Children’s Book, Children’s Fantasy and magical realism
Published: January 2021
Publisher: GZ Books
Alma’s life changed when she discovered an adorable tiny creature inside an almond. She named her Almondine and it became her secret. But as the curious and funny little girl grew, something strange and magical began to happen.
Enriched with elegant illustrations on nearly every page, Almondine is the first title in a trilogy narrating the adventures of two very special girls.
The Almondine Book Series follows the life and adventures of a teeny-weeny girl born from an almond tree. Illustrated on nearly every page, the story’s overarching themes of friendship, family relationships and adventure aim to engage mostly with primary school readers. http://www.almondine.club
About the Almondine Series:
Almondine is a three part book series following the life and adventures of a teeny-weeny girl born from an almond tree. She is discovered by 8-year-old Alma, who takes care of her as a baby and young girl, and with whom she shares many unexpected experiences. Almondine is a very special little girl indeed, with a crazy story to tell and an explosive surprise in store for her dear foster mother and friend Alma.
Illustrated on nearly every page, the story’s overarching themes of friendship, family relationships and adventure aim to engage mostly with primary school readers.
Gabriele Zucchelli is an animation director, whose work includes cartoon characters, realistic animals and fantastical creatures. He has contributed to several hand-drawn productions and blockbuster CGI movies including Harry Potter, Disney’s latest Lion King and the Oscar-winning Jungle Book. The Almondine trilogy is his first series of children’s novels.
Natalia has always known that she was promised to a man of her fathers choosing. She’s 25 years his junior, & she’s been promised to him since birth. However, after the Novello brothers, come to the aid of her father Frank, everything changes.
Frank is king of the underworld. The Don of NYC. He has money, drugs, guns, thriving businesses and half the police force under his belt. So when he offers the brothers payment for helping him, he’s surprised when the only thing they demand is Natalia.
Unable to refuse their offer, Frank reluctantly hands over his only daughter to the Novello brothers and a war breaks out between the three families.
When duty and jealousy collide, the flames of temptation are fanned and the only thing standing in the way of bloodshed and war is the promise of seduction from the virgin daughter of Frank Costello.
Can there ever be life after the Brotherhood take their payment from her? Or does the ultimate betrayal lie in her own blood?
Meet the Author
Claire C. Riley is a USA Today and International Bestselling author.
She lives in the United Kingdom with her husband, three daughters, and ridiculously naughty rescue beagle, Dogface. She loves dresses with pockets and is obsessed with 80’s movies.
A deadly sniper is killing people in groups of three. Miami Detective Al Warner hates senseless murder, but the second set of targets provides several possible motives. One victim is brain dead but alive, reliant on life support. The FBI ID’s the shooter as The Shadow, an elusive, nameless contract killer they’ve hunted for two decades.
Charles Seagrave and his lover, Kim, are on a desperate search for a rare blood type liver donor for his nephew, Hunter, who only has months to live. The Shadow’s brain-dead victim is a possible candidate, but his mother won’t accept her son will never recover.
The Shadow drops more victims, another coincidentally a donor match for Hunter. Warner doesn’t trust happenstance and a secondary investigation opens a door into a deadly black market organ ring. As the detective races to uncover the illegal labs and stem those patient deaths, he learns Seagrave is dogging the Shadow’s victims’ families in hopes of a private donation.
A chance connection finally leads Warner to the assassin. In a shocking twist of exposed identities and astounding revelations, The Shadow escapes. Has Warner finally met his match? The fight to save Hunter and Warner’s mission to apprehend The Shadow results in a battle that may prove deadly for all.
The time had come for people to begin dying.
I cracked open the door and my eyes swept the roof. Deserted. No surprise, considering the already intensified South Florida morning sun, as it arced above the distant palm trees. Mirrored sunglasses donned, I tugged the brim of a Marlins ball cap down to shade my eyes from the glare.
There, I spied what was needed near the eastern parapet . . . a three-foot-high steel mechanical box. Perfect. It offered a clear view of Bayfront Park, just across Biscayne Boulevard. I crouched and hurried across the roof’s black-tarred surface, my backpack and an oversized guitar case slung over my shoulder.
Shrugging off both, I removed a bedroll and spread it across the green top of the metal case. Latex gloves ensured I’d leave no prints or DNA. I flipped open the case and removed the pieces, taking less than a minute to assemble the rifle. A moment later, sprawled atop the flannel blanket and facing east, I loaded a 12.7mm round into the weapon’s breach, jacked four more into the magazine, and snapped it in place. More fire power than needed.
I arched my neck and took a quick preview of the landscape, then shed the gloves and pocketed them. A compact wind gauge set on the coping gave me direction and speed of the currently mild breeze.
I settled the weapon’s bipod on the metal surface. A gentle exhale quieted my heart before making preliminary adjustments to the telescopic sight. Right eye against the scope, I tweaked the focus and began a scan of the area.
There, the bus stop at NE 1st Street; and to the right, a path exiting the park. With a minor correction to the Leupold 5×25 scope, I swept the grounds, spotting the famous headless torso sculpture bordering the winding path.
Three joggers bobbed along the paths: a fit, thirty-ish woman coming toward me, a paunchy guy in his 50’s heading away, and a young jock—probably mid-twenties—on a crosswalk. Two kneeling Latino gardeners planted spring annuals along the trail. Drifting left out along Biscayne Boulevard, I located morning foot traffic striding along the walk, all apparent business-types on their way to offices in Miami’s financial district—a myriad of opportunities.
I sighed again, spread my legs a bit wider, and steadied my base as I fitted the butt of the TAC-50 snug against my shoulder. My clenched jaw required a wiggle to relieve tension as I sucked in a measured breath. This begins the first act, spawned from hours of scouting, detailed research, and the endless target practice at a remote ’Glades savannah: something very different from my usual contracts and using a new tool I’d come to love.
Now to initiate a reign of terror that will obscure my real motive. While I wasn’t the first at this scenario, mine was certainly the cleverest. No time for qualms, because as they say, the end justifies the means.
Been there, done that before, but this was the first time it was personal. Innocents sometimes perished to achieve a greater goal, but never before at my hand. That was about to change.
Who first? Ahh, the woman, just about to exit the park. I steadied her rhythmically loping body in the telescopic sight. Eleven hundred meters—an easy shot to baptize my deadly, new McMillan sniper rifle, acquired on the dark web. A soft breath eased from my lungs, and my lips tightened with resolve as I smoothly squeezed the trigger.
The sound-suppressed rifle emitted a quiet, high-pitched pop. The woman’s blond hair billowed out in a red-stained cloud, tossing her peaked cap away as the huge slug caught her left temple while in mid-stride. The impact slammed her to the ground as the exit wound blew half of her face away.
I blinked to moisten my eye and swung the scoped rifle left toward Biscayne Boulevard, searching for my next target. There, a guy hurrying along the walk, briefcase in hand, unaware of the mayhem just occurring behind him. I made a minor sight adjustment, exhaled, and squeezed off the next shot, catching him squarely between the shoulder blades. The big slug drove him across the walk, flattening him face down along the grassy border. Red spatter peppered the path in front of him. There was a loud yelp and a third victim, fifty-feet in front, tumbled over, clutching his shoulder.
I grunted and then pivoted my attention back to the park.
Hmm. Two with one shot. Unexpected consequences, but of little concern at the moment. One of the gardeners straightened by the flower bed. A hand shaded his eyes as he searched for the source of the sudden ruckus.
The rifle emitted a soft burp and my third shot pitched the kneeling man backward, arms flung wide, as he took the round on the breastbone.
No pause required to examine the results. I knew all three shots had been instantly fatal. The fourth, unplanned victim must have caught a ricochet of the super-sonic slug as it blew through my victim and bounced off the concrete walkway. Just some collateral damage. There’ll be a lot more of that soon enough.
I slipped off the steel box and pulled the rifle and bedroll down. Scampering around in a squat, I collected and pocketed the three still-hot spent casings and snatched up my backpack and guitar case. Duck-walking away from the tile-topped parapet of the tall office building, I reached the exit door. I hunkered in the shadows and folded the rifle’s bipod, removed the detachable scope and stock, and replaced them in my customized guitar case. Glancing up, I wondered if someone in the nearby taller apartment buildings noticed my activity. Speed now was essential.
I shrugged on the backpack with the bedroll already fastened on top. With the cased weapon slung over a shoulder, I hurried through the door toward the staircase. It would be a long trip down on foot, but no problem for someone aerobically fit as me. The stairs were an extra precaution, because a homeless musician might be remembered if spotted riding the elevator.
Reaching the ground floor, I eased open the door and searched the building’s lobby.
Any possible onlookers would see an innocuous street guy taking a shortcut across the marble-floored foyer, headed for a rear door that exited to the parking lot. Hurrying between rows of cars and past the next building on NE 3rd Avenue, I strode north toward my beige Honda CRV. It sat at the curb with eight minutes still on the meter. My backpack and gun case found the floor in front of the back seat. A moment later, I slipped into the driver’s side, started the engine, and hustled north on NW 2nd Avenue, heading for Interstate 395.
It had begun.
The first move of many to come—Miami about to become the center of panic again, and it would stay that way until the completion of this mission.
Speculation would abound about my motive, but I doubted anyone would come close to my real goal. Even the famed Detective Al Warner was unlikely to make this connection.
I sighed. Time is in short supply, but I have to get it done. No excuses. The next round of kills will be the one that counts, but I can’t stop there if I’m to continue misdirecting the cops. This is different from anything I’ve ever done for hire.
I contemplated my next move as I sped north, now on I-95. After things cooled for a few days, I’d head for Hollywood in south Broward County. Its main library was one I’d not yet visited. I took obsessive care not to leave any pattern or Internet trail for some clever detective to discover.
A blond wig and a pair of uncorrected tortoise-shell glasses were in a small bag on the passenger seat. Every library required the use of a different disguise.
Once this is over, life should return to my new normal. Had it only been six months? I shook my head and breathed another sigh.
Such unreasonable schedule restrictions. I grunted. Careful planning and sharp execution would triumph, as always. I’ve been on a tight wire more than once. Anyone getting in the way would not make it out alive.
They never did.
About The Author
George A. Bernstein, now living in south Florida, is the retired President of a modest, publicly held appliance manufacturer. He spent years attending writing seminars and conferences, learning to polish his work and developing a strong “voice.” George is acclaimed by his peers as a superb wordsmith and a crafter of surprise endings no one expects. He works with professional editors to ensure his novels meet his own rigorous standards, and all of his books are currently published by small indie press, GnD Publishing LLC, in which he has an interest.
“Sniper” is the fifth of his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, with the first four; “Death’s Angel;” “Born to Die;” “The Prom Dress Killer;” and “White Death” all garnering rave reviews. His Detective Al Warner has attracted many fans, with readers likening Warner to James Patterson’s Alex Cross.
Bernstein’s first novel, “Trapped,” was a winner in a small Indie publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and received high praise, gaining many mostly 5-star reviews, reaching “Top 100” status. His second novel, “A 3rd Time to Die” (A paranormal Romantic Suspense) has also garnered mostly 5-Star & 4-Star reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.
Bernstein is also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, setting a baker’s dozen IGFA World Records, mostly on fly-rods. He’s written the popular “Toothy Critters Love Flies”, the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.
Skyla Overland is proud to work for Overland Insurance, the company founded by her grandfather. She enjoys sharing an apartment with her best friend, Pauline, and is in love with Edmond. Besides one nerve-wracking insurance fraud case in the past, her sheltered life is uneventful and just the way she likes it.
Until one day, everything changes…
Skyla and Troy, the manager at Overland Insurance, are the last ones to leave the office. In the empty parking lot, Troy takes her in his arms. Why would he ruin their easy-going friendship by kissing her, especially since he knows she’s dating Edmond?
Left alone, Skyla hurries to her car, puts on her seatbelt, and glances in her rearview mirror.
The face of a stranger grins at her from the backseat. “How nice to see you again,” he hisses close to her ear.
Regaining consciousness, Skyla finds herself on the backseat of her own car, with her hands tied behind her back. Is she getting kidnapped? Who is he? And where is he taking her?
About the Author
Ramcy Diek fell in love with the United States during her travels with her husband. The Pacific Northwest became their new home, where they built up their RV Park and raised their two sons.
During this time, Ramcy also made a slow transition from reader to multi-genre writer. Her debut novel “Storm at Keizer Manor” received multiple awards. This inspired her to spend more time doing what she loves most: writing stories.
Eagles in Flight, a romantic suspense novel, is her second book. Her third novel “Overland”, a dramatic thriller, followed in November 2020.
Follow her on Social Media to stay informed about the release of her next novels. She loves to hear from you.
I’m happy to welcome author M.L. Tarpley to Nesie’s Place today! She writes stories of adventure, friendship, and fun that transport kids to amazing places across the world. She is also an award-winning journalist and world traveler. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her other interests include hanging out at cool coffee shops, listening to vintage records, going on adventures with her family, and researching dead people in her family from long ago (*cough* it’s called genealogy). M.L. lives in Louisiana with her husband and son.
M.L., in Maylie and the Maze you have a ten-year-old protagonist who dreams of being an author, and she has a twin brother who just wants to cause trouble. They’re traveling with family through Europe, so I know there will be an adventure. What was your inspiration for the story? Are you a twin?
Great question, but no, I am not a twin. When the character of Maylie came into my mind, she just came with a twin brother (lol). Maylie and Camden are loosely based off my oldest niece and nephew who both turned ten this year. They are only five months apart in age and therefore we tend to think of them as twins. I actually sent the illustrator photos of them to model the characters after them. They’re pretty proud of that fact and love that I used them as inspiration. I also dedicated this book to all my nieces and nephews. 😊
The inspiration for the actual story is to show kids that you can go after your dreams no matter what roadblocks stand in your way. Throughout this series, I want kids to have a chance to travel the world through fiction and along the way learn a bit. I’ve tapped into my own first-hand experiences from traveling to over a dozen countries and filtered them through Maylie’s eyes.
In this instance, the story is set in England, particularly at Leeds Castle in southern England. The castle is absolutely gorgeous! It’s known as the “loveliest castle in the world” for a reason. And it’s nearly 1,000 years old. Isn’t that amazing?!
According to the official Leeds Castle website, it has been a Norman stronghold, the private property of six of England’s medieval queens, a palace used by King Henry VIII, a Jacobean country house, a Georgian mansion, an elegant retreat for the rich and famous, and today, it is one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.
There’s not just a castle but a hedge maze and over 500 acres of gardens, parkland, and wildlife. There are also a host of activities and attractions including falconry demonstrations, a dog collar museum, zipline and Segway tours, playgrounds, miniature golf, and more.
Do you have a favorite character in the story?
I have to say Maylie first of all because there is so much of me within her. Me from when I was ten. Me now. Subtle things. I even read my diaries from when I was her age to get into my head then and to remember what all I cared about and observed. It was so interesting and funny too! I’m so glad I wrote in diaries and kept them all these years.
What is your work schedule like when writing a book?
I work full-time as a newspaper reporter and photographer and I’m also a wife and mom, so I have a pretty busy schedule. I usually squeeze in my writing time on my lunch breaks, during naptimes and late at night. I am a night owl, so it works out well I think. I write most nights from about 8 to 11 p.m. When you want to write, you just got to make the time for it.
When did you write your first book?
I was age 12 when I wrote my first novel. I had written a lot of short stories before then. That novel was a great learning tool for me, and it showed me that I could, in fact, write a novel. I am not going to tell you it was a very good first attempt, but it was an attempt, which is the important part. If you don’t start writing, you can’t get better. I didn’t start working on another novel thought for ten years. I was busy writing essays and short stories for school and then papers and news articles in college. But when I was 22 I started dabbling in writing fiction again. I started taking writing classes and attending conferences and reading books on the craft of writing fiction.
Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?
I am self-published. I actually started my own publishing imprint this year to publish my books and later on books for other people. The publishing process has a large learning curve, but I really love the complete freedom I had to make my books the exact way I envisioned them to be.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love to travel the world with my family (or just around Louisiana where I live). Obviously in 2020, I haven’t been able to travel much, so I have done so through fiction and TV/movies. I also love genealogy research to learn more about where my ancestors came from. It’s so fascinating!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be either an actress or a writer. I knew one day I wanted to be a published author and maybe a journalist. I can say I’ve done a bit of all three. I have done community theater. I am a journalist and now I am a published author. Hooray!
What’s your next project?
I’ve written the next book in the series and will start working with the illustrator soon on it. It will publish in Spring 2021. I am currently writing the third book, which will release Fall 2021. I am also working on a picture book series and have the idea for a chapter book series stirring in my mind.
I also recently published a non-fiction book called Young Writer’s Kit: A Guide for Young Writers that teaches kids how to write fiction and includes a fun genre matching game, writing prompts, and more. It’s a companion to MAYLIE AND THE MAZE and is currently available for purchase on Amazon.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Make sure to read the genre you are writing to get a feel for how it’s done. Also don’t talk down to kids. Tap into that kid that’s still inside of you and how you would have reacted to what you’ve written. Invest the time to learn the craft of writing. Read craft books like Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass or Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole. Do writing prompts. Practice. To do anything well we have to put in the time and effort. Writing is no different.
Thanks so much, M.L. and thanks for leaving us this short excerpt from Maylie and the Maze.
“What’s with all the paper?”
Maylie sighed. “I’m trying to write a story to submit to my favorite magazine. But—” She swept her hand out. “—as you can see, it’s not going very well. I can’t finish a story. I try and try, and I just can’t. Something’s wrong with me.”
Her aunt smiled and put an arm around her shoulders. “May, there isn’t anything wrong with you. Don’t give up. You’ll get there. Photography wasn’t easy for me when I started either.”
Maylie couldn’t imagine it being hard for her.
Aunt Layla had an incredible job as a photographer for international travel magazines. She was always going on worldwide adventures.
And she was the reason Maylie, Camden, and their grandmother, Sue, who they called Grandma Suey, were going on a summer-long trip across Europe as her aunt covered photo assignments.
Maylie frowned. “No way. I’m sure you’ve always taken amazing photos.” She pointed to her
wall at a framed photo of African lions lying under a tree and another one of the shining Eiffel Tower. “You’re famous!”
And it was true.
Her aunt was famous. Her photos from across the world were published in dozens of magazines. She’d even been interviewed on television.
Her aunt rolled her eyes. “Not always. I had to do the work, prove myself as one of the best, and take a lot of bad pictures first.”
She sat back and studied Maylie. “You remind me of myself, May. You always have. There’s a curiosity within you and a determination to follow your dreams. Keep at it. When I was serious about taking the kind of photos that people wanted to publish I traveled to Europe for the first time, and it helped inspire me. It could do the same for you.”
Inspiration? That was what Maylie needed. And she had to prove herself and write not only a good story but the best one.
Maybe her aunt was right, and their trip would somehow help her. She smiled. “Thanks, Aunt Layla.”
“You’re welcome.” She bumped Maylie’s arm. “Maybe we’ll have a little fun along the way too.”
Maylie hid a grimace. Her aunt’s version of fun—mountain climbing, scuba diving, and chasing wild animals on a safari—didn’t match hers. She shuddered thinking of hanging upside down off cliffs, getting bitten by a shark, or mauled by a lion. No, thanks!
Her aunt must have seen the fear on her face.
“I’m not taking you to the jungle or under the ocean, Maylie. It’s only Europe. In fact—”
She stood and pointed to a spot on the huge world map stuck to the wall that she’d given Maylie last year on her ninth birthday. “—we’re starting here—London, England. One of my favorite cities in the world. It’s the first European city I ever visited. You’re sure to find inspiration there too.”
Maylie looked around her room at everything familiar and comfortable. She petted her cat. The thought of leaving her best friend, Sarah, and even her little sister, Jayna, fluttered her insides.
“But I’m not brave like you, and I’ve never been anywhere. What if everything goes wrong?”
Her mind raced to its place of twirling, swirling what-if scenarios that her best friend liked to call her “extreme zone.”
London might not be the danger her aunt usually faced, but what if there was a plane crash, or she got hit by a bus, or their train was robbed?
She imagined being tied to a railroad track by an evil grinning man with a curled moustache like she’d seen in a cartoon. How would she survive that?
Maylie felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see her aunt’s subtle smile. “It’s going to be all right.”
She helped Maylie up and with a grin said, “Finish up here, then let the adventure begin!”
You can also see M.L. read chapter one!
Title: Maylie and the Maze
Will Maylie’s dream be crushed by her own imagination?
Ten-year-old Maylie Montes’s dream is to become an author, but she has a problem. She can’t finish a story. Not a single one.
Her second problem is Camden, her annoying twin brother, who is determined to ruin their summer traveling through Europe with their famous photographer aunt and spunky grandma.
The first stop is England where a castle and maze, a new British friend, and a lot of weird words await Maylie—but the first item on her itinerary is to learn how to write, so she can finally finish a story. However, this goal may land her a one-way ticket home after her writing targets her brother in a spooky story involving a nighttime maze full of monsters. And Camden has his own plans, leaving Maylie to wonder if her imagination has actually become a reality.
Master Chef Michael Rogan owns a world-renowned restaurant, is married to his college sweetheart, and has a daughter beginning college. His life is as picturesque as their mountaintop retreat overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
That is until Frederick Dalton, an old Army buddy turned Warden at San Quentin, drifts in from the past with an odd request. He will release Michael’s estranged father—serving time on Death Row for the murder of his wife 30 years ago—in exchange for one small favor. Michael declines.
Michael’s life is once again disrupted when his estranged brother Scott arrives unexpectedly looking for a job. Michael reluctantly agrees and things soon head sideways.
Scott is found dead in the restaurant’s freezer, with a knife in his chest. Police want to believe Michael’s alibi, but the facts say otherwise.
Charged with murder, and facing his father’s same nightmarish confinement, Michael must face his worst nightmare and choose how far he will go to regain his freedom.
About the Author
David Temple has worked as a Top 5 Morning Radio Host, an Actor in both Television & Film, and has had decades of experience as an International Voiceover Artist. He turned his very first self-published book into the award-winning independent film, Chasing Grace, where it currently lives on several on-demand services such as Netflix, AmazonPrime, and Pureflix, and plays daily in over 100 countries around the world.
His Carter Matheson Series features a retired special ops assassin who works to keep his family, friends and country out of harms way. The thriller series includes: Lucky Strikes, Behind The 8 Ball, and Knuckle Down.
David’s latest character is Detective Pat Norelli, a rookie detective with beauty, brains and a determination to solve any case. The Poser is available now, and the sequel, The Impostor, arrives in early 2021.
Stay tuned for his next page-turning release, the psychological thriller Devour, releasing 10.06.20.
When not writing, you can find David running along the Pacific Coast, or climbing any one of California’s majestic mountains with his wife Tammy. They live north of San Diego.
The White Field is a fast-paced journey of a man, Tom, fresh out of prison
and trying desperately to rebuild his life. But he is caught by mysterious,
unseen forces beyond his knowledge or control. After his release from
prison, he is dropped back into the world in the wastelands of the city. In
the menial work afforded the underclass, he begins his new life among
characters at the edges of society, dwellers of the netherworld such as
Raphael, a former cop from Mexicali singing Spanish arias in the mists of
the industrial night among drug addicts and crooked cops; Tony, a stoner
scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge of history based solely on the
intricate study of rock and roll; and Larry, the bloated, abusive manager
trapped as much as his workers in a world of tedium and repetition and
machines. Think, The Three Stooges on acid. Unable to reconnect with
what’s left of his family, Tom embarks on a criminal path more
harrowing than the one that led him to prison in the first place. Lured in
by the nefarious, Thane, he slips into a plan that will leave him with no
way back. And with no place left in this world to go but prison, he makes
one last run for freedom. Will he escape?
Praise for The White Field:
“The White Field is a rabid yet tender odyssey into the oscillating
abyss of an ex- convict degenerating into redemption. Cole writes with
haunting splendor, illuminating the dreams of the doomed.”
—Matthew Dexter, author of The Ritalin Orgy
“Author Douglas Cole’s breakneck prose places us squarely in
the hectic mind of a man influenced from all sides, seeking a life free from
fear. The result is a stunning narrative that is simultaneously frightening
and familiar.” —Kerri Farrell Foley, Managing Editor Crack The
I walked into the sun. It seared the road and the rooftops, intense, blinding. I went up Eighty-Eighth Street through the homes and the old elms with their heavy summer growth and darkness along their limbs, light strobing through the shadows. I knew someone might recognize me. They might even call the police. But I couldn’t resist. I was free, now. Nobody could touch me.
Only those who cared, and by now there were none, would have known my
release date. My wife may have known. At one time, I imagined her writing it
on a wall calendar, marking off each day leading up to it with a big, black
X. But I knew I’d fallen far from her thoughts.
I couldn’t be sure of my children, though. They were so young when I
went in they could have forgotten all about me. My wife had remarried. Very
likely they called her new husband daddy. Very likely, they thought he was.
Events had erased me. After all, I’d made no contact. And while I had
no idea what my wife might have told them, unless she’d changed in
ways I couldn’t foresee, I knew she’d tell them the truth if
they asked and say nothing if they didn’t. At worst, they believed I
And that life seemed like something unreal. There were no traces of it
around here. But my sense of time was way off. From counting, literally,
minutes as they passed, I went into a vast timeless trancezone where whole
years vanished. In the midst of this, I reemerged from time to time to peer
into my little cell of life with seconds hanging like drops of water on a
window ledge and refusing to fall. But now, walking this street, I was the
last person anyone around here was expecting to see.
So, as I went up Eighty-Eighth to the old house, I had this strange feeling
that I was invisible. In the dusk light, I saw the windows of the houses
blazing. Commuters on their way home shot by and curved around the meridians
in the intersections, their faces steel traps that snapped and flashed
mirror eyes and grim lips and frenzy, frenzy for home, motion so fast they
blurred into tracer ribbons. And the sun only cloaked me that much more.
Even my shadow was a rail.
And I heard it, that high tension ping, like my own past ringing from the
driveway and those days when I was a kid, too, playing into evening as our
faces disappeared in the darkness with only the square of the backboard
above and the black sphere of the ball and the heat and breath of the other
players around me. Then I saw them, three boys playing basketball in the
driveway. One was a tall gangly kid with long black hair and ripped jeans
and a T-shirt with the word ENEMY printed on it. Another kid stood beside
him, but the light made it hard to see his features. Then, the ball landed
on the rim, bounced up, arced over to the other side of the rim, hung there
suspended in the net for a moment and then dropped through. The third boy
stood back from his shot with his hands on his hips, breathing hard, turning
his head slowly as I saw, I swear, my own face there in front of me.
With a brow of concentration like a hawk’s predatory gaze, he looked
at me as our eyes locked for an eternal moment that I thought carried some
recognition, but the moment changed before I could read it.
Then, I was passing on, and my son returned to his game.
About the Author
Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry, a novella and has a
novel, The White Field, coming out in September with Touchpoint Press. His
work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The Chicago Quarterly
Review, The Galway Review, Bitter Oleander, Louisiana Literature and
Slipstream. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart and Best of the Net
and received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry. He lives and teaches
in Seattle. His website is https://douglastcole.com/.
#1 BEST PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM WINTER 2020 by ThrillerFix.com An Amazon Top 30 best seller!
A marriage filled with secrets. A murder that threatens to reveal them all.
When Hannah meets Mark during a chance encounter, she finds herself saying yes to him for the first time. With an immediate first date, the two begin a whirlwind romance. Soon, Hannah is saying yes to everything Mark asks of her. These decisions quickly alter the world she once knew. Within months, they become inseparable, and she says yes to moving, marriage, and unbeknownst to her, a new existence filled with secrets, lies, and questions Hannah never thought she’d have to ask her husband.
When she discovers Mark’s darkest secret, her life begins to unravel, and she is forced to face her own hidden truths. Hannah worries she may be in too deep to protect them, to help Mark, or to do what she fears she might have to — escape.
Someone is lying. Someone is dead.
Who is telling the truth in this twisted domestic thriller, and when the police come knocking, the most important question is: whose lie turned deadly?
“Modglin’s most complex, layered, emotional, dark, and shocking book yet.” -Emerald O’Brien, Author of The Knox and Sheppard Mysteries
Ethan Henley traded in his suit, tie and Secret Service badge to mix drinks at the Game Changers Sports Bar he now co-owns with his childhood friends. Returning to their hometown where they’d been branded the “bad boys” wasn’t part of their plan, but now that they’re back, they’re determined to prove everyone in town wrong. For Ethan, that means making amends with the girl who’s heart he’d unintentionally broken during high school.
Portia Merin left Providence and the awkward life she’d led there behind long ago. After a messy breakup and her retaliation leads to her unintended stardom as a sex instructor on YouTube, she decided to roll with it—despite her lack of actual experience on the subject—and is now on tour to promote her first instructional book. Life’s looking pretty good for Portia right now, until the weather and her aunt’s will leave her stranded back in Providence and her old high school crush shows up with a copy of her book.
Delano “Del” Greer plays by the rules at all times. Especially after a scandal ruined his career at the police department and threatened to destroy his family’s reputation in his hometown of Providence. Now, he’s focused on establishing Game Changers as a reputable sports bar. Once a staunch adversary of social media, Del puts the success of the bar first and gives it a try, using a fake name of course. When his trial run quickly lands him in a steamy online affair he’s happy to play along, until he learns that the woman on the other end of those hot text messages is his sister’s best friend.
Working alongside her father at his auto body shop since she was six years old, Rylan Kent is the polar opposite of her beauty pageant winning sister. She’s been best friends With Terra Greer for about the same amount of time. So imagine Rylan’s surprise when she inadvertently learns the identity of the guy who responded to her drunken chat and continued to share explicit ways he could bring her pleasure. Now, Rylan has no idea how the temperamental and all-about-keeping-up-appearances Del is going to react when he finds out the woman he’s been talking sex with is actually the one he called “greasy-peasy” all through high school.
AC Arthur was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently resides with her husband, three children, grandson and an English bulldog named Vader. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since.Working in the legal field for over twenty-five years, AC has seen lots of horrific things and longs for the safe haven of a romance novel. To date, she has written in several genres: YA paranormal (w/a Artist Arthur), small town romance as Lacey Baker, and sexy contemporary and paranormal romance. With intriguing plots and sexy love scenes, AC brings a new edge to romance!
Agnes is 37, never been married, has two kids for a man who left her to marry a woman who wouldn’t add weight after childbirth, and owns a small pastry business she runs from her apartment. She is the description of what society calls an ‘old cargo’, a woman with kids whom no sane man would marry. She is okay with this reality and only lives to take care of her kids and grow her business.
Until Bass shows up at her door. He’s everything that’s wrong—he’s younger by seven years, he’s kind of an online celebrity, he’s her neighbour and her only friend’s cousin. It was a disaster waiting to happen but Bass thinks otherwise. Can Agnes dare believe his convincing words?