA stories, you’ll likely find her spending waaay too much time on Pinterest, playing a video game, singing show-tunes, or performing in a burlesque show—because she enjoys giving her introversion a worthy adversary. (Plus, it’s the closest to Broadway she’ll ever get.) Lindsey was a proud 2016 Pitch Wars Mentee and thoroughly adores being a part of the wonderful writing community. THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS is her debut novel.

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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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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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