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The Deadliest Fever – BLITZ

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A Miriam Bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria
Historical Mystery
Date Published: April 2018
Publisher: Black Opal Books
 
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Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist and amateur sleuth in first-century CE Alexandria, is concerned when she learns that the threads of gold in the Great Synagogue’s Torah mantle have been damaged. She takes the mantle to Judah, a renowned jeweler and the unrequited love of her life. He repairs the threads and assures her that the stones in the mantle are still genuine. Like Miriam, he is astonished that someone would damage the threads but leave the gems behind.
Shortly before, the Jewish community of Alexandria welcomed their visiting sage and his family, who had just arrived from Ephesus on the Thalia. Also on the ship were the perpetrators of an audacious jewelry heist. And shortly after, the captain of the Thalia is found dead in a sleazy waterfront inn.
Can Miriam discover the connections among the jewel heist, the death of the sea captain, and the desecration of the Torah mantle before the deadliest fever claims its victim? Not without help from the bite of a rabid bat.
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Other Books in the Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria Mystery Series:
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The Deadliest Lie
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book One
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: October 2013
She’s a brilliant alchemist-with a talent for solving mysteries.
Miriam bat Isaac is a budding scholar in first-century CE Alexandria, though her dreams seem doomed. Who in her household or among her father’s Shabbat guests stole the scrolls containing the Alchemical League’s valuable formulas? Perhaps the thief was even her frantic father, on the cusp of financial ruin, eager for Miriam to end her dalliance with a handsome jeweler and marry into an honorable and wealthy family. Or her rebellious brother, intent on raising money to travel to Capua so he can enroll in the Roman Empire’s most renowned gladiator school. Or her faint-hearted fiancé, who begrudges her preoccupation with alchemy and yearns for their forthcoming marriage?
And how did the thief manage to steal them? Miriam is not only faced with a baffling puzzle, but, to recover the scrolls, she must stalk the culprit through the sinister alleys of Alexandria’s claustrophobic underbelly. The Romans who keep a harsh watch over her Jewish community are trouble enough.
Miriam is based on the true personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.
June Trop (Zuckerman) has had over forty years of experience as an award-winning teacher and educator. Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spends her time breathlessly following her intrepid protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, who is back in the underbelly of Alexandria, once again searching for a murderer in The Deadliest Sport while worrying about her brother.
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The Deadliest Hate
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book Two
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: October 2015
The Roman Empire may be the least of her enemies.
A secret alchemical recipe to transmute copper into gold surfaces in first-century CE Caesarea. As soon as Miriam sets out to trace the leak, Judean terrorists target her for assassination. Eluding the assassins while protecting a secret of her own, she discovers that she, herself, is responsible for the leak. Moreover she is powerless to stop its spread throughout the Empire and beyond.
But who is really trying to kill Miriam? Is it a case of mistaken identity, or is her late-fiancé’s ex-scribe, now an assistant to the Procurator of Judea, seeking to avenge an old grudge? Or is her heartthrob’s half-brother, a Judean patriot who inherited his mother’s mania, afraid Miriam knows too much?
And how did the recipe find its way from Alexandria to Caesarea anyway?
June Trop (Zuckerman) has had over forty years of experience as an award-winning teacher and educator. Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spends her time breathlessly following her intrepid protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, who is back in the underbelly of Alexandria, once again searching for a murderer in The Deadliest Sport while worrying about her brother.
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The Deadliest Sport
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book Three
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Published: October 2017
Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist in first-century CE Alexandria, welcomes her twin brother Binyamin home to fight his last gladiatorial bout in Alexandria. But when he demands his share of the family money so he can build a school for gladiators in Alexandria, Miriam explains that he forsook his share when he took the gladiatorial oath. When she refuses to loan him the money for what she feels is a shady, and dangerous, enterprise, Binyamin becomes furious. Soon after, the will of Amram, Miriam’s elderly charge, turns up missing, Amram becomes seriously ill, and the clerk of the public records house is murdered. Could Binyamin really be behind this monstrous scheme? If not he, who could be responsible? And is Miriam slated to be the next victim?
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 Excerpt
May 1, Thursday, Almost Midnight:
He waited, listening to the darkness flow into the sanctuary. With the thick drapes blocking the flare of torches lining the Canopic Way, the only light scratching the air was the meager glow of the eternal flame, the ner tamid of Alexandria’s Great Synagogue.
The coolness of the night had already begun to assert itself. Just a little longer, he told himself as his fist closed around the open edges of his long black robe. A few minutes later, as his other hand pulled back the hood over his head, he emerged from his hiding place, his body taut, his legs tingling from having stood in place for so long.
Stretching his cramped muscles, he approached the front of the Torah Ark. His fingers trembled with excitement, his eyes shining with greed as he drew open the parokhet, the curtain that screened the Ark.
“Like a bride’s veil,” he said to himself, amused by the analogy.
With a self-congratulatory nod and a tight satisfied smile, he pulled open the ornate bronze doors and carried the Torah to the Reader’s Table. For a few moments, he gazed at the coveted prize adorning the Torah mantle, three peerless jewels, each set into the bowl of one of the three vessels embroidered in gold on the mantle.
He didn’t need much light. His eyes were already accustomed to the darkness, and his hands had performed this procedure many times before. Taking a few deep breaths to calm the twitch at the corner of his mouth, he removed a slim wooden box from the goatskin pouch attached to his belt, took out his tools, and lined them up on the table: his silver pick, plyers, tweezers, snips, and a double-handled vial of olive oil. Then he undressed the Torah and positioned the mantle so the jewels caught the narrow strip of light from the ner tamid.
Oh, Lord! Even in the thinnest light, they spew out their fire!
Half-frightened, worried that he’d uttered the words aloud, he released only a feather of breath.
But hearing no echo, his jaw softened.
He was safe.
Then, hunching over the table, balancing his forearms against the edge, he took hold of the pick and laid his hands on the mantle.
He tried to loosen the center stone, the emerald. The setting was tight. Very tight. He tried again, this time after placing a droplet of oil on each prong.
This is going to take a while.
He shifted his weight and continued.
The silence was absolute save for the occasional sputter of the ner tamid and the distant rumble of hooves on the Canopic Way’s granite pavement.
Until he heard loudening footfalls ringing out against the tessellated floor, waking the echoes in the corridor’s coffered ceiling.
A crease of light swept under the sanctuary’s ceiling-high, bejeweled double doors.
He froze and held his breath, as fear prickled down his spine, until the clicking heels receded into the silence. He blinked slowly and released an unbidden sigh. Just the watchman on his rounds. He won’t come in here. He locked the doors to the sanctuary and all the outside doors to the Synagogue hours ago and won’t open them again until dawn.
His fingers worked through the night. Despite the chill, rivulets of sweat trickled down his back and collected under his belt. He straightened up now and then, rolled his shoulders back, and cocked his head as he admired his work.
His mouth curved into a triumphant smile.
Beads of saliva clung to his lips.
By now a pearly grayness was seeping under the doors. He could see the darkness dissolving. Objects in the sanctuary were reclaiming their color and shape.
He mentally ticked off the remaining tasks: Dress the Torah. Put it back in the Ark. Tuck my prize and the tools into the box. Slide it back into my pouch. Slip out as soon as the watchman unlocks the doors but before what’s-his-name…Gershon, that’s it, Gershon ben Israel…comes in to check the sacred—
Oh, Lord, what on Earth is that squeaking sound? Surely not a bird.
A sharp-toothed, leathery-winged bat shot out of nowhere, swooped across the sanctuary, and, wheeling around the bemah, took a dive, and nipped the crown of the man’s head before disappearing with a shrill screech behind the Ark.
His thin howl—part gasp, scream, and strangled sob—tore through the sanctuary.
Then he heard a pair of boots smacking the tiles.
I gotta get out of here! Where’s the—
Dressing it quickly, he shoved the Torah into the Ark, throwing everything else into his pouch.
Except the vial.
The vial. Oops!
Oil everywhere.
Oh, Lord! Not now.
A hasty wipe with the sleeve of his robe.
The rising volume of hammering footsteps.
Now two sets—one close, the other farther away but catching up. Their volume swelled as they turned a corner.
Must be Gershon trailing the watchman.
The jangle of keys. The ping of the latch as the watchman unlocked the doors.
No place to hide. And, Lord, all this blood gushing from my head.
“No, Daniel, no!” Gershon shouted. “The other way. Hurry! The scream came from the library.”
About the Author

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June Trop and her twin sister Gail wrote their first story, “The Steam Shavel [sic],” when they were six years old growing up in rural New Jersey. They sold it to their brother Everett for two cents.
“I don’t remember how I spent my share,” June says. “You could buy a fistful of candy for a penny in those days, but ever since then, I wanted to be a writer.”
As an award-winning middle school science teacher, June used storytelling to capture her students’ imagination and interest in scientific concepts. Years later as a professor of teacher education, she focused her research on the practical knowledge teachers construct and communicate through storytelling. Her first book, From Lesson Plans to Power Struggles (Corwin Press, 2009), is based on the stories new teachers told about their first classroom experiences.
Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she devotes her time to writing The Miriam bat Isaac Mystery Series. Her heroine is based on the personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.
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INFINITE – BLOG TOUR

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INFINITE

by Cecy Robson
A Carolina Beach Novel, #3
Publication Date: August 15, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone

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SYNOPSIS

Hale Wilder, aka the Anaconda of Wall Street, spent his childhood fighting to be the best to win his father’s love. He was the best student and the best athlete, who grew into a successful businessman and took the finance world by storm. Want to retire before you’re forty-five? He’s got you. Need your millions to be billions? He’s your man.

Young, rich, and powerful, Hale was unstoppable, until a company scandal destroys his reputation and threatens to bring down everything he’s bled for.

Becca Shields is the kickass public relations goddess spinning scandals to gold and launching has-beens into superstardom. She never expected to see Hale again—not following the humiliating night when her family caught them on the beach, barely clothed.

When Becca discovers Hale is in trouble, she can’t turn her back on the boy who was once her world and the man she never forgot.

Hale never thought he’d have another shot at greatness or with Becca. Now that he has both, he won’t let either go without a fight.

*NOTE* Although a part of a series, INFINITE can be read as a complete STANDALONE and features a new couple!

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DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CAROLINA BEACH SERIES

*****FREEBIE ALERT****

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INSEVERABLE (A Carolina Beach Novel, #1)

(#FREE) Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mbSQdv
(#FREE) Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2LdSWw0
(#FREE) iTunes: https://apple.co/1UNd6iP
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ETERNAL (A Carolina Beach Novel, #2)

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ABOUT CECY ROBSON

Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Connect with Cecy online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Profile | Bookbub | Instagram

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Splotch – BLITZ

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Middle Reader Fantasy
Publisher: MuseItYA a division of MuseItUp Publishing.
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Alice’s parents refuse to let her have a dog, so when Alice sees a paint stain on the sidewalk that looks like a dog, she decides that she will make him a virtual pet. She calls him Splotch and downloads a picture of him to her computer. To her surprise, he escapes from the computer and begins to act as Alice’s self-appointed protector. Unfortunately, he sees most people as potential enemies of Alice, including her teacher and the school principal, and he is not shy about giving those various enemies a bite. When Splotch starts to attack Alice’s best friend, Alice knows there is a big problem. But how will she get Splotch to stop being a guard dog and go back into the computer?
About the Authors

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Anne Rothman-Hicks is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where, in 1969, at a college dance, she met a student from Haverford named Kenneth Hicks. They have been together pretty much ever since, getting married, having children, writing books, making art, and generally conspiring to live lives that are happy, creative, and good.
Anne and Ken’s most recent novels and stories are set in New York City, where they have lived for most of their married lives.
Their middle reader series, Alice and Friends, features Alice, a 10-year-old girl with a vivid imagination that gets her into and out of trouble. The titles are, STONE FACES, BROWNSTONE FACES, and SPLOTCH.
In Ken and Anne’s tween book, THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM, Jennifer and James find a pigeon in Central Park whose foot was caught in a bit of string attached to a fence. Only this pigeon was actually a man before he was turned into a pigeon over a hundred years earlier. Now he needs some help to be turned back into a man before a certain hawk captures and eats him instead.
A sequel, REMEMBERING THOMAS, has been published by MuseItUp Publishing in March of 2018.
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Come Back – Virtual Book Tour

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Contemporary/Upmarket/Women’s Fiction
Date Published: September 2017
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Vi Masters wonders…can you come home again? More, she wonders why anyone would want to. She fled upright, backwater Freedom, Iowa at seventeen and hoped never to return. But this time, she can’t stand up against the pleas of the aunt who raised her. It’s one weekend. How bad can three days be?
Three measly days in a wonderful eighteen-year marriage – that’s what Vi’s stepmother hopes. But what if Ben discovers what Tammy knew about why his daughter ran away – something he seems determined to finally find out? She can’t be sure Ben would forgive her, and that’s got Tammy scared to her bones.
One day in and Vi has to face how Aunt Sadie is failing, Caregiving will surely wreak havoc on Vi’s hard-won career, but how can she not? At least she might be able to turn the party Sadie’s planned into a night even Alzheimer’s won’t let Sadie forget.
But that’s before Vi finds out Nate Barlow has moved back to town. Now after all she’s already survived, Vi must dig deep for courage. Nate will never be able to accept Vi’s past. Will he? Who knew hope would be so scary?
EXCERPT

Chapter 12

Nate

I figured I’d chat with Victoria at Sadie’s shindig Saturday and leave it at that. So it caught me off guard when she showed up for a Pinewood breakfast Friday. Makes sense, I thought. Sadie wanted to show her off. Not because she was famous, but because she doted on Victoria, always had.

So why was I surprised? And worse, why did it feel like a punch in the gut?

Chill, I thought as my ears went hot. No biggie. I had famous clients. Got tongue-tied with the first few, but as my dealer says, they all put their underwear on one leg at a time. But picturing Vi Masters in underwear didn’t help at all.

It felt like seventh grade. I wasn’t prepared then either. The guys had ragged on me something fierce – those days when all girls had cooties – which meant I stopped hanging with her a few years before. So when she walked into school that fall, I hardly knew her.  When did she get so tall and willowy? With these subtle curves that set my imagination reeling? Why hadn’t I ever noticed her eyes were like the river at sunset?

From then on, she was Victoria, not Vicky, not Vee, like I called her when we were kids. Sexy, sultry, worthy-of-worship Victoria. And from then on, my damn ears and tongue were an adolescent nightmare whenever I came within ten feet of her. Smooth, that’s what I was.

Find your smooth now Slick, I thought as she moved toward my end of the counter.

I had more than a few minutes to get myself under control. Every last customer – Dick the retired trucker, George the retired math teacher, Mrs. Briggs and about a dozen more – wanted to shake her hand and have a word.

Working the room, I thought. Like a gallery opening. Coffee instead of wine.

I watched her smile and chat her way through the crowd. A pat on the arm here, a question there, a compliment on Miss Harriet Blue’s tacky old sweater, one I remembered from piano lessons. Miss Harriet puffed right up. She’ll likely go to her grave in that sweater now.

Mrs. Briggs got most of Victoria’s time. No surprise there. Even before we could read, the library was her favorite haunt. Worked there senior year – when she wasn’t bussing tables here at the Pinewood. So it was my haunt too.

That year I finally started acting human around her. Made conversation, joked around. Took till prom before I got the nerve to ask her out. She about knocked me flat when she said, “We’ll have a better time on prom night, don’t you think, if we go to a movie or something the night before?”

Long time ago. I jerked back to the present as Sadie tugged Victoria to the counter.

“Connie, just look at my Vicky.” She giggled as only Sadie can. “Vi, I mean. Oh, I’ll never get used to it.” Sadie turned from Victoria to Ma, “Doesn’t she look wonderful? I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see my baby again!”

Up close, seventh grade memories didn’t hold a candle to this gorgeous creature.

“Connie, it’s so good to see you,” she said. “The Pinewood wouldn’t be the same without you. And you look better than ever.” Actress or no, she sounded like she meant it.

Victoria reached out to squeeze Ma’s shoulder – a simple greeting between old friends – but Ma pulled back, slammed the coffee pot down on the counter, and said, “Victoria Johansen – Vi Masters – whatever you call yourself – I always did like you. But I have a mammoth-sized bone to pick with you!”

Obviously not the greeting Ms. Hollywood expected. A calm veneer slid over her face fast as a lick, but like most painters, I notice things. Her hand dropped to the strap of her handbag, white fingers gripped tight. No wonder. Ma can be a scary lady.

“Do you have any idea what you put my boy through when you ran off?”

I tried to interrupt. “Ma. Let it be.”

She gave me the eye. “I will not. She ought to know what it was like for you to get hauled down to the police station. As if you knew where the silly girl went.” Ma wheeled back to Victoria. “And your father! Son of a bitch hit my boy! Blackened his eye. Worse, he made my Nate feel like a criminal, like he’d hurt you, or drove you away when anybody – anybody with a brain not up his butt – could see the only bad thing Nate ever did was fall for you.”

So much for calm veneer. Victoria’s face went white beneath her California tan, and I respected the maker of that handbag strap. She swallowed hard. Her eyes cut to me for the first time, then back to Ma. She opened her mouth, but it was clear she didn’t know what to say, where to begin.

Ma, on the other hand, still had plenty to say. Or would have, except I interrupted again.

“Ma. She didn’t know. Look at her face. How could she know? Let it be.”

“Well she ought to know.” Ma wasn’t done, but she was running down. Ma’s like that. The woman has a mighty temper. But when she’s said her piece, it’s done. Usually. “You left a mess for other people to clean up, missy, and you ought to know it!” Then, apparently satisfied she’d said what she needed to say, Ma picked up the coffee pot with her right hand, swung her left around for a mug, and said. “Now. How do you take your coffee?”

Victoria sank onto a stool, looked at Ma, at me. “Connie. Nate. I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I…” She swallowed hard again. “I didn’t know. Didn’t think… Oh God. I wish… I’m just so sorry.”

I decided to let her off the hook. “Long time ago. We survived. And so did you, I’m glad to see.”

“Nate. Nate Barlow.” Like she saw me for the first time. “You’re still here. You look…”

I grinned. “Yeah. I know. Like an aging hippy. I get that all the time.” I tugged on my ponytail. “You wouldn’t believe the grief I get from the Freedom Regulars.”

She smiled – less assured, less sparkling than the Hollywood smile she’d dished out on her way down the counter. Softer. A little rueful. A lot like the night I kissed her. “I’ll just bet. Didn’t we always say that the Freedom Regulars would never change? But that’s not what I was going to say. You look good. That’s what I was going to say. Good.”

“Ah, hell. I can’t do it.”

“Can’t do what?”

“Can’t stay mad at you.”

Her smile faded. “Oh Nate. I am sorry. So sorry. I never thought Ben would come after you. Hit you? Oh Nate.”

I waved her off. “No biggie. It wasn’t my first black eye. Or my last for that matter. Can’t pin Ben’s actions on you. Wouldn’t be mad at you for that. If I could.”

The smile was nearly back. “Okay. I’ll bite. Why would you be mad at me? If you could?”

I picked up my coffee. Took a long swallow. Milked the moment. “The prom. You stood me up. For the prom.”

I said it lightly. Like it didn’t matter. Not anymore. Back then? Stood up on prom night? Suspected of something awful. Not the best night of my life.

Now trumps then. I expected a snappy comeback like she zings on TV, but she seemed as much at a loss for words as during Ma’s rant. An odd cast shaded her eyes. Almost like…sorrow. I cut her a break.

“Even so, can’t seem to stay mad at you.”

Funny how the relief on her face made me feel easier too.

“I’m glad,” she said.

Watch yourself pal.

Ma came back with the coffee pot. And a smile. She can’t stay mad either. Just don’t get between her and her cub. As if you could.

“More coffee, you two? Crayons, coloring books? Legos?”

Victoria’s laugh came out low and husky. “Just like when we were kids, Connie? In the back booth? Waiting for you and Sadie to close up? That’s a good memory.”

“For me too,” Ma said. “For half the town, I’ll wager. You two were good for business. Got folks to dig deeper in their pockets.”

“Good old Pinewood.” Victoria looked around the diner. “So much the same. But different too. Brighter than I remember. And those wonderful drawings! Those are new.” She gestured to the framed caricatures that lined the walls. “The Freedom Regulars!” She grinned.

“Those are Nate’s. He’s a very successful artist, you know. He’s had shows in New York, London, all over.”

“Ma. Stop bragging.” My damn ears went hot again.

“Nate! Really? These are yours?”

I nodded.

“They’re wonderful! So fun! So…real.”

Funny. That’s what I was going for. To poke fun – gently – at folks, and still show I like them. Each one has hopes and dreams and sorrows – all important, all real.

“Nate did well up at Ames, even studied in Paris.” Ma came around the counter to stand behind me, hands on my shoulders. A united front. I let Victoria off the hook, but Ma wasn’t quite done with her. “He was gone a long time. I thought maybe he’d stay in New York City, he did so well there. I’m sure glad to have him home though.”

Victoria got the message. “Connie. I really am sorry for…what happened after I left. I wouldn’t have brought on trouble for you or Nate. Not if I could help it.”

“And you couldn’t help it then?”

Victoria studied the inside of her coffee mug.

Ma persisted. “So you’re not telling why you put us through that?”

“Ma. Give the girl a break.”

“No harm asking, is there?”

But there was. I could see it in Victoria’s eyes.

“No.” She said it quietly, dropped her eyes, then raised and leveled them at Ma first, then me. “I had…reasons. Good reasons. Private reasons.”

I know Ma. She wasn’t satisfied. If she chose, Ma could wear you down till you’d confess crimes you never committed. But this time, she only gave Victoria the eye. And when that didn’t produce answers, Ma nodded, and said, “All right then. We’ll leave it at that.”

“Guess she can’t stay mad at you either,” I said.

“I hope that’s true.” She paused. “Friends?”

“Friends,” I said.

Ma nodded. “Friends.”

“Just like that?” Her voice was light but there was effort behind it. The handbag strap wasn’t out of danger yet.

Ma and I glanced at each other and shrugged.

“Just like that,” I said.

“Once a friend, always a friend,” Ma said.

“Thank you.” She blinked, seemed about to say something, but gave her head a tiny shake. She gave us both a bright smile – still sincere, but somehow not quite so personal. Like she pulled on a cape of Hollywood bravado. She glanced over to where Sadie was in full chat with Miss Harriet Blue and said, “I hope maybe you can help me with something.”

What now?

Victoria leaned toward Ma. “Connie. You’ve known Sadie a long time. You see her as much as anybody. How’s she doing?”

“Well… Now honey, you know your aunt is an old friend. A good friend.”

“I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important.”

“Well…”

“What Ma’s trying not to say is that Sadie never was the sharpest crayon in the box.”

Victoria smiled. A sad smile this time and a nod. “Oh, I know. She’s a dear, sweet woman, and I love her. But she’s always been a little…dizzy. What I want to know is…well, is she getting dizzier?”

I was surprised to see Ma’s eyes fill. She grabbed a napkin, turned toward the wall, dabbed. “Damn, damn, damn.”

“Ma? You okay?” Nobody gets between the cub and his mama either.

I saw her shoulders square like they do before she tackles any hard thing like pull a splinter from my finger or face down Ben Johansen. She nodded. “She’s slipping. Not a lot. Not enough so most people notice. But she gets confused. More now. Carleen and I, we’ve been picking up the slack.” She gave a little grin. “Not exactly new. More this last year.”

Victoria nodded and studied her coffee again. And then, damned if her shoulders didn’t square up just like Ma’s. She looked up. “I’m not surprised. Afraid and sad and…royally pissed off. But not surprised.” She paused. “How long can you keep covering for her, Connie?”

“As long as she’s able to get here. To stand upright, to walk. As long as she stays…docile and will follow directions. If it gets to the point when she fights us, well… Then it won’t be good for her to be here. For her – or for us. Till then…” There went the shoulders again. “We’ve got her back.” This was no off-the-cuff response. Ma’d given it considerable thought.

Victoria nodded. “Thank you. I needed to know.” She looked my way. “Nate?”

“Can’t say I’ve noticed much. Not job-related. But…” I didn’t want to say any more than Ma had. “She’s not as careful with her hair as she used to be.”

“Her hair?” I caught the tone. The surprise. And the speculation. Not the first time.

“No, I’m not gay,” I said. “I’m a painter. I notice things.”

Ma looked at Victoria. “I raised a boy who notices a woman’s hair. I’m so proud.”

She is. I know it and she knows I know it. Won’t stop her pulling my chain though. The two of them laughed – till they had to grab and dab. Which was fun to see.

Sadie left Miss Harriet Blue and joined us at the counter with a look that said, “I know there was a joke here. I know I won’t get it. But I like to laugh too.” Classic Sadie. Out loud she said, “Vicky, honey, I’ve got my hair appointment.” Poor Sadie. “What’s so funny?”

Victoria smothered a laugh before she kissed Sadie’s cheek.  “You go ahead. I’ll walk over to Lindy’s and meet you. Half an hour?”

“Okey dokey!” Sadie bounced toward the door.

As soon as she was out of sight, Victoria said, “I want to do something for her. Something that will matter later, when… Later. I could use your help. It’s about tomorrow night’s party.” Ma and I listened as Victoria told us what she wanted to cook up.

About the Author

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Sally Crosiar lives in the Finger Lakes of New York State where she reads incessantly, enjoys time in and on the water, savors dark chocolate with red wine at every opportunity, and teaches about health and play for Empire State College. She is the author of Find the Love of Your Life, based on her own true story, My Uncle Dave, a children’s book with an adult message, and co-author with Dr. Sidney B. Simon of Love Builders: Tools to Build Every Relationship. Come Back is her debut novel.
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Violet Souls – Teaser

Violet Souls tour graphic

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Fantasy Romance
Release Date: 5th September 2018
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While searching for clues to her past, shy single mum, Bree Mills discovers a subculture of aliens with supernatural abilities living on Earth.
And she’s one of them.
Finding herself hurled into a world of possibilities, it’s made more alluring by Quinn Taylor, the violet-eyed Evoxian from her childhood dreams.
324-year-old Quinn knows his destiny is entwined with Bree’s, but before he can confess his love, he must wait for her to sense the Akui, a mysterious force tied with ancient Evoxian law.
At a Cotswolds country manor, passions awaken and ignite a love more magical than the once-Utopian planet, Evox. Then Fate delivers a cruel and heart-breaking blow when Bree is kidnapped by a malicious alien who wants her and her power.
Will Quinn still love her when she’s faced with protecting her half-human daughter… whatever the cost?
Excerpt

 

“I know it must seem impossible to believe, but please give me a chance to explain.” Quinn’s amethyst gaze never left hers. “Haven’t you always felt different to everyone else? Did you ever wonder why your eyes are an unusual colour?”
Bree blinked like a stupid airhead.
“I know you sensed the connection to your talisman; surely you can’t deny that?”
Something tugged inside. Despite her fear, her confusion, and the craziness of what he’d told her, she controlled the impulse to run.
She could answer yes to every question, hell yes, but it didn’t mean she came from another planet…did it?
Her head spun. Erratic thoughts swirled like dust motes caught in a breeze. She was a single mum, slightly odd maybe, but living an ordinary, uneventful life, or at least trying to. How could this be happening? Beads of sweat dampened her brow, her neck. Could it be true?
“Let me show you something, then you can decide. Would you give me your talisman, please?”
With no idea why, Bree took off the pendant and handed it to him, flicking her tongue across lips that were drier than the Sahara.
He tilted his head in the direction of the small table. “Sit down and I’ll prove it to you.”
With her legs buckling at the knees, she had no choice but to do as he asked.
Quinn closed the curtains, blocking the bright shaft of sunlight, then sat in the seat opposite. His intoxicating scent, sandalwood, soap and the faintest whiff of zesty orange shampoo filled her senses, made her insides fizz with anticipation. “Hold both hands out, please, palms upwards on the table.”
Bree wiped her clammy palms on her jeans. Yep, I’m the crazy one here.
“Okay, try to relax.”
Un-bloody-believable. How the hell was she supposed to relax? Not to mention the touch of his hot, dry hand was playing havoc with her pulse rate.
***
About the Author

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Abbey MacMunn writes paranormal and fantasy romance. She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband and their four children.
When she’s not writing, she likes to watch films and TV shows – anything from rom-coms to superheroes to science fiction movies.
She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
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