Monday, July 23, 2018


Don't miss the Rafflecopter at the end of the post!

The Fortress
by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey

GENRE: WWII Historical


The war has not made much of difference in Alix’s life. Her father has seen to it that she grows up unaware, unworried, but safe in her tiny village under the cliffs of the Vercors. All around her he has built a fortress whose walls are impregnable—until the 27th of April, 1944. That day he makes a stupid mistake up on the cliff, and the walls of the Fortress start crashing down. Reality breaks into Alix’s life with unrelenting violence, unforeseen possibilities. From now on, every decision she makes will mean life or death.


Inspiration behind the book-- 

First of all, the Vercors Mountains. Breathtakingly beautiful, dangerous, natural playground for all extreme sport lovers. Rock climbing, canyoning, spelunking, skiing, it's all there. But for me, it's home. It's where my ancestors have lived and are buried under those same cliffs.

Then, the history. The Vercors is a dream of freedom, a heroic battle, a military disaster, but also redemptive last stand. Many military and history books have been written on the subject, but no fiction accounts, and in fact, I was frustrated by the dryness of the accounts which I felt did not reflect the human dimension of that battle.

Finally, my own family history. Three of my uncles were condemned to death for collaborating with the Vichy government and betraying C2, a Resistance camp, to the Nazis. Their sentences were later commuted to forced labor, but the national disgrace verdict stood, and they had to leave the area to avoid being murdered. Despite the death threats, my father— who had fought with honor during the war—decided to stay. The legacy was hard to overcome in a community mauled by four years of occupation and violence, and seventy years later, my last name remains associated with the destruction of the Maquis of Malleval.           

There are also small things, like a Sten machine gun I found in the mud of a summer creek, with this inscription, Pour ma Suzon Cherie, June 12, 1944; or the story of a fifteen-year old boy, a resistant fighter whose name is forgotten, who was tortured and murdered by the Nazis in the summer of 1944.

And finally, Russel Crowe, naturally.

Interview with Madeleine  Romeyer Dherbey

--Favorite author/genre

Väinö Linna, Under the Northern Star, a trilogy. It’s a story of hard work, loyalty, forgiveness, and amazing courage during the ferocious civil war in Finland. Read it. Akseli Koskela will show you what a real man looks like.

I read classic literature, historical novels preferably, and History. I speak French, German, and Spanish in addition to English, and like to read novels in the original language. It’s gives me more insight into the author’s original intent. Currently I’m reading Das Parfum, by Patrick Süskind, and Jerusalem, by Montefiore.

--Favorite quote

What’s on my license plate, LIFAD, the acronym for Leben ist fur alle da. Life is for everyone here. Choose life.

--How long have you been writing?

Nine years? It takes me forever. I set no deadlines, no word-count goals, lest it become a chore. I either get a beer, put on some Finnish Death metal, Insomnium, for example, and settle somewhere where I am not alone in the house, or I go for a long walk on the Appalachian trail—which is barely two miles away—with my dog, Mikko, which helps me put things together. I used to have to be absolutely alone to draft, but not anymore. First, I like the kids’ chatter, the disruptions, and I like taking my time. Writing is part of life, not a substitute. I hand-write, then I type.

--Plotter or pantser

Both, really. The first time the Pantser thing happened, I was amazed. It felt like magic. The legendary muse, as my agent once said. I thought he was out of his mind. Sure, the muse visits once in a while, but it’s mostly hard work. Shock Top helps a lot, too, one and a half, no more, and Finnish metal music. My favorite bands are Ghost Brigade, Insomnium, Wolfheart, and Swallow The sun. It’s as vast and brilliant as a Beethoven Symphony, thunderous but melodic, the perfect emotional outlet. And then, frozen expanses, Nordic lakes, white forests, it’s land’s end, after all.

--What am I working on now

A novel centered around the federal entrapment of a young teacher. I have been teaching for 13 years, and have a deep emotional connection with my special education students. And it’s political! Expressing political opinion in school is forbidden—really forbidden. Besides, the likes of me are pretty much underground. We recognize each other like Christians in Rome, with a glance and a rolling of the eyes. So being able to write the ins and outs of oppression in the public schools world, coupled with a the building of a fake terror plot by a branch of the federal government no one in their right mind should trust, was a bit of a catharsis for me. You will love it or hate it, depending on your allegiances, and who cares? It’s not meant to be commercial.

--long-term plans for my career

I’m going to keep teaching and keep writing. They balance each other.

--Advice to unpublished authors

Discard any idea that worms itself into the narrative because it might help sell the book. No gratuitous sex, no gratuitous violence, no easy, voyeuristic scene that is devoid of purpose. If you sacrifice pleasure and dignity for commercial gain, you will get neither.

--Share something that would shock readers

While I have reinvented myself as a dedicated wife and mother, a passionate teacher of students with severe and multiple disabilities, who relaxes with gardening and hiking with the dogs, I was pretty much the opposite until mid-life. People are invariably surprised about my death metal taste, of course, and I can read the disbelief on their face when I tell them I travelled through the Kheiber Pass with Taliban fighters (I didn’t know who they were, I swear!), or went to a Voodoo ceremony in Haiti (the driver got possessed, it was awesome). 

For the rest, I dare not say. The novel I could write, had I not become Christian thanks to my husband, would be banned from public libraries.


This is the part when marc pays a midnight visit to Alix to confront her about drowning a Nazi officer—without his authorization.
“Is that mint?” Marc asked. “At home, we mix it up with heather and those little blue flowers. I think they were called…”
“I only like mint.”
“Nothing wrong with mint.” He waited for her to say something else, something that would ease the tension he felt in the room, but she remained silent. She must be a little shaken, he thought. That’s understandable. “Were you able to get rid of the body?” he asked gently.
“Yes. Why are you here?”
He went up to the little window and lit a cigarette before answering. There was no mistaking the animosity in her tone. I have to fix her fuck-up, and she’s angry? At me? He sucked the smoke deeply into his lungs. “You know exactly why I’m here. What you did today will impact—and possibly kill—many people. It will help if we don’t argue about it.”
“You’re the one who’s mad. I can see it.”
“I’m not very happy, but that’s not the point.”
 “Don’t you ever sleep at night?”
 “Not much. It’s easier to hike in the dark. You can’t see the incline, you can always pretend that it’s flat. What about you? Having nightmares?”
 “Not at all,” she lied. “I would do it again.”
“Ah. The Ice Fairy. I remember.” He could feel a headache coming. “Next time I have a hit job, I’ll make sure to ask you first. At least you’re not wasting bullets.” He had gone to the hidden phone and was checking its functioning as he spoke. “What’s your next project? Anyone in mind?”
“Maybe,” she shrugged. “Do you want to know who it is?”

No, not really, he thought. He couldn’t ease the suspicion that he might be on her revenge list. She had once said that she didn’t hate him, but who could trust her? Maybe she had planned something terrible, like cooking him in the sawmill kiln. He almost made a joke of it, and thought better. She never understood his jokes, anyway. “You owe me an explanation,” he said instead. “I don’t remember asking you to murder a Nazi officer. You want to tell me why you didn’t discuss it with me?”

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey, Author



Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018


I'll give away a copy of UNDER A MULBERRY MOON to someone who comments on this post.

Have you spent time planning and implementing a project that seems far in the future only to be surprised when presentation day arrives? That’s what happened to me with the anthology that has been released today.

For a while, our progress seemed like herding cats. Once authors were gathered for the venture, we had to choose the title, make certain our stories were not the same as the other eight authors involved, choose a cover, and get the tales written. Finally, the endeavor is ready for your reading pleasure.
UNDER A MULBERRY MOON anthology offers Adventure! Mystery! Romance! Nine award-winning and bestselling authors present sweet western historical stories to ignite your imagination and feed your passion for reading. Let us sweep you away from your daily cares and entertain you with our sigh-worthy novellas set between 1865 and 1900. What a line-up we have for you! 

Only 99 cents for a limited time! Amazon buy link: 

This anthology includes a cover photo with each title.

Titles are:
A FAMILY FOR MERRY, by Caroline Clemmons
A FAMILY FOR POLLY, by Jacquie Rogers
COMES A SPECTER, by Keta Diablo
MATTHEW'S FREEDOM, by Cissie Patterson
WORTH THE WAIT, by Patricia Pacjac Carroll

Orphan train, children, and guardians

Jacquie Rogers and I wrote about two women who had been adopted at age eight from the orphan train by Joe and Ruby Bird, an awful couple in Nebraska. Jacquie’s heroine in A FAMILY FOR POLLY is Polly Friday Bird, so named because the Children’s Aid Society authorities found her on a Friday. Mine in A FAMILY FOR MERRY is Mercedes “Merry” Murphy Bird, who went to the orphanage after she was old enough to know her last name was Murphy. Now that Polly and Merry are grown, the sisters own a successful boardinghouse in Mockingbird Flats, Texas.

When the orphan train comes to Mockingbird Flats, Polly and Molly can't resist the five children least likely to be adopted. Molly selects two girls and a boy while Polly chooses a girl and a boy. Problem is, children are only supposed to be adopted by married couples. Merry and Polly hoped authorities wouldn’t notice that neither of them is married. About a month later, the Children’s Aid Society lawyer comes to check on the children. Oops. Merry and Polly must each find a groom within a week or lose her children.

Excerpt from my story, A FAMILY FOR MERRY:

Outside the mercantile, they met Mr. Blake Woolfe. “This looks like a fun outing.”
Abigail tugged at his hand. “Know what? We got new clothes and I got a dolly. It’s nicer than the one I had at the orph’nage. Tammie got a bear because they didn’t have a lamb. I got new shoes, two pair so I can save one for church. Do you go to church too?”
He smiled as if he’d understood her rambling. “Yes, I’ll be going to church. Where are you headed now?”
“We’re going to get a treat from someplace called the con… con…” she looked at Merry for help.
“Bea’s Confectionary a couple of doors down.”
Abigail tugged on his hand again. “Why don’t you come with us? Do you like treats?”
He looked poleaxed but recovered. “I think I will. I’m making the rounds to introduce myself to business owners and I haven’t met Bea yet.”
Merry couldn’t have been more surprised. “You need not feel obligated because Abigail invited you. We understand you’re a busy man.”
He sent her an inscrutable glance. “I always have time for a treat.”

Mulberries on the tree

I hope you’ll snap up UNDER A MULBERRY MOON while it’s available at the bargain price. Of course I’m biased, but I believe you’ll enjoy reading this anthology. If you do, please leave a review on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


For this new release and 99 cent sale we want to reward those who share this book with others. 

If you can help us promote this book & 1 day 99 cent sale on Wednesday, July 18th you can enter to win gift cards.

There is a Rafflecopter set up with different ways you can share this book to enter the giveaway:

You can do something as simple as liking and commenting on an instagram post or tweeting... 
There is even an option for being creative and coming up with your own idea. 

Here is the book cover:

And the book summary:

A vivacious sports agent loses her memory and her safe, perfectly-planned life. The only hope is a tough security specialist who for some reason she’s never allowed herself to fall for.

Claire Tucker is a feisty and successful sports agent. When she wakes up with amnesia she has to rely on a handsome security specialist, which doesn't seem too bad ... until she learns she's known him for years and has repeatedly rejected his date offers. When Brig proves irresistible to her, she realizes she needs to guard her heart until she gets some answers or her past will catch up to her.

Brig Hunsaker has everything he needs, except the sassy lady he’s had a crush on for years. When Claire is injured, and the hospital staff believe he’s her fiancé, he finally gets the chance to protect her and prove he’s worth taking a chance on.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon:
And Goodreads:

Monday, July 16, 2018


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mary 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.

Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work! But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.


“Tell me what’s going on. Slowly, and about fifty decibels lower. Why are you in jail?”

“Well, honey, I’m not sure. Oh, I know what they’re saying, but I didn’t do anything. I swear. Well, at least nothin’ I can remember. You see, it all started on the cruise ship dance floor, quite innocently, mind you.”

“What started?” I located my slippers and shuffled to the bathroom.

“As I was saying before you interrupted, it all started on the dance floor. You know, they play such romantic music on these cruises like, Shadow of Your Smile and Mandy. Oh, don’t you just love Manilow? Well, anyway, Lenny and I were having a lovely time, and he was obviously enamored, if you catch my drift.”

I knew this was a mistake. Still, I asked, “Lenny who?”

“Why, Lenny La Mour, of course!”

I drew a blank.

“Lenny La Mour,” Ruby huffed, “The famous Las Vegas performer? He’s the reason I picked this cruise. He had his own humongous nightclub and everything. Oh, Andi Anna, don’t tell me you’ve never heard of him. Why, women my age swoon at the sound of his voice. But, I suppose your generation only has eyes for that Bon Ami person.”

“Uh, are you, by any chance, talking about Bon Jovi?”

“Well, you know who I mean.”

Mary's publisher has a special promo going on Smashwords. Through July MM&M is half price. Here's the link:

About the Author

Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.

Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia's Attic. The setting is in her childhood home in Southern Indiana. Family stories and ancestors comprise the storylines. There are currently five books in the series: The Missing Locket, The Magic Medallion, Curse of the Bayou, The Magician’s Castle, and Legend of Lupin Woods.

Through a horrifying stint as a travel agent, the character, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, inspired her latest adult mystery series. Book # 1, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder was released Nov. 30, 2017. The author is currently writing Book # 2 of the series, along with another middle-grade series, The Adventures of Max and Maddie, a historical time-travel, and the biography of a former Army brat/University of Connecticut women’s basketball player who started a non-profit foundation to create scholarships for children of deployed veterans.

Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband and adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

Review Blurbs for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder!

“If Evanovich's Stephanie Plum were a travel agent, she'd fit right in working this case alongside Andi, a wanna-be detective readers are sure to love.” —Regan Black, USA Today bestselling author of the Escape Club Heroes and Knight Traveler novels.

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder...WOW. Snappy dialog, quirky characters, opens with a curious bang and yanked me through the pages. A fun, fantastic read. —Jean Rabe, USA Today Bestselling author, Piper Blackwell Mysteries.

“Grab a margarita and hold on tight; you're in for a wild ride.” —Karen MacInerney, Agatha Award nominee and author of the Dewberry Farms Mysteries

“Charming, lively, and unpredictable, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder excels in a vivid story mystery fans will relish.”—Diane Donovan, Senior Editor Midwest Book Review

Purchase Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder:


Barnes and Noble:


Google Play:

Find Mary on Social Media:


Facebook author page:




Amazon Author Page:

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Friday, July 13, 2018


How superstitious are you? Does Friday the 13th leave you quaking in your shoes? 

I’m convinced even the most hardened of us have some superstitions. For instance, how many of use the expression “knock on wood” when we mention something good? That’s handed down from pagan groups who worshiped trees. Ancient Celts regarded trees as homes of certain spirits or gods.

Knock on wood
for good luck

A tree worshiper might have laid his hands on a tree when asking favor from the spirits that lived inside it or did so after good fortune as a show of gratitude. He is seeking protection against the anger and envy of the gods who dislike mortals bearing too much pride or who aren’t grateful.

A tree spirit

If a black cat crosses your path, do you have to turn around? Personally, I love black cats and have one to which I’m partial. (I started to say I own one, but of course one doesn’t own a cat, one is staff for a cat.)

Sebastian, our black cat
on what he views as his bed

Once when taking a neighbor somewhere a black cat crossed the road in front of us. The neighbor begged me to turn around and go the other way to avoid bad luck. I thought she was joking at first, but she was serious.

In our family, (more superstition) the number thirteen has been lucky on many occasions. Our eldest daughter was born on the thirteenth. She had a medical condition for which we found a solution on the thirteenth. Several other pieces of good fortune have occurred on the thirteenth.

My book THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE includes many of the Irish bride’s superstitions. Researching them was interesting. If you haven’t read that book, I hope you will—it’s free on Amazon at

In the meantime, don’t worry about black cats crossing your path… um, knock on wood.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn't expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

Praise for The Hope of Azure Springs

“With unusual charm and warmth, Rachel Fordham opens the door to Azure Springs, a place as memorable as the people who inhabit it—namely the unique Em, a hero of a sheriff, and an assortment of heart-tugging, endearing townsfolk. A memorable story of faith, family, and happy endings!” ~Laura Frantz, author of The Lacemaker

“The Hope of Azure Springs is full of love and laughter, hope and happy endings. This delightful book about the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love will keep you turning pages until the very end. After you read Rachel Fordham’s satisfying story, you’ll want to give the world a hug.” ~Jennifer Beckstrand, author of A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill

“A tender story about loss, life, and the beauty that lies within each of us.” ~Stacy Henrie, USA Today bestselling author and RITA award finalist

“Authentic. Strong. Memorable. The Hope of Azure Springs and its refreshingly realistic heroine will remain in readers’ hearts long after they’ve reached the stirring conclusion. With eloquently drawn scenes that will tug at a reader’s heart and a beautifully redemptive love story, Rachel Fordham’s debut offers a tender look at the meaning of beauty and self-worth.” ~Joanna Politano, author of Lady Jayne Disappears

“As The Hope of Azure Springs unfolds, readers will find a well thought out and intricately put together love story about an uncommon heroine. Fans of Melissa Jagears and Jane Kirkpatrick will enjoy Rachel Fordham’s books now and for years to come.” ~Dawn Crandall, author of the award-winning series The Everstone Chronicles

Author Rachel Fordham

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children's bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling, she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.


Blog Tour Schedule

July 9th
I Am A Reader - Spotlight
My Life. One Story at a Time. - Review
Cover Lover Book Review - Review
BookHounds - Spotlight
Susan Heim on Writing - Spotlight
Diana's Book Reviews - Spotlight

July 10th
Locks, Hooks and Books - Review
Literary Reflections Book Blog - Review
Literary Time Out - Review
Julie Coulter Bellon - Review
T's Stuff - Spotlight
Tianna Holley, Author - Spotlight

July 11th
Pause for Tales - Review
The Becca Files - Review
Why Not? Because I Said So! - Review
A Writer's Life - Spotlight
Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight
Katie's Clean Book Collection - Spotlight
Min Reads and Reviews - Spotlight

July 12th
Simple Wyrdings - Review
Reviews by Room With Books - Review
Paulette's Papers - Spotlight
Here We Go Again Ready - Spotlight
FLY HIGH! - Spotlight

July 13th
Mythical Books - Spotlight
Bound 2 Escape - Spotlight
Stacking My Book Shelves! - Spotlight
Cassandra M's Place - Spotlight
Bookish Reviews by Denise Blogs - Spotlight

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in Paypal Cash

Ends 7/24/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, July 09, 2018


Live, Love, Repeat
Milestones Book 1
JD Corbett

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Over the last 25 years, Liz Banner’s life has grown stagnant. Not that
she hasn’t loved being a stay-at-home wife and mother, but she
didn’t mean to lose herself in the process. And after surviving the
most challenging time in her life, Liz realizes that life is too
short, and second chances don’t come around very often.

With a milestone birthday approaching, Liz is determined to live a little.
And when her best friend, Anne, gifts her a ticket for a 10-day
luxury cruise, Liz decides it’s the perfect excuse to experience
new things, and just take some time to relax with some of her
favorite women. But her idea of a relaxing vacation gets thrown
overboard when a few surprise guests make an appearance and attempt
to win their way back into Liz’s heart. 

With a second chance at life…and love, turning 50 never felt better.

J. D. Corbett, author

Jen Drapp, who writes under the name of J.D. Corbett, was raised in
Charleston, South Carolina. As a girl, she was obsessed with learning
and reading about historical and fictional characters; one of her
favorites being Scarlett O'Hara. Jen has always loved writing,
whether it was short stories about made-up worlds or even essays for
school. She has recently had two contemporary romances published and
continues to learn and grow as an author. Jen currently lives in
Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a 15-year old very fat cat.

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

Friday, July 06, 2018


Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

 photo The Killed Conscience cover-1 2_zpsq3dcmwj9.jpg

Date Published: 6-22-2018

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Still at the beginning of her career, investigative journalist Emilee Weathers is desperate for the perfect story and doesn’t care how she has to get it. When she’s asked to assist in a convicted serial killer’s appeal, it almost seems the perfect story has come banging at her door.

But not long after arriving to the mountain town of Pigeon Forge, Emilee discovers the body of another, more recent victim. With the body showing signatures of the already-convicted murderer, Emilee sets out to discover if she’s happened upon the work of a copycat, or if the real killer was ever even caught. The more she looks though, the murkier everything becomes. Police begin withholding information and the killer seems capable of going any length to protect his identity. On top of it all, when her investigations uncover the buried secrets of those closest to her, Emilee questions who it is she can and can’t trust in those mountains, if anyone at all.


Out front of the cabin, three cars sat; their headlights beaming and exhausts spewing hazy clouds of white. Casey and Skylar sat in the car at the front; Emilee and James behind them; and Morgan sat in the car in the back. She checked the time then pressed the horn twice. “Sebastian come on!”
Sebastian bolted out from the cabin and jumped into the passenger seat. “Sorry,” he said.
“What were you doing?” Morgan asked
“Just making sure everything was turned off.”
“But, you know I always do that.”
“I know. Just wanted to double check. You ready to rock and roll?” Sebastian called Casey. “Hey, you can go now… Yeah… Um, I don’t know. Shouldn’t be too bad but I guess we’ll see. Why? You don’t have to lead, you big baby. Morgan can… All right then, let’s go.” He hung up.
All three cars started rolling forward. A couple of minutes into it, Sebastian got a text message. “It’s from Casey.”
“He’s texting and driving?” Morgan said.
“Ha-ha, he said, This ain’t nothing! Guess he hasn’t realized we’re still on gravel.”
The three cars reached the end of the gravel road then stopped like they’d hit the edge of the world. After a moment, Morgan laid into the horn.
“Morgan,” Sebastian said.
“What? He’s not moving.”
“Give him a second. This is Casey, you know he’s skittish.”
Finally, Casey pulled out onto the asphalt road. Emilee and Morgan followed. From that point on, most of the drive was downhill, and the ice on those thin winding roads was worse than anyone had expected; certainly worse than anyone could’ve hoped for.
They made their way back down the mountain at a painstaking and sluggish pace, somehow creeping even slower around those tight turns. Morgan maintained control over the car and Sebastian seemed to be comfortable enough with her driving. He did seem to hold a concern elsewhere though as he grabbed his phone and called Emilee.
“Hey,” he said. “How’s everything up there? You making it okay?”
Emilee told him everything was fine so far and that the drive wasn’t as bad as she’d been expecting. But up ahead in that car, Emilee sat as stiff and straight as the spine of a hardback. With both hands, she gripped the steering wheel. Her fingers were coiled around it tighter than she knew.
“Did you know there are roughly 1,800 deaths annually due to iced roads?” James asked, laid back with his feet up on the dash.
“I don’t know why you know that but great.”
Emilee didn’t turn her eyes from the road for a second. They were already moving at a glacial pace, but Emilee couldn’t help feeling like she should be going even slower. She wasn’t used to driving in the slow, let alone the thin icy roads of a mountain. The black asphalt roads beneath the rays of her headlights held a sheen that glistened. Emilee would’ve thought they were just wet if it weren’t for the light dusting of snow on top. She knew not to touch her brakes, but the road leading to the upcoming turn was getting steep, and they were rolling faster than she wanted to go. Her foot started for the brake but stopped. She put it back over the gas and forced it to stay there, hovering. In the passenger seat, James sat on his phone, sniggering about something. He spoke to Emilee, but she didn’t hear him. Too much of her was focused on that icy road and her impulse to hit the brake.
James looked at the road ahead, then back at Emilee. He sneered. Then… “EMILEE!” he shouted.
Emilee jumped. Her foot hit the gas. The car shot forward. In reflex, she hit the brakes. The car began sliding, moving towards Casey’s quick. She took her foot off the brakes but the car was already moving too fast. Casey’s was coming up and she couldn’t stop. She stiffened her arms against the steering wheel, gripped it tight and squeezed her eyes shut.
A striking THUD that shook her. The impact brought her car to a stop. Behind her, Morgan was somehow able to stop perfectly. But ahead, Casey’s car was sliding down the road. His back lights lit up red as he hit the brakes, but the car kept going, shifting at an angle as it slid. The road turned but the car did not. Everyone watched as Casey’s car went off the road and hit an uneven spot on the snowy ground that brought them to an abrupt stop.
Emilee looked to James, breathing heavily. “What?”
“Why’d you scream my name?”
“Oh, just to see if you’d lose your shit.” He acknowledged Casey’s car angled down off the side of the road. “You did not disappoint.”
Emilee got out and carefully stood on the black ice. “Casey,” she shouted.
Behind, Sebastian got out as well.
The driver door to Casey’s car opened. Casey climbed from it and stood in the snow, glancing around. “Was that your plan all along?” he shouted up to Emilee and Sebastian. “Put me in front so you can try and kill me?”
Emilee smiled in relief that he was okay. But then that smile fell when she realized nobody would be going home that night. Just like that, they were stuck there in that cabin.

About the Author

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Jordan Antonacci, Author
Jordan Antonacci is an HVAC Technician by day and blogger by night, working out of the hot, hot lands of Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t trying to avoid heat stroke, he can be found at his desk with an espresso, brewing up a new story or a post for his blog. Outside of writing, Jordan has a mild case of wanderlust. He enjoys road trips, cruises, and flights out to California to visit his family. His dream is to make a living with writing and visit every country the world has to offer.

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