Sunday, March 30, 2008

RESTLESS SPIRIT by Elizabeth Delisi


An Excerpt From: RESTLESS SPIRIT

Copyright © ELIZABETH DELISI, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

This spirit might be Laura’s only means of reaching Brian. Could she afford to turn her back on such an opportunity? Shaking her head, she decided she had to give it a try. After all, how much worse could things get? She’d already lost Clint and Brian.

She returned to the table, resumed her seat and placed her fingers on the planchette. Cautiously, she spelled out—Help you with what? She would see what the spirit wanted and decide if she were willing to help it or not. Maybe a trade could be arranged—she helped this Rafe and he in turn connected her with Brian.

Connect me with Joshua.

Joshua? Laura didn’t know anyone named Joshua. Joshua who?

Joshua Williamson. My little brother. Died last week.

Tears stung the corners of Laura’s eyes. This poor spirit, this Rafe, had lost a sibling, just like she’d lost a son. Life just didn’t seem fair, when the young ones had to suffer and die.

But why would one spirit need Laura’s help to contact another spirit? Especially a loved one. Weren’t they all supposed to be waiting for you when you died? Shouldn’t this Rafe have been waiting for Joshua when he passed over?

Why do you need my help?

The answer came through quickly. Cannot pierce the veil between worlds.

Laura considered. Rafe didn’t sound dangerous. And if she truly could help him contact his brother Joshua…well, he’d owe her one, wouldn’t he?

What do you want me to do? she asked.

Contact Joshua, came the prompt reply. Ask him if he is happy. Surely a spirit so innocent has gone straight to his reward.

A chill passed through Laura suddenly and she shuddered, letting her hands fall into her lap. If Rafe were not with Joshua…and if Joshua had gone to heaven…then where was Rafe?

She returned her hands to the planchette. Are you an evil spirit? she asked. She was afraid of the answer, yet she had to know.

No. Are you? came the reply.

No, she said, though she was confused why the spirit should ask. Shouldn’t Rafe know she was a living, breathing human, not an incorporeal soul? Maybe she should get straight to the heart of the matter. This Rafe seemed a little slow. I’m a live woman and I want you to find my son, Brian. I want to know he’s all right.

There was a pause, yet Laura felt a deep sorrow that seemed to pass through the Ouija board itself and straight to her heart.

I am sorry, she read at last, and a knife pierced her heart. I cannot help you. I am a living man. And I reckon you cannot help me.

Laura’s thoughts swirled and dizziness thrust mercilessly into her head. She slipped sideways from the chair, pulling the Ouija board and planchette down on top of her as everything went black.

If you like this sample excerpt, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'NEATH HALLOWED HALLS AND IVIED WALLS by Maureen McMahon


An Excerpt From: 'NEATH HALLOWED HALLS AND IVIED WALLS

Copyright © MAUREEN MCMAHON, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

"Stacey, do you have any idea how Professor Donalson died?"

I sat down on a wicker chair nearby. "He...well... Didn't they tell you?"

"No. My mother called and said someone from Harvard contacted the house. She sounded upset but she wouldn't go into detail-said she didn't want to run up the phone bill."

I smiled to myself. Peter's mother never changed, even though she probably had enough money at her disposal to buy the phone company outright.

"There's a police investigation into his death," I said, "but it appears it was suicide. He was found in his car in the garage with a hose from the exhaust...you get the picture." I shuddered.

I could tell Peter was shocked too. Such an act seemed totally unexpected and out of character for the jolly, fun-loving history professor we'd both come to know and respect during our college years.

"I wonder what could have driven him to..." Peter's voice seemed even more distant and withdrawn and I clutched the phone tighter, itching to reach out and take his hand.

"Try not to think about it," I said. "We'll find out more at the funeral. Until then, there's no point in brooding. These things happen. Sometimes we just have to accept it."

The desperate, pleading eyes in the sunken face of a dying Afghani mother suddenly filled my vision. I remembered how she held her arms out for her baby. The baby was being removed to a shelter by international medical aid. The mother would remain in the broken-down, dirt-floored hut. She didn't have long. I wanted to grab the baby from the nurse and place it in those skeletal outstretched arms but instead I just backed away, afraid and uncertain.

The sudden, unexpected power of the flashback knocked the wind out of me and I had to bend over and draw deep breaths, holding the phone in my other hand so Peter wouldn't hear. Finally, I put the receiver back to my ear.

"What's wrong?" His voice was urgent, knowing.

"Nothing." It was just too complicated to explain and frankly I felt too shaken by the experience to talk about it yet. "I'd better go," I said. "I've got to get this last article in today if I'm going to meet you by Friday."

"Stace..."

"Hmm?"

"You know how much I've missed you?"

I smiled and sighed. "Yes. Yes, I do-as much as I've missed you. But Friday's only two days away."

"Yes. Two days." He let out his breath audibly.

"See you Friday."

"See you then."

I replaced the phone on its hook on the wall and turned to look out the kitchen window at the Manhattan skyline. It was sunny but cool, with a cloud haze moving in.

A crow landed on the black balustrade of the balcony, tilting its head this way and that as it eyed me through the closed sliding door. Suddenly it let out a piercing squawk, lifted its wings and flew directly into the glass pane of the door. The sickening crack as it hit the window made me cry out in shock, the impact leaving a stain of blood and down on the glass.

I was out the door in an instant but there was nothing I could do. The bird's neck was broken and it lay in a messy heap of feathers on the concrete balcony. I squatted down and reached out a tentative hand. Its breast was still warm but its eye, a mustard-yellow, stared sightlessly up at me. For no reason I could logically name, I drew my hand quickly away, shivering-overwhelmed by a feeling of mortal dread.

If you like this sample excerpt, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

GET OUT OR DIE! by Kim Cox


An Excerpt From: GET OUT OR DIE

Copyright © KIM COX, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Lana walked Dan out, glass from figurines, picture frames and a mirror splintering beneath their feet. "Look. I know you don't want to leave but please, take Ellie somewhere else just for tonight. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know what's going on. I hope by then I can reason with him."

"It really is Uncle Adam, isn't it?" Dan asked.

"Yes, it is."

"This means that my father did...my father is..."

"There's still no real proof."

"Why else would-"

"I don't know. Give me twenty-four hours to find out. I want to sleep here tonight, try to calm Adam down and see if he'll talk to me. Hopefully by tomorrow, regardless of what happened between him and Sean, he'll realize you're not his father."

Dan's sullen face appeared doubtful. "Do whatever you have to do."

Behind them, the sounds of crashing continued. Lana smoothed her wrinkled clothes, patted down her hair and trekked back into the once beautiful home, trying to force a calm she didn't quite feel.

I can do this. The crashing stopped as she entered the chaotic room. "Adam!" she called out. "Let's talk." Only silence answered her plea. Was he ignoring her? Or had the energy his anger fueled within his spirit faded? Run out?

Lana took a break and used the downstairs bathroom to splash water on her face. As she brushed her hair, the faucets turned on by themselves. Hot water splashed into the sink, steam filling the room. Lana turned off the water and opened the door to let out the fog. Then, she read Adam's large script on the mirror, GET OUT OR DIE!

If you like this sample excerpt, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Monday, March 03, 2008

AND THE WINNER IS . . .


Hotcha1 is the winner of the anthology ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS. I need you to send me your full name and mailing information. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Fallen Angels Review gives ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS 5 Angels


Enchanted Holidays
Enchanted Holidays is filled with a wonderful collection of stories set around various holidays. Six talented authors each offer their own version of a holiday romance and all are worth reading.

According to an ancient prophesy Alexis Hart is fated to marry the Egyptian god Seth and be murdered so that he may take over the world in the Curse of Osiris by Elaine Hoppe. Zane Ryan has no intention of allowing that to happen; he has come to protect her and he will sacrifice anything to save her. How can a simple man defeat an evil god and why must it be this man that comes to save her; the man who broke her heart four years ago? This tale reminds me of some of the mythology tales I had to study in school, except I found this on more entertaining. Ms. Hoppe has a sense of humor but you must read this story to find the irony!

In Fate's Little Trick by Sheryl Hames Torres, Gemma McKenzie Fuller doesn’t like Christmas, everything bad that has ever happened to her has occurred around Christmas. First she lost her first love and then years later her husband and daughter and her hearing. Gemma’s parents are gone and she is all alone running a small country store and renting vacation cabins. Jared Mittchel and his deaf daughter Emily are on the run. His wife is dead and he believes his in-laws are trying to take his daughter away and they have more money than he can afford to fight. Jared finds Gemma’s cabin and hopes it is out of the way enough that they can’t be found. He loves his daughter and will not just turn her over to his in-laws. Fate’s Little Trick is a wonderful, poignant, story about the hurt some people can inflict on other people. Both Gemma and Jared are wounded souls and none of their pain is of their making; they were wronged and robbed of the opportunity for happiness by the selfishness of another person. Although parts of this story are really sad, it is also filled with hope; hope that love can heal broken hearts. I really liked this tale!

A New Year’s ghost story is an unexpected holiday tale but that is exactly what Ghosts of Auld Lang Syne by Maureen McMahon is. Stacey Christian’s friend Holly and her brother have inherited their grandmother’s old lake house and property and invited their friends down for the New Year’s holidays. Holly tells Stacey an old family ghost story and talks Stacey into trying to help her solve the mystery so the ghost can rest in peace. But something more sinister seems to be going on; there are just too many accidents happing to the people at the lake house. Will Stacey, Holly and their friends figure out what is going on before someone is seriously injured or worse? I always like a good ghost story and this one does not disappoint. The ghost is a sad woman who lost her true love unexpectedly and all the couples at the house have love issues to deal with too. Could this be why the ghost is appearing now? Ghosts of Auld Lang Syne is an appealing story about the power of true love so expect to be charmed but it is also a tale filled with suspense for someone alive now is attempting to harm the people at the lake house! Very well done!

Haunted Hearts by Kim Cox is a charming Valentine’s ghost story. Lana Malloy is a newly licensed private investigator and her great-aunt Lucy wants to hire her to solve a 20-year-old double murder that happened on Valentine’s Day. The only problem is Lucy and her fiancĂ© are the people who were murdered. Lucy has figured out that if Lana can solve the mystery by Valentine’s Day then she and her fiancĂ© will finally be able to leave and be together for eternity otherwise they have to wait another year for this opportunity. I loved this unique Valentine’s story. The ghost characters and their living relatives were all delightful and fun. And of course it is a Valentine’s story, so there is romance as well as the mystery.

Mistletoe Medium by Elizabeth Delisi is a Christmas romantic suspense tale. Lottie Baldwin is new in town and has met and started dating the local sheriff’s deputy Harlan Erikson. Lottie is a psychic and gets periodic images about things, so when Harlan starts investigating a string of strange burglaries, Lottie wants to help. Can Lottie and Harlan work together and solve the crimes; will Harlan be able to believe in Lottie? This is a very cute story. Lottie and Harlan seem like complete opposites. Lottie is a silly, flighty, flirt to Harlan’s serious, straightforward type of personality yet they are attracted to one another. I grinned all the way through this lighthearted romp while these two opposites muddled along trying to solve their mystery. This is a fun story!

In Valentine's Inn by Chris Grover, Rianna Gordon is trying to decide what to do with her life now. She was injured in an auto accident that killed her three best friends and law buddies so she has no desire to return to that life. What Rianna would really like to do is just disappear and hide away for the rest of her life, but first she has to decide what to do with the old family inn. The inn has been in Rianna’s family for over 100 years but she has an offer from a developer who wants to tear it down and build luxury condos for wealthy retirees. The money would allow her to buy the house of her dreams where she could live comfortably and hide from life, but is that what she really wants? Can she let someone tear down over 100 years of her family history? Valentine’s Inn is a really sweet, yet poignant story. I liked Rianna’s character and it was interesting to follow her decision making process as she tries to come to terms with what she really wants to do now. And of course there is a little mystery and romance thrown it to make it an even better tale!

All of the stories in this holiday anthology have a paranormal twist and yet are sentimental romances that anyone would enjoy curling up to read.

Reviewed by: Stephanie B.
http://fallenangelreviews.com/2008/February/StephanieB-EnchantedHolidays.htm

Romantic Times Review of ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS


ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS
by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon
and Sheryl Hames Torres

RT Rating: 3 stars
Category: PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Publisher: Cerridwen
Published: December 2007
Type: Paranormal (Anthology)


This collection of tales from six authors who know how to please sets the
tone for several romantic holidays. The blend of ghosts, mediums, prophecy
and tragedy -- most of which take place during the Christmas season -- is a
pleasant read.

Summary: Kim Cox's "Haunted Hearts" pits private eye Lana against spirits as
she strives to solve the decades-old murder of her aunt. In "Mistletoe
Medium," Elizabeth Delisi brings together psychic Lottie and the deliciously
hunky Sheriff Harkin. Chris Grover's "Valentine's Inn" uses a ghost to
convince Rianna to keep her inheritance.

Alexis must defeat a demon-god in Elaine Hopper's "Curse of Osiris." Maureen
McMahon's "Ghosts of Auld Lang Syne" has journalist Stacy in a fight to
discover who's haunting her new home. Sheryl Hames Torres' Gemma is a
first-rate Scrooge until a tragic accident gives her the most important
Christmas wish of all in "Fate's Little Trick." (Cerridwen, Dec., 378 pp.,
$9.99) HOT

-Faith V. Smith

http://romantictimes.com/books_review.php?book=34420

Saturday, March 01, 2008

ENIGMA by Sheryl Hames Torres


ONE TOUCH BEYOND - Second Excerpt
An Excerpt From: ENIGMA

Copyright © SHERYL HAMES TORRES, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Opening his eyes, he turned on the water to rinse blood from the porcelain before lifting his gaze to the mirror to inspect the damage. What he saw there, however, frosted the blood in his veins. She was there, the silver lady who’d enfolded Amy. Now she floated in the mirror, smiling icily at him, her eyes flashing white fire as she stared at the blood dripping onto his chest.

“I believe I told you to go away.” Her voice was like a blizzard, whirling, icy and absorbing the oxygen from the air. It mixed with the storm outside to create a vortex of panic inside him.

His throat felt paralyzed. A chill rose up his spine and threatened to overtake his shivering body. It wasn’t fear exactly. More deep sadness, hopelessness, as if she were sucking all joy from him.

“I assume you imagine yourself in love with her?” Her voice dripped with mock sympathy. Her heavy dramatic sigh wrapped around him like music, transfixing him, seducing him despite its menacing tone.

Brace shivered again. The term “two places at once” came instantly to mind as he watched her image peel, almost as if it split in half. While one layer threw her head back and laughed, horrible and shrill, another layer rocked back and forth as if listening to a beautiful melody. Still another more terrifying layer stared with winter-white eyes hungrily at the cut on his chin. Brace couldn’t lift his fingers to wipe away the blood that fascinated her. She reached toward him and though she never left the mirror, he felt her touch and watched in horror as she raised her bloodied fingers to her lips, closing her eyes as if the taste of him satisfied her every need. He felt her threat rise around him like a velvet sheet, suffocating and heavy. He had to fight her. He had to push against her force.

“I do love Amy.” His voice sounded strangled, harsh to his ears, ineffective in the roaring storms, inside and out. “And she loves me. I won’t let you hurt her.”

With startling speed, the images melded and her eyes flashed at him. “Fool!” she hissed. “Do you think you can play with me, little man? I’ll crush you like the meddlesome flea you are.”

He followed her gaze as her eyes darted to the scissors lying on the cabinet, then shot back at him. Her laughter sounded like shattering glass. The pressure in the room rose to a crushing level, squeezing against his skull. Blood trickled from his right nostril and dripped on the floor as he bent over from the excruciating pain. It felt as though he was being wrung out like a dishrag. The pressure on his eardrums threatened his consciousness. He concentrated on his breathing, battling her and gasping. “You…won’t…win.”

A scream tore through the house. Amy.

If you like this sample chapter, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.
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