“Ugh. You’d think people would have some consideration.”
Brandy wrinkled her nose in disgust, letting the door swing shut as she moved to the next stall. Normally, she wouldn’t have bothered with public restrooms. They were never clean enough, the toilet areas were all too often cramped cubicles, the dispensers were either broken or empty – the list went on. These stalls didn’t even rate a comparison to closets; closets were more spacious. Yet she had no choice. She’d found herself in Wal-Mart, up a creek without a paddle with nature calling insistently. If she didn’t find a decently clean stall soon she wasn’t sure what she’d do. Her bladder was sending out the warning signals of impending social doom.
“Well, that’s what I get for going shopping after dinner,” she muttered as she inspected another hopeless possibility. “Not like I had a choice. I need some new notebooks and I know I won’t be able to get up early enough to buy them before class starts… Finally.”
She gave a small smile of relief at the sight of relative cleanliness. Not wanting to take any chances given the state of the rest of the stalls, she swiped a seat liner before stepping inside to take care of business. Through the ceiling, she could just barely hear the tattoo of hard rain. Thunder rolled, and she hoped it would be over by the time she left.
A crash of sound overhead had the lights flickering. Brandy prayed that they wouldn’t go out. It would be like a cave in here without them. She could just imagine herself walking into things in her search for the exit. She’d experienced that before – painfully.
Footsteps echoed on the tile floor, becoming louder as they approached. Good luck, she thought. She was in the only decent stall to be had. The sound stopped in front of her stall just as she was finishing up. She noticed the toes of the boots under the door. Workman boots, she thought with a frown, then shrugged it off. There were some girls at college who wore workman boots, along with some very ratty, not-quite-matching clothing.
“I’ll be out in just a minute,” she called out, as she got her person in order. Flushing, she opened the door, almost running into the person waiting there. “Oh, sor – ”
It was a guy.
That was her last thought.
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“Alex,” he began with every sign of outward impatience. “Be reasonable. We are playing on the same team, after all.”
“Bull.” She curved her lips. “We were never on the same team. Now, be a good boy, and get out of my friend’s chair.”
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Jacksonville, FL, is a city with historic roots and character, much like many other cities in the United States. Yet the mundane façade hides a layer of reality not seen by humans – except for a select few. Alex Rosselle is such a one. The IRS and her clientele know her as an artist, yet the city’s paranormal underbelly see her for what she is: a Hunter coming into her own, one whose skills are about to be tested.
Something monstrous is stalking the streets of her beloved city. No one knows what it is, let alone where it comes from. With every kill it makes, storms brew. As she hunts for the source, Alex will encounter an old nemesis, a new ally, and the interest of an ancient deity as she faces the unknown threat – a deadly force which bears down on them all. A snippet of storied history may hold the key – provided Alex doesn’t drown first as the city becomes awash with blood and rain.
Blood & Rain, book 1 of the Hidden Reaches series by Doris Ross is now available from Amazon and Kindle – or you can buy it from us here.
The editing phase for Descent Into Darkness, Part 5: His Revenge is complete and will publish as an e-book on 9/19/14. The cover is being worked on now and will be posted once it’s finished.
Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 2: His War has also completed it’s editing phase. As this volume will be released in print, it will be a bit longer before preparations are complete. It’s just begun the layout phase and the cover is also has to be completed. Again, once it’s ready, it’ll be posted. As of right now, His War is slated for printed release on 10/26/14.
As His War comprises both Part 4: His Command and Part 5: His Revenge, I took the opportunity to re-edit His Command. I’ve recently discovered an excellent editing tool that catches around 95% of errors. The editing tool is Pro Writing Aid. While Pro Writing Aid doesn’t take the place of an actual editor, it comes closer than anything I’ve tried thus far. I highly recommend it to anyone who writes. I’ve used it to edit His War, and was so impressed with it that I’ve begun re-editing He Begins.
Current & Upcoming Projects
Once His War is published, I will begin outlining Descent Into Darkness, Part 6: His Conquest. Right now, I’m aiming to finish the last installment of Descent Into Darkness in the fall or winter of 2015. That is subject to change, and I will let everyone know if it gets pushed back.
The sequel to Blood & Rain, entitled Shards & Lies, is currently slated for a 2016 release. The rough draft is going through a hefty revision. If that wraps earlier than anticipated, and the editing phase goes smoothly, it may be moved up. We’ll see.
Until next time!
Cousins Becca Alexander and Kassie Madison were a pair of ordinary college students. Their whole lives were ahead of them and anything was possible until Becca vanished without a trace. Kassie, desperate to find her wayward cousin, lands in the middle of a bizarre web of mysteries. She receives aid from a mysterious benefactor in recovering Becca half way across the country, but his aid won’t come cheap. In payment, the pair will have to race across the country in search of answers while tracking strange phenomenon. Nothing is what it seems, and the answers they uncover will only lead to more frightening questions. Nothing they know can be trusted, maybe not even themselves. Look for Hidden Mystique, the urban fantasy serial by LJ Gastineau, at JukePopSerials.com
Kassie winced at the mess of half eaten food containers, dirty laundry, and other unidentifiable items strewn across the tiny room. The walls were a hideous mustard yellow color and what little she could see of the carpet, she hoped had always been brown. Unsure of what to do with herself, but wanting to avoid touching anything in the room she stood beside Becca. She prayed that there would not be any unwelcomed life forms rushing out to greet them. “So, is there anything you can tell us about your disappearance? What do you remember?”
Lucas sat down on the edge of the bed. It sank a lot lower than expected considering that he was quite lean. “Not too much. I remember double-checking my class registration then nothing… Everything else is a blank. I don’t know how, but I lost almost a whole month. Do you have any idea how insane that is? It was August for crying out loud when my memories went poof! I went from sitting at my computer to standing in the middle of an alley. It just doesn’t make a lick of sense. What in the world happened to me?”
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CHAPTER 1-Rude Awakening
The room was dark. She could hear voices. Something shattered in the distance.
Startled, the three year old girl dashed out of bed. She really wanted her mommy and daddy, but wasn’t sure if she should make a sound. Her gut instinct told her to hide.
As silent as a rabbit evading a fox she scampered to her closet then ducked into the cabinet part of the old end table her daddy had put in there as a place to store her stuffed animals. At first glance, unless someone took a good look at it, they would not notice that the little table which held a stack of books on top could store things as well. Hopefully, whoever the strange voices belonged to wouldn’t think of such a possibility.
Squeezing her eyes shut, the little girl scrunched herself up as tiny as she could. The words ‘I’m not here,’ echoed in her head like a mantra.
A loud thud broke her free of her thoughts as her tiny sanctuary filled with a bright light. She screamed.
* * *
Kassie Madison groaned as her cousin thrashed around in her bed in their shared dorm room. Squinting through the sunlight bleeding in through the blinds, she sat up then grabbed the alarm clock. It read 7:07am. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep Kassie swung to the edge of the bed, dropping her feet on the floor. She growled as various puzzle pieces clung to her soles. Annoyed, she threw a pillow at the dark haired young woman lying a few feet away from her. “Becca!”
Becca Alexander awoke with a squeal. She shoved at her long tangled hair then blinked. “What? It’s morning already?”
“You were having another one of your dreams again.”
“Oh. I don’t remember it.” She stretched as the red head flopped back down on her bed. “Is something wrong?”
“You forgot to put away your damn jigsaw puzzles again. Why the hell are you so obsessed with them? You’re gonna lose pieces if you keep spreading them out all over the room!”
“Sorry,” Becca winced, lowering her gaze to the mess. “I’ll try to be more careful.”
Kassie sighed, pulling several pieces off the bottoms of her feet. A part of her felt guilty for grumbling at her cousin. Becca was practically her sister at this point. She could still remember the day that the petite dark haired girl came to live with her and her family. Becca was like a tiny mouse living with a gaggle of noisy geese. To say they were complete opposites would be an understatement. It was a wonder they hadn’t murdered each other yet. She supposed the University of North Carolina could have given her someone worse than an odd little mouse to room with.
The brunette climbed out of bed with a thoughtful expression on her face. “I think I want breakfast before heading to class. Do you?”
Typical Becca and her strange way of speaking. Kassie lifted her gaze to the waterscape calendar hanging over her desk where a bright blue marker had encircled a particular date. September 2nd. She frowned in disbelief. “Don’t you even remember what today is?”
Becca’s eyebrows knitted together in thought. “I don’t believe I have anything due today…”
“It’s your twenty-first birthday, and you forgot? What kind of college student are you?” Kassie threw her arms up in exasperation, wild curls flying around with the movement. “You’re legal now. You can drink!”
“I don’t see how that’s anything to get excited over.” Deep blue eyes stared curiously into sea green ones. “It’s just an age. Nothing special.”
Becca shrugged as she grabbed a shirt and a pair of jeans from the closet. “I’m not a party girl like you.”
“Have you ever been to a party?”
Kassie raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Really?”
Becca finished changing. “No one ever invited me. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“We need to get you out more…”
“That won’t be necessary. I’m happy the way I am.”
“Bec, you’re not living. You’re just existing in the world.” Kassie grinned as her cousin scowled at her. “I’m going to change that tonight! After all, tomorrow is Saturday. No classes!”
“We’re going to party hard and I refuse to take no for an answer. I’ll drag you out kicking and screaming if I have to!”
Becca shook her head. “But I don’t want to go.”
“Tough! You better get your puzzle fix taken care of early, chica.” The red head smirked at her bewildered cousin. “Tonight, your fate lies in my hands.”
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Becca sent Kassie an incredulous look. “We still have no clue how they know so much about us. They even knew my bra size! Do you know how disturbing that is? They could be perverts that took pictures of us. There might be nude photos of us on the internet as we speak!”
“Now you are being paranoid.”
The brunette snorted. “Just because I am not as promiscuous as you, doesn’t mean anything.”
“Hey! I wear more clothing than some people!”
Kassie sent an icy glare at her cousin. “Be glad they gave us clothes. You could still be wearing your PJs this very moment. Yes, I do find it a bit creepy that they knew about our sizes, but at least they had good taste.”
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“Secrets, really Terra, I thought they weren’t your style.”
“I learned a few things from mi time with ya,” she said bitterly.
“You said before, when I left, I nearly got you killed what does that mean?”
“Kieran didn’t take it well.”
“What did he do?
“It does to me.”
“I’m not your girl anymore Vince. I never was; I get that. I was an asset. I’m no longer a threat ta ya or of use either. Now be a good little spy and move on. I’ve got work ta do and you’re in mi way,” she muttered before rising from the table and walking away.
Mantle of the Gods is a suspense series by Tricia Sparks that begins with a mysterious discovery that leads to the return of the Greek gods and starts the clock ticking toward the coming of the apocalypse.
Discovering Truth, a Mantle of the Gods anthology is the newest instalment in the series it is a companion piece for the first three novels and can be read either first or last. It unlocks hidden truths skimmed over with in the pages of the first three novels. Discover how Terra ended up working as a spy in Voices from the Past. Understand why Zaharrah left home in Darkness Stirs. Learn how Anna found the lost city, in Discoveries. Watch as Lance’s hunt for the Fury killer shatters his world with in the pages of Dream’s End. See how Catharine learned Heart of Glass was making the leap to the big screen in Serenity Rising. Find out how Sam lost his job after taking on The Assignment.
Vince nodded. “I’ll leave you to rest if you like. I’m going to get some breakfast and get some more equipment. You should be safe enough now that it’s daylight,” he whispered before he drew her to him and kissed her. Terra struggled in his grasp aware Kieran had to be watching. But Vince would not be denied and it wasn’t long before her halfhearted efforts to get away changed to a demand of her own.
Her lips came alive under his and vied for control as hands that had been trying to push him away fisted in his hair and clothes drawing him closer. She cursed him and herself for her inability to deny the passion that still existed between them.
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“Aloha Kauai the time is 7:52 pm. Your Wildman is winding down as I prepare to head out the door but don’t you worry about the night slowing down, we’ve got a real treat for you tonight; filling in for the lovely Jessica, Queen of Cats, is our own Lady of the Night. She’s here to turn up the heat as she takes your requests from eight until midnight.” “That’s right Wildman. Prince Charming is out there somewhere but for now I’ve kicked off the dancing shoes, my feet are up and I’m going to play the tunes to keep you happy until the witching hour. But first, let’s start the night off with a song for the city. This one is from me to a special someone out there listening, on behalf of Jessica and Kevin, you know who you are. I hope you like it.” the woman purred over the airwaves.
* * *
Across town a man sat poised behind the wheel of his Toyota X-Runner frozen, unable to move. He could barely breathe. He knew that voice. It was a sound he could never forget. A ghost from the past and he cursed as the song she’d chosen began to play. It too he knew well “One Way or Another,” by Blondie he thought to himself. His eyes shot to his rear view mirror scanning the area as his lips parted. “Abort mission.” “Vince?” his second questioned with concern in her voice. He cursed, knowing he couldn’t take the command back. “I’ve been compromised.” “Are you sure? I see no one.” Vince’s eyes looked about for indications of a watcher but saw none. “I’m positive, report to base; I’ll be back when I’m clear.” Vince said before he sped off into the night….
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