Elizabeth Melton Parsons

Writing~Art~Life


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Frankie’s Heart by M. Jean Pike

My good friend, M. Jean Pike has finally taken her typewriter out of mothballs and has a new book, Frankie’s Heart, a christian romance. It’s available on Amazon Kindle now. The Paperback will be coming soon. I have a feeling this one will be different than some of my most loved books by Jean, but I don’t care. This girl could write about mud and I’d read it. She has a special gift for creating characters and worlds you can lose yourself in. I’m really looking forward to her new offering. So let’s show her some love and head over to Amazon to check out Frankie’s Heart.

 

Image copyright Black Lyon Publishing, LLC
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Where Home Is by Karen J. Hasley

where home is

On Amazon

Karen Hasley

The year is 1910. Katherine Davis, M.D. is an intelligent, self-assured, and attractive woman whose confidence perfectly reflects the confidence of a new century overflowing with scientific, medical, and technological breakthroughs. Without a moment’s hesitation, young Dr. Davis accepts the professional invitation of a lifetime when she travels to Chicago’s Hull-House to work with the celebrated social reformer, Jane Addams. Katherine is an excellent doctor eager to make a difference in the world and the people around her, and Chicago’s crowded tenements with their burgeoning immigrant population offer just that opportunity.

Everything Katherine believes about right and wrong, about good and evil she learned from her parents and the secure childhood they gave her. But times have changed, and Katherine can no longer rely on the values of the past. She has outgrown that past and the home of her childhood seems outdated and old-fashioned compared to the progressive society around her. She’s an independent woman, who must make her own way and follow her own ideals. When Katherine meets the dazzling Douglas Gallagher, a man as confident and as fearless as she, a successful man who has left his own past behind, an uncompromising-even ruthless-man, she is asked to choose between her past and her future. And the choice is so much more complicated than she expected! Because for Katherine, deciding where-and who-home really is will change her forever. And for good.

My Thoughts:

I was intrigued by the story-line of this book, but hesitated for awhile before deciding to read it. It’s the third book in a series and I figured to get anything out of the story I should probably read the others first. The problem was, this is the one I wanted to read. I needn’t have worried. This story can definitely stand alone.

I was hoping to get a glimpse into the world of Hull House, Jane Addams and the early European immigrants from this time period and I wasn’t disappointed. The author did a remarkable job of weaving the history into the plot without overwhelming or being too stingy with details. Not a typical historic romance with a lot of lusty sex scenes. There aren’t any so if that’s what you’re looking for you won’t find it here. There is a wonderful love story minus the sex. At first I thought the love story was secondary to the main plot, but actually it ties into it beautifully. I’d like go into more detail on that, but I’d have to include spoilers to do that and I’m not going to.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book where I was intrigued by almost every character. Hasley has a way of creating characters so beautifully flawed and interesting, you feel you just have to know what will happen to them. I loved the immigrant girl with the lovely soprano voice, Petra. But to be honest, she was the least interesting to me because she seemed a little too good to be realistic. But she was adorable all the same. From the first I didn’t like Douglas Gallagher much, but he was one my favorite characters.  I found him fascinating, mysterious and a little slimy. My feelings about him held true to the end of the story.

Where Home Is–much more than a romance. It’s a story of human nature at it’s worst and it’s finest. It showcases the contrast between the poor, working class, immigrant community and the opulence of the wealthy socialites of Chicago’s 1910. It’s a story of one woman’s search for her true self. A story of home and what that means to Katherine, as well as to each of us as individuals. It made me laugh out loud and brought me to tears on more than one occasion. And I’d like to thank Karen J. Hasley for writing a story that gave me so much pleasure.


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Mist by Susan Krinard

mist book cover

New York Times bestselling author SUSAN KRINARD launches her first urban fantasy series with MIST.

Mist lives a normal life. She has a normal job, a normal boyfriend, and a normal apartment in San Francisco. She never thinks about her past if she can help it.

She survived. That’s the end of it.

But then a snowy winter descends upon San Francisco. In June. And in quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Mist’s normal world is falling apart. But thankfully, Mist isn’t quite so normal herself. She’s a Valkyrie, and she’s going to need all her skill to thwart Loki’s schemes and save modern Earth from the ravages of a battle of the gods.

 

 

As many of you already know, I won  Mist by Susan Krinard over at Reflections of a Book Addict and I promised I’d leave my thoughts about it after reading. I’d stated in my earlier post that this was a new genre for me. Although I will read just about anything, for some reason I’d just never read any urban fantasies. I had no preconceived ideas as far as whether I’d like it, love it or hate it. I was looking forward to delving into new territory. Since I won the book, it cost me nothing but a little time to try the new genre. I didn’t read any reviews for Mist before I started reading and I’m glad. I read a few after I’d finished it and there was quite a few spoilers that I’d have been annoyed at knowing before I’d read the book. I understand the spoilers though. It’s difficult to detail the story line for you without the spoilers, so I’m not even going to try. Heck, even the blurb up there has a spoiler. I’ll just tell you what I think of the story.

I’m not exactly well versed in Norse mythology, but not completely ignorant either. I’ve read quite a few books about Odin, Loki, and the Valkyries, but never one set in modern times. So that was new for me and I actually liked it. As with most first books in a series, Mist was a lot about world building, back story and character development. I found it slow going at first. About ten pages in I was tempted to give the book to someone else and forget it, but I trudged on and eventually the beginnings of a good story began to emerge.

About the characters: Quite a few of the reviews I read said they felt Mist lacked emotion, therefore making it difficult to connect to her character. I disagree completely. I felt she was an emotional wreck. Sure she was trying to be the big, brave Valkyrie with a tight leash on her emotions, but it was clear this wasn’t the case. Her emotions were in full force, both complicated and conflicted. Kind of like how I felt about this story. It endeared her to me and made me want to know her better.  The elf, Dainn, was a super interesting character, also super annoying. Although I think he’s the male lead in the story, I was not enamored. There was something lacking, but I think (hope) he’ll improve as the series continues. Loki was vile, disgusting, and conniving as Loki always is, but his character wasn’t a villain I love to hate. He seemed weak and I really didn’t feel much about him one way or the other. I found the frost giants intriguing and thought the characterization of Freya was done well. Mist takes two young teens into her home and I think I like them and that part of the story line best of all. I would definitely like to know more about them and watch as their story unfolds.

I heard some complaints among the other reviewers about the differing POVs in the story, but to me this was a definite plus. I love being allowed inside the mind of all the main characters. That is, as long as it’s not over done and ruins all the surprises a story should hold. Maybe I would have held back on some of the details learned in this first installment, but I can’t be sure of that without reading the entire series first.

The Gods are going to war and modern earth is the designated battleground, Mist and her allies are the force that’s supposed to prevent that and save earth from the destruction the war would cause. That being said there are quite a few violent, action-packed fight scenes in the book.  But then, what kind of  a Valkyrie heroine would Mist be if she didn’t have a chance to kick some butt?

So, did I love it or not? That’s a good question. And one I’m not sure I can answer. I’m conflicted. There were things I loved about it and things I didn’t care for at all. By the time I reached the last page, I was pretty engrossed in the story, so I’d certainly read the next book in the series. I guess I’ll say I liked it and I’m optimistic that the next books will just get better and better. Would I recommend Mist to a friend. Yes, if it’s something I think they’d enjoy. I actually gave my copy to a friend because I think she’ll love it.


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Tragedy in Willowtown – Story Poem

old house

Children scamper down the sidewalks,
Skipping stones and hopping over cracks.
Having a good time, in no hurry to get home.
Not so for one little child.
She hurries, head down against the chilly air.
Fingers point, voices whisper,
The seed of Satan, no good.
She hurries faster, trying not to notice.
Home at last_The old Victorian house,
Once a well-respected and stately home.
Her mother sits as usual, in front of the fire.
Mind blurred by alcohol and pills,
Never noticing how much need of her the little
child has.
Wishing for the laughing, happy mother from
before_
Before the tragedy of Willowtown.
The murders of two young girls_
She’d heard that horrible things had been done
to them before they died.
She’d been too young to understand,
But she remembered the townspeople looking
for someone to blame.
Turning their hatred to the young piano
teacher.
The man who gave private lessons in his home,
Her father.
The laughing young man who tossed her in the
air_
Who cuddled and read bedtime stories to her
until she fell asleep.
She remembered the rocks thrown through the
windows_
Her mother crying,
The crowed that gathered outside their house
with sticks and guns.
Her father going out to speak with them_
And never coming back.
Sixty years later, the old Victorian still stands,
crumbling and faded.
Fingers point, voices whisper_
That crazy old woman, never leaves her house,
A witch she is, in league with the devil.

ÓElizabeth Melton Parsons


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Killer Wave – A Short Story

Below the image is a fictional story written by my husband.

Growing up in Miami, my husband was an avid surfer. If you’ve ever lived in south Florida you know that part of the country doesn’t get huge waves. So my husband traveled quite a bit to find bigger and better waves, but one thing he loved was surfing in Florida when there was a hurricane just off shore. This would of course generate much bigger waves. His story isn’t a scary one, but it has just enough of the spook factor to fit into my Halloween Spook Fest theme. Hope you enjoy it.

surfing

 

Killer Wave

Grabbing my board, I rushed out to the old Woody where the guys were impatiently waiting. I quickly loaded my board on top with the other three and climbed into the car. Joe was still blowing on the horn even as my backside hit the seat. I told him to lay off it before my dad came out and grounded me. One thing my dad hated was being awoken before sunrise on a Saturday morning.

Everyone was in high spirits, thinking about the great waves we’d catch. We raced off down the highway, heading for Breakers Point. We knew the waves would be good because of the storm over the Atlantic. Darrin told Joe to slow down, as he passed around the soda pop and biscuits he’d brought from home. Darrin was the oldest of the three of us at nineteen and was like an old mother hen at times. I had to agree though when he said we’d all like to live to surf another day.

We could see the waves were rolling in fast and high, as we parked the car and unloaded the boards. The sun was just beginning to rise and it looked like a giant red ball being pushed up out of the ocean by an unseen hand. In spite of the teasing from Lenny about the artist in me, I had to stop for a moment and take in the beauty of the scene. Red and orange streaks raced against the gray sky. Dark clouds edged in purple were boiling up in the distance.

The glassy green of the ocean and the white foamy peaks rushing onto shore were awesome. I couldn’t wait another minute to ride those babies home. I’d been surfing since I was a little kid and there was nothing like the sense of freedom or the rush of excitement from riding a wave.  As I was paddling out, I noticed Darrin and Joe had already caught their first waves and were riding them to shore. Lenny was sitting there watching so I paddled out to him and asked what he was waiting for.

“I’m waiting for the big one,” he stated calmly.

That was Lenny. He could wait in line at the movie house for hours and never get antsy. I thought he was wasting time and letting a lot of good waves pass by while waiting for that one perfect wave. I wanted the perfect wave too, but was willing to ride the others until it came around. I told Lenny I’d see him and paddled off to catch my first wave of the day. While it wasn’t the biggest or most perfect wave, it was still one great ride. I felt the familiar rush of excitement as I gained my balance and went rushing towards the shoreline. After catching several more waves I decided I’d relax and watch the others for a while. Lenny paddled up and the two of us sat there in silence just enjoying the beauty of the morning.

“So, what you waiting for now?” He asked me.

“Just relaxing for a minute.”

“Well you’d better watch out for those sharks.”

I jerked my head all around and saw nothing but the smooth glassy water. Lenny began to laugh. He pointed his finger at me for falling for that one and I was tempted to knock him off his board, but I was in too good a spirit not to appreciate the humor of it. He finally calmed and looked over at the waves building.

“If you’re not going for that one, Stevie, I am.”

I looked and then began to paddle as fast I could. This was going to be the ride of a lifetime from the looks of the huge wave. It continued to build and at first I thought I’d be able to handle it and make my way into the barrel, then I knew I was in trouble. I turned my board and caught the edge and suddenly I was going in. Water sucked at me and I felt like I was inside Mom’s washing machine during the spin cycle. Angry fists of water pummeled me from all sides like battering rams as I was tossed and tumbled by the churning water. I tried to relax and just wait for that moment when I’d be able to surface. I felt something thump into my head and everything went black.

When I came to, I was at the surface with my board still attached to my leg by the surf leash. I climbed on board and tried to get my bearings. I’d been pushed down quite a ways from the other guys and could see them all bunched together looking at the water. I waved my arms, yelling their names and trying to get their attention. They didn’t seem to hear me and I thought I was too far away. While I watched, Darrin and Lenny dove off their boards and went underwater. They came up again, looking all around before climbing back on their boards.

I lay down on my board and began to paddle my way closer. As I got near enough to hear them, I knew they were looking for me. I could hear them calling my name. I yelled and waved again, but still they didn’t hear. I didn’t understand why I could hear them and they couldn’t hear me. I paddled closer and could hear them clearly. Sitting up on my board, I yelled and yelled and still they didn’t react. I thought they were kidding around and began to get angry. I was just too tired to paddle any closer and knew I was close enough for them to see me. Suddenly Darrin grabbed at something in the water.  He cursed and Lenny began to bawl like a little girl. I knew then that they weren’t kidding.

“Hey, guys, it’s okay, I’m right here.”

They didn’t hear me and then I saw what Darrin was holding. It was my board. I thought that couldn’t be possible, I’m sitting on my board. Wait, something was very wrong. Am I dead? No, I’m right here. Oh, God, help me.

 

Story: ÓCopyright Garland Parsons

Photograph from: http://pdphoto.org/PictureDetail.php?mat=pdef&pg=6140

 


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Celia – Ghost Story

Halloween is fast approaching, so it’s time for a spook fest in honor of the season. I’ve always loved Halloween. Because of my dad’s religious beliefs we were not allowed to participate when I was a child. Although some cousins did dress me up and take me trick or treating once. It was great fun. So if you have beliefs against the spooky season, I’m sorry. All my posts until after Halloween will have some spooky aspect. The first will be an old story of mine (mainly because I’m busy or maybe just too lazy to find something else). This story is hiding behind the walls here somewhere, so you may have already read it. If not, I hope you enjoy this re-posting.

Celia

Celia

It was a long haul between Leavenworth and Casey. Tom knew if he didn’t fill up in Organ Springs he’d never get the cargo to Casey without running out of fuel. He’d been a trucker for over twenty years, but had never driven this particular route and wasn’t any too happy about doing it now. The narrow road wound itself like a snake through the mountain passes and the passing rain left just enough fog and mist behind to make seeing the dark road difficult. Tom couldn’t see the steep cliff to his right, but knew it was there and it made him nervous.

Turning the radio on, he settled for a station playing an old favorite about lost love. Listening to the old familiar tune, he could feel his anxiety slip away. He’d be in Organ Springs in less than twenty minutes and was looking forward to some hot coffee and a brief rest. Looking through the slapping wipers, he could just make out the Organ Springs road sign up a head at the crossroad. He geared the big truck down, preparing to stop.

Just as he was getting ready to turn right onto the road leading into town, he caught a glimpse of something white in the middle of the road to the left. He looked again, but didn’t see anything. Oh, boy, I’ve been on the road too long tonight. Now I’m seeing things that aren’t there.

Continuing on his way, he quickly put the incident from his mind. All he could think about was getting that much needed coffee to clear his head for the next leg of the trip. Hopefully, the mist would clear and he’d have smooth sailing the rest of the way. Tom had always been proud of getting his cargo where it was supposed to be and getting it there on time, but he never took unnecessary chances.  In his twenty plus years on the road, he’d never had an accident. A fact for which his company was grateful. Cora, Tom’s wife, felt they should have shown their gratitude in a more tangible way such as a raise in salary.

Tom smiled, as he thought of his wife of twenty years. An outspoken woman, Cora loved him with a fierceness he’d never thought possible before meeting her. And he loved her the same if not more. Cora had finally succeeded in convincing him to retire from the company in five years with a nice pension. Then they’d finally be able to move to the little house on the cost of Maine they’d bought years ago. Cora could paint all day and Tom could fish, something he never seemed to have time for now.

When his twenty-year retirement date came up, Cora had tried to convince him to take it. He thought they should wait another ten years, so there would be more money. Cora argued they’d spent too many years apart as it was. So they had compromised on the twenty-five year retirement.

Lost in thought, Tom never the less was paying attention to his surroundings and when the white thing appeared in the middle of the road, he was able to stop in time. Looking closer, Tom saw a lady in a long white dress. Jumping down from the cab, he hurried to her.

“Geesh, Miss. I could have run right over you. What are you doing out here in the middle of the road? Did you have an accident or something?”

“No, sir. I’d appreciate a ride into town. I was out walking and got caught in the rain.”

“I’ll be happy to oblige, I’m Thomas Withers. Call me Tom.”

“Thank you, Tom. I was afraid no one would come along and I’d have to walk all the way back, I’m Celia.”

Tom helped her into the cab and then climbed in himself. He looked over and realized she was shivering from wet and cold. Turning the heat on high, he reached behind the seat and pulled out a warm blanket to drape over her.

“Why, you poor little thing, you’re wet and freezing. Were you at a party? That’s a mighty pretty dress to be out walking in.”

“It’s my wedding dress. Do you like it?”

Tom was taken aback by this comment. Looking at the woman more closely, he saw a pale oval face and large dark eyes surrounded by purple smudges. She had an air of sadness about her that wrung his heart and he wondered if she’d gotten cold feet and run off from the wedding.

“It’s a beautiful dress, Hon. Are you getting warm now?”

“Yes, it’s nice and toasty under this blanket.”

“I’d better get you back to town then.” Tom put the big truck in gear and headed towards Organ Springs.

On their way to town, Tom tried to make polite conversation, hoping to get more of her story out of her, but she didn’t seem inclined to talk. She began to hum the tune to the same old love song he’d been listening to earlier and he softly sang the words. She turned her huge eyes his way and smiled, then continued to hum as he sang.

Right at the edge of Organ Springs sat a huge, old Queen Ann style house that had seen much better days. It was here, Celia asked Tom to let her out. Tom stopped the truck and eyed the old place dubiously. It was dark and there wasn’t a sign of a light inside the old place. The weeds growing in the yard were knee high and he couldn’t imagine anyone living there.

“Are you sure you want out here, Hon? I could take you on into town.”

“Oh, no. I live here. This is my home. Isn’t it just beautiful? Charles said we’d have lots of children to fill it up.”

Tom was worried about dropping the lady at this dilapidated old house. “So then, there’s someone waiting inside for you?”

“Of course, Charles is there waiting. He’s been waiting for such a long time. He’ll be so happy to see me.”

Tom glanced back at the old house, as he helped Celia from the cab of the truck. A small light came on in one of the front windows, easing his mind.

“There, you see? Charles has put the light in the window for me. He does that every night.” Happiness lit her eyes and her face seemed to glow as she said the words.

“Well, Celia, I’ll bid you goodnight then and I hope your wish of filling the house with children comes true.”

The glow left her face and she smiled sadly up at him before making her way through the weeds to the front door. Tom climbed back into his truck and drove to the truck stop on the other side of town. He was surprised that he was the only trucker around the place. He didn’t see how they could stay in business with so few customers. While the attendant filled his truck, he went inside to order coffee and a bite to eat.

He sat at the counter and an elderly man in a white apron came to take his order, shouting it to the cook in back as he filled Tom’s cup with hot coffee. Tom sighed, as he sipped the fragrant brew. “This is what I’ve been needing. Thank you.”

“Come from Clancy, did ya?” The man asked him.

“No, over the pass, I’m heading to Casey.”

The man’s eyes grew round in surprise. “Well, I’m mighty glad you made it safely. Guess you don’t know, but most truckers won’t come over the pass, they circle around through Clancy and take southbound 180 to Casey.”

“Yeah, I saw that route on the map, but that’s a good forty miles out of the way.”

“Most feel the forty miles are worth it. You didn’t see the ghost, then?”

Tom grinned. “What ghost might that be?” He’d heard these stories before in many small towns all over the country.

“The ghost of Celia Matheson.”

Tom choked on his coffee, coughing and sputtering. Once he’d got his breath back, he looked into the face of the old man and saw the knowing look in his eyes.

“You did see her then?”

Tom nodded, thinking the old man was pulling his leg, but wanting to hear more anyway. “Tell me about her.”

“Celia and Charles Matheson were childhood sweethearts. I went to school with both of them and they were in love from first grade on. Charles was going to law school when he and Celia decided to get married. A few months before the wedding they bought the old Queen Ann on the other side of town, course it was a beautiful place then. Celia loved that house.”

“What happened with him and Celia? They did get married, I guess.”

“Yes, sir, they did. Got married at the little church over on Walnut Street. They left for their honeymoon, but a big truck ran the stop sign over at the crossroad and rammed right into them. There wasn’t much left of the car and Celia didn’t make it.”

“That’s terrible. What about Charles?”

“He lived, still alive in fact. He’s lived in that big old house all alone for the past fifty years.”

“The house is in pretty bad shape. Hard to believe anyone lives there.”

“Yep. Charles is one of the good guys. He’s helped a lot of folks out with free legal advice over the years and has defended more than a few of his neighbors in court, never asking for a dime. So when his health began to fail, folks would get together and mow the lawn, do a few repairs. Charles thought it was charity and got so upset, everyone figured it was best to leave him be. He never did remarry and puts a light in the front window of that house every night, saying it’s for Celia to find her way to him when the time is right.”

Shivers crept along Tom’s spine. He didn’t believe in ghosts, but this was getting pretty spooky. “Right time for what?”

“For the two of them to be together again. They say Celia haunts the old crossroads. Before word got around, there was many a trucker come to town and swore they’d run over some lady in a white dress and then she’d just disappeared. Some said they stopped in time to miss her and actually spoke to her and offered her a lift, but she always said the same thing. ‘It’s not the right time’. So what’s your story, Mr.? Did ya run over her or offer her a lift?”

“I not only offered her a lift, but brought her to the old Queen Ann house and dropped her off. Now why don’t you tell me the real story behind all this nonsense. Is this some kind of way to draw in the tourists?”

“You say ya dropped her at the old house?”

“Yes, I did.”

The old man behind the counter rushed to the phone and dialed a number. “Hello, Sarah, let me talk to the sheriff.” He waited a moment and then spoke into the phone again. “Yeah, Pete, it’s me Hank. You better get a car over to the Matheson house. I think Charles might be ailing. Yeah, okay, let me know what happens, will ya? Thanks.” He hung up the phone and walked back to counter.

Tom finished his meal. He’d had enough of this silliness for one night and needed to get back on the road.

“Thanks for the meal, Hank, and for the entertainment.”

He left the truck stop and headed his big rig out of town towards Casey. He couldn’t get Hank’s story out of his mind and he kept seeing Celia’s lovely, pale face full of sadness.  “Darn it,” he whispered. He just had to see for himself what was going on at the old house.

Turning the truck around, he headed back to Organ Springs and drove to the old Queen Ann. There was an ambulance and a police car parked in front. As he watched, they wheeled a gurney out of the house, a body covered with a white sheet on top of it. An ache settled into his mid-section and Tom wondered if it were possible he’d actually had an encounter with the ghost of Celia Matheson. He climbed down from his truck and wandered over to a small group gathered in front of the house.

“What’s happening?” He asked one woman.

“Poor old Mr. Matheson passed away tonight. It’s a shame. He was a nice old man.”

Tom returned to his truck and began to turn it around to head back out of town, many questions running through his mind. As he started to pull away from the old house, a flash of something white caught his eye in the side mirror. Turning quickly, he saw Celia Matheson and a handsome young man in a dark suit walking hand in hand down the road.

As he stared open mouthed, Celia turned and looked at him. She smiled brightly before turning and continuing down the road, snuggled close against the side of the young man. As Tom watched, the two of them disappeared into the mist. Only there was no mist. It had cleared while he was having coffee. Tom shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Either he was going crazy or he’d actually just seen Celia and Charles Matheson’s ghosts.

Tom was quiet and thoughtful for the rest of the trip. After dropping his cargo, he found a phone and called Cora.

“Hello, Sweetheart, I’ll be home tomorrow. And, Cora, I’ve decided to take the twenty-year retirement. This is my last trip. Ah… Honey, don’t cry. Yes, I know. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home. I love you too. Bye, Darlin’.”

Tom walked back to his truck with a smile on his face. Ghost or not, Celia Matheson had shown him that spending time with his Cora was more important than a few extra dollars in retirement benefits.

Copyright Elizabeth Melton Parsons

This link was left in the comments by my lovely Aussie mate, Deb Stevens. It’s for another spooky ghost tale: http://www.unexplainedaustralia.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.101

Check out Deb’s blog, She’s awesome. http://deliberatelydebbie.wordpress.com/


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No Exit – Suspense Novel Excerpt

 99 cents Kindle version and available in paperback

Desperate to escape the abuse and poverty of his youth, the masked man becomes involved in the flesh trade. He’s amassed a fortune by selecting women with specific attributes requested by his buyers and been able to satisfy his own perverted sexual desires. With the help of his partner he’s managed to elude the police, but with having to dispose of one of the women from his previous collection, things are beginning to get messy and he’s determined this will be his last shipment. While the women strive to bolster one another’s courage through a hell that threatens both their sanity and their lives, four men urgently lead the search for their rescue. All four have their own personal agenda and distractions. Once again giving the masked man a chance to evade capture. (Reviews: see reviews for Captive Fear/No Exit to the right)

Excerpt from Chapter 1

He watched the little boy playing across the street. Had watched from his apartment for weeks and sometimes he’d fantasize while watching him ride around on his tricycle. He’d thought about snatching the kid a few times, but Tommy’s mom was always right there keeping a close eye on her young son.

Today was different. He watched as Tommy wandered out of the yard and crossed the street to the alley. Mom was nowhere to be seen. He knew this was his chance and snatching an apple from the bowl on the counter, he ran down the stairs to the back of the ally.

“Hi, Tommy. Remember me?”

“Yes.”

“Here, you want this apple?” The little boy took the apple and started to turn away. “Wait, I have toys upstairs. Wouldn’t you like to come up and play?”

“Okay.”

Barney snatched him up and went up the back stairs.

After playing toy soldiers with the kid for an hour, Tommy started to whine and wanted to go home. Barney gave him half a sleeping pill in his milk and Tommy went out like a light. Later that evening he watched as the police combed the neighborhood. They’d be at his door soon. Taking long, slow breaths, he tried to remain calm so he’d appear unworried when they questioned him.

All his effort was in vain. He broke into a sweat and his breathing quickened when the pounding on his door finally came. Jerking off his shirt and grabbing the dumbbells lying against the wall, he opened the door. Two uniformed officers looked him over.

He decided belligerence was the way to go. “What do you want? I’m busy.”

Officer Cable’s gaze traveled from the fine sheen of sweat covering the man’s face and chest to the weights he held. Noticing the guy’s increased breathing he shook his head slightly. He’d been on the force for fifteen years and if he didn’t know the man had been exercising, he’d swear he was guilty of something.

“I’m officer Cable, this is my partner, Collins. We need your name and where you work.”

“Real pleased to meet you. Name’s Barney Webber and I work down the street at Mack’s Grocery. What do you want?”

Collins wrote on his notepad and Cable held out an eight by ten glossy of Tommy. “You seen this kid?”

“I see the brat every day. He lives right across the street.”

“Have you seen him today? He’s missing.”

“Yeah, I saw him around four o’clock when I got home from work. He was playing out by the street.”

“See anyone else around him?”

“No, just the kid.”

“Did you see or hear anything else around that time?”

“Look, cop, I ain’t no damned babysitter. I saw the kid when I got home, but I didn’t take inventory.”

“All right, sir. Here’s my card. If you think of anything that might help, maybe something that seemed out of place, give me a call.” The officers turned to go.

“Hey, wait. I did see an old black van parked in front of the kid’s building. I only noticed it cause I’d never seen it before.”

Collins scribbled on his pad. “Do you know the make or model?”

“Ford I think, mid eighties maybe.”

“Did you see anyone in or around the vehicle?”

“Nope, just the van.”

Barney grinned when they’d gone. The part about the old van was a nice touch. His grin disappeared as fast as it came. That Cable seemed like a sharp fellow. He could come back with a search warrant. Tommy was still sleeping in the bedroom and he thought about taking him back to the ally. He could just leave him there for the police to find, but then the kid would tell about him and he’d be arrested.

 


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Review: In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly

dragonflycover_smallFrom above the shadows … light

 

Orphaned and impoverished, Gray Baldwin is a lost soul in search of a home, a life, and most of all — love. Kicked from foster home to foster home, at last a restored motorcycle and the onset of adulthood give him the means to leave behind all the ols threats, struggles and losses that haunt him. When he accepts a job at Hanwell Construction, life’s promising new start is both his hope and his torment. The spoiled daughter of a well-to-do business owner, pretty Hope Hanwell has a past to reconcile and a few tragic secrets of her own. She wants for nothing — and everything, pushing love as far away as she can until love pushes back. When Gray and Hope meet, theirs is a story of heartbreak, redemption and fate at its most devastating.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGONFLY  A Literary Love Story 

My Review:

In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly

By M. Jean Pike

Black Lyon LLC

ISBN: 978-1934912072

***** Five Stars….

Gray Baldwin was born into poverty and neglect. After losing his prostitute mother at the age of eight, he’s given into the custody of his first foster mother. Gladdy teaches Gray the true meaning of love, home and family. Despite the many pitfalls in his life, he never forgets those lessons and clings to his dreams of finding true love with a home and family of his own to belong to. When he meets Hope and her family, he believes he’s found what he’s been looking for his entire life.

Beautiful and spoiled, Hope Hanwell has never wanted for anything, at least on the surface. She’s never known her mother and bears the heavy weight of guilt for a later tragedy on her young shoulders. Hope has her flaws and is, at first, not very likable, but the author offers deeper insight and the reader gets a glimpse of the lovely person she could become. Hope wants Gray, but with nothing more serious in mind than a summer fling and has no idea how drastically their love affair will affect her life.

A literary love story, yes, but In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly by awarding winning author M. Jean Pike is much more than that. Through the lives of the very real people living within it’s pages, this story allows the reader to examine the pain, heartbreak, love, and hope that dwells within the hearts and minds of all mankind. With great strength and courage these characters overcome heartache and tragedy, moving on with their lives and forging a better tomorrow for future generations. In The Shadow Of The Dragonfly touched me on an emotional level seldom felt and I know these characters will live in my heart for a very long time. I can’t remember ever having read a more satisfying story and highly recommend it to all. 

Author/Reviewer, E. G. Parsons – http://egparsons.com   

Visit M. Jean Pike’s Wesite: http://www.freewebs.com/mjeanpike/

 


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Katie Blue Eyes 3

Supper was over and I’d settled several residents in the lounge to smoke and converse together, while others were in their rooms watching TV or reading. The scent of their cigarettes drifted to the desk where I was finishing some paperwork and caused my craving for a smoke to increase. I tried to put it out of my mind. I’d been cutting back in an effort to quit, but knew I was failing miserably. With Pat answering lights for me and by working through first break, I’d managed to finish most of the showers. Now I kept an eye on the hallway and as soon as I saw her returning from supper break, I jumped up and hurried her way.

She laughed as we passed each other. “Hungry, are you?”

“Oh, yeah. Starving.” She laughed again, knowing full well how badly I was wanting a smoke.

 I squeezed my way into the tiny staff lounge and found a vacant seat. Lighting my cigarette, I took a deep draw, sighing in satisfaction and wishing for the hundredth time that I had even a shred of will power. Several people were just finishing and rose to leave the room, making jokes about aching feet and breaking backs. With their exit, the room seemed to expand and become more comfortable.

“Hey, Gail, are you in here?” Peggy’s sleek dark head appeared around the corner of the door.

“I’m here, come on in and talk to me.” Peggy was one of my dearest friends and I knew she’d waited to take supper until she was sure I’d be here. I stubbed out my cigarette in the ashtray and rose to take our sandwiches and drinks from the fridge. Sliding hers across the table, I sat facing her.

“Did you hear about Joe?”

I shook my head, not wanting to talk around a mouth full of sandwich. Joe was one of the few male aides in the facility. He’d moved here from another state and had taken his classes and licensing exam the same time I had. Joe was in his forties, thin and shorter than most of the female aides. He always managed to get his work done on time and most of the residents liked him.

“He was fired.”

I took a swig from my bottle of tea. “Fired? Whatever for?”

She leaned closer and lowered her voice, although there was no need. We were the only two left in the lounge at that point. “Abuse. One of the nurses walked in on him. He was up on the bed straddling Mr. Davis and punching him in the face.”

“What! Is Jeb all right?” I knew my face had gone red, could feel the heat rushing into it. Anger swept over me. I couldn’t believe anyone could be so vicious, as to assault a helpless old man. Jebediah Davis suffered from senility and was bedfast. Although a few of the residents could be violent and abusive to staff, he wasn’t one of them. He had a sweet demeanor and was always cooperative.

“He’s fine physically, only one small bruise on his chin. But imagine what the poor old guy was thinking, being attacked that way.”

“Incredible. I would never have thought Joe capable of such a thing.”

“They say he just flipped out.”

“Was he arrested?”

“Yes, and charged with assault, but he’ll probably get off on some kind of mental breakdown excuse and be ordered to take counseling.”

“That’s one rotten egg out of here, but I fear there may be others.”

Her brows rose into peaks, but she remained silent, waiting for me to say more. I told her about Katie.

“Are you sure it wasn’t Joe she’s afraid of?”

“No, not a hundred percent sure, but from the different things she’s said, I think it’s a woman.”

“See, this is what comes from always having a shortage of staff and aides having to do shifts alone. When there are two, the job isn’t just easier, but there’s less chance of abuse because someone’s there to see. And some people just aren’t cut out for this type of work. You have to be both physically and mentally strong. Remember a while back when Gary was punching you in the hallway that day and the reporter guy saw it? He asked if you received combat pay and when you laughed and said no, he said you should. You never lost your cool with Gary.”

“That had more to do with compassion than mental strength. If I was eighty or ninety and my family stuck me in a nursing facility so they could sell my home and everything else I owned, I’d want to punch someone too.”

“Oh, poo. He was a bully way before that ever happened. He was terribly abusive to his wife before she passed away. He’s as right in his mind as you or I and he’s physically strong. He’s just a bully, pure and simple. Always was and always will be. But you’re right about the compassion. Without that…Well, you know.”

“Yeah, I know and I also know that I need to get off my duff and back to work. I still have Katie to shower and a couple of others before bedtime. I still can’t believe Joe did that. There’s no excuse for it. I just wish we’d have more in-depth in-service meetings on recognizing and handling burnout and other emotional stress on the job.”

“So do I, but we’d most likely still have incidences like this one. All the training in the world won’t help if the person doesn’t seek help when they need it.”

“ You’re right.” I rose and went to the door. “Talk to you later. I’m alone tonight, so can’t take a full supper break.”

“When things are caught up over on my wing, I’ll come and help you. Save Katie’s shower for last and we’ll give it together. Maybe with both of us there, she’ll feel safe enough to tell us what’s going on.”

“Okay, see you later.”

***

To Be continued……©Elizabeth Melton Parsons  http://elizabethmeltonparsons.com

 

 

 


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Free Print Book – Choose Which One You Want

Best selling author M. Jean Pike is having a Summer Reading Contest and will be giving away a signed copy of one of her phenomenal books — Winner’s choice.  

Check it out: http://www.freewebs.com/mjeanpike/summerreadingcontest.htm