To celebrate my new release, a YA Romantic Fantasy HALFLING, ENTITY MINE is on sale for .99 cents until 4/7!
Never fall in love with a man in a photo. Especially, if he’s dead . . .
Balanced on the knife-edge edge of going feral, chimera Ethan Wade has no idea what he is. All the former Navy SEAL turned maritime treasure hunter knows is his explosive temper has destroyed his life, driving him to an isolated rental house in Western, NY, to lick his wounds. When a molotov cocktail of rage and alcohol triggers an uncontrolled shift, he is caught between shapes.
Disembodied, he can only come to one conclusion: He’s died and become a ghost.
Blowing the whistle lost lawyer Devon Daughtry her boyfriend, (not too much of a loss), her job, (a bit worse) and with the rents in Manhattan, a primo apartment (the straw that broke the camel’s back).
Now she’s run home to Cassadaga determined to re-build her life by hanging out her shingle as a psychic medium.
When she discovers a photograph of Ethan while moving in, she’s crushed to discover the man whose lonely eyes strike a chord deep within her soul is missing and presumed dead. Soon, she begins having passionate dreams about him. Dreams that Ethan shares.
But Ethan isn’t the only being in the house. A demonic presence has followed her home and it has diabolical plans for both of them.
Just like humor, everybody has a different threshold for what scares them. I can watch all kinds of “reality” shows about hauntings and not get scared, but there have been times in the past when I have scared myself just by thinking about something (clips and images from things I’ve seen, like a black eyed man in A Haunting in Connecticut). I don’t watch horror movies for this reason. (I do watch Supernatural, but in that reality I can always imagine Sam and Dean will come and save me.:-) )
When I was writing ENTITY MINE I had to think about what specific things really scare me and hope my readers would feel the same (while knowing it will all be fine in the end).
Here are a couple of (I hope) scary scenes from ENTITY MINE.
The repetitive chirp of crickets alerted Devon to the fact that the long, Western New York twilight had snuck up on her and now the entire house stood cloaked in heavy shadow. She placed the last glass in the upper cupboard nearest the foyer and closed it with a decisive click. She swept her gaze across the dark kitchen, satisfied that everything was closed and put away.
“Looks good, huh?” she said to the Honey, who lay half in the kitchen and half in the bedroom.
The dog lifted her head an inch. Her back end was in shadow, but Devon could hear the thump of her fluffy, scimitar tail whacking the carpet.
Devon smiled. “Well, maybe not good, but neat anyway.”
She groped her way to the kitchen wall, fumbling for the light switch. The bulb in the fly-specked dome overhead flared on and then winked out, killing her night vision and leaving her standing in darkness so total her eyes conjured nonexistent patterns in the inky blackness. “Damn.”
She felt behind her on the wall for the switch by the front door, and flipped it up.
The light came on, filling the small foyer and spilling into the kitchen.
She gasped, her heart rate skyrocketing. Every carefully closed cupboard door hung completely open. She swallowed. “I hope that was you, Ethan.”
But somehow she knew it wasn’t.
A black figure coalesced in the doorway to the living room then crawled toward her, exuding oily menace.
A foul odor dragged her from sleep.
Devon blinked into the darkness, confused. How much time had passed? Had she been asleep for seconds or hours?
The smell intensified, seeming to wrap around her, sticky and pungent like dead things preserved in formaldehyde.
Honey growled, low and menacing, and Devon froze, the hairs on her arms prickling, her pulse mimicking the tempo of the drumming rain.
Her face was toward the window, but a sticky sensation of malevolence crawled over her skin, as if she’d walked through a woman-sized cobweb.
She could hear Honey pace, whining and panting.
“Devon.” A raspy voice breathed in her ear.
Adrenaline shot through her veins and rebounded in a continuous loop. All the moisture in her mouth evaporated. Her rational mind told her to turn and look, that she was
probably imagining things. No spirit she’d ever encountered had been strong enough to be active two days in a row, but terror held her glued on her side.
Finally, through sheer force of will, she wrenched onto
And found herself face-to-face with the black figure.
A scream beat against her control, but she gulped it back. She sat up and the nasty spirit vanished. Her hand rose to her collarbone. For a second, her heart slowed, marching back toward its normal beat, then something grabbed her throat, shoving her back on the bed with bruising force.
She flailed, grabbing the slippery edge of the bed for leverage, digging her nails into the mattress. Her airway constricted. She fought to suck air past the demon’s manacle-like grip and clutched the collar of choking pressure around her neck, scrabbling to get under it, but only scraped her own skin.
Honey barked, black lips drawn back to display sharp white teeth.
Barking and the sounds of her own choking reverberated in her ears, drowning out the cadence of the rain. Her vision frayed around the edges.
She gasped, to no avail, fighting to draw air, but the apparition’s punishing grip tightened.
There was nothing she could do. She heard roaring in her ears. The sound grew louder.
The inhuman spirit was too strong. Oh, my God! She was really going to die.
So what do you find scary? Are you a scaredy cat? Does your imagination get to you, the way mine has done, while sitting in your own back yard listening to the crickets and remembering clips you’ve seen of movies like Friday the Thirteenth? “Jay, jay, jay. Kill, kill, kill.”
Or do you laugh in the face of paranormal danger and watch movies like Ouija with impunity?
I don’t know that I believe in first sight exactly, but I do think sometimes one meeting is all it takes. Here’s why:
Once upon a time there was a girl (ok, you got me. It’s me, when I qualified for girlhood in more than just the fan girl sense) who had joined a dating service. (I’m not the bar type, ok? I’ll get into that later) Now reading Harlequins since the age of eleven, I was perhaps a tad picky, and after a year (the length of the contract) I hadn’t found anyone I clicked with.
It was time to decide if I should just give up on the dating service and let the universe (if it should be so kind,) either send someone my way without my assistance or give a sign that I was destined to be a happy single.
But the women who ran the dating service were not ready to give up on me. There was a great guy, they said, who had been in the service almost as long as I, but he hadn’t clicked with anyone either. However, as great as he was, the computer didn’t see us as a match. He was a computer programmer from Mumbai who spent his free time jumping out of airplanes and scuba diving. I was an asthmatic bookworm school librarian who loved spending time with my family and showing my basenji. Still, they thought we might hit it off, so I agreed.
We met for lunch at Chi-Chi’s (God, I miss the food at that restaurant). He greeted me on the front steps with a kiss on the cheek and I thought, this won’t take long. He is way too good-looking to be interested in me. (If you ever wondered where some of my heroines get their self-esteem issues, wonder no longer)
We sat and talked, went for dessert at Abbott’s frozen custard, and talked some more. That first date lasted six hours and I saw him just about every day after that. Within weeks we were talking marriage and he proposed to me within months.
It wasn’t love at first sight, but it doesn’t come much closer.
So, I write Shifters and I use the mating bond. It isn’t love at first sight, but it breaks down the barriers characters have that stop them from admitting that they are truly worth loving.
Take one of my heroes (please), Ethan of Entity Mine. He’s a tortured, former abused kid, ex-Navy SEAL, virgin, alpha male who doesn’t know he’s a chimera shifter. His history is such that he would never believe Devon, a lawyer in town to re-group from a bad experience, could love him, but the mating bond forces the issue.
Excerpt: (My apologies, Pages takes out my tabs)
The angry woman paced, her
sandaled feet slapping the concrete, though he didn’t think it
could be summer anymore, but she didn’t seem to be talking
to the woman blocking his view. A cell phone, then.
Here was a mystery, something to take his mind off his
unending hunger, if only for a moment. He moved closer.
Her scent, fresh, with an overlay of cherry blossoms
and a hint of musk, drifted to him through the screen door
on the air current she’d stirred with her sharp movement. He
inhaled. She smelled like spring. His favorite season.
How strange was it that he could still smell? He’d spent
a lot of time when he first died pondering the hows and whys
of his condition. The oddity of seeing, smelling, feeling,
without eyes to see, a nose to smell or hands to touch. Bitter
hunger and thirst from an incorporeal gut and throat. He
supposed the illusion was some construct of his brain, but
how his brain still worked was beyond him.
The woman ended her call, clutching the phone to her
chest, and turned to the blonde on the step. “I’m sorry,”
As he’d figured, her voice stroked across his ears like
the rough caress of a warm, ocean wave on sunbaked skin.
He moved to study her through the screen. There was
something familiar about her, but he couldn’t put his finger
on how he might know her. Probably about thirty, she had
light, red hair and pale skin. Her brown eyes seemed weary
and sad. A streak of something gray banded her forehead,
but all it did was highlight her delicate beauty.
He felt the sudden urge to hunt down the person who’d
kindled the hurt he’d heard beneath her anger and tear him
a new one.