First Look at the MAJH’YGUL Realm

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May Madness

 

May has begun and summer is on its way. I am enjoying life as a writer. I hope to complete the first draft on my Carasylia Enchanted Series and finish some screenplays I have begun.

I hope you will pick up my New Breed story series and give it a chance to entertain you. The first book, Mystic Mist is free at Amazon

I have decided to give eBook copies of the three books away for FREE during the May Madness month. If you download Mystic Mist, let me know by dropping a line here and inbox me an email address, I will send you the other two ebooks in the series to you.

 

 

 

Don’t rush your Story

I am currently working on the Carasylia Enchanted series. It has taken me years to get to the point I’m now at, but in my experience with writing, you cannot rush the story. If you rush through the process, you will regret it.

When I get discouraged, I often think of my favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien. He spent his entire career developing the L.O.T.R. series.

I’m nowhere near his status as an author, but thinking of his dedication to his material, makes me stop, think, breathe, and realize a series I believe in, deserves the best I can bring to it. The readers deserve my best.

If you are a writer, and you’re feeling discouraged, think about Mr. Tolkien, or another author you like, glean knowledge from them.

When you’ve written the best you can, your story and your fans will appreciate the work you’ve put into it.

I wish you the best, Lisa

Josie’s Thorn Excerpt

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The little red sports car made a sharp left turn without a hint of slowing down; keeping its rapid pace as it drove through the open gate of the McCrea Horse and Cattle Ranch.  The cattle and horses grazing in the two fields on either side of the dirt road took little notice of the car as it sped past.  When it came to a stop, the driver’s door swung open, and out stepped the very leggy and beautiful Josephina McCrea.  She stopped momentarily to look at the fields and farm.  The large red and gray barn to the right of the mansion looked to be sturdy and well kept, and the fence that surrounded the mansion was as white and attractive as she had remembered it.  To the left of the mansion, Josephina noticed the horse stables were also in prime condition, so she had to admit that the ranch had been well taken care of since she had left.

As she stood and surveyed the area, she suddenly realized how a small group of ranch hands working along the fence line had stopped to stare at her, and were whispering among themselves.

“You men get to work and watch your tongues.  She’s McCrea’s daughter, Jackson’s sister, and possibly your new boss,” Steve Morgan, the Ranch Boss growled, as he walked past the group.  This comment caused the men to go back to their task quickly without speaking any further.

Josephina McCrea turned to look at the magnificent Antebellum home in front of her.  She sucked in her breath and held it, as she marveled at its beauty.

It is beautiful; she thought to herself.

The wraparound porch with its sleek white columns was a testament to the pride craftsmanship and attention to detail given by the men who had built the home well over a hundred years ago. The gray stone floor of the porch still shimmered brilliantly in the sunlight.  She was pleased to see the exterior of the mansion had been carefully maintained by her father.

Grasping the stained wood handrails, she climbed the rocky steps, and then finally released the captured breath she had been holding, as a feeling of peace came over her.

When she entered the door, she paused a moment and was pleased to see the interior of the home was still just as lovely as the exterior.  Nothing had changed; the immaculate decorations were just as they were before.  The gorgeous spiral staircase was the first thing to catch one’s eye upon entering the McCrea home.  It radiated beauty and elegance throughout its rocky steps and oak railings.  Josephina’s mother, Etta, had always been very detailed in the décor of their home.  Her love of beauty shone throughout the Antebellum styled mansion; from the glass chandeliers hanging down from the vaulted ceilings to the wood stained floors flowing throughout the home.  These were just a few of the things Etta McCrea held onto during her many renovations.  Josephina’s father, Hank was far more interested in his beloved ranch to care about renovations.  He had given Etta full authority to make any changes she desired to the interior of their home, but the exterior and its grounds were under Hank’s careful and watchful eyes.  The ranch was one of the most prosperous ranches in all of Utah, because of his unyielding scrutiny.

“Is that you Miss Josephina?” a voice asked from just outside of her vision.

Josephina knew immediately who the voice belonged.  It was Calvin Rainthorn, her father’s assistant.

“Yes, it’s me.” she answered softly.

Josephina had not been home in seven years.  She would not be there now if her parents, along with their pilot, had survived the plane crash when they left for London.  For that reason, she came home for their memorials planned for that next weekend.  While on her way to the ranch from New York, she had received a phone call from Calvin with the news that her brother, Jackson.

While climbing Dusty Mountain, he had fallen, gravely injuring himself.  After the death of his parents, Jackson had gone climbing trying to come to grips with things before making any important decisions about the ranch.  On his return home, one of his ropes failed, and he dropped more than 20 feet, hitting his head on a large rock.

Josephina quickly wiped away the tear creeping down her cheek as she did not want anyone to see her cry.  She was always taught that tears were a sign of weakness, and she was not a weak woman.  Her parents had taught her to be strong minded and unafraid.

Josephina had used that fearlessness and strong will the day they sent her away. She never let them see her cry the day she left. Unfortunately, she had to admit how sometimes life has other plans for us because she now found herself back to the very place she swore she would never return.  She felt uncomfortable being here, as this was their home, not hers.

“Welcome home, Miss Josephina,” Calvin exclaimed heartily, as he walked into the room.

Josephina turned to look at him, “Thank you.”  She could see Calvin’s hesitation, so she reached over and gently hugged him.  “It’s good to see you again, Calvin.”

Calvin’s face lit up with a broad grin, “I’m glad to have you home, darlin’.”

Josephina pulled back from the hug and looked over Calvin’s shoulder at the man standing behind him.  He looked familiar to her, but she could not recall his name.

The tall man held out one hand while removing his cowboy hat with the other, “Hello, Ms. McCrea.  I’m Steve Morgan.  I’m the Ranch Boss here.”

“Hello, Mr. Morgan,” she smiled, shaking his hand politely.  “I remember you.  You were childhood friends with Jackson.  As I recall, you, Jackson, and Jacob were always getting into some kind of mischief,” Josephina commented dryly.

She had tried to forget her childhood on the ranch, but as she stood there the memories slammed into her, and she found herself irritated by them.

“Aww, you do remember him correctly!” Calvin teased.

“Yeah, you’re right.  We were childhood friends and have remained friends all these years.  I do have to admit that we did give our folks some fits from time to time,” Steve laughed as the memory of his childhood antics.

Josephina watched Steve as he fought to gather his thoughts.  He looked as though he had something to say, but he only stood there with a strange look on his face, fiddling with his hat.

Josephina not being a patient woman decided to press on.  “So, what’s troubling you, Mr. Morgan?”

“I was just wondering what you wanted us to do,” he shifted his feet nervously while rubbing the brim of his hat between his fingers.  “I have cattle and horses to prepare for the auction, and the Rodeo in Salt Lake City is this weekend.”

“Then prepare them,” she said sharply while rolling her eyes, and openly displaying her annoyance with him.  “I want you to see to things until at least next week.  I’m also postponing my Parent’s Memorial until Jackson can attend.”

“Yes ma’am, I can do that,” Steve slipped his hat back on his head and then tipped the brim toward Josephina before he turned to leave the room.

Josephina watched him walk away, and she wondered what she would do if her brother never recovered because she was no rancher.  She may have wanted to be at one time, but it was too late for that now.  If Jackson did not wake up soon, she would have to make some tough choices about her family’s ranch, and its future.

“It’s wonderful to see you again, dear.  I’ve missed you so much!” Esther Rainthorn, Calvin’s wife, cried, as she walked into the room and straight to Josephina, giving her a hug.

“It’s good to see you, too, Esther,” Josephina said, returning the hug.  She was glad to see Esther, but she had forgotten how the woman would hug you so tightly that you could barely breathe.

“I’m sad that it took this to bring you home,” Esther added softly, wiping the tears from her eyes.

Josephina fought back her tears, as sadness stirred deep inside of her, “I know, Esther.  I know.”

Esther took a deep breath, pushing her feeling aside, “I have your old room prepared for you.”

“Thank you and I believe I’ll make proper use of it right now.  We’ll talk later.”  She turned and walked through the large foyer to the spiral staircase.  As she started up the stairs, she found herself counting each step the way she had as a child – all thirty-five of them.  She then laughed, as she breathed out the last words of the song she had sung whenever she climbed them all those years ago. “I will not be scared; the noise is only the squeaks from the stairs,” she laughed to herself, remembering back at how the squeak of the stairs would frighten her.

***

Feeling refreshed after her nap, Josephina decided to go down to the kitchen and find something to eat.  Once she had finished her meal, she went back to her room and called Evan to let him know she had arrived safely.  She had just hung up the telephone when she noticed a soft whimpering coming from the other side of the bedroom door.  She decided to see what it was and when she opened the door, she was surprised to see a beautiful black Labrador Retriever trot inside, wagging its tail, and softly whimpering.

“Hi, fella, come on in.  I could actually use the company,” she smiled, petting the beautiful, black dog on the head.  She was about to close the door when suddenly a little orange cat sauntered into the room.  “Well, look at you,” Josephina laughed, as the cat brushes up against the dog, purring loudly.  She bent down to pet them and noticed their nametags, Bo, and Sandy.  “Well hello, Bo and Sandy.  It’s nice to meet you,” she smiled, as the cat rubbed against her hand.  She looked at these two friendly animals, and immediately knew that Bo must have belonged to her father, and Sandy was her mother’s.

Both animals wasted no time in jumping on her bed, and finding their place for the night.  Josephina settled in the bed with Sandy purring in a low, mournful tone, and Bo nuzzled close to her face, softly whimpering.  She gently caressed each of them and said with sadness in her voice, “I know, I miss them too.”  She felt sorry for the loyal pair because she could see the sorrow in their eyes.  “Goodnight,” Josephina whispered, as she turned out the light.

Josephina awoke the next morning to find her new friends still in bed with her.  She smiled, as she patted them on the head.  “I don’t mind having new bed partners, but you both need to understand that I won’t be staying, so don’t get too used to sleeping with me, okay?  I’m going home as soon as things settle down here, and I don’t think New York City would be your kind of town.”  Josephina rolled over to look at the clock and realized it was still early because of the different time zone.  She was getting out of bed when she heard a knock on the door, “Who is it?”

“It’s Esther, dear.”

“Come in,” Josephina grabbed her robe from the bedside chair and put it on.

When Esther opened the door, the cat ran out.  “I’ve already prepared your meal, Sandy.  It’s in the usual place,” Esther laughed, as she watched the cat scurry toward the stairs.

“Meow,” Sandy replied, bouncing down the stairs in search of her morning feast.

“You’re most welcome,” Esther grinned.  “Good morning, Miss Josephina.  How are you this morning?”

“I’m fine, thank you, and you?”

“I’m very well.  Do you have enough fresh towels?” Esther asked as she walked toward the bed.

“Yes, thank you.”

Bo jumped from the bed and stretched as Esther placed a tray with a coffee cup and a small coffee carafe on the bedside table.  Esther whispered to the dog, “Bo, I should have known you and Sandy would find your way to Miss Josephina.”

“I appreciated their company last night,” Josephina said, as she walked to the mirrored dresser.

Esther reached out and gently patted Bo on the head.  “The poor thing came back to the ranch hungry, wet, and cold.  He wouldn’t stop barking until we followed him back to where Jackson had fallen.”  There was a tone of sadness in her voice.

Josephina glanced down at the big, black dog.  “So, you were with him when he fell?  I’m sure you were scared.”

“Yes, I’m sure he was,” Esther replied.

Josephina leaned down and rubbed Bo gently on the back, “You did good, boy.”

“How did you sleep last night, dear?”

“I slept well,” Josephina said, as she brushed through her long and tangled hair.

“It’s the fresh country air, dear.  Everyone sleeps better in the mountains,” Esther teased.

Josephina rolled her eyes, as she looked back into the mirror.  Once she had finished pinning her hair up into a bun, she slipped on her glasses.  “That’s what Daddy always said, but I sleep just fine in the city.”  Josephina tried to hide her displeasure because of the need for her to return at this time, but Esther knew better.

Esther frowned and said in a quiet, but firm voice, “I’m sorry about the reason you’re here, but I’m glad you came.”

Josephina turned away from the dresser and walked toward the closet, absentmindedly looking through the clothes hanging there from the night before.  She knew that Esther meant no harm, but this sentimental conversation was more than she could handle at the time.

“Please, let me know when you’re ready for breakfast so I can inform the cook,” catching on to Josephina’s hint.

“I only eat a small bowl of cereal and drink coffee for my breakfast.  There is no need to prepare anything special for me.”  Josephina kept her back to Esther so as not to make eye contact.

“Well, that’s easy because the coffee is free and flowing all day,” Esther pointed to the coffee carafe sitting on the bedside table.

“That’s nice to know because I do enjoy my coffee,” Josephina smiled, as she looked over at the tempting coffee waiting for her.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Yes, would you have a horse prepared for me?  I want to take a ride before going to the hospital.”

“I can do that for you,” Esther smiled, and then she turned and left the room.

***

After breakfast, Josephina walked to the stables where she found Steve standing next to a magnificent, dark brown mare; her regal poise gave her the appearance of sculpted marble.

“Good morning, Miss McCrea,” Steve said cheerfully, as he saddled the horse.

“Good morning, Mr. Morgan,” Josephina responded politely.  “She’s beautiful.”  She gently rubbed the horse on the neck.

“She’s an American Saddlebred and her spirit matches her beauty,” he said, suddenly feeling the warmth spread up his neck and across his face at his statement.

Josephina smiled but decided not to respond.

“Miss McCrea, you do remember how to ride, don’t you?  Macy is gentle, but if you’re rusty, you shouldn’t…” but she cut him off before he could continue.

“Of course I remember how to ride!  I’ve continued riding since I left here,” she turned to look directly at him, letting him know she was not pleased.

“That’s good to know, but if you’d like, I can send someone with you,” but no sooner had the words left his mouth than he knew he had overstepped his bounds.

“It won’t be necessary, Mr. Morgan!”  Her eyes burned with anger, as she took the reins from the now understandably shaken Ranch Boss.  “Thank you, I can handle it from here.”

“You’re most welcome, Miss McCrea,” Steve stepped back from the horse, wanting to put distance between them.

Josephina led the horse out of the stable with Morgan walking behind her.  “Please, be careful.”

“I will,” were the only words she said as she mounted the horse and rode off toward Otters Creek.

***

Once she had crossed the first creek that ran behind the stables, she nudged the horse into a slow canter through Clover Field, named for the thick clover growing there.  Josephina had forgotten how beautiful it was with the lush green fields, and snow topped mountains off in the distance.  She rode for about twenty minutes when she came to a small valley known as Dry Bones.  It was dusty and rock-filled and was the only place on the one-thousand acre ranch that was not flourishing with green grass and wildflowers.  Josephina turned her horse to the east and made her way up into the foothills of the Old Forest, as she had always called it.

Filled with tall and proud trees, the Old Forest was a beautiful and enchanting place.  It was one of the places Josephina had loved most when she lived here as a child.  She had enjoyed long walks and shared many special picnics in the beauty of the Old Forest.

With the fragrance of the wild flowers and the cool breeze on her face, she prodded Macy into a run and for the first time since her return, Josephina felt completely at peace.

Once she reached Otter’s Creek, she dismounted and led the horse to the water for a drink.  Josephina pulled her canteen from the saddlebag and sipped some fresh water while gently stroking the horse’s mane.  Next, she walked across the dirt bank to a large oak tree where she decided to relax against the tree’s trunk.

Leaning against the tree, she suddenly felt a gentle nudge on her hand that made her go rigid.  When she opened her eyes and looked down, she found herself looking into the soft, brown eyes of the Labrador, Bo.  Josephina let out a soft laugh, and then she sat down and wrapped her arms around his neck.  “Thank you for coming with me, Bo.”

Bo settled down next to her, laid his head on her lap, and closed his eyes.  As Josephina relaxed against the tree, she looked around at the beauty of the landscape.  She took a deep breath, recalling memories from happier times when her family would come here together.  They would camp along the creek’s banks, and would hike along the nearby trails that led toward the mountains.

Josephina removed her glasses, laid them on the ground next to her, and then rubbed her eyes before closing them.  She leaned her head back and sat there motionless, enjoying the warmth of the sun as it moved across the sky.  She was completely caught up in the tranquility of the moment when she felt Bo stand, letting out a low, growl.  “What is it, Bo?”  She opened her eyes to see what had alerted him, suddenly realizing someone else was nearby.

Josephina quickly grabbed her glasses, pushing them onto her face, but what she saw caught her by surprise.  A man was walking out of the water, and he was completely naked!  Her breath caught in her throat as she watched the water glisten on his perfectly muscled body in the sunlight.  Josephina quickly pulled her eyes away from the unsuspecting man standing on the shore, but the vision of his perfect body in the afternoon sun still danced in her mind.  She looked down at Bo, who was now standing beside her with his tail wagging, unaware of the predicament, when she suddenly felt her cheeks grow warm.  “Some guard dog you turned out to be!” she laughed, as she reached down and patted him on the head.

Josephina found herself transfixed and not sure what to do when she realized her eyes had once again fallen back on the man.  What is wrong with me?  She scolded herself, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not bring herself to look away.

It was obvious to her that his muscles were those of a man who had known hard work, not from lifting weights in a gym.  His skin was a deep, rich, brown, and although she could not see his face beneath the facial hair, she was convinced he must be quite handsome.  His long, dark hair flowed down his shoulders and onto his upper chest.  She watched as his hair seemed to dance in the wind, and she found herself wondering what it would be like to have her fingers gently comb through it.

Josephina stood there transfixed, completely caught up in her fantasy when she suddenly realized she had been staring at the man for several moments.  She tried to move, but for some reason her legs would not cooperate, and her eyes seemed frozen in place; she suddenly felt a strange tightness in her throat.  Who is he?  Does he work on the ranch and why is he out here with no clothes?  She glanced over at Macy, who was calmly grazing on the lush green grass by the oak tree.  Come over here you dumb horse!  The words screamed in her mind as she tried to will the animal to come to her.  She knew she would have to make her feet move if she wanted to leave but did she want to?

The image of this man held her hostage, as he stood on the creek’s edge with the sun caressing his body.  This sensual vision created a burning desire to touch him in ways that made her body tingle with excitement.

“What the hell is wrong with me?” She cursed herself.

Josephina knew she did not have time for such desires because she needed to stay focused on the task at hand.  Stop thinking that way!  I came here to do a job, and then go back home!  I do not need this kind of distraction now, but…  Suddenly a feeling of pain and anger began to stir in the pit of her stomach at the memory of the last man who had caused the same feelings in her.  Stop it!  I will never allow myself to be hurt like that again.

Josephina closed her eyes, forcing the image of him from her mind.  I have to get away from here!  She quickly mounted Macy and rode away without looking back at the mysterious stranger.

***

Jacob Rainthorn stepped out of the creek onto the bank, allowing the sun to dry his magnificent body.  He suddenly had the burning sensation come over him of being watched.  He slowly turned to see the woman standing under the old oak tree doing her best to appear as though she did not see him, but he knew better.  He decided to act as though he believed himself to be alone.  However, the delight he felt when he recognized Josephina McCrea almost betrayed him.  He was pleased to see that she had not changed in the seven years since she had left.  Her skin still resembled fine porcelain and her auburn hair glistened in the sun.  She had her hair pull up in a bun, but he noticed the small strands of auburn hair that had escaped to caress her long, slender neck.  Even the black-rimmed glasses she wore could not hide her beauty.

He found it intriguing how the beige-colored riding britches she wore displayed her petite figure in a pleasing way.  Also, how her green buttoned down blouse was open just enough to offer a seductive invitation of her firm and ample breasts.  He smiled, as he imagined how satisfying it would be to get reacquainted with her.

Jacob knew he should have been a gentleman and moved away from the creek to retrieve his clothes, but he had enjoyed the sensual game as it played out between them.  The hunger burning in her eyes, and the flush on her cheeks as she rushed to get away stirred the passion in him as well.  “Our next meeting should be quite interesting,” he chuckled, as he watched her ride away.

Thank you for reading the excerpt and I hope you enjoyed it.

Josie’s Thorn

Justina’s Awakening

13350281_10204874347497850_8957905806505580169_oI decided to share a little of Justina’s Awakening, Where She Belongs, The Saga, Book 1, a two book series. This was my first book authored, and I’m quite proud of the story. You can read the remainder of the story for free and check out 13323792_10204874347897860_8716652452457291413_o_previewbook 2 at Amazon.

Book Description

After her Aunt Elizabeth is murdered, Justina Lindsey inherits a lucrative advertising business, and soon finds herself on a path leading to unfamiliar destinations.  Feeling alone, she seeks comfort in the arms of sexy, bad boy Nick Cabara, the son of a mafia kingpin in Dallas. Nick has a dark side and many secrets, but Justina has secrets of her own. Justina believes she has found her place in life that is until she meets Matthew Kingston, a successful lawyer. Matthew is arrogant and frustrating, but Justina desires him and soon finds herself torn between two men.

When her secrets begin to unravel, Justina finds herself set on a collision course with destiny. Will her choices destroy her or will she survive with the knowledge that she has found, Where She Belongs.

 

 

Chapter One

Matthew Kingston groaned as he heard the alarm clock ring.  He slapped at it, knocking it to the floor but effectively silenced it.  Matthew wanted more sleep.  Instead, he pulled himself from the bed and made his way to the kitchen.  He poured a cup of coffee while he reflected on the previous night’s events.  Having consumed too much alcohol had resulted in carnal pleasures with a woman.  Linda was just one of many women he had called upon from time to time when he got that itch that needed to be scratched.

Matthew did not have time for a serious relationship and he did not really want one.  He was too busy with his daughter, Kate, who he affectionately called Katie.  She had him wrapped around her little fingers the moment he saw her.  Katie was the reason Matthew continued living after his wife, Leslie died; just one year after Katie was born.  Matthew pushed back a tear as he thought of his late wife.  She was as beautiful as she was smart and Katie resembled her in both looks and actions.  He stirred from his thoughts by the ringing cell phone.

“Hello.”

“Hey, where are you?”

“Is Katie all right?” Matthew asked with anxiety.

Jim Lawton replied with calmness, “She’s fine, did you forget about our stakeout?”

Matthew slapped his forehead, “Oh man I did, I’m sorry.”

“I gathered some very interesting information on Mr. Kevin Jenkins.  He’s having an affair.”

“Do you have pictures?” Matthew asked.

“Of course,” Jim scoffed.  “Did you have any doubts?

The two men chuckled and Jim continued, “There’s more.  Jenkins seems to have a taste for men as well as women.”

Matthew cleared his throat and put his cup down on the counter before he dropped it.  “Wait, wait, did you say Kevin Jenkins is gay?”

Jim laughed loudly, “The proper term is bisexual.”

“That’s awesome, Jim.  This will give Mrs. Jenkins the edge she needs for her divorce.  I’ll meet you in the office and we can discuss this with our client.”

Thoughts of how he was going to spend his half of this client’s check flowed through Matthew’s mind while he dressed.  Perhaps he would take the trip to Hawaii he had been planning.  He knew Katie would love going to Hawaii.

Matthew always enjoyed entering his and Jim’s office.  He especially enjoyed looking at the sign posted on the door: KINGSTON AND LAWTON II, Attorneys at Law.

Jim and Matthew enjoyed their law practice, but their true passion was their P.I. Work and working with the F.B.I. on occasion.

Caroline, Matthew’s sister, took great care in decorating the office and it was beautiful.  The waiting area had the old style, stained mahogany benches with daisy flower print cushions tied to them for comfort and the matching mahogany walls were accented with elegant pictures of eighteenth century settings.  There was a small refreshment booth sitting to one side of the room so their clients could help themselves to coffee and rolls.  Caroline had turned one of the rooms into a classroom where she homeschooled her daughter Kalien and his daughter Katie.

Jim and Matthew’s offices were located at the end of the hall and across from each other.  The contrast in colors and abstract art made Jim and Matthew’s offices flow with professionalism and beauty.  Upon entering Jim’s office, the large mural behind the desk was the eye catcher of the entire room.  The mural of Lawton’s Ranch was really quite lovely.  Other pictures of the family farm and ranch decorated the remaining office walls.  Along one side of the wall set a large trophy case, which displayed trophies and awards Jim had won at numerous rodeos and shows.  The curtains clinging to the windows were brown with images of horses hand sewn into the material.  Jim’s cowboy hat rack was attached to the wall, just to the side of the window.  The matching brown leather sofas and chairs were placed next to the small kitchenette designed to the right of Jim’s desk.  Jim was a cowboy through and through.

Matthew was more of a modern type guy and his taste shone through the style he had chosen.

The mahogany walls, which stretched along the hallway between the two men’s offices, ended at Matthew’s office door.  When anyone entered Matthew’s office, the first thing anyone noticed was the elegant glass chandeliers, which clung to the high ceilings.  The walls were painted a burnt orange with abstract art Matthew had created.  Pictures of landscapes and high-rise buildings clung to the walls, which Matthew had taken. Directly behind his desk, awards, and trophies he had won from the local art society stood proudly on a small, stained wood table.  The large glass windows were framed with colored stained glass as its border with large venetian blinds completing the look.  A long sofa sat between the kitchenette and office area.  Two recliners sat nearby, which surrounded a glass coffee table, art magazines were neatly placed on it.  Jim often teased Matthew about his style.  “You’re cool enough for the both of us.”

Matthew took the comments as compliments.  He enjoyed being up to par with the latest fashions and fads.

Jim and Matthew greeted Christina Jenkins with big smiles as she entered their office.  When they filled her in on their findings, she was not shocked.  In fact, she appeared to be very pleased.

“Who shall I make the check to?”

“Kingston and Lawton.  If there’s ever anything you need from us between now and our court date, please call us.”  Jim eagerly waited with his hand stretched open.

“Oh be assured, gentlemen, I will.”  Christina winked at Matthew, “And if there is anything I can do for you, you just let me know, and I do mean anything,” she purred in her southern drawl.

“Oh, I will.”  Matthew shot her his flirty smile as she waved a final good bye.

“What are you thinking man?” Jim’s eyes narrowed at Matthew after Christina left the room.

Matthew shrugged his shoulders, “She sure is a beautiful blonde.  Did you see the curves of that body, not to mention those legs?”

“Yes, but she has a dark side to her.”

“I agree, but I like dangerous women.  Now let’s discuss our next cases.”

“Not so fast.  We’re going to the bank, then I’m taking our lovely assistant to lunch and then to bed.”

“Oh, I really don’t want to hear about your affair with the assistant.  Why, here’s the lovely assistant now,” he winked at his sister as she walked past him.

Caroline struck him on his arm as she walked to Jim and kissed him.

Matthew shook his head in feigned disgust, “Kids, kids, take it home.”

Caroline rolled her eyes as Jim grinned like a Cheshire Cat.

“So, did you guys get the big check?”

“We sure did and there appears to be bonus.”

Matthew chuckled as Caroline walked past and tried to take the check from him.  He pulled it away from her reach.

Jim sat down and watched their usual brother and sister antics.

Caroline finally managed to take the check away from Matthew and ran to her husband for safety.

“I let you have it,” Matthew chided.

Jim shook his head, as he defended his wife.  “She took it.”

They all laughed as Jim stood from the chair. “Do you want to have lunch with us?”

“Yes.”

“I need to finish up with the girls’ class for the day.”  Caroline walked out of the office and shut the door behind her.

“Matthew, I want to take Caroline to look at that new SUV she has had her eyes on.”

“My sister is lucky to have you, man.”

“She deserves the best.  I still can’t believe that gorgeous redhead even looked twice at this dumb country boy.”

“You bought her a mansion two years ago when we finished the Armstrong case.  Let’s see, I’d say she’s the lucky one, stumbling onto a rich country boy like you.”  Matthew walked to the filing cabinet with an armload of files and shoved them into it.

“Meet us at the diner when you finish up here.  I’m going to find my lovely wife and tell her how much I love her,” Jim grinned as he made his way toward the door.

Matthew glanced at his partner and made a gurgling noise, “Phew, you’re getting mushy again and my stomach can’t stand it.”

Jim pointed his finger at Matthew.  “You make fun all you like, but one day, and I hope I’m around to see it, some gorgeous woman will soften that hard heart of yours again.”

“I don’t think so man, my heart is stone, and I know when it’s time to cut and run,” Matthew winced.  “And I have the speed of a tiger; there’s no woman fast enough to catch me.”

 

 

Chapter Two

Matthew stepped into the diner and as always, he felt warmth in his heart.  He was sure the Lawton’s were busy with their daily routines, and they would not want it any other way.  Lawton’s resort had been in the community and in Jim’s family for generations.

While, at the resort, visitors found many activities to occupy themselves, the most enjoyable for families were the horse tours.  The tours consist of maneuvering through the valley and camping sites along the way.

In the late summer, the Lawton family hosted a kid’s camp each week for poor and deprived American children.  The entire Lawton family involved themselves in this annual event.  Matthew swore it was a prerequisite for anyone who wanted to become a part of the Lawton family.

The wonderful memories Matthew had here were too many to count, but the one that stood out the most was the one of them teasing the girls, one of which he had married.

Matthew’s father, George, and Jim’s father, Ben, met in law school and as fate would have, they became best friends.  As the years passed, each one married.  Ben’s wife, Donna, and George’s wife, Frances, became instant friends as well.  Each time Matthew’s family visited the ranch, George found it hard to leave.  When Ben asked George to enter into law practice with him, he jumped at the chance and moved his family from New Orleans to Dallas.  Ben’s nephew, Roger, came to live with the Lawton’s after his parents and infant sister were killed in a car crash at the same time.

After settling in, Frances resumed her medical studies and became a doctor, but also helped Donna in her floral business from time to time.

Matthew spotted Jim and Caroline in a corner booth.  The same corner booth they had always sat in when they were children, near the kitchen and the back exit.  It was important to Donna that the guests not be disrupted by the antics of rambunctious boys and silly chitchat of girls.

Tender memories flooded Matthew as he watched his lifelong friend and his little sister together.  His thoughts were interrupted by his mother’s approach with his daughter in her arms.

“Thank you for everything you and dad have given me, Ma.  I might have never met Jim, I might have never fallen in love with Leslie, and we might not have had this beautiful little girl.  We all found our true loves and our lives here.”  Matthew cleared his throat as he fought back a tear.

Frances touched her son on the arm, “Oh, honey, it’s been a while since you’ve been so sentimental, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Ma.  I’m just having one of these tender moments you say are healthy to have.”

Frances laughed as he stressed the word, “tender” as if it were a bad word.  She worried about all her children, but especially Matthew.  Since Leslie’s death, he had become a cold, bitter man, and he rarely spoke of her or the night she died.  He got angry with anyone who dared speak of it, except for Jim.

Matthew had quit attending church and drank heavily for a few years.  He avoided religion and God; it was as if he blamed God for Leslie’s death. When Leslie found out she was pregnant, it was one of the happiest occasions of their lives, but the happiness was short lived when she found out she had a heart condition.  They prayed together for healing, and went to the best doctors; however, nothing could be done while Leslie was pregnant.  She, of course, chose to have her baby. Matthew continued to pray for his wife.  Unfortunately, the strain of the pregnancy caused more damage to her already weakened heart, and one year later, Leslie went into cardiac arrest and died.  He swore he would never fall in love again.

Frances feared her son would be without love.  All she knew to do was to put him into God’s hands.

Matthew kissed his daughter, “Who loves you, Precious?”

She held her head up and smiled, “You do, Daddy.  I love you, too.”  She unexpectedly jumped out of her daddy’s arms and ran to Jim.  “Where’s Kalien?”

Jim pulled Kate into his arms and smiled, “Oh, no hug, and kiss for Uncle Jim?”

Kate squirmed away from him and giggled, “Where’s Kalien?”

Caroline grinned, “She’s in Noah and Lauren’s office.”

“Bye, Daddy.”

“Hey, you just said hello,” Matthew fussed.

“I gotta find Kalien.”  Kate ran off toward Noah and Lauren’s office with Frances close behind her.

“Haven’t they been together all day?” Matthew quizzed.  “Don’t they need a break?”

Caroline pointed her finger at her brother, “Oh, how we forget.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You and Jim were just like our two girls, inseparable and always in trouble.”

“There you go; it isn’t the same because our girls never get in trouble.”

“That’s because you two spoil them.”

Matthew looked to Jim for help, but Jim shook his head.  “I think she could be right, we do spoil our girls.”

“Smart man, you could take some lessons from this guy, big brother,” Caroline quipped.

“You’re pathetic man, won’t even defend your best friend.  I can’t believe it, pushed aside for a woman,” Matthew shook his head and displayed a pretend, disgusted stare.

Jim and Caroline laughed.

“Ah yeah, I have to go home with her tonight.”

“You have a point there, man.  That’s why I won’t fall into the clutches of a woman.”

“You guys are getting too loud,” Caroline whispered.

Jim and Matthew both blurted out at the same time, “We’re sorry, Mommy.”

“There’s no hope for you two.  I think you guys are real brothers, somehow, maybe, you were really twins and one of you was given to the best friend for safe keeping,” Caroline thought she had made a clever comment and was proud.

Caroline walked away, saying nothing as Jim and Matthew laughed loudly, so loudly that Fran, followed by Donna came walking toward the table.

Jim saw Mr. Russell, Ben and George’s law partner sitting in a nearby booth with his wife, Inez.  The couple shook their heads and laughed at the humorous commotion.  He grinned at the elderly man.  “Oh no, we’re really in trouble now, here comes the mamas,” Jim smiled his biggest smile and waved at the approaching women.  “Hi, Moms, how are the two best moms doing today?”  Jim assumed buttering up the mothers would help, but he was wrong.

“We don’t know what to do with these boys; they just never grow up, do they?” Frances commented.

Mrs. Russell defended Matthew and Jim.  “They do keep their mamas feeling young and alive?  Those boys always did lighten up the mood.”  Inez Russell continued, “I’m sure my boys drove you crazy a time or two.”

Frances and Donna laughed as they remembered the days when the boys were young.  Donna playfully replied, “Yes, however, we all know who the ring leaders were.”

Mr. Russell smiled at Donna, “I always enjoyed having all our boys at the firm.”

Matthew gave Mr. and Mrs. Russell a thumbs-up and everyone burst into laughter.

Donna turned to Frances, “Fran, if they get loud one more time, let’s just throw them out for the night.”

Frances agreed with a nod.

“We’re sorry moms,” Jim said.

“Yeah, we love you.  We won’t do it again,” Matthew added.

“Ah, who can be mad at these faces?” Frances playfully pinched Matthew and Jim’s faces.

Matthew whispered to Jim as he noticed their fathers approaching, “Help’s on its way.”

“What are you ladies doing to our boys?” Ben asked Donna as he put his arm around her.

George kissed Frances on the cheek and playfully fussed at her, “You’re always picking on this child.  Why?”

Jim pointed his finger at their mothers and playfully taunted, “Ha-ha, now you two are in trouble.”

Matthew jabbed his friend in the arm, “Shut up, man.”

Jim rubbed his arm as if the punch really hurt and laughs all around erupted.  He kissed the women on their cheeks as Caroline and the kids came from the offices and joined the group.

Matthew looked around at all of them.  This was his family; he was proud of them and proud to be with them.  He found himself hoping his mother and Donna were right, that Leslie looked down on the family and made requests to God on their behalf.

“That’s my family, God; help me take care of them.”

Matthew looked on the wall and found his wife’s picture, which hung there.  He whispered, “Thank you, baby, oh, and you too, God.”

 

 

Chapter Three

The president of Beth and Lin Advertising Company, Justina Lindsey sat in her elegant, posh office behind a desk stacked full of files, and mulled through paperwork.

Though her office had all the latest amenities, Justina never used them, well, except for the coffeepot.  A small kitchenette lay just to the right of the room as one entered the office.  The kitchenette walls were red with black and red floor tiles, resembling a checkerboard.

Outside the kitchenette, the main office walls were covered in dark colored paneling.  There was a black leather sofa and loveseat sitting in front of a cherry wood finished coffee table.  Several entertainment magazines covered the table.

Large cherry wood frames clung to the dull paneled walls and displayed various photos of clients who stood in front of their businesses.

Justina never cared for the dull colors Elizabeth Carr, her benefactor, and caregiver had selected the decor of the office.  The only thing she did like about the office was the large glass sliding doors behind her desk.  These glass sliding doors led to the small balcony, which overlooked the beautiful scenic downtown Dallas and its beautiful streets.

She really wanted to change the decor and setup of the office but never seemed to have the time for it.  If truth were told, she had lost her desire to change anything after Elizabeth was murdered.  Instead, she busied herself in an attempt to establish herself as leader of the company, to prove to Elizabeth’s employees, clients and friends that she would be able to carry the load Elizabeth had once carried.

Justina beamed from a phone call she had just received from Kevin Jenkins III, the owner of Jenkins’s Jewels.  He was praising her for the commercial she had worked on recently for his company.  He bragged about how his sales had jumped up seven points soon after the commercial had aired.

Justina smiled as she pulled her best client, the Lawton’s, from the stack.  The Lawton’s businesses included a luxurious resort, ranch, farm, lodge, a cafe, a green house business, and their law offices.  Her lead advertising agent Joyce, who happened to be married to Roger Lawton, had been handling the Lawton business for years, even before Justina was in charge.

She heard a knock on the door and when she looked up from her desk, she smiled to see Joyce.

Joyce took a seat on the sofa and waved her hand playfully at Justina.  “Hi,” she playfully squinted her eyes, as she stared at Justina’s desk.  “Hey, where’s your desk?  Oh, wait, I think I see it.”

“I pulled some files out which need to be updated,” Justina stated, not laughing at Joyce’s last joke.

Joyce rolled her eyes and laughed, “Great, now its lunch and I’m starved.”

“Go on home; I know you and Roger have plans to leave tonight to visit your family.”  Justina suddenly had an idea.  “Joyce, the Lawton ads are yours, why don’t you take their files and do a little business this weekend.”  Justina held up a pile of files in her arms and waved them toward Joyce.

Joyce took the large stack of files from Justina, but laid them back on the desk and shook her head, no.  “Why don’t you come with us?”

Justina kept working on her current project.  “Where’s Maggie?  She’s related to the Kingston’s, isn’t she?”

“Yes, she’s George’s niece, but she’s not going to work on the project for you this weekend either.  She, Ted, and the kids are in Maine.  Besides, it could be good P.R. for the company.”

“Why do you think it would be good P.R.?  You’re related to them and have always taken care of their advertising.”

“Yes, that’s true, but you are the boss, Justina.  I’m just your representative. Their contracts are ending soon.  You have been so wrapped up in the Jenkins Company; you are ignoring our other clients.

“I’ve met with the owners, Ben and Donna Lawton on several occasions.  What else do you think I need to do?”

“You could come to the resort, meet all the Lawton’s since it is a family business.  If they see you’re personally interested in their businesses, then it will go a long way in securing their contracts.”

Justina stood up, walked over to the filing cabinet, and fiddled with some files.  “You haven’t even checked with Roger, he might not want me to tag along, since I’m the girlfriend of Nick Cabara, and besides, it is your anniversary.  You and Roger don’t need me tagging along.”

“Roger said he didn’t mind if you came for the weekend. There are plenty of things you can do without us. We are going to have dinner with Caroline, Jim, and Matthew and then have a private celebration later in the evening.”

Justina laughed, “I can see ten years of marriage hasn’t cooled your romance, that’s wonderful.”  She then shrugged her shoulders, “I would have thought Roger would worry about his reputation.  He doesn’t like Nick.”

“You’re right, he doesn’t like Nick, but it’s because he’s involved with illegal things.”

“Can Roger prove it?”

“Roger’s word should be enough for you.”

“I don’t understand what he has against Nick.”

“Roger is a prominent photo journalist in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.  Nick has suspected mafia ties, what is not to understand?  Roger reports on the bad guys not socialize with them,” Joyce’s voice echoed with impatience.  “Oh, Justina, don’t be naïve.  You have to know the Cabara family has ties to the mafia.”

“Nick is his own man, he makes his own decisions.”

“Justina, think about what you just said.”

“Nick isn’t controlled by anyone.”

“If his family is involved with the mafia, so is Nick.”  Joyce hesitated before continuing, “Be sure the mafia is the one in control.”  Joyce took a deep breath, “I’ve said too much.”

Justina knew Joyce cared about her and only wanted the best for her.  They were friends and had been for a few years, but were from very different backgrounds.  Joyce’s father was a doctor and her mother was an attorney.  Joyce was a raven-haired beauty with blue eyes and a perfect figure.  She had been the rich, popular cheerleader who won all of the awards in school.  Justina had been a short, chubby, brown-haired orphan child; the troubled youth.  Always in trouble for fighting, sulking in school, and being expelled.

Justina had tried to snatch Elizabeth’s purse one day and that is how Elizabeth entered her life.

“Justina,” Joyce stepped over and touched her on the arm.  “Are you all right?”

“Nick produces software for companies; that’s all.  Don’t you think I would know if he was involved in something other than the software business?”  Justina did not know whom she was trying to convince more, herself or Joyce.

“No, I don’t think you would know.  I’m sure Nick knows how to cover his tracks.  What kind are they?”

“What kind of software?”

“No, what kind of companies does he do business with?”

“I don’t know.  I never asked to see a list of his clients.  He never talks to me about his business and I don’t ask.”

“I think you should quiz him, just a little, to see if he’d tell you about it.  He knows all about your business after all.”

“That’s because his family’s company is one of my clients.”

“Okay, fair enough, but if you intend on marrying this guy, don’t you agree there should be no secrets between couples?”

Justina raised an eyebrow, “Who said anything about marriage?” Justina hesitated.  “Everyone has secrets, don’t they?  Aren’t there things you haven’t told Roger?”

Joyce thought for a moment, “Sure, but he knows about the important things.”  Joyce walked to the couch and sat down.  “I don’t think you should keep secrets from anyone you love and trust.”

Justina felt uncomfortable and she nervously walked to the window and stared out.  “Well, yes, I suppose if you love someone and truly trust them, then I suppose big secrets could be bad,” Justina’s heart raced.  She had secrets of her own; secrets she had not shared with Joyce.  She knew Joyce loved her but did she love her enough to forgive her and still be her friend?  Could Joyce handle the truth about her past?  Justina knew Nick could not handle the truth.

Elizabeth and Justina chose to keep their personal lives private.  She had always referred to Justina as her niece.

“I’m sorry, I’ve made you upset; that wasn’t my intention.  It’s just you’ve been working too hard, I worry about you.”  Joyce led Justina to the couch.  “Lie down for a while.  You are as pale as a ghost.”  Joyce laid an afghan over Justina.  “You work late every night and you take files home with you and work there.”  Joyce poured a glass of water and handed it to Justina, “Drink some water.  It’ll make you feel better.”

Justina took the glass and held it as Joyce continued; “You do all that volunteer work in the Deep Ellum district and downtown.  You never do anything for yourself.  You’re like a robot that doesn’t have an “off” switch.”

Justina smiled weakly at her friend, “I just want to help people.  I enjoy it.”

“I know, I like helping people too, but you need to take care of you.”

“I don’t want you to worry about Nick and me.  I’m still just getting to know him.”

I don’t think Nick is your Mr. Right,” Joyce confided softly.

They laughed as Joyce stood to her feet, “Now don’t go rushing off to Billy’s Honky-tonk without me.”

The two friends laughed like two schoolgirls.  “You could just start out slow in the fun department, like joining the family for the weekend at Lawton’s,” Joyce tilted her head sideways.  “That’s all I’m saying,” She stretched.  “Oh, the directions to the lodge are sitting on your desk if you change your mind.”  She pointed toward the desk.  “And, we’re leaving at 2:30 pm; it takes about thirty minutes to get there, depending on the traffic and on how fast you drive, so it’ll take you ten minutes,” She laughed.  “One more thing; two suites are reserved and at no charge.  We get to eat free at the lodge and the diner.  How great is that?”  Joyce turned around and winked at Justina sarcastically.  “It’s all about whom you know, kid.”  She waved goodbye as she shut the door.

Justina could not help but laugh at Joyce’s clowning.  Joyce was the same happy person all the time and the people at the office loved her for her upbeat attitude.

Justina wished she could be more like Joyce, but she had to be completely professional about business.  She noticed the staff treated her with respect, but they treated Joyce with admiration.  Joyce once advised Justina to try to be polite to them.  When she had taken Joyce’s advice, the staff had given her a card for Christmas.

Justina pulled herself off the couch and stretched her arms as she glanced at the clock.  She looked out her office door and whimpered.  “I guess everyone has gone out of town except me.”

Justina looked at her file-covered desk and drew a long breath.  As she thought of going home, she frowned.  Even Trish, the maid that Nick talked her into hiring two months ago was out of town for the weekend.  She walked over, stood just in front of the desk, sifted through them until she found the Lawton file and read the caption on the top corner.  ‘GOOD FOOD.  GOOD REST.  GOOD FUN.’

“That’s what I need; rest, relaxation, and fun.”

New Story Series

NOTE: If you read this blog, there may be spoilers written here involving the New Breed Series.

***

Now that I have finished my New Breed series, I am working on its sister series, the Carasylia Enchanted series.

You can read the beginning of Erich and Iseabai’ls story in Mystic Mist, the first book of the NB series.

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Book 1, Realm of Majh’ygul,  and Iseabail, Book 2 of Carasylia Enchanted picks up Iseabail’s stories after they leave Earth and return to the world of Carasylia.

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Each of these books in this series will be stand-alone books as it furthers the series.

In book 1, we learn what happens to Erich when he comes to Carasylia. He will be thrust into a larger than life fantasy world with unusual creatures, magical beings, and old world warriors. As his adventure unfolds, so do secrets about him he never knew existed. He begins to understand the childhood storybook his father read to him is more than just a story. It’s his family legacy.

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In book 2, Iseabail, she returns from Earth a changed young woman who cannot bear the things she once thought normal to remain the same. After experiencing the adventure on Earth with Erich, she finds she can no longer restrain herself to be the same subdued princess she once was. She struggles with the conflict between remaining a dainty princess, or to embrace the warrior princess inside her.

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Fantasy series Carasylia Enchanted

In book 3, Royals and Warriors, we witness reunions, heart-wrenching betrayals, and a battle between the righteous and the wicked.

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I do not know how far this series will go, but I promise you it will be full of adventure along the way.

I hope you will join me as we experience the character’s adventures. I am sure you will grow to love some of them, hate some, but you indeed will be moved.

 

Wednesday Window View at ISEABAIL

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This snippet comes from my work in progress; ISEABAIL, book 2 in the CARASYLIA ENCHANTED series.

Iseabail stopped walking through the dark tunnel and leaned against the wall as she remembered her trip through the Mystic Mist. She had not experienced such pain, as the uncomfortable pressure in her ears from the loud noise of the wind blowing around her. However, once she had submerged inside the ring, she had felt so snug that she passed out.

Iseabail took a deep breath to calm her racing pulse at the memory. She could not allow herself to succumb to panic. She, after all, was on her way back to her home, and to her family.

She commanded loudly to herself. “Iseabail, walk! It cannot be much further, and then you can take a hot bath and get some food. Now move!”

Iseabail once more moved her feet forward. After walking for quite a distance, she passed two more corridors before reaching the portrait of King Zolorac.

“This is it,” Iseabail said eagerly.

She recalled what she was supposed to do next. “I push the etched center.”

She gazed at the portrait, realizing how King Zolorac was indeed a handsome man and the epitome of elegance with his defined chin, perfectly set jaw line, and every hair was in its proper place. Iseabail had seen many depictions of the first king but had never stopped to examine them carefully. She supposed her disinterest in King Zolorac was due to how cruel he had been toward his wife and daughter.

King Zolorac’s only beloved son saved his sister from a bear attack but sadly died during his fight with the animal. King Zolorac went mad and cursed his daughter, which brought about the slaughter of King Zolorac and his wife.

His daughter, though she married the man she loved, she reigned in blood and chaos as foretold. Attacks of Firedreda began and continued throughout her entire reign, and thereafter. The kingdom resided in constant fear of the hideous dragon and her kind, and then of the Hellavey.

Iseabail frowned at the depiction of King Zolorac. “You were a cruel man. It’s hard to believe we came from the same line.”

She located the notch that Uilleam spoke of, just beneath the first button on King Zolorac’s vest then she waited. Iseabail laughed when she saw the portrait began to move. When the painting had opened fully, Iseabail ran up the stairs and toward the last door. As she reached her hand out to the door, she stopped.

My dress. Iseabail hastily pulled the dress from her backpack. She hurriedly undressed and clothed her body with the dress she had on when the mist took her. She felt the sting of sadness fill her while placing the clothes Erich had given her inside the bag and forced her tears away. Erich. I may not be able to speak about you, but I will never forget you. Be safe there, where you are, my friend. Be safe. Goodbye, Erich.

When Iseabail stepped from the hidden door, onto the castle grounds, her heart filled with happiness when twinkling lights from the castle caught her gaze through the darkness. The sounds of a familiar Carasylian night filled her ears and caused her to rejoice within her heart. After securing the door, she hurried through the garden to a small gate, which led to the castle yard. After securing the gate behind her, she hurried toward the castle.

Iseabail was pleased that night had fallen as she was not sure how Clair would react if she were just to walk up to her and said, “Hello, I’m back.”

The thought made her laugh nervously. What should I do? How should I handle this?

As she quietly moved through the darkened yard, a voice whispered, “Go to Minister Ethelred Kdeoralin.”

Iseabail stopped, and looked around, but did not see anyone near her.

She swallowed hard. “Dear Guardian Andrea, you have helped me thus far. Thank you, and to the great and powerful Creator you represent.”

Iseabail moved swiftly toward the back of the massive stone castle, to one of the back entrances.  The minister’s office was located near the eastern gate so she would come through that door. Though it was dark, the two moons shone brightly in this clear Carasylian night for which Iseabail was thankful. She prayed that the minister was still in the office, preparing to end his day, before going to eat with the family.

Iseabail’s heart pounded in her chest as she placed her hands on the door. She could not believe she was back home.

Home; the sound of the word as it left her lips filled Iseabail with joy.

She entered the castle and walked down the long corridor until she reached the minister’s office. She was pleased to see the lights of a candle burning underneath the door.

Her heart raced as she placed her hand on the knob.  When she opened the door and saw Uilleam, her will to remain calm abandoned her.” Is Clair safe?” Iseabail asked, rushing toward Uilleam.

“Oh, dear Guardians! Iseabail!” Minister Kdeoralin exclaimed. “Bless you, child, thank the Guardians, you’re safe, you’re home.”

“Yes, Milady, Clair is safe.” Uilleam fell to his knees and bowed before her.

Iseabail’s heart leaped for joy as she whispered to Uilleam, “Thank you for taking care of her.”

When Minister Ethelred’s arm rested on her shoulder, a sense of relief washed over Iseabail, and she realized that she now was safe. Iseabail smiled at Ethelred but then looked down at Uilleam as she took him by his hand, gently urging him to stand. “You are my friend. You risked your life for me. Thank you, but please, do not bow to me.”

Uilleam smiled as he continued to hold her hands. “I shall never allow you to be lost to our kingdom again. I swear it by my strength and my sword, to my peril, I shall protect you.”

Iseabail’s heart filled with peace at Uilleam’s words. He had just sworn his complete allegiance to her, and she knew it was no small act. “Thank you, Uilleam, I am comforted by your devotion.”

Minister Kdeoralin gave Uilleam a stern look, ” I want you to double the guards on Iseabail. I want them doubled tonight, Uilleam.”

“Of course, sir,” Uilleam replied.

Iseabail frowned at the two men, “It is not necessary.”

Ethelred exhaled as he looked Iseabail directly in the eye, “Yes, it is, young lady, at least until the King returns. Iseabail, we almost lost you once. I don’t intend on it occurring again. Until your father returns, I don’t want you leaving the protective walls of the castle or Elegantae.”

Iseabail nodded as she released Uilleam’s hands and looked at Ethelred, “I suppose you are right. I want to see Clair now.”

Minister Kdeoralin shook his head, “I know you do, but first, we must attend to your wounds. How did you sustain them?”

“I fought with a Hellavey inside of the hidden tunnel.”

When Iseabail saw the panic rising in the man, she assured them, “Do not stress; I killed the beast though she is still lying with her severed head in the cavern by the water.”

Minister Kdeoralin looked at Iseabail with surprise. “You killed a Hellavey, by yourself? I am impressed.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a servant passing by the door. “Lynors go and fetch some water from the pool and return quickly with it. And speak to no one along the way.”

“As you wish, Lord Ethelred,” the servant girl replied and then hurried away.

After the girl had left, Iseabail whispered, “I have killed many of those hideous creatures in the last seven days. Oh, Minister, Uilleam, I’ve had quite an adventure.”

Uilleam glanced at her with surprise, “I am most eager to hear about your adventure, Princess Iseabail, but you cannot tell everyone this tale.”

Iseabail understood the warning, and nodded, “Yes, you are correct, Uilleam.” She then turned and looked at Ethelred, “As soon as Father returns, I shall have a conversation with him concerning our people who are at Bablin’ Isl.”

Minister Ethelred cleared his throat nervously as he shook his head, “Uilleam is correct. Some things should remain unspoken until your father returns.” He then smiled, “However, I for one am most interested in hearing your tale.”

“Very well, when Father returns, we shall discuss this matter, and I shall tell my story.”

He nodded, “Yes, I think that would be the best.”

“Okay, thank you both.”

When a knock came on the door, Uilleam hurried to it. “Thank you.” He shut the door and turned, holding a small basin of water in his hands.

Ethelred leaned over and pulled a small wooden box from his desk. “I shall not fetch the healer for you this night. I don’t want him to see the fresh wounds. When he tended to Clair, I had told him that you were cared for elsewhere. If he were to see these, he might ask questions I don’t want to answer.”

Iseabail laughed softly, “Yes, this is true. I shall do as you suggest, Minister.”

Ethelred shrugged, “I can tend to these without much difficulty. I see no reason to take you to the pool this evening. I believe this small amount will heal you enough for tonight.”

Uilleam nodded, “I agree. We simply want the wounds to look aged.” He set the water down on the desk.

After the minister had cleaned the wound with the water from the healing pool, he placed a salve on Iseabail’s wounds. Next, he wrapped them with some of the fresh, clean cloth he stored in the small box.

He patted her hands, “That should do it.”

Iseabail pointed to the door, “I wish to see Clair and my brothers now.”

Uilleam walked past her and swung the double doors open.

Ethelred smiled as he gently took Iseabail’s arm, “Let us go then. The family will be sitting down to eat at this moment.”

Wednesday’s Window View with Author Sharon E. Cathcart

byou ifreAward-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans. You can find this Historical Romance from Sharon at Amazon.

Sharon E. Cathcart is an award-winning author of fiction featuring atypical characters.

A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sharon has been writing for as long as she can remember and always has at least one work in progress.

Sharon lives in the Silicon Valley, California, with her husband and an assortment of pets.
Amos had no trouble figuring out which woman to serve. She was tapping away on a tiny tablet computer in the corner, her auburn locks in a ponytail. She had the kind of soft curves that Amos had always found attractive. Her face, which showed how focused she was on her work, was more girl-next-door than fashion model; he’d always liked that, too. For a moment, Amos’ heart was in his throat; like his aunt, he thought he knew the girl. But it couldn’t be. Recovering quickly, he sat the food next to Diana.

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?

Sample #1

“Thank you,” she said, looking up at the man who now stood next to her table. His hair was a little too long, and he had a day’s worth of dark beard stubble. His lips were slim, but the lines around his mouth promised a sense of humor. He had a dimple in one cheek and his eyes — so brown they were nearly black — were arresting in their intensity. He wore a pair of faded jeans, and a Tulane University t-shirt under a long-sleeved plaid flannel shirt.

“Are you the cook who had too much fais-do-do last night,” she asked. She managed to suppress an unbidden and uncharacteristic urge to wink, but the lilt of a soft chuckle came through when she spoke.

“No such thing.” A broad smile lit his handsome face. “I’m Amos, owner of the Bayou Café. My aunt took a little ill and asked me to bring this to you.”

Diana took a bite of the quiche. “This is delicious; what is it?”

“My aunt’s alligator cheesecake. You must be special; she usually saves it for lunch with the staff.”

Diana tapped a few more keys on the computer.

“Sorry; I just wanted to make sure I mention it in my article.”

“Article? Do you mind if I sit down? I’m curious.”

“Please do. I’m happy to talk about it.”

Amos took the chair opposite Diana, who introduced herself and explained why she was in New Orleans.

“I’m looking to give my readers a picture of the authentic New Orleans experience,” she concluded.

“Now, what’s authentic is going to depend on who you ask. Around here, that could mean anything from seeing every Bourbon Street dive bar to doing nothing but visiting jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street. Others will tell you that no one spends any time in the Quarter or on Frenchmen anymore and that you need to get further out. Some folks will tell you that you have to take a bunch of walking tours to really get the feel of the place, while others will tell you they hate nothing more than seeing a group of tourists traipse through their neighborhoods. There are also some parts of town that you should probably see, but not by yourself. They aren’t always safe. And I’m probably talking too much,” Amos finished with a laugh.

“I was going to arrange private tours … but now that you mention it, it doesn’t seem like what a local would really do. What do you recommend? I don’t have a car, but I do have a Jazzy Pass.”

“I could show you around,” he blurted. “If you would like. I mean, the bus and the street car don’t go everywhere.”

Sample #2:

The mahogany-skinned woman, wearing an elaborate, seven-pointed blue tignon over her hair, put the final touches on Evangeline’s coiffure that afternoon.

“Please, Madame Glapion,” she had begged. “I don’t want one of those ridiculous Apollo knots. All of the other girls will be wearing their hair that way, and I don’t want to look the same as everyone else, tonight of all nights.”

It was bad enough that Evangeline’s time in Paris had delayed her coming-out until she was eighteen years old; she wanted to stand out among the fifteen-year-olds who were having their season at the same time.

“Mmm-hmm. Perhaps you want someone special to notice you?”

The older woman continued combing, pinning, and applying her curling tongs.”

“Yes … but I suspect he won’t be there anyway. There’s only one man I want to see in that ballroom, but I haven’t laid eyes on Alcide Devereaux since I was a little girl. I thought he was the most handsome thing on two feet. He probably wouldn’t remember me, even if he were in town.”

“Well, you keep this under your bonnet, mademoiselle, but I was at the Devereaux house earlier today doing Madame Jeannette’s hair. Maybe if you wish hard enough, a tall, dark man will come to your ball tonight. You never can tell.”

“Madame Glapion, you always make the most amazing predictions . I surely do hope you are right this time.”

“There you go, mademoiselle. We are finished.”

When Evangeline looked in the mirror, she saw her auburn hair gently swept back from her brow and arranged in an elaborate design of ringlets streaming down the back. No wired topknot and side curl combination like all of the other girls wore; this style was perfect for her. No wonder Madame Glapion was the most sought-after coiffeuse in the Quarter!

Au revoir, mademoiselle,” she said after accepting her two-bit fee. “And keep wishing.”

As Marie Laveau Glapion walked out the door, she touched the gris-gris bag around her neck and said a prayer to Erzulie on behalf of Mademoiselle Evangeline DuPre.

 

Excerpt from The Majh’ygul Realm; Carasylia Enchanted series

24115550_10208350496319398_375928140_oErich groaned as he awakened. What a dream, he thought. As he roused, the sound of water splashing into a pool echoed through the room. A rainbow of lights which reflected against the walls and floor mesmerized him.

As Erich’s eyes adjusted, he discovered the source of the light came from an opening in the roof. Groaning, he slapped his cheek. “Wake up.”

It was then he remembered the two men in his dream. “Were they real?” He asked himself.

Erich caressed his forehead back and forth in an attempt to remember if it had been a dream or a true memory.

He carefully sat upright on the bed and leaned against a large brass bedpost. “I need to wake up.”

While Erich gathered his thoughts, he looked around the room. The walls and floors, black as polished stone, reflected one’s image as clear as a mirror. Erich threw the covers from off him and moved to the side of the bed and sat there a moment, taking in the view. With interest, he reached his hand to the floor and touched it; he decided that it felt like the stone from Earth. The windows throughout the magical abode were at heights impossible for humans to reach and were completely glassless.

However, Erich noticed there were two at a lower level on opposite sides of the room. Somehow, to Erich’s amazement, the wind remained at a distance, and the sound held to a bearable decimal. Can this be real?

Erich blinked his eyes and then smacked his face as he stood. “Wake up.”

Erich strolled toward the magnificent light that shone through a lower window.

When he glanced out, he gasped at the sight of the beauty all around him. This place is not a cavern hideaway; it’s a mountainous haven.

There were mountains in all directions, as far as the eye could see. Gorgeous clouds in various colors seemed to float so near the window that Erich thought he could reach out and touch them. He had the feeling this mountain floated among the clouds.

Incredible. Looking out, Erich became further shocked to see not one, but two suns. One was larger than the other. The larger appeared to be bluish green while the smaller sun displayed orange, mixed with yellow and red shades. Together, the two suns cast a glorious light upon the mountains. A color mixture, unlike Erich, had ever seen.

He could not hide a smile when off in the distance; he saw several large creatures that resembled eagles flying between the mountains. They soared in a circle several times and then dove below the clouds, disappearing from his view.

Erich’s breath caught as he lowered his eyes down the mountains and looked into, mist. “Aye!” He screamed as he took several steps backward to get away from the floating mist until he bumped into someone.

“It’s okay, my lad, it’s not the Mystic Mist. The mist you see in front of you flows down from the mountains, which float this high up continually. As one descends the mountain, the mist dissipates. No, this mist is quite harmless. The Mystic Mist is very well noted for its diverse colors and Blu wyn that travels with it as a companion.”

Erich turned and looked at the one who spoke to him. The sight of the wizard with his long, ashen hair, and unkempt beard reminded Erich of familiar characters from Legends, other books, and movies he had enjoyed while growing up. The long staff in his hand, the Smoky gray cloak, and the pointed hat on the man’s head served to strengthen Erich’s imagination. There would be no way Erich could guess the wizard’s age, so he stifled a nervous laugh and pushed the temptation to do so, away.

“Thank you for bracing me and clearing the confusion of the mist up for me. It is interesting to hear this, and I’ll note the differences.”

Malchiack nodded with affection, “I’ll always be here for you, Son. Do not worry about that.”

“Thank you, Sir. Forgive me, but I seem to have forgotten your name, ah, Maldiziach.” Erich touched his forehead and squeezed his eyes trying to remember the man’s name.

“Malchiack is my name, son, and it is alright. You’ve been through a lot, so it’s understandable your memory fails you now.”

Erich sighed, lost in thought. He could remember everything that had occurred to him quite clearly, and his heart ached terribly, now that he knew this was not a dream.

He searched his memory, but all that echoed in his mind was that the mist had caught him and took him from Earth to this world. Another world, it would have been unbelievable had he heard it from someone else, yet, he knew it to be true because he now experienced it. He recalled what the Fêhluelsin King had said to him, calling his father, Stefanos, and calling him Keilwen.

Erich shook his aching head, “Where am I? Who is Stefanos and Keilwen the Fêhluelsin king mentioned last night? I am afraid you have me mixed up with somebody else. My name is Erich.”

He groaned, “Oh, maybe this is all just a dream. I might have hit my head and…”

“It is no dream; I assure you. It’s all very real,” Malchiack breathed deeply as he thought of how to answer Erich. He took Erich gently by the arm, “Come, let us sit and rest while we nourish our bodies. I will tell you everything, I promise.”

Erich followed Malchiack to a small table that sat in the corner, next to a window. “This doesn’t seem like the room I was in last night.”

“Very astute of you. It is not. The King decided to move you to a room of your own.”

As they sat down, two Fêhluelsin women brought a rolling cart which held wafers, fruit, an assortment of nuts and cheese, and a pitcher of water.

“It is good to see you are moving on your own feet this morning, Keilwen,” a voice behind Erich startled him.

Erich turned and looked into the eyes of the Fêhluelsin King Brookshirsh, dressed in a royal blue robe and holding a silver scepter.

What a magnificent, perfect being, Erich thought. His fair skin revealed no blemishes, and he stood tall with a magnificent physique. The King’s long, golden hair flowed to his ankles and eloquently decorated with Emeralds and Sapphires throughout and to the ends.

The crown the King wore shined equally beautiful with emeralds, rubies, perils and sapphires placed around the base. Atop the crown set a large, ice blue crystal situated perfectly in the center, with tiny diamonds peppered alongside it.

Erich stood and bowed his head, “Sire, it is an honor to meet you.”

Malchiack also stood and bowed before the king, “Your Majesty.”

Brookshirsh’s eyes danced with an immediate fondness for the young man before him. “It is my honor, young prince, to meet you.”

Erich shied under the comment. Apparently, King Brookshirsh and Malchiack thought he was a prince. But he had to admit he liked the title. “Thank you. But as I was telling Malchiack, my name is Erich, and I’m certainly no prince.”

“Please, please, sit and let us enjoy our meal.” Brookshirsh leaned in and whispered, “I know who you are, Heirik, but when others are around, I shall not refer to your given name, but as Keilwen.” He placed his silver scepter on his lap as he took his seat.

Erich sat in a chair across the table from the two men, feeling strangely transparent as the two females walked away.

The meal, while conducted in silence, became quite uncomfortable for Erich as the two men eyed him. He stirred in his seat, but then looked down and concentrated on satisfying his hunger.

After they had finished eating, Brookshirsh pushed his plate aside and laid his goblet next to it. “I can catch glimpses of people’s thoughts, not all thoughts, and not all people. Just the thoughts that are the most prevalent, and only from those who are weak minded, ill, or do not have their mind shielded. Not all have this gift; the selection is random and unknown.”

Erich laughed wearily, “I am both weak minded and ill right now, so I bet you got a mind full.” When he saw the other two men did not think his remark funny, he coughed uncomfortably and stifled his laugh.

Malchiack assured Erich, “After you strengthen both your body and mind, it will be easier to shield your thoughts.”

“That is good to know,” Erich whispered.

Brookshirsh looked Erich in the eyes, his expression serious, “Heirik, I will tell you of your family legacy, which belongs to this world, and the Kingdom of Aspella.”

Erich swallowed his last piece of bread and then his drink. He did not know why, but the words of Brookshirsh both frightened and excited him. His parents face flashed in his mind. Did they know of this legacy?

“I shall tell you all you wish to know, but first, I am sure you would like to clean up a bit?”

“Yes, I would, thank you.”

Brookshirsh nodded as the large doors in Erich’s chambers opened. “Follow Titus, and he shall show you to the bathing area.”

Erich stood and looked at his dining companions. “Thank you, both for sharing a meal with me.” He then followed Titus through the large room where he had slept, and onto a large balcony. His ears immediately tuned into the sound of water flowing somewhere near him.

“We shall go this way,” Titus pointed to his right and led the way to an attached cliff overhang.

Erich followed Titus into the cavern, and in an instant, his breath caught at the natural beauty in front of him.

The cavern had upper and lower levels with several tunnels leading in various directions. Natural Springs flowed from underneath the cavern walls, and into a large pool, which sat in the center of the cavern.

From the upper levels, Erich could see etches in the cavern walls where the water flowed from the waterfall above and into a trench along the sides of the cavern floor. The water had carved out natural canals, which carried the water through this cavern trench and into deeper, darker caverns below, and off the mountainside.

Erich grinned, “This pool looks inviting.”

Titus bowed, “I shall leave you now. Enjoy. I shall return with fresh clothing for you.”

Erich unrobed and entered the heated water. He contentedly sighed as he relaxed and leaned against the side. It was the perfect temperature.

Wednesday’s Window View with Author Bob Vince JR

johns walk

This is an inspirational book that tells the story how without you really knowing someone enters your life briefly to help you along your personal path set aside for you.

We all have a John in our lives, whether we see them or know them depends on our personal walk in this life.

I have had many encounters with a John within my walk on my path. At times they could be male or female. We simply need to be open to the guidance given us on a daily basis. Whether it’s a job, a problem, new opportunities, and even in the most difficult of times, there is always a John there to help. May your walk be blessed my friends and blessings shower like rain in your live~ Bob Vince JR

Get your copy of John’s Walk today. You will enjoy it.

About Bob: I have been writing since my teens and I view my writing ability as a gift from God and as such my writings tend to be inspirational. I also like to write children stories, poetry, fantasy, and science fiction. My favorite modern author is Stephen King and my classic writers include Ernest Hemingway, Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, and Hans Christian Anderson.

In my spare time, I collect books, the books are mostly history, dragons, or the Classics. I also love classic movies from the 30’s to the 80’s.

One of my dreams have been completed with the publishing of John’s Walk my other dream is to make enough to buy an RV and become a full-time RV traveler seeing the sights and sounds of America.

My children are grown and my parents have passed on so I have all the time in the world to travel and write.  bob vince jr