Friday, June 22, 2018

New Release ★ Free Content ★ Upcoming Release


Celebrate with me! THE RANCHER’S PERFECT BRIDE is up for pre-order and will release on Monday, June 25, from Amazon. This is book 7 of the Loving a Rancher Series, a sweet western historical romance. In this story, Zenobia Stanton wants to be the perfect mail-order bride for Callum McFadden—if only she knew how to cook and clean! She’s a fast learner, but has what I hope you’ll find are interesting encounters along the way. The purchase link is http://a.co/5ORxMym.



The previous titles in this series were part of Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Series for Kindle World. Because Amazon is dropping the Kindle World program, the rights to these books (with Debra’s permission) return to me on July 16. I will be republishing them as soon as possible after that date. Of course, the names of Debra’s characters have been changed because they belong to her. Now I'll be able to offer the books in print as well as e-books.

THE RANCHER'S PERFECT BRIDE Excerpt: (Zenobia is alone at the ranch on the fifth day of her marriage. The day before, Callum gave her shooting lessons.)

She saw the stocky man’s muscles bunch and recognized he was going to jump up and lunge at her.

“Mister, you try to stand up and I’ll shoot you.”
He raised his head and sent her a lethal glare. “I’ll bet you don’t even know how to shoot. You look like that there gun is getting too heavy for you.”
“If it does, I have a revolver in my apron pocket. Would you prefer I shoot you with a revolver?”
The skinny man’s voice was an unpleasant whine, “Don’t shoot us at all. You let us ride away and we won’t bother you none.”
“As if I’d believe that. Thieves like you two aren’t going to change your ways.” Where was Callum? He should have come by now.
She took a step back and fired three more into the air. When she did, the stocky man leaped to his feet. Her fourth shot was at his feet.
He kept coming at her so she shot at him, this time plugging his shoulder. His eyes widened in surprise and he stopped momentarily.
“I’ll teach you to fire at me.” He called her horrid names.
The man recovered his momentum and rushed at her. She shot him again, this time hitting his knee. He dropped to the ground cursing and repeating what he would like to do to her.
His talk caused her knees to shake but she couldn’t let him know. She scowled and pretended to regard him as expendable. “If you’re of a mind to continue, I still have ammunition. When I said ‘on the ground’, that’s what I meant.”
He continued calling her names and cursing. “You shattered my knee. I’ll have the devil of a time walking after this.”
“I didn’t ask you to come at me and I have no sympathy for you.”
The sound of hoofbeats reassured her. Callum and his hands rode into the yard at a gallop. When he stopped, he was off his horse and running toward her.
The three ranch hands converged on the two thieves.
Callum grabbed her shoulders and searched her face. “Are you all right? What’s happened here?”
She set the rifle on the porch and clung to his arms. “I’m okay but have never been so grateful to see anyone. These two men didn’t know I was here. They waited until you and your men were gone then rode in to steal hens and meat. They’re living in your old soddie.”
He pulled her into his arms. “Zenobia, I’m sorry you had to confront them, but you held your own.”
She rested her head against his strong chest. His accelerated heartbeat reflected his anxiety. “I thought I would have to kill that stocky man. He was determined to reach me. The leering way he looked at me scared me witless.”
She leaned close and spoke quietly, “Callum… um, I have to tell you the truth. The first time I fired at him, I intended to hit his boots and got his shoulder. The second time, I aimed at his other shoulder and hit his knee. Frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t miss entirely.”
He hugged her to him again. “Don’t tell anyone. You’ll have a reputation now as a woman who can defend herself. Let’s keep it our secret that you aren’t as good a shot as you’d like.”
“I don’t want to be tested again by the likes of those two but I think I should practice more. If I’d missed him he would have overpowered me.”



FREE SAMPLE BOOK 


We always like something FREE, right? A sample of an anthology I’m in is now available from most vendors at http://a.co/f0JZ1Rj. MEDLEYS AND MUSINGS includes blurbs, excerpts, recipes, historical tidbits, and bios from the nine authors in the upcoming UNDER A MULBERRY MOON western historical anthology being released July 19. I’ve loved what I’ve read of these stories so far and have found they offer a nice variety.

UPCOMING RELEASE NOW ON PRE-ORDER



You can pre-order UNDER A MULBERRY MOON now at http://a.co/dSvcFdc and it will magically appear on your e-reader on release day. Don't you love technology? (When it works, that is.) Authors included in the anthology are Zina Abbott, Patricia Carroll, Caroline Clemmons, Carra Copelin, Keta Diablo, P. A. Estelle, Cissie Patterson, Charlene Raddon, and Jacquie Rogers. Snap it up now at only 99 cents. 

Thank you to all those who have purchased my books! I love writing but can only continue as long as I have readers. Thank you also to those who have left reviews. Reviews are helpful to authors as well as prospective readers. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

CURSE OF THE ANCIENTS



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Hawk will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



As Craige Ingram climbed the stairs of the derelict building, that peculiar stench of a dead body hit him. It was the same smell no matter where—SpecOps SEAL encounter gone sour, or in a vacant, roach-infested apartment. Inside, his SEAL buddy-turned head of Buckingham Parish Homicide’s Investigative Support Division, Grayson MacGerald, was huddled with the coroner next to a swollen decaying corpse that was days old and hardly more than oozing dead meat. The PI inside Craige had a gut feeling that there was more to this than a dead body, and Craige’s Grannie always told him, “Trust your feelin’s.” But that was before Mihály Keaulescu set down two of his Black Falcon choppers on Craige’s Moccasin Hollow private airstrip in an uninvited stopover. It got worse. From his airstrip to Israel, to Turkey and a nightmare-dream of one-of-a-kind ancient artifacts that not only threatened the serene life Craige knew and loved at Moccasin Hollow, it would destroy the world.


Read an Excerpt from CURSE OF THE ANCIENTS:

The smell got worse as Craige made his way up the stairs. Like the smell of burning human flesh, a fermenting corpse gave off one of those distinctive odors one never forgot. Craige thought of the adage about it taking a strong stomach to work with a body that had been dead for a while. One never got used to it. Some memories weren’t pleasant—time on storm-swept beaches, digging for supplies buried in the sand, hidden under piles of rubbish, in dark alleys or trashed rat-ridden warehouses; huddled in black dark caves or stinking tunnels. Their Special Mission CTU team cocked and loaded for anything; prepared to deal out any necessary parcel of maimed, butchered and dismembered—or running for their lives the few times their cover was blown.

As Craige climbed to the second-floor landing, the smell went from bad to a sour-worse. He spotted familiar faces from the department’s forensic team; intent and focused around the pulpy lump with swollen pumpkin dimples where eyes should have been in one very bloated dead body. The corpse was well beyond the initial stages of being recycled. It no longer looked human after cooking several days in the sweltering oven of a Dixie mid-August scorching summer in this dreary one-flight walkup of apartments with no AC and painted-shut windows. The dreary apartment was busier than it’d been in years with lab and forensic techs bustling and sorting the pitiful pieces of the when and how of abandoned death. Near the peeling paint archway into a worse kitchenette he spotted Gray huddled with just over five feet plus, roly-poly Coroner-Medical Examiner Fred Dinkins.


About the Author:
With postgraduate degrees and faculty positions at several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to his work in classrooms and laboratories, he has written numerous professional articles on chordate neuroembryology and authored several novels that reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. MOCCASIN TRACE, a historical novel nominated for both the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his protagonist in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. HIDDEN VAULT OF SECRETS and WESTOBOU GOLD, Books 1 and 2 in the series, have received national and international attention. Hawk is also writing a science fiction series, The Cairns of Sainctuarie.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiAGlgQQsMQ&feature=youtu.be

Website: http://hawkmackinney.net

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Ancents-Moccasin-Hollow-Mystery/dp/0997096268/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2


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Monday, June 18, 2018

THE DEADLIEST BLESSING -- A PROVINCETOWN MYSTERY



The Deadliest Blessing
Provincetown Mystery Series #3
by
Jeannette de Beauvoir

Genre: Cozy Mystery

If there’s a dead body anywhere in Provincetown, wedding consultant Sydney Riley is
going to be the one to find it! The seaside town’s annual
Portuguese Festival is approaching and it looks like smooth sailing
until Sydney’s neighbor decides to have some construction done in
her home—and finds more than she bargained for inside her wall.
Now Sydney is again
balancing her work at the Race Point Inn with an unexpected adventure
that will eventually involve fishermen, gunrunners, a mummified cat,
a family fortune, misplaced heirs, a girl with a mysterious past, and
lots and lots of Portuguese food. The Blessing of the Fleet is
coming up, and unless Sydney can find the key to a decades-old
murder, it might yet come back to haunt everyone in this
otherwise-peaceful fishing village.


DEADLIEST BLESSING EXCERPT

The sunset was living up to expectations.

I’d parked my Civic—known affectionately as the Little Green Car—in the row of vehicles facing Herring Cove Beach, one of the few places on the East Coast where the sun appears to set into the water. As usual, the light was spectacular. It’s the light that made Provincetown what it is, the oldest continuously operating art colony in the United States: the light here, apparently, is like nowhere else.

Or so my friend Mirela tells me. She’s a painter, and is constantly talking about the light, though when it really comes down to it, she can’t explain exactly what it is they all see, the artists who live and work here. I know; I’ve asked.

It was late spring, and I didn’t yet have too many weddings crowding my daily calendar, so I was taking advantage of the calm before the storm of the summer tourist season really hitting when my spare time, like everybody’s else’s, would disappear altogether. I’m the wedding coordinator for the Race Point Inn, and while we do tasteful winter weddings inside the building, the bulk of my work is in the summertime, as Provincetown is pretty much Destination Wedding Central, mostly for same-sex couples but really for anyone who wants this kind of light. The sun was carving a path of gold right up to the beach, glittering and gilded, and I knew I was smiling, settling back into my seat with a sigh.

My phone rang.

Cell coverage is spotty out here in the Cape Cod National Seashore, and my experience is that it’s when you really need to reach someone that it’s not going to happen; on the other hand, when it’s something you don’t want to deal with, the signal comes through loud and clear. Murphy’s Law, or something along those lines. I sighed and swiped, my eyes still on the sunset. “Sydney Riley.”

“Sydney, hey, hi, it’s Zack.”

My landlord. This couldn’t be good. I mentally checked the date. Um, I’d paid my rent this month, right? “Hi, Reg.”

“Hey, hi. Listen, Sydney, I’ve got Mrs. Mattos here and she’s looking for you.”

Of course she was. I live above a nightclub, which makes for reasonable rent with free Lady Gaga thrown in at one o’clock in the morning; Mrs. Mattos is the eighty-something widow who owns the very large house directly across the street. Property developers are probably checking on her health daily as they wait for her demise; I can’t imagine how many million-dollar condos they could create in that space.

I take her grocery shopping to the Stop & Shop once a week and I’ve noticed, lately, that she’s finding more and more excuses to come over and buzz my doorbell. She’s lonely and probably a little scared and most of the time I try to help, but the silly season was already upon us and there was a lot less of my time available. Generally I try to wean her off daily visits by May, but we were already into the beginning of June now, and she was crossing the street rather than calling, a sure sign of distress.

Mrs. Mattos is frequently distressed.

Still, it must have been something out of the ordinary for her to have buzzed Zack, who owns the nightclub as well as the building and was probably peeled away from his never-ending paperwork to talk to her. Mrs. Mattos is usually a little nonplussed around Zack, who regularly paints his fingernails chartreuse or purple, and owns an extensive assortment of wigs. “She’s there with you now?”

A murmur of conversation, then Mrs. Mattos’ quavering voice on the line. “I just need you to come over, Sydney,” she said.

The sun was dipping into the water now; the show would soon be finished. Above it, scarlet and pink streaked across the sky. Some day, I told myself, I was going to be old and quavering, too. “Okay, you go back home,” I said. “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

Her name is Emilia Mattos, she stands about five-feet nothing and might weigh a hundred pounds. But every bit of her, like most of the Portuguese women in town, is muscle and sinew. I know her first name, but I’ve never used it; there’s a certain distance, a certain decorum the elderly Provincetown widows observe, and I respect that. Out on Fisherman’s Wharf there’s a collection of large-scale photographs of elderly Portuguese wives and mothers, an art installation called They Also Face The Sea; Mrs. Mattos isn’t one of them, but she could well be.

Back when Provincetown was one of the major whaling ports, ships stopped off in the Azores to take on additional crew, and a lot of those people settled back in town and sent for their families; by the end of the 1800s they were as numerous as the original English settlers. Nowadays there are fewer and fewer Portuguese enclaves, as gentrification switches into high gear and Provincetown’s fishing fleet dwindles; but the names are still here: Mattos, Avellar, Cabral, Gouveia, Silva, Amaral, Rego, Del Deo.

Up until about ten years go, a prominent advertisement in the booklet for the Portuguese Festival was for the small Azores Express airline, when there was still a generation in town that was from Portugal itself; you don’t see that anymore.

She was standing in her doorway when I found a parking place for the Little Green Car and got to our street. I’ve read in books about people twisting their hands; I’d never actually seen it until then. “Mrs. Mattos! Are you all right? What’s wrong?”

“Probably nothing,” she said, on that same quavering note. “Oh, I’m probably disturbing you for nothing, Sydney.”





Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United
States since her twenties. (No, she's not going to say how long ago
that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is
great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. 


The author of a number of mystery and historical novels (some of which
you can see on Amazon, Goodreads, Criminal Element, HomePort Press,
and her author website), de Beauvoir's work has appeared in 15
countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review
called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…)
demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She
is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series
featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley.

De Beauvoir’s academic background is in history and religion, and the
politics and intrigue of the medieval period have always fascinated
her (and provided her with great storylines!). She coaches and edits
individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and
thinks Aaron Sorkin is a god. Her cat, Beckett, totally disagrees.




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the tour HERE
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Friday, June 15, 2018

MOMS WITH SECRETS - HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO PROTECT YOUR SON?



Moms With Secrets

Tammy & Lisa Mom Detectives Book 1
by
Bena Roberts


Genre:
Chick Lit , Cozy Mystery, Parenting Drama

Move over Thelma and Louise! Enter Tammy and Lisa two moms of troubled
teenage boys. Not convinced of the school's ability to deal with
serious issues, the two mothers become mom detectives. 


Meet Tammy Lewis - the local politician's wife. She is a dutiful wife and
adores her family. Her life in her cozy village and Victorian home is perfect. 

Enter Lisa Evans - an enigmatic yoga teacher and single mother. Lisa has
worked hard to succeed in her life, and when she discovers her
teenage son might be dealing drugs, she comes up with a crafty plan.
Lisa sets out to frame innocent mom Tammy Lewis for her son's
misdemeanors. Lisa's son and Tammy's son are best friends so; the
set-up could work. 

Is Tammy the pushover that Lisa believes? 

More importantly? Has the village school got the accusations right? Are
Mark and Ethan, Tammy & Lisa's children really the local village
school drug lords? 

Author Bena Roberts has delivered a warm and witty short read ideals for
mums with troubled teenage boys who understand the pull of
motherhood. How far would you go to protect your teenage son?





Bena Roberts was a journalist and analyst. Now she prefers the title
novelist and romance adventurist. She graduated in England 1994 and
then with a Masters in 1997. 


Born in 1973, Bena lived in West London until she was 24. Then she lived
and worked in Budapest, Bruges, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg
and Munich. She currently resides in Germany, between Heidelberg and
Frankfurt. Although she still refers to London as 'home.'

Bena successfully created a technology blog which gained funding, had
lunch with Steve Ballmer and was 'top 50 most influential woman in
mobile.' Her blog also won several awards including Metro Best Blog. 

Bena has two children, loves small dogs and always writes books with a cup of Earl
Grey. 

Bena's favorite literary style is black humor, and she hopes to offer a unique voice
in this area. Her books aim to confront the darkest of life
experiences, with levity. Most of her writing is heavy hitting yet
also entertaining. The second novel out in 2018 offers
thought-provoking fiction which embraces the absurd with reality. 



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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

P E KAVANAGH'S NEW FRIENDS AND LOVERS SERIES


Check the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post.



Collecting Secrets
Friends & Lovers Book 1
by
PE Kavanagh

Genre: Contemporary Romance

A grieving heiress.

A celebrity psychologist.
A decade of friendship.
UNDONE
BY ONE BOLD MOVE.

When Camille first met Jackson she was too young. 
Too innocent. 
Too traumatized.

Friendship s less than what she wanted, but all she could handle.

Ten years later and she’s a different woman. Strong, successful, brave. 

At exactly the wrong moment, one bold move threatens everything.
The safe harbor of Jackson’s family.
The unconditional commitment of his friendship.
The collection of secrets she never knew existed,

Claims and confessions come hard and fast as Jackson and Camille navigate
all that has never been said. 

Each step they take, closer to the truth and each other, demands another
layer of secrets must fall.

COLLECTING SECRETS is a steamy standalone contemporary romance with no
cliffhanger. You will meet characters who will reappear throughout
the series.





Coming Home
Friends & Lovers Book 2

For Ramona Barrett, a lot has happened in fifteen years.

Her maniacal grandfather finally died.
Her father sobered up and got his life in order.
She built an enviable life based on righting her family’s wrongs.
And the chubby, awkward boy who used to be her best friend is now a man
she hardly recognizes. 

Lucas Winston recovered from his law-school fiasco and is now the hottest
chef in DC. The elite clamor for a seat in his restaurant, the
power-hungry vie for connections to his powerful family, and an old
friend demands a forgotten promise be honored. Everyone wants a piece
of him.

Except Ramona. She can’t see that he’s never stopped loving her. That
they are meant to be together. Even if he is about to marry someone else.

If you’re looking for smart, sexy characters in a layered,
emotionally-gripping story, Coming Home will take you there. 

This my, standalone contemporary romance has no cliffhanger, but
includes characters you will meet throughout the series.




COLLECTING SECRETS Excerpt

This was not the first time Camille had looked foolish, but it might have been the first time she didn’t care. Unable to find her room key or hold back the torrent of tears, she plunked down onto the ugly hotel carpet in front of her door and sobbed, loud and hard. With nothing but the back of her hand to wipe away the tears and snot, the scene quickly escalated from tragic to gruesome.

Heartbreak was no stranger. But this break-up was beyond humiliating. How dare he? She had given him everything and he claimed it wasn’t enough. He’d stood in the cold marble lobby and yelled at her. Accused her of cheating. In front of everyone.

Humiliation mingled with anger and desperation, halting any effort to pull herself together. They’d flown across the country to attend this wedding and now she’d be conspicuously dateless in a room full of happy couples. She tried to take a breath and choked on a new wave of tears.

A soft crush of footsteps stopped in front of her, but Camille had no interest in lifting her head off her knees to look.

“Hey, Cam. What’s wrong?”

She knew that voice, as well as the gentle stroke of his hand in her hair.

“Camille. You’re scaring me. What’s going on?”

His worry pierced through her pain and, with great effort, she tilted her head up to see her best friend’s face inches from hers.

His eyes flashed to fear. “Camille! What happened? Are you okay? Talk to me!”

It took so much energy to form words. “Calm down, Jack. I'm okay.”

“You don’t look okay. Did something happen with Charlie? Where is he?”

The questions were coming too fast for Camille’s throbbing, blurry head. “He dumped me.” There, she said it. Out loud.



PE Kavanagh, Author
I believe that everything we experience exists as a story within us. 


My journey as a writer includes the award-winning poem I penned at the
ripe old age of seven, decades of hiding and doubt, and then finally…
finally!... realizing that art needs to be shared. Storytelling is
part of my heritage, even though I denied it for so long. The stories
I created - true and imaginary - have saved me numerous times.

My characters come to me, like old friends excited to tell me what's new. 
They represent the world I see and the world I want to see.

More than anything, I care about recovery from life’s setbacks…
getting back on your feet after life has brought you to your knees…
and my characters fight the hard fight for the lives they know are
waiting for them.

I’ve drawn my inspiration from the many flavors of my life experience.
Once a sad, shy girl, I’ve also been an MIT-trained engineer,
biotech executive, professional dancer, yoga teacher and business
owner, school founder, spiritual counselor, entrepreneur, and author. 

And I own a magic wand that I’m certain will work one day.

When I’m not typing, furiously trying to capture the stories that pour
from me, you can find me loving my people to excess, globe-trotting
to the next great adventure, and sporting bright red lips as a tango
diva. And of course on my digital homes: pekavanagh.com and
boldsoulcoaching.com.





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Monday, June 11, 2018

MY BELOVED PAST




MY BELOVED PAST
New Adult Romance
Date Published: April 16 2018

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

In a city of millions, the probability of chance and all of its mathematical outcomes should never have brought Jake and Zara together.

Jake never forgot the beautiful, exotic eyes of his first love. They haunt his dreams and make him look twice at every woman he meets. Then, in a twist of fate, when he jumps to the rescue of the gorgeous jogger he has been admiring for weeks, one look into Zara's eyes brings him back to her, even if it's only all the sweet memories.

It has taken Zara years to finally be happy with who she is, working her dream job as a counselor to special needs teenagers and having fun with her crazy group of friends. However, she has never forgiven herself for that fateful night when she was a teenager. The night that changed the course of so many lives. The night she learned unconditional love isn't always so unconditional. Now, years later, in the clutches of a devil dog's jaw, Zara has only one regret. That he will never know the truth.

She can't change the sins of her past, but can her sexy hero lead her to a new future? Can she finally leave the past where it belongs-in the past? Or, will old secrets threaten her new, budding love?


Excerpt MY  BELOVED PAST:

Everything moved in slow motion as Jake watched the dog dig his front paws into the ground, not allowing anything to get between him and Wonder Woman.
As Jake flew off the bench, he screamed for the woman to run.

The music must have been too loud, though, because she didn’t react.
Jake screamed louder, waving his hands in the air as he ran towards his pickup truck. Finally getting her attention, he pointed behind her as the snarling dog closed in.

At the same moment, he could hear the owner screaming, “Goliath, stop! Goliath, heel!”


Turning, seeing the dog on her heels, Zara screamed, then started sprinting. Her heart jumped into her throat, knowing she couldn’t outrun the devil dog hot on her heels.

“LOOK OUT! RUN!” Jake continued to scream as he grabbed a shovel out of the bed of the truck, then ran towards the woman.

The dog lunged, his front paws landing on the small of her back and propelling her forward. His weight caused Zara’s right foot to kick into her left, and then she was flying, hearing the snap of the dog’s jaw as she flew out of his reach.

Hands outstretched, instinctually trying to save herself from a face- plant, she met the unforgiving pavement as it scraped off the tender skin on her hands and forearms.

She screamed in pain and fear.
God help her, the dog was going to rip her apart.
Jake watched as Wonder Woman rolled out of reach while the dog snarled, skidding to a halt and turning back to his prey. He was maybe five feet away, shovel raised, when the dog exposed his teeth and attacked.

Zara curled her body inwards, covering her head with her bloody hands. She screamed when the first bite sank into her upper arm, ripping the tender flesh. The pain was excruciating. Then she felt the warmth of her blood as her flesh tore further before the dog let go.

Zara screeched in agonizing pain as she heard the growl of intent before the dog quickly moved his paws up her body to get a better shot at her screaming face.

Tucking her body into a tighter ball, she felt his teeth at the base of her skull. She tightened her shoulder muscles as searing pain again lashed through her body, the dog’s sharp teeth penetrating the muscle to the bone.

Zara finally got runner’s euphoria as her mind separated from her body.

Convinced she was going to die, she had so many regrets. How could a woman at twenty-six years old die with so many things left undone and unsaid?

Jason! She would miss thoughts of Jason the most. I’m sorry, Jason. Please forgive me.

Zara was brought out of her despair by a menacing shout, followed by the whistle of wind, before a bone-crunching sound filtered into her brain. Then there was the sound of a painful howl as bones snapped.

The dog yelped, but he was undeterred by his injuries, turning its ferocious temper to the person who had hit him. It snarled at the newcomer, spittle and blood flying as it shook the pain off. In the blink of an eye, the dog then lunged off Zara, straight for Jake’s arm, latching on as the shovel collided with the dog’s flank.

Through his adrenaline rush, Jake heard the owner screaming to stop. He wasn’t sure if the guy was yelling at him, the dog, or them both. Whatever the case, Jake used inhuman strength as he wielded the shovel, ready for the next blow.

The dog yelped with pain as the shovel connected with its hind leg. Then its body followed the trajectory of the shovel, ripping the skin in Jake’s forearm.

“Fuck!” Jake screamed, turning to see the dog was trying to get up, but it couldn’t put any weight on its hind leg. It continued yelping in pain as the owner ran to his dog.
Ignoring the hellhound, Jake knelt next to Wonder Woman, who was crying loudly as the blood flowed freely from her wounds, her arms still tightly clasped around her head.

“I’m sorry, Jason,” Jake heard her chanting. It must have been her boyfriend because he didn’t see a ring. And he knew, as beautiful as she was, she would surely have a man in her life.

“Miss, it’s okay.” Looking up to confirm the dog’s owner had the dog contained, he then looked back down, realizing he needed to call 9- 1-1.

He quickly looked for his phone, but he must have dropped it by the bench. Instead, he grabbed the woman’s phone, attached to an arm band.

“What’s your code?” he asked quickly, seeing he couldn’t use her phone without one.

The beautiful woman didn’t seem to hear.

Just as he was about to ask again, he heard his name being called and lifted his head. It was his employee, Christopher, running with all his might to get to Jake and the woman.

“Call 9-1-1!” Jake yelled.

The boy halted, digging his phone out of his front pocket. As soon as he dialed, he proceeded to the horrific scene.

As Jake heard the boy talking to the operator, he grabbed the base of his work shirt and whipped it over his head before ripping it down the center.

Christopher bent down. “What do you need?” Jake could hear the panic in the young kid’s voice.

Jake ripped a piece off his shirt, then grabbed the woman’s arm, throwing the kid the other half and telling him, “Rip this into strips and hand them to me.”

At Jake’s touch, Zara screamed and tried to yank her arm away, terrified the dog had her again. “No! Please, no more.”

“Easy, sweetheart. I’m not going to hurt you. You’re safe now.” As he said it, he lifted his head and, unbelievably, saw the coward struggling with the beast, trying to sneak away.

“Christopher, call 9-1-1 again and ask for the police,” he snapped. “Tell them the asshole is trying to sneak away. Follow him. Go!”

Christopher jumped up, doing his boss’s bidding, as Jake bent back down and started tying a tourniquet. The woman shrieked in pain.

“I’m sorry. I don’t want to cause you more pain, but I have to stop the bleeding.”

Zara had her eyes scrunched closed in pain, rocking while crying.

“You’re going to be fine. I promise.” Jake tied off what he could on her forearm, then concentrated on her shoulder and the back of her head. He took the rest of the fabric and pressed it tightly to the other two wounds.

To get government grants to help young entrepreneurs open businesses, it was required they have WHIMIS and first-aid training. Jake took the commitment seriously, knowing workplace accidents happened all the time. He just never imagined his skills would be used on Wonder Woman.

This was not how Jake envisioned meeting her.

The woman’s whimpers were heartbreaking. Where is the damn ambulance? Jake could feel and see her blood sopping through his torn- up T-shirt.

In the distance, he finally heard sirens getting closer by the second. Thankfully, at this time of day, there wouldn’t be any traffic.

A cop car came barrelling down the road first. Not thirty seconds behind it was the ambulance. Jake sighed with relief.

The cop came to a screeching halt a few feet from the couple,jumping out of his car while talking into his radio.
“Ambulance is right behind me. What happened?” the officer asked.


Without lifting his head, he told him, “Dog attack. The owner tried taking off. I sent my employee to follow him.”


“Okay. I heard the call on my radio. One of our guys is almost there.”


At that moment, the woman turned her head slightly and finally opened her eyes.
Time stood still as Jake’s heart leapt. She had the eyes that had haunted his past. The eyes that would always remind him of the famous National Geographic cover of the twelve-year-old Pakistani girl with the captivating green eyes surrounded with indigo. Then there was Wonder Woman’s dark hair and bronzed skin that reminded him of Charlize. Could it be her?

“Charlize?”


“Zara?”


Both men spoke at the same time.


About the Author


Anne Marie Citro grew born and raised in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a large, loving family. Anne Marie is married to a very patient man. He is the love of her life. They have four very cool sons, and the girls they brought into their family that have become daughters of her heart. She has been blessed enough to finally have a beautiful granddaughter after four sons. She has her own personal gaggle of girlfriends, who enrich her life on a daily basis and make her laugh. Caesar Friday is her favourite day of the week. Caesars with the girls and date night with her hubby. She works with special-needs teenagers, that have taught her how to appreciate life and see it through gentler eyes. Anne Marie was encouraged by her husband to follow her lifelong dream to write. She loves the characters that take over imagination and haunts her dreams. She loves the arts and she has tried her hand at painting, wood sculpting, chainsaw carving, wood burning, metal and wire sculptures. Yes, her husband is a very patient man! Anne Marie is an avid reader and enjoys about three books per week. But nothing makes her happier then riding on the back of her husband's Harley and throwing her arms out and feeling the wind race by. Anne Marie and her husband take a few weeks every year to travel to spectacular destination around the world. Anne Marie is excited and can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for her life.

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