Jackfish Reborn, Rejean Giguere {$0.99}

In 1885 Chinese laborers were brought to North America to build the railroads. The triads came with them. Caught up in the clashes, Tiger Chang manages to send a letter home about an incredible discovery.

128 years later…

Phil Hardy just wants everyone to leave him alone. That way no one gets hurt. Running from his past, he thinks he has found the peace he’s seeking on the cliffs looking out over the shores of Lake Superior.

Dragon Chang is following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, in search of his discovery. The young triad leader will use all his available resources, including the killing skills he learned on the opium smuggling routes in China, to locate and secure his future.

Local police officer April Harrison has a handle on everything going on in her community, except her abusive ex-husband.

Everything goes sideways when she starts asking questions about who is hanging around the old ghost town of Jackfish and the past begins to catch up with the present in more ways than one.

What readers are saying:

Enjoy the Ride!
It is rare that you get a complete set of 3 dimensional characters from the leads to support, but that is exactly what you get with this book. I love a good adventure but this one surpassed any hope with the strong characters. On top of that the plot just keeps on giving. The book effortlessly shifts between current time and 1883 when the Chinese were building the railroad system in Canada. This is a don’t put it down book!

Action Packed!
If I could write a book it would end up being exactly like this one. Jackfish Reborn is everything, and more, that I look for in a good adventure/action story. The story grabs you and pulls you in right from the start as you begin to dive into the past/present clash going on. The author has done a really good job describing the characters and making them believable which is a difficult task in this genre of book. Even the setting where the action sequences are taking place have enough body to them that you can almost imagine yourself there watching the drama unfold in person. Rejean Giguere has given us a very well written story that gives twists and turns as it roller-coasters it’s way through your mind.

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

 Click here to read more about and purchase Jackfish Reborn for $0.99!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft), Kim Foster {$4.61}

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Kim Foster‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft):

Everyone has a talent. Some are just more legal than others. Cat Montgomery steals jewels for AB&T, the premier agency for thieves in Seattle. Career perks: good pay, great disguises, constant adrenaline rush. Drawbacks: the possibility of jail time…or worse. Now she’s taken on a lucrative side job—recovering a priceless Faberge egg for an alleged Romanov descendant.

Though Cat is working solo, there are plenty of interested players. Her FBI ex-boyfriend is nosing around, as is her former mentor-turned-nemesis. Then there’s the charming art thief helping—or is he hindering?—her mission. If her luck holds out, this could be the case that allows Cat to retire with her conscience and her life intact. If not, it’ll be her last job for all the wrong reasons…

 

Accolades:

If you are a reader who enjoys thrills coupled with well-developed characters, pick up A Beautiful Heist. Not only will it have you on the edge of your seat at times, it will also give you a character who promises to only get more interesting in future installments. (Tia Bach, Mom In Love With Fiction)

Kim Foster’s debut novel is an enjoyable, convoluted and action-packed caper. It’s a nonstop ride from the first chapter until the very end. Full of schemes and betrayals, human sacrifice and treasure hunts, this new but capable author captures her audience in a tightly-plotted and intricately set up first-in-series. A complicated plot, likeable but imperfect characters, and Foster’s clear style of writing lend for an easy, entertaining and fast-paced read. A Beautiful Heist is less than three hundred pages, but the author manages to contain an interesting, complex, and original plot within those few hundred pages. (Jessie, Ageless Pages Reviews)

Cat herself proves to be more nuanced than I expected…A Beautiful Heist is a fun read–light, fast-paced, yet with enough character development to deepen the reader’s enjoyment. It’s got a good balance of action and suspense with real-life choices and implications. It’s a great summer read. (Elizabeth, 5 Minutes For Books)

A Beautiful Heist is a satisfying caper novel, with lots of twists and turns in the plot and plenty of glamour in the settings and the characters. There’s enough romance and suspense for readers of romantic suspense, but the complexity of the story and the characters lifts it from the genre. It’s a gripping novel and would make a great movie. (Rebecca, More Than A Review)

Reviews:

A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft)  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 3.8 stars from 11 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft):

Everyone breaks the rules eventually. It’s just that some of us make a career out of it.
Lingering by the bar, I sipped my Veuve Clicquot and, with the utmost subtlety, tugged at the short neoprene wetsuit concealed beneath my cocktail dress.
The warm September evening air swirled with lush jazz; the chime of crystal mingled with the laughter of socialites and millionaires. It was a graceful affair. But I, for one, was far from relaxed. My eyes roved the party restlessly and my nerves sizzled with anticipation. And fear.
My safety that evening hinged on my skills of deception. On my ability to conjure the illusion that I belonged at this party. Whether I got my assignment done, however, depended on an altogether different sort of talent: the particular skill-set I happened to be born with.
As always, I needed to keep my fear in check and stay focused on my goals. Do the job, Cat. Make it out of here alive. Don’t get arrested.
I tucked a short lock of my platinum blond wig behind my ear. A saltwater breeze teased the hem of my black Dolce & Gabbana gown. The party occupied the lido deck of a 280-foot luxury yacht moored in Seattle Harbor. Which should explain the wetsuit. Rule number one for every professional thief: always have as many getaway options as possible.
Now—before you judge too harshly, consider this: everybody in this world is guilty of something. Everybody has dirty truths they keep tucked in linen closets and shoe boxes, secreted away in diaries and letters and the dark alcoves of their minds. Maybe yours isn’t anything all that grievous. Maybe you just cheat a little on your taxes. Maybe you sneak into a different movie once you’re inside the theater. Or, perhaps your dark secret is something worse. The point is, sooner or later, everyone behaves badly. Some of us are just better at it than others.
I curled my way through multitudes of rich and beautiful people who were busy rubbing shoulders and sundry other body parts. My muscles were coiled tight as a librarian’s bun, my face was impassive. I watched for signs that someone suspected what I was up to. The people at this particular party—and their hired security staff—would not react well knowing someone like me was in their midst. Weapons would be drawn. Blood would be shed. This was a state of affairs I preferred to avoid. Just thinking about it made the hairs at the nape of my neck curl with sweat. My mouth felt dry; I took another sip of champagne.
Maybe this was a mistake. I glanced at the exit points. Should I really be attempting this tonight? It was risky pulling a job on the night of a gala.
But no–I was prepared. Besides, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity—it meant too much to me. I had to do this. I couldn’t back down now. This could be the job that would finally banish the shadow.
I selected a vantage point on the upper deck and wrapped my palms around the cold chrome handrail. Stars dazzled in a tuxedo sky high above, reminiscent of the shimmering gowns and sparkling flutes of champagne below.
I kept my face expressionless and methodically scanned the glittering party below me. Glamorous young things lounged on curved banks of white tufted leather sofas, orchids spilled out of crystal vases, hundreds of fairy lights twinkled along the sleek lines of the yacht.
I was scouting for telltale signs: the distracted expression of someone listening to an ear-receiver, unusual body language, a waiter or a musician who looked strangely uncomfortable. Markers of a person who could interfere with my ability to do my job tonight, be it security staff, FBI, or—worse—one of those damned concerned citizens.
Then my stomach tightened: was that red-haired man by the oyster bar watching me? I narrowed my eyes and slid to my left, concealing myself behind a post. There was something odd, something furtive about the small actions of his hands. He was standing beside a woman, his date or girlfriend, but he seemed to be avoiding her gaze. Very strange. The set of his jaw betrayed a degree of anxiety. I bit down on the inside of my cheek. Then, I saw him reach into his jacket pocket and a small Tiffany box appeared in his hand.
Ah. I rolled my eyes and focused my attention elsewhere. He was going to propose tonight. Fine. Not interesting.
I continued raking the crowd of partygoers. But as I did so, I must confess to a small twinge of envy. As they sipped their mojitos and nibbled their canapés, everyone looked so, well, relaxed. I glanced back at the couple by the oyster bar.
For a moment I considered stuffing this assignment and simply enjoying myself, perhaps trying my chances at meeting my own Prince Charming equivalent, of which there appeared to be plenty.
No, Cat. I scolded myself and pushed those thoughts firmly from my mind. That was not for me. I had to get this job done. Besides, the truth was, people like me were not destined for storybook endings. Dreams of the moon belonged to much worthier people; I’d abandoned those hopes a long time ago.
No. This girl didn’t deserve the fairy tale. It wasn’t usually the villain who got the happily-ever-after.
A white-gloved waiter approached and, after mentally clearing him as a non threat, I accepted a divine smoked salmon crostini from his silver tray. I smiled at him, confident in my disguise: the wig, of course, plus chocolate-browncolored contact lenses and painstakingly applied theater makeup conveying much sharper cheekbones than I myself, sadly, possessed. I took a mouthwatering bite of the crostini and allowed a small shiver of delight. Another fringe benefit to the job.
On the surface, becoming a crook is an ill-advised choice. I get that. Very few people would see the appeal and, fair enough, it’s not a way of life that would suit everyone. But let me assure you: it’s a thrill like no other. And isn’t that what we all want, ultimately? A life purpose that we’re good at, and that we love?
Of course I’m making it sound like I had a choice in the matter. As if being anything other than a criminal was an option for me. It wasn’t. The universe made it clear, long ago, that being a thief was my role in this life. Bucking that fate was not only futile, it brought dire consequences. I know. I had tried it.
At the party, I popped in one last bite of crostini and was on the move again. I buried myself in the crowd and wove my way to a less populated area of the party on the aft deck. I needed to choose my moment precisely. It was a matter of sharpening my awareness of other people’s attention. I needed to have a clear perimeter in my peripheral vision, to know there were no eyes directly on me.
But although the crowd here was thinner, there were still a lot of people. I experienced fresh anxiety about doing this job tonight. It was never my first choice to do the actual heist on the night of a gala. Too many potential complications. Most crooks will tell you: parties are better suited for reconnaissance.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an option. Davis Hamilton Jr, the steel magnate, sailed the Elysia into Seattle this morning and he was staying one night only. The next morning he would sail down the coast for California and I wasn’t about to miss the opportunity. I had done that before; it would never happen again.
Then, I noted that in the nearby knot of people a man was entertaining the group with an anecdote. I readied myself–this would be my chance. As he wrapped up the story and delivered the punch line, the group was laughing and distracted. That was my moment. I made a sharp right turn, melted into the shadows, and dove down the steps leading belowdecks.
The corridors were dark, narrow, and quiet. The ceiling hung low. The layout of the yacht and its suites was firmly etched in my mind, memorized from the blueprint. Fourth door on the left, just after the corridor took a sharp right turn. I was skulking along when a large, lumpy man suddenly emerged from a doorway and lurched out, smashing into me. Damn.
I’d have to bluff it. “Oops!” I giggled, stumbling against the wall. “Where’s the little girls’ room?” I said with an intentional slur. The man possessed an unfortunate physique: slopy shoulders and barrel torso. His small eyes were too close together, his teeth tiny and spaced apart, like those of a third-grader.
Unfortunately, the man moved closer. And started leering. “Hey, sweetheart, what’s your hurry?” A hot cloud of liquor-spiked breath floated my way. And now I had a problem.
Memo to self: Take a moment, next time, to size up your audience before knee-jerking into drunk, giddy female bit.
“What’s your name?” he said, taking another step closer. I cringed. Even an expensive suit couldn’t minimize the impact of hair like a Brillo pad. Why, oh why, was it always this type? Why couldn’t this be that Hugh Jackman-lookalike I noted by the Jacuzzi upstairs? I was sure I wouldn’t have been quite so irritated.
This was exactly the sort of thing I was afraid of. I should have aborted the job, right then.
But I didn’t.

A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft) is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $4.61

Connect with Kim Foster:

Website: http://www.kimfosterbooks.com

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

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

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Paris Secret, Angela Henry {$2.51}

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Description of The Paris Secret:

Less than twenty-four hours after fleeing to Paris, Maya Sinclair is the prime suspect in a brutal murder—and targeted by the real killer. When she’s viciously attacked in the gardens of Versailles, Maya barely escapes with her life thanks to sexy French journalist Simon Girard.

Simon has been investigating the mysterious death of his brother, an art forger with ties to the woman Maya is suspected of killing. Still healing from heartbreak of his own, Simon reluctantly joins forces with Maya, who has awakened feelings within him he thought long dead.

Their search for answers uncovers the existence of a secret society, and puts them on a quest to find a missing crucifix rumored to hold the key to everlasting life. Together, Maya and Simon race through Paris one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to ensure some secrets remain buried forever…

86,600 words

 

Accolades:

“This book has it all—a phenomenal setting, long-buried secrets, a present-day murder mystery and a dash of paranormal intrigue, not to mention a cast of characters that leap off the page. And while it is so much more than a romance book, the two main characters are absolutely unforgettable.”
—The Romance Reviews Top Pick (Nominated for Best Action Adventure Romance of 2011!)

“The Paris Secret by Angela Henry grabbed me from the first paragraph and kept me turning pages long into the night. The novel offers the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, and romance. The pace is swift, the characters likable, and the mystery rich and interesting, without being too complex or detailed. The blend of history and intrigue in Paris was irresistible.”
—Night Owl Reviews Top Pick

Reviews:

The Paris Secret currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 3.9 stars from 15 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from The Paris Secret:

I looked around for a place to put in the extra batteries I had packed. The few stone benches in the garden were taken. I went past the statues lining the walkway to the Apollo fountain and noticed an entrance to the garden hedge maze. Hoping there might be someplace to sit in the maze, I ducked inside. It was cooler and quieter there. Nobody else was in sight. I didn’t have to walk far before coming upon an open gate, through which I could see a pond.

In the very center of the pond was a large golden statue of a man struggling to free himself from the pile of black rocks. One golden, muscled arm reached out toward me. He was holding something in his hand that I couldn’t make out. A quick peek at the brochure I picked up inside the palace identified it as the Encelade Fountain depicting the fall of the Titans.

Something sailed over my head and landed with a loud splash in the pond. I jumped and bumped into someone.
“I’m so sorry—” I began before I saw it was the cop from the train. My blood started to boil. He dropped the large pebbles he’d been holding.

“Look, you can follow me around all you want but you’re wasting your time. I didn’t kill Juliet Rice and I don’t know what happened to the damned corkscrew. So you can tell Bernier and Bellange to kiss my ass.”

“Where’s the crucifix, Ms. Sinclair?” he asked, shocking me more by the fact that he was American than the fact that he knew my name.

“You’re American? I thought you were with the French police.”

“I’m not going to ask you again.” There was an edge to his voice that made me uneasy. I hadn’t realized just how isolated the spot we were in was until that moment.
I decided to play it cool and just walk away. But he grabbed the strap of my bag and yanked if off my shoulder, knocking me off balance. He shook the bag upside down, emptying the contents on the ground.

“Hey! What the hell is your problem? Give me my bag back!”

He dropped the bag and stood His brown eyes were cold and hard in the bright sunlight. After shoving up the sleeves of his polo shirt, his hands curled into fists. That’s when the small red mark on his arm jumped out at me. It wasn’t a birthmark. It was a tattoo of coiled snake, a cobra. I suddenly realized there could be another reason why he would smell like he’d spent time at the police station, and it wasn’t a good one.

“Who are you?” Every hair on my body stood up in alarm.
He didn’t answer. Instead, he punched me hard in the stomach. The pain was immediate and intense. I doubled over, clutching my stomach. He grabbed my throat and slammed me up against the side of the lattice walkway. Leaves, vines of ivy and the hard latticework pressed into my back.

“Where’s the crucifix?” Tattoo Man hissed at me, bathing my nostrils with his funky breath.

“Wha…what?” was all I could get out. Between the pain in my stomach and the tight grip of his hand around my throat, I could barely breathe, let alone talk. I struggled to free my hands, which were trapped between our bodies.

“Don’t play games with me! I know Juliet gave it to you. It wasn’t in the hotel room! Where is it?” He shook me by my throat like a rag doll.

“I barely knew her,” I gasped. “She never gave me anything. I swear. Please…don’t hurt me anymore!”
I managed to press myself back just enough to free my right knee and drove it toward his groin.

But he anticipated the move and deflected it by turning sideways, then spun me around pressing my face against the latticework as he tugged my arms up painfully behind me.

“You barely knew her, yet you shared a hotel room! You barely knew her, yet you showed such concern for her when you saw her being harassed by that Frenchman on the bridge.”

“Please! We didn’t know each other! We didn’t!” How did he know about what happened on the boat?

“Don’t lie to me!” he screamed in my ear and pulled my arms up higher. It felt like they were about to break.

“I’m not lying. Please! Please, stop!” Tears streamed down my face and snot ran from my nose.

“I followed you yesterday. I know you didn’t have the crucifix then. She must have given it to you after she got back to the hotel.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about! I swear!”
“What I did to Juliet Rice is nothing compared to what I’ll do to you if you don’t give me what I want! Where is the crucifix?”

The world started to spin. This was the man who took my bag. This was the man who took my key card and used my corkscrew to kill Juliet. My legs gave out and I slid down his body to the ground. He jerked me back to my feet, turned me around to face him and punched me again, this time in my right side. The explosion of searing pain caused me to fall to the ground and curl into a ball. He grabbed a handful of my hair and jerked my head back.

“Tell me!” he screamed.

My vision began to blur. My attacker let out a grunt. The last thing I heard before passing out was the sound of fists on flesh.

When I came to, I was lying on my back. The most intense pair of green eyes I’d ever seen stared down at me. I’d seen those eyes before.

“Are you okay? Can you stand?” asked the man with the green eyes.

His English was tinged with a French accent. Sunglasses poked out of the front pocket of his faded jean jacket. His white shirt was ripped and his pants were smudged with dirt. This looked like the guy I’d bumped into when I’d arrived earlier. But those eyes made me realize that hadn’t been the first time I’d seen him. This was also the man who’d seen Juliet arguing with on the Pont de la Concorde. What was he doing here? I struggled to my feet and felt a wave of nausea wash over me.

“Easy.” He reached out to steady me. I pushed his hand away and took long, deep breaths to keep from throwing up.

“We need to get out of here before he comes to.” He gestured toward my unconscious attacker lying inside the latticed walkway who had started to groan.

“Come on! Let’s go!” he commanded impatiently, grabbing my hand. I pulled away.

“No! We need to call the police! What’s the number?” I fumbled around on the ground for my cell as I tossed as much of my stuff as I could back into my bag.
Tattoo Man groaned again, louder this time.

“Are you crazy? He’s coming to! We’ve got to get out of here!”

“It’ll only take a minute!” I tried to turn my cell phone on. But my hands were shaking so badly I could barely push the buttons.

“We don’t have time. Come on!” He grabbed my hand again.

He took off running, pulling me behind him. I tried my best to keep up but the pain in my side slowed me down. A bullet whizzed past my head and another hit the fencepost near me. Tattoo Man was firing a gun as he staggered behind us.

“He’s got a gun!” I screamed at my rescuer.

“No shit! Shut up and keep running!”
We emerged from the maze to see an old, beat-up maintenance truck parked about ten feet away. A workman stood on a scaffold cleaning a nearby statue.

“Get in!” Green Eyes shouted, shoving me into the truck on the driver’s side. I scooted over and he jumped behind the wheel. There was no key in the ignition and he slapped the steering wheel in frustration.

“Merde!”

The man on the scaffold, yelling at us in French, began to climb down. Tattoo Man lumbered out of the maze and ran smack into the scaffold, sending it and the statue cleaner crashing down. While the two cursing men tried to extricate themselves from each other and the wreck of the scaffold, Green Eyes frantically looked for the keys in the glove box and under the floor mat.

“Don’t just sit there! Help me!” he yelled, jolting me into action.

I checked the ashtray and under the seat, then reached over and pulled down the driver’s sun visor. A set of keys fell into his lap. He started the truck just as the back window exploded. I screamed. Tattoo Man was back on his feet and about to fire again.

“Get down!” Green Eyes shouted, pushing my head down as another bullet whizzed through the truck and shattered the front windshield.

He threw the truck into reverse. Thud! I sat up and turned to Tattoo Man on the ground. His gun had been knocked out of his hand. We sped off at top speed and minutes later were on the highway.

“You okay?” he asked, squeezing my shoulder. I wasn’t but I nodded yes anyway.

“You were on the bridge with Dr. Rice yesterday, weren’t you?”

He looked at me and gave me a disarming half smile, but didn’t answer. I had the feeling he used that smile to his advantage quite often. And I bet it worked most of the time.

“Aren’t you even going to tell me who you are and what the hell is going on?”

“Aren’t you even going to thank me for saving your life?” He smiled at me in an infuriatingly smug way.

“You first.” I glared at him. He laughed.

“All in due time, Maya. But first things first.” How the hell did he know my name?

“What do you mean? Where are we going?” I demanded while carefully picking shattered glass out of my hair and shaking it out of my clothing.

“Back to Paris. You’re not the only one needing answers,” he replied cryptically.

 

The Paris Secret is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $2.51

 

Connect with Angela Henry:

Author Website: http://www.angelahenry.com/paris-secret.php

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MystNoir

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paris-Secret-Novel/117737431624494?ref=hl

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (A Shapers Novel), Nya Jade {$0.99}

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Description of Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (A Shapers Novel):

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.

Watch the amazing trailer below!

 

 Accolades:

“This book has it all, betrayals, romance, action, adventure, mystery and magic, oh and don’t forget the hot celebrity, Colten. This is such a creative read and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the story and the characters. I really need book two now! I highly recommend this to all readers, it is such a fun and addictive read.” 

 .”..If you love fantasy and edge-of-your-seat suspense — with a soulful and enigmatic heroine and a vicious, conniving villain (or — SPOILER ALERT — two, or three!!) — this book is for you.”  

” …This may be categorized as a YA novel, but I’m considerably older than that particular demographic and I still loved this book…It is very easy to lose yourself in the world of Phoebe Pope!”

“I could not put this book down! The suspense, action, and thrill of young romance in this book forced me to finish in two sittings. A quick, fun read for tweens-teens-adults. I am excited for Phoebe Pope and what’s yet to come, please publish the sequel ASAP.” 

 

Reviews:

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (A Shapers Novel) currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 34 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (A Shapers Novel):

Excerpt from:

PHOEBE POPE AND THE YEAR OF FOUR

A SHAPERS NOVEL

Copyright © 2012 by NYA JADE and published here with her permission.

One

Phoebe was too far away to sense whether the boy had one heart or two. Through the maze of trees with clattering leaves, she could see him moving with purposeful speed. He was headed toward her destination—a brownstone chapel perched at the top of a small hill. Not knowing the boy’s nature made Phoebe hesitate. Then came the sound of tower bells. Eight o’clock. There was no time to think of an alternate route. She was officially late for the Conversion.

A loud, echoing crack quickened Phoebe’s pace as lightning slashed the indigo sky above her. She had barely reached the base of the hill when rain began pounding down. Clutching the camera that hung from the strap around her neck, she sprinted the final stretch, arriving breathless.

Phoebe wiped the rain from her face, and then entered the chapel. Inside, light from moon-facing windows cast a misty glow across the sanctuary, the air redolent with the smoke of a blazing fireplace. She glanced around the heart of the nondenominational Green Lane Academy. It seemed so ordinary, so quiet, even peaceful. Rows of pews with velvet cushions ran the width of the room. She moved between them, taking care to remain in the shadows. An irregular shape in a dark corner caught her eye and Phoebe could just barely make out the outline of the boy. He knelt with his head between his hands, his body huddled against a pew. Praying.

Phoebe paused several feet away and waited. After a moment she felt energy seeping from the boy’s skin, raising the hairs on hers. Cold and electric, it meant one thing: the boy had only one heart. She couldn’t risk him seeing what she had come there to do. That meant waiting. Just then, something stirred behind her.

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (A Shapers Novel) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

Connect with Nya Jade:

Author Website: www.nyajade.com

Author Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/nyajadefriends

Author Twitter Page: @TheNyaJade

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles), Laura Bradley Rede {$0.99}

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Description of Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles):

Ander McNair used to be the favorite son of a great monster-hunting family – until he was bitten by a werewolf and the hunter became the hunted. Now anything that makes his pulse race, even a kiss from his girlfriend Cicely, is enough to turn him into a monster. When he finally has his chance to earn his cure by killing a vampire prince, Ander finds he has to choose between his own past and the future of the girl he loves. Can a guy who’s not even human learn what it means to be a man?

Luke Marianez used to be an immortal vampire prince – until the witch he loved betrayed him and cursed him with the ability to die. Now he lives in the world of vampire blood bars where the waitresses are the drinks, and dreams about killing the last of the witch’s line so he can live forever. But revenge doesn’t just mean breaking the curse. He wants to break the girl’s heart, too. Can Luke seduce Cicely without falling in love himself?

Cicely Watson doesn’t believe in werewolves or vampires. She’s not even sure she believes in true love. But she’s about to discover what every werewolf knows:

People change.

Accolades:

“Darkride had everything I need in a good fantasy/paranormal book. Action, romance, a heap of steamy and amazing supernatural creatures, and a main character that will affix herself to you. Everything about this book was fierce!” ~ Sizzling Reads

“Darkride is one of those books that you sit down to read, and find yourself physically incapable of stopping until it’s done – and when it is, you still are burning to read more.” ~ Ricochet Reviews

“The story was filled with action, tension, difficult decisions, and touching romance. I was swept away by the story…” ~ Ms. Martin Teaches Media

“Darkride keeps you guessing from the moment you read page one. Author Laura Bradley Rede does a great job of keeping you hooked till the very end. There is a major love triangle… but this is no Twilight romance.” ~ ParaNormal Romance Party

“I really loved this book with its fairy tale qualities mixed in with real life/fantasy. It was done beautifully and it still seemed fresh and new in this ever growing popular genre.” ~ Once Upon a Twilight

 

Reviews:

Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles) currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 44 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles):

Ander seems to feel better, too. He jogs a little ways ahead of me, then doubles back, high-fiving the trees as he comes. “So,” he says, “Your birthday. What are you doing to celebrate?”

I shrug. “You know, helicopter ride, movie premier, champagne toast at sunrise. The usual.”

His eyes are full of sympathy. “Mom working, huh?”

“For the caterers tonight, then she has a wedding to do tomorrow, so I’m sure she’ll be busy. But she might make a cake.”

“Oh,” he sighs, “your mom’s cake! Damn, that’s good.”

“She’s a pro,” I say.

“So,” he says, “What are you going to wish for?”

I’m suddenly glad for the shadowy darkness. It hides my blush. “Same thing I wished for last year.”

“And you haven’t gotten it yet?”

“No,” I say, “Not yet.”

“Well,” he says, “Maybe this is your year.”

Right now all I wish for is to be able to see the expression on his face, but the shadows hide it. Does he know I wished for him? Is there some hidden promise in his words? There can’t be. I mean, if he felt the same, why wouldn’t he just tell me? If he felt the same, why didn’t he kiss me back there, when his arms were already around me? He can’t feel the same. I put a little extra stomp in my boots, trying to crush out any spark of hope before it has the chance to catch. This is how I get hurt.

We walk for a while in silence. What is he thinking, I wonder? His face is unreadable in the half-light. Trying to see him makes my eyes hurt, and trying to understand him makes my brain hurt. Being best friends with Ander is like doing long division in your head all day. It’s like trying to follow a foreign film without the subtitles. How can Zoe say he’s straightforward when I feel like everything he says is in secret code?

The woods have begun to thin. Up ahead, through the trees, I can just see Ander’s house, as dark and elongated as the shadows around us. It’s the only house around, shielded by trees on every side. Ander used to joke that I was the “girl next door,” because my mom’s trailer is the next closest place, and we’re on the other side of the woods. Only the long gravel drive connects Ander’s house to County 13 and the rest of the world. Its gray paint is peeling and the porch sags, but there are yellow marigolds in the window boxes and a welcome mat by the front door.

I wonder who that welcome is meant for. I’ve never been invited in.

Without saying a word about it, we both stop a respectful distance from the yard, like there’s an invisible line I can’t cross. “Well,” Ander says, “I guess I should go in.” He looks up at the sky, then glances at the house. There’s a light on in the kitchen window. His uncle is home.

“Yeah,” I say, “I guess you should.” But neither of us goes anywhere. Ander takes a little swig of Gatorade. I take a deep breath. I almost hate to ask him, because I know he’ll have to say no. His uncle never lets him go out.

But I promised myself I’d ask him. It’s a new year and I’m starting it right.

Now or never, Cicely.

“Do you want to go out tonight?”

Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles) is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Shadows of Penumbra (An Urban Fantasy Series), Margaret E. Alexander {$0.99}

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Description of Shadows of Penumbra (An Urban Fantasy Series):

Diane’s destiny was set before her birth. They damaged her on purpose. Made her ruthless. Heartless. Mind of darkness. Yet one act of kindness could ignite the desire to fight her destiny. Even if it means watching the world burn. Unless she can balance light and shadow, the end will consume them all.

Set to erase criminal masterminds’ memories, Diane yawns at the notion of converting yet another Rebel. But when her target turns out to be a little less than human and a bit more than demon, a whole new breed of beings invade Diane’s world and lure her into another dimension, where the world is a ruined, enchanted mirror of reality.

Some of them are ideal doppelgangers of humans called Shadows; others are hybrids with sinister intentions. And they’re about to reveal a lot more than the reason for the trauma in her past or why the world is ending. Like who are the biggest pawns in a conspiracy to “perfect” mankind. Diane must push her mind past all limits and master a set of elements no human has ever controlled to stand any chance of confronting the organization responsible.

After they’re through with her, the Shadows give her a choice: to live the life she’s always wanted or conquer seven powerful devices that will even the odds. Good thing Diane always has a trick up her sleeve, and a partner in crime …

This urban fantasy thriller is a story of a fight for independence and control, love and loss, and a search for one’s place in the world.

 

Accolades:

“The story is very well written and the world seems to expand quickly and in a way that leaves you wanting more…”“There’s LOTS of action in the book, and I thought the story was pretty original…”

“Sharp, puzzling, and an absolutely unpredictable novel that intrigues you over and over again…”


Reviews:

Shadows of Penumbra (An Urban Fantasy Series) currently has a customer review rating of 4 stars from 6 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Shadows of Penumbra (An Urban Fantasy Series) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

An excerpt from Shadows of Penumbra (An Urban Fantasy Series):

The bartender still eyed her. She looked up from the napkin to meet his gaze, until he finally moved away to serve a couple of nurses that arrived at the other end of the counter.

Out of the corner of her eye, Diane could see that a bushy-haired nurse accompanied the nurse with the eyelid Anarcross scar, which had tended to her in the morning. The newbie.

Diane placed the napkin in her pocket and motioned to another bartender to get her a glass of daily nutrients, invented by the Anarchists to save time on consumption. The color of the liquid in the glass was a cyan blue, the taste absolutely uplifting. The two nurses, huddled together, curiously watched her drink.

How boring, thought Diane.

They jerked as she slid off the high chair and took her drink with her, walked over to a table by the lounge, and sat by herself again.
Diane did not even bother to turn her head when, within moments, the dark-haired nurse came up to her.

The girl had particularly fair porcelain skin and was gracious looking. From that alone, and her Class A rank, Diane could already guess that she must have been sold by the black market, likely to a mafia group to act as a spy, when bought by the Double A instead, or something similar of style.

“Um…you don’t mind, do you?” said the girl.

“Not at all,” Diane replied as she sat opposite of her.

“I know you’re probably in a hurry to leave, but I…I wanted to apologize for earlier.” She stared at her almost empty glass.

Diane looked up at her, paying careful attention to the scar across her left eye. She then smirked to herself. “Hmph. You don’t have much experience in this field, do you?” She moved her glass aside.

The girl, possibly several years older than Diane, blushed. Her black hair was gathered up at both sides in loops, with bangs near her eyes that parted down the middle. Her brown eyes were far too innocent.

“You have guts to speak to me,” said Diane, and for the first time since she had seen Mr. Lucas, the girl looked afraid again. “Not that you can’t. But you shouldn’t. Anyone around here would advise you otherwise.”

When the girl looked even more worried, Diane sighed and continued, “Let me explain. Some agents are constantly exposed to the outside world. They are like an open wound. If you meddle too much with them, you might catch an infection. Do you get what I’m saying?”

Confused, the girl said, “I see. Well, then, I guess you should at least know…my name is Lucile.”

Diane blinked and then smiled. “Lucile, then.”

Lucile ignored the fact that she did not reply with her name in return and immediately asked, “Earlier, you…seemed troubled by Mr. Lucas. I don’t know much about the upper class Anarchists, or the Court, and I was just wondering…the way he talked down to you, like you were disposable…is that really how the Association governs? I mean…I thought…Anarchists were supposed to be special…”

Diane returned her look with curiosity. “Governs? There’s nothing governing about the Double A except for ignoring the government. I’ll tell you a secret, though—if you’d really like to know—it depends on who you are. And who your Judge is. It’s not my fault I got stuck with that bastard, if you know what I mean.”

“I guess,” said Lucile.

“Don’t worry, they’re not all like that. You’ll come to know.” Diane reached for something in her pocket. When her hand emerged and lay across the table, it clutched a napkin.

“For future reference, I’ll tell you my name.”

From staring at Diane’s hand, the girl’s head shot up.

“It’s Diane Archenson.”

Lucile’s eyes widened and she made a sharp intake of breath. “Y-You have a last name?”

 

Shadows of Penumbra (An Urban Fantasy Series) is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Sky Between Two Worlds, Glen Books {FREE!}

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Description of The Sky Between Two Worlds:

The Sky Between Two Worlds is a thinking person’s techno-thriller of a near-future world where two hostile powers have stealth warplanes that the other cannot detect. America is caught up in fragmented political parties, influential special interests, cross-border drone attacks and inexperienced leaders. After a drone strike goes tragically awry, the conflict crescendos into disaster.

The story follows Kantak Johnson, an Alaskan native, from MIT where he invented improved stealth planes, back to Alaska where he and friends seek to increase the self-sufficiency of the State, and where he risks all to defend Alaska and the Lower 48 from stealth attack.

 

Accolades:

***** A Great Technothriller Sci-Fi Debut
The Sky Between Two Worlds is a first-rate techno-thriller, sci-fi novella that should be read by all fans of this genre. Books, who has an impressive science and academic resume, is an author readers should keep an eye on.
—Joseph Souza
***** An Excellent Start
The setting is intriguing and the characters excellently crafted. A most promising start.
—Rev 357

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Sky Between Two Worlds  currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars, with84 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Excerpt from Kiss of Midnight:

In a helicopter circling the ruins, Colonel Kantak Johnson, former governor of Alaska and current member of the North American Parliament, surveyed the craters of the two bombs that had devastated the city: one an underwater blast near the harbor and the other an airburst over the city center. The sub-megaton blasts had left only steel skeletons of skyscrapers, a few recognizable buildings, car-shaped objects and tidal wave debris, all coated with pulverized rock and ash. Weeds, bushes and a scattering of small trees had begun to claim the ruins.

Kantak viewed the exposed, twisted girders of the city. They seemed naked, vaguely obscene. It should have a proper burial. He sniffed the air: the smell of seaweed and salt water. But to Kantak, who had lived in the once-vibrant city, it was now a smell of death. Then he saw a small segment of a bridge that once had crossed the river. He pointed to it for his pilot: “Land there, please.”
As they landed, Kantak looked toward a reed-infested swamp on the southwest bank. He saw a broken dome and fallen fluted columns projecting from brackish water. But, contrary to his hopes, nothing visible remained of the engineering library that had once stood there. This is the bridge. He had crossed it many times. He said, “There’s something I want to check.”

Kantak and the pilot donned dust masks and scraped debris off the broken concrete walkway near the remains of a lamp post. The cleaned concrete revealed the painted words “Halfway to.” Behind the mask, memories closed his eyes. This is where it all began, on this spot, twenty years ago, here in Boston.

 

The Sky Between Two Worlds  is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for FREE!


Connect with Glen Books:

Author Website: amazon.com/author/glenbooks

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Destiny Project, James Wharton {$0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of The Destiny Project:

An ancient artifact with powerful secrets, a rogue government agency and a Nazi nuclear weapons factory cause the lives of two women from different times to spin out of control. World War II ended in 1945, but a bizarre incident on an American bomber on a forgotten raid over Germany now threatens the security of the United States.

In late July, 1947, Brittany Beardsley had reservations on a flight to Las Vegas where she was to be married the next day. Her flight crashed on takeoff killing all on board in the fiery accident. That she had missed the plane while her fiancé made it were not accidents.

In the present time, school teacher Kate Darron’s bad day gets much worse when a strange woman wearing clothes from another era knocks on her apartment door. Kate is troubled that the woman seems to know every detail of her life. “Who are you?” Kate asks. “Think of me as the fairy godmother of death,” the woman replies. “You shall be dead in less than half an hour.”

These unrelated incidents bring Kate and Brittany together as they are forced to undertake a terrifying mission across continents and time, one on which survival is not an option.


Accolades:

Book was very well written. The story was wonderful, I couldn’t keep away from the book for very long.
I think it is a great read. I hated it when I was through as I wanted more. 

Once I started reading I could hardly stop put it down. A lot of action and great thriller. I recomend it.

I recommend it for the sheer fun of reading and look forward to reading many more escapades/adventures of the main characters to come.


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Destiny Project currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.3 stars, with 20 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Mad Dog House is available for purchase at:

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Excerpt from The Destiny Project:

“Think of me as the fairy godmother of death, Kate, come to deliver the unfortunate news that you shall be dead in less than half an hour,” Evelyn said.

Astonished and trembling, Kate sat down on the crimson couch and looked up at Evelyn Rankow.

“Yes, it’s really you in the photograph Kate. And, it is me in the other picture, not my grandmother.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” demanded an astounded Kate Darron. She was struggling to regain her composure, feigning a brave front. “That picture is seventy years old and was obviously altered. Who are you, Evelyn? Why are you playing games with me?”

Evelyn turned and walked to a table across the living room and pulled something from the drawer. As she walked back across the room, she said, “The photo was not altered, Kate. It is you in the picture. Perhaps this will explain things,” she added, handing a newspaper to Kate.

As Kate looked at the paper, she saw it was dated April 10. “This is tomorrow’s newspaper,” said Kate. How did you get this? They don’t deliver the paper until morning.” Then, as she glanced down the front page, she saw the heading above an article and her picture. “Local teacher Catherine Darron killed in car accident.”

“I’m getting out of here!” Kate exclaimed, and stood up.

“I’m afraid not, Kate,” Evelyn replied.

“Try and stop me,” Kate said, as she turned to run to the apartment door.

“Running is useless, my Dear,” countered Evelyn, as Kate pulled the door open.

Two stern looking men stood blocking the doorway. The unsmiling man with coal black hair, wide lapel and double breasted dark suit moved through the doorway, easily pushing Kate back inside the apartment. The second man also came into the apartment and positioned himself in front of the door. Both men were muscular and intimidating, neither was one to be fooled with.
Kate, forcing herself to remain calm, challenged Evelyn Rankow. “You can’t keep me here forever. I’ll escape sooner or later.”

“Sit down, Miss Darron,” Evelyn ordered forcefully, abruptly changing her tone. “I shall do the talking as you have very little time left.” She turned to the larger of the two men. “Henry, please bring our wine from the table.” Unsmiling and somber, Henry Darst walked toward the dining room table, filled the glasses and returned with two glasses of Chardonnay.

“I prefer civility, Miss Darron, don’t you? A toast to life,” Evelyn said, lifting her glass. As she couldn’t escape, Kate concluded her best strategy was to cooperate with the intimidating Evelyn Rankow. She would bide her time and make her move. Kate took a long gulp from the glass.

“Are you kidnapping me, Evelyn?” Kate asked, although she couldn’t imagine why. Her family was not wealthy and Kate had no money herself.

“It’s good wine, Kate,” is it not?” Evelyn asked, avoiding Kate’s question. “Henry is a connoisseur, you know.” The woman took another drink. Kate followed her lead and took another long gulp, wondering if she was trying to find courage in the alcohol.

“I’m sorry. I forgot to introduce Henry Darst and Ed Chambers, Kate.”

“Who are you, Evelyn, and what do you want from me?” Kate asked, ignoring Evelyn’s introduction of the two men.

“The reason I asked you so many questions,” Evelyn said, “is because I had to be absolutely certain it was you, Kate. That’s why I asked you about your experience with guns and flying airplanes. To answer your other question, I would prefer to say that I’m here to offer you a proposition, however you really have no choice in the matter.”

Kate, increasingly fearful of Evelyn Rankow, listened. As Evelyn sat on the couch facing her, Kate again noticed the woman’s dated clothes. The men’s double breasted suits and wide ties were also a style from a bygone era. While Kate thought Evelyn’s clothes were eccentric, the men’s equally out of date wardrobes added to the mystery of the visitors. Something quite eerie was happening and Kate was becoming more frightened with each passing second.

“How can I be in a picture taken seventy years ago? How can you have tomorrow’s newspaper which hasn’t even been printed yet?” Kate asked fearfully.

“Kate, what I’m going to tell you will sound preposterous, but I will try to explain in the short time we have. You will die in that car accident. That is your destiny.”

“What?” Kate gasped, her voice shaking. “Who are you people? Are you crazy?” Kate asked, unable believe what she was hearing.

 

The Destiny Project is available for purchase at:

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Connect with James Wharton:

Author Website

jameswharton.net

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@jamesmwharton

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy), Scott Cramer {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy):

The epidemic strikes everyone who has passed through puberty.

Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.

But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.

On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her — adolescence.

 

Accolades:

Cramer creates a picture of our world that’s both frightening and inspiring in this heartfelt story that both young adults and adults can enjoy.A heartwarming but not overly sentimental story of survival.” KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Outrageous and completely ‘out of the box’.” MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME review blog

“Three words: Gripping. Palpable. Well-developed.” WORD SPELUNKING review blog

 

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 104 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy) is available for purchase at:

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Excerpt from Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy):

DAY 1 – THE COMET

Thick fog rolled in and swallowed Abby whole. Unable to see her outstretched hand, she clenched her jaw to stop her teeth from chattering. Homichlophobia — fear of fog. Millions had the phobia, but how many of them lived in the fog capital of the universe?

“Abby.”

Her father’s voice sounded far away. He’d been next to her a moment ago. She reached for him and grabbed damp air. A chill rippled through her and she started flailing her arms.

A hand pressed down on her shoulder. “Hey, sleepy.”

Abby opened her eyes and blinked at the silhouette, tall and lean with a curly mop of brown hair. “Dad!”

“Swimming somewhere?”

“Yeah, Cambridge.” Abby always found a way to let her dad know how she felt about moving from the city in Massachusetts where she had grown up—where her friends still lived—to a small island twenty miles off the coast of Maine. Her mom also shared part of the blame for going along with his crazy idea to move here.

“Tonight’s the night!” he said with a gleam in his eye and headed off to wake up her twelve-year-old brother Jordan.

“A purple moon?” she called out. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Abby sat up in bed, still shaken by her dream. Just then the long blast of a horn signaled the 7 a.m. ferry arriving from the mainland. She had to hurry to get in the shower first.

She entered the hallway at the same time as Jordan, and together they raced for the bathroom. She ducked inside first, but he blocked the door from closing. Each pushed for all they were worth. Abby, a year older and stronger than her brother, slammed the gap shut and locked the door.

“Come on,” he said, banging. “I need to take a shower.”

“Me, too!”

“Save some hot water!”

“Can you say please?”

He banged again.

Abby kicked aside Jordan’s dirty socks and underwear he’d left on the floor and turned on the shower. She stepped into the warm spray and sighed. Sunday, two days from now, could not come fast enough. Abby would spend spring break with her mother in Cambridge. For the first time since moving to Castine Island three months ago, she would hang out with her best friend, Mel.

When Abby stepped out of the bathroom, she found Jordan camped in the hall. He pushed his way past her. “Jerk,” he said. “There better be hot water.”

“Grow up!” she fired back. “And get your dirty stuff off the floor!”

Later, Abby placed her backpack on the kitchen floor, ready for breakfast. Her two-year-old sister, Toucan, sat in her highchair eating Cheerios, grinning, and babbling. “Abby, Comet, Cheeries.”

Abby planted a kiss on her face. “Morning, Touk.”

Dad was washing dishes piled high in the sink—Power cleaning, he called it. Preparing for Mom’s arrival on Saturday, he always started picking up the house the day before.

Abby poured a bowl of cereal and studied the newspaper. The front page had a big picture of the comet Rudenko-Kasparov, named for the two amateur comet hunters who first spotted the fuzzy blob in the Andromeda constellation. The headline declared: GET YOUR BROOMS READY. That was a joke — nobody would be sweeping up space dust, but when Earth entered the comet’s tail for the first time tonight, astronomers predicted weeks of colorful sunsets and sunrises and, best of all, a purple moon.

Not everyone was looking forward to the comet. One cult believed it signaled the end of the world and were hiding out in a cave, as if a hole in the ground might offer some type of protection.

Abby didn’t worry about the world coming to an end, though she was quite curious what space dust smelled like.

* * *

At school, Abby’s seventh grade teacher, Mr. Emerson, told the class he had a story about hippopotami in Africa. “There’s a connection to the comet!” he said, looking pleased. He’d spoken enthusiastically about the comet for months.

Several of her classmates rolled their eyes. Toby Jones blew into his hands and made a loud noise. “The hippo farted,” he cried.

Toby, the class clown, had another black eye today. Since January he had showed up two other times looking as if someone had punched him. His friends, Chad and Glen, laughed at the lame joke.

Abby and the rest of the class—all four of them—sat in stony silence.

Mr. Emerson glared at Toby. He couldn’t send him to the principal, since Mr. Emerson was the principal of the small Parker School, which served grades one through eight. High-school students took the ferry to Portland. He did what he so often did, ignored Toby’s outburst.

“Every day hippos would come out of the jungle to drink from a pond next to a village,” Mr. Emerson began. “The village had been there for hundreds of years. One day a team of doctors arrived to open a clinic. A doctor told the villagers to kill all the hippos because they might introduce germs into the pond. The villagers did as the doctor requested. The next rainy season the pond overflowed and washed away all their huts.”

Mr. Emerson used the whiteboard to draw hippo tracks leading from the jungle to the pond. “The hippos made deep tracks. When it rained, the water overflowed down their path into the jungle. When there were no tracks, look what happened.”

“What does that have to do with the comet?” asked Derek Ladd. Derek’s father was chief of police.

“When you interfere with the natural order of things,” Mr. Emerson replied, “you never know what will happen. Tonight we’re entering the comet’s tail. Pollution has damaged the atmosphere. As a result, we’ll all be breathing space dust tomorrow. How will that affect us?” He shrugged. “Nobody knows.”

Kevin Patel’s hand shot up. He was Abby’s neighbor and he raised his hand a lot. “I heard the astronauts on the International Space Station will analyze the dust to look for signs of life.”

“That’s right, Kevin,” Mr. Emerson said. “Some scientists think the building blocks for life came from outer space millions of years ago.”

Zoe Mullen inhaled sharply. “Will it be safe to breathe space dust? I mean, what if there’s something alive in it?”

Abby tried hard not to stare at Zoe’s arms and legs. They reminded her of toothpicks.

“I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Mr. Emerson said.

“Hide in a cave,” Ryan Foster joked. Ryan, the only redhead in Parker School besides Abby, sat in front of her.

Toby made another loud farting sound. “The hippo is stinkin’ up the cave!” he blurted.

Mr. Emerson’s face turned red. “Toby, see me after school.”

Toby grinned slyly. He knew that Mr. Emerson, who lived on the mainland, had to catch the 3 p.m. ferry.

Mr. Emerson stepped to the board. “Thanks to Mr. Toby Jones, all of you are getting homework over spring break.” Everyone groaned and shot Toby dirty looks. “Your assignment…” Mr. Emerson smiled and wrote: WATCH THE COMET!!!

* * *

Abby’s father ordered purple pizza for dinner. Every business, it seemed, was cashing in on the comet. You could buy purple soft drinks, purple milk, purple beer. She guessed that the pizza’s tomato sauce had food coloring, but she had no idea how they had made the cheese bright purple. While it looked absolutely disgusting, it still tasted like regular pizza.

After her dad put Toucan to bed, he set up three lawn chairs on the back deck. Jordan took one look at this viewing arrangement and declared, “I’m watching from the roof.” Most of the houses in the neighborhood had a widow’s walk.

Abby suddenly had an uneasy feeling about the comet. She didn’t want her brother to be alone. “Jordan, stay with us,” she said in a friendly tone.

He narrowed his eyes. “Why should I?”

He’d laugh if she admitted her concern. “We can share the binoculars.”

“Who needs binoculars?” he scoffed and headed up to the roof.

Abby sat back in the chair and pulled the blanket to her chin to stay warm. She gazed up. Stars burned fiercely in the coal-black sky. The outlines of the moon’s craters were crisp. A bright dot moved slowly across the sky. It was the International Space Station; the astronauts onboard, according to her nerdy neighbor, were ready to analyze the space dust for signs of life.

“I wish Mom was here,” she said.

Dad, who was next to her, chuckled. “I’m glad I have another four hours to power clean.” Then he nodded wistfully. “I wish she was here, too, Abby. But the comet will still be here tomorrow night.”

“Dad, is she really going to look for a job in Portland?”

He trained the binoculars on the moon. “We’ll be a family again.”

“Are you going to sell the Cambridge home?”

“Yep, as soon as she finds a new job.”

“You know, there are other ways we can be a family. You could go back to work at the Cambridge Public Library. We could move back home.”

Her dad said nothing, and Abby felt like she’d be stuck living here for the rest of her life.

The comet appeared in the east around 11 p.m. The head was a dark orb with a bone-white halo. Abby heard the voices of Kevin, his sister, Emily, and Mr. and Mrs. Patel next door in their backyard. The parents worked at the marine biology lab on the north shore of the island. The Patels had moved to Castine Island in December, one month before her own unfortunate arrival.

By 11:30, the fuzzy white tail stretched across half the sky. Energy crackled in the air, like before a thunderstorm. The first color appeared at midnight. Abby and the others oohed and ahhed as a thin film of violet covered the moon and the stars twinkled purple. It seemed incredible that space dust could travel one hundred million miles.

The color deepened. The comet’s halo glowed bright purple, and swirls of lavender swept over the moon. Broad purple brush strokes painted the night sky. Abby thought her earlier concerns about the comet now seemed silly.

When she heard Jordan go inside, she glanced at her phone. 1:30! She had lost track of the time.

“Bedtime for you, too,” Dad said.

“No way!” she protested. “I’m almost an adult!”

“You win,” he said with a smile.

Not long after that, unable to stop yawning, Abby took one last look at the comet. Those crazy people hiding out in a cave didn’t know what they were missing. She drew in a deep breath. Funny, space dust smelled like nothing at all.

Abby kissed her dad goodnight and went up to bed.

 

Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Scott Cramer:

Author blog: www.nanonoodle.com

Facebook Fan page: www.facebook/authorscottcramer

Twitter: @cramer_scott

Kings & Queens, Courtney Vail {$2.99}

Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.

So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.

What readers are saying:

“Best book I’ve read all year … out of 79 books.” ~ Jennifer Golub of Waiting on Sunday to Drown

“A whirlpool of humor, bravery, slowly spreading horror, friendship, wrenching sadness, volatile emotion and barely contained passions … increasingly addicting, the literary equivalent of crystal meth. I didn’t put it down until I read the last word, which was sometime in the very early morning. I passed out and re-awoke with a Kings&Queens hangover.” ~ Lily Odell

“WOW. The description for this book on Goodreads.com does not do this book justice. This was an AWESOME, twisted, capturing tale. Like Gossip Girl with deadly consequences. I LOVE IT when books stay with you, and this one did. ” ~ Teresa of The Duchess Mommy’s Reads Blog

“I think the best way for me to describe the book is quirky. “Beautifully unique” would be another term I’d use. I just…I love this book. Each character, especially Majesty, was like a 20-layer cake. The book was both character-driven and plot-driven, which promises to be an exciting ride for every type of YA reader. Add to this Courtney’s incredible writing style and you have a story that you want to devour in one sitting.” ~ Missy of Missy’s Reads& Reviews

“This book was a ride of emotion for me. I was kept on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. And as the book went on, the list of suspects accumulate! Whoa! I barely breathed. I felt like my brain was twisted and curled (in a good way) like by the LOST creators.” ~ FiveStarBooks

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {24 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Kings & Queens for $2.99 from Amazon

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