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Prologue & Chapter 1
Emma right ©
They say each dead body, a human corpse, has a scent all of its own, a sweet-sour smell. A cadaver dog picks up the odor as clearly as a mother recognizes a photo of her child. Of course, I wouldn’t know, for I am no dog. I might as well have been, the way I’d stooped to yield to my basic instincts. My mind wandered to her, what her unique smell would be when, and if, they ever were to find her.
After what happened, I decided to write out the events that led to that day and details in case I’d missed something, or might need it for defense, or in case they found me dead. My relatives might need to piece together the things that had spiraled out of control, if they wanted to put me to rest, to forget me altogether. That would be
least painful for them. I nodded to myself as I sat in the car. I thought of my most favorite girl in the world: Lilly. At least Lilly’d have my dog, Holly, to remember me by.
My friends used to call me Brie, short for Brianna. But, I could hardly count anyone a friend any more. I’d have to resort to back-watching if I wanted to survive.
It started on a warm April afternoon. Gusts of wind blew against the oak tree right outside my kitchen balcony, in my tiny apartment in Atherton, California. Sometimes the branches that touched the side of the building made scraping noises. The yellow huckleberry flowers twining their way across my apartment balcony infused the air with sweetness.
My mother had insisted, as was her tendency on most things, I take the pot of wild huckleberry, her housewarming gift, to my new two-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t really new, just new to me, as was the entire experience of living separately, away from my family, and the prospect of having a roommate, someone who could be a best friend, something I’d dreamed of since I finished high school and debuted into adulthood.
“Wait for me by the curb,” my mother said, her voice blaring from the phone even though I didn’t set her on speaker. “You need to eat better.” Her usual punctuation at the end of her orders.
So, I skipped down three flights of steps and headed toward the side of the apartment building to await my mother’s gift of the evening, salad in an á la chicken style, her insistent recipe to cure me of bad eating habits. At least it wasn’t chicken soup double-boiled till the bones melted, I consoled myself.
I hadn’t waited long when a vehicle careened round the corner. I heard it first, that high-pitched screech of brakes wearing thin when the driver rammed his foot against it. From the corner of my eye, even before I turned to face it, I saw the blue truck. It rounded the bend where Emerson Street met Ravenswood, tottered before it righted itself and headed straight at me.
I took three steps back, fell and scrambled to get back up as the vehicle like a giant bullet struck the sidewalk I had only seconds ago stood on. The driver must have lost control, but when he hit the sidewalk it slowed the vehicle enough so he could bridle his speed and manage the truck as he continued to careen down the street.
My mother arrived a half minute later but she had seen it all. Like superwoman, she leaped out of her twenty-year-old Mercedes and rushed toward me, all breathless and blonde hair disheveled.
“Are you all right?” She reached out to help me up.
“Yes, yes,” I said, brushing the dirt off my yoga pants.
“Crazy driver. Brie, I just don’t know about this business of you staying alone here like this.” She walked
back to her white Mercedes, leaned in the open window, and brought out a casserole dish piled high with something green. Make that several shades of green.
I followed her, admittedly winded.“Seriously, Mom. It’s just one of those things. Mad drivers could happen anywhere I live.”
She gave me no end of grief as to what a bad idea it was for me to live alone like this even though she knew I was going to get a roommate.
“Mom, stop worrying,” I said.
“You’re asking me to stop being your mother, I hope you realize this.”
“I’ll find someone dependable by the end of the week, I promise.” No way I was going back to live at home. Not that I came from a bad home environment. But I had my reasons.
I had advertised on Craig’s List, despite my mother’s protests that only scum would answer “those kinds of ads.”
Perhaps there was some truth to Mother’s biases, but I wouldn’t exactly call Sarah McIntyre scum. If she was, what would that make me?
Sarah’s father had inherited the family “coal” money. Their ancestors had emigrated from Scotland (where else, with a name like McIntyre, right?) in the early 1800s and bought an entire mountain (I kid you not) in West Virginia. It was a one-hit wonder in that the mountain hid a coal fortune under it, and hence the McIntyre Coal Rights Company was born. This was the
McIntyre claim to wealth, and also a source of remorse and guilt for Sarah, for supposedly dozens of miners working for them had lost their lives due to the business, most to lung cancer or black lung, as it was commonly called. Hazards of the occupation.
And then there were cave-ins, which presented another set of drama altogether, Sarah said.
I sat across from her, the coffee table between us, in the small living room during our first meeting. “So, that’s why you’re not on talking terms with your family? Because of abuses of the coal company? ” I asked.
We sipped hot cocoa and sat cross-legged in the crammed living room, which also doubled as the dining space. I’d never interviewed anyone before, although I’d read tips on the Internet.
“I just don’t want to be reminded anymore,” she said, twirling her dark ringlets round and round on her pointer finger.
“But, it’s not entirely your dad’s fault those people died of lung problems.”
“I guess, but I just want to get away, you understand? Anyway, I’m almost twenty-one now. That’s three years too late for moving out and establishing my own space.” She took tiny sips of the cocoa, both hands cupping the mug as if she were cold.
I walked to the thermostat and upped the temperature. A slight draft still stole in from a gap in the balcony sliding door I always kept open a crack to let the air circulate.
“So, your family’s okay with you living here? In California? In this apartment that’s probably smaller than your bathroom? With a stranger?”
“First off, it’s none of their business. Secondly, you and I won’t stay strangers.” Sarah flashed me a grin. “Besides, I’m tired of big houses with too many rooms to get lost in. And, have you lived in West Virginia?”
I shook my head. The farthest I’d been was Nevada when we went for our family annual ski vacation. “I heard it’s pretty.”
“If you like hot, humid summers and bitter cold winters. So, do I pass? As a roommate?”
She looked about at the ceiling. I wondered if she noticed the dark web in the corner and the lack of cornices and crown moldings. I was sure I smelled mold in the living room, too. But I wasn’t in a position to choose. Sarah was.
“As long as you’re not a psychopath and can pay rent.” I returned her smile.
“I don’t know about the psychopath part.” She shrugged and displayed her white, evenly-spaced teeth. “But here’s my bank account.” She tossed me a navy blue booklet with gilded edges and with golden words “Bank of America” on the cover.
I fumbled as I caught it and was unsure what to do. “Should I peek?”
“Go on.” She gestured, flicking her fingers at me as if I were a stray cat afraid to take a morsel of her offering.
“No secrets. I can well afford to pay rent. And, I’m a stable individual.”
I flipped the first few pages and saw the numerous transactions in lumps my parents, who were by no means poor, would have gasped at. The last page registered the numbers: under deposits, $38,000. My eyes scanned the row of numbers and realized that the sum $38,000 came up every sixth of the month.
My mouth must have been open for she said, “You can stop gawking. It’s only my trust fund. It comes to me regardless of where I am, or where I stay. So, do I make the cut?”
I handed the bank book back. We discussed the house rules: no smoking; no drugs, and that included pot; no boyfriend sleepovers or wild parties, which was a clause in my landlord’s lease; and Sarah was to hand me her share of the rent, a mere $800 a month, on the twenty-eighth of every month, since I was the main renter and she the sub-letter.
She didn’t want anything down on paper—no checks, no contracts, and no way of tracing things back to her, she’d stressed a few times.
She fished in her Louis Vuitton and handed me a brown paper bag, the kind kids carry their school lunches in. I peeked inside and took out a stash of what looked like a wad of papers bundled together with a rubber band. Her three-month share of the deposit, a total of twenty-four crisp hundred-dollar bills. They had that distinct new-bank-notes-smell that spoke of luxury.
I gulped down my hot chocolate. “Why all the secrecy? I hope your parents will at least know your address.” I said as I wrapped up the interview. I could understand not wanting parents breathing down her neck, but as long as they didn’t insist on posting a guard at the door, what was the harm of them knowing where she lived?
Sarah glanced about the room as if afraid the neighbors might have their ears pinned to the walls, listening.
She leaned forward and, her face expressionless, said softly, “My parents are dead.”
Emma Right is a happy wife and home school mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.
Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.
1 Paperback copy of DEAD DREAMS (DOMESTIC ONLY – ebook for International)1 Amazon Gift Card for $15
Dead Dreams has the intriguing combination of mystery, suspense, and thriller all rolled into one. I couldn’t help but feel horrible for young Brie, she’s been tossed into a world of murder, espionage and thievery. I loved how the epilogue unraveled her story, how could you not read it after that introduction? Brie is independent and hard working, trying to pull money together to go to acting school. We are given plenty of back ground on Brie and I love what a strong character she is. After the series of events that unfolds when her new roommate moves in I could see how one would be pushed into complete paranoia and possibly a mental break down. Poor Brie’s world is turned upside down and inside out. Sarah, the roommate, is another story. She is rich, spoiled, and secretive. The ending is left with a huge cliffhanger. There was no hanky panky going on in this book – it’s all suspense. I can’t wait for the sequel!!
I am Arie Belle and up until my mother’s unexpected and mysterious death my life had been pretty simple, but then things became dark and, at times, hopeless. Even my uncanny ability to communicate with nature had turned its back on me. My only saving grace is my lifetime friendship with the boy next door, River, whom I had always thought of as my soul mate up until my eighteenth birthday when everything seemed to change. My body tingles with heightened sensations and my emotions veer out of control. They are further tested when Ashe, a beautiful stranger with a powerful draw, enters my life and challenges my heart and soul. Amidst the rush of feelings after years of numbness, my true destiny slowly unravels and my journey to find out what I am, to find my mother’s killer, and stop my own death becomes a frantic rush before the next full moon.
This powerful story encaptures the true meaning of love and the dark corners of life that can either suck you in or save you.
This was a great quick read for me, the story flowed very well and plot was very intriguing. A lot of the story deals with Arie’s grief from the death of her mother, her unrelenting visions, and Arie learning she is not who she thought she was or quite sure what she is. I can’t say too much because there is a big reveal at the end of the book. The story is full of twists and turns and keeps you guessing and wondering about Arie and her family until the very end. And even then there’s a lot left to learn. Let us not forget about her best and life long friend, River, who is completely committed to Arie. Then there is Ashe, another possible love interest, I’m looking forward to learning more about him, hopefully in the next book; I can’t say I’m a fan of him yet. You could say I’m Team River at this point. There is some sexual content in Reality. There is a good versus bad vibe to Reality which reminded me of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series. I have to add that I love the artwork on the cover of Reality. It’s beautiful and mysterious. I’m really looking forward to the next installment in this series.
I love reading and have my sister-in-law to thank for all the great finds! She’s deep into romance and supernatural and always sends the good stuff my way. I guess you can say she’s my reviewer/filter! Why supernatural for me? I don’t do reality. Let’s face it, we are surrounded by reality every day and I don’t need to immerse myself into it while reading too! I want the suspension of disbelief! I want to be taken somewhere else and know that it’s not real and is all in fun!
I received my bachelor’s at USC in theatre with an unofficial minor in writing and I am currently in a post-graduate program at CSUCI working on my Math credential. And, yes, I did just say Math! Crazy, I know! Exhausting too! Only 1 more year until I can officially teach!
My passions include reading and especially writing. Growing up I was the child in the corner reading alone like a little hermit. I guess they label it as anti-social these days. I also grew up writing in diaries, then poetry, then short stories. While at USC I wrote my first screenplay and post-graduation I was hired to write another screenplay, which I did successfully. I have since started several books, but have never had the courage or time to finish. That’s changing as of now! I missed it, but I had convinced myself I was too busy and it would be a waste of time. Really, I was just discouraged from my years in the industry and I was scared to go back. Then I started reading again and it sparked my passion and true calling. I started writing a story that had been brewing inside of me over the years. The characters were slowly developing and itching to break out onto paper. In the summer of 2011 I wrote the first chapter and started the second chapter. Then life got busy again and my passion was pushed aside. Sad right? Then I met an amazing person who loved my story and encouraged me to start writing again. With that said, I am in a happier place now. I am fulfilling my inner desire and passion to write while raising a family and living life. Thank you so much for your support! And I hope to keep the stories coming!!!
Released Date: August 20th Goodreads
It ALL started with spilled champagne…
When Markus Anthony accidentally bumps into the stunning Savannah at his brother’s wedding, he gets more than just a soaking wet tuxedo.
In that instance, a love he believed to be forever lost is sparked anew.
She’s more beautiful than ever, and her kiss sends him into a passionate delirium.
But there’s trouble ahead…
Will his foolish ways cause him to lose Savannah once and for all?
And who is the strange man Savannah’s been talking to in the middle of the night?
LOST LOVE is the second book in the Anthony Brother’s series and is about brother, Markus Anthony. Lost Love was a short and sweet contemporary romance between Markus and his high school sweetheart Savannah. I found the characters to be very relate-able. The scenes with Markus and his brothers were my favorite and very amusing, the all for one and one for all mantra is hilarious. LOST LOVE deals with real relationship problems and the trials and tribulations that follow them. Will their relationship survive? You’ll have to read it to find out! You won’t be disappointed! I look forward to the next installation from Harmony Bryce, Forbidden Love. Check out the author website for a freebie!
ABOUT HARMONY BRYCE:
Harmony Bryce is a true romantic and loves spreading her “feel good” feelings in her writings. She writes contemporary romance books sprinkled with love, laughter and some unexpected surprises.
Harmony adores flavorful cups of tea, opportunity shopping, and buying unique vintage and antique bric-a-brac to showcase her deep love of everything vintage. Her big loves are her family, spending time with life long friends, loving her pets and making the most of what life has to offer.
Harmony lives in beautiful Sydney, Australia. Her favourite books are series books — either reading them herself or writing them. Sometimes you fall in love with book characters that you want to see or hear about in more than one book….
Note: I received this book for free from the author for an honest review.
Left to raise his infant son alone, a hardened Hank Cole is determined to make the best of it while prospering his ranch, but when a beautiful woman literally lands on his doorstep, he is helpless against the attraction between them.
Elizabeth Dawson is too outspoken for gentle society, but she may be the perfect match for a tough Montana cowboy.
A story of two very different people who belong together, proof that sometimes fate can have a sense of humor when it comes to love.
Hildie McQueen never disappoints when it comes to these historical romance stories. I am a fan for life. Big Sky Blue was short and sweet. But it was also filled with the gorgeous background scenery of Alder’s Gulch, Montana in 1838. I enjoyed reading the tale of cattle rancher, Hank Cole, and how he came to meet Virginia socialite, Elizabeth Dawson. Both are total opposites, yet are looking for the same things in life. But timing is everything right? Hank is once bitten twice shy but how can he resist the intelligent and beautiful Elizabeth? I recommend Big Sky Blue to any woman who loves western historical romances, you won’t be disappointed. Big Sky Blue made me smile and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling, which is a GOOD thing!
I write Historical Western Romance as well as Paranormal Romance, with a touch of Historical here and there. I’ve also published eight Highlander Historical Erotic short stories. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as Georgia Romance Writers and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapters of RWA.
For fun I spend a lot of time with my girlfriends. My wonderful hubby is my partner in crime for traveling. We love to jump in the car or sometimes his motorcycle and head to the mountains, the city or the beach.
Book Title: Immortals
Author: Ednah Walters
Release Date: August 5th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Length: 342 Pages
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something…
Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology, and that her feelings for him are strong. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her, his memories erased by Norns—Norse destiny deities—to punish her for defying them.
She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again.
But she quickly learns that well-laid plans do not work when dealing with deities and supernatural beings. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves.
“It’s nice to have you back, Raine,” Catie said, sitting across from me. The others flanked her.
I ignored them, forked a piece of lettuce, and placed it in my mouth. I waved to Eirik. He was now at the front of the pizza line. He stared pointedly at the three Norns. Then he did what he always did. He lifted his camera, aimed it at us, and clicked.
Okay, I wasn’t the only one seeing them.
“You care about him, don’t you?” Catie asked, glancing at Eirik.
I glared at her. “Leave him alone.”
“I’m happy you care about him because he needs you,” Catie added, her voice gentle as though she hated to be the bearer of bad news.
She reached out to touch my hand, but I cringed, forcing her to retreat. She was always the nicer and quieter one, but today she appeared to be the trio’s chosen spokesperson.
“Eirik needs you more than the Valkyrie does,” she said.
“His name is Torin, not the Valkyrie,” I snapped.
Catie sighed. “I’ll remember that. Eirik really needs your help, Raine. You can protect him better as a Norn than as a Mortal.”
“Protect him from what?”
The three girls looked at each other.
“I told you she didn’t know,” Catie said.
“This is no place to discuss these matters,” Jeanette said impatiently.
Marj nodded. “I agree, but we don’t have time to hang around here and educate her. We have other charges and can’t keep playing favorites.” She glared at Catie and stood.
“What don’t I know?” I asked, getting irritated.
“Who Eirik is,” Catie said in a gentle voice. “Ask your mother. Once you know his story, you’ll understand why he needs you and why you should be there for him.”
“Must be there for him,” Jeanette corrected.
“Why me?” My eyes swung from face to face.
“Because you owe him,” Marj said impatiently.
I cocked my brow. “What?”
“He’s the reason we saved your life,” Jeanette added.
Catie sighed and glared at her friends. “Girls, couldn’t you at least try to be subtle?”
“No, she needs to understand how dire the situation is. We’ll need an answer soon, Lorraine.” Marj glanced at the others and added, “Let’s go.”
I stared after them, shock and anger zipping through me. All I wanted was Torin, not another round with these crones. But how could I ignore them when they’d said Eirik needed me? I was still staring at the exit when he sat across from me.
I don’t read a ton of YA stories but when I do it’s so refreshing and I utterly adored this book. The connections the characters have with one another is unmistakable and unbreakable. I’m talking about the love between Torin and Raine and the deeply rooted love Raine also has for Eirik. Raine is someone you would always want on yourside, she’d move heaven and earth for you if she could. Raine’s abilities progression in this story is immense. And considering all she’s been through in such a short amount of time you’re really rooting for her the entire time. What makes this book so unique to me is the use Norse mythology and runes. You really have to know what your writing about and Ednah Walters does this with profound intelligence.
EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.
Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Visit her at www.ednahwalters.com
Ednah also writes YA paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. IMMORTALS is book 2. She is presently working on book 3, GRIMNIRS (Release date TBA). Read more about this series and the world she’s created here www.runestheseries.com
Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six. You can visit her online at or www.ebwalters.com.