Friday, May 31, 2019

NELIEM by CLARE Di LISCIA




Neliem
Clare Di Liscia

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Month9Books

Date of Publication: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948671-37-8
ASIN:

Number of pages: 287

Cover Artist: AM Design Studios

Book Description:

Half the population of the island of Madera are dead, killed by an unforgiving and indiscriminate plague. Oriana dreams of escaping her life of ruthless cruelty from the people who now rule over those who remain. No telling whom the plague will strike next, Oriana means to find freedom for herself and her people. Drawing strength from ancient tales of her enemy, young Oriana transforms herself from victim to warrior with the help of a mysterious and powerful dagger given to her by a kind and dying boy.       
           
Years later, during her enemy’s betrothal ritual, Ezra, a boy she has never before seen, selects her as his mate. With servitude her only option, Oriana accepts the offer. Whisked away to a seemingly perfect world, Oriana discovers sinister secrets at every turn, including the identity of Tristan, a boy with whom she shares an undeniable but impossible connection.

Why would a boy she doesn’t know wish her to be his betrothed? Why does she feel such a strong pull toward a stranger? Someone in Ezra’s family not only knows the answer to both those questions, but also about the dagger Oriana possesses. He will do anything to stop the union. Now, with everything on the line, Oriana turns inward to find the strength she needs to seize the full power of the dagger so that she may protect herself and save her people.


Amazon


Excerpt:

Before I clear the field, I realize too late that it’s a trap. I have been herded like a sheep, far from the few scattered homes, toward the deserted cliffside where no one will hear my screams for help. Another boy with flaming red hair stands behind a tree waiting for me; I recognize him from the market. I can smell him, sweaty with a tangy sweetness that can only mean one thing. He’s been eating apples and waiting for some starving girl foolish enough to think she could steal some fruit.
I reach for my dagger, strength pulsating so deeply that I nearly drop it from my sweaty palm. Then, the voice of the boy of my dreams, whispers, “Hold it steady, Oriana. You can do this.”

I tuck all fear down deep within me. Later, I tell myself; later I will worry.

About the Author:


Born in Queens, New York, Clare Di Liscia moved to California as a small child and grew up in the hills by Dodger Stadium. Constantly roaming the woods, she took to embellishing on the stories of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck to fill her imagination. To her horror she soon realized there was no way to fit a miniature tuxedo on a frog. Fortunately in sixth grade, Clare won a short story contest with the grand prize of fifteen happy meals. She would like to point out that two of those meal tickets were missing by the time her mother handed over her prize. After traveling extensively throughout South America and the Caribbean, Clare attended KU Leuven, in Belgium for University where she studied Dutch and French. Clare graduated from Cal State Northridge Film School, earning Dean’s List recognition with a BA in TV/Film. In 2006 she placed in the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting beating out 4700 other applicants. After joining SCBWI, Clare won 1st place HM in the Sue Alexander for her YA novel, now titled NELIEM.





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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

RELEASE DAY! TRUDY HICKS GHOST HUNTER CASE 2 - THE KEPT


 
 
We're going to hit May out of the ballpark with this new release by Lori Zaremba. 
 
Trudy Hicks Ghost Hunter
Case Two-The Kept
Lori Zaremba

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Date of Publication: 5/28/2019

Number of pages:
Word Count:

Tagline:

Book Description

If anyone tells you hunting ghosts is less dangerous than chasing down real-life criminals, they’re wrong. Very, very wrong.

Case two takes us to a New Jersey Shore Inn. A beautiful, yet dead opera singer seems to be begging for help, but her pleas do nothing but terrorize the locals.

While trying to decipher the clues to her 1919 disappearance, uncovering hair-raising horrors, it becomes clear that Jason and I no longer see eye-to-eye.

Jason wants me to stop meddling with the supernatural. He wants me to stop risking my life by interacting with demons and spirits.

What he doesn’t understand is this is my life. These tortured souls need my help in order to move on. How do I walk away from that—from them?

But the better question is—how do I walk away from him?



Trudy Hicks Ghost Hunter Case One- The Deceit


Excerpt 1

The wind was knocked out of her, and she had landed hard. Somewhere nearby, it was breathing heavily. She had to listen over the short gasps for air that passed her lips and the barking dog that was ramming against the other side of the locked door. Trudy lay there frozen, exhausted…but not ready to die. Finally able to breathe, she sucked in the precious air that her body denied her a minute ago and realized a couple of ribs might have broken. She could taste the blood from the gash on her upper lip.
Knowing she had to find her way out of the room, Trudy got shakily to her feet and craned her neck to look for a weapon, anything she could use to hurt or at least distract the invisible demon that was attacking her. Ducking out of the way of a lamp that flew through the air in her direction and a pair of projectile candlesticks that impaled the wall behind her, she quickly dove to crouch beside a desk where she had been working just a few minutes earlier.
What the hell happened? A voice screamed inside her head over the snarl of her attacker. She and Dana were packing up to leave. They had helped the troubled spirit of John Thomas crossover, and the priest was blessing the house. Everything was peaceful. It was one of the most straightforward investigations to date. She even called Jason, who was coming to help her wrap up before taking her to his friend’s cottage on a nearby lake, telling him to take his time. She truly believed she had everything under control.
Rocky, the dog she recently rescued, was now howling, and she could hear Dana calling to her. Both sounded distraught. She knew if a miracle didn’t happen soon, she might be a goner.
Trudy felt the dark, rotten energy coming toward her again in a rush. Overcome by the smell of sulfur that made her gasp and stung her eyes, she willed her broken body to tumble under a nearby table then roll again when the thing picked that up and slammed it down, nearly crushing her.
Jumping awkwardly to her feet, mindless of her pain, Trudy felt a low vibration. Pictures from the wall and books from the shelves came at her at a high rate of speed. It took every bit of focus she had to block the onslaught of household items now being used as weapons of mass destruction. Trudy noticed a crucifix that had been hanging on the wall sailing past her on her right, and she grabbed it before dropping and crawling between the couch and coffee table. She could feel the vise-like grip around her ankle. Now what? She kicked her free leg in the hope of making some contact but found only air.
It pulled her rapidly toward the center of the room.
“Let go of me, you bastard!” Grabbing on to one of the desk legs, Trudy held on with every bit of strength she had left, but whatever was yanking her was too strong and pulled her free. Watching in awe and horror as the desk rocketed to the ceiling,where it hung suspended. With the crucifix still in her hand, she bellowed, “Stop in the name of Jesus Christ.”  The activity stopped for a short, sweet moment, and Trudy sucked in a shaky breath.
A low rumbling started, and before she knew it, the coffee table and sofa lifted to join the desk on the ceiling directly above her.
She weakly held up the cross again and watched in horror as the furnishings dropped loudly, piece by piece in rapid succession to the floor, nearly missing her as she awkwardly somersaulted out of the way. Trudy, lying in the fetal position in among the busted furniture, waited for the next attack. The room was quiet and still. She tried to climb to her knees, but the pain in her midsection stopped her. Suddenly lightheaded, she gasped for air as nausea consumed her.
The energy in the room changed, and a swirling mist appeared to gather around her. Am I dying? The images around her grew fuzzy. From somewhere behind, she heard a loud bang, and before she knew what was happening, she was tumbling into open space.


About the Author:

Lori Zaremba is a full-time Internet Sales Manager and writes Web Content as well as providing Copy Editing for businesses in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Lori has published short ghost stories on Your Ghost Stories, as the Haunted_Cleaner and on her website lorizaremba.com

On her website, lorizaremba.com, Zaremba refers to herself as the ghost magnet and briefly describes her encounters with departing spirits.

Lori began writing her fiction story as a creative offering of why a ghost would haunt.  Before long the story became a novel Case One: The Deceit in the Trudy Hicks Ghost Hunter series.

Lori currently lives in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with her husband Wayne and two fur babies Jaxson and Stewie.






Monday, May 27, 2019

INTERVIEW WITH SHREEN VEDAM (Warlock from Wales)


 
SC: And just like that we're into a new week, and we have author Shereen Vedam visiting with us. Welcome, Shereen.
Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.
SV: The heroine from Warlock from Wales is a human female who is about to encounter something she’s never experienced. A magical spell will be cast on her. A demon will be determined to devour her. And when she is tasked with uncovering the history of an alien race, a member of that race sets out to ensure his people’s secret stays hidden from the world by any means possible.
Just one of those circumstances would send any of us screaming for help. Mary Bryght, however, will live up to her name and try to overcome her challenges in Warlock from Wales, Book 2 of The Cauldron Effect series.
SC:Magic and aliens? Do I even need to ask this question? Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
SV: There’s just been too much evidence to question it.
My first and more dramatic paranormal experience would have to be the day my mother died. I was miles away in another city when it happened. I was deep-frying my dinner and the pan burst into flames.
I was young and an idiot. I didn’t know how to put out the fire so decided to carry the flaming pan out to the balcony and where it could burn out without burning down the house where I was renting a suite. I thought ahead enough to actually run over and open the balcony door before I picked up that pan of hot burning oil.
No surprise, the oil sloshed and spilled on my way out of the kitchen. It splashed across my jeans and landed on the floor and scorched the linoleum.
I did get it out of the house and onto the balcony. There I found something to cover it so the fire could be put out.
When I returned inside to check on the damage I’d done, I knelt to look at the blacked linoleum and only then noticed my jeans that were also soaked. Except, I wasn’t burned by the hot oil. Not even a little.
Later that night, my brother arrived, having driven for over 5 hours, to give me the news in person that my mother had died earlier that day. The timing coincidence was unforgettable between when she died and when the fire began. My mother always had a flare for the dramatic. Guess she decided to say goodbye to me in her flamboyant fashion.
SC: Yikes! Quite the story! What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
VS: The sequel to Warlock from Wales, is Love Spell in London and it is currently on pre-order in the science fiction and fantasy boxed set, Rogue Skies.
After that I’ll be working on a new urban fantasy series about investigating supernatural mysteries. You can learn more about this on my website.
SC: Thank so much. Let's take a look at your novel now.


Warlock from Wales

The Cauldron Effect

Book Two
Shereen Vedam

Genre: Fantasy Regency Romance, PNR

Date of Publication:  May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-989036-01-3
ASIN: B07NYV3X3M
Number of pages: 284
Word Count: 86,890
Cover Artist: Desiree DeOrto
Tagline: A historian in search of truth. A warlock charged to stop her.
Book Description:
When Hugh is yanked from his apprenticeship and summarily assigned to guard a human female, he is justly incensed.
But when a water demon snatches her from under his nose, he sets off on a desperate race to save her, and prove he is a warlock to be reckoned with.
 
Excerpt:
The Honorable Mary Bryght, eighteen-year-old daughter of the late Viscount Holywell, faltered and came to a startled halt. She’d been traveling through the woods to her friend's home to deliver some astonishingly grand news about her brother. A sound drew her gaze toward a strand of willows that drank from a small pond. There, a stranger in a dark cape watched her, tapping a riding crop against his Hessians. At the malevolence emanating from him, the hairs on Mary’s arms stood to attention.
In the space of one glance, her mood shifted from cheerful to fearful. She swallowed, tasting dread, and swiftly gauged how fast she must run to reach Rose’s cottage before this stranger’s long strides reached her. She took one deep breath in readiness to sprint, when the man appeared at her side, his large hand grasping her upper arm so hard it pinched.
She cried out. He dropped his riding crop and covered her mouth with his hand, swamping her senses with a pungent aroma of horse sweat and leather.
Fifteen feet! That’s how far away he’d been. Yet, he had closed the distance between them as if it had only been two feet. Heart pounding in terror, she kicked his shin, bit hard onto a gloved finger and with her free hand, punched his throat as her father had taught her.
He grunted and loosened his grip.

Mary tore away and ran. Within a half dozen steps her body froze. There was no other way to describe the bizarre experience. She could not shift one foot, one hand, one finger. She was a statue in mid-motion.

About the Author:

Once upon a time, USA Today bestselling author Shereen Vedam read fantasy and romance novels to entertain herself. Now she writes heartwarming tales braided with threads of magic and love and mystery elements woven in for good measure.

Shereen's a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily-ever-after endings. If her stories whisk you away to a different realm for a few hours, then Shereen will have achieved one of her life goals.
 
Visit Shereen’s official website: http://www.shereenvedam.com
Sign up for her newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/c9u7e6


Friday, May 24, 2019

INTERVIEW WITH HG LYNCH (Stolen Dreams)


 
 
 
Look who had dropped in for a little chat. None other than H.G. Lynch.
 
SC: Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.
HGL: Ember and Reid are equally main characters, and equally stubborn. Ember has a temper like fire (not surprising considering her powers) but a soft heart, especially for animals. Reid is a gorgeous, insane force of nature, with a sharp tongue and no fear.

SC: Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
HGL: I believe there are a lot of things we as humans don’t know. My childhood home is somewhat haunted by a Shadow Man, who likes to rattle blinds, peek around corners, and play with hair. My friends didn’t like sleeping on the sofa at sleepovers since they always woke up feeling like someone was leaning over them. It was probably him – he’s not an aggressive Shadow Man, ghost, whatever. Just curious, I think.

SC: Interesting! Thanks for sharing that with us. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
HGL: I’m working on the final Reaper Born novel, Silver Sword, on the back of book two releasing in February. I’m also working on Dead Boys Don’t Cry, a prequel novella to Dead Girls Don’t Dance which is an exciting novella about the Day of the Dead.

We appreciate you dropping in to say hello. Let's take a look at your novel now.


Stolen Dreams
Unfortunate Blood
Book Six
HG Lynch

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance



Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing



Date of Publication: 17 May 2019


Number of pages: approx 400
Word Count: 106,000
Cover Artist: HG Lynch
Tagline: The final chance to mend their broken dreams…
Book Description:
Having left her life at Acorn Hills behind, Ember tries to pick up the pieces of her heart at home in Scotland. Reuniting with old friends, working a normal job, hiding her fangs...
But while fake smiles fill her days, nightmares plague her nights, re-opening the wounds she's tried so hard to heal.
Left behind in Acorn Hills, Reid spirals into a deep depression, becoming more and more self-destructive. Until Hiro takes pity on him and comes up with a solution to the hollowness left by Ember's absence: get her back.
With the way Ember left, Reid knows it won't be easy to win back his Firefly, but he will do it. He has to.
Otherwise, an eternity without her isn't something he could live with.





Excerpt
Reid was in jail. Not the first time, probably not the last. He was there mostly by choice anyway; if he’d wanted, he could have compelled the police officer who’d pulled him over for drunk driving to let him go.
He’d been driving recklessly on his motorbike, almost hoping for a crash; A few broken bones, a splintered tree, pain that could be quantified and fixed with simple medication, unlike the gaping wound where his heart used to be.
He’d thought that being in a cell would distract him, give him something else to think about other than the burning pain inside him, seeing as the drink hadn’t numbed it, but he’d been wrong. Of course he’d been wrong. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been right, felt right.
Reid sighed, staring at the dull, grey ceiling of his cell. But staring at the dirty stone ceiling of his cell was no different than staring at the white ceiling of his dorm room, except that here there was no chance of Ricky showing up to stare mournfully at him through those pitying green-blue eyes of his.
And that was another reason Reid had chosen to spend the night behind bars; He was avoiding Ricky. Avoiding everyone actually, but Ricky especially. He’d been avoiding Ricky all day, in fact. It was why he’d gone out to the bar, and spent hours in the pool before that. Why? Because Ricky knew what day it was, and he’d likely have something to say about his moping, maybe even have planned something for it, and Reid just wasn’t in the mood.
It was the 9th of May. This day last year had been awesome, the year before that even better but this year…Reid just wanted to sink into a drunken oblivion and he couldn’t even do that.
The fact that it was his birthday didn’t excite him, it just depressed him further. His eighteenth birthday. It was a big event for humans, almost even bigger for a born vampire like himself. Born vampires stopped aging at eighteen.
After today, Reid wouldn’t age another day, ever. He was stuck like this forever. He would always have the face of an angel, carefully toned muscles, and hair like golden silk that would never go grey. It wasn’t a bad way to look for the rest of eternity…it just didn’t mean anything to him anymore.

His own appearance didn’t matter when he still had images of her burned into his brain.

About the Author:



HG Lynch is a Scottish paranormal romance author who lives with her boyfriend, five adorable bunnies and Tonto the cat. Her books are dark romances with feisty heroines and smoulderingly sexy men.








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THE HEIROPHANT'S DAUGHTER by M.F. SULLIVAN




The Hierophant’s Daughter

The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy

Book One

M. F. Sullivan


Genre: LGBTQ Horror/Cyberpunk

Publisher: Painted Blind Publishing

Date of Publication: May 19th, 2019

ISBN: 9780996539579

Number of pages: 298 (Paperback)
Word Count: about 100,000

Cover Artist: Nuno Moreira

Tagline: Dive into the first volume of a bleak cyberpunk tahgmahr you can't afford to miss. What would you sacrifice to survive?

Book Description:

By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind's intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant's Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is--assuming he exists at all--and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don't inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.

After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT'S DAUGHTER, and her Father won't let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.

The dystopic first entry of an epic cyberpunk trilogy, THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER is a horror/sci-fi adventure sure to delight and inspire adult readers of all stripes.

Amazon     BN


Excerpt:
The Flight of the Governess


Ah, not Cassandra! Wake not her
Whom God hath maddened, lest the foe
Mock at her dreaming. Leave me clear
From that one edge of woe.
O Troy, my Troy, thou diest here
Most lonely; and most lonely we
The living wander forth from thee,
And the dead leave thee wailing!
—Euripides, The Trojan Women


The Disgraced Governess of the United Front was blind in her right eye. Was that blood in the left, or was it damaged, too? The crash ringing in her ears kept her from thinking straight. Of course her left eye still worked: it worked well enough to prevent her from careening into the trees through which she plunged. Yet, for the tinted flecks of reality sometimes twinkling between crimson streaks, she could only imagine her total blindness with existential horror. Would the protein heal the damage? How severely was her left eye wounded? What about the one she knew to be blind—was it salvageable? Ichigawa could check, if she ever made it to the shore.
She couldn’t afford to think that way. It was a matter of “when,” not of “if.” She would never succumb. Neither could car accident, nor baying hounds, nor the Hierophant himself keep her from her goal. She had fourteen miles to the ship that would whisk her across the Pacific and deliver her to the relative safety of the Risen Sun. Then the Lazarene ceremony would be less than a week away. Cassandra’s diamond beat against her heart to pump it into double time, and with each double beat, she thought of her wife (smiling, laughing, weeping when she thought herself alone) and ran faster. A lucky thing the Governess wasn’t human! Though, had she remained human, she’d have died three centuries ago in some ghetto if she’d lived past twenty without becoming supper. Might have been the easier fate, or so she lamented each time her mind replayed the crash of the passenger-laden tanque at fifth gear against the side of their small car. How much she might have avoided!
Of course—then she never would have known Cassandra. That made all this a reasonable trade. Cold rain softened the black earth to the greedy consistency of clay, but her body served where her eyes failed. The darkness was normally no trouble, but now she squinted while she ran and, under sway of a dangerous adrenaline high, was side-swiped by more than one twisting branch. The old road that was her immediate goal, Highway 128, would lead her to the coast of her favorite Jurisdiction, but she now had to rediscover that golden path after the crash’s diversion. In an effort to evade her pursuers, she had torn into a pear orchard without thought of their canine companions. Not that the soldiers of the Americas kept companions like Europa’s nobles. These dogs were tools. Well-honed, organic death machines with a cultivated taste for living flesh, whether martyr or human. The dogs understood something that most had forgotten: the difference between the two was untenable. Martyrs could tell themselves they were superior for an eternity, but it wouldn’t change the fact that the so-called master race and the humans they consumed were the same species.
That was not why Cassandra had died, but it hadn’t contributed to their marital bliss. And now, knowing what she did of the Hierophant’s intentions—thinking, always, what Cassandra would have said—the Governess pretended she was driven by that ghost, and not by her own hopelessness. Without the self-delusion, she was a victim to a great many ugly thoughts, foremost among them being: Was the fear of life after her wife’s death worth such disgrace? A death sentence? Few appreciated what little difference there was between human and martyr, and fewer cared, because caring was fatal. But she was a part of the Holy Family. Shouldn’t that have been all that mattered? Stunning how, after three centuries, she deserved to be treated no better than a human. Then again, there was nothing quite like resignation from one’s post to fall in her Father’s estimate. Partly, he was upset by her poor timing—she did stand him up at some stupid press event, but only because she hoped it would keep everybody occupied while she got away. In that moment, she couldn’t even remember what it was. Dedicating a bridge? Probably. Her poor head, what did the nature of the event matter when she was close to death?
That lapse in social graces was not the reason for this hunt. He understood that more lay behind her resignation than a keening for country life. Even before he called her while she and the others took the tanque to the coast, he must have known. Just like he must have known the crash was seconds from happening while he chatted away, and that the humans in her company, already nervous to be within a foot of the fleeing Governess, were doomed.
Of the many people remaining on Earth, those lumped into the group of “human” were at constant risk of death, mutilation, or—far worse—unwilling martyrdom. This meant those humans lucky enough to avoid city-living segregation went to great lengths to keep their private properties secure. Not only houses but stables. The Disgraced Governess found this to be true of the stables into which she might have stumbled and electrocuted herself were it not for the bug zaps of rain against the threshold’s surface. Her mind made an instinctive turn toward prayer for the friendliness of the humans in the nearby farmhouse—an operation she was quick to abort. In those seconds (minutes?) since the crash, she’d succeeded in reconstructing the tinted windows of the tanque and a glimpse of silver ram’s horns: the Lamb lurked close enough to hear her like she spoke into his ear. It was too much to ask that he be on her side tonight.
Granted, the dogs of the Lamb were far closer, and far more decisive about where their loyalties stood. One hound sank its teeth into her ankle, and she, crying out, kicked the beast into its closest partner with a crunch. Slower dogs snarled outrage in the distance while the Disgraced Governess ran to the farmhouse caught in her left periphery. The prudent owners, to her frustration, shuttered their windows at night. Nevertheless, she smashed her fist against the one part of the house that protruded: the doorbell required by the Hierophant’s “fair play” dictatum allowing the use of electronic barriers. As the humans inside stumbled out of bed in response to her buzzing, the Disgraced Governess unholstered her antique revolver and unloaded two rounds into the recovered canines before they were upon her. The discharge wasn’t a tip-off she wanted to give to the Lamb and her other pursuers, but it hastened the response of the sleeping farmers as the intercom crackled to life.
“Who is it?” A woman’s voice, quivering with an edge of panic.
“My name is Dominia di Mephitoli: I’m the former Governess of the United Front, and I need to borrow a horse. Please. Don’t let me in. Just drop the threshold on your stables.”
“The Governess? I’m sorry, I don’t understand. The Dominia di Mephitoli, really? The martyr?”
“Yes, yes, please. I need a horse now.” Another dog careened around the corner and leapt over the bodies of his comrades with such grace that she wasted her third round in the corpses. Two more put it down as she shouted into the receiver. “I can’t transfer you any credits because they’ve frozen my Halcyon account, but I’ll leave you twenty pieces of silver if you drop the threshold and loan me a horse. You can reclaim it at the docks off Bay Street, in the township of Sienna. Please! He’ll kill me.”
“And he’ll be sure to kill us for helping you.”
“Tell him I threatened you. Tell him I tricked you! Anything. Just help me get away!”
“He’ll never believe what we say. He’ll kill me, my husband, our children. We can’t.”
“Oh, please. An act of mercy for a dying woman. Please, help me leave. I can give you the name of a man in San Valentino who can shelter you and give you passage abroad.”
“There’s no time to go so far south. Not as long as it takes to get across the city.”
It had been ten seconds since she’d heard the last dog. That worried her. With her revolver at the ready, she scanned the area for something more than the quivering roulette blotches swelling in her right eye. Nothing but the dead animals. “He’ll kill you either way. For talking to me, and not keeping me occupied until his arrival. For knowing that there’s disarray in his perfect land. He’ll find a reason, even if it only makes sense to him.”
The steady beat of rain pattered out a passive answer. On the verge of giving up, Dominia stepped back to ready herself for a fight—and the house’s threshold dropped with an electric pop. The absent mauve shimmer left the fa├žade bare. How rare to see a country place without its barrier! A strange thing. Stranger for the front door to open; she’d only expected them to do away with the threshold on the stables.
But, rather than the housewife she’d anticipated, there stood the Hierophant. Several bleak notions clicked into place.
One immaculate gray brow arched. “Now, Dominia, that’s hardly fair. Knowledge of your disgrace isn’t why I’ll kill them. The whole world will know of it tomorrow morning. You embarrassed me by sending your resignation, rather than making the appearance I asked of you, so it is only fair I embarrass you by rejecting your resignation and firing you publicly. No, my dear. I will kill these fine people to upset you. In fact, Mr. McLintock is already dead in the attic. A mite too brave. Of course”—he winked, and whispered in conspiracy—“don’t tell them that.”
“How did you know I’d come here?”
“Such an odd spurt of rain tonight. Of all your Jurisdictions, this one is usually so dry this time of year! Won’t you come in for tea? Mrs. McLintock brews a fine pot. But put that gun away. You’re humiliating yourself. And me.”



About the Author:


M.F. Sullivan is the author of Delilah, My Woman, The Lightning Stenography Device, and a slew of plays in addition to the Trilogy. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her boyfriend and her cat, where she attends the local Shakespeare Festival and experiments with the occult.

Find more information about her work (and plenty of free essays) at https://www.paintedblindpublishing.com