Have finally…


written something!

Yey!

It’s been a while, I’ve had a number of things going on.  This blog got neglected just because I was busy with so many other things and then, after a long absence my characters started talking to me again.

I’d put my main character into a coma.  I wasn’t even aware that I was going to do it but there she was lying on a hospital bed and….. then came the problem of how I did it, how was she going to recover, what was going to happen next…!

But then sitting down at the laptop I started plotting out the next chapter.  Once I started working it the words flowed, albeit slowly, on to the page.

So finally, Chapter 42 of my Rola story ‘Ghost Sight’ has been posted.

Who knows the way this is going I just might start on Chapter 43!

Mary D. Brooks – Nor the Battle To the Strong – Sale Blitz


Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, Mystery
Date Published:  January 21, 2017
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On sale for $.99 March 12-17    Normally $3.99
Will Justice For One Have Life Threatening Repercussions For Many? Eva and Zoe return in the sixth novel of the award winning historical lesbian romance series imbued with urban fantasy and mystery.
On the night of November 9, 1938 in Berlin, Germany a teenager’s life was forever changed. Sent to the village of Aiden at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, body and mind were shattered in the brutal Aiden Research Facility. Eighteen years later, Eva Lambros is no longer a teenager but a wealthy heiress. She is poised and confident with the family she has always wanted but there is one last obstacle she must overcome. Together with her partner, the formidable Zoe Lambros, they travel to Aiden to open a memorial to the hundreds of souls that lost their lives. Aiden left Eva with debilitating mental constraints that have taken years to overcome but is she ready to confront and overcome her greatest fear?
Zoe not only has to contend with Eva’s state of mind, but she is also pulled into a mystery that involves a woman’s search for justice amidst shocking revelations that reaches into the upper echelons of Aiden society.
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…
Excerpt

Zoe shivered as the wind picked up and swirled the fallen leaves around her feet. The tree branches above her head had started to sway in the wind and brushed against her head scarf. She looked around the grounds, which were cast in shadows. It was a moonless night and the smell of rain hung in the air adding to her growing annoyance. They were standing just outside their backdoor. Eva had one hand resting on the panel, and Zoe put her arms around her waist and rested her head against her back. 
“It’s getting cold. Can we hurry up?”
Zoe heard Eva’s quiet chuckle as she went about unlocking the door. “You have the patience of a flea, and just so you know, the flea is probably deeply offended,” Eva whispered making both of them laugh. A soft click was all that was heard when Eva slid the bolt as quietly as she could make it. “All done.”
“What was that?”
“That was the bolt, love. I muffled the noise.”
It still amazed Zoe every time she saw Eva use one of her gifts. 
Eva slowly pushed the door open only to hear a loud scraping noise. She turned around and stared wide eyed at Zoe.
“What is a chair doing there?”
Zoe sighed. “My fault. I told Berta to put a chair there.”
“You do know that if someone wanted to break in, they can go through those large windows?”
“It made sense at the time,” Zoe whispered as they entered the kitchen.
“I love you dearly but sometimes you just do the funniest things.”
“I know.” Zoe giggled. She pulled Eva’s shirt and Eva stopped and turned around. “Can you feel them?”
“Yes. Two humans.”
“At least they’re not demons, because that would require more than my gun.”
“I’m pretty sure even the demons fear you.”
“Ha ha, smarty pants. Let’s go scare the idiots inside. They are bound to have heard the chair.”
“Maybe they didn’t.”
A gentle thump-thump above their heads indicated whoever was up there was on the move. “Okay, let’s go.” Zoe took the safety lock off her gun. She was about to move forward when she felt Eva’s arms around her. They held each other for a moment and then Eva kissed her on the head. Without another word, Zoe edged forward with Eva behind her. Eva’s height was enough to warn Zoe if anything was coming and she had a clear line of sight to whatever was coming towards them.
Zoe came to the entrance of the living room and stopped. She looked up into the darkened ceiling. The intruders were up there and they were slowly heading their way.
About the Author
A geek with too many imaginary friends who speak different languages (knew those language classes would come in handy). Historical romance and urban fantasy storyteller and addicted to stories and song about strength and courage. I play well with others (for an introvert) but then retreat to talk and write about my imaginary friends.  Passionate about lots of things that inspire the mind (art/design, psychology, science and tech) that sets my muse on fire (she’s a busy lady!).

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Betting on Love – Danielle Dickson





(¸.•´ (¸.•` COVER REVEAL¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)

Title ➜ Betting On Love



Genre ➜ Romantic comedy



Author ➜ Author Danielle Dickson


Cover designer ➜ Eleanor Lloyd-Jones / Schmidt’s Author Services

Release ➜ April 13th

Pre-order now for just 99c/p ➜ myBook.to/bettingonlove


Synopsis:
Having a different woman every single night is the way I’ve always done things.
It works and it’s fun, so why change it?
The thought of having a monogamous relationship hadn’t even crossed my mind… until her… the infuriatingly seductive, witty, Goddess from across the pond who now lives down the hall from me.
She teases me with her perfectly shaped peach for an ass and her British accent. She makes me want more, all the while making me feel like I’ll never get it.
The only way I can get her off my mind and out of my system is to get her into my bed.
The bet I have planned may not be one of my brightest ideas, but I’m going to chuck my doubts in the fuck it bucket and win this thing!
She’s not going to know what hit her.

*Betting On Love is a spinoff, STANDALONE novel from the Little Hollow Series by the same author*

Add to your TBR

Author Bio:

Danielle has always dreamt about writing a book. With many stories to tell, she finally pulled her finger out one morning when one story screamed at her louder than the rest. When Danielle’s not writing, she can be found painting people’s faces with makeup or watching twenty minute cat videos late at night, procrastination is strong in this one. If you’re ever short for shoes to match your outfit, she’s the person to go to. With an extensive shoe collection that cost more than your mortgage (although she would insist she doesn’t have a problem), you can take your pick. An avid reader all her life, she gets lost in the magic a book immerses you in and hopes to capture that for her readers.

Author Links:
AmazonAuthor.to/DDauthor
Bloggers and Readers, please Sign-up for the Release Blitz on April 13th

Blood Shackles



Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  November 2016
Publisher: Fantasy Rebel Limited
Blood Shackles is on sale March 13th – March 17th for $.99 – Normal Price is $2.99
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What happens when SPARTACUS meets VAMPIRES?
In a divided paranormal London, Light is the bad boy vampire of the Blood Lifer world. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows. But not now. When he’s bought by his alluring Mistress, Light fights to escape. Even if he can’t escape their love. But if he doesn’t, he’ll never solve the conspiracy behind the Blood Club…
WELCOME TO THE BLOOD CLUB
Who are these ruthless humans? Who’s their brutal leader? And who betrayed the secret of the Blood Lifer world?
WHERE THE PREDATORS
London, Primrose Hill. Grayse is the commanding slaver’s daughter. She buys Light, like he’s a pair of designer shoes. So why does Light feel so drawn to her? Especially when his family is still in chains. Will he risk everything – even his new love – to save them?
BECOME THE PREY
Does a chilling conspiracy lie behind it all? A stunning revelation leads Light to an inconceivable truth. To the dark heart of the Blood Club. If he can face his worst terrors, he can save his family and his whole species from slavery.
Maybe he can even save himself.
Other Books in the Rebel Vampires Series:
Rebel Vampires, Book 1
Publisher: Fantasy Rebel Limited
Published: August  2016
Escape into a supernatural world of love, revenge and redemption, where vampires are both predator and prey.
There are three people in this affair…and two of them aren’t human. In a divided paranormal London, Light is the rebel bad boy vampire of the Blood Lifer world, with a photographic memory. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows with Ruby – a savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer. She burns with destructive love for Light. But he’s keeping a secret from her, which breaks every rule in Blood Life. When she discovers the truth, things take a terrifying turn.
1960s London. Kathy is a seductive singer. But she’s also human. Light knows his passion for her is reckless but he’s enchanted. Yet such a romance is forbidden. When the two worlds collide, it could mean the end. For both species.
When Light discovers his ruthless family’s horrifying experiments, he questions whether he should be slaying or saving the humans he’s always feared. What dark revelations will Light reveal at the heart of the experiments? Will he be able to stop them in time? The consequences of failure are unimaginable. Unless Light plays the part of hero, he risks losing everything. Including the two women he loves.
A rebel, a red-haired devil and a Moon Girl battle to save the world – or tear it apart.
Blood Dragons is the explosive first installment of the new fantasy series Rebel Vampires from the critically acclaimed author Rosemary A Johns. Experience a thrilling new adventure with vampires, Rockers and dark romance.
Excerpts
Excerpt One

You grabbed my hand, dragging me after you down the warren of side streets behind the shops.

It was pelting down now. Even though I was soaked, I was still buzzing from the barney.

At last you stopped, shoving me up against a brick wall at the back entrance to a butcher’s.

 ‘Look,’ I said hurriedly, ‘I’m sorry about–’

‘Thanks.’

Questioningly, I tilted my nut. Your lips were close to mine. All I’d need to do was…

You pulled back (of course you bloody did), even if you were still clutching onto me, as if my body was yours.

Because no matter what other nasties you might do with it, you’d never kiss your slave, would you?

Then you suddenly hauled me closer, and we were snogging.

At that moment, none of it meant anything.

Slave or Mistress. First Lifer or Blood.

It never does when skin meets skin. It was just Light and Grayse. 

So it was a good kiss. To me, it changed everything. But to you..?

‘If you would be so kind, some of us are trying to feed in peace.’ A nasal but polite Turkish Blood Lifer popped his nut up from further down the alley.

He licked down the neck of a twitching First Lifer bird, who was propped up against a skip.

When you shrieked and tried to jerk away, I held you still by the wrist.

I shrugged. ‘Yeah, my mistake.’

Your peepers were now flint.

I started edging you backwards out of the shadows. Now wasn’t the time to give you a crash course on Blood Lifer dinner etiquette.

It seems, however, that our Turkish friend was determined to educate me. ‘You know, young one, it is most inconsiderate to interrupt a fellow’s kill. I had no intention to do so with yours.’

EXCERPT TWO
‘London’s not yours.’

I stiffened. ‘The Lost have walked these streets as long as you humans,’ I whispered, low and intense, ‘which makes them ours, as much as yours.’

I might as well have clouted you. You drew back, with a shiver. ‘You hunt here – parasitically. But England? The world? It belongs to us. You’re just…’
‘Parasites?’ I offered. You didn’t even have the decency to look away.

‘These are my streets,’ you tapped the sticky table for emphasis, in a boozer, street, postcode you’d never have ventured into, if it hadn’t been for me.

I took a drag of my e-cig. ‘Over hundred and fifty years says different, sweetheart.’

You wore that narked expression, which I’d hoped we’d left behind for the night. ‘My home. Not yours.’

‘Any reason it can’t be both?’

‘On account of you’re…’ You stopped yourself, pushing your Guinness away with a jerky shove. Your shoulders slumped. You finished softly, ‘…not human.’

‘Right. Because I’d missed that.’ I took a mouthful of nuts, munching thoughtfully. You’d withdrawn hermit-crab like, your hair falling in two curtains over your mug. ‘There were humans once, who thought like you, the last time a Blood Lifer had the courage to reveal himself to a First Lifer. It was one of my ancestors. A man of reason, in an age of superstition. He reckoned our two species could live out in the open – side by side – so I was told. These First Lifers? They thought he was the devil.’ You’d raised your nut. I could see your peepers – dark grey now – through the veil of your hair.

‘What..?’

‘They burnt him.’
About the Author


ROSEMARY A JOHNS is author of the bestselling Blood Dragons and Blood Shackles – the compelling Rebel Vampires series. Blood Renegades is released June 2017.
ROSEMARY A JOHNS is a music fanatic and a lover of the anti-hero. She wrote her first fantasy novel at the age of ten, when she discovered the weird worlds inside her head were more exciting than double swimming. Since then she’s studied history at Oxford University, run a theatre company (her critically acclaimed plays have been described as “uncomfortable, unsettling and uneasily true to life”), and worked with disability charities.
When Rosemary’s not falling in love with the rebels fighting their way onto the page, she heads the Oxford writing group Dreaming Spires.
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Blood Shackles is on sale March 13th – March 17th for $.99 – Normal Price is $2.99
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Creepy Hollow



YA Fantasy
Date Published: March 14, 2017
Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale has one job: protect humans from dangerous fae. It’s a job she’s good at—until the cute guy whose life she just saved follows her back into the hidden world of magic. Now she’s broken Guild law, landing herself in a whole lot of trouble. The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the guy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget the magical world he’s discovered. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, plenty of mystery and intrigue, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a deadly plot that threatens not only her own life, but her entire world.
Excerpt

I cry out as the boy grabs hold of my arm. I stumble on the invisible path, my mind loses hold of my destination, and I tumble out of the darkness and onto the forest floor. I don’t usually exit the faerie paths so clumsily, but I don’t usually have a human boy on top of me.
I lie there blinking as the reality of what just happened strikes me like a slap in the face.
A human.
In the fae realm.
And I’m the one who brought him here.
No no no NO.
I give the guy a good kick and he lands on the ground beside me with a groan. “What did you do that for?” I yell, jumping to my feet. “You can’t follow me through! That’s not how this works.”
He sits up and stares at his surroundings—the wildly tangled trees; the creeping mist; the shifting smoke-like colors in the yuro plants’ leaves—with a mixture of horror and awe on his face. “That … was …”
“Probably the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done.” I doubt he’s listening to me though.
“I think you were right about the dreaming thing,” he says. “There’s no way this could be real. Am I high on something?”
“Ugh.” I clench my fists so tightly I can feel my nails digging into my skin. “It’s magic, you moron.”
He looks at me and frowns. “There’s no such thing as magic.”
“Well, you probably think there’s no such thing as faeries either, and yet here I am.” And here he is. In my forest. My home. I kick a flurry of leaves into the air. Their colors shift rapidly in protest, cycling through an endless palette: lavender, magenta, burgundy, sienna. I bury my face in my hands. I have so failed this assignment.
“No way,” he says, rustling the leaves as he stands. “You can’t be a faerie. You’re way too big.”
I lower my hands. “Excuse me?” I’ve been called many things in my seventeen years, but ‘big’ has never been one of them. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“Aren’t faeries supposed to be, like, really tiny? With wings and a wand and faerie dust?”
“I’m not Tinker Bell!”
He takes a step back. “Okay, okay. Since this is a dream, I guess you can be whatever you want to be.”
“Did it feel like a dream when I kicked you just now?”
“Actually, that did kind of hurt.” He rubs his leg.
I shake my head. “This is such a mistake. You should not be here.”
“So you don’t have wings then?” he asks, completely ignoring what I just said.
“Sure I do. They’re in my pocket.”
“Really?”
“No!” I’m trying to think of the best way to fix this, and I wish he’d keep quiet.
“Oh, wait, you do have a wand though. I saw you using it on my wall.”
“It’s not a wand, it’s a stylus. Just a stick, really.”
“But it—”
“You know, if it weren’t my sole purpose in life to protect humans like you from crazy magical fae, I’d leave you here to find your own way home.”
“Is that what you were doing in my room?” he asks after a moment.
I sigh. Why am I telling him any of this? “Yes. I was on assignment.”
“I was your assignment?”
Wow, you catch on fast. “Yes.”
He hesitates a moment, then grins. “That’s kind of hot.”
About the Author
Rachel Morgan spent a good deal of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making, crafting endless stories of make-believe and occasionally writing some of them down. After completing a degree in genetics and discovering she still wasn’t grown-up enough for a ‘real’ job, she decided to return to those story worlds still spinning around her imagination. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart.
Rachel lives in Cape Town with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and also writes sweet contemporary romance under the name Rochelle Morgan.

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Gaia and the Golaiths – Steven M Moore



Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Date Published:  February 5, 2017
Publisher: Carrick Publishing
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An environmental activist is murdered on a street in Manhattan after a protest. NYPD homicide Detectives Chen and Castilblanco get the case. While pursuing the clues to find those responsible, they discover the activist’s boyfriend is in danger because he has key information that will expose an international conspiracy involving Europe, Russia, and the U.S. As the tangled web unravels, an old nemesis of the detectives makes his appearance.
Other Books in the Detectives Chen & Castilblanco Mystery Series
Published: October 2015
NYPD detectives Chen and Castilblanco continue their adventures in this sixth novel in the series. Castilblanco’s relative Teresa and Nasir are an item, but Nasir kills Teresa’s taunting and jealous ex-boyfriend in a fight. When they look to Nasir’s friends for help, those friends kidnap the two fugitives who become involved in a terrorist plot.
While the two detectives try to find Teresa and prove her innocence, a case in a different precinct involving a different Castilblanco relative surfaces. The cop’s uncle, other detectives, and the Coast Guard help sort things out, including the connection to an old mafia family.
Published: 2010
The murders of a Wall Street broker and a Navy SEAL in Manhattan only miles and minutes apart seem unrelated, but two homicide detectives discover a connection. As the strange cases merge and they chase down the killers, even with federal stonewalling, they uncover a terrorist plan to destroy two American icons and generate a financial crisis bigger than the Wall Street implosion of 2008. Hiding in the background are webs of international intrigue taken from today’s post-9/11 world.
Published: March 2012
Steve Moore gives a new meaning to “narco-terrorism” in this new thriller that has your favorite NYPD homicide detectives Rolando Castilblanco and Dao-Ming Chen thwarting another terrorist plot, as they did in The Midas Bomb. Castilblanco uses his old Navy SEAL skills to good effect and Chen takes on a new sexy and independent role against the combined forces of al Qaeda, a Mexican cartel, and neo-Nazi militia members.
Published: May 2013
With Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder, Steve Moore continues the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.” The sleuths of The Midas Bomb and Angels Need Not Apply will embroil you in action and suspense yet again.
As a mystery novel, it is a dark probing into the nexus the crime underworld sometimes enjoys with the rich and powerful. Chen is arrested for the murder of a senator in circumstances that seem to leave no doubt of her guilt, but Castilblanco helps prove her innocence.
With this new crime novel, Steve continues the saga of your two favorite detectives as they and their companions fight the corrupting influence of the illegal weapons trade.
Published: March 2014
Aristocrats and Assassins continues the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.”
NYPD detectives Chen and Castilblanco leave their comfort zones once again. Chen goes to China where she helps the DEA track down a money laundering scheme. Castilblanco is in Europe on vacation with his wife. They meet up to thwart a terrorist who’s kidnapping members of the European royal family. What relation does he have to the money laundering scheme? Why does he have a vendetta for Castilblanco? What’s his real agenda? Join Chen and Castilblanco on a tour of Europe you won’t find in Frommer’s.
Published: November 2014
Chen and Castilblanco are back in the Big Apple.  They begin to investigate the murder of a SOHO art dealer, delve into the shadowy world of art thieves, and discover that stolen artworks can be used as collateral to finance some dark entrepreneurship.  The Collector is book five in the Detectives Chen and Castilblanco series.
  
Excerpt

Excerpt from Steven M. Moore’s Gaia and the Goliaths, #7 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series”, Carrick Publishing, 2017:
Chapter One
Dr. Guillermo Sanchez ran with EMTs as they guided the gurney through the halls on the way to one of Bellevue’s ORs.  His job was to stabilize the shooting victim for the surgeon, but stabilize wasn’t the right word in this case.  The young woman flat-lined twice before the surgeon arrived.
“Wash up, Guillermo,” said Dr. Wilson. “I’m going to need your steady hands.”
Guillermo Pedro Sanchez was ending his first year as ER intern.  He had already informed Wilson where the gunshot wounds were.  The most serious ones were around her left breast.  Had they done damage to the heart?  The flat-lining indicated that they had.
He was in the seventh hour of his first shift.  Unruly black hair and a need for a shave combined with a blood-stained smock made him look like an old-fashioned Italian butcher from an old ethnic neighborhood of New York City, but he had grown up in a rich family in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  A brother and sister had attended Harvard all the way through to MBAs and now worked in the corporate world.  He was the youngest and had attended Tufts; he’d always wanted to work in an ER.  Now he was an intern in one of the busiest.
They were soon embroiled in the operation.  The abdominal cavity was filled with blood—a massive leak somewhere threatened this woman’s life.
“Let’s do a transfusion,” said Wilson, “and patch tears if we can.”
“Is it her heart?” said Sanchez.
“I can’t see a damn thing.  Suction!”
They worked feverishly.  Desperate minutes became intense hours.
***
Gaia Papadakis’s last memories were about a dark street near NYU.  She had been a bit tipsy.  After the protest march, they went to a bar to celebrate.  No one was arrested during the protest, but all the same they made the news on all local TV channels.
People were now interested in global warming despite naysayers in big corporations and the nation’s capital.  Many were also asking questions about oil spills, fracking, and pollution from power plants.  Her group Clean World tried to guide and coordinate the dialog.
Many conservatives supported companies Clean World was protesting against, while progressives were more on the side of protesters when not beholden to corporate donors.  Many energy companies were owned by one huge energy conglomerate, Wilson-Myers Energy Corporation.  Emotions ran high during the protest, but she gave the cops more credit than some co-marchers—the former kept the march peaceful and seemed impartial about whom they hauled away when tempers flared and violence ensued.
She had recognized some opposition leaders and activists trying to appeal to spectators; they played on people’s fears, focusing on loss of livelihood if the conglomerate’s companies went under.  She knew their argument was specious—she had written white papers that proved the conglomerate could, in a period of ten years or so, improve their environmental record without losing revenue.  Other white papers showed what would happen to the Earth if conglomerates like Wilson-Myers didn’t change their polluting ways.
Most in the crowd, though, ignored the opposition and were friendly to protesters.  She knew Wilson-Myers hated that and the progress environmentalists were making.  The conglomerate was spending money right and left to stop them and writing most of it off to advertising.  That same money, probably even less, could be used to change its bad environmental record.  It was a question of priorities.  Companies spent tons of money trying to “educate the population”—translation: attack science and deny global warming.  And they had sycophants in Washington to push that agenda.
At the bar, they had toasted their better-than-average success with the protest.  She left around 2 a.m.  Her small apartment wasn’t far away, so she walked.  She was city and street smart, but her shooter was more efficient than your average gang member or mugger.  An SUV sped by and a shooter sprayed her body with an automatic weapon, leaving her sprawled on the sidewalk and her mind fading into darkness as she still wondered why.
***
           
“We’re in trouble,” said Wilson, glancing at monitors.  “We need to give her an artificial heart, but there’s no time!”
            “No repair’s possible?” said Sanchez.
            “Let’s try to pull her through,” said Wilson.  “We’re heading for a train wreck here!  Full replacement, ladies and gentlemen!”
            More hours of painstaking, mind numbing surgery.  Another cardiac surgeon joined Wilson, and another intern arrived to help Sanchez clamp, suck out fluids, sew stitches, and keep an eye on instruments, although OR nurses also helped in that too.  The team grew; it was a team effort.  Wilson was the quarterback marching his offense down the field with time running out.
After nine hours of surgery, they had the victim on an artificial heart.  That would only be the start of her odyssey.  She would now go on a list of patients who needed a heart transplant.  That was another race against time.
            “Good work,” Wilson told Sanchez as they were cleaning up.  “You have a fast and sure suture technique.  Maybe you should change to surgery.  By the way, I’m sorry I ignored your questions in there.  I’m afraid I become less professorial when I’m saving someone’s life.”
            “No need to apologize,” said Sanchez.  “They were stupid questions.  Her heart was beyond repair.  What chance does she have now?”
            Wilson glanced at him, raising a bushy eyebrow.  “Don’t become emotionally involved, Guillermo.  You need to maintain a professional detachment.  There’s only a ten percent chance she’ll make it.  She’s likely to throw a clot, for example, considering circumstances.  And we might not find a donor in time.”
            “It seems so unfair.  What is she, mid-twenties?”
            “If she’s more than thirty, I’d be surprised.  She pissed someone off enough she might as well have been a grunt in the Middle East invading a terrorist camp without a gun or body armor.  Yeah, it’s unfair.  You can be a recluse most of your life but still have a truck mow you down crossing a street in Manhattan.  What about a surgery internship, if I can change the subject?”
            “I can help more in the ER.”  Sanchez smiled.  “I’ll have lots of practice in Manhattan.”
            “Are you just afraid of overspecialization?  You’d be an ER surgeon soon enough.  You can help sicker people as a cardiac surgeon on ER call.”
            “I’ll think about it.  But you can’t determine my skills just from one session.  I didn’t do very much.”
            “Often enough you provided a skilled third pair of hands when I needed them.”  Wilson looked around and lowered his voice.  “That other intern was all thumbs.  Between you and me, he’s not going to last long in this intense environment.”  He raised his hands and flexed his fingers, watching water drip off.  “I’ll take these any day over a robot’s.”
            Sanchez thought that was a bit egotistical but said nothing.
***
“You’re too young to be a doctor,” Gaia Papadakis said, her voice a raspy whisper.  Sanchez had just removed the tube from her throat.
“You’re awake.  You’ve been through a lot.”  He took her pulse again the old-fashioned way.  “A bit weak.”  His thick eyebrows arched.  “How do you feel?”
“I feel like I was run over by a subway train.”
“Something comparable on the street and right here in the ER.  You’re lucky to be alive.  You were in good shape, though, and that helped.”
“I work out when I can.  Gym and jogging.  Do you work out?”
“When I can.  Don’t talk too much.”  He showed her the call button.  “If you have a problem, use that.  Someone will come running.  Don’t be timid with the morphine pump either.  Control your pain.”  He waved toward the door.  “I have some other patients to see.  It was a busy night in the ER apparently.”
“What happened?”
“Other than your being shot, I don’t know.  About that: when you’re up to it, NYPD will want to interview you.  Don’t worry about it, though.  They have to go through me first.”
Nice smile, she thought.  God, he’s young and handsome.  Where’s he been all my life?  He had beautiful curly locks like her Zorba.  She wanted Alessandro by her side holding her hand now that the doctor had reminded her of him.
“Did you participate in my surgery?”  He nodded.  “Say, can you hand me my purse?  I’d like to check my smart phone.”  He handed her the purse, watched her rummage around, but turned to the PA system’s speaker over the door when his name was called.
“I have to go.”  She nodded, flashing a tired smile.
She watched him leave, deciding it might be worth being shot in order to meet him.  Sorry, Alessandro, you’re thousands of miles away.
            Hours later in midafternoon, she woke from a deep sleep feeling panic.  She knew something was wrong.  She took her last gasp as she fought her descent into sweet oblivion.
About the Author


Steve Moore is an ex-scientist who has lived abroad and seen a lot of the world. His fiction reflects his interest in the human condition and how good people everywhere react and fight evil. He is now a full-time author who lives with his wife in New Jersey, but he has resided in Colombia and Massachusetts and other states in the U.S. He’s a native Californian. He loves to hear from readers and authors.

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Like Clockwork by Ali Abbas


Steampunk/Anti-Romance/Gothic Suspense
Date Published: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Transmundane Press

Commander Raymond Burntwood of the Royal Navy has returned to England where he meets the reclusive heiress Lady Ariana Grayhart. After the scandal of a night spent dancing together, Ariana returns home to Northumberland. Raymond’s superiors—seeking information about Ariana’s father—dispatch the commander under the cover of courting the heiress.
All is not as it seems in the Grayhart household. Captain Grayhart is an invalid, the servants maintain a monkish silence, and secrets are layered upon secrets. Everyone has their own agenda, from Raymond’s friend and confidante Du Bois, to the family lawyer Sir Berwick, and Ariana herself.
In the midst of it all, Raymond must unravel the truth of Captain Grayhart’s decline and save Ariana’s reputation and fortune. In doing so, he learns dark secrets about himself that could tear his world apart.
Excerpt
I hurried back up the aisle, looking for a break in the foliage where I could step across, but the wall of green was impenetrable. My boots clattered on the stone floor, and I almost lost my footing as I came around the corner. I caught a glimpse of a figure turning past a small forest of bare poles standing in tall thin pots.
            More carefully now, I followed, watching the occasional pools of standing water and mossy patches on the uneven flags. I turned down the same space that the figure had gone and gagged. The stench was foul. I buried my nose in the elbow of my coat and stumbled backwards. My heel caught on one of the tall pots. I grabbed at the pole to catch my balance, but it swayed away under my weight and snapped. I fell heavily on the floor, a length of cane in my hand and the other canes clattering against each other in mock applause.
            I stood gingerly, wincing against the sharp pain of a blossoming bruise. The intake of the foul miasma hit me like a blow. I took a few cautious steps, using the length of cane as a walking stick.
            We had taken a pirate laden with slaves and bound for Port of Spain once. The Thame had stumbled on him by chance on the high seas, and did some damage before a long chase commenced. The pirates had given up looking after their cargo for some days by the time we finally overcame them and boarded the ship.
            In the hold, we had found a hundred souls dead, and only a handful alive. They were barely recognisable as men in their filth and malnutrition, packed into the darkness with death. We took the survivors on board and burned the shattered remains of the ship with its grisly contents. Some nights the smell of that hold haunted me. And now, I had found it once more in a stuffy corner of this oppressive glasshouse.
            My mind reeled between the present and past. Before me, a row of corpses slowly decayed into the boards of a ship’s hold. I doubled over and retched up scalding bile. I spat to clear my mouth and squeezed my eyes shut against the vision. Minutes passed before I dared to look up again.
            Before me were rows upon rows of noxious-looking fungi. They grew in shallow trays of straw-flecked manure, distended stems rising to lopsided caps. The sickly dark-yellow colour was deeply unwholesome, similar to the lantern lit bodies of the dead slaves. The fungi varied from six inches to a foot tall, and the mature ones seemed to be the same across.
            At least eight tables laden were with these trays. Oozing stems showed some had been recently harvested. I reached out my hand in horrified fascination. Something in their vile shape called out to be squeezed. Two soft footsteps fell behind me, and a strong hand gripped my wrist.

About the Author

Ali Abbas is a writer, photographer, and carpenter from London. He has travelled widely but still lives in the suburb where he was born. It’s hard to explain what he does for a living, the common term is Policy Wonk.

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