Friday, January 30, 2015

Book Blast, Interview & Giveaway: Dating in the Dark by @TraceRbookworm

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Dating in the Dark - Sweet Delights Series #1
by Tracey Rogers
Audience: Adult - Genre: Contemporary Romance - Formats: E-book  - Publisher: Beachwalk Press - Cover by: Fantasia Frog Designs - Editor: Kelly Anderson - Pages: 150 (50K words) - ASIN: B00QYB19M2 - Date Published: Dec 15th 2014
blurb Can you find what you need hidden within the dark? Hiding out in his sister's bakery to recover from a recent injury isn't an ideal solution for newly unemployed meteorologist Damian Trent. Especially since he doesn't like cake. But hiding anywhere is preferable to facing the media frenzy revolving around his life. He has no intention of being seen by anyone. That is, until he hears a honey-toned voice over the phone. Public relations agent Sophie Rose has a boss who makes her working week a hellish one. He drives her to her need for sugar, so the recently opened Sweet Delights Bakery is perfect for her much needed Friday treat. But one day when she calls to place an order, she gets an unexpected surprise. Sophie's keen to dump her V-plates, though only the right man will do. Damian, with his sexy, yet familiar sounding voice, seems the ideal person for her to gain some much needed experience with. But why do they need to date in the dark? Content Warning: contains sensual sex.  
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Damian rested his arm across his forehead and sighed, trying to blot out the ringing sound and failing. Sleep wasn’t happening. He ached from his walk after pushing it to a run. With each step he’d remembered Sophie’s voice. He had very little else to occupy his mind, so she was an easy focus. Every stride had gathered pace, and before he knew it a walk had become a jog; a jog becoming a run. And her voice was still inside his head. Stretching out on the creaky sofa bed, he winced at the movement. Irritated, he tugged the sheet down from his bare chest to lean over and grab the phone. He placed it to his ear and muttered something unintelligible. “Hi, sorry—did I wake you?” “Sophie?” Or was he asleep and dreaming? “Oh, crap. I did, didn’t I? I’m so sorry. I couldn’t sleep, so I thought… Anyway, my apologies. Pretend I never happened, and goodnight,” she said speeding over her words. “Sophie, wait!” he called out, wanting to stop her before she hung up, needing to listen to her voice for a little while longer. “I couldn’t sleep either,” he reassured her as he heard her soft breaths. He shuffled higher against his pillow and propped one hand behind his head. Why couldn’t she sleep? Because of him? And how had she gotten his number? “Really?” Her relieved sigh made him smile. If he wasn’t careful smiling could become a habit of his. “When you left your number in the box, I thought…” Left his number? He had no idea what his number was. “What did you think?” “I thought you might want me to call?” she asked hesitantly, as if she was worried about his response. She wouldn’t be worried if she could see the stirring going on beneath the sheet. Or maybe she would be? Though she seemed confident, he still detected a shyness behind her words. “And did you want to call?” “I did.” His jaw clenched at her immediate response, a muscle flickering in his cheek. Interesting. Her honesty was evoking things inside that he was starting to like. A lot. “I like hearing your voice.” Christ, what was she doing to him? “What do you look like?” he asked, without thinking about the repercussions of his question. Silence. “Does that matter?” she said quietly, the warmth in her tone dropping a degree or two. “No, no it doesn’t.” He frowned, the admission taking him by surprise. “Tell me what you’re wearing instead.” “Why?” “Because if you don’t tell me you’re wearing something hideous, I won’t be sleeping for the rest of the night either.” She laughed then, the sound not helping his libido whatsoever. “Damian.” “Yeah.” “I’m not wearing anything hideous.” He groaned then, obviously out loud because Sophie was laughing again. “I’m not wearing anything.” Oh, hell. A sudden spike of desire sliced through his veins, making him regret his impulsive words. “Then I’m now very grateful I don’t know what you look like.” “You could. Know what I look like I mean.” “You want to tell me now?” “No. I want to show you. On a…date?” Damian lifted a hand to his face, massaging his fingers above his brow, then lower to scrub over his jaw. His breath felt restricted by his tightening lungs. As much as he wanted to see her, to touch her, to have someone touch him in a way that wasn’t clinical or trying to fix him—he couldn’t do it. How could he see her, without her seeing him? playlist

Character Name: Damian Trent

Character Bio: Born in the UK and living in London. Meteorologist and former TV weather presenter. Mother is a famous actress, father is a movie producer. Has a younger sister who owns a bakery. Insists on being interviewed in the dark.

Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?

Some might say I can be stubborn. By some I mean my sister. Probably true. My best quality? I’m loyal to those who are loyal to me.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

My upbringing was nothing like the media perceived it to be. Let’s just say my mother drew on her acting skills when there were cameras around.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?

I didn’t do what the media reported I did.

What are you most afraid of?

Being seen. I stepped out of the limelight and I much prefer being in the shadows.

What do you want more than anything?

To fully recover and get my career back to the way it was.

What is your relationship status?

Single. It’s likely to stay that way, but there’s something about Sophie that I’m tempted to explore. Not sure how that could be possible though.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

Practical. It’s all about comfort while I’m recovering from my injuries.

How much of a rebel are you?

Well I wanted to cheat at these answers.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

My research into weather phenomena. I want to explore it further.

What is your idea of happiness?

Now? Being left alone in the outdoors. Just me and the stars. And a certain honey-toned woman if she wanted to join me.

What is your current state of mind?

Honestly – I don’t know. I guess I’m feeling frustrated with my life at the moment, but not enough to do something about it. I might need help with that and I don’t like admitting it.

What is your most treasured possession?

My hiking boots. As soon I get the all clear I’ll be making use of them again.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Have you read the papers?

What is it that you, most dislike?

Being judged unfairly. And my sister testing out her recipes on me.

Which living person do you, most despise?


What is your greatest regret?

Meeting Mia.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Honesty. Oh and a nice voice. Sophie has a sexy one.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

Phileas Fogg. Or Spiderman. Everyone likes Spiderman don’t they?

Which living person do you most admire?

David Attenborough. I like his thoughts on climate change.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Again, did you see the papers? Other than the obvious, probably my parentage.

What is your motto?

Trust no one.

about the author
clip_image008Usually found with a pen in my hand, or my head in a book, I’m a contemporary romance author who also thinks fangs and wings are a very attractive accessory. A devourer of books from an early age, imagination was my best discovery. I spent much of my childhood stepping into wardrobes, searching for that magical snowy world where conversing with animals would be expected. When I wasn’t searching for those worlds, I wrote about them instead. My first step into the world of romance was when I stole sneak peeks into my nana’s books. I’m still in that world and I refuse to leave. I live in Staffordshire, UK, with my husband and three wonderful children. An avid reader and writer of romance, I strongly believe that words make the world go around. I like nothing more than to be swept away by the words on a page. I hope I can sweep you away too.
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Tour Schedule - Two Week Blog Tour for Dating in the Dark, Sweet Delights Series by Tracey Rodgers from Jan 19 to Feb 5, 2015.
Jan 19
A Book Junky's Obsession - Promo
Books, Authors, Blogs - Promo & Top Ten
Sassy Southern Book Blog - Review
Jan 20
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - Promo
Smile Somebody Loves You - Promo & Top Ten
Coffee Books & Art - Promo, & Top Ten
Jan 21
Kimber Leigh Writes - Promo & Top Ten
Sweet Treat Reading Reviews - Promo
Jan 22
Trips Down Imagination Road - Review
The Avid Reader - Promo, Author Interview & Playlist
Jan 23
Lindsey Gray ~ Author & Reviewer - Review
The Idle Musings of a Writer's Mind - Promo & Author Interview 
Jan 26
Cover Reveals - Promo
Jan 27
Rustys Reading - Promo
Books Boys and Badass Bloggettes - Promo
Jan 28
Kelly P's Blog - Promo
Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom - Promo & Top Ten
Jan 29
Cajun Book Lover - Promo
Indy Book Fairy - Promo
Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books! - Promo & Playlist
Jan 30
Deal Sharing Aunt - Promo
Eclipse Reviews - Promo, Character Interview & Playlist
Feb 2
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog - Promo
Feb 3
G & Co. Book Blog - Promo
Bound 2 Escape - Promo
Feb 4
Portals to New Worlds - Promo, Author Interview & Playlist
Feb 5
Angels with Attitude Book Reviews - Promo, Author Interview & Playlist
Room With Books - Promo
A Little Bit of R&R - Promo

Thursday, January 29, 2015

5* Review for Devil in Duke's Clothing (Royal Pains, #1) by Nina Mason




Devil in Duke's Clothing (Royal Pains, #1)Devil in Duke's Clothing by Nina Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FSOG meet Indecent Proposal!

Innocent Maggie have no other option but to marry the Duke of Dunwoody’s, Robert Armstrong. She knows that she is in for a rough ride and is scared beyond words. While snooping around she found the devilish duke and another woman getting it on, but what she saw had left its mark on her forever. Now wedded to the dark intense man, she fears her marriage with him. But Robert blows her mind when he introduces her to sex, pain and most of all love. Maggie falls deep in love with the Duke but when she needs to pay the price for their marriage to be excepted by the King, it might be too much to ask of her.

Wow, what an interesting ride! Imagine a girl in the 1600's getting her hands on FSOG? Well Maggie would be the one, and even more get to experience it. As an innocent she fears what her devilish husband would do to her each day, but as he introduces her to his world, she is taken beyond just desire. I loved how Maggie started off as just another virgin and quickly changed into one hell of a mistress. Robert was, well you can say, a gentlemen. Slowly and with care he brought Maggie into his world of love and pain.

Mason have introduced us to an historical version of FSOG with an intense ride. Her writing was superb and I was lost in her novel within the first two pages. The plot was tense and near the end utterly suspenseful. I have to say that this was an amazing read from start to finish. Devil in Duke's clothing is the perfect read and I would highly recommend it.

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Book Blast & Giveaway: Dangerously Forever by @Griffinbooks


Erotic Romance / Sci-Fi

Date Published: December 26, 2014

Loving Dangerously, Book Five

Being kidnapped by a deadly—and dead sexy—brothel slave wasn’t exactly what Kiehle Xochis signed up for. His instructions had been simple: Watch over the human female until his brother and his mate arrived to rescue her. Instead, the slave has decided to liberate herself. She’s proving to be more than Kiehle can handle—and he kind of likes it.

Allysan Miller has gone through hell since being taken from Earth during an invasion. She’s finally found a way to escape the latest, and worst, of the brothels she’s been sold to. Now if Ally plays her cards right, she could gain both freedom and love…if she can learn to trust the dangerous male she’s chosen as her hostage.

Inside Scoop: Ally suffers her share of abuse at the hands of a brothel owner’s guards. But don’t worry. The feisty female warrior gives as good as she gets.

A Romantica® SciFi erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

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By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.


Copyright © A.M. GRIFFIN, 2014

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Ally kept a wary eye on the sleeping male. Sleeping may be too generous a word. Drugged would probably be a better description. As soon as he’d passed out, she sat him up so he could breathe easier, with his back resting against the headboard. He was slumped in an uncomfortable position, his head hanging in front of him and his chin resting on his chest.

His wonderful and perfect chest.

His dark nipples were tantalizing, to say the least. The bruise covering his right one was from her. Evidence of how delectable she found them. Even now her mouth watered with just the thought of licking them again.

His chest was dotted with hair that she had caressed while he’d pumped into her. Her fingertips had traced fine lines through it, following the path that his hairs made down his abdomen. The blanket pooled around his waist, just above where his hairs led to a mass of curls around his cock.

Her breath caught.

She had run her fingers through those hairs as well, while she had his thickened cock in her mouth.

Her mouth overflowed with saliva. She swallowed hard.

Maybe I can have one more taste?


No time for tasting. If she played her cards right, she wouldn’t have to go through this ever again. She would be free from this life—from being a whore and a slave—and the male lying in the bed was a means to that end.

Stop ogling him and finish what you started.


She jumped off the bed and went to the small chest that held many of the sex toys. It didn’t take her long to locate the gag and rope that Yoshi had said she’d put in there. Retrieving them, she went back to the alien who was going to help her, Max and Yoshi escape. He hadn’t moved an inch. His steady breathing was deep and hard, giving her the comfort she needed to pick up each muscular arm and bind it. It took all of her strength to hold up the dead weight of his arm with one hand and secure it with the other. By the time she finished the second arm, sweat dripped from her scalp and face.

She pulled back to view her work. He looked so peaceful. She lightly touched the bridge of his nose and made a path to his plump lips.

Soft as pillows.

She picked up the gag but instead of stuffing it in his mouth immediately, she clutched it in her hand and hesitated.

Why did this feel so wrong? This alien was like any other. She didn’t owe him anything. After he left the brothel, he would go back to his life of luxury while she continued to whore for her and Max’s safety. And now that Alharad knew about her interest in Yoshi, she would probably have to do worse things.

What could be worse than whoring?

She didn’t want to find out.

That train of thought was just what she needed to finish the task. She straddled his legs, sat back on his thighs and lifted his head.

His gaze settled on hers.

She froze and stared deep into his lavender-colored eyes framed in thick black lashes. He flicked his gaze from hers to the gag in her hand.

“What are you planning to do with that?” he asked, slurring his words.

She let go of his head and tightened her hold on the gag. She didn’t owe him an explanation. She tried to put the gag over his mouth. He moved his head from side-to-side, pulling on his bound arms.

“Stay still.” She tried again and he thrashed his head more.

“What is your plan?” His voice didn’t slur as much as it had before.

Shit. He must have the metabolism of a horse.

“You’re going to help me escape.”

“Really?” His mouth curled into a half smile.

She raked her gaze over him. “Don’t try anything funny. I need your transporter.”

He raised a brow.

“Just relax. This will all be over soon.”

“It’s hard to relax when you’ve got me tied to my bed.”

“You have no choice. You can relax on your own or I can help you relax,” she nodded toward the knife sitting on the table, “permanently.”

“I thought you said you need me?”

“I do. I need for you to give me the launch sequence code for your transporter. It would be easier to have you cooperate with me in the matter. But if I have to kill you and figure it out myself, I will.” She shrugged.

If she killed him, she would definitely have to escape. Alharad had threatened to kill her if she harmed this one, and he didn’t make threats lightly. If he said he was going to kill her, he would. It seemed like a lifetime had passed since the days she would’ve tested Alharad and hoped for death, but that was impossible now. Max and Yoshi depended on her.

“Now,” she continued. “Be a good boy and let me put this gag in your mouth while I complete the finishing touches on my escape plan.”

“You don’t need to gag me. I promise I won’t scream.”

He didn’t sound mad at all. If she didn’t know any better she would’ve thought he was…amused.

“Yeah, right.” She tried to put the gag over his mouth again and again, but he continued to thrash his head back and forth. She couldn’t get a grip on him.

“As enjoyable as I find this, I can assure you that as a warrior of my caliber, I do not want to alert anyone that I allowed a female to get the best of me. I’ll be quiet while you…escape, was it?”

She chewed on her bottom lip. She didn’t have time to keep fighting with him. Yoshi would be coming soon. “The first call for help will be your last. I’ll slit your throat without a second thought,” she threatened.

“I believe you.”

She eyed him suspiciously. “You don’t even know me.”

“I know of you,” he said. “You’re the only female here who has killed customers and lived to tell about it.”

“If you knew, why did you still request me?”

“Because I’m a warrior. I don’t want anyone meek and mild.”

She snorted. “I haven’t been that in a long time.”

He shook his head. “You don’t have a meek bone in your body.”

She looked at him, but really past him. On Earth, before Jim had died, she would’ve never thought to lift a hand to someone. She’d never been the strong one. “I did a long time ago.”

“Would you like to talk about it?”

She snapped back to reality. “Pft. This isn’t a therapy session and you are not my confidant.”

He lifted his hips. His hard cock thrust against her ass.

“Hey,” she said, rolling off him.


“You know what.” She pointed to his dick. “There will be no more of that—ever.” She rose from the bed and steadied herself.


“No. The only thing I need from you is your transporter. You’re going to make me a free woman and I won’t have to do that anymore unless I want too—and believe me, I’ve had my fill of sex.”

“Are you saying you didn’t enjoy yourself with me?”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ve been doing this for a very long time. It’s called acting.”

His gaze turned dark. “I would have to dispute your claim.”

She turned away before he could see the lie in her eyes.

“Where are you planning to go?” he asked.

“As if I would tell you.”

“You’ll have to tell me eventually.”

She snorted. “I don’t have to tell you because I don’t need you. I need your transporter.”

“You need me whether you want to admit it or not.”

She turned with a smart retort on his lips. But instead of telling him off she stared at his glorious body and cock.

Her knees weakened. I can’t think with him naked like that.

She grabbed his clothes from the chair and began putting his pants on him. The sooner she covered up his jutting cock, the better. The more she looked at it, the more confused she became.

And he just kept talking. Sheesh. If he would shut up, she could think.

“You do know that the moment you try to leave here Alharad will have vessels on you. Do you really think you can outmaneuver them? Are you a skilled pilot?”

She pulled her brows together. She hadn’t thought about that. “I-I’ll make it.”

“It seems to me that you didn’t think any of this through.”

She threw his shoes down. They hit the floor with a loud thump. “Holy shit! Will you shut. The. Fuck. Up!? I ought to just kill you right now and leave on foot. At least then I wouldn’t have to hear the constant chattering.”

“And you think Alharad won’t find you if you stay on this planet?” he asked.

She turned her back on him and thought about it. As long as they escaped from the compound, the rest could be figured out later.

“Do you know anything about the planet you’re on? Even if you escaped, he’d find you. He owns this city. And the cities surrounding this one are no place for a solitary female. If the locals don’t catch you and send you back here, you’ll end up being someone else’s personal slave. It won’t matter. As long as you stay on Yinnis, you really won’t gain escape.”

“I didn’t ask for your advice, Captain Know-It-All.”

“You didn’t ask, but it’s obvious that you need it.”

She reached out and placed a steadying hand on the back of a chair and closed her eyes. She needed to think and she couldn’t do it with all his talking. Every word he said made her doubt her getaway plan would even work.

I should’ve gagged him.


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A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

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Book Blast & Giveaway: Zoku’s Hope by @ChelCOneal

Zukos Hope - Blitz Banner  


TITLE – Zoku’s Hope SERIES – Angel Crest Trilogy #2 AUTHOR – Chelsea O’Neal GENRE – Urban Fantasy Romance PUBLICATION DATE – March 21, 2014 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 220 pages PUBLISHER – Mirador Publishing COVER ARTIST – Mallory Rock’s Art

  Zoku's Hope - Book Cover  


After Jaiden found Daniah in Juniper, they returned to Garnet City. Daniah is destined to become Queen of Zoku, a race of angel half-breeds who protect the humans from a soul-stealing evil. Now, Daniah is learning of her abilities and responsibilities as queen. Just as things seem to be going smoothly, a group of Zoku show up to help, led by an angel, Shelly. Mallory has been on her own for most of her life, trying to protect and save those around her. She is Toyek, and she's been hiding in plain sight while fighting for her life. She is intent on finding her friends' daughter, whatever the cost, when an innocent trip to the supermarket takes an interesting turn. Orion has been hired to find a female and, as a Tracker, finding people is his specialty. He finds much more than he was looking for when he runs into the beautiful Mallory. While pursuing both his target and the resistant Mallory, he finds himself fighting to defend Princess Daniah and the Zoku. Can Orion and Mallory work together to help Daniah be the hope the Zoku so desperately need? Or will a few surprises and a tragedy be all it takes to break the united front of the Zoku fighting against the evil Meikal?




  Portrait of young elegant couples in the tender passion  


“Cord, come dance with me,” I suggest, sliding out of my chair and holding my hand out to her.

She looks up at me in surprise then blushes and reaches her good hand up to clasp mine and we head to the dance floor. The music has all been slower songs, which is good because with her broken arm Cord wouldn’t be able to get too crazy.

I slide one arm around her waist and pull her against me while taking her free hand in mine. We sway to the music and I notice the beat changes into another song which is a bit faster, so I dip Cord back then nudge her gently with my arm at her waist while pulling her other arm, making her go in a circle before pulling her body back up against mine.

She giggles. “This is fun, and you’re quite good,” she says smiling up at me. “Even with my bum arm.”

I smile back and respond, “thank you.” Then we continue on, me dipping, swaying, pushing away pulling her back against me. I twist her so that her back is against me and we sway in time to the music. I drop my head against her shoulder and lay my cheek against hers.

“You’re pretty good at this yourself,” I say into her ear and feel her body tremble against mine as she lays her head back against my chest. ““Even with your bum arm.”

We sway a bit more, before I spin her around again and dip her before bringing her up against my body, lifting her to where her face is close to mine. We are still swaying slightly as the music changes again, and then, looking into her eyes and her flushed face, I lean closer, my eyes falling to her lips.

I feel her take in a breath and hear it catch in her throat. I release her hand and slide both of my arms around her, one on her waist and the other around her back. Her hand moves to my shoulder and I feel her pull me closer. My eyes flick back up to hers, which are locked onto my mouth. Without another thought, I lean in and press my lips against hers softly. My hand moves to her nape as I cradle her against me.

I feel a shock at the first touch of our lips and then I feel Cord press herself even closer to me as she pulls at my shoulder. She is everything I have been wanting and more than I had hoped for. Her lips are soft and warm, molding against mine; her body is lean and muscled, though still soft. Her hand moves up to my hair and she lightly scratches my scalp and I moan into her mouth feeling the touch all throughout my body.

I move my lips against hers, lightly swiping my tongue against her lower lip, coaxing her to open for me. She does, sucking in a shuddering breath, and I thrust my tongue into her mouth. I feel as well as hear her groan in to my mouth as she angles her mouth against mine.

I pull back from her mouth and move to her neck, lightly leaving open- mouthed kisses along her jaw and neck. I have waited years to finally kiss her, and I have wanted her more the last few days. “Cord,” I whisper and I feel her body stiffen.

I pull back and look at her in question. She looks up at me with indecision all over her face, though I can see the desire in her eyes.

Zoku's Hope - Teaser 2  


Chelsea O’Neal lives in her fantasy world where people can fly, vampires could be real, money is never an issue, and the romantic meeting of your true love is a normal happening. When not relaxing in Chelsea-ville, she enjoys talking with animals that talk back and taking long walks with her Prince Charming…

Actually Chelsea lives in the United States in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, with her black lab Daisey, who hasn’t spoken actual words, but she is pretty sure Daisey understands her. She is yet to meet her Prince Charming, though she is quite sure he is out there. Chelsea enjoys working in a library as well as a cosmetologist. She is an avid reader and writing has always been her passion. Zoku’s Hope is her second novel, and she is working on her next book now.




Zoku's Hope - Teaser 1  


1 ebook of each of my books.

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Book one info below



TITLE – Juniper’s Princess SERIES – Angel Crest Trilogy #1 AUTHOR – Chelsea O’Neal GENRE – Urban Fantasy Romance PUBLICATION DATE – July 2, 2013 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 254 pages PUBLISHER – Mirador Publishing COVER ARTIST – Mallory Rock’s Art

Juniper's Princess - Book Cover  


Daniah is different, she always has been and now her dreams and visions of the future are increasing, she knows her life is changing. She just doesn't know by how much...

Jaiden is different, but he knows why and he knows his responsibilities. He must find the saviour of his race, the angel human half-breeds who are fighting a war for humanity's souls. If he can't convince Daniah she is more than just a little different - she is the princess of their people - they are all going to die.

Unfortunately Daniah doesn't have many reasons to trust Jaiden, especially when he is caught in a web of his own lies. In a world where half-breed angels walk among us, fighting an evil for our souls, Daniah must find the strength to become the princess we all need.

Chelsea O'Neal has a unique voice in storytelling, threading the characters lives together intricately to give us a complex web of good versus evil in a world descending into chaos...




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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Blood and Spirits by @witlesslackey

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Blood and Spirits

The Coming Storm

Book One

Dennis Sharpe

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62015-595-0

Number of pages: 220

Cover Artist: Shari Ryan

Book Description:

Small-town life can be hard for a dead girl…

For Veronica Fischer the night to night life of a bloodsucking madam in Middle America is tough enough before she adopts Rachel Gregory, an eight year old ghost.

After her house is set on fire and Rachel disappears, all signs point to foul play. When she finds herself with a hit out on her unlife and warrants for her arrest, it becomes clear she’s going to need help.

Now she has to contend with horny zombies, violent spirits, and murderous grave robbers if she’s ever going to find Rachel and discover the awful truth of the coming storm.

A raucous ride through the dangerous lives of the lecherous undead.

Book Trailer:


Chapter 1

I’m told it’s an oddity that I still sleep. It only comes in short bursts, no more than forty-five minutes at a time. Most others with my condition, and I have only known a handful, tell me they don’t sleep anymore. Some of them haven’t in more than five decades. I can’t imagine the hell that must be. Even in my brief moments of rest, I still dream and in that I find relief. Even if the dreams aren’t what I like, they are still an escape.

The soft thickness of my comforter envelops me as I relax back into bed. Before I’m completely awake, my mind begins to unfold, opening to the world around me. In the distance, the fog is rolling in off the river, dense and blanketing, its vaporous fingers right there on the edges of my consciousness. The night is cool, and the last lights of the dying day dance across my ceiling, reflected from the crystals hanging in my window. The light tinkle as they sway into each other is a reassuring sound; the beautiful prisms they cast, a blessing. Not one night comes that I don’t wake to thank Jules for having the windows in this house ‘treated’. I can actually see the sun, even if I can’t be out in it.

I am now completely aware for miles around me. I’m awake, and not even grudgingly so. Not tonight. He’ll be here soon. I look forward to it and fear it all at once, but I ask myself ‘why dwell on what we can’t change?’

A soft breeze blows across me as I slip out of my bed, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand out. My mind recognizes the sensation as a chill, even if my dead flesh can’t feel as it once did.

Rubbing a hand down from the base of my skull, in a futile attempt to warm myself, I open the lid to the old steamer trunk Julie brought up from the basement today. She aired out everything in it while I slept, and the interior smells as though she even put some of my perfume on a few of the choice garments. I breathe in deeply and can the corner of my mouth turns up slightly. Time may have dulled Jules’ scent, but it’s still unmistakable, mingled in with the fragrance in the clothing.

Clothes have always held memories for me. The crimson silk of a dress drops down over me and it’s as though his eyes were on me again. The mirror reveals the garment to be no more out of place, for its slinky cut or lack of length, than it did when I first wore it a lifetime ago, when I could still remember being a girl. I first put it on in front of him and twirled around to raise the hem, hoping to entice and astonish with my feminine wiles, foolish enough back then to believe that because I loved him, a creature like him was even still capable of love.

I’ve learned from his example and years of my own mistakes – emotion is a weakness to be managed.

Yet, here I am, slipping into this dress that I haven’t worn since he left, simply because I know he’ll remember it.

Stepping out into the thick evening air, the raw power of the river hits me with the force of a freight train. Even from this distance, the power is unmistakable. Tonight, though, it has an odd feeling, as though it were restrained.

Standing still with my eyes closed, I concentrate and listen to the pulse of the water rolling heavily over the rocky bed, feel the lapping, almost angry waves against the shoreline. I don’t know why closing my eyes helps me bond to my surroundings, it just always has. It must be another facet of my insanity.

I’ve never met someone with my affliction that was as sane as they had been when they were alive. I wasn’t ever all that sane, either, but I’ve grown more detached as time has gone by. Too often these days, I feel like a spectator. Maybe that’s just my ‘coping mechanism’. My therapist would love to know about this fabulous train of thought. Prick.

As I enter the garage, it occurs to me that I’ve only got two cars at this house. Frank was to take Julie back to town with the Charger this afternoon to keep up the appearance that everything was normal. I’m certainly not taking my old Volkswagen Beetle to go bar hunting, so the flat black Eclipse will get a work out tonight. I hate this car, but she’s been fast enough to outrun a lot of demons I didn’t feel like facing.

Pulling out of the driveway, I already wish I’d stayed at the other house today. The drive into town is only thirty minutes, but I’m tense enough tonight and don’t need the wait. Telling myself that I needed to be here, for safety’s sake, only makes me feel more upset at my fear and lack of control.

Six months ago, I’d have talked to Lucy; she’d have taken the edge off. If she were here, though, I’d have had no need to contact Jules. Now I get to feel like a failure and look like one, too.

The tires scream as I kick the car almost sideways, narrowly avoiding a deer. My lack of focus is getting worse. As much as the idea repulses me, tonight I’m actually going to have to go look for food instead of letting it come to me. I haven’t had to do that in years. On one hand, it’s a fitting start to the night, but on the other, I had really thought I’d outgrown eating out.

I always forget how much sensory input I lose when I spend time around all the steel and pavement. The dark moonless drive down rural roads is a blessing, putting me more in tune with the land, at once one with the leaves on the trees, the bats overhead, and the rocks around the base of the roadside.

The sound of the insects in the high grass is comforting. Their flittering finds my ears even over the engine noise. They are mine as much as everything else here; as much as I am a part of them. It took more than twenty years to reach this level of awareness, and I’m still not foolish enough to believe I’ve mastered it.

I used to be able to spend time expanding my mind. I used to do a lot of things I haven’t been able to do lately. Everything has devolved so fast and I’m still reeling.

The past year I’ve been so caught up in the life of a dead girl, I’ve dealt with little else.

Rachel died eighteen months ago at the ripe old age of eight; I met her after that. She was hanging around the Jefferson House, where my girls work. If she hadn’t picked that place to haunt, I doubt I’d be in the mess I’m in now.

The town springs up slowly. Houses begin to sit closer together, then nearer to the road. Side streets appear, and businesses start to intersperse among the spider web of tight residential development, obviously undertaken with no real planning or forethought. Then, at last, the glow of the streetlights tells me I’m back where I’m in control. This is the town I run, inside and out. Or I did.

Passing the street that leads to the Jefferson House, it takes will not to turn. I want to check up on things, but personal priorities come first and I have to trust Julie has everything well in hand.

The dulcet tones of a southern rock cover band blare from six blocks away tingling my eardrums. The music is louder than usual. It should be a fun night, or at least a packed house. Either way, I’m content.

The transmission voices its complaint as I downshift onto the access road. I’ll never really like this car, but she does get from A to B more quickly than most. I still wish I’d driven something nicer tonight, something with a top I could put down. But, in the end, the car I’m in is the least of my concerns right now.

The lot isn’t full yet, leaving plenty of good spaces, but rock star parking wasn’t really a concern of mine to begin with. This just means that after I eat and pick him up, I should be able to get back here to a manageable crowd.

If I’m lucky, he’ll want to be social tonight. If not, then I’ll be too busy to make it back here at all. I really want to show him that the biggest part of my life is still under control, so he won’t only see the little girl that has to call him in as her savior. Again.

Why do I need so badly for him to be proud of me?

As I cross the parking lot, the lingering scents of sweat, cheap beer, and longing hang heavy in the air already. This might be a little too easy. Though catching a fresh meal has never been really what I’d call difficult. That’s why the small town, Midwestern life suits me; I usually get what I want and rarely have to work that hard to have it. Hopefully, years of having my food delivered hasn’t left me too out of practice.

Someone sees me coming and opens the door and holds it for me. That’s the thing about being a regular in a small town rural bar – you are a known commodity, more or less. This helps and hurts when you have to hunt for food where you also gather socially. Like a balancing act. Some are good at it; some are not. Those who have been less than good at it around here, I’ve had to deal with. No one pisses in my pool even once and gets to do it again.

There’s a big cowboy at the end of the bar, a couple bikers near the pool tables, and a few burly construction workers at a table. After only the briefest pause, my route is clear in my mind. The first taker is my next victim. I really love playing this game. Maybe I’m not so rusty, after all.

I don’t get the chance to make it very far. As I pass the bar, in my peripheral vision, the dark brown of the cowboy hat moves in my direction.

“Now this is why I came out tonight. A good looking girl in tight fitting dress!”

The booming words come projected from the stout bear of a man standing at the end of the bar undressing me through his beer goggles.

The cowboy it is; he’ll make a full meal.

I do my best to fake a blush, while acting interested and offended all at once. Pretending to care what men think is an art. It takes moments to learn, but lifetimes to master. I’d like to believe I’m an expert.

I walk over to him smiling but with my eyes downcast. “My name’s Veronica. Who are you, handsome?”

He puffs up in his detail-stitched denim shirt, pushing out his barrel chest in a vain attempt to hide his well-tended gut. He’d be fairly good looking if he didn’t obviously take such pride in how good looking he thinks he is.

“They call me Buck, and if I could I’d like to do a lot more than buy you a drink.” he slurs slightly at me.

He motions to the bartender for another round and I do my best to blush again, this time giving a halfhearted laugh at his insipid comment.

“Here ya go, darlin’.” He hands me a J├Ągerbomb and tries to force it to my lips “Bottoms up, baby!”

He reminds me why I live in a small town; this corn-fed hick really thinks he’s irresistible. Well, who am I to disappoint? I down the drink like a good girl going bad, exhale deeply, and lean over into him, letting my neckline plunge as it was designed to do. As old and tired as this dance is, I really do love his eyes on me. Some things never change.

“Now, that was worth it, wasn’t it?” he asks me proudly. “Buck won’t steer ya wrong.”

“We can go somewhere more private if you’d like…Buck,” I whisper softly in his ear, pulling back almost as slowly as the wicked grin spreads across my face. His perverse smile hides nothing. I have him now – hook, line, and zipper.

Money changes hands as we exit the bar. I laugh a little out loud while remembering the lack of faith I’d had in my abilities. I try to lead him to my car, but he’s intent on going to the alley behind the building. I try to convince him, sliding my hand slowly down over the large oval belt buckle with his name on it. But he’s convinced the alley is what excites him, and I don’t want to take the time to change his mind so I follow along.

It begins subtle and playful, but it’s clear that’s not what he’s in the mood for. He pushes me down onto my knees in a matter of seconds, quickly wrapping a hand in my hair and beginning to jerk my head back and forth violently.

He couldn’t hurt me if he tried so I let his game continue on his terms. Using my mouth like a cheap sex toy is a bit insulting, I guess, but I don’t need to breathe so I’m not gagging or choking. As always, I’m here to get what I need, and so I’ve gotten used to allowing them what they need. I look at it like my public service, or my good deed.

I could just take what I want and be done, but that generally leads to more problems than I want to deal with. I’ve even grown bored with the games of superiority and subservience. I let them feel dominant, and powerful. It’s the least I can do, really. Besides, the heightened state of arousal makes them taste better, even if most of them could use a lesson in hygiene.

It’s been so long since I did this in public. It might even be a little exciting if I weren’t so anxious, or if Buck were more attractive.

I’m only vaguely aware of the fact that he’s calling me a dirty whore. A little laugh flitters inside that he would call me dirty; the irony is lost on him but not me. I’ve almost completely tuned him out, focused on the job I’m here to do.

And then he makes a mistake; he hits my face, hard. If I were still alive, it would have done some damage, broken bone, maybe even knocked me out.

This isn’t playful anymore – this bastard actually likes to hurt women – now, I’m done playing.

I pull back slowly from him, looking at his fist wrapped around what looks like a roll of quarters. He’s using every ounce of strength and leverage he has to try to hold me on my knees. He has no more effect holding me down than the weight of my clothes. His eyes begin to widen and he lets go of my hair as I rise slowly and determined. His fist is still drawn back, but we both know he’s not going to swing. I’m going over all the painful ways I can drive home the point that he doesn’t get to hurt the girls he plays with, all the while considering how much I love this dress and don’t want to ruin it.

Standing in front of him I wipe his liquid from the corner of my mouth and stare deeply. I can see the panic in his eyes. I can smell his fear, deep, rich and growing, and for the first time tonight, I’m actually aroused.

“Now, Buck, what could possibly have made you think that was a good idea?” I ask in a cool and controlled voice.

“Get back on your knees whore! I ain’t paying you to fucking talk!” He spews the words out loudly, in a vain attempt to regain control as he tries to force me back down with one hand, while still menacing with his fist. He only succeeds in ripping my dress.

Not this dress, not tonight. He’s decided it for me; tonight is the end of his story.

“I’m used to the rough stuff, Buck.”

In an instant, I have his throat in my hand and his back against the wall. He’s beginning to shake as he draws back to swing.

“I was just going to let you off with a little pain and a warning about hurting working girls, and look what you’ve done.”

The fear pours off of him in waves as I disregard his raised fist and calmly show him my torn dress. It’s enough to make even my body react involuntarily to the stimulation. “You want a pretty girl to throatfuck, you pay for it. We’re all good. You like it a little rough, that’s fine. But slapping a girl around hard enough to actually hurt them? We just don’t do that, Buck. You’re incredibly lucky I don’t bruise easy.”

I flash him a smile and for just a moment I can see he thinks it’s all going to be okay.

“We had a perfectly good deal worked out, and now you’ve ensured that I’m the last thing you’re gonna see, and given me the extra work of dealing with your corpse.”

He shudders and wets himself.

It really is dirty how hot this has gotten me. I’ll blame it on my state of mind, certainly not wanting to give this bastard any credit.

I peer deeply into his eyes, and his mind unfolds to me. I see all that he had planned for me; I know all that is ‘Buck’. The last restraint I had left is gone. He’s from out of town, no one here knows him, and only his trucking company will miss him.

I apply just a touch more pressure, and with a flick of my wrist, he goes limp. I let go and he crumples to the ground in a heap. Quick and painless is better than he deserves, but I’m pressed for time.

I drink from him what I need and leave him piled up behind the dumpster. At least he’s served his purpose, even if he was more trouble than I’d planned on.

Why this dress? Any other dress he could have ripped and he’d still be breathing. Clearly, I’m too stressed out.

I dial my cell and wait, more than a little irritated when I get voicemail. “Frank, you really need to call me back. I have a pick up for you and it’s time sensitive. Remind me again why I keep you on payroll?”

I walk back up to the end of the alley and wait for my phone to ring. The straps on the left shoulder of the dress are ripped completely out of the back and there are two deep tears where they had been attached. This is what happens when you have to rush. Things don’t go as planned, and then shit gets broken.

“Can I help you with that?”

His voice is steady, soft, and scares me almost out of my skin. This is why I pay him so well.

I turn to face him and am a bit taken aback to see him dressed in jeans and a wife-beater. He’s never this down-dressed, even when I tell him to be.

“Not with my dress, but you can wrap that up,” I fume, nodding my head back down the alley to what remains of Buck. “And make it disappear.”

Frank O’Leary looks like what a Greek god should look like. Chiseled out of stone; an example of everything that makes a man attractive. His mane of auburn hair, always perfectly messy, hangs down between his shoulder blades. Like all men who look this good, Frank has no interest in women. He also has very few morals, a deviously creative mind, and an unequaled love for money. That serves to make him an irreplaceable asset. I keep telling myself I can never trust him completely, but he’s too smart to bite the hand that pays for his lifestyle.

Also, despite my attempts to keep him at arm’s length, I’ve grown attached to him over the years.

He stares, one eyebrow raised, at the boots jutting visibly out from behind the dumpster and nods. “Any particulars on how he disappears or just ‘out of sight out of mind?’”

“Just make it fucking happen, Frank! I don’t have time for bullshit tonight!” As soon as the words escape me, I’m aware they’re harsher than he deserved.

The look on his face says it all. He understands. He’s not happy about it, but he knows why I’m stressed and he’ll accept it for now and hope that things will get better.

“He is coming in tonight, then?”

“Should be here in about an hour.”

I really have to get back to the old me, and soon. I know better than to kill this close to where I go to relax. I know he knows that, too. It felt good to destroy that piece of shit, and save generations of women from having to deal with him, but I still know better.

Frank looks down the alley again, then back to me and holds out a set of keys with a silver skull keychain. He knows me too well. I take the keys to the Charger and hand him back the ones to the little flat black speedster.

“How much gas does she have?” he asks, still looking down the alley, sizing up the job.

“You need to get some.” I call back at him, already walking toward the emerald-green muscle machine. “You’re on fumes.”

He’s muttering under his breath as I get in, but his voice is less than a whisper and it gets lost under the deafening roar of the engine coming to life. I put the top down and back her out slowly while checking my watch. Not much time left.

I leave the lot and the mess behind me, able to count on Frank. I have to get to the airport, and make sure everything is secure before his plane lands.


Character Name: Veronica Fischer

Character Bio: Veronica is a madam in a small Kentucky town. She’s been a bloodsucker for decades now, and recently adopter her first child – Rachel, an 8-year-old ghost. She’s into fashion, things of beauty, good music, and being in charge.



The following is believed to be the audio transcript of Dr. Julianna Montclair’s, a state licensed therapist, interview with Veronica Fischer. Dr. Montclair confirms that she does record her sessions, and even identified the tape this transcript was taken from as one that had been in her possession. However, in her sworn statement Dr. Montclair claims never to have met with Ms. Fischer, or to have recorded a session with her. The tape was acquired through a confidential informant, through means that make it inadmissible as evidence. The actual recording has been misplaced from the evidence file; all that remains is this transcript which you will find attached.

Thanks for taking the time to familiarize yourself with this information; it may be of use to you in the future as the investigation continues. Please disregard the obvious falsehoods in Ms. Fischer’s answers, and look only to her admissions of criminal activity.

Detective David Lewis

Pekin Police Department

Pekin, KY


Interview transcript begins:
(audible click as the microcassette recorder comes to life)

Veronica: So… You’re recording this?
Dr. Montclair: That’s right Ms. Fischer, and yes, I am. That was detailed in the Informed Consent forms you signed. Once again, my name is Dr. Montclair and these recordings are for my records only. We are bound by therapist/patient confidentiality. Nothing we discuss leaves this room unless you actively threaten to kill yourself or someone else. There recordings allow me to refer back to what we talk about as I transcribe my notes. With these recordings I don’t have to rely on just my memory for details we discuss and of treatment. And, not keeping any records is below the standard of care, unethical and, illegal.

Veronica: That sounded rehearsed.

Dr. Montclair: That’s because it is. I do have to give those facts to all my new patients. I’m sorry if it seems a bit… robotic.

Veronica: No, that’s fine… but you realize that I have a regular therapist, right? This is just kind of a fill in thing while he’s on vacation. That’s clear, right?

Dr. Montclair: Perfectly clear, Ms. Fischer, yes. My Colleague made me very well aware that I am just filling in while he was on vacation. The release of information was only signed for that timeframe.

Veronica: So… if any of this were to ever… get out, ya know, outside this room… we’re going to have to have a very uncomfortable, perhaps even painful conversation. We’re clear on that, too, right?

Dr. Montclair: This is a safe environment, Ms. Fischer. You don’t need to have any concern about that. Again, as long as you aren’t planning to harm anyone specific, yourself, or someone’s property, then there is no legal reason for me to go to law enforcement. If you did then I would have to report it.

Veronica: Right. You try that.


Veronica: And please, you’re not an officer of the court or a bill collector… call me Veronica. It’ll help facilitate your safe environment… or whatever…

Dr. Montclair: All right then, Veronica… we’ll start with some simple questions.

(clearing throat)

Dr. Montclair: Describe yourself. What is your worst and best quality?

Veronica: Describe myself?


Veronica: Well, I’m into scrapbooking and nights out with the girls. I like unicorns, dragonflies, and those stretchy necklaces with the little pink plastic hearts. And, oh… that’s right… as we discussed before you turned that recorder on, I drink blood, I’m a sex worker, I manage other sex workers, and I sometimes kill people when they’ve done bad things… or really piss me off. Right now, though, I have a dead eight-year-old daughter… ghost… she’s adopted… who is missing, my regular therapist is away on vacation, and my house was set on fire. All that being said… I haven’t hurt you yet, or erased your mind… add that to the fact that I’m still sitting here, even though you’re recording this – did I mention I’m not comfortable with that? – and I think that that could qualify as both my best and worst qualities. At the moment, anyway. Does that work for you? Maybe?

Dr. Montclair: Wow. That’s a lot of hostility. Okay. I will go ahead and state again, for the record, that threats are not going to add to the safe and secure environment we need to maintain here. So, if you could tone down your aggression that would be great. I understand that you are upset, and we will work into that. You just have to trust me. So, moving on, what is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

Veronica: Actually, in general, I’d prefer people knew as little about me as possible. I’m not saying you in particular… just everyone… in general. The less people know about me the better.

(silence for 3 seconds followed by a sigh)

Veronica: I’m sorry. Look… I’m really having a hard time with this… I’m a kinda private person… usually… what, exactly, are you going to do with this interview recording thingy, anyway?

Dr. Montclair: Veronica, it appears that you have certain trust issues that are being triggered, and I respect that – I do, but without a certain level of trust between us then we can’t hope to try to help you. I am being completely honest with you when I tell you that no one beyond myself will ever hear what is on this recording. Now, you seem somewhat defensive, and you hadn’t really addressed that last question, but that’s fine. We can come back to that one later. If you feel you can show some trust and go out a little on a limb with me… what is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
Veronica: Are you serious? Wha…? No. I’m… uh… How does this even apply to what I told you I needed to see you for? Seriously? My biggest secret? Who wants to know? Who is it you think you’re asking? We already covered that I am a criminal and undead… oh and that my dead little girl is missing… biggest secret? Do you work for Learner?

Dr. Montclair: I hear you. I hear your anxiety. I can assure you, though, that if you bear with me we will get to the issues at hand, we just have to lay some groundwork and build some trust to use as a springboard into your ultimate care. If we’re going to get anywhere with this you’re going to have to trust me. Please, just bear with me. We’ll get through this together.

(silence for three seconds)

Dr. Montclair: Now, Veronica, tell me… what are you most afraid of?

(silence for twenty-three seconds)

Veronica: Right now, you mean? I’m afraid of who you might really work for and why you have me answering all these questions? They might fit some framework for how you’re going to help me… or make me all better… but they aren’t dealing with the things I already told you were going on with my life. The reasons I told you I was here. So… what I’m wondering now? What I’m afraid of now? I’m wondering who knows about my shrink, and I’m afraid that some jackass got you to sit in for him, and I’m scared that someone… you – or whoever you work for – is using this, frankly, bizarre route to get into my dirty laundry. I mean… really, now? Afraid of? I’m afraid of what happened to Rachel. Remember, her? The one we talked about, like I said before… back before you turned the recorder on… which still seems a little sketchy, but I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here… I’m afraid of who tried to kill me by burning down my house. I’m afraid for my life. I’m afraid of being seen out in public in sweatpants. I’m just afraid a lot lately, which if you knew me… at all… you’d know, is so very not my normal mode of operation. I don’t even know which I’m most afraid of anymore, but I know that you clearly aren’t afraid of me, and that’s… well… not something that makes me very comfortable right now… and that might have just come off wrong…

(deep sigh)

Veronica: I’m just… I’m a little emotional right now and I’ve been known to do some bat-shit crazy things in the past… so…

(silence for fifteen seconds)

Dr. Montclair: Veronica, what do you want more than anything?

Veronica: No!

(silence for six seconds)

Veronica: Really? Now… I… Seriously? What do I want more than anything? For this to be over… like, now. Who are you, really?

(Sound of breaking glass)

Veronica: Oh! Do I have your attention now? I’ll pay for the window, but I want to be clear. I’m not okay. Rachel is missing and I’m coming apart at the seams. I guy I see regularly is out of town, and I bounce a lot of stuff off Lucy, too, but I can’t do that right now, so I got you… I’m making do… What do I want more than anything? I want Rachel home safe, and I want people to stop treating me like dirt, and I really want people to stop trying to ruin my life or kill me… and I want… I mean…

(deep sigh)

Veronica: Go ahead, ask the next question. Let’s see where this goes and how good you really are.

Dr. Montclair: (voice wavering slightly) What is your relationship status?

Veronica: None of your f***ing business! Next question!

(sound of movement on furniture)

Veronica: There’s not a relationship… Not at the moment. Is that good enough?

Dr. Montclair: (sniffling, voice still slightly wavering) How would you describe your sense of fashion?

Veronica: Wait, wait, wait… are you the new assistant Frank hired? Seriously, shut up. Stop crying. Look at me. Look in my eyes. Did Frank put you up to this? Tell me now. If he did this… if he set all this up just to try to make me feel better since my shrink was out of town, I’ll get it… I’ll be pissed, but at him, not you… Honestly, it’s all on him, not you.

Dr. Montclair: (audibly crying) Who is Frank?

(sound of tapping on wood – likely fingernails)

Veronica: So, these are like real questions, then? Like, really real? Are you getting them out of a book or something? Are you new to this?

Dr. Montclair: (almost inaudible) No... well… I’ve been doing this for three years.

Veronica: I’m… fine… just keep going… I’m just really on edge.

Dr. Montclair: (voice still wavering slightly) Ok… Veronica, how much of a rebel are you?

Veronica: Rebel? Well, I’m an orphan, Dr. Montclair. As a human being… and then as… not a human being. And in bloodsucker society that means I have no family, and thus, I mean less than nothing. I’m the trash that the trash wipes its boots on. When you add that to the fact that I run a slightly criminal enterprise… I’d say I’m as rebel as they come around here… Pekin, I mean. Now, and I can’t stress this enough, stop crying, please. I’m sorry I had… an outburst. I’m sorry I scared you. I will pay for the damages. Let’s just put that behind us and get on to something that’s going to help me out. Can we do that?

Dr. Montclair: (sniffling, voice still wavering slightly) Yes.

(throat clearing and then sniffling)

(silence for eleven seconds)

Dr. Montclair: (voice wavering slightly less) Veronica, what is it that… What is your idea of happiness?

Veronica: Happiness? Well… I guess… being at home with Rachel, and Frank – he’s the gay PI I told you about, before… he’s like my best friend, but don’t tell him I said that… he’s probably the person I’m closest to… but, yeah… being with them, and my girls, Julie, and Piper, and Leslie… and even Lucy, when she pops in… and not worrying about people trying to come after me, and hurt the people I care about… just that togetherness, and safety, I guess… that’s my idea of happiness.

(shuffling sounds)

(audible sob then gasp)

Veronica: Oh, no! It’s just a gun. Don’t let it freak you out. C’mon. I just carry it for protection, I’m not going to use it… Look. I’m putting it away. See. Right there. It’s in my purse, it’s down. Just… let’s keep going.

Dr. Montclair: I don’t feel safe continuing while you have a weapon in the office… this is supposed to be a safe environment… of trust… for both of us.

Veronica: People have been seriously trying to kill me, and people close to me. It’s just for protection. Here, you take my purse and hang on to it until we’re done. I swear to you… you have nothing to worry about

(shuffling sounds and a slight thud on wood)

(silence for nine seconds and then clearing of a throat)

Dr. Montclair: (voice a bit more in control) I’m… I’ll keep this here… but, in the future… weapons are not… they don’t help with build an environment conducive to working through the issues that… just… don’t bring a gun, from now on. Okay?
Veronica: Cross my heart. I’ll leave it in the car.

Dr. Montclair: Okay, then… I, uh… What would you say is… What is your current state of mind?

Veronica: Well I think that’s kinda obvious. Right? I’m on edge. I’m a little freaked out. I’d say I’m paranoid, but are you really paranoid if someone is actually after you? You’re not, right?

Dr. Montclair: I’m not here to judge, or label. At this point I’m just here to listen. Now, Veronica, what is your most treasured possession?

Veronica: Well, it was my house… maybe my car? I have an old VW… No, wait. My Charger. I’ve got a sweat vintage Charger. It was a gift from… well… never mind. It was a gift. I love that thing. All-in-all, though, I’d say I value people… or my relationships with them… far more than possessions.

(sounds of shifting in furniture)

Veronica: See, doc? You’re getting better at this… keep going. You’re doing good now.

Dr. Montclair: Uh… thank you, Veronica. Now, um… What is your most marked characteristic?

Veronica: My disregard for the law or my lack of regard for human life?
(silence for five seconds)

Veronica: That was a joke.


Veronica: My sense of humor? My overprotective nature… when it comes to people being used… or hurt… by those bigger or stronger… or those who just feel like they can?

Dr. Montclair: M’hmm… and… What is it that you, most dislike?

Veronica: Good God! That would be hard to narrow down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a really negative person, but there are a lot of things that piss me off, and get under my skin. Like pushy people who, ya know, think they’re better than you… usually men, right? And, like, going into a bathroom that hasn’t been flushed… and you can like smell it. Or, this is a big one… asking for help… having to ask, I mean. I hate that… and people who don’t use blinkers. One of those… pick one of those.

Dr. Montclair: Which living person do you, most despise?

Veronica: Marcus Learner. Next.

Dr. Montclair: Alright… What is your greatest regret?

Veronica: Wow… um… maybe not ever having a child of my own… like a flesh and blood one… back when I actually could do that… before the whole fang-life… but I’ve got Rachel… well… I don’t have her right now… which is why I’m here… bad question. Next question.

Dr. Montclair: What is the quality you most like in a man?

Veronica: Not vindictive… Not a douche… Not caked in layers and rolls… Not smelly… If he’s funny… why does it even matter? Next.

Dr. Montclair: What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Veronica: I’ll say the same… and hygiene is an issue… for both men and women… Next.

Dr. Montclair: Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

Veronica: That’s just… It’s Scarlett O’Hara… obviously. Right? Next.

Dr. Montclair: Which living person do you most admire?

Veronica: Well, that’s not a fair question. It would be Jules or Lucy… but they’re both dead. That doesn’t stop them from being major forces in my life. Jules from a distance… and Lucy more night to night, ya know? They’re very active for dead people, trust me.

Dr. Montclair: So… you see the dead, then? You talk to them?

Veronica: I’m undead. Did you miss that?

Dr. Montclair: Have you… seen things… or believed in things… that you later found to not be true? Have you had any prior diagnosis in that area, or medications, that you haven’t mentioned yet?

Veronica: No.

(silence for twelve seconds)

Dr. Montclair: Veronica, If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

(silence for five seconds)

Veronica: Where I’m at right now.

(shuffling sounds)

Veronica: Look, I tried. I really did. And I’m sure you are really good at what you do for some people…

Dr. Montclair: Veronica, please sit back down.

Veronica: This just isn’t working for either of us… so… just… yeah, that’s it. Let me in. I’m in your mind now. Yes. That’s right… calm down… relax. Yes, everything I’ve said was true. You can see now. You can see I’m not going to hurt you…

(creaking of desk chair)

Veronica: Just rest now. Sleep. You won’t wake up until morning. You’ll remember working late, but not what you were working on. It’s just stress getting to you. You’ll take a day off and go to a spa. Everything will be better. Until the sun is up you won’t hear or be aware of anything going on around you… you’ll just sleep.

(shuffling sounds)

Veronica: Well, that didn’t work at all. Maybe it’ll help her.


(cell phone dialing)

Veronica: Yeah, Jessica? I’ve got a cleaning job here I need you to handle.

(unintelligible talking on other end of phone)

Veronica: No! Nothing like that. This is just an office that needs to have no evidence that I was ever in it. Just a good scrub down, wall to wall, any notes or records with my name gone… Just make sure no one can ever tie me to this place. Got it.

(door slamming)

Veronica: (more distant) I’ll text you the address from the car.

(silence for thirteen minutes then tape ends)


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Born and raised in the middle of the American Midwest, Dennis Sharpe has been a writer as long as he can remember. His mother has told many people about the fantasy and science fiction stories he'd write on scraps of paper, and staple together as his 'books', before he'd attended his first day of formal education.

He has spent many late nights at diners and dives, drinking coffee with a tattered notebook to put a voice to his feelings of himself and the world around him, and other worlds that can exist only in fiction. The voices in his head don't ever stop talking to him, and so sooner or later he has to get out onto a page all that they've filled him up with.

Inspired by Neil Gaiman, Kurt Vonnegut, Frank Miller, Chrissie Pappas, Charles Bukowski, Stephen King, Issac Asimov, and countless classic literary influences, Dennis continues with the ability to write what at a glance might seem absurd, but quickly begins to resonate with our own thoughts and emotions. He writes people we know, love we've known and lost (and found again), and places we've been in our lives and in our heads. Even his fictional characters and worlds carry enough of the grey areas we experience in day-to-day life, to let us find the truth in his words, no matter how fantastic.

These days he can be found still writing, drinking coffee with friends, or spending time with his children (the true joys of his life), in Western Kentucky.


Twitter: @witlesslackey