Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Don't Look....unless you want to fall in love!

Donna Fasano is a three time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and a Golden Heart finalist. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages.

What others are saying about Donna's books:

"...complex, funny, and realistic..." ~Wilmington News Journal


"Could not help myself from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them. Donna Fasano is a talented author." ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon

"...a fast paced riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!" ~Donna Zapf,

Indulge yourself today! Pick up a Donna Fasano book! For more information about Donna and her books visit her blog at

Grab a slice of homemade pie and a page turning mystery!

Pie, pie, me oh my,
Nothing tastes better, wet, salty and dry,
all at once – oh, well it’s pie.
Apple and pumpkin and mince and black bottom,
I’ll come to your place every day if you’ve got ‘em.
Pie, me oh my, I love piiiiieeeeeee

Have you seen the movie "Michael"? If you haven't and you love a good John Travolta sweet, love story, with a not so normal angel, you should. Great movie, and it makes me want to create some pies.

No-Bake Pie

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powered sugar
8 oz. frozen dairy topping, thawed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
dash of cinnamon
1 cup evaporated milk

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and milk. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping. Pour into pie shell. Freeze 4 to 6 hours. Thaw 10 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato Pie

1 large can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
dash of cinnamon
1 cup evaporated milk

Mix all together. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes in buttered casserole dish.


1 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter

Sprinkle over top and bake 15 minutes

Chocolate Chess Pie

2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 Tbsp. flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 stick margarine, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 9" pie crust; if frozen use deep-dish type

Blend cocoa, sugar, and flour. Add margarine and mix well. This must be done as a first step. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and vanilla. Blend. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cherry Macaroon Pie

1 can cherry pie filling
1 9" pie crust
1 egg
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 cup coconut

Pour cherry filling into crust. Beat together egg and milk. Add sugar, flour, sal, almond extract and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in coconut. Pour over pie filling. Bate at 375 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes or until puffed and light brown. Cool before serving.

Million Dollar Pie

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts
graham cracker crust
1 large can fruit cocktail, drained
1 can pineapple, drained
1 large container Cool whip

Mix ingredients together and pour into crust. Chill at least 4 hours.

Apple Custard Pie

1 3/4 cup sugar
4 cups applesauce
1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
1 stick margarine
1 lemon - add juice to applesauce

Cream sugar, eggs, butter and flour; add applesauce and beat about 2 minutes. Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

2 1/2 cups strawberries (sliced)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream

Mix sugar, flour, and sour cream. Add sliced berries. Pour into unbaked shell and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake an additional 30 minutes.

So grab a piece of pie and a great, page-turning mystery and have a great day!

Also available on B & N, Apple and Kobo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


These books are not for the squeamish, but if you love police procedurals, Criminal Minds and CSI, you'll love them.

Mel Comley spins a such a wonderful criminal mystery in Foul Justice that one can't help but keep reading until the crime is solved.

Detective Investigator Lorne Simpkins is the UK's modern day Sherlock Holmes. When DI Lorne Simpkins lost her DR. Watson 2 years ago, her partner dying in her arms, she resigned the Force. When a horrible crime has stumped the other law enforcement officials they call on DI Lorne Simpkins to save the day, she returned. When DI Lorne Simpkins is given volatile new Detective Sergent Katy Foster as her new partner, she decides to train her. Even when her personal problems pile one atop another (one is her upcoming wedding to her MI6 fiance who is currently MIA) DI Lorne Simpkins still presses on to solve the case!

It's great to read how DI Lorne Simpkins gets her criminals by the short and curlies! A joy to read with a surprise end!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

erotic Favoriten von British Autor Tiffany Towers


Nineteen-year-old Sian tells her parents she intends working on a ranch during the summer holidays.

Her first encounter with surly cowboy Randy is a strained one. During their first ride out Randy has to rescue Sian after a fall. In her eyes, there's only one way to repay him.

Short story of 6000 words.

Warning over 18s only!


Setting sail for the first time on the high seas, Amelia Lockhart is on a journey that will alter her life forever.
Against her better judgement, Amelia’s father insists she travels to Ireland to meet her intended. A day into the long journey, the ship comes under attack from ruthless pirates.
Where will Amelia’s frightening encounter end?

6000 words.

Over 18s only.



When Jenny Saunders is asked by a colleague to accompany him to a business dinner, a man she's had her eye on for years, she finds it impossible to say no.

But something happens on the way to the dinner that turns Jenny's world on its head.

Can Steve successfully show this virgin what she's been missing out on all these years?

Short story 6000 words.

Warning over 18s only.



Widow Cindy Short lost her husband two years ago and has been without a love interest ever since. But things are about to change. During the night-shift at a supermarket, a stranger tempts and teases her showing her exactly what she's been missing since her husband's death.

A short story of 5000 words.

Warning this is for +18s



If a stranger walked up to you in a bar and asked, "Fancy a slow comfortable screw?" What would your response be?

Read on to find out what Charlie did next.

A 5000 word short story.

Warning +18s only!



After her relationship falters, Melissa returns home to her parents only to discover that Tyler, the man she used to be involved with still has feelings for her.
But one thing stands in the way of them rekindling their romance. Tyler is engaged to another woman.
Melissa's troubles don't end there though. At a family barbecue, she has a creepy encounter with a dangerous admirer who doesn't understand the meaning of the word no.


Purchasing this collection of short stories means you get a 20% discount.
All titles are available as single stories.
Slow Comfortable Screw
If a stranger walked up to you in a bar and asked, "Fancy a slow comfortable screw?" What would your response be?

Read on to find out what Charlie did next.

A 5000 word short story.

Warning +18s only!

He Came By Night
Widow Cindy Short lost her husband two years ago and has been without a love interest ever since. But things are about to change. During the night-shift at a supermarket, a stranger tempts and teases her showing her exactly what she's been missing since her husband's death.

A short story of 5000 words.

Warning this is for +18s
The Virgin’s Tutor
When Jenny Saunders is asked by a colleague to accompany him to a business dinner, a man she's had her eye on for years, she finds it impossible to say no.

But something happens on the way to the dinner that turns Jenny's world on its head.

Can Steve successfully show this virgin what she's been missing out on all these years?

Short story 6000 words.

Warning over 18s only.



Sally can't think of anything more romantic than losing her virginity while sailing
the Caribbean. But all her plans go awry when the boat is hijacked by modern
day pirates, and the man she's with is unable to defend her.

Now Sally must decide how far she's willing to go to win her freedom.

An erotic thriller of 9000 words.
Over 18s only.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery


Corrine Larson bit her lip, stifling a scream as she turned slightly, struggling to open her eyes. She couldn’t remember if he’d beaten her for one hour or six, but she knew she was dying. Her body begging to shut down. She’d never heard the death rattle, but she recognized it now, deep inside her chest, with each shallow, painful breath.

Managing only a narrow slit with her left eye, she stared at him, conveying her hatred. He’d used her, and because of her, others would die. A small whimper escaped her lips before she could stop it. It wasn’t for her. She didn’t mind dying. Except for. . .

Corrine fought the thoughts threatening to overwhelm her, concentrating on the new pain caused by the salty tears coursing down her face. Her tortured mind honed in on her one satisfaction. That one ray of light in the darkness: She hadn’t told him everything.

Drawing in one last ragged breath, she closed her eye, allowing the feel of the cool damp concrete to soothe her burning body. It was almost over.

He whistled softly, a haunting rendition of I Saw the Light, as he loaded the gun.

Corrine turned her thoughts to Sarah and her child. He would kill them. Or worse. Another whimper escaped her lips. Why? Why hadn’t she just left it alone? Sarah had been safe. Her child had been safe. And now, because her reporter’s nose had sniffed a story they were all going to die.

Emotional pain washed over her in waves, drowning out the physical pain. Hurting even worse. There had to be something she could do. Some way to undo the damage she’d done.

She sifted through her memory, searching, rejecting and searching again. She’d written an article once about a psychic who believed your dying thoughts could travel across time and space, influencing the outcome of events to come. Maybe the psychic was right. Maybe if she tried hard enough she could reach across time and space. Warn Sarah.

Rough hands jerked at her hair, raising her from the bloody warehouse floor. She felt the cold steel pressed against the back of her head, heard the sound of the gun cocking. She’d always thought her dying thoughts would be of Rob or Gavin; instead, she honed on in the image of Sarah and her child. As the bullet shattered her brain, she held the image in her mind and silently screamed, He’s coming Sarah. He wants to destroy you.

# # #

Murder is a sin. You’ll go to hell.

“It wasn’t murder—it was self defense.”

He hated the voice in his head. She was always bitching at him. Always butting in. Preaching. A cruel smile twisted the handsome features. Today it didn’t matter. Today was a day of celebration. Soon he’d have what was rightfully his. All the years of waiting would be over. Whistling softly, he pulled away from the dumpster and parked the car. Just a few little things to finish. Pulling the police cap down low he entered the apartment building.

“Evening officer, can I help you?”

“Just delivering some luggage to Ms. Larson.”

The security guard checked the register. “Looks like Ms. Larson is out this evening.”

“Yeah, I know. She gave me a key and told me to set it inside the door. Working on some big story and needed to meet the mayor or somebody. Don’t know why the city wants to waste the taxpayers’ money and use me as her damn courier, but here I am.”
The guard grinned. “Yeah, I know what you mean.” Shrugging in sympathy, he turned his attention to the crossword puzzle. “Go on up.”

He walked slowly, taking his time. The bitch had been tougher than he’d thought. She’d cost him a whole fucking day. He wouldn’t rush things now, though. Everything had to play out just right. All he had to do was make it look like she’d never left town.

What if she told someone?

The thought enraged him. He cursed softly as he slipped the key into the lock. That was the trouble with women—they talked too damn much.

And she wouldn’t scream, would she?

He clenched his fists. The bitch just wouldn’t scream. A deep ache started inside his groin. No screaming and no satisfaction. Too old. He liked them young, breasts just starting to bud. Like the one he’d glimpsed in the alley on his way in. Maybe she was still there. Maybe. . .

Unclenching his fists, he ignored the voice. It didn’t matter. He had what he wanted. Setting the luggage inside the door, he relocked it and pulled out the faded snapshot from his shirt pocket. He felt it then. Joy. Pure unadulterated joy. She would scream. Scream for every one of the six long years he’d wasted searching for her.
Laughing he placed the photo back inside his pocket. Time could be cruel, but not this time. He’d been given a bonus. Oh, yes, a definite bonus. Maybe he’d let Sarah live and just take the child. He liked that idea.

The throbbing in his groin increased, reminding him he had a mission to complete. Checking his gun, he screwed the silencer into place. The cameras had seen only what he wanted them to see, but the guard would have to be dealt with. He chuckled. Everyone knew about the corruption in the police ranks. The bitch had actually written an article on it. By the time they stopped chasing that lead, he’d be long gone.

The security guard glanced up as the elevator doors opened. “Everything okay, buddy?”
“Everything is just fine now,” he said, raising the gun. He chuckled again at the look of surprise that crossed the guard’s face, right before the bullet pierced his heart.

Murder is a sin.

“I told you, it’s not my fault. She’s the reason I have to kill.”

You like killing.

He whistled as he exited the building and glanced at the dumpster. He didn’t like killing. He was just cleaning up the trash.

Clouds hung low in the sky, threatening to open up any minute. He listened to the whimpers coming from the alley. She was still there. An omen. It really was his lucky day. He approached her slowly, his voice low and gentle. “Aren’t you a little young to be out this late at night?” The girl stopped her whimpering and looked at him. He saw the fear reflected in her deep blue eyes slowly dissipate as she looked at the uniform. She nodded. Smiling, he held out his hand. “Come on, I’ll take you home.”
Excitement coursed through his body as she placed her small hand in his. This one would be a screamer. Whistling softly, he buckled her in and brushed the blonde curls away from her face. “Did you know tomorrow is Mother’s Day?”


Friday, August 31, 2012

$.99 Labor of Love Book Sale - Horror, Suspense, Mystery and Paranormal

Horror, Suspense, Mystery and Paranormal - not for the faint-hearted:

DEEDS OF MERCY by M.P. McDonald In No Good Deed: Book One in the Mark Taylor Series, Mark Taylor discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when the old camera he found during a freelance job in an Afghanistan bazaar gives him more than great photos. It triggers dreams of disasters. Tragedies that happen exactly as he envisions them. He learns that not only can he see the future, he can change it. In Deeds of Mercy: Book Three, an unexpected visitor from Mark's past brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. Unable to decide who is friend and who is foe, Mark becomes a fugitive from the law, but with thousands of lives at stake, he is forced to put aside his fear of capture, and instead, seek help from his pursuers.

CRUEL JUSTICE by M.A. Comley The headless body of a wealthy widow is discovered decomposing in Chelling Forest. Then a second victim is found. Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins and her partner, DS Pete Childs are assigned the case. Before they can discover the identity of the killer they must make a connection between the two victims. After a third murder, Lorne receives a grisly surprise. Clearly, a vicious serial killer is on a rampage...and Lorne has become the killer's fixation. Lorne can't allow her failing marriage or her new boss--a man with whom she shares a sensuous secret--keep her from focusing on her job. She must catch the macabre murderer, or risk becoming the next victim.

THE DEVIL IN THE WOODS by Heather Graham In this novella by NYT bestseller Heather Graham, Christina Hardy and Jed Braden (The Seance) head down to Miami to help out when there's a death in a friend's family. But the old family residence, in a little known overgrown area of the beach , was filled with legends, especially that of a "devil in the woods." Strange events begin to occur, and the group is left to wonder if the stories they told around campfires on dark nights as children might have some essence of truth. Is murder always committed by men, or does a demon lurk in the mangroves and the water, and prey upon the unwary?

THE UNSEEN by Alexandra Sokoloff A terrifying novel of suspense based on the Rhine parapsychology experiments at Duke University After experiencing a precognitive dream that ends her engagement and changes her life forever, a young psychology professor from California decides to get a fresh start by taking a job at Duke University in North Carolina. She soon becomes obsessed with the files from the world-famous Rhine parapsychology lab experiments, which attempted to prove ESP really exists. Along with a handsome professor, she uncovers troubling cases, including one about a house supposedly haunted by a poltergeist, investigated by another research team in 1965. Unaware that the entire original team ended up insane or dead, the two professors and two exceptionally gifted Duke students move into the abandoned mansion to replicate the investigation, with horrifying results.

THE GIN PALACE by Daniel Judson Declan “Mac” MacManus, some-time PI turned full-time Southampton cabbie, has had to endure much in his young life: the loss of family and friends, grave bodily injuries at the hands of ruthless enemies, and the knowledge that more than a few lives have been shattered by the decisions fate has forced him to make. But nothing of what Mac has encountered—and nothing of what he now knows about his own mysterious past—can compare to what awaits him in the heart-pounding final installment of The Gin Palace Trilogy. On a cold winter night, a troubled woman enters Mac’s cab and within moments sets into motion a series of devastating events that will test the young MacManus to his very soul. As he chases down leads, and his losses once again begin to mount, Mac finds himself dangerously close to a line he swore he’d never cross. And when one utterly unbearable loss threatens to transform him into an avenging angel, it is an unlikely ally—a stranger stalking him like a shadow—that may very well be the difference between Mac’s final act of self-destruction or his ultimate salvation.

THE FOREVER GIRL by Rebecca Hamilton "Whatever you do, fight." Sophia's family has skeletons, but they aren't in their graves. At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her. Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she'd settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.

BET YOU CAN'T FIND ME by Linda Prather
Imagine a killer who can kill at will from a distance. No gun, no weapon. Nothing more than a thought.
Catherine Mans has the ability to see and hear what others can’t. With the help of Homicide Sergeant Cody Allen, she’s turned that talent into a successful profession as a psychic consultant.
But Catherine’s past is coming back to haunt her. Someone is threatening the lives of everyone she loves.

Nine bodies have been discovered, and Catherine is the FBI’s prime suspect. To prove her innocence, she must unravel the secrets of her past, and answer the challenge of a deranged psychic.
Bet you can’t…FIND ME!

Labor of Love - $.99 Book Sale

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review - Her Fake Romance by Donna Fasano

Growing up I loved romance novels. Loved the idea of being in love and living happily ever after. Somewhere between my early teenage and adult years romance books became a formula - same story, different town or country. And then they really changed. Instead of giving me a tantalizing view of passion that left me breathless and warm all over I got a detailed description of sex. I found myself moving away from the genre as I was no longer entertained, but basically bored.

In the last year I've found myself delving back into the genre with Indie authors.  A new journey, and one so far I'm truly enjoying. Yesterday I started Her Fake Romance by Donna Fasano.  I had work to do, and things I needed to accomplish, but once I started--well, the day was over until the book was finished. I loved it. Loved the story, the characters and yes--I loved the ending.

Ryan need a female partner to escape the amorous advances of a friend's daughter, and Julia needed to show her teenage daughter she wasn't just a workaholic, and that she did know how to have fun. Neither believed in love or happy endings and neither wanted a "relationship".   They became the perfect "fake" couple.

Looking for characters true to life, and a story that will pull you in from the very first page and keep you there all the way to the end?  Don't miss this one!

Other books by Donna Fasano

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - Review - SPOILER ALERT!!!

SPOILER ALERT - If you haven't read the book yet, please don't read this review unless you want to know things that are important in the book.  It does have several spoilers that I would prefer you read in the book.

I truly wondered how I would feel about this book. I borrowed it from a neighbor, as I truly could not bring myself to buy it. I’d heard the hype, read the bad reviews, the good reviews and the comments about the horrible writing. I think that was the pull for me. As an author I wanted to see what others called horrible writing.

Every book written will be loved by some and hated by others. Entertainment is a matter of personal choice. I think had I been 35 years younger and naïve about love, life and what goes on in the real world I would have loved this book.  Fiction is fiction, but there is always an underlying element of truth or it has to have a small possibility for belief unless you’re reading fantasy. Readers are normally turned off by an everyday man or woman on the street who can run three miles in three seconds. We know that isn’t possible, so if we read it in a book we tend to turn away. Thus, age and experience does make a difference in our views on books.

Rating—I would probably give this book 5 stars for two main reasons. 1) Ms. James wrote the book in 1st person, which is difficult for any author to carry off and do it well.  Ms. James did it very well.  2) She created characters that give the reader a reason to read on – what made Christian the way he is? What will an innocent like Ana do when faced with the reality of his world?

I didn’t find the writing horrible. I think the book is well written, although there were some parts that I found irritating on a personal level. For instance – I. Want. You. So. Much.  I know this was done for emphasis, but truly found it rather irritating.  I’m not sure how many times Ana calls Christian beautiful without really giving us any clue to what he looks like, but I found that irritating.  It also made Ana appear a little shallow to me as she seemed so captivated by his beauty.  Perhaps it was purposely done in order to throw in a little analogy on men being captivated by a female’s looks.  It didn’t work for me. The repetition of the rules, the contract and the lists also was irritating to me and I skipped those pages. The constant discussion of food and eating and making Ana eat was irritating.  Those are all personal preferences though, as I prefer to stay in a story with the characters and that type of thing takes me out of the story.

Ah, the Erotica.  This is where age became a problem for me. I’m 57. And here I found myself laughing just a little. I mean what man doesn’t want a woman who just by the heat in his eyes becomes all panted breath and willing to jerk her clothes off and do anything anywhere.  And what woman doesn’t want a man with an energizer bunny battery that can keep going and going and going…well, I think you get my point. Although the erotica portions are well written (if you like erotica) and very informative about the Dominant/Submissive community, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. And yes, there were points were I saw Christian Grey as a sexual predator. One of course with “good” qualities that can be hopefully “saved”.  That’s how the book is written. That is the underlying basis of following Christian and Ana to the end through book one and hopefully into book two and three. Can she save him? Does he want to be saved?

I did have some problems with the age of the characters. At 27 Christian Grey is a billionaire with huge corporations.  Now he has a good side and truly wants to feed the world.  Perhaps there’s some underlying issue about wanting Ana to eat, however, if so his character at least in book one is not fleshed out well enough to give us those reasons.  Secondly Christian served as a submissive in the Dominant/Submissive world from the age of 15 through 21.  He credits this woman (an older friend of his mother’s) as saving his life. He can’t stand to be touched which is related back to his birth mother who was a crack-head whore.  He was adopted by the Greys at the age of 4.  Something here doesn’t mesh for me.  1) How much memory of his real mother would he have from the age of four?  And if he was adopted at the age of four he was probably somewhere in the system for at least a year or more before that, so he would have been less than four when taken away from his mother.  He’s raised by what appear to be loving, well-adjusted, rich parents.  He’s given a great education, he can play the piano, fly a helicopter and he virtually excels in every area of his life.  And yet he’s screwed up because of his birth mother.  That doesn’t work for me.
Perhaps if I take the time to read book 2 and 3 I’ll find out more of what makes Christian Grey tick.  

Truthfully, I’m not that interested.  It’s an age thing.  I’m much too old for the Christian Grey story to capture and hold my attention, and sweet Ana doesn’t do it either.  One minute she’s the innocent who is terrified, the next she’s begging to be f*****.  Not exactly the language I would expect from a sweet innocent.  And although I don't mind a little sex in a good romance or mystery or even horror book--erotica is definitely not a reading preference of mine.

You may be asking yourself why at this point I would give this book 5 Stars.  Well, let’s look at a book review and what it should be about – the book.  The book itself is well written, it does have a decent story underlying the erotica, and the characters do have a certain appeal.  Secondly, this isn’t a book I would normally pick up or read and I read it simply to find out what all the hype was about, so in fairness to Ms. James I’ll keep my review and rating based on the book itself as I’m sure there are millions of readers out there who would not be irritated by the things that irritated me, and would totally enjoy the book.  After all a fiction book is supposed to be entertaining, and I did find it entertaining although perhaps not in the way it was written, but more as a fantasy love story. Had this all been a dream for Ana—well, it would have been a fantastic dream and easier for me to believe. I probably won’t be watching the movie, but it also won’t bother me if it grosses millions at the box office. As a reader and an author I can clearly see the book’s appeal.  I think perhaps I was just a little old for it, and perhaps a little jaded in the subject matter from my work with the judicial system and law enforcement. Not every Ana finds a Christian Grey, and the stories don’t usually end on such an easy note.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five great Kindle Books - FREE

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grab A Nook Mystery for $3.99

Foul Justice by Mel Comley


Trisha Dobbs cowered in the corner. She wrapped her trembling arms around her two small children and kept her gaze on the three men ransacking her immaculate home. “Don’t hurt us anymore, please!”
The man snarled and ordered, “Get the rope and tie them up.”
Trisha gasped, and he turned to look at her, his eyes narrowed. She quickly averted her eyes, not wishing to annoy the man further. She’d already lashed out at him while trying to protect her son and daughter when the three brutes had forced their way into the house. He had a gash above his right eye where her flailing fist had connected, and she had a gash across her cheek where he’d retaliated without hesitation. She’d sensed, then, that she and her children were in for a rough ride and that the man was used to getting his way with women, one way or another.
“Mummy, I want to go toilet,” little Rebecca said as tears welled in her bright blue eyes. Trisha comforted the child and kissed her forehead reassuringly.
“Sssh, hon, try and hold on. Go through your alphabet to take your mind off it, like I told you. A is for apple, B is for—”
“Shut the fuck up, bitch,” the man snapped, his voice filled with venom.
“I… I’m sorry—” Trisha stopped when the man rushed at her and ripped her daughter from her grasp.
“No! I’m sorry. Please don’t hurt my baby.” Trisha sobbed and clung tightly to her two-year-old son, Jacob.
The man picked up Rebecca and roughly dropped her on the large white leather sofa opposite her mother. Trisha soon saw the trickle of yellow liquid drip down the sofa onto the rug below. Sensing danger, she placed a finger to her lips to warn her daughter to keep quiet. Rebecca covered her mouth as her shoulders trembled, and tears cascaded down her flushed cheeks. Too far from her mother’s reach, the four year old was petrified.
The man in charge towered over Trisha, his body blocking the light from the crystal chandelier overhead. “What time will he be home?”
With the man intimidating her, Trisha found it impossible to think properly. She glanced up at the lion head–shaped gold wall clock hanging above the fireplace. “Dave should be home at any minute,” she told him in a quivering voice.
The men had come at eight o’clock, and it was now half past ten. Trisha’s husband always arrived home around eleven on match days when he played at home. He generally declined going for a drink with the rest of the team after work. He was the type who preferred to keep out of the limelight, and he hated the notoriety connected with his job. Given the option, he would choose to be home with his family, unlike most of his teammates, who appeared to revel in fighting off the paparazzi at London’s elite nightclubs.
One of the men tied her arms behind her back before moving on to little Jacob. Her heart went out to her baby, and wanting to protect him, she pleaded, “Stop! He’s only a child. What harm can he do? Please don’t tie him up.”
Appearing uncertain, the man looked over his shoulder at his boss, who glared and nodded for him to continue.
Jacob cried out in pain as the man roughly wrapped the rope around his fragile wrists.
“It’s okay, sweetie. Show Mummy how brave you can be.” Trisha tried to reassure him, hoping to prolong the charade that they were all playing a bizarre game.
Soon both children were sobbing uncontrollably, and Trisha, numb with helplessness, felt as though she’d been stabbed numerous times in the chest. My God, what can I do to get out of this?
“Go upstairs and start on the bedroom. Tear it to pieces if you have to,” the man in charge ordered.
Trisha tried hard not to give anything away with her facial expressions under the man’s intensive stare. She felt confident the gang wouldn’t find the safe tucked under the floorboards in the master bedroom, but considering the mess they’d made of her beautiful home since their arrival, anything was possible.
The man in charge took a step toward her. “If you don’t tell me where the jewellery is, I’m gonna start hurting the kids.”
Knowing she couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer, she sighed. “In the back bedroom.”
“In the wardrobe. On the shelf, there’s a box.”
He leaned close and ran his thumb from one side of his throat to the other. “If you’re tricking me…” Jacob was sitting beside her, and the man yanked the boy’s head back. “He gets it, you hear me?”
“Yes, I understand. My jewellery is in that room. I don’t have much. You think we’re rich, but we’re not. This house is mortgaged to the hilt. All our furniture is on Hire Purchase. Dave doesn’t make the kind of wages reported in the papers, I swear,” she told him between sobs. Stay strong for the kids’ sakes.
“You think I’ve got ‘fucking idiot’ tattooed on my forehead, bitch? What do you take me for?”
“I’m sorry. It’s the truth. You have to believe me.”
“Oh, do I now? You blondes are all the same—thick as shit! You think you can wrap us men around your fingers, don’t ya?”
Trisha remained silent.
The man went into the hallway and shouted up the stairs, “The spare room at the back, in the wardrobe, on the shelf. Let me know when you find something.”
Trisha squeezed her eyes shut and tried to visualise what jewellery she had put in the specific box. Her heart sank when she remembered she’d placed nothing spectacular there. All her best jewellery, Christmas and birthday presents that Dave had bought her, were safely tucked away under the floorboards. She hoped and prayed the children wouldn’t give her away, for all their sakes.
“Something wrong?” The man was in her face again, his eyes glinting with pure evil.
She wanted to be her usual sarcastic self, but the present time wasn’t appropriate. “No. Just hoping Dave returns home soon.”
“So am I,” he said, before releasing a full belly laugh.
A few minutes later, the other two men returned to the living room and handed the box to the man in charge. He threw the glass of brandy he’d poured himself across the room and marched towards her. “Is this it?”
 She gulped. “Yes, I told you, we’re not wealthy. I—”
“That’s bullshit, lady, and we both fuckin’ know it. Where is it? This is your final chance or the kid gets it.”
Words stuck in her throat as the three intruders eyed her with contempt. Suddenly, the man in charge reached out and yanked Jacob to his feet. The man pulled out a knife and placed it against her terrified son’s neck. Trisha watched in horror as the blade sank into her child’s skin, and droplets of blood trailed down onto his white T-shirt, followed by his terrified tears.
“Please! I’ll tell you. Don’t hurt my baby.”
“I’m waiting.”
“In the main bedroom—you have to move the bed—there’s a small safe in the floorboards under the rug.”
He nodded for his men to go back upstairs and check. Seconds later, he received a shout that they’d located it, and seconds after that, little Jacob lay in a heap on the shag carpet, his throat slit from ear to ear.   

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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me…
But He wasn’t with her.
She leaned against the cold steel door, her eyes closed in prayer. “Father, why have you forsaken me? What sins have I committed that you would punish me this way?”
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood.
“Fiank-o!” she screamed.
Her eyes flew open, and she spread her hands in front of her. Blood rimmed her manicured nails. Out of the corner of her vision, she saw the blood-soaked blouse plastered to her chest. So much blood for such a tiny body.
Ripping at her blouse, she mewed like a wounded animal. “Then take my eyes, so I no longer see the blood of my child on my hands. Take my ears, so I no longer hear the shrieks from below, the clanging of the chains.”
Silence met her cry. God was no longer listening. She sank to her knees and ripped at her hair, bordering on madness. How could they do this to her? Had she not served them well for more than ten years?
“You know what you must do, Aggie. I have seen the feux-folet. She is the child of Diablo, and she has cursed you.”
For a moment, rage blocked the pain squeezing her heart. “You!” Her eyes filled with hatred, fists clenched at her side. “You brought this upon us with your superstitions and your curses.”
“Mwen pòv zanj pèdi—you know I speak the truth. I was here when she was born without life, her body blue, her soul already beyond this world. Five years have come and gone. As she grows, so does the evil. They warned you this day would come.”
The old woman’s words washed over her like a river of ice, extinguishing the fire of her rage, leaving only a cold, still emptiness.
“I begged them, Mother. Begged for her life as her blood seeped through my fingers. I have served God, and I have served the spirits. But they have forsaken me.” She raised tortured eyes to beseech the old woman, her efforts met with stony silence and beady eyes filled with accusation. “I begged them!” Her voice tapered to a whimper. “She is only five. I have lost Catherine. Must I lose Mary also?”
The old woman knelt beside her. Taking her right hand, she pried open the fingers and closed them around the cold steel of the knife. “You can’t cure a mad dog, Aggie; you can only put it down. You disobeyed. You have been punished. Now pick up your cross, and carry it.”
The silence in the room was broken only by her whimpers; the old woman had left as quietly as she’d come. The knife lay heavy in her hand, just as the task before her lay heavy on her heart.
She rose and opened the door to the basement, ignoring the shrieks and clang of the chains. Her feet descended the steps slowly, the old woman’s words echoing inside her head: You can’t cure a mad dog, Aggie; you can only put it down.


Please don’t leave me here.
Catherine Mans heard the whisper over the rustle of the leaves. He was here. She knew it, but her time to find him was running out. A heavy mist had begun to develop over the river, drifting up the ravine into the creek where she knelt beside the water. Her search for twenty-one-year-old Timothy Bond had led her to many ravines in the past two weeks. Her visions were confusing, pieces of jigsaw puzzles that seemed to fit—and not fit—every creek area surrounding the Kentucky River.
Letting the cool water flow over her hand, Catherine closed her eyes. She paid attention to the gentle force as it pressed against the barrier, allowing herself to connect with the emotions it contained. He’d been here. Walked this bank. Trudged through this water. And he’d never left.
She heard Cody’s unasked question and rose. “He’s here, Cody. I can feel it.”
“The fog is rising fast. I’m going to call off the search and bring everyone in.”
His voice held an edge of defeat bordering on disappointment. He’d followed her over snake-ridden banks, through shallow pools, and even into the river twice. She knew he ignored the ridicule of his fellow officers, but he couldn’t ignore the rising wind, misty rain, and fog swirling into ghostly clouds. Failure to call off the search would put everyone in danger.
Catherine turned back to the pool of water and stared into its murky depths. A vision of Mr. and Mrs. Bond appeared, arms wound around each other, eyes swollen and red, beseeching her. We know he’s dead, Ms. Mans, but we can’t sleep at night. Not until our boy comes home.
The not knowing was what aged you overnight, placing dark shadows beneath your eyes, deep-etched lines upon your face. The sorrow emanating from Mrs. Bond’s eyes had touched her in a way she hadn’t expected, opened the door to memories of things she’d worked hard to forget. Catherine touched the scar just above her right breast and wondered if her own mother had looked that way when Catherine had run away.
Catherine shook off the thoughts. Now wasn’t the time to think about her mother. Or the past. Nor was it the time to allow the frustration in Cody’s voice to discourage her. She knew he respected her abilities and believed in her. A smile played around her lips. A lot had changed in the six years since he’d knocked on her door and asked for her help in finding three-year-old Danny Wells. Cody had worked hard to become the head of the homicide division, and through his efforts, a special fund had been established to pay for Catherine’s consulting fees. She also knew his efforts were the reason that other departments had begun to call upon her for help. But the non-believers, the ridiculers, would always persist. Her ninety-eight percent success rate didn’t matter. The two percent failure was what everyone remembered.
A steady rain began to fall as the whisper reached her ears again. Please don’t leave me here.
“I won’t, Timmy,” she murmured, kneeling by the creek and closing her eyes again. Reaching out with her mind, she searched for the small thread of energy she knew was there somewhere.
“Catherine, we’ve got to go.”
“Go ahead and call off the search, Cody,” she answered in a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m staying.”
A strange throbbing started deep inside her head, drowning out the words she knew Cody was saying. The scar on her chest burned, as if someone had suddenly poured gasoline on it and set her on fire. She stood up slowly, catching her breath against the fiery pain as her feet moved involuntarily, trudging into the cool water that swirled around her ankles. The pool deepened, reaching her waist. The swift current pushed her downstream on unsteady feet that no longer seemed to belong to her. A thick layer of fog surrounded her, until she could no longer see the opposite bank.
“Catherine, where the hell are you going?”
Cody’s voice sounded distant. She heard his radio crackle as he called out to the search team and his muffled oath as he splashed through the water, following her across the creek.
The throbbing subsided to a dull ache in the center of her forehead, but the scar continued to burn with fiery insistence, and her feet still moved against her will. The water became shallower, and her feet sank into mushy sand as she climbed the bank of the creek into an open field that led to a cliff overlooking the river.
The fog had dissipated here, and Catherine could see the edge of the cliff. A single oak tree stood outlined against the black clouds rolling across the sky. The jigsaw puzzle came together. The pieces started to fit. The pain subsided, but her feet continued to move, carrying her closer to the edge. She wanted to stop, but an unseen force kept her going until strong arms closed around her, jerking her backwards just as her feet slipped over the edge.
“Jesus, Catherine. What the hell are you doing?” Cody gasped between labored breaths.
“I don’t know. I was… I didn’t…” Catherine tried to clear the fog from her mind, grasping to explain what she didn’t understand herself. “Cody, the tree. It’s the same tree in my vision. He’s here. I know he’s here.”
“Okay. Okay. Give me a second.” Some of her excitement registered in his voice. The tree had been the one clue missing from all the other ravines.
The two crept slowly toward the edge of the cliff. A blanket of fog covered the earth thirty feet below, but they didn’t need to see through the fog. Less than five feet down, on a jutted outcropping, lay the remains of Timothy Bond.

Catherine stood near the edge, listening as Cody gave directions to the search team. A feeling of peace settled over her. She’d found him. “It’s time to go home, Timmy,” she whispered.
“Don’t get too close to the edge, Catherine.”
She didn’t bother to answer, as the wind chose that moment to switch direction and force her back from the edge. Catherine shivered as icy fingers raced down her spine. The sound of laughter echoed on the wind, followed by a whispered challenge: Find me.