Tag Archives: Book One
Dr. van Wolfe Saga, Book One
Dark Fantasy, Horror
Publisher: Blacksheep Press
Published: February 2018
I’m a monster. A literal monster. But I’m a “good” kind of monster. You know, like the serial killers who kill the drug dealers, rapists, and general scum of the earth.
The difference between those serial killers and me? I’m only part human; two-thirds of me is werepire. That’s right, werewolf and vampire. It’s not fun, but I make due. I’m also a therapist; the one these scum pay to… talk to. I listen, sure. But then I have my own personal brand of justice. It gets messy, so if you plan to stick around, might I suggest you wear a rubber suit?
Other Books in the Dr. van Wolfe Saga
Dr. van Wolfe Saga, Book Two
Publisher: Blacksheep Press
Published: December 2018
It turns out I have residents in the castle dungeons. They’re pretty helpful and we get along famously. I think I’m going to like having them around.
I’m still trapped inside my own body with these idiot monsters, but there’s good news. Dr. Fleming Heilsong heard about my search for a cure through a colleague and contacted me to offer his help. I can’t lie, this whole thing makes me nervous. I don’t want to die but the werepireism grows stronger every day. I’m fighting for my life – my very soul. Some days I think I’ll lose it altogether and so does Teddy.
How much longer can I hold on? Or will the monsters take control?
Let’s go back to how this all started. Call it a trip back in time, if you like. About four years ago, I, Dr. Miranda van Wolfe was not a doctor. I was still in school earning my Bachelor and Master Degrees. I was also a universe traveler, though I did not know it in the very beginning.
It started with a dream, or what I thought was a dream. That following weekend, I heard a voice and not just any voice – not something that sounded human, anyway. It told me it was going to take me to another universe to set things right there, so the universe I lived in and the one I was being sent to fix would merge. It really started simply and nicely enough.
Then things started getting…weird. The universe started referring to the trips it sent me on as errands, and finally, the last trip was a mission. I had saved my friends and family over and over. I even had a partner until that last mission. What I did not ever know, until the very end, was that I was not fully human. During an errand to an alternate universe to save my friend and her family, I fought, and killed, a magical werewolf with my own formidable magic. During that battle, I had been scratched and magically healed myself. I was never able to figure out how until my universe traveling days were over about a year ago. I all just…ended. Stopped dead in its tracks. Hah, stopped dead, what a reference, Miranda.
You see, that last mission was a battle for the entire fate of the multiverse. There was a woman named Venus who was able to control people’s minds just by whispering into their ear. My partner Xavier and I had gone to this universe (I had also earned my doctorate the day we left for that universe). So here I am, being sent on a mission with a man-child I am absolutely infuriated with because he missed my graduation that day, and we wind up in some 1940s style Twilight Zone. I was stuck in a dress half the time and finally managed to get some gear that allowed me to actually fight without flouncing around like a floofball.
Anyway, I got dark, and by dark, I mean my soul almost left me and had I not still had a part of me that was, err, is, human, it would be gone right now. So Xavier and I had to go meet up with his doppelganger in 1940s Twilight Zone to get whatever information on Venus we could, seeing how he was already under Venus’ mind control. There is no way to nicely tell you what I did to that poor man, but suffice it to say I did not kill him. The weird part was he was so grateful to me for saving his life and breaking the mind hold he let me stay with him until this whole mind control business was finished. He even bought me clothes, fed me…gave up his bed to me! I am pretty sure I will never again meet a human that incredibly grateful.
About the Author
Amanda Byrd has a love of horror and borderline obsession with fictional serial killers. She frequently makes Hannibal, Harry Potter, and Dexter references in “normal” conversation. She is also a full-time psychology major. When not writing, Amanda can be found reading, playing video games, or watching shows and movies like Mindhunter, Hannibal, Harry Potter, or Dexter. Amanda currently resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband and two cats.
Innovators in Action, Book One
Publisher: Science, Naturally!
The passing of great Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci—artist, anatomist, engineer, inventor—marked the end of an era. The world hasn’t seen a visionary like him since.
… Until now. On a school trip to Florence, three American middle school students think they are in for a treat when a man who claims to be Leonardo da Vinci, brought back to life with a mission to better humankind, crashes their tour. Too bad he isn’t really the celebrated Master of the Renaissance … or is he? Tag along as Max, Tad, and Gina assist Leonardo on his quest while discovering the secrets of his life and teaching the Maestro about science, math, history, art, and more! Will the students be able to help Leonardo evade the mayor of Florence’s selfish grasp so he can complete his quest before his time is up… again?
Leonardo da Vinci Gets A Do-Over is the first adventure in this new and exciting Innovators in Action blended fiction series.
About the Author
Mark P. Friedlander, Jr. is an attorney in Fairfax, VA. An Air Force pilot in the Korean War, he loves studying technology, history and science. He has written extensively, for both adult and young adult audiences, on subjects ranging from Shakespeare to aviation history, contagious diseases to forensic science. He can be reached at Mark@ScienceNaturally.com.
American River Trilogy, Book One
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Published: June 2017
In the mid-1800s, three immigrant families—Irish, Mexican, and Japanese—settled along the banks of the American River in Northern California. A century later only one family remains. The Morales family lost their land when California became a state. The Japanese colony collapsed. But Cormac McPhalan’s Mockingbird Valley Ranch, now managed by his grandson, Owen, is still a thriving family business.
Then, in the politically- charged year of 1959, Owen’s wife, Marian, leaves the ranch to follow her dream of becoming a professional artist. Her twelve-year-old daughter, Alex, a musical prodigy, goes with her, while fifteen-year-old Kate stays behind and tries to hold the family together despite the growing rift between her father, Owen, and her older brother, Julian. But Kate shocks and angers her father when she falls in love with the ranch foreman’s son, Japanese internment camp survivor, Tommy Ashida. And Marian’s summer love affair with with a talented young musician, Carl Morales, ignites a firestorm that will later impact all three families.
From the concert halls of Europe to Kyoto’s ancient avenues, and Manhattan’s artist’s lofts to San Francisco’s North Beach, the members of a new generation— artists, musicians, poets and politicians, the inheritors of their immigrant ancestors’ hopes and dreams— make their way through the turbulent decade of the sixties. But when an unexpected tragedy brings the three families together, they find that they are torn apart by conflicting opinions, dangerous secrets, engrained prejudices, and their own lofty ambitions.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, O’Connor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
Other Books in the American River Trilogy
American River: Currents
American River Trilogy, Book Two
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Published: March 2018
In the second book of the American River trilogy, a cavalcade of disasters both personal and public threatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans during the tumultuous 1960s.
Katestill mourning the death of her brother, Julian finds herself torn between her love for Carl, now a celebrated conductor who is looking for career opportunities on the East Coast, and her devotion to the West and especially the family ranch at Mockingbird. Also, while attending a music festival in Venice, Italy, she meets Stefan Molnar, a renowned concert pianist, who has become her sister Alex’s mentor (and lover). As Kate and Stefan’s unintentional relationship grows, complications multiply.
Meanwhile, Tommy Ashida, now studying in Japan, falls in love with Emiko Namura, the beautiful, sheltered daughter of a Tokyo businessman. He hopes she holds the key to understanding his Japanese heritage, but will that knowledge lead to happiness or something darker?
Determined to make her mark in the male-dominated art world, Kate’s mother, Marian, decides to move to New York while Kate’s father, Owen, becomes involved in local politics. When he is elected to the California Assembly, he finds himself in direct opposition to Jorge Morales, Carl’s father.
Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, O’Connor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
American River: Currents, Book Two of the American River Trilogy, is filled with passionate and resolute characters who refuse to let go of their unique visions of success even as life’s tumultuous currents threaten to sweep them all away.
American River: Confluence
American River Trilogy, Book Three
By Mallory M. O’Connor
Coming November 2018
Book three of the American River Trilogy begins with the three families—the McPhalans, the Morales, and the Ashidas—in turmoil. Following Owen McPhalan’s death, his daughter Kate has inherited Mockingbird Valley Ranch only to discover that the once profitable family business is no longer sustainable. Desperate to find a way to save Mockingbird, she struggles to formulate a plan. But she hasn’t counted on the wrath of Dan Papadakis, Owen’s former campaign manager, who is working behind the scenes to undermine her efforts.
Excerpt from American River: Tributaries
Part I: The Ancestors
Mockingbird Valley Ranch
Near Auburn, California
Cormac McPhalan paused at the top of the bluff and stood for a moment admiring the view. To the east he could see the peaks of the High Sierra that John Muir would later call the “Range of Light,” lonely granite spires capped even in summer with a mantle of snow. Cormac studied the mountains, his spirits, as always, lifted by their grandeur.
Turning, he looked toward the west where the Central Valley of California spread out wide and flat, a violet lake bordered by the Coast Range, a wavy, blue line on the far western horizon.
A hawk swept past, screaming its warning, and Cormac’s eyes followed it into the still dark canyon where the North Fork of the American River had carved a rock-strewn channel. Although he couldn’t see the river, he could hear its wild, cascading song, a husky roar fueled by snowmelt from the spring thaw. The river had been like that—high and wild—when he first laid eyes on the land that would become Mockingbird Valley Ranch.
About the Author
Award-winning author Mallory M. O’Connor is a writer, art historian, musician, and professor emerita at Santa Fe College where she taught art history and served as director of the Santa Fe Art Gallery. O’Connor holds master’s degrees in both American history and art history from Ohio University, and has also lived in California, Florida, Mexico and Tennessee. She is the author of two non-fiction art history books, both published by the University Press of Florida. Since retiring from her position at SFC, Mallory has written three novels, the American River Trilogy. Book One, American River: Tributaries, was published in 2017 and recently won First Prize in the Fiction Category from Northern California Publishers and Authors. The book also won the President’s Award for Fiction from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Book two of the trilogy, American River: Currents, was published in 2018. Book three, American River: Confluence, is scheduled for a November 2018 release.
The Admiralty Archives, Book One
Publisher: Village Green Press
Date Published: July 2018
A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior Lady Alexin is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.
CURSE OF THE SEA
The fogbank loomed like an impenetrable barrier, blotting out the moon, stars, and any vestiges of the early morning sun. The seas, which had been choppy, calmed. The crew on the wooden Elf ship, Kite, tensed, not knowing what lay ahead as the ship sliced through gray walls of mist into eerie silence.
Alex stood on the bow as the primary lookout. Moisture condensed on her face and water dripped off her chin. Long ago, she’d proven to the crew that her vision was better than theirs under these circumstances. Pulling her long, black hair from her face, she revealed the blue tufts in her ears, marking her as a young Water Elf. But her ears were rounded like a mortal’s; her eyesight exceptional, that of a Titan. Wiping her face, she grimaced through the discomfort of wet hair, wet skin, and wet clothes, narrowing her blue eyes to pierce through the murkiness.
Alex wasn’t a member of the crew, but a frequent visitor. She’d used the ship several times in her capacity as the Keeper of the Keys for the Council of Elders, so the crew knew her well. The Kite was a small, maneuverable warship in the Water Elf fleet called a coaster, made of Arethus wood for maximum strength with a single mast and a crew of ten, all skilled seamen, blond, good-looking, and formidable warriors, trained in clandestine operations. The crew taunted Crestan, the ship’s captain, about his close relationship with Alex. He didn’t deny it, but cautioned them about teasing her. The sword she wore on her side and the Elfin Blade strapped to her right thigh weren’t for decoration. Alex could be dangerous.
Tendrils of fog wrapped around her head, enveloping her in a shroud. Waving at it only made it close in tighter around her face. She didn’t fear death; maybe she was too young and naïve to worry about it. A shiver ran up her spine; she had trouble catching her breath and her hands felt clammy and cold.
From behind, her grandfather, Lord Odin of the Tree Elves, chanted a spell to lift the fog—his voice clear and strong. Comforted, Alex breathed easier and returned her gaze to search for Seaward Isle, but all she could see was more fog, the curse of the sea.
It should burn off soon.
* * *
Faraway on the mortal world of Earth, the American aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78, sailed majestically at the head of NATO Exercise Hunter Dawn 2031 in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance of nations formed in 1949, sponsored these exercises to maintain readiness and improve cooperation. In 2031, Hunter Dawn was the largest one held in decades, involving fifty ships and submarines from twelve different countries.
From the British Royal Navy, Vice Admiral Sir Malcolm Teller observed flight operations from the carrier’s bridge as a jet aircraft took off. He was in command of the NATO exercise, the first British Admiral to be selected in years. Over the last few decades, the British fleet had scaled back its presence, citing the high cost and continuing economic woes. Still, a few members of the British Parliament pressed for more influence and his assignment was the result. At fifty-one, Teller was the one of the youngest three-star Admirals in the British fleet and the only black man holding that rank. He wasn’t sure if he was setting a new precedent as a black man or following one. It didn’t matter to him.
With contained excitement, the Admiral watched the jet take off—the sound was so loud he felt it to his core. It rumbled and roared like a caged beast. Unbelievable…and the precision! All the sailors and aircraft moved around the flight deck in a magical dance.
Before the launch of the next jet, the captain of the ship, U.S. Navy Captain John Delacruz, stepped up to the Admiral and leaned close to his ear. “I need to show you something in the CIC, Admiral.”
“Certainly. What’s wrong?”
“Follow me, please.” He led the Admiral from the bridge to a locked door for the Command Information Center, known by sailors as the CIC, the heart of naval operations at sea. Access was strictly limited, even to the crew. The Captain entered the security code, bent his head down, and stepped through the watertight door. The Admiral wasn’t quite as tall, but he bent his head just the same. He’d been on enough ships over his career to have old scars on his forehead from these low doorways. The Captain led him over to a radar screen.
“Admiral, this is Chief Petty Officer Lawson. He’ll explain.”
The Chief stood at attention and pressed a button to replay the latest radar images. “Yes, Captain. Admiral Teller, sir, about fifteen minutes ago at zero-nine-thirty hours, we detected a squall line of bad weather heading for the rear of the formation. Our radio operators notified the five ships at the rear and they acknowledged. Once the squall line passed, we attempted to resume radio contact, but there’s been no response. We can’t locate them by radar, either. They’ve disappeared, Admiral…all five ships.”
The Admiral gripped his chest—it felt tight. “We still need verification.”
“I took the liberty of contacting our submarine, USS Casa Grande, to check it out. So far, nothing… no contact.” The Chief pointed to the radar screen as a bead of sweat trickled down his face. “They should be right here, but nothing’s there, sir. It’s like they vanished into thin air.” He replayed the images on the radar screen.
Admiral Teller touched his forehead, not sure he understood the man clearly. “There must be an oil slick or some other debris. There always is.”
“There’s nothing, Admiral.”
“Is there any other way to confirm it?”
Captain Delacruz intervened. “With your permission, Admiral, we can send our helos over the scene to look for debris. They’re already in the air on plane guard duty.”
“Do it.” Admiral Teller took a deep breath but had a sinking feeling in his gut. He ran his hand over his head; guilt washed over him like a tidal wave. He’d ordered the five ships to the rear as part of the exercise. Oh my God, what have I done?
* * *
Six months before, Alex had fixed the Elf grid for the Plane of Eledon. The fog indicated the process of restoring the island to the grid was working. But it was already the end of June. Shortly after it began, the Mentors, the Elf Guides, had issued a warning not to use the entry points to the island, but since then, they hadn’t said a word.
Alex agonized over the island’s fate, hoping the people living there survived. When she’d initially repaired the grid six months ago, she didn’t know the process, but then again, no one else did either because it had never happened before. For over a thousand years, the island had been in limbo, part of Eledon and yet not. Encased in a “bubble,” it clung to Eledon by the use of entry points, or wormholes—the situation had been deteriorating until Alex solved the problem. Yeah, right, I fixed it all right. Look at all this fog. Her face went hot with guilt as she glanced back to the bridge, making out her grandfather’s purple cloak and his long, blond hair.
The fog was lifting.
Her grandfather, Lord Odin, the leader of the Tree Elves and a senior member of the Council of Elders, had suggested this exploratory voyage to the island and enlisted the aid of Crestan, the captain of the ship Kite, to sail into the unknown.
“See anything, Alex?” her grandfather asked through cupped hands.
“Nothing. It should be here. Are you sure you used the right spell?” She heard his affirmative response and turned around. Seconds later, a faint image emerged through the fog—a wooden ship sat dead in the water. “Ship ahead!” Alex whirled around. “Crestan, turn now!”
Crestan squinted and waved his hand to the left. “Turn port, forty-five degrees.”
“Port, forty-five degrees,” came the confirmation from the boatswain at the wheel which spun like a top, so fast the spindles were a blur.
“We’re clear.” Crestan breathed a sigh of relief. He recognized the other ship’s markings. “A Rock Elf ship.” Alarmed, he closed his eyes to report it to Prince Darin in Elfspeak, a form of elvish telepathic communication. The Prince was Alex’s cousin, in charge of the Water Elf fleet, the largest in Eledon. He was intensely interested in Rock Elf movements near the island and not without reason.
“Your Highness, this is Crestan. May I speak?”
“Where are you?”
“Near Seaward Isle. We’ve spotted a Rock Elf ship in the fog.”
“Very well. Keep your eyes open for more.”
“Yes, your Highness.” Crestan opened his eyes. The conversation had barely lasted a few seconds.
Alex made out another shape. “There’s another one. It’s really big!” She stood on her tiptoes and extended her hands as high as she could, but her arms weren’t long enough.
“Ahead of us. Can’t you see it?” She pointed up. A large, gray mass blended into the mist, but its straight lines gave away its presence. A klaxon blared.
Crestan gasped as he heard the klaxon and detected the gray hulk, simultaneously. “Right full rudder!” He ran to the wheel to help his boatswain spin it faster. They narrowly missed the ship, but it was so close Crestan could reach out and touch the hull. It was made of metal, not wood. Painted on the side in large black letters was the name HMS Camelot.
“HMS Camelot?” Alex furrowed her brow. “King Arthur didn’t have ships like that.”
Lord Odin came up to her. “What kind of ship is this? It’s made of metal. What’s it doing here?”
“I don’t know, but Camelot was the name of King Arthur’s castle. His ships were made out of wood, like ours.” Alex shook her head. A few years ago, she’d seen his ships on her last visit to the mortal world and had even met the man. “Whose ship was that behind us? The wooden one.” She hoped it wasn’t a mortal ship.
“Rock Elves. I’ve already notified Prince Darin,” Crestan said.
“Oh, no. Do they have a lot of them?”
“At least a hundred. Lord Boulder increased their fleet before he died, but none of their ships are built with Arethus wood.” Crestan bowed to Lord Odin; the Tree Elves had supplied the special wood.
“Unfortunately, we know what the Rock Elves want.” Lord Odin sighed. “They want Seaward Isle.”
The Rock Elves used to live on the island, but abandoned it when it became unstable. Now that it had returned to Eledon, they wanted it back. Neither Lord Odin nor Alex intended to let them have it.
Slowly, the Kite cleared the bow of the Camelot, only to find a flotilla of small rubber boats with men in orange life vests, picking others out of the water. Alex leaned over the bow, her face and black hair still dripping as she surveyed the situation below.
Crestan came alongside. “All stop! Throw out the sea anchor. Begin rescue operations.”
Alex pinched her nose. “It smells like gasoline.” Years ago, she’d witnessed another shipwreck near Seaward Isle with a similar smell. The pungent odor irritated her breathing. Even her grandfather covered his nose and mouth with his cloak.
The crew ignored the smell and focused their efforts on rescuing as many as they could. It was the law of the sea—sailors always helped others in distress, except in battle, but sometimes even then. They lowered a rope ladder and dropped their only lifeboat in the water. As survivors came aboard, Alex handed out towels and blankets and gave them water while her grandfather checked them for injuries.
To Alex’s surprise, the sailors spoke the common tongue, the language spoken on Seaward Isle. Alex approached a middle-aged man with dark eyes and dark hair, graying at the temples. He wore a wet uniform with multiple gold stripes on his shoulders, obviously an officer.
“My name’s Alex. Are you in charge?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Are you hurt, sir? You’re bleeding.” She pointed to his forehead.
“Just a scratch.” He dabbed it with his fingers. “Thank you for your assistance. You said your name was Alex, correct? My name is Captain William Jonas, British Royal Navy. I’m the Commanding Officer of the HMS Camelot. We were participating in NATO Exercise Hunter Dawn 2031. Where are we?”
“You’re off the coast of Seaward Isle. We’re not exactly sure how you got here. This wasn’t supposed to happen anymore.” She cast a concerned glance over her shoulder. “This is my grandfather, Lord Odin—he’s the Tree Elf representative on the Council of Elders.”
Captain Jonas extended his hand. “A pleasure to meet you, sir.” He paused and stared at him. “Did you say Tree Elf?” He laughed. “Marvelous job of makeup. Your ears are even pointed.”
“But I am a Tree Elf, Captain.”
The Captain’s smile vanished as he stared, his mouth ajar. “How did you get here?”
“The correct question is how did you get here? We live here in Eledon. This is the Elf ship, Kite, and this is the captain, Crestan. You’ll notice his ears are also pointed because we’re Elves. Unfortunately, the crew doesn’t speak the common tongue as my granddaughter and I do.”
Upon hearing his name, Crestan saluted Captain Jonas in the Elf fashion with his right hand over his chest and a nod.
“Honored to meet a fellow seaman.” Captain Jonas returned a crisp salute to the brow, palm out, British-style. He swallowed hard. “The common tongue? You mean English?”
“Yes, it’s spoken on Seaward Isle. My granddaughter and I lived on this island for many years, but Crestan and his crew did not. The island was populated by mortals who’d been shipwrecked here, just as you are. But we haven’t had any shipwrecks in years. We just repaired the Elf grid, so this would never happen again.”
“Apparently, it did. So, what do we do now?”
“Let’s get you and your crew to shore and figure this out.” Lord Odin turned away. “Take us to shore, Crestan,” he said in Elf.
Crestan waved two fingers over his head, followed by other verbal commands to his crew.
“Turn two,” Captain Jonas said. “At least that’s the same.” The nautical signal told the crew to begin ship operations, which they did. They raised the sea anchor, lowered the sail, and caught a light breeze.
Once moving, Crestan sent out a distress call, using a pink conch shell. It was a long wail followed by two short blasts, notifying anyone within earshot of the accident scene. The ship sailed ahead, throwing lines over the side to tow the rubber boats behind it.
Alex pointed to the right—the fog was lifting. “Grandfather, there’s more gray ships over there.”
Captain Jonas nodded. “Yes, four more ships from the countries of the United States, France, Canada, and Italy, with over seven hundred sailors including ours. How deep is the water here? And where are you taking us?”
“I don’t know how deep it is, but the city of Agana is just ahead.” Alex pointed forward.
“Agana on the island of Guam? That’s impossible. That’s in the Pacific Ocean and we were in the Atlantic.”
“No, Captain. This isn’t the same Agana. I’m not sure where the name of this city came from, but…you’re not in the mortal world anymore.”
“What do you mean we’re not in the mortal world?”
“You’re in Eledon, the world of the Elves.”
“Impossible!” He stared at Lord Odin. “How did we get here?” His eyebrows raised high.
Alex shrugged. “That’s what we’ve been trying to explain.”
Lord Odin rested his hand on the Captain’s shoulder. “Eledon was created by our Mentors, our guides, when we were sent away from Earth over ten thousand years ago. Our journey took us through a wormhole, so we’re probably quite a distance from Earth.”
Captain Jonas turned pale and touched his forehead. “This isn’t possible.”
“I’m afraid it is.”
“How do we get back…to Earth?”
“I’ll ask our Mentors for help. They can make an entry point to the mortal world, but it can take some time. Meanwhile, we need to take care of you and your crew.”
“How am I going to explain this to them?” The Captain muttered; his eyes wide and mouth open. He shook his head slowly. “Surely this must be a mistake.”
About the Author
Writing fantasy novels is what Joni Parker loves to do. She’s written two book series so far; the first is a trilogy called, “The Seaward Isle Saga” and the second one has four books and is called, “The Chronicles of Eledon.” An award-winning novelist, she’s also branched off into short stories and blogs about the latest movies she’s seen or books she’s read. Her writing career began after her second retirement. In her first career, she served 22 years in the U.S. Navy and in the second, she served in the Department of Homeland Security. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.
Date Published: June 2018
What if your family sold you to a Sultan’s Harem?
Drugged and kidnapped, Shera finds herself on a ship to Morocco to serve the Sultan. Abandoned and alone, Shera must find a way to escape and confront the people who betrayed her. She gets help from an unlikely source: the man who kidnapped her. But, he has his own secrets. And, when their partnership turns to love, the two must face constant danger to endure. But will they ever be free?
The throbbing was relentless. Shera, Lady Edgerton, squinted and reluctantly peeked out from beneath her eyelids. She immediately regretted it. A thousand needles of light stabbed her with brutal fury and she quickly closed her eyes again to ease the misery. She drew in a deep breath, trying to quell the pounding in her head. Mindful of the pain, she very slowly opened her eyes again, fighting the agony of vicious brightness that assailed her. Sunlight pierced the room through a narrow slit in the wall high up in the small space and pooled about her. Nausea threatened but she swallowed hard and stiffened her spine.
Gathering her senses and forcing herself to focus, she looked around. Where was she? A small room made of wood? The walls were bare except for four sets of chains attached to the wood by rings hanging a few inches from the floor. Was this an area used to confine prisoners? But that did not answer why she was here. She was an innocent. Her being here must be a terrible mistake.
She heaved in a deep breath and listened carefully. Naught but a kind of creaking. Raising herself gently, she sat up. Her head spun and she took in a few shallow breaths to ease the dizziness. The space around her gradually took shape. She was indeed in a small room with walls of horizontal planked wood. Beneath her, the floor swayed gently back and forth. And the smell? It was the scent of despair. Someone had been held here before her. Or many someones. And there was also the unmistakable odor of the sea. I am aboard a ship? How is that possible? A slither of terror crawled up her back. Had she been kidnapped? Was her life at risk? Who did this and what did they want? The lack of answers was tormenting.
Shera soothed herself by inhaling and exhaling slowly, then took an inventory of her body. Her back ached and her arms and legs felt heavy. She was most likely bruised, but overall, she was intact. She was still dressed in her beautiful crimson velvet ball gown from the night before, but now it was dirty and the skirt was torn at the hem and along the seams. Her bracelets were missing, as were her rings. But, when she felt for her necklace, she realized it had slipped down into her bodice. She lifted it out and breathed some relief. Set with diamonds and rubies, it was worth a small fortune. She replaced it between her breasts and patted her chest. It could certainly be used as a bribe, but to whom? If she revealed it under the wrong circumstances, it could be taken from her. No, she must be careful to conceal it until the time was right.
She felt her earlobes. The left earring was gone, but the one on the right had become tangled in her hair. It, too, was set with rubies and diamonds and worth much. She extracted it and slipped it into her bodice with the other piece. Just knowing she had some wealth gave her options and more chances, perhaps, to resolve this situation, whatever it was. The possibilities went from the ridiculous to the unthinkable. It could be this was a simple prank, but the clawing in her stomach told her it was no such thing. But, she must control the terror that threatened to confound her thinking.
She had been laying on a mattress of sorts, although it was long overdue for re-stuffing. She refused to even think about the stains or what loathsome tiny creatures might reside within its depths. Looking around again, she realized there were three other such pads lined up in the room. Were others to join her? It certainly appeared as if this cabin was used to secure many more. More what? Captives?
Shera squeezed her eyes shut. This was merely a nightmare. She would open her eyes and be in her own bed in the manor house waiting for a servant to come and help her bathe and dress. Yes, that was it. Upon opening her eyes again, this was indeed still a nightmare, but it was real.
About the Author
Leslie Hachtel was born in Ohio, raised in New York and has been a gypsy most of her adult life. Her various jobs, including licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled and advertising media buyer have given her a wealth of experiences.
However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced eleven novels, including eight historicals and three romantic suspense. Leslie lives in Cordova, Tennessee with a fabulously supportive engineer husband and her writing buddy, Jakita, a terrier.