The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin


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Middle Grade
Date Published: October 2017
Publisher: Plaisted Publishing House Ltd
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After Bess Silver had settled into her new home in Pineview she thought her biggest problem would be settling into a new school. She was surprised to learn that it was a one room school house which was different from what she was used to.
That all changed when Megan Skye, her best friend and cousin, dashed into their kitchen late one afternoon with exciting news. Megan’s father discovered an old cabin, hidden behind a wall, when he started doing kitchen renovations. Megan asked him to take the suitcases, ledgers and trunk they found over to Bess instead of throwing them out. Clues turn up in the suitcases and in a secret compartment in the cabin which leave Bess puzzled. When she first looked around the cabin she sees a ghostly figure that disappears in an instant but is as real as Megan. Dreams about the cabin and occupants haunt Bess. These feel so real that she can’t shake the feeling that she was actually near them.
Who is the figure that Bess saw in the cabin? What is she trying to tell her? Why is she having dreams about the old cabin? Will Bess be able to figure  out who the mysterious figure is? Or would these secrets remain secrets forever?
The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin is the sequel to Bess’s Magical Garden and can be read on it’s own.
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Bess’s Magical Garden
Published: October 2015
Publisher: FriesenPress
Bess’s mother moves them to Pineview, away from her best friend Megan, and she terribly misses her. Six months earlier, Bess’s father died in a car crash, and she’s also in the midst of recovering from the final stages of polio. She’s in a sad and lonely place.
From the moment she and her mother settle into their new home, Bess hears whispering voices and encounters a ghostly figure in the well-kept garden and in her dreams. She can’t make sense of everything and so shares her observations with Megan by writing her regular letters.
During the summer, she makes new friends, including an orange and white tomcat that she names Pumpkin, and her new neighbour Josie. With the help of Mrs. O’Toole, the woman who watches her, Bess continues to recover, both physically and emotionally. She becomes more and more curious about the garden and the unexplained clues that she finds there.
In Bess’s Magical Garden, Bess discovers her own true strengths through enduring life’s struggles. She – with Josie and Megan’s help – also finds some hidden items in the garden, including a map, that leave the girls with more questions than answers. Who was the figure that visited Bess? Will Bess and her friends be able to uncover the garden’s secrets? Or will those secrets be mysteries forever?
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About the Author

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Marjorie (M.E.) Hembroff is the author of Bess’s Magical Garden, a middle grade novel and picture book Gramma Mouse Tells a Story. Marjorie is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators,  and Writer’s Guild of Alberta.
Marjorie has been an avid reader since early childhood and has always been imaginative. Growing up on a farm before television aided in her using her imagination to create a variety of pastimes. Stories formed in her mind but most of them were never written down until later in life. It wasn’t until her children were growing up that she started to take art and writing courses. At that time, her writing improved and short stories formed. It was when she retired that the idea for Bess’s Magical Garden surfaced.
After Marjorie’s divorce she worked in the plant industry. First at a greenhouse and then looking after tropical plants in downtown offices. For awhile it looked like her adult children would never leave home but they have now all flown the nest and are having their own life’s adventures. After retirement she moved to Strathmore where she lives with her pets.
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Rockstar Series


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Contemporary Romance
Part One – Books One thru Four
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As with all the Rockstar books, this book contains mature content and may be deemed inappropriate for persons under 17 years of age.
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Falling Down – (Rockstar #1)
I was twelve when I started crushing on him.
I was seventeen when I met him by chance and our connection was made.
Now here I am, twenty-three, and I’m one of the two actresses in the video for his band’s latest single.
Jesse Kingston is a tall, dark, and gorgeous temptation I’m finding hard to resist. It ends up not being as simple as doing a job and going home. It can’t be when he continually makes his presence known with his not-so-innocent touches and sexy words. There is no avoiding him and after spending so much time with him, I’m not sure I want to.
So, when he proposes a weekend together, knowing I should say no, I throw caution to the wind and instead I say yes. I’m going to ignore the warning signs and do what I normally wouldn’t—I’m going to give in to my desire. I’m going to indulge my fantasies and give this sexy rocker what he wants and something he won’t forget—me.
The only question is: Is one weekend going to be enough? Will our time end up changing this bad boy? Or will it end up changing me?
I recommend listening to the playlist whenever possible to get the full effect of the story (Listed at the back of the book).
If you’re unable to suspend disbelief and escape to the Rockstar Land of Fiction, then this book probably isn’t for you.  This is NOT a dark romance. There will be MINIMAL angst or drama. There will be lots of laughs, frequent dropping of the F-bomb, and crazy monkey sex.
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Blush (Rockstar #2)
You know how people say they woke up in Vegas married and you’re like, how the hell could that possibly happen? Who does that? Well, us apparently… and the press is having a field day.
Let’s not even get started on the topic of my mother. Then there’s my grandpa wanting to meet my new husband–that’s not scary at all. On top of that, we’re heading out on tour and I’m a nervous wreck–factor in the fact that Jesse’s newly changed marital status doesn’t seem to be an issue for the groupies. Nothing deters them. Not even the fact that I’m standing right there when they proposition him.
I can handle the press, my mom, and even my grandpa. But the women who are ruining my current mood of “happy”, well, they’ve got another thing coming. It’s time to put these women in their place because nobody messes with my happily ever after.
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A Very Xander Christmas (Rockstar #3)
The first Rockstar Christmas. A short story—told Xander Style.
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Amplify: (Rockstar #4)
DISCLAIMER: This story contains grief, loss, sadness, darkness, light, happiness, angst, swearing, explicit sex, graphic violence, new beginnings, and soulmates. You may need tissues.
He’s my protector, my confidante. Then one night he became more. I want him, I need him, and, if I’m honest with myself, I love him. I just don’t know if he’ll ever see me as more than what we’ve always been: friends. I don’t want to lose him but it’s getting harder and harder to keep my feelings to myself. Should I risk it all or play it safe?
She’s my light, my saving grace. The night we came together I knew I could never live without her. I want her to be mine: my lover, my friend. Maybe, if I can get her to see past all the reasons why we shouldn’t be together, she’ll be my forever. It just might be time to turn it up and go for broke.
About the Author

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Anne Mercier is the author of the bestselling Rockstar, Forbidden Fantasies and The Way series. She was born and raised in Wisconsin and still lives there today.
She’s an avid reader who gets inspired by reading the stories from her favorite authors as well as listening to various types of music. She is a huge fan of music, chocolate, fruit, desserts, autumn, M. Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold, and Milo Ventimiglia. Through her books, she is proudly creating new Avenged Sevenfold and Milo Ventimiglia fans one reader at a time.
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There Once Was a Girl


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Publisher: XLibris
Published: May 2016
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Based on a true story, there once was a girl is about the journey of a young woman’s life and the choices she makes during that journey and the consequence’s they bring. Australian drama, which takes the reader from the Sydney western suburbs and pubs to the outback of Western Australia. The story isn’t about one girl….there is another female character and the story tells of her experiences in a world that isn’t as safe as we want to believe. Names and places have been changed.
About the Author

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Josie Townsend is a sixth generation Australian. She lives in regional New South Wales.


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The Unexpected Wife


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Historical Romance
Date Published: July 25, 2018
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When the Duke of Murnane accepts an unofficial fact finding mission to Canton on behalf of the queen in 1838 he expects work to heal him. He certainly doesn’t expect to confront his wreck of a marriage in such an exotic locale, or to find the love of his life. Zambak Hayden follows her brother to China to escape pressure to make a suitable marriage. When she finds the brother drawn into the world of greed, smuggling, opium, and corruption she resolves to both sort out the truth and to protect her brother from becoming prey to all of it—if only she could stop yearning for the one man she can’t have.  Can love survive when troubles and war explode around them?


First of all, I really liked the simplicity of this book cover. It is a great representation of the novel without being too much.

There is so much in this story that fascinated me and drew me in.  There are real issues and real history so that the novel doesn’t just seem like some completely unimaginable fictitious tale. Caroline Warfield has written about these characters and the time in a way to really shine a whole new light on them.

There were a ton of aspects of this story that really set it apart for me. Wonderful story line and solid flow. Very witty and compelling, a great read.

About the Author

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Award-winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
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Bad Blood


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Urban Fantasy
Date Published: Sept 28th, 2018
Publisher: Inspired Ink ( Self published)
A reluctant knight.
A magical descendent.
A race against time.
A freak accident thrusts Nakeeta Alva into a dangerous world of secrets, ancient spells, and a legacy she never wanted. The last in a magical line, she’s tasked with restoring the balance to a supernatural world poised for ruin.
Tasked with the care of their savior, Crewe’s main focus is survival. Used to giving orders, the knight isn’t prepared for the sassy witch’s mouth or her lure. The powerful woman reminded him of his humanity and challenged his beliefs. Keeping her safe is his mission, but the real danger may be losing his heart.
Together, they will save the world … or die trying.
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Let me get you some water.” Her mother hurried off as she acclimated herself with the waking world. How long have I been here? Her mother returned with a large, pink plastic cup with a straw. “Let’s get you sitting up.” Her mother hit the button and slowly pushed her up into an upright position.
“Yes,” she rasped.
“Here you are.” She held the cup out, and she wrapped her lips around a straw and sucked the cool water down her sore throat. The relief drew a hum from her throat. Pulling away, Keeta cleared her throat.
“I’m so sorry. Times run out,” her mother whispered.
“What are you talking about, Mom?” She furrowed her brow.
“We did our best to protect you, Keeta. Growing up we tried to keep you away from all things magical, but the power ran too deep. The spirits tried to tell me, but I was too stubborn to listen. You were my child, and I wanted the best for you. Your magic was a part of you that refused to be ignored or denied. So, we switched gears, tried to prepare you for what we knew would come, and hid you for as long as we could. I knew the moment I saw you and looked into your eyes you were the one our family had prophesied about.”
“Hid me from what?” Is this some sort of fever dream? Am I still in a comma?
“Everyone who would use you as a weapon.” Her mother’s whisper was full of sorrow and desperation.
“Use me? Mom, you’re not making any sense.” Exasperated, she huffed. Her body ached, and her head felt barely attached to her shoulders. A combination of the powerful medication and exhaustion that came from healing warped her perception. A hazy recollection of a dream tugged at her. What was I supposed to remember? Her brain protested the strain with a dull throbbing at her temples that stopped her from thinking too hard.
Her mother held her hand. “You’re different.”
“Yes, like our entire family is,” Keeta replied, unsure of what her mother wished to convey. She’d never been the type to beat around the bush before. Why hesitate now?
“Yes, but you have power. A scary amount of it. Things have always been drawn to you. Even with us cloaking you to dampen your light, it shone so brightly.” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “We tried to do right by you, Keeta. Now I’m not sure we were right.”
“Mom, you’re scaring me.” Her voice warbled.
“Destiny will only be denied so long, baby. Yours is at hand.”
Her stomach knotted. The storm that had been threatening overhead was finally breaking.
“Our family is made up of more than powerful magic workers. We descend from a long lineage of gifted magical beings. It goes back further than you can imagine, and some of the spells created and cast changed the shape of the world as we know it.” She glanced around nervously. “I’m not sure how much time we have. You’re a part of a bigger plan, Keeta. The laws keeping humans safe are crumbling into themselves. You can help change that. I won’t tell you it’ll be easy, or comfortable, but it’s necessary. If I could take this burden from you, I would.” She shook her head. “But it wasn’t meant for me.”
“I don’t understand. What am I supposed to do? Why?” Keeta shook her head. She’d never seen her mother this distraught. Dark circles ringed her puffy red eyes. Regret and apprehension stiffened her muscles and turned her dark brown eyes nearly black.
“I want to tell you more.” Her mother bowed her head. Her mouth clamped shut as if it’d been glued together. “Mmm. Mmmm.” She struggled to speak. Her face turned purple.
“Mom?” She gripped the blankets hard and leaned forward. “Breathe!”
Her mother gasped, greedily sucking in air as her slender form trembled. Tears rolled down her face in a steady stream of salty water. “I can’t. God help me, I can’t.” Her anguished cries sliced at Keeta’s heart.
“You can’t what?” she whimpered, feeling her mother’s pain as her own.
Exasperated, her mother threw her hands into the air and shook her head so hard she thought she might strain a muscle. “T-the d-deal,” she stuttered, stumbling over her words
“What deal?” Her stomach plummeted, and her heartbeat spiked. The monitors beeped nosily in response.
“The one she made to save your life,” a masculine voice answered from the doorway.
Her spine stiffened. The room felt too small. She shrank back against her pillow. His aura was dark and powerful. Nearly six-foot with pale blond hair, crystalline blue eyes, and cheekbones that could draw blood, he oozed strength and dominance.
Predator. He slammed against the wall, pinned into place. She gasped. Did I do that?
“Nakeeta!” her mother hissed.
She’d never been able to manifest her powers this way. She trembled. Images of the powerful medicine man and his words filled her brain. A headache burst through her head.
“Stop this,” her mother demanded.
I don’t know how. She wouldn’t share that weakness in front of this—
His eyes flashed red.
About the Author

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Shyla Colt is the sassy USA Today Bestselling author of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places.
As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.
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Dusty Rider Series


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The Dusty Rider Series, Book 2
Date Published: August 27, 2018
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From Stella Knights comes the newest, sexiest installment of The Dusty Rider Series…
HOLDING MY BREATH, I am frozen in place. Waiting. Wondering.
Ding, Dong! Ding, Dong!
Again, the sound stabs through my heart.
Who is at the front door? Please God, please don’t let it be the police. Or worse, what if it’s Tom?
In Leading Hand, the past comes hurtling into the present forcing difficult decisions to be made. Old relationships and secrets complicate Holly and Aiden’s romance, threatening her second chance at finding love.
Will Holly find the strength to continue following her heart?
The Dusty Rider Series will take you across Australia as Holly meets a stockman “cowboy” that shows her what real love is. This romantic story is about a possible second chance at life and love as Holly tries to follow her heart. Will she take a chance at this new life full of action and passionate, erotic adventure?
This series is for mature audiences.
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Other Books in The Dusty Rider Series
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Taken Outback
The Dusty Rider Series, Book 1
Published: March 2017
An American woman, named Holly, has everything she could possibly want living in the city of Melbourne. Her Australian husband, Tom, works hard chasing his hierarchical corporate dreams, so much so that he forgoes Holly’s happiness. Fighting to make their marriage work, Holly uncovers secrets about Tom, causing her to question all she ever believed in.
Distractions abound as Holly starts a new job, where she meets a charming stranger in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Her imagination is opened to a possible new way of life, lust and love as she is given a chance to see how she can break free from the shackled boundaries set by a stifling city lifestyle.
Will she ever be able to go back to living the only way she ever knew or will she embrace the life offered to her? This love story is one of fear versus freedom, power versus submission and scheduled time versus endless time as city and country life collide.
About the Author

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Stella Knights has lived and worked in several countries across four continents, journaling her life experiences along the way. Blurring the lines between her reality and dreams, Stella found the courage to share her stories in hope that she will inspire others with her love of travel and living life the simple way.
Having spent a good part of her life in Australia, Stella wrote her first novel series based on things she experienced and learned about while living there. Stella hopes that The Dusty Rider Series opens others to the resilience, hardship, beauty and eternal love of those living in the Australian bush.
Find Stella on Facebook 
She is also on Instagram 
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Shadow Games


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Coming of Age
Date Published: June 2018
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Danny McCall loves basketball more than anything in the world. So why would he risk his basketball scholarship, the love of his life and his entire future to fix the point spread in a series of college basketball games?
Set in the early 1990s, Shadow Games is an exciting page-turner, filled with fast-paced hoops action. A topical novel for readers of all ages, the book is a powerful portrayal of the loss of youthful innocence.

About the Author

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Jim Lester is the author of three successful young adult novels: Fallout, The Great Pretender and Till the Rivers All Run Dry. He has a Ph.d in history and is the author of a non-fiction book entitled Hoop Crazy: College Basketball in the 1950s.
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From a Lady to a Maid


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Historical Romance / Erotica
Date Published: July 2018
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
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‘You marry a man he owns you. I won’t do it.’  Will falling in love change her mind?
Victorian England 1872
Lady Henrietta escapes from her locked bedroom and stepfather’s attempt to starve her into agreeing to an arranged marriage that will only be of benefit to him. Underage, she must avoid his clutches until she turns twenty-one, and as Amelia Brown, she finds employment in the household of Damion, Marquis of Ashton.
High-spirited and fiercely independent, Amelia has a chance encounter with Damion, which establishes a powerful attraction between the two. Their passion ignites, the sex between them of an unrestrained delight hat is contrary to the customs of the times.
But the storm clouds are gathering. Amelia will have to take desperate measures to protect herself and the man she loves.
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About the Author

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Cassie O’Brien is a writer of erotic romance. From A Lady To A Maid is the second book published by Totally Bound. The first was a contemporary romance, The Girls’ Club which was published in February 2018.
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Anodyne Eyes


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Sci-fi Mystery/Thriller
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Would you modify your daughter’s DNA to end war forever?
In the near future, a World Oil War leaves the Midwest in ruins, except for pristine GMO crops controlled by a monopoly, Ambrosia, and the Army, which savagely protects the crops from starving war survivors.
A genetic engineer, Rachel Anne Lane hates violence and war, and has protected her unusual 16-year-old daughter, Alexis, since birth. If Rachel modifies Alexis’s special DNA, she can end all wars forever.
But Alexis rebels against her mother, traveling to the desolate Midwest to help survivors. Her healing gaze cures Jeff Trotter, a PTSD-afflicted soldier who’s searching for his father, Dan Trotter. Alexis and Jeff fall in love, though he dislikes her reading his mind, fearing she will discover secrets.
Desperate for more oil, the Army will kill millions of Americans with lethal GMO foods Rachel mistakenly developed. They’ll use Jabril El Fahd, the worst kind of brutal, mutated terrorist, who wants revenge against Rachel for his years of torture.
Helped by CIA and Army friends, and computer geek, Dan Trotter, Rachel chases Jabril across a post-apocalyptic U.S., desperate to save Alexis, Jeff, and the U.S. But Jabril is always one step ahead.
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Chapter 1
Jeff trudged along the highway, now a barren strip of cracked cement, reminding him of a book he’d read. Before. Before the world had changed. The book had a dad and a son and they pushed a shopping cart over the bleak, empty road. Jeff wasn’t a little kid, though. He wasn’t sure, but probably close to twenty. He had a pack instead of a shopping cart, a gun and an axe handle. Did he have a dad? Of course he did. But who and where?
Not here. He hadn’t seen a soul. Today. Though it was early May, he was thankful the parching Texas sun that had spotlighted him all day was fading. Twilight was near. Woods lined the road now instead of horse meadows, and mesquite trees being the only cover. He didn’t feel like a solitary ant on a sand hill. The woods held cover. That was good. And bad. Others could use that cover, too. He eyed the woods. They were probably waiting.
It had been four years since his first attempt at making this trip. Four years of not knowing who he was, why he was here, why he wanted to go north. Four years of living in cardboard boxes in the ruined city of Dallas, or north of the city, out in the bush, a haze of headaches, running, hiding. Survival mode.
The headaches usually bored deep in the middle of his brain and jumbled his thoughts. But lately they had been getting better. His thinking was more clear. He was ready. This time he would get there.
He did another one-eighty check, walking backwards then forward again. The spring-green of the trees beside the road reminded him of another place, but where? A doe and fawn grazed on shin-high grass to his right in the ten yards of clearing between the trees and the crumbling, gray-black highway. Violet-colored flowers bloomed in the clearing, thick. For the last few miles, and as far as he could see ahead, the trees grew close to each other and undergrowth stuffed any empty space so it seemed like a violet carpet ended at a wall of green.
His gun, an M4 MWS, Modular Weapon System, hung like a satchel on his right hip; the nylon web belt crossed over his left shoulder and through the butt of the rifle. He’d fashioned a thin belt of Velcro scrounged from a trash bin in Dallas and looped it around his right thigh and the gun. It helped steady the gun on his hip, ready in an instant, like a gunfighter of the Old West. The gun rattled as he walked.
The doe lifted her head at the rattle. He put his hand on the gun, trying to muffle it. Both deer bounded away like stones skipped on a river—jump, jump, jump, then into the green on the last skip. Gone. Had the deer actually been there? Another tickle of a distant place smoked through his mind. The vapor of memory disappeared as quickly and completely as the deer.
His camouflaged fatigues were torn on the right knee, threadbare on the other, but at least there had been enough clothes in the pack to last. Lucky to find underwear, though. Dallas had many abandoned Walmarts. The one off Arapahoe near the Tollway had been perfect. He’d slept under some trees in a country club golf course on dead grass, but not bumpy. In the morning, it had taken only five minutes to get to the vacant Walmart. There were a couple of new packages of Hanes, size 34-36, tighty-whities, six per pack in a shopping cart, sitting behind the counter at the sporting goods department. No other clothes there fit him, although he liked his military garb. He felt a little safer in it.
What he’d really wanted was ammo for his gun, or a knife. But all the ammo in every store was gone. And all the knives. Oh well. At least he’d have clean underwear on if he got into a car accident. Yeah right. Hadn’t seen a car in forever.
The gun weight on his right hip felt good, open for the world to see and fear. The M4 MWS was a great gun, had attachments for the M203 grenade launcher, rail and night vision system, all kept in the pack on his back. It was a great threat. Bad thing, though: He didn’t have one damn bullet or one damn grenade. A fake.
Was that all he was, a fake man walking on an unknown road to a place he couldn’t remember? Was he a man? Inside he knew, felt it deep. It ran through him like dirty water through a broken house in a hurricane. Though he still had boy feelings and boy thoughts, he knew. The memories robbed him of sleep in the early morning: the pounding of his M50, chopping through trees in that Louisiana bayou, and the black man falling from one tree, limp and dead; an Army poker buddy burning and screaming and flailing like a torched scarecrow after an IED hit his Humvee; a man firing an RPG, the smoke trail an arrow at his Humvee. Jumping. The explosion. Darkness. Yeah, he was a real man. If only the path had been different.
He shook his head and gripped the axe handle. Real, hard, nothing false about it: a fairly nice club—absent its axe head, though still good hickory stock—heavy, hard and easy to swing. Blood stained the end he’d had to use yesterday on dogs, feral, crazy mutts that attacked him. He squeezed his eyes, pinched his face. The one he’d . . . Shit! She’d looked like his Lab back home.
There it was again—a memory about home instead of that stupid war. Seemed like when he got upset, memories popped into his head: bubbles floating up from a shifting sunken ship, breaching the surface, sometimes floating on the water reflecting the entire memory in a convex iridescence, but usually a mere glimpse before the bubble snapped into thin air. This time, the friendly panting face and happy brown eyes stared at him from over the top of a bed, his bed, his Lab, blond and her name was . . . ?
He sighed. Maybe another time. But she’d never bit him like that one yesterday. Right in the wrist. The puncture was beginning to fester, red and tender. Guess washing it out last night hadn’t helped. It had been his last two cups of water, too. He’d caught the water in a pan after running it over the bite. Had to conserve water for drinking. But even after boiling it, at the first swallow, thinking about the blood in it, he’d gagged and flung it in the bush.
Now his tongue was tacky on the roof of his mouth, his lips as dry and hard as a lizard’s tail, and the headache that had been doing so well was back. It had started in little fits, a nagging ache behind his right eye in the evening. Each morning the lack of it had given him hope. But yesterday as he’d walked and the day grew longer, the ache became a pounding that made him nauseous. It had been there this morning behind his right eye, and now his right eye teared trying to drown that evil gnome that surely lived inside his head, drilling behind his eye.
Water. Please. A stream or lake like the one he’d seen two days ago would be great.
There was nothing except dry road and the wall of trees and bush.
Survival methods came back: digging a hole in low ground, waiting for water to seep in the bottom (he didn’t want to wait); collecting dew on the grass (maybe in the morning); cutting a thick vine and sucking the end (no ropy vines as far as he could see, only trees and bushes).
He knew one thing, if he stayed on the highway, he stuck out like the lonely survivor he was: lonely, thirsty, without real protection, and soon to have an infected arm.
In the smudged twilight, the service station about a mile up the road was a beacon. Lights were on inside. That could be good, or bad—likely bad. He’d run across two guys, a woman and a preadolescent boy on the highway a few days ago. His first instinct had been to talk with them, join and help. Then he saw their eyes, soulless pools that followed him like a big cat eyeing a wounded zebra on the African savanna. The kid was the worst. He smiled brown crags of teeth and waved a filthy hand sporting long fingernails. Jeff ran—the other way. He could still run fast. Faster than them, that’s all that mattered.
There it was again. He had run before, and knew he was fast.
Somehow he was already off the highway, starting toward the green wall. He agreed with his legs. What he had to do was approach the service station from the rear. Or maybe from the side, so he could see the rear and the front. Whether they were good or bad folk, they would likely have both front and back covered. No matter how he approached, the highway at night was a bad idea. Though entering the deciduous forest made his skin crawl.
He shrugged off the thought of being tracked by someone or something behind the wall of trees, and broke into waist-high bushes that impeded every step. He waded forward for twenty feet and broke through to an old, two-track maintenance trail. It paralleled the highway. Surprisingly, he could see pretty well in the low light, so he shifted to a jog. If he didn’t get to the station before the end of light, he’d be a blind, easy target. Each step seemed to whip the evil gnome behind his right eye to drill deeper. He half-closed the eye. The musty odor of dead leaves and a faint skunk smell accompanied the beginnings of cool night air. That could be lucky: A skunk might keep predators away.
Trying to bring his concrete tongue out to moisten his cracked lips was no use. He gripped the axe handle at port arms. It could do some damage. A knife or a bullet would be better. Just one bullet. If they were good people in the station maybe they would give him a bullet. He would plead for two, and some antibiotics. How could all the people left be bad? There had to be some good people.
He slowed to make less noise. The clear space of the two-track allowed him to see a good distance ahead, though it felt like he was in a tunnel between trees and bushes on either side. About twenty yards ahead, a faint glow broke through from the left. It must be from the service station. Would there be traps set? Maybe even on this path? He inspected the ground. No signs of recent travel, though the dim light made it hard to tell. He forced his way through the bushes on his right, deciding to get deeper in the forest and watch his target.
A prickle ran up his neck when he entered the thicker forest. This was dark, wild country, and had been without the constant noise of nearby traffic for four years. That’s as far back as he had been awake enough to sort out this world. The only moving vehicles stuck to the wide freeways. He had specifically stayed away from them. A warning from his cardboard city pals. At least you could outrun people on foot. Out here there were no cars. So whatever animals had lived here once, had probably ventured back—he caught himself. That was another memory: cars and trucks on a highway close to where he’d grown up. How long since he’d been there?
His eyes grew more accustomed to the growing darkness. The brown vertical tree trunks alternated with black void. Leaves of a low-lying, unknown foliage floated in space—ghostly apple-green petals. He stopped and listened.
A faint breeze brought the night, ticked a few branches, rustled leaves. The smell of skunk was fading. Time to move forward.
Each step sounded too loud, crunching like an elephant dancing through crushed glass on tile. Maybe he should go back to the two-track. At least he would make less noise.
That’s what he did, and sighed in relief at his quiet steps. Then he thought about traps. Could be anywhere. He used his club like a blind man’s cane, touching the path ahead tentatively. Two taps with the club, one step. It took longer to cover the distance, but soon the back of the service station was visible through the web of foliage.
The back door, very solid, was closed. Fluorescent white light vibrated out of the window above it. A neon Kentucky Fried Chicken sign flickered on and off in reds and yellows atop the relatively modern building, probably tan-colored brick, judging from the scant illumination on the back walls.
Someone might be hiding on the far side of the building. He had to move a little further forward on the two-track to see the far side. A tap with his club, a step, a tap with his club—it touched a hard thing.
Bright lights flashed from the top of the building, blinding him. Netting erupted from the ground under him, surrounding him and closing high overhead. The netting rippled and settled and hung, a loose wall a foot around him. Still standing, he swung hard at the net with his club. It bounced back. A knife would sure be handy. Yeah, so would real bullets for whoever was coming next. Now he knew what a rabbit felt like in one of his traps, right before the end.
About the Author

 photo Anodyne Eyes Author Milt Mays_zpsrrvyf1mn.jpg

Milt Mays was winner of the Paul Gillette Writers Award in 2011. He grew up in Colorado, graduated from the Naval Academy and traveled the world as a Navy doctor. Two prequel novels are: The Next Day and Dan’s War. His website is
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Silent All These Years

We are so excited to reveal the cover of T. A. Massa’s debut novel

Silent All These Years: A Novel. Check it out!

Silent All These Years: A Novel

About Silent All These Years: A Novel

Available September 13, 2018

A broken daughter’s search for the truth unwinds a spiraling journey of panic, lust, and murder in this manipulative thriller from debut author T. A. Massa.

Melanie Stewart has just been left ten million dollars by a man she never knew. Should she accept the money? What if it means her mother, Marilyn, who died when she was only three years old, was murdered by the man who left it to her?

Melanie is trapped with crippling anxiety after the loss of her mother at a young age and the fatal stabbing of her fiancé on the night of their engagement.

When she discovers she has been written into the will of Roger Andrews, a name linked to the mysterious death of her mother, Melanie must trudge down a path of buried memories, reliving painful heartache, all while attempting to restart her life and trust a new admirer, Jake Andrews, Roger’s grandson.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Melanie’s investigation and Marilyn’s last weeks leading up to her death, the clues unravel one by one, leaving you guessing until the final climax. Who should Melanie trust? What happened to Marilyn all those years ago?

SILENT ALL THESE YEARS: A Novel is a Standalone Fiction Mystery Suspense Novel.

Add Silent All These Years: A Novel to your Goodreads list here!

Silent All These Years: A Novel by T. A. Massa releases September 13th!

Silent All These Years: A Novel

Silent All These Years: A Novel

Author T. A. Massa

About Author T. A. Massa

Tiffani lives near Austin, TX with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and all her cats. She spends her days helping her husband with his company, running her kids around town, caring for the house, and trying to figure out what to make for dinner.

She is a lover of all stories.

She enjoys reading, writing, blogging, and going to the movies (especially on opening day!). Her background is in marketing and entrepreneurship and she is addicted to learning new things.

She manages a Lifestyle Blog at Pages & Lace covering books, movies, design, style trends, and her favorite products. Check it out today!

Her debut novel, Silent All These Years: A Novel, releases September 13, 2018. She has started her second novel with hopes of publishing in the Fall of 2019.

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