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2013-01-19

  10:05:25 am, by

Newly Released - Witch Island Print Edition

 

I'm excited to announce that the print edition of my paranormal romance Witch Island is now available from Ellora's Cave.

Here is the blurb and the excerpt. Enjoy!

 

Blurb:

Roxanne Gerik's business is facing bankruptcy when a reclusive millionaire throws her a lifeline — one hundred thousand dollars for private computer tutoring. It's only after signing the contract that she discovers the lessons will take place on Mr. Nevan's private island.

The journey across the water is perilous. Once on shore, the storm that chased Roxanne to the island breaks, knocking out phones, electricity and the dock, promptly stranding her. But the biggest surprise is her host — who's not the stuffy old man she expected. Aidan Nevan appears to be young, handsome and charming, and despite the apprehension shadowing her, Roxanne finds herself drawn to the mysterious man.

But Aidan is hiding sinister secrets. The staff whispers in hushed tones, strange creatures wander the woods of the island and the very trees seem intent on harming her. As the unnatural storm grows worse, Roxanne begins to wonder if any of them will get off the island alive.

 

Excerpt from Witch Island:

“Why don’t you show me where you want the equipment set up,” Roxanne offered. “Then after I meet with Mr. Nevan briefly, I’ll be on my way.”

“But that won’t be possible,” the housekeeper blurted. “Mr. Nevan isn’t due back for several hours.”

The fear that had plagued Roxanne since she’d left her home threatened to steal her breath. She forced herself to relax, to state her case logically the way she did with all unreasonable clients. “But I have other appointments. I have to get back to the city as soon as possible.”

“It’s far too dangerous to be on the open water right now,” Horace said. As if on cue the wind howled through the trees outside, sending branches scraping against the windows. “The storm is getting worse.”

“Then how is Mr. Nevan going to get home?” she asked. They had to do as she requested. Roxanne refused to stay in the spooky old house one second longer than was necessary.

“Oh now don’t you worry about Mr. Nevan,” the housekeeper said. “He can take care of himself.”

“Well, if it’s possible for Mr. Nevan to get home safely, then he can arrange for me to go home too,” Roxanne insisted.


“You accepted Mr. Nevan’s contract,” Horace threatened.

Keeping the conversation pleasant while she disagreed with them was a balancing act. Roxanne knew that much from experience. And she was getting good at walking that tightrope. “I saw nothing in the contract that stated I had to be a resident on the island until it was completed.” She crossed her arms over her chest, mirroring Horace’s confrontational posture. “In fact, I don’t remember an island even being mentioned!”

Tension stretched between them in the shadows of the dark manor. Agnes Peterson was the first to break it.


“Goodness!” the housekeeper exclaimed. “The girl is soaking wet! Horace, fetch a towel for the girl. She’ll think we’ve forgotten ourselves altogether! Come,” she propelled Roxanne by the arm, “sit by the fire and warm up.”

Roxanne looked back in time to see Mrs. Peterson cast a glance at Horace, a pointed stare that practically shouted, “Be quiet!” Horace opened his mouth as if there was a great deal more he would say then abruptly shut it.

“I’ll put the boxes in Mr. Nevan’s study,” he said instead. He’d taken only one step toward the pile in the entry hall when something crashed against one of the windows. Wind roared through the trees outside. The chandelier above him flickered then went out. From the direction of the hall, Roxanne heard a refrigerator motor winding down before stopping altogether.

“Heavens,” said the housekeeper. “There goes the power again.”

Roxanne stared into absolute darkness. She couldn’t see much of the lake through the unshuttered windows but she imagined its uniform flat blackness surrounding them on all sides. The island had no lampposts, no streetlights. Dark clouds hid the moon, stealing the only source of illumination. A gray line marked the only differentiation between water and sky.


She turned away from the windows as Mrs. Peterson led her toward the fireplace in the next room. With the fire roaring in the huge hearth, the sitting room was more welcoming than the dark entry hall.

The reflection of the fire’s crimson flames warmed the dark walls and cast a rosy glow on the housekeeper’s face. Even Horace looked friendlier in its warm light. But no matter how welcome its warmth after a trip on the cold lake, Roxanne knew she couldn’t stay here.

The creaking old manor house would have given her the creeps even if it stood in the center of town. As the only building on an isolated island, the house was positively scary, and Roxanne fought the constant instinct to run. If only she could.


“Look,” she said as Mrs. Peterson settled her into a deep, comfortable armchair. “There’s no sense me staying here any longer. I can’t do anything until the power comes back on and Mr. Nevan isn’t here, so why don’t we just set another time to meet—like first thing tomorrow morning.”

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” said a deep voice from the shadows behind her. “The storm has blown out the dock.”

 

 

2012-12-16

  11:07:29 am, by

Just Released - Shadow Dancing

 

My paranormal short story Shadow Dancing is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

Shadow Dancing is the story of Ralph, who has somehow lost his shadow. At first he doesn’t worry much about it. Until he realizes his shadow is living a much better life than he is…including romancing the girl next door.

Gabrielle is having unusual dreams…only to discover those dreams are much more than figments of her imagination.

 

Excerpt from Shadow Dancing:

Only a dream, what possible harm could it do? No one's going to know, Gabrielle’s sleepy mind promised.


She watched the familiar shadow flow over the windowsill and stretch across her bedroom. She'd worn her best negligee to bed. The shadow seemed to know what she needed. Stretching out across the queen-sized bed, Gabrielle let the darkness claim her.


* * *


The sun crested the fence in his neighbor's yard, spilling yellow light across the lawn. In a moment the dawn would reach his east-facing window. Ralph yawned in spite of the carafe of coffee it had taken to keep him up all night. He had no intention of falling asleep now. Not when victory lay within his grasp.


Sunlight leaked over the windowsill and across the carpet. Ralph pinched himself to stay conscious. Then, like a negative image of the pale light, crept a dark, man-sized shape.


First ten black fingers gripped the window ledge. Ralph watched as the image of his own steel-toed work boot cleared the window and found its footing on the carpet inside.


Ralph closed his eyes, feigning sleep and watched through the fringe of his lashes.


Another leg, followed by a torso and finally a head as the shadow straightened. Ralph recognized the folds of his own uniform in the shadow's outline against the brightly-lit carpet.


Its head turned, casting a furtive glance in his direction. How many times had he lain there unknowing as his shadow crept back to him like an errant lover? Well, not this time. Ralph forced his chest to rise and fall, mimicking the even breathing of sleep.


His shadow eclipsed the sun as it seeped across the carpet like an ink stain. Ralph waited.


And then he felt it. A momentary tingling. A sudden loss of the sun's warmth as his shadow leaned over him and merged with his body.


Ralph whirled, twisting the covers as he turned face down and gazed at the inky shadow against his white sheets.


"I know where you've been!" Ralph growled. He gripped the edges of the pillow, pale skin meeting shadow, his own outline contorted.


There was no answer, not that he could hear. Yet a mocking laughter rang in his mind.


Just what are you going to do about it, Ralphie?

2012-12-12

  12:52:11 pm, by

Dark Dreams - Now Available

 

Dark Dreams is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

 

A gardener battles a vampire pumpkin…

A medical photographer discovers a strange, parasitic life force …

An old furnace develops a taste for warm-blooded, living things…

A weekend at a remote cottage turns into a desperate fight for survival…

A driver on the edge of exhaustion hits something far more terrifying than he could ever imagine…

Dark Dreams includes stories : PunkinHead, Bio Hazard, The Furnace Man, Long Weekend and Miles To Go.

 

 

 

2012-10-07

  12:17:27 pm, by

Long Weekend

 

 

In the spirit of October and Halloween and seeing as it’s a long weekend, here is an excerpt from a spooky story aptly titled Long Weekend. The inspiration for this paranormal short came from an unsettling weekend spent in a lakeside cabin.

Long Weekend is the story of Paige and her friends who think that a weekend at a remote cottage is the perfect party opportunity. But as night falls, the forest comes alive with terror. And the group suddenly finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives.

Long Weekend
is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.


Excerpt from Long Weekend:

Like the soundtrack to a film suddenly snapping, the loon’s cry died. In the dull quiet crickets fell mute, even the constant buzz of mosquitoes ended. Paige cast a glance behind her at the lake and caught a glimpse of a black bank of cloud blowing in across the lake, moving rapidly toward shore.

Not clouds, she realized with a sudden, inexplicable pang of dread. It was as if a dark filter slid between the ground and the sky. Only this filter had the consistency of thick velvet, and it seemed to transform everything in its path.

The welcoming coolness of the lake now gleamed like black oil, licking hungrily at the jagged edges of the shore, eager to suck anything fool enough to venture close into its thick smothering depths. Nothing moved. Not even the wind’s warm breath stirred the trees. Not even a ripple on the inky black water of the lake. Not a sound, until...

Ground rumbled beneath her, low and deep, pulsating just below hearing range. A breeze began to mutter through the trees. Branches gnashed together. Hot panting breath gusted over her bare shoulder.

Woods stretched out before her like the gutted husk of a vast, burned-out mansion. Gnarled and twisted corridors led only into deeper shadow.

Darkness seeped closer, like thick, spilled paint. A trickle of terror snaked down her spine. In some deep recess of her mind, she realized she was still standing rooted to the dock in mindless terror over a stray gust of wind. But a more primitive level of consciousness hollered at her to run. All the way back to the city if necessary. Something evil blew in across the water. She didn’t intend to wait around and discover what it was.

Paige bolted up the wooden steps, now slick with dew. Suddenly she was flailing in midair before crashing down painfully onto a lower step. Denim tore. Wood and rock grazed the skin beneath. Keys in the pocket of her jeans dug into her side. A hoarse scream wrenched from her throat, hollow sounding in the silence that smothered the hill.

Sliding backward, she floundered for a grip, finding ground beneath her stinging palms. Coarse tendrils of grass wound through her fingers. Roots grasped for a hold on her flailing feet. She scrambled to her feet. Heedless of slivers, she seized the wooden railing and propelled herself toward the cottage at the top of the stairs.

2012-09-28

  02:33:16 pm, by

And Not A Drop To Drink Reprinted in Blood & Water

 

 

 

I'm excited to announce that my short story And Not A Drop To Drink has been reprinted in the anthology Blood & Water edited by Hayden Trenholm.

The idea for And Not A Drop To Drink came to me when I saw a pair of shoes lying by the side of the road, as if the person they belonged to had simply vanished. This story is one possible explanation...

Blood & Water is now available from Bundoran Press.

 

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