Saturday 28 February 2015

Book Spotlight: Dwarves in Space

Today I have another book spotlight, a sneak peek of the upcoming sci-fi/fantasy mashup, Dwarves in Space by S.E. Zbasnik. The book has a release date of April 8th.

Dwarves in Space by S.E. Zbasnik

Thousands of years after the jewelry’s destroyed, the sword reforged, the dragon ridden, and the indecipherable prophecy translated into a recipe for sugared biscuits, the dwarves turned to that final frontier: space. And along came the elves, orcs, gnomes, trolls, ogres, and those vermin-like upstarts, humans.

Dwarves in Space is Tolkien merged with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in a horrific transporter accident.

The Elation-Cru is not the flashiest ship, nor the newest, or even has all of its bolts attached; but she can fly. Well, sort of wade through space, and that’s when all the parts are working. She supports a sugar addicted dwarven pilot, an elven engineer, an orcish doctor, a silent djinn, and the lone human trying to hold the entire thing together with duct tape. Variel, the captain, has been hiding from a secret for the past five years and time’s finally run out.

When she goes against her common sense and fights to save her onboard assassin/renter from a job gone sour, she finds herself before an ex-colleague that knew her in her previous life as the Knight of the realm. The entire ship is sent on a mad dash across the universe — from a decaying space station, home to the wackiest species the galaxy has to offer, down to the Orc homeworld, which wouldn’t be so bad if Variel hadn’t spent most of her previous life fighting in the war against them. Chances of survival are nil and slipping fast.

You can find Dwarves in Space on Amazon

Available now for pre-order, releases April 8th, 2015.

Author Bio:

S.E. Zbasnik has published three fantasy books. Tin Hero and TerraFae follow a female heroine on a classic fantasy quest to mess with some elves and crack jokes along the way. Her most recent book is The King’s Blood, about a 16 year old black girl tasked with saving her kingdom before a bunch of magical zombies destroy it. Typical stuff.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Sailing The Strange Seas

Today on Drabble Wednesday we’re hoisting the mainsail and taking to the oceans. I have pirates, sea creatures and ghost ships steering a course through my drabbles, and, as an extra treat, some flash fiction. So read on and breathe in the salt air…

Beware the Kraken

“Be that a storm, Capt’n?”
The sailor at the helm pointed to the ominous, inky shadow gathering on the horizon.
Captain Kenyon peered with his spyglass. “That’s no storm, that’s a ship. That’s the Kraken! Increase the speed, Mr. Anders! ‘Tis pirates a‘coming!” To the rest of the crew he shouted, “Full sail! Man your stations!”
Mr. Anders obeyed posthaste, but asked, “The Kraken? Ain’t she but a myth?”
“Nay. She’s half ship, half-beast, and all pirate. We’d all best pray.”
Running fast, the Captain held out hope. Until a tentacle whipped across the sea foam and snagged the rudder.

Welcome to Skull Island

The rain lashed the sails, and above Toby’s head the lightning cracked the sky. He heard waves pound against the ship’s wooden sides as the Obsidian Blade cut through the waters. Then footsteps sounded, even through the storm; the heavy tread of Captain Walsh’s boots.
“A wild night for a homecoming, eh lad?”
Toby longed to turn his head and spit in the Captain’s eye, but tied as he was to the figurehead he could only stare from the vessel’s bow towards the craggy rocks ahead. He shivered at his view, the looming spectre of the pirate’s stronghold, Skull Island.

Ghosts of the Sea Moon

The moon blended into the obsidian sky, a luminescent silver veneer striding across the horizon. Its grace swayed and suspended on shifting ethereal clouds, and its children stars gathered close in a bright, shimmering embrace. To the melancholy sailor on deck it seemed the lunar object to be the ship’s destination, the full sail and choppy wake speeding the vessel to the heavens.
“She’s a sight, the Sea Moon. Once a year, she looms this vast and grand above us, beckoning home her seafaring brood. But she’d swallow us whole if we let it her.”
The sailor flinched, the captain’s voice abrupt and loud in his ear. No warning the man gave to his presence, for the ship’s master had a step quiet as a cat’s paw.
“Do you really think it would swallow the ship, sir?”
“Aye, in a fashion. Not the moon itself mind you, but the celestial magic spilling into the air and sea. And it could do worse, if we miscalculate the bearings. It’s tricky work navigating these moonbeam waters, and the otherworldly rifts.” Then the captain smiled, and clapped a hand on the sailor’s shoulder. “But not to worry, lad, I've been doing this run a long, long time, and I never floundered my ship in the hoary moon mist yet. I’ll get you home.”
“Home.” The sailor let the word flop on his tongue, its taste bitter. “Home is far behind this ship, back on shore with a weeping widow, who barely had time to be a bride.”
“Aye, lad. I’m sorry for what you've lost, and the hardship of your death. I hope you take some comfort in the fact I plucked your spirit from the deep, before the sea demons feasted on your soul. Moreover, be glad you finally accepted your fate. Some never leave this ship, vainly hoping to find a way back to the living.” A fleeting frown crossed his lips, and then pivoted back to his customarily, wry smile. “Besides, my lad, you’ll see your widow bride again one day, in the afterlife you’re seeking, and there’ll be people that went before waiting for you. So be cheered.”
The sailor said nothing, simply turned his face to the imposing moon, as the ship of ghosts sailed toward his last port of call.

Sunday 22 February 2015

A Review of The Scent of His Feathers

I have a review for you today, a book of poetry from the talented author, Ash Krafton...

My Review of The Scent of His Feathers

The thread of relationship, human connection, winds its way through this book creating a marvellous tapestry of broken hearts, searching souls, yearning spirits, lost hope, and hesitant faith. The thread coils its way through fascinating paths, intersecting darkness and death, connecting fantasy and reality, until it makes its way past starlight musings into universal truth.
The poems in this book are both profound and personal, objective and reflective. They play with words and dance along the edges of the shadows. I delighted in the expressive imagery conjured and emotional infusion contained with the penned lines (some of my personal favourites were Hush, Six Words For Edgar, Gaslight Fancies, Passage, Natural Deception, Note To Self:, and Oubliette). The Scent of His Feathers is superb, and I highly recommend this volume of poetry.

You can find The Scent of His Feathers at:

Saturday 21 February 2015

Book Spotlight: The Court of Stars

Today we're venturing into strange worlds with the spotlight on a debut sci-fi novel, The Court of Stars by Malcolm Schmitz. The book is the first in the planned Commonwealth Quartet series, so read on and enjoy...

The Court of Stars by Malcolm Schmitz

The universe is bigger and stranger than Christian Arundel could ever have imagined- and right now, almost everything in it is trying to kill him.

On the eve of Christian's betrothal to a woman he doesn't love, the castle where he lives is attacked by a force of demons from the sky. When he tries to fight against them, he's taken prisoner. One of their other prisoners, a sarcastic miniature dragon named Miriet, agrees to help him escape.

Christian must learn how to use the demons' weapons to escape their clutches, but that's only the beginning. To rescue the people he loves, he must cross half the world and return to the invaders' ship.

You can find The Court of Stars on Amazon
And check out the Kickstarter campaign for the book and proposed series

Author Bio:

Malcolm Schmitz was born in a small-town hospital in Ohio, where the doctors said he was a girl. Shortly after that, a doctor said that he was autistic. Only one of those things proved to be true.

He currently lives in the American Midwest, where he writes books full of aliens, dragons, and gay people. The Court of Stars is his first novel.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Book Tour for Between by Clarissa Johal

Today I'm playing host, for the wonderful author Clarissa Johal, as part of her blog tour for her novel, Between. Read about the book, plus an excerpt, learn a bit about the author, and check out the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post.

Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for BETWEEN!

Follow the Tour to Read Exclusive Excerpts, Interviews, and Reviews, and Make Sure to Enter the Giveaway!!

Second Place - Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012  Clarissa Johal’s novel BETWEEN is a “haunting” paranormal novel that will have you on the edge of your seat!

How far would you go to redeem yourself?


As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn't come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved. After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire. As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life...but a battle for their salvation.

You can find BETWEEN at Clarrissa Johal's Amazon Author Page


Ignoring him, she ran blindly toward the cliffs and down the steep, narrow path. The wind blew around her in great gusts. Her long hair swirled around her face, blocking the cliff’s edge from her view.
Cronan quickly caught up with her midway and grabbed her arm from behind. He pulled her around to face him. She teetered at the edge as he gripped her waist.
“I want everyone to leave me alone!” Lucinda yelled. “All of you people! I want to be left alone!” The wind gusted, drowning out her voice. From the corner of her eye, Lucinda saw the woman, making her way down the path toward them. “Oh God!” She turned and covered her eyes, sinking down to the ground. “I can’t do this anymore!”
She felt Cronan kneel behind her, his arms stealing around hers. Lucinda opened her eyes. The cliff side tilted up dizzyingly in front of her and she could see the waves crashing below. Her breath came in shallow gasps as they both perched at the edge. She felt the weight of his body pressing against her before he stiffened and pulled her back with a tug.
“Lucinda,” he whispered into her ear, “she is gone.”
“What?” Lucinda panted. He paused, his arms tightened.
“She already fell.”
Still looking down the drop off, Lucinda’s mind reeled. The height and Cronan’s affirmation pulled the thoughts and breath from her. Rain began to spatter. Panicking, she struggled out of Cronan’s grip and scrambled to stand against the cliff side. Laying a cheek on its cold, jagged surface, she heard her own breath rattle in and out as the wind howled behind her.
Cronan followed. Placing his hands firmly over hers, he intertwined their fingers together. His lips, close to her ear, whispered insistently as he pressed himself against her.
Foreign words pulled at her memory, words she couldn’t decipher. Words from long ago. She felt her body tremble against him. Her mind, her thoughts flitted in and out of focus. Coldness forced its way into her as the heavy weight of his body stilled her shaking. The sound of the wind began to fade, and her heart and breath slowed. Her head fell back onto his shoulder. Cronan’s breath merged with the rhythmic pounding of the waves and her slowing heartbeat.
“No!” a voice roared from off in the distance.
Lucinda felt a sudden, painful pull from behind her. There was a rush of cold air, and she stumbled to the ground, gasping. The sound of the wind returned.
“Leave her, Cronan!”
“Lucas.” Cronan grimaced. “I wondered when you would show.”
“You have no business with her, Cronan.”
“Neither do you, anymore.”
Lucinda flattened herself against the cliff, leaning heavily against the damp rock. Staring wildly at them both, she began to shake. “What’s going on?”
“Well, Lucas?” Cronan raised an eyebrow. “You heard her. ‘What’s going on?’”
 “Go, Lucinda. Just go.” Lucas stood to one side on the path. “I’ll take care of him.”
Cronan laughed without mirth. “Oh, how gallant.”
Lucinda edged away from Cronan. The rain was now a steady drizzle, dampening her hair and clothing. She stood between the two men, clutching the slippery cliff face.
“Go, Lucinda!”
“Yes, Lucas,” Cronan mocked. “Why?” He took a step toward Lucinda.
“Leave her!”
The smirk on his face died. “You should have never broken the rules.”
Lucas moved forward quickly and pulled Lucinda toward him. Lucinda was crushed into his chest and felt the pressing weight of both men — Lucas pulling her toward him and Cronan approaching from behind. She closed her eyes tight and felt Cronan leaning in. He pressed on her heavily and whispered something into Lucas’s ear. She felt him slide a hand over her hip as Lucas tightened his grip on her shoulders and murmured something unintelligible back.
Cronan suddenly gripped the back of her neck. A shock went through her body, and everything went black.

About the Author:

Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn't happened yet.

*Member of the Author's Guild

Coming May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press
VOICES, a paranormal psychological horror

*Indie Book of the Day Award
*Nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014

*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats

(2010) CreateSpace
*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012

Short stories:

PIGEONS Susurrus Literary Journal

THE ROPE Susurrus Literary Journal


A WAY OF LIFE The Sacramento Bee newspaper

Praise for BETWEEN:

Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats

Escape Into a Book "I loved how original the idea was for this book, I haven't read a book like this paced and kept my interest till the very end."

MommaSez "Creepy, scary, haunting–just up my alley...gothic romance that makes the hair stand up on my neck!"

Musings from an Addicted Reader "It was haunting, unpredictable, and intriguing. All the characters were unique and draw you in from the first chapter. Excellent read."

Shut Up & Read "I love a good ghost story, and this one did not disappoint...I've heard the saying painting a picture with words, and that is exactly what the author does here. Each sentence is vivid and alive."

Happy Tails and Tales "I would recommend it to my fellow ghost lovers, Gothic lovers, and historical paranormal lovers alike. There are some interesting paranormal characters...I wasn't expecting them...a really well done plot twist. "

Demons Do it Better "Between kept me guessing. I had no clue where the story was going to end but I made a couple of guesses along the way and I was wrong."

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How did you come up with the idea for BETWEEN?

Three years ago, I was working on a sequel to a fantasy novel when I had this weird “calling.” Two characters came to me in a rush; Lucas and Cronan from BETWEEN. They weren't fantasy characters nor they didn't fit into what I was writing but they wouldn't go away. I kept setting them aside but they’d come back, stronger than ever. I put the fantasy sequel on hold, wrote non-stop for a month, and finished the first draft. That never happens! It usually takes me months to finish a first draft. A year later, my edits were finished, and two months later, BETWEEN was picked up by Musa Publishing. I've got my feet firmly planted in the Otherworld now, the ideas come faster than I can write them down.

What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?

I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn't write.

What made you choose the genre of paranormal gothic horror?

I started out writing fantasy fiction. I was working on the second installment to my PRADEE series when there were two characters that kept showing up on the page, over and over. They didn't belong in fantasy novel, nor did they belong in my story! But their backstory came to me so vividly, that I set aside my series and wrote my first paranormal novel, BETWEEN. I've been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. The ideas come faster than I can write them down.

Follow the Tour:

Enter the Giveaway:

Tour Coordinated by:

~ Amber M. ~
Promotions Specialist

Owner of Sapphyria’s Book Promotions

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Crypts and Bones

Today on Drabble Wednesday we visit the realm of Death…

Past the Moonlit Arch

Two figures, black hooded cloaks dark as spilled ink, stand guard on opposite sides of the arch. Aria stares through the opening , at the sterling pearl of a moon in the raven shadowed sky.
“Will it hurt?” she whispers to her guardian and escort.
“Only for a moment, and then you will be free.”
Her steps are hesitant, but steady, as she walks down the path to her fate, through the archway, past the stone, to halt under the moonlight.
She inhales, a brief, delicate sound, her last act before the horned beast rips out her heart and feasts.

Always a Bride

She stroked the faded ivory silk, the lace yellowed with age. The edges had tattered, and the pink ribbon fastened around her waist, but it was still her wedding dress. She remembered that day, her marriage. She had been happy.
If she only knew. That her precious joy would turn to ash when her husband imprisoned her in his family crypt. Each day she believed she would die, but as the years rotted away her flesh, she remained. A haunted skeleton living in her tomb.
A noise made her turn her skull, her neck bones creaking. Her husband was visiting.

Three Stones

Molly wiped away her tears, afraid her mind finally snapped from grief. She stared at three gravestones under a forest tree. Graves that appeared out of nowhere.
Come closer, Molly.
Molly jumped back. She knew those voices.
Come closer, Molly.
“Mama? Daddy?”
Heart soaring, not caring if she was insane, she raced forward to the graves, lured by the sound of the impossible. Molly gasped. Three names were inscribed on the stones.
“Richard. Janet. My parents.” She trembled. “And Molly? What does it mean?”
That we saved a place for you.
Molly screamed as the earth opened and swallowed her.

Saturday 14 February 2015

This Is The Bloody Valentine Horror Hop!

Welcome to the Bloody Valentine Horror Hop!

The place where Valentine’s Day is celebrated with heartbreak, love gone wrong, romantic mayhem and tragedy, and where you find out what happens when the rose petals die, the candy melts, and lovers are looking for payback.

The bloggers that signed on are offering many delights in romantic misfortune, and you can check out the full list at the end of this post.
First up, though, is my contribution:

  • A creepy little story about lingering too long in a relationship
  • Some poetry — two poems written by me and another penned by special guest poet, Sean Theall
So read on…

Leaking Out

Drip, drip, drip.
The sound dances with the sunbeams streaming through the bedroom window. It’s a rhythm, a mind numbing vibration of liquid striking metal. Such a strange sound to hear in the morning, the drip, drip, drip of the tap.
Or is it the tap?
Maybe it isn’t a leak. Maybe it’s something else. Blood flowing through the veins of the house. Drip, drip, dripping someone’s life away. All oozing out over the sink. Or the floor.
I wonder why I thought that?

I smell coffee.
I’m in the kitchen.
How did I get here? I’m not sure. My memory plays tricks these days. Or maybe time is playing tricks. Either way, I’ve gotten used to it. Mostly. But the dripping noise is gone. Maybe it never was. Maybe it was in my head. Probably was. Too many things are in my head.
But I still smell coffee. And toast. He made breakfast. He always made breakfast when we were first married. Or maybe I did. No, that’s not true. He did. He was sweet in the beginning.
I don’t think he’s here anymore. I think he left. But I don’t know why. Why would he leave? None of this feels right. All I know is the house is empty. Shut up tight. It’s so quiet.
And there’s no breakfast on the table. Just dust.

We were happy.
I thought we were happy.
I must’ve been wrong.
Something must’ve been wrong.
Our happiness had cracks.
He didn’t love me.
Or he wouldn’t have… no, I won’t… he didn’t… couldn’t have… he left me?
I left?

Drip, drip, drip.
I can hear it again. The wet noise.
It isn't coming from the kitchen. It sounds like it’s coming from the bathroom.
But it may not be coming from anywhere, except my head. It’s hard sometimes to know.
I’m standing outside the bathroom door now. But I was just in the kitchen. Wasn’t I? I think I was. Maybe not.
I don’t want to be here. Why? Why do I want to run? Something happened in there? I think it did. My hand is shaking.
I’m afraid.
But I can still hear the dripping.
I open the door.
The room is empty. A cheerless room.
I look down.
The stain’s still there. It’s been scrubbed and scrubbed, but it wouldn’t come out of the tile. Where the blood dripped into the widening pool of red. Bright, bright red. The stain’s more pink now.
It’s even kind of pretty. If I forget what made it.
Blood. Too much blood.
Painted on my memory. Scarlet and screaming, and all jumbled with questions. Whys and how’s. I don’t have answers. I’m not sure I want answers. I might not like them. I’d rather forget. I like it best when I don’t remember it at all. Those are the best days.
But that’s not today. Today’s not a day when I don’t remember.
Today I know what happened.
Someone died.
No, someone was murdered.
I remember.
My husband murdered me.


Though I Be A Fool…

Though I be a fool, I shall weep
for you, and what will never stay,
my fleeting, broken love so cheap.
Though I be a fool, I shall weep.
And I mourn, my grief wide and deep,
as the sun dims, and clouds grow grey.
Though I be a fool, I shall weep
for you, and what will never stay.


Murmur’s Echo

A fume of glacial breath
beside you,
in the graveyard

Ephemeral vapors wafting,
far adrift
across the moonlight

Prickles teasing at your ear,
spinal shivers
One voice whispering

Stay with me…
Stay with me…

For Eternity


And Now For Our Guest Poet...

The Last Commitment

Here my lovely let us have one last meal.
one more chance to be together and
tell you how I feel.
Upon the table in a vase
is a half-life rose, this meeting
is to see if we still have a pulse
and where our future goes.
Steak or chicken your personal
choice. recite your order in
that sweet tiny voice.
Trying to get a emotional reading
from your laugh and smile.
taking my emotions placing
them on a railroad track
with a train coming, and
still expect love back.
All you really want is my
blood and my heart, do away
with my husk a brand new start.
Not to mention the green
my leather case. will this lunch
end in death by broken vase?
I would like to attempt to
beat you to the punch, wanted
to see what we could salvage
this was the idea behind this
It appears we must take on
different roles. I as the mongoose
and you as the snake there is only
so much of that hidden evil smile
I can take. dancing around the
truth maybe realizing too late
we can't live under the same
One final gesture from me
silently holding my breath.
handing you a glass of red wine
nervously waiting for you to
take sip and end our jointed
Feeling lightheaded or woozy
my angel? let me put you to
bed. sleep off your hangover
and fall quickly to your death.
The authorities will not suspect
a thing. all they will see is
you sleeping soundly in bed.
only I will know the truth,
you are finally gone;
stone cold dead.

Copyright 2011
Sean C. Theall


About the Hop, and the Blogger List

We also had a last minute entry not on the official list, but well worth the read:

Thursday 12 February 2015

Book Spotlight: The Andromedans

Today I have a special treat, with the spotlight on a new release The Andromedans, Book 3 of the Empire Series, by Elizabeth Lang. Having read and enjoyed the first two books in the series, I am delighted for the publication of book three.

So read on, and enjoy!

The Andromedans (Book 3 of the Empire Series) by Elizabeth Lang

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find out who you really are.

After being kidnapped by a bounty hunter and getting mixed up with a band of rebels, Adrian and Kali are finally together. They find a quiet corner of the galaxy to live in peace and...who are we kidding...

Just when they think it's safe, the unthinkable happens. Adrian, a man who prides himself on the perfect mind, loses everything, forcing Kali to revisit what she is willing to do in order to save him, and this time the stakes are even higher. Not only does Adrian's life hang in the balance but the survival of two galaxies.

Just who are these Andromedans and why are they willing to go to such lengths to destroy us? What do they want with Adrian? And who is crazy enough to go to the Andromedan galaxy to rescue him?

You can find The Andromedans at:

Author Bio:

After many years in the computer industry, Elizabeth Lang wrote her first novel, The Empire, which was fortunate to be a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, 2011. Mainly a science fiction and fantasy writer, she did end up with a sci-fi romance, though she swears she has no idea how that happened.

And be sure to check out the book's release party

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Strange Travels

We embark on a journey today on Drabble Wednesday, a trek through worlds sublime, and stories short…

Bon Voyage

I heard the gulls squawking, and the sound of crashing waves as the ocean rolled past the day into twilight. The last vestige of sun scattered through the gathered clouds, glinting sparkles off the water. In the company of this grand sea, I remembered better days, sorted memories like photos in a forgotten album; scenes of picnics at the beach, sunset walks, laughing children.
The reminiscences helped. They distracted from the cold, from the water that invaded my nose, my mouth, my lungs. Then I shut my eyes as I choked my final breath and sank beneath the ocean’s surface. 

The Morning

He settled on the grassy hillside and removed a hard biscuit from his rucksack. He chewed the tough bread—his only breakfast—and watched the sun rise above the fog shrouded mountains he left behind. Wondrous colours diffused the sky, a melange of titian and burnt umber, brushed with blush, that spread across a heavenly field of sapphire blue.
The old tree still stood in the meadows beyond the mountains and he remembered the day he carved his initials, and Ellen’s, in the bark. The day he first kissed her. She was gone now, and he could no longer stay.


Alice waited on the train platform, her carpetbags packed with her belongings. She clutched her ticket, wondering for the umpteenth time if she was a fool. Risking it all for love, for Avery, a man with twinkling hazel eyes and promises of marriage. Her father would never take her back, never forgive her shunning the husband he picked out in favour of a gentleman he considered a wastrel.
She checked her small pocket watch again. What would she do if he didn’t show?
“I’m not that late, am I?”
Alice spun, greeted by his smile and a matching train ticket.

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