“Free, A Novella Part VIII”

Poor Lennie can’t get a break!

Felicia Denise, Author

Lennie's letter

“Free, A Novella”
by Felicia Denise

Part VIII

Slowly making her way down the hall, Lennie suddenly was exhausted. Her memories had not only overwhelmed her but reliving them in this house…alone, as she was trying to break from her past consumed her energy.

Glancing into the small sitting room as she walked past, Lennie shook her head thinking of the hundreds of Christmas and birthday gifts this room had stored over the years. She stopped abruptly and looked back at the sitting room door. A sense of nostalgia washed over Lennie and brought something to mind she rarely had – a good memory of Ranard. A small grin graced her face as she reflected on their first Christmas in this house. A frustrated Ranard Porter had already injured himself several times attempting to assemble a tyke bike for little Duncan.

After putting the boys to bed, Lennie, armed with…

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You Woke the Dragon

This!!!

musings of a gypsy heart

You woke the dragon inside of me. It was coiled around my heart, content to lay within the confines of my ribs and sleep in peace. It woke from the smell of fear that filled its nostrils and the sound of crying in its ears. It was content to sleep. The scales shimmered in the light of the love that I keep and it was content to sleep knowing it was not needed.

So do not be surprised when you hear me roar. Do not ask me to be quiet when you have woken the dragon in me. The dragon will protect that which it was meant to keep and it will breathe fire on all its enemies, attempting to lay waste on anything that seeks to harm what is precious to me, who is precious to me.

We are women. We are the life bringers. We are the sacred…

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My Québec hurts…

Prayers for Quebec…and the world. 😥

Cyranny's Cove

Tonight, my dear, peaceful Québec hurts…

A few hours ago, some men entered a Mosque in Québec City and opened fire on the 100 or about people that were there for a prayer session.

We’re almost used to terrorist attacks now, let’s face it. But sadly, in most situations, they are attacks of minorities against the country that welcomed them.

Not the case here, and it sickens me.

I know it is a minority speaking up for the minority. But it sickens me to see an attack against Muslims in my Province.

Details are few… But the picture is dark. And I am sorry tonight. Sorry that the image of Québec will be stained by the acts of a few horrible people.

For years now… For decades… Québec has been a welcoming haven for people of different nationalities, races, sexual orientations…

I am disappointed, to say the least. We are…

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You Cannot Make This Stuff Up!

Bubble Wrap

Bubble Wrap exists because of a failed invention! You’re shocked, right? I was too!

Bubble Wrap was “invented” in 1957 by engineers Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

Fielding and Chavannes sealed two shower curtains together, (WHY???) creating a smattering of air bubbles, which they originally tried to sell as WALLPAPER. When the product turned out to be unsuccessful as wallpaper, (Ya, think?) the team marketed it as greenhouse insulation.

Although Bubble Wrap was branded by Sealed Air Corporation (founded by Fielding and Chavannes) in 1960, it was not until a year later that its use in protective usage was discovered. (The phrase Bubble Wrap is a copyrighted name! We’re all going to jail!)

As a packaging material, Bubble Wrap’s first client was IBM, which used the product to protect the IBM 1401 computer during shipment.

IBM 1401 Computer
This is an IBM 1401 Computer. Just imagine the amount of bubble wrap it took to secure this behemoth for shipping! Image from IBM World Inventory.

Fielding and Chavannes were inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 1993.

The last Monday of January was designated as Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day after “Spirit 95” Radio, an FM radio station in Bloomington, IN received a shipment of microphones wrapped in bubble wrap, which, after being unwrapped and installed, inadvertently broadcast the sound of their wrappings being popped.

Sealed Air celebrated Bubble Wrap’s 50th birthday in January 2010.

In the spring of 2015, Sealed Air introduced a version that will no longer pop. Instead, air will shift in columns of bubbles.

The new design comes in sheets, allowing more to be stored and shipped at one time — yes, packages of Bubble Wrap are shipped (perhaps insulated by packing peanuts). Companies using the new product will inflate the sheets using a custom pump provided by Sealed Air.
Sealed Air quelled pop-lovers’ concerns, tweeting that it will continue to make the traditional version.
Celebrate the day by popping a sheet or two of everyone’s favorite stress reliever!
More Bubble Wrap

 

#bubblewrapappreciationday

“Lion Eyes” by Casey Peeler #ChapterReveal

Coming February 6th

TYKE
It’s all I ever loved,
All I ever wanted.
Football is it for me.
The lights, the turf, the feel of the ball in my hands,
There’s nothing that means more to me.

But then, I meet Rilla James.
It’s a game changer right from the start.
Now, all I want is her,
Everything about her.

RILLA
It’s a love-hate relationship.
I love the excitement, the thrill of the game,
But despise everything it stands for.
The day the game took away someone in my life,
Everything changed,
For the better.
And I couldn’t be happier.

But then, I meet Tyke she Jamison.
It’s a blitz right from the start.
Now, I’m questioning it all.
Maybe I could get used to life under the lights,
With him.

Playlist

Listen  HERE

Prologue
3 years earlier
Tyke

“Hey, dipshit. You ready?” I question Baker.
“Give me five,” he says as he pulls Holly in and attacks her face. I don’t know why she puts up with him.
Glancing over at Janie, she smiles. “Wanna go make use of our time?” she says with a smirk. Hell yeah I do.
“Come on,” I say as I toss my beer can in the fire and take the last one from the case. I pull her away from the bonfire, nod to Baker, and walk toward my truck.  
By the time we reach the truck, Janie has her hands all over me and I know exactly where this is leading. Climbing in the cab of my truck, she straddles my lap and leans in. She peels off her top and my hands begin to wander. I can feel her smile with each kiss, and I know I’m a goner with this one. There’s something about her that’s got me tore up.  
Just as things start to get where I want them, I hear Baker outside the truck. I holler at him to give us five minutes and she giggles into my shoulder as Baker heads away from the truck.
****
As Baker opens the truck door, he’s grinning like crazy.
“Don’t even,” Janie says.
“Hey, I’m glad I could get a little action while I waited,” he says with a snicker.
“Ewwww gross!” Janie says, and swats his arm.
“Dude, you’re riding on the back for that shit,” I say as I start the engine and crack open the last beer.
Janie looks in my direction. “No worries. I’m good,” I say and kiss her lips again. She slides close to me, and I think about letting Baker inside the cab. It’s cold as shit outside, but I think it will be funny to watch him shiver the entire way.
Chugging the beer, I toss it out the window before I hit the main road. Janie lays her head on my shoulder as I wrap my arm around her. As she cuddles into me, I get comfortable, and that’s when I hear it … The sound of a horn.
Pulling the truck over to the right side of the road, I overcorrect and Janie flies to the other side of the cab and I hear Baker yell but I can’t stop. I feel the truck dip into a ditch and that’s when it begins to roll over and over and over.
The truck comes to a stop, and that’s when the whistle sounds. I look and see the one single light coming straight at us. Train. I try to grab Janie but she’s trapped inside.
“Go, TD. Go. Save yourself and Baker.”
I can’t leave her. I need Janie in my life. As the train is barreling down the track, I take a quick glance over my shoulder and Baker isn’t in the truck bed. Fuck. I look back into Janie’s eyes. They begin to drift away. No. No. No. Stay with me. “Stay with me Janie. Please don’t leave me,” I plead as her eyelids flitter for the last time.
“Noooooo!” I scream. I kiss her and pull her with everything in my being. The metal gives and I yank her harder. “God, help me please! I’m begging you!” I can’t leave her in the truck. With one final tug, I pull her from the pinned metal just in time. The train crashes into the truck and pushes it to the other side of the tracks. Holding her lifeless body, I look for Baker, and that’s when I spy his lifeless body in the brush. I run to him with Janie in my arms, fall to my knees, and cry myself sober.
As the sirens approach in the background, I feel numb. I just killed my best friend and my girlfriend.

Chapter 1 August 2016
Tyke
“Tyke, you ready?” Mom asks as she places her hand on my knee, pulling me from my thoughts as I blankly stare out the passenger side window at my future. “Look, it can’t be that bad.”
I abruptly turn my head toward her. “You’re joking, right?” I question, already knowing she’s serious.
“Look, a bad choice might have made this an only option, but you’ve got to make the best of it.” I shake my head and get out of the car, slamming the door with little effort. I can’t believe I’m in this little hellhole of a town. I’m destined for great things because I am Tyke Jamison, the top recruited quarterback in the nation. I was born and bred to play football. All I know is pigskin, plays, conditioning and the thrill of throwing touchdown passes to win the game, but one stupid night changed it all. I went from hometown hero to a criminal in a matter of minutes. There’s no escaping what’s happened and it will haunt me forever.
“I get it, Mom. This is my one shot to start over, but let’s face it, no one wants their star player to have a rap sheet?”
She pauses as she lifts the trunk and stares at me. “Tyke Douglas Jamison, you stop right there. I will not listen to this load of crap any more. You are here for a reason. You are a bright young man that has a second chance at a future, and you will accept what is in front of you. No child of mine will throw away their life. If football is what you want, go and get it, but stop this,” she says as she points her finger in my chest. “You are in control of your actions. Now let’s go.”
I pause for a moment before grabbing an armful of my things. “Yes ma’am,” I say as we make our way toward the dorm. Following a step behind my mom, I smile. She’s one badass lady. She’s had to be to put up with me all of these years.
“Come on, slowpoke,” she says as she glances over her shoulder, and I shake my head and pick up my pace to meet hers. Yes, I’m cocky and have an attitude, but she’s the one person that keeps that checked. Mom is the one that stood by me through it all, not Dad. He’s too busy worrying about how this is going to affect him. How he can live vicariously through me when I’m not playing anymore. I’m the screw up who got a DUI, and killed my best friend and girlfriend. The day I was sentenced, my dad gave me all kinds of hell and pretty much told me to fuck off. That wasn’t part of his perfect plan, and neither was my time in juvenile hall and community service. That’s why he isn’t here today, but she is. No matter what, my mom has stood by my side. So, if she thinks this is my only hope to achieve my dream, I’m willing to give it a shot.
Casey Peeler grew up in North Carolina and still lives there with her husband and daughter.

Growing up Casey wasn’t an avid reader or writer, but after reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston during her senior year of high school, and multiple Nicholas Sparks’ novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading.  That love ignited the passion for writing several years later, and her writing style combines real life scenarios with morals and values teenagers need in their daily lives.

When Casey isn’t writing, you can find her near a body of water listening to country music with a cold beverage and a great book.

Connect with Casey

“Viking (A Real Man, 9)” by Jenika Snow #ReleaseBlitz

She’ll be his greatest conquest.


INGRID

I should have been afraid of him, the brutal man with the violence covering him and blood on his face. But he’d saved me from a fate worse than death. He was a Viking, a man who took what he wanted because he could, because no one dared to cross him, to go against him.

And he claimed me.

I was his now, and I didn’t want to fight that.


GUNNAR

From the moment I saw Ingrid I knew I wanted her as mine, as my wife, the future mother of my children. I’ll go to any lengths to keep her by my side, to make her see I’m not letting her go. I may give her the option to leave, to find her own way, but the truth is I would follow her to the ends of the earth to keep her close.

I’m a Viking, a savage, dangerous and violent. I don’t give up when I see something I want. I’ve been searching for Ingrid my whole life; I just didn’t realize it until I looked into her blue eyes.

She will be mine. No matter what.


Warning: Hope you like your men filthy, brutal, and willing to slay for the woman he’s claimed, because in this story you’re getting it all and then some. It’s dirty, totally unbelievable, and probably holds no real historical facts, but it’s fun and hot and hits the right spot. It is what it is, so hang on and enjoy the ride.

The sound of a battle cry wrenched through the air. The men around me took a fighting stance. I searched the village, seeing nothing but flames and smoke. The shadows crept around where the flames didn’t lick.

A grunt.

A cry of pain.

The scent of blood in the air.

The feeling of my enemies life force covering me.

It all hit me suddenly, and I fell forward, bracing my hands in the dirt, my breathing labored. I could hear fighting all around me, and I expected any second that final blow that would end my life.

But it never came. And when the silence stretched on, I lifted my head and looked around. The Vikings who’d destroyed my village were around me, their bodies bloody and broken. My heart thundered, and my throat was dry. I couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t just the thick smoke that surrounded me like a cloak, but my fear of what was out there. Of who had killed my enemy.

And then I heard heavy footsteps coming closer, but the fire raged on, making it impossible to see anything. I tried to stand, but my legs didn’t want to work. I heard my heart thundering in my ears, felt the pulse at the base of my neck.

The man who came into view was not a savior, a hero that had saved the day. He might have killed the men who’d hurt me, but he was still a Viking. His short dark hair, the leather, fur, and blood from his enemies that he wore making it known he’d seen violence…he’d delivered it himself. But although he was the same as the ones who’d terrorized my village, he’d also killed them, stopped them before they could take from me what wasn’t freely offered.

And then I saw several more men step up behind him. It was clear they were with him, part of his clan, as their shields showed the same coloring, the same crest. Their focus was intense, their attention trained right on me. They conversed with each other in a dialect I wasn’t familiar with. When the Viking in front of me started speaking, this time to me, I could only shake my head. I didn’t know if they meant me harm, or if they were worse than the ones they’d killed.

“Please, I don’t understand. I don’t know what’s happening.” I lifted my dirt and blood covered hands, knowing they were shaking. These Vikings probably didn’t understand me either.

“You’re afraid of us.” The one I’d seen first spoke to me, his words clear and his accent thick. He knew my language.

“Yes,” I whispered. There wasn’t any point in lying. He could see how clear my fear was. It was written along my body, in telltale signs.

“You have nothing to fear from us.” He held his hand out to me, and although maybe I still should have been afraid, should have tried to outrun them, to escape, the truth was I did feel safe. I didn’t know if they were telling me the truth, but they’d killed the men who had destroyed my home, who had been about to do unspeakable things to me. They could have harmed me ten times over by now, but they didn’t, they hadn’t.

So I lifted my shaking hand and slipped it into his bigger one, his palm covered in blood, his strength clear.

He helped me to stand, and I had to crane my neck back to stare into his face. He was huge, his body wide, muscular. I could see his eyes, a bright blue that didn’t look soft. I could see the violence and danger reflected in them, staring right into my very being. I was aware of the destruction around us, of the bodies littering our feet. I could even feel the other two men watching us.

I knew I should say something, anything, but I was lost in this hazy feeling of confusion, slight fear and…warmth.

And then he leaned down slightly so we were eye to eye. He lifted his hand, cupped my cheek, and said in a voice so deep, so masculine I couldn’t help but shiver, “You’re mine, female.”

I didn’t know what my fate was, but at this point I had nothing else to lose.   

Jenika Snow is a USA Today Bestselling Author that lives in the northwest with her husband and their two daughters. Before she started writing full-time she worked as a nurse.

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“Pieces of Heaven” by Natasha Madison #ReleaseBlitz

I didn’t want this life.

But sometimes you’re forced to make the best of the crappy hand you’ve been dealt. I wanted to teach my daughter that. No matter what happens you face your problems head-on.

Never cower. Never give up.

Then someone took her and I had to put my faith in a system that had failed me, and my hope in a man I didn’t know.

Serve. Honor. Protect, are the only things I’ve ever cared about until her case was dropped on my desk. As we searched for her missing daughter, the last woman I thought I’d fall in love with became my reason for living.

Then the world came crashing down around us.

One secret would change everything, but I had one more hand to be dealt. And if I played my cards right, maybe, just maybe we’d get our piece of heaven.

Chapter Eleven
Marissa

The bells over the door ring every single time someone walks in. I’ve been on edge ever since I got in this morning. Lucky for me it’s been non-stop people coming in, so my mind hasn’t been able to wander to Lori.

Now that it has been quiet and I’m filling the salt and pepper shakers, my mind wanders. It wanders to my baby girl, who is somewhere out there begging to come home. The sound of her voice plays in my head on repeat. My hands start to shake, so I close my eyes and sit down on a chair before my knees buckle.

I blink away the tears threatening to fall over, my heart starting to beat so fast I hear the echoes in my ears. A plate of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and gravy is shoved in front of me. Phyllis’s eyes greet me when I look up.

“Eat that and then go home. You are done for the day. You’ve been here for fourteen hours.”
I look over at the clock hanging behind the counter that reads 8 p.m., realizing she’s right.

“I’m just going to finish filling the shakers then I’ll take off.” I know she’s about to argue with me when the bell over the door rings again, making us both look up.

His eyes find me right away. My heart that was starting to calm down is now speeding up. I focus on my meal, cutting a piece of meatloaf and dipping it in the gravy before popping it into my mouth. I try to ignore the heat of his stare, try to think of anything but him and that naked woman from last night. His girlfriend. I was so stupid to think that he would actually want me. I’m a used up stripper whose daughter ran away from home. I’m the opposite of what he wants or needs.

The chair in front of me is filled with his big frame. The scent of his aftershave, of cologne lingers around us. Musky, rich, and woodsy. It’s the smell that has seeped its way into my memory along with the way his lips felt on mine. The way that I just fit, like I was made for him. I blink away the memory, looking up at him.

“All the seats in this place are open and you sit in front of me?” I ask him before scooping up more food. I didn’t notice how hungry I was till I started eating.

“You didn’t text me back.” His voice is hard, his muscles tight, his jaw ticking.

I take out my phone. “Oh, I put the do not disturb on under your name. Maybe that’s why.”

My phone is snapped out of my hand in a blink of an eye. “What the fuck?” I see him touching the screen angrily and turning it off.

“You know you’re doing that for nothing since I can turn it on again?” I finish off my whole plate, making my stomach hurt since it’s the first thing I’ve eaten since last night.

“What if I had information on Lori?” Bulls-eye, hit straight through my heart. He must see the color drain from my face as I realize that I fucked up. I’m not going to admit it to him, though.

“I don’t have Jackson’s number blocked, and he would have called me.” I shrug my shoulders, picking up my plate to bring it to the gray bussing bin.

Walking over, I wipe down the table right when Phyllis comes out from the kitchen.
“There you are! I have your order ready. It’s being boxed up. Did you want dessert with that?”

His eyes never leave mine. “No, that’s okay. Thanks, Phyllis.”

I grab my phone from him, putting it in the front pocket of my waitress pouch. “I’m taking off. My feet are killing me. See you tomorrow, Phyllis.”

I don’t wait for her to say anything to me before I walk out the door to my car. Turning it on, I drive home, determined not to give Mick another minute of my thoughts. Just one problem with that plan, though. No one mentioned to my head that I wasn’t thinking about him because his eyes flash in my mind, the hard lines around them. The sorrow that is buried there, the sadness that he thinks no one sees but is there, if you look long enough.

I make my way into my apartment, taking my shoes off my throbbing feet at the door.

Walking into the kitchen, I take out the tips from my pocket and count them out. Three hundred and seventeen dollars. Two hundred of that is going to that damn debt that I’m still paying off. I can’t fucking wait till it’s over. I walk over to Lori’s room like I do every single night, turning on the light to see if maybe something has been misplaced or moved.

I’ve put scotch tape on the drawers to alert me if they’ve been opened, but it’s still intact. I’ve labeled her clothes hanging in the closet by number, and I count them, seeing that none have been taken either.

The bed is exactly how she left it. I crawl into her bed and grab her pillow, breathing in her scent. Tears run down my face, seeping into the pillow. This has become my nightly routine. I sleep here so I’m closer to her. I lie in this bed, talking to her. Telling her about my day, praying that she calls me again. I tell her stories about when she was small, about the day they placed her in my arms. The tears never stop. It’s like an endless river.

The soft knock at the door has me raising my head. Walking slowly to the door, I look through the peephole and see that Mick is in the hallway. His hands are braced against the doorframe, his head hanging down.

I place my forehead on the door, take a deep breath in, and open the door. His eyes land right on mine. The tears continue to roll down my cheeks, right off my chin on their way to the floor. He brings his thumb up to my chin, catching them.
“Marissa,” he whispers, and it’s all I can do before I collapse into his arms, sobbing. Begging. Pleading with him to bring her back to me.

He picks me up and carries me inside. Sitting on the couch with me curled into a ball in his lap, my tears soak his shirt. I’m so exhausted from the fear, stress, and worry. I’m just too tired to move.

“I’m a good mom,” I whisper to him. “I was tough on her only because I wanted better for her. Wanted her out of this life. Wanted her to be something.” My hand lies on his chest, the beat of his heart pounding against my palm.

“I know, baby, I know.”
I don’t say anything more. I just continue to soak up the feeling of his heart beating as it calms me. My eyes droop, and the exhaustion drags me under.

I don’t move from this position all night. I wake the next morning with the same heart beating against my hand.

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

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