Two great books--$.99 through Friday 11/8/13 - Read Chapter One of Sole Intention and the Prologue of Eternal Beauty and see what other readers are saying.
Sole Intention by M. A. Comley
I was immediately pulled into this story by the taut prose and elegant way in which the story unfolded. Ellen Brazil and Bryan Lynx run a missing persons investigation business which is an interesting hook - makes a change from the usual detectives and cops in this genre. I especially liked the evocation of place. I am a Brit living in America and the book made me homesick perhaps because it is so convincingly wrought. I am excited to discover this new author and am off to read some more of her books.
Sweat poured from her brow. Her clothes clung to her as she ran for her life through the ink-black forest. She’d already bumped into several tree trunks while looking over her shoulder for him.
Why me? Why is he so desperate to kill me?
She tripped over a half-hidden log and landed in a pile of autumn leaves, but she was up running again within a few seconds. Her life depended on it.
Stop thinking and just run!
She could hear him tracking her—the sound of crunching undergrowth getting ever nearer. She had no place to hide. Is that why he brought me here? Of course. The question was: would she ever leave this place alive?
Another stray branch slashed her cheek, distracting her. As she tumbled over a large fallen tree trunk, her heart almost shuddered to a stop. She tried to get up and continue running but winced as a sharp pain shot up her leg. She looked down at her ankle. It hung at an odd angle. “Fuck! Damn and fuck.”
The noise of leaves rustling just behind her made her turn her head sharply. She didn’t see the flat head of the shovel until it was inches from her face.
“Run from me would you, bitch?”
Stars danced through her terrified brain. She tumbled back into the damp undergrowth, but her attacker quickly yanked her upright again and placed her back against a wide tree. Everything was a daze, except the way he was glaring at her. She felt the rope slither around her torso, then groaned when it tightened, pushing the air out of her burning lungs. “Please don’t hurt me,” she whispered, fear tearing at her vocal chords.
“You shouldn’t have run. Now I have no choice.”
“Yes, you do. Everyone has choices.” She tried to reason her way to survival. Right then she would have done just about anything to save her life. “Please, I have money, savings in the bank. Take it. Have it all… but please don’t hurt me.” Saltiness from her tears slipped into the corner of her mouth.
“I don’t want your money. I wanted you.”
“Then have me. We’ll go away together. You scared me. That’s why I ran. Please, give me another chance. I won’t mess up again. I swear.” Her words forced confusion to travel his face.
Is he debating setting me free? “We’ll be good together, once I get to know you properly. It takes me a little while to get used to people. Please give me that chance.”
The confusion gave way to anger. His eyes creased up until they formed tiny slits in his tanned face and his lip curled with intent. “If I set you free now, you’ll only run to the police and give me away.”
“I won’t. I promise. Give me a chance. Give us a chance,” she implored, desperation lacing her words.
“You had your chance. Nobody makes a fool out of me. Many women have tried before, seen me as some kind of joke, to their cost. I thought you were different, but when it comes down to it, you’re all the same. Full of your own self-importance. Preening yourself to attract us men. Then, when you’ve snared us, you cast us away like a used tampon.”
She had never thought of herself in that way and really wanted to challenge him. However, she was conscious that would only make matters worse. She turned her head to the side and mumbled an apology.
His hand shot out and clasped her throat. “What did you say?”
He had cut off her airway, so she couldn’t speak even if she wanted to. She could feel the air disappearing and felt light-headed as his grip tightened. Her eyes fluttered shut, and her family’s faces filled her oxygen-starved mind. Bye, Mum, Dad, and Cheryl. I’ll never be able to share good news with you all again. Please don’t grieve much for me. Go on with your lives. Never let the bitterness of what he’s about to do to me destroy your lives like he’s destroying mine. I love you all… until the end.
He let go of her throat, and she gulped air as if it were an endangered commodity.
He held her hand in his, touched it affectionately to his cheek, then looked her in the eye as he crushed her fingers between his. She’d never felt so much pain in her life, and she screamed until her voice dried up.
“Scream all you want, bitch. No one will hear your desperate cries out here.”
She sobbed and whispered through dry lips, “Get it over with. Kill me.”
“Oh, I will. Not yet, I intend to make you suffer first. This is just the beginning of what I have in store for you, bitch.”
He stood up and towered over her. Her gaze remained focused on the tree stump opposite. She could make out, formed in its bark, her mother’s beautiful smiling face, giving her the courage to be brave. When she looked around, she realised that he’d vanished, leaving her alone and vulnerable to the four-legged creatures of the forest. The sobs came and increased in tempo as she came to the conclusion that even though he hadn’t killed her, it wouldn’t be long before she died a horrible death out there. Alone.
Lost deep in thought, she neglected to hear his return. She jumped when he taunted her with his vile words.
“Say your prayers, bitch.” Something glinted in his hand, and her eyes opened wide before the object sank deep into her flesh. “Your life is about to end.”
She tried to scream, but her voice box proved to be raw and uncooperative. The third time he struck her, she drifted into a welcome unconsciousness. The blackness surrounding her quickly gave way to the brightest light she’d ever witnessed. She moved towards it and breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve arrived… He can no longer hurt me.
Eternal Beauty by Linda S. Prather
I read the first novel in the series of these characters Bet you can't... FIND ME (Catherine Mans' Suspense) and loved it; so when to my great joy, the second was immediately available I had to read it.
It has not disappointed me. You are drawn in by the storyline but also by your relationship of the characters. I can see this becoming a Tv series easily.
The Special FBI team is unique due to it being of psychics and intuitive people. Can they save the blond/blue eyed women that this brilliantly psychotic killer is after? Can they help a sweet innocent like woman from his plans for her. Will they escape this madman when he sets his sites on them?
Plot twists and didn't see that one coming is what will keep you glued from page one through the shocking reveals and leaves you wanting more books from this author and the main character 'Catherine Mans'.
I highly recommend this series.
“One more, sweetheart, and we’ll be finished.” He folded her hands across her chest, carefully arranging them to hide the missing fingers. “That’s perfect.”
The camera’s flash lit up the darkness for a moment, illuminating her pale features. He crouched beside her and gently brushed her blond hair away from her face. “You can rest now. Your memory is forever preserved.”
He placed the small digital camera in his pocket, stood, and reached for the tape recorder. A light breeze swept over the bow of the boat, and he closed his eyes. He’d stopped believing in God, but he still believed in Hell. And he was going to burn in Hell. Not because he’d killed her, but because he’d enjoyed it so much.
He opened his eyes and glanced at the recorder. He’d taped every scream. Recorded every moan. His purpose had been innocent enough in the beginning. He’d wanted a reminder of the sins he had committed. But then something had broken. Needs had awakened. Darkness had descended on his soul. He had become the very thing he abhorred. And worst of all, he liked it.
He pushed the play button and listened to her screams rise and fall. Desire swelled deep in his groin, intensifying each time a scream peaked. He licked his lips, yet he denied himself the pleasure of the sweet beauty of release. Later, he could watch the video, study the photos, and relive the excitement. Perhaps then he would allow himself the ecstasy of release, but only if it didn’t cheapen her memory. She didn’t deserve that. At the moment, reliving the feel of the scalpel in his hand and the rush of pleasure of severing the muscles one by one was enough.
His gaze fell on the hands still delicately folded across her bosom. He’d had to discipline her. But she’d learned quickly, and the missing fingers did nothing to diminish her perfection. And she’d been so perfectly exquisite. Her hair was a golden halo, her skin soft as silk, and her body… If goddesses existed, they must have cringed in envy every time she walked by. But her eyes set her apart from the others. Beautiful, gleaming sapphires. That was why he’d kept them. If the process worked, he would use them. If it didn’t, he knew where to find an identical pair.
He placed the recorder in his shirt pocket but left it running. His desire was gone, but something about her cries was soothing. They created a pleasant balm in the pre-dawn stillness.
He reached for the Ziploc bag housing the remnants of his first experiments and opened it. Although each had been beautiful in her own way, they had had no ceremony, no words of beauty spoken over them. He had simply weighted them down with rocks, and with a simple flip of a switch, the cargo hold had opened, expelling the cold, stiff bodies. They were not worthy of a starring role, but their lives had not been totally in vain, as they would have been had he not taken them. Although they held no place of honor on his board, he had immortalized them. They would be remembered. Holding the bag over the side of the boat, he whispered, “I cast your eyes to the ocean.”
He watched the white orbs flip and float on the waves. The screams on the tape tapered off into whimpers as the sun crested the horizon. He rolled the body to the edge of the boat and wound a rope around it. Then he secured the massive stone to the corpse and lowered the special-made railing.
“You, my darling, have the starring role in Act One.” With a smile, he pushed the bundle overboard. “I cast your soul to the sea. ‘Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.’” He’d memorized the verse for the occasion. Just for her.
She had changed everything, cleared the fog from his brain, and given him a reason to live. Such beauty must be preserved, protected from the ravages of time or disaster. He had honored her by taking her life. Saved her from a fate much worse than death. The human race was fickle. Once her beauty had faded, she would have been forgotten, tossed aside for the next beautiful face and body. Now, she would never be forgotten. She would always be remembered as the first Eternal Beauty.
Dawn was approaching, but he still had time. Wiping his hands on his pants, he sat and reached for his journal.
My Darling Dakota:
How I wish you were here beside me now to share my moment of triumph. The play has changed, my love, but fear not, for I shall make you proud. I have my first, and although her beauty mirrors your own, it will never surpass it. Act I is now complete, and soon, Act II will begin.
I shall honor your wish, my love. It has taken me five years to realize what you knew all along—true beauty is art. And art must be preserved and protected in its purest form to be remembered and appreciated.
My quest is now clear. No longer will I linger in the shadows, waiting, watching, praying for a sign. Instead, I will blaze a path around this world, seeking those worthy and preserving them for all time. Soon, everyone will know your name, and all the world will know your beauty. You, my darling, shall be revered as the most beautiful of them all, and you will always be remembered.
Standing, he lingered at the rail, watching where the long blond hair had sunk beneath the water. Taking the recorder from his pocket, he waited in anticipation. The screams grew quiet as the tape neared its end. The boat rocked slightly as his heartbeat quickened, his hands growing sweaty. The tension was nearly unbearable. The recorder paused for a moment of silence before her voice filled the night.
“Please… remember me.”