Tuesday, May 22, 2018

GottaHaveFayth #HistoricalRomance


Title: Gotta Have Fayth
Twelve Dancing Princesses Book Six

Author: Christine Young
ISBN: 978-1-62420-373-2
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


TAGLINE

Fayth Graham unexpectedly meets a man with sparkling gray eyes and an infectious grin, Jarret Kingsley, who gets more than he bargained in the beautiful debutant.

BLURB

A regal beauty with raven hair and piercing blue eyes, Fayth Graham is unwilling to parade herself in front of the wealthy Lords of England during the season. Seeking a means to dissuade any man wishing to wed her, she seeks a way to ruin herself for marriage. When she unexpectedly meets a man with sparkling gray eyes and an infectious grin, she decides this is the man who will keep her from agreeing to obey.

He returned from six months at sea, looking for a few nights of pleasure with a willing lass, but Jarret Kinsley got more than he bargained for when he met a beautiful debutant who responded to his kisses with a wild innocence that touched his heart. Yet the obstacles looming between them might rip them apart. Both had vowed never to marry, so when consequences of their dalliances got in the way, Jarret would have to choose between the life he's always desired and the woman he loves more than life.



EXCERPT

Their attention once again was directed to the entrance. A young woman stepped through the door. Jarret’s mind centered on her face; she was so beautiful he couldn’t keep his jaw from dropping. She could have been the largest woman he’d ever seen, but her face seemed angelic. Gorgeous. Stunning. Yet she was petite with coal black hair, intricately coiffed with a few tendrils framing her cheekbones. She wore a travelling dress that had seen better days, but it didn’t distract from her slim delicate figure.
He swallowed hard and his breath caught in his throat. He wasn’t sure he could speak. “I want her. Gotta have her. Tonight.” Maybe my fortune is changing for the best.
“What did you just say?” Logan turned to stare at Jarret.
“My wishes for this evening have just been answered. This is the woman I’ve been waiting for. The next lady who will find my bed and enjoy all the pleasure she deserves.” Jarret rose, striding to the enchanting vision.
He reached her, feeling for the first time he could remember, tongue-tied. The air around her was filled with the scent of lemons. “Can I help you?” He touched her elbow, gently guiding her to the corner of the room where he’d been sitting. He couldn’t resist her aqua colored eyes or the tilt of her chin. When she moistened her lips, all he could think was that he had to taste them, breathe in their essence.
She stared at him, appearing a bit bewildered. “I...”
“I...” One eyebrow rose and the smile inside him grew realizing this woman, whoever she was, would be his next affair. All that remained was convincing her. He didn’t think that would be too difficult.
“I need directions.” She said, her voice assuming a note of command, yet at the same time breathless.
“You entered a tavern for directions?” he queried skeptically. “Then direction you will have.” His heart pounded in his chest, a sudden heat sweeping through his body. More than willing to give instructions to the captain’s cabin of his ship.
She let him lead her across the floor and pulled out a chair for her. “This is...” he began, only to shift his attention from his friends to this gorgeous lady.
“Fayth,” she said.
"And I'm Jarret Kingsley."
An easy peace swept through him. Gotta have Fayth. He touched the top of her hand with his. Its softness sent a warm shimmer spiraling straight to his heart.
“Fayth, a beautiful name,” Logan said, grinning at Jarret as if he knew his intentions.
Jarret slanted him the best hands offlook he could manage. Logan appeared to receive the message, and Drake downed his second pint, signaling for another.
“Kingsley, if I haven’t missed the clues, I believe your wishes for tonight have been granted.” Drake told him. Guess you won’t be going with Logan and myself.”
Now I just have to convince my lady. “Don’t the two of you have somewhere to go?” Jarret asked, nodding his head in the direction of the door.
Fayth slipped her hand from beneath his and placed it on Jarret’s arm. “I came in here for help. Can you help me?”
“Of course, directions where?” Jarret asked, knowing where he wanted her but still trying to figure out the details.
“To my new lodgings. I’ve been travelling for days and I’m confused. I’ve never been in London and I thought...”
“No fears. I’ll make sure you get where you want to go.” Jarret had every intention of taking her wherever she pleased but only after he knew her better, intimately.
The pint of ale Jarret had ordered for her appeared. She licked her lips and stared at the glass. “I don’t know if I should drink that.”
“Only if you want to. I can get you water or wine. The water is horrible, but the wine might be better if it comes from Logan’s vineyard in Bordeaux.” Jarret ignored the conversation between his two best friends. Without listening, he knew what it was that they talked and laughed about and he didn’t care, knowing he was smitten he wasn’t about to deny the emotion.
“I’ll try this.” She sipped the cold brew, a strange expression appearing on her delicate features.
“What do you think?”
“Good.” She licked her lips, and he wanted to follow the path of her tongue with his fingertip.


KEYWORDS

Historical, Romance, Regency, England

SOCIAL LIINKS

http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Christine-Young-350132315013316/
https://twitter.com/achristay
https://www.pinterest.com/chrisy/

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Key of F by Jennifer Haskin


Title: The Key of F
Author: Jennifer Haskin
ISBN: 978-1-62420-358-9
Genre: YA Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


TAGLINE

Being trained as a warrior is all Fale ever wanted, but when she starts having visions, evil forces threaten all the lives she loves. 


BLURB

Though Fale has never discovered who murdered her parents and left her orphaned as a child, she attempts to lead a normal and peaceful life. After all, she is training to be a peacekeeping warrior under the direction of her adoptive father. But, when she starts having strange visions that predict the future on her 18th birthday, it turns her life into anything but ordinary. Alongside her best friends and the man who rejected her three years ago, Fale must discover the truths of her past to achieve her true destiny. Can she harness her inner warrior to save her people? And can she prove that she is no longer an innocent child to the man she loves along the way?


EXCERPT

It wasn’t the moon’s coming red-sky eclipse that drove Fale so quickly inside; it wasn’t even the spring chill. She had dreamt of a war; one beyond her lifetime, yet she’d been there. She had led the army. Killing the boy in the dream troubled her. Today she wanted to be around people she knew and trusted. She thoughther city was safe. Still, tingles ran the length of her arms, warning her of something sinister waiting. She shook her limbs to ward off the tremors of edgy nerves and pushed through the glass door of the pub. Immediately she felt the thump of a low and steady bass guitar, as a musical lament rang through the smoky antechamber. A torrid blast of heat hit Fale in the face as she entered the main room of the pub during its lunchtime press. This place is like a sauna, she thought as she scanned the room looking for her party. Her friends were hard to find in the boisterous crowd. She sidled down the bar to the back booths and found them, waving and calling her name over the noise.
“Fale!” Izzy twisted in her seat. “Hurry up; lunch is almost over.”
Fale smiled brightly at Izzy, and ignored Keron as he stepped out of the booth for her to slide in. The seats, once a vibrant red leather, were now dull and cracked with wear.
“Sorry I’m late, Izzy.” They hugged briefly. “How were your morning classes?” she shouted above the noise of the deafening table next to them.
“Brutal.” Izzy rolled her eyes. “It’s crazy in here today. You should be glad you’re late; the guys have been arguing the whole time. Keron had a bad morning, and now he’s just plain pissy. It’s so loud and hot; I’m almost glad to go back to class,” she said, not caring if the guys heard her.
Fale shook her head, laughing. “Liar. Not even I am so sadistic. Don’t you have Industrial Instrumentations this afternoon? Nobody likes that class.”
“Not all of us had the benefit of an advisor like you did,” Izzy pouted. “Having a drink?” She lifted her glass half full of amber liquid.
Fale turned to her other side. “Keron, would you pass the pitcher?”
He looked at her tiredly and set his icy drink down. “Got a glass?” he asked.
“I guess I forgot to grab one from the bar on my way over,” she said, rising.
Keron sighed. “I’ll getcha one,” he grumbled, pushing her arm back into the seat.
Odd; he really must be having a bad day.
Keron rose as fluidly as a swimmer moving through a pool, despite having a mechanical arm and leg, but he didn’t get far. The booth next to them, a round booth, was packed full to overflowing with a group who called themselves the Rowdies. Trouble was their companion, and Fale had heard, mostly from her friends, they participated in underground fighting which was as deadly as it was illegal. Most people gave them a wide berth. That day they felt the need to harass Keron. It wasn’t unusual for fantocci, bondsmen marked by their metal limbs, to be the object of ridicule. They were glorified servants who had needed a limb or an organ replaced with metal parts and were now locked into lifelong service to pay their debt. Keron was passing their table, going to the side bar, when the leader taunted, “Hey metal man! Are you half metal everywhere? What about where it counts? Betcha can’t please the women, eh?” The other Rowdies laughed as one of them grabbed a handful of his pants at the crotch.
Keron growled down at them, “Mind your own damn business.” His hands curled into fists.
The Head Rowdy, dressed in black leather, jumped up to stand nose to nose with Keron and said, “I’m making it my business.”
Other Rowdies stood, cocking their heads in interest, shifting their weight from foot to foot like skittish wild animals. Fale felt a familiar tingling down her arms and body. This time, pictures flashed through her mind. Vivid scenes of blood and danger, telling a story, played in her head and she knew what she needed to do. Instinctively, she snatched Keron’s mallet and knife from their place on top of his toolbox and hid them under her bag. Fale looked around to make sure no one had noticed her acting strangely. An uneasy feeling made her reach back to put his tools where she’d found them, but she froze. Her vision had shown her this was the right decision. She covered them with her bag and watched, no matter how painful it would be to sit there and do nothing, to see if this would work itself out.
The Rowdy threw his first punch. Keron deflected but was momentarily dazed when he looked back and couldn’t find his mallet or knife to use as weapons. Keron held his fists up to fight back; he swung at the head Rowdy and connected with his jaw. They wove around each other in a fighter’s dance, each looking for the best blow. One of the Rowdies had slipped behind Keron wielding the hooked end of a pry bar and tripped his metal leg. As he fell, the head Rowdy threw his next jab. Keron’s head hit the table, and his eyes rolled briefly. Keron fell heavily to the floor, and the head Rowdy moved to kick him, but Keron rolled and punched the side of his knee cap. The Rowdy screamed. Keron was on his feet in seconds and glanced back at the seat for his weapons, but Fale kept them hidden. With every punch, Fale felt a twinge of pain. The fight was elevating. She had to stop this before someone called Control. No one else would dare help a fantocci in trouble, but she hated to imagine what fate might befall a fantocci caught fighting in public. There would be no mercy for him.
“Fale, do something.” Izzy pushed against her.
Fale slid from the bench seat and jumped in between the men with her arms raised. She turned to Keron, watching his chest rise and fall as he glared above her head at his opponent.
“Leave it,” she pleaded, attempting to push back Keron’s arm with his fist held high. “He’s not worth it.” Bar patrons gathered to view the spectacle, and the bouncer was shoving his way toward them holding a baton.
“Please,” she whispered.


KEYWORDS

warriors, magic, romance, fighting, YA fantasy


SOCIAL LIINKS

Website URL: www.jenniferhaskin.com


Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FreedomFightTrilogy

Twitter handle: @Haskinauthor

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Banshee by Henry P. Gravelle



Title: The Banshee
Author: Henry P. Gravelle
ISBN: 978-1-62420-348-0
Genre: Horror
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

Satan worshippers raise the spirit of a witch who brings a demon to complete her vow of vengeance against the town that executed her three-hundred years earlier.

BLURB: The Banshee

David Raferty awakes from a troubling dream to find he is travelling to his Uncles rural town, a place holding many memories. Still confused why he is there he begins to recall faces and places all the while discecting clues to a brutal murder. As more victims appear David, his Uncle, the sheriff and an unwitting priest search for the source of a childhood tale believed to be terrorizing the town... again.   

EXCERPT: The Banshee

David Raferty lay in bed while the lightning storm raged outside. Heavy droplets of wind driven rain pelted the window. His eyelids squeezed closed, as tightly as possible, as if his mind would seep out through the sockets if he let up, even a little.
The pupils moved under the lids, back and forth, searching the darkness. It was a troublesome and exhaustive sleep bringing perspiration to his brow, moistening his curly hair and dampening the pillow.
His fingers pulled at the sheets, forming fists, tight and white knuckled. His body and limbs ached as though he had run a marathon, his mind a blur, suspended in blackness, not falling nor rising for there was no wind on his face or draft from behind. He felt a strange sensation of tumbling with arms outstretched and legs apart.
A human cartwheel was what he imagined. It confused him and his mouth opened wide, bellowing a scream that followed him through the darkness, until he saw the light. It grew in his subconscious from a mere shadow to a blistering white star burst as though he had emerged from the earth’s bowels to daylight. Then his eyes opened.
Joanne was beside him, wearing her favorite mint green nightshirt. It covered most of her torso, but the dislodged bed sheet exposed one creamy thigh and leg. His eyes followed his wife’s lean form down over the knee past the shin to the painted toenails. He was happy lying next to her in the comfort of the warm bed, listening to the torrential downpour, and her breathing.
Thunderous detonations of thunder boomed near, so near the pictures on the wall rattled. One crashed to the floor, shattering the glass. Joanne mumbled something incoherent then returned to her dream. He watched her breath for some time, her breast rising and falling mechanically. Her lips slightly parted, her eyes void of pain, loneliness, or worry.
The passion he held for her moved through him, arousing desire, tingling...He rolled onto his side, bracing his head with the palm of his hand, the other reaching to touch her softness and caress his young wife’s creamy flesh. The scent of her long fire engine red hair drifted into his nostrils. It smelled clean, with a tinge of raspberry aloe. She was so close he dared to run his fingers through it and watch the velvety way the hair dropped back into place, but his hand stopped inches from her. He could not proceed, could not go closer.
Joanne sighed and slowly turned onto her side, eyelids still closed comfortably, breathing rhythmic and calm. One arm folded under her pillow, the other by her side near the knee. She was so beautiful. David smiled. He missed her. Joanne’s eyes fluttered open. They gazed briefly into each other’s souls until she realized she had awakened. Lightning flashed by the window; its booming roar shook the house and illuminated the room.
“Jesus Christ!” She leaped from the bed, her legs caught in the sheet, causing her to roll off the side of the mattress. She stood quickly, frightened and confused.
“Joanne...” his hand reached out to her. She took a step back, away from the bed, her hands shaking, together under her chin.
“No, it can’t be,” She forced the words from her parched throat and fell to her knees, tears streaming across her cheeks. Another loud boom of thunder concealed her scream.
David was beside himself; she was so close it was surreal. If only he could touch her and kiss her, make love to her again. Then it began, as it always did.
The soft edges of Joanne’s figure turned gritty, abrasive, almost metallic, like so many pixels forming a photograph. Her arms blurred then dissolved, falling apart, followed by her torso and breast bobbing freely under the fading night shirt.
Her entire image dissolved, then the furniture, the bed, the sheets, walls and ceiling.
David cried out, “No, damn it, no!”
He was back in the black void, outstretched. He watched his feet dissolve. The flesh on the toes turning to paper then crinkling until powder replaced them. Then everything turned to powder and vanished; flesh, bone, blood, sinew.
His memory was on full throttle, careening out of control, running rampant, sending images across the screen in his mind of things remembered. Images on fast forward fluttered for him to recall of a farm house, him climbing a cliff, him running through a forest, a priest, a cemetery, a little girl and a kite, a police car, a grave and an explosion and...and...then it was gone.
The unclear pictures also dissolved leaving his memory blank. His face began to melt, his eyeballs dried turning to dust. He tried to scream through a collapsed throat and then awoke, on a bus.
Author Bio: 

Henry P. Gravelle is an Author, Screenwriter and Playwright who's catalog includes nearly fifty short stories, several novellas and novels including The Bamboo Heart, Pug, Hoboand The Fort Providence Watch and The Banshee. Also a western series, The Doc Jacobi Adventuresand a paranormal detective series, The Buddy Sands Cases. His screenwriting includes several feature and short film scripts as well as a collection of short plays. Henry resides along the south shore of Massachusetts.



KEYWORDS

Banshee, ghost, purgatory, witches

SOCIAL LIINKS

Website URL: http://www.henrygravelle.com/





Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Rixey Files: Hugh Williams

Have a problem recovering an item? Miller Rixey will go anywhere to recover your lost item, no matter what it is...provided the fee is generous enough.


Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

EXCERPT: The Rixey Files Book One

I poured a cup of coffee and fixed it the way I liked it and decided to read the file, Hitler in Argentina 1945-1964 first.
I flipped to the first page and saw a very primitive looking Top-Secret coversheet. It had a description of what the item was, in this case, a letter. The number of copies, which was two, the date the document had been created, September 1, 1945, and a description of the topic of the document: HITLER ESTABLISHED BASECAMP. There was a to and from that were very troubling names: Harry S. Truman was the receiver of this report and J. Edgar Hoover was the was the sender. Under the checked out to list I saw two signatures that didn’t ease my mind, Allen Dulles and John Dulles. Allen Dulles had been the head of Swiss Operations for the OSS during World War II. His job involved gathering intelligence on the Germans and as such developed a cozy relationship between himself and several high-level Nazis such as Martin Bormann. He later became the first civilian Director of the CIA, serving from 1953-1961. His brother, John Dulles served as Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. These two were definitely players in the American intelligence field.
Both men held Anti-Semitic views and were suspected of being pro-Nazi. The men saw Nazism as a better alternative to Russian Communism. Pre-WW II saw the explosion of German sympathizer groups like the German-American Bund. This thinking was not merely restricted to the common man. Such American luminaries like Joseph Kennedy, the father of a future President, Charles Lindbergh, and Walt Disney all held similar views. I remembered back to one of my history classes. My professor said had it not been for Pearl Harbor, Germany might have easily won World War II. I suspected she was right.
The report had not been declassified, I double checked for that. I wondered how Willard managed to get me a copy of it? I knew Willard had friends who worked in the intelligence field. It was something I would have to ask him about the next time I saw him. The letter, more of a memo actually was short and to the point:
“Mr. President:
This is to inform you that Adolph Hitler has been safely ensconced in the Eden Hotel. It is located in the town of La Falda which is approximately four hundred and fifty miles from Buenos Aires. He is secure there as the hotel is owned by the Einhorn family. HerrHitler has been very helpful with our plan to gather up the top scientists, their research, and whatever advanced weaponry. This program is being carried out under the auspices of Operation Paperclip. For the time being, the fact that Hitler committed suicide in Berlin continues to be accepted by the world and offers his best chance for safety. Further updates will be provided in person by me. This is much too sensitive of a matter for any more communications in writing. If you have questions concerning this matter, please contact me and we will discuss your concerns in person. You will be informed in writing of any other new developments. Only you and your successors will be cleared to have knowledge about this operation. Allen and John are coordinating the project overseas and I am handling the project in America. I realize you may have some concerns on Operation Paperclip, but its continuation will help America defeat the Red Menace.
S/ J. Edgar Hoover”
There was a second letter. It was dated October 1, 1945. It too was labeled Top Secret. It was addressed to President Truman again and had been sent to him by Allen Dulles with notification that a copy had been sent to J. Edgar Hoover. This one briefly outlined the escape of Hitler from Germany. The title for this was HITLER’S ESCAPE DETAILS FROM BORMANN DIARY.
“President Truman:
As to how Hitler and his entourage escaped Germany, they were able to escape their bunker to a private airport that had no yet fallen under Russian control. The billions of dollars in money, precious metals, gems, and artwork that were appropriated by Germany had been sent off to Argentina weeks earlier when it became apparent to Martin Bormann the war was lost. ‘I arranged for a false weather report to be sent to Allied intelligence which created a situation that grounded their flights. This allowed the three planes carrying Hitler and his entourage to easily fly to Spain. Once they arrived in Spain, they used two U-Boats for the rest of the journey.’ This report has been taken directly from Martin Bormann. Please note, we have been greatly helped by both Juan and Evita Peron. Without their help, we would have never been able to place Hitler in Argentina. We need to do our best to keep them if not in power, close to the power. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I will be able to arrange a meeting at your convenience.
S/Allen Dulles”
There was one final letter that was dated 15 December 1964. It had been addressed to Lyndon Johnson and had been sent from John A. McCone who was director of the CIA. It was also acknowledged that Allen Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover had read the letter. It was entitled: HILTER EVACUATION.
“Hitler had to be moved to a Bavarian-styled mansion at Inalco, a remote and barely accessible spot at the northwest end of Lake Nahuel Huapi, close to the Chilean border. It was the only facility we could find that would offer much better security, had room enough for his labs, and the large number of his entourages and scientists. We are certain that this area is indeed secure and don’t envision any more security problems from this location. Security was broken by a captured Nazi war criminal who confessed Hitler’s location to the Mossad.
S/ John A. McCone.”

If this is really true, I thought, I could see why no one would want this out.



KEYWORDS

Mystery, Conspiracy, Operation Paperclip, Action/Adventure

SOCIAL LIINKS

Website URL: https://www.facebook.com/hughauthor/

Blog URL:www.hughwilliamsauthor.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Rixey-Files-417831578574738/

Twitter handle: @hrw97

Sunday, April 8, 2018

#Talismanic #Horror

Love was the last thing Glenn Springer expected to find after exchanging the rat race of the city for the country life, but that wasn't all, there was mystery and horror too...



Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


BLURB

Glenn Springer could hardly believe his good luck. After moving to Maine to escape the Boston rat race, he bought a farm, was successful, and became the envy of his neighbors. Then, he fell in love with the beautiful and bewitching Grizelle Beaumarchais. Was his good fortune all due to a locket he found inside the walls of his old farmhouse? And why was Grizelle so interested in it? Could it have anything to do with her being descended from an Indian shaman? Why were there things about herself that Grizelle wasn't telling him? Was his love for her genuine or was he being subtly manipulated? His luck, it seemed, had its price, and as Glenn began to realize, the bill was coming due.


EXCERPT: Talismanic

 

Chapter Eight

Introductions

Hands in his pockets, Glenn left Town Hall and began walking down Main Street. Hoping to avoid meeting anyone else on the street, he rounded the corner at Founders Way and slowed down. He looked at the numbers as he passed various storefronts even though he knew exactly where Tucked Away Antiques was located. The fact was he was as nervous as a schoolboy working up his courage to ask a girl out on a date.
He didn’t understand why that should be. He’d had relationships with a number of women in the past. He knew the routine. So why was his heart pounding to beat the band? Was this love, real love, not simply romantic adventure that he’d experienced in the past? Again, he pictured Grizelle in his mind, and again, unbidden feelings of desire welled up in him, and not just of desire, but of the need to hold her, protect her, care for her. Feelings he never really had before with other women. Was this what love at first sight was like? Otherwise, what he was feeling just didn’t make any sense.
His musings were interrupted by his arrival before a big plate glass window with the words “Tucked Away Antiques” emblazoned upon its upper surface.
He stopped and sort of leaned forward a little to peek around the edge of the window into the store. But the glare of the outdoors threw the interior into darkness and he couldn’t tell if anyone was present.
In the lower corner of the window, “Est. 1998” indicated when Tucked Away Antiques opened for business and behind the glass, a display area showed off some of its wares, including dark stained furniture with carved woodwork filled with acorns and leaves, filigreed jewelry, books, and sundry other items typical of an antique shop.
But still, there was no evidence that anyone was present deeper inside the store.
Half hoping for an excuse to turn back, Glenn moved toward the entrance and was disappointed to find a sign hanging there that declared “Yes! We’re open.”
Steeling himself, he pushed the door inward setting an overhead bell to ringing.
“I’ll be right with you,” came a feminine voice from somewhere inside the cluttered shop.
Uncertain if he recognized the voice as that belonging to Grizelle, Glenn decided to kill some time by walking around the floor space. Not an easy thing to do. All around were large pieces of old furniture stacked with every manner of knick-knack, bric-a-brac, old fashioned lamps and jewelry boxes. Picture frames, some with paintings still in them, hung from the walls and leaned in corners. Glass display cases near the back were crammed with old shoes, battered books and magazines, glass patent medicine and soda pop bottles, quill pens and ink stands, and rare coins.
A doorway led to a second room and, looking inside, Glenn saw even more furniture; this time piled carefully one piece upon another. They appeared to be more battered than those in the front room and an odor of turpentine suggested that somewhere, someone was working to refurbish items for sale.
Moving among the stacks of dressers, lampstands, highboys, and dining room tables and chairs, he moved from colonial and Victorian era household goods into an area containing items of considerably older and less civilized make.
Curious, he approached a dim corner of the room and was surprised to find leather and beaded items that looked to him to be of Indian make…or was it “Native American” these days? Pouches and moccasins and was that a piece of wampum? All of them darkened and rumpled with age, indicating that they were the genuine article, at least so far as his untrained eye could tell. Looking further, he found a collection of arrowheads, doubtlessly collected by generations of eager boys dreaming of Indian Wars and adventure; iron cooking pots, bone knives, fur hats, and leggings. Also, among the artifacts were less identifiable items, including masks made out of bark, numerous pieces of wood, some carved in the likeness of men and others less so, painted and feathered pipes, painted stones, medicine bags, and other trinkets.
If they were genuine, the store had some interesting stuff here.
Impressed, Glenn wondered why such things weren’t stored in the town’s Historical Society museum. Was there a market for such things? And if there were, how much money was involved? Maybe he should reconsider giving the things he’d found at home to the Society and sell them instead.
“Those are not for sale,” said Grizelle, as if having read his mind.
Startled, Glenn spun about, at first missing the owner in the gloomy storeroom.
“You must have read my thoughts,” he said, waiting for his eyes to adjust themselves.
“Oh! Glenn Springer! From Bed, Bath & Beyond.”
“You remembered. I’m flattered.”
“Who can forget Bingham’s local celebrity?”
“Oh, please, don’t remind me!”
They shared a laugh before Glenn decided to compliment Grizelle on her business.
“This is an interesting place you have here,” he said, nodding in the direction of the crowded room. “I wouldn’t have guessed you had so much room from outside.”
“I wish I had more,” replied Grizelle. “I have a habit of buying faster than I can sell.”
“So you don’t specialize, I take it.”
“I gave that up a long time ago. I found that there was too much interesting stuff out there to turn anything down.”
“Do you rely on people coming to you or do you go to auctions and such?”
Grizelle shrugged. “Sometimes. But there’s not much profit in buying merchandise at auctions. Mostly I rely on what people bring in or if I’m offered first dibs on junk stored in someone’s basement or barn.”
Glenn sniffed. “And you refurbish the stuff you get?”
“Not everything. Only items I feel are worth it. Most of the stuff in here I’ll sell as is. C’mon.”
She led him on a zig zag path along the narrow spaces between piled up bureaus, wing chairs, and hope chests, to a back room where the smell of stain and lacquer was heavy in the air. Harsh fluorescent ceiling lights threw the space into sharp relief along with a long work table covered in sheets of newspaper and cluttered with paint cans, brushes, dirty rags and bits and pieces of carved wood.
Empty picture frames hung crooked on the walls and screwdrivers, hammers, chisels, and carving knives rested in half empty racks. At the moment, a two tiered, multi-drawered dresser sat waiting for the glazer’s attention.
“My current project,” Grizelle said, indicating the dresser.
“Do you have any employees? This rehabilitation stuff must be time consuming.”
“It is, but I get by.”
Suddenly, the doorbell tinkled signaling that a customer had entered.
“I’ll be right back.”
Looking around, Glenn could hear the mumbling of voices from the front of the store and presently, the jangle of a cash register drawer.
“Well, I can eat tonight,” Grizelle said, stepping back into the room.
“You work that close to the bone?” asked Glenn.
“Not that close, but sometimes I worry.”
“Ever think of getting out of the antique business?”
“Uh, uh! I opened this store twenty years ago and I mean to stay with it for the long haul.”
“Like what you do, huh?”
“Love it! I’ll admit there’s not much money in it but I find the work satisfying. I always was interested in history, especially local history. Not wars and politics, but domestic history; the history of the household and family and farm life. Working with old furniture and heirlooms makes me feel closer to the people who once used them.”
“I get it,” said Glenn. “But I couldn’t help noticing before that you do keep track of current politics.”
“How so?”
“When you jumped on Cindy Turner in my defense the other day.”
Grizelle laughed. “Oh, that! You don’t have to pay much attention to politics to be sensible.”
“Maybe, but you sure seemed familiar with Cindy’s political leanings.”
“She wears them on her sleeve, like most leftists. You’re not a liberal or anything are you?”
“Me? No!”
Mostly, Glenn didn’t pay much attention to politics, but of necessity, while working in Boston, he’d gone along with the crowd and made the proper noises about evil Republicans. But if it helped his case with Grizelle, he was glad to hint that he leaned conservative.
“Methinks you protest too much!” laughed Grizelle.
Her good humor, thought Glenn, only intensified the attraction he felt for her. Even in the unforgiving light of the workroom, her features appeared smooth and featureless and a smudge of stain on the side of her nose only made her more adorable in his eyes.
She wasn’t tall, but she was well proportioned for her height. She wore a man’s shirt with the sleeves rolled up past her elbows revealing slim arms and a tight pair of jeans confirmed that her legs weren’t bad either.
Overall, Glenn continued to find himself enchanted with Grizelle, so much so that he failed to pick up on her next comments.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I was asking how you ended up here,” repeated Grizelle, with no indication of impatience. “Just window shopping or what?”
It took a moment for Glenn to reorient his thoughts and remember what he’d come in for.
“Oh! Yeah, right.” He reached inside his shirt and pulled out the locket. “It’s about this.”
“Ooo, let me see that,” said Grizelle, stepping close.
Glenn was intensely aware of the nearness of her body. He could smell the scent of her hair, the soapy freshness of her skin…it was Ivory Soap.
Taking the locket in her hand, she angled it toward the light for a better look.
“Here, let me slip it off,” said Glenn as he was pulled by her tug on the necklace.
He slipped it from around his neck and placed the locket in her hand.
“I showed it to Archie Finister over at the Historical Commission and he got it open. Look, I’ll show you.”
He ran a fingernail along the edge of the locket and it sprung open.
“Careful,” he said, “I don’t want to lose whatever it is that’s inside.”
Grizelle didn’t reply right away but did show obvious care in handling the locket. She kind of shook it a bit in order to jog its contents some before snapping it shut again and examining its outside more closely.
“Archie didn’t know what that stuff was on the inside and couldn’t date the locket. He suggested I come here to ask you about it.”
Grizelle continued her silence, by now having found a magnifying glass for closer inspection.
“I found it inside the wall of my house,” continued Glenn. “It was built by Nathanael Winsor in 1821.”
“I’m familiar with it,” said Grizelle suddenly.
“The house?” For a moment, Glenn wasn’t sure if she’d heard him and was talking about the locket.
“Yeah. I heard what you’ve been doing with it. I admire you for that.”
“Thanks,” said Glenn, still not convinced she was really paying any attention to what he was saying.
“I’m pretty sure the locket is early colonial,” she said at last. “Maybe even came from England. It’s the insides that puzzle me. Unless I miss my guess, it looks to me like the fine bones of a bird of some kind, mixed with some dried leaves and maybe some seeds. Not the usual stuff you’d find in a war veterans’ locket.”
“Leaves and bones?” questioned Glenn, moving closer to look over her shoulder at the locket that was still cupped in her hand.
“Mm. More like stuff you’d find in an Indian’s medicine bag.”
“Medicine bag? Afraid I’m not up on my native anthropology.”
“Some native peoples used to use them. Small leather pouches they’d wear on their persons holding bits of ephemera they thought were important to them personally. It was common belief that they connected a person to their personal totem which would protect them against disease or in battle.”
She handed him the locket back.
“It’s strange then that articles usually found in one of these medicine bags is held in a locket that no Indian would likely own.”
“It is.”
“Then…Nathanael Winsor went native maybe? How else to explain his carrying around these bits of leaves and bones in his locket?”
“Or it belonged to someone else? Just because you found it in his house, doesn’t mean it was Winsor’s. Maybe it belonged to someone else in his family; someone who hid it in the wall to keep anyone from finding out about it.”
“I suppose that makes sense too.”
“So, what do you want to do with it?”
Glenn rubbed the back of his neck. “Don’t know. Keep it for now I guess.”
“Want to sell it?”
“You interested?”
Grizelle shrugged. “It is an antique. I deal in that stuff. I’m not sure how much it’s worth but I’ll make you a decent offer.”
“Hm. I did sort of promise Archie that if I decided not to keep it, I’d donate it to the Historical Society museum.”
“Sort of?”
“I mean I could change my mind. I don’t know. Guess I’ll keep it for now.” He slipped the necklace over his head and dropped the locket inside his shirt.
“It’s your call. But I’m interested in anything that smacks of Native American lore. You saw my little collection over there. So if you decide you need a few fast bucks, I hope you’ll keep me in mind.”
“I’ve been keeping you in mind for some time now,” said Glenn boldly. Where did that come from? But he was glad he’d said it.
“Oh, really?” replied Grizelle, placing her fists on her hips. A stray lock of dark hair fell across her face. Glenn found the resulting look enchanting.
“Uh, you made a good impression on me at the mall,” he ventured.
“So?”
“So I was wondering if you’d be free for dinner one of these days.”
Grizelle smiled and considered him a moment before replying.
“Not any time soon. I’m pretty busy as you can tell.” She waved a hand vaguely indicating the work room around them.
Glenn was crestfallen.
“I’ll tell you what, the Grange is going to hold its annual harvest dance in a couple of months, why don’t we meet up then?”
“Well, I was kind of hoping…”
“I’m not in a rush to get involved with anyone at the moment,” explained Grizelle, relaxing. “And by then, who knows? You might have forgotten all about me.”
“Not hardly,” blurted Glenn, instantly embarrassed.
Grizelle laughed then, turning him around and gently shoving him in the direction of the door.
“You better get going. I hate to see a grown man blush!”

Author Bio:

Pierre V. Comtois has been the editor and publisher of Fungi, the Magazine of Fantasy and Weird Fiction since 1984 and has had a number of books released by numerous publishers including Goat Mother and Others by Chaosium Fiction in 2015, A Well Ordered Universe by Desert Breeze Publishers in 2016, and Marvel Comics in the 1980s: An Issue by Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon by Twomorrows Pubs in 2015. Earlier volumes include Marvel Comics in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, Comtois has contributed fiction to many other small press magazines over the years including Haunts, The Horror Show, Thrilling Tales, and e magazines Planetary Stories and Liberty Island Magazine. Comtois’ fiction has also appeared in various magazines for Cryptic Publications and Rainfall Books as well as such collections as Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak: Supernatural Sleuth, Eldritch Blue, and various Chaosium Books anthologies. The author has also written a number of books including novels such as Strange Company and Sometimes a Warm Rain Falls; non-fiction such as Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor; and short story collections such as The Way the Future Was and The Portable Pierre V. Comtois. Comtois has also found the time to contribute non-fiction articles to such magazines as World War II, America’s Civil War, Wild West, and Military History, many of which were collected in Real Heroes, Real Battles, a book published by Sons of Liberty Press. Also from Sons of Liberty is River Muse: Stories of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley, to which Comtois has contributed a personal recollection entitled “I Was a Teenaged Bibliophile.”


KEYWORDS

Wendigo, Cthulhu Mythos, horror, shamanistic, Native American

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