The Guestbook, Andrea Hurst {$2.99}

EVERYONE REMEMBERS THEIR FIRST LOVE…
BUT SOMETIMES IT’S THE SECOND LOVE THAT LASTS

“Evocative and heartfelt, The Guestbook is the profound story of one woman’s journey toward hope, renewal and a second chance at love on a lush Pacific Northwest island. Curl up with your favorite cup of cocoa and enjoy.”
~Anjali Banerjee – author of Imaginary Men and Haunting Jasmine said about this women’s fiction romance

This book weaves together the heart of Nicholas Sparks, the romance of Nora Roberts, and the charm of Debbie Macomber.

Fleeing her picture-perfect marriage among the privileged set of Brentwood and the wreckage of a failed marriage, Lily Parkins decides to move to the only place that still holds happy memories, her grandmother’s old farmhouse. The lush and majestic setting of the Pacific Northwest calls to her and offers a place of refuge and perhaps renewal. Her grandmother has passed away, leaving the Madrona Island Bed & Breakfast Inn to Lily.

Left with only an old guestbook as her guide–a curious book full of letters, recipes, and glimpses into her family history–Lily is determined to embrace her newfound independence and recreate herself, one page at a time. With the help of the quirky island residents she has befriended, she slowly finds the strength to seek out happiness on her own terms. But as soon as she has sworn off men and is standing on her own two feet, Lily meets Ian, the alluring artist who lives next door, and her new life is suddenly thrown off course. The last thing she wants to do right now is to open her heart to another man.

Ultimately, Lily must decide if it’s worth giving up her soul for security or risking everything to follow her heart in this romantic love story.

The Guestbook is the first book in the Madrona Island Trilogy. www.madronaislandbandb.com

What readers are saying:

This is a story that captured every sense engaging the reader from the first page. With savory recipes that made my mouth water, elegant descriptions of the Pacific Northwest which made me remember why I love living there, and a story that filled the soul, I loved this book.-Amazon Review

If you’re looking for a book with charm and a great atmosphere, I would definitely recommend The Guestbook. Everything from the island to the inn to the town and its people and food is lovingly rendered to really draw you in.-Amazon Review

I cannot express how very much I enjoyed The Guestbook. A wonderful debut from author Andrea Hurst and I cannot wait for the next book in this trilogy!-Goodreads Review

The average Amazon Review is currently 4.4 stars {509 reviews}.

 

Click here to read more about and purchase The Guestbook for $2.99 from Amazon!

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Jaimie: Fire and Ice (The Wilde Sisters), Sandra Marton {$2.99}

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Sandra Martons Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Jaimie: Fire and Ice (The Wilde Sisters):

Zach Castelianos and Jaimie Wilde meet by accident. The attraction between them is instantaneous and hot, hot, hot. Zach is a woman’s dream: he’s tall, dark and ruggedly handsome, but there’s a dangerous edge to him and Jaimie Wilde is a cautious woman.

They’re wrong for each other. Zach knows it. So does Jaimie, but surely one night of steamy sex won’t change their lives… until Jaimie needs protection from an obsessed stalker and Zach is the only man who can provide it.

 

Accolades:

“Scorching hot nights, tender romantic days, well-drawn characters, family dynamics, humor and love…romance does not get better than this. As I await the next exciting installment in this delectable series, take my advice and pick up a copy of JAIMIE: FIRE AND ICE, and see for yourself what all the fuss is about!” 5 star Blue Ribbon review, RomanceJunkies.com

5/5 star review
” Fire meets ice and all logic melts away.” ContemporaryRomanceReviews.com

“I totally loved this book. Evidently it is the second in a series, stands alone well, but I will be seeking out the first as soon as possible! I love a contemporary romance that has a sense of humor. Ms. Marton has given readers a lead couple that will grab you and not let go. Their dialogue is so sharp and spot on. The sparks fly in this one. Strong primary and secondary characters, witty dialogue, detailed settings, even pacing; can’t ask for anything more than that. Oh wait…. a great romance!” Reader at amazon.com

Reviews:

Jaimie: Fire and Ice (The Wilde Sisters)  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.8 stars from 26 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Jaimie: Fire and Ice (The Wilde Sisters):

An hour ago, she’d been trying to get away from Zacharias Castelianos.
What a mistake that would have been.
He wasn’t only drop-dead gorgeous, he was fun. He was charming. He was a man any woman would want. Well, except her. She was far too busy chasing her new career to get involved with anybody. Besides, he lived in New York. She lived in Washington.
And wasn’t thinking like that ridiculous?
Why did she always have to come up with logical reasons to explain things? She was, OK, she was attracted to him.
And unless she’d forgotten everything she’d ever known about men and women, he was attracted to her.
For tonight.
This wasn’t about forever. It was about attraction.
Pheromones.
For goodness’ sake, Jaimie, it’s about lust.
And if she were a different kind of woman, if she could give herself a good reason to let go and just enjoy whatever the night might offer…
“Such deep thoughts.”
His voice was low and rough. Jaimie blinked, looked up. He was inches away, smiling down at her as she sat at the counter, and what she saw in his eyes left her breathless.
“No,” she said quickly, “not deep. Just—just—I was wondering if there’s any news.”
The hell she was.
Her face was an open book. She’d been thinking the same thing he was thinking. He could see it in the sweep of color high on her cheeks, in the way she suddenly and, he’d bet, unknowingly swiped the tip of her tongue over her bottom lip.
Such a full, perfect, pink bottom lip.
God, he wanted to touch her.
Just once. Just lightly.
Zach let himself reach out and stroke an errant strand of gold behind her ear.
It wasn’t enough.
He wanted to kiss her.
He wanted to strip her naked, sweep everything from the counter, lay her across it and take her again and again until she was mindless with pleasure.
At least he didn’t have to worry about the knot in his balls anymore. It had been replaced by one hell of an erection.
He took a quick step back.
“News,” he said, in the manic tones of a desperate man.
“Excellent idea. I forgot all about that wind-up radio.”
He swung away, all but marched to the butcher-block table where he’d stashed the box of emergency supplies. He stood with his back to her and concentrated on cold showers, ice storms, glaciers and whatever other hard-on killers he could think of until it was safe to pluck the radio from the box, carry it across the room, set it on the counter and crank the handle.
“Here we go,” he said brightly. “We won’t get much time out of it, so—”
“…huge software glitch that has affected the grid on virtually the entire East Coast. Authorities have isolated the problem but say they cannot offer an estimate of when they’ll solve it—”
Static. More static, and the crisp intonations of the announcer gave way to… A piano. Soft, bluesy notes. And then a raw, emotion-filled voice.
“Springsteen,” Jaimie said.
Zach nodded. “It’s ‘Back in Your Arms Again.’”
“I know.” She hummed a little of it. “I love that song.”
He laughed. “It must be almost as old as you are.”
“Not even close,” she said, laughing along with him. “But I admit, I grew up on this stuff. I have older brothers. One of them is a big Springsteen fan.”
She shut her eyes, hummed softly with the music, head back, shoulders gently swaying. He watched her for a few seconds. Then he reached for her hand.
She looked at him.
“Dance with me,” he said softly.
Time, the very universe, narrowed down to this moment.
He held his breath until, slowly, she rose to her feet and put her hand in his.
He drew her into his arms.
She came to him willingly on a soft, sweet sigh.
He drew her close, closer still until her could feel the beat of her heart merge with the beat of his.
He pressed his lips to her hair.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, put her head against his shoulder.
They moved slowly to the music. After a while, it faded. Died. Still, they swayed together as the candlelight painted their silhouettes on the walls.
An eternity went by. Then Zach put his hands into Jaimie’s hair and raised her face to his. He knew he would never forget the smoky blueness of her eyes.
“Jaimie,” he said his voice low and urgent.
“Zacharias,” she whispered back.
And then his mouth was on hers, her lips parted to the stroke of his tongue and, in a heartbeat the night turned to magic.

 

Jaimie: Fire and Ice (The Wilde Sisters) is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Sandra Marton:

Website: http://www.sandramarton.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandramartonauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sandramarton

DareBone’s Big Break, Gleeson Rebello MD & Jamie Harisiades {$4.99}

A child on the playground. A quick tumble. A trip to the emergency room. Educating without intimidating, and entertaining without underestimating, DareBone’s Big Break helps parents and their children navigate this unexpected experience with poetry, great humor, and medical accuracy. Readers join the adventurous and often clumsy DareBone as he endures his first major injury: a broken elbow. With his wise-cracking sidekick, Wag-A-Bone, narrating along the way, DareBone meets many medical heroes, including orthopedic surgeon, Dr. WonderBone, who guides our hero as he journeys through surgery and recovery. DareBone’s Big Break educates with entertaining rhyme, in an informative story about a common childhood injury that parents and children will reach for time and again.

DareBone’s Big Break is the first of several books from Gleeson Rebello, MD and Jamie Harisiades that will combine entertaining rhyme and accurate medical information aimed at educating readers and parents on common childhood conditions like allergy, autism, asthma, and obesity.

What readers are saying:

A MUST READ! Outstanding, unique, original.
By cdawson on July 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Darebone’s Big Break is a wonderful book to share with your friends, children, grandchildren, and neighbors. It is both educational as well as funny and entertaining for both kids and adults. A truly unique presentation of what many deal with as their kids grow up and stumble and fall along the way. The characters are inviting and the illustrations are fabulous. I highly recommend Darebone’s Big Break for your next birthday or holiday gift idea!

Ingenious and engaging
By TV fanatic on July 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
“DareBone’s Big Break” is a creative and engaging story, with multiple layers of humor that both children and adults will enjoy. This story demystifies medical processes that can oftentimes be overwhelming for both children and parents alike. It can be used as a teaching tool or read for pure enjoyment – either way, “DareBone’s Big Break” will, without a doubt, be a favorite read. “DareBone’s Big Break” should become a staple in homes and throughout pediatric practices. Gleeson Rebello and Jamie Harisiades should be praised for their ability to maintain medical accuracy in an entertaining way without dumbing things down. I look forward to more releases from these talented authors in the future and highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great children’s book with substance.

The average Amazon reader review is currently 5 stars {31 reviews}.

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Disciple, Part II, L. Blankenship {$2.99}

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L. Blankenships Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Disciple, Part II:

The prince first kissed Kate Carpenter for fear of missing the chance if they didn’t survive the journey home through the monster-prowled mountains.

Now that kiss seems like a fever dream. It’s back to work for her, back to the fellow physicians jealous of her talents and the sneers of an infirmary director who wants her shipped off to some tiny village. Kate means to be on the front lines to save lives. She’s worked too hard to overcome her past to let them deny her the chance to serve her homeland when the enemy’s army reaches their kingdom.

The grand jousting tournament is a chance to prove she can manage combat wounded, and at the royal Solstice banquet Kate means to prove she isn’t an ignorant peasant girl anymore.

But the prince’s kiss still haunts her. Their paths keep crossing, and the easy familiarity they earned on the journey home is a welcome escape from their duties. It’s a small slip from chatting to kisses.

This is no time to be distracted by romance — a vast and powerful empire is coming to slaughter anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical fount.

Kate ought to break both their hearts, for duty’s sake.

 

Accolades:

“I don’t deliberately read any kind of romances, but this fantasy romance is such a logical continuation of the first part of the story that the addition of love to the stew makes the characters all too human in a world where the rules are subtly different… I can’t wait for the next episode.”

- Maridebarr (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/667771672)

“[Kate's] attempts to carve out a career for herself as a healer provides fodder for a good fantasy story — and one I haven’t heard before… I am excited for Part III and I’ll be sure to let you guys know what I think of it after its released. In the mean time, check out Disciple Part I and II for all the jousts, feasts and romance that you can handle.”

- Michael Panush (http://panusher.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/a-friendlier-fantasy-l-blankenships-disciples-part-ii/)

Reviews:

Disciple, Part II currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars from 1 review. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Disciple, Part II:

(After spending the day debriefing the king on the results of their mission, Prince Kiefan leads Kate into a quieter part of the castle…)

He still held my hand. No voices, nobody nearby to see us. I swallowed a nervous lump in my throat, wondering where he meant to take me. And what he meant to do there. Surely I didn’t have to worry whether anyone would hear me scream… was there anything he could do that I’d need to?

My cheeks warmed.

Slim pillars held up a graceful stone arcade. Between them, we walked onto frost-burnt grass. A gnarled apple tree, leaves golden and half fallen to the ground, stood ringed by a waist-high juniper hedge. Beyond, the castle wall rose sheer and seamless. To either side, the watchtowers bulged from its face and spiked up like smooth horns. I had to crane my neck to find the tips, and in doing spotted the catwalks that connected each tower to the roof of Castle Kaltkern. The garden lay below the keep, hemmed in by saint-cut cliffs on both sides.

A crescent garden, I saw now. To either side, more fruit trees dropped their leaves, and the rose bushes had gone bare for the winter, but the juniper hedges held their green. Under the central apple tree waited a broad wooden bench. By my hand, still warm in his grip, Kiefan led me toward it and a tangle of hopes and fears snapped tight around my heart.

He didn’t sit, though. He stood under the tree and looked up. “Sometimes I can get some quiet here,” he said. “When Mother isn’t seeking solitude herself.”

I looked up, too, into golden leaves and dark branches. Blue, beyond. “It must be lovely in the spring.” I could imagine the trees hazed by white blossoms.

“And in the summer, when the roses are out, the scent hangs like a fog between the walls.”

He still held my hand. My nerves eased, I sidled closer to his shoulder. He smelled of sweat, under his layered woolens. “You spent the afternoon at swordplay?”

He nodded, bringing his gaze down to me. “I thought he would send for the captain, but Woden tossed me a sparring sword himself. I nearly dropped it when he chose one and stood at guard.”

“You sparred with a saint?”

Kiefan shook his head, disbelieving it himself. “I saw him spar with Captain Aleks, once. She said it was her most valuable lesson.”

“You lived to tell. You didn’t ask him to give you quarter?” I risked a smile.

A chuckle. “He gave none, that’s true. I won’t know how many bruises I have until morning, I’m sure.” He tugged out the collar of his cote to feign checking inside. “We spoke about the lamia, and he told me I was using my kir to keep their teeth off me despite the close quarters. The beginnings of a kir-shield. With training, I’ll be able to control it more.”

“We all learned something out there.” I looked up as a chilly breeze sent a few more leaves spinning from the branches and caught a wince on Kiefan’s brow. “Are you hurt? A headache?”

“A little.”

I knew what that meant. I put my hand on his fresh-shaven cheek and turned his head toward me to call his kir. It glowed in answer, revealing a few tangles on his meridian, but I got no further in checking him.

Kiefan leaned over and kissed me, wrapping me in both strong arms. Coaxed my mouth open to spar with his tongue. He left me breathing harder with my palm still on his face.

I combed my fingers over the ridges of his Blessing at the back of his neck and pulled him down for another. His arms tightened on me. His lips made their way to my throat and his tongue tracing the hollow there stabbed a shiver into my spine. My pulse surged.

With a hard breath, he buried his face against my neck and squeezed me till I squeaked. I clung to his shoulders, my feet lifted an inch off the ground. He held me warm and safe, despite the cold breeze.

“You must come to Prohzgrad with us,” he said against my neck. “Cure me with a kiss each night.”

I swallowed a sudden lump. “You’re going away?” I managed to ask through his grip.

 

Disciple, Part II is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with L. Blankenship:

Website: http://discipleofthefount.blogspot.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/louise.blankenship.1

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LBlankenship_sf

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Nickels, Karen Baney {$2.99}

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Description of The Nickels:

Niki Turner has finally arrived. Her career as a Software Engineer is soaring–she has just been offered the company’s most sought after account, Helitronics. Life would be perfect, if she could stop her roommate from playing matchmaker.

Then Kyle Jacobs mysteriously re-enters her life. As painful memories resurface, his presence turns her life upside down and threatens to waylay her career. She must find a way to work with him–after all, he’s the helicopter flight consultant for the new flight control system she’s coding.

Can she forget the past and see him as the new man he has become? Or will her resentment keep her from finding what she has always been searching for?

This contemporary Christian romance novel is an upbeat and compelling story set in the Phoenix Metro Area. Karen Baney shows a new side to her writing with great wit and banter between the main characters. Inspired by her love of romance and of computers, this story takes readers on a journey filled with laughter and tears.

 

Accolades:

“Karen Baney weaves a wonderful and enjoyable romance with realistic and believable characters you will grow to love as family. Nickels is an intriguing story that will capture you in the very first pages and keep you engrossed until the end.” –Readers Favorite Reviews

Reviews:

Nickels currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.3 stars from 49 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Nickels:

When Niki stood, her back and legs were stiff. How long had she been sitting there? Glancing at the clock on her computer, it was three hours later than the last time she checked. Crazy how she could completely lose track of time when she was deep in the zone, coding.
She stepped from the tall cube and ran straight into Kyle. Coffee flew from his hand and down the front of her shirt. She looked down. Drat. Her new lilac colored shirt turned purple-brown as the coffee soaked in. Of course it was her new shirt. She’d only worn it once before.
“Sorry,” Kyle said. “Wait here. Let me get some paper towels or something.”
He set what little was left of his coffee on her desk before he hobbled off to the break room. She grabbed it and tossed it in the trash and followed behind him, pausing briefly at Doug’s desk.
“Run into a coffee cart?” Doug teased.
“More like run over by a Kyle-sized coffee cart. I’ll be back in a minute. Try not to add too many bugs to the code while I’m gone, ‘kay?”
As she hurried down the hall, Doug fired back, “Ha! I’m the bug masher!”
She smiled as she opened the door to the break room only to run into Kyle a second time. Her smile was instantly swallowed by a frown.
“Really, we have to stop meeting like this,” he said stepping back. He offered her a wad of paper towels. “People are gonna talk.”
The humor in his voice was evident, but Niki was not in the mood. She snatched the towels from his hand and turned her back so she faced the wall, trying to modestly wipe down her front. She felt his eyes on her and glanced over her shoulder.
“Don’t you have someplace to be?”
“Nope.”
“Are you sure?”
She finished mopping up her shirt and tossed the towels in the trash. When she turned around to face him, he smiled that blasted charming smile. She wanted to smack it off his face.
“I was actually on my way to see you.”
“Oh, so the coffee attack was intentional then.”
“I was coming to see you about an issue, before heading out for lunch.”
“I was on my way to help Doug, who by now has grown worried thinking I’ve been kidnapped by aliens or something. Can you stop by later? Or just email me?”
Kyle muttered something under his breath.
She didn’t wait for a real answer before leaving the break room.
When she stepped into Doug’s cube, he commented again on her appearance. “Oh, look, lilac and coffee brown go so good together. You might just have hit on a new fashion trend.”
“Shut it.”
“I agree.” Kyle’s voice sounded from behind her. “You could make a fortune with that.”
Was he stalking her now? Had she not made it clear she would talk to him later?
“Have you seen my coffee?”
She pointed to her shirt with a furious look and raised eyebrow. “I’m pretty sure I am well acquainted with your coffee. Now, if you don’t mind, I have some work to do.”
“I meant my coffee cup. I thought I set it down somewhere around here.”
“Go look in my cube then.” She shooed him away.

 

Nickels is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Karen Baney:

Website: http://www.karenbaney.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Baney-Books/138412459527446?ref=hl

Twitter: http://twitter.com/karen_baney

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Nirvana Plague, Gary Glass {$3.99}

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Gary Glass’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Nirvana Plague:

What if perfect peace and happiness were a contagious disease? In this fast-paced, thought-provoking thriller, a schizophrenic scientist, an ambitious Chicago psychiatrist, and a hard-driving Army colonel are at the center of a frantic international struggle between the powers of government and a mind-bending outbreak of cosmic consciousness.

A bizarre illness spreads through a Chicago psychiatric hospital. Dr Carl Marley, a bored but ambitious psychiatrist, seizes the chance to grab some attention by “discovering” the new disorder. But when an Army colonel summons him to a government-sponsored taskforce to investigate the syndrome, he learns the disease he thought he’d discovered is already so widespread in the military that it threatens to undermine the foundations of power. A high-stakes race to understand the disease takes the team from the NIH campus in Bethesda, to a war zone in the Kashmiri highlands, to a high-tech biodefense facility near Juneau, Alaska.

As the outbreak spreads around the globe and desperate governments impose increasingly severe measures to contain it, Marley begins to suspect that what is happening is not the apocalypse they fear — but something far more radical. Marley’s star patient, a brilliant but profoundly psychotic scientist named Roger Sturgeon, escapes from the facility into the city, and Marley attempts to bring him back before the government sends in troops. Only then does he learn the truth about what is happening.

Before it’s over they will all be forced to choose between the precarious comfort of the world they know and the mysterious wonder of a new reality — between their commonplace fears, ambitions, and loyalties, or the hope that lies in The Nirvana Plague.

 

Accolades:

A difficult book to put down. Your attention is grasped continually with ever growing suspense and mystery. The author captured the essence of James Michener incorporating facts into the saga; and the essence of Steven King’s art of timely and mounting suspense. And the ending – what an ending! ~ Amazon reviewer

The Nirvana Plague is a mile-a-minute race to understand and contain an outbreak of…what? Is it a virus, bioterrorism, a movement, or the next stage of human evolution? Well-drawn characters will lead you on a wild chase in a thriller based on a great what-if premise. The book is written with authority, imagination and intelligence. ~ Amazon reviewer

It has been thirty years since I read any Vonnegut, but this book reminds me of his work. It also reminds me a bit of Don Delillo’s ‘White Noise.’Gary Glass manages to create a thought-provoking, philosophical, thriller that takes place on a global scale while also focusing on a core set of characters in a very intimate way. Well done. ~ Amazon reviewer

Reviews:

The Nirvana Plague currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 9 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from The Nirvana Plague:

Chapter 1

It is well past blackout. Starlight silvers the empty campus. A fresh snow has fallen, and a hungry wind drives in off the lake. A lone student hurries home between the dark buildings.

From a doorway, a thin jet of breath streams out and is shredded by the wind.

She looks up.

“Wait!” comes from the doorway. The sound is raw, guttural.

She puts her head down and walks on, fast, her boots striking hard on the packed snow of the sidewalk.

He calls after her:

“Wait!” he says. “Come back!” His voice is a hiss on the air.

She looks ahead — there’s no one else around, but it’s only another block to the street. Then she hears his footsteps behind her.

He sees her look back and calls after her again, urgently, trying to keep his voice down:

“Wait! Please! I have to talk to you!”

She runs. Her boots slip, slowing her, but the unpacked snow off the sidewalk is too deep. Her backpack bounces from side to side, throwing her off balance.

“Stop!” the man calls, running after her. “Stop! For God’s sake!”

She comes to a crossing and cuts to the left — instantly realizing her mistake: she should have kept on and just outrun him. She loses her footing, her boot slides under her, and she goes down hard on her side. Her parka cushions the blow a little, but the glazed snow is almost as hard as the concrete under it, and she catches her arm under her weight, wrenching the elbow.

Before she can get to her knees, he’s on her. She wriggles and kicks, but he straddles her hips and pins her down. He grabs her by the shoulders and thrusts his face toward hers. His short hair and short beard are grizzled, his lips pallid, his eyes bright, glassy, and crazed.

“Listen to me!” he hisses, bending over her. “Listen! I’m trying to warn you! They’re coming here! They’re coming—”

He looks suddenly confused.

“They’re—”

The girl screams, as loud as she can, screams with her whole body.

The man is startled and claps his bare hand over her mouth.

“No! No! They’ll hear you! That’s how they—”

The girl jerks her head back and forth. His hand comes loose — she catches it in her mouth and bites it, hard.

He stifles a yelp of pain: “Ahhh!”

He gets his hand free and jams it under his arm, grimacing.

“No!” he says. “Don’t! You don’t understand!”

The girl screams again, and twists her body violently.

The man loses his balance, falls sideways. He puts out his hand to catch himself, the hand she’s just bitten, and with a yelp of pain he goes down on his elbow.

The girl squirms away from him, kicking at him with her boots. One of them connects, she hears him grunt and feels him fall away. She scrambles to her feet and runs. She’s lost her bearings now and doesn’t know which way she’s going. But in a few seconds she comes to a street. There are still a few cars moving, but no pedestrians. She stops and waves, trying to flag someone down.

The man slams into her, knocking her over. They sprawl on the sidewalk, the girl flailing and kicking at him again, yelling bloody murder, the man desperately trying to make her stop and listen.

* * *

“Slow night,” Marley said, twizzling the lime in a vodka tonic. It was his third. Or fourth. He cupped his hand over the glass as if to measure it. Felt like the third. His hand, like the rest of him, was square and meaty. His bulldog build made his mild voice and easy manner seem practiced, and there was something in his eyes, when he let it show, that could stop a person cold.

“Yeah, Mondays are slow,” the bartender said.

Susan something. He could never remember her last name. But she was his favorite bartender, and this was his favorite bar. Bernie’s. Barry’s. Something like that. Clean and dark and cozy. Close to the hospital. And tonight it was empty: downtown bar on a frostbitten weeknight.

“At least we’re here,” Marley said.

“Yup. But I’m working. What’s your excuse?”

“I’m in recovery.”

“From Monday?”

Marley frowned. “Yes. I told you that one?”

“Yesterday you were in recovery from Sunday. Tomorrow you’ll be in recovery from Tuesday.”

“And Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” he said. “I guess I’ve exhausted my repertoire of not-so-wisecracks.”

“You’re all right. Always nice to see you again.”

“Thanks, but I—”

Marley’s phone buzzed. He plucked it out of his jacket pocket — it looked like a gold fountain pen — and checked the caller ID on the barrel.

“Looks like I’m busted,” he said. “It’s the cops.”

“Really?”

“They must have found out I’m a criminal bore.”

He laid one end of the phone against his ear, and when he squeezed it the other end curled in toward the corner of his mouth.

“Carl Marley.”

“Doctor Marley?” said the caller.

“Yes,” Marley said.

Susan drifted down to the other end of the bar and watched TV.

“Dr. Marley,” said the caller, “this is Sergeant Wissert, Evanston Police. I think we have a patient of yours in custody. Roger Sturgeon?”

Marley sighed wearily.

“Yes. Paranoid schizophrenic.”

“Northwestern University security officers apprehended him this evening. They turned him over to us about twenty minutes ago. Seems he’s been chasing students all over campus. He didn’t have any ID on him, and he wouldn’t talk to us. We ran a rid on him and came up with his record. That’s how we got your name, doctor.”

“Ran a what?”

“Retinal ID.”

“Right. OK.” Marley was feeling the vodka a little. “Did he hurt anyone?” he said, trying to sound especially professional.

“Not really. Scared the panties off a couple of girls though. Northwestern police are pretty pissed about the whole thing. I guess they’ve been getting reports and trying to find him for hours.”

“Well, he’s smart.” Marley waved at Susan for a refill. “Reload, please.”

“What?” said the caller.

“Nothing. So what can I do for you?”

“We need to get him off the street. I see on his record that he’s done a few turns in Joplin Psychiatric. He’s obviously delusional. So, if you wanted to sign a commitment order tonight, we could maybe avoid locking him up on an assault charge.”

In the background, another voice: “I’m not delusional. I’m perfectly lucid! I’m trying to help you! Try to understand—”

“Be quiet!” someone else said.

“That’s him,” the sergeant said.

“Yes,” Marley said.

“So what do you want to do, doc? We’re about done here.”

“Where?”

“We’re in the emergency room at General. He got a nasty bite on the hand from the last little girl he jumped.”

Marley could hear him smiling.

“She was pretty shook up, but she’ll be all right. Cute little thing too.”

“So?”

“So, if you want to commit him, we might be able to convince Northwestern to drop charges.”

“He’s married. Have you talked to his wife?”

“Not yet. The number we have on record for him is wrong.”

“Did you check his phone? Her number is probably on his cell phone.”

“I’ll check on that.”

Susan returned and set a fresh drink in front of him, spilling some of it.

“Thanks.” Then to the officer: “Wife’s name is Karen. Different last name. I forget what it is. But if you need it you can get it from my office in the morning.”

“So what do you want us to do with Mr. Sturgeon here?”

Marley took a drink, getting his sleeve wet. He rolled up his sleeves as he talked, revealing tattoos on both forearms. “OK, let’s put him back in Joplin. Why don’t you message me the order to sign.”

“All right. I’ll call the precinct and have them send a three-day commit over to you. Should they use this number?”

“Sure.”

Marley hung up and clipped the phone back in his pocket. He took out his mini-tablet and started scribbling orders: 24-hour isolation, restraints PRN, resume meds (see hx for specs), maintain standing orders, call if changes…

“Everything all right?” she said.

“Just another day at the office.”

“Thought you were off the clock.”

“Trouble with a patient. He goes off his meds now and then. Usually gets in trouble when he does.” He took a drink. “Interesting fellow, this patient. You’d like him. He was a scientist before he got sick. Really brilliant. His delusions are very sophisticated.”

“I have a few clients like that myself.”

“You do?”

“Sure. Bartender, shrink, same thing basically.”

“I’ll drink to that. Cheers!”

“I never drink with patients.”

“Ha! I’m just doing this till I make it to the big time. What about you?”

“Same here. My plan is to hit the lottery. What’s yours?”

“I haven’t decided yet.”

The commitment order came. He signed and dated it — February 15, 2027 — and sent it back. Then he fired off his orders to Joplin’s admissions office and put his mini-tab away again.

“That’s that,” he said. “Where were we?”

“You were telling me how you plan to get rich and famous.”

“That’s right. Thousands of adoring fans. A gaggle of groupies at my beck and call. And flights of angels to sing me to rest.”

“Sounds great. What’ll your wife think of all that?”

“I think she’s resigned herself to the inevitable,” Marley said stiffly, and took another drink.

Susan saw she hit a nerve and changed the subject. Pointing at his arms with her chin, she said, “Nice tats.”

He turned his arms out so she could see them. A Chinese dragon curled down the inside of his left arm, a Chinese tiger down his right.

“Get those at shrink school?” she said.

“Before shrink school. In the navy. I think I was compensating.”

“For…”

“For being a lowly communications officer. I was a runt of a kid then. Not the fine figure of a man you see before you now.”

She looked around the empty bar. “Really? Where?”

“Touché.” He raised his glass to her. She smiled. Still holding the glass, he extended one finger and ran it down the dragon on the other arm. “I got them in Taiwan. They’re Shaolin temple brands. But actually that’s bullshit. There’s no such thing.”

“They’re high quality though. Very good work.”

“Young, dumb, and et cetera. Long time ago.”

“Did you like the navy?”

“Loathed it. But it paid for shrink school.”

“And those tattoos.”

“Yup. Three months’ pay. And now I have to go to work in long sleeves.”

“You don’t really like your job, do you?”

He pulled his chin in, ducking a punch. “Now and then. When I get an interesting case or an interesting patient. Like this fellow the police just called about. He was brilliant before he got sick. He was on the team that found the first proof of extrasolar life. I think they were considered for a Nobel prize. There are videos of him lecturing and giving talks about it. He’s still brilliant. Much smarter than me anyway. I would like to be able to help him get his life back.”

“Can’t you?”

“It’s hard. I’ve been treating him for years. We still know so little about how the brain gets broken. Sometimes I think we don’t want to know really.”

Susan leaned back against the counter behind her, studying him.

He admired her figure. The bartenders here all dressed in tight black shirts and slacks.

“So here’s my question for you, doc,” she said, an impish light in her eye. “What’s a shrink with bad ass tats doing hanging out in a dead bar on a weeknight flirting with the bartender rather than going home and getting busy with his lovely wife? If you don’t mind me asking.”

Marley didn’t like it. “You ask some questions.”

“I’m just curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

“But you like your wife, don’t you?”

“Crazy about her actually.”

“So you’re iffy on your job and crazy about your wife, but you work late and you drink later. I’m just curious.”

“Do I need to call my lawyer, officer?”

“Why, are you guilty of something?”

“I think my wife thinks so.”

“Ya think? Husband comes home late every night…”

“Not about that,” he said, waving the idea away. “It’s not that.” He felt the alcohol loosening his reserve, but he didn’t fight it. “She’s disappointed in me.”

Susan’s expression changed. She saw the guilt in his face.

“Things were supposed to be different,” he said, not looking at her. “Life wasn’t supposed to be this easy.”

“Can you fix it?”

“I don’t know.”

 

The Nirvana Plague is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $3.99

 

Connect with Gary Glass:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gary.glass.31

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Silver Sphere, Michael Dadich {$3.99}

Sponsored Post

Michael Dadich’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Silver Sphere:

Shelby Pardow never imagined killing someone. That’s about to change.

While hiding from her troubled father in the local library, Shelby stares at a flashing instant message on her computer: YOU ARE NEEDED. She discovers a portal that opens and teleports her to the planet Azimuth, where soldiers await. Here, she is not a child but a warrior, Kin to one of the six Aulic Assembly members imprisoned by Malefic Cacoethes, the daunting leader of the Nightlanders.

Malefic, the evil spawn of the demon Biskara, razes towns and cities in his quest to rule Azimuth, and yearns to turn his forces against Earth. Yet every time Biskara gets close to achieving his malevolent goals, the Assembly uses the Silver Sphere, a sophisticated armillary device, to thwart him.

With the Assembly deposed, Biskara directing Malefic’s conquests, and the Silver Sphere out of reach, Shelby is thrust into an unforgettable quest with her fellow Kin. She must learn to kill and lead an army into battle, or Azimuth—and Earth—will fall.

Winner of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Gold Award for Young Adult Fantasy.

Winner of the Wise Bear Books Gold Award including best in category for Young Adult Fantasy-Adventure and Young Adult Fantasy-General.

 

Accolades:

“A vivid mind has most definitely brought back the Technicolor that’s been missing since Potter made his last stand.” ~ Feathered Quill Book Reviews

“This is definitely a book to watch as it has all the right elements to be the next Hunger Games-type phenomenon.” ~ Wise Bear Book Reviews

“This fresh twist on the quest fantasy novel is done with charm and humor.” ~ Foreword-Clarion Reviews

“As a warrior, Shelby must learn how to kill, and how to lead an army to preserve the light of hope, in this captivating and highly recommended saga of life and death on the battlefield.” ~ Midwest Book Review

Reviews:

The Silver Sphere currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.7 stars from 91 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from The Silver Sphere:

“Your world will be over soon, won’t it, dear Bianca?”
The cloaked creature rasped out the syllables one at a time, and each sound pushed Bianca closer toward the cold stone floor. Moonlight splashed across the room from a wall of windows. Even if she could have yelled, no one would have heard her. Pain made her dizzy.
As the assault on her consciousness raged, she struggled to her feet against the heavy stupor overtaking her body. Her limbs shook. The long table in front of her provided only a moment of support before she collapsed upon the solid oak board.
Her vision blurred from the pressure, and a murmur gurgled from her throat as she tried to call out to the Assembly members hunched in their chairs. The maroon wine spilled across the table told of their downfall. Were they unconscious or dead? She couldn’t begin to guess. Her goblet remained almost untouched.
“How easy this was….”
The din of his words made her gaze upward, where a hood surrounded his darkened features. Screams echoed in her head, though no sound broke from her lips.
He knelt beside her and whispered, “Dear Bianca.” His hands caressed full chunks of her raven hair, and he started pulling the strands through his fingers.
Horror traveled down her spine and numbed her. She felt the escape of fainting descend upon her, fogging her mind; how she wanted to drift off and shun the maddening fear. Yet he would not let her. She tried in vain to pull away, but his power over her was too great.
“Don’t.” She must have said it aloud because his grip tightened and he jerked her head back, forcing her to look at him. She gasped as he pulled the cowl away.
Her tormentor had a pallid complexion and a high forehead. Long, wiry auburn hair framed his narrow face, at the center of which sat a nose snubbed like a snout. It was the piercing glare of his eyes that caught her, though. Their intensity made her skin crawl.
“Malefic,” she mouthed, her breath releasing in a terrified wheeze.
He loosened his grasp and eased her to the floor. Then he stepped over her body and slithered to the head of the table, admiring his handiwork.
Bianca’s legs and arms stiffened. Malefic oozed power, and as she watched him, her mind reeled. What had led to such laxness in their security? Where had he come from?
We were betrayed, of course, she thought, as unconsciousness bid her closer to blackness.
Malefic turned and glared into her eyes, a sneer twisting his expression into a grotesque mask. “The Aulic Assembly is mine.” His harsh voice pulled her to the brink. “Father will be pleased.”

 

The Silver Sphere is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $3.99

 

Connect with Michael Dadich:

Website: www.thesilversphere.org

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaeldadich

Almost Magic (Splintered Category Romance), J.M. Kelley {$2.99}

SPLINTERED CATEGORY ROMANCE #103
MagicalParanormal

When it came to Vivian Burroughs’ unique connection with nature, her grandmother always said, ‘Mediocrity may not burn as bright as a firecracker, but it seldom blows up in your face.’ But the old woman never advised her on what to do when a sexy new neighbor stokes the flames of attraction.

Jack Riley, a still-grieving widower, relocates from the big city to small-town Essex Woods with his young daughter, Elizabeth. His introduction to Vivian leaves him enchanted, but rumors regarding her abilities soon come to light. Is the local beauty a witch or merely the product of an eccentric upbringing by her mother Fred and Aunt Lil, identical twins with a penchant for mischief?

Jack is intrigued by the mystery surrounding the woman, considering the complexities of raising the precocious Elizabeth, a child with frighteningly accurate intuitiveness. As he reluctantly draws closer to Vivian, he also discovers how deep his daughter’s gifts run. Can Jack accept the truth about his own flesh and blood, as well as a second chance at love?

What readers are saying:

ALMOST MAGIC by J.M. Kelley is a funny and lighthearted novella that is guaranteed to make you smile. Between the sweet heartwarming romance and the humorous characters, you’ll be whistling a happy tune when you are done reading. –The Romance Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. From the main characters to the small town feel to the quirky supporting cast, it was a pleasure to read. –Amazon Review

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.5 stars {2 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Almost Magic (Splintered Category Romance) for $2.99

Football Widows, Pat Tucker {$3.79}

Football Widows are people who feel like their relationship dies during the NFL season. Their significant others are so focused on the game, they may as well be single.

What readers are saying:

Good read and the book was like looking into a TV realty show. Some of the characters were likable and some others were crazy!

This is a must read !!
If you are thinking about reading this book then I say do it !!
It makes you wonder who you can tell your deepest secrets to,or should you ?.
Be careful your secrets might come back to haunt you. They might even appear in a book ? Lol

Football Widows was so good that I am getting ready to order another book by the same author.

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.2 stars {18 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Football Widows for $3.79

The Mosquito and the Sign of the Cross, Benoit Papineau {$3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Are you one of those who claims to have faith in a God you know and love?
Are you one of those who claims to have faith in a God that knows and loves you?
Both knowledge and love develop through time and as time as passed, more knowledge and love develop and eventually, we get so intimate that all secrets and mysteries dissolve.
We can tell how the other influences us; we can tell how we influence the other. We can tell how the other would react in front of specific situations; fear or courage, tears or laughter, joy or sadness, vigor or lethargy, patience, softness, anger or brutality.
When a relationship becomes so intimate, knowledge and love can even allow us to tell how life would be without the other; secrets and mysteries dissolve.
Are you one of those who claims to have faith in a God you know and love?
Are you sure?
What can you tell me about your intimate God?
What can you tell me with undeniability and precision?
Anything?
Of course you can tell me things, I already have heard from others, but can YOU really tell me about your intimate God?
Have you ever heard about superstition? Here’s the definition: “A belief or practice based on fears or ignorance.”
Do you claim your faith through the fear of others judgement? Can you tell me anything personal about God or is it really ignorance? So,…is it faith or is it superstition?
Need help???
Read the Mosquito and the Sign of the Cross and you will really know the loving God of your intimacy.

What readers are saying:

“This is an amazing book. Profound beyond measure. Somewhat disturbing only because of it’s insight. The book is life-changing. It will leave the reader speechless. A thought provoking book like none before it.”

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 5 stars {1 review}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase The Mosquito and the Sign of the Cross for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime

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