Sunday, July 31, 2011

Night Journey by Goldie Browning

Night JourneyMy rating: 4 of 5 Cups
In the present day, Emma and Zan Fuller have arrived for the weekend at an old, majestic hotel near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Zan’s brother is getting married. Emma feels a strange sense of déjà vu upon arrival, and the feeling intensifies as the weekend progresses.

In 1938, Ivy Turner rebels against marrying Jared Covington, a wealthy steel mill entrepreneur; instead, she elopes with the man she loves, Harry Fuller. The couple’s happiness is short-lived, though, when Harry is arrested, and Ivy is abducted. Eventually, the now pregnant Ivy is packed off to the Baker Cancer Hospital in Eureka Springs by her desperate parents.

Emma suffers a deadly fall and watches as her life passes before her eyes. She awakes in excruciating pain, but finds herself inhabiting the body of a cancer patient named Anna – the year is 1938. Ivy’s tragic plight galvanizes Emma, and a few new friends, to plot an escape plan for Ivy, and to enlist the assistance of a sympathetic lawyer for Harry. But time is running out, and the obstacles, at times, seem overwhelming.

I quickly became immersed in this memorable time travel, ghost story. The characters became fully alive within the pages, and it was so incredibly easy for me to care about them all. The setting was absolutely ideal; I could easily visualize the grand old hotel in the mist enshrouded mountains. The sense of time and place, especially for the story line taking place in the late 1930’s, seemed so well-researched, believable, and chilling. I felt as if I were caught up in the time warp, also, along with Emma. Toward the end, the repetitive debate about living wills, the moral and legal ramifications, became somewhat tedious; otherwise, this would have been a 5 Cup read for me. The author shines at linking the history and lives of the characters in this intriguing, mesmerizing, and well-edited tale.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mishap & Mayhem by M.M. Shelley

Mishap & Mayhem
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sixteen-year-old twins Grasiella & Tatiana are visiting their Grandmother in Hawaii for the summer. Soon after their arrival, an evil fairy is released from an old family heirloom. The fire goddess Pele goes into a slow simmering rage, and the twins become the focus of her displeasure.
 Pele’s grandsons, Kye and Kana’I, who are cousins, each find themselves unexpectedly attracted to a sister. Kana’i attempts to distract Grasiella in order to hide and protect her from Pele’s Wrath. His plan backfires, and Grasiella continues a risky search without his help. Meanwhile, Tatiana and Kye face adventure, also.

Strange new powers begin to awaken within the twins, especially Grasiella. Gnomes deliver cryptic messages. Pysche, the beloved wife of Eros, is kidnapped and held for ransom. The fabric of the cosmos is in danger of being torn asunder if the mysterious and rare substance, Painite, falls into the hands of a corrupt general or the woman he scorned long centuries ago. A volcanic eruption becomes eminent as Pele’s anger intensifies.

Set in Hawaii, I expected to enjoy this book if for no other reason than to be able to escape to the beautiful island paradise. Unfortunately, it just did not happen for me. The writing is choppy and uninspired, comprised almost exclusively of short, declarative sentences that failed to capture my interest, much less engage my imagination. I never felt any connection to the characters or to their island experiences. The story moved swiftly as the twins faced one misadventure after another while, at the same time, each juggled a sweet romance. There is a cliffhanger ending which implies Grasiella and Tatiana will face an even greater challenge in the next installment. I believe this story will have greater appeal to tweens or younger teens, especially those able to follow and appreciate the convoluted mechanizations of capricious mythological and fantastical beings.


Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Without Mercy by Belinda Boring-Review & Giveaway: Bookish Snob Release Blitz


Each stop hosts a giveaway so stop by and enter to win a copy of Without Mercy, the first installment in the urban fantasy Mystic Wolves novellete series! Comment for a chance to win a FREE copy. 
Ends July 31th at 11:59 PM CST. Two winners will be notified the following day. 

Today's Blitz schedule is shown below. Visit and comment at all the blogs to significantly increase your chances of winning 

Without Mercy Blurb:                                                                                               
What would you do if a simple errand takes a deadly twist, turning you from cautious prey to dangerous predator?

When Darcy’s outing takes a turn for the worst and tests her to the point of breaking, she struggles to maintain her humanity. Where loyalty and pack mean everything, she surrenders to the inevitable and only an act of complete trust can touch her. When all is said and done, with memories flooding her mind, Darcy holds tightly to the only thing that makes sense – it was all a dream. Or was it?

The loud click of a gun being cocked stopped me cold. I didn’t need to turn around to see death had finally caught us. I closed my eyes for a brief moment and grimaced.

Seconds. We’d missed freedom by mere moments and with adrenaline coursing through my body, a feeling of defeat crashed over me. To come so close and be stopped was devastating.

I dug deep for courage as my hand was squeezed. Jasmine would be terrified enough without seeing fear in my eyes and if we were going to get out of this, I needed to keep her calm. Or at least calmer than I felt.

Giving her a look I hoped conveyed confidence, I motioned for her to stay quiet as I positioned her behind me and turned to look at our attacker. All night I’d sensed the person breathing down our necks, following closely but always just out of sight. Now I could put a face to our stalker.

I saw the gun, aimed straight at me. The finger poised over the trigger ready to shoot. The hand holding it was steady and trained to adjust to every movement. I shied to the left and back again. Without hesitation, the gun’s motion mimicked mine.

Damn. Judging from the precise motions; whoever was holding the gun knew what they were doing. If they took a shot, they wouldn’t miss and out running a bullet was too risky.

A quick sniff at the air and drawing on my other senses told me I was dealing with a human male and I couldn’t help but grin at the bitter scent of fear mixed in with the sweetness of his excitement. It was intoxicating.

I may be a female but as a werewolf, I held incredible strength. My body began to relax. As long as I paid attention to the gun still pointed at me, and made no crazy moves, our chances of escape had just increased.

I looked beyond the weapon and recognized the determined face that stared back at me. The emotions rolling off his body caused my wolf to raise her head and howl. This wasn’t a pack mate or dominant wolf to play submissive with by showing my throat. Looking at our attacker, I could feel my hackles rise as she growled, desperate to take over.

4 Stars

To be accosted while on a simple errand was about last thing Darcy expected.  But when a steady hand holds a gun in a threatening stance, Darcy knows she better think quickly.  A few minutes, a spurned rival, and innocence is forever lost.

This short story, told in first person, introduces a new werewolf pack in a novelette series called Mystic Wolves which will be continued in the next adventure, Cherished. This short urban fantasy kept me glued to my kindle screen and the outcome was surprising.  Darcy is a spirited female alpha and the little peek we were given of Mason, her mate, definitely left me yearning for more. I would have preferred this story to be fleshed out a bit more with a little more background included, but my guess is that the background details will be unveiled in future escapades – most likely, doled out in stingy rations to us ravenous readers. The foundation is being carefully set and I think the author’s imagination will ensure this becomes a “must read” series.

Reviewed by Laurie-J




A homesick Aussie living amongst the cactus and mountains of Arizona, Belinda Boring is a self proclaimed addict of romance and all things swoon worthy. When she's not devouring her latest read, you can find her celebrating her passion for book on her blog The Bookish Snob.

With all that excitement, it wasn't long before she began writing, pouring her imagination and creativity into the stories she dreams. Whether urban fantasy, paranormal romance or romance in general, Belinda strives to share great plots with heart and characters that you can't help but connect with. Of course, she wouldn't be Belinda without adding heroes she hopes will curl your toes.

Surrounded by a supportive cast of family, friends and the man she gives her heart and soul to, Belinda is living the good life. Happy reading!
Where to Find Belinda:

Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook

July 29

Thanks for Visiting!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brainstorm by Gordon Kessler Interview: Goddess Fish Tour Stop

I'm very pleased to welcome Gordon Kessler today. Gordon is touring his new book, Brainstorm.  I am anxious to find out more about his book, as I am sure you are, too.  So, just scroll on down and enjoy!

Thank you for hosting me on Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews! Once again, I'm feeling a little lazy, so I thought I'd turn the blog over to a couple of characters from two of my thrillers. Since Channel 2 TV News reporter Henry Haskins from Jezebel is the interview pro, I've asked him to sit down with Sunny McMaster from Brainstorm. Go ahead Haskins.

Haskins: Oh so it's just "Haskins," not "Mr." or even "Henry"?  When will I ever get the respect I deserve? I'm too good for this crap...I'm outta here! I don't need to do this gig---Whoa!

Sunny: Mr. Haskins, please sit back down.

Haskins: Oh, uh, sure, sweetheart.  You're Sunny McMaster? I'd heard you're a real babe, but I had no idea...

Sunny: And don't start getting any ideas. I'm here to promote Brainstorm, not stroke your ego. You can call me Sunny. I will not answer to sweetheart, babe or any other endearments that might somehow sexually stimulate your pathetic fantasies.

Haskins: Sure, sure, okay. Let's get down with it, then—I mean the interview. Let's talk about Brainstorm. What's this story really about, anyway. Is it a gut-wrenching, action packed thriller or some kind of mamby-pamby, sissie-assed romance?

Sunny: I don't like your description of romance, and I'm sure none of the other bloggers appreciate it either. Brainstorm is not a conventional romance, no. But the underlying theme is all about true love and undying passion. And the storyline is action-packed, no doubt. It's like a roller coaster ride. You can see the thrill ride coming, the plot coming to a turning point that's like that first big hill. Then, when you go over the top, all you can do is hold on for dear life, because it won't stop until the very end.

Haskins: And I'll bet that's the way you are, too—you really know how to use that "undying passion" stuff to please a man.

Sunny: I'm going to pretend you're not a creep and are sincere. Yes, I love my man, and I show him that I do—and he shows me in reciprocation.  There's nothing kinky or nasty about it.

Haskins: Oh, yeah, that brings us to the question of just who your man really is? Is it your husband, Daniel, or is it this Robert Weller guy. I understand you had an affair with him.

Sunny: There are a lot of things you might think you understand, Mr. Haskins, but I don't believe you truly would unless you read Brainstorm. Did you?

Haskins: Well, let's say I skimmed it. I didn't see any real juicy parts, though. I don't read novels—I think it's a waste of time.  I watch movies.  Maybe when they make Brainstorm into a movie, I'll "understand".

Sunny: You have a real creepy smile, Henry.  By the way, that's quite a bruise on you jaw.  I'll bet that hurt. Daniel gave it to you in the last interview, didn't he?  

Haskins: A sucker punch.  Let's get on with the interview, shall we? You're not a commando, you're not some kind of trained CIA operative: what exactly is your role in Brainstorm? How do you qualify to go on a rescue mission with a group of highly trained Air Force PJs?

Sunny: I can't tell you that, it's classified.  I can tell you that it was my job to get Robert Weller to talk.

Haskins: Really, I'd think after having an affair with him, you wouldn't want him to talk—Oh! My nose!

Sunny: Please excuse Mr. Haskins.  He's had to leave the set to take care of a sudden nose-bleed. Let me finish this interview for him.  I think you'll enjoy Brainstorm, because it isn't just another shallow thriller full of gratuitous action. It's about the human condition, and how, no matter what a person goes through, if their love is true, it will shine through in the end. Please give it a try.

Like NY Times bestselling author Douglas Preston said, it's “ exciting and fast-paced as a thrill ride on a dive bomber, a maelstrom of action, violence, murder and mayhem, way too much fun to put down.. An outstanding novel.” And NY Times bestselling author James Rollins said Brainstorm is "...a kickass adventure story that will have you thrumming through the pages well into the night...handled with stunning effect."

Check out the Brainstorm book trailer on at: —it's kind of fun! And you can find out more about Gordon and his other thrillers Jezebel and Dead Reckoning on his website . For a limited time during this blog tour, all three thrillers in eBook format are only $.99! Give them all a try! Thanks for blogging about Brainstorm, and may you always have happy endings!

Laurie:  Thanks so much Sunny! And, I have to say, you showed admirable restraint this morning.  I got an ice pack for Haskins, but he, of course, just brushed me off and said "That little gal is feisty, huh...".   Thanks for being here today!


THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY  a basic Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader or Nook to one randomly drawn commenter from this tour.  The lucky winner selects the device. Follow along on the tour, find out cool new stuff at each stop, and comment.  Each comment automatically increases your odds of winning. The tour dates can be found here.  


In Brainstorm, Gold Rush seems to be just another sleepy little Colorado community full of friendly, caring citizens, quaint cottages, and a sort of quiet peace, held gently by the picturesque mountains that surround it. However, something isn't right in Gold Rush, and early on a Monday morning Robert Weller awakens with a cautioning and insuppressible voice inside his head. He soon finds a secret behind every door, a motive with every glance, and a lie beneath every spoken word.
After meeting a strange but beautiful woman named Sunny who insists they were once lovers, people begin dropping dead around him and his world twists upside down as paramilitary teams hunt him, and his own wife and friends turn against him. Weller is thrown into the middle of a military mission to rescue thousands of the town's citizens from a plot to destroy the Free World.
Time is running out: Weller, Sunny and thousands of innocent citizens are facing nuclear devastation. Major “Jax” Jackson and a U.S. Air Force Para Rescue team are their only hope—but how can Jax and his PJs save them all, armed only with nonlethal weapons?
“ exciting and fast-paced as a thrill ride on a dive bomber, a maelstrom of action, violence, murder and mayhem, way too much fun to put down...based on an actual black CIA program known as ‘Project Stargate. Kessler...really knows his stuff. An outstanding novel.”— Douglas Preston, bestselling author of The Codex, Relic and Book of the Dead and many more.
"...a wild ride into the reality of human consciousness...a kickass adventure story that will have you thrumming through the pages well into the night...handled with stunning effect."— James Rollins, bestselling author of Black Order, Sandstorm and Map of Bones as well as many others.

I had no idea I would begin a killing spree on such a lovely morning.  I felt animosity for no one.  I willed no one dead.
My name is Robert Weller.  I’m the type of guy who will trap a spider in the shower, take it out to the bushes in the middle of the night and bid it farewell and happy hunting.  But early on this Monday morning a change seemed to come over my life as subtle and lethal as a glass of Chardonnay laced with arsenic.
I was dreaming. I saw myself sitting in a large room, white and cold. It smelled of antiseptic. In the middle of the room was a table with a large brown envelope propped up on it. I sat to one side in a hard oak chair. On the opposite side of the room, behind a small, gray-metal desk, sat a woman in a U.S. Army uniform. Her name was Lieutenant Vanzandtz, and she appeared to be in her early thirties. Her mismatched chair was thick and upholstered in burgundy leather or more likely cheap Naugahyde.
In this dream, I was shirtless and covered in goose bumps. I didn’t know what the cathode-ray tube beside me monitored, nor did I care. That was their business. I was getting three hundred bucks. The jumping green lines and the constant blips from the machine were becoming annoying, however. The monitor’s leads were stuck to my temples and to well-shaven areas on the base of my head and on my chest.
I closed my eyes but didn’t concentrate on the envelope as the lieutenant had just instructed. Instead, I thought of her. She had yet to smile. I guessed she’d have a pleasant smile if she’d ever try. But she just sat behind her desk, her face stern, mouth small and tight. I considered how a broad smile on her narrow face would’ve nicely balanced out her large-framed glasses and the bun of walnut hair on top of her head.
My focus changed to the contents of the envelope. Somewhere behind my eyes a three-dimensional image formed. I saw blue-green water, deep but calm, near a beach with sand as white and fine as table salt. In the water, a white sailing yacht, probably eighty feet, floated peacefully with three large sails billowing in a light breeze. The name Chairman was scrolled in blue across the leisure vessel’s stern. To the left of the boat, the sun posed like a huge tangerine ball drifting in the ocean, and above, the clouds were wispy ghosts painted coral by the sun’s last rays.
With eyes still closed, I turned my attention to a thick file folder in front of the lieutenant. Another vision came clear, the file’s jacket. Project: Grill Flame, it said in large, stamped-on letters. On its index tab was a name I didn’t recognize—Daniel McMaster. I focused on the heading of the first page. Remote Viewer Evaluation, it said. A list followed with all of the boxes farthest to the left checked under the Excellent column. Under Notes was written: Top candidate. Subject excels in all measured areas. Someone’s entire life put down in letters and numbers, I thought, and I got the distinct impression that this man’s file, this Daniel McMaster, was being used for comparison—some sort of watermark, the bar everyone else should strive to reach.
I told the lieutenant what I saw in the thin package on which she had requested my attention, but I said nothing of what I’d discovered in the file folder, and I opened my eyes.

Author bio: Gordon A Kessler is a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing.  He is a Master Instructor for Johnson County Community College, National Academy of Railroad Sciences, and the BNSF Railway.  He has taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, English Composition for Hutchinson Junior College and has previously indie-published the thriller novels Jezebel and Dead Reckoning, and a book about the novel-writing craft, Novel Writing Made Simple.  He is a founder and former president of the Kansas Writers Association and tries to stay connected to writers and the writing industry by doing speaking engagements at writers conferences and for writers organizations, and has does his own "The Storyteller" seminar in Wichita, Lincoln (Nebraska), Kansas City, and other Midwestern cities based on his Novel Writing Made Simple book. His websites, and www.IndieWritersAlliance are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors.


THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY  a basic Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader or Nook to one randomly drawn commenter from this tour.  The lucky winner selects the device. Follow along on the tour, find out cool new stuff at each stop, and comment.  Each comment automatically increases your odds of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  
Next Up on Tour
7/29/2011: My Odd Little World
8/1/2011: Minding Spot

Full Tour Lineup

Thanks so much for visiting today and I sincerely hope you had as much fun as I did.  Remember, every comment you make during this tour increases your chances of winning a brand new reading device.  So ask your question or share a thought.  I LOVE to hear what you have to say! 

Promotional materials were provided by Goddess Fish Promotions and the author.  I may be eligible for certain "Thank you" incentives depending on the success of this post in comparison with other similar posts on this tour. "Success" is defined in this instance as number of comments generated.

(Share this post via Twitter/Facebook/email)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beneath the Hallowed Hill by Theresa Crater

Beneath the Hallowed Hill
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

This is a complicated story with convoluted, intersecting storylines rich with mystical phenomena, and steeped in ancient lore and magic. In the present, Anne Le Clair and Michael are separated soon after arriving in Avalon, for what was to have been a quiet month of relaxation and rejuvenation, after Michael’s friend and mentor is murdered. Meanwhile, Alexander Cagliostro, driven to madness, causes a terrible breach in the veil of time that threatens destruction on a massive scale. Megan is a young priestess in Atlantis who is in training when the man she loves disappears and a cataclysmic event tears her world asunder.

It is an intricately woven, compelling mystery that kept me fully engaged and mesmerized throughout, even though some of the myths and ancient history was lost on me, I am afraid, because my knowledge of the subject is sorely lacking. I was touched by this novel mainly because it is about love that transcends the ages. The description of ancient Atlantis was beautifully depicted and was contrasted quite well with what remains in modern times of that magical place. I enjoyed the story and really got caught up in the lives of Anne, Michael and Megan.

Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In The Shadows by Julieanne Lynch: BOOK BUZZ Bewitching Promotions

In the Shadows
By Julieanne Lynch

Published July 21st 2011
Strict Publishing International
ISBN 9780857791962

“In The Shadows”, the first of The Shadows trilogy, is an urban fantasy of vampires and the supernatural, and much, much more.

In the shadows you will find lust and passion, battles for power and for blood, and death and fear around every corner. In the shadows you are carried away to an unknown future. Your destiny awaits, and you are no longer who you thought you were. You have a thirst, for blood perhaps, but a thirst for very much more than that.

Giselle was a normal girl with an attitude common to most girls of her age. Her family might not have been perfect (whose is?) but she loved them, and her future looked bright. She had an awesome best friend and a steady boyfriend, but how could she possibly have been so wrong about someone she loved? And how could she have been prepared for the darkness and for what she was to become?

“In The Shadows is a must read for anyone who loves urban fantasy.” ~Review by Dawn and Wini Book Lovers

“ Julieanne writes so eloquently you can feel and picture everything Giselle is going through, with no question as to what role every character in the book plays.” ~Review by Ada McEwan

“Julieanne is a great story teller with a vivid imagination for the supernatural. I absolutely love everything about it.” ~Reviewed by Firefly and Wisp
Excerpt from In the Shadows:

I felt his eyes on me before I returned the look.  He knew what I was thinking and, like always, he knew the right way to cheer me up.  Best friends where like that, and Alex was without a doubt my knight in shining armour.  He was like my shadow, and the last six years proved to me just how dependable he had become.
“We need sugar and lots of it,” he practically shouted, pulling into the lot.
“But we’ll be late for school... I can not have another detention, Alex, and besides, I need to see Marc before class,” I sighed.
“Well, Marc can wait... Strawberry glaze or chocolate sprinkles?” he asked me as he got out of the car.
Alex winked at me, and I giggled like a little girl following him.
“One of each,” I said.  “It’s a Monday, I need me some sugar.”
Grabbing hold of his arm, I held onto him and ignored the sneering looks from a group of girls leaving the cafe.
“Still slumming it I see, Alex.  Call me when you man up,” the local slut hollered as she walked across the lot with her minions in fold.
I ignored them and their giggles, and walked inside, escaping to our favourite table.
“Bitches,” I scowled, looking out the window.  “Who does she think she is?”  My face reddened with anger.
“Ignore her, G.  She’s harmless.”
“Why are you always defending her?”  My voice was now an octave above a whisper.
Grabbing the menu from me, he threw it on the table.  “Look at me... They can say whatever they want; they can make as many comments, and it won’t change a thing.  You’re my friend, Giselle... And besides, you look way better than them.”
Laughing, I looked back outside and watched Evie with her perfect body driving off in her perfect car, and I felt sick inside.
“Marc seems to think she’s great.”
“Marc’s an ass,” Alex said as he looked over the menu, pouting his lips at whatever he fancied.  He did that when something appealed to him.
“Well, think about it.  He’s dating you, and yet he has time for said ‘bitches’.  Give me a break.  If you were my girlfriend, and this is just hypothetical, I wouldn’t let you out of sight or give them asses reason to pick on you, but that’s just from my viewpoint...  Now let’s order.  I am starving.”
The small bistro was buzzing with customers.  The delicious scent of freshly made coffee filled the air; it woke up my taste buds.  Its bright and bold colours hurt my eyes.  Shades of orange, lime green and sunbeam yellow had been painted abstractly on the walls, reminding me of summer.  Even the ceiling reminded me of the ocean with its cool shades of baby blue.  Somehow, it had become a place of comfort to me.  The people reminded me that I belonged here and, like always, Marion was the first to come welcome us and take our order.
“Morning, you two.  The usual?” she asked.  Turning to face me, she smiled and her voice softened.  “How is your mother, Giselle?”
“Hi Marion, um, yeah the usual, but can I have a side order of arsenic to go?” I laughed.  “Um, mom is good, thanks.”
“That’s great, sweetheart.  Give her my love.”  Laughing, she walked back towards the counter, shaking her head.
Alex sat forward, his brilliant green eyes staring hard into mine.  “Arsenic?”
“Well, it was either that or crushed glass.”
We both burst out laughing, getting the attention of the people on the table next to us.
We were like two naughty school children.  Giggling as we ate, we did not care who scowled at us.  It was just Alex and me, in our own world and nothing was going to break that bond - ever.
Of course, the ride to school was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.  My pain increased with each kilometre the closer we got to school.  I knew I had to face Marc at some point in the day, but to be honest I was too pissed off with him to really care about why he had dropped me for some lame party in town.
My stomach spun and I was nervous as I got out of the car.  Marc was standing over by his truck on the far side of the lot and there was no avoiding him.  He stood with Aaron and Doug, and watched me as I tried my best not to look at him.  But it was so hard.  He and his beautiful puppy dog eyes always got to me, and I knew I would be putty in his hands.
Yet, I wanted him to squirm just a little while longer.
Alex swung his arm over my shoulder and pulled me in close to him, reassuring me that my impending confrontation would be fine.  I wished I had his confidence in me.
“Relax.  Just keep eye contact and scowl.  Scowl like a mad woman,” he whispered as we parted company.  “Laters, Bergman,” and he was gone.
I was on my own.
Marc eyeballed me as I slowly made my way over to him.  The bell rang and people bumped past me as they rushed off to homeroom.  I, on the other hand, had to lay a few things to rest before I could face my day of boredom and its side helping of bitchiness.
“Hi!” I greeted all three of them.
“Um, morning, G,” Aaron said as he nudged Doug in the arm.
Guys must have some sort of secret code, because without Aaron saying anything, they both looked at each other, then at Marc, and left.
“You took your time coming in today,” Marc said as he slung his bag over his shoulder.
“Yeah, but that’s my business,” I bitterly retorted.
“G, you’re meant to be my girlfriend.  Maybe you should start acting like it.”
“What?  Are you for real?  You’re such an ass, Marc.”  Anger began to boil inside me, and I walked on ahead of him.
“Giselle, wait,” he called after me.  “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t even cut it, Marc,” I sighed.  “You blew me off for what?  Drinks with the ‘guys’.  I went to so much trouble.  Can you imagine how dumb I felt waiting for you to turn up?”
“I really am sorry.  I didn’t know that Andy was going to some frat house.  If I had known, I wouldn’t have gotten into the car.  I swear, G, I would have shown up; only, things got out of hand.”
It was so hard staying mad at him.  I really wanted him to grovel more and feel like total shit, but I couldn’t do it to him.  I adored him and wanted to make up so badly.
“It was our anniversary, Marc.  Four years is a pretty big deal... But, you can make it up to me,” I said coyly.
Looking up into his delicious blue eyes, I felt my anger melt and I was more than ready for our make up kiss.  Pulling me in close to him, he cupped my face in his hands and gently pulled my mouth to his.  I could smell his cologne, and as it danced in circles around my nostrils I kissed him back, our tongues lightly brushing together.
The kiss got a few whistles of approval and a stern mouthful from Mr. Green.
“What is the meaning of this public display of... of...” he stuttered.
“Affection,” Marc tried to finish the line for him.
I held in my laugh as he led us into the school and straight to Principal Brooks’ office.
Standing outside Brooks’ office, neither Marc nor I said anything, but his smile said it all.  We were back on track.
“Bergman, Clark, g.. g.. get in here now,” Green bellowed from the doorway.
Marc entered the office first, and I hastily stopped at the door, avoiding eye contact with Brooks.
“Bergman, close the door when you’ve decided to join us,” Green said sarcastically as he folded his arms.  His face was red and swollen, and by the looks of things the night before had been a heavy one.  Everyone knew he was a little too fond of the booze.
“Giselle, come in and close the door,” Principal Brooks directed me.
Obediently, I shut the door behind me and stood close to Marc, trying my best not to laugh.  When I get nervous, I tend to mask my feelings by laughing or making light of the situation, but right there and then I doubted my humour would have been appreciated.
“Giselle, I am very disappointed in you.  How many times have we had this discussion?  You are always late for school, you’re behind in your assignments and, to be blunt, I am getting quite sick of your casual display of affection with Mr. Clark.”
I could not believe it.  He was pinning it all on me.
“But…” I tried to speak.
“Enough of your excuses.  You’re on detention for the rest of the week.  I believe you should be in English, and if you make it quick I am sure Ms. Royston won’t add to your ever growing record of disobedience.”  He ushered me out of the room.  “Marc, this game on Friday night...”  The door closed and the conversation became nothing more than muffled voices.
As I made my way to class, I could not have felt more pissed off.
Walking into the already quiet classroom was bad enough, but having Evie smugly looking at me as I fumbled through my bag was the last straw.
“When you’re ready, Giselle,” Ms.Royston said.
Sitting down, I looked around for him, and there he sat, smiling at me, showing concern with those luminous green eyes, and instantly I felt calm.
“You okay?” he mouthed at me.
Nodding my head, I tried not to distract Ms. Royston, but failed.
“Is there something you’d like to share with the rest of the class, Giselle?” she asked me.
I could feel my cheeks going red and my heart pounded hard in my chest.
“No.”  My voice quivered.
Everyone was looking at me and I could feel Evie’s eyes staring hard at me, but I refused to give in and just stared ahead.
“Really?  Well, maybe you can take part in our class discussion.  What is Atticus’s relationship to his children like?”  She sat back against her desk and folded her arms, waiting for my input.
Oh my God, I thought.
I had read the book, well, only slightly, but God, I didn’t have a clue.  My face became redder and redder as I slowly died inside.
Alex spoke up.  “Atticus is a kind and I suppose loving father.  He reads to his children and offers them comfort when they need it.  He is also capable of teaching them pretty harsh lessons, like when he allows Jem to come with him to tell Helen Robinson about Tom’s death.  But he is also a very wise man, one who is committed to justice and equality, and his parenting style is based on fostering these virtues in his children - he even encourages Jem and Scout to call him “Atticus” so that they can interact on terms as equal as possible.  Well, that is what Giselle and I discussed earlier.”  He confidently sat back in his chair and grinned at me.
“Well, that was…” Ms.Royston began, but then the bell went and I was out of that room in a flash.
I stood by my locker, defeated by Monday’s usual round up, and I craved my warm bed.  I wanted to escape the usual bullshit of school life and wanted nothing more than to run away, live my life far from here on the other side of the world.
“It can’t be that bad,” Alex said as he stood beside me.
“Wanna bet?  I have just had the worst morning ever.  I was hauled in by Green for kissing Marc, and now Brooks has me on another week of detention.  My dad is gonna kill me.”  Closing my eyes, I inhaled a deep breath.
“Ouch!  But at least you have the prom on Saturday.  That is something to look forward to, right?”  He tried his best to make me feel better.
“With the way my week’s going, I doubt I’ll make it to Saturday.”
“Oh come on, G, play it cool.  Just keep your head down and for God’s sake stay out of Green’s way,” he said as he hugged me.

“Yep, but easier said than done.”
The noise from the corridor began to fade and the bell rang again.  I had an awful knack for being late for everything, and at this rate I was more than likely going to be late for my own funeral.
“See you later...  I gotta go dazzle the lovely Ms Shultze.”  He winked at me and left me alone.
I stood with my eyes closed for a few moments, trying my hardest not to succumb to the overwhelming feelings growing inside me.  I wanted to cry.  Hell, I wanted to throw a tantrum that a two year old could get away with, but knowing the endless chaos it would bring would probably ruin my school life forever.  I played it safe and held my emotions in, like always.
Opening my locker, I searched for my algebra book.  “Damned thing,” I cursed to myself.  And instead I found a sealed brown envelope, lodged between my music folder and my copy of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.
Pulling it out I looked it over and then checked the corridor for any peering eyes, and opened the blank envelope.  Inside, I found a disc and a small note.  There was nothing else, and that was when I decided to let my curiosity get the better of me and I skipped the rest of the day’s lessons.
I knew no one would be home when I got there.  Dad was away on another business trip and mom was more than likely planning some charity convention with the other contenders for ‘Mother of the year’.
Grabbing a bag of chips and a can of Pepsi from the refrigerator, I casually strolled into the family room, sliding the disc into the DVD player and pressing play.
Sitting back on the sofa, I chugged down half the can and started munching on my favourite snacks.  Before I could swallow my mouthful, what I saw caught me completely off guard.  Struggling to control the ever-growing knot in my stomach, my eyes filled with tears.  I was torn in two, disbelief at what I was seeing and anger that this was no set up.
I wanted to scream, but my voice just would not come out.
Breathe Giselle.  Breathe.
That was when reality really hit me and I started screaming, with uncontrollable sobs and tears that fell down my cheeks.  My head pulsated as I searched through my bag for my phone whilst the audio played in the background.  Her laughter and moans filled my head, and in a rage I threw the controller at the TV screen.  It cracked, and the screen went dead momentarily.
Frantically, I dialled Alex’s number and paced, waiting for him to answer.
“Hello?” he answered.
“Alex... Alex...” I sobbed.
“Giselle, what’s wrong?” he asked, concerned.
“Oh God... Marc and... he…”  I broke down.
“Where are you?” he asked.
I sat on the floor in the middle of the room, crying.  Inside, my stomach churned over and over, and at times I felt like vomiting.  But it didn’t happen.  Instead, I inhaled long deep breaths to counteract my sobs.  Dizziness plagued me as I tried to make sense of what I had just seen.  Surely it had been some kind of sick joke, but it was too real.  Marc had to have known about this, but I was at a loss as to what to do.  If it was true, then things would never be the same again, and inside I could feel a part of me die.

About the Author:

Fiery Librian Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Northern Ireland, Julieanne now lives in Ireland, where she works on her Shadows Trilogy and other series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and believes all of her education and reading prepared her for it.

An avid reader, Julieanne has always had an encompassing fascination with folklore. When not writing, she enjoys crime series such as Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS and Cold Case, and loves anything with Vampires, listening to metal, meeting new people, drinking lots of green tea, and sharing her dreams with her children. She is a self-professed goth wanna-be,and is happy when left to write into the early hours of the morning.

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