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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday RELEASE...A Paranormal Sampler

Pre-order your copy today – ONLY $0.99! Final price will be $2.99, so be sure to secure your order today.
Available through AMAZON
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Bound By Blood (A Night Shift Novella)
By Margo Bond Collins
Sometimes the monsters in the night are real.
Sometimes they live right next door.
As a child, Halili Banta ignored her grandmother's cryptic warnings not to make friends with children outside their Filipino community in Houston. But she preferred to become a "real" American, down to the Americanization of her name, Lili. When many of those other children fell ill, Lili vowed to focus on learning everything she could about Western medicine, ignoring the whispers in her community that a vampiric aswang walked among them. Now, as an adult and a medical doctor, Lili has returned to Houston to work for the Quarantine Station of the Center for Disease Control—but she is plagued by dark, bloody dreams that consume her nights and haunt her days. As a strange illness once again sweeps through the city, leaving hundreds of children ill and several dead, Lili races against the clock to find its source, and possibly even a cure. But in order to save the city, she must first embrace her Filipino heritage, and acknowledge a sinister truth: A monster stalks the night—and it might be closer than she ever expected....
Isa: Gift of the Baloma
By Perri Forrest
Isa: Gift of the Baloma is a fantasy tale created from a myth that derives from the Trobriand islands (today officially known as the Kiriwina Islands). Isa is the beautifully tortured soul who has never known love, and who has pretty much travelled through life alone. When tragic circumstances lead her into the depths of the sea, she has no idea what her fate may hold, and thus prepares for worst. However, as in life, sometimes we have to go through our very worst to get to the place we were destines to be. Such is the case with Isa. Just when she thinks all is lost, she meets Chief Topileta, headman of the villages of the dead, and an unexpected love affair ensures. As Isa will soon find, nothing in her life stays peaceful for long, and before she knows it, she is separated from the only person to ever care for her. When tragedy strikes and Isa finds herself awake after two years of falling into a deep sleep, she is surprised to find that all thoughts are still with the man she has not forgotten. But has he forgotten her? Will he come for her? Will she find love again? This is only the beginning of Isa's story, in the full length novel that is set for 2015 release, readers will find out the many layers of Isa and be able to journey with her as she finds out about her lineage and the family she was sure did not exist.
Micco, Anguta's Reign
By Dormaine G.
Micco (2)
Revelation can be a disheartening truth.
Micco, a captivating Native American man with a desirable physique and statuesque features, radiates a mysterious allure. Living on the reservation with his unapproachable father, he doesn't believe in the old ways and works as a cop in the local town. The only reason he lives on the land is Nara, his childhood friend and the love of his life, who is married to a cruel reservation man. Waking up in the heart of a murderous scene, he flees for his life, unfamiliar with his surroundings or how he arrived there. To his horror, he's assigned to the case. As he works with the local detective, more murders transpire with unusual, terrifying sightings of wolves. His behavior starts to drastically change, forcing others to take notice. Although trying to avoid the inevitable, Micco is forced to accept the undesirable truth, unable to fight what has been awakened, and all that he has forgotten is finally revealed.
Cursed: A Yorkshire Ghost Story
By Karen Perkins
She's back. This time no one is safe.
A skeleton is dug up at the crossing of the ways on Hanging Moor, striking dread into the heart of Old Ma Ramsgill – the elderly matriarch of the village of Thruscross. And with good reason. The eighteenth-century witch, Jennet, has been woken. A spate of killings by a vicious black dog gives credence to her warnings and the community – in particular her family – realise they are in terrible danger. Drastic measures are needed to contain her, but with the imminent flooding of the valley to create a new reservoir, do they have the ability to stop her and break her curse?
Carnem Levare
By Jaxx Summers
We are born, live and eventually leave the mortal world. For Stefano Bonaro the same can be said, with a powerful exception. He was born to live and love in Venice, beyond death. Stefano is passionately in love with Anastasia Soranzo. They grew up with the promise of a future together, through family bonds and emotional ties. Then suddenly their lives are torn apart by unforgivable deception. For the sake of family, Stefano and Anastasia can no longer have a future together. While Anastasia can easily move on, Stefano refuses to do so. During Eighteenth Century Carnival, Stefano seals his faith when he commits a crime of passion that ends with him even taking his own life. But this is not the end for the jilted lover, when he is suddenly brought back to life a year later. Stefano's spirit continues to hope in love, even as he becomes ruled by madness. But will it ever truly end for Stefano Bonaro?
The Life Keeper
By Abby L. Vandiver
Life Keeper Cover
The bloodline of Romania, older than the legend of the vampire, the strigoi are vile, evil creatures who suck the life from the people of the villages that line the impenetrable forests of the country. In this tale with a twist, Jessica Petrescu dotes on her grandmother and takes care of her family in the aftermath of the fall of communism in Romania. Her family is disrupted by a red headed, indigo colored eyes cousin, who turns her household upside down in his quest to discover whether a strigoi is living among his relatives.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014



FINALLY, I know!
(Yep, I've had a similar post to this before, but I happen to like it, so here it is again.)

The thing is with releasing Books, Books, Books and then soliciting Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, and then supporting your author friends, is that you still have to turn around and 
.....you'll lose all of your hard-earned reader interest.  

Readers want to see progress....and BOOKS.....and REVIEWS.....and POPULARITY.  Sounds like COLLEGE? all over again....***Kish

[Love to all my supporters who grabbed Resurrection (even though yours truly is STILL busy working on The Shelf's sequel, 
The Shelf 2:Cursed, instead of marketing)!!!!!!]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Tour TODAY - Aoife Marie Sheridan


The Demon Series #1
By Aoife Marie Sheridan

Abigail is nineteen. Her job, she hunts demons.

Her life so far has been tough. Having witnessed her family’s death and her mother’s suicide, she’s been taken in by a priest, who believes her when she says that she sees ghosts. Father Peter trains her as a demon hunter with three other members, one being Daniel, who isn’t what he seems.

But when a possession goes wrong, and ghosts start to attack Abigail, the tight rope she has on her emotions soon starts to loosen. Abigail draws the unwanted attention of the Reote, and she finds out a lot more than she was willing to learn.
Knowledge is power, but for Abigail, it’s her undoing, and the only thing keeping her together is Daniel.

Purchase Links: 

About the Author:

Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon's books, given to by her grandmother.  Her love for romances grew, and by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife had a passion for writing poetry, or in her eyes, her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realizing she needed to get a real job (what writing isn't), she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study, one of her favorite books, has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife's first book, Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy), came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now, with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to
write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy, amongst other new works.

To contact Aoife you can email her at: aoifesheridan101@gmail.com
Website: www.aoifemariesheridan.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Aoifemariesheri
Blog: aoifesheri.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551996.Aoife_Marie_Sheridan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aoifesheri

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+AoifeMarieSheridan

Linkedin: http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/aoife-marie-sheridan/66/760/942

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aoifesheri/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Aoife%20Marie%20Sheridan&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

"This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com"

Sunday, November 9, 2014

FREE EXCERPT from Resurrection

Bargaining her soul had literally cost her .... her life. 

As always, I love my readers and I really appreciate checking my blog stats to note that PEOPLE ARE READING.  Soooo, since y'all are reading, here is an excerpt from my brand-new novella, Resurrection (Returned, Part 1)

I hope this main character is loved (or hated) by many; she's going to be around for a while.
 Meet Sionne Webster:

Get Resurrection on Amazon HERE.


     My funeral was held on a Saturday; that way, all the kids from Country Day High School could attend.  It was a decent service, minus the fact that my mother was sobbing uncontrollably throughout, and my father sat stock still, as still as a statue.  

     I was there too, pissed because of the irritating kill-joy seated next to me, mockingly wearing black.  

     “Do you have to be here?” I whispered hotly to the friggin’ 6 foot 7 tall demon, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. 

     “Mm-hmm,” Katse murmured absently, ogling my friend Khloe’s backside as she bent over my coffin, tears streaming down her face.

     Katse was a chaos demon, with a quarter of incubus thrown in somewhere, so for him to have the day off from Hell and come topside to a funeral, was like a spring-breaker headed to South Beach.  Good sights, good eats.

     I sighed for the twelfth time.  “Please, Katse.  This is a really personal moment for me.  Can you just leave so that I can spend it with the people that mean the most to me?”  Begging could sometimes work, if you were dealing with one of the kind-hearted guys from the second level.

     Finally tearing his eyes away from Khloe, he glanced down at me and cocked his head quizzically.  “You, of all people, don’t have personal moments anymore, Sionne.”  

     AND I’d forgotten that Katse had graduated to a fourth level demon last summer.  No compassion there.

     Grateful that the crowd gathered at the gravesite couldn’t hear our terse conversation or see the furious look that I knew had just rolled over my face, I stood and stomped over to inspect my body.  Again.  Why not?  Looks had gotten me into this mess.  I should enjoy them.

     Even in death, my pouty lips seemed to have a seductive quirk.  Standing just a few inches away, I could appreciate the smoothness of my skin, velour as expensive cedar wood.  Full eyes that had closed, never to open again to reveal the brown velvet irises that I begged so hard for; the same ones that had a small twinkle in them that defied logic and human understanding.

     It had only been two years ago, that I had sold my soul, literally, for eternal beauty on Earth, figuring that I still had high school days, college days and a real-life grown-up career to enjoy before I would have to pay my due.  All to catch the eye of Aaron Aikens.  No complaints there; I had caught his eye and hooked up with him several times after that over the two years that Aaron and I were together.

     Just….dying at eighteen had really effed up my plans.

     Next to me, a woman sniffled into the wreath on top the coffin and I turned, ready to tell her off, already forgetting that Katse and I were super invisible.  Mrs. Ramos, my Spanish…former-Spanish teacher.

     “Huh…wouldn’t have thought I’d see you here.”  Spanish hadn’t exactly been my best subject.  Not that I didn’t know the language; my neighborhood was pretty much English-Spanish mix, I just hated the actual course.

     She wasn’t the only teacher here though.  Two more, Mr. Malcolm, my homeroom teacher, and Coach Wilson, did alternating scripture readings.  Mrs. Rolston, the principal, was in attendance, dabbing her eyes with a crumpled handkerchief, and murmuring to a faculty member seated next to her.

     (Isn’t it funny how people that give you a hard time alive, cry when you are dead?) 

     Country Day’s choir even sung, all dressed in their gold robes with emerald green stoles.  The choir director matched the students, decked out in a similar robe.  

     “Where’s Shana?” I wondered aloud.  Searching the faces, my frown grew as I searched for my sister.  Then I spotted her, way in the back row of the seats, red-eyed and looking as if she was barely holding it together.  My sister was holding up well, though.  She didn’t cry in public.  But since I had a ghostly unfair advantage of spying, I had already seen her vomiting all morning before my family left to come to the service.

     Moving toward my little sister, I decided to watch the service from her side.  There wasn’t anything that I could do for her now, but at least we could have these last moments together.  The chaos demon would wait; we couldn’t do anything until the service finished, and besides that, he was having a better time than he would be having in Hell at the moment.  As the service proceeded, I scanned the crowd to see who else had showed.  A lot of my parents’ friends, my teachers, and even Shana’s little crew of friends were crying, I noticed.  Especially Pip who, Shana had told me in confidence, always had a crush on me, and who was convinced that he and I would get married one day.  Sorry, Pip, it’s not gonna happen now; you’re a cute kid, you’ll find someone else.

     Even Anne McCall was there, looking somber.  I’ll never forget the smug look on her face as I ran out of the condo.  She had known all the time about Della and Aaron, and she had set up her little party, so that I could find out in front of everyone else.  For that, I couldn’t forgive her.  Their cheating wasn’t her fault, but she had been hoping that I would get embarrassed.  Well, I was stone-cold dead.  I hoped that was good enough for her.

     Ryan Nichols sat in the front, lined off along the front row of seats.  He and five of my cousins were pallbearers.  ‘How’d he get that gig?’ I wondered.  Ryan was stone-faced, and other than when he carried my casket in and out, he sat still.  But it surprised me to see him place a calla lilly in the casket before it was closed.  It was my favorite flower.  I was shocked that he even knew that. Usually, Ryan was mostly a happy, go-lucky partying guy, so I never thought he could be sentimental.  We’d grown up in identical houses next to each other, and he was basically my boy-next-door type.  As kids, we’d known everything about one another, but since growing into teens, had wisely given each other needed space.  ‘Otherwise,’ I’d always joked, ‘who knows what could happen?’

     A pang struck as I thought of all the times he’d asked me out, insisting that Aaron wasn’t the man for me.  Guess he was right.

     The funeral was held in the yard behind my parents’ church.  Everything was open-air, and the sky buzzed with the sounds of birds and rustling trees.  It was a sad event, but for me viewing from the outside, the scene was strangely beautiful.  Even Katse lurking in the back row of seats, waiting for me so that we could finish the next part of my request, didn’t ruin the serenity of the moment.

     I looked around at all the sad faces, and thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe this.  I should be here and alive.’  I moved around to stand in front of each and every person, to see if anyone could actually see me, if even just a little bit.  

     No one could.  Not one person.  I was a ghost, and I was standing amongst my family and friends at my own funeral.

     But all the searching I did at the service pointed out one horrible, glaring fact that hurt almost as bad as seeing Della and Aaron wrapped up together.  Della, my childhood bestie, my best friend in the entire world, even more than Khloe, hadn’t come to my funeral.  


     The funeral was over, had been for hours, and yet I’d sat there in the noonday sun, then in the fading afternoon light, and into hours of the night as the day had stolen by.  Lost in thought.  It was one of my friends, I knew, but it was all I knew.

     One of them had killed me.

     Moonlight sliced across my face and I shivered at the chill in the air.  Not because I was cold, but just because I could sense it and that sort of thing was still instinctive, even though I was dead.

    “Do you want some time to reflect on the day or anything?”  Katse stepped onto the concrete mausoleum landing next to me.  Who knew whether he was being sarcastic or not, sometimes with demons, you couldn’t tell.

     “No,” I shook my head.  “Just get it over with.”

     He touched my hand lightly, indicating that I needed to turn to him and I did, reluctantly.  Our ruling demon in Hell, the youngest of the Seven Princes, Tevit, had allowed me the chance to live again.  In truth, I had begged for the chance to return to Earth and not enter Hell as yet.

     For many reasons, but one glaring reason stood out: one of my friends had killed me and I needed to know who so that I could bring them to justice, Hell-style.

     The scent of teaberry wafted up to my nose and looking down, I discovered that Katse had already spread the herbs around the platform and over the tomb.  As I watched, he sprinkled a handful of neem seeds over it all.  Then he extended his hand to me.  

     Placing my hand in his, I stared at the uncontrollable shaking of my hand with his, my brown against his paler brown.  Why I was shaking?  This was a part of every major Hell ceremony, and there was none more major than raising a soul from the Hell realm to Earth. 

~the raising ceremony happens~

     Nope.  There was no way Katse could be even mildly interested in me, not when every nymph and sprite that crossed the fiery threshold had set their sights on him.  I’d drawn him on a mere technicality.

     ‘Still,’ I considered as rationally as my desire-induced thoughts would allow, ‘maybe he feels a little spark.  Can’t hurt to ask.’  “Ka-,”

     “Well, that was certainly not the most exciting raising ceremony I’ve attended.”

     My eyes snapped all the way open with a start, and Katse lifted his head with a jerk.  Tevit sat on top of the mausoleum, idly swinging his legs, looked as bored as he claimed.  Involuntarily, my teeth gnashed.

     ‘Really, you jerk?  My first and probably only time kissing Katse, and you had to ruin the mood.’  I could’ve slapped him, only that would have gotten me at least a hundred years in the fiery liquid of River Styxx, no canoe provided.

     The second thought bouncing around in my head was, ‘Has he watched Katse with other girls out here in raising ceremonies?’  Stupidly, I had thought that it was Katse’s first time doing a rising, but maybe not.  ‘And he says that he’s seen better…..,’

     Straightening my clothing the instant Katse pulled away, I addressed the demon prince.  “What is next, Tevit?”  His red eyes gleamed down at me cockily, and I could feel his eyes roving over my disheveled appearance.  With a flick similar to the last time, Katse shifted us both to our feet, but I didn’t even bow my head in the customary greeting.  It never paid to show cowardice to your demon ruler, so if I had to pretend that it didn’t bother me to have Tevit eyeing me up and down, then so be it.

     Following his gaze upward to the heavy fluorescent green cloud above our heads, my brows rose.  Beside me, Katse whistled.  “Never seen one that big,” he commented.

    “Clearly, you raised the energy needed,” Tevit shrugged.  “Let’s go.”  

     “Wait,” I interjected, “do I get some sort of guide or whatever?”  Of course, now I wanted Katse to journey back to the world of the living with me, especially after the past hour.  We needed a little more time to explore these feelings between us, a huge fluorescent green cloud’s worth.  Funny how it was the exact opposite of what I’d felt as I’d glared at him earlier in the day at my funeral.

     Tevit gave what, for him, was a smile.  

     “Oh yes, did you really think a screw-up like you would be going alone?”  

     The voice came from behind me and I whirled, jaw already tense.  There stood Jeanni, a full-blood chaos demon, fourth-level graduate, and also Katse’s ex-girlfriend.  Also the same demon that I both admired, and hated, with a passion.

And that was .... Resurrection!  Liked Sionne? 
Grab it on Amazon. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Resurrection is LIVE....

It's LIVE.....

Sionne Webster comes to in a new body, that of a recent suicide......

Part One of the Returned novel

Available NOW on Amazon.com

Now Sionne will do anything to keep from going back to Hell..... even depend on that hot, sexy chaos demon....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SPECIAL Author on the Hump: Dormaine G

Author on the HUMP today:
Dormaine G on her new book release:
Micco: Anguta's Reign

Author Bio

I may be a nurse by profession but an author by heart. I have been writing stories for many years, both in my head and on paper because I’ve always had a love for books ever since spending Saturdays at the library as a young child. Within a book, the mind can travel to worlds of the imagination and the beyond. I finally took the plunge and published my first novel last year, a young adult urban fantasy titled Connor and two adult horror short stories tit led Madame Lilly, Voodoo Priestess and Madame Lilly, Voodoo Priestess: Soulless . Micco, Anguta’s Reign, a psychological thriller, was released November 3rd 2014. They are just the beginning of many more books to come as I stay locked up in my office in Colorado spinning more tales.

Micco, Anguta’s Reign
Revelation can be a disheartening truth
     Micco, a captivating Native American man with a desirable physique and statuesque features, radiates a mysterious allure. Living on the reservation with his unapproachable father, he doesn’t believe in the old ways and works as a cop in the local town. The only reason he lives on the land is Nara, his childhood friend and the love of his life, who is married to a cruel reservation man.
     Waking up in the heart of a murderous scene, he flees for his life, unfamiliar with his surroundings or how he arrived there. To his horror, he’s assigned to the case. As he works with the local detective, more murders transpire with unusual, terrifying sightings of wolves.
     His behavior starts to drastically change, forcing others to take notice. Although trying to avoid the inevitable, Micco is forced to accept the undesirable truth, unable to fight what has been awakened, and all that he has forgotten is finally revealed. 
     After taking notes, he walked into another room, a bedroom, to catch his breath and inhale cleaner air. Not that it was much better. There were bloodstains on the floor and across the bed. By now the odor clung to his nostrils but at least there were no flies in here.
      He looked around for something, anything that gave a hint that he was here last night. He checked in the closet and took in the bloody sheets. As he bent down to check under the bed, he heard a peculiar sound. He stood up to get a better idea of what it was. It was a scratching noise of some kind coming from inside the room. It sounded familiar but he didn’t know from where or why it was recognizable. Peering around, he couldn’t find the source in any direction.
     Without warning, a blinding, flashing memory of screaming, running and piercing noise took hold of him. He grabbed his head, squeezing it, trying to stop the distorted thoughts. His eyes were blinking uncontrollably. A sharp twinge ran up his back. It was so excruciating that his muscles contracted, contorting with a loss of control. He tried to remain silent, though to no avail. It felt like someone was cutting him open from the back.
    Just as suddenly as it began, it stopped.
    Micco found himself on the floor, shirt drenched with perspiration, panting like his heart was about to jump out from his chest.
    Holy sh**, what was that?
    He stayed there on the cold hardwood floor for a minute, gathering his breath and thoughts. He’d never experienced anything like that before. The full memories were gone but he did recall the screaming.
     A memory from last night? Please don’t make me have to go through that pain every time I remember something.
     Rolling over to get up, he saw a shirt tucked in the corner. It looked familiar; it was his own... 

Visit Dormaine G at dormaineg.com or grab Micco, Anguta's Reign on Amazon.

Monday, November 3, 2014

12 Hours and Counting...until Resurrection

ONLY 12 more hours REMAINING until the official release of Resurrection, Part One of the Returned series novel!!!!

Bargaining her life had literally cost her...her life. Now Sionne is back ...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

36 HOURS until a special BOOK RELEASE!!

Just 36 hours until the midnight, November 4, 2014 release on Amazon.com.

Something for the Tintd Teen fans..... 
a novella from the brand new Returned series novel from yours truly.

(No, it's not The Shelf 2, that's still in the pot, brewing!)

I present to you Resurrection, Book 1 of the Returned novel.

(draft cover and description below)

Sionne Webster comes to in a new body, that of a recent suicide: an unpopular, mousy girl.  She’s got no clue who this chick was, or why her body was chosen for Sionne’s Earth resurrection.  What Sionne does know is that she’s only got a few days to find her own murderer before the demon master, Tevit, whisks her back to Hell, hopefully with a killer in tow.  Until she discovers that her unknown body donor IS her murderer.  Something has delayed Tevit, but any day now, he will seize the body, no questions asked, and toss it to River Styxx with her inside.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Shelf 2 : Meet Bri's competition


Meet Leilani Simpson....

Walking forward until she was hip-deep in water, Leilani stopped.  “I’m here.”  Around her, the wind had picked up even more and now it threatened to knock her off of her feet.  “Who are you?”

The thing smiled
Image courtesy of Google.com
.  “You made a deal with me.”  Its voice was like an eerie whisper, riding the wind to grate against her ears.  All of a sudden, she knew that this was the voice.  The one that had directed her to go to the morgue and resurrect Gerald.

It continued.  “The deal was that you wanted Korey Parsons all to yourself, right?  But the thing is, little Leilani Simpson, I can make that deal better.  If you help me, I can also give you back your brother Casey.  Wouldn't you like that?”

She froze.  Somehow, the thing knew her, knew what she wanted.

"But you have to help me, Leilani, if you want my deal."

......and Leilani understood what that meant.  It meant bad things would happen.  "Bri," she whispered.  Leilani wondered if it made her EVIL that she didn't feel sorry for Bri one way or the other.

It's getting closer to The Shelf 2's release date!!!

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Free Excerpt from The Shelf 2

AS PROMISED, here is  another excerpt from 
The Shelf 2: Cursed (the prologue this time).  Enjoy!

3 months after THE ordeal….
It was amazing how different the world seemed when someone hadn’t seen it for a while.  Things that she would have previously found exciting and engaging, she now found loud and over-the-top.  Stylish clothes were either too restrictive and stifling, or too thin and revealing.  Even her friends’ jokes (when she did see them) weren’t funny; they were sad and edged with double meanings.

“Leticia’s House of the Occult,” Bri Brewley read aloud as she stared up at the garish store in front of her.  A man passing on the sidewalk gave her an irritated glare as if she took up too much of the pavement, before continuing to chat on his cell.  Rolling her eyes at his retreating figure, Bri smirked.

“Bet I don’t need a fortune-teller to see that you’re a jerk.”

That might be true, but she did need the services of the fortune-teller inside this occultist shop.  Normally, Bri would have cringed to even enter a place like this, but she was desperate.  At this point, she would take any help she could get.  Except for Korey’s.

It was his fault that she was in this mess to begin with.

It was just after three in the afternoon, and Bri still wore the drab outfit that she’d gone to school in: sweats, sneakers, long-sleeved t-shirt.   Somehow, she felt as if the loose clothing helped form a barrier between her and the rest of the world, and most especially, from things not-of-the world.

A chill ran along her spine as she raised her hand to knock on the door, a dark slab of wood with intricate carvings cut into the center.  ‘What am I doing here?’ she wondered.  The strange shop was downright creepy.  When she’d looked up fortune-tellers online, the website had only listed the downtown address.  It hadn’t said anything about the place being creep central.  Either side of the door had a long, narrow window, but one was completely boarded over.  The other was filled with what looked to be a thick sheet of cobwebs, and Bri grimaced until she realized that it was actually a very heavy lace curtain.

Normally, at a time like this, her heart would be beating out of her chest with terror.  “Well, that’s exactly the freakin’ problem now, isn’t it?” she muttered, before closing her fist and thumping resolutely on the door.

Bri leaned in to inspect the window closer.  “With spiders crawling on it….ugh.”  No wonder she’d mistaken the curtain for cobwebs.  “All right, kiddo.  You got one last chance to back out and get the heck out of here.”  Her feet, for sure, were completely ready to jet and if she could just convince her brain to….

A memory of the demon’s red eyes washed over her.  ‘I will release you if you bring me the blood of an immortal,’ the thing had said.  Against her will, fear spread through her muscles, immobilizing her in front of the shop.  She couldn’t leave now; she had to stay, go inside, and ask this fortune-teller to help release her from this terrible curse that she suddenly found herself in.

The curse of being a Descendant.  Just like Korey.  Just like Aeryal, who had been killed by the curse.

At the time, Bri didn’t have a clue that demons, immortals, or heck even ‘Descendants’ existed, so she’d refused to help the demon.  It had taken the horrible experience of Rikgso, a demon with a hit list and huge, hideous claws, to reach into her chest and literally steal her heart, before she’d believed.

‘In case you decide to play games with me,’ Rikgso had intoned.   In other words, he was holding something she needed in the worst way, to make sure that she brought him what he wanted.  An immortal.

This time when she pounded on the door, there was more urgency in it.  The sound echoed hollowly, as if there was nothing at all on the other side.  Bri envisioned a dark, cavernous maw behind the door, one that would suck her, and the street behind her, inside.

“Immortal,” she whispered, still lost in the horror that had occurred three months back.  It had only taken Rikgso to start attacking Bri too, for her to start believing in the curse that had killed her best friend.  She and Korey working together had defeated Rikgso, at least they’d thought they had, to escape.  Bri sighed, thinking about how complicated her life was. 

Of course, she had NOT known that sexy seventeen-year old Korey Parsons was an immortal when they had kissed.  Immortal as in… UNABLE TO DIE.  The very same being that Rikgso-the-demon wanted.  She’d just thought that he was a new guy at school, one that somehow saw through the fakeness of her other friends and liked her instead.

And now that she was in love with him (yes, she admitted it!), there was no way she would give his blood to Rikgso.  There was no way of trusting what the malicious demon would do with it.  Even if that meant she would die and he wouldn’t.  And what really rankled her about the whole situation, was that it hadn’t been her destiny.  Bri had inherited the curse from Aeryal.  She sighed.

The door suddenly swung open.  A huge gorilla of a man stood on the other side.  His body filled the doorway, blocking the view of inside.  Everything was red on him; the course hair that blanketed his face, his skin ruddy and stretched over bulging muscles, and even his eyes that were supposed to be white, were tinged red at the edges.  Not his pupils though, they were dark and black like marbles. 

When those red-ringed, black eyes focused on Bri, she knelt as if evil had just settled on her shoulders.  She froze.

The man inclined his head, waiting.  Bri’s lips moved, but nothing came out.

“Generally, when people seek the advice of the lady Leticia, they have a reason.”  He didn’t smile as he spoke, if anything he looked even more menacing, yet Bri caught a mocking undertone.   So she buried her fear with a deep swallow and frowned.

Fighting to keep a tremble out of her voice, she began, “I need to see her.  Um… Leticia?  Is she in?”

One bushy red eyebrow lifted.  “Leticia is always in.  Whether you need to see her is debatable, and she will be the judge of that.  You may come.”  He took one step backward, freeing a mere foot of space in the hallway that had appeared behind him and indicated that Bri should enter.  Though she had seriously doubts about whether she could actually fit in the tiny space he’d vacated, and she had no interest in crushed between gorilla and wall, she stepped into the shop.

Squeezing through the hall to pass the gorilla-man, Bri looked around.  There was a faint thump as her escort shut the door behind her.

“Walk forward,” he instructed from behind her.  “Leticia awaits.” 

Unnerved by having the huge man behind her, Bri walked quickly down the hall.  The sooner she spoke with this Leticia woman and got out of there, the better.  ‘She should be able to help me,’ Bri reasoned to herself.  ‘Cause really, I’m asking not for much, and I know exactly what I want.  I won’t even waste her time.’

Bri was going to ask the fortune-teller exactly what she had needed to do to be free of Rikgso’s curse.  Someone was going to defeat him at some point, she had to believe that, and Bri would prefer that it be in her lifetime, ie. while she was still alive.  So why not ask someone who could see into the fortune how it needed to be done?  That way, she could do it herself, without Korey’s help.  It was a win-win situation for everyone: she would get her heart back, Rikgso wouldn’t kill any more people, Aeryal would be avenged, Korey would be free to enjoy life without her.

That last part hurt to think, but Bri swallowed away the twinges of pain.  It was for the best.  She definitely didn’t want to put him in Rikgso’s path again.  For some reason, Korey was the only Descendant that the demon didn’t seem to be able to touch, except for the times when he was with Bri.

“Well, I can change that,” she mumbled under her breath.

                Without warning, the hallway opened up into a tiny room, barely large enough to hold the plush chaise that was against the opposite wall.  All the walls were covered by billowing fabrics, of various purples, blues, grays, all faded.  Overhead, an enormous chandelier hung low enough that even the gorilla’s head would surely brush it when he walked by.  What added shiver to the room was the severed goat head hanging from the wall.

           Bri cringed.

A thin woman lounged on the chaise, eyes closed.  Her body was draped in several colorful fabrics, with no particular order or shape to them.  Bri couldn’t tell whether she was wearing a dress, some type of sarong, or just some sheets wrapped about her body.  Limp, yellowed strands of hair hung loose from the knot at the top of her head, and though her makeup was definitely on the heavy and garish side, Bri realized that the woman could only be in her late twenties or so.

Her skin was fresh and unlined, and warm, not brown like Bri’s own sweet cinnamon tone, but lightly bronzed from the sun.  Bri suspected that the fortune-teller spent more time outside than predicting the future, but who was she to judge?  Long legs were tucked against the cushions of the chaise, and again Bri couldn’t help drawing a comparison with herself.  It wasn’t that Bri wasn’t happy with her own five-foot-one frame, but if she could finally grow the extra two inches promised from daily stretching by her favorite fitness blog, she’d be a bit happier.  A lot, actually.  But as she always reasoned, her thick mass of jet-black curls more than made up for her small stature.  Big hair worked well with her round face and nose, well at least, back when she used to care about her appearance, all of two months ago.

The fortune-teller’s eyes suddenly snapped open, though not all the way.  Just enough so that Bri could see bright eyes looking at her.  Half of her eyelids remained drawn down, and the sleepy appearance belied the alertness of the gaze.

Hooded eyes gave Bri a slow once-over.  The thin lips twisted wryly.  “Why have you come?” the occultist asked.  But the shrewd look in her eyes didn’t change; it was a steady, leveling gaze that indicated that she already knew what Bri wanted.

Wetting her lips, Bri paused, nervous under the black-eyed gaze.  Behind her, the bouncer’s heavy stare bore into her back.  Mouth open, she tried to force the words up and out, into the air.  But the fortune-teller’s words were soaking into her brain, jumbling her thoughts.  Scrambling the very careful spiel that she had planned.  ‘What is it that you really want to know?’ the black eyes seemed to implore of her.  Bri’s lips parted and before she could stop herself, she blurted, “Why did Shanice kill herself?”

As the words left her, she cringed.  It was the very first time since she’d left the doomed Senior Trip weekend that she had acknowledged the loss of her oldest friend.  In fact, it was even the first time she’d allowed the question to exist for more than a fleeting second in her brain.  Usually, any time Shanice entered her brain, Bri started a mental recitation of her favorite song lyrics.  Over and over.

Somehow, everyone else knew to leave her alone as well.  Aside from one time when her mother had tried to counsel her through the death, and had earned a blank stare along with a few verses of Pop music, Bri’s parents never brought it up.  Nor did any of their mutual friends.

‘It wasn’t my fault,’ she thought, trying her best to project that plea at the judgmental eyes of Leticia.  But she didn’t dare voice it, for good reason.

Simply because she wasn’t sure if it was or not.

Leticia’s smile grew from a cat-like grimace to a smug twist of the lips.  “Shanice Warren.  Eighteen years old.  Your lifelong friend from kindergarten.” 

A chill rolled over Bri to hear a virtual stranger recalling her dead friend so easily, but she masked it and remained silently.

Leticia gave a soft laugh.  Through lowered lashes, she glanced over with a speculative stare.  “Why didn’t you ask me instead about your friend Aeryal, and her passing?  Three months ago.  That is the time that you should have sought my help.  This question that you ask today is garbage.  You already know the answer to that.”

It was hard for her to keep a grip on her temper, when all of Bri wanted to rush forward and strike Leticia, but she did it.  Flatly, she asked, “What are you talking about?  I don’t know anything about Shanice’s death.  That’s why I asked you instead.”

A loud sigh filled the air.  Clearly, Leticia had gotten bored.  The burly bouncer gave a short grunt and caught the fortune-teller’s eye.  Leticia gave another sigh and raised one bony shoulder carelessly.  “A sacrifice to your demon, was what your Shanice ended up as.  But you knew that.”

Before Bri could object, the other woman cut her off sharply.  “This bores me, and my time is short.  Why have you really come?”

Mouth open, Bri shut it slowly.  ‘What a total jerk,’ she fumed.  ‘How hard is it for her to actually give me some answers that I ask for?’  Their eyes held, and Bri frowned, letting Leticia see that she was pissed.  Because really, she was paying for the woman’s information.  She should actually get it.  “I need help,” she mumbled at last.

The occultist inclined her head slightly, lips tightening.  “And you intend to find it here?”  Her tone was slightly incredulous.

Gesturing with one arm, Bri asked, “Isn’t that what you do here, or something?”  Okay, now she was beyond pissed.

Another slight incline.  “Mm-hmm.  Yet, I don’t help demon-spawn, so how can I help you further?  Or rather, why should I?”

  “Huh?”  Bri couldn’t have been more surprised if the goat’s head had just spoken.  ‘Demon-spawn?’  “I’m not-…I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

“Hhmm,” was all the gypsy replied, eyes slipping closed. 

Bri waited, wondering if she should disrupt the woman’s obvious meditation, but getting a bit more anxious by the second.  ‘I mean, it’s not like I have all day.’  Behind her, there was a clearly audible throat-clearing from the gorilla bouncer and Bri suddenly remembered something.  Her eyes fell on the round bowl in the center of the room and she slowly eased forward to place a twenty-dollar bill inside.  Something that managed to sound like a pleased grunt came from behind her.

Leticia’s hooded eyes stayed closed, but a faint whisper trailed from the gypsy’s lips.  “Speak, child of demons.”

Money talked; there was no way around it, even in the psychic business.  Bri knew enough to keep it short and to the point.  “I’m not a child of a demon, but I did get attacked by one several months ago.  It killed my best friend Aeryal and I was lucky not to get killed too, but then it took something from me….” 

Here she paused, leery of the scorn which she knew was coming.  Psychic or not, even Leticia would be a little skeptical without meeting the horrid demon.  “It took my-,”

“..heart,” Leticia finished without opening her eyes. 

Surprise halted Bri’s sentence.  The gypsy knew?  “Uh, yeah…but how did you-…well.”  Bri snapped her mouth shut.  Leticia was advertising psychic services, after all.  “Yea,” she nodded, “well, the demon has my heart, for safekeeping, and I can’t get it back unless I do something impossible, basically murder, which I won’t do, so I need a way to get it back from him.  Like now.”

A long breath whooshed out of her after she finished her long ramble.  She studied the gypsy’s face to see if the pallid woman had been able to follow all of that.  Leticia gave no indication that she had.

Nervous now, she took two more steps forward.  “Please.  Please help me.”  Without warning, the panic seized her again and Bri almost doubled over under the sheer intensity of it.  “I want to be normal and….,” she breathed in deeply, “..I don’t want to die, like Aeryal and Shanice.”
          For one instant, Leticia seemed pitying.  Those hooded eyes opened only slightly.  Her voice came out so softly, Bri had to strain to hear it.  “If you had only come to me before they claimed you.  But now, it is too late.”

                “Why is it too late?”  Bri could worry what the rest of it meant later. 

                With a shrug, Leticia pursed her lips.  “Because it is.”

                “And what about my heart?  Please tell me how to get it back.”

“Your heart is with a yearning soul…,” was the whispered answer.  Then Leticia closed her eyes once more, spread her arms along the back of the chaise and let her head loll back, the perfect vision of repose.  She was silent for so long that Bri considered the fact that the strange woman might have fallen asleep just like that. 

Just as Bri opened her mouth to speak, Leticia spoke once more.  “The two halves want to be one again.  Remember…..”

“Two halves?”  ‘What?’  “What do you mean?”

But the other woman remained silent, and the gorilla bouncer gave a grunt.  Bri glared at him, and then turned back to the fortune-teller.  “Please Leticia, tell me what you mean.  Two halves of what?  Who has my heart?  How can I get it back?”

“I cannot help you.  Now, get out,” was all Leticia said.

“But you have to-,”

The occultist repeated herself slowly and clearly.  “Get.  Out.”

                Knowing that she sounded desperate, Bri took two more steps toward the fortune-teller, only to find her way blocked by the gorilla bouncer.  Two meaty hands gripped her shoulders, spun her around, and with a healthy shove, started her moving back down the long dark corridor.

                Bri fumed as she walked.  ‘Twenty dollars.  I paid freakin’ twenty dollars, and I still don’t know how to get my heart back from the demon.  I don’t even know how long I can live like this, whether I’m even human anymore.  It’s not like I can go to a doctor.  They’ll lock me away in a lab somewhere for testing.’  She sighed.

                Anger burned inside as she walked toward the black-shrouded door, the enormous bouncer right at her heels.   She turned to peer at his solemn face.  “Listen, she didn’t even give me chance in there.  I needed to tell her-,”

“We know,” he said, startling her into silence.  It was only the second time he had spoken for the entire time that she’d been there. 

And her voice cut off as the silent bouncer blew a handful of grit right into her eyes, blinding her.  Whatever it was clogged her nose with a thick, cloying, sulfurish odor and she gasped.  Which was mistake, since instantly, she began choking on what went down her throat. 

The heavy voice continued even as Bri coughed.  “This will help you see what we see.”

Shaking her head, Bri gagged and tried to glare at the bouncer, but stopped as she caught sight of her inner arm.  The outlines of the four brands still decorated the slick, damaged skin there, but now they were angry, raised welts.  “No,” she murmured in disbelief, “it can’t be.”  The actual demon brands, with the magic they contained, couldn’t be back; Korey had cut them off, taking a chunk of her arm with it.  It was another reason her dancing career was gone.  After the incident months ago, Bri had been left so battered and scarred, it was a miracle that she was even able to function. 

This time, when the panic arose, she didn’t try to force it away.  The brands had been how the demon had used Gerald to control her.  Because of them, she almost died. 

To prove she wasn’t hallucinating, she reached out one finger and gingerly prodded the raised skin.  A blast of pain shot through her arm and radiated through her entire body.  Her eyes closed as the ground rushed up at her, only seconds before she hit it with a thud.


When she came to, the memory of Leticia’s cryptic warnings flooded her brain.  Automatically, she tried to move and winced at the ache that began in her shoulder.

That was why she HATED fainting.

Cautiously, she opened one eye, fully expecting to see the grim face of the gorilla-jerk who’d almost blinded her.  But she saw nothing.  Panic rose until she realized that she was staring at dull, gray concrete.  The sidewalk.  Of course.  She’d passed out just after leaving Leticia’s shop.  Giving an experimental sniff, Bri expected to inhale the heavy reek of sulfur again.  Instead, the sweet aroma of cherries filled her nostrils. 

A fleeting memory passed through her brain, and left her with a connection that wasn’t possible.  Rolling over, she frowned as her eyes confirmed what her brain had already accepted.  The girl sat cross-legged on the ground in front of her.  Bri’s mind jerked, and then settled as she accepted the strangeness of it.  ‘Cause really, stranger things have happened, especially recently.  Why should I be surprised to see my best friend sitting here next to me?  No reason at all.’  Bri had to admit that being dead was really agreeing with her best friend.  She looked ten times better than she had seven months ago.

The first thing out of Aeryal Swan’s mouth was, “Those don’t look good.”  Her friend’s brown eyes were trained on Bri’s forearm, on the brands.

Shaking her head, Bri sat up.  “Yeah, they sure don’t feel good,” she muttered.

“And….you actually look ten times worse than those things on your arm.  What are they anyway?”

Now frowning, Bri continued getting to her feet.  “Thanks for the encouragement, Aeryal.  Somehow, you always know what to say.”  At Aeryal’s big grin, Bri continued, “I’m being sarcastic, in case you didn’t realize that.”

“Oh, I realized it,” Aeryal smirked, “I’m just choosing to ignore it.  Besides, you’re not changing the subject that easily.  Like I asked, what are those things on your arm?”

As shrewd as ever, her best friend hadn’t changed a bit in death.  For some reason, Bri found it oddly comforting, despite the fact that she was talking to a ghost in the middle of the afternoon on a downtown sidewalk.

--2nd Excerpt from The Shelf 2: Cursed. Keep posted!--