Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Excerpt of Justice Driven (PBI Case Files Adventure #4)

Chapter One

Sarah examined her reflection in the mirrored glass as she battled the first date jitters that danced around in her head and body in the form of anxious feelings and sweaty palms. She hoped she wasn’t overdressed as she smoothed down the sapphire sequined dress, and sprayed her golden locks into the submission. She vaguely remembered the days of Aquanet freezing she did in high school and worried her lower lip, fearful she’d primped too much at this point. Her golden-brown hair cascaded in curls past her shoulders instead of the usual French twist she wore. She even darkened her makeup and tried a new smoky look around her big blue eyes which only made them pop out like those cartoon characters on Saturday morning. By the time she was done foolishly agonizing over her looks she was pretty satisfied with the finished product. She knew he’d be happy if she showed up in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, but she wanted to make a dazzling impression and the almost unrecognizable person staring back at her in the reflective glass did just that.
“Wow!” Frankie grinned as she walked into the room they shared. “You look fantastic! Got plans for tonight?” Frankie knew full well her sister was going on a date with Devon, and believed it was about time. Those two had been dancing around a relationship for months now. If she hadn’t interrupted their one-night stand in Devon’s office at the nightclub things might’ve been different.
“Shut up!” Sarah laughed and expelled a breath she was holding. “So I look okay?” She really hated how James’ infidelity had clobbered her self-esteem.
“Yes, but, sis, he’s infatuated with you. You do realize you could be covered in mud and he’d still be all over you.”
“That’s so not true.” Sarah misted a little perfume on her neck and sat down on her bed across from Frankie’s. “What’s happening between you and Fang?”
Frankie knew this conversation was coming. She’d been doing her best to ignore it since she told Sarah that in order to survive the mutated Ebola virus attack, Fang had to bond with her. Yep, as in binding life forces which led to – ew - mating. “Tonight isn’t about my mess, it’s about your date.”
“Come on, talking about it actually takes my mind off tonight and the nerves that I’m feeling over this whole thing.” Sarah wiped her hands with a Kleenex. Why she was perspiring was beyond her. They’d kissed! Heck, they’d done more than kiss, but this date was a first step to something more serious, and she wasn’t sure if she was ready. “I still feel it’s a mistake. My friendship with Devon means the world to me, and I’m really afraid that this is going to ruin it.”
Frankie snorted, “or make it better. Sis, we both know what you and he have is more than friendship. Those sneaked kisses and the smoldering looks coming from both of you, jeez a person could get scorched coming between you two.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “Nice, real nice.” But she couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off her face if she tried.
“I’m just trying to get you to loosen up and enjoy your good fortune. Not everyone has a drop dead – literally dead - man fawning over them.”
“Not everyone, but you do. What is going on between you and the Viking god that is Fang?” She made another attempt at getting information.
Frankie laughed and wagged her finger in front of her face. “This isn’t about me, sis.” Frankie jumped in front of the mirror and started brushing her chocolate-brown curls. “What I don’t get is why you’re not jumping at the opportunity to be with him. I mean, that first night you met you were all over him.”
“Yes, I was also drunk.” Sarah fluffed Frankie’s hair to bring life to it after the brushing had tamed it more. “Wasted is the better word.”
“Okay, but the attraction is obviously there. You’re single, free to mingle, and don’t give me none of this friend crap. I know better.” Frankie frowned at her unruly hair, and started braiding it to the side.
Sarah plopped down on the bed. “Am I single?”
Frankie’s hands stilled, and she turned her attention to her sister. “What do you mean?”
“What about what Felix said before he disappeared?”
Frankie banded her hair and joined her sister on her bed. “He said he loved you, but that could mean a thousand different things.”
“Yes, but if Devon and I are destined to fail, why try?” Sarah’s eyes pleaded with her sister to have an answer.
Frankie hugged her. “You will fail with that outlook. Maybe that future was never meant to be. It’s obvious you don’t have the same feelings for that cyborg as he had for you. We don’t know what happened to bring that future together, but you could change all of that now.”
“Or continue on the same path to get the same result. That’s the definition of insanity.”
There was hopelessness written all over Sarah’s face. Frankie forced her sister to look at her. “I want you to promise me something.”
“Give this a chance with Devon.”
“You think we’re good for each other?”
“On one condition.”
“Give Fang a chance.”
Frankie shook her head. “Our situation is different.”
“Yes, it is. He gave you a part of him that he can never give to another. He sacrificed his own happiness to make sure you lived. It is different. It’s like a modern day fairy tale.” Sarah’s eyes sparkled.
“Or a nightmare, depending how you look at it.” Frankie muttered. “I get what he did, but it wasn’t consensual. He’s a brutish caveman with terrible social skills. He’s the exact opposite of what I envisioned as my perfect man.”
“Sometimes what we wish for isn’t what is right for us. He’d lay his life down for you. He did it once and will do it again. Who doesn’t want a man like that?”
“Me, Sarah, I don’t want a man who insists on protecting me. I want a man who sees me as an equal. Do you see him ever doing that?”
“Well, he’s an alpha shifter. That may be more difficult than you think.”
“Exactly! Aside from all the other things, including my general dislike for the bear man, he can’t give me what I need in a partner.”
“Have you told him that?”

“I don’t know, but you need to find a way to communicate with him. Your lives are forever bound regardless of your choice.” Sarah walked over to the door answering the knock. She expected to see her dark haired devilish man. Instead, she saw Frankie’s blond Adonis. Sarah laughed. “Speak of the devil. It’s for you, Frankie.”

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Excerpt of Lost Plane (PBI Case Files Adventure #3)

Chapter One

“I’m pulling you off the case.” Karma eased into her chair as a devilish smile spread across her face, reaching her kohl lined eyes; one blue and one green.
“Understood.” Fang agreed gruffly; leaning back in a chair that was three sizes too small for him and attempting to look halfway comfortable as he prepared himself for the coming lecture.
“Isn’t this something we can discuss further?” Devon asked, sitting on the other side of Frankie. He’d cut his black hair closer to his head, eliminating the long locks she was so accustomed to seeing frame his face.
Karma shook her head, her golden curls dancing around her shoulder. “I’m sorry, this isn’t up for debate.”
“You can’t do this.” Frankie’s green eyes were large with shock.
Karma leaned back in her chair, and put her high-heeled feet on her desk. “I can, and I am.”
“But what about Willow?” Frankie asked, trying hard to keep the emotion out of her words. Her emotions were what landed them in this mess in the first place.
Karma glanced at Tucker Jackson and Persephone DeLuca sitting on the opposite side of the room of Frankie, Fang and Devon. “Tucker and DeLuca will stay on as liaisons with the FBI. Besides, I need you three on another case.”
“But we are the ones that have made progress?” Frankie continued her argument.
“Sure you have, if you consider alienating the suspects progress. The FBI, on the other hand, considers what you did harassment.” Karma removed her smile, and narrowed her dual colored eyes on Frankie, “we are a low profile agency, Francesca. We don’t need to draw attention. Our job is to keep the attention on other things.”
“All we did was try and take control of the situation. Willow has been missing for almost two days, and the longer she is gone the less likely we are going to rescue her alive.”
Karma shook her head, dropped her feet to the floor, and leaned dangerously across her desk eyeing Frankie coldly. “You are new to this position so I’m going to chalk this up as a lesson learned. We adhere to rules. People have rights which don’t include harassing a suspect at his place of work unless you have something that supports the interruption. Walking into a room full of clients, accusing him of kidnapping a little girl without any evidence to support your claims is unacceptable.” She turned her attention to Devon and Fang. “And you two know this, which is why I’m surprised we are even here having this discussion.”
“The FBI isn’t doing anything to save that little girl.” Frankie pleaded for some sort of understanding.
“The FBI happens to be the agency the public sees on this case. They take the responsibility of what all the other, non-public agencies do. Your actions put them in a very uncomfortable position, and they are insisting you be removed from the case.” Karma shot back, it was a volley of words, each person attempting to spike the ball in order to finish the discussion.          
“Frankie’s actions may have been a little impulsive but…” Fang tried to intervene, but was cutoff, like a casualty of war.
“I don’t need you defending me, Fang.” Frankie shot her verbal assault at him without even turning in his direction. She was extremely unhappy with the man for so many reasons, and the last thing she wanted was the dumbass Neanderthal jumping in and saving her. “We all know Matthew and Rhonda are involved in this kidnapping, and no one is doing anything to put the pressure on them. Perhaps if there was a little pressure applied, one of the two might mess up.”
“But neither one of them did anything to implicate themselves. Instead, they called the FBI, and threatened to take legal action against all the agencies involved in the harassment unless you are removed from the case.” Karma eyed Frankie with a look that dared her to argue.
“So we let it play out and recover a corpse instead of a live child?”
“You don’t get it, do you, Frankie? What you did put Willow’s life in danger, especially if you are correct.” Which Karma was sure she was. Frankie may be impulsive, and often takes crazy risks, but her instincts were generally on point, which, when controlled, made her a good agent.
“That’s not fair, Karma.” Devon came to Frankie’s defense this time. “What Francesca did was put them on notice. Now the FBI can keep an eye on the two, and see if either of them leads the authorities to the girl.”
“Don’t you dare sugar coat the situation, Dev. She needs to understand her actions have consequences.” Karma turned her fury on Devon.
“I understand that.” Frankie defended herself, “which is exactly why I did it and I would do it again. My actions forced their hands. Just wait. They will react.” She was sure of it. She just hoped they didn’t react in a bad way by eliminating the evidence of their crime.
“I know you have a strange knack of understanding human behavior, but you aren’t always right, Francesca.” Karma stood up and walked around the desk, sitting on the other side of the cherry wood ledge in between Fang and Frankie. “Besides, the case is turning out to be as un-supernatural as possible, and in case you didn’t notice, we only investigate paranormal crimes. When they prove to not be part of the supernatural world we remove ourselves from the equation and allow the proper authorities to take over.”
“Willow is a shifter child, how much more supernatural can that be?” Fang argued.
“She has shown no indication the shifter gene has activated or transferred into her genetic makeup, and her suspected kidnappers are very human. Case closed on our end.” Karma examined her perfectly manicured blood red nails. “We’ll leave Tucker and DeLuca in the loop while I send you three on another case.”
“If I’m such a royal screw up why would you send me?” Frankie regretted the words the moment they left her mouth.
“Because Mercy and Harmony requested you specifically. That and, for the most part, you’re a decent operative. As long as you follow orders and stick to procedure.”
“We’ll keep you updated on the case, Francesca.” Tucker offered a look of sincerity from his warm brown eyes. “I know what it’s like to get invested in a case.” A toothy grin lit his mocha colored face when Frankie gave him an appreciative glance.
He was a very handsome man. Strong, lean muscles, and great hair. But his personality made him extremely adorable, if she were to choose a man to date in this agency, not that she’d date a fellow agent, but if she did, he’d be on the top of her list. “Thank you.”
A growl rumbled from Fang’s chest, and when Frankie turned and glanced at the blond giant man that was a mass of muscles his brown eyes were narrowing on Tucker. Frankie couldn’t hold back the eye roll. Fang was beyond irritating with his overly protective and possessive attitude toward her, and she needed to do something about it.
“Quite frankly, I think you get far too much leeway in this agency.” Persephone stood up, straightened her black jacket over her frilly lace skirt, tossed her dyed, jet-black hair over her shoulder and asked, “May we be excused to get back to work?”
Karma nodded, “thank you, DeLuca and Tucker.” Karma straightened her own form and walked back to her position behind the cherry wood desk. “As for you, I’m sending you to Half Moon Bay, California to join the ABI in the investigation of Avalon flight 370.” She pushed the files forward on her desk and each of them picked up the one in front of them.
“The plane that disappeared over the Pacific Ocean?” Devon asked without flipping open the pages of the case file.
Frankie bit her lower lip. She wanted to point out they’d be of little use on this case, to reinforce the fact that they’re better suited for the missing person case, but she knew that argument was over. If the FBI kicked her off the case what more could she do? DeLuca, despite her snotty attitude, and Tucker were good agents and she had a feeling Tucker would keep his promise and keep her posted. Instead, she decided to focus her energy on a different issue.
“That’s a pretty high profile case, don’t you think…” Fang began as he started flipping through the pages more at ease and relaxed now that DeLuca and Tucker were gone.
“As I mentioned earlier, Mercy and Harmony asked for Francesca personally, and there are no other agents I’d rather send with her. If it were up to me, you’d be suspended.” Karma directed that last part at Frankie who shrank back in her seat a little. “The plan was to pull Tucker and DeLuca from your case and keep you there, however, that all changed when you were removed from the FBI cleared list.”
“Okay! I get it! I messed up.” Frankie held up her hands in surrender. “I’m sorry, but if it helps break the case, which I know it will, I’ll be the one getting the apologies.” She set the file on the desk. “Why did Mercy and Harmony request me?”
“I know Mercy was impressed with how you, Fang and Jasmine handled the case of the Florida outbreak. I also know Harmony is curious as to how you survived the mutated Ebola virus.”
“Well, that makes two of us.” It had been a month since she was bitten by the child carrier of the zombie-like virus which the doctors discovered was a mutated strain of Ebola. According to the newest update last week, the virus mutated because it unlocked a recessive supernatural gene in patient zero. By all accounts, Sarah said it could’ve resulted in the zombie apocalypse, and her team was the one that had closed the case. It was why she was moved into the field as a permanent agent so quickly.
Frankie was bitten by one of the carriers and she was infected. Her life was pretty much over. They all knew it, as her organs failed one after the other. Then, she was on a respirator, on the verge of a coma, and suddenly she made a miraculous recovery. She was the only person out of the twenty-four infected by the virus that survived. Defeating the virus made her stronger, physically, mentally, even spiritually. Her experience on death’s door was hazy, but she was positive there was more after this life. What it was, she had no clue. She couldn’t access the memories, only the feelings. Even the therapist she was seeing had failed to help recover those memories. After three hypnosis sessions and no results she stopped going.
Since the incident, she had the strangest feeling that people were keeping a secret from her. She and Sarah tried to discover the big mystery, but everyone who’d been involved was pretty tight lipped. She was convinced the agency injected her with some experimental drug. Why it worked on her and no one else, she had no clue. Why they wouldn’t tell her was an even more frustrating point. The supernatural strength and enhanced senses did little to ease her mind. Whatever they did to her, she would eventually find out. She needed to know.
“Half Moon Bay is the closest point to the last transmission from the airplane so the teams have set up a temporary military base just outside of town. Harmony reports there is no evidence that aliens were involved, despite the conspiracy theories that assumed this missing flight was a massive abduction. Disproving alien involvement is why they asked for the PBI to join the investigation.” Karma continued the briefing.
“What makes them think this was paranormal?” Devon asked. “I can’t think of any supernatural creature that has the ability to make an entire plane with passengers disappear. The most logical conclusion would be a crash into the ocean. I would think this is a human case.”
“Quite possibly, but this disaster has impacted over fifteen countries. Avalon 370 was an international flight so the president wants every agency at his disposal on the case.” Karma sighed. “There are also some strange facts to the case that have been pieced together so far.”
Fang nodded as he read the file. “Like the communication gaps?”
Karma smiled, “yes, Fang. There were only three communication checkpoints that came from the actual crew. The last one, after two failed attempts, was static and mumbled voices. The remaining communication from the flight came from the airplane communicating with ground and satellite.”
“It’s also strange that there seemed to be no warning from the crew. No distress calls.” Fang continued reading the file.
“And the flight path was not followed. The amount of air traffic over the United States would result in catastrophic events of two or more planes colliding if the plane did not stay its course.” Karma added. “Too many facts in this don’t add up.”
Devon closed his file. He wasn’t convinced this was a PBI case, but he agreed that getting Frankie off the kidnapping would be a good thing, and this case might be a decent distraction. “When do we leave?”
“Candy is working on getting a pilot and flight plan approval now.” Karma answered. “I would expect her to have everything ready within the next couple of hours.”
“Great. I’m going to take a shower and pack.” He stood and headed toward the door.
Fang and Frankie took the hint and both stood. “Karma, can I have a few minutes?” Frankie asked after almost colliding into Fang when they stood.
“Sure.” Karma’s interest was piqued.
Fang grumbled something under his breath, even with Frankie’s enhanced hearing she couldn’t understand the mumble as he left with Devon.
Frankie closed the door after them and sat back down. She had two things to discuss and didn’t know which one to approach first which left her worrying her hands as she sat down. She pushed out a breath and went for her first issue. “I was wondering if Sarah could come along on this case?”
Karma’s forehead creased in confusion. “Why?”
Frankie bit her lower lip, “well, we’ve been looking into the attack on our parents and there are some leads in northern California that I was thinking we could investigate after the case was concluded.”
Karma sat back in her chair and considered Frankie’s request. In truth, she was impressed with the human’s fearlessness. Most people keep their heads down around her. They avoid private conversations, fearing how karma would judge them, but not Francesca. She voiced her opinion. She didn’t back down when she thought she was right. She fought for those she cared for, and as a result, she’d racked up some awesome karma points. In the short time Karma had known the spunky human, she’d gained a soft spot for her, which was a bad thing since it was her job to dole out good or bad karma to everyone whether she liked them or not. It was simply an expectation. It was fine now that Francesca was on the side of good karma, but the moment she fell on the bad side, Karma worried about her ability to deliver the swift hand of justice.
“I’m impressed that you’ve been working on the cold case, but without something tangible to re-open the investigation, I can’t justify agency funding to the investigation. Besides, you have plenty to worry about with this case.”
“None of you think this has a paranormal signature to it. We are just being sent there to reinforce the use of our agency.”
“Sure, there are no signs this is paranormal, but it’s strange, and that is what we investigate. If it turns out to be void of the supernatural, I’ll pull you back.”
“Right, so if we prove it one way or the other what harm would there be in allowing my sister and I an additional day to look in on the leads?”
“Sending your sister will cost the agency, and put her behind in her studies.”
“You don’t think a forensic agent would be helpful in this matter?”
“At this point, this case is a tragedy. There has been no crime committed. Forensics use science to investigate a crime.”
“Or possible crime.” Frankie was a force to be reckoned with when she got an idea in her mind. As she pleaded her case, she realized this request would actually help her with her second request since she was sure Karma would not help her with her other issue. Her own father used to call her the great debater. It was coming in handy in this case.    
Karma examined Frankie carefully. She did have a valid point about assigning forensic personnel. It would look like they were putting their best foot forward, and after last month’s debriefing with the president she needed to gain a few good points. The funding had been renewed for a year, but there were stipulations that came with that renewal. “Perhaps you’re right, but the last person I’d send on a case like this is the newest forensic analyst.”
“Okay, if you can’t help with that request, how about another one?” Frankie was disappointed but she could understand why Sarah wasn’t the right choice to go on the mission.
“And that would be?”
“What about him?”
“I’d like a different partner.”
Without any hesitation. “No.”
“Aren’t you even going to ask why?”
“I don’t care. He will protect you better than most agents, and that is why he is your partner.” Karma didn’t want any more human casualties. She couldn’t afford them with the new stipulations placed on her to keep funding going.
“Yeah, well, he makes me uncomfortable.”
“Fang isn’t known for his social skills, but he grows on you.”
“He kissed me.” Frankie answered quickly before she lost her courage. She felt like a child telling on the boy next door.
Karma couldn’t hold back the smile that crossed her lips. “And did you kiss him back?”
Frankie shook her head, “no, I slapped him.”
Karma laughed, “good for you.”
And he’s barely spoken to me since, she wanted to add, but decided to keep that to herself.

“If you have a problem with your partners you need to find a way to work it out with them.”

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Excerpt of Lost (Ghost Connection Adventure #1)

Chapter One

My therapist recommended I start a journal to help me work through my issues. What he doesn’t understand is my issues aren’t internal, they’re external-well most of them anyway. I see spirits. Not of the alcohol variety, though drinking sometimes helps to blur the lines of communication between me and the ghosts, but a person can’t remain drunk twenty-four hours a day so I have to silence the voices somehow in order to live a half-way normal life.
Dr. Franklin suggested that journaling would help, so here I am sitting here writing words in a book to help me sort things out. Nothing coherent, mind you, just a jumble of words that spill from my mind onto the white lined paper through the blue ballpoint pen.
‘I hate to break it to you, Dr. Franklin, but writing does nothing to stop the visits.’ I threw my pen down and closed the notebook. He wants to view the journal at our next appointment. Let’s see how he likes that last entry. I chuckled to myself and leaned back in my chair. Then I quickly opened the notebook and ripped the page from the book. He didn’t know about the ghosts, and I didn’t plan on spilling those beans to him anytime soon. Every time I did, I got that look. You know the one, that look that says, ‘is she serious or insane?’
I probably would’ve gone crazy if it weren’t for Abel. He makes life livable, which is ironic since he isn’t of the living variety. People think Abel is an imaginary friend, but how many twenty-one year olds do you know with imaginary friends?
He is a ghost-not a figment of my imagination as some people might think. Kind of like my ghostly bodyguard. He is also my best friend, has been since I was old enough to understand what friends are. How he found me, I don’t know, but I will forever be grateful he did. He is like a big brother even though I’m technically older than him now. I keep aging, and he stays young and vibrant at seventeen.
Without his intervention I would’ve been institutionalized years ago. Instead, I’m a contributing member of society, going to college, working on becoming a psychologist, which is why I know my psychiatrist is a quack. I still don’t understand why I keep going or keep completing his assignments. I guess it’s comforting in a way. And my mentoring professor told me all great psychologists see psychologists themselves. I’m on my way.
“What are you doing, Cassie?” Abel’s familiar voice broke the silence of my bedroom. I felt the chill first, an obvious sign a spirit is in the vicinity, and then the hair on my neck stood at attention. I knew it was Abel before he spoke. He rarely let others through without my consent.
My fingers slapped against the cover of the journal; a protective mechanism, I guess. I didn’t want anyone reading my random thoughts, least of all my spiritual brother, and turned to greet my buddy. The smile disappeared from my face when I noticed he’s not alone. “I’m tired, Abel. Can’t this wait until tomorrow?”
Abel ran his fingers over his dark brown curls as he shook his head. His brown eyes looked sad, and his chocolate mocha-colored skin was paler than I’d ever seen. His clothes; the jeans, white t-shirt, and high school letterman jacket which were the clothes he died in, were disheveled, not their usual perfect condition. “No, I’m afraid not.”
I sighed, then yawned, and then stored the notebook and pen in my nightstand drawer. “Abe, unless this is life or death, I’m going to get some sleep.” Who was I kidding? It was always life or death where a spirit was concerned. I looked at the teen ghost standing next to him only out of curiosity, disinterest in helping her clearly written on my face.
She was wearing a white nightgown covered in blood splatter. Her hazel eyes were full of unshed tears, the streaks down her face indicated she wasn’t afraid of letting them fall. The quiver of her lower lip told me she was trying to control her emotions-probably because of some advice Abe gave her. I really hated waterworks-I know I’m cynical and sound harsh, but I’ve been seeing ghosts since my father died in the car accident that almost took my life when I was seven. After a while, you get desensitized to all of it. I mean, we all have problems, including me, but we need to find a way to get through them, and emotional outbursts only made things harder. “I’m sure your need is great, but…”
“Please, he’s going to kill my parents and my little brother.”
Ghosts had no concept of time in their realm. Usually, what they think are time sensitive issues are in the past-long ago past, and from the looks of her nightgown, perhaps the 1800s or early 1900s. I closed my eyes and silently counted to ten as I ran my fingers through my red curls. “Look, I get that you’re worried, but…”
“This one really needs your attention, Cass. Gina just died. Her boyfriend killed her by accident and now he’s unraveling.”
The girl nodded her head, her long black hair bouncing around her shoulders. “He thought I was cheating on him, but I wasn’t.”
I held up my hand to stop her. It’s not my job to judge, only to help when I could. “I don’t need to know the details. Whatever you did or didn’t do will be sorted up there.” I point to the sky-honest, it was always better when I didn’t get emotionally involved in the spirit’s life or tried to get to know them. That always ended badly, and I was the one who wound up getting hurt. “Are you sure this is happening right now?” I asked Abe, and gave him my because-if-I-get-dressed-and-run-out-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-help-someone-and-it’s-an-incident-from-the-past-I’m-going-to-be-pissed look.
Message received. His soulful brown eyes grew large and he nodded his head. “Believe me, this is one you need to help with.” The conviction in his voice was strained and the worry on his face struck a chord in me so I relented.
But I did so loudly as I groaned and headed toward the closet, casting a mournful look at my comfortable bed and pillow where I wouldn’t be laying my head for a couple of hours yet. If I had half the intelligence my GPA eluded to, I’d call the cops and be snuggled up in bed. But I’d been burned using that tactic.
Nope, I had to first go and make sure there was a crime happening before I called and reported it. Payphones are scarce nowadays and ninety-nine percent of the time there are security cameras watching them. Don’t get me started on cell phones. Very few people can sneak by ‘big brother’ anymore and I wasn’t financially able to swing another thousand dollar fine for reporting a non-existent crime. I’ve been down that road one too many times.
All this was a tiresome responsibility, but Abe made things easier and safer. Thanks to his diligence I’ve avoided the evil spirits for the most part. I don’t know how he does it, but he manages to keep me from seeing the bad. I know it can get scary. I’ve read the online chat rooms for mediums. For his protection, I owe him, and that is the reason why I’d be going out tonight in the cold and helping this girl.
“Can I have a few minutes to change?” I asked, indicating my bedtime shorts, worn down ‘I Heart U’ t-shirt, and pink fuzzy bunny slippers-yes I like pink, sue me.
           Abe shot me a toothy smile, and the girl looked down and managed to look embarrassed. They both disappeared into the mist-or wherever it was that spirits went when they weren’t in my line of vision. For all I knew, they were still there, staring, just invisible, and giving me the illusion of privacy.
           There I go again, assuming the worst. Abe had been nothing but a god-send to me. An angel sent here to help. I quickly changed into a pair of ripped jeans - ripped from being worn too much and a green hoodie sweatshirt that matched my eyes. I tossed my red hair into a ponytail and grimaced at my freckled, peachy face. Without makeup, I looked like a ghost myself, but there was no time to fuss. I just hoped no one saw me, not that I had the guys lining up outside my door, even with makeup. I was the epitome of ‘the plain-Jane-girl-next-door’ and my anti-social attitude didn’t help matters.
           I grabbed my purse and keys and headed toward the door. “Let’s go.” I said to the empty room, and headed down the darkened hall to the stairs. The elevator was broken, had been for a week. The jog down the twelve flights of stairs had me cursing out my landlord while appreciating the time I was saving from skipping the gym the last few days. There would be no appreciation given and plenty more curses when I’d climbing back up the steep steps later.
           Abe and the dead girl, Gina, were waiting for me at my car. Ghosts had certain advantages. They could think of a place and be there. They could also fade through matter which means they could’ve been sitting in the car waiting for me, but Abe made sure no one surprised me from my backseat after the last mishap. So they waited impatiently outside the car. I slipped my keys into the late model gold Honda and slid in, my two passengers passed through the car exterior, and took a seat in the back.
The car was old and beat up, but I took care of it as best I could. I wish I could say what I did was lucrative, but other than the reward of a good deed done and maybe a few karma points every now and then, there was very little in the way of pay, which was why I was in college. I figured a girl had to live and becoming a psychologist would help me, hopefully, work through my own issues. Survivor’s guilt was not as easy to overcome as one might believe. Especially when you were left with a curse from the crash.
           I turned on the ignition and warmed up the car. The night brought about a chill. “Okay, where are we going?”
           Abe looked at the girl and back at me. “Home, Cassie. We’re going home.”
           A shiver slid up my spine. “I don’t understand?”
           “Gina and her family live next to your mother.”
           I didn’t think, I simply put the car in reverse and sped out of the parking garage. If Gina died of a gunshot there would’ve been a pop from the gun. It would’ve woken the neighborhood and probably my mother. She was always a good neighbor and would’ve tried to help.
The more I thought about it, the more fear, anxiety and worry filled me. I dialed my mother’s number at the stoplight, “please, please, please pick up!”
           “Mom? Mom are you there?”
           “I’m not available right now. Please leave your name and number after the tone and I’ll call you back when I’m free.”
           “Crap! Abel can you go there and be with her?”
           He nodded and disappeared. He couldn’t do much, spirits had little luck in manipulating physical matter. It only happened in extreme moments when the ghost was experiencing high emotional responses, and I’ve only seen it happen twice in the last fourteen years. Manipulating living beings on the other hand was a little different.
           “I had no idea we were neighbors.” I stated as I sped across town at speeds that were far from safe. I figured if a cop stopped me, I could have them chase me all the way home.
           Gina shook her head. “I didn’t, either, until Abel found me. I hope your mother is safe. I don’t know why Ricardo went so crazy.” The tears that moistened her eyes fell down her cheeks.
           I handed her a Kleenex from the center cubbie, then realized the futility of my gesture.
At another stop light I dialed my mother’s cell phone and got the same irritating voice mail message. “Mom! You need to call me. Now!”

           I bit my lower lip and decided to dial 911 as I continued racing down the road. It would take me at least fifteen minutes to get across town. Maybe the cops would get there faster. 

Get the rest of the story at Amazon here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sneak Peek of Cherished Gift (book one of the Paranormal Hypnotherapy Files)


The nightmare came like it always did, clawing its way from the darkest recesses of her soul, maneuvering into the light, reminding her why she was alone, always around the holidays. Always torturing her psyche and robbing her from having a wonderful life, robbing her of the happiness she knew she deserved.
She’d done her best to stay awake, certain the first holiday carol she heard on the radio that day would trigger the terrors she relived in her sleep. But the darkness beckoned her, pulling her under like a seaweed wrapping around her ankles in the middle of a lake. Deeper and deeper she fell, into the farthest, darkest space in her mind… and there he stood.
Unbelievably handsome. Dark hair, mischievous green eyes, muscular body with chiseled arms and a corded stomach that gave new meaning to washboard. Instinctively, she knew he was hers, and she was his. She flung herself into his arms, fearful of the moments that would follow, but unable to deny herself the feeling of comfort that filled her, the belief that flooded her body that she was home. For this moment, she was safe in his arms, and nothing could take that from them. But a moment was all she got.

Chapter One:

Jenna opened her eyes, sleep teasing her and attempting to pull her back into the peaceful moments before her personal hell took over. She’d come to terms that the night terrors were never going away. They came back every holiday season and remained until late January, terrorizing her and destroying any chance she had of a happy life. Nothing she did made things better. The visions at night stole her life bit by agonizing bit until she was nothing more than a helpless shell without a soul.
She couldn’t continue feeling the terrible loss… losing him night after night as he tried to save her and then, the pain of the knife sinking into her body, over and over again, burning her insides, ripping her to shreds as the evil cackle continued in the background. Her death every night was painful and inescapable. She was tired, tired of facing that horrifying reality any more. It was the reason she took the pills. She had hoped the drugs would numb her mind enough to kill off the dreams, but nothing helped. Nothing kept the evil at bay.
“Miss. Davis?” A soft feminine voice forced her eyes open. She thought she’d been alone, she was always alone. She’d tried to live a normal life, but the dreams seeped into her waking hours, and sabotaged the idea of normalcy. The men in her life ran because they couldn’t help her. They gave up on her. Who could blame them? She’d given up on herself.
“Miss. Davis, do you know where you are?” The voice was still soothing, but took on a sterner tone, jarring Jenna from her depressing thoughts.
Jenna looked around, and finally noticed the woman who was speaking. She wore a pair of black slacks and purple blouse under a doctor’s coat. Her golden brown hair was up in a French twist, and her fingers were wrapped around a clipboard that she held close to her chest. The woman seemed warm and gentle, but the glasses she wore had fallen down the bridge of her nose and gave the impression that her blue eyes were looking down on her. Typical. No one understood her issue. This doctor was obviously of the same mindset.
“Miss. Davis, do you know where you are?” Their eyes locked.
Jenna squinted her eyes against the pain that was stabbing her mind, the fuzziness of sleep had worn off. She tried to reach her hand to her head only to find it was restrained. “What the hell?”
“I’m sorry. Restraints are necessary under suicide watch.” Her voice was soft, understanding and did nothing to make her feel better about being tied down.
“No! You can’t keep me here! I did nothing wrong.”
The doctor looked at her charts. “According to this you took a whole bottle of sleeping pills - which can be construed as wrong.” She closed the file and sat down in the chair beside the bed. “Can you tell me what you were thinking when you took those pills?”
Jenna felt tears sting the back of her eyes. “I just wanted the nightmares to stop.”
“Why did you take more than the prescribed dosage?”
Jenna’s eyes snapped fire, “because the prescribed dosage did nothing but make the nightmares come easier.”
“Can you tell me about these nightmares?”
“Why? It’s not like you can help me. You’ll just give me more pills which don’t work. Obviously. No one can take the terrors away.” Acidic tears fell from her eyes creating rivulets in her already destroyed make up.
The fact that she had makeup on made Clara believe the overdose of pills was an accident unless, of course, she was someone who enjoyed the attention, which she also doubted since the woman hadn’t had one single visitor since she was admitted to the hospital. It seemed more likely that Jenna took the extra pills believing they would help her find a more peaceful sleep-people make bad choices when they’re sleep deprived. It was the wrong prescription. She didn’t need pills. She needed help identifying what was really impacting her subconscious.
“I think I can help you, without the use of medication.”
“How?” Hope shone in Jenna’s eyes.
Jenna couldn’t help the laugh that erupted from her diaphragm. “I’m not interested in being brainwashed.”
“Hypnosis is not a form of brainwashing. It’s simply a therapeutic tool that helps to open the subconscious mind to find out what is causing the night terrors.”
“I’m not up to any mind tricks, doctor.”
“I’m afraid there’s been a mistake. I’m not a doctor. I’m a hypnotherapist who works here in the hospital. My name is Clara Jameson”
“And you think hypnosis can help me?”
Clara shrugged, “you’ve tried everything else, right?”
“Aside from becoming a candidate for a sleep study, yes.”
Clara placed the files down on the bedside table. “Your subconscious mind communicates through pictures. Dreams are one of those avenues it uses to make a connection with your consciousness, your waking mind. There is usually an important message your subconscious wants you to get with reoccurring dreams. Maybe there are some messages in the nightmares you’re having that I can help you decipher through hypnosis.”
“And you really think this will help?” Jenna gave her a doubtful glance.
Clara’s smile eased onto her face, brightening her demeanor. “I think it’s worth a shot. What have you got to lose?”
Clara jangled her wrist restraints, “will it get me out of these?”
“You’re under a seventy-two hour suicide watch. I can set up a meeting with the psychiatrist who can determine if the seventy-two hours is excessive or not.”
“I’d like that.” Jenna offered a weak smile. She was fairly certain the hypnotherapist was wasting her time but she’d try it. “So when do we start?”
“Right now if you’d like?”
Even though she’d made up her mind to try it, she was still hesitant. “What if the nightmare returns?”
“When and if it returns let me know, and I’ll instruct you to remove yourself from the moment, and move to where you’re watching it as a television show; one where you have control. You’ll be able to stop, fast forward, rewind, and pause the show with a remote I’ll provide you in your mind.”
Jenna eyes brows scrunched up together. The nonsense Clara was speaking sounded like hocus pocus, not therapy. “If it was that easy, I’d be able to do it myself.”
“I can teach you self-hypnosis, but overcoming the fear of the moment to rationally remove yourself from it is very difficult, and sometimes having a guide like myself can help you manage better.”
That made more sense. “Alright. Let’s try it, I mean, like you said, what have I got to lose?” She’d already been pushed to the brink and lost her sanity. This wasn’t going to take that away from her.

This book is part of the Mystical Xmas box set on Amazon. Eight amazing authors with eight awesome stories for only .99.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sneak peek of "To Love A Dragon" book one of the Shifter's Love Tales

Chapter One

            The scent was the first thing that assaulted Charity’s senses when she walked into the rundown roadhouse. She knew she was foolish coming here alone, but the spelled talisman led her here and she needed to discover why. Smoke mixed with body odor, greasy food, and oil, making her stomach flip.
She jumped slightly as the door sealed behind her. She stomped out the irrational feeling that she was trapped. Just because the light from the outside was shielded from entering the club and she was surrounded by dangerous men and women who analyzed her every step didn’t mean she couldn’t turn around and walk back out. This was a far cry from being buried alive, the originating event in her life which caused her fears of being trapped and tight spaces. Phobias created by a horrendous act her grandmother did to her.
            After a few calming breaths, she glanced around the dingy club. A couple members were playing pool in the corner, their biker colors evident on their leather jackets. Their girls sat close by, drinking beers and chatting amongst themselves. They stopped and took notice of Charity for a moment, then went back to their banter.
            Country music blasted from the juke box in the corner close to a few other patrons that were engaged in a game of darts. A couple old timers were sitting at the bar chatting up the pretty middle-aged bartender who was wearing a shirt barely containing her large bosom. Her bottle dyed blonde hair was teased high, which reminded Charity of the 80s aqua net craze. As she familiarized herself with the club and the escape routes her fears began to dissolve.
            The bartender’s hazel eyes narrowed on Charity as she made her way around the room. Charity didn’t want to give away her intention, so she ordered a bottle of beer and continued to walk the length of the room. Far back in the corner by a blazing fireplace, Charity found her target. Her necklace lit up and burned warm between her breasts.
            The four men were engaged in a heated conversation. One looked three times bigger than a regular man. His sandy brown hair brushed his shoulders and adorned his face in the form of a goatee, which made him look edgy. Another man had milk chocolate colored skin, brown eyes, and a shaved head. The man monopolizing the majority of the conversation looked like he was Native American. His long brown hair was tied back in a braid, and the last man leaned back in the booth, listening with veiled eyes. He was the sexiest guy she’d ever laid eyes on. He had wavy black hair, olive tanned skin, and when he locked eyes with hers they seemed to pierce her very soul. Charity prayed he wasn’t the man she was looking for. He was too handsome to be a murderer.
            She took a long swig of her beer, sighed heavily and headed to their table. Without permission she sat down and smiled at the men. Others in the room took notice and started to gravitate their direction in slow moves, nothing blatant but definitely movements that a cop was trained to detect. Something about the man with striking green eyes and wavy black hair put her at ease despite the feeling of being closed in on, but that didn’t mean her actions weren’t perilous. “Hello, boys.”
            An awkward silence fell over them, and Charity wished she’d brought backup for the second time in five minutes. She placed her badge on the table but left her gun in the holster. Her actions did little to reduce the tension.
            “I’m detective Charity Holiday and I have a few questions for you.”
            The boys offered up varying degrees of laughter and chuckles. Charity wasn’t amused and kept her face stoic. “I don’t think murder is a laughing matter.”
            The gorgeous man with green eyes grinned and leaned closer to her, his breath tickling her neck and sending shivers down her spine. “It’s not why you’re here that made us laugh, it’s the way you brazenly approached us, witch.” There was menace in his tone, warning in his eyes, and underneath it all was a sexual undertone she found hard to ignore.
            It was unsettling that he recognized her as a witch. Very few people knew her secret. Inside she was doubting her daring move. Outside she simply shrugged. Never show fear. “No one is above the law.”
            “The Triad is,” the burly sandy haired man stated, looking down his nose at her.
            She stared back. “No. One.” Her mind searched for an explanation of who the Triad was. It was familiar but nothing sparked.
            The sandy haired man growled and Charity leaned back, practically falling into the green eyed devil behind her.
            “Settle down, Luka,” green eyes warned. A growl rumbled in his chest and she felt it on her back, which sent chills of…desire up her spine.
            “I’m going to get us another round, Malick.” The Native American man grinned as he stood up.
            “Thank you, Tobias.” Malick wrapped his arm around Charity’s shoulder possessively. “The cop is under my protection, understood?” All of them nodded in turn.
            “Are you sure you want to do that, Malick?” Razor asked. “She’s a witch,” he turned his nose up, “I can smell her from here.”
            Malick stared at Charity for a moment. He lowered his head to her neck and sniffed. Sniffed! It repulsed and aroused her at the same time. “Without a doubt.”
            Charity pushed his arm off her shoulder. “I don’t need protection, thank you very much.” Even as she said the words she searched her body for the courage needed to continue. There was something very threatening about these men and undeniably sexy about Malick. “Do any of you know, Joanna Lane?” She pulled out a photo of her victim.
            Luka nodded. “She works at one of my clubs.”
            “Your clubs?” That was news to her.
            Luka glanced at Malick, who nodded slightly. “The Honey Pot, I’m a silent partner.”
            “Do you know she was found dead last night?”
            “People die in this town every week. It’s one of the hazards of living in a metropolis.” Tobias set beers down in front of all five of them.
            “Did you know her personally?” She glanced between Luka and Tobias.
            “We all knew her personally. She was a very friendly girl,” Razor added with a grin.
            Malick placed a hand on her thigh and she felt a rush of electricity run through her. She shook her head internally, attempting to keep a straight mind. Whatever he was doing to her was wrong, completely wrong and so amazing all at once.
            “You sound callous,” she spoke her thoughts out loud.
            “Perhaps, but I speak the truth,” Razor answered.
            “Since we’re all being so honest, do any of you want to admit to murdering her?”
            “No. Like Razor mentioned, she was very friendly.” Malick smiled, his thumb tracing a tiny circle on her inner thigh, flooding her system with lustful ideas.
            What is he doing to me? She was beginning to wonder if he was a witch himself and he was distracting her with a seduction spell. It was the only explanation as to why her hormones were reacting to him this way. She scooted the opposite direction, which put her closer to Luka and his curled lip, removing Malick’s hand from her thigh. Was it too much to ask they show compassion toward a girl who had been ‘friendly’ with them.
            “Do any of you know who might want to kill her?”
            “The hunters.” Razor suggested.
            She looked at all of them. “Who are the hunters?”
            “For a witch you’re uninformed of how the supernatural world works.” Tobias scoffed.
            Malick leaned forward. “The hunters are genetically enhanced humans whose sole purpose for existence is to kill off the shifters. They don’t discriminate. They kill without prejudice.”
            “Joanna was a nice girl with no enemies. The hunters would be a logical place to start.” Razor advised.
            Charity nodded as she processed the information. She knew of other supernaturals but had never really associated with any paranormal creatures except witches. Shifters were rumored to be one of the more brutish of the races. Her family had sheltered her from that side of their world. As a human cop, she’d rarely had run-ins with them. They worked very hard to keep under the official radar and used magic to protect their secrets. It was the very essence of self-preservation. If humans discovered their existence they would likely react with violence if history had any say in the matter. “Hunters are created by humans?”
            Malick shook his head. “No, to the best of our knowledge they were created by a rogue group of shifters led by Jonathan Morris.”
            Charity’s forehead crinkled in confusion. “Why would they be killing others like themselves?”
            “It’s a religious battle.” Razor offered. “If you choose to live off the grid with Jonathan and his followers you’ll be saved from his wrath. He believes the shifters are a master race and once he has them all under his control he can use them as weapons of destruction for other races.”
            Charity shivered. “That’s barbaric.” This guy had a similar belief system to Hitler, only instead of concentration camps he was murdering them in the open. He was nothing more than a mass serial killer. She was obviously out of her depth and needed to find a way to get caught up. If not to protect others, but also to protect her and her family.
            “Why hasn’t something been done to control him?”
            “We’re trying, but human interference has made things difficult. The authorities view him as a cult leader and are in the middle of negotiating with him. Since he houses shifters and humans he doesn’t fall completely under our jurisdiction,” Malick answered.
            “I need to look into Jonathan,” she spoke her thoughts out loud.
            “It’s a good place to start.” Tobias smiled. “But I wouldn’t. He is very unpredictable.”
            “Thank you for your concern.” She stood up to leave. “Please remain available for further questioning if I need you.” All four of them nodded and Charity headed toward the door. It wasn’t until she was outside of the establishment that she released a breath she didn’t even know she’d been holding. As she allowed her lungs to fill back up with oxygen and her mind to clear from all the things she discovered during that interview, someone snaked a hand around her waist and slapped another one over her mouth.
            She tried to fight against whoever was holding her from behind but failed miserably. A sting pricked her neck and her last thought before darkness enveloped her was that she should’ve brought Joey with her on this field trip.