Connections eMagazine August 2020 edition

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February 2017

August 2020

Connections eMagazine

Message from the Editor The Purpose of this eMagazine is to connect readers and bloggers with authors. This is a FREE eMagazine that is produced quarterly. Our third quarter issue is always a favorite of mine because in this edition we publicize the winners of our annual Reader’s Choice Awards. These are books nominated by readers who love the authors work. There are some great choices this year, so I hope you’ll take the time to look around. ““You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” — Paul Sweeney While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe. You’ll receive an automatic email when a new edition is published. Just click the box below and fill out the form. Don’t worry, your information will never be shared or sold.



Reader’s Choice Finalists... Get to know the 2020 Reader’s Choice Award Winners and their work, Find short stories and explore great sales and freebies.

Top Ten Finalists 1) Written in Water 2) Sparky 3) Leah Brand 4) The Shimmer 5) Irma’s Endgame 6) Secret Angel 7) Loves Full Circle 8) To Target the Heart 9) Stories that Intrigue 10) Challenger 10) Light Love Ritual Free Books

Top 10 Popular Winners

Hot Deals—99 Cents Writers’ Lives Author Tips and Tricks Paige Carter

Click pictures and images throughout the publication for Additional information

MPSmith Publishing and Connections eMagazine does not endorse any information contained in the articles or advertisements throughout this magazine. All contents Copyright Š the individual authors and used with their permission. All rights reserved.

Strange Eventful History By Lesley Hayes

Light to Dark: Light at the End B2 by Tom Benson

The Chainmakers’ Daughter by Rebecca Bryn

Divergence by Melanie P. Smith

Val Tobin

Status Quo: Nick Borman By Robert Lalonde


A Spooky Road Trip by Melanie P. Smith


Mom’s Favorite Reads


Melanie P. Smith

MPSmith Publishing

Would you like a listing in the next issue of Connections eMagazine? Click here for submission requirements.

The Connections eMagazine Reader’s Choice Award is open to all independently published authors and their work.

This is an annual award. Authors can be nominated by anyone who has read the novel. Books are judged on cover design, character &/or world development, good flow & compelling intro, presentation, and Reader’s Choice. We had a lot of great entries this year and the competition was close. I hope you will take a minute to check out the winners.

Categories Thriller | Mystery | Horror


Paranormal | Fantasy | Sci-Fi


Children’s Books

Young Adult

Other Fiction 3rd—Bronze


Finalist 1st—Gold

Gold Medal Written om Water by Lesley Hayes

The swinging sixties – a time of peace, love, violence and revolution. In 1962, as the Cold War erupts in sudden crisis over Cuba, Cordelia, Beatrice and Rosalind are fourteen. Dubbed by their English teacher the three witches from Macbeth, they have already recognised one another as outsiders, with no idea that their alliance will turn out to be a lifelong friendship. Their personalities and choices lead them along very different paths, but they never lose the strong thread of their connection. Through the passions, disappointments, losses and triumphs of their lives the trilogy of novels follows them through the years, reflecting the many changes that have taken place for women over six decades. Exits and Entrances chronicles the eventful era between 1962 and 1972 as they grow from girls into women.

Other Fiction Intro: Great intro with good flow. Cover: Excellent, Professional, Mysterious, clean and eye-catching. Character/Wrold Development: Believable and well crafted characters that have realistic reactions and emotions.

Presentation: Professionally edited, No obvious typos, excellent grammar, formatting and overall presentation Prize: Gold in Overall and Other Fiction Categories

Silver Medal Sparky by Millie Slavidou Sparky is a newly-hatched dragon with a problem: he can't breathe fire. Not wanting to stand out from all the other dragons, he leaves the nest and sets off on an adventurous journey to solve his problem. Finally, he meets Nicky, who is determined to help him on his quest to find the secret of fire. Will Sparky ever discover how to breathe fire?

Informative Intro: Pulls you into the world of dragons from the first sentence. Great message of and embracing and cherishing individual differences.

Children’s Books

Character/World Development: Great fantasy with enough action to keep children interested. Cover Design: Nice cover, appealing and well balanced.

Prize: Silver Overall / Gold Children’s Books

Bronze Medal A Year in the Life of Leah Brand by Lucinda E. Clarke

Mystery | Thriller Intro: Good Hook, grabs your attention immediately. “The nightmare began the day the dog died” Character/World Building: Good world development. Reader is introduced to a mix of human stories and animal fables. Presentation: Professionally edited, no typos or grammar issues. Great formatting.

Prize: Bronze Overall | Gold in Mystery | Thriller | Horror A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband and their two babies, leaving her disabled. Life looked bleak. She was approaching forty, unemployed, broke and desperate. Then she met Mason. He was charming, charismatic, persuasive, and a successful businessman, well respected in the community. His teenage daughter did nothing to welcome Leah into the family, but life is never perfect. Then, two years into her second marriage, Leah Brand’s world is turned upside down; inanimate objects in the house move, her clothes are left out for the rubbish collection, pieces of furniture change places, there are unexplained noises and hauntings. As the disturbances increase, everyone accuses Leah of losing her mind. Soon she begins to doubt herself and she starts to spiral down into a world of insanity. Is she going mad, or is someone out to destroy her? And if so, why?

Mystery | Thriller | Horror

Young Adult


Fantasy | Paranormal

Children's Books

Other Fiction


Gold Winners by Category

Strange Eventful History By Lesley Hayes

Against the backdrop of an intensifying political climate, this final book in the Written in Water trilogy reveals in rich emotional detail the intricate ambiguities and contradictions of love and life, exploring what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a wife, a lover, a friend. ‘Two’s company, but is three a crowd?’ is a question often posed by Strange Eventful History, which takes up the story where Better Strangers ended in 1990. In the twenty-five years ahead Rosalind, Beatrice and Cordelia continue their journey through time towards the brink of the UK referendum in 2016. On the way they encounter destiny’s signposts and roadblocks and face some difficult truths. Each of them experiences tragedy, joy, insight and loss as they pursue their individual quests for a ‘forever’ love. What they discover is not always what they hoped for or imagined.

Book 3: Read Sample... The Written in Water trilogy is a multi-layered family saga that spans five momentous decades from the 1960s to the present day, following the lives of three women – Rosalind, Beatrice and Cordelia – as they chart their course over the often turbulent waters of this significant period of social and political revolution. It opens on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when they are fourteen, and ends on the brink of the UK referendum in 2016. Their individual stories overlap and interweave, defining and questioning the roles, expectations and experiences of women born into these times. Rosalind strives to be creative, Beatrice wants to heal the wounded, and Cordelia is the intuitive dreamer who believes in something beyond the everyday. Driven by destiny, and with three very different personalities, they bring to light the weight of personal and political history and demonstrate the far reach of childhood influences and the reparative magic of friendship and love.

So this was freedom. It didn’t taste nearly sweet enough. With Paddy gone Rosalind had hoped for enough space finally to breathe. Her real life would begin now, she had thought. She would become the focal point rather than a mere satellite. Every day she would wake enthused with self-motivation. But she had not foreseen such crushing paralysis of will. It was as if the energy for life had seeped out of her and she had drifted off-course rather than found her own direction. It wasn’t that she had wanted Paddy out of her life entirely or that she hated him and couldn’t stand the sight of him. On the contrary, when he was near there was the same mesmeric attraction she’d felt ever since their first meeting when she was nineteen. She wished she didn’t feel it. It would have made things so much easier. Whatever either of them felt, they would have to go on seeing each other because of Erin. She was strangely sanguine about their separation. Rosalind had anticipated more of a reaction, but she took it in her stride. “So I’ll have two homes now,” she said, when they explained the decision to part. “Are you getting a divorce? Have you fallen in love with other people?” Having had these questions satisfactorily answered in the negative, she then accepted the situation for what it was. She helped Paddy choose furniture for his new flat, and soon worked out that it took her only ten minutes to cycle there. The arrangement was loose enough for her to feel welcome in either place; although they’d agreed she would live with Rosalind during the week and stay with Paddy every other weekend. Sometimes it turned out to be more often, sometimes less. They always talked on the phone whenever she wanted to.

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A Year in the Life of Leah Brand

Superb mystery and suspense Here is a tale of mystery and suspense with more twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti. The imagery, characters and sub-plots are all created with the same deft touch as in the author’s super adventure tales.

By Lucinda E. Clarke

Character Development: Compelling characters, full of emotion Prize: Gold in Thriller } Mystery | Horror

Intro: Compelling intro draws you into the story from the first sentence. "The nightmare began the day the dog died."

#3 Overall 2020

A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband and their two babies, leaving her disabled. Life looked bleak. She was approaching forty, unemployed, broke and desperate. Then she met Mason. He was charming, charismatic, persuasive, and a successful businessman, well respected in the community. His teenage daughter did nothing to welcome Leah into the family, but life is never perfect.

Then, two years into her second marriage, Leah Brand’s world is turned upside down; inanimate objects in the house move, her clothes are left out for the rubbish collection, pieces of furniture change places, there are unexplained noises and hauntings. As the disturbances increase, everyone accuses Leah of losing her mind. Soon she begins to doubt herself and she starts to spiral down into a world of insanity. Is she going mad, or is someone out to destroy her? And if so, why?

Thriller | Mystery | Horror Undead by DM Wolfenden Doyle Cerberus has never loved anyone. But a chance encounter with a beautiful woman sets his cold dead heart on fire. He can’t help but watch her every move. Lana Whitlock’s happiness is ripped away from her when a violent attack proves fatal for her girlfriend, Francine, as they celebrate their engagement. Ever watchful, Doyle sees his opportunity. Not to be the hero, but to save Lana and satisfy his own needs. But he has misjudged her. Instead of being grateful, all she craves is vengeance.

Her nightmare began with him. Now she must end it.

Intro: Great world development. Draws you into the story from the very first page.

Well drawn characters plunge into fascinating action!

I enjoyed the originality of the story and its rapid pace.

Intro: Strong start that draws you into the story from the first sentence

Exodus by Kate McGinn

A woman who has lost everything she loved. A dangerous secret that someone will do whatever is necessary to keep buried. The ER staff called Clare Thibodeaux the “Ice Lady”. No one knew the reason why she wouldn’t let anyone get close to her. On one hectic night, the victim of a vicious attack is brought in by ambulance. When she discovers the patient is a friend from her past life, she is devastated. It was the first of a violent series of events, and the only connection between all of them is Clare. Fearing for her life, she leaves as a hurricane spirals off the coast, but Clare’s storm is only beginning. Fleeing to the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin, she goes into hiding with the help of family friends. Two men vie for her affection -- a passionate FBI agent and a Navy SEAL with a questionable past -and Clare must decide who she can trust with her heart and with her life.

Intro: Compelling. The story draws you into the mystery and suspense. A little Gothic, a little mysticism Cover: Mysterious, well-balanced and eye-catching

Victor Montenegro is a respected diplomat, a revered illusionist, and a treasure hunter who is applauded and envied for his uncanny ability to find historical treasures.

In the town of Montenegro, California, Victor hires Valentina Santa Cruz, an aspiring anthropologist, to educate his nephew Teo. Victor and Valentina’s mutual love of the dead opens up an intimate ethereal realm. They share many passions: sunken treasures, cemeteries, and ancient burials, but can Valentina’s passion for Victor wake a heart that has been dormant for decades? In 1727, Suzette Savarit, praying to escape the memory of her parents’ brutal murder, agrees to flee to the New World as a “casket girl” under the guidance of the Ursuline nuns. In the New World the spirit of death torments Suzette as she becomes a prominent citizen of New Orleans. Will her illicit romance with a plague survivor open the door to immortality? Suzette bears witness to calamities, warring monsters, and Mother Nature’s wrath. A tale that traverses decades in which characters slip into macabre realms as they consort with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and witches. Suzette’s battle to triumph over death will trap her in an unsuspecting and devastating curse. Suzette’s discovery of love heralds in her worst nightmare: the threat of death cruelly robbing her of true love.

A fresh perspective on the vampire genre. Perfect for all lovers of gothic storytelling

Perez is a master of the old-fashioned romantic tale. She's really the best I've seen in years. In Cemetery Candles, a single touch can ignite fire. A glance between a man and woman can lead to the promise of a lifetime of passion. Perez has a unique gift for creating romantic tension with nothing more than a rapid pulse. I love it.

Light to Dark: Light at The End Book 2 By Tom Benson

Six years have passed since a group of apocalypse survivors found themselves entombed in a disused railway tunnel. They explored, adapted and established themselves in a power station. From high up on the mountain, somebody or something was seen down below, near the loch. Could it be the murderess who escaped from temporary incarceration six years earlier? If it were a person who had survived any residual radiation did this signal new threats to the community?

Born to be Wild Monday 4th July 2071 AD The Trossachs National Park Scottish Highlands

The forest was alive with the sights and sounds of life—wildlife. Insects and birds were the prominent inhabitants, but other creatures were known to be among the natural selection of species if you knew the signs. At the front of the small group was Norman, the big man whose profession had once been the maintenance of forestry. “I can’t believe the speed of recovery here,” he murmured. “In what way?” Bill asked. “Do you mean how well the trees have flourished?” “No, mate,” Norman said quietly. “I recognised the slight indentation in the tree-line where we entered the forest, but there’s no path. We must be close to what would have been the main forest trail six years ago, but I can’t see any trace.” “Let me have a look, please.” Victoria brushed past and tripped on a concealed root. She flew headlong through the dense, overhanging foliage. “Hey,” Bill said, “are you okay?” Victoria got up onto her knees. “I’m sorry, I was a bit eager there. Norman’s quite right, and from down here you can see that there is a corridor of slightly differing undergrowth.” “We’ve only just entered the forest, so I think we’ll have to take it slower.” Flint, the fourth member of the group, looked around one more time before moving forward among the trees to join the others. He still kept his laser rifle in a position ready to bring up for defence. Victoria said, “What do you think they are?” She pointed at a prominent growth of healthy young trees slightly farther ahead. Bill and Flint exchanged a look, and both turned to the forester and the botanist. Norman stepped forward carefully and squeezed the upper leaves of a sapling. “Gents, this young silver birch is a sign that the forest is alive and healthy.” He pointed. “That one over there is beech, and from here I can see a couple of different pines.” “Wait a minute,” Bill said, “you said a little while ago that there was a forest trail here.” “There was,” Norman said, “and now I can see confirmation.” He pointed to a well-established tree a few yards away. “You see that small yellow sign about fifteen feet up … that’s a route and growth sign, and it tells me two things. Firstly that this was at one time a forest trail and secondly that the tree is doing well because that sign ought to be quite a bit lower.”


 Great world-building, political intrigue, and adventure

#8 Overall 2020

This was a great addition to the Spellster world! I read the first book in the series a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Although this is the second book in the series, you don't need to read the first one to understand what's happening since it takes place in a different country with different characters (although I would still highly recommend it). It was great to see other parts of the world, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Udynea in the next book!

How can he win with the odds stacked against him? Prince Hamish has no interest in fulfilling his duty of marrying. Not to a woman, at least. That doesn’t stop his mother, Queen Fiona, from presenting him with every eligible noblewoman that enters their castle. He’s certain it’ll be no different with the representative of the Udynea Empire. So when they do arrive, Hamish is relieved the imperial prince, Darshan, is not the woman everyone expected. Until the man kisses him and Hamish is confronted by the very emotions he has been forced to conceal or be punished for. Emotions he is eager to explore. But the kiss proves to be a little too public and leads his mother to take drastic measures to ensure Hamish adheres to her family vision. The contest of arms will force Hamish to make a choice: give up his happiness for convention’s sake or send the kingdom spiralling into civil war for the right to love his own way.

Vampire detective Nick knows a few seers. One of those seers, an antisocial male with the annoying habit of painting things before they happen, appears at Nick’s work, claiming he has something to show him. That something turns out to be his latest creation, a mural of a bomb going off in downtown New York. Unfortunately, by the time Nick sees it, it’s already too late. Nick has no leads apart from the painting itself, a murdered human, and the dead man’s partner, the city’s star designer and architect, an eccentric vampire named Straven. Soon, what starts off as a simple case of a robbery gone wrong begins to look like something a lot more sinister, with much more far-reaching consequences.

It also brings Nick far too close to the life he thought he’d left behind, as a lieutenant in the White Death, the vampire criminal underground. When his ex-girlfriend shows up, a new vampire boyfriend in tow at a hip vampire club, Nick figures things really can’t get any worse.

The Prescient By JC Andrijeski

Intense. Clear your schedule! The pace of this one was intense and parts of it were downright funny but overall, it was intense.

Character/World Building: Great character-

building and development. Love them or hate them, the characters evoke emotion from the reader.

Intro: Good hook, com-

Awesome adventure that keeps pulling you forward

Character/World Building: Descriptive

Since the beginning of the book, I was instantly pulled in. You can definitely tell just from the first page the author studied military exercises as I felt like I could see a lot of what happened while I was in the army if this was the world we lived in.

pelling descriptions that draw you in right from the beginning

fantasy world that pulls you into the story and the world immediately

Chronicles of Fen Cernuin By Y.W. Lumaris He made the gods mortal, breaking the laws of magic. Now the world pays for his crimes.

Fen, a powerful mage and rare harpy, spent thirty years as a prisoner. In that time he concludes how to amend his actions and save the world from the rage of the gods. With only three cities remaining, the time finally comes that he is granted his chance. With this as his only chance to kill the gods and right what he wronged, he stands saint and sinner. Will he succeed, or is this the end of humanity?

Milijun: What Would Alien Interaction Really be Like? First Contact strikes out of the blue, and a series of incredible events unfold‌ When aliens take Laura’s beloved son, a terrifying new future threatens to tear her world apart. Why have they taken him and what do they want from her? Caught between alien intrigue and Earth’s military aggression, Laura becomes entrenched in a war of attrition that leads to the unthinkable. Challenged to breaking point, this down-to-earth mother battles for the survival of her son and several other humans who are unwittingly being used as pawns in a breathtaking scheme for cosmic exploration and future survival.

The story opens with action, then takes a step back and steadily builds a head of steam while the key characters are deeply developed, then pitted against an unimaginable foe, as well as each other. This is a must-read for science fiction fans who appreciate a hard scientific foundation, in the tradition of Asimov, Niven, or Heinlein.

Cover: Interesting, professional and great contrast

Development / Content: Great Sci-Fi, compelling into


Always: A Sweet, Small Town Romance Protectors Series: Book 3 by Leeanna Morgan

Fans of Robyn Carr's Virgin River series will love this small-town, feel-good romance! Mallory Fraser is a U.S. figure skating champion. After a tragic accident she moves to Montana, determined to put her past behind her and protect the people she loves. When the mystery surrounding her accident follows her to Bozeman, she needs help to find the truth. After living most of his life in one battleground after another, Grant Byers craves normal. He’s a cattle rancher, Search and Rescue volunteer, and a former Navy SEAL. He’s not looking for trouble, but when he meets Mallory, he knows trouble has found him. With nothing left to lose, Grant and Mallory walk head first into something neither of them expected, but everything they need.

Significance by Shelly Crane

Maggie is a seventeen year old girl who's had a bad year. Her mom left, her dad is depressed, she's graduating, barely, and her boyfriend of almost three years dumped her for a college football scholarship. Lately she thinks life is all about hanging on by a thread and is gripping tight with everything she has. Then she meets Caleb.

She saves his life and instantly feels a need to know more about this blue eyed boy. But she was supposed to be on her way to a date with his cousin, however, things change when they touch, sparks ignite. Literally. They imprint with each other and she sees their future life together flash before her eyes. She learns that not only is she his soul mate, and can feel his heartbeat in her chest, but there is a whole other world of people with gifts and abilities that she never knew existed. She herself is experiencing supernatural changes unlike anything she's ever felt before and she needs the touch of his skin to survive. Now, not only has her dad come out of his depression to be a father again, and a pain as well, but Caleb's enemies know he's imprinted and are after Maggie to stop them both from gaining their abilities and take her from him. Can Caleb save her or will they be forced to live without each other after just finding one another?

Mountain Man Smith Brothers: Book 1 by Sherilee Gray Eleven: Brandon Fisher FBI Series: Book 1 by Carolyn Arnold Eleven Rooms. Ten Bodies. One Empty Grave. In this international bestseller, rookie FBI Agent Brandon Fisher takes on his first case with the Behavioral Analysis Unit, but will he survive long enough to catch the killer? Eleven is a fast-paced, spinetingling thriller that will have you gasping for breath at every twist… When Brandon Fisher joined the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, he knew he’d come up against psychopaths, sociopaths, pathological liars, and more. But when his first case takes him and the team to Salt Lick, Kentucky, to hunt down a ritualistic serial killer, he learns what nightmares are truly made of. Beneath a residential property, local law enforcement discovered an underground bunker with circular graves that house the remains of ten victims. But that’s not all: there’s an empty eleventh grave, just waiting for a corpse. The killing clearly hasn’t come to an end yet, and with the property owner already behind bars, Brandon is certain there’s an apprentice who roams free. As the FBI follows the evidence across the United States, Brandon starts to struggle with the deranged nature of his job description. And if the case itself isn’t going to be enough to push Brandon over the edge, he’s working in the shadow of Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper, who expects nothing short of perfection from his team. To make matters even worse, it seems Brandon has become the target of a psychotic serial killer who wants to make him—or his wife—victim number eleven.

Hank Smith saved my life, carrying me through a blizzard to his mountain cabin. He doesn’t like strangers, and he doesn’t like leaving his sanctuary. Now I’m trapped here with him until the snow melts. I see him looking at me. He tries to hide behind a gruff exterior, but I see the longing and the heat burning in his eyes. I know he wants me, and I can’t resist him. I want to feel those big, rough hands all over my body. But once he’s unleashed his raw, barely tried desire on me, will I be able to leave my mountain man behind, or will he make me his?

Love Everlasting by Tracey Alvarez

Prince of Wolves The Grey Wolves Series: Book 1 by Quinn Loftis

Have you heard about the one where Prince Charming falls for the Ugly Stepsister? Darby Livingston is a survivor. If she can survive breast cancer, she can survive the humiliation of accidently flashing her pink panties to a stranger. A sexy 'doesn't believe in fairy tales' stranger called Reid. Reid is the key to making Darby's amateur theater production of Cinderella a success, so she'll swallow her pride and beg, bribe, or use her feminine wiles to secure his help, because the play's donation to a cancer charity means everything to her. Reid Hudson is used to being judged and ridiculed for his ability to sew amazing wedding gowns for Invercargill's boutique bridal shop, Next Stop Vegas. Whatever. He's a man who knows who he is and what he wants in life. But on the list of things Reid Hudson doesn't want… A) To be roped into costume-making for a cast of wannabe divas. B) To discover an offthe-charts attraction with the play's Ugly Stepsister, Darby. And C) To fall in love with that feisty and funny woman who has no guarantee of a happy ever after. Along with her terrier side-kick, Duke, can Darby convince Reid that if the shoe/slipper fits, maybe she's The One he's been looking for all along?

Who Murdered Garson Talmadge by David Bishop Matt Kile, ex-cop and ex-con, and current smart aleck has built a career writing mysteries. Garson Talmadge sold weapons to Saddam Hussein, then came to America and married Clarice, a woman half his age. When Clarice is arrested for murdering her husband, Matt takes the job of investigator for her defense attorney, with suspects stretching from the U.S. into Europe and the Middle East.

Jaque Pierce was an ordinary 17-year-old girl getting ready to start her senior year in high school in Coldspring, TX when a mysterious foreign exchange student from Romania moves in across the street. Jacque and her two best friends Sally and Jen don’t realize the last two weeks of their summer are going to get a lot more interesting. From the moment Jacque sets eyes on Fane, she feels an instant connection, a pull like a moth to a flame. Little does she know that the flame she is drawn too is actually a Canis Lupus, werewolf, and she just happens to be his mate, the other half of his soul. The problem is Fane is not the only wolf in Coldspring. Just as Fane and Jacque are getting to know each other, another wolf steps out to try and claim Jacque as his mate. Fane will now have to fight for the right to complete the mating bond, something that is his right by birth but is being denied him by a crazed Alpha. Will the love Fane has for Jacque be enough to give him the strength to defeat his enemy and will Jacque accept she is Fane’s mate and complete the bond between them?

Frey Frey Saga: Book 1 by Melissa Wright

Nothing is as it seems. Frey's life is a lie. She doesn't remember being bound from magic. She didn't intend to discover this dangerous secret, to get entangled in Council business. But she did.

The Converging: Closures in Blood Spells & Ashes by Kim Richardson

After destroying Cynara, Elizabeth Simpson returns home in search of the one man she’s ever loved and Are you ready for a new kind of absolution for sins committed under witch? the demon’s thrall. Reviled by My name is Samantha Beaumont Heaven and hell and pursued across and I’m a witch. a dying America by zealots and satanic assassins, she turns to a sworn But I’m not your average dark witch. I specialize in Goetia—the enemy…a dark mistress who is her ancient art of conjuring demons— one hope of eluding her relentless pursuers and finding closure and and exorcisms. That’s right. I hunt and banish de- redemption. mons and other supernatural baddies. But not with a fancy sword Awakened: Book 1 or a dagger. No, I banish these suckers with good old-fashioned by Brenda K. Davies magic. Harboring a dark and deadly secret, All is well until a human girl is murdered and her soul taken by a Greater demon.It gets worse. Human bodies are dropping like flies and it’s up to me to find the Greater demon and kill it. But everyone knows it’s not that simple. I might have to reveal my secret... if it came to light, I would be dead and all my friends with me.

Liam knows he should stay away from Sera. His world is dangerous for her, but he can’t deny the irresistible draw he feels. However, when Sera’s past comes crashing into the present, Liam is forced to expose his secret to save her.

And now she's on the run. With the aid of a stranger, she discovers a world beyond the elves who bound her. But it's a world of shadows and dark magic, a world she's been warned not to trust. The farther she strays, the more she finds a forgotten past. As she fights to reclaim her true identity, Council trackers hunt her down. If they find her, she will burn. The stranger offers her a way out, but it's a path of no return. How do you know who to believe when you don't even know who you are?


Millie Slavidou Intro / Content: Pulls you into the world of dragons from the first sentence. Great message of and embracing and cherishing individual differences.

Character/World Development: Great fantasy with enough action to keep children interested. Prize: Gold in Children’s Books, Silver in Overall Contest

Sparky is a newly-hatched dragon with a problem: he can't breathe fire. Not wanting to stand out from all the other dragons, he leaves the nest and sets off on an adventurous journey to solve his problem. Finally, he meets Nicky, who is determined to help him on his quest to find the secret of fire. Will Sparky ever discover how to breathe fire?

This is a beautiful children's story. A tale of love, acceptance, and individuality. Millie Slavidou's dragon, Sparky, is a touching and inspiring character. Sylva Fae's illustrations are wonderfully done and engaging. This lovely tale is suited for all ages. This is a dragon your children will love!


Overall 2020

The Shimmer By

Sylva Fae The time has come for Sparkle to set off on her magical quest across the shimmer. The feisty, young unicorn wants do good and help those she meets, but she finds her new magical powers are not easy to control. Will she do enough to please the queen, and gain her full unicorn powers? Cover: Good color contrast, age appropriate and fits well with story.

What a beautiful book, well written with lovely illustrations and well done to young Alicia DaRocha. Absolutely love it.

Trailer Character / World Development: Great intro. Pulls you into the story from the very first page. Great message of growth and change. Prize: Silver in Children’s Books, 4th Place in Overall Contenst

#4 Overall 2020

A book that teaches children how Small Acts of Kindness can make a big impact.

In this book, a little mouse who sleeps in a Christmas Tree hammock scurries around the house at night doing good deeds to prepare the house for Christmas. Good deeds include, tucking Baby Jesus into the manger, cooling off the hot cocoa for Santa, taste testing the cookies, hanging the mistletoe. Mouse is setting the example for children that you don’t have to be big to do kind deeds and help others.

Illustrations/ Content: Great story, Illustrations are colorful and appealing to children. The book has a great moral message for kids

Cover: Good contrast, grabs your attention, fits age range.

I’m totally in love with this little book!!! This book is just the sweetest most precious book we have seen in a while! I bought one for our children and for other little kids who are close to our hearts! It’s a beautiful reminder that you are never too small to make a big difference! Love it!!!

The Clumsy Gnome By

Denise McCabe Five stars from my children This is a quirky little picture book, perfect for younger readers. It's silly and funny and made my little ones laugh. They loved the brightly coloured pictures and madcap story. Tom is a delightful character with his clumsiness and mixed up words. He discovers that everyone has a talent and even though his clumsiness causes all sorts of trouble, even he has a special part to play. Denise McCabe always manages to capture the childish humour. My children really enjoyed discovering the activities at the end of the story.

Cover: Vibrant and appealing , Looks like an old Tom is a jolly, clumsy and wonderfully mixed up gnome who lives with his fellow gnomes in their very happy tree home in Raisin House Garden. It is time for the gnomes yearly Cake Sale and Party, an event that every gnome looks forward to. Each has a part to play, including Tom, though his clumsiness may get in the way. In the process he will learn that everyone has special talents, and sometimes, those talents can make even the biggest mix up, better. Activities included.

fashion fairytale.

Character/World Development: Images and story go well together. Entertaining.

The Chainmakers' Daughter By Rebecca Bryn

“Some make chains. Some wear them.” Rosie Wallace survives on three slices of bread a day. Scarred by flame and metal, she makes her life as her ancestors have: making chains for the rich chain master, Matthew Joshua. There is no hope for a better future. No hope even for a green vegetable on the table. Her life will be making chains, marrying Jack, the boy she loves, and babies every year. But when an assault by the chain master’s son threatens the very fabric of her tenuous existence, Rosie finds the courage and the reason to fight for her own survival and the lives of her family and neighbours. Set in the first decade of the 20th century The Chainmakers’ Daughter is a haunting portrayal of abject poverty, ever-present death, and modern-day slavery. The Chainmakers' Daughter is set in England, the Black Country from 1901 - 1910. Rosie is the eldest daughter of chainmakers, learning her trade at her mother’s side. Pay for women is poor, and despite working ten or twelve hours a day, starvation wages keep the chainmakers in abject poverty, while the chain masters reap the profit. Hearing that in London, agitator and socialist, Mary Macarthur, is lobbying parliament to end sweated labour, Rosie writes to her, begging her help in their desperate plight, but can one person unite the women chainmakers of Hawley Heath to strike for a living wage and defeat their rich and powerful chain master, who refuses to pay the legal wage? Can the white slaves of England defeat the chain master, or will Rosie's ill-considered liaison with the chain master's son lose her the man she loves and possibly end her life on the gallows?

READ SAMPLE... Hawley Heath, England 1901: Rosie Wallace threw aside childhood as lightly as she threw aside her thin blanket. She sat up eager to begin, for once she’d done the chores, she would work alongside her mother in her chain workshop. She pressed her fingers against her stomach to stop the rumbling; her hunger to help Mom earn a better wage by forging more chain was only exceeded by the emptiness in her belly. The ever-present crash of iron on iron sounded again, slowly at first, as if the arm that wielded the hammer was too tired for the task. It fell into a regular, familiar, determined rhythm soon taken up by other hands in the chain-shop brew houses across the cinder yard, and together they composed a discordant melody. She peered into the half-light; the iron-framed bed where her parents slept was empty, and a rosy light crept beneath the urden, the hessian sack that served for a curtain. Not the cool fingers of an early dawn but the fiery glow of the forges spilling through the open doors of the workshops. Half rolling from her bed on the floor, so she didn’t disturb her sisters, she lifted the urden sacking and peered out. It was still half-dark, the hipped roofs of the cluster of hovels silhouetted black against a predawn sky, but already, three hearths were glowing. Smoke from their chimneys, and the chimneys of the blast furnaces beyond, devoured the paling stars. The clock downstairs chimed three; she was proud of the timepiece, few families had one, but it was relentless in its daily insistence for her to get out of bed. It was past time she was up and out. Mom had let her sleep in on her first morning after leaving school and had gone alone to light the hearth and begin the day’s work. She lit the oil lamp by the side of her parents’ bed and threw on her clothes: small clothes that were a dingy grey no matter how often she washed them, and over those, a long dress that was tattered at the cuffs and hem and peppered with burn holes. She tied on her urden apron with a length of twine and pulling on a pair of stockings and boots contemplated the day ahead. First, washing and hanging out what spare clothes they possessed, then a little bread and tea for breakfast, get her younger sisters up, fetch a basket of glede, the small coke needed to fuel the forge, and help Mom in the workshop while keeping an eye on the babies of the family. At ten years old, she’d already learned enough about chores and hammering chain to make a difference to Mom’s working day. She’d loved school and Miss Croft, her teacher, but now she’d left, she could do her bit to help Mom feed the family. Her little sisters dreamt on as she padded down the stairs and into the wash-house where the day’s laundry awaited her. She sang to herself as she drew water from the well, laid the fire for the copper, and lit it. She sorted the clothes: whites – if you could call them white – first and then the darker work-stained garments. It being summer, and light early, Dad had already left for the factory where he forged the larger chain; the ‘olivers’, the massive hammers required to fire weld the links made from thicker iron rods, were too heavy for the women to use. Her two older brothers, Tom and Joe, were apprentices there and had gone with him. It would be too hot later for such hard work, so going in early while it was cooler made sense.

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This is a tale wrought from memory, forged with imagination and skill, and told with a deep understanding of time and place. I absolutely loved reading every word in this book. Written in Water demonstrates the true art of storytelling at its finest.

Cover: Mysterious, clean, eye-catching and grabs your attention.

Winner of Gold in Other fiction The swinging sixties – a time of peace, love, violence and revolution. In 1962, as the Cold War erupts in sudden crisis over Cuba, Cordelia, Beatrice and Rosalind are fourteen. Dubbed by their English teacher the three witches from Macbeth, they have already recognised one another as outsiders, with no idea that their alliance will turn out to be a lifelong friendship. Their personalities and choices lead them along very different paths, but they never lose the strong thread of their connection. Through the passions, disappointments, losses and triumphs of their lives the trilogy of novels follows them through the years, reflecting the many changes that have taken place for women over six decades. Exits and Entrances chronicles the eventful era between 1962 and 1972 as they grow from girls into women.


Overall 2020

Characters: Believable and well crafted characters that have realistic reactions and emotions.

Winner of Silver in Other fiction

Irma’s Endgame


By Paulette Mahurin

Overall 2020

When newspaper headlines screamed in large bold print that one of the world’s leading hearttransplant surgeons, Peter Dayton, was arrested for the death of one of his transplant patients, shock waves were felt around the world. Particularly impacted was an attorney, Irma Mullins, who found it inconceivable that the man she once loved could have committed the heinous act for which he had been arrested. Determined to find out what happened, she embarks on a course of action to uncover the truth. But when all paths lead to one dead-end after another, and Dayton continues to maintain his innocence, she detours.

truly an emotional rollercoaster ride! It’s a page turner from beginning to end. The author has

Through desperation, frustration, fear, and determination she grasps at thin threads for anything that might uncover facts to help exonerate Dayton. What she ultimately discovers is both shocking and unbelievable. Written by the award-winning, international best-selling author, Paulette Mahurin, Irma’s Endgame is a story of friendship and loyalty, of betrayal and

obviously done a lot of detailed research for this book and pours much of her life experience as a

revenge, of mystery and discovery, of enmity and love. It is a narrative that shakes the very core of the scientific ground we all walk on and proves that what we think is real is not always solid terrain. This is a novel that will be remembered long after the last page is finished.

nurse into her writing. The character development is excellent; the reader can’t help but feel something for hero and villain alike.

Intro: Riveting and mysterious. The story begins with a tragic death that will save another’s life.

ASorry Affair Jen and Mack are the perfect couple; meeting at university, moving in together and engaged to be married. Then, one day, Abbi turns up on their doorstep and throws a huge spanner in the works of their seemingly well-oiled relationship. On that day, Mack's life is turned upside down and it seems there's no way back. Resigned to the fact that the relationship is over and Jen is selling the house, Mack is forced to go back home and live with his parents. He comes to blows with his father, who was close friends with Jen's father, and

Intro: Compelling intro. Great character development. Emotional from the very beginning

emotions run high when past hurts are revisited. Despite several letters from Mack, years pass without any word from Jen. The reader is left in suspense, always wanting more and wondering if it really is the end for Jen and Mack.

By Kirsten Nairn

A gorgeous story about a man and a woman who have it all, but somehow that still isn't enough and everything falls apart. Kirsten Nairn's story is filled with romance, sadness and hope. I absolutely loved this fabulous novella.

Whomever said it was all downhill after 40 were most definitely wrong. For Maggie Lynch, divorced at 42, life was just taking her in a different direction. The only thing missing was a little romance, but she was in no rush. Bumping into Jeremy Dawson at the supermarket of all places, was a huge surprise... and it changed everything. He'd been her first crush and her first heartbreak. Jeremy had asked her out in high school, but she’d been too shy and awkward to accept. Now, 20-odd years later here he was again... and single. Luckily, so was Maggie. However, now she's older and wiser and no longer afraid to go after what she wants. Jeremy is about to be blindsided by the older and more confident Maggie Lynch.

Wowsers this is one awesome book JF Holland has outdone herself with this one. I loved the storyline because its so believable, that fact that nearly all the characters are around 40 yrs old and the humour was an added bonus. Well written and a book i would highly recommend.



The gathering has begun. Six demigods embark on an epic journey of danger, mystical creatures, dark magic, and intrigu When an ancient prophesy is triggered, the tale of six powerful immortals begins. Legend has it, the chosen six will triumph over evil and restore peace. But first, they must gather together and converge on the land where their parents were defeated. Time is running out, the Titans want revenge, and the future of the entire world is at stake.

Meet the immortals -The wiccan, the shifter, the Master of Water, the siren, the healer, the Reader of Minds. Their destiny awaits — if they accept their fate and unite to confront a dangerous enemy in the battle of a lifetime.

Melanie P. Smith

ue. e

Read a Sample…. Beckett stood behind his desk, staring into the unsettled darkness. A storm was raging, a violent, tumultuous exhibit of Mother Nature’s strength and vengeance. He should be working, but he was feeling restless. Energy seemed to pulse through him in waves tonight making him edgy and agitated. He couldn’t concentrate, and the weather wasn’t helping. The unease, the force that surrounded him, seemed to vibrate throughout the entire room. The invisible wave continued to pulse and build exponentially until it felt like a living being. He watched in fascination as the storm outside grew and strengthened into something even more dangerous. The wind intensified and the rain pelted like angry bullets against the window; a vital but thin barrier that separated Beckett from the chaos that swirled just out of reach. It felt surreal somehow, something Hollywood would conjure for entertainment. He half expected an ominous monster to solidify and fling itself out of the bright lightning before it attacked some innocent human frantically running down the sidewalk looking for cover. Now, he was being ridiculous. Beckett shook his head in disbelief. He wasn’t a fanciful man... never had been. He was refined and grounded... a sophisticated professional to the core. So, what brought on such a vivid and whimsical illusion? Boredom? He glanced at his desk, at the enormous pile of work waiting for his attention and frowned. He should get back to that... but he knew he wouldn’t. His mind — his body — was too energized to sit quietly behind the desk and tackle menial paperwork. His gaze shifted once again to the ominous black cityscape. Lightning struck nearby, illuminating an otherwise dark and menacing skyline. The storm fascinated him, gripped his attention in a way few things had in his lifetime. It felt like he was in a trance… mesmerized, captivated, and confused. He continued to stand there frozen in place; to observe and to wonder as he watched the bright flashes of light; and listened to the deep rumbling thunder echo throughout the room — and the city below. Yet, somehow, he still heard the soft footsteps of his one and only true friend when he stepped into the dimly lit room. Beckett didn’t turn, didn’t move, he simply waited for Zander to silently make his way to the window. “We have to leave,” Zander announced. Now, Beckett did look up. His right-hand man and best friend’s voice held more than a hint of urgency. Zander was usually calm and collected, a trait Beckett envied. “I still have at least an hour, maybe two...” “Leave it,” Zander gave his friend— his brother — a gentle shove. “Hurry, into the private elevator. We need to go.” He reached down, snatched up Beckett’s long business coat and briefcase; then, he half pushed, half followed Beckett to a small opening at the far side of the massive room. Beckett barely had time to secure the door that separated his workspace from the tiny alcove, when five men burst into the office. Five men that looked as though they had just pulled off a successful prison break and were now looking for trouble. “Who are they?” Beckett asked, studying the security screen before him. “I don’t know them. What do they want?” The leader stepped forward and angrily slid his arms across Beckett’s desk in frustration. Papers fluttered then scattered over the lush carpet. The man exuded darkness — In every way, Beckett decided. He had long black hair that was slicked back into a ponytail, coal black eyes, and a long, leather duster that billowed when he turned — black as well. Of course. “No time,” Zander practically shoved Beckett into the opulent elevator. “I’ll explain later.” He punched a button and waited impatiently for the small car to slowly make its way toward the parking garage.

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Doctoral student Hannah Wagganer has big dreams of leaving her hometown of Glen Arbor behind to teach at a large university. That is, until Jasper Morgan, the new mail carrier, arrives in town. Not only does he send Hannah’s heart racing, but he creates an instant bond with her cat, Jingles.

While Hannah is busy preparing for the church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service and running the family store, she keeps bumping into Jasper—right in front of the prying eyes of the locals, who suspect there’s more going on than business as usual. But then, a series of unexpected blessings occurs that changes the town’s focus: first, an anonymous donor pays to have the church furnace repaired, and then other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental, or the work of a secret angel?


Overall 2020

Cover: Clean, looks like a fun, lighthearted romance

Secret Angel by Cherry Christensen Character / World Development: Great character development. The characters come to life from the very beginning

This is a sweet, heartwarming book with a hint of mystery. The faith-based characters are lovable and funny. And who could resist the antics of Jingles the cat? A great, clean read!

Cover: Great balance and contrast. Depicts Romance genre well.

Love’s Full Circle by Cherry Christensen

Kayden James may have missed out on her happy ever after. But, as a successful marriage and family therapist, at least she can help other people find theirs. Now that her career has taken off, Kayden is finally ready to put the past behind her. . . until it strolls into her office unexpectedly one day. The last thing Kayden needs is for her ex-boyfriend to stir up old feelings. She’d rather stay a single cat lady than let him break her heart again.


Liam has spent a long time living with one regret—letting Kayden slip through his fingers. He’s determined to make amends for the way he treated her all those years ago, but he’s finding it hard to melt her icy exterior. If he can just convince her to trust him and see that he’s changed, their love finally has a chance of coming full circle.

Everyone has a story of their first love. Sometimes you go on to get married. Other times heartache happens and both lead separate lives. If you were to receive a second chance with your first love, would you take it? Love’s Full Circle is a beautiful story of love, loss, forgiveness, faith, and second chances.

Into: Great Intro, well written and easy to read with good flow

STORIES THAT INTRIGUE is a book of six connected delightful and upbeat short stories about the trip to London, Switzerland, France, and New York taken by the main characters Julia, Stephanie, and Sam. Julia and her sister Stephanie take an international trip from Trinidad in the Caribbean to drop Stephanie off at University in France. Sam, an Internet friend, who secretly loves Julia, joins them. Stephanie was unaware that Julia planned to meet Sam. and was upset when he turned up. Fortunately for them, he did, as he saved the sisters from two unfortunate occurrences.

The book is filled with tours, adventure, intrigue, and pictures too to fuel your imagination.


Overall 2020

Expect cool, relaxing rooms (and pictures to inspire your imagination) tours and adventure. My afternoon escape into these stories left me refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day. Very upbeat stories and they all make up the trip taken by Julia, Stephanie and Sam.

Into: Great Intro, well written and easy to read with good flow

Intro: Nine short stories. Witty, sexy and steamy from the very beginning.

When the weather's too cold to get out on the golf course, this saucy, romantic short story collection will entice you into a world of fantasy greens, sexy sand traps and roughs you'll definitely want to play through.

Never one to let a few wayward balls spoil a good walk, join us in a short stroll along the front nine at Fairweather Fields.


Regardless of stiff shafts or loose grips, whether you drive deep or pull your stroke, prefer to play your wood in the rough or your iron in the bunker, with holes, poles and sweet spots abounding, there’s something for everyone who has ever thought that ‘playing a round’ is a euphemism for exactly that, ‘playing around!’ A Hole in One (The Front Nine) is a cheeky collection of nine short, sexy stories loosely based around the game of golf, and only suitable for adults due to its fabulously decadent content. Part of Jackie's Naughtier Side Collection.

Connect with Val Tobin

Website: Like on Facebook: Follow on BookBub: Blog:

Val Tobin’s Stories: Worth Losing Sleep Over Newmarket, Ontario author Val Tobin draws on her eclectic education and experiences to create her stories. Before, during, and after her ten years in the computer industry writing software and web applications, she delved into the study of parapsychology, earning a master’s degree in the discipline.

After a three-year struggle with a shattered heart and a stalled career, Ellen Haddigan once more feels as if her life is on track. She's two-years settled into a new job at an accounting company and considers getting back into the dating scene. Then Gabriel Duncan, the man who stole her heart and abandoned her after one night of passion, appears. He's still handsome, charming, and stirs in her a powerful attraction. He's also assigned as her new client. Things grow more complicated when Ellen learns her predecessor on the account was murdered. Is Gabriel a killer or the victim of an elaborate conspiracy? Can Ellen give Gabriel a second chance without risking her heart or losing her life?

A stand-alone novel, You Again mixes suspense with passion in the Forever Young series.

Available in eBook format through Amazon to purchase, or as a free borrow with KU/KOLL. Also available in paperback.

You Again (A Second -Chance Romance) The man Ellen never wanted to see again has returned ...

New Release

Poison Pen (Romantic Suspense with a Howcatchem Murder Mystery) Writing can be murder … The Killer Success has eluded aspiring author Conrad Barnes, and he blames Leon Patterson, his close friend and greatest rival, for all his woes. He has the perfect solution: rid the world of the egotistical bastard—and he knows the perfect person to frame for the crime. The Victim Leon Patterson has it all: fame, fortune, adoration from fans, and respect not only in his small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake but also around the world. He’s a pillar of the community and a leader in the writing group he organizes. He’s generous with his time, helpful to his friends and fellow authors. Life, for Leon, is perfect until Conrad arrives at the door one fateful morning. The Three Authors Robin refuses to leave the house, Daphne has OCD, and Beth falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. When the evidence in Leon’s murder points to Beth, the three decide there’s only one thing they can do: catch the real killer. All three find themselves caught in a cat-and-mouse game where anything can happen and no one is safe. Can they overcome their fears and phobias before Conrad claims another victim?

A "howcatchem" rather than a "whodunit," Poison Pen is a stand-alone novel and part of the About Three Authors series, which includes Whoever Said Love Was Easy? by Patti Roberts

Voted number 12 on the 50 Best Indie Books of 2018 Awards from ReadFreely! Available to buy or borrow in KU/KOLL from Amazon.

The Hunted (SF Horror) Rachel wants to help a reporter learn the origin of Storm Lake’s monsters, but someone else wants her to die trying ... Rachel Needham leads teams of protectors into the forests to eradicate the scourge of flesh-eating monsters that has spread around the world. Then an old friend, now a reporter, comes to her with a request: help him uncover the creatures’ origins. Rachel agrees to take the mission and brings her team along. They enter the forests around Storm Lake, but Rachel learns the information she seeks comes with a steep price.

When the hunters become the hunted, who will make it out of the woods alive? If you like intrigue, horror, and nonstop action, then you’ll love Val Tobin’s hightension thriller. Buy The Hunted or borrow and read free on Amazon’s KU/KOLL, and start your terrifying journey into Storm Lake.

Storm Lake (Short Horror Story) Something terrifying has birthed from the trees. Thirteen-year-old Rachel and her little brother, Jeff, are looking forward to a weekend of canoeing and spending time with their friends up at the family cottage on Storm Lake in Ontario, Canada. But something terrifying has birthed itself from the trees, and the kids find themselves trapped in an isolated marina fighting for their lives. Available on Amazon to purchase or read with KU/KOLL. Storm Lake is the prequel to Val Tobin’s recent release, The Hunted.

The Valiant Chronicles Box Set (SF Thriller Series) An all-in-one box set containing The Experiencers, A Ring of Truth, and Earthbound. Three books for the price of two.

The Experiencers

A Ring of Truth

Not killing her might be the death of him.

Some heroes come disguised as monsters.

Black-ops Assassin Michael Valiant questions his agency’s motives when he’s ordered to silence a group of UFO enthusiasts who look less like terrorists than they do housewives and nerds. Michael finds himself running for his life and dragging his intended target along with him.

To ensure her daughter’s safety, Carolyn Fairchild has surrendered to the Agency and the aliens. In retaliation, Michael Valiant, Agency assassin, has gone rogue. He’s made his way to the Northwest Territories to find the alien base in The Valley of the Headless Men. But time is running out, and the abductees might be executed before he can save them.

Earthbound Nothing says bad day like waking up dead. Who killed Jayden McQueen? Why? How? In her quest to find answers, Jayden sets in motion events that propel humanity towards a future already written. Earthbound was voted #23 in the

50 Best Indie Books of 2017 Awards list from ReadFreely.

The Valiant Chronicles is available in paperback and e-book from a variety of retailers. Each book in The Valiant Chronicles can also be purchased separately:

Earthbound The Experiencers A Ring of Truth

Gillian’s Island (Romantic Suspense) Now available through KU/KOLL to borrow for free. Fear Isolates her. Desire sets her free. A messy divorce forces socially anxious Gillian Foster to sell her beloved island resort in Ontario, Canada. Now she must teach Daylin Quinn, the handsome new owner, how to run the place. But Daylin is from New York and some locals resent the sale of the popular resort to a foreigner. Someone is stopping at nothing to run him off. To survive, Gillian must confront her greatest fears and learn to trust again. But opening her heart to the charming American might destroy her. Is Gillian willing to risk everything, even her life, for love? A gripping story of love, lust, envy, and redemption. Available at various retailers in eBook and paperback. Use the universal link to select your Amazon store.

Walk-In (Paranormal Romance) Her body is his temple. He’s come to prey. The Tarot never lies, a fact that scares psychic Victoria Kovacs when she turns over Death one night. Then her missing sister, accompanied by a mysterious millionaire claiming to be her protector, appears. Everything about the situation arouses Viktoria's suspicions, but she has no proof the man means them harm. When journalist Aedan McCarthy visits the occult shop where Viktoria works, he's researching a novel, not looking for love. Unprepared for the jolt of electricity that sparks between them, Aedan wants to explore the possibilities. But is he willing to risk his life to win the love of a woman who insists on pushing him away? Can the arrival of Aedan McCarthy into Viktoria's life be the vehicle of her demise, or is the journalist the key to changing her fate and solving the mysteries that have plagued her family for years? Find Walk-In at Amazon in eBook format for purchase or to borrow through KU/KOLL, and in paperback at various retailers.

Injury (Celebrity Romantic Suspense) Injury is available on Amazon’s KU/Koll as a free borrow or to purchase. It is also available in paperback at various retailers. “Val Tobin’s Injury is alive and vicious. It writhes with sex, the glamour of the movies, and the brutality of Dani’s past. Reading it at a time when the papers are packed full of Harvey Weinstein and the seedy underbelly of Hollywood, brings an extra visceral thrill to the book….” – Read Freely

Non-Fiction #10

Overall 2020

Light Love Rituals by Ronesa Aveela A book the whole family can enjoy. Take a journey and discover Bulgarian folk tales, legends, and mythology. Whether you want to learn a little about their ancient Thracian origins, or you want to experience rituals practiced throughout the year with a fictitious Bulgarian family, or even if you’re only interested in traditional Bulgarian cuisine, this book has something for everyone. Bulgarian culture is rich in folklore and traditions surviving since the days of the ancient Thracians. As pagan and Christian religions collided, many celebrations merged into one. Light Love Rituals will take you on a journey to discover these unique festivals.

Content: Beautiful pictures, crafts,

recipes and fast facts . Brings Bulgaria to life. A great book to discover ancient times, traditions and rituals.

The Ghost Wisdom By Shiju H. Palithazheth Life needs a reference! Do we have it? Can we try? The Ghost Wisdom is a mystical journey that takes the reader through relevant revelations to live life with purpose and success. It Is a must read reference book for identifying simple solutions to complicated entangles in life. This book becomes a priceless treasure of wisdom that will amuse as a story and enlighten the senses of the reader. The Ghost is the cosmic wonder that will tell you more about your past life and the future. It will disclose your strengths and your weaknesses. It is an apt reference for corrections in life. Read it, but with a heart pure to understand the strength within you to excel.

Cover: Soothing color. Fits story. Contents: A journey of self discovery, relationships and a sense of community.

A meaningful and entertaining read that transports the reader mentally on the morals of life as an armchair traveler to exotic locations. A must have book to frame and reframe one’s sense of self and one’s relationships for a sense of community.

Changing the world is a skill. Right now, we’re bad at it…but we can learn how to be good at it. That’s the powerful message at the heart of this transformational book. Deftly and accessibly pulling together decades of social science research, Dr. Lynn explains what we know about how to create social change—and what we’ll need to do to address our biggest problems today. The result is a bold, inspiring—yet realistic—prescription for how to pull ourselves out of our current divisive, dysfunctional crisis…and get our society on track.

"Insightful and honest, this no-nonsense guide to tackling some of our biggest social problems is exactly what we need right now."

Overcoming the Odds by Keith D. Guernsey

This is my story of triumphs over cancer, life-threatening brain surgery twice and obesity!

Cover: Good contrast, appealing colors and An amazing story and uplifting read! Sprinkled with bits of humor and sports euphemisms, Keith Guernsey tells the story of his journey to better health - triumphing over two brain surgeries, a cancer surgery, and his weight issues. Along the way, he meets his soul mate. A celebration of life, an amazing story and uplifting read!

conveys a message of triumph.


Status Quo A Nick Borman Novel By Robert Lalonde

A devious plot to start a war.. A special assistant to the President with access to the nation's greatest secrets turns up dead, his body discarded as if it had no value. It’s Borman’s job to find out what happened. Was it an accident or was it murder? If foul play was involved, who ordered the assassination? Borman doesn’t have much to go on except a name penciled in the margin of a newspaper. The name brings him to a small city with a disturbingly high accidental death rate and locals who don’t appreciate outside interference.. ..and missing weapons and an illegal gun trade. Borman thinks he’s found the reason why the special assistant was killed, but another suspicious death occurs, and that changes everything..

READ SAMPLE... Monday, August 26 Something wasn’t right. Gordon Atkins’ skin seemed to be taking over for his lungs, sucking in oxygen and feeding his brain with the mix of chemicals that polluted the air. Cooking odors and exhaust fumes blended together in a cocktail that was both lifesaving and intoxicating at the same time. Sound too, seemed to be absorbed by his skin. He stumbled forward, heading, somewhere ... oh yes, his car. He’d parked it near here, he couldn’t remember where. He needed to get to it so he could rest. Not that he was tired. He just needed a moment to relax and process what was happening to him. If only he could remember how it had all started. Gordon struggled to maintain his balance as he approached the car park. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, but he was sure he must look like he was drunk or under the influence of drugs to anyone who happened to see him. He hadn’t been drinking and he certainly hadn’t taken any drugs. But he was woozy and uncertain on his feet. He seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness ... next thing he knew he was coming out of the car park and walking down an alley. There was a large dumpster just ahead. He walked over and leaned against it. Looking down, he noticed he was carrying one of his shoes in his hand. He saw someone approaching in his peripheral vision. It was a man, average height and weight. The figure was blurry—he tried, but couldn’t find the strength to turn his head to look at him. Moments later, he saw the man’s shoes, right there next to him. They were casual shoes, the kind you could run in, certainly not dress shoes. The man said something to him—he couldn’t make it out at first, the voice sounded like it was coming from a tape recorder playing at a slower speed than normal ... then some of it made sense, something about sticking his nose where it didn’t belong. He felt a terrible pain at the back of his head just before he lost consciousness.

*** The news anchor on the local television station read from his script: Gordon Atkins, a West Point graduate, and a Vietnam veteran, was found dead today at the Cherry Hill Island landfill in Wilmington, Delaware. Atkins served under three presidents and was the special assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force under President Shelton Montgomery at the time of his death. “Police say they have no idea where or how he was killed, and currently have no suspects under investigation…”

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Would you ride your precious horse too hard, just so you can beat your best friend? Joanna did, driven by the ghost of her highly competitive mother. Remorse and fear engulf Joanna when she finds her best friend, Diane had disappeared on that same day. Joanna walks away from everything to do with horses to run the county show with her Dad. Years later, Challenger returns, bringing to a head the series of events that has burst Joanna’s little bubble. He seems determined to savage her, every time she goes near him. Diane also returns, but Joanna cannot quite trust her. Does she really want to re-kindle the friendship or does she have an ulterior motive? Joanna’s worst fears are realised on Christmas day when Dianne makes the ultimate betrayal. Her life must be rebuilt once again. Is all as bad as it seems? Will the horses and dogs she meets on her journey help her to heal and finally find love? Can Challenger forgive her?

Judas Kiss by KA Fox

I loved the first book and this one was better! More action, more twists, more drama and more character development.

Reborn by Jenna Greene Sold into servitude, Lexil must deal with brutal punishments, back-breaking labor, and the loss of every freedom. When a young child she has befriended faces a horrible fate, Lexil must intervene to protect her, no matter what the risk.

I have never read anything by this author before, but I was totally drawn in by the premise and was hooked straightaway. I really enjoyed the whole book; from the characters to the world building to the plot lines. Lexil's, Finn's, and even Ceera's personalities were endearing and super easy for me to get invested in. I thought they all were portrayed with a depth and complexity that made me root for them and care about their progress.

With the help of a boy named Finn, the trio flee into the Wastelands. There, they must evade those who hunt them while trying to survive a barren landscape. Lexil must face challenges she's never imagined existed, all while learning

Cover: Great contrast. Intriguing, very captivating and makes you want to look further Intro: Compelling. Gets you engaged from the very start. Characters: Character and world building was done well. The personalities were endearing and you immediately wanted to root for their success

by David Wind An epic journey. Good versus evil. Civilization having been reborn from the ashes of a world destroyed. War, magic, evil sorceresses … This book truly has it all and it’s only one installment of one of the most epic series I’ve ever read.

--The legend of Ailish begins in the year 3256, two thousand years before we learned of her in The Dark Masters. --Recalled to The Island by the Eight Sorceresses of Nevaeh, Ailish, Queen Mother of Morvene and the most powerful sorceress in Nevaeh, must say goodbye to her children and leave everything behind, as she ventures into the unknown, charged with saving Nevaeh from the Circle of Afzal and the Dark Masters themselves. --Ailish can only do this if she can reach the place shown to her in The Eight Sorceresses' visions. To get there, she must cross all of Nevaeh, not only without anyone recognizing her, but with an injured renegade Dark Master. --If she reaches the place she must be at, Nevaeh will be safe for another two millennia: If she fails, Nevaeh, and everyone living there will fall to the darkness.

Character/ World Building: Advanced and believable. The author creates a fictious world that also remains tied to reality. Very thoughtprovoking.


Blue Thief: Dkota Keyes Mysteries by S.E. McLean

This is the complete story Unusual circumstances thrust a quiet psychologist into the international underworld of theft, fraud and murder. Dakota Keyes rushes to Africa to find her missing husband and save her marriage. Powerful men try to prevent her from finding the truth. Circumstantial evidence challenges her to consider the unthinkable. But truth is unrelenting and she finds herself racing against time and evil forces. If you enjoy an intriguing mystery, adventure and thrills, then this book is for you!

Royal Ruse by Emma Lea

Lucas Andino had been summoned by the king…the only problem? He needed a wife…or at least a fiancée, which wouldn’t have been a problem except…his girlfriend just broke up with him.
In desperation, he turned to his best friend, Francesca—or Frankie as she was known to, well, everyone.
 Frankie needed a topic for her sociology dissertation, and she needed it yesterday. When Lucas suggested they become fake engaged so he could answer the summons of the king, Frankie saw the opportunity for what it was. Who else would have unfettered access to a monarch for their dissertation? Who else could do an up close and personal examination of an emerging nation? Besides, Frankie would do anything for Lucas. They were best friends for a reason and if he needed her, then she was his girl. So what if she had a tiny crush on him? They were both going into it with their eyes wide open. No one was going to get hurt

All items on Sale at time of publication, however prices are subject to change and may not be permanently reduced

Break Away The High Sierras Series by Diane Benefiel

Lost Memories and New Beginnings ( The Men of Fire Beach Book 2) by Lorana Hoopes


An accident, a loss of memory, a past that could ruin your future!

Tia Sweetchild wants to remember who she is after the accident, but when pieces begin to fall into place that point to a troubled past, will she be able to convince Brody she's changed? Dr. Brody Cavanaugh thought he was done with love until Tia Sweetchild appeared in his life, but when her past paints a different picture of her, will that tear him apart? And what happens when the owner of the black Ford truck returns?

Zakia and the Cowboy

Thunder Creek Ranch Book 1

by Lorraine Nelson

With a stalker following her every move Zakia has no choice but to flee the city. With her options limited she runs to the only place she's ever felt safe...the Thunder Creek Ranch and her ex-husband, Lucas. Will he protect Zakia from the stalker? And if he does will either of them be able to ignore the feelings that have simmered for so long, ready to explode... before danger either draws them together or pulls them apart.

When Zoey Hardesty's high school crush moves next door, it seems the intervening years are unimportant to her heart. One look at all grown up Levi Gallagher, and she knows she's in trouble. Fighting the attraction is self-protection, learning he was a big city cop who returned home to join the Hangman's Loss PD, puts the brakes on for good. When Levi is assigned to investigate a hit and run that could've killed her, they wind up spending time together in ways that are far more than neighborly. He becomes embroiled in the case as weirder and scarier things start happening to Zoey. Levi's hard to resist, and even though being with him breaks all of her rules, she's almost ready to admit he's worth it when she learns his secret. But he's a better man than she's given him credit for, and with one last chance to make things right, Zoey reaches out for a love that will last a lifetime.

Born and raised in the small town of Red Maple Falls, it's impossible for Kate Hayes to meet a guy she hasn't known since first grade. When she is approached by a ridiculously attractive, unfamiliar face during one of her glass blowing demonstrations, she can't help but get her hopes up. Until he opens his mouth. Caleb James established his bike shop in the middle of nowhere to escape his past. When the owner of the adjoining business blocks his parking spots to put on her "arts and crafts hour" he has no choice but to shut her down. What he doesn't expect is the fresh-faced beauty who refuses to accommodate his requests. Nor does he expect for the small town to be filled with big personalities who feel the need to force their way into his life, refusing to leave him alone.

Red Maple Falls Series (1-3) by Theresa Paolo Book #1: Matt and Shay A hot cop and a sweet baker get a second chance at love in this small-town romance. Seventeen years after Shay Michaels said goodbye to summers in Red Maple Falls and the only boy she ever truly loved, she's back and the proud owner of Sweet Dreams Bakery. Life is good until someone breaks into her shop,making her question if the life she left behind in New York followed her. As the local sheriff, Matt is keeping a close eye on the place and an even closer eye on the beautiful owner who refuses to take the break in seriously. Two conflicting personalities that burn bright on their own become down right explosive when thrown together. But in order to move toward a future together, they will have to let go of their past and accept the mistakes they made. Book #2 Kate and Caleb: It was love at first sight until he opened his mouth.

While Caleb continues to fight Kate, and tries to keep his distance, holding on to a vow he made to himself to never trust again, she tears down every wall he's ever built. Will the promise of a future with Kate be enough to break the promise of his past? Book #3: Mason and Cassie "Love was the enemy. But when she looked at Mason, she didn't feel threatened, she felt hopeful." Barely hanging on after narrowly escaping an abusive relationship, Cassie Alan is running dangerously low on funds. After her job hunt comes up empty, she wishes for a miracle, only for the skies to turn black and dump on her. That pretty much sums up her life. But then he shows up. With the promise of a warm truck and a list of people who would vouch he's not a serial killer, Cassie accepts the ride. What she doesn't expect is for her entire life to change when she steps into the old truck. New business owner Mason Hayes has a very strict rule: Do not mix business and pleasure. Until he hires the beautiful rainsoaked girl he rescued on the side of the road and finds it impossible to resist her. With each innocent touch and passion fueled gaze, his desires only grow. Afraid to scare her away and determined to gain Cassie's trust, Mason gives Cassie complete control over the pace of their budding relationship.

As Cassie slowly opens up, revealing her dark past and shameful secrets, Mason sees beyond the scars to the strong fighter she really is. But when the past she ran away from threatens their happily ever after, will Cassie find the strength Mason sees in her to fight back?

Other World Series Books 1-3 by Romona Gray The Vampire’s Kiss Abigail Winters leads a perfectly ordinary life until the night she’s transported to an alternate earth. Attacked by vampires, her life is saved by the gorgeous but dangerous vampire, Val. When Val is injured and needs her blood to heal, she repays her debt by allowing him to feed from her. But she is unprepared for the immediate desire she now feels for the sexy vampire. Despite saving her life, Val has no interest in feeding from the human. It will be weeks before her need for him wears off, if she doesn’t go mad first, and he has no wish to have her pining after him and begging him to feed from her again or worse – have sex with her. Gravely injured and with no other choice, he feeds from Abigail and is intoxicated by the sweet taste of her blood. Determined to claim her, his obsession with her grows as she fights her undeniable attraction to him. When Abigail is taken from him, Val will do whatever it takes to find her. The Vampire’s Love It’s been over a year since Val has last seen Abigail. Driven nearly mad by her loss, he finally accepts that she is gone to him forever. Until the night he discovers her about to be sold at a human auction.

After rescuing her from her new captor, he is stunned to realize that his little dove is no longer the shy, frightened human she once was. When he learns of her plan to rescue her new human friends from the deadly games they are being forced to participate in, he reluctantly agrees to help her. Abigail vows to never again be a vampire’s meal ticket. But when Val rescues her from the auction block, an obsession she thought was gone forever is reignited. Desperate to save her friends, she strikes a bargain with Val - the vampire she swore she’d never allow to control her again. Pretending to be Val’s human slave is almost easy. Pretending she isn’t falling in love with him is almost impossible.

The Shifter’s Mate Reese Warren knew she shouldn’t have investigated that glowing orb in her back yard. Curiosity killed the cat, as her mother always said. While her curiosity may not have gotten her killed, it's certainly changed her life forever. Sucked into another world, she's held captive in a compound with dozens of other women and a warden who auctions them off like they're animals. When she's bought by a wolf shifter and his pack mates as a potential mate for their cruel alpha, Reese flat out refuses to accept a life of forced marriage and pushing out wolf babies. She just has to ignore her ridiculous attraction to the arrogant shifter, Kane, and find a way to escape him before he delivers her to his alpha. Kane hates humans. Humans murdered his parents in cold blood, and his loyalty to his alpha is the only reason he's bringing them into their pack. But he didn't count on his immediate attraction to the crazy human who speaks of a world filled with impossibilities. He will not disobey his alpha's orders, so why does his urge to claim Reese as his own mate increase with each passing day?

Hope(less) Judgement of the Six Book 1 by Melissa Haag Freedom is so close Gabby can taste it. After years of meeting single werewolves and successfully dodging the mating bullet, she's on her way to her last Introduction to say "No, thanks" one final time. As a human, she has no plans to attach herself to a werewolf. But, she didn’t count on meeting Clay. With a single look, Gabby knows Clay is the one. And, unfortunately, he knows it too. The silent, ruggedly-handsome werewolf is determined to win his mate by any means necessary. Gabby does what any sane girl would do and runs. Not only does Clay follow, but something truly dangerous does as well. Now, hunted for the secrets she’s spent her whole life protecting, Gabby must turn to the one man she didn't want for the help she needs. Time is running out to discover who or what wants her, and Gabby’s just starting to realize there’s more at stake than the heart and freedom of one human girl.

Show Me Thomas Prescott Book 4 by Nick Pirog n the electrifying fourth book in the bestselling Thomas Prescott series, Prescott must prove a horrific crime in a small town is tied to Big Biotech. When retired homicide detective Thomas Prescott learns he's inherited a 250-acre farm in Tarrin, Missouri (pop. 2,100), he can't get there fast enough. As he slowly acclimates to small town living, he hears rumblings about a horrific crime in the town's past. Four years earlier, a recently fired employee of the local grocery store enacted his revenge, shooting and killing the owner of the store, plus four customers, then turning the gun on himself. The crime appears to have been solved, but Prescott has his doubts. Balancing farm life and a budding romance with the town veterinarian, Prescott begins reinvestigating the crime. On the surface, the case is cut and dry--a revenge killing gone bad. But what if revenge wasn't the motive? What if the store owner wasn't the target? One by one, Prescott delves into the victims' pasts. As Prescott digs deeper, he discovers the murders were twenty years in the making and soon finds himself in the unfamiliar waters of Big Biotech, GMOs, political payoffs, hired mercenaries, and the shadowy past of one of the most hated companies in the world. .

Wild Reckless: Harper Boys Series by Ginger Scott Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world. Instead, a nightmare took over. It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall. Owen

Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too— good things…things to admire. Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless. And those things…they were the scariest of all.

A Boy Like You : Like Us Duet Series by Ginger Scott They say everyone’s a superhero to someone. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to save, but I know who saved me. We were kids. His name was Christopher. In a blink of an eye, he became the only person who made me feel safe. And then he disappeared. Now I’m seventeen. I’m not a kid anymore. I haven’t been for years. And there's a new boy. He's...familiar. But this time, I'm beyond saving.

The Survivor Chronicles: The Divide The Survivor Chronicles Series story Book 2) by Erica Stevens In less than a day the life they knew vanished, and the world descended into chaos. Uncertain who to trust in this new world, the survivors must band together. However, they slowly realize it’s not only the crumbling earth and treacherous people who are a threat, but also something unseen... and far more lethal. Something turning people into monsters.

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

As part of this competition we have a public voting section. Readers are given an opportunity to vote for their favorite book among the finalists. This year the winners were from three different categories. Gold went to Stories that Intrigue from the Romance Genre. Silver is awarded to The Ghost Wisdom, a non-fiction entry. And Our Bronze winner is Written in Water , a Literary Fiction novel. Top 10 Winners for 2020... 1) Stories that Intrigue by Brenda Mohammed

6) A year in the Life of Leah Brand by Lucinda E. Clarke

2) The Ghost Wisdom by Shiju Pallithazheth

7) To Target the Heart by Aldrea Alien

3) Written in Water by Lesley Hayes

8) Irma’s Endgame by Paulette Mahurin

4) Sparky by Millie Slavidou

9) Chronicles of Fen: Cernuin by YM Lumaris

5) The Shimmer by Sylva Fae

10) The Mouse in the Hammock by Bethany Brevard

Stories that Intrigue

The Ghost Wisdom

Written in Water

by Brenda Mohammed

by Shiju Pallithazheth

by Lesley Hayes

Spooky Utah Road Trip by Melanie P. Smith I have lived in Utah all my life. The more I explore, the more I realize just how many amazing secrets we have a few miles away from my back door. In addition to five National Parks, vast dessert landscapes and amazing mountainous terrain, we also have a few spooky mysteries. Do you love that spine-tingling feeling you experience when listening to ghost stories? Then, pack a lunch, hop in your car, and take a haunted road trip. Some of the scariest places in Utah can be found by taking a road trip that is less than one-hundredfifty miles long. The entire adventure would only take four hours non-stop. But, where the fun in that? I live just outside of Salt Lake City, so let me begin there. First stop, Rio Grande Depot. This building was completed in 1910 and remained operational until the late 1900’s. It was designed as a hub for the Denver and Rio Grande Depot in Grand Junction Colorado. At the height of operations, it included a barber shop, a restaurant, a telegraph office, a men’s smoking room and a women’s lounge. It is now the home of the Utah State Historical Society. It is also believed to be haunted by several spirits. The most famous and widely seen is the Purple Lady. She is rumored to be a beautiful woman wearing a dark purple hat and dress from the early 1900’s and is typically seen in the women’s bathroom or the balcony area. She was apparently killed at the depot when she got into a fight with her fiancé. He threw her ring onto the tracks and she was hit and killed by a train while trying to retrieve it. Heartbroken and lost, she is unable to leave this old building.

Stop number two, the Salt Lake City Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1848. It is one of the largest city-operated cemeteries in the United States and covers over 250 acres. Approximately 125,000 persons are buried here including Orrin Porter Rockwell, numerous religious leaders, and many politicians. It is also said to be the home of countless unhappy spirits who have failed to move on to the afterlife. Locals claim they can hear the ghost of a small child sobbing after dark. Some people have claimed to see a man walking along one of the roads late at night — don’t blink… he might disappear. There have been numerous reports of people wandering around the grounds wearing clothing from the 1800’s. One minute they are there… the next they are gone. Visitors have also claimed to hear strange sounds that follow them and some even report hearing ear-piercing screams. An interesting mystery is the headstone of Lilly E. Gray. Nobody really knows why her husband saw fit to inscribe “Victim of the Beast 666” on her final resting place. Some say he was simply eccentric, others insist he was insane.

The tale of “Emo” is still a favorite amongst high school kids and ghosts hunters from all around the world. This creepy fable started soon after the death of a man named Jacob E. Moritz (There’s no clear explanation on why Moritz is Emo. It may simply be a shortened version of an uncommon last name — Jacob E. Mo). Morwitz was a businessman, founder of the Salt Lake Brewery, and a local politician. He died in 1910 while traveling in Germany with his wife.

To investigate this tale, your first challenge is finding the mausoleum at night. Now the legend… First, you have to light a candle, then circle the crypt three times—walking backwards — while chanting “Emo, Emo, Emo” or “Rise Emo, Rise.” Then peer through the window and you will see the red glowing eyes of Emo staring back at you. As the Crypt has changed, so has the legend. Vandals damaged the crypt inside and out. Early on, the urn was also damaged and removed to an undisclosed location. Today, the window has been replaced by a solid piece of metal and the door has been altered to prevent opening. Don’t worry, Emo will still appear if you call him. Just light a candle, circle the crypt calling for Emo but instead of appearing in the window, the door may glow red, open unexpectedly, or Emo’s spirit may actually appear next to you in the darkness. You can recognize him by his glowing red eyes.

The next stop is Fort Douglas — also in Salt Lake City. Camp Douglas was established in October 1862 during the American Civil War. Its main function was to protect the overland mail route and telegraph lines along the Central Overland Route. Its secondary purpose was to keep an eye on the Mormons. In 1878, it was renamed Fort Douglas. It was officially closed in 1991 and today most of the buildings are used by the University of Utah, although a small section is still used by the

US Army Reserve. Fort Douglas was the site of several desertions, murders, and suicides between the years of 1896 and 1901. It is believed some of the spirits still haunt the grounds today. The ghost most often encountered is John Jackson who was nicknamed “Clem” by a group of Boy Scouts who saw his ghost years ago and the name stuck. Clem was a First Sergeant that was shot and killed in 1899. He ordered Private Carter to groom his horse. Carter, who was known for his violent temper, shot him instead. Clem is rumored to be a short, stocky man with a beard wearing a Civil War-era uniform. Those who admit to seeing him, also report he seems happy but tends to startle the museum staff when he appears unexpectedly. The Brigham Young Farmhouse, at This is the Place Monument will be the next stop on our trip. There are a lot of real haunted houses in Utah, but the Brigham Young Farmhouse is considered one of the most haunted. Over the years, many paranormal events and unexplained phenomenon have been linked to this structure. The home was originally built in 1863 and was just one of many Brigham Young had throughout the Utah territory. Brigham Young, an early LDS prophet, never actually lived here. It was primarily a dairy farm for his family, but they also grew sugar beets and alfalfa, and raised silkworms for the silk industry in Utah. The home was also a showcase for visiting dignitaries, musical performances, and dinner parties. It is said to be haunted by several spirits — including two of Brigham Young’s wives, Ann Eliza Webb and Lucy Ann Decker. Ann was not a happy polygamist. She particularly hated the noise that all the children made running around the porch. Those who claim to have seen her, report she shows up in one of the upper bedrooms. Brigham’s other wife who pays regular visits to her old family home is Lucy. She is rumored to be a happy woman who is often spotted in the kitchen. Staff and a few visitors also claim they have spotted Brigham Young himself inside the house. The most frequent visits come from children. Guests and staff members report the sounds of children playing, talking and laughing in a room called the “Ballroom”. This is where social gatherings for children occurred.

We then leave the city and travel to the Park City Silver Mines Park City, Utah has a long history that dates back to the mid 1800’s. Prospecting soldiers founded the city, after discovering silver in the hills —which immediately became a major mining town. The town prospered for half a century, over $400 million in silver was extracted. During the years when the mines were operating, there were several fires and mining accidents. A fire in 1898 caused by canyon winds was considered Utah’s biggest disaster with two-thirds of the town being destroyed. In 1902, a dynamite explosion caused poisonous gas to spread, killing many of the miners. Long abandoned and currently closed to the public, the mines near Park City are reported to be haunted by miners and their families who lost their lives in these tragic events. Our next stop is the Heber City Cemetery. Visit this cemetery during the day or night and you might see something otherworldly. During the day, visitors see a little girl playing around the headstones. As they approach...she disappears. At night, footsteps and male laughter are heard amongst the trees. We leave Heber and head for the Timpanogos Cave. Have you ever visited Timpanogos Cave for a tour? As part of the tour, they always turn off the lights for a minute to show you just how dark the cave is. Imagine if you saw floating orbs of light and heard moaning sounds? Park visitors and staff claim to have heard both inside this beautiful cave. The cave is said to be haunted by the ancient spirits of two young lovers. The story goes something like this… a Native American warrior fell in love with a princess. The warrior told the princess he was actually a God who could rescue her people from the terrible draught if she would marry him. She agreed. When she realized she had been tricked, she climbed to the top of the mountain and jumped from the cliff. Devastated, the warrior placed her body in the cave where her spirit remains. Ancient spirits aren’t the only ones to haunt the caves. Park employees have reported some

very spine-chilling phenomena after hours and dare their colleagues to go inside, turn off their flashlights and wait ten full minutes. Strange occurrences such as hands touching their face, footsteps in the distance and voices whispering have been reported. One employee locked up one night, only to hear someone pounding from the inside. She opened the door to find no one was there. Visitors have reported feeling hot breath on the back of the neck when nobody was there. You don’t have to wait to get to the cave to experience these strange phenomena. Visitors and park employees have experienced strange run-ins on their way up the trail. Some hear thundering footsteps, others hear laughter and whispers. Many have reported feeling a strange coldness even on days when the temperatures are in the nineties.

Some visitors have reported seeing a young boy around four years of age who appears lost on the trail. When hikers approach, he runs back up the trail and disappears. A man stomping through the brush has been seen emerging from the foliage directly in front of hikers. After glaring at them, he vanishes. The road leading to Timpanogos is also haunted. From encounters on the roadway to strange occurrences at the campground, American Fork Canyon is well-known for its paranormal activity. If you talk to anyone in Utah, you will find that American Fork Canyon is considered haunted by many, creepy by others. There is a cemetery halfway up the canyon that may contribute to some of the tales of visiting apparitions. The highway is dangerous and traffic accidents alone claim several lives annually. There is also an urban legend that most locals dismiss as too silly to try. The claim is that when you stay at Little Mill Campground, you can summon a ghost hearse. Once you climb behind the wheel, drive your vehicle in a circle three times in the parking lot. That’s it. The tale claims you will hear the roar of an engine as the old hearse fires up and pulls in behind you. Don’t try to escape, it will just chase you down the canyon shining its red lights all the way to the bottom. Some travelers have claimed to be chased by these daunting red lights with the three-circle ritual.

Whatever you do, don't pick up a hitchhiker in this canyon. Two ghosts - one a young woman, and the other an older man, are said to wander the canyon at night, hitchhiking. After they get into your car, they'll have a short conversation with you before disappearing. Others traveling through the canyon at night have reported seeing someone walking down the canyon road. When the vehicle stops the individual is briefly illuminated in the headlights before they disappear.

Our next stop is Porter’s Place

Decorated in an 1800’s old western style to honor the late Orrin Porter Rockwell, Porter’s Place is located on Main Street in Lehi and is rumored to be haunted by a male ghost wearing a long, leather coat. Both staff & guests claim to have seen him. As he walks across the dining room, he disappears right into the wall! Objects are often moved around after employees go home, and sometimes the chairs are even stacked neatly. Our final destination is Silver Fork Lodge, located up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Guests report lights flickering the entire night, someone randomly whistling, items being moved or misplaced and an overall creepy feeling. Many guests claim the ghosts make themselves known by turning the lights and appliances on and off. Cold spots have been reported as well as moans in the middle of the night. Some actually claim to see the shadowy figures moving about during their stay. Big Cottonwood Canyon is also known to be haunted so when traveling to or from Silver Fork Lodge, be sure to watch for a ghostly hitchhiker who appears on the road after dark. She will walk directly toward you then disappear into what appears to be fog. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s a lot of history, great scenery, and spine-tingling fun to be had if you just take the time to find it. So, gas up the car, load up the snacks and start your haunted road trip… if you dare!

Melanie P. Smith

Is an American, multi-genre author of Paranormal, Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural and Romance novels. Embark on a rollercoaster journey of discovery.

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WRITERS’ LIVES Author Rita Lee Chapman

It was a holiday in Egypt which inspired me to write my first book in the Anna Davies Mystery series, Missing in Egypt. What better place to set a mystery? Egypt is a country unlike any other and the Valley of the Kings is a place of eerie peace. It is both unsettling and mystical. It can be very hard to know what to write about for your first book – there are so many possibilities! That was when my recent holiday in Egypt provided the inspiration. I have now written six books, three in the series, two separate crime mysteries and a book for horse lovers. Although I had enjoyed writing throughout my life and had started a couple of novels, it was not until I retired that I finally wrote seriously. I love to travel, so other countries often feature in my books. This photo (above) of me was taken in Agatha Christie’s editing chair in her summer home, Greenway in England. My website includes photos from my latest holiday. At the moment they are from New Zealand. Also on the website, I interview a different author each week, which makes for some fascinating stories!

Writing is a learning curve – from improving your writing skills to editing, formatting and marketing. Most writers find marketing the hardest skill to try to master and like most authors, I’d rather be working on a new book. When I hit writer’s block I find that going for a walk or a swim often helps. Concentrating on the activity can clear the inspirational wavelengths! If not, I leave my mind to sort it out in its own good time and often this can take several days.

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When it comes to writing I’m a morning person. Well, actually, I’m a morning person full stop. I’m also more inclined to write if it’s raining, but that doesn’t happen very often here on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland so I have to make myself write even when the beautiful weather is beckoning. My husband and I enjoy walking the beach or alongside the river or lake. We also play tennis, swim and socialise a lot. Our friends are all good cooks so we enjoy some wonderful meals as well as their company.


Mom’s Favorite Read’s eMagazine is crammed with Parenting Tips, Special Offers, Short Stories, Recipes, Activities for Children, Exploring New Worlds, Wellness and Well-being, New Authors and so much more… Subscribe to get updates when a new magazine is published. Join our Community Subscribe

Goylake Publishing has teamed-up with the Fussy Librarian & is offering 20% off your first book promotion. To qualify, your book must be either permafree or listed free during the special offer.

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“Reading is a joy for my kids, and to swing in a hammock on a lazy summer day reading a

good book just goes with summer. ” – Marcia Gay Harden

The web is a wonderful tool. There’s instant access to a wealth of knowledge on any topic - including Self-Publishing. Here are a few examples to help authors along the way.

How to Set Up Your Own Author Website Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn and author of over 30 fiction and nonfiction books explains why you should have a website, how to choose a hosting company and the basics you need to know to get started.

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7

Kindred Discord

Retired General Nathan Porter stood silently at the front of the room. The weather was shifting, literally and figuratively. Fall was in the air and...a fall was imminent. He briefly wondered if it would be his... an epic fall from grace at the end of a distinguished career. His gaze briefly stopped on each and every man and woman in the room. Colleagues he had handpicked for this job. Soldiers, strategists and politicians he had once considered friends. Every member of the committee was someone Nathan had once believed honorable. And still, one of them was a traitor. A danger to their country. A callous fanatic willing to terminate anyone who got in their way. For money? Prestige? A religious ideology that had been twisted and perverted into something evil and sadistic? He didn’t know. The stakes were high, which was the reason he’d gathered this group in the first place. Knowing a member of his elite team had been compromised, made him sick deep inside. So ill, he hadn’t slept in days. He rarely ate. And, his calls to Paige had reached such a point of casual nonchalance he might as well skip them altogether. About the only man he knew he could trust at the moment was Dax Hamilton. The former Army Ranger was as loyal, honorable and patriotic as they come. And, he was a couple thousand miles away. Nathan didn’t even trust his electronic devices these days. He wished he could talk to the military vet, but it was too dangerous. He was on his own until he flushed out the mole. He just hoped he could find the defector before anyone else died.

Tyler Lloyd was a good man. A patriot. A selfless, retired marine and an even better CIA strategist. And, that dedication to truth and his country had gotten him killed. Nathan wondered if Tyler had sacrificed himself on purpose or if his enemy had just outwitted him. That was something he would never know, but as far as he was concerned Tyler was a national hero who had given his life in the line of duty.

This is a continuing storyline. A new episode is published in each issue of the eMagazine - Box sets can be purchased at any eBook store


Kindred Discord Lloyd had called him yesterday and insisted they needed to meet before their morning committee meeting to discuss something important. Something that would impact the group and had to be handled right away. Nathan scheduled the appointment for zero-seven hundred hours, believing that would give them plenty of time before the nine o’clock meeting to discuss the new development. Then, he’d headed out to address the Senate Arms Committee. Tyler had been waiting down the hallway when Nathan exited the room. He pulled him into a secluded office and provided a flash drive with all the information he had gathered. Information that proved one of Nathan’s team members was working for the enemy. Unfortunately, Tyler hadn’t discovered the identity of the conspirator. The most damning clue was the last piece of evidence, something Tyler had discovered just that morning. Highly sensitive Intel had been compromised. Details of a covert mission that was unknown to anyone outside of this committee were now in the hands of the enemy... specifics that could only be shared by a member of this team. The evidence was indisputable. Nathan was currently in the presence of a traitor. A traitor that had murdered Tyler Lloyd, believing the man’s death would keep their secret hidden. Nathan was grateful Tyler had passed along the data, but he also realized the implications. Either his phone was bugged, Tyler was being monitored... or both. Which meant all electronic devices were suspect and currently off the table. He needed Carmen, but could she be trusted? It was her boyfriend that had been murdered. Someone she loved and cared about that had started this whole ball rolling. There was a slim chance she was involved, but Nathan didn’t think so. If he could just get a message to her, she’d be able to start running the names and backgrounds of every person on the team. But, how to get a message to Manti, Utah, without using a phone, email or any other digital device? Technology was great... until it wasn’t. He had to find a way to contact Carmen and Hamilton... Posthaste. Nathan forced his expression to remain neutral as he somberly addressed his committee.


Ahmed Al-Hashim lowered the binoculars and considered. He’d been in the area for two days now and was no closer to accomplishing his mission. Hamilton never seemed to be alone. He started the engine on the compact rental and pulled away. The street was always littered with pedestrians. If he remained in the area too long, he would appear suspicious and someone would undoubtedly contact the authorities. That was one thing he could not risk. He’d return to the small rental and wait. An opportunity would present itself... eventually.


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 He pulled down the long drive that led to the unpretentious shelter he had stumbled onto his first day in town. His thoughts shifted and returned to his homeland. America was so different from the world he grew up in — the land he had shared with his wife and precious son. The place where his entire world had been shattered. Where his family had been stolen away too soon. There was nothing left for him there. Nothing to live for. Nothing but this mission. He climbed from the vehicle and inhaled slowly. The air was so clean here and the mountains... Ahmed loved the mountains and the beautiful green trees. Most of all... he reveled in the fact there was no sand. No, he would never return to Iraq. Regardless of what happened here, he could never go back to the land of his people. He made his way to his temporary home and wondered what the future would bring for him, for Hamilton, for the others. Only time would tell.


Paige dropped the file she’d been studying onto the small table and sighed in frustration. She settled back, leaning into the chair and ran a hand through her hair. They were getting nowhere with this. “Problem?” Jericho asked. “No,” Paige turned to face her boss. They had been working outside, on her back porch, all morning and she needed a break. “It just feels like... well, like we’re making progress but getting nowhere.” She reached out, grabbed her soda, and gulped.

Jericho set the document he’d been reading aside and studied Paige. He still struggled to know what to call her... friend? Colleague? She was so much more than that. She was the daughter of the woman he had loved and if things had been different, she’d be his daughter. But, she wasn’t and that was another topic that was getting him nowhere. “I think we’re making progress. I crossed the last of the old suspects off the list. I know, once we discovered the ring they were pretty much eliminated anyway. But, now it’s official.” “And yet...” “Okay,” Jericho conceded. “And yet, the killer is still out there and we haven’t identified him. I get it. But we are making progress. Gage narrowed the list substantially. He discovered the numbers and he’s the one that realized each ring had a tiny ball on the left side that coincided with the sport they played. We thought that was just a decorative circle. Now, we don’t have to look into swimmers, baseball guys or basketball stars. The search is limited to the football players. Thanks to Gage, the list has been narrowed substantially.” 82

Kindred Discord “I know I’m being impatient,” Paige pushed forward. “But I’ve been here almost two years now. I just thought...” “You thought you’d come home and show up all of us inept locals in a matter of weeks,” Jericho provided. “No,” Paige disagreed. “Well, maybe... sort of. But I didn’t know you back then.” “I get it,” Jericho shrugged. “But, now you know I never stopped working this case. It’s not a simple homicide. I’m convinced Chaya was murdered because of a cold case. A previous murder that occurred decades earlier. It complicates things.” “And that case was never really investigated because they ruled Tracy’s death a suicide,” Paige grumbled. “I understand the situation, I just hate it.” She was interrupted from expanding on that thought by the buzzing of her front doorbell. “You expecting company?” Jericho asked. “No,” Paige stood. “Give me a minute.” She made her way back into her house and paused to check out the window before sliding the door open. Paige studied the man that looked a few years older than herself. A man that seemed vaguely familiar, but not enough that she thought she knew him. “Paige Carter,” the man said with a huge smile. “Can I help you?” she asked. “You don’t remember me,” he realized. “I should have expected that.” Paige waited. She knew if she left enough silence, the man would explain himself. It only took a few seconds. “I have to admit, I’m a little hurt,” the man began. “But, I guess I should have expected it. I mean, you were just a kid the last time I saw you. Well, technically... so was I.” Paige continued to wait.

“I’m your cousin, Paige. Wyatt,” he took a step forward. “Wyatt Darrow.” Paige frowned, studying the stranger more closely. There was a family resemblance. She jumped a little when Jericho placed a hand on her shoulder. “Everything okay here?” Jericho sized up the man standing on the front porch. There was something about the guy Jericho didn’t trust. He was acting casual... a little too casual. 83

Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Um,” Paige swallowed. Was this really Aunt Sadie’s son? “Yeah,” she decided. It was Wyatt. The last time she’d seen him, she was only nine and he was thirteen but she was good with faces and the man standing before her, was her only cousin. Her only family. “Jericho, this is my cousin, Wyatt Darrow. Wyatt, this is Sheriff Walters.”

Wyatt took a step back in surprise. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you had company. I can come back... when you’re not busy.” Jericho frowned. He was saying all the right things, but this guy was acting suspicious. He didn’t trust him, didn’t like him, but he should give Paige her privacy. She was smart, if the guy was a con or a crook... his deputy would figure it out. In the meantime, he’d give her the space she needed to catch up with this... distant relative. “I think we’re done for the day.” “Right,” Paige shifted to look at her boss. “I should...” Jericho nodded. “Take your time, catch up with your cousin. I’ll clean up out back and I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Thank you,” Paige wasn’t sure she was grateful for the sheriff’s retreat, but she knew it was necessary. She’d accept it and see what Wyatt wanted. There had to be a reason he was here. “So,” Wyatt relaxed as soon as the lawman turned and disappeared from view. “How’s Chaya? I haven’t heard from that aunt of mine in years. I was hoping I could catch up with her while I was here in town.” Jericho stopped and waited. Something was definitely off. Surely any relative would know of Chaya’s death. Was this a clever conman that just looked like Paige’s cousin? What was he after? Even if he was legit, clearly they weren’t close. He needed more information and he knew just where to get it. “I guess you didn’t hear,” Paige answered. “Mom passed away years ago. I’m afraid you won’t be able to catch up with her again... ever.” “Oh, man,” Wyatt brushed his hand over his face. “Dad never said anything. Do you think he knew? Of course he knew. I’m so sorry, Paige. I’m sorry for the loss and I’m sorry I brought it up. Dad and I... well, we’re not exactly seeing eye-to-eye these days. He’s the reason we didn’t keep in touch. Man, I am so sorry.” “It’s okay,” Paige stepped onto the porch and made sure the front door latched behind her. This might be her cousin, but she didn’t trust him. Not yet. There was a reason Wyatt Darrow was in town, a reason he looked her up... and she was determined to figure out why. She settled into a chair and watched her cousin closely as he lowered himself into a second chair across from her. 84

Kindred Discord “When Mom died,” Wyatt began. “Well, Dad was lost for a long time. We moved... constantly. He’d get a job, then things would get tight and we’d pack up and move again. That was basically my life until I graduated from high school and refused to go with him. I settled in Nashville for a while... chased my dream until I realized I was never going to hit the big time and scored a great job at the Smoky Mountain Speedway. A couple years ago, I landed what I thought was an even better job with Reyo Transports. I’m a professional driver... pilot car, and I love it.” He launched into a story about his most recent escapade as a driver.


Dax swung open the back door, expecting to see Paige. Instead, he was greeted by the stony face of the local sheriff. “Jericho.” “Have a minute?” Jericho asked immediately. “Sure,” Dax took a step back and waited for Jericho to enter the room. “I was working next door with Paige, on Chaya’s case,” Jericho settled into a kitchen chair. “We were interrupted by a stranger. Well, I’ve never met him. Said he’s Paige’s cousin, Wyatt Darrow.” Dax frowned. “Paige never mentioned a cousin to me.” “And Chaya never mentioned one to me either,” Jericho provided. “Since I know Chaya was an only child, he has to be related through her father. Dylan died when Paige was just a kid. Chaya moved around a bit then settled here. I’d know if a relative from Carter’s family had stayed in touch. They didn’t.” “Do you think it’s a con?” Dax asked. “I don’t think so,” Jer decided. “It looked like Paige recognized him... at least she thought she did. It’s possible this guy isn’t related and he’s working some kind of con. But, if he knows where she lives, he has to know she’s a cop. That would be bold... not out of the question, but unlikely I think.”

“But you still don’t trust him?” Dax decided. “I don’t,” Jericho admitted. “There’s just something about him. He didn’t even know Chaya was gone. Asked if she was still here in town so they could get together.” “That’s a bit odd,” Dax agreed. “But if he’s related through her father, maybe his parents didn’t want to keep in touch after her dad died. Could explain why he didn’t know about the death.” 85

Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Maybe,” Jericho said soberly. “But you want me to keep an eye on him just in case?” “I do,” Jericho agreed. “There’s just something about him. Something I don’t trust. He might be a legitimate relative but that doesn’t mean he’s an innocent one.” “I’ll watch him,” Dax agreed. “I was also wondering if you could have Carmen run a check,” Jericho asked. “I could have Margie do it, but I don’t want anyone else knowing of my suspicions just yet.” “And things are still a little on edge between my favorite deputy and your favorite admin,” Dax grinned. “I understand. I’ll talk to Carmen, but I can’t guarantee Paige won’t know about it. Those two are tight.”

“I know,” Jericho stood. “I’ll get out of your hair. Let me know if you find anything I should know.” “I’ll be in touch,” Dax followed him to the door and watched the local top cop make his way to his vehicle. He’d run a search on Wyatt Darrow. Jericho Walter’s didn’t need to ask for that particular favor. And he was pretty sure, given their friendship, Carmen would jump at the chance to make sure her friend was safe with the new guy.


Paige pulled into her driveway, happy to be home. She’d been bombarded with nuisance calls all day when the call came in from Tolman. That situation had catapulted her last shred of patience into oblivion. Charles Corvene, real estate mogul and multi-billionaire, was also a part-time seasonal resident of Manti and he was furious. Local DA and close pal of the victim, James Tolman, decided his friend’s dilemma was now Paige’s problem. If only she’d left the office ten minutes early like she’d intended, then Dean would be the one looking for a spoiled man-child’s newest toy. Sure, a Lamborghini Roadster should stick out like a neon sign... if the thief planned to drive it. Paige was sure that was not the case. Whoever took the expensive car wanted it for a reason. Either they’d be shipping it overseas to sell on the black market or it would be stripped down for parts. She knew next to nothing about expensive cars and wasn’t interested in learning. Unfortunately, Corvene was also a generous donor to the current Mayor’s political campaign and she didn’t have a choice. But first, she needed a hot bath, comfortable clothing and something hot and filling for dinner. Then, she’d see what she could find out about the Lamborghini market. Dean would 86

Kindred Discord have been so much better at this. He loved cars, raced them, ate slept and drank anything auto related. Dean was the obvious choice... or Havi. He also raced and knew the industry. Why had Tolman insisted on her? She was halfway up the stairs when an idea hit her. She’d corner Jericho in the morning and beg him to assign Havi to help.

Paige ran a quick comb through her hair before she left her bedroom, wondering what to do about dinner. She was standing at the top of her stairs when the doorbell rang. Probably Dax, she decided. She rushed to see if he had read her mind and stopped somewhere for takeout. She was smiling when she swung open the door and spotted two men standing on the front porch. One was Dax, and he had a large bag in his hands. The other was Wyatt. She still hadn’t decided if he was innocent, or if he had an end-game she hadn’t discovered yet. “Apparently,” Dax took a step forward and entered the house. “You have a cousin.” “Uh,” Paige motioned for Wyatt to enter. “Yeah. Wyatt, this is my neighbor, Dax Hamilton. Dax, this is my cousin Wyatt Darrow. His mother was my father’s sister.” Well, that explained the connection. “You didn’t mention a relative would be visiting,” Dax accused setting the large bag on the kitchen table. “There might be enough for three.” “That’s okay,” Wyatt declined. “I just stopped by to see if Paige would be free tomorrow night. I was hoping we could have dinner and spend a little time together. I have to leave town for a few days and I’d love to catch up before I go.” “Will you be returning to the area or moving on after the job?” Dax asked. Paige narrowed her eyes and watched Dax instead of Wyatt. Clearly, he already knew about Wyatt and she was getting the distinct feeling her neighbor didn’t trust her cousin. Had Jericho enlisted Dax to keep an eye on the situation? Of course, he had. She pushed back the annoyance and waited for Wyatt’s answer. “I’d like to return,” Wyatt glanced at Paige. “It’s been too long and once the job is over, I should have some free time before we move on. I thought I’d come back here, maybe spend a week or so catching up. If it’s okay with you, I was hoping we could reconnect. You know, keep in touch even after I have to leave.” “I’d like that,” Paige decided. “But I have to ask... why now? I mean, I haven’t seen you in years. We were both just kids when Dad died. The last time I saw you was at Aunt Sadie’s funeral and you barely said two words to me. Once you and Uncle Boyd moved... well, there hasn’t been a word from either of you in years. Why now, Wyatt?”


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 Wyatt shrugged and glanced at Dax. He wasn’t going to discuss his reason for being here with a stranger in the room. “I missed you. When we moved, Dad wouldn’t let me keep in touch. Then, you and Chaya moved and I had no idea how to get in touch. I heard you had moved back here to Utah and I was in the area. That’s all. I just want to reconnect. Neither one of us have much family and we always got along... as kids, I mean.” “Okay,” Paige decided to drop it. “To both. I’d like to have dinner and reconnect and I hope you’ll come back... in a couple days after the job is over. We can catch up and see if we have anything in common. I don’t have many relatives; it would be nice to stay in touch with the ones I do have.” Dax wasn’t sure that would be nice, but he kept his opinion to himself. He’d learned long ago, you got more answers by listening than talking. He was determined to get answers from Wyatt. “So,” Dax settled onto the couch. “Paige mentioned her Aunt Sadie. Did I hear that correctly? Your mom died, too?” “She did,” Wyatt sat in a lounge chair opposite the neighbor. Clearly, Paige was dating the guy so he would have to win him over if he wanted a relationship with his cousin. “It was only a couple years after Dylan died. Mom loved Paige’s dad. She was younger than him and he was always the cool, protective, loving older brother. Dad hated him. I think that’s why, once Mom was no longer with us, he distanced himself from the entire family. I was rarely allowed to call Grandma and we never visited. I heard she died a few years back as well and Chaya returned to her childhood home. That’s why I mistakenly believed I could reconnect with both Aunt Chaya and Paige. By the time my aunt died, Dad had completely severed all ties with Mom’s family.” Dax was actively listening, cataloging the information he was getting from Wyatt. Any little bit would help Carmen determine the identity of Wyatt Darrow. She’d attempted a search earlier, but needed more information to narrow down the right Wyatt Darrow. “Where do you live now?” “Oh,” Wyatt evaded. “Here and there. My job keeps me busy and on the road most of the time.” “You have to have a residence somewhere,” Dax pushed. “I mean, you have a driver’s license. That requires permanent residence somewhere.”

Wyatt frowned. Was he being interrogated? It sure felt like it. “Dad lives in Kentucky. I use his address for now. I’m still looking for the perfect location to settle.” “Dinner’s ready,” Paige interrupted. “You two come in here and eat.” She’d been listening to the conversation, a little annoyed at the interrogation Dax was conducting on her cousin while at the same time grateful. She had wanted to ask the same questions but worried he might take offense and 88

Kindred Discord bolt if she pushed too hard. It was interesting that Wyatt used his father’s address as a home base. He told her yesterday, during their conversation on the porch he and his father no longer got along. So, why keep that contact? Why tie himself to a man he so clearly resented... maybe even despised? Conversation turned casual over dinner. Wyatt agreed to stay when he realized there was plenty of food for three. The group spent the next two hours sizing each other up, wondering if the other could be trusted. Once the table was cleared and the dishes dealt with, Wyatt made his excuses and left for the night. He made his way to his vehicle, hoping he’d have Paige to himself when they met for dinner tomorrow night. He had to know if she could help him and he was sure the neighbor, and obvious boyfriend, would not understand. *****

Daniel stood in the shadows, watching the daughter of the woman he had come to hate with every fiber of his being. She just might destroy him. She might accomplish in death what she’d been unable to accomplish in life. Either his world would be destroyed, and he’d spend the rest of his life in jail; or, he’d get away with murder. Paige Carter, the daughter of a woman he desired — but, knew he could never pursue — in high school; then had wanted to silence as an adult, might just bring him down and he had no way to stop it. He had no control over the outcome. He just wished he knew how much the girl had discovered. If Stan hadn’t abandoned him, if the young prosecutor had just done what he was told, Daniel would know how to proceed. But the kid surprised him. He could admit Stan had the kind of backbone Daniel hadn’t counted on... hadn’t recognized until it was too late. He had made a mistake; he never should have forced a man who lived by the law to break the law. But, at the time, Daniel had thought Stanley Donaldson was weak. Now, he knew the kid wasn’t weak, and that worried him almost as much as Paige Carter. He straightened and started to turn, ready to leave when he saw the car. The same white, nondescript rental he’d seen the previous day. Was someone else watching Manti’s newest deputy? If so, why? He remained in place, silently studying the car and the man inside for several minutes before he decided to leave. He’d never seen the man before, which meant he wasn’t a local or a new resident of Manti. The man was a stranger, a visitor to the area and for some reason, he seemed to be in town to spy on Paige Carter. Daniel was intrigued by this new development and determined to discover the girl’s secret. It might be something he could use to get out of this mess and Daniel was all about using any means necessary to save his own life and his reputation.



Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 Ahmed Al-Hashim watched from two doors down as a man and a woman entered Hamilton’s home. Dax was inside, he knew that for sure. But he was beginning to think the guy never spent two minutes alone. He might have to find another way, figure out a contingency plan if he couldn’t get to Hamilton. The mission was too important, and his instincts told him he was running out of time. If he couldn’t get to Hamilton, maybe he could get to his girlfriend. It had become obvious, almost immediately, that the woman living next door had an intimate relationship with the retired military man. She might be Ahmed’s only option. He pulled away from the curb and pondered the possibilities all the way back to his temporary home.


“Busy place,” Wyatt observed when Paige slid onto a chair across from her cousin. “Local gem,” she shrugged. “We all love the Farmhouse.” Wyatt frowned. He had wanted to get Paige alone and he was sure this was not the place to talk about something as sensitive as his dilemma. That discussion would have to wait. Maybe, she’d agree to a walk after dinner. Things were getting more dangerous and he needed her advice on how to handle the problem... before he left town. It was nearly two hours later when Paige and Wyatt strolled casually down the sidewalk. “You said you needed advice on something,” Paige prompted. “What’s going on?” “First,” Wyatt considered. “I need to know something.” “Okay,” Paige stopped at the light to cross Main Street and enter Pioneer Park. There was a seating area where they could discuss the situation, whatever it was, in private. “If I tell you something,” Wyatt began. “And if it’s... illegal. Do you have to arrest me? I mean, can I be an informant or something so I don’t have to go to jail?” “Are you involved in something illegal, Wyatt?” “Indirectly,” he admitted. “I didn’t know, not at first but... well, yeah.” “I’m going to ask you some questions,” Paige decided. “I want you to answer the questions. Only answer the questions. Do not elaborate or volunteer anything that I don’t ask. Do you understand?” “I think so,” Wyatt frowned.


Kindred Discord “Did you commit the crime? By that I mean, you personally. Wait. First, what are we talking about here?” Paige corrected. “Grand Theft Auto,” Wyatt sighed. “I guess that’s what you call it. I know that’s a bit Hollywood but I’m talking about stolen cars.” Paige studied her cousin for several seconds. “Did you steal a car?” “No,” Wyatt said immediately. “Were you there when a car was stolen?” “No,” Wyatt answered. “You said indirectly,” Paige began. “Did you sell a stolen car?” “No,” Wyatt said, wondering how long this would take. It would be easier if he could just explain, but he understood his cousin was trying to protect him. “Is your involvement more than knowledge of the theft?” Paige asked. “Knowledge of the theft and involvement in the transport of goods,” Wyatt provided. “This has to do with your job?” Paige realized. “Yes,” Wyatt confirmed. “So you escorted the vehicle that transported the stolen goods?” “Yes,” Wyatt confirmed. “And you are leaving tomorrow?” Paige asked. “You leave on your next job tomorrow?” “The shipment has been delayed a day. I leave the following morning,” Wyatt corrected. “Are you transporting a Lamborghini?” “Uh...” Wyatt hesitated. “Should I answer that?” “No,” Paige shook her head. “You just told me everything I need to know. Well, actually... one more thing, what is the destination? You said you leave the day after tomorrow. Where are you going?”


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7

“California,” Wyatt studied Paige and wondered if he was doing the right thing. He wanted out, had wanted out the instant he learned the company he worked for was dirty. But, his dad threatened him and he caved to the pressure, just like he always did when Boyd Darrow got involved. “Give me a day to work this out. I’m going to list you as a confidential informant. I’ll need to notify the FBI but I have a friend I trust,” Paige decided. She’d call Sean and see if he could take the case. “I don’t want to know anything else. Just give me a day. I’ll do my best to protect your name. We also need to figure out a way to keep you out of the run this time. If the feds intercept the truck on the way to California, we can’t have you there to get arrested. Can you call in sick?” “I’d rather not,” Wyatt admitted. “If I do, they’ll know it was me. We need to find another way out.”

“Okay,” Paige agreed. “Can you crash the car? I can respond and hold you up until they’re tired of waiting and decide to continue without you.” “Again,” Wyatt objected. “I’d rather not. I’m good... At driving I mean. If I crash and then the rest of them get arrested, they’ll be suspicious.” “Let me think about this, maybe I can come up with something,” Paige decided. “I’ll keep you out of the loop. That way, you don’t have to act surprised, you will be surprised. If you don’t know what the problem is, you won’t know how to fix it.” “I guess that will work,” Wyatt agreed. “Can you do this, Wyatt?” Paige asked. “Can you go with my plan, abandon the transport and let the feds step in and arrest your crew? Once I get the ball rolling, you can’t change your mind. You can’t tell them they’re burned. Can you keep quiet and let us arrest the men you work with?” “I think so,” Wyatt said cryptically. “What does that mean?” “I’m going to tell you straight up,” Wyatt decided. “My dad’s sort of involved. Not in the theft or the transport, but he knows what’s going on. He’s the one that hooked me up with these guys. They’re friends of his and he knows exactly what that company is doing. He’s not going to be happy if he finds out I’m the one that ratted them out. To be honest, an already bad situation will get worse if he learns I came to you and spilled the company secrets.” “Is he benefiting from the thefts?” Paige asked. She knew Boyd Darrow was a criminal. It’s the reason her uncle never got along with her dad... or her mom. It’s the reason Dylan Carter had 92

Kindred Discord done everything in his power to get his kid sister away from the man. It hadn’t worked, her dad died before he could convince his sister to leave and take her son with her. Then, Sadie died unexpectedly of a freak aneurysm less than two years later and Boyd had taken their son and disappeared.

“I don’t think so,” Wyatt said slowly. “If he is benefiting, it’s indirectly. Maybe through the company that purchases the merchandise. Any involvement Dad has in this will be sheltered and difficult to connect.” “I’m not going to connect him, unless I have to.” “What does that mean?” Wyatt asked. “It means,” Paige hesitated then sighed. “I’m not looking to throw your dad in jail. But, this is not a local matter. You guys are transporting stolen vehicles across the country. That makes it a federal issue. I don’t have a choice, I have to call in the FBI. Once we open this door, I’m not going to be able to control it.” “I understand,” Wyatt rubbed his hands over his eyes. “I don’t want Dad to suffer for this. I just want out. Initially, I had no idea what was going on. I drive the pilot car. There was no reason for me to know. I stumbled onto the operation a few months back and I wanted to leave, but Dad intervened. I’m not going to go into that, but he stopped me. I know telling you about it will cause him problems and I’ve accepted that. I’m not sure I can accept responsibility if he goes to prison over it.” “What if I promise not to mention Boyd?” Paige suggested. “I’ll contact Sean and I’ll figure out a way to get you out of the transport without anyone suspecting your involvement. Then, we let the feds work the case. If they connect your dad, they connect him. But they won’t connect him through you or me. Can you live with that?” “It won’t be easy,” Wyatt warned. “I can’t think of a way to get me out that won’t look suspicious when they get arrested for the auto theft. But, if you can swing it, I guess I can live with it. Like I said, Dad is pretty insulated. He’s careful that way, which is the reason he’s never done jail time before now. Maybe, I shouldn’t have said that.” “I know your dad has always been involved in criminal activity,” Paige admitted. “Dad wasn’t exactly subtle about that. He and Mom discussed the situation at length. Dad wanted to help his sister escape. He wanted to get both you and Sadie away from your father and his influence. He just died before he could resolve the issue. Mom always worried about you, especially after Aunt Sadie passed away. She just didn’t have any standing, so she accepted the situation the way it was. I’m just saying, you didn’t reveal anything I didn’t already know.” “So,” Wyatt changed the subject. “Now what?” 93

Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Now,” Paige stood. “You go home and report in or whatever. Wyatt, do not tell anyone about our conversation. If you tip them off, I can’t save you. I’m going to start the ball rolling tonight. From this point on, you’re out of it. I’ll find a way to sabotage the run so you’ll have to stay in town. Other than that, we’re both out of it. You have to promise me you won’t blow this. I’m putting a lot on the line to protect you.” “I promise,” Wyatt agreed. “I came to you, remember? I want out. I just want to live long enough to find a new job... a new life.” “Do what I say and you’ll live,” Paige promised. “And maybe, when this is all over, you and I can actually spend time getting to know each other.” “After all this?” Wyatt asked. “We didn’t know each other well,” Paige shrugged. “Not as kids, and certainly not since our parents died. But you came to me, anyway. You’re trying to do the right thing. I’m not going to hold the sins of the father against you. I know he pressured you, is still pressuring you. And, I also understand it wasn’t easy... knowing he’s at risk over this. Trust me, Wyatt. I’ll help you and we’ll go from there. Your mom was always very good to me. I liked her a lot and it was hard to lose her so soon after losing dad. Let’s get through this, then we can work on the future — okay?” “Okay,” Wyatt stood. “And, thank you. By the way, the feeling is mutual. I loved your dad and respected him. What he did was dangerous and we all knew that. Plus, Dad hated him. But Mom... she idolized him. We used to sneak out of the house, so we could come see you guys. Mom told me if things ever got bad... I could always trust Dylan and Chaya. When Dylan died and Mom got sick, she told me not to let Dad pull me into his world. She made me promise I would go to Chaya if I needed help. I came here to honor that promise. Mom would be disappointed in me... if I ended up in jail because of Dad. I’m not going to end up in jail, Paige.” “Good.”


Ahmed slid silently through the shadows and returned to his car. Step one of his plan was complete. He might not be able to get Hamilton alone, but the woman next door was rarely home. He slid behind the wheel and started the engine. He’d still try to corner Dax, but if he failed... at least part of his plan was a success. The weatherproof box was safe and secure, hidden beneath the woman’s front porch. It was time to begin the next phase of his plan. This phase would be dangerous, but he’d put it off long enough. Ahmed pulled away from the curb moments before Paige approached her house and turned into her driveway. 94

Kindred Discord *****

Paige stepped onto her porch and heard voices coming from the rear of Dax’s house. She paused to listen and realized Zeus and Carmen had joined her favorite neighbor for an evening outside. She hesitated, knowing she should call Sean and explain the situation immediately. But, she wanted to talk to Dax first. She made her way through the house, into the kitchen and out the back door. She had only taken a few steps when Dax spotted her. He was out of his chair and across the lawn in seconds. “Did you enjoy your evening?” he asked, more than a little curious about her dinner with Wyatt Darrow. “It was informative,” she evaded. “Meaning?” Paige glanced up, saw Carmen and Zeus were engrossed in their own conversation and decided to confide in Dax and bring him in on the plan. She pulled him toward her own back porch and began to outline the situation. “Have you talked to Jericho about this?” Dax asked. “Not yet,” Paige frowned. “Why?” “Because he didn’t trust the guy from the start,” Dax provided. “And apparently, he was right. Before you call in the feds, the Sheriff should know what’s happening in his county.” “Walter’s asked you to... what?” Paige asked, annoyed. “To keep an eye on Darrow... and you,” he admitted. “But he didn’t need to ask. I would have done it on my own once I met that troubled cousin of yours.” “Because?” “Because he was evasive and suspicious,” Dax shrugged. “And, in the spirit of total disclosure, I asked Carmen to do a thorough check. She hasn’t found anything on the kid, but his father is another story. He’s been the main subject or a secondary suspect in over a dozen investigations, but somehow he skates on all charges. If I had to guess, he’s a whistleblower himself. And, if it kept him free and clear... I think he’d throw his own son to the wolves to protect himself.”


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Probably,” Paige sighed. “I’ll call Jericho and fill him in. Then I have to call Sean and report my findings to the FBI. Once I’m done with that, and I’m keeping Wyatt’s name out of the FBI’s reach... I have to come up with a brilliant plot to keep my terrified cousin in Manti while his crew heads to California. One that doesn’t make him look like a weasel.” “Want my help?” Dax asked, taking Paige’s hand in both of his. “Yes,” she said immediately. “Because I can’t think of a way to do this without Wyatt looking like he’s bolting. I asked him to call in sick, he said that’s a no go. I also asked him to crash his car, but he says that’s no good either. He claims his driving is too good to fake a minor accident. I’ve got nothing and we don’t have a lot of time. He’s supposed to leave the day after tomorrow. That means I have to call Jericho tonight, then Sean. Once I’m done, I have to devise a brilliant plan that nobody knows about. One that doesn’t land Wyatt in a hospital once we’re done. On a positive note, I think I just solved the case of the missing Lamborghini. If all goes well, I’ll get a check in the plus column with the DA and the Mayor will have to love me.” “What’s not to love?” Dax stood and held out his hand. “Let’s go visit with the dynamic duo for an hour or so. Then you can call Walters and Sean Wilkens. And, I’ll figure out a way to keep your cousin out of trouble.” “Sounds like a plan,” Paige said, feeling a little lighter and more optimistic than she had when she pulled into her driveway only moments ago.


Paige sat with Jericho on the back porch, anxiously waiting for Dax and Havi to return. The guys were sabotaging Wyatt’s pilot car. Well, Dax was sabotaging the car. Havi was parked just up the road, ready to respond if the department got a call reporting a burglary on the property. The men believed that if Dax could drain most of the anti-freeze from the radiator and all of it from the reserve tank, the vehicle would make it a few miles outside of town before overheating and leaving Wyatt stranded on the side of the road. The supervisor would have to call in a tow truck and if they were lucky, the rest of the crew would head to California and leave Wyatt to deal with the mechanical problems. Nobody would suspect Wyatt of incapacitating the car because the guy would never do anything to damage his baby. Paige stood and began to pace back and forth in the darkness. “What’s taking so long?”


Kindred Discord “Relax, Paige,” Jericho said unconcerned. “They’re just being cautious. Those two have things handled. And, I’m listening to the calls. Nobody has reported anything suspicious out there. I trust Hamilton to know what he’s doing. I’d rather talk about your cousin. Are you sure Wyatt can pull this off? Are you sure he will?”

“I’m sure he can,” Paige settled back into her chair. “And I’m pretty sure he will. He came to me and I think he takes after his mother. He seemed truly trapped when we talked about his dad. Boyd has always been a bully. I remember Dad begging Aunt Sadie to leave him. My parents even offered her a place to stay until she could get back on her feet. Wyatt’s mom refused, knowing Mom and I would be vulnerable when Dad left the country on one of his missions. She worried about us and deep down, I think she really loved the dirtbag. When she died, Wyatt had to learn to cope. But Sadie made him promise her he wouldn’t do anything illegal and if his father tried to force him into a life of crime, he’d come out here and ask Mom for help.” “I guess that explains his abrupt and unexpected appearance in your life all of a sudden,” Jericho admitted. “I didn’t like him. The moment I laid eyes on the guy, I knew he was trouble. He came to you eventually, but he brought a mountain of problems with him. I hope this works and I hope you’re right. Because I’m not entirely sure the guy won’t cave and blow the entire op tomorrow.” “Well,” Paige settled back against the chair. “If he does, that won’t be our problem, will it? I turned the information over to the FBI. Agent Sean Wilkens will be handling the take-down and the paperwork. I like that part best. Well, next to the fact he now owes me a favor. A big one if he gets the bust. And we both know that might come in handy in the future. What is it about this town of yours anyway, Sheriff Walters? I’ve dealt with the feds more as a deputy the past couple years than I ever dealt with the locals when I was an agent.” “Karma,” he smiled. “Yours, not mine. We rarely dealt with the feds before I hired you so, I believe the influx is all your doing Deputy Carter.” “I disagree,” Paige said then jumped to her feet when she heard Dax’s truck. “Sounds like they’re back.” The two men walked casually toward the back of the house. “Your dirty deed is done,” Havilland said in greeting. “But I have to warn you, it’s not cheap. I had to cancel a date tonight and I intend to collect on the debt in the near future. Sheriff, you owe me a night off. And you,” he pointed to Paige. “You are going to work the shift of my choice to make up for the inconvenience.” Paige rolled her eyes. “I’ll think about it. Did you have any trouble?” 97

Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Nope,” Dax settled into a chair across from the sheriff. “It was easy. They’re too confident. The place was locked up, but there wasn’t a guard and I didn’t even see a camera. I realize they’re not local and the warehouse belongs to another company, but you’d think they’d take some precautions considering the value of the merchandise.”

“Did you see the Roadster?” Jericho asked. “Nope,” Havi answered. “I’m betting they have it stashed inside the building. From what I could find, Reyo Transports leased the facility for a month from the owner. They have access to the garage, the buildings and the outer yard. Wyatt’s car was parked in the yard. Everything else, other than the trailer they use to transport the property was out of sight…most likely inside the building.” “Okay,” Jericho stood. “Sounds like my work here is done. I have no knowledge of the breakin or the vandalism. My deputy was nowhere near the location of the suspicious activity and I personally spent the evening with Paige Carter and her dubious neighbor Dax Hamilton. I can report to work in the morning with a clear conscious and a solid alibi.” “Somehow,” Havi laughed. “I don’t think you’ll need it once the Mayor and our illustrious DA realize Charles Corvene’s Lamborghini has been recovered unscathed.” “Let’s hope it is unscathed,” Jericho said soberly. “Otherwise, we all might be in deep trouble.”


Wyatt arrived at the stockyard, still worried about the upcoming events. He had no idea what Paige had come up with to get him out of harm’s way. He didn’t even know if the feds were on board and the crew was about to get caught in the act. He didn’t know anything, but Paige had said that was best. He turned the corner and came face-to-face with Rico Chavez, the semi-driver of this small operation. “Morning, Rico.” “Hey, kid,” Rico shifted to the left. “Better get loaded up. Boss is in a foul one this morning. I think he wants to pull out immediately.” “I haven’t had a chance to go over the car,” Wyatt objected. “The car is fine,” Salvador LeDoux barked. “You keep that thing in top shape and I don’t have time for the delay.”


Kindred Discord “What crawled up your...” Joel Morgan, the man who rode shotgun and watched out for trouble began. “Shut it,” Salvador interrupted. “I got a call from the boss this morning,” the top supervisor added. “There’s been a change in plans. We need to head out immediately if we want to arrive at the port in time for the transfer.” “How many times are they going to change the plans?” Joel complained. “We were supposed to leave yesterday, but the plans changed. Now there’s a new plan. We should have another hour to load up everything and hit the road. Instead, we have to pull out immediately. That doesn’t give us time to double and triple check the area, make sure we didn’t leave nothing behind. Someone’s gotta talk to the man and tell him to stop with the last-minute demands.” “Great,” Salvador shrugged. “Good luck with that. I’ll be sure to attend your funeral. Load up, we’re late.” Wyatt moved to the rental they’d been using while in town, retrieved his bag, and slung it over his shoulder. He was nervous, worried the change in timeline would mess up the plan to get him out of the transport. What if the feds weren’t in place, what if they missed the truck and blamed him for the mistake? His gut began to churn and he wondered if he’d created a bigger problem for himself by confiding in his cousin. Only time would tell and right now, time was something he didn’t have much of. He dropped his bag on the back seat of the pilot car and glanced around. The other men were already loaded up and ready to pull out. He glanced at Salvador and waited for the signal. Once the boss motioned his way, Wyatt pulled onto the highway headed out of town. Clearly, whatever plan Paige had to save him... had failed. He was stuck. He was going to be arrested with the rest of the group and knowing his father, the man would let him rot there without a second thought. The convoy was three miles out of town when trouble hit out of nowhere. The group consisted of Wyatt’s pilot car in the lead, the semi and enclosed trailer that contained the expensive cargo in the middle, and Salvador’s company SUV in the rear. They were on US 89, headed southbound when the check engine light on Wyatt’s car started flashing. Within seconds, smoke was billowing out of the hood. He had no choice, he had to pull over. Wyatt signaled and made his slow descent onto the shoulder of the highway. The semi followed and Salvador pulled in behind them. The instant he came to a stop, the angry supervisor jumped from his vehicle and stomped his way to Wyatt’s car. “What now?” Salvador demanded. “Looks like the radiator,” Wyatt provided. “It overheated and the reservoir looks completely empty. If I had to guess, I’d say the thing must be cracked. It’s the only explanation.” 99

Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Can you fix it?” Joel, who had jumped from the passenger side of the semi asked. “Not out here,” Wyatt said soberly. “If we can get a tow into the next town, maybe. But it’s going to take time.”

“Time is one thing we don’t have,” Salvador considered. “We’re going to have to leave you here. Can you handle it alone? I can leave Joel with you but I’d rather not. One man down is bad enough. Rico and I could head out alone, but...” “But then you don’t have a wingman if something goes wrong,” Wyatt finished for him. “You guys go. I can get this. I’ll call for a tow and have them take it back to Gunnison. They should have a shop there, the town is big enough. If not, I’ll find a motel and work on the thing myself. If I can find the leak, I may be able to repair it and catch up.” “No,” Salvador shook his head. “Get the tow and find a hotel. We’ll hook back up with you later. If not here, then we’ll all meet in Vegas. You’ll never catch us with that kind of delay. It would be a wasted trip. Just take care of the car. We have another run in a few days and we’ll need the pilot to escort the large equipment Lander Construction is moving from Vegas to Denver. We can’t take any chances on that run.” “Are you sure?” Wyatt asked, concerned. Was this Paige’s plan or something else? “We never split up, not like this.” “I’m sure,” Salvador decided. “Joel, get back in the truck. We’re heading out. Call me, Darrow if anything goes wrong. We can’t delay the Vegas job for anything.” “I’ll be in touch once I know what’s going on with the car,” Wyatt promised. He pulled out his phone and called Paige. She would know where he could get a tow in this area. And that way, he could ask her if this was her plan all along.


Paige, Wyatt, Dax and Jericho settled in for a meal of fried chicken, coleslaw and biscuits while they awaited a call from Agent Sean Wilkens. The FBI had altered the original plan and, rather than stop the men on the highway, they had set up in California on the dock in Los Angeles. If everything went according to plan, they would recover more than one missing vehicle and could charge the group with multiple felonies instead of just one.


Kindred Discord So far, no mention of Boyd Darrow had surfaced with the feds and Paige hoped it stayed that way. She didn’t want Wyatt to have to deal with the guilt and feeling of responsibility if his father ended up in prison along with the rest of the organization. It was going to be bad enough when Wyatt’s father learned his friends were behind bars and Wyatt had escaped prosecution because of a mechanical problem. Reyo may not put it all together, but Wyatt was positive his father would. Probably because dear old dad had orchestrated similar schemes in the past. But, Boyd Darrow didn’t realize Paige was now on his trail. And, she had the expert skills of Carmen Fennelly assisting her. One wrong move and her career criminal uncle would find himself the target of a federal operation he couldn’t slither out of. She planned to keep that particular plan to herself. Wyatt didn’t need to know she was watching his father now. He wouldn’t need to know her involvement if the man got himself arrested, either. For the most part, she thought her cousin was a good guy. A little lost and even more conflicted due to his father’s influence, but he was trying to do the right thing. He was trying to live the way his mother wanted him to. Paige just hoped, after this was all over, he’d be able to find a legitimate job with an honest company. Otherwise, he just might give into his father’s pressure and fall in with another criminal enterprise. If he did, Paige wouldn’t be able to save him again. She wouldn’t even try, because he wouldn’t deserve her help. Wyatt jumped and Jericho sat up straighter when the distinct ringing of Paige’s cell phone began to chime. “Sean, please tell me you have good news,” Paige said in greeting. “I have great news,” Sean practically yelled into the phone. “We got them. All of them. The boat was full of stolen cars. I mean, seriously high-end expensive vehicles just like the Lamborghini. It’s fine, by the way. Not a scratch on the thing. And the records these guys kept... well, I’m just going to say I owe you big time. You just gave me the bust of a lifetime my friend. My SAC is happy, the owners are going to be thrilled and my colleagues are jealous. Not bad for a few hours work and a quick drive to the coast.” “I’ll be sure to collect,” Paige warned, grinning. “I’ll let you go. I’m sure you have tons of evidence to process and I expect my victim’s car in the next twenty-four.” “So demanding,” Sean teased. “I’ll get it processed and returned as soon as I can. We’re not going to want to hold onto these beauties. I wish you were here to see it. In addition to your Roadster, we’ve got three Ferrari’s, two Aston Martin’s and a Bugatti. And those are just the ones I remember. These guys are going down and they’re going down hard. With just the ones I mentioned, we have seven major felonies just for the thefts alone. Not to mention money laundering, the illegal transport over international waters and about a half-dozen other charges that we know of. It’s going to be a long night, but so worth it.” 101

Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 7 “Then I’ll let you get back to it,” Paige told him. “Just remember me and the boost I just gave your career when I call in desperate need and you’re the only man in the world that can help.” “Anytime, day or night my friend,” Sean agreed. “I’m there. Always would be, I didn’t need this bust for that. I’ll call you tomorrow, after I process the cars and get a couple hours. We’ll make arrangements to get the car back to Mr. Corvene.” “Later,” Paige said before she disconnected the call. She turned to address Wyatt. “The op was lucrative. The feds appreciate your assistance and so do I. We would never have known about these guys if you hadn’t helped. Now for the important question.” “What’s that?” Wyatt asked hesitantly. “What’s next for you?” Paige asked. “You can’t work for Reyo. You’re out of a job and my source tells me you are paying the mortgage on the house your dad lives in. How do you plan to make ends meet?” “I’m working on something,” Wyatt evaded. “I’d like to know what,” Jericho insisted. “My department stepped in, sheltered you from prosecution, and I believe we have a vested interest in your future. Have you been approached by someone or is your dad hooking you up with another questionable operation?” “Both,” Wyatt admitted. “Dad called just before I came over. He somehow knew Salvador, Rico, and the rest had been arrested, He predicts the others will be rounded up within a matter of days. He told me to quit and move on. He suggested another friend, said he expects me to have a new job before the first of next month. I also got a call from a guy I know. An acquaintance I met while I was working at the raceway back in Kentucky. I’m thinking about accepting his offer.” “I have two deputies in the racing business and I have a third option, if you want it. Both Havilland and Bridges mentioned the same reputable racing team. They’re looking for a good driver. Not for racing, but for transport. The pay is better than you were making with Reyo and the guys are as clean as they come. If my men recommend them, you can’t find a better job in the industry.” “I’d like to look into it,” Wyatt agreed. “I think my guy is clean but I know yours will be. I want to make my mom proud. I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of that so far. Your option, that’s a second option not a third. My dad’s suggestion is out for sure. I don’t trust him and I know anyone he lines me up with is as dirty as they come. He knows how to protect himself, but I’m not sure he cares if I’m vulnerable or covered. I’d like to strike out on my own and see how I do.” 102

Kindred Discord “I know you want to help your dad out,” Paige studied her cousin. “But at some point, I think you should make him pay his own way. He’s an adult. It’s his responsibility to pay his own mortgage. And, at some point, you just might want to buy a house of your own. Nobody has the funds to buy two houses at the same time. Well, nobody I know anyway.”

“I understand,” Wyatt said softly. “But, it’s complicated.” “And I won’t pry,” Paige promised. “Now, who wants ice cream?” The group celebrated well into the evening. The Mayor would be happy when he learned his biggest donor’s car had been returned unscathed. The DA would be happy when he learned his friend had been taken care of so quickly, and the feds were happy to have a huge bust they could brag about. Paige? She was happy, too. She’d been instrumental in helping a cousin in need. A childhood friend she had believed was out of her life forever. After only a few short days, they had developed a new bond. One, Paige hoped would last a lifetime. Wyatt reminded her of another life... another time. A world where her father was alive and well and her mother enjoyed spending time with the sister she’d never had. She’d avoided those memories for years, believing it best to leave the sorrow in the past. But, the reunion wasn’t all bad. Some of the memories were good. Like the time Paige’s father had arranged for a weekend in the Hamptons at a friend’s beach house. Boyd had been out of town at the time, so Sadie and Wyatt had joined them. Paige and Wyatt had practically lived on the beach making sandcastles and trying to ride the waves. She hadn’t thought about that weekend in years. Wyatt had, though. He had relived the memory, telling the story to Paige’s friends as they waited to hear the fate of the men in California. He had also admitted it was the best weekend he’d had in his life. Paige hoped, once he got settled with Havi and Dean’s friend, Wyatt would have a million best weekends waiting in his future. And, she hoped he’d tell her all about them. Because she realized now that remembering her father and her mother, wasn’t nearly as painful as it had been when she was alone. Before she’d moved back to Manti.


Ahmed watched the group and wondered if he should just join them. He’d come to accept the fact that running into Dax Hamilton while he was alone was nearly impossible. He had a friend living with him, which made things difficult. And, when he wasn’t home with the friend, he was spending time with his neighbor. If it was just Dax and the woman, he might approach him now. But they appeared to be having some sort of party. The timing was all wrong. Maybe, he’d get his chance tomorrow. If he couldn’t approach Hamilton while he was alone, he’d have to do it while he was with his roommate or his girlfriend. Ahmed was getting desperate and he knew time was running out. He would have to act soon. Otherwise, he might never get the chance. 103