Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Consumed by Elizabeth Miceli Release Day Celebration with Giveaway!

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Consumed (Barren 2) by Elizabeth Miceli 
Publication Date: August 31, 2016 
Publisher: Swoon Romance
 
Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Consumed (Barren 2) by Elizabeth Miceli
presented by Swoon Romance!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
Happy Book Birthday, Elizabeth!
 
Consumed Cover
 
Stacey Lorenzo has finished treatment, but is still devastated by her past as she enters college. With drugs and alcohol so readily available, so much freedom, and barely any supervision, Stacey falls back into old habits. Soon it’s a daily dose of partying, self-medicating, and having sex with lots of different guys. As her relationship with Eli destructs, she falls for Jesse, who just so happens to be a drug dealer. Every time she starts to fall back into the memories of her past, Jesse makes it easy to snort away the pain.
But she snorts too much one night; it forces her to question the man she loves and acknowledge her mental and emotional instability. In the second installment of The Barren Series, Stacey must overcome her addiction and make peace with her past if she is ever to be truly happy again.
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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
Barren-Cover
 
*** PUBLISHER’S ALERT: MATURE CONTENT WARNING ***
Recommended for ages 16+. Includes scenes that depict drug use, teen sex, and sexual assault.
This book contains mature content and depiction of a seventeen-year-old girl’s rape at the hands of another student. It is a chilling first person point of view account of something that occurs across the country at parties just like the one depicted in this story, and we wanted the fictional account to feel raw and as devastating. We also understand that these scenes may be difficult and uncomfortable for some. We recommend this novel for readers ages sixteen and older.
“I cried, praying for him to finish. I closed my eyes and tried to envision myself somewhere else… somewhere where I was happy. I thought of my family all piled around our tree on Christmas morning. I thought of singing with my band. I thought of Caitlin and me baking cookies and watching movies together. But after just a few seconds of pretending, Mike would hit me or thrust deeper, and I would be back in reality. I was being raped. I was all alone. I was a damsel in distress. And there was no one there to save me.”
Seventeen-year-old Stacey Lorenzo’s poor self-esteem has always consumed her. When significant weight loss leaves her still feeling powerless and with an eating disorder, she turns to partying to cope. Things go from bad ot worse when she is raped, a crushing blow to her psyche from which she may not recover. Stacey drugs, cuts, and hooks up with countless guys in an attempt to dull the pain. But if Stacey doesn’t find a way to face her demons and overcome her fears, she might find herself in a hole so dark, even love won’t be able to pull her out.
Barren is written by debut author Elizabeth Miceli. It is a devastating and dark account of one girl’s plummet to the very bottom of the human experience and the horrific and petrifying road to recovery and self-worth.
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About-the-Author2
Elizabeth MiceliElizabeth hails from the smallest state with the biggest heart. She started off at The University of Akron and then transferred to the University of Rhode Island. She is a majoring in Human Development and Family Studies and minoring in Psychology. Although she loves writing- she also has a passion for helping others which is why she is studying to become a sex therapist/couples counselor. Elizabeth loves spending time with her family and friends, singing, eating everything Italian, and baking cookies. She is “in love with love” which is probably why the driving force in almost everything she writes is romance. When she’s not getting lost in her characters she can be found waiting for her prince charming in her North Kingstown, Rhode Island home.
 
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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Reader by M.K. Harkins Blog Tour and Giveaway!


Welcome to my stop on The Reader blog tour! This book sounds awesome and I love the cover. You can check out the full schedule HERE

The Reader
by M.K. Harkins
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: August 25th 2016

Summary from Goodreads;
Hunted, shot, and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker wakes in shallow water on a deserted Pacific Northwest island. She is soon approached by two young men claiming to be her friends. Something isn’t right, but when gunshots sound, Ann is left with little choice but to allow Devon and Archer to help her escape. Soon she finds herself in their North Bend mountain compound, where the higher evolved humans claim to be mind-readers. While Ann heals, she realizes they believe her to be one of the last and most powerful of all – The Lost One.
She’s welcomed by most with opened arms, but not everyone is happy about her arrival. A jealous adversary has plans for Ann, which spirals the entire Reader community into chaos.
As lies, murder, and betrayal threaten to rip apart the once harmonious mountain dwellers, Ann is thrust into making a decision that could save or devastate not only The Readers, but all of mankind. But there’s just one glitch: by doing so it may require her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Preorder is live! .99 cents for a limited time :) https://www.amazon.com/Reader-MK-Hark...




Excerpt:

I reached up and cupped his cheek. I needed a moment to look at him. So handsome, with eyes so dark and intense. It was more than that though. His beauty went right to his soul. One more kiss. I stood on tiptoes to reach his soft, full lips. His arms wrapped around me in desperation, his lips fused on mine, unrelenting. My mission became murky. I was losing myself. I couldn’t leave him.

Closing my eyes, I tilted my head to the ceiling and let the large water droplets plop onto my face, cooling me, but also setting loose a torrent of emotions. The stress of the past couple months seemed to melt away, like the water from my skin. I slipped off the raincoat and tossed it on a nearby bush, wanting to soak in every drop. I’d never felt so alive. I stretched out my arms and laughed. The wind picked up, and my wet hair whipped against my face. Exhilaration and happiness flooded through me. 

He felt me and my pain. But he’d rather dump me in the water than answer my questions. Why? Was it really the war he worried about, or was I—what did he call me? Infuriating. That’s right. I got into another Jeep and slammed the door shut. Fine. If he wanted distance, he’d get it.

He took my face in his hands, and our eyes connected, the heat within so intense, it was almost unbearable. Out of breath, I shook my head, knowing I was on the edge. The emotions were too strong, too powerful, I couldn’t contain them. 
“Too much,” I said.
“I know. I didn’t know it would be like this…so intense.” His eyes closed, and he rested his head against my forehead, running his hands through my hair. “Don’t be afraid.”

“Yes, but you fight better than any man I’ve seen. You had those two Jacks down in about five seconds. Impressive.” This time he met my eyes and smiled. The adrenaline from the fight had disappeared, and I looked at him. Really looked. Handsome, strong…and he risked everything to save me. Gratitude and something else, maybe affection, swirled inside my chest. 

“We have to get going,” the other man said, ignoring my question. I glanced in his direction. Every bit as handsome, but he was dark everywhere his friend was light. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a dark expression. He didn’t look friendly—at all. A shiver traveled down my spine.


About the Author


MK has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she'd like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance - eFestival of Words- August 2014)
Unintentional, her second book, is based on the life of one of the characters in Intentional. Unintentional was written as a stand-alone book.
Breaking Braydon and Taking Tiffany have both been released. Available on Amazon.
The Reader is MK's latest project, due out 2016.
When she's not writing novels, she likes to spend her free time traveling the world, splashing in mud puddles (She lives in Seattle, what can she say?), watching movies and reading (!)
MK also runs her own business in her current hometown of Mercer Island, Washington.

Author Links:
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Joshua and the Arrow Realm by Donna Galanti Release Day Celebration and Giveaway!

Joshua2RDC

Joshua and the Arrow Realm (Lightning Road #2) by Donna Galanti 
Publication Date: August 30, 2016 
Publisher: Tantrum Books
 
Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Joshua and the Arrow Realm (Lightning Road #2) by Donna Galanti
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
Happy Book Birthday, Donna!
 
Joshua2 Cover
 
Joshua never thought he'd return to the world of Nostos so soon. But, when King Apollo needs his help in the Arrow Realm, Joshua's will and powers will be tested in order to save him.
With his loyalties divided between our world and theirs, Joshua wonders whether he alone can restore magic to the twelve powerless Olympian heirs, or whether he is being tricked into making the one mistake that might cost them all.
JOSHUA AND THE ARROW REALM is the exciting follow up to JOSHUA THE LIGHTNING ROAD which the Midwest Book Review called, "a heart-pounding thrill ride."
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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
 
Joshua-Cover
 
Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.
Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.
To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.
In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.
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About-the-Author2
 
Donna3SmallDonna is the author of the Joshua and the Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogs..., a cooperative of published middle grade authors. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com and www.ElementTrilogy.com. Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.
 
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Monday, 29 August 2016

Afterlife by Sandy Goldsworthy Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Afterlife
Sandy Goldsworthy
(The Afterworld Saga #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

AFTERLIFE is the highly anticipated sequel to AFTERMATH by Sandy Goldsworthy. This exciting Young Adult mystery romance is a must-read.
Everything seems perfect for Emma Bennett—she has a new set of friends she adores and a boyfriend she is crazy about. But when Emma sees a picture of her hunky boyfriend kissing another girl, she begins to question if his love for her is real. As she searches for the truth, will Emma be exposed to the dangers of another world?
Ben Parker enjoys the role of high school student and boyfriend to the love of his existence. Juggling his social life with his job in the Afterworld’s Bureau of Investigation is supposed to be easy for the decorated undercover agent. But when some kid captures a photo of him in a precarious position, he’s faced with lying to his girlfriend or erasing her memory. Instead, Ben makes the worst decision of his career. Now, forced to face the consequences, he loses the only thing that matters to him—Emma.
When seemingly insurmountable obstacles separate the lovers, will the two soul mates be able find their way back to each other?

Grab book 1- Aftermath – for FREE:

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EXCERPT:

Kaleidoscope

“Do you remember Emma?” Lucas asked.
“As a matter of fact, I do. It’s a pleasure to see you again.” Abe held my hand. I remembered meeting him at Ray’s auto body shop, although I could have sworn he looked different. Shorter hair, maybe?
“Nice to see you,” I answered, returning his welcoming smile.
“Lucas, did you ever meet my brother, Henrik?” Abe asked.
“Call me Henry,” he said. He shook hands with Lucas first, then reached for my hand and kissed it gently. “Very lovely to meet you, Miss Emma.” He had a hint of an accent. Even though they both looked like they were mid-twenties, Henry acted much older.
I blushed. That kind of attention might be common wherever he came from, but not here in Westport.
“You’re adorable. I didn’t mean to embarrass you, darlin’.”
Drew returned with a tray full of shots before I had time to answer Henry. After introductions, Lucas gave a toast and everyone drank back the whiskey. I didn’t want one, but I drank it anyway. Actually, I choked on it. I didn’t think any of the guys noticed until Henry put his hand on the small of my back and asked if I was okay.
“Yes. Thank you.”
When I looked up at him, I realized he had a beautiful set of ice-gray eyes. The colors were piercing. Shades of white intermixed with hints of silver and turquoise. The longer I stared, the more the hues changed. Blues faded and whites darkened. Chills ran up my arms, but I couldn’t look away. I strained to keep my eyes open despite how heavy my eyelids felt.
A tingling swept over me until I was completely relaxed.
Like a kaleidoscope, Henry’s eye colors swirled. His pupils dilated.
I closed my eyes and saw a young woman with long, brown hair running through tall grass on a sunny afternoon. I felt the warmth on my skin, tilting my head back to catch the rays. I was tired.
Was I floating?
“Emma, can I get you something to drink?” Abe asked. His hand was on my arm. Stunned, I stared up at him. Did I just fall asleep?
I shook my head quickly. “I’m okay,” I mumbled. My eyes were dry and sore, and the strange sensation, the warm, comforting feeling I had, was gone.
Did I just imagine that?

FallenSnowTeaser


Author Bio:
Sandy Goldsworthy was raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, blocks from the rocky shores of Lake Michigan. As a child, she fantasized about becoming an author. She jotted story lines in spiral notebooks and drew images of characters that never came to life. Her passion for putting pen to paper began when her high school English teacher inspired her to be more descriptive in her work. Ever since, Sandy dabbled in creative writing, searching for that perfect shade of red and that character you want to get to know.
A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Sandy is the YA author of the paranormal romance series, The Afterworld Saga. She spends her days managing corporate client programs, and her nights and weekends drafting new plot lines in spiral notebooks. She resides in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and an energetic puppy. Learn more at www.sandygoldsworthy.com.

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
  • Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes)

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Friday, 26 August 2016

Rhodi Saga by Megan Linksi Blog Tour and Giveaway!


Welcome to my stop on the Rhodi Saga Blog tour!! There are a lot of blogs taking part with a variety of posts so please check out the full schedule HERE.

Book One:
Rhodi's Light (The Rhodi Saga #1)
by Megan Linksi
Release Date: September 4th 2016
Gryfyn Publishing


Flight. Hyperspeed. Clairvoyance.
These are some of the powers gifted to the Rhodi, an ancient sect of assassins who defend Crescentia, a dystopian world with a dying hope.
Dyliana Fairsson is one of them. After losing her parents to a suspicious accident, she and her twin brother, Devin, join the Rhodi to avoid starvation. Under the direction of her master, Dylan struggles to learn the strength of her magic …as well as hide the growing scars on her wrists. Can Dylan become the warrior, the hero, she’s destined to be? Or is she fated to fall from the light into the darkness?

The first installment in the epic fantasy series by bestselling author Megan Linski, Rhodi’s Light is an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers begging for more.



Book Two:
Rhodi Rising (The Rhodi Saga #2)
by Megan Linski
Release Date September 4th 2016
Gryfyn Publishing

Forced into hiding.
Desperate to find their masters.
In the past few months since the attack on their home, twin assassins Dylan and Devin have grown restless. With the Rhodi facing extinction, they search for their masters Talidin and Tavana, only to discover they’ve gone missing. With nowhere to turn, the twins seek help from a pair of mysterious spies, only to find the trail gone cold, marked by hints of torture and destruction.

Dylan and Devin piece together the events that led to the disappearance of their fellow Rhodi. As their enemies close in for the kill, Dylan discovers that some things are impossible for a Rhodi…but not for a tigress.
The stakes and romance are heightened in this epic dystopian sequel to Rhodi’s Light. Bestselling author Megan Linski brings readers a young adult fantasy with magic, mystery, and an epic adventure that races quickly to a breathless conclusion.



Book Three:
Rhodi's Lullaby (The Rhodi Saga #3)
by Megan Linksi
Release Date: September 4th 2016
Gryfyn Publishing

Cities burn.
Governments fall.
Lives are lost in a desperate war...one the Rhodi are losing.
The world has been devastated by the tyranny of the Red Huntress. To save Crescentia, Dylan and Devin attempt to decipher the mystery of the ancient letter their ancestors left behind, the only hope of salvation for their kind. Dylan continues to fight foes both on the battlefield and within her own mind, all while wrestling with the confused feelings she has for Enfys, the alluring spy who has become devoted to her cause.
In the epic conclusion to the thrilling Rhodi Saga, one brave warrior will stand in the way of corruption, to take place before her destiny…or her death.
Rhodi’s Lullaby is the third installment in the suspenseful young adult dystopian series fans and critics are calling an original masterpiece in the epic fantasy genre.
Rhodi’s Light and Rhodi Rising are also available. Catch up on the entire series today!



Trailer:



Rhodi Saga Playlist: 

https://open.spotify.com/user/12179397807/playlist/41pTZKXDVV4d9wFV1i5LEh

Excerpt:

“Let’s go,” she whispered, they stepped out from the safety of the wall. The Hunter’s Guilds looked directly at them but Dylan’s ruse apparently worked.
“New trainees?” a man with a beard asked them, and Dylan nodded her head. They walked calmly through the large room towards the door. Dylan was about to step through to safety until the small woman grabbed her face.
“Wait a minute…I’ve seen you before…” she whispered. Dylan froze in fear and the woman’s eyes widened.
She went to speak but Dylan smashed her foot, punching her directly in the face. “Run!”
Devin jammed his glasses back on his face but they were surrounded. The man with the beard smiled evilly at them before jumping towards them with a yell. Devin sidestepped his blow and began dueling with him fiercely, landing two blows for every one the man gave. Frustrated, the man went to strangle him, but Devin kicked him in the head and he went sprawling to the floor, knocked out.
The woman whom Dylan had injured ran towards her viciously. Dylan grabbed her throwing knives and threw them at the woman, landing several in her shoulder and a few on her thigh. The woman fell to the ground, screaming in pain. The teens ran through the door and down the next hallway, looking at all the doors with confusion.
“What now? They know we’re here,” Tito said, spinning on the spot.

“We’ve got to find Talidin. I don’t think that we’re going to get out of here without his help anyway, and we’re not leaving without him. Check every door.” Dylan whipped around and they continued the frantic search, now pressed for time and, as she reminded herself, being hunted.

About the Author


Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she completed her first (short) novel at the age of 6. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for people aged 14-24. When not writing she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, theatre, archery, fishing, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder. She lives in Michigan.
Author Links:
   

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Lost Eyes of the Serpent by Jeremy Phillips Book Blitz and Giveaway!


The Lost Eyes of the Serpent
Jeremy Phillips
(The Rose Delacroix Files, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…
Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.
Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him…
Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.
A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…
Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…
…the lost eye of the serpent.
Bonus Scene (short story):

Rose Delacroix Versus the Box
By Jeremy Phillips

Rose Delacroix sat on a stump in the bare and dusty yard behind the Delacroix Hotel, staring at a metal box sitting on another stump, a few feet away from her. She regarded the box with an ever-increasing intensity, not sure how to proceed. Time was very short, and she wished that she had more of it available to her right now.
“Whatever am I going to do with you?” Rose said to the box.
The box didn’t look like much. It was the size of a shoebox, but constructed of solid steel, with tight, straight corners. Its only visible feature was a place for a key to fit, in the front of the box. Really, it seemed simple enough. But looks, as Rose knew very well, are often deceptive.
In her hand, Rose held a couple of metal clips from out of her hair, clips which she had straightened out to use for this particular purpose. Except, it hadn’t worked yet. Rose approached the box again, the box which had at first glance appeared to be so simple, and yet had thwarted all of her prior attempts at entry.
Rose shook the box, which was deceptively heavy in addition to being deceptively difficult to break. Something solid thunked around inside of it. Whatever it was, Rose meant to have it out of that box, and soon.
Drawing a deep, calming breath, Rose tried once more to pick the lock on this thing. The books she’s been reading, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in addition to other lesser Detective tales, always make this seem so simple, don’t they?
Using one of the hair pins that she had straightened out, Rose carefully massaged the top of the lock, to where she believed the pins that she needed to trick ought to be. She could feel the pins moving, so that was good. With a second hair pin, she applied a constant pressure on the bottom of the lock in the hopes of popping it open, when the pins were all equally deceived into believing that the proper key had been applied into the keyhole.
After another long effort, she stopped again. What time was it getting to be, now?
Really, she needed to pop this lock open. She needed, rather desperately, to know what was inside of this thing. All of her logic told Rose that whatever was inside of this deceptively secure box, was of vital importance to her investigation. Even as she sat there in this yard, monkeying around with this locked box, her brother Jon was confronting the box’s owner. Jon needed her, and he needed her now, not whenever it was that she managed to finally get this thing open.
Perhaps the problem was too obvious. This box, which she had confiscated, perhaps inappropriately, from its hiding place in a guest room of the Delacroix Hotel, belonged to a man who liked to think of himself as the world’s greatest “cracksman.” This was a term that Rose had only recently learned, but which referred to the man’s impressive ability to break into locked safes. Given the great trouble that this person had managed to cause to Rose and her family in the last few days, he had a point concerning his abilities, after all.
Rose took a moment, and tried to think about the problem logically. She had in her possession the small personal safe of a man who considered himself to be the greatest safe-breaker in the world. It only stood to reason, that the security on the safe of such a person would defy any normal attempts at lock picking.
Really, attempting to pick the thing was ridiculous, given the fact that she was an amateur at this sort of thing in the first place. Rose was self-taught, having only popped a few locks around town during her free time when no one was looking, to see if she could do it. To Rose’s way of thinking, skills such as lock picking were just the sorts of things that a self-styled Detective simply ought to know, after all.
Not that everyone was likely to understand this. She put this into the same category of small-minded thinking as seemed to possess most people that she met, the same type of small-minded thinking which implied that, given her status as a female, she was simply incapable of actual logic thought. Or much else, either. This was in the category of things that she simply refused to agree to wholesale, in other words.
Turning the safe around and looking into the keyhole with the aid of the heavy summer sunlight, Rose suddenly understood the problem more fully. The lock itself seemed to run deeper than most locks did, and what’s more, there appeared to be pins on the right interior side of the lock too. Those extra pins were placed at a different angle than were normally seen, in all of the others locks that Rose had encountered around the town of Hope Springs. This was actually a rather extraordinary lock, which would take a rather extraordinary key. It was a lock the likes of which Rose had never encountered before.
Given enough time, Rose was fairly sure that she could have broken the lock anyway. It would require another hair pin, and perhaps another hand too, to apply pressure to the lock with the tension wire while she worked at the pins from two different angles at once. But, time was something that she simply didn’t have much of. This was going to require a different approach.
Rose placed the box back on the tree stump, then went into a large work shed, which was attached to the barn in the family’s back yard. She returned a minute later with the heaviest wood chopping axe that she could find, and took a mighty swing at the top of the metallic box.
The first blow did nothing but mildly dent the box, causing it to bounce a foot or so up into the air with the force of her assault. A second and third blow did little more. But on her fourth attempt, after getting a reckless running start at the metal box from the other side of the yard, Rose managed to lodge the blade of the axe into the top of the steel box. Rose’s arms were feeling sore already, from the exertions of trying to break this thing.
It was almost comical. The axe was now lodged directly into the lid of the steel box. Feeling her anxiety increase, Rose wondered what time it was now getting to be. She wondered how things were going for Jon, who was even now confronting the burglar…a man who, the night before, had proven that he was not above pulling a gun on her brother. He might not be above murder, even.
With great effort, Rose was able to pry the axe blade back out of the top of the box. This left a large cut along the middle of the lid of the thing, but she could still not get to the contents of the box, or even really see what those contents were, rolling around inside of that damned box.
Rose set the box up on its edge. This time, it would have to work. She stepped back again, hefting the axe up over her head. She stepped back farther, and farther yet. An absurd feeling came over Rose, as though she were a baseball player up at bat, facing the third strike in the last inning of a tight game.
Well, and wasn’t that pretty much what this was, after all? How much time did Jon really have, facing off with that criminal? This was her last inning, and what all was on the line? Only the freedom and future of her other brother, Bill, who had been framed for two robberies and one attempted murder that he didn’t commit. Oh, and the possibility of the entire Delacroix family losing their ownership of the Delacroix Hotel to another criminal, and being kicked out into the streets of Hope Springs in the summer of 1893; there was that minor detail, too. Only those things. And Jon.
Steadying herself, Rose took a deep breath. In her mind’s eye, she imagined the cut that she would have to inflict to make this thing happen. She’s read someplace about the power of the mind, the power to make things happen by carefully visualizing them, first. This was something she believed in wholeheartedly.
The blow would have to be perfect. It would have to land squarely on the edge of the lid, to exactly where the hinge must be. Only that. Or else, perhaps she could go over to the Blacksmith’s shop and see if he couldn’t pop the thing open for her somehow. But there would be a lot of questions asked, then. And a lot of precious time wasted. She thought again of Jon, headed over to the Bromwell Hotel, across the street.
With a cry, Rose ran wholeheartedly up towards the box, to where it sat there on the tree stump. She brought the axe down with all her might, producing a bone-jarring ringing in her hands clear up to the shoulder, an ear-cracking SMACK when the unstoppable force of her axe came down on the immovable object of the steel box’s lid…and then the miracle happened.
The blow was perfect, more perfect than seemed fair. The hinge of the box gave way, and the contents of the box flew everywhere, scattering around to land everyplace on the dusty ground.
Rose quickly rushed around the yard, ignoring the ringing pain in her arms, picking up the box’s former contents and placing them back in the now-broken box.
There was a little leather pouch full of lock picks, proper ones, made of some fine thin steel that Rose had never seen before. These she would keep, if things turned out as she hoped they might. There was also a collection of paper money and coins. And there, sitting separate and apart from the rest of the stuff, was a round object about the size of an apple.
Quickly picking the object up, Rose examined it closely.
After a few moments a large smile came across her face, as she realized what the object in her hand was…and what it meant, for her and her all-consuming Investigation. This was becoming like a Sherlock Holmes story after all, Rose thought, which filled her with excitement and a powerful sense of adventure, although she might not have admitted this to anyone, perhaps not even to her twin brother John.
Holding on to the object and rushing out to Main Street, Rose found herself running as quickly as she could to go help her brother. Yes, this might help fix things. It might help fix things very well.


Author Bio:
Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington. When he isn't writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.



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Images from the Meadow of Dreams kit by Irene Alexeeva