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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Spotlight On…Linda Pennell’s Confederado do Norte

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Linda Pennell on her novel, Confederado do Norte.

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Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I have been writing historical fiction for about six years. Before that, my writing pertained to earning an advanced degree and professional certifications as well as curriculum for my school district.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.
A: Not long after I finished my third novel, all unpublished at the time, I met Soul Mate Publishing founder and editor-in-chief Debbie Gilbert at a conference. We have a lot in common and we just clicked. Shortly thereafter, I sent Debbie Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel which was released in July 2013. Soul Mate released my second novel, Confederado do Norte, in July 2014.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?
A: Rejection is a painful, but necessary, part of the road to publication. Do not be discouraged. Learn all you can about craft, join a good critique group, attend conferences, stay focused on the goal, and write the book you would want to read.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.
A: Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

Blurb:

October, 1866.

Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

I dreamt the dream again last night. In the small hours, I awoke in a tumble of bedclothes and bathed in perspiration despite the howling snowstorm blanketing the city. I rearranged quilts and plumped pillows, but sleep remained elusive. My mind refused to be quiet.

As often happens after such a night, I felt unable to rise at my usual hour and remained abed long after the maids cleared breakfast from the morning room. My daughter-in-law, bless her heart, meant well. I told her it was ridiculous to bring the doctor out on such a frigid day, but apparently the very old, like the very young, are not to be trusted in matters of judgment. After the doctor listened to my chest, a studied sympathy filled his eyes and he gently suggested that perhaps I should get my affairs in order. No doubt he wondered at my smile for he couldn’t have known I have no affairs other than my memories and the emotions they engender.

Unlike most elderly persons, I don’t revel in slogging through the past. It isn’t wrapped in pretty ribbons or surrounded by a golden aura. Instead, its voices haunt my dreams, demanding and accusatory. Until recently, I’ve resisted their intrusion into my waking life, but I now believe the past can no longer remain buried in nocturnal visions. It must be brought out into the light of day. From its earliest moments onward, the past’s substance must be gouged out, pulled apart, and examined bit by bit until its truth is exposed. While total objectivity may not be possible, I have concluded that committing the past to paper is my best hope for sorting facts from imaginings. Perhaps then I will achieve the peace that has so long hidden its face from me.

You see, when I was quite young—only a girl really—I killed four people. Two were dearly beloved, one was a hated enemy, and the last was a dangerous criminal.

Chapter 2

My story begins at the end of a terrible war, one that destroyed many lives and much property. But for that war and a handful of newspaper editorials and advertisements, my life would have turned out quite differently. Sometimes it seems no time at all has passed since I was a nine-year-old child standing on the deck of a ship watching home disappear over the horizon.

Warm Gulf breezes tugged at the brim of my bonnet, setting its ribbons dancing. Leaning over the Alyssa Jane’s railing, I stared back in the direction of Mobile Bay and pretended I could see the dock where my beloved Bess stood, probably still waving. Mama, her pretty features marred by a furrowed brow and down turned mouth, paced beside me.

“Mary Catherine MacDonald! Get down before you fall overboard. All we need right now is another crisis. And stop wiping your nose on your sleeve.”

Mama didn’t seem to understand anything anymore. Before we left home, she was calm and kind. Afterward, she snapped at the least little thing. I threw her a hateful glance, but she had already turned away, so I stubbornly leaned a little farther out over the railing. The wake trailing behind the Alyssa Jane looked like a blue-green path lined on either side by mounds of ginned cotton, a path pushing me away from the only life I had ever known. Only my sniveling broke the silence of that October morning.

A swish of crinolines brought Mama beside me. She grabbed my arm and whispered through clenched teeth, “Mary C., I told you to get off that railing. Go below and stay there until you can do as you’re told!”

I stomped across the deck, pausing once beside the mainmast to scowl over my shoulder. It was all so unfair. I hadn’t asked to be dragged along on this blasted trip. I wanted Bess. I wanted to go home, no matter how damaged it was, no matter who ran the stupid government. I wanted to be anywhere but here. But Mama turned away from me. She wasn’t even going to watch to see that I did what she said. Her indifference was like a slap in the face.

As I jumped through the open hatch leading below deck, the pungent odor of pine tar mixed with burning kerosene assailed my senses. I hated the smell. Besides making me slightly queasy, it reminded me of how final my losses were. Nothing at home smelled like the interior of that old tub. I hit the steps at a near run with plans to fling myself into my hammock and stay there forever. It would serve them right if I just upped and died. I bowled along toward the sleeping area blinded by tears and the sudden gloom of the narrow passageway.

Without warning, I crashed headlong into a pair of wool-encased legs. The trousers’ owner and I struggled momentarily in an awkward dance. With a standoff in the making, he harrumphed once, picked me up by my arms, deposited me on the other side of him, and stepped toward the hatch.

Tears forgotten, I tugged on his retreating coattails, ready to let him see my displeasure. Hooded eyes with ink black irises stared down in return. He didn’t look particularly angry, but authority hung about him like a mantle.

I swallowed, choked back what I intended to say, and instead muttered, “I’m sorry for running into you.”

He gazed at me for a moment and then simply nodded before turning away. The Reverend Jonas Williams might be a man of God, but his unsmiling countenance raised the

hair at the nape of my neck as though someone stepped on my grave. Mama often fussed that Bess planted too many of her superstitions in my fertile imagination. I was now

old enough to understand that some of what Mama said was true. But the Reverend Brother Williams still affected me like a haint. A slight shudder slithered down my spine, as

though my body was trying to rid itself of his effect. I turned and fled down the hallway toward our sleeping quarters. Many months later, I would come to see this encounter as an omen, a foreshadowing of all that came afterward.

BIO:

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.”

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire

Social Media and Buy Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLindaBennettPennell

Website: http://www.lindapennell.com/

Twitter: @LindaPennell

Buy link for Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel: http://amzn.to/16qq3k5

Buy link for Confederado do Norte: http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI

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Posted by on September 28, 2014 in Spotlight On

 

Spotlight On…Erin Bevan’s The Ranch Hand

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Erin Bevan on her novel, The Ranch Hand.

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Q: How long have you been writing?
A:
I have been writing for three years now. I didn’t start out writing when I was a kid like most writers do. In fact, I didn’t even know I liked to write until I was in my mid twenties.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.
A:
My road to publication. Well, that’s a story. I’ll try to make it brief. I lived in South Korea with my husband and daughter. We moved there from Arkansas for his career. My life completely changed once we got there and I found myself without the simple luxuries we all take for granted in the US. I didn’t have a car, a job, a cellphone (who would I call anyway?) or friends. I didn’t speak the Korean language, and so I found myself spending most days alone in our small apartment. My daughter attended a Korean day school and I was for lack of better terms, lonely. I relied on books as my friends. Thank God for the Kindle! After reading what felt like thousands of books in a brief span (more like a hundred or two), I decided that I could write, so I did. My first few attempts sucked. I mean really sucked! But I kept at it, and eventually I got published.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?
A:
My advice to an aspiring author is just do it. You will have people hurt your feelings by either not believing in you or telling you your work sucks. That’s to be expected. Develop a thick skin and believe in yourself. If it’s your dream, then the only person standing in your way is you.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.
A:
My latest release is titled The Ranch Hand. I actually wrote it to answer a submission call for an erotic western anthology. Needless to say it got rejected. It wasn’t erotic enough, I don’t believe. I decided, why waste a good story, so I rewrote it the way I wanted the story to go (which is not erotic) and viola, The Ranch Hand was born. The Ranch Hand is about a rough and tough cowboy who get’s the responsibility of babysitting a cowgirl. Along the way, he realizes her stubborn demeanor is just enough stubborn to keep him on his toes and more than enough to make him fall in love.

Excerpt:

Jason arrived at Billings International Airport
twenty minutes early. He checked the monitors—Mike
and Bobby’s flight was scheduled to land on time.
Good. He sure as hell didn’t want to have to wait on
them.

He grabbed a seat by the bag terminal, tipped his
hat low on his head, and decided to catch a little shuteye
before he had to deal with their guests. He woke to
someone nudging his shoulder.

Jason tipped his hat back on his head to see a
blonde beauty standing in front of him. His heart
hammered against his chest. His throat tightened as he
gave her a quick once over.

Long golden strands covered her shoulders, and her
eyes were blue like a clear Montana sky. Her smile
penetrated his chest like the stilettos on her heels, and
the curve of her hips made his pants constrict.

“Yes, ma’am, can I help you?” he drawled.

“Are you Jason Haverty?” the beauty asked in a
Southern twang.

“Yes, I am.”

“Oh, thank goodness.” She turned. “Mike, over
here. I found him,” she hollered as she waved her arm in
the air.

The fire engine red handbag she held was some
high-pricedhigh-priced designer brand, Couch or Nada, something
like that, and her luggage had the letters LV all over it.
Maybe those were her initials.

He stood just as a young guy wearing a navy blue
T-shirt and skin-tight jeans made his way over to them.
This kid was long and lean, had celery stalks for legs,
and a zit on the tip of his nose. Hell, she was probably
the kid’s girlfriend, which meant she was young, too.

Too young for him.

A damn shame.

About the Author

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Erin Bevan was born and raised in Southwest Arkansas. She spent her teenage years working for her aunt at the local gas station flipping burgers and making milkshakes dreaming of the day when something better would come her way.

Fast forward ten years later, she found herself stuck inside an apartment in South Korea while her daughter went to preschool and her husband went to work. Alone and unable to speak the local language she turned to books for a friend. After reading a few hundred in such a short time, she decided to try her hand at writing one.

That first one sucked, but by the fifth and sixth book, Erin started to get the hang of this writing thing. Getting the first contract in the mail was a dream come true. Now, with three babies at home, she squeezes in stories one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one day at a time. She’s a full time mom, a full time wife, with a little writer sprinkled in whenever she can get the chance.

Contact Info:

You can reach Erin at
http://www.erinbevan.com
erinbevanwrites@gmail.com
Twitter: @ErinBevan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/erinbevanwrites

The Ranch Hand will be available for purchase starting September 24, 2014!
Check it out!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Thursday Thread

 

Thursday Thread with Author CD Hersh!

Today’s featured author is CD Hersh, who has written The Turning Stone Chronicles.

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CDHershBlood Brothers Cover

TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
HEAT LEVEL: Sensual

BLURB:
Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?

Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles

EXCERPTS:
Excerpt from book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” currently available in eBook and paperback on Amazon at: http://t.co/yW59QqvkLh

Eli,
I know it’s been years since you’ve heard from me, not since my brother’s murder, but Alexi’s time has come. I tried to shield her from the destiny, teaching her only the basics of the ring and waiting until she was an adult to start any training. I didn’t want to push her, but now she is developing skills I’ve not taught her. I need someone from the Council to come and assess her, and I can’t think of anyone I trust more than the man I fought beside in so many battles. After making such a mess of Sylvia, I don’t trust my judgment. I need an advocate on the Council and your advice. If you agree with my assessment, I want to present Alexi to the Council this coming Samhain. Please come as soon as possible…
The letter’s date and postmark indicated Baron had written the letter about two weeks prior to his death. Prickles crept over her arms. My time? Present me to the Council? Sylvia’s comment about the Promised One came back to her. Had Baron sent for Eli because of the great destiny he always insisted she had? Alexi closed the door and rested her forehead against the solid surface. Life was already too complicated. She didn’t need this.

Excerpt from book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” coming this fall from Soul Mate Publishing.

The telephone jangling pulled Delaney Ramsey out of a deep sleep. Moving the digital clock on the nightstand closer to her, she squinted at the bright green numbers. Three a.m. She fumbled for the receiver.
“If you’re calling at this ungodly hour, someone better be dead,” she mumbled into the phone.
“Delaney, ’tis Eli McCraigen.”
Sitting up, she pulled the duvet cover with her. Why was the Keeper of the Stone calling her? “What’s wrong, Eli?”
“Dinna worry yerself. ’Tis good news.”
Slumping against the headboard, she yawned, the adrenalin draining away with his words. “If it’s such good news, why couldn’t you wait until tomorrow?”
“I need ye tae call a special meeting o’ the council before they get away from the city.”
“All fifteen?”
“Nay, only the senior council. I’ve a new Promised One tae present.”
“Why wasn’t he presented last night at Samhain?”
“He hadnae committed tae the cause, and he dinna have a ring until minutes before midnight.”
“This is highly irregular, Eli. I don’t know if I can get the council to agree.”
“Ye have tae. He’s a verra special man.”
“A Promised One who hasn’t even had his ring more than a few hours. That’s unheard of. How can you expect someone like that to pass even one proof test?”
“He’s already shown me two–and they’re not the paltry tests most Promised Ones have failed. He has the elusive, legendary powers, and he did them using the power of other shifters’ rings.”
She snapped awake. “Other shifters’ rings? Whose?”
“Mine, Alexi Jordan’s and Sylvia Jordan’s.”
Delaney switched the light on, knocking her reading glasses to the floor with the motion. Great. She’d just bought them. Leaning over the edge of the bed, she retrieved the glasses and put them on. “Sylvia Jordan Riley?”
“’Tis that what the she-witch is calling herself now?”
“Seems so. Her name has come across my desk in her official capacity with Homeland Security.”
“That’s the other thing I need from ye. Sylvia’s butting intae Rhys’ and Alexi’s jobs and personal lives. I’m pretty certain she knows what he is, too. I need reinforcements.”
In all the years she’d known Eli, he’d never asked for assistance. And he comes to me now. At the worst possible time. “I’m honored you’d think of me, but I can’t do more than call the council for you. Ask one of them to get your reinforcements.”
“Fine, the council can arrange that, but I need ye on a more personal mission.”
“I’m in the middle of something very important and time consuming. I can’t help.”
“Dinna ye know who’s asking ye, lassie?”
She knew all right. The most powerful man in the entire Turning Stone Society. She was crazy to even consider refusing him. Her position on the council rested on his say so. However, finding her daughter meant more to her than anything else. “Normally I’d be willing to die for you, Eli, but–”
“Let’s pray dying won’t be what we’ll be needing. But I could be putting ye in a verra dangerous position.”
That did it. No way could she help if it might cost her life. Not now. Not until she found Lila. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”
“I need ye, Delaney. Come tae University Hospital and see me. I’m in ER.”
“ER? Are you all right?”
“We had a little run-in with a panther.”

LINKS for C.D. Hersh
Amazon buy link for The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles): http://t.co/yW59QqvkLh

Social Media Info:
Website: http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/
Soul Mate Publishing: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cdhershauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.-D.-Hersh/e/B00DV5L7ZI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCDHersh
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Thursday Thread

 

The World of Publishing

Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend a writers’ conference where the keynote speaker was New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler. During her address, she discussed how much the publishing world has changed in such a short time. Not long ago, during writers’ conventions, new authors hoping to get published were asking for tips on query letters and keeping their manuscripts out of the dreaded “slush piles.” Today, their primary concerns lie in marketing and social media exposure.

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The internet has dramatically changed the world of publishing, giving new authors a better chance of landing, if not a big-named publishing contract, at least one with an indie publisher, willing to give hopefuls their first break. The advent of self-publishing, too, has been a game changer. While this shift has helped many get their foot in the proverbial door, it has also come at a cost. Online stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are inundated with books and ebooks, making it more difficult to keep any particular title in the now.

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While an author and publisher’s job of marketing may be more time consuming now, it is not impossible. Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are just a few of the social media tools available to those hoping to get their books noticed. And, for the most part, these tools are free. As an author looking forward to the upcoming release of my second novel, Lost Distinction, an opportunity I may not have been awarded had it not been for this shift in the world of publishing, I am grateful for this change and I look forward to watching the future of publishing unfold, one page at a time.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Reflections

 

Thursday Threads with Author Larynn Ford!

Today’s featured author is Larynn Ford, who has written the novel, Rescued.

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Rescued – Paranormal Romance
Heat Level – Sizzling
Blurb:

Fiercely independent and determined to be taken seriously in a man’s world, PI Rose Baxter will do whatever it takes to find the kids who are disappearing from the streets and bring them home safe, even teaming up with PI Marty Brown, a man hot enough to burn whatever part of her gets too close – her fingers, her sheets, her life, and her other nature’s whiskers.
But her other nature knows whiskers grow back and will accept nothing less than this man as her mate for life, a plan Marty’s all in on. Sparks fly when she refuses to be the little woman. Besides, those kids need her and their time’s running out. But, thrown together 24/7 can she fight it?

Excerpt:
Rose heard the unmistakable sound of duct tape stripping from its roll. Her hands, bound together behind her back and another piece loosely secured the bag around her neck. Her memory of stored scents identified Mabel and Stan even before they spoke.
“Take her to the lab. I’ll stash her car.” Mabel’s footsteps hurried away. As soon as the front door close behind Mabel, Rose stiffened her body and formed an impossible to move statue. Her arms flexed and ripped the tape to separate her hands. Stan grabbed for her to regain his grip. She spun around to deliver a kick toward the sound of his astonished breathing. He collided with the floor and skidded to a stop when he smacked into the cabinet doors. As he scrambled to right himself, the knives rattled in the butcher block on the kitchen counter.
She ripped the tape from around her neck and yanked the pillowcase off her head in time to see the man lunge toward her. She side stepped his attack.
Shouting rang out from the living room. “Let go of me!” One sniff confirmed Logan and June had entered through the front door. Mabel would cause no more trouble.
The kitchen windows vibrated. The backdoor burst into splinters as Marty stormed through. His roar rattled the dishes stacked in the drainer when he spotted Stan holding a knife on his mate. “Nooo!”
Before she could blink, Marty swung one arm and backhanded Stan, sending him crashing through the window and out onto the patio. The stunned man scrambled to his feet, hobbled around the side of the house to his SUV, and hightailed it out the driveway.
Marty gripped Rose gently by the shoulders and turned her to face him. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” His eyes were intense. “Rose, answer me?”
“I’m fine. Did they catch Stan? I heard a vehicle leave.” She turned to the living room where Mabel sat in a huff.
“Oscar just called. The SUV’s have left the park and headed west out of town. I’ve called the police to come and pick her up. I’m assuming you’ll be pressing charges for kidnapping?” Logan had handcuffed Mabel and planted her in a chair. June stood ready in case she tried to escape.
“I want a few minutes with her first.” Rose turned to Mabel. Her nostrils flared and the fire from her inner animal flashed in her eyes. No, as much as she’d like to, she wouldn’t inflict the bodily harm this woman so deserved for her part in this whole scheme. She’d like to body slam the bitch to the floor, but her daddy had taught her the self-control she needed to work this job and work it right.
Getting some answers now was her primary concern. She wanted answers. While she wouldn’t physically injure the woman, she wasn’t above scaring the crap out of her to get the information she needed.
Mabel sneered at her and rolled her eyes. “And just what do you intend to do with your few minutes? Do you think I’m afraid of a mousy little thing like you? Oh, help, the little mousy girl is going to scare me,” she humphed in a mocking tone.
“Oh hell,” Marty said. He adjusted the hat on his head, glanced Logan’s way with a y’all best look out expression, and stepped back out of the way to give Rose room to work.
“June bug. Move back, honey,” Logan said as her steered his wife to the corner by the door and positioned his body, brick wall style in front of her for her own safety, just like an alpha male. Everyone read Marty’s message loud and clear.
Mabel’s expression changed from glaring sarcasm to certain fear as she watched the woman she had labeled as little make her way slowly toward her.
Rose’s eyes narrowed and focused on the woman. Her hands flexed from tight, curled fists to stiff, extended fingers, and back again. Her nails lengthened, exposing her razor sharp claws as she stepped over to the mouthy woman. Her eyes never left her target.
She leaned down to bring herself nose to nose with the evil before her. “Where are you really taking these kids and what are you going to do with them?” She spoke in an even voice, accentuating every syllable.
An increasing layer of fear replaced the smug expression on Mable’s face. “You- you don’t scare me,” she stuttered. “I’m not telling you anything.” She attempted to bring her tough side back to the surface but was less than convincing.
Rose placed one petite hand on Mabel’s shoulder and pressed down. She held back to a mere vise-like grip. Not the bone crushing strength she was more than capable of using.
Mabel sucked in a pained breath and flinched back, drawing on her last bit of resolve. “We know you’re not normal. You’re some kind of freak with super blood. Don’t think we won’t come after you again.” She let out an injured cry from the pressure applied to her shoulder. “You’ll pay for this!”

Contact me links:
Website/Blog: http://www.larynnford.com/
Twitter: @LarynnFord
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/larynnfordauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Larynn-Ford/e/B00CELS1V8/

Book Buy Links:

In My Wildest Dreams

Christmas Blessings in All I Want For Christmas Is A Soul Mate

Rescued

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Thursday Thread