House of Sensual Romance ™

This is a place of comfort for everyone. I hope you enjoy my stories, and those of my friends. Let me know what you liked about them and what you didn't. You can also visit my website lavernethompson.com for more excerpts of my work. And all work on my blog is copyright protected.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Unwrapping A Marriage- Featured Book



Sterling and Elizabeth Jackson have built a life most would envy. A beautiful home, two wonderful children and a very comfortable lifestyle. Yet something is tearing them apart. With divorce looming, they are trying to make it through the holiday season for their family.

With clashing schedules, demands from employers and two busy kids, the former lovers have managed to stay out of each other’s orbit, at least for a while. But Fate, or maybe their well-meaning family, has set them up on a collision course.

Past memories bubble up to the surface and there’s nothing to stem the flow. What once was amazing has turned hurtful and full of pain. But is that the real story? Is it too late for a couple who once lived and breathed for each other to find their way back?

There’s a thin line between love and hate. Will Sterling and Elizabeth be able to mend a love that seems broken and lost, or will the final pull on the holiday ribbon unwrap their last chance to save their marriage.







Buy links



https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/unwrapping-a-marriage


ABOUT THE AUTHORS


 
Reana Malori
 
Reana's stories focus on multicultural / interracial romance. A firm believer that LOVE in all its forms should be celebrated, her goal is to weave a story that pulls the reader into her world and share in her universe, even if only for a short time. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband, and has two very handsome sons. You can most often find her enjoying a good book, as she is first and foremost a reader. And she loves a good romance.
 
Michel Prince
 
Michel Prince is an author who graduated with a bachelor degree in History and Political Science. Michel writes new adult and adult paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance.
 
With characters yelling "It's my turn damn it!!!" She tries to explain to them that alas, she can only type a hundred and twenty words a minute and they will have to wait their turn. She knows eventually they find their way out of her head and to her fingertips and she looks forward to sharing them with you.
 
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Scandalous Spirited Reads Giveaways


Scandalous Spirited Reads
are going to help you STUFF YOUR eREADER

That's right, we're hosting a bumper FREE books and $0.99 BARGAIN
STUFF YOUR eREADER campaign on the 5th October!

To celebrate we're offering you the chance to WIN a $300 Amazon Gift Card
All you need to do is answer one simple question when you enter the giveaway.

By sharing this competition with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Linked In -
you'll stand a much better chance at winning :)

Enter the giveaway here.

No purchase necessary to win. Void where prohibited.
Contest ends October 5, 2016. Winner will be notified on October 6, 2016.
*** By entering this competition contestants agree to subscribe to the
Scandalous Reads newsletter and further giveaways from CPM Books.
You also agree to receive author news from: Ashe Barker, Cara Bristol, Cassie Alexander,
Fiona Murphy, Iona Findley, Kathy Kulig, Rachael Slate, Rebecca Hunter, Ruth Staunton, S.N. McKibben***


LaVerne Thompson is an award winning, best-selling, multi-published author, an avid reader and a writer of contemporary, fantasy, and sci/fi sensual romances. She writes romantic suspense and new adult romance under her alter ego Ursula Sinclair.

She is a certified chocoholic and is currently working on several projects. Some might even involve chocolate. But writing helps maintain her sanity. To find out more about LaVerne Thompson or Ursula Sinclair’s books sign up for her newsletter for excerpts, giveaways, free downloads, sneak peeks and other specials exclusive to subscribers. http://bit.ly/1hA7C9W

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

All the gods are dead... #amwritingfantasy #ww


All the gods are dead. Long live the gods. Long live Zeus.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER

*WARNING* This is not an erotic romance. It does however, have sex when warranted and lots of violence and cussing. You have been warned.

What if you woke up one day and found out you used to be a god? But you don’t care when you can’t save the one you love. Unless you claim your legacy and your powers, even if you have to kill your father to do it.

Ze found he would do whatever he must to make sure Kassia lived. She was an innocent.

Kassia lived her life for the last year under a death sentence. She had an end date of three months. This was her last chance to save herself against the thing killing her from the inside. Even accepting the will of a god. He could save her life but at what cost to her soul?

When survival is everything, would you do anything to ensure that you do?





Find at these distributors:
Amazon- amzn.to/2agcoKm
iBooks- apple.co/2avzefK

Saturday, July 30, 2016

So It Begins.



ZEUS

*WARNING* This is not an erotic romance. It does however, have sex when warranted and lots of violence and cussing. You have been warned.

What if you woke up one day and found out you used to be a god? But you don’t care when you can’t save the one you love. Unless you claim your legacy and your powers, even if you have to kill your father to do it.

Ze found he would do whatever he had to do to make sure Kassia lived. She was an innocent.

Kassia lived her life for the last year under a death sentence. She had an end date of three months. This was her last chance to save herself against the thing killing her from the inside. Even accepting the will of a god. He could save her life but at what cost to her soul?


When survival is everything, would you do anything to ensure that you do?

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
08/02

Monday, July 25, 2016

Paladin Blog Tour- Angela Knight

paladin blog tour banner
Paladin (Graven Gods 1)
By
Angela Knight
Blog Tour

paladin about the book
paladin cover

Struggling novelist Summer St. Clare can't remember her murdered mother's face, or most of her childhood before the age of twelve. The only constant in her life is Paladin, once her imaginary childhood friend, now the handsome detective of her urban fantasy series.

There's nothing imaginary about Paladin now. Hot, seductive and dangerous, Paladin blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The passion Summer experiences in his arms makes her question what's real -- or whether she cares. 

Someone else believes in Paladin, and he wants Summer dead. Her confusion mounts when she fights off five attackers with a display of dazzling martial arts skills she doesn't remember acquiring. As she searches for answers and runs for her life, her dream lover becomes more real with every kiss.  

paladin excerpt

I sat back from my keyboard and pushed a strand of peacock-tipped hair out of my eyes with a shaking hand. This had been a particularly bad one. Not that they were ever any fun.

When Paladin had touched Moss's fetid brain, I'd seen the killer's crimes just as he had. It hadn't seemed like imagination or clever turns of phrase. I'd felt Moss's sick excitement, the sense of power killing gave the revolting little fuck. Gerald had been thoroughly powerless in the rest of his life. His jobs, when he'd had one, had always been for minimum wage, flipping burgers and delivering pizza. 

Valak had given him magic and sent him out to kill. He'd dragged the souls out of his victims' eyes and gulped them down, collecting them for his master.

Paladin had made Gerald pay, shown him just how it felt to have the life burned from his body. It still wouldn't bring any of the women back. Their children, their husbands, their parents and their friends would still grieve. The killer's death would be a chilly consolation at best.

Still, Paladin had balanced the scales. And unlike the justice system, he never convicted an innocent through error or prejudice or a witness's lies. He learned the killers' crimes from their own corrupt brains or their victims' ghosts.

Never mind the cost to Paladin himself. That didn't matter to him.

I blinked back to myself, throwing off the story's spell again. Then I caught a glimpse of one particular line, and a memory ambushed me with sick horror. I jumped up and raced to the bathroom in the back of my shop. Calliope followed, meowing in distress.

Falling to my knees before the porcelain god, I vomited up every last bite of Oreo and sip of coffee. When I was done, I braced shaking hands on the toilet seat, almost as battered from the memory of what I'd written as the violence of my heaving.

"Why do you do this to yourself?" Paladin asked roughly.

"Every time you write it down, you live it all over again. And it was ugly enough the first time."

 "If I don't write it down, it'll stay in my skull and rot. I tried it the other way, remember? I almost ate Mary's gun."

He growled, sounding pissed. I wasn't sure if he was mad at me or the situation, but either way, I was too busy yarking to care. Calliope rubbed her way around my kneeling body, meowing plaintively. 

"I'm all right," I lied to the cat, and pushed to my feet. I almost fell, managed to catch myself against the wall, and reeled to the sink. Plucking my spare toothbrush out of the water glass beside the basin, I started scrubbing out the nasty.

 Calliope jumped up on the minuscule vanity. "Rrrooow." Which was probably Cateese for "You're bugfuck crazy."

"Thank you for that news flash, Captain Noshit."

 Compelled in the same masochistic way you probe an aching tooth, I returned to the desk where my phone lay. A glance at the grandfather clock told me it was three in the afternoon. It had been 10:30 when I sat down.

 I groaned. "Fuck, I hope nobody came in while I was lost in my own head. Assuming they didn't steal me blind, they'd think I was the rudest shop keeper on the face of the planet."

 This was why I locked up anything more valuable than a dog-eared paperback. Otherwise a shoplifter could come in and clean me out, and I'd never know it was happening.

I picked the phone up and read a line at random. Murders, rapes and beatings battered his consciousness until he shuddered in revulsion.

 The horror I'd -- Paladin -- had seen in the killer's mind rushed back, black and awful. It's not real, I told myself.

 Myself wasn't buying it. It had sure as hell felt real.

 There's something wrong with me. It's not normal to feel this way about something I freakin' made up.

 I'd gone to writers' conventions where other artists talked about their creative processes. Nobody else seemed to experience their fictional worlds as a splatter-punk flick. Yeah, they imagined the action in considerable detail, but not the way I did. They didn't smell and taste the blood, or feel the anguish of innocent and hero.

 Unfortunately, I knew no other way to work. If I wasn't sane, there wasn't a fucking thing I could do about it, short of turning myself in to the nearest shrink. And I had no interest whatsoever in paying rent on a rubber room.

 After feeding the cat, I spent the next couple of hours organizing stock and waiting on customers. One was Dave Stone, who came in to buy a pack of Magic the Gathering cards. He was looking for an Unwinding Clock to add to his collection. The teen usually bought a pack once or twice a month hoping to hit one that included whichever card he was currently looking for. There were thousands of Magic cards used as weapons in the game, and you never knew what you were going to get when you bought any given pack.

 "One of these days, I'm going to collect an entire set of rare cards," Dave said with a sigh, scratching Calliope under her chin as she purred in feline ecstasy. "Just as soon as I have a few thousand to spare."

 Collecting the really rare cards wasn't cheap, though you could get a new pack for ten bucks. Dave worked at McDonald's solely to fund his addiction to Magic and manga -- Japanese comic books. 

"I'm keeping an eye out for those foil cards you want," I told him, then added impulsively, "Hey, what's the deal with your mom? I swear to God, that woman acts like I terrify her." I wouldn't normally ask a question like that of a customer, but Dave and I had been friends since I'd opened the store.

"Probably has something to do with Paladin. Mom said just yesterday..." His eyes widened, and he got an odd look on his face, as if he'd just said something that would get him into trouble.

 "Your mother reads my books?" I asked, surprised. I always figured she'd be more inclined to burn them, assuming you could actually burn an e-book.

 "Uh... Yeah. I let her borrow my copies." Hastily he added, "Hey, did I tell you I gave Paladin's Favor five stars on Amazon? And not just because you're my buddy, either. I enjoyed that book." 

"Really?" I asked, diverted. Authors are like new mothers -- all you have to do to win our hearts is complement our babies.

 "Really. Paladin's seriously kickass."

 We spent the next ten minutes talking about the book. It was only after Dave left I wondered about his comment that his mother's issues with me had something to do with Paladin. What the hell had he meant?

 Huh. I'd have to harass him about that later. Speaking of Paladin... I picked up my phone again, planning to take a look at the copy I'd written.

 "Meeeeoooooooow!" Calliope shoulder-checked my hand so hard, I dropped the cell, which clattered to the desktop and almost tumbled off before I caught it. The cat gave me a narrow-eyed glare as I put it back on the desk. Before I could look at the screen again, she planted a paw on my wrist in warning. Her claws were retracted, but judging by the look on her fuzzy face, she was ready to pop them like Wolverine.

 If I didn't know better, I'd think she was warning me off another foray into my book.

 Deciding it was time for a mollifying feline bribe, I got a packet of cat treats out of the desk and fed her a couple. After a few more minutes scratching behind her ears while she purred like a Porche, I was no longer feeling masochistic enough for another PTSD flashback. When I picked up my phone again, it was to indulge in my favorite e-crack, Pinterest.

 I found several shots of half-nekkid men to pin to my "Hero Inspiration" board, hunks who might make good characters if I ever got around to writing romances. Which exercise was actually just an excuse to ogle hot guys who made my girly bits tingle.

One advantage of being a novelist is you can use research as an excuse for just about anything.

 By the time five o'clock rolled around, I still hadn't edited any of the day's pages. That was unusual for me. I'm one of those writers who has the most trouble with the first draft. Once that's done, I can spend countless happy hours playing with sentences, cutting some, restructuring others, and creating pretty phrases to salt into my prose.

 This time I was in no hurry to dive back into the psychic sewer of Paladin's battle with Gerald. 

Anyway, it was time to head for home and the Lois McMaster Bujold novel I was reading for the third time.

 It was dark when I stepped out of the shop, purse flung over my shoulder, Calliope ghosting along at my heels like a fluffy shadow. "All things considered, it wasn't that bad a day," I told her as I led the way toward the Kia I'd left parked out in the middle of the lot, leaving nearer spots for the customers. Some of the older ladies find it painful to walk very far. "I got twenty pages written, and nobody cleaned out the shop while I was catatonic."

 Calliope opened her mouth to meow, then froze, her blue eyes going round in alarm. Hissing, she crouched, ears flattening as her tail bushed. I frowned down at her, which is why I didn't immediately notice the shitstorm about to break on my hapless head.

"All right bitch, hand over the purse and maybe we won't beat you to death."

 I jerked my head up, my heart diving for my sneakers as I realized I should've listened to Mary and bought a gun. Make that an AK-47. Five men ringed me in the darkness, eyes hard over nasty smiles, looking like the chorus line of America's Most Wanted. Oh fuck, oh fuckfuckfuckfuck!

 Panicked, I looked around at them. Should I run? They were all tall, muscular, and fit enough to do some damage. Shit, they'll be on me before I make it five feet.

 "Valak, you bastard," Paladin raged in the back of my skull. "I'm going to feed you your own forked dick for this." I don't know what the fuck my back brain thought he could do -- or why he needed to do it to another figment of my imagination.

 "I... I..." I stuttered.

 A hiss of feline rage sounded. Calliope planted herself in front of me, every black hair standing out, her tail bushed and back arched. My imagination served up an image of somebody's foot sending her flying like a soccer ball. Frantic, I pounced on her, scooped her up, and spun to run. "Help! Help me! I'm being robbed!" I might as well have saved my breath.

 "Oh no, you don't, bitch!" A hard hand clamped onto my shoulder and spun me around. I dropped the cat as my captor drew back a fist, cruelty in his cold eyes.

 "Summer, listen," Paladin said, his mental voice urgent. "You're going to have to fight, baby. I can't help you. The spell won't let me take over when you're conscious."

 "What spell? What the fuck do I do?" My frenzied mind raced back and forth like a squirrel in the headlights of an eighteen-wheeler. "I don't know what to do!"

 "Your body knows, Summer. Just let go. We've spent your whole life building muscle memory. It can save you if..."

 "Give us what we want." The thug's vicious stare gleamed with nasty anticipation. "Maybe we won't..."

 I whipped around and kicked his feet out from under him, then slammed my fist into his mouth before he even hit the ground. For a heartbeat, I stared down at the dazed and bleeding dickhead. "What the fuck just happened? Did I do that?"

 "You sure did!" Paladin crowed. "That's my girl! Told you it would work!"

 "Bitch, the hell?" Dickhead snarled up at me through bloody teeth and started to roll to his feet. Instinct drove me to stomp on his groin. He shrieked and curled around himself like a cooked shrimp. "Cunt!"

The second guy swung a fist decorated with prison tatts.

 I pivoted aside, grabbed the back of Tattboy's head, and slammed his face down into my lifted knee in the same move Paladin had used the night before. Blood flew. I dropped him on the sidewalk. For such a big guy, he didn't seem to weigh much.

 "You don't know your own strength. Don't hold back. Let the bastards have it."

 Swearing, a muscular redhead charged. The world reeled as my spinning kick plowed into his gut. He gagged, doubling over. I nailed Red with an uppercut that laid him out on his back. It felt weird, as if I was watching the fight from a distance.

 Three attackers lay bleeding on the ground now, barely conscious from blows I didn't even know how to deliver. Yet my body kept right on kicking every ass that came in view.

 Someone was screaming. Out of the corner of one eye, I saw a fourth man on the ground, howling, Calliope shredding his face with her claws.

 "What the fuck? Cats don't do that!"

 "Calliope does!" Paladin cheered. "Get 'em, Cal!"

 The fifth guy grabbed my arm, jerking me around and swinging at my face. My left arm shot up, blocking the punch as my right plowed into his jaw, which crunched like a piñata. "Eeeeewwww!" I stared down at him as he sprawled at my feet. "Oh, Jesus, did I just kill that guy?"

 "Just a fractured jaw," Paladin assured me.

 "How would you know, Dr. Fictional?"

 "Okay, whore, you're going to pay for that." Dickhead was up again. Something metallic flashed as he dove at me.

 I pivoted, grabbed his knife hand, and swung him face first into the shop wall. Dickhead hit the bricks hard enough to bounce. Behind me, I heard the creak of a car door opening. A voice snarled, "Oh no you don't, you little whore."

 I whirled. Out in the parking lot, a man emerged from a black SUV, a rifle in his hands. From twenty feet away he raised the weapon and took aim with the cool skill of a marksman. My blood turned to sleet in my veins. Dead. I'm so dead!
  
paladin buy links

 
paladin about the author
angela knight

I've been writing erotic romance since 1996, when my first novella appeared in Secrets Vol. 2. In June, 2004, Jane's Warlord, my first novel, was published, followed by FOREVER KISS in July, 2004 the antho HOT BLOODED in September, and MASTER OF THE NIGHT in October. MASTER OF THE MOON, my next book, hit the USA Today list for three weeks, much to my amazement. Since then I've been writing like a lunatic and having a wonderful time.

I've been married to a wonderful man for more than twenty years now. He's a senior investigator with our county sheriff's office. As a result, I know an awful lot of cops, which is one reason I love putting police procedural elements in my fiction. I also spent ten years as a reporter, which gave me a collection of war stories you would not believe. My husband Mike and I have one son, Anthony, who is in his twenties now.  

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ledo- Lost Gods Book 2

 This is an unedited version of Chapter 1 from Ledo's story. Coming soon.

Ledo- Lost Gods Book 2
by LaVerne Thompson
Copyrighted 2016



Chapter 1

The soft sway of the water stilled as the Fates looked on. “Are we certain this is the only way.” The shortest of the Fates asked the question but only because she questioned everything. Already knowing the answer.
“It unfolds as it should,” a slender cloaked figure replied.
“Thus far. Each must be tested and do his or her part. Even the son of Ares, no one avoids their fate.” The one standing on the far right of the pool said calmly.
“But he has always been aware,” a raspy voice countered.
“Yet, he’s lived human lives. This will require the first use of all of his powers and once they taste it they will only want more,” the shortest stated.
The others nodded in agreement.
“Sooner or later they will all be tested,” the one on the right said.
“Failure is true death,” the slender figure replied.
“For us all.”
*****

Ledo opened his eyes to stare into the blaze of the sun. Immediately he closed them, the movement caused pain to bang behind his shut lids, into his skull until it echoed throughout his body. Unsure why he could see the sun, or where he was for that matter. He moaned. Where the fuck was he? What happened? The last thing he remembered was transing and chasing after Ze’s lightning bolt. He caught it in his talons adding his own powers to guide it where it needed to go. Right into the entrance of Tartarus in an attempt to destroy it. He remembered the explosion and an endless sensation of his atoms being ripped apart as he was wrenched from his vulture form. After that it was all a blur.
An ice wind blew across his naked body, he shivered and tried to sit up. His human ass was freezing. It was so fucking cold. How long had he been out? The temperature shouldn’t affect him like this. Where was he? He glanced around and realized lay in the middle of a white sea of ice and blowing snow as far as his eyes could see. Was this the North Pole? Is this where the entrance had been hidden, deep beneath the ice?
That made sense, but no, not the North, the magnetic energy felt more like the South. Antartica. That’s where he was. Actually, what he was was fucked. While he could change his form he couldn’t create clothes and when he changed his clothes were destroyed. Usually he was able to make it back home or to some place where he’d stash clothes, not this time. Sometimes it really sucked being the son of a god. He shivered, normally the cold wouldn’t bother him but this was a bitter cold and he’d exerted a lot of energy. He also feared he might have lost quite a bit of time.
His bird form won’t help him here, he needed something that would function better in this stark environment. The other form he inherited from dear dad, one that’s part dog part wolf. With a thought his body shimmered, his bones seeming to liquefy before contorting changing in less than a nano second, he went from man to a dark gray wolf dog with a white patch on his head. He raised his nose and scented the air. In this form his senses were heightened ten fold. There. He caught a whiff of humans. Humans meant warmth, fire. He took off at a dead run following his nose.
Ledo was larger than any dog or wolf, stronger and faster, still by the time he arrived at his destination the sun was just getting ready for bed. He circled the place. It was the equivalent of a double wide mobile home, three of them in the boxed shape of an L. With his enhanced hearing, he listened in on the conversation. Some sort of scientific expedition instead of an adventure for shits and giggles group. Figures, they were studying the weather phenomena, trying to figure out what had been happening all over the world for the last month. The hole in the ozone layer was already three times the size of the US and getting larger.
The good news what he and Ze had done should put a stop to it. But he didn’t kid himself, it was merely a stop gab measure they’d done. They’d merely stunned Cronus. Hopefully, it would be long enough for Ze to gather some of the descendants of the Olympians to put a permanent hurt to Cronus once and for all. Meanwhile, he needed to get to a main town and try to contact Ze. This was one time he wished he and Ze were linked, or that he was telepathic. Instinct had led him to find Zeus in the first place, perhaps instinct would lead Ze to him. He’d keep focusing on the once god and maybe that would be enough.
First things first, Ledo needed food and warmth, even in his enhanced body his balls were freeziing. He was surprised not to see any dog sleds at the station, but they did have a helicopter and a couple of snow mobiles and it also looked like they had a generator attached to the mobile station. The top of the station had what looked like a triangular slanted umbrella over it, probably making it easier for the snow to slide off to one side and protect the transmitter up there. Good maybe he could use whatever kind of communications device they had to send out a call to Ze.
He decided the best approach was usually the direct one, he didn’t think they’d buy the idea of a naked man in the middle of the Antarctic in minus 52 Celsius weather, but a dog was another matter. He moved to the side of the helicopter, threw back his head and howled so the wind would carry it toward the structure. And he hoped no one came out with a shotgun to try to plug his sorry ass.
****

Aria sat in her room and took out her journal, since power was at a premium here she’d bought several paper journals with her to keep a personal log of her adventure. She always did. And so far it had been an adventure. She read over what she’d written from the time she’d been added as part of the research team.
As a new PHD candidate the competition to be part of the six person team with one of the foremost physicist of their time was…well the odds were NOT good. But she had a  slight advantage, one of her favorite professors at the University of Chicago was the team leader’s sister. So she’d known about the expedition before it had been made public and was one of the first to express interest. It also helped she’d already switched her research and was studying why the rules of physics had been suddenly turned upside down.
It wasn’t just the weird weather, and expansion of the hole in the ozone layer, the magnetism of the poles had been changing, abnormal energy waves had been coming from the South Pole, having a direct effect on the weather. The strange thing was as strong as the emissions were, they couldn’t find the source, the heart of it. But they were close.
She made the day’s entry in her journal and looked back over her others, pausing on the one made three months ago. In a few minutes she’d put in a scheduled call to Michael. He’d asked her to marry him and stay before she’d left. She hadn’t said no she couldn’t marry him, she’d wanted to and he must have known that. His clue should have been the fact they hadn’t had sex in months and they didn’t live together. More her doing than his. He asked her not to answer him then, just think about it.
He’d been angry she accepted the chance to be part of ground breaking science. He was a scientist himself and had applied to be part of the expedition. It would have been unheard of for them both to have been on the same team. Most relationships don’t survive on these types of expeditions. At least not the ones she knew about. But, she made it, he didn’t. She got the feeling part of the reason he asked her to marry him was to stop her from going.
After four years of dating he’d never once talked about them getting married. In fact, he thought marriage was archaic. That all they needed was an understanding. She’d agreed, until she didn’t. Realizing she wanted something more. Her own parents had divorced when she was young, she spent summers and holidays with both of them, but each had remarried and their spouses had kids. Suddenly, she went from being an only child to a step-child. Is it any wonder she buried herself in books? Science could never hurt her. Science was based on fact, things that can be proven. Numbers never lied, never disappointed.
Yet, it had no longer become enough. She wasn’t sure when that had happened, but it had. Maybe because she was tweny-five and spent way too much time with her mentor, Susan and saw first hand what a real committed relationship was like. She and her husband had no kids, but had been married for thirty years and had sort of adopted Aria.
Placing her journal down, she took a deep breath and reached for her phone. The cell phones were hit or miss for the last few days, today was no different. No service. She rose to go and try the communications consul near the kitchen and hoped she’d have some privacy. The sound of a howl had her dropping the phone still in her hand. “What?”
She went running out of her room and meet Jenkins out in the kitchen area. Dr Jenkins was the leader of the expedition.
“What the hell is that? Didn’t sound like the wind.” Jenkins remarked.
“Sounds like a wolf or a dog, but that can’t be,” Aria said. “Not all the way out here.”
Sam and Henry, other scientist came out to join them, they stood near Jenkins staring out of the viewer. They didn’t have many windows in the place, only two, both unconventional, they helped to keep heat in and the cold out. The window in the kitchen area was triple paned and enhanced. It was also only less than 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide and had a lip on the front to keep the snow off of it. They called it the viewer, because all they viewed from there was white snow. It would be dark soon and the wind was picking up, snow was being blown around so they couldn’t see much.
“There are no dogs in Antarctica, not any more,” Jenkins stated. “Sled dogs have been banded years ago from the continent because of the fear they’d bring diseases to the indigenous animals in the area. So after decades of expeditions dependence on sled dogs they were eventually banned, so a dog way out here is impossible.”
“So that’s why we came by helicopter and the building was brought out by truck,” Aria said.
“Yep, and that’s why I don’t think it’s a dog,” Jenkins insisted. “Probably just the wind.”
“Maybe it got loose from someone who brought it in on some tourist excursion,” Sam stated.
“All the way out here,” Aria said. “I don’t think so, we’re several miles from anywhere. The closest excursion would be to Mt Sidley and who’d take a dog to climb a mountain.”
“I agree,” Henry chimed in. He was the oldest of their crew about sixty but probably in better shape than any of them. They had an area set aside for a gym and he spent as much time there as he did on his instruments and conducting experiments.
The howl came again. For some reason it sounded sad to Aria, resonating with her on some primitive level. Without another thought she turned to go back to her room to add more layers to venture outside.
“Where are you going?” Jenkins asked.
“It sounds like it’s hurt. I know it’s cold. I’m going to go check on it.”
“I’ll come with you,” Jenkins offered.
“Me too,” Henry chimed in.
“Thanks. I’ll only be a minute.”
She passed Chris, the engineer, on the way back to her room.
“What’s up?” Chris asked.
“We think there’s a dog outside and are going out to check it out.”
She opened her door and entered closing it behind her. Her room wasn’t much. Large enough for a bed that could fit two if they slept wrapped around each other, a side table and chair. As the only female on the expedition she had her own room. The other men had to share a room, all except Jenkins. As the leader of the expedition he warranted his own room.
When she got back Jenkins and Henry were dressed and waiting for her, so was Chris. Bob their communications expert and pilot had also joined them.
“Sure about this?” Bob asked.

Jenkins shrugged.
“Since we’re all up I’ll fire up some tea or coffee if anyone wants to stay awake,” Sam said.
“Tea’s fine for me thanks,” Aria said. And the other men echoed her sentiments. She moved toward one of the cupboards and opened it.
“What are you doing?” Chris asked.
“Looking for something to entice the dog.”
“Entice it to do what?” Sam asked.
“To come inside.”
“What the hell!” Sam said.
She swung in his direction. “We can’t leave it outside in this weather, it could die.”
“We have no idea what condition it’s in, for all we know it’s rabid,” Sam argued.
When Jenkins stepped toward the rear door she noticed the rifle at his side and the gun in Henry’s hand. “Is that really necessary?” She shook her head. “Never mind.” She knew it was, she didn’t like it but best to be careful. While the dog wolf or whatever it was out there sounded sad and hurt to her, Sam was right, it could also be a wild thing. Best to be safe.
“Just give me some time to assess the situation before either of you go shooting at it.”
“Fine,” Henry said.
She found some beef jerky and put it in her pocket. They finished bundling up and Jenkins opened the door. As soon as he did the wind kicked up and flew into the small patches of exposed skin on her face. Damn it was biting out there. There was a reason they did any outside work when the sun was at its height. Although in the last few weeks they had more sunlight and the hole in the ozone seemed to have retracted to what it had been three months ago. No one had an explanation for how.
“There,” Chris said, swinging the flashlight he carried in the direction of the helicopter. Both Chris and Bob could fly. They’d been trying to teach her, it was definitely something she’d look into once she got back home to Pennsylvania.

She stared in the direction of the light and thought she saw something move in the shadows. Slowly, she headed in that direction.

Monday, June 27, 2016


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Sketch by Laramie Briscoe Services Rendered by Nikki Steele The Dancer by Ursula Sinclair Let Me Love You by Iris Blobel Remembering Joy by Jenni Moen Goodbye To You by AJ Matthews St. Charles at Dusk by Sarah M. Cradit Possess by J.A. Howell Marks on my Skin by J.A. Howell Beast Within by Tyffani Clark Kemp Scorned by Tyffani Clark Kemp Man Without Rules by Tyffani Clark Kemp Lucius, The Fallen by Tara S. Wood Twisted Bloodlines by Linda Jackson Shimmy for Me by DeAnna Cameron Forever Kinda Love by Clara Stone Promises, Promises by Josie Bourdeaux Descent by Kallie Ross Solidify by Alexia Purdy Anxious Hearts by Felicia Tatum The Alex Chronicles: Girlfriends and Secrets by Tracy Reed The Other Side of Nowhere by JN Chaney Falling Star by Brandy L. Rivers Pulled by Danielle Bannister Forgiven by Rebecca Brooke