Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review of "The Ancient Secret of the Leprechauns" by Elfa Books



Blurb:
Long ago, during the time of the dinosaurs, three leprechauns—D’Arcy, Lorcan, and Scully—built a hidden home on the top of a mountain inside of a gigantic boulder. For millions of years, the three friends have risen each day to greet the sun and set sail to their secret island at the end of the rainbow, where they play all day in a sparkling pool of gold. But when the leprechauns forget to secure their island before leaving one evening, they are in for a terrible surprise the next day—the gold is gone! D’Arcy, Lorcan, and Scully will have to face rough seas, sharks, a gigantic sea monster, a massive octopus, and the dreaded Captain Sea Gore and his pirate crew in their quest to recover the treasure. It’s up to Squawky the rainbow bird to teach the friends how to work together—and that through teamwork and perseverance, they can overcome any obstacles that come their way.

My review:
As with his previous two book, Mahamad ElFakir spins tales that akin to the tall tales of old with a modern twist. In this book, three lively leprechaun friends live in a secret place and take aventures to a secret island to play in their stashed secret gold. Unfortunately, one of them forgets to push the secret button to re-stash the gold causing their whole world to be turned upside down.

This sets up a journey that finds them battling the elements and evil pirates who have stolen the gold. As with Mr. Elfakir's previous books there is always an underlying moral to the story which in this case is if you work as a team, you can solve the problems set before you.

Although extremely far-fetched, children will like this book. They will find the adventures funny, the pictures wonderful, and yes, they will also get the moral of the story too. In truth, this is spelled out pretty clearly this time as the author tends to repeat himself a bit.

This book is not for the beginning reader, nor meant as a picture book. This book is for the child who can read fairly well but still might need help with a few unknown words. I think if anything was to be added to this book it might have been a glossary at the end for a boost in the vocabulary unerstanding.

4 Stars.

Disclosure: I bought a Kindle copy of this book. The review expressed here is 100% my own and may differ with yours.

Where to find the author:
Facebook
Amazon
Goodreads


Friday, March 28, 2014

"The Forgotten Pharoah" by Laura DeLuca Book Release and Giveaway


Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. This is to help promote my friend and author, Laura DeLuca.

Purchase


Julie Gerber isn't thrilled to be pulled out of school her senior year to follow her parents halfway around the world to unearth a lost pyramid. However, when the cute British guy and the mysterious financier of their project both fight for her attention, things start to get interesting.

The pharaoh known as Djedefre was cursed for the murder of his eldest brother. The work of the archaeologists brings new secrets to light, ones that prove the fallen god-king wasn't the villain history had painted him to be. Can they prove his innocence?

As the team digs deeper into the mystery, members of the party vanish or end up dead. Someone is determined to keep the truth hidden at all costs, even 4,500 years later.


 Be sure to add The Forgotten Pharaoh to your to-read list on Goodreads and check it out on Manic Readers!



 About the Author


Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children.  In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama.  Her works include romantic thrillers, paranormal fiction, contemporary romance, and young adult.

  Follow the author Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Pinterest




The Giveaway

Author Laura DeLuca has put together a selection of prizes that go along with the story. All the prizes are Egyptian themed. Prize pack includes a decorative wall plague, oil diffuser, incense, book mark, collectible pens, necklace, scarab bead, real papyrus bookmark, pin, and ankh charms. ACV is around $100.





Our friends from Magical Monk Bags have also created a one-of-a-kind Egyptian style handbag depicting a scene of the Great Pyramids. The bag was hand-embroidered and is absolutely beautiful. AVC - $40.


Finally, The Whimsical Pixie has contributed a handmade dowsing board complete with blood stone pendulum valued at $45.99.



One lucky winner will walk away with all these prizes! Total value is over $180. To enter, simply fill out the rafflecopter form below. Giveaway will end on 4/29/14 and is open to the US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: Naila Moon of Once Upon A Time and all other host blogs are not  responsible for prize delivery. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blog Tour/Review/Giveaway: Good Night, Animal World by Giselle Shardlow

Good Night Animal World Blog Tour - Button Final

 

About the Book

Good Night Animal World by Giselle ShardlowTitle: Good Night, Animal World: A Kids Yoga Bedtime Story | Author: Giselle Shardlow | Illustrator: Emily Gedzyk | Publication Date: September 20, 2013 | Publisher: Company: Kids Yoga Stories LLC | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 2.5 to 6 years

 Summary: Say good night to the animals of the world! Calm your mind and body before bedtime by taking a journey around the world with this kids yoga storybook. Join six Kids Yoga Stories characters as you perch like a bald eagle, crouch like a tiger, and curl up like a sloth. The book includes a list of Kids Yoga Poses and a Parent Guide with tips on creating a successful bedtime experience. Learn something new, explore movement, and unwind together before bedtime!

My Review:
I was asked to do a video review for this blog tour which you can find below. (Please forgive any shakiness in the video as my 75 year old Mother was holding the camera and it was windly. She also appears in the video!) 
Overall, I felt this was a cute book but I did not think it was for the age recommended. I think under age 3 was more suited due to the scarcity of words which were quite repetitive. For older ages, I thought there needed to be much more words and possible more interaction.

I did however think the illustrations and the information for parents in the back of the book were top notch! In spite of those things, I still give the book 4 stars because of the aforementioned illustrations and informational guide.

* *

 

The Buzz

"This book has been so amazing for my 2.5 year old daughter! The illustrations are adorable! She is always so rambunctious at bedtime and this lets her get out some of that excess energy. She loves the book so much that this has been one we read every night. It helps my daughter fall asleep faster which means more time for mom in the evenings." ~ 5 Star Review, cwalt047, Amazon
"Another GREAT book!! I used this book for my kids yoga classes for ages 2-5 years old. After a very active yoga class, we read this book and did the yoga poses before the resting portion of the class. My little yogis loved the pictures and saying Good Night to all of the animals one by one. I played a calming song with some animal noises in the background and we were then able to quiet our minds and bodies for the pose of rest. I think this will become a regular pre-resting story for my classes with this age group. My 5 year old son loves to read this book again and again too! Keep the great books coming!" ~ 5 Star Review, Stacy Daniels - Kids Yoga Teacher, Amazon
"What a delightful book to get young children reading and moving in a wind-down, calming story about saying goodnight to the animals of the world. I am a k-12 Reading Certified teacher who blogs about parenting at The Educator's Spin On It. I am big fan of literacy activities that combine movement and geography in a loving parent / child interaction experience and Good night, Animal World does just that. This book would be a great addition to your book shelf." ~ 5 Star Review, Amanda at The Educators' Spin On It, Amazon
 

About the Author: Giselle Shardlow

Giselle Shardlow from Kids Yoga Stories Giselle Shardlow is the author of Kids Yoga Stories. Her yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun. Giselle draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write the stories found at www.kidsyogastories.com or on Amazon (amazon.com/author/giselleshardlow) worldwide.    

Twitter | Facebook |

 

* $25 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: April 8, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally 
 How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. 

 Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Giselle Shardlow and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. Naila Moon of Once Upon A Time received a review copy from the author but is not responsible for the giveaway.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review and Giveaway of Collision by Michael Phillip Cash


Blurb:
The Darracia saga continues with all the key players spread out and searching for answers throughout the solar system. Prince V'sair struggles to hold his fractured kingdom together without help from his family. His stepbrother Zayden is on a vengeful hunt for his evil uncle Staf Nuen. Tulani navigates her two worlds trying to bring them together. Staf Nuen, the orchestrator of the original coup, is making unholy alliances with nefarious new allies. Like the comet zipping across the horizon, all the different factions are heading for a collision course that will test both their faith and power.

My review:
After reading the first installment of this new Sci-fi series from Michael Phillip Cash, I could not wait to get the next book. I just knew it was going to be good. I have to say, I was not disappointed.

This book has everything in it that readers would want! There is the battles, the love affairs, the betrayals and the loyalties all wrapped up in coloborations that make your head spin.

Mr. Cash keeps the reader on edge as the young Prince V'sair embattles the roller coaster emotions of wanting his love by his side, keeping his beloved Darracia out of civil unrest and keeping enemies at bay.

If that was not enough, there are the other characters Zayden, Tulani, Reminda and Prince V'sair's uncles who are all dealing with their own emotional battles. The tug of good verses evil is within all and the choices made can mean life and death or...well, I cannot give that away.

This second book grabbed me and sucked me in as soon as I turned the first page right through to the last. Some chapters I held my breathe hoping for good outcomes. In other chapters and pages, I was floored by the character's tenacity and yet others sections, I was shaking my head in disbelief.

To say, I cannot wait for the next book is an understatement!

This book gets its 5 stars!


------------
***Would you like your own copy of this book? Enter my giveaway below for your chance. This is an international giveaway but make sure to see disclosure.

Where to find the author:

Amazon
Goodreads
Facebook
Blog


Disclosure: I purchased this book for my Kindle. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ with yours. Naila Moon of Once Upon A Time is not responsible for prize shipment. 
This giveaway is open world wide. However, US winner will receive a paperback version/ international winner will receive a Kindle version. Giveaway is from March 13-March 31, 2013 12 PM MST.
Winner will be drawn randomly by Rafflecopter. Winner must respond within 48 hours of email or an alternate winner will be chosen.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

#Book Blast and #Giveaway: The Magician's Doll by M.L. Roble


The Magician's Doll by M.L.Roble
Pages: 320 Recommended Ages: 10+



















Dislosure: I have received no compensation for this post other than a link on the Rafflecopter.


Summary

"They are stronger. They are coming. They will arrive!" Life would be so much better for twelve-year-old Natalie if she and her mother weren't different; other kids wouldn't pick on her; she wouldn't7 have to get into fights. She would have friends. But Natalie has abilities that set her apart, and despite her very best efforts to have a normal life, her developing “gift” has a way of upending them all. Then one day a big top circus rolls into town bringing with it Beausoleil the Magician, his daughter Louisa, and his mysterious doll. Strange things are afoot with Beausoleil’s arrival, and in his wake, an eerie storm is approaching. Soon Natalie discovers there is more to her world and the people around her than she knew, and that being different is just the tip of the iceberg... The Magician’s Doll sparks readers’ imaginations with a tale of magical discoveries, profound friendships, a fight against evil, and the growth that comes with facing your fears and accepting who you are.
 

Purchase the Book

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | The Book Bin

About the Author: M.L. Roble

M.L. Roble

M. L. Roble's desire to write a children's novel stems from the nostalgia of her own middle grade reading years where she first experienced books like "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Shattered Stone". There have been different books and genres since, but those years fueled an enchantment for story that continues to this day.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

 

* Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

 Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: April 11, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: Naila Moon of Once Upon A Time was asked to help promote this giveaway and is not responsible for prize distribution.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, M.L. Roble and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

&nbspa Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY: Confession by Carey Baldwin

Disclosure: I have a copy of this book to review which will be forthcoming. The author has a book tour in April. I was not compensated for this post and posting on behalf of the author and Hott Books.


Confession

by Carey Baldwin


Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9780062314109 / 0062314106

Purchase Links:   

Synopsis:

For fans of Allison Brennan and Karen Rose comes Carey Baldwin, a daring new name in suspense, with the story of a serial killer out for blood—and the only woman who can stop his reign of terror.
They say the Santa Fe Saint comes to save your soul—by taking your life.
Newly minted psychiatrist Faith Clancy gets the shock of her life when her first patient confesses to the grisly Saint murders. By law she’s compelled to notify the authorities, but is her patient really The Saint? Or will she contribute to more death by turning the wrong man over to the police?
Faith is going to need all her wits and the help of a powerful adversary, Luke Jericho, if she’s to unravel the truth. But she doesn’t realize she’s about to become an unwitting pawn in a serial killer’s diabolical game: For once he’s finished with Faith, she’ll become his next victim.

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Saint Catherine’s School for Boys

Near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ten years ago—Friday, August 15, 11:00 P.M.

I’M NOT afraid of going to hell. Not one damn bit.
We’re deep in the woods, miles from the boys’ dormitory, and my thighs are burning because I walked all this way with Sister Bernadette on my back. Now I’ve got her laid out on the soggy ground underneath a hulking ponderosa pine. A bright rim of moonlight encircles her face. Black robes flow around her, engulfing her small body and blending with the night. Her face, floating on top of all that darkness, reminds me of a ghost-head in a haunted house—but she’s not dead.
Not yet.
My cheek stings where Sister scratched me. I wipe the spot with my sleeve and sniff the air soaked with rotting moss, sickly-sweet pine sap and fresh piss. I pissed myself when I clubbed her on the head with that croquet mallet. Ironic, since my pissing problem is why I picked Sister Bernadette in the first place. She ought to have left that alone.
I hear a gurgling noise.
Good.
Sister Bernadette is starting to come around.
This is what I’ve been waiting for.
With her rosary wound tightly around my forearm, the grooves of the carved sandalwood beads cutting deep into the flesh of my wrist, I squat down on rubber legs, shove my hands under her armpits and drag her into a sitting position against the fat tree trunk. Her head slumps forward, but I yank her by the hair until her face tilts up, and her cloudy eyes open to meet mine. Her lips are moving. Syllables form within the bubbles coming out of her mouth. I press my stinging cheek against her cold, sticky one.
Like a lover, she whispers in my ear, “God is merciful.”
The nuns have got one fucked-up idea of mercy.
“Repent.” She’s gasping. “Heaven…”
“I’m too far gone for heaven.”
The God I know is just and fierce and is never going to let a creep like me through the pearly gates because I say a few Hail Marys. “God metes out justice, and that’s how I know I will not be going to heaven.”
To prove my point, I draw back, pull out my pocketknife, and press the silver blade against her throat. Tonight, I am more than a shadow. A shadow can’t feel the weight of the knife in his palm. A shadow can’t shiver in anticipation. A shadow is not to be feared, but I am not a shadow. Not in this moment.
She moves her lips some more, but this time, no sound comes out. I can see in her eyes what she wants to say to me. Don’t do it. You’ll go to hell.
I twist the knife so that the tip bites into the sweet hollow of her throat. “I’m not afraid of going to hell.”
It’s the idea of purgatory that makes my teeth hurt and my stomach cramp and my shit go to water. I mean what if my heart isn’t black enough to guarantee me a passage straight to hell? What if God slams down his gavel and says, Son, you’re a sinner, but I have to take your family situation into account. That’s a mitigating circumstance.
A single drop of blood drips off my blade like a tear.
“What if God sends me to purgatory?” My words taste like puke on my tongue. “I’d rather dangle over a fiery pit for eternity than spend a single day of the afterlife in a place like this one.”
I watch a spider crawl across her face.
My thoughts crawl around my brain like that spider.
You could make a pretty good case, I think, that St. Catherine’s School for Boys is earth’s version of purgatory. I mean, it’s a place where you don’t exist. A place where no one curses you, but no one loves you either. Sure, back home, your father hits you and calls you a bastard, but you are a bastard, so its okay he calls you one. Behind me, I hear the sound of rustling leaves and cast a glance over my shoulder.
Do it! You want to get into hell, don’t you?
I turn back to sister and flick the spider off her cheek.
The spider disappears, but I’m still here.
At St. Catherine’s no one notices you enough to knock you around. Every day is the same as the one that came before it, and the one that’s coming after. At St. Catherine’s you wait and wait for your turn to leave, only guess what, you dumb-ass bastard, your turn is never going to come, because you, my friend, are in purgatory, and you can’t get out until you repent.
Sister Bernadette lets out another gurgle.
I spit right in her face.
I won’t repent, and I can’t bear to spend eternity in purgatory, which is I why I came up with a plan. A plan that’ll rocket me straight past purgatory, directly to hell.
Sister Bernadette is the first page of my blueprint. I have the book to guide me the rest of the way. For her sake, not mine, I make the sign of the cross.
She’s not moving, but her eyes are open, and I hear her breathing. I want her to know she is going to die. “You are going to help me get into hell. In return, I will help you get into heaven.”
I shake my arm and loosen the rosary. The strand slithers down my wrist. One bead after another drops into my open palm, electrifying my skin at the point of contact. My blood zings through me, like a high-voltage current. I am not a shadow.
A branch snaps, making my hands shake with the need to hurry.
What are you waiting for my friend?
Is Sister Bernadette afraid?
She has to be. Hungry for her fear, I squeeze my thighs together, and then I push my face close and look deep in her eyes.
“The blood of the lamb will wash away your sins.” She gasps, and her eyes roll back. “Repent.”
My heart slams shut.
I begin the prayers.

Chapter One
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Present Day—Saturday, July 20, 1:00 P.M.
Man, she’s something.
Luke Jericho halted mid-stride, and the sophisticated chatter around him dimmed to an indistinct buzz. Customers jamming the art gallery had turned the air hot, and the aromas of perfume and perspiration clashed. His gaze sketched the cut muscles of the woman’s shoulders before swerving to the tantalizing V of her low-back dress. There, slick fabric met soft skin just in time to hide the thong she must be wearing. His fingers found the cold silk knot of his tie and worked it loose. He let his glance dot down the line of her spine, then swoop over the arc of her ass. It was the shimmer of Mediterranean-blue satin, illuminated beneath art lights, that had first drawn his eye, her seductive shape that had pulled him up short, but it was her stance—her pose—that had his blood expanding like hot mercury under glass.
Head tilted, front foot cocked back on its stiletto, the woman studied one of Luke’s favorite pieces—his brother Dante’s mixed-media. A piece Luke had hand-selected and quietly inserted into this show of local artists in the hopes a positive response might bolster his brother’s beleaguered self-esteem.
The woman couldn’t take her eyes off the piece, and he couldn’t take his eyes off the woman. Her right arm floated, as if she were battling the urge to reach out and touch the multi-textured painting. Though her back was to him, he could picture her face, pensive, enraptured. Her lips would be parted and sensual. He savored the swell of her bottom beneath the blue dress. Given the way the fabric clung to her curves, he’d obviously guessed right about the thong. She smoothed the satin with her hand, and he rubbed the back of his neck with his palm. Ha. Any minute now she’d turn and ruin his fantasy with what was sure to turn out to be the most ordinary mug in the room.
And then she did turn, and damned if her mug wasn’t ordinary at all, but she didn’t appear enraptured. Inquisitive eyes, with a distinct undercurrent of melancholy, searched the room and found him. Then, delicate brows raised high, her mouth firmed into a hard line—even thinned, her blood-red lips were temptation itself—she jerked to a rigid posture and marched, yeah, marched, straight at him.
Hot ass. Great mouth. Damn lot of nerve.
“I could feel your stare,” she said.
“Kind of full of yourself, honey.”
A flush of scarlet flared across her chest, leading his attention to her lovely, natural breasts, mostly, but not entirely, concealed by a classic neckline. With effort, he raised his eyes to meet hers. Green. Skin, porcelain. Hair, fiery—like her cheeks—and flowing. She looked like a mermaid. Not the soft kind, the kind with teeth.
“I don’t like to be ogled.” Apparently she intended to stand her ground.
He decided to stand his as well. That low-back number she had on might be considered relatively tame in a room with more breasts on display than a Picasso exhibit, but there was something about the way she wore it. “Then you shouldn’t have worn that dress, darlin’.”
Her brow arched higher in challenge. “Which is it? Honey or darlin’?”
“Let’s go with honey. You look sweet.” Not at the moment she didn’t, but he’d sure like to try and draw the sugar out of her. This woman was easily as interesting and no less beautiful than his best gallery piece, and she didn’t seem to be reacting to him per the usual script. He noticed his hand floating up, reaching out, just as her hand had reached for the painting. Like his mesmerizing customer, he knew better than to touch the display, but it was hard to resist the urge.
Her body drew back, and her shoulders hunched. “You’re aware there’s a serial killer on the loose?”
Luke, you incredible ass.
No wonder she didn’t appreciate his lingering looks. Every woman he knew was on full alert. The Jericho charm might or might not be able to get him out of this one, but he figured she was worth a shot. “Here, in this gallery? In broad daylight?” He searched the room with his gaze and made his tone light. “Or are you saying you don’t like being sized up for the kill?” He patted his suit pockets, made a big show of it and then stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I seem to have misplaced my rosary somewhere, I don’t suppose you’ve seen it?”
Her shoulders eased back to a natural position.
“Seriously, do I look like someone who’d be called The Saint?”
If the glove doesn’t fit…
Her lips threatened to curve up at the corners. “No. I don’t suppose you do.” Another beat, and then her smile bloomed in earnest. “Looking a little is one thing, maybe it’s even flattering…but you seem to have exceeded your credit line.”
He turned his palms up. “Then I’d like to apply for an increase.”
At that, her pretty head tipped back, and she laughed, a big genuine laugh. It was the kind of laugh that was a touch too hearty for a polished society girl, which perhaps she wasn’t after all. It was also the kind of laugh he’d like to hear again. Of its own accord, his hand found his heart. “Listen, I’m honest-to-God sorry if I spooked you. That wasn’t my intention.”
Her expression was all softness now.
“Do you like the painting?” he asked, realizing that he cared more than he should about the answer.
“It’s quite…dark.” Her bottom lip shivered with the last word, and he could sense she found Dante’s painting disturbing.
Always on the defensive where his brother was concerned, his back stiffened. He tugged at his already loosened tie. “Artists are like that. I don’t judge them.”
“Of course. I-I wasn’t judging the artist. I was merely making an observation about the painting. It’s expressive, beautiful.”
Relaxing his stance, he pushed a hand through his hair.
She pushed a hand through her hair, and then her glance found her fancy-toed shoes. “Maybe I overreacted, maybe you weren’t even staring.”
Giving in to the urge to touch, he reached out and tilted her chin up until their eyes met. “I’m Luke Jericho, and you had it right the first time. I was staring. I was staring at—” He barely had time to register a startled flash of her green eyes before she turned on her heel and disappeared into the throng of gallery patrons.
He shrugged and said to the space where her scent still sweetened the air, “I was staring at your fascination. Your fascination fascinates me.”
Saturday, July 20, 1:30 P.M.
Faith Clancy strode across her nearly naked office and tossed her favorite firelight macaron clutch onto her desk. After rushing out of the gallery, she’d come to her office to regroup, mainly because it was nearby.
She could hear Ma’s voice now, see her wagging finger. “Luke Jericho? Sure’an you’ve gone and put your wee Irish foot in the stewpot now, Faith.”
Well, it was only a tiny misstep—what harm could possibly come of it? She braced her palms against the windowsill. Teeth clenched, she heaved with all her might until wood screeched against wood and the window lurched open.
A full inch.
Swell.
Summers in Santa Fe were supposed to be temperate, and she hadn’t invested in an air conditioner for her new office. She sucked in a deep breath, but the currentless summer air brought little relief from the heat. Lifting her hair off the back of her damp neck with one hand, she reached over and dialed on the big standing fan next to the desk with the other. The dinosaur whirred to life without a hiccup.
That made one thing gone right today.
The relaxing Saturday afternoon she’d been looking forward to all week had been derailed, thanks to Luke Jericho. Okay, that wasn’t even half fair. In reality, the wheels of her day had never touched down on the track to begin with. She’d awakened this morning with a knot in her stomach and an ache in her heart—missing Danny and Katie.
Walk it off, she’d thought. Dress up. Take in the sights. Act like you’re part of the Santa Fe scene and soon enough you will be. Determined to forget the homesick rumbling in her chest, Faith had plucked a confidence boosting little number from her closet, slipped on a pair of heels and headed out to mingle with polite society. Even if she didn’t feel like she fit in, at least she would look the part. But the first gallery she’d entered, she’d dunked her foot in the stewpot—crossing swords with, and then, even worse, flirting with the brother of a patient.
Rather bad luck considering she had just one patient.
Her toe started to tap.
Her gaze swept the office and landed on the only adornment of the freshly-painted walls—her diplomas and certificates, arranged in an impressive display with her psychiatric board certification center stage. A Yale-educated doctor. Ma and Da would’ve been proud, even if they might’ve clucked their tongues at the psychiatrist part. She blinked until her vision cleared. It wasn’t only Danny and Katie she was missing today.
She kicked off her blasted shoes and shook off her homesick blues…only to find her mind returning to the gallery and her encounter with a man who was strictly off limits.
There was no point chastising herself for walking into the art gallery in the first place, or for refusing to pretend she didn’t notice the man who was eyeing her like she was high tea in a whorehouse, and he a starving sailor.
Care for a macaron, sir?
Had she realized her admirer was Luke Jericho, she would’ve walked away without confronting him, but how was she to know him by sight? It wasn’t as if she spent her spare time flipping through photos of town royalty in the society pages.
She’d recognized his name instantly, however, and not only because she was treating his half-brother, Dante. The Jericho family had a sprawling ranch outside town and an interest in a number of local businesses. But most of their wealth, she’d heard, came from oil. The Jerichos, at least the legitimate ones, had money. Barrels and barrels of it.
Luke’s name was on the lips of every unattached female in town—from the clerk at the local Shop and Save to the debutant docent at the Georgia O’Keeffe museum:
Single.
Handsome.
Criminally rich.
Luke Jericho, they whispered.
When she’d turned to find him watching her, his heated gaze had caused her very bones to sizzle. Luke had stood formidably tall, dressed in an Armani suit that couldn’t hide his rancher’s physique. The gallery lights seemed to spin his straw-colored hair into gold and ignite blue fire in his eyes. She could still feel his gaze raking over her in that casual way, as if he didn’t wish to conceal his appetites. It was easy to see how some women might become undone in his presence. She eased closer to the fan.
“Dr. Clancy.”
That low male voice gave her a fizzy, sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, like she’d just downed an Alka-Seltzer on top of the flu. When you’re all alone in a room, and someone else speaks, it’s just plain creepy.
It only took a millisecond to recognize the voice, but at a time when someone dubbed The Santa Fe Saint was on a killing spree, that was one millisecond too long. Icy tendrils of fear wrapped themselves around her chest, squeezing until it hurt her heart to go on beating. The cold certainty that things were not as they should be made the backs of her knees quiver. Then recognition kicked in, and her breath released in a whoosh.
It’s only Dante.
She pasted on a neutral expression and turned to face him. How’d he gotten in? The entrance was locked; she was certain of it.
“Did I frighten you?”
She inclined her head toward the front door to her office, which was indeed locked, and said, “Next time, Dante, I’d prefer you use the main entrance…and knock.”
“I came in the back.”
That much was obvious now that she’d regained her wits. “That’s my private entrance. It’s not intended for use by patients.” Stupid of her to leave it unlocked, but it was midday and she hadn’t expected an ambush.
To buy another moment to compose herself, she went to her bookcase and inspected its contents. Toward the middle, Freud’s “Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis” leaned haphazardly in the direction of its opponent, Skinner’s “Behavior Therapy”. A paperback version of “A Systems Approach to Family Therapy” had fallen flat, not quite bridging the gap between the warring classics.
Dante crossed the distance between them, finishing directly in front of her, invading her personal space. “Quite right. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
She caught a blast of breath, pungent and wrong—a Listerine candle floating in a jar of whiskey. In self-defense, she took a step back before looking up at her patient’s face. Dante possessed his brother’s intimidating height, but unlike Luke, his hair was jet black, and his coal-colored eyes were so dark it was hard to distinguish the pupil from the iris. Despite Dante’s dark complexion and the roughness of his features—he had a previously broken nose and a shiny pink scar that gashed across his cheekbone into his upper lip—there was a distinct family resemblance between the Jericho brothers. Luke was the fair-haired son to Dante’s black sheep, and even their respective phenotypes fit the cliche.
Dante took a step forward.
She took another deep step back, bumping her rear-end against wood. With one hand she reached behind her and felt for the smooth rim of her desktop. With the other hand, she put up a stop sign. “Stay right where you are.”
He halted, and she edged her way behind her desk, using it as a barrier between herself and Dante. Maybe she should advise him to enroll in a social skills class since he didn’t seem to realize how uncomfortable he was making her. Though she knew full well Dante wasn’t on her schedule today—no one was on her schedule today—she powered on her computer. “Hang on a second while I check my calendar.”
“All right.” At least he had the courtesy to play along.
When he rested his hand on her desk, she noticed he was carrying a folded newspaper. She’d already seen today’s headline, and it had given her the shivers. “Any minute now.” She signaled to Dante with an upheld index finger.
He nodded, and, in what seemed an eternity of time, her computer finished booting. She navigated from the welcome screen to her schedule, and then in a firm, matter-of-fact voice, she told him, “I’m afraid you’ve made a mistake. Your appointment isn’t until Monday at four pm.”
As he took another step closer, a muscle twitched in his jaw. He didn’t seem to care when his appointment was. Gesturing toward the leather armchair on the patient side of her desk, she fended him off. “Have a seat right there.” If she could get him to sit down, maybe she could gain control of the situation; she really ought to hear him out long enough to make sure this wasn’t some sort of emergency.
Dante didn’t sit. Instead, from across the desk, his body inclined forward. Her throat went dry, and her speeding pulse signaled a warning. If this were an emergency, he most likely would have tried to contact her through her answering service, besides which, he’d had plenty of time already to mention anything urgent. He must’ve known he didn’t have an appointment today, so what the hell was he doing here on a Saturday?
Dante had no reason at all to expect her to be here. In fact, the more she thought about it, the less sense his presence made. Pulling her shoulders back, she said, “I am sorry, but you need to leave. You’ll have to come back on Monday at four.”
The scar tissue above his mouth tugged his features into a menacing snarl. “I saw you talking to my brother.”
He’d followed her from the art gallery.
Even though Dante’s primary diagnosis was schizotypal personality disorder, there was a paranoid component present, exacerbated by a sense of guilt and a need to compensate for feelings of inferiority. His slip and slide grip on reality occasionally propelled him into a near delusional state. She could see him careening into a dark well of anxiety now, and she realized she needed to reassure him she wasn’t colluding with his half-brother against him. “I wasn’t talking to your brother about you. In fact, I didn’t have any idea I had wandered into your brother’s art gallery until he…introduced himself.”
“I don’t believe you.”
As fast as her heart was galloping, she managed a controlled reply. “That hardly bodes well for our relationship as doctor and patient, does it? But the truth is, we were discussing a painting.”
“Discussing my painting, discussing me, same difference.”
His painting?
That bit of information did nothing to diminish her growing sense of apprehension. That painting had had a darkness in it like nothing she’d ever seen before. A darkness that had captivated her attention, daring her to unravel its mysterious secrets.
Then Dante dropped into the kind of predatory crouch that would’ve made a kitten roll over and play dead.
But she wasn’t a kitten.
Defiantly, she exhaled slow and easy. If she didn’t know better, she’d think Dante was intentionally trying to frighten her. “I’m happy to see you during your regular hour, and we can schedule more frequent sessions if need be, but for now, I’m afraid it’s time for you to go.”
He returned to a stand. “You’re here all alone today.”
A shudder swept across her shoulders. He was right. No one else was in the building. She shared a secretary with an aesthetician down the hall, and today Stacy hadn’t been at her post. The aesthetician usually worked Saturday mornings, but she must’ve finished for the day and gone home. Home was where Faith wanted to go right now. She wished she’d kept her clutch in hand. Her phone was in that clutch. “We’ll work on that trust issue on Monday.”
With Dante’s gaze tracking hers, her eyes fell on her lovely macaron bag, lying on the desktop near his fingertips. He lifted the clutch as if to offer it to her, but then drew his hand back and stroked the satin shell against his face.
The room suddenly seemed too small. “I don’t mean to be unkind. We’ve been working hard these past few weeks and making good progress up to this point, and I’d hate to have to refer you to another psychiatrist, but I will if I have to.” She paused for breath.
“You’re barefoot.” Slowly, he licked his lower lip.
Feeling as vulnerable as if she were standing before him bare-naked instead of bare-footed, she slipped back into her shoes. Jerking a glance around the room, she cursed herself for furnishing the place so sparsely, as if she didn’t plan on staying in Santa Fe long. It wasn’t like she had anywhere else to call home anymore, and now here she stood without so much as a paperweight to conk someone on the head with if…The window was open, at least she could scream for help if necessary. “We’re done here.”
“I’m not leaving, Dr. Clancy.” He opened her purse, removed her cell and slid it into his pants pocket, then dropped her purse on the floor.
Her stomach got fizzy again, and she gripped the edge of her desk. Screaming didn’t seem like the most effective plan. It might destabilize him and cause him to do something they’d both regret. For now at least, a better plan was to stay calm and listen. If she could figure out what was going on inside his head, maybe she could stay a step ahead of him and diffuse the situation before it erupted into a full-scale nightmare. “Give me back my phone, and then we can talk.”
Here came that involuntary snarl of his. “No phone. And I’m not leaving until I’ve done what I came here to do.” Carefully unfolding the newspaper he’d brought with him, he showed her the headline:

Santa Fe Saint Claims Fourth Victim.

Author Bio:

Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers.

Catch Up With the Author:   


KID LIT BLOG HOP-June 2017

Hello, welcome back to another month of terrific children's literature. We welcome you to the June 2017 Kid Lit Blog Hop. This ...